Aware: Glimpses of Consciousness
Updated: Nov 25, 2021
I was fortunate to participate in a training workshop followed by the Mind Medicine Australia International Summit on Psychedelic Therapies. The summit did not disappoint with mind blowing content. There was an extraordinary line up of speakers including
Professor David Nutt (UK) Head of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London and Chief Research Officer at Awakn Life Sciences,
Dr Gabor Maté (Canada) renowned trauma and addiction physician,
Professor Roland Griffiths (USA) Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine,
Dr Bill Richards (USA) world-leading therapist trainer and psychologist at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
There was also an impressive line up of neurological psychiatrists, research scientists, anthropological researchers, 'salivating' pharmaceutical company CEOs, an ethics advisor and practitioners of exceptional skill, sensitivity and knowledge.
The summit was skilfully curated leading a diverse gathering of delegates representing science, medicine, alternative medicine, therapy, alternative therapy and interested members of the public through the complex and rapidly changing landscape of psychedelic therapy.
Delegates were encouraged to forget the remaining connotations of the these plant medicines as they were portrayed by the media during the 1960s. It was explained how the the promising research of the era was swiftly defunded by the Nixon administration as a strategic political intervention to support participation in the Vietnam war. We can only speculate on who funded the negative media campaign.
Numerous tryptamine were discussed but principally psilocybin from magic mushrooms and MDMA. Medical prescriptions for mental health conditions may be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration as early as December 2021.
Below I share an image taken from the summit which depicts the increased communication between brain networks based on fMRI scans of a human brain in one of the research projects.
But rather than reporting on the summit, I would like to summarise my experience of it by offering the trailer below of the documentary 'Aware: Glimpses of Consciousness'. The documentary elegantly combines the latest scientific discoveries and musings of six researchers grappling with notions of consciousness and its unknown mysteries. The documentary is visually powerful and attempts to portray the sense of awe and magnificence reported by those who have taken psilocybin mushrooms. The breadth of enquiry across the researchers, their personal dedication to their cause and eloquent observations I found remarkable.
Image from Mind Medicine Australia