Category Archives: Psychology

Sleep Cycles: Understanding Your Brain Can Help You Sleep Better

Exploring your Mind
August 27th, 2020

REM cycles, non-REM cycles, delta waves, theta waves, K-complexes… The sleep cycles are as fascinating as they are important to human life. As Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Sleeping is no mean art: for its sake, one must stay awake all day”. In addition, when you finally manage to fall asleep, your mind gives you what already belongs to you: your dreams.

However, as you probably well know, in the last few decades, we’ve become an almost sleepless society. Nearly 40% of the population has sleep disorders and 90% have trouble getting restorative sleep at least once a year. Our lifestyle, stress, and certain habits, such as the intense use of technology, affect our sleep hygiene.

As a result, it’s very interesting to understand what happens in the brain while we sleep. After all, during those hours, the brain’s only purpose is to facilitate deep sleep. In the end, nighttime is when the body carries out the tasks that are essential for your well-being. To maintain good physical and psychological health, you need to get good sleep to solidify memories, eliminate toxins, and eliminate irrelevant data and information.

Let’s delve a little deeper into the world of sleep cycles.

A woman sleeping at night.

The five stages: sleep cycles for a good night’s sleep

Each sleep cycle lasts approximately 90 minutes. Consequently, you go through about five or six cycles every night. As you might know, waking up in the middle of one of those cycles without reaching REM sleep means you’ll wake up tired, confused, and lethargic.

Ideally, you should stay asleep for the entirety of the five phases. At a minimum, your body needs to stay asleep long enough for the cycle to repeat four times. Sleeping less than five hours doesn’t give the brain enough time to do all of the necessary processes and “restart” itself.

Let’s take a detailed look at each sleep cycle.

Stage 1: light sleep

This first stage is when you’re already feeling relaxed and comfortable in bed. It lasts about fifteen or twenty minutes. Stage 1 is the tenuous threshold between wakefulness and sleep. If you do an electroencephalogram (EEG) on someone in the light sleep stage, their brain will display theta waves (3, 5-7, 5 Hz).

Stage 2: light sleep, heart rate begins to slow

Here, your breathing starts to slow down, your heart rate drops, and your brain waves slow down. The only difference between stage 2 and stage 1 is that, in stage 2, the K-waves or sleep spindles (sudden increases in brain wave frequencies) increase. These frequencies tend to go between 12 and 14 Hz, which is very slow. The purpose of these sleep spindles is to keep you from waking up.

Likewise, it’s very common during this stage to experience something that you’re probably very familiar with. We’re talking about dreaming that you’re falling. Scientists believe that you get this feeling as a result of your low heart rates.

The brain needs to make sure that everything is okay and that everything is under control. Therefore, it sends a sudden stimulus that your mind interprets in the same way it would if you were falling.

Stage 3: transition

You might say that this is the halfway point of your sleep cycle. This is a short stage; it only lasts five minutes. During that time, the theta waves, slow waves, get shorter and become delta waves, which are more intense. People who sleepwalk often do it during this point in the sleep cycle.

An image representing brain waves.

Stage 4: deep Sleep

You’ve come to the deepest stage of sleep, which lasts about 20 to 30 minutes. When your brain is in this stage, it’s very difficult to wake up. The delta waves have taken over completely at this point, and your sleep is truly restorative, in every sense of the word.

If you wake up during this stage, you’ll feel groggy, disoriented, and foggy. People with insomnia experience this very often. In general, they don’t reach the fourth stage.

The REM cycle: the dream and nightmare stage

This is the most important and most interesting sleep cycle. Most people are aware that dreams and nightmares happen during the REM cycle. In addition, during this stage, the theta waves take over again. Consequently, on an EEG, you’ll see the same brain activity that’s present when you’re awake. That’s due to the fact that the brain is extremely active during this sleep stage.

The REM cycle is also known as paradoxical sleep. It makes up about 25% of your sleep cycle. The prior stages, called non-REM cycles, or slow sleep cycles, make up the rest. Thus, the entire structure of nighttime rest (in normal conditions) is carried out in a process that lasts about 90 minutes.

We emphasize “normal conditions” because if you take medication to treat a sleep disorder, it can slightly alter this cycle. Chemical substances can change the flow of stages and brain waves.

Ideally, you should be able to get good sleep without the use of pharmaceuticals. Instead, try some natural strategies first, such as managing stress, being mindful of your schedule, and watching what you eat. Limiting your exposure to the blue light from screens is also important. Even simple things such as the temperature in your room can affect your sleep.

Sleeping well means living well. Understanding the sleep cycles and setting yourself up for a night of deep, restorative sleep will help you feel better every day.

Live Not By Lies — Alexander Solzhenitsyn

From Russia, with Love
February 2nd, 2010

Solzhenitsyn penned this essay in 1974 and it circulated among Moscow’s intellectuals at the time. It is dated Feb. 12, the same day that secret police broke into his apartment and arrested him. The next day he was exiled to West Germany. The essay is a call to moral courage and serves as light to all who value truth.

At one time we dared not even to whisper. Now, we write and read samizdat, and sometimes when we gather in the smoking room at the Science Institute we complain frankly to one another: What kind of tricks are they playing on us, and where are they dragging us? Gratuitous boasting of cosmic achievements while there is poverty and destruction at home. Propping up remote, uncivilized regimes. Fanning up civil war. And we recklessly fostered Mao Tse-tung at our expense—and it will be we who are sent to war against him, and will have to go. Is there any way out? And they put on trial anybody they want and they put sane people in asylums—always they, and we are powerless.

Things have almost reached rock bottom. A universal spiritual death has already touched us all, and physical death will soon flare up and consume us both and our children—but as before we still smile in a cowardly way and mumble with our tounges tied. But what can we do to stop it? We haven’t the strength?

