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Diverse Perspectives on Healing (Part 2)

by Marilyn Schlitz, Ph.D.,  Program Chair at Sofia University for the PhD in Transpersonal Psychology programs.

Welcome to Part 2 of this blog series that explores the many cultural and religious perspectives on healing. Using video excerpts from two DVDs, Consciousness & Healing, and Compassionate Intention, Prayer, and Distant Healing, this series illuminates the diversity of perspectives and the common threads that unite the many distinct approaches to healing.

In the video excerpt above we hear from two unique healing worldviews — Sufi and Johrei. Arife Hammerle, a psychotherapist and Sufi teacher, describes how the process of meditation and prayer aligns the healer to the purity of the divine and enables him or her to transfer that healing essence to those who need healing. Yoshiaki Kato, a Johrei practitioner from Japan, demonstrates how he moves through the process of healing, from attention to God, to projecting intention, embracing non-attachment, and healing from a place of joy and gratitude.

Click Here to View Video

Marilyn Schlitz, Ph.D. is a social anthropologist, researcher, writer, and charismatic public speaker. She is currently the Founder and CEO of Worldview Enterprises. She also serves as President Emeritus and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. Additionally, she is a Senior Scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center, where she focuses on health and healing, and is a board member of Pacifica Graduate Institute.

For more than three decades, Marilyn has been a leader in the field of consciousness studies. Her research and extensive publications focus on personal and social transformation, cultural pluralism, extended human capacities, and mind body medicine. She has a depth of leadership experience in government, business, and the not-for-profit sectors. Her broad and varied work has given her a unique ability to help individuals and organizations identify and develop personal and interpersonal skills and capacities needed by 21st century leaders.

She produced the film Death Makes Life Possible with Deepak Chopra, and wrote a companion book of the same name, published by SoundsTrue. To see her other film credits, click here. To explore her current research projects, click here.

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Embodied Writing and Reflections on Embodiment

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By Rosemarie Anderson

Embodied writing brings the finely textured experience of the body to the art of writing. Relaying human experience from the inside out  and entwining in words our senses with the senses of the world, embodied writing affirms human life as embedded in the sensual world in which we live our lives. As a style of writing, embodied writing is itself an act of embodiment. Nature feels close and dear. Writers attune to the movements of water, earth, air, and fire, which coax our bodily senses to explore. When embodied writing is attuned to the physical senses, it becomes not only a skill appropriate to research, but a path of transformation that nourishes an enlivened sense of presence in and of the world.
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Seeking to relay the living experience of the human body, embodied writing portrays experience from the point of view of the lived body, Leib rather than Körper in Edmund Husserl’s (1952/1989) sense. The researcher collects, analyzes, and reports findings, fully intending to invite readers to encounter the narrative accounts for themselves and from within their own bodies through a form of sympathetic resonance. Ultimately, as a research tool, the efficacy of embodied writing depends on its capacity to engender a quality of resonance between the written text and the senses of the readers that allows readers to more fully experience the phenomena described. The readers’ perceptual, visceral, sensorimotor, kinesthetic, and imaginal senses are invited to come alive to the words and images as though the experience were their own, akin to the way we might read fine poetry or fiction. Embodied writing tries to let the body speak.
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Embodied writing tries to make the experience “present” in the writer while writing and in the reader while reading. For this reason, I’m not so much going to tell you about embodied writing, but I will do it as I go along. Rather than pointing with words as though from a distance, I will write from this full-bodied perspective as best I can, even in the didactic sections to follow. I will “cut loose” especially in the last section, in which I reflect on what I’ve learned about embodying the present through embodied writing.

Click here to read more of this paper.

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The Effects of Transcranial Ultrasound on Brain Disorders

lindsay-brinerBy Ph.D student Lindsay Briner

Introduction

As a student at Sofia University, who is not typically exposed to such rigorous experimental experience – it was an incredible learning experience to both have hands on experience analyzing the efficiency of the experimental design, as well as working directly with participants and collecting data.

It was also very meaningful to be working alongside Dr. Hameroff and his team, recognizing that scientific experiments are never done single handedly. It was an honor to be on the team even temporarily – to learn and to create great new friendships.

Over the last year I have been working alongside Dr. Jeffrey Martin at the Transformative Technology Lab  at Sofia University, where we are studying similar technologies on healthy people to enhance well-being. It was fascinating to dive into the other end of the spectrum of these brain technologies from a medical perspective in consideration to human pathology conversely.

