[Transcript] – Recapture the Rapture: Alchemist-Like Cookbooks, Carbon Dioxide & Nitric Oxide Inhalation, Sexuality, Music, Mind-Enhancing Substances & More With Jamie Wheal.

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Transcripts

From podcast: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/jamie-wheal-recapture-the-rapture/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:00:51] Podcast Sponsors

[00:03:55] Guest Introduction

[00:07:23] What the Heck is a “Neuroanthropologist?”

[00:15:07] What Does It Mean to “Recapture The Rapture?”

[00:23:26] A Contrarian View of the End Times

[00:29:04] Podcast Sponsors

[00:30:53] Jamie's Creative Writing Process

[00:43:25] How Prostate Massages Bring One to A New Level of Consciousness

[00:48:32] The 5 Big Techniques for Achieving a Peak State of Flow

[01:00:44] Why Sex, Drugs, And Rock and Roll Mark the Beginning of Civilization, Not The End

[01:04:49] About Circular Breathing

[01:10:04] Meduna's Mixture

[01:23:38] How to Use Breath to “Steer” Your Psyche

[01:28:02] How to Work Directly with Jamie

[01:34:21] Closing the Podcast

[01:34:48] End of Podcast

Ben:  On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Jamie:  They're like, “Oh my gosh, sex drugs and rock and roll are going to be the end of civilization.” But in fact, sex, drugs and rock and roll were actually the beginnings of civilization. Our people are better off. Never mind the skid marks. Let's get there as fast as possible, is what sets us up for an awful lot of sociopathic solutions and movements, states we've ever had that often appear to be meaningful and can offer them to guide their way into a more courageous life to live.

Ben:  Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.

Alright, if you didn't hear yet, my cookbook is here, is launched. People all over the world are sending in photos of these wonderful wild meats, and grilled recipes, and sous vide, and pressure cookers, and smokers, and smoothies, and cocktails, and crazy acai bowls. Every weird recipe I've come up with, that my kids have come up with, my wife's lovely sourdough bread recipe is in there, beautifully laid out with tips, with the science behind the meals. You can wrap your head around why it's good for you. By the time you finish this book or by the time you just cook a few of the recipes in this book, you are going to amplify not only your appreciation for good food and how to cook it, but also nutrient density, digestibility, health. This book is designed for, as the name implies, boundless energy. You go to boundlesscookbook.com to grab this cookbook now, boundlesscookbook.com. Check it out.

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Alright, folks, he's back. My guest on today's podcast is Jamie Wheal. Jamie just wrote a new book. It's called “Recapture the Rapture.” And he actually did a podcast with me last year in which we previewed the release of this book. We talked about biohacking sex, and tantric breathwork, and plant medicines for orgasmic enhancement. And following that particular episode, my wife and I actually went on a hotel retreat and tried out just about everything Jamie and I talked about in that show. I don't recall getting much sleep that night, but it was certainly quite a bonding experience.

Jamie, as a matter of fact, at one point in the evening, we were just so high on life that we left the hotel and went walking around town for about two hours, and stopped at some random bar, and sat out on the patio, and enjoyed an amazing meal together, then went back to the hotel room. It was like an eight-hour foray with the restaurant stop and a walk-through town kind of like halfway through.

Jamie:  Yeah, dude, exactly. That's actually one of the best things everybody does, dinner and a movie or whatever they do out on the town as sort of foreplay. But in fact, if you actually do it, if you reverse it and you do it as afterglow, you just go out into the world just happy as clams and stoking out the world. Yeah, it's super fun.

Ben:  Yeah. It was like afterglow/foreplay because we went back to the hotel after and just kept going. So, anyways though, as you listen in might imagine, Jamie covers some pretty wildly stimulating topics in his books. However, he also delves into a lot of visionary thinking. He calls himself, I believe, a neuroanthropologist. I'll let him clarify what exactly that is momentarily, but this new book finally came out. It's called “Recapture the Rapture: Rethinking God, Sex, and Death in a World That's Lost Its Mind.” And what Jamie does is he combines this unique flavor of neuroscience and psychology, but then he throws in a bunch of practical stuff like breathwork, and movement, and sexuality. And this book brings all that together. And it has this basic big idea that we're suffering culturally from a collapse in meaning, and that fundamentalism and nihilism are filling that vacuum with consequences that are affecting all of us.

The book is split into three sections. The first part is about the coming apocalypse, so to speak. The middle part, which is my favorite part, and to be honest with you, probably the part that will focus on most today is called “The Alchemist Cookbook.” That's the most dog-eared section of my copy of “Recapture the Rapture.” And then, the final third is called “Ethical Cult Building.” Now, Jamie also wrote “Stealing Fire,” which is also a great book. How Silicone Valley, Navy SEALs, and maverick scientists are revolutionizing the way we live and work. He founded the Flow Genome Project and he speaks all over the world. He's in high demand based on his outside the box thinking. And he lives in the Rocky Mountains in some off-grid cabin somewhere. I don't know. It's probably something he can't talk about because when not writing, he can be found mountain biking, and kite surfing, and back country skiing, and I'm sure he doesn't want anybody to bug him. However, he is being bugged today by me. So, welcome to the show, Jamie.

Jamie:  What an intro and psyched to be back and jamming with you, Ben.

Ben:  Yeah. Word, man, word. Or as we say on my show when I'm interviewing you, not jamming, Jamie-ing, right, or Jamie-ing? Okay. So, I have to ask you, what the heck is a neuroanthropologist? Did you just make that up?

Jamie:  Yes, 100%, but it gave me permission to do the thing that I realized I've been doing all along. So, my academic background actually through grad school was in actual historical anthropology. That was legit amount of training, which is just how do you assess and compare different cultural approaches to the same fundamental human condition across time and space. And Wade Davis, who's a friend and one of my mentors, he's the Harvard ethnobotanist and National Geographic explorer and residence in a real-life Indiana Jones. He said something I think really profound in one of his TED Talks. He's like, “We have to stop thinking of other cultures as deficient attempts to be our culture.” You have to look at them intrinsically in their own milieu and build up from there.

So, that's anthropology. But for me, neuroanthropology is really taking a look at interesting things that you see around you in the world where that happened in your life and say, “Okay, that's interesting.” Now, who else has done similar stuff across time and space? And then, you start seeing patterns. You're like, “Oh, we're not the first, we're not the last. How else have other folks approached this?” And then, you start getting a pattern language of whether that's belief, or whether that's breathwork, whether that's sexuality, whether that's substance use, or whether that's innovation with technology, whatever, like nothing new under the sun.

So, you go back and you get a case study of half a dozen examples, a dozen examples. And then, you can start extracting what are the commonalities. And then, the narrow part, which was really recent, like we've only even had this capacity for the last few decades, is to say, okay, if it's shown up across centuries around the world, that's probably there. Why does it work? The neurobiological patterns, what's under the hood? What are the actual mechanisms of action? Because most culture comes wrapped in mythologies. We do this thing because our God gave it to us, or we do this thing because we've always done this thing because your great, great, great, great grandpa did the thing. But very rarely do we strip out the mythology and just look at and understand the technology. What was the functional mechanism of action?

So, neuroanthropology is backwards looking retrospective. But once you get that and you're like, “Okay, this is the source code of why the things work,” then you can engage in the process of culture architecture, which is forward-looking. Now, that we understand why things work the way they do, we don't just have to bring them wholesale wrapped in their stories. We can actually just bring through the how they work and the why they work to build more effective, more vibrant, social, and human organization.

Ben:  Interesting. And it seems like there's also a lot of philosophy woven into your writing and almost like social theory. Was that all things that you covered in college or in university in neuroanthropology studies? Or is that just something that you sprung into being interested in along the way?

Jamie:  Yeah. I mean, I would think that's probably coming out of most of my academic training. I mean, I was all but down on a Ph.D., like I've done all my coursework by the age of 22. So, I'd gone lickety-split through this academic system. And then, I just got to the end of it and I realized I was actually hopelessly naive about what being an academic entailed these days. And I had to really look long and hard at it and go, “Oh, actually, I'd rather go out in the world and do stuff than be down in the basement assessing tax records and dusty old data.” So, I came to the conclusion. I was like, “Oh, I love, love, love reading, whether it's “Guns, Germs, and Steel,” or “Sapiens” or things. I love reading brilliant people within the disciplines even more than the how the sausage is actually made, crunching a bunch of really tired and dry stuff myself. So, I was like, “Let's go out and live. Let's go out and build stuff.” Those frameworks and structures of how to look at race, class, gender, environment, belief systems, ideologies, all of these things, and look at how they intersect and how we got to now, I would say that's been a foundation for all my other curiosities.

Ben:  Yeah. It's so interesting. Like nowadays with SPECT scans, and QEEGs, and all these methods of quantifying the brain, it would be interesting to, say, like go back and see what the prefrontal cortex of the founding fathers was doing in terms of taking an information and categorizing it, and relating it to other pieces of information and see from an anthropological standpoint how much of American culture, for example, is influenced by the neurology of our founding fathers or something like that. It'd be interesting to fast forward 100 years now that we do have access to that data and will be able to say, “Okay. Well, here's how Bill Gates, and Ray Dalio, and Jack Dorsey, and Jamie Wheal, and Ben Greenfield influenced culture in this day.” And I'm totally just throwing our names in there to make us sound like we're amazing cultural influencers.

Jamie:  We'll draft off that list all day long. Yeah. I mean, a very specific example just to ground this for folks is in the study of this book and the preparation to write the section on respiration, I was looking at how does prayer work around the world. And there was a study on Tibetan, om mani padme hum, like that kind of classic Tibetan incantation comparing it to the Catholic Hail Mary, Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. And there were parallels with them effectively entraining people into alpha wave EEG frequencies said in a certain way with rosaries. So, you're kneeling, you're staying in front of votive candles, or there's visual stimulation, flickery, dim light. There's smells. There's the smells and bells of incense or candles. There's an icon in front of you, whether it's a patron saint, or it's a [00:13:23] _____, or benevolent deity in Tibetan Buddhism, whatever it would be. So, you've got a bunch of things, or even in a sort of–what do they call them in interrogation, a forced posture? There's something posture.

