April 30, 2012
"The average human body gets hit by a particle of dark matter about once a minute, according to new calculations based on several dark matter detection efforts."
Excerpted from the article in the National Geographic Daily News by Jason Major:
Dark matter is an invisible form of material that's thought to exist because scientists have observed its apparent gravitational effects on galaxies and galaxy clusters. Scientists estimate that the mysterious substance makes up almost 80 percent of the matter in the universe.
So far no one's been able to pinpoint the particles that make up dark matter. But a leading candidate is a theoretical group known as Weakly Interacting Massive Particles, or WIMPs.
As the name implies, these hypothetical particles would have only a weak effect on regular, or baryonic, matter—they typically zip straight through most of the stuff in the universe, including people.
But WIMPs of certain masses can collide with atomic nuclei on occasion—and now it appears such collisions might happen more often than previously thought.
"Before we did this work, I thought a WIMP collided with one of your nuclei once in your lifetime," said Katherine Freese, a professor with the Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics at the University of Michigan.
"Turns out it's more likely to be one a minute."
April 27, 2012
New science is shedding light on what really happens during out-of-body experiences -- with shocking results.
As neuroscientists continue to search the brain for the seat of consciousness, evidence of a transcendent reality is gaining respect.
...The scientific NDE studies performed over the past decades indicate that heightened mental functions can be experienced independently of the body at a time when brain activity is greatly impaired or seemingly absent (such as during cardiac arrest). Some of these studies demonstrate that blind people can have veridical perceptions during OBEs associated with an NDE. Other investigations show that NDEs often result in deep psychological and spiritual changes.
These findings strongly challenge the mainstream neuroscientific view that mind and consciousness result solely from brain activity. As we have seen, such a view fails to account for how NDErs can experience—while their hearts are stopped—vivid and complex thoughts and acquire veridical information about objects or events remote from their bodies.
NDE studies also suggest that after physical death, mind and consciousness may continue in a transcendent level of reality that normally is not accessible to our senses and awareness. Needless to say, this view is utterly incompatible with the belief of many materialists that the material world is the only reality.
In 1991, Atlanta-based singer and songwriter Pam Reynolds felt extremely dizzy, lost her ability to speak, and had difficulty moving her body. A CAT scan showed that she had a giant artery aneurysm—a grossly swollen blood vessel in the wall of her basilar artery, close to the brain stem. If it burst, which could happen at any moment, it would kill her. But the standard surgery to drain and repair it might kill her too.
With no other options, Pam turned to a last, desperate measure offered by neurosurgeon Robert Spetzler at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Spetzler was a specialist and pioneer in hypothermic cardiac arrest—a daring surgical procedure nicknamed “Operation Standstill.” Spetzler would bring Pam’s body down to a temperature so low that she was essentially dead. Her brain would not function, but it would be able to survive longer without oxygen at this temperature. The low temperature would also soften the swollen blood vessels, allowing them to be operated on with less risk of bursting. When the procedure was complete, the surgical team would bring her back to a normal temperature before irreversible damage set in.
Essentially, Pam agreed to die in order to save her life—and in the process had what is perhaps the most famous case of independent corroboration of out of body experience (OBE) perceptions on record. This case is especially important because cardiologist Michael Sabom was able to obtain verification from medical personnel regarding crucial details of the surgical intervention that Pam reported. Here’s what happened....
Some skeptics legitimately argue that the main problem with reports of OBE perceptions is that they often rest uniquely on the NDEr’s testimony—there is no independent corroboration. From a scientific perspective, such self-reports remain inconclusive. But during the last few decades, some self-reports of NDErs have been independently corroborated by witnesses, such as that of Pam Reynolds. One of the best known of these corroborated veridical NDE perceptions—perceptions that can be proven to coincide with reality—is the experience of a woman named Maria, whose case was first documented by her critical care social worker, Kimberly Clark.
Maria was a migrant worker who had a severe heart attack while visiting friends in Seattle. She was rushed to Harborview Hospital and placed in the coronary care unit. A few days later, she had a cardiac arrest but was rapidly resuscitated. The following day, Clark visited her. Maria told Clark that during her cardiac arrest she was able to look down from the ceiling and watch the medical team at work on her body. At one point in this experience, said Maria, she found herself outside the hospital and spotted a tennis shoe on the ledge of the north side of the third floor of the building. She was able to provide several details regarding its appearance, including the observations that one of its laces was stuck underneath the heel and that the little toe area was worn. Maria wanted to know for sure whether she had “really” seen that shoe, and she begged Clark to try to locate it.
