The year draws to a close and we have approached once again the astronomical marker of change, the Winter Solstice of 2018. The northern parts of the world are at their darkest times. Depending on the latitude you are located, the angle of the sunrays decline until in the arctic region Polar Night completely deprives the living beings from the much needed sunlight. Some animals like hedgehogs therefore slow down their metabolism to go into hibernation, even in the temperate zone. The aim of this process is to minimize the need of Adenosin-Triphosphate (ATP), which the Mitochondria constantly recycle from Adenosin-Diphosphate (ADP). The energetic potential of sugar and fatty acids is transferred by a process known as cellular respiration. The Phosphate bond in these Molecules – Adenosine as Nucleic-Acid is bound to either three (ATP) or two (ADP) Phospate-Groups – was identified as the carrier of that energetic potential. Yet in hibernation, even the second Phosphate-Group is split apart and the levels of Adenosine-Monophospate (AMP) rise. The levels of activating Thyroid Hormone are decreased, natural cell death (Apoptosis) and the inflammatory response is down regulated. A review from early this year in Bioscience Horizons summarizes the research results on “Hibernation induction in non-hibernating species” and points out the regulatory effects of increased AMP .
Now, even if humans are a non-hibernating species, the implications of this research is huge. Besides the fancy idea to put astronauts into hibernating states on an interstellar travel (which of course, would only be necessary with our current types of space drives), it helps us understand our interconnectedness with cyclic events. We know that the dark season increases depression rates, and that until spring equinox our light dependent Vitamin-D Synthesis is reduced or even put to rest, which is important for the immune functions. Chronic inflammation due to dental problems or latent pathogenic infection also affect the mitochondria. A recent study discusses Myalgic Encephalitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) with respect to Microbiome, persistent pathogens and mitochondrial dysfunction . No wonder you feel tired when every glucose is transferred to only two molecules of energetic potential, rather than 36 of them when cellular respiration in the mitochondria works perfectly.
It seems natural that we slow down our pace during the dark times, gather with family and friends to sit at a fireplace, laugh, chant and tell stories of old. These traditions strengthen our repair mechanisms by proper hormone production in our pineal glands, the tiny organ in our brainstem which is highly influenced by light regulation of its metabolic processes. From the essential Amino acid Tryptophan transported into the brain it generates Serotonin, which is known as “molecule of joy” and is decreased in states of depression. From this joy-hormone the sleep-hormone Melatonin is metabolized, but only if the surroundings are dark or low in blue light components. Melatonine is helping us to sleep well, but also activates self-healing properties of the body (sending cancer cells into Apoptosis). Stress hormones like Cortisol and blue LED or TV/Computer screen influence in the evening inhibit proper Melatonin production and ultimately inhibits further metabolic processing into Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), an endogenous psychotropic molecule which is also known as the “spirit molecule”. Solstices are ancient times of celebration and spirituality, which were adopted by many religions. The spirit of the various holiday traditions has a common denominator: we want to be surrounded by people we love, we want to bring joy to them and we want to be grateful for all the precious moments we have experienced in our lives and the ones which are yet to come.
We know about ancient structures built all over our planet that are aligned with solstice landmarks, Stonehenge is probably the most famous of them. In October this year the German magazine GEO ran its cover story about the discovery of an at least 3.600 year old weathered metal plate known as Nebra Sky Disc. Archeologists subsequently recovered the forgotten Únětice culture, which lived in central Europe during the Bronze Age.
While scientists have been able to determine that it was buried in 1,600 BC, they are unable to determine its date of manufacture, meaning it could be much older than its burial date
The articles in GEO paint a new picture of history that connects cultures of Stonehenge, the Beaker culture and the high civilized fertile crescent of Mesopotamia and the Levant. The Nebra Sky Disc is thought to be a mobile astronomic observation tool with Sun, Moon and Pleiades depicted with golden marquetry on the bronze Disc. The two arcs span an angle of 82°, correctly indicating the angle between the positions of sunset at summer and winter solstice at the latitude of the Mittelberg (51°N) in Germany. These cultures – and others all over the world – seem to have a huge sophistication to determine the timing of these most basic astronomical events and have built pantheons of gods around it. The theme is often similar and reflects the turning point, where from now on the light will ever increase to finally defeat darkness at the spring equinox. In the Celtic tradition the New Year starts on February second, the moment spring is preparing and tiny signs of that can be seen in the budding of early bloomers in nature. It is said, that at this time the year prepares itself by conscious seeds – Ideas, Insights and Intuition – that develop through the year until harvest and review in the next dark season. Did they know by tradition about all the factors needed to increase the physiological ability for spiritual insights in the dark times? (see also recent Science News Post)
However, modern times poorly reflect our cyclic needs. Clocks are ticking without mercy and schedules are packed to the rim on the year’s close. Stress during holiday preparations is a well-known phenomenon and we know emotions are relevant for our wellbeing and ability to access physiologic coherency modes. Time and geometry analysis of the fractal patterns in Heart Rate Variability for stress evaluation are cutting edge topics in preventional medicine. A recent study on the practice of Yoga breathing technique introduces the analytic methods to now be able to examine Breath Rate Variability in a very similar fashion. It served to study the effects of meditation and provides insights about our partially conscious control of the breath cycle .
The important point is this:
Your unconscious nervous system reacts on the way you breathe, be it unconsciously or consciously controlled. Hence, you can consciously activate the “Rest and Digest” mode, conquering the “Fight or Flight” mode of a latent stressful influence.
During inhalation, the “Rest and Digest” activity decreases, the diaphragm contracts and the pace of the Heartbeat increases. During outbreath the nuclei of the relaxing parasympathetic autonomic nervous system are getting activated. When trained with awareness, proper and complete exhalation will reduce stress and anxiety and increase coherence modes in the Heartbeat and the Brainwave patterns. This is why breathing techniques are so very important in the various meditation traditions and are the best point to start vacuum engineering. Sound and Light quality also entrains brainwaves as discussed in a recent Science News Post.
By this knowledge, you now have a tool of influence on the activity over unconscious functions of your body. Ponder this: If you had 3600 Dollars in your bank account and someone stole 10 Dollars from you, would you spend the rest of the money to chase the thief or leave it as is? Well, sometimes a 10 second social or media interaction causes so much arousal, that the next hour (3600 seconds) is emotionally depleted. So, If someone steals 10 seconds of the time you are in a good mood, take a step back, think about the 10 Dollars, make sure you are breathing out long and relaxed – relax your diaphragm, so the “Rest and Digest System” can take over. Then remind yourself on how love, joy and gratefulness actually feels. Maybe just take some minutes for self-care, as political as that may be. Maybe you would also just want to listen to the Intro of Nassim’s Interview and:
The original version linked has English and German subtitles as options in YouTube. We would like to thank the German famous singer Nena for the kind gift of her song “Frieden (Peace)”, with lyrics that are in line with the vision painted by the interview. We are also grateful to follow up on it and have multiple conferences in Europe next spring.