Thursday, June 19, 2014

On the Starting Line to Life's Greatest Journey

That was the name of our first workshop. We held it a few weekends ago - and it was a big success. We learned a lot, and we can't wait to schedule the next one.

Here is a picture of the beautiful setting we were in.

We will be sure to let you know when we book the next workshop.

Friday, May 30, 2014


Is it a myth, unreachable except for religious zealots or the very definition of mental health and wellbeing?

An ancient discovery passed down and rediscovered through countless generations, Enlightenment is a subject as worthy of understanding in the 21st century as it was four thousand years ago.

What is Enlightenment? Tomes have been dedicated to answering this eternal question. Even the title of a modern magazine, “What is Enlightenment?,” the search for this exalted state has been the “holy grail” of humanity. Whether it’s been called Enlightenment, Awakening, Nirvana, Transcendence, Transformation, Cosmic Consciousness or Heaven Within and Paradise on Earth, it has been a goal of most of humanity for millennia.

So, is it real or a myth or even a singular phenomenon? People have been describing extraordinary states since time immemorial. Although they attribute it to different causes — some religious, some not — they seem to have some common threads.

For example, these lucky few describe a sense of opening and understanding, of seeing the world in new ways they had been overlooking before. Feeling liberated, with a dramatic release that is at once blissful and tranquilizing. They tell of realizing they are connected with everything and everyone born of losing any self-consciousness. And they recount feeling so immediately alive and immersed in the moment that each moment seems like an eternity unto itself.

Trippy stuff to be sure. Psychedelic even (which actually just means ‘mind expanding’). Unless it was you. If you were there now, it would seem normal. Obvious. Self-evident. A place you’d wonder why you didn’t reach long ago.

So, is it even reachable, even a possibility for someone living a busy, modern life with kids, responsibilities and competing priorities? The short answer is ‘yes, definitely.’ Although…it is not quick and easy, like we’ve come to expect from our solutions.

Having spent decades reading Enlightenment accounts, studying various Eastern and Western paths and glimpsing it in meditative moments, I can share this. It is elusive. Tricky to get to and even trickier to stay at. Like a greased seal in the ocean, trying to grab onto it can be an exercise in frustration or futility. Until it’s not. That is, until you are practiced at accessing that level of realization.

Patience, practice and persistence is the order of the day for learning any skill —whether taking up a musical instrument or investing in real estate. One thing is for sure, modern century understandings of psychology, the brain and human development — such as in my SatoriWest Method — can reinterpret this ancient discovery in a new light. It can view what has been previously a cryptic path as the result of realigning the brain, of strengthening specific neural circuits.

But is it practical? Is it relevant to modern lives? You might even think, “Yes, bliss and tranquility are great, feeling connected is wonderful, being in an eternal now is lovely, but I don’t have the time to be blissful, connected and eternal, I have a life to maintain and goals to accomplish.”

I could write volumes in response to this question. In a nutshell, the answer is that Enlightenment is very relevant — much more that you probably think.  It begins with this: The singular realization that seems to be at the center of Enlightenment is how insanely unlikely it is that you got to be born and here right now experiencing this.

Consider a few key things it took for us to be born — the universe arising, Earth possessing the perfect temperature with rare chemicals including water, life igniting, species evolving to unspeakable complexity, your parents meeting, the billion to one sperm to egg lottery. Sensing even a sliver how of unlikely it is that you are able to be here let alone able to know it forces the realization of how crazy lucky you are! It’s like winning a mega lottery!!!

It immediately rearranges your priorities away from the small stuff towards the more fulfilling and fundamental. It sets your compass towards more rewarding values. It defocuses you from trying to avoid or delay death by making life as perfect as you can get it, to appreciating each second regardless of what is happening. To being so fulfilled and happy that you could die in the next moment satisfied that you had really lived.

You’d drink in your loved ones rather than neglect them for “more important things.” You’d find a well of creativity and talent that was previously being spent trying to prove yourself. You’d allow yourself to be yourself, your authentic self, rather than someone in desperate need of approval to be happy. (Because you’re already happy being suffused with gratitude.) You’d be a lot less stressed if you were at all! Your health would improve, etc., etc.

