Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Letter To Mitch



This is a letter I wrote to a long-distance friend back in '97, in an effort to explain New Age/metaphysical thought, which in his opinion, was bollocks. Don't know if he still thinks so, but he broke off the friendship because he could not relate to my interest in such things. He did appreciate this letter, though.

Mitch is a talented musician (jazz pianist). He put a couple of my song lyrics to music, did a fine job.

So, heeeeeere's the letter:

Dear Mitch,

Your letter is giving me an opportunity, which I appreciate, to set forth as clearly as I can what the "New Age" consciousness is about. I'll respond to some points you brought up and expand on them as I see fit.

You reiterate several times that you don't think the workings of Life are comprehensible, implying that metaphysical thought is simplistic. In truth the subject is vast, the ideas complex, beginning with the difficulty of understanding "God." This brings us to what seems to be central to your philosophy--a disbelief in a God or any kind of cosmic order. Then; we come from nowhere, are going nowhere, and all that happens is a chance occurrence. In light of this, I wonder how you find astrology personally meaningful. The key to its workings are to be found in the esoteric dictum: "As above, so below." The microcosm reflects the macrocosm. Thus, we live in an orderly universe, and nothing happens by chance.

"How could each individual have the kind of power for such mastery?" you ask, referring to the concept that we create our own reality. Well, it's certainly the case that most of us, not being in touch with our abilities, are unable to make much use of it. Hypnosis has shown us the ease with which a person can be manipulated under its influence; most of us are hypnotized by our beliefs, and this is faithfully reflected in our experience.

The New Age mantra of You Create Your Own Reality (YCYOR) has been shown to be valid by the science of quantum physics. The double-blind procedure came into being in scientific experimentation, based on the quantum understanding that there is no such thing as an objective observer--the expectations of the researchers have a definite impact on the results. The same, of course, is true outside the research lab.

The parable "Before The Law" in Kafka's The Trial, illustrates in exaggerated form, how we can limit ourselves through our beliefs. For years, the man from the country pleads with the doorkeeper that he be allowed to pass through the door of the Law, even though the door is always open and the doorkeeper, though refusing admission, tells the man to try it "if you're that tempted." Hypnotized by what he sees as the power and authority of the doorkeeper, the man from the country can only languish there, his entreaties turning to mutters. Only at the moment before his death does he discover that the door was meant for him all along. He asks: "Everyone strives to reach the Law, so how does it happen that for all these many years no one but myself has ever begged for admittance?" The doorkeeper recognizes that the man has reached his end, and, to let his failing senses catch the words, roars in his ear: "No one else could ever be admitted here, since this gate was made only for you. I am now going to shut it."

The door was meant for him because he was meant to achieve mastery through self-determination; but he projects his own potential mastery onto the doorkeeper. The esoteric law of "as above, so below" here implies that we are one with the "above" (God, the macrocosm, the universe), but we have to understand and align with this law in order to become free. This is an example of the synthesis of polarity, in which the two poles, of being subject to law and of being free, are unified. "Becoming one with the law, we ourselves become the law." - Thorwald Dethlefsen, The Challenge of Fate.

An essential point about polarity is that the two poles depend on each other to exist. You bring up the subject of opposites in comparing the political Left with the Right. Without the Left there would be no Right and vice versa. As you said, the resolution is in the merging of the two--a synthesis--resulting in their forming a unity. You speak of "the evil of monism", but without monism there would be no pluralism. Much of Jung's work dealt with the integration and unification of the opposites; he pointed to the ouroboros, the snake that eats its own tail, as the archetype of this alchemical process.

You see the "belief creates reality" concept as "solipsistic, narcissistic." I would say that description fits the conventionally subjective point of view, wherein it seems obvious that the self is separate and without power over the myriad influences in the "outer" world. It takes a leap of faith, an openness, to entertain the possibility that there may be more to "reality" than can be perceived by us. To paraphrase the Bard: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Mitch, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." With our limited consciousness, we don't see the whole picture. The drama unfolds on the screen of our minds, but that screen isn't big enough to take it all in.

You say that "Pluralism does not--as you misunderstood--state that truth can be found in many places because that implies a metaphysical unity that pluralism rejects (the implication being that all those places are reunited spiritually somewhere, as in, for example, some higher level, that all religions teach the same thing ad nauseum). Instead pluralism states that there are many truths." But upon investigating the different religions (as distinct from the churches) it becomes clear that they all do teach the same thing. Only the trappings are different. And if we were to examine seriously all the different truths, we would find the one truth behind them.

I found your Thomas Moore quote on blame interesting because it dovetails rather precisely with metaphysical thought. As the generator of our experience, it is up to us to accept responsibility for all of it, not in the sense of blaming ourselves, but with the understanding that the world is a mirror of our consciousness (individual and collective); of who we are and what we think.

Now this does not mean we're doomed unless we constantly police our thoughts: "Since you have all kinds of thoughts, there are reasons for having them, as you have all kinds of geography. This does not mean that you have to collect what you think of as negative thoughts, any more than it means that you should spend a month in the desert if you do not like them. It DOES mean that within nature as you understand it, nothing is meaningless or to be pretended out of existence." --Seth channeled by Jane Roberts, The Nature of Personal Reality. So much for the widespread perception that New Age thinking insists on an arsenal of positive thoughts to shoot down the enemy of negative ones.

Again, we don't see the whole picture, which is why we perceive people and things as being separate and unconnected. But there is tangible evidence of our connectedness, i.e. in biofeedback, wherein the electrical system of the instruments and that of the body become one, and in Kirlian photography, whcih shows that everything is charged with electricity of high voltage frequency, interpenetrating and emanating out of the whole system. The universe is a single living entity.

This does presuppose a God or Creator or First Cause to which all is connected. Separation and connection here form a polarity which become unified through experiencing the pain of this separation, and in seeking the connection, we find it has been there all along.

