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Becoming Supernatural [Review]: Rare Mix of Science & Spirit

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) 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.” from miles away.

Joe merges the spiritual world of unknowns, with the best available science. Specifically, quantitative analyses performed over years of his world-wide advanced workshops.

What are your strongly-held limiting personal beliefs?

Dr. Dispenza’s work and incredible student results stand for themselves. They challenge preconceived notions about your limits and the capabilities of the body. The internet is brimming with first-hand accounts of BSN literally saving lives.

Becoming 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.

No short Becoming Supernatural book review can do it justice. If life’s a puzzle, this incredible book helped me connect a few pieces.

When Science Doesn’t Have the Answer

I’d be remiss not to bring up BSN’s 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 pharmaceutical-backing, who would fund unpatentable research? There’s zero profit in free, easily accessible treatments.

On one hand I get it, we all like the comfort of peer-reviewed conclusions. 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. I remember learning that we only use ten percent of our brains. A now laughably inaccurate myth taught by one of my neuroscience professors.

Don’t forget, several years ago the research around now-hyped meditation/mindfulness barely existed. Meditation works. Fruitless rituals don’t survive century after century.

Ayurveda and other forms of ancient medicine provide yet another framework for understanding life. They started before, survived and evolved 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, defined by 50-year-old antiquated science, Becoming Supernatural isn’t for you.

Three years ago, nothing would have convinced me. There’s zero shame in putting BSN in a “later” pile to revisit in five or ten years.

One day modern science will catch up. Until then, you’ll have to entertain Joe’s teachings yourself.

The Unifying Force You Don’t Want to Believe

I could further summarize the entire book in just one word.

Energy.

These days, merely uttering the word instantly BS filters. 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.

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 a taboo concept.

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), check out the books Healing is Voltage and The Body Electric.

Your Daily Dose of Predictability

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. Stressful thoughts fire up the fight-or-flight reaction pathways. Conversely, healing thoughts activate regeneration pathways.

"Your biology doesn't know the difference between vividly reliving the past, and the actual event occurring. Dwelling on the past causes a continuous cascade of neurochemicals equivalent to the original event. Click To Tweet

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 feelings, and replace them with better-serving.

Genes don’t change.

Thanks to an emerging branch of science, called epigenetics, we know that environment and lifestyle impact our genes. Our internal chemistry can ramp up or shut down the expression of genes. Like flipping the on/off switch in a factory assembly line. Where does this internal signal come from?

Your thoughts. And they alter the material world.

Building Muscle Without Exercising

Mental athletes can build physical strength.

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.

Becoming a Pianist 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.

No problem.

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.

Reprogramming the Human Operating System

The nervous system is the electrical wiring of your body. Your autonomic nervous system (ANS) is like a control panel governing involuntary actions.

Things like heart rate, breathing, urination, repairing damaged cells, making infection-fighting antibodies, secreting hormones, and controlling sexual arousal.

The ANS makes your life easier by automating so many processes. Imagine having to remember to breathe.

Scientist thought it couldn’t be modified for decades. They were mostly right.

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, the ANS auto-reprograms to match your current state.

That’s how you transform limiting behaviors, beliefs, and habits into better ones.

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:

An example of a well-done BSN Mind Movie

The Unusual Pairing That Makes Affirmations Actually Work

Graphics plastered with motivational self-talk 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." Click To Tweet

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, and 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, into the subconscious.

Emotionally paired affirmations do both.

You can use this technique to overwrite limiting beliefs with powerful healing & regenerative beliefs.

Or, sadly more common, you can reinforce the negative neural circuitry involved in stress, suffering, lack.

Capping the Downside of Emotions

"Emotion is the chemical residue of experience". Click To Tweet

This is one of those knowledge bombs that 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 one level deeper.

Again, emotions are energy. And different emotions produce different amounts of energy (frequencies). Emotions not only cause measurable electrical changes but they influence 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, and acknowledged, and healed.

You’re Chemically Addicted

stress addiction

You’re a stress addict.

Before I explain, it’s not your fault. Stress is a double-edged sword. Without it you wouldn’t be alive.

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 us lack stress. Downtime becomes. 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 thought patterns 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 a massive amount 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, and you seek it more often to compensate.

Worst of all, it’s probably subconscious. And the stronger the feeling, the more energy you’re giving away.

Tap Into Your Internal Pharmacy

There’s a pharmacy within you. Some incredible compounds flow through your veins.

Joe mentions the wide range of chemicals you’re capable of producing. A few types stand out above the rest.

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 hallucinogenic substance known. It’s believed to be produced during in minuscule amounts while dreaming, just before death, and especially prominent in the spiritual plant medicine drink 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 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 so powerful that it’s better 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 for 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 shelved it for a week and moved on. I kept feeling a strange magnetism to pick it up again.

Naturally, I like having complete notes, so I had to restart to recapture my lost notes. Somehow, the second time through felt like a totally different book. Things clicked. The material flowed more cohesively.

I’m not sure what changed the second time through, but it struck a chord. Previously I had meditated daily for seven 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 want to attend one of his advanced live workouts. For reference, I’ve never done anything remotely like this. Now the only question is when.

Becoming Supernatural: Ideal Living Starts From Within

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. Put in some work, and you can reprogram your limiting subconscious beliefs and build your ideal life.

But…

It’s not easy. The process takes work. 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 be a lifelong student.

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