Shutting Up Jiminy Cricket

Face masks make you stupid

Why face masks are a form of dehumanisation

Face masks make you suggestible; they make you more likely to follow someone else’s direction and do things you wouldn’t otherwise do

Neolithic man had a similar problem dealing with his livestock. Homo sapiens’ success has relied not insignificantly on cattle – their dairy, meat, leather and manure. Yet the cow’s ancestor, the auroch, was quite a different beast. It was fast, aggressive and dangerous – hardly conducive to be corralled into predictable channels of behaviour. So, about 10,500 years ago, man started to deliberately breed the most docile aurochs for domestication.

The key word here is docile, which comes from the Latin docere, meaning “to teach” (as does, say, ‘doctorate’ and ‘document’). Being docile means being compliant and following commands, which means submitting to a system of thought.

Whereas animals, however, typically need to be bred to have a higher level of reasoning to be taught commands, human beings, already being quite smart, need to be dumbed down. You won’t disobey an order if you lack the cognitive ability to question it. This is particularly pertinent to the smooth running of a modern world system which relies on millions of individual souls, each with their own nuanced life history and perspective, thinking and acting in the same way.

The empirical literature has shown that compliance and suggestibility are negatively related to intelligence (e.g., Gudjonsson, 1991). In consumer psychology, there is even a technique called ‘disrupt-then-reframe’: bamboozle people first and they’ll be more likely to buy what you’re selling (Davis & Knowles, 1999). Ultimately, the common denominator for increasing suggestibility is switching off executive function in the prefrontal cortex – disabling the superego, the conscience, the internal monologue. Without Jiminy Cricket on his shoulder, Pinocchio would never have become a real boy – he would have always remained a puppet. Modern society is shot through with things that make us similarly dumb (literally, unable to speak).

The effect of television, for example, as Meerloo wrote, is to “catch the mind directly, giving people no time for calm, dialectical conversation with their own minds.” The mind-numbing, irrational effect of visual communication has been recognised throughout history. Not for nothing did religions talk about the word of God and forbid graven images. Unsurprisingly, empirical studies showing that watching television makes you stupid in both the short- and long-term (Hoang et al., 2016; Lillard & Peterson, 2011). This is to say nothing of pornography, which is now consumed by 98% of men but known to inhibit the part of the brain dealing with conscience and consciousness, the prefrontal cortex (Kuhn & Gallinat, 2014).

Moving from circuses to bread, alcohol, of course, reduces cognitive function in the short-term (Hindmarch & Sherwood, 1991). Even at moderate levels of consumption, it accelerates cognitive decline in older age (Topiwala et al., 2017). Junk food, likewise, makes it harder to think in the short-term (Barnes & Joyner, 2012) and harms cognitive ability in the long-term (Reichelt & Rank, 2017).

Fluoride has become something of a cliché of conspiracy theorists; being added to the public water supply in multiple countries around the world, ostensibly to reduce tooth decay. However, the evidence supporting the dental benefits of fluoridated water is poor, while many studies have shown it can damage tooth aesthetics via fluorosis (McDonagh et al., 2000). Many more studies have found that fluoridated water lowers the population’s intelligence (e.g., Borman & Fyfe, 2013; Green et al., 2019; Lu et al., 2000; Rocha-Amador et al., 2007; Wang et al., 2008).

Which brings us to face masks.

Face masks can now be added to the list of mandates that make you stupid. As if Piers Morgan feverishly promoting them weren’t evidence enough, here are the facts on why you absolutely, categorically should not wear a face mask. They make you suggestible; they make you more likely to follow someone else’s direction and do things you wouldn’t otherwise do. In short, they switch off your executive function – your conscience.

A great example comes from a study by Mathes and Guest (1976), who asked participants how willing they would be, and how much they would have to be paid, to carry a sign around the university cafeteria reading “masturbation is fun” (this being 1976, doing such a thing would be considered embarrassing; these days it will probably earn you a course credit!). The results showed that when people wore a mask, they were more likely to carry the sign and required less money to do so ($30 compared to $48, on average).

Meanwhile, Miller and Rowold (1979) presented Halloween trick-or-treaters with a bowl of chocolates and told them they were allowed to take only two each. When the children thought they weren’t being watched, they helped themselves. Children without a mask broke the rule, taking more chocolates, 37% of the time, compared to 62% for masked children. The authors concluded that masks “lead to lower restraints on behaviour”.

The effect has similarly been found online: the online disinhibition effect refers to the tendency for people to act antisocially when anonymous online (Suler, 2004). There is even an infamous trolling movement calling itself Anonymous and using a mask as its symbol.

The disinhibiting effects of wearing a mask are described by psychologists in terms of a suspension of the superego’s control mechanisms, allowing subconscious impulses to take over. Saigre (1989) wrote that masks ‘short-cut’ conscious defence systems and encourage “massive regression” to a more primitive state; Castle (1986) wrote that eighteenth century masquerades allowed mask-wearers to release their repressed hedonistic and sexual impulses; and Caillois (1962) similarly wrote about European masked carnivals involving libidinal activities including “indecencies, jostling, provocative laughter, exposed breasts, mimicking buffoonery, a permanent incitement to riot, feasting and excessive talk, noise and movement”. In the 12th Century, Pope Innocent III banned masks as part of his fight against immorality; and in 1845, New York State made it illegal for more than two people to wear masks in public, after farmers wore masks to attack their landlords.

From a neuroimaging perspective, masks are known to inhibit identity and impulse control – both associated with executive function in the prefrontal cortex (e.g., Glannon, 2005; Tacikowski, Berger & Ehrsson, 2017). In other words, masks silence the Jiminy Cricket in the brain.

It is little wonder that covering our mouths would ‘shut us up’ psychologically. Studies have shown that clothing has a powerful effect on how we think (or not), via a principal known as enclothed cognition: wearing a lab coat enhances cognitive function (Adam & Galinsky, 2012), wearing a nurse’s scrubs increases empathy (López-Pérez et al., 2016), and wearing counterfeit brands increases the likelihood of cheating in a test (Gino, Norton & Ariely, 2010). Similarly, in the world of body language, someone putting their hand over their mouth is a sign that they are listening intently: they are ready to receive information, not to question it.

While no studies have looked at the effect of masks on verbal reasoning, it is fairly safe to assume that priming a ‘shutting up’ would have a cognitive effect. For example, extraverts are less compliant than introverts (Cohen et al., 2004; Gudjonsson et al., 2004); the development of conscience in humans is heavily linked to that of language (e.g., Arbib, 2006); and inner speech is highly related to cognitive functions (Alderson-Day & Fernyhough, 2015). Crucially, verbal reasoning is strongly correlated with moral reasoning (e.g., Hayes, Gifford & Hayes, 1998): being unable to ‘speak’ makes one less able to deduce what is moral and immoral behaviour.

There is also a more basic reason masks might make you stupid: decreasing oxygen flow to the brain. Face veils reduce ventilatory function in the long-term (Alghadir, Aly & Zafar, 2012), and surgical masks may reduce blood oxygenation among surgeons (Beder et al., 2008): believe it or not, covering your mouth makes it harder to breathe. Reviewing the N95 face mask, a 2010 study (Roberge et al.) concluded that “carbon dioxide and oxygen levels were significantly above and below, respectively, the ambient workplace standards” inside the mask. A post-COVID study found that 81% of 128 previously-fit healthcare workers developed headaches as a result of wearing personal protective equipment (Ong et al., 2020).

Not only do face masks make it hard to breathe, but the evidence that they even work to stop the spread of coronavirus is limited at best. A popular brand of mask even carries a warning on its packaging that it “will not provide any protection against COVID-19”; as for preventing carriers from spreading the disease, a meta-analysis found, for example, that of eight randomised control trial studies, six found no difference in transmission rates between control and intervention groups (while one found that a combination of masks and handwashing is more effective than education alone, and the other found that N95 masks are more effective than standard surgical masks; bin-Reza et al., 2012). Non-surgical masks, such as scarfs and cloths, are almost useless (Rengasamy et al., 2010). Masks may even be unhealthy, causing a build-up of bacteria around the face (Zhiqing et al., 2018).

The fact that masks likely don’t even work brings us to the final reason that wearing one inculcates stupidity and compliance: through a bombardment of lies, contradictions, and confusion, the state overwhelms your ability to reason clearly.

As Theodore Dalrymple wrote, “In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.”

The point of face masks is not to protect humans, but to diminish humanity – to rob people of their ego, their identity, and their autonomy. Masks are worn by disposable horror movie villains and ignorable background dancers; they make people less-than-human.

Dehumanisation is rarely followed by anything good. Face masks are another worrying portent of what’s to come, alongside a seismic shift in mainstream discourse. In an analysis of the Rwandan genocide, one of the first linguistic predictors was the tendency to look backwards, to blame, and to focus on past wrongs and injustices (Donohue, 2012), which will sound familiar to anyone unfortunate enough to have read The BBC or The Guardian recently. Similarly, where the Tutsis were referred to as cockroaches by the Hutus, and the Nazis depicted the Jews as rats, Nancy Pelosi recently promised to “fumigate” President Trump out of the White House.

