Question and Answers on Peak States Research
August 25, 2007
Our thanks to all the workshop volunteers, and interested people who have contributed questions. Please feel free to post them on our public forum so others can read it, and we’ll post a reply.
To understand some of the questions and replies, we assume you’ve read the background material on this website.
"Why have you made progress in this area when so many other people who have been working in this field have not?"
This work did not happen overnight - it’s taken over 20 years of focused, continuous work from a lot of very bright and talented people following a path that literally no one supported or believed in. (And in the beginning we had no evidence that this approach would work either.) A tremendous cost both financially, socially, and in terms of life opportunities sacrificed.
Additionally, in 2003 we discovered that there is a core problem that blocks people's awareness or willingness to see and eliminate the underlying blocks to having peak states. We now have a technique that addresses this problem - the Tribal Block Technique™ - which is effective in eliminating this problem.
"There are many people with workshops and training claiming to have found the answer for making life better - but they didn't work for me. Why should I believe you?"
The answer to this question is a bit complex. First, there are two completely different issues that both need to be addressed to make a person's life better:
1) The first is the presence of a problem or suffering (that is directly or indirectly due to pre- or post natal trauma). For example, a person might suffer from a physical or emotional dysfunction, such as chronic pain, anxiety, and so on, that we usually take to physicians or psychologists for treatment. When the problem is eliminated, the client will feel far better. Essentially, this is like taking your car in to the service station, getting it fixed and back to normal.
Unfortunately, there are many different kinds of mechanisms that can cause suffering, and most therapies or training programs usually address only one or at best a couple of them. Worse, many of the therapies still taught are only partly effective - finding one that can swiftly and completely eliminate a problem is not the norm - although this situation has been improving since the introduction of power therapies in the '90s. Unlike the training programs that we're aware of, our therapist training is not 'technique' dependent - instead, we teach the underlying biological mechanisms that cause these problems, along with a number of constantly improving and evolving techniques to eliminate them. This is one reason our certified therapists only charge for results - because they can usually get results. However, this field is not yet a 'mature technology' - there are still mechanisms that nobody can yet heal. Continuing our car analogy, most training programs only train the mechanics on just a part of the car, like the tires, brakes or transmission, may require the client to return over and over to the service station, and ignore the rest of the car as either not existing or being intrinsically unfixable.
2) The second issue involves the absence of peak states. Even though a person may feel OK, without any obvious problems, most people have had moments when they felt far, far better than normal (e.g., sensations of happiness, peace, presence, and so on). Fortunately, it is possible to turn most of these 'peak experiences' into continuous states of being, or to acquire ones that most people have never before felt (such as feelings of 'aliveness', the sensation of sacredness radiating from one's body, and so on). Many peak states are not just an a recovery or extension of something a person has previously felt - instead, they are often completely new and unfamiliar. For example, in the 'Beauty Way' state, you experience yourself and everything around you as having a quality of aliveness, depending on the type of object - a tree feels much more alive than a rock. This is just not something that can be felt in normal consciousness. If these people are asked why they are alive, the same answer is obvious to them without any doubt or question. This is just not something that can be done from average consciousness. Continuing our previous car analogy, acquiring peak 'states' is like trading your economy car in for a sports car or in some lucky cases a private jet. Thus, healing will make you feel better because of an absence of suffering, whereas acquiring a peak state will make you feel better because of the presence of some feeling, sensation or ability.
Obviously, both kinds of issues are important to address. Different workshops and therapies in the market might address either healing, peak states, or some combination of the two. Most workshops and training programs only address healing, and any peak states are just lucky accidents. For example, since peak states have specific experiential qualities, they could be discussed in the training literature - but almost no workshops or training programs do, making it pretty clear that they don't deliberately work with peak states.
The state of the art in peak state processes still has a long way to go, and unfortunately most peak state approaches currently on the marketplace are intrinsically temporary. Hence, we often hear of people who complain that they got a workshop 'high', but lost it sometime later. We directly address how to acquire and stabilize peak states in our training, although our techniques are not yet perfect - we cannot yet help everyone we see.
"I’ve learned all kinds of spiritual techniques that I was told would give me the answer, but they didn’t work. Why should I expect something different from you?"
