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Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Boy Who Found the Great Ocean

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* lovely story from Kenneth Folk...may all beings find the ocean in one lifetime.
In this story,the word Putujjana means ,,a human being,not different from others,,(this is the actual meaning in sanskrit)
-added by danny-

The Boy Who Found the Great Ocean

Putujjana had heard of the great ocean. On full moon nights the whole village would gather around the fire and Mighty Medicine Woman would tell stories. She told of a great ocean, far away, beyond four rivers.

One morning, Putujjana went to his mother and said, "Mother, will you tell me how to get to the great ocean?"

"I've never been to the great ocean," said Putujjana's mother. "I can't tell you how to get there, because I don't know."

Then, Putujjana went to his father and said, "Father, will you tell me how to get to the great ocean?"

"I've never been to the great ocean," said Putujjana's father. "I can't tell you how to get there, because I don't know."

So Putujjana went to Mighty Medicine Woman and said, "Mighty Medicine Woman, will you tell me how to get to the great ocean?"

But Mighty Medicine said, "I've never been to the great ocean. I can't tell you how to get there, because I don't know."

Putujjana asked, "How can you not know? You are Mighty Medicine Woman. You tell stories of the great ocean every full moon night."

"I tell stories because they were told to me," said Mighty Medicine Woman. "I tell stories. That's what Mighty Medicine Women do."

Putujjana was very disappointed. He decided to find the great ocean for himself. He would leave the very next day.

In the morning, before dawn, Putujjana left his family's hut and set out to find the great ocean. At the edge of the village, he was surprised to find his mother, his father, and Mighty Medicine Woman waiting for him.

"We're going with you," said Putujjana's mother, "to find the great ocean."

Putujjana was very happy. Together with his mother, his father, and Mighty Medicine Woman, Putujjana set out to find the great ocean.

After many days and much hardship, Putujjana, along with his mother and father and Mighty Medicine woman, reached the banks of the first river. They met a traveler from the other side of the river and asked him, "What's it like on the other side?"

"On the other side of the first river," said the traveler, "there are four seasons."

Putujjana's mother stopped. "The other side of the first river is not a suitable place for a mother," she said. "I'm going back to our village, where it's always springtime. But before I go, Putujjana, I will give you my blessing: May you work hard, and thereby attain your heart's desire."

Then she kissed Putujjana three times on the forehead and began walking back the way she had come.

Putujjana was very sad. He cried seven tears. Then, together with his father and Mighty Medicine Woman, Putujjana crossed the first river and continued his quest for the great ocean.

After many days and much hardship, Putujjana, along with his father and Mighty Medicine Woman, reached the banks of the second river. They met a traveler from the other side and asked him, "What's it like on the other side?"

"On the other side of the second river," said the traveler, "there is night, as well as day."

Putujjana's father stopped. "The other side of the second river is not a suitable place for a father," he said. "I'm going back to our village, where the sun always shines. But before I go, Putujjana, I will give you my blessing: May you realize that you and your heart's desire are one."

Then he turned three times in a circle and vanished in a flash of light.

Putujjana was very angry. He spat on the ground seven times. Then, together with Mighty Medicine Woman, Putujjana crossed the second river and continued his quest for the great ocean.

After many days and much hardship, Putujjana and Mighty Medicine Woman came to the banks of the third river. They met a traveler from the other side and asked him, "What's it like on the other side?"

"On the other side of the third river," said the traveler, "there is death, as well as life."

Mighty Medicine Woman stopped. "The other side of the third river is not a suitable place for a Mighty Medicine Woman," she said. "I'm going back to our village, where people live forever, and no one ever dies. But before I go, Putujjana, I will give you my blessing: May you give up your heart's desire, and in so doing, find a much greater gift."

Putujjana turned to beg Mighty Medicine Woman to stay. But she was already gone.

Putujjana was heartbroken. Without his mother, his father, and Mighty Medicine Woman, how could he go on? He could not go forward and he could not go back. He lay down on the cold ground for seven days and seven nights.

After seven days and seven nights, Putujjana got up, and alone, with no one to comfort him, crossed the third river and continued his quest for the great ocean.

After many days and much hardship, Putujjana came to the banks of the fourth river. He met a traveler from the other shore and asked him, "What's it like on the other shore?"

"On the other shore," said the traveler, "things are as they are."

Putujjana did not hesitate. He crossed the fourth river and found himself on the shore of the great ocean. He heard voices, and was surprised to see his mother, father and Mighty Medicine Woman floating on the waves in a wooden ship and calling to him, "Putujjana, come join us! We will sail the great ocean for all eternity!"

The young man who had once been called Putujjana smiled and waved. The great ocean was already lapping at his feet.

Kenneth Folk


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The marvelous broken foot(part 1)

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* this is my personal experience.. I am on the operation table,after that wicked(but kinda sexy) doctor lady inserted some 10 inches needle in my numb me.
Just some time ago I broke my leg in some bike accident....fibula and they'll have to cut me open and insert some screws and metal stuff in my leg,sort of crucify me.
She asks me while inserting the needle...You feel anything?
I looked at her with love..yes,I was thinking..I feel the universe,interdependent causes,karmas,your past,your present,and your future.I feel your needle and I feel your beautiful eyes....but I said,yes,I feel a needle in my back,hello?
She smiled and said...,,yes,good,there is indeed a needle..good boy.
Minutes later I can't feel my legs,but I am god,I say,she is good...she has managed to numb me.Hope she didn't paralyse me for life....
Some hunchbacks 8 of them,the students of the surgeon,grab my legs.They also put me in restrains,like I can't move my arms.My head is down,and smiling at them....go ahead,I say..
And they do...they put something in my arm,like a perfusion or something dripping...I look up to it and read,,saline with antibiotics,,..kinda like it..makes me feels ooozy...but my right eye is always on the students...hope they'll not experiment on me?
Let's experiment!..cries out loud the doctor....where is my knife?
I was thinking,,Jessus...these guys are really sadistic.
Then I hear some loud bangs (the doc was hitting the metal rod to be inserted in my leg) and all of a sudden the machines start screaming,,low blood pressure...pulse minimal...I look up to the monitors(I could move my head) and see indeed I had a blood preasure of 90/50
jessus..I say...this is 20 years nurse tries to look at me..I smile and raise my eyebrows,she smiles too but never raises her eyebrows...ohhh...I was thinking..all I needed was her eyebrows.
In the meantime,the bloody surgeon,tired of hitting with a huge hammer the iron rod in my foot pops up in my face,like the moontime dragon,all bloody and missing a tooth,like in the worst nightmares,he asks ok?
I say...ok,..with my eyebrows..he understands this buddha message and goes back to his job.
His job is to cut my leg open,then drill some screws into my leg and put some iron bar there,inside my leg...perfect job.
8 people are handling my feet...there is a monitor on the left side of me,which I can shows how deep the surgeon inserted the metal rod...I watch it...HIT!!...they scream,while the guy hits the rod in my leg..not Now! I!..not now!!...
Man,I say...anyway I can't feel anything,just do your job....till I recognize with horror that indeed my left foot is awaken...while they jab the hammers on my right foot(the one damaged) the left foot is happy..I actually move it up and down...a concerned 20 something beautiful looking nurse asks,,Is this normal??
The surgeon rises his one missing tooth face(all bloody) from his grim purpose,and's the right foot we work,not left....right is still numb,see?..he hits it with the hammer right in the knee.
No reaction from me...see?..the wild eyed surgeon explains to the student.
Now I am worried...what if the right foot would awake like the left?...with my head I managed(moving my eyebrows) to have that beautiful anesthetic woman close to me...I ask her..
You sure you did only my right leg?
she was by mistake
If my hands would not be tight with ropes I could strangulate her,that's why she smiles now..I think.
You mean...I ask her didn't mean to do the right foot only?
No..she said..that was your LUCK
Next thing I know,I am off the operation room,and with something perfusions on my veins.
The pain not there yet...but I tell you something.
Even a mahayogi like me suffered..for 24 hours,for they gave me nothing for pain,since I refused.
The pain story,and how I part 2..
ps..I can't walk now,plus some infection is set in..if I die,I just want everybody to know that I loved them

Friday, April 24, 2009

Where is your attention?

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note*Shri Mataji beautifully explains,,But in the living process it never happens like that. There are some seeds which grow so fast that within one year they become trees after they have been sprouted. They bear fruit in one year’s time. Some trees are such, but some of them linger on and linger on and linger on and they take too much time. So much so that maybe when they are not yet fully developed any storm, any wind, any one of these things can just push them down. So you have to make a rapid growth within. Even after realization I have seen people do not pay attention to their Spirit. So for every Sahaja Yogi today I would say they have to ask … “Where is your attention?”,,(taken from site)
-added by danny-

Shri Mataji, founder of Sahaja Yoga

What are we really? We are not this mind, this body, these emotions although we tend to identify with these. Some people operate on a mainly intellectual level and may find the thought of going beyond their minds unsettling. Others operate more on the emotional or physical plane.

