Understanding psychic skills and the Shiva Neural System

Thanks are due to Dr. Michael Persinger for his extensive help in developing The Shiva Stimulation System. Persinger’s Endorsement.
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Understanding psychic skills

On this page, we’re not going to ask if psychic skills are ‘real’. We’re going to make the assumption that they are, knowing that there are many who make the opposite assumption. There was a series of experiments, which we look at HERE, that demonstrated the accuracy of some psychic reports, but that’s a little off topic for this page. Now, using the tremendous power that a good assumption confers on those who accept it, we can ask how psychic skills work. In doing so, we go a bit beyond the scope of the studies that inspired the Shiva neural stimulation device.

Although the underlying mechanisms for all such perceptions seem to be very similar, different psychic skills call for different explanations. Remote viewing and telepathy involve perception in spite of spatial distances, while precognition involves seeing things in spite of being distant from us in time.

We’ll look at remote viewing and telepathy here, because that’s where our evidence applies.

The best way to start is to define the words. Telepathy is “… a significant correlation between specific components of the behavior of a stimulus person and of a response person” (Persinger).

Remote viewing is “… awareness of distant objects or places without employing normal senses” (Persinger).

Precognition is “Awareness of events which occur after their perception” (Author).

These aren’t absolute definitions. They’re only working definitions for the sake of this one article. There are many psychics would would offer different definitions, and there are other researchers who have their own way of seeing things. We’ll base our ideas on some of the research publications describing the Shiva System’s predecessor.

The Hypothesis

Persinger and Koren have offered a metaphor where two brains in telepathic communication are compared to two Tesla coils, a special kind of electrical coil. Tesla coils have a unique property. When one Tesla Coil vibrates, another one some distance away, will vibrate at the same frequency, though not with as much force (or amplitude). Tesla coils also emit electricity.  In fact, they can illuminate fluorescent lights held a short distance away.

Another metaphor is sympathetic resonance, which happens when a sound vibrates an object. The most common example is when a singer breaks a glass with their voice. It was discovered when a physicist who also played the clarinet heard a buzzing sound whenever he played a certain note. His name was Helmholtz, who he also invented the ocarina (along with many breakthroughs in acoustics).

He walked around his study, playing the note, listening to find the source of the sound. Eventually, he found that it was coming from the lid of a jar. The size of the gap between the jar and it’s lid matched the frequency of the note. When the note was played, the lid would vibrate.

Tesla coils emit electricity, while Helmholtz’s clarinet put out sound waves. So what does the brain emit?

Magnetic fields accompany all electrical currents, including the ones in the brain. Each electrical pulse that goes down an axon (a connection between neurons) also creates a magnetic pulse. A magnetic field becomes weaker as you get farther from it’s source. It can become so faint it all but vanishes, but it never drops to zero, and they don’t break down, so any information they might contain will be preserved. We broadcast our brain’s activity through it’s magnetic output at all times.  A quiet voice can say the same thing as a loud one.  The ‘signal’ may be faint, but the message is the same.

Interestingly, in a study where couples volunteered to participate, the researchers noticed that the couples who were most connected (“emotionally congruent”) were also the ones who reported the most episodes where they felt they were “reading each others thoughts”. The implication is that telepathy is easier when the people are emotionally connected.  Telepathy is not only a “mental power”, its also an emotional skill, and it relies on having an open heart as much as a receptive mind.

In fact, our brains seem to have an entire magnetic system built into them (link). It consists of the five million magnetite crystals in each gram of brain tissue. They were discovered in 1992, and so far, scientists have yet to agree on their function.  One possibility is that they provide a basis for broadcasting our state of mind to other people, in addition to whatever other functions they may have.

We use the theory of holographic memory to explain how the brain’s jumble of electrical activity, with all of its frequencies, pulses, bursts, ‘trains’ and even bits of random noise can be turned into meaningful information in another brain.  Though not universally accepted among scientists, this theory has acquired acceptance in many fields. It says that our memories rely on holograms. These are information packages in which all the information in the whole system can be found in each of its parts.  Holograms are also a popular art form. You can even buy pendants with holographic pictures embedded in them. If you break a hologram into two pieces, each piece will have the whole picture in it, but in order to see the picture in each piece, you have to hold it at just the right angle.

How hologrqams are made.  Click the image for a closer look.

Holograms are created by splitting a laser beam in two using a special mirror. When this happens, the two laser beams are thrown a little out of phase with one another. One of the lasers is pointed at an object, and the other meets it reflection, so each laser beam sees it slightly differently, making the hologram appear 3D, even though its ‘printed’ on a flat surface, usually a piece of glass. When the two laser beams are combined together again, so that a single image is created, the image is not only three-dimensional, but when it’s broken, each part contain the whole. These days, the technology is so simple that you can even see holograms on magazine covers and cereal boxes. We’ve made is simpler than it really is here.  If you want to understand this better, an Internet search on holography will yield a lot of information.