What is totally different about our approach is that we figured out what is actually going on in the psyche, and what causes people to have or not have peak spiritual or shamanic states. This makes techniques developed from this basic understanding far, far faster, reliable and effective than previous generations of techniques. Thus, one could read about the basis of peak states in one of our textbooks, or figure it out for oneself and invent entirely new techniques on one's own to solve the underlying problems we’ve discovered. This is actually what we are doing at the present. We didn’t start with a technique that worked, we started by figuring out what was really going on and then invented techniques to fix the problem. That’s why as time goes on, we expect that we and other motivated people will come up with entirely faster and simpler techniques.
People are complex, with a whole variety of reasons that might cause them difficulties in having peak states. Since we know what we are trying to accomplish and understand most of the underlying mechanisms, we can usually sit down and figure out a way around that person’s unique problem. Or they can do it for themselves, which I find very empowering and wonderful. To give an example of this process from another discipline, this is the approach that is used by engineers in creating new products.
"How are peak states and healing related?"
It turns out that a person can have a peak state without healing anything. Life circumstances, good experiences, and so on can cause you to temporarily relax underlying traumas that normally keep you from a peak state. In fact, a small percentage of the general population were born with various peak states and live in them most of the time.
Generally, a person acquires a stable peak state by healing the underlying mechanisms - originally caused by traumas - that block it. In the last few years, new, even more efficient approaches that take advantage of underlying subcellular mechanisms have allowed us to avoid healing individual traumas directly, yet still get the results we want.
"You mean some people are in a peak state normally?"
Yes. These are the individuals that seem to be exceptionally healthy, happy, and productive, even if it’s in areas that you wouldn’t choose for yourself. One example some of you might know is Gary Craig, originator of the EFT energy therapy. In another example, the so called ‘invulnerable’ children in the psychological literature are almost certainly in the ‘Inner Peace’ peak state most of the time, which gives them their characteristic resilience to their extremely traumatic past. Finding simple and fast ways to bring the entire population into this state has been one of the driving forces behind our work.
Interestingly, people who have had a peak state most of their lives have almost no motivation to face the difficulty required to permanently move into deeper and better peak states. For the rest of us, our years of painful normal consciousness can actually motivate us to go into better and better peak states once we know what we’re trying to accomplish and how to do it.
"What is an unusual application of your work?"
The phenomenon of ‘spiritual emergencies’ is one. Helping to heal people who are suffering from these unusual experiences is greatly facilitated when one understands why the experience is occurring. Another is in the applications to serious mental and physical diseases, many of which are considered incurable by conventional techniques.
"What are the medical applications?"
Our approach to the recovery of health that does not involve any physical or chemical intervention, but rather uses state-of-the-art psychological techniques. Our current applications are in schizophrenia, addictions, autism, and other diseases. Actually, many serious or 'incurable' diseases are candidates for these techniques, but up to now we have been limited by time, money, and priorities. We are now focusing on streamlining our processes and discoveries in order to create a pool of healers for our clinical projects. We are also working on ‘holy grail’ of healing, that of immediately regenerating almost any physical damage.
"What is a peak state and how does that relate to various other states of being or consciousness that I have heard referred to as "enlightenment", and "self-actualization"?"
As you might imagine, our work is sometimes very controversial among spiritual teachers and students. To give an example, samahdi is considered the ‘ultimate state’ among some traditions. (We use the Zen definition of the word, a state of timelessness, unbelievable peace, and lack of virtually any need to breathe.) Yet, now that we know what it is, we find it actually a very dysfunctional state where the heart and body brains are disabled, and qualities that those brains have are missing from the organism.
To the best of our knowledge, there is no definitive list of characteristics for the 'enlightenment' state that are generally agreed upon by Western scholars. However, given our current understanding of the phenomenon, we believe we've identified its underlying biological basis.
"How come the people who reach various levels of expanded awareness (higher states of consciousness) don't seem to always agree on "the truth"?"
There is a fascinating reason. It turns out that there are a variety of completely different 'ultimate' peak states (ones we call 'Realm' states), depending on what aspect of consciousness you focus on. Thus, we get Hindus focusing on the infinite, but dying of terrible diseases. We get shamans healing diseases, and connected to the planetary consciousness, but ignorant of the eternal. Buddhists focus on the Buddha mind, but ignore physical healing and the planetary consciousness. Christians focus on the Creator, and ignore anything else. And so on.
