Saturday, June 26, 2010

Genesis and Evolution

One time a Christian minister came by and asked me if I believed that Genesis was history or allegory and I said, "Both." He looked a little puzzled and asked me what I had meant. I explained that I felt that the fall of the Tower of Babel (loss of the universal language of pure thought telepathy) was the fall of Atlantis explained in a kind of allegorical compressed time. The time sweep of the early chapters of Genesis cover a lot of ground. Only the highlights of a vast history could be given. The history had to be meaningful to a prescientific culture that had no biological and astronomical scientific language to detail out the history in a more precise manner. The geological layers and the time markers used to describe when and how evolution took place on Earth and in this galaxy were beyond what could be described to the early humans. Even if it could be described, try to imagine giving this task to an evolutionary biologist and telling him or her that only 100,000 words maximum could be used and every word had to be comprehensible to a nonscientific public. Even now it would be a difficult task. And so the early Lemurian Genesis, used as the basis of the Erza Genesis translation found in the Bible, used allegory to time compress and essentialize the vaster galactic history which included the Earth.

Although there are groups who assert that the six days of creation are "literal 24 hour solar days" (the Creationists), I do not feel such an assertion holds to exegetical analysis. One is that it is very hard to have a "literal solar day" when the sun itself is created on the "fourth day". In the three days, a phrase "there was evening, and there was morning, one day" is used. This is not the usual Jewish day which is from evening to evening and hence would not define a literal day for the people who were originally reading this book. It is also not literally possible to have a "morning" or an "evening" without a sun, since these two events are defined by how the sun is placed in the sky. What can be seen is something loosely describing a kind of big bang creating this local universe and the slow emergence of life, and then the emergence of the human species from an evolutionary process. All that is needed is to assume that those nonliteral days are periods of time (2 Peter 3:8 talks about a day being 1,000 years or 1,000 years being like a day to god), different phases of evolution of variable length following each other. Being made from the "dust of the Earth" is a good metaphor for humans evolving from the Earth itself, from an evolutionary process that is sourced in the Earth itself.

Adam, Eve, and the Serpent can be seen to be representatives of the intellect, emotions, and instincts, or the cortex, limbic system, and r-complex (reptilian brain). Adam is going around naming all the animals. The intellectual cortical brain does this. It forms word symbols for everything. Eve, when tempted by the serpent, is described as seeing a fruit is "good", a "delight to the eyes", and being "desirable". There is an emotional process going on inside her. The serpent is considered to be related to sensations. The animal chosen to represent the instinctive function is the one that is most like our spine, since snakes and serpents are like spines encased in skin. When viewed this way, the story of "the fall" can be seen differently. Something inside of the early humans starts as a sensation and influences our emotions (the serpent tempting Eve), and then the emotions influence our intellect (Adam taking the fruit from Eve and eating it). They experience shame or the awakening of a moral self consciousness. They are suddenly awake that they are naked. They become "like gods, knowing good and evil". The serpent is right about this, but is wrong about "you will not die".

What is interesting about the story is that the Hebrew word for "knowing" in this passage is "daath". It does not seem to indicate a fall to lesser consciousness, but an evolutionary advance to another consciousness. The fruit is "knowledge of good and evil". The god in this story is afraid of what humans have attained, punishes them, and blocks them from the tree of life that would make them immortal. In terms of evolution, it seems that there is a threefold progression in terms of reproduction. The first form is simple cellular division. The second form is androgynous. The third is sexual reproduction. There is some hint that the first humans were created androgenous, Genesis 5:2 says, "He (god) created them male and female, and he blessed them and named them Adam in the day when they were created." The Lemurian Genesis also seems to have emphasized the early androgyny of the first humans. In the Jewish Old Testament it is an odd footnote which is just there as the chapter moves on to other things. But in the Lemurian Genesis it seems woven into their version of the Adam and Eve story, that Adam falls asleep (symbolizing some shift in consciousness) and then wakes up to see Eve who is made from a rib that is taken from Adam (another symbol for Eve representing emotions, since a rib would indicate being made from the heart region, it is also interesting that primates have one more rib than humans do). The intellectual brain and emotional brain have more functional unity than the instinctive brain with the intellectual brain. Eve functions as a mediator to the two other brains.

In terms of evolution, single cell creatures have relative physical immortality. These cells do not have parents. They simply split into two. You could say that the same cell that existed when life first appeared on Earth has become fruitful and multiplied itself to become every cell on the planet. This cell does not age and die, but only dies when certain conditions kill it, like extreme heat. All the human cells emerged from the first cell a long time ago. Next appeared cell colonies. These also did not age and die and also had relative physical immortality (within certain conditions). Then came the androgynous ones that reproduced sexually, but had both sexes within them. It seems that these also are relative physical immortals. It seems that when humans were divided into the two genders, then both "knowledge of good and evil" (ethical consciousness) and mortality started to appear. This also seems to be true for the very first cell colonies that experimented with reproducing this way.

The curse that is called "the fall" has a few outcomes. One is that the serpent seems to lose its arms and legs, and just becomes the skin around the spine. This suggests that the instinctive brain is losing its direct power to influence the motor functions of the human body, while the intellect and emotions can now move them more directly. The second is a kind of tension between the instinct/sensation reptile brain and the feeling brain. Eve is more in touch with the serpent, but does not feel comfortable with this. The sexual sensation, in particular, brings tension and ambivolence rather than complete peace. This seems to translate as greater pain in childbirth. The instincts run most of these processes and hormonal changes, and this uneasy tension makes the process more complex and painful than it may have been during an earlier evolutionary phase. The next item in the curse is Adam must now "toil" for food. The feeling of labor, of having to work hard for food appear. The diet is still vegan at this stage, but it includes cooking food (bread), rather than eating fruit and herbs raw (Genesis 1:29 versus Genesis 3:17-18). The land is less supportive at this stage, having both food plants and weeds. The last part of the curse is that Eve would desire linking with Adam and Adam would rule over Eve.

The last item has been used as a justification for patriarchy, that women are somehow inferior to men and should be ruled by men. There are a few things wrong with this deduction. One is that a curse is never a good thing or a natural thing. If I curse someone with death, then this means that it is not a good thing for me to do to someone. If Eve is cursed with being ruled by Adam, then this suggests the moral ideal is of equality of the genders. Otherwise she would be blessed by being subject to Adam. But my feeling is that it shows that Adam, the cortical intellect, does have hierarchical precedence over the emotional limbic brain. The three brains are not really functioning in perfect harmony at this evolutionary phase that we are still in. Childbirth is painful. Our instincts do not function as well as they do in the reptiles. Gathering food for survival requires toil. And aging and death now appear. Adam lives about 930 years and then dies.

There is another footnote passage about Enoch living 365 years and then being "taken" (not dying, Genesis 5:21-22). Some people interpret this as light translation, where the physical body transforms into a light body. This would be an important passage in the story, because it suggests that whatever is causing aging and death to appear in humans is transcendable.

