Saturday, November 30, 2019

Stories


It is the stories we tell that define us. Our stories relate the way we look at the world. From these we shape our societal structures and our relationships with each other and the environment around us; our stories show the way we do business and educate our young, and how we organize and divide our planet. Our science is not so much the ultimate last word on truth as it is yet another story, shifting with time as we make new discoveries.

Our current scientific story is more than three hundred years old, originating with the remarkable discoveries of Isaac Newton. In many ways we still live in a 17th century mind-set. In this story the universe is a place in which matter moves within three-dimensional space and time according to certain fixed physical laws. It is a reliable place with well behaved and easily identifiable matter. But Newton plucked the Creator from the world of matter, ripped out the heart and soul from matter, and left in its wake a lifeless collection of interlocking parts.

Our current story also arises from the evolutionary ideas of Charles Darwin who suggested that survival is most likely only for the genetically fittest among us. Darwin told us we came to this life in a random way, that we are predatory, purposeless, and solitary. He told us we were no more than an evolutionary accident and that if we want to survive we must be the best. He might as well have said that we are genetic terrorists and that it is imperative that we dispose of the weak in order to survive. This story idealizes separateness; we have been told for three hundred years that life is a zero sum game, that for every winner, there is a loser. And so that's the way we have come to believe our world really is.

These paradigms – that the world is a machine, that humans have to compete for survival – have led to our technological mastery in our world, but at what cost? On a spiritual and metaphysical level we are desperately isolated. Newton and Darwin have brought us no closer to any understanding of the fundamental mysteries of our own being – how we think, where life originates, what it means to get ill, how a single cell can turn into a fully formed person, and what happens to human consciousness when we die.

The story that we have all grown accustomed to, however, is about to be replaced with a drastically revised version. With new discoveries in the past century, the emerging story suggests that we essentially exist in unity, and are furthermore interdependent, with every thing impacting everything else at every moment. The coming changes and their implications are extraordinary.

With our emerging understanding of our quantum reality with its invisible web that we live in, we are going to have to rethink our definition of who we are and what it now means to be human. If we're constantly interacting with not only our own local environment, but with the entire cosmos as well, then our current notion of human potential may be but a hint of what is possible.

Winning and losing lose their meaning if we no longer think of ourselves as separate. No more us and them; we're all “us”. When we redefine what it means to be “me”, we'll have to reform the way we interact with other people, animals, plants, and the world at large. We will need to reconsider how we choose and carry out our work, structure our communities, and raise our children. We may even have to abandon all previous societal creations and imagine a new way to live and an entirely new way to “be”.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Enlightenment


Enlightenment occurs when personal consciousness realizes it is identical with Universal Consciousness. Think of enlightenment as sort of a permanent shift in perspective that comes about through direct realization that there is no thing inside you called “self”. Once you get a glimpse of the truth, it is the most profound transformational event of your life.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Smoke Signals to the Star People


When I was a kid I would travel each summer to southern West Virginia with my family, driving past the giant radio telescopes at Green Bank Observatory. Seven radio telescopes ranging in size up to 100 meters in diameter still stick in my memory as an impressive technological spectacle representative of the emerging space age we lived in during the 1960's. For over 50 years now we have been beaming radio signals into the far reaches of outer space under programs like the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (SETI). The dream is as much alive today as ever as we await the day when we might establish communication with another life form beyond our blue orb and prove that we are not alone in the universe.

I smile, these days, when I see these technological arrays with their teams of enthusiastic scientists, like the actress Jodie Foster in the movie Contact, still listening, waiting with geeky anxiety for ET's return message. It is not that I have become increasingly skeptical over the years; it's more that I have gained a greater respect for the quarry which they seek to find.

Much of formal orthodox conventional science is in denial about the abundance of life throughout the universe. Our governments and the media continue to have reason to lie to us and hold back our awakening. Most of us accept what we are told about things without much question, satisfied to continue to dream about the future while entertaining ourselves with the distraction of the latest fiction or propaganda presented by modern media. “Is there other intelligent life in the universe?” we continue to ponder. Seriously? I mean, really??? It's more like, “Can you show me evidence of intelligent life on Earth?”

We are not alone in the universe by any stretch of the imagination. There are more life forms than one can imagine – an endless variety of beings, more like us than not who have been coming and going from our planet since long before our history began. Many of them call Earth home. Each of us likely has met or know someone who is alien to this planet, and we don't even realize it. Not only have alien beings been coming here forever, but we've been traveling into space and to their worlds, some beyond our own solar system, since the early 1940's. There is not a major government or major corporation on planet Earth that does not have a space presence with personnel and a vested interest in off-planet trade activities. But that is an entirely different campfire story.

What amuses me with the continued use of radio telescopes is when you consider the many intelligent beings that inhabit our local universe, you must assume that if they can come and go as they please, they must surely be at least a few more years if not a few million years (maybe a few billion) more advanced than us. They are likely to know far more about nearly everything than we do – technology, communication, consciousness, etc. Some may use flying craft more advanced than our technology; some may not need craft at all. If our scientists have begun to manipulate the space-time continuum, it makes sense to image that perhaps some of our space brethren may have gone far beyond our current understanding in manipulating space and time for more efficient travel, at least. While we are generally a warring species on this planet with a savage history and scary advances in weaponry, other beings from far-off worlds probably are not – or they could have wiped us out long ago with little challenge.

I would imagine, for the most part, that any off-world civilizations that have taken an interest in our planet probably observe us with curiosity and likely judge us as rather immature in the larger scheme of things. In fact, they probably view our species with some degree of empathy as rather infantile, spending most of our time sleeping, pooping, and crying. They have probably been very patient, waiting for the day when we are able to reach out telepathically to say hello; waiting for the time when we grow beyond the egotistic individuals we largely perceive ourselves to be, apart from each other and alone in the universe. Why would any consciousness with a galactic perspective have any interest in spending much time or energy to engage with infants?

