3 Facts about Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute defines it like this on their website:

“Sleep apnea (AP-ne-ah) is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep.

Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.

 

 

Sleep apnea usually is a chronic (ongoing) condition that disrupts your sleep. When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you’ll often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep.

As a result, the quality of your sleep is poor, which makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is a leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness.”

This Mindfunda helps you to determine if you might be suffering from sleep apnea. Always visit the doctor if you think it is likely that you suffer from it.

1: Chronic Fatigue and Sleep Apnea

You can imagine how sleep apnea interferes with your regular sleep cycle. Nature has provided five sleep stadia for our brain. Each stadia is typified by a specific amplitude of brain waves.

 

sleep apnea
art: Psychologytoday.com

 

When sleep apnea causes a lack of oxygen, you wake up. When you wake up, you are not able to finish your sleep cycle.

If this happens at a regular basis,  your health will be affected.

2: Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Snoring is an underestimated problem. It can cause a lot of trouble in a relationship. Not everyone who snores has apnea.

There is an app called Snorelab.You download it on your mobile phone. You put it on and lie it besides you on the bedside table.

sleep apnea

It records the sound you make during your sleep and you can listen and analyse the moments that you snore.

3. Sleep Apnea and a Partner

Many people who suffer from apnea, are not aware of it. Because it has such bad health implications: an increased risk of vascular diseases, obesity and depression it is sometimes with the help of a partner that we can determine cheater we should seek medical help.

sleep apnea

Many times it is a partner that tells you that you seem to stop breathing at night.

4. Sleep Apnea and morning headaches

When you wake often witha dry mouth (because your mouth was open) and a headache, it cold be a sign that you are suffering from sleep apnea.

sleep apnea

Do you recognise one or more symptoms? Please visit your doctor. If sleep apnea is diagnosed you have several options to improve your situation. You will feel better.

Mindfunda is a blog from Dutch psychologist Susanne van Doorn.
Mindfunda publishes a blog every other day.

I have a new Mindfunda online event: The Mindfunda Midsummer Night Event. A week long reading, dreaming and contemplating around the theme of the summer solstice.

The Ideal World: Is Science Going to Create it?

In an ideal world we would learn from the past and create a future that is based on the progress of science. Adolfo Plasencia talks with some of the biggest names in scientific research to shed more light on big questions like Is there a planet besides Earth where we could live on? What if robots became intelligent? and Are we able to touch the soul of Michelangelo?

A Mindfunda Book review of Is the Universe a Hologram? And Other Questions. Scientists Answer the Most Provocative Questions.
By Adolfo Plasencia
MIT, 2017, Hardcover $26.87 ebook $22.21 ISBN-10: 0262036010 ISBN-13: 978-0262036016
Reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn

 

 

ideal world
Buy the Book using this link and support Mindfunda

 

Ideal World: Will Science save Humanity?

It is no surprise among lovers of mythology that one of the most modern mythological concepts is that science will safe humanity. In a lot of series you see a hacker that hacks into government and police data and gets the real villains arrested and the true heroes out of prison.

I think that the film the Matrix was the most explicit about it. In this film you saw both sides. The danger of a fully computerised world and how a hacker could turn this world aside so humanity could “wake up” to reality.

Morpheus and Neo Fighting
Matrix

In Is the Universe a Hologram? And Other Questions. Scientists Answer the Most Provocative Questions revolves around three themes:

  • The Physical World;
  • Information;
  • Intelligence.

And almost all of the scientists interviewed have connections to MIT: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Its mission (I have copy pasted it from their website): “The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century”.

Adolfo Plasencia, Spanish presenter of Tecnópolis and blogger on science interviewed 33 people about these subjects. By transcribing those interviews in book – form, you get an easy digestible book that covers very interesting topics.

Ideal World and Physical Reality

The first chapter of the book starts with an interesting discussion about the possibility of free will. The Western Culture assumes we act out of free will and therefore are accountable for our actions. This created a whole profitable range of Self help books ass well. But we like that idea. The comfortable thought that we determine our future.

ideal world
Cartoon found on Buzzfeed.com

Determinism is the believe that things follow laws, and are therefore predefined. Quantum mechanics challenges that idea:

“Usually when you observe something, we see that it exists and is well defined. Whenever we see a yellow object, we think that this is on ‘objective’ property the object has, which doesn’t depend on me. That is, when I am not watching it, the object still remains yellow. Now quantum physics, according to you, says, no: it says that some properties of the microscopic objects in the movement are not defined when they aren’t being observed and ably become defined when we watch it” (page 9).

ideal world
Cartoon Tom Swanson

Now that is a cliffhanger isn’t it? The book triggers your curiosity like that. You just want to know what people who understand much more of quantum mechanics as you and me do, say about the possibility of free will.

And what does the book say? That science does not know yet: “The fact that physiologically we still have not found and perhaps never will be able to see, evidence of free will and voluntary decision-making doesn’t mean that those things don’t exist” (page 277).

Of course there are many issues that are discussed in this first part of the book. How Moore’s law has come to an end. Moore’s law says that the number of transistors in a circuit doubles every two years.

How there is energy in a vacuum: the Casimir forces, how satellites help us to locate where we are and where we are headed, if there are other planets that facilitate human life.

Ideal World and Information

Part two of Is the Universe a Hologram revolves around information. The world is filled with data. In 1987, when I went to University, my professors carefully explained that information is data that you attribute meaning to. And back than, there was already a worry that we as human beings were flooded with data.

ideal world
Cartoon: Jef Stahler

In an ideal world you would only get the information you want to and be protected from data. Reading this book I found out that the brain works this way. A large part of the energy that the brain requires is used for inhibition. It means that the brain does not receive all data.

This part of the book focusses on the digital world we have created. Some use this world to escape the planet earth and create alter ego’s on social media. Other people come alive when using social media to connect with friends. Did you know for example that there are more smartphones that there are people on the planet?

ideal world
Cartoon: Mark Parisi

Tim O’Reilly (yes, the guy of the open source software) describes the alchemy needed in the present between the knowledge  of the past and the expectations of the future.

“As I said earlier, i think chance is natural and good. And I think there is a stress in modern life from the pace of change, and certainly there are people throughout history who have looked back to times when in theory, at least, the world was more stable and peaceful. If you want to be stable and peaceful, you can opt out of a technology society. There is nothing stopping you from doing so. However, I actually think that the excitement of having come to grips with the future is a good thing. For me, it’s a fabulous intellectual challenge” (page 215).

So in the ideal world we embrace the new challenges technology produces. Are we as human beings up for that challenge? The next part of the book tries to answer that question.

Ideal World and Intelligence

I have to tell you dear reader that this part was my favourite part of the book. With my training as psychologist I drool when a chapter is searching for the I in the brain.

I always have the notion ether is a little I in my brain that guides me whenever my blood sugar is low (diabetic type 1). I can do crazy things but at certain point in time a voice in my head says: “You need to test your blood sugar level, because you are acting strange”.

Did you know that science can perform magic? In the chapter where Adolfo Plasencia talks with Alvaro Pascual-Leone he talks about Transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS technique where the brain (an electricity device in our body) can be charged with electricity without opening the skull.

 

ideal world

 

William James, the father of psychology is mentioned several times in the book as a source of inspiration. And dreams! Yes dreams are also mentioned. the Spanish researcher Javier Echeverria uses the analogy of Plato’s Cave to introduce the way that internet has changed reality.

He tells us that the binary number system is based on the I Ching. Leibniz, its creator was fascinated by how the I Ching was a binary system and he got motivated to create a binary system.

“He discovered the binary number system some years previously during his correspondence with Joachim Bouvet, french Jesuit missionary who worked in China. They had sent him the I Ching, a system of symbols with various functions but which Leibniz realized had a strong formal relationship with his binary system” (page 317).

Javier Echeverria explains how not everything can be digitalized. He has tried working with dreams and even wrote a book about it:

“So digitilization is a mathematicization of everything intelligible?
On that, I have to say no. I’ll give you a very clear example of how digitisation does not mathematizice everything: so far it can not mathematize dreams. I tried to do it, many years ago in another book. Trying to mathemitize dreams was one of the things I’ve done in my life, but there are enormous difficulties. We all dream practically every day, but not all thought processes are digitizable, at least not yet” (page 318).

In the ideal world we could hook ourselves up to a dream-machine, record our dreams and look back in the morning. It will remain a utopia.

 

Conclusion

PRO

Pouring the content of this book in an interview format makes the content digestible and relatively easy to read.

It is a very informative and intelligent book about intelligence, consciousness, global warming, technology, matter an other things you and I are worried about.

You will learn a lot about a variety of interesting subjects, never a dull moment.

I like the mixture of technology, philosophy and psychology. This book has all the ingredients to become a classic, an encyclopaedia of the twenties of the twenty-first century,

CON

Only three women are in this book. I am not certain why this decision was made. I think the female vision on problems facing the world today might make the world a better place. Female researchers deserve more than a contribution of merely 10 percent in this book.

The promotion of the MIT Institute becomes a little dreary from time to time.

The subjects of the book are not for everyone. A reader has to have an explicit hunger for knowledge about the alchemy between technology, its limits and how it can affect the world around us.

I felt that the title was a bit misleading: I had expected to learn much more about the Universe as a hologram: the idea that while the world seems to have three dimensions in reality there are only two.

Mindfunda verdict:

7/10

Click here to buy Is the Universe a Hologram? and support Mindfunda.

Ramon y Cajal: Father of Neurology and his Vision on Dreams

Today's blog is dedicated to Jordi Borras, one of the best dream workers in Spain.
A Book review of The Dreams of Santiago Ramon y Cajal by Benjamin Ehrlich Oxford University Press 2017 $37.95  ISBN 9780190619619
By Dutch psychologist Susanne van Doorn

 

ramon y cajal
Santiago Ramon y Cajal self-portrait 1870

 

SANTIAGO RAMON Y CAJAL: introduction

Do you think dreams have a deeper, psychological meaning? Or do you think dreams are the result of the brain activity at night?

The International Association for the Study of Dreams, of which I am a board member, says that a dream can not be interpreted by anyone else but the dreamer. This is a very elegant, sophisticated way to balance between the two opposite views.

What are your experiences? Do you think that dreams are random chatter? Or have you had a dream that changed your life? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear your take on this.

SANTIAGO RAMoN Y CAJAL: THE Doctor – Artist

The nice guy in the picture is Santiago Ramon y Cajal, born in 1852. His father, Justo Ramóny, made his own way to wealth by becoming a doctor. He wanted his son to do the same. In order to teach Santiago about the human body, they went to graveyards to dig up and analyse corpses…

His father did not want to have anything to do with the romantic soul of his son. Santiago had to learn, not play.

ramon y cajal
© Antony Smith – 2014

During his life Santiago made sure he had an outlet for his creative side: he made drawings of his laboratory-findings and he was an excellent photographer, see the self portrait at the top of this article.

If you live in Minneapolis: there is an exhibition about his artwork in the Weisman Art museum until May 21, 2017.

Santiago Ramon y Cajal: the cel as hero

The book consists of two parts. the first part is composed out of 10 chapters that give the reader background information about Cajal, Spain in the beginning the 1900’s, and how Spain became Freudian – oriented.

The first part of this book convinced me that Cajal was an incurable romantic. In his eyes, the cell was a hero. He studies the nerve cell with Golgi technique. Tragically, he and his opponent Golgi had to share the Nobel Prize…

 

Buy the book using this link and support the good work of Mindfunda

According to Santiago, the cell was a hero, in the quest for the adventure of life.
“The probing ends of growing fibers are battering rams, and the fateful meeting between two communist neurons, later termed the synapse, he likened to a protoplasmic kiss” (page 7).

 

ramon y cajal
Purkinje cell by Santiago Ramon y Cajal
1899; Instituto Cajal, Madrid, Spain.

 

SANTIAGO RAMoN Y CAJAL and Freud

Cajal and Freud were celebrated scholars in the 1900s. Cajal became the father of neurology, while Freud became the father of psychoanalysis.

Cajal did not agree with Freud.  In 1911 Jose Ortega y Gasset wrote about “The Secret of Dreams”, and introduced Freud his ideas to Spain. Six year later, Ortega acquired the rights to publish the translated works of Freud.

Spain started warming up to Freud. Influential artist Dali was a great admirer of Freud. He visited Freud one day and made a fool of himself in his nervousness.
Freud allegedly said about Dali: “That boy looks like a fanatic. Small wonder that they have civil war in Spain if they look like that”.

ramon y cajal
Painting of Freud by Dali
Copyright Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation

 

Cajal writes to his friend Gregorio Marañón (1887–1960), in relation to Freud’s approach to dreams:

… I consider as collective lies both psychoanalysis and Freud’s theory of dreams; nearly all the findings of the wise Viennese scholar can be explained by individual or collective suggestion. Of this I shall speak if I manage to live long enough to write another book on dreams, in which I summarize thousands of self-observations contradicting Freud’s theory (Durán and Alonso, 1960).

The book about dreams that Cajal refers to in this quote is an article called “Los sueños” in the Revista Cajal de Medicina y Cirugía in 1908.

RAMoN Y CAJAL and dreams

Santiago Ramon y Cajal considered Freud’s way of exploring the brain as unscientific. In his mind, dreams are random chit-chat of brain waves.

In our day and age, exactly the same intellectual battle is going on between Alan Hobson and Mark Solms.