In an earlier passage, Adam and Eve are blocked from "the tree of life". They instinctively want to reach it and god fears this, because then they will not merely be "like gods" but become gods, knowing both good and evil, and knowing physical immortality (Genesis 3:22-24). This suggests that humans are half way through an evolutionary process. The eating of the first fruit, the knowledge (daath) of good and evil, does evolve them further, but it is both a blessing and curse. The second fruit is meant to complete the process, but something blocks us. An angel with a flaming sword which turns in every direction blocks humans from accessing this. Some guardian appears. In our genetic make up, histones, little dots of light, bind half our genetic potential. When they dissolve, they may allow us to activate some of the dormant potential hidden within them. There is some microcosm to macrocosm relationship between the spine and the genetic double helix, that raising kundalini energy up the spine (In Exodus, Moses raises the serpent up and Jesus says that he will be lifted up in the same way), may open these genetic potentials. There are seven chakras, seven seals that need to be opened, and seven "demons" that need to be cast out, to move the energy up to the Crown chakra (where one can rest, like on the seventh day of creation). I could set up more correspondences between symbols and verses, but in this writing I only have time to allude to some of them.

The sword symbolically represents the wisdom of discernment. The sword can cut through and divide truth from falsehood. Fire symbolically represents purification or the "refiners fire" which burns away the dross to leave the pure gold of enlightenment. The angel who guards the access to the tree of life is what the Zen Buddhists call a "barrier gate". Any barrier to enlightenment is also a gate we can use to reach it. This means that if we take the time to sort out the true from the false and purify ourselves, then we will access of the tree of life, and end aging and death inside of us. The tree of life represents this potential within us for physical immortality. It is something we had that we lost and something that we can gain again. Enoch would be the first person, in this historical allegory, to have attained this.

When Jesus is transfigured, some apostles see Moses and Elijah appear. This passage puzzled me until I understood that these were two others who also attained to their light bodies. It then puzzled me why Enoch was not present. But it made sense later on, because Moses represents one path to attaining a light body through Egyptian alchemy, Elijah represents another path to attaining a light body through merkabah (chariot of fire), and Jesus represents another path through "the holy breath". The purpose of the passage is to validate all three of these methods legitimate paths.

The path that Enoch took may be more related to the Taoist path, since Taoism seems based on the five books that the Lemurians brought to China when Lemuria sank (one book becomes acupuncture, one book becomes the I Ching, another book becomes Feng Shui, and another book becomes the Nei Ching; the fifth book seems to have been lost to China, but seems to be a book about surgery that the Hawaiian Kahunas may have genetic memory of and which is passed on in some of their healing lineages). In some Taoist writings, they talk of practices where the pain of childbirth can end for women and humans do not have to toil for survival. They describe a path of "pure spirit" (shen) where people merely followed what was natural instinctively and did not need more than this. Enoch may have been close enough to the previous time period in human history to stay natural and not need a path that needed to be written down, passed through the intellect, and spelled out in precepts ("The way that can be named is not the eternal way"-Lao Tzu, THE TAO TE CHING). Curiously, the Taoists have always associated this natural path with transcending the need to age and die.

In evolutionary terms, present humanity is caught between "two trees" and is suffering because an evolutionary process is not yet complete. This process was further complicated by two falls to lesser consciousness, one symbolized by the tower of Babel and the other symbolized by the Flood (the formation of the present subconscious mind, chemical addictions, and racial prejudice). The Taoists have a phrase that is a key to the process, "The path of return is the way forward." Undoing these two falls to lesser consciousness, and then completing the original evolutionary process is the key to advancing on the path.

There is a further footnote that, again seems to be very compressed, in Genesis 6:2, talks about sons of god mating with the daughters of men. The next passage talks about humans being a mixture of flesh and spirit, and that the flesh side was going to make it harder to stay spiritually tuned to the natural path, and that the lifespan would reduce to 120 years. This is curious, because life extension researchers are theorizing that 120 years (more precisely 127 years) may be the maximum genetic potential of homo sapiens. The flood story follows, with humans having their imagination too much on evil (harm) and the Earth was filled with violence. At some time, I would like to write about the symbolic clues in this chapter and how it relates to the formation of our present minds where the conscious and subconscious mind are more strongly divided than before, how it relates to a certain faculty of visualization being wrongly used, and how violence appears as a result. It is actually quite relevant to how humans are behaving now, during the phase where the animal flesh eating diet predominates (I do find it interesting that each kind of consciousness has a different diet associated with it). Suffice it to say that "Knowers Ark" (as I like to call it) has three levels (intellect, emotion, and instinct), and it completely sealed from penetration by the violent emotional waters that flood the Earth. But the main point I wish to make here is about how some group outside the evolutionary process genetically mixes with humankind. A more exact translation of "sons of god" is "offspring of the elohim". Some kind of genetic seeding took place during this time. The mixing creatures a hybrid human who is more advanced both in terms of "might" and "renown". This seeding may not have been as literal as having actual sexual union with homo sapiens, but it may have been. It would have been a simpler way to describe genetic manipulation to a prescientific humanity.

The passage about the genetic seeding takes place in a discussion about how the flesh has become corrupted and how violence is now upon the Earth. Some habitual tendency is now passed on genetically and is making the flesh (cells) different than before. Some group of higher beings decides to boost the genetics to produce a better hybrid to counterbalance this, but it is not enough prevent the next fall to lesser consciousness. It describes the Nephilim which have sometimes been associated with fallen angels and sometimes with beings from the Orion constellation. Some have assumed that the offspring of the Elohim were fallen angels or Nephilim, but it is clear from the passage that the Nephilim were already around when the offspring of the Elohim do their genetic manipulation and is a different group. The passage might suggest a time period where communication with extraplanetary human species was more common than now, and that the extraplanetary humans were genetically similar enough so that offspring were possible. This would suggest that the original genetic blueprint that seeds the evolution of this planet did not originate on Earth and was not a product of accidental evolution (though things could go wrong). My own sense is that the genetic intermixing was an attempt to adjust the human evolutionary process some, a kind of course correction, and that it at least partly failed, since the next passages have to do with violence filling the Earth more and more and the Flood happening. Although the biblical information does not mention the origin of the offspring of the Elohim, I would associate them with the Sirian star system (and the Nephilim with the Orions, the two factions in what might have been a galactic war). I also feel that the genetic intermixing partly succeeded in that it kept the evolutionary potential alive so that in our time period it could still be activated through kundalini yoga.

