How Psychedelics Can Improve Our Mental Health and Using Compassion To Treat Addiction

Featured
Understanding human development through the lens of science and compassion.

Advocating a New Way to Understand and Treat Addiction with Dr. Gabor Maté

Ferriss goes into some deep topics with Dr. Gabor Maté, a physician who specialises in neurology, psychiatry, and psychology. He’s well known for studying and treating addiction. One of the most leading edge doctors in the addiction and psychology arena, Ferriss really opens up and lays it all on the table, it’s a must watch!

Gabor Maté’s believes we should not be asking; why the addiction, but why the pain? Leading to an examination of that person’s life rather than just looking at their brain chemistry.

The Canadian is calling for a compassionate approach toward addiction, in ourselves and in others. The source of addictions is not to be found in genes but in the early childhood environment. Compassionate Inquiry is a psychotherapeutic technique he’s developed seeking to uncover what lies underneath the appearance we present to the world.

His work began by chance, by happenstance he found himself working in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (North America’s most concentrated area of drug use) for over a decade with patients battling hardcore drug addiction, mental illness and HIV, including at Vancouver’s Supervised Injection Site.

The most common cause of death of those under 50 is overdose, and in the U.S. every 3 weeks you have the equivalent of a 9/11, in terms of the number of people dying. Where’s the public outcry? Where’s the resources? Where’s the political will? Where’s the mobilisation of the media and all the public health entities?

Podcast Snippet – Dr. Gabor Maté

What is addiction?

“Addiction is a complex psychological process that manifests in any behaviour. Not always substance related; craving, pleasure and relief in the short term. But negative consequences in the long term and the inability to give it up.”

Maté shows how the whole system is broken; the American Society For Addiction and the American Legal System’s definition; His analysis in the podcast is a real eye opener and provides a disturbing realisation that they’ve got their approach to addiction and mental health completely backwards and ultimately wrong.

The reason why addiction treatment is failing and ineffective is because physicians don’t understand it, they keep dealing with the effects; which is the addiction and the behaviours which are the effects of the addiction, but not the cause; the trauma.

Dr. Gabor Maté

This podcast delivers some truly deep conversations between the two, unravelling Ferriss’ past; his personal bouts of depression and substance abuse. You begin to understand the calibre of Maté’s approach to psychology, the class and compassion is captivating, which leaves you feeling as if you’re right there in the room.

Other stimulating topics covered are:

  • Child development in the womb
  • How our early environment affects us
  • Parent – Child relationships – brain development and stress
  • Childhood Trauma
  • Gene expression
  • “Trauma is not what happen to you, that is a traumatic event, it’s what happens inside you.”
  • Approach to transcending trauma; recovery and reconnection
  • Acceptance, Connection, Emotional Development
  • Bypassing the conscious, defensive, ego-ic mind
  • Benefits of daily Yoga – as a meditation. Recommends; Inner Engineering Yoga
  • Psychedelics as healing modality in a guided setting – super highway to self -awareness; Ayahuasca, Psylosybin
  • Social culture in 2019 is creating snowflakes
  • Stress disease connection

The list may look daunting and a tad depressive but Maté and Ferriss bring the complete opposite to it, a portal into a higher sense of self-awareness and what we can do to help and salvage humanity and ourselves from the vice of addiction. Knowledge is only potential power, it’s what we do with it that counts. I’m insanely grateful and inspired by the message Maté espouses, a real pioneer of psychology and thought leader of our time.

In summary;

We shouldn’t see this an individual issue, it’s a social issue. Buddha said “without the many there cannot be the one, and without the one there cannot be the many”. We are social creatures, our brains are wired together, we’re not isolated creatures, we must look at both the individual and at the broader, social and cultural environment.

I don’t want to ramble on to much, so it’s over to you to watch, listen, whatever suits you. I know you’ll find some powerful insights from this podcast and Gabor Maté. I’ve included a link to his latest book; In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts

Please let me know your thoughts and your personal cliff notes. We must talk more openly about mental health as a society and I welcome your thoughts and input.

