Perceptions and Our Immune System

We live in a hypnotic world. This world out there is not for you to correct your perceptions. If you thought that way you would be terribly mistaken. The consumer world is there to exploit your hopes, fears and desires. It is there to distort your perceptions. It is for you as an individual to become aware and correct those perceptions.

Medicine is not an exact science but consumerism has influenced the medical profession to act in a way to give the public impression that medicine is indeed an exact science. Medicine is not a consumer item yet they go along with the notification that it is a consumer item. This way they can apply the same standards of measurement of quality that applies to any consumer item which of course further reinforces and distorts our perceptions into believing that medicine is indeed a consumer item. Politics is game of distorting people's perceptions. Medicine is all about clearing up people's perceptions and improving their mental health. If the medical profession plays politics it means that they are also involved in distorting perceptions. Obviously they should stop playing politics and stop politicians turning medicine into a political football. They should be exposing politics. Alas, I can see no hope of society ever improving its mental health without the medical profession clearing up its perceptions regarding the current role they are playing.

In my recent article “Mental Illness and Perceptions” I have pointed out how mental illness is related to our perceptions and it is increasing in every society in the world today. If we are to improve our mental health we have to clear up our perceptions. Quite clearly, from what I have stated above we can not depend on the medical profession to do this. They have one of the highest suicide rates in society. Where is their credibility when it comes to their mental health?

So how do we go about clearing up our perceptions? I can only try to help you understand what happens in the mind from my own observations. If what I write makes sense then it should start clearing up your perceptions.

First of all let us understand what perception means. There is an observer (the ego) in our mind looking at the picture of reality in front of us. So when we open and close our eyes (blink) our eye momentarily fixes on a spot and takes a picture of reality. Perception takes place when the eyes are momentarily fixed and not while traveling from one fixed point to another. We are in actual fact taking a series of pictures of reality and it is our brain that interprets it as one continuous event.

In my mind, when I look at reality, I see it as a timeless dimension. When the observer in the mind and what is being observed become one phenomenon, which many of us experience from time to time without recognizing it, you are experiencing that timeless dimension. Here there is no past, present or future. You are looking through a clear sheet of glass. It is only when you introduce words such as 'Oh how beautiful it is etc …' that you step out of this timeless zone and quickly return into your own manmade time zone. The words just smudge that clean sheet of glass and distort the picture.

Everyday all of us are experiencing reality. Our perception causes all sorts of physiological and biochemical changes in our body without us realizing it. It influences our subconscious mind positively or negatively to make us feel happy or sad. It directly affects our immune system. In fact in my mind perception is the link that connotes our mind to our body.

So let us see how distorted perceptions can affect an individual. Suppose you are looking at your spouse at a distance talking to someone. You come to the wrong conclusion that they are having an affair. Now the moment you make that perception, your subconscious mind will create negative chemicals in your system which will lead to thinking that is essentially negative, which in turn will lead to actions that are fundamentally self-destruct. You will create chaos all round you. Clearly this distorted perception has led the individual to a path of unnecessary self-created misery.
When it comes to personal health many individuals believe that the cure to their illness lies outside them, that is, someone outside them is doing the curing. This in my mind is a false perception.

You see every one of us is born with the healing power within us. This power lies in our immune system and is under subconscious control. It is directly affected by our perceptions.

If you keep a wound clean and protected, it will heal by itself. That is if you provide the right conditions, Mother Nature will heal you. However, if you keep scratching or irritating it, it will never heal. So you see people can heal themselves, if they provide the right conditions for Mother Nature to heal them.

What happens when you go to the doctor? The doctor makes a diagnosis and prescribes the right treatment. We assume the doctor is healing you, but is he? Not really, because what we do as a doctor is prescribe the right treatment and conditions that helps your immune system to heal yourself. If your immune system does not respond, then no doctor in the world can save you. Remember the healing process always takes place within the individual not outside him. It is what you do with yourself 24 hours a day that will heal you. Here if you provide the right conditions, Mother Nature must heal you.

So you see it is most important for every one of us to understand how our perceptions affect our thinking which in turn can lead us to wrong or right conclusion. If you know you have to power to heal yourself and it lies in your immune system, and it can be boosted with positive perceptions, would not you take steps to straighten out your perceptions on various issues?

Therefore if you are in conflict, stressed out, anxious or depressed, it means you are not in harmony with your subconscious mind and your immune system is at risk. You should not try to keep your feelings to yourself but try to talk to someone who can help you see the problem from another point of view. It is only by straightening out your perceptions that you will be able to find instant relief from your symptoms.

After reading this article your perceptions should be clear about you being the sole person responsible for your own health and that you have the power within to heal yourself. If you think you have gotten the message but still think someone outside you does the curing, it means that you have not understood what I have written. You are indeed writing your own destiny.

