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So, here are 5 articles that got my excitatory neural networks firing as the year comes to a close . . .

1. What Swearing Off Sex Does to Your Brain

The jury’s still out on this one. The pros and cons seem to be in a dead heat. Probably the best way to approach the topic is through personal experimentation. We are each neurologically unique, and what may be one man’s ceiling, may be another woman’s floor.

2. Most Wealth Is Accumulated by Being Idle and Unproductive

protect-your-wealth-300x334.jpgBut obviously in smart and creative ways that produce accumulated wealth. And it’s not inherited wealth we’re talking about here, since the trope from wealth managers I know is that inherited wealth goes “from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.” Some people, for a variety of reasons, manage to accomplish it in only one!

3. Deep Mind: Artificial Intelligence that Learns at Super Speeds

In many areas where they’re being applied computers and artificial intelligence already perform far more reliably than humans – driving cars and flying planes are some recent examples. Until now, those applications had to be programmed by humans. That’s not the case any longer, as this article makes crystal clear. Machines can do it better and faster.

4. Halloweening Your BrainHalloween Brain

Too much dedicated focus is not so great for a human brain. We need to spend intentional time with our Default Mode Network chilling us out. The Default Mode Network is a network of neural circuitry that becomes activated when there’s nothing to do and nowhere to go. Interestingly it takes about 4 times more energy to activate the Default Mode Network than it does to concentrate on a focused activity!

5. Effortless Thinking: Beware the Voice of Your Inner Child

The experiences we have and the meaning we make of them as children become part of our early conditioning. Many of those early experiences, especially if they frightened us enough to “take our breath away,” or “freeze us in our tracks,” ended up distorting the connections our brain makes in response. Nevertheless, large numbers of our early experiences influence present-day behavior without us ever being aware of it.

… and finally, a bonus Enchanted Loom review of Brené Brown‘s book, Braving the Wilderness.

 

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Not even a year out of high school, I bought my first house. It was a ramshackle, two bedroom bungalow located in the heart of Sun Valley, California right in the flight path of the jets taking off and landing at Burbank Airport (now Bob Hope Airport). I wasn’t really in the market for a house, but the realtor – George Sarkis – was a convincing salesman. When I told him I wasn’t old enough to legally buy a house, he winked and told me that didn’t matter. And so, at the tender age of 19 I became the reluctant owner of my very first house.

housefallingapart.jpgLess than a year later I learned two things about the house. The first thing I learned when a city building inspector showed up one day and told me the house had been red-tagged for 11 building code violations and I was living in it illegally. I was also living in it illegally because I didn’t actually own it: I bought it from someone who bought it from someone who didn’t really own it either. There was no clear title to be found anywhere.

As you might guess, this discovery resulted in many stress-filled sleepless nights. Fast forward to the very near future. Were I to buy that same house as early as next year in some parts of the world, when a clear chain of ownership and inspections lives on a public, transparent ledger call a Blockchain, that kind of sleazy, dishonest transaction will not be able to take place.

Behold the Blockchain

Honesty and transparency in real estate dealings is only one area where Blockchain technology is in the process of being deployed. Here are 17 other areas that will likely be positively affected by the Blockchain in the very near future. But it’s not just the creative, disintermediating applications for Blockchain technology that have the people working in this tech area so excited, it’s the underlying principles and philosophy. Blockchain is technology designed to be completely trustworthy, incorruptible, decentralized and reliable. It will eventually replace many governmental functions and when it is widely deployed and integrated into our everyday lives it will be technology’s best attempt so far to provide a resounding “Yes” to The Big Brain Question.

Many modern technologies already work to answer The Big Brain Question “Yes.” Take commercial aircraft, for example. For decades it has been far and away the safest way to travel from Point A to Point B. In 2014 there were 30 million commercial flights and only 21 fatal accidents. Odds of being in one of those crashes works out to 1 in close to a million and a half. This represents a statistical probability of dying while flying at roughly a 0.000007 chance. You’re more likely to die from being attacked by a bear or from a lightning strike than in a commercial airplane crash. Safe pilotless planes have already arrived before driverless cars.

Lowering Human Stress Levels

When the people, places and operations in our daily lives can be unfailingly trusted and deeply relied upon, our neurobiology benefits. In many ways, it’s already happening. When I make a purchase on Amazon, I don’t have any anxiety at all about my purchase showing up at my door. I’ve been ordering for 20 years without any fail-to-deliver incidents. The same with many other mail order retailers – J. C. Penny and Home Depot most recently.

