Monday, June 23, 2014

The Numerology of Lucky Sevens

The numbers 7, 77, and 777 are considered lucky by both the Brotherhood and the general public. Triple Lucky 7’s, are used in slot machines for their mystical quality. 7-11 the convenience store encodes 7x11 = 77. The G7 summit (G = 7th letter) is numerologically 77. K and G Clothing stores as well (KG = 11x7 = 77). American Eagle is circa 1977 and includes the 77 on many clothes. Apollo 11 launched in the 7th month making 77. X-Box has World Soccer 7 and the Winning 11. The Pentagon is located on the 77th degree longitude and was supposedly hit by Flight 77 on 9/11. Flight 175 (1+7+5 = 13) even struck the South Tower at the 77th floor!

Hear my voice: ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.” -Genesis, 4:23-4

Here we have the biblical root of this sacred number. The biblical Lamech was a descendant of Cain, father of Tubal-Cain, ancestor of Hiram Abiff, the first murderer, and an important Masonic hero. Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, “If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.” This resonates 7, 11, and 77 because Lamech’s revenge of 77 is 11 times Cain’s 7.

US Highway 77 is the site of many interesting happenstances that mark the “revenge of Lamech” theme as well. JFK was assassinated in Dallas near Highway 77. The Masonic Grand Lodge of Oklahoma in Guthrie is along US 77. Timothy McVeigh rented a Ryder truck on 77 and was taken to a country jail along 77 after his arrest. Both the Waco massacre and Oklahoma City bombing were on Highway 77. Not only that, they both occurred the same day: April 19th, 1993 for Waco, April 19th, 1995 for Oklahoma City, then on April 19th, 2004 was the Chicago Sears tower bombing attempt. Exactly 444 days after Sears Tower, on 7/7/2005 (2+5 = 7 which makes 777) were the London underground bombings. 777 + 444 = 11:11, a very well-known mystical number, which like 7 and 77 is associated with the revenge of Lamech.

On 7/11/06 in Mumbai, India supposed “terrorist” train bombs killed 209 (2+9 = 11) commuters, using 7 bombs spaced exactly 11 minutes apart (77) from first to last blast. On 7/11/07 the CIA published a “National Intelligence Estimate” predicting another imminent Al-Qaeda attack on America.

Aleister Crowley believed Pan to be the Wizard of Oz, and attributed to him the number 77. The Z within the circle literally ‘spells’ out Oz, and the letter Z itself is made up of two 7s, one right side up and the other upside down (just look at the old Zellers logo).” -Jake Kotze, “The Brave New World Order"

So Oz resonates 77 due to “Z” being made of two 7s. There is the Wizard of Oz and Return to Oz movies, Oz Magazine, Oprah’s “Dr. Oz,” and the Oz HBO show. The abbreviation for ounces is Oz even though there is no “Z” in the word, so Oz (77) lines the grocery store shelves and products. Zellers uses the Z inside an O logo and even spells out the “77” clearly. ON is the Egyptian Sun God and word for light. Dr. NO was the first 007 movie starring 33rd degree Mason Sean Connery who also starred in Zardoz (as in the Wi-Zard of OZ).

Boeing made a 707 plane and still continues the 7x7 line of planes today. When you sleep and “get some Z’s” you’re also getting some 77s. The word Zoo, meaning a place where animals are caged and observed, interestingly resonates 77. Also the word Zodiac encodes not only Oz (77) but a much deeper numerological secret. If you change the letter order of Zodiac to Cadoiz, an interesting numerological “coincidence” is revealed: C=3, A=1, D=4, O=15, I=9, Z=26. 3.1415926 - The first 8 digits of Pi are encoded in Zodiac.

Another more occult interpretation of 77 is 7x7 = 49. Many Buddhists believe, as written in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, that the soul takes 49 days between death and rebirth in the reincarnation process. Friends or family are supposed to read the Book of the Dead to the recently deceased for 49 days. Traditional Chinese funerals also last 49 days. Amazingly, it is also 49 days from conception when an embryo undergoes major changes to become a fetus. At 49 days, two very important things happen: (1) the newly formed pineal gland produces a giant spurt of DMT and (2) the gender of the baby is decided. Could this be the moment of reincarnation? Rene Descartes and many others believed the pineal gland, the eye in the pyramid, to be the seat of the soul, where the immaterial soul interacts with the material body.

The pineal gland is the only asymmetrical organ in our heads, lying at the perfect geometric center of the brain. Every night our pineal glands produce small amounts of DMT tripping us out into various dream-states Hence getting some Z’s, and American Dreamz, dreams with a Z featuring MM Mandy Moore. The only other times this entheogen is naturally released is at the moment of death and the moment of Tibetan Buddhist rebirth, 49 days later. There is a movie called Ladder 49 and a band Br5-49. Bob Dylan, a suspected Mason, sang a song called “Days of 49” with lyrics like, “how oft’times I repine (like the “pine”-al gland and “re”incarnation) for the days of old when we dug up gold in the days of 49.” Dylan was also featured in “Oz” Magazine and sang “7 Curses,” “7 Days,” and “Death is Not the End.”

