Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality:


Click here to go to the next issue

Highlights Home Page | Receive the Nondual Highlights each day

#1726 - Tuesday, March 9, 2004 - Editor: michael

Love and The Brain


two poems from:

We Celebrate the Web of Life by Alicia S. Carpenter (1930 - 1990)

We celebrate the web of life,
It's magnitude we sing;
For we can see divinity
In every living thing.

A fragment of the perfect whole
In cactus and in quail,
As much in tiny barnacle
As in the great blue whale.

Of ancient dreams we are the sum;
Our bones link stone to star,
And bind our future worlds to come
With worlds that were and are.

Respect the water, land, and air
Which gave al creatures birth;
Protect the lives of all that share
In glory of the earth.


I Am Only One by Edward Everett Hale

I am only one
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.


NOTE: The poem used in this presentation is from Ralph Marston's latest
book, "Living the Wonder of It All." For more information on the book,
and to download a free sample, go to

The Wonder of It All
by Ralph Marston
Do you ever wonder
At the wonder of it all?

Do you ever stand in awe
of the tiniest things
and how perfectly they work together?

Do you ever stop to think
about all the possibilities
and how even though they have no limit
they grow in number with every minute?

Do you ever wonder
when the leaves flutter down in autumn
at the incomprehensible power of life
that brings them back in spring?

Do you watch the waves roll in
and then look out far beyond them
where the water seems to touch the sky
and realize
that the vast expanse before your eyes
is only a small little corner
of all there really is?

And do you comprehend that all there really is,
as unimaginably grand as it may seem,
is only a smaller corner still
of all that there can be?

Do you ever wonder
how love can stay alive
past every pleasure and every pain
and even when there can be no hope
there is more than ever?

Do you ever struggle to lift a heavy rock and wonder
how a massive mountain can rise
thousands of feet above the plain
without even trying?

Do you ever realize that
no matter how much you may know,
no matter how many wonders you may have experienced,
there will always, always be more?

Do you ever wonder
why it is you wonder
and why you know what beauty is
even though you can't define it?

Do you ever wonder
who is doing the wondering,
who is looking out through your eyes
and feeling completely at home
with the wonder of it all?

Whatever you believe,
whatever you profess,
whatever you doubt or fear or hope for,
there are some things
your heart cannot deny
when you let go
and let yourself know
the wonder of it all.

Copyright 2003 Ralph S. Marston, Jr.


Two Twits in Paradise

or devianandi and michael do the polka while sarlo practices his

(we pick up the thread here as devianandi responds to michael's critque
of devianandi's portrayal of the big being)

michael: not too bad as channeling acts go.

god: devis a little rusty in that department, blame her, but thats for
the not too bad compliment

michael: a little hokey, a trifle grandiose and condescending but, still
not too bad.

god: yep, i come in all shapes and forms, and i speak to people in ways
that they understand me

michael: polish it up a bit and the suckers (er, seekers) will surely
eat it up.

god: ur calling my seekers suckers? thats terrible!
maybe next time i'll ask you to edit devi

michael: then you can get that oh so desired rating and really make a
holy name in the biz.

god: haha, some morons are calling me a *This* now..haha

michael: until then

God: i will

god: nature has its way of keeping a balance in the universe. that
includes the number of beings that wake up.....i don't beleive at
this time everyone is supposed to wake up, my guru says and so does
meher baba, if all the sentient and nonsentient consciunsess were
to awake...creation would that what your wanting...God

michael: god doesn't?

god: thats right michael, i don't want creation to end right now, if i
did, it would be ended right now, in the blink of your eye

michael: guess i better not blink then :-)are you sure about that?

god; yes i am michael

michael: well, sure i know you're michael. what's your point?

god: a regular wise guy, are ya?

michael: or are you just taking your guru's word for it?