It is hard to predict how the wheel of life will revolve in the coming years, but all signs point to trouble. During the crisis years of a generational cycle, only one thing can be guaranteed: the importance of a clear mind. To that end, allow yourself the dignity, identity and Logos of being human – and never, ever wear a mask.

https://thecritic.co.uk/face-masks-make-you-stupid/

Questioning What’s Real? Maybe You Are Being Played.

11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic used to gain power. And it works too well.

123rf Stock Photo/Standard License
Source: 123rf Stock Photo/Standard License

Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works much better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn’t realize how much they’ve been brainwashed. For example, in the movie Gaslight (1944), a man manipulates his wife to the point where she thinks she is losing her mind.

In my book Gaslighting: Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People – and Break Free  I detail how gaslighters typically use the following techniques:

1. They tell blatant lies.

You know it’s an outright lie. Yet they are telling you this lie with a straight face. Why are they so blatant? Because they’re setting up a precedent. Once they tell you a huge lie, you’re not sure if anything they say is true. Keeping you unsteady and off-kilter is the goal.

2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof. 

You know they said they would do something; you know you heard it. But they out and out deny it. It makes you start questioning your reality—maybe they never said that thing. And the more they do this, the more you question your reality and start accepting theirs.

3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition. 

They know how important your kids are to you, and they know how important your identity is to you. So those may be one of the first things they attack. If you have kids, they tell you that you should not have had those children. They will tell you’d be a worthy person if only you didn’t have a long list of negative traits. They attack the foundation of your being.

4. They wear you down over time.

This is one of the insidious things about gaslighting—it is done gradually, over time. A lie here, a lie there, a snide comment every so often…and then it starts ramping up. Even the brightest, most self-aware people can be sucked into gaslighting—it is that effective. It’s the “frog in the frying pan” analogy: The heat is turned up slowly, so the frog never realizes what’s happening to it.

5. Their actions do not match their words.

When dealing with a person or entity that gaslights, look at what they are doing rather than what they are saying. What they are saying means nothing; it is just talk. What they are doing is the issue.

6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you. 

This person or entity that is cutting you down, telling you that you don’t have value, is now praising you for something you did. This adds an additional sense of uneasiness. You think, “Well maybe they aren’t so bad.” Yes, they are. This is a calculated attempt to keep you off-kilter—and again, to question your reality. Also look at what you were praised for; it is probably something that served the gaslighter.

7. They know confusion weakens people. 

Gaslighters know that people like having a sense of stability and normalcy. Their goal is to uproot this and make you constantly question everything. And humans’ natural tendency is to look to the person or entity that will help you feel more stable—and that happens to be the gaslighter.

8. They project.

They are a drug user or a cheater, yet they are constantly accusing you of that. This is done so often that you start trying to defend yourself, and are distracted from the gaslighter’s own behavior.

9. They try to align people against you.

Gaslighters are masters at manipulating and finding the people they know will stand by them no matter what—and they use these people against you. They will make comments such as, “This person knows that you’re not right,” or “This person knows you’re useless too.” Keep in mind it does not mean that these people actually said these things. A gaslighter is a constant liar. When the gaslighter uses this tactic it makes you feel like you don’t know who to trust or turn to—and that leads you right back to the gaslighter. And that’s exactly what they want: Isolation gives them more control.

StockLite/Shutterstock
Source: StockLite/Shutterstock

10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.

This is one of the most effective tools of the gaslighter, because it’s dismissive. The gaslighter knows if they question your sanity, people will not believe you when you tell them the gaslighter is abusive or out-of-control. It’s a master technique.

11. They tell you everyone else is a liar.

By telling you that everyone else (your family, the media) is a liar, it again makes you question your reality. You’ve never known someone with the audacity to do this, so they must be telling the truth, right? No. It’s a manipulation technique. It makes people turn to the gaslighter for the “correct” information—which isn’t correct information at all

The more you are aware of these techniques, the quicker you can identify them and avoid falling into the gaslighter’s trap.

from:    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201701/11-warning-signs-gaslighting

Children & The Wild

Connectedness to nature makes children happier

Image of young girl planting a plant in the forest. This connection encourages children to display more sustainable behaviors, which in turn gives them greater levels of happiness: Frontiers in Psychology
This connection encourages children to display more sustainable behaviors, which in turn gives them greater levels of happiness. Image: Shutterstock

— by Tayyibah Aziz, Frontiers Science Writer

A new study in Frontiers in Psychology, led by Dr Laura Berrera-Hernández and her team at the Sonora Institute of Technology (ITSON), has shown for the first time that connectedness to nature makes children happier due to their tendency to perform sustainable and pro-ecological behaviors.

As our planet faces growing threats from a warming climate, deforestation and mass species extinction, research focusing on the relationships between humans and nature is increasingly urgent to find solutions to today’s environmental issues. As younger generations will be the future custodians of the planet, work is being done by researchers on how we can promote sustainable behaviors and develop environmental care in children. The researchers state that a disconnection to nature, termed ‘nature deficit disorder’, may contribute to the destruction of the planet, as the lack of a bond with the natural world is unlikely to result in desire to protect it.


Connectedness to nature: its impact on sustainable behaviors and happiness in children

Berrera-Hernández describes ‘connectedness to nature’ as not just appreciating nature’s beauty, but also “being aware of the interrelation and dependence between ourselves and nature, appreciating all of the nuances of nature, and feeling a part of it.”

The study recruited 296 children between the ages of 9 and 12 from a northwestern Mexican city. All the participants were given a self-administered scale completed in school to measure their connectedness to nature, sustainable behaviors (pro-ecological behavior, frugality, altruism, and equity) and happiness. This included measuring their agreement with statements about their connectedness to nature, such as ‘Humans are part of the natural world’ and statements about their sustainable behaviors, such as ‘I separate empty bottles to recycle’.

The researchers found that in children, feeling connected to nature had positive associations for sustainability practices and behaviors, and also led to children reporting higher levels of perceived happiness. This suggests that children who perceive themselves to be more connected to nature tend to perform more sustainable behaviors and therefore also have greater levels of happiness. Previous research on adults had suggested a relationship between connectedness to nature and the development of pro-environmental behaviors, and the happiness derived from these

Despite the study’s limitations of only testing children from the same city, the results provide insight into the power of positive psychology of sustainability in children. Deepening our understanding of the relationships between these variables may provide practical insights for the added psychological benefits of promoting sustainable behaviors in children. If we are to develop environmental care and concern in younger generations, then initiatives to encourage and enable young people to spend more time in nature is a must.

Berrera-Hernández states: “Parents and teachers should promote children to have more significant contact or exposure to nature, because our results indicate that exposure to nature is related to the connection with it, and in turn, with sustainable behaviors and happiness.” The study has fascinating and practical implications for future research in environmental psychology and its applications in nature-based education and initiatives, highlighting the positive benefits for both the planet and children’s wellbeing in encouraging more exposure and contact with the natural world.


Original article: Connectedness to nature: its impact on sustainable behaviors and happiness in children

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00276/full?utm_source=fweb&utm_medium=nblog&utm_campaign=ba-sci-fpsyg-child-nature-happiness

from:    https://blog.frontiersin.org/2020/02/26/connectedness-to-nature-makes-children-happier/

A Conversation with CG Jung

What Would C.G. Jung Say about Donald Trump


The following was originally published on Paul Levy’s website, Awaken in the Dream

 

The great doctor of the soul and modern day alchemist C. G. Jung was so far ahead of his time that, more than half a century after his death,[1] he is still barely appreciated. Jung was a genius who had incredibly deep insight into the nature of the psyche, particularly how it informs and gives shape to what plays out in our world. I find myself wondering, what would Jung say about the madness currently playing out in our world if he were alive today? I can only imagine.

Jung was of the opinion that “Active Imagination,” a process in which we actively dialogue and have it out with the figures of our unconscious, was the most powerful practice he had ever come across for working with—and integrating—the unconscious. I find myself wondering, what if I were to do active imagination with Jung himself?

Upon imagining this, I immediately sense the presence of Jung. As if in possession of a priceless gift, he seems delighted at the opportunity to share his insights with someone who is open to receiving them. Rather than ghostly, his presence seems substantial, actually quite huge, and very warm. He seems professorial in demeanor, which immediately makes feel like I am in the role of student, a role I am very happy to assume when I meet someone who I consider to be my teacher, orders of magnitude wiser than myself.

Deeply wanting to take advantage of my good fortune, I try to connect by asking him if he can believe the insanity that is happening in the United States today. As if he recognizes what is playing out, Jung says, with the utmost assurance, that what is taking place is “brought about by an upheaval of forces lying dormant in the unconscious.”[2] It is as if darker subterranean powers that have been brewing in the cauldron of the collective unconscious for centuries have been unleashed into our world.

