The Extended Mind – Mind Beyond the Brain

rupert-sheldrake

Notes from this video:

In the closed circuit TV industry, many operatives know that you can affect people’s behavior by looking at them. One FBI trainer tells his security trainees, “If you see someone doing something they shouldn’t be doing, just stare at them hard on the screen, and they’ll probably stop it.” He says that this happens everyday.

Various experiments show that people’s skin conductance changes when they are being watched on CCTV by someone on a monitor in another room.

(see Marilyn Schlitz http://marilynschlitz.com/bio/)

Martial artists are trained to increase their sensitivity so that they can sense when someone is coming up from behind.

In the British Special Services, the SAS, when they train people how to stab someone in the back, they say, “Don’t stare at their back before you stab them, because they’re likely to feel it and turn around and shoot you.”

Security professionals are amazed that this is a controversial subject in science academia, because they have been taking it for granted for years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=no85PcJ1-B8

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Knowing and Emptiness

lilyKnowing  is not knowledge. Nor is it opinion or speculation. Opinion and speculation require an object, whereas the faculty of knowing does not require an object. You are probably wondering how this could be possible—how can you know without knowing something?

Webster’s Dictionary defines the word know as a verb, meaning to perceive directly or to have direct cognition of something. But, there is no reference to the word knowing as a faculty. Knowing, like seeing or grasping, seemingly cannot do without an object. Perception and cognition have no meaning without first having something to perceive or of which to be cognizant. And yet, the mystic in you knows that knowing is a faculty—like seeing and hearing. And just as the absence of a visible object or a sound does not negate the eyes and ears, neither does an absence of knowledge negate your ability to know.

What we know has the power to shape our lives. It acts like a vacuum that draws to itself anything and everything that is in alignment with what we accept as real. Understanding knowing as a faculty is the first step in learning how to direct our knowing—how to choose the reality we want to call into being. In order to understand our faculty of knowing, we must first become familiar with it. We must learn what it feels like to know without an object.

This is what Eastern philosophies cryptically refer to as emptiness and no-self.

The logic is simple. By definition, an object is something separate from you. As long as a thing is separate from you, you will never attain it. Because to attain something, you have to become it. This is how the spiritual world works. Nothing is “out there.” But as long as you consider it to be an object, it is out there, and it will be out there forever. To grasp something in the spiritual world, you must first identify its vibration and then recreate that vibration within yourself. You don’t go anywhere; it doesn’t go anywhere. You reach it by becoming it. It’s that simple.

To know without an object is to become a negative potential. You become the vacuum that nature will fill. In metaphysical terms, this is called “undifferentiated potentiality.” But like any object, even undifferentiated potentiality is something external as long as it remains a concept. Have you ever wondered why in esoteric schools so much emphasis is placed on quieting one’s mind? As long as there are thoughts in there, you cannot be that undifferentiated potentiality.

branchOf course, there are prerequisite states of mind that must first be mastered before you can know without an object. First is concentration. You must be able to focus your awareness on one thing and keep it there despite any distractions. Prerequisite to concentration is trust. Unless you can relax into nothingness, fear will keep you attached to external objects just as surely as a person drowning will hang onto a life preserver. Why? Because most people identify with the things that occupy their awareness. Their thoughts, their possessions, their body, their relationships—all these things tell them who they are. Letting go of these externalities can be tantamount to losing one’s self. This can be terrifying.

Until you are confident in your own eternal nature, letting go of the contents of your knowing will be difficult. It will feel like you are going to die. This is why Self-realization is important—you must know who you are. This cannot be intellectualized, however. That’s why simply saying “I am one with God” doesn’t work. Being “one with God” is a concept and is therefore separate from you. As long as it is separate from you, it is impossible to be one with God. In order to be one with God, you must first identify the vibration of God and then recreate that vibration within yourself. You must become God. You must realize the Self.

It can be confusing to be told that you must do this or do that, while at the same time be told to let go. But this is what you must do. Everyone has their highest conception of God, a knowing of God that is based on an experience they have had. This is where you start. Each spiritual experience—the ones that have convinced you that God is real, even if still out there somewhere—carries with it a vibration, a feeling, or what the Sufis call a scent. This is the vibration that you must recreate in yourself if you are to become God.

