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Wed, 22 May 2019
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The Truth Perspective: First Sight: Why Psi Is the Root of Consciousness

parapyschology
Parapsychology remains a controversial science, rejected by materialists as impossible and not worth any scientific attention. But if materialism is false, and there is something valid in the parapsychological research, what do its results suggest about the nature of consciousness? James C. Carpenter has been doing such research for decades, and developing a theory of psi that places it within a complete picture of human psychology.

Seven years ago he published the culmination of his research and theorizing: First Sight: ESP and Parapsychology in Everyday Life. Carpenter argues that psi events are not anomalies and psi is not an ability. Rather, psi is an intrinsic psychological process that contributes to every thought, feeling, and action. It is the leading edge of consciousness and plays an essential role in the construction of our experience.

In fact, psi seems to operate in much the same way as various subliminal mental processes: below the level of consciousness. Just like subliminal primes, extrasensory information prepares the mind for action, activating physiological, emotional, and cognitive responses. And all these psychological processes fulfill the same function: to engage the world of meaning according to our shared and individual aims and intentions, both conscious and unconscious.


Running Time: 01:34:19

Download: MP3 - 86.4 MB


Heart

Breathtaking: The benefits of conscious breathing

Breathing
© Aeon
Do hold your breath: on the benefits of conscious breathing
In my 20s, like many others who find that their mind is poisoning their life, I discovered meditation. Though for a long time I found it impossible, I liked all the encouragements to stop paying attention to my thoughts, because I feared and loathed many of my thoughts. I was less impressed by the suggestion that - to quote the teacher at a retreat I attended - my breath was 'the most powerful force in the Universe' or that 'all wisdom starts with proper breathing'. Breathing? I thought. That is how I will escape this flirtation with what feels like madness? By breathing? Sat stiffly, failing to follow the most powerful force in the Universe as it moved through my nostrils, I inwardly scoffed, warming myself with my own incredulity.

Five years later, like the once-foolish novice in many a spiritual parable, my annoyance has given way to a degree of understanding. I'm no yogi, and my practice is scattered, improvised and private. But I consider my breathing constantly. In doing this, I flirt with the madness less brazenly, and less often.

Comment: For more on the power of breathe work, you can read:


Nebula

Life after death: Hospice doctor studies the vivid dreams and visions of dying people that suggest comfort being given from the other side

tunnel
We tend to look at death as the end of a life, but surely there's more to the story than that. And while we know that people have very similar stories to tell after a near-death experience, often speaking of a tunnel of light and then being returned to the mortal world, we rarely consider what happens to our dreams as we approach the end.

For years, Dr. Christopher Kerr and his team at Hospice Buffalo in New York State have been documenting and studying the dreams of patients as they approach death. Dr. Kerr's shows something fascinating and inspiring about the last stage of life: the people we love who've already died are there on the other side waiting for us. It's as if those friends, family members and loved ones who've already left this world are just beyond the veil waiting for us, communicating in dreams.
I was laying in bed and people were walking very slowly by me. The right-hand side I didn't know, but they were all very friendly and they touched my arm and my hand as they went by. But the other side were people that I knew - my mom and dad were there, my uncle. Everybody I knew that was dead was there. The only thing was, my husband wasn't there, nor was my dog, and I knew that I would be seeing them. - Jeanne Faber, 75, months before her death from ovarian cancer [Source]

Comment: Why is Dr. Kerr among so few in the medical profession to look at and validate the very vivid and profoundly moving experiences of dying people? And what does that say about modern science that seems to dismiss the emotional, psychological and even spiritual healing of people and reduce an individual's health to biological processes only - never mind the possible implications of such interactions as mentioned in the the article above?

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Shoe

Self-care is not an indulgence. It's a discipline.

steps stairs exercise
© Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash
Self-care requires the discipline to do the hard and boring things that are good for us.
The way self-care is portrayed today is completely and utterly backward. First, self-care as a concept is almost exclusively aimed at women (generally wealthy white women who can afford the goods and services that get marketed to them as self-care). The not-so-subtle suggestion is that women need to be reminded to care for themselves because, after all, they are so busy taking care of everyone else. And the even less-subtle suggestion is that while we should be taking care of ourselves, that doesn't absolve us from taking care of everyone else.