I remember that in Jung’s view what distinguishes our age from all others is that we are being forced to recognize and come to terms with the active world-shaping powers of the psyche.[3] As if hearing my thoughts, Jung comments that the psyche is “the World Power that vastly exceeds all other powers on earth.”[4] Jung adds, “We can no longer deny that the dark stirrings of the unconscious are active powers.”[5] This immediately makes me think of Jung’s well-known insight that if we don’t bring consciousness to the shadow forces within the psyche, we will then most assuredly dream up our inner unconscious situation to play out—destructively—on the world stage as our fate.

I am familiar with Jung’s idea that when the darkness of the unconscious begins to stir, if these forces are not understood, they will magnetically draw people together who will become unwitting instruments for what Jung calls “the powers of darkness” to act themselves out in the world. A leader, such as Donald Trump, will invariably appear—in my language, get “dreamed up”—who will express, reflect and, like a lightning rod, amplify these darker forces. This leader is typically someone who, in Jung’s words, has “the least resistance, the least sense of responsibility and … the greatest will to power.”[6] Jung comments that this leader “will let loose everything that is ready to burst forth.”[7] As if offering a prophetic warning, Jung says with complete certainty, “a mass always produces a ‘Leader,’ who infallibly becomes the victim of his own inflated ego-consciousness, as numerous examples in history show.”[8] I think many of us intuit that Trump’s reign is not going to end well – the question becomes: how can we mitigate the damage?

It is as if Jung is describing exactly what is being acted out in the United States after the 2016 election. I can’t help but to ask Jung’s opinion about the fact that someone as clearly pathological as Donald Trump has become president. As if anticipating my question, Jung says, “As soon as people get together in masses and submerge the individual, the shadow is mobilized, and as history shows, may even be personified and incarnated.”[9] I remember that Jung defines the shadow as “the inferior part of everybody’s personality,”[10] the darker half of the human totality, what he refers to as humanity’s “own worst danger.”[11] I remember that the word mirror, etymologically speaking, means the “holder of the shadow.” It is as if we have collectively dreamed up Trump to embody—and reflect back to us—our unconscious shadow. Jung then matter-of-factly states, as if what he is saying is beyond debate, “It is everybody’s allotted fate to become conscious of and learn to deal with this shadow.”[12] It does feel as if we live in a time where it is no longer possible to avoid or postpone dealing with our darker half.

Jung adds that Trump “symbolized something in every individual.”[13] Commenting on Trump’s supporters, Jung points out that “people would never have been taken in and carried away so completely if this figure had not been a reflected image … ”[14] before Jung completes his thought, I finish it for him by blurting out loud “ … of their own unconscious shadow.” Satisfied that he has gotten across his point, Jung nods in agreement.

In describing Trump, Jung uses phrases such as a man acting out “the power fantasies of an adolescent” who behaves in public “like a man living in his own biography.”[15] I am beginning to understand that Jung is able to so precisely describe Trump because our president, as if sent by central casting, is simply the latest embodiment, in an exaggerated form, of a deeper archetypal pathology—existing in the collective unconscious itself—that has played itself out throughout history.

I express my concern to Jung that Trump is severely inflated, by which I mean he is unconsciously identified with, instead of being in conscious relationship to, what Jung refers to as the Self (which can be equated to the higher Self, i.e., God). To suffer from inflation is to have one’s ego blown up beyond its proper human limits, to be filled with hubris, to become full of oneself, a legend in one’s own mind. In his writings Jung refers to this state of inflation as being a conceit that borders on madness. With the utmost authority Jung replies to my concern, “’God-Almightiness’ does not make man divine, it merely fills him with arrogance and arouses everything evil in him. It produces a diabolical caricature of man, and this inhuman mask is so unendurable, such a torture to wear, that he tortures others.”[16] I can’t believe how accurately Jung is describing Trump—who is the embodiment of arrogance and who, in his own words, “likes torture ‘a lot’”—to a T. Speaking to the inflated, larger-than-life, gold-plated universe of our current president, Jung points out, “Everything that exceeds a certain human size evokes equally inhuman powers in man’s unconscious. Totalitarian demons[17] are called forth.”[18]

I start thinking how inflation is a form of blindness, as it disables our ability to see clearly and take in reflection from the outside world. As if validating my thought, Jung says, “Inflation magnifies the blind spot of the eye.”[19] His comment makes me think of how our species certainly seems to be suffering from a form of psychic blindness, as if we are wearing blinders and have become myopic in our viewpoint, lacking clear vision. Is Trump the outer reflection of this blindness? Jung then amplifies his thoughts on inflation by saying, “A clear symptom of this is our growing disinclination to take note of the reactions of the environment and pay heed to them.”[20] His statement makes me reflect upon how our current president not only doesn’t take in reflection from other people, but is ignoring the reactions from the environment—the biosphere—itself. Deeply recognizing the peril of our current situation, Jung becomes somber and in a barely audible tone, mutters under his breath, “our blindness is extremely dangerous.”

The next moment, as if a light-bulb has gone off inside of his head, Jung snaps out of his momentary state of melancholy and exclaims, “Greater than all physical dangers are the tremendous effects of delusional ideas.”[21] Ideas, what Plato calls “the eyes of the soul,” are ways of regarding things, the means by which we see, the perspectives through which we view the world and create our life. “Delusional ideas,” I find myself thinking, are the one thing that our current administration is not lacking.

As if wanting to complete his thoughts on an inflated consciousness, Jung says, with complete certainty, that it “is incapable of learning from the past, incapable of understanding contemporary events, and incapable of drawing right conclusions about the future. It is hypnotized by itself and therefore cannot be argued with. It inevitably dooms itself to calamities that must strike it dead.”[22] His words send a chill down my spine, as once again it feels as if he is describing our current president. Jung is pointing out that inflation—which we should remind ourselves is a characteristic of an unbalanced mind—invariably leads to catastrophe. The scary thing is that we—all of us—are potentially under the sphere of influence of a commander-in-chief who is not in his “right mind.”

I start thinking about all of the over-the-top campaign promises that Trump made and continues to make. As if once again reading my thoughts, Jung points out, “The man who promises everything is sure to fulfill nothing, and everyone who promises too much is in danger of using evil means in order to carry out his promises, and is already on the road to perdition.”[23] I immediately think about our president’s proclivity to not just “promise everything,” but to lie at seemingly every chance he gets. I ask Jung about this, to which he responds, “things only become dangerous when the pathological liar is taken seriously by a wider public. Like Faust, he is bound to make a pact with the devil and thus slips off the straight path.”[24] I think how Trump’s lies are believed as truth and taken seriously by his supporters, as if their faculty of discernment has been disabled. Jung continues, “But I should like to emphasize above all else that it is part and parcel of the pathological liar’s make-up to be plausible.”[25]

Trump, I imagine Jung pointing out, is suffering from what is known as pseudologia phantastica, a “form of hysteria which is characterized by a peculiar talent for believing one’s own lies.”[26] Upon reflection, it does seem that Trump has hypnotized himself such that he really seems to believe his own lies, as if he himself isn’t able to discern between truth and falsehood. As if adding a commentary to my own thoughts, Jung says, “Nothing has such a convincing effect as a lie one invents and believes oneself.”[27] This certainly explains why Trump’s followers seem to be so taken in by his lies.

I notice that I am a bit taken aback by Jung’s continual telepathic powers—how does he know my mind so well?—until I remember that he is an imaginal figure not separate from my mind. He seems to represent a perspective that is other than my own, as if I am dialoguing with a living, autonomous part of myself that knows more than I do.

As if completing his psychological analysis on our president’s genius for deceiving himself, Jung explains, “Believing one’s own lies when the wish is father to the lie is a well-known hysterical symptom and a distinct sign of inferiority.”[28] This makes sense to me, as Trump’s braggadocio certainly seems, from the psychological point of view, as if it is a compensation for deep feelings of inferiority. Jung elaborates, “Inferiority feelings are usually a sign of inferior feeling—which is not just a play on words.”[29] Jung’s point rings true – from all appearances, Donald Trump’s feeling function and sense of empathy seem highly underdeveloped and stunted.

From his statements, I realize that Jung is of the opinion that Trump is suffering from hysteria, which is something I hadn’t considered, yet it makes perfect sense upon reflection. People like Trump who suffer from hysteria invariably fall prey to what Jung refers to as “prestige psychology,” evidenced by his typical need “to flaunt his merits and insist on them, of his insatiable thirst for recognition, admiration, adulation.”[30] I remember how in his writings Jung points out that people who suffer from hysteria, due to their unwillingness to own their own failings, compulsively wind up hurting other people. Jung refers to Trump as a “theatrical hysteric” (when he says this, I immediately wonder if Jung even knows about the concept of “reality TV”), who is “not strutting about on a small stage,” but, frighteningly, is in charge of the greatest war-making machine that this planet has ever seen.

As if starting to dream, Jung, with a twinkle in his eye, conjectures, “Perhaps in a more enlightened era a candidate for governmental office will have to have it certified by a psychiatric commission that he is not a bearer of psychic bacilli.”[31] I appreciate Jung’s idea of having our would-be-leaders vetted for mental stability; from all appearances our current president would fail the test. I immediately think how I would be quite happy to be on the board of examiners. It certainly seems as if Trump is infected with a psychic bacilli/mind-virus[32] of sorts, as his mind seems truly deranged, i.e., not oriented in the right direction.

