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Showing posts from 2017


In the 1960s Michael Gazzanega noted that: the human brain is organized in terms of a “mental society.”…alongside our verbal system, there resides any number of “mental units” [that each] have memories, values, and emotions, and are expressed through any of a variety of systems.’ What makes this process so eerie is that these systems may not be in touch with each other but rather, have their own existence outside of language and our logic.’
• reptilian brainstem: homestatic body regulation; breath, digestion, shutdown freezeautonomic systems (digestion, appetite, sleep) are disrupted; hold breath • midbrain: survival impulses that activate core emotions (amygdala); heart racing, terror, panic, addictive craving
RH/Emo mind, processes experience emplicitly; impulses lie outside of cons. control; context, connection & security. Early, pre-verbal memories are stored in oFrntl & amygdala; the emotional mind largely sends non-verbal signals • Emo facial cues: tears after loss, shame …

Nietzsche & Groundhog Day

On Nietzsche & Groundhog DayIn August, 1881, Friedrich Nietzsche, while out on a walk around a lake in Sils Maria, Switzerland, had an unusual idea, what could be called a philosophical thought experiment. It was based on the concept of ‘eternal recurrence,’ namely that in a universe that unfolds with infinite amounts of time but circumscribed by patterns and limitations, events would recur again and again infinitely…
Rather than viewing this idea as a burden, Nietzsche believed this possibility could help each of us properly analyze our decisions and even proceed through life authentically. The insight was based on a question:
Suppose a demon were to inform you that you’d have to live your life as you’ve lived it over and over and over again throughout eternity, with all the pleasures and pains, the accomplishments yes, but also the mistakes, rejections, failures, setbacks and embarrassments, not to mention the losses. Would you react with dread or with enthusiasm? This became know…

Buddhism and the Bilateral Brain: A Brief Sketch of Ideas Ranging from the Ancient Greeks, Early Buddhism, Nietzsche and a Smattering of Neuroscience

In Greek mythology, Apollo was the god of the reason and logic, appealing to the ideals of precision and abstract purity. Dionysus was the god of the spontaneous, the emotional, embodied, often irrational instinct. These gods were not considered to be antagonistic but rather complimentary.
Today, from the vantage of contemporary neuropsychology, especially in the works of Iain McGilchrist, Allan Schore and Robert Ornstein, we can readily note how these twin gods neatly represented the asymmetrical brain: • Apollo depicts the perspective of the left hemisphere, which represents the world in static ideas; reality is comprised of separate and fragmented objects, abstracted from their context; reality is separated into parts. The kind of attention is inherently dualistic and isolating—self versus other, me versus you, humankind versus nature; this attention tends to represent the fluid and organic as lifeless, static, in language or symbols. • Dionysus depicts the worldview of the r…

As the World Drifts Away

As Iain McGilchrist has suggested in his wonderful book The Master and His Emissary, there are two profoundly contrasting perspectives on life, or perhaps more accurately, of attending to experience:  From one perspective the world is composed of many separate objects, which interact with each other, but can be isolated, extracted, studied and represented in words and theories without any change to the object in question, or the context to which its connected. This is certainly the western, materialist, consumerist take on the world.
     The second view of the world is a perhaps more spiritual, certainly holistic, and in line with the profound discoveries of modern physics: that it is not possible to separate objects, beings, natural phenomena from its context, that there’s a fluidity and profound interdependence to the world. Things are iterations of and act dependent upon their context, we cannot isolate people, animals, flora and so on, without not only effecting the object itself …

Is There Life on Earth?

Our ancestors knew that physical proximity, being seen in the eye of others via direct, face-to-face contact was, and is, the core foundation of mental and physical health. Without the emotional co-regulation that community provides, our sympathetic nervous systems never switch off, we’re forever on guard. 
Remember: The human species survived and thrived because we lived in tribes where individuals labored not just for themselves, but the benefit of others; we didn't survive by outrunning predators, for we are without wings, shells or claws; we survive because we are pack animals, wired to connect, our primary means to survive threats and heal our wounds; without connection chronic stress is the inevitable result.
     Loneliness is not a spiritual state to seek, it’s a health risk: the bonds of community, emotional mirroring, acceptance heal our wounds, help us grow, produce states of ease and confidence. People in communities live significantly longer, healthier lives.

Self Therapy

We adults can spend our days trying to meet ever mounting 'to do' lists, unmeetable schedules, wearying routines, the ceaseless demands and responsibilities of adult life. After all, those bills don't go away on their own. And so it's easy to forget that along with us on this dizzying ride there's a child, often bewildered, overwhelmed, still healing from old wounds.
You've encountered the child many times in the past—it signal its fears through our frustrating procrastination, anxiety, insomnia and exhaustion; the embarrassing or shameful images that pop in the mind. How easily we misinterpret these important messages from what dwells in our unconscious as personal failures, behaviors 'to get rid of' by any means available.
You see, the child is too young to speak to us in words; but even if language were available to this forgotten self, our inner chatter would drown her out. But the child can express itself through the body, in all the physical sensa…