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Thu, 30 Mar 2017
The World for People who Think

Science of the Spirit


Spiritual Bypassing: Ten completely B.S. practices of supposedly spiritual people

“My vibration is so high, man. My chakras are so aligned. Fuuuckkkk, I’m a spiritual beast, bro.”
No one ever told me spirituality could be a self-sabotaging ego trap.

I spent about three years reading about spiritual teachings and incorporating them into my life before ever learning that spirituality has a dark side.

Naturally, I was taken aback. I felt kind of betrayed.

How could something that seemed so pure and good be harmful?

The answer has to do with something that psychologists call spiritual bypassing. In the early 1980s, psychologist John Welwood coined the term "spiritual bypassing" to refer to the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid confronting uncomfortable feelings, unresolved wounds, and fundamental emotional and psychological needs.

According to integral psychotherapist Robert Augustus Masters, spiritual bypassing causes us to withdraw from ourselves and others, to hide behind a kind of spiritual veil of metaphysical beliefs and practices. He says it "not only distances us from our pain and difficult personal issues, but also from our own authentic spirituality, stranding us in a metaphysical limbo, a zone of exaggerated gentleness, niceness, and superficiality."

Comment: Mostly spot on. Unless one can master the basic ins and outs of everyday living, control one's emotions and be capable of maintaining decent relations with others (just to name a few) any claims of ultra-spirituality are false.


A better technique for detecting lies

© Natural News
Until now studies have found that people do no better than chance at detecting lies.

Despite all the advice about lie detection going around, study after study has found that it is very difficult to spot when someone is lying.

Previous tests involving watching videos of suspects typically find that both experts and non-experts come in at around 50/50: in other words you might as well flip a coin.

Now, though, a new study published in Human Communication Research, has found that a process of active questioning yielded almost perfect results, with 97.8% of liars successfully detected (Levine et al., 2014).

The process of lie detection has nothing to do with supposed 'tells' like avoiding eye-contact or sweating, and everything to do with the way the suspect is questioned.


People are happier when raised by parents who do this one thing

Want your kids to be happier kids? More important, want your children to grow up to be happier and more satisfied for the rest of their lives?

A study from University College London found that people who perceived their parents as less psychologically controlling and more caring as they were growing up were likely to be happier and more satisfied as adults.

On the flip side, the people whose parents applied greater psychological control as they were growing up exhibited significantly lower mental well-being throughout their adult lives; in fact, the effect was judged to be similar to the recent death of a close friend or relative.

According to Mai Stafford, the lead author of the study:
"We found that people whose parents showed warmth and responsiveness had higher life satisfaction and better mental wellbeing throughout early, middle and late adulthood. By contrast, psychological control was significantly associated with lower life satisfaction and mental wellbeing. Examples of psychological control include not allowing children to make their own decisions, invading their privacy and fostering dependence."


The ancient art of memory & the modern science of dreaming

I'm old enough to remember a time before we knew that birds were just a modern form of dinosaurs. Like many children in the 1970s, I thought dinosaurs were the coolest things ever, partly because they were so remote in time, so very extinct. But to later find out what palaeontologists were just then realising, that these ancient monsters were still around us everywhere, always audible outside the window, was mind-blowing and inspiring in a whole new way.

Something similar is true of much 'ancient wisdom'. Lore that we may assume has been long forgotten often turns out to have just morphed into something different. In some cases, it still survives in places, or in disguises, that we might least suspect. This is true of my favourite piece of ancient knowhow, one that has been centrally important in my life and learning for three decades: the astonishingly effective memorisation method practiced by scholars and orators in pre-literate, pre-Gutenberg times.

Few know about this technique anymore, but I was lucky to read about it when I was in college at the University of Colorado in the 1980s. A lecturer recommended I read a book called The Art of Memory by Frances Yates,1 saying it was literally the most interesting book he'd ever read. That sounded like a pretty good recommendation - so I headed over to the university bookstore and picked up a copy. Reading it that evening at home, I felt like I was being initiated into a whole new way of thinking, not only about the mind and history, but also about film, visual arts, literature, psychology. It felt like an initiation, and was really one of those life-changing reading experiences.


Natural expression of gender: The story of a male-identifying little girl who didn't transition

Comment: Though this blog-post was written in the summer of 2014, it is even more relevant today in regards to the war being waged against the natural connection between gender and biological sex.

I have been shying away from highly controversial topics on this blog recently because I just couldn't take the drama that naturally associates with it. But I keep hearing the story of Ryland, a child who was born a female, whose parents have transitioned her to male at 5 years old. You can see the full story HERE, but in short, because their daughter identified herself as a boy, and liked "boy" things as opposed to "girl" things, they cut off her hair, bought her "boy" clothes, and have begun telling her, and others, that she is a boy.

I have no degree in early childhood development, nor have I studied psychology. I didn't even graduate from College.

I am also not here to pass judgement on Ryland's parents. I believe that they are doing what they believe to be the most loving thing for their child. I'm simply sharing my story because I see so much of my 5-year-old self in this child.

I was born the second daughter to two loving, amazing, supportive parents. They would go on to have 2 more daughters. The four of us couldn't be more different, even down to our hair and eye color. Our parents embraced our differences and allowed us to grow as individuals, not concerned with the social "norms" for girls. I often joke that I was the boy my dad never had. My dad is a free spirit, 100% unconcerned with what people think of him, and he thought nothing of "out of the box" behavior. I function more as a firstborn than a second born (however, this does not make me the firstborn, amiright?)

