Life’s BIG Surprise

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What is that BIG surprise? We all want to know this.

Will it be a pleasant surprise or a not-so-much one?

How will we feel when we receive it? 

Happy?  Excited?  Shocked?  Horrified?

 

Well that’s why it’s a surprise because you have no idea what sudden “awakener” will drop on you from out of the blue.  It could even be a bit of space-junk that managed to clear combustion in the atmosphere and crashed through your new, just-paid-for roof and into your livingroom.

You were simply sitting at the kitchen table munching on your second spoonful of Cap’n Crunch, and “BOOM!” –the next room explodes with crashing furniture and plaster dust; and stunned you walks into the disastrous aftermath to see a steaming chunk of rocket debris where your coffee table once stood.  SURPRISE!emojisurpriseface

Yes, you’ll definitely have an unusual conversation piece for your next social gathering, but you might need to rearrange a few things to accommodate it—although the new natural skylight in the ceiling is an added bonus you hadn’t previously considered.

I think most of us try not to think about LIFE’s next BIG surprise because like the mock scenario above, some of our previous ones weren’t necessarily pleasant; and you can insert your own example here. I know that I certainly have mine.

But through that underlying anxiety of whatever LIFE suddenly “bestows” upon us without our knowledge or permission, we know that surprises are simply another aspect of LIFE. We learn through surprises.

We learn mainly about ourselves and our resourcefulness/resilience by having to work through their unanticipated debris-field afterwards.

Surprises either make us happy, or they make us stronger.  But we never let surprises break us.

So I vote for happy future surprises.happybabysurprised.jpg

But hopefully I’m well-prepared mentally and physically for whatever might occur instead because after all, that’s simply LIFE.

And if you haven’t seriously considered the possibility of a sudden “surprise” occurring for any of us, then perhaps you should consider it, because, you know,  …SURPRISE!

 

 

When Is a Problem Really a Problem?

probdeinit453.jpgIn today’s world, the possible answer to that title question would be a “problem” for you is when you perceive the situation as a problem, otherwise the perplexing situation simply IS—it exists in front of you dependent on your personal interaction with it.  But that situation’s existence and your interaction with it may lie in some currently unknown context and you can’t presently make proper sense of it, so you may mistakenly perceive the immediate situation as A PROBLEM.

That is the danger of fragmented thinking. When we fail to consider the wholeness of the setting and situation’s context, and of ourselves interacting physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually within that environment, we limit ourselves to seeing only parts of the total scenario—fragments of the whole—and sometimes we see only the parts that we want to see or have trained ourselves to notice, while ignoring other pertinent information about the situation.

So perhaps our presently confusing life situation isn’t so much a genuine problem, as WE are labeling it a problem by not properly understanding the situation’s true context—we don’t understand our ROLE in this broader life drama.

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Confused yet?  Aren’t we all—that’s our biggest conundrum of this shared life experience.  We can’t seem to grasp the overall CONTEXT of why we are here interacting with each other in this crazy, erratic game of LIFE.

While that simplified explanation of a perceived problem and the context that it may ultimately exist in might sound like nonsense, it is actually describing a baby-step toward a more expansive way of viewing the world and reconsidering everything existing within it.

Here’s a video sample of a David Bohm’s explanation on What is the nature of reality?  taken from a 1990 physics and spirituality conference in Amsterdam.  (Notice the Dalai Lama sitting beside him.) [**“David Bohm (1917-1992) an American theoretical bohmanddalailamaconfphysicist who contributed innovative and unorthodox ideas to quantum theory, philosophy of mind, and neuropsychology, …”]

David Bohm speaks about Wholeness and (the dangers of) Fragmentation (fragmented thinking):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDKB7GcHNac&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0g1ZwJ8VvppoHq2_CCE8vhLrTPVwKs3v9AU9Jv2Um6xJGZ3hTVPN0-0R0

