Beliefs & Reality

8 Limiting Beliefs That Plague the Spiritual Community

March 27, 2016 

8 Limiting Beliefs That Plague the Spiritual Community


by Andrea Schulman,
Guest writer,

Would you consider yourself a part of the spiritual community?

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you are probably well-aware that I am a proponent of the Law of Attraction. I know that many of my readers are spiritually-minded, kind and insightful people who care about others and who want to make the world a better place.

However, while the spiritual community is often very well-intended, at times it promotes struggle and hardship through limiting beliefs without even knowing it.

I’ve been on social media for years, and I love seeing so many spiritually-themed blog posts, memes and videos. Knowledge of spirituality and metaphysics has grown tremendously over the years.

However, not everything that glitters is gold, and not everything labeled as “spiritual” actually alleviates spiritual suffering or promotes unity, love and spiritual ascension.

Below are 8 common limiting beliefs in the spiritual community that make life harder than it needs to be. With the Law of Attraction, we create more of whatever we focus on, so focusing on the limiting beliefs below actually causes an expansion of these problems and limitations.

We live in a universe based on attraction, and we get what we believe in. When we choose to believe in the ideas below, we bind ourselves to them, and our reality reflects them in greater strength and frequency.

Common Limiting Beliefs in the Spiritual Community Today:

  1. People who have money are corrupt and/or greedy. Money erodes spirituality.
  2. You have to eat organic/gluten free/vegan in order to have a high vibration.
  3. The government is corrupt.
  4. Drugs/alcohol lower your vibration/prevent you from being “spiritual.”
  5. You must bring awareness to social problems like hunger, violence, or illness in order to find the solutions to them.
  6. Humans are destroying the planet.
  7. You need to get rid of the negative/toxic people in your life if you want to be happy.
  8. The “elites” are conspiring against the rest of us.

I know the premise of this article may be unpopular with some, and I understand why. After all, there is factual basis for these limiting beliefs. These issues and limitations do exist in our universe, and I certainly do not dispute the fact that there is evidence to support these claims.

Because these issues exist, they have been commonly debated and discussed and have ramped up a lot of momentum in the spiritual community. At the heart of these discussions are always passionate people who want to leave behind a better world for our children.

However, just because these problems and limitations exist and we want to get rid of them, our attention to them does nothing to make life easier on any of us. In fact, our attention to these issues literally makes the problems worse and the limitations more binding.

To prove my point, here are a few questions to consider:

  1. Has our attention to the problems in the government made the government less corrupt? If whistleblowing and exposing corrupt politicians was effective, wouldn’t our government be free of corruption by now?
  2. Has raging against the elite class evened the playing field at all? Have you noticed that the separation between the upper and middle class has actually widened dramatically as we’ve paid more attention to the disparity between the social classes?
  3. Have you ever noticed that what is considered “unhealthy” changes as time goes on and we can’t seem to truly pinpoint what is healthy vs. what is unhealthy? For example, in the 80s sugar was the devil, and aspartame was touted as the healthy solution. Today, though, it’s the other way around! No matter how much we figure out what is unhealthy, new nutritional “problems” keep cropping up.

In any event, you will see quickly that focusing on problems and limitations does not create lasting and effective solutions. Instead, when we focus on problems, they expand and become more commonly known and experienced.

So while many people feel they must focus on limitations and problems out of duty or responsibility, this is actually a misconception. Spreading awareness only enhances and expands limitations and problems.

Why does spreading awareness expand problems and limitations?

Well, the truth is, we live in a universe with infinite realities. There are infinite versions of this world and our life in it, some “good” and some “bad.” There is a version of the world plagued by poverty, corruption and greed, another one radiating love and light, and a version for every possible combination between the two.

We get to choose what version of the world we experience through our focus. We can choose to focus ourselves into realities where problems and limitations like these exist, or we can choose to focus ourselves into realities where these issues are relatively unheard of.

This is how the Law of Attraction works. Out of a sea of infinite outcomes, each of us gets to align with whatever outcome we are focused on through our attention and our belief.

This is why some people get cancer from smoking at a young age, and others smoke into their 80s or 90s without incident. It’s why some people can eat whatever they want and stay trim while others gain weight without eating much at all.

The truth is, there are no “rules” that apply to everyone and every situation. We get to decide which rules apply to us individually through our focus and belief.

When we insist on limitations and problems by discussing and debating them, we keep ourselves firmly rooted in a reality where we believe in them and therefore they must exist.

However, though these problems do exist in our current reality, we do not have to continue to live in a world with these issues. We always have the option to change our focus and redirect to a more wanted version of reality.

How do we redirect ourselves to a “better” version of reality?

Well, the first thing to realize is that it simply isn’t possible for us to eradicate problems and it isn’t possible for us to standardize the “right” way to live life. We live in a universe of inclusion, not exclusion.

Everything is possible and must exist in an infinite universe. The good and the bad, the popular and the unpopular, the likely and the unlikely all must exist somewhere.

It isn’t your job, or my job, or anyone else’s job to eliminate all of the problems. Additionally, it isn’t anyone’s job to define the “right” way to live or be spiritual, because these are individual choices that each of us has the ability to create in our own lives.

In other words, it’s possible to be healthy and eat junk food. It’s possible to get cancer from junk food. It’s possible to be on drugs and be very spiritual, and it’s possible to be on drugs and be extremely disconnected.

It’s possible to keep the negative people in your life and be happy, and it’s possible to be surrounded by toxic people who drag you down. It’s even possible for toxic people to change! It can go whichever way we focus it into being.

To align with the world we prefer, we just have to let go of the world we don’t prefer. We let go of the world we don’t prefer by letting go of the debates, the arguments and the discussion of all of the problems that plague humanity in the realm of the universe we would like to leave.

We don’t let go because we don’t care, or because we want to be ignorant and certainly not because it’s easier to turn a blind eye. Rather, we let go because we care and because we are enlightened to the fact that our focus aligns us to the world we live in and experience.

We let go because we want to live in a world where generosity, prosperity, health and kindness abound for everyone. We let go because we know we cannot help anyone by focusing on their problems.

Universal truths

At the end of the day, there will always be a way to negatively focus, and therefore there will always be problems when we go looking for them. There are versions of this world much worse than the one we live in, and we can focus ourselves down much further if we choose to.

However, the same is true for the opposite end: there will always be a way to positively focus, and there are versions of the world much better than this one we live in. We can reach new heights through focusing our attention into these realms.

It can always get worse, but it can also always get better.

Ascend to the next level. Release yourself from the responsibility to change things you cannot change about this corner of the universe, and instead focus yourself into into the corner you’d prefer to exist in. Allow yourself to experience what’s possible, rather than what already is.


