Small, trembling or the great divine, is it a choice?

is.jpgOne reader wondered if it was a right for a religion to judge others who were not of that religion.

Judgment isn’t really a right, but people judge, that’s what we are…we’re judgment machines. It’s the way our brains are hardwired. We just have to remember that our judgments may have nothing to do with reality because we project our own biases, prejudices, beliefs, and feelings onto everything. There’s an old saying, “Don’t believe everything you think”. The ego part of us always wants to keep us separated usually with us being the best (or better than) and the other guy not being the best or less than.

We then ‘project’ this bias onto our religion and use our religion to prove we are right. This is circular reasoning, a logic fallacy, but the ego-centered person isn’t concerned with logic or facts, they’re just concerned with being right in their own mind or in their own culture or subculture/tribe.

This doesn’t mean that “judgment” is always wrong because if the practice of a religion that is created out of love (and all religions are created out of love) shows only hate, then the practice of that religion is wrong…it’s not the religion that is wrong, it is the practice of it that’s wrong. This is where judgments are needed. For example, does some religious practice further the cause of love or hate? If it’s hate then it’s being practiced in the wrong way.

So, again, it’s not the religion that is judging, it’s the human beings who practice that religion and if it is being used by them to exclude, demean and make others less than, then it’s being done wrongly.

In each of us exists a spiritual self that comes from a wholeness that includes everything and everyone. But in order to interact on this plane of existence a temporary illusion of separateness needs to be maintained. This is the job of the ego part of the self, that part of us that we created with the help of our parents, family, society, and culture. Even when we stand before one another and see a separate individual, at our core we are one. There is little problem with this unless the ego has convinced the self that the separation is real this is when we don’t recognize the divine being in the person standing before us.

When we think we are vulnerable to the illusion of a separate being we become frightened and want to protect the self, though it doesn’t need protecting. Look around, is this not so? We then create illusions to safety and institutions to reinforce the illusion. But are we any safer? As long as we are stuck in our own egos we will never feel safe, you can never feel safe when you think that what you are is this small, trembling being that is threatened by all other small, trembling beings. And no matter how many small, trembling beings band together there’s no bigness in that, only a whole lot of small and trembling.

I’ve read that those who try to rule by fear don’t know who they really are. The more fear and control they spread the smaller they become. Those who sustain their egos through force have only physical power and that always comes to an end usually a whimpering end. Those who sustain through love last forever.

Visions, daydreams, and sleeping dreams

 

is copy 2.jpeg

 

During an interview with Valder Beebe on her talk show early last week I was asked about the difference between daydreams, visions and sleeping dreams. My answer was rather limited by time in that I revealed only a small part of the relationship between these three forms of “seeing”.

Firstly all three come from the same place, our unconscious mind. However, some may see all three as being spiritual in nature maybe even spiritually generated or induced.

Visions can be said to come to us in a trance, a meditation or in a dream though visions tend to be clearer and more vibrant than dreams. Prophecy and the supernatural are often associated with visions whether they show up in a trance, dream or just walking down the street. Frequently they seem to be numinous in nature and have a mystical quality to them. Often one feels connected to all things, feel a sense of the timeless and experience the sacred. They frequently come to us when there is an unfilled and unfillable void or deep and unresolved questioning in our lives and when they arrive cannot be understood through our rational selves. However, the message of the vision experience is often quite clear and is something that most sleeping dreams do not give us given their chaotic nature.

Often these otherworldly vision experiences come with clear messages written or heard and are frequently the point of the vision. Dreams rarely come with a clear message or point and though we may see words or hear them in a sleeping dream they almost always make no sense. This is probably due to the fact that the part of the brain that processes written or spoken language* is shut down or suppressed during sleep whereas in many vision states the language part of the brain continues to function almost normally.