So, is Enlightenment a myth? It doesn’t look like it.

Is it reachable? It is, more than ever before in history.

Is it practical for a busy life? Not unless you consider it impractical to have physical health, mental wellbeing and improved relationships. Not if it’s impractical to reach more of your talent and creativity, to act out of crystal clarity about what is important to you and to be able to live a life of fulfilling moments!

Find more information about Dr. Jeff Skolnick and The SatoriWest Method at

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Lessons from a Rollercoaster

Finding spiritual Enlightenment in the most unusual places.

By Jeff Skolnick, MD, PhD

My story begins with this simple fact: I hate roller coasters.

Whether you like them or not, they, like a lot of things in life, can further your spiritual development. Before I tell you why, let me back up a bit and tell you my theory of people who love rollercoasters.

Sometime I think the world can be divided into two groups. There are people who enjoy lying on a sunny beach with a fruity cocktail when they go on vacation. Then there are those who like to drink coffee and enjoy the adrenaline rush of downhill skiing or even bunge-jumping!

Seriously, there actually is evidence that people can be placed on a spectrum based on how their body reacts to sensations and stress. On the one side there are those whose bodies amplify sensations (“stimulus augmenters”). They feel things acutely. They get stressed out when there is too much happening. They prefer sedate movies and documentaries and tend to need peace and quiet to recover.

On the other side are those whose bodies dampen sensations (“stimulus reducers”). They don’t feel sensation or emotions very strongly. They like thriller and horror movies and need a lot of stimulation. They are usually thrill-seekers. They love roller coasters. (See if you can place each person in the above photo in their place on that spectrum.)

I’m far on the first side of the spectrum. That’s my constitution.

So the first thing I think when I’m getting into the rollercoaster car is: “Why am I doing this?” As the rollercoaster starts off, I flash on all the things I’d rather be doing at that moment: hiking on a beautiful mountain, playing guitar, dancing, lying on a beach…

As we start our incline up the hill with that jerky motion, my heart rate climbs with it. Close to the top of the hill, if I turn around and look down, I remember that I’m not thrilled about heights either. Sometimes I imagine that I might fall backwards out of the rollercoaster or that the entire thing might go careening down backward off the rails.

When we’re at the top, I feel like someone about to be pushed off the balcony of a skyscraper. Then down we go- often in freefall, where the rails are pulling up on the track. I have to remind myself that the odds of rollercoasters going off-track is rare. I remember (really pray) that people rarely die being thrown from roller coasters.

Plunging down, my body begins to seize up like someone constipated in the middle of trying to pass a large stool. It like being punched in the gut. My heart pounds in my throat. My breathing is so labored it feels a bit like suffocating. Then it’s over. Until we go up again…

So, why do I do it? Why go on rollercoasters? Well, when I was younger, I didn’t want to be left out when my friends went to the fair and later my kids wanted me to go with them and I didn’t want to see myself as an old fuddy-duddy. 

In the last few years I have gone on for another reason: I have been on a quest for spiritual enlightenment! Even reading the title of this blog, you might be thinking, “What in the world do rollercoasters have to do with Enlightenment?!”

The quest for Enlightenment requires you to challenge yourself—in a variety of different ways, to shake up habits so that you can learn about yourself. Meditation itself doesn’t always help you pierce through habit. Of course, there have to be good reasons for challenging yourself in particular ways.

There are many ways rollercoasters can provide a boost to spiritual realization. Here are three examples. First, they teach me how to better witness the formation of irrational thoughts that takeover my mind. I can then make a conscious choice (i.e. train myself) to let them go.  

Next, dropping down on a rollercoaster helps me, if even for a second (that is, when can do it) defocus and detach from the sensations and emotions in my body so I can better experience the totality of the moment. This is a skill central to living fully in the moment.

And then, very importantly, rollercoasters show me (i.e. train my brain) to open up to the exhilaration of being alive. That elation is always available to us. We just don’t know how to access it. It is a pleasant version of the rollercoaster drop.

Of course, there are limits to this kind of challenge. It has to be fully by choice and I have to be in the mood to challenge myself that way.

Yet, I when I do this, it is for more than the chance to develop myself. I also do it because life offers plenty of challenges that I don’t choose. Rollercoasters—for me a mini crisis—can teach me how to be more resilient to life crises that I don’t choose.