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The Secret to Mind-Body Healing

Detecting depression caused by untreated childhood trauma may be challenging, as untreated childhood trauma memories can be blocked for many years, even decades. This sort of trauma may well be the secret behind depression and PTSD for many people, and it comes in many forms. It may also be the secret to mind-body healing. It may be a one-time traumatic event that occurred in the past in childhood, or an anjinging series of traumatic events that cause depression and / or PTSD even into adulthood. Untreated childhood trauma may also stem from growing up in a neglectful, abusive home, or from various forms of physical, sexual, mental or emotional abuse endured in one's youth.

When depression lasts for 3 weeks or longer, it is considered clinical depression, generally requiring professional intervention for healing. The untoward effects of underlying, untreated childhood trauma may be difficult to diagnose and treat, as even the person living with it may not be aware of the fact it is in their past, or the toll it is taking on them. Many people do not understand that in both infirmity and healing, the mind affects the body, and the reverse is true, the body affects the mind, as well. Depression may be pervasive and persistent, as long-buried memories can be elusive-even blocked-making it difficult to get a pulse on the primary cause.

Statistics for mental illness speak volumes about this great challenge. According to the National Association for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) website regarding the nature of mental illness, 1 in 5 Americans, or 43.8 million people, will experience mental illness each year. It has been estimated that 21.4% will experience mental illness in their lifetime. A startling 18.1% will have post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or another anxiety disorder. Of the 20.2 million Americans experiencing substance abuse, 50% have a co-occurring mental illness, and 80% of young adults who suffer abuse and / or neglect in childhood are diagnosed with at least 1 psychiatric disorder by the age of 21.

Oftentimes, with or without psychotherapy, people can pinpoint what is bothering them when they have depression, and can get the help they need. Individuals can use personal techniques to ease the depression or seek out effective treatment, a plan that can be put into place, and implemented that will provide relief from the uncomfortable feelings of sadness. Yet, other times, as is the case with untreated childhood trauma, an individual may be fully unaware of the cause of their persistent depression even after seeking out professional help. In those cases, it takes a keen eye to assess the reason for the depression, and untreated childhood trauma, may be the missing link.

The good news is that for most people who receive effective treatment, including psychotherapy and / or medication, depression is a very treatable mental illness. With timely, effective treatment, most people can go on to return to enjoying relationships with friends and family, doing the things they previously did, and living in peace and contentment. Exercise, taking walks, prayer, practicing positive thinking, eating healthy, spending time with friends, staying busy, having hobbies, and staying connected with friends are all common, effective personal strategies for good physical and mental health.

The secret to mind-body healing may well rest in one's ability to recognize the signs of untreated childhood trauma, acknowledge past hurts and take steps to heal. Early intervention is always recommended, as it can enable one to be able to cope and move on with their life as they embrace their own level of maximum health and wellness.

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ADHD – Is It Good or Bad for Athletes?

Preserving the benefits of ADHD

Many athletes, whether they are aware of it or not, are coping with ADHD. Some have become world-class stars, such as Michael Phelps, Magic Johnson, Jason Kid, Babe Ruth and many others. According to various researchers, some of the people coping with the syndrome are characterized by creativity, flexibility of thought, ability to deal with chaotic situations and multi-tasking abilities.

Does this mean that the syndrome is a sporting advantage for those who cope with it? Not exactly.

ADHD is a syndrome that raises many difficulties for those who deal with it, in all areas of their lives, and sport is no exception. During the post we will see examples of how the syndrome can make it difficult for athletes to fulfill their potential. On the other hand, if you are aware that the athlete is coping with the syndrome, it can be treated in various ways, such as neurocognitive training.

Proper treatment can enable athletes to overcome the typical ADHD symptoms and to express their unique brain patterns on court, so it will become an advantage.

So let's get started and see what it means to be an athlete with ADHD.

Studies suggest that many ADHD children must be on the move. That's why they tend to play sports, and in some cases even excel in it. They do this because the sport provides a response to their unceasing need for movement, and the thrill of competitive sports often serves as a stimulant and focusing agent.

Another reason, unknown to many parents, is the strict discipline claimed by competitive sports. Children with ADHD lack an internal behavior regulator and the external statute that they have to obey in order to succeed in sports, is a kind of external menstruation. This regulator has a direct effect on them, because it nourishes their sense of pleasure and self-satisfaction. When this happens, their intrinsic motivation increases miraculously.

The famous athletes I mentioned above have a champions' personality structure and some have also gained unique growth hotbeds. In their case, ADHD became an advantage, which they learned to use. On the other hand, it is not difficult to estimate that for every athlete who has succeeded their ADHD, there are dozens who have failed because of their ADHD. ADHD also means attention deficient problems, difficulties in transitions between different attention types and self-control, decision making and organizational skills impairments. Not everyone is lucky enough to have the personality structure and growth incubator that turn ADHD into an advantage.

