Thursday, April 28, 2016

Meditation for Veterans

Mind Body Medicine from the Naval Medical Center San Diego.

Psilocybin reduces psychological pain after social exclusion

Psilocybin reduces psychological pain after social exclusion, more evidence that psychedelics can be useful in the treatment of many psychological problems.

Soma = Psilocybin Mushroom

Theories about the vedic soma are a dime a dozen, but here's another one, based on the scene depicted on some ancient burial textiles.

"Good fruit we drink you, elixir of life, and achieve physical strength or light of god, and control over senses.  In this situation, what can our internal enemy do to us, what even can violent people can do to us."

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Talk 24 - Martyn Wilson

I was a bit fascinated by this story of Martyn (83 min. video), a very skeptical guy who initially set out to prove that his girlfriend's meditative interests were bunk, and ended up becoming enlightened.

Martyn followed a technique of visualization to get relaxed and then sat with the question "I wonder what my next thought will be?" for many hours over many months, maybe a few years.

Some bullet points describing his progression were:
  • Observe your thoughts
  • Question your beliefs and opinions
  • Surrender to all that is
  • Just Be
  • Be Happy
I think the one that stands out there is "question your beliefs and opinions", because it is a little different than the "believe everything" kind of message that often dominates spiritual circles and more importantly because of what it can ultimately lead to.  There is no end to the number of conscious and unconscious assumptions that we have made about our world.  We're not talking the kind of skepticism that is hard edged in itself, but rather a process of observing and letting go of the rigidities and contractions around those views.

Psychedelics: Lifting The Veil

In Psychedelics: Lifting The Veil (16 min. TED talk video) researcher Robin Carhart-Harris characterizes psychedelics as allowing access to a more childlike, imaginative mind, with freer communication pathways and expanded visual processing similar to the dream state.

He describes some apparent good results with psychedelics (I believe LSD here) for depression, with significant short term results for treatment resistant depression.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Ayahuasca may lead to anxiety cures

Similar to previous research with psilocybin and the extinction or decrease of a trained fear response in rats, ayahuasca appears to do something very similar.  It would seem that the major psychedelics have this in common.

LSD Study Demonstrates Present Moment Orientation

Another Carhart-Harris paper with the odd name of "Decreased mental time travel to the past correlates with default-mode network disintegration under lysergic acid diethylamide" reveals significantly fewer mental excursions to the past on LSD which relates to decreased connectivity in the default mode network.  Similar to what is seen with advanced meditators.

First LSD Brain Imaging Study Completed

Carhart-Harris' research, "Neural correlates of the LSD experience revealed by multimodal neuroimaging" reveals the plausible neural basis for many aspects of the psychedelic experience, including ego dissolution (correlated with less coordination in the default mode network) and visual distortions.