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Tim Rimmer
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To wahiwooanonji: An indomitable frog named Manjit Said that ‘karma’s’ a big pile of shit. As a result of this view Understanding - it grew And belief systems took quite a hit.
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Hey Osho Always good to read your comments - there are no separate souls - I hearya. Taking a ‘Scouldier’s’ view I’d say the belief in separation is the Big Daddy of all myths.
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A very human post Brian. Considering ‘regret’ brings up the cool word ‘confabulation’ which concerns how the mind makes up stories and scenarios. As you say the emotion of regret is more subtle and as Dungeness writes often tied up with guilt. To me, such things are the outcome of a common type of reminiscing that then moves to ‘what if’ discursive thinking.The latter keeps us in loops of past/future that can reinforce our sense of self as doer/thinker/story believer/victim etc - something we are trying to free up when engaged in various forms of meditation/mindfulness practice. One of the closing scenes in the movie Inception comes to mind where the character says something like ‘An old man waiting to die alone, filled with regret’ - not a great place to be! Then there’s this ad I remember on TV where a middle-aged couple trade gifts whilst sitting at the dinner table.The wife passes on her present, then the man gets up and takes his shirt off. The wife (and the viewer) think oh yeah they’re gonna get it on, however he turns around to display this massive new tattoo of the ‘missus’ on his back, with the words ‘No Regerts’…..
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I hear you Jen. I think you’re right on the money re ‘being in the present moment’. A very simple and powerful approach to living with/in the world, and in my view an approach that’s implicit in quite a number of spiritual pathways walked by truth seekers. It seems to me to be the outcome of awakenings after both long and shorter struggles with our minds and associated thoughts about who we are and what things are about. Being as present as possible, fully showing up to life’s events with the compassion, courage, clear thinking and fearlessness that stems from awareness reflects an evolved human, where heart and head are integrated (and of course easier said than done!) I like what Jack Kornfield says in his book After the Ecstasy, the Laundry, (p.129): ‘Only the heart can contain both our perfection and our humanity’. A little further on he quotes Suzuki Roshi’s view of enlightenment: ‘Strictly speaking, there are no enlightened people, there is only enlightened activity.’…. ‘What we are speaking about is moment-to-moment enlightenment, one enlightenment after another.’ There’s much wisdom here IMO.
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Brian Just been reading over your last few posts with their Buddhist flavour and have a few comments: I wondered about how a person who hadn’t done lots of meditation/self inquiry/personal growth work (not that special :-)) would react to your claims that we’re ‘nothing special’ and that what we normally think of ourself to be is ‘illusory’. I consider that while some people these days may be more aware of what science says in regards to our ‘self’/psyche etc, I’d say many folk are just trying to get on with life, to thrive or even just survive, with scant interest in whether or not this internal CEO is real or not, nor question the specialness of such, i.e. this blog is relevant to a small % of people. I considered Wright’s comment about the bottom line being natural selection and the need for the next round of genes - not about how thoughts/feelings/perceptions etc are there to give us an accurate picture of reality. I would see the former as factual if we take ourselves to be purely physical creatures. Certainly many people seem to suffer from a kind of deep seated anxiety of varying intensity - something related to our genetic ancestry and the fight or flight response? In a recent movie we watched called Alpha, humans were living in the Ice Age and the threat of being taken by a sabre toothed cat was definitely real! However it’s my view that such anxiety is countered by an evolutionary process that helps us start to see it (anxiety/thought forms/perceptions etc) as not what we are. As Wright says we can develop the power to disengage, disown and exclude, (which is one approach) and following such application start to realise the so-called ‘executive self’, although needed, seems to be more of a fabrication. What interests me is WHATS LEFT? I believe Wright is alluding to this when he says ‘Be open to the radical possibility that your self, at the deepest level, is not at all what you’ve always thought of it as being’ - your interpretation [Brian] is to say ‘It’s possible to look upon our emotions, thoughts, perceptions, and such as not being in the realm of good and bad, nor as being lasting parts of who we are’ - Yes I agree, but isn’t there more to it? Are such observations after the event? Not having the book I’m wondering what Wright will eventually say - guess that will be up to you. The recent whirlpool analogy to describe our illusory self is a good one imo. I thought Rupert Spira portrays the story well in a recent YouTube clip. Maybe our ‘selves’ can be described in similar terms in a quantum sense - temporal energy vortices - outcomes of various interactions at varying scales. You talk of Rovelli’s philosophising about the deeply entangled interactions between the world and the brain and how consciousness can possibly be explained in terms of relations. I can get that everything is related, coming and going. It’s all co-dependently arising WITHIN something - consciousness imo. In your latest post you bring in Wright’s consideration of ‘essence’ and his contention that the origin of such lies in mental constructions. The JFK/murderer’s sweater stories work fine as examples to me, if perceived from the distorted viewpoint of a mind generating an essence from conditioning and discursive thinking. What about the factual accounts of people whose behaviour changes after they receive a new transplanted heart/liver etc? Remnant essence? Getting back to consciousness, the on going big question of course is whether all this is happening within our heads/brains. My view is that our brains are just part of it. Evolution is both responsible for shutting down/limiting access to expanded consciousness through things like the DMN (Default Mode Network) in the brain, but also for the urge to experience ourselves as non-separated, interconnected and expanded. I remain intrigued in that which gives shape to the whirlpool, the river - yes, the water - more so.
