Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What You Know/ Who You Are

I had a really great night the other night, I'd had too much coffee earlier in the day so I had a little extra energy and decided to spend some time up in officer's lounge doing arts and crafts (I'm making a surprise present for someone I love) and watching movies, but when I turned on the TV the channel was on PBS (bless PBS) and they were broadcasting the Charlie Rose Brain Series, which is basically a think-tank of brainy people talking about brains.

I thought this was nice, since I studied brains in school and I quite like them so I decided to watch this, instead and anyway it made me feel real smart like I was a brainy person watching brainy people talk about brains.

It's been almost SIX YEARS since I graduated from college, which kind of blows my mind because I thought I would be a lot smarter by now than I actually am. I also realized when found a copy of my dissertation and tried to read it (Titled: Actions of Hexomethaniosulfonate Reagent on Positions alpha-562 and beta-464 of Neural Glycine Receptors Modulation of Alcohol Permeability) ...that for the most part, I have completely forgotten everything I've learned (read: I don't understand what that means anymore, either).

The reassuring thing is, although I can't remember how to sound smart I know I am still becoming wiser- because I understand that a large part of growing up is knowing what's worth remembering, and what's okay to forget.

The topic discussion on the series that evening was Alzheimer's, aging and memory loss. Not surprisingly, they were using H.M. as an example, who is the Neuroscience World's most famous case study. You can read more about him, and who he is here:

I remembered learning about him, and was fascinated by the deep sense of tragedy I felt when empathizing with the concept of not being able to learn anything new.

Studies of H.M. were key to the discovery that memory has a really complicated and non-localized way of being stored.. because of him we know that the human mind is capable of learning not just in the traditional sense, but also on a purely subconscious level, and also purely on a physical level.

In short, it led to the discovery that as you mature and develop, who you become is not only the product of what you remember, but also the product of what you don't remember learning.

In neuroscience they seperate these types of memory into two categories: 'declarative' memory and 'non-declaratvie' memory. Declarative memory is what we typically think of when we think of memory- the recall of people names, places, locations, chronology and history. When we say, 'my memory is not so good' this is the kind of memory we're talking about.

'Non-declarative memory' is understandably a little harder to describe because it is the kind of memory that is more subjective in nature, its memory stored in the more evolutionarily primitive parts of our brain and it's much more instinctively rooted. When something scares you and you don't know why... when the more you practice, the less you have to think about it.. this is non-declarative memory.

The difference between the two was illustrated by a scenario where a man is attacked by a large dog as a child. On a conscious level, the man remembers, 'When I was a child, I was attacked by a large dog, so I know to stay away from large dogs.' The memory of the attack is a learned response- it's something he remembers, and something he knows about himself.

Maybe the same man suffers an injury and he's rendered a retrogade amnesiac; he doesn't remember his name, much less what happened to him when he was six. He takes a walk around the block, passes a man with a pit bull and is frozen with a totally irrational sense of terror. In psychology we call this 'Pavlovian conditioning'.. a sort of 'learning without knowing.'

... but it was the way the woman in the interview put it, that really stuck with me. She said, 'It's the difference between what you know, and who you are.'

This kind of made me realize, that it's useful to acknowledge not only the difference between those two things... 'What you know'... and 'who you are'.... but their similarities... namely that these things are LEARNED and therefore change with experience... regardless of whether or not you're aware of it.

With this in mind I feel as if it's inadequate to use the excuse that 'it's just who I am' in order to justify your own behavior. I really feel as if identity is something which develops over time... not just as a discovery of the qualities you have possessed for as long as you remember, but as a discovery that you have the choice to abandon the qualities which no longer serve you, this world, or the people you love.

I think 'who you are' is actually really something you can learn, by allowing the experiences in your life to challenge your so-called instincts and through the growing realization that finding yourself, and knowing who you are is not necessarily just a process of excavation. Self-discovery is a dynamic process... and even if you knew who you were yesterday, you are no longer that person today.

It's an intimidating notion unless you remember that wisdom is about choice and therefore about freedom. About remembering and forgetting. Self-discovery could be re-defined more as a sort of 'self-creation'... as you mature, hold onto certain ideas and let go of others you are creating a new entity every day, which interacts with the world in a different way.

You are the creator of yourself. No one is responsible for you, and who you are, but you.

We live in a paradoxical universe where the only constant is change itself. It can be disconcerting, when you have nothing to grab ahold of and particularly disconcerting when we find it difficult to grab a hold of anything even within our own identities.

But I'm optimistic.

In a universe where self-knowledge is perpetually out of my grasp I have this thing, an imagination, a godliness, a part of me that always has a vision of who I could be.

And I have a feeling that it's that part of me. I have a feeling that THAT is who I am.

Monday, May 2, 2011

What Fluoride In Water Does to 'The Seat of the Soul', aka your Pineal Gland

It calcifies it. Yes, probably the most important gland in your entire body, the gland that is the pathway to the 'seat of the soul' is rendered disabled. It is the 'eye of Horus', the gateway to sensing and seeing with your soul. It is the gland that helps you communicate with your own true self, with 'God', it translates your intuition. It is the organ of higher vision.

