David Bohm was an eminent quantum physicist. As a young man he worked closely with Albert Einstein at Princeton University. With Yakir Aharonov he discovered the Aharonov-Bohm effect. He was later Professor of Theoretical Physics at Birkbeck College, London University, and was the author of several books, including Causality and Chance in Modern Physics 1 and Wholeness and the Implicate Order. 2 He died in 1992. This dialogue was first published in ReVision Journal, and the editorial notes are by Renée Weber, the journal’s editor. 3
Bohm: Suppose we look at the development of the embryo, at those problems where you feel the present mechanistic approach doesn’t work. What would the theory of morphogenetic fields do that others don’t?
In each moment there’s a selection of which potential is going to be realized, depending to some extent on the past history, and to some extent on creativity.
Sheldrake: The developing organism would be within the morphogenetic field, and the field would guide and control the form of the organism’s development. The field has properties not just in space but in time. Waddington demonstrated this with his concept of the chreode [see Fig. 5], represented by models of valleys with balls rolling down them towards an endpoint. This model looks mechanistic when you first see it. But when you think about it for just a minute you see that this endpoint, which the ball is rolling down the valley towards, is in the future, and it is, as it were, attracting the ball to it. Part of the strength of this model depends on the fact that if you displace the marble up the sides of the valley, it will roll down again and reach the same endpoint; this represents the ability of living organisms to reach the same goal, even if you disrupt them – cut off a bit of embryo and it can grow back again; you’ll still reach the same endpoint.
Bohm: In physics the Lagrangian law is rather similar; the Lagrangian falls into a certain minimum level, as in the case of the chreode. It’s not an exact analogy, but you could say that in some sense the classical atomic orbit arises by following some sort of chreode. That’s one way classical physics could be looked at. And you could perhaps even introduce some notion of physical stability on the basis of a chreode. But from the point of view of the implicate order, I think you would have to say that this formative field is a whole set of potentialities, and that in each moment there’s a selection of which potential is going to be realized, depending to some extent on the past history, and to some extent on creativity.
Sheldrake: But this set of potentialities is a limited set, because things do tend towards a particular endpoint. I mean cat embryos grow into cats, not dogs. So there may be variation about the exact course they can follow, but there is an overall goal or endpoint.
Bohm: But there would be all sorts of contingencies that determine the actual cat.
Sheldrake: Exactly. Contingencies of all kinds, environmental influences, possibly genuinely chance fluctuations. But nevertheless the endpoint of the chreode would define the general area in which it’s going to end up. Anyway, the point about Waddington’s concept of the chreode, which is taken quite seriously by lots of biologists, is that it already contains this idea of endpoint, in the future, in time; and the structure, the very walls of the chreode, are not in any normal sense of the word material, physical things. Unfortunately Waddington didn’t define what they were. In my opinion, they represent this process of formative causation through the morphogenetic field. Waddington in fact uses the term ‘morphogenetic field’. Now the problem with Waddington’s concept is that, when he was attacked by mechanists, who maintained that this was a mystical or ill-defined idea, he backed down and said, well, this is just a way of talking about normal chemical and physical interactions. René Thom, who took up the concepts of chreodes and morphogenetic fields and developed them in topological models (where he called the endpoints ‘morphogenetic attractors’), tried to push Waddington into saying more exactly what the chreode was. Waddington, whenever pushed by anyone, even René Thom, backed down. So he left it in a very ambiguous state.
Now Brian Goodwin and people like him see chreodes and morphogenetic fields as aspects of eternal Platonic forms; he has a rather Platonic metaphysics. He sees these formative fields as eternally given archetypes, which are changeless and in some sense necessary. It is almost neo- Pythagorean; harmony, balance, form and order can be generated from some fundamental mathematical principle, in some sort of necessary way, that acts as a causal factor in nature in an unexplained but changeless manner.
The difference between that and what I’m saying is that I think these morphogenetic fields are built up causally from what’s happened before. So you have this introjection, as it were, of explicit forms, to use your language, and then projection again.
Each moment will therefore contain a projection of the re-injection of the previous moments, which is a kind of memory; so that would result in a general replication of past forms
Bohm: Yes. What you are talking about – the relation of past forms to present ones – is really related to the whole question of time – ‘How is time to be understood?’ Now, in terms of the totality beyond time, the totality in which all is implicate, what unfolds or comes into being in any present moment is simply a projection of the whole. That is, some aspect of the whole is unfolded into that moment and that moment is just that aspect. Likewise, the next moment is simply another aspect of the whole. And the interesting point is that each moment resembles its predecessors but also differs from them. I explain this using the technical terms ‘injection’ and ‘projection’. Each moment is a projection of the whole, as we said. But that moment is then injected or introjected back into the whole. The next moment would then involve, in part, a re-projection of that injection, and so on in-definitely.
Dr. Joe Dispenza has an impressive background — studying biochemistry at Rutgers University with a focus on neuroscience, graduating magna cum laude with a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree from Life University in Georgia, and postgraduate education spanning neuroscience, memory formation, cellular biology, and aging and longevity. He’s a New York Times bestselling author and a featured expert in the films What the BLEEP Do We Know?!, Down the Rabbit Hole and newly released, The People vs The State of Illusion and the Heal documentary.
After an accident involving a sport utility vehicle during a triathlon, Dispenza is also known as the man who miraculously regrew six shattered vertebrae of his spine by using the innate intelligence of his body — without the help of conventional medicine. His physician told him he would never walk again if he didn’t opt for surgery. Dispenza declined. Instead, he used the power of his mind, along with diet and physical therapy, to regain his health. Within ten weeks, Dispenza had completely healed himself and was back to work, a new man.
“Meditating is a means for you to move beyond your analytical mind so that you can access your subconscious mind. That’s crucial, since the subconscious is where all your bad habits and behaviors that you want to change reside.” ~ Dr. Joe Dispenza
In the 1990s, neuropsychiatrist Eric Kandel discovered that connections in a neural bundle can double with repeat stimulation. The finding earned him a Nobel Prize. During later experiments, he also found that if neural connections aren’t used, they shrink in as little as three weeks. This is the basis for the concept of “neuroplasticity” — where, instead of the brain having certain developmental cycles (mainly in childhood) and a “set” structure, our brain is actually reshaped by the signals passing through our neural network at any given time in our lives.
“In the same decade that Kandel and others measured neuroplasticity, other scientists discovered that few of our genes are static. The majority of genes (estimates range from 75 to 85 percent) are turned off and on by signals from our environment, including the environment of thoughts, beliefs, and emotions that we cultivate in our brains. One class of these genes, the immediate early genes (IEGs), takes only three seconds to reach peak expression. IEGs are often regulatory genes, controlling the expression of hundreds of other genes and thousands of other proteins at remote sites in our bodies.” [source]
This is believed to be the reason for seemingly miraculous healings that have taken place throughout the ages, where our thoughts, emotions and beliefs are supportive of ultimate health and harmony.
Writes Dawson Church, Ph.D., author of The Genie in Your Genes:
“Joe is one of the few science writers to fully grasp the role of emotion in transformation. Negative emotion may literally be an addiction to high levels of our own stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline. Both these stress hormones and relaxation hormones like DHEA and oxytocin have set points, which explains why we feel uncomfortable in our skin when we think thoughts or countenance beliefs that drive our hormonal balance outside of that comfort zone. This idea is at the very frontier of the scientific understanding of addictions and cravings.” [source]
Ask yourself the question: am I alive now?
How do we check that? We move immediately to the organs of perception. We feel the weight of the body on the chair or bed. We feel the temperature of the air on the skin. We glance around, and see that we are seeing the physical space in which we are positioned. We listen, the sounds we hear confirm that we are here. Spiritual teacher Russel Williams calls the physical senses “the organs of consciousness”. Somewhere between hearing the question: I AM ALIVE? and the answer YES, there is a flow of information, and an awareness of that phenomena.
