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4 Keys To Well-Being & Happiness: According To Neuroscience

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Consciousness, our perception, beliefs, actions, emotions and feelings play an integral role in shaping our biology. In this article, a neuroscientist explains mindfulness actions that can change your brain.

  • Reflect On:

    With so much validity coming from the realm of mind/body science, which does mainstream medicine continue to focus primarily on chemical medication interventions?

The human brain is fascinating. It’s so complex that it’s hard to believe we will ever understand it. We still have yet to think in quantum terms about our biology, and just like physics, factoring consciousness into the equation is going to change everything. Right now, we are in the midst of a new scientific revolution, and that’s non-material science. It has huge implications for health, and science is now confirming just how strong the mind-body connection really is. It’s fascinating, to say the least.

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Take neuroscience, for example. The brain has an incredible ability to change itself. We can change our brains by the emotions we feel,  how we perceive our overall environment, and how we react to various situations that pop up in our everyday lives. By being aware of our feelings, our perception of the environment, our emotions and other non-physical factors, we can spark positive changes in the brain:

All of the work that my colleagues and I have been doing leads inevitably to this central conclusion. Well-being is fundamentally no different that learning to play the cello. If one practices the skills of well-being, one will get better at it…Based on our research, well-being has four constituents that have each received serious scientific attention. Each of these four is rooted in neural circuits, and each of these neural circuits exhibits plasticity – so we know that if we exercise these circuits, they will strengthen. Practicing these four skills can provide the substrate for enduring change, which can help to promote higher levels of well-being in our lives.

The quote above comes from Richard J, Davidson, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and founder and chair of the Center for Healthy Minds. His research has outlined the following 4 key principles to improve your well being.

Resilience

Resilience is basically the ability to spring back up after a perceived downfall. How good is your ability to let go of something, mentally speaking, that no longer serves your best interests? How quickly can you bounce back from a disappointing event or circumstance?

Resilience is the rapidity with which we recover from adversity; some people recover slowly and other people recover more quickly. We know that individuals who show a more rapid recovery in certain key neural circuits have higher levels of well-being. They are protected in many ways from the adverse consequences of life’s slings and arrows.

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Resilient behaviour has the power to re-wire your brain so you’re not ‘hit so hard’ when life gets you down because you’re so used to getting back up.  All it takes is practice, that’s why some of our darkest moments have the power to slingshot us forward, and this is why we can use our ‘negative’ or ‘bad’ experiences as lessons and stepping stones.

Recent research that we’ve conducted in our lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison—very new work that’s not yet published—asked whether these specific brain circuits can be altered by regular practice in simple mindfulness meditation.

The answer is yes—but you need several thousand hours of practice before you see real change. Unlike the other constituents of well-being, it takes a while to improve your resilience. It’s not something that is going to happen quickly—but this insight can still motivate and inspire us to keep meditating.

Outlook

With mindfulness studies, never has the power of positivity gained so much credibility. No doubt, having a positive outlook on any experience can be the key to experiencing joy. This could be described as our ability to focus on our positive experiences while learning from the negative ones, as well as the ability to see other human beings as grounded in basic innate goodness.

Davidson explains how individuals who suffer from depression show activation in the brain circuit that underlies outlook, but it doesn’t last long. To improve one’s outlook, studies have shown that practicing love, kindness, and compassion may alter this circuitry “quite quickly, after a very, very modest dose of practice.”

We published a study in 2013 where individuals who had never meditated before were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group received a secular form of compassion training and the other received cognitive reappraisal training, an emotion-regulation strategy that comes from cognitive therapy. We scanned people’s brains before and after two weeks of training, and we found that in the compassion group, brain circuits that are important for this positive outlook were strengthened. After just seven hours—30 minutes of practice a day for two weeks—we not only saw changes in the brain, but these changes also predicted kind and helpful behavior.

This is interesting. How often do you look at the good? On a collective note, imagine how much the world would change if we focused on our similarities and the things that unite us, instead of what makes us different?

While we’re on the subject of emotional intelligence, it’s important to bring up research regarding the science of the heart conducted by the HeartMath Institute. They show what positive emotions can do to our biology, how they affect our electromagnetic field, and how this field interacts with us and those around us. They have also shown that the heart actually sends messages to the brain, and that positive emotions can have a great effect on how we feel.

