Organizing 82 pages of book notes is no small feat. I’ve never had this much from one book.
Quotes abound caught my attention:“Just as thoughts are the language of the brain, feelings are the language of the body. And how you think and how you feel create a state of being.” Click To Tweet
Some material instantly becomes a timeless classic. Between my own experience and reports back from enough people, Dr. Joe Dispenza’s book Becoming Supernatural (BSN) [Amazon] fits squarely in that category.
I’m skeptical by nature.
From years of digging through science journals, I have a nose for sniffing out “woo-woo B.S.”.
Joe merges the spiritual world of unknowns, with the latest science. He’s performed quantitative analyses and brain scans on attendees of his advanced world-wide workshops for years.
What are you capable of?
Dr. Dispenza’s believes that you’re selling yourself short. Incredible results from his students show that every human has untapped potential. Challenging preconceived notions about your limits and the capabilities of the body. Browse the internet and you’ll come across countless first-hand accounts of BSN literally saving lives.
No short Becoming Supernatural book review does it justice. Should you choose to pick it up, you’ll emerge a different person. What follows are a few of my BSN notes and highlights.
When Science Doesn’t Have the Answer
I’d be remiss not to bring up scientific validity.
Joe does a good job weaving the admittedly sparse research together, but some people complain that the book “isn’t scientific enough”. Meticulously orchestrated studies don’t come out of thin air. Without the deep pockets of industry backing, who would fund unprofitable research? There are zero incentives for free, widely available, and simple treatments.
On one hand, I get it. Peer-reviewed conclusions make abstract concepts skimmable and concrete. There’s a glaring flaw with over-relying on intolerant systems:
Scientism is quite new.
Modern science has been around for 300-400 years and tries to explain everything in the 14 billion-year-old (plus) universe. Unsurprisingly, it often comes up short.
Heck, science is still constantly discovering new side effects from the oldest modern pharmaceuticals. Like 120-year-old Aspirin. Much of the human body is still a black box. Growing up I remember learning that we only use ten percent of our brains. A now laughably inaccurate myth corrected by one of my neuroscience professors.
Don’t forget, not too long ago meditation/mindfulness research barely existed. Meditation works. As I’ve pointed out in:
Fruitless rituals don’t survive millennia.
Ayurveda and other forms of ancient medicine provide yet another framework for understanding life. They started before, survived, and continue to evolve alongside modern science.
Truth is, you might not be ready for the book yet.If you're hung up on what's possible and not possible, as defined by 100-year-old antiquated science, Becoming Supernatural isn't for you. Click To Tweet
Three years ago, nothing would have convinced me. There’s zero shame in putting BSN in a “later” pile to revisit later.
One day modern science will catch up. Until then, you’ll have to test Joe’s teachings yourself.
Becoming Supernatural: Energy as The Unifying Force You Don’t Want to Believe
I could further summarize the entire book in just one word.
These days the word is overused. We all embrace energy throughout our lives but feel uneasy when it’s mentioned in the same sentence as health, human physiology, and biochemistry.
Energy organizes, connects, and governs all the laws of nature. It’s the backbone behind Newtonian physics.
- When an emotionally charged person walks in the room you feel their “vibe”.
- Radios convert frequencies, a form of energy, into sound.
- X-Rays emit ionizing radiation energy that directly damages DNA.
- Medical equipment can measures the electromagnetic field emitted by the body.
Humans run on electricity, a form of energy. No one questions that the heart, brain, neurons, and organs wouldn’t work without it. Yet it’s still taboo.
Organs store energy too. Joe told a supernatural story:
After a young girl received a heart transplant, she had vivid nightmare of being murdered. A psychiatrist was convinced that the girl’s detailed account was real. The police opened a case from the girl’s detailed account of the murder. It turned out that the heart’s donor was murdered, and the police used the transplant recipient’s exact description to catch the killer on a previously cold case.
We cannot see energy, so it garners little attention. But energy is key to our biology. If you’re a skeptical scientific (like I was), read the books Healing is Voltage [Amazon] and The Body Electric [Amazon].
Becoming Supernatural: Predictable Thinking
Thoughts create your life.
The only way we can change our lives is to change our internal state (how we think & feel). We do this via a strong thought paired with powerful emotion. More on this later.“If you focus on the known, you get the known. If you focus on the unknown, you create a possibility.” Click To Tweet
Thoughts start off harmlessly but quickly influence the way you feel. Once you start to feel a certain way, you generate more thoughts that reinforce this feedback loop. Good or bad.
Soon you’re caught in a loop where your thinking creates feeling and your feeling creates thinking.