A world in which technology facilitates increasing levels of trust and transparency is a world that will also serve to increase human health and well-being. It’s estimated that as many as 9 out of 10 visits to the doctor are stress-related. Work stress is a major cause, followed closely by relationship stress – it’s not for nothing that a number of spiritually mature wisdom teachers call relationships “the hardest yoga of all.” I can’t wait to put my wife on the Blockchain. 😉

blockchain.jpgPhilosophical Foundations

I suspect that the intent, the philosophy and the applications that eventually emerge using Blockchain tech – a social meeting site, Snap Interactive is already deploying it – will serve to collectively reduce the interpersonal stress that inevitably accompanies human interaction.

I like to think of the Blockchain as “Witness Bearing Technology.” The ability to observe ourselves – to pay close attention to the things we do, say and think is a developmental skill that appears correlated with a neural network that has achieved considerable integration. We see that witness-bearing capacity in the way brain scans of monks and nuns who’ve been engaged in contemplative practice for decades look decidedly different from the population at large.

The Blockchain “bears witness” to and records every transaction made on it to a ledger. Those transactions that are unskillful or incorrect (fraud, lying, errors), it simply removes from the block and replaces with an accurate ledger block. No judgment; no prejudice. If you’re faulty, you’re removed and given a chance to correct.

Not only that, but many creative Blockchain applications are currently in the works to empower individuals. Publica and Steem provide micropayments for creative written works. Bloom will decentralize credit scores and allow you to easily own and be responsible for your own scores. Medrec puts patients in charge of their own medical records. Cred allows your community to verify your reputation. You can go HERE and find over 1370 other Blockchain applications and discover some of the creative things people are up to (Pay little attention to the current volatility in the cryptocurrency markets. Prices and businesses will inevitably stabilize over time as more and more people begin to understand the technology and move into the space).

Are any or all of these emerging Blockchain applications going to be unfailing in their vision and execution? Probably not. But that question misses the point. The point is … there’s a new technology in town. And it aims to unleash a world of trust, safety and creativity unlike few of us have ever seen in our lifetime.

 

Recently a friend suggested that since I’m immersed in the world of neuroscience research anyway, some of my blog readers might enjoy knowing what I’m especially drawn to and why. He suggested I pick out 5 books or articles (of the more than 400,000 published every year!) in any week that speak to me for whatever reason and pass them along to you folks. My lone reservation about doing that is infobesity – we’re all currently so bombarded by massive amounts of information every day – that it’s challenging to be discerning. But I can let each of you decide if and what you want to peruse further, if anything. And I don’t have to send something out every week if I don’t come across enough stimulating material.

So, with that brief introduction, here are five things that excited my neural networks most recently.

1. The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe

The first time I heard Stephen Porges speak I immediately went to the assistant director of the think tank where I worked and asked her to offer him a fellowship. She looked over his CV and immediately agreed. We both thought he belonged there, but for very different reason. She thought he was an exemplary scientist; I thought he communicated neurobiological concepts clearly and compellingly. This book is a collection of those communications in everyday language specifically intended for the general reader.

2. The River of Consciousness

oliver-sacks-with-brain-in-hand.png

Oliver Sachs, MD

In my mind Oliver Sachs was an exemplary way-shower in how neuroscience might skillfully be approached and applied. It’s best served up warm with an eye toward being open and curious about how and what we might do to reduce suffering in the world. That mirrors my orientation for the last 10 years as well.

3. Why Your Brain Craves Infographics

There are lots of reasons, actually. This is essentially a meta-infographic offering up 13 reasons why your brain craves infographics. Much of is has to do with how screens have collectively changed the neuro-receptors in our vision centers.

4. High Stress Childhoods Blind Adults to Potential Loss

Not to mention actual loss. After following kids with early significant losses in their lives for ten years, neuroscientists discovered that their neural networks develop in ways that don’t process risks the same ways that kids who haven’t suffered such losses do. I’m probably one of millions of poster-children for such research. Such kids lose money in the stock market and often fail to put on their seat belts. When your brain really doesn’t work well and your market-trading losses become stressful enough, some people like this guy think it’s a good idea to study bank robbery on the internet and then apply what you learn in real banks.

