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About Alchemica

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  1. Happy Bicycle Day all. One plant I was really impressed with over the heat was Hibiscus sabdariffa. I didn't know if it would do very well down here but it's pretty much everything I'm looking for in a plant over the warmer time of the year, it thrived in the crazy heat without being a pain to water. Easy to grow, super tough, high yielding as a medicinal and for food. First you get a barrage of beautiful aesthetic flowers then a continuous supply of calyx (albeit mine a little smaller than what I often see commercially) and leaf. The leaf is nice as a cooked/salad green (if you like lemon flavours) and if you want a hit of tasty sourish goodness, the calyx are nice even raw. Plants like this really do make your food your medicine. I have quite a bit of Roselle this year if anyone has interest in free seed soon (No WA/Tas), feel free to express interest. Actually after tips on the best way to collect the seeds, just let them ripen fully on the plant? if anyone has knowledge? I'm a bit conflicted, one source says "usually harvested ten days after the flower blooms. The large flowers fade and fall off, leaving behind their bright red, fleshy lotus shaped calyces. The Roselle flower seeds are then dried to be planted later and the fleshy red calyces are dried or eaten fresh." I've got lots of pods from when I was harvesting calyx - these viable or do the pods need more specific ripening time on the plant? These look viable and currently available: Some permaculture people "definitely recommend planting Rosellas in the garden if you are in a warmer climate." [Good review on this plant] [2] Review on the pharmacology The plant showed antibacterial, anti-oxidant, nephro- and hepato-protective, renal/diuretic effect, effects on lipid metabolism (anti-cholesterol), anti-diabetic and anti-hypertensive effects among others. [3] Using the leaf as a cooked green: Hibiscus sabdariffa is "high in essential nutrients required for optimal performance of health and the maintenance of good health together with the reduction of aging". 10 polyphenols including chlorogenic acids, quercetin, kaempferol etc were identified in the leaves along with good levels of carotenoids showing good antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity Hibiscus derived polyphenols are known to ameliorate various inflammation-related conditions, including obesity. The mechanism includes the regulation of energy metabolism, oxidative stress and inflammatory pathways, transcription factors, hormones and peptides, digestive enzymes, as well as epigenetic modifications [4] It can be considered as a food rich in lutein, chlorogenic acids and anthocyanins [5]. The organic acids such as hibiscus, dimethyl hibiscus, and hydroxycitric acid were strongly associated with some beneficial health effects [6]. A preliminary study on the use of this as an alternative source of iron for the treatment of anaemia and some other mineral deficiency diseases was promising Different works have demonstrated that Hibiscus sabdariffa extracts reduce blood pressure in humans - this effect is due to angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor activity [7]. The polyphenol content in H. sabdariffa works as an anti-inflammatory by improving antioxidant conditions and regulating the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 [8]. Other Hibiscus anthocyanins have anti-depressant properties through dopaminergic, adrenergic and serotonergic mechanisms [9] . Possibly Effective for: Hibiscus flower normalises blood pressure and exerts a protective effect on the heart. New research is underscoring the possibility of using hibiscus to normalise blood sugar. Reports have shown that H. sabdariffa derived bioactive compounds are potent in the treatment of obesity with an evident reduction in body weight, inhibition of lipid accumulation and suppression of adipogenesis through the PPARγ pathway and other transcriptional factors [10] Low doses of Roselle tea or supplements appear to be effective in reducing blood pressure, and may be anti-diabetic. High blood pressure. Some early research shows that drinking hibiscus tea for 2-6 weeks decreases blood pressure in people with mildly high blood pressure. Other early research shows that taking a hibiscus extract by mouth for 4 weeks may be as effective as the prescription drug captopril for reducing blood pressure in people with mild to moderate high blood pressure. However, an analysis of results from various clinical studies suggests that there is not enough evidence to draw strong conclusions about the effects of hibiscus in reducing high blood pressure [11]. Also heaps of Ashwagandha seed still left.
  2. If it is present to an appreciable degree, it is theoretically degraded so quickly by FAAH after oral administration that it's likely not that relevant but some propose there are N-acylethanolamines that slow degradation also in the chocolate. That said some of the fatty acid amides I've found orally sometimes do something at high enough doses. It may be that the abundant catechin flavonols, which seem to have moderate affinity to cannabinoid receptors (and other receptors) are more active. You've got a good lot of fatty acids, some with affinity to CNS receptors, that could also alter endocannabinoid tone. The pharmacology of the tetrahydro-beta-carbolines and isoquinolines in chocolate isn't well established from my understanding One fairly recent review links most of the psychoactivity to these main constituents: "...we would like to propose the “mood pyramid” as a model, summarizing the more general up to the more specific psychopharmacological actions of cocoa and chocolate. There is a large amount of scientific evidence that the flavonoids, more in particular CF, are involved in the cognition-enhancing effects, although this may not be very specific for cocoa or chocolate, since these constituents are widely distributed in nature and in food. At the second level, the methylxanthines caffeine and theobromine have additive and maybe synergistic effects on cognition and alertness, although the role of theobromine remains unclear. Methylxanthines are less common in nature than flavanols, but still not restricted to T. cacao. At the third and gradually more specific level, the tetrahydro-isoquinoline alkaloids, more in particular salsolinol, may exert additive or synergistic activities" [1].
  3. Really good review, some people here will likely be interested. One I'm surprised didn't get mentioned is β-caryophyllene for it's notable CB2 affinity. I've never been interested in potent CB1 agonists but these other plants interest me. New to me is seeing anthocyanins as cannabinoid modulators Cannabimimetic plants: are they new cannabinoidergic modulators? https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00425-019-03138-x [sci-hub] In nature, surprisingly many molecules act on the endocannabinoid system through cannabinoid receptors, degradation or synthesis enzymes. Phytochemicals and secondary metabolites able to interact with the endocannabinoid system have been recently described in a broad range of plants and fruits. It's interesting how changes to diet have likely altered our endocannabinoid system: "...the transition from high-protein hunting and gathering society, to one based on agriculture, and hyper-glucidic and -lipidic, has favored the over-activation of CB1R" Some plants Cannabigerol-like phytocannabinoids called amorfrutins have been identified in the genus Helichrysum Several amorfrutins have been isolated from liverwort belonging to the genus Radula and from two species of the Fabaceae family, Amorpha fruticosa and Glycyrrhiza acanthocarpa Molecules structurally similar to CBD are ferruginene compounds and methylpenanol analogs of CBD extracted from Rhododendron ferrugineum, species belonging to the Ericaceae family. Rhododendron dauricum, a flowering plant belonging to the family Ericaceae native to the North Asian forests, produces daurichromenic acid (DCA) Guineensine belongs to a class of N-alkylamide alkaloids, first isolated from West African pepper (Piper guineense). They are also abundant in numerous other species of Piper genus, such as in P. longum and P. nigrum (the dietary pepper species) guineensine has ability to inhibit the central reuptake of the major endocannabinoids Chelerythrine, present in the plants Chelidonium majus, Zanthoxylum clavaherculis, and Zanthoxylum rhoifolium, and sanguinarine, extracted from Sanguinaria canadensis, Argemone mexicana, Chelidonium majus, and Macleaya cordata, are two benzophen-anthridine alkaloid with potential cannabimimetic action Out of six kavalactones, yangonin has shown good selectivity for CB1R compared to CB2R γ-Sanshool is another alkaloid, extracted from plant genus Zanthoxylums uch as Z. clava-herculis, Z. armatum, Z. bungeanum, Z. piperitum. γ-Sanshool displayed an antagonist profile for CB1R and simultaneously an agonist activity for CB2R From Voacanga africana, three alkaloids with CB1R antagonism, voacamine, 3,6-oxidovoacangine, and 5-hydroxy-3,6-oxidovoacangine, have been isolated. The crude extract of Voacanga africana has been used for the treatment of diseases connected to endocannabinoid systems such as chronic inflammation, mental disorders, and convulsions in children. Indeed, based on binding studies, it was established that these three alkaloids could be considered modulators of CB1R. α-Amyrin and β-amyrin are pentacyclic triterpenes, ubiquitously distributed in the plant kingdom, known to have a number of biological effects produced via indi-rect cannabimimetic mechanisms. α-amyrin is isolated from the resins of Bursera and Protium species of the Burseraceae family. The key sources for β-amyrin include Amphipterygium adstringens, Eucalyptus globulus, Ficus carica, Ficus cordata, Nelumbo nucifera and Byrsonima crassa Even betulinic acid, a pentacyclic triterpenoid, can bind to both CB1R and CB2R Falcarinol, found in many plants of the Apiaceae family (Daucus carota specifically), exhibits binding affinity to both CB1R and CB2R but selec-tively acts as a covalent inverse agonist in CB1R Polyphenols: Biochanin A has cannabimimetic activity seems linked to inhibition of fatty acid amide hydrolase, an enzyme for anandamide degradation A growing body of evidence suggests that anthocyanins incl. cyanidin may have analgesic, neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties, and these biological effects are tied to its potential action on cannabinoid receptors. Cyanidin is a ligand with moderate affinity to human CB1R and CB2R There is moderate affinity of catechins to CB1R. Curcumin is an antagonist/inverse agonist towards CB1R but contradictory results have been also produced Magnolol showed a profile of partial agonist with selectivity for the CB2R, while honokiol possesses a signifi-cantly lower affinity for the CB1R The cannabimimetic action of kaempferol may be due to its inhibitory capacity towards the FAAH degradation enzyme. Quercetin, a flavonol associated with rutinose to form the glycoside rutin, showed an upregulation of CB1R Maca - Lepidium meyenii - has action on the endocannabinoid system N-alkylamide lipids show structural similarity with anandamide and bind to CB2R more potently than endogenous cannabinoids. N-alkylamides have been isolated from Echinacea purpureaand Echinacea angustifolia. Moreover, other extracts of Echinacea spp. have demonstrated anti-inflammatory property by PPAR activity. Even Otanthus maritimus (family: Asteraceae) possesses N-alkylamides with a good CB2R affinity
  4. Anyone else gone and planted a few common Camellias for tea purposes? It's quite debated whether non-sinensis teas are caffeine/theanine containing but those who have made tea from it often say it seems more potent. I like to have a mutual living relationship with the medicine I'm using - not simply a commercial consumptive one - so will plant a few common (related) C. japonica which can be used to make tea It, according to some, contains caffeine and catechins of the same kind as C. sinensis but "Japonica seems much more potent, even when processed as green tea." with >5% per weight caffeine in dry leaves but "..not all cultivars will be equally potent" [1] (another study on the contrary found no caffeine [2] and some say the "entire series of reactions required for the synthesis of purine alkaloids was deficient in both C. japonica and C.sasanqua". ) and triterpenes, flavonoids, tannins and fatty acids. It has 42% of C. sinensis' theanine compared to Camellia sasanqua which is slightly higher [3] [1] http://www.koreascience.or.kr/article/JAKO200403042358213.page [2] http://dx.doi.org/10.1270/jsbbs1951.34.459 [3] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00021369.1984.10866604 Explorations into the effects of tea on behaviour and mental health come at a time of growing scientific interest in the role of nutrition in mental health and preventive medicine. Physicians need more ways of tackling anxiety, depression and age-related cognitive decline — these conditions place a huge burden on health systems, and treatment options are limited - due to the lack of available therapies — around one-third of all people with anxiety and depression never find an effective therapy [1] Tea is on the rise, because so is stress. It embodies mindfulness and the serenity that a lot of stressed people need in their lives, along with being connected to emotions, and promotes a calming sensation for many drinkers [2] [1] https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00398-1 [2] https://www.sbs.com.au/food/article/2019/03/20/tea-drinkers-are-better-people-and-probably-less-stressed-too
  5. That was beautifully written @mysubtleascention I like the mention so often of harmony - that's a wonderful way to put it. Thanks for sharing.
