Alberto Villoldo: Brain Hacking & One Spirit Medicine – #220
By: Dave Asprey
Why you should listen –
Alberto Villoldo comes on Bulletproof Radio today to discuss healing with ayahuasca, hacking your brain, supplementing, and his new book One Spirit Medicine. Enjoy the show!
Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D., is a psychologist and medical anthropologist, a best-selling author and founder in the world-renowned Institute of Energy Medicine, The Four Winds Society. He was the youngest clinical professor at San Francisco State University where he directed his own laboratory, the Biological Self-Regulation Lab, investigating how energy medicine and visualization could change brain chemistry. He spent 25 plus years studying the healing practices of the Amazon and Inka shamans, and the producer of a documentary film, Amazonia: Healing With Sacred Plants.
What You Will Hear
- 0:15 – Cool Fact of the Day!
- 0:35 – Welcome Alberto Villoldo
- 6:36 – Hacking your brain
- 11:50 – Microdosing
- 14:40 – Supplementing & meditation
- 21:14 – Knowing your life purpose
- 25:04 – The practice of truth
- 33:53 – Explaining vision quests
- 38:46 – Experimenting
- 41:20 – Biofeedback
- 47:52 – Breathing hacks
- 58:29 – Top three recommendations for discovering your own healer!
Questions for the podcast?
Leave your questions and responses in the comments section below. If you want your question to be featured on the next Q&A episode, submit it in the Podcast Question form! You can also ask your questions and engage with other listeners through The Bulletproof Forum, Twitter, and Facebook!
Dave: Everyone it is Dave Asprey with Bulletproof Radio. Today’s cool factor of the day is that it’s not just mushrooms on the posters of college students that go under black lights. Some mushrooms like one called the flor-de-coco which grow at the base of coconut trees in Brazil glow at night to attract insects who spread their spores. It is amazing with these interesting fungi can actually do. Today’s guest is a friend and a really amazing guy, bestselling author of more than 10 books who just came out with the book called One Spirit Medicine and he is a cultural anthropologist and a trained South American shaman whose name is Alberto Villoldo. Alberto welcome to the show.
Alberto: Thank you Dave good to be with you.
Dave: If you haven’t heard of Alberto’s work, he is, I don’t know if there is a word to describe what you do because you hang out with brain scientists like Dr. Perlmutter and Dr. Hymen and you actually wrote a book with Dr. Perlmutter historically a book that I read and you are the only shamanic practitioner I know who really gets into mitochondria and neurotransmitters and you say, there are altered states, high performance states and you can get into them.
Alberto: Absolutely. Well you know shamanists were the first neuroscientists and actually my background is as a medical anthropologist so I actually started out at a brain laboratory at San Francisco State University, and we were slicing and dicing the brain and looking for the mind. That’s when I closed my lab and packed up my bags and went to the Amazon to work with people that didn’t have MRIs and microscopes but could extraordinary phenomena.
I mean they discovered QRA. They discovered ayahuasca and I wanted to study the mind. You couldn’t find it in the lab, and in fact the recent at the shamans were so into the height and states of consciousness it is because those are the states where you could turn on your higher brain, your neocortex, your prefrontal cortex.
Dave: Now in your mid 20s you are the youngest clinical professor as San Francisco state and you literally started paying attention to things that maybe even now neuroscientists are just now getting knowledge about and that was what led you to do go down this whole path but you started out on I would say a more western path then you ended up on or were you always spiritually minded here.
Alberto: Spirituality I think it is the product of a healed brain, a prepared brain, and we are living at a time when our brains are broken. Spirituality is about creativity, about seeing the oneness of our life, about recognizing that we are connected to our creation, and I think that the people that are spiritual, not religious but spiritual really are the most successful people in the world because they are not living in fight or flight. They are not running from danger or seeking safety all the time. They know that the game is big and they want to play it big.
Dave: Now I don’t know if most people who are listening know this, but I have actually when I met you I have been trained by you like I took the Four Winds Academy. I took a week of training and got your lectures from everyday, and that was how we got to know each other. I was a little disturbed when you sent me a copy of One Spirit Medicine, your new book because you disclosed that you were having some really substantial heath challenges at the beginning of the book, and I thought wow, I hope he is okay.
Dave: As I read through the book, I felt, he is better than okay. You took some, I would say some potentially lethal things that were going on and completely reversed them not using just spiritual things or just the western things but you blended these things together and you came up with some principles that you use in yourself but also principles that are in the book. Can you tell me what those big three principles are?
Alberto: Sure. Absolutely. Well first let me tell you about my diagnosis because I had a really unusual diagnosis. I was getting a key note address in the conference in Mexico, I called my docs. I had been in for major checkup and they said, I said what’s the diagnosis and he says well you should be dead. I said, is that the good news or the bad news. As a medical anthropologist I had been in jungles in Africa, in Asia and Indonesia and Mexico and South America, and I picked up parasites and bugs and five kinds of hepatitis along the way. My brain was compromised. My heart was full of holes. My liver, they said you better get in on a liver transplant list.
I went oh my god. It just happened that the day after my diagnosis I had a ticket to go to the Amazon jungle together with my wife who is a shaman, and in this ceremonies, in the Amazon, I am managed to get a new liver. The shaman said that the earth has given me a new liver in effect. I have got a scientific mind. What they have done is they had intervened to create stem cells in the liver to trigger a repair process.
