Sunday, December 17, 2017

Bedtime Monsters

Bedtime - Two Approaches

1 -- It's time to go asleep and a child calls out from his bed - he's fearful after watching so much wild and violently imaginative TV programming - he's fearful about the monsters he assumes will appear under his bed once the lights go out. The parent tells him all he has to do is say a certain prayer and ask Saint RescueMe for help and this will keep the monsters away. The lights go out and the fear in the child peaks. In terrified desperation he mumbles the prayer exactly as he was taught and pleads for Saint RescueMe to intercede for him. The trauma-based conditioning has its payoff -- the monsters don't come. 

In the morning the parent asks the child about the night before. "You see, it works!" exclaims the parent. "As long as you believe in Saint RescueMe and say the prayer exactly as I told you, no monsters can ever get you." 

The parent has just reinforced in the child how real the monsters are. Having made that fear very real, now the child can be easily controlled by the threat of monsters, even into adulthood. With each stage of life, the same scenario is updated to invoke the same response. Natural urges are attributed to the monsters -- and only by doing penance to Saint RescueMe to make up for one's base and despicable nature can one avoid living forever with the monsters after one dies. This fear must never be interrupted or the control will stop. Even if the grown-up child starts to doubt the existence of monsters, he must be told that such thoughts are the ultimate trick of the monsters! 

2 -- It's time to go asleep and a child calls out from his bed - he's fearful after watching so much wild and violently imaginative TV programming - he's fearful about the monsters he assumes will appear under his bed once the lights go out. The parent tells him there are no monsters under the bed but we all can imagine all sorts of things because we are so creative, which is a good thing, but sometimes after watching wild and violent TV programs we can get our imaginations spinning in ways where we frighten ourselves, like wearing a Halloween mask and looking at ourselves in a mirror.  But always remember our imaginations can create anything -- it can just as easily create fairies and angels and funny dancing candy flowers too. The parent turns out the lights and lays down next to the child and together they explore all the fun and funny things the child's imagination can come up with to be in the room with them. The child has fun with exploring this expanding power of creative manifestation. For a while there's a flurry of zany and amusing ideas before the child eventually drifts off to sleep. 

In the morning the parent asks the child about the night before. "You see, it works!" exclaims the parent. "It's up to you to take into your dreams any playful, funny, silly thing you want! You always have that magic and always will!" 

The parent has just reinforced in the child how real his creative power is, how possible and important it is to take control of his own will and destiny, to seize his ability to direct energies towards what serves him always. The child has experienced an example of his magnificent and wondrous nature. As he repeatedly receives this message to be motivated out of positive possibilities and self-actualized interest instead of fear, the child expands into adulthood confident in his potential - plus he gets a better night's sleep.

Monday, December 11, 2017


Kirlian photography has been around since 1939 when Semyon Kirlian accidentally discovered the photographic effect. Since then the subject has had its proponents and naysayers along a wide spectrum of belief, conjecture, and outright dismissal. Many scientists don't deny the effect but they are quick to explain away any paranormal implications. They often point to the fact that many factors influence the quality and intensity of the visuals produced. 

As the Wikipedia entry on the topic readily concludes -- "The coronal discharges identified as Kirlian auras are the result of stochastic electric ionization processes and are greatly affected by many factors, including the voltage and frequency of the stimulus, the pressure with which a person or object touches the imaging surface, the local humidity around the object being imaged, how well grounded the person or object is, and other local factors affecting the conductivity of the person or object being imaged. Oils, sweat, bacteria, and other ionizing contaminants found on living tissues can also affect the resulting images."

Wherever one stands on the issue, if nothing else, the Kirlian effect is a curiosity that's interesting if not thought-provoking. Analyzing patterns in the many substances tested can lead to deductive models that point to other questions, leading to more research. It can be a fun exercise to see where, if anywhere, the pursuit of inquiry takes one. I always thought that was the heart and soul of the scientific method. So what's the harm looking into the effect? It might lead somewhere, it might not. But to dismiss it out of hand in a reactionary way because some zealots jump to paranormal conclusions seems emotional, not logical (as Mr. Spock would say).

For example, here's a series of kirlian photos -- a woman's fingertip, a man's fingertip, a couple of dimes, and a leaf. Right away we can conclude that all matter exhibits the effect, not just things we've classified as "living." It may be all of matter is "living" in some regard and our way of cataloging such things is limited and inadequate. Or it may be that all of matter is actually, as the quantum folks would agree, just a form of matter. E=mc2 proved that, didn't it? Or was it the atomic bomb that demonstrated it so well? Since all of matter is energy, why shouldn't everything exhibit the kirlian effect?

Since everything has a kirlian energy signature, then the real interest shifts into how these signatures differ. Are there patterns? How do these patterns morph under different effects? Can emotions effect the patterns? Can contact with other people or objects affect the patterns? Can one's thoughts modify the patterns? What are the catalysts for change, amplification, and attenuation? So many routes of scientific inquiry have been explored.

A Kirlian Photography, female 1989
A Kirlian Photography, female fingertip 1989

A Kirlian Photography, male 1989
A Kirlian Photography, male fingertip 1989

Kirlian coins
Kirlian coins

Kirlian Photograph of a Coleus Leaf 1980
Kirlian photo of a Coleus leaf

Doing science on such things can be great if the scientists remain open to their own method. It's terrific when separate studies overlap and add to each other, filling in puzzle pieces in our understanding. Modern science, over-classified and segmented into discrete disciplines and sub-specialties, often times is hampered in achieving this synthesis. Add to this the fact that each discipline produces so much data, a scientist nowadays would be hard pressed to keep up with the latest going on in their own sub-specialty, let alone study others and work on ways to combine them. The internet has helped with this, but one can't help but feel so many opportunities to put things together are missed by the sheer volume of information pouring out. Maybe someday an AI computer will help pull it all together but right now, science is racing to keep up with itself.

