Friday, October 4, 2013

the struggle of life in higher Indian mysticism

First, before I get to higher mysticism, some background on the planet earth.

I try NOT to intrude on elections in India. In a way, I think of them as a delicate fishbowl.. "Be careful not to shake things and disrupt them.  When you do not know the facts, be very careful not to weigh in accidentally
on a position of ignorance."

But of course, we are all connected, and must be very serious about informed connections which do occur. Long ago, in my first couple of years at Harvard graduate school, there was a time when my best friends there were members of the Vedanta Society, an important group representing ... a strain of the culture of India which is much further up "the mountain" of spiritual development than the superstitious folk polytheism which you can also see across India (and even today in China, with golden calves and pigs very similar to what Moses, Jesus and Mohammed tried to eradicate). They mentioned at the time how some of their families were trying to create a new political party in India, Janata, to reflect what they hoped would be higher spiritual values. Yet at the same time... we bought our house (which I think of as "the house between the worlds") from the scion of the old Indian aryuveda healer/doctor family which tended to the spiritual and medical needs of the Ghandi family, so we see both sides. Of course there are two sides in the elections coming in late November -- basically between Ghandi's party (Congress) and Janata. They are important elections, but both sides have people carrying the torch for important ideas.


In the middle of all this, an important thinker in India, whose friends have a connection with one of the parties, and who is devoting a major part of his energy to spiritual pursuits, expressed his concerns by sending me the caption from a carton of Calvin and Hobbes:

Good morning...   !

Your quote from Calvin and Hobbes is a good conversation piece. Really, it applies to all of us
on earth. I have tried to grapple with the dilemma in many ways for a long, long time.

Actually, it connects to some of the same issues I was thinking about regarding self-knowledge versus Self knowledge. I am sorry that that reference was not as useful to you as I had hoped. 
Just as you often go back to Krishnamurthy... my brother has read deeply in the yoga aphorisms
of Patanjali, and I read extensively in the Upanishads a long, long time ago. Visiting my brother a few years ago, and looking at his brig scholarly book of Patanjali, I was intrigued by their story of evolution
of thought. Much of the recent work engages in everyday life in a very important way, but the older sources
do have a level of depth and connection to higher levels of evolution which are also important. All of the Upanishad scholars I have met in recent years talk about self versus Self. (Though of course there is more there.)

I do try to input information in a volume which could be paralyzing.

For example, one of the groups I have monitored is the National Security Agency, also known as NSA or No Such Agency. They have an interesting culture. Many of them are mathematicians -- as I once was,
and still am in some ways. They talk a lot about the problem of "drinking from a firehose." 
That is an expression I have taken up myself. The more one seeks authentic Self-knowledge,
beyond just narrow self-knowledge, the more finds oneself drinking from a firehose.

I do not actually take the religious/mystical extreme of saying one should renounce self in favor of Self. That is not natural, in my view. Following Western paths, I argue for an "alchemical marriage," a healthy balance and mutual support of these aspects. But the larger aspect certainly is a major part of my efforts and life -- even though the complexity makes it hard to cope with. A major challenge for all of us to learn how to cope
with more -- but not to violate "impedance matching," not to take on so much that we actually learn and achieve less than we would in a more realistic plan of action.

For myself, a major challenge in practical life has been the challenge of multiplexing versus focus. Of course,
we all face that challenge. So I tend to aim for "one at a time, but keep the structure in balance."

The past two or three weeks, I put my core energy into little things... things which will be useful for me to know even if this whole planet falls apart... I focused on certain fundamental mathematical issues  probablh outside your realm of interest, It was focused... but I have maintained enough balance that I created an agreement which will result in a Congressional briefing on space in late October (requiring lots of planning and preparation), will be visiting the relevant part of OSTP next week, and expect to prepare my keynote talk for the IEEE Baltimore conference/workshop on space solar power as a byproduct of preparations for these things. And today will get to assessing the dialogue I created on the SSP technical issues with my own
technical committees on that area. So it is not a case of total paralysis. It is possible to juggle multiple things -- and even to appreciate the sense of maintaining a multilevel multiplexed existence.

To be honest... in higher meditation last night... I did think a bit about archetypes as well..
and remembered Kwan Yin, and the Buddhist issue of Buddha versus Boddisatva.

But... my bus to work comes in ten minutes.


So that was that. No bus to work THIS morning, due to government shutdown!