Visions no matter how experienced usually come with four states to that experience e.g., they are ineffable (they defy expression), noetic in that there is a “knowing” that cannot be plumbed through the regular intellect and beyond what was known before, transient in that they don’t last for long, and lastly passive in that they are almost always unbidden though they can be encouraged by focusing ones attention.

For many a vision feels as though they have been taken over by some greater power. This must have been the experience retold in the biblical story of a Pharisee named Saul a Christian hunter and persecutor who experienced being overwhelmed by Jesus in a vision on his way to Damascus and being shown the error of his ways and ultimately converted to another way of being and seeing and becoming the über Christian and Jesus interpreter Paul in the process.

Saul with his split allegiances to the Jewish diaspora and the Roman empire and suffering from a deep hatred of the Christian sect (a hatred that creates or is born from inner conflict itself) was probably dealing with any number of psychic conflicts but also searching for meaning and/or absolution from denied inner guilt. Under conditions of such inner conflict and the fatigue that he probably experienced throughout his travels his psyche was opened to such a vision experience. For most of us who have had this kind of world shattering vision experience these are often the conditions through which we become open to our deeper Self and that Self’s connection to a greater being.

We often call this kind of insightful vision an epiphany or an aha moment. But new clarity can come from dreams whether during sleep or during a day reverie of a lazy moment though they may be harder to read. The deeper self is always trying to make itself heard but often finds itself suppressed or shouted down by the continuous chatter of the mind full of all its worries, anxieties, activities and agendas. It’s only when we give this ego-self a rest that the inner self can come out to play. And play it will through our music, dance, poetry, writing, socializing, meditations, dreams, all kinds of art, and even on the road to the grocery market.

Lastly daydreams can be another way of tapping into the inner self and are seen as a detachment from one’s immediate surroundings where their connection with reality becomes blurred and a sort of visionary fantasy takes place. It’s sort of a mild dissociation and happens to many folks throughout their lifetime. Often these reveries can be disruptive to the tasks at hand (especially when those tasks are boring, in which case daydreaming can serve as an adaptive function) but they can also provide information related to future-thinking and increased creativity.

I envisioned the story of The Archipelago of Dreams: The Island of the Dream Healer** during a daydream one summer day at a lake in northern Wisconsin. Though fully formed during that summer’s reverie it took me another twenty some-odd years to put the story into print. That fantasy journey through time and space stayed with me for all those years and even informed much of my subsequent interest with psyche, soul, and dream-work.

_____________________________________

*These areas of the brain associated with language are known as Broca’s area (for production of language) and Wernicke’s area (comprehension of spoken and written language).

**Also sold at Amazon

What is wholeness?

th copy 23.jpeg
From Gaia Orion

I’ve often used the word “wholeness” in many of my posts as a word for an aspiration or a core being. So what does “wholeness” look like? Simple answer, I don’t know.

I am a container of many aspects, some in conflict and opposition and some in various stages of cooperation. But are they unified? No, it’s all a turbulent jumble barely contained and both creating and destroying. It’s the universe within me doing the same thing as the universe without– a panoply of things creating one another through their existence but is it unified? Perhaps all together in their continuous interaction they are the whole.

Or “wholeness” is not something that my separated and individual self can comprehend because I as an individual’s ground of being is rooted in separation. I cannot see it, understand it, comprehend it, or imagine it because I am using a tool not designed for it. In short, I’m using a “thing” to comprehend a “non thing”. I cannot imagine it from this perspective, from the perspective of the intellect, from the individual ego-self.

It may require a “meta-intellect” a non-objectified or subjective experience, something beyond the physical that’s without description, without words, and without a language. It may reside somewhere within the realm of metaphor and symbol, in images, or in color or sound. It may exist in the silent areas between my thoughts. I may be expressing the ‘whole’ all the time without being aware of it because I am only gifted in seeing its separated parts.

Carl Jung thought of wholeness as something one strived for psychically, a place in the very center of our being. He often likened it to a circular mandala of layered or spiraling aspects toward something called the ‘Self’ as differentiated from the ego i.e., the made up personal persona. He called these circular drawings a God image. But that still doesn’t satisfy my thirst.

