Friday, November 17, 2017

The Brain is a Universe Unto Itself






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Our eyes are not transparent windows to the outside world, despite evolution’s brilliant illusion.
When we think we’re walking the streets of a city, we’re really strolling the neural paths of our brains. Everything that appears to be outside is really inside. For all intents and purposes, there is no outside.
The brain is a universe unto itself: billions of twinkling neurons, dendrites splayed like fingers reaching for the beginning of time, chemical messengers leaping across the mindless darkness of deep intracranial space.


–Amanda Gefter
Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn



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Annual rings of a pine tree trunk,
microscopic view, 1931

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the spirit is the bouquet of nature





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The divine manifestation is ubiquitous, only our eyes are not open to it. Awe is what moves us forward.

Live from your own center. The divine lives within you.
The separateness apparent in the world is secondary.
 
Beyond the world of opposites is an unseen, but experienced, unity and identity in us all.
You must return with the bliss and integrate it.
The return is seeing that the radiance is everywhere.


The world is a match for us. We are a match for the world.
The spirit is the bouquet of nature.
Sanctify the place you are in.


–Joseph Campbell


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fact of the matter





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Awareness matters, because
Matter is a materialisation of Awareness. 

Just as ‘energy’ is the formative activity of Awareness. 

Just as space is a vast universal field of Awareness, and
Time is the presencing of things in that field, so
All bodies are Embodiments of Awareness,
Formed of its Elemental qualities.

—Peter Wilberg
The Awareness Principle



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markings
pondwater
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looking closely






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Every particle of the world is a mirror,
In each atom lies the blazing light
of a thousand suns.
Cleave the heart of a raindrop
a hundred pure oceans will flow forth.

Look closely at a grain of sand,
The seed of a thousand beings can be seen.
The foot of an ant is larger than an elephant;
In essence, a drop of water 

Is no different than the Nile.

In the heart of a barley-corn
lies the fruit of a hundred harvests;
Within the pulp of a millet seed
an entire universe can be found.

In the wing of a fly, an ocean of wonder;
In the pupil of the eye, an endless heaven.
Though the inner chamber of the heart is small,
the Lord of both worlds

gladly makes his home there.



–Mahmud Shabestari



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The Square
Soekmin Ko
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The only things we can ever perceive … are our perceptions. –George Berkeley






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In reality, time and space exist in you; you do not exist in them. They are modes of perception, but they are not the only ones. Time and space are like words written on paper; the paper is real, the words merely a convention.

...


Discard all you are not and go ever deeper. 

Just as a man digging a well discards what is not water ... so must you discard what is not your own, till nothing is left which you can disown.

You will find that what is left is nothing which the mind can hook on to. You are not even a human being.

You just are - a point of awareness, co-extensive with time and space and beyond both, the ultimate cause, itself uncaused.

If you ask me “Who are you?”, my answer would be: “Nothing in particular. Yet, I am.”


Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj




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consciousness rising, excerpt






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We can appreciate that the colors we experience are just appearing in the mind—the light itself is not colored, it is simply energy of varying frequencies, the color we experience coming from the representation of that frequency in the mind—but it is more difficult to appreciate the same is true of the solidity we experience around us. It not only looks solid, we can touch it and feel its solidity, and experience how it impedes our movement.

We seem to be experiencing the world directly—overlooking the fact that all we experiencing, including this solidity, is a representation of the world “out there” that appears in our field of knowing.

Even more challenging is the fact that the space in which these forms exist, from right in front of my nose to the distant skyline, is also an appearance in the mind. Our knowing has taken on the appearance of space, and within this space are placed the images we have made of the world around—the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations that have been constructed.

The space we see around us is in fact the space of awareness in which all experiences appear. But now it has various substantial forms distributed throughout, confirming the assumption that we are directly experiencing an independent reality “out there.”


........


What we thought of as solid matter turns out to be largely empty space, and even so-called elementary particles turn out to have no real substance. As the German physicist Hans-Peter Durr put it, “Whatever matter is, it is not made of matter.” Matter as we conceive of it, exists only in the mind. Matter-stuff is just another concept, another form of mind-stuff. Another modulation of the field of knowing.

Moreover, anything we may say about the world “out there” is another form appearing in the mind. All our ideas about the world—our scientific theories and mathematical equations, our concepts of matter, energy, quarks, strings, particles, waves—they are all appearing in our field of knowing. They are no more substantial than our thoughts.

