Reconciling the Paranormal with Mainstream Scientific Thinking

Andrew Dilks | Waking Times | May 20 2014

Ever since the emergence of the study of the paranormal it has had a tentative at best relationship with mainstream science – by definition the study of phenomena outside the orbit of scientific explanation, the study of the paranormal has been largely rejected by the scientific community – after all, they are experiences which lie at odds with the rational and empirical approach through which science defines itself. The presence of a large number of charlatans and frauds – particularly during its early Victorian years – certainly didn’t help matters, and their continuing presence to this day serves to add fuel to the fires of rational skepticism.

The existence of paranormal phenomena such as spirits, ghosts, telekinesis and extrasensory perception are often labelled pseudoscience; “bad science” couched in scientific terms, exemplified by the various attempts to build machinery to measure such phenomena which bear an unfortunate resemblance to the gadgets found in movies such as Ghostbusters. And yet, while parapsychology and other similar fields have made little progress towards reconciling the paranormal with mainstream scientific thinking, recent developments seem to suggest that a reconciliation may be something the future will bring.

A problem with the empirical approach to “proving” the existence of paranormal events is the reliance on the use of technologies available to man to measuring these phenomena – for instance, the fact that no one has ever produced a verified photograph of a ghost or spirit is taken as ample evidence for their non-existence, while the notion that perhaps the machine itself is incapable of capturing something that exists on a different plane of reality is rarely considered. But this problem is gradually being increasingly addressed by a growing number of scientists, many of whom who are at the cutting edge of consciousness research, recognizing the crucial link between how the mind works in relationship to paranormal experiences.

Dr. Gary Schwartz, educated at Harvard and a former teacher at Yale, and the author of The Afterlife Experiments: Breakthrough Scientific Evidence of Life After Death, studies the phenomenon of predicting the future and has discovered a number of people he considers to be “the real deal.” Predictably facing criticism from skeptical colleagues, he is building a compelling argument for the reality of precognition in the context of a broad progression of conscious stages in the human brain.

Dr. Alan Sanderson is just one person currently leading the way in the new field of spirit science – what is commonly known as exorcism is now moving in a direction which seeks to make it a scientifically accepted phenomenon, drawing heavily on our collective psychological history and belief in spirits and possessions, in essence updating the rituals of expurgation which cultures conducted throughout history and lending them scientific credibility. Known as spirit release therapy, psychologist Dr. Terence Palmer described the process as one which “sits uncomfortably between the disbelief of a materialist secular society and the subjective experience of spirit possession: whether that experience is a symptom of psychosis, symbolic representation, socio-cultural expectation or a veridical manifestation.”

Palmer resurrected and expanded on the ideas of Frederick W. H. Myers, who in the late 19th century challenged the limitations of science and posited a radiation or energy as the source for telepathic phenomena – while his ideas weren’t formulated with any academic rigor, he was correct to observe that science struggled to understand some of the basic functions of consciousness and was therefore ill-equipped to proclaim phenomena beyond their understanding as irrelevant or non-existent. Only a science which takes full account of the breadth and range of human conscious experience would be capable of coming to terms with the paranormal. Or, as Palmer would write over a century later, “To permit the accommodation of all human experience into a broader scientific framework is a scary prospect for several reasons. But fear is the cause of all human suffering, and only when medical science puts aside its own fears of being proven wrong can it treat sickness effectively by showing how fear is to be remedied.”

Another scientist from a very different tradition to Palmer has also recently posited a scientific explanation for seemingly inexplicable phenomena. Bernard Carr, an astronomy and mathematics professor from Queen Mary University of London, has suggested that the idea of the multi-dimensional universe could explain how and why such phenomena occur – manifesting outside the realm of the four dimensions with which we are familiar, such experiences represent our low-level consciousness interacting with entities on a higher dimensional level, Since the concept is in its infancy – and open to endless debate and speculation – we have yet to develop the relevant tools, both literally and emotionally, to fully grasp the implications.

These may amount to only tentative steps towards a final reconciliation between science and the paranormal, but despite persistent criticisms from some mainstream materialistic scientists and the inevitable problem of securing funding for such “controversial” research, the renewed research into areas from qualified scientists, previously dismissed outright as pseudoscience, is clearly a step in the right direction. Whatever this line of enquiry reveals, the fact that it is being explored with renewed vigor – and from an increasing variety of respected scientific circles – is something to be heartened by. All of us at some time in our lives experience phenomena which feel dislocated from the physical – perhaps these will become better understood sooner than we realise.

About the Author

Andrew Dilks writes on culture and politics at orwellwasright.co.ukHe is the author of Goliath and Flow. His newest book Prehistoric Highs: Mind-Altering Plants and the Birth of Civilization will be available in 2014.

Physical, Energetic and Spiritual Lessons of Plants

Jefferey Jaxen | Waking Times | May 21 2014

Many of the plants we pass in the background of our day are hard at work. They are employed by the planet as construction workers, teachers, security guards, and doctors. Arguably the top performers in each profession and certainly the hardest workers, never wanting or taking a day off in their life. Yet it is humanity that fails to understand much of their vital importance in each area. It is said that you don’t miss a good thing till it is gone. This seems to be the case with our plant kingdom. Radiationheavy metal contamination, genetic tinkering (GMO), and pesticides appear to be muting the lessons of perhaps our greatest teachers and doctors throughout time, plants. As “science” continues to discover and validate what was already known by our ancestors, it is clear we have a lot to discover regarding the assistance plants can give in all areas of human health and consciousness. Perhaps that is why they call it ‘re’ search.

It is said that the greatest inventors, scientists, and overall creators throughout all time were the ones that excelled in unbiased observation. The people of China, Africa, and India represent the cultures with the longest history in true experience with the relationship of plants and the betterment of humanity. It is only in the last few centuries that we have all but abandoned the ancient wisdom in an arrogant search of high-tech solutions. This has yielded soaring cancer rates along with other chronic disease states in “developed” nations. In addition, it has distanced and blocked humanity from their intimate relationship with the earth they live on.

Rebuilding The Physical Body

As Hippocrates famously states, ‘let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’. I would go a step further and say let it be thy medicine, thy doctor, and thy friend. The Hippocrates Institute has been proving that raw, plant-based food is superior in balancing the body and eliminating most non-mechanical ill-health states faced by humanity for over six decades. Much like many other areas of ‘alternative’ health, it seems that allopathic/Western/Rockefeller medicine has seen the need to join forces and admit their shortcomings.

The raw plant-based diets once considered a fad appear now to be set in stone and here to stay. The wisdom of the raw plant and enzyme rich sprout to re-balance the physical body time and time again are still king. It appears last century’s experiment of reliance on processed food along with heavy propaganda from the dairy and meat industries was a nice footnote on its way to the dustbin of history. Of the 1.8 million species identified on this planet, all eat a raw food diet except one. We are slowly rejoining our lineage as the last stubborn holdouts and receiving a warm welcome with the gifts of superior health from our old teachers.

Raising Our Consciousness

In a time in which humanity has lost its way in a fog of lower consciousness, plants have once again emerged to teach us. Plant combinations yielding ayahuasca and mushroom derived psilocybin are gaining rapid popularity not for their recreational effects but for evolutionary changes on the individual involved. Many studies are underway about the effects of such exotic substances. Yet the true value may forever lie beyond laboratory measuring devices and lab coats. As Alanna Ketler, contributor for Collective Evolution put it, “Ayahuasca is an amazing tool that can assist you with clearing your innermost demons, bringing clarity and joy to your everyday life, helping you to let go of any fear, showing you what unconditional love feels like, showing you your soul purpose and many”.

