The brain’s self healing process

I’ve been feeling exceptionally good since my brief seven minute exposure on Sunday to Lucia, the Lucid Light Stimulator. Slept well — two nights ago I slept for ten hours straight and woke up feeling relaxed and buoyant. I walk to work and marvel at the colors of the leaves, the grass, the passing cars. Focusing on the colors distracts me from cramming my mind with the usual mundane nagging thoughts.

The brochure describes the hynogogic light experience this way:

Extreme circumstances – i.e. during a near-death experience, competitive sport, or deep meditation – are able to set physical and mental regeneration processes in motion. This can lead to a realignment of the entire organism.

In this context, multi-disciplinary research in the 1980s was able to prove a significant increase of quality of life and spontaneous healings.

The cause for these changes taking place was described as a confrontation with a very bright light.

The Viennese neurologist and founder of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis, Viktor E. Frankl, (1905- 1997), described the mental dimension of a human being as a dimension in which disease is not experienced.

The hypnagogic light experience taps into this source of well-being in the light.

I felt how the warmth of the light enveloped my body and filled my inner self with every breath I took. It seemed like boundaries between my body and soul dissolved.” (Client describing his experience with the hynogogic light treatment)

Lucia No. 03 presents the access to a high performance neurostimulator, which facilitates the EEG wave pattern that usually only shows up after years of practicing meditation,. After only one treatment one will experience an intense and incredible effect.

The hypnogogic light experience is effective without having to engage in prolonged practice:

  • a quick and sustainable deep relaxation
  • an out-of.body experience
  • a spiritual or inter-dimensional experience
  • experience of time and space having no importance
  • allowing self to slow down
  • increase of mental abilities
  • increase of awareness

The hypnogogic light experience is effective in clinical therapy for

  • fear and depression
  • traumatic and mental symptoms
  • pain
  • addictions (intervention and therapy)
  • life crisis
  • burn-out syndrome
  • sleep disorders
  • sexual disorders including lack of libido

My love affair with Lucia, the Lucid Light Stimulator

On Sunday my husband Ian and I attended a hands-on demontration of Lucia, The Lucid Light Stimulator created by Dirk Proekl and Engelbert Winkler.

Dirk Proeckl is a neurologist as well as psychologist working in his own medical practice in Wörgl. Tirol, Austria. His special interests focus on the interaction between psyche and nervous system. He has studied multimodal psychosomatic rehabilitation of migraine; the distribution of neurotransmitters within the central nervous system; the readyness potential in he electroencephalogram and dipol source analysis of color-evoked potentials and of epileptic potentials in the electroencephalogram. In recent years he has worked in collaboration with Engelbert Winkler on the topic of optimizing their methods to achieve the state of Hypnagogic Light Experience, including the implications for understanding synesthesia.

Engelbert Winkler is a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, and legal consultant for children’s and youth´s issues with his own practice in Wörgl, Tirol, Austria. In 1994 he founded a family counseling institute named Kooperative Familienberatung. He studied philosophy, pediatrics and psychology in Innsbruck. He is also certified through further study in existential analysis, hypnotherapy and other disciplines. He is particularly interested in the neuronal basis and effects of Near Death Experience as well as the development of new uses of the Hypnagogic Light Experience. In recent years he has been collaborating with Dirk Proeckl on the topic of optimizing their methods to achieve the state of Hypnagogic Light Experience and expanding their knowledge of resulting neurophysiological and psychological processes (including the implications for understanding of synesthesia).

Here’s what Lucia does:

Lucia Nr. 3 is a neurostimulation lamp which allows the person who is exposed with closed eyes to the lamp to enter immediately into a profound trance which otherwise can be achieved solely after many years of meditation practice, through psychedelic drugs, or through stimulus deprivation, etc.

The computer-operated interplay of its light sources activates a large variety of experiences (the vision of intensive worlds of color and shapes, the impression of existing without a body/immaterialness, etc.) and allows for an individual light experience which is every time anew highly impressive.

