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Archive for December, 2010

This is an example of the fractal Mandelbrot Set.  Giving the image a name isn’t really important, but some folks might see this and think it is an inkblot, similar to what Dr Rorschach flashed at patients to get inside their minds.  It is, and it isn’t.     If you took a magnifying glass and looked at one of the edges you would find a smaller copy of the image.  You could do that forever.

An inkblot test might get 99 people to “see” a butterfly, but the 100th might “see” a pig.  Uhm.  OK.  Is that person wrong?  Crazy?  Who is to say?  Experts?  Psychologists?  Psychiatrists?  a Judge?  In a complex society like ours the answer is ‘yes’.  Someone has to make that judgment.  But let’s step away from the social aspect and look at the blot from an existential aspect.  The pig-seeing person differs from the norm, but that does not make him wrong.

How about the wild rhetoric flying about America today?  You would think there was only one right way to run a country and if you do not agree, you are in league with Satan.  Why do people say, “My way or the Highway” or descend to ad hominem attacks if you do not agree?

So WHY do people get so hot when others disagree with them?  It is because they really really believe that there is only one way or one thought or one true and correct answer.   If you disagree you imply that they are wrong, and that feels like an attack on their fragile egos.

The most vociferous folks will battle to the death to MAKE you see it their way.   But why do they care?

(Read more in a related study here)

The first step in being able to navigate beyond physical reality is to understand how fluid physical reality really is.  Your ego is important.  It is there to focus your consciousness in this particular physical reality.  If you did not have an ego, you would find it difficult to steer.  The ego is like a lens, or the rudder of a ship.  When YOU use it for your own purposes, you have smooth sailing.  When you allow your ego to stomp around reality uncontrolled, you will be in for heavy seas.

You accept that everyone sees the world through the lens of their own egos.  The clearer you grind that lens, the more you will see.  If it is curved or flawed or colored, then everything seen through it will be distorted.  It will seem REAL to you, however.  “What do you MEAN that tree is red?  Of course it is GREEN!”  But if you are looking through a red filter you are just as correct as your friend.  Touch the tree, then.  Does it FEEL red?  You see where I am going with this.  It is foolish to argue with anyone holding on firmly to beliefs they will not release.  You cannot use reason to convince someone something isn’t “true” when they didn’t use reason to place that idea in their minds in the first place.  Just let it go.  It has nothing to do with you.

(an aside:  I am not suggesting that folks should not be activists, merely that shouting at your friend is not the way to share ideas)

When you poke your head through the veil of physical reality, you toss that ego lens back to earth.  Its comforting images will no longer be there to guide you.  The Landmarks will be different.  For example.  You may drift through your living room.  There is your grandfather’s old recliner.  You “blink” and now it looks new, another “blink” and it is not quite the same color.  Now it has an extra cushion.  What is “there” is the idea of your grandfather’s recliner, not the chair you see when you are awake and walking around the physical room.  Plato went into some detail on this idea, so I suppose he traveled the ether himself.  If he participated in the Elysian Mysteries, I am sure he did.

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It is not a secret, even with The Secret selling millions of copies (excellent marketing with that title, btw).  Any good reading going back centuries will pull up the same information.  Try Rig Veda or Tibetan or Zen philosophies in translation…but that is beside the point.  The point is that knowledge and information are all around you all the time.  The “Secret” is in plain sight…or in this case, sound.

These fellas started out in the ’60’s jamming tunes for appreciative audiences and evolved into musical philosophers of the highest caliber.  “Thinking is the Best Way to Travel” and “Timothy Leary” come to mind.  Back before the Internet linked millions of diverse people and flooded the ether with bits and bytes, The Moody Blues were flooding the airwaves with a message of peace and hope and love tinged with a decidedly metaphysical flavor.

If you want to enjoy some deliciously moving music and hear a message of possibilities that will send you “Higher and Higher”, download some Moody-Tunes.  Others HAVE been there before you and they have “charted” the way years ago.

Particularly excellent: Albums “To Our Children’s Children’s Children”, “Days of Future Passed”, and “In Search of the Lost Chord”.

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Whether you believe it or not, every second of your life you create your reality with your thoughts and feelings.  That bears repeating:  you don’t have to actually KNOW you are doing it…to do it.  Everyone does.  Even “wrong” ideas are manifested (that is how “bad things” happen).  It is how the world works.  But if you do know, ah…there is where the real magic lies.

So.  Be suspicious of new ideas.  Be suspicious if it means you think and explore before accepting a new idea as your own Truth.  I will encourage all people to NEVER believe what they are told without testing the information first.  In our society profit is made easiest at the expense of the ignorant.   You may notice that overall, Americans are becoming more and more ignorant as the years pass.  Certain groups are more knowledgeable…and information is now more available than ever before, yet the huge majority of Americans live in blissful ignorance.  Why?  I think it is because ignorance is blissful, but also because new information is so frightening.