Since the scientists point to moisture and humidity as one of the factors that can interfere with kirlian results, it's interesting to note the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto and his bestselling research work, "The Hidden Messages in Water."  What does it say when we combine Dr. Emoto's research with findings by the Kirlian photographers? Maybe nothing. Maybe something. If nothing else, Emoto's findings add another wrinkle to proper interpretation of the kirlian effect.

In light of Dr. Emoto's work, I find it interesting that 99% of our spinal column's CSF is water, a fluid that circulates up and down the spine and bathes the pineal gland. What effect do our thoughts and emotions have on this fluid? For that matter, what effect are we having on all the cells of our bodies since they're all 70% water. There's much to read online about the CSF process from spine to brain and back, such as the following from the Science and Non Duality site:

"The third ventricle is a space in the mid-brain filled with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)...The CSF is a conveyor of energy. An adult produces 500ml of CSF daily. While the CSF is 99% water, the CSF is also rich in proteins, ions, lipids, hormones, cholesterol, glucose, and many other molecules. The CSF is home to many neurotransmitters and signaling molecules providing an elaborate range of biological functions. The CSF utilizes volume transmission and its components can potentially be dispersed quickly and target key brain regulatory centers simultaneously due to its fluid nature. Moreover, along the third ventricle, the pineal gland makes direct contact with the CSF, and releases information directly into the CSF for volume transmission to the rest of the brain. In addition, the CSF contains the ‘spirit molecule’ DMT that is released by the pineal gland."

Regardless what all the opinions are about all of this, I still found a 2012 study in Brazil quite intriguing - especially since I've participated in quite a few Ayahuasca ceremonies. The Brazil study by Krishna Madappa included Electro Photon Imaging of an Ayahuasca Ceremony. The kirlian-type devices clearly showed that energy centers along the spine of the participants (some call them chakras) were aligned after ingesting the plant medicine. 

Beyond that, a single drop of the Ayahuasca brew was analyzed by the photographic machines. The energetic signature of that single drop was recorded. For what it's worth, in this one experimental situation, a drop of Ayahuasca displayed its energy pattern. Yes, as Wikipedia would so readily point out, many factors were in play. But the signature is still there, for what it is. Having felt the Mother plant spirit within me, I can't help but also feel an intuitive affinity to the signature I see in the video. 

Yes, naysayers can easily dismiss my affinity -- and I can easily dismiss their resistance to explore in new ways the "what-if's" that surround us. The old naysaying adage, "If you can't see it, touch it, measure it, sense it, I don't believe in it" just doesn't hold its water any longer. 

Before Geiger counters, scientists walked over rocks that emitted radioactive signatures and had no idea what they were near. Before microscopes, scientists bled people to remove the "bad humors" because they couldn't detect microbes. Before wide-spectrum telescopes, scientists believed only visible light luminous stars existed - now they routinely study x-ray and gamma-burst sources in far reaches of space. Before techniques existed to study the electrical-chemical actions of brain neurons, scientists routinely lobotomized patients to relieve adverse psychiatric conditions - now they administer a pill to correct the chemical imbalance. When was the last time your local hospital down the street performed a lobotomy? 

Think about it -- these were scientists, just as sure of themselves and dismissive of new ideas as many of those plying the same profession today. What pulled progress forward were the outliers, the fringe people, the ones who at first got laughed at and ostracized. The history of science has this pattern. Does anyone really think the pattern's stopped? Yeah, today's scientists do.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017


ascendancy of tree
Ascendency of Tree

cathedral of nature once again
Cathedral of Nature Once Again

human society back in proper perspective
Human Society Back in Proper Perspective

Monday, September 18, 2017

Seeing Ourselves


"There was a young man who said, 'Though
it seems that I know that I know,
What I would like to see
Is the 'I' that knows 'me'
When I know that I know that I know."

I've seen a quote that says "mindfulness isn't difficult, we just need to remember to do it.
I sense this thought ends too soon, for the real questions then become:
  • Why would we ever forget such a thing in the first place? 
  • Why would it take conscious attention and volition to bring us back into this desired state? 
  • If this desired state lapses incoherent with our conscious, present mind - then how and why did it ever get separate from us? 
  • Was this desired mindful state ever one with us in our present in an effortless way? If so, when was that? If not, why not? 
  • What is it about where or how we live that possibly disjoints us from our mindfulness? Is this incoherence more due from causes within us or without? What's the distinction?
Instead of reacting to this incoherence by focusing on establishing a practice of just remembering to do something, perhaps we should be asking why it isn't integrated in us in the first place. Perhaps remembering to do something that should be so second-nature is not the primary issue. Unless it's not second-nature to us to begin with. Do we even know if this is so? And if it isn't a part of our nature, why then are we so determined to do it?

