With a click and a whirr, I am pulled into the scanner. My head is strapped down and I have been draped with a blanket so that I may touch my nether regions — my clitoris in particular — with a certain degree of modesty. I am here neither for a medical procedure nor an adult movie. Rather, I am about to stimulate myself to orgasm while an fMRI scanner tracks the blood flow in my brain. My actions are helping Barry Komisaruk at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey, and colleagues to tease apart the mechanisms underlying sexual arousal. In doing so, not only have they discovered that there is more than one route to orgasm, but they may also have revealed a novel type of consciousness — an understanding of which could lead to new treatments for pain.
Tag Archives | New Age
In October 2009 reports of mutliple deaths at an Arizona sweat lodge retreat led by New Age guru James Arthur Ray (one of the “teachers” in the hit movie and book The Secret) rocked the self help world. Now that he’s on trial, details of his bizarre practices are emerging. Mark Duncan reports for the Daily Courier:
… Read the rest
Echoes of a lost life hung thickly over Judge Warren Darrow’s courtroom Tuesday after a jury heard the recorded voice of Kirby Brown, one of three people who died after a sweat lodge ceremony near Sedona in 2009.
The deaths led to charges of manslaughter against noted motivational speaker and author James Arthur Ray, who has pleaded not guilty.
“When we started the (Samurai) game, I was like you,” Brown said on the recording, which was made just before she and the other attendees entered the sweat lodge. It is a segment from recordings made during four days of Ray’s October 2009 Spiritual Warrior Retreat.
Finally unpacking the books bequeathed to me by my late ex-Freemason father-in-law’s estate has put me in a wistful mood. I just keep being reminded of how many 20th century disinformationists we’ve recently lost: John Keel, John Mitchell, Zecharia Sitchin — and a loss equivalent to the space filled by their contributions to occulture.
Stacking my now prized Golden Dawn collection turned my thoughts to Israel Regardie and so Crowley — and to his other spiritual son and former secretary, Kenneth Grant.
Both did a great deal to popularise modern post-Thelemic magic. I’ve got some fond ’80s teenage memories of coming across them all in the Psychology section (?) of my local library and reading furtively with one eye over my shoulder. It was the start of an endless study of esotericism.
So I was not surprised when I read that Kenneth Grant had passed away in a friend’s Facebook status.… Read the rest
Christie Nicholson writes in Scientific American:
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The benefits of meditation have received newfound evidence from neuroscience in the last five years, as researchers are finding real physiological changes due to a sort of formally practiced introspection.
Recently scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital had 16 participants take an eight-week mindfulness meditation program. This sort of meditation focuses on nonjudgmental awareness of sensations and feelings. Subjects practiced for about 30 minutes a day.
Brain images were taken of each subject before and after the training. Scientists found increases in gray-matter density in the hippocampus — an area responsible for learning and memory. And they saw decreased density in the amygdala— which is responsible for our anxiety and stress responses …
All this reminds us of two things: 1) The brain is much more plastic than scientists thought even just a decade ago and 2) the way we feel—calm or anxious—can be correlated with real structural indicators in our brains.
Evolver the Podcast: Exploring Prehistoric Man and the Changing of the Times
Hello everyone and welcome back to Evolver the Podcast. In this episode we have interviews with Graham Hancock, bestselling author of Fingerprints of the Gods, The Sign and the Seal, Supernatural, and most recently Entangled. After that we interview Robin Gunkel who is a regional coordinator for Evolver Baltimore. Then we have Erin Shaw from Evolver LA interviewing Daniel Pinchbeck, co-founder of Evolver, and bestselling author of Breaking Open The Head, 2012 the Return of Quetzalcoatl, and most recently Notes from the Edge Times.
December, 2007. The distant Alps are covered in snow. Small flakes swirl in the wind, dancing around red clay statues of muscular giants and voluptuous goddesses, reminiscent of Egypt. Most prominent is the falcon-headed god, Horus, facing the Fire Altar where the looming statues converge.
I start to walk into the grove of the Earth Altar, but my guide Shama tells me I should go no further.
“It is dangerous for anyone who is not spiritually prepared,” she warns me. “Very dangerous.”
I would be willing to chance it, but I suppose rules are rules.
In the distance is Monti Pelati, the sacred mountain of the Damanhurians. It is said that more Synchronic Lines converge there than any place in the world. These lines are like the Earth’s magnetic field — only magic. They were discovered psychically by the founder and leader of the Damanhurians, Falco.
This is a place of power, of mystery.… Read the rest
I wonder if this essay by Daniel Pinchbeck will, years hence, be looked upon as a seminal point in the transition of the “consciousness” movement, for lack of a better term, from an idealistic remove from the mainstream a la Burning Man (which of course is completely unsustainable despite it’s worthy goals), to a pragmatic vision of how to change the world. From his Reality Sandwich blog:
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Now that the Evolver network and brand have established themselves to a certain extent, I want to look ahead to developments I hope to see in the near future, with this organization and other initiatives. For the next phase of development, I propose the term “business shamanism.” “Corporate alchemy” would be a viable alternative.
First, some context: As I write this, the ruling regime in our rotten republic of Obama-stan is seeking to ignore the pain of the sheeple and extend lavish tax breaks for the wealthy.The financial elite engineered a massive transfer of assets over the last decades, and they are now completing the procedure of creating a two-tier society resembling a serfdom.
We all have our ideas about how the world and universe work. Some of us see the hand of “God” in everything. Others are atheists or agnostics—still others are guided by spirituality. But no matter where we are on the “believe” spectrum, most of us see a rather benign universe. By that I mean that we do not see specific forces struggling with one another in the cosmos once we get away from earth, which is interesting to me. We see conflict and battles on earth but not in the rest of the universe.
We view it much as we do a documentary—no plots, no dynamics—just an intriguing show. We look at ourselves—human life on earth—as being the real show. But that separation has, I believe, caused us to distort our perceptions of the Big Picture. I think if we start seeing the natural conflicts that exist in the universe, then we might start the process that leads to fewer human conflicts on earth.… Read the rest
Next month disinformation is releasing a new film from documentarian Albert Nerenberg, Laughology. It’s the fourth film we’ve distributed for Albert and we have a lot of faith in him, even if we had never heard of Laughter Yoga before.
It turns out it’s massive and the public library next door to our office in New York has free classes, so a few of us went along. If you can get over the embarrassment factor, it actually does seem to work. The New York Times has just discovered the same thing:
… Read the rest
I was in a vile, despicable mood when I arrived at laughter yoga. It was Wednesday, and my brain felt torn in one too many directions; the usual, only worse. Laughter seemed a remote possibility.
I waited patiently inside a nondescript office at 40th Street and Broadway among a group of wildly divergent strangers, with only my skepticism to keep me company.