Archive for the ‘evolution’ Category

Anapanasati

October 18, 2014

“To some extent the rigid distinction between ego and environment is equivalent to that between mind and body, or between the voluntary and involuntary neural systems. This is probably the reason why Zen and yoga disciplines pay so much attention to breathing, to watching over the breath (anapanasati), since it is in this organic function that we can see most easily the essential identity of voluntary and involuntary action. We cannot help breathing, and yet it seems that breath is under our control; we both breathe and are breathed. For the distinction of the voluntary and the involuntary is valid only within a somewhat limited perspective. Strictly speaking, I will or decide involuntarily. Were it not so, it would always be necessary for me to decide to decide and to decide to decide to decide in an infinite regress. Now the involuntary processes of the body, such as the beating of the heart, do not seem to differ very much in principle from other involuntary actions going on outside the body. Both are, as it were, environmental. When, therefore, the distinction of voluntary and involuntary is transcended within the body, it is also transcended with respect to events outside the body.”

From Alan Watts, “The Way of Liberation in Zen Buddhism.” In The Way of Liberation: Essays and Lectures on the Transformation of the Self (New York: Weatherhill, 1983), 13-14.

Moving…

April 14, 2013

“The word emotion itself comes from the Latin exmovere, and means to move out, agitate, or excite. This is where our English word ‘motion’ comes from, and of course you can see the connection with the word ‘emotion’. When emotions get stirred up, they bring about movement or action.”

From Scott E. Spradlin, Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life: How Dialectical Behavior Therapy Can Put You in Control (Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2003), 9.

The Jest of the Gods

March 31, 2013

“‘True,’ said Kull. ‘I remember the legends — Valka!’ He stopped short, staring, for suddenly, like the silent swinging wide of a mystic door, misty, unfathomed reaches opened in the recesses of his consciousness and for an instant he seemed to gaze back through the vastness that spanned life and life; seeing through the vague and ghostly fogs dim shapes reliving dead centuries — men in combat with hideous monsters, vanquishing a planet of frightful terrors. Against a grey, ever-shifting background moved strange nightmare forms, fantasies of lunacy and fear; and man, the jest of the gods, the blind, wisdomless striver from dust to dust, following the long bloody trail of his destiny, knowing not why, bestial, blundering, like a great murderous child, yet feeling somewhere a spark of divine fire…Kull drew a hand across his brow, shaken; these sudden glimpses into the abysses of memory always startled him.”

From Robert E. Howard, “The Shadow Kingdom,” in Heroes in the Wind: From Kull to Conan (London: Penguin, 2009), 28.

Reflection on Performing the Middle Pillar Ritual

January 31, 2013

So this is the thing. I’ve been reading about fringe, esoteric and occult traditions – from anthroposophy to Zoroastrianism – for twenty years. I’m also a professional historian of medicine and philosopher, versed in ideas like the anima, archaeus, pneuma, vital force, chi, prana, Od, orgone, etc, etc…But here’s the rub – I have no experience as a practicing healer or occultist.

The opportunity arose this week to finally change that fact and I took it. In truth, the opportunity was always there and I never seized it…

The Middle Pillar is a really basic magic ritual – it is derived from Qabalah with a western spin by way of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn; And particularly, more recently (since 1938), by way of Israel Regardie. It’s a simple process – a combination of breathing, visualization, and incantation (chanting). But it’s a process!

So much of occult ritual and ceremony has been written about and rendered into theory, but its practice is what is key. However much one tries to distinguish or unify these paths and their philosophies – they are all, by virtue of the universality of practice, one. Too much reading, intellectualizing, and thinking – these are, as in life, dangerous. They take away from the too often forgotten fact of life – that it is lived, experienced, inhabited.

All these occult traditions are, in a way, about presence and mindfulness. About being, moment to moment. The theory and contemplation are fine, but they can only really add details and depth to doing. True gnosis comes from habit, and even then it is a real effort to grow and find “enlightenment”. Time and energy are required.

The Middle Pillar reminded me of this – of the existential essence of the esoteric. I step onto a path armed with a deep body of knowledge – but in order to move forward, it may be as much a question of forgetting than of knowing.

As I suspected long ago when writing about vitalism and its history – all is breath. As we breathe, so do we live. And create…

This is, beyond all the complexities of history, terminology, and theory, all we need to know (nous).

Flight…

January 26, 2013

“Space flights are merely an escape, a fleeing away from oneself, because it is easier to go to Mars or to the moon than it is to penetrate one’s own being.”

Carl Jung

From Adelaide Bry and Marjorie Bair, Visualization: Directing the Movies of Your Mind (New York: Harper & Row, 1976), 18.

Reality Hacker

July 30, 2012

Are YOU a reality hacker??

Read this and find out!

The Patterson Film Reconsidered

July 25, 2012

The Patterson film, which was taken in the Northern California forest in 1967, remains the quintessential piece of indecisive evidence for the existence of the famed cryptid Bigfoot. I’m currently reviewing a book on the subject, and I’ll let the author’s words sketch out its significance:

“Patterson’s film has been studies by amateurs, evaluated by special effects experts, and looked at by scientists. It has been picked over, poked at, trumpeted as the most important piece of wildlife film ever taken, and laughed at as an obvious fake. The reason it resists scrutiny — and probably always will, regardless of whether it is genuine or fake — is the material fact that the film itself is of poor quality. Even with all the high tech gadgetry available to examine the film, the low resolution of the original grainy 16mm footage renders it practically impossible to analyze in great detail. We may never know whether Patterson meant it to be this way, or that it was just dumb luck of an individual unskilled and unsophisticated in the ways of filmmaking. In North America at least, it has become the toll booth all anomalous primate enthusiasts, academic or amateur, must pass to proceed. it lurks and skulks and peeps about just off to the side of every believer and skeptic, challenging, mocking, and encouraging. Regardless of who owns it, the Patterson film became a central component of Sasquatch studies. It allows for no middle ground. It is either real or fake, with no chance it is a misidentification of something else. Patty’s now legendary backward glance in frame 352 [Ed. Note: See image] teases and tests anyone who has ever seen it. It survives when all others associated with it have come and gone. It is not the only evidence, and it is not the only contentious evidence. Everything ever brought forward to support manlike monsters, mystery-apes, and anomalous primates has been controversial and will continue to be.”

From Brian Regal, Searching for Sasquatch: Crackpots, Eggheads and Cryptozoology (New York: Palgrave, 2011), 129-130.

Image found here.

Still seems tantalizingly elusive, this film — shaky, confused, out of context and scale. And yet somehow completely haunting.

So, what do YOU think??

Louvre

June 14, 2012

The sixth (+1 day) anniversary of my first post with this project. An image that captures what I hope to keep producing…Doorways to mysterious places…


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