USDA Censorship, Bee Populations, Corporate Lobbying

Is the USDA Just a Corporate Lobbyist Group?

Story at-a-glance

  • The USDA has come under increasing scrutiny following charges of harassment and censorship. Due to mounting complaints from scientists, the USDA inspector general is opening an investigation.
  • USDA whistleblower Jonathan Lundgren, Ph.D., claims he was retaliated against when he started talking about his research, which shows neonicotinoids cause decline in bee and Monarch butterfly populations.
  • Krysta Harden, former deputy secretary of the USDA, has been hired by chemical giant DuPont to head up its “public policy and government affairs strategies” department

By Dr. Mercola

Many, if not most, of our regulatory agencies have a long history of protecting industry interests over public and environmental health. Most recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has come under increasing scrutiny following mounting charges of harassment and censorship.

In the first week of November 2015, Jonathan Lundgren, who spent the last 11 years working as an entomologist at the USDA, filed a whistleblower complaint against the agency, claiming he’d suffered retaliation after speaking out about research showing that neonicotinoids had adverse effects on bees.1

In the U.S., nearly all corn, about 90 percent of canola, and approximately half of all soybeans are treated with neonicotinoids. As the use of these pesticides has gone up, bee and Monarch butterfly populations have plummeted.

After publicly discussing his findings, Lundgren claims that “USDA managers blocked publication of his research, barred him from talking to the media, and disrupted operations at the laboratory he oversaw.”

The Washington Post recently published an article that details Lundgren’s complaints and the retaliation waged against him.2

According to Agri-Pulse,3 the Agriculture Department’s inspector general, Phyllis Fong, has now received so many complaints about harassment and censorship, she’s opening a broad investigation to assess “whether there is a systemic problem in the department.”

Charges of Censorship Mount Against USDA

Food and Water Watch4 recently followed up on this issue, noting that “when independent, government scientists produce research that threatens corporate agribusinesses, the USDA — according to at least 10 government scientists — censors the results, waters down the findings and punishes the researchers.”

Jonathan Lundgren is one of these 10 scientists. The other 9 have all chosen to remain anonymous for fear of even more reprisals.

Lundgren’s research at the USDA shows that neonicotinoids are instrumental in the decline of bee and Monarch butterfly populations. But his work, and his criticism against factory farming, goes even deeper than that.

He has become convinced and has spoken out about the fact that toxic insecticides like neonics are not some sort of necessary evil. We don’t actually need these types of chemicals at all in agriculture.

As he notes in the video above, organic or regenerative farming actually produces higher yields and requires less land. This, I believe, even more so than his critique of neonics, poses a major threat to corporate agribusinesses.

It does not, however, detract from the USDA’s mission, which is why the agency’s mistreatment of scientists like Lundgren is so revealing.

Whistleblower Sets Up Nonprofit Science Lab and Sustainable Farm

Fortunately, Lundgren has become very outspoken about his whistleblower suit. So much so, the Shafeek Nader Trust presented him with a civic courage award last November, for taking an open stand against the USDA.

Moving forward, he’s also setting up two new businesses: Blue Dasher Farm, which he intends to be a model for large-scale sustainable farming using crop diversity and other regenerative methods, and Ecdysis, a nonprofit science lab for independent research.

According to Lundgren:5 “I don’t think science can be done, at least on this subject, in any of the conventional ways. I think we need truly independent scientists — not funded by government or industry.”

USDA Policy Encourages Suppression of Unpopular Science

This charge was made by Jeff Ruch, Executive Director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), who on March 26, 2015 filed a Petition For Rulemaking with the Secretary of Agriculture.6 (PEER is also the alliance representing Lundgren’s whistleblower case.) In it, he notes that:

“The stated purpose of USDA’s scientific integrity policy is to ensure ‘the highest level of integrity in all aspects of the executive branch’s involvement with scientific and technological processes and analyses.’

However, the Policy fails to clearly prohibit political suppression and interference. While the Policy defines political suppression and interference, it does not include these acts in its definition of misconduct.

The USDA, by its own admission, has yet to develop procedures for handling scientific integrity complaints. To compound the problem, an overly broad provision within the Policy actively encourages USDA to suppress scientific work for political reasons.

The provision states that scientists “should refrain from making statements that could be construed as being judgments of or recommendations on USDA or any other federal government policy, either intentionally or inadvertently.”

USDA management routinely relies up this vague but expansively worded provision a pretext for suppressing technical work solely because the scientific conclusions expressed draw the ire of USDA corporate stakeholders.”

The Case of USDA Scientist Jeffery Pettis

The case of Jeffery Pettis adds even more weight to the notion that there’s a definitive agenda at work within the USDA to officially downplay any risks associated with neonicotinoids.

Pettis, who like Lundgren is an entymologist, headed up the USDA’s bee laboratory in Beltsville for 9 years. His career was suddenly derailed after he presented testimony about neonics before the House Agriculture Committee in the spring of 2014. As reported by The Washington Post:7

“Pettis had developed what he describes as a ‘significant’ line of research showing that neonics compromise bee immunity.

But in his opening remarks before Congress, he focused on the threat posed by the varroa mite, often put forward by chemical company representatives as the main culprit behind bee deaths.

Only under questioning by subcommittee Chairman Austin Scott (R-Ga.) did Pettis shift. Even if varroa were eliminated tomorrow, he told Scott, ‘we’d still have a problem.’ Neonics raise pesticide concerns for bees ‘to a new level,’ he said. About two months later, Pettis was demoted, losing all management responsibilities for the Beltsville lab ….

Pettis said, the USDA’s congressional liaison told him that the Agriculture Committee wanted him to restrict his testimony to the varroa mite. ‘In my naivete,’ he said, ‘I thought there were going to be other people addressing different parts of the pie. I felt used by the whole process, used by Congress.’

The hearing was ‘heavily weighted toward industry,’ he said, ‘and they tried to use me as a scientist, as a way of saying, ‘See, it’s the varroa mite,’ when that’s not how I see it.’…He said he walked up to Scott afterward, to make small talk, and the congressman ‘said something about how I hadn’t ‘followed the script.'”

Is USDA Shielding Corporations Like Monsanto?

While you would think that the USDA exists to protect you against the vagaries of industry, this is not the case. The chemical and agricultural industries spend millions of dollars to lobby for regulations that are favorable to them, and there’s a constantly revolving door between the agency and private corporations.

For example, USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is widely regarded as a shill for Monsanto, and he’s always been a strong supporter of genetically engineered (GE) crops, regardless of the scientific evidence against it.

