General Articles

Rivers of Becoming

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Hermanne Hesse, “Siddhartha”


Find yourself a river to meditate on. The rest will come.

What, no river nearby?!

Look inside: it runs right through you.

Spend a contemplative moment on the (meta-cognitive) riverbank of Being

as you witness the River of Becoming flow on without you.

“The river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth…in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere, and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past, nor the shadow of the future…Siddhartha the boy, Siddhartha the mature man and Siddhartha the old man [are] only separated by shadows, not through reality…Nothing was, nothing will be, everything has reality and presence.” Hermanne Hesse, “Siddhartha”


Psychology of a Mistake

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

PresentPerfect[2]I did my best… I did my best!

Dane Cook, comedian

The phrase “to make a mistake” implies purposive, conscious, planned action. That’s utterly inaccurate: there are no intentional mistakes, no one consciously sets out to fail.

When we fail on purpose, when we make a mistake by design, we are actually succeeding with some kind of covert plan. Therefore, even an act of conscious sabotage isn’t a mistake (to you) even if takes the form of a mistake (to others).

Bottom-line: No one makes mistakes because no one ever makes a mistake on purpose (sabotage notwithstanding).

And yet mistakes do take place. Indeed, now and then we all drop the proverbial ball. Not because we intend to but because there are too many balls to juggle with.

Understanding the difference between an intentional mistake and an unintentional occurrence is key to wellbeing and self-acceptance.

A Mistake is a Difference Between What Is and What Should Be

When we think of a mistake, we think of a difference between the real and the ideal, i.e. of a discrepancy between what is and what we expect to be (or is expected to be). But any expectation is fundamentally generic. Whether the standard is set by you, your boss, you parent, your partner, legal system or social norms, it fails to reflect the specifics of any given moment and the specifics of any given mind.

Rules and laws set the ideal expectation of conduct that is aimed at everyone but is based on no one in particular. It’s true that we shouldn’t run the red light but sometimes we do. Why is that? Certainly not because we want to get a ticket, wreck our car or run somebody over. But because even the most alert of us now and then experience a lapse of attention. We are doing our best even when our best falls short of the general expectation.

Now, if you consciously decide to run the red light, it isn’t a mistake – it is an intended socially-unacceptable action, a planned violation of traffic norms. Conscious violations – sabotage, criminal acts – of course, exist. …

A Pattern Break # 74-1a

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

ukI’d ask you out for lunch but, dear reader, we have a virtual relationship only.  So, instead, here’s an invitation to a pattern break for you (or, as the cliche goes, some food for thought):

“You must find your basic question. My basic question was: ‘Is there anything behind the abstractions the holy men are throwing at me? Is there really anything like enlightenment or self-realization?’ I didn’t want it. I just had this question. So naturally I had to experiment. I tried so many things, this, that and the other. For a while. Then you find out one day that there is nothing to find out at all!… The understanding that there is nothing to understand is all there is.” (U. G. Krishnamurti, in “Mind is a Myth”)

Pattern Break # 74-1a

Seamlessly Embedded in All That Is

Friday, February 20th, 2015

3D illustration - wireless signal transmissionYou have to realize that you are not just there, standing alone, a living island onto yourself. You are seamlessly embedded in all that cosmically is. I take it back: you don’t have to realize that. Of course, not. There is no necessity in that. But it would be emotionally pragmatic.

A good while back we used to think Earth was flat. We thought it had edges and we could fall off those edges into some kind of underworld. Then we realized that Earth isn’t flat and with that realization the fear of falling off the edge of the world disappeared. It’s the same here, with this notion that you are seamlessly embedded in all that cosmically is. This notion too brings about a kind of fearlessness, a feeling of being at home and “one with” the rest of this mind-boggling reality.

Is this Vedic spirituality or physics of Zero Point Field? It’s both and neither. Just good ol’ cosmic truths that we keep rediscovering – one nondual mind at a time.

Yoga Mat for Your Mouth

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

9781572245433Yoga is union. Mindful eating is also yoga — in the sense that eating unites your body and mind’s intention through a moment of eating presence. Create an eating mindfulness placemat that you could carry with you like a yoga mat, from table to table, from setting to setting, whether you are eating in or eating out, as a kind of portable eating mindfulness space of your own.

