Consciousness

#018: Ajna Light Technology founder Guy Harriman

Guest Bio:
Guy Harriman is an engineer, Buddhist meditator and inventor of consciousness hacking technologies. Guy worked for many years in Silicon Valley, including for Steve Jobs at NEXT.
In 2008 Guy moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand and built lannayoga.com Healing Center.
Guy is the inventor of the spiritual tool called the Ajna Light. It is a unique device which
helps people on their own inner journey, no matter what their path is. Since Guy
designed the first prototype in 2014, as of 2017 it is estimated that over 10,000 people have
been on the Ajna Light.
Shownotes:

0:00-7:40: Opening Remarks

7:40-:11:00: Guy’s move from the UK to Silicon Valley

11:00-14:58: Working with Steve Jobs

14:58-21:21: The genesis of Guy’s interests in contemplative practices

21:21-24:55: What Steve Jobs taught Guy about living life passionately

24:55-28:10: Shifting from Silicon Valley to Thailand

28:10-31:23: Right View & Body-Mind Practices

31:23-36:55: How to integrate Yogic and Taoist Systems and Practices

36:55-40:00: Reconciling Different Schools of Buddhist Thought

40:00-43:40: Developing the Pyra Light

43:40-48:04: Healing the Body-Mind Right in the West

48:04-52:00: The Promises and Perils of Virtual Reality for the Humanity

52:00-56:05: Becoming a Buddhist Monk

56:05-1:12:33: Inventing Consciousness Exploration Technologies

1:12:33-1:14:15: Closing Remarks. How to follow Guy and his technologies

Links:
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#017: Floating with Kevin Johnson

On the podcast this week Kevin Johnson, owner of Zero Gravity Institute in Austin, Texas. With over thirty years and thousands of hours in the floatation tank, Kevin is considered a pioneer of float tank technology and offers an unprecedented amount of experience and knowledge about the world of floatation tanks, altered states of consciousness and the exploration of non-ordinary realities. Kevin is an active public speaker who regularly presents on a variety of topics including floatation tanks, consciousness exploration, psychedelics, plant medicine, and modern shamanism.

Shownotes:

0:00-7:15: Opening remarks

7:15-11:35: How Kevin and I met

11:35-15:25:What is floating and what are it’s benefits?

15:25-20:15: How Kevin became interested in floating

20:15-24:55: More benefits of floating

24:55-29:30: Parallels and differences between floating and other contemplative practices like meditation

29:30-32:30: Epic Long, overnight floats and intensive floating regimens

32:30-36:17: The ideal floating protocol

36:17-52:09: Integrating floating experiences

52:09-57:30: Kevin’s personal approach to floating

57:30-1:01:35: Is combining psychedelics with floating a good idea?

1:01:35-1:09:00:Making sense of the Ayahuasca experience

1:09:00-1:16:10: Kevin’s perspective on the nature of consciousness

1:16:10-1:19:33: Closing remarks and how to find out more about Kevin and Zero Gravity Institute

Links:

zerogravityinstitute.com

floatmasterkev.com

Please help to make Hacking the Self a sustainable project by:

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You can also help us to get the word out by:

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#016: Consciousness Hacking with Mikey Siegel

Guest Bio: This week on the podcast: Mikey Siegel, founder of Consciousness Hacking: a leading organization at the intersection of technology, science and spirituality. Mikey recounts his fascinating journey from MIT to Silicon Valley, and shares his vision for how mindful intention and use of technology can help us to lead more meaningful and connected lives.

Shownotes:

1:00-6:58: Welcome and Opening Remarks

6:58-13:30: How Mikey and I came to know each other

13:30-18:00: Mikey’s personal upbringing

18:00-22:35: Evolving as a learner at MIT

22:35-38:25: The Journey from the Outer World to the Inner

38:25-43:09: What Ayahuasca Can Teach Us about Consciousness

43:09-45:15: Mikey’s Inspiration for Creating Consciousness Hacking

45:15-49:10: The Growing Movement of Consciousness Hacking

49:10-55:28: How do we use technology more mindfully?

55:28-1:03:15: Mikey’s Favorite Technologies for Consciousness Hacking

1:03:15-1:06:30: The Potential of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

1:06:30-1:08:20: Potential Concerns about EMF Exposure

1:08:20-1:09:45: How to Become Involved with Consciousness Hacking & Closing Remarks

Links:

Consciousness Hacking

Mikey Siegel’s Personal Page

Muse Headband

Spire Technologies

Lief Technologies

Announcement: Changing the Name to Hacking the Self

 I’m sure some of you have already noticed that the name of the website and podcast recently changed from Hacking Consciousness to Hacking the Self. I’m writing this post to explain the reasons for the change of the name.

  The main impetus for the name change was to avoid confusion with the organization, Consciousness Hacking, which is a group of individuals doing pioneering work at the intersection of technology and consciousness. More than an organization, it’s quickly becoming a movement of people who are interested in using technology mindfully to explore consciousness and to optimize health. Anyone who has found conversations on my podcast interesting will undoubtedly enjoy what they find on Consciousness Hacking.

 Though distinct in certain areas of our approach and emphasis, my interests very much overlap with the work of the people involved with this organization and those who are inspired by their work. I hope to find more ways to support the efforts of Consciousness Hacking and, in the process, I want to avoid any confusion with the group. This is the primary reason for the name change.

