Tag Archives: neuroscience

Dreaming is a Crucial Mental State

WHEN our thick brains get all heated up worrying about life’s complexities, that’s often  the best time to kick off our shoes, and give it a rest.

Faced with a critical decision, or stuck on a complex problem, researchers have discovered that sleeping or napping on them often lead to a right direction or decision.

“In a Wonderland they lie, Dreaming as the days go by, Dreaming as the summers die,” Lewis Carroll wrote of children:

“Ever drifting down the stream— Lingering in the golden gleam — Life, what is it but a dream?”

As adults the notes of a song, the smell of burning leaves, the babbling of a mountain brook, a day-dream — all may open doors to another realm of poetic mind. They also arouse unexpected emotions and reminiscences.

In Wordsworth’s haunting poem “Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” reveries opened for him an unexpected awareness of past lives, the realization he had lived before.

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“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar …”

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There is “a class of fancies of exquisite delicacy,” the poet Edgar Allan Poe wrote in Marginalia, “which are not thoughts, and to which, as yet, I have found it absolutely impossible to adapt language.”

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“Our Birth is But a Sleep and a Forgetting”

WHEN our thick brains get all heated up worrying about life’s complexities, that’s often  the best time to kick off our shoes, and give it a rest.

Faced with a critical decision, or stuck on a complex problem, dream researchers have discovered, sleeping or napping on them often led to a right solution.

“In a Wonderland they lie, Dreaming as the days go by, Dreaming as the summers die,” Lewis Carroll wrote of children: “Ever drifting down the stream— Lingering in the golden gleam — Life, what is it but a dream?”

As adults the notes of a song, the smell of burning leaves, the babbling of a mountain stream, a day-dream — all may open doors to another realm of poetic mind. They also arouse unexpected vistas.

In Wordsworth’s haunting poem “Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” reveries opened for him an unexpected awareness of past lives.

§

“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar …”

§

There is “a class of fancies of exquisite delicacy,” the poet Edgar Allan Poe wrote in Marginalia, “which are not thoughts, and to which, as yet, I have found it absolutely impossible to adapt language.”

Continue reading

Dreams Solve Problems the Conscious Mind Cannot

WHEN our thick brains get all heated up worrying about life’s complexities, that’s often  the best time to kick off our shoes, and give it a rest.

Faced with a critical decision, or stuck on a complex problem, dream researchers have discovered, sleeping or napping on them often led to a right solution.

“In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die,” Lewis Carroll wrote of children: “Ever drifting down the stream–Lingering in the golden gleam–Life, what is it but a dream?”

As adults the notes of a song, the smell of burning leaves, the babbling of a mountain stream, a day-dream — all may open doors to another realm of poetic mind. They also arouse unexpected vistas.

In Wordsworth’s haunting poem “Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” reveries opened for him an unexpected awareness of past lives.

§

“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar …”

§

There is “a class of fancies of exquisite delicacy,” the poet Edgar Allan Poe wrote in Marginalia, “which are not thoughts, and to which, as yet, I have found it absolutely impossible to adapt language.”

Continue reading

Intentional Chocolate

embarrassedEMBARRASSMENT is hard to hide and is even more embarrassing if it is noticed by others around you.

The effect is impossible to ignore, yet the biological impact that thoughts and feelings have on us are a mystery to modern science.

A hint of shame or a critical stare, for example, may causes our skin to redden but how can the effect be explained?

How can the invisible, subjective and intangible energy of a thought or feeling noticeably affect the visible physical system of the human body? Science can describe the effect, but it does not know the mechanism which causes it.

A similar enigma for science is the work of biochemist Rupert Sheldrake who is famous for his experiment with blindfolded subjects who guessed whether persons were staring at them, or not. He reported that, in tens of thousands of trials the scores were consistently above chance (60%) when the subject was being stared at.

Traditional Science has no explanation for these things. “Sow a thought, reap an act” is a familiar occult mantra, but again: what is the mysterious mechanism that transforms a thought into an act?  And cause biological changes?

meditation

Mindfulness Meditation

Similarly inexplicable it was reported in ScienceDaily® that an 8-week mindfulness meditation program “appears to make measurable changes in the brain.” A team “led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers report the results of their study, the first to document meditation-produced changes over time in the brain’s grey matter.”