Sometimes when a Great Understanding, one without words or images, bursts forth from some unknown place seeming to simultaneously be coming from within and without, I get it, but then I try to run it through the machinery of my mind in order to understand and it melts away. I think that’s because the “wholeness” is not of the mind but of the “something else”– the God that may live within.

I’ve had an interesting week of synchronicity where a meditation prayer for guidance seemed to be answered by an unsolicited email from a stranger from a far off land, a dream, an unsolicited and shared vision and a sermon on spiritual breakthrough. All seemingly lead me toward a new experience of an old awareness, one that I’ve believed to be true for a long time but until now had never actually experienced as being true.

For me “belief” is an imagining that is not necessarily grounded in fact but in faith, something that has never been very easy to accept or hold on to and as such not very satisfying and easily lost or strained. An experience, however, is grounded in the reality of the moment as witnessed by the observer– more fact than faith, more real and for me, more satisfying, sort of a ledge to stand on while looking out across the abyss.

Can one experience the ineffable? I would say yes. Can I tell you about it in such a way that you can experience it too? I would say no. Because it’s so subjective I’m not even sure that I can tell you how to get to your own experience of the ineffable.

What I can say about it is that it comes when it does and when it wants to. You can’t force it or engineer it. But you can learn to get out of the way that is, to get your ego-self out of the way so that you’ll be open to it when and if it arrives. And that was the point of the Dark knight of the Soul posting of December 2017 entitled “Real Magic” and the story of the Magician beginning on Jan 11, 2017.

Significant images in dreams: Light in dreams

 

Light comes in many forms within a dream. Sometimes it comes from whence it is born i.e. the darkness. It can be the dawning of some new awareness, a new beginning as with a rising sun or with the setting sun and clearing the stage for a brand new day.

It can be the symbol for transformation or a means for shedding some light on something unattended.

It can be a metaphor for God, the Spirit, the Tao, or for great wisdom. It can indicate the divine within.

 

 

In the beginning was the One. It lay at the bottom of the sea

in the darkness of the unconscious mind. The highest goal being

to bring it to consciousness and reunite what was separated once again.
 

 

Frequently light is paired with the image of a mandala where the light of creation resides at the center. When I dreamed the mandala above I experienced it rising from a ‘formless and empty’ black sea suggesting my unconscious mind, bringing with it a new awareness leading me to spiritual growth. At the time the mandala also suggested that I needed to look deeper into the darkness of that unknown part of me for it was in that blackness that a much needed awareness lay.

It can refer to the need for clarity, understanding, and insight. It can be about truth or if cloudy and shadowy it can suggest parts of the unconscious self that have yet to have been brought to full consciousness. If it’s particularly bright you may need to move toward a higher level of awareness.

Those who have been near death often speak of a bright light beckoning in the distance.

In the form of a light bulb it may suggest that you are ready to face some reality, or idea, perhaps even some new spiritual consciousness. A burned out bulb could refer to a loss of effectiveness or negative self-image.

Lighthouses can refer to the need for guidance. In the form of lightning it can suggest sudden awareness or spiritual revelation or even a shocking turn of events that is beyond ones control. To be struck by it might mean a permanent transformation or change taking or having taken place. All “lights can speak to the qualities of intellect, leadership knowledge, and transformation”.*

Light is often a symbol for the creative point in ones awareness, of bringing new light to consciousness.  It can also be symbolic of beacons to follow and is also found within the third eye chakra, that is the “light between the eyes”. This light may be speaking to the primary force of life and creation.

