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ARTICLE # 1: HOW I GOT MY BRAIN BACK (extracted from a video)

Hi, Thanks for watching. What I am about to share with you here is, possibly, the most painful experience I have had during this lifetime.
I tell this personal story with hope that it will improve the lives of individuals suffering from brain disorders. I especially hope to influence the lives of children and their parents.

To continue reading click here



You were approximately a year to two years old, when something very fundamental happened in your psyche -- truly a psychological tsunami that even today is at the root of all your suffering. From that tsunami very few recover.   But, here I will share with you, an effective practice that takes only 10 seconds, and has the power to put you on the road of eliminating ALL suffering.

This happened at that age?

To continue reading click here




According to solid scientific research and clinical experience, anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, ADHD, substance abuse, chronic pain, or any form of mental or brain issues, can derive established benefit, by using a drug-free and affordable nutritional approach. The Brain Optimization Institute’s philosophy, based on research and extensive clinical experience, is that nutrition should be an essential part of any serious attempt to improve mental health and brain functioning.

To continue reading click here



Hydrogenated vegetable oils -- trans-fats or margarines -- may have been responsible for more premature deaths than world war 1 and world war 2 together.

To continue reading click here



By Gian Girardi, BOHI Founder

(Published in this website also under the titles "The Holistic Path to Happiness and Liberation" and "The Seven Games of Consciousness" )

This article is based on my own spiritual journey which taught me a great lesson through a painful experience. May you get the lesson without the pain.

When I was young, about 23, I read a book about yoga and spirituality that changed my life dramatically. The book was published by an organization that was managed by a fellowship of monastics, with their headquarter in Los Angeles. They were offering a path to Self-realization that was supposed to work for individuals living in the world.

To continue reading click here





(Based on the work of mystic Carol Ruth Knox)

By Gian Girardi, BOHI Founder

The spiritual path requires you to navigate unkown territory. Wouldn't you rather have a good map in that situation?

Traveling accross territory you have never visited before is challenging, even with a good map! How is it then that you embark in the spiritual path, the most challenging journey ever, and you have not the slightest clue where you are located and a vague idea of where you want to go?

May be this is not your case at all, and you are well informed. I hope so! But either way, I strongly recommend you look at The Map to Liberation very carefully. Make an honest assessment of where you are in the Journey to Liberation, and have a good look at the final goal as presented in the third column of the chart. Enjoy!







1- How I Got My Brain Back

Author; Highway 1, California
Photographer: Ricardo Girardi

Edited and updated from the transcript of a video, recorded by
Gian Girardi,
founder of the Brain Optimization Holistic Institute.

What I am about to share with you here is possibly, the most painful experience I have had during this lifetime. I tell this personal story with
hope that it will improve the lives of individuals
suffering from brain disorders.

I was born in Santiago, Chile and grew up in a farm with pure air,
clean water and abundant food. My mother, of Spanish origin, was a bridge teacher and is to this day admired for her intelligence. My father
was Italian and was also intellectually sharp. He graduated
from high school at 16 and received a degree
in agricultural engineering.
So, partly due to good genes, but also because of growing up in a healthy
environment, I developed a fairly good brain.
When I was seventeen, in order to attend University, I took the SAT test. 
 As it was customary in Chile the results were published in the main newspaper of Santiago. I was pleasantly surprised to see that
I had obtained one of the highest scores in the country.

The SAT numbers correlate with IQ and the numbers I got were indicative of an IQ of 153. So at least at that point in time, I had a healthy brain.  
With my SAT numbers, I could choose any university and career I wanted. I decided to study engineering and signed up for the most prestigious engineering school in Chile. For many years,
I did well in my studies.
However, during my fifth year in engineering I became interested in yoga and embraced the ovo-lacto vegetarian diet. I had grown up eating
massive amounts of red meat -- after all my
father also raised cattle.
Perhaps I rushed into these changes too quickly and just a year into my new diet I began to notice a significant decrease in my concentration. 
When taking tests at school I developed a tendency
to make one mistake after another.

My grades descended and I even failed a course that my friends passed without problem. I finally graduated, but my last two years were a struggle. My lack of concentration gradually got worse.

To make matters worse, my lifestyle became significantly ungrounded.
I was meditating three hours a day, but my life was not improving.
At the age of 28, I experienced a brief breakthrough in my meditations. For about four months. I was in joy all day long for no reason at all.
It was an interesting experience in unconditional joy.  However,
it was also a prelude to the worst years of my life. 
One day, without warning, I had a panic attack. The joy was gone and it was replaced by a state of constant anxiety that lasted for many, many years. 
In fact, years later, when I took the Burns Anxiety Inventory, I scored more than 50 points, which indicates “extreme anxiety.” I was experiencing the most uncomfortable anxiety symptoms, day and night. 