Which brings me to the second way that the current portrayal of self-care is backward -- it's characterized as an indulgence. This means both that the practice of self-care is something we are occasionally allowed to indulge in and that self-care should feel like an indulgence. Think expensive bath products, luxurious chocolates, spa appointments. When we spend more time talking about the self-care power of high thread count sheets than we do about getting enough sleep we've wandered pretty far from anything that can be remotely considered healthy for either mind or body.

Comment: Although this article is aimed at women, it could just as easily apply to men. Self-care is treated as an indulgence for both sexes, and people rarely if ever take the time needed to take care of themselves before engaging in tasks and duties. If self-care isn't prioritized, the body may take steps to force downtime through illness. Don't wait for the billboard to fall on your head! Take care of yourself!

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People

Connection is a core human need, but we are terrible at it

connection
© Illustration: Hélène Desplechin/Getty Images
In his book Lost Connections, Johann Hari talks about his decades of work in the fields of trauma and mental health and why he believes that the root of almost everything we suffer through is a severed connection we never figured out how to repair.

At one point, Hari talks about an obesity clinic where patients who were overweight to the point of medical crisis were put on a supervised liquid diet in an effort to try to save their lives. The treatment worked, and many of the patients walked out of the clinic hundreds of pounds lighter and with a new lease on life - at first. What happened later was a side effect no doctor predicted. Some of the patients gained back all the weight and then some. Others endured psychotic breaks and one died by suicide.

After looking into why many of these patients had such adverse emotional reactions, the doctors discovered something important: The time when each patient began overeating usually correlated with a traumatic event they had no other coping mechanism for. Hari summed up the findings like this: "What we thought was the problem was very often a symptom of a problem that nobody knew anything about."

Comment: See also:


People 2

Your romantic partner is probably not as smart as you think they are, suggests new study

Couple surprised
It's now well known that many of us over-estimate our own brainpower. In one study, more than 90 per cent of US college professors famously claimed to be better than average at teaching, for instance - which would be highly unlikely. Our egos blind us to our own flaws.

But do we have an even more inflated view of our nearest and dearest? It seems we do - that's the conclusion of a new paper published in Intelligence journal, which has shown that we consistently view our romantic partners as being much smarter than they really are.

The researchers, Gilles Gignac at the University of Western Australia and Marcin Zajenkowski at the University of Warsaw, also tested whether the couples' actual IQs influenced their relationship satisfaction - with surprising results.

There had been some previous signs that we are especially optimistic about our loved ones' attributes. When it comes to physical attractiveness, for instance, we tend to think that we have managed to attract someone who is even hotter than us - an effect sometimes called the "love is blind bias". But past studies had failed to find a similar optimism for estimates of partners' intelligence. Overall, people seemed to judge their partners' intelligence as equal to their own - rather than thinking that they were especially clever.

Comment: Interesting but as the researchers said, they had only used one marker of intelligence when there are many. In addition to language there is also emotional and spiritual intelligence, which we can use to make more accurate evaluations of others. However, it stands to reason that the 'love is blind bias' would extend to favourably judging another's intelligence in addition to their physical attributes. See also:


Snowflake

The age of anxiety: Fake news plays its part

Anxiety
Authors have many images to describe distorted mental states, but that of a glass enclosure, which warps vision and sound, is among the most common. In his searing essay on the loss of his daughter, Aleksandar Hemon uses the metaphor of an aquarium to describe the detached sensations caused by profound grief. Sylvia Plath's titular bell jar is her symbol for the airless perceptions of suicidal depression. The intercession of glass between human sight and the world is present even in the New Testament, when, in 1 Corinthians, we are told that earthly life is seen "through a glass, darkly." In a heavenly future, no glazier's hand will intercede before the face of God.

Anxiety, too, can have this distorting, glassy quality. When I had my first panic attack, in Russia in the summer of 2010, the entire world shrank to the size of my frantically pulsing aorta. I could feel nothing beyond the hammering in my wrists and neck, the freezing sweat that burst out on my forehead, the swishing thrum in my ears. I called emergency services from my host family's couch in Kazan. Russian EMTs pronounced that an impromptu EKG had shown me to be in perfect condition, and gave me a decoction of "herbs" to drink. At dawn I nodded into uneasy sleep. For the next week, smoke from forest fires igniting all around Russia descended on the city, and my heart intermittently skittered in my chest like a rat. Each time it did I thought I was going to die, although death, unaccountably, never came.