But in the final analysis, one cannot understand God through the rational intellect, logic, or the five senses, but through feelings and intuition. Those who profess not to believe in a God (I was for some years one of them), usually experience the energy of the Divine in some way, be it art, music, or anything that lifts the mind and emotions above the muck of the mundane.

When I was considering the points here, I went for a walk, ending up at a playground by a lake. I sat on a bench, planning to read my book, and there, facing me, sitting in four adjacent baby swings, were two pairs of twins: identical twin boys and identical twin girls. Their age was about three, they were all about the same size, and each twin pair was dressed the same. I remember the boys' outfits well; they were quite the young dandies in bright yellow sweatshirts, blue trousers, and green plaid caps. The twins were being pushed on the swings by a white-haired man, perhaps a grandfather, who was clearly fond of them.

I wondered what the odds were of this kind of thing happening. I mused that I could probably go all over the world, visiting playgrounds, and never see what was now in front of me. The twins were adorable as well as identical, and I thought of helping to push them, but I thought that might be a little over-familiar for a first meeting.

It occurred to me that this event had some correspondence with the ideas I've beens exploring in this letter. The twin boys and twin girls were a pair of complementary opposites; each was physically (and, it seemed psychically) "one with" their twin; and the two pairs formed a unity, side by side on the swings.

The boys especially caught my interest because of their overflowing humor and cheerfulness. Their dark eyes sparkled as they smiled and laughed nonstop. Later I went over to them when they were playing in the sand, and asked the obvious question, just to make contact: "Are you twins?"

"YES!" Clearly they were pleased to confirm this fact, even to someone like me, slow on the uptake. "That's what I thought," I said, and they went back to their playing.

We're all identical at the core of our beings, and we're all capable of living with as much joy and enthusiasm as those little boys. I guess this is the meaning of the Biblical passage: "Unless you become as a little child, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven." I hesitate to quote the Bible because so much of it has become distorted through the ages, but I certainly felt the truth of those words on that day.

At the time, I was wearing my pendant with the yin/yang design, the Oriental symbol for the polarity and synthesis of all things in the universe. A coincidence, of course...?

You say that you and I are "fundamental opposites", that we "disagree on so many things." It seems we form a polarity of opposing belief systems. How to bring this, and our friendship, to unity, synthesis? Well, as I've said before, we can agree to disagree!


From your fun. opposite,


Jenifer

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Purpoise






In Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland, there is a song called "The Lobster Quadrille", that begins:


"Will you walk a little faster?" said a whiting to a snail.
"There's a porpoise close behind us, and he's treading on my tail.
See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
They are waiting on the shingle--will you come and join the dance?"


Later, Alice reflects on how she would deal with the inconsiderate porpoise:

`If I'd been the whiting,' said Alice, whose thoughts were still running on the song, 'I'd have said to the porpoise, "Keep back, please: we don't want you with us!"'

`They were obliged to have him with them,' the Mock Turtle said: `no wise fish would go anywhere without a porpoise.'

`Wouldn't it really?' said Alice in a tone of great surprise.

`Of course not,' said the Mock Turtle: `why, if a fish came to me, and told me he was going a journey, I should say "With what porpoise?"'

`Don't you mean "purpose"?' said Alice.
`I mean what I say,' the Mock Turtle replied in an offended tone.

Porpoise--purpose. A clever play on words, something for which Lewis Carroll aka Charles Dodgson was justly famous. It's intriguing to think that the different porpoises possess different qualities which serve the fish on their aqueous journeys. And, following Carroll's example of the "portmanteau words" used in the famous poem "Jabberwocky", we can ask ourselves, when we set off on our various pilgrimages, whether they be over land, sea, or consciousness: "With what purpoise?"

A comprehensive approach to the subject of purpose/purpoise can be found in the
branch of psychotherapy called "logotherapy", conceived and developed by Viktor Frankl. Logotherapy focuses on healing through finding meaning (logos = meaning) in our experience here and now, rather than, as in traditional therapy, rummaging through our past to find how it may be influencing us in the present. In this context, "meaning" can be considered to be analogous with "purpose." It is what motivates and informs our thoughts and actions at any given moment.

Frankl was a survivor of Auschwitz, and had begun his treatise on logotherapy prior to his internment. He arrived there with the manuscript sewn into the lining of his coat, but it was discovered, and despite his pleas, it was sneeringly confiscated, along with all of his other personal items. This was his initiation into a journey (internment/internship?) that taught him about the meaning that could be found in even the most abysmal of life experiences. He shared those experiences and insights in his classic book, Man's Search For Meaning.

The core of his philosophy can be found in his quote of Nietzsche:
"He who has a WHY to live for can bear almost any HOW." All through Frankl's ordeal, it was brought home to him that that those who held on to their hopes, a vision that gave their lives meaning, whatever that might be--a project to be completed, loved ones waiting for them--were the ones who had the best chance of survival. Stripped of all the accoutrements of their previous identities, reduced to their prisoner ID numbers, the most important attribute of their humanity remained: "Everything can be taken from a man but...the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's attitude in any
given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

Finding purpose does not always entail suffering, of course, and does not always mean having a great and noble mission in life, at least not as generally perceived. The idea that we must accomplish great things in life can actually be a hindrance to realizing our potential. Purpose is not something "out there", a mirage shimmering in the distance, ever receding as we advance. Rather, we are "on purpose" when we fully embrace each moment in all its uniqueness and power. The Now moment is all we have, and as we are fully present in the moment, one with our breath, with our beating heart, we are one with the breath and heart of All. There is great power in peacefulness, in stillness and silence. There are holy men in the East who choose to remain in their caves, meditating on universal peace and love, sending those vibrations out to the world. This is their service, the purpose they have chosen for their lives.