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@S - Truth is there is only one soul or divine consciousness…. We just have different minds. Nobody has a “special soul”. It’s all one consciousness. We only have separate minds. F’n A, S – I’m with you on that. It’s a body within consciousness rather than consciousness within a body. All the drama, including notions of separation and reincarnation are mental creations. That’s how I make sense of it.
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Brian Some thoughts re this post, which I enjoyed reading. You say your meditation has ‘evolved’ – some could interpret this to mean that the meditation you are discussing is somehow better/more advanced. Another way to look at it is that the whole deal in regard to meditation is an evolving process which I think is the case. Another, is to recognise that how we think about what meditation is, has evolved. These days I think I’m on a similar page to you when it comes to what meditation IS. Meditation is a state of non-doing i.e. there is no doer so to speak and the subject/object distinction is no longer there. Maybe there are issues with the word in that it’s generally interpreted to mean a technique/process with a result in mind. It seems to me that when we say ‘I’m’ doing ‘my’ meditation we are in a way missing the point. However, it may take us years to realise this. I’m also tending to think that meditation is like a fourth state of consciousness (to be recognised along with and equally important as the other three). I recall Ramana Maharshi talked of turiya as the fourth state (along with waking, dreaming, deep sleep). Ramana’s state refers to the ‘Self’ which I see as expanded ‘all inclusive consciousness’. Perhaps realising that, is part of an evolving process, or a process of evolution (it helps if we can get out of the way). Perhaps the simplest and potentially most powerful? of all ‘meditations’ is to just be in the present moment. Being free from discursive (discourse-ive) thoughts as an I wrapped up in the past and future is the meditation state imo. I listened/watched a good general discussion (with Sam Harris et al), the other day see: https://youtu.be/jCJdl6Vs7wg. Best wishes to all.
