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Editors: Jerry Katz,
Gloria Lee, Christiana Duranczyk, Michael Read,
Highlights Issue #1044
Wednesday, April 17, 2002
Compiled, Edited, and Designed
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Pale moderate night
comfort breeze sinks into
bodily core essence.
What I seek;
is not a noun.
I am pure.
by infinite emptiness.
I have these clockwork programs
run on an emotional chip
that align to seasons
and stored moments.
Fuck em all!
(who needs em?)
Fuck em all to nounless space..
I am such.
(sort of, sort of not)
I can only send out
limited satellite images
of that sinister,
engulfing nounless space.
Devours all I know
(or all that I would ever want to know)
Infinite nounless space
eating me alive.
Is that you ?
(eating me alive)
until I am gone?
RODEN CRATER: SPACES INHABITED BY CONSCIOUSNESS
MORE NOTES ON FOCUS
A bit of a story:
Background: differential torquing along spine, multiple
unmoving diaphragms, difficulty in standing, walking,
etc. from a disjuncture at midback. Body pulled in
So, I'm on the table, and, as usual, whenever I am
getting touched, I enter this blissful state of total
relaxation, and, cruising about with nothing else to do,
I start watching the points the therapist is addressing.
And what I notice is
that having one's spine touched in such a state is quite
electrifying. In fact, this body is a puppet and the
strings are the nerves running home to the nexus through
the spine, the spine that is being touched. My arms and
legs, skin, face, organs.. flex and contract, minds of
that in focusing on the activity at those points, there
is pain. Sharp nervile pain, now and then quite
surprising in intensity.
that in focusing on the activity at those points, there
is sensation of rhythmic pressure. I ask the therapist
if he is doing it. No - in fact, his job is to be
still... it is this body that is moving. It is the
rhythms of the body that have surfaced. Gradually, these
rhythms, originating at the point of contact, the point
of attention, surface bodywide, eventually moving out of
the zone of 'that which may be observed' to the zone of
'what I am'. My attention takes on that rhythm. Then,
nothing but that rhythm. Less more less more less more
less more. (And that tumblepoint of inbetweenness.)
(And pain disappears, when it isn't the focus.) So, the
therapist asks, at one point, how that pain is doing. I
say, broken out of rhythmic reverie: what pain.
Immediately, as if to answer, it is back.
THE SONG OF LANGUAGE AND PRAYER
Whales and dolphins sing, not to mention birds, singing
as a representational form of communication is common to
many species of animals.
Vocalization in the form of singing preceded language
and is the basis of it. Music expresses and produces
emotion above thought. Hearing speech AS music is what
allows babies to learn to speak. Infants can "hear" all
the sounds and intonations known to exist in any
language with discrimination, but this ability
disappears at 10 months in favor of only those
reinforced by the language spoken to them. Baby babbling
in all cultures also produces more sounds than later
survive in the spoken language, it is not exclusively
imitative. As a side note, stroke victims are now being
re-taught to recover language thru singing. As it's in a
different, earlier part of the brain from speech
centers, the ability to sing often survives a stroke.
For babies, learning language (along with basic movement
skills) structures the brain, making neural pathways
that are the basis of all subsequent learning. Babies
begin to hear in the womb and can recognize speech
patterns such as mothers voice and even specific
Just as monkeys get together to sing to claim their
territory and promote group identity, so do we. From
national anthems to football fight songs, remnants
survive. Even today there are primitive tribes where the
ritual of the men getting dressed up in make-up and
fancy feathered outfits to perform a courtship song &
dance still exists. The women are the "choosers". And
women still "swoon" over popular singers in modern
culture. Song and dance played an important role in
early man's life, from tribal identity bonds to hunting
and warfare rituals.
Most prayers are still chanted and sung, in all
religions. The entire catholic liturgy was sung until
recently. Jewish congregations hire a professional
cantor to sing. Songs are more easily remembered than
spken words alone. Thus early poetry has repeatable
speech rhythms built in to resemble song.
If anyone is interested to read a scholarly presentation
of the orgin of language and its role in our
development, here is an excellent website. While
language itself is a meme, it is in our genes to
vocalize with complexity.
Excerpts from summary:
According to the point of view presented here, symbolic,
spoken language emerges from the (coincidental)
combination of complex representational capacity with
intonation recognition/reproduction capacity (which
itself develops in close connection with singing
capacity). As such, it is claimed that it is not
language itself which has been naturally selected for.