 “…words [or images] cause us to deliberately go out of balance,” says Chopra, “and there’s no physical mechanism to explain it.”

wavy_line2

“It’s well known that the human body depends upon homeostasis,” writes Deepak Chopra, and asks where memories and emotions originate, “in the Mind or the Brain?”  There is a ” huge mystery, known as the mind-body problem,” he says, and “as long as we ignore the mind, we may be making profound mistakes about the brain.”

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Meeting an Angel

THE  surreal landscape of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass has Alice wondering what the world is like on the other side of a mirror.

To her surprise, Alice is able to pass into a fantastic astral world and experience an alternate existence.

A puzzled Alice discovers a book with looking-glass poetry called “Jabberwocky,” which she can read only by holding it up to a mirror.

To Theosophical students, Carroll’s imaginative invention is an unambiguous reminder of “the astral light” of occultism, a universal storage drive where original images of all things are seen in reverse of their visible projections on our terrestrial plane.

In 1871, mediumship and table-tipping were all the rage, detailed in Mitch Horowitz’s recent book Occult America. Understandably, Carroll’s sequel to Alice in Wonderland was wildly popular at the time.

Clairvoyance and psychic powers have always fascinated the public. But then, as now, they were considered nonsensical by mainstream scientists.

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“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast,” the White Queen confides to Alice.

Once of interest only to ghost-hunters, and the derided science of parapsychology, “The Big 5”: Precognition, Telepathy, Clairvoyance, Psychokinesis and Healing (known collectively as “psi”), are now being noticed by the rank-and-file psychological and neuroscience community.

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Astral Knowing

THE  surreal landscape of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass has Alice wondering what the world is like on the other side of a mirror.

To her surprise, Alice is able to pass into a fantastic astral world and experience an alternate existence.

A puzzled Alice discovers a book with looking-glass poetry called “Jabberwocky,” which she can read only by holding it up to a mirror.

To Theosophical students, Carroll’s imaginative invention is an unambiguous reminder of “the astral light” of occultism, a universal storage drive where original images of all things are seen in reverse of their visible projections on our terrestrial plane.

In 1871, mediumship and table-tipping were all the rage, detailed in Mitch Horowitz’s recent book Occult America. Understandably, Carroll’s sequel to Alice in Wonderland was wildly popular at the time.

Clairvoyance and psychic powers have always fascinated the public. But then, as now, they were considered nonsensical by mainstream scientists.

œ

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast,” the White Queen confides to Alice.

 

Once of interest only to ghost-hunters, and the derided science of parapsychology, “The Big 5”: Precognition, Telepathy, Clairvoyance, Psychokinesis and Healing (known collectively as “psi”), are now being noticed by the rank-and-file psychological and neuroscience community.

Continue reading

Thoughts are Things

EMBARRASSMENT can be, well, embarrassing — especially if you tend to blush in public. We recognize in this, in ourselves and others, a real yet scientifically inexplicable effect.

Even a hint of a reprove by another, or admiring glance, likewise causes our skin to redden— or it might signal our getting caught sneaking a candy from a store display.

But it begs a real question of how does an invisible, seemingly intangible, subjective activity as a thought or feeling, manifest into a physical system, and affect that system biologically and visibly?

How can this happen? How is it possible for an immaterial thought or feeling produce a visible, physical effect?

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Science cannot answer. “Sow a thought, reap an act” is a familiar occult mantra and begs an explanation, what is the mysterious mechanism of how thought energy can speak to the nervous system, and just as quickly cause a visible response in the physical body?

“It’s well known that the human body depends upon homeostasis,” writes Deepak Chopra, and asks: Memories and Emotions: All in The Mind or the Brain? And answers: “it is the ability to keep very complex systems in balance and to return to a state of balance when it is disturbed—

 “Yet words [or images] cause us to deliberately go out of balance,” says Chopra, “and there’s no physical mechanism to explain it.”

Continue reading