In November 2009, an Australia team of surgeon's performed an operation to separate conjoined twins.
The twin girls were born joined at the head, sharing blood vessels and brain tissue, and were successfully separated in a marathon 32 hour operation .
It got me to thinking about the nature of miracles, of Gods, Goddesses and the hidden process of emotional projection? It also led to a blog thread on TheIcarusProject.net & 6 weeks of Mania.
When the relieved, happy and smiling doctors were presented to the media I remember thinking it was a modern day miracle. I wondered how such an event would be perceived by a two thousand year old Greek historian, a Roman soldier or a Talmud educated Hebrew priest? These thoughts and the excitement phase of a manic bipolar mood swing led me to post my thoughts on TheIcarusProject.net, under a blog heading in the spirituality forum, titled;
Of Gods and Goddesses. It was the 17th September, 2010.
Time warped into our everyday reality, their perception overwhelmed by the strange sights and sounds of new perspective, what would be their immediate reaction? Based on their life experience what thoughts would spring to mind? Of Gods and Goddesses made flesh, perhaps? Gods kingdom of heaven come to pass at last?
Some think that all I do and ever do is project what is inside onto the 3d movie screen of my minds eye. that all thought is metaphor and spoken words the same, old testament Gods whose names should not be uttered are perhaps a simple metaphor for an indescribable reality at a micro level that we cannot see, yet is advanced technology taking us there?
Like the billion neurons in our brain each capable of 10,000 connections, you could say it's like the milky way galaxy inside your head in a funny micro reflecting the macro kind of way.
So is there such a thing as prophecy, a deeper connection within the body/brain/mind, and how do we sometimes know things we should not logically know? Premonition's and the deeper truths told in old fairy tales, like "mirror mirror on the wall," how did the writer know we would find mirror neurons in the brain and how our perception of ourselves is formed by the reflective feedback we get from others, in their looks and gestures towards us, like Neytiri's "I see you" in the movie Avatar.
Maybe we are God, not individually but collectively and maybe not yet, for we all still resist the maturing process as much as possible, happy to be cradled in the bosom of family, friends and community, the social womb as some have called it.
I mean if we can perform miracle operations like the one above in the year 2009 AD and scientists are looking for the God particle by creating the conditions that existed at the beginning of the universe, what will we be up to in the year 4010 AD. This is what I wrote, back then;
27 Sep 2010:
Secrets of the Big Bang?
What was matter like within the first second of the Universe’s life?
Read about the amazing men and women who are seeking knowledge on a Grand scale by creating the conditions that existed at the begining of time and space, hoping to find a missing element (Higgs boson) or God particle as some have named it. This largest ever experiemnt will change our understanding of the universe dramatically perhaps leading to another pardigm shift in our perceptions similar to Galeleo's discovery. And as we discover this kind of awareness, what does it say about what we are to the universe itself. Are WE the universe percieving itself?
I've left the writing above just as it still appears on TheIcarusProject.net, spelling mistakes and appalling grammar included. No wonder people reacted, just as mainstream others do, when the intuitive sense of existential meaning floods my mind, during periods of a manic energy cycle?
Its true, I'm no gifted intellectual or well educated writer, not poetic or artistic really, yet does that necessarily mean that I'm stupid or crazy? Trying to articulate the wordless sense of overwhelming oneness and spiritual ecstasy, which floods my mind during mania, is very tricky and only time will tell what my journey holds in store? Most assume that a voluntary embrace of psychosis, just has to be totally crazy, the word and experience has such a bad rap, in our Western culture. All I can say is that after 4 episodes of "full-term" manic psychosis in 5 years, "the trip changes, man!" To use an old 1960's, Timothy Leary style expression.
Music has such a unique ability to tap into the river of existential meaning, with its rhythm and lyrical metaphors?
Timothy Francis Leary (October 22, 1920 – May 31, 1996) was an American psychologist and writer, known for his advocacy of psychedelic drugs. During a time when drugs such as LSD and psilocybin were legal, Leary conducted experiments at Harvard University under the Harvard Psilocybin Project, resulting in the Concord Prison Experiment and the Marsh Chapel Experiment. Both studies produced useful data, but Leary and his associate Richard Alpert were fired from the university nonetheless.
Leary believed LSD showed therapeutic potential for use in psychiatry. He popularized catchphrases that promoted his philosophy such as "turn on, tune in, drop out"; "set and setting"; and "think for yourself and question authority". He also wrote and spoke frequently about transhumanist concepts involving space migration, intelligence increase and life extension (SMI²LE), and developed the eight-circuit model of consciousness in his book Exo-Psychology (1977).