Calcification affects the brain's ability to function. Studies have shown increased pineal calcification is significantly related to sleep disturbance and day time tiredness. "This gland is activated by Light, and it controls the various biorhythms of the body. It works in harmony with the hypothalamus gland, which directs the body's thirst, hunger, sexual desire and the biological clock, that determines our aging process." The pineal gland, among it's many functions produces DMT. DMT enables us to dream (yet that drug is illegal). Why is DMT illegal if our pineal gland produces it? And yet why still is our water pumped with Fluoride by our government?

"The true function of this mysterious gland, has long been contemplated by philosophers and Spiritual Adepts. Ancient Greeks believed the pineal gland,
to be our connection to the Realms of Thought. Descartes called it, the Seat of the Soul. Mystical traditions and esoteric schools, have long known, this area in the middle of the brain, to be the connecting link between the physical and spiritual worlds.

Considered the most powerful and highest source of ethereal energy available to humans, the pineal gland has always been important, in initiating supernatural powers and development of psychic talents." In Kundalini Yoga and Meditation we often practice kriyas and meditations for activating and regulating the pineal gland, our Third Eye.

Some people ask 'why people are trying to find a metaphysical function for something that is biological?'

The reason why is your body is a transmitter of your soul that allows you to feel, and allows you to experience yourself as human. Through your integrated nervous system the energy that runs your sacred vessel, your body, springs from your soul. If these systems do not work properly you cannot communicate with your self, and perfectly experience your self as a human with five physical senses, while at the same time experiencing the knowing and intuition of your spiritual self. "Calcifying causes a possible divorce or limited response on the pineals glands part, or the individuals inability to experience any spiritual connection or awareness."

So what if the pineal cannot produce DMT, and you cannot dream? Your very dreams, with their archetypal metaphorical images are communication from that higher self, that invisible guide that steers you on the path. They can be, and for me often are prophetic.

"Frequent exposure to outdoor sunshine, 20 minutes or so at a time, will help stimulate a fluoride calcified pineal gland. Just make sure you take off your hat. This is more important than most realize, because the pineal gland affects so much other enzyme and endocrine activity, including melatonin production." Also some water filters will filter Fluoride, but do your research, not all of them do.

"The Pineal Gland is the most powerful tool humanity has been given. Since we are multi-dimensional beings, the pineal gland is a portal to other dimensions and also that is how we enter this body and that is how we leave this body upon so called death."

My many years of yoga, meditation, and all around psychic blessings have fostered in me a deep connection with my higher self. I had heard Flouride had adverse affects in the past, and was reminded of this fact again recently. Luckily I drank well water for most of my life. This is a very important fact I wished to share, as we all in these times need to be able to connect with Truth.

Monday, April 18, 2011

6 Amazing Things from Japan

In light of recent events in Japan, I thought it would be nice to honor the country's unparalleled sense of vision and creativity.

1. An Invisibility Cloak

2. A Fake Pool

3. An Actroid (An android with full-rang emotional expression that acts in plays)

4. Touchable Holograms

5. Completely synthetic pop stars

6. The Way the Japanese Explain Nuclear Crisis to their Children

Thursday, April 14, 2011


OH. MY. GOD. You know how ayahuasca is the most hardcore hallucinogenic substance known to man?

Now imagine that Brazilian shamans might have been inspired to make it because they saw that JAGUARS seem to like chewing on the vine it's made from (warning: it turns them into adorable kittens).

Jaguar eating ayahausca by ayadocs


Alex and I spent the better part of our time in Maui trying to squeeze surprisingly profound one-liners out of our meditation/music teacher at the Kahua Institute, Raphael Sharp, a real-life hippie who is probably totally insane (he thinks he caused the 1989 earthquake in San Francisco by meditating too hard). We got a lot of great advice from him, but for now I will start with the single most relevant, which is this: "The first few weeks back on the mainland are your Water Period, so remember it's imperative that you take it easy; be kind to yourself."

This sounded reasonable enough and Alex also pointed out that it sounded like it might have been derivative of a hexagram from the I-Ching, a sort of ancient Chinese oracle that Raphael and Alex had a shared passion for. Turns out he was right; Raphael's Water Period seems to correspond to the I-Ching's Hexagram 29: The Abysmal.

Here are a few quotes I really appreciated:

"If you are sincere, you have success in your heart, and whatever you do succeeds."

"Through repetition of danger we grow accustomed to it. Water sets the example for the right conduct under such circumstances. It flows on and on, and merely fills up all the places through which it flows; it does not shrink from any dangerous spot nor from any plunge, and nothing can make it lose its own essential nature. It remains true to itself under all conditions. Thus likewise, if one is sincere when confronted with difficulties, the heart can penetrate the meaning of the situation. And once we have gained inner mastery of a problem, it will come about naturally that the action we take will succeed. In danger all that counts is really carrying out all that has to be done – thoroughness – and going forward, in order not to perish through tarrying in the danger."

"Water reaches its goal by flowing continually. It fills up every depression before it flows on. the superior man follows its example; he is concerned that goodness should be an established attributed of character rather than an accidental and isolated occurrence. So likewise in teaching others everything depends on consistency, for it is only through repetition that the pupil makes the material his own."


I thought it was a really great representation of the underlying lesson I've learned during the past few months, which is that if you are sincere, you have success in your heart. And whatever you do, also has success in it. I definitely feel that.