I-Doser’s a Dozer

For those of you who haven’t heard of it, I-Doser is an app that purports to mimic various mental states, from those induced by drugs like ayahuasca and peyote to deep meditation and near-death experiences. All via mp3. Seriously. You can grab this for your smart phone or visit their website (which I’m not going to link, because . . . well, you’ll see). The people at I-Dose refer to these recordings as “digital drugs.”

I have been interested in the usesRobert Monroe of sound for consciousness manipulation since the early days of Robert Monroe and the Monroe Institute. Monroe’s books inspired me during my high school and college years. His research into binaural beats and their ability to influence brain waves was so groundbreaking that the Army used the technology to train its psychic spies – or should I say uses, because, in spite of what official sources say, the program continues.

In any event, the Monroe Institute has a variety of on-site training programs for the general public, as well as an extensive line of recordings one can buy to assist with meditation, relaxation, productivity, etc. They are a fine outfit, and I heartily recommend them. However, as with any technology that shows promise, a number of slap-dash imitators have jumped on the bandwagon. It is my opinion that I-Dose is one of those imitators.

Go to YouTube and you will be able to find middle-schoolers freaking themselves out listening to “Gates of Hades,” “Cocaine,” “Hand of God,” etc. So, curious me, I decided to get the app and give a couple ofgodhand things a try. Hmmm, Hand of God looked good. After all, I’m a spiritual kind of guy, so off I went to meet the Creator, headphones in hand. All I can say is that this recording was a pathetic attempt to induce a state of awe and holiness. I almost laughed several times during the experience – not out of bliss, but because it was actually comical. It was exactly what a middle-schooler would produce if trying to get a feel for what it was like to meet God. Just poorly done. The dose called Absinthe was just as lame, not taking me anywhere. I was more bored than anything else, wondering when the damn thing would be over. In fact, I found no use in any of the several offerings I tried. I believe that almost all of the reactions displayed in the YouTube videos are expectancy or placebo based performances. Thank goodness I didn’t shoot lots of cash on this experiment

There’s a way around all this, gentle reader. Some true personal exploration via a meditation practice will get you all the consciousness expansion you need. However, I won’t start preaching here about actual drug use. I have no problem with those adults who wish to use drugs, while doing no harm to themselves or others. It’s your business. But if you want to find God? Meditate, and take the effects you experience and apply them to your everyday life. Want to escape what you see as your meaningless existence? Meditate and find purpose. It’s more long-lasting than drugs too.

Remember, poor imitators of legitimate technologies aim only to separate the unwary from their money. Beware I-Dose and others like them.

By the way, let me tell you this. I have truly seen/encountered the Creator in meditation, and the impact is life-changing. I would recommend that over wasting time and money on things like I-Doser.

As the old song goes: Ain’t nothing like the real thing, Baby. (Thank you, Marvin and Tammi)

A word of caution. Binaural beats can indeed influence consciousness and are not recommended for anyone with a seizure disorder or severe psychological problems including, but not limited to, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or severe depression or anxiety. If you have any of these conditions, check with your healthcare provider before you try binaural beats.

The Misunderstood Tower

There are several cards in the Tarot deck that can stand your hair on end. Getting them in a reading can send chills up the spine. One of these cards is The Tarot, number 16 of the Major Arcana. Usually, there is lightning, falling figures and masonry – disastrous looking stuff. The interpretations given in Tarot cookbooks are much better, talking about disaster, a shaking to the core, etc. However, these initial impressions can miss the mark.

Thinking about The Tower in an esoteric way can ease these concerns. In its most central energy, this card represents Mars. Think of Mars as pure force, dynamic movement, and reproductive energy. It is the gas, if you will, of our actions. Without Mars, we would be essentially inert.

In the card (this depiction is from the Haindl Tarot Deck), the tower itself is an edifice of false belief, error, an opinion at odds with the ultimate reality of Spirit. The falling figures are those beliefs themselves, the erroneous “knowledge” and “understanding” put up by the personal ego for its own use. The lightning is the illumination of Spirit, bringing insight and exposing the erroneous beliefs for what they truly are.

When looked at in this way, The Tower is a wake-up call from Spirit. This card is asking us to evaluate the way we are looking at ourselves, or a given situation. It is urging us to contact our Mars force and direct its considerable power in another direction.

Self-examination is the hallmark of personal growth. Unless we can take a long, hard, honest look at ourselves, advancement along the spiritual path is virtually impossible. Fortunately, Spirit is extremely willing to help if we show the motivation (Mars) to pursue our own growth. The lightning starkly shows where we are mistaken and brings us the energy to change those beliefs or ways of acting that are interfering with advancement along the spiritual path.

Using The Tower as a meditation is extremely helpful. With the card before you, allow the imagery to merge with you. Enter the card and become it in all its details. See and feel yourself as the tower, or the figures. See the flash of lightning striking the tower. Feel its loving, cleansing strength. Invite the lightning strike and ask it to cleanse any beliefs or behaviors that are impeding your progress along the path of spirit.

With practice, The Tower becomes a welcome influence. When you see it in a reading, it will no longer be frightening. It will be a reminder that Spirit is with you, helping you, guiding you.

Chakras and the Planets of the Ancients

Recently, while giving a Reiki treatment, I was struck with the profound energies surrounding the chakras, and some of the associations that have been formed over time. Specifically in the Western mystery tradition, planets and metals have been associated with these seven, prime energy centers of the human body. They are located at (common name and planet in parentheses):Sol

  • the perineum (Root chakra; Saturn)
  • just below the navel (Sacral chakra; Mars)
  • at the solar plexus (Solar Plexus chakra; Jupiter)
  • at the heart (Heart chakra; Sun)
  • at the throat (Throat chakra; Venus)
  • at the brow (Third Eye chakra; Moon)
  • at the crown of the head (Crown chakra; Mercury)

Notice that these assignments were made before the discovery of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto (and I still think Pluto is a planet, dadgumit!)

These associations weren’t made will-nilly. For instance, Saturn (associated with Binah on the Tree of Life — see my post on the Tree of Life here.) is seen as a limiting force, but it also allows things to come into concrete existence. The Root chakra is our connection with the Earth, so that correspondence makes sense. Mars, the action-driven force that pushes us to create is linked to our Sacral, generative chakra. Jupiter, with its expansiveness is link with the chakra of Will, which pushes us forward in the world. The Sun is linked with the Heart center, which aligns with the Tree of Life sphere of Tiphareth, our connection to the Son (this is explained a bit in my post on the Holy Family). Venus, the expresser of beauty is linked to our expressive Throat center. The Moon, that mystical, feminine, intuitive planetary body is set into the Third Eye, our intuitive center. Finally, Mercury is at the crown. Mercury, messenger of the gods, linked to the point where we receive messages from the gods. Good fit.

Try this exercise: Visualize the planets or their mythological human representations at each of the seven centers. If you have a problem with visualizing more than one at a time, that’s no biggie; do one at a time. Concentrating on each center, feel the energy of it. Just let it come, don’t force it. See how the center feels to you. See if it makes sense to place that planet there. How does it fit? How does it not? Let it rumble around in your consciousness for a while. Nestle into it and let it flow. See where it takes you.

There are colors associated with the chakras too. I don’t want to get into that now, since there are several systems, and the one I favor doesn’t match the most popular one.  Sigh, always the outlier, this guy.

Take time to have fun with your chakras, because they have fun with you.