But then, to come back to the above question, what are we really? We are, in essence, the Spirit, a part of our being that never dies. This has been expressed beautifully in a poem by Adi Shanakaracharya called Tad Niskala. The first stanza is reproduced here:

Om. I am neither the mind,
Intelligence, ego, nor ’chitta’,
Neither the ears, nor the tongue,
Nor the senses of smell and sight,
Neither ether, nor air,
I am Eternal Bliss and Awareness.
I am Shiva! I am Shiva!

Here follows an extract from a talk by Shri Mataji, the founder of Sahaja Yoga:

So, today we are going to think about our Spirit, which we have neglected throughout. They are not even conscious that we have a Spirit. Through Sahaja Yoga those who are now conscious, because they can feel it through their vibrations, they can also get lost and can forget it. The Spirit is the only eternal thing within us, all the rest are transitory and evolutionary.

Everything rose into evolution and the better is the evolution the higher the Spirit starts manifesting itself. Like the reflection… the reflection on the stone of even the sun is zero. And the reflection of the sun on the lake is sometimes I think, is the reflection that is felt in the Sahaja Yogis, when they see, feel it, it flows, they can feel the breeze in their hands.

But still their attention is not fully enlightened, the Spirit has not permeated inside. It’s just reflecting still. In the mirror you see the reflection of the sun. But even then, when you removed it you cannot reflect it. This is the difference – that even if you become the mirror of the sun, unless and until it permeates into your being and transforms you into something new, you have not done full justice to yourself and nor to the powers of your Spirit.

The Spirit has come just like a vision to you an experience to you, but the growth of your being has not yet started and if it has started it’s so slow that you may not achieve much in one lifetime. Because your attention is on all various things. You have been misidentified from the very beginning, since the time you were amoeba you have been misidentified. The matter played a big role in your life, so matter was important. Then all the five elements that are within us were very important to us. Because we can see them, feel them we have lived them for years, thousands and thousands of years. So they are part and parcel of your being and that is why you are so much identified with it. That should be, no doubt.

But in the living process it never happens like that. There are some seeds which grow so fast that within one year they become trees after they have been sprouted. They bear fruit in one year’s time. Some trees are such, but some of them linger on and linger on and linger on and they take too much time. So much so that maybe when they are not yet fully developed any storm, any wind, any one of these things can just push them down. So you have to make a rapid growth within. Even after realization I have seen people do not pay attention to their Spirit. So for every Sahaja Yogi today I would say they have to ask … “Where is your attention?”

Extract from a talk, The eternal Spirit, London, 10 November 1980 by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, founder of Sahaja Yoga

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I AM evil,but good for you

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* a poem from Mirza Khan Ansari,, MIRZA KHAN ANSARI, was a descendant, probably a grandson, of Pir Roshan, the founder of the Roshanian sect, which made a great noise among the Afghans, about the year 1542-3 of our Era. He appears to have commenced writing poetry in the year A. H. 1040; and these effusious were afterwards brought together in the form of a Diwan or Collection of Odes, bearing his name,,
This poem was recorded by Idries Shah,in his book,,Oriental Magic,, marvelous sufi poem,anyway.
-added by danny-
Oriental Magic
Idries Shah













Saturday, April 18, 2009

What Have We Got to Hold Onto in this Life?

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* Su Bong (1943-1994) talks about ,what have we got to hold in this life, and his answer is,of course,the ,,don't know,, emptiness..which happens to be the very source of the answer.
But he explains very well when he says,,
Because we think we know something, we can't believe ourselves. We think we know the correct way, the correct life, or something, it doesn't matter what; we think we know it. Buddha said everything has Buddha nature. Why separate anything?
-added by danny-

This talk was given during a retreat at Providence Zen Center, October 1983.

Adeline: I have a friend named Terry who is missing. She was in a small plane that crashed in the sea. So everyone assumes she died. But if she is dead, where is she?

Zen Master Su Bong: What are you doing now?

Adeline: Sitting here talking to you.

ZMSB: So you know where your friend went.

Adeline: I don't understand.

ZMSB: So where did Terry go? Where did my father go? Don't know. Before this, Adeline talked about having some idea about our life that makes our life seem substantial. It gives us some reason for living, some direction. What am I doing here? Why am I a monk? Don't know. But when you have no idea, only one question appears: What is this? Why do I spend my time working? Right now it's the job that has to be done. But as for some deeper meaning than that? I only have an idea. Maybe her friend Terry went to heaven. Maybe she went to hell. Does it really matter what my idea is? If I hit you, what do you say?

Adeline: Ow! Do you hear something if I say "ouch"?

ZMSB: Say "ouch."

Adeline: Ouch! Did you hear that?

ZMSB: I don't know "anything." Today my speech comes from where? It comes from my heart, OK? It has no dharma; it has nothing at all. It cannot answer any question or do anything. It has no idea. It cannot see, hear, think, taste, touch. But I am only sitting here talking to you. About what? Who knows? I have no dharma. I have nothing at all. I can't figure out what I'm doing here. Can you? If you can, please tell me!

Question: But there is taste and touch and hearing, even if you say "I don't taste or touch or hear."

ZMSB: That's only naming, made by you, by me, by all of us. That's only an idea. I say I see you; you must attain that. That has no name or form. That's not dependent on hearing, on like or dislike, correct or incorrect, good or bad. It's not dependent on anything at all. "The wall is white" is not dependent on any philosophy. My eyes seeing you is not dependent on anything. Seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, thinking, feeling, and moving are not dependent on anything. We make it dependent on something. You go to a movie and it's a bad one. Your eyes don't like it. But your eyes didn't not like that movie, either. Your eyes have no opinion. Your eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind are not dependent on anything. You make it dependent on something; so it is dependent on something. If it depends on anything, then you have suffering.

Q: Recently a lot of us have been learning about the medical consequences of a nuclear war. My question is, if you have a friend who is drowning or if you're aware that a nuclear bomb can wipe out all your friends, what is the correct thing to do?

ZMSB: You must practice very hard.

Q: But if you are sitting on the shore, practicing very hard, then your friend will drown.

ZMSB: If you are practicing very hard, then you will be able to jump into the ocean and save your friend - no problem. This life is very funny. What do we want? We say we want to attain our true self. We say we want to attain freedom from life and death, to save all sentient beings. That's what we say we want as Zen students. Not only Zen students, but other people say this. But if you want to do that, then you must really do that.

In China there was a government official who later became a Zen Master, during the Tung dynasty. His name was Chi Su. He was in charge of handling all the money that came into the emperor's treasury. He was very smart, and everyone liked and trusted him. People valued his opinion. Then one day he took a huge amount of money out of the treasury and just gave it away to a lot of people. It was a great crime.

The other men in his department said, "We like Chi Su and trust him, but this is crazy! As honest men, what can we do?" So they told the emperor what Chi Su had done. The emperor said, "There must be some ulterior motive for this action, but it's our law that there are certain ways of appropriating money. This was a big mistake on his part. Take him to court."

Chi Su was tried and sentenced to execution. Nobody wanted to do it, but they had decided on their law, and he had broken it. The day of the execution came. The emperor called the executioner, a great swordsman, a man who could cut off your head so cleanly and quickly that there was no suffering. The emperor said to him, "When you raise your sword and are ready to cut off his head, first look at his face. If his face shows any signs of regret or remorse or puzzlement, cut off his head quickly. If not, don't cut."

On the appointed day, Chi Su put his head on the block. The swordsman lifted his sword, ready to cut off his head. He looked down and saw Chi Su smiling. Smiling! Chi Su, seeing the bewilderment on the swordsman's face, looked up at him and said, "I dedicate this next birth to all sentient beings."

So of course he didn't have his head cut off. A messenger ran and told the Emperor, who was very proud of Chi Su. He knew there had been some ulterior motive for Chi Su's action. So he called for Chi Su and said, "I am very happy. But we in the government want to understand why you gave all that money away."

Chi Su said, "For a long time now I've been thinking about quitting my government post, giving alms to the people, and only practicing Buddhism. So I decided that in my next life, if you killed me now, I would be reborn as a Zen student and only practice Buddhism."

At that time it was very difficult to get out of a government post, especially a high-ranking one. You couldn't just quit your job. It had to be approved by the emperor, and Chi Su didn't think that would happen. He did this action without any concern about whether he would get a reprieve or not.

The emperor said, "I will give you a new name, Yen Shu," which means "prolonged life." Yen Shu became a Zen student, and few years later a Zen Master.

Chi Su said, "I dedicate this next birth to all sentient beings." Because he had enough faith, he gave himself up. Because of his determination, he had faith that he would be born as a Zen student and not as a government official. He was willing to risk his life to find out: What is this? Just once you must want to give up on your life. Whether you do it or not doesn't matter.