 “I think the difficulty is this fragmentation..  All thought is broken up into bits. Like this nation, this country, this industry, this profession and so on… And they can’t meet. That comes about because thought has developed traditionally in a way such that it claims not to be affecting anything but just telling you the way things are. Therefore, people cannot see that they are creating a problem and then apparently trying to solve itWholeness is an attitude or approach to the whole of life. If we can have a coherent approach to reality then reality will respond coherently to us..”      ~David Bohm,  Amsterdam, 1990

bohm quote on thinkling

**“…(Bohm) is widely considered to be one of the most significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century. In physics, Bohm advanced the view that the old Cartesian model of reality was limited, in the light of developments in quantum physics. He developed in detail a mathematical and physical theory of implicate and explicate order to complement it. Bohm warned of the dangers of rampant reason and technology, advocating instead the need for genuine supportive dialogue which he claimed could broaden and unify conflicting and troublesome divisions in the social world. In this, his epistemology mirrored his ontological viewpoint. He believed that the working of the brain, at the cellular level, obeyed the mathematics of some quantum effects. Therefore he postulated that thought was distributed and non-localised in the way that quantum entities do not readily fit into our conventional model of space and time (Wikipedia).”

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The VERB

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“I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process – an integral function of the universe.” – R. Buckminster Fuller – I Seem to Be a Verb

 

I’ve been a R. Buckminster Fuller fan since college. One of my art professors was a huge “Bucky” fan and brought the entire spectrum of Fuller’s genius to our budding awareness.

In class we made mock-up, walk-in domes and read many of his books.  I Seem to Be a Verb was even required reading for our Art Aesthetics class. It was my first realization of Fuller’s intellectual scope and cultural affectation at the height of his career fame.fulleranddome55

After all these years, and long after his death in 1983, I’m still a fan.  He is one of my all-time heroes for many reasons.

 

Another great quote, was the “trim-tab” comment:

Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little man could do. Think of the Queen Mary — the whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there’s a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trimtab. boat

It’s a miniature rudder. Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. Takes almost no effort at all. So I said that the little individual can be a trimtab. Society thinks it’s going right by you, that it’s left you altogether. But if you’re doing dynamic things mentally, the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that and the whole big ship of state is going to go.

So I said, call me Trimtab.”

In fact, there are so many excellent Bucky Fuller quotes, I’ll just list a few for this post.

“You cannot change how someone thinks, but you can give them a tool to use which will lead them to think differently.”   Buckminster Fullerdont changebyfighting it34.png

 

“You do not belong to you. You belong to the universe. The significance of you will remain forever obscure to you, but you may assume you are fulfilling your significance if you apply yourself to converting all you experience to highest advantage to others. Make the world work, for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.”   Buckminster Fuller

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“We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.   Buckminster Fuller

“Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren’t any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn’t be here in the first place. buckytombstone trimtab.jpgAnd never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person.”   Buckminster Fuller

 

“Quite clearly, our task is predominantly metaphysical, for it is how to get all of humanity to educate itself swiftly enough to generate spontaneous social behaviors that will avoid extinction.”  Buckminster Fuller

“We are now synergetically forcedcomprehensive-design-science-55-728.jpg to conclude that all phenomena are metaphysical; wherefore, as many have long suspected — like it or not — “life is but a dream.”    Buckminster Fuller

 

And if you are really into a challenge, read Fuller’s two tomes on Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking (Vol. 1 & 2).

His overall theory is that LIFE is proven to be well-designed. but by whom and for whom, he doesn’t say.

 

The Satellite Connections

Related, but long story:  Long, long ago, I visited my friend in the IT department of the agency where we both worked. She was madly typing into a satellite, data-entry station that was direct-connected into an enormous mainframe computer in an adjacent, sealed, climate-controlled room. mainframebiggy.jpg

From her satellite station she could access all the information the mainframe contained, and even connect to other similarly-connected satellite stations both within the building and throughout the school systems that were likewise connected into the mainframe computer at our agency.