The undemocratic and highly unpopular 2005 seed pre-emption bill was also Vilsack’s brainchild. The law stripped local government’s right to regulated GE seed, including where GE can be grown. Overall, Vilsack’s record is one of aiding and abetting concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) or factory farms and promoting both genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and animal cloning.

Roger Beachy is another example. Between 2009 and 2011, he was the head of National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the USDA’s main research arm, and he too is a proponent of GMOs, and has ties to Monsanto. As reported in a previous Grist article:8

“In his short stint at USDA, Beachy never hid his enthusiasm for ag biotechnology — or his disdain for organic ag. When I … asked him about funding for organic research, he came up with a novel slander against synthetics-free ag: ‘I’m concerned about the safety of organic food … I’m concerned about the issue of microbial contamination with organic.'”

To get an idea of just how broad and deep Monsanto’s reach is, take a look at the following chart. Over the years, this biotech giant has successfully infiltrated an ever increasing number of high-level federal regulatory positions in the U.S. government; many of which are positions meant to protect your food safety, including a number of top positions within the USDA.

Top USDA Official Goes to Work for DuPont

The most recent person to walk their way through the revolving door between government and industry is Krysta Harden, who spent over 6 years at the USDA — first as chief of staff to Secretary Tom Vilsack, and then deputy secretary. She’s  been hired by chemical giant DuPont to head up its “public policy and government affairs strategies” department. You would think this activity would be illegal and prohibited but it is actually encouraged.

The New York Times recently published an in-depth exposé9 on the legal battle fought against DuPont for the past 15 years over PFOA contamination and its toxic effects. The Intercept also published a three-part exposé10 titled “The Teflon Toxin: Dupont and the Chemistry of Deception” last year, detailing DuPont’s history of covering up the facts.

Earlier this month, they came out with a fourth part in the series,11 covering DuPont’s contamination of the Cape Fear River with “a new generation of replacement compounds” that likely have “the same chemical performance properties as the older generation of PFCs.”

DuPont is now working on a merger with Dow, and once the merger is completed, that chemical-seed company will be even larger than Monsanto. Considering DuPont’s history of covering up the toxic effects of their products, this gigantic entity is going to Monsanto in terms of being a serious threat, and the most perniciously evil company on the planet.

Federal Agencies Aid and Abet Corporate Stronghold

to read the remainder of he article, go here:

Banksters, Justice, & Manipulations

The Veneer of Justice in a Kingdom of Crime
by Zen Gardner


All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man: its one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him…The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are.
– H.L. Mencken

It does not take a majority to prevail but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.
– Samuel Adams

Fiat justitia ruat caelum
“Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”

I believe it is the duty of every single American citizen to sit down and watch the following mini-documentary. In just 45 minutes, you will learn more about the state of the union and the world around you than decades of schooling and mainstream media could ever provide. Ignorance is not bliss, and if it weren’t for the blinding levels of ignorance pervasive in modern society, we wouldn’t find ourselves in this current deplorable state we’re in — on a knife’s edge between manageable serfdom and total tyranny.

No one in American society is supposed to be immune from criminal prosecution, yet the Justice Department in the Obama administration took it upon themselves to grant such immunity to the mega banks and their employees. This is a tale of the traitors operating within the highest levels of the U.S. government, and it is a saga of how the rule of law was openly torched in front of our very eyes.

Readers often ask me “what can I do to help.” Here’s what you can do. You can watch this video, then send it to every single person you know and plead with them to watch it. If necessary, make it a point to to sit with them and watch it. That’s how important this is.

Until justice is served, this nation will never heal. Economically, culturally or spiritually.


Mainstream Media Swansong?

6 Positive Signs That Mainstream Media is Collapsing

Off-Air-Mainstream-Media-TVBy Phillip Schneider
Waking Times

There is an information awakening taking place right now, and mainstream media is being outed for what it really is: corporate and government controlled propaganda. People are turning to alternative news sources more swiftly than ever now, and as a result, the old guard of media is collapsing at free-fall speeds.

Here are 6 positive signs of the collapse of mainstream media:

1. Mainstream Media is Owned by a Handful of Corporations and the People Know It

It’s no secret anymore that nearly everything we see, read, and hear comes from just a handful of mega-corporations. Thanks to the alternative media, it has become a widely known fact that just six corporations control 90% of the media we consume. These big six have the ability to make key decisions and delegate the news to their lower subsidiary companies by cutting out important stories or alternative points of view. People recognize this and are moving over to the indy media as a result.

2. Fox Stops Disclosing Live Viewership Ratings

Fox News, a subsidiary company owned by Rupert Murdoch of News Corp and top mainstream media outlet has just announced that it will stop disclosing its ratings for live TV viewership. They argue that these statistics are no longer relevant because of how many record their television shows, but it is also being seen as a way to hide a decaying audience. Fox will now be repackaging statistics on a weekly basis to make even the most modest results appear positive.

3. 98% of Young Adults Do Not Trust Mainstream Media

A recent poll shows that only 2% of young adults trust the mainstream media to do the “right thing” on a regular basis. This poll, which was conducted at the Harvard Institute of Politics on over 3,000 18-29 year olds, shows that only 2% of young adults trust the media to “do the right thing” “all of the time.” Furthermore, 10% said that they do the right thing “most of the time”, while 49% said “some of the time” and a whopping 39% said that the media “never” does the right thing.

4. Mainstream Media is Hog-Tied by Corporations and the People Know It

An excerpt from the documentary The Corporation illustrates in their own words the story of two journalists working for Fox News in the mid 1990’s. Here is an excerpt from the film, of an investigation of the “human health implications” of injecting Bovine Growth Hormone into the cows which were used for producing milk:

“With Monsanto, I didn’t realize how effectively a corporation could work to get something on the marketplace,” said journalist Jane Akre. Before the story aired, a letter was received from Monsanto saying that there would be “dire consequences for Fox News” if it does. After receiving the letter, the general manager at Fox in Florida called them into his office and demanded that the story be altered. The next thing that he said was “We just paid three billion dollars for these television stations. We’ll tell you what the news is. The news is what we say it is…if you refuse to present this story the way we think it should be presented you’ll be fired for insubordination (defiance).”

You can tell by the amount of protesters at “March Against Monsanto” protests that the corporate controlled media does not have a stranglehold on information like they once did.

5. Mainstream Media is Literally Lying to Us So Blatantly that Nobody Pays Attention Anymore

A recent analysis conducted by PunditFact revealed that, according to this study, over half of all statements made by Fox News are false. Now this is not surprising, but what might be is that NBC/MSNBC is right up there at 46% of their statements being anywhere between “Mostly False” to “Pants on Fire.” CNN and ABC rated better, but national new shouldn’t be a race to the bottom.

