Ibogaine And Shamanic Renewal

Holy-wood (Tabernanthe iboga)
People of the equatorial regions of Africa have used the iboga plant as an herb of initiation and as a rite of passage and for millennia. Ibogaine generates period of lucid vivid dream-state that coincides with extensive rewiring and resetting of the opioid nervous system. Deborah C. Mash of the University of Miami School of Medicine is finding it "extremely effective" in blocking withdrawal from opiates; she says it is a very gentle detox. Not only is ibogaine an effective addiction interrupter for most substances, including heroin, methadone, methamphetamine, cocaine, alcohol, and nicotine, but it also can be used to transcend the compulsive, habitual levels of consciousness in which all addiction is manifest. It is also ideally suited for use by those from traumatic origins and PTSD in general as a means of liberation from the past. The dream-like "visions" don't cause any LSD-like euphoria that would tempt the repeated use of the drug. They say the experience is exhausting for you're up for about 36 hours in peak visual activity.

Carl Anderson and colleagues at Harvard Medical School and the Brain Imaging Center at McLean Hospital have been studying a critically important region of the brain called the cerebellar vermis. The cerebellar vermis, lies at the midline region of the cerebellum lobe...at the back of the head. It is involved in enabling us to walk upright, giving us the ability to regulate our breathing independent of motion--thereby permitting language and laughter. The cerebellum and vermis process sensory inputs to influence cortical excitability and enhance motor learning and execution. Carl Anderson thinks the vermis and cerebellum are central to all methods of healing and the effects of all drugs. He says the vermis could very well be connected with kundalini energy, as acupuncture and also yoga may have strong effects on this region. 

Neuroimaging studies point to the vermis being involved many neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders, from drug abuse, childhood abuse, addiction, attention deficit disorder, Parkinson's disease and possibly mercury poisoning. . Research suggests that early abuse/deprivation maybe associated with a functional deficit in limbic-vermis networks and could help set the stage for) later substance abuse. The vermis appears to connect many apparently unconnected psychiatric disorders and also appears to play a role in the development of epilepsy or limbic seizures. Studies found that electrical stimulation of the vermis suppresses the spread of epileptic seizures by quelling excitability within the limbic system.

Blood flow follows consciousness/nerve flow and nerve-flow/consciousness follows blood. Abnormal neuronal activity and blood flow in the vermis of those that have endured childhood sexual abuse or neglect, is no doubt one of the factors involved in their reduced emotional affect stability, dissociation, increased hypervigilance and lack of mind-body coordination, because of the reduced regulation from a deficient vermis.

One of the factors leading to this dysfunction is the excess levels of corticosteroids during early stress which negatively impacts the development of the cerbellar vermis. This in turn may increase the risk of substance abuse later in life. Reduced enrichment and development of the vermis through early trauma may increase the propensity for kundalini awakenings, due to lack of "braking" on the limbic system. Studies by Carl Anderson and associates show that early stress and maltreatment may interfere with the development of the vermis of the cerebellum, and produce neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with the later development of substance abuse. In a paper at remfractal.mclean.org/integrative_role_cog_emotion.pdf Carl says that drug addiction is highly associated with early child abuse, ADHD and bipolar disorder--conditions that correlate strongly with vermis pathology.

The drug Ibogaine is derived from the root of the African Tabernanthe iboga tree, has been found useful in treating drug addiction. Ibogaine strongly activates the climbing fiber projections to the vermis which is a strong influence on the Purkinje cells, the major output neuron of the vermis. The loss of the ability to coordinate muscular movement (Ataxia) and nausea develops first, followed then by auditory and visual hallucinations which occur in rapid succession like a movie running at high speed, then when the effects of this drug subside the subject can sometimes sleep for 24 hours and awaken with complete remission from their addiction. Ibogaine is hypothesized to break the habitual cognitive-emotional patterns of drug addiction by resetting the vermis networks and restoring a more normal pre-abuse neural organization. For those who have had rocky beginnings in life and who are kundalini active and having a difficult time of it, treatment with Ibogaine may be a viable method of resetting the brain. (Please do not try this at home, I mention it here purely as a suggestion for further research in the area.)