Internal thoughts can become more real than anything occurring in your external environment. Think about it:
- Stressful thoughts fire up the fight-or-flight reaction pathways and your body responds by sweating
- Healing thoughts activate regeneration pathways and you feel blissed out
Meditation is a potent tool to change our internal state. Recognizing thoughts as they arise inserts a wedge between the thought and feeling. Enabling you to shutdown disempowering thoughts before they turn into feeling bad, and replace them with better-serving.
Your genes don’t change (and you can decode them with special software).
Thanks to an emerging branch of science, called epigenetics, we know that environment and lifestyle impact our genes. It’s said that “genes load the gun, and lifestyle pulls the trigger”. If we can’t change our genes, we’d better make sure that our finger’s nowhere near the metaphorical trigger.
That trigger is your internal chemistry. Specifically your thoughts. They flip the on/off switch. Your thoughts alter the material world.
Building Muscle Without Exercising
Mental athletes can build physical strength.
One study showcased the profound power of the mind:
Participants in a study imagined flexing one of their biceps as hard as they could in five training sessions a week for 12 weeks. Every other week, the researchers recorded the subjects’ electrical brain activity during their sessions and measured their muscle strength.
What’d they find?
On average, participants increased their biceps’ strength by 13.5 percent, without using their muscles at all.
In other words, they literally built muscle with their mind. An example of thoughts becoming things.
And it gets sweeter.
They maintained this gain for three months after the training sessions stopped. Maybe you don’t care about building muscle though.
Mastering Piano Without Touching A Piano
Perhaps you’ve always wanted to master an instrument.
They can be expensive, cumbersome, hard to find, and a pain to store.
A group of Harvard researchers took a group of volunteers who had never before played the piano and divided the group in half. For five days, half practiced piano exercises for two hours. The remaining half did the same thing, but just by imagining playing the piano—without physically moving their fingers in any way.
What’d they find?
Before-and-after brain scans showed that both groups created a dramatic number of new neural pathways related to motor coordination. Meaning that you can learn piano with only mental rehearsal.
Reprogramming Your Human Operating System With Mind Movies
The nervous system is the electrical wiring of your body. Your autonomic nervous system (ANS) is like a control panel governing involuntary actions.
The ANS makes your life easier by automating so many processes. Imagine having to remember to breathe.
Scientist thought it couldn’t be controlled for decades. They were mostly correct.
During normal beta-brainwave states of everyday life, we cannot alter the ANS.
However, as we slow down our brain waves, we gain access to our bio-operating system. Reprogramming this human control panel doesn’t require computer skills. Joe explains that when you calmly linger in theta and gamma brainwaves (see my list of ways to generate gamma brainwaves), the ANS auto-reprograms to match your current state.
That’s how you transform limiting behaviors, beliefs, and habits into potent performance enhancers.
So how do you slow down brain waves to go from beta into theta and superhuman gamma levels?
Meditation, special breathwork and an upgraded affirmation technique Joe calls “mind movies”.
I scoured the internet for Mind Movie examples, and found one that really stands out:
The Unusual Pairing That Makes Affirmations Actually Work
Graphics plastered with motivational self-talk and quotes never worked for me.
Self-development 101 says they should.
Something about them always felt off to me. I couldn’t quite place it. But they lacked umph.
“The thought ‘I am fearless’ never makes it past the brain stem, which means you’re not signaling the body and ANS into a new, specific destiny.”— Joe Dispenza
You can “encode” affirmations to actually work.
Emotion brings electrical and chemical charge to your sensory information — cementing memories. Applying this same concept, Joe talks about positive affirmations at great length.
Effective affirmations need two things:
- A symbol or phrase
- Strong emotional pairing.
Together, they have a potent subconscious altering effect:
- Emotion catches the attention of the ANS and makes you more suggestible.
- Vocal affirmation slips behind the conscious mind, embedding positivity and healing into your subconscious.
Emotionally paired affirmations do both.
You can either reinforce the negative neural circuitry involved in stress, suffering, and lack.
Better yet, you can use this technique to overwrite limiting beliefs with powerful regenerative beliefs.
Capping the Downside of Emotions"Emotion is the chemical residue of experience". Click To Tweet
This is one of those knowledge bombs that’s stuck with me. It succinctly summarizes why emotions dramatically influence health. Emotions are the bridge between experience and memory.
In fact, think back through any vivid memory and you’ll discover a powerful emotional pairing. That’s how memory works (use it to your advantage when studying or learning).
We can go a level deeper.
Emotions are energy. And different emotions produce different amounts of energy (frequencies). Not only causing measurable electrical change but influencing other people too.
Joe talks a lot about the harms of negative emotions on health. I would have liked to see him recognize their constructive use. Like a warning light in a car, recognizing the source of negative emotions brings awareness to an underlying issue. Negative emotions are meant to be felt, recognized, acknowledged, and only then, healed.
Your Chemical Addiction
You’re a stress addict.
It’s not your fault. Stress is a double-edged sword. Without it you wouldn’t be alive. In the right doses (called hormetic eustress), it’s healthy.
