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I was impressed with Ceridwen's cd. Even though I didn't get to listen to it laying in the dark like she proposed, I was able to listen from start to finish as a supplement to my studying. The first song was incredible. I have never heard anything like it...the way those voices melded together was just insane. It was by far my favorite track of them all. The popular classical music, like fur elise, I could do without, but only because I have played them so many times on the piano that it just took me back to those places instead of allowing me to clear my mind. I wish our class had another week together because I would be curious to find out more about why she picked the songs she did, and how listening to this cd may have helped her in the past few weeks.


Alas, the course is over. Well, Penn State is over for me. I just turned my last paper in this morning. It was bitter sweet, for the obvious reasons. On Sunday I will be riding off into the sunset. I'll be moving to Arizona at the end of December. I just wanted to say thank you all for taking me under your wing this semester. At first, I didn't know how this class was going to turn out. I know I didn't always have the most thought-provoking comments or wiki posts, but I always felt comfortable saying/writing them anyway, which was really important to me. I learned a lot about myself this semester, as I predict that everyone else did as well. So good luck to everyone!!!






Thanks for the affirmation and your participation. I really liked your final project - honest, simple, funny & deep. Loving even!


And don't sell your commentary short: I remember one day I knew the class was working out ( even after 20 years of teaching, one never knows!) when you said something about the void and the nature of becoming. I was amazed at where we had come in terms of your willingness to share metaphysical ideas without worrying about sounding nutty or foolish or whatever. So thanks for going with it! To be honest, I knew that when you came back the second day that you would come through and get something from the class.


I will indeed record and share our wednesday night sessions. And where are you moving in Az? I will likely visit the Tucson area to do some interviews with a Peyote Church near Tucson, and I have a good friend and collaborator at Arizona State. He's an amazing person, so if you need any help getting settled etc, I'll bet he can help.


Anyway, let's keep in touch, and good luck with your journey!




P.S. You are of course more than welcome to keep posting on your SlicedBread page!



The more I started writing my "5-page paper" on my spiritual autobiography, I realized that I had no choice but to make this my final paper instead. It's odd that such a seemingly insignificant part of my life could easily fill about fifteen pages. It felt good to reflect on this part of my life. It's something I really haven't done before. So here it is:

Spiritual Autobiography


I left the running stuff for my 5-page paper.

My Half-Marathon and Experience with the Sacred




Ok, I changed my mind on my final project. I'm going to leave the spiritual autobiography for the 5-page paper and instead write about my sacred experience training and completing the half marathon--moreso how a seemingly not-so-sacred experience became an intensely sacred one.


Also, today's presentation made me realize what a disgruntled employee I am!! I work at a dietary research center on campus and all of the research I do, I don't get credit for! All of the credit goes to the 4-5 faculty members involved and is property of Penn State. When I walk through the halls of the Henderson building, I take a look at the study posters on the wall and think to myself..."those studies would have never come to fruition if it wasn't for the work of the girls at the research center" but alas we get no credit.


But would I do anything about that? No. I guess part of having the right to defend your intellectual property is first performing your due diligence in terms of contributing to someone else's intellectual property.


For my final paper, I'm going to do a spiritual autobiography. As the "Christmas-Easter Catholic" that I am, I think it will be interesting to think about the chain of events in my life that brought me to this point. Also, I think right now is the time to do something like this. I'm graduating December 22nd, starting a new chapter of my life. In a way, a spiritual autobiogrpahy can summarize a significant part of my life, and maybe serve as a jumping point for spirituality in the next part of my life. We'll see.



So I ran the Nittany Valley Half Marathon this past Sunday. It was the best/worst mental and physical challenge I've ever overcome. I think the feelings I had through the race would be very similar to a thinktank experience. The first few miles you are kind of in shock, thinking, "What did I get myself into?". Then, you kind of ease into it, let yourself be in the moment. For me, this happened as I approached the airport, for thinktankers this might be after 10 minutes? Then, the moment becomes bigger than you. Your mind has taken control over your physical being. You remove yourself from the situation and put yourself elsewhere. In class today, I think it was Gonzo who said that when you come out of the thinktank you are so overwhelmed you can't do anything. There was also a quote that you should live your life as if you just came out of the tunnel. I think both of these apply to the feeling I had when I completed the run. It was such an overwhelming feeling of excitement, relief, etc., I was elated. Nothing else mattered but that moment. It taught me to live in and enjoy special moments, even those that don't seem that special. It's such a relief to be able to take yourself out of a moment and forget about other obligations, worries, etc.


