Monday, February 11, 2008

Dow in the Tao

Fractal Buddha
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
I went to a Chinese New Year celebration last week.
There, I overheard an explanation the Indian concept of time and yugas.
It’s cyclical of course, revolving round through ups and downs.
Satya Yuga is a Golden Age which lasts for 1.73 million years. The people enjoy long life and most become enlightened.
Inevitably, Satya Yuga declines into the more degenerate ages, each of shorter duration and greater suffering.
Today, we are in the darkest, most degenerate age of Kali Yuga.
It began 5000 years ago and will continue for another 430,000 years.

During Kali Yuga life spans are short and difficult. Few people are enlightened, and some would characterize our species as insane.
Back in the 1972, when Maharishi announced that through the efforts of our teaching Transcendental Meditation, humanity was entering the Age of Enlightenment, someone asked him, “But what about Kali Yuga?”
Maharishi replied that even in this darkest age, we could create 10,000 years of an Enlightenment world, a spot of brilliance within the dark.

And I thought, “….well, maybe…” I hoped that he was right. I told myself, surely he should know.

These days, I don’t think of Kali Yuga all that often.
I am, however, studying stocks closely.
Specifically, I was recently scanning the ValueLine list of Top Performers for stocks that are currently in an up-trend.
I was examining price charts that spanned about a five-year time frame.

To my delight, the charts looked great! I anticipated many trading opportunities and making lots of money.
So, having established my qualified list, I started clicking on these stocks’ charts once again, looking at a shorter time frame.

Now the stocks looked simply horrendous.
In case you’ve been asleep, world markets and the Dow have been in something of a free fall for these past few weeks.
I started scowling inside my little brain.
It was going to be trickier to make all that money than I had anticipated.

How could something that looked so good be in such bad shape?

It has to do with the property of self-similarity,
cycles within cycles.
Just like the yugas. Even within Kali Yuga there can be an uptrend amd an Age of Enlightenment.
Or not. You can get the opposite – a downtrend in the midst of five great years.

It is a property displayed by fractals.
And I knew it must be a function of consciousness the moment I discovered James Gleick’s book, Chaos , twenty years ago.

Self similarity:
How something looks at one magnification, is how it looks at another power.
The Man in the Moon is nothing but large craters seen from Earth.
Land a lunar module on the surface and you see yet another set of craters.

The mathematician who formalized all this is Benoit Mandelbroit.
When he graphed the equations he revealed the startling beautiful image I’ve posted here.

Turns out fractals are a powerful descriptor of Nature and thus the Way of the Tao.
The anatomy of our lungs is fractal.
The beating of our heart is fractal.
The behavior of the stock market is fractal.
And I can only imagine that Yugas themselves are fractal in their structure.

We can become enlightened in the depths of Kali Yuga.
Our lives can be in an up-trend, even when the day seems to have gone all wrong.

The thing about fractals that really struck me, is that as a computer draws out these beautiful, mandala like patterns, (which are plotted out dot by dot)
each bit of color is placed upon the page in a seemingly random or chaotic order.
Standing at the last point plotted,
you would never guess where the next dot will be placed.

And that to me is where we stand each moment in the Now.
Standing in complete Presence we stand with that which simply Is,
Without any preconception of what the next moment will bring.

Adya repeatedly says, the more enlightened you become, the less and less you know.
And somehow I am picturing that as standing right on the edge of this cliff looking out into Nothingness…

which, is not at all unlike staring at that last price bar of a stock chart.
As I ponder past performance, and wonder whether I have interpreted the signs correctly,
Should I sell, or buy or hold?
I find myself staring right into the Void.

The daily-do of technical analysis has opened out into my Cosmic quest,
and I begin to hear the whispers
lines from Adyashanti’s unfinished poem,
Everlasting Inheritance.”

Listen now, or lose your life, for what I have to say is what you have imagined in quiet moments but have failed to realize in full. Perhaps you were too timid or astonished at the critical moments, or couldn’t find the courage to step through the veil of your frail life when the door was opened for you…

Or perhaps you wanted to keep your life as your own, and chose to hold onto a few pennies when you could have had gold. No matter, for yesterday has passed into the dust of remembered dreams, and tomorrow’s story is yet to be written…

Stand with me here at the precipice and take my hand in yours, for I am good company to those ready to depart familiar ground. If not, then let loose of my hand now and take that of a more familiar companion. For where we stand is known, but our next step will not be—nor the one after or the one after that.

…lift your foot together with mine and we will step off the well-trodden paths and into the uncharted woods where the essence of things lies waiting for you to open your eyes.

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