The Masonic Rolling “Stones” wrote “Highway 49” singing, “Out on the Highway 49 I have walked till I am dead” again resonating this theme. The band “Stiff Little Fingers” wrote a song called “Gate 49” singing, “I find that doorway in my mind when I want to be with you I just walk through gate 49.” Their only other song with a number is “Johnny 7.” The “77s” sing a song called “Sevens” beginning, “Did you know my eyes were blue? The day we met my heart was too. Now you say the color’s changed. You’re staring down a darker shade.” Their only other songs with colors are all the same: Blue Sky, Dave’s Blues, Perfect Blues, and Wild Blue. Do you see pattern developing? Blank 77 sings Spirit of ’77. Other bands include Attaque 77, Linea 77, Breed 77, Kolapso 77, Charta 77, Resistance 77. Nada Surf sings “Blizzard of ‘77” with lyrics about “tripping in 7-11” as in a DMT trip, perhaps?
Ozzy Osbourne sang the album “Blizzard of Ozz” and changed the S in Osbourne to a Z like Ozbourne. Hence we can say that “Os” also resonates the “Oz/77” theme as well. This is affirmed in the TV series “L-OS-T” which has an episode named “Enter 77” and Oz-resonant “The Man Behind the Curtain” about a man (Ben) who claims he arrived on the island via hot air balloon, just like the Wizard of Oz. There were 48 survivors of the crash plus Claire’s baby or the French woman makes 49. Also in the Episode “Numbers” we see the countdown just as it hits 49. When the show starts the word “Lost” floats toward the viewer cutting off the L and T leaving just the OS. “Lost” is full of occult numerology, symbology, and myths worthy of its own chapter. J.J. Abrams, the writer of Lost is now writing the movie Star Trek “Lost” Frontier.

In Disney’s “Shark Tale” Will Smith voices the main character “OS-car.” At the start of the movie, Oscar wears a hat with a big “O” right over his third-eye chakra, and for most of the movie Oscar has a black-eye which is blue. Throughout the whole movie Oscar symbolically doubles as a third-eye to De Niro’s shark character as hinted at by the poster. Similarly, in “Return to Oz” Dorothy wears a headband with a Z inside an O right over her third-eye point once again showing this occult secret. Actually this is only kept secret from westerners, Hindu women wearing Bindi’s on their forehead’s are well aware of their spiritual significance in relation to the third-eye.

The actress Robin Tunney is used repeatedly by the Masons in Hollywood to resonate this OZ theme. Three times in her movie career she has played characters named “Zoe” which is of course, OZ backwards. In the movie “Cherish” Tunney plays a character named Zoe and the movie poster has a series of O’s rippling out from her foot. In the poster for the movie “Zodiac” notice how the line goes through the O and right up to Robin Tunnney’s name. She is also in the HBO-OZ-resonating “Prison Break” series.

OSmium is the 76th element. If you want to take these synchronicities to the limit, then it’s quite interesting to note that Lee Harvey OS-wald was killed by CIA agent Jack Ruby, like Ruby Slippers from OZ. The precursor to the CIA was called the OSS and Marylin Manson (MM) sings the song (KK) King-Kill 33 all about Lee Harvey OSwald. How deep does the rabbit-hole go?  The Pentagon’s ground-breaking ceremony was on Sept. 11th, 1941, exactly 60 years to the day Flight 77 crashed into it. The Pentagon was designed by OTO priest Jack Parsons, who was friends with fellow OTO head Aleister Crowley. Crowley attributed, Pan the goat deity, with the number 77.

So Pan the goat (the all-creator/all-destroyer) is 77. Bush Jr. just happened to be at an elementary school photo-op reading a book called “My Pet Goat” while the second plane hit the 77th floor of the South tower and Flight 77 hit the Pentagon at 77 degrees longitude. Overlooking all this stood the Freemasonic Statue of Liberty on an 11-pointed star pedestal wearing a 7-pointed crown (7x11 = 77). And in the old Roman 10-month calendar where "Sept"ember was the 7th month, "Oct"ober the 8th month etc. , "Sept"ember 11th also resonates as 7x11. If all that isn’t eerie enough, a similar numerological “coincidence” occurred during the TWA Flight 800 disaster:

July 17, 1996. TWA 800 took off from JFK Airport on Wednesday evening, July 17, 1996, and exploded a few minutes later over the Atlantic Ocean, near Long Island. Swiss Air 111 took off from the same airport on Wednesday evening, 9/2 (9+2=11) 1998, and went down in flames into the Atlantic Ocean off the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. The number of weeks between these two accidents is exactly 111, the same as the Swiss Air flight number. This is a very clear hoof print of the Clandestine Luciferian Masons (CLuMs) who had sabotaged both airliners. TWA 800 and Swiss Air 111: the time between them is 111 weeks, or 777 days. The number 777 contains the mark of the revenge of Cain (7) and the mark of the revenge of Lamech (77).” -Robert Howard, “Destruction of the Trade Centers: Occult Symbolism Indicates Enemies Within our own Government"

Both satellite surveillance and hundreds of eyewitnesses along the Long Island coastline (whom the FBI never interviewed) clearly saw TWA Flight 800 shot by a missile fired from a small boat which then sped away.

The divine legacy of ‘7’ is also found in the otherwise unexplained origin of the seven days of the week. Most of us take the 7-day week for granted and assume it is a natural cycle. In actual fact, it is not a fixed cycle at all, and scientists have struggled for years to explain why this tradition should have originated. Theologians would claim that the answer lies in the Biblical seven days of creation, but the origin of the Biblical ‘days’ is almost certainly the seven tablets on which the Enuma Elish was written. This is evident from the contrast between the first six Babylonian tablets describing Marduk’s acts of creation and the seventh tablet which is dedicated to a general exaltation of the god (and thus a parallel to the Biblical seventh day when God rested) ... But what is the ultimate origin of the sacred number ‘7’? Why did the Babylonians write their creation epic on seven tablets? Whilst the seven stars of the Pleiades may ultimately be significant, Zecharia Sitchin has put forward a very interesting alternative theory, based on a literal acceptance of the ancient texts. Having already identified the association of twelve gods with twelve planets, he was intrigued by continual references to the god Enlil, known as the Chief God of the Earth, but also somewhat cryptically as ‘Lord of 7’. This gave Sitchin the idea that Earth was somehow the seventh planet, and he quickly realized that Earth was indeed the seventh planet encountered by the gods as they traveled from Nibiru into the heart of the Solar System.” -Alan F. Alford, “Gods of the New Millennium – The Shattering Truth of Human Origins” 81