Now, make no mistake, the average person will think that “becoming God” means that they will be omniscient and omnipotent, that they will actually become the Lord of the Universe. This is a foolish and immature notion. Becoming God in the sense we mean here is to become one with God, to attune our vibration with God’s vibration—the vibration we have been blessed to know in our highest spiritual experiences. We take our mountaintop experience, whatever that may be, and we sit in it. We fill our awareness with it until there is nothing else. And we do this until the ordinary part of us begins to fade away.

Soon, we will surpass our previous mountaintop experience and find new ones. We continue sitting with those, integrating their vibration into our cells and our consciousness until still more descend into our vision and our feeling. We keep doing this until we can create the vibration of God within our being at will, wherever and whenever we want.

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What does light look like before it hits something?  It’s dark—invisible.  And yet, it is still radiant.

What is it that you see when you look into a person’s eyes?  What makes you aware that they are seeing you.  When you enter someone’s phone number and they answer but don’t say anything right away, what makes you aware that they are ready to hear you?

In contrast, have you ever been with someone who was pretending to be attentive, but was actually thinking about something else entirely? You could tell, couldn’t  you?  How could you tell?  What was missing that told you they weren’t there? They were looking right at you. The lights were on, but no one was home. Attention is a tricky word. It is something that is not a thing. There are no particles of attention that you can quantify, but you really know when it’s not there. And it is unmistakable when it’s focussed on you.

Speaking of which, have you noticed that usually when someone is focusing their attention on you that they are actually focusing on a concept that they have about you, and they are not really seeing you at all? Doesn’t that feel weird. It makes you want to come up really close and look them squarely in the eyes and say, “HEY!” But you never would, because they would think that you were the one who’s weird. Ironic, isn’t it?

This does raise an interesting question: how much do you see? How much do you actually see when you look at someone or something? Are you seeing what’s really there, or are you looking at a concept in your own mind? Do you know that as far as the physical senses go, you don’t perceive anything out there at all? Perception takes place inside you, registering on your brain screen. The funny thing about the brain screen, however, is that it isn’t a flat surface like the one in the movie theater; it’s holographic, three-dimensional, a virtual reality, if you will. And—now get this—it’s all mixed in with your concepts! Your concepts and your brain screen are one and the same thing! You live in there! You live inside your concepts! This is the way the brain is set up. If you are going to rely on your senses, this is the only way that you are going to experience anything. Your experience will be entirely limited by the ideas that you have about the “world” you live in. But don’t give up hope—there is a way out.  And, it has to do with knowing, the kind of knowing that doesn’t have an object.

First of all, you have to let go of any idea you might have that you will disappear or that the world will disappear if you let go of your concepts. We’re not going to destroy the world, we’re just going to clean it up a bit. It begins, as you might have guessed, with changing your concepts.

Now here is where it gets really interesting. If there is nothing actually out there and it really is all taking place inside you, then you can change what’s out there by changing what’s inside you! In other words, change your concepts and you change what’s “out there.”

I’m talking about knowing. This is not about what you think is real, but rather what—at the bedrock of you—is real. This is the solid ground that you stand on, the substance of your reality. It is the basis of your understanding of the world and your place in it.

These three words—knowing, understanding, and substance—constitute the formula for the Law of Mind Action. They are the three-in-one simultaneity by which everything takes place. Knowing is the thing itself, understanding is the channel through which it manifests, and substance is its manifestation. These three aspects happen simultaneously. We are not talking about a process, but a realization. You cannot get there by separating these aspects out, no more than you can do a dance gracefully by concentrating on its individual steps. As in dancing, the realization of the Law comes through the integration of the individual parts of its process. It’s a place where you arrive, not a thing that you construct one piece at a time. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

There is an indefinable something that transcends the combined steps of any process.  And yet, that something manifests through the structure that the parts create—a house is not a home. It’s the aliveness of a thing that shows up once the structure is built. A body of knowledge is lifeless until life is breathed into it—a philosophy is dead until it is lived.

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An Inner Sun

The Inner Sun
Sometimes, an answer from the Self can come as a kind of CME (coronal mass ejection), producing not so much an “answer” as a boost upwards into a higher perspective wherein multiple answers reveal themselves, along with more questions.
 
