Saturday, August 02, 2014

Sickness is a Defense

Sickness is a defense against the truth… The aim of all defenses is to keep the truth from being whole.

This from the BATGAP interview I was listening to as I did my yoga on the floor, carefully as my sciatica was sending electric jolts down my left leg.

Sickness is a decision when you’re afraid of love and you want to prove you’re little and tiny and frail and not Christ-like or Buddha-like.  You actually decide in your mind for a symptom.
David Hoffmeister, BATGAP  1:15:00

The tingling leg symptoms have replaced yesterday’s migraine, which I assumed was the result of several day’s intense scrutiny of county zoning and building regulations.  I’ve spent hours sitting at the computer in preparation for an upcoming contract discussion, if not dispute.  All that sitting also seems the obvious reason for the flare-up of sciatica.  And yet, Lesson 136 is an invitation to consider the issue from a different angle.

I'd already noticed that as I studied out the issues of the contract, tasks that needed doing, dropped responsibilities, failures, blame, missed deadlines, false deadlines,  I also began to see people trying to do their best, simple miscommunication, opportunities to learn, and greater clarity emerging. Could a frustrating mess also be a blessing?  It seems likely. 
I'd noticed that in the beginning there was anger, fear (?) that I really couldn’t name, an anger that became a deep burning energy that deeply shook my body and was totally without emotion.  And then the burning died out, as if all the fuel had been consumed.  What remained was the silence and the spaciousness… even as the migraine arose. 
And then, the electric leg… and then these words: 
Sickness is a defense against the truth. … when you’re afraid of love. 
They rang a bell!  

Still, I find it hard to believe that a herniated disc can be “cured” through simply an attitude adjustment. It has to go deeper than the words and nice belief.  Then, perhaps if I truly let love overtake my being, something will relax inside, hormones change, inflammation diminish, calcium channels close or open, and my leg will feel better and my migraine won’t come back.

I am reminded of this recent video I saw posted on FaceBook (and which I hope translates to this page!)  Perhaps in the end, what works and doesn’t work simply does rest upon your point of view.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Leopard Leotards

The other morning, as I was sitting on my back deck, I was suddenly struck by the pattern of shadows on my leg.  Just like that, I heard the first line of the poem below.  So, following once more in my tradition of boldly sharing my “bad poetry,” here we go.  I also hope it helps span the gap between relating personal experience to descriptions found in text books.

Me in my leopard leotard of wholeness
The weight of light and shadow on bare skin
reveals the super supple:
Silence gulping, “Brahman eating”
as I sip my morning coffee.
How to move without tearing these finest of silk stockings?
Oh, that I might rip a hole in wholeness!
A hole in wholeness -
Impossible, I know, and yet the tear is felt in every cell
and the very Silence.

Paradox is simply That: here, there and everywhere.
Which is different from “not knowing” or even being “lost.”
I remain the Queen of Contradictions and Conundrums.
Don’t look to me for answers
but good inquiry can be quite useful
until it’s not

not when god gives morning coffee,
cicadas humming their Samaveda
thru the perfect summer air
as my Retirement unfolds
and leopard leotards appear
out of Absolutely Nowhere.

It took a big effort to haul myself out of the silence of the leotards and pick up pen and pad.  That effort in itself shattered the direct perception.  But, it was so paradoxical the mind couldn’t let the issue drop.  I recalled Harri Aalto recently emphasizing that one can indeed see the Absolute – a seeming impossibility and contradiction.   I also immediately recognized these leotards as a version of Wang Liping’s practice with his reflections and shadows.  I couldn’t recollect exactly how the story goes, so I looked it up:

One day the Wayfarer of Pure Serenity took Wang Liping to a small reservoir, where he had prepared a large plank.  The Wayfarer had Liping sit cross-legged on the plank, then eased it out into the water, where it gradually came to a stop in the middle of the reservoir.  Liping sat on the plank in a state of silence… [When] the Wayfarer was sure that Liping had reached the right state, he disturbed the surface of the water with his hand, sending a wave of ripples toward the center of the reservoir.  When the ripples approached the plank, Wang Liping’s reflection in the water was shattered; he himself just felt a shudder in his heart…  When the ripples had passed, the surface of the water again became smooth as ever, and Liping’s body and mind returned to their former quietude…