Earth was the 7th planet in the Sumerian rendering as their alien progenitors allegedly came from another system and counted Pluto as the first planet instead of Mercury. There are 7 days in a week, 7 days in the Judeo-Christian creation myth, and 7 Enuma Elish tablets describing Babylonian creation. There is 7-Up, Seagrams 7, The 7 spheres, 7th heaven, 7 hathors, 7 chakras, the 7 seals, and 7 daughters of Atlas who guard the golden apples of immortality. Brad Pitt (Brad = 2+18+1+4 = 25, 2+5 = 7, Pitt = 16+9+2+0+2+0 = 29, 2+9 = 11) starred in the movies Se7en, 7 Years in Tibet, and Oceans 11 (Note: he also starred in Less than Zero, 12 monkeys, Oceans 12 and 13, which makes a total of 7 numerologically significant movies to date).

The numbers 7 and 40 are also code numbers in the Bible and the mysteries. So in the Bible we have seven spirits of God, the seven churches of Asia, seven golden candlesticks, seven stars, seven lamps of fire, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven angels, seven thunders and the red dragon in Revelation with seven heads and seven crowns. The story of Jericho has Joshua marching his army around the city for seven days, accompanied by seven priests carrying seven trumpets. On the seventh day they circled Jericho seven times and the walls came tumbling down. In the story of Noah, seven pairs of each animal go into the ark and seven pairs of each type of bird. There are seven days between the prediction of the deluge and the rain and seven days between the sending of the doves. The ark comes to rest on the 17th day of the seventh month, Noah leaves the ark on the 27th day, and after the flood he begins his seventh century.” -David Icke, “The Biggest Secret” (83)

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Monday, June 16, 2014

DMT - Psychedelic Death and Rebirth

American medical doctor and psychiatrist, Rick Strassman, has been working diligently to improve our understanding of entheogens, specifically dimethyltryptamine or DMT.  In 1990 Dr. Strassman broke a 20 year prohibition on psychedelic experiments in America when he began his work giving intravenous doses of the world’s strongest psychedelic to patients and volunteers.  Like Dr. Grof’s LSD subjects, Dr. Strassman’s DMT subjects found the experience to be overwhelmingly positive with a myriad of long-term benefits. 

Volunteers reported a stronger sense of self, less fear of death, and greater appreciation of life. Some found they were better able to relax, and they pushed themselves a little less. Several volunteers drank less alcohol or noted they were more sensitive to psychedelic drugs. Others believed with greater certainty that there are different levels of reality.”  -Dr. Rick Strassman, “DMT – The Spirit Molecule” (274)

DMT is such a powerful psychedelic that it completely melts away the veil of this reality and transports consciousness into an entirely other dimension occupied by everything from advice-giving telepathic rainbows to body-snatching demonic gremlins.  Whether your eyes stay open or closed, these so-called “hallucinations” completely immerse and ensconce themselves into your consciousness taking you out of your body and often out of this world.  The effects then wear off after about 10 minutes when smoked, 30 minutes when injected, and after 3-4 hours when made into Ayahuasca tea.

Dr. Strassman’s patients said in the long-term their DMT experiences made them more open-minded and laid-back, caused their thoughts and feelings to be better integrated and overlap more, lessened their fear of death, and gave them “a more real sense of connectedness to everything and everyone.  One of his patients named Elena said, “most of my experiences fade with time.  Not so with DMT.  Outside me, not much is different.  Inside, I rest in the comfort of knowing my soul is eternal and my consciousness endless.”  Another patient, Cleo, related how during her DMT trip, a cascading rainbow of colors telepathically communicated with her, telling her that she had been looking for God outside, but instead to go in, that God was in every cell of her body: “The colors kept telling me things, but they were telling me things so I not only heard what I was seeing, but also felt it in my cells.  I say ‘felt,’ but it was like no other ‘felt,’ more like a knowing that was happening in my cells. That God is in everything and that we are all connected, and that God dances in every cell of life, and that every cell of life dances in God.  I am changed. I will never be the same. To simply say this almost seems to lessen the experience. I don't think that anyone hearing or reading this can truly grasp what I felt, can really understand it deeply and completely.  The euphoria goes on into eternity. And I am part of that eternity.”

Due to all the miraculous, revelatory, and other-worldly experiences shared by his DMT subjects, Dr. Strassman dubbed dimethyltryptamine “the spirit molecule.”  The parallels between classic mystical or “spiritual” experiences and what people experienced with the “spirit molecule” were too similar to ignore: During both DMT trips and mystical experiences time, space, and matter all become secondary to consciousness.  The separation between self/non-self disappears and personal identity fades into identification with all of existence.  Past, present and future all meld together into one timeless moment of eternity.  Space is no longer here or there but everywhere as one.  There is only here now and travel happens at the speed of thought.