So, safely challenge yourself. For instance, join Toastmasters if you have anxiety speaking in public. When confronted with a situation where it is very hard to be honest, be different, be better than you normally would and speak out with honesty. Learn a new skill—a sport, a creative outlet—when you and others would not expect you to do that. Never stop challenging yourself…

And I’ll see you at the fair. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Your Brain on Meditation: Gateway to an Incredible Life

Learn to activate your higher brain and fulfill your highest potential.

                                                               -  Jeff Skolnick, MD, PhD

Your brain can take you to heights you can’t now even imagine. Shrouded in spiritual language for millennia, the perspectives and practices of the 21st century give you a rare opportunity to make progress not possible before. Find out why the peak of brain development is life-changing. Learn a simple skill to launch yourself right now. 

Your human brain can take you to heights you can’t even imagine—right where you are. No travel required. Nothing external in your life need change. Develop your brain in the right way and you will have an abiding sense of peace and happiness with the exhilaration of feeling gratitude for each moment and everything in it.  People who have taken their brains to these heights say that they are so fulfilled by being alive they could face death in the next moment with no regrets at all!

Sign me up, right?

Your brain becomes the organ of spirituality at its highest stages of development. This is an indescribably valuable destination capable of changing your life in many ways. To boost your journey, here’s some background into your brain’s development, as well as some practical tips to get you going fast.

We’ll begin with the latest piece of information from the field of neuroscience. It is called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is simply the ability of your brain to change with changing circumstances.

We used to think that our brain mainly grew and shaped itself from infanthood to adulthood.  That radical process, we believed, then slowed almost to a halt at adulthood—permanently. Yet, neuroscientists have been increasingly shocked by how capable of development the adult human brain remains.  If, for instance, you have a stroke and lose your ability to write, it is possible to trick the brain into compensating for that ability in ways that can make that disability seem to disappear!

The same extraordinary process has been brought to bear in another area. Throughout the ages people have discovered the incredible state of being called Enlightenment, Awakening or Heaven Within. This tells us that your brain is capable of “developmental neuroplasticity”—of reconnecting and shaping itself to a level well beyond the average adult’s brain development.

What does reconnecting and reshaping your brain to its highest stage of development require? It requires selective activation of circuits of your higher brain—the parts that tell you that you are alive, that you exist and that guide and direct the programming in the rest of your brain. Develop these higher parts enough and you come to see that this moment right now is precious beyond measure! A life-changing realization that alters your priorities, changes your life and brings extraordinary happiness.

To activate your higher brain you must also learn how to selectively let go of, detach from, witness and direct your lower brain. The lower brain roughly consists of mind and body programming. Programming can take over your brain functioning entirely. It is a circumstance you may not always be aware of. Witnessing and directing your lower brain causes you to flow, as if you were easily surfing through life.    

The ability to radically stimulate neuroplastic brain development is great news for another essential reason. An undeveloped brain inevitably leads to stress, frustration with people, grief over aging, disappointment with life, anxieties, fear of the future—to name a few. This condition has been so pervasive in humanity it has been called “the human condition.” Look inside, look around you and you’ll see the human condition everywhere, informing everything.

Neuroplastic higher development tells us that our lives are not fixed. That we’re not stuck in our programmed selves. That we are capable of so much more than we ever realized. That dreams of a perfect life, with external measures of success, pale in comparison to a life of extraordinary inner success.

Right, so isn’t peak neuroplastic development just a goal for religious zealots or those with extraordinary abilities?

It might have been in the past. Previously cloaked in religious ideology or spiritual language, the 21st century, with its modern perspectives and practices, gives you a rare opportunity to develop your brain fully!

This happens through a series of brain development skills I call Inshifting. Inshifting comes with life and wellness strategies that make this process happen even more naturally and quickly. Together, they’re called the SatoriWest Method. This approach and these skills are centered around strengthening what has been known for thousands of years as an “inner eye:” the control mechanism for your higher brain.