To take another example from literature, "Pollyanna" by Eleanor H. Porter, generally regarded as a classic, can also be seen as a powerful spiritual guide. Pollyanna, a young girl whose parents have passed away, comes to live with her aunt Polly, who feels very put upon by this intrusion into her well-ordered, sterile life, but is resolved to "do her duty" in caring for the girl. Pollyanna, whose father was a minister, learned from him a "glad game", which consisted of always finding something to be glad about in any situation--an example of the attitudinal freedom that is the focus of Frankl's work. The irrepressible Pollyanna does much good in her contacts with the people in town, winning many converts to the glad game. Following the book's publication, "glad groups" formed across the country, practicing and sharing its principles. Purpose is something that grows and builds upon itself, ever reaching for greater and broader expression.

Alice, too, inadvertently discovers a much greater purpose in her experiences in Wonderland than the one she originally conceived, to "get into that beautiful garden": "Oh, how she longed to get out of that dark hall, and wander about among those beds of bright flowers and those cool fountains, but she could not even get her head
through..." She cries the Pool of Tears when she finds she has grown so large she cannot escape from the hall into the garden. "Who in the world am I?" she asks herself as she sits in the rising flood of tears--a question later echoed in the Caterpillar's contemptuous words: "You! Who are YOU?" Although her soul-searching is, in childlike fashion, limited to wondering whether she's turned into one of her friends--Ada? Mabel?--she's begun the process of inner growth and self-discovery, which is often uneven--thus her constantly changing size--and lonely: "I am so VERY tired of being all alone down here!"

When at last she does get into the garden, she realizes that those who are seemingly so powerful and far above her have their own very real limitations, thinking to herself: "Why, they're only a pack of cards, after all. I needn't be afraid of THEM!"
In the conclusion, Alice is called to "give evidence" in court, ("Who Stole The Tarts?") and The Queen, acting completely in character, insists the sentence be passed before the verdict. Alice contradicts her vigorously: "The idea of having the sentence first!"


"Hold your tongue!" said the Queen, turning purple.
"I won't!" said Alice.
"Off with her head!" the Queen shouted at the top of her lungs. Nobody moved.
"Who cares for YOU?" said Alice (who had grown to her full size by this time). "You're
nothing but a pack of cards!"

In voicing this thought, she incurs the wrath of them all: "At this, the entire pack rose up in the air and came flying down upon her", and as she tries to beat them off, she wakes to find her sister brushing some dead leaves off her face.

Through her Wonderland adventures, Alice grows in awareness of her own worth and power, seeing the flimsiness and the unreality of the prevailing attitudes in those who would dismiss her or cancel her out, without knowing anything about her other than that which is immediately obvious, e.g.: "Rule forty-two: All persons more than a mile high are to leave the court." As Alice speaks out against these attitudes, having grown to her full size both physically and spiritually, she wakes up from the dream:
the dream we each call our life, the drama that leads to our awakening, the reclaiming of our personal power, and dominion over our own limiting and erroneous judgments of self and others. It is this awakening that may be our ultimate purpose.

Many people I encounter lately, reflecting on the state of the world today, are hard pressed to find any purpose in their lives at all, and see little hope for us individually or collectively. Thousands of years ago, Cicero was similarly distressed at the corruption of the politicians in Rome, lamenting: "Oh Tempora! O Mores!" ("Oh, the times! Oh, the customs!") He himself, though, refused to give up on the possibility of positive change, holding to a vision of transformation in government and a "golden age" that may yet transpire globally. It is here now, for those of us who do the best we can to connect with the "purpoise" in our existence--moment by precious moment.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Time for Infinite Tea

I've joined the Oxford Book Club discussion about
Alice in Wonderland, it's off to a good start, though
I wish it would go a little faster. Lots I could say about
that book, I've been hooked on both Alice books since
I first read them at age eight or so.

Anyway, this is the kind of thing that can come out
of your pen when you grow up in Alice-Land...

On A Night Like This

Walking at night, down the streets
of quiet houses,
the air is misty,
the night is mystery.

In a lighted window, a silver tea service gleams.
I can see how nice it would be,
sitting there, taking tea,
eating little cakes
that make you grow taller or smaller
or even stay the same.
Somewhere a dog barks,
my soft footsteps, so seldom heard
on the street at night,
threaten his world.

Someone drives up, stops his car,
sits there staring at me, as if he's waiting
for a sign. I make my escape,
crossing the street quickly,
eyes straight ahead into the mist.

What if I had gone with him?
On a night like this, anything can happen.
That man with the beckoning eyes
might have been the Mad Hatter
in disguise, looking for an Alice
to partake with him, at that lighted window,
an impromptu
Tea For Two.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Poetry Contests

POETRY CONTESTS

I've been looking at a list of poetry contests at the Poets and Writers
site (www.pw.org), wondering if I ought to try my luck.

And it struck me that the very act of writing a poem is a contest of sorts--
a contest between inertia and the urge for self-expression, between
settling for mediocrity or reaching for one's personal best. Of
course, that could be said of any art or discipline.
And the "prize" is the satisfaction (short-lived though
it may be) of in one way or another, giving form to our vision...

Well, poetic philosophizing aside, I have entered a couple of poetry
contests in my time. The first, when I was 19, was sponsored
by the so-called National Library of Poetry,(now gone "international"):
http://windpub.com/literary.scams/ilp.htm

This is the poem I submitted:

MY GARDEN

The seeds of my uncertainty
were strewn by a drunken gardener,
flinging great handfuls
into the welcoming soil.
He waters the plants with good red wine
and they daily grow taller.
It's quite an exotic assortment,
wouldn't you like to see my prize psychoses?
My delicate pink-and-blue neuroses?

