Process or Product?

Which are we: Process or Product?

I was watching a video of a robotic arm spewing toothpaste-consistency clay from its endpoint nozzle onto a non-revolving turn-table. (Similar to a 3-D printer circling a center point.)

As the robotic arm repeatedly circled the table, revolution by revolution, the clay emitted in the process slowly began to form a tube circle, then build circle upon successive circle until it became vessel-like in appearance.clayextrusionunifornm

After the clay tubing grew to about a foot tall, the engineers must have gotten programming-creative and began to do odd loops and tweaks in the circling process until the vase formed some loopy design anomalies that were pretty interesting.  This was the artistic part of the robotic forming process—artistry through coded engineering.

The end product in this clay extrusion process was the completed vase that was actually quite interesting and ingenious in its own right, but at roboarmclay34.jpgthe same time left me a little unenthusiastic about creating art objects in this manner because it took the potter’s hands out of the process (and I really enjoyed hand-thrown pottery class).

Artificial and engineered-robotic intelligence can create amazing objects, and yes, a programmer had to input the initial coding to make it all happen—that is true. But watching this clay vessel being formed which was meant more for aesthetic appreciation rather than function—created without a human’s personal touch—felt not only impersonal to me; it felt pointless in some ways.claystrudergit42.JPG

Robotic or engineered processes are meant for duplication ease and consistency in creating multiples of a product or the components of that product. That is why it was introduced into industrial settings—to eliminate the human factor and all the financial/actuarial detritus because of that.

But when it comes to considering the ART value of the robotic-product that is created, is it a human-generated, unique artifact reflective of the culture that created it or a mass-produced lump of hardened clay devoid of aspirational intentions other than to make more money? Maybe that is best determined by the ‘creator’ of the product.

So then I thought about the old, Isaac Asimov short-story called “The Last Question” where all of life has long ago passed away leaving only an omniscient AI computer that recreates the basis for restarting the entire LIFE process again with the simple statement to itself of “Let there be light!”

This leads me to another thought that perhaps we are not so much a product of life as we are more of a continuing life process, along with the popular mythology image playing in my mind of God creating the first human from a lump of clay and breathing LIFE into it. Did S/He do it through a clay-extrusion tube?

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For us as humans, our life process is imperfect and constantly changing, but we are still yearning for our own, as well as our species, continuation on this planet.

But to follow up on that thought, if we are instead life products, then there are billions of us on this earth doing what we do in our own good interests and bad. And we are fast filling up our earth’s warehouse with human vessels—some of which are more functional than others.

However, if we are life processes and all billions of us are in motion toward change of some sort—then we represent LIFE itself in process as an evolution of intentions and cause/effect actions taken toward both short-term goals and long-term results, personally and as a collective consciousness.

The true intention of our origins is a puzzle we haven’t yet solved, even though we frequently speculate on origin possibilities.

For the most part, I know we tend to think of ourselves as the creator and determiner of our own fates and ai circuits56.jpgdestinies, but are we really in charge of our lives here or are we just mass-produced products of some AI-designed extrusion process that “peoples” this particular planet for some enigmatic reason?

I don’t really know which we are, but if we are created by an omniscient AI, perhaps it is time for a program change to a smarter, less self-destructive vessel.

Just a suggestion.

 

Be Yourself

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“Be yourself. Life is precious as it is. All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle. Just be. Just being in the moment in this place is the deepest practice of meditation.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Before long the humble Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hahn, who lived much of his life in exile from his home country of Vietnam, will “transition” from this earth to the spirit plane.

He is 92 years-old now and has been revered by the western world for the last 53 years, since he left his war-torn country and began an extensive tour of the world outside his previously limited domain.

He suffered a severely debilitating stroke in November of 2014 and has been fairly silent ever since. It is reported that he has recently returned to his homeland for his eventual passing.thichbeyourselfquote.jpg

As a mindfulness teacher, Thich Nhat Hahn is credited with popularizing that particular meditation practice in the west—also credited with the “walking meditation” practice that he would demonstrate with his many followers at Plum Village in France.

Over the years I’ve read a few of his books and followed his shared thoughts. He always amazed me with his emotional calmness and unwavering sense of personal peace.

At this writing, he is still with us physically although his health is deteriorating, but he will always be with us in Spirit memory long after his body finally relinquishes this earthly life.

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2019 – Year of Beginnings

For this third day of January 2019, my post will be a mix of influences I’ve witnessed since January first.

Lee-Harrispicimage.jpgIt started with an energy update from Lee Harris on “2019 – Year of Beginnings” which I think is worth hearing, so I’ll list it here if anyone is interested:  https://www.leeharrisenergy.com/p/january-2019-energy-update

The gist of it from my notes was that this is the year of elevation (out of the mire of contentiousness and social dishevel).  2012 – 2019 was a 7-year cycle of clearing us energetically.  2019 – 2026 is a cycle of elevation – a brand new beginning bringing with it a lot of momentum and forward movement.  He says to create your personal change powerfully and purposefully. Live life more passionately.  Expect January to be more of the bubbling to the surface of major issues, but February is the beginning of the change—a vocal ‘stand up and speak your truth’ month. This is the time right now to be very clear on exactly what you DO want in your life, as that is what you will call to you now.  Speak your truth and stand up for what is right for all.