At thirty, I married, and my wife and I decided to try for a better life in the United States. I always had great appreciation for this country
so, that same day, immediately after the marriage
ceremony, we flew to LA. 
Upon my arrival in LA, my anxiety continued and worsened. One of the most painful symptoms was exhaustion. As an immigrant, during the first
years I had to do intense physical work. Survival became
a very painful challenge. 
I tried introspection, affirmations, more meditation, breathing techniques every five minutes, psychotherapy, but nothing was really helping -- I was just barely coping. When I was 35, I injured myself on a job,
demolishing walls in a house. At the chiropractor’s office,
I found a brochure titled: “Hypoglycemia Can Create Anxiety.” 
I found a book on hypoglycemia at the bookstore that described most of my symptoms, persuading me to try the diet recommended in the book. I didn't even have to abandon my vegetarian diet.
In three days I felt a new person! I was really surprised at the power of a simple nutritional intervention. The condition was far from over,
but there was a significant improvement.
Now that I had more energy, I signed up for a Masters Degree in psychology and in a few years I obtained the MFT license from the State of
California, to practice psychotherapy. 
With the new diet, doing something I really enjoyed and feeling helpful to others, gradually, most of my anxiety symptoms were gone, but,
my attention deficit was virtually intact. 
Years later, I took the TOVA test and scored positive. The Tova test is the most reliable and objective test to diagnose ADD. I took it again and I scored positive again. There was no doubt that I had a full blown ADD. ADD is supposed to be a disorder starting at childhood. However, as I
learned through this experience, nutritional mistakes
can result in a full blown ADD, at any age. 
About eleven years ago a friend of mine -- Larry Richardson, an
Acupuncturist -- introduced me to the concept of brain nutrition. 
I began using supplements and in a month took
the TOVA test again. 

This time my scores in attention and impulse control were not only norma
l but ABOVE normal. The ADD had completely vanished. 
I continue taking my brain supplements every day, at maintenance levels.
I include fish in my diet and occasionally some poultry or red meat. 
I work more than 65 hours a week. The brain I was originally blessed
with has completely returned.
In fact, I would dare to say that -- despite the fact that IQ is supposed to decrease as we age – today, thanks to a sensible diet, the brain supplements and continual intellectual stimulation, I feel that in many ways my brain is sharper than when I was young. 

 In my own healing journey I opted for nutrition over medication -- I can’t tell how happy I am in this decision! Despite a high IQ I have done stupid things like everyone, however, the decision to avoid the pharmaceuticals and use brain nutrition was a very, very intelligent decision. 
Thanks to that decision, today I got brain back.

Interested in learning about
Brain Optimization™ with Emphasis in Nutrition?


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2- Psychological Tsunami at Age Two,
and Why Very, Very Few Recover

(From an email sent to our students and friends)

Dear students and friends

You were approximately two years of age, when something very fundamental happened in your psyche -- truly a psychological tsunami that even today is at the root of all your suffering! From that tsunami very few recover. But, here I will share with you, an effective practice that takes only 10 seconds, and has the power to eliminate all suffering.

This is what happened at age two:

Around two year of age, sometimes earlier, your psyche began to connect the dots: "everyone is calling me 'so and so;' therefore 'I am so and so.'" You became identified with your name, a simple word. (This was the prelude to the tsunami...)

That "word" may seem very special to you, but in reality it was totally arbitrary, and the proof is that you can change your name anytime. You pay a visit to the DMV, go through the omnipresent red tape, and presto!

But the identification with the idea "I am so and so," was not the only identification that happened -- wait and see! After that, a tsunami of ideas about "you" penetrated the psyche. Consider these few examples (there are many, many more):

1- "I am a boy (or a girl)"

2- "I am the son, or daughter, of so and so" (you are never sure, but you made a good guess)

3- "I am the brother, or sister, of Bianca, Ricardo, Carolina, Alejandro, Carlos and Sebastián (that is if you got parents like mine, that had a strong intent in populating the world and named all of us with Spanish and Italian names)

4- "I am tall (or short) compare to others" (that depended to some degree on how much dairy products you were eating, did you know?)

5- "I am intelligent (or stupid)" (This depends on whether your parents were telling you "my God you are so smart!" or if they never went to parenting classes and told you, "are you stupid?)

6- I am cute, or beautiful, or handsome, or..." (This also depends on your parents not missing the right parenting class. If they missed it, you may have been told things like this: "when you make a temper tantrum you become uglier and uglier." Because you couldn't stop the complaining, decades later you had to go to therapy for years to fix your self image problem.

7- "I am a kid" (man that really changes fast into, adolescent, young adult, adult young, not young anymore, not old yet, yes... old)

and so on....

This Tsunami of thoughts and many others -- positive, negative and horrible -- became your new acquired, last model identity.

The repairing will continue for a life time: first the Nikes, then the cool old Mustang, then the fast BMW, then the super fast Ferrari, and finally the unsexy, but comfortable Lexus.

If anything goes wrong financially during your life and you need to take the bus, man, "you" are in deep waters.

The first fact that needs to be understood about your true identity is the following: "before this arbitrary and fragile identity appeared in the psyche you already were."

I bolded and underlined, and bolded and underlined the word fact, because everything else about you, including all of the above thoughts were, and are, pure imagination. It is not OCD (I hope.)

So if before this psychological Tsunami, you already "were," what were you?

The answer is extremely simple: you were the pure perception perceiving through that little body. Same as in the case of alive animals and plants, perception was there and was the Life of the child.