This is also related to Echen talking about walking meditation. Removing yourself from the situation to achieve something greater.



More Confuscius


Here, Confucius stumbles upon a man treading in turbulent waters. At first, he concludes that the man might be trying to commit suicide, but decides to try to help him anyway. Turns out, the man was treading in the water as he had his entire life. Confused by this, Confucius asks the man how he does it, to which he responds, "...my success in it is now as sure as fate...I follow the way of the water, and do nothing contrary to it of myself."

This story really encompasses Daoism's (spelling?) beliefs in that humans must live WITH nature instead of taking from it. Arguably, noone else besides this man would have been able to survive treading in this water, yet the man did so seamlessly just by letting the water do what it "wilt" with him.

I can't figure out exactly what the man means by saying that his success is as sure as fate. He might be saying that one's fate is concrete. Then again, he could be saying this almost tongue-and-cheek in that nothing is positive, and almost that he enjoys the thrill of treading in the water because of the risk.



Confucius Text from Realityor's presentation


This passage talks about the "sagely man" (which I have just come to learn as meaning wise) who has the power to relieve his family of worrying from their poverty in addition to being able to making kings and dukes forget about their ranks. So the man has the ability to infuse relief in the suffering and force high ranking officials to become humble. He's kind of like Robin Hood- stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Except here we are dealing with egos and emotions instead of cold hard cash...but I would be willing to say that the implications of Robin Hood's deeds went far beyond the wallet. Anyway, the sagely man believed that everyone is on a level playing field. This really is a beautiful ideal, and perhaps could have worked in Confucian times, but would be impossible today, at least in the United States. I think this has to do with the commercialism of wisdom. People aren't taken aback by wisdom, since we can get it anywhere: phony psychics, tarot cards, magic-8 balls, even the astrology section in The Collegian. So, to me at least, is it hard to separate a "wise man" telling me to do something, over The Collegian telling me that tonight I should be "Out on the Town". Everything is taken in stride and people, say political officials, are more willing to make decisions based on the effectiveness of past ones than on one man's visions.



Turns out, the book The Unknown Life of Jesus by Nicolas Notovitch IS on sacred texts. So in case anyone wanted to look into this further here it is: The Unknown Life of Jesus




I know it's a bit late, but here is some text I found from the Notovitch scrolls (I'll bring some copies to class):


The caravan arrived back at Himis late that evening. "Hearing of my accident, everyone came out to meet me," Notovitch recalled. "I was carried with great care to the best of their chambers under the immediate surveillance of the superior, who affectionately pressed the hand which I offered him in gratitude." The affable lama kept Notovitch entertained throughout the following day with endless stories. At last, "acceding to my earnest entreaties," he brought out two large yellowed volumes and read to him the biography of St. Issa. Notovitch enlisted a member of his party to translate the Tibetan while he carefully noted each verse in the back pages of his journal. The legend begins with the crucifixion.


The earth has trembled and the heavens have wept because of a great crime which has been committed in the land of Israel. ''For they have tortured and there put to death the great and just Issa, in whom dwelt the soul of the universe, ''Which was incarnate in a simple mortal in order to do good to men and to exterminate their evil thoughts ''And in order to bring back man degraded by his sins to a life of peace, love, and happiness and to recall to him the one and indivisible Creator, whose mercy is infinite and without bounds.... ''At this time came the moment when the all-merciful Judge elected to become incarnate in a human being. ''And the Eternal Spirit, dwelling in a state of complete inaction and of supreme beatitude, awoke and detached itself for an indefinite period from the Eternal Being, ''So as to show forth in the guise of humanity the means of self-identification with Divinity and of attaining to eternal felicity, ''And to demonstrate by example how man may attain moral purity and, by separating his soul from its mortal coil, the degree of perfection necessary to enter into the kingdom of heaven, which is unchangeable and where happiness reigns eternal. ''Soon after, a marvelous child was born in the land of Israel, God himself speaking by the mouth of this infant of the frailty of the body and the grandeur of the soul. ''The parents of the newborn child were poor people, belonging by birth to a family of noted piety, who, forgetting their ancient grandeur on earth, praised the name of the Creator and thanked him for the ills with which he saw fit to prove them. ''To reward them for not turning aside from the way of truth, God blessed the firstborn of this family. He chose him for his elect and sent him to help those who had fallen into evil and to cure those who suffered. ''The divine child, to whom was given the name of Issa, began from his earliest years to speak of the one and indivisible God, exhorting the souls of those gone astray to repentance and the purification of the sins of which they were culpable. ''People came from all parts to hear him, and they marveled at the discourses proceeding from his childish mouth. All the Israelites were of one accord in saying that the Eternal Spirit dwelt in this child. ''When Issa had attained the age of thirteen years, the epoch when an Israelite should take a wife, ''The house where his parents earned their living by carrying on a modest trade began to be a place of meeting for rich and noble people, desirous of having for son-in-law the young Issa, already famous for his edifying discourses in the name of the Almighty. ''Then it was that Issa left the parental house in secret, departed from Jerusalem, and with the merchants set out towards Sind, ''With the object of perfecting himself in the Divine Word and of studying the laws of the great Buddhas.