Dogen Zenji says that if in this lifetime we have not once gotten that taste, we cannot enter Buddhism completely. Just one taste. We all hold our opinions and say we want that taste, but how much are we really willing to let go? How many of us are really willing to try for ten thousand years? So you see, it doesn't matter where Adeline's friend went. It doesn't matter what I'm doing now. All that matters is that we try completely.

At the top of a hundred foot pole Dogen Zenji says that you must even forget about saving all beings. You must walk past the place where there is no Buddha, no idea. At that time form is emptiness, and emptiness is form. In Zen books we read about how we must give up our body and our mind so that we can have freedom. What have we got to hold onto in this life? What people think or don't think about me? A girlfriend? My children? My parents? The words "dharma" or "Buddha"? I wish I could find out.

A lot of you saw the movie "Apocalypse Now." I saw it four times. I went to see it the fourth time because something caught me. I sat through the whole movie trying to figure out what it was. Finally at the end of the movie the executioner takes a big hatchet to Brando's headquarters and he's killing him. In all of this nightmarish scene, one word struck me. Brando says, "The horror of it all."

Some Zen students might think, "What kind of speech is that?" But look outdoors. Somebody might say, "Oh wonderful, the sky is blue, the tree is green. That's stillness and bliss." What is the difference between "stillness and bliss" and "the horror of it all?" We make that. Words are only words; they have no substance. Only what you do has substance. One second after that, what you were doing has no substance, no meaning, no choice.

Q: Why are we always more ready to believe what's outside of us, than what's inside? Why don't we trust our immediate perceptions?

ZMSB: Because we think we know something, we can't believe ourselves. We think we know the correct way, the correct life, or something, it doesn't matter what; we think we know it. Buddha said everything has Buddha nature. Why separate anything?

Q: The more I practice, it seems the more I become like litmus paper, absorbing the whole thing. A movie like "Apocalypse Now" or a martial arts movie just wipes me out.

ZMSB: Well, that's correct. If you go to a kung fu movie and feel like you got your head smashed against a wall, that's correct, because that's what they're doing in that movie. That's together action.

Q: Are all wants a mistake?

ZMSB: Also, "I don't want" is a mistake. What are we doing here now? Occupying our time. We call ourselves Zen students, other people call themselves executives. We all practice life and we feel comfortable doing it. So why not? But we must believe it. Executives have executive problems. Students have student problems. Executives think that when they reach the top and become president of the corporation, all their problems will disappear. We think when we become Zen Masters, all our problems will disappear. Are they the same or different?

You must only find your way. There are many different schools of Zen. Some sit hard. Some don't put so much stress on sitting, and do other things. All teachers, all Zen Masters - from what I've read in books - have their own style.

A Korean man in our school told me that his grandmother used to practice Buddhism in Korea, so he learned a lot about different Korean schools. Also he had studied the history of Korean Zen, out of his own curiosity. He told me, "You know, Zen Master Seung Sahn's mind is the craziest of them all, because his teachers - Kyong Ho Sunim, Man Gong Sunim, Ko Bong Sunim - all did some outrageous things.

Schools which grew from branches of the same transmission line went in different ways. In one school, they sat and did what we would call beneficial things for society. In another school at the same time, they lived as hermits in the mountains. So there are many different ways, but they all help people.

A long time ago in Korea, a sutra master was giving a speech and said you should always keep good company. Kyong Ho Sunim stood up in the audience and said, "Then who will save the whores? Who will save the robbers? If you only have good friends, what about all the other people?" When Man Gong heard that, he immediately became his student. So there is no good or bad.

Q: Some people drink alcohol and say it helps them practice. Do you agree?

ZMSB: Why not? I think sometimes it's necessary. Sometimes we must relax, or let it all hang out if it really doesn't harm anybody.

Q: I had a friend who stopped being a monk. Now he's very angry at our school. That upsets me.

ZMSB: It doesn't matter, because you said this person was once a monk. That means he's conscious of "try mind." His try mind was sincere at that time. But some karma appeared, and his try mind went away from his original idea. Once somebody spends that amount of time trying, they can't forget it. It will appear again, I think. More suffering is necessary before you can just give up your life.

You know, sometimes we have to take this as a joke. Sometimes it's very funny. We must still find our own way, not dependent on anything. Zen Master Seung Sahn is here to teach us and steer us, but the end point is for us to find our own way. The point of teaching is not to have you end up what he wants you to be, but to show you how to find your way.

I don't believe anything I said today - do you know that? It's only my job. So if you don't understand, only go straight, don't know, get enlightenment, and save all beings from suffering.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

This basic unity between self and others

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* Allan Watts talks about ,,Thus for thousands of years human history has been a magnificently futile conflict, a wonderfully staged panorama of triumphs and tragedies based on the resolute taboo against admitting that black goes with white. Nothing, perhaps, ever got nowhere with so much fascinating ado. As when Tweedledum and Tweedledee agreed to have a battle, the essential trick of the Game of Black-and-White is a most tacit conspiracy for the partners to conceal their unity, and to look as different as possible. It is like a stage fight so well acted that the audience is ready to believe it a real fight. Hidden behind their explicit differences is the implicit unity of what Vedanta calls the Self, the One-without-a-second, the what there is and the all that there is which conceals itself in the form of you.
If, then there is this basic unity between self and other, individual and universe, how have our minds become so narrow that we don't know it?,, taken from
-added by danny-