Kokoro.

Books and Links

Dr. Gabor Maté — New Paradigms, Ayahuasca, and Redefining Addiction (#298)

How To Think Like a Zen Monk By Breathing Like One

“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts” — Thich Nhat Hanh

Is a good diet your path to longevity? Obviously it’s important but how long can we survive without food? 2 weeks? 3 weeks?

We all know how important hydration is and how a lack of H2O throughout the day affects your physical and cognitive performance. So how long can we survive without H2O? 5 days? 10 days?

But at the core of the human physiology the one nutrient people are not talking about; Oxygen, O2. How long can we survive without O2? 1 minute — 2 minutes. You get the gist.

70% of our metabolic waste is eliminated through breathing. The other 30% is eliminated through perspiration, urination and deification. So if like me you think getting enough exercise and sweating regularly is important for your health, just think how important your breathing is, because 70% of the toxins are released from our bodies through our breathing.

Extensive research is showing that the life expectancy of an individual can be predicted by their breathing capacity; lung capacity is the single best indicator of how long you’ll live. Scary, right? Not if you have the tools to improve your breathwork. The benefits of breathing aka intentional breathwork are; focus, calm and non-reactiveness.

WELCOME TO BREATHWORK

It’s roots can be traced back as far as the sixth and fifth centuries BCE, in ancient India and the origins of yoga; Pranāyāmā (Hindu Science of Breath). The Sanskrit word Pranāyāmā comes from Prana (life energy) and Ayama (to extend, draw out). You’ll also find it in other forms of martial arts across the globe; Qigong, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Russian Systema and Brazilian Jujitsu

Today in 2019, Breathwork is being used in the fields of self-improvement and personal development, and as a self-healing method in alternative medicine. Regarded as one of the most holistic and complementary approaches to healthcare, and it is an essential part to any genuine spiritual development journey The Wim Hoff Method.

Ifyou need to focus on something, start by focussing on your breath. If you need to control yourself, your mind, body, emotions, behaviour, then start by getting control of your breathing. — Dan Brulé

Breathwork focuses on the use of breath awareness and conscious breathing, for healing and growth, personal awakening, and transformation of spirit, mind and body. (Dan Brulé)

Virtually all psychologist and human development researchers agree up until the age of four or five years old, we receive programs that limit who we are; we receive conditioning about who we are, how we look at ourselves, how we think about each other, how we relate to the world.


And this conditioning is unconscious, directly downloaded into our subconscious. It affects how we perceive and what we think is possible. Our basic ideas of what is right and wrong are determined by this early conditioning, which by the way isn’t chosen, it’s directly instilled in us by parents, by culture, by society, by religion.

Memories and impressions are stored in our subconscious, and not just stored in our brain, but they are stored in the cells of our body. This is where breathing comes in; breathing activates and releases these impressions from the cells of our body. (Dan Brûlé)

So all of these unconscious beliefs, all of these memories that are stored in the cells of our body, they create blockages. This can often result in physical illnesses and diseases, and psychological and emotional problems. So how can we release these tensions in our body?

You guessed it, our breathing!

Breath therapy is a holistic approach to access and enhance the function and the operation of both the mind and the body. It works by regulating the rhythm of the breath, by the location of the breath, the speed of the breath.

To get an understanding of the benefits and implications of the breath here’s a partial list of situations and settings where breathwork is now being taught and applied, courtesy of Dr. Peter Litchfield, President of the Graduate School of Behavioural health Science;

Alternative healthcare, anger management, attention training, drug abuse prevention, drug rehabilitation, attention training, childbirth, chiropractic, dentistry, counselling, education, flight training, midwifery, martial arts, meditation, occupational therapy, pain management, peak performance training, meditation, physical therapy, public speaking, psychology, speech therapy, stress management and PTSD, yoga, and zen.