  6. Alchemica

    Alcosynth - Safe alcohol alternative?

    Yeah I get you on that, it's sad that's the way things are for so many - I too sought the void all too often as life felt totally futile and full of pressures I couldn't handle. I've had to essentially disconnect from the majority of the ways our society runs, which isn't doable for everyone, as it is simply really bad for my health and not feel too guilty about it, the other way was literally killing me way too quickly Thing is, I got a 'safer alcohol substitute' like pregabalin (don't mention the way phenibut went) and tried to use that instead of drinking and got blatantly addicted to it. Dose escalations. Tolerance and withdrawals. These things, if they offer any sort of nice effect, they will have abuse potential and really serious potential for harm away from being not that damaging in themselves - eg people operating heavy machinery is just one I feel if many people got a clean break from drinking even to socially normal levels, ie a good period of total abstinence going, they'd find themselves in a better place where they didn't have to get persistently blasted by anything. So many., even those doing socially acceptable drinking, are in the cycle of use-withdrawal that they don't know what they feel like without it in their lives, which is scary. It really is such a nasty substance for mental health, for spiritual growth for everyone and society. They could too become teetotallers getting bent on a wholesome cup of tea etc I'd rather some decent kava be allowed in, or something planty that could build up a responsible culture of use around it. But while people are used to getting inebriated as culturally accepted there will be issues
  7. Alchemica

    Alcosynth - Safe alcohol alternative?

    Yeah originally they were looking at pagoclone but it could be any α-subtype GABAA targeting drugs/PAM But really, this is another cultural symptom... sure it may be safer than ethanol but seeking such a quick fix is a consequence of a problem, not a solution This was once my Holy Grail quest - to have a safe alcohol substitute/pro-social aid through through things like this Then I noticed how empty mere anxiolysis was. Spiritually devoid. It had no ability to grow you into your Divine Self, it just let you run away Sure, there's severe pathological anxiety which I know is all too crippling but we need more wholesome tools that allow one to be themselves. I still feel plants offer a better tool to return to wholeness. Sure, they may not offer blatant inebriated anxiolysis but that's part of the challenge I feel, to be comfortable with things like anxiety until they no longer over-power you. We need to consider why people are seeking such anxiolysis and feed their spirit to a place where they can have calm loving self-acceptance and compassion, not allow them to run away with another vice. For me, this weekend I could go out... but in all honesty I'd rather not. eg in our society, you have to be absolutely off your head to find the majority of people interesting enough to even be interested in having a convo with them thanks to their cultural conditioning...
  8. There could possibly be some changes but in my non-professional opinion, nothing dangerous. Best checking with professionals though. You have to consider your changes to self-concept too which would also impact the journey There is a strong modulatory influence of estrogen on the serotonin system: there seems to be cross-talk between estrogenic and serotonergic pathways "ovarian steroids bring induction of dendritic spine proliferation on serotonin neurons [with a ] profound effect on serotonergic transmission. " [1] ERβ negatively regulates 5-HT2A [a phytoestrogenic diet caused a significant decrease in the expression of 5-HT2A receptors ] and estrogen changes this receptor binding There is support for the effect of progesterone on 5-HT1A receptor expression by affecting the serotonergic system supporting "relation of the steroid hormone progesterone to 5-HT1A receptor binding. [2] [3] There could be some changes to CYP liver enzymes, too - this would alter how quickly things like beta-carbolines stayed active
  9. Thanks for sharing. I used to just aim to get loose on loose leaf tea. Then I noticed how potent a healing aid it was on a different level... Tea has powerful spiritual and ceremonial role - I'm not sure I'd go as far as soma but it's a potent ally. Tea mystics are spiritual psychonauts “Tea is Nature… Tea is Medicine… Tea is Heart and Spirit…” Tea is something that can help you forward in meditation, mindful absorption of the present, and self-cultivation. The Way of Tea is expressed in four Japanese characters: Harmony, Respect, Purity and Tranquillity “It’s hard to even speak now ‘cause that was so profound, and I don’t know that words are really poetic enough or descriptive enough, but I really felt — I feel different from the moment I started ’til the end; I really felt like I went through a journey.” [1] "Having been under the influences of rapid infusions of some 1950’s Red Mark Yin-Ji Puerh I feel justified in suggesting tea or Camellia sinensis as a possible candidate or substitute for Soma. With tiny orbs of qi coursing through my system after each sip I see a vision of the lineage of patriarchs of Esoteric Buddhism and thangkas of blue Bodhisattvas holding cups of amrita in their palm. Tea may not be the original soma, but the reverence, ritual and perhaps the shape into which it is pressed (especially in Tibet), make it a serious candidate as a soma-substitute or amrita." Tea "as a beverage that, when ritually prepared, allowed communion with divinities—suggest the reason for continued appeal in later ages in both China and Japan”. Tea’s constant domain within a sacred, often ritual context must be always remembered and it is retained even in the more secular literati circles that treated it as a near sacrament in their microcosmic ways and arts. "Tea’s special relationship with Buddhist and Daoist “ritual”, or combinations thereof, and persistent associations with Indian mystics and religious experience were instrumental in the spread of tea throughout ancient China, Korea and Japan." [2] There's much to be explored in a porcelain cup of alkaloids - we do not always think of tea as a potent psychoactive plant in the West, as it is so commonly consumed and readily available. One becomes liberated from earthly attachments and is able to commune with eternity, nature, and all living beings - a path to the essential self [1] People note a sense of well-being and peacefulness and appreciate the little things and not rush Erowid Tea "The effects were stronger than I expected. I hadn't had tea in awhile. Sounds around me were amplified. The wind was pressing against me. I felt like I had taken a strong sedative. My body felt heavy. The wind itself felt euphoric and I felt butterflies through out my body. I had a strong since of well being. The world was beautiful, the trees swaying in the wind were happy/excited. Every living things Qi/soul whatever you want to call it were reaching out to my soul/energy and intertwining. Almost like drinking the tea allowed me to shed energy blockage which was keeping us from connecting. We were friends. The birds chirped beautifully. I felt inspiration and connection to the earth. I was ONE and felt love!" "Vision crisps up ... more vibrant, bit sharper. Euphoria. ... It was an amazing time, carefree in the warm summer sun, fueled by fusion, almost god-like. There was no comedown, it simply ended. I would honestly consider that day a +++ on the Shulgin scale comparable to mushrooms." People have touched on the social, spiritual, and health benefits, noting that it opened one’s mind to the higher things. It encouraged quiet meditation, rustic simplicity, aesthetic judgement, appreciation of nature, and the significance of the present moment. It also necessitated “courtesy ... moderation in actions,” and purity of spirit [3]. Some assert ...the practice of tea will make you friendlier, kinder, and more concerned with serving your fellow human beings. In other words, the plant Camellia sinensis and its related Camellia species will make you into a better person. “茶禅一味” which translates to something like “Zen and Tea — the same taste.” In other words, consuming tea are both viewed by some as spiritual expressions [1] https://www.reddit.com/.../understanding_tea_mysticism.../ [2] https://sites.google.com/.../delawaretea.../Home/tea-as-soma [3] https://www.crisismagazine.com/2012/tea-and-christianity Ritual use of plants incl. tea
  10. One ally that has been instrumental in me getting past vices is this common one which I think is totally underrated. I find my simple tea is so healing and you don't need to drift off to fancy teas all the time! Some tea drunk suggestions from others Tea - A passage to spiritual harmony Epidemiological investigations have reported that drinking tea reduces the risk of dementia and depression. Research suggests that tea catechins, mainly EGCG, elicit cognitive effects as well. EGCG administration has been associated with self-reported calmness and reduced stress in healthy subjects. It showed beneficial effects in related areas such as work performance and creativity [1]. Tea use was associated with reduced stress, increased calmness and increased electroencephalographic activity (increased alpha, beta and theta activities) in the midline frontal and central brain regions Green tea consumption in subjects with cognitive dysfunction (2 g/day for 3 months, approximately equal to 2 to 4 cups of tea/day) significantly improved cognitive performance. Along with the effects of lower doses of caffeine and small quantities of L-theanine, EGCG has sedative effects in the brain, partially through GABAA receptors, and consequently moderates an acute stress response in a dose dependent manner. With the feelings of euphoria, there can be a strong sense of focus and calm. Tea drinkers may experience acceptance of the world, a feeling of contentment, and pleasing lightheadedness or sense of floating. Others list symptoms such as a giggling, a bouncy feeling, a feeling of emotional bliss, a contemplative or philosophical mindset, or an introspective, sensitive mood. The overall effect is often described as a very Zen feeling. ...get in a mindset of focused observation of the physical, mental, and emotional/spiritual effects of the tea [ref]. EGCG may reduce the negative mood effects of caffeine in a similar manner to L-theanine. Several studies found that caffeine and L-theanine improve attentional performance but studies did not find any change in self-reported mood compared to caffeine. Some of the studies, even on more well-known combinations such as caffeine and L-theanine, failed at reproducing the same results as in other studies. L-theanine appears to be most beneficial in subjects that reported being more stressed and/or anxious during the study. Tea catechins have GABAA modulatory [2] and cannabinoid affinity [3] and tea consumption might reduce antipsychotic-induced side effects. While the tea catechin EGCG is known to inhibit COMT enzymatic activity in vitro this may not be relevant in vivo EGCG attenuates NMDA antagonist-stimulated behaviours "Much of orally ingested EGCG is hydrolyzed to epigallocatechin (EGC) and gallic acid. In rats, EGC is then metabolized mainly to 5-(3',5'-dihydroxyphenyl)-γ-valerolactone" These metabolites may promote neurogenesis in the brain [4] As