Ben:  I don't know. I've never been interrogated.

Jamie:  Yeah, exactly, but like kneeling for an extended period of time without your butt on the floor. It's a restriction. It actually changes how you can breathe and all these kind of things. And then, you're engaged in a forced respiratory pattern with tactile stimulation. So, like offload your prefrontal cortex and executive function. You're now just feeling your way along your mala beads 108 times, or in a Catholic rosary, something else. So, you're offloading conscious working memory. And then, you're doing a 9 second or 9 Hertz repetitive breath pattern, which entrains you into 9 Hertz alpha wave states, and you're like, “Oh, okay.” So, it totally makes sense given all of those, just again, neurophysiological substrates to what is a cultural, religious, spiritual practice. Yeah, you can totally bet that the odds are greater than average that something interesting will happen for those folks when they enact all of those things. But there's a substrate that's shared across culture and you're like, “Oh, neat.” This is how we clever monkeys do stuff. This is how we build the layers of our socially constructed worlds.

Ben:  It's fascinating. Well, my wife and I were having dinner last night out on the porch with the boys, and as we usually do in the evenings, having a family dinner and eating some fish and playing a game. I mentioned that I was going to be doing a podcast interview this morning and she said, “With who?” And I said, “With Jamie Wheal.” She's like, “Well, who is he?” And I said, “Well, he wrote this book called ‘Recapture the Rapture.'” And she said, “What's that even mean?” I said, “What do you mean?” And she said, “Well, what's that mean recapture the rapture? What's the rapture mean?”

I was trying to explain it to her and I thought, you know what, this would actually be a great question for Jamie. In terms of the whole idea of a rapture, the way that I understood, especially the first part of your book, was that we have woven into human culture this idea of an oncoming kind of like cataclysm or rapture type of event. And it seems that the book is centered around that type of event, but can you explain the title behind the book? What does recapture the rapture actually mean if you're stuck on an elevator with my wife?

Jamie:  Well, I mean, I think the first part, the most succinct description I've heard of it is Yeats's poem, “The Second Coming,” which is about like, “What misshapen beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem.” That one, the sort of spooky one, he wrote after World War I. In the last four, five years, it's become the most searched poem. “The things fall apart; the center cannot hold,” was the most searched keyword in 2016. The Dow Jones Wall Street Journal did a semantic analysis on it. So, clearly, it's up for us, right? Like, what is happening right now? But buried in the last stanzas of the poem, he says, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with a passionate intensity.”

And it really seemed to me in the formulating of this book, it was like, wow, man, it really does feel like the crazies have hijacked the mic. It feels like there's this huge moderate middle of really decent live and let live hard working people that just want to shoot at pursuing their dreams and having their kids live a better life than they got to. That's the way it's always been as we're entering increasingly intense in consequential times where our collective challenges absolutely mandate collective solutions that we are being led astray by passionately intense minorities. So, the recapture the rapture became kind of a play on words. It was rapture. Hey, we're all jacked up, stressed out, isolated, lonely, anxious, depressed. All the things that folks are facing and wrestling with these days.

So, we need to recapture our rapture. We need to process our grief and our trauma. We need to remember our inspiration and our highest purpose. We need to connect to each other and high trust, joyful relationships. And we need that as a rocket fuel to face the challenges ahead. But then, there's also the Rapture, which is where are we going at the end of days' kind of thing. And can we steer this in a way that forges solutions that work for all of us, not just a tiny fraction of us? And can we do that together?

Ben:  Yeah. For me, growing up Christian, the rapture was always within the branches of like American evangelicalism, this end-time event, when all the believers who are alive rise into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and the bodies become resurrected. And that's been my own flavor of what exactly a rapture is. But it sounds like one of the things that it seems going through the pages of the book is that culturally or anthropologically, this idea of a rapture is woven into most cultures.

Jamie:  Yeah. It's fascinating, actually. And I've shared this because I've been so geeked on it. But there's a fellow, John Gray, at the London School of Economics, who wrote a book called “Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religions and the Death of Utopia.” And he just lays out this thesis which blew my mind. I don't know whether I'm just super nerdy. Maybe, Ben, you've got equal geek cred. But basically, he just made a very convincing argument that in the West, at least in the Judeo-Christian West, we have a very unique version of time. So, for almost all indigenous societies, hunter-gatherer societies, and even preindustrial agrarian societies, time was mostly cyclical. It was the seasons, and it went around and around. It was ouroboros. It was the snake that eats its tail. And there was a sense of very little forward motion through history and a whole lot of, same as it ever was, what comes around goes around.

And the Hebrew tradition that really instantiated that in the beginning was the word, and at the end there's an end, the Alpha and the Omega, that broke the secular time, and then hammered it into time's arrow. The specific contours of that story are really familiar to us, but so familiar we don't realize that they were actually novel once upon a time, which was there was a time back when all was perfect. And indigenous traditions, that's when we could talk to the animals and this and that. Obviously, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, it's the Garden of Eden. Then there is a fall from grace that somehow starts history. There was a suspended animation in the past, Ben. Then history begins and there's a fall from grace of some sort.

And then, there is this moment or inflection point that got the Omega point, the end point, where that changes, and then we're delivered to a heaven on Earth or off it. And John Gray's point was he's like, “Look, that is such a deep groove in our mythopoetic narrative structures, the stories we tell,” that it even shows up in the atheist movements, or like socialism and communism in the 20th century that the communism was effectively that identical story just minus God. There was the idea that we were happy hunter-gatherer farmers, then the fall from grace was the rise of the capitalist owner class. And man is everywhere and born everywhere in chains. Then there is this redemptive movement of the communist–the revolution and the communist utopia that we all live in happily ever after.

And that could just be like a sort of nerdy historical sidebar until you look around today. And then you realize, oh my gosh, everybody from techno-utopians, like we're going to upload our consciousness to computers, or Elon's going to give us Neuralink and we're all going to be smarter than AI, or blockchain is going to take over the world and we're all going to be living in super groovy independent city-states, and never mind all the countries, and all the taxes, and this and that. Or it's Seasteading or it's more volatile versions like Identitarians or ISIS or anything else. You realize, holy smokes–or psychedelic new-age magical thinkers that were all going to vibrate out to the fifth density. You've got techno-utopian, you've got magical spiritually, you got fundamentalist traditional. You got all sorts of versions and they almost all follow that same pattern.

And the pot that's so insidious and tricky is that no matter how they slice it, they're all 1% are solutions. My 1% might be the moral. It might be the fellow believers. It could be the meritocratic. It could be the smartest, the best, and the brightest. It could be economic. You've got a quarter of a million bucks for a ticket to a space colony. Whatever it is, they have thin-sliced solutions. As a result, they all share a same four-stage framework. And this is what I would classify as like a working checklist to say, “Is there a rapture ideology in play?” Which is the world, as we know it is screwed and there's no saving it. It's actually more messed up than it is salvageable.

There's an inflection point in the near future coming soon and we can see it from here. We can point at it. We can anticipate it. We might even put a pin in the calendar. On the other side of the inflection point, our tribe, our people, we are actually better off [00:22:50] _____, no matter how scary the road to get there is. And therefore, let's accelerate to get there as fast as possible because happy days are ahead for us and it's the last two. Our people are better off, and never mind the skid marks. Let's get there as fast as possible, is what sets us up for an awful lot of sociopathic solutions and movements. And so, that was the hot intention of saying, “Hey, I just want to ring the bell here. Is anybody else seeing what I'm seeing?” And if so, we should all be in this conversation together.

Ben:  Yeah. And you briefly alluded to the idea of calendar. Again, that's what I think is funny because I used to walk into the Christian bookstore in Lewiston, Idaho where I'd grow up. And inevitably, every year, there'd be the new book about when Jesus' return was going to happen, or when the rapture was going to happen. First, it was going to be in 1844, and then 1981, and then 1988. And then, I think the most recent one was based on astrological theories like 2017. Fortunately for me, I grew up a little bit more postmillennial and still believe that in terms of the Christian approach to the rapture, that the entire tribulation foretold in Revelation in the Bible and all of that was fulfilled during the Jewish Roman War back in kind of like 60 to 70 AD-ish when Jerusalem was destroyed. And that now, the world isn't necessarily going to hell in a handbasket fast forward into some intense apocalyptic event. But instead, everything is getting better and better and better as heaven on earth just gradually comes to life.

So, I fall into the camp of guys like John Bunyan, or Jonathan Edwards, or Charles Finney when it comes to the way that I view the rapture or the apocalypse. So, fortunately, I haven't had to worry or pay attention too much to the calendaring because I really think it's irrelevant. But in the first part of your book–

Jamie:  Wait. Just so I'm tracking it because I've never heard that perspective–

Ben:  Oh, really?

Jamie:  Yeah. So, you feel like the moment was the–this was the collapse of the Jerusalem Temple, like the renting of that.

Ben:  Yeah, exactly.

Jamie:  That was the moment that John of Patmos and anybody else was signaling.

Ben:  Yeah. Like, [00:25:13] _____ was the beast. Basically, all of that is in the past, has occurred, has been fulfilled. And now, we're already living in this new heaven and new earth that is slowly coming to be, and that Satan has already been bound, and all those horrific events that we see in Revelation that people equate to like Black Chinese helicopters and all that. All of that, that's bunk. All of that was just the foretelling of the destruction of Jerusalem.

Jamie:  Okay. And then, so your assessment of like we're already living in the heaven on earth is just that for anybody who's not experiencing love and light right now, anybody who's dealing with a real hardship and things that you're just saying, yes that, but we're on a definite [00:25:56] _____. So, it's almost like a Steven Pinker-ish twist to millennialism.

