A gifted Hyperspace Intuitive, Stewart A. Swerdlow moves his consciousness beyond time and space to determine your foundational mind-pattern upon which all your life experiences are based. His great-uncle, Yakov Sverdlov, was the first president of the Soviet Union, and his grandfather helped form the Communist Party in the United States in the 1930s. To ensure that his loyalties stayed with the US government, he was “recruited” for specific government mind-control experiments, including 13 years at the Montauk Project, which enhanced his natural abilities.
Stewart, a linguist who speaks ten languages, is an expert in deprogramming and determining which Illuminati programs are embedded in the mind-patterns of any individual. His mission is to help others heal themselves in a positive way, thus avoiding the negativity he experienced.
the state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings.“she failed to regain consciousness and died two days later”
the awareness or perception of something by a person.plural noun: consciousnesses“her acute consciousness of Mike’s presence”
the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world.“consciousness emerges from the operations of the brain”
The Core of the Teachings
Written by Krishnamurti in 1980 at the request of his biographer Mary Lutyens.
The core of Krishnamurti’s teaching is contained in the statement he made in 1929 when he said, “Truth is a pathless land”. Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any philosophical knowledge or psychological technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection.
Man has built in himself images as a fence of security—religious, political, personal. These manifest as symbols, ideas, beliefs. The burden of these images dominates man’s thinking, his relationships, and his daily life. These images are the causes of our problems for they divide man from man. His perception of life is shaped by the concepts already established in his mind. The content of his consciousness is his entire existence. The individuality is the name, the form and superficial culture he acquires from tradition and environment. The uniqueness of man does not lie in the superficial but in complete freedom from the content of his consciousness, which is common to all humanity. So he is not an individual.
Freedom is not a reaction; freedom is not choice. It is man’s pretence that because he has choice he is free. Freedom is pure observation without direction, without fear of punishment and reward. Freedom is without motive; freedom is not at the end of the evolution of man but lies in the first step of his existence. In observation one begins to discover the lack of freedom. Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity.
Thought is time. Thought is born of experience and knowledge, which are inseparable from time and the past. Time is the psychological enemy of man. Our action is based on knowledge and therefore time, so man is always a slave to the past. Thought is ever limited and so we live in constant conflict and struggle. There is no psychological evolution. When man becomes aware of the movement of his own thoughts, he will see the division between the thinker and thought, the observer and the observed, the experiencer and the experience. He will discover that this division is an illusion. Then only is there pure observation which is insight without any shadow of the past or of time. This timeless insight brings about a deep, radical mutation in the mind.
Total negation is the essence of the positive. When there is negation of all those things that thought has brought about psychologically, only then is there love, which is compassion and intelligence.
Copyright ©1980 Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Ltd.Read more
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Everything we do is for the purpose of altering consciousness. We form friendships so that we can feel certain emotions, like love, and avoid others, like loneliness. We eat specific foods to enjoy their fleeting presence on our tongues. We read for the pleasure of thinking another person’s thoughts. Every waking moment—and even in our dreams—we struggle to direct the flow of sensation, emotion, and cognition toward states of consciousness that we value.
Drugs are another means toward this end. Some are illegal; some are stigmatized; some are dangerous—though, perversely, these sets only partially intersect. There are drugs of extraordinary power and utility, like psilocybin (the active compound in “magic mushrooms”) and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), which pose no apparent risk of addiction and are physically well-tolerated, and yet one can still be sent to prison for their use—while drugs like tobacco and alcohol, which have ruined countless lives, are enjoyed ad libitum in almost every society on earth. There are other points on this continuum—3,4-methylene-dioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA or “Ecstasy”) has remarkable therapeutic potential, but it is also susceptible to abuse, and it appears to be neurotoxic.
One of the great responsibilities we have as a society is to educate ourselves, along with the next generation, about which substances are worth ingesting, and for what purpose, and which are not. The problem, however, is that we refer to all biologically active compounds by a single term—“drugs”—and this makes it nearly impossible to have an intelligent discussion about the psychological, medical, ethical, and legal issues surrounding their use. The poverty of our language has been only slightly eased by the introduction of terms like “psychedelics” to differentiate certain visionary compounds, which can produce extraordinary states of ecstasy and insight, from “narcotics” and other classic agents of stupefaction and abuse.
Drug abuse and addiction are real problems, of course—the remedy for which is education and medical treatment, not incarceration. In fact, the worst drugs of abuse in the United States now appear to be prescription painkillers, like oxycodone. Should these medicines be made illegal? Of course not. People need to be informed about them, and addicts need treatment. And all drugs—including alcohol, cigarettes, and aspirin—must be kept out of the hands of children.
I discuss issues of drug policy in some detail in my first book, The End of Faith (pp. 158-164), and my thinking on the subject has not changed. The “war on drugs” has been well lost, and should never have been waged. While it isn’t explicitly protected by the U.S. Constitution, I can think of no political right more fundamental than the right to peacefully steward the contents of one’s own consciousness. The fact that we pointlessly ruin the lives of nonviolent drug users by incarcerating them, at enormous expense, constitutes one of the great moral failures of our time. (And the fact that we make room for them in our prisons by paroling murderers and rapists makes one wonder whether civilization isn’t simply doomed.)