We have the unique ability to turn around and look at ourselves. And when we do, we see a sun, a doorway into a field of infinite energy and intelligence—”more than the mind of man can conceive.”
 
Meditate. Meditate. Meditate!
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Can you be good AND awake?

You can see here in this video how Muhammad Ali has mastered the ability of being “untouchable.” This was confusing and disorienting to his opponents, because it was not logical. Ali, by not acknowledging their attacks, wore them out, not just physically but by causing them to doubt their own ability to reason their way through the contest. Then, when they were inwardly defeated, he took them out.

So it is in today’s political climate. One side relies on logic and scientific facts, thinking that these alone will persuade a reasonable people. But the other side refuses to acknowledge their logic or their facts, thus keeping their opponents confused and frustrated, wondering why the facts aren’t working. And so they wear them out in their futile attempts to change the world through reason.

Meanwhile, the untouchables work the crowd, playing on their insecurities and their narrow moral sensibilities. By focusing the debate on the most volatile issues, the ones that flaunt traditional values, and by supplying the media with the most provocative examples and avoiding any form of reasoned discussion, they keep their opponent off-balance and thus achieve their victory.

tumblr_mdrdlrTYYO1rlxx9ro1_1280It’s not that the untouchables don’t believe in logic or reason. They believe in it, alright. It’s just that they know not to rely on it in a political fight. Their strategy is to confuse (how can they not listen to reason?), disorient (turn the crowd against their opponent), and frustrate (block every reasonable attempt to advance an opposing agenda). All the while, they taunt their opponents with blatant denials of facts and logic, not because that’s what they actually believe, but because they know that it will further confuse and enrage the other side.

Then, when their opponents have exhausted themselves by doggedly clinging to the rules of logic and their vain attempts to sway the crowd to their side, the untouchables move in and achieve the ultimate end to their strategy:

They win.

So you have to ask yourself: which side is smarter? Which side is more awake? Goodness is nothing without strength, and strength is nothing without goodness. But the most important thing, the quality without which neither goodness nor strength is sufficient, is to be awake—to see the world clearly for what it is—and in the face of that to retain our goodness and our strength.

Don’t be hoodwinked by the puppet show. The constant parade of ignorance before the public eye is meant for you, not for them. They know that, and you don’t. You have bought into the lie. The dumbest, absolute dumbest thing you can do is to believe that the other side is stupid. They’re counting on that.

“Be ye wise as serpents and gentle as doves.” – Jesus

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Words—East and West

jesus buddhaby Michael Maciel

One reason why Eastern religions seem to differ from Western religions is in the way one interprets the words of the other.

Take the word “ego,” for instance.

In a culture that values individualism (the West), the word “ego” has a positive connotation. But in a culture that subordinates the individual to the society in which he or she lives, it has a decidedly negative connotation.

The West values the individual because of what that person might add in terms of value to the community, whereas the East demands conformity so that the community can preserve the values it already has.

The mythologist, Joseph Campbell, points out that in the East, the word “ego” means what we in the West would call the “id.” In other words, it’s not so much what a person thinks about him or herself, but whether they can control their animal nature.

In the West, we value each person as an individual. We place an individual’s human rights above the rights of society. But if a person loses himself to addiction—if his actions are no longer under his conscious control—then his value to society plummets.

CAMPBELL

Why? Because when people give way to these kinds of desires, they lose their ability to make rational choices. Their pre-frontal cortex shuts down and, along with it, their inner vision.

And in the West, the most valuable attribute of an individual is inner vision.

In the East, the most valuable attribute of an individual is his or her identification with society as a whole. The rights of the individual are only valid inasmuch as they serve the greater good. Individualism is frowned upon; conformity is the expected norm.

Why? Because the “ego” is equated with the irrational part of the psyche, so the individual cannot be trusted to form rational judgements.

We have to be careful when we adopt the jargon of the East. We may use the same words, but their meanings can vary drastically. Words such as “oneness,” “karma,” “desire,” and the concept of “doing nothing” do not translate well into the Western mindset. Unless we get the context right, nothing is going to match up.

