April 2, 2014 at 1:45 am #11879
I’m starting a new Mindfulness topic, re the spiritual stuff, because the previous one has reached the limit.
Here’s a link to the introduction to a book. The rest is not available to read free.
I thought it might be helpful to people who find the mess of ideas on the internet, and in the world in general, totally confusing.
That is, people younger than myself, I suppose 🙂 I’ve had more time to struggle and find my way through the muddle.
I’m not really endorsing the book, or the author, but I do think it’s a good general overview.
I’d call it the postmodern condition, when people from all kinds of background, beliefs, cultures, traditions, collide. Then they try to understand what’s going on. But even while they try to make sense of the mixing that’s happening, it never stays still, it’s continually moving and fermenting.
Now we have the internet, this crazy postmodern thing goes global, and gets mixed with psyops and cyberwarfare, along with all the propaganda and commercial and political discourse and the dross of popular culture, and we are all in the panopticon of the NSA and GCHQ, and probably the Russian and Chinese versions as well.
Nobody knows how to make sense of any of this, because humans have never found themselves in anything like this before.
We are in some some ridiculous Alice in Wonderland nightmare where the natural world is being destroyed and the technological world is exploding into novelties that we don’t comprehend. Like the revolution that printing brought to Europe, with the rapid cheap copying and distribution of information, which had previously been impossible when scribes had had to copy books by hand, soceity gets changed in unforeseen and unpredictable ways.
Balances of power change, new dynamics arise. Each one of us has the daily task of staying sane and balanced and coping with all this, and navigating through the hazards, trying to make sense of the information that comes our way.
All I’m doing on this blog is gathering snippets that I find interesting and useful myself, that may save someone else some time and trouble, and be helpful to them.
I have a fairly sophisticated and complicated position. There is no reason why you should share my view. You should work out your own. This stuff might help you do that.April 5, 2014 at 11:58 pm #11919
An Answer for Vice-Prefect Chung
In my late years, only quiet seems good.
My heart’s not given to ten thousand things.
I take care of myself with no serious plan and,
empty of knowledge, go back to my former woods.
Wind blows in the pines and I loosen my sash;
In the rays of the mountain-moon, I pluck my lute.
Your question implies a tired man knows the inner logic —
the fisherman’s song goes out into the estuary, deep.
(translated by William P. Coleman)April 8, 2014 at 11:05 am #11974April 8, 2014 at 11:21 am #11976
For this reason, the ancients dare not describe it in writing, but they also dare not keep it secret and be silent about it. They spoke about it by means of metaphors, such as:April 11, 2014 at 1:48 am #12016April 11, 2014 at 12:53 pm #12021
The nature of consciousness, the reality it conveys and our place in the universe remain unknown.April 12, 2014 at 2:14 pm #12030
Bateson came to the startling conclusion that we are wrong to think that our self stops at the edge of our bodies at all. He found himself reasoning this way: When we use our arm to touch a wall, we think of the wall as something “outside” and our arm as part of our “self.” But the neurons in the arm are merely transmitting a signal to our brain.
If a blind man uses a stick to feel the sidewalk in front of him, that stick is serving exactly the same purpose as the neuron in your arm. So Bateson asks, “Where does the blindman’s self begin? At the tip of the stick? At the handle of the stick? Or at some point half way up the stick? These questions are nonsense.”
For Bateson, our feeling of a boundary between self and “other” is arbitrary, or at least an illusion that is created by whatever we are paying attention to. When you use your hand to feel the floor, you feel like your self stops at your skin. But when you use the floor to feel the traffic outside, your self becomes much larger.April 12, 2014 at 9:00 pm #12032
Indian and Western Perspectives on ParapsychologyApril 13, 2014 at 11:49 pm #12040April 14, 2014 at 3:14 pm #12045
A new study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France reports the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of mindfulness meditation.April 15, 2014 at 10:31 am #12055April 17, 2014 at 11:15 am #12099
“In this seminar I will review my research into the relationship between afterlife beliefs and certain types of ‘religious’ or ‘mystical’ experiences worldwide as found in the texts of early civilizations, and in the earliest ethnographic reports on indigenous societies. The key issue is the extent to which afterlife conceptions are consistent cross-culturally, and with the spontaneous, evidently universal near-death experience. In opposition to contemporary postmodernist-influenced assumptions that religious beliefs and experiences are entirely culturally constructed, I argue that afterlife conceptions in human societies are commonly formed not only by a combination of culture-specific socio-historical and environmental factors, but also universal cognitive factors and universal anomalous experiential factors. This is demonstrated by the existence of thematically consistent narratives of near-death experiences found in nearly all times and places, which in turn correspond to the widespread general similarities found in afterlife conceptions worldwide. This is despite differences in social organization and scale, and high degrees of cultural independence and geographical and chronological distance between the societies considered.”