Many if not most “light” dreams are part of the psyche’s way of reuniting what was separated at birth, i.e. wholeness and what the psychiatrist Carl Jung might have said was part of the process of individuation of becoming fully human.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”

Genesis !: 1-3 NIV

*From “Morpheus Speaks: The Encyclopedia of Dream Interpreting

 

The Inner/outer worlds of the Everywhere and Everywhen of Experience

fractal_universe_by_csuk_1t-d5done0-1.jpg
The fractal universe

 

At a men’s group one morning we were discussing the topic of reconciliation and someone brought up how feeling of reconciliation never seemed permanent in that when they achieved it personally, the experience of being reconciled went away over a short time.

I think we all have had experiences, feelings, or ah ha’s where we experience joy, or satisfaction only to have it disappear over time. I’ve often heard about people who have experienced a transformational moment that seems to have changed their lives only to have it slip from their grasp in almost no time at all. Why is this? Why can’t we hold on to these moments? Is it because they’re not real?

I think it’s because the mind always objectifies things e.g. all input, so that it can be dealt with, and worked with. An “experience” is a subjective, non-concrete, almost ethereal “feeling.” The experience transcends the time and space in which it occurs. To objectify it, that is, to think about it is to lock it in time and place i.e., to try and hold onto it and then it loses its “experiential” quality.

This reminds me of the theory in quantum physics that suggests that every thing exists in superpositionality (everywhere and everywhen at the same time) until the field of superpositionality is collapsed into one place, one time. This, I think is a metaphor for what we do when we objectify an experience, we take it out of the realm of the ineffable, the everywhere/everywhen and fix it into one place and time. In the Australian Aborigine culture all time is the everywhen, for all time is the present, no past, no future, only now. And this idea is not limited to the native Australians for some physicists time is believed to be an abstraction, it’s not real. All that’s real is in the now (shades of Ram Dass’ “Be Here Now”).

The every when and where can be likened to a fractal image where every portion of the image reflects the total ad infinitem. Everything is in the one image–nothing of the whole is outside the parts, e.g. everything is recursive in that it repeats itself indefinitely, kind of like a recurring dream.

For those who have meditated and entered that state where all thoughts have ceased, time seems to stand still and space becomes infinite. It is only when we try to think about the experience do we collapse the super-positional everywhere/everywhen quality of it into an object locked in time and space.

We can have a memory of an experience, but it’s nearly impossible to live in the experience without putting a box around it e.g. by trying to understand it and categorize it. But even the memory of the experience is further polluted every time we bring the memory down from the bookshelf of our library of experiences and open its pages for review. For every time we look at a memory, who we are at that moment changes the memory. Because we grow, because we change the filters through which we observe our memories this also changes and effects not only the quality, but the substance of the memory. This change in ourselves is then projected onto whatever we observe and alters our experience of the reality.

Reconciliation, for some the process of becoming whole, of including differences and accepting diversity, is on-going and never remaining still, always a moving target. But every experience changes us, noticed or not. We are never the same person from moment to moment. What we are changed into then affects how we experience our past and our present. That is another reason the experience cannot be held on to because that which is holding on is not the same as when the experience was, well…experienced.

The whole idea of superpositionality, time and experience is dealt with in the book The Dragon’s Treasure: A Dreamer’s Guide to Inner Discovery .

Loss of the feminine, the rise of the Phoenix and in search of the androgynous.

 

2091bb35.jpg
Found on https://cgsociety.org/

As many of you know I have written a great deal on the need for balance within us and within our societies. Many psychologists and philosophers also subscribe to the idea that we are all developing psychosocially toward wholeness i.e. to be a fully individuated human being one needs to deal with their inner and outer opposites by learning to integrate them. For those individuals and those societies who ignore or actively suppress part of themselves an imbalance occurs that affects negatively all relationships and retards the growth process.

There are probably an infinite number of aspects reflected in the human personality but I’m choosing to focus on what I see is probably the most destructive to the concept of wholeness, not only to the individual, but to all societies as well.

Each of us was born with dual gender personality aspects. In each of us is a feminine and masculine set of traits that affect virtually everything we do, think, and feel or at the least how we express our doing-ness, thoughts, and feelings. Simply put, these are the feminine and masculine traits.