I have a daughter who will one day take drugs. Of course, I will do everything in my power to see that she chooses her drugs wisely, but a life without drugs is neither foreseeable, nor, I think, desirable. Someday, I hope she enjoys a morning cup of tea or coffee as much as I do. If my daughter drinks alcohol as an adult, as she probably will, I will encourage her to do it safely. If she chooses to smoke marijuana, I will urge moderation. Tobacco should be shunned, of course, and I will do everything within the bounds of decent parenting to steer her away from it. Needless to say, if I knew my daughter would eventually develop a fondness for methamphetamine or crack cocaine, I might never sleep again. But if she does not try a psychedelic like psilocybin or LSD at least once in her adult life, I will worry that she may have missed one of the most important rites of passage a human being can experience.
This is not to say that everyone should take psychedelics. As I will make clear below, these drugs pose certain dangers. Undoubtedly, there are people who cannot afford to give the anchor of sanity even the slightest tug. It has been many years since I have taken psychedelics, in fact, and my abstinence is born of a healthy respect for the risks involved. However, there was a period in my early 20’s when I found drugs like psilocybin and LSD to be indispensable tools of insight, and some of the most important hours of my life were spent under their influence. I think it quite possible that I might never have discovered that there was an inner landscape of mind worth exploring without having first pressed this pharmacological advantage.
While human beings have ingested plant-based psychedelics for millennia, scientific research on these compounds did not begin until the 1950’s. By 1965, a thousand studies had been published, primarily on psilocybin and LSD, many of which attested to the usefulness of psychedelics in the treatment of clinical depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), alcohol addiction, and the pain and anxiety associated with terminal cancer. Within a few years, however, this entire field of research was abolished in an effort to stem the spread of these drugs among the general public. After a hiatus that lasted an entire generation, scientific research on the pharmacology and therapeutic value of psychedelics has quietly resumed.
The psychedelics include chemicals like psilocybin, LSD, DMT, and mescaline—all of which powerfully alter cognition, perception, and mood. Most seem to exert their influence through the serotonin system in the brain, primarily by binding to 5-HT2A receptors (though several have affinity for other receptors as well), leading to increased neuronal activity in prefrontal cortex (PFC). While the PFC in turn modulates subcortical dopamine production, the effect of psychedelics appears to take place largely outside dopamine pathways (which might explain why these drugs are not habit forming).
The mere existence of psychedelics would seem to establish the material basis of mental and spiritual life beyond any doubt—for the introduction of these substances into the brain is the obvious cause of any numinous apocalypse that follows. It is possible, however, if not actually plausible, to seize this datum from the other end and argue, and Aldous Huxley did in his classic essay, The Doors of Perception, that the primary function of the brain could be eliminative: its purpose could be to prevent some vast, transpersonal dimension of mind from flooding consciousness, thereby allowing apes like ourselves to make their way in the world without being dazzled at every step by visionary phenomena irrelevant to their survival. Huxley thought that if the brain were a kind of “reducing valve” for “Mind at Large,” this would explain the efficacy of psychedelics: They could simply be a material means of opening the tap.
Unfortunately, Huxley was operating under the erroneous assumption that psychedelics decrease brain activity. However, modern techniques of neuroimaging have shown that these drugs tend to increase activity in many regions of the cortex (and in subcortical structures as well) [Note 1/24/12: a recent study on psilocybin actually lends some support to Huxley’s view.—SH] . Still, the action of these drugs does not rule out dualism, or the existence of realms of mind beyond the brain—but then nothing does. This is one of the problems with views of this kind: They appear to be unfalsifiable.
Of course, the brain does filter an extraordinary amount of information from consciousness. And, like many who have taken these drugs, I can attest that psychedelics certainly throw open the gates. Needless to say, positing the existence of a “Mind at Large” is more tempting in some states of consciousness than in others. And the question of which view of reality we should privilege is, at times, worth considering. But these drugs can also produce mental states that are best viewed in clinical terms as forms of psychosis. As a general matter, I believe we should be very slow to make conclusions about the nature of the cosmos based upon inner experience — no matter how profound these experiences seem.
However, there is no question that the mind is vaster and more fluid than our ordinary, waking consciousness suggests. Consequently, it is impossible to communicate the profundity (or seeming profundity) of psychedelic states to those who have never had such experiences themselves. It is, in fact, difficult to remind oneself of the power of these states once they have passed.
Many people wonder about the difference between meditation (and other contemplative practices) and psychedelics. Are these drugs a form of cheating, or are they the one, indispensable vehicle for authentic awakening? They are neither. Many people don’t realize that all psychoactive drugs modulate the existing neurochemistry of the brain—either by mimicking specific neurotransmitters or by causing the neurotransmitters themselves to be more active. There is nothing that one can experience on a drug that is not, at some level, an expression of the brain’s potential. Hence, whatever one has experienced after ingesting a drug like LSD is likely to have been experienced, by someone, somewhere, without it.
However, it cannot be denied that psychedelics are a uniquely potent means of altering consciousness. If a person learns to meditate, pray, chant, do yoga, etc., there is no guarantee that anything will happen. Depending on his aptitude, interest, etc., boredom could be the only reward for his efforts. If, however, a person ingests 100 micrograms of LSD, what will happen next will depend on a variety of factors, but there is absolutely no question that something will happen. And boredom is simply not in the cards. Within the hour, the significance of his existence will bear down upon our hero like an avalanche. As Terence McKenna never tired of pointing out, this guarantee of profound effect, for better or worse, is what separates psychedelics from every other method of spiritual inquiry. It is, however, a difference that brings with it certain liabilities.
Ingesting a powerful dose of a psychedelic drug is like strapping oneself to a rocket without a guidance system. One might wind up somewhere worth going—and, depending on the compound and one’s “set and setting,” certain trajectories are more likely than others. But however methodically one prepares for the voyage, one can still be hurled into states of mind so painful and confusing as to be indistinguishable from psychosis. Hence, the terms “psychotomimetic” and “psychotogenic” that are occasionally applied to these drugs.