Using giant radio telescopes in hopes of spotting signals from ET is like trying to talk to star people using smoke signals. Certainly not out of the realm of possibility, but probably not worth the time sitting by the phone anxiously waiting for ET to answer.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

the Puzzling Precision of Science


How is it possible for a three-pound chunk of neural tissue wrapped in a meat suit of warm, gooey protoplasm and bones to not only describe itself in exquisite detail, but also describe to an unbelievably precise degree vast realms of an expanding physical universe that was around for billions of years before we even discovered fire, one which our bodies and brains cannot even access with our five senses? Maybe the brain didn't come up with these ideas. Maybe the ideas dreamed up the brain.

It is uncanny, even puzzling how accurately we have been able to measure the world around us. Some of the fundamental physical laws we have discovered are precise to an extraordinary degree, far beyond the precision of our direct sense experiences. The abstract structures provided my mathematics to describe how things work very often seem to have a life of their own. They don't just describe it, but in some sense the mathematics literally is the universe.

It is astonishing when one looks closely at the ability of mathematics to accurately describe the behavior of the physical world. In spite of how complex the world is, we have been clever enough or lucky enough to discern certain “laws of nature”. Without these clearly discerned regularities, science never would have progressed.

Look at Newton's gravitational theory as applied to the movements of the solar system. The theory is precise to one part in ten million. Then there is Einstein's general theory of relativity which improved upon Newton's ideas by another factor of ten million. It has always seemed extremely eerie that energy and matter could be equated by a precise constant of the velocity of light squared, without variability, and stranger yet that someone could even discover this relationship.

Mathematical physicist Roger Penrose suggested that the amazing accuracy of these mathematical predictions “was not the result of a new theory being introduced only to make sense of vast amounts of new data. The extra precision was seen only after each theory had been produced.” When the universe acts just like you theorize it will, when it obeys every rule that was predicted, it leaves one scratching one's head with dropped jaw. Are the theorists doing that good of a job? Why is it that we find precisely what we are looking for always in the direction we are looking, without even minor discrepancies? Are we finding only that which we expect to find? Are we creating our own outcomes according to our expectations? Is the universe giving us exactly what we are looking for?

All curious questions. Underlying all of it is the deeper query of whether or not consciousness underlies all of our discoveries in science and our attempt to give them meaning through the symbols of mathematics and language. Is the world we perceive a precise reflection of our own consciousness? Do we perceive the real world or just the symbols we choose to describe the world? Will a different consciousness in a far-off galaxy perceive an entirely different world through the symbols it chooses from the sensual input it receives?

In a multi-dimension quantum reality, perhaps there are an infinite number of precise realities uniquely created and symbolized by an infinite number of unique living things with consciousness, all part of the collective Universal Consciousness. It gives new meaning to the idea that “you create your own reality”, doesn't it?

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

In Science We Trust


Science is all about discovery, and should always aspire to be rigorous and open in the face of the great unknown. But scientists are human too, with the same tendencies to slide back into comfortable ways of thinking just as the rest of us. Virtually every scientific and scholarly discipline struggles against the tendency to become defensive and collapse into dogmatic thinking.

Science is exceptionally adept at studying features of the external world, but so far it has barely scratched the surface at developing ways to study what lies beyond or within. Part of the failure is due to the method that gives science its power. The origin of the word science is from the Latin for “to know”, “to distinguish by separating”, rooted in the Latin sindere, “to cut”. These meanings capture the essence of the scientific application of reductionism, working only for things that can be separated. There is much left over in the world we know that cannot be separated, especially at the quantum level. Science does not know what to do with anything that cannot be sliced and diced.

There are certain assumptions about the nature of reality that most of us agree with, based upon the established scientific worldview. If we accept that worldview as absolute and inviolate, as most scientists do, then any evidence outside of those assumptions, whether anecdotal or derived from controlled circumstances, just doesn't matter. Such phenomena are considered impossible and written off, so that's that.

There is convincingly strong scientific evidence for the validity of such things as telepathy, remote viewing, and precognition, among other psi phenomena, yet the scientific community balks at accepting such findings as valid and worthy of further exploration. These ideas are too far removed from scientific dogma.

I personally have had a broad experience with all manner of strange encounters that make for great stories for entertaining friends around a campfire. Most of my stories that are “outside the box” of the consensual scientific worldview generally draw an indulgent chuckle and some light-hearted eye-rolling; even my closest friends generally reject any kind of acceptance of the expanded reality that I consider as valid and real.

Even though I base most of my personal beliefs of such things upon personal experience and anecdotes, I have asked some of my more logical and reasonable friends what amount of evidence or data would it take for them to accept such “strange” phenomena as valid or at least possible. Surprisingly, most have responded that no amount of data would change their minds. I've then asked them what research they have read, and they mostly admit they haven't taken any time to look more closely at whatever we're talking about. While they may take issue with my settling upon beliefs without the support of scientific findings, they have arrived at their opposing beliefs, as well, without any supporting evidence.

Skepticism is a good thing if one thinks something contradicts settled thinking on any matter. But when credible data exists that the impossible is in fact real, it is time to acknowledge and expand one's worldview to include new findings. But we are stuck with being human, I guess. Even in the face of clear evidence, we tend to stick to entrenched dogmas and not believe anything new, even with proof. I have asked skeptical friends what it would take for them to become believers. Interestingly, almost without fail, most responded that it would take one strong personal experience – which is right back to the basis of my own beliefs about personal reality.

Staying within the boundaries of any scientific discipline stifles new discoveries and constrains genuine innovation. To advance the scientific worldview, we need always to pursue an understanding of the impossible, to cross over the boundaries of every discipline and seek to know what lies beyond the edge of what is known. Science defines for us what is true, but when it is asked to go beyond the boundaries of its methodology, science needs to find new ways to continue to explore what is considered not true... yet!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Power to the People of Iran

The politics of Iran are somewhat puzzling for most Americans, in most part because we are largely uninformed about who is in charge and what is going on. The Islamic Revolution of 1979 brought to power radical Islamists led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who created a unique and peculiar political system mixing theocratic and republican institutions. It is a complex system of competing institutions, parliamentary factions, powerful families and military-business lobbies.

