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#1684 - Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - Editor: joyce (Know_Mystery)



It was passed from one bird to another,
the whole gift of the day.
The day went from flute to flute,
went dressed in vegetation,
in flights which opened a tunnel
through the wind would pass
to where birds were breaking open
the dense blue air -
and there, night came in.

When I returned from so many journeys,
I stayed suspended and green
between sun and geography -
I saw how wings worked,
how perfumes are transmitted
by feathery telegraph,
and from above I saw the path,
the springs and the roof tiles,
the fishermen at their trades,
the trousers of the foam;
I saw it all from my green sky.
I had no more alphabet
than the swallows in their courses,
the tiny, shining water
of the small bird on fire
which dances out of the pollen.

~  Pablo Neruda  ~



An Epistema

Of this I am,
this I am that yearns to be,
this thought, this wish,
this word, for which I reach,
this feeling..this light,

~  Dale J. Sprague  ~

Hillary ~ k-list ( )

At The Heart of Paradox

by Philip Goldberg

Live at the empty heart of paradox.
I’ll dance with you there, cheek to cheek.
      - Rumi

Anyone who takes his or her spiritual life seriously will, from time to time, dance at the heart of paradox. Along the path - any path - we inevitably run into forks in the road, marked by what appear to be contradictions and ambiguities. We hear an inspiring teacher or read a passage that radiates wisdom...only to read or hear something that seems to say the opposite--maybe even from the same source. Our points of certainty and uncertainty shift. Yesterday's soul-shifting revelation is today's enigma and tomorrow's rubbish. And today's rubbish turns miraculously into tomorrow's revelation. Sometimes it seems that every guiding principle we come across can be modified by "Yes, but...," "Except when...," or "On the other hand..." As detectives trying to solve the mysteries of the soul, these uncertain conditions can make us feel more like Inspector Clouseau than Columbo.

In my research for Roadsigns, I identified four major paradoxes that spiritual seekers tend to encounter, regardless of their faith, background or individual path:

You're on your own / You can't do it alone. We all need help, from teachers, guides, traditions and companions. At the same time, we’re ultimately our own mapmakers and pilots; when it comes to decisions about our spiritual lives, the buck stops with each of us.

Lose yourself / Improve yourself. They say it in different ways, but every teaching urges us to enlarge our identity beyond our body-encased personas: be humble, bury your ego, surrender your will, transcend your little self. At the same time, we’re urged to work on our emotions, our behavior and our bodies, to become the best little selves we can be.
Escape the world / Embrace the world. We are told that the key to heaven, realization, nirvana, etc., is to rise above - or even renounce completely - our worldly desires and attachments. But there's no escaping what we call "real life," and even hermits have to eat, drink, find shelter and deal with the pesky monk next door. How can we be in the world but not of it?
You're already there / There's a long way to go. We hear that we should stop striving for spiritual goals, because what we’re looking for is already here and what we want to become we already are. Then we’re told - sometimes by the same voices - to work for spiritual attainment with dedication and persistence. Strive to not strive?

Within each of these categories are the specific choices we grapple with as we reach for spiritual fulfillment, many of which contain paradoxes of their own. For instance, the apparent contradiction between teachings that say that desires are a streetcar to suffering and those that show us how to pray, chant or meditate to get the things we want. Such ambiguities and uncertainties make the path a grand adventure: sometimes sublime, sometimes ridiculous; sometimes easy, sometimes arduous; sometimes smooth, sometimes bumpy; sometimes clear, sometimes murky. Regardless, every intersection offers an opportunity for accelerated growth, if we make the right choices.

When I'm asked how to navigate on this uncertain terrain, the word that comes to mind is balance. The spiritual path has been called a razor’s edge and a narrow ridge. When moving along such a slim line, what could be more important than a good sense of balance?

The importance of balance applies to how we approach spirituality as a whole. If you go to one extreme, you can be lazy or complacent. Swing the other way and you can become a religious fanatic or a spiritual zealot. Neither extreme fosters spiritual wellness. We each have to find our balance point, taking our spiritual lives seriously but also lightly.