The holographic theory says that each part of a memory is that each part of a memory includes the whole. Now, let’s suppose that the information content of your brain right now were to be written holographically onto a piece of glass. Then, you take that piece of glass and shatter it. Pick up one of the pieces, even the smallest of them, and all the information in your brain would then somehow be available through that tiny fragment. With a real hologram, you’d have to look at that fragment from exactly the right angle. The smaller the piece, the more precise the viewing angle will be.

The holographic theory of memory says that our memories, and even our experience of conscious awareness, consists of holograms existing in our minds. Each perception, each memory, each thought, each emotion, involves a whole, and cannot really be broken up into its parts. When we see the pattern of neural activation for one of the technologies that creates images of our brains activities (like PET, CAT, EEG, MRI), we are only seeing one of the parts.

When holographs were new, people often couldn’t understand the descriptions. They had to see one. Like the brain, a holograph can store an enormous amount of information in a very small space. In fact, that’s one of the reasons the holographic theory of memory became so popular so quickly.

It also helps us to understand how one person’s brain is able to perceive pictures, words, or emotions in those of other people, some distance away. The holographic theory tells us that each part implies the whole. In order for a psychic to perceive what’s happening with another person, they only need to receive a small amount of information. If one small bit of information in one person’s mind is available to another, a much larger bundle of information can be inferred from it.

Most psychic perceptions are visual, though there are other ‘modes’. Few psychics, and none I’ve ever spoken to, have said that their perceptions appear as spoken words. They almost always appear in non-verbal form. The implication is that the right hemisphere of the brain – where there are no language centers – is where we expect psychic perceptions to arise. To be more specific, the hippocampus on the right is implicated. In experiments with “The Octopus” (the predecessor to and inspiration for Shiva) the right side of the brain responded more than the left.

The Medium of Transmission

The earth’s magnetic field provides a medium for the transmission of information between brains. It’s not just that each brain can broadcast information about itself, it’s that all brains exist in one magnetic field. The earth’s magnetic field has a resonance, a sort of ‘base frequency’. Its called the Schumann resonance, and the most common of them is 7.3 Hz. That frequency is in the theta band, a range of frequencies that also occur in the human brain. Theta activity in the brain associates with the images that appear during twilight sleep, imagination and hypnosis, as well as meditative states, trance, and simple relaxation. According to many teachers of the psychic arts, these states are conducive to psychic perception. Research with the former ‘intelligence agency’ remote viewer Ingo Swann found a pronounced 7 Hz pattern from the right occipital lobe. The frequencies associated with psychic perception overlap those from the earth’s magnetic field, making the geomagnetic field the best candidate for a medium to carry information perceived using psychic skills.

This can explain how information is transmitted between two brains, but not how people can sometimes get information from the future – precognition. For that, we need to indulge in some serious speculation, and to take note that this is where we leave the laboratory studies behind. None of what follows has the backing of lab studies, but there’s nothing wrong with that as long as we don’t pretend it has more certainty than it does.

Magnetic fields are forces – things that “alter or tend to alter” the way matter and/or energy moves (or doesn’t move). Magnetism is a force, like gravity. Forces are not composed of particles (like photons or electrons). According to one physicist “Indeed, it is widely accepted, even if less widely known, that the speed of gravity in Newton’s Universal Law is unconditionally infinite” (1) An experiment done in 2002 (2) found that gravitational fields propagate at 95% the speed of light, but with a large (25%) margin of error. The result is controversial because General Relativity, used to set up the experiment, predicts that gravitational fields move at the speed of light, so critics argue that the experiment’s result was programmed into it. Even if the experiment is valid, it’s margin for error allows the possibility that gravitational fields are propagated faster than light. Almost nothing is known about the speed of magnetic fields. A “Googol search” on the subject found only 20 results, none of them from qualified sources. In contrast, a search for “speed of gravity” got over 73, 000 results, many of them from university physicists. Both magnetism and gravity are forces. Both get weaker as you move away from their source, and at the same rate. They have enough in common that extrapolating the possibility of faster-than-light transmission from one to the other is not unreasonable.

In any case, we’re going to make the assumption that magnetic fields, like gravity, could move at speeds in excess of the speed of light, an assumption (or postulate) which is consistent with contemporary physics.

Now, using the tremendous power that a good assumption confers on those who accept it, we can ask how precognitive perception might be possible.