Today, the system is dominated by hard-line conservative groups backed by the most powerful politician in Iran, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the son of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The conservatives have managed to sideline both the right-wing populists backed by former President Ahmadinejad and reformists calling for a more open political system. Civil society and pro-democracy groups have largely been suppressed.

The Iranian political system is corrupt and rigged in favor of powerful groups that care about money more than ideology and who deliberately perpetuate tensions with the West to distract the public from domestic problems. To date, no political group has been able to challenge Supreme Leader Khamenei. Dissent, freedom of the press and freedom of expression remain highly restricted in the country. Journalists and bloggers are continuously arrested by the Intelligence Unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for "colluding with the foreign media" and sentenced to prison.

In the past week and a half there has been a complete shut down of the news after the internet was taken down by the Ayatollah Khamenei, well known for not being the brightest guy in the world. He further made life more miserable for Iran's population of 82 million by increasing the cost of gasoline by 50 percent. As a result, young people have taken to the streets to protest that they can't make a living by any means. Performers at musical concerts, particularly those featuring female vocalists and musicians, are being arrested, and a full 25 percent of the population is now living in poverty. The young people have reached a breaking point. The Revolutionary Guard was ordered to crack down on the young protesters and as a result sources say that 200-300 young people have been recently killed along with thousands arrested to suppress the protest. Not good news when a tyrannical government is killing its own people.

What it does say is that the oil tariffs of President Trump are working to bring the government of Iran to heel. Iran has a long history of destabilization and consequent overthrown of government by the people. Analysts predict the overthrow of the regime of Ayatollah Khamenei within the year for the simple reason that the corruption it has created has become so intolerable that the whole country is soon to break out in rebellion to throw out the people involved in this corruption.

The same scenario has just taken place in Lebanon and will soon likely happen in Venezuela as well. A month ago in Lebanon, young people began demonstrating to protest the corruption of Prime Minister Saad Hariri over the past three years. In a very brief time the protesters were successful in throwing out this billionaire politician and his corrupt family and are now looking to replace him with a leader that will serve the interests of the “patriots”. You won't see this in the news because the media does not want anyone getting the idea that the ultimate power in any country is and always has been in the hands of its people.

Tyranny does not work. War is not the answer. Killing the young of your enemy in the streets or on the battlefield is no longer tolerable. There are other means of restoring power and authority to the people and ridding nations of self-serving oligarchs. Hats off to President Trump in taking the necessary measures to help set in motion a new era of world peace.


Tonglen Meditation


Tonglen refers to a meditation practice of Tibetan Buddhism. Tong means "giving or sending", and len means "receiving or taking". Tonglen is also known as exchanging self with others. It is an ancient Buddhist practice to awaken compassion. With each in-breath, we take in the pain of others. With each out-breath, we send them relief.

Tonglen practice reverses our usual logic of avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure. In Tonglen practice, we visualize taking in the pain of others with every in-breath and sending out whatever will benefit them on the out-breath. In the process, we become liberated from any pattern of selfishness. We begin to feel love for both ourselves and others; we begin to take care of ourselves and others.

Tonglen awakens our compassion and introduces us to a far larger view of reality. It introduces us to the unlimited spaciousness of pure emptiness. By doing the practice, we begin to connect with the open dimension of our being.

Tonglen can be done for those who are ill, those who are dying or have died, or those who are in pain of any kind. It can be done as a formal meditation practice or right on the spot at any time. If we are out walking and we see someone in pain, we can breathe in that person’s pain and send out relief to them.

Rest your mind for a second or two in a state of openness or stillness, awakening your heart-mind, opening to basic spaciousness and clarity. Breathe in feelings of heat, darkness, and heaviness and breathe out feelings of coolness, brightness, and light - a sense of freshness. Breathe in completely, taking in negative energy through all the pores of your body. When you breathe out, radiate positive energy completely, through all the pores of your body. Do this until your visualization is synchronized with your in- and out-breaths.

Focus on any painful situation that’s real to you. Traditionally you begin by doing Tonglen for someone you care about and wish to help. However, if you are stuck, you can do the practice for the pain you are feeling yourself, and simultaneously for all those who feel the same kind of suffering. For instance, if you are feeling inadequate, breathe that in for yourself and all the others in the same situation and send out confidence, adequacy, and relief in any form you wish.

Finally, make the taking in and sending out bigger. If you are doing Tonglen for someone you love, extend it out to all those who are in the same situation. If you are doing Tonglen for someone you see on television or on the street, do it for all the others in the same situation. Make it bigger than just that one person. You can do Tonglen for people you consider to be your enemies - those who hurt you or hurt others. Do Tonglen for them, thinking of them as having the same confusion and stuckness as a friend or yourself. Breathe in their pain and send them relief.

Tonglen can extend infinitely. As you do the practice, your compassion naturally expands over time, and so does your realization that things are not as solid as you thought, which is a glimpse of emptiness. As you do this practice, gradually at your own pace, you will be surprised to find yourself more and more able to be there for others, even in what used to seem like impossible situations.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Anima Mundi


Everything that exists has awareness and all consciousness is connected. Unseen fibers connect every imaginable aspect of the universe. If we stop and tune in, we each can sense this intrinsic connection. Distance and time do not separate any aspects of the whole. All is One, and All That is One is of one universal, omnipresent soul – the anima mundi.

When a frog farts in the Amazon, the winds atop Mount Washington shift mysteriously. When a child sneezes in Botswana, dust is kicked up on the surface of Mars. When millions of minds intently focus on the same event, a ripple is literally felt across the fabric of space-time. The tragic event like that occurred in New York City on September 11, 2001, literally created a wrinkle in both time and space, distorting the fabric of reality itself; there is no doubt it was felt by all.

In the movie Star Wars, Jedi knight Obi-Wan Kenobi suddenly staggers as if in pain, then says, “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced,” as the Evil Galactic Empire used the Death Star weapon to destroy a planet inhabited by millions of people. Perhaps the best way of understanding this Force in the universe that the Jedi were connected to is the description offered by Obi-Wan Kenobi in the movie: “an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.”