I have visited both extremes on the psychedelic continuum. The positive experiences were more sublime than I could have ever imagined or than I can now faithfully recall. These chemicals disclose layers of beauty that art is powerless to capture and for which the beauty of Nature herself is a mere simulacrum. It is one thing to be awestruck by the sight of a giant redwood and to be amazed at the details of its history and underlying biology. It is quite another to spend an apparent eternity in egoless communion with it. Positive psychedelic experiences often reveal how wondrously at ease in the universe a human being can be—and for most of us, normal waking consciousness does not offer so much as a glimmer of these deeper possibilities.
People generally come away from such experiences with a sense that our conventional states of consciousness obscure and truncate insights and emotions that are sacred. If the patriarchs and matriarchs of the world’s religions experienced such states of mind, many of their claims about the nature of reality can make subjective sense. The beautific vision does not tell you anything about the birth of the cosmos—but it does reveal how utterly transfigured a mind can be by a full collision with the present moment.
But as the peaks are high, the valleys are deep. My “bad trips” were, without question, the most harrowing hours I have ever suffered—and they make the notion of hell, as a metaphor if not a destination, seem perfectly apt. If nothing else, these excruciating experiences can become a source of compassion. I think it would be impossible to have any sense of what it is like to suffer from mental illness without having briefly touched its shores.
At both ends of the continuum time dilates in ways that cannot be described—apart from saying that these experiences can seem eternal. I have had sessions, both positive and negative, in which any knowledge that I had ingested a drug had been extinguished, and all memories of my past along with it. Full immersion in the present moment, to this degree, is synonymous with the feeling that one has always been, and will always be, in precisely this condition. Depending on the character of one’s experience at that point, notions of salvation and damnation do not seem hyperbolic. In my experience, Blake’s line about beholding “eternity in an hour” neither promises, nor threatens, too much.
In the beginning, my experiences with psilocybin and LSD were so positive that I could not believe a bad trip was possible. Notions of “set and setting,” admittedly vague, seemed sufficient to account for this. My mental set was exactly as it needed to be—I was a spiritually serious investigator of my own mind—and my setting was generally one of either natural beauty or secure solitude.
I cannot account for why my adventures with psychedelics were uniformly pleasant until they weren’t—but when the doors to hell finally opened, they appear to have been left permanently ajar. Thereafter, whether or not a trip was good in the aggregate, it generally entailed some harrowing detour on the path to sublimity. Have you ever traveled, beyond all mere metaphors, to the Mountain of Shame and stayed for a thousand years? I do not recommend it.
On my first trip to Nepal, I took a rowboat out on Phewa Lake in Pokhara, which offers a stunning view of the Annapurna range. It was early morning, and I was alone. As the sun rose over the water, I ingested 400 micrograms of LSD. I was 20 years old and had taken the drug at least ten times previously. What could go wrong?
Everything, as it turns out. Well, not everything—I didn’t drown. And I have a vague memory of drifting ashore and of being surrounded by a group of Nepali soldiers. After watching me for a while, as I ogled them over the gunwale like a lunatic, they seemed on the verge of deciding what to do with me. Some polite words of Esperanto, and a few, mad oar strokes, and I was off shore and into oblivion. So I suppose that could have ended differently.
But soon there was no lake or mountains or boat—and if I had fallen into the water I am pretty sure there would have been no one to swim. For the next several hours my mind became the perfect instrument of self-torture. All that remained was a continuous shattering and terror for which I have no words.
These encounters take something out of you. Even if drugs like LSD are biologically safe, the potential for extremely unpleasant and destabilizing experiences presents its own risks. I believe I was positively affected for weeks and months by my good trips, and negatively affected by the bad ones. Given these roulette-like odds, one can only recommend these experiences with caution.
While meditation can open the mind to a similar range of conscious states, they are reached far less haphazardly. If LSD is like being strapped to rocket, learning to meditate is like gently raising a sail. Yes, it is possible, even with guidance, to wind up someplace terrifying—and there are people who probably shouldn’t spend long periods in intensive practice. But the general effect of meditation training is of settling ever more fully into one’s own skin, and suffering less, rather than more there.
As I discussed in The End of Faith, I view most psychedelic experiences as potentially misleading. Psychedelics do not guarantee wisdom. They merely guarantee more content. And visionary experiences, considered in their totality, appear to me to be ethically neutral. Therefore, it seems that psychedelic ecstasy must be steered toward our personal and collective well-being by some other principle. As Daniel Pinchbeck pointed out in his highly entertaining book, Breaking Open the Head, the fact that both the Mayans and the Aztecs used psychedelics, while being enthusiastic practitioners of human sacrifice, makes any idealistic link between plant-based shamanism and an enlightened society seem terribly naive.
As I will discuss in future essays, the form of transcendence that appears to link directly to ethical behavior and human well-being is the transcendence of egoity in the midst of ordinary waking consciousness. It is by ceasing to cling to the contents of consciousness—to our thoughts, moods, desires, etc.—that we make progress. Such a project does not, in principle, require that we experience more contents. The freedom from self that is both the goal and foundation of “spiritual” life is coincident with normal perception and cognition—though, admittedly, this can be difficult to realize.