My father, who has also written poetry among other things,
and actually won a poetry prize in college, was inspired to
enter the contest, too! (I don't recall his poem--sorry, Dad.)
Of course, he was accepted as a semi-
finalist, as was I, along with everyone else who entered,
and published in an anthology, which of course we bought.

Now there's a contest for this contest! Clearly this is the kind of thing
that feeds on itself.

Info about the contest:

http://www.winningwriters.com/contests/wergle/we_guidelines.php

From that page:

Guidelines for the Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

Now in its sixth year. We seek the best humor poem that has been sent to a "vanity poetry contest" as a joke. Cash prizes totaling $3,336.40 will be awarded, up from $1,609 in the previous contest. This contest is free to enter. Click here to read the winning entries from our 2006 contest.

Background

The Wergle Flomp Poetry Contest is inspired by Wergle's creator, poet David Taub. Mr. Taub submitted "Flubblebop" to poetry.com's ongoing contest to see what would happen.

Flubblebop
by Wergle Flomp

flobble bobble blop
yim yam widdley woooo
oshtenpopple gurby
yip yip yip
nish-nash nockle nockle
opfem magurby voey
Ahh! "Wurby tictoc?"
"quefoxenjib masaloouterp!"
bim-burm nurgle shliptog
afttowicky wicky wicky
erm addmuksle slibberyjert!
Reqi stoobery bup dinhhk
yibberdy yobberdy hif twizzum moshlap
dwisty fujefti coppen smoppen dob
tigtog turjemy fydel
saxtenvurskej brisleywum
swiggy swiggy swug
yumostipijjle dobers!

--end quote.

Of course, Wergle got a very encouraging reply from
poetry.com, assuring him he was in the running as a semi-finalist,
and mentioning the beautiful coffee-table anthology of beautiful poems,
including Wergle's of course, that they planned on publishing, just in case
he wanted to purchase one. (It seems these anthologies now go
for about $50.) The title had already been chosen: Promises of
Love. (It strikes me that "Flubblebop" is particularly apropos to that theme...)

Perhaps I will enter this in the Wergle Flomp Contest. Isn't it beautiful?

THE CORRIDOR OF DREAMS

I slink up to you
in the corridor of dreams
you stare straight ahead
and I ask myself:
what's the point of it all?
Why be? Why me?

I've been thrust into a world
I never knew
a world I never felt was true
I miss you
though you are here beside me
staring straight ahead
in the corridor of dreams

the corridor that leads somewhere,
someday, somehow,
and I am somebody,
everybody, nobody
in the eternal now,
slinking through the corridor of dreams
that's all I know
but i time perhaps I will know more
or perhaps no more will I know
nevermore
quoth the raven

Monday, March 26, 2007

Bodymind, Heal Thyself

This article appeared in the magazine Living Nutrition (now called Vibrance), which espouses the holistic health approach called Natural Hygiene. In the past, Natural Hygiene has been mostly focused on the physical aspects of health and healing, but it is now incorporating the aspects of consciousness--our thoughts and emotions.




"Living Nutrition" does not refer solely to the fresh raw fruits and vegetables that bring living energy to our physical bodies. As well, it refers to the words we use, the thoughts we think, spoken or silent. "Words are alive," wrote Emerson, "cut them and they bleed." Yes, words are alive, the energies of our thoughts attract corresponding energies, and our "mental diet" is as important as the food we chew (or eschew).

The science of quantum physics has discovered that "reality" is an illusion created by observation and/or consciousness. The double-blind procedure in scientific experimentation was developed as a result of the quantum understanding that there is no such thing as an observer who is completely independent of that which is observed; the expectations of the researcher have a definite outcome on the findings of the experiment. The same can be said of the person on the street, whose life, whether he knows it or not, is his own experiment.

The implications of this, where our health is concerned, should be clear. For example, a friend was telling me about her mother's recent surgery for her arthritis. She mentioned the slight arthritis she herself had in her knee; she was certain she was headed down the same path as her mother. When I told her that her expectations of this would only make it more likely that it would actually happen, because of the power of our thoughts and beliefs, she was unconvinced. She had, unfortunately, completely accepted both on conscious and subconscious levels that arthritis was an inevitable part of aging. The idea that we will deteriorate physically and mentally as we age is accepted by most people in our society, and by the same principle of belief and "reality" creation, most are proven right in their own experience.

It isn't easy to break through concepts and beliefs that have crystallized over time, but with patience, persistence, and a strong desire to change, it can be done. By changing our thoughts and beliefs from negative and destructive to positive and uplifting, we can bring about beneficial changes in ourselves and in our experience.

This doesn't mean that we're "to blame" for any of our experiences, which we've attracted to ourselves for a reason--perhaps simply so that we can recognize we want something different for ourselves. Ask yourself, "Why have I drawn this condition into my life?" (This can refer to any aspect of your experience.) For example, where a physical problem is concerned, we need to look within to discern the thought processes and beliefs behind the symptom(s), for without this understanding, we may simply exchange one dis-ease for another. Of course, this in no way precludes looking at our health practices, the factors of diet and exercise. An orientation to health should naturally be accompanied by a common-sense awareness of these factors–-an example of the Biblical wisdom, "Faith without works is dead."

We must also recognize that people often consciously or unconsciously choose to
be sick, for reasons of their own--witness the child who doesn't want to go to school, and in play-acting an illness, may find he can actually produce the symptoms. Similarly, many become sick to get love and attention, or to punish themselves, or simply to get some time out, some much-needed rest. Wordsworth's poem, "The World Is Too Much With Us," says it all. In this case, our challenge may be to create enough time and space for self-nurturing, in whatever way that works for us, so that we don't need illness as an escape hatch.

