The action of subliminal memory

The sultry weather, the pungent aromas, the pensive faces, the distant inaudible music — we may not remember everything we experience during the day, but unknown to us, these things are accurately recorded in our consciousness.  Writing in the early twentieth century, Sri Aurobindo said that “there is a subliminal memory which can hold all things, even those which the mind cannot understand, e.g. if you hear somebody talking Hebrew, the subliminal memory can hold that and bring it up accurately in some abnormal state, e.g. the hypnotic. Exact images are retained by the subliminal memory.  All that is subliminal is conventionally assumed by mainstream psychology to be the subconscious, which is not possible because the consciousness that holds exact memories is far wider and fuller than our waking or surface consciousness, and so cannot be called subconscient.”[1].   Modern psychology uses the term eidetic memory or photographic memory to refer to such precision memory recall skills.   This article covers a few examples of this action of the subliminal memory.

The difficulty with subliminal memory is our inability to bring it forth accurately. It often requires an abnormal transition into other zones of our consciousness in order to recall it precisely.  Where does this subliminal memory reside?  As explained elsewhere (see:Constitution), Yoga psychology asserts that man is not just a physical body but five sheaths of increasing gradations of consciousness; it is in the inner mental sheath that this subliminal memory resides.   There is no such thing as unconsciousness but merely a transfer of consciousness into other zones of our totality.  As we shall see below, it is through transitions into deeper zones through sleep, coma, hynotism, etc that we are able to access the inner sheaths and recall the things we unknowingly recorded.

Croatian girl learns German in a coma

Our first example is a recent news item of a Croatian girl who woke up after a 24 hour coma and began speaking fluent German, a subject which she had been struggling to to master.

Croatian doctors are baffled after a teenage girl who fell into a mysterious coma woke up speaking fluent German.  The parents of the 13-year-old from the southern town of Knin said their daughter had only just started studying German at school and had been trying to read German books and watch German television  –  but had never been that good in German.  But since waking up the teenager has been unable to speak Croatian and even refused it, but communicates only in perfect German far superior to her mastery of the language she had when she was taken ill. [2, 3]

This is a good example of the action of subliminal memory Sri Aurobindo that described above, which can be accessed in abnormal states of consciousness.  In the state of coma, the Croatian girl became unconscious of the outer  physical  worlds but was perfectly conscious in her subtle body where she was able to access and organize her knowledge of German.   Once she woke up, she was able to surprise everyone with her newly-gained knowledge.

Edgar Cayce: memorizing textbooks with a nap

Another example of subliminal memory can be taken from the life of the noted American psychic Edgar Cayce(1877-1945), who in his childhood spontaneously developed the ability to memorize the contents of school textbooks.  His method was to read the textbook and take a short nap, after which he would wake up and recall minute details of the contents of the book.   This is an excerpt from the book The Lost Memoirs of Edgar Cayce.

I studied, or thought I did, and was very sure I knew the lesson well, but when I handed him the book my mind became a perfect blank-I had forgotten everything. During those two or three hours I received many a buff and rebuff for my stupidity, as I labored heavily over that spelling lesson. As you remember, I hadn’t slept much the night before, and the fatigue of a growing boy had begun to tell, so around eleven 0’clock I began to fall asleep. Several times I picked myself up off of the floor where I had been slapped for going to sleep. Finally, I suggested, “If you will let me sleep five minutes, I can learn this lesson,” for something had spoken within, “Rely on the promise.” My father told me to go to sleep. When the five minutes were up I handed him the book, for I knew that I knew the lesson. Not only was I able to spell all the words in the lesson, but any word in that particular book; not only spell them, but tell on what page and what line each word could be found and how it was marked. As many of the pupils said later, “Cayce knows every mark in that book, unless somebody has made one since it was printed.”  From that day on I had little trouble in school, for I would read my lesson, sleep on it a few seconds, and then be able to repeat every word of it.

To be sure, the next day I was as much a curiosity to my teachers and schoolmates as I had been in the days before, and the peculiar thing about it was that I knew all my lessons as well. I only had to lose consciousness, even in school, to retain whatever I had read in the book. I often felt that Miss Cox, my teacher at the time, must have had a greater insight into what was taking place than anyone ever credited her with having. From then to the end of school I advanced rapidly. I was accused of memorizing all my lessons; but I only read them, slept on them, and they appeared before my eyes as I recited. What this was I did not know. It was a wonder to my parents, my classmates, and my teachers; yet I did not attempt to reason why this had happened, and to this day I do not know how to reason it, for my present position is a combination of many experiences, varying in their way and manner of presentation, seemingly necessary for the evolution of my mind. [4]

Edgar Cayce in his sleep had transferred his consciousness into the subtle body where he was able to organize the subliminal memory and  carry an accurate imprint of it back into the waking consciousness.