It is through the five senses that we experience what we could call physical life. The five senses are not “things” though, in Russel’s teaching, they are channels through which consciousness is able to access the physical dimension and through which the physical dimension enters consciousness. They are doorways through which feeling vibration passes.
The first physical phenomena to be sensed through the organs of consciousness is the body itself. When we ask the question: “Am I alive now?” we can direct our attention to the world outside the body, but we can equally allow our consciousness to begin to penetrate the body itself: Inside the body, the sensations of physical comfort or discomfort, temperature, movement, gravity. Even the more subtle sensations of thoughts, feeling and emotions are filtered through these organs of consciousness.
With touch, we feel a feeling. With listening, we hear a thought. With sight, we imagine a picture in the future, or we remember a scene from the past. We can even play with it. We can “listen” to the music of our stress or sadness. We can “see” our grief as an image. We can “taste” nostalgia. We can “smell” the vision of the future.
In the end, says Russel, it doesn’t matter if you contemplate a particle of dust, an angelic vision or a biscuit with your tea. It all comes to the same. The absolute is contained within every particle of creation, through every vibration.
18 months ago it was a tremendous affirmation to receive the gift of being introduced to Russel. Now over 90 years old, Russel has no agenda beyond truth. Meetings with him are free of charge and he is not trying to make anyone believe anything. He demands that questions be asked. “I am totally empty, if you don’t put anything in, nothing will come out,” he says, when there is an expectant silence.
“As empty channels, we can relax into our natural purpose – as a living bridge to worlds beyond our perception, yet shockingly close to home.”
Part of the magic in meeting Russel was the discovery of a teacher, who has found freedom and a precision of understanding of our true nature through direct experience – without education, training, dogma or any pretence. Life itself has been his workshop. Through the years, he has found the language to describe this deeper knowledge, driven by a feeling that “it’s worthwhile”.
It is a celebration for us that Russel’s teachings flow easily the teachings of I AM HERE that also emerged without background or even knowledge of this world we now move in called “nonduality”.
In the I AM HERE teachings, the “I” is all about the sacred and sacral need to identify and develop individuality (the .00000000009 % of us which is temporarily and spatially differentiated).
The “Am” is the meta sense of sentience, being, or feeling, through which we feel ourselves to be alive – whether physically or in more subtle dimensions.
The “Here” is the vast, potent, non-exclusive emptiness which pervades before, through and after every particle of physical or energetic form. It is the home of that which is able to experience and which is here unconditionally to the quality of any experience or impression.
These three layers of perception expressed by the I AM HERE are differentiated according to the given terms of the English Language as three layers of perception: consciousness, awareness and emptiness. In emptiness, consciousness and awareness dance and blend.
To open the senses, or the organs of consciousness, we need to rest back beyond experience. We need to be still, not grasping at thoughts, feelings or physical impressions nor rejecting them. We need even a space between who we are and any state of mind, state of being or state of consciousness.
What better and more appropriate way to begin the world tour than with the country known as First Light!
Tom brought his own special light to Auckland, but we all received much more than we could have imagined from the gracious greetings to the unparalleled hospitality and help from so many!
On this world tour, Tom emphasizes the things that connect us to one another by discussing the similarities in our cultural beliefs from ancient to modern times.
The Cultural Connection Tour 2017: Auckland Day 1/2
by Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebel
Spiritual awakening is the greatest gift you can receive, as it makes you aware you are a multidimensional being with a foot in all worlds. It helps you to see that the world is far more surreal than we like to think. Spiritual awakening is a treasure not to be discarded or misused, but cherished.
To “wake up” isn’t enough on its own, however. Once we’re awake, it’s up to us to do something with it. The universe doesn’t hand out enlightenment; we must pursue it and any opportunity for evolution our awakening provides.
We must do something with the gift we’ve been given.
The first question, then, is what to do with your awakening. Do you want to dive headfirst into the pursuit of a higher consciousness, or do you want to use what you’ve learned so far to help others? You could choose to forget about your awakening altogether, but why discard something so valuable?
You’re better off choosing one of the other options. Personally, I choose both.
I use writing to share what I’ve learned with those walking a similar path, and I use music and meditation to grow closer with the inner spirit. Writing also brings me closer to this part of myself, serving the dual purpose of expanding my mind while helping me to help you.
Although writing is undoubtedly a stern mental discipline, it feels good once you get the hang of it and the words start to flow.
Once awake, you can use writing, music, meditation, and plenty of other similar activities to become more aware while helping others do the same. With writing, you can research and share what others have said about the spiritual path or you can go straight to the source: your own mind, heart, and intuition.
The same can be said for if you pursue music, as creativity comes from the heart. The mind certainly has its role to play, but the heart lays the foundation.
In my opinion, the greatest thing you can do with your spiritual awakening is to return to the heart. Let your awakening redefine love as you know it. Awakening makes you aware of love and the importance of sharing it with a world that doesn’t know what it truly is.
Let the heart take center stage in your life. Share love with all, and let your love inspire compassion. After an awakening, your heart will break when you see how many people are suffering across the world. Don’t fear a broken heart. Let it fuel you to change what you cannot tolerate.
War, famine, and poverty are unacceptable. Tyrannical governments and dictatorships controlling, watching, and killing their own citizens is unacceptable. The suffering of the innocent angers and saddens the heart. In this way, you can see compassion as a source of power. Use it, and use it wisely.
One aspect of spiritual awakening people avoid is that it leads you to embrace what makes you uncomfortable. It led me to start exercising, for example, and to become a writer in this community. Despite that these things make me uncomfortable, they’re important to the path I’ve chosen.
How to open your mind on a quantum level, Sonia shares information on her upcoming webinar series. “To open one’s mind on a quantum level is to open one’s mind to a multidimensional understanding of reality. It is quite common for many to become affixed to limited ways in which reality is viewed. While there are multiple paths to take in order to more deeply explore the potentials the mind must be opened more deeply. Why? Because the levels at which we will see and understand reality is contingent on the fluid nature of mind, imagination and perception.” This webinar series will begin on October 7, 2017 . To find our more about Sonia or this webinar please visit http://www.therealsoniabarrett.com/ev…
The essay that you (or your avatar) are reading right now is about the Simulation Argument, formulated by Professor Nick Bostrom of Oxford University. But really, it’s a story about uncertainty.
It’s a cautionary tale against intellectual hubris and snobbery, as well as an admonition to enrich your own life and expand your range of possibilities.
Take the plunge with me, and we’ll see why Professor Bostrom thinks it’s possible we’re living in a computer simulation, run by advanced humans in some distant future.
In a famous paper entitled, Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?, Bostrom argues that at least ONE of the following propositions must be true:
(1) The human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage.
(2) Any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof).
(3) We are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.
Think about it: If crazy high-tech future humans simulate billions of universes, there will be billions of fake universes and just one “base reality.” The chances of being born into the base reality (as opposed to one of the simulations) would be astronomically low. Thus, if such a thing has already happened, we’re probably in a simulation right now.
However, we may not be. If our species is sufficiently volatile and self-destructive, such that we’re unlikely to survive long enough to become posthuman, or if for some reason our posthuman descendants don’t care much for simulating universes, we’re probably not living in a computer simulation.
And that’s the Simulation Argument. It’s really pretty straightforward and easy enough to understand. But as you can see, it’s the sort of idea that could keep you awake at night, wondering how “real” our reality really is.
For his part, Bostrom doesn’t claim to actually believe that we’re living in a computer simulation; he just admits that it’s possible.
In fact, Bostrom states:
“We may hope that (3) is true since that would decrease the probability of (1), although if computational constraints make it likely that simulators would terminate a simulation before it reaches a posthuman level, then our best hope would be that (2) is true.”
In other words, hopefully we are in a simulation, Bostrom says, because that would mean we aren’t likely to destroy ourselves entirely. However, if we are in a simulation and the simulators might “turn off” our reality sometime soon because keeping it running requires too much computing power, we should hope that our descendants simply don’t tend to simulate their past for whatever reason.