“Hobson argues that dreams are ad hoc frameworks for meaningless signals, whereas Solms uses psychological evidence to argue that dreams are indeed the expressions of wish-fulfilment” (page 50).

RAMoN Y CAJAL AND His Daughter

A very tragic event appears in Ramon y Cajal his dreams: the loss of his daughter.

“I take a walk by the bay (Santander?) and I fall into the water with one of my little daughters in my arms. I fight the waves, I am almost drowning, despite touching the seawall. The nightmare awakens me” (page 90).

One of his children, his daughter Enriqueta, died of the consequences of a bacterial disease. According to is biography (see literature) he stayed in his laboratory while he did not hear, or chose to ignore the cries of his wife who was holding her.

RAMoN Y CAJAL AND HIS Duality

Santiago Ramon y Cajal had a very interesting dynamic in his life and in his work. He wanted to be an artist but became a scientist. He was charmed by hypnosis, but attributed dreams to the neurological activity of the brain.

When he got his Nobel Price in 1906, he had to share it with his opponent Golgi. He used the method of Golgi to make neurons visible. Camillo Golgi proposed that every neuron in the brain is a network on its own: this is called the rectangular theory.

ramon y cajal
Artwork Scott Hilburn

 

Cajal showed, using the technique of Golgi that nervous tissue, like other tissues, is made of discrete cells.

After winning the big Nobel Price which he had to share with his opponent, Cajal summarised this never ending duality in his life with these words: “What a cruel irony of fate to pair, like Siamese twins, united by the shoulders, scientific adversaries of such contrasting character.”

 

CONCLUSION

PRO

  • This book will give you  nice overview of the history of neurology and dreams;
  • It is written in a very readable way;
  • You will get to know Santiago Ramon y Cajal as a very romantic soul who had an interesting life;
  • The opposition in his character of being a tender romantic soul as well as a scientists who only looks at facts speaks clearly in his dream about his daughter.
 CON
  • The book is given its length of 144 pages rather expensive:
  • I was a little bit disappointed that the dreams of Ramon y Cajal were rather short and that there was no further information available. The first part of the book gives this information, but the dream-part would have been juicier when there had been a certain form of analysis.

Mindfunda verdict:
7/10

Here is an link to buy on Amazon if you enjoyed this review,
and like to support our work. We appreciate your help!

Literature:

Durán, G. and Alonso, F. Cajal Vida y obra 2nd edition (Barcelona: Editorial Cientifico-Medico 1983).

 


THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Brainfunda
articles and relevant information about the brain about how you can use this in your everyday life. Neurology, the brain all the fascinating things we find out in current research.

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


Ready for more free Mindfunda content on ‘NEUROLOGY‘?

3 Facts about Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute defines it like this on their website: "Sleep apnea (AP-ne-ah) is a common disorder in which you have one or more ...
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The Ideal World: Is Science Going to Create it?

In an ideal world we would learn from the past and create a future that is based on the progress of science. Adolfo Plasencia talks with some of the biggest names ...
Read More

Ramon y Cajal: Father of Neurology and his Vision on Dreams

Today's blog is dedicated to Jordi Borras, one of the best dream workers in Spain. A Book review of The Dreams of Santiago Ramon y Cajal by Benjamin Ehrlich Oxford ...
Read More

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How to Analyse a dream with an Archetype in 4 Easy Steps

This dream is part of a series of four blogs. 
How to Use A Dream as a Tool For Self Development; How to Analyse a Dream with an Archetype in 4 Easy Steps; Q & A: 7 Questions and Answers about Dreaming and Mythology;
Four Smart Questions and Answers About Dreams You had not Thought of Yourself

How do you analyse a dream that clearly features an Archetype ? This blog gives you four easy steps. This is part two of a series of HOW TO blogs about dreams on Mindfunda. Each one features a case study in which I carefully, step by step attribute meaning to dream symbols. Number one is How to Use A Dream as a Tool for Self Development. Number one features a small dream. A few days later Bonnie Connelly posted this dream on her Facebook group Painting the Dream.

While I read it and admired the beautiful artwork she made, it became clear to me that this was an archetypical dream. In this blog I explain you how to analyse a dream that features an archetype. Four easy steps, four questions to ask yourself/the dreamer whenever you encounter an archetype in a dream.

Four Bears, the Tree of Life and the Pregnant Water Bearer
archetypical
Drawing by Bonnie Connelly

 

In the first part of this dream which I vague recall, I am in a boat on a large lake – as if I arrived on a boat… I have arrived with Catherine who is in early pregnancy. I am bringing her to a woman who is refusing to see her because Catherine intends to terminate the pregnancy. I look out at the lake, its distant coastline, and the small boat that I will be returning in. The lake is calm and peaceful and smooth like a mirror. I think to myself, “I can do that.”
Now from a position of standing in the water [although I don’t feel the water] observing Catherine on the shore. I see a black bear above her in a tree. I call out to her, “Catherine, there’s a bear!” She doesn’t seem to hear me. Then I see four bears in the tree shaking it wildly. “Catherine! Catherine!” She moves to the other side of the tree I think she sees the bears and is ok. End Of Dream
Feeling: it felt powerful – like something shifted
Reality check: Catherine in the dream was in a dream group with me a few years ago, a fellow Aquarian, Water Bearer – lives in southern California now, like I did. I was 20 years older than her – we had a lot in common – and felt very motherly towards her. She was not able to get pregnant from what I understand so this speak in the dream!  She has been posting a lot of political posts on FB so I am seeing her a lot these days on FB

 

How to analyse a dream with an archetype Step 1:

The beginning of a dream often tells you something about the main theme the dream is addressing. This dream begins at a lake. There is an undeniable relationship between water and life. Without water, human life is not possible. What defines a lake is that a lake is surrounded by land. It does not have any outlet that serves to feed or drain the living principle. It is a depression in the earth that serves to collect water and in that way keeps the dreamer alive emotionally. So you might assume that this dream addresses something about the emotional life of the dreamer.

Early on, the second dream carter is introduced: a lady named Catherine. I usually find out what names mean to see if this gives any symbolic value to the dream. On the site Behind the Name Catherine is attributed to the Goddess of Dreams Hecate, a Goddess associated with witchcraft, magic and dreams.

HOW TO ANALYSE A DREAM WITH AN ARCHETYPE STEP 2:

The first conflict introduced in the dream is the moment when the dreamer begins to dissociate herself from the dream scene. There is a shift in perspective the moment the third lady who disagrees with terminating the pregnancy is introduced.  

I look out at the lake, its distant coastline, and the small boat that I will be returning in. The lake is calm and peaceful and smooth like a mirror. I think to myself, “I can do that”.

The dreamer now has returned to the earth. She looks back at the lake and the lake is like a mirror. In mythology the magic mirror lets you see things that are not apparent to the “normal viewer”. In this part of the dream you see that the lake has much significant value in it to tell the dreamer about the Self. The dreamer looks back and sees her opportunities: “I can do that”.

archetype

The transition is clear: the boat of life will take her to the next phase. Bonnie’s reference to the political messages of Catherine on Facebook suggest that the anti abortion rule President Trump signed a few days after his legislation might play a role in this dream. Copy – pasted from the site buzzfeed.com:

“Here’s how it works: Foreign organizations that take US family planning money can’t use any money, from any other donor, on abortion-related services. It’s a restriction on how they use their other, non-US government money, and it applies to providing abortions or giving any information about abortion, including medical advice or referrals — even in countries where abortion is legal”.

In that sense, the wish for dream Catherine to end her pregnancy is a sign of independency. An archetypical dream as a political statement? I would not be surprised!

HOW TO ANALYSE A DREAM WITH AN ARCHETYPE STEP 3:

Look at the progression the dream makes. The dreams suggest to embrace the Goddess archetype even further. Four bears are introduced, all hugging the Tree of Life. The three Goddesses of the first stage of the dream: Bonnie, Catherine and the lady who refuses to see Catherine, the Triple Goddess has now revealed a fourth manifestation: the bear. From an archetypical perspective the bear is associated with Artemis. Artemis is the bear goddess. In ancient Europe, there used to be a bear cult. In Athens girls were sent to Brauron to serve Artemis for one year at the temple.

archetype

 

The progression the dream makes here is that it takes the dreamer, who has just explored her Self image in the mirror of the lake, into a path of initiation. The bear is the dreaming animal. In the winter it sleeps for months. If you look at the drawing you see that three bears look at the left, female side. One bear looks at the right (male) side. If it was my dream, this would suggest an initiation into the depths of femininity.

HOW TO ANALYSE A DREAM WITH AN ARCHETYPE STEP 4:

See how this integrates in the life of the dreamer right now. Bonnie points out that for her, bears are connected to Chiron, the wounded healer. Quoted from the site ncbi.nlm.gov. from the author Serge Daneault MD. Ph.D:
“The Greek gods Apollo and Artemis taught medicine to Chiron. Chiron was wounded by an arrow from Heracles’ bow. He did not die (because gods are immortal); instead, he suffered excruciating pain for the rest of his eternal days. It was because of his grievous wound that Chiron became known as a legendary healer in ancient Greece”.

This brings Artemis back to her alchemical qualities of ancient Mother Goddess: she unites present and past, she ties archetypical dream – strings together and stews one of the finest tasting dream stories for the thankful receiver.

Bonnie’s final comments on this step by step dream analyses:

“Your seeing the triple goddess [the maiden, the mother and the crone [wise grandmother?]- that was a good catch! And as this was the last dream of the month of January – the first one to start the month was Titled ‘Witch Troubles’ – I just see this book cover flash in front of my eyes. So that Catherine is attributed to the Goddess of Dreams – a goddess associated with witchcraft, magic and dreams – this resonates!  I like your take on Catherine’s wanting to end her pregnancy is a sign of independence – she is extremely independent – not married

Anyway thanks again for this pleasure of seeing how you work with dreams – excellent!”

Bonnie
What are your thoughts?

How would you interpret a dream filled with so many archetypical symbols? I would love to hear from you.

My next blog will be a Q&A: the questions that are usually asked when people want to know what their dreams mean, and the answers to those questions. The last blog is about the questions you should be asking when you want to know what a dream means.

Do You want to Remember more Dreams? Here are 10 easy steps:

 

 


THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Dreamfunda:  
Everything you need to know about dreams. Practical How to’s, the latest scientific research, the most commonly used ways to attach meaning to dreams. This and more is given to you for your everyday use in this part of Mindfunda

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


Ready for more free Mindfunda content on ‘#DREAMS‘?

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Aging and Becoming: A Roadmap Towards Authenticity

Aging & Becoming
by Susan Scott & Susan E. Schwartz
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2017, Kindle $9.94 ISBN 1541164016, Paperback $12.99 ISBN 978-1541164017
Reviewed by Susanne van Doorn, MSc.

 

 

Aging and Becoming, A Reflective journey

Susan Scott, one of the guest bloggers of my Goddess month on Mindfunda and author of In Praise of Lilith Eve + the Serpent in the Garden of Eden & Other Stories has a beautiful blog called The Garden of Eden.
Susan Schwartz Ph.D, is a Jungian Analyst and author of Couples at the Crossroads. Both ladies joined (Jungian) forces to write ‘Aging and Becoming -A reflective Enquiry-‘. In a time when age has been Botox-ed out of the conversation, this book is refreshing.

Profound but not in a preachy kind of way. Both ladies are so completely vulnerable and honest towards each other. Aging is presented as an excellent way to become authentic.

aging

 

I feel blessed every day that I have the luck to experience getting older. As Type 1 diabetic, I have experienced physical decay at an early age. I am consciously sporting each day, I am aware of what I eat, because I have cherished goal. I want to become a grandmother. Not just any grandmother. I want to be the best grandmother ever. To me it it has always felt aging melts away the things that never belonged to me.

Aging and the ALPHABET

Both of the Susan’s live in different continents. Susan Scott lives in South Africa, while Susan Schwartz lives in North America. They met when the American Susan was visiting Africa and stayed at the house of the African Susan.

aging

A friendship started, and both of the ladies exchanged letters/emails. Each year in April Susan Scott participates in a blogging challenge that requires her to blog for a month about a subject using each day a different letter of the alphabet. The ladies mapped their book accordingly. Their road to authenticity ranges from the ‘A’ from Aging and Attitude to the Z of Zero. Some chapters have only one theme, like the chapter on Grief. Other chapters have two or even three themes like Knowledge and Keys or Moon Mourning & Mystery.

Aging and Discussion

The Susans give so much more than just the letters of the alphabet. They discuss spirit, soul, money, omphalos (the arc of life) and the way things always look different from the end. It is filled with memorable quotes. One at the beginning of a chapter, one at the end. Written in such an articulate way, that their book is filled with memorable quotes. Here are some beauties:

“It was a face to be faced” (about a woman who felt bad about the Botox operation she had).

“Aging and its truth and the loss of time can halt the lies we make to ourselves. Somehow, if tomorrows are always there it seems like something might surface and create new or renewed hope and love”. (I just read that several times. Aging and its truth, don’t you love that. Don’t you feel in your bones how true this is?)

“Much that happens in life needs to be chewed on, masticated and swallowed, digested, perhaps dissolved”. (Here the process of alchemy is symbolised in such an inspiring way that I put a golden mental frame around it).

This book can easily be used as a thesaurus filled with symbols.