When we were taught 1, 2, 3 and A, B, C, few of us were ever told about the Game of Black-and-White. It is quite as simple. but belongs to the hushed-up side of things. Consider, first, that all your five senses are differing forms of one basic sense--something like touch. Seeing is highly sensitive touching. The eyes touch, or feel, light waves and so enable us to touch things out of reach of our hands. Similarly, the ears touch sound waves in the air, and the nose tiny particles of dust and gas. But the complex patterns and chains of neurons which constitute these senses are composed of neuron units which are capable of changing between just two states: on or off. To the central brain the individual neuron signals either yes or no--that's all. But, as we know from computers which employ binary arithmetic in which the only figures are 0 and 1, these simple elements can be formed into the most complex and marvelous patterns.
In this respect our nervous system and 0/l computers are much like everything else, for thc physical world is basically vibration. Whether we think of this vibration in terms of waves or of particles, or perhaps wavicles, we never find the crest of a wave without a trough or a particle without an interval, or space, between itself and others. In others words, there is no such thing as a half wave, or a particle all by itself without any space around it. There is no on without off, no up without down.
Although sounds of high vibration seem to be continuous, to be pure sound, they are not. Every sound is actually sound/silence, only the ears don't register this consciously when the alternation is too rapid. It appears only in, say, the lowest audible notes of an organ. Light, too, is not pure light, but light/darkness. Light pulsates in waves, with their essential up/ down motion, and in some conditions the speed of light vibrations can be synchronized with other moving objects so that the latter appear to be still. This is why arc lights are not used in sawmills, for they emit light at a pulse which easily synchronizes with the speed of a buzz saw in such a way that its teeth seem to be still.
While eyes and ears actually register and respond to both the up-beat and the down-beat of these vibrations, the mind, that is to say our conscious attention, notices only the up-beat. The dark, silent, or "off" interval is ignored. It is almost a general principle that consciousness ignores intervals, and yet cannot notice any pulse of energy without them. If you put your hand on an attractive girl's knee and just leave it there, she may cease to notice it. But if you keep patting her knee, she will know you are very much there and interested. But she notices and, you hope, values the on more than the off. Nevertheless, the very things that we believe to exist are always on/offs. Ons alone and offs alone do not exist.
Many people imagine that in listening to music they hear simply a succession of tones, singly, or in 23 clusters called chords. If that were true, as it is in the exceptional cases of tone-deaf people, they would hear no music, no melody whatsoever--only a succession of noises. Hearing melody is hearing the intervals between the tones, even though you may not realize it, and even though these particular intervals arc not periods of silence but "steps" of varying length between points on the musical scale. These steps or intervals are auditory spaces, as distinct from distance-spaces between bodies or time-spaces between events.
Yet the general habit of conscious attention is, in various ways, to ignore intervals. Most people think, for example, that space is "just nothing" unless it happens to be filled with air. They are therefore puzzled when artists or architects speak of types and properties of space, and more so when astronomers and physicists speak of curved space, expanding space, finite space, or of the influence of space on light or on stars. Because of this habit of ignoring space-intervals, we do not realize that just as sound is a vibration of sound/silence, the whole universe (that is, existence) is a vibration of solid/space. For solids and spaces go together as inseparably as insides and outsides. Space is the relationship between bodies, and without it there can be neither energy nor motion.
If there were a body, just one single ball, with no surrounding space, there would be no way of conceiving or feeling it as a ball or any other shape. If there were nothing outside it, it would have no outside. It might be God, but certainly not a body! So too, if there were just space alone with nothing in it, it wouldn't be space a all. For there is no space except space between things, inside things, or outside things. This is why space is the relationship between bodies.
Can we imagine one lonely body, the only ball in the universe in the midst of empty space? Perhaps. But this ball would have no energy, no motion. In relation to what could it be said to be moving? Things are said to move only when compared with others, that are relatively still, for motion is motion/stillness. So let's have two balls, and notice that they come closer to each other, or get further apart. Sure, there is motion now, but which one is moving? Ball one, ball two, or both? There is no way of deciding. All answers are equally right and wrong. Now bring in a third ball. Balls one and two stay the same distance apart, but ball three approaches or retreats from them. Or does it? Balls one and two may be moving together, towards or away from three, or balls one and two may be approaching three as three approaches them, so that all are in motion. How are we to decide? One answer is that because balls one and two stay together, they are a group and also constitute a majority. Their vote will therefore decide who is moving and who is not. But if three joins them it can lick 'em, for if all three stay the same distance apart, the group as a whole cannot move. It will even be impossible for any one to say to the other two, or any two to the other one, "Why do you keep following me (us) around?" For the group as a whole will have no point of reference to know whether it is moving or not.
Note that whereas two balls alone can move only in a straight line, three balls can move within a surface, but not in three dimensions. The moment we add a fourth ball we get the third dimension of depth, an now it would seem that our fourth ball can stand apart from the other three, take an objective view of their behavior, and act as the referee. Yet, when we have added the fourth, which one is it? Any one of them can be in the third dimension with respect to the other three. This might be called a "first lesson in relativity," for the principle remains the same no matter how many balls are added and therefore applies to all celestial bodies in this universe and to all observers of their motion, wheresoever located. Any galaxy, any star, any planet, or any observer can be taken as the central point of reference, so that everything is central in relation to everything else!
Now in all this discussion, one possibility has been overlooked. Suppose that the balls don't move at all, but that the space between them moves. After all, we speak of a distance (i.e., space) increasing or decreasing as if it were a thing that could do something. This is the problem of the expanding universe. Are the other galaxies moving away from ours, or ours from them, or all from each other? Astronomers are trying to settle the problem by saying that space itself is expanding. But, again, who is to decide? What moves, the galaxies or the space? The fact that no decision can be reached is itself the clue to the answer: not just that both the galaxies and space are expanding (as if they were two different agents), but something which we must clumsily call galaxies/space, or solid/space, is expanding.
The problem comes up because we ask the question in the wrong way. We supposed that solids were one thing and space quite another, or just nothing whatever. Then it appeared that space was no mere nothing, because solids couldn't do without it. But the mistake in the beginning was to think of solids and space as two different things, instead of as two aspects of the same thing. The point is that they are different but inseparable, like the front end and the rear end of a cat. Cut them apart, and the cat dies. Take away the crest of the wave, and there is no trough.
A similar solution applies to the ancient problem of cause and effect. We believe that everything and every event must have a cause, that is, some other thing(s) or event(s), and that it will in its turn be the cause of other effects. So how does a cause lead to an effect? To make it much worse, if all that I think or do is a set of effects, there must be causes for all of them going back into an indefinite past. If so, I can't help what I do. I am simply a puppet pulled by strings that go back into times far beyond my vision.
Again, this is a problem which comes from asking the wrong question. Here is someone who has never seen a cat. He is looking through a narrow slit in a fence, and, on the other side, a cat walks by. He sees first the head, then the less distinctly shaped furry trunk, and then the tail. Extraordinary! The cat turns round and walks back, and again he sees the head, and a little later the tail. This sequence begins to look like something regular and reliable. Yet again, the cat turns round, and he witnesses the same regular sequence: first the head, and later the tail. Thereupon he reasons that the event head is the invariable and necessary cause of the event tail, which is the head's effect. This absurd and confusing gobbledygook comes his failure to see that head and tail go together: they are all one cat.
The cat wasn't born as a head which, some time later, caused a tail; it was born all of a piece, a head-tailed cat. Our observer's trouble was that he was watching it through a narrow slit, and couldn't see the whole cat at once.
The narrow slit in the fence is much like the way in which we look at life by conscious attention, for when we attend to something we ignore everything else. Attention is narrowed perception. It is a way of looking at life bit by bit, using memory to string the bits together--as when examining a dark room with a flashlight having a very narrow beam. Perception thus narrowed has the advantage of being sharp and bright, but it has to focus on one area of thc wold after another, and one feature after another. And where there are no features, only space or uniform surfaces, it somehow gets bored and searches about for more features. Attention is therefore something like a scanning mechanism in radar or television, and Norbert Wiener and his colleagues found some evidence that there is a similar process in the brain.
But a scanning process that observes the world bit by bit soon persuades its user that the world is a great collection of bits, and these he calls separate things or events. We often say that you can only think one thing at a time. The truth is that in looking at the world bit by bit we convince ourselves that it consists of separate things, and so give ourselves the problem of how these things are connected and how they cause and effect each other. The problem would never have arisen if we had been aware that it was just our way of looking at the world which had chopped it up into separate bigs, things, events, causes, and effects. We do not see that the world is all of a piece like the head-tailed cat.
We also speak of attention as noticing. To notice is to select, to regard some bits of perception, or some features of the world, as more noteworthy, more significant, than others. To these we attend, and the rest we ignore-for which reason conscious attention is at the same time ignore-ance (i.e., ignorance) despite the fact that it gives us a vividly clear picture of whatever we choose to notice. Physically, we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch innumerable features that we never notice. You can drive thirty miles, talking all the time to a friend. What you noticed, and remembered, was the conversation, but somehow you responded to thc road, the other cars, the traffic lights, and heaven knows what else, without really noticing, or focussing your mental spotlight upon them. So too, you can talk to someone at a party without remembering, for immediate recall, what clothes he or she was wearing, because they were not noteworthy or significant to you. Yet certainly your eyes and nerves responded to those clothes. You saw, but did not really look.
It seems that we notice through a double process in which the first factor is a choice of what is interesting or important. The second factor, working simultaneously with the first, is that we need a notation for almost anything that can be noticed. Notation is a system of symbols--words, numbers, signs, simple images (like squares and triangles), musical notes, letters, ideographs (as in Chinese), and scales for dividing and distinguishing variations of color or of tones. Such symbols enable us to classify our bits of perception. They are the labels on the pigeonholes into which memory sorts them, but it is most difficult to notice any bit for which there is no label. Eskimos have five words for different kinds of snow, because they live with it and it is important to them. But the Aztec language has but one word for snow, rain, and hail.
What governs what we choose to notice? The first (which we shall have to qualify later) is whatever seems advantageous or disadvantageous for our survival, our social status, and the security of our egos. The second, again working simultaneously with the first, is the pattern and the logic of all the notation symbols which we have learned from others, from our society and our culture. It is hard indeed to notice anything for which the languages available to us (whether verbal, mathematical, or musical) have no description. This is why we borrow words from foreign languages. There is no English word for a type of feeling which the Japanese call yugen, and we can only understand by opening our minds to situations in which Japanese people use the word. 1
There must then be numberless features and dimensions of the world to which our senses respond without our conscious attention, let alone vibrations (such as cosmic rays) having wave-lengths to which our senses are not tuned at all. To perceive all vibrations at once would be pandemonium, as when someone slams down all the keys of the piano at the same time. But there are two ignored factors which can very well come into our awareness, and our ignorance of them is the mainstay of the ego-illusion and of the failure to know that we are each the one Self in disguise. The first is not realizing that so-called opposites, such as light and darkness, sound and silence, solid and space, on and off, inside and outside, appearing and disappearing, cause and effect, are poles or aspects of the same thing. But we have no word for that thing, save such vague concepts as Existence, Being, God, or the Ultimate Ground of Being. For the most part these remain nebulous ideas without becoming vivid feelings or experiences.
The second, closely related, is that we are so absorbed in conscious attention, so convinced that this narrowed kind of perception is not only the real way of seeing the world, but also the very basic sensation of oneself as a conscious being, that we are fully hypnotized by its disjointed vision of the universe. We really feel that this world is indeed an assemblage of separate things that have somehow come together or, perhaps, fallen apart, and that we are each only one of them. We see them all alone--born alone, dying alone--maybe as bits and fragments of a universal whole, or expendable parts of a big machine. Rarely do we see all so-called things and events "going together." like the head and tail of the cat, or as the tones and inflections--rising and falling, coming and going--of a single singing voice.
In other words, we do not play the Game of Black-and-White--the universal game of up/down, on/off. solid/space, and each/all. Instead, we play the game of Black-versus-White or, more usually, White-versus Black. For, especially when rates of vibration are slow as with day and night or life and death, we are forced to be aware of the black or negative aspect of the world. Then, not realizing the inseparability of the positive and negative poles of the rhythm, we are afraid that Black may win the game. But the game "White must win" is no longer a game. lt is a fight--a fight haunted by a sense of chronic frustration, because we are doing something as crazy as trying to keep the mountains and get rid of the valleys.
The principal form of this fight is Life-versus-Death, the so-called battle for survival, which is supposed to be the real, serious task of all living creatures. This illusion is maintained (a) because the fight is temporarily successful (we go on living until we don't), and (b) because living requires effort and ingenuity, though this is also true of games as distinct from fights. So far as we know, animals do not live in constant anxiety about sickness and death, as we do, because they live in the present. Nevertheless, they will fight when in hunger or when attacked. We must, however, be careful of taking animals as models of "perfectly natural" behavior. If "natural" means "good" or "wise," human beings can improve on animals, though they do not always do so.
But human beings, especially in Western civilization, make death the great bogey. This has something to do with the popular Christian belief that death will be followed by the dread Last Judgment, when sinners will be consigned to the temporary horrors of Purgatory or the everlasting agony of Hell. More usual, today, is the fear that death will take us into everlasting nothingness--as if that could be some sort of experience, like being buried alive forever. No more friends, no more sunlight and birdsong, no more love or laughter, no more ocean and stars--only darkness without end.
Do not go gentle into that good night . . .
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Imagination cannot grasp simple nothingness and must therefore fill the void with fantasies, as in experiments with sensory deprivation where subjects are suspended weightlessly in sound- and light-proof rooms. When death is considered the final victory of Black over White in the deadly serious battle of "White must win, the fantasies which fill the void are largely ghoulish- Even our popular fantasies of Heaven are on the grim side, because the usual image of God is of a very serious and awesome Grandfather, enthroned in a colossal church-and, of course, in church one may decorously "rejoice- but not have real, rip-roaring fun.
O what their joy and their glory must be,
Those endless Sabbaths the blessed ones see. .