We have been so hopelessly dehumanized that for today’s modest ration of food we are willing to abandon all our principles, our souls, and all the efforts of our predecessors and all opportunities for our descendants—but just don’t disturb our fragile existence. We lack staunchness, pride and enthusiasm. We don’t even fear universal nuclear death, and we don’t fear a third world war. We have already taken refuge in the crevices. We just fear acts of civil courage.

We fear only to lag behind the herd and to take a step alone-and suddenly find ourselves without white bread, without heating gas and without a Moscow registration.

We have been indoctrinated in political courses, and in just the same way was fostered the idea to live comfortably, and all will be well for the rest of our lives. You can’t escape your environment and social conditions. Everyday life defines consciousness. What does it have to do with us? We can’t do anything about it?

But we can—everything. But we lie to ourselves for assurance. And it is not they who are to blame for everything—we ourselves, only we. One can object: But actually toy can think anything you like. Gags have been stuffed into our mouths. Nobody wants to listen to us and nobody asks us. How can we force them to listen? It is impossible to change their minds.

It would be natural to vote them out of office—but there are not elections in our country. In the West people know about strikes and protest demonstrations—but we are too oppressed, and it is a horrible prospect for us: How can one suddenly renounce a job and take to the streets? Yet the other fatal paths probed during the past century by our bitter Russian history are, nevertheless, not for us, and truly we don’t need them.

Now that the axes have done their work, when everything which was sown has sprouted anew, we can see that the young and presumptuous people who thought they would make out country just and happy through terror, bloody rebellion and civil war were themselves misled. No thanks, fathers of education! Now we know that infamous methods breed infamous results. Let our hands be clean!

The circle—is it closed? And is there really no way out? And is there only one thing left for us to do, to wait without taking action? Maybe something will happen by itself? It will never happen as long as we daily acknowledge, extol, and strengthen—and do not sever ourselves from the most perceptible of its aspects: Lies.

When violence intrudes into peaceful life, its face glows with self-confidence, as if it were carrying a banner and shouting: “I am violence. Run away, make way for me—I will crush you.” But violence quickly grows old. And it has lost confidence in itself, and in order to maintain a respectable face it summons falsehood as its ally—since violence lays its ponderous paw not every day and not on every shoulder. It demands from us only obedience to lies and daily participation in lies—all loyalty lies in that.

And the simplest and most accessible key to our self-neglected liberation lies right here: Personal non-participation in lies. Though lies conceal everything, though lies embrace everything, but not with any help from me.

This opens a breach in the imaginary encirclement caused by our inaction. It is the easiest thing to do for us, but the most devastating for the lies. Because when people renounce lies it simply cuts short their existence. Like an infection, they can exist only in a living organism.

We do not exhort ourselves. We have not sufficiently matured to march into the squares and shout the truth our loud or to express aloud what we think. It’s not necessary.

It’s dangerous. But let us refuse to say that which we do not think.

This is our path, the easiest and most accessible one, which takes into account out inherent cowardice, already well rooted. And it is much easier—it’s dangerous even to say this—than the sort of civil disobedience which Gandhi advocated.

Our path is to talk away fro the gangrenous boundary. If we did not paste together the dead bones and scales of ideology, if we did not sew together the rotting rags, we would be astonished how quickly the lies would be rendered helpless and subside.

That which should be naked would then really appear naked before the whole world.

So in our timidity, let each of us make a choice: Whether consciously, to remain a servant of falsehood—of course, it is not out of inclination, but to feed one’s family, that one raises his children in the spirit of lies—or to shrug off the lies and become an honest man worthy of respect both by one’s children and contemporaries.

And from that day onward he:

  • Will not henceforth write, sign, or print in any way a single phrase which in his opinion distorts the truth.
  • Will utter such a phrase neither in private conversation not in the presence of many people, neither on his own behalf not at the prompting of someone else, either in the role of agitator, teacher, educator, not in a theatrical role.
  • Will not depict, foster or broadcast a single idea which he can only see is false or a distortion of the truth whether it be in painting, sculpture, photography, technical science, or music.
  • Will not cite out of context, either orally or written, a single quotation so as to please someone, to feather his own nest, to achieve success in his work, if he does not share completely the idea which is quoted, or if it does not accurately reflect the matter at issue.
  • Will not allow himself to be compelled to attend demonstrations or meetings if they are contrary to his desire or will, will neither take into hand not raise into the air a poster or slogan which he does not completely accept.
  • Will not raise his hand to vote for a proposal with which he does not sincerely sympathize, will vote neither openly nor secretly for a person whom he considers unworthy or of doubtful abilities.
  • Will not allow himself to be dragged to a meeting where there can be expected a forced or distorted discussion of a question. Will immediately talk out of a meeting, session, lecture, performance or film showing if he hears a speaker tell lies, or purvey ideological nonsense or shameless propaganda.
  • Will not subscribe to or buy a newspaper or magazine in which information is distorted and primary facts are concealed. Of course we have not listed all of the possible and necessary deviations from falsehood. But a person who purifies himself will easily distinguish other instances with his purified outlook.

No, it will not be the same for everybody at first. Some, at first, will lose their jobs. For young people who want to live with truth, this will, in the beginning, complicate their young lives very much, because the required recitations are stuffed with lies, and it is necessary to make a choice.

But there are no loopholes for anybody who wants to be honest. On any given day any one of us will be confronted with at least one of the above-mentioned choices even in the most secure of the technical sciences. Either truth or falsehood: Toward spiritual independence or toward spiritual servitude.

And he who is not sufficiently courageous even to defend his soul—don’t let him be proud of his “progressive” views, don’t let him boast that he is an academician or a people’s artist, a merited figure, or a general—let him say to himself: I am in the herd, and a coward. It’s all the same to me as long as I’m fed and warm.

Even this path, which is the most modest of all paths of resistance, will not be easy for us. But it is much easier than self-immolation or a hunger strike: The flames will not envelope your body, your eyeballs, will not burst from the heat, and brown bread and clean water will always be available to your family.