Aging and Dreams

“Becoming familiar with dreams is akin to learning a new language. We find doors opening to a place that we didn’t know existed. A dialogue begins with our inner and outer worlds. Links and connections are made as we become more fluent in this previously foreign language”.

aging

Several dreams are discussed in this book. The chapter dedicated to Dreams, Death and Depth, focusses on the jigsaw puzzle a dream can be.

“Recording my dreams and wondering about them is food for my soul. I’m always grateful when a dream presents itself and I can record it. Its message or meaning is double-dutch to me to begin with. It takes me a long time of wondering before I get a sense of what it may mean. I get a bit antsy sometimes when I don’t have dreams for several nights or weeks”.

We all know that feeling! The joy of remembering dreams, the gift you give to yourself when you spent time trying to fit the pieces of the dream puzzle together.  The feeling that there is so much more beauty and complexity in your soul than what you are aware of. To me that is the charm of dreams, that is why I devote so much time and energy in it.

Pro
  • You will be embraced by the immense Jungian knowledge of two very eloquent Jungian ladies.
  • This book will not only give you an immense knowledge on symbolism, it also has a lot to say about the practical use of mythology. Bluebeard and Baba Yaga will be strangers no more when you read this.
  • This book will stimulate you to ask yourself questions like: who has been your Bluebeard? Are you familiar with your own Baba Yaga? How and why do you use the sentence No?
  • It is a very affordable book, given its rich content.
  • The authors speak of “voice of the heart versus the voice of the world”. It reminded me of Jung, in his Red Book, wrestling with the voice of this time versus the voice of the depth.
  • This is a perfect book/gift for a woman who has reached a certain age. I don’t think younger ladies or gentlemen will truly resonate with the book.

Con

  • Sometimes I felt the need to read chapters about a certain subject, instead of the letters. Even though the actors did manage to squeeze in a lot of content, I missed chapters about becoming a grandparent, about the stages of life of a woman. Maybe it is just personal, because I am not used to books written this way.
  • This is a perfect book/gift for a woman who has reached a certain age. I don’t think younger ladies or gentlemen will truly resonate with the book.

Mindfunda verdict:
8/10

Here is an link to buy on Amazon if you enjoyed this review,
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Spiritual Soul Searching: Mindfunda Course

“A dream is a small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens up to that primeval cosmic night that was the soul, long before there was the conscious ego.”

~ Carl Gustav Jung

Do you ever have that feeling that there is more? That there has got to be more? A feeling that you really do not belong in this time and place? It could be that you are yearning for your soul…

Spiritual Soul Searching

We have a brain that is wired for spirituality. No matter how rational the world has become, this spiritual longing is in our nature. And it is so much better to live a life that honours your nature than it is to live a life fighting it. But that is what most people do. If you want to change that, Mindfunda’s Spiritual Soul Searching is the course for you.

spiritual

In four weeks, Susanne van Doorn, MSc, and Christian Gerike, M.A., will guide you in an exploration of  different aspects of your spirituality. We will not only read about spirituality, we will also do exercises and incubations so you are able to experience it. We will incubate dreams, answer questions, and draw conclusions.

After the four weeks, you are asked to draw your spirituality, based on the experiences you had during this course. We will talk about the drawings at the end of the course.  If you would like personal guidance, there is a plan that provides this on a weekly basis. It is always very insightful to talk about your dreams with an expert that provides an objective vision.

Spiritual program

The course consists of 4 weekly lessons. Each week you will get:

1) one lesson about your innate spirituality;

2) one lesson about connecting with your shadow;

3) one lesson about archetypes;

4) dream examples to guide you in re-interpreting your dream journal;

5) questions to explore your own inner wealth; and

6) a dream incubation to use the rest of that week, or any time you would like to re-discover this aspect;

7) a concluding lesson about your personal mandala; a treasure for the rest of your life.

When the course is finished you will have created a roadmap for your Spiritual Self. A valuable asset to contain inner balance. A way to seek fulfilment within. It will keep you focussed. It will keep you balanced.

spiritual

 

Spirital Soul searching experiences

Christian  and I presented a similar well-received  program at the 2016 International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) Conference in the Netherlands. In four mornings we have explored the topics in this course. It was so inspiring that psychoanalyst and author (The GapLouis Hagood, one of our participants wrote a presentation about it, that got featured on the psiberconfernce of the IASD. *) This  annual online conference  focuses on the “psi” in dreaming. Psi dreams are dreams in which ordinary boundaries of space and time get transcended.

Here is an excerpt;

“I prepared to incubate a Shadow dream before going to bed. I hold an incubation object in my left hand while sleeping to focus my intent, and decided to use the Native American dream catcher that I wear as a pin on the lapel of my jacket. Before closing my eyes I asked the dream-incubation question three times, “What is my Shadow?”

In the dream I got in response I am standing on a country road, feeling pleased with myself, when a “less than” man approaches me holding a pitch fork or trident. He pins me to the ground with his tool/weapon as I call for help from the passersby, who ignore me. I wake myself in distress, and wonder why I couldn’t deal with him in any other way. I am a psychoanalyst, analyzed three times over thirty years, a lucid dreamer for ten years, and have dealt with Shadow figures throughout, yet couldn’t negotiate with this figure. Jung introduced the objective psyche, as opposed to the subjective, which contains autonomous figures, and mine was definitely autonomous!”

– Louis Hagood*

Spiritual Soul searching

We have a special premium feature for this course. You get 4 one-hour consultations; each week one full hour about what you have experienced and concluded. In this way, you are able to magnify your own inner force and get unbiased advice from a skilled coach and dream worker. Click below to find out more!

Need more information first? Go to the Course Page, or Contact us by mail:

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THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Spirifunda:
psychology for everyday with a spiritual layer of meaning, searching for the soul. Our brains are wired for believe in magic. In a world filled with rationality, you sometimes need a little magic, a little “I wonder why”. Synchronicity, the insights of Carl Jung, the mythology used by Freud, the archetypical layers in the Tarot, the wisdom of the I Tjing, Shamanism, the oldest religion of humanity, all that information gets published in the Spirifunda section of Mindfunda.

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


Ready for more free Mindfunda content on ‘SPIRITUALITY‘?

The Body of Poetry: Sculpting Curves into Words

This is the last Mindfunda blog in my series about the body and it features the body of poetry. Female poetry to be more precise. This blog is a part ...
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Woman Most Wild, 3 Keys to Liberating the Witch Within

Woman Most Wild, three Keys to Liberating the Witch Within by Danielle Dusky New World Library, 2017, $10.84 paperback ISBN-13: 9781608684663; kindle $13.51 ISBN-10: 1608684660 reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn "We are ...
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International Woman’s Day: Be Bold for Change

Each year on March 8, it's International Woman's Day. The theme of 2017 is: Be BOLD for change. And unfortunately, even after so many decades of action, the female principle ...
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* Read the full presentation of Louis Hagood here: "Abbey Incubation".

Freud in His Time and Ours

Freud in His Time and Ours
by: Elisabeth Roudinesco, translated by Catherine Porter
Harvard University Press, 2016, Hardcopy $35.00 Kindle $21.26
ISBN 9780674659568

Freud has made a lasting impression on our society. The term “Oedipus complex” has become an instant joke whenever a young guy is too close with his mother.
To be honest with you: I had a hard time taking him serious. He supposed that every woman secretly wanted to be a man. I think that being a woman is so much more interesting than being a man… Women have intuition, emotion, and they can have children. But there is more to Freud than penis envy…

 

Freud

When I educated myself in Mythology, I began to get a different vision on Freud. The way his mind could recognise mythological themes in the problems of his patients was inspiring. Being a Jungian, the clash between Freud and Jung in my eyes is an almost archetypical representation of our current collision between ratio (Freud) and our brains that are wired for spirituality (Jung) (Read more about the current paradigm in science in this Minfunda blog). Reading Freud in His Time and Ours has certainly given me a different vision on Freud.

Freud as the FAVOURITE son

Psychoanalyst Élisabeth Roudinesco, has done a great job of putting things (and Freud) in perspective. I must admit, at thirst I thought that a biography written by a psychoanalyst would be very biased. But this well written, easy to read book (even though it has more than 400 pages) gives such a balanced inside into both his good and his bad personality traits.

Freud was born into a family of tradesman, and he was the first who made a living with his knowledge. His father had the habit of saying that Sigmund had more knowledge in his little toe, than he (Jacob) had in his whole body. Needless to say, that any child, growing up with this kind of expectations, usually ends up well. It makes you wish that parents and teachers knew this too…

Freud and Jung: the collision
Freud
Jung and Freud in America
Front row, next to G. Stanley Hall who is in the middle

Being born into a Jewish family, Freud experienced all kinds of racism and did not have the chance to conquer the world like he had dreamed to do. Jung becomes one of his most promising disciples.  The story about how the two men talked for 10 hours during their first meeting is told once again in the book.

If you are a Jungian, you will notice that there is still a sour undertone in the way  Roudinesco talks about Jung. Anyone who has had two children arguing, recognises this kind of behaviour. Like a mother you tell your children to stop arguing, and they secretly start pinching each other under the table.

 

Freud

Jung is called a “mythomaniacal pastor’s son, who has an uncanny preference for sorcerers”. When you read that, you think: why can’t the two camps: Jungian and Freudian, just kiss and make up after all those years? Let’s put the fighting behind us and dive into the interesting part. We know the two giants because of the way they put dreaming on the map.

 

Freud

Even up till now, the two camps keep on fighting with each other. Let’s decide to grow up. Science has proved that Jung and Freud both were right on some points and both were completely clueless on other points.

Freud and Jung: the dream team?

“Freud and Jung went on pursuing their passion for interpreting dreams for a long time. Both of them, like the disciples in the first circle, were certain that henceforth, thanks to their shared doctrine, the unconscious had made a spectacular entry into the everyday life of European societies. It was as though it was no longer possible to immerse dreams in sleep, to conceal them in the depths of nocturnal life, since, through the miracle of Freudian interpretation, man itself had become the embodiment of his dreams. This was the maximum of the new day, which the poet Joe Bousquet later summed up in a striking formulation: “There were signs that a time was coming when people would no longer dream, man having become the dream” (page 132).

And indeed, this is a book to put on your wish list when you have dedicated yourself to dreams. When you forgive Roudinesco for her ongoing (but expected) bias towards Freud, you will get so much information about psychoanalysis, about the introvert man he was, about his need for a frenamy: a close friend who later became an enemy. After you have read this book you will have a new perspective on Freud.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Easy to read;
  • Over 400 pages, but this could be on the negative side for some people;
  • The book explains how Freud became his own method of psychoanalysis, by painting the era  he was living in;
  • It is good to inform yourself of the darker sides of Jung and Freud during the war. Everyone did what he needed to do in order to survive;
  • Roudinesco is very open about Freud’s experiments with, and addiction to cocaine;
  • After you have read this book you will have a new perspective on Freud;
  • You owe it to yourself to read this book if you are a fan of dreams and dreaming.

Cons

  • To my surprise, Mark Solms is not mentioned in the book. The man who brought Freud back in the three main scientific ways to explore dreams. It is a shame, because I am quite sure Mr. Solms would have gladly participated on a chapter about modern psychoanalysis;
  • When you are more aligned with the Jungian school of thinking, you will have to read around the almost open contempt of Jung. We all know that Jung has his darker sides, but Freud also had his challenges;
  • One of the things I missed was a better biography of Freud’s disciples.

Mindfunda verdict:
7,5/10

Here is an link to buy on Amazon if you enjoyed this review,
and like to support our work. We appreciate your help!

Nutrition, Neurons, and the Brain: Your Brain on Food Book Review

Your Brain on Food, How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts And Feelings
by Gary L. Wenk
Oxford University Press, 2010, 2015, $24,95, ISBN 978 0 19 939327 5
Reviewed by Susanne van Doorn

 

nutrition
Buy the Book using this link
and support the good work of Mindfunda
how Nutrition can be addictive

Gary Wenk PhD, Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience & Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics at the Ohio State University and Medical Center, has written a book that we all need to read. Because we are all addicted.

Some are addicted to love, but all of us are addicted to food. It is such a shame that there are not classes in schools, teaching our children about how the brain reacts to food.

Now this addiction is a necessity, because if we don’t eat, we are going to die. But Gary Wenk shows you how this addiction works. And he tells how drugs work.
“This book explores not only several drugs but also a range of foods with these effects”. There is not such a big difference between drugs and food…

Nutrition that is good for us

I know what you are thinking right now. “What food do I need to eat? Just tell me and I will go out and buy it. I will even eat it. Each day. Promise.”

But you know well enough as I do, that there is no miracle food. Gary refutes our believes about Ginkgo biloba as anti-aging miracle, reduces our believe in omega 3, unless you are depressed. He says what our mothers have always thought us: eat a lot of different foods, in a variety of colours. There is no need to take supplements, except for calcium if you are a woman of a certain age.

nutrition

Fruit gets a thumbs up, because of the antioxidants. Oxygen is our biggest enemy, but we are not able to life without it. So eating lots of fruits is very good for the brain.

Nutrition and Fat

We all know that food in restaurants usefully tastes so much better than food at home. That is because of the magical ingredient of fat. Nutrition that contains fat is immediately rewarding. Do you know we have a fat gene?
“A recent study demonstrated that humans, and other animals, exhibit a protein on their tongue that can sense the presence of fat” (p. 43).

nutrition

And did you know there is a parasite that eats your fat away? The T. Gondii… Before you start ordering this parasite, you have to know that ingesting any parasite is not without danger.

