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At this late stage in my life, I am circling back, picking up some aspects of myself that I left behind: another Harley, my neo-shamanic abilities, and writing poetry–and exploring something I hadn’t tried back in the 60’s as an adjunct: psychedelics. These represent a resurrection of things that I had set aside and am returning back to at this late stage of my life. All of them together represent a rebirth of sorts at this late stage, and I feel my energy and interests come up as I move back into them. A sign to me that I am on the right path at the right time for me; a time of personal growth and renewal.
I have not blogged for a while because resurrection and rebirth take a lot of time and energy. Just ask any mother. I have been on an exponential learning, and relearning, curve. It has been a period of energizing transition and metamorphosis. Woven into this dynamic tapestry of personal growth is the process of individuation, or in Maslow’s term, self-actualization, that is intertwined. And all of this is been deepened and made more fertile by my years of Zen practice, which forces you to deal with your Shadow issues of the subconscious, or as Carl G. Jung named it, of your Personal Unconscious.
While I have blogged earlier about the Harley part, I’ll do a short update here: Damn, those bikes have gotten heavier since my last one, only seven years ago. But as I write, they were already heavier by then too. I have to really struggle to pick it back up if I let it go over on its side–and that is with all the bicycling and weight lifting I do. This getting old sucks!
Just the other day, I let it fall over down the street at my daughter’s, Amy’s, house. I had pulled up in her front yard off the busy highway/road and forgot to put the kickstand down (old age again!), and over it went as I stepped off. Once it gets only a few degrees off vertical in a lean, its is too much weight for me to pull back up, so I just stepped off. Bending over, I tried to lift it back to vertical. It was laying on its engine guards that keep it at about a 30 degree angle. I could just barely budge it trying to lift it. I had just bent over forward and was trying to pick it up, having forgotten about turning around backwards, sort of getting under it, and using my legs to push it up–a technique of which my son later reminded me. Here I was, on a fairly busy street, cars driving by, Harley on its side, old guy trying to upright it. How embarrassing. I went inside the house and asked my ex, Carol, to come out and help. No good either. Imagine now, people driving by and seeing these two old folks out there trying to upright a big Harley. The Three Stooges come to mind, only there were just two of us. Curly was elsewhere. Finally, two ol’ Big Boys pulled up in a big truck, hoped out, and quickly set it upright. Thank-you, Big Guys! Next time, I’ll remember the ‘turn around backwards and use my legs’ technique–or, better yet, to be sure and put the kickstand down.
Moving on now…
Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble…
The poetry resurrection is part of my effort at creative art to express/explore my subconscious and is part of my personal growth/individuation program. I am using the poetry along with shamanic journeying, dreamwork (analysis), Zen practice, and re-writing my personal myth. Thrown into the bubbling caldron of individuation, I’m adding a little seasoning for a deeper, richer flavor: psychedelics–I hope.
Even though I was a flower child of the 60’s, I somehow missed out on the psychedelics of that era. Tried a little ‘shrooms’ a couple of months ago, just enough to get a little buzz as it turned out. A testing the water thing, ‘putting my toe in the water to see how cold it was,’ before I jump in, sort of thing. Do I jump in? It was a pleasant mellow, different from marijuana, which I did do a lot of in graduate school. My plans are to do some LSD. This is just an experiment understand. I want to see if it facilitates my spiritual growth. I’m big on experiments from my science days. Speaking of which, a lot of research is once again being done on LSD and psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) for psychotherapy for seniors–hey, that be me. It is indicating positive effects on depression, anxiety, and some benefits for Alzheimer’s, if I remember correctly. Don’t quote me on this latter though. I’ll let you know how this experiment goes, recognizing that for it to be good science, experiments need to be replicated several times. I was inspired for this experiment after doing some Zen readings of one of Alan Watts’ book. This is It.
I started writing poetry in the ninth grade, moon-eyed in loved with a young lady a year or so younger. I had shown it to my speech teacher. She had encouraged my to keep writing–and so I did–but switched in college to science and technical writing. In highschool several of my poems were published in our school’s literary publication, Panther’s Tails. The science/technical writing however, was a kiss of death for my poetry writing. Over the years I had tried several times to revisit writing poetry but had not been happy with the results, so would drop it. However, the other day after one of my shamanic journeys, which I have started doing again after almost 16 year absence, I gave it a try. In terms of creative art, I’ve tried music: piano for two years from age 7-9, trumpet in junior high, again, for two years, and, about three years ago, I tried taking up banjo and harmonica. No good. Playing musical instruments is just not my thing. Hence, resurrecting my poetry writing. Afterall, I’m writing it just for myself, painting word-pictures with it. That said, maybe I’ll publish an edited version of my first try in a later post. I was actually pleased with it. Needs a lot of editing, but still, I like the way it flowed and came together.