The power of psychedelics, however, is that they often reveal, in the span of a few hours, depths of awe and understanding that can otherwise elude us for a lifetime. As is often the case, William James said it about as well as words permit :
One conclusion was forced upon my mind at that time, and my impression of its truth has ever since remained unshaken. It is that our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence; but apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their completeness, definite types of mentality which probably somewhere have their field of application and adaptation. No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded. How to regard them is the question,—for they are so discontinuous with ordinary consciousness. Yet they may determine attitudes though they cannot furnish formulas, and open a region though they fail to give a map. At any rate, they forbid a premature closing of our accounts with reality.
(The Varieties of Religious Experience, p. 388)
- A wide literature now suggests that MDMA damages serotonin-producing neurons and decreases levels of serotonin in the brain. Here is the tip of the iceberg: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. ↩
- What is moderation? Let’s just say that I’ve never met a person who smokes marijuana every day who I thought wouldn’t benefit from smoking less (and I’ve never met someone who has never tried it who I thought wouldn’t benefit from smoking more).↩
- Physicalism, by contrast, could be easily falsified. If science ever established the existence of ghosts, or reincarnation, or any other phenomenon which would place the human mind (in whole or in part) outside the brain, physicalism would be dead. The fact that dualists can never say what would count as evidence against their views makes this ancient philosophical position very difficult to distinguish from religious faith.↩
- Terence McKenna is one person I regret not getting to know. Unfortunately, he died from brain cancer in 2000, at the age of 53. His books are well worth reading, and I have recommended several below, but he was, above all, an amazing speaker. It is true that his eloquence often led him to adopt positions which can only be described (charitably) as “wacky,” but the man was undeniably brilliant and always worth listening to. ↩
- I should say, however, that there are psychedelic experiences that I have not had, which appear to deliver a different message. Rather than being states in which the boundaries of the self are dissolved, some people have experiences in which the self (in some form) appears to be transported elsewhere. This phenomenon is very common with the drug DMT, and it can lead its initiates to some very startling conclusions about the nature of reality. More than anyone else, Terence McKenna was influential in bringing the phenomenology of DMT into prominence.DMT is unique among psychedelics for a several reasons. Everyone who has tried it seems to agree that it is the most potent hallucinogen available (not in terms of the quantity needed for an effective dose, but in terms of its effects). It is also, paradoxically, the shortest acting. While the effects of LSD can last ten hours, the DMT trance dawns in less than a minute and subsides in ten. One reason for such steep pharmacokinetics seems to be that this compound already exists inside the human brain, and it is readily metabolized by monoaminoxidase. DMT is in the same chemical class as psilocybin and the neurotransmitter serotonin (but, in addition to having an affinity for 5-HT2Areceptors, it has been shown to bind to the sigma-1 receptor and modulate Na+ channels). Its function in the human body remains mysterious. Among the many mysteries and insults presented by DMT, it offers a final mockery of our drug laws: Not only have we criminalized naturally occurring substances, like cannabis; we have criminalized one of our own neurotransmitters.Many users of DMT report being thrust under its influence into an adjacent reality where they are met by alien beings who appear intent upon sharing information and demonstrating the use of inscrutable technologies. The convergence of hundreds of such reports, many from first-time users of the drug who have not been told what to expect, is certainly interesting. It is also worth noting these accounts are almost entirely free of religious imagery. One appears far more likely to meet extraterrestrials or elves on DMT than traditional saints or angels. As I have not tried DMT, and have not had an experience of the sort that its users describe, I don’t know what to make of any of this. ↩
- Of course, James was reporting his experiences with nitrous oxide, which is an anesthetic. Other anesthetics, like ketamine hydrochloride and phencyclidine hydrochloride (PCP), have similar effects on mood and cognition at low doses. However, there are many differences between these drugs and classic psychedelics—one being that high doses of the latter do not lead to general anesthesia. ↩
Huxley, A. The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell.
Stevens, J. Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream.
via SamHarris.orgRead more
If you like to express yourself through painting, writing, or any other form of artistic action, scientists now say that you must be suffering from a mental illness of some kind. In a new display of how truly insane the mainstream medical health paradigm has become, mainstream media outlets are now regurgitating the words of ‘experts’ who say that those who are creative are actually, more often than not, mentally ill.
After all, more than 50% of the United States is, by definition of the psychiatrists of the nation, mentally ill. Even questioning the government is considered a mental disorder. It should come as no surprise to know that upwards of 70% of the psychiatrists who write the conditions are — of course — on the payroll of those who produce the drugs to ‘treat’ the conditions. It should also therefore come as no surprise to note that the DSM (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is the foundation of the entire diagnosis system) now contains over 900 pages of bogus disorders.
And perhaps creativity may soon be added to the massive textbook, which labels people who are shy, eccentric, or have unconventional romantic lives as mentally ill.
Is it any wonder that the 4th edition of the manual, which added hundreds of new ways to diagnose patients, led to a 40 times increase in bipolar disorder diagnoses. Even the lead editor of the DSM-IV Allen Frances, MD, has stated the book is utter nonsense:
There is no definition of a mental disorder. It’s bull****. I mean, you just can’t define it, he said.
Real information like this is what has led the mainstream news to re-title their pieces regarding the new classification of creativity as a mental illness, changing the headlines to more ‘ginger’ ways of linking the two together. Meanwhile, the writers of the study claiming that creativity is part of a mental illness are quite clear in stating that creativity is literally a mental illness. The extent in which you wish to ‘treat’ your creativity, however, is apparently up to you and your doctor.
Be of caution, however, as you have to decide at ‘what cost’ you will allow your creativity to exist. As the study writer stated:
If one takes the view that certain phenomena associated with the patient’s illness are beneficial, it opens the way for a new approach to treatment. In that case, the doctor and patient must come to an agreement on what is to be treated, and at what cost.
