Ah, just breathe…

One of my old-time meditation buddies – who practiced Tibetan Buddhism and eventually ordained and moved to India – used to say, “Let’s sit and breathe!” when it was time to meditate. I try to always remember that basically, that’s all ya’ gotta know to do this.

The trick in meditation and in success at “taking it off the cushion” is to remember to breathe. Much of the teaching and training done in any style or fashion of meditation involves ways to help us just remember.

Remember to breathe!

Yes, that’s it. Remember to Breathe!  This is in fact the title of  a wonderful web site I have recently discovered. Remember to Breathe is web site dedicated to that proposition, a site that provides as clear and pure an explanation of the process of mindful breathing and its wonders as anything I’ve seen in my long journey. In plain English, without esoteric or technical terms, Don and Jan describe how to approach this process and some great resources to help one along the way.

They also put the whole thing in the context of brain science – in a very understandable way – which makes it clear why — however you come to this, whatever cultural expression you look at — the essential elements are solidly part of the human experience.

With a long background in teaching yoga, breathing, and meditation as well as psychology, art and music, they seem like an amazing resource. Don has been commenting on my blog posts for some time now, and we’ve become online friends, but I just discovered his website – seems he was too modest to mention it in our conversations.

If you’re interesting in learning to meditate or want to improve your practice, this is a site to visit. Remember to Breathe!

Thanks Don!

“Capitalism At Work- Let’s Put It Out Of A Job” #Poetry by John Kaniecki

Wonderful to see support coming from so many directions… as Shailene Woodley said, we are winning this fight already because people are uniting. And uniting in peaceful, non-violent but solid resistance.

Karmic Reaction Blog

http://www.snowwowl.com/peoplesioux.html
“Capitalism At Work- Let’s Put It Out Of A Job” by John Kaniecki

“The Missouri river

It delivers

Water to seven million and more

It needs to be pure

Let me make the bold declaration

I stand with the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota nation

We fight capitalistic power

The evil that seeks to devour

Now is the hour!

We don’t need a pipeline isn’t that plain?

Your greed is Satanically insane

Of Mother Earth you have no concern

When will you ever learn?

We are peaceful, non violent in every way

You are mercenaries, villains for pay

You set your dogs to attack

Sprayed mace upon our faces

Then like cowards you retreated back

Why do you sell your soul so cheap?

How do you sleep?

Do you not understand

We fight for our land

For the betterment of all

That is our righteous call”

Informative/Support Links:

http://www.kens5.com/news/sa-team-going-to-support-native-americans/314072864


https://www.gofundme.com/sacredstonecamp

http://dennismichaellynch.com/dakotaaccesspipelinechaosoil2/

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…why the Otherworld is just as real as this one

Thanks to my friend Melissa, I’ve just been reading a most amazing blog, Dr. Sharon Blackie’s “Myths and Metamorphoses“. I’m still processing the most recent entry — “The psychology of mythology: or, why the Otherworld is just as real as this one” — but I’m astounded at how similar much of what she says is to the ideas in Spooky Action… the book on quantum entanglement and non-locality!
Dr. Blackie says:

“.. And so, in Corbin’s expression of this ancient Sufi philosophy, the material world which we take as real is in fact totally enveloped by a spiritual reality which influences (or perhaps even determines) it.

How similar to non-locality! Dr. Blackie, who is part of the Celtic culture, continues:

“…the forms and figures which occupy the mundus imaginalis have a real – and the key point here is that ‘reality’ is not just restricted to the material – presence. The mundus imaginalis is the place from where all spiritual and transcendent experience derives. It is the source of synchronicities, ‘psychic’ experiences and creative insights. This world penetrates into our dreams and other visionary experiences, including the places we visit during deep meditation or imaginal journeying.”

“… in most conceptions of the Otherworld in Irish and Welsh literature, the normal rules of existence do not apply: time passes differently, for example, and the seasons may be inverted.”

