Featured Arcana: The Devil (XV)

I am continually fascinated by the Major Arcanum, The Devil — he seems to show up in a lot of my daily spreads. 🙂 It’s taken me a while to finally get a better grasp on what he typically means in my life…

The Devil branches from the 6th sephirot to the 8th on the Tree of Life. This indicates a few important aspects of his character:

Another way to think of Hod (sephirot 8) is the allowing of chaos to occur while we simply observe it; we submit and watch it unfold. Or, if 7 represents the raw energy needed to make things happen in our lives, 8 represents the physical form we assign to the Ineffable Energy in order to better connect with it and call upon it for practical use.

So I have come to understand my friend, The Devil, as an archetype of submission to my Shadow Self. (Notice in the imagery of Baphomet the presence of male and female, animal and human…indicating that we are All at all times…)

Coming from a place of Balanced Interpersonal Interaction, the Devil is the name we give our nature when it releases itself from dogmatic control and we submit to our gut instincts. We experiment and see what happens, without apology. Notice the two children, one chained and the other holding the chains– we are in control of our own selves. Though we may feel chained by circumstance, this card reminds us that it is we who hold our own chains…

Ultimately, when the Tree guides us through 8 via the Devil, to the 9th sephirot of Self-Reflection, we find ourselves walking in the Sun… the two children of our nature have broken the chains that bound us and found even greater liberty than we’d had before.

Elemental Guidance

I love exploring the power and wisdom of the tarot’s court cards!

To begin understanding their complexity and potential guidance, let’s break down each element and its corresponding suit…

Fire (Wands): Energy, Ambition, Passion

Air (Swords): Thought, Mental Activity

Water (Cups): Emotion, Feelings

Earth (Pentacles, Disks, Coins): The Material World (including career, or any other physical surroundings)

It helps one to recall that “We can’t know anything outside our mind. Everything we see is contained within our mind. Thus, I am not in the world. The world is in me.” (— Haemin Sunim [@haeminsunim] March 8, 2017)

Thus, 3 out of the 4 elements are found originating within ourselves, and the material world is the recipient of whatever way we act out in response to these inner elements.

Continue reading “Elemental Guidance”

Peeling Back the Layers of Karma

Evolving_Our_Brain___LearnNow

…If we zoom into the neuronal circuits and clusters that make up the brain’s systems, we’ll find them laid out like the concentric layers of an onion, functional layer upon functional layer. This arrangement is the result of the relentless evolutionary push to continuously improve on an animal’s ability to navigate its complex and ever-changing environment. This onion reveals no preconceived design—far from it—but the unavoidably messy piling up of new over old structures, forced to work together for the common good.

The core of the onion: autonomous systems. Along the oldest, deepest layers… They are in charge of the most basic survival routines like swallowing, vomiting, heart beating and respiration, which are so indispensable that they run, for the most part, on autopilot. Accordingly, they are very hard, though not impossible, to modulate voluntarily. Our human species shares these circuits with fish and reptiles.

Next layer of the onion to grow: instinct… Vertebrates benefited tremendously from these pre-programmed circuits that expanded their behavioral repertoire and increased their fitness. Instincts mediate behaviors so crucial to survival that they are encoded as such in the genes themselves, hard-wired in the brain during an animal’s development and not changed by later experience…

Let’s examine the next layer: emotion. An amazing breakthrough happened in mammals, with the laying out of a new set of neural substrates capable of generating emotions. These paths grew together in a circuitry that occupies several brain regions… This collection of brain regions is often referred to as the limbic system, because like an arm (a limb), it surrounds in its embrace the more primitive survival and instinctual regions of the brain, affording us primates a whole new set of behavioral tools for interacting with the world. Accordingly, life became more interesting and vastly more complicated. For example, the instinctual drives to have sex and to run away from danger would be inextricably linked to powerful feelings of affection and fear, respectively. The influence that this new circuitry exerts over our decisions and behaviors is enormous. The neural substrates of emotions are strongly influenced by developmental factors. Perhaps because of its more recent origins, the emotional circuitry is even more flexible and responsive to external influeces than earlier circuits…

The outermost peel (aka, the neocortex) was overlaid atop an already crowded swarm of networks. In primates, it exploded into two huge hemispheres that completely enveloped the older parts of the brain. This new shell serves as the testing grounds for our still developing reasoning abilities. Because they are so recent, neocortical functions are the most flexible and sensitive to the impact of social and environmental experience. Since the neocortical outputs are closer to conscious experience, it is hard to recognize that the neocortex is constantly competing against earlier webs of well-established brain circuitry, and that its contribution to our motivations and actions are likely less than what we’d expect.

We humans are the flavorful mash-up of all these brain layers: we are automaton, instinctual, emotional and rational creatures. We are like magic onions, proud of our paper-thin skin but only vaguely aware of the thick and deeper layers of our brains. All of these different layers play critical roles in shaping our interactions with the world around us, even as they continue to search for more efficient ways of talking to each other; but, alas, this will take millions of years…

Ruben Baler, Ph.D.

Our brains are like Onions. :mrgreen:

Like the rings of a tree map out the details of its life and journey on the earth, our brains — even more complexly — consist of layer upon layer of, not merely the journey of our own life, but the journey of our entire species! How awesome is that?!

Is it any surprise, then, that we may experience the real effects of karma, originating from not only our own past but the past “lives” and experiences of our own species? I am an amazing “messy pile” of connections, built from my grandmother’s grandmother’s grandmother’s (and so on) experiences… My mind is predisposed to reacting to my environment based upon how my ancestors reacted to their environment — ancestors from as early as the “tiny, scrappy” primate tree-dwellers of 55 million years ago, to as recent as those inhabiting the 19th century…the 20th century… and so on…

If we were to imagine, for just an instant, that what we call the “soul” or “self” was nothing more than the end-result of all these messy connections of layer-upon-layer of experiences built into our brains — if we were to take Buddha’s original viewpoint of anatta, for just an instant — we could gain insight into this notion of karma as the existence of motivations arising within us from past lives. Built right inside of us from the moment we are conceived and developing in the womb!