As expected the way to ‘treat’ your creativity is of course to take pharmaceutical drugs in the form of anti-depressants or hardcore psychotropic drugs. The same drugs that virtually all suicidal massacre shooters have taken before or during their rampages.
As virtually everything we think and do is classified as a symptom of a mental disorder, the mainstream psychiatric paradigm will continue to grow like a massive parasite alongside the pharmaceutical industry that profits off of the absolute laughable diagnoses of regular adults, children, and even toddlers. Until we realize that we need to shift into a new health paradigm that is centered around personal health freedom and shed corporate science as a whole, we will continue to see insane headlines classifying thought and emotion as mental illness.
via ActivistPost.comRead more
The Man Who Drank The Universe is a documentary on the amazonien brew AYAHUASCA also know as DAIME. It tell the story of a English man from London who goes to experiment the brew in the Brasilia amazon.
Vitamin B12, or rather a lack thereof, has been called the “canary in the coalmine” for your future brain health, and recent research has bolstered the importance of this vitamin in keeping your mind sharp as you age.
According to the latest research, people with high levels of markers for vitamin B12 deficiency were more likely to score lower on cognitive tests, as well as have a smaller total brain volume, which suggests a lack of the vitamin may lead to brain shrinkage.
This issue is of paramount importance for many of you reading this for two reasons:
- Vitamin B12 deficiency is very widespread
- Your blood level of vitamin B12 is not an adequate marker of whether or not you’re deficient, making vitamin B12 deficiency easy to miss
What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is a powerhouse micronutrient often known as the “energy vitamin” because it assists in energy production.
Your body relies on the efficient conversion of carbohydrates to glucose — your body’s source of fuel — to run smoothly, and vitamin B12 plays a major role in that conversion. B12 also enables your body to convert fatty acids into energy. Further, your B12 level impacts a number of very important functions in your body, including:
|Carbohydrate and fat metabolism||Healthy nervous system function||Promotion of normal nerve growth and development|
|Help with regulation of the formation of red blood cells||Cell formation and longevity||Proper circulation|
|Adrenal hormone production||Healthy immune system function||Support of female reproductive health and pregnancy|
|Feelings of well-being and mood regulation||Mental clarity, concentration, memory function||Physical, emotional and mental energy|
Problems with Memory, Brain Function Top Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Mental fogginess and problems with memory are two of the top warning signs that you have vitamin B12 deficiency, and this is indicative of its importance for your brain health.
In addition to the latest Neurology study, which found more signs of shrinkage of brain tissue among those with low vitamin B12, a Finnish study published in Neurology last year found that people who consume foods rich in B12 may reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s in their later years. For each unit increase in the marker of vitamin B12 (holotranscobalamin) the risk of developing Alzheimer’s was reduced by 2 percent. Research also shows that supplementing with B vitamins, including B12, helps to slow brain atrophy in elderly people with mild cognitive impairment (brain atrophy is a well-established characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease).
What Causes B12 Deficiency?
Vitamin B12 is the largest vitamin that we know of. Because of its large size, it is not easily absorbed passively like most supplements. Because of this, many, if not most oral B12 supplements are worthless and do NOT work. Vitamin B12 requires a complex system in your body involving intrinsic factor to bind to it so it can be actively absorbed in the end of your small intestine (terminal ileum). As you grow older the ability to produce intrinsic factor decreases and cause a deficiency state.
Studies from the U.S. Framingham trial show one in four adults are deficient in vitamin B12, and nearly half the population has suboptimal blood levels. If you eat an all vegetarian or vegan diet, vitamin B12 is one of the nutrients your body is most likely deficient in, as it is naturally present in foods that come from animals, including meat, fish, eggs, milk and milk products. However, there are many other causes of B12 deficiency as well, including:
- Food-Cobalamin Malabsorption Syndrome:This condition results when your stomach lining loses its ability to produce intrinsic factor, a protein that binds to vitamin B12 and allows your body to absorb it into your bloodstream at the furthest point of your small intestine.Intrinsic factor is a protein made by your stomach. It grabs onto the B12 molecule and together they move through your stomach to your small intestine. When they reach the end of your small intestine, the intrinsic factor is absorbed first, pulling the B12 with it into the cells of your large intestine, where they are absorbed for use by the rest of your body.
- Increasing Age: Intrinsic factor diminishes as you age, and this means it’s virtually impossible to get B12 from your diet. This also means the older you get, the more likely you will need to supplement B12.
- Use of the drug metformin for Type 2 diabetes: Use of metformin (brand names include Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Fortamet, Riomet, and Glumetza) may inhibit your B12 absorption, especially at higher doses.
- Coffee consumption: Four or more cups of coffee a day can reduce your B vitamin stores by as much as 15 percent.
- Use of antacids: The use of antacids or anti-ulcer drugs will lower your stomach acid secretion and decrease your ability to absorb vitamin B12. Stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) is a crucial ingredient in your body’s ability to absorb B12. If you’re taking a medication specifically designed to reduce the amount of stomach acid you produce, your body’s ability to use vitamin B12 from the food you eat or the supplements you take will be significantly compromised.
- Gastric bypass surgery
- Exposure to nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
Why a Blood Test May Not be Enough to Detect Deficiency
Blood tests for vitamin B12 deficiency aren’t as clear cut or helpful as they are for other nutritional deficiencies. Standard tests to assess vitamin B12 concentrations are limited because the clinical severity of vitamin B12 deficiency is unrelated to vitamin B12 concentrations. As researchers concluded in Neurology:
“Concentrations of all vitamin B12-related markers, but not serum vitamin B12 itself, were associated with global cognitive function and with total brain volume.”
