March 2008 - Posts
Hot on the heels of my previous post about suggesting the connectedness of all comes another find. This time it's a video of Jill Taylor describing her stroke experience. She's a scientist but she expresses herself in such poetic terms.
One of the central themes of the video is what do you choose to believe, how do you choose to live your life. She describes the right hemisphere of the brain as one that takes in sensory experience, and the left as one that connects the perceptions: metaphorically speaking bringing order to chaos. During her stroke her left hemisphere became inoperative and thus visual stimuli began to lose meaning. The pixels that make each character of this post lost meaning and became just dots. Her hand became some strange claw thing. She eventually described a sensation of losing the ability to discern where the boundaries of her body were. Who was she? Every now and then her left hemisphere would function and she'd snap back to reality, but then she'd fade away into la-la land again. Eventually she was able to retain enough sense to call for help.
It's an interesting thing to consider, that the left hemisphere of your brain gives meaning to your world. I even watched an episode of the Human Body on the Discovery channel where they chronicled a man who had lost his vision at 3 years old but got it back in his 40s. Vision is more than just taking in visual stimuli, it's also interpreting that. Having lost his vision at such a young age he found it difficult to see later in life, even though his eyes were working perfectly fine. He could see the face of his wife but had no clue he was looking at a face. Like those Magic Eye images that hide images in patterns. There's something there but you can't make sense of all the visual stimuli to discern it.
Poetically speaking, spirituality and science are a lot like the examples I just mentioned. Science might be the visual stimuli. It's what is, it's not a lie, no judgments, just what is. Spirituality interprets that which is seen. It would be like how a picture on a computer monitor is a collection of dots. Certainly a true statement. Is that all a picture is, just a random collection of differently colored dots? Why yes, even that statement is correct. The qualifier of the word "just" is a judgment. I inserted it to play the devil's advocate role I observe many skeptics take. "There is nothing else but a random collection of dots, stop trying to find meaning in it you fool!" :)
Of course one can choose to look at the random collection of dots and see patterns. One can choose to see a picture of a waterfall amongst the collection of dots. One can choose to see a picture of Calvin pissing on a flower. :) One can choose to see something that for whatever reason other people don't see -- modern art anyone. And yes, one can even choose to see the coming of the Zombie Apocalypse because I said the word brain one too many times. :) Perception perception perception. Choice choice choice. How do you choose to see your world?
Would it seem odd to you if I suggested everything in existence was one being?
I was catching up on some reading and finished an article in Discover magazine about how Albert Einstein rejected a lot of the conclusions of his ideas. Singularities, the underpinnings of black holes; entanglement, or action at a distance; and the expansion of the universe were all initially rejected by Einstein. Even though they were all based on his theory of relativity the ideas just seemed too weird to accept as true. The article made a point of mentioning how today's physicists should be mindful of the limits of their own vision. Not assuming that what you know is all that there is to know.
I've mentioned on this blog some supernatural experiences I've had in the past. One of the more interesting among them was my experience of everything in my immediate vicinity as being me. There's no way you can prove what I experienced happened and there's no way I can prove to you that it did happen, so if you think I'm crazy I won't object. :) Nevertheless it did happen. It also happened after I had read a few years back that all of existence is one being. Having directly experienced a portion of this oneness for a few seconds has really influenced my idea of self. Exactly who are you if it's possible for you and another to be, essentially, the same being?
Something else I came across since that time described incarnations here as foci. That one word, focus, has been like a light bulb for me in trying to understand oneness. If you accept the idea of a soul being separate from a physical body then an incarnation, or focus, would be a focusing of attention on one point: your body. All of who you are wouldn't be "contained" within your physical body, it's just you're focused on or enamored with it. If you think about it it's not too unlike how galaxies, stars, planets, or other things come about. In the case of a star a tremendous amount of gas is attracted by gravity, heat and pressure eventually produce a star. You could liken the attractive force of gravity as like the focusing of attention.
It's certainly been an interesting theory to hold. It has explained to me the ideas of monotheism and polytheism. A singular god would be a misunderstanding of oneness, the connectedness of all, rather than there being some all-powerful being separate from us all. Polytheism I see as identifying more powerful foci as gods, perhaps how an ant might view a human as a god. Still there is the fascinating subject of awareness in regards to this idea of oneness. You are who you seem to be. The bounds of your awareness seems to define your individuality. Fascinating stuff. :)
I think today I had a major insight into myself. I was taking a walk around the lake I skate around. I've been skating there for a long time, maybe 8 years now, and I've seen a lot of people come and go. It was interesting to ponder over. Each year a new set of people crop up and they give each spring and summer a distinctive flavor. Some people stay a few years before moving on with their lives. It's always sad when that happens, even if I've never talked to them before. Just seeing them nearly every day forms a bit of a comfort blanket, a support group on the periphery of sorts. Today a few members of the speed skating team were out practicing. I think they've given up on recruiting me, ha! There was a kid who thought it was cool to try and skate with me. He was fast, I'll give him credit. After we both made it to the main straightaway I noticed him glancing over at me. I started into my arm swing and eventually left him behind.
I never did try and talk to him or maybe even encourage him. It's my personality I'm noticing. I keep people on the periphery. I thought about that as I was taking my cool-off walk and suddenly I had a thought I had to learn about loss. A few years ago I had a conversation with a spirit and he suggested the same thing. I always find it very interesting when stray thoughts enter my head that end up having a profound effect on me, enough to make me ponder at least. I thought about my former life where I killed someone I cared about. I thought about how I have 3 planets in the 12th astrological house -- if you don't know consider it a house of repression. So many thoughts flooding my head all at once. It would seem I've designed my life to keep people at a certain distance. And that purpose could very well be to see them all leave. To get accustomed to loss, to losing things I would form attachments to.