What do we mean when we talk about ADHD?

First one must examine what ADHD is all about. ADHD is not a lack of attentiveness but, inter alia, inconsistency in attention and inability to pause action, until the brain processes its possible consequences. This is why children with ADHD find it difficult to learn from previous negative experience, and tend to repeat their mistakes. According to Dr. Russell Barkley, a psychiatrist and a global ADHD expert, these children also have a problem with working memory, low linguistic abilities, motivation problems and so forth.

Barkley concludes that these problems stem from a failure of the motor functions in the frontal lobe. He also attributes the difficulty of dealing with distractions to a motor problem, rather than to a sensory problem – as opposed to cases of autism, for example.

According to Barkley, the person coping with ADHD does not absorb more sensory data than other people. But unlike them, he responds to distractions and does not manage to ignore them. 'Normal' People manage to suppress responses to irrelevant events and continue to perform the relevant sequence of tasks that they intend to do, while ADHD patients fail to do so.

The ADHD swing in sports

Let's look at two typical cases of the effect of ADHD on athletic potential.

Consider Moti (a pseudonym), a talented defense soccer player in the Israeli Premier League, who has been coping with ADHD since childhood. As is the case with many athletes, soccer serves as him as a motivational factor, motivates him to work hard and gives him a lot of satisfaction.

On the other hand, due to his impulsivity component and his difficulty in processing the information before he reacts, Moti's career 'progress has stopped, and he shifts between the Premier League and the National League.

Why did it happen? When looking at his ability to function, he is a good player, doing his defensive work. When the pace is high and the opponent's players attack mainly in his defense wing, he appears to be a good and efficient player. However, when the game slows down or after a few minutes in which he is not required to act and be active, he simply leaves his position and goes out to run after an opposing player or joins the attack, sometimes ignoring the coach's instructions.

Aside from the fact that coaches find it hard to accept such a player, the whole team is also hurt. His conduct leads to unnecessary risks in the defense and more than once even to the concern of goals. When he tries in retrospect to explain his move, he has no explanation related to the requirements of the game. All he says is: “I went crazy, I had to do something already.”

What does he mean by, “I had to do something already?” What Moti actually thought was a stimulus that would keep him alert and focused. And when he could not find it, he created it himself. His decision to act is, in fact, a personal internal need, which has nothing to do with what is happening on the court.

By the end of the day, his coaches do not know what they will get from him in every game, and remember mainly his mistakes, which led to the concing of goals. Moti does not need to improve his understanding of the game to be more successful. All he needed was to take care of his ADHD.

My attention went away

Let's look at the second case. Jason (a pseudonym), a basketball player in one of the best youth departments in the country, with whom I work, has good physical and athletic qualities, good shooting ability and in a one-on-one training or in a personal training he functions at a high level. His ADHD did not prevent him from succeeding in school, since his intelligence, his work ethic, and his ability to focus on the goal always helped him reach the goals he was aiming for.

Jason's difficulty was fitting into the team 'array, in offense and defense alike. In the team game he is insecure and can not keep up with the team's moves. When he came to me for neurocognitive training, he and his parents defined the problem as a lack of self-confidence. The gap between his personal abilities, his competitive instinct and the nature of his integration into the team, led them to the conclusion that he did not have enough self-confidence. As in many cases of ADHD, what he, his parents and his coach interpreted as self-confidence was true, but was not the source of the problem. The insecurity was a by-product of his real difficulty: the detachments that characterize the ADD from which he suffers.

Jason had always suffered from attention difficulties in his studies, but it did not hurt him. While listening to the coaches' team tactical explanations, however, attention-severing became a critical limitation. The tactical explanations required him to listen and process a great deal of data, and the cognitive overload worsened the disconnections. Although Jason understood the exercise or the move, during the performance he hesitated or encountered a blackout.

Since group basketball moves are built up as a sequence of different players' timed performance, one inaccurate timing typically disables the entire move. As a result, Jason became more exposed to the criticism of his friends and coach, and it is no wonder that his self-confidence was damaged. Like every teenager with ADHD, he too felt the gap between his real abilities and his real-time performance, under pressure, a gap that caused him frustration and loss of self-confidence.

Jason's neurocognitive training

This gap began to diminish gradually, as I trained Jason in several overlapping stages:

A. Training of attention and concentration skills, sequential thinking, working memory, retrieval and other general training to improve brain functions and thinking
B. Co-ordination skills training, combined with information processing, response speed, recognition and additional cognitive skills, required in all ball games
C. Cognitive training, integrated with specific basketball skills

The division into three sections was done to obtain simplification. In fact, the training is a cross-training of the three components, moving back and forth between them.