Ben:  Right. The knowledge of the glory of the Lord will be covering the planet as the waters cover the sea. I forget the Bible verse that says that, but I think we're just in the process of that happening. Like people actually becoming closer and closer to God and in love, and peace, and joy being something that is going to simply continue to take over the planet. And that yeah, like I said, basically, the world isn't going to hell in a handbasket. Things are just getting better and better with some obvious speed bumps along the way, but that we don't have to worry about this massive apocalyptic event.

Jamie:  I think they've done all sorts of studies. I mean, more accurate people are more pessimistic and more depressed. And willfully optimistic people, even if it may be sometimes in the face of the facts, actually tend to do better. You know what I mean? That, to what you've just articulated, feels like a very pro-social and adaptive worldview even if you could go factoid by factoid and say, “Is it or isn't it “really happening?” The fact that you're enacting it increases its likelihood of happening.

Ben:  Right, exactly. I mean, you could take something like COVID, for example, and look at the majority of the Christian Evangelical Church. Kind of like shrugging into a certain extent, not to paint with too broad of a brush, almost like saying, “Well, this is the beginning of the end.” We've got the great reset and the new world order and it's all happening, and we're screwed so we might as well just step back and watch this whole thing crumble. Whereas I say this is a chance to cover more people with love, and peace, and joy. And perhaps a lot of I guess the improvements in everything such as healthcare to telemedicine, to the ability to be able to work from a home office and be with your family more, all of these are actually positive outcomes of, yeah, a briefly problematic viral scenario. But when you're able to look at life through that lens, I found it to be incredibly refreshing and almost piece bestowing to be able to have that type of approach versus kind of like an apocalyptic approach.

Jamie:  Yeah. I mean, in ski mountaineering, one of the things we do is you tend to climb the thing that you're then going to ski. And on the climb, you're paying attention to everything that can kill you, all the loose rocks, the snow, the depth of the snowpack, what's going on, what's going on. But by the time you're standing on the top, A, you look around and you're inspired by the view, and that's why you went in the first place. And then, you click into your bindings and then on the route down, you completely change your perspective. And all you're looking for is that ribbon of white that you have to stay on and connect, and you completely tune out the rocks and everything that can kill you because if you don't and you focus on them, they sure as hell going to kill you. Where your head goes, the body follows, right? So, to me, it's that dialectic. It's like, can we take clear-eyed looks at situational assessments? And then, when it comes to go time, can we absolutely focus on the single path that is success? And let's go hit it.

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I would love to talk about this first part of the book, the “Choose Your Own Apocalypse” part for a long time. However, like I mentioned, I think that “The Alchemist Cookbook” section is actually going to be incredibly interesting for my audience, who are into all the things you talk about when it comes to respiration, and microdosing, and substances, and music. And I'd love to delve into a little bit of that, but I'd be remiss not to mention how funny and creative your writing is. During that conversation I was having with my wife last night, I said like, “Jamie is a really good writer.” Even if you're not interested in this book, you would appreciate a lot of–your subtitles, the intertwingularity instead of the singularity, or barbecue your sacred cows, or lexicon for the Ezkaton. It's like as I'm reading through your book, I just chuckle at a lot of the subtitles and a lot of I guess the word play that's woven in.

And so, as an author myself, I'm just curious, do you have an actual creative writing process? I mean, are you using some of the other elements of your book like LSD and prostate massage, and whipping some CO2 carbon to get you in the mood to write? How do you actually spark creativity and get yourself to be such a creative writer?

Jamie:  Oh, well, thanks, man. I mean, I'm super stoked. That landed in the way that it was intended, which is just like, hey, even if these are somewhat intense or heavy topics, we can and must still have play, still have fun with it. So, yeah. I mean, I grew up in a family where my dad did these crazy complex crosswords, and every other dinnertime was some Greek illusion or some Shakespeare quotes or this and that. So, it was very much kind of steeped. A little bit like growing up in England and our house was built in the 15th century. So, there was always ancient around me. There was always layers upon layers. So, I've always been like an etymological geek. Like I don't understand a word until I understand its root and its origin, and what's the story behind the thing, and that kind of stuff. So, that was definitely a baseline.

On the actual day today, because most of this book was written during quarantine, and our kids have been shunted back from college. We were suddenly four people rattling around in the house again. And I was like, “Oh my gosh, how am I going to do this?” And it was literally a set of Bose–and I told my editor at HarperCollins, I was like, “Oh, well, hey, look. This whole COVID thing happens. We've been on emergency first responder kind of roles for the last eight weeks. I'm behind on the writing.” She's like, “Oh, no, no, no. We're not postponing this again. This comes out spring '21 and you've got to have this shipped by September.” So, I had five months to write 400 pages. And I was like, “Holy smokes, okay. It's on.”

And so, basically, yeah, I got a $500 pair of Bose headphones because I absolutely have to go into my tunnel. I did a 16 ounces of a Yeti mug full of shade-grown, organic, high-octane coffee. And then, 2 to 4 milligrams of nicotine gum based on our buddy Andrew Huberman at Stanford, who was just touting the benefits of nicotine, which has never been a part of my life. And Brain.fm audio entrainment, and I would just disappear for three to four hours. And literally, I wrote this book off the top of my head because I was like, okay, I can't afford to go down any more research rabbit holes and I would just put TK where I knew there was a citation from something I read at some point and had my research team go back after the fact. And I just wrote off the top of my head. And I wrote 400,000 words in that time. So, that's the day to day, like how did I “biohack it?” But to your point on the inspirational stuff, I would say 80% of this book actually came from the place described in the book. This book is actually a recursive hyper object disclosing how to get to the place where the hyper object discloses itself, which I know sounds rather abstruse.

Ben:  Yeah. Explain what you mean by that.

Jamie:  Okay. So, my partner and I, eight or nine years ago, found ourselves through no skill or intent of our own being led down this rabbit hole of the practices described in this book. And then, the practices described in–basically the hedonic engineering or the sexual yoga of becoming, however we want to phrase that. And for anybody that's interested in the appendix, there's a study with 10 couples going through this whole experience with lots of their journal reports and all this kind of stuff.

Ben:  Yeah, where you took the whole–I guess almost like the whole, pardon if I use the wrong term, but almost like the sexual biohacking section of the book. And you actually did like an internal study with a whole bunch of couples using all of the things that hopefully we get a chance to touch on in a little bit here, and actually kind of like followed these couples along the course of them experiencing many of the elements of “The Alchemist Cookbook” section of the book.

Jamie:  Exactly. And the total mind-bending thing that I couldn't write in the book because it would just sound loopy or totally pretentious was that this was actually “downloaded” to us. We didn't think this shit up and it kept on coming through and we kept on having these experiences. And in the experiences of getting into delta wave EEG, high vagal nerve tone, primed endocannabinoid system, and the kind of basically global system reset of our nervous systems as we were learning to play with this thing, that's what's happening on the body-brain level. It's literally pressing the power button on your laptop and powering it down, and then powering it up. So, it's as close to a death/rebirth initiation ritual as you can do in the 21st century Western terms. But at the same time, you're also having the equivalent of an NDE or having the equivalent of a tunnel of light experience, which is super rich with content. And the content itself was the content of this book.

So, a few years in, I'm like, “Holy shit, Jay, I think I actually need to write about this. I think this is the thing. I think the reason we're receiving this thing is to then share the thing and tell everybody how this works.” And she was like, “You're crazy. Don't tell anybody about this.” And then, I'd set it aside for like three months or six months and it would keep coming back. And I'm like, “No. Actually, I think I have to.” So, it was a totally ridiculous path to conceiving and ideating a book and it was literally we have probably at this point, 30 to 40 hours of two to three-minute voice memos where we would come back from that liminal space and make a voice recording of the piece that we had just seen or had just been disclosed.

And then, that became the structure to the book. You can't exactly share that in a bookstore or a writer's workshop, but it was so profoundly interesting. It's why that last chapter of the book is where does the information come from, because my sense is in the psychedelic renaissance, and in meditative states, and all of these things, they often get really fixated on the method they use to get someplace interesting. But you're like, “Hey, I think it's the someplace interesting we should be talking about at this point.” It's effectively the Tetragrammaton, it's the Ark of the Covenant, it's the burning bush. You take your pick of analogies, but where is a place of absolutely perfect, implicate information that appears limitless in all directions?

And if you can tune a primate nervous system to be able to receive that information, it is the seedbed of–the Greeks called it the Muses. They literally had a divine entity. There's the grace of God and the Holy Spirit. Every society has always had some metaphor or descriptor of massively kickass information. Quite often, that shapes science, or shapes philosophy, or shapes our civilization technology that was bigger than the person who it came through, and they assign it someplace outside themselves. And you're like, “Well, what is that?” And can we actually start advancing the inquiry in ways that give us better understandings and appreciations of what I would just, in a super generic term, just call the information layer.

Ben:  Yeah. You know what's interesting, a couple of comments for my audience. First of all, just in case I didn't mention, I'm going to link to all of the things that Jamie and I talk about at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/recapturerapture. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/recapturerapture. But anyways, first of all, Jamie did mention one thing I need to clarify. He used the word TK. And just for those of you who aren't in printing in journalism, that means to come. I don't know why they don't call it TC, but it comes in quite handy when you're writing, and it's an abbreviation that signifies that additional material is going to be added at a later date. It is a huge friend for any author who wants to go deep into writing and not get bugged by, say, like delving into extra research as you're writing something, or you want to write–it's like you're on an airplane, you're not using Wi-Fi, and you know it's something you might come back to or add additional materials. So, you just add that TK in there. It's incredibly convenient.