The practice of remembering to be mindfully aware -- this itself can lead to an endless progression. At first we ask "what the heck is this no-thing that is aware" and that begs the question, "what the heck is this no-thing that asks what the heck is this no-thing," which prompts, "what the heck is this no-thing that asks what the heck is this no-thing that asks what the heck is this no-thing..." - and so on ad infinitum.  Awareness at another meta-level implies another iteration. If we're honest and thorough with this process, it'll never end. And yet, facing this may ultimately be the point -- it forces us into a state where trying to find the final and optimal mindful state is akin to how Alan Watts described trying to define oneself -- which is like trying to bite one's own teeth

Reading a friend's blog got me thinking about all of this again. His posts are always intriguing, enlightening, challenging. As he so eloquently stated: "Mindfulness has become the darling of pop psychology. But a teacher in the older traditions once said something, almost as an aside, that is not usually reflected in the contemporary self-improvement approaches. He said it’s not enough to sit and be aware of our thoughts and feelings, we must also be aware that we are doing this."  

Read my friend's entire blog entry here:  Small-Detail-Great-Importance

I remember listening to lectures on the radio late at night as a kid. A rock FM station in Los Angeles dished up all sorts of funky eclectic content in the after-midnight hours. Headphones in place, I was treated to all sorts of things. One of those were the weekly talks by Alan Watts. Going back over some of what Watts said back then, I found resonance with this mindfulness topic. I thought I'd post a sample of that to add to the discussion. So put on your virtual headphones, turn off all the lights except for the blacklight shining up on your blacklight poster of the Andromeda galaxy, and let's go back to those nights in the early 1970's and tune-in to KMET 94.7 FM (it's not the same station now)... Alan Watts chuckles and begins...  

"...most Westerners locate the ego in the head, from which center the rest of us dangles. The ego is somewhere behind the eyes and between the ears. It is as if there sat beneath the dome of the skull a controlling officer who wears earphones wired to the ears, and watches a television screen wired to the eyes. Before him stands a great panel of dials and switches connected with all other parts of the body that yield conscious information or respond to the officer's will. This controlling officer 'sees' sights, 'hears' sounds, 'feels' feelings, and 'has' experiences...All of this can get marvelously complicated when we begin to wonder whether our officer has another officer inside his head, and so ad infinitum!

"If you think you have a lower self or an ego to get rid of then you fight against it so it strengthens the illusion and causes tremendous schizophrenia in human beings from thinking that they are righter in course, so in command of body or will and command of passions, wrestling with them. All that time of split thinking only aggravates the problem and we get more and more split and so we have all sorts of people engaged in material conflict in which they will never resolve because the true self you either know it or you don't. If you do know it, then you know it is the only one, and the other, so called lower self, ceases to be a problem. It becomes something like a mirage and you don't go around hitting mirages with a stick or try to put names on them, you see through them.

"...the Dramatic Myth. The idea that life as we experience it is a big act, and that behind this big act is the player, and the player, or the self, as it's called in Hindu philosophy, the atman, is you. Only you are playing hide and seek, since that is the essential game that is going on. The game of games. The basis of all games, hide and seek. And since you're playing hide & seek, you are deliberately, although you can't admit this--or won't admit it--you are deliberately forgetting who you really are, or what you really are. And the knowledge that your essential self is the foundation of the universe, the 'ground of being' as Tillich calls it, is something you have that the Germans call a hintengedanka.  A hintengedanka is a thought way, way, way in the back of your mind. Something that you know deep down but can't admit.
So, in a way, then, in order to bring this to the front, in order to know that is the case, you have to be kidded out of your game...

"You see, the problem is this. We identify in our experience a differentiation between what we do and what happens to us. We have a certain number of actions that we define as voluntary, and we feel in control of those. And then over against that, there is all those things that are involuntary. But the dividing line between these two is very inarbitrary. Because for example, when you move your hand, you feel that you decide whether to open it or to close it. But then ask yourself how do you decide? When you decide to open your hand, do you first decide to decide? You don't, do you? You just decide, and how do you do that? And if you don't know how to do it, is it voluntary or involuntary? Let's consider breathing. You can feel that you breathe deliberately; you don't control your breath. But when you don't think about it, it goes on. Is it voluntary or involuntary? So, we come to have a very arbitrary definition of self.   

"Omnipotence is not knowing how everything is done; it's just doing it. You don't have to translate it into language. Supposing that when you got up in the morning, you had to switch your brain on. And you had to think and do as a deliberate process waking up all the circuits that you need for active life during the day. Why, you'd never get done! Because you have to do all those things at once. That's why the Buddhists and Hindus represent their gods as many-armed. How could you use so many arms at once? How could a centipede control a hundred legs at once? Because it doesn't think about it. In the same way, you are unconsciously performing all the various activities of your organism. Only unconsciously isn't a good word, because it sounds sort of dead. Superconsciously would be better. Give it a plus rather than a minus.

"When you put a chicken's beak on a chalk line, it gets stuck; it's hypnotized. So in the same way, when you learn to pay attention, and as children you know how all the teachers were in class: 'Pay attention!!' And all the kids stare at the teacher. And we've got to pay attention. That's putting your nose on the chalk line. And you got stuck with the idea of attention, and you thought attention was Me, the ego, attention. So if you start attending to attention, you realize what the hoax is. That's why in Aldous Huxley's book 'Island,' the Roger had trained the myna birds on the island to say 'Attention! Here and now, boys!' See? Realize who you are. Come to, wake up! Well, here's the problem: if this is the state of affairs which is so, and if the conscious state you're in this moment is the same thing as what we might call the Divine State. If you do anything to make it different, it shows that you don't understand that it's so. So the moment you start practicing yoga, or praying or meditating, or indulging in some sort of spiritual cultivation, you are getting in your own way.