Language is considered as a cultural phenomenon very
well comparable to bird song culture, only more
sophisticated (variable, flexible, more symbolic,
syntactic) just because of the more sophisticated mental
representation capacities of higher apes. In summary,
birds did not develop symbolic language to the extent
that humans did, because of more limited mental
representation capacities, chimpanzees did not because
of lack of singing capacities. Humans simply happened to
combine both characteristics.
Once humans combined mental capacity and musicality, we
rely on genetically encoded flexibility of the brain to
explain how symbolic sounds - memes - could develop and
restructure brain mapping in a nongenetically
inheritable manner. In other words, genes provide
general capacities like brain flexibility, vocal
dexterity, intonation recognition and reproduction
capacity, while memes - through interaction with the
developing brain - strongly influence the rewiring of
the neuronal connections which make up a brain.
from the Nisargadatta List
In Maharaj's talks,
where in some cases he gives folks mantras,
and the like, and even the singing etc.,
he says in effect,
people come to him so badly damaged,
that first the so-called mind has to settle down,
.......you can hardly tell someone to investigate
Who/what am I etc., (self inquiry)
in the midst of a buzzing hornets nest!
Last Tuesday, after lunch at Kingston
Cooks, I stopped by the Off the Walls Gallery where
Tibetan Monks are creating an Avalokiteshvara sand
mandala. They began creating it on Monday, and will
finish tomorrow. The mandala base, a blue wooden square
about three or four feet on each side with the major
lines in white paint, had been set up on the floor in
the center of the gallery. The monks, seated
cross-legged, were working when I went in - they looked
up briefly to say hello, and then went back to work.
The sand is put onto the surface using foot-long thin
metal funnels. One end of the funnel is about two inches
in diameter, and that end is dipped into a dish of
colored sand. Then the sand is poured down through the
narrow end, through the opening which is not much larger
than a pencil lead. Because the opening is so narrow,
the amount of sand can be finely controlled. The outer
surface of the funnel has little ridges on it and by
scraping another metal blade over it, the funnel is made
to vibrate, which causes a very fine stream of the
colored sand to flow from the bottom. The monks bend
themselves nearly double holding the funnels, drawing
the designs with them.
There are several chairs available so I sit in one, and
watch. Everyone is quiet - occasionally one monk makes a
remark to another. Otherwise there is just the sound of
the metal blades being rubbed against the funnels. When
laying down the base color, the monk can work quickly,
but once that layer is done, the fine designs take much
more time. The monk nearest me is putting in some
intricate vases with elaborate tops. He wears a white
mask over his mouth to be sure he does not breath upon
the mandala as he works. First he marks some guidelines
faintly in white sand, and then using pale green sand he
begins to build the vase. When the basic shape is laid
in, he adds decorations in several other colors - orange
dots, blue lines along the top, and more. What amazes me
is that he is simply drawing all this from memory - they
do not have a copy of the design anywhere around to work
There is nothing going on here other than the creation
of this beautiful pattern; the creation is a meditation,
and observing that process is a meditation. It is an
unusual experience to just sit here, as these men spend
hours and hours slowly building up colored sand into
such a complex and brilliant image. This work is rooted
in an entirely different sense of time and of what is
important. It is possible to just sit here and be, for
now, at peace.
from Live Journal
finding no-purpose in work
Some days I really have to steel myself for my work day.
I'm one of those people who often feels a tugging at the
sleeve while working; it's like there's someone at my
elbow saying, "Isn't there something more important
you're supposed to be doing right now?" When I was
younger, that voice would be really loud and bratty:
"Hey! This task isn't worthy of you! You should be
somewhere else, helping people and becoming
enlightened!" Now, the voice is a lot quieter, and
usually just asks simple questions: "Will what you're
working on right now make a difference? Is it important
for you to be doing that? Is it the right time to be
working on that, given the circumstances surrounding
that task at the present moment?"
Timing is everything, isn't it? I always feel like I can
see solutions to problems at work and in society, and I
feel a drive to try to solve them. Whenever I encounter
an inefficient or ill-advised process at work, I usually
want to try and fix it, changing it for "the better."
However, I'm getting better at recognizing the fact that
even those problems which seem to require solutions are
really no different than any other experience or thought
that might arise. Acknowledging that what I perceive to
be a problem is just another way of looking at the same
reality, helps me to accept the "problem" as part of the
same piece of fabric, and allows me to forget about
trying to solve it.
At least for a little while. For me, this cycle of
problem-identification and problem-resolution is just
the way my mind seems to operate. Letting go of the
desire to see the problem resolved is far more important
than discovering the correct solution to the problem. At
least, that's the way it works best for me. Focusing too
much on finding solutions to perceived problems
generates little but excess anxiety in the untrained