You may say, no, "I was that little body." However, without perception that body would have been useless or a dead body. The perception in it makes it alive.

"Pure Perception is, and always was, your true nature. All thoughts about you, are an impostor, they were never True." Unfortunately, few will ever recover from this disease. For most, this fundamental mistake in identity will produce suffering for the rest of their lives.

How to reconnect with your true nature? You may be thinking: O mine, "now he is going to tell me to meditate morning and night and practice the presence of God all they long."

No, that is the joke that many teachers play on their students, but, I am not a teacher, because I know already that I am simply this pure perception, so, I will tell you an effective practice that takes only 10 seconds.

Here it is: simply notice that there is perception happening through your body -- through the five senses -- right now. Look around the room and notice that visual inputs are being perceived. The same is valid for perception of auditory inputs, tactile inputs, perception of thoughts and images, etc. It is totally obvious that there is perception going on, right? Just notice it, for a moment

Well, the extremely good news is this: "that perception that you just noticed is what you really are and always were. You found Yourself! You now know, what You really are! So now simply affirm your new found identity: "I am this perception going on right now."

Do this now and then, especially when you feel that something wrong is happening to your old "you." When you worry about "your" survival and about the next dollar coming in, or you worry about "your" health, etc, etc. If you do this, now and then, your identity will shift back to were it belongs.

Awakening happens when you discard the false belief that you are an "I" a "so and so" a "person," and you become convinced of the obvious -- I am just this pure Perceiving happening right now.

In addition to this, there are two powerful short exercises that I want to share with you this Saturday. It would take too long to explain them here. (and I already violated my promise to my students and friends to write short emails.) These two exercises are extremely simple, and they also help to shift the identity back to where it belongs. This identity shift is the most wonderful thing! I hope you come, or participate online.

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3- What Is Brain Nutrition and Why It Is Crucial?


According to solid scientific research and clinical experience, anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, ADHD, substance abuse, chronic pain, or any form of mental or brain issues, can derive established benefit, by using a drug-free and affordable nutritional approach. The Brain Optimization Institute’s philosophy, based on the research and clinical experience, is that nutrition should be an essential part of any serious attempt to improve mental health and brain functioning.

We have designed a powerful and effective Brain Nutrition approach based on both the latest research and years of clinical experience. This approach is designed to safely and effectively optimize two of the most powerful systems in the human body – the neurotransmitters in the brain and the glucose pathway in the body and brain.

Neurotransmitters are powerful chemicals, critical to the correct functioning of the brain. Unfortunately, many of our actions and habits can compromise their proper and balanced presence. Deficient diet, lack of physical exercise, job dissatisfaction, conflictive interpersonal relationships, heavy metals in the environment; can each, over time, create neurotransmitter deficiencies in the brain. Considering that the brain controls and affects every single aspect of our lives, nurturing and caring for our brain, as if our life depends upon it, is the epitome of good common sense.

Consider sahring this webpage with your friends, facebook friends or email list


Register and Receive Invitations and Discounts to
BOHI's Programs

To register at the Brain Optimization™ Holistic Institute and receive email invitations and discounts for our programs takes two to three minutes.
Please follow this link:

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4- Prepare Your Own Non-Hydrogenated
Vegetable Butter at Home

Hydrogenated vegetable oils -- trans-fats or margerines -- may have been responsible for more premature deaths than world war 1 and world war 2 together.

In search for the holy grail of a good tasting butter that does not damage, and even helps the cardiovascular system, the Brain Optimization™ Holistic Institute in Los Angeles, California has found a uniquely, healthy, and simple solution. A way to create, at home, a delicious vegan, raw, organic butter that helps to protect your cardiovascular system as well the brain.

NON-Hydrogenated Vegetable Butters

You can easily buy today all the ingredients completely organic, vegan, and even raw. Expect delicious results!

Simply mix 50% raw organic coconut oil (warm it first, if necessary to liquify it) and 50% extra virgin, organic, cold pressed olive oil. Put it in the fridge and in due time it will turn into a delicious healthy vegan butter with a soft consistence that you can easily spread over bread, crackers or anything else -- guaranteed.

While still soft, try adding a pinch of turmeric to improve color, a little bit of sun dried sea salt, a tiny bit of smashed garlic, and oregano. Mix and put back in the fridge to solidify further. Enjoy a delicious Italian butter!

To produce “Indian Butter;” while still soft, add salt and a pinch of curry powder. Put it back in the fridge. You will be deliciously reminded of India.

If you want to make the butter softer, slightly increase the percentage of olive oil. If you want to make it harder, increase the amount of coconut oil.

Note: Coconut oil is very stable and does not get rancid easily. It is also very resistant to heat. It is by far the best oil to cook. Stay healthy - avoid using any other oils for cooking.

Back in 2007 Brain Optimization Institute could have pursued the patent for this discovery, but we chose to share this information freely. The present patent law is an arcaic law that promotes and legalize greed. It often protects the inventor disregarding the interest of the human race and the environment. To have a patent law is necessary, but our present patent law is archaic -- it rewards behaviors and business strategies that are highly damaging to the human body and environment.

