Scientific or Spiritual?
“…Griffiths* doesn’t see the two ways of knowing as mutually exclusive and has little patience for absolutists on either side of the supposed divide. Rather, he hopes that the two ways can inform each other and correct each others defects, and in this exchange help us to pose and then, possibly, answer the big questions we face.”
*Roland Griffiths (researcher who conducted psilocybin research at John H. Hopkins institute). As written [by Bob Jesse] of Griffith’s ‘landmark’ 2006 paper…
“The Johns Hopkins experiment … uses science, which modernity trusts, to undermine modernity’s secularism. In doing so, it offers hope of nothing less than a re-sacralization of the natural and social world, a spiritual revival that is our best defence against … soullessness…”
Michael Pollen, How To Change Your Mind (2019)
Because of the profound experiences I had through breathwork, I was inspired to dedicate my undergraduate thesis at Quest University Canada to the science behind this modality. While there has yet to be any research conducted on this particular method, the surrounding literature and my qualitative research only encouraged me to continue training as a Conscious Connected Breathwork facilitator. “I am both Spirit and Body; full of critical thought to fuel the scientific method, while embodying experiences that will remain magnificently inexplicable.”
Breathwork allows us to dive into the depths of being human, to engage with those pieces that cannot be touched or seen, but felt and witnessed with our conscious awareness.
Oh the glory it is to be in this human experience. We get to transcend what can be quantifiably known, as well as what we have learned to expect from ourselves and the world. We can have a radically different experience that shakes up our deeply embedded beliefs and refreshes our brain and mind to expect something different. Something new. Something hopeful.
We have so much to learn about the nervous system and how energetics operate (quantum physics!!), and breathwork may be just such an avenue for further understanding. I love the magical feeling of not knowing, and grounding my experience in what I do understand about the human experience.
Living in between these two frames of mind makes it all worth while
Abstract of Undergraduate Thesis
Nervous system dysregulation may be the neurological underpinnings of a variety of mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, PTSD and addictions. Neither the specificity of underlying neural mechanisms, nor the precise stimuli from which these symptoms arise are clearly understood. This is a pilot investigation of Conscious Connected Breathwork (CCB), a therapeutic use of breath that may help the nervous system re-regulate itself. This may be an effective approach to re-regulate nervous systems and improve both physical and psychological well-being. Qualitative interviews (N= 8) were conducted with participants who have experience with CCB. Using coded analysis, there is a significant experience of notable differences directly related to the CCB modality reported by the participants. From this study and review of existing literature, it is clear that further research into CCB is critical to develop effective, accessible and noninvasive therapy that can be used both preventatively and for treatment. Furthermore, using CCB as a research tool provides new avenues through which the neurological mechanisms of mental disorders may be better understood.