Archives for posts with tag: mind over matter

Two years ago, while learning a new glass form in the studio, I made a wrong move and got a serious burn on my arm. A curious thought arose just as the pain began to barrel into my body. The thought went like this: “it wont hurt…” In seconds, the sense of burning pain ‘flipped’ to become a sensation of coolness, not pain. It remained that way as the burn scabbed over and then healed. It amazed me that I could get the result that I did. I mentioned this event in a post in the Fall two years ago here at WTI. It was one of the first hints that mind could convince the body and brain to change how signals in the body are interpreted. On the one hand, having signals read as pain serve a purpose, but on the other, they show evidence that they can be mediated by the mind when the need arises to change them.

Two days ago I was working in the studio making a piece for an order. In walks some customers. Feeling rushed, I didn’t slip on the protective wear I normally do to protect myself from radiant heat burns. The piece I was working on had to be extra hot in order to properly complete a certain step in the making of the piece. With glass, it is in the range of 15-1900 degrees F. inches from the hand, so even without touching a hot object you can get burned if your skin remains too long in close to the heat source.

I know how crazy this sounds: why would anyone keep their body so close to a heat source that it burns? The answer, my friend, is a glassblower does this often. Normally we are aware of the kind of exposure to keep from getting more than a heat rash or a sunburn-like condition. You learn the difference between heat that will cause discomfort and what will result in burns (and as a glassblower I reach that threshold many times in a day). Normally. I felt my hand and arm burning, and by the time I was near to being finished, the damage was done. Like Icarus, I had flown too close to the sun. Then the piece didn’t turn out either. I was slowly getting caught up in frustration…which is never a good thing.

Putting away the pipe, the severity of the burn became apparent to me. It was the worst radiant burn to date (after 25 years of working with glass). Whoo, boy! I shifted quickly into customer mode and rushed into the gallery to wait on my customers before the burn became unbearable.

I was also feeling preoccupied with how stuck I had become in both the frustration and the pain as I entered the gallery. I explained this to my customers, apologizing if I was not acting my best. I lifted my arm to take a look. My forearm was speckled red with some small blisters forming. The side of my hand had a blister about the size of a nickle. I stayed stuck in my frustration as my customers took their time. All this while, the effects of the burn continued to develop.

After a bit, I was back in the studio facing this situation. This wasn’t good. I imagined that I would be out of commission for a few days as my arm and hand healed. Then I remembered what happened with my burned arm a couple of years ago and how I was able to do what I did back then. Why wasn’t I able to make the pain go away this time? Why wasn’t I immune to it now?

While I thought about this, the realization arose that I hadn’t tried to change the outcome yet. Oh right, I need to go down into it first. I had to find that place in my mind that acts like the operating system for the body. I had to tap into the autonomous nervous system.

First, I quieted my mind despite the physical pain. I do this by considering it’s possible that I can create a place of calm seperate from all of the sensory hubbub going on. I reached into this bottomless calm that is always available when I can get my mind right. After a few moments, I then regarded the pain. As I did this, there came my own presence of mind along with calm accompanied by the pain. I simply thought how I could make the pain go away. I sat with the pain and calm at the same time. To do this yourself, there is no magic to it except that you are willing to consider that both states are possible. It only becomes possible when you do it. I suspect that when you can be calm and not wince at the pain this is a dignal to the deeper part of the brain. It’s like you are behaving as though it doesn’t hurt. I suspect that when you do this and come to the brain with this kind of state, the brain is susceptible and willing enough to take that as a signal and makes the change. I am the first to admit that it isn’t easy to do this in the face of pain of this sort. If you can not act as though you are getting caught up in the pain signal, you can actually make it go away or “shift” it. It will likely feel like an imperfect alliance of stark contrasts. Still, you can tell yourself that anything is possible, much like I did.

In turns, the pain ebbed away, and then came back, before retreating again. While I observed this I saw that the pain was behaving the way it was because my thoughts had not been consistent. The pain came along because I was expecting it to. It was the most curious effect watching this happen the way it did. The pain came because of a deep natural belief that it would. I had momentarily wandered into both the fear reaction along with a resistance feeling put up against the pain, and these two identifiable elements tracked along with the experience until I was able to get better command of the situation. Both were keeping me in pain, I realized. I let those go using intention and imagination: I imagined what letting it go might feel like. While this was a kind of pretend, added to a deep inner calm and ignoring the pain, the situation began to resolve. I hadn’t jumped on this immediately, so there was now more to contend with, I realized. Then a few unexpected things happened quickly after I was able to shift the pain…

The red rash on my forearm went away very quickly. The line of small blisters went away also (in minutes). There were now only a series of red spots (those haven’t gone away). The blister on the side of my hand then began to subside. It had been filled with fluid moments before. Within an hour, the blister reversed itself. That had never happened before.