How we feel and learning to regulate our emotions is showing huge correlations with human biology. You can read more about that here:

What Science Is Telling Us About The Heart’s Intuitive Intelligence

This Is How Powerful The Mind-Body Connection Really Is

Attention

An interesting study out of Harvard found that most people are not really paying attention to what they’re doing 47 percent of the time. We’re not talking about ADHD here either. It was a study on happiness, and perhaps this goes to show just how much human beings are not stimulated by their environment. Attention issues are not usually the result of problems with the mind, but a lack of passion that results from not following the heart. This is our current human experience: we are forced from birth into doing and participating in things we may not want to participate in. Perhaps the lack of stimulation within the current human experience is the problem?

Generosity

Generosity is a natural tendency for those who feel a connectedness with others. Cultivating generosity within us can have profound effects on our own well-being, as Davidson points out:

There are now a plethora of data showing that when individuals engage in generous and altruistic behavior, they actually activate circuits in the brain that are key to fostering well-being. These circuits get activated in a way that is more enduring than the way we respond to other positive incentives, such as winning a game or earning a prize.

Human beings come into the world with innate, basic goodness. When we engage in practices that are designed to cultivate kindness and compassion, we’re not actually creating something de novo—we’re not actually creating something that didn’t already exist. What we’re doing is recognizing, strengthening, and nurturing a quality that was there from the outset.

Our brains are constantly being shaped wittingly or unwittingly—most of the time unwittingly. Through the intentional shaping of our minds, we can shape our brains in ways that would enable these four fundamental constituents of well-being to be strengthened. In that way, we can take responsibility for our own minds.

These discoveries could serve as the backbone of global change.

Practicing Emotional Well-Being

Imagine if all humans on this planet practiced attaining this type of emotional well being. Currently, learning how to regulate our feelings is completely left out of school, where, all we learn to do is memorize facts while completely neglecting the growth of our emotional intelligence.

If everybody in the world just got closer to being their natural selves, all of the wrongdoing and suffering in the world would stop. The refusal of all human beings to participate in anything they innately know is “wrong” is what is needed for us to move forward as a collective.

According to sociologist Thomas Scheff, a big supporter of emotional education from the University of California, many Western societies simply view emotions as an indulgence or a distraction and less important than other things. And he’s right — we are often taught to bury our emotions so we can be more productive, and we are made to feel as though our emotions are not as relevant or important; they always seem to come secondary, if at all, especially within an educational setting. Scheff, among many others, believes that emotions provide valuable information, and yet we are taught not to listen to them. “Just as dangerous,” Scheff said, “is the practice of hiding one emotion behind another.” He has found that “men, in particular, tend to hide feelings of shame under anger, aggression and, far too often, violence.”

Related CE Article: Why Emotions Should Be Taught In Schools Rather Than Ignored & Suppressed

So follow your heart, treat others as you would want to be treated, and even consider some of the practices described here. In doing so, you will no doubt start experiencing more joy and happiness in your own life.

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Scientists Receive Green Light To “Resurrect The Dead” Using Stem Cells

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Biotech company Bioquark has been given the green light to 'resurrect' the clinically dead using stem cells. They are attempting 'the reversal of death.'

  • Reflect On:

    How do you feel about this? Should we be trying to stay alive forever, in a sense? Do we, as a society, view death in a healthy manner? Should we know what happens at death? What are the implications of 'living forever?'

Death is a controversial subject in the medical field for many reasons. People rely on doctors to save them and their loved ones, but when fate has its way, the whole world can feel out of order. And while the death of a loved one may not feel final at first, we soon come to realize that, at least for the living who remain, it does mark an end.

That’s why it seems like a controversial yet incredible move for a US biotechnology company called Bioquark to have been given permission to recruit 20 clinically dead patients and attempt to bring their central nervous systems back to life. They hope to eliminate patients’ need to rely on machines by reanimating parts of the upper spinal cord, where the lower brain stem is located, to potentially energize vital body functions like breathing and heartbeats.

Trial participants will have been declared certified dead and kept alive solely through life support machines. “This represents the first trial of its kind and another step towards the eventual reversal of death in our lifetime,” said CEO of Bioquark Inc., Ira Pastor. The team, who was granted ethical permission from an Institutional Review Board at the National Institutes of Health in the US and India to begin trials on 20 subjects, is looking to recruit patients for its ReAnima Project as soon as possible.

The team will first complete a phase 1 trial, referred to as a non-randomized, proof-of-concept study. This will determine whether or not they are capable of reversing clinical brain death through drug administration, nerve stimulation, and laser therapy. They’ll also be looking at whether or not they can affect any changes in the meninges of the brain, layers of tissue located between the skull and the surface of the brain. Specifically, the team will be investigating improvements in the patients’ pulse, blood oxygen saturation, blood pressure, and respiration.