If the Earth’s magnetic field is a suitable medium for telepathy and remote viewing, then it will also explain how information can get from the future to the present when precognition is accepted as an actual human behavior.

At this point in this discussion, the explanation should be easy to guess. Information embedded in the earth’s magnetic field, moving faster than the speed of light makes the information available in the present. It’s holographic packaging allows large amounts of information to move in very small units. One candidate for the mechanism within the earth’s magnetic field would be a complex magnetic soliton, an individual, ‘standing’ wave.

The information psychics perceive and the psychic’s brain are embedded in the earth’s magnetic field. The information; the holographic representation of events in the future is as available in the present as it would be to a remote viewer working at the time of the future event. Although the experiments with the “octopus” were not concerned with precognition, there was one study that found that geomagnetic activity was the same on days when precognitive predictions were made as it was on the day they were validated (3). Considering that geomagnetic variations account for many of the variations in the results for the studies on telepathy, the assumption that the underlying mechanisms for telepathy and precognition are the same isn’t unreasonable.

Another explanation for precognition appears through Kaluza-Klien theory, which is an area of physics that works with the idea that there are more than four dimensions; the fourth dimension being time. If we suppose that there are multiple dimensions for space, it becomes possible that specific states of consciousness allow access to ‘windows’ in space and time, so that no transmissions have to occur in the normal sense of the word. According to this model, precognition would involve perceiving something in their immediate environment, because time is one of the dimensions we live in. The concept is one that takes us into abstruse physics, well outside the scope of this page.

Becoming Psychic with Shiva

Although the best known metaphor for psychic perception is ‘seeing’, which implies visual perception, there are others. Some psychics have their perceptions appearing through their own thoughts. Others have a sensation appear in their bodies. Other have a simple sense of ‘knowing’ that doesn’t form into clear perceptions but that still allow them to understand the answer to their inquiry.

One issue is that each person needs to find out which kind of psychic perception works best for them, and that can’t happen until they’ve had a psychic perception and seen it validated. They need to learn which part of their inner world, their total subjective experience, is the psychic part.

Many psychics maintain that everyone has the potential to be a psychic, and that everyone has psychic perceptions, but that most people can’t recognize them for what they are.

In laboratory studies a device designed like Shiva was able to elicit psychic perceptions from a majority of the subjects. It’s not known how prone the subjects were, but its possible that some of them had never consciously had a psychic perception in their lives. They weren’t told the purpose of the experiment, so volunteering wasn’t more attractive to psychics than it was to anyone else. Its possible that some of the subjects may have had the first psychic perception of their lives.  They may not have known their thoughts and inner images were psychic, but they were.

Some of the advice I’m about to give is based on personal experience, some of it is based on conversations with psychics, some is from books and some is based on my understanding of the neuroscience on the subject. I’m not going to try to separate all these out for the reader, but it’s important that I make it clear that what follows is my own understanding, and doesn’t reflect the ideas of any specific psychic school or the research group I belong to.

In the martial arts there is a metaphor for the speed with which the ideal swordsman moves to block an opponent’s blow: “As the spark flies from the flint” meaning – simply – instantly. Without any intervening processes or hesitation. The same concept also applies in psychic perception.

Once I was taking to someone about their new apartment, and they were telling me about how it was perfect for them except for one thing. As soon as they said that, I instantly had a mental image of fireworks. I said “Don’t tell me. Let me guess. Fireworks.” Amazed to hear this, they answered that I was right. In their last home they had a small fire pit, and had done private ceremonies in which they took bath salts and threw them into the fire, making small displays of fireworks to punctuate their prayers.

The point to this story is that I had my mental image of fireworks appear instantly – immediately after I heard them speak. I discussed this with a psychic of over 30 years experience, and they answered that that was how it was done. To be ‘open’ to psychic experience, one only has to be able to recognize which of the many thoughts, feelings, images, and sensations is the first to appear in response to something. That one will be the one that has psychic content.

The next thing is to pay attention to what it (the immediate response) was. Was it a visual image? A thought?  A sensation in your body? An emotion, or just a sense of knowing?

It helps to begin with things that are related to you. Questions about your friends, family or lover. The more you relate to a person, the easier it will be to garner information about them psychically, as long as your own emotions aren’t too involved.

Many, if not most psychics go into a trance state before they begin their work. There are exceptions to this. I’ve met a couple of people who just ‘knew’ the answer to any question (or perhaps just ‘had’ an answer to anything), but they had something in common that should have made a difference.  They had been through near-death experiences. Most go into a trance or ‘zone’ of some kind. One explanation for the effects seen in the lab, together with the need for psychics to prepare themselves to do readings, may be that this technology induces the same theta states that psychic trance achieves. Once that state appears, paying attention to something automatically allows information from extra-sensory sources about it to appear.