Quite skeptical, Clark went to the location described by Maria—and found the tennis shoe. From the window of her hospital room, the details that Maria had recounted could not be discerned. But upon retrieval of the shoe, Clark confirmed Maria’s observations. “The only way she could have had such a perspective,” said Clark, “was if she had been floating right outside and at very close range to the tennis shoe. I retrieved the shoe and brought it back to Maria; it was very concrete evidence for me.”...
Excerpted with permission from “The Brain Wars: The Scientific Battle Over the Existence of the Mind and the Proof That Will Change the Way We Live Our Lives.” Courtesy of HarperOne.
Mario Beauregard is associate research professor at the Departments of Psychology and Radiology and the Neuroscience Research Center at the University of Montreal. He is the coauthor of "The Spiritual Brain" and more than one hundred publications in neuroscience, psychology and psychiatry.
April 23, 2012
"As below so above, as above so below."
Generally, The Hub offers content on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. Sure, we think it's all pretty fascinating stuff, but if you don't, no biggie. However, THIS is something to listen to whether you are inclined to or not. Three minutes.
From AnimalSpiritCommunication.com --
The story behind GOD’S CRICKETS.
This unusual recording contains two tracks:
1. the natural sound of crickets chirping
2. the sound of the crickets slowed down to match and mirror the length of the average lifespan of a human being.
The angelic chorus you hear accompanying the sound of the crickets is NOT a synthesizer or a chorus singing. It’s the crickets themselves (slowed down) creating the effect. Really an amazing thing they’ve accomplished here. This recording can be played continuously in the background to create a natural soothing atmosphere for calming and healing.
This recording is an extended digitally remixed and mastered version taken from the original 1992 recording entitled “Ballad of the Twisted Hair” from the album “Medicine Songs” by David Carson and Little Wolf Band produced by Jim Wilson and released on Raven Records.
This recording has been created by Jim Wilson. Jim Wilson & David Carson – God’s Cricket Chorus (1992).
April 20, 2012
I have been lucid dreaming since I was 14 years old - half my life ago. This turned out to be an awesome discovery. It has evolved my perception of reality and completely changed the way I look at human consciousness.
Rebecca Turner's goal is, "inspiring people to lucid dream." To that end she has developed a website and populated it with loads of useful information, including the comprehensive Lucid Dreaming "primer" reposted below.
So you know the psychological definition of lucid dreaming and how it's all supposed to work - but what do lucid dreams feel like?
Years ago, before I had my first lucid dream, I had a very specific idea about what a lucid dream would feel like. I thought it would be very intense and magical and perhaps a bit spooky. Turns out I was right on all fronts.
But there is a heck of a lot more about the sensation and perception of lucid dreams that I have learned about since then. While no two lucid dreams are the same (and while it's no substitute for experiencing a lucid dream first-hand) I have tried to define my own experience of a lucid dream for the uninitiated.
I've broken it down into physical, mental and emotional components:
The Physical Experience
Your physical experience is made up of sensory interpretations, like the feel of the ground underneath your feet, or the smell of the ocean. In waking life, this information is received via the five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. The stimulus is real and your brain interprets the data.
In dreams, this information is 100% synthesized by the mind - from memory and imagination. And yet, when lucid, it can feel just as "real" and vivid as waking life. Sometimes that's very intense and pleasurable (which is why many beginners go in search of lucid dream sex) or sometimes it can be dulled down (often when you lose lucidity or are directing your focus elsewhere).
Here are some examples of physical lucid dream experiences:
Eating in Lucid Dreams
It may be a cliche that women love chocolate - but it's a cliche for a reason.
So naturally, I have eaten some truly delicious chocolate cake in my lucid dreams.
Imagine the smoothest, richest, creamiest chocolate cake in the world. It's perfection embodied in a dessert. Now intensify that experience and you're getting close to lucid dream cake...
When lucid eating, chewing and swallowing takes less time and it's all about the flavor and texture of the food. What's more, your taste buds never become accustomed to the flavor so each bite is like your first. And of course there's no need to feel guilty about consuming unnecessary calories.
While chocolate cake is right up there, you can of course eat anything imaginable in a lucid dream. It can be a favorite childhood meal or even something you've never tried before (would that taste be authentic?)
Remember that your expectation of it being totally delicious makes it so. Which means you won't get gristle in the world's best beef burger, nor a floppy bit of lettuce. Expectation is why eating in lucid dreams is so awesome.