Conclusion: to buy or not to buy?

Pros:

  • You owe it to yourself to educate yourself about food. This is a very informative book.
  • The book covers the most important neurotransmitters: dopamine, histamine, acetylcholine and serotonin for example.
  • You will find out that drinking coffee isn’t as bad as you always thought.
  • You will find out that the only way to lose weight is to start eating less.
  • You will find out that eating less is the best thing you can do for your brain.
  • You are going to know so much more about Alzheimer and Parkinson, that it is a must buy for anyone who has a person with that disease in their midst.

Cons:

  • The publisher wanted to make this a popular science book so there are no models of neural pathways in it. This is what I mean:
    tryptophan -> 5-hydroxytryptophan -> serotonin. It is all explained in texts, of course. Gary knows his stuff, no question about it. But I missed these simple models and I experienced a craving for such a model with a list of food that would benefit a person who would want to increase these substances.
  • Gary is a Professor. He has a scientific way of writing. The book is readable, but not really easy. You have to pay attention, scrabble your own models down and make your own conclusions. As a matter of fact, this could just as well be a pro, but if you are looking for an easy book, this isn’t it. You have to put your brain to work reading it.
  • Being a dream expert I was disappointed to read a chapter about “Sleeping versus Waking” that is mostly about staying or being awake.

Mindfunda verdict:
 8/10

Here is an link to buy on Amazon if you enjoyed this review, and like to support our work. We appreciate your help!


THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Brainfunda:
articles and relevant information about the brain about how you can use this in your everyday life. Neurology, the brain all the fascinating things we find out in current research.

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


Ready for more free Mindfunda content on ‘NEUROLOGY‘?

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Ramon y Cajal: Father of Neurology and his Vision on Dreams

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Book Review: 11 titles on Mindfunda 2016

Welcome to this years’ list of book review’s that I put on Mindfunda.
At its core, Mindfunda is here to distribute useful information to you. Information that will make your life more fun. In three ways: we offer online courses, we offer book reviews and we offer blogs with information about dreaming, spirituality and mythology.

Do you miss a book? Had you read or written a wonderful book about mythology, spirituality or dreams you want me to review ? Let me know below!

This is the 2016 book review list, that only contains books that were published this year. It starts with the most recent Mindfunda blog post and ends with the oldest post. If you want to buy a book, be so kind to use the affiliate link from Mindfunda. In that way you will support our good work.

book review
art found on CCHunterbooks.com
Book review 2016

Call Of the Cats, What I Learned about Life and Love from a Feral Colony by Andrew Bloomfield. Cats have an uncanny bond with humans. Just as I was offered this for a book review by the publisher, a friend of mine shared a presentation about how her cats had influence her dreaming.

book review
click here to buy the book

So you can understand that I had to say yes to this request. The book reads like a psychological novel. If you like cats, be sure to buy this book, you will not be sorry.

A Day in the Life of the Brain by Susan Greenfield. Susan Greenfield describes a day of a normal guy and paints a picture of what happens in his brain.

book review
click here to buy the book

Easy to read, with fascinating chapters on dreaming, and on consciousness in animals.

Sleep Monsters and Superheroes edited by Jean Campbell and Clare Johnson, who both contributed chapters to this book.

Children and dreams… With this book every parent, every teacher, niece, nephew, uncle or aunt has a chance to introduce their children to the magic of dreaming.

book review
click here to buy the book

When I gave dream workshops for pregnant ladies in the beginning of this century, I was visited by so many parents and grandparents asking me how to handle the nightmares of their children. I prepared for the workshop by reading the information that was available on the website of Patricia Garfield. Patricia  Garfield also contributed to this book.  A wealth of information, you can add to your mother-toolkit.

Mythology of the Soul by H.G. Baynes.

A book that combines two things I love: mythology and art. Over 900 pages of information about dreams and Jungian psychology by one of the best Jungian analysts in England.

book review
click here to buy the book

If you like dreams, art and Jungian psychology, this is the book for you.

The Power of Ritual by Robbie Davis-Floyd and Charles Laughlin.

Human beings are sensitive to rituals. This book is written in a way that makes you understand the psychological, spiritual and psychical side of ritual.

book review
click here to buy the book

This book researches ritual in every aspect, leaving no stone unturned. It will be so much easier for you to create your own positive rituals after you have read this book.

Translating Myth edited by Ben PestellPietra Palazzolo and Leon Burnett.

Mythology is a cultural concept. Each culture, each century, has its own mythologies. This book has the ambitious quest to offer a translation: from century to century, from continent to continent.

book review
click here to buy the book

 

I really loved all the wisdom and stories packed in this book. It has become the theoretical backbone of my Mindfunda Movies course.

The Goddess and the Shaman by J.A. Kent.

The doors to the realm of the Elphame open through dreams. If you like shamanism as proposed by Micheal Warner, this is the book for you.

 

book review
click here to buy the book

 

It is not a work book however. If you are looking for ways to connect with the inner Goddess you might want to consider the online Mindfunda Mythology Course .

Big Dreams by Kelley Bulkeley.

This book is a plea to look at special dreams and research their characteristics. Lucid dreams, visitation dreams, mutual dreams.

book review
click here to buy the book

Only if we look at those special dreams can we come to an understanding of the phenomenon of dreaming, according to Bulkeley. What I like most about this book is the way that Bulkeley effortlessly writes about sophisticated neurological research in an understandable way.

What is Relativity by Jeffrey Bennet.

In the past I had so many time-travel dreams that I had this inner craving to understand more about its possibilities.

book reviews
click here to buy the book

This was a very interesting book review. I discovered so much reading this. Not all fun though, because time travel is not possible (my time travel dreams did cease soon thereafter). But if you are crazy about astronomy, if you are a star-gazer, or just Einstein crazy, this is the book for you.

Strange Gods by Susan Jacoby. A book not only about the cruel middle ages. It is still happening, conversions. Religion is intertwined with power and privilege.

book review
click here to buy the book

 

And last but certainly not least: Mythic Worlds, Modern Words by Joseph Campbell, edited by Edmund Epstein.

book review
click here to buy the book

Using James Joyce his oeuvre as a guide to the mythological aspects of your challenges.

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Consciousness: the Ripples in the Lake of the Brain

‘A Day in the Life of the Brain –
The Neuroscience of Consciousness from Dawn Till Dusk’  by Susan Greenfield

Reviewed for Mindfunda by Drs. Susanne van Doorn
Allen Lane, 2016,
kindle ISBN: 0241256674
hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0241256671

 

consciousness
Use this link to buy the book and support Mindfunda

 

Susan Greenfield takes you through the day and night of a male with a teenage son in an unhappy marriage. This sounds much more unattractive as it is. The unhappy marriage is a way to talk about depression. A mental disturbance that many people have nowadays. About 40 million Americans are depressed according to the ADAA, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Ever since I have been interested in consciousness I have been told that it is impossible to select a certain brain section responsible for it. Susan Greenfield explains that consciousness consists of assemblies: “very large numbers of brain cells working together for just a fraction of a second” (page4). These assemblies are the ripples of the stone thrown into the lake. How large the stone is, how hard it is thrown, all the variables are discussed in the various chapters.

Continue reading Consciousness: the Ripples in the Lake of the Brain

3 things you should know about a Visitation Dream

A Visitation Dream is like an orgasm. If you had one, you know it. There is no doubt about it. A visitation dream is a special kind of dream.

“Visitation dreams have an even more illustrious historical and cultural background. Dreams of dead ancestors are a prominent and well-known experience found in virtually every indigenous culture studied by Western anthropologists and ethnographers.”
Kelly Bulkeley, “Big dreams: The science of dreaming & the origins of religion.” 2016, p. 77. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

visitation dream

Continue reading 3 things you should know about a Visitation Dream

Children Dream about Sleep Monsters and Superheroes

Sleep Monsters and Superheroes: Empowering Children through Creative Dreamplay
Clare R. Johnson and Jean M. Campbell, Editors
ABC-CLIO, LLC 2016, $48.00 paper ISBN-13: 9781440842665,
$47.85 ebook: ISBN-10: 1440842663
Reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn
Edited by Christian Gerike M.A.

 

children dream
Support the good work of Mindfunda and buy the book using this link
Children Dream, parents panic

Children dream. In their dreams they are creative, they are scared, they cope with the challenges the world imposes on them. Usually when children wake up crying, in terror, parents panic. With all the information in this book, that will never happen to you again.

Dr. Clare Johnson, author, Lucid Dreaming expert, board member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) and Jean Campbell M.A. author, former IASD president and founder of the online group Worldpeacebridge, got together to create a book about children’s dreams. And magic started to happen.

children dream

 

Jean Campbell, at the 2016 Psiber Dreaming Conference (a conference about the “psi” element in dreaming), tells how this book came about:

“We talked about how nice it would be to have a book that talked about working with children with their dreams. Clare and I said to each other, “why not see if we can find a publisher for such a book?” And the most amazing thing happened. When we wrote to the acquisitions editor at Praeger, the immediate reply (within five minutes of the request) was “YES!!) Now, I have worked on and off in the publishing industry for years, and I know very well that no publisher does that.”.

 

Children dream: history of dream books

When I heard about a new children- dream book being written, I thought: it is about time! The first really good book about the dreams of children I ever read was a Dutch translation of Jung’s Kindertraume: Children’s Dreams: Notes from the Seminar Given in 1936-1940. In 2012, Kelly Bulkeley and Patricia Bulkley, both contributors to this book, wrote Children’s Dreams: Understanding the Most Memorable Dreams and Nightmares of Childhood. The Jungian approach is still valid after more than seventy years.

The focus of Sleep Monsters and Super Heroes is on dream play: “Led into dreamplay by a supportive adult, children can become “superheroes” in their dreams, and this empowerment carries over into their waking lives” (page 9). Each of the 17 contributors shares a vision. The book is filled with an interesting array of visions from artists, scientists, lucid dreamers, parents, teachers. They all share methods, insights they have acquired, and techniques you can apply.


Sleep Monsters and Super Heroes, Empowering your Children through Creative Dreamplay, is divided into four parts:

  1. Creativity and Healing;
  2. Inner and Outer Worlds;
  3. Extreme Dreams;
  4. Extraordinary Dreams.

    children dream

    Even though I would like to quote every author that contributed to this book, the blog would become too long. I did some cherry picking, even though it was very hard, and only picked one chapter per part.

Creativity and Healing.

Patricia Garfield, in her chapter “Superkid and Other Joyful Dreams: Creative Dreaming with Young Children”says: “Researchers tell us that people who have a sense of accomplishment in life are those who set goals just a little beyond the level they are sure to attain”.

children dreamArt found bright accountancy.com

As parents, we can assist our children in setting realistic goals; we can glimpse these inner goals through the window of our children’s dreams” (page 11). So dreams do not only give parents a glimpse of the soul of their children, but are also a useful tool in setting goals.

Inner and Outer Worlds

In the chapter “The Impact of Digital Technology on Children’s Dreams” Jayne Gackenbach explains how dreams have changed due to our increasing dependence on technology and games. And dreams do not always change for the worse. Young people that game supposedly have more access towards obtaining the ability to engage in lucid dreams. At the 2016 Conference of the IASD, one of the keynote speeches: Playing the Dream by Frank Bosman was about this subject.

children dream

 

“Gamers are more likely to consider the “nightmare” as fun and perceive it like playing a combat-centric game. Gamers see a drastic change in their threat perception and reaction, and events or experiences that may paralyze others in dreams are instead an empowering challenge to overcome. In other words, heavy gamers experience dream events that bolster their confidence rather than create negative emotions” (page 122).

So gaming isn’t all bad for your children/boyfriend/spouse/fiancee. Negative emotions will probably be handled better, because the gamer is working with it all day and night.

Extreme dreams

In the chapter “Weirdness in the Night: Terrors and Disorders in Children’s Sleep” Ryan Hurd gives more information about parasomnias: sleepwalking, sleep paralysis and sleep terrors.

“Sleepwalking erupts out of deep sleep, when delta waves predominate the sleeping brain in the first half of the night. Sleep walking and other arousal disorders usually surface within an hour or two after the child goes to sleep. The sleepwalker rouses and moves about for a few minutes with open but distant eyes. Children can perform complex behavior as well, although their movements may be clumsy and not well defined. When confronted, a sleepwalker may simply navigate around the obstacle without acknowledgement or respond foggily at best”.

children dream

Any parent who has experienced his child sleepwalking knows it can be a very strange experience to see your child aware, but in another state of being. Ryan not only gives expert advice backed up by research, he is been through all of this himself when he was a child.

Extraordinary Dreams

In the chapter “Dream Magicians: Empower Children through Lucid Dreaming” Clare Johnson reminds us of how common lucid dreams are for children.
“One 2006 study by Qinmei, Qinggong, and Jie shows that most four-to-six-year-olds believe that there may be a way of controlling the action in their dreams, while knowing that this is a dream” (page 289).

 

 

children dream
Art cartoon wizard: joyreactor.com

 

“Being a dream magician can be as simple as thinking a clear, guiding thought in a lucid dream, or it can involve more complex actions such as reciting mantras and spells, creating new dream scenes, or using magical props such as an invisibility cloak or a wishing ring” (page 290).

