Finally, we touch on the subject of Alchemy, and how we may look to the roots of natural science to better understand the philosophy of discovery itself. Alchemy (Greek: khēmeía:χημεία…Lat: Alchymia), while often seen as a magickal way of thinking, is very much based in practical observations of the natural world from the perspective of worldviews that were far more magically-minded than our own.
The ideas that formed the basis for alchemy in the west (as opposed to the Taoist and Indian variations) were closely tied to the area of Alexandria which was a social hub that brought together ideas from Pythagoreanism, Platonism, Stoicism and Gnosticism. The core ideas of the practice extended well beyond any one worldview or belief system.
For our use here, what I mean to lean on is that it began to explore the “really real, reality.” The one that seems to persist outside of our mood, our feelings, our individual perspectives. While we can share thoughts on these matters, it becomes practical, Ad Has (Lat: “To These”) only when we apply it. To apply it as the early alchemists might have, we turn to self-experimentation.
So, in the cases of dealing with our mental states, we should certainly turn to modern science where possible. Essentially, to have a condition such as depression, OCD, anxiety, PTSD, and the myriad of other conditions, we have already admitted to some degree that what we believe may not be totally reliable.
“But why would I believe something that wrong? Not ME!” – Ven Thubten Chodron
For this particular work of transmutation, I’m using me. You should use you. What actually works? Well, there’s lots of studies on these topics, but when we’re in the midst of dealing with mood disorders it is very difficult to talk ourselves out of bad habits. I cannot easily share how many people I know who have used self-medication for symptoms, and those are almost always a bad idea…yet, many people persist in simply doing things that are certainly not helping. Your author included many, many times over.
So, what does help? What to iterate over next? How about intake? Time and time again we read about sugar and caffeine with anxiety symptoms? Still, I personally consume around a pot of coffee a day and then wonder about why I have panic attacks. That’s rather absurd and certainly worth exploring. So, for iteration F(2) we will add to the exercise plan: I will cut caffeine out, opting for herbal tea and lower my sugar consumption to less than 30g per day.
The results should follow in the next few weeks of post-ends.
Exercise + Wim Hof method + Reductions in caffeine and sugar.