Pictured below: Dr. Stuart Hameroff, Dr. Jay Sanguinetti, and Lindsay celebrating our time spent together on the TUS study.

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The Study

In April 2016, a new study was launched at the University of Arizona Center for Consciousness Studies, Effects of Transcranial Ultrasound on Memory and Mood in Cognitively-Impaired Human Subjects. I had the honor to volunteer as a Research Assistant Visiting Scholar in April and May 2016 to contribute to the study. The study is still in progress, assessing and collecting participants. The study is an uncontrolled pilot study to determine direction of future controlled clinical research.

This study is specifically investigating the effects of transcranial ultrasound (TUS) noninvasive brain stimulation on Alzheimer’s, dementia, and traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients for cognitive function and memory. Due to a lack of success in other approaches to resolving these neurological disorders (such as pharmaceuticals and brain training programs), non-invasive brain stimulation techniques are being explored, such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) (Fregni 2005; Hameroff et al, 2013). tDCS creates a weak electric current in the brain from electrodes placed on the scalp, and has had some success in improving verbal working memory (Fregni 2005). TMS imposes a magnetic field in the brain, and has shown promise for some cognitive symptoms of depression (Guse et al, 2010). But both tDCS and TMS are inconsistent, have poor spatial resolution and lack a reliable neurophysiological mechanisms of action (Hameroff et al, 2013).

Although in this study, ultrasound stimulation is being used, which historically has only been used for medical imaging. It consists of mechanical vibrations, usually in low megahertz (MHz). Recently, there has been a plethora of both animal and human subject research utilizing ultrasound for therapeutic treatment. As well, a neuronal culture study inferring low intensity ultrasound increased neuronal growth and synaptic formation (Bucci et al, 2015). In humans, it has been found that sub-thermal TUS (~150 mW/cm2) can safely and painlessly stimulate brain activity without long-term effects or damage to the brain (Dalecki, 2007). Given the found safety, several recent studies demonstrate electrophysiological and behavioral effects of TUS on human subjects (Bystritsky, 2015; Legon et al, 2014; Tyler, 2011; Yoo, 2011). As well, the primary contributing researchers of the current study were the first to demonstrate the positive effects of TUS on mental states with human subjects (Hameroff et al, 2012, c.f. Sanguinetti et al, 2014a; 2014b).

All of these findings have been remarkably groundbreaking. Although given the dead-end treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease, a recent study on mice with genetically-induced Alzheimer’s disease was published subjugating especially interesting results. TUS was applied to the temporal cortex of the mice, resulting in a restoration of behavioral memory functions, and reduced amyloid plaques, a bio-marker for Alzheimer’s (Leinenga and Götz 2015).

One perspective on the cause of Alzheimer’s disease is where a malfunction in the tao protein creates amyloid plaque buildup in the microtubules of neural cells. This is a highly favored inference of causation for Alzheimer’s disease and therefore the findings of Leinenga and Götz (2015) have been received by the scientific community as upstanding.

The mechanism of action for TUS is unknown, although according Hameroff (2016) at the Science of Consciousness conference, speculations of mechanism could include “mechano-sensitive membrane proteins, and/or microtubules, major components of the cell cytoskeleton, and single most prevalent protein in the brain.” Microtubules are cylindrical lattices of the protein tubulin, forming Fibonacci quasi-crystals with self-similar vibrational patterns across scales, from terahertz (10^12 Hz, infra-red) to gigahertz (10^9 Hz, microwave) to megahertz (10^6Hz, radio electromagnetically, ultrasound mechanically), kilohertz (10^3 Hz, audio) and hertz (EEG) (Hameroff, 2016). These resonances of the microtubules were discovered by Anirban Bandyopadhyay’s research group at NIMS in Tsukuba, Japan; which inspired Stuart Hameroff’s current investigations as per similarity to ultrasound frequencies (2016).

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Stuart Hameroff is an anesthesiologist and professor at the University of Arizona known for his studies of consciousness.

 

 

 

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Jeffery Martin, PhD, heads the Transformative Technology Lab at Sofia University. As a Harvard trained social scientist, Jeffrey researches personal transformation who specializes in bringing rigorous empirical research and testing to transformational techniques and theories that have previously been supported anecdotally.

References

Bocchi L., Branca J. V., Pacini S., Ruggiero M. (2015). Effect of ultrasounds on neurons and microglia: Cell viability and automatic analysis of cell morphology. Biomedical Signal Processing and Control, 22, 44–53.

