Written by: Sharon Whitefawn 2008
Since the beginning of recorded history, people have struggled to understand the world, nature, reality, and the human psyche. However, throughout history there have been dedicated individual philosophers, sages and researchers who have been able to contribute insight into how the brain of our species operates, and how our thinking affects our perceptions of reality. The brain is the control center for the nervous system, cognition, perception, memory, behavior, emotion and all bodily movement. Ancient religious practices offer methods of altering perceptions of reality. Noted scientists and psychiatrists have expanded knowledge and understanding of the brainâs amazing developmental abilities. Many people throughout history have personally experienced Nirvana through mastering mind control, thus altering their perceptions, emotions and behaviors. The human race creates its own perception of reality based on conscious and/or unconscious memories, pleasant and/or unpleasant experiences, whether remembered or buried. Enormous amounts of information are continually downloaded into the brain from the time of birth, perhaps even before birth, and this information comes from myriad sources; known and unknown. What our society doesnât fully realize is its ability to consciously change its perception of reality through the magnificent capabilities of the brain. Neuroscience has produced evidence that supports the fact that we possess the ability to alter our perceptions, thoughts and behaviors. Therefore, we as a species are able to reduce pain and suffering, individually and collectively.
Today, many people are dissatisfied with their lives; jobs, relationships, families, society and so on. Yet, our personal lives and the state of the world are a direct result of our perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, both individually and collectively. This is a natural law of which many people are unaware. According to Fritjof Capra (2000):
Quantum theory has demolished the classical concepts of solid objects, and of strictly deterministic laws of nature. At the subatomic level, the solid material objects of classical physics dissolve into wave-like patterns of probabilities, and these patterns, ultimately, do not represent probabilities of things, but rather probabilities of interconnections. Quantum theory thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe. It shows that we cannot decompose the world into independently existing smallest units. As we penetrate into matter, nature does not show us any isolated âbasic building blocksâ, but rather appears as a complicated web of relations between parts of the whole. These always include the observer in an essential way. (p. 68)
In the following pages you will discover that the human psyche is capable of consciously collaborating with the brainâs many mysterious talents to direct the matter of our world. Our perceptions of reality affect our health, relationships, and careers, as well as the evolution of our planet. Not only is this a capability of ours, awareness of it is a requirement for living a self directed, purposeful life of positive quality. The development of the human psyche will only evolve to the degree that we intentionally utilize the creative processes of the brain, and powerful aspects of self.
âPsycheâ is defined as âthe human soul, spirit or mind; the mental or psychological structure of a personâ (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/psyche). A common definition given for âsoulâ is:
â¦ the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical partâ (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/soul)
There are over sixty eight definitions for the word âmindâ, ranging from âthe totality of conscious and unconscious mental processes and activitiesâ to âGod; the incorporeal source of life, substance, and intelligenceâ(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mind). The terms psyche, soul and mind will be used interchangeably throughout this document as the sources used to collect supporting data vary in their terminology.
From my recent studies about the psyche, the brain and its many functions, it seems to me that the human mind is extremely complex. A great pioneer in modern psychiatry by the name of Carl G. Jung lived from 1865-1961 CE. As an explorer of science, religion and the human psyche, he strived to understand the truth and the ways of the soul. Jung compared the mysteries of the psyche to the mysteries of nature. He surmised that in order to truly know self, one must diligently journey to the center of self, where the self and the god reside as one.Â The âselfâ he spoke of was the human mind, and the âgodâ he wrote about was not a religious god of likeness to man but a power, force or natural law that we have been unconsciously trained to separate ourselves from (Jung, 1957). For myriad reasons, over centuries, societies have conditioned us to disconnect our thoughts from their impact on the physical world. We have been taught to trust in a power separate from self and disregard the responsibility of correct and appropriate thinking. âI am thinkingâ¦of a well known fact that anyone who has insight into his own action, and has thus found access to the unconscious, involuntarily exercises an influence on his environmentâ (Jung, 1957, p.108). It seems to me that separating our thoughts from their potential impact on the environment is a dangerous way to live, as our thoughts direct our behaviors. I believe Jung knew that the human mind must reunite with the forces of nature in order to consciously affect the universe in a positive way.
