Blog: Mental Arts

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March 2015 Mental Arts Newsletter

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As many of us in the Northeast and other parts of the country have experienced, this winter has been particularly challenging with heavy snows, wind and ice. I have heard many people express they are ready for Spring, I have uttered those words too. Something to consider though is if we are all connected as Quantum Physics has proved, we are a part of nature, just as much as nature is a part of us. There is much we can learn about ourselves by observing the world around us. I think the quote below speaks volumes…

“When you discover nature’s power to break through all obstacles, you will discover that this same power is inside of you.” ~Lao Tzu

We welcome you to our 6th edition of the Mental Arts newsletter. Sit back, relax and enjoy!


Introduction to the Art of Rewriting for Business

class participant and attorney Brian Graffeo describes his experience…GettyImages_469798495

I recently attended the Business Introduction to Rewrite with my three other partners. To say that the class was a success would be an understatement. The facilitator assisted us in visualizing what was holding each of us back both individually and as a company. Each of the participants were able to examine the intricacies of the programs we had running and how we could assist both ourselves individually and as a team by observing how these programs played out in our daily lives. After completing the class, my partners and I have grown closer and we have learned the tools to allow our company to grow and succeed.

by Brian P. Graffeo, Esq./Kaplan Williams & Graffeo, LLC


What Is the “It”?

by Wendy Johnson, Delta Floats, Lansing, MI/www.deltafloats.com

“I know well enough what it is when I find a thing” said the duck, “it is usually a frog or a worm”   ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Many people understand that in order to communicate they have to both be talking about the same thing, or understand that ‘thing’ the same way. This is true, however the hitch in the get along seems to come before we talk to another person. We often use terms like ‘it’ to fill in our own thoughts. We have not taken the time to define that very thing to and for ourselves, and so ‘it’ remains a problem for us, because we aren’t ever sure what ‘it’ is.

Well that is certainly a mouth full but think about this, we justify whatever ‘it’ is because of the way we feel, but rarely dig deeper as to why we feel that way. What is supporting that ‘feeling’ in us?  If anyone questions that feeling there is sure to be an emotional reaction, why is that?  Because we haven’t looked at the actual reason we feel that way about ‘it’ and so it remains a frustration.

If we look at Lilly’s model of thought we can see that at the base of thought within our brain we hold our beliefs in real, which supports our emotions, feelings and then even our logic. And to really understand ‘it’ we need to understand what we believe is real. Without this understanding communication can be out of our reach. This makes Mental Arts introduction classes not only a tool to resolve our frustrations, it is a building block to better communication.


Radio Interview with Wendy Johnson of Delta Floats          

On February 25th, 2015 Wendy was a guest on Tim Bograkos’s The Sixth Option Podcast: http://smartconversations.podbean.com/e/accessing-your-brain-with-floatation-tanks-a-conversation-with-wendy-johnson-of-delta-floats


Software of the Human Biocomputer

by Terri Stangl, Great Lakes Flotation, Swartz Creek, MI/www.greatlakesflotation.com

How often have you heard someone complain that someone else “knows how to push my buttons”?  It might be a co-worker or partner or member of the family. Although commonly used, I find the “button” metaphor troubling. It is self-serving. Here I am, minding my own business, when another person comes along and actively “pushes” one or more of  “my buttons.” And bam! I get upset. We know that ‘buttons” are part of the hardware of machines. They are built in. A button metaphor suggests that emotional “buttons” are similarly hard-wired into “who I am” and the other guy is responsible for buttons being “pressed”. GettyImages_173426809

What actually happens in our brains is much closer to an “App” on a mobile phone than a button. Apps run automatically whenever certain events are recognized. My phone, for example, does certain things whenever it’s 10 minutes before a meeting, or when a text message is received, or a new photograph was just taken. At first glance it might seem like a “button” was pushed, but it’s just that sets of software instructions are running, whether or not I am even aware of either the triggering event or the instructions. When viewed as software instead of buttons, all manner of reactions are suddenly no longer a matter of  “who I am”, but rather an indicator of whatever app is running at the moment. The good news is that since people install these “apps” ourselves, starting in early childhood, we are equally able to assess their usefulness, and then update, customize, or replace them.