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Writing About vs. Writing From the Mysteries

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by Michael Maciel

I have a confession to make: I have never been to Hawaii. I know many, many things about it. I know that it’s the largest mountain on the planet, measured from the ocean floor to the top of Kilauea, and I know that Kauai is called the Garden Island. But I do not know what the air smells like, nor have I experienced the phenomenon known as Island fever, where it suddenly dawns on you that you’re on a very small piece of land in the middle of a very large ocean.

crystal_ball_2100When I’m around other people who have been to Hawaii, it doesn’t matter how much I have memorized about it. I do not have that “something” that they have, the thing that makes them different from me. My knowledge of the place simply cannot compare, qualitatively speaking, to theirs.

Now, if I wanted to, I could become a world-class authority on Hawaii—its history, its people, its biology, geology, vulcanism, etc., and I could make it so that I knew more about it than 99.999 percent of the people who live there or have visited there. And if I wrote books about it, I’m sure that my acquired knowledge would be both interesting and helpful to those who have had the direct experience of being there. But the essence of the experience would be lacking in my writings.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is how it is with many of the books written about the Mysteries, especially the Christian Mysteries. Very few of the authors have “been there.” And boy do they stand out. Some of them have actually had some significant contact with the realities that the Mysteries point to, but in their search for “objectivity,” they have all but forgotten their experiences and thus base their writings on what they know instead of what they “gnow,” if you catch my meaning.

In all my years of studying writing, I have learned one thing: It’s not the words but rather what comes through the words that makes a difference in a reader’s experience. It’s the “transmission.” If you’ve got that, it doesn’t really matter what you say, what words you use, or what subject you talk about. Have that, and your words will open doors and not merely lead your readers down yet another hall of mirrors. This to me seems infinitely better, and no amount of scholarly expertise or amateur speculation can match it.

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Innocence

A_Rebellious_Child

Study your desires. Find out what’s at the root of them. But don’t do it as an inquisitor; do it with love. They are your desires after all. Coax them, woo them, find out what they really want. It’s almost always not what they act out. They only do that out of rebellion—they will not be denied! But with love, they stop their self-destructive behavior, and their inner beauty shines through. The more you acknowledge their innocence, the faster they will reveal it to you.

 

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Constructing a Life

Originally posted on The Mystical Christ:

Our creations tend to take on a life of their own, so beginnings are most important. One thing is certain: if our primary concern is success or security in the world, we will experience the ups and downs of the world. But if we seek a higher consciousness, a greater ability to respond to the promptings of Spirit, and a greater capacity for caring, then this is how we must build our lives.

The natural force of entropy will try to convince us that it is too late to start over, but our soul tells us that every moment is an opportunity to begin again. In fact, growth and perfection can occur in no other way. Evolution is indeed a spiral, but progression up the spiral is as fast as we let go of our apparent position on it. Each time we begin again, we move up a rung, regardless…

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Lent – Rebooting Reality

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by Michael Maciel

The human brain interprets and coordinates the signals it gets from the senses. This is its primary function. Every wi-fi device is a also a “brain,” interpreting and coordinating the signals it gets from its wireless environment. It sees the invisible information that we cannot.

The question you must ask yourself (if you are a truth-seeker) is this: “What information is invisible to my brain in its current state?”

This is dangerous. Because what you will come to realize is that the world you hear, taste, touch, smell, and see is but the tip of the iceberg in terms of reality, in terms of “truth.” Such a realization is unsettling, to say the least. Unless something more complete replaces it, this new perception will leave you in the void.

In mystical language, this is descending into hell, into hades, or the underworld. This is the initiatory step that Jesus went through when he cried out on the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

If the world of the senses, that set of data for which the brain is best suited to interpret, is but a thin veneer laid over a much more complete set of data, one that is far more vast than the one we deal with every day, then what is that greater reality? And by what mechanism, what device, do we perceive it?

The answer is your brain. But not as it exists in its current state. To see deeper into reality, you must use the deeper parts of your brain. And that requires looking past the evidence of your senses. It requires a kind of “fasting” from the ordinary way in which you live your life.

It will require a kind of “death,” a descent into the void, and the willingness to go there without fear and without expectation. Because as the greater spectrum of reality begins to reveal itself, it will render this one unreal.

