Ideas

Thoughts on Consciousness, Chi and Changing the World

I found this video, by Graham Hancock, on the Red Ice Creations website.

Hancock writes:

I have received notification .. that my recent 18-minute TEDx video presentation, “The War on Consciousness” (YouTube) which has at time of writing received more than 132,000 views, is to be deleted from the TEDx website because what I say in that presentation allegedly “strays well beyond the realm of reasonable science”, and because I allegedly make “non-scientific and reckless” statements about psychotropic drugs. I am fighting these charges from TED’s Science Board which in my opinion are untrue and amount to nothing more than an ideologically driven attempt to censor my work. All the indications, however, are that my presentation will be deleted some time today…

…I don’t intend to allow this bizarre transgression of my freedom of speech on the part of an institution – TED – for which I once had the highest respect, to pass without a fight…” (paraphrased)

There is more to consciousness than we suppose and the failure to investigate it means that, as individuals, we confine ourselves to the surface levels of our reality, that we don’t live fully. Collectively we see each other superficially and at this level fear each other and become cruel to each other. I don’t advocate drugs but meditation, regular and deep can help. I understand this from experience though my meditation is patchy. What I find intriguing about the video is the thought that non-material, non-human entities exist within a realm of human consciousness beyond the physical brain.

Another video I saw today and uploaded to YouTube is about Chi. It presents evidence for the reality of Chi and also points to humans being more than is alleged by the materialist reductionist world view:

What links these two videos, on chi and on consciousness, is the pointing to a spiritual vastness or depth of us all. Modern life insulates us from the profound and technology increasing pulls us into a sort of digital dream where we disconnect from each other and ourselves:

digitaldreaming

For many of us work has long been that part of our lives where we feel alienated, disconnected from meaning:

work

Now we voluntarily disconnect from meaning or maybe accept the artificial, vicarious experiences of meaning provided by the digital media. These media vie with our real connections to friends, family and our environment for our attention and they have the advantage of being pain free. It’s a lot easier to play a computer game where I’m a conquering hero than to get up before dawn for a morning run. It’s easier to browse through Facebook than to attempt to learn a new still or do some chores or talk about how I feel with my partner or about how she feels. As we run away from reality we become less and less connected to the spiritual and more and more connected to the machine, whether this is the machine of the corporate state or the actual digital machines.

Sometimes it feels as though someone or something wants to keep us disconnected from our higher potentials. The health activist in the following video identifies the pineal gland as the part of the brain that is responsible for us having spiritual or metaphysical experiences and she argues that contaminants such as flouride suppress its functioning:

http://youtu.be/oM0ToA30OHg

If we were all functioning at a higher level then the world would change. There are people, institutions that would not want that kind of change and maybe they work to suppress rising consciousness. What if we accepted this as a reality or as a metaphor? What if we saw meaning in raising our level, maybe achieving just a little but aiming high, and encouraging others, everyone, to do the same? Could we, perhaps, change the world? For Good?

Coca-Cola

I posted this Coca-Cola commercial on Facebook by mistake:

http://youtu.be/zybnaPqzJ6s

I meant to post this more honest version:

Really clever piece of agitprop subverting the damage control intentions of the original version.

I hate coke though I sometimes drink other fizzy rubbish. Anyone who is aware of what they consume knows that Coke is poison but there are plenty of people including young children who don’t know about the effects of sugar consumed in this massive way. The second video contains the kind of warning that Coca-cola and other companies should be forced to include. Why is sugar advertising and consumption not restricted as tobacco advertising and consumption is restricted?

Excercise, Meditation and Health

This article sparked some thoughts about meditation, both my own meditation and meditation in general.

A new study from the University of Wisconsin–Madison found that adults who practiced mindful meditation or moderately intense exercise for eight weeks suffered less from seasonal ailments during the following winter than those who did not exercise or meditate.
 
The study appeared in the July issue of Annals of Family Medicine. Researchers recruited about 150 participants, 80 percent of them women and all older than 50, and randomly assigned them to three groups. One group was trained for eight weeks in mindful meditation; another did eight weeks of brisk walking or jogging under the supervision of trainers. The control group did neither. The researchers then monitored the respiratory health of the volunteers with biweekly telephone calls and laboratory visits from September through May—but they did not attempt to find out whether the subjects continued meditating or exercising after the initial eight-week training period.
 
Participants who had meditated missed 76 percent fewer days of work from September through May than did the control subjects. Those who had exercised missed 48 percent fewer days during this period. The severity of the colds and flus also differed between the two groups. Those who had exercised or meditated suffered for an average of five days; colds of participants in the control group lasted eight. Lab tests confirmed that the self-reported length of colds correlated with the level of antibodies in the body, which is a biomarker for the presence of a virus.
 
“I think the big news is that mindfulness meditation training appears to have worked” in preventing or reducing the length of colds, says Bruce Barrett of the department of family medicine. He cautions, however, that the findings are preliminary.
 
Scientific American

What’s interesting in this article is not just the conclusion that meditation has verifiable health benefits but that it is apparently more effective that exercise. However this is hardly the ‘big news’ that the article claims; the benefits of meditation have been known many years. The proponents of Transcendental Meditation (TM) in particular have pointed to research detailing the effectiveness of their particular technique:

I was introduced to TM many years ago when I was in my twenties. I continued to use it occasionally but was never a persistent or consistent practitioner. I have tried other forms of meditation also but again without consistency. Dr Hageiln’s exposition on TM appears quite partisan in extolling the virtues of TM above that of other meditation techniques but from what I’ve read TM is the most researched meditation technique.

There is a comparison of meditation techniques on the Institute for Applied Meditation website. This article promotes ‘Heart Rhythm Meditation’, which I had not heard about previously, but nevertheless provides thumbnail outlines of the other meditation forms. These are of course quite incomplete but the notes are a useful starting point. The Secrets of Yoga website offers a comparison between meditation styles that is a bit more detailed somewhat less partisan.

Follow-up Reading: A Glimpse into the Meditating Brain.

Love and Destiny

‎”Love is a choice; it’s not magic. There is no such thing as ‘the one. You are not destined for any relationship other than the one you help create. Spend enough time with another loving person, and biology eventually kicks in. So use your head and find someone you really enjoy spending time with, who you don’t feel pressured to impress – someone who makes you feel loved, relaxed, and comfortable in your own skin.”
~ Marc & Angel

Love is a choice that creates magic. The ‘one’ is the one to whom you fully commit. The relationship you help bring into existence is a conspiracy between you, the other and the universe; whether it became your destiny after it was chosen or was chosen because it was your destiny is, perhaps, a matter of perspective.