In any case, it certainly seems like an incredibly dangerous time we are living through – images of a mentally unbalanced person such as Trump with his finger on the button come to mind. Jung comments, “The situation is about the same as if a small boy of six had been given a bag of dynamite for a birthday present.”[33] Yeah, I find myself thinking, but the bag of dynamite in our case is nuclear.

Feeling my fear rising, I imploringly ask Jung what we can possibly do. Without even having to think about it for a second, he responds, “a complete spiritual renewal is needed. And this cannot be given gratis, each man must strive to achieve it for himself. Neither can old formulas which once had a value be brought into force again. The eternal truths cannot be transmitted mechanically; in every epoch they must be born anew from the human psyche.”[34] I immediately think of Jung’s consistent message that it is only through change in an individual’s consciousness—the individual being, in Jung’s words, “the carrier of life”—that real transformation happens in the world at large.

Sounding quite pleased at my understanding, Jung comments, “Therefore it is always single individuals who are moved by the collective problem and who are called upon to respond and contribute to its solution by tackling it in their own lives and not running away from it.”[35] As I’ve previously written, it is the artists—those among us who are actively engaged with the creative spirit—who will help to heal our world.

Jung continues, “If ever there was a time when self-reflection was the absolutely necessary and only right thing, it is now, in our present catastrophic epoch.”[36] Self-reflection, a privilege born of and intrinsic to human freedom, is a genuinely spiritual act – essentially the act of becoming conscious. He continues, “The true leaders of mankind are always those who are capable of self-reflection.”[37] In self-reflection we recognize ourselves in the mirror of the world. As if amplifying my thoughts, Jung exclaims, “Yet, whoever reflects upon himself is bound to strike upon the frontiers of the unconscious, which contains what above all else he needs to know.”[38] I love Jung’s idea that the unconscious, instead of simply being a repository of what we repress, contains what we need to know. My unconscious apparently contains the living figure of Jung.

As if reflecting upon my own self-reflection, Jung says, “Individual self-reflection, return of the individual to the ground of human nature, to his own deepest being with its individual and social destiny—here is the beginning of a cure for that blindness which reigns at the present hour.”[39] Connecting with the innermost foundations of our being is like finding a safe refuge during these crazy times we are living through. “If things go wrong in the world,” Jung says, and then waits to make sure I am listening, “I shall put myself right first.”[40] I certainly can’t argue with that.

I am deeply affected by Jung’s wisdom. I have the thought that I am in the presence of a living genius. I remember that the word genius is related to the word genie (as in “I dream of…”), which is etymologically related to the word daemon, which means the inner voice and guiding spirit. I wonder – is Jung just a personification of my own guiding spirit, my inner guru? I then remember that the deeper meaning of the word “guru” is one who inspires; in this sense, I am happy to call Jung my guru – he is a source of continual inspiration in my life. Jung seems greatly bemused by my contemplations, and starts smiling, only to break out into a big laugh. I see why so many people have said that he has an unforgettable laugh. For the moment, all seems right with the world.

Jung seems deeply satisfied by our meeting. I am more than satisfied; I’m in a practically ecstatic state, literally overflowing with gratitude. As if our time together is coming to a close, Jung’s image, like a rainbow dissolving into the emptiness of its nature, starts to fade. As if receiving a mystic revelation, I continually hear Jung’s voice echoing in my head, “I shall put myself right first.” His words are profoundly inspiring, as if they are speaking directly to me. It is as if he is giving me a transmission, pointing me in the right direction. As these words resound in my mind, I begin to wonder, “Are these Jung’s words, or my own?”

from:    http://realitysandwich.com/321662/what-would-c-g-jung-say-about-donald-trump/

The Intelligent Loner

Did you know that extremely intelligent people would rather be alone?

While psychologists have a pretty good idea of what typically makes humans happy, they have found that extremely smart people long for something a bit different.

In a paper published in the British Journal of Psychology, researchers Norman Li and Satoshi Kanazawa report that highly intelligent people actually experience less life satisfaction when they socialize with people more frequently. These intelligent people are happier when left alone.

Researchers came to this conclusion by surveying responses of 15,197 people between the ages of 18 and 28. Their data was a part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a survey that measures life satisfaction, intelligence, and health. Analysis of this data shows that being around dense crowds of people typically leads to unhappiness, while socializing with friends typically leads to happiness, unless the person is highly intelligent.

The authors of this study explain these findings with the “savanna theory of happiness”. This theory is the idea that life satisfaction is not only determined by what is happening in the present but also influenced by how our ancestors may have reacted to certain events. Evolutionary psychology argues that the human brain has been designed for and adapted to the conditions of an ancestral environment. Because of this, researchers believe that our brains have trouble comprehending and dealing with situations that are unique to the present.

Two factors that differ the most between ancient and modern life are population density and how frequently humans socialize with friends. Today, we spend a lot more time around lots of people and a lot less time around actual friends. Researchers believe that highly intelligent people are less effected by the savanna theory.

This means that in general, highly intelligent individuals are more likely to have ‘unnatural’ preferences and values that our ancestors may not have had. It is natural for the human species to seek and desire friendship, yet as a result, more intelligent individuals are likely to not feel the need to seek out such companionship.

The survey also revealed that smarter people were less likely to feel that they benefited from friendships, but they actually socialized more than less intelligent people.

Intelligence is believed to have evolved as a psychological mechanism to issues. For our ancestors, this meant that frequent contact with friends and allies was a necessity that allowed them to survive. Yet, a highly intelligent person would not need such companionship because they would be more likely to solve problems on their own without needing another person’s help. This diminishes the importance of friendships.

Since highly intelligent people do not always prefer what their ancestors would have wanted, they are more comfortable in urban settings. Historically, people tended to live comfortably in groups of around 150. This is the typical size of a Neolithic village. Densely packed urban centers are thought to bring about the feeling of isolation and depression because they do not foster close relationships. Yet a busy place normally has less of a negative effect on people who are very intelligent.

This is not to say that you are unintelligent if you enjoy spending time with friends. It just means that that one really smart person you know may not actually be a sad loner, they are probably like that because that is what makes them happy and comfortable

from:    http://www.realfarmacy.com/loner-intelligent-person/

Fear as a Morphogenetic Field

Collective Trauma: The Morphogenetic Field of Fear


The following is excerpted from the upcoming book Terra Nova: Global Revolution and the Healing of Love.

Behind the crisis of our time hides the core crisis of human relationships. Behind the atrocious massacres, which are currently epitomized in Syria, hides a collective soul pattern, which seems to be consistent on all continents. It is a pattern of fear. In the background of our civilization lies the morphogenetic field of fear. From this field arise horrific forms of cruelty that are actually attempts to kill off one’s own inner fear. If we want to generate lasting peace on Earth we need to transform this pattern of fear into a basic pattern of trust. This is easily said but the fear is deeply anchored within our cells. It has become a firm component of our genetic and physiological makeup; it operates as an unconscious reflex. “Fear has to vanish from the Earth,” Mikhail Gorbachev said. I do not know if he knew the profundity of this statement, however he named the deepest and most comprehensive goal we face today if we want to give a humane direction to evolution. The goal of healing work is to enable a life free from fear. The morphogenetic field of fear needs to be replaced entirely by a morphogenetic field of trust.

Fear is the result of the last millennia. Walter Schubart, in his book Religion und Eros, wrote that there is an original fear at the base of all psychological suffering – the fear of separation. It is the fear of separation that prompts us toward the most insane acts. Separation from our home, family, love partner, group – is there not something that is the same in all these fears, a primal fear of separation? It is difficult to convey the deepest, most primal layers of the soul in words. Time and again, generation after generation, the human being has been separated from that which his original nature most loves, what he loves like a child, simply because he is human, a breathing, sensual, living being. We have fallen away from the oneness and are not finding the way back. We live in “banishment,” as Friedrich Weinreb put it. Healing would thus mean reconnecting humanity with its actual home. This is the entelechial direction of our evolution at present – reintegrating the human world into its original home in life, in love, within the precepts of the Sacred Matrix.

Fear is not a private problem; it is the psychological consequence of a civilization gone awry. It arose in the collective cruelties of humanity. The task of global peace work entails the dissolution of the collective trauma, which accumulated in the collective subconscious of humanity throughout thousands of years of war and expulsion, treachery and betrayal.

Do we know that our entire culture, our states and nations have originated from war? Every one of today’s states exists on conquered land on which there were once indigenous people; there were faithful people, love couples, and playing children. The United States of America needed to eradicate native tribes and enslave millions of Africans to be able to build their nation. Truly these are not good conditions for building a humane civilization. The economy of western countries is fueled by, among other things, the weapon industry and arms trade. This is how normal war has become; how thoughtlessly we have become accustomed to it! War has become a fixture of our society. We live in a “war society” which economically cannot afford peace. If our western societies were to abandon the war economy, millions would lose employment. They could all help to establish a new peace-based economy.

