Archive for July, 2006

Breath and Journal Entries for Smarty Pants part IV

Wednesday, July 19th, 2006

Breath.

Some say it is our life force and in yoga the conscious use of it is called pranayama. 

Meditation styles vary but the one thing many have in common is the initial use of breath to obtain/maintain focus, concentration or awareness.

We can use the breath to learn about ourselves. It connects us with our body, our mind, our emotional states, and Spirit.  It can be both conscious and unconscious.

Breathing supplies essential oxygen to our bodies. Oxygen is crucial to our bodies in eliminating waste and nourishing our organs and purifying our blood.

Do you ever notice your breath? Do you ever think about it?

Right now.. stop and look at your breathing.  Is it deep, shallow, is the breath going through one nostril or both etc..

Take a deep breath, where do you feel it flow?

Now straighten up your posture and take another deep breath.  Feel the difference?.. I sure do.

I have a poor posture (although it has gotten much much better through the past couple of years) and sitting in front of a computer for at least 8 hours a day certainly makes it tough to change.

A friend and I were talking about this just a day ago.  When we zone into our work we find that the body slowly leans forward, the muscles tense up, the neck and chest contract, and we forget to breathe. We deplete our body of the oxgen that it needs and as a result we become irritable, fatigued and lose the concentration we have achieved up to that point. 

In fact I think this is a major contributor to the illness, irritability and lack of vitality I see in myself and my fellow office workers. 

Here’s an idea.. maybe I’ll follow up on it one day.. they should have a radomly timed reminder message pipe through the office speakers… “Breathe.  Take a deep breath. Straighten up. Smile.” Sure it might sound cheesy..but I think if its entirely random, making it difficult to block it out, it can make a difference.

But wait…I’ve gotten way ahead of myself..this blog was to be a continuation of my smarty pants journal entries.

Anyways, while going through some of the remaining entries I noticed there are little mentions of breath all over the place, and I would like to share them with you.

“Just like wind stokes a fire, so does breath stoke one’s own internal energy”

“The rhythym of breath, is the music of life”

“The first breath we take coincides with the first experiences of the senses. Our first encounter with materiality, desires, pain and the illusory world of maya. Birth into Samsara”

“Breath of the Universe..
black hole breathing in,
supernova breathing out”
 

And so I”ll end this blog entry with a saying that has really helped me in my yoga practice and dealing with difficult situations

“just breathe into it”

The Nine Insights

Friday, July 14th, 2006

I am a bookworm.  In fact I think my mom said that I was reading before I was walking..now whether or not that is true…you’ll have to ask my mom (no mom jokes please)

Of all the books I’ve read there are really just a dozen (ok two dozen) that totally blew my mind.  Insert James Redfield’s The Celestine Prophecy here. 

I think it was about 1994-95? All I remember for certain is that it spoke to me.. everything around me became a bit more mysterious, magical, and syncronistic after reading it.  Remember the coincidences? It all seemed to make sense (although, admittedly, even back then I thought the plot line had a few gaps in it).

Now after all these years….the movie is here 

http://www.thecelestineprophecymovie.com/celestine/

I’m not much of a movie goer, but this is one I really want to see.

With the release of the movie, comes all the promotion, trailers, etc..  So when I came across the summary of the nine insights, I was again taken aback at how profound they are and wanted to share them. 

THE NINE INSIGHTS

1 We are discovering again that we live in a deeply mysterious world, full of sudden coincidences and synchronistic encounters that seem destined. 

2 As more of us awaken to this mystery, we will create a completely new worldview - redefining the universe as energetic and sacred.

3 We will discover that everything around us, all matter, consists of and stems from a divine energy that we are beginning to see and understand.

4 From this perspective, we can see that humans have always felt insecure and disconnected from this sacred source, and have tried to take energy by dominating each other. This struggle is responsible for all human conflict.

5 The only solution is to cultivate a personal reconnection with the divine, a mystical transformation that fills us with unlimited energy and love, extends our perception of beauty, and lifts us into a Higher-Self Awareness.

6 In this awareness, we can release our own pattern of controlling, and discover a specific truth, a mission, we are here to share that helps evolve humanity toward this new level of reality.

7 In pursuit of this mission, we can discover an inner intuition that shows us where to go and what to do, and if we make only positive interpretations, brings a flow of coincidences that opens the doors for our mission to unfold.

8 When enough of us enter this evolutionary flow, always giving energy to the higher-self of everyone we meet, we will build a new culture where our bodies evolve to ever higher levels of energy and perception.

9 In this way, we participate in the long journey of evolution from the Big Bang to life’s ultimate goal: to energize our bodies, generation by generation, until we walk into a heaven we can finally see.

Klimt to Kowalik? Painting 2

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

Ok.. part two of my foray into the world of ART

Again to reiterate…the closest I’ve ever come to actually painting in the past 30 years is the finger painting in kindergarten and the few times I’ve painted my apartments through the years.

and to give you an idea of how the set looks together… here is painting 1 again.

 

These are priced to clear! This set can be yours for $800 Canadian Dollars!!! 

 

the Happy Child

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

I came across this excerpt from the Happy Child by Steven Harrison (a speaker on human development and alternative education) and it touches soo many levels of the human condition.

In theory, it truly sounds great! I might just plunge deeper into his work to see what other theories he puts forth and what suggestions he has to implement these ideas into being.  He is also the founder of www.alltogether.org  and www.livingschool.org 

Its a long excerpt so I’ve bolded my favourite parts for those who have been ”mediated” and as a result suffer from short attention spans like myself.. 

“Thought as Technology

What are we teaching our children? This is not just a question of what subjects to teach, but the need to understand the essence of the reality that we are conveying. In education, we have actively chosen the development of thinking, conceptualization, and abstraction as the most valued elements of learning. The seduction of information and intellect is so strong that we are only beginning to remember that there are qualities in life worth learning that have nothing to do with information at all. Thinking skills are not the only area worth teaching to our children, and yet this is the area that is immensely overdeveloped in our school systems. The capacity for linear thinking is easily measured, tested, and quantified as a direct result of our educational dollars.

But why are we so enamored with this one faculty of the human being that we have built our entire culture around it? Thought, after all, is only one way to understand the world, and only relatively recently has it come into vogue as the best way to do so. Yet the conceptual mind, more than any other human capacity, characterizes the structure of our society.

In the 17th century, Descartes wrestled for a long time with his difficulty in believing in thought as an accurate representation of the world. He felt that thought could be deluded, that it could be illusory; but, if so, then what was there to hang onto? This was pretty scary, so he capitulated. Thought, he decided, was probably the best thing we had to identify us and everything else. If not thought, then what? This was a great question, and since existentialism hadn’t been invented yet, it was a real showstopper. If not thought, then there really isn’t anything you can think about, and…..poof….there goes reality.

Descartes thought about this a great deal and decided he would rather exist than not. He said, “I think, therefore I am.”

And we believed him.

So, what we began to live was: “I believe, therefore I am.” We built a world based on our belief in thought and on the notion that “I am.” We built a marvelous society based on thinking and the separation of the individual thinker of those thoughts.

Now we cannot find our way out of the maze, but we cannot completely believe in the maze either. The maze of thought is interconnected, but it connects us in separation, like suburban tract home developments where we live in a community, but we don’t know our neighbors.

Evolutionary biologists suggest that thinking developed as a skill to identify food resources and strategies to acquire them. Memory developed as a means to remember where we left our food supplies and how to get back to them. Today, thought continues to design our life so that we survive. It is not so concerned that we are happy; this is not the job of thinking. Thought knows a lot about the theory of happiness, but not much about its actuality. If we are concerned that our children are happy, then they must develop their thinking capacity so they will survive, and develop a great deal more than their thinking so they can live a fulfilled life.

We live in proximity to each other in thought, but we cannot fully connect to each other in that area; too much ideology is in the way, and too much survival instinct. Something else besides our ideas connects us to each other: a quality of heart and feeling, the perception of commonality that has little to do with our education, but something to do with the qualities of relationship we have experienced with our teachers and fellow students, with our family and friends.

Thought is a great tool. It has allowed us to produce the world of technological wonder that we see around us. Thought allows us to model, predict, and manipulate the world. We can hold the world in our perceptual field or in the field of our imagination, representing it in conceptual form. We can use that model to extrapolate possibilities for the future. Using thought, we can attempt to change that future in order to minimize any danger to ourselves. We can represent all of this in language.

This mental capacity is extraordinary. We can think, model, predict and manipulate, and as a result, we will survive. Except it’s not “we” that will survive, it is “me” that will survive. This wonderful technology has a small programming bug, like an unstoppable, replicating computer virus. The glitch is “me”. The program runs really well, but what survives when all the modeling, predicting, and manipulating dust settles is not necessarily the common good.

This fragmented sense of self, growing out of unintegrated thought, uninformed by all the other dimensions of life, does not have the capacity to think holistically, but only individualistically. Our culture is built on these fragments and educates each generation from this perspective. The overemphasis on the education of thinking without regard for its integration into the whole of life is simply amplifying this tragic evolutionary wrong turn. The rugged individual will go the way of the really rugged dinosaurs if that sense of self is not mitigated by a sense of space, community, and relationship. The sense of individuality is important, vital and irreplaceable, and needs to be fostered. But that individual, as a fact of life, is in relationship to all that is in life; this realization brings wisdom, compassion, and sustainability to the separate self. The freedom of the individual need not be impeded by anything other than the deep sense of responsibility and connection that is the natural expression of the human being.

In our infatuation with the thinker - a single dimension of the spectrum of human experience - we have created a culture of selfishness that takes pride in its separation. We educate our children to compete, testing for their accomplishments and rewarding those who excel by surviving and surmounting. We reward individualism without suggesting its interrelatedness with the whole of life.

We have forgotten the limitations of the function of thought and created a psychological identification with it. Thought is a technological gizmo, and we are so much more. The individual who is only an individual is living at far less than the full capacity of the human being. Our human potential is to be uniquely, even eccentrically individual *and* in full relationship to the whole of life. But we never learned that at school. There are no tests designed to measure that. The integrated human being does not stand above all others; he stands *with* all others.

What if Descartes, facing the question of self, had realized the integral self rather than the separate self? What if he had declared, “I love, therefore I am”? What if we had believed this and built our society around the connection to each other, a society where giving, helping, and healing were valued, and the function of thought was to facilitate a compassionate life? In such a society, what would a school be like and what would it teach?

Dare we question our identification with our own knowledge? Can we find a perspective on thought that returns it to its function and recognizes its limitations? Can we find a perspective that encompasses the thinker of thought in the fact of our interconnectedness? Can we find a kind of intelligence that recognizes thought as a tool, but the whole of life as the context?

What does education become if it is broader than the concepts it teaches, broad enough to teach the whole child?”

- Steven Harrison, The Happy Child 

and to end with a quote on this topic…

“Learning teaches us what is known, play makes it possible for new things to be learned.”

-David Elkin, Professor of Child Development 

The Meatrix

Thursday, July 6th, 2006

I came across this site and wanted to share with anyone that visits this blog.

A lot of people I know, both meat and non-meat eaters alike, are aware of the issues with corporate farming. 

A lot of people I know, also love the Matrix.

http://www.themeatrix.com/

which pill will you take?