"27 Feb 2011:
Four Months on from my previous posts in Spirituality, did my delusional mania have any meaning and serve any purpose?
It seems to have brought some shift in the neural organization of my emotions, by displacing fear as my predominant approach to life, and the 'acting out' of mania here in the safety of The Icarus Project allowed me to reflect and debrief myself when the high energies of possible 'trauma exit' dissipated without being shamed by contact with the medical model of disease.
30 years of wondering what kind of outcome would have unfolded after my 1st manic episode, if I had found my way to a Jungian Analyst, and not a Psychiatrist for example, who knows?
Yet 4 months after the previous post here, I remain depression free after a classic 6 week long un-medicated mania, maybe I'm in re-mission to use a medical term?
Has, reading Allan Schore's "Affect Dysregulation & Disorders of the Self," Stephen Porges "Polyvagal Theory," and his concept of 'neuroception,' along with learning exercise's from peter Levine's "In an UnSpoken Voice," helped me to re-regulate my affective states into better order?
Was the 'acting out' here on Icarus a practicing period to help me face the world and express my nature with less fearful avoidance, who knows? Only time will tell.
I've started a more public expression of my experience here http://bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com/ "
Online comments made during my last full term psychosis?
From comments made about psychosis, hallucination and delusion on the MadinAmerica webzine;
Psychosis = Hallucination+Delusion I do believe that when taking new knowledge, like “the polyvagal theory” into consideration, along with all the new awareness of our internal chemical makeup, we can re-interpret the tribal existential metaphors of mythology, to see them in a new light which combines both right-brain intuition & left-brained logic & reason.
All of the posts I make, point to “natural cause,” for what we call “mental illness,” and just like the Fischer piece, show how the nervous system & the “body” plays a role in “psychosis,” with its positive & negative symptom expression.
This particular topic thread concerns research into psychosis, with a link to a research paper which takes a medical model pathology view of psychosis and studies a meta-analysis of symptom expression in psychiatric patients. My comments on the topic point readers towards an alternative view of hallucination and delusion, expressed in a brilliant paper by Roland Fischer, A Cartography of the Ecstatic and Meditative States
"“Self”: The Knower and Image-Maker; and “I”:
The Known and Imagined: We have seen that the departure from the physical dimension during a voyage on the perception-meditation continuum is accompanied by a gradual loss of freedom, which is manifested in the increasing inability to verify the experience through voluntary motor activity.
At the peak of trophotropic arousal, in samadhi, the meditating subject experiences nothing but his own self-referential nature, void of compelling contents. It is not difficult to see a similarity between the meditative experience of pure self-reference and St. Teresa’s description of her ecstasy: in both timeless and spaceless experiences the mundane world is virtually excluded. Of course, the converge is true of the mundane state of daily routine, in which the oceanic unity with the universe, in ecstasy and samadhi, is virtually absent.
Thus, the mutual exclusiveness of the “normal” and the exalted states, both ecstasy and samadhi, allows us to postulate that man, the self-referential system, exists on two levels: as “Self” in the mental dimension of exalted states; and as “I” in the objective world, where he is able and willing to change the physical dimension “out there.” _Roland Fischer.
Fischer's paper is consistent with views of mental illness which note the role of our autonomic nervous system and the body, in symptom expression. Its interesting to note that all reference work which relates the body and somatic experience to the experience of mental anguish, has been routinely ignored, in more than a century of scientific inquiry.
How much of popular music, owes its "existential insight" to drug induced, altered states of mind, like those of the infamous 1960's drug culture? How much money do people pay, to gain states of alternate awareness, bipolar mania, stimulates spontaneously? And how can we judge a true definition of "insanity?" War and killing, corporate greed and big business, predatory behavior, is apparently "normal?" Yet the ecstatic states of mind induced by a euphoric psychosis, are decidedly CRAZY? Depending on just who, gets to decide?
What is TRUTH? What is TRUE-AWARENESS?
Ram Dass (born Richard Alpert, April 6, 1931) is an American contemporary spiritual teacher and the author of the seminal 1971 book Be Here Now. He is known for his personal and professional associations with Timothy Leary at Harvard University in the early 1960s, for his travels to India and his relationship with the Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba, and for founding the charitable organizations Seva Foundation and Hanuman Foundation. He continues to teach via his website. Ram Dass, Love, Serve, Remember
given in oracles and dreams and in every other way that any other divine
dispensation has ever impressed a duty upon man." _Plato.