Another important balancing act is between the need for autonomy and the need for guidance. To learn from others we need to be open and trusting, but if we’re too open and trusting we can become gullible, or easily bamboozled by bogus or exploitative teachings. At the same time, we need to be discerning without becoming distrustful or cynical. The balance point is different for each of us, and for each of us it might be different at different times.

How do we find our individual balance points as we attempt to do justice to both our worldly aspirations and our spiritual needs? Another balancing act. We need to use our heads--and also follow our hearts. We need to think clearly and reason rigorously - and sometimes stop thinking and listen for the still, clean voice of intuition. How much head and how much heart? How much intellect and how much gut? Again, the balance shifts according to our personalities and circumstances.

And sometimes we need to balance out our need for answers by suspending the quest for certainty completely. Some things simply can’t be known or predicted. If we can accept that and bow before the Mystery, surrender to it, embrace it and marvel at it, we can achieve what the poet John Keats called negative capability - "being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after facts and reason." This pries us loose from entrenched ideas and assumptions, making room for the epiphanies and unexpected pathways.

It also opens the door to awe and wonder. Like children at a magic show, we are witnesses to cosmic hocus-pocus whose secrets we are not privy to. If we stop trying to figure out how the magician put the rabbit back in the hat, we can find delight in the unexpected. And, if we're lucky, we might, in our innocent awareness, see that all those maddening paradoxes are not contradictions at all, but necessary parts of a perfect whole--and so are we.

Perhaps Yogi Berra was dancing with Rumi when he said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

Manuel Hernandez ~ ANetofJewels ( )

"The "here" is everywhere, and the "now" always. Go beyond the "I-am-
body" idea, and you will find that space and time are in you and not
you in space and time. Once you have understood this, the main
obstacle to realization is removed."

~  Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj  ~

Alan Larus ~ TrueVision  ( )






Fast turning page of twilight
from winter sun, a surprise

One star will set
and countless rise

Come stretch towards light
Come tall as a tree,
heaven meets earth tonight

Come bottomless pond
Come beauty beyond

Come speech without tongue,
darkness is thin
Come cutting along
the edge of this skin

Come Silence Within
Come Love, Come

Empty Space In Blue

~  Alan Larus ~

You must understand the whole of life, not just
one little part of it. That is why you must read,
that is why you must look at the skies, that is
why you must sing and dance, and write poems,
and suffer, and understand, for all that is life.
  ~ J.Krishnamurti ~

Pete ~ AdvaitaToZen ( )

The Life Story Store
By Pete

I found the store on a side street. One of those short side streets
which seems to go from here to nowhere, just a shortcut from my
parking place to my work. I could've sworn the storefront had
not been there yesterday, but I wasn't sure. Distracted by Lynn's
betrayal, I could only think of her.

"Forget about me. Get a new life," she had said.

Easy for her to say. I wish I could erase her memory from my brain.
Short of that, I would like to write our story. That, I think, would
exorcize my obsession with her. Maybe these people could help. It
could be that they specialize in writing memoirs for others. On an
impulse, I pushed the door, and found myself in a large bare room,
painted in a way that suggested a shimmering ocean. In a corner,
gleamed a futuristic stainless steel desk with two matching chairs
facing it. I took a seat.

"Good morning, sir. I didn't expect you back so soon!"

I looked down at the snow melting on my shoes. An elderly man with
very short hair, neatly trimmed mustache and beard had entered the
room unnoticed. He took a seat behind the desk.

"You're mistaken. This is my first time here."

" Or so it seems to you. My name is Jan, at your service, sir," He
extended his hand.

"You look like Sri Ramana," I said He smiled pleasantly and shook his
head sideways in the Indian manner. "Yes, You definitely look like
him, except... your eyes are more like Nisargadatta's."

"So they tell me, sir."

"So you are familiar with these two gentlemen?"

"Most of our customers are of that persuasion."

"What persuasion is that?"

He smiled mischievously. "Seekers of the ineffable, Dan."

"Dan! How do you know my name?"

He shook his head sideways smiling. "Dan, here, we help people who
have trouble with their past."