It was like being an active link to a vast neurological network throughout the district’s school systems with the core ‘brain’ centered at our agency. For the schools and our agency, it was a cost-effective, mutually shared system for providing payrolls and all education-related data among a large group of serious users.

apple-macintosh-1984-history.jpgAt that same time in the agency, I was the Graphic Artist and I had my own Mac computer independent of that huge mainframe. My early Mac certainly had its limitations, but it also had its own system and didn’t require an interconnected network like the data-entry satellite stations did.  Back then it was my first understanding of the difference in computer abilities, data storage parameters, and the true difference between a satellite connection and a stand-alone computing system.

Finally, the point:  While we tend to think of ourselves as that stand-alone Mac, I think we are more likely a satellite station to the GOD-mainframe called “absolute consciousness.” Our limited receivers can access the parameters of general consciousness that apply to humans and to their present state of collective consciousness. And codeitrightfirstwhile our individual satellite stations are self-contained in functioning ability, they are limited by their personal receiver’s frequency translators and internal processing units. (I wrote about frequency translators a few posts ago, and a processing unit would be how fast you can make sense of the data that you receive.)

So this morning I was reading a blog entry from Alberto V. called “The Invisible World: Ever Present and Accessible”  (https://thefourwinds.com/blog/shamanism/invisible-world-ever-present-accessible/?fbclid=IwAR2MPOqBWrcxidvssnMY_FFD0ujFWk-Ba005rGnOqhBHN_1_UDt0uiBLAng ) and suddenly recognized my early education on satellite systems connected into mainframes.

“…The sages say the reason we are born into a body in the physical world is to evolve and grow, to acquire maturity and wisdom. To use a metaphor from physics, when we’re embodied, we’re like a photon in a particle state; while in the invisible world, we’re like a photon in a field state. The particle state is our “local” nature—flesh and blood, sitting on a couch reading. The field state is our “nonlocal” nature, in which we extend to the farthest reaches of the universe and are at one with all things. When we die and leave this body behind, we return to our nonlocal nature, to our field state, to invisible Oneness….Our field state, the one we inhabit in between births, encompasses all of creation. The field is insubstantial—we don’t have enough substance to contain our awareness…..

The invisible world exists alongside the visible one, ever present and accessible. We can bring its wisdom into our world at any time to provide healing and balance. The way we do this is by activating the circuitry in the brain that allows us to experience our interconnectedness to all things and all beings in the cosmos. These higher-order neural networks, like all neural networks, are made up of brain cells connected to each other, of neurons that fire together and wire together….

Today the interface between our senses and our machines is moving us ever closer to being able to access all the knowledge in the world instantaneously. But this is not the kind of omniscient awareness I’m referring to. The awareness I speak of is the mind’s ability, in the field state, to experience the cosmos firsthand, across the farthest reaches of space and beyond time….”

Just a thought here: This blog post by Alberto may not be the answer to all our questions, but it may be the correct question framing to consider for acquiring more accurate answers to our deepest questions.

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The Softer, Gentler Person

At times I wish I were a softer, gentler person.littlegirlkitten (2).jpg

I wish I could look lovingly at what I consider the lesser behavior traits of others and smile with unconditional understanding and acceptance.

I wish I could just acknowledge how much inbred hatred and fear we all harbor for those who appear different than we are, and yet say ‘It’s okay because we are still quoteongentle45 (1).jpgblessed and mutually bound by our hearts to a greater Divine Love that connects us all.’

And actually mean it.

But I know I am not really a soft and gentle person, no matter how hard I work at becoming one.

That’s just not who I am. I’ve been warrior in too many lifetimes. This I know from my own hypnosis, past-life explorations.

Right now in this lifetime, I’m probably as soft and gentle as I’ll ever be, and that’s okay because it’s who I really am. You don’t tame warrior, you learn to redirect it toward constructive endeavors.

