Tag Archives: brain

Dreaming is a Crucial Mental State

WHEN our thick brains get all heated up worrying about life’s complexities, that’s often  the best time to kick off our shoes, and give it a rest.

Faced with a critical decision, or stuck on a complex problem, researchers have discovered that sleeping or napping on them often lead to a right direction or decision.

“In a Wonderland they lie, Dreaming as the days go by, Dreaming as the summers die,” Lewis Carroll wrote of children:

“Ever drifting down the stream— Lingering in the golden gleam — Life, what is it but a dream?”

As adults the notes of a song, the smell of burning leaves, the babbling of a mountain brook, a day-dream — all may open doors to another realm of poetic mind. They also arouse unexpected emotions and reminiscences.

In Wordsworth’s haunting poem “Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” reveries opened for him an unexpected awareness of past lives, the realization he had lived before.

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“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar …”

§

There is “a class of fancies of exquisite delicacy,” the poet Edgar Allan Poe wrote in Marginalia, “which are not thoughts, and to which, as yet, I have found it absolutely impossible to adapt language.”

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Our Three Brains, a Mind of their Own

Microbiology Lab

NEUROSCIENTISTS  have been busy for years attempting to establish and finalize the proposed “neuronal correlates of consciousness” originating in the brain.

Modern science seems determined to prove that consciousness, our thoughts and awareness, must somehow originate in the gray matter between our ears.

This mechanistic view was assumed as fact by the Human Genome Project, established to catalog the complete human DNA and identify specific cures for all diseases, yet has failed to do so.

It is held that genes carry information about how we look, how well our bodies metabolize food or fight infection, and can determine even how we behave.

It was thought, therefore, that researchers would easily be able to identify specific genes underlying specific diseases, and then all diseases could be eliminated by manipulating the related genes.

But it was discovered that the seemingly simple concept was much more complex than expected.

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Just as the origin of consciousness cannot be tagged to specific neurons in the brain, genes are not easily pigeonholed to one disorder. It was found that they function in complex, and frequently changing teams.

Now science is edging nearer to Theosophy, looking closer at a long-neglected area called the microbiome — researching how hundreds of different species of living microbes, inhabiting the human body and outside, are responsible for our health and behaviors. They even discovered a second brain, in our gut, known as the enteric nervous system!

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Finding Nirvana with a Stroke of Insight

Jill BolteTaylor

Jill BolteTaylor

LORD Krishna the famed deity of Hinduism, pegged the complex duality of our human minds more than five thousand years ago.

In the Bhagavad-Gita Krishna instructs his disciple Arjuna on the paradoxical nature of the mind and senses — all while the pair were in the middle of a battlefield with arrows flying.

The “Self is the friend of self, and in like manner, self is its own enemy” Krishna cautions the reluctant warrior Arjuna in the Gita, Chapter Six.

The ancient wisdom-teaching of dueling human selves was much more than a symbolic morality play. And the unavoidable reality is preserved in our own living flesh, dynamically channeling through the dual hemispheres of our physical brain.

Beyond the physical body and brain, remaining yet a means of reaching that place lies Nirvana, a spiritually lucid zone of release and liberation from worldly concerns. All self-realized Masters of Wisdom, according to Theosophy, have achieved and live in that spiritual state fully conscious.

smilingbuddhas

Such Adepts such as Buddha, followed the injunction of the Book of the Golden Precepts,” according to William Q. Judge in his Echoes from the Orient (p. 33), to”Step out from sunlight into shade, to make more room for others.”

“They are owners of Nirvana who refuse to accept it in order that they may help the suffering orphan, Humanity.”

It can be compared to the sacrifice of workers for humanitarian causes who give up modern comforts and rest to help others. Such are the examples of Father Damien (lauded by H. P. Blavatsky in her Key to Theosophy), who devoted his life to the leper colonies of Hawaii.

Father Damien

Father Damien

“He was a true Theosophist,” she wrote, “and his memory will live for ever in our annals.” And similarly we recall the selfless work of Helene and Albert Schweitzer who volunteered as medical missionaries in Africa.

There are many hundreds of examples of volunteers who today are working tirelessly in many areas of the world including areas of the environment, conservation, poverty, animal welfare and child abuse, starvation, etc., etc.

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The Reality of Illusion of Reality

SEEN as the dependable Gaia, our Mother Earth is a beautiful and bountiful haven for life in the cosmos.

But day to day living here represents a wide variety of experiences, not all of them necessarily compatible.

For example, artists, writers, poets, mathematicians, shamans, homeless persons, business people, storm chasers.

Each of them experiences our shared planet through their own unique lens.

Each hears, sees, tastes and feels based upon their particular worldview, and these unique affectations manifest in an infinitude of variations.

“Why is it that one person sees poetry in a cabbage or a pig with her little ones,” H. P. Blavatsky asks:

“while another will perceive in the loftiest things only their lowest and most material aspect.”

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Some, she says, “will laugh at the ‘music of the spheres,’ and ridicule the most sublime conceptions and philosophies.”

Mme. Blavatsky’s contemporary, Margaret Wolfe Hungerford (née Hamilton), under the pseudonym ‘The Duchess,’ wrote many books. In Molly Bawn, 1878, she gave us the familiar phrase:

“Beauty is in the eye
of the beholder.”

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Mme. Blavatsky explained the inner significance of this phrase. Differences of perception, she says, “depend on the innate power of the mind to think on the higher or on the lower plane — with the astral or with the physical brain.