We shouldn't deny or fight any of our thoughts or feelings, but become aware of them nonjudgmentally, releasing them in whatever way we can. In the case of anger, for example, pummeling a pillow, or writing an angry letter and then throwing it away, can often dissipate our hostile energy. We hurt ourselves much more than the person we're mad at when we persist in nursing grievances, or when we hold a long-continued pattern of thinking negatively--although we can allow for the occasional "dark thought," like the occasional dietary lapse. True health involves paying attention to what is going on within us and what we are feeling on physical, mental and emotional levels.

Martin Seligman, Ph.D., in his book, Learned Optimism, describes the pessimistic and optimistic approaches to life, which he dubs "explanatory styles." He concludes that optimism is linked to better overall functioning, better health, and longevity, as compared to pessimism, which is linked to "learned helplessness," (a "what's-the-use" attitude based on past disappointments), self-blame, and, not surprisingly, depression. It's possible, however, with cognitive therapy, to change mental patterns from pessimism to optimism. Seligman describes a two-year study of forty patients with melanoma and colon cancer, in which it was shown that cognitive therapy, accompanied by relaxation training, was effective in boosting the immune system. T-cells went way up in these patients, and not at all in a control group.

Despite the evidence of such studies, many scientists and doctors cling to the materialist worldview. In the mechanistic approach of most allopathic medicine, the body is seen as an aggregate of parts, without taking into consideraton the workings of the whole or the influence of consciousness. Going to the other extreme, some systems of thought assert that the body is totally under the control of the mind, negating the importance of such things as diet and exercise.

The power of one's thoughts to influence the course of illness is graphically demonstrated in the well-known "placebo effect." One's belief in the agent of healing, which may be a simple sugar or bread pill, has the power to stimulate the healing processes of the body. An amazing example is related by Deepak Chopra in his book Quantum Health. Patients suffering from nausea were given a pill they were told was a powerful anti-nausea drug. The patients experienced relief from the pill, which actually was a nausea-inducing drug.

Most people have probably heard the old saw: "Every day, in every way, I am getting better, and better, and better." Don't dismiss the power of this seemingly innocuous statement! At the beginning of this century, Dr. Emile Coue, who originated the saying, prescribed it to his patients, advising them to repeat the words aloud five times a day. According to Dr. Paavo Airola, in his book Worldwide Secrets Of Staying Young, the prescription worked, as they did get better, and better, and better. Reportedly, thousands of people who used this method overcame a wide variety of illnesses.

I'd like to conclude this article with a true story of the healing powers of the mind. At age 22, Mitchell May suffered massive injuries in an accident. He was told by doctors that his right leg would have to be amputated, as they considered that it would never be usable again. The was extensive loss of bone and muscle, the nerve loss was, they said, impossible to regenerate, and the leg was dangerously infected. However, Mitchell, following his inner guidance despite incredible pain, refused to go that route. Doctors were so opposed to his decision, they nearly obtained a court order for an amputation.

A healer, Jack Gray, began working with Mitchell to reprogram his subconscious mind so that he would no longer feel pain from his injuries, thus enabling his body to focus its energies on healing. Soon, Mitchell found he could control whether or not he experienced pain. Jack also worked on opening him to his self-healing abilities.

What happened over the next few months was considered medically impossible: the missing bone, nerves, bone marrow, and most of the muscle in the leg regenerated. Ultimately, Mitchell was completely healed of his injuries.

Again, there are many facets to health and healing, and they all work together. Our mental diets are just one aspect of the whole. Raising our awareness in this area has a synergistic effect, naturally leading us to greater awareness of our needs in other areas, such as exercise, diet, breathing, and fulfillment of our highest goals and life purpose. But, to paraphrase a familiar saying: "A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single mental/emotional step."

"Every day, in every way..."

Friday, March 23, 2007

ECSTASY (not the drug)

Growing in my heart
is a flowering tree,
flowing love to all parts,
each nerve vibrates in me,
I feel a shaking,
no mistaking

Ecstasy
I'm breaking through
Ecstasy
all is new
Ecstasy shows me what is true.

Come here and hold me,
you know I love you,
sometimes I get lonely
and I don't know what to do,
I must not lose sight
of that living light,

Ecstasy
plant the seeds
pull the weeds
on Ecstasy my garden feeds.

Always you inspire,
there's so much to see
as I'm climbing higher
your loving alchemy
transforms and creates,
opening the gates

of Ecstasy,
take a bow,
just allow
Ecstasy
you can feel it now.

Whether we're together or apart
you'll hear my song of love,
you have a hold on my heart,
ring me up on telepathy,
sing with me,

Ecstasy
comes to be
naturally,

Ecstasy is you and me.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

SUPER BEING

After Christopher Reeve died a few years ago, I had a dream
wherein he was swimming past me in a river, his arms and body
moving smoothly and rhythmically through the water. He took no notice of me, completely
absorbed in the swim, and it strikes me now that it was like
a meditation in motion. My Psychic Dictionary lists
"classic symbol of God" as one of the meanings of "water"; also that "liquids are lifegiving
because they flow and move about, while lifeless things are still." In that dream,
I felt Reeve was reveling in his new-found sensations and movement, in the
flowing and moving about, after the enforced stillness of paralysis; he was
swimming in his Godhood, his Super Being.

If anyone deserves to experience this, he does.

About ten years ago, it was a great shock when I picked up the newspaper in a coffee house and saw Reeve's photo and the front-page report that he had been paralyzed
from the neck down in a horse riding accident,
and as I sat there, sipping my coffee, I began to ruminate on the
irony of this happening to the man who as an actor had been most
identified with Superman in the public mind.

This was not lost on the media or on the public; the
extremity of Reeve's condition, and his bravery in coping with it, led to
Time magazine's cover story, "Super Man," August 1996. Yet Reeve didn't
want to be stuck with that label or role: "It bothers me when people
say, `you played Superman, now you are Superman.' They mean well, but
they don't know what I go through in the middle of the night. I don't
know. I suppose that if part of the definition of Superman is that you
keep going even when you feel like shit, then I suppose I do
reasonably well."