Modern psychology: sleep enhances memory

Edgar Cayce’s uncanny ability to memorize the contents of books through sleep has now received experimental confirmation from modern psychology.  In the past decade, psychologists have experimentally discovered that sleep is one of the best aids for memory.  In a recent study, Erin Wamsley et al [5, 6, 7] from Harvard Medical School, noted the following:

She asked 99 volunteers to learn the layout of a complex virtual maze so that they could reach a specific landmark after being dropped at a random starting point. Five hours later, they were tested again. Those who had stayed awake in the intervening time beat their previous times by 26 seconds, but those who had had a 90-minute nap improved by a whopping 188 seconds. But those who dreamt about the task fared even better. Wamsley either asked her recruits directly about whether they dreamt about the labyrinth, or asked them to give an open-ended report of everything that was going through their mind while they were asleep. Either way, those who had thought about the maze during their short nap improved far more than those who didn’t. They also beat those who mentally replayed their training again while awake. These striking results suggest that there’s something special about the mental rehearsals that happen during dreaming sleep. [5]

Modern psychology offers its own explanation for this phenomena based on neural signal strengths in the brain.  Yoga psychology offers a different explanation based on the subtle (astral) body and the action of subliminal memory as already outlined above.  Hopefully, someday the differences will be resolved!

Stephen Wiltshire : autism and memory recall

Another example of subliminal memory can be taken from the life of Stephen Wiltshire who was diagnosed with autism at the age of three.  His lack  of social skills are more than compensated by the extraordinary ability of drawing life-like, accurate representations of cities.  All he needs is a helicopter ride over the city during which the details get imprinted into his consciousness after which he is able to sketch an amazingly precise panoramic view of the landscape.   I have embedded a video of him drawing Rome from memory.  The picture seen below is his rendering of New York City.

His website is http://www.stephenwiltshire.co.uk/.

Aerial view of Financial District, NY

See Also

  1. Similarity between Neurological and Yogic models of human memory
  2. People claimed to possess an eidetic memory
  3. Kim Peek.  The movie Rain Man was based on his extraordinary abilities

References

  1. Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga – I: Planes and Parts of the Being – XII
  2. Croatian teenager wakes up from a coma speaking fluent German.  Daily Mail, April 13, 2010.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1265433/Croatian-teenager-wakes-coma-speaking-fluent-German.html#ixzz0llS4pDYX (accessed April 23 2010)
  3. Croatian teenager wakes from coma speaking fluent German.  Daily Telegraph, April 12, 2010 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/croatia/7583971/Croatian-teenager-wakes-from-coma-speaking-fluent-German.html (accessed April 23 2010)
  4. Edgar Cayce and Robert Smith.  The Lost Memoirs of Edgar Cayce (Are Pr 1997), p 18 (google book link) (amazon)
  5. Ed Yong.  To sleep, perchance to dream, perchance to remember.  Discover Magazine blog – Not Exactly Rocket Science,  April 22 2010. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/04/22/1444/
  6. Katherine Harmon. To sleep, perchance to dream – and learn.  Scientific American – Observations blog, April 22 2010 http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=to-sleep-perchance-to-dream–and-le-2010-04-22
  7. Erin Wamsley et al.  Dreaming of a Learning Task Is Associated with Enhanced Sleep-Dependent Memory Consolidation.  Current Biology April 2010.  DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2010.03.027

28 thoughts on “The action of subliminal memory

  1. Don Salmon

    Hi Sandeep:

    Extremely interesting post, as usual. Have you seen the book, “Irreducible Mind”? There’s an interesting chapter on memory (a bit heavy on the cognitive science side but very well written). You also may want to check out Daniel Tarrant (sp?). We mentioned him in the yoga psychology book – he studies idiot savants with phenomenal memories.

    Also, I can’t remember if I sent you the link to our latest video – a rather simple “Keynote’ (Mac Power Point) presentation. Hope you enjoy it:

    Reply
    1. stumblingmystic

      I can vouch for that memory chapter in Irreducible Mind being a fantastic philosophical critique of the Western reductionistic understanding of memory!