When that person mentioned that they only wanted one more thing for their home, and I replied ‘fireworks’, I wanted to know what they wanted. That, I think, is also crucial, just “Wanting to know”. When you focus your attention on hearing a sound, or focus your vision to see something far from you, or ask yourself if you need to use the bathroom before you go out, you ‘check in’ with one of your senses. I believe that a similar ‘checking in’ with your psychic perceptions is a part of the process.

Knowing the difference between your perceptions and your response to them is crucial in the development of psychic skills.

Our thoughts and feelings can ‘crowd out’ our perceptions.  One reason some people are psychic and others are not is that the psychics can feel the difference between their thoughts and their responses to the things that trigger them, while other can’t. The succession of thoughts, feeling, sensations that run through our minds is so fast that it’s easy to mistake our thoughts about a perception for the perception itself. Most of us have had the experience of having our actions and words twisted into something they never were. You disagree with someone, and are told that you are ‘making them wrong’. You express an attraction for someone, and are told you’re ‘hitting on them’ (a violent metaphor). You oppose the death penalty, and are told that you want to ‘coddle’ criminals. You believe the findings of science, and are told you have no ‘heart’. You believe in the teachings of a religion, and are told that you want to keep the world in the middle ages.  In the sciences, this is called the “straw man” error (or fallacy).

It takes self-discipline to think of what others say and do without also thinking of what it means to us. It also takes discipline to have a meaningful perception and stop to pay attention to it before the next mental process begins. But it can be done. That interval, and the special state of consciousness in which it happens, may be all that distinguishes psychics from others.

Another possible difference between psychics and others is that 1) psychic information is received via the earth’s magnetic field and that 2) the ability to receive information from the geomagnetic field varies from one person to the next and 3) psychics are the ones at the high end of the scale of sensitivity to geomagnetic changes. They are more able to perceive information the geomagnetic field makes available.

When you use your Shiva System, you can give yourself challenges that make use of whatever psychic skills are available during, but more importantly after your sessions. Think of a friend. Notice the first thing that comes to mind about them. Think of a situation at work. What’s the first thing (your immediate response) that comes to mind about it? After that, call your friend and see what they were doing when you had the ‘flash’ about them. Were they doing what you ‘saw’ them doing? If so, you probably ‘remote viewed’ them. If not, your perception might be your own imagination at work, or it might be a psychic perception in another mode. If you think of someone, and you get a tight feeling in your stomach, perhaps you are ‘getting’ that there is a problem with the person you thought of, or perhaps it’s something else.

No matter how your psychic perceptions manifest, you won’t progress as a psychic unless you put your psychic skills on the line by testing them. If you ‘remote view’ a friend and see them doing something, check it out. Call them and ask them what they’re doing. Find out if you’re right or not. If you think of someone you know and get a bad feeling, check them out. Find out if they’re having a crisis of some kind. If you see dark patches on a person, as some “medical psychics” do, ask about their health. If you awake from a dream with the word “Zambia” on your lips, go online, and see if there’s any news from there.  In many cases, there won’t be.

No matter what your consciousness puts in front of you, look into it as much as you can. If you have perceptions that you can’t check out, ignore them. Following up on your perceptions is a part of the process, and it works out better to develop skills that can be verified before moving into psychic work like “past life reading” or “intuitive Chakra Viewing”. I’m not saying that there are no such things, only that they don’t offer good training grounds for learning psychic skills because you can’t ‘prove’ claims about past lives and chakras.  You can prove it – to yourself – by fact checking your perceptions.  Wanting to prove to others that psychic perceptions are real is one of the biggest distractions from developing psychic perceptions.  If you want to prove that you are psychic, then your desire to be respected or even just recognized as a psychic puts up another layer of mental fog between you and your perceptions.  If you want to try to prove it to the world, then you have to learn scientific method well enough to understand its rigorous standards of proof, and that probably isn’t what you had in mind when you became interested in exploring your potential as a psychic.  Part of being psychic is responding to your own thoughts and feelings, and those can’t be ‘displayed’ for others to check.  Learning how to notice your psychic perceptions will give you the proof you need to keep on learning.

Maximizing Your Chances

One good way to begin learning psychic skills is to pretend you have them. If you go to a Catholic priest and tell them that you can’t believe in God, but that you feel an urge to join his church, one of the things he’s likely to tell you (following St. Augustine) that you should begin by pretending there’s a God, and let your faith unfold through your pretension.