The blistered skin knitted itself back to the dermis the following day. This was new in my experience. Now a second day later, the area that was the blister feels and behaves like regular skin. Normally, the skin dries out and becomes a bit like a scab, which then peels away after about a week. The upper layer of skin isn’t drying out. There is some discoloration, a darkened area that looks like it is on the lower layers of the skin. I know, too much information, huh?

Since beginning this experiment my burn -while discolored slightly – is behaving normally, now a week later.

I mention this with a degree of caution because this hints at an area of inner work and mind/body connection that while beneficial for how I have used it, is not without risks. I am reminded of an interview many years ago by NPR where a group of Chinese monks who had learned to gain control over their autonomous nervous system. They demonstrated their abilities by going out during the coldest night of February (during the full moon of that month) donning nothing more than wet sheets, which they would dry by controlling their body temperature. The journalist described how the monks wrapped in the sheets, would open and close the sheets while their bodies seemed to be unfazed by the low temperatures in their environment. They came down from the high mountains having dry bed sheets. Later, a monk when asked how they achieved this, explained that he could not explain precisely how it was done because, in his words, “You could kill yourself.” In this case, this feat of control had as much to do with being able to slow heart rate as ramping up body temperature.

You need to go carefully into this kind of work, and this is one reason why I have not gone further into it with trying to slow my heart rate, for example. That said, someone at some point discovered this and developed it at one point without the benefit of a teacher either. My suspicion is that this was very carefully investigated by going very incrementally into this area of mind/body control, and anyone doing this should also consider this reality that could lead to harm for anyone who acts foolishly. This work, I suspect, opens the door to ALL controls over the body at a level that we are not accustomed to.

The converse is also true, though. It is possible to effect change that is positive for the body by helping to regulate chemistry that may have been run by subconscious material rather than conscious intent. It is possible, when carefully and incrementally done, to shift body chemistry to ranges that benefit the body instead of tearing it down. Fear, and its corresponding chemistry of adrenaline and norepinepherine, could be controlled in order to break the looping cycle of fear and wean a person off what may have been an instinctive pattern over many years to always go to the fear response and an unhealthy dose of adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol. This alone can lead to better health and a body that is in a more balanced state (without pharmaceuticals which never solve the root cause but only address a down-stream condition of result). Sadly, and understandably, there is no public instruction available on how to achieve this type of work.

Now in typical Parker style, I am going to toss you what might seem to be a curve ball. Stay with me though, because I think it will hint strongly at our potentials as humans.

In a town called Varhinga in Brazil, there were multiple sightings of ET beings out in the open. There were multiple witnesses from local women to a physician who worked for the military there to fix a broken bone in an ET who had been captured by the military there. If you read about this incident in popular media, it sounds like a “nothing burger” but it wound up being one of the most amazing encounters in ufology. Robert Leir, who was known for his removal and analysis of implants many abductees have wrote a book about his findings about the events surrounding the case. In it, he interviews the attending physician who says he worked on the being. During the procedure the being communicated tellepathically with him. The ET also took control of the physician’s body in order to get him to perform the surgery in the correct way. He recounts that the being told him many things, but he also said he would only tell the author about two of the things it had said. He described the information as hitting him in his head like a hammer, coming in fast, and left him with a feeling of nausea. He said the being said that it felt sorry for humans because they could do what this being could do, but didn’t know how to do it. It also expressed sadness that humans didn’t inquire more inyo their spirituality, giving him the sense that humans had little clue about what was possible with a better awareness in place.

SOURCE: Leir, Roger. UFO Crash In Brazil, 2005, The Book Tree, San Diego CA. p. 78-82

Now that might sound way out there, but there are other encounters reported that tend to reveal ET’s stating similar sentiments. We are a bit like the planet of the apes to them when we could be much more evolved and more in command of ourselves. The mere suggestion of tellepathy, which every ET race has exhibited an abillity for is a subject that will instantly get the hackles up of the average man or woman on the street. While this is changing bit by bit, we stand before a kind of conspiracy of ignorance that keeps the past replaying itself in regards to humans being able to glimpse their inner potential (and their inner senses). For as strange as this may sound, it is pointing us in a direction many are discovering in our current day, which is evidence of inner senses and a broader capacity we have as humans which was only thought to be the domain of the yogis and adepts, locked up in a vault of secrecy, and the ignorance that always leads from such embargo’s of how things could be different. Reversing pain is just one hair on the tip of the tiger I think.

So there you go. The reason why I mention this is to make you aware that if I did this, so can you if you are willing to give this a try. Being able to cancel pain in this way can be very helpful. As for changing heart rate and blood pressure, that remains to be seen and absent a monk being able to counsel me on this, I will offer great caution going forward.