Personally, if one of those three propositions must be true, I hope it’s (2) regardless. I’m not sure why we would hope first and foremost that we are living in a simulation, rather than hoping that our descendants don’t care much for running ancestor simulations.
We humans are cursed with a bad habit. We deem nearly every thought that puffs from the chimneys of our overheated minds as logical and true, and this leaves us vulnerable to all manner of misery. As children we convince ourselves that monsters live under our beds, for example. I once thought an elderly lady in my neighborhood chopped up little kids with a butcher knife.
As we grow into adulthood, we learn to separate truth from fiction. A reasonable assumption, don’t you think? But we do no such thing. We adults engage in delusional thinking that makes monsters seem plausible by comparison. How else might one describe the idea that other people should live up to our expectations? Equal parts absurdity and arrogance, it is a mission statement for psychopaths. You know, people like you and me.
My life is teeming with examples of such delusional thinking. It’s been one dashed expectation after another. My girlfriends didn’t understand me. My college professors were unreasonably strict. My friends let me down. My bosses didn’t give me enough credit. My chiropractor didn’t make my back better. My neighbors made too much noise. And my dry cleaners couldn’t iron a shirt to save their lives.
I simply wanted others to hold up their end of the bargain. I expect; they deliver. Was this really asking too much?
Did civility die and someone forget to tell me about it?
And if being delusional wasn’t painful enough, I tried my hand at masochism. I came to rationalize all the psychological suffering I experienced as a result of unmet expectations as a sad fact of life. The rejections, the degradations, all of it. I chalked it up as the price of nobility, refusing to lower my expectations in the face of rampant mediocre human behavior. I was in pain, but it was a good kind of pain. A saintly pain, if you will.
Life as a martyr definitely had its drawbacks, though. I came tantalizingly close to happiness without ever really touching it. It was like admiring priceless artifacts through thick glass. Living in a world where my high standards guaranteed disappointment at nearly every turn felt morally superior, but hollow. A gray cloud seemed to follow me everywhere, like I had it on a leash. And maybe I did.
Could it be that the world wasn’t really as unsympathetic as it seemed? Were those gray clouds of my own making? Could they be the exhaust of my failed attempts to regulate the behavior of others?
No arena of health and wellness is more debatable than what we should be eating. Looking back through time, the foods that constitute a healthy diet have changed so dramatically, you can literally mark the passage of time by the coming and going of dietary fads.
Despite this obsessive focus on what to eat, Americans are fatter and in many ways, unhealthier than ever before. In 2016, two-thirds of the adult population were considered overweight or obese, according to a U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services study. This health epidemic spans ethnic and cultural boundaries, and is affecting more adults and children every year.
One factor that is contributing to America’s growing problem with weight is our obsession with sugar. You probably don’t need to see the results of a clinical study to believe that the more sugary calories you consume, the greater your risks of obesity. What you may not know is that what passes for sugar these days is actually a hyper-sweetened extract of one of the cheapest, most heavily-sprayed, GMO-pervasive crops on the planet.
Despite a marked decrease in consumption of refined cane and beet sugars over the last generation, we are taking in more dietary sugar overall, thanks to the prevalence of corn-based sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup, in nearly everything on grocery store shelves.
Switching to corn-based sweeteners is a case of jumping from the funnel cake grease into the fire! Corn syrup has become the go-to sweetening agent for processed foods due to its low cost and high concentration (at least 1.5 times that of cane sugar). Thanks to government subsidies, corn is alluringly cheap for food and beverage companies that need a steady supply of sweetness.
Corn is also a top GMO crop with at least 92% of the nation’s corn supply being genetically modified to withstand large doses of herbicides. Setting aside the shocking effects of GMO consumption, this intense concentration of simple sugar is wreaking havoc on the collective metabolism. Studies abound correlating intake of high-fructose sweeteners to increased risks of obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, fatty liver disease, diabetes, and more.
Aspartame, Equal, sucralose, Splenda, saccharin: they go by many names but do any of them sound truly sweet? Not when you read the nearly 100 scientific abstracts Greenmedinfo has collected on the perils of artificial sweeteners. Chemical fascimiles of sugar, these unnatural compounds can be far worse than the real thing.
Linked to increased risks of kidney disease, metabolic dysfunction, diabetes, and obesity, these calorie-free sugar substitutes trick consumers into thinking that previously unhealthy foods can get “a sugar-free pass.” But fake sugars are far from harmless. Studies show consuming synthetic sweeteners generates excessive cravings for the sweet taste, leading to weight gain and other negative effects linked to excessive sugar consumption.
While it might be tempting to think that these sugar imposters can help you bypass the weight and still eat the treats, if you value your health, steer clear of these dietary destroyers!
Wondering what options this leaves you when only something sweet will do? Fortunately, nature has got you covered. Here are four solutions for satisfying your sweet tooth that won’t rot your teeth, create blood sugar imbalance, or cause weight gain. In fact, these natural wonders pack some amazing health benefits!
(This article includes audio examples throughout. You can also download them in a ZIP file).
There are subjective and objective reasons why you might prefer one song over another. Subjective reasons include:
Alone, these factors have little to do with the intrinsic musicality of the song. They merely project subjective values upon what is heard.
True music is measured by the degree to which its melody, harmony, rhythm, and texture in and of themselves evoke an objective response in us. For example, a minor chord sounds sad without us ever needing to be conditioned to feel that. Infants can distinguish between harmonious and dissonant chords well before their enculturation. A beat can make us clap or tap our foot without having to be taught to do so, as seen in babies who bend their knees and bounce to the music instinctively. Similarly, an odd pattern of strange sounds can make us tilt our heads in curiosity.
Some objective responses stimulate the intellect, some the physical body, and some the emotional and spiritual aspects of our being. So in addition to the aforementioned subjective reasons for musical preference, there are also objective ones:
Songs typically represent a mixture of all the above. When a song combines several factors, it has greater impact and wider appeal:
We know that people differ in the degree to which they respond to a song. Some may not identify with the tradition being represented; some find its intellectual complexity confusing and irritating; some only desire groove and find little appeal in a slow emotional ballad; some do not have within their souls the aspects that a song is aiming to resonate; some never had a meaningful or emotional experience linked with a particular song that, for someone else, has much sentimental value.
So when different people respond differently to the same song, understand that in regard to the objective factors, the difference involves only the degree to which that factor is present in that person. A quirky and complex experimental piece might arouse much interest in one person, little interest in another, and strong disinterest in a third. When a song has groove, one person will dance uncontrollably, another will only tap his or her foot, and another with no sense of rhythm will fold his arms in boredom. When a song resonates the emotion of happiness, one person will have tears in her eyes, another will merely feel uplifted, and another might not care for feeling happy at the moment. It’s about varying degrees on the same scale.
To Scribe Etymology = to write, to trace, to lineate, to portray something, to outline
de- = reversal , removal, undo, down , away, degrade
to PICT = to picture or to paint (de-pict)
Lineate = mark with lines (de-lineate)
Subscribe Sub- = Under or act as a substitute for
Stitute = it or the ‘thing’ itself or to give the verb form
In-stitute = to set in motion or establish something (especially a program or system)
Sub-Stitute = to put or use in the place of another, to act in place of another or to alter
A Spell – is a series of words that has magical powers. If you are under a spell, then what you do is out of your control.
Your thoughts and actions are dictated by the spell – being under the influence of those words. Spelling = a person’s ability to spell (with or using) words
“While stroking an octopus, it is easy to fall into reverie. To share such a moment of deep tranquility with another being, especially one as different from us as the octopus, is a humbling privilege… an uplink to universal consciousness.”
“Despite centuries of investigation by everyone from natural historians, psychologists, and psychiatrists, to ethicists, neuroscientists, and philosophers, there is still no universal definition of emotion or consciousness,” Laurel Braitman wrote in her terrific exploration of the mental lives of animals. Virginia Woolf defined consciousness as “a wave in the mind,” but even if we’re able to ride the wave, we hardly know the ocean out of which it arises.