The team will first seek permission from the families of the clinically dead, and then will proceed to treat the 20 chosen individuals over a six-week period in Anupam Hospital in Rudrapur, India. These will then be monitored for several months, where the researchers will determine if any changes have been made. “We hope to see results within the first two to three months,” Pastor said.

To attempt to bring the patients back from the dead, Bioquark has administered four different types of treatments, which include:

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  • Injecting simple protein chains called peptides into the patients’ spinal cord on a daily basis.
  • Injecting stem cells into their brains twice weekly.
  • Using the non-invasive treatment called transcranial laser therapy to activate the body’s natural recovery processes.
  • Using another non-invasive technique called nerve stimulation, which involves delivering electrical impulses to the median nerve of the upper limb.

“To undertake such a complex initiative, we are combining biologic regenerative medicine tools with other existing medical devices typically used for stimulation of the central nervous system, in patients with other severe disorders of consciousness,” Pastor noted.

The researchers are hoping that, if they can get patients’ brains to work again, and since many clinically dead can retain certain functions, like processing waste, digesting nutrients, healing wounds, and growing and maturing, people will have the chance to regain some semblance of life. But for now, the team is just trying to take it one step at a time.

“It is a long-term vision of ours that a full recovery in such patients is a possibility, although that is not the focus of this first study – but it is a bridge to that eventuality,” Pastor said

And Sergei Pavlian, founder and president of Bioquark Inc., added:

Through our study, we will gain unique insights into the state of human brain death, which will have important connections to future therapeutic development for other severe disorders of consciousness, such as coma, and the vegetative and minimally conscious states, as well as a range of degenerative CNS conditions, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease,” said Sergei Paylian, the founder and chief science officer of Bioquark.

Check out the trial outline here.

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Scientists Publish A New Study Examining Humans’ Ability To Accurately Predict Future Events

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new study outlines the scientific experiments under controlled conditions that have been conducted to see if precognition is actually real.

  • Reflect On:

    The implications of non-material science are huge, what would happen if mainstream academia accepted these results without any bias?

Precognition, is it real? If you examine the research that’s been published in this field, from peer-reviewed publications and controlled experiments, combined with the declassified literature from parapsychology programs from multiple governments around the world, the evidence for the ability of humans to accurately predict future events is overwhelming to the point where I am not sure why it would or could be considered ‘pseudoscience’. But given the current parameters of science, it’s understandable, and from this perspective, the evidence may not be ‘overwhelming,’ but you can decide that for yourself.

So what exactly is precognition? It’s essentially the ability to have a premonition of a future event that could not otherwise be anticipated through any known process.

The current parameters of science definitely need to be changed and adjusted, they allow for an observed phenomenon, although sometimes unexplainable, to be completely disregarded, no matter how many times it’s replicated or performed under controlled experiments. This is a result of scientific dogma, rules and laws of science that have been set in place and seem to stay there due to the fact that new concepts of reality simply disrupt belief systems. Take the concept of metaphysical realms for example, the implications and realizations of these realms, if confirmed, would result in a complete worldview paradigm shift and perhaps the disruption of multiple religious teachings. That being said, a lot of religion and ancient eastern philosophy does not argue against these realms but speak of them too.

“There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field will be tarnished by studying a phenomenon that is tainted by its association with superstition, spiritualism and magic. Protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing.”
 Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (source)

When it comes to precognition, the new study recently published by scientists at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) examines multiple, scientifically controlled experiments that have yielded significant results. They examined multiple areas of research, multiple studies and meta-analysis showing how the scientific evidence for pre-cognition is measurable and continues to grow.

The authors are careful in their writing, pointing out the observed effects:

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If positive empirical evidence continues to accumulate, especially if the methodological recommendations suggested by ourselves and others are followed, then a time may come when we are forced to think the unthinkable. Indeed, the implications of retrocausation are so remote from engrained ways of thinking that the first reaction to this line of research is that it must be flawed. The second reaction may be horror that it represents a previously unaccepted fact about reality. (source)

The authors provide further studies within this one for the reader’s consideration, so be sure to check them out. But the above point is great, perhaps it is our fear of such confirmations that holds us back?

Another interesting concept discussed in the study is time, as you cannot really have a discussion about pre-cognition without the concept of time. When you think about pre-cognition, as with most parapsychological areas of study, you also have to consider quantum physics, because these two disciplines are deeply related to each other. Studies conducted over the years in quantum physics alone has shown how human intention, and other factors associated with consciousness, can and do interact with our physical material reality.

When we talk about future events, and time, if we look at matter on a quantum scale, future events are represented as a wave of possibilities, and don’t really manifest as physical matter until we, the observer, click it into existence with our own consciousness. In 2007 (Science 315, 966, 2007), scientists in France shot photons into an apparatus and showed that their actions could retroactively change something which had already happened.