Just in case you couldn't figure it out on the syllabus, I'll be presenting tomorrow on a documentary I saw called "Jesus in the Himalayas". Instead of focusing on the actual text (like Ceridwen's awesome presentation), I am going to style it much like London Bridge's (?) presentation, discussing the implications of the text rather than the text itself. In this case, I will discuss the implications of Jesus studying with Yogis on modern day religion.


You don't have to worry about reading anything in advance. I'm not even too sure I will be able to find a hardcopy of the text mentioned in the documentary, but I'm still trying and will bring it to class if I can find it.



Right and Wrong, con't.


I think wrong can be defined as a person's actions negatively affecting someone else, either unknowingly, or unwillingly. If this man in Ceridwen's presentation (sorry I can't remember the name) had perversions, he should have dealt with them on a personal level instead of acting inappropriately with unwilling individuals. So in the case of my friend, it was neither right nor wrong to burn the bible, but it become wrong when this burning affected his family, in arguably the worst way possible.




Do what thou wilt...


I agree with Gonzo in that I really enjoyed Ceridwen's presentation on Thursday. This man didn't think he was doing anything wrong, having sex with young boys, leaving injured climbers on Mt. Everest, etc. There is such a fine, and ironically undefined, line between right and wrong. If someone does not believe they are doing anything wrong, are they still "wrong" just because their ideals and actions do not align with societal standards of right and wrong? And how does this relate to those with disorders (such as bi-polar, schizophrenia)? I had a friend in high school that was bi-polar and decided to boycott his medication. This resulted in him burning the bible, causing a fire in his house, and killing his mother and little brother. He was put in jail. Is this right? It seems that severe chemical imbalances in his head could have given him the feeling that burning the bible was the right thing to do. Would he have done it if he did not have this condition? Although we will never know, I can bet you that it wouldn't have. The question is, should he be held to societal standards of right and wrong and the reprecussions of not following them? In my opinion, my friend needed medical help, not jailtime.


I think that bi-polar is an awful disorder. One of my best friends has bi-polar disorder. I didn't know him before he went on medication (Depakote), but he tells me stories of being up for several days straight wild-eyed and crazy. I think people with Bi-polar disorder do have some sense of right and wrong, but during manic episodes they have unrealistic expectations of how powerful and superior they are. So something like setting the house on fire - to an extreme case - might seem managable, even fun. I think it is a very difficult decision to put someone in jail for those behaviors when they are sick. I'm glad I wasn't on that jury. I guess that is why there are judges and lawyers who go to school for large amounts of time to make those decisions.



What if the man in Ceridwen's discussion had some sort of disorder? He might not have seen the wrong in having sex with young men. Perhaps, instead of ridiculing him in the media, medical intervention could have been offered to see if something was there that could justify his actions.


With that said, it seems that it would be nearly impossible to have some sort of intervention. He seems very resistant to anything that he has no control over.




Jesus in the Himalayas


I'm changing my topic for the discussion. I figure this isn't a big deal since I'm not presenting for a while and, true be told, I haven't really given my other sacred text much of a thought (Earthly Paradise). The reason for doing this is because of a show my boyfriend recorded called "Jesus in the Himlayas" (at the moment I can't remember which network it was on). The crux of it is that Jesus did not actually die on the cross, and instead voyaged through India, where he died and was buried in Kashmir. There's a decent amount of evidence that I plan on presenting in class, including a professor who thinks he has found his actually tombstone in Kashmir. The reason that this topic is still appropriate for this assignment is because there is "ancient text" that exists from a man in India claiming something along the lines that a "flaxen haired western looking man claiming to be born of the virgin and the son of God" came through. I don't anticipate that this text will be on sacredtexts.com, but I will try to find it and bring some copies in.