6. Independent Media More Successful than Ever Before

The positivity that comes out of this is simple: people are waking up to this madness. No longer are we in a situation where the media controls the narrative like they once did, because the new media is there to pick up the ball and roll out the stories that the mainstream media refuses to get into.

The alternative media is making such enormous waves now that the older media is actually starting to listen to alternative voices and stories that are being published by new media outlets. The fact that Kevin Folta, a University Professor at the University of Florida, was receiving large unrestricted grants from Monsanto to promote GMO’s and round-up was even reported on by the New York Times thanks to alternative media making it such a big story that if they hadn’t they would have lost credibility: “If the Times is telling us the truth, then why didn’t they tell us about Kevin Folta?”

As long as the independent media keeps moving, there’s nothing that can stop the truth from getting out.



Ancient Wisdom & Healing

Belief and the Healing Arts of Ancient Civilizations

byzantine hippocratic oath

1 Comment by WRF Staff

The majority of this article and all of the quotes are taken from The Healing Gods of Ancient Civilizations (1925), by Walter Addison Jayne, M.D.

The various superstitious practices of the ancients may seem strange to us, but some of the drugs and therapies that were used then have been rediscovered over the last several hundred years, and have proved to be of great value.

Today, the modern doctor has the snake symbol of Aesculapius. In those ancient times (as well as today), medical practitioners faced the problem of how to stimulate the recuperative powers of the afflicted patient into action. Old temple disciplines included purification, temple-sleep, and various hypnotic rest states. Bodily processes were aroused and focused through intensities of suggestion, through touching the patient, along with lifting the faith of one who was ill.

Perusing the deeper concept of the ancient healing gods, we find it focuses upon the idea of a body-mind relationship. Hippocrates believed that body and mind are a unity, and to affect one is to affect the other. Modern medicine has taken more of the viewpoint of isolating the “one cause” and prescribing a specific remedy that will bring the solution. Interestingly, although Pasteur originally held strongly onto the effect of the microbe in medicine, his dying words were, “the microbe is nothing, the terrain is everything.”

The earliest definite knowledge of Egyptian medicine is obtained from several medical papyrus manuscripts from the twelfth dynasty, about 2000 B.C. In those writings, it stated that it was the duty of the pharaohs to maintain the health of their subjects. From the ancient writer Maanetho, we read that King Athotis of the first dynasty of the Thinites practiced healing and wrote anatomical works. “Eventually all the great medical centers were located at the chief capitals along the Nile. These shrines were depositories of medical lore, and the ancient traditions are confirmed by the lists of diseases and their cures. Clement refers to forty-two Hermetic books at the temple of Hermopolis, of which six were medical texts giving formulas and remedies. On the walls of sanctuaries were inscriptions and tablets in commemoration of miraculous cures with statues and steles erected by former patients in grateful recognition of cures effected by the divinity.”

Healing methods in the ancient days consisted of religious rites, ceremonies and special formulas which brought forth the mysterious, miraculous powers of deities and other supernatural beings. The healing theme centered around the idea of expelling the unseen, malicious actions which caused disease. Appeals to the gods for the cure of disease were made orally or in writing.

The priest/doctor would make the examination and give the ceremonial form of diagnosis. The patient would then make a formal statement regarding the problem, such as, “I, (patient name), am a sufferer with (naming the disease or the problem).” Treatment consisted of incantations, prayers and possibly the giving of some remedy along with commands, spells, coaxing and threatening. All of these had some symbolic meaning which served to impress the mind of the patient.

“Egyptians assumed that the body was divided into 36 parts, each of which was under the sway of a certain god. ‘There is no limb of his without a god,’ (Leyden Papyrus, a.k.a. Leiden Papyrus) and so invoking these, they heal the diseases of the limbs.”

On some occasions the priest would put on a disguise and would appear to a patient as the god of the body part, imitating the god in voice and gesture, and utilizing relics to chase the evil spirits away.

Remedies were given to assist the spoken formulas, with many remedies given to patients, by the gods, during their dreams. Time has proven the value of many of the modalities then employed, such as castor oil, aloe, mint, myrrh, copper, lead, salt, cedar, opium, and others that are still in pharmaceutical use. “It would appear that remedies used without the magical words were valueless or failed their full effect.”

There is no question that the aspect of the mind in the healing process was a strong consideration. When we review the wording of the incantations from any of the ancient papyri, then this theory becomes very clear. The Ebers Papyrus states in its opening line, “this is a book for healing all disease.” An example of an incantation given while drinking a remedy states, “Welcome, remedy, welcome that which destroyest the trouble of this my heart and in these my limbs… the magic of Horus is victorious in the remedy.”

Another incantation for cataract of the eye reads, “come ointment, come to the patient and take from him the water, the pus, the blood, the pain in the sys, the chemosis, the blindness, the flow of matter which are being worked there from the god of inflammations, of each kind of death, of each kind of pain.”

The Greeks also believed that disease and death, like other processes of nature, were ascribed to superhuman agencies. Although there was a belief that Zeus sent disease, in a declaration attributed to Zeus in the Odyssey, we read, “Alas, how forsooth, do mortals reproach the gods! For they say that their evils are from us, whereas they themselves, through their own infatuations, suffer grief beyond what is destined.”

The Greeks looked to the power of the gods for healing, using customary rituals, hymns of praise, prayers and sacrifice. An elaborate system existed of beneficent acts of friendly deities, demigods, and heroes. These took precedent irrespective of all other means employed. Greek cures consisted of two major methods, direct and indirect.

Direct healing was through divine intervention, very commonly by the transmission of the divine power by means of some agent or sacred object. The healing power of the gods was transmitted by simple divine presence, by the laying-on of hands, through some sacred relic, or through the medium of a priest, priestess, or sacred animal.

Asklepios (Asclepius) healed Theopompos, the writer of comedies, by the laying on of hands. A man having but one good eye slept in the temple, and dreaming that Asklepios applied an ointment to the empty socket, he awoke in the morning with two sound eyes. Marinos tells of Procius, the philosopher, who suffering from arthritis, had covered the part with a cloth. A sparrow, sacred to Asklepios, plucked the cloth away, and the disease with it.

Gaining power to cure oneself by touching the image of the god, or his altar, was often used. For example, the statues of Theagenes in Thasos, Pulydamas at Olympia, and the Corinthian general Pelichos was thought to possess healing powers for fevers.