Time passes differently in all these instances of non-local action, and in fact some quantum researchers think this implies that time is imaginary. Compare this quote from Tim Maudlin in Musser’s book:

“I always thought, and still do, that the discovery and proof of the nonlocality is the single most astonishing discovery of twentieth-century physics,” says Tim Maudlin, a professor at New York University and one of the world’s leading philosophers of physics. In a paper in the late 1990s, he summed up the implications: “The world is not just a set of separately existing localized objects, externally related only by space and time. Something deeper, and more mysterious, knits together the fabric of the world. We have only just come to the moment in the development of physics that we can begin to contemplate what that might be.”

In other word, the normal rules do not apply. Realizing that “locality” is the aspect of our conventional reality that is essential to our very existence, as we understand it, to the notion that we are each separate with “space” between us, consider this: Mosser says, “In the instances of nonlocality I’ve talked about so far, space is failing in its most basic function: to separate things from one another, to space them out. Entangled particles coordinate their behavior without exchanging signals through space. Matter falls into a black hole and manages to climb out of the abyss of space. Galaxies look alike across an unbridgeable gulf of space.”

All of this is not mere speculation. It is based on solid, mainstream scientific experimentation. Real data shows that particles, once together, are forever entangled. Regardless of time, space, or distance.

Entangled particle behave like two coins that always end up the same, either heads or tails, when flipped. Always. In experiments. And this transcends just particles at the quantum level. Mosser again:

“Once physicists were clued in to the importance of entanglement, they began to see it almost everywhere they looked. It occurs even in living organisms. In photosynthesis, entanglement accounts for the unexpectedly high efficiency with which molecules transfer light energy into chemical energy, thereby helping to enable life on our planet.”

Compare again to Dr. Blackie:

“Why does all of this this matter? It matters for a very simple reason: because our relationship with the Otherworld determines what happens in this world. The Otherworld was the source of inspiration, insight, and knowledge. …

It was from the Otherworld that Sovereignty arose, a quality of the goddess of the land who was its guardian and protector, a deeply ecological force. … If the power she bestowed was abused, then we invited disaster. During the reign of a king favoured by the goddess, the land was fertile and prosperous, and the tribe was victorious in war.”

Mythological expressions of an underlying reality that is intricately connected with our everyday apparent reality.

Musser: “Quantum nonlocality is clearly not just a dinner act in Vegas, but an essential aspect of the world, and physicists and philosophers still don’t know what is behind the magic. Could the clues they seek lie in other domains of science? What can they learn from the other types of nonlocality that are out there in the world?”

Indeed. Or perhaps these clues lie in other domains altogether. Domains long known and understood by the peoples of the world, and embedded in the myths and magics that make up the lore of every culture.

Dr. Blackie ends with this: “We ignore it at our peril.”

The Meeting of Mind and Matter?

This is from a reader, Don Salmon:

In 1994, neurophysiologist Jacobo Grinberg-Zylberbaum published the results of more than 50 experiments which suggested the possibility of one person’s mind having an effect on another person’s body. In these experiments Grinberg-Zylberbaum had subjects meditate together for 20 minutes. They were then placed in separate rooms known as “Faraday cages,” which are both soundproof and electro-magnetic radiation proof. One of the subjects (“Subject A”) was presented at random intervals with a series of 100 stimuli including flashes of sound and light. The other subject (“ Subject B”) received no stimuli. He was instructed to stay relaxed, to try to feel the presence of the other, and to signal the experimenter when he was relaxed and believed he was able to feel the other’s presence.

When the experiment was completed, the EEG brain wave records of the two subjects were examined and compared. The brain wave patterns of Subject A showed the expected responses to the stimuli of light and sound. What is remarkable is that the brain waves of Subject B showed responses corresponding in time to the responses of Subject A, even though Subject B had not been presented with any stimuli. One of the most interesting outcomes occurred in the brain wave patterns of a young couple who reported “feeling deep oneness… Their EEG patterns remained closely synchronized throughout the experiment.”