 Recently, I had the chance to sit down with the founder of the Consciousness Hacking movement, Mikey Siegel. He’s a great guy with tons of insight to share about the latest trends for those interested in this convergence of technology and spirituality, or as some might simply like to think of it, as consciousness exploration. I’m looking forward to having Mikey on the podcast in the near future.    

 In Indian philosophical and religious thought, “the Self” (or “atman,” in Sanskrit) is synonymous with consciousness (it’s also analogous to “soul” if that notion appeals to you). Exploring the wisdom of India and integrating ancient sources of wisdom with modern technology and science is a big part of my interest in this project. So referencing this notion of “the Self” that’s central to Indian thought was one motivation for the name selection.

 But more significantly, rebranding the show to Hacking the Self will also expand the boundaries of the show’s content in a subtle but significant way: to emphasize the mind-body connection that is integral to consciousness and to living life in a way that’s integrated and holistic. I do not believe that consciousness is simply an epiphenomenon of the brain. Whatever it is, consciousness is a process that emerges from an inseparable connection between mind and body. On this show we’ll not only explore questions of consciousness and the mind but also discuss nutrition, exercise, biohacking and wellness.

This show will explore the intersection of technology, science and spirituality with an ultimate goal of promoting conversations relevant to people’s physical, emotional and mental health.

 For what we put into our bodies very much affects the state of our thoughts and feelings. The body is the temple in which consciousness resides and critically examining that mind-body connection–ignored for far too long in Western thought–is an essential quality of our existence that Hacking the Self will consider.

I look forward to bringing you conversations and written pieces on all of these topics in the near future. Thank you for your interest and your curiosity.

Adrian Baker

#014: Talking Psychedelics with Dennis McKenna, PhD

Guest Bio:

The professional and personal interests of Dennis McKenna, Ph.D are centered on the interdisciplinary study of ethnopharmacology and plant hallucinogens. He received his Doctorate in 1984 from the University of British Columbia, where his doctoral research focused on ethnopharmacological investigations of the botany, chemistry, and pharmacology of ayahuasca and oo-koo-he, two orally-active tryptamine-based hallucinogens used by indigenous peoples in the Northwest Amazon. He is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute and serves on the advisory board of non-profit organizations in the fields of ethnobotany and botanical medicines. At the Heffter Research Institute, he continues his focus on the therapeutic uses of psychoactive medicines derived from nature and used in indigenous ethnomedical practices.

Shownotes:

  • Comparative consideration of psychedelics and their respective benefits and challenges
  • Ayahuasca
  • Scientific knowledge and its limitations
  • Fundamental differences between Eastern and Western modes of thought
  • Organized religion and its problems
  • and more…

Links:

How to connect with Dennis: https://hackingtheself.org/2017/12/05/this-weeks-guest-dennis-mckenna-phd/

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#011: Rational Mysticism with John Horgan

This week on Hacking Consciousness: science writer John Horgan on his book Rational Mysticism. We explore the following topics:

  • what science and reason can help us to understand about the nature of consciousness
  • the limits of scientific knowledge
  • the idea of enlightenment
  • the value and drawbacks of using psychedelics to understand the mind
  • and more…

Guest Bio:

John Horgan is a veteran science journalist and Director of the Center for Science Writings at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey. He writes the “Cross-check” blog for Scientific American (https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/). His books include The End of Science, The Undiscovered Mind, Rational Mysticism and The End of War. He is now completing a book on the mind-body problem.​

Horgan’s work has been covered by print, radio, and television media, including The New York Times, PBS, BBC, MSNBC and National Public Radio. His awards include the Science Journalism Award of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Association of Science Writers Science-in-Society Award.

Where to Find John:

Twitter

Website

Scientific American

Please help to make Hacking the Self a sustainable project by:

  • Making a donation at https://www.patreon.com/hackingtheself

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How we breathe and how we feel are deeply interconnected

In the first podcast episode of the Hacking Consciousness, founder of Yoga Elements Adrian Cox spoke about the power of pranayama (breath control exercises) for entering into expanded states of consciousness. As he put it in our conversation:

 “Pranayama truly is the gateway to higher yoga and by yoga I mean expanded consciousness. It is the gateway, the step before meditation and the doorway with which our practice begins to really, truly deepen.”

   Let’s briefly define “pranayama.” In the yoga tradition “prana” is a term that refers to both our own breath and to the very life force that animates every particle of this universe. “Yama” can be translated as to regulate, to control, or to channel. Thus, pranayama is the process by which we learn to skilfully channel or regulate our breathing (our very life force).

In my own practice, I’ve certainly come to appreciate the wisdom in Adrian’s statement. Recognizing the relationship between the state of our breath and the state of our mind invites deeper insight into the ways in which the mind and the body are deeply interconnected, an essential point that we often forget when we’re deeply lost in thought.

 It’s also a view of consciousness that runs contrary to the traditional, dualistic body-mind split in Western thought that dates back to Descartes. In other words, especially for those of us in the West, we need to drop our assumptions that consciousness is simply equated with the brain, or that it’s even located solely in the region of the head.

 How we breathe is deeply connected to our nervous system. There are two major aspects of our autonomic (involuntary) nervous system: the sympathetic (“fight or flight” response) vs. the parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) response.

Comparison of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

Image Source: Osteopathy Calagary, 2016. Read More