And then, the other thing is when you describe, Jamie, how you'll do your big cup of shade-grown coffee and a 2 to 4 mig of nicotine gum and some Brain.fm. If you were an author alive 100 years ago, it would have been like the cup of cowboy coffee, and the cigarette, and the birds singing outside. But it's just that simple writer's way of putting yourself into an altered state. And I swear, nicotine and caffeine, all other fancy brain stacks, and methyl peptides, and CDP-choline, and piperine, and anhydrous caffeine, and everything else aside, when you step back and look at it with simplicity, nicotine, and caffeine are two of our writer's best friends. So, I'm right on board with that for some of my own writing.

Jamie:  Well, and actually, let me just add one additional things to the writing thing because for anybody that's considering it themselves, et cetera, which was because of the way this information came into my brain and mind, it was fully formed. And including the wordplays, and the puns, and that entire vital respiration protocol, all of them, it was ridiculous. It was just like little packets of complete information. And I'd be like, “Oh, shit, that looks fun, funny, interesting, beautiful, whatever. I should really remember that.” And that's really what it was. But trained as an academic, I knew the academic case I wanted to make, but I was also aware of like, man, A, this is a pretty shaggy dog story. This is big. And B, these days with thumb scrolling monkeys, it's not enough to simply make a compelling argument. You actually have to have plot tension. You have to have something that causes people to turn the page and keep reading.

So, I looked to Steven, and I was like, “Man, ‘The Hero's Journey' is the one that everybody goes to.” And at this point, it's tired and it's like the invisible structure of TED Talks. Everybody is regressed to do the mean. And now, even the ta-da moment in a TED Talk, you're all expecting the ta-da moment and it's just not that–it loses its magic. So, I'm like, “What is a plot structure that I can hang this on?” And Steven Pressfield, the fellow who wrote “The War of Art” and “Legend of Bagger Vance,” and he's an inspiration in the field of the odd of writing. He and his editor have put together something called the story grid and they're basically just like, hey, there's only something like 10 or 12 stories and they all follow certain beats. They all have obligatory scenes in them. And if you miss the obligatory scenes, then your reader is going to be under satisfied. But if you hit them, then the story has tension, has climax, and has resolution that feels like a good story.

And so, I used his framework for what he called a world view revelation story, which is the way we used to look at the world doesn't work. You then have this crisis. You then have to adapt or explore this new worldview. And if you do, then the new worldview will help you and save the day. But there's always an ironic twist at the end, which means it's not even quite like the way you thought it was going to be. And so, I had the 17 obligatory scenes and conventions and I laid those against my academic argument, and then wrote the story trying to hang the chapters and the plot points on those obligatory scenes. So, that's a structure behind the structure that hopefully makes it more accessible and readable for a reader to actually care.

Ben:  Yeah. And I was half-joking about the prostate massage, but I believe you get into that in the book, the idea that men have this erogenous zone that allows for an ejaculation free orgasm that you can just return to over and over again during the active lovemaking, or while you're masturbating, or whenever else you might want to orgasm. I'm one of those guys that just try stuff that are reading books. Correct me if I'm wrong, did you talk about that in the book?

Jamie:  I mentioned it, yeah. I mean, it was called the super orgasm, and it was just online community-based around this automatic prostate massage.

Ben:  Yes, that was in the book.

Jamie:  It was like [00:44:01] _____ muscle contraction. But the thing that was super interesting about that group is it wasn't sort of sexy time. I mean, if anything, it was a recumbent meditation practice. It was very rarely even including erection or ejaculation. It was breathwork looping sensations of prostate and vagal nerve into what these men were reporting became these overwhelming waves of euphoric sensation that they were saying is this multiorgasmic closer to a woman's orgasm or a spiritual state. So, once again, back to neuroanthropology, we're like, huh, what the hell is that about? And then, getting under the hood of like, well, why might that have been the case from the physiology?

Ben:  Yeah. And regarding the latter, that's actually what I wanted to get at. I actually went and I bought one of those–I believe it's called the Aneros, A-N-E-R-O-S, prostate massagers. And I've used it while simply sitting in a meditative position because as you breathe, and as you contract and relax the sphincter muscles as you breathe, and that's basically kind of like massaging your prostate. As you do so, it does actually shift you into–I'm actually not sure which zone I'm reaching. It feels like it's a little bit more theta, but it actually seems to enhance a meditative process. And I tried this a few times after reading about this in your book. And I mean, it actually is really simple because you just put it in. You get on your side, put it in, then sit up and sit to meditate as you contract. And it actually does allow you to reach a deeper elevated state of consciousness. It was very interesting. And obviously, some people might be grimacing at the idea of sticking something up their butt, especially men, thinking of targeting their prostate for a meditation session. But it actually is I think worth a try and kind of an interesting tactic.

Jamie:  Yeah. I mean, obviously, it's our discomfort with both our core bodily functions, our sexuality, even varying moral judgments on different substances. And of course we don't judge them all. We just judge the ones that are unusual or atypical for our community or country or faith. But we've got strong feelings about all these things. But if you just reduce this, if you just lop off our arms and our legs, and you just realize, oh, prefrontal cortex is connected to spinal columns connected to awesome genitals. We're just worms. And our vagal nerve, which starts in our brain stem and goes all the way down to our root, is one of the most potent metronomes that sets the rhythms and functionalities of so much of our vital organs, and even awareness.

And if you can shift and adjust those things, then you can have profound impacts on your state and well-being. And that typically, the closer we get to those basic evolutionary impulses, respiration, our vital organs and viscera, and things like the vagal nerve, and the endocannabinoid system, our orgasmic response, all these things, which again we have tons of feelings about social and cultural taboos about. But really, if you were just an anthropologist from space, you'd be like, “Hey, humans, here's your user manual. Here's how you work. Make the most of it.” And once you do that, you realize that you can have basically that notion of how do we precipitate that global system reset, which that's the biology of it. The culture of it would be a death/rebirth ritual, or practice, or initiation.

And typically, you do that by loading up the system and then pulsing a huge amount of energy through that, and that can be breathwork intensification, that can be pleasure pain stimulation, that could be orgasmic response, it could be vibration with sound and music, or even like percussive massage like Theraguns. You load energy through the system. Create a peak and then a deep recovery on the other side. And then, how do you feel? Who are you? And what have you seen or experienced on the other side of that? And you get to come back to homeostasis. You get to come back to 00 on your grid coordinates on time in tune and balance, and then just live forwards from there.

Ben:  Yeah, interesting. Okay. So, now that we've got prostate massage out of the way, let's delve into the five big techniques for achieving a peak state. I think that this set the pace for “The Alchemist Cookbook” section. And you talk about getting into this peak state, this state of flow. And obviously, like I mentioned in the introduction, a whole book about that flow state, and “Stealing Fire” gets into that, and “Recapture the Rapture” does as well. But what are the five big techniques that you write about for actually getting into a peak state?

Jamie:  Yeah. And just 30 seconds of preamble is to the why did we select these. There's obviously infinite numbers of different ways to shift states, to achieve access to the numinous, et cetera. The idea here was saying, hey, if we are trying to recapture the rapture, if we're trying to have a whole bunch of people around the world everywhere, wake up, grow up, and show up. Just find ways to seek inspiration and remember what we've forgotten. Healing men that were coming from our most resource place and engage the world in each other on a good foot. Then you realize, okay, so solutions can't be fancy and high-tech if you're trying to get to the bottom of four billion humans on the planet. It's got to be cheap or free, and it's got to be open and available to everybody.

So, then with that setup, you're like, “Okay. So then it would make sense that if we want to use the longest levers possible to try and move us as humans, and those longest levers are typically as close to evolutionary drivers as possible,” because it makes sense. If we are hardcoded to do it for survival, there's all sorts of neurochemistry. There's all sorts of rewards and reinforcements to get us to do the things. And other than eating, I mean, breathing is right up there. If we stop breathing, it's the first thing that kills us. So, we have powerful, powerful physiological incentives to breathe. And when we learn to monkey with that, when we can hack in the back door of that panel on respiration, we can totally change our physiology and our psychology.

Then you go next down the stack and you're like, “Okay. And if we don't procreate, if we don't make more humans, then we also die.” So, that's the next one that is massively, massively encoded now. The fact that we have so many hang-ups and taboos about it shouldn't say, “Oh, then let's not discuss it.” That too should also be a blinking neon sign going, “Hey, they are there.” The reason every civilization has taboos around sexuality, intoxication, all these things, is because if they would run the show, we'd never get anything civilized done. But sexuality as Kinsey, Masters and Johnson, John Lilly, all back in the '50s and the early '60s, discovered is that our sexual arousal, because it's so foundational, our sexual arousal circuit is found as the bedrock of our entire ecstatic and reward circuitry in our bodies and brains.

So, if we just live the default version of that, then our sexuality, our sexual impulses creates tons of trauma, tons of suffering, tons of heartache, and we're just puppets on the string of evolution. Evolution's immoral. It doesn't actually care whose genes poured with whose. In fact, if anything, it flies in the face of monogamy. It flies in the face of commitment, and fidelities, and all these things because it just wants a robust mixed-up gene pool. We can say version one of human sexuality is us puppets on the string of an indifferent evolution. Version two could be, hey, let's untie the strings. Let's do the Pinocchio thing. I want to be a real boy. How can we actually use all of those impulses and drivers not for instinctive procreation, but instead for deliberate integration? And if we can do that, that's fantastic. And then, we talked about embodiment. We're obviously all in these meat suits of ours and understanding, and I just took a moment to focus on things that not everybody wouldn't necessarily always be talking about.

So, specifically, the endocannabinoid system, pleasure, pain as hot-wired circuits, and what is the interrelationship between those vagal nerve and the capacities for us to understand what does embodiment do–what does optimizing our bodies and brains do for our minds and hearts. So, you've got respiration, sexuality, and embodiment. Those are very obvious evolutionary drivers. But then you throw in two force multipliers, which is music and substances. And interestingly, those might almost seem superficial compared to the other three. But the moment you study–like Ron Siegel at UCLA has established that intoxication is not just humans. You can't even go back in history to find the point when we first figured it out. It predates us. It goes through the entire primate family. It goes into many, many mammals, from elephants all the way to birds. Crows and ravens get lit.