For example, a feminine trait might be intuitiveness, compassion, accepting, sharing, surrendering, and patient. The masculine traits might include assertiveness, decisiveness, strength, powerful, forceful, focused, and independent.

A male or society that has denied to any degree the feminine aspect tends to be oppressive, overpowering, aggressive, un-nurturing, loses touch with their emotions, uncompassionate, and concrete in thought. The female or society that ignores its masculine nature tends to compromise their integrity, independence, self-confidence, focus, and freedom.

Of course, all of us with varying degrees share these traits, it’s only when a person or society allows one or the other trait to dominate its cultural, or political, or personal ethic and activity that an imbalance is created and out of that imbalance certain levels of dysfunctionality begin to grow.

Over time many cultural traditions have denied full and equal spiritual and social equality to females. And these oppressions aren’t restricted to females either, because most societies also define what it is to be male and that definition almost always excludes the feminine aspects as the feminine definition usually excludes the male. Most of these differentiations and definitions have not only been codified in religions but in local and national politics and legal systems as well.

Essentially by separating the masculine from the feminine not only have we fragmented and compromised our ability to positively impact our relationships and society, we have also severely limited our ability to live life to its fullest.

By separating themselves from the positive feminine1 males have handicapped themselves emotionally, spiritually, and politically. Females who don’t claim their positive masculine traits contribute to their oppression as well. It is one thing to be accepting, patient, and gentle but it’s quite another to become a doormat and a second-class human being. A man without his feminine becomes spiritually rigid in thought and experience and has great difficulty understanding where and when emotions affect behavior. Probably the most destructive aspect of sexism other than the denial of fully half of what we are and what we’re capable of is the loss for both the male and female of their vast spiritual potential.

We also have an inborn creativity, but our oppressive nature has seriously compromised and debilitated this God given gift. It is this creativity that defines our experience of life. It’s what inspires and motivates us.

Ask yourself why we have done this to ourselves? Is it fear, fear of what, loss, self-control, survivability? Or is it the fear of death, the death of what, a belief, control, self-image, and/or status?

In our dreams the archetypes, inbred images, of our masculine and feminine natures show up as our opposite gender, females for the male and males for the female. Pay attention to them, what they’re doing, saying, or feeling, If you know them or know of them, what about their personality or behavior reflects something desired or rejected in your own life, or way of being?

Dream people often bring symbolic messages to aide the dreamer with personal growth issues as well as solutions to vexing problems and it is the opposite gender people who more often than not have the most important information to give.

In our dreams both waking and sleeping the Phoenix bird is often symbolic of the feminine aspect as the dragon can be a representative of the masculine. Note closely their relationship and what each may be trying to tell you. It is the feminine that is and needs to rise from the ashes created by the fire spitting dragons of the world. It is the dragon who needs to withhold his fire so as to be open to his other aspect.

 

A human being is part of the whole called by us 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 to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.         –Albert Einstein

 

____________________________

1 We all have both positive and negative aspects of either gender in us as well e.g. the negative female might be passive but without the masculine assertive trait it might then become passive aggressive, or overly manipulative.

The negative male can show up when the individual or society dismisses the value of the emotional, or compassionate and thus becomes dispassionate and overly aggressive.

The negative gender aspect is always there but only comes forward when denying equal validity and expression for either trait disrupts the gender balance in either the individual or society.

Readers may also be interested in the following link:

https://www.facebook.com/DivineFeminineSisterSacreds?filter=3

Cleaning out our ego’s house

spiritualawaking1.jpg
Spiritual Awakening

Houses in dreams are metaphors for the “us” that lives within our bodies– our inner self. It is our spiritual dwelling where the soul rests and looks out upon the world. The doors to its rooms reflect aspects of ourselves open and closed such as our sexual self, our feeling self, spiritual self, our intellectual self and how we cope with the world self. Furniture in our dream house reflects the habits, beliefs, attitudes and values with which we furnish the mind.