I, for one, would agree with that view of Superman as a real person
with real struggles. Perhaps it's time we redefined the caped crusader: who
is the *real* Superman? And what affinities does he have with the man who
brought him to life on the screen for us all?

One of Superman's outstanding characteristics is his honesty, his
moral uprightness--as he said to Lois Lane: "I never lie." And,
reflecting on his past experience with the disabled, Reeve showed his
unusual integrity in his admission of the discomfort he had felt,
prior to his accident, visiting disabled fans in the hospital: "It was
heartbreaking...but you would always have to admit to that secret sigh
of relief as you close the door and go back to your own life. On the
way out, I would say, `Oh, thank God.' And now I'm on the other side
of the door. And I have to be the one to stay in the room and be the
one with the problem."

It is common to feel uncomfortable upon encountering differences in others,
because they challenge us to expand and
understand, to adapt, to see in them that human essence that we all
have in common, beyond appearances. This lesson is brought home
in a particularly forceful manner by finding ourselves "on the other side of the door."
If this can happen so easily, literally in an eye-blink, a strange somersault of a man, of fate--as in Reeve's case--what then does it mean to be "normal" or "disabled"--or "super"?
One of Reeve's nurses, a man named Juice, would tell him, "You are here for a
reason." He disagreed: "It was an accident. It just happened." But
as the saying goes, there are no accidents...

Reeve said that when he first learned the realities of his
condition, he felt that he was no longer a human
being. I'm sure he gained a broader perspective on this. It's been
said that there's really no such thing as a handicapped
person--there's only experience and growth. What may look like a
tragedy may be an opportunity for transcendence.

Many have difficulty seeing anything positive in disability,
and this is partly due to the Western view of life as a one-shot deal, the perception that death of the body is the end of a person. There is, however, much evidence for the continuity of life,
the survival of the spirit. A lawyer has even made a case for this, at http://www.victorzammit.com/ . In this light, disability and other challenging experiences can be seen less as a bum rap and more as simply a learning process.

Which is not to say we shouldn't rise above our limitations insofar
as possible. "We're entitled to something more in life," said Reeve,
speaking for the spinal-injured and, perhaps unwittingly, for all
who are faced with limitations, which may well mean every single one of us.
And: "It's what you do after a disaster that gives it meaning."

In the Superman movies starring Reeve, he is often depicted as a
Christ-like or godlike being, as in the words of Superman's father
Jor-El to his son, who he named Kal-El: "It is now time for you to rejoin your new world,
and to serve its collective humanity. Live as one of them, Kal-El, to
discover where your strength and power are hidden...they can be a
great people, Kal-El. They wish to be. They only lack the light to
show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I
have sent them you...my only son." And the Daily Planet's news chief
to staffers: "Whichever one of you talks to him will have the most
important interview since God talked to Moses."

Superman, with his X-ray vision, ability to fly, courage, and
incredible strength (which could only be felled by Kryptonite--as a
disabled character in Iris P. Dart's novel When I Fall In Love
commented, the substance was "named after us"), does embody our
concept of what we see as godlike. But those abilities exist for each
of us, potentially, on an inner level. Just as the Bible's truth is
told in symbol and parable, so may the story of Superman be also.
Clark Kent becomes the nervous, inept persona
we perceive ourselves to be until we "take off" that garment and access our
true power; X-ray vision becomes the ability to see beyond appearances; flying
through the air becomes transcendence, rising above limitations; and
strength and courage may come down to the heroic unsung struggle:
"...you keep going even when you feel like shit..."

As Jor-El enjoined his son, Reeve lived as one of us,
discovering his hidden strength and power, showing us all that Super Beings do indeed come in many
different guises. And I'm sure Reeve, as he played his greatest role, would have echoed Superman when
thanked for delivering Lex Luthor and his sidekick to prison: "No, sir, don't thank me. We're all part of the same team."

Monday, February 5, 2007

Smokin', Trippin', Dreamin'

                    
                    The Caterpillar took the hookah
                    from its mouth and said:

                    "WHO are YOU?
                    What do you do?
                    Are you happy or blue?
                    False or true?"

                    Alice answered:

                    "I hardly know, sir...
                    my life's in a whir,
                    my mind is a blur,
                    I've not a dollar nor a diller.
                    So pass that hookah, Caterpillar,
                    or I'll crush ya, that's for sher."



                    "Caterpiggle wiggle
                    You sure are plush
                    Think I'll sit on you
                    plants her tush

                    So whatz yer vision?
                    Whatz the vista?
                    Fill this hookah
                    Wontcha mistah…"

                    *~*~*~*~*~*~*

                    "Cracked my head
                    open. Colored rain
                    Fall'd skyward from
                    My swirling brain.

                    In a minute
                    Knew it all
                    Now you kin, Alice
                    Though yer small…

                    But one puff
                    is definitely not enough"



                    Alice said:

                    "Be quiet, bug,
                    Don't push yer drug,
                    You plushy lug.

                    I'm saving room
                    for the 'shroom.
                    Then I'll ZOOM.
                    Wmmvrrvrrmmmvvrrvrrvrrrrrrrmmmmm..."


                    "Hmm I see,
                    my Alice chile,
                    what's behind
                    that dainty smile…

                    'Shroom indeed,
                    but for that
                    yewl have to see
                    the Cheshire Cat.

                    Two puffs then
                    before yer gone
                    from me silly
                    billy bong…"


                    "Oh fuzzy one, yer really trippin',
                    perhaps you should slow down a bit?
                    I mean the 'shroom on which we're sittin',
                    me on you and you on it.

                    From nibblin' this mound
                    I could get taller or smaller
                    dependin' on which side,
                    and thass a toughie, 'cause, you see,
                    it's perfectly round.