Who wants to be stuck in church, wearing a surplice, and singing "Alleluia" forever? Of course, the images are strictly symbolic, but we all know how children feel about the old-time Protestant Sabbath, and God's Good Book bound in black with its terrible typography. Intelligent Christians outgrow this bad imagery, but in childhood it has seeped into the unconscious and it continues to contaminate our feelings about death.
Individual feelings about death are conditioned by social altitudes, and it is doubtful that there is any one natural and inborn emotion connected with dying. For example, it used to be thought that childbirth should be painful, as a punishment for Original Sin or for having had so much fun conceiving the baby. For God had said to Eve and all her daughter "In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children." Thus when everyone believed that in having a baby it was a woman's duty to suffer, women did their duty, and many still do. We were much surprised, therefore, to find women in "primitive" societies who could just squat down and give birth while working in the field, bite the umbilical cord, wrap up the baby, and go their way. It wasn't that their women were tougher than ours, but just that they had a different attitude. For our own gynecologists have recently discovered that many women can be conditioned psychologically for natural and painless childbirth. The pains of labor are renamed "tensions," and the mother-to-be is given preparatory exercises in relaxing to tension and cooperating with it. Birth, they are told, is not a sickness. One goes to a hospital just in case anything should go wrong, though many avant-garde
Premature death may come as a result of sickness, but--like birth--death as such is not a sickness at all. It is the natural and necessary end of human life--as natural as leaves falling in the autumn. (Perpetual leaves are, as we know, made of plastic, and there may come a time when surgeons will be able to replace all our organs with plastic substitutes, so that you will achieve immortality by becoming a plastic model of yourself.) Physicians should therefore explore the possibility of treating death and its pangs as they have treated labor and its "pains."
Death is, after all, a great event. So long as it is not imminent, we cling to ourselves and our lives in chronic anxiety, however pushed into the back of the mind. But when the time comes where clinging is no longer of the least avail, the circumstances are ideal for letting go of oneself completely. When this happens, the individual is released from his ego-prison. In the normal course of events this is the golden opportunity for awakening into the knowledge that one's actual self is the Self which plays the universe--an occasion for great rejoicing. But as customs now prevail, doctors, nurses, and relatives come around with smiling masks, assuring the patient that he will soon get over it, and that next week or next month he will be back home or taking a vacation by the sea. Worse still, physicians have neither the role nor the training for handling death. The Catholic priest is in a much better position: he usually knows just how to go about it, with no fumbling or humming and hawing. But the physician is supposed to put off death at all costs--including the life savings of the patient and his family.
Ananda Coomaraswamy once said that he would rather die ten years too early than ten minutes too late--too late, and too decrepit or drugged, to seize the opportunity to let oneself go, to "lay me dlown with a will." "I pray," he used to say, "that death will not come and catch me unannihilate"--that is, before I have let go of myself. This is why G. I. Gurdjieff, that marvelous rascal-sage, wrote in his All and Everything:
gynecologists will let their patients give birth at home.
The sole means now for the saving of the beings of the planet Earth would be to implant again into their presences a new organ . . . of such properties that every one of these unfortunates during the process of existence should constantly sense and be cognizant of the inevitability of his own death as well as the death of everyone upon whom his eyes or attention rests.
Only such a sensation and such a cognizance can now destroy the egoism completely crystallized in them.
As we now regard death this reads like a prescription for a nightmare. But the constant awareness of death shows the world to be as flowing and diaphanous as the filmy patterns of blue smoke in the air--that there really is nothing to clutch and no one to clutch it. This is depressing only so long as there remains a notion that there might be some way of fixing it, of putting it off just once more, or hoping that one has, or is, some kind of ego-soul that will survive bodily dissolution. (I am not saying that there is no personal continuity beyond death--only that believing in it keeps us in bondage.)
This is no more saying that we ought not to fear death than I was saying that we ought to be unselfish. Suppressing the fear of death makes it all the stronger. The point is only to know, beyond any shadow of doubt, that "I" and all other "things" now present will vanish, until this knowledge compels you to release them--to know it now as surely as if you had just fallen off the rim of the Grand Canyon. Indeed, you were kicked off the edge of a precipice when you were born, and it's no help to cling to the rocks falling with you. If you are afraid of death, be afraid. The point is to get with it, to let it take over--fear, ghosts, pains, transience, dissolution, and all. And then comes the hitherto unbelievable surprise: you don't die because you were never born. You had just forgotten who you are.
All this comes much more easily with the collaboration of friends. When we are children, our other selves, our families, friends, and teachers, do everything possible to confirm us in the illusion of separateness--to help us to be genuine fakes, which is precisely what is meant by "being a real person." For the person, from the Latin persona, was originally the megaphone-mouthed mask used by actors in the open-air theaters of ancient Greece and Rome, the mask through (per) which the sound (sonus) came. In death we doff the persona, as actors lake off their masks and costumes in the green room behind the scenes. And just as their friends come behind the stage to congratulate them on the performance, so one's own friends should gather at the deathbed to help one out of one's mortal role, to applaud the show, and, even more, to celebrate with champagne or sacraments (according to taste) the great awakening of death.
There are many other ways in which the Game of Black-and-White is switched into the game of "White must win," and, like the battle for survival, they depend upon ignoring, or screening out of consciousness, the interdependence of the two sides. In a curious way this is, of course, part of the Game of Black-and-White itself, because forgetting or ignoring their independence is "hide" in the game of hide-and-seek. Hide-and-seek is, in turn, the Game of Black-and-white.!
By way of illustration, we can take an excursion into an aspect of science-fiction which is very rapidly becoming science-fact. Applied science may be considered as the game of order-versus-chance (or, order-versus-randomness), especially in the domain of cybernetics--the science of automatic control. By means of scientific prediction and its technical applications, we are trying to gain maximum control over our surroundings and ourselves. In medicine, communications, industrial production, transportation, finance, commerce, housing, education, psychiatry, criminology, and law we are trying to make foolproof systems, to get rid of the possibility of mistakes. The more powerful technology becomes, the more urgent the need for such controls, as in the safety precautions taken for jet aircraft, and, most interesting of all, the consultations between technicians of the Atomic Powers to be sure that no one can press the Button by mistake. The use of powerful instruments, with their vast potentialities for changing man and his environment, requires more and more legislation, licensing, and policing, and thus more and more complex procedures for inspection and keeping records. Great universities, for example, have vice-presidents in charge of relations with the government and large staffs of secretaries to keep up with the mountains of paperwork involved. At times, the paper-work, recording what has been done, seems to become more important than what it records. Students' records in the registrar's office are often kept in safes and vaults, but not so the books in the library--unless extremely rare or dangerous. So, too, the administration building becomes the largest and most impressive structure on the campus, and faculty members find that more and more of their time for teaching and research must be devoted to committee meetings and form-filling to take care of the mere mechanics of running the institution.
For the same reasons, it is ever more difficult to operate a small business which cannot afford to take care of the financial and legal red-tape which the simplest enterprises must now respect. The ease of communication through such mass media as television, radio, books, and periodicals enables a single, articulate individual to reach millions. Yet the telephone and the post office enable a formidable fraction of those millions to talk back, which can be flattering and pleasing, except that there is no way of giving individual replies--especially when correspondents seek advice for personal or specialized problems. Only the President or the Prime Minister or the heads of huge corporations can afford the staff and machinery to cope with so much feedback.
The speed and efficiency of transportation by superhighway and air in many ways restricts freedom of travel. It is increasingly difficult to take a walk, except in such "reservations for wanderers" as state parks. But the nearest state park to my home has, at its entrance, a fence plastered with a long line of placards saying: NO FIRES. NO DOGS. NO HUNTING. NO CAMPING. SMOKING PROHIBITED. NO HORSE-RIDING. NO SWIMMING. NO WASHING. (I never did get that one.) PICNICS RESTRICTED TO DESIGNATED AREAS. Miles of what used to be free-and-easy beaches are now state parks which close at 6 P.M., so that one can no longer camp there for a moonlight feast. Nor can one swim outside a hundred-yard span watched by a guard, nor venture more than a few hundred feet into the water. All in the cause of "safety first" and foolproof living.
Just try taking a stroll after dark in a nice American residential area. If you can penetrate the wire fences along the highways, and then wander along a pleasant lane, you may well be challenged from a police car: "Where are you going?" Aimless strolling is suspicious and irrational. You are probably a vagrant or burglar. You are not even walking the dog! "How much money are you carrying?" Surely, you could have afforded to take the bus and if you have little or no cash, you are dearly a bum and a nuisance. Any competent housebreaker would approach his quarry in a Cadillac.
Orderly travel now means going at the maximum speed for safety from point to point, but most reachable points are increasingly cluttered with people and parked cars, and so less worth going to see, and for similar reasons it is ever more inconvenient to do business in the centers of our great cities. Real travel requires a maximum of unscheduled wandering, for there is no other way of discovering surprises and marvels, which, as I see it, is the only good reason for not staying at home. As already suggested, fast intercommunication between points is making all points the same point. Waikiki Beach is just a mongrelized version of Atlantic City, Brighton, and Miami.
Despite the fact that more accidents happen in the home than elsewhere, increasing efficiency of communication and of controlling human behavior can, instead of liberating us into the air like birds, fix us to the ground like toadstools. All information will come in by super-realistic television and other electronic devices as yet in the planning stage or barely imagined. In one way this will enable the individual to extend himself anywhere without moving his body--even to distant regions of space. But this will be a new kind of individual--an individual with a colossal external nervous system reaching out and out into infinity. And this electronic nervous system will be so interconnected that all individuals plugged in will tend to share the same thoughts, the same feelings, and the same experiences. There may be specialized types, just as there are specialized cells and organs in our bodies. For the tendency will be for all individuals to coalesce into a single bioelectronic body.