The gift taught by these powerful teachers may rest solely on the elevated consciousness and intimate personal experience each walks away with after an experience with the above mentioned teachers/plants.

Dr. Bach’s Energetic Flower Therapy

An often overlooked lesson from our plant teachers is their assistance and effects on our energetic systemsDr. Edward Bach believed that there is no true healing unless there is “a change in outlook, peace of mind, and inner happiness.” His Flower Therapy utilizes the essence or Soul of specific, higher order flowers that have been prepared through a harmonious process of natural alchemy. A process similar to one that Native American healers were reported to have used. These essences don’t work on the physical body. They work on the human energy system.

The beauty lies in the simplicity. However simplicity, in this case, should not be confused with a primitive, lesser form of healing. It’s quite the contrary. So the teaching goes, disease is a disharmony or the distortion of frequencies within or between different levels of the aura. The information pattern of the distortion shows itself at the etheric level for weeks, months, or even years before it is manifested in the physical body. If these disharmonies are corrected at the etheric level by using subtle methods of healing, they will not manifest in the physical body. In fact, physical illness serves as a last corrective factor. It’s a warning light, forcefully indicating that something has to be changed immediately to prevent dysfunction from setting in. Throughout the 1920′s and early 1930′s, Dr. Bach discovered thirty-eight separate flower essences that address different dysfunction patterns in human beings. Each has a specific task to balance out those distortions and hence the individual’s energy body and physical body.

To quote Dr. Bach, “These plants are there to extend a helping hand to man in those dark hours of forgetfulness, when he loses sight of his divinity, and allows the cloud of fear or pain to obscure his vision.” If that sounds like your life, learn about Dr. Bach and his Bach Flower methods now with his short book titled Heal Thyself.

About the Author

Jefferey Jaxen is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and an open source researcher and writer. In addition he serves as director of alternative & holistic health for the Awake & Empowered Expo. You can find his latest research, information, and work at the following websites: www.jeffereyjaxen.com and https://www.awakeandempoweredexpo.com/. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JeffereyJaxen or contact him directly at https://www.jeffereyjaxen.com/contact.html

Another Dirty Coal Plant Bites the Dust

Bruce Nilles  |  Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign  |  May 12 2014

The retirement of NV Energy-owned Reid Gardner Generating Station is a major victory for the climate, clean air, renewable energy, and the many people involved in the fight. While the efforts of Warren Buffett should not be ignored, it was years of relentless grassroots work by the Moapa Band of Paiutes and the Sierra Club as well as unwavering support from Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) that drove this retirement forward.

Last April, Moapa Paiute activists were joined by tribal leaders, clean-energy supporters, and faith leaders from across the Southwest in a 16-mile “Coal to Clean Energy Walk,” culminating at the site of the 250-megawatt solar project on the Moapa Paiute Reservation that will sell power to Los Angeles.

For half a century, the Moapa Band of Paiutes have lived in the shadow of the Reid Gardner coal plant, but got little to no benefit from its hulking presence. Instead, the 200 Moapa residents were left to suffer the undeserved consequences of a filthy coal plant. Every year, Reid Gardner emitted more than 4,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, 1,200 tons of sulfur dioxide and 5 million tons of carbon pollution into the air. Those pollutants are known to cause or exacerbate asthma attacks, lung disease, sinus problems, thyroid disease, cardiovascular problems and even premature death. Since the 1960’s, the Moapa Paiutes breathed that air and have suffered from those health issues.

The impacts of this plant extended further than polluting the air. The amount of burned coal at Reid Gardner produced 46 million gallons of toxic coal ash that was spread into multiple settling ponds and then dumped into an unlined landfill. This waste contains mercury, lead and other dangerous heavy metals that cause cancer, heart, lung and kidney disease, reproductive problems, birth defects and many others. Having mounds of coal ash sitting next door leaves your land, home, and family vulnerable. Gusts of wind pick up the coal ash from Reid Gardner and carry it onto the Moapa Paiutes’ reservation land, covering their property, food and water in toxic ash. Additionally, coal ash toxins can seep into the ground from locations like the ponds and landfill, and pollute the groundwater that is used to drink, clean and farm. The Moapa Paiutes were not only up against a massive coal plant, but also the massive amounts of coal ash it produced, coal ash that still sits nearby.

Keep reading

Stop Suffering: The Work with Byron Katie

Lilou Mace interviews modern sage Byron Katie on the experience of suffering. Where does it come from and how can we stop it? Learn how to apply a simple, yet profound, inquiry process to question your stressful thoughts.

In a nutshell, examine the painful thoughts you hold about any situation by holding each up to the following questions:

Is it true? Can you be absolutely sure that it’s true?

How do you feel when you believe the thought?

Who would you be (in that situation) without the thought?

Turn the thought around to the opposite statement. Can you find examples where it’s true? Turn the thought around to the self and find more examples. Keep looking for additional turnarounds that expand your point of view on the situation.

The cognitive shift that occurs is profoundly transformative.

Everything you need to apply The Work to your life, including an e-book called The Little Book, can be found free of charge at TheWork.com


Three Ancient Beauty Regimens Worth Reviving

Nick Polizzi  |  The Sacred Science

When I open the medicine cabinet in our bathroom, what I see is mesmerizing. About 7.5 of the 8 shelves in there are jam packed with mysterious creams, tonics, and scrubs that my wife Michelle swears by as part of her beauty regimen. She does say that she has some of the best eye creams for dark circles and based on her complexion, I’d say I believe her. On the remaining half shelf that has been assigned to me (nomadic Neanderthal husband), sits my toothbrush, herbal deodorant, dental floss, a razor, and a tube of Tom’s toothpaste. You could say Michelle owns this particular piece of real estate in our house and until recently, she alone knew what each of those little bottles of goo were good for.

But while I was down in Maya lands, I came across some ancient beauty treatments still in use today that sparked my curiosity about what women in the States use on their skin and hair. Once I got back to California, I began looking at the contents of some of Michelle’s products and was pleasantly stunned to see that most of the active ingredients are not new. In fact, many of them have been used since antiquity.

The main difference is that: a) the key ingredients in these new formulas are diluted with a bunch of filler substances, b) there is no saying where these new products are sourced from – in fact, only 70% of the ingredients need to be organic to fulfill the FDA’s “Organic” requirement, and c) most of these natural products actually contain a number of potentially toxic chemicals.

I brought it up to Michelle and according to her, the only way to get 100% natural and effective skin and hair tonics is to either make them yourself, or seek out a mom & pop shop on a mountaintop somewhere. A sad state of affairs that will hopefully change soon, because the chemicals that these major natural brands are sneaking into their stuff are not good.

Inspired by this apparent blind spot in the beauty industry, we did a bunch of digging and found some effective and fun ancient beauty formulas that you can make at home. But before we get to those, here are a few of the sneaky intruders that you should be on the lookout for in your favorite organic lotions and shampoos:

1.) Parabens – An extremely common preservative that has been shown to disrupt estrogen production and has also been detected in malignant tumors.
2.) Phthalates – Usually hidden under the word “fragrance”, a known hormone disruptor linked to reproductive defects
3.) Benzoyl Peroxide – Known skin and eye irritant; linked to the promotion of tumor growth.
4.) Triclosan – According to the EPA, this is a serious pesticide. Enough said.

