Monday, July 31, 2006

Yogic flyers build 'shield of invincibility' around Israel

By Rory Mulholland

Reuven Zelinkovsky was a colonel in the Israeli army, but now he has renounced military might to join a squadron of yogic flyers at the Sea of Galilee to throw a "shield of invincibility" around the Jewish state.

As Hezbollah rockets fired from nearby Lebanon boomed in the background, he explained that the solution to the latest conflict to engulf the Middle East was "not to kill the enemy but to kill enmity."

This can be done through the "technology" of yogic flying which, for those trained in the technique, is the spontaneous result of transcendental meditation, said Zelinkovsky as he emerged Tuesday from the first of two daily four-hour sessions.

The bespectacled electronics engineer, who served in the army from 1966 until 1982, is part of a worldwide movement led by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the former guru to The Beatles.

The movement's Natural Law Party has unsuccessfully fielded candidates in US presidential and British general elections, touting yogic flying as a solution to the world's ills.

Yogic flying, derided by critics as glorified bum-hopping, is the purported ability to levitate through the advanced practice of transcendental meditation, or TM.

Proponents of the art say world peace can be achieved by thousands of simultaneous yogic flyers spread across the globe.

Here in Israel, according to a formula that says the square root of one percent of a country's population is the number needed to tap into a collective consciousness robust enough to create a "shield of invincibility," 265 people are needed.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Art of Breathing - Your First Key to Unlimited Energy

By Pradeep Aggarwal
American Chronicle

Yes, breathing is an art, and it is a very scientific art. The act of breathing is much more than inhaling and exhaling air. It triggers off a whole chain of physio-biological reactions, spanning each of the billions of cells that make up our bodies. Extra oxygen in the blood stream stimulates the excretory system, thereby clearing the body of harmful toxins.

Extra oxygen in the brain provides additional energy and vitality. Deep meditative breathing is a kind of reminder to the body that all is fine and in control.

Breathing has always been a part of our wellness arsenal, but somehow as one grows older, breathing becomes less and less scientific. It becomes shallow, and we begin to breathe in the chest, rather than the stomach.

So, what is the correct way of breathing?

Have you ever seen a baby breathe? In and out, deep and even, slow, easy and calm. If you look closely, you will see that it is not the chest that is rising and falling, rather it is the stomach. To put it more precisely, it is the diaphragm, the muscle between the chest and the abdominal cavity, which moves.

Now, compare this with your own style of breathing. Chances are that you will find that it differs. If you are like most people, your upper chest expands as you inhale and contracts as you exhale. Over the years, you have learned to hold your stomach in.

The trouble is that this has become something normal in most people’s lives. Over the years, life in a crowded city, with chronic pollution problems and a lack of fresh air can result in the gradual shift from abdominal breathing (also called Belly Breathing) to chest breathing.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Implanting False Memories Turns Subjects Off Alcohol

Source: ABC Science Online

Implanting false memories of a bad experience with alcohol could prevent people abusing alcohol later, a Canadian researcher has said.

Dan Bernstein from Kwantlen University College, showed if people are led to believe they once drank themselves sick, it can affect their taste for a particular drink. He presented the research, conducted at the International Conference on Memory in Sydney.

In the study, 142 people aged 18-20 were told they had had a bad past experience with alcoholic drinks. "We wanted to know if there were consequences to false memory and we looked at whether we could increase people's confidence that they got sick drinking rum some time in their past," Bernstein said.

"What we find is that if you've increased your confidence that you've got sick drinking rum, you now give rum less preference."

Participants' memories were manipulated by telling them that a computer had generated a personal profile based on a questionnaire about past eating and drinking habits. They were told they had become sick on rum in the past and they were asked to elaborate on that experience.

About a quarter of the participants became more confident they had actually been sick on rum. "Between 30 and 40% increased their confidence for the item in comparison to a control group," he says. When asked to rate how much they liked rum they rated it less than before their memories were manipulated.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheroes

By Hilary Goldstein
Source: IGN Comics

Thursday at the San Diego Comic-Con brought an intriguing collaboration. Grant Morrison and Deepak Chopra, having met for the first time the previous night, had a discussion about the role superheroes play in the social fabric.