This excerpt from an article by Carl Anderson is from one of the most fascinating pieces of writing on psychiatry on the web. It reminds me of Michael Persinger's work on personality and functional differences between the two sides of the brain at www.innerworlds.50megs.com

Ibogaine Therapy in Chemical Dependency and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Hypothesis Involving the Fractal Nature of Fetal REM Sleep and Interhemispheric Reintegration.

"Based on his clinical experience and the seminal work of Roger Sperry, Dr. Schiffer has proposed, that we all have, in fact, two minds or personalities, one in each hemisphere. Using a new therapeutic technique called lateral visual field stimulation (LVFS), he has observed clinically a dramatic manifestation of disparate dual personalities in subjects who have suffered from abuse or PTSD during their lives. In effect, Dr. Schiffer proposes that our two hemispheres are like joined minds, mental Siamese twins, who learn in early life to function harmoniously sharing their unique specializations. This harmony is fragmented by abuse or trauma, which unbalances the twins and leads to a unending pathological struggles of dominance resulting in a wide range of personality disorders. For example, one twin, the right in many cases retains the abuse memory and as a result is less mature, and will take control in times of stress or anger, sabotaging the good efforts of the more mature side. This replaces the Freudian concept of the unconscious with Sperry's findings of two minds. Interhemispheric struggles, primary a result of child abuse, may be the fundamental psychological root of drug addiction...Ibogaine, possibly in combination with hemispheric reintegration techniques, may potentially free the minds of many individuals (addicts, rape victims, violent criminals, victims of child abuse, war or natural disasters) suffering from the debilitating emotional disregulation resulting from hemispheric disharmony...In the hypothesis I proposed that ibogaine works through multiple neurotransmitter systems to create within amygdaloid-brainstem systems a self-organized critical oneiric state or state of plasticity, similar to states of plasticity existing during fetal development. This critical brain state may facilitate the consolidation of traumatic memories, reversal of abnormal hemispheric functional and the dissolution of habitual motor patterns associated with addiction." C.M. Anderson, PhD

Since morphine stopped Christina Grof's kundalini during the birthing of a child, there is a possibility that Ibogaine might also be used as a method to quickly halt kundalini. I am not sure about the mechanism of Ibogaine...but if it manages to allow people to overcome their opiate addictions then it must severely interact with the endorphin/opiate/anandamide mechanisms in the body. I think that for sure the initial blast of combining Ibogaine with kundalini would be a radical amplification of symptoms, but I suspect that such an interference with the normal firing patterns of both kindling, seizures and kundalini might actually lead to a cessation of the tenacity of the kindling pattern to re-establish itself and continue.

Ibogaine might offer an adequate perturbation of synchronous firing and return the brain to normal, by changing the rhythm of the brains firing patterns. Especially if it somehow can remove deficient wiring from the PTSD of childhood trauma. In fact theraputic use of ibogaine might actually be seen as an alternative method of radical brain reconstruction in order to avoid extended periods of negative kundalini effects. Ibogaine might be useful for people seriously wanting to stop kundalini and not willing to ride it out and adapt to it...such as the mentally/emotionally unstable or those in unsupportive environments. Thus Ibogaine should be one of the things researched as potential method of stopping kundalini. Of course there are slower and perhaps more tried and true methods to reduce kundalini with diet and supplements.

Those who are addicted to drugs or substances are both looking for the sacred and seeking relief from their pain, because the abused child in a dysfunctional family holds such incredible pain within their nervous system. We often turn to addiction to cope, rather than find healthy ways to perturb repressive anaesthetizing mechanisms and unleash this pain in order for the nervous system to mature.