It can help us hit deadlines and evade threats. The human-machine is meant to switch on (stress), followed by a period of downtime (low stress).
Few of get adequate downtime. Losing balance predisposes us to virtually all chronic diseases.
Learning how to build personal resiliency helps us handle greater stress loads. The more stress we can shoulder, the better we take on life.
Back to the original claim.
Merriam-Webster defines addiction as:
“A compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence.”
We’ve already established that thoughts can have harmful effects and change the way you feel. Negative thinking can definitely lead to anxiety, tremors, or nausea.
But why is stress addictive?
You’re hardwired to seek sources of energy. Evolutionarily, the more energy you have, the better your chances of survival.
Your body notices energy sources and rewards their pursuit.
Bursts of adrenaline and stress hormones rush through the body, liberate massive amounts of energy, and chemically addict you to stress.
Where does this stress energy come from?
Daily reaffirmations from people and conditions:
“You might use your coworkers to reaffirm your addiction to competition.”
You might use your enemies to reaffirm your addiction to hatred.”
“You might use your parents to reaffirm your addiction to guilt.”
“You might use the news to reaffirm your addiction to anger.”
“You might use your ex to reaffirm your addiction to resentment.”
Over time that rush becomes less effective, so you subconsciously seek it more often to compensate.
The stronger the feeling, the more energy you’re wasting.
Tap Into Your Internal Pharmacy
There’s a pharmacy within you. Some incredible compounds flow through your veins and brain.
Joe mentions the wide range of chemicals you’re capable of producing:
Melatonin derivatives. You might know the sleep hormone melatonin and it’s feel-good precursor serotonin. Melatonin gets a lot more interesting. When stimulated, the pineal gland can conjure up some other lesser-known metabolites. Such as sedative benzos, antioxidant pinolines, and DMT.
For reference, DMT (called the “spirit” molecule) is the most powerful known hallucinogenic substance. It’s believed to be produced in minuscule amounts while dreaming, just before death, and from drinking the plant medicine ayahuasca.
Each of these pineal metabolites fits into the same receptor sites as serotonin and melatonin. Their messages, however, convey vastly different information. Together they open your perception beyond the normality of the five senses.
Hormones. You’re capable of using attention (energy) to epigenetically alter various hormone production site. Joe calls these “Energy Centers”. And they govern many hormones. Including vasopressin, oxytocin, testosterone, estrogen, human growth hormone, thyroid, renin and angiotensin, and erythropoietin.
IgA. The Thymus gland is known as the glandular fountain of youth. It protects the body from infection. According to Joe, “It’s more effective than any flu shot or immune system booster you could possibly take“. IgA’s one of the main immune proteins, but it’s destroyed by stress.
In his advanced workshops, students on average boost IgA levels by 49.5 percent.
What’s the secret to activating these substances?
Sustaining the feeling of positive elevated emotions. The process takes as little as five to ten minutes per day.
Warning: You’ll Want More
I picked up the book, read 200 pages, and lost my Kindle.
Very dismayed, I moved on. I kept feeling a strange magnetism to pick it up again.
Naturally, I like having complete notes, so I re-read the entire thing. Somehow, the second time through felt like a totally different book. Things clicked. The material flowed more cohesively.
I’m not sure what changed my second time through, but it struck a chord. I had meditated daily for years. Following Joe’s emotion + thought style meditations, for the first time in my life, I actually felt energy flow throughout my body. It takes some effort, but I now reliably produce the effect in most meditations.
The book does have one glaring flaw. And I’m not alone in thinking this, as I read the same thing in other reviews.
I feel like I’ve been sold.
I want to attend one of his advanced live workouts. For reference, I’ve never felt compelled to do a workshop from reading. But now the only question is when.
Becoming Supernatural: Ideal Living Starts From WithinBecoming Supernatural summarized in three words: thought, emotion, energy. Click To Tweet
I was immediately off-put by the concept of emotion in overall health and wellness. I didn’t acknowledge emotion until Joe exposed me to a new perspective.
I have to admit, I shouldn’t be impressed.
As one person put it, Joe just applied ancient wisdom to modern life.
“If you can’t get beyond your stresses, your problems, and your pain, you can’t create a new future where those things don’t exist.”
Becoming Supernatural posits that the quality of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.
The best part?
You’re in complete 100 percent control.
It’s not easy. Joe walks you through the different meditations, breathing techniques, lifestyle practices, habit formation, and creating “mind movies”. He doesn’t exactly hold your hand through the process, but spirituality is all about experimentation and finding what works anyway.
Becoming Supernatural has 2,600+ reviews since its 2017 release with a 4.8-star average. The reviewers aren’t wrong. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more eye-opening book.
Keep an open mind, look around, and become a lifelong student.