Consider how many opportunities for miscommunication there are among our civilization — even within the borders of our own country, our own state, our own families, we all have difficulty communicating clearly to others at times. We all have a tendency to see events, words, phrases, through our own ingrained perceptions, which were handed down to us from generations ago and layered into our onion-skins of the brain. This may be considered a sort of karma — for do we not react based upon our perceptions?

The task of meditation, then, is to peel back the layers of the Great Onion of our minds. To simply see and acknowledge that we are more than these layers would have us believe — that is, we are more and we are less. To peel back the layers and examine what is beyond them is to give our brains a real and physical plasticity and fight back a certain rigor mortis of the neurological connections. Plasticity of the mind grants us clarity and peace, granting us freedom from the “karma” of our built-in connections… likewise, ensuring that we will continue to pass on the “good karma” of flexible connections and re-wiring to future generations, strengthening the survival of our species…

I considered, too, the mythology of the Divine Beloved (and my own beautiful Inner Dragon, Malachi). Getting to know our own mind through the use of imagery and ascribed personality can be extraordinarily helpful in increasing this plasticity and freedom. For, when I pray, if you will, to the Divine Beloved Malachi to take the effects of a certain karmic action or sensibility, from its point of origin until now, and I utterly release it to the Universe and do not look back upon it as a part of my life — in a very real sense, I am instructing my unconscious mind to examine and rewire itself concerning a certain action that was once built into the layers of my brain yet which is now found to be unhelpful.

In this sense, are we not helping along our own evolution?

What a tremendous wonder our brains are! What a miracle of complexity, and what encouragement for our species! If only that we all would take heed the words of the wise men who have gone before us (of Buddha, Jesus, and others) and examine ourselves. Yes, and feel free to acknowledge your own personal deities and angels; take advantage of the imagery they invoke to powerfully re-build the connections of our being and reshape our future!

Return to Your Roots

Cliffside-Tree-Roots

Let us take a lesson from Sister Flora, who draws nourishment from deep down within the Earth. It is the connection of the roots, drawing energy and nourishment from the Earth that sustains the Tree.

Jesus said it this way:

See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these…that is how God clothes the grass of the field…will he not much more clothe you… So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ …your heavenly Father knows that you need them. –Matthew 6:28-32

Sister Flora does not work or toil or worry, she only draws up the energy from Mother Earth to bring through her veins everything she needs. Likewise, we too, if we reconnect ourselves to the Earth and cosmos from which we came — within which our roots still exist from the beginnings of Evolution eons ago:

— we will find all the energy, creativity, love, and sustenance that we could ever need. 

Similarly, our roots interconnect and intertwine with the roots of others who are connected rootsto this planet, who were birthed here. And when we are aware of this intimate connection with The All, The All is entirely open to us: we are It, and It is us. We are each other, and we are Everything. Therefore, again, we lack for nothing.

In this manner, it is strikingly evident what Carl Sagan has said in regard to us and the Universe:

The cosmos is also within us… We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.

If through Evolution, the cosmos has begun to open itself and search within itself all of its own possibilities, then we are a powerful part of that search — that Knowledge and Unearthly Wisdom! Let us reconnect ourselves and draw that into us.

One more thought for encouragement. I often behold the apparent restrictions human civilization has put on Sister Flora, confining her to certain zones, if you will, where she is allowed to flourish among us, surrounded by concrete. But then I consider, how awesome it is that, as long as her roots are connected to the Earth and drawing all she needs from within the Heart of it, then, in fact, she is not restrained in the truest sense! Likewise, while it may seem at times that we are imprisoned in our own emotions and minds and societal situations we’ve gotten ourselves into, nonetheless, there is always Freedom, there is always Wisdom, deep down at the Heart of Creation, waiting to be tapped.

May we continue to strengthen our connection with the Earth, our Mother, and reach our roots down deep to draw upon her nourishment and wisdom.

spiritual-abundance2

Out of Our Heads and Other Musings

Over the past several days I’ve been enjoying the audiobook listening of Alva Noë‘s work, “Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain.” In it, Noë elaborates the philosophical rethinking of our definition of consciousness and how it isn’t merely the result of the neural crackle and pop inside of our brains– it is not found inside our skills and it is more than the simple wiring of synapses.

Since I’m musing here only on my initial thoughts and my personal intellectualizing connections through this work — and to be sure, I’m only halfway through! — I don’t have full-on quotes I’ll be referring to, but more overarching concepts, that are mine, based on my understanding of it thus far. I highly recommend this book to everyone; read it to fully understand Noë’s premises and to comprehend the numerous enlightening examples he gives! In the words of LeVar Burton, “…you don’t have to take my word for it…” 😉

Where do we end, and the world begins?