So generally speaking, you can use the following recommendations to screen for vitamin B12 deficiency:
- If your vitamin B12 concentration is less than 150 pmol/L, you are considered B12 deficient and you and your health care practitioner should take steps to determine the underlying cause(s) and treatment.
- If your B12 concentration is between 150 and 200 pmol/L, your serum MMA (Methylmalonic Acid) level should be determined to identify whether your situation requires more investigation and treatment. Research suggests elevated levels of MMA (a natural compound found in your body) are an indicator for vitamin B12 deficiency.
However, if you suspect or are concerned you are vitamin B12 deficient, a more practical option may be to simply supplement your diet with B12 and see if your symptoms improve.
B12 is available in its natural form only in animal food sources. These include seafood, beef, chicken, pork, milk, eggs. If you don’t consume enough of these animal products (and I don’t recommend consuming seafood unless you know it is from a pure water source) to get an adequate supply of B12, or if your body’s ability to absorb the vitamin from food is compromised, vitamin B12 supplementation is completely non-toxic and inexpensive, especially when compared to the cost of laboratory testing.
In fact, the first treatment most doctors and other health care experts will suggest upon receiving B12 deficiency lab test results is supplementation with vitamin B12. I recommend either an under-the-tongue fine mist spray, as this technology helps you absorb it into the fine capillaries under your tongue. This delivery system bypasses the intrinsic factor problem and is much easier, safer and less painful than having your doctor inject you with a vitamin B12 shot.
Signs and Symptoms to Watch For
Besides the above-mentioned mental fogginess and memory problems, there are actually a wide range of symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, from mild to severe, which can affect your body, mind and mood. In general, the signs are:
- Fatigue, lack of energy, muscle weakness, tingling in your extremities
- Mental fogginess or problems with your memory, trouble sleeping
- Mood swings, especially feelings of apathy or lack of motivation
|Depression||Dementia and Alzheimer’s|
|Anemia||Neurological and Neuropsychiatric conditions|
|Female fertility and childbearing problems||Heart disease and cancer|
Other symptoms of long-term, chronic B12 deficiency are included in the chart above. Even though vitamin B12 is water-soluble, it doesn’t exit your body quickly like other water-soluble vitamins. B12 is stored in your liver, kidneys and other body tissues, and as a result, a deficiency may not show itself for a number of years until you finally run out of this naturally stored internal source of the vitamin.
This time lag in seeing symptoms of a B12 deficiency is a serious concern, because after about seven years of deficiency, irreversible brain damage can potentially result. So if you are suffering from any of the symptoms above it makes sense to take steps to increase your levels to protect your long-term brain, and overall, health.
IMPORTANT B12 Summary: Please Remember…
If you believe you need a vitamin B12 supplement, don’t hesitate to take one. They are very safe and there are virtually no known side effects. However, avoid oral B12 supplements as they will not be easily absorbed. You can take an injection or do a far easier sublingual (under your tongue) spray that allows the large B12 structure to bypass your intestine and be absorbed directly into your blood stream, allowing you to benefit immediately.
The Infinite Human is a concept that dates back millennia. Somehow, we have become experts at ‘limitation’, and applying it wherever possible. This episode is the first of a multi-part series of which is dedicated to YOU, the listener. Tune in to understand how important our definitions, believe systems, and emotional state becomes in relation to achieving goals, reaching ‘success’, and ultimately experiencing true happiness. Realize the power of NOW, the power of LOVE, and the power of SELF. Remember that the essential nature of the universe, is that it is non-material. After understanding this, it is easier to see how we can choose to have the things we want, or just the reasons why we can’t.
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Terence Kemp McKenna (November 16, 1946 – April 3, 2000) was an American philosopher, psychonaut, researcher, teacher, lecturer and writer on many subjects, such as human consciousness, language, psychedelic drugs, the evolution of civilizations, the origin and end of the universe, alchemy, and extraterrestrial beings.
Intro to the Extra-Dimensional: Is ET Coming Home? Psychic Powers & Metaphysical Experiences, Hidden Disease Cures & Natural Treatments
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Dis-Information Tactics, Co-intelpro Agents, and Mass Manipulation Technologies, Creating The Reality We Prefer – 4 Key Concepts
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In my consulting practice, I constantly hear people complain about how they rarely get what they want in life. They claim that when they do receive an answer to a wish or prayer, it falls short of the expected goal. Very frustrating, indeed!
Many researchers state that most human beings use just 10% or less of their brain capacity. What is even more shocking, humans only use 3% of their total DNA instructions, leaving the remaining 97% to be called “junk DNA” by scientists.
Russian researchers claim that the way the protein bases of DNA, (cytosine, adenine, guanine and thymine) are put together, that they actually appear like syntax in language. This research led to the idea that perhaps your words, vocalized or even simply thought, can affect your DNA. Research on this is still conducted in many countries.
You may have also heard the term “thoughts are things.” This is because thoughts can be measured electromagnetically. An electroencephalograph measures brain waves and indicates that a brain is alive. Science and medicine recognize that as long as brainwaves are active and projecting out, a person is living.
What would happen if you were able to open up a portion of the brain capacity and DNA storage that you don’t use? What abilities or powers would you have? Is this what psychics can do?
I use an analogy of how you can create your body and experiences using only your thoughts.
Think of it like this:
Thoughts are like film.
The brain is the projector.
Physical reality is the screen.