Consider the astonishing means now being made for snooping, the devices already used in offices, factories, stores, and on various lines of communication such as the mail and the telephone. Through the transistor and miniaturization techniques, these devices become ever more invisible and ever more sensitive to faint electrical impulses. The trend of all this is towards the end of individual privacy, to an extent where it may even be impossible to conceal one's thoughts. At the end of the line, no one is left with a mind of his own: there is just a vast and complex community-mind, endowed, perhaps, with such fantastic powers of control and prediction that it will already know its own future for years and years to come.
Yet the more surely and vividly you know the future, the more it makes sense to say that you've already had it. When the outcome of a game is certain, we call it quits and begin another. This is why many people object to having their fortunes told: not that fortunetelling is mere superstition or that the predictions would be horrible, but simply that the more surely the future is known, the less surprise and the less fun in living it.
Let us indulge in one more fantasy along the same lines. Technology must attempt to keep a balance between human population and consumable resources. This will require, on the one hand, judicious birth-control, and on the other, the development of many new types of food from earth, ocean, and air, doubtless including the reconversion of excrement into nutritious substances. Yet in any system of this kind there is a gradual loss of energy. As resources dwindle, population must dwindle in proportion. If, by this time, the race feels itself to be a single mind-body, this superindividual will see itself getting smaller and smaller until the last mouth eats the last morsel. Yet it may also be that, long before that, people will be highly durable plastic replicas of people with no further need to eat. But won't this be the same thing as the death of the race, with nothing but empty plastic echoes of ourselves reverberating on through time?
To most of us living today, all these fantasies of the future seem most objectionable: the loss of privacy and freedom, the restriction of travel, and the progressive conversion of flesh and blood, wood and stone, fruit and fish, sight and sound, into plastic, synthetic. and electronic reproductions. Increasingly, the artist and musician puts himself out of business through making ever more faithful and inexpensive reproductions of his original works. Is reproduction in this sense to replace biological reproduction, through cellular fission or sexual union? In short, is the next step in evolution to be the transformation of man into nothing more than electronic patterns?
All these eventualities may seem so remote as to be unworthy of concern. Yet in so many ways they are already with us, and, as we have seen, the speed of technical and social change accelerates more than we like to admit. The popularity of science-fiction attests to a very widespread fascination with such questions, and so much science-fiction is in fact a commentary on the present, since one of the best ways of understanding what goes on today is to extend it into tomorrow. What is the difference between what is happening, on the one hand, and the direction of its motion, on the other? If I am flying from London to New York, I am moving westwards even before leaving the British coast.
The science-fiction in which we have just been indulging has, then, two important morals. The first is that if the game of order-versus-chance is to continue as a game, order must not win. As prediction and control increase, so, in proportion, the game ceases to be worth the candle. We look for a new game with an uncertain result. In other words, we have to hide again, perhaps in a new way, and then seek in new ways, since the two together make up the dance and the wonder of existence. Contrariwise, chance must not win, and probably cannot, because the order/chance polarity appears to be of the same kind as the on/off and up/down. Some astronomers believe that our universe began with an explosion that hurled all the galaxies into space, where, through negative entropy, it will dissolve forever into featureless radiation. I cannot think this way. It is, I suppose, my basic metaphysical axiom, my "leap of faith," that what happened once can always happen again. Not so much that there must be time before the first explosion and time after the final dissolution, but that time (like space) curves back on itself.
This assumption is strengthened by the second moral of these fantasies, which is the more startling. Here applies the French proverb plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose--the more it changes, the more it's the same thing. Change is in some sense an illusion, for we are always at the point where any future can take us! If the human race develops an electronic nervous system, outside the bodies of individual people, thus giving us all one mind and one global body, this is almost precisely what has happened in the organization of cells which compose our own bodies. We have already done it.
Furthermore, our bodily cells, and their smallest components, appear and disappear much as light waves vibrate and as people go from birth to death. A human body is like a whirlpool; there seems to be a constant form, called the whirlpool, but it functions for the very reason that no water stays in it. The very molecules and atoms of the water are also "whirlpools"--patterns of motion containing no constant and irreducible "stuff." Every person is the form taken by a stream--a marvelous torrent of milk, water, bread, beefsteak, fruit, vegetables, air, light, radiation--all of which are streams in their own turn. So with our institutions. There is a "constant" called the University of California in which nothing stays put: students, faculty, administrators, and even buildings come and go, leaving the university itself only as a continuing process, a pattern of behavior.
As to powers of prediction and control, the individual organism has already accomplished these in a measure which must have astounded the neurons when they first learned the trick. And if we reproduce ourselves in terms of mechanical, plastic, and electronic patterns, this is not really new. Any evolving species must look with misgivings on those of its members who first show signs of change, and will surely regard them as dangerous or crazy. Moreover, this new and unexpected type of reproduction is surely no more weird than many of the great variety of methods already found in the biological world--the startling transformation of caterpillar into butterfly, or the arrangement between bees and flowers, or the unpleasant but marvelously complex system of the anopheles mosquito.
If all this ends with the human race leaving no more trace of itself in the universe than a system of electronic patterns, why should that trouble us? For that is exactly what we are now!
But the underlying problem of cybernetics, which makes it an endless success/failure, is to control the process of control itself. Power is not necessarily wisdom. I may have virtual omnipotence in the government of my body and my physical environment, but how am I to control myself so as to avoid folly and error in its use? Geneticists and neurologists may come to the point of being able to produce any type of human character to order, but how will they be able to know what types of character will be needed? The situation of a pioneer culture calls for tough and aggressive individualists, whereas urban-industrial culture requires sociable and cooperative team-workers As social change increases in speed, how are geneticists to foresee the adaptations of taste, temperament, and motivation that will be necessary twenty or thirty years ahead? Furthermore, every act of interference with the course of nature changes it in unpredictable ways. A human organism which has absorbed antibiotics is not quite the same kind of organism that it was before, because the behavior of its micro-organisms has been significantly altered. The more one interferes, the more one must analyze an evergrowing volume of detailed information about the results of interference on a world whose infinite details are inextricably interwoven. Already this information, even in the most highly specialized sciences, is so vast that no individual has time to read it--let alone absorb it.
In solving problems, technology creates new problems, and we seem, as in Through the Looking-Glass to have to keep running faster and faster to stay where we are. The question is then whether technical progress actually "gets anywhere" in the sense of increasing the delight and happiness of life. There is certainly a sense of exhilaration of relief at the moment of change--at the first few uses of telephone, radio, television, jet aircraft, miracle drug, or calculating machine. But all too soon these new contrivances are taken for granted, and we find ourselves oppressed with the new predicaments which they bring with them. A successful college president once complained to me, "I'm so busy that I'm going to have to get a helicopter!" "Well," I answered, "You'll be ahead so long as you're the only president who has one. But don't get it. Everyone will expect more out of you."
Technical progress is certainly impressive from the short-run standpoint of the individual. Speaking as an old man in the 1960's, Sir Cedric Hardwicke said that his only regret was that he could not have lived in the Victorian Age--with penicillin. I am still grateful that I do not have to submit to the doctoring and dentistry of my childhood, yet I realize that advances in one field are interlocked with advances in all others. I could not have penicillin or modern anesthesia without aviation, electronics, mass communication, superhighways, and industrial agriculture--not to mention the atomic bomb and biological warfare.
Taking, therefore, a longer and wider view of things, the entire project of "conquering nature" appears more and more of a mirage--an increase in the pace of living without fundamental change of position, just as the Red Queen suggested. But technical progress becomes a way of stalling faster and faster because of the basic illusion that man and nature, the organism and the environment, the controller and the controlled are quite different things. We might "conquer" nature if we could first, or at the same time, conquer our own nature, though we do not see that human nature and "outside" nature are all of a piece. In the same way, we do not see that "I" as the knower and controller am the same fellow as "myself" as something to be known and controlled. The self-conscious feedback mechanism of the cortex allows us the hallucination that we are two souls in one body--a rational soul and an animal soul, a rider and a horse, a good guy with better instincts and finer feelings and a rascal with rapacious lusts and unruly passions. Hence the marvelously involved hypocrisies of guilt and penitence, and the frightful cruelties of punishment, warfare, and even self-torment in the name of taking the side of the good soul against the evil. The more it sides with itself, the more the good soul reveals its inseparable shadow, and the more it disowns its shadow, the more it becomes it.
Thus for thousands of years human history has been a magnificently futile conflict, a wonderfully staged panorama of triumphs and tragedies based on the resolute taboo against admitting that black goes with white. Nothing, perhaps, ever got nowhere with so much fascinating ado. As when Tweedledum and Tweedledee agreed to have a battle, the essential trick of the Game of Black-and-White is a most tacit conspiracy for the partners to conceal their unity, and to look as different as possible. It is like a stage fight so well acted that the audience is ready to believe it a real fight. Hidden behind their explicit differences is the implicit unity of what Vedanta calls the Self, the One-without-a-second, the what there is and the all that there is which conceals itself in the form of you.
If, then there is this basic unity between self and other, individual and universe, how have our minds become so narrow that we don't know it?

