“Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
– Bruce Lee
In a world filled with paperwork, documents, school tests, legalese and more, the demand for us to be mentally sharp is higher than ever. Luckily we can turn to some herbs from the ancient world to help us in this area. Bacopa is an age-old revered herb in the Indian Ayurvedic tradition, where it is also called Brahmi (which literally means “expansion of consciousness”).
It has been safely used for thousands of years. Bacopa enhances clear thinking, focus, memory and cognitive function in general, and people are starting to realize it (I see many natural health products around now including bacopa in their formula). Seems like the bacopa brain is catching on …
Bacopa Shows Cognitive-Boosting Ability in Numerous Scientific Studies
The bacopa brain phenomenon is not just something found in Ayurveda or anecdotally; it’s also being proved by many scientific studies which are being conducted now. In various human studies, bacopa intake has been associated with faster information processing, increased learning rates improved memory retention and reduced testing anxiety in as little as 12 weeks.
In one recent scientific study, researcher Brian Kairalla of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine found that elderly volunteers who consumed 300 milligrams of bacopa per day showed significant improvements in verbal information processing compared to the placebo control group. He found this impressive enough to go on to suggest that bacopa could help prevent Alzheimer’s! Kairalla said that “long term studies [into bacopa] might be explored for its potential to play a role in protecting or delaying age related memory decline or delay Alzheimer’s disease onset and/or progression.”
The destruction of an organism depends upon an element of that organism becoming neurotic to its place within the natural order of organic life. If a species builds their perspective of life only within a linear conception, that very species would naturally have a propensity to fall into an artificial disposition. Could we say that the human race has fallen into this artificial disposition? Humanity surely must admit that they have lost contact with the nonlinear circuitry of our minds which is the aspect of our mind that connects us to the natural rhythms of the planet. Remarkably, animals never lose contact with the natural order of life, and they all play their part in the constant unfoldment of organic life. Yet contrary to this, the human race has become totally dependent upon external influences which hypnotize the individual into a linear perception of growth through external means and pleasurable experiences. Our dependency upon acquiring a pleasurable experience or stimuli is enhancing a schism within the psyche which expresses itself as a constant pursuit of control that in reality leads to an artificiality within the human-being. Our use of technology is a testament to that fact.
The excessive use of technology depends on the artificial aspect of the psyche. Evidence of this artificiality is rife within the current technological age. The average individual uses technology not in the essence of attempting to grow both naturally and spiritually, but instead majority are only concerned with using technology as a device for entertainment which keeps one in a perpetual state of hypnosis. Most individuals cannot go one day without turning on the television, or checking their emails and social media networks. People are constantly clinging to a smartphone, laptop, tablet, etc., which is detaching one from what really “is.” The artificial human is always striving for fame and fortune through a glowing monitor which fills that empty void in their lives. Nobody is truly that popular that we need to be checking our smartphone every five seconds. An individual does this because most people long to be accepted by others which proves that the majority of humanity has self-worth issues deep within. Even the spiritual charlatans who appear on numerous television programs are addicted to their smartphone, yet they arrogantly parade around like a guru telling people to go beyond the limitations of the mind but they themselves fail to understand that to be incessantly on a smartphone is over stimulating mental activity and thus is an act of the mind. Our belief that we do not belong to each other and the planet is the very reason we seek acceptance from others. Seeking acceptance from others is again to depend on external influences, as if we were a machine rather than human. The predominant use of technology then is to desensitize and dehumanize the individual into an artificial machine. Machine in this case, is the artificial robotic function of an individual’s psychology and physical welfare.
Our entire world is built on the premise that society and culture is what helps the individual grow rather than the individual growing of their own volition. Culture and society themselves and all of their apparatuses, such as government and politics, are all built on the maintenance of the linear concept of the world. So culture, society and everything that holds them together are artificial because nature’s constituents abide by the nonlinear realm of the cosmos. Culture and society in this sense are what is being mythologized through many artistic outlets, such as film, because culture and society is depicted as the artificial machine which dictates its influence over the natural human. The external influence of culture and society is what creates an artificial robotic human, as all machines are controlled from the outside. We all feel this either consciously or unconsciously, and this is what drives most into the comforting arms of a cyber-world which is not tangible. The social and cultural machine teaches the individual that they can never be like the celebrities that the culture promotes and so to be “successful” one ought to mimic those celebrities to gain acceptance from others who are under the same hypnosis. This kind of parroting lasts a very short time as most figure out that they will never attain the fame and fortune of those so called celebrities they are mimicking. So one variably retreats into an online world where they can build another artificial persona to hide behind.