There are several implications of the passages (assuming it is not a total fantasy). One is that the original genetic program did not include aging and death. Two is that the genetic program is modifiable, both for better or worse, and that some energetic and spiritual process seems able to shift the genetic code for the better, so that it again can be healed of the karma of aging and death. Three is that the evolutionary process that we are in is only partially complete and that there is an implied future history unfoldment that is needed to complete this process. Four is that a number of human beings have completed this process to prove that it is possible. Five is that it points to not merely transcending the need to age and die, but also to attainment of a light body. Six is that two falls to lesser consciousness may need to be undone. One is symbolized by the Tower of Babel story and the other is symbolized by the Flood story.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Positive Renunciation

The Four Noble Truths were given by the Buddha in the form of a medical diagnosis. The first truth is that sorrow exists and simply states the existence of sorrow by simple observation, that people suffer when people we care about die, when divorce happens, when birth happens, when we contract illnesses, when accidents impair us, when war happens, when harsh people dominate us, when we are separated from what we love, and when we are joined with what we do not want. The second noble truth is that sorrow as a cause. It does not arise randomly and capriciously. There is a cause and effect order to its appearance and disappearance in our lives. Behind the appearance of sorrow in our lives are the three poisons of the mind, addictive craving, condemning negativity, and ignorant delusions. The Buddha further develops an understanding of operation of these poisons in our lives through his teaching of the Twelve Interdependent Originations, the 12 interconnected and mutually sustaining causes that keep us stuck in a repetitive pattern of sorrow. The basic flow of the nidanas is that we have a conditioned body and mind which is actively engaged in the world through sense organs and sense experience. We eventually have subconscious impressions activated by something we sense which inspire us to cling to, resist, or ignore whatever is arising. This process is usually going on in a low level way all the time with tiny micro-reactions happening which in turn become experiences that we have other micro-reactions to, in other words, the reactions we have become experiences that we react to, and these can also be experiences that we react to, ad infinitum. Craving and aversion to experiences happens. Sometimes we latch on to something that we crave and attach ourselves to this. We then develop possessive patterns to hold this in our lives, form fears of losing what it is that we are attached to or angry resistance to losing what have attached to, and then give birth to a personality formation which has all these processes working below its surface. This personality undergoes a karmaic destiny from the time that it is born, has an energetic youth, gets worn away, decays, and dies. This can be an actual birth, aliveness, aging, death, and rebirth of bodies or an emotional wave of some personality identity going through a emotional trauma where some emotional self that is born, becomes vital, then gets worn down by all the effort to maintain itself, and eventually wants to die. These processes get loaded as potential experiences in our subconscious mind and get reactivated when the right external causes and conditions appear. This activation is like a birth of an energy pattern that runs its course. The mass of impressions plays out in the bardo dreamscape between life times and causes us to take on a specific rebirth with specific parents whose karmaic patterns are similar to our own.

The third noble truth is that sorrow can come completely to an end by ending the three poisons of the mind. When the last traces of them disappear from the subconscious mind, then we experience nirvana. This is a peaceful consciousness which rests in the "unborn, unchanging, and undying" dimension of eternity. This is a level of consciousness, innate to us all, that has never been contaminated by the three poisons of the mind and can be felt within us when they lose their grip. There is a kind of relative enlightenment when our seventh consciousness, our ordinary waking consciousness, is free from the three poisons of the mind. But to totally empty the entire subconscious mind of all subconscious impressions (formations, samskaras) takes a fair amount of time in meditation. It seems that even the Buddha did not fully attain supreme perfect enlightenment in his 40 day meditation into nirvana.

When Buddha was walking from town to town teaching the dharma, he has a vision where his mother appears and offers her breast to suckle on and he does, after he has this experience he says, "Now I feel whole and complete." The mother of the Buddha died two weeks after he was born. He had an incomplete experience that he had to finish with inside himself. Merely meditating for 40 days did not completely release this samskara. There was a child inside of the Buddha that mourned the lost of his mother and longed for a deep connection with life through the feminine principle. This shambhogakaya vision allowed him to have closure and to release the force of this samskara.

This historical event shows to me that there are different degrees and kinds of enlightenment. They may have a similar flavor, but differ in terms of depth, completeness, and comprehensiveness. In Zen, they distinguish between a tongue tip taste of enlightenment is kensho, to the comprehensive flash of enlightenment is satori, to flowing with enlightenment and continuing the process of enlightenment in fugen kensho, to the supreme perfect enlightenment when the entire subconscious mind is emptied of all afflicted samskaras, and even further "profound realization and great function" where the enlightened being freely operates in the world in compassion and spontaneously helps others to be liberated when possible. I mention this, because one can be very enlightened and still have some stuff to process and get healed. It is sometimes called "nirvana with residue" in Mahayana Buddhism and is very common among Bodhisattvas and Dakinis who serve the healing of this world.

What I wish to share in this writing is about the Fourth Noble Truth. The Third Noble Truth merely points to what brings sorrow completely to an end. If you merely try to eliminate the three poisons of the mind, you will not succeed in completely ending sorrow. What is needed is embrace "the path with eight branches". This is a different way of life that the usual samsaric worldly existence of ordinary sentient beings. It is clear that the way of life of ordinary sentient beings does not escape karma and sorrow. This way of life is actually driven by the three poisons, based on the three poisons, and even makes the three poisons stronger over time.

In the Fire Sermon, the Buddha talked about how the whole world is burning with the fire of craving, with the fire of negativity, and with the fire of delusion. All the power struggles and power trips of the world generate patterns of sorrow. They are based on delusion, because people expect to find happiness and find sorrow instead. They imagine that feeding their addictive cravings is somehow going to fulfill them, but instead they find sorrow instead. They are driven by addictive cravings, experience them as desires, and attach to things and relationships with the idea of fulfilling this addictive craving. But these addictions do not find fulfillment, but merely go from one object to another in an endless search for "more".

The Buddha created a community of people who had chosen to renounce the old pattern of life, to renounce the cravings and ambitions that defined the usual way of living in the world, and to live in an entirely different way. This radical renouncing of the world, the desires of this world, the ambitions of the world, the goals of this world, and images of fulfillment that the world tries to emulate is at the heart of the Eightfold Path. I like to call this Eightfold Path, "the path with eight branches", because it sees the eight precepts as branches of the same tree. It shows that the precepts have unity with a symbolic tree, an organic natural way of life. All the precepts become eight interdependent factors which sustain a way of life which is beyond sorrow and the grip of sorrow. These factors replace the twelve factors which sustain the patterns of our sorrow.

I find it interesting that the word that Jesus used that gets translated as "church" is "ekklesia". This Koine Greek word means "call out of". The church that Jesus named was not a building, religion, or club. It was actual people, actual sentient beings, who were "called out of the world", who have chosen to live in love and compassion with each other and for each other, to form a community awakened to the truth of sorrow and how sorrow ends, who see that the world is "judged" in the sense that it is found lacking in the power to move its inhabitants beyond sorrow, that it is composed of people who are drowning in sorrow, perishing in sorrow, and burning with the fire of sorrow. The commandment that Jesus gives to the ekklesia is merely "to love one another as I have loved you". He does not give all kinds of exotic dogmatic beliefs like the Trinity, Vicarious Atonement, the Inerrancy of a Bible that has not even been written yet, and other beliefs that only divide people into fragmented communities that are not even in communication with each other. The word that is used for truth in the Greek of the New Testament is "alethea" which means that which is beyond words. What is beyond words is love itself.

Jesus, like Buddha, also emphasized positive renunciation as the actual entry into the path. Once you renounce the world, then you live "in the world but not of it". You live in a world whose "glory" is fading away. You live in the glory of another way of life that is emerging on this planet, which is already here energetically, and which we can feel in our lives right here and right now. Jesus called this other way of life by the phrase "kingdom of heaven". As one scholar pointed out, this is not a geographic place, but entering a kind of guidance or rulership in your life of a new principle. You are no longer guided by craving, negativity, and delusion, but by a loving, wise, and creative energy that is sacred and which is already within us.