A great people of Europe, the Czechoslovaks, whom we betrayed and deceived: Haven’t they shown us how a vulnerable breast can stand up even against tanks if there is a worthy heart within it?

You say it will not be easy? But it will be easiest of all possible resources. It will not be an easy choice for a body, but it is the only one for a soul. Not, it is not an easy path. But there are already people, even dozens of them, who over the years have maintained all these points and live by the truth.

So you will not be the first to take this path, but will join those who have already taken it. This path will be easier and shorter for all of us if we take it by mutual efforts and in close rank. If there are thousands of us, they will not be able to do anything with us. If there are tens of thousands of us, then we would not even recognize our country.

If we are too frightened, then we should stop complaining that someone is suffocating us. We ourselves are doing it. Let us then bow down even more, let us wail, and out brothers the biologists will help to bring nearer the day when they are able to read our thoughts are worthless and hopeless.

And if we get cold feet, even taking this step, then we are worthless and hopeless, and the scorn of Pushkin should be directed to us:

Why should cattle have the gifts of freedom?
Their heritage from generation to generation is the belled yoke and the lash.

2 Surprisingly Powerful Ways To Calm Your Mind

Nick Polizzi,
July 22nd, 2020

We are living through tumultuous times. Between the global pandemic and the worldwide outcry for social change, it is easy to become overwhelmed. I know I do.

Alarming footage is everywhere, there’s a hodgepodge of different ideas, and it seems like everyone is on edge.

That’s why it is incredibly important to cultivate a few practices that will calm and center you – within minutes.

If you’re in a constant state of fight-or-flight, your body’s vital processes slowly shut down, and your immune and digestive systems are the first to suffer. BUT – if you can catch yourself in those challenging moments before they turn into anxiety, your body can bounce back quickly!

Here are two of the biggest allies I have in my arsenal to nourish and calm my mind.

1) The magic of magnesium 

There are a lot of supplements out there and trying to find what’s right for you can sometimes be dizzying. But studies have shown that up to 75% of adults in the US are not meeting the 320 mg (women) or 420 mg (men) of magnesium needed daily.

Why is this a problem?

Magnesium is a vital nutrient that your body needs to make and use energy in your cells. It also stops your body from absorbing toxins that you come into contact with in your everyday life!

But the big reason you absolutely need magnesium is because it pulls the plug on your brain’s reflexive responses to stress, so you produce fewer stress hormones!

Otherwise, when you’re constantly stressed, your hippocampus creates an excess of cortisol, which eventually can lead to big problems like the inability to retain memories.

Here’s an awesome recipe for plant-based magnesium-rich granola bars!

Magnesium Power Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups oatmeal
  • ¼ cup almonds – 1 oz, 80 mg of magnesium
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds – 1 oz, 168 mg of magnesium
  • ¼ cup cashews – 1 oz, 74 mg of magnesium
  • ? cup honey/molasses/maple syrup
  • ? cup peanut butter + 2 tablespoons, 49 mg of magnesium
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional, but yummy)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt salt
  • ½ cup berries or chocolate chips (or both)

Instructions

  1. Pour oats and nuts onto a cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes. Shake the pan and flip larger pieces over. Then bake for another 3 minutes.
  2. Combine liquid ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add in nuts and oats.
  4. Stir until completely combined.
  5. Transfer mixture to a large wax paper-lined cookie sheet and press flat.
  6. Freeze for at least 3 hours.
  7. Slice and enjoy

2) Deep Belly Breathing

First of all, what is “deep belly breathing”? Diaphragmatic breathing is when you breathe in with enough depth that your stomach (specifically the area of the diaphragm) expands followed by your lungs.

According to a study at Harvard, belly breathing helps oxygen travel all over the body. This calms down racing hearts and stimulates the vagus nerve which lowers the body’s need to produce stress hormones.

If you can get yourself into the habit of practicing deep belly breathing 1-4 times a day, you can ease tension in your body, decrease your anxiety levels, find deeper sleep, and boost your energy.

Here’s how to do it

  1. Find a safe place — somewhere quiet where you can lay flat on your back or sit with your back flat against a wall. When your back is straight, it’s easier to notice the depth of your breath.
  2. Take 3 normal breaths.
  3. Place your hands on your stomach, just above your belly button.
  4. Breathe in slowly through your nose and try to expand your stomach so much that your hands rise with it.
  5. Hold for just a second and notice how far your hands have risen on your belly.
  6. Now breathe out slowly through your mouth.
  7. Repeat 5 times. Each time, try to relax even deeper into the breath.

These are two incredibly simple, and surprisingly powerful, additions to your daily routine. Be sure to be kind to your mind every day, but especially during these stressful times.

About The Author

Nick Polizzi

Nick Polizzi has spent his career directing and editing feature length documentaries about natural alternatives to conventional medicine. Nick’s current role as director of “The Sacred Science” documentary and author of “The Sacred Science: An Ancient Healing Path For The Modern World” stems from a calling to honor, preserve, and protect the ancient knowledge and rituals of the indigenous peoples of the world.

Courage is about Making Things Happen

Exploring your Mind
September 4th, 2020

Courage makes people act like they have no fear, and it’s about making things happen even in the worst circumstances. Thus, courageous people are those who promote changes in order to achieve well-being or freedom. 

What makes a person courageous? Courage is about fearlessness, determination, and making things happen.

Psychology has been analyzing this dimension for years. The consensus, as curious as it might sound, is that courage is as simple as making things happen. It’s about generating positive change even during difficult circumstances. That is, in situations in which others would give up.

Martin Seligman, a promoter of positive psychology, spoke about courage. He said it’s the dimension that acts as one of the most healing components during therapy. In addition, it has genetic, educational, and environmental roots.

Parents often instill a proactive attitude towards life to remind their offspring that they have to put fear aside in order to reach their goals. Unfortunately, people who lack such reinforcement during their childhood and grow up insecure or have suffered a traumatic experience often lack this courage.