The online cyber world that most are drawn into is transforming the way we interact and express ourselves to others. Increasingly, people are finding it hard to communicate to others face to face without the assistance of a social media chat box. This form of cyber communication tends to develop false habits and tendencies on the part of those who are engrossed by that world. People develop habits and tendencies of being rude, arrogant, a sense of always being right, machoism, etc., which are all attributes that most would not express to another face to face. In the field of psychology, this sort of behavior would be deemed schizophrenic, yet humanity parade around as if this sort of behavior is perfectly sane. No one can be sure where we are heading as a species, but if we lose our sense of communication, we will continue to deteriorate as our faculty to sympathize and understand another will be completely lost to our own individual agenda for the world. The miscommunication has already begun between society and the individual, as for thousands of years we have had a cultural and social machine that only imposes its Will over the individual rather than listening to their needs of the time. In the perpetual tyranny of society and culture over the individual, we discover that humanity is only attracted to the artificiality of the hand that supposedly feeds them. The artificial world imposed on the individual discombobulates them into believing that a plastic world is a natural world. This perception of plasticity is not only bound to the way we abuse our relationship with technology, but it has also infiltrated the way we consume food and beverage.
by Arjun Walia
Did you know that we can change our biology simply by what we believe to be true? The placebo effect is defined as the measurable, observable, or felt improvement in health or behaviour not attributable to a medication or invasive treatment that has been administered. It suggests that one can treat various ailments by using the mind to heal. For example, if two people have a head ache and one takes tylenol while the other is given a pill that contains nothing (sugar), both could report that the pill was successful and the headache is gone. The difference is, the one that was given the pill which contained nothing still believed that they were given a tylenol that would alleviate their headache. In doing so, their headache was cured because of what they believed to be true. This has happened on numerous occasions, many studies have shown that the placebo effect is real and highly effective.
The placebo practice is known, but widely dismissed in medicine. The placebo effect should be a major topic of study in medical schools. Unfortunately drug companies study patients who respond to the placebo effect with the goal of eliminating them from early clinical trials. It bothers pharmaceutical manufacturers that in most of their clinical trials the placebos prove to be just as effective as their chemical ridden drugs. Examining the placebo effect would give rise to a whole new category under science, which would probably be consciousness. This is why it’s not examined thoroughly, the power of our perception and its ability to create our reality and even change our biology would open the door to a multitude of other questions, possibilities and potentialities for the human race. These potentialities would most likely wipe out many industries on the planet, from health all the way down to energy. These concepts are also heavily examined and illustrated by quantum physics.
The placebo effect should be the subject of major, funded research efforts. If medical researchers could figure out how to leverage the placebo effect, they would hand doctors an efficient,energy-based, side effect-free tool to treat disease. Energy healers say they already have such tools, but I am a scientist, and I believe the more we know about sceince of the placebo, the better we’ll be able to use it in clinical settings – Bruce Lipton, Ph.D (3)
A Baylor School of Medicine study, published in 2002 in the New England Journal of Medicine, (1) looked at surgery for patients with severe and debilitating knee pain. Many surgeons know there is no placebo effect in surgery, or so most of them believe. The patients were divided into three groups. The surgeons shaved the damaged cartilage in the knee of one group. For the second group they flushed out the knee joint, removing all of the material believed to be causing inflammation. Both of these processes are the standard surgeries people go through who have severe arthritic knees. The third group received a “fake” surgery, the patients were only sedated and tricked that they actually had the knee surgery. For the patients not really receiving the surgery, the doctors made the incisions and splashed salt water on the knee as they would in normal surgery. They then sewed up the incisions like the real thing and the process was complete. All three groups went through the same rehab process, and the results were astonishing. The placebo group improved just as much as the other two groups who had surgery.
This is not a time to be tuning into the overall state of humanity without great care and awareness. We’re in a vortex of change such as humanity has never been exposed to. And it will hurt your heart. This confluence we’re in the midst of is very serious business.