The Meeting of Mind and Matter?

Most scientists agree that the results of parapsychological research are difficult to understand in the context of our current notions regarding the relationship between mind and matter. Some parapsychologists suggest that the idea of “nonlocality,” derived from quantum physics, might help us better understand psi phenomena. “Nonlocality” refers to findings in quantum physics which seem to conflict with our conventional understanding of how things work. According to the laws of classical physics, nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. “Nonlocality” refers to the idea that “objects that are apparently separate are actually connected instantaneously through space-time.”

In the early 1960s, physicist John Stewart Bell worked out mathematical calculations showing that nonlocality was an unavoidable implication of quantum theory. According to Larry Dossey, Bell showed that:

if two particles that have once been in contact are separated, a change in one results in a change in the other – immediately and to the same degree. The degree of separation between the particles is immaterial; they could theoretically be placed at opposite ends of the universe.

Apparently no energetic signal passes between them, telling one particle that a change has taken place in the other, because the changes are instantaneous; there is no time for signaling. The distant particles behave as though they were united as a single entity – paradoxically, separate but one.

Physicists were hesitant to accept Bell’s findings, but in 1982, Alain Aspect performed an experiment which definitively showed nonlocality to be an aspect of the workings of matter. His experiment was replicated in 1997 by Nicolas Gusin.

The discovery of nonlocal connections is leading scientists to a radically new understanding of matter. Biologist Mae Wan-Ho claims to have found many examples of nonlocal effects in biological organisms as well. She uses the term “quantum coherence” to describe a process by which all components of the organism are in instant and continuous communication. According to Ervin Laszlo, this instantaneous, system-wide correlation cannot be explained according to the laws of classical, non-quantum physics.

Parapsychologists and other scientists believe that ideas like nonlocality and quantum coherence suggest that matter is more mind-like than we have previously thought. For example, earlier we mentioned Freeman Dyson’s characterization of atoms as behaving “like active agents rather than inert substances,” making “unpredictable choices between alternative possibilities according to the laws of quantum mechanics.”

Some parapsychologists – observing that nonlocality challenges the classical understanding of time and space – suggest it might be used to explain psi findings which seem to imply that consciousness is capable of transcending time and space. By transforming our understanding of how matter works, quantum physics has presented us with a view of the universe more compatible with psi phenomena than that of classical physics. But physical theories – quantum or otherwise – can give us, at best, only an indirect understanding of the nature of consciousness. Dyson himself is careful to say that he is not claiming that his view “is supported or proved by scientific evidence… [but] only… that it is consistent with scientific evidence.” And, as physicist Arthur Zajonc points out, the objective approach of physics “remains silent on… the experience of a perceiving subject.”

If neither psychology nor the findings of physics provide us with any fundamental understanding of consciousness, where might we look – and how should we look – to gain a new view? We can start by looking directly at the subjective experience of the individuals engaged in parapsychology experiments.

For many years, psi researchers have noticed that subjects who are passionately involved in an experiment tend to be the most successful. We saw in the Grinberg-Zylberbaum experiments that the young couple in love showed the highest level of brain wave synchronization. While this may not be so surprising with regard to communication between humans, experiments show this to be the case even in the relationship between a human being and a machine.

Robert G. Jahn, as director of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research laboratory (PEAR), observed hundreds of trials in which individuals successfully influenced the workings of highly sensitive electronic instruments. As described on the PEAR website:

In these studies human operators attempt to bias the output of a variety of mechanical, electronic, optical, acoustical, and fluid devices to conform to pre-stated intentions, without recourse to any known physical influences. In unattended calibrations all of these sophisticated machines produce strictly random data, yet the experimental results display increases in information content that can only be attributed to the consciousness of their human operators.