The word "glory" is used to describe the energy of both the old world and the new world. I found that the word "glory" means a kind of energy. Saint Paul talks about different bodies, different cells, as "differing in glory". The old world is not merely bad. It served its purpose. It brought humans up to a certain point. It has an impressiveness to itself, but it does not lead to a deep and lasting inner peace. It reaches a certain level of survival and a certain level of happiness, but ultimately fails to go beyond a certain point. It also accumulates karma and sets up more sorrow in our future. As we learn its limit, see through its glory, the glory fades away.

The Jerusalem Bible translates a passage from the Sermon on the Mount this way, "Unless righteousness is deeper than the scribes and pharisees, you will in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven." I like the use of the word "deeper" rather than "greater", because the pharisees were keeping the commandments good externally. Jesus sees that they are still not transcending the inner attitudes and motivations that keep us linked to the old world samsaric patterns. The revolution in consciousness needs to be deeper than our usual motivation for being a good person. If worldly success matters, fame in the eyes of others, still wanting what the world finds valuable, marketing with an aggression that wants to get things from others, forming bonds with people to get what we want, hiding our real feelings and telling people what they want to hear so that we can exploit them, trying to control people through guilt, and so on, then our commitment to end sorrow in our lives and the lives of those we care about will not have the power to reach "the other shore of enlightenment".

The monks and nuns who followed the Buddha renounced all their worldly possessions, sometimes renounced a lot of actual wealth, many of them being princes and princesses, sometimes donated their wealth to the meditative community, and wandered around the world with a begging bowl, three garments, and a few other things that they needed. They radically simplified their life so that they could free their mind from complex worldly entanglements and so that they could meditate onto supreme perfect enlightenment. They were not merely beggars. They were either healing emissaries or teaching emissaries for the dharma. This was considered their service, what they were giving to others in return for whatever others were inspired to give them. Many of them memorized and recited whole sutras that summarized the teachings of the Buddha. Many of them took time to memorize, verify in their own personal experience, and fully master a section of the teachings, and shared what they had with anyone who was truly open to hearing them. They would ask for nothing in return, but would wander around with their begging bowl and take whatever was freely given. This was a version of right livelihood, free from the stain of a greed and ambition driven economy.

Renouncing the world brings up a primal fear. It brings up the ego belief that the world will let you starve to death unless you "play the game", unless you work hard to lie, cheat, and steal to get ahead, all the while pretending to be a good person. There is a fear of being a "failure" in the eyes of the world. It feels naked to wander around without all the diplomas, education, certificates, and the image of having a high powered job. There is a kind of alpha leader image we are meant to project in the world, a vestige from the animal pecking orders of the past, and emulate even if it does not feel true inside. There are status battles, trying to climb the social ladder, marry up, or whatever it takes. All this is meant to end in the new energy of the dharma. When we renounce, carry the begging bowl, and live in this simplicity, then something happens inside us. There is a kind of vertigo that we go through when we learn to live this way. It does not feel as real or substantial as being successful by the usual career path with lots of education and diplomas getting attached to our name. There is a lot of illusion on this worldly path, because it is an external. Even religion can just be another disguise for a worldly life.

In later lifetimes, a person learns to be a monk or nun in the world. A regular job becomes a hidden place to serve others in love and to let your begging bowl get filled. Behind the transactions and money, this attitude can be there. It is peaceful and trusting of life to take care of itself. You trust synchronicities to happen to support you. There is no effort to puff yourself up with certificates and diplomas to make yourself be more than just a human being on the path to enlightenment. Like Jesus taught, you willingly take the lowest status seat at the banquet table and peacefully wait until life promotes you. When you do get promoted, you do not glory in the increase in status, since "the greatest is the servant of all". You see that you are merely widening your field of service and becoming a servant to more and more people. You never get to be the dominating boss who has minions at his or her beck and call. This whole primate pecking order which wants slaves doing our bidding is completely released. There is a kind of hierarchy to the people on the path, but it is not based on dominance and cannot be climbed by status ambition. It is a natural growth where people with greater wisdom serve those in need when they are able. In this time period, sometimes those more advanced on the path are not even recognized and seen. Many of them will not wear fancy robes, but deliberately dress in such a way so that they blend into the world and hide among those of low status. They do not want people to come who are still attached to externals, who cannot tell who is who without marketing glitz and a promotional campaign beefing up an image. This appeal to the small self is not used on the path. This is also why advanced meditators normally hide their paranormal abilities and only show them when needed. They are not trying to market themselves or prove themselves to anyone. They have long since abandoned any alpha dominance motivations. They may sometimes enter the ordinary world, demonstrate a miracle, show something is possible, and then go back to being "in the world but not of it," being "cloud hidden, whereabouts unknown" and "being nobody, going nowhere". Some miracles do show people that a higher way of life is possible and show that life will support us and care for us, that if we take care of our world, then our world will take care of us. Yet ultimately miracles prove nothing, we eventually mature to the point where the wisdom of the path becomes our natural common sense.

I think it is possible to be prosperous in worldly terms and still be on the path. In one section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives the key and it is about having the right motivation, to always seek "the kingdom of heaven and its balance". To make sure that the motive is right and that it always puts meditation first. We will get what we need to live comfortably and this is all we need. Greed beyond this is excessive and wastes precious time when we could be meditating and morphing into the next species to appear on this world.

When our motivation falls back into the primate level, then we are living in fear again and will soon get lost in samsara, be driven by addictive craving, condemning negativity, and ignorant delusions. We will have lost our compass again. It takes some time to stay in right focus and balance when we understand. It is easy to fall back to the old motivations of our primate past. When it happens to me, I remember my past lifetimes when being a monk with a begging bowl was enough for me to be happy and that I have always had more than this. This centers me back into the enlightenment process and the right way of life.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Thought Cubed Equals Awareness


Where T=thought, p=to the power of, Tp3=thought cubed, and A=awareness.

I wanted to add a small footnote regarding the equations given so far. The next one I wish to propose is that "thought cubed equals awareness". When I have shared about meditation, I found that the key shift is from "thinking about awareness" to "being aware of thought". These two states are very different from each other. But the equation above shows how to shift from one to the other and explains in a simple manner some of the more complex and paradoxical sayings of many meditation teachers.

Ordinary thought is conditioning and reaction. Ta>Tb>Tc means that thought-a causes thought-b causes thought-c. This is also called associative thinking. This is where we think about something just because that something was near something else and therefore associated with it. Many politicians will associate themselves with some ideal merely by repeating the ideal over and over again in their speeches, even though the intellectual content may not really align with the ideal or their behaviors may not really align with the ideal. An argument between two people is really a mechanical or conditioned event where something someone says triggers a reaction in another person who then says something which triggers a reaction in another person. It becomes like nuclear fission, a chain reaction happens, critical mass is reached, and a karmaic explosion happens.