Here’s where you get to participate. You already know your inner eye. It’s where you go, what you power up, to imagine a red apple appearing two feet in front of you. (Try that.) It’s where you talk to yourself or imagine hearing yourself saying the words “think,” “think,” inside your head. (Try that.) Notice a little strain that happens, particularly in your eye muscles. Some energy is required for concentration.

Your inner eye is where you go when you want to get out of your way to say type what you are reading or when you play an instrument, sport or video game—all without interference of your programmed mind. (Try noticing that.) It is where you physically balance your body. (Try observing that.) Your inner eye is also where you fully grasp you are alive and spontaneously flow through life.

So, try this inner eye strengthening exercise: For thirty seconds, close your eyes and say your name repeatedly inside your head, as if you can actually hear it. When your mind takes over and causes you to wander, come back to hearing your name as if the last moment never happened. No stress. Eventually, you’ll feel sharper, more grounded and present. Practice this every day or several times a day. Stretch the time to a minute, then five, then 15 minutes and you’ll begin reshaping your brain towards a life of fulfillment and extraordinary wellbeing.

To find out more about the SatoriWest Method, you can sign up for our free “Flex Your Brain” video series at

Dr. Skolnick offers a free introductory video series available on his website at

Monday, February 17, 2014

Ways to Find Happiness in Life - Is Extreme Well being on Your “Must Have” List?

Play the Brain-Centered Integration Game

Well being is feeling really good. Where everything seems to be clicking — you feel physically well and good about yourself, your relationships and your life. Ratchet that up any amount and you enter the realm of extreme well being. If that isn’t on your list of “must haves,” put it there! The 21st century offers opportunities like never before. 

In the year 2000, having studied the issue exhaustively, the White Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine declared that a “biopsychosocial–spiritual” approach to healthcare was optimal.

When I read that, I could hear the collective ‘forehead smack’ as people thought, “Really? An exhaustive study to say something as obvious as that?”

It’s common sensical. If you want peak well being, you improve every area of your life. The thing is that although we may know that, we forget. We focus on one or two, maybe three areas at the expense of all the areas let alone the key strategies within each one.

Here’s a list. Just scan it. It’s got the six life wellness areas and some key examples of strategies within each one. Before you finish it and begin to freak out because it seems like so much, by the very end of this post you’ll learn that there is more to it than meets the eye:

1.      Physical
·         Exercise — both aerobic and strengthening
·         Nutrition — including optimal food, fluid and fasting
·         Sleep, rest and relaxation
·         Self-health, supplementation and partnering with professionals
2.       Mental
·         Learn about your personality and how you uniquely experience things
·         Understand the story of your family and childhood
·         Discover how to change your behavior and thinking
·         Laugh; have fun
3.      Social
·         Learn communication, assertiveness and negotiating skills
·         Nurture your relationships with love and attention
·         Create supportive and empowering social networks
4.      Cultural
·         Prepare for disasters
·         Learn to manage your time
·         Learn how to organize your finances, home, work and life
5.      Moral
·         Clarify and live in accord with your values and principles
·         Discover your life’s passion and go after it!
·         Do things to continually give back
6.      Traditionally Spiritual
·         Practice your religion if you have one
·         Regularly recount what you are grateful for
·         Give and ask for forgiveness — a lot
·         Find beauty everywhere

Ok, here’s the catch — actually catches.

First, to have extreme well being, you need in some way or another to practice everything on this list and whatever else you can think of that’s relevant to you.

I know, it’s hard to do everything. I get it. And remember what you saw was a partial list. We need a lot of help to practice all of these things. No problem. I have that covered in a new SatoriWest “LifeClub” that you can find out more about later.

Anyway, 100% perfect is not what we’re aiming for. Mostly because it doesn’t exist — which can make it tricky to achieve anyway. Try for about 70% to 80% of the strategies and we’re cookin’ with gas.

Two, now that I’ve said the above, not only do you need to practice all these strategies, you need to do them at about the same time. (Ouch. That probably sounds even harder than the first catch.)

The overall strategy is to practice at least one key strategy from each area of wellness to begin and work up from there. If you can do that, the synergy, the multiplication effect takes over. Not only will you get a higher return of investment, so to speak, but it will make adding more strategies that much easier! In other words, your life will evolve at a much faster pace.