Whether we find our dream self in a flooding basement or locked in an attic the symbols tell us something about ourselves and how we are dealing with the world we live in.

It is in our dreams that we most often brush up against the soul and get a peek at the divine. In our meditations, daydreams and musings the divine can also intrude.

But where is this divine being really, in the sky, in the ocean, in a rock, in a church/tabernacle/temple/mosque/synagogue? Some say it is everywhere and some say it is within the heart of humankind alone.

In the Hindu religion the coconut is cracked open and offered in a ritual signifying that the hard exterior of the ego needs to be cracked open in order to get at the sweetness of the divine within. The sweet innards are also a symbol of transformation because the palm tree sucks up salty water and transforms it into the sweet water of the nut.

The Kingdom of god is within (amongst or in your midst) from luke 17:21 and in the King James version (i.e. it’s a spiritual kingdom) of the bible is also a version of the Spirit within you concept.

A poetic look at the path to God-realization is also found in the lines of the 13th century Persian poet Mahmud Shabistari:

“Go sweep out the chamber of your heart, make it ready to be the dwelling place of the Beloved,
when you depart, He will enter, 
in you, void of yourself, will He display His beauties.”

–Mystic Rose Garden, Mahmud Shabistari, as translated by E.H. Whinfield

 The Sufi musician and teacher Hazrat Inayat Khan says that in The Inner Life, a person needs to be whole to take the journey. His point is that one needs to get their basic self in tune with their higher self.

The basic truth is that before any spiritual light from our inner selves can come into consciousness various distortions of thinking need to be dealt with. This often takes a lot of personal work and that is why there isn’t much of it going on with the “immediate gratification” mentality and rigidly shallow awareness that exists in most places across the world.

 In our spiritual lives these days we spend far too much time battling with others about who has the best truth or which holy book uses the best words to describe what can’t be described with words. I suspect that all of this is a distraction and barrier to true spirituality.

Basically the differences in religions and the differences found within each e.g. protestant/catholic, orthodox or reform, Shia or Sunni, Mahayana or Theravada, Shaivism or Shaktism are only of the human ego and not of God.

The Spirit of life cannot be found in any place or any time but can be glimpsed within the heart of humankind but only if he or she has swept that heart clean of the nonessential ego rubbish thrown there.

We need to start cleaning out our house or be forever swamped by the garbage of the fearful ego. We need to clean out the rooms of our spiritual house so that we can welcome the Spirit in.

Simply put, God is not a Jew, a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Jain, a Hindu or a Christian– He is ONE and ALL.

Soul Dreams      

hands-khattaway-300x300.gifI’ve been having dreams of people and things where there are parts or aspects missing and dreams of my childhood and childhood home where I see things and people I haven’t seen in years. There’s a common meaning between these kinds of dreams, that of something lost, something that used to be there but is no longer.

There’s an ‘energy’ in each of the images of a dream, an energy associated with each of the aspects of ourselves. Sometimes when something is lost or missing or that was associated with some part of our childhood but no longer present our deeper self longs for the missing part. What’s lost could be an admired aspect such as hope, or a dream of the future, or a feeling of excitement, or love, or of peace, acceptance, potential, possibilities, esteem, or meaning.

The list can be endless for when young, everything is possible and then life happens and the possibilities get whittled away and we learn to let go of more and more of our dreams. All these energies of the self that have been filed away or shoved down into the unconscious want to be recognized, reenergized if you will, and brought back into the self that is you.

For me it is enchantment, awe, and significance that has been carved away from my core, the suppressed expressions of my soul. My dreams serve as healers to the wounds suffered by my soul self and reminders of who I am. A dream of my eleven year old self has an energy that I gave up over time and sometimes this aspect will return in the form of my childhood bedroom or a beloved, but now gone, family member or pet and serve as a guide to regaining the lost energy.