Now on to the good news! Below are some time-tested beauty formulas that are easy to make and extremely beneficial for the skin and hair. As Marvin Gaye once said, “There ain’t nothing like the real thing baby”!

Cleopatra Honey Scrub

cleopatra1Let’s start with one of the most legendary beauties of all time – the woman who made the hearts of both Caesar and Marc Antony’s go pitter pat. Known throughout the Mediterranean world for her goddess-like appearance, archaeological evidence indicates that Cleopatra and many other Egyptian head turners might have had a little help.

In addition to the extravagant and expensive practice of bathing in milk and honey, women of Egyptian royalty used a variety of natural creams, masks, and exfoliants. Below is a skin scrub formula that was recently discovered on a piece of medical papyrus dating back to the court of Thuthmosis III (1425 BC). Someone was so enamored by this prized exfoliant formula that they asked for its recipe to be buried with them – if that’s not a rave review, I don’t know what is!


1 part Honey
1 part Natron – naturally occurring mixture of alkaline sodium salts (or use baking soda as a substitute)
1 part Lower Egyptian Salt – (use sea salt)

In addition to the above ingredients, essential oils were most likely added to this base to give it a pleasant aroma and further medicinal qualities. Frankincense and myrrh essential oils were treasured in Ancient Egypt and were likely used in formulas like this. Just a few drops will do!

Making the scrub:

Grind all of the ingredients together thoroughly, let set for 20 minutes and apply when ready. This scrub would have been rubbed onto the skin and left on for a few minutes, before being washed off with warm water. Remember, always try homemade treatments like this on a tiny patch of skin first to make sure you don’t have any allergic reaction to them.

Maya Hair and Scalp Fortification Wrap

mayahairWhile we were in Lake Atitlan, I couldn’t help but notice how strong and shiny the local women’s hair was – and I’m not the type to notice this kind of thing. :) I didn’t realize the Maya had a secret formula that gave their locks such vibrance!

This world renowned Maya hair therapy is the epitome of DIY beauty care. Come to think of it, I have all the necessary ingredients for this nourishing Mesoamerican formula sitting in my kitchen right now. Chances are, you do too!


1/2 Avocado
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Banana
1 Egg Yolk

Making the wrap:

In a small mixing bowl, whip all ingredients together until they form a batter. Massage the mixture into the hair and cover it using either a shower cap or other moisture resistant wrap. Let it sit for an hour, and rinse using your shampoo of choice. For longer hair, use a whole avocado and banana.

Ayurvedic Skin Toner (for oily or acne-prone skin)

ayurveda1Some of the remedies we dig up from antiquity are pretty bizarre, but others like the skin toner below just make sense. Examine the three ingredients that make up this powerful skin mask – each one of them packs a medicinal wallop.

Goat yogurt, the base of this recipe, is back in mainstream use due to its pro-biotic potency and nutrient density. The peppery turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory that is high in anti-oxidants – currently praised by natural and clinical doctors as a super-herb (particularly for it’s favorable effects on cancer cells). And the fragrant sandalwood tree has a long documented history of use in beauty formulas, both for its delightful aroma and its desirable toning effect on the skin.

(In addition to balancing out the oils on the skin, this toner has antiseptic and antibacterial qualities and functions as a gentle cleanser.)


3 tsp cold yogurt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp sandalwood powder

Making the mask:

Simply mix all the ingredients together and let stand for 1/2 an hour in the refrigerator. Apply it to your face and wash off with warm water after 10 minutes.

I hope you find these three ancient beauty formulas to be useful. If you’re the rugged male type who isn’t wild about pampering your skin, you might want to forward this on to your lovely partner, sister or mom – who will be shocked that you know a little something about the finer things in life. I know my wife was!

Last but NOT LEAST, when interrogating my wife about her products, she told me that there is one beauty brand with true integrity that she and all of her friends use, hailing their oils, mists, and hair tonics as being absolutely pure and heartfully crafted. The company is called Annmarie Gianni Skin Care, and you can check out their line of wild-crafted serums, scrubs, and oils here –  https://thesacredscience.com/annmarie-skin-care

Can the US Defy Universal Economic Truths?

Simon Black  |  Sovereign Man  |  May 19 2014

Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile

In the early 16th century, a priest by the name of Fray Francisco de Ugalde remarked to his king that Spain was “el imperio en el que nunca se pone el sol”.

In other words, the sun never set on the Spanish Empire. 

And by the 1500s with its vast lands across the Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia, and even the South Pacific, Spain (technically the House of Habsburg) had become the first truly global superpower.

The Empire’s status was so great that its silver coin (the real de ocho or piece of 8) was used around the world as a global reserve standard… including in the US colonies. 

It didn’t last.

Like so many great empires that came before, Spain was beset by unsustainable spending, constant warfare, debilitating debt, and an inflated money supply.

By the mid 1500s, the Spanish government was spending 2/3 of its total tax revenue just to pay interest. Spain defaulted on its debt six times in the next century.

It finally came to an end on today’s date in 1643, exactly 371 years ago. 

Historians can literally circle the date on a calendar that Spain ceased being Europe’s dominant superpower; it was the day that Spain lost the Battle of Rocroi, and effectively the Thirty Years War against France.

Just days before, a four-year old Louis XIV had ascended to the throne to become the King of France after the death of his father.

And during his whopping 72-year reign, France replaced Spain as the global superpower.

(To put this reign in context, the longest serving monarch alive today is King Bhumibol of Thailand, who at age 86 has served for 67 years. At age 88, Queen Elizabeth has served for 62 years.)

For more than a century, commerce, art, and technology flourished in France. And some of the greatest intellectual minds in history published their works during this period. 

I remember being told as a West Point cadet that in the early days of the Academy in the 1800s, the only two classes were French and Mathematics, primarily because all of the great textbooks were written by French mathematicians.

France had public healthcare and free hospitals. Great monuments to their grandeur. Colonies around the world. An awe-inspiring military.

And their influence was so great that foreign governments from Russia to Prussia spoke French internally. 

Needless to say, this didn’t last either. 

And like the Spanish before them, France overspent, overexpanded, and overregulated. They waged excessive warfare, and they managed their affairs as if the good times would last forever.

By the 1780s, the French debt had grown so much that they were rapidly devaluing the currency and borrowing money just to pay interest on what they had already borrowed. 

Sound familiar?

The US is in a similar position right now, along with most of the West (including… France and Spain again!)

Like an aging prize fighter, there is no nation that can permanently maintain its status as the dominant superpower. And certainly no nation that can defy universal economic truths.

Powerful nations believe they can borrow indefinitely and dilute their currencies without consequence. 

This simply isn’t true. Wealth and power shift. The world’s reserve currency changes. It’s been happening for centuries, and this time is no different.

We are all witnessing this change unfold again. And this isn’t some wild assertion.

Objective data from the Bank for International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund all show a clear decline in the dollar’s share of global reserves.


The US government’s own data shows a net worth of minus $16.9 trillion, over 100% of GDP in the red. 

And even in their most optimistic projections, the government tells us that growth in debt will outpace growth in tax revenue.

Day to day, it’s easy to ignore these trends. But from a big picture perspective, it couldn’t be more obvious. 