For example: natural substances -- usually friendly to the human body and environment cannot be patented; and this is a good thing. However, the creation of toxic artificial substances and artificial medications are rewarded with patents.  Our patent law rewards the chemical and pharmaceutical industry for creating highly toxic substances and dangerous and amedications, allowing them to obtain gargantuan profits, which are lately used to protect their business by corrupting democracies.

The root of these issues is the archaic patent law, and we are all responsible for this situation. We, as a society, are just appying erroneously a fundamental law of behavioral modification: "a behavior that is rewarded is bound to increase."  Through the patent law we are rewarding the creation of toxic pesticides and chemicals, as well as dangerous medications.  This results in the damping of billions of tons of artificial poisons in the environment year after year. How much longer our echological system will resist this assault?

A more specific example: there are thousands of natural, safe pesticides that trees produce to protect themselves from bugs, but there is no interest in comercializing them!  It is a much more lucrative business to create artificial, damaging pesticides, because they can be patented.

We enjoy sharing freely through the internet, and encourage householders to produce their own safe and delicious butters at home. We hope you do the same. Let us protect our children and ourselves from the dreadful damage produced by trans-fats and excessive animal fats.

Consider sharing this webpage with your friends, facebook friends or email list


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5- When a Spiritual Path Is Unhealthy

October 2, 2012 © Gian Paolo Girardi, All Rights Reserved
By Gian Paolo Girardi, MS, MA, BOHI Founder

(Published in this website also under the titles "The Holistic Path to Happiness and Liberation" and "The Seven Games of Consciousness" )

This article is based on my own spiritual journey which taught me a
great lesson through a very painful experience. May you
get the lesson without the pain.

When I was young, about 23, I read a book about Yoga and spirituality that changed my life dramatically. The book was published by an organization that was managed by a fellowship of monastics, with their headquarter in Los Angeles. They were offering a path to Self-realization that was supposed to work for individuals living in the world.

I thought that the initial excitement was proof that I was on the right path for me. However, little I knew that after years of devoted practice to the teachings, I was not going to get Self-Realization, but becoming sick physically, mentally and spiritually.

There is a happy end to this story as you will find out, but it took decades of effort to heal the damage that resulted from my eagerness. Of course fundamental part of this healing was to let go of the teachings and find a healthier way to attain Awakening. 

This painful experience lead me into deep study, introspection and spiritual experimentation, to understand the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy spiritual path or teaching.

What I will share with you here, in just a few words, is the conclusions and insights that resulted from this long journey -- decades!  It is my intention to help the seeker have an easier ride. I hope to save a few or many from becoming prey to unhealthy spiritual teachings, and most especially, monastic teachings while living in the world. I know that this knowledge can be life saving as well as create clarity about how to pursue the spiritual path safely and effectively. I paid an enormous price to obtain these insights, you can have them here "for free," providing you are willing to take a moment and read these few pages.

Millions have had already, or will have in the future, the experience of being hurt by spiritual teachings and teachers. Therefore, when you are about to commit to a spiritual teaching you are playing Russian roulette with your life. Your decision can lead to a life of great happiness and Realization or to the greatest disappointment, disease, feeling betrayed, and eventually, as I have seen around me, premature death. This article is designed to help the sincere seeker discern with objectivity the quality of spiritual teachings.

To fall in love with a spiritual teacher, to believe that he or she is an "Avatar," does not guarantee that the spiritual path that will be presented to you is physically, mentally and spiritually healthy. These initial feelings of excitement, this initial faith and infatuation, is completely insufficient and guarantees nothing, as I realized.  You can definitely be the next victim, and you may not even suspect it.  The world is full of disillusioned disciples and students that instead of finding Self Realization found physical, mental and spiritual disease instead. We must educate ourselves about the spiritual path, before choosing our path!

This is very similar to the infatuation with a lover. Such infatuation is obviously not a guarantee that the relationship will work.  How many relationships began with such intense feelings of love and ended up in court with the most bitter feelings imaginable? We need to look for a lover or spouse not only with the heart and our hormones but also use the intelligence that Nature gave us to see clearly beyond the appearances. We also need to educate ourself about the couple relationship. Likewise, before committing to a spiritual teacher and his/her teachings we need to educate ourselves about the spiritual path. The decision has to be made not only with the heart, but also with all our intelligence and spiritual discernment.

I hope that this article will also help those that have already committed to a path, but are willing to review their decision.  It is very different to let go of an unhealthy path after five years than after twenty or thirty years. The depth of the injuries are quite different.

How you evaluate the quality of a spiritual teaching?

Spiritual teachings have a strong impact in each and everyone of the "Games of Consciousness." (explained below).  The impact can be quite positive, but it can also be negative or extremely negative -- depending on the quality of the teachings.


What are these Games about?

In the physical Universes, Consciousness is playing Seven Games and they are represented in the chakra system, also called "the tree of life." They have some fancy names in different spiritual traditions, but the simplest is to name them according to their location in reference to the physical body.

1- The Game of Survival

In the coccyx center, Consciousness is playing the game of survival. This is a game of cosmic proportions. Everywhere in the cosmos, every being, vegetable, animal, human or alien is playing this game. It is complex and challenging, enough to keep most of us quite busy day after day. In human life in this planet, it has acquired and even greater complexity due to the extraordinary invention we call money.  Millions of books, movies, videos, teachings, have been produced just around this basic game.