  • Consciousness is not to be found inside of us, through dissection and analysis of neuro physical workings, but via our reactions and interactions with our environment. We are so fully intertwined, ingrained, and at home in our surroundings, in our world, that we are a part of it and it is a part of us. Or, perhaps better, we are it, and it is us.
  • It is through our interactions and relationships with a culture and the rules and people inherent to it that we find who we are. We are defined by our place within a culture, and when we are forced to leave for one reason or another, we must change who we are; we are not ourselves any longer. This, to me, is a grand example of what we can call the Ego, and its choosing of who we are. And it’s not to say that we are one Ego-personification only; I’ve found that my Ego will transform to be a different Personality depending on the cultural situation in which I find myself. This is entirely natural. I am very much different depending on with whom I am speaking; there are cultural rules that govern which aspects of Personality our Ego reveals at any given moment.
  • To take this a step further, then, we can be and are all things. We are each other. It’s only a matter of recognizing this fact through meditation and practice. It is the idea (or myth) of embracing the Shadow.
  • Then, too, we are not beholden to merely one image of ourselves. Yes, it is our interaction to our surroundings–to others–that gives our Ego reason and ammunition in determining who we are at such a moment. But, in the basic understanding of karma, we realize that these Ego-Personifications will arise without us even realizing that it is not us, or that it is not merely us… When we are not in a position to observe and understand without attachment the given Ego-Personification at a given moment, we are only reacting to our surroundings via karmic habit.
  • Is this wrong? Well…I’d ask, is anything wrong? It is human. It is consciousness. It is what we do, thanks to evolution and our shared consciousness passed down to us for eons and generations who’ve gone before. It is only wrong if you say it is. We are creatures of habit. And knowledge is built upon the knowledge we’ve accumulated and absorbed into the fabric of our beings. Habit is good. Habit is what makes us the intelligent beings we are. BUT this also means, we are able to change and grow and acquire new habits and skills.
  • Noë describes a fascinating aspect of habit and knowledge and skill in our species of intelligence. Look at a novice acquiring a skill–his acquiring of it is vastly improved by his paying close attention to the mechanical details of that skill. Now consider the expert in that same skill. If she focuses her attention on the rudimentary mechanics of her skill, she will lose proficiency. Rather, her mind must occupy itself with the general, broad artistic world built upon those rudimentary mechanics which she has already achieved. She must go beyond and live in the grander fuller meaning of that skill.
  • Now, consider a musician who has been honing her craft for decades. In learning a new piece of music she has never before played, in a sense, she is reverting back to the focused mechanical detail of the novice. To accurately train her muscles to execute the notes and rhythms on the page, she must drill and repeat and pay close attention to every detail of motion in her body. However, when she has learned the piece well and seeks to perform it better and better each time she executes it, these must never focus on the beginner’s details, but must instead focus on the greater artistry derived from the very essence of the notes and patterns themselves…. Believe me, I experience this on a daily level…. 😉 It’s highly enlightening!!
  • So, when ascertaining our minds, and how we tend to react and integrate in this daily “grind,” we can use meditation to bring us back to the level of the “novice,” to train our Egos to react and transform differently than to that which we may be accustomed. Focusing on the details as we mold and shape our integrations and reactions will later free us to embark on the greater artistry and meaning of our daily working consciousness.
  • Vision and perception of our world is something that we unthinkingly take a critical part in. Think of this: how when we look at an object, how it appears to us depends not only on our physiological biology, but also on our physical relation, or placement, to that object! We are an active part of what we see, and we unknowingly influence our reality in vital ways! Likewise, then, what happens when we close our eyes in meditation? We are freed to ascertain our world in other ways. We are freed to clear our mind of visual distractions and simply feel… We are freed to feel the earth connecting to us with its energy, we are free to feel the wind on our skin, we are free to hear the soothing vibrations of peaceful sounds wafting over us…. We are freed to become detached and simply observe ourselves and our place in our environment.

These are only a few of my current musings! 🙂

Enjoy this short video of Noë speaking on this topic:

More on Vibrational Influences…

I did some more digging into the complexity of the biology and neuro-physiology behind the process of how we see and perceive color (and thus how we interpret not only the world around us, but how we might interpret and “allegorify” notions like the chakra color system). There is a phenomenal and enlightening chapter from David Hubel’s Eye, Brain, and Vision available for reading online and download, at the link. Following are some excerpts from Chapter 8, Color Vision, which I found to be pertinent for me in these contemplations of mine (For ease of understanding, I’ll post the Conclusion first, so you can see better where this complex information is headed; all emphases are my own; and be sure to see the final important statement at the end of this article….Everything we do depends on the brain!):

CONCLUSION
The subject of color vision illustrates so well the possibilities of understanding otherwise quite mysterious phenomena—the results of color mixing or the constancy of colors despite changes in the light source—by using a combination of psychophysical and neurophysiological methods. For all their complexity, the problems presented by color are probably simpler than those presented by form. Despite all the orientation-specific and end-stopped cells, we are still a long way from understanding our ability to recognize shapes, to distinguish shapes from their background, or to interpret three dimensions from the flat pictures presented to each of our eyes. To compare the modalities of color and form at all may itself be misleading: remember that differences in color at borders without any differences in luminous intensity, can lead to perception of shapes. Thus color, like black and white, is just one means by which shapes manifest themselves.
…..
The result of mixing paints is mainly a matter of physics; mixing light beams is mainly biology.
In thinking about color, it is useful to keep separate in our minds these different components: physics and biology. The physics that we need to know is limited to a few facts about light waves. The biology consists of psychophysics, a discipline concerned with examining our capabilities as instruments for detecting information from the outside world, and physiology, which examines the detecting instrument, our visual system, by looking inside it to learn how it works.

….Light is defined as what we can see. Our eyes can detect electromagnetic energy at wavelengths between 400 and 700 nanometers. Most light reaching our eyes consists of a relatively even mixture of energy at different wavelengths and is loosely called white light. To assess the wavelength content of a beam of light we measure how much light energy it contains in each of a series of small intervals, for example, between 400 and 410 nanometers, between 410 and 420 nanometers, and so on, and then draw a graph of energy against wavelength. For light coming from the sun, the… shape of the curve is broad and smooth, with no very sudden ups or downs, just a gentle peak around 600 nanometers. Such a broad curve is typical for an incandescent source. The position of the peak depends on the source’s temperature: the graph for the sun has its peak around 600 nanometers; for a star hotter than our sun, it would have its peak displaced toward the shorter wavelengths—toward the blue end of the spectrum, or the left in the graph—indicating that a higher proportion of the light is of shorter wavelength…. If by some means we filter white light so as to remove everything but a narrow band of wavelengths, the resulting light is termed monochromatic.