John Lilly said that in a float tank, an isolated individual can observe the raw material of his or her thinking machinery. One can observe one’s own “apps” isolated from all external stimuli or “triggers”. This is useful because the apps continue to run whether not we are aware of them or blame their operations on someone else. The float tank can help because it is a special environment in which one can observe the operation of one’s own software in isolation. And, as Lilly said many times, recognizing one’s current software is the critical first step to rewriting it. Anyone who floats in a float center with staff trained by Mental Arts has the additional benefit of having access to facilitators and classes that can help them use their float sessions to sort out and rewrite whatever apps or code they see would benefit from some adjustment.


Flatland-part 3

by John Worthington, author of “The Office of Shaman”

When we consider the idea of syntax, we have to also consider the idea that the structure of a language will limit the extension of thought. In the example of Flatland, a two-dimensional conceptional world, there would not be room in the description of that world for such concepts as cubes or spheres because in a world of two-dimensions only squares or circles could exist. Another way of saying this same thing is that in a world of two dimensions one would be limited to believing that only two-dimensional objects can exist.

5408EBE6FD334547B4FF9227F384365AIt might be quite a challenge to introduce the concept of a third-dimension into such a world. No one would have the experience of a third-dimension, you see. We find much of the same difficulty when we try to introduce the concept of programing in the human biocomputer to people who have always considered the frontal cortex as the apex of thought. It’s certainly true that the ability to self edit thought is a wonder of brain evolution but it is also true that creative people still slow down the frontal cortex’s self editing features in order to reach what is popularly called the “flow state.”

It may be that we see learning as too much work. We humans seem to be content with the number of connections we have in our brains. Or we consider them to be static. Unchanging. But in the accompanying photo from National Geographic it is possible to see what learning looks like in the brain. The big yellow dot represents a new memory or a newly learned idea or behavior. The green parts represent current neural connections. The red dots represent new neural connections being formed. The conclusion we can draw from this photo is that when we learn/remember new things we physically change the structure of the brain.

In this series we’re exploring the challenges of learning to think about thought. Therefore, reading about what our brains do to learn is not only causing many new neural connections to be formed while changing the physical structure of our brains, but it is also challenging how we process thought. We all have been taught to think using what is essentially a thought formula handed down by Aristotelean and Newtonian logic, which postulates that the world is made of particles. Which is observably true but does not account for the brain operating with quantum mechanics, which would necessarily postulate that an observed thought would result in an either/or conclusion but that an unobserved thought would result in a wave of probabilities.

Follow the link below to see an image of the more than 100,000 miles of white matter that connects different parts of the brain.    

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/02/brain/clark-photography#/brain-fade-6f.gi


Why I Float

by Lisa Dove, client of Delta Floats, Lansing, MI/www.deltafloats.com

My mind moves too fast on most days and through most of my nights. I am an only child which means I was an adult long before I learned how to be a child. In my teenage years, I was diagnosed with bulimia, severe depression, anxiety, and a self-harm disorder. The diagnosis turned into years of therapy and medications that never seemed to do anything other than mask the truth. My need to be introverted became more persistent as I became more restless, increasingly angry, and less trusting of everyone.

I tell you these things because it informs you of who I am, but more importantly, it sets a baseline on who I am trying floatingto become. I spent my entire life searching for peace. I would panic when I found myself believing that I would never find a place where I could fully relax, where I could think without fear, and where I could finally breathe. After 37 years of searching, I finally found what I was looking for in a flotation tank.

Sadly, I did not learn of floatation from my educational institution or from any medical practitioner that was attempting to help me. Instead I learned about it in a random radio interview with an athlete who would float before games to focus his mind and reduce stress. I find it humorous now that I cannot remember the day, the time, or even who the athlete was, but I do remember I was driving down the road to work and I cried when he described his experience with floating. I found Delta Floats on the internet that day and scheduled my first appointment with Wendy that weekend.

I was equal parts terrified and hopeful regarding the outcome of my first float which was an hour and a half. After all, my mind is what I cannot escape at night and where all my fears are held so what if being isolated from the world with only my mind made it worse? In the end, I climbed in and closed the door figuring I had nothing to lose but time. When the light went on at the end of my float, I was not disappointed in the outcome. No, I was not suddenly enlightened, I was not a better version of myself, and I was not motivated to change the world. There were no miracles in the tank that day.