We had the fortune of sitting in a small roundtable discussion with Grant Morrison, Deepak Chopra, Virgin Comics' EIC Gotham Chopra and CEO Sharad Devarajan. This was followed by a public conversation between Morrison and Chopra. We took the key elements of both discussions to bring you an enlightened discourse on the spiritual nature of superheroes.

The duo admitted, right off the bat, that they had no concrete notion of the seven spiritual laws of superheroes. The discussion itself, with audience participation, was meant to help create that model.

A superhero is "symbolic expression of the social subconscious," according to Chopra. "The superhero is a mythological being" who exists "beyond outerspace and innerspace, creating a new idea of being."

"Superheroes show us the world through x-ray vision," Morrison said. By this, superheroes are more than just a reflection of ourselves, but a look at the very deepest core of human existence. He added affectionately that "Superman is a beautiful idea of an American who does not kill people, but solves problems."

The superhero, or at least characters that star in comics, have evolved to reflect society. The invention of Superman in the '30s is a great leap in the fabric of social mythology. Throughout the decades, the tone of comics changed to match the times. Now, "Celebrity has replaced heroes," a theme that can be seen in today's comics.


Monday, July 24, 2006

Indonesian Mystic Controls the Weather

By Marianne Kearney
Source: AFP

Indonesian mystic Haryobintoro Tjakra enters a small hut and kneels before the tools of his trade: incense, a bowl of dirt, two black umbrellas and a ceramic burner on which he piles chunks of wood.

Bowing his head, he lights the burner, sending fragrant fumes swirling up to the hut’s exhaust fan, and prays in Javanese: the rain must stay away.

“I pray to the gods via the medium of smoke,” the 69-year-old says, dressed in black pants and matching high-necked traditional shirt.

Tjakra seeks blessings from the local spirits inhabiting Java long before Buddhism and Hinduism, and later Islam, arrived. Most Javanese are Muslim but many practise kejawen, a syncretic belief that incorporates the original animist belief system here.

But to keep all the deities he can on his side, this Javanese shaman always makes his offerings facing west.

Tjakra conducts the simple but well-practised ritual not in a temple or religious building but in a white, pre-fabricated hut in the bustling hub of modern Jakarta, surrounded by gleaming glass skyscrapers.

He has been hired to keep the clouds at bay for three afternoons and evenings by a multi-national cigarette company holding an art exhibition and promotion event in the grounds of a major sports stadium.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

My Vagina Controls Men's Minds


By Jennifer Dziura

Dear James Randi,

I am writing to you in regard to your offer of $1 million to anyone who can demonstrate, under proper conditions of scientific trial, paranormal abilities. I deeply admire your policy of holding those who claim to possess supernatural powers to the rigorous standards of scientific inquiry and rational thought by working with these claimants to develop a preliminary, and then a formal, test of those abilities.

The warning, posted so ominously (and, dare I say, smugly) on your website, that "no one has ever passed the preliminary tests" only deepens my conviction to be the first.

Delightfully, I have not only a love for the scientific method but also a demonstrable paranormal skill! I have the ability to control men's minds with my vagina.

To test the claim that I can control men's minds with my vagina, I propose the following experiment:

A statistically significant even number of volunteers will be recruited to participate in the test. Volunteers should be male, heterosexual, and unknown to me, and should have at least $5 on their person. Each volunteer will be assigned to a group: "vagina" or "no vagina."

In every trial, the volunteer will be seated within a short walking distance of a hamburger stand. Volunteers in the "vagina" group will also be seated within a short walking distance of my vagina. Volunteers in the "no vagina" group will have a leaden wall placed between them and my vagina. To ensure that the "no vagina" group is not motivated by even the suggestion of my vagina, I will not be seen by them, and my voice will be conveyed only through a voice-altering device that masks my gender.

For each trial, I will ask the volunteer if he will buy me a hamburger.

I predict that volunteers in visual proximity of my vagina will be at least 50 percent more likely to comply than those separated from my vagina by a leaden barrier.