Flying in Lucid Dreams
Aside from skydivers, base jumpers and other extremists of that ilk, most people have never experienced the physical sensation of flying freely. Yet the lucid dreaming mind simulates it in extraordinary physical detail.
In my flying dreams, the sense of weightlessness, whooshing and wavering in the air is incredibly authentic (or at least how I imagine it to be). This awareness is critical to the experience, and your mind can even play tricks on you, like suddenly falling and simulating that stomach-dropping feeling.
Your dreaming mind may add more sensations such as feeling the wind in your hair, rain hammering on your skin, or the warmth of the sun on your face. If you have any doubts about your new skills, you may unexpectedly whack into a powerline mid-flight - which brings me to the subject of pain in lucid dreams...
Pain in Lucid Dreams
The lucid dream is co-created by two players: the subconscious dreaming mind (the one that loves surreal symbology) and the conscious ego ("you"). In normal dreams, the subconscious has basically all control. In lucid dreams, the conscious ego steps in and starts to tweak little things as it desires.
Both can technically create pain in lucid dreams, although it's most likely the subconscious mind that produces this experience. (I'm yet to meet anyone who has deliberately induced pain in lucid dreams.) Pain is a result of pre-conceptions and established neural pathways: if you hit your thumb with a hammer, what do you expect? The brain simulates dream pain because this is its reality.
So, if you fall onto a bed of spikes in your lucid dream, you might just find out what it feels like to be impaled. But fear not - you can will the pain to stop instantly or even wake yourself up. And I'm sure it won't be a patch on the real life experience of being impaled - but rather a toned-down imagined version.
The few times I've experienced pain in a lucid dream, it was very different from real pain. It was inconsistent with the cause, and stopped abruptly when the dream moved on. What's more, there was no psychological component, which can make real life pain so much worse.
I have also experienced choking and drowning while in a lucid nightmare and my dream self automatically moved out-of-body where it was no longer painful.
The Mental Experience
Now let's move to the cognitive experience of lucid dreams: how it feels to be aware, process information, recall memories and mentally control the dream.
Awareness in Lucid Dreams
In lucid dreams, your focus is expanded somewhat compared to normal dreams, but in my experience it is still very different from real life.
For example, sitting at my desk right now, I am aware of the room around me, the house beyond that, the garden, the village, the New Zealand landscape, and even a sense that I am on planet Earth. I know my location in the grand scheme of things and I know this is a solid, reliable construct.
But the lucid dream world is much more fluid. When lucid, I am most often in unfamiliar places which have no GeoTag. I accept this automatically, knowing that I can teleport to a new location any time. It's as if my brain has no intention of placing my location (why bother?) so instead focuses my awareness only in the current one. The best way I can describe it is becoming absorbed in a video game or a movie and forgetting the real world exists beyond it.
Of course, with conscious effort, you can recall that your real body is lying in bed and that you are going to write an article about this tomorrow.
But generally (for me, anyway) the default setting is to focus on the pretty colors in in front of my face right now. This is why it's a good reason to set up a lucid dream intention while awake, because it's hard for the conscious dreaming mind to imagine new places from scratch. If you have no pre-set intention, just allow the dream to take over and show you an unlimited amount of cool new stuff. This is where the best creativity arises anyway.
Memory in Lucid Dreams
Your memory works differently in the dream world. In normal dreams, you have little memory of your real life, and sometimes you even have false memories to make the dream scenario fit. Lucid dreams are only a notch or two above this.
The minute I become lucid, I try to recall my intention. It has to be recently ingrained or I won't have any passion for it. Sometimes I can't remember, which is frustrating, but I always have a backup plan to either explore the dreamscape, ask questions of fellow dream figures, or let the dreaming mind take over.
I haven't spent much time exploring long term memory in lucid dreams but in general I can say that it's off the radar. Like the location awareness, unless you are specifically trying to access a piece of information, the awareness of past memories are simply absent - or out of focus. This is equally true of thinking about my real life future. My lucid dream self lives in the present moment.
Dream control is a cognitive aspect of lucid dreaming because it's all done through willpower and mental focus.
Contrary to popular belief, when you become lucid you don't automatically have total control over your dream environment. Lucid dreaming only means to have conscious self-awareness within the dream state. Sometimes this means controlling many aspects of it, sometimes just a few key expectations, and sometimes you may choose to relinquish all control altogether.