Instead I found something that I need more than those things. In all of that silence and darkness, my mind slowed down and I found a moment of calm. I know now that the mind never slows down, but that in the tank your mind goes to the places it needs to go or to the places you want it to go once you get really good at the process. On the first day though, it did not matter how or why it happened, because I was too busy being thankful that I had finally found what I so desperately needed in my life. I have been floating every other week for an hour and a half each time since that day and the changes I wanted to make for myself are slowly becoming clear.


Great Lakes Flotation Hosts “Energy Expo” March 24, 2015

To celebrate the return of spring, Great Lakes Flotation is hosting an Energy Expo and Open House on Tuesday March 24th from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. There will be an opportunity to meet and talk with several local wellness practitioners, light refreshments, a drawing for free services, and special event deals. One of the participating practioners is Jon Potrykus, a national board certified acupuncturist, who offers services onsite on Mondays. Potrykus will answer questions about acupuncture and share how new technology like the Acugraph and Acutron Mentor are being incorporated into his practice.

The event also includes Dr. David Ewing, DDS,  who will talk about his patented neuro-magnetic products (mouthsplints, clothing, and support braces) which influence the central nervous system and the acupuncture energy network, resulting in reduced pain and improved athletic performance.

See www.thequantumdifference.com

Dr. Ewing is working closely with professional and amateur hockey teams, both in the U.S. and abroad. Jacqueline Shands is a massage therapist at NTouch Massage who can answer questions about how she incorporates Reiki energy work into her sessions.  Owner Terri Stangl will answer questions about how floating, together with recognizing and changing  programming patterns in the thinking machinery, improves the flow of energy in both mind and body.


Reflections on Harmony Class

by Mike Seabrook, client of iFloat, Westport, CT/www.ifloatct.com

The Harmony Class was an eye opening experience on many levels. Of course there’s the whole, being in a different country and experiencing a new culture, and seeing how it differs from how things are back home. But the Harmony Class provided an experience where I got to see a difference in how it is I see my relationships and my role in them.

My wife and I attended the class together and before going we both knew that there were aspects of our relationship that weren’t working for us. All relationships have aspects that don’t work well, but what we had agreed to do was to live in the frustrations that were born out of those areas that weren’t working, instead of resolving them. I thought that living in “harmony” meant that we don’t address those tough frustrating areas. The experience showed me that when I don’t say something about what’s going on I’m pretty much turning my back on my wife and our relationship. Because what that does is keeps the frustration alive. In retrospect, the Harmony class couldn’t have come at a better time for me and my wife; in less than 6 months we’ll be welcoming two babies into our family. Those kids deserve to grow up in a home where their parents are in Harmony so they can learn what it is. And that’s what I intend to provide.

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How to Make Your New Year’s Resolution Stick

by David Conneely, iFloat, Westport, CT/www.ifloatct.com

People generally start the new year with new year’s resolutions. The resolutions often center around important things such as exercise, diet, and employment. People sometimes say, “I’m going to exercise three times per week,” or, “I’m getting off sugar,” or, “I’m going to find a new or better job.” All of those are wonderful things. However, what many people find is they start the year at the new gym or with the new eating regimen but they are back in the old habits within a short period of time.

GettyImages_462868653A big reason why the resolutions do not work well is related to brain wave frequencies. The brain has four main brain wave states: beta (where logic is stored); alpha (where feelings are stored); theta (where emotions are stored); and delta (where beliefs are stored). These different brain waves develop over time starting with delta (age 0.5-4 years), theta (4-8 years); alpha (8-12 years); and beta (12-18 years). Many people think the beta brain wave or logical part of the mind is what rules everything in the mind. However, they are incorrect. Our logic is controlled by the instructions or neural programming in the slower parts of the mind. That is why, for example, advertisers direct their messages to the alpha or theta brain wave states (feelings and emotions). They know if they can communicate with your emotions then you will buy the product they are selling. In fact, you will create a logical reason to support how you feel about it.

When people make New Year’s resolutions they tend to insert the instruction at the logical level. That’s similar to trying to grow a plant by putting the seed on top of the ground instead of putting it in the soil. There is a low chance that “seed” or resolution is going to grow. Mental Arts offers classes to help people write a set of instructions to support a Goal they want to make real in their life. What makes our classes different is we help people write the instructions in the slower brain wave states – at the emotional and belief level. Doing so helps people modify the root of where they are getting in the way of their Goals. In short, take a Mental Arts class if you want to find solutions. It’s the best way to kick off 2015.