For this reason, Seligman conceives it as an essential element during the therapeutic process. It must arise after the patient works with a professional and some effort on their part. Thus, when the person changes, it’ll be clear they’ve learned to treasure their own determination. In other words, they’ll have the motivation to transform their life.

This is when they decide to shape and achieve a new stage in which to feel more in control and safe. This is the best courage of all, the most enriching for a person’s well-being.

A backpacker on top of a mountain.

Courage is about making things happen

Some scientific literature says that courage arises as a result of a primary struggle against emotions such as fear. From a neurobiological standpoint, it involves regulating the influence of the amygdala. This is the brain region related to the most intense emotions. The same one that paralyzes and hijacks your thoughts when it takes over.

Similarly, it also implies enhancing areas such as the prefrontal cortex. In other words, those linked to decision-making, reflection, planning, and attention to environmental stimuli without the influence of fear or anguish. In fact, much of the research available on this type of behavior comes from the military sphere (Neria, Solomon, Ginzburg, and Dekel (2000)) and from stories in which certain soldiers performed heroic acts when they were in great danger.

“I just remained calm and did what I had to do,” say many of these young people trained to react quickly in risky situations. But what about civilians? Can anyone be a hero without military training?

Doctors Uhri Kugel and Catherine Haussman conducted a study at the University of Oxford. The date it reveals is interesting. Let’s analyze this!

Although courage is often romanticized, it’s actually a cognitive skill

Courage is about making things happen because you promote change. Furthermore, courage is about focusing on a goal in the midst of adverse circumstances. No, you don’t have to be the classic hero who battles dragons. Courage is a cognitive skill anyone can learn and apply, according to current science.

It basically consists of igniting your will to act in spite of your fear, in being able to look at uncertainty and doubt to then move forward and take action. You can attain something like this by working on the following:

  • Proper anxiety management, as you’ll reset your mentality in order to take action when you’re able to recognize the thought patterns that imprison you.
  • Be emotionally aware. This consists of knowing how to connect with your emotions in order to transform them and use them to your benefit.
  • Remember what your values, vital purposes, and personal goals are.
  • Courage is about making things happen. This is because you develop a very specific capacity to visualize the desired goals you’ll reach if you dare to.
A woman happy to be alive.

Courage is about making things happen in order to have a more satisfying reality

Franco, Blau, and Zimbardo (2011) defined courage as the ability to act prosocially despite personal risk. Now, there’s current criticism regarding this definition. This is because courage isn’t always geared toward saving others. Instead, courage is mainly necessary to save oneself.

Martin Seligman already pointed out that for therapy to be effective, you must awaken your courage. In other words, you must ignite your determination in order to overcome your fears, limitations, and insecurities. This way, you’ll be more empowered and be able to achieve anything you want. Thus, you’ll be able to promote changes that resonate with you and bring you satisfaction.

Some say that people live in faith and hope. However, taking action is the only thing that can truly transform your reality. This is because courage is a mixture of emotions, thoughts, and feelings oriented towards advancement in order to promote something positive, either for yourself or for others. Just keep this in mind.

Grounding Techniques to Reduce Anxiety

Staff Writer, Exploring your Mind
31 august, 2020

Grounding techniques are very simple relaxation exercises. They’re especially good if you’re dealing with a lot of stress or anxiety. As the name suggests, the exercise involves connecting with the Earth in a literal and figurative way.

This method helps reduce tension, but it can also be appropriate during times when you’re experiencing confusion, fear, or sadness and there’s no obvious event, such as danger or loss, to explain the emotions.

A study conducted by researchers at the University of California supports the benefits of grounding. From a physical perspective, earthing reduces inflammation, boosts the immune system, and improves a sense of vitality and wellness. Sounds pretty great, right? Without further ado, let’s see what it’s all about.

“There’s a center of quietness within, which has to be known and held. If you lose that center, you are in tension and begin to fall apart. The Center doesn’t have a location, yet, there are physical regions associated it.”

-Joseph Campbell-

A woman practicing one of many grounding techniques.

The classic grounding exercise

It’s important to mention that there are different versions of grounding, but the “original” involves a direct encounter with nature. If you feel more at peace when you’re walking along the beach or through the forest, you’re spontaneously earthing. Earthing, or grounding, isn’t a mysterious ritual with complicated rules. It’s all about immersing yourself in natural surroundings.

To do this simple exercise, start by taking off your socks and shoes. Then, walk somewhere that has grass, sand, or rocks. It’s obviously important to make sure you’re not walking somewhere where you could hurt your feet.

All you have to do is walk without stopping for ten minutes. Focus on the sensations you’re experiencing in the soles of your feet. Try to breathe slowly. Ideally, do this exercise outdoors, as that provides the most benefits.

What are the benefits of this simple practice? According to studies on the subject, the direct contact of your skin on the earth is relaxing. In addition, walking along an uneven surface is a kind of natural massage. Proponents believe that this exercise helps you return to your center.

Alternative grounding techniques

As we mentioned above, there’s more than one version of this exercise. Another popular one is sort of the “mindfulness version”. It also involves being barefoot, but here you start by sitting in a chair somewhere where you can have your feet firmly planted on the ground. Start to breathe normally. Little by little, deepen your inhalation and exhalation.

After a few minutes in this position, when you feel your breathing is deep and even, focus all your attention on the soles of your feet. Try to notice all of the sensations: the texture of the floor, the temperature of your feet, etc.

Three minutes of being mindful of your feet and your breathing is enough. Bringing all of that focus and concentration to your feet plants you firmly in the here and now. It’s as if you inserted a parenthesis in your anxiety and gave yourself the opportunity to take a break for a moment. This practice may be short, but you’ll feel much better afterward.

A person with their feet on a wooden floor.

A third variation

There’s another version of grounding that also involves mindfulness. Many people call it the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique. It’s a simple exercise that’s perfect for when you feel overwhelmed or out of control.