Philosophers contemplate thought with thought. This is thought squared. There is a small amount of awareness that is already arising here. This is because you have to be aware of what another person is saying, notice what words they are using, to contemplate their thoughts. One still is reacting to the thoughts with thoughts, but there is already some self reflection happening. It is not merely the addition of thoughts or thoughts stimulating thoughts as in conditioning and conditioned reactions. Thought by itself is associative and cumulative. It is based on memory and recall through associative triggers.

When thought gets cubed, then thought intention brings in changes in the present moment. You reflect on thought (thought squared) and change in real time from what you feel and are sensitive to. This is the fifth precept of the Buddha, which is gentle correction, where you constantly notice when your thoughts and deeds are not aligned with the dharma and gently shift them into alignment. If you find an angry thought, you notice it, and let it go. You label it "this is an angry thought" (thought reflecting on thought) and then let it go (thought intention, the third element of thought cubed).

You can also get the feeling from this. Thought is conditioned and does not really know. It can comprehend literal meanings of the words and use them properly and grammatically, but this is internal to the system of associations, and may not even refer to anything real in the outside world. Thought squared, thought contemplating thought, can understand this, and thought cubed can intend to see the outside world and be aware of it. By thought contemplating thought, I can come to "the concept of a tree is not a tree" and by intending to see, I can direct my attention to a real tree and look at it. This "looking at the tree" is not the thought of the tree and it is not merely understanding that the thought of the tree is not the tree, but it is actually looking at the tree. This is thought cubed and it is awareness.

Tp1=thought conditioning
Tp2=thought contemplating thought
Tp3=thought intention
(p=to the power of, Tp2=thought squared, Tp3=thought cubed, and Tp1=just thought)

When Krishnamurti gave his lectures, he would do a lot of Tp2. He would talk about how thought is conditioned, how it is based on fear, desire, and memory, how it is attached to outside authority, and how it is always trying to change itself by talking in shoulds. This is thought contemplating thought. Then he introduced Tp3 when he asked, "Can all this come to an end?" This question is the intention and interacts with thought contemplating thought, and does bring it to an end, right here, right now. This shift is like thinking about looking at a tree to actually looking at a tree. One can think about a tree for a long time, wonder about looking at a tree, plan to look at a tree, take workshops in the art of tree looking, read about trees, and still not shift to actually looking at a tree. Tp3 completes and ends the contemplation about looking at a tree by actually looking at the tree. Another time Krishnamurti talked about how, if people really listen, they could leave the lecture hall completely enlightened. Tp3 would be the intention and actuality of listening. This would be different than having words react to words inside us. Words reacting to words is conditioning (Tp1). Noticing how thoughts react to thoughts is Tp2. Ending the reaction is Tp3.

There is a small amount of awareness already appearing when thought contemplates thought (Tp2). If we are actually noticing the patterns of thought with thought, then some awareness of thought is present. It is a kind of half awareness or passive awareness. It is not yet crisp, vital, and alive. When it is intentional, then it has this energy. At Tp2, it is not always there, too, sometimes there is a noticing of what thought is doing and some times there is deduction about what is going on from a belief. We assume reality works a certain way, because of how we conceptualize reality. The assumptions sometimes replace actual looking in the moment. We then really interact one step removed from a direct experience of the world, we interact through a field of interpretative thoughts that have labelled everything. If something is not yet labelled, we find it hard to experience it or even notice it. For instance, racial prejudice can color how we see a person. We can even imagine that the person is many things that they are not, because we have already assumed that they fit our label and that therefore they are a certain way because of this label. We will filter out things that teach us otherwise. Sometimes those labels get contradicted enough so that we eventually revise them. Racial prejudice, or any system of thought, is Tp1. When it becomes Tp2, then data can sometimes shift things. And in Tp3, we can put aside the label and look without it.

The equation we started with forms a learning bridge from thought to awareness. It simplifies some of the more complex teachings about the subject. For instance, teachers will say that thought is not awareness. It is true that Tp1 does not equal A. But Tp3 does equal A. Krishnamurti talked about when thought is useful and when thought limits. Teachers talk about ending thought yet that we still need it. Distinguishing between Tp1, Tp2, and Tp3 can help to clarify what the issues are. It creates a more precise language to discuss these things.

In this small writing, I can only lightly touch upon this equation, its implied alchemy, and the distinctions it makes. It may be immediately usable as a kind of lens to process what many meditation teachers have said and to use it to notice when one is "running pattern" (Tp1), contemplating the pattern (Tp2), and ending the pattern (Tp3). From Tp3, since it is awareness, if you notice it is awareness, this awareness noticing awareness is the beginnings of rigpa, calm abiding in the primordial state.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Karma, Equations, Physics, and the Five Buddha Mandala

I wanted to continue a theme that I had started with in two previous articles. One was on E=MC2 and other was about karma. I have a tentative correspondence between the Five Buddha Mandala, karma, and some equations. The equivalences are as follows:

Buddha Family: Ratnasambhava
Element: Earth
Seed Mantra: Tram (changing frequency to less dense)
Equation: F(gravity)=(GMf1Mf2)/D2

The equation governs karmaic attraction of events towards us. It is roughly the same as the Newtonian law of gravity, where G=the gravitation constant, M1 and M2 are the masses that are attracted to each other, and D is the distance between them (squared). The "f" qualifies the M in this manner: It is mass with respect to frequency or vibration (I am choosing "f" over "v" because "v" is already used for "velocity" or momentum). The two masses need to have a frequency match, much like some things are attracted by magnetism and some things are not (because there is no common frequency). This "f" is "like attracts like". There may be a victim(-) and abuser(+) polarity behind the attraction, but there is also a common frequency, something in common to the polarities that allows them to attract each other. The polarities may reverse in the next encounter, where the victim and abuser switch roles (unless forgiveness depolarizes the whole situation). The mass would be the karmaic samskara seeds held within the subconscious mind.

Buddha family: Aksobya
Element: Fire
Seed Mantra: Ah (dissolving fixation)
Equation: F(a>b)=F(b>a)

The equation in this case is an expression of "for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction". There is an implied common frequency that is no woven into this equation. There is also an implied role reversal or polarity shift. If "a" impacts on "b", then "b" is equally impacting on "a". This is the balancing karma, the best known karmaic principle, that would you put out is what you receive back.

Buddha family: Amogasiddhi
Element: Air
Seed Mantra: Hum (grounding energy)
Equation: Mv@T1=Mv@T2

This equation is expressing, "an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion". Friction eventually slows down the momentum, but in the absence of friction the momentum of an object would make it go forever in the same direction. Mv is "mass with respect to velocity". T1 is one point in the time line and T2 is a future point in the time line. If Mv=0 at T1, then Mv=0 at T2. If Mv=4mps at T1, then it will equal 4mps at T2. This is habit karma.

Buddha family: Amitabah
Element: Water
Seed Mantra: Hreeh (transmuting heaviness)
Equation: F=MA

This equation is the classic "force equals mass times acceleration". Acceleration is the amount of intention, feeling, faith, and energy we put into our thought mass to create a causal force. This is the beginning of a karmaic cause. This would be original or new karma. It can be used to create good karma to neutralize bad karma. Or it can be used to reinforce and re-energize old patterns of karma.