      Reply
    2. Sandeep Post author

      “Irreducible Mind” describes the work of American psychologist F. W. H. Myers, who is credited with inventing the term “subliminal” in Western psychology to denote larger consciousness which exists beneath the surface consciousness. Myers did not want to use the word supernatural. Writing in the 1890s in his book “Human Personality”, he says:

      There exists a more comprehensive consciousness, a profounder faculty, which for the most part remains potential only so far as regards the life of earth, but from which the consciousness and the faculty of earth-life are mere selections, and which reasserts itself in its plenitude after the liberating change of death….The word subliminal, meaning ” beneath that threshold,” has already been used to define those sensations which are too feeble to be individually recognised. I propose to extend the meaning of the term, so as to make it cover all that takes place beneath the ordinary threshold, or say, if preferred, outside the ordinary margin of consciousness (Human Personality, vol. 1, pp. 12, 15)

      Sri Aurobindo’s interpretation of the term ‘subliminal’ is derived from the Upanishads, if we go by this footnote in the Life Divine:

      “Yajnavalkya in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad states very positively that there are two planes or states of the being which are two worlds, and that in the dream state one can see both worlds, for the dream state is intermediate between them, it is their joining-plane. This makes it clear that he is speaking of a subliminal condition of the consciousness which can carry in it communications between the physical and the supraphysical worlds. The description of the dreamless sleep state applies both to deep sleep and to the condition of trance in which one enters into a massed consciousness containing in it all the powers of being but all compressed within itself and concentrated solely on itself and, when active, then active in a consciousness where all is the self; this is, clearly, a state admitting us into the higher planes of the spirit normally now superconscient to our waking being. ”

      Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine – I: Reality and the Cosmic Illusion

      Sri Aurobindo defined subliminal as intermediate region between the superconscious and subconscious realms

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  5. Sandeep Post author

    There are people who remember every day of their lives !

    Understanding the gift of endless memory
    Enter Dr. James McGaugh, a professor of neurobiology at the University of California Irvine, and a renowned expert on memory. Dr. McGaugh is the first to discover and study superior autobiographical memory, and he is quizzing Owen – his fifth subject – to find out.

    “Let’s move back in time now to 1990. It rained on several days in January and February, can you name the dates on which it rained?” McGaugh asked.

    Believe it or not, she could.

    “Let’s see. It was slightly rainy and cloudy on January 14th, 15th. It was very hot the weekend of the 27th, 28th, no rain,” she replied.

    We checked the official weather records and she was right. McGaugh says this type of memory is completely new to science. So he and his colleagues have had to devise their own tests, like one on public events.

    When asked what happened on Oct. 19, 1987, Owen said, “It was a Monday. That was the day of the big stock market crash, and the cellist Jacqueline du Pre died that day.”

    When asked on what day the Berlin Wall fell, Owen said, “November 9th, 1989, which was a Thursday.”

    She also correctly named the dates when Christopher Reeve had his riding accident (May 27, 1995), and the date of the 1999 Oscars (March 21).

    “These people remember things that you and I couldn’t possibly remember,” McGaugh told Stahl

    Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/06/19/60minutes/main20071071.shtml

    The video on CBS news
    Part 1

    Part 2

    Reply
  6. Sandeep Post author

    Interesting article in the July 2011 issue of the Scientific American Mind on Kim Peek, the mega-savant with an impressive memory capacity. It seems he had no corpus callosum – the bundle of fibers which facilitates communication between the right and left cerebral hemispheres.

    Physicians who examined Peek discovered that he had damage to the cerebellum, a brain region that regulates attention and language, as well as emotional reactions, such as pleasure and fear.

    Perhaps most notably, physicians found that Peek had no corpus callosum, the bundle of nerves that connects the brain’s right and left hemispheres. They speculated that the absence of this critical structure allowed Peek’s neurons to make new and unusual connections between his right and left hemispheres. These novel connections most likely explain his abnormal memory capacity.

    According to Peek’s father, Peek could memorize every word in the books they read before he was two years old. Peek progressed to reading two pages simultaneously. Although how he did so remains a mystery, some have theorized he read the left page of a book with his left eye and the right page with his right eye.