Flesh or plastic, intelligence or mechanism, nerve or wire, biology or physics-it all seems to come down to this fabulous electronic dance, which, at the macroscopic level, presents itself to itself as the whole gamut of forms and "substances."
Contents Home

Thursday, April 09, 2009

If I only had a brain?

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* If I only had a brain from the Wizard of Oz movie.

I would not be just a nuffin'
My head all full of stuffin'
My heart all full of pain...
I would dance and be merry
Life would be a ding-a-derry
If I only had a brain! hahahaha
-added by danny-

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The mighty hand of God

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* strange picture...the mighty hand of God trying to grab you?..whom
-added by danny-

Tiny and dying but still-powerful stars called pulsars spin like crazy and light up their surroundings, often with ghostly glows. So it is with PSR B1509-58, which long ago collapsed into a sphere just 12 miles in diameter after running out of fuel.

And what a strange scene this one has created.

In a new image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, high-energy X-rays emanating from the nebula around PSR B1509-58 have been colored blue to reveal a structure resembling a hand reaching for some eternal red cosmic light.

Monday, April 06, 2009

You are the whole world..maybe you would discover this secret

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* more painful truths from Vernon Howard...ask yourself whom hurts,and if you are really THAT.
-added by danny-
Let The World Hurt You All It Wants
An excerpt from a talk by Vernon Howard

Let the world hurt you all it wants. There is your deliverance from all hurt.
You're not living that way are you? Well, how about a little experiment? Why
don't you just let the world hurt you all it wants as an experiment to see
that maybe the final final result will be different from the results you're
getting now by fighting the world that tries to hurt you. You are you know.
All your energy, all your strength, all your intelligence is used to fight the
world in one way or another. To try to outwit it, out guess it, to be
competitive with it. All in an attempt to prevent the world from hurting you.

And I can't begin to show to you the incredible mistake you are making.
Still only having an ordinary intellect which divides itself into inner and
outer, you still think that the outer world is out to get you. Therefore, the
self in you must protect itself from the world out there.

You don't see, I am telling you, you don't understand that the only enemy
you have is within. You don't see it. This is why you are wasting your time
and your energy in a vain battle to try to keep yourself from getting hurt.
How come it happens ten times a day? Something is failing. Your technique
is very very ineffective.

What would happen if you didn't resist when the world tried to hurt you?
Maybe you would discover the secret I've just talked about. To discover that
it's your own inner processes that are false, that are resisting the world that
is keeping you in a hurt condition.

The next time you're going to lose something why don't you simply say
politely good-bye to it instead of trying to hang on to it? The hanging on to
it is what is causing the fear, because you are saying, "I must keep this," –
listen, listen – "I must hang on to this possession in order to remain as
secure as I am."

Your security is nothing but one trembling after another. And you don't have
the intelligence enough to see that simple fact. If you did, you would then
begin to have the higher intelligence of letting it go. Letting that man go,
letting that woman go, letting that power go, letting that advantage go, and
indeed, of letting that anxiety go.

Because your anxiety, strange as it seems is giving you a sense of security,
because it is giving you something to do so that you won't have to face and
see the mistake you're making. Because what if you had to say, "I've been
wrong all my life about the way I've been living my life." Whether you're
twenty or eighty, pretty shameful to the ego, huh? Why don't you plunge
into the dark clouds just to see what happens to you; to let yourself be
completely ashamed at what a liar you've been, at what a phony you've
been, at how divided you've been, at how you believed in people, how you
trusted people.

Let yourself be knocked – you understand? You have to understand – let
yourself be knocked around by a vicious world all it wants so that you have
a pair of sandals and pants and a shirt on and that's your possessions. When
all you've got is a pair of sandals and a little bit of clothes over you, you'll
own the world. I'll tell you, I'll teach you in this class how to own the whole

You don't own anything now. You crab at the rent. See you don't own your
house. You have to pay rent to everybody you meet. You hate them. They
take tribute from you and you hate them. Own your own house, own your
own life. That is the whole world. Owning your own life is possessing the
whole world. Possessing the real world. A world that won't pass away.
Your home up on the hill or down in the valley or your nice big fifty-story
casino that you own or hotel that you own or that big property you own in
Oregon or Vermont, all that's going to pass away as far as you are

Why do you fight? You're afraid – you're afraid that someone is going to
steal your misery. Your misery is your present world. That's right. Your
division, your fear, your split down the middle is your present world and you
are fighting to retain it. You're afraid that someone is going to steal your life
away from you. You have no real life. You are afraid that someone is going
to steal your trash. Begin to let them steal your trash without resistance.
Resist not evil. Let them take anything they want. Let them take everything.
You precious, good people here. You good people are so bad. You
respectable people are so disrespectable, unrespectable. You interesting
people are so boring. You people with hope, you're hopeless. That's why you
have hope, because you are hopeless. If you didn't have hope you'd have
hopelessness which is freedom.

The man with the sandals and the coat and the shirt and the pants – he has
no problems. You with your tuxedos and your ties and your shiny boots, you
have problems because now people have to be impressed with you. And
maybe the boots will wear out or maybe that woman will find another man
with shinier boots.

Get poor. Own nothing. Not as a religious phrase because then you're just a
religious hypocrite, but as a reality in your actual life where you're so poor –
you are so poor that nobody and nothing can ever ever again take a thing
away from you. Now you are rich! As long as something can be stolen from
you, you are poor thinking you're rich.

You'll look – having that shirt on your back and the old sandals – you'll look
out at the world and you will marvel at your stupidity, your hypnosis, that
you ever could have been so stupid as to be jealous of that man who owned
that million dollar motel, hotel. You'll wonder at your insanity that you could
have ever wanted that marvelously beautiful charming television actress.
You'll wonder at your insanity that you wanted that insanity. Insanity does
indeed covet insanity.