I relied on western meds to kill the parasites and the bugs. We are really good at killing stuff with antibiotics and all this. Then, I had to repair, my heart was full of holes, by brain was full of bedbugs and my liver was gone. That’s when I used the energy medicine to trigger the production of neuro stem cells, heart stem cells and today I have got a brand new liver, brand new heart and a brand new brain which is what led me to write One Spirit Medicine, because we all have the capability of doing this.
This is programmed into password protected regions in our DNA that we have to hack because we know how to grow a new body because we grew one. We grew 10 fingers and we grew a liver and a head. We know how to do it. We just got to get back in there, hack into the code and switch it on and we got it.
Dave: Alberto, you are wise person. You have lived an amazing life, a life or learning and knowledge and meditation and fasting and everything else. To hear you say that basically you DNA is password protected you have to hack it, I love hearing that because it is so cool. How do you hack it though? Hearing you say that really just makes me laugh but what is the mechanism for this. People listening to this audio going yeah right you got a real new liver. I am assuming you got some, before and after photos of your liver.
Alberto: I actually do. I got biopsy results before and after, damaged liver and new liver and I will tell you how we do it.
Dave: Yeah, what’s the secret?
Alberto: Well we can do it in the liver. The liver repairs itself very readily but the brain, when I went to school we used to think that every shot of tequila we had meant 20,000 brain cells that we killed. Today we know that the brain produces neuro stem cells and there are products like DHA would do that, but I would like to talk a little bit later about how we are over using supplements and you are seeing some of them incorrectly that will actually damage mitochondrial biogenesis and damage our longevity and our health.
The way that you hack it is you have to first repair and upgrade the brain. You got to switch off the fight of flight system that all of us are so plugged into that produces adrenaline and cortisol. This is the fear response. Run, hide, fight and then the minute that you switched that system off you have which is run by the pituitary gland that is called the HPA axis. The minute that you switch that off the pineal gland can start a process called methylation.
It begins to methylate neurotransmitters so you methylate serotonin and you end up with mushrooms with psilocybin mushrooms. The brain loves to get high. You methylate serotonin a little bit more you end up with ayahuasca. We cannot hack our DNA from our old brain. We have to do it from our higher brain.
Dave: You can use an altered state in order to turn off this HPA axis. In my work I talk about turning off the inner lava door or turning out fight or flight, there are various ways to do that and when you do that …
Alberto: It is Doberman, the internal Doberman.
Dave: Yeah, there you go. It is that nasty voice in your head that tell you do bad things like eat junk food and kill other people, that little voice in your head.
Dave: You turn that off, and I want to talk with you specifically about how you turn that off and maybe how people listening can turn that off but then how do you know that your pineal gland can actually work. Lot of people talk about it being calcified or it can’t do it. What’s the deal there?
Alberto: Well, let me tell you the pathway. Since we are in the science, we are going to get into the shamanism. When I was doing my training in the Amazon I was working medicine men and women who were saying to me you got to bring the jaguar down from the tree. I go, what do you mean, why would I want to bring it down from the tree, leave it up the tree.
Dave: What does that mean?
Alberto: When I deciphered what they meant is they were trying to tell me that the jaguar is the fear response, the fight or flight. Our jaguar is spoot. It is up a tall tree and we are trying to bring it down and it is just gnashing at us and you got to bring it down so it can do cats do which is relax at the base of the tree. Today we are living in such a stressful time that we have a very hard time shutting down the production of adrenaline and cortisone. That’s damaging to the hippocampus which is where new learning happens. You cannot grow new body if your hippocampus is damaged.
Remember that there is nobody in the planet that is older than 7 years old. The oldest person in the planet is 7 years. We grow a new body every 7 years, but to grow a new body that’s an improved version of the last one you have to go into the higher states of consciousness that will allow you to create psychosomatic health. This is dependent on getting the pineal to switch on the production, tweaking our neurotransmitters, ever so slightly to produce these incredible psychedelics that get you into bliss and to joy and into creativity.
Dave: Even in advanced meditation states that I have been in with help of neuro feedback, I have actually had more psychedelic visions that I have on even ayahuasca in the rain forest in South America so certainly we can internally produce these things. It just seems like it is really hard for most people who are hearing this, is there a little thing you can just tell. What do you do to feel you ayahuasca when you didn’t?
Alberto: What do you do? Well, you are not going to get high like with mushrooms. That’s a massive dose.
Dave: It is.
Alberto: It is dose dependant. The micro-doses really work well to switch on these higher order circuits in the brain. Now we know your pineal gland is working if you are sleeping well because what the pineal does is that it takes serotonin and turns it into melatonin which is what we need to sleep but you tweak melatonin a little more and you enter into the dream state with your eyes open.
This is a random dream like state. What we want to be able to do is to focus it on creativity and focus it on repairing the body or focus it on repairing the life or discover it. When you look at how people come across extraordinary discoveries it is usually a dream like process involved when they are able to see opportunity where everybody else is seeing danger of dismal possibilities.
Dave: These dream like states, all right, let’s say a good portion of the people may 100,000 people are going to hear this episode and two thirds of them are driving a car. The other two thirds are probably watching on YouTube or Itunes or some on video. Let’s say you are driving your car, all right, I am interested. Alberto has got my attention. I am going to read One Spirit Medicine, but what do I do now to turn off this HPA so I can access say a better state of creativity. Is there a hack for that?