    Peek could soak up material in any subject and became an expert in history, sports trivia, geography and music. He mem­orized zip codes, area codes and phone books. He could tell if a musician was “off” by a few notes in an orchestra setting—and would even call them on it.

    Excerpted from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-did-the-absence-of-the-corpus. For the entire article, see the print issue.

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  9. Sandeep Post author

    While discussing subliminal memory, Sri Aurobindo cryptically alludes to an undefined case of an illiterate servant girl who recites Hebrew:

    There is a much vaster and more potent subconscious mind which loses nothing of what the senses bring to it; it keeps all its wealth in an inexhaustible store of memory, akṣtam śravaḥ. The surface mind may pay no attention, still the sub-conscious mind attends, receives, treasures up with an infallible accuracy. The illiterate servant-girl hears daily her master reciting Hebrew in his study; the surface mind pays no attention to the unintelligible gibberish, but the subconscious mind hears, remembers and, when in an abnormal condition it comes up to the surface, reproduces those learned recitations with a portentous accuracy which the most correct and retentive scholar might envy.

    Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads: Commentary – IX

    He has also referred to this girl while discussing memory in the following conversation with disciples.

    Sri Aurobindo: There is the recorded instance of the servant girl of a famous French scholar of Hebrew. She used to hear, while at work, her master repeating the Bible in Hebrew. To her it was meaningless gibberish. Then when she was in an abnormal condition she repeated her master’s speech exactly, with the same accents and without a mistake. And evidently she knew nothing of the language – that is, the mind did not understand anything of it. But all the time it was there recorded in the subconscious being. Even the soles of our feet have got a memory of their own.
    (Purani Evening Talks, Second Series, p 235)

    Who is this mysterious servant-girl ? Thanks to the Internet, I was able to trace the origin of this story to Samuel Taylor Coleridge‘s 1884 book Biographia Literaria . This is the complete story from that book:

    “A case of this kind occurred in a Catholic town in Germany, a year or two before my arrival at Gottingen, and had not then ceased to be a frequent subject of conversation. A young woman of four or five and twenty, who could neither read nor write, was seized with a nervous fever; during which, according to the asseverations of all the priests and monks of the neighbourhood, she became possessed, and, as it appeared, by a very learned devil.

    She continued incessantly talking Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, in very pompous tones and with most distinct enunciation. This possession was rendered more probable by the known fact, that she was or had been a heretic. Voltaire humorously advises the devil to decline all acquaintance with medical men; and it would have been more to his reputation, if he had taken this advice in the present instance. The case had attracted the particular attention of a young physician, and by his statement many eminent physiologists and psychologists visited the town, and cross-examined the case on the spot. Sheets full of her raving were taken down from her own mouth, and were found to consist of sentences, coherent and intelligible each for itself, but with little or no connection with each other. Of the Hebrew, a small portion only could be traced to the Bible; the remainder seemed to be in the Rabbinical dialect. All trick or conspiracy was out of the question. Not only had the young woman ever been a harmless, simple creature; but she was evidently labouring under a nervous fever. In the town, in which she had been resident for many years as a servant in different families, no solution presented itself. The young physician, however, determined to trace her past life step by step; for the patient herself was incapable of returning a rational answer. He at length succeeded in discovering the place where her parents had lived: travelled thither, found them dead, but an uncle surviving; and from him learnt that the patient had been charitably taken by an old protestant pastor at nine years old, and had remained with him some years, even till the old man’s death. Of this pastor the uncle knew nothing, but that he was a very good man. With great difficulty, and after much search, our young medical philosopher discovered a niece of the pastor’s, who had lived with him as his housekeeper, and had inherited his effects. She remembered the girl; related that her venerable uncle had been too indulgent, and could not bear to hear the girl scolded; that she was willing to have kept her, but that after her patron’s death, the girl herself refused to stay.

    Anxious inquiries were then, of course, made concerning the pastor’s habits; and the solution of the phenomenon was soon obtained. For it appeared that it had been the old man’s custom, for years, to walk up and down a passage of his house into which the kitchen door opened, and to read to himself with a loud voice, out of his favourite books. A considerable number of these were still in the niece’s possession. She added, that he was a very learned man and a great Hebraist. Among the books were found a collection of Rabbinical writings, together with several of the Greek and Latin Fathers; and the physician succeeded in identifying so many passages with those taken down at the young woman’s bedside, that no doubt could remain in any rational mind concerning the true origin of the impressions made on her nervous system.