5. Why Your Brain Resists Overwhelming Scientific Evidence

Adrenal-gland-and-hormones-744x640.jpgIt’s vulnerable, that’s mostly why. And it makes shit up all the time, very often as a way to down-regulate our adrenal glands and lower stress hormone levels. And then, in order to keep ourselves on the calm side of the stress curve, it goes about convincing us that the stuff we make up is true.

My friend Kathleen died last month just in the nick of time. It came as a complete surprise to me. She and I taught together in one of the very first MOOCs before MOOCs were a thing. It was 1998 and Barnes & Noble was experimenting with a new way to sell books online. They would pay authors an honorarium to teach using computer mediated communication. The course would be free to students who bought the required textbook. In this case, the book was Kathleen’s, The Grace in Dying.

Kathleen-Dowling-Singh-1

Dr. Kathleen Dowling Singh

I had hand-written Kathleen a note in care of HarperSanFrancisco, her publisher. I told her of my avid interest and deep appreciation of her work. She was gracious enough to respond. We developed a corre-spondence and I ended up meeting with her at a course she was teaching at IONS to support the book. I chauffeured her to SFO and en route she extended me the invitation to co-teach with her and split the honorarium. Graciously. Kathleen was all about grace. In many ways she felt like the wise, big sister I lost when I was nine years old.

Fittingly, Kathleen died last month just two days before the publication of her last and latest book, Unbinding: The Grace Beyond Self. Clearly her work here on earth was complete.

An Uncommon Commoner

Among a number of things we shared in common, Kathleen and I were both born and raised in New England. We had a Yankee sensibility rooted in economy, practicality and simplicity. I tried and failed to transplant myself with those qualities to California; Kathleen successfully transplanted her expression of them to Sarasota, Florida, where for many years she was an active member of a small Buddhist sangha. That membership informs all four of her “Grace” books.

Something else that informs Kathleen’s Grace books is the notion that a spiritual life requires us to do the work necessary to cultivate space in our daily lives – physical, psychological and spiritual. Space requires pruning and forsaking – an unsubscribing from so many of the “half-loves” that clutter our lives. Unsubscribing is necessary to allow for something other than our ongoing self-concerns and daily incessant dialogue to dominate the inner landscape. Unsubscribing might then allow for something else to emerge. Kathleen repeatedly refers to it as Grace.

While I’ve read and reread and made extensive notes in each of Kathleen’s books, and even reviewed a previous one for The Enchanted Loom, it’s only been recently that I’ve deepened my appreciation and experiential understanding of what Kathleen was truly pointing toward. Reading Kathleen’s books awakens and stirs the possibility of Grace in me. The direct experience of Grace though, is considerably different than the experience of reading about it in her books. Kathleen knew that and said as much in our exchanges many times. Grace, like many expressions of depth and wisdom, seems to require ongoing daily practice. Or perhaps more accurately, ongoing daily course-correction keeping us aimed at Grace.

Gapping the Narrative

Many contemplative traditions and practices seem to have built into them an invitation to strengthen our capacity to attend to our discursive (rambling) thought processes. One reason for that seems to be that mental mind chatter removes us from direct, present-moment experience of the world around us. We miss much sensory life happening right in front of us. Words overlay our senses. Many contemplative practices train us to bring attention to something other than words – our breath, a candle flame, senseless syllables. Much of it is designed to hew a gap in the narrative, to carve out space in the mind that words don’t immediately rush in to fill.

stroke.jpgIt turns out there’s a quick way to shortcut practices intended to quiet the mind and gap the narrative – have an artery rupture in your brain and produce a golf ball size blood clot that puts sufficient pressure on your language networks to cause them to cease functioning. That’s essentially what happened to brain researcher, Jill Bolte Taylor.

While the many different elements that resulted in her recovery are enormously interesting and instructive and well worth studying in depth, what’s even more interesting to me is Jill’s description of how she experienced the world without language interfering. Here is a short paragraph describing only a small part of Jill’s language-gapped experience:

My mind was no longer preoccupied with the billions of details that my brain routinely used to define and conduct my life in the external world …. Those little voices, that brain chatter that customarily kept me abreast of myself in relation to the world outside of me, were delightfully silent. And in their absence, my memories of the past and my dreams of the future evaporated…. I was aware that I could no longer clearly discern where I began and where I ended. I sensed the composition of my being as that of a fluid rather than that of a solid. I no longer perceived myself as a whole object separate from everything. Instead, I now blended with the space and flow around me.