Lucia Nr. 3 induces a transcendental experience which otherwise occurs only under extreme conditions like high performance sports, through consumption of entheogen substances or at the onset of death. The neurostimulation lamp opens completely new perspectives for therapy and self-awareness.

Here’s my experience:

I spent a total of seven wonderful minutes with Lucia. For the first two minutes, I closed my eyes and the light was beamed at me in alternating frequencies. Dirk P asked me how I feeling after two minutes, and did I want to go full tilt for the next five, or tone done the frequencies a bit? Despite being a bit uncomfortable at one point during the two minutes, I reasoned with myself and decided not to hold back from experiencing the many frequencies of the next five minutes. The full kaleidoscope of unusual colors and molecular shapes merged and separated in a colorful, harmonic ballet. I let myself “go” and enjoyed the feeling of what space travel must be like, exploring new worlds, eager for the views. I felt incredibly relaxed after my brief session.

The picture could just as easily have been disturbing. Ian reported that he was quite uncomfortable with his Lucid Light experience at one point, and felt that he didn’t want to go to a dark place. Yet, Ian, too, would gladly sign up again for this experience.  Engelbert said that the dark is equally valid to the light and both are part of us. We tend to run away from what is uncomfortable but it is better to understand what makes us uncomfortable so that we can challenge ourselves to overcome it. Lucia is helpful for anxiety, depression, addictions and most mental health issues. The light stimulator can be enjoyed on its own for the experience but also clears the way for people to be open to more conventional therapy that may not otherwise have worked for them. Engelbert cited the cases of two young boys who were suicidal and were not willing to talk with therapists.  Lucia “opened” up or unblocked their resistance and they were then able to make progress through more conventional therapeutic means.

My notes from the lecture

• Ancient Greek mystery cults used flickering lights and candles to change consciousness

• Light is consciousness

• Can enter into the same state of consciousness by looking at bright light or the sun

• The lamp is like taking a fast elevator to a deeper state of consciousness

·  Goal of this short term therapy is to get out and experience life; when one encounters stressors, focus on a light source (the sun, a flame) and reactivate the emotional feelings that one experienced with Lucia

·  Difference between Lucid Light Stimulator and taking LSD is that you cannot stop the experience with LSD – you have to let the effects of the drug wear off, but you can stop the experience any time with Lucia

• Health is a state of consciousness and not just the absence of disease (the sun always shines despite the presence of clouds – you can be “ill” and still healthy and vice versa)

• Physics – the process of observing is the process of creating

• It is how you perceive the so-called problem that makes all the difference

• Victor E. Frankl – the level of behavior/level of attitude – the most important need is for self-distance*

*Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

Viktor E. Frankl

*When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.

Viktor E. Frankl

How to recover

Components for Recovery: The Seven Talks

Schizophrenia: A Blueprint for Recovery provides a series of components for recovery beginning with the building of psychosis, moving through recovery and rejoining mainstream society, and into drawing potentially profound spiritual lessons from one’s journey.

Please keep in mind that these talks about schizophrenia are intended to help family members, friends, and practitioners understand how to work with people with schizophrenia. They are not intended to be viewed by people are in psychosis or who were hospitalized in the last twelve months. Viewing these talks may help people who are clearly past the psychotic phase of the illness, but only if they are clearly past that phase.

Components for Recovery is a series of talks given by Milt Greek, the subject of the New York Times Lives Restored article that I linked to yesterday. The talks are available here 
Milt Greek is not a doctor or therapist; he is an expert in his own experience.