Buddha family: Buddha
Element: Space
Equation: E=MC2 (manifesting emptiness)

This equation is really the law of grace dissolving the karma by converting it back into useful neutral energy again. C2 is awareness aware of itself and interfusing with matter. This converts karmaic mass into energy.

This is a loose outline that I could explain in further detail. But through this there is a deep explanation of karma that stays within the understanding of classical Buddhism. I mention this because it is not so linear as only one law. It is not like I punch someone in the face (a>b) and then later on get punched in the face (b>a). Sometimes it is that linear, but usually masses are affected by the totality of laws governing space, matter, energy, and time unfoldment. For instance, I may regret punching someone and apologize, and make amends, and the karma could be neutralized. Or I could do a lot of good works and have this soften the karma from what it would have been. There mixings and convergences of all these forces playing out, making whole events for us to experience. These interactions can form the vast complexity that we see in life. It is exactly like conventional physics, but applies also to free choice initiated events, mental matter, emotional matter, and physical matter, and not just physical matter (the modern science view). Meditators get an energetic feeling for the workings of karma by intuiting how these laws and how active forces shape events. This kind of intuitive seeing is natural when the third eye awakens.

I hope to fill in more of the implied chart in later writings. One caveat is that the Five Buddha Mandalas used in Tibetan Buddhism are somewhat different from each other. Each sect has a different take in the designations. Much has to do with how they form their practices and which Dakinis and Bodhisattvas are invoked. Sometimes Tara is used for all the Dakinis and differs in aspect, using a different color to symbolize her varying functions, others use different dakinis who more directly symbolize the varying functions and varying elements. Even the seed mantras can be different, though there is more agreement about them. Sometimes the differences are like the same parts being arranged differently to support a different overall magical intent. Sometimes the differences are like devotees of Amida Buddha putting Amida Buddha in the center of their practical mandalas, while devotees of Ratnasambhava putting Ratna Buddha in the center of their practical mandalas. This is not considered any kind of competition, but is natural to organize the practice for different types of students with different goals and different core karmas to transmute. Eventually everyone masters the whole mandala and becomes a member of all the energy families. The sounds are not arbitrary. "Ah" is an expansive sound that does dissolve fixation and gives an open field conducive to insight. "Hreeh" is a focused sound that elevates energy upwards. "Hum" (pronounced in Tibetan as hh-uh-ng) is grounding sound, useful for airy types to focus their energy. "Tram" is a quiet energizer useful for already grounded Earth types. "Om" is the basic vibration of the Quantum field, it circulates and interacts with everything as intelligent spaciousness.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Physical Immortality (Again)

This is a picture a friend sent me of a cemetery in Japan. This is the fate that most humans accept and feel is before them. But why do people die? Is it necessary? Is there an upper limit to our life span? Is it worth extending our lifespan? Is life in the body worth living? The Buddha one time said that we cannot be enlightened without a body and talked of meditation as being ever mindful of the sensations in our bodies, remaining with the sensation, and not reacting to what we feel. In one passage, the Buddha said that his physical body could live for the whole aeon and that the Earth was his witness to this accomplishment. Although he later sacrified this body through a tonglen that took on enough planetary karma to have it die, to give his students some help overcoming obstacles in their enlightenment process, he did still attain this siddhi. What happened to him that allowed him to do this?

I have become a reviewer in the Amazon Vine Program. Apparently enough people had clicked their buttons and said that they liked the book reviews, that Amazon decided to offer me a position as an official reviewer. It is not a paid job, but you get to choose among many new books and get them for free, on condition that you give a review. I usually give the highest, five stars, for any book that seems to be written well and does the job that it intends to do. If I have some reservation about the book, then I give four stars. If there is a serious flaw in the book or sometime that does not jive, then I give three stars. So far I have not given out anything less than three stars.

I am presently reading a book for review called LONG FOR THIS WORLD by Jonathan Weiner. So far the book focuses on a scientist named Aubrey de Grey who is a pioneer in the sciences of life extension. I have been interested in this kind of research, because science has reached a point where it can question whether or not we need to age and die. The subject has been one that brings up some strong human emotions, deeply rooted religious beliefs, and sometimes some intense discussions. I have found that the subject of longevity is one that it hard for humans to explore impartially. Very often, if you believe that aging and death can be transcended, that the body does not have to age and die, then you get all kinds of automatic thoughts given back to you. People theorize that you must be afraid of death, that you want to stay a child your whole life and never grow up, that you are blind to the obvious truth that you are going to age and die, and that you are aging and dying right now.

I do find that the discussions are worth getting into, because the belief that aging and death can be transcended seems to touch upon every relevant religious, scientific, and philosophical issue. But it seems to touch upon the whole issue from a different direction, it brings up the issue empirically.

Even on this blog, the belief that we are all aging and dying, and must age and die is so strong that people say something like, "But when you look in the mirror, you will eventually find those wrinkles and grey hair, that you will look as old as you are supposed to be for your age." People who have not seen my face will assume that I am still seeing what they see in the mirror, without empirically feeling the need to check reality and to see what is true and what is not true. What I find is that people vary a lot in how they look at certain ages. Some people look very youthful well into their 50s, while others look like they have one foot in the grave.

The question about what are the best biological markers to measure aging is an interesting one. Grey hair, for instance, does not seem to be a highly relevant one to me. I had some since High School and it seems that the amount of grey hair is about the same or has only slightly increased. It is something that a person can only find if they are looking intently for it. Perhaps this might change. I theorize that it has something to do with periodic emotional stress and some demineralization. In any case, I do not find this symptom to be a relevant marker in another sense, grey hair does not represent any loss of vitality, youthfulness, and health. I would rather focus on other indicators that are more directly related to health and vitality.

According to the research quoted in the book, the life expectancy of humans in the Stone Age was about 20 years at the most, with the majority of babies dying before the age of three. At the peak of the Roman Empire, the life expectancy was about 25 years. During the Renaissance, the life expectancy was about 33 years. By the year 1900, in the developed countries, the life expectancy had moved up to 47 years. Right now, the life expectancy is at least 76 years. This means that we have, in the last hundred years or so, at least doubled the life expectancy of humans. We have changed our experience of how long we live that much. But in conversations, there is always a feeling, among the people I have talked with, that everyone has always aged and died the way that we do now. It is like believing the Earth is round, rather than flat. People forget that there was a time when people saw the world very differently than we do now. People emotionally imagine that everyone always knew that the world was round and find it hard to imagine a time, not so long ago, when some of the sailors were afraid that Columbus would sail far enough to fall off the edge of the Earth.

One problem that the books point out is that the numbers given above are a little controversial. We are still piecing together the history of the Earth and we do not always have a lot of historical data on every time period. This is compounded by trying to determine what numbers are relevant in this inquiry. It seems that what is emerging is to ask questions like, "What percentage of the total population reaches certain ages?" For instance, in terms of known studies (that I am aware of, new studies happen often enough so that I am not sure I have the most up to date data), the Okinawans have the highest percentage of people of a given country growing older than 100 years. It seems that this is related to diet for two reasons. One is that Okinawans who have moved to other countries and/or eaten a different diet in their own country do not live as long. Their diet is near vegetarian with a certain number being complete vegetarians.