"Do you help them write their life story?"

"No. We help them forget. Give them new memories."

"How do you do that?"

"We have a new technique which erases all their memories and gives
them new ones of their choice. You can understand, we can't discuss
the technology."

"Erases all of them?

"All. The procedure can't be partial."

"Would they remember that this procedure was done?"

"No. That's why we ask full payment in advance."

"But wait a minute, here. If they won't remember that this procedure
was done, how will they know those memories are really new?"

"They won't. The memories would look quite natural and old."

"If I don't remember the old, and the new ones seem old, how would I
know I'm still Dan?"

He smiled cryptically and looked at me in silence with his piercing


"I'm just a merchant, Dan, not a sage. It's hard to know anything for
sure..What is Dan to you? Is it what you remember about Dan, or the
feeling of existing right now?"

I thought for a moment. "The feeling of existing right now."
"That feeling is not always the same, is it? Sometimes it's very
faint and dull as if you had just awakened, and sometimes it's very
sharp and exhilarating. Is it not?"

"Yes, one can be more or less conscious."

"Exactly. A consciousness of 100 CQ is average, and one of 200 CQ is

"What does CQ stands for?"

"Consciousness Quantum."

"Never heard about that one before."

"We coined the phrase in this store. Here, we sell the highest grade
of consciousness possible, I'm happy to inform you."

"Wait a royal minute. If you change someone memories, and his
consciousness also, what will be left of him? That person will be
completely lost."

"Are you lost now?"

"No, of course not, but I haven't gone through that procedure."

"Are you sure?" He stared mockingly. "How do you know the procedure
wasn't performed already? If the old memories are gone and the new
seem old... how can you be sure?"

I didn't know what to say. I stood up and turned to leave.
"Look in your jacket's inside pocket, Dan."

"Look for what?"

"The receipt I gave you an hour ago."

Expecting to find nothing, I found a piece of paper, and hesitated to
take it out. My feet felt like ice. Finally, forcing myself to pull
it out, I looked at it. It was a receipt for one hundred thousand
dollars. Returning to my seat I felt faint.

"What could those memories have been that forgetting them was worth
so much money to me?"

He smiled. "Better not to know. You made a wise choice. You choose
good memories."

"Why didn't I choose to be a king, or a movie star. Why did I choose
to be someone who was betrayed by a girl named Lynn?"

He shrugged. "I think you made a good choice. Lynn introduced you to
the writings of Ramana, Nisargadatta and many other sages. With that
knowledge you won't repeat the old mistakes."

"Who am I, really?"

"Ah! That is precisely the question!"


A Cup of Cool, Clear Water
The solitary hermit does not yearn for tea.
A pure heart and clear water
are enough to entertain
Emptiness and beauty.
In these dusty, windy outskirts, there are no crowds.
But though people are few,
I share my dreams - with dusk's purple clouds.
~ Thich Tue Sy ~




Trust, principle of: How one trusts one's self is how one is enabled to trust another; trusting another more than one trusts one's self requires risk, and to learn anything new, requires sacrifice.

~  Dale J. Sprague ~

From "An Epistema" ~

Sweetliberty ~

Mapping the Sixth Sense

Psychology's Ron Rensink Discovers Visual Sensing Without Seeing

Most of us have felt it before -- that sinking feeling that something
is about to happen, that something is not quite right. It's the stuff
of scary movies, X-Files episodes and psychic visits.

But according to a new study by Ron Rensink, an associate professor
in both psychology and computer science at UBC, the "sixth sense" is
a distinct mode of visual perception and may be something all of us
can learn to employ.

He calls it "mindsight" -- the phenomenon where people can sense a
change but do not see it (i.e. have a visual experience of it) for
several seconds.

"There is something there -- people do have access to this other
subsystem," says Rensink, whose findings appear in the January issue
of Psychological Science.