Anyhow, even as a baby I seemed to prefer "boy" things. I was rough, tough, and daring. My parents had to cut my curly hair short because I would twist it into knots and refused to let my parents brush it. I once managed to make my way onto the second story roof, and was gleefully running around, as my parents had simultaneous panic-attacks. My toys of choice were sticks, sling-shots, bows & arrows, guns, mud, motorcycles, and monsters. When my sister and I picked out "My LIttle Ponies" I chose a blue one, and promptly cut all of that lustrous long hair off as short as possible. My barbie also got the chop.

Comment: This honest account shines light on the problem: it is the liberals who are convinced, more than anyone, that certain things are female and others are male. Now that is REAL discrimination.


Parental rejection: Being rejected by your father does more damage to a child's long-term development

Both parents affect your personality, but rejection by one parent could be more critical for long-term development. Being rejected by your father can do greater, long-lasting emotional damage than being rejected by your mother, research finds.

While rejection by either parent is traumatising for children, fathers often have higher prestige and/or power. Therefore, children can take their father's rejection harder.

Professor Ronald Rohner, co-author of the study, said:
"In our half-century of international research, we've not found any other class of experience that has as strong and consistent effect on personality and personality development as does the experience of rejection, especially by parents in childhood.

Children and adults everywhere — regardless of differences in race, culture, and gender — tend to respond in exactly the same way when they perceived themselves to be rejected by their caregivers and other attachment figures."
Rejection by either parent, or both, has a huge effect on children's personality.


Dr. Gabor Maté ~ Who we are when we are not addicted: The possible human


Thank you all for being here, I'm honored that you are. Thank you to Banyen Books for facilitating this event. I'll be reading from a number of books, most of which I bought at Banyen. An addicted personality - if there is such a thing, I have it. So that means I can get hooked on anything. Whenever I run into a spiritual crisis, my way of dealing with it is to go out and by another spiritual book - which I don't read. But next time a get into another spiritual mud bath, I go out and buy another book. In fact, I buy several at one time. So Banyen has everything to be grateful for, as far as I'm concerned, because I'm probably personally responsible for their annual profit, such as it might be.

This talk was titled 'Who we are when we are not Addicted: The Possible Human'. I didn't and wouldn't have come up with that title because I don't know what that Possible Human is. Therefore I jumped at the chance of giving the talk because it gives me an opportunity to actually learn something, rather than giving the same talk or variations on the same themes, I had a chance to explore something new. My immediate response to the question would have been "I don't have a clue." But then I realized that it's not true I don't have a clue, but all I have is clues. So I'm not going to be answering that question tonight as to what the possible human is, but at the very most, or at the very best, I'll be giving you some clues that I've begun to follow or believe they are worth following to various degrees. But there's no completed answer.

Eye 1

Cyborg dreams - are we metaphorically dismembered by our gadgets?

© Allen Donikowski
Screen dreams: 'we cannot afford to believe in magic, or to overlook the effortful divide between us as we actually are and ‘us’ as we appear on screen.'
Today, depending on your favoured futurist prophet, a kind of digital Elysium awaits us all. Over millennia, we have managed to unshackle ourselves from the burdens of time and space — from heat, cold, hunger, thirst, physical distance, mechanical effort — along a trajectory seemingly aimed at abstraction. Humanity's collective consciousness is to be uploaded into the super-Matrix of the near future — or augmented into cyborg immortality, or out-evolved by self-aware machine minds. Whatever happens, the very meat of our physical being is to be left behind.

Except, of course, so far we remain thorougly embodied. Flesh and blood. There is just us, slumped in our chairs, at our desks, inside our cars, stroking our smartphones and tablets. Peel back the layers of illusion, and what remains is not a brain in a jar — however much we might fear or hunger for this — but a brain within a body, as remorselessly obedient to that body's urges and limitations as any paleolithic hunter-gatherer.

It's a point that has been emphasised by much recent research into thought and behaviour. To quote from Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011) by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, 'cognition is embodied; you think with your body, not only with your brain'. Yet when it comes to culture's cutting edge, there remains an overwhelming tendency to treat embodiment not as a central condition of being human that our tools ought to serve, but rather as an inconvenience to be eliminated.


Productivity 'hacks' - How to stay focused amidst chaos

Constantly finding yourself with a million and one things to do? If so, you probably know all too well that when we're drowning in tasks and responsibilities, staying focused and getting things done can seemingly feel impossible.

Having experienced these overwhelming situations myself, over the years, I have tried out countless tips in hopes that they would help me to not only survive - but to thrive - even during the most hectic and chaotic kind of days.

Here, I'm sharing with you some of these simple productivity 'hacks' that I have personally found to be most effective. Give them a try! I hope that they'll be as useful for you as they are for me.

Comment: Understanding the inner workings of your brain can improve your productivity and quality of life


Brain integration - What EMDR, running, and drumming have in common

Nope, this isn't a strange riddle where someone is found in the desert in a scuba suit. The answer to the question posed above is actually pretty simple: brain integration.

What is that? Excellent question; I am glad you asked. As you may know, we have two hemispheres of the brain. Neuroscience is a relatively young field, and we are continuing to learn more about the complexity of the brain and its function with time and as research evolves. We do know that there are different roles played by different sides and areas of the brain, and that integrating neural networks appears to be helpful in resolving traumatic memories.

The success of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) in treating trauma and mental health challenges teaches us that alternating right- and left-brain stimulation, via visual, auditory, or tactile experience, helps facilitate emotional processing. Through the simple act of holding something that buzzes between your right and left hand, or listening to something shifting from your right to left ear, a memory that was once charged with emotion can become less distressing. During the process, it is common for relevant associations to arise, for memories of thoughts and body sensations to arise. With support, this process can facilitate lasting and integrated healing.