The process is often called “soul recovery”. We may have lost some part of ourselves due to some pain or abuse, some trauma or heartbreak but for whatever the reason we cannot feel complete until we have learned to bring home the missing aspects. They’re still there, these missing parts of ourselves, they’re still part of us.

The eleven year old is still in there with the same dream for his or her life and the essence of the dream can still be expressed only now we have tools and opportunities gained through age and hard fought for wisdom that can help us to harness our missing energies and express the basic core of the dream. But first we have to recall the messages of our inner self through the medium of our sleeping dreams for it is in these dreams that the soul is trying desperately to communicate with us what we are really here for.

Don’t give up on your soul dreams. Listen to that small quiet voice from within that wants you to know who and what you really are.

As I finished writing I pushed away from my desk and took a break, pulled on a jacket and stepped outside into a brightly crisp morning and bid the just rising sun a good day. As per my morning ritual I closed my eyes and welcomed my part of the earth into its new course– standing before each of the cardinal directions and whispering a heart-filled gratefulness. With each breath in and out I chanted the morning’s mantra, “Earth am I, air am I, fire and water and spirit am I. Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us”

I opened my eyes once again to the east and the sky was ablaze with gold, the distant trees dark silhouettes against its slowly strengthening glow. Turning to the North again and preparing to turn through the compass once more I was stopped in my tracks, for this morning the Earth had given me a new gift. Rising before me stood a brightly colored and full-arced rainbow with one foot planted near a Sycamore at the end of the street and the other stretching off to the south as though challenging me to follow.

The crows were flying out of the northwest on their morning pilgrimage and flew through the multicolored arc, winged black caricatures of the magical arts transformed into soaring messengers of joy. This is going to be a soul dream of a day.

What is REM sleep? What’s going on in there when you sleep?

 

maxresdefault.jpg

On occasion I’ve mentioned REM sleep. Some people have asked, “What is REM sleep?”

It stands for Rapid Eye Movement sleep and is the last stage of sleep where the EEG wave pattern is similar to the waking brain with some of the characteristics of both the alpha and beta states that are earlier states of sleeping. As a point of interest, the alpha state is also that same state that one finds themselves in when meditating, or when in “the zone,” or when daydreaming. Is this the state that a meditating Buddhist enters the mandala during a Tantric meditation (see below)?

REM is that time during sleep when we dream and when our eyes move rapidly under their lids as though tracking what they see, though that part of the theory has not been shown to be true. However, having said that there are those theories that continue to suggest an eye-brain correlation during REM sleep in that because of the discontinuous nature of most dreams, the brain is “looking” around the dream-scene trying to make sense of these discontinuities. We have these same discontinuities when awake, only the brain smoothes them all out and projects what looks like a linear presentation.

It has also been theorized that this jumping around of the mind’s eye during REM sleep may actually cause the sense of discontinuity and that the dream images actually come at us in an entirety which the mind then has to linearize (sort out) to make sense of it all. We may be doing this in the waking world as well which is why the concept of time (a construct of the mind that does not actually exist in the physical world) was created as a means of sorting it all out. It’s interesting how Tibetan Thangka paintings show the entire life of an individual in a circle surrounding the Buddha suggesting that the person’s life is all happening at once.

 

DSC02961.JPG
Mandala Thangka

“Time is nature’s way to keep everything from happening at once.”

J.A. Wheeler-Physicist

 

But let me get back to REM. During REM a normal person’s musculoskeletal system (which is your body movement system) is suppressed or shut down. Why? Well we don’t have solid answers for this, but we do have research that points to reasons for this. Some evidence suggests that one of the reasons for dreaming includes both memory consolidation and memory erasure. In the erasure mode, any memory that is not reinforced becomes weakened. Memories with physical reactions are strengthened through repeated physicality, thus those memories brought up during sleep would be less likely to be retained if there were no physical reinforcement. This ‘feedback loop’ is shut down during REM.