We’re all being taken on a wild ride that can lead nowhere, or somewhere. It all depends on our original orientation. The unaware will be taken down paths of deceitful manipulation while the aware will find a ride to empowerment and even further confirmations regarding what’s truly transpiring.
What path we choose is paramount.
The best analogy is a stream or river of water. When in one, when and where you direct your vessel is what it’s all about. Especially when the stream is moving rapidly and with seeming reckless abandon. There’s nowhere to hide from these “current” influences. Our options appear to be somewhat limited, but only without conscious awareness and the ability to rise above the turmoil and so not be driven or steered by what is coming at us.
Operating from an intelligently detached perspective, like a wise, informed ship captain in a turbulent sea, must be our conscious point of reference.
When to Tune In, and Out
Empaths specifically are particularly sensitive and instinctively “take on more water” in their foundational nature of attuned compassion. The shared passion of others is what their hearts readily “take on board”. But be careful. Empathy alone will not mitigate a survival situation.
So many are and will be suffering through these eddies, rip tides and gushing engineered rapids being foisted on humanity that the heart cries of the innocent will resound loudly in the empath’s ears. This is potentially like the seductive sirens of Ulysses’ journey if we’re not careful to regulate what we tune into. We need to be touched by the “feeling of their infirmities” but never compromise nor forsake the manning of the ship.
What we know and represent is their lifeboat. As well as our own.
Nobel Prize winning physicists have proven beyond doubt that the physical world is one large sea of energy that flashes into and out of being in milliseconds, over and over again.
Nothing is solid.
This is the world of Quantum Physics.
They have proven that thoughts are what put together and hold together this ever-changing energy field into the ‘objects’ that we see.So why do we see a person instead of a flashing cluster of energy?
Think of a movie reel.
A movie is a collection of about 24 frames a second. Each frame is separated by a gap. However, because of the speed at which one frame replaces another, our eyes get cheated into thinking that we see a continuous and moving picture.
Think of television.
A TV tube is simply a tube with heaps of electrons hitting the screen in a certain way, creating the illusion of form and motion.
This is what all objects are anyway. You have 5 physical senses (sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste).
Each of these senses has a specific spectrum (for example, a dog hears a different range of sound than you do; a snake sees a different spectrum of light than you do; and so on).
In other words, your set of senses perceives the sea of energy from a certain limited standpoint and makes up an image from that.
It is not complete, nor is it accurate. It is just an interpretation.
All of our interpretations are solely based on the ‘internal map’ of reality that we have, and not the real truth. Our ‘map’ is a result of our personal life’s collective experiences.
Our thoughts are linked to this invisible energy and they determine what the energy forms. Your thoughts literally shift the universe on a particle-by-particle basis to create your physical life.
Look around you.
Everything you see in our physical world started as an idea, an idea that grew as it was shared and expressed, until it grew enough into a physical object through a number of steps.
You literally become what you think about most.
Your life becomes what you have imagined and believed in most.
When Josh and Tracy Ryan discovered their daughter had a tumor, they turned to medical marijuana. Here is their story
Here is a fascinating clip from a National Geographic documentary ‘Cannabis for kids’, which explored the stories of various sick children whose parents turned to marijuana therapy to help them overcome their illnesses.
Here we meet Sophie, who was a typical eight-month-old girl until the day her eye began twitching. An MRI showed that she had an optic pathway glioma brain tumor. Given how young she was, the only option was to begin chemotherapy, but Sophie’s parents Tracy and Josh were skeptical. They were told that the tumor would probably shrink only slightly, so they began researching other ways of saving their daughter.
After some friends suggested cannabis oil, Tracy’s first thought was: “There is no way I am giving my child weed,” but Sophie’s doctor was supportive about the family giving it a go.
by Steve Taylor.
First published in New Renaissance, Vol 10, no.1, 2001.
We all experience ‘higher states of consciousness’ from time to time, when an inner peace seems to fill us and the world around us seems magically transformed. Everything seems much more real and more beautiful, we feel like we’re actually part of our surroundings, and there seems to be a meaning in things which we aren’t normally aware of. The world seems a benevolent place, with a harmony in it, and we may even become aware of a kind of force or presence which seems to pervade all things.