But I didn't have to feel the usual level of tension in bed this morning, either...

and so I can extend this by describing some further experiences related to "the Self"
(as the Upanishads describe it) or the "noosphere" (the tradiitional Western concept I do make heavy use of),
which are more or less the same reality which folks like Teilhard de Chardin and the more enlightened Gaia thinkers try to describe.

It is curious to live life, at the spiritual level, a lot like a neuron inside a larger brain,
Bits of associative memory, which look like curious sideways little cells when we peer down into a brain, become vast archetypes and prototypes, which have "power" over the thinking in the brain, just as traumatic or euphoric or cathartic memories can effect the thinking of an individual. A week ago, a friend gave me a copy of the novel "Return of the Tetrarch" which is groping to cope with the power of such archetypes... just one piece of the noosphere.  I'm not into that approach very much, but it does color my thoughts enough that I do need to mention it. For example, I think of Santa Claus, Satan, Pocohantas, Kali, and the Thousand Buddhas as serious and somewhat "powerful" archetypes, but not as real people or as fundamental kinds of realities... the power of thought is great, but only because We give them energy. (By "energy" I really mean "psychic energy" or qi or backpropagation signals, but let me not be TOO precise here.)

There are those who say "Think of the devil and he appears." That's all I really wanted to start with here... but the feelings out there about "the devil" are so emotionally charged that I did need to put in a caveat. The "devil" isn't so real, but the saying does talk about a reality. It's a reality which applies not only to archetypes but to us -- to real people. We are all connected, and it is part of the nature of the noosphere that we continually, naturally and usually unconsciously make and break strong connections.


And so, many many years ago, I began to learn from experience about the phenomenon which Rosicrucians call "assumption." I introduced that before in this blog. "Assumption" is basically what happens when some kind of natural spiritual tendency towards empathy, "seeing through the eyes of other people," really goes very very far.
Human brains already have a natural system for empathy, called "mirror neurons," but here I am reerfring to a more powerful and higher level of intelligence, as in the noosphere. Even within human brains, there is something called "gating," where one field of the brain can see different aspects of the world at different times. The noosphere possesses a more powerful version of gating... and we can gate (to a variable degree)  to the deeper thoughts and feelings of other "souls" in the noosphere.

There was a time, in the 1980's, when my personal spiritual explorations involved a lot of work with assumption.
Sometimes I would be sitting in a chair, unavoidably a little tense no matter how hard I relaxed. Sometimes it would be more like deciding where I wanted to go, or what I was interested in... and was alert enough to wake into something like a lucid dream which wasn't a dream at all.

 For example... there was a time when I was amused that "Verbus" means "word" in Latin, and I felt it would be good to have a kind of code name to use in some spiritual interactions, just as people use usernames in some discussion lists. One night.. when my mind was wandering... I felt pulled into the mind of someone else...
who turned out to be a young woman (late teens?) who was really truly exasperated by the problem of trying to communicate with her parents. Deep inside herself she was radiating "WORDS! I want words! I need words!"
with intense emotion, and need, at a spiritual level. So I was pulled in... a bit... waking up..
and starting saying a few things... and got pulled in to a further degree... there was no mirror but she had a strong self-image and the way I came in.. I could get a basic idea of what she looked like
(in fact, I had a kind of natural civilized liking for her).. but then... when I came in to a greater degree, aware that I was in two places at once, and able to speak from my own viewpoint as well... that was a bit of a shocker to her, and that was the end of that.

But... that was just one small example from long ago... there was more veridical stuff...


In recent years, assumption happens differently, but still it is a major theme in my life.

This morning... for the second or third time... it was good to wake up from an assumption dream which was not a dream, conveying the thoughts of one of the world's leading aerospace engineers, who happened to be thinking of me. (That was so much more pleasant than some of the folks pleading for help whose minds I have been exposed to... there was a time years ago when even one of the Taliban had authentic spiritual inquiries...before hashish and rage and power politics and oil money overwhelmed them.)
And yes, he thought of me as an old guy -- which is utterly real -- but as someone building stuff.

It was actually more specific than that, but I need to pause to consider what is allowable to say,even when not naming names, in an obscure blog.

It is strange for him to be suddenly in a less structured existence... less dictated by
noise like organizational overspecific rules. There is a new freedom... to do things right... but without structure, will he just dissolve into jellyfish, like a person who magically loses his bones? (Lots of space activists do become that way  without even noticing it...). But he was counting on me to provide a kind of new structure... to hold together even without the bones... (And: my editorial: I did that already, in a previous iteration. But the process is easier when we are conscious...).

But... oops... must run...

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