During my annual visit to NPR’s Science Friday to discuss my choices for the year’s best science books, my co-guest — science writer extraordinaire Deborah Blum — mentioned a fascinating book that had slipped my readerly tentacles, one that addresses this abiding question of consciousness with unparalleled rigor and grace: The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness (public library) by naturalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker Sy Montgomery.
Montgomery begins with a seemingly simple premise. The octopus is a creature magnificently dissimilar to us — it can change shape and color, tastes with its skin, has its mouth in its armpit, and is capable of squeezing its entire body through a hole the size of an apple. And since we humans experience reality in profoundly different ways from one another, based on our individual consciousnesses, then the octopus must be inhabiting an altogether different version of what we call reality.
The constellation of complexities comprising this difference, Montgomery reveals over the course of this miraculously insightful and enchanting book, expands our understanding of consciousness and sheds light on the very notion of what we call a “soul.”
More than half a billion years ago, the lineage that would lead to octopuses and the one leading to humans separated. Was it possible, I wondered, to reach another mind on the other side of that divide? Octopuses represent the great mystery of the Other.
Among the pitfalls of the human condition is our tendency to see otherness as a source of dread rather than an invitation to friendly curiosity. The octopus, as the ultimate Other, has a long history of epitomizing this inclination and sparking our primal fear of the unknown. Montgomery cites one particularly emblematic depiction from Victor Hugo’s novel Toilers of the Sea:
The spectre lies upon you; the tiger can only devour you; the devil-fish, horrible, sucks your life-blood away… The muscles swell, the fibres of the body are contorted, the skin cracks under the loathsome oppression, the blood spurts out and mingles horribly with the lymph of the monster, which clings to the victim with innumerable hideous mouths…
Setting out to “defend the octopus against centuries of character assassination,” Montgomery notes that octopuses have highly individual personalities and can exhibit marked curiosity — faculties we tend to think of as singularly human. Even their motives for friendliness and unfriendliness, far from the baseless brutality of depictions like Hugo’s, parallel our own:
In one study, Seattle Aquarium biologist Roland Anderson exposed eight giant Pacific octopuses to two unfamiliar humans, dressed identically in blue aquarium uniforms. One person consistently fed a particular octopus, and another always touched it with a bristly stick. Within a week, at first sight of the people — looking up at them through the water, without even touching or tasting them — most of the octopuses moved toward the feeder and away from the irritator. Sometimes the octopus would aim its water-shooting funnel, the siphon near the side of the head with which an octopus jets through the sea, at the person who had touched it with the bristly stick.
Surely, a skeptic might argue that this is more instinct than “consciousness.” But Montgomery goes on to outline a number of strikingly specific and context-considered behaviors indicating that octopuses are animated by complex conscious experiences — things we tend to term “thoughts” and “feelings” in the human realm — that upend our delusions of exceptionalism. Lest we forget, we have a long historyof bolstering those delusions by putting other species down, much like petty egotists try to make themselves feel big by making other people feel small — even Jane Goodall contended with dismissal and ridicule when she first suggested that chimpanzees have consciousness.
A study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine explores sensory deprivation in a flotation tank as a form of preventative healthcare. Its results showed substantial reductions in levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, and along with improved sleep quality and overall mood, proving that flotation therapy is an excellent way to prevent and treat many emotional and physical ailments.
Sensory deprivation cuts off all the senses from the mind, removing it from the average barrage of stressful situations that most of us face each day. In the absence of distracting external stimuli, the mind enters a state of deep relaxation and meditation. The research shows how this state can actually be medicinal, as it has tremendous potential to reduce stress and thus the damaging symptoms that come with it.
Chronic stress expresses itself through things like depression, insomnia, and anxiety. Flotation therapy can directly relieve this, but how?
The relaxation response method (RR) is essentially the exact opposite of the fight-or-flight response. It is the physiological process that relieves stress, occurring during states of deep relaxation. RR is able to combat stress so efficiently because of its calming effects on the parasympathetic nervous system, the portion of the nervous system responsible for many physiological changes within the body including energy conservation and deep relaxation. It is through this process that RR lowers heart rate and blood pressure and slows down breathing.
The authors of the study noted that to successfully ignite the RR response while the body is under stress it is crucial to reduce all sensory input and movement by the body — which makes floatation therapy the perfect solution. The research described the mechanisms of this method: “During flotation-REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique) an individual lay in a horizontal floating posture immersed in highly concentrated salt water (magnesium sulphate) in a flotation tank. All incoming stimuli are reduced to a minimum during this period (usually 45 minutes), i.e. sound and light, and the water is heated to skin temperature. ”
Sixty-five participants — 14 men and 51 women — took part in the study. The participants were divided into a flotation-REST group, which consisted of 37 people, and a wait-list control group, with 28 people. The flotation group received 12 45-minute sessions over the course of seven weeks. Subjects were assessed for depression, anxiety, stress, sleep quality, energy, pain, and optimism before and after the study. These same measurements were assessed for the control group.
The flotation group displayed radically improved scores in comparison to the control group, with participants exhibiting reduced anxiety, depression, pain, and stress.
The average score for stress before flotation treatment was 1.86; afterwards, it dropped to a remarkable 0.95. The control group scored 1.84 before and 1.89 after treatment, meaning their stress actually increased during this period.
The score for anxiety for the flotation group was 7.92 before treatment and 4.28 afterwards. On the other hand, the control group scored 7.03 before and 6.96 afterwards.
“Neurons that fire together, wire together,” Dr. Max Cynader puts it, and it’s difficult to come across a more pertinent adage in today’s era. Discussion of neurons firing and wiring draws implications so vast that it impacts everything from positive and negative emotional spectrums, to the difference between being handicapped, and a genius – or life and death. Modern science has now begun to steer away from the traditional ideology of fixated neurology and is instead coming to find that a person’s given neurological state can very largely be conceptualized as a transitory state that is dictated by a person’s subconscious drives and instincts.
The waking, alert thought-formations that people call “thoughts” are merely periods at the end of a sentence of cognitive process, and while it may be a tricky thing to pinpoint, understanding the full spectrum of thought process can often be the difference between a healthy and unhealthy outlook on life. After all, how can one operate a piece of machinery when they have not been taught how? They could try to deduce its proper usage, but this often will lead to steps missing and/or the overall process being poorly elaborated. Yet it could also lead to new and novel ways of using the machinery, given that the person has been meticulous and empirical enough to properly deduce the fundamental processes of the machinery. This difference between the two methods, which can be considered “Trauma” and “Transcendence,” is neuroplasticity.
Scientists are coming to find that neurological “thought complexes” (neuronal activity that assimilates a memory, or an idea, et cetera; the syntax of the neuron) that are configured by a child from their parent during its developmental years will play an instrumental role in their genetic expression throughout life. A field that attempts to study this is “epigenetics,” “epi” meaning “on top of,” implying that all genes must be allowed an activation protocol in order to express themselves. This activation protocol can be considered part of the thought-complex “sentence” that the waking-alert thought punctuates the end of.
From a philosophical perspective, life can very much be considered a hand of cards in poker, with each card being a neuron. The player only has what they’ve been given, but that doesn’t inhibit the variety of possibilities that they are able to produce with their cards at hand, nor does it inhibit the possibilities that the other players will unlock around them, or the original player’s potential to acquire new or different cards to utilize. In this regard, neuroplasticity is the representation of the Observer Effect within the physical state of a person’s own conscious experience. Without observation, the “particle” will continue to embody a waveform, and only when it is accentuated by intention/attention will it take its particle form. Similarly, when a thought-complex is not given any sort of intention/attention, it will continue to ripple outward and “wave” throughout the cognitive experience, until it is given its proper attention and guided in a direction intended by the user.