In the final analysis, it is all mind-stuff appearing as matter-stuff.


........


Everything I know is an appearance that “I” have taken on. “I” am, appearing as this thought, these feelings, the sounds I hear, the world I see before me. It is all arising from and within my own being.

This is very different from the claim that I am one with everything, which assumes an external reality with which I am identifying, or feel a oneness with. It is not so much that I am one with the world—the physical world I imagine around me—but that the world of my experience is one with me. This is all me!


—Peter Russell



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tighten to nothing







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All things
are too small
to hold me,
I am so vast
In the Infinite
I reach
for the Uncreated
I have
touched it,
it undoes me
wider than wide

Everything else
is too narrow
You know this well,
you who are also there


Tighten
to nothing
the circle
that is
the world's things

Then the Naked
circle
can grow wide,
enlarging,
embracing all



–Hadewijch, l or ll (13th Century)
Jane Hirshfield version
Women in Praise of the Sacred:
43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women





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the stars write





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I am a man: little do I last
and the night is enormous.
But I look up:
the stars write.
Unknowing I understand:
I too am written,
and at this very moment
someone spells me out.



–Octavio Paz


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this is the time





 
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Now is the time for the world to know
That every thought and action is sacred.
This is the time
For you to compute the impossibility
That there is anything
But Grace.

Now is the season to know
That everything you do
Is sacred.


–Hafiz



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Thursday, November 16, 2017

question





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Do you see the space between our bodies?
Barely a hand, hardly a breath,
it is the space mountains and rivers are made of.
It is the beginning of oceans, the space
between either and or, both and neither.
the happiness of forgetting
our names and the happiness of hearing them
for the first time.

–Li-Young Lee
Trading for Heaven


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in and out





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I would like you to show me, if you can, where the line can be drawn between an organism and it’s environment. The environment is in you. It’s passing through you. You’re breathing it in and out. You and every other creature.

–Wendell Berry







a human being is part of a whole





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A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest —- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. 

This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. 

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.


—Albert Einstein


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intersection





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The human skin is an artificial boundary: the world wanders into it, and the self wanders out of it, traffic is two-way and constant.

–Bernard Wolfe



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location






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God sleeps in stone,

breathes in plants,

dreams in animals

and awakens in man.


–Vedic proverb



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blessed ones, whole ones





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You who let yourselves feel: enter the breathing
that is more than your own.
Let it brush your cheeks
as it divides and rejoins beside you.
Blessed ones, whole ones,
you where the heart begins:
You are the bow that shoots the arrows
and you are the target.
Fear not the pain. Let its weight fall back
into the earth;
for heavy are the mountains, heavy the seas.
The trees you planted in childhood have grown
too heavy. You cannot bring them along.
Give yourselves to the air, to what you cannot hold.



–Rainer Maria Rilke
Sonnets to Orpheus, Part One, IV



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praise them





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The birds don't alter space.
They reveal it. The sky
never fills with any
leftover flying. They leave
nothing to trace. It is our own
astonishment collects
in chill air. Be glad.
They equal their due
moment never begging,
and enter ours
without parting day. See
how three birds in a winter tree
make the tree barer.
Two fly away, and new rooms
open in December.
Give up what you guessed
about a whirring heart, the little
beaks and claws, their constant hunger.
We are the nervous ones.
If even one of our violent number
could be gentle
long enough that one of them
found it safe inside
our finally untroubled and untroubling gaze,
who wouldn't hear
what singing completes us?



–Li-Young Lee
Book of My Nights



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keeping things whole






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In a field
I am the absence
of field.

This is
always the case.

Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body's been.

We all have reasons
for moving.

I move
to keep things whole.


–Mark Strand




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what i do






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What I wear is pants.

What I do is live.

How I pray is breathe.


–Thomas Merton



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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

question





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Where does unbelief begin? 
When I was young 

there were degrees of certainty.
I could say, Yes I know that I have two hands.
Then one day I awakened on a planet of people whose hands occasionally 
   disappear.


–Anne Carson
The Glass Essay/HOT


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divine magnetism





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The Self is like a powerful magnet within us. It draws us gradually to itself, though we imagine we are going to It of our own accord: when we are near enough, It puts an end to our activities, makes us still, and then swallows up our personal current, thus killing our wrong personality. It overwhelms the intellect and over floods the whole being. 