We also have a sense that we’re seeing the world in a wider and truer way that normal, as if a veil has been pushed aside and we’re catching a glimpse of how things really are.
Studies have shown that, while these ‘higher states of consciousness’ can occur for no apparent reason, they are often ‘triggered’ by certain things: they often occur when we’re amongst natural surroundings, for example, or when we do meditation and yoga, or after periods of emotional turmoil and depression. They also sometimes occur after or during sex, when we do certain sports (such as long-distance running), and people who suffer from epilepsy often experience them in the moments before seizures.
Mainstream science and psychology have never really known how to deal with these experiences. Since Freud interpreted them as a regression to the ego-less state of early childhood, psychologists have tended to treat them as undesirable pathological states. They’ve been seen as a form of schizophrenia, in which the normal ‘healthy’ ego stops functioning and loses the ability to differentiate between itself and the world ‘out there’.
Recently neuroscientists have put forward explanations of them too. Noting that they often occur in times of crisis, one theory suggests that they’re caused by an ’emergency response mechanism’ in the brain. This is the part of the brain which is ‘switched on’ whenever we’re in dangerous situations, which makes us aware of the significance of the danger so that we can respond to it in the right way. However, sometimes this mechanism can be activated accidentally – in times of high emotional or physical stress, for example, so that our brain reacts as if we’re in an emergency situation and everything we see seems to be powerfully real and full of significance.
Another theory is that these ‘spiritual’ feelings might simply be the result of natural selection. Religion makes human societies more stable and cohesive, and so gives them a better chance of surviving. So perhaps ‘spirituality’ was simply a illusory sensation (created by certain brain chemicals) which was ‘selected’ by nature because it gave rise to religious beliefs and so helped to create stable and cohesive societies.
The New Reality brings with it a new, expanded vista of awareness. In order to operate successfully with an expanded awareness, you have to apply the new principles which come with that expanded vision.
This empowers you to awaken to your expanded potential and to manifest it.
Metaphysics is a philosophy of being, a study of the underlying principles of existence. The holistic approach to metaphysics provides a philosophy based upon an integrated foundation of mind, body and spirit. This spirit-inclusive approach is essential in order to understand the wider vista of consciousness which the New Reality presents.
Here are ten such principles which will help you appreciate the expanded vista of consciousness offered by the New Reality.
1. All is one.
Everything in Creation is an expression of Infinite Being. Infinite Being is the all-encompassing consciousness from which the universe was created. Everything in the universe is made of consciousness. We are all aspects of Infinite Being.
The world is experiencing a spiritual transformation of human consciousness. It may take many decades to complete, and, when it does, it will bring an end to global strife and suffering.
This new era of civilization will be achieved by a widespread awareness of the underlying unity of all people.
The world is changed when you bring about spiritual change within yourself. This occurs automatically as you constantly share who you are, and all that you have become, within the shared atmosphere of the global mind belt.
3. Purpose in life.
Just as each snowflake is unique, so is each person. Your primary purpose in life is to experience life from one individual, unique point of view. You are an expression of Infinite Being as it experiences itself from all possible viewpoints.
This is the basic principle behind the teaching of karma and the fact that you reap what you sow by creating a pattern of thought that attracts like experience to itself.
Reflectance is often delayed while your circumstances adjust to allow appropriate reflections to manifest.
You create your own reality and take personal responsibility for it. Your life is a reflection of who you are and the experiences that you, as a soul, planned for this life.
Prescription drug ads: we see them all the time, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in saying that at this point, they are hard to take seriously. While the motivation behind them is arguably well-intended, their similarity to one another in style and overall content can certainly be quite laughable.
99% of the time we are introduced to an individual suffering from something that is taking a toll on their ability to enjoy and experience life. Thankfully, this newly developed prescription medication is capable of remedying that, something that certainly seems wonderful, until, that is, we see the fine print. The restrictions on who exactly can benefit from this miracle drug, and the overwhelming list of potential side effects, somehow seem to put a damper on things.
I’d like to clarify that my intention with this article is not to mock the prescription drug industry (that’s an entirely different conversation), but instead to set the stage for the best spoof prescription ad I’ve ever seen. The creative group at NatureRx have put together a comical commercial that we all need to see and share:
What I particularly appreciate about the early work of the group at NatureRx is the extra step they are taking to back up their comical videos with science. Through their website, they link us to a number of scientific and informational pieces that further prove why we all need to take the time to reconnect with nature, both for ourselves and the betterment of the planet.
