Choose Your Biofeedback Loop

Being Aware… Bringing yourself into the present moment…

What is biofeedback?

Biofeedback is just the idea that your brain is always sensing what is happening in your body and it reviews that information to decide how it should feel about the world.

…Since most stimuli that we experience is ambiguous, if you start to push the probability in the positive direction then that’s going to have a really beneficial effect. (Source)

When I sit and meditate on my breath I am choosing to direct my focus on how my physical body feels. When I’m sitting in the calm of this present moment, I recognize that my body feels relaxed.

True, my thoughts will often wander, especially when I’m in a chaotic season of my career (as I often am). But by letting those thoughts simply float away and by redirecting my focus onto the calm in my body, I am actively choosing to create a biofeedback loop based on the relaxation I presently feel. And in this manner, my thoughts are better able to fall in line.

Then, though my mind may be stirring, it holds no direct power over my mindset; indeed I am better able to direct my thoughts in the directions I choose them to go.

The Knight of Pentacles represents the element of Air (Thought) surrounded and grounded by Earth (Physical Reality)

Finding Your Own Reality Through Comparison

I just finished a personally enlightening meditation (if you haven’t checked out the Pacifica app I highly recommend it!) and I wanted to share a bit of insight I got.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately on the nature of Reality, how there are several layers that constitute one’s Reality, and awareness. And in executing a very simple guided meditation of Progressive Muscle Relaxation, I was reminded that we only know our own physical reality.

Humans have an amazing intuition for “guessing” others’ similar realities. But we can only truly know our own.

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? (1 Cor 2:11, KJV)

So, when I strive to relax my shoulder muscles, how do I know exactly what relaxed is? We say relax, but for each body relaxed is its own definition. The only way to know what relaxed is for ourselves is to compare it to tense.

By purposely tensing and then relaxing our own muscles — and becoming aware of what each feels like — we become acutely aware of what the relaxed and tensed states mean for us individually.

Sometimes I become aware that I have unrealistic ideas of what something means for me, even something as basic as “relaxation”. We must remember to learn for ourselves what our realities truly are, so we can live more fully in them.

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.

Skepticism & Spirituality

I am, day by day, more a practical realist. (Being raised in unfounded, literalist belief systems that have damaging real-world and bodily consequences will do that to you.)

But, at the same time, I consider myself deeply, psychologically spiritual. We must remember that our opinions, observations, and views of the world around us will be colored by our own mental predispositions. Perhaps that is a part of what human “spirituality” ultimately is: constantly reminding our own selves that our mind is the influencer of everything we consider after we first take it in, and that, afterwards, our mind will use its penchant for patternsimage to instantly categorize similar future in-takes without further thought.

It is this wisdom, I think, to slow down and recall our psychological place and tendencies within our universe that is a major part of the Path to Understanding.

Sweetness of Freedom

Look within–the rising and the falling.

What happiness! How sweet to be free!

—The Dhammapada of Gautama the Buddha (ca 500 BC)

How interesting and striking a revelation I’ve been enjoying today!

Osho said, in his commentary on the above sutra:

…It is through the breath that you are bridged. Breath is the bridge between your soul and your body… the watcher cannot be watched, the observer cannot be observed. Suddenly one day you will realize that you are the witness of it all. And the witness is certainly transcendental to all that it witnesses. In that very moment freedom has happened to you.

 

This moment is today!

I’ve been sitting on an unpublished blog post for a while that I titled, “The Inner and the Outer.” In it I spoke of a beginning understanding of these such things:

[Evolution has] given us not merely a thinking mind by which to behold and contemplate our surroundings, but almost another, outer mind beyond this natural mind, by which we are able to contemplate our own selves as well! We are able to Observe the Observer. In this sense, we might say that we are capable of, at its most basic, two focuses, or ways of looking and experiencing.

(I think it’s about time I published it, actually!) 😳

In contemplating these notions, these very sutras and essences today, the phrase: “The watched is NOT the watcher… the observed is NOT the observer…” stayed with me mightily. And the power of that statement flooded me with joy and wonder!