Indirect cures were obtained by following directions received through dreams and visions. Fragments from the shrine at Lebena records cures due to application of remedies indicated by the gods in visions. Therapies included mild and innocent purgatives, roots, herbs, diets, fasts, baths, rubbing with ointments, and gymnastics. “Tales of the marvelous cures effected at the healing temples spread the fame of the healing deity, Asklepios, throughout Greece. It was such common knowledge that the sick, in going to these sanctuaries for relief, were probably already imbued with a certain religious fervor, while their imagination was excited by the hope that they also might be the recipient of the divine grace.”

The dream temples were quite well known. Psychology played an important part in the healing success. “At Pergamon, patients were conducted through the sacred spot by attendants who related the legends and explained the remarkable cures recorded on the steles and tablets. The tablets and symbols that covered the walls of the temple were examined, then, the patient being properly prepared, was allowed to approach the image of the god, offer sacrifice with prayer, and allow the diseased part to come in contact with the hand or other part of the statue. An air of sanctity pervaded the temple and the sacred spot, and the sick could not fail to be deeply impressed by the majesty of the deity and the supernatural powers with which he was endowed, so that, with imagination fired by the marvels of the sanctuary, the patient awaited the mysterious events which would take place during the night of dreaming in the temple.” In the morning, the dreams and visions of the night were told to, and interpreted by, the priests, who then gave appropriate directions for any treatment that should be carried out. Belief was an integral part of the ancient healing arts. The learning of the virtues and attributes of the gods produced the activation of the healing powers within the patient. Whether it was the Egyptian, Greek, or other ancient civilization, they understood the importance of stimulating the patient’s own healing energies that surely led to the miraculous cures which did take place.

There is an important place today for the theories of healing utilized by the ancient civilizations. The mind and body have not changed significantly in the last few thousand years, only the manner in which we view and utilize their relationship.


On Zen, Dogen, & No-Self

Note to Self: There is No Self

The following is excerpted from Don’t Be a Jerk by Brad Warner, published by New World Library. 


There probably is not one teaching in the entire Buddhist canon that causes more confusion than the teaching of no-self. The existence of a self is taken as a given by pretty much every religion and philosophy, apart from Buddhism. In fact, the idea of no-self is so difficult that there are even sects of Buddhism that find workarounds to redefine self and try to sneak it in through the back door somehow.

When I first encountered this idea of no-self, I conceived of it the way most people do when they first come across it. First off, it seemed completely absurd. It was the denial of something that I could clearly see for myself was true.

You can deny the existence of the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot. You can tell me there’s no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny. But the existence of self? Come on! That’s obvious. René Descartes proved the existence of self with a simple five-word formula: “I think, therefore I am.” End of argument. Self must exist because here I myself am, thinking of things and writing them down, and here you yourself are reading them. Who else could be doing these things if it wasn’t my self and your self? How could anyone with any common sense at all deny that?

But okay. I was game to try. I respected my first Zen teacher, and I didn’t think he would tell me lies. He believed there was no self, and it seemed like this belief made his life better. My life was not going that great and I wanted some of whatever it was that seemed to make his work. Besides that, the rest of what he said about Buddhist philosophy and practice made sense. Or, when it didn’t make sense, at least it usually didn’t feel like it was denying something I could clearly see was true. So I started working with the idea of no-self.

My initial forays went something like this. I figured I had a self but that it was my job to eradicate it in order to feel happier and more peaceful. My understanding of self was that it included my personal jumble of likes and dislikes, attitudes, ideals, personal history, beliefs, habits, hobbies, and so on. I figured I had to somehow get rid of all that and become a clean, blank slate. If I could whitewash everything I considered to be “me,” I would be rid of self and then maybe I’d stop being such a wreck all the time. So I went about trying to do that.

But as I was doing that, I started to realize that my first teacher, Tim, didn’t appear to have erased his personality. He liked certain things and disliked others. Just like me, he adored Star Trek but thought Lost in Space was pretty dull. He had very specific opinions on politics. He had some rather peculiar habits that he didn’t seem keen to eradicate. He was, in fact, a very strong personality, a very strong self, if that’s how self was defined. This was one of the things I liked about him. So what was I doing trying to erase my personality?

Tim really liked a book called Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by  Shunryu Suzuki, which I’ve already mentioned, so I read that through a few times. In the chapter titled “Emptiness” Suzuki says, “When you study Buddhism, you should have a general house cleaning of your mind. You must take everything out of your room and clean it thoroughly. If it is necessary, you may bring everything back in again. You may want many things, so one by one you can bring them back. But if they are not necessary, there is no need to keep them.”

That actually kind of scared me. For one thing, I’m a fairly messy person. I didn’t like cleaning my room at all in those days. There are a few photos of rooms I lived in when I was younger that make me cringe when I see them now. And even today I’m probably not most people’s image of the ideal housekeeper. But that isn’t what really put me off. What made me truly scared was the idea that I’d have to do a house cleaning of my mind.

Nowadays, having lived in Japan for eleven years, I know precisely the type of house cleaning Suzuki was thinking of when he said this. In Japan there’s a tradition of doing something called osoji at least once a year. Osoji literally translates as something like “big cleaning.” It’s like what we call spring cleaning, but more extensive than what most Americans do when they spring clean. In Japan, during osoji time, you take everything out of the house. And I do mean everything! The books, the knickknacks, the dishes, the bookshelves, the furniture — everything that’s not nailed down gets taken outside. Sometimes even the stuff that is nailed down gets taken apart and moved outside. Then you clean up the house thoroughly, after which you clean up all the stuff you took out, and then you start putting it back inside. It’s a pretty massive task. When you’re putting stuff back in, you get to see how much useless junk you’ve accumulated since the last osoji and you always end up throwing a lot of it away.

Osoji usually takes place around New Year’s Day, a time during which most businesses are closed for five days, although the tradition of remaining closed for five days is slowly starting to erode. So not only is this tough work, but it’s usually cold as hell outside when you’re doing all that scrubbing. When I first encountered this tradition it seemed like madness. But once you’re done, your house feels great!

I didn’t know anything about osoji when I first read Suzuki’s book, but now that I do I get an even clearer picture of what he was saying. If I’d known then what I know now, I’m sure I would have found the prospect even scarier.

What he’s talking about is metaphorically taking everything that you think of as your self out of your head and looking at it carefully and critically to see if it’s really necessary. He does say you can bring some of it back inside. But read between the lines, and you can see that he’s implying that there’s a lot of stuff in there you won’t want to bring back.

This idea scared me because it wasn’t just paperback novels I’d finished reading or broken guitar effects boxes I finally had to admit I’d never get around to fixing that he was telling me to throw away. He was telling me to throw away pieces of me! That is a much scarier prospect. It wasn’t just scary. It sounded utterly impossible.
For me this was especially tough because I prided myself on being a true individualist. I got through high school knowing that even if I was just a nerd boy that the pretty girls ignored, at least I was truer to myself than the jocks and preppies who liked what everybody else liked and dressed the way everybody else dressed. I dared to be different and I was, I thought, justifiably conceited about it! I had to be! It was all I had going for me!