In altered states of consciousness this new perception of the world becomes dominant and compelling.  It completely overrides the everyday illusion of Newtonian reality, where we seem to be ‘skin-encapsulated egos’ existing in a world of separate beings and objects.  In extreme forms of transpersonal perception we can experience ourselves as the whole biosphere of our planet or the entire material universe.”  -Stanislav Grof, “The Holotropic Mind” (88)

Further to their revelatory and spiritual experiences, many of Dr. Strassman’s patients also reported experiencing a typical NDE while under DMT.  They felt themselves lift out of their bodies, saw and entered tunnels of light, heard celestial music and encountered angels or light beings, felt absolute peace and painlessness and were reluctant to come back into their bodies.  For example, one of his patients, Willow, described her experience saying, “First I saw a tunnel or channel of light off to the right … There was a sound like music, like a score, but unfamiliar to me, supporting the emotional tone of the events and drawing me in … There were large beings in the tunnel, on the right side, next to me … It was so much more real than life … I felt strongly, ‘This is dying and this is okay’ ... I had a sense of dying, letting go and separating, after the beings in the tunnel helped me along. … It's like a cosmic joke. If we all knew what was waiting for us, we'd all kill ourselves. That's why we stay in this form for so long, to figure that out.  Everyone should try a high dose of DMT once … That place is so full and so complete … when I came back into my body it was so heavy and so confining.”

Her consciousness separated from her body, she moved rapidly through a tunnel, or tunnels, toward a warm, loving, all-knowing white light. Beings helped her on the way, and some even threatened to drag her down. Beautiful music accompanied her on the early stages of the journey. Time and space lost all meaning. She was tempted not to return, but realized she needed to share the incredible information she received with this world … Her comment about everyone committing suicide if they knew how great the ‘afterlife’ is points out another similarity between Willow's experiences and those of ‘naturally occurring’ NDEs: That is, those who have had an NDE do not rush off to suicide. Rather, they reside in the knowledge that there is ‘life after death,’ and that transition loses its sting. Thus, they are able to live life more fully, because the fear of death that drives so many to distraction is now so much less.”  -Dr. Rick Strassman, “DMT – The Spirit Molecule” (226)

As mentioned earlier many entheogens have long been known to induce the death-rebirth experience and none are stronger than DMT.  Several of Dr. Strassman’s patients reported experiencing phenomena similar to what is outlined in the The Egyptian and Tibetan Books of the Dead, ancient texts regarding the process of death and the various states of consciousness the soul passes through on its afterlife journey.  Elena shared that, “more than once the DMT sessions gave me the gift of truly subjectively knowing the phenomenon described in ‘Introductions to the Dead’ in The Tibetan Book of the Dead.”  Another of Dr. Strassman’s patients, Eli, said, “I relaxed and the environment began to change noticeably.  I knew I was going through the first bardo of death, that I had been here many times before and it was okay … I had broken out of time and space … I no longer fear death.  It’s like you’re there one minute and then you’re somewhere else, and that’s just how it is … These experiments are helping me in my reading of the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.  I know what it’s like to be totally free.  Another patient, Joseph, noted, “I think the high dose is like death trauma.  It knocks you out of your body … This would be a good drug for people in a hospice program or the terminally ill to have some acquaintance with.”

One of the most incredible facts about DMT is that it is endogenous to humans and produced by our pineal glands.  The pineal gland, the only unpaired organ in the brain is located at the geometric center of the head between the eyebrows.  This mystical point, focused on during meditation, symbolized by the Hindu “bindi,” is what Descartes famously called “the seat of the soul.”  It is also known as the “third-eye” because it can sense light and in certain birds, amphibians, and reptiles it even has a lens, cornea and retina.  So why is this death-rebirth-inducing strongest psychedelic in the world produced inside our pineal glands?  What exactly is its function?

DMT is closely related to serotonin, the neurotransmitter that psychedelics affect so widely. The pharmacology of DMT is similar to that of other well-known psychedelics. It affects receptor sites for serotonin in much the same way that LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline do. These serotonin receptors are widespread throughout the body and can be found in blood vessels, muscle, glands, and skin.  However, the brain is where DMT exerts its most interesting effects.  There, sites rich in these DMT-sensitive serotonin receptors are involved in mood, perception, and thought. Although the brain denies access to most drugs and chemicals, it takes a particular and remarkable fancy to DMT. It is not stretching the truth to suggest that the brain ‘hungers’ for it.”  -Dr. Rick Strassman, “DMT – The Spirit Molecule” (52)

In human embryos the pineal gland becomes visible and releases its first burst of DMT 49 days after conception.  This is also the exact moment when an embryo becomes a fetus and the gender of the baby is determined.  At birth there is another burst of DMT, then regularly every night for the rest of our lives during REM sleep our pineal glands excrete DMT and “trip” us out into various dream states.  Finally the last and largest DMT burst of our lives happens at the moment of physical death. 

The human pineal gland becomes visible in the developing fetus at seven weeks, or forty-nine days, after conception. Of great interest to me was finding out that this is nearly exactly the moment in which one can clearly see the first indication of male or female gender. Before this time, the sex of the fetus is indeterminate, or unknown. Thus, the pineal gland and the most important differentiation of humanity, male and female gender, appear at the same time … When our individual life force enters our fetal body, the moment in which we become truly human, it passes through the pineal and triggers the first primordial flood of DMT.  Later, at birth, the pineal releases more DMT. In some of us, pineal DMT mediates the pivotal experiences of deep meditation, psychosis, and near-death experiences.  As we die, the life-force leaves the body through the pineal gland, releasing another flood of this psychedelic spirit molecule.”  -Dr. Rick Strassman, “DMT – The Spirit Molecule” (61-9)

Traditional Chinese funerals are 49 days long.  The Tibetan Book of the Dead states that it takes 49 days for a recently deceased soul to travel from one physical body into the next.  It also contains 49 days worth of specific passages for friends and family to read aloud to assist the deceased in their transition.  49 days after Easter is Pentecost, the day when “tongues of fire” came into the temple and rested upon the heads of the elders.  Symbolically this could mean their crown chakras were illuminated, pineal glands functioning, and the spirit came down unto them, just as literally 49 days after conception, the fetal pineal gland begins functioning and the gender is determined.  Are these 49s all just a coincidence or is this mystical number the time it takes for deceased souls to reincarnate?  The Catholic Church celebrates the “Immaculate Conception” on December 8th, exactly 9 months before Mary’s birthday, and celebrates the Incarnation of Christ on March 25th, exactly 9 months before Christmas.  Is this why the death and conception of Jesus can happen simultaneously?  Because we are all re-conceived (reincarnated) at the moment of our deaths and 49 days later our soul enters the embryo through a burst of pineal DMT?  