How poor can you get? Find out. Never mind defining riches because you
don't know what it is. You can examine – you can examine what you call
riches and let that go. Then you'll know what real riches are without the
word, without the description, without the definition.
Then you can sit back and you can have a home if you like, and you can
have friends if you like, and you can have a car if you like. Then you can sit
back and be unconcerned. Then you can sit back and be content not wanting
anything from the world because you are the whole world.
Sorry, But You’ve Come To The Wrong Office

Student: Vernon, the unconscious, is that merely thoughts, feelings, sensings, that we don't --
that is running through our mind so fast that we don't catch it?
Vernon: The unconscious, did you say? Yes. That's a very good way to put it. It's running
through our mind like a reckless wild horse. And we're on the horse; the same thing as the horse;
so that we don't see it at all. Our opportunity to see it is for someone to jump out in front of that
horse and wave a red flag.

That horse is running like crazy, and someone jumps up and waves – the horse rears up. His
motion – forward motion is broken, isn't it? And this is what the shocks we're trying to give to each
other here are all about.

The horse is not going to reach out and get a red flag and put it in front of his own face. He's
incapable. He doesn't want to do it. Something outside of that horse has to do it. And what that is
is the first little bit of understanding that you gain in the office when you've exhausted all the other offices.

Student: To be able to reply to life as far as, "You've come to the wrong office," you have to --
wouldn't you have to have begun to be able to separate from your false self a little?
Vernon: Of course. Of course. That's the start of it, isn't it? If someone – look, when your evil is
the same as my evil, we're buddies, right? And then we fight all the other what we call evil in the
world. If I begin to get tired of what my evil is doing to me, then I can recognize my evil and
therefore your evil. That's the separation, isn't it?

Can any of us here begin to see what phonies we are? I'll get one maybe even closer home
than that. Can you begin to see – well, take a pad with you sometime – better make it pretty long
– a 100-page notebook would be better. And you carry it with you -- and about ten pencils. And
you make a little mark every time you feel ill at ease over anything.
You walk down the street, you'd be writing as you walk down the street. The way that man
looked at me – you won't have anything to do but write down one, two, three – all day long, right?
How many have felt ill at ease in the hour we've been here already? More than once? Twice?
Thrice? Frice? (Laughter)

That's because we have – we're still visiting the office called Useless Agitation Supplied Here.
You glance at me, or I see there's only one cookie left and there's two people there. Can I catch
myself right in the middle of the discomfort, the embarrassment, the ill at ease, and see it going on inside me at that instant?

Some day you will be able to catch it. And when you catch it, another bell will ring, and that bell
will consist of one word. You see you're ill at ease about something out in the kitchen. You really
see it. And for the first time you say, "Ah, for the first time I've seen it. The other times I imagined I saw it, and I wanted to blab about it." The minute you see it clearly, another bell will ring that will say – another voice will speak – that will say, "Unnecessary."

Why should there be any ill-at-easement at all? Discomfort at all? Why? It exists because a
certain little machine inside with calculation and cunning that says about 100 things at the same
time. "How can I keep that person in the kitchen from seeing that I've gained ten pounds? Huh?
How can I keep that person thinking that I'm nice – if they thought it in the first place – I hope.
How can I come to this class and experience the least amount of discomfort?"
Oh, you waste this class. You come here after this to see how much discomfort you can become
aware of so that you're not ill at ease unconsciously by trying to put on a front, by trying to protect something.

Nervousness is very important to study. The word nervous – very simple word, right? You might
even write it down. "I will study nervousness." That would be good. "I will study nervousness." Try
to see how many things are involved in it, one of them being – notice how much more at ease you
are when you're all alone, when you don't have to see whether other people are approving or
disapproving or whatever.

Of course, you're ill at ease about other things when you're with yourself because you're living
with your own agitated mind. But at least with other people, when you're a little bit at ease – no
masks or anything like that – and that should be evidence that our contacts with other people
arouse the false parts in us that want to be impressive, that want to keep the delusion going that
"I'm okay," that "I'm strong," that "I'm intelligent," that "I'm normal."

Look at the strain we put on ourselves, trying to keep the other person thinking well of
ourselves when we don't even think well of ourselves.

You don't think very much of yourself, do you? You really don't. Well, of course, that's a
mistake because you've identified with all the nuttiness inside you and called yourself that. That is why you don't think well of yourself, which is simply self-centered conceit. But that's another debt to explore.

But you don't think well of yourself at all. And yet you want other people to, which
means that the actor or actress has to be pretty busy out there.
Student: Vernon, is a lot of nervousness caused by suppressed hostility and rage?
Vernon: It's certainly involved in it. When you are nervous or I am nervous, I hate that state. I
really hate it. For a number of reasons. First of all, I don't like the pain. And I don't like you telling me that I'm nervous because – you single me out. You say you're calm; I'm nervous, therefore I'm inferior to you.
It's always involved in it. How can it be separate from it?

When are you going to rebel against nervousness? I'll tell you how to rebel against it with
complete success. Just be nervous. And take all the criticism, all the stares, all the disappointment.

"Oh, we thought you were poised and in charge of yourself, and you broke up – you cracked up
at that crisis that happened." But it won't do you any good to be nervous unless you know you are
and just stand there and suffer consciously from it.

Do you know what will happen if you do that? Nervousness, which is a part of our general
neurosis, will run its course for the moment. You're in a situation where you're nervous. Okay. Go
ahead – go ahead. Be it. As if you can do anything else. You can cover it up, but cover it up – a
monkey is still a monkey. You put a hood over it, and there's still a monkey underneath it. It's just an invisible monkey or something. (Laughter)

The energy in the false state will run its course. That is, it will get tired because there's always
a change in motion, in movement, in energy. You're not nervous all the time, are you? Sometimes
you're relatively at ease. So it will run its course.

And as you stand there and remain nervous, without doing anything about it, repeatedly – as
you repeatedly do this, then each time you do this – without fighting it, without resistance – to
make it clearer, each time it will last 30 seconds shorter each time. It will exhaust itself faster each time until it won't arise at all.

Because you are no longer a part of the nervous person with its
impostering and all that, that is not there to be set off, to be made nervous, by any situation at all.

Not in the courtroom, not at the wedding, not at the family quarrel, not at the loss of this or that.

There's no one there to be set off. And when nervousness tries to walk in, you remember, "Sorry,
but you've come to the wrong office. I'm not getting involved in that anymore."
You can actually – you'll be able to actually see sometime where you're in a – say in a social
crisis situation. You'll actually be able – because you're working on yourself at all times, you'll be in the same situation you were, say, ten years ago, and because you're sitting there quietly, you can see how the idiot in you ten years ago got up and tried to prove himself, tried to straighten out the mess of other people.

And you can see why you were nervous, because you were being a phoney,
thinking you were helping or trying to be intelligent, making that dynamic remark. No wonder
you're nervous; you're a dummy. Dummies are always nervous.

How many – let's find out. How many nervous people are there? What does that – (Laughter)
All right. I couldn't resist.
And you'll sit there calmly, and you'll be able to see the progress you have made by only
visiting this one office of information all the time, every day instead of the other places.
And that –
I don't care how many times – how long you stay in it – the time will come when you'll move in.
Then, curiously, in one sense – in one sense you'll move out because you're no longer depending
on knowledge to tell you how to behave; you're depending on something that is higher than

Then this something that is higher than knowledge can speak to knowledge and say, "Say this,"
in that situation, and it will be the right thing to say. "Do this," in that situation, and on the social, everyday level, it will be the right thing to do.

In other words, we're trying to get our instructions from a higher source than our own
nuttiness. Our own habitual nuttiness.

Student: With all this knowledge that we keep putting into our head, is it going to connect with
something higher? Is that what is going to come out?

Vernon: Well, it's a part of the whole – knowledge has its part as the whole wholeness, but you
use it as a stepping stone. Once you're up there, up in the castle, you don't use the stepping
stones anymore. Except for practical purposes. We're using stepping stones called words. If by a
great miracle all of us in this room suddenly understood everything about life, would there be any
need for words? We would sit here and just look at each other, stare at each other. (Laughter)
Stare nervously – no.

You work on this from now on, too, in this room. And everybody else. Notice the little nervous
eye contacts you have with people. When I come here early – which I always do – and I look out at
some of you, what goes on in your mind when you have eye contact with me? What goes on when
Gordon looks at Joe or Rod looks at Allen, Connie looks at Mr. DeFrancis?

Are you ill at ease? Let's look. I'm going to look at some of you. Nothing the matter with eye
contact. Anything embarrassing about it? Anything uncomfortable about it? Well, let's find out. I
think I'll look at you. But our imagination goes to work. "What's he thinking?" (Laughter).