Talking Heads & Monkey Minds

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D. • Less than a min read

A few pattern-interruption points from Talking Heads (from 1984):

“There is a finite number of jokes in the universe.”

“There is no music in space.”

“Cats like houses better than people.”

“Schools are for training people how to listen to other people.”

“Violence on television only affects children whose parents act like television personalities.”

“Table manners are for people who have nothing to do.”

“Civilization is a religion.”

“People will remember you better if always wear the same outfit.”

“In the future we will all drive standing up.”

“Adults think with their mouths open.”

“Passport pictures are what people really look like.”

“In the future it will be a relief to find a place without a culture.”

“When everything is worth money then money is worth nothing.”

“In the future love will be taught on television and by listening to pop songs.”

The future is, of course, always now. And the pattern-interruption advice from Talking Heads reveals the path to the present moment: “Stop making sense.”

Take yourself to the river of the now and drop your mind into the water of whatever is.

Break the pattern to resume your flow.

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Rivers of Becoming

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D. • Less than a min read

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”


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Psychology of a Mistake

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D. • 3 min read

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 …

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A Pattern Break # 74-1a

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D. • Less than a min read

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

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Seamlessly Embedded in All That Is

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D. • Less than a min read

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.

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Yoga Mat for Your Mouth

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D. • 1 min read

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 …

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Hadza Zen

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D. • 2 min read

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 …

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Vectors of Being and Nonbeing

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D. • Less than a min read

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.

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Shallow Thoughts Run Deep

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D. • Less than a min read

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?

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Nondiscursive Journey

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D. • Less than a min read

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


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

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