Alberto: There is a hack for that and I will tell you how you know that you need to hack it, that your HPA axis is running. If you are driving and the guy who screams past you is a crazy lunatic that should be put away and the women or the guy who is just going at 50 miles an hour in the passing lane is senile and he shouldn’t be even out on the street. The minute that you are the so point of reference in the universe you know that your HPA axis is overactive.
You know that your brain is under attack from cortisol and adrenaline. The guy speeds by you and you say have a nice day. That’s what I love about LA. When we talk about road rage which is connecting with each other, flipping each other off but it passes. We don’t take it home. The minute that you take your anger or your rage or your sentiment with you then you know that you have got to upgrade the quality of your HPA axis. The things that do it are the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA does it, meditation does it, and being out in nature and eating of course healthily like you recommend to all your listeners but omega-3s are essential.
Dave: I recommend Krill oil because it is a phosphorylated omega-3 that your brain can use more and taking omega-3 if your brain is good, but I am also a little bit worried of excessive omega-3 like if there are a couple of more radical people saying that DHA is all you need and that’s in my experience leads to nose bleeds in overuse of that. What happens? How much do you need and how you make sure it goes into your brain not just making your cell membranes unstable?
Alberto: Well, I will tell you Krill oil is fabulously because it is actually mitochondrial fluid. Ordinary DHA does not get used by mitochondria.
Dave: You are correct.
Alberto: This is a little known secret. I am glad that you are on to that. Krill oil is magnificent. If you use it for six weeks that’s all you need. Three to five grams for six weeks you can repair your hippocampus which is where learning happens, where you are able to tell danger from opportunity. That’s a really quick and readily available fix. The other thing that it does it is meditation. You don’t need to sit and meditate for 20 minutes. It is impossible for most of us. If you can take three deep breaths while you are driving and that’s you are doing a micro-meditation which is going to be resetting your entire system.
Dave: You were talking about road rage and I love you are talking about driving so I want to know the specific breath you use and I will ask you about the one I use and see what you think of it. The idea of the crazy person driving past you, I learned, I don’t know if it was from you or it might have been from one of your feedback things but I learned to think when someone drives fast I think they are crazy lunatics, how dare they or they probably have someone having a baby in the back of the car.
I should just let them get to the hospital. I have no idea. I have zero facts other than there is a fast car so I can fill in the facts however I want it, and if I just assume that there are a lot of peoples having babies in cars I am generally a calmer nicer person so I am okay with that.
Dave: Is that something.
Alberto: Totally, yeah.
Dave: Okay it was.
Alberto: When I am with the shamans in the Amazon in the Andes they just say that you got to practice not being in the center of the universe. That’s a really, really good discipline, but the other side is that you have to practice fearlessness but to practice fearlessness you have to no longer be stuck in anger, because the brain and nervous system resets itself every 20 minutes.
The shaman says you got to get rid of all your emotions. Emotions are ancient programming, Neanderthal programming. They are not authentic. Feelings are authentic but feelings don’t last. They wash through you. They last for 20 minutes. If you want to kill and everybody alive has wanted to kill, because if you have been married or if you have a child you know what it is like to want to kill. If it lasts for more than 20 minutes, it is not feeling.
If you want to kill your spouse, after a few moments you go oh my god how I could I have felt like that and it passes. If it lingers it is an emotion. People that are angry for 20 days or 20 years their brain is stuck in Neanderthal survival mode and they cannot step up to the higher brain that will allow them to re-grow new body, to age, to switch on sirtuins genes, longevity genes. Instead they are relying on a pill to do it for them which can be counterproductive.
Things like for human like resveratrol, like sulforaphane that if you use it continually will actually have a reverse effect that you intended to use. It is effect called hormesis which is that in certain dosages you getting the proactive effect that you want them beyond that dose or that period, it does the reverse. It actually inhibits the very systems that you are trying to up regulate. The longevity, the sirtuins and will begin to do the reversible, we hope it does,
Dave: Then for these substances, all of which I use and I use them intermittently just because when I started down the path of using lots of supplements for life extension and to turn my brain back on I used to fill up a month’s supply. It is always the same everyday and what I do now is I look at my day and I look at my last couple of days and how many miles have I flown and whatever else is going on and I adjust the stalk and sometimes I don’t take anything some days I take a lot.
Alberto: That’s the way to think. You got to keep the body off guard because if you are taking western meds you got to take them every day. If you are taking food supplements, the vitamins and the minerals you can take them every day. The minute you start taking the up-regulators then you got to do it intermittently. Three days on, three days off, so you don’t get into this hormetic effect where you are actually inhibiting the very systems that you are trying to up-regulate.
Dave: That’s your advice is, three on and three off.
Alberto: Yeah three on and three off works really well. Three on, four offs, you can time in with your week but I really want to invite our readers to Google this or hormesis and particularly mitochondrial hormesis because this is that many people that I know are using supplements, not foods but he up-regulators in a way this actually inhibiting the very thing they are trying to achieve.
Dave: One of the things that made a difference for me was ozone therapy and one of the reasons ozone works is it is a strong oxidant. It turns on the body’s own antioxidant enzyme system instead on relying on external antioxidants, but I also take my vitamin C. it is good for me, right, but you don’t want to be aware of that and taking the same thing all day every day I don’t think is a wise choice, or zinc may be it is but …
Alberto: Well zinc is a necessary mineral. The minute that you are working with the supplements that are tinkering with your DNA, we are talking about how do you hack the DNA? First you need the higher mind. You need to be able to get the big picture of your life and I will tell you a story. I lead expeditions to the high mountains in the Andes. One of the expeditions I was hiking down on my own. I let the group go ahead of me, and I am walking down and I sit on a rock and I am at 15,000 feet and I hear my father’s voice.