So, you're like, “Oh, this is ancient, ancient, the desire to shift state as an evolutionary adaptive advantage.” And it's clearly not when you're wobbly and cross-eyed and falling out of trees. That's not an adaptive advantage, but the seeking of novelty, the interruption of patterns and ruts, and they're being able to jump the tracks and come up with your chocolate in my peanut butter. Those are the movements, that intoxications. You're like, “Okay, that's ancient and essential.” Ron Siegel even calls it our fourth evolutionary drive.

Ben:  Right. That would check wandering around your backyard, might have just chewed on some morning glory seeds to fuel with some variant of LSD. He's shuffling to and fro in an altered state of consciousness, or I would say an enhanced state of consciousness. I don't even like that word intoxication because it brings to mind that you're consuming some toxic drug. I really don't feel as though one must sacrifice sobriety, so to speak, or awareness of one's own–where one's body at is that in space. As a tradeoff to using these types of substances, I think that these altered states of consciousness can enhance almost like as a microdose might, our productivity, or our creativity. And you're right, they are the icing on the cake of respiration, or embodiment, or sexuality. But I'd never want to give people the impression that in order to achieve a peak state, you need to consume a toxin, or you need to be in a state that would not mirror, say, something close to sobriety. I think that's where a lot of people fear this stuff. They just think, “Oh, it's a poison that's shifting me into a drunk state,” when in fact, it can, but it doesn't have to.

Jamie:  Yeah. And again, my interest is always popping up a level from the doorways or the keys to the actual–what is the view from the balcony? And in this instance, I think it's fair to say that what is really healthy is for us to have a full range of neurophysiological and psychological experience. And anthropologists call cultures that have just one channel of consciousness, one that's approved as monophasic one phase. But most indigenous cultures were polyphasic. They had a bunch of different channels. So, yes, there was waking state. You talking to me and me talking to you. And that's making mouthly sounds, but there was also the dream I had last night. There was possession, there was trance, there was visions.

There were all sorts of other “non-ordinary” means of information, retrieval, disclosure, and sense-making. And they were valued, and they were integrated. And it wasn't just considered noise, or chatter, or errata. And then, postmodernism, post-French enlightenment and scientific materialism, all these things. Our dial got rusted shut and we're all yearning for more range. And you can see it even in intermittent fasting. We're like, “Oh, shit, it's probably not a good idea to have 100,000 calories in a big, refrigerated box just across the couch from me at all times, juiced with salty, sweet and fat, and I can't stop.” So, we're like, “Hmm, intermittent fasting. Probably not a bad idea. That might even be healthy. How about contrast therapy?” It's probably not always good to be just living an entire 12 months in 72 degrees, whether I'm in a box on wheels or in a box called my house. Maybe I should get super hot and super cold from time to time.

I mean, you can see it in the entire biohacking movement, is we are seeking to reestablish and to expand the range of our physical and emotional experiences because it feels health-giving. And I think within that, that's where the subset category–and what about deliberate state shifting tools and technologies? Because it can be substances and compounds. Oliver Sacks, the NYU neuroscientist, famously said that. His drugs offer a shortcut. They promised transcendence on demand. So, say what you will about them, but they work and they work within deliberate time windows and where you're trying to instantiate the thing.

But if anybody has any concerns in any shape or form about exogenous compounds or substances, things that aren't inside me that I ingest, just consider the tried-and-true fasting, extreme endurance physical activity and/or darkness. And if you wanted to really combine them, you can do a 9 or 10-day Vipassana retreat while fasting into silent darkness, and things will get massively, massively non-ordinary. And there's no special whizbang tech there other than the old tried and true. And when ethnologists have gone back to try and figure out what was this shamanic magic potion of the Greeks, or of the Hindus, or of an African tribe, or wherever they're looking, and quite often when they find the plants that seem the most likely candidates, they're often somewhat underwhelming from a pharmacological point of view.

Like I feature in the book, this tribe in Papua New Guinea that had three plants they worked with. They worked with ginger, tobacco, and then mushrooms. But the only mushrooms at the higher level like ginger and tobacco, you're like, “Really, seriously? What's the deal with that?” But you combine it with age, strong and pure, and freshly grown, and harvested, and much higher nicotine content than contemporary tobacco and those kind of things. But also, fasting, extreme privation and exertion. You're priming, and all-night rituals, and all the culture, and all the juju surrounding it. And you're like, “Oh, so this was just one element. This wasn't relying solely on the chemical as the depth charge to get the whole project done.”

Ben:  Right. And for those of you who might think that this book is not for you after hearing Jamie described a 10-day silent meditation retreat in a cave while fasting, in our previous podcast episode, we talked about this concept that Jamie lays out of hedonic calendaring. Meaning that those types of experiences might be once in a year or once in a decade in the same way that you even described I believe in “Recapture the Rapture,” Jamie, the idea that, for example, the type of intense ayahuasca retreats or plant medicine journeys that people seem to be almost like overusing these days are something that might be reserved for, say, a rite of passage into adolescence or adulthood. And then, sharing that space with your spouse on the evening of your wedding, and then maybe on your 40th birthday.

It's this idea that these are sprinkled few and far between throughout one's life as these deep, immersive experiences. And perhaps some of these other ways to shift into a peak state might be used throughout the week such as chewing on nicotine gum and drinking shade-grown coffee while writing. Don't feel, if you're listening in, as though this is about continually seeking events that just thrust you deep into these altered states of consciousness because there's definitely this concept that Jamie gets into called hedonic calendaring.

And Jamie, you talked about four techniques, respiration, embodiment, sexuality, substances, and then I interrupted you as you were delving into that fifth way of achieving your peak state.

Jamie:  Yeah. Good old-fashioned tunes, right? I mean, there's a beautiful Hasidic saying. It says there are nine levels of prayer. Above them all is song. And again, music can seem like a sort of Johnny-come-lately, especially compared to the others. But Daniel Levitin at McGill University in Canada has written a book called “This is Your Brain on Music.” And he and other ethnomusicologists have made a fairly convincing case that there's this evidence of music. There's bone flutes discovered in caves that are dated at 50,000 years. And clearly, flutes were not the first there. You probably had gourds, and rattles, and drums, and those kind of things, massively predating [01:01:34] _____ and tonal instruments. And that predates for sure any level of symbolic language and those kind of things.

And his case was, is that that was probably actually the way we started to communicate. So, pre-complex syntactical language like what we would think of sentences with verbs and subjects or objects and that kind of stuff that we were communicating via rhythm, melody, and voice. And we were using it for essential social bonding and survival, and whether that was staying awake at night through a campfire to ward off predators, whether it was organizing work, or hunts, or war, or any of these things. You get this goofy situation where frightened parents in the 1950s and '60s, when it was kind of like Elvis, and Woodstock, and The Beatles, and this kind of stuff. They're like, “Oh my gosh, sex, drugs, and rock and roll are going to be the end of civilization. It's going to undo it all.” But in fact, sex, drugs, and rock and roll were actually the beginnings of civilization.

Ben:  Yeah. I remember you saying that in the book. That really struck a chord with me is this idea that we vilify sex, drugs, and rock and roll. And I know there's a whole political movement behind that, everything from Reefer Madness to the Nixon and Reagan administrations and beyond. But there's this idea that when you think about it, a lot of what you've just described for achieving a peak state, I mean, you mentioned sexuality, you mentioned substances, and you mentioned music, and that's basically sex, drugs, and rock and roll. And those have actually been used to build civilization and bring cultures together and weave humankind along this path to personal growth or cultural growth, and we're kind of like hardwired to experience those. And in many cases, I guess there's even this idea that farming, and agriculture, and the emergence of, say, grains for fermenting and everything were all just a way to figure out how to organize around sex, drugs, and rock and roll in a more efficient way.

Jamie:  Yeah. And even as far as going back and taking a look at Jared Diamond's research, he's the fellow that wrote “Guns, Germs, and Steel.” He's a UCLA anthropologist that many folks have probably come across. But he wrote a book called “Why Sex is Fun?” And actually makes the case that our human sexuality is even more weird and of an outlier than our toolmaking and upright posture. It's the third leg of that stool. Typically, when we think of us going from naked age to clever humans, it's our opposable thumbs, our ability to wield tools, our ability to make language. It's like our completely unique sexual habits and patterns, and even physiology or morphology, and what our bodies look like, and how they behave and function is so different than the entire rest of the animal kingdom, including our closest primate cousins because you have to consider that the neurochemical priming of repeat, frequent, elective, recreational, year-round sexuality in humans is one of the things that actually changed us and made us Homo sapiens, not just Homo erectus.

Ben:  Okay. So, we've got these five big techniques for achieving a peak state, respiration, embodiment, sexuality, substances, and music. Respiration, I'll tell you the truth, I flipped to that part of the book first just because I've got such an interest in breathwork, and I've been deep in James Nestor and Patrick McKeown, and some of these other folks, and going through their books also. So, I flipped to your breath chapter first. And you began actually by talking about this concept of circular breathing and the use of this didgeridoo musical instruments as a device to learn that. And I'm just curious, have you ever–because I've thought about attempting to learn that. Maybe using a harmonica or something just so that I'm annoying fewer people with a giant didgeridoo in the living room. But have you ever attempted circular breathing? And also, can you explain that to folks?

Jamie:  Yeah, absolutely. And the short answer is yes, we learned to play them. You can go on Amazon and there's little super cool–they're maybe 12, 14 inches high little wooden boxes with two sound chambers in them. So, you can learn to play a didgeridoo with this little thing that fits in a laptop bag.

Ben:  Do you know what it's called?

Jamie:  Gosh. I mean, literally do like didgeridoo box or something like that. And if not, I can send you the link.

Ben:  I'll find it and put it in the shownotes.

