Archive for July, 2010

Sacred Geometry

Everything is interconnected.

Everything is symbolic.

Everything is archetypal.

Everything is a dream image.

Everything is consciousness.

Everything is deity.

All of these statements mean the same thing.


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Chickens and eggs.

My friend Becky sent me a link to a report  stating that scientists have finally determined chickens came before eggs. It’s a ridiculous piece of journalism, but it seemed relevant to the discussion here.

We believe the world to be the way it is because we perceive it to be that way. But we perceive it that way because we believe it to be that way. Which comes first, perception or belief? What constitutes true reality?

Our minds are hardwired to interpret stimuli in particular ways. Indeed, those stimuli are directed to specific areas of the brain for processing, depending on what kind of stimuli they are. Thus sound waves are sent to the aural regions, light waves to the optical regions, etc. But then something interesting happens. Each set of stimulus data is subsequently shared by other brain structures, such as those producing memory, emotion and imagination. Our perceptions are thereby mixed with what we remember of other similar perceptions, how we felt about them at the time, and what we thought about them later. It is only after this processing is done that they are added to our experience store, to become part of our definition of reality. So every perception is intensely personal, and is different from the perceptions of others, because the raw material of every event is subject to internal interpretation based on the objective hardwiring and subjective experiences of our brains.

So nobody sees the same things the same way.

In short, reality differs for everyone.

Reality therefore lies on a foundation of shifting sand. There is no out there, no “actual” world existing apart from our minds, and which is true for everyone. The world is malleable, impermanent, ungraspable; even indescribable. Perception is the only means by which we know the world; and perception is a process carried out in many regions of our physical brains, each section interpreting the ones and zeroes of information it is receiving in accordance with its inherent preprogrammed algorithm—a set of instructions hardwired into the neuronal structure of the nervous system—and starting with the results of the algorithms inherent to the region from which it is receiving. Yet that structure is itself altered by its very reception of the information, because such reception causes neurons to rewire themselves. This in turn alters the algorithm by which the brain interprets the world.

The conclusions—the experiences—reached from this set of cascading processes are then projected out onto the world as part of our definition of reality. We have experienced certain events, so we expect to encounter those events again. And to the extent we do encounter them, our beliefs about them are reinforced. But we encounter them because we expect to encounter them, based on our past experience. We always find what we are looking for.

At this point, it doesn’t matter whether what we perceive is really there or not; we perceive it anyway. If it isn’t there, we put it there.

Reality is thus a vicious circle, a self-perpetuating feedback loop of stimulus-response-experience-acceptance-projection, which has no beginning and no end, no cause and no effect. It is hyperbolic, our knowledge of the world ever approaching absolute truth yet never actually touching upon it.

The ground upon which we stand is nothing but shifting sand.

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Taking a Breath

“Reality” is what we take to be true. What we take to be true is what we believe. What we believe is based upon our perceptions. What we perceive depends upon what we look for. What we look for depends upon what we think. What we think depends upon what we perceive. What we perceive determines what we believe. What we believe determines what we take to be true. What we take to be true is our reality.

                                            –Gary Zukav, The Dancing Wu Li Masters

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When we dream in our sleep, we experience events, feelings and thoughts just as we do in waking life. In a first-person dream, we engage in these events from the perspective of our own senses, perceiving them in the same manner as we would when awake—seeing through our eyes, hearing through our ears, touching with our hands, thinking with our minds. The decisions our dream minds make seem to control the behavior of our dream bodies, just as our real minds do in waking life. First-person dreams can be very vivid; and more to the point, they can be very realistic. When having one, we might actually think the events are really happening. (Hence the powerful emotional effect of night terrors, causing us to bolt awake with heart pounding and a scream in our throat.) Our dream bodies, which are mere images concocted out of what we believe ourselves to be, respond to the thoughts, motives and will of our dream minds, which are also concocted out of what we believe ourselves to be. But it all can feel very real.

Of course, once we awaken, the events dissolve into memories and often disappear altogether. We realize we made the whole thing up.