When I came back from Russia to my family's home in New Jersey, I was a small being hobbled by fear. In the ensuing years I have experienced these moments of pure compression-the universe eaten alive by dread, consisting only of me and my own death-with some frequency. Other passengers on the subway are reduced to shadows, the rattle of the train a faint echo of my own deafening heartbeat, and the glass-haze of terror blots out light.

Explaining a panic attack is a little like explaining an explosion: You can talk about adrenaline, as you can talk about a flurry of reactive particles clashing until they burn. You can talk about the fight-or-flight reaction and the symptoms-sweating, rapid heartbeat, trembling, the overwhelming urge to escape. But you cannot truly convey a swelling balloon of heat, a concussion in the air, the lancing pain of shrapnel, in words. You cannot convey the pure concussive terror of a panic attack in words either, the sense that all your bones are thrumming a bad, insistent chord. I have tried to explain why I must leave the restaurant, why I must have an aisle seat at the show, why sometimes my throat seizes so powerfully I can't even drink water. Some friends and family members understand; others don't; and I hide my phobias when I can. The rest of the time, I live within the ringing glass walls of my own panic.

Brain

The power of neuroplasticity: Boy's brain rewires itself even with 1/6th of its contents missing

Tanner Collins

Tanner Collins
I put my hand on a bishop and slide it several squares before moving it back. "Should I move a different piece instead?" I wonder to myself.

"You have to move that piece if you've touched it," my opponent says, flashing a wry grin.

Fine. I move the bishop. It's becoming increasingly obvious to me now - I'm going to lose a game of chess to a 12-year-old.

My opponent is Tanner Collins, a seventh-grade student growing up in a Pittsburgh suburb. Besides playing chess, Collins likes building with Legos. One such set, a replica of Hogwarts Castle from the Harry Potter books, is displayed on a hutch in the dining room of his parents' house. He points out to me a critical flaw in the design: The back of the castle isn't closed off. "If you turn it around," he says, "the whole side is open. That's dumb."

Though Collins is not dissimilar from many kids his age, there is something that makes him unlike most 12-year-olds in the United States, if not the world: He's missing one-sixth of his brain.

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The Truth Perspective: How to Numb Your Conscience with Totalitarian Religion

Chief Rabbis Israel, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef (L), Rabbi David Lau (R)
© Yaakov Coehn/Flash90
These men have a lot of power over happiness for Jews in Israel. The Chief Rabbis of Israel, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef (L) and Rabbi David Lau (R)
Religions provide a collection of values by which their adherents strive to live, a story in which they play an important role. These timeless values and stories are some of humanity's greatest achievements. But they can also go wrong - very wrong. Just as religions can offer the impetus towards the development of conscience, they can also be distorted to such a degree that they actively stifle conscience, elevating a group of believers to a chosen status denied to all others, and thus justifying the worst of attitudes and behaviors towards such outsiders, regardless of such individuals' individual character.

Today on the Truth Perspective we continue our discussion of Israel Shahak's Jewish History, Jewish Religion and Shiraz Maher's Salafi-Jihadism, and the two religious ideologies they criticize. Both are founded on a distorted view of human nature, a demonization of outsiders, and rigid doctrines of political and social absolutism: religious pathocracy. Tune in to see how the operate, and how they justify the unjustifiable.

Running Time: 01:32:03

Download: MP3


Broom

How to de-clutter your thoughts and emotions

declutter
Everything starts with a thought, so let's start by making space for some new ones. The mind is the root of all clutter. It has helped you create everything you see and live, the good the bad and the ugly. Now let's put it to work, to de-clutter your whole life, step-by-step, freeing you from unwanted and unneeded life-sucking energy and burdens.

First and foremost, you need to monitor your thoughts. What are you thinking? Look around. Your reality is a reflection of your inner terrain, both mentally and emotionally. Be mindful of your thoughts. Be observant of how you respond to situations and your own beliefs. You can only hold one thought at the time, so remember that a negative, or un-serving thought is occupying the space of a serving one.

Comment: Read more about Picking up your mental garbage