Thursday, August 11, 2016

Doing justice to the past in the realm of spirit

5AM, Aug.11: Minutes ago, I woke up very suddenly straight from a standard astral dream to the “cosmic consciousness” stat. I am used to how five minutes active in that state can generate a simple idea or two, which turns out to require three hours of writing to get down in English. But this time, it was flood of important points, so that I do not expect to type them all now even if spend the whole day at it. And it requires some prioritization.

So let me start with something simple, most relevant to the other guy I talked to in that dream. This was in no way a Conversation with God, but I am seriously interested in the project he has in mind, and have ideas about it. Yet before I say more, I should review here what a simple standard astral dream is.

Most of the dreams I remember at the end of the night these days are not ordinary dreams, the kind we understand well from neuroscience. Instead, they are assumption dreams or astral dreams. Assumption dreams present the viewpoint of someone else; they may actually be ordinary dreams, or authentic inspired dreams, or a mix. (The neuroscience is based on mirror neurons and the later development of mirror neurons in human brains, as described in my 2012 paper in the journal Neural Networks.)

Astral dreams include what people have called “out of body experience.” In the standard version, it is very much like visiting an internet chat room to communicate with other people. You and they get to pick your avatar and your image of the surroundings, and the surroundings have a kind of flexible but lasting reality, changing in response to thought. What you actually see is a kind of filtered or reconstructed version of what actually happened in that chat room in the noosphere.

This one was a bit unusual in that the other person was actually very conscious about getting in touch with me this way. What he was discussing was quite interesting, but it is amusing how my brain incorrectly reconstructed who he was. In truth, it is embarrassing. My brain had reconstructed him as Richard, the husband of my ex-wife Lily, who is usually very quiet when I am around but who has a PhD and is active in his own intellectual field. (I do remember a time when I saw Bernie Sanders and his wife on CNN, and was struck by how much they felt like a good conversation between Richard and Lily. But no, Richard is not Jewish; the resemblence is not THAT close.) I was pulled out of the astral state very energetically ... really, by higher intelligence... the first time that ever happened in my life, and immediately saw better who it was on the other end. By then, however, I was not in the astral state any more, and I am not sure how much of my follow-on thoughts got through. Maybe just the quick initial part; the rest was too complex for astral channels. Then again, that guy might have been able to keep up with more. (By the way, if anyone actually reads the Bible, there are words by Paul talking about discussions in the spirit, even back then. Also, the “white horse” image is a very typical kind of brain reconstruction of something else.)

More, much more. But where to start?

Some basics: the mathematics of learning tells us in many, many ways how important it is to learn effectively from past experience, and not just “live in the present.” Freud discussed the value of reliving past experience, but his important insights were just the tip of a very large iceberg.

The highest forms of Tibetan Buddhism (or culture embedded within Tibetan Buddhism, which includes Tantra but more) talk a lot about “mindfulness.” I was really happy, a couple of years ago, to see a debate in the Buddhist magazine “Tricycle,” where the US leader of Zen Buddhism debated in a civilized way with the highest representative of Tibetan Buddhism in the US. The Tibetan summarized his viewpoint as “mindfulness,” the Zen as “no mind.” The Zen guy was so proud of himself, his ego... but the Tibetan echoed much more resonance with truth. “Mindfulness” is a relatively good word for where we naturally want to be going in development of our inner potential.

However... it makes me very sad to see how this good concept has been screwed up so badly (as have many good concepts at implementation stage) in the massive growth of business training and consulting based on it. They now DEFINE “mindfulness” as “be here now.” As living just in the present moment. Oops. A very big mistake, as big and almost as dangerous as the Zen ideal of self-elimination.

It is a wonderful exercise to live in the present moment... for a moment or a certain period of time. It is important to try to be aware of all dimensions of experience. My own last blog post followed a stream of consciousness like that. It is important to train the ability to focus on being open... BUT... it is equally essential to train one’s ability to SHIFT focus to where one consciously chooses to focus it, yea unto what some people call... a kind of out of body experience. “Be here now, be there later, and sometimes even be in two places at once.” Actually, there is a great zen exercise which helps train that shift of focus. Shift of focus is one of those basic patterns/principle which recurs at many levels of intelligence or consciousness.

Actually, about a week ago, I carefully read a brief piece by that same guy, where he talks about revisiting the past in the spirit of Freud... and about the limitations of that approach in confronting present problems. It was ever so clear that he has worked concretely to address a diversity of people with a diversity of issues, as have I. As I read his piece, I was reminded of something I said to Luda at Costco a week or so ago (trip before last): “Long ago, in French class, Proust (Remembrance of Things Past) did not resonate with me as much as it does now. The teacher talked about how older men get to a state where every little thing they see evokes a huge barrage of memories, analogous to what google glasses are intended to do, annotating the stream of experience. But now, my own associative memory is insanely active that way, in every little thing we see in this store.” I could see how every little caveat in his brief piece was equally rich in the experience behind it.

But sadly, Luda did not appreciate that piece as much as I did, in part because it was in such simple, plain English. So we had a long conversation that day, where mostly she put up with a monologue from me on how to appreciate that genre of writing, and how it started maybe in the 1920’s. But since she and I have both visited some historic sites in Europe, we ended up going back to Greece and to Egypt.. and at one point I noted that no one on earth could give as complete and precise a story as she really wanted, because not all documents from that period have been preserved. And I thought with great regret of things that MIGHT have still been around, on a samizdat kind  of basis, back for example in the 1920’s, which I will never have a chance to see in the normal course of events. (I did mention however the time when I briefly scoured Harvard’s Widener library and was amused by inaccuracy of some “authoritative” pieces on the shelf, next to older acquisitions showing how totally out of reality the later authorities were.)

But: an hour after I started... Luda tells me it is time to get eggs while they are still how I like them... and all the fascinating specifics must be for later...

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