The young apprentice told his mentor all about the sensation he’d had on the water, finding it quite beyond his understanding.  … [Through cultivation] the yang celestial soul and the yin earthly soul in his body had both been strengthened and sensitized.  From the ordinary point of view, shadows and reflections are unreal, things have form but not substance… From the Taoist point of view, however, these “unreal shadows and reflections with form but no substance” also have ethereal force, which can be felt by the body on contact…  This is why Liping’s body and mind stirred when his reflection was disturbed in the water.  When one gets to the “middle three realms,” shadows and reflections are no longer insubstantial forms; now they have form, they also have substance.  This is the principle underlying the practice of curing illness by working on people’s shadows, as Wang Liping later learned from his mentor.
Opening the Dragon Gate:  The Making of a Taoist Wizard, translated by Thomas Cleary

Interestingly, once you compare these experiences, you realize that both Wang Liping and I found it “quite beyond” our understanding.  This is confusing and new territory of what’s normal. It’s not what the mind is used to.  There are new rules and possibilities.  Or, to site Nisargadatta:
A good measure of spiritual maturity is the degree to which one can appreciate paradox and ambiguity.

Settling into this maturity comfortably requires both experience and intellectual understanding. … to wit, the effort at bad poetry as I try to get the words precise.  I hope it helps.

Sunday, January 05, 2014


To me, a metapattern is a pattern so wide-flung that it appears throughout the spectrum of reality: in clouds, rivers, and planets; in cells, organisms, and ecosystems; in art, architecture, and politics…

The most revolutionary time I ever had intellectually was in 1974 sitting with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for one week of what he called “Vedic Studies.”  He was going to explain consciousness from a non-dual perspective.  In the front row he had a bunch of PhDs: physicist, chemist, biologist, mathematician and an artist.  He told them, “Now stop me when you think of something.”   The experts did stop him when they thought of a parallel between Maharish’s explanation of consciousness and some branch of science.  Day after day they did that, until my mind began to freak: “Why!”

Why were there so many parallels between consciousness and what I thought of as “Laws of Nature”?

I finally hypothesized that it was because all of Creation was based upon Pure Consciousness (consciousness as Absolute -not the consciousness generated by the brain) - and what we saw as Creation were actually, inevitably, “Patterns of Consciousness.”   I viewed this as a working hypothesis as my mind just couldn’t really swallow it.  Trained in biology and chemistry I was a materialist.  Or, to paraphrase my niece a generation later, “I don’t see how any college graduate can believe in God.”  And while perhaps I’d have said I did believe in God, that didn’t necessarily translate into all Creation being created in His image.
However, I made a hypothesis and have been collecting examples, bits of data, ever since.
So, now it’s 2014 – forty years of watching – and I have just discovered the work of Tyler Volk.  Since 1995 he’s written about Metapatterns.  I think this is the science supporting what I called patterns of consciousness.  What precipitated this discovery of Volk’s work?   I am trying to understand Geomancy as practiced by Marko Pogacnik.  And in my poking around this week I came across a rather surprising pattern.  These correlations are always so surprising to me and always seem to evoke a sense of wonder and why!

To begin:  I was looking are Plant Hardiness Zone maps – those maps that tell you what plants can be planted where.  I was interested in what healing plants grow where.  Somehow in my Googling I came across a map that displayed the differences in the 1990 USDA hardiness zones and the 2006 hardiness zones.  This map shows wheretemperature changes are occurring across the United States.  This is one way of visualizing the evolving global climate.  

What surprised me was how this map of the U.S. reminded me of the pattern seen in developing embryos.A classic image in biology is that master gene expression establishing developmental gradientsBelow is a fruit fly embryo revealing the distribution of maternal proteins in anterior/posterior axis. The A/P axis is set up by a protein called BICOID that is expressed in an anterior-to-posterior gradient.

When I was in college a favorite phrase among biology students was, “Phylogeny recapitulates ontogeny.”  That was just the smart way of saying it looks like evolution of the species follows the same pattern as developing embyro.  Here that pattern seems to extend to global climate… Why?  Just chance?
I define metapatterns by saying where they are found and how I use them.
But what are they? And are they out there (patterns sensed) or in here (patterns imagined)?
Tyler Volk

AH!  Here is the inside/outside question of consciousness! 
It all depends upon ones point of view regarding Consciousness.  Is it Egoic or Wholistic?  You’re your definition of consciousness state that it arises from the complex organization of the brain?  Or, does Pure Consciousness express itself as a Creative Intelligence (CI) arising from the VOID?
Egoic separation says the patterns lie outside and are observed. 
Wholistic vision realizes that CI repeats itself throughout layers of complexity and scales of size: physics, chemistry, biology, ecology, sociology, geology, astrophysics.

Experience seems to suggest to me that both viewpoints are valid.