Not surprisingly, meditation has become known as the center point component in neuroplasticity. Other similar forms of cognitive therapy that help with neuroplasticity (that can all be considered different aspects of meditation) are BioFeedback, Hypnosis, Psychedelic therapy, empirical dream analysis, and even traditional psychotherapy. Scientists are also finding that mental discrepancies like Borderline Personality Disorder are due to a dysregulation of reward processes in the brain, resulting in more internal drive for reward, with too little control to actually handle it, thus resulting in the tumultuous imbalance of a person with BPD’s mental state at any given time.
This can be a perfect example of thought complexes running amuck that have not been given the proper attention, almost always to very little fault of the individual, because these thought complexes were often bestowed upon them at very early ages. However, if there is any objective truth to life, it is that with any past traumas in mind, the poor decisions of the individual, due to their own thought-complexes, fall squarely on their own shoulders. Following this thread of thought, in comparative ancient shamanism, it was typical for the shaman of the people to be a person that had survived a near-death experience as a child, or some type of illness. They had to experience a trauma that jostled them from their fixated mindset of waking life and cause them to activate fresh neuronal activity in order to survive.
Logistically speaking, when this fresh neuronal activity has been excavated, it often is considered “excess baggage” because it is something that has been incorporated into a person’s thought process without receiving some sort of diachronic cognitive attention from the individual. It’s an outlier plot point on the graph, so to speak. Invoking neuroplasticity however, through extensive cognitive therapies guided with intention and attention, can bring about the assimilation of these outlier thought-complexes, and thus the “excess baggage” becomes more “internal computing RAM” (random access memory; a computer term for those unaware.)
Through an elasticity of thought-complex, something that all humans have the capacity for whether it is utilized or not, it is quite possible and usual for someone to transcend the given thought-complexes of their personal traumas, and reconfigure them to their advantage. This was the way of the ancient shaman, and the true nature of ancient healing. Used in an anthropological context, the word “fetish” characterizes the idea of investing a certain amount of power into something through intention that would not otherwise have any power.
In ancient cultures, the people knew that a stick, a feather, some sinew and some beads were all respectively nothing particularly important, yet when a person utilized their intentions and attention to combine all these ingredients, it was suddenly agreed to be medicine. This is not to say that this definition of medicine was ill-founded either, but rather that these medicines were not of the body–they were of the mind. A true medicine man knows that he cannot fix the body until he fixes the mind, and because of this, the shaman is the man who understands the rehabilitative process of neuroplasticity. As he used this plasticity to regain his own health, so can he learn to understand the empirical process of the human brain, so as to catalyze these changes within the other individuals looking for it.
In this fascinating interview Federico Faggin, designer of the first commercial microprocessor and pioneer in the movement to base mathematical theory on consciousness, urges science to embrace consciousness to explain the weirdness of quantum physics, and use it as the instrument of scientific investigation. “There need no longer be a duality between mind and matter,” he says. “With consciousness you can reach reality from the inside.” He makes a startling suggestion – that matter is the ink with which consciousness writes its own self-knowing.
S y n o p s i s
I hope this interview can serve as an oasis in this desert of bad news hitting us on a daily basis. Don’t live in fear. Live in awareness. And most importantly, don’t sweat the small stuff. And if you like what you hear, subscribe at http://www.veritasradio.com to listen to the full interview. Enjoy!
Our discussion will show you how to put challenges in perspective, reduce stress and anxiety through small daily changes, and find the path to achieving your goals. Among the insights it reveals are how to: Think of your problems as potential “teachers” Do one thing at a time. Share glory with others. Learn to trust your intuitions.
After working on this site for a few years now and getting to know and converse with many of you that seek awakening/enlightenment there’s a clear emerging pattern in the cycle of seeking. The gist of what this exploration has shown me is outlined below:
At the centre of Spirituality lies a profound paradox. There is a perpetual motivation to seek liberation, yet seeking is the very act that obscures the realisation that liberation is already present.
A simple description can be summarised as simply not perceiving through distortion. Often described as our natural state of being since it is to see things as they are – Not an altered state of consciousness but a non-altered state of consciousness. To perceive without any lens of conditioning.
So where to begin?
Well the good news is, you don’t have to go anywhere.
Everyone has their own ideas, concepts and beliefs about what enlightenment or liberation is. Expectations about how things might be when we are enlightened or who it might be that’ll show us the way. This path is often linked to mental depictions of a past or present god-like manifestation that we hope may rescue us. Perhaps an elderly Indian sage wrapped in a white tablecloth or a modern day Jesus figure with a man bun who speaks in metaphors and claims to be channelling another entity. Names like Jesus, Buddha, Ramana Maharshi, Bashar, Eckhart Tolle and Krishnamurti come to mind. They are all unique manifestations with valuable lessons for sure, but so are you.
The mind may conjure up the characteristics of an enlightened being or how happy one might be once enlightenment is experienced. But, it’s these expectations and projections of how things should be that can keep us ignorance. There’s literally no concept that is of any real use here because they’re all mind-made, all form, and the general premise is to perceive that which precedes any distinction.
In all those seekers I’ve crossed paths with most have held a deep underlying belief of unworthiness. A lack of faith in one’s potential. Replaced instead, by a hope that one might obtain some idealistic situation in a future that hasn’t arrived yet. This is the great game of ‘hide and seek’ and I for one spent countless hours pouring over information, intellectualising what has been realised, only to realise it can’t be intellectualised – what a ride!
Furthermore, this perhaps reveals the underlying motivation for putting the Guru on the pedal stool, where by default, we position ourselves lower than the teacher. In a very subtle way this can allow us to instil our ideal version of ourselves in an-other, and we therefore need not embody the same qualities but instead worship that otherness.
Think Christ ‘the one and only son of God’ or Muhammad, the ‘one great Prophet’ – these commonalities thread through each path. We are free to choose whichever particular visual mentation we want to project our idealistic self onto. Any suggestion that they are just ordinary human beings that shared the same potential as any of other being is often met with great friction and rejection. But after all, how long would a religion last without a deified figurehead?
If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha.
Only live your life as it is,
Not bound to anything.”
– Gautama Buddha
At a 10-day vipassana retreat last year there was an experience of what is traditionally described as Samadhi – defined briefly as a meditative absorption with everything in existence. It was a totally immersive cry-your-eyes-out sense of love and gratitude for everything in existence – and like all sensations it was temporary. Excited to share my experience with the teacher I approached him the following evening “I had an experience of total ecstasy yesterday and I want to thank you for that” hoping that it would again continue in today’s meditation “Forget about that experience. Just be happy.” he replied. I smiled and walked away feeling like he didn’t quite understand and was devaluing what felt like a defining turning point in life. But it hit me hard months later when I realised the essence of what he meant. That an experience is just that, an experience. Which has no relevance to now. Right now. I was clinging to that by hoping I’d repeat that experience again and ‘make more progress’ unaware that this was perpetuating an unnecessary cycle of seeking to be something more than what already is.
“To ask the right question demands a great deal of intelligence and sensitivity. Here is a question, a fundamental question: is life a torture? It is, as it is; and man has lived in this torture centuries upon centuries, from ancient history to the present day, in agony, in despair, in sorrow; and he doesn’t find a way out of it. Therefore he invents gods, churches, all the rituals, and all that nonsense, or he escapes in different ways. What we are trying to do, during all these discussions and talks here, is to see if we cannot radically bring about a transformation of the mind, not accept things as they are, nor revolt against them. Revolt doesn’t answer a thing. You must understand it, go into it, examine it, give your heart and your mind, with everything that you have, to find out a way of living differently. That depends on you, and not on someone else, because in this there is no teacher, no pupil; there is no leader; there is no guru; there is no Master, no Saviour. You yourself are the teacher and the pupil; you are the Master; you are the guru; you are the leader; you are everything. And to understand is to transform what is.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
This will all seem very hypocritical but seeking is necessary until you directly understand why to stop seeking. Seeking has a purpose. You’ll hear teachers say “what’s stopping you is seeking” or “you are the one you are looking for”, but it can be premature to take that advice without first exploring yourself.