ligands for the GABAA receptor benzodiazepine site, the higher catechins like EGCG being PAMS at some sites. EGCG reversed the effects of GABAA receptor negative modulators - picrotoxin and methyl beta-carboline-3-carboxylate, EGCG and chlordiazepoxide fully generalised in substitution studies. The phenolic acids are also GABAergic, potentially at different GABAA subtypes. Polyphenols and L-theanine for stress: Black Tea - regular consumption of black or oolong tea was associated with lower risks of cognitive impairment and decline "Following plants trends and rituals that don’t come from your personal lineage harms those who rely on such plants, especially colonized people, and the plants themselves (by overharvesting). Moreover, this routine does a disservice to your health. There’s no reason to chase plant wisdom outside your lineage for meaning - we miss out on a chance for a more genuine connection with plants already deeply rooted in our family histories by following plant trends that fall outside our lineage." [1]. There's lots of research around green tea/EGCG and theanine but "Theaflavins, black tea polyphenols, effects on brain function, especially mental condition, have not been elucidated". Recently there's been a bit. Oral administration with theaflavins can suppress neural inflammation and prevent inflammation-related brain disorders, improving memory impairment and depression-like behaviour [2]. Theaflavins from black tea have a stronger anti-inflammatory effect than many other polyphenols. Oral consumption of theaflavins induced anxiolytic effects via activation of the dopaminergic system in the frontal cortex [3]. Despite concerns about these reaching the CNS, oral doses are indeed CNS active in animal models. A standard cup of black tea was found to contain L-theanine 24.2 ± 5.7 mg and mostly thearubigens contrary to a cup of green tea which contains ~8mg theanine and ~70 mg EGCG per bag. That said, one study claims green tea was more effective for neuroprotection than red and black teas. One paper states black tea polyphenols are more effective than green tea polyphenols in body weight reduction [4]. Theaflavins are "promising functional food ingredients and medicines for improving insulin resistance-related disorders" and improve postprandial glycemic control [5,6]. Black tea possesses "marked aphrodisiac activity" and "can function as a quick acting, safe, oral aphrodisiac" [7]. [1] https://www.healthline.com/health/plants-as-medicine-history [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30696093 [3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30806570 [4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27941615 [5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30572687 [6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28049262 [7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18565706 Green Tea Improves “cognitive functioning [through affecting]…working memory processing at the neural system level by suggesting changes in short-term plasticity of parieto-frontal brain connections.” Beneficial for it's stress resistance, and neuroprotective and autophagy-promoting properties Green tea might reverse the development of depression through normalisation of the reward function. Green tea is promising for neuroprotective/neurorescue activities in a wide array of cellular and animal models of neurological disorders and is suggested as a prophylactic for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's etc - higher consumption of green tea is associated with lower prevalence of cognitive impairment A retrospective study with 278 consecutive Parkinson's patients reported that consumption of more than 3 cups of tea per day delayed age of motor symptoms onset by 7.7 years and green tea polyphenols provide a symptomatic benefit in Parkinson's Green tea is believed to lower the risk of dementia both through it's polyphenols and active metabolites that exhibit effects on nerve cell proliferation and neuritogenic properties. The consumption of green tea catechins is generally believed to suppress age-related cognitive dysfunction, The neuroprotective, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and iron-chelating properties of EGCG make it promising for neurorescue. Diet induced neuroinflammation was restored by EGCG supplementation and homocysteine-induced neurodegeneration and neuro-inflammation in the brain was attenuated. It inhibits brain damage and promotes regeneration in the cerebral cortex of rats. It shows promise for Down syndrome and is a TLR4/MyD88 antagonist and inhibitor of DYRK1A EGCG was able to effectively inhibit volatile anaesthetic-induced neurodegeneration and improve learning and memory retention, which is relevant to my case. There is evidence of hepatoprotective [see more - note high doses have been linked to rare hepatotoxicity] and restoration oxidative-nitrosative stress-mediated apoptotic signalling in cognitive deficits associated with alcohol Teas significantly reduced AChE activity and partially reduced fat accumulation. Green teas reduced memory deficits. They reduced reactive species accumulation and reduced plasma triglyceride levels. The tea polyphenol EGCG has been shown to ameliorate metabolic abnormalities and fatty liver. Some evidence suggests that daily consumption of tea catechins may help in controlling type 2 diabetes Green tea is promising for different neurodegenerative conditions, such as memory deficits. EGCG-treated rats displayed a superior behavioural performance and it enhances neuroregeneration after injury via alteration of levels of inflammatory cytokines. Green tea was more effective for neuroprotection than red and black teas. Green tea's theanine seems to have multiple beneficial effects on depressive symptoms, anxiety, sleep disturbance and cognitive impairments in patients with major depression [4] It may be beneficial in schizophrenia [5] Review Oolong contains more O-methylated catechins like (-)-epigallocatechin 3- O-(3- O-methyl)gallate with distinct physiological functions in animal models and humans compared to common tea, including antiallergy, antiobesity, the prevention of cardiovascular disease risks [review] Pu-erh tea fermentation forms simple phenolic acids (gallic) and theogallin while epicatechin, epigallocatechin gallate and theanine decreased during fermentation [review] It is reported that Pu-erh tea have a variety of pharmacologically activities, such as anti-hyperlipidemic, anti-diabetic, anti-oxidative, anti-tumor, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral effects. It is promising for it's effects on metabolic syndrome through remodelling the microbiome Pu-erh tea contains "biological compounds binding transcription factors and inhibiting the expression of mGluR5 and is a novel natural neuroprotective agent" as dysregulation of mGluR5 is implicated in multiple brain disorders particularly showing promise for pain, epilepsy, schizophrenia, drug addiction and Alzheimer’s disease Gallic acid in Pu-erh tea is reported to be a main constituent. This has neuroprotective, antidepressant [1] and anti-psychotic acitivities [2] It is also a rich source of other benzoic acid derivatives, phenylacetic, phenylpropionic, phenylvaleric and phenolic acid esters [3] Host your own healing tea ceremony Sure, there's 'recreational tea sessions'. There's also healing tea sessions When practised to foster harmony in humanity, promote harmony with nature, discipline the mind, quiet the heart, and attain the purity of enlightenment, the art of tea becomes "teaism" [1] It can re-inforce harmony of nature and self cultivation: refinement, an inner spiritual content, humility, restraint and simplicity Tea invites us to connect with nature, with our community, and with the deepest parts of our unknown selves. I believe if you dedicate your time to one plant such as Camellia sinensis, you can form a really therapeutic ally and it's often the easily dismissed plants that can bring us to where we need to be... I feel tea brings us back to better holistic health and spiritual harmony - you often don't have to be fancy and chase a multitude of exotic plants and potions. It turns into a wild goose-chase It's sacrilegious the way we as a culture make it about "a quick mediocre cuppa" when it's healing properties for the body, mind and spirit are so notable [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_ceremony Spirituality of Tea "I got nasty habits; I take tea..." - Mick Jagger "Tea is part of the spiritual activities of being properly engaged and aware, both of self and others. As J. Norwood Pratt relates: As an elixir of sobriety and wakeful tranquility, tea was also a means of spiritual refreshment and spiritual conviviality, a way to go beyond this world and enter a realm apart. Tea was an aid in Christian temperance. Tea is an equaliser, the approach to tea as an aid to meditation, and the emphasis on beauty in simplicity. It allows a Daoist concept of returning to a state of rustic simplicity. "Tea seeks social harmony through self-discipline and personal discovery and personal desire for salvation. Whereas Tea requires a degree of contemplation of, and concentration [it also] invites the participant to look into himself or herself, to discover a self that is no longer separate and potentially antagonistic but in harmony with the environment and all others. “I” and “Thou” are able to merge, where the “Thou” becomes the “I” and vice-versa. The distance between self and other, which upholds life in normal times, disappears in favor of unity. “I” and “Thou” become “we,” a “we” established and strengthened by ritual Freedom is sought not in large space or in unrestricted behaviour but, on the contrary, by accepting and “overcoming” restrictions. There is freedom through meditation and other forms of self-discipline. It invites humility, that is, a negation of self in the absorption in something else as expressed in the Buddhist notion of muichibutsu. This concept can mean many things. It points to the Buddhist notion of “nothingness,” “emptiness,” or the original unity of all things. ...tea is at once the center of the universe and a means to harmonize with the essence of things." [2] [1] http://walkerteareview.com/spirituality-of-tea-buddhism-ch…/ [2] http://anthropoetics.ucla.edu/ap0501/tea/ Other methylxanthines and synergies Theobromine may selectively enhance caffeine psychoactivity - increased “energetic arousal” as well. In terms of mood effects cocoa flavonoids may modify caffeine's psychoactive effects in a similar manner to L-theanine. Experiments found that combination of cocoa extract and caffeine attenuated the anxiety-provoking effects of caffeine alone Evidence for an improvement of executive function 90–150 min after the administration of cocoa flavanols. Caffeinated cocoa (70 mg caffeine, 179 mg theobromine, 499 mg flavanols) caused lower omission errors and improved accuracy in healthy subjects compared to cocoa alone (21 mg caffeine, 179 mg theobromine, 499 mg flavanols), but attentional performance was not better