My friend Kathleen would call Jill’s stroke … Grace. And I like to think that’s very likely how she experienced her own dying as well.

I published my very first WordPress blog on October 27, 2007. The title was: “The Brain Change Business.” I essentially made the argument that since everything we learn in life involves changes to our brain, we might be well-served to meta-learn a little bit about how that organ actually works. I’ve changed my own brain and learned a lot in the ensuing 10 years. Since that first Sunday, I’ve managed to put out a new effort every single week to date. Except for a few times when friends approached me with great ideas and offered to write – photodune-5195365-serenity-xs.jpgJeanne Denney wrote on Circumcision and The Ritual Tribal Abandon- ment of Mothers, and a good male psychotherapist friend wrote on The Dark Side of Highly Sensitive People under the female pen name Sally Mynew- skin – I have researched, written, edited and illustrated every single Sunday offering. I never dreamed when I started that ten years later I would still be keeping that weekly writing commitment.

The Components of Commitment

Here are a few things I can tell you about what it’s taken to keep that 10 year string going:

1. Engaged readers. Having people out in the world receiving and responding positively (for the most part) to the things I’ve researched and written about every week has been a prime motivator for the duration. Contingent communication makes the world go around and the public and private responses I’ve received week after week have been great fruit for the creative juicer.

2. Passion for the subject I’m researching and writing about. Without ever consciously intending to, I have turned into a brain geek. I used to be a jock and a construction dude. Now I’m a … transpersonal neurobiologist.

3. Having the subject frequently on my mind … and using it to frame many of the odd, interesting or disturbing things that I encounter week to week.

4. Having Google, Wikipedia, Pubmed, various journals and the wider Internet available to do ready research. If I had to go to a library and ask the librarian to find me books, journals or research articles every week to support and inspire the subjects I’ve written about, the only way these weekly pieces would have gotten written would have been as part of a paying job.

planet-earth-space-sun-light-life5. Having a larger purpose in mind. I truly believe that knowing how my brain works makes it work better. I even wrote this column offering 10 reasons why I believe that. I also believe knowing how my brain works allows me to be not only more understanding and compassionate with others, but much more importantly, with myself first. Being that way with myself first, then allows me to more easily be kind to others. It’s been especially important as I’ve found myself aging and have had to come face to face with the reality of declining physical, mental and neurobiological capacities.

6. Forsaking half-love after half-love in order to make the research and writing a priority. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t find myself drawn to one alluring distraction after another: an invitation to lunch with a good friend; a movie matinee in town at our ’50s retro movie house to see a movie high on my watch list; a well-paid job offer that would put me on a regular, structured daily schedule (ugh); a weekend workshop with a neuroscience thought-leader that I greatly respect, etc. etc. To all of them I have to frequently say “No” as part of my daily One Hard Thing Practice.

7. Developing a One Hard Thing Practice. One Hard Thing is different than One Scary Thing. One Scary Thing would too frequently activate my stress hormones and be likely to adversely elevate their baseline levels. One Hard Thing is simply something that I’ve been procrastinating about doing or been simply tolerating in my life. For example, culling clothes from my clothes closet and donating them to Good Cheer. Or adding an extra day of cardio to my week. Or, instead of avoiding the prospect of having to write yet another blog post, simply sitting down and writing a single sentence. And then one more.

8. Having a day job to pay the bills.

Those eight elements are good for starters. Especially the last one. I’m sure you will find many more you’ll need to identify and practice for things you want to make and commit to long-term. But ten years now brings me to a crossroads. It is sort of like “The Crossroads Between Should and Must.” What has emerged into awareness in recent weeks is that what originally began as a “must” – writing and posting every Sunday without fail – has now, at this decade-late date, turned into a “should.” I’m no longer feeling what I write has the meaning I want it to. In part that’s because of the “deadline” element attached to it. I don’t have time to research as deeply as I’d like to, or write and edit with as much compelling clarity as I feel I really can.

Change Is a Foot

4fc144aeb8e419023dce801754c3ae72.jpgSo, here’s what I’ve decided to do. Going forward, I’m only going to research and write about things that have “great heart and meaning” for me; subjects that I feel “whole-hearted” about. What that means is I may continue to post something every week, or – which is much more likely – I may end up taking breaks between pieces as I burrow deeply into a subject and do my best to connect dots that require me to pull from a wide variety of subject disciplines. So, “that’s my ruling.” Going forward, I hope and trust it will serve me and each of you in ways that continue to enhance your life.