Jahn, explaining these results, writes, “The most common subjective report of our most successful human/machine experimental operators is some sense of ‘resonance’ with the devices – some sacrifice of personal identity in the interaction – a ‘merging,’ or bonding with the apparatus.” Larry Dossey adds, “The highest scores are seen when emotionally bonded couples, who share unusually deep love and empathy, interact together with the electronic devices. They achieve scores up to eight times higher than those of individuals who try to influence the devices alone.”

In a rather radical departure from the typically impersonal stance of the view from nowhere, Dossey suggests there may be an extremely close relationship between the nonlocal connections of subatomic particles and the feelings of empathy described above. “Nonlocal connectedness… is manifested between subatomic particles, mechanical systems, humans and machines, humans and animals, and humans themselves. When this nonlocal bond operates between people, we call it love. When it unites distant subatomic particles, what should we call this manifestation? Should we choose a safe, aseptic term such as nonlocally correlated behavior, or bite the bullet and call it a rudimentary form of love?” Dossey is not claiming that human beings and subatomic particles have the same experience of love. Rather, he suggests that what manifests as a purely impersonal connection at the level of matter may be, in essence, the same phenomenon as that which occurs between loving human beings.

Perhaps this is what William James was hinting at when he wrote:

We with our lives are like islands in the sea, or like trees in the forest. The maple and pine may whisper to each other with their leaves…but the trees also commingle their roots in the darkness underground, and the islands hang together through the oceans’ bottom. Just so there is a continuum of cosmic consciousness, against which our individuality builds but accidental fences, and into which our several minds plunge as into a mother sea…

Love is spooky

As the Black-eyed Peas, like many before them, sang, love is the solution. But love is a tricky concept (duh), and like the old, old song “Spooky” said, love is kinda spooky with a spooky little girl like you (or something close to that!).

But yes, love can be spooky. And this universe in which we live can be a spooky little girl. So love is spooky. Especially when you bring it to the quantum level… Huh?

Yeah, love at the quantum level. This is an interesting twist on an old, old theme. And it gets to the essence of one of the most interesting twists in current science, quantum entanglement – the idea that Albert Einstein famously ridiculed as “spooky action at a distance.” But as this article, and George Musser’s book by the same name that I’ve recently begun reading (or reading at – it’s tough), document, this shit happens — despite its apparent illogical nature and despite that it is a concept nearly impossible to hold in one’s mind as part of reality.

The simple version of this is that particles, and by implication everything, that were once connected, even if that was a long time ago, such as at the time of the origins of the universe, are ever after connected and respond to anything happening to the other at the same instant. And regardless of how far apart they are, as in, the other side of the universe.

Which, of course, we can’t imagine. And no one. No one. Not even the scientists who can show that it’s happening, can really explain why it’s that way. There are hypotheses, yes, because that’s what science does is propose answers and then throw them out there for everyone else to test and disagree with and try to prove or disprove. But there is apparently no consensus on this.

Well, maybe some limited consensus.

Which is why I’m reading this book, which I discovered in my eye doctor’s waiting room. To find out if there is greater consensus now than a few years ago when I last visited this vastly fascinating but oh so confounding topic.

I’ll let you know what I find out.

A Memoirist’s Manifesto

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A great blog post from Sonya…

Sonya Huber

These are scary times–if extreme right-wing semi-fascist rhetoric scares you. It scares me, so I’ve found myself huddling, a little depressed, a little beaten down. I’m not talking about your religion or your political orientation. I’m talking about the extremes that many of my Christian and Republican friends are appalled by.

The language of hate and exclusion creeps into society like a cancer, a fungus. When the solution to a problem is framed in terms of “Who should we get rid of?” the intolerance poisons not just relations between those in control and the targets, but among all people within the community. Trust is universally lowered. Polarizing rhetoric sets an electric charge in the air; who is the next “us” against the next “them”? Everyone gets defensive and edgier. Anyone could be the next target. The chilling effect of threatened repression is what tempts people to draw back into themselves…

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