If you’re willing to make the journey, you will rise from the dead, just like Jesus did. But don’t expect the process to be comfortable. Our eyes are never opened without some degree of pain. The truth will set you free, but first it’s going to hurt you real bad. This is the “travail” of the spiritual rebirth. The real world, the one you’re not seeing, will resurrect in your brain, and your world, the one you’re used to, will begin to shake itself apart.

What I’m describing here is a step in the process of spiritual evolution. It is natural and ongoing. Every year we come around to this season, the season of Lent, and this is what it’s all about. And every year we have the opportunity to take advantage of the energy surge that Lent provides.

Will you take advantage of it?

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Shoulder to Shoulder vs. Head to Head

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by Michael Maciel

Men can get nervous around other men, especially when standing in line at the checkout counter in Home Depot. Lots of “can do” types. Alphas in t-shirts and bluejeans. The thought (you know the one) seems to hover overhead, waiting, just waiting, for the first male to reach up and snag it out of the air, the thought that one man often thinks when looking at another man, especially a stranger—”Can I take him?”

Now this doesn’t happen all the time. Some days, everyone’s in a good mood—lots of fresh air and smiling and friendly banter. But it’s there, hovering. The Thought. Like a succubus sniffing out testosterone. All it needs is for some of it to collide with someone else’s, and the inner evaluation begins. Muscle size: check. Body language: check. Hands (the hands tell it all): check—the instantaneous sizing-up of the other guy that either causes your confidence to swell or makes you tense and wary.

This is what men do. And it doesn’t matter if it’s at Home Depot or the floor of the Senate. The dynamic is the same. Can I take him? Can I outsmart, outfight, outwit, out-finesse this guy? Is it overt? Not usually. It might not even be front-and-center in one’s mind, but it’s always an option. Like a gun on the hip.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

If you’re a man, and you have sometimes felt this way around other men (and what man hasn’t?), there is a way to turn this around. In an instant. Instead of looking at the other man as a potential threat, try seeing him as a potential ally. Look at him and think, “This guy would be great to work with. With our combined strength, we could really get a lot done!” You will be surprised at how quickly the atmosphere changes. Testosterone doesn’t always have to be about fighting, you know. Sometimes it can just be strength. And that’s the beauty of it. There’s nothing more manly than a group of men working together in unison, their efforts fitting together like well-hewn blocks of stone. Each stroke of the hammer gets more precise with each swing; each element of the overall plan works as though it were being laced together with sinew.

But when testosterone gets the better of us, it’s too easy to assume that the other man’s actions are directed against us, and we get offended. And when he sees that we are offended, he gets offended. The cycle deepens and intensifies, and soon it takes on a life of its own, and no one knows (or cares) how it got started.

It’s not that aggression itself is the problem. It’s not. Aggression can be a fabulous tool, if it’s used properly. When channeled, it can focus a man’s efforts like no other emotion. Combine it with altruism, and you get genius. No force in the universe can rival a mind with a purpose, especially and particularly when that purpose is constructive.

Goodness and strength go together like hammer and nail, joining the world together instead of breaking it apart. When men come together in focused cooperation, pursuing a common goal, nothing can stop them. And there is no coalition so diverse in its constituency that it cannot find a goal that serves everyone’s interests. No task, when performed for the good of all, can fail to bring joy to everyone involved. The only time men find satisfaction in killing other men is when they believe it to be in the name of a higher good. But the reality always sinks in. It seeps through the most carefully thought out justifications and sickens the soul. Because no one is that different in their humanity that they cannot recognize themselves in the other. Thus killing another person is killing oneself. A piece of you dies when the other dies.

This is the task laid before us now, to find a way to work together instead of fighting each other. Never before in history has the world been smaller or more inter-dependent. The forces of competition can easily be turned into cooperation. It all depends on how men see each other. The more we cooperate, the more we care about each other’s interests, and the more willing we are to work towards a goal that raises everyone’s standard of living, not just our own. Because when we gain at the expense of others, something inside of us groans. We know that we have harmed ourselves. Strength without goodness will kill us. And goodness without strength goes nowhere.

So find the goodness and drive it home!

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