    This authenticated case furnishes both proof and instance, that reliques of sensation may exist for an indefinite time in a latent state, in the very same order in which they were originally impressed; and as we cannot rationally suppose the feverish state of the brain to act in any other way than as a stimulus, this fact (and it would not be difficult to adduce several of the same kind) contributes to make it even probable, that all thoughts are in themselves imperishable; and, that if the intelligent faculty should be rendered more comprehensive, it would require only a different and apportioned organization, the body celestial instead of the body terrestrial, to bring before every human soul the collective experience of its whole past existence. And this, this, perchance, is the dread book of judgment, in whose mysterious hieroglyphics every idle word is recorded! Yea, in the very nature of a living spirit, it may be more possible that heaven and earth should pass away, than that a single act, a single thought, should be loosened or lost from that living chain of causes, to all whose links, conscious or unconscious, the free-will, our only absolute Self, is co-extensive and co-present.”

    (Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria, chapter VI, pp 54-56, London: George Bell and Sons 1884)

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  11. mike

    Cayce was an interesting example. l think he claimed his information was coming from the akashic records, which is usually described as some vast library on the subtle planes. I wonder how the Akashic Records would fit in with the ‘Subliminal Consciousness’. Are they the same thing in essence?
    Would the ‘Subliminal’ also contain all the information from our previous lives, as well, like the Psychic Being is supposed to?

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      I recall reading Cayce went through some initial confusion because, as an avid Bible reader, he did not believe in reincarnation although his own psychic readings seemed to suggest that people reincarnate.

      Mike: I wonder how the Akashic Records would fit in with the ‘Subliminal Consciousness’

      Akasha means ether generally speaking. In the Record of Yoga(page 956), Sri Aurobindo mentions seven kinds of Akashas : chhaya, dhuma, tejas, jyoti, varna, agni and prakasha. He used to receive images from any of these Akashas, which suggests there may be a gradation of such ethers.

      Mike: Would the ‘Subliminal’ also contain all the information from our previous lives, as well, like the Psychic Being is supposed to?

      The subliminal might contain a terrestrial memory of earth-events rather than memory of individual lives. The Mother discusses this:

      “The capacity for visions, when it is sincere and spontaneous, can put you in touch with events which you are not capable of knowing in your outer consciousness…There is a very interesting fact, it is that somewhere in the terrestrial mind, somewhere in the terrestrial vital, somewhere in the subtle physical, one can find an exact, perfect, automatic recording of everything that happens. It is the most formidable memory one could imagine, which misses nothing, forgets nothing, records all. And if you are able to enter into it, you can go backward, you can go forward, and in all directions, and you will have the “memory” of all things – not only of things of the past, but of things to come. For everything is recorded there.

      In the mental world, for instance, there is a domain of the physical mind which is related to physical things and keeps the memory of physical happenings upon earth. It is as though you were entering into innumerable vaults, one following another indefinitely, and these vaults are filled with small pigeon-holes, one above another, one above another, with tiny doors. Then if you want to know something and if you are conscious, you look, and you see something like a small point – a shining point; you find that this is what you wish to know and you have only to concentrate there and it opens; and when it opens, there is a sort of an unrolling of something like extremely subtle manuscripts, but if your concentration is sufficiently strong you begin to read as though from a book. And you have the whole story in all its details. There are thousands of these little holes, you know; when you go for a walk there, it is as though you were walking in infinity. And in this way you can find the exact facts about whatever you want to know. But I must tell you that what you find is never what has been reported in history – histories are always planned out; I have never come across a single “historical” fact which is like history. This is not to discourage you from learning history, but things are like that. Events have been quite different from the way in which they have been reported, and for a very simple reason: the human brain is not capable of recording things with exactitude; history is built upon memories and memories are always vague. If you take, for example, written memories, he who writes chooses the events which have interested him, what he has seen, noticed or known, and that is always only a very small portion of the whole. When the historian narrates, the same thing happens as with dreams where you take one point, then another, then another, and at last you can have an almost exact vision of what has taken place and with a little imagination you fill up the gaps; but historians relate a continuous story; between the events or moments there are gaps which they fill up as best they can or rather as they wish, according to their mental, vital and other preferences. And that comprises the history you are made to learn. The same story, narrated in one language and in another, in one country or in another, you cannot imagine how comic it is! This is particularly true if one of the countries is interested because of its vanity, its prestige. And finally the two pictures presented to you are so different that you could believe that two different things were being spoken about. It is unbelievable. But I have noticed that even for altogether external, concrete facts where there is no question of evaluation, it is still the same thing. No human brain is capable of understanding a thing in its totality; even the most scholarly, the most learned, even the most sincere person does not see a subject – and especially many subjects – totally. He will say what he knows, what he understands, and all that he does not know, all that he does not understand is not there, and this absolutely changes everything.