Conclusion

To buy or not to buy, that is the question. Here are some pro’s and cons.

Pro

  • This book provides you with a wealth of information and techniques about helping children to dive into the world of dreams.
  • There are contributions from researchers, teachers, and parents.
  • The book is easy to read.
  • Not every author focused on dreamplay, but this could also be added to the con’s of this book.

Con

  • 48 dollars is rather expensive, even though it is value for money: more than 350 pages of information about dreams from different angles.
  • Not every author focused on dreamplay, but this could also be added to the pro’s of this book.

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How to Remember your Dreams

christianderikejpgToday’s Guest Blog: Remembering Dreams  is written by Christian Gerike M.A, who teaches The Psychology of Dreams  at Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California.
It is Part II of a two Part series about Sleeping and Dreaming. By clicking the link you can read Part I: Sleep Well, Remembering Dream.

Continue reading How to Remember your Dreams

Sleeping Well, Remembering Dreams

christianderikejpgToday’s Guest Blog: Sleeping Well, Remembering Dreams  is written by Christian Gerike M.A, who teaches The Psychology of Dreams  at Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California.
It is Part I of a two Part series about Sleeping and Dreaming; you can read Part II: Remembering Dreams here.

Continue reading Sleeping Well, Remembering Dreams

Problem Solving using the Committee of Sleep

Life is about problem solving. You just conquered a problem. Before you have a chance to lay back and enjoy your peace of mind, another problem is calling to be solved. Deirdre Barrett Ph.D, who teaches at Harvard, wrote a book about how dreams can be used as tools for problem solving.

problem solving
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Continue reading Problem Solving using the Committee of Sleep

Cognitive Dream Theory: Bill Domhoff

bill_2011
Bill Domhoff
Photo global.usb.edu

Mindfunda Talked with Bill Domhoff about the Cognitive Dream Theory. In the Mindfunda Online Course Dreaming about the Brain, this is one of the three models discussed. The other two are the psychodynamic model of Mark Solms and the Activation-Input-Modulation  of Allan Hobson. The latter being the most widely accepted theory of dreaming by scientists.

Continue reading Cognitive Dream Theory: Bill Domhoff

Conscious: our capacity to know about us

Being Conscious to me is knowing who you are. Having a concept of self. Being type one diabetic I have experienced first hand what can go wrong with this concept of self due to low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia). I remember how I, at one point in time, felt that I could not walk anymore in a straight line. I fell down.

Some teenagers started laughing because they thought I was drunk, or a drug user. I remember clearly how my brain reported back to

 

conscious

 

Continue reading Conscious: our capacity to know about us

Neurologic: understanding more of you and your world

Neurologic. The aim of this very readable book of Eliezer Sternberg is to explain how the brain acts while you do irrational things.

neurologic

Sternberg, who works at Yale-New Haven Hospital, has a big agenda. In his book he wants to explain:

  1. perception;
  2. habit;
  3. learning;
  4. memory;
  5. language;
  6. existence of selfhood and last but not least;
  7. identity.

Continue reading Neurologic: understanding more of you and your world

Sleeping beauty as modern day Inanna

In the month of December Mindfunda will publish a series of blogs about the descent. Today’s blog is about the resemblance of the story of Sleeping Beauty with the Descent Mythology.

  1. The first one was about depression as descent.
  2. In the second Guest blog, Jean Raffa explored Inanna’s descent as a personal myth.
  3. This third blog will focus on the common themes found the Descent Myth of Inanna and Sleeping Beauty.
  4. The last blog, written by Elaine Mansfield, will talk about Redeeming the dark.

Sleeping Beauty and Inanna

The story of Inanna was the greatest and most influential of Bronze Age myths, apart from the Epic of Gilgamesh” say Anne Baring and Jules Cashford in their “The Myth of the Goddess”, still one of the best handbooks around when it comes to Goddesses.

sleeping beauty
“The Myth of the Godess” – Buy the book using this link and support Mindfunda

Anne Baring and Jules Cashford write in their chapter about The Descent of Inanna: “While Inanna is in the Underworld, during the three days of darkness, it is as though a spell has been cast in the upper world. Fertility is suspended; everything falls asleep. The imagery of the Sleeping Beauty comes irresistibly to mind. Was the story the origin of the fairy tale whose lunar princess, together with the parents and the court, falls asleep on her fifteenth birthday and who is awakened by the prince, who restores her and the whole court to live?”

 

sleeping beauty
Sleeping Beauty: Disney

 

The sleep was the result of a spell of one of the wise thirteen women who was not invited to the party, celebrating the miraculous birth of the couple that had been infertile for years. To conceive a child, the couple gets help from a frog. But this kind of dark side magic comes with a price.

So here is the Dark Mother Goddess.  A spinning Goddess, who spins out life, giving form to new ideas, new creations. The fifteenth day of the cycle of the moon is the day the moon begins to wane. So the Goddess not invited has to be the Goddess of the Dark Moon. To quote Anne Baring and Jules Cashford in The Myth of the Goddess: “The Mother Goddess begins to loosen the threads of the cloth she has woven”.

Sleeping beauty and number 13

Thirteen is the exact number of full moon’s in a year. And it was Apollo 13 who got into trouble in 1970: “Houston, we got a problem”. It is an unlucky number. Friday the 13th is the day that, according to legend, Jesus got crucified. That sacrifice, giving up his consciousness for his belief in an afterlife, is exactly the same as the sacrifice in the Quest that Inanna undertakes in her journey to the Underworld. The Mother Goddess Inanna, travels to the realm of her Sister Queen Ereshkigal. The Earth becomes infertile. Like the Kingdom of the parents of Sleeping Beauty became infertile, when the curse casted by the uninvited Fairy  was completed.

The Sleeping Beauty and the Waste Land

So here we have a theme of a King and Queen, and their daughter sleeping. The Kingdom goes to waste. Every sign of growth is put on hold. The land has become a waste land. We have seen this theme in the Grail Story. Like Sleeping Beauty, the Grail story is a story of enchantment and disenchantment. Like the Wounded King, Sleeping Beauty gets stung. The King by a lance, Sleeping beauty by a spindle. Both are unable to fertilize anything. The wounded King is wounded in his thighs, suggesting that this is the reason for his infertility. The father of Sleeping Beauty has this same  fertility issue. And now, at the onset of her own menarche, the wounded princes falls asleep. Postponing her entrance on the marriage market for a staggering 100 years.

 

sleeping beauty
Waste land
toppixgalery.com

 

We have all been there. We have all been so hurt by a stinging remark of somebody that we fell sleep. Our light, vividness, sense of humor was gone. Trapped in an infertile land. New thoughts, new creative ideas did not have a chance to reach maturity, just like Sleeping Beauty.

I remember the hurt and humiliation I felt when an older Dutch person who works with dreams said when he read one of my books: “You need to go out and get some life experience”. I have never tried to write a book again, feeling quite sure that it could not be good enough. In that way I am Sleeping Beauty, who needs to be kissed awake.

Innana’s myth of the descent is a tale about life after death. Inanna visits the Kingdom of her sister who hangs her on a meat hook. Like Sleeping Beauty she is paralyzed for a short while. Striped down, hung out ty dry, with all the creative juices dripping out of her flesh. Like Sleeping Beauty, who is rescued by the prince, Inanna receives help from her animus as well. The King of Gods, Enki, creates beings from the dirt underhis finger nails.

Sleeping Beauty
Enki
Photo: Wikipedia

 

The integration of the animus in a woman is in both stories the way to turn the tables. Getting out of the helpless stage, embracing your own masculine side is an important step before one can enter any marriage market. Theater you want to propose to your boyfriend, or if you want to court a new idea for a book, a play or a writing.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

REMEMBER: the CHRISTMAS period IS a VERY SPECIAL TIME FOR DREAMING, SO JOIN MINDFUNDA FOR THE HOLY NIGHT DREAM INCUBATIONS.

Mindfunda invites you for a Christmas celebration you will remember. For just 10 dollars you get exclusive access to a restricted private area on Mindfunda during the Holy Nights. Each night between December 24rd and January 6th, I will share a dream incubation. We will talk about and reflect on our dreams. Ancient belief says that during these nights the veil between the worlds is thin. Register now as Mindfunda More Member, to experience the depth of your dreams.

Evolution: a new ancestor of homo sapiens

In December 2013 Steven Tucker and Rick Hunter discovered new bones in the cave of Rising Star. There was only room for a very skinny human beings to crawl through the small Superman’s Crawl to reach Dragon’s back and descend further down into cave Dinaldi.

evolution
image: http://wetenschep.nl/

The book Skull in the rock tells about the search for the remains of the origins of the humanoid species. We all have this inner notion that going down into caves will bring us a greater wisdom of our species. We hope to get in touch with our ancestors. And that is exactly what Lee Berger and his son did in 2008.

evolution
The Skull in the rock
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He wanted to find fossils that would bring more clarity into the evolution of our species Homo sapiens. Berger thinks that the bones found in the caves of Dinaldi proof to be the Rosetta stone in the evolution of Homo Sapiens.

If you descent 12 meters down the earth into the Rising Star cave, you enter another cave. There the remains were found. 1550 specimen belonging to approximately 15 individuals called Homo Naledi.

evolution
Homo Naledi
National Geographic

The strange fact about this hominoid is that his top half is ape like, while his legs and feet are human-like. It’s head, and therefore his brain was half as big as ours is. Grown men where about 60 inches, women where a bit smaller.

Another strange fact is that in the cave there where no remains of animals. So the  people found here did not live here. Where they buried? Thrown down into a ritual after death? That would mean that Homo Nalendi had a form of consciousness and ritual that Homo sapiens has untill this day. This also implicates that Homo Nalendi also knew how to make light in the darkness of the cave… Evolution is a fascinating puzzle and Homo Naledi brings many new questions

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Soon I will be interviewing Kate Adams and Bart Koet about their book Dreams and Spirituality.

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Evan Thompson: Waking, Dreaming, Being

Susanne van Doorn from Mindfunda interviewed philosopher Evan Thompson about his book ‘Waking, Dreaming, Being’. Evan Thompson builds a bridge between Western science: neurology and the oldest map of consciousness, Upanishad.

A big thanks to Christian Gerike for alerting me to this book, and to Christoph Grassmann, for sharing his presentation about the self in dreaming with me so I could prepare questions for this interview.

Evan Thompson talks to Mindfunda about:

  • How his father William Irwin Thompson founder of Lindisfarne Association, as well as his wife, neurologist Rebecca Todd, influenced the ideas he proposes in this book.
  • The waking state as a stream of consciousness with gaps in-between.
  • The dreaming state and especially lucid dreaming is a special kind of awareness.
  • Dreaming as more than random neurological chatter of the brain.
  • A state of pure awareness.
  • And finally Evan Thompson tells us why he picked up the pen to write Waking, Dreaming, Being.

I got aware of ‘Dreaming, Waking, Being’ because of a quote colleague Christian Gerike put on Facebook. It was this quote:

The first quarter is the waking state. Here consciousness turns outward and experiences the physical body as the self. Waking consciousness takes enjoyment in the ‘gross’ objects of sense perception, yet no object holds its interest for long, because attention, motivated by desire, constantly flits from one thing to another. Consciousness in the waking state is restless, dissatisfied, and constantly on the move.

~ Evan Thompson. ‘Waking, Dreaming, Being: Self and consciousness in neuroscience, meditation, and philosophy.’ 2015, p. 9. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Evan Thompson
Waking, Dreaming, Being
Evan Thompson

Needless to say I was fascinated. I got myself a copy of the book and enjoyed the book very much. Being diabetic, and having experienced a coma when I was a young child I always have had a fascination about consciousness. What had happened to “me” in that coma? I was not there but I still had flashes of memory.
I considered the voice in my head as my I, my concept of self. That little voice that whispers to me when my blood sugar is low: “Susanne you are not seeing well, it is time to measure your blood sugar level”.

Reading ‘Waking, Sleeping, Being’ and talking to Evan Thompson gave me a new framework for my concept of self. Evan suggests that there are four states of awareness: the waking state, the dreaming state, dreamless sleep and a state of pure awareness.

Waking State

William James was one of the first psychologists and he coined the term “stream of consciousness”. The latest neurological research indicates that this stream is not continuous. it is filled with gaps. Evan talks about what could happen during such a gap and why understanding this is an important step towards understanding consciousness.

The waking state is a creator of the concept of self. Phenomenologists call them the “self-as-object”: a third person perspective, and the “self-as-subject”: me being aware of myself.  This I and Me perspective carry over to dreaming.

Dreaming state

Christoph Grassmann wrote a very interesting presentation about this for one of the psiberconferences organized by the IASD. Christoph was so kind to give me his presentation to prepare for this interview and that is why I asked Evan Thompson the question how his own sense of self had evolved during the process of writing the book. Evan told me that he had become more experienced in lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming had made him able to change his perspective on his sense of self because he was able to change processes and experiment in lucid dreams. In fact, a lucid dream inspired him to dive into the poems of the Upanishad and compare them with the latest scientific research about consciousness. He had that dream in Dharmsala, where he was invited to speak for a Mind and Life Institute conference with the Dalai Lama and Western neuroscientists on how experience can change the brain.