Three, at the heart of the matter, not only do you need to practice one if not most strategies from all these areas, and at about the same time, you need to integrate them. By integrate what I mean is that you practice each strategy with this common end: developing your higher brain.

“Developing your higher brain? Huh?”

Ok, let me back up. There’s a little fact central to total wellness that I left out. Extreme wellbeing basically requires only one thing! It’s the one thing from which everything arises and the one thing you must aim for in return: A highly developed higher brain.

Before you injure your neck shaking your head back and forth, I’ll try to unravel this for you.

Really briefly, when you develop your higher brain you wake up to something that you had previously taken utterly for granted: that your existence is crazy unlikely. It’s rare beyond imagination…and because you can be aware of it, because you can experience it, makes each moment a true miracle. (Learn more about that here.)

If you were to grasp the miracle of your existence — even a tiny bit — you would be in a state of amazement. Grasp it a lot and you would be astounded by your very existence each moment of your life. You would appreciate everything — good or bad! Nothing could take away a deep and abiding happiness and inner peace. You would flow easily through each moment.

That’s also the core definition of peak wellness: Being so aware of, amazed and grateful for your own existence that…

·         your level of physical vitality and health shoots up.
·         happiness skyrockets while inner calm settles in.
·         your relationships become empowering, loving and effective.
·         you are more successful in almost everything you do.
·         you discover a passion to make a difference in the world.
·         there is a sense of connection with everything around you.

To name just a few ways your life improves.

So, you might be wondering, “Well if developing your higher brain inside your head is all it takes to have extreme levels of wellness, why bother talking about wellness? Why practice wellness in every area, at the same time, and directed to…oh, directed to developing your higher brain. I get it. One thing leads to the other. If I practice wellness in a way that stimulates my higher brain and strengthen my higher brain from the inside I’ll experience a quantum leap in wellness and wellbeing.”

That’s the SatoriWest Method: strengthen your brain from the inside while practicing wellness strategies at the same time to make it easier and easier…and you head straight to extreme wellbeing!

To find out more about the SatoriWest Method and SatoriWest Life Clubs, go to 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

An open letter to Global Visionaries Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Larry Page, Jeff Skoll, George Soros, Bill Lee and Warren Buffett.

Dear Gentlemen,

Because of you, the world is already going to be a much better place. Thank you.

Still, I’m sickened when I hear about violence, abuse and poverty—especially on a large scale. I’m saddened because I know the root of the human strife causing this is treatable. It stems from the fact that the human mind causes people to suffer. Everyone struggles emotionally with life—even if their lives are outwardly successful. This observation has been true since humankind began.

Yet, the 21st century offers a historic and rare opportunity for a radical, global transformation. You ought to investigate it. A detailed, scalable and workable plan exists which could, with your support, accomplish what would have been considered crazy, improbable or impossible decades ago…

Make the development to “spiritual” Enlightenment, as a brain and wellness science, so accessible it is commonplace in the world!

What does this boil down to? Teach people to see how miraculous—how incomprehensibly rare—each unique moment of their existence is. This is simple to understand yet challenging to do because it is requires a brain skill. Yet, when people learn to cherish the fact of their existence in each moment—“good” and “bad”—their sense of happiness and wellbeing skyrockets. They connect with each other on a deeper level without ego-defenses and fear.

This is a brain and wellness approach to “spiritual” attainment that gives people of different cultures and religions a common language and principles.

I realize that people have basic physical, safety, social and psychological needs. Yet, with modern advances in the science of neuroplastic brain development, contemporary life-wellness and social psychology it is often possible to bypass lower stages and go to the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to find the peace and contentment of Enlightenment. This ancient discovery can be a practical reality throughout our world today.

I bring unique qualifications to this undertaking—as a long-term, experienced Zen meditation practitioner, MD psychiatrist, former brain researcher, PhD Natural Health Science, author and previous medical administrator. To manifest this integrative approach (called the SatoriWest Method) making it is practical and scalable, I engineered the SatoriWest LifeClub. A community-centered LifeClub helps people get the help, training, guidance and support they need to make fundamental changes in how they experience the world.