While the percentage of the total population growing old beyond 100 years is relevant, it does not screen out certain kinds of death from accidents, wars, poverty, and disease. Part of the theory of physical immortality is that aging and death are due to controllable causes and that there is no mechanism that forces us to age and die. Whether or not we get a certain disease is a controllable cause. It is a conditional event in that it does not have to happen to every human being and even when it happens a human being does not have to die from the disease. In one recent news item that I saw, Peru found 300 cases of people who tested positive for having been infected with AIDS and who are naturally immune to AIDS. One of the cases was caught soon enough so that they could see what happened inside his immune system. AIDS usually mutates before the immune response can complete itself. But in this person the immune response was a lot faster than usual and completed itself before the AIDS virus could mutate and eliminated the virus. I have a feeling that we all should be having immune systems that operate this fast and that diet is a factor in why this may or may not be so. Many countries have not abandoned their herbal healing traditions and eat a more traditional diet that usually has less animal flesh. In Okinawa, the advent of fast food burgers and the school cafeteria system has lead to an obesity epidemic among teens that the older diet did not generate.

There are some life extension researchers who feel that, when you remove many of the known controllable causes of aging and death, we might "hit the wall" aka reach a point where we cease to extend our lifespan any further or find any further progress very difficult (unlike the slow but steady progress where many relatively easy controllable factors are dealt with as our science. technology, and social conditions have improved). The estimates are around 120 years to 127 years. There seems to be some reason to believe that somewhere around this is our genetic life span maximum limit. Genesis 6:2-3 talks about the human lifespan being 120 years. Later on, a biblical generation is 40 years and was most likely the reasonable lifespan expectation, give or take 10 years, for a lot of human history. I do find it interesting that, taken the allegorical history of Genesis, that humans, Adam and Eve, were essentially immortal in the Garden of Eden, and were on a raw food vegan diet (Genesis 1:29), when they fall to a lesser consciousness, their lifespans seem to be about 900 to 1000 years. It seems that Abel was a farmer and that vegetarian food was the norm in this next time period. After the flood, humans start eating animal flesh (Genesis 9:1-9). The passage is interesting, because humans now evoke terror among animals and now live the pitifully short lifespan of 40 years. This seems to dovetail with the Lankavatara Sutra in Buddhism which points out that when we eat animals our sweat and our breath has the smell of death in it. Many animals have more developed noses than we do and their sense of smell can pick up on who is a predator, on who hunts them, kills them, and eats them. Because of humans needing to kill to survive, karma requires that they be killed in their turn. There is a different relationship with animals at this time, it is based on fear. In the Garden, it seemed that Adam names all the animals and communes with the animals. Eve even talks with a serpent. While I do not think the story is literal, I do find these passages link together and may reveal a certain kind of truth about longevity, diet, and consciousness. Some of it links with some of the numbers that come up in the life extension research.

In religious history, it seems that many saints and alchemists have been reported to have transcended aging and death. It seems that they have many things in common, like doing some kind of breathing energy technique, changing their diet either to at least near vegetarian, some vegetarians, some vegans, and some raw foodists, some kind of physical culture like hatha yoga or chi kung, some practice like meditation, a commitment to live an higher ethical life, having supportive loving friendships and sometimes a long term loving sexual partnership, a good sense of humor, some kind of economic livelihood from a craft or skill, and some sense of life purpose. In some of the numbers I have gleaned from various books, it seems that there is a correlation between certain factors and longevity, that the lifespan increases to the degree a person moves away from eating animals and animal products. It seems that to move beyond 127 year "wall" may require mastery of breathing, energy yogas, and becoming at least relatively enlightened in consciousness. I did run across a book about a Brazilian who lived to be 160 years on a vegan diet. He may have lived longer, but when he started eating an American diet he died only two or three years later.

One of the problems for science is trying to separate legend from historical truth when it comes to the past immortals. There is a story about a Chinese herbalist who lived 256 years and whose lifespan is confirmed, in part, by Chinese birth records and marriage records, with the person having married five times. His profile does match the above mentioned longevity factors with the addition of the use of Ginseng, Foti, and Gotu Kola as herbs. Apparently the use of Ginseng was so regenerative that the herbalist had to stop taking it for two weeks before being able to finally die. There is mention of a Tibetan Buddhist female master who lived at least 500 years and who practiced a meditation designed to create longevity and involved Amitayus Buddha, White Tara, and Unishavijaya, and at one point doing the meditation without sleeping for two weeks. There is also Babaji who has been immortal since 800 CE and who resides somewhere near Badrinath, India, and who, in AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI by Yogananda, promises to be present to some people in his physical body to the people of this world. This yogi wanted to re-release the idea of physical immortality to humans so that it might be possible for people to attain this in the near future, perhaps becoming more common in the next 500 to 1,000 years.

I generally believe these stories, because they are from different cultures and time periods and seem to have a pattern to them. Certain ideas and practices link them together. Even though, given the possibility that all these stories are essentially accurate, all these saints may collectively represent less than .000001 percent of the total population, this percentage, if true, is important, because it means that the "wall" is passable, that the 127 year maximum lifespan limit is an illusion. I suspect that the factors required to move beyond the wall are things like vegetarianism, veganism, fasting, and mastery of breathing which few humans have been willing to do. This observation seems promising to me, because it means that, even without these more serious commitments, the human lifespan has increased so much.

My sense is that people have very little to lose to adopt the idea that aging and death are not necessary and that aging and death is due to controllable factors. Whether or not I succeed in living several hundred years more or not is secondary to the fact that I am alive now. I find that I am taking responsibility for those factors and choosing to integrate them into my life. When an aging factor seems to appear every now and then, I take it as a feedback that I may need to focus on some factor and work with it until the symptoms disappear. I do not resign myself to the symptom and just assume that it is going to kill me. I am not afraid of death, though if I do die I would prefer some versions of dying over others. There are times when death is better than living. If the body is too maimed and too painful to keep alive, then death may be the wisest option. I do believe in reincarnation, so you always get another chance to live, learn, and grow. One of the things I that I think we are meant to learn is how to keep our bodies alive for longer lifespans and to keep it youthful and healthy as long as possible in those lifespans. I do feel that our bodies, well cared for, can live forever, provided that the Earth does not become too toxic and life on Earth remains worthwhile to live in. There is some indication that many of the saints who have transcended aging and death release their bodies anyway, do evemtually "gently lay the body down" as one book puts it, to go to another dimension where life is even better than on Earth. This is different from the process of reincarnation which usually requires rebirth in a lifetime similar to the one that one had before. We might have glimpses of heaven worlds and hell worlds in the bardo, in the space between death and rebirth, but our karma seems to only get better in stages as we do good deeds to others and to our own bodies, and the force of the good karma uplifts our lives in stages. My view is the opposite of the "drastic view" that after you die you get the blessings of a eternal heaven where sorrow appears no more or the eternal torment at the hands of an angry righteous god. I think we slowly evolve heaven on Earth or evolve to the point where we go beyond the Earth to a higher realm, but karma has us reborn into a world appropriate to where we have been and where we are going. It is possible to accelerate this evolution through meditation practice, wholesome life practices in general, determination, and commitment. My view is also different from the atheistic annihilationist view that believes that the soul is an epiphenomenon of the brain and that when the brain dies we completely cease to exist. The near death experiences that people have seem to indicate that something does survive the process of dying, including getting information that the brain and the usual five senses should not have gotten. This is another research edge which is interesting and which I think will be better understood in time.