"Vision is not just one ability, it's not just one sense. There is
vision for conscious perception -- this picture you have of what's
going on -- and there is also vision for action. It turns out these
are two very different subsystems -- one of them is conscious, one of
them is non-conscious -- and they actually work slightly differently.
That's why when you're driving, for example, you can actually tune
out and you can drive just fine because this other system takes

In a preliminary experiment initially designed to test attention,
Rensink presented participants with a photograph of a real-world
scene and a modified photograph in a sequence, with a brief gray
field between successive images. Participants were asked to hit a
button when they saw a change.

But some participants asked if they should hit the button when they
actually saw the change -- or when they first felt something

Intrigued, Rensink re-jigged the experiment. Forty participants were
instead asked to hit a button once when they sensed a change -- that
is, had a "feeling" that a change was occurring - and a second time
when they actually saw the change.

Most participants only saw the change. But some sensed a change two
or three seconds before they actually saw it.

"About a third of people seem to get this feeling of something
happening, of something changing," says Rensink. "You can't really
say what it is, you can't really say when it is. It's just a gut
feeling... It's clear whatever it is, they're using it in their
everyday experience."

A noted vision researcher, Rensink spent six years at Cambridge Basic
Research, a partnership involving the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, Harvard and Nissan Motor Co. Prompted in part by a
finding that accidents in city driving were often classified
as "driver looked but failed to see," he initially studied "change
blindness" (people's blindness to scene changes) and later conducted
the experiments that were part of the mindsight findings.

"In the past, people believed that if light came into your eyes, it
would have to result in a picture. If it didn't result in a picture,
it must mean that it can't be vision.

"What I'm saying is no, that first assumption is wrong. Light can
come into your eyes and do other things. There are other perceptual
systems and it can result in other forms of experience. It's all
vision -- it's just a different kind of vision. There is nothing
really magical about it. It's just a different way of perceiving, so
it's a different kind of experience, which I think is actually pretty
cool. This is not magical."

But it is controversial.

"It's not going to make everybody happy," he says matter-of-factly of
findings that took more than two years -- and significant
verification -- to publish.

"A lot of people feel kind of threatened by this, by the idea that
the conscious mind is not necessarily the ultimate in terms of
intelligence or control. If you think that the conscious mind is the
end-all and be-all, this kind of work is disturbing."

Rensink says people need to trust their gut instincts and believes we
can likely train ourselves to hone them.

"In the longer run, it's worth taking a look at intuition to get more
insight into this area," he says. "Maybe this will tend to lead
people to develop their intuitions and realize that these intuitions
are informative and we should respect them. This may help us in all
kinds of endeavours."

In practical terms, Rensink, who is part of a team of UBC researchers
investigating the possibilities of intelligent human-automobile
interfaces, says if one can actually induce this gut feeling,
scientists may be able to use it in cars as a kind of warning.

"What you'd like is a way to say, `slow down, or dangerous curve
ahead.' If you're getting a feeling that something is not quite
right, this may in fact get people to be more cautious."

He also thinks it could be applied to the arts, used deliberately,
for example, in the cinema to give the audience an even "spookier
movie experience."

Rensink plans further analysis to determine what may separate people
who have this sense from people who don't. Is it a personality
variable? Is it attitude or mental set? And what part of the brain is

"If people are capable of this, they are probably capable of a lot
more," he says. "We just don't know yet. We'll see where it leads us
in the future. It could be the start of something interesting -- a
whole other way of using vision."


Weitere Informationen:


by Robert Todd Carroll

Pareidolia is a type of illusion or misperception involving a vague or obscure stimulus being perceived as something clear and distinct. For example, in the discolorations of a burnt tortilla one sees the face of Jesus Christ. Or one sees the image of Mother Theresa in a cinnamon bun or the face of a man in the moon.

Under ordinary circumstances, pareidolia provides a psychological explanation for many delusions based upon sense perception. For example, it explains many UFO sightings, as well as the hearing of sinister messages on records played backwards. Pareidolia explains Elvis, Bigfoot, and Loch Ness Monster sightings. It explains numerous  religious apparitions and visions. And it explains why some people see a face or a building in a photograph of the Cydonia region of Mars.

Under clinical circumstances, some psychologists encourage pareidolia as a means to understanding a patient. The most infamous example of this type of clinical  procedure is the Rorschach ink blot test.

