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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The promise of spirituality

“We cannot solve the world’s significant problems with the same level of consciousness that created them”
Albert Einstein

I was having a picnic in the park with my family.
It was around the Easter and the kids were having fun hunting for the hidden eggs.
I was lying on the blanket next to the remains of the picnic feast when I noticed an ant coming searching for food.

I don’t know if the ant could smell the food, for sure she couldn’t see it, but somehow she knew the food was around and it was determined to find it.
The funny thing about this is that from my vintage POV it was quite clear where the food was and what the obstacles and the clear path was but the poor ant had no idea and no other way to find it than by trial and error.

Eventually after many trials the ant found a crumb of food but I was thinking what if the ant knew what I knew?
What if, just like the ant, we are looking around for whatever we are looking, unaware that all the information, all the knowledge we need for success in life it is already available?
What if we could have a different POV where all that information about life’s obstacles and the optimum path would be clearly visible to us?

This is the promise of spirituality:
To put us in touch with a higher source of knowledge and wisdom.
To transform one’s life path and experience.
To elevate the level of human consciousness to an optimum level.

This is the path I am looking for and if you are looking for the same thing you are welcome top come along on my journey.
But as Albert Camus said:
"Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.
Just walk beside me and be my friend."



Monday, December 11, 2017

Choice

I have been asked many times:
“Have you ever seen God?”
“Have you ever seen a picture or any scientific proof of his existence?”
(For some reason people believe God is a dude :)
And invariably the other question:
“How can an educated and intelligent man like you believe in a superstition about something that doesn’t exist?”

“The same way I believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
I like to reply.
You see, not everything that is important to me exist in a physical form.
Actually, of all the things that are really important to me only, health, clean air, and healthy food are of material nature.
The most important things in my life; love, happiness, and freedom do not exist in the physical realm.
But for me, they are more real than the things I can see and touch.

Here is the scoop:
I do not have the choice of the reality I live in.
However, I have the choice of my beliefs.

Do I want to believe that I am just an evolved monkey?
An insignificant part of a mechanical universe being banged around like billiard balls by cold mechanical forces and laws?
Do I want to run my life by biological animal instincts in the name of survival of the fittest?

Or do I want to believe that I am somebody and something special?
That I can overcome my animal instincts and evolve into something noble, enlightened, a beautiful human being?

It doesn’t make any difference if God exists or not.
If the universe is a stupid exploding bunch of rocks or not.
If there are heaven and hell, karma and reincarnation or just nothing after life.
Those things are not a choice!
They are or they are not. That’s all, but they are not something you can choose.
The only thing you and  I can choose is our beliefs.

Do you want to live your life according to what; the society, mass media, government, the scientific establishment, or the church has chosen for you?
Aren’t you tired of being manipulated, lied to, used and abused by the very institutions that were supposed to watch over your wellbeing?

Well, if you do, you ought to know that you have the choice to choose your beliefs according to the life you want to live not according to anyone else may tell you to do!
(Including yours truly Anagami)
The choice is yours.
Define your own reality!




Friday, December 8, 2017

The Acorn Universe

“Believe those who are seeking the truth.
Doubt those who find it.”
Andre Gide

I was watching this time-lapse photography on YouTube.
It was a vine climbing up a wall, and this young sprout acted like an arm or tentacle probing and searching the wall.
When it found a nail on the wall, something amazing happened.
The vine sprouted a curly ending and grabbed the nail!
That time lapse camera showed not only that the vine was moving but that it was doing something intelligent too!

I had a moment of epiphany.
I realized that instance how narrow and prejudiced we see the reality around us.

Out of the infinite spectrum of electromagnetic radiations we see an extremely narrow band.
Out of the sound spectrum, again we can only hear a tiny portion.
Our senses of smell and taste are even worse, we are nothing compared to dogs or sharks.
Not to mention that we lack some senses totally – like the shark’s ability to sense electrical fields, the snake's ability to see infrared or the bats to see sound.

But the biggest problem is our prejudiced way in which we look at reality.
We look at reality according to our frame reference of time, size, form or function.
For example, we only see things moving at close to human speed, therefore we do not see plants moving.
We see the things the way we are not the way they truly are.

Imagine that you could see 50 years of evolution of an oak tree in a second.
It would look like the oak acorn explodes into an oak tree!
…Imagine that you could look at the universe without the human subjectivity.
Would the universe still look like exploding or would it look like an acorn growing up, evolving not expanding, budding into galaxies and solar systems in an organic way rather than a random blast?

I always had an ambivalent feeling about the big bang theory.
You see, if you would take a can of paint and a stick of dynamite and exploded the paint into an empty white room, you would expect to get just a random splash of paint on the walls. You wouldn’t expect to get anything like repeated shapes or organized patterns.
So to me, this explanation that the universe exploded into being the way it is just by accident sounds totally bogus.

I am not a scientist and I can’t prove my theory, but for me, the idea of an “Acorn Universe” growing and evolving, sounds more sensible than the "Big Bang" theory.
What do you think?


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Chemical Brain

You can look at a human brain and compare it with a personal computer
You have the hardware, that collection of billions of neurons connected in trillions of connections, and you have the software, all your memories, and thoughts firing the neurons creating an electrical storm in your brain.

This is a rather new view of the brain’s functionality. For the longest time, we thought that our thoughts are created by the neurons firing but now we understand that the brain is just a machine and it is the software, our thoughts, that makes the brain think.
So where is that software, that data in our brain that thing we identify as being us, comes from?

