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

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.


Books and Links

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

How to create a gratitude mindset with maps…

When it comes to maps, there is no one better in the world, in making and explaining them, than Oxford University Geographer Danny Dorling.

A pioneer in the methods of creating and understanding the world though maps, his Ted TalkMaps That Show Us Who We Are, Not Just Where We Are – is a must watch for any intrepid explorer with a thirst for knowledge.

British social geographer Danny Dorling presents a fascinating view of the world with some incredibly revealing maps. The focus looks to inform us of how the world is changing and how it looks relevant to the human population; historically, geographically and to a degree socially.

Using beautiful and unfamiliar world maps created by Benjamin Hennig, Danny Dorling shows us that in many ways life is slowly getting better and there’smuch to be optimistic about, as long as we continue to connect with each other. We need new ways of viewing the world, its future, and how we can avoid fearing the other; other people, countries, races etc, we often are focussing on the differences, rather than focusing on how similar we actually are. We currently fear people from other countries too much, we fear what we do not know. Instead, these visuals can breakdown these limiting views and we can begin to see the world as a whole.

World Airline Travel Routes
World Airline Travel Routes

This TED talk provides a much more relevant and clearer interpretation of the world than the mainstream media depicts for us, which is heavily fear based. We are shown the terrible aspects of humanity on the news every night but we are not shown what is far more important; we are not told that world population is slowing down, we are not told about how we are beginning to use less and waste less.

Precipitation Patterns: Rainfall from a People’s Perspective

The sheer scale of progress that’s been made by humans in a short space of time isn’t always easy to comprehend, but by using the language of the mind; context, statistics, with the language of the eye; maps, data visualisations, we are able to sow the seeds for a perspective shift, of the world as a whole. Data visualisation is truly powerful. Data is now the new oil.

Oceans removed. This is a map of 7.4 Billion people and drawn in proportion to those people.

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.


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.

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.

“If Knowledge is Power, Learning is Your Superpower.” – Jim Kwik

“First you make your habits, then your habits make you.” – Jim Kwik

Jim Kwik is a pioneer of the brain and neuroscience, speed reading, memory improvement, brain performance and accelerated learning. He’s the founder of Kwik Learning, and his clients have included organisations like SpaceX, Virgin, Nike and Harvard, to name a few.  But you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to implement Kwik’s ideas. His podcast covers all areas of personal growth and wellness, interviews feature the who’s, who, in the medical and holistic therapy world; offering true insights and how-to guides, for properly cultivating and caring for our brains.

London Real Episode of Jim’s Journey and Methods

This is just a quick post, but I thought Monday is a better day than any, to ask yourself some basic questions and start implementing new strategies into your day, to inspire a call for action and ultimately help you shine, grow and evolve.

Kwik Brain Podcast Links

The Man Who Rocked All Our Preconceived Notions Of The World As We Know It, Or At Least Thought We Did…

How much do you know about the world? Hans Rosling, with his famous charts of global population, health and income data (and an extra-extra-long pointer), demonstrates that you have a high statistical chance of being quite wrong about what you think you know.

Why are we so ignorant and totally unaware of it?

First of all, it’s not our fault. Hans Rosling brings sexy back to the world of statistics and shines a light on the common misconceptions we share regarding the human development narrative we’ve been fed over the last 60 years. His landmark book Factfulness is a thought provoking world awareness-alarm, providing factually fresh insights for us in the 21st century.

It’s not often you find the words “celebrity” and “statistician” in the same sentence, but Hans Rosling has ensured it’s possible. Rosling passed away at the age of 68. His now famous TED Talks made Rosling a worldwide sensation, has provided inspiration for a new generation of students, scientists and leaders through uncovering the story behind data, while educating and entertaining his audiences.

In Rosling’s first TED talk in 2006, he used statistics to debunk myths of the developing world, revealing how world health and living standards are getting much, much better each day. Rosling was a professor of health in Stockholm, Sweden, where he tracked trends in global health and poverty.

Rosling called himself an “edutainer.” He was one of the rare scientists who packaged complexity into presentations people really wanted to see, over and over. To Rosling, statistics need not be boring; statistics could tell a story.

Upon hearing of Rosling’s death, friend Melinda Gates wrote on her Instagram account: “Where others saw nothing more than statistics, Hans saw the chance to tell an incredible human story about our progress against poverty and disease…A data geek through and through, he used numbers to educate us, to entertain us, and to share his special brand of big-hearted, evidence-based optimism.”