There’s also the added advantage that when we were all huddled together against the cold in our dark and lonely caves, the dreaming of the day’s physicality would not be reenacted to the annoyance of your neighbor you’d be punching and strangling thinking that you were being attacked by some Saber-tooth tiger. Of course this theory only holds up for ‘unwanted’ memories with some other activity being responsible for the retention of those memories needed for survival. But don’t dismiss the erasure concept too quickly because if our brains could not erase the unwanted (which is enormous when compared to the wanted) we would need bigger brains to hold it all. This is in fact what we see in animals who have huge brain mass compared to their body mass and who have no REM. As a matter of fact studies have shown that when someone is deprived of REM sleep for too long, the brain goes almost instantly into REM and resists any further attempt to prevent it. So REM seems to be an adaptation for those creatures with higher order neural network systems such as ours.

It also gives us many hours of entertainment projecting meaning onto the sleep visions that may or may not have any inherent meaning. But isn’t this pretty much like the rest of our lives where we are continuously projecting meaning onto every object, person or event? Seems to me that dream interpretation of meaning projection is a pretty non-confrontational way of looking at what’s going on inside of you and around you. And who knows, higher-level self-awareness may just be the next neural adaptation the evolving human is developing.

“It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature”

d5xp56c-6d8050ad-dc5a-496b-8d6c-0cf920ec1590.jpg
Its not nice to mess WITH MOTHER NATURE
by FrenzySadist
Watch
Fan Art / Manga & Anime / Traditional / Books & Novels©2013-2019 FrenzySadist

My wife and I were talking about an old television commercial about how a new margarine tasted so much like butter and the main character dressed as Mother Nature herself exclaimed, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature”. This got me to thinking about our troubled relationship with nature and that seems to have led me to a dream later that night.

It was a dream full of ruins, tidal waves, death and destruction, oceans turning into deserts, fires raging across the globe– an apocalypse, perhaps, but one of our own making, not God’s.

The planet does not need us in order to survive. We need it, so why are we killing it? Are we that arrogant that we think we can do whatever we want with it and that that won’t negatively affect the ability of the planet to sustain us?

The planet is like a spaceship hurtling through space. Though it isn’t the primary purpose of the ship, it gives us a means to feed and water ourselves, keep us protected from the freezing temperatures of space and provides us with oxygen to breathe. That’s all well and good and it’s all incidental to the journey that spaceship Earth is on i.e. we can use it as long as we behave ourselves, but this ship is self-regulating and when something threatens it will fix the problem so as to continue the journey. And the “fix” could be accomplished by getting rid of the part that is causing the trouble and replace it with something more reliable.

I think we better stop being the problem that needs to be fixed perhaps we too need to be more self-regulating in a more harmonious way with this planetary ship we’re all traveling on?

Certain self-serving elements have turned the plea for a sustainable economy into a political tool. This only distracts those easily distracted in order that they may be manipulated to support an unsustainable agenda, the unfettered domination of the few over the many. They’ve also developed a profound ignorance of what it takes to sustain a livable eco-culture and it is this ignorance that allows them to ignore the evidence that they are gravely affecting the ability of the ecosystem to sustain us, all of us. Their greed and obsession with the need to control is choking the planet. But the planet will retaliate and either reduce or exterminate the threat– the bigger the threat, the bigger the reduction.

Perhaps it’s time the easily distracted woke up from their stupor, their self-created delusions, and say “enough is enough”. The planet doesn’t care about our greed, our politics, our ignorance, our beliefs, our religions, what we want or don’t want, or our self-serving ignorance. If we become too much a problem for it we will go the way of other species who couldn’t adapt to it’s primary goal, sustainability i.e. perpetuation of itself with or without us.

Bottom line, the planet doesn’t need us to survive, but we might be providing it reason to get rid of us in order for it to survive.

So what to do…well, might you want to hold the big picture in mind while you act on local needs and initiatives, as local as what goes into your dinner and into your garbage? Think about it with only minor discomforts, you can actually save the world!