                    Whatevah--it'll be a wild ride!"



                    "Harrumph! Yes well
                    I might have tripped
                    I wasn't told
                    There was a script

                    How queer indeed
                    Your words be true
                    A mushroom sure
                    as I am blue…

                    Must be the Cheshire kitty lied
                    Or then like now I wuz too fried
                    So psilly fungi's a magic seat
                    From which side will you eat?"


                    "Which side shall I eat?
                    Thass tough, as I said,
                    It's so round a seat
                    with, really, no sides,
                    it boggles my head
                    but it's time that I tried..."

                    (Alice stretches her arms around the
                    'shroom as far as they will go, and breaks
                    off a bit of the edges with each hand. She
                    nibbles a bit of the right-hand side...)

                    "OOF! my chin's on my foot! this is not goot!"

                    (She tries a bit from the other side.)

                   " OOPS! my head's in the sky!
                    Well, I DID want to get high..."

And Alice continues on with her adventures, leaving the Caterpillar peacefully smoking his hookah--one last party before entering the darkness and stillness of cocoon-time, where no smoking is allowed.

Instead, the Caterpillar will dream constantly, in vivid color - X-rated dreams of butterfly love...  

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Becoming The Butterfly




“Then take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind …”
Bob Dylan, “Mr. Tambourine Man”

In numerology, the number five represents the energy of adventure, freedom, and change, and the fifth chapter of Alice in Wonderland is rich in the symbolism of far-reaching transformation. It is said that God must be a mathematician; he may also be a numerologist, and just may be symbolized by the Caterpillar, cozily ensconced on a mushroom, smoking his hookah and lording it over those who, like Alice, are seeking answers. He, too, seeks one: “You! Who are you?” In this, he may represent consciousness itself, which is continually asking us to define our identity. A change in consciousness may require a period of land-locked, fuzzy caterpillar-creeping, followed by sequestering in a chrysalis, before taking flight as the “butterfly” of a new and glorious manifestation. The Caterpillar takes a cavalier attitude toward Alice’s perception that such a transformation is “strange,” implying that he’s accustomed to it.

Of course, normal caterpillars go through this only once.

Marc Edmund Jones, in his "Studies in Alice" at www.sabian.org/alice.htm, sees the Caterpillar as symbolizing the inner self: “The real or inner self is symbolized by the worm. … Observe the development of the primal streak or wormlike beginning of differentiation in the embryo. … The convenient symbolism of the inner self is further borne out in the fact that the true butterfly does not eat, but exists through the whole span of its existence, aerially or spiritually or in beauty, on the vitality it has stored up in the worm state.” This also applies to the metaphor of the butterfly as the fulfillment of an idea that has undergone incubation and is then realized in form, living on the power that has built up around its “inner self” in the womb of thought, through the time of gestation. Jones goes on to address the symbolism of the mushroom seat, pointing out that the endocrine glands are the “mushrooms” of the body because they are symbionts that exert much power in relation to their environment. “That a caterpillar should be seated on a mushroom is itself a remarkable bit of inspirational imagining, and that one side of this mushroom should cause Alice to grow and that the other should reduce her in stature is so perfect a picture of the functioning of the anterior and posterior lobes of the pituitary body as to make Alice in Wonderland forever immortal as an achievement in symbolism. Growth and its lack, especially in stature, … is controlled entirely by these two lobes in counterbalance.”

The Caterpillar’s mushroom seat and hookah-smoking have often been taken as one of the indications that the Alice books were inspired by some kind of hallucinogenic drug, or, at least, that Carroll was familiar with them. Although it is highly unlikely that he ever used these substances, Carroll was an inveterate reader and explorer of many areas of life, especially of the occult (he owned a copy of Stimulants And Narcotics (1864) by the English toxicologist Francis Anstie), and it is possible that he had some knowledge of them. Even if so, it is doubtful the subject held much personal interest for him, since he was quite conservative, even ascetic, in his habits, although progressive in his thought. Migraines and temporal lobe epilepsy have been suggested as contributing to his unusual imagination, but here, too, the facts are inconclusive. In any case, he demonstrated a superb, wide-ranging imagination throughout his life, as well as a highly developed spiritual awareness that went far beyond the dogma of his church.

Although psychedelic experiences are often facilitated by psychoactive drugs, they are not required. The word “psychedelic” means “mind-manifesting,” and the psychedelic experience, as noted in Wikipedia, “is characterized by the perception of aspects of one’s mind previously unknown, or by the creative exuberance of the mind liberated from its ordinary fetters.” In this broader sense, the two books can be seen as psychedelic literature, and Tenniel’s tableau of the Caterpillar sitting on the mushroom smoking a hookah, with Alice peeking up at him just behind the mushroom, is a powerful archetype of transformation.

The hookah may be the most arresting aspect of that tableau (what was that Caterpillar smoking?). Continues Jones: “The hookah, an arrangement to pass smoke through water, is an added touch of unwitting genius, for the endocrines alone make possible the entrance of spirit or smoke into sensation or water.” Natives of aboriginal cultures, including American Indians, have long used tobacco to connect to the divine realm and to the Great Spirit.
Swiss anthropologist Jeremy Narby set out to discover how, out of the many thousands of plants growing in the Amazon rainforest, the natives had learned which of them had medicinal properties and how best to combine them. He was told the information came from the shamans when in altered states of consciousness. In The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge, Narby explores the shamans’ use of high-nicotine native tobacco and other, ingestible plant substances such as ayahuasca and psychoactive mushrooms. In altered states of consciousness, they can “take their consciousness down to the molecular level and gain access to information related to DNA, which they call ‘animate essences’ or ‘spirits.’ This is where they see double helixes, twisted ladders, and chromosome shapes. This is how shamanic cultures have known for millennia that the vital principle is the same for all living beings and is shaped like two entwined serpents (or vines, ropes, ladders). DNA is the source of their astonishing botanical and medicinal knowledge, which can be attained only in defocalized and ‘nonrational’ states of consciousness, though its results are empirically verifiable.”