Something similar can help you develop your psychic skills. Not that they can be pretended into existence, or that some people who claim to be psychic are just pretending, but something else. When you pretend you’re psychic, it becomes very much harder to sabotage your own efforts through with your own skepticism.

One piece of advice is that when you feel it’s being productive, disconnect from your psychic work before you reach the point where your mind ‘fatigues’. Although no one knows why this is so, we can make a guess. It comes from the fact that psychic perceptions rely on altered states of consciousness, and with them, specific patterns of brain activity. Stopping psychic activity when it’s at it peak means that ending the period of psychic work involves ‘coming down’ suddenly and dramatically. The result will be a sudden withdrawal of activity from specific areas in the brain. The ‘brain fatigue’ that appears as psychic perceptions taper off also lowers their accuracy. Stopping when you feel the most clarity, when images come most strongly will mean that you come to see that state of clarity as the goal, so that you reinforce yourself as you learn to get there.  This technique trains the brain to enter and exit the states more quickly and accurately.

While it’s not true that you “gotta believe”, its certainly true that you can’t disbelieve. At least, not while you’re doing a Shiva session, or exercising your skills between your sessions. Keep your skepticism as intellectual as possible, and your feelings as emotional as you can. When you’re doing one, don’t do the other. “Let not the right hand know what the left hand is doing”.

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It’s also worth looking at some other ways you can maximize your chances.

One is pretty simple. Don’t look for psychic perceptions when you’re in a bad mood. Not only can your mood make psychic work more difficult, but if you succeed, you may find you become specialized for negative ‘readings’, and nobody likes a psychic whose skills are confined to warnings and danger signals. This is also a good reason to heal yourself of any psychiatric disorders you have before you begin with Shiva. If the pathways in your brain responsible for psychic perceptions are linked to those that support a disorder, you may find your skills dominated by its phenomena.

One of the best things you can do is to make sure that you do your sessions on days when the geomagnetic levels are either very quiet or ‘unsettled’, depending on your goals. There have been many studies that show that heightened geomagnetic activity inhibits psychic perceptions. These studies used the octopus as well as similar technologies. Geomagnetic quiet provides a far more conducive environment.

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During geomagnetic storm, the times when it’s most active, there is a lot of extra information, most of it meaningless. This ‘garbage’ information is embedded in the geomagnetic field along with the meaningful information – the ‘stuff’ a psychic is looking for. On days of geomagnetic quiet, “the signal-to-noise ratio” favors psychic work. During geomagnetic storm, the ‘signal’ – the information one is seeking – is easier to lose in the ‘noise’ of a magnetic storm.

All the psychics I’ve talked to about it say they have days when they’re ‘on’ and days when they’re ‘off’. So far there have been no studies investigating to see if these days line up with days when the earth’s magnetic field is at rest, but it would be worth doing. Even the professionals find that “sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn’t”.

Looking at only ‘quiet’ times, one stands out. Immediately after a geomagnetic storm (4, 5). What seems to happen is that the brain somehow adapts to the geomagnetic noise, creating a sort of ‘inner quiet’. When the storm is over, the brain stops it, but slowly enough that there is an interval when both the inner and outer quiet combine to create especially favorable conditions. Interestingly, this effect didn’t occur when researchers looked at precognitive perception, only telepathy. However, this only applies to psychic perceptions during sessions. The experiment didn’t look at the psychic perceptions between sessions, the most important time for developing psychic skills, but also a time when the phenomenon is harder to study.

For psychic training, unsettled times – when the K index is at 4, appears to be the best time for sessions. The time for psychic training and exercises follows from three to five days after the session, when initial effects usually fall off. This is an unpublished result from the same researchers who developed the Octopus.

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(1) Van Flandern, Tom “The Speed of Gravity: What the Experiments Say” Physics Letters A 250:1-11 (1998)
(2) Muir Hazel “First speed of gravity measurement revealed” New Scientist 20:30 07 January 2003
3) Lewicki, D.R., Schaut, G.H., & Persinger, M.A. Geophysical variables and behavior: XLIV. Days of subjective precognitive experiences and the days before the actual events display correlated geomagnetic activity. Perceptual and Motor
Skills, 1987, 65, 173-174
4) Makarec, K., & Persinger, M.A. Geophysical variables and behavior: XLII “Negative correlation between accuracy of card-guessing and geomagnetic activity: A case study. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1987, 65, 105-106
5) Persinger, M.A. Geophysical variables and behavior: LXXI. Differential contribution of geomagnetic activity to paranormal experiences concerning death and crisis: An alternative to the ESP hypothesis. Perceptual and Motor Skills,  1993, 76, 555-562
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