So what sort of effect would this have on today's religion? That's what I plan on discussing. This would mean that Buddhism and Christianity are much more closely related than we ever thought, due to Jesus' influence (there are already many documented similarities between the two religions).


This is all still very new to me and I plan on investigating more into this matter. It feels good to be excited about my discussion topic, instead of it feeling like a burden that I must take care of between other exams and assignments. I never use smileys or anything in my online communicating, but :) :) :)




Chapter 7 of Autobiography- The Levitating Saint


Just to put it into a little context, the "Levitating Saint" is Bhaduri Mahasaya, and is the topic of conversation amongst Yogananda and Upendra Mohun Chowdhury. They talk about how he levitates and never leaves his house, but what was more suprising to me is that he is actually thought of as being witty and funny. Bhaduri makes jokes, even those that pertain to God, like joking around that a people are more fond of their union with food than they are with their God. The reason this is so odd to me is because I'm not familiar with other religions that are so OK with this humor. Worshippers are generally portrayed as quiet, humble individuals. This especially rings true in Eastern cultures. And here we have members of the Yogis, who seem to be more in touch with their relationship with God than many other religions, making light of its fallacies. Why do people think that in order to be in touch with God, it must be in a serious setting? Take the Catholic Church (of which I am a pseudo-member). The whole "celebration of God" is anything but. We sit, we stand, we kneel. Repeat about three times. Eat tasteless wafers. Pretty much, we are like robots, and it's what turned me off to the religion and I haven't been back since I made my confirmation in 9th grade. Maybe things would have been different if Church was more of a celebration. Worshipping in an inviting setting, eating juicy mangoes, and heck, trying to levitate! I understand why the Church is the way it is (clearing the mind of unneccessary stimuli, repeating the same words over and over in order to clear your mind and force you to think about God), but after reading this chapter of Yogananda, it made me realize that it doesn't have to be this way.






I was reading Gonzos posting about his interpretation of a passage from Matthew and others postings in relation to it and I agree with them- especially when someone wrote about how worrying (I think it's spelled right but it looks weird for some reason) is an empty emotion that just gets in the way of everything else. Truer words have never been spoken! I used to let my worrying get in the way of everything, even if they weren't related to what I was worried about. There are 2 kinds of worrying: Worrying about situations that you are in control of, and worrying about situations you aren't in control of. The first was is not so bad, as long as you can step back from the situation and realize the power you have over it. Are you nervous about an exam? Study. Can't stop thinking about how that cheeseburger you just wolfed down is going to stick to your thighs? Workout. It's worrying about things that are out of your control that is so difficult. At the moment I can't stop thinking about if the companies I applied to will offer me an interview. At this point, it's really out of my control. Does worrying about it increase the chance that I will obtain an interview--yeaaa probably not (if only!).


Bottom Line- Worrying about something doesn't do a darn thing. But it's hard. You can't tell yourself not to worry about something that's out of your control in the same way you can't tell yourself not to love someone who you know isn't good for you. It's just one of those emotions. And I'm worried that I will have this emotion the rest of my life.




I couldn't agree more with your evaluation and discussion of worry. After this post, I'm going to hop oover to Gonzo's post on this. I love the concrete examples that you gave about the exam and cheeseburger. So true. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=47&chapter=6&version=31">This is one of my favorite Biblical passages. Anyway, I think there is some serious wisdom in the passage and I think your post really clarifies it. I also like that you called it an "empty emotion." That means so much--it is an emotion that won't help overcome. It's empty and by that definition, worry won't be able to propel a person's emotions or actions forward as other emotions such as anger or rage can. I like to think about this passage in relation to the Christian community. I mean, it seems to me that many Christians struggle to live out this passage. I'm sympathetic, but I also think there's no excuse not to try to live it if you profess to believe it. (I'm thinking of all of the Christians aiming toward accumulation of materials or padded bank accounts for "security." Of course that isn't what this is talking about. This passage is talking about a more radical Christianity which would entail a life driven by faith that God will provide instead of seeing it necessary to provide for oneself by stockpiling a ton of money.) I guess if I think further than my own surroundings, I would imagine that the missionaries living in hostile communities are living out a passage about not worrying. They must be trusting that there sustenance, clothes and safety will come from divine intervention as opposed to their cushion of wealth. Rant over. Anyway, I'm all about living a PROACTIVE life free from worry! I think slicedbread did a great job of concretizing just how one can do that. happygirl



Remixing the Sutra


A middle-aged factory man was sitting with his friend outside the factory on his lunch break, eating the salami sandwich his wife had made him from his tin lunchbox. She had forgot the micracle whip. Worse, however, was the sight around them. The factory was empty. Empty of people, that is. Machines had taken over the majority of the tasks that they and their coworkers used to do. They were like robots, and the replacement of their friends/workers by these had caused them much grief. The man had tried to cross beyond their suffering and difficulty by telling his buddy:


Bob, robots do not differ from men. Men do not differ from machines. Machines do not differ from mannequins. Robots themselves are humans now.