"Now this is the Buddhist trick: the buddha said 'We suffer because we desire. If you can give up desire, you won't suffer.' But he didn't say that as the last word; he said that as the opening step of a dialogue. Because if you say that to someone, they're going to come back after a while and say 'Yes, but now I'm desiring not to desire.' And so the buddha will answer, 'Well at last you're beginning to understand the point.' Because you can't give up desire. Why would you try to do that? It's already desire. So in the same way you say 'You ought to be unselfish' or to give up your ego. Let go, relax. Why do you want to do that? Just because it's another way of beating the game, isn't it? The moment you hypothesize that you are different from the universe, you want to get one up on it. But if you try to get one up on the universe, and you're in competition with it, that means you don't understand you ARE it. You think there's a real difference between 'self' and 'other.' But 'self,' what you call yourself, and what you call 'other' are mutually necessary to each other like back and front. They're really one. But just as a magnet polarizes itself at north and south, but it's all one magnet, so experience polarizes itself as self and other, but it's all one. If you try to make the south pole defeat the north pole, or get the mastery of it, you show you don't know what's going on.

"There's no road to here, because you're already there. If you ask me 'How am I going to get here?' It will be like the famous story of the American tourist in England. The tourist asked some yokel the way to Upper Tuttenham, a little village. And the yokel scratched his head and he said 'Well, sir, I don't know where it is, but if I were you, I wouldn't start from here.'

"Most people think when they open their eyes and look around, that what they're seeing is outside. It seems, doesn't it, that you are behind your eyes, and that behind the eyes there is a blank you can't see at all. You turn around and there's something else in front of you. But behind the eyes there seems to be something that has no color. It isn't dark, is isn't light. It is there from a tactile standpoint; you can feel it with your fingers, but you can't get inside it. But what is that behind your eyes? Well actually, when you look out there and see all these people and things sitting around, that's how it feels inside your head. The color of this room is back here in the nervous system, where the optical nerves are at the back of the head. It's in there. It's what you're experiencing. What you see out here is a neurological experience. Now if that hits you, and you feel sensuously that that's so, you may feel therefore that the external world is all inside my skull. You've got to correct that, with the thought that your skull is also in the external world. So you suddenly begin to feel 'Wow, what kind of situation is this? It's inside me, and I'm inside it, and it's inside me, and I'm inside it.' But that's the way it is.

"What I think an awakening really involves is a re-examination of our common sense. We've got all sorts of ideas built into us which seem unquestioned, obvious. And our speech reflects them; its commonest phrases. 'Face the facts.' As if they were outside you. As if life were something they simply encountered as a foreigner. 'Face the facts.' Our common sense has been rigged, you see? So that we feel strangers and aliens in this world, and this is terribly plausible, simply because this is what we are used to. That's the only reason. But when you really start questioning this, say 'Is that the way I have to assume life is? I know everybody does, but does that make it true?' It doesn't necessarily. It ain't necessarily so. So then as you question this basic assumption that underlies our culture, you find you get a new kind of common sense. It becomes absolutely obvious to you that you are continuous with the universe.

"If you awaken from this illusion, and you understand that black implies white, self implies other, life implies death — or shall I say, death implies life — you can conceive yourself. Not conceive, but feel yourself, not as a stranger in the world, not as someone here on sufferance, on probation, not as something that has arrived here by fluke, but you can begin to feel your own existence as absolutely fundamental. What you are basically, deep, deep down, far, far in, is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself. So, say in Hindu mythology, they say that the world is the drama of God. God is not something in Hindu mythology with a white beard that sits on a throne, that has royal perogatives. God in Indian mythology is the self, Satcitananda. Which means sat, that which is, chit, that which is consciousness; that which is ananda is bliss. In other words, what exists, reality itself is gorgeous, it is the fullness of total joy.

"Listen intently to a voice singing without words. It may charm you into crying, force you to dance, fill you with rage, or make you jump for joy. You can't tell where the music ends and the emotions begin, for the whole thing is a kind of music—the voice playing on your nerves as the breath plays on a flute. All experience is just that, except that its music has many more dimensions than sound. It vibrates in the dimensions of sight, touch, taste, and smell, and in the intellectual dimension of symbols and words—all evoking and playing upon each other.

"The most strongly enforced of all known taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask of your apparently separate, independent, and isolated ego.

"We accepted a definition of ourselves which confined the self to the source and to the limitations of conscious attention. This definition is miserably insufficient, for in fact we know how to grow brains and eyes, ears and fingers, hearts and bones, in just the same way that we know how to walk and breathe, talk and think—only we can't put it into words. Words are too slow and too clumsy for describing such things, and conscious attention is too narrow for keeping track of all their details.

"A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts. So he loses touch with reality, and lives in a world of illusion.

"The transformation of human consciousness through meditation is frustrated, as long as we think of it in terms as something that I, my self can bring about. Because it leads to endless games of spiritual one-up-manship, and Guru competitions.

"Most philosophical problems are to be solved by getting rid of them, by coming to the point where you see that such questions as “Why this universe?” are a kind of intellectual neurosis, a misuse of words in that the question sounds sensible but is actually as meaningless as asking “Where is this universe?” when the only things that are anywhere must be somewhere inside the universe. The task of philosophy is to cure people of such nonsense. . . . Nevertheless, wonder is not a disease. Wonder, and its expression in poetry and the arts, are among the most important things which seem to distinguish men from other animals, and intelligent and sensitive people from morons.