Survival includes many other factors but possibly the most significant, in addition to making a living, is keeping the body healthy. Animals have developed complex mechanism to take care of their hygiene and health. Humans have done the same, and also have discovered the power of good nutrition, physical exercise, positive thinking and other factors that greatly impact the health of the human body.

Mistakes in playing this game effectively lead to disease and eventually premature death. Again, libraries have been written around the subject of health. Western medicine, the health insurance industry and the drug industry working together have become possibly the most powerful economic force in the world to serve or deceive, those who fail at keeping the body in good health through natural methods. Again this game is of cosmic proportions. Every being is engaged, but it reaches its greatest complexity in humans.

At this level of Consciousness, anything shorter than "I am fully entitled to pursue making a living and staying in good health and shape is ignorance."  "I am entitled to charge for my time, expertise and service." "I am entitled to pursue optimum health using, clean, healthy food, natural substances and natural methods of all sort."

2- The Game of Pleasure and Enjoyment

A more sophisticated game is the game of sensory pleasures, including the enjoyment of life through novelty and adventure.  This is the second cosmic game of Consciousness and again it manifests in many animals but it attains its greatest expression in the human being. The pleasure of eating, and drinking, listening to music, making love, playing, exploring new activities and places are expression of this drive that is represented in the chakra system by the second center of Consciousness located in the sacrum area.

Here, at this level of Consciousness, anything shorter than "life has for purpose to provide great enjoyment, is ignorance."

3- The Game of Developing a Healthy and Self-Confident Personality

The third cosmic game consist in developing a healthy, likable, balanced, intelligent, self-confident personality. Even animals develop unique personality traits, but this game acquires its highest and most complex expression in humans.  The word "persona" comes from the greek and means "mask."  The personality is just elaborate mental programs but not a real alive being.

  However, it is through the personality that we relate to each other. This magnificent game is likely being played everywhere in the universe wherever there is a complex life form, and it is represented by the third chakra or center of Consciousness in the solar plexus.

The personality is to a great extent the result of our likes and dislikes.  Each personality type has a set of values and beliefs that give them unique likes and dislikes. This likes and dislikes are extremely valuable to create a functional civilization. Fortunately we all like different body types otherwise we would all fall for the same woman of the the same man.  Fortunately we like different cars, or there would be only one car on earth. Fortunately we all love different activities or we would all be doing the same thing and everything else would be left undone.

Here, anything shorter than "I am a priceless human being" is ignorance (humanistic philosophy teach us that human life is priceless)

4- The Game of Romance, Relationships, and Purification of Love towards Unconditional Love

This cosmic game is represented by the Heart Center of Consciousness in the middle of the chest. It has two distinct expressions -- one human and one Divine. In the human aspect, the game consist in finding romance, and experiencing rich, growth producing, positive relationships.  The complexity of the game has generated, countless poetry, novels, self-improvement books, movies, hepic stories, music, songs and art.

There is a divine aspect to this center -- the rapture of unconditional love. The joy experienced as a results of loving unconditionally is unmatched. Except for perhaps very occasional glimpses, this game is not accessible to many. It requires great spiritual development to love unconditionally -- even to love oneself unconditionally is a great challenge.

Here, anything shorter than "I love everything unconditionally is ignorance."

5- The Cosmic Game of Creativity

Creativity is the expression of the soul. Each soul has a unique talent or vocation that it longs to express and perfect. Finding our vocation is a soul challenge not a human one.  This is why in general our Western psychology, which is ego or personality based, fails to do a good job at helping people find their true vocation in life.

I obtained a Masters of Art Degree in Psychology, and throughout the whole program, I never had even one hour class, or a ten minute simple discussion on the subject of vocation and its powerful psychological ramifications. I had to educate myself. Thanks to this education, today, UHA's curricula includes serious training on vocational counseling.

The Fifth Center of Consciousness, located at the throat, is powerful and transcendental in nature. When we are immersed in the creative expression we transcend all suffering, and we connect with our divine nature as souls.

In some yogic texts, creativity has been linked to the second center at the sacrum. This is incorrect. Procreativity (reproduction) is a natural function of all animals and humans and it is part of the second center of Consciousness, located at the sacrum.  Although the words creativity and procreativity are similar they describe two quite different experiences.

Here, anything shorter than "I am a soul, a creative being destined to create and contribute with unique progress to the world, is ignorance"

6- The Pursue of Wisdom -- The Cosmic Game of Finding Who or What We Truly Are

The Sixth Center of Consciousness located in the forehead is the greatest cosmic game ever -- finding who or what we truly are. As Consciousness begins to perceive through astral and later physical bodies, it loses sight of itself.  It becomes identified with the instruments, astral and later physical bodies, and for a long time forgets its true nature. 

The soul consists of Consciousness or Awareness identified with the astral body. The human being is Awareness identified with the human body.  Both -- souls and humans -- are plagued with identification issues. The Cosmic Game of the sixth center consists of becoming aware of these identifications and overcome them, so that we identify ourselves again with our true Self -- Consciousness.