Carl Jung had a strong interest in the practices of Buddhism. The founder of Buddhism was Prince Siddhartha Gautama, born approximately c.500 BCE. Bored with the royal life, Prince Siddhartha became curious about life outside the palace walls. He dedicated his adult life to searching for enlightenment and entering Nirvana, the liberation from cyclic existence. (Farrer-Halls, 2000, p. 12-13) âNirvana is not heaven; it is a state of enlightenment that can be experienced here and now. Nirvana is not a place; it is the extinguishing of suffering, delusion, and craving.â (2000, p. 47).
Buddha was concerned with transcending human suffering. His first teaching after his enlightenment was of the Four Noble Truths; 1-the existence of suffering, 2-the causes of suffering, 3-the cessation of the causes of suffering, and 4-the path that leads to the cessation of the causes of suffering. The path, of which the fourth Noble Truth refers, is the Noble Eightfold Path, which gives us practical ways to lessen desire and suffering. (2000, p 16-17). The Noble Eightfold Path includes Right View, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. (2000, p. 64).
I once learned, long ago, that the process of creation is thought, word, deed. Contained within the Eightfold Path are specific techniques for conscious and positive thinking, speaking, and behaving. When our thoughts and words are pure, our actions will follow suit, and we will thus be in alignment with wholesome creations in life. Buddhism requires a great deal of diligence in practice, yet in so doing, one achieves enlightened wisdom which is spiritual and material at the same time. It is a practice of using the mind to affect oneâs perspective of his or her physical world, thus altering oneâs experience with reality.
Ancient wisdom, modern neuroscience and recent research have determined that the human brain is most capable of performing all the tasks of the Eightfold Path which lead to Nirvana; the cessation of suffering. All eastern spiritual practices use some form of meditation for the purpose of altering the mind, perceived reality, and physical matter. By using specific breathing techniques we enable the positive power of the psyche to create miraculous changes. Breath work is the tool used for consciously connecting to the cosmos, and for directing our viewpoint and experience of reality. In his book, Meditation as Medicine (2001), Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa, states that:
â¦ pranayama, or breath control, changes the type and amount of peptides that reach periaqueductal gray area (PAG) – midbrain gray matter. By breathing deeply, or rapidly, or by holding your breath, you can change your profile of pulmonary peptides and communicate with your brainâs PAG, and this changes how you feel. You can use this mechanism to reduce pain, anger, and fear. New research has shown consistent, powerful positive shifts in mood when the correct type of breathing is used. Controlled rhythmic breathing shifts the body away from fight-or-flight mode. Breathing is the only action in the body that has a dual control system; it can operate consciously, through the voluntary nervous system or unconsciously through the autonomic nervous system. Because of this unique aspect, breathing is the one function of the body that can allow the voluntary nervous system to reprogram the autonomic nervous system. (p. 62)
Proper conscious breathing brings more oxygen to the blood and thus the brain, and also helps control the vital energy (prana) which leads to the control of the mindÂ (Khalsa, 1979). I have discovered through my personal practice and experience that the breath is the bridge that connects the mind and the body. To stay focused on the breath is to remain on the observatory deck of inner and outer awareness. It puts me in the position to notice the thoughts that motivate my actions. It also helps in slowing down my reaction time, which helps to change unhealthy behaviors. With practice I have learned to respond consciously to lifeâs events instead of reacting unconsciously. By no means have I mastered this task, but I certainly learned that the subconscious mind must be taken care of and trained if it is going to be an aide in life. âThe mind has an infinite horizon; there is no end to it – it is this phenomenon that makes us a part of infinityâ (Khalsa, 1988, p.8). It is here that we realize our natural connection to the entire universe. The usual progression begins with self awareness, advances to group consciousness and then universal consciousness where the release of the unlimited self is realized (Khalsa, 1988). My research has led me to the conclusion that with the release of the unlimited self, the soul is free to align itself with the divine perfection of natural law. This is where dis-ease is eased; where struggles dissolve; where brain chemistry is modified for optimal health and functioning. This is where the human psyche becomes capable of consciously collaborating with the brain and cosmos to direct our lifeâs course and perception of reality, thus affecting our lives in a meaningful and profound way.