As factory workers/machines, we have been trained to be empty of characteristics- we aren't what you see. We are not heroes, or saviours. This has become of us because they were just factory owners whose circumstances went beyond their control.


We must let go of this fear that we are the next humans to be replaced here. If we don't let this idea impede in our mind, we will not be afraid. And we leave this idea behind. Yee-haw!


And Bob, I will give u a mantra for next time you are worried. Know that this is a great spiritual mantra, a great bright mantra, a supreme and unequalled mantra. It will remove your suffering, and this is why I say it. Recite it like this:


Domo arigato mister roboto domo domo






"Is it not the case, that they say that the Water of Live is to be found in darkness? That darkness is the body of the saints, in whom is found the Water of Life. The Water of Life can only be encountered in darkness. If you abhor this darkness and fight shy of it, how will the Water of Life ever come to you?"


I'm a firm believer that nothing in life worth anything comes easy. If something was easy, than everyone would have the capability to have that and it wouldn't be so special. I think this idea is reflected in this discourse. If you want the Water of Life you must be willing to fight through the darkness. If everyone got the Water of Life, would it be so sacred? If I had to do a little remix of this passage I would definitely capitalize "darkness". In doing so, it would make it much more powerful, something to be feared, something that only the strong would survive. It's similar to John Lilly's use of capitalization. VOID is much more powerful than void. It evokes a more vivid image of what this void would look like, just as Darkness would conjure up similar images. Also, by capitalizing Darkness, it is saying that it is very different from any other darkness.


On the other hand, I can see how capitalizing the Water of Life and not darkness gives the Water more importance, almost as if to tell the listener that the Water is totally worth getting to by any means necessary, even if it means going through this little thing called the darkness.


In unrelated news, Penn State football is pretty pathetic these days. By watching the game on Saturday I feel like I lost three and a half hours of my life. However, I did go to Cirque de Soleil afterwards and it pseudo-made up for it. The things that these people can do with their bodies is amazing- and so is the trust that they put in those tiny strings!





After much deliberation, I have decided to lay claim to Earthly Paradise as my Sacredtexts choice. So the reading begins...



Since learning about RUMI I have become interested in his other works and I stumbled upon this looking on the internet, it's called I Died From Minerality:


I died from minerality and became vegetable;

And From vegetativeness I died and became animal.

I died from animality and became man.

Then why fear disappearance through death?

Next time I shall die

Bringing forth wings and feathers like angels;

After that, soaring higher than angels -

What you cannot imagine,

I shall be that.


I think it's interesting that Rumi doesn't reveal what he was when he died from minerality (or lack thereof??) in the same way he leaves much to the imagination concerning what he will eventually become. Is this because he doesn't really know himself, or doesn't want to divulge this to everyone else? Either way, it creates suspense. It also creates hope. Our society, in general, views vegetativeness as the end, whereas Rumi sees it as the beginning of the life cycle. There is an obvious belief in reincarnation, but here it seems like an entitlement. There are no repercussions at any stage in reincarnation for those who abuse it.





RUMI Discourse 17/The Willard Preacher/Cheesecake


In the beginning of this discourse, Amir of Rum was outraged at the Muslims hypocrisy. Here they were , looking down on the unbelievers who would worship idols (in this context, idols seem to be extreme emotions- passion, temper, etc.), yet they are doing the same thing by bowing down to the Mongols as Muslims. Rumi responds that it's OK. Sometimes, it takes an exposure to the opposite of something to be aware of the magnitude of it, ie- you need ugly to recognize beauty. Rumi goes on to say that others are not affected in this way, seemingly content with being ignorant.