The highest purpose of every incarnation is to become aware of these identifications and let them go. Again, this is a game is of cosmic proportions and has given birth to countless religions, spiritual teachings, spiritual books, yoga, zen, the non-duality movement, and also refined art. Attaining wisdom leads eventually to liberation from all suffering -- "the Truth will make you free."

Here, anything shorter than I am Consciousness, the Divine Itself, is ignorance.

Another realization at this level is about the nature of all things.  Science tells as that matter is 99.9999999999999% empty space. But, realizing the empty nature of the physical universe is also the goal of this game -- i.e. everything is Consciousness.

7- The Totality -- Final Integration

The seventh Center of Consciousness located in the crown is about attaining complete integration.  Here we understand that Consciousness is expressing itself through all the chakra centers, through each and everyone of the seven Games of Life.  Each game is being played by the Divine itself and deserves to be integrated in a harmonious whole, instead of being repressed, put down, feared, or seen with contempt.

Here, anything shorter than "Everything is the Divine," is ignorance.


The Three Monastic Vows of Renunciation

Most monastic traditions adhere to the three vows of renunciation -- poverty, chastity and obedience.  Whoever invented these three vows new exactly what he or she was doing and had clear knowledge of the "Tree of Life" or the Seven Games of Consciousness.

The vow of poverty consist of stepping aside from the game of survival.  It is left to the religious organization to take care of the monastic basic needs.

The vow of chastity consist in stepping aside from the game of tactile pleasure in the second center of Consciousness -- no doubt one of the most powerful sensory pleasures. It also implies to step aside from the game of romance at the fourth center.

The wow of obedience is a serious blow to the personality as it implies the renunciation to likes and dislikes. It is left to the direct supervisor to determine what the renunciant has to do whether he/she likes it or not.

This vow is also a serious blow to the creative expression. The monastic cannot follow their natural vocation, and has to surrender to the dictates and needs of the organization. If he or she is by nature an artist, teacher, counselor or farmer at heart, still they may have to do accounting work for decades, and without complaining.

In the monastic life, aside from the three vows of renunciation, participation in the first five games of consciousness is discouraged in many subtle and not so subtle ways.

Pursuing good health in a monastery is quite a challenge.  The food offered there is not necessarily healthy food, but the monastic can't do anything about it. This completes the stepping aside from the game of survival.

Having no money, also means no access to many sensory pleasures and natural enjoyments. Any hedonistic indulgence is seen with suspiciousness by superiors and peers. This completes the stepping aside from the game of sensory pleasures and enjoyment.

Any manifestation of preferences, likes, dislikes, frustration for not getting what they want or need, is considered egotistic, and often emotionally chastised.  The "sheep personality" is much more welcome. This completes the stepping aside from the game of developing a healthy, self-confident personality. 

Close friendships among monastics is looked upon with suspiciousness. The monastic is supposed to be there to befriend God alone.  There is also not much space for social life in the monastery so this completes the stepping aside from the human aspect of the fourth game of Consciousness at the heart center.

Expression of creativity is seen by superiors and peers with contempt as egotism and self indulgence. Simple repetitive, boring, pain inflicting activities are seen as an expression of self-denial and devotion to God and the organization. This completes the stepping aside from the game of creativity and expression of the soul at the fifth center in the throat.

Of course there are variations inside this general picture.  Some organizations are more rigid and traditional than others. However, make no mistake, the monastic life is a life of great self-denial, and, as we will see, it is easy to explain why the system, for the most part, does not work.

What is Left for the Monastic to Enjoy?

Today, most monastic traditions focus only in the expansion of human love towards unconditional love --the divine aspect of the heart chakra.  However, because the vows generate so much self-denial, love for oneself often becomes impossible, and, without love for oneself, loving others and love for the divine are also precluded -- with rare exemptions.

Although rarely, some monastic organizations focus primarily on opening the sixth center of Consciousness. They pursue Awakening -- finding what they really are.  However, often, the enormous repression that results for not participating in the first five games of life creates energy blockages and neurosis that preclude the Awakening too.  Instead of Awakening, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual disease results.

Neurosis and the Seven Games of Life

It is all too human to develop abundant neurosis in relation to each of the seven games of Consciousness. Why?...

The human personality or "I" is not a real being. It is a fictional character made of programs and ideas about oneself.  Trying to play the Games of Life successfully from this false "me" is wishful thinking.  The result is that the we develops enormous biases, false assumptions, fear, frustration and imbalances around each one of the Games. 

Money is no more than a tool -- a practical one, not good nor bad.  However, think how much neurosis we humans develop just around the issue of money, in the first center.  Poverty consciousness, greed, contempt towards money, fear of economic success, obsessive search for the golden calf, gambling, terror of poverty, dishonesty, selling weapons and destructive drugs, commercializing dangerous medications, lawsuits, wars, and on and on. All this suffering, all this neurosis is produced by just one of this games.