Psychiatry bears much of the blame

Patients have been saying for years that their delusions are meaningful, but psychiatry hasn’t listened. Psychiatry, favoring the chemical cure for reasons we are only too well aware of, turned its back on the likes of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, and let psychologists, non-medical therapists and their former patients do the job of finding meaning in madness. As New York Times Lives Restored article notes, there is a movement now to take back one’s “delusions” from the authority of psychiatry. Psychiatry dropped the ball decades ago and actively discouraged people from getting better. Psychiatry became part of the medical/pharmaceutical/industrial complex that oversold the virtues of antipsychotic medication while underselling, or outright discouraging, talk therapy and other forms of innovative help. What a collosal waste of human potential! Let’s not give the ball back to them.

Lives Restored

Finding Purpose After Living With Delusion

Doctors generally consider the delusional beliefs of schizophrenia to be just that — delusional — and any attempt to indulge them to be an exercise in reckless collusion that could make matters worse. There is no point, they say, in trying to explain the psychological significance of someone’s belief that the C.I.A. is spying through the TV; it has no basis, other than psychosis.

Yet people who have had such experiences often disagree, arguing that delusions have their origin not solely in the illness, but also in fears, longings and psychological wounds that, once understood, can help people sustain recovery after they receive treatment.  
Now, these psychiatric veterans are coming together in increasing numbers, at meetings and conferences, and they are writing up their own case histories, developing their own theories of psychosis, with the benefit of far more data than they have ever had before: one another’s stories.

Mime and pantomime: new movie The Artist makes a statement

If you are looking for some real entertainment this week-end, I highly recommend seeing the new silent movie, The Artist.  Here’s an extract from L.A. Times film critic Kenneth Turan’s review:

Far from embracing the most modern cinematic techniques, “The Artist” is a glorious throwback, a black-and-white silent movie that manages the impossible: It strikes an exact balance between the traditions of the past and the demands of the present, managing to be true to the look and spirit of bygone times while creating the most modern kind of witty and entertaining fun. Look on this work, ye mighty of Hollywood, and rejoice……..

…Key to the success of “The Artist” is the work of its two French stars. Dujardin and Bejo, bursting off the screen like irrepressible Roman candles, give performances that are both subtle and incandescent, reminding us of the truth of silent star Norma Desmond’s famous “Sunset Blvd.” line, “We didn’t need dialogue. We had faces.”

Luckily, I’ve already seen this wonderful film, so tomorrow night I’m off to see Chris sing and hoof his way through the Christmas pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk. For those of you unfamiliar with pantomime, first of all, it’s not MIME (e.g. Marcel Marceau or the silent movie) there’s plenty of singing and dancing that centers around a very loose interpretation of a fairy tale, a fractured fairy tale, in reality. I went to a couple of lavish pantos in Canada years ago that that cost a small fortune to stage. That can be a problem, depending on the venue. You’d like to bring the children, but the cost almost guarantees that the audience is composed mainly of adults. The pantomime is known for certain conventions – men playing the part of women and vice versa, very risqué double entendre, hissing and booing when the villain walks on stage, lots of audience participation. Great fun.  In bigger budget pantomimes, such as the Canadian one, it’s customary to invite a well known person to take one of the lead roles. The opera singer Maureen Forrester and Manuel, the butler from the British television series Fawlty Towers, made appearances.  Another convention is to tailor some of the humor to the local political scene, as is done in Gilbert & Sullivan productions.

Jack and the Beanstalk

The Kingdom of Absurdia is broke — its citizens are fearful of the evil Giant and his even more evil sidekick, Slimeball. These two are causing havoc, demanding money and taking hostages. It is also rumoured that the Giant likes to eat people — especially children! When Jack’s true love, the beautiful Princess Rose, is captured he sets out to save her, assisted by his dodgy bunch of helpers. With Jack and the Beanstalk GAOS brings you a really traditional family show, complete with magic beans and a pantomime cow.

The listening cure

From the mouth of actor Viggo Mortensen and The Daily Beast

“The idea of confession without judgment and helping through love–love being listening–is essentially what both Jung and Freud were talking about,” he continued. “And whether it’s a psychoanalyst, a director, a parent, or a friend who listens, that’s one of the greatest gifts you can give. To just listen.”