Our civilization is dominated by a profound idiocy, a veritable disease of mind and spirit. It does not fit within life’s plan for people to willfully shoot at each other; this is not coherent with the code of a humane world. War is the result of an inconceivable aberration. When it is claimed that war has “always existed,” we respond that it is time to end this historic insanity. As of now, war must have no place in human culture just as jealousy has no place in love. Have we really needed thousands of years to discover this simple truth? It will be unfathomable to our descendants that people have killed each other out of jealousy. They will understand even less how people could have shot at each other and perpetrated far worse cruelties. It is no use referring to the violence in the animal kingdom or to quote Heraclitus, “War is father of all things.”[i] Such reasoning rests on the assumption that the world should remain as it has “always been.” Those who argue thus fail to see the Creator’s power within humankind and the potential for transfiguration. We are certainly not the product of the past, nor are we determined by natural laws. We are the creators of our lives. We have the freedom and the task to build a better world and it will function if it corresponds to the rules of the Sacred Matrix. Here I want to quote Satprem, a student of the Indian philosopher Sri Aurobindo and the Mother from Auroville. He writes,

After breaking through all those evolutionary layers, you suddenly emerge, in the depths of the body, into something where the old laws of the world no longer have power. And you realize that their power was nothing but a huge collective suggestion and an old habit. But just a habit! There are no “laws”; there are only fossilized habits. And the whole process is to break through those habits. (…) But that state has to come to a point when it’s experienced spontaneously and naturally by the body, which means freeing it of all its conditioning. Then you emerge into something fantastic. But really fantastic! Although I suppose that the first gliding of a bird in the air also was fantastic. Yet there was a moment when an old reptile took off and became a bird.[ii]

There are no ready-made laws and no ultimate physical laws pertaining to our bodies. There are only entrenched behavioral habits and there is a freedom within ourselves that enables us to rise to a higher form of life.

When we shed light on the vileness encapsulated within the word “war,” we see the pictures of horror stored in the inherited memory of humankind, pictures of mass murder, mutilation, fleeing, and hunger. These experiences have repeated generation after generation, over hundreds and thousands of years. They have been deeply carved into humanity’s genetic memory. Our collective human soul is burdened with this nightmare.

There is buried within us all a traumatic shell; it can explode at any time. “Everyone has their Vietnam,” said Claude AnShin Thomas, a war veteran and Buddhist monk, who has wandered the world working for peace.[iii] What is currently happening in the outbursts of violence – in gang fights and youth prisons, in schools, neighborhoods, football stadiums, and torture chambers – is the consequence of a global trauma that will continually repeat until the root causes are eradicated once and for all.

Originating from a long history of war, these horrific images form the traumatic core of humanity. This traumatic core exercises a subconscious tyranny over the basements of the soul, fires images of fear into our organism, betrays love, ridicules faith, produces patterns of negative interpretation of all events, and fights people who think differently. It produces erroneous notions of disease and healing; it steers our psychosomatic processes, our perceptions, and reflexes, our hormones, our nerve function, and muscle contractions. We are subconsciously attuned to the informational matrix of the trauma. We live in the subconscious scenario of omnipresent danger against which we need to defend ourselves. The world appears to be an anonymous jury before which we need to protect and justify ourselves. There is a collective feeling of being judged. Behind all psychological malformation, all forms of neurosis and psychopathy, hides the big collective trauma, a disease affecting the entire human race.

I want to quote Eckhart Tolle. He refers to the collective trauma as the “pain- body.” He writes,

This energy field of old but still very much alive emotion that lives in almost every human being is the pain-body. The pain-body, however, is not just individual in nature. It also partakes of the pain suffered by countless humans throughout the history of humanity, which is a history of continuous tribal warfare, of enslavement, pillage, rape, torture, and other forms of violence. This pain still lives in the collective psyche of humanity and is being added to on a daily basis, as you can verify when you watch the news tonight or look at the drama in people’s relationships.[iv]

We have grown accustomed to horrific news; it has enveloped us in fog. In the moment of awakening, a strange thought hits us: Can it all be true? Have we really participated in it? And, how do we get out? It is barely possible to see through the mechanisms inherent within the existing society and still continue walking the old path. Do we have to step out? If so, how? Where to? In order to be able to step out, we need an alternative to step into. It does not yet exist in its finished form, but arises through the creation of centers for cultural transformation, birthplaces of a new Earth. The collaboration of hundreds, thousands, millions is now needed for building the new structures, new working places, and new professions required for creating Terra Nova. All those who still have a meaningful function in the existing society may use it for setting the course toward Terra Nova. The revolution needs not only radical activists but also mediators between the old and new world.

In the wake of the great trauma, disturbances emerge in interpersonal communication. In almost all cases, they run according to a similar pattern of subconscious belief sentences that constantly perpetuate the latent subliminal war among people.

I want to name three examples:

  1. Many people live in the subconsciously imagined situation of not being accepted by others. Consequently, they interpret the reactions of those they speak with from this vantage point. A compliment can thus be heard as ironic, a pensive gaze as judgment, a question as aggression, a good suggestion as criticism, and so on. This is how severe interference emerges beneath the surface of our contacts; this is seldom understood and can lead us all the way to hatred. In many political discussion groups one witnesses conversations that become increasingly long and meaningless, for they are steered by the distress of subconscious beliefs that have absolutely nothing to do with the objective issue at hand. Such neurotic interpretation patterns become especially dire in love relationships. Once two lovers have worked themselves into the noose of such misunderstandings there is rarely a way out because any rational possibility for correction is shut down. How many relationships fail due to the injuries partners inflict upon each other from within the interpretation pattern of non-acceptance? And once they are really at odds with each other the assumption of non-acceptance finds obvious confirmation. This is a stark example of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The neurotic then has every reason to see his delusion as reality. He defends himself against everything that could heal him. In fact this is a fundamental problem of our society – a deep psychologically anchored defense against anything that could heal.
  2. A second example, closely related to the first, is the fear of separation in love. As a result of the great trauma many people live with the conviction of not being loved. When they have found a love partner they still tacitly do not believe in his or her love and therefore live in latent mistrust and latent fear of loss. They therefore do everything to prevent separation, which is exactly how they invoke actual danger of separation. For the strategies one enacts within the fear of separation – such as clinging, whining, complaining, blackmailing, etcetera – are not conducive to love. As a therapist, I have witnessed this pernicious pattern of self-fulfilling prophecy to be present in almost all love relationships. It is not easy to believe in love within a society whose sexual laws force most people to lie to their partner. The therapeutic response ultimately consists of building a community where no one has to lie anymore.
  3. An astonishing example of the impact of subconscious paradigms is provided in the history of the First World War. All nations that started the war – Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, and France – lived under the expectation of immanent attack by one of the others – a typical relict of the great historic trauma. Historians agree that there was no rational reason for war. It was a psychological theater beyond compare. One could have performed it on stage with humor, had not approximately fifteen million people died. This is a classic example of the psychopathological background to global politics so long as it is directed by people that have not resolved their subconscious trauma.

I am trained as a psychoanalyst and have actually never left this profession, but I have continued, deepened, and refined it over almost forty years of group work. In order to understand what happens among human beings, I needed to get to know many layers of the soul: the conscious and unconscious, open and suppressed, biographic and karmic layers. I have gotten to know more than a hundred groups and projects and have seen how the same basic patterns of neurosis recur everywhere in similar form. I myself have been my best research object; bit-by-bit the psychological processes, the habitual reactions and disguises, the suppressed images and impulses, which comprise the totality of the subliminal war of our times, revealed themselves. The war was also latently in me. However, there was an inner point from which I could recognize and correct my neuroses. We call it the “God Point” in the human being. It is the inner point of reflection from which we receive direct feedback that enables us to remain on the entelechial track. I assume that it exists in all people. It is implicit then that everyone would be able to recognize their mental incapacity and live a responsible life.

A very important condition for successful global healing work is the dissolution of the traumatic core. With this realization we stand outside of all historic revolutionary concepts. We need ways of living that enable us to overcome our horrible heritage. Generating such ways of living is the crucial topic of our time. One immediately understands that a phenomenon is addressed here that can neither be solved by political revolution nor by individual therapy. We need collective solutions, a healing of the psychological foundations.

From our many years of healing work, we know how difficult it is to dissolve the psychological consequences of this trauma. The groups currently standing on the political and human frontlines need an extensive knowledge of life and its healing powers if they are to withstand the conflict. We can activate the powers of healing with every action. The work in the new centers is largely and fundamentally consciousness work. It requires collective training to continuously choose the positive side. The old field of anger and fear has to be transformed, through an historic effort, to a field of trust and love. We have to do this with all our strength, in collaboration with all peace groups and projects worldwide, until the information of peace has become firmly absorbed into the genetic system of Homo sapiens.

from:    http://realitysandwich.com/318607/collective-trauma-the-morphogenetic-field-of-fear/

Stop Blaming Yourself!