Can you feel it?

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Retrocausality


Time behaves in enigmatic ways. We've all had some strange experience where time did not behave the way it is supposed to. As conscious beings, we take for granted the consensual assumption that time flows in one direction, in a linear fashion - from past to present to future, but does it really?

Physicists increasingly hypothesize that time may flow in both directions and that the present may indeed influence the past. A 2010 article in Discover noted: “A series of quantum experiments shows that measurements performed in the future can influence the present.” Does that mean the universe has a destiny? Are the laws of quantum physics pulling us inexorably toward a scripted fate?

The ability of present events to affect those that happened in the past is known as retrocausality. While physicists have more work to do to flesh out this theory, proponents say that a double-headed arrow approach to time explains many other largely unexplained concepts in quantum mechanics, including entanglement.

Entangled particles are those that share a special relationship. Their entanglement begins while they are close together, but even when they are separated by vast distances, measurements made of one particle can affect the other particle in predictable ways.

Physicists have struggled to explain this behavior, with some suggesting that information passes between the particles to keep them in sync. That, however, would require information to move faster than the speed of light, which violates Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Retrocausality may hold the solution to that problem. According to the theory, when something is done to one particle in the present, the effects travel back in time to a point when the two particles were close together. In that way, information from the future is transferred between the two particles. These effects then carry forward into the future - without violating relativity.

This, of course, appears to replace one strange phenomenon - particles communicating instantaneously across vast distances, with another - the present affecting the past. But if you look at time as laid out in the same way as space, with past, present and future all existing at once, it’s easier to comprehend. Movement of information across time, even into the past, is similar to movement of information across space.

Retrocausality may not open the way for a broad reshaping of our past, as one might at first imagine. Proponents admit that we would only have a “limited amount of control over the past.” Such effects would be more noticeable at the quantum level. This would also preserve the movement of the universe from its highly ordered initial state following the Big Bang to a more chaotic future.

From a non-dual perspective (which is free of the mind’s conceptual filtering and therefore not really a perspective) there is only the ceaseless eternal moment; there is not a series of moments, only the incessant now beyond the narrative of time. In this sense, all phenomena are causeless and all stories (including those about the past, present, and future) coexist momentarily, flickering in and out of eternal existence.

At this point we need no longer use temporal words or terms, or at least we can employ them with lightness while we are deeply rooted in this enduring stability. The pull of the ticking clock and its dizzying force, which seems to push us toward the future, bringing with it remnants of the distant past, decelerates. Or rather, our expanded focus seems to alter the very time mechanics of the universe effecting all that was, is, and will be. All impermanent phenomena arise and dissolve in us, are made interdependent by us, without cause. For cause and effect are a single movement, an interwoven dance of being, expressions of a single unified creative existence.

As we dive deeper down the quantum rabbit hole, things become stranger and stranger as we discover that:

Now is not a time. Here is not a place.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Beyond the Shadows


Most people are like chained prisoners in a dark cave, to borrow Plato's allegory. All they can see is the wall in front of them. They cannot see even the fire that glows brightly behind, nor the actors holding the puppets that dance as shadows against the wall of the cave. For these prisoners, their entire world consists of these shadows on the wall.

One day one of the prisoners is released from the cave to the outside and at first he is blinded by the brilliance of the sun's light. Once his eyes adjust he is shocked by a full spectrum of colors that surround him in a reality that has more depth than he could ever have imagined, shattering his former concept of the world. When he returns to the cave he excitedly explains to the other prisoners that their shadow existence is all an illusion, that a richer, intensely luminous world exists just a few steps outside the cave. No matter how he tries to convince the others that their reality is but a pale fragment of what he had experienced, the other prisoners think he has gone mad.

There is a difference between the everyday appearance of the world we think we know, shaped by a consensus of everyday language and ideas, and the real world from which all things spring eternal. The real world cannot be discovered and experienced through observation or intellectual rationalizing. Another higher domain of reality lies behind the illusion of the shadows that we call the real world, and it can only be discovered and experienced through a quieting of the mind and directed attention to a level of awareness that opens the doors of perception and understanding to knowledge that is otherwise hidden behind the illusion of the day-to-day world.

Learn to quiet the mind, say the sages. See the world as it is, not as it appears to be when viewed through multiple layers of cultural conditioning.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Verum Quid Pro Quo


A quid pro quo (Latin: I give, so that you may give) is an exchange of valuable consideration of equal value; something given for something else; a tit for tat; in legal terms, an equivalent; a thing given or offered in exchange for or in consideration of another. The practice of offering consideration of one sort or another for benefit has existed in our republic since the beginning, but it may have become out of control and may be destroying everything we cherish about our exceptional form of governance.

Every member of Congress has his or her own version of quid pro quo performed on them nearly every day by a number of people that surround and outnumber them by a factor of 23 to 1 by way of representation. This is the world of lobbyists.


The recent impeachment hearings attempted to pin the charge of bribery on the President. Did he really exercise a bribe in the course of his exchange with another sovereign nation? What is bribery and how do we recognize it? Is there any difference between bribery and campaign donations? Are speaking fees in excess of $100,000 a form of bribery? What about the guarantee of a seven-figure income after you quit your government job? If you are given access to purchase pre-IPO stocks, does that pass the smell test? And then there is the huge amount of consideration that lobbyists lavishly paint the town of DC with – isn't that really quid pro quo?

When you have over twelve thousand special interest lobbyists swarming around Washington with more money than any of us can imagine, who really has the power in DC? Spending by lobbyists in the US exceeded $3,400,000,000.00 in 2018 alone. Whose pockets did this end up in? When you look at the distribution of wealth among current senators and congressional representatives, there are currently 12 members worth over $50 million, 34 worth between $10 and $50 million, 157 between $1 and $10 million, 155 between $100,000 and $1 million, 49 with net worth between $0 and $100,000, and 123 with a negative net worth. Considering that as of 2019, the base salary for all rank-and-file members of the U.S. House and Senate was $174,000 per year, plus benefits, how did many of these people accumulate such wealth after arriving in Washington?