Two years on, from that 2010 experience of euphoric psychosis, my less fearful approach to life continues. Perhaps, its a question of perspective? Just how much does an innate, negative bias for the purpose of survival, inform the constricted, conservative thinking of our sense of NORMALITY?
Earlier this year, I wrote an essay of sorts, that try's to articulate the intuitive sense of meaning that had infused and flooded my mind, during another full-term psychosis, back in October-November 2011. See;
Mad Visions or Mental Illness? Part 1
|Myth & Metaphors of Personal Meaning|
The Universe saves itself from a Dark & Silent Fate?
By Evolving into a form that can act upon Itself - You?
Euphoric Senses Fall into Awareness of an Eternal Now?
Heaven is Felt as The Eternal Now Emerging Within?
Metaphor, Myth, Meaning & The Hidden World Within?
Its about the transformation of reactive energy states, not objective labels (metaphors)?
"Yeah right! - You've been away with pixies again our David," I hear my Uncles say.
"Told ya to leave those magic mushrooms alone! - Oh! Sorry I forgot, you don't need any, you nut job!" I hear ex lovers bemoan.
"Tut, tut, we warned you about mental illness, off medication," I hear psychiatrists refrain.
"Yeah I know its a very touchy subject, madness as mental illness is a debate with a wide variety of individual experience and objective professional judgment." This is my particular experience though and I don’t paint with a broad brush here, suggesting a universal application. Or do I?
Do the post headlines speak of mental illness & psychosis, a break with normal reality, or personal revelation? Not that I think I'm a messiah, although that may have been your, at first glance judgment? Perhaps more a further dissolving of personal identity, once euphoria energized sensations, enabling intuition fades? Or are these simply the mad notions of a diseased brain, and what do they have to do with everyday normality anyway?
A two part essay in analysis of a month of manic euphoria; its metaphors & meaning?
Where is the objective sense of normality in linking Led Zeppelin's song "Stairway to Heaven," with William Blake's famous painting of "Jacobs Ladder," you might ask? Its just a song, its just a painting, and there cannot be any method or purpose in the experience of madness? In this two part essay I explore my own altered states of perception from the viewpoint of metaphor and meaning. Exploring the hidden nature of my internal energies, my DNA's double helix and the double bind of a mind-body split that can't see the shadow on my cosmic soul?
Perhaps a little background is in order before I try to explain a month or so of emotional euphoria. Since 2007 I have allowed the euphoric energy involved in my bipolar type 1 (as described in DSM IV) experience to unfold as it will and there has been no fall into depression. Next month will be the 32nd anniversary of my first experience of mania, which embraced the same savior sensations and thoughts that all my subsequent mania's have. After 1980 there was a 27 year experience of cyclic manic depression, mostly self managed due to medication side effect, intolerance.
In January 2010 I came to Thailand to give myself the time, space and opportunity to seek a deeper self awareness, although rationalized as a desire to write a book at that time. I’ve been here two years now and although there is no book yet, there has been a steady re-authoring of my self narrative, with a deeper self awareness of a much needed emotional maturing process.
What I mean by emotional maturing, is the ongoing integration of the energies of perceptual awareness within me. It has been a process of learning a felt perception of myself beyond the habitual self comforting rationalizations of my mind. Going down into the cave beneath the surface impressions of my minds objective awareness, so to speak. As Joseph Campbell says;
Perhaps it is the body’s capacity for harmonic resonance through its combined senses, that is the cave I enter when experiencing altered states of perception? Down beneath my minds object oriented “what is It,” view point? The heat and heightened energies generated by hyper-elation or euphoria, seems to enable deeper sensory associations, enabling intuitive ideas to form. All that I've heard, seen, read and previously symbolized in thought, becomes suffused with an expanded sensory awareness.
Yet can symbolizing words/labels like intuition be any more than metaphors for our unknowable immersion in the wider matrix of life and the cosmos? Surely all that is sensed as experience in any one our lived moments, cannot be encapsulated in any single word or words.
Does all the recent knowledge about hidden electro-chemical stimulation within the body/brain, make much of our thoughts and language mere metaphor for the complex energies of our perceptions? Does our minds eye view tend to squash a complex sensory awareness into a focused reference for our immediate survival needs? Hence we perceive with a narrowed sense of objectivity that may be far more self deceiving than insightful?
Within the Body/Brain - Stimulation involves Electro-Chemical Activity?