I would like to add a footnote here about scientific research in general. I do feel that the scientific method is really an ideal method of investigating reality and helping us to understand reality. I like when the research is done as rigorously as possible. I find that many studies, from my point of view, are not rigorous enough for me and this limits the meaningfulness of the conclusions that are drawn from the data. Even when the research is not fully rigorous, sometimes the research is still valuable when combined with other studies, laid side by side to notice findings and patterns in common with others. I would like for more of the abstracts to name the sample size, conditions, ages of the people involved, what kinds of diets they had, and what kind of mind or philosophy of life they were living. I do feel that a vegan body chemistry is different enough than a more carnivorous human so that studies that do not factor this in cannot completely generalize to all humans. If animals run in terror when they smell carnivorous human sweat and more easily trust humans who are vegan, this is already a big difference that will show up biochemically in other ways. I also feel that dietary studies need to factor in when food is eaten, how it was cooked or overcooked, whether the food is organic, what soil it was grown in, what climate belt it was grown in, whether the farmer lived in compassion or planted the seeds in the mood of anger and frustration, whether the fruit was violently ripped from the plant by machines or lovingly hand picked, whether the food was trucked over a desert highway without being properly cooled or unpacked in truck yards that smell of fuel. There are a lot of factors that shape the quality of our food. While it is not possible to track all these factors in a study, I would like to see more of them tracked than is presently done.

The other factor is the science in human life is not merely a method, but a community of people in the academic world. These people need to look at themselves and try to notice if their own biases are getting in the way of arriving at certain conclusions. When it comes to life extension, many religious dogmas may prevent a person from even believing that aging and death could be transcended. This is a delicate area, because I have found that people have some strong emotional feelings about life and death that will affect their ability to contemplate life extension and physical immortality. I have not found those who study science in college, get hired by corporations to invent and test products, and who have an emotional ambition to write a paper that will make them famous to be a particularly impartial group. Many of these people have done very little or no psychotherapy or any kind of psychological self exploration, have not attempted to look at their ego defense mechanisms and how this ego defenses could be interfering with their ability to do good research. Many of the people who I have met have lost their natural childhood curiousity, which I feel is behind real science, and have even openly stated to me that they dogmatically feel that aging and death are necessary and that they would not even care about hearing anything that questions this, considering it a stupid and irrelevant subject by someone who is afraid of death. With this kind of mindset, the research is not going to be done, and, of course, when I have invited any of them to quote any research that has already been done about the subject that might back up their view, they give absolutely zero. Sometimes I have heard a friend mention the telemere reduction theory, how whenever cells divide a telemere rips and when we run out of telemeres then our cells cannot reproduce. This theory would seem to give some validity to a the 127 year "wall" that some people seem to hit. But it seems that an enzyme called "telemerase" can repair the telemere tears and reload the ability of the cells to do mitosis and regenerate the body. It seems, too, that taking astragalus helps keep our telemeres active. I say "seems" because a lot of this research edge is relatively new and the conclusions are still more suggestive than proven. What I also find interesting is that only those who have some positive feeling about life extension seem to zero in on the telemere reduction theory as relevant. I have yet to see it quoted in a book as a disproof of physical immortality. Those who quote it are those interested in life extension and sense something significant to the aging process is being discussed inside the theory.

What counts for a rigorous scientific proof, for me, is a relatively high state of research, analysis, and testing. In terms of legal proof, a scientific proof is an overkill. It is like presenting ten times more evidence than is usually needed to prove someone guilty or innocent. There is a reason for this, because science is trying to create and maintain a very reliable body of knowledge. Speculative theories are not allowed into this inner sanctum. Too much stuff has become believed by humans in the past that has not survived scientific analysis. It is a cautious and conservative approach. There is a problem, though, because these kinds of studies take a lot of money and I personally cannot afford to do them. I can experiment in my life and have friends join me in my journey. I can study history, find patterns, form beliefs, live them and see where they lead me. I feel I have personally verified much of the teachings of the immortals from Taoism, Buddhism, Sufism, Hinduism, Mystical Christianity, and Qabalistic Judaism. I generally believe their basic themes and direction is valid. There is enough difference in terms of various details to warrant being tentative and being willing to double check various beliefs to see if they are valid or obsolete. Science does not happen in a vacuum. Corporations want science to support them making profitable technologies. This is only indirectly related to studying aging and dying. There is more money in creating a drug to conquer one illness than there is in mastering breathing and possibly rising above a thousand illnesses as a result. In short, we need to scientifically evaluate the social process of scientists working for universities and corporations and see how this affects both what they are researching, whether the subject gets enough funding to continue, and how a certain social lens may not even want to look into aging and death in a certain way. I find the data coming from modern science to be generally accurate but somewhat fragmentary. People need a good overall theory to help organize the research, know what to look for, what to expect, and how to design the experiments to test those expectations. I personally feel that physical immortality is such a theory and is an excellent lens to look at the existing research through. There are themes even in corporate studies that you begin to see that are overlooked in usual science because they are not trying to piece together their own findings in this direction. Occasionally some author will summarize what has been found, lay studies side by side to show what is emerging as a pattern, and link it with support for certain theories. The theory of physical immortality is already a "convergent" theory. It gets at least partially confirmed whenever a scientists discovers some aging factor and how it can be cured or when things like humor seem to increase lifespan (no surprise that Bob Hope and George Burns lived past 100). Because the totality of the processes inside that are related to aging and death are complex, variable, and interconnected, physical immortality may be an unproven theory for a long time. But right now it feels superior to holding the hypothesis that there is some factor, yet to be found, that will prove that we have to age and die no matter what we do. The fact is that there is a lot that we can do to increase our healthy lifespan and this belief is something we can hold and be productively rewarded for having. I do think it is important to not be afraid of dying, because fear can age people. I do find it interesting that if you focus on transcending aging and death that people will assume that you are afraid of death, but if you focus on transcending a disease you are not automatically considered afraid of the disease. It is also interesting because curing the disease really means curing death in that form.

I do find that thinking in these terms seems to also be a health and longevity factor. If you are reading this and agreeing with these thoughts, you may find yourself feeling healthier, happier, and younger as a result. I think the reason is that you are not dooming yourself to any inevitable fate. Your life is open ended. You might still age and die, but you are not doomed to it. This is a different energy meeting your life experiences. I do feel that I have felt healthier a result of this thought and making choices from this thought. Whether or not my lifespan moves beyond the 127 year wall or not remains to be seen. If it is does not, I will not consider my life a failure. I already believe that I will live longer than I would have if I did not embrace the idea. As far as I am concerned, I might have been dead already without it. So barring not getting run over by a truck, I expect to have a lot more happy years of life ahead of me and I have learned a lot of things to help others heal themselves and feel better too.