The energy in a beam of light such as sunlight contains a broad distribution of wavelengths, from 400 or less to about 700 nanometers. The gentle peak is a function of the temperature of the source: the hotter the source the more the peak is displaced towards the blue, or short-wave-length, end. Monochromatic light is light whose energy is mostly at or near one wavelength. It can be produced with various kinds of filters, with a spectroscope containing a prism or a grating, or with a laser.

Most colored objects reflect light that is generally richer in some parts of the visible spectrum than in others. The distribution of wavelengths is much broader than that for monochromatic light, however.
What color we see, I should quickly add, is not simply a matter of wavelengths; it depends on wavelength content and on the properties of our visual system. It involves both physics and biology.

…The pigments in the three cone types have their peak absorptions at about 430, 530, and 560 nanometers, as shown in the graph below; the cones are consequently loosely called “blue”, “green”, and “red”, “loosely” because (1) the names refer to peak sensitivities (which in turn are related to ability toabsorb light) rather than to the way the pigments would appear if we were to look at them; (2) monochromatic lights whose wavelengths are 430, 530, and 560 nanometers are not blue, green, and red but violet, blue-green, and yellow-green; and (3) if we were to stimulate cones ofjust one type, we would see not blue, green, or red but probably violet, green, and yellowish-red instead.

….The three cones show broad sensitivity curves with much overlap, especially the red and the green cones. Light at 600 nanometers will evoke the greatest response from red cones, those peaking at 560 nanometers, but will likely evoke some response, even if weaker, from the other two cone types.
Thus the red-sensitive cone does not respond only to long-wavelength, or red, light; it just responds better. The same holds for the other two cones.

Color is the consequence of unequal stimulation of the three types of cones. Light with a broad spectral curve, as from the sun or a candle, will obviously stimulate all three kinds of cones, perhaps about equally, and the resulting sensation turns out to be lack of color, or “white”….

…To understand what is happening we need to know that the blue cellophane absorbs long-wavelength light, the yellows and reds, from the white and lets through the rest, which looks blue, and that the yellow filter absorbs mainly blue and lets through the rest, which looks yellow. The diagram on this page shows the spectral composition of the light each filter passes. Note that in both cases the light that gets through is far from monochromatic, the yellow light is not narrow-band spectral yellow but a mixture of spectral yellow and shorter wavelengths, greens, and longer wavelengths, oranges and reds. Similarly, the blue is spectral blue plus greens and violet. Why don’t we see more than just yellow or just blue? Yellow is the result of equal stimulation of the red and the green cones, with no stimulation of the blue cone; this stimulation can be accomplished with spectral yellow (monochromatic light at 580 nanometers) or with a broader smear of wavelengths, such as we typically get with pig- ments, as long as the breadth is not so great as to include short wavelengths and thereby stimulate the blue cone. Similarly, as far as our three cones are concerned, spectral blue light has about the same impact as blue plus green plus violet. Now, when we use the two filters, one in front of the other, what we get is what both filters let through, namely, just the greens. This is where the graphs shown on this page, for broad-band blue and yellow, overlap. The same thing happens with paints: yellow and blue paints together absorb everything in the light except greens, which are reflected. Note that if we used monochromatic yellow and blue filters in our experiment, putting one in front of the other would result in nothing getting through. The mixing works only because the colors produced by pigments have a broad spectral content.

… Presumably, some time in the distant past, a primordial visual pigment gave rise to rhodopsin, the blue pigment, and the common precursor of the red and green pigments. At a much more recent time the X-chromosome genes for the red and green pigments arose from this precursor by a process of duplication. Possibly this occurred after the time of separation of the African and South American continents, 30 to 40 million years ago, since old world primates all exhibit this duplication of cone pigment genes on the X-chromosome, whereas new world primates do not.

…We can think of Hering’s yellow-blue and red-green processes as separate channels in the nervous system, whose outputs can be represented as two meters, like old-fashioned voltmeters, with the indicator of one meter swinging to the left of zero to register yellow and to the right to register blue and the other meter doing the same for red versus green. The color of an object can then be described in terms of the two readings. Hering’s third antagonistic process (you can think of it as a third voltmeter) registered black versus white. He realized that black and gray are not produced simply by absence of light coming from an object or surface but arise when and only when the light from the object is less than the average of the light coming from the surrounding regions. White arises only when the surround is darker and when no hue is present. (I have already discussed this in Chapter 3, with examples such as the turned-off television set.) In Hering’s theory, the black-white process requires a spatial comparison, or subtraction of reflectances, whereas his yellow-blue and red-green processes represent something occurring in one particular place t in the visual field, without regard to the surrounds. (Hering was certainly aware that neighboring colors interact, but his color theory as enunciated in his latest work does not encompass those phenomena.) We have already seen that black versus white is indeed represented in the retina and brain by spatially opponent excitatory and inhibitory (on versus off) processes that are literally antagonistic.

….an object’s whiteness, blackness, or grayness depends on the light that the object reflects from some source, relative to the light reflected by the other objects in the scene…experiments showed convincingly that the sensation produced in one part of the visual field depends on the light coming from that place and on the light coming from everywhere else in the visual field….

Any color can thus be thought of as corresponding to a point in three-dimensional space whose coordinate axes are the three ratios, taken with red light, green light, and blue light…. to have color at all, we need to have variation in the wavelength content of light across the visual field. We require color borders for color, just as we require luminance borders for black and white. …differences across borders are necessary for color to be seen at all.