Bystritsky A., Korb A. S. (2015). A Review of Low-Intensity Transcranial Focused Ultrasound for Clinical Applications. Current Behavioral Neuroscience Reports, 60–6.

Coronado, V. G., et al. (2012). Trends in Traumatic Brain Injury in the U.S. and the 
public health response: 1995-2009. J Safety Res, 43 (4), 299–307.

Dalecki, D. (2007). WFUMB safety symposium on echo-contrast agents:

Bioeffects of ultrasound contrast agents in vivo. Ultrasound in Med. & Biol., 33 (2), 205–213.

Edwards E.R., Spira A.P., Barnes D.E., Yaffe K. (2009). Neuropsychiatric symptoms in mild cognitive impairment: differences by subtype and progression to dementia. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry, 24, 716–722.

Eurostat. Demography report 2010. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_OFFPUB/KE- ET-10-001/EN/KE-ET-10-001-EN.PDF (last accessed May 2014).

Fiebach C. J., Friederici A. D., Müller, K., & von Cramon, D. Y. (2002). fMRI Evidence for Dual Routes to the Mental Lexicon in Visual Word Recognition. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 14 (1) 11–23.

Fleisher, A. S., Sherzai, A., Taylor, C., Langbaum, J. B. S., Chen, K., Buxton, R. B. (2009). Resting-state BOLD networks versus task-associated functional MRI for distinguishing Alzheimer’s disease risk groups. NeuroImage 47 (2009) 1678–1690

Guse, B., Falkai, P., Wobrock, T. (2010). Cognitive effects of high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation: a systematic review. Neural Transm, 117, 105–122.

Hameroff S., Trakas M., Duffield C., Annabi E., Gerace M.B., Boyle P., Lucas A., Amos Q., Buadu A., Badal J.J. (2013). Transcranial ultrasound (TUS) effects on mental states: a pilot study. Brain Stimulation, 6 (3) 409–15.

Harrison, J., Minassian, S. L., Jenkins, L., Black, R. S., Koller, M., Grundman, M. (2007). A neuropsychological test battery for use in Alzheimer disease clinical trials. Arch Neurol, 64 (9), 13239.

Legon W., Sato T.F., Opitz A., Mueller J., Barbour A., Williams A., et al. (2014). Transcranial focused ultrasound modulates the activity of primary somatosensory cortex in humans. Nature Neuroscience, 17, 322–9.

Leininga G. & Götz J. (2015). Scanning ultrasound removes amyloid-β and restores memory in an Alzheimer’s disease mouse model. Science Translational Medicine, 7, 278–833.

Mustafa, A.G. & Alshboul, O.A. (2013). Pathophysiology of traumatic brain injury. Neurosciences (Riyadh), 18 (3), 222–34.

Penrose, R., Hameroff, S. (2011). Consciousness in the universe: Neuroscience, Quantum Space-Time Geometry and Orch OR Theory. Cosmology of Consciousness: quantum physics and the neuroscience of mind, 3, 51–103.

Pike, K. E., Rowe, C. C., Moss, S. A., Savage, G. (2008). Memory profiling with paired associate learning in alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, and healthy aging. Neuropsychology, 22 (6), 718–728.

Ready, R. E., & Ott, Brian, R. (2003). Quality of life measures for dementia. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 1 (11).

Sanguinetti J.L., Smith E., Allen John J.B., Hameroff S. (2014). Human Brain Stimulation with Transcranial Ultrasound: Potential Applications for Mental Health. Bioelectromagnetic and Subtle Energy Medicine, 2, 355–360.

Spann, P. E. J., (2016). Episodic and semantic memory impairments in (very) early Alzheimer’s disease: The diagnostic accuracy of paired-associate learning formats. Cogent Psychology, 3, 1–25.

Tyler, W.J. (2011). Ultrasound for neuromodulation: A continuum mechanics hypothesis. The Neuroscientist 17 (1), 25–36.

World Health Organization. (2012). Dementia Fact sheet N°362 http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs362/en/ (last accessed May 2014).

Woods, D. L., Kishiyama, M. M., Yund, E. W., Herron, T. J., Edwards, B., Poliva, O. et al. (2011). Improving digit span assessment of short-term verbal memory. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology33 (1), 101–111.

Yoo, S. S., Bystritsky, A., Lee, J. H., Zhang, Y., Fischer, K., Min, B. K., McDonald, N. J.,  et al. (2011). Focused ultrasound modulates region-specific brain activity. Neuroimage, 56 (3) 1267–1275.