Sketch out a placemat that includes a visual diagram of mindful eating. For example, draw a picture of the eyes to denote the mindfulness of the appearance of food, with an arrow pointing to a nose for the mindfulness of smell, with an arrow pointing to a picture of the tongue for the mindfulness of taste, with an arrow pointing back to your mind (to remember to “open your mind before you open your mouth”).

Or, to awaken the eating zombie, include mindfulness call-outs to get your own attention, such as:

“Eating is Movement, Pause the Flow!”
“Redefine “Enough” – Mindful, not Mouthful!”
“Mindful Eating is Self-Synchronization”
“Eating is physiologically inevitable, but mindfulness isn’t – wake up!”
“Who’s eating?”

You can also include various pointers on craving control, fullness, process of eating. If you have already formulated your Philosophy of Eating, you can summarize it on the placemat as well (“Eat to live, not live to eat!” or “Eating changes both body and mind, the total of who I am. What I eat and how much I eat changes who I am physiologically. Why I eat and how I eat changes who I am psychologically.”)

9781608821013Your mindful eating placemat can also include mindful emotional eating harm-reduction tips on how to shift from mindless emotional overeating to responsible emotional eating such as “when eating to cope with emotions, remember that emotional eating does not have to mean emotional overeating.”

Or you can “Photoshop” pictures of your children whose well-being, in part, depends on your modeling of healthy eating habits. Get creative and laminate the results. Feel free to email me a picture of your mindful eating placemat. I’ll …

Hadza Zen

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Who are the Hadza?

Location: northern Tanzania; “About a thousand Hadza live in their traditional homeland, a broad plain encompassing shallow, salty Lake Eyasi… Genetic testing indicates that they represent one of the primary roots of the human family tree – perhaps more than 100,000 years old.”

Language: “not closely related to any other [language] that still exists”

What are the Hadza like?

-“the Hadza do not engage in warfare”
-“they have no known history of famine”
-they do not farm: “they have no crops, no livestock”
-they “remain true hunter-gatherers”
-“the Hadza diet remains even today more stable and varied than that of the most world’s citizens”
-they have “no permanent shelters”
-“they enjoy an extraordinary amount of leisure time”
-“they’ve left hardly more than a footprint on the land”
-they “live almost entirely free of possessions”
-“the things they own – a cooking pot, a water container, an ax – can be wrapped in a blanket and carried over a shoulder”
-“The Hadza cooking style is simple – the meat is placed directly on the fire. No grill, no pan.”
-“It is Hadza custom that the hunter who’s made the kill does not show off.” They understand that “there is a good deal of luck in hunting.”
-they do not keep track of time: “they ignore hours and days and weeks and months”
-“Hadza women […] are independent and powerful, free to marry or divorce at will.”
-“There are no wedding ceremonies.”
-Most Hadzas are “serial monogamists, changing spouses every few years.”
-“Except for breast-feeding infants, it [is] hard to determine which kids [belong] to which parents.”
-“the Hadza language doesn’t have words for numbers past three or four.”
-the Hadza “sleep whenever they want.”
-they do not worry about the future: “they live a remarkably present-tense existence”
-“The Hadza are not big on ritual. There is not much room in their lives, it seems, for mysticism, for spirits, for pondering the unknown.”
-“There is no specific belief in an afterlife – every Hadza [interviewed] said he had no idea what might happen after he died.”
-“There are no Hadza priests or shamans or medicine men.”
-“They don’t do extended goodbyes. Even when one of their own dies, there is not a lot of fuss. They dig a hole and …

Vectors of Being and Nonbeing

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Closed mind > closed body > closed system > entropy.

Open mind > open body > open system > syntropy.

Vectors of ceasing and arising, of being and nonbeing.

Choose one.

Shallow Thoughts Run Deep

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Deep thoughts stay tautologically close to reality. Put differently, deep thoughts run shallow. Example: “It is what it is.” In saying nothing, thoughts like this manage to say nothing false. And that is about as close to reality as our babbling mind-streams get. Right, Jack Handy?

Nondiscursive Journey

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

8You arrive at a moment.

It means what it means.

And then you depart.

A nondiscursive* journey.

Nondiscursive = non-judgmental

related: Present Perfect/Ordinary Perfection


Mirror Seeks Mirroring

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

We look for mirror neurons (in search of empathy, validation and understanding), while there is a flawless mirror inside each and every one of us.

Lotus Effect


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

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