Friday, July 29, 2011

techno-shamanism and the democracy of bliss...,

Video - Inner City Big Fun

sarmoung | The neuroscientific breakthroughs of the last decade have established beyond doubt that given the proper type of stimulation, the ordinary human brain has extraordinary or exceptional powers, that what we call “normal” consciousness is in fact a sort of sleep from which we “awaken” when we enter peak or heightened states. And, as the neuroscientific research has made clear, these nonordinary or “metanormal” powers are not mysterious, but the result of clear and quantifiable changes in the patterns of neurological activity of the brain.

We’ve all had the experience of shifting into a heightened or metanormal state – call it lucidity, insight, mastery, wisdom, enlightenment, grace, bliss, satori, creativity, learning, waking up -a state in which we know beyond doubt that our ordinary state is a deep sleep compared to this rich awakening. And we know too, this is how we should be all the time. After all, sleep is a fine and restful state, but who among us would choose to spend our entire lives in even the most comfortable bed? Most of us would like to be in this high gear, high-efficiency state as often as possible.

In fact, it has become clear that humans are genetically programmed to seek out these altered, awakened states. I believe, and recent evidence supports my belief, that a key to human evolution, to our species’ rapid growth in brain size, and to our unique creative capacities, has been our instinctive drive to experience these metanormal or exceptional realms of consciousness and performance. From kids who spin themselves into dizzy altered states and euphorically roll down hills, to performers, surgeons, rock climbers, chess players or creative artists who find that the most vital and rewarding parts of their lives occur when they’re in a state of “flow,” humans naturally crave the experience of being awake.

Psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, M.D., who has spent his career studying the effects of nonordinary states of consciousness, observes that “the transcendental impulse is the most vital and powerful force in human beings.” This human impulse to connect with the spiritual domain, Grof has found, is so powerful that “It resembles, in its nature, sexuality, but is much more fundamental and compelling.”

Michael Murphy, founder of Esalen Institute, and author of The Future of the Body, a massive compilation of examples of exceptional human performance, has classified exceptional or peak performance into a dozen different realms, among which are:

* Extraordinary perceptions of things outside ourselves, such as transcendent beauty in ordinary things;
* Exceptional somatic or body awareness, such as voluntary control of blood pressure or heart rate;
* Nonordinary communication abilities, such as the communication of thoughts and mental states;
* Phenomenal vitality, as when we perform “superhuman” feats;
* Extraordinary movement abilities, such as uncanny athletic agility;
* Inexplicable abilities to influence events at a distance, such as spiritual healing;
* Exceptional abilities to alter pain and pleasure, such as delight that persists despite sickness or adversity;
* Extraordinary cognitions, such as creative insights, mystical experiences, and the works of genius; and
* Love that transcends personal wants and needs and manifests a fundamental unity with others.

All of us exhibit each of these attributes in an ordinary way. But we can also manifest these attributes in an extraordinary or metanormal way. In the right place, at the right time (when your child is trapped under a car, when you’re under extreme pressure, when you suddenly fall in love, when you take a certain psychedelic substance) and soon.

We all perceive external events, for example, to take the first attribute on Murphy’s list we perceive the doorbell ringing, we perceive the voice of a friend talking to us. But we’ve all had the experience of perceiving external events in an entirely different way – with a sudden cleansing of “the doors of perception,” a seeing of “ordinary” reality with extraordinary new sense of clarity, significance and illumination.

We all have movement abilities, but many of us have experienced times – often in sports – when we are suddenly playing “in the zone,” when the baseball speeding at you seems so big and slow you can count the stitches and see which way they’re spinning, when you effortlessly drive the golf ball 50 yards farther than you ever have before, when you suddenly execute with ease a perfect and seemingly impossible backhand.

In virtually every aspect of our lives, humans are capable of performing exceptionally in a peak state.

There is now strong evidence that these experiences are essential. Without our moments of being awake, in the zone, we become sick. As Stanislav Grof observes, “human beings have a profound need for transpersonal experiences and for states in which they transcend their individual identities to feel their place in a larger whole that is timeless. This spiritual craving seems to be more basic and compelling than the sexual drive, and if it is not satisfied it can result in serious psycho logical disturbances.”


nanakwame said...

Oslo’s Child
Sunday’s Rest
Monday’s Witch
Tuesday’s Children
Wednesday’s Trickster
Thursday’s Child
Friday’s Wanderlust
Saturday’s Antidote

Uglyblackjohn said...

Inner City? I think of 'Good Life' first but I enjoed this gem so much that I could hardly read the post.
Interesting that music can also get one to this state of bliss and help them to perfrom better.

CNu said...

can you imagine if these elements were harnessed for something more than the young, single, and loves to mingle enthusiasms of youth culture?

Tom said...

That I've been thinking about since I was a kid.  Very little progress though.

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