  11. Making Love - How spirituality changed my relationships Keen to hear what spirituality has changed for your life? There are a few things that have shifted for me through some recent spiritual experiences. In two words: My relationships Most notably towards life. Just a peaceful calm acceptance of it with some re-invigoration. And of death. Also, my relationships: Aiming for my healthy relationships with friends, family and myself but also 1. towards substances 2. towards suffering 2. towards sexuality 3. towards "others" 4. towards love ...some people are evolving in their spiritual awareness toward meaning-making, healing, and peace, while others remain in a state of chronic anger and suffering. I was stuck in the cycles of painful devolution WAY too long The pain in the human heart needs to be attended to by rituals and practices that, when practiced, will lessen anger and allow health and creativity to flow anew Some individuals start to explore new spiritual paths, becoming more aware of higher realms of consciousness, and a sense of divine presence Towards substances These days I'm a teetotaller. Literally just drink black tea. After so long of pharmacological exploitation of biological mechanisms (and maladaptive behaviours) that normally generate healthy attachments between friends, family and lovers one can use a core strategy of grief therapy to facilitate growth of the individual into new healthy pre-occupations, habits and relationships [1] Connections between unhealthy behaviours, mental illness, and attachment abnormalities are real, but quite complex and nuanced. Over time, it has created a pathological limitation of their free will and capacity to enact adaptive choices. It has limited their motivational-behavioural repertoire to an abnormally narrow set of ‘programs’ at the expense of healthy motivations and behaviours We can see the great difficulty of producing a therapeutic rescue and liberation of the patient from their imprisoning behaviours, because it is also about a ‘love affair’ that is keeping them imprisoned. One can attempt to form strong therapeutic attachments with people that can ‘over power’ their pathological attachments Helping people bear and mourn what are often tremendous and irreplaceable losses is often critical to protecting them against future relapses and worsening depression. Bringing empathy, honoring patient’s humanity and need for connection, relieving them of shame could all be valuable therapeutic ingredients to recovery From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6383361/ Towards Suffering I have some greater compassion but also a less biomedical approach to illness Each time our world cycles through a winter of the human spirit, there is an invisible summer within us, an invitation to reinhabit our deepest decency and live up to our most ennobled nature. Humans are generally experts at finding ways to place ourselves into spiritual bondage, it is this very spiritual “woundedness” that becomes the path to our healing and recovery. While illness is slavery to a cruel god, it can also be the pathway to a deeper spirituality than is experienced without it. It is through our wounds that we can allow spirit and others to enter our lives and help make us whole. "There Is a Crack in Everything, That’s How the Light Gets In" "Sometimes one has simply to endure a period of depression for what it may hold of illumination if one can live through it" "...the most withering aspect of depression is the way it erases, like physical illness does, the memory of wellness. The totality of the erasure sweeps away the elemental belief that another state of being is at all possible — the sensorial memory of what it was like to feel any other way vanishes, until your entire being contracts into the state of what is, unfathoming of what has been, can be, and will be." You learn to build fires where you can warm yourself as you wait for the tempest to pass. These fires — the routines, habits, relationships, and coping mechanisms you build — help you to look at the rain and see fertilizer instead of a flood. If you want the lushest green of life (and you do), the gray is part of the natural cycle. [1] [1] https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/12/08/tim-ferriss-tools-of-titans-depression/ I'm interested in using the current wisdom of induced altered states of consciousness [1] as a backdrop to navigate and heal from what would otherwise be dismissed as simple pathology. I've had some quite intense experiences lately which have actually helped me. It's surprising how what could be glossed over as 'poor mental health', if navigated as a compassionate journey, seems to unfold towards some better wholeness. Sure, you want to taper the intensity to a safe tolerability when needed but safely exploring your craziness can be really therapeutic. In 'illness' there are endogenous altered states of consciousness, changes in ego and self-concept and heightening of physical sensations, emotions, and memories and hallucinations; some of which can be traumatic What happens when this is approached in a way that allows an unfolding and working through of intense experiences, rather than dismissing them? Shifting from plain symptom reduction to a psychotherapeutic and spiritual framework? What does meaningful integration look like? - normalise the experiences "From a purely psychological perspective, integration involves a reuniting of the parts of ourselves that have been split off, banished from consciousness, deemed unfit or unsafe to acknowledge, experience or express. This fragmentation of the personality and of the psyche leads to a host of mental health problems and disorders and interpersonal relationship difficulties. When the identity, or sense of self, is impoverished or unstable, a person will experience excessive self-criticism, chronic feelings of emptiness, and dissociation (a state of disconnection from mind and body). In psychotherapy, we focus on the integration of the ego and the development of a continuous and stable sense of self. Ego is a Latin word that means “I.” When a person has an integrated ego, they have a reliable sense of their “I” and of their personal identity. They also have a reliable sense of others as distinct from themselves and an understanding of how these two constructs (self and other) interact to form a sense of reality. The integration of the ego is the process of organizing the aspects of the personality (drives, attitudes, beliefs, goals) and the split off parts of ourselves (due to shame, pain, trauma, etc.) into a balanced whole. In so doing, we become more effective in managing our lives and our relationships with others. We reconnect the fragmented parts of ourselves that have been split off or exiled because of the shame and the pain that they hold. These are the parts of ourselves that we don’t like; the parts that are vulnerable and afraid. However, in burying these painful parts of ourselves, we inadvertently also bury the other more joyful parts of ourselves. If we numb our fear, we numb our joy. We drink and abuse substances of all kinds to numb the pain or to feel something else or nothing at all. We constantly shift the external experience when the current one overwhelms us. This means we aren’t being present. We aren’t still. Integration is about collecting all of the parts of ourselves and weaving them back together like the multifaceted diamonds that we are. We are like diamonds that shatter in response to trauma and difficult life experiences, fragments chipping off with each blow. The work in traditional psychotherapy is to unite, or integrate, the various parts of ourselves into one brilliant whole. By bringing awareness to the various parts of ourselves (the mind, the body, the breath, the senses) they can become integrated. ...while integration in psychotherapy involves creating wholeness within the ego, and integration in spiritual practices involves bridging the ego with that which lies beyond it" - language may not be available to express what we’ve experienced, nor is it necessarily the best or most effective way to express it. Drawing and painting and working with mandalas are great ways to express nonverbal material. - somatic practices can be helpful. What affects the mind affects the body, and vice versa. Becoming embodied and aware of the breath while moving through sensations helps us to integrate on the physical level. - It is through an increased awareness of the body, the mind, and the spirit that we become whole. [1] https://chacruna.net/integration-psychedelics-spirituality/ I see so much suffering is a process of grief. Grief as a Mystical Journey - from Loss to Faith We learn that a broken heart is capable of great love. Those experiencing loss, difficult and painful times can find many areas of compassion and comfort, particularly "Grief dares us to love once more." — Terry Tempest Williams "The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief - But the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared with the pain of never risking love." Hillary Stanton Zunin There is no renewal without a ‘small’ death of our personality, our set positioning in life or our childlike naivety. Sure there's the heavy grief. Loss of loved ones including pets, adjusting to illness but there's also other levels which can impact life "Grief of not being welcome, wanted, enough, or of not knowing enough, have enough support, money, skills etc...Paralysis, shame and envy can become the new guests in our beings.... We stop, numb and stay small not to feel our sadness, our numbness, our fears and anger. We are not skilled in Grief neither in Love. A terrible poverty takes place in our heart..." - Soul and making the world of our longing From Francis Weller's The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief 1. "There is some strange intimacy between grief and aliveness, some sacred exchange between what seems unbearable and what is most exquisitely alive." 2. "Grief and love are sisters, woven together from the beginning. Their kinship reminds us that there is no love that does not contain loss and no loss that is not a reminder of the love we carry for what we once held close." 