"The sailor does not control the sea," as lucid dream researcher Robert Waggoner puts it. You may navigate your ship (consciousness) through the ocean (the dream) but you do not have to consciously populate every dream scene with every leaf and blade of grass and wisp of cloud. The dream populates itself while we consciously frolic within it. Sometimes that means a bird flies of its own accord, or a dream figure behaves autonomously. It is all still classified as lucid dreaming.
Beginners often run into the trap of trying to control major features of the dream with only a partial sense of lucidity. This can be frustrating and disheartening. To overcome this obstacle, employ these tricks for increasing and prolonging your lucidity. Only then can you master full dream control (if you so choose).
When you do exert greater control over the dream, the world is your oyster. You can paint the sky with a sweep of your hand. You can burrow down into the ground and journey to the center of the Earth. You can fight zombies, become Iron Man, or even create an entirely new civilization. Absolutely anything is possible - unless you have a preconceived limiting belief about it.
For instance, if I told you it was impossible to fly into the sun in a lucid dream (and you really believed me) and then attempted it, you'd probably hit some kind of psychological roadblock. Perhaps you'd melt and emerge in a new scene. Or perhaps you'd hit a wall like Truman Burbank when he reached the edge of his "world".
When it comes to dream control, your expectations are paramount. And if you have no conscious expectations of a certain event, your subconscious will fill them in for you, guiding the dream on your behalf.
The Emotional Experience
Lastly, what is the emotional experience of lucid dreaming and is it possible to enhance the intensity of emotions while lucid?
The intensity of feelings in lucid dreams are exactly the same as feelings in real life. The only difference is that because you're having such a jolly wonderful time, the emotions are more along the lines of awe, ecstasy, excitement, lust, gratitude, love and all that other fluffy stuff.
Emotions in Dreams - Getting Too Excited
The big problem here is being overcome with excitement the first few times you achieve lucidity. It's tempting to jump for joy, shout and tell everyone in your dream that you are in fact dreaming (which they don't really want to hear anyway).
So in your early lucid dreams I recommend taking extra care to stay focused and not run away with yourself. All it takes is a calm acknowledgement that if you carry on like a raving lunatic, you'll wake up. And you don't want that.
This isn't a major issue though. After a few lucid dreams I managed to put a lid on my excitement and retained enough mental focus to have more meaningful lucid dreams. Eventually you won't need to ground yourself at all and you can let your emotions run free. But until you've mastered that minimum level of focus required to keep the dream running, just tone down the jubilation please.
Heightening The Intensity
Eventually you may start to look for a deeper meaning in your lucid dreams. Don't get me wrong; you'll still have plenty of ego-gratifying activities you want to do. But none of it will be too original. That's when it's time to turn inwards.
One of the more profound applications of lucid dreaming is to communicate with the dream itself by asking questions. This is like talking to your subconscious inner self. Instead of focusing on your physical needs, focus on your emotional needs.
Ask questions of the dream, such as: "How can I feel at total peace with myself?" or if you're really bold: "What is my greatest fear?" Then let the dream reveal itself.
When you probe your dream self you will very likely start to experience more intense emotions and take-home lessons in your lucid dreams, learning about the true nature of your basest self. For more ideas on this, see Robert Waggoner's insightful book Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self.
April 18, 2012
It's only a miracle until we understand the science.
When we form heart-centered beliefs within our bodies, in the language of physics we’re creating the electrical and magnetic expression of them as waves of energy, which aren’t confined to our hearts or limited by the physical barrier of our skin and bones. So clearly we’re “speaking” to the world around us in each moment of every day through a language that has no words: the belief-waves of our hearts.
— Gregg Braden
New York Times best selling author Gregg Braden is internationally renowned as a pioneer in bridging science and spirituality. From "Gregg Braden on Curing Cancer using our own Technology of Emotion" ... a video demonstrating cancer being cured in less than 3 minutes using the technology of emotion.
April 16, 2012
"I call myself a body architect."
This rich period of scientific and technological advancement we are experiencing is developing on every front. Take a look at an exciting meld of art, architecture, fashion, and anatomy.
TED Fellow Lucy McRae is a body architect -- she imagines ways to merge biology and technology in our own bodies. In this visually stunning talk, she shows her work, from clothes that recreate the body's insides for a music video with pop-star Robyn, to a pill that, when swallowed, lets you sweat perfume.
Trained as a classical ballerina and architect, Lucy McRae is fascinated by the human body, and how it can be shaped by technology.
Video run time: 4 minutes
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