12 Things to Stop Blaming Yourself For

Posted: Updated:

Too often in life I find myself apologizing for situations or things that, quite frankly, are out of my control. Why? Because I feel like I have to be at fault for something going wrong because I’m technically the one in charge of my own life.

However, as I go through the growing pains of becoming a “real adult,” I’m realizing that the notion that I’m responsible for everything that comes into my life is absolute, total crap. Sometimes there are things we just shouldn’t apologize for.

So now I’m here to say sorry, but I’m not sorry. Because there are just some things in life I can’t control and neither can you. And that’s perfectly OK to admit.

Below are 12 things you shouldn’t fault yourself for — because the sooner you do, the happier you’ll be.

1. Your emotions.
So what if you cry a lot, or are too concerned, or get too passionate about something that matters to you? There’s no such thing as “too much” when it comes to feelings. The sooner we learn that, the more emotionally healthy we’ll be.

2. The way you handle those emotions.
Write out everything you’re thinking in a letter. Slam a door and don’t feel guilty about it. Go for a run and shut off your phone. Do whatever you need to do in order to process what you’re going through — and do it unapologetically. Everyone handles a challenge in their own way.

3. Another person’s rejection.
It’s not your fault that someone doesn’t like your hair, your stance on politics, or the way you carry yourself. That’s their problem. If you’re behaving in a way that’s most authentic to you, that’s all you can do. The right people — the ones who belong in your life — will accept every part of it.

4. Little failures.
And big failures. We’re human, mistakes are in our nature. We forgive others for their indiscretions — it’s time to start extending ourselves the same courtesy.

5. Someone else’s circumstances.
In the iconic romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally, a patron that overheard Meg Ryan’s — shall we say satisfying — lunch famously stated, “I’ll have what she’s having.” As lovely as that sentiment is, that isn’t always possible.

Don’t compare your own story to someone else’s story. The personal shame that comes from not having what she or he is having is too much for one soul to manage.

6. Your needs.
Humans are incredibly complex so our necessities are going to be incredibly different. Don’t blame yourself for needing certain components from a relationship or a career that someone else may not feel is necessary. Don’t apologize for knowing what it takes to make you feel fulfilled.

7. Your guilty pleasures.
If watching The Bachelorette with a giant container of Pad Thai is your thing, there’s no shame in that. It’s also perfectly acceptable to enjoy going to happy hour, or dating around, or meditating every night. You like what you like — embrace it, don’t hide it.

8. Being terrible at something.
Some of us were born with the ability to craft the heck out of an antique coffee table, others burn themselves with a hot glue gun. Life is a series of trials and errors. You have your own unique gifts to offer the world that are different from someone else’s.

9. Putting yourself before anyone else.
The relationship you have with your own heart, mind and soul is the most important relationship you can have. There’s nothing wrong with being a little selfish when the time calls for it.

10. Trusting someone you shouldn’t have.
Feeling burned or betrayed by someone can swallow you whole. But their actions are their own and have nothing to do with you.

People are flawed. Sometimes those flaws show up in the beginning, sometimes they don’t reveal themselves until years down the line. If we kept walls up every single time we met someone to protect ourselves from getting hurt, we’d live a life of sheer loneliness — and there’s nothing worse than that.

11. A terminated relationship.
Some people aren’t meant to stay in our lives beyond the lessons they’ve taught us. It’s as simple as that.

12. Anything that happened in the past.
Ruminating on the past is like waking up every morning and consciously putting on a puka-shell necklace or some other hideous fashion trend that belongs back in an earlier decade. You have the power to make a deliberate choice to live in the now. Any event, negative or otherwise, belongs in the time period which it occurred. The only direction you can move in is forward — and that’s a really beautiful thing.

from:    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lindsay-holmes/stop-blaming-yourself_b_7707614.html?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living

Mandalas & Minds

Archetype of Wholeness: Jung and the Mandala

by Elle

Peter Patrick Barreda
Waking Times

In his writings on mandala symbolism, Carl Jung refers to the mandala as “the psychological expression of the totality of the self.” Within everyone’s psyche, to one degree or another, can be found a seed-center of the self surrounded by a chaotic maelstrom of issues, fears, passions and countless other psychological elements. It is the very disordered state of these elements that creates the discord and emotional imbalances from which too many of us suffer on a regular basis. The mandala is a template for the mind, a state of peace and order, a resolution of the chaos within. In Jung’s words,

“The severe pattern imposed by a circular image of this kind compensates the disorder and confusion of the psychic state—namely, through the construction of a central point to which everything is related.”

This central point is the absolute seat of the self, the anchor for all the extraneous elements of your environment and your psyche. In actuality these two are not separate entities, rather they are intimately combined, inextricably linked. The effects of the world within and the world without are often indistinguishable as far as your self is concerned. Internal elements (ideas, emotions, compulsions) interact freely with external elements (news, relationships, taxes) in the interface that is your mind. Understanding this exchange helps us see more clearly how certain patterns and symbolic elements from our most ancient origins have been internalized and carried through the ages, only to be unconsciously externalized in the beauty of the mandala.

Ritualistic mandalas from specific cultures display a style and variety of elements with special significance to that culture. There are nearly as many types of mandalas as there have been societies in the history of Humankind. But the essence of the pattern of the mandala, the “squaring of the circle,” is a basic motif in the architecture of so many dreams and fantasies whose unifying similarities stretch across the ages. The quaternary pattern imposed upon the circle symbolizes the application of an orderly architecture upon the infinity of the cosmos. It gives the psyche a safe place on which to stand, a solid foundation upon which it can gather itself to achieve completeness and harmony. Furthermore, the central point, or bindu, is the reference point for the self to identify with. Jung refers to this pattern as the “archetype of wholeness.”

This ordering effect on the human psyche is not, Jung stresses, the result of conscious reflection or cultural effort. It is a pre-existing condition of consciousness that such patterns help bring it into focus or return to an earlier, more peaceful state. This is why Jung found the mandala to be present in so many cultures and mythologies spanning the globe and the history of Humanity itself. It is an integral part of the collective unconscious that is shared by every person that has ever lived. The mandala is an unconscious state in which all opposites come together and are united, where the polar aspects of the cosmos and the individual can become one. This union of opposites is the very process by which we achieve wholeness, and through which we find peace.

A great deal of Jung’s psychotherapy dealt with the interpretation of individual mandalas created by his patients. In addition to the soothing, focusing effect he noted as a result in his patients’ psychological states, there was also a great deal of commonality between the images they created. Patients who had no prior knowledge of mandalas or any other conscious symbolistic expression repeatedly put to paper strikingly similar images in the course of their progress. Jung writes of the significance of these similarities:

“In view of the fact that all the mandalas shown here were new and uninfluenced products, we are driven to the conclusion that there must be a transconscious disposition in every individual which is able to produce the same or very similar symbols at all times and in all places. Since this disposition is usually not a conscious possession of the individual I have called it the collective unconscious, and, as the basis of its symbolical products, I postulate the existence of primordial images, the archetypes.”

It is these archetypes, ageless connections between every conscious being, in conjunction with the elemental pattern of the quaternary and the cardinal points, that create the powerful effect the mandala exhibits on the human psyche. It is as if there were a common reference point at which all our seemingly individual consciousnesses are connected, and it is from this realm that the form and effect of the mandala are drawn. The mandala can be considered a blueprint for the essential structure of our existence, and something about this structure is instantly recognized by the unconscious within us. We perceive the shapes, the patterns, the elements within the mandala, we see their relationships to each other, and within that sacred matrix we recognize our self and our place in the cosmos. It is an ancient and fundamental relationship from which we have strayed. The mandala is the key that can help us return to it.

Jung also equates the mandala with the eye in form as well as spirit, stating that “the eye is the prototype for the mandala.” The eye symbolizes seeing and light, and therefore consciousness itself. The eye is the part of us that beholds the universe and sees our place in it. It is knowledge, awareness and wisdom. The eye takes in light, the pure energy of the universe, and presents it to the inner spirit. It is the gateway, indeed the very union, between the self and the cosmos. As is the mandala. In addition to the structural similarities between the eye and the mandala, the image of the eye is a common element in individual mandalas. Often one can find a repeating pattern of eyes in a mandala. Jung refers to this as polyopthalmia (many-eyed), and considers this a representation of the unconscious as multiple consciousnesses.

It is evident that the mandala is the link, albeit a mysterious one, between our modern consciousness and our most ancient origins. Jung concluded that “their basic motif is the premonition of a center of personality, a kind of central point within the psyche, to which everything is related, by which everything is arranged, and which is itself a source of energy.” Somewhere in the vast, forgotten reaches of time lies the answer to this wondrous mystery, but also does it lay, quiet and dormant, deep within each one of us. It is for us to rediscover, and to cherish. It is for us to hold this inexhaustible source of energy close to our hearts. Within it we will discover ourselves, we will find each other, and we will reconnect with the essential center of existence.