Most of my dreams at this stage of my life are lucid dreams, to one degree or another. They run the gamut from my simply recognizing I’m dreaming to my taking over the events of the dream entirely, running it the way I want it to go, like a director on a movie set. Seldom do I simply have a dream. Rarely do I just let the dream events run their course, naïvely experiencing them without my conscious self offering some kind of input or insight. And almost never do I fall for the delusion that the dream is somehow “real.” I know I am not the image in my dream, even if it is playing out in first person. I exist outside of that body, which is merely an avatar, a representation, of my waking and True mind. 

Certain things in dreams alert me to the fact I’m dreaming. The standard stuff doesn’t work for me anymore: turning on lights, seeing my hands, reading numbers and fine print, flying. I do that all the time. I can even see my face in a dream mirror. I take all of this for granted. As a result, my mind has had to invent other signals, other indications of being in the dream state. 

Something out of place always works.

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What I am inside determines what I experience outside.

I am an integral aspect of the Universe, a manifestation of its being, a reflection of the whole, and the whole itself. It would be inaccurate for me to say what I think, feel and do affects the environment around me, because such a statement is based on the assumption that I am somehow apart from that environment, separate from it. This belief, of course, is the legacy of dualistic Christianity morphed into materialistic science. And it is an error.

What I think, feel and do is the environment.

I had originally intended to here quote various sages, from philosophers like Jean-Paul Sartre to scientists like Erwin Schrödinger, in defense of this assertion. But that seems rather pedantic to me at the moment. So instead, I’ll simply ask a question: 

If my thoughts and feelings are intrinsically different and separate from the material substance of the physical Universe, how then do they manage to interact with matter?

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I spent last night until midnight watching the fireworks of about five surrounding cities from the vantage point of a hilltop location in a neighboring small rural town. This town is extremely conservative, especially in comparison to its surrounding environs in a very Progressive Region. Small flags planted in the front yards of every house on the street flapped in the cold wind (at 1000 feet elevation above the river gorge, we were sitting out in below-50 degree weather, the planet Venus punctuating the night sky). The people in our group were awesome, open, friendly anti-Obamites drinking wine and discussing their lives and loving their country as much as I do. It didn’t matter to them that I’m a left-of-center Pagan. They shared their fireworks, their liquor and their bonfire with me as they would with a brother.

And I felt every bit the same feelings towards them.

That’s what America really is. That’s why I live where I do. It’s why I wouldn’t live anywhere else.

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Photo by Mari Adkins

As above, so below.

The ancient pagan view of the Universe is that everything that exists and happens on Earth is a reflection of what exists and happens in heaven. This is most clearly delineated in Plato’s philosophy of Idealism. (Although he was hardly the only Greek to have embraced it, as the Pythagoreans were right there with him. He’s just the one we remember for it because he expounded upon it so fully. We remember Pythagoras for other things.) In Idealism, the material objects of the world are copies or imitations or facsimiles of the actual objects in heaven. We recognize a chair, for example, because it meets the qualities of “chairness” embodied by the “real” chair in heaven. Somehow our minds are attuned to this real chair, or at least to its existence, so when we see something that meets enough “chair” criteria, we know it is a chair.

In the mathematics of physics, the complementary is true as well:

As below, so above.

The laws of classical physics are defined by mathematical equations. That’s what gives them the power of predictability: If we start out with a particular quantity, then modify it in a particular way, we end up with a particular (predictable) result. The equation works in both directions, of course. That’s the whole point of having an equation: both sides of the equal sign mean the same thing. So if something is true in heaven, it is also true on Earth, as mentioned in the previous paragraph. But what most people don’t realize is: if something is true on Earth, it is also true in heaven. The equation must be balanced. The two quantities/entities/events must be the same. It works in both directions. Always. If we build a chair on Earth, then a chair exists also in heaven.

In the mathematics of quantum physics, both are true because neither is true:

There is no above or below.

In QM, one cannot distinguish between observed and observer, cause and effect, action and reaction, particle and wave. They are all the same. They are all at once. And they are all complete.

In The Dancing Wu Li Masters, Gary Zukav puts it this way:

That which is is that which is. That which is not is that which is. There is nothing which is not that which is. There is nothing other than that which is. Everything is that which is. We are a part of that which is. In fact, we are that which is.

I hope that’s clear. 🙂

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