Start by taking a few deep breaths. Then, name five things you can see around you. It could be anything, there are no wrong answers. Next, close your eyes and acknowledge four things you can touch around you. Then, acknowledge three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Take your time with each one. That’s it!

This mini-therapy session is perfect to bring you back down to Earth and the present moment. Anxiety happens when your mind projects into a future that it perceives to be threatening. This practice, and others like it, bring you back to the moment and dispel uneasiness and a racing mind.

As you can see, all three grounding techniques are very simple. Consequently, you can do them anywhere, whenever you need to relax. None of them take very long, but they can make a world of difference in your mood. Try one today!

Three Meditation Exercises to Practice at Home

Exploring Your Mind
August 24th, 2020

These meditation exercises derive from an ancient technique used for training your mind to reduce stress, anxiety, and, also, to connect deeper with yourself. In fact, just 30 minutes a day can considerably change these states of mind. Furthermore, not only does it lessen any discomfort you might have but it also helps you feel much better.

Although you may not know it, there are many advantages to meditating at home. However, you must find a place away from distractions to do so. It’ll help you feel much better and more protected. The best part is you can do it at any time of the day.

It can be a bit difficult to attain an optimal state of concentration and relaxation if you’ve never meditated before. However, just follow a few simple steps and practice it frequently, and you’ll see how soon you get it.

A woman meditating.

Firstly, create an appropriate atmosphere where to practice meditation exercises

Before preparing your meditation environment, you must decide whether you’ll do these exercises on your own accord or if you’ll follow the guidelines of an app or a video.

Apps are very useful. In fact, you can program the time you want to dedicate and the level from which you’d like to start. Also, they make this practice easier for beginners.

Once you’ve decided how to do it, you’ll have to take into account the following to make the most out of it:

  • Find a quiet place. It’s essential to find a corner that’s as silent as possible, where the possibility of interruption is either null or minimal. You won’t get good results in a spot where there are frequent interruptions.
  • Comfortable posture. The lotus position is the classic choice for meditation, but you can start with other postures. You can even meditate while lying down. The most important thing here is to be in a relaxed position in which your body isn’t a distraction.
  • Avoid distractions. As we indicated above, it’s essential to avoid all sources of distractions: turn off your phone, the television, close the door of the room, close the windows, etc. You must be relaxed enough to be able to focus on your bodily sensations.
  • Finally, find the right moment. Yes, meditation is good for reaching a state of relaxation. However, if you do it in a hurry or under pressure, you won’t be able to do it correctly and the practice will be pointless. As you can see, you must choose a time in which you feel well enough and you can put your mind into it.

Basic meditation exercises to practice at home

Although there are many techniques for meditation exercises, some of them are easier for beginners to meditate at home.

1. Breathing exercises

This is the most basic exercise for relaxation and meditation. All you have to do is concentrate on your breathing. Controlling this physiological mechanism is essential for you to be able to relax. Note that it requires practice and concentration in spite of how easy it seems to be.

Forgetting about external stimuli, begin to take deep and slow breaths. Pay attention to them and notice how your body relaxes. Try to ignore any thoughts you might have at the moment and give your body your full attention.

In addition to being very useful in itself, you’ll also use it during the other two. Thus, it’ll be your basis for meditation.

2. Objective observation

In the previous exercise, you were encouraged to avoid thoughts. Contrary to it, the goal of this exercise consists of relaxing your body and allowing your thoughts to flow.

Thus, it’ll be necessary to focus on “watching” your thoughts without trying to change them or intervene in any way. Simply pay attention to them and let them be.

Ultimately, this exercise is about being a witness to your thoughts without getting carried away by them. It’s about thinking about them without judgment and watching them go by without concentrating on any of them in particular.

3. Body scan

Another simple exercise to meditate at home is the body scan technique. For this exercise, you must be in a comfortable position while controlling your breathing. Also, you must focus on the various areas of your body and the sensations you’re experiencing at that particular moment.

To do this, you first have to try to clear your mind and leave it blank while you focus on your various muscle groups.

For example, start by connecting with your feet; feel them, without judging them, and notice the sensations you have in them. Then, move on to your legs and notice the weight, the heat, the shape, and so on until you go through your entire body.

A woman practicing meditation.

Progress after practicing meditation exercises

As with every form of exercise, you must be constant and patient. You probably won’t notice much difference and will be a little disappointed at the beginning. This is normal.

However, it’s hard to get short-term benefits with this practice. To do it, you must give yourself time and continue to try it even though it doesn’t go as you thought it would.

Some people think you have to do something for about 21 days in order for it to become a habit. However, you must go beyond and try to build a new lifestyle. In other words, integrate this new activity into your routine and try to find the right time and environment for it. Especially when it comes to working on your emotions. Progression is slow when it comes to meditation but the benefits are well worth it.

Testing the Most Effective Method to Manipulate Minds

Dr. Mercola,
August 13th, 2020

By the looks of it, we are about to face one of the most aggressive vaccine campaigns ever created. According to Reuters,1 the U.S. government is planning to launch an “overwhelming” COVID-19 vaccine campaign come November, provided the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gives one or more vaccine candidates the green light.

Considering former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb2 is now on Pfizer’s board of directors,3 and Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is one of the lead candidates, jaded minds might assume the FDA isn’t going to put up any significant roadblocks.

According to Reuters, the COVID-19 vaccine campaign “will likely be compressed into a short period of time, around four to six weeks, to eliminate any lag between when Americans are alerted to the vaccine and then they can get vaccinated.” An unnamed “senior White House administration official” is quoted saying:4

“The fine line we are walking is getting the American people very excited about vaccines and missing expectations versus having a bunch of vaccines in the warehouse and not as many people want to get it. You may not hear a lot about promoting vaccines over the airwaves in August and September but you’ll be overwhelmed by it come November.”

It’s still unclear exactly when a vaccine will be available, but it could be as early as October, or as late as January 2021. According to the administration official, the advertising campaign for the vaccine will be tailored to specific subsets of the population, depending on the people the vaccine is likely to benefit the most. Such details are expected to be teased out during ongoing clinical trials.