Neurocognitive training focuses on these components – and on attention and concentration skills. Our thinking, it is important to understand, is done in terms of sequence of actions. First we plan the actions and then we execute them. It is clear to us that performing the actions is related to motor functions (motion). What is less obvious is that even in order to plan the actions in the imagination and to process the feelings that this design inspires in us, we need the motor abilities of the brain.

Therefore, it is necessary to combine in the neurocognitive training between work in motion and work on attention and concentration skills, regulation, processing, identification and other impairments, in accordance with the difficulties of each trainee.

“Emotion” comes from “Motion”

Neurocognitive training is based on findings and conclusions of recent brain research. They clarify why neurocognitive training is right and effective for athletes, for those coping with attention disabilities, learning difficulties, dancers, managers and performing artists. Athletes who also accept with attention shortcomings, gain twice from training – they improve their athletic abilities and as well as their learning abilities, attention abilities and managerial abilities.

I can not sum-up better than what Dr. John Ratey does in his 'The Brain User Guide':

“Catching a ball has to do with the motor functions of the brain. But calculating has to do with them too. Most people link motor functions to hands and feet and physical activity – a mechanical brain function that causes a toddler to crawl, Michael Jordan to jump to a dunk, or to a dysfunction of the arm of a friend with a stroke. But increased evidence suggests that movement is essential for all other brain functions, including memory, emotion, language, and learning. the 'higher' brain functions were developed from the motion and still depend on it.

How neurocognitive training applies these brain research insights, you can see in the attached video-clip of Sheran Yeiny's, one of Israel's best soccer players, neurocognitive training. The clip includes several minutes of an hour-long training session.

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Ayahuasca and a Flash of Lightning

Nature's Awesome Cycle

Lets take the Lightning for example. It is the only place in nature where we can observe the plasma state of matter. Lightning bolts release incredible depths of energy when they strike as can be witnessed by their destruction, but what causes them? As the sun heats the earth, it creates warm, moist air. This warm air rises and typically condenses as it cools forming clouds. Small clouds come together and form large clouds and some of the moisture in the clouds continues to rise upward until it reaches the stratosphere where it freezes and forms ice crystals. Some of these crystals fall as hail. As the hails falls, collisions occur in clouds and create electrical charge. This electrical charges builds, sometimes up to 100,000,000 volts! These charges are released in bolts of lightning. So the moisture that started on the surface of the earth has changed into something much more dynamic that will ever return to the surface, albeit in very different form: lightning. Nature is always seeking balance. In the case of lighting, this discharge quickly releases the electrical energy that has built up in an incredible display.

Finding Balance Within

The human body is also constantly seeking balance. The immune system works overtime when a foreign invader comes into the body and thrusts to disrupt the balance within. Ayahuasca may also restore balance to the body through its various actions on serotonin, dopamine and other chemicals in our bodies. By looking at the example of electrical charge buildup and lightning, sometimes we can shed some light on the vast differences in ayahuasca experiences. When our mind has been stressed and dis-eased with troubles in life, we can grow out of balance. This imbalance may cause our serotonin levels to be abnormally low, cortisone levels to be abnormally high and that we feel depressed, a lack of energy or a number of other symptoms caused by serotonin deficiency. Ayahuasca may act to restore this balance and the intensity of the ayahuasca experience could be a result of the degree of imbalance that we had going into the ceremony. In the case of lighting, if huge amounts of electrical charge build up, we observe a massive bolt of lightning. If we build up large amounts negative mental energy, this energy is released in powerful and sometimes unexplained ways by ayahuasca. Ayahuasca may be showing us exactly what we need to see in order to address the imbalance that has built up within ourselves. This explains the strong effect of purging and emotional catharsis that ayahuasca often brings on. This cleansing is restoring the balance in our minds and bodies that has become off due to old habits.

The Ayahuasca Experience

I experienced this first hand in my first ayahuasca ceremony. I had spent years manifesting the physical and emotional effects of anxiety and other negative patterns of thought which I had slipped into. During the ayahuasca ceremony, the plant medicine opened up the part of my subconscious where some of these memories and patterns were buried deeply. In an evening of intense clarity, I was able to see exactly how I had created these negative patterns and all the while I could feel some of these memories being released at cellular levels as the plant wove its way through my veins. It was as if a Divine intelligence opened up inside me and shut off my ego so it could show me the important parts of my past and present that I needed to see to heal. There are many ways to restore the balance of mental and physical health in the body such as diet, meditation, yoga, exercise, stress reduction techniques and lifestyle changes. However, as those that practice yoga know, the further we stray from balance the more challenging coming back into that balance can be. I encourage you to share your stories about coming back into balance and how you achieved this.

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