…If blob cells are involved in color constancy, they cannot be carrying out the computation exactly as Land first envisioned it, by making a separate comparison between a region and its surround for each of the cone wavebands. Instead ^ they would seem to be doing a Hering-like comparison: of red-greenness in one region with red-greenness in the surround, and the same for yellow-blueness and for intensity. But the two ways of handling color—r, g, and b on the one hand and b-w, r-g, and y-b on the other—are really equivalent. Color requires our specifying three variables; to any color there corresponds a triplet of numbers, and we can think of any color as occupying a point in three- dimensional space… …the blob cells making up the three classes are not like peas in pods but vary among themselves in the relative strengths of surrounds and centers, in their perfections in the balance between opponent colors, and in other characteristics, some still not understood. At the moment, we can only say that the physiology has a striking affinity with the psychophysics. You may ask why the brain should go to the trouble to plot color with these seemingly weird axes rather than with the more straightforward r, g, and b axes, the way the receptor layer of the retina does. Presumably, color vision was added in evolution to the colorless vision characteristic of lower mammals. For such animals, color space was one-dimensional, with all cone types (if the animal had more than one) pooled. When color vision evolved, two more axes were added to the one already present. It would make more sense to do that than to throw out the pooled system already present for black-white and then have to erect three new ones. When we adapt to the dark and are using only our rods, our vision becomes colorless and is again plotted along one axis, to which the rods evidently contribute. That would not be easy to do with r, g, and b axes… …Our tendency to think of color and form as separate aspects of perception thus has its counterpart in the physical segregation of blobs and nonblob regions in the primary visual cortex. Beyond the seriate cortex the segregation is perpetuated, in visual area 2 and even beyond that. We do not know where, or if, they combine.

Finally, too, an important word from the last thoughts at the end of the book:

We may soon have to face a different kind of problem: that of reconciling some of our most cherished and deep-seated beliefs with new knowledge of the brain. In 1983, the Church of Rome formally indicated its acceptance of the physics and cosmology Gallileo had promulgated 350 years earlier. Today our courts, politicians, and publishers are struggling with the same problem in teaching school children the, facts about evolution and molecular biology. If mind and soul are to neurobiology what sky and heaven are to astronomy and The Creation is to biology, then a third revolution in thought may be in the offing. We should not, however, smugly regard these as struggles between scientific wisdom and religious ignorance. If humans tend to cherish certain beliefs, it is only reasonable to suppose that our brains have evolved so as to favor that tendency—for reasons concerned with survival. To dismantle old beliefs or myths and replace them with scientific modes of thought should not and probably cannot be done hastily or by decree. But it seems to me that we will, in the end, have to modify our beliefs to make room for facts that our brains have enabled us to establish by experiment and deduction: the world is round; it goes around the sun; living things evolve; life can be explained in terms of fantastically complex molecules; and thought may some day be explained in terms of fantastically complex sets of neural connections.
The potential gains in understanding the brain include more than the cure and prevention of neurologic and psychiatric diseases. They go well beyond that, to fields like education. In educating, we are trying to influence the brain:
how could we fail to teach better, if we understood the thing we are trying to influence? Possible gains extend even to art, music, athletics, and social relationships. Everything we do depends on our brains.

More of My Favorite Things…

Here are a couple more of life’s treasures that make me smile…. :mrgreen:

  • The smell of honeysuckle….
    Honeysuckle
    (The smell of rosemary, too!)
  • Dragons
    blue-dragon-black-design-1

…In fact, not long ago my own Divine Beloved took shape and introduced himself to me as a beautiful blue dragon; he called himself Malachi – meaning “Messenger”… I knew I always had a thing for dragons!!

Dragons can hold important mythological meaning:

Dragons and Snakes are symbols for human DNA. Fire representing soul sparks of light emanating from the flame of creation…The way through all things….A winged dragon – the volatile elements; without wings – the fixed elements…Guardian of the ‘Flaming Pearl’ symbol of spiritual perfection and powerful amulet of luck…The “spirit of the way” bringing eternal change…. in the Eastern world the dragon…was essentially benevolent, son of heaven, and controlled the watery elements of the universe. –(from “Dragons and Winged Serpents“)

And….

The most common message a Dragon totem carries to us is a need for strength, courage, and fortitude. Dragons are also messengers of balance, and magic – encouraging us to tap into our psychic nature and see the world through the eyes of mystery and wonder. More specifically, Dragons are the embodiment of primordial power – the ultimate ruler of all the elements. This is because the Dragon is the master of all the elements: Fire, Water, Earth, and Wind. As a totem, the Dragon serves as a powerful guardian and guide. (–from “Dragon Symbolism“)

Tap into the inner personages of your consciousness and receive wisdom today!

Loving Nature

Don’t miss the Forest for the Trees…
Behold all that is, as it is,
And it will appear, unhindered, as the most beautiful thing…

Examine and fall in love with Creation and all its mystery and intricacies around you, and you will inherently fall in love with the Creator —
Be that The One Who Is, quantum biology weirdness (very cool stuff!)… Call it what you will in a manner by which you can freely relate… It does not matter–Perception is Everything.

Ultimately, we find, we are all. And life is beautiful.

Vibrational Influences and Physiological Interpretation

The concept of the Chakra Energy Centers is a concept of great fascination and enlightenment indeed. I am just about ready to post a full chakra-chart I’ve compiled from various sources of information and share what I love about the study and meditation of the chakras. But, in preparation, I’ve stumbled across some very meaningful studies I was eager to share first!

The importance and value of the seven main chakra centers stems from the concept of wave frequency and vibrational influences on each of the chakras, which in turn influence our lives and existence in each their own fashion. Interestingly, both types of vibrational forms (sound and light) are said to influence our beings, each related to the chakras’ purpose.

Specifically:

It is said that our body contains hundred of chakras that are the key to the operation of our being. These “spinning wheels” draw-in coded information from our surroundings. Coded information can be anything from a color vibration to ultra-violet ray to a radio or micro wave to another person’s aura. In essence our chakras receive the health of our environment, including the people we are in contact with (that’s why other people’s moods have an affect on us!). As well our chakras also radiate an energy of vibration.