Let us look at the second Game of Consciousness. Sensory pleasures is a wonderful thing and it enhances and beautify life. However, think of how much neurosis we develop around this simple game.  Lack of moderation to full blown addictions to, alcohol, drugs, sex and food create so many illnesses in the human body, brain and mind. Humanity has always been plagued by addictions and it will continue to be so.  On the other hand, fear, repression, and contempt for the sensory experience is also a source of suffering.

All this neurosis is not because these games are not interesting and valid, but because we are playing them from the perspective of "here is 'me' -- a non-existent vulnerable being -- playing these games."  These games quite honestly are not for the ego, they are "the games of the gods."

  It is true that some egos eventually learn to play some of these games skillfully, but it is extremely rare that the individual will not develop serious imbalances in one, two, three or all of them. For example, it is quite something to see an individual developing great abilities to make money and as a result, he or she becomes imbalanced in several other areas of his /her life.  Their romantic life becomes a disaster, or they become addicted to destructive substances, or they develop a narcissistic personality and fail at connecting with others, etc.  Finding an ego that is clearly a success at all these games is extremely rare.  However, there is a way to do this...

If you find out "who or what you really are," you will be able to play these games from a powerful identity -- I am Consciousness, I am the Divine playing the games of Life. This shift in identity will give you wisdom and strength to succeed at, and enjoy more, all the games of Life

The most intelligent way to play these games is to focus seriously at opening the sixth center, and from that opening improve your life at all levels. Simultaneously, of course, it is necessary to give balanced attention to each and everyone one of the games of life.

The teachings that work for living in the world, also called Market Place Teachings are the teachings of "AND:"

"this, AND this, AND this, AND this, ... AND that too."

The monastic teachings, also called Mountain Top Teachings are the teachings of "negation"

"not this not this, not this...  just this"

Mountain top teachings "may" work in the monastery. However, they are often poison for the lay person living in the world. Unfortunately, most monastics do not understand this issue and they teach monastic ideas to people living in the world.

The founder of the yoga organization I entered when I was young was managed by monastics. The core of the teachings was a set of 180 lessons that were sent by mail to people living a normal life all over the world. These lessons contained information about how to live life in every respect.

The information was of course mostly about the monastic view and approach to life. in fact, the organization did not bother to create a set of lessons for lay people and another one for monastics -- it was the same set of lessons for both, with the same approach to life.

The result was disastrous. Marriages broken because of couples trying hard to practice celibacy. Many of my friends, although living in the world, they never married or never had any contact with the other sex.  Many never bothered to find their vocation in life -- as this was also seen as an illusion. They worked and made a living doing little jobs for decades or their whole life time.  Quite a few developed weird personalities, withdrawn and neurotic. They looked at the pleasures of life with contempt and suspiciousness. They kept themselves in poverty for no reason. They failed to connect properly with others. Their bodies became sick and their minds unstable. And I never met one of this individuals that really awakened to their true self.

Ironically, in a book written by a nun called Jnana Mata (mother of Wisdom), who was considered  one of the most advanced disciple, she writes:

"what is poison for the monastic is honey for those living in the world, and what is poison for the individual living in the world is honey for the monastic."

However, the organization never bothered to create two separate set of lessons. Everyone got, for the most part, monastic teachings. Additionally, every talk, every service, every class, every retreat, was presented by a monastic.  Every book and every CD and DVD was also information coming form monastics. The monastic learns to live life from the monastic paradigm and does not know how to live life in the "market place." Therefore, again, everyone got monastic teachings through talks, services, classes, retreats as well as tapes and books.

When I realized the magnitude of the mistake I spoke about this issue with some of the monastics running the organization, but, although I found some receptivity there was no way that this situation could be modified. The monks and nuns in this organization still make a living selling monastic information to lay people. Casualties, or collateral damage happens also in spirituality. 

Personally I experienced all the above mentioned neurosis, for about twenty years.  Luckily in my thirties I began to study psychology and this gave me a new perspective that informed me on, first, how strong was the monastic influence in the teachings, and second, how unhealthy it was to apply monastic teachings while living in the world. 

Gradually through a long period of time I became free of all monastic ideas and learned to live life in a healthy way. I became interested on the path of Non-Duality which focusses exclusively in helping the seeker to succeed at the sixth center by finding "what we are really." I decided to live every other aspect of my life according to healthy scientific, psychological and spiritual information and my life soon flourished.

Opening the Sixth Center - Finding What You Really Are

Still remains true that the ego is ineffective to play the Games of Life. Therefore, the first and most logical step is to find who or what you really are. Once this is accomplished, the shift in identity from "I am so an so" to I am Consciousness will help in two distinct ways:

1- To play the five basic games in a much more effective way.

2- To play them with detachment -- to keep in mind that they are only "games" and that what you really are is never touched or damaged by either succeeding, or, completely failing in these games.


How to Realize What You Are

Awakening to your true nature is easy, and anyone can do it.   Adyashanti says, "even a donkey can wake up."

I have been offering one on one sessions to trigger the Awakened state for some time. It is a long session of three hours, however, it is not rare to find individuals that wake up in the first twenty minutes!  Then, the rest of the session is used to clarify small doubts and consolidate the gain -- a wonderful gain indeed!