A Favor

Finally, if there’s been a post or two that you have found memorable and meaningful over the last 10 years, would you be so kind as to mention it in the comments below? Here’s a list of the ten years of topic titles. You can also enter Keywords in the search box on the right to find the actual title of the original posting. I will be most appreciative and forever in your debt.

As someone who has been painstaking in my desire to avoid labels and category classifications, since I believe they contribute to “the illusion of separation,” for professional reasons I have nevertheless decided to temporarily relent and come up with something to call myself. The moniker I have finally settled upon is: transpersonal neurobiologist. Turns out I’m the only such creature currently on planet earth. Do a Google search (You’ll have to disregard my colleague Jamal Granick if your search turns him up. When I contacted Jamal about the label, he had no idea he was one).

So what is a Transpersonal Neurobiologist? Very simply it’s someone who studies both Transpersonal Psychology and Neurobiology and tries to weave them together into some sort of coherent, meaningful, useful body of knowledge.

Transpersonal Psychology

Transpersonal Psychology, while first introduced in the early 1900s in a lecture by William James at Harvard, evolved mostly in the late 1960s as a natural progression of the research findings of Abraham Maslow, who was primarily interested in peak human experiences. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the field:

tumblr_m0v0012byM1qap9uuo1_500.gifTranspersonal psychology is a sub-field or “school” of psychology that integrates the spiritual and transcendent aspects of the human experience with the framework of modern psychology. It is also possible to define it as a “spiritual psychology.” The transpersonal is defined as “experiences in which the sense of identity or self extends beyond (trans) the individual or personal to encompass wider aspects of humankind, life, psyche or cosmos.” It has also been defined as “development beyond conventional, personal or individual levels.”

Issues considered by transpersonal psychology include spiritual self-development, self beyond the ego, peak experiences, mystical experiences, systemic trance, spiritual crises, spiritual evolution, religious conversion, altered states of consciousness, spiritual practices, and other sublime and/or unusually expanded experiences of living (It also investigates aspects of dying and death). The discipline attempts to describe and integrate spiritual experience within modern psychological theory and to formulate new theory to encompass such experience.

Neurobiology

Neurobiology, on the other hand, is a pretty mainstream, rigorous science. Here’s how MIT scientists thinks about it:

neurobiology.jpgNeurobiology is geared towards understanding how the remarkable diversity in neuronal cell types and their connections are established and how changes in neurons and their connections underlie learning and thinking. A number of groups are identifying and characterizing genes involved in specifying neuronal cell fate in vertebrates and invertebrates. Others are analyzing molecules involved in guiding axons to their correct targets. Additionally, efforts are underway to understand the physiological and biochemical changes in neurons that are involved in learning and memory, and the changes underlying neuropathology.

When I put the two together, what I find myself most interested in is how structural and developmental vulnerabilities of the human body and brain operate in ways that prevent us from attaining our highest human potential. It’s kind of like left brain and right brain attempting to weave both study categories into some sort of a coherent whole. Out of this attempt will hopefully come insight into how the structural vulnerabilities of the body and brain end up contributing to much of the pain, suffering and chaos in the world. Few of us appear to be as fully “operational” as we might be and a transpersonal neurobiologist would argue that it’s not our fault – we’re not to blame. But we’re still on the hook for doing what we can to make things better for ourselves and everyone else. It’s called being an imperfect human being in an imperfect world. And it’s good to try and do our own work with as much kindness, understanding and compassion as we can muster.

Next time you hear the terms transpersonal neurobiologist think, “Oh, that’s someone who studies how structural and developmental vulnerabilities of the body and brain contribute to human suffering. And then tries to do something positive to address them.”

In that positive regard, here’s a new Enchanted Loom review of the recent book on creativity entitled, The Runaway Species. What to do when you find out we are one.

A number of years ago I read a research account by Ian Stevenson at the University of Virginia investigating reincarnation. An esteemed psychiatrist and academic department chair, his explorations felt to me to be of the same caliber of courageous inquiry as those of University of Connecticut psychiatrist Raymond Moody. Moody collected and published the accounts of people who reportedly died and came back to life in his book, Life After Life. Not exactly the rigorous research favored to further a scientific career. Stevenson investigated and published more than 3000 children’s anecdotal accounts documenting details of lives purportedly lived in other times and other places. Some of the accounts are quite inexplicable and surprisingly compelling.