Study Underway to Identify Most Effective Messaging

The idea that the vaccine promotion might be more “overwhelming” than what we’re used to is further supported by a clinical study5 on ClinicalTrials.gov, the aim of which is to identify the most “persuasive messages for COVID-19 vaccine uptake.”

The study, conducted by Yale University, will test “different messages about vaccinating against COVID-19 once the vaccine becomes available.”

A total of 4,000 participants will be randomized to receive one of 12 different messages (10 messaging variations, one control message and one baseline message), after which they will “compare the reported willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine at three and six months of it becoming available.” The messaging slants under investigation include:6

Personal freedom message — A message about how COVID-19 is limiting people’s personal freedom, and how society, by working together to get enough people vaccinated, can preserve its personal freedom.
Economic freedom message — A message about how COVID-19 is limiting people’s economic freedom, and how society, by working together to get enough people vaccinated, can preserve its economic freedom.
Self-interest message — A message that COVID-19 presents a real danger to one’s health, even if one is young and healthy, and how getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to prevent oneself from getting sick.
Community interest message — A message about the dangers of COVID-19 to the health of loved ones: The more people who get vaccinated against COVID-19, the lower the risk that one’s loved ones will get sick. Society must work together and all get vaccinated.
Economic benefit message — A message about how COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on the economy and the only way to strengthen the economy is to work together to get enough people vaccinated.
Guilt message — A message is about the danger that COVID-19 presents to the health of one’s family and community. Therefore, the best way to protect them is not only by getting vaccinated, but to get society to work together to get enough people vaccinated. Then a test question asks the participant to imagine the guilt they will feel if they don’t get vaccinated and then spread the disease.
Embarrassment message — A message is about the danger that COVID-19 presents to the health of one’s family and community: The best way to protect them is by getting vaccinated and by working together to make sure that enough people get vaccinated. Then it asks the participant to imagine the embarrassment they will feel if they don’t get vaccinated and spread the disease.
Anger message — The message is about the danger that COVID-19 presents to the health of one’s family and community. The best way to protect them is by getting vaccinated and by working together to make sure that enough people get vaccinated. It then asks the participant to imagine the anger they will feel if they don’t get vaccinated and spread the disease.
Trust in science message — A message about how getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the most effective way of protecting one’s community, that vaccination is backed by science: If one doesn’t get vaccinated that means that one doesn’t understand how infections are spread or you are one who ignores science.
Not brave message — A message which describes how firefighters, doctors and front line medical workers are brave: Those who choose not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 are not brave.

While the study was completed July 8, 2020, results have yet to be publicly posted. Clearly, this is not the first time researchers have investigated the most effective propaganda angles, but the types of messages listed above really demonstrate just how insidious these types of campaigns can be.

It’s really all about manipulation — pushing the right mental and emotional hot-buttons to fire up a desired response, all while overriding more logical thought processes.

The propaganda push has already started, it seems, with USA Today publishing an article7 titled “Defeat COVID-19 by Requiring Vaccination for All. It’s Not Un-American, It’s Patriotic.” This is precisely the kind of PR we can expect more of in the months to come.

The manipulation aspect is equally if not more evident in the listed secondary outcome measures, which include:

  • Participants’ confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine
  • Participants’ willingness to persuade others to get vaccinated
  • Their fear of those who have not been vaccinated
  • The social judgment of those who choose not to vaccinate

Effective Totalitarianism Relies on You Enjoying Servitude

A quote from Aldous Huxley’s dystopian 1932 book, “Brave New World,” reads:

“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.”

Huxley’s quote starts off a thought-provoking article8 on The Burning Platform that reviews the rise of totalitarianism and parallels presented in popular works of fiction. The author notes Huxley’s book came on the heels of Edward Bernays’ 1928 book, “Propaganda” — a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the historical foundations of modern public relations. The article points out that, in his book, Bernays:9

“… revealed the existence of an invisible government who used propaganda to manipulate the minds of the public to insure those controlling the levers of power were able to engineer their desired outcomes.”

A contemporary to Huxley and Bernays was George Orwell, who wrote the cult classic “1984.” In 1949, Huxley reportedly wrote to Orwell, stating he believed the world’s rulers would soon “discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient as instruments of government than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience.”10

At its heart, technocracy is an economic system, not a political one. The system also hinges on the skillful implementation of social engineering.

Huxley believed the nightmarish existence presented in “1984” was “destined to modulate into the nightmare of a world having more resemblance to that which I imagined in ‘Brave New World’” and that this transition would be the result of “a felt need for increased efficiency.” While Huxley did not use the word “technocracy,” that’s essentially what he was talking about.

Technocracy 101

Technocracy is an economic and social engineering system that got started in the 1930s during the height of the Great Depression, when scientists and engineers got together to solve the nation’s economic problems.

The Trilateral Commission’s co-founder Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Columbia University professor, brought the concept of technocracy into the Commission in 1973, with the financial support of David Rockefeller. Technocrats have silently and relentlessly pushed forward ever since, and their agenda is now becoming increasingly visible.

At its heart, technocracy is an economic system, not a political one. It actually calls for, indeed demands, the total dismantling of the political system, which includes the U.S. Constitution. In fact, the Constitution is the only thing that has kept technocracy at bay this long in the U.S.

The system also hinges on the skillful implementation of social engineering. Once fully implemented, people won’t have the ability to effectively fight it, but until then, through peaceful civil disobedience, the sharing of information and the exercise of political power, we still have a chance to prevent it.

Time is running short, however. As noted by The Burning Platform,11 “Since 9/11, the United States has unequivocally moved in the direction of Orwell’s 1984 vision,” and “We are now experiencing a dystopian amalgamation of the worst of both novels,” referring to “1984” and “Brave New World.”