"We suffer from a hallucination, from a false and distorted sensation of our own existence as living organisms. Most of us have the sensation that “I myself” is a separate center of feeling and action, living inside and bounded by the physical body — a center which “confronts” an “external” world of people and things, making contact through the senses with a universe both alien and strange. Everyday figures of speech reflect this illusion. “I came into this world.” “You must face reality.” “The conquest of nature.”

"Our normal sensation of self is a hoax, or, at best, a temporary role that we are playing, or have been conned into playing — with our own tacit consent, just as every hypnotized person is basically willing to be hypnotized. The most strongly enforced of all known taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask of your apparently separate, independent, and isolated ego.

"All your five senses are differing forms of one basic sense—something like touch. Seeing is highly sensitive touching. The eyes touch, or feel, light waves and so enable us to touch things out of reach of our hands. Similarly, the ears touch sound waves in the air, and the nose tiny particles of dust and gas. But the complex patterns and chains of neurons which constitute these senses are composed of neuron units which are capable of changing between just two states: on or off. To the central brain the individual neuron signals either yes or no — that’s all. But, as we know from computers which employ binary arithmetic in which the only figures are 0 and 1, these simple elements can be formed into the most complex and marvelous patterns. In this respect our nervous system and 0/1 computers are much like everything else, for the physical world is basically vibration. Whether we think of this vibration in terms of waves or of particles, or perhaps wavicles, we never find the crest of a wave without a trough or a particle without an interval, or space, between itself and others. In other words, there is no such thing as a half wave, or a particle all by itself without any space around it. There is no on without off, no up without down. While eyes and ears actually register and respond to both the up-beat and the down-beat of these vibrations, the mind, that is to say our conscious attention, notices only the up-beat. The dark, silent, or “off” interval is ignored. It is almost a general principle that consciousness ignores intervals, and yet cannot notice any pulse of energy without them. If you put your hand on an attractive girl’s knee and just leave it there, she may cease to notice it. But if you keep patting her knee, she will know you are very much there and interested. But she notices and, you hope, values the on more than the off. Nevertheless, the very things that we believe to exist are always on/offs. Ons alone and offs alone do not exist.

"The person, from the Latin persona, was originally the megaphone-mouthed mask used by actors in the open-air theaters of ancient Greece and Rome, the mask through (per) which the sound (sonus) came. 

"The self-conscious feedback mechanism of the cortex allows us the hallucination that we are two souls in one body — a rational soul and an animal soul, a rider and a horse, a good guy with better instincts and finer feelings and a rascal with rapacious lusts and unruly passions. Hence the marvelously involved hypocrisies of guilt and penitence, and the frightful cruelties of punishment, warfare, and even self-torment in the name of taking the side of the good soul against the evil. The more it sides with itself, the more the good soul reveals its inseparable shadow, and the more it disowns its shadow, the more it becomes it. Thus for thousands of years human history has been a magnificently futile conflict, a wonderfully staged panorama of triumphs and tragedies based on the resolute taboo against admitting that black goes with white.

"The hallucination of separateness prevents one from seeing that to cherish the ego is to cherish misery. We do not realize that our so-called love and concern for the individual is simply the other face of our own fear of death or rejection. In his exaggerated valuation of separate identity, the personal ego is sawing off the branch on which he is sitting, and then getting more and more anxious about the coming crash!

"An experience of this kind cannot be forced or made to happen by any act of your fictitious “will,” except insofar as repeated efforts to be one-up on the universe may eventually reveal their futility. Don’t try to get rid of the ego-sensation. Take it, so long as it lasts, as a feature or play of the total process — like a cloud or wave, or like feeling warm or cold, or anything else that happens of itself. Getting rid of one’s ego is the last resort of invincible egoism! It simply confirms and strengthens the reality of the feeling. But when this feeling of separateness is approached and accepted like any other sensation, it evaporates like the mirage that it is.

"This is why I am not overly enthusiastic about the various “spiritual exercises” in meditation or yoga which some consider essential for release from the ego. For when practiced in order to “get” some kind of spiritual illumination or awakening, they strengthen the fallacy that the ego can toss itself away by a tug at its own bootstraps.

"There is no fate unless there is someone or something to be fated. There is no trap without someone to be caught. There is, indeed, no compulsion unless there is also freedom of choice, for the sensation of behaving involuntarily is known only by contrast with that of behaving voluntarily. Thus when the line between myself and what happens to me is dissolved and there is no stronghold left for an ego even as a passive witness, I find myself not in a world but as a world which is neither compulsive nor capricious. What happens is neither automatic nor arbitrary: it just happens, and all happenings are mutually interdependent in a way that seems unbelievably harmonious. Every this goes with every that. Without others there is no self, and without somewhere else there is no here, so that — in this sense — self is other and here is there.

"Once you have seen this you can return to the world of practical affairs with a new spirit. You have seen that the universe is at root a magical illusion and a fabulous game, and that there is no separate “you” to get something out of it, as if life were a bank to be robbed. The only real “you” is the one that comes and goes, manifests and withdraws itself eternally in and as every conscious being. For “you” is the universe looking at itself from billions of points of view, points that come and go so that the vision is forever new."
-- Alan Watts

"This is It
and I am It
and You are It
and so is That
and He is It
and She is It
and It is It
and That is That"
-- James Broughton

Monday, August 21, 2017

Farmacia San Pedro

"The issue is surrender. This is something real. You don't find people going into the ashram in the morning to meditate with their knees knocking in fear because how terrifying and profound they know that meditation is going to be. But if they were going in there to smoke DMT, you know, they'd be fully riveted in the modalities of what was about to happen. We can tell shit from shinola, it's just that we don't always prefer shinola. I don't advocate it, I mean, there are people who are disappointed, because they say how often do you do it? Well, the answer is, not very often. If I can get it in a couple or three times a year I feel I'm hitting it pretty hard. And the more successful it is, the less often you have to do it. I mean, I know people who say DMT is their favorite drug. And when you say, well when was the last time you did it, they say 1967. It only lasted four minutes - they're still processing it. And they still ARE processing it. They're not just whistling Dixie. 