I was working in the studio making a new type of work recently when something surprising happened. The work involved a body movement that required me to reach to a tool that was needed for the next step. I work with hot glass, and some steps involve very precise timing, and if a movement is not made correctly it can result in problems. In the case of this one step, I had to reach around a glowing red metal pipe in order to get at a tool. Since this movement was new, I was still learning it, putting it into “muscle memory” so that this movement could eventually go off without a hitch.

What happened was I wound up pressing the crook of my arm against the hot metal. And then something interesting happened, which is the reason for the post.

First, with my eyes on the tool, and not where my arm was, I realized what I had done. This had happened once before but without so much contact as was taking place at this moment. I continued to grab the tool, though, neither flinching or drawing back. This move took three seconds. I was aware of my skin on the hot metal all the way through this. I could hear and feel my skin sizzling. Then I could feel the nerve pain come barreling into my awareness. I had an odd calm through all of this…idd because for the first time ever, I just didnt react as I normally woukd have in the past.

I finished the movement, shaped the glass, turned around to get ready for the next step and found myself choosing a state of calm instead of a big reaction to the pain which was coming and which I knew would soon be so strong that I might need to stop my work because it would be too much. That’s when it happened.

A thought arose in my mind that I should try to not feel the pain, but instead to try and make it just go away. Up until this time I could feel an emotional and mental tension building like “steeling” myself for the inevitable rush of pain. Instead, something in me just relaxed a little and I felt myself aware that I might be able to change the outcome. Instead of feeling inner resistance, this felt more like surrender. This eliminated the tension, and it was immediately followed by a surprising change of events.

As I turned to make the next step in my work, I felt the pain being replaced by an entirely different sensation. This sensation was not pain at all. In fact, I experienced a coolness where the burn was. My arm exposed, I faced a furnace blasting heat at me. Normally this would have been like pouring salt on a wound. It would have made the burn howl with pain. But it didnt. I felt myself in a very calm detached state and I completed the piece I started in another five minutes without a hint of any pain whatsoever. This turned out to be one of the worst burns I have ever gotten in the studio.

The burn two weeks later and after the scab came off

I realized that what I was doing was controlling my autonomous nervous system, a kind of “brain hack” that enabled me to completely change my natural response to this burn. It wasn’t a moment of smugness, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was as easy as it was.

There was no pain at all until the following day when the burned skin began to dry and started to pinch and pull at my burned skin a round the edges. It oozed for several days after that. This was not a feeling of burning, but a different form of pain related to tender skin being covered in a crusty layer. After a few more days I put honey on the burn, which is known to have natural antibiotic qualities and the healing moved swiftly along.

Truth be told, I was always interested in these kinds of “feats” that seem to defy our normal understanding about how the body works. I read many years ago of Indian monks who could slow their heartrate incredibly slow, selectively lower blood flow to one arm or other extremity. And then I heard the story on the radio of the Tibetan monks who would go out on the coldest night in Winter (the full moon in February) with nothing more than a wet sheet, which they would dry with their body heat.

I always felt that there was more to ourselves than meets the eye, and I have begun to realize that at least in part, I knew this because in other lives, I had done things which were similar in nature. I was surprised at how effortless this turned out to be.

When I think about it, I began to realize that I had been practicing similar forms of deep control at the root level of my body. I had turned on and turned off all kinds of responses over the last few years. Just yesterday I found a pain in my abdomen wound up being energetic in nature, something our doctors might chalk up to as neuralgia or something similar, and as I sank into a meditative state, I reached a place where I could really feel the body response, look at it, and then just make a small effort at letting the tense energy lift away, which instantly addressed the pain. In this case, the pain was not even being induced by way of an injury or disease. My body was treating it like it was pain, or maybe it was my brain that interpreted this energy as pain and made it so. Whatever the exact case, the problem was no more.

You might be thinking, “Yeah, but pain is an important warning sign that helps alert you to trouble, Parker.” I would agree. Pain let’s you know something is wrong. But in the case of my burn, I knew I was being burned, could feel the pain crowding into my body like a freight train in flames. I just chose to reverse it. My stomach pain turned out not to be an injury at all, or disease, but instead a kind of persistent tension energetically that was being interpreted as pain (or as something wrong). If I hadn’t gotten to the bottom of my stomach pain, I might still be feeling something that might have only gotten worse and who knows…in time it could lead to physiological and chemical changes that could lead to a very real physical dysfunction.

I am passing this along because my sense is that the more we meditate, the more we spend time deep in the subconscious digging out stored emotional debris, the easier it is to begin brushing up against not just our emotional codes, but our physiological ones as well. I think that things like this may be a natural turn of events, much like how the Tibetans who were practicing g-tummo meditation were able to gain control over their body heat in order to dry sheets in zero degree temperatures. Not a boast or a brag, but to share with others interested in our own inner workings. If I can do it, so can you!


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