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Hey Other Jen I had a listen to the Sam Harris talk which of course is only part of the discussion he was having with the researcher. Based on what I heard the first 30 mins or so were only skimming over the topic, i.e. the bringing together of science and spirituality. However, what I thought was particularly good was the section between 13 and 17mins where Harris talks about meditation. Here, he’s basically saying that a lot of meditational practice operates in a dualistic way and that he’s more inclined toward non-dual approaches. He also states that after massive sustained concentration using dualistic methods the non-dual state can be revealed - often haphazardly, but all this ‘effort’ may not be necessary - we just need to recognise that what we are is this ‘open condition in which everything is appearing’ (16.12), and what we become mindful of is ‘that there is no subject in the middle of consciousness’ (16.58). This of course again makes me wonder where practices such as prescribed by the likes of RSSB fit. Basically, you’re told you are something separate that needs to get from A to B. And getting from A to B involves you the subject witnessing/seeing and hearing objects within consciousness. As I understand it, this keeps the practitioner in duality according to Harris. He says that ‘subject object perception is an illusion and it is the primary illusion that meditation is designed to cut through’(14.00). Makes good sense to me. BFN
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‘….however beautiful and enduring in the moment, the pristine beach he dreams of is washed away by the ocean when he awakes.’ Crikey Dungeness that’s a cool and powerful quote.... Henceforth do we need to address you as Swami? :-)
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The central issue continues to revolve around notions of soul/individuality in my view. Most mainstream religions other than Buddhism still adhere to the belief there is an ‘individual’ even at the ‘soulular’ level to be saved/allowed through the pearly gates etc. This is well and truly entrenched and not questioned. Returning to Buddhist notions of what we are, I remember reading something that considered the mind likened to/be made up of a series of events. In a similar vein I find this book on fungi I’m reading really interesting in that the author keeps raising the issue of the how and relevance of human individuality. He discusses the operations of mycelial networks as being brain like with their own ‘intelligence’, as well as reminding us that ‘all life forms are in fact processes, not things.’ All life forms include humans obviously, so how does an individual fit into that? Dungeness – where did you get the info that satsangis don’t believe in a separate soul? Isn’t the separate soul story foundational to the teachings? Maybe things have evolved. BFN
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‘….there isn't human intelligence and animal intelligence. There is just intelligence, which comes in lots of different forms depending on what a species needs to know in order to survive and prosper…’ I’ve just started reading a book that appears to get right into this, only it’s about fungi and is called “Entangled Life” by Merlin Sheldrake a biologist. I’m enjoying how he’s really questioning why we see things the way we do and have this tendency to anthropomorphise other life forms to somehow understand them. I believe he makes interesting parallels on pg 48: ‘Fungi may not have brains, but their many options entail decisions. Their fickle environments entail improvisation. Their trials entail errors. Whether in the homing response of hyphae within a mycelial network, the sexual attraction between two hyphae in separate mycelial networks, the vital fascination between a mycorrhizal hypha and a plant root, or the fatal attraction of a nematode to a fungal toxic droplet, fungi actively sense and interpret their worlds, even if we have no way of knowing what it is LIKE for a hypha to sense or interpret.’ (Hypha = growing fungal filamentous thread). BFN
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The way I see it is that we don’t HAVE a soul, we ARE soul. For ages that which is unbound/non-separated has been mixed up with a sense of self/identity generated largely through thinking and language. Certain types of thinking can result in behaviour commonly attributed to R-souls (as my wife with a grin, reminded me). :-)
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Hey S Ha Ha - I reckon some synaptic enhancement happened to me too! If you didn't make the connection with the the starting quote see this:https://youtu.be/l9SqQNgDrgg BFN
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First heard the name Wittgenstein from Bruce the Aussie: ‘…. Wittgenstein was a beery swine Who was just as sloshed as Schlegel….’ :-) I get the point that a type of clearer language is required. One that cuts out ‘erroneous’ use particularly in regard to metaphysical concepts. It’s interesting that for the Vienna Circle such concepts are described as fundamental. Do we mean fundamental to metaphysics or in a more general sense? I.e. they are considered basic to civilisation so to speak? And what are the rules of language? Who made them and for what language? This got me wondering about the intertwining of language and thought. How our life experience relates to language. Are not our minds and sense of self created out of the dialogue (language) going on inside our heads? Much of this is discursive – probably less connected to clear thinking than it is to such things as memory remnants of major events, childhood traumas, images, social conditioning etc. Another thing concerns how language achieves social