He says, until you realize why you were born my son you will have to keep living my life and getting sick and die the way I did. I go, wow. I come back to the states and I get into therapy. It was really bad. I had a really good therapist and two years later I am back in the same mountain 15,000 feet, and I am hiking down the mountain again on the same trail on my own, breathless I sit down to catch my breath. I am meditating for a little bit, catching my breath and I hear my father’s voice out of the blue.
He says, until you realize why you were born my son you will have to keep living my life. I go, oh my god, I spent two years in therapy because of a punctuation mark. I misplaced the comma. Until you realize why you were born, what did you come here to do? This is what these higher order neural capabilities give you. What did you come here to do, not to spend another year in therapy? You came here to go on an epic adventure and that’s what this old voice was saying to me. Why were you born?
Dave: That’s something that I worked with a few clients on it. What’s your life’s purpose? The vast majority of the people have no clue. What’s your recommendation for someone who doesn’t know what their life purpose is? How do you find it?
Alberto: Well, you got to find it. You can’t be looking for it in the places you have been looking for all this time. We try to find it through love or through work or through the other, maybe I will meet the one. Remember a friend of mine calling me, and he was inviting me to his wedding, and it was his fifth wedding. I said to him do you remember what you ask me to do to you if you ever thought of getting married again or even looked at a woman. He said, well, she is different.
We went out to dinner. She was a brunette version of the last one, perfectly nice woman and he wanted me to perform the ceremony. I said to him, forget it. I will perform your death rites. I told him, you got to stop looking for the right partner and start working on becoming the right partner. We find ourselves caught on the cyclical behaviors.
We know that we are not accessing these extraordinary visionary capabilities that we have innately programmed into us as humans. We are stuck in a predatory behavior, predatory brain of not having enough, of scarcity, of living in fear, and the combination here is clear, we got to work with what we eat, what we think, and how we commune with spirit, and we got to do all three of them.
Dave: All right, so now there are two things that people driving their cars want. One we still have to finish our question about breaths and then we have to tell them what can you do while you are driving to figure out the reason you are here on earth.
Alberto: Well, you want do it before you get to your destination and your destination is really what happens when you get to where you are going so it is like the caterpillar to chrysalis. If you don’t know where you are going just about any road will take you there. One of the shamanic practices is the practice of truth where you practice speaking the truths, and this is a really difficult practice because we all sweep by with these little half truths.
We live in the land of political lies and newspaper. The practice of speaking the truth and when you master that practice then anything you say becomes true because you speak truth and you live truth and you live truly and you don’t search for the truth any longer, but rather you bring truth to every situation, to every encounter, to every meeting, no matter how the deceitful that appears to you, you bring truth to it. That’s the practice. If you want to practice so you can take home and start doing right now that practice of impeccable truth is an essential one.
Dave: Now a lot of people are going to say that they are being truthful and then they are going to turn around and say I need to do this. I have to do that. I can’t do that. When you talk about being truthful none of those is probably a true statement, right?
Alberto: Well, they are partially true. They are relatively true, but they are not absolutely true until you get a wakeup call, you get a diagnosis, you get a crash, you lose a loved one and you go my god what am I doing with my life and why am I doing it. I am going a 1000 miles an hour and getting nowhere, and is this really what success is about. You begin to ask big questions. To do that, to find the answers you have to awaken your higher brain function and you have to do that through your astute, so really, to well articulate it, you have to do it through your diet and through your practice, your daily practice, coffee helps. Coffee is great. I drink it myself.
Dave: Oh I am honored.
Alberto: It has got to be accompanied by the practice of impeachable being in this body. You know how hard it is to get a body. You know it is incredible. They are 1000s of people waiting to incarnate into a body, and we are here on this earth in this amazing, amazing journey, and you choose how you play it.
Dave: It seems a waste or run around at half your capacity if you got a body you might as well use it and that’s a mistake that I made younger when I weighed 300 pounds and all that. My brain wasn’t working very well and it is irritating when you have stuff you want to do.
Alberto: Yeah, the beauty is that you can clear the brain fog. This is what I talk about in One Spirit Medicine. You can create a brain fog in one week or three days actually. We begin to dissipate. You can begin to grow a new body through what do you think and what do you eat and what you believe in and how you practice truthfulness in your life because then you are being true to yourself and to your nature.
Dave: There is an interesting statistic that I came across that I pretty sure that I referenced in The Bulletproof Diet book, just remembering and that it takes almost two years to replace 50% of your cell membranes. If you start eating the right fats to build healthy cells that are high performance, it is going to take you a while before you get, like you said seven years to get a new body. If you start in three days your brain starts turning on. Certainly, that’s my experience as well.
I am opening a go through coffee shop, because I know for everyone who doesn’t see the book of buys the book and never tries recipes in it I want to just make one perfect breakfast meal or one lunch or one dinner for someone like whoa something just kicked me in the head. I like that and I want more of that. They can go figure out whatever turns their brain. I mean, if they never felt it, it seems like a great service just be that one time. Is there a supplement combination or some kind of way that you recommend people to feel really good one time like a very fastest or biggest thing that you know?