Adding Up the Math

by John Worthington, author of “The Office of Shaman”

It is rather apparent at times that to be a congressman in the United States House of Representatives does not require that one understand even basic math. Take the issue of funding the Department of Homeland Security. Congress is insisting that no funding be extended unless that Department can deport the close to 5,000,000 people Obama’s executive action affects. The argument is that those people cost the US too much to even be here and besides they would be rewarded by the granting of citizenship.

 Now please keep in mind that the majority of the most outspoken critics of that action were voted into Congress on a platform of reducing or curtailing federal spending. Now here’s the best part. Undocumented people currently account for about $10,600,000,000 in tax income to the United States. That number is based on approximately 11,200,000 undocumented people working in the United States. (Numbers quoted are somewhat outdated because they are based on 2010 statistics.) To deport a little less than half of that work force would cost the United States approximately $50,300,000,000 or roughly more than five times what the entire undocumented work force pays into the federal government.  Is it just me or does this math seem as goofy as owning a pet snake?

Even if the President did overstep his authority in issuing the executive order to protect those people who would qualify, wouldn’t it make mathematical sense for congress to pass legislation to do what the executive order provides, and then deal with the issue of whether or not the President overstepped his authority? There can be no happy ending to this rather sticky problem by punishing all of the American people by shutting down DHS. This looks a lot like cutting off your nose to spite your face. I don’t get it.


The Workings of the Mind

GettyImages_476363813by John Worthington, author of “The Office of Shaman”

Lily said,” The mind is defined as the sum total of all the programs and the metaprograms of a given human computer, whether or not they are immediately elicitable, detectable, and visibly operational to the self or to others.”

This is an idea we have to consider very carefully when we work in a tank office. First, the statement suggests that we may not see or, therefore, understand what is actually operational in our own minds. We are all susceptible to all manner of evasions. We can easily hide years of events from ourselves. An example of this kind of evasion can be found with women who have been molested by their fathers or other authority figures during their childhood years. Memories of those events are often suppressed for years. But the memories are still part of the mind and are also part of the thinking processes for those women even though the molestation cannot be accessed.

Molestation is an extreme case, perhaps, but many people experience a type of evasion even concerning events that are easily recalled. It is often the case that early childhood memories are key to beliefs in real which give rise to behaviors which are still operational in fully grown adults. Such behaviors as rebellion, or sexual orientation denial, or fantasy fabrications to support other behaviors can often be traced back to specific events which took place in the formative years of a young life.

The belief in real such an event forms in the mind of an individual may not be “visibly operational” to an individual, but the belief formed is still part of the mind. For example, a recent report notes that many women are leaving tech jobs because there seems to be a prejudice against them. The women interviewed do not cite a single event that causes them to leave the tech world but rather an attitude of superiority from the men who inhabit that world. While such a claim is hard to verify the lack of solid evidence does not mean that such a mind set does not exist in the predominately male work force of that industry. If male computer programmers, for example, grew up in an environment where women were considered to be less than males in technical prowess would those men even realize that such a discriminating belief about reality could even exist in their minds?

In the Zen teachings of the Sixth Patriarch’s Platform Sutra it is stated, “the eye cannot see itself.”  Can we ever know what is in our mind (what we look with) unless we consider what the mind does?


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Going Through The Motions

by Elise Lenhart

program/float facilitator

Where the story begins…
So clear, so real.
Take a deep breath.
Going through the motions.
The sounds, the sights, the smell, the taste.
So clear, so real.
Take a deep breath.
Going through the motions.
The love, the fear, the memories so dear.
So clear, so real.
Take a deep breath.
Going through the motions.
Time turns to memories.
Memories turn to trust.
So clear, so real.
Take a deep breath.
Going through the motions.
No beginning or no end…
The battle from within.
So clear, so real.
Take a deep breath.
You have gone through the motions.


The Gift of Loving Women

by David Conneely, iFloat, Westport, CT/www.ifloatct.com

On Sunday, February 8th during the Grammy Awards, the White House broadcasted a video in which President Obama urged Americans to stop violence against women. Violence against women is a huge problem in the United States. For example, nearly one in four women in Connecticut are survivors of sexual assault. Nationally, one in six women will experience rape or attempted rape in their lifetime (CONSACS, 2015).