It is also believed that we have seven main chakra centers and that each main center is connected to our being on several different levels: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. On the physical level each chakra governs a main organ or gland, which is then connected to other body parts that resonate the same frequency.

Every organ, gland and body system is connected to a chakra and each chakra is connected to a color vibrational frequency….

In the study of the anatomy of the aura it is important to understand the significance of the chakra system and the language of colors expressed in the aura. —www.chakraenergy.com

On the other hand:

Emotions and mental states also have their own optimum resonance and with the recognition that every organ, and every cell, absorbs and emits sound, we can therefore understand how specific sounds and frequencies can be used as powerful healing tools. —www.hypnosisaudio.com

Solfeggio-ChartThus, we all tend to lump sound waves and light/color waves into the same “chakral basket,” and understandably so. It makes sense, on the surface. A wave is a wave, right? But what I love about science are the moments it reminds us of what we learned once, and suddenly reveals a truth more complex and beautiful than what we may have first anticipated… This is what I experienced through my delving deeper into the concept of the vibrational influences of the chakras.

Firstly, the most fundamental problem with this automatic synthesizing of the two wave forms is that light waves and sound are simply and fundamentally different:

There are two main differences between sound waves and light waves. The first difference is in velocity. Sound waves travel through air at the speed of approximately 1,100 feet per second; light waves travel through air and empty space at a speed of approximately 186,000 miles per second.

(You’ll see this striking difference in numbers when I release the soon-coming chart I mentioned above….)

The second difference is that sound is composed of longitudinal waves (alternate compressions and expansions of matter) and light is composed of transverse waves in an electromagnetic field.

Although both are forms of wave motion, sound requires a solid, liquid, or gaseous medium; whereas light travels through empty space. The denser the medium, the greater the speed of sound. The opposite is true of light. Light travels approximately one-third slower in water than in air. Sound travels through all substances, but light cannot pass through opaque materials. —above quotes from…

Indeed:

…sound cannot travel through a vacuum. If there are no molecules to vibrate, then there will be no sound. Sound can only travel through a material… On the other hand, a light wave is not made of vibrating particles. It is a wave of changing electric and magnetic fields which can exist in a vacuum. —quoted from…

…But, here is from where the temptation to yet consider the two forms ultimately one-and-the-same stems….

Frequency affects both sound and light. A certain range of sound frequencies produces sensations that you can hear. A slow vibration (low frequency) in sound gives the sensation of a low note. A more rapid sound vibration (higher frequency) produces a higher note. Likewise, a certain range of light frequencies produces sensations that you can see. Violet light is produced at the high-frequency end of the

light spectrum, while red light is produced at the low-frequency end of the light spectrum. —quote from…

Here’s the kicker (for me, at least)! Biologically, our eyes and ears have evolved enormously differing processes in the handling and conceptualizations of these two (ultimately different) wave forms. Therefore, we find that, at even our most basic and intuitive level, we interpret color/light differently than sound.

Enjoy this lengthy snippet from two mind-blowing articles on the subject of wave comparison from MathPages; these quotes have really struck me!

….Arguably our physio-muscular imaginations can conceive of something cycling 200 times a second, but the frequencies of light are far outside any macroscopic physiological processes we can viscerally imagine. It’s also worth noting that while the frequency range of audible sound covers a factor of 1000, (about 10 octaves), the range of visible light covers only a factor of 2 (just one octave).

The differences between our mechanisms of perception of sight and sound are also quite striking. For example, although there is a rough analogy between the pitch of a sound wave and the color of a light wave (since both are related to the frequency of the wave), our perceptual mechanisms for discerning pitch and color are very different. Most people are capable of distinguishing two different accoustical tones, and deciding which of them has the higher frequency, but almost no one can hear an isolated tone and identify its absolute frequency in terms of the corresponding musical note. (This ability is called perfect absolute pitch, and is extremely rare, even among trained musicians). In contrast, nearly everyone has perfect “absolute pitch” for optical frequencies, in the sense that we can be shown a red object and identify it as red, without the need to compare it with any reference color. In other words, we aren’t limited to making comparative evaluations of light frequencies, we experience each color as an absolutely identifiable sensation, with no direction sensation of higher or lower light frequencies. If people are asked whether red has a higher or a lower frequency than blue, they probably don’t know (indeed they might guess red, because red seems like a “hotter” color), and yet they can very accurately recognize red and blue as absolute sensations.

….if we are very familiar with the sight of a red apple next to a green leaf in full daylight, and if we then view this scene in the orange glow of a sunset, both the apple and the leaf reflect different absolute spectra, but to some extent our visual processing infers the shift in illumination and compensates for it, so that we still perceive the apple as red and the leaf as green, even though their spectra at sunset are quite different from their spectra at noon. It’s tempting to make an analogy with how we recognize a familiar melody played in a different key, but in the case of color perception we are not shifting the whole frequencies, we are filtering out a common spectral component from all the elements of a scene.

…..Of course, it’s not strictly accurate to say that colors correspond to frequencies, because most perceived colors actually represent a continuous spectral density profile with non-zero energy over the entire range of visible frequencies, …for typical profiles [of] light that is perceived as the colors blue, green, and red.

These three colors constitute an effective basis for many other colors of visible light, meaning that many (though not all) other color sensations can be induced by some linear combination of these three. By superimposing all of them in equal amounts we get a spectral profile with energy distributed more or less uniformly over the whole visible spectrum, so it is perceived as white light. Other combinations give different color perceptions….