3. "Grief is subversive, undermining the quiet agreement to behave and be in control of our emotions. It is an act of protest that declares our refusal to live numb and small. There is something feral about grief, something essentially outside the ordained and sanctioned behaviors of our culture. Because of that, grief is necessary to the vitality of the soul. Contrary to our fears, grief is suffused with life-force.... It is not a state of deadness or emotional flatness. Grief is alive, wild, untamed and cannot be domesticated. It resists the demands to remain passive and still. We move in jangled, unsettled, and riotous ways when grief takes hold of us. It is truly an emotion that rises from the soul." 4. Many who undertake the full journey into grief come back carrying medicine for the world. “Deep in our bones lies an intuition that we arrive here carrying a bundle of gifts to offer to the community. Over time, these gifts are meant to be seen, developed, and called into the village at times of need. To feel valued for the gifts with which we are born affirms our worth and dignity. In a sense, it is a form of spiritual employment - simply being who we are confirms our place in the village. That is one of the fundamental understanding about gifts: we can only offer them by being ourselves fully. Gifts are a consequence of authenticity; when we are being true to our natures, the gifts can emerge.” Summarised by Darcy K. Butcher ...we are not locked in to the images of God that have been handed to us by family and culture. Interpretations of faith are dynamic rather than stagnant, and they are subject to change and evolution, with the spiritual shakeup resulting from loss and trauma as a common trigger. When one’s sense of equilibrium is disturbed, it can result in a "shifting of the field of consciousness from lower to higher levels ... the necessary beginning of any process of transcendence". This shift can push us through Fowler’s stages and lead us toward a new equilibrium Five stages of mystical development - an "awakening" experience that jolts us into a new reality - purging of the old familiar self - a period of illumination - a surrender to emptiness - a state where the usual conflicts and challenges are viewed from an elevated perspective. Here, instead of merely seeking relief from pain, one seeks meaning Some putative stages: Primal Faith: a foundational state of either trust or mistrust, depending on the care it receives and its sense of safety in the world. From this foundation, preliminary images of "God" begin to form Intuitive-Reflective Faith Mythic-Literal Faith Losses are triggering curiosity and questioning that can lead them to the next stage, where, Fowler explains, there is an ability to imagine other possibilities and other realities Synthetic-Conventional Faith Centred on building a personal identity and building relationships with the world outside the immediate family. "God" is a significant other who knows the depths and the secrets of the self, and offers companionship, guidance and support Individuative-Reflective Faith "The person is pushed out of, or steps out of, the circle of interpersonal relationships that have sustained his life to that point". This turning point can move a person toward deeper awareness as the result of a life-altering loss, that is, any experience that Wulff (1991) describes as causing one to "reflect on the relevance of established beliefs and values" Conjunctive Faith "waking up", one learns they can feed grief and pain or feed wonder and faith. Loss was not a meaningless accident. Open up to a greater potential and gained a reference point from which they contribute to the universe in new ways - reclaiming and reworking of one’s past -a view beyond separateness and dualism. It is a universalized faith rather than a personal one, functioning more in a transcendent reality than in a material reality. "This is where there is access to a quality of transcendence more concerned with personal revelation than with symbols or doctrines". In terms of grief resilience and recovery, this stage represents an emergence from grief with a positive outcome that includes a heightened awareness and a peaceful acceptance of the natural ebb and flow of sorrow and joy". Universalizing Faith "walk the talk" It is possible to now see the self as part of a universal collective concerned with the energy of the whole rather than as an individual, autonomous island only concerned with personal, ego-centered needs. From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29224518 Towards sexuality Anyone else feel we need to literally re-program our mind, body and spirit away from most of our culture’s devolution of the sacred life-force energy that is so rampant today? I feel it is our need to bloom a love beyond our immature, rebellious, uncertain and sexually confused carnal natures to vision of ourselves which will generate aliveness and hope.To form the capacity for loving intimacy. There is a strong and positive correlation between sexuality and spirituality as well as wellbeing. One can be certain that any improvement in one of the areas may have a positive implication on the other area [1]. Unfortunately in our culture, sexuality gets reduced to a physical hedonistic high, power/control and lust and other negative ways - aiming then to gratify ‘our’ needs, ‘our’ desires - to fill a void - but it is not simply "hunger to be satisfied". We also live so dualistically, failing to see each-other equally, with love To merge spirituality with sexuality means to connect sexuality with love, beauty, wonder, equality and joy. To affirm the wonder of life, the beauty of the human spirit and embrace love and care. Sexuality and spirituality are both deeply personal and connected to our life force energy. Our attitudes about life, love, care and compassion are all connected to our feelings about sexuality. Getting beyond our self absorption and being able to tap into the wonder and awe of creation can help us deepen our experience with sexuality - we need to associate sexuality with love, care, joy and commitment - where we open our minds and hearts If we think of the body, mind and spirit as one, then to have a sense of wholeness associated with our sexuality is to be tuned into all aspects of our being–our spiritual life, senses, feelings and thoughts. Connecting to our sexual energy is also about feeling joy and passion that come from honest conversation, giving to others, being in nature, being active and being of service. "Relationship gives us access to Divinity through the portal of love. God is love, the attraction that brings beings together. Oneness is the realization of our intrinsic continuity with all of existence and the source of existence. The recognition of our oneness is an expansion of the "self-system" into a holy context, to be a Godself in relationship with infinite Godselves, the entire evolving chain of being beheld in your lover as a reflection in a Sacred Mirror." Development is linked to these areas Physical Perceiving one’s body, gender, and growth-producing sexual behaviour as well as that of the opposite sex with a positive attitude. Emotional Feeling comfortable, confident, and competent with one’s body and sexuality, and that of the opposite sexes’ Social Relating with persons of the same and opposite sex in a healthy way; having the capacity for self-disclosure; being able to sustain friendship and intimacy. Moral Valuing the ways of allowing and encouraging the behaviours necessary for ongoing growth. Psychologically, the major challenge is to become more fully the persons they were meant to be by becoming more single-minded, more loving and caring, and more whole. It means achieving better balance between autonomy and intimacy and between self-interest and self-surrender. Into generative behaviours Spiritual Spiritually, the task is to develop spiritual intimacy. Individuals at this stage can respond to the dual desire and longing for intimacy and transcendence by becoming more sensitive to relationships through putting others’ needs and interests first and by becoming more meditative and prayerful. Individuals in this stage are more attracted to Centering prayer and related forms of meditation than in previous stages. When any of these six dimensions are absent or limited, or if they develop in unhealthy ways, our journey toward sexual integration will in some way be hindered or slowed down leading to our sexual energy being expressed in ways that are hurtful to ourselves and others http://www.claretianformation.com/psycho-sexual-development/ Modified from: https://charlottekasl.com/sexuality-spirituality-and-relationships-a-guide-to-bringing-them-together-in-our-lives/ [1] https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/6ee6/fe5add99f90502e571417e7603feacff1529.pdf Towards others I was always stuck in you vs me... We become incapable of seeing the spectrums of life... moral discernment is simplified and greatly inhibited. It becomes easy and necessary to "other" (including parts of ourselves) who gets lumped into the "the other". Healing becomes hard because we destroy through categorisation that which we can no longer hold in empathy. Our view of other people and life itself is also split into polarities... As a result, we view the whole universe through a tainted lens. Splitting and the dualism it entails results in a repression of spirituality because it is a disconnect from deeper reality: my own Self, other people, and the whole universe. We repress the profound: spirituality, unity consciousness, and imagination, into an unconscious spiritual shadow self. In the attempt to protect ourselves from pain through compartmentalisation, we plunge ourselves deeper into it. The disconnect of splitting is more painful than pain itself because it cuts us off. We need to prioritise personal and collective healing if we want to experience the joys of spirituality, the freedom of wholeness and connection. Polarity is indeed part of the natural order, but we lose touch with life when we cut off consciousness of connection. Dualism is the idolisation and immortalisation of polarity through the destruction of relationship. ...systems of othering are so tempting because they appeal to our sense of separation and offer a solution that resonates with our suffering. Dualism protected us as children from the beauties of life and the wonders of spiritual experiencing being swallowed up by suffering. But dualism no longer serves those of us who aspire to move beyond childhood wounding into adult thriving. Modified from: https://lifeafterdogma.org/2019/02/11/psychological-splitting/ Towards Love “If we are stretching to live wiser and not just smarter, we will aspire to learn what love means…" Our society continually casts love as something that happens to us passively and by chance, something we fall into, something that strikes us arrow-like, rather than a skill attained through the same deliberate practice as any other pursuit In spite of the deep-seated craving for love, almost everything else is considered to be more important than love: success, prestige, money, power — almost all our energy is used for the learning of how to achieve these aims, and almost none to learn the art of loving. Most people see the problem of love primarily as that of being loved, rather than that of loving, of one’s capacity to love. Hence the problem to them is how to be loved, how to be lovable. That said, a love predicated on possession inevitably turns into fear — the fear of losing what was gained. "Love is concerned with growth and evolution. It is — though as yet hardly acknowledged in that connection — a root-factor of ordinary human growth; for in so far as it is a hunger of the individual, the satisfaction of that hunger is necessary for individual growth — necessary (in its various forms) for physical, mental and spiritual nourishment, for health, mental energy, large affectional capacity, and so forth. And it is — though this too is not sufficiently acknowledged — a root-factor of the Evolution process. Love is a complex of human relations — physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and so forth — all more or less necessary. And though seldom realized complete, it is felt, and feels itself, to be imperfect without some representation of every side. To limit it to the expression of one particular aspect would be totally inadequate, if not absurd and impossible. The intense chemistry of the psychic elements produces something like an actual flame. A fresh combination is entered into, profound transformations are effected, strange forces liberated, and a new personality perhaps created; and the accomplishment and evidence of the whole process is by no means only joy, but agony also Love does more for the moralizing of poor humanity than a hundred thousand Sunday schools. It cleans the little human soul from the clustered lies in which it has nested itself — from the petty conceits and deceits and cowardices and covert meannesses." [1] [1] https://www.brainpickings.org/2019/03/31/edward-carpenter-love-marriage-in-free-society/
  12. Alchemica

    Sceletium use for anxiety in dogs.