I mean, it is to my mind just the most -- well, I mentioned this earlier, how do they keep the lid on this stuff? And I guess here I'm preaching to the converted because last night everyone said they had an interest in this kind of thing. But they don't keep the lid on sexuality. No society has had it so under control that people didn't have sex. I mean, they might have had sex under weird conditions and under ritual strictures but we are like this salamander who has this option of never developing into its mature form. And to my mind that's a tragedy because this is our birthright. And somehow our inability to get a grip on our global problems has to do with this immaturity about our mental state. The two are, I feel very strongly, linked. And of course we can't get control of the world because we are children in some profound way. And we don't like being children but the culture has reinforced a kind of infantilism. And the way I explain it to myself is - it is a kind of unwillingness to going it alone on a certain level. 

I don't know how many of you remember in Brave New World, Huxley's brilliant dystopia, but there's a scene in there where Bernard, who is the guy who's out of it in the novel because in his fetal fluid they got an alcohol contaminant, and so he's different from everybody else in the society and he occasionally can have an original thought, and he and his assigned girlfriend for the evening, or whatever she is, are in a helicopter, and they sweep out past the crematorium where they are recollecting elements for re-use, and he suspends the helicopter over the black bay and she immediately becomes very agitated, restless, anxious, and pleads with him to return to the city. And what it is, it's her anxiety over being alone with the presence of nature - she literally can't take it. And I think there are a lot of people in society, and each of us in our own way at different times, who have in us this neurotic and infantile creature that can't face it alone. 

And this going it alone thing is very important. You know Plotinus, the great neo-Platonic philosopher, he spoke of the mystical experience as the flight of going it alone, to be alone. And in the psychedelic experience there is this issue of surrender because a lot of people want to diddle with it. They want to say they did it but they don't want to have to face an actual moment where they put it all on the line. And yet the whole issue with this stuff is to let it lead, to let it show what it wants to show. So, somehow individually, we have to reclaim our experience. The real message, more important than even the psychedelic experience, the real message I try to leave with people in these weekends, is the primacy of direct experience. That as people, the real universe is within your reach. Always. Everything not within your reach is basically unconfirmed rumor. And we insert ourselves like ants or honeybees into hierarchies of knowledge. So we say, what's going on in the world. Well, turn on CNN, you know, and then somehow we're ordered -- we say ah-ha, OK, it's 85 degrees in Baghdad and the wind is out of the northeast at 15 miles an hour, and we feel somehow better now because we are getting the information. 

But what we have done is sold out direct experience. And all institutions require this of us - that we somehow redefine ourselves for the convenience of the institution. And this redefinition always involves a narrowing, a denial, so that then if you want to be in Marxist society, if you want to function in Marxist society, you have to define yourself as a Marxist human being. Well, it turns out in a Marxist society there are no homosexuals because that just happens in decadent societies. And if you happen to notice any tendency of this in yourself, you have to deny its existence because this just doesn't happen in a Marxist society. And similarly, every society has this. In our society, if you hear voices we have mental hospitals for you. If you have vast visions of the future, we have drugs that can help you and make this go away. So then somehow, in modern society, the discovery of psychedelics is the discovery that all of this cultural machinery is just Wizard of Oz stuff. 

Remember the scene in the Wizard of Oz where the curtain is swept back and they see the little guy there and he says, booming out over the loudspeaker, "Ignore the little man pulling the levers! Ignore the little man pulling the levers!" Well, the little man pulling the levers is what sweeps into view with psychedelics and you discovery ah-ha, culture is provisional. You know, whether we have nine wives or three, whether we tattoo ourselves blue, whether we eat insects or not, all of these things are just decisions that we make and then we congratulate ourselves on our wisdom and we live within that and we hunt down and kill all the people who disagree with us. And that's called having a culture, having a way of life - being somebody. 

But I don't see history as a wrong turning. I see it - the metaphor that I like is that of the prodigal son. That there was a reason for this long descent into matter, this peregrination. It was a shamanic journey of some sort. You know, the shaman goes into the world pool, or ascends the world tree to go to the center of the axis of the cosmos, to recover the pearl, the pearl or the gift or the lost soul, and then return with it. This is what history was. It was a descent into the hell-worlds of matter, energy, space, and time - for the purpose of recovering something that was lost. It wasn't lost by us. It was lost by the breathing, the disystile of the planet. Just climax of climate moved us into paradise and then moved us out of paradise. 

The story of Eden is the story of history's first drug bust. I mean, it's the story of a whole lot of tension over who's going to take or not take a certain plant which conveys knowledge. And Yahweh wandering in the garden says to himself, "If the man and the woman eat of the fruit, they will become as we are." The issue was co-equality, co-knowledge with the Creator. Well, where do we stand in man's existential march? How does that work? Can we always accept the subservient, infantile position? Is knowledge to be dispensed by gods, and if not gods, then the institutions that appoint themselves as gods over us? Or is it actually that maturity begins with somehow claiming this birthright?