“I’ve always wanted, since I was a kid, to catch the exact moment when sleep arrives and notice when I begin to dream. With the rising and falling of my breath, colored shapes start to float on the inside of my eyelids. They hover just beyond my gaze, turning into cows and shacks and mules, like the ones I saw this morning on the bus ride up the mountain. As I watch these images, trying not to tamper with them so they don’t fall apart, I find myself thinking of how Jean Paul Sartre explains pre sleep in his book The Imaginary, which we read in my philosophy class a week before I left for India. When we are conscious of drifting of to sleep, Sartre says, we delay the process and create a peculiar state of consciousness, and from them we fashion images -but these shift with each eye movement and refuse to settle into dreams.
The next thing I know, I’m flying over a large, tree-filled valley. I must be dreaming, I tell myself. From the memory of trying to watch myself fall asleep –  still fresh in the dream- and the lack of memory for what came after, I realize I must have lost awareness during my drowsy reverie and reawakened in the dream. I’m having a lucid dream -the kind of dream where you know that you are dreaming. Indian and Tibetan traditions say that meditating in the lucid dream state can make it easier to see the consciousness beneath waking and dreaming, so I try to sit cross-legged and meditate. But my intention to sit this way won’t translate into action and I wind up kneeling instead. Then I lose the intention entirely and I am flying again, still aware that I am dreaming…”

Evan Thompson – ‘Waking Dreaming Being’  p 108

DReaming as more than neurological chatter

After all his research Evan Thompson is convinced that dreaming is more than random neurological firing from the brain. ‘Waking, Dreaming, Being’ gives us a framework to sharpen our mind. The framework that is handed to you as reader provokes your mind to think and rethink about your concept of self, your dreaming self and your memories. Any book that can do that is worth reading.
The science combined with the magic we all crave, magic that seems to be lost in our rational worlds is just what the doctor ordered.

 

watch the interview with Evan Thompson
Watch the interview with Evan Thompson (YouTube – 30min)

Watch the interview (30 min)

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Soon I will be interviewing Kate Adams and Bart Koet about their book Dreams and Spirituality.

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Alzheimer day

September 21, Alzheimer day. Twenty million people worldwide are diagnosed with Alzheimer. Alzheimer is named after the German doctor Alois Alzheimer. His diagnostoc process is still used today.

Alzheimer
picture bayshorememorycare.com

Alzheimer is a frighting disease. It sneaks up on a loved one, the gradual destruction the grey matter in the brain. More people get Alzheimer because we all have gotten older. Our life styles are better, health care is improved, our diet is better. we get older.

Alzheimer: what are the signs?

We all forget things. And almost all of us, at one point in time, fears to have Alzheimer. But Alzheimer goes beyond occasionally forgetting something.

  • You happened to get lost in a familiar environment.
  • You don’t recognize someone from your past.
  • Your behavior changes.
  • Your mood and/or personality has changed.
  • You get problems speaking or writing words that used to be simple.
  • You can get trouble driving or walking home because you have forgotten the route.

The chances of you getting Alzheimer increases significantly with age. Above the age of 85 your chance of getting Alzheimer increases with 15 percent!

Please remember: only a doctor is able to diagnose Alzheimer. After taking an epidural, the doctor searches for certain protein: bèta-amyloïd en tau. They are not eliminated anymore but stored into the brain. But the doctor can also order an MRI or CT scan.

Alzheimer: sleep and dreams

Alzheimer’s disease starts in the entorhinal cortex and these patients are known to have sleep problems. Research in animals indicates that the entorhinal cortex behaves as if it remembers something.

One of the first things that might alert you to Alzheimer is vivid dreaming. Now I don’t mean to scare you. Having a vivid dream does not mean that you might suffer from Alzheimer. But there is a tendency for the brain to behave this way.
Especially when you are a men who walks, talks or hits out in their sleep, there is a chance you have an increased risk of the disease.

Research done in Washington by Yo-El Ju, MD, assistant professor of neurology shows that people waking up more than five times in an hour have an increased chance of having the amyloid plaques in their brains. The research was done with 100 people. Men and women, aged 45 -80. None of them had Alzheimer. They slept while wearing a device that measures sleep.”Everyone should prioritize their sleep,” researcher Ju says. “We don’t value sleep as much as we should. Sleep is a very important function that allows the brain to rest.”

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Oliver Sacks, the man from Awakenings, about dreaming

“Waking consciousness is dreaming – but dreaming constrained by external reality” 
―Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks, one of my hero’s died August 29 2015. Almost all of us know him from the film ‘Awakenings‘. Using L-Dopa, a precursor to dopamine that is able to cross the blood brain barrier where dopamine is not able to do so. People up who had been in a coma for decades woke up.

But what did neurologist Oliver Sacks – the man who wakes people up – have to say about dreaming?

sacks_scourfield
Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks on dreaming #1:

In the book Trauma and dreams edited by Deidre Barret Oliver Sacks wrote:
‘It is scarcely surprising that neurological disorders can alter dreaming either quantitatively or in striking and specific ways. Every practicing neurologist must be aware of this, and yet how rarely do we question our patients about their dreams. Though there is virtually nothing on this subject in literature, I think such questioning can be an important part of the neurological examination, can assist in diagnoses, and can show how a sensitive barometer dreaming may be of neurological health and disease.

Oliver Sacks
Trauma & Dreams

Working in a migraine clinic years ago, it became clear that there was not only a general correlation between the incidence of very intense dreams or nightmares and migraine aura’s but also, not infrequently, an entering of aura phenomena in dreams.
A patient who had focal sensory and motor seizures once dreamed that he was in court, being prosecuted by Freud, who kept on banging his head with a gave as the charges were being read’.

So just like Kasatkin, a Russian psychiatrist who wrote A theory about dreams, Oliver Sacks sees dreams as important for your physical health. Dreams usually give a non symbolic representation of physical problems. Probably because there is a big trauma to the body. When people start to dream in symbols again usually they are dealing with their trauma’s. Aura’s of migraine in waking live turn up as aura’s in dreams, Freud hits a man with migraine on the head (as if to say: ‘will you listen to your dreams now?’).

Oliver Sacks on dreaming #2

In a footnote in his book An Anthropologist on Mars Oliver writes:

Oliver Sacks
An Anthropologist on Mars

Rodolfo Llinás and his colleagues at New York University, comparing the electrophysiological properties of the brain in waking and dreaming, postulate a single fundamental mechanism for both — a ceaseless inner talking between cerebral cortex and thalamus, a ceaseless interplay of image and feeling, irrespective of whether there is sensory input or not. When there is sensory input, this interplay integrates it to generate waking consciousness, but in the absence of sensory input it continues to generate brain states we call fantasy, hallucination, or dreams.
Thus waking consciousness is dreaming — but dreaming constrained by external reality. Credit: gautel.net
And here science meets the ancient presupposition of Dream Yoga, that dreams introduce us to other dimensions of experience. Dreams can be seen as a form of hallucinations, with the brain deprived of sensory input and motor output.

Oliver Sacks was one of the most compassionate doctors of our time. It was his gentleness combined with his sincere care about the well-being of his patients that made him stand out from other neurologists.

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Meditation

Reading 'The Buddha Pill' written by Miguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm gave me some insights into meditation I want to share with you. The book was so good that I decided to mail to Catherine and invited her for a Mindfunda interview about 'The Buddha Pill'. The audio is sometimes a bit tardily because my provider was hacked at the time of the recording.

Can you change or are you born a certain way?

When I was educated as a psychologist I had to think about this ‘nature – nurture debate‘.
The nature side of this debate says we are born with a fixed set of genes. William Bernet has researched so-called ‘criminal genes‘. Being born with those genes, even though you are brought up in a loving environment will unleash the criminal in you. But don’t you like to assume that a good family, love laughter and acceptance can make even bad criminal genes flourish into happiness? Maybe so…
On the nurture side there is a compelling story in ‘The Buddha Pill’ about Nick.
A born criminal, a drug dealer. Being in prison just taught him how to be a more effective criminal. It gave him new connections, new methods. But one time he made a decision to stop. He focussed his energy on meditation and yoga and he has become a succesful meditation teacher.

Is meditation the Buddha pill?

meditation
Buddha Pill
Catherine Wikholm and Miguel Farias

I remember when I was young a lot of people, including my parents were engaged in transcendental meditation. Pictures of serene people floating above the air… Catherine Wikholm also saw these pictures in her childhood. And came to the same conclusion: there most be something magical about meditation that makes you a better person. When she was asked by Miguel Farias to research the effect of meditation on prisoners she did not hesitate one second.

meditation
The Buddha pill
Can meditation change you?

The book originated from a meeting with Sandy Chubb of the Phoenix trust. She uses meditation to improve the inner sense of well-being of prisoners. Being two experienced meditators with a scientific background, Miguel Farias and Ctaherina Wikholm decided that they would do a scientific experiment to see if meditation is indeed the Buddha pill.

Researching the scientific literature, Catherine and Miguel found out that there is not a lot of solid scientific research available into the merits of meditation and mindfulness. Nowadays, mindfulness has gained acceptance as THE panacea for inner peace for restless people (and aren’t we all restless?). But there is not a lot of research done about meditation that could meet the scientific standards of having a control group and a clear defined variable that is manipulated to see the difference between the two groups. 

The results of the experiment are in ‘The Buddha Pill’. But the writers have added some very useful sidenotes for meditation. First of all: sitting alone reciting a mantra does not make you a better person. Change needs to be incorporated in the body. Yoga does just that. It is no wonder that their experiment involved Yoga practices.

The second sidenote was picked up by the media. Catherine explaines in the interview that she did not always like that. She and Miguel really belief in meditation as a good thing. The dark side of meditation got a lot of attention from the media. But I think it is a very important chapter. Meditation and Mindfulness are not for everybody. That is important to know. However, this book is not an attack on meditation or mindfulness. The Buddha Pill wants to unite the two contradictions that still hunt society today: magic versus reason. Often these two are seen as incompatible

So, after you have seen the interview, what do you think? Can people change for the better?

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THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Spirifunda:
psychology for everyday with a spiritual layer of meaning, searching for the soul. Our brains are wired for believe in magic. In a world filled with rationality, you sometimes need a little magic, a little “I wonder why”. Synchronicity, the insights of Carl Jung, the mythology used by Freud, the archetypical layers in the Tarot, the wisdom of the I Tjing, Shamanism, the oldest religion of humanity, all that information gets published in the Spirifunda section of Mindfunda.

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


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Dreaming: Do you know Where your Consciousness Goes when You fall asleep?

 

Dreaming: you are tired. You lie down in bed, close your eyes, yawn and drift away… What happened to your consciousness?

Dreaming by Jennifer Windt addresses this question. If you are interested in dreaming, this book should be in your bookcase.
Jennifer Windt, Lecturer at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, wrote this
philosophical groundwork for modern dream research.

Dreaming Dennett

Jennifer is an admirer of Daniel Dennett (just like me). The common notion about dreaming is that dreams require a conscious state of being, even though this is often later forgotten. If it is not forgotten you are in a lucid dream. Dennett states that there is no consciousness in the dream at all. The consciousness of a dream comes in retrospect. You can agree or disagree with it, but I like such a daring assumption as a basis for dream research.

 

Dreaming
Dreaming A Conceptual Framework for Philosophy of Mind and Empirical Research
Jennifer Windt

Dreaming Aristotle

Jennifer takes us through the history of dream research starting with Aristotle. Aristotle claims that dreams can be understood in natural terms but not be studied scientifically.

Dreaming
Cartoon: Philosophy 101

 

A dream is a personal story, perceived by one individual, referring to that one individual only.

Dreaming Freud

We are flown through time into the 1900s when Freud decided to put that nice simple view upside down. There was a REAL meaning behind a dream, concealed but waiting to be unraveled. He poured it into a scientific model: the es, the ich and the über ich.  the energy of the “Es” was moving between Eros, the desire to live and to procreate and Thanatos, the desire towards the end.

dreaming
Sabina Spielrein

Mind you, the never during her lifetime acknowledge intelligence of Sabina Spielrein gave Freud the idea of Thanatos. Freud had several meetings with Sabina after Jung very inelegant disposed off her.

Dreaming content analysis

Then Jennifer leads us into the 50s of the last century: the discory of REM sleep made sleep and dreams visible for the third eye observer. In 1966 the content analysisi took hold of dream research with Hall and van de Castle’s system for usefull descriptions of the cognitive process at play during sleep.

Hobson’s AIM model is discussed. A stand s for Action. I stands for Information flow and M stands for Mode of information. As one of the most used models in dream research it is essential to become aware of its merrits and flaws.

Dreaming and local sleep

Recently Hubar et al found out that rats sleep while being awake. Sleep depth seems to be unevenly distributed. Rember when you had one of these nights sleeping – waking – sleeping -half awake – half asleep? I have had them, I am sure you had them too. Sleeping as a part brain phenomenon is something completly new in scientific research.

Dreaming as U form experience

Most dreams have a story to tell. Windt introduces the U form of the story: a situation begins, hits rock botten and a solution is found. Most methods of dream interpretation hold that assumption as a true fact. Even though it is not for all dreams, commenly dreams are this shape. Jennifer says: “Dreaming may indeed be a U form for some very fundemental cognitive capacities”.
I think buying this book will be worth your while if you have a professional interest in dreaming.