conditioning. For example, business terminology – ‘targeting markets’, ‘trophy houses’, talking about people as ‘social capital’ or describing a business network as an ‘ecosystem’. Examples of language being taken out of its original context to further a particular world view/cultural norm. I guess what I’m saying is that we really need to get a grip on our thinking and how it is culturally and discursively constructed before we can get hold of what Wittgenstein is on about. As a final comment re culture and language, I return to Australia to a ‘story’ about the early contact Aboriginal people had with the first Europeans. Some say it’s a bit of a myth like the Hundredth Monkey Story… It’s about Aboriginal fishermen not noticing the arrival of European sailing ships. One interpretation is that they did not PERCEIVE them because nothing in their culture/language recognised/described them. My point: just because we don’t have the right word for something doesn’t mean it’s not there. Best wishes
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The old wabi sabi eh! A very user friendly concept/notion. As different from wa..sabi – the hot version. The term reminded me of a seemingly related saying I discovered the other day attributed to mystics in the Kashmir Shaivist tradition - ‘ditto nitto’. It means “No sooner seen than gone” and can be understood as seeing something as it truly is. Such seeing is a process where consciousness ‘recognises’ itself and dissolves/is digested to be no longer separated. If you throw in some Buddhist core teaching then life and the search for truth could be seen as experiencing a sort of condimentous kind of meal. We get served up a bowl of Dukkha which is fairly unpalatable. Add to it some wabi sabi and the contents can be viewed much more favourably with a greater willingness to partake. If we save space for dessert then we could enjoy some ditto nitto and relish the taste accruing from some serious digestion! Best to all
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Brian - interesting take on Adyashanti. I don’t know much about his teachings other than a quick look at the website and some of his Youtube clips – which I thought made good sense – perhaps more than just ‘a bit’ to me. Especially liked the clip on ‘allowing things to be as they are’, (a subject I believe you see as relevant). He woffles a bit at the start but then gets quite to the point towards the end, worth a look, imo. In regards to your comment on pgs 2,3,7 in his book, (that I have not read), I believe it depends on how folk view what this ‘you’ or mind is. I think anyone with clear insight into the nature of mind/thought/self could very likely have this ‘intimacy’ with everything (as Adyashanti states). Thoughts/images/ideas would ultimately also be seen as not the real ‘you’, as he considers this to be Awareness. My take on the multiple past incarnations would just be access to memories left by previous ‘thinkers’, though as I said I’ve hardly looked at his writings. From the little I have seen, I don’t think he sees himself as a Zen Buddhist and I’m not sure what he says on the nature of this thing that reincarnates. Re his ‘spiritual’ name, I agree its fluffy. However, some posters on this blog have at least partial reference to the same in their names – an interesting proponent of Oneness comes to mind! And also – who is this fella that some people address as Brian-Ji? The Ji certainly sticks a bit of Indian religiosity to the name, eh what?
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Hey Osho – re beliefs and filters particularly in regard to RSSB/SMat. Thanks for the reminders and input. It’s interesting that quite a number of posters here continue to inform their comment through notions of things such as karma, reincarnation, perfect masters and separate souls. It appears such things are held sacrosanct/considered obvious and left unchallenged. The ‘banished’ soul story continues to get up my nose and just doesn’t make sense. In traditional terms 777’s recent comment on Jeevas makes more sense – Jeevas being ‘soul’ + ego. My interpretation is that there is no separation in reality only belief in such. Another useful perspective is that of ‘bound’ soul. I.e. that which is unbound becomes bound by belief and is in a contracted state so to speak. Here consciousness is a more useful term in my view. The whole thing is less about saving and more about realising. Hi Sonia – I looked at that clip from Pink Martini the other day. Though not really my thing (prefer rock music) I thought it was ‘nice’ especially the end. And yes all this stuff about consciousness – there’s no end to it is there? …. :-)
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After perusing the last few posts and enjoying the recent exchange of views. I’ve taken stock of the general themes on this blog and how I now think about some of them. I’ve put a few up: Meditation – still practice it, though not as set down in teachings such as RSSB. Like Brian sometimes do Simran, but more often endeavour to use breathing to relax and quieten thinking. Thinking – seems to be one of the key things to sort out (and yes we need it!) Clearly, most of what we take ourselves to be is something created by our thought process. We spend a great deal of our time identified with this and generally believe it to be our ‘self ‘. Meditation and other methodologies can show us how this thinking and the ‘I’ associated with it creates a sense of separation from each other/nature and what we actually are. Which seems to me to be that which remains when thought and/or identification with thought has ceased. Soul – many of us continue to think this is what we truly are. Problem for me here is that both my intellect and to some degree my experience tells me