Unfortunately, many still cannot see the full picture, nor understand the ultimate real-world danger of unquestioning compliance with ever-more illogical and freedom-quenching recommendations and mandates.

Technocracy Demands the Abolishment of Political Systems

Under technocratic rule, nations are to be led by unelected leaders who decide which resources companies can use to make certain products, and which products consumers are ultimately allowed to buy. Technocracy is essentially a resource-based economic system in which energy and social engineering run the economy rather than pricing mechanisms such as supply and demand.

Patrick Wood — an economist, financial analyst and American constitutionalist — has devoted a lifetime to uncovering the mystery of what is controlling most of the craziness we’re currently seeing, and which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. I go into more details on technocracy in my interview with Patrick Wood.

His two books, “Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation” and “Technocracy: The Hard Road to World Order” delve into this new world order in greater depth. You can listen to our interview below.

Science Has Been Misused for Decades

Importantly, science is a primary tool used to manipulate society and keep the economic engine running under the technocratic system. As explained by Wood, technocracy uses science to issue suggestions, to start. But those suggestions rapidly turn into mandates, which is precisely what we’ve been seeing during this pandemic. We’ve also seen this with vaccines in general.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has also revealed there’s a much larger plan that includes implantable digital identifications, medical records and vaccine passports, digital currency and banking — all of which will ultimately be tied together so that algorithms and automation will be able to keep everyone in line, everywhere, all the time.

Rule by Algorithm

An important tool used to drive the technocratic agenda forward is what Huxley pointed out, namely efficiency. In the name of efficiency and convenience, we are being inundated with an ever-increasing amount of “smart” technology that tracks everything everyone says and does, and artificial intelligence that sorts, interprets and spits out recommendations based on all that data.

This technological infrastructure is crucial for the technocracy, as the ultimate goal is to essentially automate slavery. The idea is that society will be ruled by automated algorithms, thus rendering a political structure irrelevant. Everyone will be automatically kept in line by technology.

For example, you might be told via text message that it’s time to get your annual vaccination. You go there, get the shot, and receive a digital vaccine certificate. Should you get the bright idea to refuse, your bank accounts get automatically frozen, the electronic door pass to your office won’t work, and you won’t be allowed to pass through the electronic check point at the grocery store.

No human authority is required in that system. There won’t be anyone to complain to or debate with. You’re herded into compliance by the fact that you have to do certain things in order to be allowed to participate in society. It sounds crazy, but if you look around, you’ll see clear evidence that this system has been slowly implemented all around us, for decades.

And, when you look at the statements from people like Bill Gates, in conjunction with the technologies he and others are implementing in various parts of the world (such as digital identification, currency, vaccine certificates and medical records, along with implantable chips to track employee attendance, smart appliances and entire smart cities, just to name a few), you can begin to see how the control loop is closing in around us.

In her book, “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism,” professor Shoshana Zuboff exposes the stunning capacities currently available to surveil, analyze and manipulate our behavior. It’s crucial to realize that as bad as it is today, the predictive power of technology is advancing at an exponential rate, which means their ability to manipulate behavior is increasing at a pace we cannot fully comprehend.

Regaining Control of Local Government Is Key

Importantly, technocrats are currently making an end run around national sovereignty. Rather than a frontal assault on the system, which has never been successful, they’ve simply eroded national sovereignty piece by piece. What can we can do to thwart the steady march of technocracy?

As explained by Wood, the most effective way is through local activism. The technocratic system was built from the bottom up, so we cannot tear it down from the top down. They’re already far too powerful for that. So, to begin the dismantling process, we must regain control of our local governments, and work our way up from there.

One of the most important elected local officials that you should concern yourself with is your sheriff. Sheriffs are responsible for enforcing tyrannical edicts from local, state and federal government, and if they choose not to, government has no power. City councils also have a lot of power. They can pass binding resolutions to protect citizens against the technocratic agenda.

1 Person in 40 Is Injured by Vaccines

Getting back to the issue of the COVID-19 vaccine, I urge you to keep a cool head once the PR machine gains speed. Read through the propaganda messages again (above) and familiarize yourself with them so you can identify the buttons they’re trying to push.

Remember, the COVID-19 vaccines currently leading in development have never before been licensed for human use, and there’s no possible way to ascertain what the long-term ramifications might be when you turn your body into a viral protein factory. I’ve discussed the theory behind mRNA vaccines in several previous articles, including “Gates Tries to Justify Side Effects of Fast-Tracked Vaccine.”

Coronavirus vaccine efforts gained speed in early 2002, following three SARS epidemics. However, such efforts have proven highly problematic as coronavirus vaccines have a stubborn tendency to trigger paradoxical immune responses.

In my interview with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who chairs the board of directors of the Children’s Health Defense,12 he reviewed some of the failed efforts to produce a viable coronavirus vaccine and highlighted the dangers of vaccine exaggeration of the immune response:

“The Chinese, the Americans, the Europeans all got together and said, ‘We need to develop a vaccine against coronavirus.’ Around 2012, they had about 30 vaccines that looked promising. They took the four best of those and … gave those vaccines to ferrets, which are the closest analogy when you’re looking at lung infections in human beings.

The ferrets had an extraordinarily good antibody response, and that is the metric by which FDA licenses vaccines … The ferrets developed very strong antibodies, so they thought, ‘We hit the jackpot.’ All four of these vaccines … worked like a charm.

Then something terrible happened. Those ferrets were then exposed to the wild virus, and they all died. [They developed] inflammation in all their organs, their lungs stopped functioning and they died.”

So please, review ALL the vaccine studies BEFORE you get the COVID vaccine because as far as I have read, this essential part of the study — ensuring that no paradoxical immune enhancement will occur — has not yet been done.

Even with conventionally manufactured vaccines, data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research Quality suggests vaccine damage occurs in 2.6% of all vaccinations. This means 1 in 40 people — not 1 in 1 million, which is what we’ve been repeatedly told — is injured by vaccines. Kennedy Jr. reviewed this data in a recent online vaccine debate13 with attorney and legal scholar Alan Dershowitz.