I already knew that the Tibetan Buddhist Book of the Dead teaches that it takes forty-nine days for the soul of the recently dead to ‘reincarnate.’  That is, seven weeks from the time of death of one person elapses until the life-force's ‘rebirth’ into its next body. I remember very clearly, several years later, feeling the chill along my spine when, reading my textbook of human fetal development, I discovered this same forty-nine day interval marking two landmark events in human embryo formation. It takes forty-nine days from conception for the first signs of the human pineal to appear. Forty-nine days is also when the fetus differentiates into male or female gender. Thus the soul's rebirth, the pineal, and the sexual organs all require forty-nine days before they manifest … [Then] as we die, if near-death experiences are any indication, there is a profound shift in consciousness away from identification with the body.  Pineal DMT makes available those particular non-embodied contents of consciousness. All the factors previously described combine for one final burst of DMT production: catecholamine release; decreased breakdown and increased formation of DMT; reduced anti-DMT; and decomposing pineal tissue. Therefore, it may be that the pineal is the most active organ in the body at the time of death. Might we say that the life-force therefore exits the body through the pineal?  -Dr. Rick Strassman, “DMT – The Spirit Molecule” (81-2)

It seems very likely that our souls enter and exit physical bodies via the pineal gland (third-eye).  Robert Monroe, Robert Bruce and other out-of-body experts have reported the third-eye as the main contact point where consciousness enters or exits the physical body during OBEs.  Several near-death experiencers talk about the “silver cord,” a long, bright, elastic cable of light which extends from the third-eye of their physical body attached to their disembodied consciousness wherever it goes.  Rene Descartes noticed he could only think one thought at a time and guessed it must be the pineal gland, the only singular, unpaired organ in the brain responsible for these singular, unpaired thoughts.  He even went so far as to call it “the seat of the soul” which certainly concurs with Dr. Strassman’s findings.  Both intravenous DMT injections and endogenous pineal DMT conclusively cause out-of-body near-death experiences and play a key role in the birth-death process.

While the release of neuroprotective compounds near death certainly is a useful response, the psychedelic side effects are not as obviously beneficial. We must therefore wonder, are these spiritual properties a coincidence, or do they have a purpose?  I suggest that near-death chemicals released by the brain are psychedelic for this reason: They must be. It is similar to asking why there is silicon in computer chips. Silicon works. It does the job. Near-death brain products are psychedelic because those are the properties consciousness requires at that time.  Psychedelic compounds released near death mediate consciousness exiting the body. This is their function and this is what they do. DMT is a spirit molecule, just as silicon is a chip molecule. Rather than just causing the mind to feel as if it were leaving the body, DMT release is the means by which the mind senses the departure of the life-force from it, the content of consciousness as it leaves the body.”  -Dr. Rick Strassman, “DMT – The Spirit Molecule” (326)

Activation and opening of the transpersonal area in the unconscious of dying individuals can have far-reaching consequences for their concepts of death, their attitudes toward the situation they are facing, and their abilities to accept physical mortality … Those who see themselves as an insignificant and impermanent speck of dust in an immense universe become open to the possibility that the dimensions of their own beings are commensurate with the macrocosm and microcosm. Consciousness here appears as a primary characteristic of existence, preceding matter and supraordinated to it, rather than being a product of physiological processes in the brain. It seems to be quite plausible that consciousness and awareness are essentially independent of the gross matter of the body and brain, and will continue beyond the point of physical demise. This alternative is experienced in a way that is at least as complex, vivid, and self-evident as the perception of reality in usual states of consciousness. The transcendental impact of these experiences is usually stronger in those individuals who, prior to entering the transpersonal realms, went through the experience of ego death and rebirth. The memory that consciousness emerged intact from this seemingly final annihilation constitutes a powerful emotional and cognitive model for understanding the process of actual death.”  -Stanislav Grof and Joan Halifax, “Human Encounter with Death” (56-7)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Wing Chun Martial Chess

What is the perfect way to fight?  Is there a “perfect way” to fight or is every martial art, every system and approach just a haphazard shot in the dark with no objective, empirical, measurable advantage?  The answer is that there IS absolutely a perfect way to fight and win every opponent, but the difficulty and the beauty is that perfect way is not something set in stone, but a fluid interplay between each fighter’s strengths and weaknesses.  The perfect way to fight always completely depends on the person(s) you are fighting and constantly changes based on what they are doing, how they are attacking, defending, and countering, whether there is one, two, or ten opponents, whether they’re striking, grappling, or parrying, whether they’re using edged, blunt or projectile weapons, depending on their height, weight, build, reach, and a host of other factors, the “perfect way” to fight is by training and developing the skills and tools necessary to read, react and adapt to each opponent’s constantly shifting weaknesses and exploiting them in real-time.