Let’s be honest: We live in a crazy world with a lot of (mostly) well-meaning but crazy people. Unless you frequently meditate or go live in the mountains somewhere, it’s difficult to escape the insanity of our modern world.
Whether we care to admit it or not, most of us contribute to the craziness with our political beliefs (and the resulting lengthy Facebook posts), our religious or spiritual beliefs (and again, the resulting lengthy Facebook posts), and the way we generally treat people.
I’ve witnessed too many people on social media claim to be “enlightened” before getting into the kinds of arguments you’d expect from a twelve-year old. I’ve seen people attempt to be a voice of reason on the internet only to be drowned out by a sea of passionate anger from those who’ve long abandoned reason.
Most people would rather fight over their differences than work together to improve a world they claim to care about. If you try to approach them with reason, they’ll drown you out like a toddler throwing a tantrum. Sadly, their tantrum will garner much more attention than your plea for sensibility.
For some reason, we’re more attracted to being outraged (and outrageous) than being sensible. Maintaining a sense of humor allows you to laugh at this craziness instead of letting it make you think humanity is hopeless.
It’s easy to be depressed about the state of the world. These days, it’s especially easy to attract hate because of your race, age, beliefs, country of origin, or other similar things about you.
So, what should we do?
We should laugh at the chaos. We should look at our society – our “leaders”, the highly opinionated public they try to “lead”, and most importantly, ourselves – and have a good laugh at it all.
I believe this is one of few genuine ways we can give important issues attention and, as crazy as it sounds, maybe even solve one or two of them. Humor creates a conversation in which everyone can feel welcome by, ironically, having their viewpoint satirized.
With everyone’s viewpoint properly trashed, we can have actual debates in which neither side takes itself too seriously and emotions don’t get in the way. We can be aware of the importance of the issues we discuss and still laugh at them together. In doing so, we might even get somewhere. For once.
The world isn’t the only thing we should laugh at. Laughing at your flaws humanizes you and makes them easier to talk about. Most introverts avoid social situations because they worry that if they let their personality show too much, their flaws will become apparent and their “friends” will laugh at them. Most of us want to avoid feeling like nobody likes us.
If we can laugh at our flaws straight out of the gate, we can show those who’d use them as fuel for their hate-fire that they don’t bother us. They’ll see that they can’t get under our skin because we already laugh at ourselves.
We’ll feel more comfortable around people because we’ll no longer try so hard to maintain a false image. We’ll be open about our good and bad qualities, inviting people to accept us for who we are or not.
Humor can undoubtedly be used negatively, but most people who joke about controversial topics do it to get people to laugh and think.
Those who can’t lighten up may not see the humor in some controversial topics, but laughter can nonetheless bring awareness and inspire change. To joke about something is not to be unaware of its severity, but to lay a foundation of humor that makes people comfortable talking about it. In this way, we can get the masses to discuss things they prefer to ignore.
How do you think comedians get people to laugh about serious or extreme situations? This doesn’t mean they or their audience fail to realize the extreme nature of what they joke about. To the contrary; they use comedy to generate discussion on topics they know are difficult to discuss.
Would you enjoy it more if I droned on about the government and the endless wars we’re fighting overseas, or if I used humor to make this otherwise unfunny situation approachable? The answer is obvious.
“I don’t mind what happens.”
It’s not that simple. It can’t be, right?
One of the twentieth century’s great spiritual teachers, Jiddu Krishnamurti, blurted out this statement during one of his frequent talks in California back in the 70’s after asking the audience if they wanted to know his secret to happiness.
So this handsome globe-trotting sage who for more than 50 years emphasized the benefits of self-inquiry, and who famously refused to give straight answers to questions from his audience because he believed that for answers to mean something they must arise from within, suddenly breaks down a lifetime of teaching into a five-word answer that even Hallmark might dismiss as too insipid to inspire anyone?
If it weren’t for the fact that his statement was as deep as it was simple, he would deserve all the groans and exasperated head slaps we could aim in his direction.
What Krishnamurti was saying, was that embracing whatever life hands us in any single moment is the key to happiness – not momentary happiness, like the kind we experience when we buy a new car or find a lost credit card, but the kind of happiness that never quite leaves, one that endures like the sun.
But is this possible? Could we be happy all the time, even, say, when accidentally bringing down a hammer on our thumb instead of the nail towering over it?
No, we can’t be happy every minute. This is life, not a sit-com.
Of course we are going to mind a throbbing thumb. It hurts! Physical pain is inevitable. It comes with having a body.
It’s the other kind of pain that needlessly causes us so much grief: psychological pain, mental suffering. This pain wraps itself around us like an octopus in matters big and small, and can make physical pain seem so tolerable by comparison.
Psychological pain can come in the form of self-pity (why did it have to be my thumb getting hit with a hammer?), self-loathing (how could I have been such a clumsy idiot?), self-deception (somehow, this is my spouse’s fault), or a host of other self-inflicted emotional injuries.
Whereas a body part lies at the root of physical suffering, a “self” lies at the root of psychological suffering. Commonly known as the ego, this concept stands between you and a world free of psychological suffering – and that’s all it is, a concept. Sliced down to its pit, the ego is nothing but a conglomeration of thoughts, thoughts pretending to be “you”.
This false “you” is the belief that must be surrendered to live a life free of psychological suffering. In this surrendered state, things don’t happen to “you”; they just happen.
Remove “you” from the equation, the totally conceptual “you” that has ushered in tens of thousands of hours of unnecessary suffering over your lifetime, and there is no “one” left to suffer, no “one” to claim that the universe conspires to send daily doses of misery your way.
The role of the Shaman in the original peoples is to resolve issues of the tribe that other members were unable to rectify themselves. They heal, they influence, they transform, otherwise known as the art of magic. Traditional and contemporary shamans do this by consciously venturing into the non-physical realm – a practice called ‘journeying’ – to dance with the spirits of their ancestors and their land to find answers to their current affairs, and assist the energetic rivers to flow in more desired directions.
However, as the Western world became so-called ‘civilised’ over the course of several millennia, they tore the role of shamans and other energetic workers out of their societal infrastructure. Tribal peoples were labelled as primitive and undeveloped. Magicians hid in the shadows. Witches were burned. Organised religion stepped up to dictate their version of the divine to the masses, eventually leading to the secularisation of large portions of society, including their managerial structures.
Entire cultures progressively lost their connection to themselves, each other and nature, as well as their personal exploration of esoterica. The war on metaphysics advanced. A philosophical disease called materialism took a toxic grip after industrialisation, consumerism and the technological explosion saturated people’s minds and hearts with predominately mundane and destructive conceptions of reality.
Communities were now highly fragmented and the majority of people were sucked into urbanised enslavement.
But then the internet was created. An unprecedented moment occurred in humanity’s (known) history where information was being shared instantaneously to all areas of our planet, resulting with a significant amplification of cross-cultural ideas and behaviours.
A human culture, not an ethnic or regional one, was being birthed (or simply remembered).
Amongst all this dualistic madness and magic, spiritual traditions and sacred practices were being increasingly revitalised in the shadows of our collective dialogue. The re-enchantment of our world has been long underway and is now coming to the forefront of discussion in alternative and occult circles, as well as slowly leaking into mainstream mindsets. The practice of magic and the exploration of altered states of consciousness is becoming unsurprisingly common as individuals feeling spiritually pillaged have learned to research and apply their own version of energetic expression and manipulation, regardless if facilitated by meditation, ritual, psychotropics and/or other personal methodologies.
Nevertheless, the shamanic role has only slightly recovered. Or put another way to circumnavigate appropriation arguments, the process of working with spirits, information and energy for the benefit of the entire community is rare, compared to that process actioned for the benefit of the individual implementing it.
When we look up into the night sky and see the sparkle of stars, we are awed and enchanted. There is grace, there is wonder, and there is the excitement of the unknown. Everything comes alive with possibility. There is an enchanted world out there, and it beckons to us through a communal mystery. And we wish to respond to that call, for underlying all life is the urge for meaning. As human beings we desire, long for, need a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. An enchanted universe serves to entice us with a feeling of belonging. Yet somewhere along the way we lost the sense of communion.