“If we attempt to attribute an objective meaning to the quantum state of a single system, curious paradoxes appear: quantum effects mimic not only instantaneous action-at-a-distance, but also, as seen here, influence of future actions on past events, even after these events have been irrevocably recorded.” – Asher Peres, a pioneer in quantum information theory (source)(source)(source)

So, the concept of time, which is intertwined with the precognition phenomena, is very important to acknowledge, even if we can’t really understand it because it’s so puzzling. What happened in the past can change the future, and what happens in the future can change the past.

Apart from the scientific literature, I also mentioned the Department of Defence programs. Dr. Paul Smith, one of the army personnel involved in the STARGATE program writes in his book, The Essential Guide to Remote Viewing: The Secret Military Remote Perception Skill Anyone Can Learnabout an event where he was involved in successfully predicting future events for the Department of Defence. This was all part of the remote viewing program, which allows one person to perceive and describe the physical characteristics of a location when they are only given the location coordinates. It’s been used a number of times for intelligence collection, as shown by the declassified literature. In 2014, Smith also published a study in the journal of scientific exploration about stock market prediction using remote viewing. (Smith C. C., Laham D., Moddel J. (2014). Stock market prediction using associative remote viewing by inexperienced remote viewersJ. Sci. Explor28, 7–16). 

So, along with all of the scientifically controlled experiments, it’s also important to consider time, and all of the functions parapsychology has served, and mostly still do serve in the black budget world, especially when we are talking about pre-cognition. This area of government study is something that the peer-reviewed studies don’t really refer to much as a tool of evidence.

I also published an article a few years ago about a study (meta analysis) in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience titled “Predicting the unpredictable: critical analysis and practical implications of predictive anticipatory activity” which examined a number of experiments regarding this phenomenon that were conducted by several different laboratories.

These experiments indicate that the human body can actually detect randomly delivered stimuli that occur 1-10 seconds in advance. In other words, the human body seems to know of an event, and reacts to an event that has yet to occur. What occurs in the human body before these events are physiological changes that are measured regarding the cardiopulmonary, the skin, and the nervous system.

More than 40 experiments investigating this phenomenon in humans have been published over the past 36 years (including: Hartwell, 1978Radin et al., 19952011Bierman and Radin, 1997Radin, 19972004;Don et al., 1998Bierman, 2000Bierman and Scholte, 2002McDonough et al., 2002;Spottiswoode and May, 2003McCraty et al., 2004a,bSartori et al., 2004May et al., 2005;Tressoldi et al., 200520092011Radin and Borges, 2009Bradley et al., 2011). This is what promoted the meta-analysis.

The analysis concluded that:

“The predictive physiological anticipation of a truly randomly selected and thus unpredictable future event, has been under investigation for more than three decades, and a recent conservative meta-analysis suggests that the phenomenon is real.” 

Takeaway

Humans with ‘special abilities’ have been reported throughout history, here’s an example straight from the CIA’s electronic reading room. The point is, we can use these concepts to develop techniques to improve our lives, and the lives of all life on planet Earth. Perhaps we will one day be able to perceive future events that are not in humanities best interest and then take steps to change that potential future. I believe those who possess gifts for perceiving the future might be picking up on potential timelines, sort of like the wave of potentials in the quantum double slit experiment.

The main takeaway is that we have many more abilities that we’ve been made to believe, and still some we have yet to discover. At the end of the day, it’s the consciousness behind these discoveries that determine whether or not they will be used by humanity. It’s just like technology, do we weaponize it or use it for the overall good of humanity?

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Study Reveals ‘Intentionally Treated Water’ Might Change The Growth Rate Of Plants

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Three Buddhist monks focused their intention on commercially bottled water with the goal of improving the growth of seeds; bottled water from the same source served as an untreated control. A significant effect was observed.

  • Reflect On:

    There is a wealth of statistically significant data in this field, this is just one of many examples within quantum physics and parapsychology that show how factors associated with conscious are related with our physical material world.

Human intention experiments have been taking place for decades. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of peer-reviewed publications that have examined the mind-matter connection with some very interesting results. These results lead to interpretations that are usually ignored in the mainstream, simply because they challenge the mind to entertain and accept completely new facts about the true nature of reality that would completely revolutionize our worldview in several different ways.

I recently published an article about how quantum theory and parapsychology are showing us how mind/matter interaction is indeed real, and that the scientific study of human consciousness is an entirely different ball game; it is almost impossible to accurately measure the impact of consciousness if the ‘objective’ model and limiting parameters of modern-day “science” are still being used.