More and more people are waking up to the true value and benefits of breathwork and applying it in their everyday lives, at work and at home. Professionals are using it to create breakthroughs for themselves and people they serve. For spiritual seekers, its a direct path to spiritual awakening, self realisation and enlightenment. Thats’s why breathwork is a major skill set that high performing and successful individuals have mastered.(Dan Brulé).

Below are some links to exercises to experiment with, people to explore around the field of breathwork. Please enjoy and really take on board the information these folks have to share it’s truly transformative for your mental wellbeing, I can vouch for this.

Breathwork has allowed me to explore and experience all the aspects and levels of this amazing process; physiological, emotional, energetic and spiritual. Breathwork can re-wire the nervous system and change the way that your brain thinks.

https://breatheologyworld.com/courses/breathing-discovery-masterclass/

https://www.breathmastery.com

Children Could Be The Final Frontier For The Future of Homo Sapiens. But, Are We Properly Preparing Them To Face It?

“We’re all agreed on the extraordinary capacity that children have, their capacities for innovation.

All children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.

Van Gough

Sir Ken Robinson’s heart warming TED talk, offers a message with deep resonance, dissecting the current education system that we find implemented the world over, has been distributed widely around the Web since its release in June 2006, viewed a staggering 57,961,789 times.

He touches on how academic ability has come to dominate our view on intelligence, because the universities designed the system in their image. As a consequence many highly talented, brilliant, creative people think they are not. What they were good at in school wasn’t valued and was actually stigmatised. He believes we cannot afford to carry on this current path, a 19th century industrialism view of the world blueprint, that is bringing students into a revolutionary different one.

“We are educating people out of their creativity capacities…
… I believe we don’t get educated into creativity, we get educated out of it.”

Sir Ken Robinson, 2006 TED Talk

Due to a process of educational inflation, suddenly a Degree isn’t worth anything. Where as you needed a BA now you need a MA, or a PHD for the others. Robinson believes this indicates the whole structure of education shifting beneath our feet. Calling for us to radically rethink our view of intelligence.

Are we ready for it? That’s the big question.

Using the platform of TED that showcases the gift of imagination, Sir Ken Robinson believes our task is to educate children’s whole being, so they can face this future. By encouraging them to explore their natural talents, and be careful that we use this gift wisely, not to force them into a practical box at an early age. We must see our children as the hope that they are.

“Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value.”

Sir Ken Robinson, 2006 TED Talk

This is an absolute must watch for any individual, as we all care about education and our future as a species on this planet. This humbling, thought provoking, engaging TED Talk, is filled with hope and inspiring changes we must make, to better serve the next generation.

Embrace Courage – Tell The Story Of Who You Are With Your Whole Heart.

What makes you vulnerable, is also what makes you beautiful.

Brené Brown

Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston where she studies human connection – our ability to love, our sense of belonging and our ability to empathise.

“I suppose I am a storyteller. I’m a qualitative researcher. I collect stories; that’s what I do. And maybe stories are just data with a soul.”

Her thought provoking, perception expanding TED Talk is based on her research into human connection; “It’s why we’re here. It gives us purpose and meaning to our lives. This is what it’s all about. It’s how we’re neuro-biologically wired.”

She finds out that in order to understand connection, you have to reverse engineer connection; in order for there to be a connection we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen. Which brings us to vulnerability, which many people struggle with and therefore struggle with connection.

Since receiving 1000’s of stories, journal entries, basically 1000’s of pieces of data, it boiled down to a sense of self worthiness and a strong sense of love and belonging vs. those who struggle, aka a lot of us.

The reality is that we live in a vulnerable world and we’ve unconsciously created dangerous coping mechanisms, resulting in debt, obesity, addictions and self medicating with pharmaceuticals, in an attempt to numb ourselves.

By numbing the hard feelings and emotions we’re in turn numbing joy, gratitude and happiness. It’s an alarming cycle.

Brené showcases that we’ve got it all wrong, we need to embrace vulnerability in order to create a better world.

Teaser over, I will not say anymore on this talk, I just urge you to watch it and see how you can hack your perceptions, and embrace your vulnerabilities to live a full life.