A kundalini awakening will do the work of rewiring and offer the traumatized and armored some relief from their condition. However I would say rarely would any highly addicted person be strong enough for kundalini, nor informed and wise enough to navigate its course. Thus substances like Ibogaine and other entheogens and the shamanistic path in general could one of the best "Ways" of rehabilitation for the long suffering and addicted. First build up the tribal brain to reintegrate the individual back into a community sense, perhaps for the first time, this reduces the isolationism that drives the individual to seek drug relief in the first place. Once the tribal brain has been reformed, then the individual's soul-contribution or god given gift needs to be discovered and developed. When this is done and stabilized, the chances of regression are slim if treatment is carried out in a comprehensive fashion--such as in community with a guide and assistance to establish new skills, resources and life-patterns.

Recovery is not a mere matter of detoxification. The successful emergence from the clutches of addiction requires a death and rebirth in order for the wiring to be so altered that the individual is simply above gravitating to self-destructive means of self-regulation. Kundalini is the alchemical force of death and rebirth...it is the force of Spirit itself in the body. Although kundalini does follow normal neuro-detoxification patterns that affect us all whether we know it or not, it is far more than mere detoxification, it is the process of death and resurrection. It is one of the few ways in which there is enough death of the "old," to make way for significant "new," in order to make large advances in spiritual evolution in one lifetime. There is simply no significant maturation possible without the transformative process of death and rebirth. Thus death and rebirth must be the pivotal principle in any deep understanding of kundalini. It must also be the pivotal principle in any program that seeks to help the addicted emerge from the clutches of their affliction.

Like Ibogaine, Ayahuasca might be beneficial in addiction recovery, especially when used in a ritual context such as the Santo Daime religion in Brazil. I was talking to a guy who belongs to a Santo Daime group in Ireland, and he said that when you have a group of "old timers" they hold the group together and facilitate the experience of participants so that it is most "evolutionary" and productive. Thus the drug is used in a transpersonal sense for the evolution of the individuals. Without the ritual-binding and conscious presence of the old timers, both organization and progress breakdown, and participants have a "harder" time with the drug. Careful use of drugs like Ibogaine and Ayahuasca might be another cathartic method for exorcising chronic pathological kundalini symptoms and bringing the "restructuring work" to a faster close. But this will only be of positive advantage in the context of social enrichment, occupational and physical rehabilitation.

One night after Carl Anderson got me focused on the cerebellum I didn't sleep till 4am, and for the first few hours of trying to get to sleep I was negatively ruminating. I touched the back of my head as I often do bodywork on myself in bed, and I noticed that the area of the "right cerebellum" was sore like it was bruised...however hours later when I was no longer negatively ruminating the soreness left. This is fascinating that the brain activity occurring inside the skull can impact the surface of the skin such that one can feel pain there. Of course I have noticed my scalp becoming sore from brain activity before, but never so succinctly tied it into specific mind processes and specific area. So the cerebellum is involved in negative rumination eh, key to motive and motivation. Rather than stimulating higher action of course it just gives us a headache. No doubt passionate, unconscious, reactive, defensive and aggressive responses are sourced from this area. This just shows you that compassion is its own reward, in that we are the first ones to benefit from our own good mental states. Of course any degree of deep breathing would have prevented a gloomy mood in the first place.

If you want others to be happy, practice happiness. If you want to be happy, practice happiness.

Check out Carl Andersons other papers on the web regarding: ibogaine-vermis, vermis-cocaine, vermis-child abuse, vermis-fractals-emotion-meditation, vermis-breathing-SIDS-smoking, vermis-healing-accuputure. Find more information on ibogaine at www.ibogaine.org  
www.becomewhole.co.uk/media.html  —David Graham Scott's video Detox or Die, on using ibogaine to detox from heroine
www.ibogaine.org/gallery.html  —Artwork inspired by ibogaine.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJ3rL57pGD0  —Ibogaine treatment interview
www.awakeninginthedream.com/ —Ibogaine clinic in Mexico
www.ibogatherapyhouse.net/cms/ —Addiction treatment center in Canada using ibogaine.

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