We think we are meditating upon It and developing towards It, whereas the truth is that we are iron filings and It is the Atman-magnet that is pulling us towards Itself. Thus the process of finding the Self is a form of Divine magnetism.


–Sri Ramana Maharshi



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in the privacy of the home





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You want to get a good look at yourself. You stand before a mirror, you take off your jacket, unbutton your shirt, open your belt, unzip your fly. The outer clothing falls from you. You take off your shoes and socks, baring your feet. You remove your underwear. At a loss, you examine the mirror. There you are. You are not there.


–Mark Strand


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know thyself





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For as those who claim to know nothing about ultimate reality are called agnostic (literally, “not-knowing”), the person who does claim to know such things is called gnostic (“knowing”). But gnosis is not primarily rational knowledge. The Greek language distinguishes between scientific or reflective knowledge (“He knows mathematics”) and knowing through observation or experience (“He knows me”), which is gnosis. As the gnostics use the term, we could translate it as “insight,” for gnosis involves an intuitive process of knowing oneself. And to know oneself, they claimed, is to know human nature and human destiny.

–Elaine Pagels
The Gnostic Gospels


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exercise






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Close both eyes.

Look from the other eye.



–Rumi



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small bird on fire





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It was passed from one bird to another,
the whole gift of the day.
The day went from flute to flute,
went dressed in vegetation,
in flights which opened a tunnel
through which the wind would pass
to where birds were breaking open
the dense blue air -
and there, night came in.
When I returned from so many journeys,
I stayed suspended and green
between sun and geography -
I saw how wings worked,
how perfumes are transmitted
by feathery telegraph,
and from above I saw the path,
the springs and the roof tiles,
the fishermen at their trades,
the trousers of the foam;
I saw it all from my green sky.
I had no more alphabet
than the swallows in their courses,
the tiny, shining water
of the small bird on fire
which dances out of the pollen.

Pablo Neruda


 
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your(self




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Be kind to yourself; 
it is the only one and perishable.

—Allen Ginsberg



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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

... what is the direction of servitude between the body and the mind, and where does the constellation of certitudes we experience as a self reside in all of it? –Maria Popova





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The body provides something for the spirit to look after and use.

–Alan Turing


...


I am not one of those who neglect the body in order to make of it a sacrificial offering for the soul, since my soul would thoroughly dislike being served in such a fashion.

–Rainer Maria Rilke







miracle of miracles





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There is, in sanest hours, a consciousness, a thought that rises, independent, lifted out from all else, calm, like the stars, shining eternal. This is the thought of identity — yours for you, whoever you are, as mine for me. Miracle of miracles, beyond statement, most spiritual and vaguest of earth’s dreams, yet hardest basic fact, and only entrance to all facts. In such devout hours, in the midst of the significant wonders of heaven and earth, (significant only because of the Me in the centre,) creeds, conventions, fall away and become of no account before this simple idea. Under the luminousness of real vision, it alone takes possession, takes value. Like the shadowy dwarf in the fable, once liberated and look’d upon, it expands over the whole earth, and spreads to the roof of heaven.

The quality of being, in the object’s self, according to its own central idea and purpose, and of growing therefrom and thereto — not criticism by other standards, and adjustments thereto — is the lesson of Nature.


–Walt Whitman


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this is the body






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Every day the body works in the fields of the world
Mending a stone wall
Or swinging a sickle through the tall grass -
The grass of civics, the grass of money -
And every night the body curls around itself
And listens for the soft bells of sleep.

But the heart is restless and rises
From the body in the middle of the night,
Leaves the trapezoidal bedroom
With its thick, pictureless walls
To sit by herself at the kitchen table
And heat some milk in a pan.

And the mind gets up too, puts on a robe
And goes downstairs, lights a cigarette,
And opens a book on engineering.
Even the conscience awakens
And roams from room to room in the dark,
Darting away from every mirror like a strange fish.

And the soul is up on the roof
In her nightdress, straddling the ridge,
Singing a song about the wildness of the sea
Until the first rip of pink appears in the sky.
Then, they all will return to the sleeping body
The way a flock of birds settles back into a tree,

Resuming their daily colloquy,
Talking to each other or themselves
Even through the heat of the long afternoons.
Which is why the body - the house of voices -
Sometimes puts down its metal tongs, its needle, or its pen
To stare into the distance,

To listen to all its names being called
Before bending again to its labor.