      The Mother, Questions and Answers (1950 – 1951): 15 February 1951

      Reply
  12. mike

    Sandeep, thanks for that. The Mother seems to have answered everything in that statement lol. She’s given an excellent description of what others call the akashic records, l think. Others usually describe huge white libraries with corridors that seem to have no end.

    “But I must tell you that what you find is never what has been reported in history – histories are always planned out; I have never come across a single “historical” fact which is like history”

    l definitely believe that. Most historical or archeological evidence is corrupted or perverted by mainstrean scholars in my opininion. A lot is probably hidden from the general masses [the vatican vaults comes to mind – which is several miles long apparently] because it would ultimately destroy many reputations and also the church in particular [judeo/christian/muslim mostly] if it ever came to light.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      In the movie Disclosure, Michael Douglas uses a virtual reality device to access a memory vault as seen in the video below. It seems like a cool approximation of akashic records.

      Reply
  13. Sandeep Post author

    The mathematician John von Neumann had a photographic memory according to Herman Goldstine:

    “As far as I could tell, von Neumann was able on once reading a book or article to quote it back verbatim; moreover, he could do it years later without hesitation. He could also translate it with no diminution in speed from its original language into English. On one occasion I tested his ability by asking him to tell me how the Tale of Two Cities started. Whereupon, without any pause, he immediately began to recite the first chapter and continued until asked to stop after about ten or fifteen minutes. [Von Neumann was in fact not alone among the great mathematicians in his powers of total recall. Three centuries earlier, Gottfried Leibniz [15] in old age could recite the entire Aenead, which he had not read since childhood.] Another time, I watched him lecture on some material written in German about twenty years earlier. In this performance von Neumann even used exactly the same letters and symbols he had in the original. German was his natural language, and it seemed that he conceived his ideas in German and then translated them at lightning speed into English. Frequently I watched him writing and saw him ask occasionally what the English for some German word was.”

    (Herman Goldstine, The computer from Pascal to von Neumann, p 167)

    Reply
  14. Sandeep Post author

    The Croatian girl who perfected German in her sleep, Edgar Cayce who memorized books in his sleep and the Harvard experiment which demonstrates that sleep is the best aid for memory – all these cases depend on a unique capacity of our consciousness that Sri Aurobindo outlines below:

    All of us have felt, when studying a language, difficulties which seemed insoluble while grappling with a text, suddenly melt away and a clear understanding arise without assistance from book or teacher after putting away the book from our mind for a brief period. Many of us have experienced also, the strangeness of taking up a language or subject, after a brief discontinuance, to find that we understand it much better than when we took it up, know the meanings of words we had never met with before and can explain sentences which, before we discontinued the study, would have baffled our understanding. This is because the jñātā or knower within has had his attention called to the subject and has been busy in the interval drawing upon the source of knowledge within in connection with it. This experience is only possible to those whose sattwic or illuminative element has been powerfully aroused or consciously or unconsciously trained to action by the habit of intellectual clarity and deep study. The highest reach of the sattwic development is when one can dispense often or habitually with outside aids, the teacher or the text book, grammar and dictionary and learn a subject largely or wholly from within. But this is only possible to the Yogin by a successful prosecution of the discipline of Yoga.

    Sri Aurobindo, Early Cultural Writings: The Brain of India

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  15. Sandeep Post author

    Experiments Show We Really Can Learn While We Sleep

    The idea that you can learn new things through some sort of magical mental osmosis while you sleep has long been wishful thinking. But a new study by Northwestern University researchers indicates that, depending on what we hear during the night, it is indeed possible to reinforce existing memories and enhance our recall after we wake up.

    In the study, published today in the journal Nature Neuroscience, the research team first had participants learn how to play a pair of songs by pressing keys on a keyboard in a specific sequence. Then the test subjects were left in a dark, comfortable room to take a 90-minute nap. Once the participants were in slow-wave sleep—the deepest part of the sleep cycle, which the research team suspected was the stage most conducive to memory enhancement—one of the songs was played repeatedly. When tested after their naps, the participants consistently performed better at recalling and playing the song they had heard while sleeping, compared to the other tune.