…the spectral density profiles we perceive as pure colors are not, in general, monochromatic. A monochromatic wave has all of its energy concentrated at just a single frequency and wavelength. (In practice it’s impossible to produce a perfectly monochromatic beam of light, but we can come very close.) The dominant wavelengths associated with common sources of blue, green, and red light are 430, 530, and 670 nanometers respectively. Monochromatic light of these frequencies induces the sensations of blue, green and red, even though they don’t have the full spectral densities of typical light with those colors. Moreover, experiments have shown that if we combine three monochromatic beams with those frequencies, the result is perceived as white, even though the energy is not uniformly distributed….. For example, the sensation of pure yellow can be matched by superimposing pure red and pure green, even though this superposition is not “actually” monochromatic yellow.

….the three types of cones are effectively “tuned” to respond to certain absolute frequencies. Thus the signals sent to the brain do not consist of raw amplitudes in time, nor even of frequencies, but simply of the degrees to which each of the three types of cones have been stimulated. As a result, although we have no sense of frequency of optical waves, we can recognize absolutely a range of frequencies (and mixtures) based on the excitation states of the S, M, and L cones. It follows that our sense of color is essentially three-dimensional, i.e., every color we perceive corresponds to some combination of three scalars, representing the degree to which each of the three types of cones is being excited.

…..Given the smallness of these wavelengths and the slight variations between one color and the next, it’s remarkable that the tuning works so well, and is so uniformly accurate over our central field of vision. (Color perception is much less accute in our periferal vision, where rods predominate over cones.) It has been reported that humans can distinguish wavelength differences as small as 0.2 nano-meters. How is it that “red” receptors in one region of our retinas are so perfectly correlated with “red” receptors in other regions of our retinas, and from one eye to the other? And how is it that this tuning remains stable and accurate for decades, and in all different temperatures? It seems clear that psychological compensation processes (like the process to compensate for different illuminants) must be involved.

If our ears contained just a few individual sensing elements, each tuned to one particular absolute frequency, we might all be able to recognize the absolute “color” of audible tones just as well as we can recognize absolute red. However, the ear needs to respond over a much larger range of frequencies, and the dimensionality of the “space” of audible sensation is much greater, i.e., we can distinguish a much greater variety of spectral characteristics of sound than we can of light. Roughly speaking, the coiled cochlea of the human ear has a varying elasticity along its length, so it can be regarded as a series of oscillators of different resonant frequencies, and these perform a fairly detailed spectral analysis of incoming sound waves, transmitting to the brain something a 3000 point spectral profile. The detailed mechanics of how the cochlea responds to stimuli are very complicated, and the study of this function is hampered by the fact that the mechanical properties change significantly if a cochlea is removed for study. Nevertheless, it seems clear that whereas the spectral analysis of optical stimuli has only three dimensions, the spectral analysis of aural stimuli has at least 3000 dimensions. It is not surprising that we (most of us) don’t memorize the absolute sensations associated with tones over ten octaves. Instead, perhaps for more efficient processing, we rely on relative memories of frequencies. The rarity of perfect absolute pitch may also be due partly to a greater variability in the resonance characteristics of our aural sense organs than of our optical sense organs, whose reception frequencies are determined by fundamental atomic absorption properties of certain specific molecules. In contrast, the frequencies of the cochlea are determined by the fluid pressure in the inner ear, and many other factors that could be sensitive to temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and so on.

The color sensation resulting from a combination of blue and red in equal measures is called magenta or purple. Not surprisingly, there is no such thing as monochromatic purple, because this color sensation results from the superposition of two frequencies at opposite ends of the visible spectrum. No single frequency will excite both the S cones and the L cones (except at very low levels), because the absorption spectra of those cones do not overlap very much. This accounts for our ability to conceive of a cycle of colors (a “color wheel”) even though the underlying phenomenon is a linear sequence of frequencies. If we naively believed colors mapped directly to frequencies, the existence of a cycle of colors would be paradoxical. The resolution of the paradox is that the “fictitious” color we call purple effectively “wraps around” from the high-frequency to the low-frequency end of the optical spectrum, enabling us to conceive of the color spectrum as a closed loop.

…..Just as we can conceive of a cycle of colors, there are also cycles with regard to accoustical pitch, but the basis for these cycles is completely different than for the cycle of colors. We do not have a fictitious pitch sensation (like an audible purple) to wrap around from the high to low end of the audible spectrum. If there were such a thing, we might conceive of a sonic wheel of tones….

Instead of this, sense of the “cycle” of audible tones is based on the harmonic relations modulo the octave. We associate each tone with its “equivalent” in other octaves. Since the range of audible frequencies covers ten octaves, each tone has ten audible “equivalents”. Placing the frequencies on a logarithmic basis, each octave is subdivided into the twelve tones of our traditional musical scale (so the frequency of each semi- tone differs from that of its neighbors by the factor 21/12), and then we place all the tones into equivalence classes modulo twelve (i.e., modulo one octave). It’s possible, by combining tones into a sequence of chords, to create the impression of an endlessly rising (or falling) loop. For example, there is a piano exercise consisting of a melodic line that leads naturally to a repetition of itself, but shifted four semi-tones higher in pitch….