GREGORY SHUSHAN is author of the Grawemeyer Award-nominated Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations: Universalism, Constructivism, and Near-Death Experience (Continuum Advances in Religious Studies, 2009). He has been Visiting Lecturer in Religious Studies at University of Wales Lampeter, Lecturer in the Study of Religions at University College Cork where he helped establish the first such department in the Republic of Ireland, guest lecturer in Anthropology of Religions at Swiss University, and Research Fellow at the Centro Incontri Umani (The Cross Cultural Centre) at Ascona, Switzerland. He has presented his research in seven different countries, and is the recipient of six academic awards, including the Gordon Childe Prize. He holds a Diploma in Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology from Birkbeck College (University of London), a BA in Egyptian Archaeology and an MA in Research Methods for the Humanities from University College London, and a PhD in Religious Studies from University of Wales Lampeter. He is currently a Research Fellow at the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion, University of Oxford, researching comparative afterlife beliefs in indigenous religions worldwide in the context of shamanic and near-death experiences. The project is supported by a grant from the Perrot-Warrick Fund, Trinity College, Cambridge.
April 17, 2014 at 11:20 am #12100
From the point of view of size in this creation, the orb of Atman, the soul, is smaller than an atom, and from the point of view of subtlety it is similar to Brahman. It is incomparable in its colour and form, and it is thus symbolic of its ownself. Through its association with Chitta, it assumes the same colour and form that Chitta assumes. This Jivatman or individual soul exists in the form of an extremely subtle point or jot.April 17, 2014 at 12:22 pm #12107April 17, 2014 at 9:38 pm #12124
The Vision of the Subtle WorldsApril 17, 2014 at 10:01 pm #12125
Mental Imagery in ShamanismApril 19, 2014 at 6:12 am #12147
Review of Comparing Religions: Coming to Terms, by Jeffrey J. KripalApril 19, 2014 at 9:41 am #12151
I had a brain function experience yesterday. I tried to recall the name of the wild west hero in a series of pocket books by Louis Masterson aka Kjell Hallbing. But couldn’t. So to help, I went through the alphabet: was it A? naah. B? no. C?, D? mmm, no. And continued until I came to K. Hmmm, halted a bit, but no. L?, M? M? M? M? couldn’t move further. M? The letter had a weird fatness to it, a vibration. I couldn’t move on. I didn’t know if it was right, but I couldn’t move on. I waited … …. …. …. ….. ……
It showed up in my consciousness, as appearing out of a fog.
And I realized in that moment, that I had had no control over the recollection. As if I had sent a keyword to google search, and had no other influence than to wait for the result to appear.