Alberto: There are a couple of tricks. There are a couple of tricks that you can use. NADH is one which you know. It really supports your electron transport chain that you can buy it over-the-counter. It is amazing stuff.
Dave: Do you like a spray or sublingual or how do you take it.
Alberto: I like it sublingual. I like the sublingual a lot. This is actually boosting you without stressing your system out. It is actually improving your performance and the Krebs cycle. Now the amazing thing is that when I was in the jungle with the shamans 35 years ago and had me eat all these barks and roots, and I would ask them why. They would say because it is obviously done this way. I want them to give me the science which they didn’t have.
When we took it to the laboratory years later we found that this is what they have. They basically supported the Krebs cycle. They helped to repair the brain. They had their healthy fats. They have the super nutrients, the brain nutrients and the super foods that we know that they work and we can actually get at the local health food store. You don’t have to come to the Amazon with me.
Dave: It is interesting that you mentioned NADH. I used to take an NADH ATP combination spray which actually had direct ATP in it, but I haven’t taken that in a long time. What I do take, there are things that modify the ratio of NAD+ to NADH which have a very similar effect and finally that would be the unfair advantage mitochondrial stuff as well as upgrade aging like two of my core supplements, my daily stack, things that I make as they are not around elsewhere. It is everything that turns out of your mitochondria makes you more of whatever you are including more of a jerk. If you are jerk you got to work on that.
Alberto: You got to work on that yeah but this is why you want to upgrade the brain as well, and the mitochondria are essential. For many years I heard the medicine men and women saying that we had the feminine life force. The feminine life force was being depleted, exhausted in the planet and then in each and every one of us our life force was almost nonexistent. We were almost shadow beings. When I asked them carefully what they meant about the life forces. They say, well, you inherited it only from your mother, and it is what produces energy in your body. I go, mitochondria.
This is exactly that they were talking about. Now the difference is that the shamans didn’t have the science so they didn’t know how it worked but they knew how to use it so they couldn’t tell you water was H2O for example but they knew how to make it rain. Today we had the ability to do both. We have the ability to upgrade our bodies to grow a new body, to upgrade the brain, upgrade our life, our relationships and our sense of purpose and meaning here in this life.
All of these have to be taken together. Otherwise you are still looking for the magic fix and you got to do the exercise. You got to do the lifestyle changes. And what the shamans did that I talk about in One Spirit Medicine is that they went out on a vision quest. They went to have a direct experience of nature and to meet their demons and to engage them and to befriend them and to make them their allies and we postpone that. We don’t have enough time, enough money, enough sleep but eventually at some point we have to go out to find what that guiding vision in each one of our lives is so that we can serve it.
Dave: Alberto, I actually did that somewhere around I want to say 2007 when I spent four days in a cave outside Sedona guided by shaman friend who the only human for 10 miles around with just water and a sleeping bag basically and fire.
Dave: I did it because I figured I am a former obese person. I had issues how comfortable am I being alone and certainly it is just whatever emotional issues around food whether they are there. What better where to push all those buttons at once than to be in a cave with no food? Anyway, it was an interesting way. It is not what I would have expected. It was a healing time, but I don’t think most people listening to this are going to have the opportunity to do that. Is there a way to do this in LA.? How do we make us more accessible to people to help do that? I am very fortunate to have had that experience.
Alberto: No, truly, truly. Well, you can do it in LA. You could do it in New York City and then the book in One Spirit Medicine I talk about clients that I helped to their vision quest. Once of them was a ER doc, and he said himself the intention of doing a vision quest which means that you have three days of caloric restriction basically fasting and that will switched on all of these repair mechanisms that you know that, incredible repair, increases free radical production aside the cell which turns on the free radical scavenging systems and the glutathione superoxide dismutase inside the cell.
In the vision quest you fast and you drink water and you begin to detox and you said your intention. His intention was to begin to find the heart in everyone that he touched and this was Miami ER full moon gunshot wounds that he used to treat like a piece of meat, not he treated it like a living breathing future Buddha and his patient’s began to get well in a different way. He became a compassionate human being and what happened is that his brain began to change, his relationship to himself to his family to his body.
He found a guiding vision for his life and before he was into medicine for the money and for the fame and for the fact that it gave him something to do in a very high adrenaline state and now he became a healer, and it is a man who was able to step outside the mould of his own life so you can do this wherever you are.
Dave: That was, okay.
Alberto: It takes intention. It takes fasting and takes commitment to it.
Dave: He took three days off of work and basically he stayed at home, fasted and …
Alberto: No he did it while working.
Dave: Oh, he was still working.
Alberto: He was patching people up, but his intention was to see a Buddha in every one of his patients and not just a bunch of flesh so he raised the bar. You got to raise the bar. Now that one said, we can do it wherever we are. We are not too busy because you can do it regardless of what you are doing. You got to raise the bar for yourself.
Dave: Now at this point you probably pissed off some small portion of the listeners, the skeptic minded scientist types that are saying that this isn’t crispy enough for me. I want everything a little bit mechanistic around this stuff, but we never ask these questions. There is an intent thing or there was some fuzziness. In every spiritual practice that I have ever played with or experienced or worked with always has some of that where it is hard to explain what it is but you have to do it or a teacher shows you or something happens. Why is there that fuzzy edge when we talk about these practices?