Now here I was just a couple years out of that mess, being told to clear all that stuff out. What would I have left if I did? Would I become a mindless vegetable? Would I turn into one of those culties who just stares blankly off into space all the time? Or worse, would I become just like the jocks and preppies I hated, accepting everything the mainstream media told me because I had no self and therefore no opinions of my own? Or would I be opening myself up to being brainwashed by my teachers? Would I be just like the pod people from Invasion of the Body Snatchers? The prospects were not attractive!

But the idea of no-self isn’t like that at all. It’s not that we have a self and we are being asked to get rid of it. There is something real that we call “self” and that we ascribe certain characteristics to. It’s just that once we call that thing “self” we are already on the wrong track, and anything else we say about it will be mistaken.

It would be ridiculous to insist that the aspects of our experience indicating that we are autonomous individuals with our unique history, personality, and point of view simply do not exist. I have my own credit cards and driver’s license, which you cannot use. I know the password to my Wi-Fi at home, and you do not. I remember things that happened in my life that I could not possibly convey to you, even if I tried my hardest. I have opinions that you do not and probably a few you couldn’t even comprehend, the same way I cannot fathom why some people hold the opinions they hold. All this and more applies to you as well and to every human being or animal who has ever lived.

When Buddhists talk about no-self they are not saying all the foregoing is false, nor are they saying it’s all true but that we have to utterly destroy these aspects of who we are. Rather, they are saying that applying the idea of self to this real stuff is a mistake.

The word used in early Buddhist writings for the concept of self is atman. Atman was an idea propagated by many Indian philosophers and is similar to the Christian idea of the soul. It starts from the sense of “I am” that all of us experience. This “I am” feeling is taken as evidence that there is a permanent abiding something in us that remains stable and constant throughout the changes we experience. Thus the soul you had as a four-year-old child is the same soul you have today. This soul is different from the body because even though the body clearly changes, the soul does not. Many philosophers further extrapolate that the soul survives the death of the body. This makes sense if we accept the basic idea of the soul. If you believe that the soul remains unchanged while the body ages, it follows that the soul is not the body and it therefore follows that the soul could go on even after the body decays and dies.

The Buddha completely rejected this idea. First of all, he noticed that what we refer to as the soul or the atman does change. Our personalities do not remain static throughout our lives. We mature internally as well as externally. The Buddha did not accept the idea that body and mind were two different kinds of substance.

Yet something experiences the world uniquely in the case of each one of us. You are reading this book. Somehow my thoughts about self are being conveyed to you across time and space. My thoughts are not exactly the same as yours, or you wouldn’t have bought this book. You are not me, and I am not you. What are we to do with that except say that you have a self, and so do I? Even if we don’t accept the idea of the immortality of the soul or the idea that mind is made of some kind of ethereal substance that is different from matter, we have to accept that your mind and my mind are not the same mind. Otherwise we wouldn’t need to have conversations or read books or watch movies or listen to music in order to access each other’s thoughts and feelings.

Most of us only ever experience that way of looking at things. No, that’s not exactly right. Most of us are taught that looking at things this way is the only correct way of understanding the world. I think everyone experiences the other side of the equation at some point in their lives. As children, our sense of self is much more fluid than it becomes later. We also have moments of transcendence when the barriers between ourselves and others fade away. Sometimes this happens during sex. Sometimes it happens in large public gatherings like concerts or sporting events. Sometimes it happens in religious services and ceremonies. We all know about this other side of human experience, but we are conditioned to disregard it. Or we imagine that it only happens at rare, special times and places. We miss the fact that this transcendence is actually continuously happening throughout every moment of every day.

Meditation practice helps make this clearer. Moments of transcendence and oneness no longer seem like anomalies. You start to notice that your individual identity and the identity of the universe itself are not two separate things.

Certain Indian philosophers who meditated took this as evidence that the individual atman was part of a supreme atman that was basically the soul of the entire universe. They called this super-atman “Brahman.” And just to confuse those of us outside India, they also called certain people who preached this idea Brahmin and named their chief god Brahma. Be that as it may, this Brahman is said to be sat-chit-ananda, or “being, consciousness, and bliss.”

Yet, like the atman, Brahman is supposed to be something apart from the material universe. The Buddha could see no reason to believe in the existence of something beyond the material universe. It’s not that he thought matter was the only thing there was. Rather, he saw that matter and the immaterial were different aspects of the same unified reality. Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.

The idea of no-self means that we do not interrupt this oneness with our individuality. In the January/February 1985 issue of Matter magazine, my all-time favorite singer-songwriter, Robyn Hitchcock, told an interviewer, “Inasmuch as a mind can discuss itself — it’s a bit like a mirror looking at itself, only I don’t know how much truth there is in that. You put two mirrors up against each other, and there’s infinity, but you can never see it, ’cause your head blocks it off.” This is a remarkably astute metaphor for the problems inherent in looking at the true nature of what we call self.



Latest Hathor Message fr/Tom Kenyon


A Hathor Planetary Message through Tom Kenyon

Your world is entering a period of immense destabilization.

In past messages we have referred to Chaotic Nodes as unexpected catalytic and chaotic changes. We have also noted in past communications that multiple Chaotic Nodes are emerging, and their interaction is what we are referring in this message as destabilization.

(see a previous Hathor message titled Escalation of Chaotic Nodes and the Dismantling of 3-D Reality).

This destabilization of your world is occurring at the ecological, social and individual levels of existence.

Let’s begin with the ecological issues.

Your planetary environment is, essentially, being poisoned. The acidification of your oceans, the overuse of pesticides, chemical agents and fossil fuels are all interacting to create an ecological Chaotic Node of immense proportions. Indeed, a growing number of your scientists are saying that your Earth is entering the beginning stages of a “6th mass extinction.”

We will turn our attention to the ramifications of these issues in a moment but let us address the other two levels first.

At a social level your world is entering a highly volatile and destabilizing state. This is a complex situation but addressing the most rudimentary levels we would say you are witnessing a clash of cultural values as well as the impact of both climate change and war on migrations of human populations, some of which are being caused by circumstances and some of which are being manipulated by power brokers behind the scenes.

The third level is the individual—you—the one reading this message.

This is also a complex situation and there are several levels involved. One of these levels has to do with the poisoning of your planet’s environment that we mentioned earlier. And as a result of climate change and deforestation, new forms of bacteria and viruses are being spread globally.