And then I remembered this research about delay between decicions and being conscious of themApril 19, 2014 at 9:45 am #12152April 19, 2014 at 5:43 pm #12160
A Place for Stories of the Spirit and Research into the Survival of Consciousness:April 19, 2014 at 6:41 pm #12163
The Last Shaman of the Oroqen of Northeast ChinaApril 19, 2014 at 6:47 pm #12164April 20, 2014 at 7:55 am #12178
Non Dual StatesApril 20, 2014 at 1:13 pm #12183
News inhibits thinking. Thinking requires concentration. Concentration requires uninterrupted time. News pieces are specifically engineered to interrupt you. They are like viruses that steal attention for their own purposes. News makes us shallow thinkers. But it’s worse than that. News severely affects memory. There are two types of memory. Long-range memory’s capacity is nearly infinite, but working memory is limited to a certain amount of slippery data. The path from short-term to long-term memory is a choke-point in the brain, but anything you want to understand must pass through it. If this passageway is disrupted, nothing gets through. Because news disrupts concentration, it weakens comprehension. Online news has an even worse impact. In a 2001 study two scholars in Canada showed that comprehension declines as the number of hyperlinks in a document increases. Why? Because whenever a link appears, your brain has to at least make the choice not to click, which in itself is distracting. News is an intentional interruption system.April 23, 2014 at 2:47 pm #12263
There have been numerous messages and signs from the spirit world indicating that many spirits are slow in recognizing that they are “dead,” some floundering in an “earthbound” stupor for a long time, however time is measured in that realm. This phenomenon was popularized in the hit movie, The Sixth Sense, a decade or so ago, when the Bruce Willis character apparently didn’t know he had died.
Emanuel Swedenborg, (below) the brilliant 18th Century scientist who learned to leave his body and explore the afterlife realms, may have been the first to mention this phenomenon. He said that he had met newly departed souls in something of a stupor, unaware they were “dead.” This seemed especially true of people who had “denied the Divine” when alive in the flesh. When they finally came to realize that they had left the physical body behind and were existing in a different state, they were, he said, “acutely embarrassed.”April 28, 2014 at 3:01 pm #12341April 30, 2014 at 3:35 pm #12368
The explorer, environmentalist and treasured author Peter Matthiessen was the first on filmmaker Rebecca Dreyfus’ wish list to feature in On Meditation, a series of personal shorts exploring the subject alongside other notable deep-thought practitioners including David Lynch. Matthiessen passed away earlier this month, leaving behind the legacy of a large life as a one-time CIA employee turned co-founder of The Paris Review. He will be remembered most as the author of the cherished natural-world travelogue The Snow Leopard, which was awarded two National Book Awards in the US. Below, Dreyfus recollects her time with Matthiessen for NOWNESS.May 8, 2014 at 9:42 am #12609
I had this problem where I was arguing with all these different stories and different texts and saying they’re all about wu-wei, they’re all about effortless action, but many of the stories don’t use the term wu-wei. So how can I say they’re really talking about the same concept if they’re not using the word? My only solution at that point was just to put the stories side by side and go, “Eh?” Reading about metaphor theory changed everything. The basic argument that Lakoff and Johnson lay out is that we’re not disembodied minds floating around somewhere. We are embodied creatures. A lot of our cognition is arising from our embodied interactions with the world, pre-linguistic interactions with the world. And so we build up these basic patterns: walking down a path, dealing with objects, dealing with containers that then structure our abstract thinking. A lot of even very abstract philosophical language is relying on very basic bodily experiences.
What are human beings like? How is knowledge possible? What is truth? Where do moral values come from? Questions like these have stood at the center of Western philosophy for centuries. In addressing them, philosophers have made certain fundamental assumptions—that we can know our own minds by introspection, that most of our thinking about the world is literal, and that reason is disembodied and universal—that are now called into question by well-established results of cognitive science. It has been shown empirically that:Most thought is unconscious. We have no direct conscious access to the mechanisms of thought and language. Our ideas go by too quickly and at too deep a level for us to observe them in any simple way.Abstract concepts are mostly metaphorical. Much of the subject matter of philosopy, such as the nature of time, morality, causation, the mind, and the self, relies heavily on basic metaphors derived from bodily experience. What is literal in our reasoning about such concepts is minimal and conceptually impoverished. All the richness comes from metaphor. For instance, we have two mutually incompatible metaphors for time, both of which represent it as movement through space: in one it is a flow past us and in the other a spatial dimension we move along.Mind is embodied. Thought requires a body—not in the trivial sense that you need a physical brain to think with, but in the profound sense that the very structure of our thoughts comes from the nature of the body.May 10, 2014 at 1:02 am #12651
Psychoactive Plants in Tantric Buddhism
Cannabis and Datura Use in Indo-Tibetan Esoteric BuddhismMay 10, 2014 at 8:39 pm #12665
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