    Read more @ the Smithsonian blog
    http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2012/06/experiments-show-we-really-can-learn-while-we-sleep/

    Reply
  16. Sandeep Post author

    Brains of people With Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory are different

    UC Irvine scientists have discovered intriguing differences in the brains and mental processes of an extraordinary group of people who can effortlessly recall every moment of their lives since about age 10.

    The phenomenon of highly superior autobiographical memory — first documented in 2006 by UCI neurobiologist James McGaugh and colleagues in a woman identified as “AJ” — has been profiled on CBS’s “60 Minutes” and in hundreds of other media outlets. But a new paper in the peer-reviewed journal Neurobiology of Learning & Memory’s July issue offers the first scientific findings about nearly a dozen people with this uncanny ability.

    All had variations in nine structures of their brains compared to those of control subjects, including more robust white matter linking the middle and front parts. Most of the differences were in areas known to be linked to autobiographical memory, “so we’re getting a descriptive, coherent story of what’s going on,” said lead author Aurora LePort, a doctoral candidate at UCI’s Center for the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory.

    read more@
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120730170341.htm

    Reply
  17. Al

    Regarding the different types of ethers or akash or akasha. Above, 7 different types of them were quoted, according to Sri Aurobindo, which are detailed in the definitions of Record on Yoga, as:

    akashicmaterial—“subtle-gross etheric material” of any of seven
    kinds (called in ascending order chAyA [shadow], dhUma [smoke],
    tejas [brilliance], jyotih [light], vidyut [lightning] or varna [colour],
    agni [fire], and prakAsha [radiance]) out of which AkAsharUpa and
    AkAsalipi are formed.

    In the definitions of Record on Yoga, we find that akash is:

    “Ether; the most rarefied condition of material being, “a condition of pure material extension in Space”, the subtlest of the panchabhutas; the state of physical substance that borders on the supraphysical and is the medium through which the powers of higher worlds act on the material plane (same as sthula akasha); any of various
    kinds of sukshma akasha or immaterial ether, “depths of more and more
    subtle ether which are heavily curtained from the physical sense by
    the grosser ether of the material universe”.

    The yogi projects into the Chit Akash (Sky of Consciousness) through the 3rd eye. This is an important, and required, accomplishment of Kriya Yoga. Through the 3rd eye, one can astral-project with the subtle body, but the projection through the same 3rd eye into the Chit Akash is into a more rarefied environment than the normal or lower astral, for there we gain access to the higher astral worlds, the causal world, and the divine worlds. This is the supernatural or spiritual dimension accessible to the psyche of the sadhak. And what do you see? The following depiction by NASA (click to enlarge picture) is an accurate description. Imagine the 3rd eye opening to that black center, and innumerable points of lights. That center depicts the Chit Akash, each point of light is a “bindu”, the world of a spiritual dimension or a deity. During that projection, any mental or vital attempt to rationalize it, will immediately stop it, so it takes much practice, more to keep the vision than to obtain it. Any of the 7 types of akashas can manifest in the Chit Akash, with Jyoti, Vidyut, Agni, Prakasha, alternating.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130731155743.htm

    However, a word of caution. This is only a sky, and the exploration at first will not yield any contacts, as if you are seeing the blue sky over the earth. The objective is, though, that, meaning to hold the vision and exploration and to initiate contacts with Gurujis, Siddhas, and Deities. Now, it is difficult to access the Chit Akash in meditation unless the subtle body has been energized by the agency of pranayam. For that I conduct a practice of 45 minutes of heavy breath infusion in different asanas (either Kapal Bhati or Bhastrika, nothing else). I have posted a You Tube video here somewhere of a primer of this practice.

    Reply
      1. lordtux

        Here more details
        http://www.photoreading.com/howdoesitwork.asp
        And the book here
        http://cdn.preterhuman.net/texts/unsorted2/The.PhotoReading.Whole.Mind.System.eBook-EEn.pdf

        Basically, is one metod where you turn the pages, with the book in front you without focus the eyes with one specific purpose, after you “activate” what you “read”, before you left the subconscious process the words that was absorved in the previous step. I think that the jnata is of some way related with this. You read a book without read each line, each word.

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