Lobbying benefits both sides of the aisle and it keeps former members of government with their deeply rooted relationships in Washington on the payroll of lobbying companies. Lobbyists are a large part of the swamp that the President is trying to drain. While President Trump has placed a permanent ban on some government officials from ever performing lobbying duties after leaving government service, even with that there currently are lobbyists who have formerly worked for 18 members of Congress and 11 Senators.

So why is lobbying even legal in the United States? Outside interests continue to pour money into Washington to rewrite our laws in their version of real life quid pro quo - not the faux quid pro quo of the impeachment hearings by hypocritical members of Congress. Lobbying must be effective for large companies to continue to send billions of dollars to Washington to influence legislation. After all, when scrutiny or oversight increase, so do lobbying efforts and money. Big Money believes it is money well spent.

The bottom line is that Big Money controls our government of representatives which were elected to represent the interests of the people first and foremost. Big Money is the real quid pro quo. Bribery is how business gets done in Washington. Follow the money.

Mitochondrial Aging Theory


Why do we age? With all the advancements we have made in medical science, why aren't we able to extend our time here on Earth and live a lot longer? One theory is that aging is caused by a decline in mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell, their proteins converting nutrients into chemical energy that we need called ATP. The interesting thing about mitochondria is that they are actually another completely unique organism living within each of our cells, and there is not just one of them per cell, but up to hundreds or even thousands of mitochondria in each cell.

When we are young and healthy, everything works at its optimal best, but as we age we gradually lose mitochondrial function and have less and less ATP available. The theory is that as our ability to make energy decreases, we age and increasingly experience degenerative diseases.

Mitochondria were once free-living organisms that joined our cells in a symbiotic relationship about two billion years ago. They were originally alpha-proteo-bacteria that can still be found living freely throughout the world. The important thing is that these mitochondria have their own DNA. They brought their own genome with them when they merged with our cells. Many of the genes of their DNA have been transferred to the nucleus of our cells, so really we are just a mesh-mash of two species living together. 

The genomes of the mitochondria and our nucleus are not the same and need to constantly communicate with each other to maintain their coexistence and keep things functioning in a healthy manner.  One of the problems that may be a factor in our aging is that these two bodies lose some of their ability to communicate with each other. Throughout life our mitochondria generate free radicals during metabolism that damage our enzymes and DNA, and especially the DNA within the mitochondria, so we begin to lose the code within our mesh-mash of mitochondrial DNA. We get mutations and big deletions that accumulate over time. If we could slow down this damage to our DNA, the idea is that perhaps we could delay aging, be healthier, and have a longer life.

Since this theory was proposed more than half a century ago, we really have not had much success in slowing free radical damage to DNA, unfortunately. No matter how many antioxidants you take, they really do not have much of an impact on reducing DNA damage. On the flip side, more recent evidence suggests that free radicals may actually be beneficial on net and actually extend life span.  So the science is far from settled in regard to free radicals.

Recent research is demonstrating that if you catch aging early enough, it may be reversible to some degree. Approaching the aging issue by attempting to improve communication between the nucleus and the mitochondria has shown more promise than attempting to manage free radicals in holding back the tide of aging. Findings in 2013 showed that perhaps one of the main breakdowns of communication results from the nucleus believing it is not getting enough energy from the mitochondria anymore, so it slows sending signals to the mitochondria to generate more energy. It is believed that this entire winding down cycle begins with the loss of a small molecule called NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) that is critical for cells to maintain their communication.

When NAD levels were restored to youthful levels in test studies with mice, their mitochondria were revved up again, remarkably within a week, but there was no evidence that muscle strength was improved. While there is promising test-tube data and animal research regarding NAD boosters, no human clinical results on them have yet been published. Supplements containing nicotinamide riboside, or NR, a precursor to NAD, may be able to boost NAD levels, but the jury is still out.

The increasing number of NAD findings lead us to an ongoing story about certain enzymes called sirtuins, which have been implicated as key players in conferring the longevity and health benefits of calorie restriction. Resveratrol, a wine ingredient, is thought to rev up one of the sirtuins, SIRT1, which appears to help protect mice on high doses of resveratrol from the ill effects of high-fat diets. A slew of other health benefits have been attributed to SIRT1 activation as well.

NAD fuels the activity of sirtuins, including SIRT1 - the more NAD there is in cells, the more that SIRT1 does beneficial things. One of those things is to induce formation of new mitochondria. NAD can also activate another sirtuin, SIRT3, which is thought to keep mitochondria running smoothly. SIRT1 helps insure that communication signals get through between the nucleus and mitochondria. When NAD levels drop, as they do with aging, SIRT1 activity falls off, which in turn makes the crucial signals fade, leading to mitochondrial dysfunction and all the ill effects that go with it.

NAD boosters that can be found on the market might work synergistically with supplements like resveratrol to help reinvigorate mitochondria and ward off diseases of aging. While resveratrol has hogged the anti-aging spotlight over the past decade, an increasing number of studies show that a resveratrol-like substance called pterostilbene, found in grapes and blueberries, is a kind of extra-potent version of resveratrol. The pterostilbene molecule is nearly identical to resveratrol's except for a couple of differences that make it more "bioavailable" (animal studies indicate that about four times as much ingested pterostilbene gets into the bloodstream as resveratrol). Test-tube and rodent studies also suggest that pterostilbene is more potent than resveratrol when it comes to improving brain function, warding off various kinds of cancer and preventing heart disease.

Scientists reportedly have characterized the effects of these precursors to NAD and supplements on metabolism as "nothing short of astonishing," at least in mice. Evidence for the beneficial effects on human cerebral function is just beginning to emerge. Pterostilbene use points to improved brain health as well as we age, with beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory outcomes. Human studies are still lacking, but it may be worth giving these supplements a try to measure any personal improvements to energy or strength, and just cross your fingers that you may be aging more slowly and delaying degenerative disease.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Edge of Discovery


Frontier science involves inquiry into the impossible. 
All major achievements in history have resulted from asking outrageous questions:

What if heavy objects could overcome gravity?