Jamie:  Yeah because A, ultimately humans, we learn best by play. And so, given any form of something that is engaging, frustrating, satisfying when you get it, and then you can tweak it and learn more and keep going kind of thing, that's how we really acquire sustainable skills. One of the things that intrigued me was the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the folks who award the Nobel Prize and that kind of stuff, are also cutting-edge research institution. And probably five years ago, they released a paper on nitric oxide production, which is a neurotransmitter that crosses the blood-brain barrier and it sweeps away stress and arousal, chemicals, and introduces what Herb Benson at Harvard called the bliss molecule. It introduces all the groovy things of nice peak states.

So, it's a very helpful and very effective neurotransmitter. And the Karolinska Institute folks found that when you breathe and vibrate your sinus cavities, so when you breathe out through your nose and vibrate your sinus cavity at the same time, that kind of a thing, you increase nitric oxide production in your brain by 15 times, which is insane. That's this ridiculous, ridiculous performance booster. And then I was like, “That's interesting.” So, on the one hand, you can do your yoga or you can do your sitting meditation and you can be humming while you breathe. Great. So, mildly embarrassing, but still decently effective. And I'm like, “Wait a second. That is exactly what you have to do when you're playing the didgeridoo because it's this long tube. It looks like something out of Dr. Seuss, this wooden trumpet. And you blow on it, but then the way both trumpet players like Louis Armstrong, but also indigenous didgeridoo players, learn was if you blow out your cheeks like a bullfrog. You blow outward until your lungs are almost empty, but you've got that extra pocket of air in your cheek. And then, you can squirt that air through your lips while you're simultaneously sniffing. So, you should have forever squeezing and sniffing at the same time as this goofy, herky, jerky motion. But once you get it down, you can effectively keep playing continuously for as long as you want.

So, that was where I was like, wait a sec. I bet that you take that new Karolinska Institute research on nitric oxide production, which then tends to put you into a trance state. You have the vibration of that wooden trumpet, the didgeridoo, and you have perpetual forced rhythmic, circular, nasal breathing. I bet that does a thing, doesn't it? And then, you go and research, and you look and you're like, “Oh yeah, that's exactly how aboriginal elders would play themselves into dreamtime.” And they would then enter this non-ordinary state of information access, et cetera. And as soon as we started combining all the research, you're like, “Wow, that is an ancient neurotechnology for trans induction and traveling, and it's as simple as making music with a very specific and unusual breathing pattern.”

Ben:  Interesting. I'm going to have to get one of those little boxes and give it a go because it's always been on my radar to try this circular breathing just because I've seen some of the same research on things like nitric oxide production that you bring up in the book, and that you're just talking about.

Jamie:  Well, and a simple fun way is grab a drinking straw and try and blow perpetual bubbles into a glass of water, and you can just do it by blowing out your cheeks. We actually do these in workshops and stuff to give people progressions on how to become like what is respiratory mastery. And that's one of the really fun ones that you can do. Simple practice.

Ben:  Okay. My twin sons and I are going to have fun now. Straws are getting broken up tonight, the giant curly straws. Oh, yeah.

Alright. So, related to that, because I want to talk about a few things that maybe folks don't know about when it comes to breathing and gas in general. Meduna's Mixture, what is that? Why did you write about that?

Jamie:  Yeah, it really was. It was a total accident. Roger Walsh, who's an MD, PhD at UC Davis, he was one of the coiners of the term transpersonal psychology. He's been one of the guiding lights of that generation of academics elders. And he's actually responsible for that, queuing me onto that monophasic and polyphasic distinction about cultures and their ranges of consciousness. But he actually gave me a copy of his book, “Higher Wisdom,” and it was a–basically, like an oral history of the first wave of psychedelic researchers. Stan Grof and the 1950s to early 1960s, before even Ken Kesey and things get wacky and weird for the electric Kool-Aid era.

So, back when Sandoz LSD was a research chemical, when it was at UCLA, was in Manitoba, it was at Stanford. It was at completely rigorous and aboveboard places. And at first, I was like, “Thanks so much, Roger. I deeply appreciate it.” But I think I know all these stories. I did my diligence back in my 20s. And I sat on my shelf for a while. And then, I pulled it off and it just flipped open to a chapter of somebody I hadn't heard of. And suddenly, they were describing that in the late '50s up in Manitoba, they were using this other thing called Meduna's Mixture as a screening tool. They're having people breathe this gas blend. And they were using it as a screening tool to check to make sure someone wasn't going to freak out when they actually did the proper LSD sessions.

It was from Ladislas Meduna, who was a Hungarian researcher at the same time that Stan Grof was still over there. So, before Stan Grof had even come over to the states and plugged in at Johns Hopkins. And Meduna had been using this mixture to try and create basically a sort of respiratory induced epileptic seizure-like a grand mal seizure because he was hoping–and this is the era of electroconvulsive therapy like jumper cables to the brain and that kind of stuff because everybody realized–I mean, they were barking up the same tree we're talking about, which is how do you induce a global system reset? And if you can, it seems to help or resolve or ameliorate a host of different conditions from epilepsy to bipolar to, you name it, when we have those moments of coming back to 00 where we often start better than we were.

So, that's what Meduna was trying to use it for. And that never quite panned out, but the LSD researches including Grof realized, wait, when you do this–and it is a, let's think what's the ratio is, it's 70% oxygen, 30% CO2. It ranges, but when people say Meduna's Mix, that's typically the ratio they're referring to. So, it's if atmospheric oxygen, air has roughly 20% oxygen, then you're looking at three and a half times the O2 you actually need. So, you're massively, massively oxygenated. But when we exhale, we have roughly 4% CO2. And instead, you're getting 30% CO2. So, way more carbon dioxide than your brain is used to register. It gives you this paradoxical situation where you're safe as house as you couldn't. You've got more O2 to the brain than you ever would on a month of Sundays, and yet you have this absolutely overwhelming sense that you're dying of suffocation.

Ben:  That simultaneous increase though in carbon dioxide and oxygen is something that's difficult to attain. Most forms of breathwork, you're breathing off CO2, retaining oxygen, or vice versa. It's pretty uncommon to be able to retain both high levels of CO2 and oxygen. But this idea of inhaling–and there are even devices. If you google carbogen, you can find–I think it's like a $400 device that comes prepackaged to your house. You can actually wear a mask and breathe this stuff. And that idea of exposing yourself to that shifts what's called the bore curve in physiology to the right. You get more oxygen dumped off into tissue.

But what's interesting, and I think I talked with James Nestor about this, is training the body to be able to tolerate those higher levels of carbon dioxide. Kind of like a cold bath increases stress resilience and the production of both heat shock and cold shock proteins to induce greater cellular resilience and resilience to stress overall. The high levels of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream can do the same thing. And I believe that breathing this type of mixture is actually being used to do things like treat people's anxiety or allow them to deal with anxiety more efficiently.

Jamie:  Yeah. And the thing that had prompted me to go down this rabbit hole in the first place was that the subjective reports of several. In one book, I think I came across it three different times in three different chapters, was that patients who had been breathing the carbogen as a screen for the LSD had then gone back and said, “You know, I did both and I think I actually got more out of the carbogen. I had more profound insights. I had more non-ordinary state experience, et cetera, than from the LSD itself.” And that was back in the day, right? I mean, this was Sandoz' finest pharmacological grade and high dosage LSD. So, nothing to sneeze at. And it was just CO2 and oxygen was doing even more.

So, to me, that was a fascinating inquiry because once again, there is a little bit–I mean, it's a goofy analogy, but I think of professional wrestlers like WW–is it E or F?

Ben:  I think there might be both.

Jamie:  Plenty of it. Right when they're about to go and do a super huge move, they go running into the ropes and stretch them like rubber bands, and then use that rubber band stretch to come back and launch a pile driver onto their opponent. My sense is is that with all of these protocols, there is a degree of heading in the opposite direction of where you're trying to get. You load the system. And so, if you're trying to get to a really calm, integrated reboot, you actually go shoot the moon. You do that, but one of the best ways to do that is by cultivating the most intensive peak experience possible, and you can then sequence these.

So, the project we're working on right now is to actually sequence this gas-assisted protocol. And you start with this carbogen, and then light and sound that is understandably scary, oppressive, dark imagery, sad, discordant music, all of these things, while you're breathing carbogen, because that's the one that makes you feel like you're being buried alive to the point where you literally get to snapping. Can't take it anymore. You dissociate into, I've just died, whatever. I've given up the ghost in some way. And then, seamlessly transitioning into celestial euphoric, the gas blend then shifts to nitrous oxide and oxygen blend.

Ben:  Nitroxygen, I think you call it in the book.

Jamie:  Yes.

Ben:  Literally like the whippets that we talked about in our other podcasts that you can use for sexual enhancement. Literally, I guess that's what they're called, whippets, where you use the little whip cream canister, cartridges, and the balloon. Is that what you guys were using to deliver the nitroxygen?

Jamie:  No. I mean, we use medical-grade gas splitters so you can actually–

Ben:  Oh, you're so professional.

Jamie:  The ratios and those kind of things. I mean, the challenge with any time you're inhaling a pure gas that doesn't have oxygen is no surprise hypoxia. I would say it's not advised, and certainly not to be misused. But yeah, with a gas splitter, you can dial the ratios. And the strongest ratio you can do, they have set points on them, is 70:30 nitrous oxide to oxygen. And that's still ensuring 150% oxygenation over anything else you'd be doing.

Ben:  Okay. So, that's basically the vital respiration protocol that you talk about in the book combining carbogen and then doing nitroxygen?