Sonia speaks about our perception of spirituality and the manner in which it is marketed to us. She speaks of cosmic technology and simplify the concept of spirituality as it relates to a more expansive level of technology. You as the astronaut, the traveler beyond time and space and tapping into our memory of who we are and aligning with the unlimited possibilities. Sonia speaks of the robot mind. She speaks of lifting of the restrictions placed on creation, on reality and so much more.
by Nick Redfern
The first few months of 2010 were overshadowed by my mother’s increasingly worsening state of health. She was, at the time, suffering from one of the most horrific and destructive conditions around: Alzheimer’s Disease. Worse still, she had been diagnosed with it while she was only in her late fifties. Fourteen years after the diagnosis, my mom lost her fight with Alzheimer’s, dying from its effects in the summer.
Just like almost everyone who has lost someone, my family and I mourned a passing and celebrated a life. There was, however, something very odd which occurred at the time of my mother’s death. It’s something I have never forgotten. On one particular morning, at my dad’s place in England, we were sitting in the living-room when our conversation was briefly brought to a sudden end. By a loud, single thump. It clearly came from somewhere outside.
Puzzled, we took a look out back and found that a blackbird had slammed into the kitchen window and was lying on the ground. It had clearly been killed on impact. Then, the very next day, we drove to the nearby nursing-home which my mother had lived in since 2002. The purpose: to thank all of the staff for their help and care over the years. Right outside the main door to the facility was a dead, brightly-feathered, small bird. We literally had to lift our feet above it to get into the building.
About a week later we had my mom’s funeral, and a few days after that it was time to fly back to the United States. Well, on getting home, what did I find, practically on the doorstep? Yep, another dead bird. And again, it was a brightly colored one. Of course, at some point in their lives pretty much everyone stumbles on a dead bird. But, three of them, across less than two weeks? And one at my dad’s place in the U.K., one in Arlington, Texas, and one at my mother’s care-home, all in the aftermath of her death? Could it have been an odd coincidence? Of course it could. Not everyone was quite so sure, however.
Why is it still ‘a drug with no medicinal purpose?’
National legalization of marijuana may be drawing a smidgeon closer. The National Cancer Institute (NCI), one of the federal government sponsored agencies, has just updated the FAQs on its website to include recent studies on marijuana showing that it can and has killed cancer cells.
These are the findings of studies NCI have included:
- Cannabinoids may inhibit tumor growth by causing cell death, blocking cell growth, and blocking the development of blood vessels needed by tumors to grow. Laboratory and animal studies have shown that cannabinoids may be able to kill cancer cells while protecting normal cells.
- Cannabinoids may protect against inflammation of the colon and may have potential in reducing the risk of colon cancer, and possibly in its treatment.
- A laboratory study of delta -9-THC in hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) cells showed it damaged or killed the cancer cells. The same study of delta-9-THC in models of liver cancer showed that it had anti-tumor effects. Delta-9-THC has been shown to cause these effects by acting on molecules that may also be found in non-small cell lung cancer cells and breast cancer cells.
- A laboratory study of cannabidiol (CBD) in estrogen receptor positive and estrogen receptor negative breast cancer cells showed that it caused cancer cell death while having little effect on normal breast cells. Studies of metastatic breast cancer showed that cannabinoids may lessen the growth, number, and spread of tumors.
- A laboratory study of cannabidiol in human glioma cells showed that when given along with chemotherapy, CBD may make chemotherapy more effective and increase cancer cell death without harming normal cells. Studies showed that CBD together with delta-9-THC may make chemotherapy such as temozolomide more effective.
Psychedelics Cure Depression: Why Outlawing Psychedelics is the Worst Censorship of Medicine in Human History
Most anyone with a decent interest in psychedelics knows of the late Terence McKenna, the famous American philosopher and “mushroom guru.”
Fewer people are aware that his brother Dennis McKenna is still alive and kicking.
The other McKenna is an ethnopharmacologist, research pharmacognosist, lecturer, author, proponent of responsible psychedelic therapy, and someone who wants to help you and I to heal and liberate our minds and hearts.