What if heavy objects could float on water?

What if there is no end to the Earth to sail off?

What if time is not absolute, but depends on where you are?

What if our thoughts create the entire world around us?

What if we were no longer afraid to explore the darkness of our ignorance?

Let your curiosity go where no one has gone before.

Ask unpopular questions.

Challenge cherished beliefs.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

the Cold War Raises Its Ugly Head


The publicly broadcast impeachment hearings have brought a perspective to light that I had not considered before. What has been overwhelmingly apparent heretofore is the exercise of a soft coup by a deeply entrenched bureaucracy of unelected officials in government, relentlessly attempting to remove the president by every conceivable illegitimate means from his duly elected post since his election. Donald Trump has vowed to clean up the swamp of bureaucrats in Washington while it has been desperately fighting back to hold its ground. In the end, with the rule of law on his side, I believe President Trump will prevail over these initial skirmishes with a major thinning out of the bureaucratic elite who have come to believe it is their right to make policy and run government.

The imminent Inspector General's report will initiate the indictments of many of these same attacking members of the entrenched bureaucracy, thinning their ranks and sending the most notorious among them off to the gallows or Gitmo. Serious crimes have been committed by many in the swamp, most preceding the current administration and the recent acts of unlawful espionage, sedition, and treason. Those in the swamp fighting so desperately right now know that the Justice Department has them dead to rights with prosecutable concrete evidence. The insane attacks on the president are their last stand, and they know it. Those who speak the loudest in opposition are likely the most guilty. Their remaining choices are few – fight, run, or commit suicide. Their end is unavoidable and imminent.

What is new and striking for me came out with the witness interviews of ambassadorial personnel. Their testimony did not support any incrimination against the president so much as it showed that they were personally upset that the president had usurped their power and authority in rewriting foreign policy that impacted their roles. They were upset or saddened that the president was exercising his constitutional authority to change foreign policy to one that opposed what they believed in, and that he discharged ambassadorial personnel at his discretion without apparent cause. The media chimed in when Attorney General Barr reminded everyone that the president was acting well within his constitutional authority. Their testimony was little more than sour grapes and out of place in the context of an impeachment consideration.

Throughout the world there are 75,000 American personnel assigned to embassies and consulates. It is a burgeoning bureaucracy with security detachments that is outdated and for the most part no longer necessary in an age of instant virtual communication. By and large this network was built after World War II as a front to monitor the Cold War with the Soviet Union. In virtually every field station in every foreign country a fake radio network was established to spew propaganda in an effort to combat and take down the old Soviet Union. These secret tendrils controlling all the world's media in every nation still exist today, but they have morphed into something more twisted and criminalized that far supersedes their initial Cold War objectives.


After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Russia emerged in the 1990's as a democratic Christian nation. The nuclear warheads pointed at the US still existed, but nonproliferation agreements were dismantling these to close out the Cold War. But those people on our side in particular that were getting big fat pay checks to fight the Cold War didn't disappear. Literally thousands of 'agents of deceit' continue to operate to this day in Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania, and Macedonia. These field stations are as busy today as they were during the era of the old Soviet Union, only now they are busy manufacturing plots and endlessly stirring to keep any action going that justifies their continued existence. Blood continues to be drawn around the world incited by those who continue to profit by such conflict, incited too often by American diplomats solely to keep their power and position.

As the Cold War ended, many of these operatives tied themselves to organized crime while retaining their ties to the “Cold War survivor” organizations in the US. While the President has sought accord with Russia, those around him “dance with the devil,” enmeshing themselves in aging plots and affiliating themselves with what has become a vast criminal underworld that runs an ugly organization of drugs, human trafficking, and pedophilia some call the Kosher Nostra. It has become clear that those around Trump have created their own “swamp” within the dregs of CIA plots decades old, a love affair between the ignorant and greedy and “oligarchs” and “facilitators” that emerged during the power vacuum created inside the former Soviet Union. 

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, every president until Trump has fallen in line and largely overlooked what has been going on, profiting in huge ways from this bureaucratic rot. Like their president, many American institutions saw a continuation of the Cold War charade as fertile ground for creating something likely to be useful. Throughout the world their goal was to plant the seeds of rot from within many nations, creating weakened states whose resources could be plundered and their people enslaved.

This is the America inherited by Donald Trump. Those around during its creation are long gone, those who understand its mechanisms are dead, retired, or silenced. The institutions capable of resisting were long ago destroyed, and, as the impeachment process will prove, the endeavor itself will be fruitless except, of course, for airing the “dirty laundry” of the criminal underbelly that existed long before Trump took office.

Until the controlled press and rigged elections change, nothing can or will be fixed in America, even with Trump. All mechanisms of informing the public are now subject to newly minted “fake news filters” under the control of the “worst of the worst” self-serving bureaucrats. Ignorance is institutional in America. Within our regrettable culture of ignorance, the criminalized mechanisms of the Cold War with the defunct Soviet Union have continued to play out unchecked. Trump wasn’t targeted exclusively by the Deep State but by something even more sinister, the vast mechanisms of the Cold War that survive to this day.

Unfortunately, this outrage will never find its way into a history book, will not be taught at any university, and certainly will not enjoy a part in the narrative of the 20th and 21st centuries where such truths have long been hidden or forbidden. Only when we pull back our embassies and consulates from most of the world and dismantle its antiquated Cold War network will this enemy of all people in the world disappear. Trump is only the beginning. From the year 2024 and beyond the United States will need leadership that continues to remove the vast tentacled bureaucracy that holds us to our warring unproductive meddling past.

Sacred Intent


When we look at the world around us, most of us see nothing more than a collection of separate, isolated people and objects. We look at ourselves as separate from everyone and everything else. That is going to have to change when we come to understand that there is a constant interchange of information between all living things and the world we look upon as not living. Thoughts are simply one form of this energy exchange.