We are a quilt of data collected and put together from all over the place.
We start with the data inherited from our parents through our DNA. We add to that the formative learning from our primary caretakers, parents, grandparents or nurses. Then we enter the school system, the media, TV and Internet and of course our own curiosity impulses will make us search and assimilate more data.

All this data put together makes up what we call “I”
Since I can remember I felt that in my head there were to people present. I couldn’t quite understand it and nobody could explain it to me why I felt that way. Later when I grew up I kept it as a secret because of the stigma attached to the people that heard voices in their heads but latter when I start my search for spirituality the question came back to me.

The best I could do is to separate the “I” into two parts. The “Spirit” or “Soul” being the part we are born with, the information carried through the DNA from generation to generation from the beginning of time. The I am therefore I think presence. I look at that primordial data as the BIOS of the brain, the language on all the other languages are built.

The second voice of “I” is the Ego or “Reason. This is the part that is added to us through education and experience. This is the “I think therefore I am” presence. It is a higher language using abstractions like words, written words, and spoken words. This Higher language is specific varying from culture to culture and individual to individual.

I also believe there is a “hardware” duality as well. I believe that the “Spirit” resides in our “primitive” brain the limbic system and that the Ego resides in the modern brain, in the cortex.
Also, the way the two manifestations of “I” have separate ways of operation and interface with the rest of the body.

The Spirit / Soul operates in feelings and emotions and interacts with the rest of the body through hormones: Estrogen, Testosterone, Adrenaline, Ephedrine, Dopamine, Serotonin etc.
The Ego /Reason operates in electrical pulses through the firing of the neurons in the cortex and the interaction with the rest of the body is done also through electrical pulses carried to all the muscle that we can control.

Getting old has its set of problems, especially health-related problems. So, I found myself with a little lower back pain problem. I went to see a pain specialist (OK my problem wasn’t that little) and he prescribed me a large dose of a drug used in the treatment of depression that also has a pain control effect and not like the opioids it is not addictive in long time use.
But my greatest concern was not the addiction part but how this mood/pain control drug will affect my spiritual practice, mainly my meditation.
Since the pain had already ruined my meditation sessions I went ahead with the drug treatment.
I thought I will be like some of my friends that are doing long-term depression drug treatments.
Turn into a zombie indifference to what’s going on without any genuine feelings or creative expression.

What I found very interesting is that the effect was exactly the opposite.
My meditation practice has not suffered I even go as far as to say to say that is better.
That doesn’t make any sense unless the meditation somehow changes the way the drug affects my system. That is a fascinating hypothesis and it would be really interesting if a comparative study will be done to see what is the effect of meditation on mood-altering drugs.



Monday, December 4, 2017

The Ultimate Illusion

"Life is like a train of moods like a string of beads, and, as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue. . .” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Look very carefully at the two triangles in the picture
Are they equal or is the triangle on the bottom bigger by the one white square?

What is the ultimate illusion?
No, it is not the damn triangles – although they are not bad either.
The ultimate illusion is “EGO”

Let’s start with a simple question “Who are you”
And the usual answer would be something like; John or Marry.
But let’s take the question a little deeper than that.

Let’s start when a dad’s DNA and a mom’s DNA first got together.
Obviously, that DNA union cannot be called a child; the best I can think of would be to call it a gate, an open door through which the universe would come into being.

But there is no “John” or “Marry” in a woman’s womb.
There are carrots and peas, beef and potatoes and all that is recycled into a new fetus.
But the fetus is not made of “John” or “Marry” it is simply hand me down matter, it is the universe restructured into a new experience.

That, that once was the experience of carrot, potatoes, and beef is now the experience of a finger or a nose.
Well, I am simplifying all that process but you get the idea.

The notion we have, that we were made by our mothers is completely false.
Our mothers’ wombs were no more than a gathering place for the universe to express itself as a newborn.
Once the gate is open the mother has no control over the process of creation.
The universe acts on its own.

Then after nine-month, the baby is delivered, not borne as the common knowledge falsely tells us. 
All that the parents do is to give it a name “John” or “Marry”

We spend the rest of the childhood being thought that we were made, not that we are self-expression.
We spend the whole childhood into being brainwashed that we are not a part of the universe but that we are indeed “John” and “Marry”

We grow up to see ourselves as individuals separate from nature and to see nature as an enemy that has to be conquered and held in submission.
We grow up to see ourselves separate from all the other human beings and spend our entire life competing, fighting, to win the success race

But we are not “John” or “Marry” we are the universe experiencing a human form.
The “Johns” and “Marries” are parasites growing on this experience.
The “Johns” and “Marries” have no control over this experience.
We grow, mature, get old and die. We have no control over that.
Nobody ever had, not even Buddha in his whole glory; he died just like everybody else, an old man.

But look at it from the universe’s point of view.
Birth and death do not exist.
The experience of the universe is a continuous transformation.
What is eternal remains eternal through all the transformations and metamorphoses. 
Only the “EGO” the “Johns” and “Marries” is created and therefore destroyed when the illusion is over.


And that is the fear that we all live with; that when “John” and “Mary” are gone, the experience will stop and there will be nothing left but a big black hole.
Nothingness forever! Aaaaah!!! The horror.
But when the illusion is over and our Ego ends, the universe doesn’t end, it just goes on and on, creating new “Johns” and “Marries”

BTW the bottom triangle is bigger because it is not actually a triangle It is a quadrilateral