Please feel free to read this blog and join in. I hope you will write something inspirational, inspiring, spiritual, controversial, amusing, engaging or just plain run of the mill. But please don't be brusque, churlish or licentious.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A New Year

A new year is coming, so they say.  

There are hopes and dreams

that things will be better on that day.

There is no way to tell for sure

because there is no future and no past.

Only now and the present last.   


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Who's in Control - You or Your Brain?

When you have a thought such as "I am going to raise my arm," you can either raise your arm or not raise you arm. You can have the thought but you don't have to raise your arm if you don't want to. Try it. In one case, you raise your arm and in the other case you don't raise your arm. The thought is not what raises the arm.

In order for the arm to be raised there must be an impulse generated in the brain that sends an electrical charge to the target muscle. It takes approximately 0.5 seconds from the time the impulse is generated in the brain to when the arm is raised. The impulse in the brain is not the thought. Somehow the impulse is generated by something other than the thought.

If the thought doesn't cause the arm to be raised what does? In researching all of the available data available to me it seems that nobody, and I mean nobody, knows. Does the "spark" that causes the arm to be raised come from somewhere in the brain that hasn't been discovered?  Does it come from the unconscious mind?  Does it come from outside the brain?

To me there seems to be an underlying unity in that everything is connected with everything else.  I agree that the brain's activity and the raising of the arm seem to be two separate events when looked at from the explicate level of observation. But deep down there is no difference. The composition of everything is the same and it all flows together as one total unit. There is no them and us. 

Whatever the case it certainly seems that you are not hostage to your brain. You are not your brain.  You are greater and beyond the brain and its activities. Basically, no one is in control.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Antenna to the Cosmos

There are around 100 billion neurons in your brain.  Some of those neurons are short (0.1 mm) while others are long (10 mm). The average neuron is about 5 mm long. So, 100 billion times 5 mm equals 500,000,000,000 mm, or 500,000,000 meters, or 500,000 kilometers (km).

One km = 0.62 miles. So, If you were to lay those neurons end to end you can see that you have about 310,000 miles worth of nerve cells (neurons) in your brain. That is long enough to go around the world 13 times or reach to the moon and 1/3 of the way back.

That makes for a very long antenna.  And it is all wrapped up in a neat package inside your skull. Your brain is a marvelous organ. It is responsible for thinking, interpreting senses, and running the body. But it can also transmit and send signals to and from the cosmos (the mind field).  Don't underestimate the power of your mind. Through meditation you can learn to extend your consciousness beyond the mind-body machine and into the cosmic mind-field.

Send something to the cosmos and you will receive something back. Positive out, positive back. Negative out, negative back.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

You are Not the Body

Cells are constantly coming and going. From one cell, the body you call you becomes billions of cells. Your body is not the same it was five years ago. However, you maintain the same identity of "you", the perception that you are the same body from year to year.

Watch this video and you will see what I mean.  http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=E8nJhG1xE5o

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Life and Death

   The fret over death is a universal worry. It crosses all boundaries, sects, religions, races, and beliefs. The fear of death is probably the number one underlying reason for all other fears. The fear of loneliness, nothingness, and helplessness, all, more or less, stem from the fear of death itself.

But what is death? For the pragmatist death is basically the cessation of all bodily functions. When heart and breathing stop and there are no brain waves, the individual is usually said to be dead. What happens after that is fodder for much debate. But let's not be pragmatic.  Let's delve deeper into the question of death by looking at the other side of the coin.

What better way to look at death than to look at life? When a flower blooms it is saying, "Look, I am over here. Don't I smell and look nice?" And when its egg is fertilized by a male flower's pollen grain, a seed is produced. Basically you might say that the life of the flower is over. It has lost its bodily function and has wasted away.

The seed falls to the ground and stays dormant until the right conditions present themselves. Stems, leaves, and roots begin to sprout. The seed is no longer a seed, its life is over. A young plant slowly grows into a mature plant producing flowers. Botanists call this process the life cycle of the plant.

Where is your physical body in the cycle of life? Just because the body stops functioning doesn't mean that you are dead. You, the true you, sprouts into something new and different. There is no end to the cycle. Don't worry and don't fret. Life is not over just because the body wastes away.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Are Mind and Brain the Same Thing?

The brain is an organ inside your skull. It weighs about 4lbs. and is the size of two fists. The brain is a marvelous thing and is certainly responsible for consciousness, thinking, and running the body.

The mind is not as easy to describe or explain as the brain because it is not a tangible entity. The mind cannot be weighed, measured, or dissected. Many neuroscientists, doctors, psychologists, and lay people say that the brain and the mind are the same thing while others say they are not.

People who say they are not the same point out the fact that there have been people declared brain dead with flat electroencephalograms (EEG's) who have come back alive and described in detail what was going on in the hospital room while their body was lying there. If the brain is not functioning how in the world could the "dead person" know what was going on if there isn't a larger component to consciousness?