    Interesting but have you tried simple tryptophan? Seems to be a commoner approach with a better established safety profile
  13. Art served as catalysing a spiritual wake up for me. One thing that surprises me is how mental health professionals seem to have little awareness of the dynamics of the spiritual life. "According to various surveys, 51 % of therapists have an anti-religious, anti-spirituality bias". "...few have any depth acquaintance with the spiritual life, simply because this was not an aspect of their training. Most, if not all of their education and training has been in the behavioral and social sciences, which, as indicated above, can have an anti-religion, anti-spirituality bias. Thus, while not outright hostile, they may be uninformed. A remaining minority of therapists may have ventured beyond the above biases and misinformation, to acquaint themselves with the world of the spirit. However, this may be limited to attending a seminar, or meditation classes, Yoga classes etc" In mental health, spirituality has been shown to be a significant and independent predictor of recovery and/or improvement in indices of treatment outcome. Religious/spiritual well-being might be considered an important resource to explore, in particular for affective disorder patients [1] What's often involved [2]? -the early stages of spiritual life describes the pleasant experiences—peace, tranquility, etc. They are not unlike the "falling-in-love" experiences Embracing a thinking type with a feeling function that had been so repressed and unacknowledged can burst out and overwhelm, one becomes a casualty of a life devoid of spiritual fulfillment. -difficult, taxing experience of wrestling with our character defects, sins and faults. The temptation here is to equate this experience with clinical depression. Probably what is happening in this stage is a complete reorganization of the psyche. It is essential that we trust the process - this equates with "Faith" as Faith equals Trust. We learn that grace is active in our souls, regardless our of awareness. With determination and faith, the purgative process comes to an end - illumination usually comes upon us gradually. We experience less anger and anxiety. Good behaviour comes more naturally. - The final stage is the experience of ongoing closeness in relationship In serious mental illness, negative symptom scores were inversely correlated with spiritual/religious well-being scores, and that general psychopathology symptom scores were inversely correlated with existential well-being scores [3] People often undergo intense spiritual awakenings that facilitate abstinence, too. Self-reports of spiritual awakening predicted improved drinking outcomes in one study [4] and recovery was often heavily reliant on spirituality and in one study spirituality was an important predictor of reductions in drug use while in treatment and at the follow-up interview, whereas religiosity was not [5]. Increases in day-to-day experiences of spirituality and sense of purpose/meaning in life were associated with absence of heavy drinking [6] - Spirituality was described as hope - When our God-image is contaminated and toxic, our spiritual growth is hindered. - Spirituality was credited with helping improve participants’ state of mind by giving strength and peace - It’s that relationship that you establish where you get honest with yourself, it’s all with yourself [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22797574 [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24449135 [3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15870619 [4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24335767 [5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2693037/ [6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17286347 The Hells of Illness To me, the Hells of Illness are places we often foolishly stay in through dis-empowerment, extremely contracted states of consciousness They are places of feelings of unworthiness of love, literally souls in exile. They are attachment to lower-states of Pride, Anger, Desire, Fear, Grief, Apathy, Guilt and Shame where domination by force is stronger than the power of Love. It is our job to work through those lower emotions and transcend that, otherwise people become demanding, blaming, antagonistic, disappointing, frightened, hopeless and miserable and cycle through hurting themselves and others. It's a loop of downward spirals of discontent, disconnection and devolution In stepping into our loving power and working through to transcend those lower emotions and embracing our Divine selves we reach a tipping point towards expansion, we gain acceptance, courage, trust, optimism, forgiveness, understanding, reverence, serenity and bliss Darkness of the Soul "...a growing number of scientific studies indicate individuals contending with depression and other potentially serious mental health conditions may struggle with their faith in ways that lead to adverse outcomes" If we approached suicidality with 'What is it in you that needs to die?' we could embrace transformation. We don't have that wisdom in our culture, we just go up to the person and say, 'Please don't die, please don't harm yourself, it's a really good world out there, there's lots to live for, there are people who love you, there are all these social services,' and of course that has no effect. People with negative religious/spiritual coping scores showed more protracted and severe symptomatology in depression. Unstable spiritual needs in people and lack of stable positive interests are prone to negative behaviours and spiritual struggle was a salient indicator of depressive symptom severity in both mood-disordered and psychotic patients. Spirituality promotes a healthy lifestyle, social connectedness, attachment security with God or a Higher Power, identity formation, as well as healthy brain development among high-risk groups and sense of interconnectedness, the experience of love, and altruistic engagement. People often struggle with perceived sense of loss or desecration of other beliefs, relationships, and/or practices that patients imbue with transcendent or penultimate value. For instance there could be unmet vocational goals or difficulty negotiating interpersonal realms Spiritual well-being plays a role in mental health through in part mediating the association of attachment and psychological distress. Spirituality, as marked by the meaning of self, inner independence, and transcendence, is distinct from mood. It cooperates, together with the affective states, to determine quality of life. Spiritual therapy can be used as an effective intervention to improve spiritual well-being, self-esteem and self-efficacy. It is seen as a pathway to positive self-concept/body image through gratitude and reduced self-objectification Struggles Review: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30772739 Greater severity of spiritual struggles was generally associated with worse depression symptomatology and less positive mental health and issues with ultimate meaning emerged as a salient indicator of mental health status at the two assessments as well as longitudinal changes in both depression symptomatology and positive mental health. Struggles with ultimate meaning may present similarly to depressed mood and anhedonia. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive/inappropriate guilt may add to the picture. Spiritual struggles also influence dimensions of emotional suffering. Spiritual interventions (e.g.,meditation/prayer, affirm divine worth or encourage acceptance of divine love) alongside psychological and biological approaches can help. Self-compassion predicted depressive improvement and bolstering this reduced mind-wandering [1]. We can shift to a place where health is transformed from a state that requires the absence of disease to a state where the central theme is the fullness of life. Health becomes not a static state of being, but a dynamic quality of living where body, mind, and spirit are fully employed to make the most of each day [2] [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30906796 [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30462340 Love Love and spirituality are inseparable - when spirituality grows, so does the capability for love. "...When you won’t love, or won’t let it out, it emerges anyway in the form of self-destruction. The alternative to self-love, in other words, is self-destruction. Because you won’t take the risk of loving yourself properly, you will be compelled instead to destroy yourself. The essential point is to consider love as a spectrum... you have to take it and let it grow where you find it." And noticed the whole organism - physical, psychological, and spiritual - is an erogenous zone. We learn the flow of love should not be channeled exclusively towards the physical but used for growth and healing https://progessnotperfection.blogspot.com/2009/08/spectrum-of-love-by-alan-watts.html The Power of Spirit Living an entirely rational existence seeks its opposite in intoxicants and other forms of escape, which lead to depression and self harm. Part of the intellect has to give over to the life of faith, and if it doesn't the ego will remain in a state of neurosis or mental illness. It has to actually give over to the force that is greater than itself "The purely material approach to mental illness, while often having some impact of course and the medication often has wonderful effects, but it rarely gets to the root cause of the problem. And so that's why I think it's now time for the modern approach to mental illness to revisit the ancient models which included the spirit and the soul." https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/spiritofthings/spiritual-sickness/ Awakening https://www.spiritualawakeningprocess.com/2013/12/the-embracing-your-light-phase.html "...some of us, we hit this point where we say, "Enough is enough!" We're tired of fighting ourselves. We tired of trying to re-create the old life which feels like stacking marbles in a corner. It all keeps falling apart. We're tired of being tired and doing things that don't help us. We've had it with the remaining unconscious ego that has been clinging on like concrete pants that threaten to drown us in the ocean of consciousness. This is actually a sacred turning point." At the start, it tends to be about facing the darkness while still clinging to old unconscious ego habits. The shadow and dispelling the darkness phase is an over-arching phase. Later on, people can make a choice to truly stand in their light because they no longer have any attachment or investment in the old unhealthy ways of living that caused so much suffering. Initially, a lot of people are terrible at interpreting how they feel. They've spent so much time ignoring and avoiding their feelings, sensations, and other information that they don't know what is what. That's another reason a spiritual awakening can overwhelm people. They feel lost in all this "new" information that they can't immediately understand. Awakening is the start to understanding oneself and finding freedom from the suffering. That freedom is the ability to be with whatever experiences or feelings may come. In the Embracing the Light Phase: The person steps into their love and light in a significant way The individual lets go more and accepts themselves more deeply as they are. The individual stays more focused on faith and trust. There is better integration because of a whole being level of acceptance. There's a deeper forgetting of issues. In this sense, we no longer understand why we should be afraid of something. The mindset that believed in the fear, anger, etc. is annihilated and we see through our own insanity. Finding Hope and Faith "Love overcomes separation and creates participation...there is also no true help which does not spring from love and create love” Spirituality offers a vast domain of potential connection. This connection is fitting insofar as spirituality is the antithesis of egocentrism and self-absorption "Whatever else it may be, spirit is social. It represents our sense of participation and membership in a humanity and a world much larger than our individual selves” It is impossible to conceive hope without faith. “Faith is the state of being ultimately concerned” and “the centered movement of the whole personality toward something of ultimate meaning and significance” as well as “passionate concern...a matter of infinite passion” Faith, hope, and love are impossible without active participation. Such a relation of reaching out and taking in exemplifies secure attachment as well as the caregiving context in which attachment security develops, and this embracing attachment sustains hope. We risk overlooking what might be more problematic for some people: the existential-spiritual impact of illness, which includes cynicism, bitterness, and alienation as well as loss of faith and hope