According to contemporary quantum physicists, there is a network of intelligence within humans, powerful enough to change the basic patterns that design our physiology. There has been a dramatic shift in worldview from humans as physical machines that have somehow learned to think, to the realization that we are actually thoughts [ethereal beings] that have somehow learned to create the physical machine (Chopra, 1990, p.71). This shift is realized through neuroscientific research and the study of neurotransmitters, neuropeptides and messenger molecules of all kinds. The discovery of neuropeptides showed that the body is fluid enough to match the mind. Neuropeptides move with thought, serving as a point of transformation in the body. Neuropeptides spring into existence at the touch of a thought, turning non-matter into matter (Chopra, 1990, p. 70). Although the actual process is still a mystery because it occurs in the invisible field of the quantum, science is however, able to prove that this is what truly does happen. Indeed, it happens all the time. For example, when a child hears a noise and thinks there is a threatening force outside her bedroom door, her heart rate increases, she begin to perspire, chemicals for fight or flight are manufactured in the adrenal glands and her body begins to physically shake. Then she hears her cat meow and suddenly realizes itâs her cuddly pet scratching at the door because it wants to come into her room. Instantly all those bodily occurrences subside. Untraceable neuropeptides that were once nonexistent caused immediate physical changes in the childâs body. Many times I have heard stories of somebody with cancer who had âmiraculouslyâ healed themselves. In the first chapter of his book, Quantum Healing, Dr. Chopra writes about a woman who had advanced breast cancer, as well as lung cancer. Statistics said that her chance of surviving for five years was less than ten percent, even with the most intensive routine of chemotherapy that could safely be administered. After a year of holistic treatment, which included herbs, deep rest, and meditation, the womanâs cancer disappeared. There were no signs or evidence of cancerous cells contained within her body. Science has discovered that we can use our minds to consciously dissolve cancers, tumors, blood disorders and all other dis-eases by thinking healthy thoughts and maintaining feelings of wellness. According to Dr. Chopra, disease is just a sequence of fleeting moments, emotions and mind-body chemistry. The diseased cells are only one ingredient out of countless others both tangible and intangible such as age, diet, immune resistance, environmental factors etc. (Chopra, 1990, p.121). When a patient is too busy to be sick or refuses to allow cancer, the dis-eased cells will diminish. But once you give in to fear and helplessness you start sending out neuropeptides associated with negative emotions, which break down the immune system until it loses its efficiency (Chopra, 1990, p. 29). I believe that there in no medicine more powerful than the psyche when it comes to shifting harmful, negative emotions.
Ayurveda is an ancient Hindu science of health and medicine used for healing and prolonged life. Meditation is one of the tools used as well as specific mind-body techniques that take the patient to the blissful field of silence where the mind steps out of its boundaries and quantum healing takes place. The other powerful healing element used is primordial sound which shifts your awareness from passive to active and thus puts you in conscious control of your thoughts and your body (Chopra, 1990).
Quantum healing works exactly the same way in the universe. Individually and collectively we affect the world with our thoughts and feelings. There are invisible particles that are emitted into the atmosphere with every thought and feeling we generate. These particles are like universal neuropeptides and they transform into physical matter which subject the universe to certain consequences. It is scientifically factual that âas you think, so shall you beâ. (Chopra, 1990, p.91). I believe that for healing to take place within the physical body and within our environment, we must become conscious and aware of our mental abilities so we can shift them whenever necessary to create change for a better life, society and world.
