Universal mind and individual mind

Today I pulled together three thoughts that before I had recognized separately 

  1. All mystrical traditions and many moderns who report on psychedelic experiences tell us that we are one.  But individuality is such a powerful illusion, if illusion it be. How to make sense of this unanimity on the subject of oneness in light of the fundamental fact of our senses: that we each experience free will with regard to skeletal muscles of one individual human only?
  2. Thoughts from moment to moment are mostly out of our volitional control.  Anyone who tries to meditate learns this. Maybe I shouldn’t say “tries” to meditate, because this is meditation’s central message.  One becomes aware that whoever “I” is, this entity is not in control of the thoughts with which “I” is so identified.
  3. Experiments in telepathy show a consistently positive statistical effect, but famously unreliable, inconsistent, out of control.  Telepathy is not a modality we can count on to deliver a message, but in a well-designed experiment with just a few hundred trials, we can be confident in seeing the statistical fingerprints of telepathy.  There is certainly an influence of one mind on another, but it is mostly undirected and beneath conscious awareness.

Tentative synthesis: My thoughts have control over my body, but “I” have only partial control over my thoughts.  This is what it feels like to be a part of the universal consciousness. These thoughts that come unbidden to my mind are the universal mind of which my conscious awareness is just a part.  One function of my brain is an antenna which receives thoughts and images from people I am close to, but also from anyone who directs attention toward me, and in part from a larger sphere of humanity or all life and all nature.

universal mind depiction

Old mystics, shamans, acidheads agree
Connection universal binds us all
The I that seems so separate and small
Is but conceit, conditioned vanity.

My mind in meditation doth defy
My will, assimilates unbidden thought.
Thus meditation’s lesson aptly taught
Asks who, if not my neurons, am this “I”?

Our science if more honest, would concede
Statistics show telepathy is real,
Though not a force we hear or see or feel.
From what source do its messages proceed?

From psi research and from my meditation,
The mystics’ message earns consideration.

— Josh Mitteldorf

Once in a Lifetime (or maybe twice)

History says don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.
So hope for a great sea-change
on the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
and cures and healing wells.

— Seamus Heaney would have been 80 years old today

Image result for distant hope
Digital art by Jeshield

The Pulley

When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by,
“Let us,” said he, “pour on him all we can.
Let the world’s riches, which dispersèd lie,
Contract into a span.”

So strength first made a way;
Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honour, pleasure.
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure,
Rest in the bottom lay.

“For if I should,” said he,
“Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature;
So both should losers be.

“Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness;
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to my breast.”

— George Herbert, born this day in 1593

Image result for god created man

An Update from Lao Tzu

Having trodden the path for cycles uncountable,
Having crossed the ocean of mind from end to end,
Through all veils, its fountainhead have I finally seen.
To you, honest truth-seeker treading just behind me,
I offer this imperfect vision:

Only untruths can be experienced;
Hence, only untruths exist.
Truth does not belong to existence
For it is that which gives voice to existence,
As a trumpet to music.

Experiences are self-tricks of self-reference:
They arise from nothing and are made of nothing.
If you dig deep within yourself,
You shall always find the layer of self-deception
Upon which each one of your convictions ultimately rests.

One’s reality sprouts from the first layer of self-deception
That escapes one’s field of critical awareness.
The deeper this field, the more subtle the self-deception.
Those with little critical awareness thus live more colorful lives:
Their fiction is richer.

The honest search for truth annihilates its own subject
Slowly, recursively, from within.
Having peeled away every layer of self-deception within me,
I have found myself to be without a core:
Nothing is left.

Only nothing is true.
No external references exist, no outside arbiters.
We are self-created fictions, as is our cosmos.
The quest for truth is also the path to self-annihilation
And thus to liberation.

Rejoice, for your pains, fears, frustrations and regrets
Are all untrue.
There is nothing to fear, nothing to strive for, nothing to regret.
You have no soul; that’s just self-deception.
And you won’t die; that’s just self-deception.

But beware!
As a dream symbolically portrays the inner state of the dreamer,
As a novel insinuates the inner life of the author,
As a lie betrays the anxieties of the liar,
So the fiction you call reality reveals something of truth.

Thus pay attention to life,
For truth expresses itself only through its own fictions.
To discern truth in fiction: here is the cosmic conundrum!
To engage wholeheartedly without being taken in: here is nature’s challenge!
To find meaning in nothingness: here is the epic demand!

Partake in reality as an actor in a theater:
With attention, dedication, and an open heart.
But never believe yourself to be your character;
For characters spend their lives chasing their own shadows,
Whereas actors embody the meaning of existence.

May this small vision serve you as warning, and also encouragement.
The prize at the end of the path is handsome:
Freedom to make the deliberate, guiltless choice
Of which untruth to love.
Exercise this choice wisely, for it is the art of life.

Bernardo Kastrup offers us a picture rooted in physics and analytic philosophy, extending inexorably into the void.  Dao De Jing meets Tractatus.  This is where we end up if we take seriously the notion that thoughts create reality.  This poem was lightly edited and paraphrased by JJM.

Image result for joyously embracing the void

Clean for Gene

When I was a sophomore in college, my classmates and I put on clothes we would never wear on campus and went knocking on doors to promote Gene McCarthy in his challenge to the Vietnam war, and to Lyndon Johnson’s presidency.

When Democrats and Republicans alike talked about Victory over Communism, McCarthy had the courage to talk about fool’s errands, about atrocities, about peace as a virtue.

McCarthy had an academic’s clarity of purpose, a poet’s temperament, and a politician’s love of connection with the people.

THE MAPLE TREE
The maple tree that night
Without a wind or rain
Let go its leaves
Because its time had come.
Brown veined, spotted,
Like old hands, fluttering in blessing,
They fell upon my head
And shoulders, and then
Down to the quiet at my feet.
I stood, and stood
Until the tree was bare
And have told no one
But you that I was there.
—Eugene Joseph McCarthy was born on this day in 1916.

Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game, and dumb enough to think it’s important.

Seeking diversion

The sense of this ditty is just to amuse you
Providing distraction, albeit quite brief;
Pretense to instruction would only abuse you,
Command your attention, abscond like a thief.

Bombastic!  Cantakerous! Trumping, galumping
Explosion in ecstasy, fallen to hell;
Salcious, moist body parts, elephants humping,
Revulsion and passion have served us all well.

Still with me, I see? so I must be succeeding
(At least you have not yet turned on the TV.)
Now dare I leave off what’s tlll now kept you reading,
Endeavoring slyly to —— set you free?

To look with astonishment on mere existence
Cannot be a grace that’s evoked by a poem;
’Tis you must endeavor to banish the distance
That separates you from your primeval home.

Something has beaten us down and prevented
Our touching around us what’s present and real;
It sings to us, rainbow-hewed, subtly scented,
Adrift in our heads, we’re unable to feel.

Stop reading!  I mean it. Turn off your computer,
Tune in to the raw state of being in time;
Put down this device, or abandon this book,
Don’t wait for the poet to leave off his rhyme.

Could it be you’re still waiting for me to stop writing?
Well, then, I will

Image result for lightning

Musketaquid

Because I was content with these poor fields,
Low, open meads, slender and sluggish streams,
And found a home in haunts which others scorned,
The partial wood-gods overpaid my love,
And granted me the freedom of their state,
And in their secret senate have prevailed
With the dear, dangerous lords that rule our life,
Made moon and planets parties to their bond,
And through my rock-like, solitary wont
Shot million rays of thought and tenderness.
For me, in showers, in sweeping showers, the Spring
Visits the valley;—break away the clouds,—
I bathe in the morn’s soft and silvered air,
And loiter willing by yon loitering stream.
Sparrows far off, and nearer, April’s bird,
Blue-coated,—flying before from tree to tree,
Courageous sing a delicate overture
To lead the tardy concert of the year.
Onward and nearer rides the sun of May;
And wide around, the marriage of the plants
Is sweetly solemnized. Then flows amain
The surge of summer’s beauty; dell and crag,
Hollow and lake, hillside and pine arcade,
Are touched with genius. Yonder ragged cliff
Has thousand faces in a thousand hours.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Image result for breaking clouds forest spring

Go thou to thy learned task,
I stay with flow’rs of Spring:
Do thou of the Ages ask
What me the Hours will bring.