People can experience profoundly insecure attachment. This plight leaves the person feeling psychologically alone in unbearable emotional states and can be associated with alienation, despair, and hopelessness—at worst, suicidal states. The instillation of hope requires restoration of security in attachment relationships, which serves not only to ameliorate distress but also to restore the self-worth and self-confidence essential for exploration and growth. Spiritual thinking—with or without God—might foster a sense of being at home in the universe, and I use “home” deliberately for its attachment connotations. Patients with psychosis showed a high prevalence of insecure avoidant attachment. Spiritual entities functioned like attachment figures in two thirds of cases [1] The person plays and explores confidently as long as the attachment figure is accessible. Thus security optimally balances relatedness and autonomy This sense of being at home and connected is the antithesis of the most profound sense of hopelessness seen in severe mental illness; that is, feeling disconnected, alone, and alienated in emotional pain https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24354604 [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26446496 A heart for compassion "When individuals are in a state of increased awareness, they are conscious of their thoughts and emotions and move from the reactive mind to the responsive mind. They are able to perceive experiences with more clarity than when their thoughts are clouded by conditioning and/or intolerance. Awareness frees individuals to experience people and circumstances as they are without judgment or the confines of preconceived ideas, The inherent paradox of tolerance is distinctively different from stress in that tolerance involves acceptance. It is an acceptance of people and an acceptance of what “is” in the present moment. Acceptance quiets the tension of the inherent paradox. Spiritual awareness may lead to lower psychosocial stress (belief or thought that demands and expectations being placed on one exceed their ability to cope, decreased neurohormonal activation, low allostatic load (the level of wear and tear on the body that accumulates as an individual is exposed to repeated or chronic stress), and better health outcomes. The process is mediated by decreased intolerance and increased compassion. The goal is to extend the periods of time during which we are in a state of increased awareness, recognizing our connectedness with ourselves and others, collectively present in space and time. Individual and collective awareness fosters tolerance through the mechanism of compassion." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6210378/ The message Our generation suffers the disease of distorted perception of self and lack of regard for others. Egocentric thinking is elevated among millennials. Greater exposure to materialistic culture also seems to exacerbate individual feelings of deprivation. People often use negative coping to meet the developmental need to fit in, while drowning out a pervasive sense of not being ‘good enough’ People "reach a point of spiritual emptiness and corresponding sense of low self-worth that can be addressed by strategies that reframe one's life (and its stresses) to make it more meaningful while also improving one's self identity" [1]. "Spiritual experience, in shifting the motivational structures of the self to sincere other-regard, may activate this complex caregiving circuitry. When this occurs, spiritual awakening aligns with character development by substituting humility for self-aggrandizement, connectedness for isolation, generosity/helping for taking, and a spiritual sense of purpose for a lack of meaning. Spiritual experiences also provide a lens for reinterpreting what might otherwise be debilitating negative experiences from the past in ways that enhance a sense of well-being" "If spiritual experiences, and especially the experience of divine love, move the motivational structure from Buber's classic “I-It” to “I-Thou” (the genuine discovery of the other as a center of value equal to or greater than one's own), then perhaps the benefits of service to others will be greater because of the purity of motive that such experiences foster". "Spirituality has been found to shield against risky behavior and emotional problems, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidality. Studies have also demonstrated that spirituality is significantly associated with indicators of subjective well-being – higher levels of positive emotions and more life satisfaction There is also mounting evidence that spirituality contributes to prosociality – more compassionate feelings and behaviors toward needy others, higher levels of civic engagement, and heightened peer likeability, which, in turn, facilitate social adjustment and functioning. Some studies also point to spirituality as a source of optimism for good outcomes and of unwillingness to fall into despair during difficult times. Although optimism is considered a personality trait that is relatively stable over time, there is empirical evidence that optimism is reinforced by spiritual experiences . Mofidi et al. noted that the relationship between spirituality and optimism is often bidirectional in that spirituality may promote optimism and optimism may support spirituality. Spirituality can add more passion and meaning to people’s intrapersonal and intellectual aspirations; it can moderate how people interact with others; it can redefine the goals people pursue; and it can help people in reappraising life events and transcending hardships and difficulties" [2] Spiritual experiences like divine love may inspire and deepen motivation to serve others. Engagement in spiritual activity may benefit cognitive function [3] [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4964962/ [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30873082 [3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24088403
  14. I've used a bit of Gotu Kola. I think it's better used as a tonic rather than what I was doing, high acute doses for anxiolysis. Here's a bit on it I did https://mentalhealthplants.weebly.com/plant-blogs/gotu-kola-and-brahmi
  15. I ditched the loop of putting something in to heal and instead embraced self-directed creativity as therapy. I never considered myself creative in any good way What would the world be like if we all spent more of our energy transmuting problems to creative, compassionate solutions? I'd like to hear of anyone who's done similar and what it helped you get through? For me, I found if you invest the time and energy, even part of it, you spend on ruminating, analysing, judging, blaming, shaming, denying, complaining, consuming, absorbing, hurting, grieving, projecting etc etc into creating, exploring, playing, loving you end up re-friending your Self/Soul and others from a much better place. It lets you embrace positive potentiality even when you're hurting and learn to not project that negativity into other's worlds. Once you make the choice to direct your energy, actions and time on the planet toward creation, expression, emotion, communication, connection... Throughout history two conditions have exerted themselves: “awakening,” which reflects our highest truth, beauty, and innocence, and “insanity,” which reflects humanity’s taste for the negative, greed, and the subjugation of one people by another. Like this person, "I pulled out the paints and painted a picture.... I laughed at how bad it was and felt an untainted, simple pleasure. I didn’t feel any pressure to be good, or productive." “It’s literally externalising an internal experience in a contained form, so then one can reflect on it with a degree of autonomy, that ‘I have control over this experience, to a degree’" “It doesn’t matter if it’s artistic" “whether the dog looks like a dog, or a camel; the person who drew it knows it’s a dog. The meaning they derive from it — that’s what’s important.” “It bridges your emotions. It does the talking for you.” https://www.independent.ie/au/life/health-wellbeing/mental-health/drawing-strength-how-art-helped-me-beat-depression-37833222.htm Soon enough I had an "unscrambling the egg" portfolio. Unfortunately modern, Western culture has largely emphasized the verbal and analytic Art making was found to assist mental health through enhancing eight different elements of the self [1]: •Emotional exploration and expression. •Participation and learning. •Enhancement of thought processes. •Movement beyond an illness identity. •New perspective and awakening. •Spiritual growth. •Political voice and social expression. •Development of interpersonal relationships. "We live in a time when our capacity for imagining is being thwarted by things that encourage us to tune out of life and become passive consumers rather than active imaginers. We have become paralyzed by our own busyness. We are lulled into passivity, and our creative capacity is dulled through a constant barrage of media images and frenzied life pace. In a culture that demands we hurry up and do, produce, move faster and higher up the ladder, become breathless, worship speed and efficiency, it can be a real challenge to find space. Creativity is about honoring another kind of intelligence that originates from within us rather than from outside sources. By giving attention to the process of art-making we may begin to notice stirrings within ourselves – resistance, insight, joy, sadness — all of which are food for self-insight and spiritual growth. By engaging neglected dimensions of ourselves, we begin to bring a holistic approach to our spirituality and reclaim the inner intelligences What could we discover from the spiritual dimension of our lives if we expanded our access to ways of knowing and used multiple entry points to experience and create meaning?" [2] Studies have noted significant reduction in negative symptoms as well as an improvement in positive quality of life outcomes, such as a non-destructive way of expressing and communicating problematic feelings and life experiences. [1] https://www.instituteforcreativehealth.org.au/sites/default/files/part2theroleofartmakinginrecovery.pdf [2] https://www.spirituality.ucla.edu/docs/newsletters/3/Paintner_Jan07.pdf What is recovery? To me, the essence of recovery is not about "fixing" or going back. It's about acceptance, progression, change and growth. It's not a science but an art. Not a one-way process but a dance It's about taking that lead that weighs you down and transmuting it. Taking lower processes and bringing them to new levels Revitalising and liberating the stagnant Chi Dancing your creative potentiality to the holistic heights of Soul Becoming a wholer, healthier human and letting go of the things that hold you back In the past, I saw the brain, and life, extremely dualistically. You/me, normal/abnormal etc. The brain and life was a puddle of mechanistic, reducible 'stuff' and life was a science experiment. That's the way we're programmed unfortunately These days I see that there is also Beautiful Whole Divinity in there too. You are not your mind or that dualistic thinking but beautiful Whole Divinity no matter how broken you feel. Life is not something to be broken apart but built together If you let that chaos in your mind unfold, out from it is born the Beautiful Sacredness that is Life How art has changed me. How has it changed you and your world? I was in the darkness. Locked in my own colourless world of thought and pain/pathology. Back turned to love, building walls from letting the light get in, no growth, stagnant decay. Loveless - No will to play with the world around me. In return falling deeper and deeper into isolation from my Self and the world around me. Darker and darker was my world Then I found I could play with my world not through manipulating it pharmacologically, but through art. I could explore myself away from thought to uncover emotionality, spirituality, deep connection to Self and kindle inner light. Awaken aspects of me that were dead dormant. Learn to love myself, learn to grow through challenges healthily. The primary thing I've re-embraced through art is that each moment is a moment to create better - be truer to our Divinity What sort of world are you creating today? Divinity or Disorder? Progression or Stagnation? Love/Acceptance or Fear/Judgement? Harmony or Hate? Humanity or Individual Ego? Past or Presence? Unity or Disconnection? Wholeness or Fragmentation? If you're not happy with where you are... re-create. I was in a spot where I couldn't follow conversations, had no expression, could only read things relying on some cognitive reserve, short hits of analysis and scattered attention, couldn't even watch TV... was going nowhere It just left me frustrated. I tried cognitive tasks trying to restore some cognition and change thinking with thinking. I was continuously trying to "recover a pathway that was