I’m probably more like this ornery, ginger-stripped cat who now shares my house, than I really want to admit.  While I often wish that he were more loving and cuddly—more quoteongentle45 (2)like our many other beautiful, sweet cats of the past—he simply isn’t, because that’s just not who he is and it’s not how he will ever be.

He’s a fighter—a tiger—a ‘tear into you with teeth slashing’ little, orange manic that really likes to do battle even against a much larger foe. (Which unfortunately in this house would be me.)

So I guess that despite how I tend to think of his fiercer, less-cuddly mannerisms as character deficits, I do live with the correct animal match for my true personality. It’s just not pleasant to see yourself reflected in your pet house-mate that way.littlegirlkitten (1)

And when he does decide to snuggle in under my chin, loving me up with his raspy red tongue while I cringe and shudder until he quits, I know that this sign of deep affection is his way of showing me his softer and gentler self, if only for a few, brief, peaceful moments at a time.

 

Life-lessons from Dreams

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Dreams are sometimes considered the night-time, acting-out of our subconscious mind—trying to boldly go where in daytime ‘we’ will not venture. Other times it is our higher self trying to get our attention with messages and lessons for us to ponder or to consider about our current situations.

I have no idea what early-this-morning’s dream was attempting to do to me or for me, but it was fairly reflective of our present world-wide mayhem being promoted by the biggest mayhem maker of all in the oval office.

The setting: I was with a group of people I did not recognize and we were studying something like human anatomy in a classroom.  I was assigned to dissect a cadaver (oh yes, it got nasty fast) and collect tissue samples for analysis by the professor. Why I am in this role, I have no idea…I don’t even like CSI shows. But I did what I was requested to do.

So it then morphs into flying spaceships (2-person) zooming around outside the large smallspaceshit66.jpgbuilding/huge room with glass walls that a bunch of us are now in, and it then seems to be a chapel-like setting with pews and a podium whose glass-exterior provides a view of a massive outdoor setting—although not a particularly well-kept one.

In the dream, I am confused by all of this strangeness, seeing no purpose or context for why this is occurring, but just going with whatever is presented to me because when you are stuck in a dream, that’s what you do. Then the people in the spaceships land and emerge as tall vampires with evil intent and bloodlust.  They attack a few folks—do what vampires do—and move around the rest of us like it’s no big deal.  We’re all kind of in shock—what was that????  What is happening????

Me, …not one to just sit around through all this nasty mayhem and eventually get bit, I grab a very large knife (?) and a little cup of honey, because we all know vampires like honey (?) and set it outside the deck area as a trap to spring on an unsuspecting, extremely-dumb vampire with a sweet-fang.

There is a woman with me now who seems to have my back in all of this and she grabs a Bible from the pew and uses holy water to make crosses on my hands and arms before I head out to battle with my 10” blade.

I see a vampire approaching the honey (He towers over me by the way), and I get ready to leap out and slash his throat when he reaches for the honey-trap (little humor there).  As I start to slash, the knife flies out of my hand to the left and I reach for it but insteadantiquehairbrush.jpg some little person down on the ground hands me an ancient, roundish, well-worn hairbrush, and I look at it and say, metalnutcracker.jpg“Seriously???”, but then s/he hands me a “nutcracker”…yes, standard issue, pecan-buster type nutcracker.  I am perplexed again, but have no time to argue.

Armed now with my trusty hairbrush and standard issue nutcracker, I realize the vampire has discovered my honey ploy, saw my slash-his-throat misfire where I lost my knife, and it is now standing over me, towering  above me, …. ready to just lean down and take that savory bite out of my unprotected neck, …when I reach up in defiance and brush his creepy, hairy leg with the hairbrush—3 strokes. 1 – 2 – 3. vampiresonthescream.jpg

He stops mid-lean and looks confused at what I am doing, …that’s when I grab his nuts in the nutcracker and squeeze like the dickens, twisting it in the process, and he screams and then “poof” he disintegrates into a cloud of dust.  WOW!  Total success!