Narby hypothesized that properties of nicotine or the psychoactive plants used by shamans “activate their respective receptors, which sets off a cascade of electrochemical reactions inside the neurons, leading to the stimulation of DNA and, more particularly, to its emission of visible waves, which shamans perceive as ‘hallucinations.’ … There, I thought, is the source of knowledge: DNA, living in water and emitting photons, like an aquatic dragon spitting fire.” He theorizes that photons are visible as light signals that communicate information from the DNA cell to cell. Scientists do not know the function of 98 percent of our DNA, which they term “junk DNA”; Narby suggests we call it “mystery DNA,” and theorizes that our collective DNA is interconnected and in constant communication.

The information the Amazonian shamans received was not confined to botanical knowledge, but incorporated into the learning of necessary skills such as weaving and woodworking. In fact, anything the natives wanted to know was accessible through the shamans. Narby hypothesized that the symbolism of the snake, a constant in the wisdom traditions throughout history (often accompanied by the Tree of Life or a Caduceus), is connected to the double helix of DNA in almost all living beings—this, despite the fact that conventional science did not discover the existence and structure of DNA until 1953. He cites various Cosmic Serpent creation myths, such as that of the plumed serpent Quetzalcoatl, and refers to our DNA as a master of transformation: “The cell-based life DNA informs made the air we breathe, the landscape we see, and the mind-boggling diversity of living beings of which we are a part.” After Alice ingests some of the mushroom and finds that she is able to bend her neck around like a snake, she encounters an angry pigeon who shrieks that Alice must be “a kind of serpent.”

The transformational features of the mushroom also have a historical meaning, though not one that you’ll find in many history books. Ethnobotanist and “psychonaut” Terence McKenna put forth, in his book Food For The Gods, the theory that psychoactive mushrooms were a crucial catalyst in our rapid evolution. The human brain size tripled over several million years; the hallucinogenic compound DMT (di-methyl-tryptamine), found in the the mushrooms and other plants used by shamans, is one of the chemical factors that McKenna theorizes played a role: “We literally may have eaten our way to higher consciousness.” DMT is also naturally produced in small amounts in the pineal gland, notably in deep dream states and at birth and death. Few books convey deep dream states as well as the Alice books; those who insist that Carroll’s works are the products of drug experiences may be sensing this dream chemical wafting through their pages.

Throughout her dream-adventures, Alice struggles with the epistemological question of whether her experiences are real. Are our dreams and other altered-state experiences any less “real” than our waking life? Writes Rick Strassman in his book DMT, The Spirit Molecule: “The other planes of existence are always there … but we cannot perceive them because we are not designed to do so; our hard-wiring keeps us tuned in to Channel Normal.” Rather than seeing these other planes as pure hallucination, Strassman accepts them as realities that we tune in to when in these altered states.

Psychedelic mushrooms are also called ethneogens, a term meaning “creating or becoming divine within.” The yogic headstand is perhaps another such tool. Alice’s rendering of “You Are Old, Father William” is the first instance of a character “incessantly” standing on his head; this is also a favored, though less deliberate, posture of the White Knight in Through The Looking-Glass, who assures Alice: “The more head-downwards I am, the more I keep inventing new things.”

Most babies face head downwards in their final weeks in the womb; “inventing new things” can be taken as a metaphor for any kind of birth or new beginning. We naturally transform our world when standing on our head, both perceptively and on inner levels, through action on the glands, particularly the pineal. The Hanged Man, hanging serenely upside down from a tree in the twelfth card of the Tarot, is an archetype of this transitional and transformational process, and the Caterpillar itself, like all headed for butterflyhood, will hang head downwards as it transforms within its chrysalis.

According to the insect biologist Carroll Williams, in an article titled “When Insects Change Form”(Life, February 11, 1952), a caterpillar’s transformation is triggered by a hormone in the brain which, in turn, stimulates the thoracic hormone in the region of the heart. This “forces the body cells to produce a substance called cytochrome, which hastens growth and change. … This same cytochrome exists in the cells of the human body, but its role as a growth factor has never been known.” Along with the 98 percent of our DNA that seemingly has no function, it could be that this cytochrome substance is far more crucial than we know.

Is it possible that the Absolute has been cocooned in us, waiting for the right time to awaken fully in our hearts? Is this what we will experience in the future—or now, if we can but invoke it—and will the Caterpillar of our collective "inner self" flutter free of its cocoon, utterly transformed?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Deviant Art Escapee

I set up an account at Deviant Art, thinking I'd share my writtens there, but I found the procedure
for posting work way too complicated. I spent over an hour trying to post one little poem, and when
I didn't succeed, I tried to get information about what was wrong, but the process for getting answers
to questions is also very complicated. I gave up in disgust and decided I would do fine with a blog.
Everyone else has one, why not me? I did manage to post one journal entry there, copying and pasting
it in here;

"For a long time I've had the intention of posting my writings at Deviant Art, looks like I'm finally getting around to it! I have a sense of accomplishment already in finding a username that has not already been taken. I think it took about 20 tries!

I know Deviant Art is mostly for visual artists,
and I'm not anticipating my stuff will get a lot of readers or comments. That's OK, I just want
a place to keep it all together online.

As things are now, I've written a lot that
I think needs further work, to pass muster with my own inner critic, which often is so severe that I have trouble even reading over what I've written. But I hope to salvage the gems amongst the rubble, and polish them up. "

And that is the purpose of this blog also, at least as I see it now. Poem coming up...

And so, I begin...