I don't like hypocritical people, which is actually a hypocritical statement in itself since I found myself to be one. I was listening to the Willard preacher a few weeks ago before class (my first mistake) and he made the bold statement that if you support abortion you support the Holocaust. WHAT?!?! I support abortion (yea, I said it) but in NO WAY would I ever support the senseless persecution of the Jewish people, much less ANYONE! The preacher backed this claim by saying that by supporting abortion you are letting the government decide what is a human life, which is no different than the Nazis deciding that Jewish people were not really humans, or at least shouldn't be treated as such. So maybe I have contradicted myself in my beliefs. At first it made me feel uncomfortable, but then I realized, who cares??? Where does it say that we cannot contradict ourselves? I absolutely hate raspberries, but you better believe that I'll try a slice of raspberry cheesecake if it comes my way. I might even let myself enjoy it. I think it looks tacky when people wrap presents in newspaper, but sometimes using the Collegian is just a more efficient and cost effective way of going about it. So a public apology to the preacher, for I have infact contradicted myself. More than likely, it will happen again. Chances are he has contradicted himself as well, but then again maybe he does have the willpower to turn down that cheesecake.


And yes. I think ignorance is bliss. That's why I don't really watch the news.




Communication is a funny thing. Why does it come easy sometimes and not at others? It seems the hardest when you have the most to talk about. When you just meet someone (and we aren't talking getting too drunk at a bar) there are endless things to talk about. But we always resort to the same questions: What's your major? What do you want to do with that? Do you like to go out a lot? It's socially taboo to discuss anything of real depth. Then you're just perceived as being weird and creepy.


And then there are the people you know the best, or at least the longest. Your family. I was studying at Wegman's over the weekend and, bored out of my mind, starting looking around the room. It was odd- noone was talking to the person(s) with them. I watched a mom and her son (maybe in high school?) eat in complete silence. Didn't they have anything to talk about? It got me thinking about communication between my parents and I before I came to college. I guess I didn't talk to them too much either, except when I needed cash or we were arguing about cleaning up my room. At the time I took my parents for granted, that they would always be there. It took a few years, the moving away to college, and three of my friends to lose one of their parents to make me realize that they won't always be there. Now I make an effort to check in with my parents whenever I can, because you never know. I wish I could tell that boy in Wegman's what I know now, but they would never believe you.


People need to have more meaningful communication with eachother. Whether it's working with a new classmate on a school project, having dinner with your friends at a restaurant, or driving in the car with your brother or sister. It's all about getting the most out of life before it passes you by.


I hear what you're saying about the need for more meaningful communication. Sometimes, though, don't you think it's also appropriate to just sit in silence with someone? We are a society so centered around conversation and language that we hardly notice anything else. For example, have you ever looked at a squirrel? I mean really looked at a squirrel? I looked at one today, and it was literally the first time I ever looked at a squirrel without just noticing that something gray and furry was running around and then categorized it as a squirrel, and then immediately stopped paying attention to it. And I never knew it before, but squirrels are crazy-looking! They look like some sort of prehistoric creature, half-rat, half-bird, half-i don't know what. Anyways, I was thinking that sometimes our dependency on language prevents us from noticing these things. Maybe the best way to communicate with someone isn't by talking, but by just paying attention when you're with them. --Echan



I used to agree with you slicedbread. I used to think that people who have real in depth conversations were "creepy" or "wierd". But I think somewhat the opposite now. I think that when one becomes more comfortable with who one is and how one feels the more one feels comfortable talking about deep things. I tend to look at "superficial conversation" as a neccessary annoyance. Why? Because I think to get to a real conversation one must have superficial conversations - at least... in college. I really don't think superficial conversations connect people.


I agree Echan. I think sometimes it is best to just tune into the moment. But I feel wierd when I am the one who does that and the other person doesn't.




Yea squirrels are gross. When I was in first grade I brought a squirrel tail I found on the road for show and tell. In retrospect, it was probably one of the most repulsive things I've ever done, but at the time I thought it was "so soft!".





I've noticed a lot of postings on floating, either people excited to do it or people reflecting on their experience. It got me to thinking why I decided not to take part in this. Honestly, it's not a huge commitment and it doesn't take too much effort. Or does it? While it's not physically demanding it seems like it would be one of the most mentally intense moments in my life. I think that's what is so intimidating about it. I'm scared to think of what thoughts I might have in an environment that doesn't illicit any. My worst fear is that I would start with one idea which would lead into another and so on, that by the end of the session my thoughts would be so disturbing that I wouldn't even be able to retrace my ideas to understand how I got to that point. On the other hand, it might be awesome to be completely removed from all stimuli and feel a sense of what euphoria might feel like. I would prefer the latter. But I don't think I'll find out. Perhaps if I was approached about floating later in the semester it would be different. When we were asked the second day of class this whole new thought process, ie- composing the sacred, was still very ambiguous and I didn't think I was ready to introduce another layer to that. Maybe in my next lifetime.