God: my guru gets his ideas from me michael

michael: so you don't want to fill him in, ah yes, that might spoil your
fun, eh?

god: my gurus are already completely full michael

michael: and why oh why should creation stop just because a few of its
creations awake to joy and peace and bliss?

god: i thought we were talking about more then just a few michael

michael: well, the way sentient beings have of multiplying... :-)

god: do you think its time for another major disastor? weren't you one
of my angels at one time?

sarlo: Evidently God doesn't want us to awaken to joy and peace and

God: no no no, i do want you to awaken to joy and peace and bliss, but
only after you finish the required pre-requisits

michael: well, we'll just suffer along until you get the SAT scores in.

god: i'm looking back through my akashic records and see that in one of
your incarnations you pulled a 1500..thats very know 1600 is
perfect...your getting closer

sarlo: No fun for Him if we jump out of our misery.

god: oh but your wrong sarlo my beloved. look, i can't have
everyone getting enlightened at the same time, i wouldn't be able
to give my fullest attention and congradulations to each and
everyone if everyone all got it the same time..did you know that
when one of you comes home to me there is a great celebration in

god: can't spell and can't handle all the love either? hmmmm, where's
all that omnipotence when you need it? :-)

god: remember its devi thats doing the chanelling, i'm just dictating
and she's a bit sloppy (someone out there thinks that Gods a slob on a
bus, remember)

sarlo: A few are allowed to jump out but their jumping out is the
carrot that God dangles in front of the rest to keep the misery
cycle going.

god; no no no, some souls who become me still experience
misery,,there there, does that make you feel better....your time is
coming soon sarlo my beloved...just be nice to devi and you'll see..

michael: oooh, all bow down to devi. she's so shiny and bright when
she's channeling the Big Being!

god: devi, are you getting all grandiouse on me? watch it sweetie or
i'll take your toys away

michael: chuckles and joy,

god: for girl and boy

michael: you know who!

god: i know who too!

> michael: you know who!
> god: i know who too!

LOL! lots of laughter and lots of love

thanks devi. you know we could re-name this piece
Two Twits in Paradise

with a little more polish we could have a hit on the comedy circuit.

grins for god,



devi: i'm glad i can have a little fun with someone around here!
honestly, life can be very brutal, so why make it more difficult for

thanks for the kudos


you are most welcome


and Sarlo finishes it off with:

Maybe a ventriloquist act.

And a book and movie deal . . . Conversations Among God, whatever, get
an agent!


sorry folk, no cartoons in this edition. but, if you want
a grin or two take a look at the 'maturity level' of those
of us who like to argue about matters transcendent!,%20so%20there.htm


[ed. note: a bit more on the physical aspect of religion and
spirituality and, yup, more about the brain! - a really long post, with
outside links to things to grin about ]

From:  medit8ionsociety
Date:  Mon Mar 8, 2004  9:28 pm
Subject:  Spiritual neurology - A mystical union


A small band of pioneers is exploring the neurology of religious

The renowned French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot once scribbled some
notes while under the influence of the psychedelic drug
mescaline. Colleagues were puzzled because among the scribbles was the
incongruous statement, written in English, "I love you Jennifer".
Still more puzzling was the question: who was Jennifer? That was not the
name of his wife nor of anyone else they thought he knew. Despite the
mystery, Dr Charcot's colleagues never thought to question the
scientific value of the experiment.
The same cannot be said of Mario Beauregard, a brain-imager from the
University of Montreal, who has also experimented with mescaline. But
that is because Dr Beauregard is interested in one particular, and far
more contentious, aspect of the mescaline experience-the capacity of the
drug to inspire feelings of spirituality or closeness to God. It was
experiments of the type carried out by Charcot that opened up the
possibility of investigating spirituality in a scientific manner, by
showing that it could be manipulated. Dr Beauregard is following up on
these by trying to discover where in the brain religious experience is
actually experienced.

[ed. note - god's brain ]

In the first of what he hopes will be a series of experiments, Dr
Beauregard and his doctoral student Vincent Paquette are recording
electrical activity in the brains of seven Carmelite nuns through
electrodes attached to their scalps. Their aim is to identify the
brain processes underlying the Unio Mystica-the Christian notion of
mystical union with God. The nuns (the researchers hope to recruit 15 in
all) will also have their brains scanned using positron-emission
tomography and functional magnetic-resonance imaging, the most
powerful brain-imaging tools available.

[ed. note - a site for those who Have Theology and Will Argue ]

The study has met with scepticism from both subjects and scientists. Dr
Beauregard had first to convince the nuns that he was not trying to
prove or disprove the existence of God. Scientific critics, meanwhile,
have accused him of being too reductionist-of pretending to pinpoint the
soul in the brain in the same way that the Victorians played
phrenology as a parlour game by feeling the contours of each others'
skulls to find a bulge of secretiveness or a missing patch of
generosity. Dr Beauregard does not, in fact, believe there is a
neurological "God centre". Rather, his preliminary data implicate a
network of brain regions in the Unio Mystica, including those associated
with emotion processing and the spatial representation of self. But that
leads to another criticism, which he may find harder to rebut. This is
that he is not really measuring a mystical experience at all-merely an
intense emotional one.