I think you will agree that mind control of any kind is certainly a paranormal phenomenon, and that this proposal represents a fair test of my ability to control men's minds with my vagina.

As anecdotal evidence—which I am aware is not sufficient for your challenge but seems apropos in an introductory note such as this—I have previously obtained a number of hamburgers in this manner.

Jennifer Dziura

P.S. With fries!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Scientists Use Computer Game to Test Telepathy

By Don Frame
Source: Manchester Evening News

Scientists are using computer technology to play mind games in a bid to probe the mysteries of the paranormal.

Researchers at Manchester University have created a virtual world to test for evidence of telepathic links between 100 people in what is being described as the most objective study undertaken so far.

Volunteer pairs, including best friends, work colleagues and husbands and wives, have spent hours immersed in what appears to be a life-sized computer game, in a new twist to the old Zener card symbol experiment.

Wearing a 3D "helmet" and an electronic glove, they took turns to navigate their way through electronically-generated rooms containing a variety of objects including a telephone, football and umbrella.

The "sender" would then attempt to communicate the items they had selected to their partner receiver, who could pick from a variety of objects by opening doors and cupboards in the same virtual world.

Over the next few months researchers will painstakingly analyse all the data they have obtained and the results will be contained in scientific papers that should be published by the end of the year.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Control Your Thoughts and Create Your Life

By Nelson D. Berry
Subliminal Secrets Exposed

You know that YOU are the creator of all the occurs in all of your life experience, right?

You create your physical life experience through your thoughts. Literally, every thought that you think gives birth to a creation. EVERY thought has creative power.

The subconscious accepts whatever you pretend is real and will use it to create your outer reality.

The thoughts that you think, regarding those things that you want, set into motion the creation, and eventual fulfillment of that which you want. And likewise, the thoughts that you think, regarding those things that you do not want, set into motion the creation, and eventual fulfillment of that which you do NOT want.

Creative visualization is the technique of using your imagination to create what you want in your life. There is nothing at all new, strange or unusual about creative visualization. You are already using it every day, every minute in fact. It is your natural power of imagination, the basic creative energy of the universe which you use constantly, whether or not you are aware of it.


Monday, July 17, 2006

ABC News Special Report: Adam the Healer?

Adam is a 19-year-old high school student in Vancouver, Canada who seems to possess energetic healing power. On July 13, ABC News Primetime ran an hour-long special report on this amazing young man. You can view the full show at

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Brain Power Can Improve With Age

By Martie Salt,
SOURCE: News 14 Carolina

Barbara Hustedt Crook, 60, rehearses a song she has composed for her first musical. Crook says in the past, she never would have imagined taking on such a challenge at this age.

"I wouldn't have thought to take a risk like this, and if I had the thought, I probably would have let it go the wayside," she said.

It's no surprise Crook's creativity is peaking. While it has long been thought the brain is powering down with age, some disagree.

"The brain is definitely more agile because the brain is less crowded with all the details of growing up, having families, working, and all the rest," said psychologist Anne-Renee Testa, Ph.D.

Testa says the term midlife crisis -- often associated with a negative experience -- is actually becoming a positive reorienting for many older adults.

Psychologist Anne-Renee Testa says your brain becomes more agile as you age.

Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley interviewed women at ages 27, 43, 52 and 61, and found increased tolerance for the uncertainties of life peaked in the 50s. Studies also show at that age, the left and the right brains tend to work together more ... instead of separately.

"You begin to say to yourself, 'What the heck am I afraid of?'" Testa said.

For Crook, this is a time of confidence and daring mental leaps.

"In way, it's the happiest time of my life, I feel the most fulfilled," she said.

Soon she hopes her name will be in lights at New York's Workshop Theater Company -- proof of her "coming of age."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Neuroscientists find God in mushrooms

By Jeremy Laurance
New Zealand Herald

A universal mystical experience with life-changing effects can be produced by the hallucinogen contained in magic mushrooms, scientists claimed yesterday.

Forty years after Timothy Leary, the apostle of drug-induced mysticism, urged his 1960s hippie followers to "tune in, turn on, and drop out", researchers at Johns Hopkins University in the US have for the first time demonstrated that mystical experiences can be produced safely in the laboratory.

