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A Small Medium @ Large

“The chief spoke to me in a pleasant tone.  ‘Visions begin.’  He had completely captured my attention with two words of magic.  I instantly felt a melting away of any barrier between us; we were as one.  The mere glance of an eye had infinite meaning.  The slightest change of expression conveyed full intent.”

 “We had complete rapport at all levels of understanding.  I knew his thought as he knew mine.  Did this telepathic facility come from some primitive recess of the mind used before ancestral man communicated in formal language?” The Wizard of the Upper Amazon, by F Bruce Lamb.

Native peoples once spoke of a time long ago when men communicated with all animals and lived in peace.  In Genesis 11, likewise, there was said to be one language with few words.  Then something big happened and, well, here we are.

Many regard traditional spiritual claims and beliefs in the paranormal with skepticism because they appeal to a transcendent order without being able to produce a transcendental experience.  At the same time, we should know that the telepathic potential of the human mind is receiving intense scientific scrutiny.

In this series of articles I’m introducing a few of the techniques that are successfully inducing transpersonal states of consciousness in labs and clinics around the globe.  The salient question is, can we awaken a purely biological and heart-centered method of interbeing communication that contradicts the silicon-based analogue that has literally overtaken the human mind in a single lifetime.

The above quote from Lamb is taken from an extraordinary document of life among the South American Indians at the beginning of the last century.  For many readers, the most compelling sections of the book are about the yagé or ayahuasca of the Amazon forests, a powerful hallucinogen that has long been credited with the ability to transport human beings to realms of mutual telepathy and mass clairvoyance.  When German scientists first isolated harmaline, an active principle of yagé, they named it “telepathine” because of this association.

Andrew Weil, a celebrity doctor who wrote the introduction to Lamb’s book, is a leading proponent of holistic health and integrative medicine.  Many Herald readers might know of him through Health and Healing; Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide; Mind Over Meds and a host of other written and audio books.     

Dr. Weil speculates that these collective visions must be an innate capacity of the human nervous system which we all share whether we use it or not.  He says this involves the visual cortex of the brain’s occipital lobes, the natural source of alpha waves and their correlation with meditative states and types of “psychic” events. 

At this point, I think it important to point out that direct telepathic knowing is not the same thing as an altered state.  Sleep, daydreams, getting drunk, falling in love, and consuming our daily pablum on TV news channels, are also altered states.  Weil continues:

“What we see when our visual cortex is interpreting signals from somewhere other than the retina might have to tell us about the nature of reality.  The idea may be upsetting to those psychiatrists who think ‘visions’ is a polite word for ‘hallucinations’ and who refuse to believe in realities other than the one of consensus that we use for convenience.  The Indians described in this book consider the visionary world as real as the ordinary one; they are able to go there together and learn how to function better in the world of everyday.”

But the capacity for sustained telepathic receptivity to shared events may well be a state specific to the trans condition, and all but impossible to achieve in the experiential realm of ego consciousness.  (Tart 1975; Fischer 1980).

Blind Sight Warm-Up:  Scanning

Since we learned to read, somewhere around the second grade, we have been ignoring our peripheral vision.  Reading has impacted our visual perception to the point that, in most people, the peripheral eye muscles are extremely weak from disuse.  This matters because some 70% of the brain’s neural connections come from vision.  A look into a related topic, the science of what happens to young brains that stare into glowing screens for hours on end, will have to wait for later. 

Reading uses the fovea, a tiny region of the eye that narrows attention to 1/10,000 of the visual field.  We typically take in about six or eight letters at a time while reading.  With training we can recognize about 35 letters- at most a few words at a time- unless one has learned a speed technique.  The “reading” eyes use 90% of the left brain functions and 10% right brain functions.  Gifted artists and athletes, by contrast, use 34% left brain functions and 66% right brain.

Did reading help shape hierarchical civilization?  See The Alphabet Vs. the Goddess by Leonard Schlain, an American surgeon who proposes that the process of learning alphabetic literacy rewired the human brain with profound consequences for culture.  Schlain argues that literacy reinforced the brain’s linear, abstract, predominantly masculine left hemisphere at the expense of the holistic, iconic feminine right one.  

This shift upset the balance between men and women, creating the disappearance of goddesses, the abhorrence of images, and in literacy’s early stages, the decline of women’s political status.  Patriarchy and misogyny followed.  

Objective:  To stimulate global vision. Expected results:  Increased right-brain coherence.  Instructions Step A:

Shift the eyes to the left and take in the view without focusing on anything in particular.  Be aware of the very rim of your visual field.  See things two dimensionally.  Let light just see into you.  Now close the eyes and let them relax.  Get a feel for the relative spaces things occupy around you.

Open the eyes and take in the view straight ahead without focusing.  Now close the eyes and let them relax.  Again, get a feel for the spaces things occupy.  Shift the eyes to the right and repeat the process.  Continue going from Left- Center-Right for three rounds.   Soon, you should readily feel the relative spaces things occupy without focusing the eyes.

Step B:  With eyes closed, recreate the whole scene from memory- (from Left – Center – Right).  Spend time with your impressions of spaces until the memory of the things you saw begins to feel global.  Notice if “tunnel vision” intrudes into your recreation.  Yawns often follow the relief of deep eye-strain.

In the March 2019 edition of Discover magazine, there’s an interesting article called “Tame The Pain.”  Just one incident, scientists say, can make the brain overreact to future experiences.  Researchers believe the solution is to reframe and retrain the brain to promote an unconventional pain management approach.  

It’s a great article, not the least because it includes a mention (and picture) of the classic Rubber Hand Exercise I introduced a few weeks ago.  “Your brain can be tricked [which can] shape perception,” says clinical pain neuroscientist Tasha Stanton, part of the Australian Brain Bus team that helps people in chronic pain.    

Above our normal pain-free zone of experience, there’s a protect-by-pain line, when the brain determines, based on data from peripheral nerves, that part of the body is in danger of being damaged and needs to be protected.  So the brain starts to make it hurt.  There’s a narrow buffer zone between that protect-by-pain line and the “tissue tolerance line” where actual damage in the body part might occur if the activity continues.

For chronic pain sufferers, the tissue tolerance zone is lower than a person with normal pain sensitivity due to the initial jury.  “For those brains, benign sensations from ordinary activity may be misinterpreted as threatening, causing pain to kick in . . .  When chronic pain patients experience flare-ups it’s usually not because they have re-injured themselves, but because their pain systems are hair-trigger.”  

This article offers a stepped approach to the road to recovery for chronic pain sufferers.  By doing a few exercises each day, it is hoped that many can sensitize their brains to restore a pre-injury level of comfort.  The steps that develop telepathy capabilities are somewhat analogous, and, as a hoped-for larger benefit, may restore a “pre-civilization” balance of male and female cognition.