Viggo Mortensen on Playing Freud in ‘A Dangerous Method’

Mortensen goes against type to portray Sigmund Freud in David Cronenberg’s new film. Chris Lee talked to the alpha-male action hero about what made him put down his dukes for the role.

The error of science when it comes to schizophrenia

This is an essay I wrote for the M.O.M.S Movement, a sponsor.

My son’s story is not nearly as dramatic as some of the other mother’s stories here on this website. He has not been incarcerated in prison due to his behavior, nor has he spent years on a cocktail of powerful antipsychotic medication prescribed in too high doses. My son’s story is typical of what often happens to sensitive, intelligent young men who leave the family nest for the first time and are not prepared to do so. This leaving home period often occurs around the age of 18 when the individual attends university or enters the military.

My son left home at 18 to begin university. His increasingly odd behaviour began to raise concerns for his father and me during his last year of high school. Like many other parents, we were worried and perplexed, but hoped for the best — that he would find his footing at university and return to being the sensitive, intelligent son we thought we knew. But, of course, life doesn’t work that way. My son ended up in a psychiatric hospital in Toronto during the first term of his second year at university. He had barely managed to survive the first year, and was put on academic probation. The psychiatrists at the hospital said he had “schizophrenia” and my husband and I took them at their word. The diagnosis was devastating, and negatively informed the way we interacted with my son for the next few years. After all, he had a damaged brain, according to the doctors, he was most likely a chronic case, and the drugs were the best way to manage this “disease.” For the record, my son did not smoke pot or indulge in other recreational drugs. His was a classic case of young man’s schizophrenia that is not drug related.

Back home in Europe, we enrolled my son in a two year psychiatric day program that he reluctantly attended every day from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. At first, my husband and I thought a medically-supervised program was a great idea, but then the cracks began to show when I decided to learn more about the “disease” of schizophrenia.

Here’s what I learned from the author Hermann Hesse, for example:

The mistaken and unhappy notion that a man is an enduring unity is known to you. It is also known to you that a man consists of a multitude of souls, of numerous selves. The separation of the unity of the personality into these numerous pieces passes for madness. Science has invented the name schizomania for it.

Rather than treating my son as encompassing a multitude of souls, or numerous selves that needed to come together into some sort of coherent whole, the program attacked him with the zeal of all that the Western medical/pharmaceutical industrial complex could offer. This superficial treatment included cooking classes, movement classes, acting classes, group therapy, and of course, medications. There was a large staff of social workers, psychiatrists, nurses and occupational therapists to oversee the activities. The program’s approach sounds very good (money is being spent on the problem!), but I began to feel that my son as an individual was being sacrificed to the goals of program overseeing his treatment. My son surely must have had good reasons for going “mad” and the staff at the day program didn’t seem very interested in finding out why his personality had come unravelled in the first place. After all, there is no reason to investigate individual cases if “schizophrenia” is a known biochemical imbalance and your salary is dependent on promoting the disease model, is there? He left the day program after twenty-two months, as much of a mystery to the psychiatrists when he left as when he entered. Though he was marginally better he was still not able to interact socially and was grossly overweight due to the medications.

The rest is history. My research told me that my son could be put back together again with time, with empathy, and by finding therapies for him that helped his body reconnect with his mind. I learned to focus on the person, not the disease. Remember — the original diagnosis stops many people in their tracks and they don’t look further for help because they have “bought” the invalid disease model. I started a blog, Holistic Recovery from Schizophrenia: A Mother and Son Journey and am hoping to publish a mother’s memoir where I discuss the many unusual and highly interesting alternative therapies that my son and I embarked on.