About the Author

Peter Patrick Barreda is a mandala artist, occasional writer, chronic over-thinker, and webmaster of mandalaZone.com. He is fascinated by origins and causes, and the deeply-hidden reasons behind everything. He believes that mandalas are the underlying pattern for everything in the universe—physical, mental and spiritual, though at their core these three are essentially one. Please visit his fascinating website, where this article was originally featured.

from:    http://www.zengardner.com/archetype-wholeness-jung-mandala/

On Lucid Dreaming

Lucid Dreaming: The Basics


The following is excerpted from Lucid Dreaming: A Beginners Guide To Becoming Conscious In Your Dreams, to be published by Hay House Basics in February, 2015.


“What is lucid dreaming?”

Lucid dreaming is the art of becoming conscious within your dreams. A lucid dream is one in which you realize, ‘Aha! I’m dreaming!’ while you’re still asleep. Once you become conscious within a dream, you can interact with and direct it at will, partner-dancing with your unconscious mind.

It allows you conscious access to the deepest depths of your mind, and the opportunity to guide your dreams at will.  In a lucid dream you’ve not woken up – in fact, you’re still sound asleep – but part of the brain has reactivated (the right dorsolateral pre-frontal cortex, in case you’re wondering), allowing you to experience the dream state consciously with self-reflective awareness. Once you know that you’re dreaming as you’re dreaming, you gain access to the most powerful virtual reality generator in existence: the mind.

For me, one of the most revolutionary aspects of lucid dreaming is that it makes sleep fun! It completely reconfigures our relationship with the third of our lives that we spend asleep. Suddenly, sleep is not just ‘wasted time’, as some people see it, but rather a potential training ground for psycho-spiritual growth and a laboratory of internal exploration that makes us more lucidly aware in our waking lives too.

In fact, the term ‘lucid dreaming’ is a bit of a misnomer – it should really be ‘conscious dreaming’, because it’s the aspect of conscious awareness that defines the experience, rather than its lucid clarity, but for now we’ll stick with it.

However, given that there’s so much misunderstanding around what lucid dreaming actually is, it’s worth taking a moment to look at what lucid dreaming is not…

It’s not a half-awake/half-asleep state. In a lucid dream you’re in REM (rapid eye movement) dreaming sleep and out for the count, but part of your brain has become reactivated while you’re dreaming, allowing you to experience the dream consciously.

It’s not just a very vivid dream. Although lucid dreams are often super-vivid, high-definition experiences.

It’s not an out-of-body experience (sometimes called astral projection). This point is still being debated by many lucid dreaming practitioners, but as I see it, a lucid dream is happening primarily within our own personal mindstream, whereas in an out-of-body experience we’ve moved beyond these boundaries.

Lucid dreaming is a dream in which you know you’re dreaming as you’re dreaming. I’m glad we’ve cleared that up!

“So why would we want to dream lucidity?”

So many psychological problems have their source in the fact that we don’t know ourselves. We don’t know our minds; we’re unmindful and unaware. Through lucid dreaming we get to truly know ourselves, and to become more mindfully aware in all states of day and night.

Our unconscious minds hold a wealth of wisdom – about both ourselves and the world around us. This treasure trove is rarely accessed in the waking state but once we become lucid we gain access to a library of insight that resides in our dreaming mind. Through lucid dreaming we become conscious within the unconscious. This opens up the possibility of directly communicating with our own divine potential, and witnessing just how limitless we actually are.

“What are the actual benefits of lucid dreaming?”

There are so many benefits to lucid dreaming but in a nutshell, once you become conscious within your unconscious mind you can (much like through hypnotherapy) make lasting changes to your body and mind while you sleep.

A few of my favorite benefits of lucid dreaming are:

Psychological healing (phobias, trauma, confidence)

Physical healing

Spiritual practice while you sleep

Exploration of the unconscious mind

Treatment of PSTD and nightmare integration

Increasing and tapping into creativity

Preparation for death and dying

Enhanced learning and access to past memory

Lucid living and waking up to your full potential

Having fun (it’s the most fun you can have in your pyjamas!)

“Sounds great, but how do I actually do it?

Now comes the fun part! You can actually train yourself to have lucid dreams. It takes some effort but here are a few tips to get started with

The first step is start remembering your dreams,

Step two is to write them down as a way to learn and familiarise yourself with their content.

And step 3 is to start spotting patterns. Once you notice that “Oh look, I often dream of being back at school” you can set a trigger in your mind telling yourself  “the next time I’m back at school, I know I’m dreaming!”  Then the next time your dream of being back at school you’ll think “Hey! I must be dreaming!”

Those are just a few tips to get you started but if you really want to learn check out my new book which will teach you how: Lucid Dreaming: A Beginners Guide To Becoming Conscious In Your Dreams out Feb 2015 and available for pre-order now!

from:    http://realitysandwich.com/236292/lucid-dreaming-the-basics/

Shamanic View of Mental Illness

What a Shaman Sees in A Mental Hospital

August 22, 2014 | By  

ShamanStephanie Marohn with Malidoma Patrice Somé
Waking Times

The Shamanic View of Mental Illness

In the shamanic view, mental illness signals “the birth of a healer,” explains Malidoma Patrice Somé. Thus, mental disorders are spiritual emergencies, spiritual crises, and need to be regarded as such to aid the healer in being born.

What those in the West view as mental illness, the Dagara people regard as “good news from the other world.” The person going through the crisis has been chosen as a medium for a message to the community that needs to be communicated from the spirit realm. “Mental disorder, behavioral disorder of all kinds, signal the fact that two obviously incompatible energies have merged into the same field,” says Dr. Somé. These disturbances result when the person does not get assistance in dealing with the presence of the energy from the spirit realm.

One of the things Dr. Somé encountered when he first came to the United States in 1980 for graduate study was how this country deals with mental illness. When a fellow student was sent to a mental institute due to “nervous depression,” Dr. Somé went to visit him.

“I was so shocked. That was the first time I was brought face to face with what is done here to people exhibiting the same symptoms I’ve seen in my village.” What struck Dr. Somé was that the attention given to such symptoms was based on pathology, on the idea that the condition is something that needs to stop. This was in complete opposition to the way his culture views such a situation. As he looked around the stark ward at the patients, some in straitjackets, some zoned out on medications, others screaming, he observed to himself, “So this is how the healers who are attempting to be born are treated in this culture. What a loss! What a loss that a person who is finally being aligned with a power from the other world is just being wasted.”

Another way to say this, which may make more sense to the Western mind, is that we in the West are not trained in how to deal or even taught to acknowledge the existence of psychic phenomena, the spiritual world. In fact, psychic abilities are denigrated. When energies from the spiritual world emerge in a Western psyche, that individual is completely unequipped to integrate them or even recognize what is happening. The result can be terrifying. Without the proper context for and assistance in dealing with the breakthrough from another level of reality, for all practical purposes, the person is insane. Heavy dosing with anti-psychotic drugs compounds the problem and prevents the integration that could lead to soul development and growth in the individual who has received these energies.

On the mental ward, Dr Somé saw a lot of “beings” hanging around the patients, “entities” that are invisible to most people but that shamans and psychics are able to see. “They were causing the crisis in these people,” he says. It appeared to him that these beings were trying to get the medications and their effects out of the bodies of the people the beings were trying to merge with, and were increasing the patients’ pain in the process. “The beings were acting almost like some kind of excavator in the energy field of people. They were really fierce about that. The people they were doing that to were just screaming and yelling,” he said. He couldn’t stay in that environment and had to leave.

In the Dagara tradition, the community helps the person reconcile the energies of both worlds–”the world of the spirit that he or she is merged with, and the village and community.” That person is able then to serve as a bridge between the worlds and help the living with information and healing they need. Thus, the spiritual crisis ends with the birth of another healer. “The other world’s relationship with our world is one of sponsorship,” Dr. Somé explains. “More often than not, the knowledge and skills that arise from this kind of merger are a knowledge or a skill that is provided directly from the other world.”

The beings who were increasing the pain of the inmates on the mental hospital ward were actually attempting to merge with the inmates in order to get messages through to this world. The people they had chosen to merge with were getting no assistance in learning how to be a bridge between the worlds and the beings’ attempts to merge were thwarted. The result was the sustaining of the initial disorder of energy and the aborting of the birth of a healer.

“The Western culture has consistently ignored the birth of the healer,” states Dr. Somé. “Consequently, there will be a tendency from the other world to keep trying as many people as possible in an attempt to get somebody’s attention. They have to try harder.” The spirits are drawn to people whose senses have not been anesthetized. “The sensitivity is pretty much read as an invitation to come in,” he notes.

Those who develop so-called mental disorders are those who are sensitive, which is viewed in Western culture as oversensitivity. Indigenous cultures don’t see it that way and, as a result, sensitive people don’t experience themselves as overly sensitive. In the West, “it is the overload of the culture they’re in that is just wrecking them,” observes Dr. Somé. The frenetic pace, the bombardment of the senses, and the violent energy that characterize Western culture can overwhelm sensitive people.