this ‘soul’ thing is not a thing be The ‘Thing’. If it’s The ‘Thing’, then it’s tied up with the truth of things. My experience says the truth is that we are not actually ‘separated’ – we just think we are (most of the time). If this is the case then soul is not a separated thing – just don’t see it your way Jim. I also think the word is so loaded with religious association both from West and East that it should be ditched – let’s use ‘consciousness’ instead. Karma/Reincarnation – teachings such as in RSSB (as I remember) continue to say souls are reborn, souls undergo karma. As I consider soul ‘consciousness’ to be associated with truth then these teachings are either not correct or at least misinterpreting/selectively interpreting how things are. I believe it’s the mind and so-called subtle body that is reincarnated/undergoes karma. I also believe that as such things are not ultimately real being associated with a thought-created self, then why keep thinking along these lines? – RSSB – it does look like GSD is changing some things (as Osho often points out). Yet as often discussed on this blog, most of the time the RSSB default mode operates. Quite a few here including myself clearly consider RSSB to be a religion these days. Yet as I think Sonia pointed out RSSB has been integral in the process of getting and evolving? us to where we are now so gratitude is in order imo. Who knows how things will be in the future? This blog/comments – I came across Brian’s blog about 6 years ago and have really enjoyed reading and occasionally commenting on the wide ranging topics particularly those regarding the nature of self and what consciousness is. There’s a wealth of useful info from a diverse group of cool people. I always enjoy what Manjit has to say. And tucson’s comments often resonated – hope you are OK mate. The now – what prompted this reflection was Brian’s recent post on living in the present. I’ve been assessing what he’s actually on about when he mentions being in the present with our thoughts inside our head or present with our thoughts/perceptions of the outside. I think Brian is raising the issue of where consciousness lies. This is definitely one of the fundamental questions we come to this blog to get a handle on. As mentioned earlier re meditation – what happens/remains in the absence of thought and perceptions? Dungeness talked of the ‘eternal now’ I like the term being with ‘what is’. Letting everything ‘be as it is’ is another topic Brian’s raised. Seems to me this is an incredibly powerful teaching, simple but a real challenge to the I tied up in discursive thought and not with present experience. However, as Adyashanti says (in a recent Youtube clip) - when we can really just stop and release this grasping/pushing away ‘a tremendous intimacy with everything’ can occur. This is a great way of putting it imo. I also read this the other day in Wallis’ Recognition Sutras: ‘The real I is not personal but universal. That most intimate wordless sense of yourself is felt in exactly the same way by all sentient beings, because it IS the same. Awareness is one and undifferentiated’ (p.195). Both point to a ‘now’ where the inner and the outer are no longer distinct – that’s my take on it. Best wishes
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Hi guys - anyone into the Smashing Pumpkins? Have watched/listened to this new track on youtube several times. Great song imo. Bit retro/synth//early 80’s dance about. Some great illustrations of flexibility of the female form and interesting lyrics. I think it has this ‘freeing’ lighter quality to it: https://youtu.be/2AN_GRWlU7k Should get the body moving a bit - but also a bit of an ear worm :-)
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Brian you write: ‘Non-dualistic approaches typically see us humans as being part and parcel of the natural world, physical beings in a physical world. The goal of meditation is to accept this reality, not being attached to the world being any particular way, but coming to accept things as they are’. I interpret what you're saying as - keep it simple, humans are no big deal, not that special. We’re just one small part of the evolutionary process which is essentially just a physical thing. Meditation will help clear up any confusion that this isn’t the case. Well I guess it’s also about how non-duality is perceived and how big/expanded that part and parcel can actually get. To me, it can range from ‘what a nice feeling of connection and peace/harmony I just had whilst walking the dog along that forested lakeshore’, to ‘holy crap, I just basically disappeared, yet some part of me recognised that I’m essentially the same as everything else and that somehow thoughts that ‘I’ have are involved in the creation of the world this ‘I’ experiences. Recent discussion pertaining to Sam Harris’ psilocybin trip take this to yet another level when Harris says: “It’s not merely consciousness without the feeling of self, its the utter erasure of anything recognisably human about your mind” WTF - how do you get your head around that? - What is it that realises this? What is left? So in my view there’s much more to this non-duality stuff than you are letting on - you are underplaying it. These days I think it’s less about loss of ‘self’ and more about expansion as SELF. Meditation is one methodology by which such a transition can occur, obviously certain drugs are another as is deep wilderness ‘immersion’. The more this ‘I’ can let go ‘without clinging’ the easier it is to be ‘sky’. In regard to this letting things be and not grasping/pushing away, I very much enjoyed watching this the other day: https://youtu.be/PZxj6_CARqg And Jen - I hear you and acknowledge and appreciate the honesty and realism in what you said the other day. All the best. .