My son is now 27 and is not the person my husband and I hoped we would get back when he was 18 and this ordeal was just beginning. That person wasn’t a real person. My son is becoming an authentic personality. He started out in university thinking (but without passion) that he was headed for a career in science, and in the intervening years he has rediscovered a talent that he was ignoring in himself and that is music. I’ll end this discourse with the remainder of the above quote from Hermann Hesse that explains the error of the scientific model of this so-called disease.

This error of science has many unpleasant consequences, and the single advantage of simplifying the work of the state-appointed pastors and masters and saving them the labors of original thought. In consequence of this error many persons pass for normal, and indeed for highly valuable members of society, who are incurably mad; and many, on the other hand, are looked upon as mad who are geniuses…This is the art of life. You may yourself as an artist develop the game of your life and lend it animation. You may complicate and enrich it as you please. It lies in your hands. Just as madness, in a higher sense, is the beginning of all wisdom, so is schizomania the beginning of all art and all fantasy.

― Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

Snow White

For the past year Chris has made leaps and bounds socially. He has joined several choirs and amateur theatrical productions and is busy with these activities every night and increasingly, on the week-ends. It’s his days that hold no promise. Other than shopping, cooking for the family, and keeping his appointments with Dr. Stern and the occupational therapist, he has nothing to do to fill them. Ian and I know that Chris is well, but we have deliberately avoided rocking the boat. We tell ourselves to be patient. We hope that Chris will eventually decide for himself that his day situation is intolerable. I’ve noticed that men who have recovered from the condition called schizophrenia often report that they began to take steps to change their lives beginning around the age of 28 (the first Saturn return).

The other day Ian and I left for work, as usual, and Chris waved us off at the door, as usual. I said to Ian as we drove away, Don’t you think Chris being home all day has gone on long enough? Shall I contact the occupational therapist and tell her to get going on helping Chris find a job?
“Go for it, said Ian.

I sent an e-mail to the OT saying that Ian and I felt it was high time Chris became a useful member of society and begin by getting a job. I said we would have preferred that he go back to university or take some intense training course, but he didn’t seem ready for that step, because, if he was, he would have initiated the process by now.

I spent the remainder of the day wondering if I had done the right thing by putting pressure on the OT. What if Chris really isn’t ready for a job?

I got my answer that evening after I got home from my yoga class. Chris arrived home shortly after I did.

“Chris, wasn’t your rehearsal tonight?

I didn’t go, he said, his voice sounding tired. I bought the train ticket but I just couldn’t go.

Well, why not?

“I was inside all day and I didn’t do anything, and I just couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm at the end of the day.

Did you spend your day in fantasies?

No. I don’t do that anymore. They aren’t so interesting.

Well, that was a relief, not that I am worried that Chris will slip back into psychosis, but I still felt I needed to check.

So, we sat down and talked. By now, I was glad that I had contacted the OT.

Chris, I fully understand how bored you must be at home all day. It’s draining. I’ve been there myself when I was unemployed. The less I did, the less I wanted to do, the less I thought I could do. Don’t you think it’s about time you got a job? You need the stimulus of routine and people during the day because you have got to the point where you are very sociable and need more company. You have made great strides, you are basically “normal” now, you have great potential and there’s no reason why you can’t make an enormous contribution to the world, but you need to get out and start to be productive.

Chris brightened. Hearing me say this was a huge relief to him.

There’s one thing, though, Chris. You are still waiting for life to choose you, you are kind of like apologies for not having a male equivalent a princess in a fairy tale who is waiting for a handsome prince to wake her up out of her dream state. Just because you are intelligent and talented doesn’t mean that somebody is going to define you and tell you what you should be doing the rest of your life. Life doesn’t work like that. Learn to take chances and not fear failures. In the past you just collapsed when life started putting pressure on you.You’re much stronger today than you were then, so now it’s time to take action, and not intellectualize too much about whether it’s the right action. If you don’t mind, I’m going to start getting on your case more about developing a daily schedule and sticking to it. I don’t want you missing any more rehearsals because you haven’t been busy enough during the day.

End of lecture