There is even more evidence to suggest that the mind extends beyond the brain. Have you ever been thinking of something and someone near you mentions the subject you were thinking about?  I know I have. My wife and I do it all the time. Sometimes you don't even have to be close to the person. It can happen over long distances.

Some say that the mind is within the cosmos and the brain is an antenna wound tightly inside a compact skull. The brain communicates with the cosmos and the cosmos in turn with the brain. This may be how prayers work.

I lean toward the idea that the mind and the brain are not the same thing. I believe that the mind extends beyond the physical brain and encompasses everything. I believe the brain is simply a small component of the total "mind field." 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

It Just Is

There seem to be objects within space as you look out over the landscape.  That is; there are things like trees, houses, clouds, animals, and so on, and between the objects is space. But what you see is not necessarily what is. Objects and space are made of the same stuff - energy. 

Let's take a quick look at the quantum level of this energy stuff.  "Quantum" means the minimal amount possible of any physical aspect. In quantum physics a photon is the minimal amount in which light can be reduced.  A quark is the minimal amount in which matter can be reduced. Then there are things called leptons and gluons.  But the question remains - What are these infinitesimally small particles made of? 

All of this is fine and dandy when dealing with the physical world of "reality." Objects, space, photons, quarks, etc. are nothing more than concepts constructed from what scientists believe to be true about the physical world at the present time. One hundred years from now what will the concepts be?

Leave all of this "stuff" behind and step into pure awareness.  There you will find the answer to what is. That is, if you want to find out. Not everyone does. Anything you can see, touch, smell, feel, taste or imagine is a manifestation of the mind. Leave the mind behind and see what remains.

In order to leave your mind behind you must first be able to observe thoughts. Thoughts originate from the mind so if you become the witness of your thoughts you will understand that you are not your thoughts. You cannot be something that you observe because you are the one doing the observing.

Form an image in your mind such as an apple or the face of a friend.  Notice you are not the image but the one observing the image. You have become the witness of your thought . 

If you can observe thoughts; ask yourself, "Who is doing the observing?"  And then observe the observer - you.  And what remains?  Some people report having an experience of nothingness while others notice that they are being observed by something greater - more vast and expansive than a simple observer.

Whatever you may experience when going beyond the observer is anything but objects, space, and energy. It may be called the "Absolute" or the "Divine."  It is beyond your mind and your body. It is beyond consciousness and even beyond an experience. It just is.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Very Short Course in Meditation

Read the following and then do it:

1. Sit in a quiet space and close your eyes.

2. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly.  Do this two more times.

3. Focus on the tip of your nose and feel your breath coming in and going out.

4. When you are aware of thinking, bring your focus back to your breath.

That's it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mind-Body Machine

When your father's sperm fertilized your mother's egg you became one cell and that one cell divided, continued to divide and finally grew into a body. Once born a mind came into existence. Today you might identify the body and mind as who you are - the mind-body machine.  Do you think you are the machine?  Take a deep look within the core of your being and see if it is true.

We often believe we are the body and the mind.  It keeps telling us what we did, what we experienced and what we expect to happen in the future. Rarely does the machine come into the present moment. If it does come into the present moment it doesn't stay there long. It is not the nature of the machine to stay in the moment because it has been programed to think of the past and look to the future. It believes it is too boring and useless to be in the present moment.

Attachment to the mind-body machine is very strong.  It takes courage and resolution to go beyond it. Courage because one must have a brave heart and resolution because it doesn't happen over night. To look deep into one's core is like leaving home and leaving behind all possessions. Not everyone wants to and not everyone is even willing to attempt it. But going beyond the machine leaves behind all fears that have slowly crept in from birth to this present moment.

The fear of death, the fear of losing a loved one, the fear of losing money, the fear of the future, on and on permeates the mind-body. As long as you are attached to the mind-body machine this sickness must be experienced. There is no getting out of it unless you see the light that is beyond the machine. The light is the true you - the I Am - the Absolute.

You are present right here this very moment and are not confined to the machine.  Look deep within the core of your very being and you will discover nothing but infinite space and energy. When the mind and the body are gone you will remain. The space and the energy that is you is everywhere. You are everything and everything is you.

Everything is changing except the permanent you - the infinite space and energy. Even things that look permanent like rocks, trees, ocean, and even the sun are impermanent. When you find that impermanence in yourself there will be absolute peace and harmony with all beings and all things.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Meditation Practice

The practice of meditation should not be difficult or arduous. It should be enjoyable.
Meditation is a practice in which only the one doing the practice can decide how long and what type should be done. If it seems too long, it is too long. If it doesn't work, it's the wrong kind.

The moment you decide to begin to practice is the biggest step you take. The only thing left is to actually do it. No one can make you meditate and no one can tell you what type of meditation is best for you. It is your decision and yours alone.

To discover what is best for you - just do it. Sit, breathe, observe, explore, and discover. That's all you can do.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Should one practice?

Should you practice doing something?  Only if you want to become proficient at it.

So, I leave you with this quote and thought:

"If you do something because you should, then it is a real practice."
Shunryu Suzuki, Soto Zen monk and spiritual teacher