Shakti – New technology for spiritual process.
Todd Murphy Researching
Behavioral Neuroscientist Laurentian University
Behavioral neurosciences program Associate researcher.
www.spiritualbrain.com (Part 3 of 5)
Only a few of the “matrices of neurons” that TLE can recruit support altered-state experiences. Others, more available, support the more common seizural experiences, like lip-smacking and simple ‘spacing out’. But we should remember that seizures activate the brain in non-functional ways. There are patterns of electrical activity that ‘belong’ to specific brain parts and specific neural jobs. These patterns ARE functional, and seizures create all sorts of patterns, including a lot of meaningless noise. The ‘spiking’ pattern of epilepsy is a useful diagnostic marker because it usually only appears during seizures. And that brings us to Persinger’s other line of research.
The one that led me to develop Shakti. He had begun to apply magnetic signals to the brain using patterns derived from EEG signatures. And these were creating spiritual experiences for some people. Some of them were quite phenomenal, too. He tried quite a few basic frequencies, but the clear winner was the ‘burst-firing’ pattern. The reason it was so successful was that it approximated the amygdala’s own firing pattern. The principle is simple. The brain produces electrical activity. Electric activity produces magnetic fields. If a magnetic signal has the same patterns as a neural electrical signal, it can elicit the same phenomena that normal activation would, within the person’s own habituated patterns.
I read a few of his papers, and then I called him on the phone. I had some small credentials to offer as a Buddhist theologian, working on death and dying issues. I had tried to learn the vocabulary he used, and I succeeded enough to manage conversation with him. We discussed a couple of applications for his principles, including applying his questionnaires to groups of Thai Buddhist meditators. It was at that point that Dr. Persinger provided me with a prototype digital-to-analog (DAC) converter. The one that produces the electrical signals that are converted into magnetic signals. My early sessions with it were interesting and highly visual at times, but they weren’t the correct signals, due to a computer problem that was eventually solved by Stan Koren, who developed the Koren Helmet as well as the DAC. He also developed the computer files for the signals themselves. Later, these were to become the templates for the Shakti signals, too. After I had my computer (a 386 laptop) setup correctly, I was able to duplicate the signals used in the documentary I had seen two years earlier. In the meantime, I’d been studying. Of course. Almost immediately, I began making mistakes. The first of these was doing too many sessions, too close together. After about 8 days, doing about 45 minutes a day, I had a psychotic episode. In retrospect, it was most likely a recurrence of the “Schizophrenia-like psychosis of temporal lobe epilepsy” as one researcher called it. It only lasted a few days. And it had a trigger. A romantic disappointment.
Ouch. So sad. But my response to it was EXTREME, to say the least. I knew, at the time, that it was not like other such moments in my life, and I knew that it had to do with the DAC. Now the studying paid off. I looked at my own neural history, and I knew that my right amygdala, specialized for fear, was involved and a bit of introspecting let me see that this disappointment had a strong component of anxiety. Other such times in the past, anxiety hadn’t been there.
The excess ‘connectivity’ of my right amygdala, created during my TLE seizures, had gotten it active even when I was not having a seizure. Like most TLE in children, Mine stopped with the onset of puberty. But until that happened, I had an ‘interictal’ (between seizure) epileptic psychosis. These same AMYGDALOID pathways were awakened when I used the amygdala’s signal. I’d used it over both side at once (Not a standard Shakti presentation). But, my own neural history had made the one on the right more sensitive. At some point in the long-week-of-my-dumb-sessions, I had crossed a crucial threshold, and the same pathways that had once made me a “disturbed child” now made me crazy one again, after all those years. So, to move away from insanity, I did the first intelligently designed session of my career. A corrective one. Based on a person’s unique neural history. I applied the amygdala’s signal to my LEFT temporal lobe. And what I got was not simply an end to the episode. It ended, yes. Very definitely. But what came next was not a return to normal consciousness. Rather, it was a demonstration of the ‘interhemispheric intrusion’ hypothesis. Interhemispheric means, in this case, crossing between the two hemispheres of the brain. An Intrusion refers to a higher-than-normal load/level of activity.
End of Part 3…
Copyright: Todd Murphy, Author and AVS Journal, Michael Landgraf, Publisher (2006) Granada Hills, CA. All rights reserved.