Just like the Battle of Rocroi in 1643, or the storming of the Bastille in 1789, there will come a time when future historians circle a date on a calendar and say, “That was the day the United States ceased being the dominant superpower.”

Perhaps it’s happened already. Or perhaps it will occur in a war yet to be fought. 

But if history, common sense, and truth are any guides, that reckoning is quickly approaching.

How to Become an Idea Machine

James Altucher

The way to have good ideas is to get close to killing yourself. It’s  like weightlifting. When you lift slightly more than you can handle, you  get stronger.

In life, when the gun is to your head, you either figure it out, or you die.

When you cut yourself open, you bleed ideas. If you’re broke and close to death, you have to start coming up with ideas.

If you destroy your life, you need to come up with ideas to rebuild it.

The only time I’ve been FORCED to have good ideas is when I was up  against the wall. My life insurance policy was like a gun to my head:  “Come up with good ideas… OR ELSE your kids get your life insurance!”

At an airport when I realized a business I had been working on for four years was worthless.

Or when I was sitting in the dark at three in the morning in the living  room of the house I was going bankrupt and losing my home, my brain  figuring out how to die without anyone knowing it was planned.

Or when I was getting a divorce and I was lonely and afraid I wouldn’t  make any money again or I wouldn’t meet anyone again. Or my kids would  hate me. Or my friends would be disgusted by me.

The problem is  this: you’re NOT in a state of panic most of the time. States of panic  are special and have to be revered. Think about the times in your life  that you remember – it’s exactly those moments when you hit bottom and  were forced to come up with ideas, to get stronger, to connect with some  inner force inside you with the outer force.

This is why it’s important NOW to strengthen that connection to that idea force inside of you. This post is about HOW.

Nothing you ever thought of before amounted to anything – that’s why  you are exactly where you are at that moment of hitting bottom. Because  all of your billions of thoughts have led you to right there. You can’t  trust the old style of thinking anymore. They came, they saw, they lost.

You have to come up with a new way of thinking. A new way of having ideas. A new ways of interacting with the outside universe.

You’re in crisis. Time to change. Time to become an IDEA MACHINE.

People know what “runner’s high” is. It’s when you are running for a  long time, at the point of exhaustion, and then something kicks in and  gives you a “second wind”.

400,000 years ago people didn’t jog for exercise. They didn’t even have jogging shorts. Or sneakers.

400,000 years ago people need to eat and live. And either you’re  running to catch a prey, or you are running from a lion. You’re the  prey! And you need that second wind in both cases or you DIE.

The same thing happens in the brain. When you are about to die, a second  wind kicks in. Ideas, experiences, opportunity, and probably hidden  forces and neurochemicals we don’t understand.

But you can’t get runner’s high unless you’re ALREADY in good shape. Unless you are already able to run long distances.

This is why it’s important to exercise the idea muscle right now. If  your idea muscle atrophies, then even at your lowest point you won’t  have any ideas.

How long does it take this muscle to atrophy?  The same as any other muscle in your body: just two weeks without having  any ideas. Atrophied.

If you lie down in a bed for two weeks and don’t move your legs you will need physical therapy to walk again.

Many people need idea therapy. Not so that they can come up with great  ideas right this second (although maybe you will) but so that people can  come up with ideas when they need them: when their car is stuck, when  their house blows up, when they are fired from their job, when their  spouse betrays them, when they go bankrupt or lose a big customer, or  lose a client, or go out of business, or get sick.

IDEAS ARE  THE CURRENCY OF LIFE. Not money. Money gets depleted until you go broke.  But good ideas buy you good experiences, buy you better ideas, buy you  better experiences, buy you more time, save your life. Financial wealth  is a side effect of the “runner’s high” of your idea muscle.

Whoah! That was a big intro. Depending on where I post this, some people  will write “tl;dr” which I had to look up and it means “too long,  didn’t read.” I encourage those people to stop reading here and save  yourself the trouble. It’s ok. I’m not mad at you. I’ll write smaller  articles also. I’ll even draw cartoons.

I’ve often written  about the idea muscle as part of what I call my “daily practice”. Every  day I have to check the box on physical, emotional, mental, and  spiritual health.

And I get a lot of questions about it so I  will try and answer them here. If you have more questions, ask in the  comments and I will answer.

Sometimes people ask, “did you only start coming up with ideas because you already had it made?

ANSWER: I was on the floor crying because I was dead broke and dead lonely and had no prospects so that’s why I had to do it.

So now, 1000 words in (“tl;dr”) The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Becoming an Idea Machine

The below is what I do and what works for me. If you have anything to  add, please add them in the comments, I need all the help I can get.


You will be like a superhero. It’s almost a guaranteed membership in the Justice League of America.

Every situation you are in, you will have a ton of ideas. Any question  you are asked, you will know the response. Every meeting you are at, you  will take the meeting so far out of the box you’ll be on another  planet, if you are stuck on a desert highway – you will figure the way  out, if you need to make money you’ll come up with 50 ideas to make  money, and so on.

After I started exercising the idea muscle,  it was like a magic power had unleashed inside of me. It’s ok if you  don’t believe me. Or maybe you think it’s bragging. There are many times  when I don’t have ideas. But that’s when I stop practicing what I am  about to advocate.

Try it for yourself. I’m not selling  anything here. I have no reason for you to try this. I just want to  share my exerience. It’s like part of your brain is opened up and a  constant flow of stuff, both good and bad, gets dropped in there.

From where? I don’t think about it and I don’t care. But I use it.

In early 2009 was one of those times when I desperately needed to do  this. I was fulltime either trying to find a girlfriend or I was trying  to start a business or both. I was also going broke in the stock market  and losing my home  (until I personally saved the entire stock market –  see my book).

Every night, I’d have waffles for dinner and a  bottle of wine and start writing ideas down. This is before I went paleo (no waffles!) and stopped drinking alcohol (five years sober!) and I  was writing 10-20 of the most ludicrous ideas a day down.

And you know what ? It worked.


Take a waiter’s pad. Go to a local cafe. Maybe read an inspirational  book for ten to twenty minutes. Then start writing down ideas. What  ideas? Hold on a second. The key here is, write ten ideas.


A waiter’s pad fits in your pocket so you can easily pull it out to jot things down.

A waiter’s pad is too small to write a whole novel or even a paragraph.  In fact, it’s specifically made to make a list. And that’s all you  want, a list of ideas.

A waiter’s pad is a great conversation  starter if you are in a meeting. Someone at the meeting will eventually  say, “I’ll take fries with my burger” and everyone will laugh. You broke  the ice and you stand out.

A waiter’s pad is cheap. You can  get about 100 for $10. This shows you are frugal and don’t need those  fancy moleskin pads to have a good idea.

Oh, and I just found  out another reason for a waiter’s pad while I was writing this. Someone  with alcohol on his breath, a bottle in hand, looking like he could  crush me with one hand, just came up to me in the cafe I’m sitting at  and asked for money. I held up my waiter’s pad and said, “Can I take  your order?” and he said, “OH!” and he walked away.


If I say, “write down ten ideas for books you can write” I bet you can  easily write down four or five. I can write down four or five right now.  But at six it starts to get hard. “Hmmm,” you think, “what else can I  come up with?”

This is when the brain is sweating.

Note that when you exercise in the gym, your muscles don’t start to  build until you break a sweat. Your metabolism doesn’t improve when you  run until you sweat. Your body doesn’t break down the old and build the  new until it is sweating.