Alberto: Well, we don’t have the science behind it yet. We know what fasting does to the body. We know that one of the things it does is it that it makes you really pissed off. Anybody that you have ever been pissed off at shows up, your anger, your rage, all your unhealed emotions show up and your more primitive brain, your Neanderthal limbic brain thinks it is going to die because that brain feeds on sugars.
When you fast you are going basically from the sugar system to the ketones to feeding on fats which is what the higher brain feeds on. It loves the fats but when you begin to restrict the sugars from the lower brain and from your intestinal flora which you have educated into living on chocolate chip cookies and sugar they freak out and they begin to put out toxins. The poop and you begin to put up toxins that may give you mood swings, that make you irritable so it is tough.
It is tough to do this kind of work but you got it, make a commitment to yourself to do it and after three days you break through. Three days is the mark. The fuzziness about it because it deals with feelings, it deals with emotions, it deals with this fuzzy area that we call spirituality which in my book with David Perlmutter we try to be fine really as what happens when you awaken latent neuro-circuitry and begin to live a more enlightened life but yeah this is fuzzy territory. We don’t have it under the microscope yet.
Dave: It makes it rough because as you were saying maybe I want to do this. Maybe I will suspend disbelieving it. I am engineer, and my background is computer science. I come from an engineering family where I don’t think meditation is a common thing. First time I tried this thing you feel like you are not getting any results. You don’t know what to do.
You talk to this person and say this. You see this person you say this. Do you have any sort of guidance as since it has been a long time you work with clients. You have written 10 books about this so someone who is open to saying all right I think it is all BS, but I am willing as a rational science minded person to do an experiment to see if it is all BS.
Alberto: This is it.
Dave: What do you do?
Alberto: Well, we are the experiment except this is an N=1. If you wait for the research to come out gravity existed before Newton described it. Microflora has been around before we described it with you microbiologist is really important, and these states of higher perception and higher awareness through which you can create psychosomatic health through which you can experience extraordinary creativity. They are the experiment.
They are the experiment and they take three or four days to do, and the only thing you need to do is to create a quiet place and make a commitment to yourself to go through the program, and if you do you will be surprised where you end up with.
Dave: This is a program that’s in your book or some other program or …
Alberto: This is the program in One Spirit Medicine. It is a very ancient program and was devised by the men and women that discovered QRA in the Amazon by the first numeral scientist among the Native American people that we tend to dismiss as being not evolved with technology. This is a very ancient program for upgrading the quality of human existence, of the human brain and of your engagement with the world.
Dave: I absolutely recommend that to the people who are listening if you never tried anything like this it is worth a try, because where you are going to lose four days if you wrong. Maybe if you are right and you think all the stuff is useless …
Alberto: You are going to save a lot of money on restaurants in those four days.
Dave: The risk is very low to trying this and I am reminded of a computer engineer client and she was programmer not a full on computer engineering guy. High level silicone valley guy and I use the hard math about training with him. This is the heart rate variability training and I just said like I wanted just 10 minutes a day. For him this was the 10 minutes of heart opening mindful meditation but it was guided by a feedback.
Coming from that world if this is a world of rational people, one of them really, I am Asperger spectrum, the guy showed me he was. I get this interesting phone call. He goes, Dave I finally got to the hardest setting on this biofeedback. It was really a lot of work and then I just did different hour straight where I was in the hardest load. I went into altered state and he goes I think I experience bliss. You know here engineer is talking about bliss.
It doesn’t happen and I was just amused at this, but that’s the thing that you are playing with where it maybe something that you haven’t experienced before but you are talking about a few days of, I am going to give this a try. Suspend disbelief and just do it. I would recommend checking this out, and I spent a week training with you. You know what you are doing.
Alberto: My clients, my personal clients include hedge fund managers, people that manage billions of dollars in the industry, the people that are building museums, that very, very extraordinarily successful people that have put this to work in their lives. It has leveraged their inner peace and their outer success. It works, it worth a try, and we have the tools to do it. In the book I covered the nutritional tools how do you support mitochondria. How do you support your sleep? How do you go into detox because during the night when you go into a three day fast you are actually switching into the detox, cellular detox systems what we call autophagy.
You are eliminating cellular waste. Mitochondria are a really bring structure inside the cell and hard to get through the cell membrane but doesn’t get recycled. You are going to be doing a deep scouring, a deep cleansing of the neurons in your brain. This is what brings about the clearing of the brain fog. Once you do that, once you bring your brain online wow you can begin to dream you world into being. Otherwise you are going to keep repeating the same nightmare that we inherited from our parents and from the culture.
Dave: It is interesting that ketones and autophagy are key there, and those are some of the bio-hacks that I write about as well and there are ways to go very deep with a three day fast, and there is the one day protein fasting where even if you are eating something you eat zero protein and you can kick off certain level of autophagy in one day because you still have energy especially if you getting enough fat so you can actually have ketones and you can have some glucose and so all those protein enzymes don’t know what to do so they might as well go to work on cellular repair. Those little things unless you have a practice like a shaman where you are watching and monitoring constantly what your brain and body are doing from environmental inputs like the forest or like what’s on your plate.
You are not going to pick this up because it is unlikely you will find this corner cases but when you do they are neat things like the three day fast that you are talking about where suddenly things happen that don’t make any sense because they are probably based on principles that we don’t fully understand, but they are very tangible and someone who said that didn’t happen to you because we don’t know how it happens would sound like a mad man, because it did happen to you and you felt it.