We can no longer perceive ourselves as isolated from the world around us, and our thoughts as being completely private. Thoughts are powerful forms of energy that profoundly influence every aspect of our lives. As observers and creators, we are constantly remaking our world at every instant. Every thought we have, every judgment we hold, however unconscious, has an effect. Whether we know it or not, every conscious thought we express sends out a powerful intention.

We must rethink what it is to be human and how to relate to the world. We may need to consider the effect of everything we think about, whether it is vocalized or not. Even in our silence, our relationship with the world is impacted.

The power of thought underpins many disciplines in every reach of life, especially in our approach to healing. Modern medicine needs to more fully appreciate the role of intention in healing. The “placebo” effect that is too often discounted by the medical community, is more powerful than most realize. Discoveries on the cutting edge of science are showing us that the mind and its thoughtful intentions are a more powerful healer than any pharmaceutical miracle.

We are only beginning to understand the vast and untapped human potential that has always been at our immediate disposal - our extraordinary innate capacity to influence the world. It is something each one of us has the power to use, not just the gifted. Our thoughts may be a simple and inexhaustible source that can be called upon to focus our lives, heal our illnesses, clean up our environment, and improve our world. One well-directed thought may be a simple yet effective way for the average, ordinary person on the street to take matters of global interest into their own hands and restore our sense of individual and collective personal power that has been heretofore wrested from us by a fading paradigm.

We do not inhabit an indifferent universe populated by separate and unengaged beings. An understanding of the power of conscious as well as unconscious thought can only bring us all closer together. It is time that we open our minds to the wisdom of many native traditions that exercise an intuitive understanding of intention. Such cultures understand our place in the hierarchy of energy and the value of choosing how we engage the world with greater wisdom. We would do well to appreciate what they have come to understand that every thought is sacred, with the power to take physical form.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Shamanic Healing of the Earth

Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature,
but only in contradiction to that which is known in nature.
St. Augustine

In 1998, at the end of a three-month drought in the Amazonian jungle of Brazil, devastating fires broke out 1500 miles northwest of Brasilia. The normally humid rain forest had turned bone-dry after months of no rain as a result of the influence of El NiƱo. Destruction was so widespread that the United Nations declared the fire a disaster without precedent on the planet. After three months of firefighters from all over South America battling the fire to no avail, two Caiapo Indian shamans were flown in to say a few prayers and dance around a bit as a last ditch effort to combat mother nature. After two days the heavens opened up and buckets of rain poured in the jungle enough to extinguish 90% of the fire immediately.

With the recent devastating fires in California, maybe what we need is a bit of shamanic prayer and dancing to restore balance. Bring in some experienced weather-modification experts. Or, with the increasing patterns of critical climate change so evident across our planet these days, perhaps it is time for each of us to raise our own awareness of the world we live in, individually and collectively, to find a state of peace, balance, and harmony within each of us first and foremost. As within, so without. Perhaps it is time we become our own shamans, and create miracles to solve our own self-made crises.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

the Gift of Naked Communication

Poetry can break open locked chambers of possibility, restore numbed zones to feeling, recharge desire,” Adrienne Rich wrote in contemplating the impact poetry has upon us. “Insofar as poetry has a social function it is to awaken sleepers by other means than shock,” Denise Levertov asserted in her piercing statement on poetics. Few poems furnish such a wakeful breaking open of possibility more powerfully than “Do not go gentle into that good night” - a rapturous ode to the unassailable tenacity of the human spirit by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (October 27, 1914–November 9, 1953).

Dylan Thomas described himself as a “roistering, drunken and doomed poet” - lived among us but 39 troubled years before he drank himself into a coma while on his fourth reading and lecture tour in America. Upon his death the poet Elizabeth Bishop wrote “Thomas’s poetry is so narrow - just a straight conduit between birth & death, I suppose - with not much space for living along the way.” She went on further to write: “He had an amazing gift for a kind of naked communication that makes a lot of poetry look like translation.”

Between 1945 and 1948, Thomas agreed to write and record a series of more than one hundred radio broadcasts for the BBC, ranging from poetry readings to literary discussions and cultural critiques — work that precipitated a surge of opportunities for Thomas and adrenalized his career as a poet. His sonorous voice enchanted the radio public. Perhaps because his broadcasting experience had attuned his inner ear to his outer ear and instilled in him an even keener sense of the rhythmic sonority of the spoken word, he learned to write poetry ten times more powerful when channeled through the human voice than when read in the contemplative silence of the mind’s eye.

It was during this time that Thomas began writing “Do not go gentle into that good night”, considered his best known and most beloved poem, as well as his most redemptive - both in its universal message and in the particular circumstances of how it came to be composed near the end of his life. In this rare recording, Thomas himself brings his masterpiece to life:

Do not go gentle into that good night”

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The Pulitzer-winning Irish poet and New Yorker poetry editor Paul Muldoon writes of Thomas in the 2010 edition of The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas:

Dylan Thomas is that rare thing, a poet who has it in him to allow us, particularly those of us who are coming to poetry for the first time, to believe that poetry might not only be vital in itself but also of some value to us in our day-to-day lives. It’s no accident, surely, that Dylan Thomas’s “Do not go gentle into that good night” is a poem which is read at two out of every three funerals. We respond to the sense in that poem, as in so many others, that the verse engine is so turbocharged and the fuel of such high octane that there’s a distinct likelihood of the equivalent of vertical liftoff. Dylan Thomas’s poems allow us to believe that we may be transported, and that belief is itself transporting.”

Tolkien Reading The Hobbit


J.R.R. Tolkien reads from The Riddles in the Dark segment of The Hobbit:



Saturday, November 16, 2019

the Space/Time Continuum


At the most fundamental layer of our existence there is no such thing as sequential time. Pure energy as it exists at the quantum level does not exist in time or space, but exists as a vast continuum of fluctuating change. We create time and space. When we bring energy to conscious awareness through the act of perception, we create separate objects that exist in space through a measured continuum. By creating time and space, we create our own separateness and our own time.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee


As an aging athlete on hiatus while my body heals from injury, I am taking some time to reinvent how I engage in sport when I reemerge. Reevaluating running ambitions, I have to take new limitations into account and redefine priorities during my time on the sidelines. I like to win, but I can no longer win in the competitions where I used to distinguish myself, so upon my return my aim is to compete at venues that allow me to win with endurance and wisdom instead of speed. In competitive sport, that means running longer – over multiple days.