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@ Jen and Osho on the other post - very nicely put. Helpful words for all of us. I’m no‘New Ager’ (may have been a bit of one in the 80’s), but times surely are interesting and ‘difficult’. I’ve seen the fear in the eyes of a number of folk lately as they peer out from above their masks. The human race has a lot on. It also seems to me that in spite of the calls for kindness many folk are retreating into themselves with a lowering interest in others (planet included). Solution imo (without giving away your ‘personal power’ as Jen says) - keep replacing the fear and self-centredness with as Swami psilocybinanda (:-)) says: ‘compassion, love, forgiveness, tolerance, understanding, charity, kindness etc’, - in action as best we can. Best wishes to all
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Hi Brian Nicely put and also cool to see the door being left open .. I was shockingly brought back to ‘earth’ the other day while working. Inadvertently touched a live wire on the other side of a fence and ‘BOOM’ - didn’t get thrown backwards but man my whole body felt this massive belt (wondered what they were trying to keep in - an elephant?) Been somewhat more ‘electrostatic’ ever since. So the science of positive and negative and the flows between, certainly don’t go away if you stop believing (don't pay attention?) to such things at least in a physical sense. The great sages Ren and Stimpy pointed this out: ‘Don’t whizz on the electric fence!’
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Manjit - another set of cool posts mate. I enjoyed the Sam Harris talk. I’d say it’s one of the best descriptions of experiences that are very hard to describe and clearly pretty much on the same page as what the mystics go on about. This sort of stuff needs to find it’s way into teachings such as Sant Mat. I’ve reproduced a couple of quotes (after hearing twice): “What follows is a vision so blinding in its beauty and intensity that it shatters your mind, it just unmakes you” “We have a word for love for instance but what’s the word for all the love you can possibly feel and all the love you recognised have failed to feel every moment in your life up until this moment?” “It’s not merely consciousness without the feeling of self, its the utter erasure of anything recognisably human about your mind” Awesome, beautiful and totally challenging descriptions imo. Such states can ensue in the presence of awakened people, in deep nature and of course in deep meditation - but the shrooms clearly can facilitate such realisations. I get the impression Sam Harris’s view of consciousness has been altered, possibly more towards it’s existence as ‘fundamental’ and not just a product of the brain’s workings. That’s my take on it. “Where could One go? Where is consciousness not? It is a state of pure madness. Ecstatic, joyous, astonishing, overflowing with love - but awe-full madness, too. This is not a state of consciousness your mother is accustomed to” —- Ha Ha! For some strange reason the ‘Mother in law’ comes to mind :-) And of course you still can’t just go to the local shop and grab a bunch of said mushrooms - they’re an illegal substance! Perhaps it’s because there is a connection between the disintegration of atoms and large atmospheric mushroom clouds!
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It seems to me that a very small % just get 'it’. A large % are unconcerned/not interested in getting 'it’ and folks such as the like who post on this blog realise (at some stage?) that we require someone to point out to us that we don’t need someone to point ‘it’ out to us because we’re already ‘it’. Mystery.
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Yes - you can tell the DL has real concern for the planet. And he’s alerting us to the global water issue. People, while seemingly aware that glaciers etc are melting and adding to sea-level rise, don’t make the connection that base-flow for many major rivers is glacial melt-water. Base-flow gone when glacier gone. What to do? “Now we should utilize our brains with compassion, and a sense of concern”. We’ve got to use science as well as ‘active concern’ to look after our catchments from large to small scale. Most folk know that one very good way is to revegetate with trees - trees/shrubs planted particularly at catchment heads/stream and spring heads help to regulate flow, keep quality up and temperatures less variable. Trees take in our CO2 and return O2 to us. They also help with biodiversity “Community is the source of our happiness, so we must take care of the community.” Along with getting involved with a catchment group, if one is able/has time/is inclined - then another great way to help both community and planet is via a Community Garden. Growing stuff to help feed oneself and others is another thing that supports us all mentally and physically. Urgently needed at this time. Organic/permaculture design really useful to grow better and manage constraints imposed by the likes of lack of/variability with water supply. Best wishes
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