In this and many other ways fighting is like the game of Chess: Once you make your move, there is no turning back.  You are responsible for every mistake, and the only way out is forward.  The stronger player does not always win, because even the strongest players have weaknesses, but a clear hierarchy of ability exists, and the way to succeed is by positioning yourself so as to best exploit the weaknesses of your opponent then attacking as mistakes and imbalances surface.  Unlike dice or card games, there is no element of “luck” or “chance” in games like Chess, Checkers or Othello; these games always completely depend only upon the minds and moves of the two opponents  Similarly in fighting there really is no element of luck or chance involved. The outcome of a fight or Chess match will always depend on who better trained and conditioned themselves beforehand then better exploited and executed their opponent’s weaknesses in the moment. 

The average Chess player can only handle playing one opponent at a time, just like the average person could only handle fighting one opponent at a time, but through diligent practice Chess grandmasters and martial grandmasters are able to successfully defeat several opponents simultaneously.  Bobby Fischer and Magnus Carlsen have been known to play and win up to 10 games against 10 different opponents simultaneously while blindfolded!  Ip Man, Bruce Lee’s Wing Chun teacher, was also said to have successfully defeated several opponents simultaneously while blindfolded!

Just having martial “knowledge” is not enough though, your body must be trained and conditioned kinesthetically so muscle-memory reacts perfectly and precisely to the opponent.  Just having chess “knowledge” is also not enough, you cannot simply memorize every opening, play through every grandmaster game, read every theory book and suddenly be able to win every opponent.  The knowledge and skill-sets, the training and pre-game preparedness is only part of it, the gamer/fighter must also have perfect mindfulness and presence in the moment to be able to use the knowledge and training then adapt it in real-time to suit the adversary in front of them.  So there is a perfect way to fight, just like there is a perfect way to play Chess, but it’s not static and consistent, it always completely depends on the opponent and our interplay with their weaknesses in the moment.

Both fighters and Chess players will train before a tournament, watching videos or studying games of their opponents looking to find trends and weaknesses.  By noticing trends, even ones usually seen as “strengths,” they can become weaknesses through overuse.  For instance a fighter with a powerful overhand right he always uses to knock people out is seen as his “strength,” but if his opponent knows ahead of time about his reliance on this attack, even such so-called “strengths” can quickly become Achilles’ tendons to be cut.  The opponent can train to always slip outside, to attack and disable the right arm/hand, or to shoot inside nullifying the range.  Similarly if a chess player knows trends in his opponent’s games, such as always accepting gambits, never trading down in a sacrifice, castling late, bringing the Queen out early etc. he can exploit those trends. 

A fighter’s vulnerabilities are constantly changing based on their position/structure making it like a ballroom dance where the woman, the receptive one, reacting to the man’s lead, sensing, feeling her opponent’s movements and flowing with them, actually maintains positional advantage while the aggressive, overly forceful fighter leaves himself exposed.  So by purposely assuming the yin, receptive role of the woman, you gain a distinct advantage.  This is the reason fighters always jockey back and forth in and out of the pocket range-finding before committing to an attack,  because the person who under or over-commits during these crucial milliseconds opens themselves up to devastating counter-blows.  If you commit to a strike, takedown, or whatever type of attack, you are opening yourself to counter-attack.  The smarter fighting philosophy is to be patient, feigning while giving consistent forward pressure along the centerline until the opponent shows an under or over-commitment, then exploding to exploit the hole formed.  In Chess strategy it is the same; position your pieces to control the center, allow the opponent to initiate exchanges, look for imbalances, weak squares or undefended pieces, then attack and prey upon the opponent’s problem areas.

The game of Othello also beautifully demonstrates this advantage of yin over yang.  The average Othello player will quickly, aggressively attempt to turn as many pieces to their side as possible, and continue with this one-dimensional yang strategy until they run out of moves, only to have the opponent flip all their pieces back at the end.  Similarly the average fighter will aggressively attempt to attack and finish their opponent as quickly and violently as possible only to gas-out and open themselves up to counter-attacks.  The highest level Othello players, however, know that the more pieces you have in the beginning, the less potential moves you have later, and the more pieces of yours on the board, the more pieces your opponent can steal!  The highest level fighters know if you over-commit to any attack too early and you are fighting a skilled, adaptive opponent, the over-committed attack, no matter how powerful, will soon become your weakness.

The best Othello players play passively, keeping the fewest amount of their pieces on the board at the beginning so as to maintain positional advantage by having the most potential moves.  By having the most potential moves, they are easier able to acquire and secure the crucial border and corner squares.  Once a corner square has been acquired, you claim all pieces horizontal, vertical and diagonal to that corner and they cannot be turned back!  Similarly, in fighting, the best fighters will not rush in and over-commit to some attack without first bridging along the centerline, sensing and seeing how the opponent reacts, then exploiting any under or over-commitments in their reaction.  Pinning your opponent against a wall, fence, car or into a corner is also a highly advantageous move difficult to reverse, just like claiming border and corner pieces in Othello.

This is the esoteric advantage yin will always have over yang.  Since yang seems weaker, its strength is deceptive.  Like water, you must be fluid, receptive, adaptive and flow around your opponent’s obstacles, remaining calm, relaxed and flexible both mentally and physically until the opponent’s vulnerabilities present themselves.  This is not to say that yang has no place, that women are better fighters, or anything of that sort.  A moment of yang strength is ultimately what wins the fight, and men are in general far superior fighters to women.  Some arts like Muay Thai, Wrestling, or Sumo, however, are overly yang whereas others like Tai Chi, Wu Shu, and even many lineages of Wing Chun are far too “yin,” doing nothing but Chi Sao (sticky hands) and form-work, never training body-conditioning, padwork or sparring.  This is just as much a deficiency as the over-aggressive, blunt-headed wrestler type who simply looks to impose his will no matter how well he is defended/countered by his opponent.