Take the resistance to the Idea of Climate Change.  This Idea is very frightening.  Better to pretend it doesn’t exist.  How about Evolution?  Extremely frightening.  That Idea suggests that the world does not need a caretaker god to make things work.  Let’s vigorously oppose that Idea.  New Technologies and Ideas generate resistance at first.  Any reading of the history of science teaches that.  The Idea of Contraception was maniacally opposed in the first part of this century.  Imagine being imprisoned for telling someone that they could have sex without the possibility of conception.  This happened.  Remember the fear that cell phones cause brain cancer?  I hope I have made my point here in this paragraph so I can get to the fun part.

So, if you are handed a new Idea what do you do first?  You may stare at the Idea in your hand for a while, thinking about this new thing.  Hopefully you will then, say, read the instruction manual first (but how many of us do?) I think you will undoubtedly start to experiment with your new toy.

Good.  This Idea, like other new things, will be different for each individual.  Like a new video game you can program to your own preferences.  Do you want to play as the Warrior?  The Priestess?  The Thief?  The game is the same, but experienced from different perspectives.  A real game fan will play it all the way through as each of the characters.  You can do this, too, with your new Idea.

First, pretend that the idea is True.  All of us have the capacity for this kind of imaginary play.  Some folks had it stamped out of them as children, others are fortunate enough to retain the ability.  Then play with the Idea by imagining a small thing. I will suggest a common beginning from the visionary Richard Bach.  Let us use a white feather.  This object is common enough not to be shocking but unusual enough to be meaningful.  Think hard about white feathers, imagine one in your hand where the Idea was,  think hard about how much you want a white feather, and how lovely they are.  Now stop and go about your daily business.

Be ecstatic when the white feather shows up!  If the feather shows up in an hour or so, you have graduated Kindergarten and are totally ready for the next step.  If it takes longer, it doesn’t mean you can’t…it means you have some cross-current beliefs that need to be altered.  You didn’t start with the first step: pretend it is possible.  Remember we ALL do this every time we watch TV or go to the movies or read a book.  We love to pretend something is real.

What you are doing when you pretend is unhinging the belief that insists the New Idea is Not Real.  This unhinging is necessary before you can insert a new belief, so make sure you do this with a sense of play and curiosity, not fear.

Many people have started their journey with a white feather, if you are amazed at the avalanche of feathers that appear in your life, you may want to read more from Richard Bach:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Bach

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I hope that anyone who as ever lain on the ground at night and looked at the stars has felt that strange feeling…that wonder, that lifting of one’s mind from the mundane to the profound.  It is hard to really hold on to petty problems when confronted with the greater reality you see before you.  So much of the night sky remains mysterious, even to our modern high priests: the scientists.

The experience of looking at the stars is similar to what happens if you are lucky or skilled enough to find your consciousness outside of your body.  Once you have seen (and felt) the Universe from that perspective, you cannot un-know what you know.

Now what?  It is difficult to rationalize, frustrating to communicate and definitely not parlor conversation.  Even finding others who share a similar experience is NOT what you think.  For example:  You may have had a trip to Paris.  You have photos and memories and a plastic Eiffel Tower.  An acquaintance has also gone to Paris, but 30 years ago…and he stayed in all the most expensive hotels.  Similar, but very different.

Because reality is fluid, and changes with every thought and belief, even two people on the trip at the “same time” will experience a different place.  What may remain the same are certain “feeling tones” that connect the experience.

One of those concepts is the Abyss.  When it is experienced there is a similar feeling (according to the accounts of other people I have read).  What has been accomplished is that folks can get together and agree on a vocabulary!  The Abyss may have been experienced by countless people over the centuries, but each one will come back from their vacation with different photos.  The words they used to describe the experience are similar, yet necessarily different.

One feels acutely every atom, every particle, that makes up what they perceive as their body…then slowly each particle begins to move away from every other.  Sort of like each particle was a positive ion…there is this feeling that each particle MUST repel the others, causing the “body” to dissipate.  This is usually frightening, because we are focused in a physical reality that teaches us we cannot survive without a body.  But of course, the dissipation is not fatal.  Quite the opposite.  But it is a test.  Can you permit the dissolution and yet retain your identity?

I admit I failed this test the first time.  As each particle drifted away I kept saying, “Wait! come back!”.  It is funny in retrospect, but I wish I had been more curious.  Yes.  That is the correct word.  Not “brave” or “daring”, though there is a place for those qualities.  Curious.  The feeling that you want to know more.  And Trust.  I felt I had to hold my “body” together or I would disappear.

The Universe will keep testing you to see if you are ready for the next step on this journey.

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