I agree with GoNZo that you should look past your fears (if you want). I think that REST floatation was kind of hyped in class, which lent it an experience expectation that may be beyond what it actually is. If you don't attatch expectations to the experience, floating can be whatever it is to you. I think it's a totally unique experience that is dependent upon the individual. Take it as it is, because "it is what it is." You can also read one of my earlier posts on floating if you haven't already - nothing scary there, but that just might be because I am pretty comfortable with myself. - London Bridge


I understand your fears. I too was worried what thoughts might come out in a stimuliless environment. True, the experience can be powerful, but I think the float is only as scary as your mind. If you choose to have a good experience, I think you will. I thought a lot in the first few floats and I came to the realization somewhere around my 3rd that it was all in my mind and I could let go of the thoughts at any time. I think that is the biggest benefit of the isolation tank - one realizes that perception, thoughts, and reality are all a product of one's mind. I encourage you to look past your fears.


- GoNZo




This week has been pretty uninspiring. Or I'm just not paying enough attention to everything around me. Either way, I had nothing to post about this week until Thursday's class brought up some questions...



What's in a name?


The interesting point was brought up in class on Thursday that, in general, we don't change names throughout our life. Obviously, many women change their surname to match that of their partners, but why don't we change our first names? What if we don't like our chosen name because, for whatever reason, it is not reflective of who we are? My aunt chose not to take on the surname of her husband for professional reasons (she's a high profile banker). When I asked her why, she explained that it's important for her to be attached to her past accomplishments. It's a way of becoming part of history, or not losing your own. I think this is partially why we don't change our first names. If I changed my first name, say to slicedbread for arguments sake, Kelly Hanson would be lost. When future generations in my family look try to find my history (I could only be so lucky), they wouldn't see that I was an accomplished volleyball player and musician. They wouldn't see that I grew up in Woodstock, NY and went to Penn State University. They would find nothing. My memory would be all but lost because there would be no history to attach me to. So what is in a name? I guess it's not so important that it reflects who you are while you are alive, as much as it's role in transcending your memory through time.


What is (or isn't) science?


It's hard to define science in terms of John Lilly's creation myth because he discusses a science that may or may not exist. So it's a myth? But haven't all sciences been developed based on the exploration into myths? Remember, the world was flat at some point. It's easy to say that John Lilly's story is a myth because it hasn't been proven. But what about our knowledge, or lack thereof, of black holes? It's just that in science, we like to call to call myths "theories" instead. It just sounds better. Mobius mentioned that we can think of science as something that can't be disproven. So according to this, the VOID, E Star, it's all a science. But then you can also argue that science is something that can be experimented with or observed, and in this case we could not do that. But I don't think we have ever been inside a black hole and we obviously have not been able to recreate one. To say John Lilly's creation myth is a science while not dictating other creation myths as a science is contradictory, while not calling it a science leaves other contradictions to be discussed. As for myself, I believe that John Lilly's creation myth, or creation theory if you will, is a science. Sure noone can prove it, but it is partially based on other more socially accepted sciences by discussing entropy etc. so I think I'll give John the benefit of the doubt.





DBY "And the earth was waste and empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters."


JPS "Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters."


Waste and and empty conjures up a completely different image than unformed and void. While waste probably means a waste of space in this context, a nothingness, I can't seem to separate myself from thinking about wastelands and garbage. So the first thing I thought of reading DBY was a vacated and smelly dump. Unformed and void just sounds more poetic and I imagine these beautiful black dunes swirling around waiting for God to put them in some sort of order. And for the darkness to be upon something is like saying it's creeping up to the face of the deep about to do something profound. This is creating more anticipation for a creation that the darkness was on the face of the deep, just as hovering is creating more anticipation than hovered. Lastly, and most interesting, is the capitalization of Spirit in DBY. I prefer this because of how powerful it comes off. A Spirit indicates a sort of tangible being working on this clean slate of something initially very intangible. It's something concrete in this state of disarray. A spirit, however, is more of a vision or feeling and is just as intangible as the things around it. This gives God no real authority. And as for the argument between And and Now...well I prefer And just because it would keep with the rhythm of the story. So if I had to morph these two passages into my ideal, it would look like this:


"And the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit and God was hovering over the face of the waters."