Schizophrenia and Foreign Energy

With schizophrenia, there is a special “receptivity to a flow of images and information, which cannot be controlled,” stated Dr. Somé. “When this kind of rush occurs at a time that is not personally chosen, and particularly when it comes with images that are scary and contradictory, the person goes into a frenzy.”

What is required in this situation is first to separate the person’s energy from the extraneous foreign energies, by using shamanic practice (what is known as a “sweep”) to clear the latter out of the individual’s aura. With the clearing of their energy field, the person no longer picks up a flood of information and so no longer has a reason to be scared and disturbed, explains Dr. Somé.

Then it is possible to help the person align with the energy of the spirit being attempting to come through from the other world and give birth to the healer. The blockage of that emergence is what creates problems. “The energy of the healer is a high-voltage energy,” he observes. “When it is blocked, it just burns up the person. It’s like a short-circuit. Fuses are blowing. This is why it can be really scary, and I understand why this culture prefers to confine these people. Here they are yelling and screaming, and they’re put into a straitjacket. That’s a sad image.” Again, the shamanic approach is to work on aligning the energies so there is no blockage, “fuses” aren’t blowing, and the person can become the healer they are meant to be.

It needs to be noted at this point, however, that not all of the spirit beings that enter a person’s energetic field are there for the purposes of promoting healing. There are negative energies as well, which are undesirable presences in the aura. In those cases, the shamanic approach is to remove them from the aura, rather than work to align the discordant energies

Alex: Crazy in the USA, Healer in Africa

To test his belief that the shamanic view of mental illness holds true in the Western world as well as in indigenous cultures, Dr. Somé took a mental patient back to Africa with him, to his village. “I was prompted by my own curiosity to find out whether there’s truth in the universality that mental illness could be connected with an alignment with a being from another world,” says Dr. Somé.

Alex was an 18-year-old American who had suffered a psychotic break when he was 14. He had hallucinations, was suicidal, and went through cycles of dangerously severe depression. He was in a mental hospital and had been given a lot of drugs, but nothing was helping. “The parents had done everything–unsuccessfully,” says Dr. Somé. “They didn’t know what else to do.”

With their permission, Dr. Somé took their son to Africa. “After eight months there, Alex had become quite normal, Dr. Somé reports. He was even able to participate with healers in the business of healing; sitting with them all day long and helping them, assisting them in what they were doing with their clients . . . . He spent about four years in my village.” Alex stayed by choice, not because he needed more healing. He felt, “much safer in the village than in America.”

To bring his energy and that of the being from the spiritual realm into alignment, Alex went through a shamanic ritual designed for that purpose, although it was slightly different from the one used with the Dagara people. “He wasn’t born in the village, so something else applied. But the result was similar, even though the ritual was not literally the same,” explains Dr. Somé. The fact that aligning the energy worked to heal Alex demonstrated to Dr. Somé that the connection between other beings and mental illness is indeed universal.

After the ritual, Alex began to share the messages that the spirit being had for this world. Unfortunately, the people he was talking to didn’t speak English (Dr. Somé was away at that point). The whole experience led, however, to Alex’s going to college to study psychology. He returned to the United States after four years because “he discovered that all the things that he needed to do had been done, and he could then move on with his life.”

The last that Dr. Somé heard was that Alex was in graduate school in psychology at Harvard. No one had thought he would ever be able to complete undergraduate studies, much less get an advanced degree.

Dr. Somé sums up what Alex’s mental illness was all about: “He was reaching out. It was an emergency call. His job and his purpose was to be a healer. He said no one was paying attention to that.”

After seeing how well the shamanic approach worked for Alex, Dr. Somé concluded that spirit beings are just as much an issue in the West as in his community in Africa. “Yet the question still remains, the answer to this problem must be found here, instead of having to go all the way overseas to seek the answer. There has to be a way in which a little bit of attention beyond the pathology of this whole experience leads to the possibility of coming up with the proper ritual to help people.

Longing for Spiritual Connection

A common thread that Dr. Somé has noticed in “mental” disorders in the West is “a very ancient ancestral energy that has been placed in stasis, that finally is coming out in the person.” His job then is to trace it back, to go back in time to discover what that spirit is. In most cases, the spirit is connected to nature, especially with mountains or big rivers, he says.

In the case of mountains, as an example to explain the phenomenon, “it’s a spirit of the mountain that is walking side by side with the person and, as a result, creating a time-space distortion that is affecting the person caught in it.” What is needed is a merger or alignment of the two energies, “so the person and the mountain spirit become one.” Again, the shaman conducts a specific ritual to bring about this alignment.

Dr. Somé believes that he encounters this situation so often in the United States because “most of the fabric of this country is made up of the energy of the machine, and the result of that is the disconnection and the severing of the past. You can run from the past, but you can’t hide from it.” The ancestral spirit of the natural world comes visiting. “It’s not so much what the spirit wants as it is what the person wants,” he says. “The spirit sees in us a call for something grand, something that will make life meaningful, and so the spirit is responding to that.”

That call, which we don’t even know we are making, reflects “a strong longing for a profound connection, a connection that transcends materialism and possession of things and moves into a tangible cosmic dimension. Most of this longing is unconscious, but for spirits, conscious or unconscious doesn’t make any difference.” They respond to either.

As part of the ritual to merge the mountain and human energy, those who are receiving the “mountain energy” are sent to a mountain area of their choice, where they pick up a stone that calls to them. They bring that stone back for the rest of the ritual and then keep it as a companion; some even carry it around with them. “The presence of the stone does a lot in tuning the perceptive ability of the person,” notes Dr. Somé. “They receive all kinds of information that they can make use of, so it’s like they get some tangible guidance from the other world as to how to live their life.”

When it is the “river energy,” those being called go to the river and, after speaking to the river spirit, find a water stone to bring back for the same kind of ritual as with the mountain spirit.

“People think something extraordinary must be done in an extraordinary situation like this,” he says. That’s not usually the case. Sometimes it is as simple as carrying a stone.

A Sacred Ritual Approach to Mental Illness

One of the gifts a shaman can bring to the Western world is to help people rediscover ritual, which is so sadly lacking. “The abandonment of ritual can be devastating. From the spiritual view, ritual is inevitable and necessary if one is to live,” Dr. Somé writes in Ritual: Power, Healing, and Community. “To say that ritual is needed in the industrialized world is an understatement. We have seen in my own people that it is probably impossible to live a sane life without it.”

Dr. Somé did not feel that the rituals from his traditional village could simply be transferred to the West, so over his years of shamanic work here, he has designed rituals that meet the very different needs of this culture. Although the rituals change according to the individual or the group involved, he finds that there is a need for certain rituals in general.

One of these involves helping people discover that their distress is coming from the fact that they are “called by beings from the other world to cooperate with them in doing healing work.” Ritual allows them to move out of the distress and accept that calling.

Another ritual need relates to initiation. In indigenous cultures all over the world, young people are initiated into adulthood when they reach a certain age. The lack of such initiation in the West is part of the crisis that people are in here, says Dr. Somé. He urges communities to bring together “the creative juices of people who have had this kind of experience, in an attempt to come up with some kind of an alternative ritual that would at least begin to put a dent in this kind of crisis.”

Another ritual that repeatedly speaks to the needs of those coming to him for help entails making a bonfire, and then putting into the bonfire “items that are symbolic of issues carried inside the individuals . . . It might be the issues of anger and frustration against an ancestor who has left a legacy of murder and enslavement or anything, things that the descendant has to live with,” he explains. “If these are approached as things that are blocking the human imagination, the person’s life purpose, and even the person’s view of life as something that can improve, then it makes sense to begin thinking in terms of how to turn that blockage into a roadway that can lead to something more creative and more fulfilling.”

The example of issues with an ancestors touches on rituals designed by Dr. Somé that address a serious dysfunction in Western society and in the process “trigger enlightenment” in participants. These are ancestral rituals, and the dysfunction they are aimed at is the mass turning-of-the-back on ancestors. Some of the spirits trying to come through, as described earlier, may be “ancestors who want to merge with a descendant in an attempt to heal what they weren’t able to do while in their physical body.”

“Unless the relationship between the living and the dead is in balance, chaos ensues,” he says. “The Dagara believe that, if such an imbalance exists, it is the duty of the living to heal their ancestors. If these ancestors are not healed, their sick energy will haunt the souls and psyches of those who are responsible for helping them.” The rituals focus on healing the relationship with our ancestors, both specific issues of an individual ancestor and the larger cultural issues contained in our past. Dr. Somé has seen extraordinary healing occur at these rituals.

Taking a sacred ritual approach to mental illness rather than regarding the person as a pathological case gives the person affected–and indeed the community at large–the opportunity to begin looking at it from that vantage point too, which leads to “a whole plethora of opportunities and ritual initiative that can be very, very beneficial to everyone present,” states. Dr. Somé.

Excerpted from:  The Natural Medicine Guide to Schizophrenia, or The Natural Medicine Guide to Bi-polar Disorder, pages 178-189, Stephanie Marohn (featuring Malidoma Patrice Somé).

from:    http://www.wakingtimes.com/2014/08/22/shaman-sees-mental-hospital/