Shakti is a device for inducing altered states of consciousness using
faint magnetic signals to direct brain activity. It can induce induce spiritual experiences and transformation for many people when used
according to instructions. It is also a powerful tool for consciousness exploration.
Shakti represents a new generation of a technology developed at Laurentian
University's Behavioral Neurosciences Program, under the direction of Dr. Michael A. Persinger. In laboratory settings,
this class of technology had succeeded in inducing experiences that people call religious, spiritual, or mystical.
This refers to deep states of relaxation as well as 'visions' enhancements in dreaming, and a whole range of such
HOW DOES SHAKTI WORK?
Shakti (and it's predecessors) rely on a simple idea. It started with two EEG
(electroencephalograph) signals taken from parts of the brain that are known to be involved in religious experiences
(the amygdala, the hippocampus and others). These two structures turn out to be where the seizures begin in epileptics
who had blissful or visionary seizures (not a common type of seizure, but it does exist).
These EEG signals were converted into data files, and eventually into audio
files, and from there, to a sound card.
Instead of being played through speakers or headphones, they are 'played' through
a set of magnetic coils, which produces magnetic signals instead of sounds.
Their magnetic signals 'match' the electrical signals from the two structures
we're working with. As a Shakti session proceeds, these structures become more and more active. For most people,
10 minutes later, they start to feel something. Half an hour into the session, that feeling becomes stronger, and
it begins to take over the person's experience, if the session is successful. Sensory deprivation helps to elicit
experiences during sessions, while shorter sessions (which emphasize after-effects) can be done without it.
Is Shakti The Same For Everyone?
Each brain is different, and with those differences come a wide range of responses.
Using a headset with coils held in in place (The Shakti helmet), driven by
a stereo CD, some people have had truly visionary experiences, some people have had enhancements in dreaming practices,
a few have had Out-Of-Body Experiences. The range of response runs from 'dud' to dramatic.
The first generation of this technology, developed within the Laurentian University
(LU) Behavioral Neurosciences program, also saw a wide range of responses, with movable coils, driven by a digital-to-analog
converter output device, also saw a wide range of responses.
These included 'dud' sessions.
Several approaches to overcoming them were tried, including ones based on lab
work at LU, and ones suggested by reports.
Eventually, a pattern appeared, though it still needs serious study.
The people who overcame 'dud' sessions had all repeated their sessions even
though they did not get any results. After finishing at least one series of six sessions, and beginning another,
they changed their signals.
That's when the results began for them. It's not possible to say whether this
pattern of response will work for everyone, but it's a solid start.
ARE THERE RISKS?
That depends on how much care YOU put into it. Both of the brain parts we work
with have two sides. One in the left hemisphere, and one in the right hemisphere. If one on one side is pleasant,
the one on the other side will be unpleasant. To make Shakti safe FOR YOU, you will have to be sure you're not
'left-handed' with regard to either of these structures. We have two tests for this. One can be done before you
receive Shakti, and consists of two imaginative exercises. The other can only be done after you've received Shakti.
To do this test, you apply each wave form to both sides of the head, one at
a time. You do 10 minutes with ONE wave form on one side, and then the same wave form on the other side. Then,
one chooses the more pleasant side, and runs a session on that side for about 20 minutes. If you decide to participate,
you'll have to do these tests. People who have one structure 'reversed' usually find out at this point.
Which Brain structures does Shakti work with?
Shakti's best-tested wave forms are specific to the amygdala and the hippocampus,
two limbic structures. There are also relatively untested signals for the caudate nucleus and the thalamus. We
apply the amygdaloid wave form to the dominant hemisphere (that usually means the left side), and the hippocampal
wave form to the non-dominant side (usually the right side). Getting Shakti to work for you will require you to
test yourself in a couple of ways. The amygdala is an emotional structure, and its positive emotions have to do
with its activity on the left side. The hippocampus is a cognitive structure, and its positive ways of thinking
have to do with activity on the right side. These statements are based on previous work with these structures using
the signals derived from them, including published and unpublished laboratory studies, reports from participants
in the Shakti project, and the author's personal experience. Some studies, especially concerning the amygdala,
offer different conclusions, but it's important to understand that these studies do not reflect the effects of
this kind of stimulation, and are often based on animal studies. The amygdala of animals are quite different from
the human amygdala. The feline amygdala has 7 nuclei, while in humans, it has 21.
Another structure, the Caudate
Nucleus, has a Shakti signal. It functions to integrate our emotional
states with our body's state. It has very direct connections to the amygdala, and doesn't seem to be more pleasant
on one side or the other, but rather creates exitation on one side, and relaxation on the other. These are pleasant
or unpleassant according to their context.
ARE THERE SIDE-EFFECTS?
Not in the normal sense of the word, but the process can non-linear for some
people. When we stimulate a brain part using this technology, we increase its activity. However, these two structures
are interconnected with many other parts of the brain. It takes time for the other parts to catch up to the one
Shakti is working with. Recent changes in the Shakti signals have made this a fairly smooth process, although some
participants have mentioned having 'off' days. The process where the brain tries to forget the session's effects
- sessions which have been repeated - has been nicknamed 'snapback'. It has not been reported following single
sessions. Most commonly, these phases happen from the fourth to the seventh days after a session, and most commonly
during the second and fifth weeks.
SESSIONS WITHOUT 'SNAPBACK'
Recently, a new design for series of sessions has appeared, though only a few
have used it. In this one, sessions are done every three days (72 hrs). Shakti effects tend to fall off at the
fourth day, and that's when metabolic snapback typically occurs, if it occurs at all.
When sessions happen at the third day (72 hours), snapback doesn't have the
opportunity to happen.
A series of 72-hour sessions consists of six sessions.