One of the main principles in Wing Chun is the centerline concept, where fighters train to attack, defend and dominate along the centerline.  In Chess strategy, dominating and controlling the center is a key positional advantage during the opening.  Where many average Wing Chun practitioners and many average Chess players fall short is when they don’t train to switch it up during the middle and endgame.  Many traditional Wing Chun schools train ONLY straight-line attacks and ONLY ever attack along the centerline.  For instance they will always enter with the same straight chain punch/push kick flurry and no matter how well the opponent defends, circles outside and counters, they still keep steamrolling impotently forward becoming an increasingly easier target to pick apart.  In Chess, the opponent’s King begins in the center, but as the game progresses, due to castling or other moves, the King will often be situated at either end and not in the center.  Once your opponent castles it becomes obvious whether a King’s side, Queen’s side or central attack will best suit the game and the adept player must adapt in real-time.  Similarly an adept Wing Chun practitioner must always bridge (make contact) with the opponent along the centerline, but then depending on what they do next when bridged, other curved or non-centerline attacks may become much better suited than the straight centerline approach.

In the entry into the pocket during a fight, just like in the entry during the opening of a chess game, it has been proven that dominating and controlling the centerline is key. You will never see a Chess Grandmaster doing a rook’s pawn opening and you will never see a Wing Chun Grandmaster doing a curved or non-centerline entry.  To do a rook’s pawn opening or to enter the pocket with a curved attack is to offer up the crucial advantage of direct centerline control to your opponent for free.  If you’re playing/fighting an amateur you may recover from such a blunder, but against a formidable opponent you will not and find that giving away the centerline is a consistently losing strategy.  In Chess this has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt, though in martial philosophy, the crucial importance of centerline control and straight-attack entries has not yet gained popular approval or understanding outside of Wing Chun. 

The basic idea of straight-line entries and centerline control is that the most efficient path between two points is a straight line.  If you throw a right jab, while your opponent throws a right hook, your jab will land first, the blow surprises and decreases the power of your opponent’s strike, and the position of your jab effectively blocks the incoming hook.  In the case of a kick, imagine a curved Muay Thai roundhouse kick or a Taekwondo spinning kick versus a straight Wing Chun stomp kick, snap kick or side kick.  Like the hook punch, the roundhouse, or any spinning circular attack is telegraphed, slower to arrive at the target, and completely exposes the person attacking by opening their guard wide.  Curved attacks are also ineffective until they arrive at full-extension to their target whereas straight attacks are effective even before full-extension.  For example if you simply step forward when the opponent initiates a spinning heel kick you completely neutralize the technique because his dangerous heel extends well-behind you.  If, instead, you step forward into a straight Wing Chun stop kick to the stomach, the kick will still land, maybe at the shin, the knee, the groin or the stomach depending on how close the opponent is when you make contact, but no matter where contact is made, damage will still be done and their forward movement will be thwarted.  Straight kicks are simply less risky, more direct, efficient, and devastating.  Therefore, as a general rule, fast straight-attack entries are far superior to curved, circular or angular attacks.  Once the straight-attack entry has been made along the centerline, THEN the fighter can and should mix various non-linear attacks, based on the tactile information received in the moment as to which combinations and movements will continue to land and defeat the opponent.

In popular MMA cage-fighting like UFC, the importance of centerline control is explicitly obvious but the philosophy is often overlooked.   Fighters like Jon Jones and Anderson Silva use their long limbs extending forward, usually in a triangle, like the Wing Chun ready stance, not under or over-committing, shooting straight jabs and straight kicks along the opponent’s centerline.  Then when into clinch / chi sao range, they start unleashing various creative circular and non-centerline attacks like elbows, knees, body shots, uppercuts and takedowns based on the tactile and sensory information they’re receiving in the moment, adapting every second to attack the most vulnerable targets with their most powerful weapons.  Notice they do not and could not simply chain punch forward and win every opponent as some traditional Wing Chun schools would have you think! 

In Chess you always want to be either developing your pieces into better positions, taking your opponents pieces, or directly attacking their King.  Likewise in fighting you should always be moving to gain positional advantage, striking to injure the opponent’s limbs/body, or directly attacking their face/neck.  Blood or air chokes, eye gouges, palm strikes, overhands and other fight-stopping strikes to the face are like checkmates.  All other attacks like arm-bars, toe-holds, leg-locks, takedowns, guntings, etc. are analogous to capturing pawns, knights, bishops, rooks and queens. 

Bobby Fischer said of Chess, “Tactics flow from a superior position.”  In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu they have the saying “position before submission” meaning it is important to acquire and maintain the correct body position and defensive structure before attempting the finishing offensive submission.  If you rush into a submission hold without first securing the necessary and advantageous position, it is likely that the opponent will escape, sweep, and turn the tables on your weak attempt.  The skilled grappler will instead first secure a good full, side, back mount or guard, then and only then attempt any submissions.  Likewise in Chess, the average player might bring their Queen out early and try any number of one/two piece fast mates, but these will never work against a seasoned player and will only leave you with inferior positioning going into the midgame.

In Chess one popular strategy, known as a “gambit,” is offering a piece as a sacrifice in order to attain better position.  In fighting, various “gambits” are also used constantly and effectively.  For example feigning when establishing a jab and straight kicks in and out of the pocket, mixing fully-extended power-shots with lackadaisical or abrupt stinted shots, like a gambit helps to gain control of the center, lures the opponent into a false sense of security, and if they “accept the sacrifice” (i.e. block the feign, or not block actual strikes because of good feigning) it puts them in a more precarious position.  Another example of a fighting gambit is the Wing Chun Chum Kiu or “bridge seeking.”  Wing Chun hands like Man Sao (Asking Hands) extend out along the centerline in a tentative manner like an insect’s antennae looking to bridge with the opponent’s limbs so our sticky hands sensitivity can then manipulate their structure by maintaining perpetual flowing contact and defense.  The asking hand antennae are offered up like pawn gambits to lure the opponent into playing into our web of sticky hands training!