damaged and failing" to no avail. These have become my mainstay cognitive remediation tasks that I do throughout the day, along with reading and music stimulation. Should get more social stimulation eventually I've discovered that by using aspects I would normally dismiss I can get back some attention, some goal-oriented direction, better affect and more. The quality of my thinking changed drastically and emotionality is there, along with a more coherent sense of self. There's a meditative aspect and a spiritual one. Before and after short-term self art-therapy self-concepts - Disorder to Divinity... In short: From an ill analytical/rational being of ego infiltrated by unconscious 'not knowing my own Self' and seeing the material for gain, to embrace more. To see new layers of Self beyond illness - be in touch with my unconscious, my symbolic, my rational/cognitive/analytical, emotional, aesthetic and spiritual aspects with less need to bottom dwell through the material for sort-term 'sustenance' It allowed me to add the very basics: More structure in the day, something positively creative to do, channeling the energy from destructive to creative, freedom of expression, goal-oriented activity, a connection to the moment, self and other, behavioural activation and regaining a sense of choice and a simple challenge and novelty and fostering a healthy self-concept. For example when I feel totally stuck, I can simply think to myself, "what colour do I want to choose?" "how do I want to do it?". With each choice you make, you regain a sense of agency and freedom from suffering For me, I'm deliberately using things I'm particularly weak at skills in and steering clear of writing as I feel the ties to language are not always the best for all. “Art therapy can also provide a nonthreatening way into mental health treatment for other groups often resistant to traditional forms of therapy. Creating art has been proven to increase psychological and emotional resilience and resistance to stress." "It helps people to free themselves from destructive patterns and to work on satisfying their basic needs as independent and responsibly functioning individuals in a positive connectedness with themselves and their surroundings.The strength of art therapy may be the experiential level and the appeal to the capacity to play, to flexibility, and to be creative. This makes experiences easier to reach, and developing from there into a Healthy Adult mode is possible in a manner that is more felt than thought." “Arts therapies do not rely on artistic knowledge or ability,” they say. “They work by accessing imagination and creativity, qualities which all human beings possess, in order to generate new models of living and contribute to the development of a more integrated sense of self.” https://www.theguardian.com/anglicare-nurturing-your-body-and-mind/2018/may/04/therapy-imitating-art-improving-mental-health-through-creativity So far, I've noticed it has: - served as a way of practicing gratitude and nurturing our positive elements like hope and joy - catharsis of things holding you back - opportunity to truly meet ourselves - opportunity to connect with the moment and flow - to embrace challenge at your own pace - freedom and acceptance for our emotions and fully embrace them, likewise for yourself. "...your art does not have to look a particular way to be appreciated because that actually supports what we’re trying to accomplish with our inner emotions and conflicts. We remove the “should” from the art and indirectly even ourselves so that we allow a space for ourselves to be fully mindful of everything without discrimination. There is a beauty in being able to recognize and embrace each emotion without making them either good or bad. When we practice doing this often, we cultivate acceptance, self-compassion, and a chance to restore inner peace." https://walk-with-blue.com/art-therapy-ideas-meet-your-true-self-through-creative-arts/ "All are connected with a sensibility that art—or, more specifically, creative response — is something we do, in answer to the question “What kind of world do you want to live in?” ...we pull us apart, placing “I” above “we.” We need to get back to creative response as the antidote to the individualism, consumerism and cynicism that now define our culture. Creative response can shift how we think, how we see; it leads us to feel something different about our experience and the world. It advances the odd, the idiosyncratic, the impossible; its elusiveness is both anti-ideological and universal as it rallies us around our common humanity. It compels us to take an active participation in the world by challenging the destructive ideologies that corrupt our society. It can generate inventive actions in every area of society The new, emerging “we” own the future: because our rejection of cynicism and apathy free us from the trap of history’s bad ideologies; because embracing compassion as a cornerstone of democracy allows us to imagine ourselves in the position of another; because transforming the narrow thinking of the past and problems of the present opens up possibilities for the future; and because the moment we see ourselves as citizens of the world, the future is ours." ~ Antonino D'Ambrosio How it Evolves Consciousness "Archaic Structure: There is no perspective, no sense of otherness, and the distinction between object and subject does not exist; there is no differentiation between self and nature, or between self and universe. The apprehension of individual self is at this stage dormant, and all that exists is complete unity, “a time of complete non-differentiation of man and universe” Magical Structure: This structure marks a beginning in the growth of self-consciousness. However, there is still a strong association of self with nature. Identity is in terms of collective, or tribe, and space and time are present in each moment. There is no interior experience, only an outer awareness and man’s consciousness is at once separate and part of his environment. It does not lie within him but is of the world. From this standpoint man assimilates this consciousness as a confrontation, and he learns to be aware of, and a part of the forces of nature. Within this structure man’s desire to have nature, as opposed to being part of it, has germinated, and this need develops man’s conscious will Mythical Structure: With this structure imagination becomes a distinctive component. Feuerstein (1987) said language became the way to enter into a relationship with reality. He stated it was a way to communicate and construct it, and through language or symbolization of reality, the human being becomes, in a sense, creator of his world Man’s entrance into the mental structure is characterized by a tremendous leap in consciousness. Gradually the gods become replaced with man’s apprehension of his own thinking. While the mythical structure could be said to be related with speech and storytelling, the mental structure is defined by vision and space. It was not that depth and space did not exist previously, but the birth of perspective brought something new to the human experience. Through the awareness of location in relation to objects a heightened sense of depth and spatiality became a new component of consciousness, and this new capacity allowed the world to be viewed in terms objectivity. The realization of being an internal creature in an external environment finalized the separation from nature, and man’s ability to think in terms of perspective allowed him to rationalize and reason. Unlike the previous structures, this consciousness mutation has a heightened sense of individuality and a capability of directing and discursive thought. However, the ability of man to rationalize has come with the cost of his disregard of, and need to cut apart, the world. Perspective gives dominion over space, but an ever increasing need for dominion has created a separateness of man from the whole. We currently exist in the mental structure which is dominated by the paradigm of a separation of consciousness and matter; what is commonly referred to as the Newtonian Cartesian model consciousness. Breaking free of this and into a new dimension of reality requires more than just an expansion of consciousness, or an acceptance of new ideas. ... the expansion of consciousness is still just a quantitative and spatial conception, and an illusion. It is related to the material concept of consciousness, or consciousness as the accumulation of ideas. What is needed is the growth of consciousness, which is an intensification of it. The role of perspective in the mental structure is contrasted that of the aperspectival in the Integral. This term refers to a transcendence of perspective. In comparison with the chronological orientation of time of the mental structure, this structure is free of temporal and spatial limitations; it is an egoless and a holistic view of reality" https://digitalcommons.ciis.edu/cejournal/vol12/iss12/2/ Recovering the Divine from within the disorder There is often a strong spiritual component and a search for existential or transcendent meaning Weaving a disorder into a life-affirming personal mythology is important - people embrace living in the present, accept life’s challenges with dignity and maturity, and grow - renewed hope and determination for a brighter future - relationship with the sacredness of life, nature and the universe - strengthened understanding of themselves and others, their true personality or Self 'emerging from the ruins' - personal limitations become ground from which spring unique possibilities - develop a source of hope, inspiration, love, joy, courage, comfort and guiding values or a moral code by which to live a complete and meaningful life - teaches people not to take their mental health, happiness or life for granted - begin to foster the characteristics of inner strength, peace, a sense of meaning and purpose, self- reflection and interconnectedness - a positive outcome from their suffering http://www.psychosocial.com/IJPR_13/Healing_of_the_soul_Gardner.html One of the core characteristics that makes people vulnerable to issues is a sense of internal emptiness—a pervasive feeling of being hollow, empty, of something missing. "Each time we wake up from a modus operandi state of unconscious reflexive autopilot thinking and reacting and become mindfully aware of our internal and external experience, there is an awakening of spirit." From one example [1] ...it wasn’t that all his thoughts had disappeared, rather, a particular kind of self-referential thinking had cut out what he calls “the blah blah network.” (“default mode network” (DMN), that is, the endlessly ruminative story of me: the obsessive list-maker, the anxious scenario planner, the distracted daydreamer. I just don’t have this ongoing emotionally-charged, self-referential narrative gobbling up bandwidth.” What disappeared along with the “me” narrative: any sense of being a separate self, and with it, all mental and emotional suffering. “...the entire world just opened up. I mean it literally opened up. I dropped into this magnificent expansiveness – a vast empty space without any thoughts whatsoever.” - we see glimpses of the much bigger picture around us and find humility in the moment. We can become aware that humility is not thinking less of oneself, but rather thinking of oneself less, and that we are worthy of self-compassion. Compassion for others means appreciating their pain and experiencing a heart-based response to it. Compassion evokes an interest in offering support, understanding, and kindness to others when they struggle, make mistakes, or fail. Awakening may occur in situations of stress, depression and loss. For example, a woman described how she was devastated by the end of a seven-year relationship, "facing a suffering that I didn’t imagine could possibly exist.'" However, in the midst of this suffering, she "began to experience a clearness and connection with everything that existed…I was in a state of such pure happiness and acceptance, that I was no longer afraid of anything. Out of that depth arose such a compassion and connection to everything that surrounded me." [2] One person had a powerful awakening experience while suffering from intense depression during which she "felt the most intense love and peace and knew that all was well." The world is a much more benign and meaningful place than we normally perceive it to be. And once we have glimpsed this, it becomes a permanent reality to us. A clear attitude change Personality change Improved outlook on life Increased ability to share and feel emotions Overall improved well being https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/some-assembly-required/201404/what-constitutes-spiritual-awakening [1] https://upliftconnect.com/a-scientists-spiritual-awakening/ [2] https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/out-the-darkness/201802/the-after-effects-awakening