Thursday, July 29, 2010

True Humor is Laughter at One's Self

"In the words of a Chinese Zen master, "Nothing is left to you at this
moment but to have a good laugh!" As James Broughton put it:
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.(4)
True humor is, indeed, laughter at one's Self—at the Divine Comedy,
the fabulous deception, whereby one comes to imagine that a creature
in existence is not also of existence, that what man is is not also what
everything is. All the time we "know it in our bones" but conscious
attention, distracted by details and differences, cannot see the whole for
the parts."

From Alan Watts' The Book

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tapping, Emotional Freedom Technique

EB - Eyebrow
SE - Side of Eye
UE - Under Eye
UN - Under Nose
Ch - Chin
CB - Collar Bone
UA - Under Arm
BN - Below Nipple
Th - Thumb
IF - Index Finger
MF - Middle Finger
BF - Baby Finger
KC - Karate Chop

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is essentially a meditative practice combining physical & mental triggers for personal compassion and mindfulness. The way it is packaged, using terms like "energy systems", is a little too new-agey for my taste; but I've tried the technique and have been pleased with it.

Self Awareness: Breaking the Bonds of Memetic Servitude

"Beyond the illusion of ego exists a deeper conceptualization of self: the universe consists of a swirling, dynamic dance of power-relationships, with the black-and-white construct of the individual giving way to the grayer concept of the individual as a nexus of these connections. No true separation between individual and environment remains. Our consciousness has developed as a tool used by other entities, but it has provided the ultimate tool for our use to which no other nexus has access: self-awareness. The understanding that self-awareness exists to serve the meme breaks that bond of servitude—it acts as the realization of enlightenment. Re-read the last sentence. The individual re-emerges as a discrete point of true awareness—not delusional ego-awareness, but awareness of our status as a nexus in the dance of power-relationships. Every atom in our body changes, replaced with new matter through the course of eating, metabolism and elimination—we literally do not consist of the same substance today that we did last year. At death we remain physically the same structure, but not the same entity. These examples illustrate that we exist as much more than a complex assemblage of particles. Our true substance seems to more closely resemble a hub and relay to vast webs of power-relationships. While we exist in a constant state of physical flux, we remain a stable, self-aware nexus. Coming to terms with our existence merges science and spirituality, leading ultimately down the classical path of enlightenment-beyond-ego. This realization will set us free."

From Jeff Vail's A Theory of Power (Available online here)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Education and Spontaneity

Initially, knowledge acquisition, especially through formal education, snuffs out imagination & spontaneity. This leads many people to decry education. They see the dulling of imagination as a wrong that has been done to them. A part of them has been brutally neglected by the powers that be. But that is not a completely honest telling -- while it is true that imagination and spontaneity decrease during the time of your life devoted to acquiring knowledge within school walls, this is a necessary step to bring your self into the rational world space. The person who mourns the death of their imagination and blames 'the system' has wrongly assumed that personal growth ends when formal education ends. Formal education is the beginning, it provides the rather dull foundation upon which the rich colorful world you tasted as a child can be rediscovered.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Central Ideas of the Major Epochs

"Every great epoch of human evolution seems to have one absolutely central idea, an idea that totally dominates the entire epoch, and summarizes its entire approach to Spirit and Kosmos, and tells us something altogether profound. And each seems to build upon its predecessor. These ideas are so simple and so central, they can be put in a sentence.
Foraging: Spirit is interwoven with earthbody. Foraging cultures the world over sing this profound truth. The very earth is our blood and bones and marrow, and we are all sons and daughters of that earth--in which, and through which, Spirit flows freely.
Horticulture: But Spirit demands sacrifice. Sacrifice is the great theme running through all horticultural societies, and not just in the concrete form of actual ritual sacrifice, although we certainly see it there as well. But the central and pervading notion is that certain specific human steps must be taken to come into accord with Spirit. Ordinary or typical humanity has to get out of the way, so to speak-- has to be sacrificed--in order for spirit to shine forth more clearly. In other wods, there are steps on the way to a more fully realized Spiritual awareness.
Agrarian: These spiritual steps are in fact arrayed in a Great Chain of Being. The Great Chain is the central, dominant, inescapable theme of every mythic-agrarian society the world over, without exception. And since most of "civilized history" as been agrarian history, Lovejoy was quite right in stating that the Great Chain has been the dominant idea in most of civilized culture.
Modernity: The Great Chain unfolds in evolutionary time. In other words, evolution. The fact that Spirit was usually left out of the equation is simply the disaster of modernity, not the dignity nor the definition of modernity. Evolution is the one great background concept that hangs over every single modern movement; it is the God of modernity. And in fact, this is a tremendously spiritual realization, because, whether or not it consciously identifies itself as spiritual, the fact is that it plugs humans into the Kosmos in an unbroken fashion, and further, points to the inescapable but frightening fact that humans are co-creators of their own evolution, their own history, their own worldspaces, because:
Postmodernity: Nothing is pregiven; the world is not just a perception but also an interpretation. That this leads many postmodernists into fits of aperspectival madness is not our concern. That nothing is pregiven is the great postmodern discovery, and it plugs humans into a plastic Kosmos of their own co-creation, Spirit become self-conscious in the most acute forms, on the way to its own superconscious shock."

From Ken Wilber's A Brief history of Everything (322-23)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Can we skip steps of development?

Ken wilber quoting Sri Aurobindo:

"The spiritual evolution obeys the logic of a successive unfolding; it can take a new decisive main step only when the previous main step has been sufficiently conquered: even if certain minor stages can be swallowed up or leaped over by a rapid and brusque ascension, the consciousness has to turn back to assure itself that the ground passed over is securely annexed to the new condition; a greater or concentrated speed [of development, which is indeed possible] does not eliminate the steps themselves or the necessity of their successive surmounting."