Mosaic_of_Justinian_I_-_Sant'Apoilinare_Nuovo_-_Ravenna_2016.pngFrequently, past lives show up as part of a religious tradition. Pre-Justinian Catholics apparently believed in reincarnation, and in the Quran, Allah says, “Everyone shall taste death. Then unto us you shall be returned.”(al-‘Ankaboot 29:57). Hinduism and Buddhism both put forth doctrines related to reincarnation, but Buddhism makes a more refined distinction in using the term rebirth. Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama, is said to be the 14th successive reincarnation of a single spiritual leader in the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition.

Brain-based Evidence

Neuroscience esearchers like Richie Davidson at the University of Wisconsin and Andrew Newberg at Penn have scanned the brains of dozens of people who have dedicated large parts of their lives to meditative practice, in this case, people involved in spiritual traditions. On fMRI brain scans, Buddhist monks’ and Franciscan nuns’ brains show up remarkably different than people with no history of such practice. Long-term meditators have increased amounts of neurons in the insula and the auditory and sensory cortices. They also have more neurons in the frontal cortex, which is critical to working memory and executive functions. Other areas as well show up differently. Harvard neuroscientist Sara Lazar documents these additional neuronal differences as well:

  • The primary differences, we found in the posterior cingulate, which is involved in mind wandering, and self-relevance.
  • The left hippocampus, which assists in learning, cognition, memory and emotional regulation.
  • The temporo-parietal junction, or TPJ, which is associated with perspective taking, empathy and compassion.
  • An area of the brain stem called the pons, where a lot of regulatory neurotransmitters are produced.
  • The amygdala, the fight-or-flight part of the brain, which is important for anxiety, fear and stress in general. That area got smaller in the group that went through the mindfulness-based stress reduction program.
  • The change in the amygdala was also correlated to a reduction in stress levels.

It’s All About the Network

If we think of the brain as essentially an energy and information-processing network, then the more nodes and connections between nodes there are in that network, the more energy and information that network will not only be able to generate and process, but also store and retain. Think of the brain’s network as a 3G smartphone with 16 gigabytes of memory subsequently upgraded to 5G with 64 gigabytes as the result of longtime meditation practice.

In a lovely Eulogy by a Physicist, Aaron Freeman uses The First Law of Thermodynamics to remind us that matter and energy are constants in the universe. The heat of who we are and the energy of who we are has nowhere to escape to after the body can no longer sustain it. Our heat and energy goes off into the universe where it becomes “just less orderly.”

Unless it doesn’t. Unless, the growth, connectivity and integration that turns our 3G-16 Gig energy and information-processing brain and body into a 5G-64 Gig energy and information-processing brain and body, somehow manages to keep significant portions of its liberated elements coherently connected. Possible? Possibly.

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There’s an interesting teaching in Tibetan Buddhism called The Six Yogas of Naropa. They speak about what happens to our animating energy after the body can no longer sustain it …

The dying process culminates in the appearance of the radiant mind of clear light. For those individuals who had gained mastery of the bardo yogas in their lifetimes, the true nature of this fundamental radiance is immediately recognized, as the Tibetans say, like a child being returned to its mother’s lap. At that very moment of recognition, the dying practitioner is liberated from the cycle of birth and death. In most ordinary cases, however, the dying individual is generally unfamiliar with the mind of clear light, and is thus unable to recognize it. Consequently, he or she is propelled with little or no control into the bardo state of becoming, which leads eventually to rebirth in a new existence.

Might that “general unfamiliarity” be mitigated by extensive meditation practice or other integrative practices that transforms the nature of our living network’s energy and information-processing capacity? Might such transformation then allow for the simple recollection of having taken up residence in a former body at a previous time? It might be much like our ability to recall significant, memorable personal experiences in this body/brain’s lifetime. If the networks are compromised by dissociation, repression and denial circuitry keeping things under wraps, then we simply have little or no memory of such earlier experiences. But what happens if all those compromised networks are fully activated and radically integrated? What happens if “network optimization” results? Might we then have (re)built the capacity for recalling previous incarnations in subsequent births?