And it is a birthright. And I don't know if a society can survive the claiming of this birthright by a large number of people. Certainly in the 1960's when this was attempted, everyone got very agitated, then it was frozen out. In so-called primitive or preliterate societies, there is the office of the shaman. And the shaman is deputized to act for all of us. In the same way we have airplane mechanics to fix jet engines, we have shamans to explore these hidden and fairly terrifying other dimensions. The people who self-select themselves into a group like this, in a society like that, would be the candidates for this kind of shamanic voyaging."
 - Terence Mckenna

Sunday, August 20, 2017

how to describe visiting with Grandfather San Pedro in a forest?
no words, there must be some other way,
nothing substitutes for experience 
but perhaps a photo can nudge an impression --

forest view

Sunday, August 6, 2017

park man
Wandering man in Vilcabamba

how people appear
all depends on how we look at them --

-- the slightest movement in our filters
changes everything--

oranges for sale
Oranges for Sale
-- focused just right,
the who we photograph
 is included in what we are --

adjust the lens
and see oneself,
then act accordingly

Monday, July 3, 2017

Cajas at 14,200 ft.
Hiking the Cajas can be relaxing or adventurous. The other day a good friend and I discovered the adventurous when we decided to blaze a new way back to the road. Instead of doubling back the way we came once reaching the target upper lakes at 13,000 ft, we decided to try a return via the ridge line to the east. Our plan was the cross the far ridge line and exit through the next valley. The only problem was, no matter how far down the ridge line we went, there didn't seem to be a reasonable way back down. We ended up traversing the whole ridge line at the 14k ft. level for several hours looking for a way back down. For added interest, there was a strong icy wind blowing out the east the entire time. Late in the afternoon, far past the time when we could have doubled back the way we came without leaving us up there in the dark, we decided the only way down was to tackle a steep slope. Luckily for us, the fog and drizzle didn't move in until we got back down to the road. We started the hike at 7:30am and was at it continuously except for 5-10 minute breaks until 6pm.

Ridgeline in Cajas

Rocky Ridge

View from Edge


Coordinates and Elevation

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

no particles

Particle physicists may be missing one thing if they ever hope to stop chasing their tails down the path of fundamental particles. Here’s the fundamental concept they’re possibly missing — there are no particles. 

There is only This and That. This is everything we can see. That is everywhere we cannot see. Depending on the arrangement of That, bits of This can be seen. Bits of This only appear to us as particles because of the arrangement of That. It appears there's much more to This than we can see because That blocks our view of it. If That didn’t exist, all of This could be seen. Then we would see all of This as one continuous thing, not particles at all. And, of course, by definition, if This didn't exist, there would be nothing to see anyway, including ourselves. But such conjecture is purely hypothetical since there is no This without That or That without This for reasons, like the source of The Big Bang, science so far must take on secular faith.

Imagine a sheet of blue paper behind a structure. At various points along the structure are holes of any size you please. Now light up the blue paper but not the surface of the structure. If you could not see the structure, all you’d see would be the round spots of blue of various sizes. To think the round spots of blue are separate entities would be mistaken. In actuality, what you are really detecting is nothing but round areas of the solid blue paper showing through the invisible structure. Since the structure is not lit and cannot be seen, your perception makes you believe the round spots of blue have a fundamentally separate nature but this is only an artifact of your limited perception.  In this example, the structure is That and the spots of blue are This. In the world of physics, the spots of blue would be called particles.

As long as physicists search for answers by examining This, they will never get a final answer to explain the physical world. The thing called That is changed by higher energies and so the kinds of This we see will always change with detection in the presence of higher energies. Unlike the structure in the example, That is a very dynamic energy medium. Is it any wonder sub-atomic particles seem to wink in and out of existence and exhibit spooky behavior not fully understood yet given the name quantum mechanics? It’s merely an indication that any given energy state causes areas of That to open and close to our perception in uniquely peculiar ways indicative of their frequency.

We must find a way to explore both This and That if we ever hope to glean an understanding of the physical world. And yet once we do, I suspect we will need a higher explanation for the subsequent discovery that such a dualism as This and That is, after all, ultimately an illusion. 

Friday, May 26, 2017


SO is the sound of inhaling breath and HUM is the sound of exhaling breath. 
It is used for deep meditation. 
No need to pronounce it -- just sit, feel, and think about the vibrations of words,
concentrate on your breath in and out. 
Sense the power in the ancient Mantra. 
Feel the music of breath. 
You will be OM SO HUM.

Bosque Medicinal

The mission of the collective Bosque Medicinal is to raise awareness of the importance to maintain Amazon rainforest's biodiversity. We want to inform the public about the importance of the rain forests for all the life on Earth, their significant role as a source of natural medicines and potable water, their ability to produce oxygen and bind carbon dioxide. To demonstrate why it is important to care about nature and show people how to do it gently. We want to protect the fragments of forest left, seed new trees for the reforestation projects and teach both children and adults about the importance of forests.

Link to the Bosque Medicinal Website

Support Ecological Reserve El Paraiso

The project of supporting the Ecological Reserve El Paraiso is mainly aimed at preserving the rain forest and its biodiversity in the area of the reserve. To engage general public in protection of the nature, Chart the teritorry and track its changes, significant locations, species distribution and biodiversity. We want to emphasize the importance of local ecosystems on a wider scale, and to high light current problems. Inform about on going events and attractions in the region.