An affordable LifeClub has been launched online. It will someday be followed by still affordable brick-and-mortar LifeClub centers located in regions throughout the US and world. Each LifeClub center in an area will be surrounded by LifeClub satellites (mini-LifeClubs) installed in other businesses, e.g. healthcare, fitness, schools/universities, churches, corporations, retirement communities, military, mental health. This is what makes this approach so scalable.

The skeleton of this plan is in place. However, the global change humanity is capable of will never be seen in our lifetimes. Not without you! There is a ton of research and development needed to make the approach even easier, the language clearer, the strategies more powerful, the marketing more global, the website more user-friendly, the operations team more effective, etc.

Please check out our crowdfunding launch at and help us now, or explore or better yet contact me directly through I will answer every question.

Be the defining catalyst for this movement and watch the unfolding of a massive global shift in consciousness and wellbeing.

In gratitude,


Jeff Skolnick, MD, PhD
CEO, The SatoriWest LifeClub

Live in world you can only dream of. Leave a world you can be proud of.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The SatoriWest LifeClub - Quick overview

The SatoriWest LifeClub was designed to help people change their lives. It can help you be happier, healthier, more at peace and grateful. But what exactly is it? What does it mean to join? What do you do if you are part of a LifeClub? These questions are answered in a quick 2 minute video - check it out.

Click here to view the video

Friday, January 24, 2014

Click On Press Release To Visit The Campaign

6 lessons learned (so far) from a struggling Indiegogo campaign

We are a company called the SatoriWest LifeClub…and we have an Indiegogo campaign. I am the operations director and I wanted to share with you a few things we have learned, so that you might avoid the same pitfalls.

Our company vision and mission statement are transformative. We want to start a global movement because we have a formula that helps people change the wiring of their brains to be more content, peaceful and calm.

Like many small businesses, we have the idea…we just don’t have the capital. We explored many ways to acquire funds and landed on crowdfunding. Our vision was that crowdfunding would offer us 3 things: Money, exposure and new customers.  We have 25 days left of our 40 day campaign and we have only raised 5% of our goal. Ouch. We haven’t given up, at all – instead we are taking a step back to assess (and share) what we have learned so far.

1)   Launch when you are ready, even if that means pushing your original deadline. Planning is not a joke. We were focused on getting our campaign out by the beginning of January. We stuck to the deadline rather than waiting until we were really ready. There is a ton of information on how to plan for your campaign and get ready…we kinda jumped the gun.

2)   The campaign will not market itself. This lesson goes hand in hand with making sure you have planned. People won’t just happen upon your campaign. You need to reach out and you need to be putting up new and fresh content. The campaign needs to be your top effort everyday of the campaign and other work projects need to be postponed.

3)   Your network of friends and family may not donate like you thought they would. Our team is small (4 people). We started counting up our combined personal contacts and we were confident at least 20 or 30% of our personal contacts would donate something. That has not been the case. It is not that they are unsupportive, but we made a mistake in estimating such a high conversion rate of close contacts. 

4)   Put on your sales person and marketing hat. We are a team of visionaries, creators, makers, implementers etc…  Marketing and sales are not something that comes naturally to any member of our team.  We feel like we are being pushy, or rude, or spamming.  This has led us to not reach out enough. We need to check our egos at the door and become sales people. Asking for money can be hard. Remember that you are offering people the opportunity to be part of something – not just pan handling. 

5)   Big ideas should be boiled down to an actionable list. Our concept is big (we have a monthly membership club that is designed to help people manage their complex lives and rewire their brains). We focused on getting people to understand the high level goals of our business model. What we offer is transformational and we hope to start a global movement. But, our campaign message isn’t tangible enough for potential contributors to understand what exactly they are funding.

6)   You lose 10% of contributions made through PayPal. Yep…we should have read the fine print, but we didn’t think much of it. We wanted to offer campaign viewers as many options as possible to contribute. We wouldn’t change our decision to offer PayPal as a payment option, but we should have budgeted that into our contribution projections.

All of that said…Check out our Indiegogo campaign. Contribute to our campaign and be part of this global movement. (Of course we had to put in a shameless plug – see, we are practicing being sales people.)

We would love to hear your ideas for how we could have, or still could improve the chances of our campaign being successful.

I also want to say a sincere thank you to our backers so far. Thank you for getting our campaign started and believing in our mission.