Once, humanity felt a common destiny with its environment, both terrestrial and cosmic, and this encouraged a mode of direct participation. Long ago, the environment experienced by humankind was an immersive space, an inclusive matrix that involved the individual in each moment of their lives. Our ancestors did not stand away from life—they participated directly in its enchantment. This merger between being and environment established a psychic wholeness in humans. Our ancestors were not estranged from the world in the way that modern humanity is. In the last few centuries especially, humankind has increasingly expunged itself out of its own mystery and thrown itself out of the realm of enchantment. Modern scientific, rational consciousness is an alienated consciousness, afraid of its participation. It views the world as an outside observer; a world of objects that move in mechanical motion. This alienated consciousness has substituted the enchantment and mystery with a smear of artificiality. The cosmos of human “being and belonging” thus became tainted with the contagion of the human mind. Yet this is not how things are, it is only the latest picture of how things seem to us. We have been forced to construct our own meanings about a world we have let slip from ourselves. In other words, we have disenchanted ourselves from a living cosmos.
The modern landscape is now more scattered with administration than adventure. The central image of our age has been that of consumerism: the ability of the average person to buy the material goods they require in order to have a decent standard of living. This industrial rhetoric applauded the factory worker’s ability to afford the goods they were producing, thus becoming the marketplace itself. Many commentators saw this as the modern individual buying into the system and merging with its insipid ideology. Only recently have some acute observers come to realize that consumerism has morphed into an idiosyncratic crash therapy for people to buy themselves into getting away from the system. The easy acquisition of things has become more about trying to cover up anxiety about the self; a way to placate the anomie and disguise one’s ennui. Consumerism is nothing more than the expression of a creeping world-weariness. Our eyes have barely been peering over the brim of our little self worlds.
The inner psychological landscape of many has become infected with this weary contagion. We have now been put on guard to protect our psychic spaces, and also to fend off forces that, intentionally or not, serve to damage and plunge our thoughts into despair. The game playing that has become our lives divorces us from our real sense of self, which then retreats further inward into the deep recesses of our being. Modern life is now rife with false selves parading as authentic entities. This disenchantment became our dominant lens in which we looked out at the world around us—and at the cosmos, too. Everything continued to be one grand accident, a colossal conglomeration of chance and chaos. That was just how life came to be.
The modern history of the West has been about the removal of mystery, mind, and magic from the world around us. Modern Western consciousness defines itself by its very removal from the world “beyond.” It also unfairly labels all past thinking as not only incorrect, but primitive. That is, we tell ourselves that our understanding of the world has developed and improved in a linear fashion. Thus, all earlier thinking and mental notions were inferior and “unscientific.” Humankind erroneously positions itself on a belief of linear progress, which is mechanical and immature. Previous worldviews are seen as misguided, illegitimate, and lacking sophistication. And yet we wonder little about how our descendants will look back upon our own current prognosis.
Whether we call our present age the modern or postmodern, the underlying current is the same. So many people seem to be spending their lives not in fear of what may happen to them, but in fear that nothing will happen to them. This malaise has, for many, been turned into an expression of anger and harm, both self-directed and toward others. It is ironic that the very institutions of learning and meaning have recently (in the US predominantly) become the very sites of violence, terror, and meaningless murder. This psychic space, where reality and unreality is in conflict, is a response to our dominant state of consciousness. And yet the consciousness of each age makes its diagnosis, and often unfairly dismisses what came before. For example, we find it extremely difficult to have a grasp upon the consciousness of premodern human society.
The dominant paradigm of human consciousness until recently was largely constructed from the scientific, rational worldview. This is now undergoing a profound transformation as we have entered a period of transition. During such times of change, the impulse for meaning and significance becomes a more prominent and necessary urge. In such moments of socio-cultural transformation, when bases of knowledge are revised and our constructions of reality questioned, the need to seek the self grows stronger in the individual.
The rationalist consciousness contained its own built-in limitations, such as its separation from, and disenchantment of, the cosmos. This perspective could only survive for a few centuries—those centuries that were dominated by scientific rationalism and its mechanical universe. The modern scientific paradigm (the ‘Cartesian-Newtonian’ model) like the religious paradigm of the seventeenth century, now finds itself unable to be maintained. This is how things unfold; one set of structures, systems, and viewpoints are eventually outmoded and, through necessity (among other factors) get replaced, or rather updated, by a new set. This new set then defines the dominant consciousness for the new era. New values too come to the fore to represent the emergent expression of consciousness. In such transitional times there is urgency, opportunity, and an interior push to reconnect with a sense of meaning, both personal and cosmic. In other words, there is a fundamental need to understand one’s self and its place in the larger scheme of things. The instability we encounter in the world around us only convinces us further on the need to find the roots that connect us with a more permanent stream of knowledge and meaning.
Imagine that you are standing under a waterfall. The water pounds down on your head and shoulders and pins your feet to the ground. The steady rush of water feels good. At times, it feels ecstatic.
But often the force of the water is too much. It hurts. You want it to stop. You tilt your body slightly, hoping to find a gap in the sheets of water cascading down on you. You do, and for a moment the pain lessens. But then the full force of the water finds you again. The pain is intense. You feel trapped.
Now imagine that one day, for no reason you can think of, you step back from the waterfall. You had no idea there was a space behind you the whole time, a cavern cut into the rock that easily accommodates your frame. The relief you feel is immense. Your body feels light. You witness the water pouring down inches from your nose. The inches seem like miles. Now the water begins to flow from you. Tears of joy are streaming down your cheeks. You have stepped away from the steady rush of water, from the endless cycle of pleasure and pain you’d been experiencing for as long as you can remember.
We spend our lives immersed in a flood of thoughts, unaware that another dimension of consciousness is available to us. It is a dimension in which we come to know ourselves as something other than thinkers. By taking a step back, we become the witness of our thoughts. Of the millions of steps we’ve taken in our lives, this subtle but radical step may be the most important because it leads to a profound sense of peace.
We cannot think our way into this witnessing dimension. It only emerges when thought subsides, appearing suddenly, like a bunny hopping from the bushes when the coast is clear. The thoughts that pleaded for our attention gradually recede in the presence of our steady witnessing gaze. In this transformative moment we have stepped back from the flow of thought into the serene space of our awareness.
This space is not as mystical as it might seem. Haven’t we all experienced moments when we’ve witnessed the thoughts flowing through our minds without getting dragged into their current?
Have you ever quarreled with someone and refrained from expressing a hurtful thought that surfaced in your mind? How were you able to perceive that thought? Was it illuminated by the light of your awareness?
Have you ever been on an airplane, minutes before takeoff, fearing that it was going to crash and that you’d never see your loved ones again? What stopped you from unbuckling your seatbelt and bolting for the door? Was it because you were you aware, if only vaguely, that the thoughts parading through your mind were a bit farfetched?
We experience these brief but revealing glimpses of our witnessing capacity without recognizing their value. We move past them inattentively, the way we might a Rembrandt at a yard sale. But to spend one clear-eyed moment in this space is to observe that the territory of thought is limited, that it is easily contained within the greater space of our awareness. This flash of insight will awaken us to a new identity. By observing thought, we are born as its witness.
While your sixth sense utilizes your feeling body to inform you when your intuition is on or off target, your seventh sense is your doorway to the Universal Self via Unity Consciousness. Bypassing physicality, it is direct access to all information contained within the entire Universe—relative to your physical world.
Intimately intertwined within the commonly accepted five senses our body uses to collect information about our external world lies the uncharted territory of our metaphysical world containing extrasensory perception and our chakras.
It’s only recently that our sixth sense has come into humanity’s collective awareness. But did you know you have a seventh sense and many more that extend into the metaphysical world?
It is Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) who is credited with the classification of the primary five sense organs: sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing.