Jamie:  Yeah, with static apnea, right. So, then you're doing the full inhalations and maximum breath-holds, and then seeing how long can you remain in that space without thinking. And what the nitroxygen does is it shunts you for 3 to 12 minutes into double amplitude delta wave EEG activity, which is, A, very rare. Usually, we only enter delta in deep dreamless sleep. B, double amplitude. This was discovered at MIT by a team of anesthesiologists. They're like, “What the hell? We've never seen this. We didn't expect this and this appears to be a thing.” We were working backwards from knowing that the experience delivered these transcendent repeat insights. We're like, “We know there's [01:19:00] _____. Now, these guys are telling us what the mechanism of action is. Oh, shit, it's double amplitude delta.”

And interestingly, the brain normalizes and adapt. You can't just go camp out there for hours at a time. After that 3 to 12 minutes, you go back to baseline in potentially alpha-beta, and you lose access to that information because it's only disclosed down in delta. And you get back up into conscious waking state prison-house of language territory, and it slips through your fingers, which is what William James, Winston Churchill commented on back in the day. And then, you're like, “Okay. Now we've got our–” the same way like carbogen was this rabbit hole to go check out and you're like, “Oh, fascinating. Those are [01:19:41] _____.”

The same thing with these delta waves because that MIT study did it. We knew from Herb Benson‘s work at Harvard that nitric and nitrous oxide had some form of interrelationship and some contribution to peak states, neuronal signaling. And then, Karl Deisseroth at Stanford did something with ketamine, found that that was 3 hertz, which is within the delta band. If you think about it, 0.1 hertz to 4 hertz is the delta wave. That's the lowest EEG, below 0.1, you're effectively brain dead. There is no neuroelectric activity. So, we are right on the doorstep of a near-death experience.

And what folks have found were the antidepressant benefits of ketamine, the antidepressant and anxiolytic effects of nitrous oxide. Pretty much anywhere you look, they're like, “Oh, it appears to intercept the hypothalamus and create a brainstem reset.” It affects the brainstem. It stimulates the brainstem. The stimulation of the brainstem seems to correlate with the EEG signature of delta wave states. And what Deisseroth at Stanford found was he's like, “Okay. Ketamine seems to benefit people for depression because they have a dissociative or out-of-body experience. And that stepping outside yourself appears to help you when you come back to yourself.” Okay. Then he found that it was 3 hertz signature in certain locations in the brain. Then he went back and electrically stimulated 3 hertz without the ketamine. So, no drug intervention now, just electrical stimulation of the brain now that we know what it did. And the same dissociative experience happens. They have the same out-of-body state and the same positive benefits to their mood and well-being.

So, now you're like, “Okay. So, that vital respiration protocol.” And really, even all of this hedonic engineering can become, oh, how do we do everything possible to let a person who's tired, wired, and stressed, who's jacked up, messed up all the things, were carrying the burdens of life, would get to have an experience that both charges us up to build lots and lots of energy in our system, releases it in a blissful white light culmination, and then lets us ride that wave, double amplitude, delta EEG, brainstem reset, high vagal nerve tone, and full discharge and reboot. And even if it was content-neutral, even if it was just like white noise static that whole time, you would wake up feeling like a million bucks, like, “Whoa, boy oh boy, I just feel like I just had my oil changed 15-point inspection. I'm ready to go.” But it's not neutral. It's usually some of the most profoundly inspired and epiphanic states we've ever had that often appear to be overwhelmingly meaningful and can often guide their way into a more courageous, higher integrity, more creative, more effective life to live.

Ben:  And by the way, I should caution people, alcohol is one of the best ways to reduce delta wave activity. So, you'd never want to combine this preferably with any form of alcohol. But one thing I do know that actually increases delta wave EEG activity that I don't think you mentioned in your book, but it would be interesting to toss this into the equation, is there's an injectable peptide many people use to enhance deep sleep called delta sleep-inducing peptide. And literally, as the name implies, it induces delta wave EEG activity. And that would be interesting to see how that plays into the nitroxygen and carbogen breathwork mix that you just described to see if you could shift it just a little bit more into delta wave state.

Jamie:  Have you checked that out at all? Have you tested it against?

Ben:  No, I haven't tried. I mean, I've used the delta sleep peptide, but I haven't combined it with that. And I've only used it for sleep, now for altered states of consciousness. So, it'd be something interesting to try, or it'd be something interesting for one of our listeners to try and perhaps just leave comments over in the shownotes.

One other thing regarding breath that you talk about that I think is–it's going to be interesting for people because I'm actually working on an article right now about nootropics and how to blend different nootropics to accelerate or break neural activity, such as if you were to, say, like overdose on a microdose of LSA or LSD for productivity, how to combine things like L-theanine and creatine, and bacopa monnieri, or black seed oil. Some of the things that actually break the excitability or irritability that might occur from overconsumption of something one might consider to be an upper or an accelerant. You actually get into the same type of concept regarding breath. You layout acceleration, and breaking, and steering. And I'd love for people to hear a little bit about what that actually means. Like, how you could use something as simple as breath to accelerate, or to break, or to steer one's psyche.

Jamie:  Yeah. I mean, the intent there was that I think there's a lot of interest, but also hype and false complexity as people are getting into breathwork these days. And just to try and really, really ground it, which is basically saying, hey, you can upregulate how you're doing. You could add more pep or juice to what you do. That would be the acceleration. You can downregulate how your body and brain are feeling. So, you can basically take a little heat off the ball. So, if you're feeling stressed, agitated, those kind of things, you can meaningfully slow yourself down to a more autonomic, receptive, sort of parasympathetic state. And then, you can also transgress what you're doing, and that would be the steering. Like, can I go someplace else? Can I see what another way of being alive and receiving information feels like?

We know just intuitively examples of all that. I mean, a classic one is Tony Robbins bouncing up and down in his mini tramp and huffing and puffing. Or Michael Phelps breathing fast and slapping his back before stepping up on the block. So, really, you're like, “Okay. I'm getting ready to do a high energy, high output, high consequence thing.” Or ski racers in the gates where they puff and they bang their poles together. That is an upregulation technique. The opposite could be, or I'm going on that stage and I'm scared out of my mind. So, I take a few slow breaths and I'm really trying to see myself down around, or I'm walking down the aisle, or Lamaze breathing. I'm trying to actually dump energy from an aroused and stressed system. And then, there's the steering or transgressing states of consciousness. And you alluded to them earlier, Ben, but hyperventilation in some combinations with breath-holds is a very effective way of exploring different states and it's because it blows off CO2, it pushes our blood into the alkaline pH, and that has all sorts of knock-on effects to consciousness. Once you realize that, you're like, “I'm in charge of my consciousness and I'm in charge of it with my hand on the lever, which is as simple as it could possibly get, which is what is the rate, depth, and rhythm of how I cycle air through my body and lungs.”

Ben:  Yeah. It's similar to something like using a–because I actually do this, like a Wim Hof protocol prior to a really cold ice plunge doing the entire inner fire prodding on my esque breath-up, which would be an accelerant. And then, once any dizziness has subsided, shifting to the cold tub straight into a box breathing protocol. And that would be an example of like an accelerant followed by–box breathing is a little bit of–it's like a combination of breaking and steering to a certain extent, although I consider steering to be something I would use more for like a meditative or a plant medicine experience, especially for some deeper plant medicine journeys you can usually use your breath as fuel to actually literally steer you into different places. But this idea of recognizing that breath is not just for relaxation, not just for distressing, nor is it just for amping ones up that can be used as both an accelerant and a break-in as a steering mechanism is something that you unpack in the book. And I thought that was super interesting and something that a lot of folks probably don't think about.

Now, I know we're running a little bit short on time, but you've mentioned a couple of times that you do workshops that you have people come in and try some of these things or learn from you. Is that something that you do out there in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado? Do you travel and put on events? Or if somebody actually wanted to work with you or with your team, how does that actually work?

Jamie:  Yeah. We're doing one in the mountains near Aspen in Colorado in a few weeks' time. That's unfortunately all full up. But then we do other things for groups like YPO, and we also do adventure courses in Utah, in Baja. We basically try and follow the hydrologic cycle of the seasons, right? So, the snow falls in the mountains and we can do ski, mountaineering, and leadership things. Then the snow melts and it goes into the aspen groves, and we do mid-summer gatherings, and then it flows down into the rivers and the canyons. And we go canyoneering and adventuring in the fall, and that it pumps out to the Sea of Cortez. And we do kite surfing, and free diving, and those kinds of things in Baja. And that's our cycle. We just follow the seasons.

For flow camp this summer, we're also doing pretty much everything written in the book, which is martial arts with an aikido mastery. We've actually trained SEAL Team Six, as well as Tony Robbins, deep body work, Acro yoga, Theragun massaging, all sorts of things for bodily integration. We're doing intellectual in theory, but we're also doing percussion. The band Rising Appalachia is going to be there. We're doing everything from gospel, church, karaoke, like singing the American songbook joyfully together, but also learning group percussion, and entrainment, and group flow tool. Then culminating in the middle of the week, and then doing breathwork, static apnea, pulse oximetry, personal scores, measurement, et cetera. And then, working with Colorado physicians to do a “research project” where everybody gets to participate in additional layers of breathwork, plus wearable base like SUBPACs, Theragun massage, partner spotter, cannabinoids, edible cannabinoids in the state of Colorado, which is recreational and available into the gas-assisted nitroxygen and carbogen, and then potentially on specifically inducted patient-doctor prescribed oxytocin and ketamine nasal spray.

So, now, what we can do is you can do this synchronized consumption of prescription pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter compounds combined with stacked protocols doing all the other stuff, the breathwork, the body work, the music, the sound, the lights to create basically celebratory church. So, instead of BYOB, it's BYOE, like bring your own entheogens. Everybody is doing something that is not underground, is completely sanctioned, and aboveboard. Each round gets increasingly intense, but the intention is not to go cross-eyed and drooling. The intention is what might a postmodern, contemporary, celebratory sacrament look like these days. And can we create one that is using household materials and yet, nonetheless, gets us to where we're hoping to go to deliver insight, healing, and connection, and can reaffirm our both collective and individual desire to step up and show up and what's ours to do?