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In an earlier post on meeting your personal Jungian archetypes, and discussed in my new Guru book above, I mentioned emotional neural circuits and that the archetypes were closely associated with these. Here I want to expand on that and combine it with my 2009 idea and webpage on n-dimensional emotional hyperspace. In later posts I will relate these to our comfort zone and spiritual growth. In this post I am just laying the foundation for these later discussions.
First, let me review my original idea about n-dimensional emotional hyperspace starting with Fig 1 below:
“n” is the number of basic emotions as shown above and equals seven in this case. Each emotion is in its own dimension, i. e. has its own axis. Being humans we can only “envision” three dimensions of space (length, width, and depth), then add the forth dimension of time. For perspective then, we live in a four-dimensional space-time continuum.
Each of these dimensions is independent of the others, meaning you can move down the axis of say time, without affecting your position along any of the space dimensions. Graphically, we say that they are orthogonal (90°) to each other. In a our two dimensional drawing here, imagine each emotional axis going off into a different dimension. Of course you can not draw that, but you can represent it as I have tried to do in my drawing above.
Mathematically, you can theoretically have any number of dimension. Much of quantum physics’ string theory does this, pointing to the possible existance of up to ten dimensions.
Several additional points about the model:
Rating scale for intensity: Each emotion is scaled on a 0 to 10 scale of intensity. I often have patients do this is in therapy. I have them rate their feelings on a scale of 0 to 10 for the intensity of their emotion, such as sadness, where 0 is no sadness and 10 is the strongest sadness they can imagine. Only two emotional axises are so labeled as such in Figure 1.
Also to reiterate something I wrote in earlier posts and discuss in more detail in Guru, “emotions” are our underlying psycho-physiological response to a stimulus, whereas “feelings” refer to our conscious awareness of those underlying emotions.
Again, orthogonality means that the axises are independent of each other in our emotional hyperspace, i.e. they are at 90° from each other.
Can we feel more than one emotion at a time? That is, are our emotions really independent of each other? Can we be both happy and sad, for example? Can we feel happy and shame at the same time? Happiness is the culprit here. It is the only positive emotion. The rest are all negative emotions. We can definitely feel a mix of emotions about something or someone and they are independent of each other as outlined above.
We can have love-hate relationships for example. Or we can love someone, but not like them–our teens often fit into this category at least at times. My brother does. I have not discussed “love” as an emotion. Maybe more on this later. It is worthy of a blog (chapter/book) by itself. Our emotional hyperspace model here is conceptual, not rigorously accurate. It is useful for helping us understand how our emotions affect us. Now let me expand this concept to emotional neural circuits.
Emotional Neural Circuits
I would like to reframe our model above neurologically in terms of our emotional neural circuits. We now know much more about these circuits compared to when I proposed the original model. I spend a lot of time in my Guru book on the emotional neural circuits as they pertain to the archetypes. I thought about presenting this model there, but it was already so full of the science stuff, I decided not to. The reasons this model is helpful is because some of the emotion listed above, e.g. loneliness and sadness, engage more than one neural circuit. Also, it takes our understanding of emotions to the neurobiological level, allowing a more global understanding of what is happening.
Here is the updated n-dimensional emotional neurocircuit model:
Figure 2. n-dimensional emotional neurocircuit hyperspace
Notice that except for the FEAR dimension, there is not much correspondence between Fig 1, the emotional hyperspace model, and Fig 2, the neurocircuits involved in our emotions. For example, sadness and loneliness–there are no emotional neurocircuits for these emotions, although they wil call into play some of the neurocircuits. Sadness results from say when our SEEKING neurocircuit is thwarted or blocked, and we can’t seek or find what we are seeking. Sadness is a results of changes at the neurotransmitter level, most notably serotonin. Loneliness activates the SEEKING and PANIC circuits. Let us take a quick look-see at these neurocircuits and what they do. I go into them in much greater detail in my Guru book.
As McGowen points out there are four primary and three secondary neural circuits that have been identified. (SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, PANIC, PLAY, LUST, and CARE; see Guru Appendix 1 for more details.) Below, I give a slightly condensed summary from Guru:(more…)
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