The poisons and toxins in your body don’t leave until you sweat.

The same thing happens with the idea muscle. Somewhere around idea  number six, your brain starts to sweat. This means it’s building up.  Break through this. Come up with ten ideas.


Here’s the magic trick: if you can’t come up with ten ideas, come up with 20 ideas.


For the obvious reason. You are putting too much pressure on yourself.  Perfectionism is the ENEMY of the idea muscle.

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10 Best Herbs for Kidney Cleansing

Dr. Edward F. Group | Global Healing Center 

Bean-shaped and located along the posterior side of the abdomen, the kidneys have the heavy responsibility of removing waste and toxins from the bloodstream. These vital organs work with other organs to regulate blood pressure, increase red blood cell production, and synthesize vitamin D. A healthy diet, exercise, and staying hydrated are essential for supporting your kidneys. For a little extra help, consider the following kidney cleansing herbs.

1. Chanca Piedra

Chanca piedra, or “stone breaker,” is a favorite in South America for supporting the kidneys and clinical trials have confirmed the plant’s effectiveness. [1] [2] It’s common in the region and its widespread use has earned it a positive reputation in Ayurvedic medicine as a helpful herb for kidney, bladder, and liver health.

2. Goldenrod

Goldenrod was used extensively among many Native American tribes for promoting urinary tract health. Research has found that the herb tones the urinary tract and is helpful for detoxifying the kidneys. [3]

3. Hydrangea Root

Hydrangea root was popular among Native Americans and early settlers, both of whom used the plant for promoting kidney and bladder health. Hydrangea root acts as a solvent and is thought to smooth the jagged edges of kidney stones. Hydrangea root also appears to help the body properly use calcium, an action that may be helpful for discouraging kidney stones from forming in the first place. [4]

4. Horsetail

Horsetail is a common weed with diuretic properties; it’s helpful for increasing urine output to flush the kidneys and urinary tract. It’s also an antioxidant and offers that realm of benefits to the kidneys and renal system. [5] Whether consumed as a tea or in a capsule, horsetail is a great herb to add to your diet!

5. Celery Root

Both the root and seeds of celery have been used for centuries as a natural diuretic. What positive feature do diuretics have? They can help your body eliminate toxins by increasing urine output. Celery root has long been considered a stimulating tonic for the kidneys as it contains nutrients like potassium and sodium.

6. Gravel Root

Also known as Joe Pye weed, gravel root has a long history of use by Native Americans and early American colonists for promoting kidney and urinary health. Its effectiveness may be partly due to its euparin content — a solvent with potent activity against harmful organisms. [6] This may explain why many believe it’s effective at discouraging infections.

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Hemp Cultivation Authorized in Tennessee

Michael Lofti | BenSwann.com | May 15 2014

NASHVILLE, May 15, 2014– Yesterday, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R) signed a bill which some supporters consider the strongest pro-hemp legislation in the country. House Bill 2445 (HB2445), introduced by Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) and Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) mandates that the state authorize the growing and production of industrial hemp within Tennessee.

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 28-0 and the House by a vote of 88-5. It reads, in part:

“The department shall issue licenses to persons who apply to the department for a license to grow industrial hemp.”

Mike Maharrey, national communications director for the Tenth Amendment Center, noted that one word strengthened the bill considerably. “By including the word ‘shall’ in this legislation, it has a great deal of impact,” he said. “This means that rather than keeping it open-ended like other states have done, hemp farming will be able to move forward in Tennessee whether the regulatory bureaucrats there want it to or not.”

‘Shall’ is a legal term which creates a specific requirement far stronger than a word like ‘will.’ The former is more closely interchangeable with the word “must,” while the latter allows leeway for the object of the term to delay. In this case, the bill states that the Tennessee department of agriculture will have a mandate to license farmers for growing hemp.

Three other states – Colorado, Oregon and Vermont – have already passed bills to authorize hemp farming, but only in Colorado has the process started.  A similar bill was passed in South Carolina this week and awaits action by Gov. Nikki Haley.

Farmers in Colorado started harvesting the plant in 2013, and the state began issuing licenses on March 1, 2014.  In Vermont and Oregon, hemp farming was authorized, but no licensing program was mandated, so implementation has been delayed due to regulatory foot-dragging.

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Fishing Nets Become Skateboards in Chile

Callum Beals | Sierra Club  | May 9 2014


This summer, you could be surfing the streets on a skateboard made of fishy nets. Bureo Skateboards is a skate company that recycles discarded fishnets into stylish plastic skateboards. Three crazy gringos came together to start a fishnet recycling company in Chile, and are now hoping to bring the end product to stores, and skateparks, near you.

While working in Chile as an environmental consultant, Ben Kneppers saw first-hand the immense amount of waste produced by the robust Chilean fishing industry. According to Bureo, discarded fishnets amounts to 10% of the oceans’ plastic waste. “It’s not the fault of the fishermen,” Kneppers said. “They’re just dealing with an incredible turnover of this material that is constantly becoming waste.”

Encouraged by the Chilean government, Kneppers came up with the idea of Net Positiva, Chile’s first collection and recycling program for fishnets. “I approached World Wildlife Fund Chile and said, ‘How about my two crazy gringo friends come down here and we set up the first ever fishnet collection and recycling program in Chile,'” he said.

Those three crazy friends, Kneppers, David Stover, and Kevin Ahearn, made a formidable team. “We had this great trifecta, where I was on the ground in Chile with this environmental sense, David had this business sense, and Kevin had a product engineering background,” Kneppers said.

Just collecting and recycling fishnets wouldn’t sustain a business, so that business sense came into play early. The plastic would need to be parlayed into something valuable in order for the business to grow and increase its recycling capabilities. “We didn’t want this to be a non-profit,” Kneppers said. “We wanted it to be a social business, where as the business succeeds, our abilities to improve the environment and community will also grow.”

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Hacking Consciousness with Brain Waves and Frequency Entrainment

Buck Rogers | Waking Times | May 15 2014

Human consciousness is a subject of infinite fascination in these time because people are realizing just how much our frame of mind is manipulated by mainstream media, corporate and government propaganda. Simultaneously, technology is permitting the free and international exchange of information and now people have access to many spiritual teachings, ideas on conscious transformation, and info about altered states of consciousness.

More people than ever are recognizing how developing greater conscious awareness of their lives is giving humanity the opportunity to evolve beyond the destructive paradigms that dominate life today, giving us all the best chance we have to re-discover a sustainable and humane mode of existence on this planet.

A practical, and legal, means of experimenting with consciousness involves using the scientific understanding of how the brain synchronizes its energetic output to various frequencies, and using technology to induce and maintain unique levels of consciousness. Neuroscience has discovered that human consciousness can be ‘hacked’ by governing the brain’s operating frequency, and recently, scientists have also even been able to trigger lucid dreaming, the state of being consciously aware during deep sleep.

The Electric Brain

The human brain is an electrical organ composed of billions of neurons which emit electricity in order to communicate with one another. The sum of this electrical potential is emitted in patterns which cycle at varying rates, commonly referred to as brain waves. This cyclical energy, which can be picked up and measured by electroencephalography (EEG), is measured in hertz (cycles per second) and has been found to be correlated to the various states of conscious awareness a human can experience. The slower cycles of electrical output being involved with deep sleep or coma, and the faster states being associated with active awareness and bursts of creative insight, inspiration and deep emotion.