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Awakening Non-Symbolic Consciousness with Jeffery A. Martin

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Click here to watch Jeffrey Mishlove and Jeffrey Martin discuss non-symbolic consciousness.

Jeffery Martin, PhD, heads the Transformative Technology Lab at Sofia University. As a Harvard trained social scientist, Jeffrey researches personal transformation who specializes in bringing rigorous empirical research and testing to transformational techniques and theories that have previously been supported anecdotally.

Jeffery is a leading expert on intentionality and non-symbolic consciousness. He holds graduate degrees in information technology, management, and transformative studies and has co-edited, authored, or co-authored over 20 books and numerous other publications; appeared in a wide variety of electronic media; and lectured widely in both academic and public forums.

Jeffery is currently the director of the Center for the Study of Non-Symbolic Consciousness, and the Center for the Study of Intent. Portions of his research on power of thought and non-symbolic consciousness are also available in the popular fiction book, The Fourth Awakening.

Here he describes his research, beginning with neurophysiological measurements of individuals reputed to have attained a measure of spiritual enlightenment. He encountered over 200 related terms such as transcendental consciousness, god consciousness, and unity consciousness.

His primary finding concerned changes that took place deep within the brain. Much was also learned by querying participants as to how they achieved their state of well-being. This led to a specific protocol for enabling people to shift into a state of persistent well-being. He concludes by defining, in everyday language, what the experience of non-symbolic consciousness is like.

New Thinking Allowed host, Jeffrey Mishlove, PhD, is author of The Roots of Consciousness, Psi Development Systems, and The PK Man. Between 1986 and 2002 he hosted and co-produced the original Thinking Allowed public television series. He is the recipient of the only doctoral diploma in “parapsychology” ever awarded by an accredited university (University of California, Berkeley, 1980). He has served as vice-president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology, and is the recipient of its Pathfinder Award for outstanding contributions to the field of human consciousness. He is also past-president of the non-profit Intuition Network, an organization dedicated to creating a world in which all people are encouraged to cultivate and apply their inner, intuitive abilities.

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Diverse approaches to connecting consciousness, healing and transformation

Do you have a passion to bring something new to the world? Is conducting research something that you see yourself doing? Dr. Marilyn Schlitz saw that for herself, and as the Chair for Sofia University’s PhD programs, models that passion with her current research on diverse perspectives in healing.

My goal is to contribute to the emergence of a more sustainable worldview through original research, field formation, education, multi-media communications, and a global network of colleagues. I am eager to harvest 35 years of work on consciousness transformation and healing to contribute to the kind of positive personal and social transformation that is being called for in our times.”

Diverse Perspectives on Healing (Part I)

by Marilyn Schlitz, Ph.D.,  Program Chair at Sofia University for the PhD in Transpersonal Psychology programs

Welcome to Part 1 of a video blog series exploring diverse cultural and religious perspectives on healing. The series is based on interviews I conducted with masters and teachers from the world’s traditions. This unique series will illuminate the diverse approaches to healing as well as the common threads that unite the many distinct practices that connect consciousness, healing and transformation.

In this first video Sylver Quevedo, MD, a professor of comparative healing, speaks of compassion as a defining quality of healers across traditions. Steven Aung, MD, reflects on “loving kindness” and the importance of the mental state of the healer during the act of healing. Lastly, Eric Vormanns relates his practice of Etheric Healing, a tradition that traces back to his home country of Ghana.

click image below to watch video

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Marilyn Schlitz, Ph.D. is a social anthropologist, researcher, writer, and charismatic public speaker. She is currently She is currently the Founder and CEO of Worldview Enterprises. She also serves as President Emeritus and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. Additionally, she is a Senior Scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center, where she focuses on health and healing, and is a board member of Pacifica Graduate Institute.

For more than three decades, Marilyn has been a leader in the field of consciousness studies. Her research and extensive publications focus on personal and social transformation, cultural pluralism, extended human capacities, and mind body medicine. She has a depth of leadership experience in government, business, and the not-for-profit sectors. Her broad and varied work has given her a unique ability to help individuals and organizations identify and develop personal and interpersonal skills and capacities needed by 21st century leaders.

She produced the film Death Makes Life Possible with Deepak Chopra, and wrote a companion book of the same name, published by SoundsTrue. To see her other film credits, click here. To explore her current research projects, click here.