They say that there is no difference between drug-induced mystical experiences and the spontaneous religious ones that believers have reported for centuries. They are "descriptively identical".

And they argue that the potential of the hallucinogenic drugs, ignored for decades because of their links with illicit drug use in the 1960s, must be explored to develop new treatments for depression, drug addiction and the treatment of intolerable pain.

Anticipating criticism from church leaders, they say they are not interested in the "Does God exist?" debate. "This work can't and won't go there."


Monday, July 10, 2006

Dreamhealer on Primetime Live July 13

For years, Adam, the internationally known distance healer and author, kept his full name and identity hidden — and for good reason. The family of the Vancouver teenager was concerned that his remarkable powers might affect his social development.

That quest for privacy came with a side benefit: a bit of mystique. Adam’s desire for a secret identity ironically gave him an air of mystery that generated even more interest in his work.

This month, Adam is doing something Clark Kent would never dream of: revealing his identity. On July 13, Adam will expose his name and face on TV for the first time, on ABC’s Primetime Live.

Adam sees his unmasking as a natural progression and hopes the program will help draw greater attention to his seminars and his book Dreamhealer, which is being released this month in the U.S. by Penguin Books.

The 19-year-old feels he’s ready to deal with the extra attention that will come his way. “I really don’t let it get to me,” says Adam of all the interest he receives. “I do my best to help as many people as I can but I also maintain my own health by living a normal life.”

Just how normal? On the night the ABC broadcast reveals his face to the world, Adam won’t even bother to watch it. “It airs on July 13, which is actually my birthday,” he says. “I’ll be out at a party somewhere.”

Adam's website is at

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Robert Downey Jr. Predicts The Future Via His Dreams

Robert Downey Jr. has psychic powers that allow him to dream about film projects years before they become reality. The star often conjures up movies in his sleep and then suffers a strange sense of deja vu when he's actually offered his dream roles years later.

The actor explains, "There have been times where I realized that my dreamscape is obviously being influenced by what I'm doing when I'm awake. I know for sure that I've had dreams and then realized that they were about movies that I was 10 or 15 years away from doing. That's the great thing about that whole dream world - it has nothing to do with space and time.

"There's this thing I'm doing in Toronto right now (movie Charlie Bartlett), where, I swear to God, I remember having this dream and in the dream, they (producers) said, 'Yeah, we worked it out so that you're on Hope Davis schedule.' Then I started seeing Hope Davis, who's in the film. I can tell you that with the 70 movies I've done, probably 25 percent of them have been: 'This is too weird.' We're always kind of creating our reality one way or another. It's too much work to create your reality just when you're awake."

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Mystery School of Life

By Dr. Asoka Selvarajah
The 7 Golden Secrets To Knowing Your Higher Self

"A Mystery School is a university of the soul, a school for the study of the mysteries of the inner nature of Man and of surrounding nature. By understanding these mysteries, the student perceives his intimate relationship with divinity, and strives through self-discipline and devotion to become at one with his inner god." -- Grace K. Knoche

The reason the Mysteries are expressed in symbolic language is
because they are an attempt to describe what cannot be described in human language. Therefore, the description is presented in symbolic picture form and is learned intuitively. Our lives are similar. We experience many situations and meet many people. All of these interactions can be seen as having deeply symbolic meanings. They are presenting to us the lessons we most need to know in this complex interwoven fabric of existence.

Therefore, a Mystery School is a place where you perceive life
much more intensively, seeing the pattern and meaning there that is invisible to other people. Within this school, you may well learn a range of esoteric arts; such as Astrology, Tarot, Kabbalah, Healing, and so on. However, this is not all that is on offer, and one should be cautious of getting focused on these to
the exclusion of the greater purpose. There is a whole other depth that you will never reach by remaining fascinated with these subjects alone.

The whole point of these disciplines is to work upon, and
improve, your inner being; your connection with Source. All too many people become fascinated with the mechanics, and become extremely expert in working with them too, but miss the central point to which they all point.