1. Forest protection
2. Conservation of biodiversity of plants and animals
3. Reforestation of "el Paraiso's" neighboring deforested areas
4. Support of local communities
5. Promotion  and cooperation with the Runahorco Reserve management
6. Supporting Ecotourism

Establishment of a botanical garden
The project of establishing the botanical garden El BosqueMedicinal will focus on collecting plants from all Amazon. Plants and trees which are used in traditional natural medicine, traditional art, traditional architecture and crafts. Future visitors will become acquainted with these plants, get to know the environment in which the plants grow, possibilities of their utilization, their medicinal effects and traditional methods of their use.

Establishment of nursery seedlings of trees and plants
The nursery of tree and plant seedlings will help to reforest deforested areas and to support other environmental projects. Tree seedlings and various plant species will be mainly used  by ecological projects in recovery of damaged ecosystems.

Educational system
Project's educational system is not only dedicated to students of vocational subjects (such as zoology, botany, herbalism or environmental protection), its purpose is to teach children and adults about the importance and necessity of forest ecosystems.It aims to access alternative forms of learning about nature on site or in the surrounding areas.


Lord Bertrand Russell joined with the Frankfurt School in their effort at mass social engineering and spilled the beans in his 1951 book, The Impact of Science on Society.

He wrote:

    'Physiology and psychology afford fields for scientific technique which still await development.' The importance of mass psychology "has been enormously increased by the growth of modern methods of propaganda. Of these the most influential is what is called 'education.' The social psychologists of the future will try different methods of producing an unshakable conviction that snow is black."

Russell said education will affirm:

    "First, that the influence of home is obstructive.

    Second, that not much can be done unless indoctrination begins before the age of ten.

    Third, that verses set to music and repeatedly intoned are very effective.

    Fourth, that the opinion that snow is white must be held to show a morbid taste for eccentricity. But I anticipate. It is for future scientists to make these maxims precise and discover exactly how much it costs per head to make children believe that snow is black, and how much less it would cost to make them believe it is dark grey. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen."

Writing in 1992 in Fidelio Magazine, [The Frankfurt School and Political Correctness] Michael Minnicino observed how the heirs of Marcuse and Adorno now completely dominate the universities, 'teaching their own students to replace reason with 'Politically Correct' ritual exercises.

In the 1960s, a radical group of psychotherapists challenged the influence of Freudian ideas in America. They were inspired by the ideas of Wilhelm Reich, a pupil of, who had turned against him and was hated by the Freud family. He believed that the inner self did not need to be repressed and controlled. It should be encouraged to express itself.

Out of this came a political movement that sought to create new beings free of the psychological conformity that had been implanted in people's minds by business and politics.

This program shows how this rapidly developed in America through self-help movements like Werber Erhard's Erhard Seminar Training - into the irresistible rise of the expressive self: the Me Generation.

But the American corporations soon realized that this new self was not a threat but their greatest opportunity. It was in their interest to encourage people to feel they were unique individuals and then sell them ways to express that individuality. To do this they turned to techniques developed by Freudian psychoanalysts to read the inner desires of the new self.

Politicians on the left, in both Britain and America, turned to the techniques developed by business to read and fulfill the inner desires of the self.

Both New Labor, under Tony Blair, and the Democrats, led by Bill Clinton, used the focus group, which had been invented by psychoanalysts, in order to regain power. They set out to mold their policies to people's inner desires and feelings, just as capitalism learned to do with products.

Out of this grew a new culture of public relations and marketing in politics, business and journalism. One of its stars in Britain was Matthew Freud who followed in the footsteps of his relation, Edward Bernays, the inventor of public relations in the 1920s.

The politicians believed they were creating a new and better form of democracy, one that truly responded to the inner feelings of individual. But what they didn't realize was that the aim of those who had originally created these techniques had not been to liberate the people but to develop a new way of controlling them.

Stew Albert, a founder of the Yippie Party of the '60's, lamented about what had happened:
     "Basically, the politics were lost and totally replaced by this lifestyle, and then this desire to become deeper and deeper into the self. By now, a grandiose sense of the self. And my good friend and one of the original Yippie founders, Jerry Rubin, definitely moved in that direction.  And I think he was buying into this notion that he could be happy and fully self-developed on his own. Socialism in one person. Although that is, of course -- capitalism."

Bertrand Russell
Sunset in the Cajas

"Western science started out with a story of a non-living, meaningless, purposeless universe.
It then discovered entropy and said it's all running down.
This is the bleakest creation story anyone ever thought up."

   - from the New Story film

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Brillian Cloud Formation

“Good fortune often occurs 
when you stop expecting life to present opportunities to you 
and you start presenting opportunities to life.”
― Rasheed Ogunlaru

Friday, March 24, 2017

Defaced Poster





Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Space Mice on the Wall
A professor has just finished lecturing at some august university about the origin and structure of the universe, and an old woman in tennis shoes walks up to the lectern. "Excuse me, sir but you've got it all wrong," she says. "The truth is that the universe is sitting on the back of a huge turtle.

The professor decides to humor her "Oh really?" he asks. "Well, tell me, what is the turtle standing on?

The lady has a ready reply: "Oh, it's standing on another turtle." 

The professor asks, "And what is that turtle standing on?

Without hesitation, she says, "Another turtle." 

The professor still game, repeats his question. 
A look of impatience comes across the woman's face. 
She holds up her hand, stopping him in mid-sentence.
"Save your breath, sonny," she says. "It's turtles all the way down."

—Rolf Landauer