[ed. note: why is it that scientists haven't done any brain scans when
people are thinking about ]

This is because the nuns are, so to speak, faking it. They believe that
the Unio Mystica is a gift of God and cannot be summoned at will. Most
of them have only experienced it once or twice, typically in
their 20s. To get around this, Dr Beauregard has drawn on previous
experiments he carried out with actors, which showed that remembering an
intense emotional experience activates the same brain networks as
actually having that experience. In effect, he has asked the nuns to
method act, and they are happy to comply.

[ed. note - Happy creatures do better no matter what. Happy mice and
happy nuns live longer. Of all human activities in all circumstances
spirituality can be the most engaging. Each of us can seek a path and a
reward. How wonderful if we can find joyful simplicity.....--Jerry

found at ]

God and the gaps
Andrew Newberg, a radiologist at the Hospital of the University of
Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, who has scanned the brains of Buddhists
and Franciscan nuns in meditation or at prayer, is familiar with such
criticism. He says that, because religious experience is not readily
accessible, unusually high standards of experimental rigour are
demanded of this kind of research. "We have frequently argued that many
aspects of spiritual experiences are built upon the brain
machinery that is used for other purposes such as emotions," he says.
"Very careful research will need to be done to delineate these issues."
But that is not a reason for shying away from them, says Olaf Blanke of
the University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland, whose paper in the
February edition of Brain describes how the brain generates
out-of-body experiences. He points out that plenty of research has been
done into another kind of bodily illusion, phantom limbs. This has
identified the brain mechanisms responsible, and even suggested
treatments for these disabling "appendages". The same cannot be said of
out-of-body experiences, which can also be disturbing, but occupy a
neglected position between neurobiology and mysticism.
Having subjected six brain-damaged patients to a battery of
neuro-imaging techniques, Dr Blanke's group concludes that damage at the
junction of two lobes of the brain-the temporal and
parietal-causes a breakdown of a person's perception of his own body.
The boundary between personal and extrapersonal space becomes blurred,
and he sees his body occupying positions that do not coincide with the
position he feels it to be in.

[ed. note - cartoon break with thanks to swami sarlo ]

Some patients give this a mystical interpretation, some do not. What is
interesting is that several of the patients suffered from
temporal-lobe epilepsy. An association between this kind of epilepsy and
religiosity is well-documented, notably in a classic series of
neurological papers written by Norman Geschwind in the 1960s and
1970s. Dr Blanke argues that all the lobes of the brain play a part in
something as complex as religious experience, but that the
temporo-parietal junction is a prime node of that network.
The parietal lobe is thought to be responsible for orienting a person in
time and space, and Dr Newberg also found a change in parietal
activation at the height of the meditative experience, when his
volunteers reported sensing a greater interconnectedness of things. At
the end of each recording session, Dr Beauregard asks the nuns to
complete a questionnaire which gauges not only feelings of love and
closeness to God, but also distortions of time and space. "The more
intense the experience, the more intense the disorganisation from a
spatio-temporal point of view," he says. Typically, time slows down, and
the self appears to dissolve into some larger entity that the nuns
describe as God.

[ed. note a few tips from the love issue of Amigo

Love is so vast within itself. It's where you die. You don't die into
fear; you die into love. It's so vast that it will burn you up. It's so
jealous and greedy for itself to be mirrored back that it will leave you
nothing. And when you're feeling that if you don't give it away you'll
die in it, it's so vast that there's nothing you can do with it. All you
can do is be it. Byron Katie

You have to hear the story of love from love itself.
Because she's like a mirror, both dumb and saying much.
Mevlana Jelalu'ddin Rumi

See Love. Hear Love. Reach out and touch Love. Eat Love, sweet Love, and
smell Love. For Love is but the Self's Awareness of Itself. Ramana
Maharshi ]

[ed. note and it finally ends with]

Whether the Unio Mystica has anything in common with out-of-body
experiences, or even phantom limbs, remains to be seen-though all are
certainly mediated by the brain. According to Dr Blanke, this is only
just starting to become an accepted topic of research in neuroscience.
Perhaps its acceptance will depend ultimately on how the knowledge is
used. Dr Beauregard may have done himself a disservice by arguing that
mystical union should not be reserved for the spiritual few, but
should be made available to everyone, for the benefit of society.
Perhaps, like Charcot, he should stick to describing it, however
incongruous the result may be.