It’s interesting that our optical senses cover almost exactly one octave, from 380 trillion Hz for the lowest red to 760 trillion Hz for the highest violet. If the color sensing elements in our eyes were analagous to strings with tensions and lengths tuned to certain frequencies, we might speculate that the red sensors would also have some propensity to absorb energy in the extreme blue/violet range, just as a string has a second energy mode at twice the base frequency. Of course, cones are not strings, but even in terms of the excitation levels of atoms we find simple arithemtic sequences of preferred energy levels, e.g., the Balmer and Lyman series for the absorption and emission frequencies of hydrogen atoms. However, these kinds of series do not generally favor frequencies rations of 2 to 1, so apparently the musical octave analogy is not valid for our sense of color. Nevertheless, it so happens that the “red” cones in our eyes actually do have a secondary response characteristic in the extreme blue end of the spectrum, which accounts for why violet is perceived to have a reddish tint…. This wrap-around characteristic of the red cones contributes to our sense of a cycle (rather than a linear sequence) of colors. —from…

The energy distribution as a function of frequency (i.e., the power spectral density) of a beam of light can be regarded as an infinite-dimensional vector, specified by the values of the density at each of infinitely many frequencies. In other words, we can associate the spectrum of any beam of light with a unique point in an infinite-dimensional space. However, from the standpoint of human vision, the space of visible light sensations is only three-dimensional, meaning that the visual perception of any beam of light can be characterized by just three numbers. One possible basis for characterizing a beam of light consists of the intensities of a matching combination of three primary colors (e.g., red, green, blue). Another possible basis consists of hue, saturation, and intensity. Regardless of which basis we choose, the space of visual sensation has just three dimensions, rather than infinitely many.

The reason our optical sensations have only three dimensions is that our eyes contain just three kinds of cones, each with a characteristic absorption spectrum….

Physically every color sensation discernable to the human eye can be produced by some combination of positive amounts of the pure spectral colors, i.e., the monochromatic lights corresponding to the curved locus RuGvB….

One interesting aspect of our sense of color is that although red is normally associated with the low end of the range of visible frequencies, the color violet (at the high end of the frequency range) has a reddish-blue appearance. This is because the predominantly low-frequency cones in our eyes also have some absorption at the very high frequencies.

This wrap-around effect may be due to the “octave effect”, because the longest visible wavelengths are about 760 nm (extreme red) and the shortest are about 380 nm (extreme blue), which is a ratio of exactly 2 to 1. Thus the first harmonic of the extreme red absorption cones is in the extreme blue frequency range, so it isn’t surprising that the red cones resonate slightly in response to violet light. —from…

So, our chakra color system is built upon a system of wave-convergence and that which represents “a continuous spectral density profile with non-zero energy over the entire range of visible frequencies”; versus sound waves, which are immensely more specific and precise. Again, this is reflected in the hugely different numbering systems in the measurements of each vibrational form.

Where does all this leave us?

Ultimately, it’s some really meaty food to mull over and reflect upon in relation to the value of the chakras. 🙂

Perhaps, as with many facets of our experience and being, the chakra system provides a mythological picture of the integrated harmony and fellowship of the mind and body and consciousness: its emotions and behavior and outlook, and how we can relate to them and their functions on a particle-level, so to speak.

Or, perhaps this will lead us to re-evaluate how we utilize the traditional understandings of the energy centers, by way of integrating and valuing the differences in, not only the sound and color vibrations themselves, but in how we are naturally built to receive and interpret them.

Food for thought!

Gnosticism and Kundalini

This excerpt from the most informative and thoughtful article “Christ and the Kundalini” by Dr. Ramesh Manocha beautifully articulates the true essence of Christ’s long-misunderstood teachings, bringing light to an age-old problem of dogma and religious infighting. Enjoy this brief selection, and click on the link above to read through the entire article; I highly recommend it!

In the Gospel of Peace, Christ explains that the experience of spirituality is foremost. …He says “Seek not the law in your Scriptures for the law is life, whereas the Scripture is dead. I tell you truly Moses received not his laws from God as writing but through the living word. The law is living word for living God to living prophets for living men. In everything that is life to the law is the law written, for I tell you truly all living things are nearer to God than the Scripture which is without life. I tell you truly that the Scripture is the work of man, but life and all its hosts are the work of our God. Wherefore do you not listen to the words of God which are written in his works? And wherefore do you study the dead Scriptures which are from the hands of men?”

Thus Christ’s law is a living, cosmic and experiential one, and is actuated by the awakening of the spiritual experience within the seeker, not by intellectual study or by following those who themselves have not truly had the experience…. More so, self realisation is a process of genuine, inner spiritual transformation which must be experienced to be understood, since it lies beyond the domain of scriptural description or theological definition. Since it is gained by the grace of the Divine Mother( Holy Spirit) alone, it is most certainly not possible to organise or institutionalise this experience in human terms.

…Christ’s spirituality differed radically from our modern understanding. His teaching was dynamic and zen-like focusing on the experience of inner purification and transformation, the elevation of the seeker’s awareness into the state (not concept or dogma) of self-realisation. He sought to overthrow the immoral culture of the Romans and to deliver to the dogmatic, letter-bound Jews the mystic fulfilment promised to them in the Mosaic covenant.

Central to his teaching was the understanding that the feminine aspect of God, God the Mother, was the means by which self-realisation and spiritual evolution to god-awareness occurred. Christ venerated the Divine Mother as the Holy Spirit. It is this power, described in the East as residing in the human being as the Kundalini, that is the last vestige of the Goddess-tradition in the Christian West.

…..Why did the Churches suppress these true christian traditions? Partly because they are patriarchal institutions based on the questionable dogma of Paul who perceived women (and therefore the feminine principle) as inferior entities. Partly also because spirituality which focused on the Divine Feminine would also focus on the redemptive power of God the Mother and on Her role as the grantor and matriarch of mystical experience. This kind of understanding, like all mystics and mysticism, defies organisation, dogmatic hierarchies and institutions preferring the role of individual experience, revelation and progressive growth toward divine awareness.

The Holy Ghost, then, threatened to neutralise the fear-oriented dogma which the Churches have used, in the name of Christ and Spiritual Truth, to maintain their secular power and wealth.

…Consider Christ’s warning “he who has blasphemed against the holy ghost shall be damned forever”. What then of the Churches who have virtually edited the divine feminine out of the Western Cultural tradition in order to maintain their grip on the masses?

(©Copyright Knowledge of Reality Magazine 1996-2005. All rights reserved.)