If you don’t like the “movie” that is playing around you, all you need to do is change the “film,” which takes you right back to your thoughts.
Sounds simple, but is it?
When you have specific thoughts and ideas most of your life, you may find it challenging to change your conditioned way of thinking. You are conditioned by your parents, school, church, friends and media. You are conditioned to have specific thoughts in a specific way.
For example, if mother said you need to change your socks every day, then as you become an adult, after following this thought path daily, you may feel strange or even guilty if you don’t do as you have been conditioned.
How do you modify your thoughts?
One way that seems to work well is by the use of affirmations. These are positive statements that a person thinks constantly to change or override a foundational thought or mind-pattern. Some people like to write them down constantly. The act of writing them over and over embeds the thought in your mind.
Keep your affirmations positive and in the current moment. For example, let’s say that you want to buy a home. Use this affirmation:
“I now own the most perfect home for me to live in.” Or…
“I now have the funding to purchase my most perfect residence.”
You can create your own versions of this. Just follow the rules of keeping it personal, current and only with positive words.
You can even do a visualization where you see a big, brown X through any negative thought that you feel holds you back from achieving your goals. Then, once you have brown X’ed it out, immediately replace it with the affirmation you have created.
Another way to create your desires and goals is to actually visualize your brain as a projector. Then, remove the “film” that is running through it and replace it with new film that contains what you want.
Or, visualize a DVD player in your mind. Replace the disc with a new one. On that disc see a label with what you want to create. Then, simply see the new disc running like a software in your mind.
Be as creative as you like. Visualize whatever you feel will help you to achieve this change in thinking. Make it a fun process. Make a list of the goals and end results that you wish to accomplish. You will be amazed at what you can do and never realized before!
You may claim that you are not able to concentrate or visualize. This may be due to stress, medications, fatigue, injuries or even just thinking that you can’t. But, if you can daydream, you can visualize.
Everyone daydreams. Some more than others. However, you often don’t even realize that you are daydreaming. Visualization simply means becoming aware of your daydreams and focusing on them to create your dreams into your reality. Practice makes perfect. Keep trying!
Do you like the “movie of your life” that is playing before your eyes? Want to make changes? Replace the “film.” You are the producer, director and editor. You cast all roles. Happy movie-making!
Have you ever wished you could go back in time and have a conversation with one of the greatest minds in history? Well, you can’t sorry, they’re dead. Unless of course you’re clairaudient, be my guest. But for the rest of us, we can still refer to the words they left behind.
Even though these great teachers have passed on, their words still live, and in them their wisdom. I’ve made a list of seven what I believe are some of the greatest teachings by the world’s greatest minds.
1. Realizing Your Dreams
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
– Lawrence J. Peter
In order for us to achieve our dreams, we must have a vision of our goals. Writing down our dreams and creating a list of actions helps us stick to our plan. As it’s said “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. When we turn our goals into measurable actions, we gain clarity and are able to see the necessary steps we must take in order to achieve them.
Action: Visualize a life of your wildest dreams. What did you dream of doing when you were a child? What would you do if you had a million dollars? Create a vision for your goals and start breaking them down into small actions that you can take on a day by day basis.
2. Overcoming Fear
“It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, “Always do what you are afraid to do.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
The best way to learn something is to dive right in to it. When we overcome our fear of failure, we learn that only those who are asleep make no mistakes. Fear is the only thing keeping us from experiencing a life of love and fulfillment. If we make a commitment to an uncompromisable quest for truth, we will realize that as we grow more into the truth, our fears start to disappear.
Action: You must define your fears in order to conquer them. Create a list of everything you’re afraid of and start facing them one at a time. Make a commitment to yourself now to not let fear rule your life.
3. Intention and Desire
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.”- Guatama Buddha
Our thoughts determine our reality. When we stop thinking about what we don’t and begin thinking about what we do want, our lives begin to transform. Instead of working against our desires and intentions, we move into alignment with them.
Action: Create a list of your intentions and desires. Wherever you go, take this list with you. Read it when you wake up and before you go to sleep.
Happiness comes from an inner peace, understanding and acceptance of life; a perspective of truth that opens your eyes to the beauty of life all around us. Happiness cannot be achieved by external status, it must be an internal state that we realize when we see our innate perfection.
Action: Realize that happiness is a choice. In every decision you make ask yourself “how can I respond to make myself happy and fulfilled?”
5. Self Acceptance
“If a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” – Jesus
When we stop trying to be what we are not, we realize our authenticity. Before we had knowledge, we were completely authentic. We learn to use knowledge to measure and judge, which is a powerful tool we have as humans. However we create an image of perfection in our mind of what we should be, but are not. We confuse knowledge for nature. We believe in the lie of our imperfection. When we realize this we can reclaim the truth of our perfection and live in love and acceptance.
Action: Make a commitment to never go against yourself. Practice non-judgment and realize that the same part of your mind that condemns you is the same voice that caused you to take the action in the first place. We don’t even have to believe what we say to ourselves.
6. Appreciation and Gratitude
“So much has been given to me, I have not time to ponder over that which has been denied.”
– Helen Keller
How many times do we count our misfortunes rather than our blessings? When we take time to open our eyes to the miracle of life we can see the many gifts that have been given to us. Remembering all the beautiful aspects of life and all the reasons you are blessed can immediately shift our mood. We can move from sorrow and despair to appreciation and hope.
Action: Each time you find yourself complaining about something, re-direct your focus to something you are grateful for. Make a habit of transforming your awareness of troubles into an awareness of abundance.
7. The Art of Simplicity
“I made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it short.”