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Overcoming Spiritual Abuse Through Healthy Spiritual Development and Education

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-6-07-49-pmby Sofia University PsyD student, Michelle Pate, MA, MBA

There are people in the world, including myself, who have been manipulated by toxic church principles of shame, fear, and contempt disguised as love. These principles create a form of mental bondage and a painful existence to those who have been programmed by their church. Getting help to identify these problems can be difficult as therapists in general tend to be secular in their belief system. Many who did not grow up in a toxic church do not understand the deep pain and shame that gets embedded in a person’s psyche. Words like forgiveness, love, grace, soul, God, and salvation get twisted into a psychological bondage to their church rather than freedom from pain as they preach.

Being traumatized in the name of God gives a person a deep sense of unease and confusion about their lives, especially if they leave their church. Suddenly they are out in the world without knowing how things work. They often are victimized again without being able to pinpoint exactly what happened. The concept here is spiritual abuse. Therapists would do well to learn about the damage a toxic church environment can do to a person’s psyche and how to help their clients heal. Books such as “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse” and “Toxic Faith” can help a client heal, but so many have been so traumatized, the very word God can trigger a host of unpleasant memories.

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God needs to be re-defined in a healthy context. Christian researchers, such as James Fowler, Catherine Stonehouse, and Rebecca Nye, assure us that there are Christians in the world who believe in the same healthy developmental phases of the more secular researchers: Erikson, Piaget, and Kohlberg. People need to know there is a healthy way for a human being to develop spiritually so they can decipher what was unhealthy in their own upbringing. Christian children can grow up in a maladaptive family and church environment and suffer greatly in their dealings out in society. They don’t understand what is spiritually healthy because their environment told them what they were experiencing was what God is. A therapist adept in spiritual competencies can help a client tease apart their past; the abuse they may have suffered, and what healthy spirituality looks like.
Click here to read more about the trauma some Christians have gone through and some resources that may help them recover.

 

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Cultivating Compassion and Altruism

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From I to We: The Role of Consciousness Transformation in Compassion and Altruism by Cassandra Vieten, Tina Amorok, and Sofia University’s chair of the PhD programs, Marilyn Schlitz

Religious and spiritual leaders, sociologists, psychologists, educators, and neuroscientists are all interested in how compassion, altruism, and other prosocial emotions and behaviors can be cultivated.Indeed, learning more about how other-regarding virtues can be fostered is a goal with personal,societal, and perhaps global implications. What factors are involved in the cultivation of compassion and altruism? What experiences and practices support the development of compassion and altruism that extends beyond one’s immediate kinship circle? What contexts support experiences of compassion and empathy and facilitate the translation of those emotions into altruistic behavior? How can dispositional tendencies toward compassion and altruistic behavior be fostered? Religious, spiritual, and transformative practice traditions have developed specific methods that are directed toward cultivation of these virtues, and we may have something to learn from their approaches about how compassion and altruism are developed.

COMPASSION AND ALTRUISM IN RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-12-43-24-pmMost religious and spiritual traditions include prescriptions for living that involve the cultivation of compassion and altruism. In Sikh and Hindu-derived traditions, the Sanskrit seva refers to being of selfless service to the needs of others. In Christian and other Western spiritual traditions, the Greek word agape (or in Latin, caritas) refers to human beings manifesting God’s pure love, or an intentional and unconditional love for others, including enemies. In Buddhist traditions metta in Pali or maitri in Sanskrit is used to refer to both a quality and a practice of unconditional and unattached loving kindness, or the strong intention for the happiness of all beings. The Tibetan Buddhist practice of
tonglen refers to the practice of taking in suffering and giving out love or blessings.
Stephen G. Post points out that while “one finds rough equivalents of the ideal of divine Unlimited Love across the major spiritual and religious traditions…the consensus among religions about the various ways human beings can connect with this source of love needs to be better understood” (2003, 140).

THE TRANSFORMATION PROJECT

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Over the past several years, our group has been engaged in a study of the factors that initiate, mediate, and sustain positive transformations in consciousness. To learn more about how consciousness is transformed, we sought to identify common elements of the transformative process in religions, spiritual traditions, and modern transformative movements. We have employed a qualitative research method with the goals of generating hypotheses and informing definition, selection, and operationalization of relevant predictor, mediator, and outcome variables. Through this process, we are developing a theoretical model of the transformative process that is not specific to any one tradition but is informed by common elements of the transformational process across traditions, without excluding unique contributions from specific traditions. Our thematic analysis suggests that increased compassion and altruism is a common goal of trans-formative traditions and that there are experiences and practices across traditions that foster increased compassion and altruism through a number of potential pathways.

Click here to read more of this article.