These microforms of life are not inert. They are living intelligences that evolve, and they are evolving very rapidly in ways that will make your current medical methodologies for dealing with them ineffective.

A second challenge to your individual stability has to do with the magnetic shifts and dimensional alterations that are unfolding on your planet. Because your nervous system operates according to the principles of bio-electromagnetism, the neural networks in your nervous systems are being challenged by these shifts and alterations. Some of you, especially those who are energetically sensitive, will be prone to this more than others. But increasingly, no one will be exempt.

Communications between human beings will get more challenging—to be gracious about it.

What may surprise you is that some of these challenges will arise in close friendships and intimate relationships. You may find that seemingly insignificant external events can set off tsunamis of emotional responses.

There are two primary reasons for this phenomenon.

The first has to do with the destabilization of your nervous system making it more prone to losing its center. And the second level has to do with the process of catalytic evolution that you are undergoing as a human being at this point in time. What we mean by this is what has been hidden is being revealed. The deepest catacombs of your subconscious are being turned over like a plow cutting through a field. This is essentially a very disturbing state to deal with especially for those of you who think of yourselves as spiritual beings.

If you are of the opinion that being a spiritual being requires that you always be in a state of bliss and happiness then you will find this purification process deeply disturbing, but it is—quite frankly—required for individual evolution and liberation from the restrictions imposed by your religions and confining histories. It is also necessary for humanity, as a whole, to face and transform its own shadow material (i.e., unresolved emotional issues and destructive belief patterns) if humankind is to survive.

In past messages we have said that a course of action could be changed in the 11th hour. By this we were referring to a metaphor meaning that in the last hour before an irrevocable shift occurs it is possible to change an outcome.

We are still of this opinion, but you are well past the 11th hour. You are at one minute before midnight, metaphorically speaking, of course.

What this means is that massive changes will have to occur in a very short period of time if you are collectively to avoid the 6th mass extinction.

As the ecological and social aspects of this destabilization process are so complex, we wish to confine our comments to practical suggestions for you.

One marker, evolutionarily speaking for transition states between dimensions as a human being, is the growing perception that life is a dream. If this occurs for you, you will experience your life and the events of your life as having a dreamlike insubstantial quality. You will still have to deal with the realities of your physical existence, but there will be an increasing sense that your physical existence has an unreal quality about it.

We do realize that in many of our messages we have sounded like a broken record, repeating ourselves again and again especially when referring to coherent states of emotion like happiness, joy and/or appreciation. This has to do with physics and neuropsychology. Coherent states of emotion are an antidote to the destabilization of your nervous system caused by the various factors that we mentioned previously.

There are many ways to accomplish this task of bringing coherency to your nervous system. For one, we suggest you work with the sound meditation A Bridge Between the Worlds (see Tom’s comments below) on a regular basis as a means to introduce this type of coherent emotion into your nervous system.

Another way to create more coherency is to introduce more joy into your life, which is indeed paradoxical for many of you. Very few cultures underwrite the necessity for joy as a value. Sacrifice, martyrdom and self-forgetting are what seem to be valued most in many societies, but from our perspective these are the greatest errors, at least from the perspective of spiritual evolution.

We are very sensitive to the fact that many of you reading this message may be dealing with this paradox (i.e., how to create more joy your life) in very direct and challenging ways.

Our advice, like all advice, should be “taken with a grain of salt.” This is simply our perspective on this particular challenge. Having stated this caveat, our suggestion is to cleave away from your life the thought forms of self-sacrifice and martyrdom. Find more ways to discover joy even in the smallest things. It does not matter how small they are.

And finally, find the courage to speak your truth to those closest to you. This type of truth speaking and self-revealing is, in our opinion, critical for your successful transition through the current and on-going period of global destabilization.


Native Herbal Cures

Natural Cures Once Ruled the Land In the US Before Big Pharma Took Over

Dec 18

(GreenMed TVSlate just reported on this amazing map of ‘Herbal Cures’ from 1932 of the medicinal plants in common use among pharmacists and the public back then. The map itself states under the heading ‘The Service of Pharmacy’:

“It is important that the public does not lose sight of the fact that the professions of Pharmacy, Medicine, and Dentistry, each give an essential service, which must not be impaired or destroyed by commercial trends. The public and the professions whill suffer equally if these services are allowed to deteriorate. In pharmacy the public should understand something of the breadth of knowledge required of the pharmacist. Few people realize the extent to which plants and minerals enter into the practice of pharmacy, and how vital they are to the maintenance of the public health. It has been stated that upwards of 70 percent of all medicines employed are plant products.”

Flash forward 80 years and we have a medical system which relies almost entirely on patented chemicals and/or biologicals that are far removed from anything resembling the ‘back yard farmacy’ of yesteryear. The FDA’s very definition of a drug now precludes the use of natural substances, and drug-based medicine has become a form of human sacrifice, on a scale that may exceed previous civilizations sacrifice of their population for ostensibly religious reasons. This map should be shared far and wide and hopefully will shed light on the massive, emergent database of natural substances (there are about 1700 indexed on our website alone) that can be used to treat a staggeringly wide range of health conditions (over 3,000 indexed on our site alone).

Note: Amazingly, you will find the much demonized Cannabis Sativa listed as a medicinal plant used on the Druggist’s map! Consider that in modern times this plant alone has been used to incarcerate hundreds of thousands of citizens simply for possessing, using and/or trading it as a commodity! (Source: GreenMed TV)LgMedicinalPlants-2

Click here to view the massive, poster size version of this image.


On Meditation & Wisdom

New Study Links Meditation To Wisdom

| March 13, 2016 

New Study Links Meditation To Wisdom

by Derrick Broze,

A new study has found an association between meditation and wisdom.

Researchers with the University of Chicago’s Department of Psychology have found that meditation, and physical practices such as ballet, might lead to increased wisdom. The study, “The Relationship between Mental and Somatic Practices and Wisdom,” was published in PLOS ONE.

The researchers gave 298 participants a survey that asked about their experiences practicing meditation, the Alexander Technique (a method for improving posture, balance, coordination, and movement), the Feldenkrais Method (a form of somatic education that seeks to improve movement and physical function, reduce pain, and increase self-awareness), and classical ballet. The participants also answered psychological exams related to various elements of wisdom, such as empathy and anxiety.

The team found that individuals who practiced meditation had characteristics associated with wisdom more often than the other groups. The types of meditation being practiced include vipassana, mindfulness, and Buddhist. The researchers also found that participants who practiced ballet had the lowest levels of wisdom, but with consistent practice of ballet individuals scored higher on measures of psychological traits typically associated with wisdom.