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Tryptophan, the royal road to sleep

tryptophan
@caronistgroup.com

Sleep is vital to our health. Recent research says we need at least seven hours of it. If dreams are the royal road to the unconscious as Freud once said, then tryptophan is our royal road to sleep. This Mindfunda will tell you more about this essential amino acid. I wrote before about sleep: how long can you stay awake and 15 other secrets about sleep and about how neurons get trained during sleep. Sleep is important. Let us explore tryptophan, the royal road to sleep

Tryptophan,the royal road to sleep #1

The first step in understanding tryptophan is understanding amino acids.  There are two kinds: essential and non-essential amino acid. The essential amino acids who find in our food, we have to eat them. Our food consists of three groups: fat, carbohydrates and protein. To understand the tryptophan pathway we focus on protein. Your body uses tryptophan to make proteins. Protein is build out of amino acid.

Non essential amino acids are quite important for your body, even though their name would imply that they where just fun to have around but non-essential. But your body can build them no matter what you eat. Things are different for essential amino acids. In total there are 20 amino acids. 13 of them are non-essential but 9 of them you have to digest in your daily meals. Our little friend tryptophan is one of them.

Why do I focus on tryptophan? Because tryptophan is the building block of melatonin. The stuff that makes you drowsy and guides you into sleep. So how does that happen?

First you need to eat food rich in tryptophan. Cashew nuts, bananas, spinach, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, mozzarella, tuna fish, eggs. You can create some delicious meals with tryptophan rich food. But I know what you are going to say now. Tryptophan is not melatonin. I need melatonin to fall asleep when it gets dark.

Tryptophan,the royal road to sleep #2

The second step to creating melatonin from tryptophan involves vitamin B3. A bit of tryptophan “leaks away” into the production of Niacin (vitamin B3). that is why it is sometimes a good idea when you have sleeping problems to take some 5 htp. That way there is no leakage of tryptophan into vitamin B3.
And that is why I always advice people to use a good vitamin B supplication whenever they are having problems sleeping.
Using this a substance called 5 hydroxy tryptophan is created. If you have trouble sleeping you might want to consider taking 5 htp as a supplement.

tryptophan
5 htp

It can also help you reduce food cravings and aggression.

To create serotonin from 5 htp your body needs zinc, magnesium and Vitamin C. vitamin C with rose hips is easier for your body to use so always make sure that when you want to use a vitamin C supplant you search for one with that ingredient.

tryptophan
Vitamin C with rose hips
tryptophan
Magnesium


Only when these substances are available in your body serotonin can be build. So mak sure, bu healthy eating or using supplements that your body can compose serotonin.

Tryptophan,the royal road to sleep #3

The last step is creating melatonin from serotonin. That is easy. You need two things. Movement and darkness. So when you eat the right foods, use supplements when you need them and you still can not fall asleep: start moving when it gets dark. Go for a walk in the dark.

tryptophan

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Take a nap to improve your hippocampus

hippocampus
Seahorse

In your brain, one of the most vital parts is the hippocampus. ἱππόκαμπος, “seahorse” from ἵππος hippos, “horse” and κάμπος kampos, “sea monster” (source: Wikepedia)

Hippocampus
Hippocampus drawing by Camillo Golgi

Your hippocampus is a part of your brain that is partly responsible for regulating emotions and for your long-term memory. It also plays a big part in spacial orientation. William Scoville and Brenda Milner discovered the function of the hippocampus in long-term memory when a patient they described was operated on the hippocampus to relieve his epileptic seizures. Once the operation was finished, the patient had an inability to form new memories.

In Germany, Emma Bridger and Axel Mecklinger wanted to find out what the role of taking a nap is on the hippocampus. Specifically, they wanted to found out the role of naps for hippocampus-dependent associative memory (AM) and hippocampus-independent item memory (IM).

A baseline was set by testing the AM and IM memory before the experiment by learing single words and word pairs. One group was allowed to nap for  90 minutes (the time it takes to complete a sleep cycle). The other group was allowed to watch dvd’s.

Finally both groups had to take the word memory test again. The group that was allowed not to nap had decreased scores for both memory tests: the hippocampus associated memory and for the independent item memory test.

Read more about the test here.

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Ray Kurzweil: futurist or fool?

Ray Kurzweil
Ray Kurzweil

Some say Ray Kurzweil is a genius. Some say Ray Kurzweil is a mad-man.
When he was 17 Ray created a homebuilt computer that could compose classical music. The Kurzweil synthesizer was born. Later, he created a reading machine for the blind. At this moment he works for Google. He wants to live forever. Beating death.

In the documentary Transcendent man Ray talks about evolution. He explains how human evolution started out biological. The genome is an information carrier. But human beings also became technological inventors. And there has a technological evolution going on as well. It is Ray’s dream to combine the two for the better of mankind. He does so using technology and biology.

I wrote a blog about the shadow that discussed the tension between man and machine. With Moore’s law in my mind I know that the best place to look for answers is in The singularity is near, written by Kurzweil in 2006.

Ray Kurzweil
The singularity is near


In this book Ray Kurzweil talks about using technology to improve health. But it also raises questions.
Kurzweil is one of the world’s most respected thinkers and entrepreneurs. Yet the thesis he posits in Singularity is so singular that many readers will be astounded—and perhaps skeptical. Think Blade Runner or Being John Malkovich magnified trillion-fold. Even if one were to embrace his techno-optimism, which he backs up with fascinating details, Kurzweil leaves some important questions relating to politics, economics, and morality unanswered. If machines in our bodies can rebuild cells, for example, why couldn’t they be reengineered as weapons?” (Quote from Bookmarks magazine).

In 2013 he published a new book that shifts boundaries. A work on how to create a mind:

Ray Kurzweil
How to create a mind


He suggests that we will have artificial intelligence by 2029. He analyses the brain like they have been built out of Lego blocks. Each block composed out of 100 neurons. Creating a brain is looking at its interconnectedness with other Lego brain blocks. The building blocks Ray Kurzweil describes are based on Pattern Recognition in the brain. All the blocks are hierarchical organized. It is all very technological in its analysing process but very challenging to read.

The second main stream of attention that Ray Kurzweil has is health. Being a diabetic (type 2 diabetic) he composed a diet and a way of moving that contributes to youth (he wants to live forever!). He takes as many as 200 supplements a day (that is about 13 per hour). But he looks good. He wrote a book about his insights into the well-being of the body.

Ray Kurzweil
Fantastic Voyage


His secrets to health are: movement, dark chocolate, espresso, lots of vegetables and a lot of supplements. Still his book about the body is refreshing in insights and well worth reading.

I do not think Ray Kurzweil is a fool. I think he is a brilliant thinker. And like all brialliant thinkers he is allowed to a couple of strange habits.

 

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Mind your micro expressions?

micro expressions
Are you able to spot a liar?

 

Micro expressions. We heard of them. We saw the smile of O.J. and we all thought he was guilty.

mico expressions
O.J Simpson

 

Micro Expressions on television

A television series called Lie to me was a big hit. A man trained as a super detective scanning people’s faces can spot a liar and solve crimes, keep innocent people out of jail, break up with a cheating lover… The possibilities to succeed within life once we are able to read these micro expressions seemed endless.

~Somehow I got bored with the series. It seemed so impossible that the ugly brother of Brian Ferry, Dr. Cal Lightman, solved so many crimes with so little effort.

A micro expression is an emotion that shows up in the face just in micro seconds. Less then one fifth of a second, impossible to see without a video camera. Nicholas Epley decided to test the empirical proof that micro expressions are emotions leaks that are unavoidable. He asked a group of volunteers to look at emotional pictures. They had to cover their real feelings. They had to show their real feelings.

Mindwise Nicholas Epley

 

He wrote about it in his book Mindwise. It is not so hard to cover up your real emotions. It is very hard to catch a micro expression. It is very hard to interpret subtle signals from other people. Here he is talking about how important it is to catch the mind of other persons. To help you lead a better life.

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Spirit molecule: the stuff dreams are made of

 

It has long been speculated that Dimethyltryptamin (DMT), a form of Tryptophan, one of the building blocks of melatonin, is the thing that contributes to dreaming images.

Rick Strassman: The spirit molecule

 

Rick Strassman wrote a book about it called: “The spirit molecule”. In the book he explains how the pineal gland produces DMT each night. How the dying people have more DMT in their blood. How is gives good experiences. There are even people who experiment on using it as a drug to see how it influences their dreams and lucid experiences.

 

Spirit Molecule
DMT Rick Strassman

If you want to read more about Rick Strassman and his research you can buy his book (If you use the link in this article you support Mindfunda). You can also read more about his work at the site Cottonwood Research foundation.

I found this quote written by Javier Reyna: “We don’t know whether DMT is made in the pineal. I muster a lot of circumstantial evidence supporting a reason to look long and hard at the pineal, but we do not yet know. There are data suggesting urinary DMT rises in psychotic patients when their psychosis is worse. However, we don’t know whether DMT rises during dreams, meditation, near-death, death, birth or any other endogenous altered state. To the extent those states resemble those brought on by giving DMT, it certainly makes one wonder if endogenous DMT might be involved, and if it were, it would explain a lot. But we don’t know yet. Even if the pineal weren’t involved, that would have little overall effect on my theories regarding a role for DMT in endogenous altered states, because we do know that the gene involved in DMT synthesis is present in many organs, particularly lung. If the pineal made DMT, it would tie up a lot of loose ends regarding this enigmatic little organ. But people seem to live pretty normals lives without a pineal gland; for example, when it has had to be removed because of a tumor.”

So there is a lot of debate about the molecules that influence dreaming. Acetylcholine, Dimethyltryptamine, there is a nightly dance between substances going on. The spirit molecule leads the way.

Dream recall, a question of packing things together

brainpower-300x299Is it possible to improve your dream recall? I would like to think so. I have written a Mindfunda about it you can read it here.

 

Using a dream journal is a good way to improve dream recall

But there is another difference in the brain between high dream recallers and low or average dream recallers. Research done on 41 respondents: 50% had a high dream recall, 50 % where low or average recallers showed that there is something different between the two groups. Brain activity during sleep was measured. It turned out that people who remember dreams often have more activity in the temporal junction of the brain.
This part of the brain packs information together in a package that makes sense.

Dr Gregory Scott Sparrow is searching for people to investigate dream recall. See his call for dream reports underneath:

With the help of Dr. Kelley Bulkeley and Ryan Hurd (www.dreamstudies.org), I have developed on a research study on dream recall, which has been approved by the University of Texas-Pan American’s Institutional Review Board. The study simply involves recording six of your own dreams in response to specific dream reporting requests. If you are interested in participating, you will receive a free pdf of Lucid Dreaming: Dawning of the Clear Light upon completion. I’m also offering a 30-minute debriefing/dreamwork session via Skype or phone for the first 20 participants who complete the study.

If your age is an odd number, go to the survey at https://utpa.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_3Db1vlY4T9S922p. If your age is an even number, go to the survey at https://utpa.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_cLRbxnoHNsyTsWN. I hope you will join us! More information about the study will be there.

We will debrief all participants via a summary of the study’s purposes and findings, and then publish our findings in a peer-reviewed journal, and at www.dreamstudies.org, and www.dreamanalysistraining.com. We also plan to report the results at the 2016 conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams in Holland. — Dr. Scott Sparrow, www.dreamanalysistraining.com

Michio Kaku: the dreaming mind

Imagine that you are in the cinema late at night. You sit down in your chair, comfortable, relax and watch the screen. Looking at your own dreams….
This used to be an exercise Robert Moss did with his students but now it has come reality. Michio Kaku talks about it in his book the Future of the mind.

Dr. Gallant of Berkeley University is developing the tools to envision your dreams. He decodes the neurons that fire and translate them back into images.  In Future of the mind Michio Kaku says: “Gallant’s MRI machine is so powerful it can identify two to three hundred distinct regions of the brain and, on average, can take snapshots that have one hundred dots per region of the brain“.

So while researchers are building databases that enable us to decode the simultaneous firing of neurons, we would like to know if we are the only ones reading our own mind…

Another very interesting chapter in Michio Kaku’s book is that about dreams.
As mysterious as they are, dreams are not a superfluous luxury, the useless ruminations of the brain. Dreams in fact, are essential for survival“.
Michio distinguishes five characteristics of dreams:

#1: Intense emotions.
#2: Illogical content.
#3: Apparent sensory impressions.
#4: Uncritical acceptance of dream events.
#5: Difficulty in being remembered.

In 2011, for the first time scientists where able to generate pictures based on the firing of neuron patterns in the brain during sleep. It might just be possible in the future to connect two sleeping brains to an MRI scanner that would merge their dreams into one. If you want to read more about the magic of the brain, here is Michio Kaku’s book.

Michio Kaku
Michio Kaku The future of the mind

I read it with a lot of pleasure. It tells you about the mind, about telepathy, about consciousness, a favorite chapter of mine is the one about the mind as pure energy, and of course he talks about his great hero Einstein and his brain.

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Dopamine dreaming

During dreaming the dopamine pathway in the brain plays an important role. ‘Mr. Pleasure principle’ Mark Solms, the man who continues to put Freud on the map again, published this article about dopamine and dreaming. Once the dopamine pathway is damaged, dreaming stops.

Porsche researched the dopamine pathway in a very smart way. They made this film about how experiencing G-forces triggers the pleasure principle of the brain.
But unfortunately, most of us do not have the financial resources to buy a Porsche. How can you increase your dopamine level to get to vivid dreams?