Who knew????

***

So this year, I’m giving out nutcrackers for Christmas, and no one will truly understand why, but me.

(Or maybe YOU if you’ve read this.)

Shoshin – The Beginner’s Mind

Sounds a bit paradoxical, but I can easily say that despite lessIknow45.pnghow much I’ve often thought that I knew throughout my life, or how hard-won that advanced knowledge came into being for me, the older I get the better I appreciate how little I actually DO know.

In truth it seems that with every passing day I feel this almost humorous certainty growing stronger within me: a certainty-of-my-own-ignorance—that jolting realization that what you once believed to be truth, actually wasn’t, and you may never know the REAL truth no matter how old or knowledgeable you become because that TRUTH exists in a realm that is incomprehensible to your present existence.

This body shock of awakening to our own innate ignorance can be scathingly honest and quite humbling.

It certainly was to my ego.

But to those who study Zen, this isn’t some new concept—some might simply call it ‘cultivating the Beginner’s Mind.’

What is Beginner’s Mind?  Here’s a good explanation first from Wikipedia, then from a Zen master himself.

Shoshin (初心) is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning ‘beginner’s mind.’ It refers to having shozinbeginnersmind.pngan attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would. The term is especially used in the study of Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts.”

Text source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin

Master Shunryu Suzuki can explain it far better than I can:

“People say that practicing Zen is difficult, but there is a misunderstanding as to why. It is not difficult because it is hard to sit in the cross‑legged position, or to attain enlightenment. It is difficult because it is hard to keep our mind pure and our practice pure in its fundamental sense.

In Japan we have the phrase shoshin, which means ‘beginner’s mind.’ The goal of practice is always to keep our beginner’s mind…

For Zen students the most important thing is not to be dualistic. Our ‘original mind’ includes everything within itself. It is always rich and sufficient within itself. You should not lose your self‑sufficient state of mind.

This does not mean a closed mind, but actually an empty mind and a ready mind. If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.

The most difficult thing is always to keep your beginner’s mind. There is no need to have a deep understanding of Zen. Even though you read much Zen literature, you must read each sentence with a fresh mind.

You should not say, ‘I know what Zen is,’ or ‘I have attained enlightenment.’ This is shoshinmaster.jpgalso the real secret of the arts: always be a beginner.

Be very, very careful about this point. If you start to practice zazen, you will begin to appreciate your beginner’s mind. It is the secret of Zen practice.”

Shunryu Suzuki
from Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

 

So I acknowledge that here I sit in my own ignorance while trying to make sense of our life existence.

These are the very things I often write about: What is reality?—What is consciousness?—What are we doing here? Why are we here? Who benefits and how do they benefit from our incarnating here during this time period or ANY time period?

All those unanswerable questions come down to the battle in our minds over the relevance between our DOING and our BEING.

Here is a basic truth as I presently know it:  I AM.  I EXIST.  I EXPERIENCE.  I OBSERVE.

And I try like the dickens NOT to judge the value of what I am observing because to do so implies a comparative knowledgebase that I do not have—at least not from my humble human perspective.

the-older-i-get-the-less-i-know-by-that-i-mean-the-less-i-am-sure-of-i-view-p-403x403-nkb3nfSo each day I open my eyes and wonder what this day will bring to me. I wonder what new realization will occur to my sensing abilities. I wonder what type of sense I can make of whatever is happening to me and around me, but knowing full well that ‘making sense’ is a judgment in itself.

However, I also know that only through shoshinbeginner’s mind—can I simply observe all and note those observances without judgment or expectation—knowing I must simply allow all occurrences (and not labeling them as ‘good’ or ‘bad’) to flow along with the river of life into the great sea of consciousness that connects us all and patiently awaits our return.

This I also know:  Beginner’s Mind is not easily achieved nor sustained for long unless you willingly intend it.