Another key tactic in Chess is using pieces in combination to attack.  Trying to checkmate your opponent using a single piece, even your strongest piece, the Queen, is futile.  She cannot capture the opponent’s King by herself and must be aided by at least one other piece (from your army or theirs!) to prevent his escape.  Similarly in fighting, “one-trick ponies,” or “one-hit wonders” are easily defeated.  Fighters who fail to attack in combination or rely solely on one preferred technique become transparent and impotent.  Wing Chun Kung-Fu boasts having the fastest combination punches in the world known as the “chain punch,” with many practitioners clocked at an amazing 10 punches per second!  One standard Wing Chun attack combines the repeated 1-2-1-2-1-2 chain punch with a forward thrusting stomp or snap kick 3-4-3-4-3-4 to the opponent’s knees and groin, so at any moment you have three weapons (2 arms and a leg) attacking the vulnerable face, groin and knees in rapid-fire combination.  And since they are all straight, centerline attacks your three offensive weapons all double as defensive barriers effectively blocking many standard counter-strikes in the process.

Wing Chun also has a concept called “the three gates,” which is very similar to Chess.  The idea is that your head/neck is the King and your arms extended forward in the Wing Chun triangle ready-stance comprises the three gates of your castle.  The first gate is the hinge of your wrists, the second gate the hinge of your elbows, and the third gate is your back Wu Sao (guard hand) resting at your chin.  The first wrist gate is purposely left wide open to bait the opponent like a Trojan horse; When they pressure in, our Huen Sao (circling hand) allows them through then Fook Sao (controlling hand) quickly closes and locks the gate shut behind keeping them stuck to our well-developed sticky hands.  The second gate is solid and always remains shut; Known as the Wing Chun Immovable Elbow, the second gate’s strongest position is a fist and a half distance from the torso held forward at a 135 degree angle.  When pressure is placed upon the second gate we will sooner give up footwork position than allow the immovable elbow gate to collapse.  If the opponent manages to get behind/outside our elbow, the third gate guard hand must quickly perform Lap Sao (pulling hand), bringing the opponent back out to the first gate.

In Chess, the first gate often offered as gambits / sacrifices in order to gain position are the pawns.  The second gate used to pressure in are the knights, bishops and rooks.  The third gate just before reaching the King is the Queen, and both in Wing Chun and Chess, if you bring the Queen (Wu Sao Hand) forward too quickly it can spell disaster.  For example in the popular Wing Chun “Bong Sao-Lap Sao” drill students are taught to always defend only with the lead arm leaving the Wu Sao guard hand back by the chin bringing it forward only if/when the second gate has been passed.  In Chess strategy students are taught always to develop the minor pieces onto strong outposts before bringing the Queen forward.  If the Queen comes out too early she can be chased around the board, giving the opponent positional advantage, and ultimately could be cornered and captured.  Likewise if the Wu Sao hand comes forward to block or Lap Sao too early it can be passed by a skilled opponent and they will have direct, unfettered access to your King/Head.

So what is the perfect way to train so as to fight perfect Chess in the moment?  How can one best train to read, react, and adapt to each opponent’s constantly shifting weaknesses and exploit them in real-time?  First, and foremost you must condition your mind and body in a multitude of ways to prepare for the final moment of confrontation.  Like a good Chess student must play thousands of games, memorize thousands of openings/variations, play through thousands of Grandmaster games, and solve thousands of Chess problems before they can compete. You also must do thousands of punches, kicks, elbows, knees, locks, takedowns, chokes, breaks, submissions, and escapes, you must learn proper form, structure, movement, technique, and philosophy, practice sparring, grappling, shadow boxing, chi sao and chi gerk, use punching bags, focus pads, wall bags, and wooden dummies,working always to increase speed, power, accuracy, technique, and non-telegraphy, your ligaments, tendons, muscles and skin must become flexible, strong, loose, and relaxed, the nerve-endings on your shins and arms must become numb, your wrists must become laterally strong, your knuckles calloused, your abdominals and other muscles tough and hard, your mind must be still and responsive, your body completely relaxed before and after every strike, you should even practice deep abdominal breathing and short exasperated breathing to improve stamina, control heart-rate and adrenaline release, increase the time you can be choked, and decrease the chance of having the wind knocked out of you.

Then when the time comes to fight, your mind should be empty and completely present, any strategy or tactics consciously employed will be over-committed, unreceptive, and non-adaptive so you must completely rely on subconscious instinct and muscle-memory.  Your eyes should be trained on the opponent’s sternum so peripheral vision can fully watch all their limbs.  Your stance should remain fluid and light, constantly moving but able to solidify and immediately plant roots if the opponent shoots.  Your guard should be relaxed and moving slightly, just enough to distract and feign, but not enough to open yourself up.  Bobby Fischer, the most renowned Chess player of all time said, “Chess is a matter of delicate judgment knowing when to punch and how to duck.  It is war over the board.  The object is to crush the opponent’s mind.  Concentrate on material gains.  Whatever your opponent gives, you take, unless you see good reason not to.  Your body has to be in top condition.  Your Chess deteriorates as your body dies.  You can’t separate body from mind.  You have to have the fighting spirit.”  And perhaps the most famous Wing Chun practitioner ever, Bruce Lee, said it best: “Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water.  Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot.  Now water can flow or it can crash.  Be water my friend.”