Because traditional peak state processes are so difficult to do, slow to work, and generally ineffective, it often takes a lifetime to reach one or these ultimate states. And because anyone who experiences one of these ultimate states knows it is an ultimate state from their own experience, there is a strong tendency to ignore or downplay any other state. Thus, each tradition tends to oversell their experience and discount any other. Fortunately, because in the modern world we have access to many traditions, we can spot this inconsistency with some simple common sense.
This points out another important issue. Even with an 'ultimate' peak state, a person still has issues that need to be healed. Peak states and trauma-driven dysfunctional behavior can co-exist. Thus, we have well known, legitimate spiritual or shamanic teachers with obvious and sometimes severe psychological dysfunction. Peak states, even major ones, don't necessarily eliminate these problems. Thus, when working with a teacher, ask yourself, has he or she gotten their act together both emotionally, physically, spiritually? Do they have amazing personal and sexual partnerships? Do they contribute, work, play, have fun? Do they get sick? Can they do regenerative healing on others? And so on. Because a teacher is expert in one area does not mean he or she is expert in all areas.
"What is the "higher self", especially as related to the triune brains?"
This question is a bit hard to answer because there are several totally different and unrelated states that can be described as connection to the 'higher self'. For example, a direct connection with Gaia, the planetary consciousness, can give an experience that could be described as being a 'higher self'. Likewise, connection to one's own 'oversoul', which involves a continuous connection to all of our past lives, can also give this experience.
The triune brains, which make up the self-aware units of our subconscious, do not give one an experience of a 'higher self.
"How do you know that muscle testing is a form of communication with the reptilian brain (the body)? How do you know that it can't or doesn't communicate with different levels (or brains) of an individual depending on their state or how integrated their brains are?"
One of the states we can move into - the 'Brain Communication' state - allows a person to directly communicate with one's triune brains. With that awareness, you can experience yourself answering ‘muscle testing’ yourself as the body brain. In fact, you don't need to muscle test at all - you can directly 'converse' with your body brain without using any indirect mechanism.
"Can’t we trust muscle testing, especially our own body?"
Unfortunately we cannot trust muscle testing. It’s fairly easy to demonstrate the many limitations of muscle testing, such as the unconscious distorting effect that the tester has on the subject being tested. However, people often desperately want to trust it, and so refuse to look at evidence that indicates it has limitations and flaws. Most people are not aware of the triune nature of the subconscious, and so assume that they must be communicating with some sort of 'higher power'. We’ve all been brought up with the idea that “The body doesn’t lie”, and therapeutic processes of applied kinesiology are based on this idea. Unfortunately, this simply isn't true. For example, the phenomenon of ‘psychological reversal’ in energy therapies illustrates how the body is quite willing resist healing certain issues, as any addict can well describe. People also get misled by the literal nature of the body brain’s thinking processes, and assume if it’s literal it must be very precisely true. The fallacy is like thinking that just because computers are literal and precise, they work perfectly and never ever make mistakes like outputting checks in the wrong amount!
The bottom line is that the body brain is has been traumatized in the developmental process, and responds in ways it feels will promote its survival. And it can be very tricky and sneaky about it, too! This brain often gets itself into trouble because it thinks by associating sensations together, and usually isn't aware of why it made the association. These dysfunctional associations can sometimes be quite harmful to the organism, and are often quite peculiar. Acquiring the 'Brain Communication' state is an eye opening experience in this regard, since one can directly communicate with the body brain - and really see how it often acts like a spoiled, hurt five year old with its own dysfunctional agenda.
On the positive side, muscle testing is one way to get data about how the body feels about certain issues - as long as one keeps in mind that it is no more infallible than the rest of ourself.
"If being in one or several of these peak states expands a person's awareness so that they are aware of more of the allness, how come in that state they can't just figure out and tell you the answers that you are stuck on?"
Unfortunately, this good idea doesn't usually work in practice. To understand, one has to realize that traumas, even ones we are not aware of, guide our behavior to a great extent. We often unconsciously believe we need to hold on to a trauma (either from psychological reversal or a positive feeling associated with the trauma); our consciousness will often avoid the pain involved in seeing our various traumas; or both. Thus, in practice, no matter what peak states we have, we find that we can't find new states by accessing higher states like Gaia or the Creator - because we 'blank out' when the relevant traumas are pointed out to us in these states. Essentially, relevant traumas are invisible to us.