– Blaise Pascal
Perfection is not when there is nothing to add, but when there is nothing more to take away. As Bruce Lee once said “the height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.” True mastery of our lives is realizing the simple joys of life, removing distractions and clutter from our lives.
Action: The art of simplicity is knowing what to take away. Practice recognizing when you’re spending your time on unimportant tasks and re-focus on the important.
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are other many great teachings that I did not include here because I felt like they were already expounded on thoroughly elsewhere, such as Einstein and Gandhi’s timeless classics. There are also great teachings to be found from our parents or friends.
You think you know what holograms are? Think again. Once restricted to credit cards, postcards, and the occasional magazine cover, holograms are taking a great cosmic leap thanks to a new hypothesis called the holographic principle.
The holographic principle, simply put, is the idea that our three-dimensional reality is a projection of information stored on a distant, two-dimensional surface. Like the emblem on your credit card, the two-dimensional surface holds all the information you need to describe a three-dimensional object—in this case, our universe. Only when it is illuminated does it reveal a three-dimensional image.
This raises a number of questions: If our universe is a holographic projection, then where is the two-dimensional surface containing all the information that describes it? What “illuminates” that surface? Is it more or less real than our universe? And what would motivate physicists to believe something so strange? That answer to the final question has to do with black holes, which turn out to be the universe’s ultimate information-storage devices. But to understand why, we will have to take a journey to the very edge of a black hole.
It doesn’t matter which black hole we choose, because each one looks essentially the same. Only a handful of qualities distinguish them: mass, electric charge, and angular momentum. Once an observer knows these three things about a black hole, he or she knows all that can be known. Whether the black hole contains the remains of a thousand dead stars, or all the lost socks from every Laundromat in the galaxy; whether it is a billion years old or was born yesterday; all of this information is lost and inaccessible in a black hole. No matter what is inside a black hole or how those innards are arranged, a black hole will “look” just the same.
This strange quality give black holes something that physicists call maximal entropy. Entropy describes the number of different ways you can rearrange the components of something—“a system”—and still have it look essentially the same. The pages of a novel, as Brian Greene points out, have very low entropy, because as soon as one page is out of place, you have a different book. The alphabet has low entropy, too: Move one letter and any four-year-old can tell something is wrong. A bucket of sand, on the other hand, has high entropy. Switch this grain for that grain and no one would ever know the difference. Black holes, which look the same no matter what you put in them or how you move it about, have the highest entropy of all.
Entropy is also a measure of the amount of information it would take to describe a system completely. The entropy of ordinary objects—people, sand buckets, containers of gas—is proportional to their volume. Double the volume of a helium balloon, for instance, and its entropy will increase by a factor of eight. But in the 1970s, Stephen Hawking and Jacob Bekenstein discovered that the entropy of a black hole obeys a different scaling rule. It is proportional not to the black hole’s three-dimensional volume but to its two-dimensional surface area, defined here as the area of the invisible boundary called the event horizon. Therefore, while the actual entropy of an ordinary object—say, a hamburger—scales with its volume, the maximum entropy that could theoretically be contained in the space occupied by the hamburger depends not on the volume of the hamburger but on the size of its surface area. Physics prevents the entropy of the hamburger from ever exceeding that maximum: If one somehow tried to pack so much entropy into the hamburger that it reached that limit, the hamburger would collapse into a black hole.
The inescapable conclusion is that all the information it takes to describe a three-dimensional object—a black hole, a hamburger, or a whole universe—can be expressed in two dimensions. This suggests to physicists that the deepest description of our universe and its parts—the ultimate theory of physics—must be crafted in two spatial dimensions, not three. Which brings us back to the hologram.
Theorists were intrigued by the idea that a parallel set of physical laws, operating in fewer dimensions, might be able to fully describe our universe. But probing that idea mathematically for our own universe was too daunting, so physicists began with a “toy” universe that is much simpler than the universe we live in: a universe with four spatial dimensions plus time, curved into the shape of a saddle. In 1997, the theoretical physicist Juan Maldacena showed that the mathematical description of this universe was identical to the description of a different kind of universe, one with three spatial dimensions, one time dimension, and no gravity. Maldacena’s discovery was the first concrete realization of the holographic principle, and it also made work easier for theorists, who now had two approaches available for every tricky math problem: They could choose to express the problem in the mathematics of the five-dimensional, gravitating universe, or they could opt for the four-dimensional, gravity-free version.
None of this adds up to “proof” that we are living in a hologram, but it does contribute to a body of circumstantial evidence suggesting that the laws of physics may in fact be written in fewer dimensions than we experience. That, combined with the mathematical utility of the holographic principle, is motivation enough for many physicists. The other questions with which we began this journey—Where is the surface on which our universe is inscribed? What illuminates it? Is one version of the universe more “real” than the other?—are still unresolved. But if the holographic principle is right, we may have to confront the notion that our universe is a kind of cosmic phantom—that the real action is happening elsewhere, on a boundary that we have not yet begun to map.
In a parallel universe, Kate Becker is senior researcher for NOVA and NOVA scienceNOW, a blogger for Inside NOVA, and a fiercely competitive bracketologist. In this universe, she is your host here at The Nature of Reality, and it is her mission to blow your mind with physics. Kate studied physics at Oberlin College and astronomy at Cornell University. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Editor’s picks for further reading
FQXi: The Holographic Universe
Alex Maloney investigates the holographic principle.
Scientific American: The Holographic Principle
A brief introduction to the holographic principle.
University of California Television: The World as a Hologram
In this video, theoretical physicist Raphael Bousso provides an introduction to the holographic principle.