–Billy Collins
The Night House



...



My friend, this body is made of bone and excited protozoa and it is with my body that I love the fields. How do I know what I feel but what the body tells me? Erasmus thinking in the snow, translators of Virgil who burn up the whole room, the man in furs reading the Arabic astrologer falls off his three-legged stool in astonishment, this is the body, so beautifully carved inside, with the curves of the inner ear, and the husk so rough, knuckle-brown.

As we walk, we enter the fields of other bodies, and every smell we take in the communities of protozoa see, and a being inside leaps up toward it, as a horse rears at the starting gate. When we come near each other, we are drawn down into the sweetest pools of slowly circling smells . . . slowly circling energies . . . The protozoa know there are odors the shape of oranges, of tornadoes, of octopses . . .

The sunlight lays itself down before every protozoa,
the night opens itself out behind it,
and inside its own energy it lives!

So the space between two people diminishes, it grows less and less, no one to weep, they merge at last. The sound that pours from the fingertips awakens clouds of cells far inside the body, and beings unknown to us start out in a pilgrimage to their Saviour, to their holy place. Their holy place is a small black stone, that they remember from Protozoic times, when it was rolled away from a door . . . and it was after that they found their friends, who helped them to digest the hard grains of this world . . . The cloud of cells awakens, intensifies, swarms . . . the beings dance inside beams of sunlight so thin we cannot see them . . . to them each ray is a vast palace, with thousands of rooms. From the dance of the cells praise sentences rise to the voice of the man praying and singing alone in his room. He lets his arms climb above his head, and says, “Now do you still say that you cannot choose the road?”


–Robert Bly
for Lewis Thomas, and his The Lives of the Cell




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the bridge







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... your breath is a bridge between you and your body. Constantly, breath is bridging you to your body, connecting you, relating you to your body.

Not only is the breath a bridge to your body, it is also a bridge between you and the universe. The body is just the universe which is nearer to you.

If the bridge is broken, you are no more in the body. You move into some unknown dimension; then you can not be found in space and time. So, breath is also the bridge between you, and space and time.

Breath has two points.
One is where it touches the body and the universe, and another is where it touches you and that which transcends the universe.

We know only one part of the breath. When it moves into the universe, into the body, we know it. But it is always moving from the body to the "no-body," from the "no-body" to the body.

There are certain points in breathing which you have never observed, and those points are the doors.

Man is trying to reach further, from earth into space, and man has not yet learned the nearest part of his life ...


–Osho
The Book of Secrets



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you are that






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When you wake up in the morning, consciousness dawns. In this state of being conscious, you perceive a body, mind and world. These are appearances only, not what you are. To identify oneself with any of those appearances gives rise to the notion of being a separate person, self or individual entity. This is the cause of all seeking, suffering and doubts.
Being conscious is a state that comes and goes. In sleep, unconsciousness or death, the experience of being conscious subsides. So it is clearly a transitory state. However, before you awoke and became conscious of anything else, including the fact of being conscious, you were there.
Consciousness happened to you who were there to experience it. Your original, fundamental position is prior to consciousness. This "prior to consciousness" identity that you are cannot be named at all. From this unnameable, non-conceptual source, which is your original, innate nature, arises the sense of conscious presence. This is also the sense of being, the experience that "I am", or the bare fact of knowing that you are. This is the first appearance or experience upon your original state.
Within this consciousness state emerges the mind, the body and the entire world of appearances. Little can be said about your original state because it is clearly beyond all concepts and even prior to consciousness. Some pointers that have been used are: non-conceptual awareness, awareness unaware of itself, pure being (beyond being and non-being), the absolute, the unmanifest, noumenon, cognizing emptiness, no thing - to name only a few. This non-conceptual awareness or being IS what you are. It is pure non-duality or unicity in which both subject and object are merged.
Just as the sun does not know light because it IS light, so you do not know your original nature (as an object) because you ARE THAT. It is forever beyond the grasp of concepts and subject-object knowledge. Yet it is entirely evident and inescapable as that in you (which is you) that allows you to say with utter certitude "I am" and "I know that I am". Even when those words subside, you ARE. Even when the consciousness that knows those words subsides, you ARE. Consciousness is the light of creation. But you, as the unnameable source, are the primordial awareness, being or no thing (call it what you will) in which consciousness comes and goes.

–John Archibald Wheeler



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