These sense organs contain receptors for specific stimuli that are connected to your body’s nervous system which then sends data to your brain, providing you with useful information about your physical/external world.
But what about your essential internal world?
Buddhists consider the mind also to be a sense organ.
Simultaneously processing the collective data of the first five senses, the mind becomes a gateway, making an exponential or fractal leap to a broader spectrum of perception that includes your internal sensory system.
This extrasensory system has been referred to as the psychic realm.
Because science was not advanced enough to detect and measure these energy fields, such phenomena were illegitimized as paranormal and even ridiculed. Slowly, this is beginning to change.
Our sixth sense has been feared and revered since humans were a much more primitive species, depending on what period of history you had the (mis)fortune of being born.
If you were lucky enough be born into a Native American tribe, you may have been recognized for your inner genius and exalted as your community’s shaman.
But, historically, for the majority of those unacquainted with their internal guidance system, or those subject to culture and conditioning that only recognizes external power sources, much fear-generated misinformation has been disseminated over the centuries, leading the unfortunate to societal ostracization and even death.
Even in modern times, there is still very little information that can be called qualitative.
The difficulty for scientists in collecting empirical data is that the metaphysical senses function outside of space and time.
The difficulty for non-scientists is that much outlier phenomena is still accredited to external forces or entities—channeling, spirits (good or bad), extraterrestrials, etc.—rather to than to the anomalous experience that is actually happening within.
Sixth sense and beyond experiences range from intuition, déjà vu, prescience, to past life parallels.
As our conscious mind is always trying to create a linear story out of our experiences, we tend to look for cause and effect to explain a multidimensional event. When our mind can’t make two and two equal four, we call it a coincidence.
To demonstrate the complexity contained within your senses, there isn’t even scientific agreement on the number of senses because of differing definitions. Wikipedia states that the senses are divided into the exteroceptive and interoceptive.
“Would you rather be right or free?”
Every personal notion you hang on to—regarding a person, place, event, or thing—further separates you from the truth.
But, my dear friend, reality is empty of concepts.
Who do these opinions appear to, that you seem to possess? They are not yours; they are the mind’s habitual conditioning. It’s an illusion—so dispel it now, before it causes any further unrest.
What do you have to convince anyone of, and why? Who is doing the convincing? It’s never truly you—but it’s always the ego, pretending to be you.
No longer be confined by the mind’s desire to defend itself. No longer be burdened by its yearning to prove yourself right. No longer suffer what it tries to latch onto, which it then turns into a problem.
No one can see what another person sees. Nobody’s personal preference, perspective, or perception is absolute. So stop trying to further your selfish opinions. There’s nothing to defend to no one.
Just let it go, all of it.
When you negatively respond to something, you respond only to your opinions—not to the thing itself. Just keep quiet and no longer react to how the mind perceives the world—you must realize its perception is not reality.
Be still within and realize the profound freedom you already possess.
When the world no longer affects you, karma has come to an end.
Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear that we’re just not enough. Fear is a common current that runs through all of our lives. And if we let it, fear can keep us locked up in the prison of the comfortable and predictable.
But there is also a way that fear can serve a valuable purpose, helping us break through the frustration to achieve the life we truly desire. That’s right — if you allow it to, fear can become your ultimate motivator.
In your mind, if you have no choice but to succeed — if achieving your goal is an absolute must — then nothing else matters. Sacrifices won’t even be a question. Excuses go out the window. You’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen. Period.
This is how some of the most successful people leverage fear in their lives. Rather than allowing fear to creep in and suck the life right out of their dreams, the know that the real fear is the price they will pay if they don’t give their goals and visions every ounce of energy and focus they have. They know the real fear is living a life where they have settled or compromised on what they really wanted.
How do you adopt that mindset and perspective? How do you live a life where fear becomes your ally, not your enemy?
Here are 5 tips to stop letting fear control your happiness and to start leveraging fear to your advantage:
Ask yourself what it will cost you if you do not push past your fear. This will help you discover whether or not achieving a specific goal is a “must” and not just a “should.”
Sound confusing? Try imagining yourself when you are 80 years old, nearing the end of your life. You are sitting in your rocking chair, reflecting on how you lived your life. Now, look back on your life as if you had not achieved the goal you are after at this moment in your life. How has this affected the course of your life? What are your regrets? What do you wish you had made more time for? What do you wish you had tried? Is there sadness and regret? Are you wondering, “what if…?”
It’s easy to push our hopes, desires and dreams aside. We make excuses: there’s just not enough time, I don’t have the money or the resources, I have a family, I’m just too busy. And we start to hide behind those excuses. Because they’re comforting. They’re safe. But excuses will also bring you back to exactly where you started. So remember that the next time an excuse floats into your mind. By becoming more cognizant of your brain’s proclivity for using excuses so you won’t be held accountable, the better you will become at dismissing them.
People often give up on what they want because they believe that reaching their goal is beyond their abilities. But the most successful people foster a growth mindset. They don’t think of their abilities as fixed, but rather as flexible. And when faced with a setback, they try harder. They adopt a new strategy. They keep seeking a solution.
The most painful experiences can help refine what you want, and what you don’t want in life. Failure, disappointment, dead-ends — these can all be used as a means of reflecting and saying, “this didn’t work. It wasn’t the right fit. So what do I really want?” Remember, we are built to adapt. So embrace this strength and use each experience as a tool to help you learn more about yourself and what you really must have in life.
“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you.
In between, the leader is a servant.”
— Max de Pree
When you were born, you were given a gift.
Do you know what your gift is?
Your gift might have been apparent from a young age or, like most people, your gifts developed and were recognized over time out of direct life experience.
More importantly, do you realize what this means?
It means you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t just as an important as anyone else in all the history of the Universe. Everyone is given at least one gift.
This makes you in league with Plato, Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Dr. Stephen Hawking…
Right now, your mind should be blown. Or you might be half scared out of your wits because it means accepting total responsibility for your life — something that’s been sorely lacking.
Will you finally accept the latest form of your soul’s gentle swan song to be your best self, or will you continue to do things the same way you’ve always been doing them?
“To be or not to be.”
— William Shakespeare
One choice will lead you to your highest potential, the other to the barest existence — a slave to culture and conditioning, a.k.a. Society — where you forfeit your sovereignty and self-empowerment.
You, and others like you, are presently awakening to the realization that everything in the Universe is interconnected and interdependent — an expanded form of consciousness called unity consciousness.
The initial stages of unity consciousness are measurable as the qualities found in emotional intelligence, a term brought to our attention by Daniel Goleman in his 1995 book by the same name.
Emotional intelligence comprises of self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill. Do you recognize any of these qualities in yourself?
“True compassion means not only feeling another’s pain but also
being moved to help relieve it.”
— Daniel Goleman
Something happens in unity consciousness. Not only do you begin to take responsibility for yourself, you realize we’re here to take care of each other.
The simple act of taking responsibility, beginning with yourself, automatically makes you a leader.
Unity consciousness goes beyond the egocentric self, fully cognizant that in a symbiotic world, what you do for another, you ultimately do for yourself.
Collectivism recognizes the overwhelming benefit of aligning ourselves cooperatively rather than in competition for the common good to create win-win scenarios.
Fuelled by the power of collectivism balanced upon a substratum of unabashed individualism, self-leadership has the power to transform your life and the world in less than a decade — something that took lifetimes, even millennia, to accomplish under the old paradigm.
And this time, no one is left behind.
First, you must understand that collectivism defined by unity consciousness is not the historical collectivism derived out of separative thinking that calls for self-sacrifice, which isn’t necessary in an abundant world.
Individualism is a critical component cultivating natural diversity and maintaining checks and balances and thus remains.
In unity consciousness, individualism and collectivism unite to transcend egoic self-service, creating a supportive environment for the development of every person’s skills and unique gifts.
This is where you step into your power. This is where you thrive.
When you choose to take responsibility and live your highest potential, you have the support of the entire Universe behind you.