A couple days ago, I happened upon an extraordinary clip of Dennis discussing depression medications on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast.
In just 3 minutes, Dennis argues that today’s most common antidepressant medications—selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)—are a kind of “Band-Aid solution.” He describes how psychedelics (or, “ecodelics“) can be used as an alternative cure for depression and discusses why the pharmaceutical industry may not want psychedelic medicines to become a viable option for people suffering from conditions currently treated with SSRIs.
Take 3 minutes to watch this wonderful clip, or scroll below to read the major insights.
Can Psychedelics Cure Depression?
It seems that Dennis takes after his brother, in the sense that he is able to distill a tremendous amount of perspective into a relatively short amount of speech.
The clip begins with McKenna discussing the virtues of SSRIs versus those of psychedelics:
“Antidepressants are overprescribed and overused for too many things. They don’t really help people get to the root of their problems. They just kind of Band-Aid it over, and you feel sort of normal, and you can be a productive citizen, and you don’t really think about things too much. They’re prescribed for PTSD, you know, but they don’t cure PTSD—they just kind of dampen it down and bury it. They don’t give you an opportunity to really look at issues and work them through. This is why psychedelics are not a good model for Big Pharma. Big Pharma wants things like SSRIs, which you take every day for the rest of your life. That’s the business model. Psychedelics are things that you might take a few times and work through your issues, and you don’t need antidepressants after that. I’ve talked to many, many people who had been on antidepressants. They go to South America. They take a few ayahuasca sessions. They never have to go back to antidepressants. Again, they can get off it for good. Many people have that experience.”
We should note that McKenna is not suggesting that long-term medications are inherently “bad” or that there isn’t a place for SSRIs as a treatment for depression and other conditions. Rather, he’s suggesting that these medications are overprescribed, and that psychedelic therapy presents a promising alternative.
“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold you own myth.” ~ Rumi
Spiritual paths require acceptance, without prejudice of our own cognition. We often sense unseen aspects of people we come in contact with. In a way we are a manner of conductors, amplifiers and generators under influence of each other’s energetic configurations.
Our personalities are like personalized avatars; battle-hardened by the demographic trends or aberrations thereof. Trends that are created through a capitalist undertone that serves to distract us, in order to enable the economy to churn our demands through seeds of aspiration and identification planted within our subconscious. It’s only logical that the ideas and thoughts most exposed onto a psyche will be placed in a position of reverence; be it reverence or criticism, it becomes a theme larger then any opinion within it.
Consider the collective perception of ‘sexy’ planted in majority of our fellow men and women. An ideal that abandons even the concepts of internal beauty, of character, or intellectual connection until checkpoints of physical aspects are met. This perception thrives on objectification of women by trending it as “cool”, “hip” or “hot”.
Certain body structures are portrayed as murals of ecstasy through media and fashion. Then women are paid, exploited and expected to flaunt these ‘perfect’ bodies. Such over-identification causes insecurity towards the body and alienated from emotions. In order to keep up, many invest in the by-products of instant gratification, excessive consumerism, and blind enthusiasm with dietary or other supplements, steroids, even surgery in order to achieve these marketed illusions. This, to a great extent, has been the result of media impregnated ideas; through seeing characters we are first made to relate to.
“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against the core belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit with the core belief” –Frantz Fanon
In a world where disconnection is rampant dissociation, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to navigate the unhealthy waters, and even more difficult to discover healthier waters. We often cannot even see how things are connected because we are so far removed from any sort of healthy community. Our nature deprivation is a pandemic. Like Dan Schreiber said, Dan Schreiber said, “We all share this cognitive dissonance, this dis-connectivity. So much so that in many cases, the connected ones seem insane!”
As it stands, cognitive dissonance is a formidable adversary. One that utterly destroys the majority of people. But this is something we alone must overcome. Indeed, a huge part of combating cognitive dissonance is gaining the ability to navigate between an outdated worldview and an updated one. Going from a conditioned state to a reconditioned state is no picnic, but the alternative is worse: stagnation. Here are seven ways to combat cognitive dissonance.
1. To Question is the Answer
“If you understand everything, you must be misinformed.” –Japanese proverb
Answers are for laymen. Questions are for the wise.
