Neurons to Nirvana – Hallucinogens as change agents
It’s been a long time since the sixties. One of the legacies of the sixties was the exploration of consciousness, and one way of expanding the mind of the seeker was with hallucinogens. The use of these mind expanding drugs took on a life of their own, when everyone from maverick college professors, to new age gurus, to popular rock stars and artists began to proclaim the benefits of “tuning out” and “turning on.” Although, the use of LSD, psilocybin, mescaline and cannabis never reached the popular use amongst mainstream society, it became enough of a “problem” that the government quickly stepped in by the early seventies to clamp down on the use of these drugs for recreational and even for research purposes. Perhaps, the idea of liberating the masses with mind expanding chemicals was a bit too frightening for the powers that be (that’s a topic for another day).
Recently, I watched a movie, Neurons to Nirvana , which is revisiting the age old question of whether hallucinogens are in fact dangerous and harmful or can they be useful and life affirming. One of the precepts of the movie was that these mind altering drugs can with careful usage pull back the dark veil of superconsciousness and expose a world of great depth and dimension – a place for personal exploration and transformation - The Land of Awe.
By suppressing serotonin in the brain, which helps regulate the amount of data, both physical and emotional that hits the cortex; these drugs in affect open up a gateway to ever expanding perceptions of a very complex and stimuli rich inner world. Opening the veil quickly and widely can be a mind numbing or mind blowing experience --one not for the faint of heart. With guidance and in proper dosages, these hallucinogens with their psychedelic catalysts, can allow an objective and observing self to emerge. One benefit of this observing self is to easily review in great metaphorical detail emotional and traumatic patterns shaped by our past experiences. Like a lucid dream, in which the dreamer watches the dream, fully aware of watching a neurally encoded past come to life in a sometimes shocking, but always captivating form.
Can this objective observance then transform these traumatic past experiences into more benign memories, ones that don’t taunt or haunt us? And is this really the best pathway to observe and then release these patterns that often limit our ability to remain in the present? Do the effects provide lasting change? Can they and do they provide the framework for transformative change for the observer? Is it too much for most people to handle, too jolting for the less intrepid traveler? Can this be accomplished without falling head first into a black hole type of experience? Are hallucinogens really the best way to explore your inner Universe?
Looking to accomplish the same thing in a more subtle way – Neurofeedback
Two decades into the twenty-first century, how does a self-respecting neuronaut go about exploring their inner world? Since most of the aforementioned substances are still classified as Schedule 1 drugs and highly illegal, where does one go to pull back the veil of consciousness to peek inside into the dark backstage of consciousness?
Perhaps, we can accomplish this same thing, with less stress, less turbulence and open the curtains of consciousness with something that acclimatizes our brains with a slow deliberate reveal -- gently pulling back the curtain slightly for quick peeks. This seems to me a much more manageable and less traumatic approach – allowing the individual’s own central nervous system to absorb and observe in manageable chunks the state of its own consciousness. Yes! But, what can do that?
The answer may be with neurofeedback and more precisely, a neurofeedback system that aids in cultivating that observant self. NeurOptimal®, dynamical neurofeedback from Zengar Institute does just that. This is one of the most innovative technology tools in neurofeedback, one with a more natural and cutting edge approach. What if you give the brain feedback and let it determine for itself the correct course of action? What if you don’t force brainwave activity up or down based on a static past observation (as in older neurofeedback modalities), but allow the technology to dance with the brain in real time? NeurOptimal, monitors, then pings the brain with sound interrupts when it needs to pay attention and in essence teaches it how to be observant of these recurring patterns of emotional distress or past experiences. The brain then acts in its own time and fashion to self-correct. And, all of this without the rollercoaster ride of hallucinogens.
So what makes NeurOptimal so different and worth considering for your own personal exploration?
- Incremental reveals via 30 minute sessions (slow and steady)
- Learning takes place over time versus the shock and awe of epiphenal change (sometimes overwhelming)
- Gentler on the individuals systems (better for those distressed or highly sensitive)
- No violent physical reactions (the natural artifact of this process is deep relaxation)
- Rarely any side effects (with your own brain making decisions internally, less can go wrong)
- Brain takes in what it can handle gently (your central nervous system drives the process)
- Training takes place from within ( bubbling up instead of trickling down)
There still needs to be more research on use of mind altering drugs. Under proper guidance and with continued research they may have enormous benefits for treating depression and other serious mental illnesses, even addictions. Plus, it would be helpful to know more about the transformative quality of these substances, when taken properly and under proper supervision. But for most folks, finding change needs to be more subtle, gentler and more incremental. Like “flipping a bit” in computer jargon, changing the neural patterns in our brains can occur and one method showing very positive results is brain training with neurofeedback. In the end, it’s not as important what vehicle carries you to your destination; it’s the journey itself, the experience and the learning that takes place. See you in The Land of Awe.
Call BrainPilots™ 541.647.1224 today to find out more about NeurOptimal®dynamical neurofeedback system and our other tools for helping you relax and rebalance your mind.