From the perspective of this hidden and unconscious process, much of our language can be understood as metaphor, and particularly mythology and the creative arts? Even nursery rhymes take on a different meaning when viewed as an expression of all this electro-chemical activity within? When the internal reality of electro-chemical stimulation is kept in mind, sensation and perception take on new meaning, beyond a normal object-like understanding of ourselves. We generally use external shapes and forms in analogies of self interpretation, totally unaware that our internal world is very different to our minds eye view of the external world.
Please be still and mindful of all you can sense within the passing of "one and two and three and four and five," seconds? Did you stay wholly within a "mind" sense of self and count, did you feel deeper, “mindless” sensations lost to awareness as thought occurs? In my own journey, this paradox of mind and mindless self awareness arose during meditation exercises to gain awareness of my unconscious (mindless) nervous system activity. This is how I manage/control the unconscious energies of my highly sensitive disposition these days, (see here).
It is the electro-chemical nature of my unconscious experience and its expression through metaphor that so intrigues me, now that I no longer paint a euphoric episode with sensations of shame, no longer feel an attachment to the stigma of judgmental blame. Now un-afraid and unashamed to face my experience of sensations within, I seek to further define the reality of my being. To sift through the various needs of self support and self definition, while wondering if I’m sensing something deeper still?
Touching the Void in a sense of Electro-Chemical Reactions?
It is while holding the notion of metaphors and these hidden electro-chemical processes in mind, that I explore my altered states of perception these days, particularly an eerie sense of immersion within the DNA matrix of an electro-chemical Universe.
Last November another relationship crisis threatened me with loss and isolation, causing a defensive "reaction formation," and a flight into the e-motivation of Euphoria. Perhaps a traumatic birthing process conditioned an unconscious and dense terror state, as the very foundation of my reactive energies within? A deep fear of the void in loss and isolation, which became my life challenge to face?
The Double Helix & The Double Bind in our Nature?
|Section of DNA. The bases lie horizontally |
between the two spiraling strands.
"Change Ur Metaphor. Think Chemical Universe & FEEL HER LOVE. There is NO SEPARATION. ALL IS ONE! 1 love. 1 world. 1 tribe. Every WORD is a Projection of HER LOVE INSIDE YOU. Ur Electro-Chemical Connection. This AOM. This Age of Mythology. Sight the WORD & FEEL the CAVE. You can "Know Thyself" & BE ONE TRIBE!"
"U R JACOB - U R THE LADDER."
The Conservation constriction of our Object like Thinking is Blind to Metaphor & Meaning?
"There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven
(And) when she gets there she knows if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for."
Often the millisecond conservation urge of human homeostasis (comfort zone) need stimulates conservative thought, rushing over these words too fast, to assume its about human form & a woman? Yet is the gold she seeks an object or deeper meaning? Is the lady a human woman or Gaia mother nature?
"Ooh ooh ooh...ooh...ooh ooh ooh
And she's buying a stairway to heaven.
There's a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings
In the tree by the brook there's a songbird who sings
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven
Oooh...It makes me wonder
Oooh...It makes me wonder
There's a feeling I get when I look to the west
And my spirit is crying for leaving
In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees
And the voices of those who stand looking
Oooh...It makes me wonder
Oooh...And it makes me wonder
And it's whispered that soon, if we all called the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
And the forest will echo with laughter
Read more of: Mad Visions or Mental Illness? Part 1 >>
So what do YOU think, of Gods & Goddesses and the hidden processes of emotional projection? Just how much is our more creative, less fearful imagination, predictive of our future? Who can say, what is truly prophetic, and just what contains the nature of true meaning? "And as we wind on down the road, our "instinctual" shadow, taller than our soul?" Is destiny calling now? Here in this, Eternal Now?
Oooh...It makes me wonder
Oooh...And it makes me wonder
The Power of Now?
Beneath all thought, lies the reality of our evolved nature.
Once we open up to the flow of energy within our body, we also open up
to the energy in the universe. _Wilhelm Reich.
"In meaningful thinking, the mind caresses, flows joyously into, over, around, the relational matrix defined by the problem, the object. There is a merging of person and object or problem. Only the problem or object, it terms and relations, exist. And these are real in the fullest, most vivid, electric, undeniable way. It is a fair descriptive generalization to say that meaningful thinking is ontologistic in some primitive, accepting, artless, unselfconscious sense." _Sigmund Koch.
"Is our essential nature confused by the sight of objects? Close your eyes & sense the essence of your being within. Like the scent of a flower, is your essential essence of heart toned body and mind, chemical in nature?"
Taken from my online memoir of madness, and something of a thesis chapter: The Door & Key to Self-Revelation: My Existential Journey?
Nature's unconscious urge, in the creative symbolization of existential meaning?