The first step toward gaining wisdom: question everything; the second step: question the answers. This is easier said than done. If combating cognitive dissonance is about asking deeper questions about life, then we must confess that we do not know the answers and that our powers of reason are limited. Like Hajime Tanabe said, “To philosophize, first one must confess.” Such confession can be excruciatingly painful on an existential level. One of the most difficult things a human being can do is question the self, especially as it applies to beliefs, worldviews, and cultural conditioning. That’s why most people feign invulnerability. The “shield” of their faith (invulnerability) is a hardened fear against the “sword” of questioning those beliefs (vulnerability).
Paulo Coelho said it succinctly, “A wise person is full of questions. A dull person is full of answers.”
In almost every other way, it was a very typical summer day for George. A sociology scholar turned documentary filmmaker, he was out for a coffee when he decided to stop by a local health store to visit a good friend, the shop owner. Unbeknownst to him at the time, what ultimately transpired though the course of his visit would send George on an 18-month long adventure that would deeply intertwine the lives of over eight different strangers.
Shortly after arriving at the shop, a new customer walked in with a special request: cannabis oil. “When he walked in,” began George, “it crossed my mind that he had cancer. He just looked like someone who had cancer. This guy was in his late 50s and, when he asked for cannabis oil, he obviously had no idea what he was talking about.” George and the shop owner didn’t, either.
Given the strong support of medical cannabis in the US, most Americans would not be surprised by the request for cannabis oil. George, however, lives in the United Kingdom, where citizens still face harsh penalties for growing and possessing cannabis. Unlike the US, Canada, and other European countries where cannabis policy has only become more liberal over the past few years, marijuana policy in the UK has actually regressed.
Under UK drug law, various illicit substances are placed into different classes depending on how hazardous they are to your health. For a short period of time (between 2004 and 2009), cannabis was classified as one of the least harmful substances, earning a Class C ranking. Class C placement means that those caught in possession of the herb will face a maximum two years in prison.
In the course of our life, we have collected a number of emotional and psychological trauma in conflicts with other people. These emotional and psychological traumas are parts of our past, and they are often unconscious. Their effects are, however, real: usually these emotional and psychological traumas are in the background of the fluctuation of our emotions, negative moods and the–often apparently unexplainable–emotional outbursts. These moods may easily take control over our behavior, inveigling us into actions that we later regret or are ashamed of. Is it possible to heal these emotional and psychological traumas, and if yes, how? We are able to cure the psychological traumas through a process of five steps.
Step 1: Understanding
In the process of healing, the first step is the most important, since understanding is essential for a real change. During our life, we often tell others–or ourselves–that, ”I know how I should behave, but I cannot do it. I know what is right, and I still do something else again and again. I am simply unable to change.” The point is that it is in itself not sufficient to know how to behave properly. Knowledge and real comprehension are two different things. For a real change, thorough comprehension is required.
We need to understand that in the background of our apparently unchangeable patterns of behavior, there are our mental wounds, acquired in the past. These mental wounds have by now sunk into the unconscious. Unlike the physical wounds on our body, these mental wounds never heal. The patterns of behavior fueled by our mental wounds are self-sustaining. For instance, we are apprehensive of our boss because (s)he talked us in a superior way in front of our colleagues. Then, after a while, the apprehension fades away, and we believe that our anger is gone. But our anger has not really vanished; for a while it had been conscious, but then it sunk in to the unconscious, to the depths of our soul. That is where it is waiting for its turn, to emerge to the surface again. It may not have to wait long, as when we return home from work, the behavior of our wife or children might trigger the re-appearence of the anger. We supply new strength, new intensity to our wrath, sustain it, and it will re-surface again and again in the rest of our life.
Step 2: Taking Responsibility
When we become angry about something or someone, we believe that the anger belongs to us, it is a part of our Ego. We then try to find some excuse for our behavior. Our most common explanation is that our anger was caused by the other person, or that it was the only possible behavior in the situation concerned. In this way, we reject responsibility, blame it on our environment, we try to find a scapegoat to blame for our behavior which is unacceptable even for ourselves. In the first step we realized that anger is caused by our mental injuries, the environment only provides a framework for that anger to charge itself with energy and break to the surface in us.