Speaking of Love.
[Johan van der Kooij]

'Yesterday I met a very charming woman,
I was totally gone about her.'
How many times have I heard that said already?
Unknowingly we use Vedanta in our speech:
'I was totally carried away...': by the woman, the man, the painting, or
some other object I as a person was gone, but why?

Wouldn't it be much nicer to remain present as a person, to enjoy her or
the object? Apparently something so radical happened that it would be
superfluous for me to remain as a person. I dissolved temporarily in
love itself.

Musing over love and her many forms of expression I heard in my heart
and mind a song from my teens: Suzanne by Leonard Cohen. As if by magic
I became aware of the deeper meaning of the words:

(text:) Suzanne takes me down to a place by the river
(commentary:) Love, unconditional love takes me to 'shamata', stop, and
invites me to look at my feelings

(text:) You can watch the boats go by, you can spend the night forever
(commentary:) Time and the timeless exist together, I live both in the
relative and the absolute

(text:) and I know that she's half crazy and that's why I want to be
there (commentary:) A deep recognition passes through me when I am with

(text:) and she gives me tea and oranges that come all the way from
China (commentary:) Love, or unconditional love expresses itself in many
forms, even the palpable

(text:) and just when I want to tell her that I have no love to give her
(commentary:) At the moment that I think that it is impossible for me to
surrender to the absolute

(text:) she gets me on her wavelength and she let's the river answer
(commentary:) Everything comes to life, and the insight arises that I
have never been separate from what I actually am, Love

(text:) and I want to travel with her, and I want to travel blind cause
she's touched my perfect body with her mind (commentary:) I say yes
unconditionally because she is the source of everything, even my


[ed. note - this is the 'other' lady joyce]

From:  "Lady Joyce"
Date:  Wed Mar 10, 2004  7:57 pm
Subject:  Better Than Yours

My guru's better than your guru
My guru's better than yours
My guru's enlightened
and he knows "this" so
My guru's better than yours

My guru's better than yours is
My guru's better than yours
She's better than Buddha
with more devotees
My guru's better than yours

My guru's smarter than yours is
My guru's smarter than yours
My guru's smarter
Cause he wears pullups
My guru's smarter than yours

I'm more irreverent than you are
Nope, I'm more irreverent than you
I'm such a boldie
"JUST LEAVE!!!" they told me
I'm more irreverent than you

I got booted from this list
So?...I got booted from that
We got booted
But we can't prove it
Now what do you think of that?

My gossip's better than yours is
My gossip's better than yours
Why, this one drinks
And that one stinks
Who cares...they're not the doers

My theory's better than yours is
My theory's better than yours
"All is nothing :-)"
Boy, am I something
funny, how truth always endures

I am older that you are
I am younger than you
Well, you're old hat
And you're just a brat
But we both agree one is not two

I whine better than you do
NO! I whine better than you
Why, I'm more crass
than JDA *
And that's not easy to do.

This list is better than that list
That list has too many rules
"Please be polite
Please do not fight"
There's room for all of the schools

Now what is so bad about That?
OM tat sat :-)
Bow wow!!!


* Jody's Dog's Ass

Inspired by...

My dog's bigger than your dog,
My dog's bigger than yours,
My dog's bigger
And he chases mailmen,
My dog's bigger than yours,

My dog's better than your dog,
My dog's better than yours,
His name is King,
And he had puppies,
My dog's better than yours.

My dad's tougher than your dad,
My dad's tougher than yours,
My dad's tougher
And he yells louder and
My dad's tougher than yours.

My dad's louder than your dad,
My dad's louder than yours,
Momma buys a new dress,
Daddy makes noises,
My dad's louder than yours.

Our car's faster than your car,
Our car's faster than yours,
It has a louder horn,
It bumps other cars,
Our car's faster than yours.

Our car's older than your car,
Our car's older than yours,
It stops running and Daddy kicks the fenders,
Our car's older than yours.

My Mom's older than your Mom,
My Mom's older than yours,
She takes smelly baths
She hides the gray hairs
My Mom's older than yours.

My Mom's funnier than your Mom,
My Mom's funnier than yours,
Her hair is pretty and
It changes colors,
My Mom's funnier than yours.

Copyright Tom Paxton
Written, recorded, and Printed by Tom Paxton


see you around - michael

top of page

Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality: