The Search for the Second Truth

practicing Constancy

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PRIMARY TEXT

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There are two kinds of truth.

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The first kind, is where we agree that something is true. An example of this is when people thought the world was flat, until it was proved to be round. The world was always round but at one time most people did not know this. People “agreed” the world was flat, until it was proved to be round, then most people (eventually) agreed it was round.

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The second kind of truth is where we feel that something is true in our hearts. This second kind of truth is enhanced but not dependent on agreement from others. The second kind of truth may involve others – or it may not. It might lead to agreement but it begins inside us, inside each of us, inside our hearts. I use the word ‘heart’ here to describe the feeling of truth, recognising that the heart is where most people locate their most tender feelings

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How can we know what is really true at any one time, (which we could also say, is any one place too)? In the first truth, where we agree on what is true, we do this by describing things to each other. With the second kind of truth, we find if it is true or not, by looking in our own hearts. Feelings are whole body events, centred in the heart. It sounds too easy to say we find the second kind of truth by just looking in our hearts but it is one of the most difficult things a human being can do.

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Feelings have layers.

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If you spend time looking at your feelings, you can see that there are feelings ‘underneath’ the ones you are looking at. At first, you recognise the ‘top’ layer feelings but may not recognise the deeper ‘lower level’ feelings. Because these deeper feelings are hard to see, many people just ignore them. Our own minds make it easy to do this.

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Our minds are driven by survival instincts and and habits that form a complex “auto-pilot” style functioning. This provides a kind of optimum package which delivers our best chances of survival. This is good, we want this functioning to carry on but to know the second truth, we need to see that this functioning also obscures the deeper feelings.

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Where feelings and choices contradict each other, the mind’s auto-pilot will push one to the forefront, to facilitate survival. We need this functioning to continue but at the same time, if we want to explore the second kind of truth, we need to learn to be as open as possible to the deeper feelings.

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Feelings have ‘surface’ and ‘deep’ layers. The deeper layers are hard to see but we can learn to be open to them. If the deeper feelings are mostly not visible, because they do not assist our auto-pilot with its busy survival tactics, why would we need to seek them out at all? Because it is at the deeper feeling levels that the second truths are found.

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The deeper feelings may spontaneously rise up but exploring the second kind of truth is usually dependent on actively looking at deeper feelings. There are practical steps we can take but before we do, I would like you to consider the term “unconscious mind”. For me, the term unconscious mind is too restrictive, like a box inside a box. The inside box is seen as locked and not directly accessible. I prefer a model of consciousness that is fluid and dynamic: the seamlessly connected fluid levels contain depths we cannot see – at least at first.

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Being open to the deeper layers usually comes from applying a method.

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Just because we are dealing with feelings/emotions it does not mean we have to be any less rigorous or precise in pursuing this, than we would with any other important endeavour. We require a consistent method and it would be most helpful if the method was one that all people could use, so comparisons can be more easily made. Such a method exists and although its origins are ancient, it is as relevant today as it ever was.

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The best method I have found for seeing the deeper layers of feelings is called Mindfulness, though I prefer the more accurate term, Constancy. Whenever I use the term Constancy it is equivalent to the term Mindfulness.

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Mindfulness/Constancy is a technique developed in India’s ancient past and was taken up by Buddhism, via which, it made its way to China, then Japan and eventually, the rest of the world. Although its origins were based in Eastern religions, it is not itself a religious practice, it is just a technique that can be used by anyone, whether they have ‘beliefs’ or not.

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The practice of Constancy is easy to describe and difficult to do. Put simply, it is constant attention. You have to be as aware as you can, of everything you think, feel and do, all of the time. Anything that goes on ‘inside’ you and anything you do ‘outside’ in the world, you must watch with as much constant attention as you can muster.

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Your awareness, that you are perhaps going to be more attentive to, can vary. This is my list of awareness types, (they may not be consecutive) :

(1) Unconscious, you have some memory afterwards, of a time where you were not aware,

(2) Asleep : we join a dream that is already happening.

(3) Drowsy, sleepy, just woke up or Sleepy falling asleep

(4) Day dreaming

(5) Normal. Relaxed but awake, wide awareness of what is going on around you, or, you have your head down, concentrating , with only a narrow awareness of your surroundings

(6) Hyper = speedy

(7) Manic. Out of control speediness

(8) Physical exertion, leading to greater awareness, adrenalin rush

(9) Drug induced, altered states

(10) Insanity. Impaired functioning and/or no control

(11) Shock. Sudden induction by fear or tragedy

(12) Awe. Powerful feeling of appreciation, suspends ordinary awareness

(13) Mystical. Can be aimed for or accidental,

(14) Transcendent. Ordinary human awareness is let go of, temporarily or permanently

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The above could be shortened to just three : no awareness, some awareness and more awareness – the principle at work here, is that awareness varies. Because it can vary, it can therefore be increased. This may seem so obvious but it is an important factor; how much can it be increased? Both ancient and modern practitioners of Mindfulness/Constancy report many benefits but there is one I want to refer to on this site – Constancy helps you watch your deeper feelings.

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Constancy is, as the name implies, something you have to do all the time. You take your ordinary everyday kind of awareness but you use it to watch yourself. By “watching yourself”, I mean using your awareness to be aware (to “watch”) everything that is happening in your mind. Inside your head, inside your brain, “inside” your mind, there are many things going on, often at very great speed but broadly speaking there are three types of occurrence and they are, memories, thoughts and feelings (feelings = emotions). With Constancy, we watch all three, all the time. And by all the time, we really do mean ALL the time. Every second. Every minute. Every hour. Every day. For ever.

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We start the constant looking at the feelings we can see, the surface ones. We learn that all feelings are connected to each other. The feelings we watch are connected to the deeper ones we cannot at first see – from the known feelings we become connected to the deeper unknown ones.

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This is how Constancy can help you see the second truth. By watching your feelings (all the time, constantly), the deeper ones (underneath the surface feelings) will emerge and over time, you can explore them.

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The process of Constancy, of watching all the time, lets the deeper feelings surface, allowing exploration of them but there is another reason that watching all the time is important. There is no one feeling, no one event that reveals the second truth it is rather, a process over time, as much time as it takes.

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That is it. There are no secrets, no hidden teachings, it is just a case of doing it and doing it all the time. The second truth is explored by watching the deeper feelings over time, the deeper feelings will show you what to do. If you do not know what to do, carry on with the Constancy, until you do. There are many teachers and maybe all can help you but it is doing the practice that counts the most.

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The rest of the site contains helpful pointers from many sources. The advice may be helpful but it all points to the same thing, the need to choose a practice and do it whole-heartedly.

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Imagine, you are at the end of your life and you have a few moments to consider. There are three questions (that have many variants but mostly they are of the same kind) :

~ Have I loved enough?

~ What was that life all about?

~ What happens next?

You do not need to wait for your last breaths to address these questions, but, to address them at the most profound level, you will need to rely on luck, or, sustained insight from a powerful technique. One such, that I recommend to you, is Constancy.

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There is a site description and index here :
https://thesearchforthesecondtruth.com/about/

I wish you health and happiness but most of all, I wish you clear insight.

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Supporting information (1) a little theory . . . .

a little theory about inside and outside

We think inside our heads. We look out from behind our eyes.

We can identify a sound as outside but when all is quiet we can hear our heart beat inside our chest and ears.

We touch something we see as outside but feel hunger inside our bodies.

In so many ways, we can identify an inside and an outside and between them is a boundary – our skin. We look out from our skin vehicles, riding on top of them, our heads like cabins that our pilot-minds and it’s helpful auto-pilot, sit inside.

Memories, thoughts and feelings – all these are inside the boundary of our skin . . . . . . . or are they? Are all of them on the inside of our skin? I would like to explore this a little.

Feelings, emotions, can be seen as being two aspects of the same process, the sensations that are bodily based and the emotions we are aware of mentally. These are the same process, the same event; we say ‘I am angry’, we do not say, ‘my heart is beating faster, my eyes are narrowed, my face is getting red and neck is getting stiff . . . . . I feel angry’. We do not even say, there ‘is anger in my body’. We say, ‘I am angry’. This convention is perhaps hard-wired into our makeup and is obviously more convenient than adding a fuller bodily description every time.

However, we loose something by minimising the role of the body in our emotional life. The body and mind are not separate things co-existing but each are intimately bound together. We have an external boundary which is our skin but we also have an internally held sense of that boundary as a perceptual marker. The body-brain-mind system with its boundary seems entirely living behind the skin and that commonsense view is the most prevalent – yet it may not be the whole story.

Crossing the boundary : from out to in

We experience ourselves as inside our bodies, as being on one side of the boundary of our skin yet that boundary is crossed repeatedly every second of our lives. Light enters through our eyes, sound enters through our ears, sensations from stimuli to our skin tell us much about the changing state of the environment we are in.

We also know that our skin boundaries have things that cross them we cannot directly experience. A virus is too small to see but it can kill us. Some sound waves are too low to hear but we can sense them. Neutrinos are subatomic particles that pass through our bodies apparently undetected.

Our commonsense view sees consciousness as being inside the boundary of our skin and this is a very powerful perception. This allows us to manipulate our environment to our advantage, we can judge where we are and where other things are.

Yet this very successful feature overshadows something not so important from the point of view of survival but nonetheless of great interest to many humans. Some of us have noticed that some deeper feelings appear to originate from outside the skin boundary.

Before going on to explore this we need to frame these experiences and check them by looking at them from different angles. It is a significant step to say that some of the deeper feelings come from outside the body – perhaps the person experiencing this has just made a mistake? The person might be deluded, insane or being driven by needs that are too easily met by an implausible theory. Perhaps there is a brain malfunction? We need to explore some more.

If you sit in a room at home and close your eyes and just listen to any sound that arrives, what is actually happening? You might hear some distant traffic noise. You have identified that sound as coming from some distance away. You judge the distance or may not know it exactly. The sound on which that judgement is made has travelled from the sound source, (the traffic outside) to your ear and then is transmitted to various places in your brain where perception and recognition takes place. The source of the sound may be outside your skin boundary but the perception takes place inside it.

The emergent discipline of neurobiology is producing ever more complex maps and descriptions of the brain. Much of this fascinating effort is framed by studying those who have sustained brain damage of one kind of another. The impairments can be complex and yet subtle, they can leave a person fully functional in some ways and yet suffering bizarre gaps in their abilities, for example, not being able to recognise their own arm. Some sufferers have become very upset that the thing attached to them, their own arm, suddenly as a result of a stroke, is now perceived as on the “outside” of their boundary.

Clearly, the boundary that separates the world “out there” from the self “in here”, is one maintained by the brain and can be subtly changed or profoundly damaged. With these sufferers the skin boundary may be intact but its mental equivalent is not.

We also know that the mind can generate a perception that is not derived from an outside source. People who are mentally ill may report hearing things that are not audible to anyone else or any recording equipment – an experience very real to the perceiver but incomprehensible to anyone else.

The brain/mind can deliver overwhelming certainty and maintain it even when no one else agrees. I accept that I might be mad though I do not believe I am. I have been as rigorous as I can in checking my perceptions and their products; that is part of the discipline of using Constancy.

I am aware that I am not the only person to have experienced similar things, where feelings have crossed the boundary. Although my perceptions cannot yet be “falsified” in accordance with the classic scientific method, nonetheless, my experiences are testable in one way, in that any can use the technique and have similar experiences themselves, (and indeed, they have done, as far as we can tell at this time).

Eventually, I seen no reason why a brain/mind cannot be mapped as comprehensively as anything else and perhaps we will then be able replicate experiences in real time from one brain/mind to another. Perhaps at that stage others may experience the feelings coming from ‘outside’ their skin boundary without the need for years of rigorous practice or some chance event.

The Deeper Feelings

There is a reason why I call them feelings or emotions and not just signals or stimuli, because that is what they feel like, they present like an emotion. With the Deeper feelings there may be a trigger but I am having a feeling that I experience as arriving from “outside”. I use a capital “D” here to indicate a special group. I detected them first as a result of the Constancy discipline, where the practice shows that emotions are layered.

I noticed that with complex feelings, the layers were initially related in an obvious way but the “deeper” you looked, the stranger and less obvious the relations became. I used to laugh at my description that some feelings were “underneath” other feelings but that is exactly what it felt like.

I realised that my memories, thoughts and feelings happen in a place – my body – but this place is also a mental creation. There is sensory data going to my brain/mind that maintains this body place and it has depth to it. Depth and distance perception must frame my experience of the Deeper feelings in a similar way to how my toes feel further away than my nose.

In a very similar way to sound being identified as outside my skin boundary and sight involving identifying an object clearly outside my skin boundary, so the Deeper feelings were ‘perceived’ to come from outside my skin boundary. This body/brain/mind therefore creates a mental sense of the body that is informed by that body but not necessarily coterminous with it. This is called the Sensorium.

Things cross this boundary and I was surprised to sense that Deep feelings do. A feeling requires an ‘experiencer’, in this case, “me”. How is it possible for “me” to experience a feeling coming from outside of the sensorium boundary, with qualities of “distance”, just like hearing a sound form far away?

I might hear my heart beat and identify that as “inside”. I might hear distant thunder and identify that as “outside” and far away. I might hear the clock ticking in my room and identify that as “outside” but near. So I eventually came to recognise that some Deeper Feelings were arriving from “outside” my sensorium. Processing the experience still happens inside, in a similar way that a sound comes from outside but is processed “inside”.

The Deeper feelings presented as emotions but not in any I could name easily. I thought that this was because they were more primal, up-welling unconscious forces like a substrate of emotions that will underpin other emotions and some of the Deeper feelings seemed to fit this description. But others did not.

My experiences would indicate that, after sufficient practice, it is possible to identify something that enters the Sensorium from outside of its boundary. I have defined that “something” as a Deeper feeling. Proof of this in the scientific sense is probably a long way away, when we can literally map and “read minds”. Till then, there is always the chance that this is not Deeper feelings crossing the Sensorium boundary but illness or malfunction. I do not experience this to be the case and my “findings” can be replicated by any who want to try. We are our own laboratories.

Meaningful comparisons can be made with other disciplines and this would be a fruitful line of enquiry though limited by cross cultural and linguistic difficulties. My own readings of mystical states and altered states of consciousness in many western and eastern traditions, indicates that my experiences are far from unique. Proofs notwithstanding and giving me the benefit of the doubt for now, what does it mean that “something” – Deeper feelings – cross the Sensorium boundary?

Beyond the Sensorium : where is the “me” boundary ?

What does it mean, that some of the Deeper feelings are not localised inside the body? This is the crucial distinction because if my experiences were just a signal, from outside, crossing the boundary to inside, then what is inside (“me”) might remain all there is.

A signal, like a sound or a beam of light, comes from outside, crosses the skin boundary, is perceived and accessed by the brain/mind – but my experiences show (as long as I am not mad or malfunctioning) that the experiencer is not just inside the skin boundary, that aspects of me are “outside”.

I experienced Deeper feelings crossing the sensorium boundary, and they are not signals, because I am feeling them. The feeling itself was mobile and crossed the boundary. A feeling requires a person to experience the feeling. It was not just that the feeling was mobile and crossed over “into me”, the boundary of “me” was not as I previously believed it to be.

Patterns and Nodes – experience into words

If we start from the place that the Deeper feelings do come from outside, cross the Sensorium boundary and then are perceived by the brain/mind in some way, it means that consciousness is not solely restricted to the body/brain/mind, or at least some aspects are not entirely localised “inside”.

Another assumption is, that the act of reasoning itself, thought, is localised inside. I have not experienced thinking as arriving from outside, only particular types of emotions. Thoughts certainly happen spontaneously, some not generated consciously by me but they are still “inside”. So rational thought and its components are a product of the brain/mind, ordinary feelings are a product of the body/brain/mind system but some Deeper feelings arrive from outside.

The Deeper feelings are only experienced by accident or by by-passing the normal perceptual routes; (accident here would include medical malfunction). Prolonged spiritual practice and things like meditation, side-line the usual perceptions. Sometimes (but not always) this side-lining allows the Deeper feelings to surface, or rather, we “see” them in-situ in ways not possible when the normal perceptual processes are dominant, filtering and controlling all experience.

The Deeper feelings could be called a mystical substrate . I would speculate that this mystical substrate is the basis of all religious experience and that it is like a field.

Science is showing us that electricity, magnetism, light and gravity are expressions of the same thing. This understanding has been slowly established over the last 200 years or so and the barriers of that understanding are being stretched all the time. There is a lurking principle in all this which has a strong resonance for me, that being, the consciousness in our heads is a localised intensification of but not separate from, a widely dispersed field.

This field behaves differently in differing circumstances. One part of the field is intensified and corresponds to what I feel my identity is, this is located and thus ‘ framed’ by the body/brain/mind system. The other part of the field is a “weaker” dispersed system that nonetheless feels things.

In the right circumstances the field feelings surface in the body/brain/mind frame, the intense node of being that temporarily buzzes inside the sensorium. Deep feelings appear to propagate across the field in a similar way that feelings can flood across the body; they move through the body and are detected, in some circumstances, by the frame.

We cannot see what happens outside our mind and beyond death because of the intensity of the local skin-bound consciousness. Through the application of techniques, like Constancy, it is possible to experience non-localised consciousness, that is, to become aware of something always there but lost in the glare of our own heads.

There is an associated danger. The field of dispersed consciousness that exists outside our skin-bound selves is hard to see for a reason. Evolution produced the kind of attention we have to increase our chances of survival. In tampering with it, we potentially undo some of that protection. Yet this dynamic hints at another perspective we might speculate about. Perhaps we are evolving into different kinds of human beings that require more knowledge of the mystical substrate.

The emerging model informed by my experiences is of a dispersed field of consciousness, that is localised and intensified “inside” our skin-bound selves and shaped by the biological and cultural circumstances of this frame. The demands on how the frame is structured put limits on interaction. We get only glimpses of the field and often do not recognise what we see. In a similar way that a wave passes through water, the Deeper feelings exhibit movement, they are wave-like.

If we say that consciousness is a field with waves passing through it , through the medium of the body/brain/mind, the waves are then disturbances of component parts. Whilst that holds true easily for the body-frame with its biochemical transmission along nerves and synapses what happens to this model if we extend it to Deeper-field feelings?

This model makes sense if the proposed dispersed field of consciousness is one of the fundamental structures of the universe, like light, magnetism and gravity – these being all different aspects of the same ‘unified thing’. This difference between the aspects is therefore in perception; how we perceive large underlying structures.

so far summing up

The significance of the sensorium boundary is, that common sense would indicate our consciousness is found on only one side (the “inside”) and apparently not on the other, (the “outside”).

There are experiences that point to consciousness or a form of it, being outside the body and although some of these are clearly the result of malfunction, (that being mental illness and/or brain damage) we should hesitate before assuming that all such experiences are of this kind. Eventually, science should progress in mapping brains and minds far enough to be able to “read” an experience from one person, then “load” it into another so they have the same or near enough experience.

The experience should go on to be replicable in real scientific terms; until then we must share as best we can and build helpful theories and models to aid research design. We must also offer help and advice to those who choose to explore their own consciousness.

Rational logic, based on our bodily bound experience must hold the position that we cannot be both a discrete individual (frame) and a dispersed collection (field) – we cannot be both the pilot flying through the air and the air itself at the same time. Whilst conceptually we can see ourselves as an individual that is simultaneously part of a crowd our identity remains individual – we see the crowd, we do not become the crowd. Yet the Deeper feelings inform us that we are simultaneously both crowd and individual.

How can we be both things at the same time? The dead do not talk to us because individual identities do not survive bodily death. When the individual (frame) winds down (dies) the structure that temporarily held it together dissipates – the frame goes. We believe ourselves to be the frame but perhaps we are the feelings that the frame contained, both local and Deeper. Those feelings continue as waves in the field. The dead do not talk to us because the field does not need to communicate. Communication is a skin-bound frame activity based upon the frame’s needs. The field may have no needs . . . . .

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some notes:

(i) Neutrinos

(ii) Praxis techniques

(iii) Sensorium

(iv) perception of layers

(v) more on Fields

(vi) more on Waves

(i) Definition of Neutrino: “An electrically neutral particle that is often emitted in the process of radioactive decay of nuclei. Neutrinos are difficult to detect, and their existence was postulated twenty years before the first one was actually discovered in the laboratory. Millions of neutrinos produced by nuclear reactions in the sun pass through your body every second without disturbing any atoms.” From Answers.com .

(ii) The technique used by me that informs this work:

Praxis is a truth finding tool.

There are many methods. To explore these matters experientially, you will need a technique of one kind or another, sooner or later.

(iii) “The term sensorium (plural: sensoria) refers to the sum of an organism’s perception, the “seat of sensation” where it experiences and interprets the environments within which it lives. The term originally enters English from the Late Latin in the mid-17th century, from the stem sens- (see: sense). In earlier use it referred, in a broader sense, to the brain as the mind’s organ (Oxford English Dictionary 1989). In medical, psychological, and physiological discourse it has come to refer to the total character of the unique and changing sensory environments perceived by individuals. These include the sensation, perception, and interpretation of information about the world by senses, perceptual systems and minds (MedTerms 2001).” From Answers.com

“Synesthesia (also spelled synæsthesia or synaesthesia, plural synesthesiae or synaesthesiae)—from the Ancient Greek σύν (syn), meaning “with,” and αἴσθησις (aisthēsis), meaning “sensation“‘—is a neurologically based phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. In one common form of synesthesia, known as grapheme → color synesthesia, letters or numbers are perceived as inherently colored, while in ordinal linguistic personification, numbers, days of the week and months of the year evoke personalities. In spatial-sequence, or number form synesthesia, numbers, months of the year, and/or days of the week elicit precise locations in space (for example, 1980 may be “farther away” than 1990), or may have a three-dimensional view of a year as a map (clockwise or counterclockwise).

While cross-sensory metaphors (e.g., “loud shirt”, “bitter wind” or “prickly laugh”) are sometimes described as “synesthetic”, true neurological synesthesia is involuntary. It is estimated that synesthesia may be as prevalent as 1 in 23 persons across its range of variants (Simner et al. 2006). Synesthesia runs strongly in families, but the precise mode of inheritance has yet to be ascertained. Synesthesia is also sometimes reported by individuals under the influence of psychedelic drugs, after a stroke, or as a consequence of blindness or deafness. Synesthesia that arises from such non-genetic events is referred to as adventitious synesthesia to distinguish it from the more common congenital forms of synesthesia. Adventitious synesthesia involving drugs or stroke (but not blindness or deafness) apparently only involves sensory linkings such as sound → vision or touch → hearing; there are few if any reported cases involving culture-based, learned sets such as graphemes, lexemes, days of the week, or months of the year.” (from Wikipedia.com )

(iv) When I first noticed that feelings were layered, I wondered, was I really seeing layers (depth) or was I seeing a feeling mass that was just changing, creating memories? Perhaps I was not seeing layers, I was seeing a feeling that then created a memory, which grew into series of successive memories, not layers (depth) but “horizontal” sections (width). After many years my original observation was confirmed; each time a memory was created, it had layers itself. Closer examination did reveal “depth”. Although I could see a series of feeling events, (a horizontal progression), each event had vertical layers too, hence depth. This depth is as real to me as any 3D visual though I do not “see” it like I can “see” an imaginary apple. There are differential aspects to it that are spatial, there is a “near” and a “far”, very similar to the sense of hearing something from a near source next to me or a far source like thunder in the clouds.

(v) Fields : “Physics. A region of space characterized by a physical property, such as gravitational or electromagnetic force or fluid pressure, having a determinable value at every point in the region.” ( from Answers.com )

“The region around a charged body within which it can exert its electrostatic influence may be called an electric field. In principle, it extends to infinity, but in practice it falls off more or less rapidly with distance. We can define the intensity or strength E of an electric field as follows. Suppose that we place a small test charge q in an electric field. This charge will then experience a force. The ratio of the force to the charge is called the intensity of the electric field, or, more usually, simply the electric field. Thus I have used the words “electric field” to mean either the region of space around a charged body, or, quantitatively, to mean its intensity.” (JB Tatum)

“Unified field theory is sometimes called the Theory of Everything (TOE, for short): the long-sought means of tying together all known phenomena to explain the nature and behaviour of all matter and energy in existence. In physics, a field refers to an area under the influence of some force, such as gravity or electricity, for example. A unified field theory would reconcile seemingly incompatible aspects of various field theories to create a single comprehensive set of equations. Such a theory could potentially unlock all the secrets of nature and make a myriad of wonders possible, including such benefits as time travel and an inexhaustible source of clean energy, among many others. According to Michio Katu, a theoretical physicist at City College, City University of New York, those in pursuit of a unified field theory seek “an equation an inch long that would allow us to read the mind of God.” James Clerk Maxwell proposed the first field theory, for electromagnetism, in the middle of the 1800s. Early in the 20th century, Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity – dealing with gravitation – became the second field theory. The term unified field theory was coined by Einstein, who was attempting to prove that electromagnetism and gravity were different manifestations of a single fundamental field”. (Whatis.com)

“The weak-field approximation in general relativity is used to describe the gravitational field very far from the source of gravity”. (Answers.com)

“Because of this interdependence of the electric and magnetic fields, it makes sense to consider them as a single, theoretically coherent entity — the electromagnetic field. This unification, which was completed by James Clerk Maxwell, is one of the triumphs of 19th century physics. It had far-reaching consequences, one of which was the elucidation of the nature of light: as it turns out, what is thought of as “light” is actually a propagating oscillatory disturbance in the electromagnetic field, i.e., an electromagnetic wave. Different frequencies of oscillation give rise to the different forms of electromagnetic radiation, from radio waves at the lowest frequencies, to visible light at intermediate frequencies, to gamma rays at the highest frequencies.” ( Answers.com )

(vi) Waves : “ . . . . Wave motion is : the process by which a disturbance at one point in space is propagated to another point more remote from the source with no net transport of the material of the medium itself. For example, sound is a form of wave motion; wind is not. Wave motion can occur only in a medium in which energy can be stored in both kinetic and potential form. In a mechanical medium, kinetic energy results from inertia and is stored in the velocity of the molecules, while potential energy results from elasticity and is stored in the displacement of the molecules.

In a free travelling wave (as distinguished from a stationary or standing wave) one part of the medium disturbs an adjacent part, thereby imparting energy to it. This portion of the medium, in turn, disturbs another part, thereby causing a flow of energy in a given direction away from the source. More technically, wave propagation is the result of kinetic energy at one point being transferred into potential energy at an adjacent point, and vice versa. The rate of travel of the disturbance, or velocity of propagation, is determined by the constants of the medium. A stationary wave is the combination of two waves of the same frequency and strength travelling in opposite directions so that no net transfer of energy away from the source takes place. A standing wave is the same but with the returning wave (toward the source) being of lesser intensity than the outwardly travelling wave so that a net transfer of energy away from the source does take place.

Wave motion can occur in a vacuum (electromagnetic waves), in gases (sound waves), in liquids (hydrodynamic waves), and in solids (vibration waves). Electromagnetic waves can also travel in gases, liquids, and solids provided that the electrical conductivity of the medium is not perfect or that the imaginary part of the dielectric constant is not infinitely great. By current usage, elastic waves propagated in gases, liquids, and solids, regardless of whether one can hear them or not, are called acoustic waves. ( From Answers.com )

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Supporting Information (2) Stillness / Meditation

How to practice Stillness
(which is another name for Meditation)

Practice once a day

In the morning

For ten minutes each time

Six days a week.

After 2 months or so, go to:

Twice a day, (morning and evening)

Twenty minutes

Seven days a week

In the first six months you do not need to do Meditation more than this, this practice is not about duration or endurance; it is a quality, not a quantity thing. Later, when you have consolidated your practice, you can plan longer more intensive sessions if you feel the need. Walk first, run later. When you are ready to do more (or less) then your practice itself will show you what to do. Meditation may not be about endurance but it is about persistence – you are wasting your time if you do not practice regularly.

Sitting

Unless you are a yoga adept, a dancer or naturally bendy, do not sit cross-legged. Posture is very important but you do not need to force your body into an uncomfortable position.

Find an ordinary dining room chair, sit and then see if you knees are slightly lower than your hips – that is, your thighs will point downwards just a bit. Use cushions to adjust your sitting height.

Do not lean back; your back must be unsupported.

Put your hands on your knees, then draw them back until your arms and shoulders feel comfortable. (If your hands are too close to your body then your lower back will get tense; too far forward and you will eventually slump).

Do not try to block out or ignore any background sounds. If the phone rings, just ignore it, don’t disconnect it. If an intrusion is so great that you practice, then try again later. If the intrusion is not so great, then work on ignoring it. You ignore it by focussing on the technique.

Close your eyes. Keep them lightly closed throughout. Open them as soon as the session ends. Do not give into temptation and linger in the Meditation. It is very important to end cleanly and completely. Use a timer that does not sound too harsh.

Standing is also good, providing you get the posture just right, (see the diagrams at the end)

Posture

Correct posture is vital to Meditation practice. The following is no exaggeration: unless you can find and maintain the right posture you are wasting your time.

Have you ever sat in a cinema and been stirred by some powerful music and strong emotional scene? Felt shivers run up and/or down your back? Felt something similar when you sneezed? Ever scratched and felt a flood of some sensation in a different part of your body? If it is cold then shivering (semi-involuntary muscle spasms creating mild exertion, hence warmth), shivering makes sense. But why shiver in a cinema because you are emotionally moved? And what is an orgasm?

These sensations cannot be explained here, other than to say that they are a form of energy. It is very very important that these sensations are not blocked. Meditation will not work if these sensations are blocked. Your practice is quite likely to generate some or all of these sensations at some time. They should always be ignored completely in every respect save one – make small adjustments to your posture so the sensations can dissipate freely. Let them come, let them go.

The better your sitting posture the smaller the adjustment you need to make. An experienced meditator looks like they are carved out of stone – in fact, they regularly adjust their posture, just imperceptibly. Beginners need to adjust their neck and shoulders a lot. Don’t wriggle, just adjust. (see the diagrams at the end)

Breathing

Correct breathing is also very important to Meditation practice. There are no special techniques or procedures – in my experience, controlling the breath can be harmful in the long term. Nonetheless, attention must be paid to how you breathe during Meditation.

Try and breathe in and out through your nose only.

Lightly place your tongue on the roof of your mouth, so the tip of your tongue just touches the back of your top teeth. (If you have a cold, breathe through your mouth but keep your tongue in this position.)

Never force the breath in or out, rather, ‘allow’ the breath to come and go. This is a very fine distinction that can take years to fully appreciate.

Breathing is important because it is the focus for your attention whilst practising Meditation. If you concentrate on something intensely, you will probably block-out much of what is going on around you. If someone is reading with great attention, you can probably go right up and stand next to them and they will not notice. Then again, a soldier on ‘point duty’, slowly walking through the jungle, expecting an attack at any time, will be aware of every leaf and every sound. Attention can vary. If we characterise these two types as ‘inner’ (the reader) and ‘outer’ (the soldier on point) Meditation is not one at the expense of the other. It is both. Even though it is both, the attention for beginners has to be focussed somewhere. Focussing on breathing is best. This is what you should be aiming for:

Without controlling the breath in any way,

watch it like a hawk, yet simultaneously,

be aware of everything. . . . . .

This dual focus is quite difficult but is a significant step forward when you can do it. You will know when you can do it because, without trying, the two forms of attention become one. When this happens, you will know it . . . . .

The tricky bit

No one really knows what a mind is. From the point of view of Meditation practice, this does not matter. A famous Zen master once said, when a student asked what to do about his mind:

“Completely ignore your mind”

This is very good advice but very difficult to do. For most beginners, it is not possible to ignore their own mind. For a beginner to ignore their own mind might seem that they are not doing something but actually they are “doing something”, they are attempting something. They are attempting an act of ignoring. And who is doing the ignoring? Their own mind. Fortunately there is a way out of this potential loop.

Rather than ignore your mind during Meditation practice, just watch it. (Watching in this context will always mean “with eyes shut, being continuously aware of . . . “).

Expectations

This is hardest thing to deal with both during and after Meditation, so it gets a section on its own. This applies to the whole of Praxis but is often most noticeable around Meditation practice.

Mostly, meditation is about some kind of spiritual attainment, whatever definition of spiritual is being used. No matter what the definition used, there is a common theme to most practices. Wanting something. Yet desiring some spiritual outcome can also be an obstacle to progress. There is a powerful contradiction at work here, or at least, an apparent contradiction. Wanting to achieve some future state where you will not want anything is confusing. Wanting to ‘not want’ something causes a problem, it is like wanting to loose weight by eating too much food.

It is best to try and honestly make all your wanting as clear to yourself as possible. You may have very grand ambitions, you might want to be a Buddha, or an angel or some transcendent master. Why not? You may simply want peace of mind. Everyone holds some image of where they want to go however hazy it may be. It is not the having of such desires that matters, it is what we do with them that counts.

This is what meditation is really about:

It might make you feel good, might make

you feel peaceful and will certainly improve

your health if done correctly but it is really

about becoming more aware.

If you can make your desire as clear and as honest as possible then you can address the next question. How much do you want it?

This is an important question to ask yourself. You might want to become free of all suffering and pain – but how much time would you devote to the task? We live in a market where material values reign – how much would you pay for real peace of mind? If you are not prepared to give away all your money and devote every minute of every day to getting what you want, then how much do you really want it? This is a minefield but there is an important aspect to this as far as Meditation is concerned: try to balance your expectations in proportion to your effort.

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this is a page from a meditation guide that is quite good : http://www.getsomeheadspace.com/
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Supporting info (3) – help with Constancy

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Find a little smooth pebble, about the same size to your hand as the one in the picture. Carry it in your left hand, if you are right handed, (or, vice versa etc). Use your little finger to hold it against your palm, as in the picture. You will get quite skilled, quite quickly, at hiding it from people. If people see it and ask, tell them the truth, or, tell them “It’s my lucky stone” and offer no more explanation. Only tell people if they see it. For the duration of this exercise, avoid long explanations or justifications if you can.

Carry your pebble ALL THE TIME.

When I say, all the time, that is what I mean. Carry it every minute of every day. If you are forced to put it down, pick it up as soon as possible. Carry it in the bath, or shower. At night, get a silk scarf and tie it into your hand. When not engaged in some activity, look at it as much as possible. Every time you become conscious of the stone, every time your become aware of your Constancy practice, every time you re-join that practice having drifted away, watch very carefully what is happening inside. Don’t hold on to what’s happening; just watch it, as clearly as you can.

You will need to hold it for 2 months or so, not longer.

Do not worry at this stage what kind of feelings you are having.

Whenever possible during the day, and, first thing before sleep and first thing on waking, stare at the stone. Stare at the stone but try and see what you are feeling. Stare at your feelings but try and resist the urge to interpret them or analyse them. If you do see yourself analysing or interpreting, just notice this and let it fall away. Concentrate on the staring. Do this staring as often as you can during the day. If you feel nothing, stare at this nothing.

When this exercise is over, put the stone somewhere special. Give it to someone else when it feels right.

The aim of this exercise is to intensify Constancy.

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Supporting info (4) – more on Constancy

I describe Constancy as watching yourself. You are not actually looking at yourself with your eyes but rather extending your awareness of what is happening “inside” you. This involves watching thoughts, feelings, memories, dreams and all the combinations they can appear in. It is not just a case of experiencing an emotion or thought, when we practice Constancy, we observe the experience of the emotion or thought as well. We have the feeling but also watch ourselves ‘having the feeling.’ When thoughts appear we observe ourselves thinking and pondering. The emphasis is on adding a little extra awareness.

What exactly is meant when we say, add “a little extra awareness”? If you are having some thoughts and if you then watch them as well, is this more thinking, is this a thought being used to watch other thoughts? If you are experiencing some emotions and practising Constancy, is it thoughts being used to watch feelings? What is it, that “watches? If the answer is “me”, and if that answer is sufficient, then you do not need Constancy. For many of us this answer will not do; this “me” label, means less and less as time goes by.

If you are solving a problem, or doing something that requires careful and sustained concentration, do it as you would normally, just add a little extra awareness to it. Watching yourself think. Watching yourself remember. Watching yourself have feelings. Watching carefully all that is happening inside. The more you look for the “watcher”, the person doing the self-exploration, the harder that person is to find. You can find many thoughts, feelings and memories but the inner person experiencing those things is strangely elusive. If you find that you are the sum total of your thoughts and feelings, then you probably will not need Constancy. If you feel yourself to be more than a collection of thoughts and more than a label, then Constancy is an effective technique you can apply. The watcher, the real you, does not just appear on demand, the watcher becomes apparent as a result of continuos observation over time. Watching over time releases some of our deeper feelings and these will eventually reveal the person watching.

It is not so difficult to watch thoughts and feelings when sitting quietly, relaxing but very difficult if we are fully involved in some activity. How is it possible to hold this kind of awareness, and do other things? It is best to start with simple activities like housework, watching TV, sitting on a bus. Then, build up to more difficult things, like watching whilst talking to others, driving or writing. There should be no danger or conflict involved with this watching; if you cross the road you look to see what is coming and you watch yourself looking, you do not stop looking at the traffic. If you get caught up in watching yourself so that you do not pay attention to the traffic then you are not doing Constancy properly, you are just distracting yourself. A golden rule : Constancy always involves more awareness, never less.

So when you begin Constancy, add this extra awareness to watch everything that is going on inside you. Do not be concerned if your watching lapses; it is very difficult to keep 100% attention 100% of the time, especially at the beginning. When you “wake up” and realise that your Constancy has slipped, just restart it without any fuss or recriminations. Keep coming back to it, as often as you have to. This can become very difficult sometimes but does get easier in the long-term.

The intention of doing Constancy is almost as important as the actual doing of it. It is the intention of Constancy that you take into unconsciousness. When you are about to sleep, be it napping or in bed at night, set up the intention to continue with Constancy even while you are asleep. The following are more notes which further stress the importance of feelings.

When I first practiced Constancy, I noticed the following :
all the events going on inside me are jumbled up together and they happen very fast. I talk to myself inside my head.
Then I practised Constancy for years . . . . . . . .

When I got into the stride of watching what was going on inside
I noticed these 7 aspects . . . . .

(1) . . . . I can make thoughts

For example, I can decide to think about an apple

it’s a green apple

if I close my eyes, I can visualise it.

(2) . . . . Thoughts happen spontaneously

Without intending it, I find myself thinking of a red apple

I can visualise it

but I did not “make” this thought

it was suddenly, just “there”.

(3) . . . .I can choose to remember

I decide to remember an apple I ate yesterday

I can visualise it

I can replay the act of eating it, “seeing” the action

or, I can tell myself, “I ate an apple yesterday”

(4) . . . . I remember without choosing

I remember , when I was 8 or 9

taking an apple from a neighbour’s tree

I can “see” myself doing it, and “see” my Dad

telling me off. Choosing to remember something

has triggered another memory, a memory which I did not choose.

then, I tried to create a feeling . . . .but I cannot do it !

I use memory to try and make a feeling.

I remember feeling sad about something last week;

although I can remember sadness, I no longer feel sad.

I remember something that happened at work yesterday

and I am angry again. But I have not “made” the anger, like

I made the thought about the green apple. the event at

work happened yesterday, but my anger is fresh. I am not

“re-feeling” yesterday’s anger. I am angry now!

(5) . . . feelings arrive

Feeling uncomfortable and not wanting to feel anger

anymore I decide to stop feeling – and cannot do it. I

cannot just switch off a feeling or bundle of feelings just

because I want to. I distract myself by watching television.

after a while, the feelings fade away.

(6) . . . . I daydream

Sitting in front of the television, I almost fall asleep,

I have a reverie, in which I get the better of people at

work, then somehow we are all playing football . . . .

(7) . . . . I dream

I go to bed and dream about a football the size of a house

I can’t kick it, so I go inside and eat some toast.

Seven aspects, or types of events that happen inside me.

in summary :

1 . . . . I make thoughts

2 . . . . thoughts happen spontaneously

3 . . . . I choose to remember

4 . . . . memories arrive without my choosing

5 . . . . feelings just arrive

6 . . . . I daydream

7 . . . . I dream

Sometimes, 2 or 3 happen at once (though thinking and dreaming together is unusual, thinking and daydreaming is not).

Sometimes they happen separately, sometimes they happen very fast, sometimes slow.

I noticed that I talk to myself, inside my head. The voice is “my” voice, I make it happen. This voice uses regular words and sentences. It is the voice that “reads”, I am aware of it as I read. This voice seems at first, to be part of number 1 above, “I make thoughts”, because I do not have a sense of the voice just happening, or just arriving, like a feeling arrives. But when I tried to stop talking to myself, I found it very hard to do. One thing was clear, the voice was a thought. I might “say” something that evokes a feeling, or a memory. But the voice itself is thought.

Don’t try and stop your internal voice! With Constancy, the effort is put into watching, not controlling, just watch the internal voice. It will get quiet eventually without you having to do anything. If you are feeling peaceful and your voice won’t shut up, don’t get angry with it. Try and be tolerant and just watch it along with anything else that is going, just watch what is happening . . . .

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Supporting info (5) – inner darkness

“All men are rapists” was a slogan that came out of the pioneering days of the Women’s Movement (WM) of the late 60s. It was championed by the Radical Feminists in the WM and was also taken up by SCUM (the Society for Cutting Up Men – the most well known exponent being Valerie Solanis, the woman who shot Andy Wharhol). Debate at that time hinged around women who thought it was true (in one form or another) and were demanding that men confront this dark aspect of their nature and women who could not accept that it might be true, and had concerns about alienating the small but growing support liberal men were giving the WM.

The male response, was mostly denial, until some men began to look a little deeper. At that time, there were many men involved with women in the WM and we realised that it was not enough to just support our sisters, that we needed to be bit more proactive in addressing those issues they confronted us with – even the very difficult ones we denied. So, a Men Against Sexism movement was started, (it was called that here in theUKand I think in the States too). I attended two national conferences in ’71 and ’72. Two themes emerged in those conferences; the gays tried hard to convert the straights, and, those men involved in the growing humanistic psychotherapy movement showed us how we might look at some of the demands our sisters made, even the difficult ones.

Men’s Groups, emerged out of the Men Against Sexism movement. Some of the Men’s Groups become psychotherapy groups in all but name and the men in them began to make some very uncomfortable discoveries about the darker side of their nature. ‘Nice’ men are always a little too quick to dismiss their darker sides and we realised we did our sisters no favours by not delving deeper. We saw that it was not enough to look after the kids while the women were burning their bras in demonstrations, it was not enough to share the housework and clean the toilet (or always put the seat down!) We needed to really change. Bland liberal support could actually be harmful; we saw many men who claimed to be against sexism, until they had had a few beers or the football was on tv.

Would I rape a woman (or another man)? The scary answer is, I don’t know. Of course, I can profess my loving nature, what a good husband I have been and intend to continue being, what a doting father I am to my young son. I am sure I would not rape – would I? But I have looked deeply into my own heart and I do not like what I see there. The scary don’t know answer is in the context that we are all capable of anything. Between 1936 and 1945, 12 million civilians were murdered in Europe. The guards at Auschwitz were ordinary human beings. I repeat this so there can be no avoiding this truth. The guards at Auschwitz, at all the camps, were ordinary human beings. In the light of that appalling truth, can I be sure I would never rape? Is my soul so robust, that it can stand any test? What would I do, if my son was snatched from my arms?

Have you heard of the Singing Forest? During WW2 the Nazis had a forest where they had big hooks set in the trees, about 6 foot off the ground. Many Gays, Gypsies and political activists never made it to the concentration camps because they were eliminated more rapidly. Many were hung on these hooks and took a long time to die. An eyewitness survivor recalls, with a look of horror on his face I shall never forget, the screams went on and on and on. The Nazis who did this, called it the Singing Forest. . . . .

I mention these difficult issues because as the Deeper feelings emerge through Constancy, they are as likely to be dark as they are to be (hopefully) illuminating. Constancy involves looking at all of your feelings. . . . .

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Supporting info (6) – we backfill reality

For those who are carrying out a practice, like Constancy, the following might be an irrelevance. It is more important to watch your mind, than it is to create images and ideas of how it might work. These ideas and images can even be a barrier to practice. Yet if your practice is solid and you are in no danger of confusing a direct experience of how your mind works with a description of it, the following may help .

This exercise shows aspects of how dreams work and holds an inference as to how consciousness works too. I will describe the exercise first and then explain it and draw conclusions afterwards.

Make your self tired by staying up late; (so we are looking at creating sleep deprivation not physical exhaustion by extra activity). Build up as much sleep deprivation as you can. This works better if you accumulate sleep deprivation over a period of days, rather than just stay up late on one night. Sit at a dining table, and using the table, support your head with your right hand (left if left handed). With your left hand, hold a pebble or small smooth stone with only your thumb and index finger. Hold the pebble right at its edge. Rest your left arm on your left thigh, in such a way that the pebble is held directly over your foot. As you fall asleep, your left hand will drop the pebble but it will hit your foot and wake you up.

For this to work at its best, you need to be very tired and sleep deprived, so that you not only fall asleep very quickly, but so you start dreaming at once – it is the speed of descent into dream sleep that matters. Sleep (and therefore dream) deprivation is crucial to this exercise. You need to use a small pebble so you do not injure your foot, but then again, it needs to be sufficiently heavy or you risk not waking up at all. You can see that this is designed to wake you up as quickly as possible after entering dream sleep. If you enter dream sleep slowly (as we usually do), you may not notice what happens.

There is a less easy-to-use alternative to the suspended pebble but you need to be just as sleep/dream deprived. If you go on a bus journey that has to make many turnings, you can get the same effect. Each time you fall asleep, the bus will turn a corner and wake you up. With practice, this can result in many episodes of falling in and out of dream sleep, as long as you are not slumped or to supported by the bus seat. For best results, sit near the edge of your seat.

So this exercise is designed to get you into dream sleep as fast as possible and get you out of it, just as fast. Most people who do this report the same effect. Before explaining what that is, I need to detour slightly and talks of beginnings and endings.

When we read a book, we know where the beginning is. It is right at the front of the book (for westerners) and the left hand page is usually blank. There is usually a title, authors name and other info. The end of the book is signalled by blank pages and/or the rear cover. When we watch a TV programme, it has a clear start and a clear ending, with titles and perhaps particular music. We go to the movies and the theatre goes dark, signalling the beginning of the film. In real life such beginnings and endings are not so clear. When we read a novel, it has a clear beginning, as mentioned above but mostly we join a story that is already underway. We might join the story at the birth of the main character but as the story unfolds we will learn of what went on before, the characters parents perhaps or preceding and defining history. All stories are therefore connected and where we draw the beginning and ending lines is a matter of convenience, survival and culture but make no mistake – we draw those lines, consciously or unconsciously. With a book or a movie, the line is easy to see.

With dreams this is very far from the case. Many people report dreams that seem very real. So real, that on waking, they need time to adjust to the unreality of the dream and the emergent “real” reality of the new day. It is hugely significant that the mind can do this, that there is a facility in the brain that can arbitrate between realities, (and perhaps fails in those we label as mentally ill). This exercise shows something most interesting, that being, we do not have dreams like a book or a movie, rather, we seem to join a dream that is already happening. This is why the exercise requires you to be dream-sleep deprived, for the most rapid descent possible into dream-sleep and the most rapid ascent out of it again. It is under these conditions that the dream can be seen as one you join.

What does it mean, that we “join” a dream already happening? Three options emerge, that might be exclusive or all true in some way:

·An ever-changing dream has literally been going on all the time unconsciously and only becomes visible at the thresholds of sleep

·A dream is somehow held in memory and reactivated as dream sleep begins

·The brain back-fills the “time” creating an instant ‘history’ with its sense of chronological time.

Whilst it may be possible that a dream is going on all the time unconsciously and we join it at the onset of dream-sleep, this seems unlikely to me and brain research does not currently support such view. The kind of activities going on in a brain, change appearance between waking and sleeping. This does not disprove the continuous dream idea, the appearances of a continuous dream may be overlaid by the increased activity of a waking brain. Even so, this does not feel likely to me.

We do remember dreams, so a dream memory could be reactivated as descent into dream-sleep occurs. . . . . only it just doesn’t feel like that. When you remember a dream, it becomes somehow “fixed”, more like a picture. Dreams themselves are always more dynamic and slippery, the reality can move and shift. As you fall asleep and rapidly wake up in this exercise, the time involved is very brief, perhaps half a second or less. The “joining” experience just does not feel like a memory being reactivated.

Many people have reported dreams that seemed to go on for hours but in fact lasted just a few minutes or seconds even. The classic report is, being woken up by the alarm, looking at the clock and falling asleep again. A dream happens and for whatever reason, the person wakes up again and cannot believe the time; a few minutes have past according to the clock but hours have happened in the dream. (Mostly, this phenomenon seems to involve hours and very rarely whole days. I have never seen a report involving weeks or months though some dreamers report jumping stages – jumping from being young to being older or back).

I think this exercise demonstrates that the brain can, in less than a half a second, backfill a sense of reality and time – and this is more than just a memory, or at least, more than ordinary memory. I would describe ordinary memory as a retrieval mechanism, triggered deliberately by me or automatically by an internal brain event or external happening in the world. I choose to remember a day last week, pictures emerge and I can arrange them chronologically. But there are other things that seem more dynamic than a simple retrieval of images. For example, my sense of self, the kind of person I think I am. This could be a memory but it is a much more complex one (if indeed it is a memory). That this sense acts like a memory sometimes is certainly the case but it is also so changeable and involves many things I find it hard or impossible to describe but I know these “things” are there. Sometimes these things become more visible at certain times than others. So, maybe these are unconscious memories lurking just below consciousness but partially perceivable like the distorted shapes of fish seen below the surface of dark water. For me, these things do not present as memories, they present as feelings, as emotions.

Elsewhere, I have described that feelings are not stored as memories. A thought becomes a memory almost immediately, and the memory is added to and subtracted from, as thought and memory interact to create something, which will then become a memory till more interaction occurs. But if you feel something, that feeling is not stored, you remember an event and as recall happens, a new fresh feeling occurs, that may seem identical to the feeling you had before but it is new. Feelings are always new – even the unwelcome ones. You cannot store a feeling and you cannot force one to be made either. If you try and find a stored feeling, it is a memory that will arrive and as it does it may trigger a feeling but also significantly, it may not. More is said of feelings elsewhere but for here, I will just register that many feelings are triggered by events and many are not triggered by anything we can see. They are triggered by unconscious events and perhaps other more mysterious sources. It is these “deeper” feelings that the brains tries to control as it descends into and ascends out of sleep. An aspect of this control, or a by-product of the material it works with, is a retrospective “sense” of time, imposed by the brain on fluid feelings already present. In other words, we do not join a dream already happening, the brain instantly makes one when confronted by feelings that are not under its control. This becomes more visible if we go in and out of dream-sleep rapidly, hence the exercise to facilitate this. If the brain can make a whole dream in an instant, that seems to have lasted hours, what else can it do?

What are the deeper feelings, the fish shapes lurking in the dark water? More on those later. Yet I deem them very significant. I experience them as the primal material underpinning religion. I sense they could be the roots of a new ethics not dependent on the dictates of an elusive supreme being, or rather the interpretations of the elusive by the all too present, those with heavy agendas. The Deeper feelings give the best clues as to whether there is ‘life’ after death or before birth . . . . . . . . .

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Supporting info (7) – morality in the online world

The practice of Constancy will cause many complex issues to arise. Whichever way it happens, thoughts about morality will arise sooner or later. These are some of my thoughts that came up concerning our vastly expanding online world . . . .

If you pretend to be bad in a virtual world, does it make you a bad person?

There are things we consider bad in the “real world”, murder, genocide, kidnapping, enforced incarceration, slavery, rape, paedophilia, theft – but if these things happen in a “virtual world”, between consenting adults – are they still bad? The vast majority of people would not think that an actor, playing the part of Hitler in a play or film, was a bad person. The film may show scenes of brutality but people understand it is a drama, it shows bad things that we all may look and learn about our darker nature as well as being entertained. Dramatic reconstruction of acts of cruelty is central to building a story and ensuring a strong emotional effect. Children have to be taught it is not real and even some adults confuse the actor with the character he or she portrays. As humans we take pleasure from the suffering of others and this must have some deep primal function as it is endemic from slap-stick comedy to young animals torturing each other in cartoons. If we see an old person hobbling along with his walking stick towards a banana skin he cannot see, our reaction to this can be entirely governed by the music. If the music is light and comical, then we anticipate humour and will laugh when he falls. If the music is dramatic and if it is intercut with scenes of anxious relatives rushing to save him, we feel anxiety and empathy. These kinds of feelings over what is essential the same situation seem to be universal for people so are likely to be biologically based no matter what cultural expression they take. We are on safe ground then to say that the dramatic representation of cruelty and all forms of misfortune are functional and necessary to some extent and their entertainment factor reinforces this function.

The drama can be more than just passively received. Role Playing (RP) began in the real world in primarily in two areas. The first and oldest area was in sexual encounters of which commonly sadistic and masochistic encounters are acted out. Safety factors are agreed upon beforehand and usually no significant physical harm is sustained. Sexual violence as a fantasy is not only found in industrial western cultures but does seem to be more prevalent where leisure is more of a marketed commodity. The second area of RP development concerns gaming. It began with card games where people took on the characters they ‘held’ and it developed to include dressing up and evocative locations. This kind of RP has taken off significantly in virtual worlds, where on line networking enables larger numbers to take part and computer graphics can enhance all manner of possibilities. This kind of RP has been combined online with the sexual fantasy RP of the first origins.

There are two important factors to consider before going deeper into the moral and ethical aspects. In the real world, you can go to a club already wearing a mask and remain anonymous throughout all encounters – those before any RP begins (out-of-character or “ooc”) and during the encounter (in-character “ic”). However, if you cross a line and endanger anyone and/or commit a crime, usually there are consequences, from other “players”, from the club security or even the police and later the courts. In the virtual world, the consequences are much milder. You might be banned but more significantly, you redefine where the lines are in the first place. Redefining the lines happens in the real world but the ease with which it can be done online is far greater. This is not just to do with RP. There are forms of behaviour online that would not be tolerated in the real world, from mild breaches of etiquette to extremely insulting behaviour, from simple intolerant hectoring to attempts to hack in and crash the whole local environment. In the real world there are laws against vandalism and hooliganism but the virtual world is still developing its enforcement parameters.

In a paragraph above I use the phrase “cross the line”. It is a concept that is widely understood in western culture and can be very easily explained to those who come across it the first time. One side of the line is ok, the other side is not. There may be “grey areas”, the line may be redefined if new factors emerge but the principle is very simple. Some things are just not ok. I will use this term as it is so widely understood and also because it implies an act of “line drawing”. Line drawing may be based on two main areas, from actual laws and unwritten codes of conduct, both of which can vary from locality to locality. Some things have been illegal for centuries (murder, rape, kidnapping), some are relatively recent, (racial intolerance, health and safety); unwritten codes of conduct can be similarly very old (being physically too close to someone) or recent, (“political correctness”). Both kinds of “line crossing” are harder to manage on line where anonymity is easier. Eventually we will require heavily encrypted and secure core identities for online voting, financial stability and a real basis for meaningful online trust because the real world and the online world will continue to merge. This has been much in the news recently (and is also dealt with in another article here .) For this article I want to now draw some lines.

Is it ok for a man to rape a woman in the real world? – no.

Is it ok for a man on-line to watch another man rape a woman in the real world? – no.

Is it ok for someone to create some images of what could be a real rape and place them where others may find them inadvertently? – no.

Is it ok for consenting adults to ‘pretend’ a rape encounter in the real world (RP)? – yes.

Is it ok for consenting adults to ‘pretend’ a rape encounter in the on line world (RP)? – yes.

Is it ok for anonymous consenting adults to ‘pretend’ a rape encounter on line where both or one are not actually accountable – ???

Now we are straying into grey areas . . . .

Is it ok for a person to rape a child in RP on-line??? (No)

Is it ok for a person to commit genocide and racial intolerance in RP on line??? (No)

This movement from clear areas to increasingly less clear areas, as interesting as it may be, is not primarily the one I want to explore but rather the act of line drawing itself. The issue of rape may be the best example to explore here. There are huge areas of gender and personal preference at work but I want to try and narrow it down to make a point. If a man is sexually excited by the thought of rape – is he a bad man, (has he crossed a line)? If the biological response comes first and the moral anxiety comes a close second, has he still crossed a line? This comes down to choice. We are good or bad, not because of the thoughts in our heads or the impulse in our bodies or the complex interplay between the two but because of what we choose to do. (There is another article that could spring from this place about how much choice some actually have, for example, the mentally ill – but that topic is not in scope here). Choice is crucial and where there is little choice, there is plenty of evidence to show that western culture moves towards creating more and more, be it for marketing reasons if no other.

Choice then is central to what follows. Why would a man choose to RP raping a woman (even if both are consenting and even if both are not anonymous?) Opening this up more generally – why would anyone pretend to be bad? On line RP has shown me that there is distinction between a dramatic situation that requires actors to act at being bad and an RP where people are choosing to be bad for reasons of personal excitement. This is a crucial distinction that has, at its heart, a very simple observation. It is not ok to pretend to be bad. An actor, in a structured drama, that mirrors back to us the often complex lives we lead, is helping all of us draw a line. A person, who anonymously experiments in being bad because it is exciting, has crossed a line, they are not helping to draw a line, for themselves or others, they blur it for themselves and others. This is not going to be easy but it is up to all of us to make this issue as clear as we can.

It follows then, that some form of censorship is morally acceptable and probably socially necessary, not just to protect children and vulnerable adults – but to help us understand ourselves and each other. In Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, the society was in a mess, despite laws, despite centuries of moral common sense, the Nazis came to power anyway and 12 million men, women and children died. They died horrible pointless deaths not because a few fanatics redrew the line for everyone, they died because a critical mass of the population did not draw the line for themselves individually. The on-line world offers us undreamt of possibilities for networking and sharing. The real world and the online world are merging rapidly. The very phrase “real world” will become redundant. We still, more than ever, have to draw the line. If enough of us agree where that line is, then our sons and daughters have a future.

Definitions :
cross the line
1. to change from being acceptable to being unacceptable I thought the jokes crossed the line and were basically embarrassing.
2. to do something wrong If you steal someone’s idea, you have absolutely crossed the line.
( http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/cross+the+line )
• Virtual World : A virtual world is an online community that takes the form of a computer-based simulated environment through which users can interact with one another and use and create objects.[1] The term has become largely synonymous with interactive 3D virtual environments, where the users take the form of avatars visible to others.[2] These avatars usually appear as textual, two-dimensional, or three-dimensional representations, although other forms are possible (auditory and touch sensations for example).[3][4] In general, virtual worlds allow for multiple users.
• Augmented Reality : Augmented reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality. By contrast, virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one. Augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally manipulable. Artificial information about the environment and its objects can be overlaid on the real world.
• The Internet of Things : refers to uniquely identifiable objects (things) and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure. The term Internet of Things was first used by Kevin Ashton in 1999.[1] The concept of the Internet of Things first became popular through the Auto-ID Center and related market analysts publications.[2] Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is often seen as a prerequisite for the Internet of Things. If all objects of daily life were equipped with radio tags, they could be identified and inventoried by computers.[3][4] However, unique identification of things may be achieved through other means such as barcodesor 2D-codes as well. With all objects in the world equipped with minuscule identifying devices, daily life on Earth would undergo a transformation.[5][6] Companies would not run out of stock or waste products, as involved parties would know which products are required and consumed.[6] Mislaid and stolen items would be easily tracked and located, as would the people who use them. Your ability to interact with objects could be altered remotely based on your current status and existing user agreements.[3]

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Supporting info (8) – Kernels

Kernels are bite-sized bits of knowledge, reminders that you can use to help some stages in Constancy

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(1)

the Wholething.

we wake up and

find we want the truth.

finding out about ourselves

and finding truth are the same thing.

in presenting ourselves to others

we put ourselves on the journey

of finding out everything else

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(2)

We open the door to feelings and start the constant looking at the ones we can see. We learn that all feelings are connected to each other. The feelings we watch are connected to the deeper ones we cannot see. This then can be our path, from the known feelings to the deeper unknown.

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(3)

Inter-weaving and layering, patterns manifest as we proceed directly to the truth. The patterns we see are connected to ones we cannot see. Causation involves an act of recognition. A cause, is then an act of recognising a phase in a pattern.

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(4)

The most wonderful things, are in the easiest place to look, yet seem so difficult to find. To dig a hole, you use a shovel but what tools would you use to look inside your own heart and mind? It is best to have a method to help our looking.

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(5)

We do what we must

Doing what we must is mapped out for us

We are the map.

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(6)

Simplicity, is complexity seen from a long way away

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(7)

Our Sky

it struck me just now
with the force of an imploding star
that on this planet
there is not one mediocre human being
that each has a heart the size of a continent washed
with oceans of swelling tidal feelings
whether we see them or not
that each has a playful child inside and
a playful grandparent, no matter how deeply buried
and while I cannot love them all
(especially the nasty ones)
they are my brothers and sisters
their eyes laced with naked pain
and its hidden redemption
under the sky,
our sky.

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(8)

Do all day

Imagine a world where machines make everything we need.
These machines repair and replace themselves.
And if there was no more war and poverty
What would we do all day?

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(9)

So, what’s it all about then?

(Q). please tell me what to do
(A) . no, I cannot
(Q). why not?
(A) . it wouldn’t work
(Q). are you enlightened?
(A) . tell me what enlightenment is and I will tell you if I have got it.
(Q). enlightenment is . . . . knowing everything
(A) . I don’t know everything
(Q). enlightenment is . . . . freedom from suffering
(A) . I am not free from suffering
(Q). enlightenment is . . . . being able to save others from suffering
(A) . people save themselves from suffering
(Q). enlightenment is . . . . total wisdom and grace
(A) . only you can tell me if I am wise and I have no grace to give
(Q). so what do you have?
(A) . I know what is true
(Q). what is truth?
(A) . it is a direct experience
(Q). will I get it?
(A) . that depends how much you want it.
(Q). how can I know that?
(A) . by looking
(Q). why can’t you tell me what it is?
(A) . I can tell you what it is, I just did
(Q). but I don’t feel any different
(A) . that is because you have not experienced it directly, you heard the words I said, your mind/brain processed them – but you have not felt the truth directly.
(Q). how can I feel it?
(A) . you must choose a method of looking and apply it constantly till you know
(Q). that does not sound so hard.
(A) . if it is not difficult, why have you not done it already? have you been doing something more important all these years? When you have found your own truth, then look for it the faces of others.

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(10)

How big is your unconscious mind ?
How much does it influence you ?
Do you know when it influences you ?

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(11)

I cannot think the unthinkable

But I can feel it.

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(12)

end of the day

at the end of the day

what really matters?

that we hold affection for someone

and that someone holds affection for us,

that we do it when it’s easy and

especially when it’s difficult.

and if we can’t do it

then we turn our passion

onto why we can’t do it until

we can.

and everyone knows this,

we just forgot for a while.

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(13)

House Lights

Imagine you are in a house in the countryside where there are no city lights and you look outside at night, you cannot see much. What you see, is illuminated by the lights of the house you are in. To see more, you might switch off the house lights, and although you can see more once your eyes adjust, it is then dark inside the house. If you go outside to see more, you leave behind the source of light you had inside. Yes, you might find a torch to take with you but, you cannot take the house and its lights with you.

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(14)

It is misty over the train tracks at Auschwitz

The rails are as cold to the touch

as they ever were

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(15)

“To all sufficiency

From all sustainability”

(Jason Stoddard : http://www.strangeandhappy.com)

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(16)

Are you waiting at the station?

Are you waiting for the train to arrive?

. . . . . . . It’s not coming.

You are the train

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(17)

What memes should we be supporting now, that will help those not yet emergent? Anything that helps build a culture where it is unfashionable and deeply uncool, to be rich.

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(18)

The second kind of truth is fluid because we are always moving. It is not that truth is malleable that matters, it is that we are mobile.

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Supporting info (9) – helpful quotes

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“Nobody can escape from all these kinds of changes, that technology makes possible, but which economics makes absolutely essential”.

(Charles Handy – talking on “Visions of heaven and hell” C4).

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“….the main interest of my work is not concerned with the treatment of neuroses but rather with the approach to the numinous. But the fact is that the approach to the numinous is the real therapy, and inasmuch as you attain to the numinous experiences you are released from the curse of pathology. Even the very disease takes on a numinous character.”

Jung : Letter to a friend

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‘Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go’ – (T S Elliot)

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My heart burns like fire

But my eyes are as

Cold as dead ashes.

(Soyen Shaku)

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“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. And could you keep your heart in awe and wonder at the daily miracles of life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy . . . .”

( Kalil Gibran )

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“The dreadful

has already

happened”

( Bakunin )

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If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you

The second mouse, gets the cheese

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One does not become enlightened by imaging
figures of light, but by making the darkness
conscious. The latter procedure, however,
is disagreeable and therefore unpopular.
( Carl Jung )

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For 50 years of a fine marriage, Nasrudin made sandwiches for saturday lunches he and his wonderful wife shared. One day she said that she was angry:

“For years now you have given me the end slices of every loaf of bread we eat together. I hate them, they are the worst slices and you always give them to me.”
Nasruddin sat silently for a second and said

“But they are my favourite pieces”

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“Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves. And goodness – what God desires – is here in your mind and in your heart. In what you decide to do every day, you will be a good man . . . . . . . or not”.

(The Hospitaler : from the film, “Kingdom and Heaven”).

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“you are not too old
and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out
it’s own secret”
— Rainer Maria Rilke

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The myriad of named things
spring from an inexhaustible matrix,
these point beyond themselves
to the all encompassing unity.

The enigma of things deepens
into the fathomless beyond,
from mystery to mystery is the gateway
into the streaming wonder of existence.

( Lao Tzu ).

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“Whatever the great masters says, however they expand the scriptures,
of what use is all their learning to another? That which flows out from
your own heart – that embraces heaven and earth”.
( Ganto )

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A Native American elder 
once described his own inner struggles in this manner:

”Inside of me there are two dogs. 
One of the dogs is mean and evil. 
The other dog is good. 
The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.” 
When asked which dog wins, 
he reflected for a moment and replied, 
”The one I feed the most.” 

~ Author unknown

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We don’t see the world as it is. We see it as we are.

Anais Nin

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“When one door closes another one opens. But we often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door that fail to see the one that has opened up for us”
( Alexander Graham Bell )

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One afternoon at Cheers, Cliff Clavin was explaining the Buffalo Theory to
his buddy Norm. Here’s how it went:
”Well ya see, Norm, it’s like this… A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That’s why you always feel smarter after a few beers.

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“Apophenia is the spontaneous perception of connections and meaningfulness of unrelated phenomena. The term was coined by K. Conrad in 1958. . . . . The propensity to see connections between seemingly unrelated objects or ideas most closely links psychosis to creativity … apophenia and creativity may even be seen as two sides of the same coin.”
(Peter Brugger)

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 “Make no friends with an elephant keeper
if you have no room for an elephant”.
( Saadi of Shiraz )

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“I was listening to National Public Radio the other day when someone asked the question” ‘Once you wake up, can you wake up any more?’ Yes, I thought. In a way my whole life has been about waking up and then waking up some more.”

Sue Monk Kidd from The Dance of the Dissident Daughter

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I used to think my brain was my most important organ.  But then I thought: wait a minute, who’s telling me that?
 
– Emo Phillips

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“It is through light and a clear idea that the mind sees the essence of things, numbers and extensions. It is through a vague idea or through feelings that the mind judges the existence of creatures and that it knows its own existence”
( Malebranche 1638 – 1715 )

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It is manifest… that every soul and spirit hath a certain continuity with the spirit of the universe, so that it must be understood to exist and to be included not only there where it liveth and feeleth, but it is also by its essence and substance diffused throughout immensity… The power of each soul is itself somehow present afar in the universe… Naught is mixed, yet is there some presence.
— Giordano Bruno in Cause, Principle, and Unity — 1584


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“I believed that I wanted to be a poet, but deep down I wanted to be a poem.”

Jaime Gil de Biedma

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Supporting info (10) – the importance of patterns

If you throw a pebble into a pond, ripples move out from where it sank – patterns. There are patterns in a pond and there are patterns in a human life too. It is very hard to see the patterns in a life for most of them come from unconscious sources. The patterns within our lives reflect the structured patterns of our minds. What is ‘outside’, that is the shape of our lives, reflect what is ‘inside’. For this reason, patterns can be important but we get more out of them if we are not too hasty to pin them down with explanations. Constancy is about watching all your thoughts and feelings: the act of watching (constantly) is more important than interpreting what you see. The act of watching all the time allows the deeper feelings to surface. So also with watching patterns, allow their meaning to emerge over time rather than be too quick to fix their meaning.

You have a clear pond in front of you. You drop a pebble at on end of the pond and quickly drop a pebble in at the other end. At first, the ripples spread out uninterrupted. Then the two converging sets of ripples meet, interference occurs and a new set of ripples forms. When two patterns meet, they create a third pattern. Cause can be seen but it is complex. Too often we see “third pattern” and assume the second pebble caused it. Really, it is interaction and interference that caused the third pattern. We look for interaction but mostly we find interference. Another reason that caution is best exercised when looking at patterns.

Patterns also have phases, indeed, time may be a pattern. There is movement. We move from one state to another; we move from one place to another. We look back and identify a “past”, that is where we have moved from. We look forward to where we expect to “go”, to travel to. Even if I sit still and do nothing, it is not a “nothing”, my body is decaying, my brain is moving from one state to the next. States like “being still”, “balance” and “nothing” are thus illusions and linguistic conventions only. We invent time, by creating a measurement system, seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, years. And then we have to modify it by creating nanoseconds and even smaller units. But really, this measuring is just an act of perception, codified and mechanised to be sure, but it is still us looking.

Time is probably a perceptual invention, albeit a very clever and evolutionary required one. Whichever direction our perception goes, whether out in to the astonishing distances of cosmology, or in, towards the even more astonishing distances of the sub-atomic, it is just a form of travelling, we move from one perception to another, from near to far and back. In the same way that “nothing” and “balance” are illusions, temporary linguistic and perceptual conventions, so to is the concept that “things end”. The most we could say is that a phase might end. However, phases are connected to other phases, both consecutively and concurrently, this is demonstrable in almost any place you look. Phases are parts of patterns. So, death is the end of a phase. “You” die but the body decays into something else or is burned and converted to gas and ashes. If consciousness is just a by-product of neural complexity, then it ends when the neural network decays. Then again, phases are connected consecutively and concurrently; if this is true (and we can see it certainly seems to be true), why would consciousness be the only thing not connected to other phases? Seen this way, consciousness cannot be an isolate thing, even if we cannot see the connections, because there are no isolate things, save for convention and temporary linguistic convenience.

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There was thread of postings on Facebook that discussed many things about possible future states of being and society. The combined comments prompted me to add this :

“Such food for thought, how wonderful, thank you all. I am wondering if there is some other pattern at work as well. It is certainly in our nature to try and alleviate or dispense with suffering. And it seems to be in our nature to model ideal future states to aim for, thus informing our current actions. Yet I am also a fan of dialectics. It always seems that tomorrow’s problems are being nurtured in today’s solutions. I am not advocating scepticism, ( I plan like mad everyday) but I cannot help but feel we may benefit from being a tadge more cautious in our expectations. Neurobiological control, gradients of bliss, AI singularity, harvesting resources from asteroids – bring it on. Will it be better? Yes. In the same way that we can point to things being better now than in medieval times. Will it be a lot better and have more meaning? Maybe not. Restless minds may broker the future but peace of mind may be what we are actually looking for . . . .”
Posted on Facebook in March 2014.

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Supporting info (11) – little acorns

A fine mind said this . . . . . . .

“But here she is, all mine, trying her best

to give me all she can. How can I ever

hurt her? But I didn’t understand then.

That I could hurt somebody so badly she

would never recover. That a person can,

just by living, damage another human

being beyond repair.”

“South of the Border, West of the Sun”

by Haruki Murakami

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. No one can be neutral. You cannot start from scratch, you cannot decide to start again in a world where bread is given out fairly.

There are consequences that come out of prolonged efforts to find out about yourself. You are always applying what you learn, whether you see it in action or not, whether you want to or not. To cut a long story short, this means that changing yourself and changing the world are the same thing, even if the connection is hard to see. And this is a two way street. Perhaps you have already saved the life of the next Hitler. What you do, both deliberately and accidentally, affects you and the world. This interaction involves complexity beyond our imagining. Trying to predict and track such change is vastly difficult. Yet we see that a few snowflakes can start an avalanche. The acorn grows into a tall tree. If the seeds in your heart are true, they will bear good fruit eventually. In summary, get your heart right and then your choices follow easily. It does not rule out error, it might still be a road to hell, but you have done all you can if your heart is clear. If you are not sure if your heart is clear, then, find out.

If you can find what is really true for you, it follows, that you can find what is true in the world. You can find what is true ‘outside’ as well as ‘inside’. It therefore follows, if you can find what is true in the world then you can decide which parts of the process to nurture . . . . .

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Supporting info (12) – the Ten Year Notebook

This is a scan of a notebook I kept between 1976 and 1986, copied here by way of far background info. This and the next post could represent some of where I came from.

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Questions and Answers

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Questions and Answers Supporting information ( 13 )

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This is a series of questions and answers. I have picked out a few, from many hundreds over that last 30 years, that illustrate aspects of Constancy practice. Those asking remain anonymous but all gave their permission; in some cases I have taken the liberty of combining answers to create a fuller response.

This is a list of the questions :
1. Are feelings more real than thoughts?
2. How could we be guided to the truth without GOD?
3. The attention comes and goes
4. Constancy and Therapy
5. Confronting fears
6. Using restlessness
7. Peace of mind
8. Sleep and dreams
9. Where is the Good News?
10. Strong feelings arise
11. Intensity of watching
12. What if I am stuck?
13. Returning To Constancy
14. Final description of Constancy
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(1) Are feelings more real than thoughts?

Q.
I would be interested to know why you think feelings are any more real than thoughts.
A.
The trite but true answer is I don’t “think” this; I feel it. A second answer is with another question:
What is the difference between thoughts and feelings?
Yet this question is a priceless gem. When I could not answer that question, I was told this:
“as a blade cannot cut itself
as a finger cannot touch itself
so a thought cannot see itself.”
. . . . . so, a blade cannot cut itself. Unless you break the blade in half and use one half to cut the other. Then you have 2 blades . . . . and this is what thoughts do. They work out answers. They “calculate.” They comment, but they do more than this. The mind uses thought to “arrange” things. And the mind goes – this is good, this is bad, this is good, this is bad, this is good, this is bad, this is good, this is bad, on and on and on. You can work out a truth with thought, but it just remains a thought, until your emotions validate it. I am not talking every-day thought like 2 + 2 = 4, which rarely needs validating emotionally. I am talking about a situation where someone might say, for example, mathematics is more important than love. The former thought process is a calculation; the latter, an idea of how-things-should-be. Both are thoughts but it is the feeling of love that will show you what is important.
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(2). How could we be guided to the truth without GOD?
Q.
How could we be guided to the truth without GOD ? GOD is the everlasting Truth. Correct me if I am wrong.
A.
I do not know who God is. I have never met him/her. Truth, however, is attainable; especially when seen as a process, rather than as a single achievement. If God has spoken or shown him/herself to you, then everything is ok. You do not really need to go on soul-searching; you put your effort into discovering his/her intentions. You may look into your soul to discover the intentions God put there but it is not the same kind of looking that I do. You look into your soul for extra information to help with a truth you already know. I look into my soul to find truths I do not yet know.
Most of the people I know who talk about God a lot seem more like people who have hopes rather than truth. I suspect that the power of their needs, manifesting through hope, lead them to cast that hope as truth. However, I recon they have just stopped at a comfortable place. I do not mind that. What I mind is when that place of comfort becomes a fortress from which they go forth to punish those who do not agree. The trouble with a lot of ‘looking for God quests’, is we are really looking for Dad. We look for Mum in different ways. I have never looked at a tree and thought, hmmm, God must have made that. I have waited for him/her in quiet places and he/she did not come. When I gave up looking for him/her and went to deeper quieter places I found neither god nor not-god. But that 3-letter word just won’t do it for me, too much baggage. Love the art though, the poems, the paintings, the candles.

Of course, maybe God is there (smiling away) and I just cannot see her, this apparent invisibility being caused by my personal failure, perhaps my arrogance gets in the way, blinkering me. Or not. When I ask God people if they have actually met and spoken to God, the answer is almost always no, that they have hand a strong feelings they interpret as coming from God. Those strong feelings can be examined, you can find out what they are, if you want to. You might have to leave comfort behind.
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(3) The attention comes and goes
Q
I can only focus when doing nothing at all – sitting still and quiet and staring at things. If I read – it’s gone. Play on computer – gone. Listen to music – gone. If I talk – it’s gone.

A
The attention coming and going is natural, it’s not a failure if it goes. Just be sure to bring it back. It is difficult to hold the attention whilst doing other things. Try this:
Sitting quiet doing nothing and hold the attention but have a book in front of you, in your hands ready. When the Constancy is ok, raise the book, read and keep the Constancy. (nb read slower, at first, than you would normally. you must remember what you read -not every word, but the gist – or the Constancy won’t be right either).

Slow and steady steps, take your Constancy into your activity. Don’t punish yourself when it inevitably slips, just gently bring it back. Being gentle with yourself in how you bring your Constancy back, is very important.

The pressure is uncomfortable but part of it is your own self image’s judgement and fear. The pressure can be a friend. Just watch the pressure, like everything else.

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(4). Constancy and Therapy
Q.
How can I keep from getting knocked away by emotions? I try to watch but the memory of what happened consumes me . . .
A.
In order to get by in the day-to-day world we use tactics learned during very early childhood. These tactics mostly involve how to handle and suppress feelings. Sometimes that control breaks down. If it happens strongly and often enough, then it gets labeled as an illness. The emphasis with Constancy is to let all your normal mental and physical functions happen as they occur – deal with your feelings – and any other problem – as you would do normally.
If your normal functioning is having problems, then devise a tactic to deal with it, just like you would if you were not engaged on a spiritual quest. Perhaps seek therapy to solve this. Constancy is not necessarily going to help you deal with “normal” problems – you cannot use Constancy to “patch” personal problems. Constancy brings benefits, but they are long term. Having said that, Jung wrote this many years ago:

“….the main interest of my work is not concerned with the treatment of neuroses but rather with the approach to the numinous. But the fact is that the approach to the numinous is the real therapy, and inasmuch as you attain to the numinous experiences you are released from the curse of pathology. Even the very disease takes on a numinous character.” (Jung : Letter to a colleague 1945)
This is a very interesting observation form Jung but in my experience a spiritual path is not the best way to deal with personal problems; indeed, some personal problems may get worse as spiritual quests can be stressful. In the long term, personal problems can loose their centre-stage insistence if a spiritual method is diligently followed. However, if you have personal problems it is better to fix them directly. If you break a leg, a Doctor will fix it; if you have personal problems see a therapist who will help you fix them. Therapy will not clash with Constancy ; they go together very well.
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(5). Confronting fears
Q.
I try to be conscious of all I do, say, feel, etc. It is very difficult during the course of my workdays, which are long. But I always seem to find myself not breathing. I realise periodically throughout the day that I must have been holding my breath. How could I go so long without breathing?
A.
Breathing is a mysterious and complex process. Do not worry if you have periods when it seems you are not breathing. Your body will know when to start breathing again.
Holding the breath is natural; your body and your unconscious mind are denying the fear inside, so they prevent the flow of energy and that limits the escalation of fear. Never force your breathing. When you realise that you are holding your breath, just let it out; don’t punish yourself, but go back to your Constancy. You will get past this, but at some stage, you must be ready to confront your fears.
When your body/mind holds the breath it is doing this as a kind of self-defence. So it is worth heeding that warning. If you are going to face your fears then plan to have some support in place. If you do not have anyone to lean on, then be cautious and gentle with yourself as you go forward. It is my experience that a fear faced squarely and with honesty is never as bad as a fear left lurking in the shadows of your mind. It is also my experience that very, very few people can “go it alone,” so, look to your support. It does not have to be people that are doing the same thing or even know in detail what you are doing (though this is nice if you have it) but it needs to be people (family or friends or both) who you can go to when you feel troubled. Ideally, you would have a teacher of some kind and perhaps some group around that person who you can share things with. However, at the end of the day, whatever your situation, you will need to choose your method and apply it whole-heatedly.
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(6). Using restlessness

Q.
I am consumed with busyness. I like to work. I like to create. I like to do, do, do. Sitting in meditation is so difficult for me although when I force myself I often enjoy it. How do I manufacture hunger for spiritual practice?
A.
Use your busy-ness as your practice. Don’t just be busy, watch yourself be busy. You cannot manufacture hunger and passion. They will be there in you and they will come out, when you watch your self all the time ( or what ever practice you choose and stick to all the time).
Use all of what you do, to see all of what you are !
Do some Stillness/meditation too and just watch your restlessness. Try not to see your restlessness as a problem to be solved or by-passed rather see it as something to observe.
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(7) Peace of mind
Q.
Does constancy ever bring you peace of mind?
A.
It is best not to plan or aim for peace of mind. Instead, aim for something even better: find out who you are! You do this by constantly looking. And when you are sick and tired of looking, look some more. Constancy certainly works, but what it brings is different for all. It would be better for you to ask this: not “will I get peace of mind from this or that method,” but rather, “what will I bring to the search, how much do I want it, what am I prepared to do and how often?” To answer your question, I would say yes, but my “peace of mind” might be different to yours.
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(8). Sleep and dreams
Q

Is it really possible to take constancy – as we know it while awake – into sleep/dreaming? How can we “wake up” dreaming the same way we do when awake?

A
This is a big area because there are different kinds of dream work and like many things, some suite and some don’t. Firstly, the basics. All practicing Constancy should try and take it into sleep by making a special effort as they lay in bed, waiting for sleep to arrive. You can also using the “stepping stones”‘, where you count very slowly as sleep comes. This counting is not designed to hasten sleep but to help you see what is happening to your thoughts and feelings. On waking, do not move till full Constancy comes back.  This “do not move” is not as easy as it seems.  Do not move “at all” – until you are sure your Constancy is in place. This is is the basics.
 
. . . . . . . but for some, more “dreamwork” might be worth trying.  I have one big warning.  Most, who go into dreamwork ,do so for 2 reasons, either (1) they have sleep problems and these should probably be addressed by counselling or psychotherapy, or, (2) they want to control lucid dreaming.  I do not recommend dream work unless you feel a strong urge.  Bottom line  –  daytime Constancy is so difficult that often people will use dreamwork to avoid the rigours of Constancy.  So, my questions would be, why do want to “go into dreams”?  Check your motives carefully.

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( 9) Where is the Good News?
Q
I had recently said something like, “I’m certainly a mess inside.” You said there was good news and bad news. The bad news being that I’ll “always be a mess” inside. Could you remind me what the good news is again? . . . . . . It’s taking so much energy to sustain this that I’m having trouble “existing” externally for more than a day or two . . . . I find myself ‘slipping away’ from that constantly watching.
A
This is something you may want to consider: it may get worse. In such a place as you are now I say 2 things to people.
(1) Stick at it. Normal life isn’t so great either, it just seems that way now.
(2) If it hurts that bad, you are probably doing something right.
No bland reassurance from me. But I understand that you are searching for something you have not seen, of felt or tasted. You trust that “it” is real, even though most people disagree or describe it differently. Peace of mind? Freedom from worry? Insight? Whatever it is called, if you have never had it, how do you know it is real? Is “it” worth it? How long will “it” take to arrive? For you, I have no idea. If I told you how long I suffered it would not help you. You would not be able to resist comparing, no one on earth can resist that comparing.
Do you remember my favourite Zen poem?
‘my heart burns like fire
but my eyes are as cold
as dead ashes’
( Soyen Shaku).
Can you see now why my eyes are cold? My heart can burn with compassion for you but my cold eyes are saying, if you want to find the 2nd truth you have to do all the digging yourself. I am only showing you the shovel.
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(10). Strong feelings arising
Q
I felt a fury of feelings rise up, mostly embarrassment and then raging anger at [someone] for embarrassing me. Once they passed, I began to feel something else: depressed. I literally became tearful. Then a minute later I was laughing at myself for being so emotional about something so silly.”

A

The depressed feeling, though unpleasant for you, is not only ok, it is completely inevitable and necessary. It may come up a lot but, believe it or not, it’s a good sign. So is the sulky kid feeling. This is your internal self-defence mechanism, created when you were a kid, adjusting. As it adjusts, it leaves a downer, a depression it its wake. Just grin and bear it, you are doing well. I promise you it is a good sign. The other good sign is the speed of feelings coming and going. You are suffering and that is never easy but it happens when you have been practicing Constancy for a while. Let the feelings come, let them go, watching all the time.

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( 11 ). Intensity of watching
Q
I watch and watch and watch, and then something comes, and then SLAM! Like an iron wall door falling, it gets cut off, completely muted. And on top of that, not knowing if what is on the “other side” of this slamming-down-muting-thing is even worth the trouble. I don’t know what I’m looking for anymore. Peace of mind? Self-knowledge? Something special to impress others with? “Truth”? What is it that others have done that it is now “my turn”? I know something’s up and boiling when I start looking for a way out, but I’m oblivious to it’s significance.
A
I know it is hard, but no matter what you do that ‘wall slamming down’ is going to come. If you put on orange robes and became a monk in a monastery, you would face it. If you climb a mountain and get pure air, it will slam down. If you fast in the desert it will slam down. You might find a somewhere or something that is the more conducive to you; who knows, it might suit you to be a monk – but it will slam down and you will confront it. Or, you can turn away. Let’s face it, most do. There is nothing wrong with choosing happiness rather than knowing. If you do get past the slamming down, no one is going to give you a medal either. I can tell you, that the harder it is to focus, then the closer you are. It really is that simple.
Put your anger and despair and all your feelings into the Constancy practice. Your internal defences will throw anything at you, anything that will get your attention and turn you away form your practice. The worse you feel, the closer you are. You know this. It may get worse you can be persistently tenacious and yet also gentle with yourself too.
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( 12 ). What if I am stuck?
Q
How do we determine when I am “stuck” somewhere?

A
This may sound trite but if you truly practice Constancy you can never be stuck. You may feel you are but by definition YOU cannot be, because you are watching your “stuckness.” If deluded, then you are watching your delusion. This is why Constancy is so powerful. If you do not know what to do, watch that. If nothing’s happening, watch that. If you join a group who meditate, then meditate and watch that. When feelings emerging from the “underneath” (your “space”) reveal some truth, watch that. Knowing, watch that. Not knowing, watch that.

Now, tell me, WHAT IS WATCHING? Don’t know? Watch that till you do. This is why Constancy is so fantastic. It’s harder for you because you are not doing much else, but Constancy is resonant with and can run in parallel with most other methods of introspection. If you found a great job tomorrow that used up most of your passion, you can still take Constancy with you; if everything works out fine you can still take your Constancy with you. If not, still watch.

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( 13 ). Returning To Constancy

Q
I am not able to watch constantly, far from it but I hope Ive put enough effort into watching these few years . . . . . Watching as much as possible really is the hardest thing to do, even after years of trying.

A
You have crossed a significant bridge, you really know what Constancy is. Don’t worry about ‘how much’ you do, that’s an ego thing. It’s the “returning” to Constancy that matters most. Remember, returning is not a mark of failure; it is a crucial act of Constancy. The quality of your returning to it is as important as the actual doing of it.

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(14) Final description of Constancy

Q.
Tell me again, why do we do it all the time? I don’t get it.

A.
We practice Constancy all the time (24/7, for ever) because it works. So the question ‘underneath’ is, why does it work? There are two main reasons. Our busy minds have many automatic functions that I nickname, the ‘auto-pilot’. Those functions work differently at different times, for example, when your are asleep they work differently to when you are wide awake – but they are always on. One of the functions of the auto-pilot is like an ‘aiming’ facility. Your mind can ‘aim’ at something. To do this, it ‘arranges things’, makes plans, checks up on things, makes adjustments, assess results. Much of this is unconscious. So your conscious mind and your auto-pilot work (mostly seamlessly), to make things happen. This is good, this partnership keeps you, your family, what matters to you, alive. We want this to continue. This vital process, this honed-by-evolution system, must continue because without it we descend into illness and/or madness. So it is not really a choice is it? Another way of saying this is, eat and stay alive – or – starve and die. Technically a choice (and of course, some choose to die) but not really a choice. Put simply, we are structured and this is good, it works but the functioning of our minds blocks things. Our structuring prevents some things from happening. The first powerful reason why Constancy works, is that by looking at out feelings all the time, we become aware of some things that we would otherwise not know. Deeper feelings, blocked by our structuring, by our auto-pilot, surface and become more visible. These deliver, eventually, your second kind of truth. They surface, not on demand but as a by-product of looking but the looking has to be all the time.

The second main reason is related to the above and concerns destinations. Our auto-pilot is results orientated, is destination focused. In fact, it is more complicated than that. Our auto-pilot can handle multiple destinations lined up. In a sequence, when one destination is achieved, the auto-pilot is already lining up the next one. Here we need to take a brief diversion and then come back to the ‘results orientation’.

Why do people practice Constancy? Because they want something. That something can have many descriptions, peace of mind, greater awareness, religious insight, enlightenment, release from suffering – whatever the goal is, all these goals have something in common. People do not actually know what they are. They just feel these things must be good, that others seem to have them and they seem good or happier or more powerful – or their current circumstances are not acceptable and they have to do something to move on, to be ‘better’, to be free perhaps. So they have an aim they hope to achieve, to get something from Constancy. They might say something like this to themselves : ‘I think it (Constancy or some other method) will make things better for me, make me better’. The trouble is, they do not actually know what”it” is. Because if they already had it, they would not need to do anything to get it. So they are trusting that there is ‘betterness’ they can achieve without actually knowing what that betterness is, what “it” is. Their auto-pilot is underpinning their desires with an aim or series of aims. And here is where the trouble is. There is no “it”. “It” is not a destination you can arrive at. “It” is not a thing you can acquire and then posses. “It” is a journey.

And because it is a journey, we do not know when to stop. This is the second main reason we do Constancy all the time. At the deeper levels, the second kind of truth is not a truth you get, it is a truth you become. Becoming, does not have an end. It can change but it does not end. So Constancy matches the nature of the second truth, it is a journey not a destination.
– don’t all journeys have destinations (I hear you ask?).
– not all, some have phases
– isn’t death a destination (I hear you ask)?
– death is a transition from one phase to another.
– does this mean I will survive death (I hear you ask?).
– see your ” I ” clearly and then find out
– why can’t you give me a straight answer on that (I hear you ask)?
– because the question is not straight – you tell me, what is this ” I “?
– ok, not my body, though that influences it – it is my mind.
– your mind is a collection of bits working together, it’s was born and it will die
– so no one survives death? (I hear you ask)
– what survives death, was not born. this is an experience and not a lump of knowledge to acquire. to have these experiences you need to choose a method, like Constancy, and then do it all the time. the experiences are not a thing you have but an awareness of a journey you are already on.

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The 18

The 18 . . . . . a shape for a manifesto

Introduction

The 18 is a frame or shape for a manifesto that attempts to collect in one place, the key elements needed to inform humanity’s future and how we get there. It is designed to be a seed, from which all aspects can safely grow but also a bedrock that informs everything. Large or small, these principles can be applied but work best and are strongest if they are accepted as a whole. It is designed to be the seed of a new morality and corresponding legal structure. What is good and right is not dependent on being told so, but on deciding so. Decisions are not enough, there then has to be communication and negotiation. History shows that change goes through periods of slow development followed by violent confrontation – the discipline of the 18 is one of persuasion and use of force only as last resort, sanctioned by a two-thirds majority. Leadership still plays a role, the leaders will need to be be those who persuade, those who engineer consensus.

It is called ‘the shape of a manifesto’ because this is more than a method, it is designed to be a way of life. The act of applying it and seeking to establish it in the real world is as important as the principles themselves. At this stage, we are are thinking, in some detail, of the circumstances where it can be applied first. Like a thought experiment, think of where it might be used and run some scenarios on how it might play out. An important part of this process is the discipline of how it is applied – all 18 must be applied at the same time in every circumstance.

The 18 principles are outlined first and they are followed by some notes on each.
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Principles

1. Doing good, is something we choose to do.

2. Defining and describing ‘good’ can be agreed.

3. Building the future safely, can only be achieved from seeing clearly where we are now. A description of where we are now can be agreed

4. Those beings who choose the future and agree on how it can be reached, must be sentient

5. A sentient being must have a core identity that is beyond doubt, registered in a recognised organisation. A core identity can be mobile but it is registered in only one place. A core identity has one vote in any one agreement process

6. An agreement process can be a one-off or on-going

7. A two-thirds majority is always binding on the whole.

8. Conflict within the group can be resolved by agreement. Where conflict cannot be resolved, the two-thirds majority is binding and is the authority for enforcement

9. The planet we are on is our home and everyone must protect it

10. Poverty must be abolished, all must have the basics of survival – water, food and shelter to a minimum standard. This approach can have many reasons but at the core, it is because we choose it.

11. Buying and selling takes place in a transparent market but one that is regulated to protect the planet

12. Privacy is a luxury only possible if the planet is not threatened

13. Sentient beings with a vote must protect those beings who do not have a vote

14. Two wrongs do not make a right. The end does not justify the means because there are no ends, only change and continuity.

15. The 18 operate within virtual boundaries. The smallest unit might be a family or cell. The next size up would be a community or a business. The next size up would be a city. The next size up would be a nation. The largest group would be an assemblage of nations. All apply the principles to make decisions in the same way.

16. Some decisions need to be taken so quickly that voting is not fast enough. Some functions will need to be carried out by individuals. These individuals will operate within terms of reference delegated to them by the group. Duration, change and revocation are set by the group. Decisions taken by individuals, who must have auditable terms of reference, are binding on the group.

17. People will be members of different groups and different sized groups. Interactions between the different sized groups will be agreed by the group members. In a situation of conflict, the larger two-thirds takes precedence over the smaller two-thirds.

18. Doing good, is something we choose to do and this choosing is both individual and collective. Any future we have can only be achieved if we get this balance right. The process of getting this balance right is something we can choose to agree on, no matter how difficult.

Principles expanded

1. Doing and describing good, is something we choose to do.

There has been much debate about whether we are free or not. Does free-will exist? The 18 starts in a very simple place. We choose to give ourselves freedom but this is not a freedom to do as we want. It is a freedom to do what most of us want. It is a circular piece of logic – we choose to be beings that choose. We choose this bootstrap, because we can. ‘Good’ is a very simple concept here. It is what we want. It is that simple. Up till now we have, as it were, ‘inherited’ our concept of good, mostly influenced by religion or its legacy. The 18 is an attempt to strip back this process to absolute basics. If ‘good’ is what we want, then morality, it’s framing, is also what we want. We choose our morality and the means of its deployment.

2. Defining ‘good’ can be agreed.

If good is simply what we want, how we do decide what we want? Choosing to choose (1 above) has to be the first principle. As important as that is, it still needs a “how”. We have to agree. Whatever mechanism is devised to deliver agreement, that act of agreeing is the crucial next principle. We can look back on history and see a range of options – tyranny, democracy of various kinds, anarchy, slavery – what do we want?

3. Building the future safely, can only be achieved from seeing clearly where we are now. A description of where we are now can be agreed

The starting place needs to be agreed or the directions taken later will diverge more as time passes.

4. Those beings who choose the future and agree on how it can be reached, must be sentient

There is a saying : ‘you will wait a long time for a rock to speak’. We draw the line somewhere in order to survive. Sentience is the best place to draw the line. We must agree what ‘sentience’ is.

5. A sentient being must have a core identity that is beyond doubt, registered in a recognised organisation. A core identity can be mobile but it is registered in only one place. A core identity has one vote in any one agreement process

Sentience is the best place to draw the line but it is a mobile line. We can agree where to draw the line but the act of drawing the line has to be secure. We have to trust each other but that trust must be transparent, structured and beyond doubt. Before we get to agree, we have to have trust in who is doing the agreeing. At the moment, a human being has a passport and a voting right. As science advances we will see a range of potential beings, from humans to post-humans, human-machine hybrids, machine intelligences and all of these might include copying and/or cloning. Human beings may live organically at first but then choose to exist entirely on-line. On-line identities themselves will become more complex. There needs to be a manageable baseline, that is, one being, one location, one vote.

6. An agreement process can be a one-off or on-going

As our electronic life develops, technology will offer multiple ways of connecting and decision making. All will still be based on one being, one location, one vote. Whether a macro political process or a minor domestic one, principle 5 still applies.

7. A two-thirds majority is always binding on the whole.

Stalemate can be a difficult problem, democracy and fairness are important but not if we are all dead because a decision could not be made. A discipline we must all embrace is the principle of accepting the majority decision. If you and yours cannot build a two-thirds majority, then your plan is not going to happen. Keep trying and move on but the overall system must continue.

8. Conflict can be resolved by agreement. Where conflict cannot be resolved, the two-thirds majority is binding and is the authority for enforcement

Conflict resolution is key. There will be laws and policies for a long time yet but they cannot cover every eventuality. The same principle at work in 7 must cover conflict resolution. The discipline is to accept the group decision for the overall greater good. Where people refuse to accept the two-thirds majority, then enforcement must be used. The speed of life is getting faster and faster, compete audit will be constantly available. The two-thirds majority, fully accepted by all, will facilitate clear action in real time.

9. The planet we are on is our home and everyone must protect it

This has to be seen now. We are not free to destroy our home. In fairness to all, none can opt out of this. A good principle that influenced this was first posted by Jason Stoddard ( http://www.strangeandhappy.com ). “To all sufficiency, from all sustainability”.

10. Poverty must be abolished, all must have the basics of survival – water, food and shelter to a minimum standard. This approach can have many reasons but at the core, it is because we choose it.

If there is no poverty, then whole series of inter-connected problems go away. We can make a case for poverty being immoral or even just express a sentiment like, ‘we look after our own’. Yet on a practical level alone, the human race will be more productive if all can contribute to a minimum level and not spend time just struggling to survive. Poverty breeds conflict, conflict inhibits the safety of the planet. At the end of the day, we can just choose this as an option. If a critical mass of decision makers choose this, poverty will wither away.

11. Buying and selling take place in a transparent market but one that is regulated to protect the planet

Capitalism has grown and developed and other experiments in organising production have failed. Even with its limitations (like waste), there seems to be no alternative to capitalism. Capitalism will continue to develop under the accelerating speed of online life but needs to be framed by principles 10 and 11.

12. Privacy is a luxury and only a necessity in some commercial practices

Privacy is expensive. Do we really need it? Principle 11 states the importance of shelter. People need a refuge from the struggles of life but we can make a distinction between personal privacy, (where people should not be intruded upon or bullied) and commercial and social business, where no one needs to hide anything. Commercial competition will still require secrets in some circumstances.

13. Sentient beings with a vote must protect those beings who do not have a vote

The distinction between who is sentient and who is not, will get more and more complicated but we can choose to live in a world where those who vote and control resources can choose to look after those who do not.

14. Two wrongs do not make a right. The end does not justify the means because there are no ends.

This principle just recognises that solutions that are short term only at the expense of our future survival, are not acceptable. Things actually do not end, they change and continue. Solving a problem now that results in another future problem is not an acceptable solution unless it is a dire emergency.

15. The 18 operate within virtual boundaries. The smallest unit might be a family or cell. The next size up would be a community or a business. The next size up would be a city. The next size up would be a nation. The largest group would be an assemblage of nations. All apply the principles to make decisions in the same way.

Boundaries are important and they would need a secure, transparent and automatic audit trail of all decisions and associated data. A group might change its mind but not the record of how it made each decision. The decision making process to ensure transparency, can be stored by the same system that keeps identities secure, thereby avoiding disputes about who said what and when.

16. Some decisions need to be taken so quickly that voting is not fast enough. Some functions will need to be carried out by individuals. These individuals will operate within terms of reference delegated to them by the group. Decisions taken by individuals with auditable terms of reference, are binding on the whole group.

Delegation is inevitable and not a problem as long as accountability is in real-time, effective and easily revoked. A unit should not permanently delegate its power to an individual as this will clash with the rest of the 18.

17. People will be members of different groups and different sized groups. Interactions between the different sized groups will be agreed by the group members. In a situation of conflict, the larger two-thirds takes precedence over the smaller two-thirds.

In exactly the same way that individuals vote in a group, so smaller groups will be part of larger groups, and will have a vote in that larger group. Smaller groups will be nested in larger groups. When a smaller groups is making a decision, it will need to factor in the necessity of making sure its decision can operate within the larger group structures it is a part of.

18. Doing good, is something we choose to do and this choosing is both individual and collective. Any future we have can only be achieved if we get this balance right. The process of getting this balance right is something we can choose to agree on.

Whilst it is possible for a person to live alone and self-sustain this is not how humans work. Our past was a collective one and our future needs to be a collective one as well. Perhaps there will be hermits living alone, or, break-away groups but the main momentum will be a collective one. We would choose maximum individuation but not support harmful renegades.

Engineering Consensus

It will not be easy but we will need to create some discipline. This may be fostered by some simple steps in the process. These could be as follows:
Sharing ideas
Debate
Building proposals
Agreeing the agenda
Voting

Each step is different. Sharing ideas is just putting things on the table to be looked at, ( people may even put opposing ideas on the table to see what happens in the next debating stage). The debate stage is still informal, it may itself generate new ideas. When two-thirds agree the debate is over, the proposals need to be structured and priorities in the agenda agreed. Voting does not include more debate. At any one time, a group may choose to go back a stage but mixing up the contents of the stages would be counter-productive.

The hard discipline will be accepting the two-thirds majority in all cases. This will not always be easy. For example, supposing you do not like cleaning. Then supposing the community group you are part of decide that the street they all live in, is not clean enough and a two-thirds majority agree that all members will sweep the street they live in by rota, once a week. You will have to do it, or pay someone to take your place in the rota, or negotiate a swap of some equivalence – or move away. Accepting the 18 does not involve the option of choosing which decisions you are part of. It is the rough with the smooth. Some may see this as a loss of freedom but others will see this as an act of taking responsibly that leads to some greater freedoms of participation.

Some difficulties will emerge, for example, two community groups that are next door to each other and one introduces no bonfires and the other does not. The wind blowing smoke may cause all kinds of hostilities. Negotiation and compromise will be called for and perhaps referral to a larger group that both are members of.

The transition from ‘here’ to ‘there’ (there being full macro acceptance of the 18), will be difficult – especially the transition to new legal structures. However, if enough people start doing it at small and local level, it can grow from the bottom up, thus leaving the most complex (city, national and international level) till last. In this transition period, some groups may have to hold back on some decisions for strategic purposes. This is about gradual change. Just like throughout history, the ‘old’ and ‘new’ will coexist going forward so decisions must be principled but also realistic.

Conclusion

These principles are designed to replace existing morality. At this stage, the 18 need road testing against ‘reality’. We can imagine a set of circumstances and then just say, “what if”? Consensus can be built from the bottom up. The discipline is simple but not easy to follow. The principles must be accepted in total; no ‘pick-and-choose’. This is about forging a consensus. The one-third who “loose” the vote, must accept the group decision. Leadership still plays a role, the leaders will be those who persuade, those who engineer consensus.

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