The whole point of your life is to create a perfected vessel in which the Divine Source can reside. Within the Mystery tradition, mind training was paramount. The curriculum focused upon transforming the inner world of the student. It was no less rigorous than any modern university course that we might attend. So what would the results of such intense inner training be upon the aspirant?

It is no less than a miracle. You learn to meet the strains and challenges of daily living, and to remain a master of your thoughts; in control and in tranquillity at all times. Wherever you are right now, and no matter how things are, you greet it all with an attitude of total acceptance. No matter how imperfect things appear, you perceive all to be as it should be.

To think otherwise is to be at odds with what is. Such an attitude is to be against the divine plan, and to judge from an imperfect and limited position upon things that transcend your understanding. So, the graduate of the Mystery School accepts all without judgment or question. This is certainly a revolutionary mindset for most people. Few of us are capable of sustaining such an approach for more than a few minutes. That is precisely why the mental training that the Mystery School provides is so intense.

At the same time, it is not a purely passive approach to life either. Wherever there is imbalance, the Mystery School graduate brings harmony, and where there is sorrow, love. Thus, we become co-creators within the higher purposes of the Source of All, and perform the spiritual work that we have been sent to do.

It is important to know that the Mysteries often seem paradoxical at the human level of understanding. Indeed, we see fiery conflicts between the major religions. People are even willing to die for their version of spiritual truth. It almost seems as if where you are born in the world determines whether you believe in the absolute unity of God of the Moslem, or in the Triune nature as described by the Christian, or indeed in the many faces of God as followed by the Hindu. Each teaching gives totally disparate and seemingly irreconcilable "truths". Yet, each has provided the world with its own share of enlightened initiates and gurus.

Within the Mystery School, you do not merely learn tolerance for these disparate views. You learn to resolve the paradoxes. Moreover, this is not achieved by reaching a compromise; one that may be invisible to the uninitiated. Instead, your consciousness moves to such a level that the paradox no longer exists because you see spiritual reality as it really is.

Dr. Asoka Selvarajah is an active author/researcher on personal development and esoteric spirituality. The above article is based upon the new course "The 7 Golden Secrets To Knowing Your Higher Self".

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Rewired Brain Revives Patient After 19 Years

By Helen Phillips
New Scientist

A study of the "miraculous" recovery of a man who spent 19 years in a minimally conscious state has revealed the likely cause of his regained consciousness.

The findings suggest the human brain shows far greater potential for recovery and regeneration then ever suspected. It may also help doctors predict their patients’ chances of improvement. But the studies also highlight gross inadequacies in the system for diagnosing and caring for patients in vegetative or minimally conscious states.

In 1984, 19-year-old Terry Wallis was thrown from his pick-up truck during an accident near his home in Massachusetts, US. He was found 24 hours later in a coma with massive brain injuries.

Within a few weeks he had stabilised in a minimally conscious state, which his doctors thought would last indefinitely. It did indeed persist for 19 years. Then, in 2003, he started to speak.

Over a three day period, Wallis regained the ability to move and communicate, and started getting to know his now 20 year old daughter – a difficult process considering he believed himself to be 19, and that Ronald Reagan was still president.

To try and find out what was going on inside Wallis's brain, Nicholas Schiff and colleagues from the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City, used a new brain imaging technique called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). The system tracks water molecules and so reveals the brain’s white matter tracts – akin to a wiring diagram. They combined this with more traditional PET scanning, to show which brain areas were active.

The team's findings suggest that Wallis’s brain had, very gradually, developed new pathways and completely novel anatomical structures to re-establish functional connections, compensating for the brain pathways lost in the accident.

They found that new axons – the branches that connect neurons together – seemed to have grown, establishing novel working brain circuits.

Surprisingly, the circuits look nothing like normal brain anatomy. A lot of the damage had been to axons that passed from one side of the brain to the other, torn by the force of the accident. But Schiff says that new connections seem to have grown across around the back of the brain, forming structures that do not exist in normal brains.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Exploring the Science of Miracles

By Daniel Williams
Washington Post Foreign Service

Such is the supply of miracles in Italy that if a month goes by without one, it's, well, a miracle.