Once the Awakening has been attained the individual begins to play the Games of Life from the Awakened state -- from their new found identity. This deeply changes the ability to play these games, and creates a healthy detachment so that the games are seen for what they are -- games!  They cannot touch your true nature. Success or failure will never define you again. You are what you are and nothing can change that one iota.


The Holistic Path Taught at the Brain Optimization Institute

BOI offers three basic certifications of 5-month each and a one-day workshop on how to create a private practice.  The first certification is about learning to keep body, brain and mind in good conditions, and heal previous imbalances using the science of nutrition -- diet and supplements. 

The second certification is about keeping the mind in a healthy state by developing effective coping mechanisms and positive, objective thinking.  The third certification is about how to succeed spiritually, by finding what you really are, and having insight into the ultimate reality behind creation. 

The one day intensive workshop helps our student to understand today's most successful approach to creating a private practice. They learn how to take care of their need for money, while expressing their soul vocation.

These courses are capable of producing a profound impact in the life of the student, as many of our graduate students have found out. They conform  truly a holistic, market place path, that helps to succeed at each and everyone of the Seven Games of Life. 

BOI presents these courses in a strictly academic setting, free of spiritual manipulations and paraphernalia. 

You will never find here ocre robes, gurus, devotees, followers, exploitation of volunteers, controlling spiritual leaders of any kind, or contempt for the world and the fascinating games that Consciousness is playing in the physical universe.


Making Lemonade out of a lemon

It is often possible to make lemonade out of a lemon and fortunately this was the case here -- Gian's karma was bad, but not so bad. :) When I entered the spiritual path I knew little about what makes a spiritual teaching healthy or unhealthy. In fact most people don't know, so I was just as ignorant as the great majority.

The experience made me think deeply about the issue, for years!  Eventually it all came into place, and today, it is easy to discern when spiritual teachings are healthy or unhealthy, contaminated with monastic ideas, or any other weird ideas.

This model of reality, this holistic path that you just have read about, is a direct result of this journey through the shadows and the dark. For anyone that sees its beauty and depth it can be liberating as it has been here.


How to Discern if a Particular Spiritual Path is Healthy
or Unhealthy for You.

If you have read this article, you already have all the information you need. A truly healthy spiritual path should teach you how to integrate in your life, and succeed at each and everyone of the Seven Games of Consciousness. Foremost it should give you efficient tools to realize, in a short period of time, that you are not [your name here], that you are not the person you thought you were, that the "I' is a fictional character based on imagination, and that you are Pure Awareness.

If you notice that the teachings communicate contempt towards money, contempt or fear towards sensory pleasures, especially sex, contempt or an adversarial attitude towards the ego and the personality, contempt or fear towards the romantic aspect of life, contempt or neglect towards finding your true vocation in life, it is likely that the teachings have monastic influence, or simply put, are fully monastic teachings. If you want to become a monk or a nun and live in the monastery -- which often leads to a disaster, but a few still benefit -- those teachings may be for you. If you are not planning to live this lifetime in a monastery, and you are aiming for the highest path -- the holistic path of complete integration -- you better stay completely away from such teachings. You will get badly hurt and disappointed.

Make sure you also choose your teachers carefully.  If you follow the teachings of a monastic organization, it is very likely that you will be influenced by their belief system.

It is not possible to believe in something and preach something else -- to begin with it is inauthentic. Therefore, the monks and nuns will preach monastic ideas, and those following them will be programmed in that paradigm; even if they are living in the world.

You may listen to what monastics have to say -- especially some Buddhist monks and nuns are contributing with valuable ideas -- but filter carefully what you swallow. Leave all thoughts of contempt towards the world for the monastics alone. They rejected the world; may you choose to love the world (with detachment). 

John 3:16 "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son..."



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The Brain Optimization™ Holistic Institute offers classes, information and courses with certifications on drug free solutions to ADD, ADHD, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, substance abuse and other forms of brain / mental suffering and disorders. Certifications include Brain Optimization™ with Emphasis in Nutrition, Life/Wellness Coaching with Emphasis in Cognitive Psychology and Psychology of Consciousness with Emphasis in Non-Duality. The Brain Optimization™ Holistic Institute also offers a Certification in Holistic Life Coaching for those who complete the three certifications mentioned above.

Brain Optimization™ Holistic Institute's broadcasting and recording studio for online classes and coaching sessions is presently located in Glendale, Los Angeles County, California. Students from adjacent cities and locations like Pasadena, Studio City, San Fernando Valley, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Pacific Palisades, West Los Angeles, Brentwood, Bel Air, Santa Monica, Laguna Beach, Irvine and Orange County can take the Coaching Sessions in person, on Skype or on the phone. Students living in cities and locations further away in the States or abroad like San Francisco, San Diego, New York, North and South Carolina, Miami, London England, Paris France, Rome and Milan Italy, Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, Santiago Chile, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ecuador, Quito, Montreal, Cape Town and Johannesburg in South Africa, New Zealand, Hawaií, Kauai, Maui, Kenya, Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta in India, Hong Kong and Shanghai in China, Taipei in Taiwan, can take the one-on-one coaching sessions on Skype or phone.

All classes are presently presented by the
Brain Optimization™ Holistic Institute's founder Gian Girardi, MS, MA.