“Great intellectual powers are often no proof of, but are impediments to spiritual and right conceptions,” Blavatsky adds:

“…witness most of the great men of science. We must rather pity than blame them.”

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Dogs that Know When Their Owners are Coming Home

Science Set Free

“THREE decades ago, few scientists were courageous enough to break ranks and question their own belief system,” Deepak Chopra writes.

“Even calling science a belief system sounded outrageous – religion is a matter of belief, science a matter of facts.”

What follows are excerpts from Deepak Chopra’s recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle SFGate – Dr. Rupert Sheldrake’s top 10 list on Scientific Ideology – and H. P. Blavatsky’s “Ten Items” of natural law in Isis Unveiled (Vol. 2:588), called “the fundamental propositions of the Oriental philosophy.”

“The most far-seeing scientist who was willing to break ranks then, as now, was Rupert Sheldrake, who risked his impeccable credentials as a Cambridge biochemist with real joy, like a man suddenly able to breathe.

“Thirty years after his first heretical books, Sheldrake’s new one, ‘Science Set Free’ is a landmark achievement. No science writing has inspired me more.”

Deepak Chopra, San Francisco Chronicle

“Sheldrake’s essential point is that science needs setting free from ten blind dogmas. These dogmas embrace a true belief system as much as Roman Catholicism or any other faith. Behind the daily activity of gathering data, science assumes certain things about reality that, according to Sheldrake, are unsupportable.

“The first dogma, for example, holds that the universe is mechanical. If that is so, then everything in the universe is also mechanical, including human beings – or to use a phrase from the noted atheist Richard Dawkins, we are ‘lumbering robots.’

“From a scientist’s perspective, to understand everything that you need to know about human beings, you only have to tinker with all the mechanical parts of genes and the brain until there are no more secrets left.”

“Clearly such a view leaves no room for the soul, which becomes a wispy illusion that needs to be swept away. But then, so does the self, because there is no region of the brain that contains ‘I,’ a person.

“As long as ‘I’ is a hallucination formed by complex neural circuitry, one can throw out – or reduce to mechanical operations – love, beauty, truth, compassion, honor, devotion, faith, and so on, the whole apparatus that makes a person’s life feel valuable. A random universe has no purpose; therefore, giving lumbering robots a purpose is dubious.”

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Season of the Sun: Our Cosmic Mother

gaia-mother-earth-childWHAT is the winter solstice, and why do so many people around the world bother to celebrate it, as they do every year at this time?

“The word ‘solstice’ derives from the Latin sol (meaning sun) and statum (stand still),” explains the NY Times Op-Ed Contributor in the article”There Goes the Sun.”

The phenomenon reflects what we see on the first days of summer and winter at dawn for two or three days.

At that time the sun seems to linger for several minutes in its passage across the sky, before beginning to double back.

Winter in the northern hemisphere marks the annual return of an ancient solar festival. Indeed, “turnings of the sun” is an old phrase, used by both Hesiod and Homer. The novelist Alan Furst has one of his characters nicely observe, “the day the sun is said to pause,” recalls the NY Times Op Ed:Pleasing, that idea…

As though the universe stopped for a moment to reflect, took a day off from work. One could sense it, time slowing down.”

wavy_line2

But the event has deeper, metaphysical implications. Both the Sun and the human heart are the two greatest life-givers we know. Indissolubly interconnected, according to occult teachings, both radiate continuously a powerful aura of biological and regenerative energies.

“The real substance of the concealed (Sun) is a nucleus of Mother substance,” Blavatsky writes in The Secret Doctrine (1:290, xxi). It is the heart and the matrix of all the living and existing Forces in our solar universe.

mother-substance

“As its substance is of a different kind from that known on earth, the inhabitants of the latter, seeing through it, believe in their illusion and ignorance that it is empty space,” she says (1:289, xix). Yet there “is not one finger’s breath (angula) of void Space in the whole Boundless Universe.”

Ancient astrology and astronomy identify many ancient temples, and pyramids around the world connected to solar symbology. Such sites and mounds are considered mere burial tombs by mainstream archeologists, most of whom are disinterested in spiritual traditions.

But at the time of their construction these sites were in fact intended, wrote H. P. Blavatsky in Isis Unveiled (1:270), to be sacred places of initiation. Describing the Spiritual Sun, called “Agni,” the ancient Rig-Veda declares, she says, “His radiance is undecaying …

…the intensely-shining, all-pervading, unceasing, undecaying rays of Agni desist not, neither night nor day.”

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“Our Birth is But a Sleep and a Forgetting”

WHEN our thick brains get all heated up worrying about life’s complexities, that’s often  the best time to kick off our shoes, and give it a rest.

Faced with a critical decision, or stuck on a complex problem, dream researchers have discovered, sleeping or napping on them often led to a right solution.

“In a Wonderland they lie, Dreaming as the days go by, Dreaming as the summers die,” Lewis Carroll wrote of children: “Ever drifting down the stream— Lingering in the golden gleam — Life, what is it but a dream?”

As adults the notes of a song, the smell of burning leaves, the babbling of a mountain stream, a day-dream — all may open doors to another realm of poetic mind. They also arouse unexpected vistas.

In Wordsworth’s haunting poem “Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” reveries opened for him an unexpected awareness of past lives.

§

“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar …”

§

There is “a class of fancies of exquisite delicacy,” the poet Edgar Allan Poe wrote in Marginalia, “which are not thoughts, and to which, as yet, I have found it absolutely impossible to adapt language.”

Continue reading