Neuroplasticity is the brainâs natural ability to change its structures and functions in a fundamental way. Scientists and doctors once believed that the adult brain could not produce new neurons. However, recent research has determined that brains have a reserve of neural stem cells which are precursor cells that have the ability to grow and differentiate into neurons and other cells for the nervous system. Scientists are beginning to acknowledge that the mind can shape the brain by interposing an intermediary-the brain itself (Begley, 2007). Our thoughts and emotions have a direct affect on the chemistry of the brain. There is an accepted wisdom that brain states give rise to mental states. A particular pattern of neurons firing here and neurotransmitters docking with neurons there gives rise to some mental state; let us say it is intention. Like every mental state, intention has a neural correlate, a corresponding brain state marked by activity in a specific circuit such as that detected by fMRI -functioning Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Begley, 2007, p. 133). Everything the mind does reflects the intricate dance of chemicals along the nerves. Mind and brain, mental and physical, are seen as identical; neural processes are conscious processes (Begley, 2007, p. 134).
Prayer, which has been in existence for many millennia, is another method for altering reality. A study by Elizabeth Targ, M.D., of forty AIDS patients tested the efficacy of prayer performed on behalf of the patients by others, who were not in proximity to the patients. The patients did not know if they were in the group being prayed for or in the control group. The study concluded, âPatients who received treatment [prayer] had a statistically significant more benign course than control patients.â They experienced notably fewer complications, required less medical intervention, and reported more positive mental outlook. The patients were examined according to twenty-seven different baseline measures. Dr. Targ commented, âEvery way we sliced this pie, the treatment group was less ill.â (Singh Khalsa, 2001, p. 129) Anyone who prays can attest to its calming affect. Itâs quite possible that when we are calm and connected to the universal life force energy, our positive vibrations are emitted and received by others, thus changing physical matter.
Energy and information exist in the quantum field as pure consciousness and pure potentiality, and it is influenced by intention and desire. We experience this field subjectively as thoughts, feelings, memories, instincts, drives and beliefs. This same field is experienced objectively as the physical body, and through the body we experience the quantum field as the world. Because the human consciousness is infinitely flexible through our [brain and] nervous system, we are able to change the informational content that gives rise to the physical body. By changing the energy and informational content of our own quantum mechanical body we then influence the energy and informational content of our environment-the world-and cause things to manifest within it. Whatever we put our attention on will grow stronger and whatever we take our attention away from will disintegrate (Chopra, 1994).
Our perspective of reality can be altered through meditation. The process of shifting mind-brain-matter begins with the first conscious breath. The adult perspective of their terrible childhood can be changed through cognitive therapy, forgiveness, and transcendence through meditation as well as other brain and psyche altering practices. The adult does not travel back in time to rearrange the past; however, they do in fact consciously rearrange their brain chemistry using their mind. By focusing on healing in the present rather than the pain from their youth, they are able to free themselves from the discomfort and distress of a hurtful past experience. Using various forms of meditation, prayer and psychotherapy we transform a memory from negative to neutral or perhaps a positive one. In so doing, the neurons of the brain form new connections to compensate for the injuries of the past.
Because of the power of the mind, psyche and brain we can modify our outlook of reality and liberate ourselves from that which binds us. Once liberated, we flourish physically and mentally, interpersonally, environmentally, as well as globally. Science has presented conclusive research about the intricacies of the brain and its capacity to change and develop more than was once believed. Quantum physics has taken responsibility for measuring things beyond the subatomic level and has revealed a âBody of Beingâ that pervades all material things in the universe and is also reflected in the human mind as enlightened wisdom. It is thus mental and physical at the same time. Our lives will become more authentic, meaningful and wholesome when we recognize this ability and utilize our brainâs remarkable authority over our experience with reality. As humans, we have an affect on the world, both consciously and unconsciously, with our thoughts, emotions, perception, and consequently, our behaviors. It is imperative that we observe our thoughts, take control of our minds and alter our behaviors in order to live harmoniously, with good health and prosperity on all levels. We, as humans, are capable of placing our attention between the mental and the physical aspects of our lives. In a state of constant observance, and in the flux of stillness, we connect with the power and wonder of nature. This is the way to be one with all that is; the universal life force energy. It is time to take responsibility for the past and actively strive for a better future individually and collectively by connecting to the incorporeal source of life, substance, and intelligence. We possess everything we need in order to evolve positively, as individuals and as a society. Â As Capra wrote, nature does not show us any isolated âbasic building blocksâ for matter, but rather a complicated web of relations between parts of the whole, and these always include the observer in an essential way.
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