In the lab, the effects of consciousness, although small, are measurable and significant. Phenomena that have come from real life human examples and classified government programs, like the STARGATE project, seem to be of even more significance and represent the next level of ‘evidence’ that shows just how legitimate non-material science is. It truly represents the next scientific revolution and has huge implications, from health to the generation of clean energy. As Nikola Tesla said, “The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”

Study Of Water Treated By Intention

One fairly recent example comes from a study conducted by scientists at National Kaohsiung Normal University, National Taiwan University, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences. They reference a previous experiment which suggested that “consumption of intentionally treated tea influenced subjective mood under double-blind, controlled conditions.” They decided to investigate further, under double-blind, controlled conditions. The study used Arabidopsis thaliana seeds (a commonly used wild type of seed that belongs to the Brassica family, which includes cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower), and measured differences in hypocotyl length, anthocyanin, and chlorophyll between seeds hydrated with intentionally treated vs. untreated water.

The hypocotyl is the stem of a germinating seed, anthocyanin refers to specific cell biology properties of a plant, and chlorophyll deals with the biology of the green pigment found within plants. The study was designed as follows:

Three Buddhist monks focused their intention on commercially bottled water with the goal of improving the growth of seeds; bottled water from the same source served as an untreated control. Seeds with the following three variations of cryptochrome (CRY) were used: the wild type Arabidopsis (Columbia-4), a gain-of-function mutation (His-CRY2), and a loss-of function mutation (cry1/2), where “gain” and “loss” refer to enhanced and reduced sensitivity to blue light, respectively. Seeds were hydrated with treated or untreated water under blinded conditions, and then placed in random positions in an incubator. The germination process was repeated three times in each experiment, each time using new seeds, and then the entire experiment was repeated four times.

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Building On Past Success

As the authors mention, intention experiments with water have already been conducted and have shown some intriguing results. Water infused with positive intention has shown differences in ice crystal formation (1)(2) infrared spectroscopy (3), and the enhanced germination and growth of lettuce, rye, barley, and several other plants as compared to untreated control water.

If thoughts can have this effect on water, just imagine what they can do to us and the influence they may have on what we call physical reality. While there is a perception that changes that result from conscious intent are only seen at the quantum scale, it’s not true. We have real life human examples.

A study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine demonstrated that a woman with special abilities was able to significantly accelerate the germination of specific seeds for the purposes of developing a more robust seed stock. You can read more about that and access the study here. There are also declassified documents that show human beings with these abilities. There are examples from every country, and it’s not just from modern day. Ancient lore from many cultures spoke of people with these same kind of  ‘mystical powers.’

During a visit to remote monasteries in the 1980s, Harvard Professor of Medicine Herbert Benson and his team of researchers studied monks living in the Himalayan Mountains who could, by g Tum-mo (a yoga technique), raise the temperatures of their fingers and toes by as much as 17 degrees. It is still unknown how the monks are able to generate such heat. (source) (You can read more about this here).

Then there is the famous double slit experiment, a great study that has been used a number of times to examine the effect consciousness might have on our physical material world, which I recently wrote about here. In that article, I made it a point of emphasis that we have more evidentiary data for the measurable impact of consciousness than we have for certain concepts we consider as ‘fact.’ It only seems reasonable that non-material science be at the forefront of our scientific explorations. To do this, however, we need to recognize that this represents a significant disruption of old belief systems, and, perhaps even more significantly, that powerful corporate interests vested in the old model may be at the heart of why it’s not really promoted within academia as it should be.

The Results

The results of the Taiwan study showed a significant decrease in hypocotyl length, a significant increase in anthocyanin (treated mean 17.0 ± 0.31 mg, untreated mean, and a “modest” increase in chlorophyll. To see the actual numbers, and more details about the study, you can refer directly to the study.

According to the authors:

These outcomes conformed to the monks’ intentions because a decrease in hypocotyl length and increase in anthocyanin and chlorophyll are associated with enhanced photomorphogenic growth. These experiemnts suggest that the  His-CRY2 mutation of Arabidopsis may be an especially robust “detector” of intention.

The Takeaway 

Proving our ability to generate positive energy to improve the growth of life-forms like plants through intention shows just how important human consciousness is. We are all constantly co-creating this physical human experience here, and we are just really starting to recognize that. Things are changing, our consciousness is changing, our emotions and perceptions about our experience are changing and when we start to look at things in a different light, we can have more of an intentional positive impact.

The most important takeaway here is for all of us to strive for inner peace, do the ‘inner work’ to achieve a higher state of being so we can create a more peaceful world. Our world is simply a reflection of our collective inner being.

A Quick Important Notice:

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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