Archive for November, 2010

Feels Like a Self But Is It?

Monday, November 29th, 2010


“What is distinguishable is not necessarily separable.”  (1)

Just because you see an eddy in a stream it doesn’t mean that an eddy is separate from the stream.

“The imaginary line separating objectivity and subjectivity, reality and illusion, facts and theory, is literally imaginable.” (2)

Just because you can imagine a (causal) line between any two points (or any two events) it doesn’t necessarily mean that a line (of connection between these two points) actually exists.   First mind creates dots/data-points (that aren’t there) and then mind connects these dots/data-points into a line that wasn’t there.  And the imaginable – suddenly – becomes real!

Ponder: if an illusion (of self) exists is it still an illusion?

Resource: Lotus Effect

Reference: 1, 2 Meditations through Rg Veda (Antonio de Nicolas)

Image: illustration by Harry Clarke for E. A. Poe’s Descent into the Maelstrom

Waiting on Closed Doors to Open

Friday, November 26th, 2010

We (eventually) amplify that which is most salient to us.

We leak our secrets.

No need to pick others’ minds: all – in its Earthly irrelevance – is (eventually) known by patient mind.

No need to bang on closed doors, just wait till they swing open on their own.

(But, of course, it’s okay to issue a tactful knock of invitation, now and then).

The first 99% of communication is patience.

The other 99% of communication is compassion.

The remaining 1% of communication is language.

Strange math, indeed…

No Purity, Just Purifying

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Buddhist scriptures say:

Greed is the real dirt, not dust;

Greed is the term for real dirt.

The wise have shaken off this dirt.

I find these lines too harsh, too judgmental for my taste.  All is dirt (skandha and klesa).  Greed is just one type of life-dirt that sticks too well. 

Joy of Uncertainty

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Uncertainty is difficult.  But there is also a potential for joy in it.  After all, the joy of surprise depends on not knowing.  Take a lead from my German shepherd, Sherpa.

When we go to the park she wants to play the Stick Game.  What’s the Stick Game?  First, I find a good stick to throw.  Then, I tease her: before I throw it, I spin around like a madman, trying to psych her out with a fake throw.  For a good 10-15 seconds I pull out all tricks: as I erratically move around, I try to hide the stick behind my back, I constantly startle-stop and fake-throw in all directions. Throughout the entire time, my dog is right on me, tracking my every move, starting off in this or that direction as she tries to extrapolate the direction of the eventual throw.  She likes this simple fun.  What’s not to like?

As she is testing her hypotheses about which direction I will eventually throw the stick, she stands to either confirm her hypothesis, which is fun, or, if her hypothesis is wrong, she stands to be surprised, which, of course, is also fun.

Harvest the Moment

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

The act of giving thanks is more than just a gesture of gratitude. It is a unique teaching moment.

Indeed, by expressing appreciation for this or that we teach the world about what matters to us, about what is existentially significant for us. With this in mind, let me ask you this: what contributions to your well-being that you will be reinforcing this year with your gratitude?

Will you be showing gratitude for financial, material, logistical help you have received this year or will you be emphasizing the importance of the contributions of support, friendship and companionship?

Mind is Bias

Friday, November 19th, 2010

bias is in the mindMind is in the business of bias: as long as there is a point of view, there is bias.  Objectivity is a myth.  Reality is twice filtered: first, sensorically, then, interpretationally.  Mind – in leaning “this” way or “that” way – is fundamentally dichotomous, dual, i.e. preferential, i.e. subjective, i.e. discriminating, i.e. (positively or negatively) unfair.  Gravity is as close as we come to unbiased attraction.  Everything – once tossed up – comes down.  True love (like gravity) makes no exceptions.  Mother Earth welcomes us all back home.  True (unconditional) love is indifference (acceptance of whatever is). The rest is liking… The rest is conditionality… 

Just a leaning of this particular mind.  But what do I actually (objectively) know?  Nothing, of course.


Euphonious Apophenia

360 Degrees of Compassion


Russian Zen

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Russia likes to sit down.  There is a Russian saying: “v nogakh pravdy nyet” which literally translates “there is no truth in feet,” meaning “there is no truth in standing,” meaning “a body in a hurry is a mind in a hurry,” meaning “a mind in a hurry is not to be trusted.”

Similarly, there is a custom of starting every journey with a brief sit-down.  Whenever a group of people are about to embark on a trip of any significance, somene’s bound to call out “Syadyem na dorozhku!” which means “Let’s sit down before we hit the road.”

The “sit” is no more than a minute – a chance to gather your thoughts, to catch your breath, to clear your mind, to set an intention.  It’s really cute when kids remind their parents to do so.  I remember feeling quite empowered when I called out for a sit-down before my Mom and I headed out for my first big summer vacation to the Crimea (on the Black Sea).  I must’ve been 8 or 9 years old then, but the idea of slowing down and not trusting a mind-in-a-rush had been already culturally programmed into me.

Noosphere of Naiveté

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

noosphere“Both the French paleontologist-priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and the Russian atheist Vladimir Vernadsky agreed that Earth is developing a global mind.   The layer of thought in the shape of a sphere they called the noosphere, from Greek noos, mind.  The aggregate net of throbbing life, from flashing fireflies to human e-mail, is the developing planetary mind.  Perhaps, like the brain of a human babe with many synaptic connections that diminish over time, the noosphere is still in its infancy.  Polymorphous, paranoiac, confused, yet intensely imaginative, the thinking layer of Earth that is largely the unexpected product of animal consciousness, may now be in its most impressionable stage.”  (1)

Yes, the human biomass is, indeed, connecting at an ever increasing pace.  The day is likely coming when we begin to embed our respective individualities into one seamless hive-mind with the help of some kind of implantable “augmented reality” gizmo.  But what would be the psychological savvy of this global meta-mind if we (its constituent mind-parts) still don’t know what/who we are?

Psychological Self-Maintenance

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

search for identityOver the last several years I have been reading a lot of Lynn Margulis and Dorian Sagan (the former, Lynn, is the ex of Carl Sagan and the mother of the latter).  This mother-son writing duo – to my estimation – is one of the key think-tanks on this planet at the present time.  Lynn is a fearless iconoclast brilliantly redefining our understanding of life.  But this post isn’t about “life,” in its biochemical or cosmic sense.  This post is about inner life and maintenance thereof.

As some of the readers of my blog know, I recently published a book called “Lotus Effect” which is a program of the identity detox designed to help you “shed suffering” and “rediscover your (so-called) essential self.”  What I want to show you in this post is the interplay between biology and psychology, namely, the interplay between the two fundamental questions: “What is life?” and “Who am I?”

Mindful Eating Tracker (Update 2)

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
We (mindful eating trackers) are 500 comments old!  Thank you, all.  It’s been but a handful of us, but it looks like we’ve had half a thousand of mindful eating moments (give and take).  Not shabby, huh?  Congratulations to you, mindful eating trackers!  Mindful Eating Tracker project lives on for now.

Here’s a recent sample of participants’ thoughts and comments:

November 6, 2010 | Participant wrote: “Sweet, tart, warm with memories. Apple pie. The season expressed in a food that is tied to now and the past. Such an “Ahhh” moment.”

Select books by Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.:
Mindful Emotional Eating Reinventing the Meal
Present Perfect
Eating the Moment

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