So I need a strategy. Time to make a new plan. I still have a full bag of tricks to pull from, but most of my tricks don't work anymore. Some of the mental tools that worked when I was a kid can still be useful in keeping me in the game – those that depend upon strength of will, perseverance, and intention.

Someone I have always held in high regard was Muhammad Ali. In the later years of his fighting career, realizing that the speed, strength, and resilience of his youth was fading, Ali adjusted his training and outlook to accommodate his limitations to be able to continue to dominate younger, stronger, faster boxers. As we age, we increasingly have to rely upon our mental finesse, so Ali framed a new strategy in his mind that enabled him to continue to be a champion long after he should have retired.

Ali spent much of his training time in later years learning how to take punches. He studied how to shift his head back just a hair a microsecond before a punch was landed, enabling his body to deflect a blow to minimize impact. HE WAS NOT TRAINING HIS BODY TO WIN. HE WAS TRAINING HIS MIND NOT TO LOSE, especially at the point in the match when deep fatigue sets in around the twelfth round when most boxers cave. The most important part of his training was not in the ring during practice sessions, but in his armchair. Mohamed Ali was fighting the fight during training and winning in his head.

As a master of intention, Ali developed a set of mental skills that would enhance his performance in the ring. Before a fight, he used every self-motivational technique out there: affirmation, visualization, mental rehearsal, self-confirmation, and perhaps the most famous epigram of personal worth ever uttered, “I am the greatest.” He publicly broadcast his intentions in a barrage of clever rhyming couplets and quatrains, seemingly innocuous, but in reality they were powerfully disguised specific intentions reinforcing his intention to win. He repeated these rhymes like a mantra so often to the press and to his opponent that he came to accept them as fact.

When you are good, you have every right to proclaim you are the greatest. It is a place Ali will always hold in my mind. Beside his public displays of his intent, Ali would rehearse over and over every moment of the coming fight in his head; he would rehearse the fatigue in his legs, the sweat pouring off his body onto the mat, the pain he would feel in his kidneys, the bruises and swelling of his face, the flash of the photographers, the exultant screaming of the crowd, and perhaps most importantly, the moment the referee would lift his arm in victory. In every moment for months before a fight, Muhammad Ali sent an intention to his body to win; his body responded by following orders.

The photo above was one of the last taken of the Champ. With his dukes up, he could still “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” right to the end. And that's how I want to be.

More than ever, I must use my mind to accomplish physical feats. I am fond of a quote by Canadian ultrarunner Ray Zahab that 90% of incredible physical accomplishment is mental, and that the other 10%... is mental, as well. As my body ages, it will be mental preparation rather than more physical training that extends my running career.

As a kid, without really knowing much about what I was doing, I would get real focused and concentrate on an important outcome I wished to accomplish in sport, before finally executing my intention with a steller effort. I won a lot of races by mentally going through the motions before a performance. Certain memories of even fifty years ago still stand out in my mind as to how I accomplished some great things back in the day. Those mental skills from my bag of tricks are some of the tools I have to work with in my come back.

Looking at how far sport has come over my lifetime, focused intention is now deemed essential to alter and improve performance in virtually every sport. Techniques involved in mental rehearsal have been exhaustively studied and honed by a full spectrum of athletes. Champion athletes are now able to forecast and rehearse every aspect of an endeavor in advance, practicing the steps necessary to take to overcome any conceivable challenge or setback during the competition.

The most successful athletes break down their performances into the smallest parts to work on improving specific aspects of their performance. Coping strategies are developed in advance to deal with difficulties and challenge so as to remain in control in the face of adversity. The best athletes see only a flawless performance and block out any images representing doubt. Successful people, whether athletes or not, become adept at shifting internal dialogue or changing the movie running in their heads, quickly editing to imagine success.

Winning today has become increasingly dependent upon how well athletes can mentally rehearse with vivid, highly detailed internal images and run-throughs. The more experienced athletes are, the better they are at imagining the feel of their bodies, or the kinesthetic sensations experienced when engaged in sport.

It is interesting to explore the mechanism by which mental rehearsal influences future performance. Electromyographic equipment gives us a snapshot of the brain's instructions to the body. What has been discovered is that the thought of an action creates the same pattern of neurotransmission as the action itself. In other words, the electrical impulses between the brain and the muscles are the same whether a person is doing a sporting activity or just mentally rehearsing doing that same activity. Thoughts produce the same mental instructions as actions.

Electrical activity produced by the brain is identical whether we are thinking about doing something or actually doing it. One school of thought says that mental rehearsals train the brain to facilitate the movement used during the actual performance. The nerves that signal the muscles are stimulated by thought, producing chemicals that remain there for time. Future stimulation along the same pathways is made easier by the residual effects of the earlier connections. We get better at physical tasks because our signaling from intention to action has already been forged. Future performances improve because the brain already knows the route and has a well worn path to follow. The mind can create that pathway as well as repeated physical practice.

As an old guy I cannot go out there every day and grind. There is this new thing in my life called fatigue that forces me to take naps during the time I used to be out there making tracks. The nice thing about practicing in my head, doing mental training, is that this old body doesn't get physically worn out. Now I can cut my physical training back to a reasonable thirty to forty miles per week, but keep up my overall mileage up by doing another fifty or sixty miles in my head, figuratively speaking. I like the sound of “old champions never die” and that “old guys can keep it up longer”. Now if I can get those two jingles to rhyme, watch out; expect me to continue to “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” right to the end.

The Meaning of Ascension

Given that everything is here and now, there is essentially no ascension to another level. We're already programmed for all levels ...