I'm starting to find the sweetness in it, in losing. Haha, it's almost like how your brain will make fish eyes seem tasty if you were stranded at sea and needed to balance your diet. (Yeah I was watching the Discovery channel. :P) Point is that when you're forced to even uncomfortable things can become appealing. The older I get the more I'm starting to be happy with myself and my life, even if it has some major sucky parts to it. We do create our lives I believe. Not just the actions you take, but perhaps deeper than that, why you take the actions you do. The idiosyncrasies, the compulsions to act in seemingly destructive ways, it's all our doing. Heh, taking greater and greater responsibility for my life.
Still waking up in the middle of the night. Today I was dreaming about this person named Ma-muel. It actually started out with her being a porcupine, or maybe a hedgehog. She was extremely skilled as a doctor and was basically being forced to use her skills. She didn't want to do that and resisted. There wasn't a feeling of oppression though, more like desperation because she was really needed to help others. The setting was the Middle East but I can't remember now if she was going to serve there or another area. I think another country though because I got the feeling she was leaving a place she was comfortable with. When she got to where she would serve she again resisted. But somehow this trauma patient was being rushed through the hospital and Ma-muel just gravitated to the person and started commanding others on what to do to save them. As she did that she changed from a porcupine to a human.
Freaky Chakra - West
What a week for me. I usually lead a fairly stable, and perhaps to most people, a boring life. But rest assured, even though I don't focus my energies on physical goals lots goes on in my head. It's starting to become difficult to separate my spiritual beliefs from my outer demeanor. This particular post will be especially difficult to write as I do like to maintain the privacy of the people involved in the things I write about. But there comes a point when the things you believe begin to intrude on long-held beliefs. And like warm and cold air mixing together producing wind, something's got to give.
A core belief I've had for some time now is that I'm here on this planet to learn. Not about the physical things of the world, but about me. Physical things are like props to better enable learning, or perhaps like the mirrors of a funhouse which show images of you in various ways. I use the events of my life to see aspects of myself that I, for whatever reason, have difficulty in seeing on my own. A lot of times I can do this learning without too much difficulty. (I wonder now if this is possible because I'm not learning much.) Sometimes though I confront myself in such a way I need a good bit of time to process it.
Last week I traveled a good bit to see someone I care about. It was under the pretense of possibly adopting a cat, but since I wanted to see her traveled I did. We spent our time together a lot like we did when we were originally together, which is to say the good and bad. I also worked on her computer and accidently saw some New Year's images I probably should not have. One of the reasons I like my Chinese astrology symbol of the Snake is that it really does describe me much better than my Western Libran sign. The possessiveness aspect comes into play in this instance. I wonder where it comes from, why I would feel I own someone, why they can't do something I myself have done. It's not enough to know that I "shouldn't" feel that way, or that the feelings are at odds with other beliefs I hold, it's the fact that I do feel possessive that troubles me. The heart is a much tougher thing to change than the mind.
It's quite a humbling thing to think to yourself you're a certain way but then get confronted with a situation which makes you realize you're not. Truthfully I don't think there's anything wrong with feeling possessive. Things simply are, judgments are simply perceptions of what is. However, this possessive trait I have is a desire to control others, which is something I've professed not to like. Treating this trait of mine with scorn actually scorns myself and is a form of self-loathing. For better or worse the trait is a part of me and if I want to love myself I must accept it. Perhaps if I truly do not like what I see and want to change it I should look at what produces it. My work continues it seems, much to learn.
The part of this week that makes this post difficult however is not what I just said, but what I'm about to say. It's only difficult because some people that read this will be able to discern whom I am speaking about, despite efforts on my part to veil this. But, it also relates to honesty and openly sharing with others, something I'm learning to value, thus I write this. A few days ago I learned a co-worker makes a good deal more than me, someone I thought would be on the same pay scale as myself. I actually know and understand why this is so that's not a major shock to me. The shock for me is what I felt. It's similar to the feelings I had when I accepted my current job, which at the time paid less than my previous one. The question relates to how much money does one need. Does money represent your value? If you say it does not would you still say that if you knew an equal to you were paid much more than you?
Fairly simple questions to answer I've usually reckoned to myself. But knowing with the mind and feeling with the heart can be very different things. Beliefs not tested can be fragile things, giving the illusion of strength. I make enough money to support myself and be happy, I don't need more. If I had more I'm not even sure what I would do with it. Still, you feel what you feel, and to deny your feelings is to deny yourself. I think this money issue for me ultimately stems from worth. It seems my place of employment values this other person more than me; hurts the pride and ego a bit... But the mind is not an enemy of the heart, and together they can make a powerful team. I know why the pay inequity I discovered exists: I don't need the money, this other person has a greater need for it than myself. This knowledge helps soothe the hurt feelings, helps me to see me in the distorted funhouse image.
One of the greater quotes I've come across described life here on Earth as like being in a kiln. Understanding the quote, I've come to think of it also as like rocks on the beach being smoothed away over time by the relentless forces of the tides. Bit by bit the rough edges of a stone get chipped away. After much battering by the sea it becomes smooth. It takes time to understand one's self. Events roll and crash in, the experiences are felt, they wash away, the process repeats. That which can not withstand the events are carried away. That which remains withstands the test of time.