However, there are cases where we can take advantage of these exceptional states. For example, if a therapist has a given peak state, this means he doesn't have any direct, relevant trauma blocking it. Thus, he can perceive any blocking trauma in his client, since there is no triggering of similar traumatic material. This is a general result - a therapist with certain advanced peak states can rapidly help others identify and heal material, as long at the therapist doesn't have similar issues, doesn't have unconscious blocks to helping the person, and has adequate skill and techniques available to him.
Of course, even being in these peak states doesn’t mean you know how to use them properly or understand what’s going on inside yourself. People aren't born with operating manuals, unfortunately!
"What is the ego?"
This label is a historical construct for a phenomenon that is not understood in the field of psychology. The English translation of the word ‘ego’ is merely the word “I”. We’ve discovered that two totally unrelated mechanisms are misleadingly lumped into the conventional definition. The first part we call the 'center of awareness' (CoA). Judeo-Christian spiritual tradition describes it as some eternal, spiritual part of ourselves. (It is often called the 'soul' or the 'spirit'.) However, it’s not something distant and mysterious, but rather it’s actually the part of us that is the basis of our self-awareness. In everyday terms, it is just you! Dysfunction in this part of us results in the CoA being restricted to a small area of our body. A healthy CoA expands throughout the body and into the environment.
Another part of the ego is the self-awareness of the genetic material itself, something we call the 'directing self'. This part of the ego is responsible for our ability to act and respond. Dysfunction in this part of the ego results in multiple personality disorder. This material is covered in depth in Volumes 2 and 3 of Peak States of Consciousness: Theory and Applications.
"Are emotions the underlying etiology of all illness? What about genetic illnesses?"
No, stuck emotions (from trauma) are not always the underlying etiology of all illnesses, although they are the cause of a lot of them. For example, the EFT therapy (www.emofree.com) which focuses on eliminating stuck emotions has an amazing track record for eliminating many, many different physical illnesses. Interestingly, the presence of these traumas with their stuck emotions has an impact on our health even when we don't feel or in fact have any awareness of them. For example, in the Inner Peace peak state, one does not access the emotional content of past traumas, but suddenly acquiring the state does not cause the person to lose any trauma-based illnesses.
We've found that most generational problems are not due to damaged genes, but are rather due to a mechanism that is similar to that of simple trauma. However, some problems are actually genetic in origin, but in our experience they are very very few. In our experience, most problems are epigenetic in origin.
"If you are able to come up with a process or way to heal people of virtually every disease, will people ever die, and if so why?"
Our model predicts that aging is reversible, but we wouldn’t bet our paychecks on it. We know of no examples of this in any mammalian species. On the other side of the coin, we’ve found that people choose to die and actually pick an age to do so during the birthing process. Healing this problem has a distinct effect on people - we currently suspect this reactivates optimal levels of human growth hormone. We’re still experimenting in this area, but the possibilities are fascinating!
Our model does predict that it is possible to heal virtually every disease and bodily dysfunction using a technique we call regenerative healing. We have successfully demonstrated this process, but as of this writing have not yet been successful in turning into a technique that is reliable or can be taught.
"Why can't everyone see aura's?"
One can 'see' aura's if one has the 'peak ability' that allows one to do so. Like peak states, peak abilities are blocked by traumas, so that abilities such as this one are rare in the general population. In fact, traumas blocks an incredible number of typical or unusual abilities.
Interestingly, most peak abilities are associated with particular peak states. Unfortunately, even though one may have a relevant peak state, one also usually needs to learn how to use the abilities it confers. It is a bit like being a gifted pianist without ever being shown how to play it, or even realizing that pianos exist.
Techniques that employ relaxation (such as meditation) can sometimes unblock these abilities temporarily, which is the approach most shamans use. Life circumstances can sometimes also allow us to temporarily access these abilities.
"Can you walk on water, and if not is there a peak state that makes that possible?"
There may be a peak state that allows it, but one common misconception is the assumption that just having a peak state means that you will know how to use it effectively. This is not the case. Just because one has fingers doesn't mean that we can automatically play the piano. One must have the right state and know how to use it. Normally, our fetal self learns a lot by watching our mom in utero, and since she wasn’t in a given state, we don’t learn from her how to use it. So, no, we don't know anyone who walks on water.
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Aug 25, 2007: Minor editing.
Aug 20, 2007: Left the questions alone, and revised the answers for clarity or with new data.
Dec 6, 1999: First draft.