Dopamine is build from Tyrosine. You can find it in food, you can add to your daily diet. Food that contains a lot of tyrosine is chocolate, almonds (they also contain magnesium that will help you with dreaming), avocado’s, egg white, cottage cheese, salmon, seaweed, banana’s pumpkin and sesame seed are a few examples.

 

Sleeping, exercising and having fun are other ways to increase the dopamine level. If you need any extra help you could consider taking supplements. You can add a B vitamin complex to your daily diet like for instance:

I always recommend you use a B complex because the B vitamins help each other. Another supplement you could consider is phenylethylamine : PEA

dopamine
Phenyl-ethylamine PEA
Note: using the supplements is your own responsibility. Always make sure that your medical condition allows you to use it.

Music: what does it mean to you?

Without music, life would be a mistake 
Nietzsche

I think music has a special meaning for us don’t you? We, Homo sapiens, made musical instruments as early as 75,000 years ago. Melody is emotion, communication, tunes unite; some say it even plays a key role in the evolutionary path we have undertaken. Sounds that are pleasant to us is tell us about our soul: our inner well being. We all know the magic: with some kind of music the words and the chords are just so good you forget everything around you: it resonates. Music is energy vibrating, just like we imagine our souls to vibrate.

Some say that dreams are messages from the soul. That dreams signify the highest well-being you can be. I don’t think that is true for all dreams. But I do believe that tunes in dreams speak from the soul. In one dream, I was singing, while in waking life I can not keep a tune.  I experienced music was all around in dreams. I was part of it. I was part of the song I was playing, being part of a cosmic experience. I never could find the right words to talk about those kind of experiences so I was so very thrilled to read David Levitin’s insights in his book “This is your brain on music

music
This is your brain on music Daniel Levitin

David is a neuroscientist and former musician. He is a pop musician, that is one downside of the book: he merely discusses classical music. I love music but my knowledge of classical music is limited. I listen to it, I like it or I tune into another channel. I only recognize the very famous classical music like Beethoven’s fifth.
With that notion aside: if you are interested in music, in the brain and in dreaming about music: this book will give you more insight.

It tells you about how music is very prominent in our species. Levitin proposes that music was important in our evolution and I tend to agree with him. Music unites tribes. If you think back about the slaves in America that invented the blues to vent out their grief, to unite against their oppressors, it just makes sense.
Music was the tool to unite the group without strong repercussions.

What does music in dreams mean? This book was able to shed light on that for me. Music in dreams can be about feeling united with my tribe: I can remember dreaming about making music together in the woods of Rolduc years before I became involved in dreaming and ecology, years before I knew there was going to be another dream conference at the same Dutch Convent called Rolduc in the south of the Netherlands.
Music in my dreams is also connected with my soul: when I was younger and away from my loved one I used to hear “our song” in my dreams to keep my flame burning.
Music in my dreams has also helped me to emancipate: not only by performing in my dreams but also by being uplifted by many people in a concert hall and being transported: the ultimate meaning of life: the way you transcend through time.

What are your experiences?

 

Oneirology: what a day for a daydream

The word Oneirology is built out of Oneiron: dreams and logica: making sense of. Oneirology is the scientific study of dreams. Oneirology is about the study of the process of dreams, not the study of the content of dreams. The most common method used till this day is content analysis, using the Hall and van de Castle coding system. This system cracks up the dream in codes, making it easy for a researcher to analyze it. One down part is that the magic of the dream is lost. Bob van de Castle acknowledged that in his last discussion with me. Research is about facts.

Oneirology today has to do with dream content. One look at pubmed shows a lot of research by big names such as Domhoff and Bulkely. One of the most fascinating articles is about the wandering mind… Daydreaming is like dreaming, researchers Kieran Fox, Savannah Nijeboer, Elizaveta Solomonova, and William Domhoff found out. So when a person says: I dream myself awake then he is not far from the truth. “In both states, content is largely audiovisual and emotional, follows loose narratives tinged with fantasy, is strongly related to current concerns, draws on long-term memory, and simulates social interactions.”

This reminded me of a study visualization I did several years ago. There is something called the Da Silva method. Da Silva developed a method of visualization that through breathing theaches you to relax your body, turn your eyes in a certain angle upwards and visualize desired outcomes. You would have to “fill” the inner pictures with emotions and sounds for it to be effective. I have always assumed this course made me a better dreamer.

Oneirology
the Silva Mind control method

Here is the book from Jose Da Silva. It is just as magic as dreaming is: he described how he intuitively bought the winning lottery ticket while trying to promote his method: a clear case of synchronicity. I am quite sure this book will help you be a better dreamer because you will take the time to daydream (or maybe you already did just that).

Neurology newsflash: new neurons trained in sleep

In today’s Mindfunda I want to dedicate a blog to the brain. To neurology to be more specific (see here for a more detailed description of the brain). In this Ted Talk Paul Roossin discusses the history of sleep, the history of sleep science and leads us through a voyage through the brain.

neurology
Paul Roossin

Trained as a neurobiologist, Mr. Roossin’s broad knowledge base and accomplishments led him to be featured as one of the 100 smartest individuals in the greater New York City area in a 1995 New York Magazine cover story. Mr. Roossin holds an B.S. and M.S. in Biology from New York University.

The Ted Talk of Paul: on the neurology of dreams discusses the use of the frontal lobe in dreaming (we recently found out that lucid dreamers have a greater pattern of activity in their frontal lobe during sleep), about the Red Book, Salvador Dali who used to sleep in a chair holding a metal spoon. As soon as the spoon dropped, he would be awake and write down his dream. it inspired some beautiful paintings.

At the end of his talk, Paul reveals that the buzzing of the brain during sleep helps new neurons to adapt more quickly to its tasks. This hypothesis needs to be tested but is very promising, Neurology is one of the most interesting topics of interest around. Mindfunda will keep you posted! Meanwhile you can read some nice neurology facts in this Mindfunda.

What your cd collection tells about your personality traits

Psychologist Sam Gosling wrote an interesting book about what your material stuff (your cd and book collection even your paintings and even your Facebook profile) tells about who you are. Snoop: what your stuff says about you:

Snoop: what your stuff says about your personality traits

 

personality traits
What your cd collection tells about your personality

Sam Gosling assumes that your stuff gives a clear indication about who you are. He analyses using the five traits that all people share. The Big Five personality traits are: Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.
Art tells about how open and curious you are (I love paintings and there are three my bedroom wall). Books tell about your ambition (Oh my gosh, we had to buy three bookshelves to organize all my books!). People who hang quotes on the wall are bound to be a bit more neurotic than average (that would make a very good quote on a lovely t-shirt).

If you have different kind of music cd’s in your collection you are probably an open-minded character.  People who like punk are less friendly. People who have a high score on the friendliness scale of the Big Five test usually sit in the middle of the room were they work. Your Facebook profile page gives a reasonably good indication of your personality.

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10 remarkable things about the human brain

Unexpected Fact #1:
There are no right-brained versus left brained people!
Unexpected Fact #2:
Awareness can not be traced back to a specific point in the brain!

I found out about these -and at least 10 more- remarkable facts by reading ‘The Human Brain Book’ By Rita Carter, a highly recommended read if you are interested in all aspects the human brain.

The Human Brain - Rita Carter ( on Amazon)
The Human Brain Rita Carter

 

10 remarkable things about the human brain:

 

  • Did you know that no human brain is the same? Human brains are built according to the construction plan of the genes, but each set of genes is unique.

 

  • The corpus callosum, the part that unites the two human brain halfs is bigger in women. This might be the cause of the ability of most women to be more emotionally aware.

 

  • Dyslexia is more common with left-handed people.

 

  • Einsteins’ brain missed a groove in the parietal lobe. The area underneath is involved in mathematical thinking. This could be the reason why Einstein had this capacity for capturing the universe in mathematical equations.

 

  • The basic structure of the human brain is finished when a child is three years old. Some parts, like the prefrontal cortex are still offline.

 

  • The prefrontal cortex is fully developed when your 30 years old. The emotional brain is fully developed now. The prefrontal cortex is activated by emotions and leads to more thoughtful perceptions.

 

  • Gamma-aminoacid (GABA), produced by the hypothalamus decreases wakefulness,
    and helps you fall asleep.

 

  • There is a circuit in the small brain that measures time. This circuit transmits the data to the motor cortex so muscles can move.

 

  • That is why, when you want to fall asleep, you should walk when it is dark. The darkness increases the fabrication of melatonin.

 

  • To cure phantom pain, people with dissected limbs like arms or legs, look into a mirror that projects those limbs moving. this illusion can alleviate phantom pain.

 

Mindfunda Verdict:

‘The Human Brain Book’ by Rita Carter is an easy to read book, filled with remarkable facts about the human brain and it will give you so much information about our most important organ.
(yes my dear male readers, the human brain is the most important organ of our body).

 

If you want to flaunt your most sexy organ, feel free to order this great shirt to support Mindfunda anD all our good work:
"My brain is the most beautiful part of my body" - Shakira quote about the human brain
My brain is the most beautiful part of my body” – Shakira quote about the human brain.

 

Sleep: how long can you stay awake? and 15 other secrets about sleep

What is the longest time somebody did not sleep? What happens in the brain when we sleep? Why do you sleep at night and not during the day? Do insects sleep? How do astronauts sleep in space?

Susanne van Doorn selected 15 funny and useful facts on sleep for Mindfunda that you probably did not know yet:

  • Sleep Fact #1:
    The longest time anybody stayed awake  was 264 hours. Randy Gardner stayed awake for 11 days  and 24 minutes in 1964. He was only 17 at the time. He slept for almost 15 hours when he was allowed to sleep after staying awake that long.
  •  Sleep Fact #2:
    There is a sleep disorder caused by prion disease: Fatal Familial Disorder. A prion is an infectious agent, a protein that has gone wrong. It attacks the nervous system of the brain, causing insomnia. It develops at middle age, and progresses to dementia.  The first onset is sleeplessness, then it progresses. A good book about this awful genetic misconstruction of protein is “The family that couldn’t sleep” written by D.T. Max. (click&find on Amazon.com and support this site)
The family that couldn't sleep
The family that couldn’t sleep

 

  • Sleep Fact #3:
    During sleep is the cortex very active, especially during rem sleep.
    The Suprachiasmatic nucleus in the brain (SCN) is like a clock working on light. It generates your day-night rhythm: your inner biological clock. If the SCN does not register any light, the pineal gland starts to produce melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy.

circadianrhythml

The pons of your brain ignites the thalamus to slow down the motor parts of your body, causing sleep paralysis.

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And last but not least, the neurotransmitters of the Ventrolateral preoptic nucleus shuts down alertness. You fall asleep…

  • Sleep Fact #4:
    You prefer to sleep at night because it was safer for Homo sapiens to be active during daylight. Being dependent on vision as we are, we can see danger coming our way in the light much better then in the dark. We need the light of the sun to set our biological clock. The light needs to be in our eyes that is why its is better not to wear sunglasses when you have trouble sleeping.
  • Sleep Fact #5:
    Sleeplessness can be caused by food, medicine, stress or illness. About 10 percent of the adult population suffers insomnia.
  • Sleep Fact #6:
    Why do you toss and turn at night? Mostly because of a bad bed, replacing the mattress can be a good idea. Stress and sorrow can also cause the tossing and turning.
  • Sleep Fact #7:
    There is something called sleeping sickness. It is an African disease caused by Trypanosome brucei. The parasite enters the lymphatic system and passes into the bloodstream.

The next fact #8 contains the most popular tip: the Sleep Cycle Calculator:

Continue reading Sleep: how long can you stay awake? and 15 other secrets about sleep

Brain waves can move objects

There has been much debate about brain waves and telepathy. Science was not in favor of the idea, disposing of the subject as being “Accidental”. Almost all of us remember the laboratory experiences of people like Robert van de Castle, Stanley Krippner and Montague Ullman in the ’70s. There was a lot of debate about the accuracy and the repeatability of the experiments.

Brain waves can move objects

More and more science seems to meet magic. We all loved the fact that science helped a paralised lady to drink. The latest inventions use brain waves to make objects fly. The Puzzlebox Orbit, a former Kickstarter project has gone viral, and raised 74,799$.

 

Joshua Marcias has a background in electrical and biomedical Engineering. His business partner Steve Castelotti from Puzzlebox is a computer scientist. It is about time science and magic meet. Take a look how using brain waves makes the helicopter fly. Concentration is needed to create the brain waves that keep the helicopter floating. Puzzlebox is marketed as a tool to learn people to focus, meditate and concentrate. The more one uses these abilities, the more the brain gets familiar with it. Even though this is not a proven fact, it is a very cool gadget to play with.

The Puzzlebox orbit helps you to concentrate and clear your mind. If you are focused, your mind produces a specific type of brainwaves. These brain waves are picked up by a control set.

puzzlebox-orbit-mobile_edition using brain waves
On the right side of the picture is the headset that captures your brain waves

 

If brain waves are able to set a material object, a drone, in motion it make you wonder what else brain waves are capable of.  Sending out waves to another mind? Your brain is used to the brain waves of your spouse (that is why a lot of people are not able to fall asleep when their loved one is not around). Connecting with other people, or even worlds like the ancient people thought? Would it be able to create a fascilitation device that enables you to connect with another brain?

Anyway, this is a very cool gadget, I would love to have one!
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