Alberto: Precisely, and you know we are the experiment. We are the living experiment, and the context of which is this happening is this amazing event that’s happening in the planer right now, we are dealing with a six grade extinction event since the dawn of life and the planet. The last grade extinction of that before the one that were in is when a giant meteorite struck the earth 65 million years ago and 95% of all species living including the dinosaurs disappeared.
Today there are more species being lost annually than any of the previous five extinction events. What happens when you have an extinction event like the one we are living and you know 70% of all mammals, large mammals are going to be gone in the next 50 years. This is a science. When you are in the midst of an extinction event nature steps on the accelerator, takes the foot off of the breaks, steps on the accelerator, and then you have tremendous, you have quantum evolution happening, not just new species appearing but species that are able to acquire extraordinary mutations and become a very adaptive what they do.
This is where we have the opportunity to truly make a quantum leap in our own evolution within our generation. Uncoil that DNA code another turn and develop trades and capabilities that were not available before because be supported now by mother nature. In fact we have to, can I add something to that there.
Dave: Please, yeah.
Alberto: Because in the last 50 years we have undone the last 50,000 years of evolution because we have been saving the lives of children that nature would not have otherwise selected to survive because we have eliminated infant mortality. Infant mortality was 10% 50 years ago. Today it is a fraction of that. We are saving the lives of children including myself that nature would not have selected to survive so we have begun to self select. We have to begin to participate consciously in creating our health and our longevity and remember that the species nature selects for the longevity of the species not of the individual. That means that nature selects for reproduction at the level of the individual.
I don’t want any more kids but what happens after about the age of 40 is that we begin to switch off the growth hormone, the repair systems in the body, but today we know how to switch them on again. We are drifting to see an evolution, and it is up to us to create a health that experiment where N=1, that’s where we are living today.
Dave: Very sage words. Now we never did get you. What are you doing for breathing when you are driving to not kill the other drivers? What’s your breathing hack for driving because that’s at the very root of all this, stop wanting to kill people and you genes will actually change.
Alberto: Well, the breathing thing, it takes three breaths. It takes three breadths and you have to do a mantra that goes with it and this is a very sacred mantra that I am going to give you. Okay the mantra is, all I am is my breath.
Dave: All I am is my breadth, all right.
Alberto: All I have is my breadth.
Dave: All I have is my breath.
Alberto: You can do either variation of that.
Alberto: All I have is my breadth. In through the nose, exhale through the mouth and listen to your own breath going in and out. When you repeat that mantra so because all we have when we are borne is our breath and when we die that’s what is released. We expire and that will bring us to appreciate the impermanence of our life.
The fact that life and death are so intertwined with each other and that we must appreciate each moment or when you remember that all you have is your breath, all I have is my breath. Three breaths, it resets your perspective. It takes you out of crawling with the hitch hogs to flying with the eagles.
Dave: Does it matter how long your in-breath and out-breath are?
Alberto: No, just deep yogic breath in, all I have is my breath, out breath. Pause for a little bit between the in breath and the out breath. After a while this will become a practice and you will find yourself doing it 10 times a day.
Dave: I first did ayahuasca in Peru in about 2000 which is a pretty profound experience for me. I did it a shaman. One of the things that I first remember coming out of it all the way is taking a breath but I felt at that time like I had not breathed in a long time. It felt like the first breath I had ever taken, the… idea. Why is the breath so central to all of the stuff that we are talking about?
Alberto: Because the breath is the region in the brain that regulates breathing is a primitive reptilian brain. Some species don’t have breathing programmed into their brain like dolphins. That’s why half of the brain sleeps at any one time so the other can keep breathing, but the breath if you look at the word spirit, it means breath.
As you inspire, you become inspired, you expired, you die, you exhale. Even our story of creation begins in the beginning. There was a breath that was the word and when you are able come back to your breath you are able to reset that fight or flight system. You are actually instructing the pineal gland to start producing the natural ayahuasca and psilocybin in the brain. The breath is the master regulator.
Dave: Here is what I do. I love to have your shamanic take on this breathing exercise if you have one. When I am driving or watching a movie or something and just generally decided to do something with my breath. I breathe in really slowly through the nose for 20 seconds. Hold the breath for 20 seconds and breathe out really slowly for 20 seconds. That is one breath per minute and then I hold it empty for 5 seconds.
Alberto: Yeah, that’s a great practice, yeah, do that for 20 seconds in each cycle, empty for 20, inhale for 20, hold for 20, exhale for 20, and it resets the rhythm of the body. It resets the heart rate, brain waves. It is quite extraordinary. That’s a 3 minutes practice if you take 20 seconds for each of those steps and it works.
Dave: I do when I drive and it seems to wake you up but it is also grounding and waking up at the same time and it doesn’t have a mantra, it probably could. The mantra is usually like one, two, three, because I am trying to count 20 but it is …
Alberto: Well, you can look at the second hand but if you remember all I have is my breath. All you have and then what happens as shamans say that when you come to the moment of your death you are able to make your journey back to the world of formlessness consciously because you follow the breath. All I have is my breath. You return back to your luminous form, you luminous nature which is devoid of a body.