The brain’s electricity is constantly fluctuating between various cycles, yet we have identified several major brain wave states which, when predominant, are predictably responsible for certain types of mental functioning. There are other states within this range, but here is a brief explanation of the most important brain wave patterns:

Gamma (25 Hz to 100 Hz, usually around 40 Hz) – Gamma brain waves were only recently discovered by EEG technology and is still not entirely understood, although, it is associated with higher mental functioning and attributed with feelings of ‘blessings’ and peak concentration. This state is also associated with information processing, language and the highest levels of mental functioning.

Beta (14 Hz to 20-25Hz) – Beta brain waves are associated with our general active mental awareness when we are wide awake and actively engaged in the world. In this state, the physical senses are alert and actively taking in information.

Alpha (7 Hz to 14 Hz) – The Alpha brain waves are most commonly associated with meditative mental states, and is often triggered when our eyes close and our physical sensory input is limited. This state is associated with intuitive thinking, insight, creativity, day dreaming and deep relaxation.

Theta (4 Hz to 7 Hz) – These brain waves are present during light sleep and also during deep meditation, where one can experience a deep connection to source, profound insights and visualizations.

Delta (0.5 Hz to 4 Hz) – This brain frequency range is where the body is in its deepest sleep, healing itself and rejuvenating itself. It is here that a person is completely unconscious and a coma happens.

Most of us do not consciously choose which frequency range our brain is functioning within, and our brain activity is more or less governed by our lifestyle, schedules and habits. When we awaken from deep sleep (delta), our brain’s activity begins to slowly increase and the cycles of electrical impulses increase in frequency until eventually we arise in an alpha state. From here we begin our morning routine, which often involves stimulating the brain with exercise, a shower, or caffeine to reach the beta state where we are actively alert and ready to conduct our conscious affairs.

Brainwave Entrainment

By stimulating the brain appropriately, we can train the brain’s electrical impulses to cycle within certain frequency ranges, effectively triggering some of the brain wave states noted above. We effectively experience this when we watch television, which triggers an alpha wave response, lulling us into deep states of suggestibility and lowered awareness. Advertisers rely on this fact of neuroscience to implant ideas and trigger base responses, like sexual desire over consumer products. Likewise, it has been found that moviegoers in the same theatre passively slip into a synchronized state of brain wave functioning and an entire audience’s brain waves can actually harmonize.

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10 Easy DIY Employment Opportunities

Jeffrey Green | Activist Post 

My kids are obsessed with watching gamer channels on YouTube. At first I thought these YouTubers must be deadbeat basement dwellers until my kids showed me that they have billions of views. I later found out that some of them make up to $8000 per day from Google ads alone!  If teenage gamers can make more money than their parents by using free technology to do what they love, anyone can do it.

In the U.S., 102 million working-age Americans are unemployed (41% of this age group). This statistic seems horrible, and it surely is for some, but a good many are voluntarily unemployed — like stay-at-home moms, homeschooling parents, or self-employed people working in the gray market. Heck, I’m considered unemployed according to official numbers, but I still pay my bills.

If you are involuntarily unemployed, this expanding gray market now offers unlimited opportunities to end your dependence on the job/public-assistance paradigm. The gray market is essentially the economy that happens without permission. In other words, it’s made up self-employed people who don’t formally register a business but transact in legal products or services.

Free technology opens a global marketplace to anyone who’s willing to endure the learning curve to gain the necessary skills. And it’s never been easier to learn because of countless “How To” videos on YouTube. All you have to do is define something you’re passionate about, identify the market, and locate the tools to make money from it.

Technology has made it so simple to turn your passion into a living income, it’s almost inexcusable not to. You owe it to yourself and all others who will benefit from your participation in that arena.

Here are 10 of the easiest Do-It-Yourself (DIY) real employment opportunities including the tools needed to succeed:

Vintage dealer – Are you an obsessive collector of vintage items? Clothing, jewelry, coins, antiques, toys, etc.? Well, why is that not your business? Between moving sales, storage auctions, Craigslist and  eBay you could be getting paid for doing what you love. No excuses.

Chef/Cook – Good, passionate chefs rarely have trouble finding work. However, the restaurant business has grueling hours. If you love to cook but hate working in restaurants, services like EatWith  connect you with customers who want a homecooked gourmet meal with a more personal setting. You can now get paid to cook a few meals per week for small groups of people on your terms.

Reporter – Are you a wanna-be reporter or just a loud mouth with an opinion?  Why aren’t you making money from that? There are many freelance profit-sharing platforms like Examiner or  DigitalTrends. Plus, setting up a free blog website has never been easier.  Professional website templates exist for free platforms like Blogger or WordPress. Monetization with Google adsAmazon and other affiliates are a breeze to set up. Additionally, learning to set up and operate a blog is vital to every professionon this list. Consider it your new business card. Get a good DIY guide to blogging and get it done.

Novelist – If you loving writing fiction, your dream of making money from it is frictionless in the digital age. I scarcely know anyone who reads fiction that doesn’t use a Kindle-like device. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing makes it easy for you to publish books, series, short stories, informative pamphlets; whatever, and sell them through Amazon. Then you promote them through blog posts, interviews, and writing reviews for, and networking in, your genre. Simple formula.  If you produce good content, you will make money.

Professional Foodie – Food prices are exploding, especially for quality food. This presents huge opportunities for organic gardeners or animal lovers to make a living from the food revolution. I have a doctor friend who just bought a milch cow due to the high demand for grass-fed raw milk in our area. At the current price per gallon, he will make his money back in 4 months if his family was the only ones using the milk, 2 months if he sells some of it. I buy his milk, and I also buy sprouts from a guy who grows them in his apartment, pastured broiler chickens from a family who raises them in their yard, raw honey from local beekeepers, and when my personal production of organic fruits and veggies and free-range eggs fall short they’re easily found locally. I found them on Craigslist, LocalHarvest, and at my local farmers markets. These products cost about double what their factory-produced alternatives cost, and I and many others gladly pay it. In fact, demand is so high there are often waiting lists to get these foods! Produce it and they will come.

Driver – Do you have a car, time on your hands, and enjoy meeting new people? UberLyft, and other ridesharing services are simple platforms to connect you to paying customers who need a ride. (Even if you don’t have a car, you could offer walking tours of your town or city to introduce newcomers and tourists to the local sites and businesses.)

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New Harvard Study Strengthens Link Between Neonicotinoids and Bee Colony Collapse

Marge Dwyer | Harvard School of Public Health | May 9 2014

Boston, MA — Two widely used neonicotinoids—a class of insecticide—appear to significantly harm honey bee colonies over the winter, particularly during colder winters, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). The study replicated a 2012 finding from the same research group that found a link between low doses of imidacloprid and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), in which bees abandon their hives over the winter and eventually die. The new study also found that low doses of a second neonicotinoid, clothianidin, had the same negative effect.

Further, although other studies have suggested that CCD-related mortality in honey bee colonies may come from bees’ reduced resistance to mites or parasites as a result of exposure to pesticides, the new study found that bees in the hives exhibiting CCD had almost identical levels of pathogen infestation as a group of control hives, most of which survived the winter. This finding suggests that the neonicotinoids are causing some other kind of biological mechanism in bees that in turn leads to CCD.

The study appears online May 9, 2014 in the Bulletin of Insectology.