Also, a note to London Bridge-

Penn State. 106,000 best friends. JoePa. Bleeding Blue and White. Frats. Corny.


Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Penn State just as much as the next person, but I think I've seen all these things that mean Penn State to you at some point on some away message, facebook profile, etc. And there's nothing wrong with thinking Penn State is your religion at this point, but just remember that when it comes down to it, believing in a religion is believing in a myth. So 106,000 best friends? Doubt it. JoePa? Let's be honest, he hasn't actually coached a game in years. Bleeding Blue and White? Hmm yea. And don't get me started on frats.


With that said, I must now go up and join my fratastic Acacia boyfriend to tailgate for the ND game. So make what you want of that.






I read an article last night on Yahoo about how scientists have finally figured out the demise of the dinosaurs. Pretty much it was two asteroids that hit eachother and the debris hit the Earth blah blah blah. At the end of the article, however, was a quote from one scientist that really made me think. I can't find it on Yahoo anymore, but it was something to the effect of "Was human life inevitable? Or are we just the result of perfect timing and chance?" Personally, I think it's the latter. Anyway, I was simultaneously trying successfully complete my first wiki posting here and thinking about the book of Genesis. I turned to my boyfriend, a practicing Presbyterian from a "very religious family" (using quotes because degree of religiousness is all relative), and asked a simple question. "How does the Bible explain the presence of dinosaurs?" He paused for a moment. Looked down. Muttered "I don't know" and went back to playing Madden.


Today when Mobius was talking about how difficult it is to separate from belief it reminded me of this. For a split second my boyfriend challenged his belief in God and the Bible, but before he could even process this disbelief he responded with a (dumb) answer. He avoided the void.


I'm still trying to figure out what to make of this so please feel free to help out. I think degree of belief is directly correlated with the amount of time invested in it. To go back on something you believed in for three weeks is obviously a lot easier than going back on something you have twenty years invested in. To challenge a belief like that is scary to say the least. It's questioning who you are. But the reality is that people change and maybe, God forbid, their beliefs change as well? Are you truly believing in something? Or are you just believing in your preconceived notion of belief itself? That might not make sense but I can't seem to find the words to explain it.


It's also easier to believe in something when you accept (or ignore) voids!




The Introduction...


In no way do I think that I'm the best thing since sliced bread. As a matter of fact, I think I'm pretty far from it. But it does beg the question: What was the best thing before sliced bread? That I can't answer, but I can tell you the best thing since sliced bread. And that's 100% whole wheat sliced bread. And that's because I'm a nutrition major. And thanks Mobius for teaching me that it's ok to start sentences with the word 'and'.


To be honest, this course is going to be a real challenge for me, which is why I decided to stick with it instead of choosing a different course within my comfort zone. I can explain the hexose monophosphate shunt in excrutiating detail, but I can't seem to understand this idea of 'the sacred'. I think it's because the sacred is so abstract and intangible, and those qualities do not align with those of any other courses I have taken. Funny how such a simple word can carry such complexities, and I think exploring those complexities will be an incredible journey. Or at least as incredible as one semester can allow.


In taking this class, I hope to retrain my thought processes to comprehend the sacred and find deeper meanings and connections between materials we'll be reading, and between those materials and my own life. Forgive me -if- when my first few postings are a little off in my interpretations of Genesis, John Lilly, etc. As of last week I didn't even know that the book of Genesis was the Bible. Or I guess part of it. I'm slowly learning and I will get better at this.

Comments (1)

Anonymous said

at 8:36 pm on Sep 19, 2007

When you first meet people, I think we ask these repetitive and somewhat trivial questions because we don't want to just spill our souls to strangers and those are questions you can get an easy response from. At a bar, especially, I don't think people want to think in depth about anything (that's why they're drinking alcohol), much less discuss anything in depth.

As for your parents, and the boy you saw, I understand how you might interpret that as being sad for the lack of communication. At the same time, I imagine the same scene and can draw a completely different conclusion. There are times when I am with my closest friends, my roommates, or sisters and we don't speak to each other while we eat. Not because we aren't close or that we lack the ability to communicate, but because we are so close that there is almost nothing left to say or because we are too busy stuffing our faces full of food to talk. Sometimes you are so close and comfortable with someone you don't need to fill in every single silence because it isn't awkward.

But I agree...we should try to get the most of these relationships in our lives before it passes us by. Communication can be difficult, but like Rumi said, "These words are for the sake of those who need words to understand. But as for those who understand without words, what use have they for speech?"

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