That is the obsession of the old medicine people. They wanted to learn a journey beyond death, and they said that you have to learn it now while you have a body to inhabit because you don’t want to be asking for directions when you are making your final crossing. That meditation, all I have is my breath then you use your breath is not just what you hold inside you but the minute you release it, it becomes one with all of the nature around you. The trees are providing you with oxygen. They are taking your carbon dioxide. You are interconnected with all life. You come out of your shell and the universe is not centered around Alberto anymore.
Dave: That is profound and just happy to have you on the show to talk about it because it is hard to get to the point of this because there are so many conflicting ideas and people talking about. There is this dogma, that dogma, but what you are talking about here is that N=1 and you can try a practice and the practice doesn’t have any values or behaviors you have do about it. It just changes the way you think about something and you like it you keep it. You do not, you don’t. There is great value in that.
Alberto: Precisely, yeah. It is the experiment that we have to do in order to maintain our health and take our health with us into our later years because there is enough of us listening to the show to make up a really big statistical sample, and we know that 29% according to science will die of heart disease, 30% of cancer, dementia will hit 1 out of every two people, 50% if you live to be 85, you have diagnosable Alzheimer’s.
That is just the bell curve and only one of us or two of us are going to die in the arms of his or her beloved at the age of 120 after great sex. All of us want to be that. We got to break out of the bell curve. We got to stop being a statistic. We got to create psychosomatic health. We got to marshal these resources. They used to be called spirituality but spirituality really is extraordinary human performance. There is not this mushy save my ass because I am not incapable of saving myself. It is really the awakening of extraordinary capabilities that we all have.
Dave: It’s one of those things that I wish I had picked up when I was much younger because there was so much you can do with that once you have the information, once you.
Alberto: Well, the way I learned about it is that I was 27 and I was broke. I was a graduate student and I had a research grant from a large Swiss pharmaceutical that offered to pay my expenses for three months if I would go into the Amazon and help them discover the next big cancer or dementia or heart disease drug and I said well, they are offering me for three months I can live for a year and a half. It was Swiss Franc, so I went off into the Amazon into areas that had seldom ever seen a white man. The kids would come running up to me and they would rub my skin if the white dirt would rub off.
Three months later I came back to Lima, Peru, from the Amazon, checked into a hotel, took a nice hot shower. They asked me what did you find? I said I didn’t find anything because the people that I visited had no Alzheimer’s. They have no cancer. They have no heart disease. If you look at the statistics, and there is good science behind this but even in America in the year 1900 Alzheimer’s cases were 1 in 100, hadn’t even been names or discovered yet. Today they are one out of two, 50% by the age of 85. Autism one out of 20,000 children, 100 years later 1 out of 60. Cancer …
Dave: That may be conservative on autism what you are talking. It is probably on its way to 1 in 25.
Alberto: It is extraordinary. It is frightening. It is terrifying. What are we going to do, wait till this 1 in 10, one in two so that experiment of N=1 is becoming really urgent because if you are diagnosed with Alzheimer at 85 it means that 30 years earlier is when the damage begins. That’s when you have to prevent it. That’s what the shamans are really good at. They are really good at prevention.
Dave: Where can people find your book? One Spirit Medicine, is there a URL that you want them to go to to and find out. I am sure that everyone listening is saying I think I want to read this book. That is science and some other stuff in there.
Alberto: Yeah, it has got a lot of good science, and it has got the ancient science in it to and it is going to piss a lot of people off. That was my intention. I mean if you don’t piss at least half of your audience you are not doing your job, and my agenda is I want to be valuable. I don’t necessarily want to be liked, but I want to be valuable.
One Spirit Medicine you can get it at Amazon or at our website thefourwinds.com that talks about our energy medicine training programs or you can go to onespiritmedicine.com and there are all the sciences there. The science is now supporting what medicine men and woman discovered 10,000 years ago when then had the Paleolithic diet and the Paleolithic belief systems.
Dave: There is a question Alberto that I have asked every guest including you when you were on the show last time which is what are your top three recommendations to people who want to perform better. I am going to change the question for you and ask you given all of this knowledge you have what are your top three recommendations for people who want to discover their inner healer. You want to do to your body what you have done to yours. What are your top three most important things?
Alberto: First you got to be able to laugh at yourself at least five times a day, regularly. Laugh at yourself and really cultivate the humor. Second, practice kindness and compassion beginning with yourself. Let me elaborate on this one. This has to do with the practice of non-suffering because pain is inevitable. It is part of life. Suffering is optional. Practice non-suffering. Practice compassion with yourself and others. The third is that you know what Armand Hammer said, he said that if he had know he was going to live this long he would have taken better care of himself.
You got a body. Work it out. Exercise it. Feed it right and be blissful. Practice bliss and this is what we came here to do. We came here to dream the world into being and not to thrash and suffer through life. We know how to do it. One Spirit Medicine is a small contribution to that. I love what you are doing, Dave, because that’s your mission and your vision.
Dave: Thanks Alberto. That means something extra special comment for me because I really value your teaching and you wisdom. Thank you for being on Bulletproof Radio.
Alberto: Thank you so much.
Dave: Had you liked today’s episode, I certainly did, this was a great interview, please do me a favor. Head out there and pick up a copy of Alberto’s book. That would be incredible. It will be good for you and it will be good for him and it would be good for me actually because I would love to see that happen. I really want Alberto’s work to hit the New York Times because it is going to help a lot of people and also buck yourself up. All right, hit on whatever in Itunes, click like or thumbs up or whatever it is you click on Itunes to say that this was a good episode, I always appreciate that too. Have an awesome day.