Think of it: My “Outer Mind” (if you will) as it observes my “Inner, more oblivious, Mind” — well, they’re not to be thought of as the same being anyway! The Watcher is not the Watched. 

Well, and come to think of it, to have ever called these Minds as “mine” in the first place, is itself a type of clinging, is it not? It is Attachment and Ego.

As you observe from a position of the Outer Mind and Open Focus, realize that the Watcher is not the Watched. You are not what you see. You are Nothing, and Everything. Where do you end and the world begins?

Breath is the gateway… Be the Observer… Enjoy the Sweetness of Freedom.

Sweet to be Free

Wisdom for Today

"If you drop the ego, there is a possibility you may become whole. The moment you become whole, you become holy. Then you are healed; then all wounds disappear. Then you are perfect in your total aloneness. It is not comparative — that you are more perfect than others. No. You are simply perfect; you are a unique piece; there is nobody else like you; you are only like yourself. In your wholeness you are perfect, and a deep contentment comes. It becomes a climate around you."
~Osho

The Freedom of Non-Self

My image of Self is not a "thing," it is only a "process"….

We look at a river, and call it "river"; we look at a table and call it "table"; we look at a rainbow and call it "rainbow." These labels we give to objects are a handy tool language has developed by which we might communicate to each other, and relate to, the nature of the things we see around us. However, isn’t fascinating that all these objects are truly a conglomeration of an infinite mass of smaller "things"? We all know of the molecular world, the particle world… the sub-particle world… atoms… empty space… quarks…. bosons…. etc, etc, ad infinitum! Yet, to communicate this particular conglomeration of stuff in one word, according to the manner in which we interact with it in daily life, is to label it according to its resultant whole as it effects us.

Now, the river, for example: the river is always flowing. At times, it is murky if the mud is stirred, at other times it is still and calm, at still other times it is violent and rushing…. It is never the "same" river, yet we still label it The (Blank) River. It is a process of ever-flowing life.

The rainbow: The only reason one can see it, is the result of a very precise arrangement of water droplets in the air to sunlight, to a receiving optical organ. And two people standing next to each other may see the rainbow in exactly the same way. However, another who may be standing at a certain direction, may not see the rainbow as clearly, if at all. So…. Is the rainbow there, or not? 😉

Recall, do not mistake the label for the thing…. Do not mistake the Idea for the Truth….

…Likewise, let us not mistake the "Me" for Me….

At any given moment – any given Now – "I" am a "different person"… My Ego doesn’t like to think so, and it routinely, subtly, glosses over the differences and variations to try and concoct a succinct whole persona of "Me." But, one day I am "a phenomenal musician," the next "a terrible one." One day I am "together and with-it," the next I am "a complete scatterbrain." So, which is it, then? Or am I not all things at all times for all occasions…. A Process of ever-flowing life, relating to my ever-changing environment. And do I not appear, as an illusion, differently to different people, within the context of different scenarios?

So… What am I? What part of me is Me? "Am I" at all?….

A Breathing Meditation for you:

I breathe in, and I am filled with the Earth…
…filled with the stars above….
…filled with the very cosmos.

I breathe out, and I empty myself….
…empty the illusions, the attachments and aversions…
…empty myself to give my spirit-life back to the Earth…
…empty myself that I may be ready to receive again from the cosmos with the next breath.

I am Nothing, then… And at the same time, I am Everything. Everything is Me.

None of us has ever seen our face. Truly! We’ve perceived the reflection of our face in a mirror, or relied on the comments and perceptions of others outside of ourselves. But, all of those perceptions are out there. From right here we have never ever seen our face. One can ask, then, do we have a face? Or is it only an ever-changing representation of us as a universal being? A label by which others can point to us and relate to us and describe us at any given moment. If so, then let us not fall into the delusion of identifying with any of these labels or ideas, for we are so much more than any of that – we are Nothing. :mrgreen:

It is not that we are trying to "get rid of Self." It’s that there is no Self to get rid of.