“We demonstrated again in this study that neonicotinoids are highly likely to be responsible for triggering CCD in honey bee hives that were healthy prior to the arrival of winter,” said lead author Chensheng (Alex) Lu, associate professor of environmental exposure biology at HSPH.

[Editor’s Note: Please consider signing this petition drawn by the Organic Consumers Association. Dow and Syngenta want the EPA to approve expansion and increased use of  two neonicotinoid insecticides.  TAKE ACTION: Deadline Midnight May 23: Tell EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy: Don’t Let Dow and Syngenta Kill More Bees! ]

Since 2006, there have been significant losses of honey bees from CCD. Pinpointing the cause is crucial to mitigating this problem since bees are prime pollinators of roughly one-third of all crops worldwide. Experts have considered a number of possible causes, including pathogen infestation, beekeeping practices, and pesticide exposure. Recent findings, including a 2012 study by Lu and colleagues, suggest that CCD is related specifically to neonicotinoids, which may impair bees’ neurological functions. Imidacloprid and clothianidin both belong to this group.

Lu and his co-authors from the Worcester County Beekeepers Association studied the health of 18 bee colonies in three locations in central Massachusetts from October 2012 through April 2013. At each location, the researchers separated six colonies into three groups—one treated with imidacloprid, one with clothianidin, and one untreated.

There was a steady decline in the size of all the bee colonies through the beginning of winter—typical among hives during the colder months in New England. Beginning in January 2013, bee populations in the control colonies began to increase as expected, but populations in the neonicotinoid-treated hives continued to decline. By April 2013, 6 out of 12 of the neonicotinoid-treated colonies were lost, with abandoned hives that are typical of CCD. Only one of the control colonies was lost—thousands of dead bees were found inside the hive—with what appeared to be symptoms of a common intestinal parasite called Nosema ceranae.

Continue reading about the study

Titles and Templates of Conformity

Julian Wash  |  Waking Times  |  May 14 2014

Dear Humans,

Today I wish to return to your awareness an aspect of the Human condition that readily conforms to labels and titles. Titles come in all flavors, shapes and sizes, so everybody gets to have one. Some seem rather impressive, whereas others are a bit more diminutive indeed. But in most every case, we assume our respective roles and seek to further refine our character. Like an actor on stage, we wear our persona as if it were a type of costume, then parade about as if the show must go on.

So the question becomes just how intrusive are these titles and labels? Do they adequately define who we are or do they merely press into shape what others expect of us? Do we create our label or does it create us? One would hardly expect the pastor of a local church to get tanked-up at the corner watering hole. His label does not permit it— although he may desire it. So there would certainly appear to be a thin line between title and self-image. One must wonder just how deeply rooted these labels really are? If suddenly stripped free of our title and role, would we cease to be who we thought we were?

Essentially every day I see people working their jobs, trying to earn their pay. They all have titles. Society loves to add varying degrees of authority to the seemingly infinite array of titles. You may, for instance, converse with a cashier at a grocery store. You might notice that she’s a “lead” cashier. She’s not as jovial or forthcoming as the cashier from the other day, but she’s admirably efficient and dutiful. You remember the other cashier was not near as proficient, but considerably more effervescent. She was designated as a “trainee.” It said so right on her badge. They both seemed to have adopted their roles accordingly, and maybe in some ways, their roles adopted them.

In the following paragraphs I invite you to explore whether a title makes the person or the person makes the title. I strongly suspect both elements are tightly woven together. Some people can slip into their respective role as comfortably as a favorite pair of jeans. Others must stretch and pull and begrudgingly admit how they never found comfort with the fit. Still others are simply unaware that there’s a big, shiny label stamped across their forehead. Should you ask them who they are— they will predictively respond by stating name and title. This is a vestige of societal de-education. Should they find the clarity to ask themselves the question— one might wonder if the answer would be the same.

Titles and Templates

Throughout our lives we choose various labels and titles and play the roles accordingly. Sometimes others are more than happy to choose a label for us. It may start as something as simple and seemingly innocuous as a nickname. You may hate the nickname but it sticks anyway. Soon you begin to associate and be associated with something you dislike. So either one finds an acceptable place to break the link, or they become ultimately chained to an external label that never represented how they felt in the first place. This can be especially difficult for a child when others latch onto a certain birth anomaly, weight or stature issue, speech impediment or something to this effect.

Some seek higher education and desire a title that will bring them distinction and influence. That’s an honest pursuit. There’s often a connection to a particular field of study that’s a natural fit for the student. The title is an added perk that comes with the package. But then there are those who are title seekers. It’s about the power and prestige that accompanies a certain position. They may wield authority like a butcher waves a knife. For them, a title is a tool for leverage. –Exit stage left.

But one thing all titles have in common is their respective templates of conformity. You’ll notice when speaking with most any professional, they assume a professional persona. This is an energy that is fairly easy to detect. As the conversation continues, there’s a tendency to conform to their template of expression. Usually we do so subconsciously. It’s a form of energetic modeling that comes very naturally to Humans. When the exchange of energy is fairly coherent and the templates are meshing, the conversation proceeds with little to no stress. We all know that feeling.

These templates are everywhere. Whether it’s a medical doctor, grocery clerk, bank teller, policeman, soldier, school teacher or an owner of a flower shop, the templates are in place and are clear as day for those who can see them. But it’s an artificial extension of who we really are. Society mandates that we build a synthetic construct around us. We pin a label on it, then surrender to it. So we look to our title and assume the role— and the next thing you know we’re calling ourselves something that we’re not.

Is this truly our Human nature— or is it yet another example of how our race has been cultivated for the kill? I wonder. I make this point because we are always a little on guard when assuming a persona that may not be the person we truly are. So we go through life pretending to be something we’re not, with the hope of someday breaking away from this nightmarish construct we’ve found ourselves trapped in. But that’s only true for the ones who are conscious of the templates. Most are not. Most are so steeped in the illusion of the matrix they wouldn’t know a template if it smacked them dead on the head. They don’t realize they are assuming roles of compliancy and have been pressed into service with templates of conformity.

Who Are We Really?

I sense a good number of people would wrestle with this question. I know I do. Some claim to know, but seem unable to elaborate. Others have tried very sincerely to get to the bottom of it all and make it clearer for the rest of us. I can tell you this much. We likely had a sense of who we were from the day we were born.

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High on Life: 10 Natural Ways to Feel On Top of the World

Mark Sisson  |  Mark’s Daily Apple

Many of society’s favorite psychoactive compounds, both legal and illegal, work by hijacking our own neurotransmitters and brain receptor sites. In other words, they aren’t creating something out of nothing nor are they necessarily imposing an alien influence. They only work because our brains are set up to get high and feel pleasure.

Why does pleasure exist? Pleasure is the carrot dangled by the body to get us to do the things we need to survive and prosper. It helps us reach important survival goals. But we’re not ascetics. Experiencing and appreciating pleasure as its own entity is necessary for true happiness and life contentment. Our genes expect us to feel good, not just do the tasks that feeling good compels us to complete.

So today I’m going to tell you how to get high and hit these pleasure centers, Primal style. If that sounds like it involves a shaman, some cactus cuttings, and monotonous chanting over a fire, I don’t blame you. That’s absolutely one way to get high and it’s probably similar to how Grok did it, but this isn’t an ayahuasca recipe post, a review of peyote churches, or a guide to “Choosing the Right Fat-Busting Entheogen For Your Body Type.” This is a post discussing the ways our bodies can naturally achieve mind-blowing, consciousness-expanding levels of elation and euphoria.