“The link between ballet and wisdom is mysterious to us and something that we’re already investigating further,” said Patrick B. Williams, lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in the University of Chicago’s Department of Psychology. Williams plans to monitor practitioners of both meditation and ballet for months and years to study the results over a longer period of time.

Williams also said that he believed this study to be the first to look at the possible link between physical practices and the cultivation of wisdom. Howard Nusbaum, professor of psychology, is a lead investigator in a research project on somatic wisdom. Nusbaum believes that understanding wisdom will lead to greater insights.

“As we learn more about the kinds of experiences that are related to wisdom, we can gain insight into ways of studying the mechanisms that mediate wisdom. This also lets us shift from thinking about wisdom as something like a talent to thinking about it as something more like a skill,” he said.

Williams stressed that the research was not looking to establish a causal relationship between wisdom and the four practices. “We hope our exploratory research will encourage others to replicate our results and look for other experiences that are linked with wisdom, as well as the factors that might explain such links,” Williams said.

The benefits of meditation have slowly been recognized by Western medicine as more studies confirm what many cultures have known for thousands of years: Meditation is a powerful tool. In November 2015, a study found that adolescents who undergo a mindfulness meditation program may see improvements in memory. In April, Anti-Media reported on another study that confirmed the healing power of mindfulness meditation. The study, published in The Lancet medical journal, found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) may be just as effective as pharmaceuticals when it comes to preventing chronic depression relapse.

Meditation has also been used to help former soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In September 2014, TruthInMedia spoke with Heather Linebaugh about her experience with United States Air Force from 2009 until March 2012. Linebaugh worked in intelligence as an imagery analyst and geo-spatial analyst for the drone program in Iraq and Afghanistan. Linebaugh has suffered from PTSD and now works to promote natural treatments such as cannabis, yoga, and meditation.

The consistent practice of meditation can help one establish a balanced mind. By maintaining a balanced mind and learning to use meditation as a tool for peace and clarity we are helping promote a more compassionate world. If more people opted to begin meditating on a regular basis it is likely we would see an increase in wise, compassionate, and awakened minds.



Light Therapy for Cancer

Breaking: Doctors Can Now Use Light to Fight Cancer!

Doctors have found an exciting new non-evasive light therapy that can help the body’s own cells fight cancer! Supporting our own bodies in fighting disease, aka immunotherapy, is one of the most popular and growing areas of cancer research. Let’s face it, people are tired of chemotherapy and would prefer to avoid dangerous surgeries if they can help it. Now, with new therapies such and this new light technology we can boost the body without harming it.

Assistant professor Yubin Zhou, Ph.D. from the Center for Translational Cancer Research located at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences & Technology is actively studying how light can be used to control our body’s immune system and use it to fight cancer.

“Although neuroscientists have been using light to stimulate neurons for years, this is the first time the technique, called optogenetics, has been used in the immune system,” Zhou said.

'Optogenetics (from Greek optikós, meaning "seen, visible") is a biological technique which involves the use of light to control cells in living tissue, typically neurons, that have been genetically modified to express light-sensitive ion channels.' -Wikipedia
‘Optogenetics (from Greek optikós, meaning “seen, visible”) is a biological technique which involves the use of light to control cells in living tissue, typically neurons, that have been genetically modified to express light-sensitive ion channels.’ -Wikipedia

Typically in neuroscience, the scientists will engineer cells that will produce microbes that are light-sensitive. When exposed to different frequencies of light these microbes will produce proteins that can tell our nerves to send or stop sending nerve impulses.

“Neuroscientists have learned a lot about brain circuits using the technique,” Zhou said, “and now researchers in many other fields are giving it a try.”

Optogenetics and the Immune System

Zhou and his team have found a way to modify the technique in order to help the immune system. The work wasn’t easy: unlike nerve cells, your immune system’s cells don’t use known electrical impulses to communicate. Another challenge is that our immune system cells are deep inside the body and are constantly moving around making it hard to hit with the right amount of light.

They had to use some out of the box thinking and team work to figure out.

“We collaborated with Dr. Gang Han at the University of Massachusetts Medical School who does bionanotechnology and photomedicine development,” Zhou said. “Together, we were able to combine state-of-the-art optogenetic approaches with cutting edge nanotechnology.”

The new nanotechnology known as optogenetic immunomodulation was recently published in an article in eLife.

“This work was driven by talented scientists in the lab: graduate students Lian He and Peng Tan and postdoctoral research fellow Guolin Ma, Ph.D.,” Zhou said, “who fearlessly undertook this daunting project and overcame all the challenging obstacles to make this technique into reality.”

Doctors can use Light to Direct Immune System Cells

With this new technique, the researchers were able to control immune system cells and ‘instruct’ them to kill cancerous tumor cells. Using a near-infrared laser beam that is able to penetrate a few centimeters into your body the scientists can use nanoparticles to turn blue and direct the engineered immune cells to fight specific cancer cells. Just imagine a general and his

war-games-with-the-brain-as-the-generalJust imagine a general and his troops about to go into battle and once they get the light signal from central command they team up and destroy the cancer cells.

 “We are able to wirelessly control the action of immune cells buried deep in tissue,” Zhou said.

The researchers found a way to modify the immune cells so that their calcium gate-controlling protein was light sensitive. When they are exposed to blue light which is emitted by the nanoparticle they ‘open the ion gates’. Once the light is turned off the gates then close. Researchers can increase the flow of calcium into the cells by increase the flow of light.

They are still working on fine tuning the calcium-dependent actions of our immune cells so that they can better target tumor cells and invading pathogens that our body would otherwise not notice or be focused on fighting.

When animal tumor tests were conducted they were able to boost the immune system response which aided in the bodies ability to kill the cancer cells.

“The technique reduced tumor size and metastasis, so there are lots of applications,” Zhou said.

One of the biggest advantages of this method is that it only actives a specific type of immune system cell, the T-cell, and only in the area of the body where the light is being shined. When you get chemotherapy the immune system response is bodywide which can be a miserable process. With this non-invasive light tunable technique, they can focus the immune response only on and around the area of concern.

“Other scientists will likely use the technique to help them study immune, heart and other types of cells that use calcium to perform their tasks,” Zhou said. “It’s quite a cool technology. With these tools, we can now not only answer fundamental questions of science that we never could before but also translate it into the clinic for disease intervention.”

Zhou’s lab has been using this technique in order to see how effective specific cancers drugs will even have on people.

“If successful,” Zhou said, “all these efforts would remarkably improve the current cancer immunotherapies by personalizing the treatment to exactly where and when it is needed, while reducing side effects.”

What possible issues do you see with this new light therapy and the genetically modified immune cells? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.