Ben:  Yeah. Well, that's especially cool for those self-experimenters and psychonauts who don't want to mess around with this stuff at home and want to learn it from the experts. Going to workshop like this would actually be, I think, pretty helpful to be able to gather more information and experience some of the practical aspects within the book and some of your other teachings and writing. Just for those of you listening in, Jamie and I scratched the surface on some of the stuff that I wanted to get into. But I mean, this book is one of those books that I took a while to get through just because every page has some super interesting information, and also just big vision thinking in it. So, I would recommend that you give it a read. It's called “Recapture the Rapture.” And I'll link to it and everything that we talked about at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/recapturerapture, but worth a read. And I'll also link to the other podcast that Jamie and I did about this whole idea of enhancing sexual experiences using again a lot of the tactics, and the hedonic sex matrices, and things like that that he outlines within the book.

So, Jamie, hit it out of the ballpark with this thing and kudos for writing it.

Jamie:  Well, thanks, man. I mean, it just felt like, yeah, it was a swing for the fence kind of play, but I hope that it can support people because the simplest would be, hey, you're not crazy. The world's kind of gone a little crazy. And giving us, A, just acknowledging that so that we're not beating ourselves up. Next, realizing, hey, there are ways to find that loving feeling that we might think we've lost. And there are ways for us to get back up on our feet. And there are ways for us to reconnect with each other. And oh, by the way, if it ever feels like this world's a little overwhelming, if you had a choice of which movie you'd show up in, wouldn't it be Star Wars? Wouldn't it be Harry Potter? We're hardwired for those stories of tiny little bands or rebel misfits at the 11th hour saving the universe from unspeakable evil. The Hobbit, all of them, right? We love them.

And so, what if we're born into that period in history where it's go time, where it's guts ball? And we've been blessed with the tools to get the job done. So, you said read the book, but I'd even encourage folks, listen to the book because I actually got to read it myself during that crazy snowstorm that shut Texas down in the beginning of the year. And feedback has been that that is a much higher bandwidth communication than just the words on the page. So, if you have the choice, definitely check out the audible.

Ben:  Does it come complete with like the sirens, and the shouting, and the mass panic from all the Texans freezing their asses off at 50 degrees?

Jamie:  It was just so quiet in our neighborhood. Nothing happened. It was perfect cocoon time.

Ben:  I love it. Alright, so cool. The audiobook's available to everybody, and I'll link to that in the shownotes as well. So, Jamie, thanks so much for coming on the show, man. It's, as usual, pleasure talking to you.

Jamie:  Always been, and really, really psyched on all the overlaps in our life, and our inquiries, and our community. So, I hope this lands for you guys listening as well.

Ben:  Alright, folks. Well, I'm Ben Greenfield along with Jamie Wheal signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.

Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.

 

 

My guest on today's podcast, Jamie Wheal, first joined me on the podcast episode: “Recapture the Rapture: Biohacking Sex, Tantric Breathwork, Plant Medicines For Orgasmic Enhancement & Much More!” for which the title is pretty self-explanatory regarding the wildly stimulating topics we covered on that show. 

Today Jamie, a so-called “neuroanthropologist” is back, describing exciting elements from his new book Recapture the Rapture: Rethinking God, Sex, and Death in a World That's Lost Its Mind, a book in which he maps out a revolutionary new practice—Hedonic Engineering—that combines neuroscience and optimal psychology. It’s an intensive program of breathing, movement, and sexuality that mends trauma, heightens inspiration, and tightens connections—helping us wake up, grow up, and show up for a world that needs us all.

This is a book about a big idea. And the idea is this: Slowly over the past few decades, and now suddenly, all at once, we’re suffering from a collapse in Meaning. Fundamentalism and nihilism are filling that vacuum, with consequences that affect us all. In a world that needs us at our best, diseases of despair, tribalism, and disaster fatigue are leaving us at our worst.

It’s vital that we regain control of the stories we’re telling because they are shaping the future we’re creating. To do that, we have to remember our deepest inspiration, heal our pain and apathy, and connect to each other like never before. If we can do that, we’ve got a shot at solving the big problems we face. And if we can’t?  Well, the dustbin of history has swallowed civilizations older and fancier than ours.

Recapture the Rapture is divided into three parts. The first, Choose Your Own Apocalypse, takes a look at our current Meaning Crisiswhere we are today, why it’s so hard to make sense of the world, what might be coming next, and what to do about it. It also makes a case that many of our efforts to cope, whether anxiety and denial, tribalism and identity politics, are likely making things worse.

The middle section, The Alchemist Cookbook,  applies the creative firm IDEO’s design thinking to the Meaning Crisis. This is where the book gets hands-on–taking a look at the strongest evolutionary drivers that can bring about inspiration, healing, and connection. From breathing to movement, sexuality, music, and substancesthese are the everyday tools to help us wake up, grow up, and show up, i.e., how to blow yourself sky-high with household materials.

The final third of the book, Ethical Cult Building, focuses on the tricky nature of putting these kinds of experiences into gear and into our culture—because, anytime in the past when we’ve figured out combinations of peak states and deep healing, we’ve almost always ended up with problematic culty communities. Playing with fire has left a lot of people burned. This section lays out a roadmap for sparking a thousand fires around the worldeach one unique and tailored to the needs and values of its participants. Think of it as an open-source toolkit for building an ethical culture.

In Recapture the Rapture, Jamie takes radical research out of the extremes and applies it to the mainstream—to the broader social problem of healing, believing, and belonging. The book provides answers to the questions we face: how to replace blind faith with direct experience, how to move from broken to whole, and how to cure isolation with social connection. Said even more plainly, it shows us how to revitalize our bodies, boost our creativity, rekindle our relationships, and answer once and for all the questions of why we are here and what do we do now?

Jamie is also the author of Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work and the founder of the Flow Genome Project, an international organization dedicated to the research and training of human performance. His work and ideas have been covered in The New York TimesFinancial TimesWiredEntrepreneurHarvard Business ReviewForbes, Inc., and TED. He has spoken at Stanford UniversityMITthe Harvard ClubImperial CollegeSingularity University, the U.S. Naval War College and Special Operations CommandSandhurst Royal Military Academy, the Bohemian Club, and the United Nations.

He lives high in the Rocky Mountains in an off-grid cabin with his partner, Julie; two children, Lucas and Emma; and their golden retrievers, Aslan and Calliope. When not writing, Jamie can be found mountain biking, kitesurfing, and backcountry skiing.

During this discussion, you'll discover:

-What the heck is a “neuroanthropologist?”…07:34

  • Jamie's academic background is in historical anthropology
  • How do you assess and compare different cultural approaches to the same fundamental human condition across time and space?
  • Wade Davis, National Geographic explorersays in his TED talk that “we have to stop thinking of other cultures as deficient attempts to be our culture”
  • Look at interesting things throughout history, and ask “who else has done this across time and space?”
  • A pattern language begins to emerge
  • Very rarely do we strip out the mythology of history and focus on the technology (how did this happen?)
  • Is it possible to quantify how society is affected by great minds of past and present
  • How do various religious liturgies affect the brain (ohms vs. Hail Mary)

-What does it mean to “recapture the rapture?”…15:15

  • Poem The Second Comingby Yeats
    • “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity”
  • The crazies have hijacked the mic
  • The concept of a “rapture” is woven into most cultures, religious or not
  • Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religions And The Death Of Utopia by John Gray
    • Judeo-Christian/Western civilization has a unique version of time-forward motion (history begins at the fall from grace)
    • Hunter-gatherer/pre-industrial agrarian societies had a cyclical version (seasons)
    • Delivered to heaven on earth (the rapture)
  • Atheist societies mirror religious narratives throughout history

-A contrarian view of the end times…23:56

  • Ben believes the events prophesied in the Book of Revelationhave already occurred
  • We're already living in the new heaven and new earth
  • Inspires a more positive worldview than dreading the coming apocalypse
  • Accurate people are more pessimistic and more depressed while willfully pessimistic people tend to do better

-Jamie's creative writing process…31:55


  • Grew up in an eccentric academic environment
  • Can't understand the word unless you understand the history of the word
  • Recapture the Rapturewas written mostly during quarantine
  • 80% of the book came from the place described in the book
  • Equivalent of a near-death experience
  • 30-40 hrs of 2-3 minute voice memos between Jamie and his partner formed the crux of the book
  • Focus on the destination, not the journey
  • TK as a placeholder; a great help to a writer
  • Steven Pressfield books
  • The Story Grid: What Good Editors Knowby Shawn Coyne, introduction by Steven Pressfield
  • Worldview revelation story—framework: crisis-adapt to a new worldview to save the day-ironic twist in the end

-How prostate massages bring one to a new level of consciousness…43:25

-The 5 big techniques for achieving a peak state of flow…48:35

  • Stealing Fire
  • Solutions need to be open and available to everyone (cheap or free)
  • Longest livers as evolutionary drivers
  • We are hardcoded for survival
    • Respiration
    • Procreation
      • Taboos are a sign they should be discussed
      • Evolution is amoral
      • Use impulses and drivers for deliberate integration vs. instinctive procreation
    • Embodiment
    • Music
    • Substances
      • Humans aren't the only beings to get high
    • Ron Siegelof UCLA established that intoxication is also prevalent among primates, different mammals, even birds; intoxication as the fourth evolutionary driver
    • Altered or elevated states of consciousness can enhance creativity and productivity
    • Anthropologists call cultures with only one channel of consciousness as mono-phasic vs. indigenous cultures with multiple channels (poly-phasic)
    • Hedonic calendaring

-Why sex, drugs, and rock and roll mark the beginning of civilization, not the end…1:00:44

-About circular breathing…1:05:00

-Meduna's Mixture…1:10:12

-How to use breath to “steer” your psyche…1:23:40

-How to work directly with Jamie…1:28:05

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

– Jamie Wheal:

– Podcasts And Articles:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

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