It’s popularly known as the runner’s high, but you don’t have to run to feel high from exercise. The best known, mother of all natural highs can have you skimming the clouds. Its soaring yet soothing effects are some of the reasons I stuck with endurance training for so long despite the other negative effects it was having. The latest research indicates that the high is probably mediated by two endogenous chemicals: beta-endorphin, an endogenous opioid involved in pain reduction and relaxation; and anandamide, an endocannabinoid responsible for pain reduction and euphoria.

The exercise high probably influenced human evolution, helping promote the highly active lifestyle necessary to dominate the environment. When the going got tough (like when a saber tooth tiger was right on their heels or when they were chasing down dinner), euphoria and pain reduction would have been invaluable.

Studies indicate that it takes about an hour of endurance training for beta-endorphins to release, whereas short-term anaerobic training produces significant levels of the opioid (the more intense the better). In another study, an acute bout of Olympic weightlifting caused elevations in beta-endorphin. This was low-volume resistance training, no more than ten or fifteen seconds of actual honest work, but the intensity was high enough to provoke the exercise high. Overall, it’s high intensity anaerobic work that produces the biggest endorphin rush. As for the endocannabinoids, intensity is key there, too.

Keep reading for the euphoric benefits of Group Workouts and Extreme Sports

Spicy Food

Think of the spiciest food you ever ate. I’m not talking Tapatio, Tabasco, or Cholula here. I mean the kind of hot that makes you anxious and queasy and regretful.

The kind of spicy that would make a WAPFer chug the nearest glass of ultra-pasteurized A1 beta-casein skim milk to quell the burn. Maybe it was a lamb curry or a Jamaican jerk sauce. Maybe you got caught up in a chile-eating contest in Tijuana. Whatever it was, you never forget what it felt like or how much you wanted to take a fire hose to your insides. And I bet you felt something else when you ate it, not just the heat on your tongue. Didn’t you?

Although the more sensitive among us might have simply been scarred for life by the heat, others who have ventured deep into that hot terrain tell tales of a much mellower after effect, a uniquely pleasurable calm. Chili heads, as they’re known, are experts in this spice-induced serenity. They’ve grown to love the heat from start to finish.

There’s no strong, incontrovertible evidence that eating hot food has psychoactive effects in humans, though some animal evidence suggests that capsaicin (the main spicy component in peppers) can release beta-endorphins and adrenaline. It also has analgesic properties which may be mediated by activation of the central opioid system. Still, there’s usually a physiological justification for odd human behavior. If people are happily eating food that literally burns their mouths and insides, there’s a good chance there’s something in it for them. I suspect that the pain gives way to pleasure, and that cool pool of biochemical pleasure afterward is indeed the result of endorphin release. After the pain/danger has dissipated, an intense calm pervades.

I’m a believer. One morning in Thailand, I met a young backpacker staying at the same place we were. I was in the common area looking for coffee. He was dumping a sack of red powder into a small glass of water. He mixed it together and tossed it back, making a face reminiscent of a teen trying cheap gin for the first time. Turns out he was taking shots of powdered Thai chiles. Said it was better than coffee and offered me a shot. I accepted, of course. It was about two teaspoons of powdered chile (about as hot as cayenne; not to be confused with chili powder) in a couple ounces of water. I took it, shot it, and probably made the same face he did, but it woke me up. It may have been placebo (though I wasn’t expecting much), but I swear I felt buzzed, really calm yet energized for an hour or two after. I’m a longtime fan of spicy food and can take it pretty hot, so your mileage may vary. Exercise caution.


Falling in love is the ultimate high in most people’s book. You’re at times an utter (albeit blissful) fool who’s checked half his/her brain at the door or the pinnacle of confidence and contentment skimming along life, undeterred by any burden or barrier.

And damn, does it feel good. A review of studies demonstrates that no less than twelve different brain regions are activated by the cascade of chemicals like dopamine, adrenaline, vasopression, serotonin, and oxytocin when we fall in love. Endorphins and PEA (the chocolate/love drug) also play a big role in the neurochemistry of love. As a result, we feel happy and dopey. Confused and excited. Anxious and confident. We’re a mess, basically, a hastily thrown together assortment of neurochemicals all vying for agency. But you can’t wipe that grin off your face when you’re in the thick of it, can you?

What if you’re already settled down with someone? What if that heady blast of new love has long since passed?

Value your relationship. Nurture it, feed it. Spoil your partner, act like it is the early days. Experience them in the fullest possible way. Recall those initial romantic days and do it over again. Relish good memories. Make new ones. In a couple words: be present.


Most of us are so divorced from our ancestral home – the natural outdoor environment – that leaving the city and going where the cell towers don’t reach feels like entering an altered state of consciousness. Probably because our consciousness has changed. I know when I’m out there, whether it’s at a secluded beach, deep in the redwoods, or alone on a snowy mountaintop, I feel different. I notice new things. My brain works better. I’m high by virtue of eliminating the extraneous sensory clutter of the city.


Having sex releases a torrent of endogenous drugs, hormones and neurotransmitters so expansive that Hunter S. Thompson and William Burroughs would raise an eyebrow. During arousal, your body secretes the powerful stimulants adrenaline and noradrenaline. Your heart is racing, your blood pressure rises, all in the service of delivering extra blood to various important body parts. Upon climax, your bloodstream is treated to an intoxicating cocktail of prolactin, oxytocin (a.k.a. cuddle time), phenethylamine (levels of this love and chocolate chemical peak at orgasm), and dopamine (care of primal reward system for all around opiate-induced bliss). During male ejaculation, the (male’s) brain apparently lights up like a heroin user’s right after shooting up, indicating a major role for opioids. Neuroimaging studies on women during orgasm also reveal significant activation of the brain’s pleasure centers.

One more thing: everyone focuses on the orgasm, but don’t forget to savor the journey. Take your time with the foreplay and the actual act of sex. You’ll arrive eventually, no need to rush it.


We’ve all heard – or performed – music that has left us with goose bumps and chills. We’re utterly struck by it, held by it, entranced and touched in such a deep way that we feel moved physically and spiritually. I always think of a concert Carrie and I took in some years ago – a choral performance that ended with a piece so piercing and transcendent that it took my breath away. The hairs on my neck and arms stood up and I was swept up in some collective out of body experience. To this day, listening to the piece catapults me back in time and I feel it in my gut.

Science has confirmed the existence of the euphoric music-induced “chills.” Researchers asked participants to choose music that gave them the “chills” each time they heard or played it. Then they allowed subjects to listen to the music while they monitored their brain activity with PET imaging. (In other parts of the experiment, they listened to other peoples’ musical selections or general noise.) Each participant’s chosen music, the researchers found, exclusively produced activity in brain areas associated with “euphoria-inducing stimuli, such as food, sex, and drugs of abuse.”

The researchers suggest that as humans evolved they developed the ability to experience euphoria from more abstract activities like music. Although unnecessary for hard scrabble survival, music likely contributed to social bonding and the cohesion of human communities, which in turn aided survival. Music is also a way to tap into the rhythm underlying life itself. You won’t find any clinical trials, but there’s real music happening right under our noses every single day. Musicians just reveal it.

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