Heavily heralded by both Melinda and Bill, as a true thought leader of our times, below is a full list of all of Hans’ impressive Ted Talks; each one leaving you with waves of positive emotions in both your mind and heart, along with many true moments of AWE and a gratuitous realisation that being alive right now, is the best human’s have ever had it. Blessed

FEAR Setting. Flip the script on how to reach your goals.

“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” – Seneca

Tim Ferriss talks to us about the ancient philosophy of stoicism, and how you can use it as a comprehensive system to train yourself to focus on what you can control vs. what you can’t, which is big shift in mindset.

In this intriguing how-to TED Talk, Tim walks us through this method originally developed by the ancient stoics of Greece. A fascinating spin on how to realise your goals and potential. Science has proven that willingly facing your fears is far more beneficial than having them thrust upon you, so have the bottle and reach for the pen, and draw up your fears.

What might my life look like if I don’t do this?

A jolting question to ask yourself, I know, believe me. Tim can trace all of his biggest triumphs by this method. It’s no magic pill but it sure is a good way to face your problems, face to face.

Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.

Jerzy Gregorek

What we most fear asking, doing, saying, is very often what we must do. Ask yourself this question; where in your life right now, might defining your fears, be more important than defining your goals?

Tim is the Indiana Jones of the digital age and I urge you to look deeper into his work, his podcast has had over 100 million downloads, a monster number. And his books are incredibly insightful and written in laymen terms; Tool of Titans, 4-Hour Work Week, 4-Hour Chef, 4-Hour Body.

You Only Have One Life; Prioritise What’s Important – DANDAPANI, New York’s Hindu Monk

Dandapani shares with his audience some basic skills of life. Growing up we were always told to focus on this, concentrate on that, but we were never taught how to focus.

Some game changing, simple tools that have been around for millennia. Hindu monks have been using them for thousands of years. With these tools and the process laid out by the monk, enabling you to better define your goals with clarity, you can then start to apply them in life to help solve your own problems and struggles, in order to begin to make progress and initiate personal growth.

Dandapani has gained his enlightenment and wisdom after spending ten years living on a Hindu monastery in Hawaii. His guru was one of Hinduism’s foremost spiritual leaders; an American initiated as a Hindu monk in the late 1940’s in the jungles of southern Sri Lanka, and sent back to the United States to bring Hinduism to the west. So Dandapani is worth his salt.

In this London Real podcast they go deep into How we are able to bring some of that eastern wisdom into our daily lives;

• Conservation of energy

• Never pursue happiness. That’s a sure way to be miserable and unfulfilled. Instead, pursue a lifestyle where the byproduct of that lifestyle is happiness. Family, friends, loved ones, connections. Those who fill your heart with joy and worthiness. Those who make you a better version of yourself.

• How to understand the power of your mind. How to understand the mechanics of it and how it works so you can create what you want in life. That’s his bread and butter of his teachings. Simplifying your life as much as possible, focussing on openly one thing at a time, practicing being present. Practice is key on all these teachings, like any sport, or skill, if you just know the info but don’t practice, how can you expect to get good.

• Getting clear on your purpose in life is only developed through looking inwards and prioritising time for ourselves. Getting to know yourself. Takes courage to face the whole of you, the good and the bad. It will be difficult, painful but necessary. That’s how we grow: to get to that next best version of you. You need to break those patterns in your brain and adjust them to enable growth.

• The Power of Affirmations in your morning routine. And their ability to influence the subconscious mind, aka the subconscious is running the show; the part of the iceberg under the waves.

Simplicity is key. people create complicated messy lives, by choice. But they don’t need to. Be concise and positive when saying them. There’s 3 simple ingredients:

1] positive language

2] clear visualisation

3] and a concise feeling to match the visualisation.

Feeing is emotion, and emotion is energy. You must bring this to the recipe. Words alone are not enough. Where awareness goes, energy flows.

In layman’s; Everything is made up of energy that is vibrating at a particular frequency.

This statement by the famous, forgotten, AC Current scientist of the 20th century encapsulates the Hindu philosophy to a tea;

“To find the secrets of the universe; think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” – Nicola Tesla

Rode to Woke urge readers to watch/listen to this epic podcast. To help straighten out the wagon. And steer you in the right direction. Thanks for stopping by.

Please take a look at some previous Woke content and drop some comments too, with any public figures/authors who are sharing and spreading fresh insights and knowledge in your world. Thank you.

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.