Astronomer Carl Sagan believes that the human tendency to see faces in tortillas, clouds, cinnamon buns, etc. is an evolutionary trait. He writes:  

As soon as the infant can see, it recognizes faces, and we now know that this skill is hardwired in our brains. Those infants who a million years ago were unable to recognize a face smiled back less, were less likely to win the hearts of their parents, and less likely to prosper. These days, nearly every infant is quick to identify a human face, and to respond with a goony [sic] grin (Sagan, 45).

I think Sagan is right about the tendency to recognize faces, but I don't see any reason to think there is an evolutionary advantage to see faces in inanimate objects. It seems more likely that the mind is making associations with shapes, lines, shadows, etc., and that these associations are rooted in desires, interests, hopes, obsessions, etc. Most people recognize illusions for what they are, but some become fixated on the reality of their perception and turn an illusion into a delusion. A little bit of critical thinking, however, should convince most reasonable persons that a cinnamon bun that looks like mother Teresa or a burnt area on a tortilla that looks like Jesus are accidents and without significance. It is more likely that the Virgin Mary one sees in the reflection of a mirror or on the floor of an apartment complex or in the clouds has been generated from one's own imagination than that a person who has been dead for 2,000 years should manifest herself in such a mundane and useless fashion.

~  Robert Todd Carroll  ęcopyright 2002 ~

Zero: A special state of consciousness created by ego's sense of itself after sensing un'inhibited..everything else. To call zero a number is like having a camera that simultaneously photographs itself and its field of vision. See Infinity.

~  Dale J. Sprague ~

From "An Epistema" ~

Confirmation Bias

by Robert Todd Carroll

"It is the peculiar and perpetual error of the human understanding to be more moved and excited by affirmatives than by negatives." --Francis Bacon

  Confirmation bias refers to a type of selective thinking whereby one tends to notice and to look for what confirms one's beliefs, and to ignore, not look for, or undervalue the relevance of what contradicts one's beliefs. For example, if one believes that during a full moon there is an increase in accidents, one will take notice when accidents occur during a full moon, but be inattentive to the moon when accidents occur during other times of the month. A tendency to do this over time unjustifiably strengthens one's belief in the relationship between the full moon and accidents.   This tendency to give more attention and weight to data that supports our preconceptions and beliefs than we do to contrary data is especially pernicious when our preconceptions and beliefs are little more than prejudices. If our beliefs are firmly established upon solid evidence and valid confirmatory experiments, the tendency to give more attention and weight to data that fits with our beliefs should not lead us astray as a rule. Of course, if we become blinded to evidence truly refuting a favored hypothesis, we have crossed the line from reasonableness to closed-mindedness.   Numerous studies have demonstrated that people generally give an excessive amount of value to confirmatory information, i.e., data which is positive or which supports a position (Gilovich, ch. 3). Thomas Gilovich speculates that the "most likely reason for the excessive influence of confirmatory information is that it is easier to deal with cognitively." It is much easier to see how a piece of data supports a position than it is to see how it might count against the position. Consider a typical ESP experiment or a seemingly clairvoyant dream: successes are often unambiguous or data is easily massaged to count as a success, while negative instances require intellectual effort to even see them as negative or to consider them as significant. The tendency to give more attention and weight to the positive and the confirmatory has been shown to influence memory. When digging into our memories for data relevant to a position, we are more likely to recall data that confirms the position (Gilovich)....     ~  Robert Todd Carroll  ęcopyright 2002  ~

Read the rest at:


posted by Helga ~  

posted by Liz ~

posted by Ian Pitchford ~ 

posted by Tom ~

Joe Riley ~ Panhala

Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star's stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is. I met her
in a bar once in Iowa City.
Remember the sun's birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother's, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe. I heard her singing Kiowa war
dance songs at the corner of Fourth and Central once.
Remember that you are all people and that all people are you.
Remember that you are this universe and that this universe is you.
Remember that all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember that language comes from this.
Remember the dance that language is, that life is.
~ Joy Harjo ~
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Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose, there are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.    ~ Elizabeth Kubler-Ross ~

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