The root of violence against women is the belief that “men rule women.” I see this belief in many places, including in conversations with friends, family, and iFloat community members. The “men rule” belief is prevalent but often unseen. For example, every time a guy rolls his eyes and makes a derogatory remark about  “women” to explain the problems in his relationship he is being violent. Every time a man blames women for being emotional or erratic he is being violent. Several years ago I was waiting to use the bathroom at a dance club in Manhattan. The guy next to me made a dero172587926gatory remark about how women are simply sexual objects for his pleasure. He assumed I was straight and I was going to say, “Yeah, bro.” However, I simply let him think what he wanted and said, “I prefer to have a relationship with a woman based on substance.” I then smiled and went in to use the bathroom. It was a small gesture but a big one because I could tell he was shocked I did not agree with his, “I rule woman,” belief. Perhaps his friends all agreed with him, and to have someone outside of that “group” say something different was shocking. Making such comments matters because it helps get to the root of the violence. If it is okay to demean women in conversation then it lays a foundation for it to be okay to be physically violent. By attacking the violent words and communicating with people about such violence, it increases the chance of them changing the “men rule women” belief and preventing violent acts such as rape.

Many people think floating and iFloat is simply about relaxation but they are wrong. I have seen first hand many times how coming to iFloat helps people become less violent towards their friends, family, and co-workers. In fact, many spouses and significant others buy gift certificates and memberships because they are tired of the violence of their significant other and they see how floating helps them. Floating helps reduce violence because it relaxes the mind. The solitudinous isolation environment found in the sensory isolation tanks at iFloat provide a profoundly relaxing environment. There are great benefits from such an environment. John C. Lilly, the inventor of isolation tanks, wrote: “The blank screen does not so easily show the “forbidden transitions” except by remaining blank, i.e., more relaxation and freedom to “free associate” with this visual mode is required to project on a blank screen.”

How many times have you asked someone in your life, “What’s wrong?” when you can tell something is wrong. They often say, “Nothing is wrong.” In other words, they give you a blank screen because that is all they see. The same thing happens when someone is being violent and you say, “Why are you angry or attacking me?” A normal response is, “I’m not angry!” Again, they give you a blank screen. Poof. The reason is because that is all they see. However, when a person relaxes enough (and floating relaxes the mind more than anything else I have ever encountered) the blank screen disappears and a person starts to see things about themselves. One of the reasons people say, “Floating sounds scary,” is because they know the blank screen is going to dissolve and they are going to see things about themselves, including the places where they are violent.

At iFloat we offer a complete experience. We don’t just put people in the float tank and say, “Goodbye” when they get out. We check in with people and ask if they have any questions. We maintain relationships with iFloat community members to see how things are going in their life. We encourage people to ask about their experiences so they can see how to use their float experiences to resolve and modify places of conflict within themselves. We might affirm someone when he says, “I saw how I was blaming my wife for losing my job,” for example. In contrast, we might point out how a man is tense after his session, which could become an opening for them to see how they are still angry at their mother for divorcing their father. Both examples are facets of the “men rule women” belief and both examples show how coming to iFloat help men examine and modify those facets. iFloat is not just about relaxation. It’s also about education.

 Next time you notice a man saying violent things about women send them to iFloat. They will likely walk away more relaxed and educated about how to be in Harmony with women. Doing so will help change the landscape of our society and country, and will prevent women from experiencing violence. It’s up to us to make that happen.


Jazz and Fundraising at Art of Floating

Art of Floating, Bloomsburg, PA/www.artoffloating.com

Art of Floating holds monthly events to benefit non-profit organizations while showcasing the talents of local artists.  These events are a great opportunity to bring together members of the community to enjoy good music, food and to support a good cause. If it weren’t for the community, Art of Floating wouldn’t exist like it does today.

 

In February, Art of Floating welcomed jazz artists Jay T. Vonada on the trombone and Steve Adams on the keyboard. The event was held to raise money and awareness for the Columbia Montour Family Health Incorporation. Columbia Montour Family Health is a non-profit health care organization providing medical and educational services supporting reproductive health care needs and choices. They are strongly committed to ensuring that their patients receive all the information they need and want about their health care and the choices available. You can download the video from the event and take a listen: IMG_5051

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