The U.S. Vaccine Court has also paid out $4 billion to patients permanently damaged or killed by vaccines, and that’s just a small portion of all the cases filed. According to Kennedy, less than 1% of people who are injured ever get to court, due to the high bar set for proving causation.

Will the novel mRNA COVID-19 vaccines be more dangerous than conventional vaccines, or will they be safer? Considering these vaccines are being fast-tracked and are forgoing all traditional animal testing and long-term evaluation, I suspect they may end up having far more unanticipated complications.

So, as the vaccine campaign rolls out, remember to weigh whatever potential risks and benefits that might apply in your particular situation, and avoid falling for emotional triggers.

Regardless of what you decide, also try to accept the personal decisions of others. The PR campaign will clearly try to manipulate you into fearing those who chose not to vaccinate, and trigger you into condemning them. Hopefully, knowing that you are being manipulated will help ease these tendencies.

The Metaphysics of Politics & The Manipulation of Human Consciousness

 Arjun Walia
August 16th, 2020

CE founder Joe MartinoDulce Ruby and I have decided to sit down once a week and have a conversation about various topics, sharing our thoughts and how each of us are feeling. In our latest episode we decided to talk about the metaphysics of politics and how it effects our psyche.

All three of us have gone down the rabbit hole when it comes to big politics. For me, I was first introduced to deception within politics through examining various topics, one of the first being ‘false flag terrorism’ as well as the strong connections that governments have with mainstream media outlets. When I came across a declassified document that states that the CIA task force “now has relationships with reporters from every major wire service, newspaper, news weekly, and television network in the nation,” and that “this has helped us turn some ‘intelligence failure’ stories into ‘intelligence success” stories,’” I really started looking into it more and realized this is still happening.

The information I was coming across even corroborated with multiple award winning journalists.

I eventually came to the conclusion that the prime purpose of big politics and big media (which go hand in hand) is simply to manipulate human consciousness and shape our perception of major events which allows these powerful people to justify actions they like to take, usually to gain even more control over the human race. I found out that the ones who propose the solution to global issues are usually the ones creating these problems as well, intentionally in order to justify the actions they like to take under the guise of good will. Julian Assange exposed much of this, along with other war crimes and immoral/unethical actions of governments and big corporations. Why is he in jail facing 175 years?

In the second half of the episode we talk about genetically modified mosquitoes, because the US Environmental Protection Agency just approved the release of nearly one billion GM mosquitoes in Florida and Texas. To access the second part, you can sign up for your free trial at CETV. It’s a platform we created to allow us to continue doing our work. As a result of a massive amount of censorship and demonetization from social media platforms and Google, its the only way we can try to stay alive and do what we do. Thank you for your support!

Honesty Training: Three Kinds of Falsehood: Simulation, Lies, and Deceit

Exploring Your Mind Staff Writer,
March 2nd, 2020

Falsehood can come in many shapes and it isn’t specific to humans. This type of conduct can also be seen in animals.

Humans are natural-born liars. We could say that there isn’t a single person on Earth who’s been completely honest in every single moment in their lives. Humans can use different kinds of falsehood. Each has many levels, motives, and different consequences.

Morality condemns any form of falsehood. This could be a mistake because lying is part of human nature and the use of simulation, lies, or deception could be valid depending on the circumstances.

The concept of truth is questionable as well because it’s difficult to establish absolute truths about many things. Likewise, you can be so convinced about something and repeat a lie without knowing or understanding that it isn’t true. Meanwhile, it’s worth pointing out the relativity of morality.

“Truth will rise above falsehood as oil above water.”

-Miguel de Cervantes-

Putting on a mask is a simulation, one of three kinds of falsehood.

Different kinds of falsehood in nature

Humans aren’t the only ones who use different kinds of falsehood. Nature is full of examples of animals who use deception to fool predators or simulate behaviors to get something in exchange. They use falsehood as a way to survive.

When an animal stays still to go unnoticed in front of its predator, they use simulation. The same thing happens when they disguise themselves or go into hiding. The goal is to fool those that could harm them. Something similar happens when an animal wants to steal food and distracts its rival to get it.

Humans start lying from an early age and for similar reasons. It’s part of any animal’s nature to look after themselves. It’s a survival instinct. Thus, honesty is a learned behavior but it doesn’t mean the same thing in every society. In some societies, honesty becomes part of a pact for peaceful living; in others, lying is sinful.

Long nose representing lies, one of three kinds of falsehood.

Simulation

Simulation is the less notorious of the different kinds of falsehood. In its simplest form, it’s about pretending. This implies bending reality to a certain degree. As with the other forms of falsehood, there are different levels of simulation. It can go from putting on a little makeup for a night out to the concealment of different aspects of yourself or your life, even taking on a new identity.

Why do people use simulation? There are many answers to that. Sometimes, people use simulation to appeal to others. Other times, they use it as a survival tool. For example, they try not to show fear against a rival. People can also simulate ailments for their benefit.

Lies and deceit

Although these kinds of falsehoods may seem similar, they have some important differences. Lying is related to verbal statements. You lie when you say something is true and know it isn’t. Deception is a wider concept. You can fool someone using words, but also with how you act or by creating situations that conceal reality. A deception involves a whole plan, whether it’s basic or very elaborate. In this case, there’s also a process of awareness-raising.

In human beings, simulation, lying, and deceit can be very sophisticated. What makes these behaviors morally wrong? Two things: motivation and purpose.

False friends, using deception.

A few years ago, in Colombia, there was a raid against the guerrilla where the people used deception, lies, and simulation. This raid helped free a group of hostages. Can this procedure be seen as “morally wrong”? In your daily life, you’ve probably asked yourself the same question.

Simulation, lying, and deception aren’t always morally wrong. Their motivation and purpose are what define their morality. Either way, you’ll gain more from examining these conducts, than from flat out rejecting them due to morality concerns.