Weeping Madonnas, sacred blood that goes from solid to liquid and back again, lottery numbers divined by gazing on a photo of a deceased pope, sudden cures after contact with a holy relic: Miracles are old, old phenomena in Italy, the land where Saint Francis tamed a wolf and wild doves and a veil taken from Saint Agatha's tomb stopped lava in its tracks.

But this is also the land of science par excellence, the home ground of Galileo, da Vinci, Fermi and Marconi. So there are also voices that say, "Hold on a minute."

Luigi Garlaschelli is a chemist who from his perch at Pavia University skeptically eyes Italy's parade of miracles. He belongs to a group called the Italian Committee to Investigate Claims of the Paranormal, made up of Italian scientists, including two Nobel Prize winners, who use science to try to explain the inexplicable.

"Miracles are just paranormal events in religious clothing," he says. "I'm a chemist. I look for the substance behind things." He's not trying to undermine people's religious beliefs, he says, explaining: "We're just trying to study phenomena. If there's a non-miraculous answer, we say so."


Monday, July 03, 2006

'Big Brother' Eyes Make Us Act More Honestly

We all know the scene: the departmental coffee room, with the price list for tea and coffee on the wall and the “honesty box” where you pay for your drinks – or not, because no one is watching.

In a finding that will have office managers everywhere scurrying for the photocopier, researchers have discovered that merely a picture of watching eyes nearly trebled the amount of money put in the box.

Melissa Bateson and colleagues at Newcastle University, UK, put up new price lists each week in their psychology department coffee room. Prices were unchanged, but each week there was a photocopied picture at the top of the list, measuring 15 by 3 centimetres, of either flowers or the eyes of real faces. The faces varied but the eyes always looked directly at the observer.

In weeks with eyes on the list, staff paid 2.76 times as much for their drinks as in weeks with flowers. “Frankly we were staggered by the size of the effect,” Gilbert Roberts, one of the researchers, told New Scientist.
Powerful signal

Eyes are known to be a powerful perceptual signal for humans. People behave more cooperatively when they are being “watched” by a cute image of a robot (see Pay up, you are being watched) or even abstract “eye spots” on a computer screen.

But this, says Roberts, is the first time anyone has observed the effect in a natural situation, with people using their own money.

It could have far-reaching implications. In previous experiments, people consistently appeared to behave more generously than they needed to for their own self-interest, even when told their actions were anonymous. This has led an influential school of economists to argue that altruism in humans is innate, rather than being based on cynical self-interest.

But if just a photocopied pair of eyes can treble honesty, the Newcastle team suspects that these previous experiments may somehow have been spoiled by subliminal cues that made people feel they were being watched.

In other words, self-interest may play a large part after all, with people feeling the need to be seen as honest. “Those results might need to be re-examined,” says Roberts.

Meanwhile, the Newcastle team wants to repeat the work with more people, in different situations, perhaps posting pictures of eyes where tickets are sold for public transport. They would also like to discover what kind of eyes work best.

SOURCE: New Scientist

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Relaxation Better Than Drugs For Insomnia

By Michael Smith,
MedPage Today Staff Writer

Relaxation and other behavioral techniques may overcome insomnia better than drugs, found investigators here.

A randomized, placebo-controlled trial comparing the hypnotic agent Imovane (zopiclone) with cognitive behavioral therapy found that for most outcomes, Imovane was no more effective than placebo, the researchers reported in the June 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

On the other hand, cognitive behavioral therapy was significantly better than either, said Børge Sivertsen, Psy.D., of the University of Bergen, and colleagues.

Imovane is not approved in the U.S., although Lunesta (eszopiclone)—a version of the medication containing only the active isomer—was approved in 2004.

In older adults with chronic primary insomnia, "cognitive behavioral therapy was more effective immediately and long-term compared with both zopiclone and placebo," Dr. Sivertsen and colleagues concluded. However, they noted, the finding might not generalize to all sleep medications.

Despite that limitation, they argued, the results imply that physicians should be cautious in prescribing hypnotics for long-term use, given increasing evidence of the long-term efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy and the lack of similar evidence for the medications. "Clinicians," they wrote, "should consider prescribing hypnotics only for acute insomnia."