So then shortly after seeing the Lee Harris video, someone put through this gorgeous 49301924_2441835785844099_6951581753156829184_n.jpgsnowflake on Facebook that I found mesmerizing along with a quote from Einstein, one of my personal heroes.

“The basic laws of the universe are simple, but because our senses are limited, we can’t grasp them. There is a pattern in creation. If we look at this tree outside whose roots search beneath the pavement for water, or a flower which sends its sweet smell to the pollinating bees, or even our own selves and the inner forces that drive us to act, we can see that we all dance to a mysterious tune..”   Albert Einstein
snowflake photo by Kenneth Libbrecht

Quote source: How Einstein Saw the World
https://creativesystemsthinking.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/how-einstein-saw-the-world/

 

Then the next day “Tao and Zen” on Facebook added another D. T. Suzuki quote that I thought really explains how you incorporate that Zen  perspective into everything you do:

49511253_2446887465338931_7342677059904208896_n.jpg“The idea of Zen is to catch life as it flows. There is nothing extraordinary or mysterious about Zen. I raise my hand; I take a book from the other side of the desk; I hear the boys playing ball outside my window; I see the clouds blown away beyond the neighboring wood — in all these I am practicing Zen, I am living Zen. No wordy discussion is necessary, nor any explanation… When the sun rises the whole world dances with joy and everybody’s heart is filled with bliss. If Zen is at all conceivable, it must be taken hold of here.”   D.T. Suzuki

Zen & the Art of Living Deeply
https://creativesystemsthinking.wordpress.com/2016/05/15/zen-the-art-of-living-deeply/

***

In summary, to me as we start this new year together, I choose to view it as Lee Harris does—that it is a year of beginnings, so let’s stand up and speak our truth and choose our way forward with clear intentions and a strong sense of purpose.

Then as Einstein said, let’s recognize our interconnectedness and the Divine Plan behind our social, cultural, and even personal interactions occurring on this one living planet that we all share.

And lastly, as D.T. Suzuki said, “Be grateful for everything. Observe without judgment. Consume less, create more. Let go of fears and desires. Listen to understand not to respond. Be patient and generous. Love deeply.  Live simply.”

Here on this third day of January 2019, I think those are good personal goals to adopt.

Works for me.

The Return of Primordial Light

Holiday messages are nice, and many received reflect the overall appeal and optimism of the season, no matter the faith.rbuckminsterfuller67-2x.jpg

I am not religious. I do not follow or prescribe any particular recognized religion.  But I write about the many aspects of spirituality that personally appeal, because to me spirituality means our personal connection to the energies around us and from which we have emerged. And that is how I relate to all of those different religious philosophies.

buckyuniverse68.jpgYou can call those philosophical energies “Universe” as Buckminster Fuller did, or you can call them The Tao as ancient Chinese philosophers did, or you can call them God or Yahweh as Judeo-Christian traditions proclaim, or you can simply call them the Transcendent Still Point of All Being.

Whatever you wish to call them, many believers feel especially close to key tenets of those religious philosophies this time of year—sending peace, love and good wishes to all.

I would say that the philosophy of the Shamanic tradition is a very nature-based, direct connection to life and the cosmos we inhabit, and as I watched that beautiful full moon setting outside my window on this winter solstice, I gave thanks for the view and for my part in the whole of this present earth-based drama. A few days ago Alberto Villoldo of Four Winds Society, sent out his winter-solstice, holiday email to all who subscribe. I found it pretty appropriate to our current situation, so I’ll share it here.

“From the bottom of our hearts all of us at the Four Winds Society want to wish you a holy and joyous Solstice on December 21, 2018.

We invite you to light a candle or a small fire in your backyard and join medicine men and women around the world who are gathering on the evening of the Solstice to pray for the “return of the Light.”villoldoenergyquote

This is not the ordinary daylight we all wish we had more of in the Northern hemisphere (and a bit less of in the South), but the Primordial Light.

Primordial Light is the creative power of the Universe which is available to us to create beauty in the world, and to heal ourselves and others. But to work with Primordial Light we must remember the way of the luminous warrior. We must live and act fearlessly, know the answer to “Who am I?” and the ways beyond death into infinity.

Like the shamans of old, we are luminous warriors. We dare to speak the truth, uphold universal values that honor all life, and perform daily acts of courage.

This is so important in this age of cowardice where half-truths are readily embraced as real.

We wish you the strength and steadfastness to continue creating the sacred every day and dreaming a new and healthy world into being.

In Beauty,    Alberto, Marcela, and the Four Winds Society team.”

And to that I would simply add that during this holiday season and throughout the year ahead, be at peace no matter the circumstance, be love no matter the degree of hatred all around you, be as courageous as you were always meant to be, standing tall in the midst of such cowardice in our governing bodies—stand tall and speak your truth.

This is what we do—this is who we are. We, as Luminous Warriors of Divine Primordial Light, welcome the return of the Light—the return to TRUTH as a Universal Standard for governance.

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Blessings to you and yours, and may the year ahead be full of love and laughter for all of us.

Let’s make it a good year for everyone!

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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.

The Immeasurable ALLNESS in Everything

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This title came to me while I was lying in bed last night. Too lazy to get back up and write it down before I forgot it, I thought, Good luck remembering that one by morning, but it actually stuck around to be posted now.

What does that even mean: the immeasurable ALLNESS in everything? What is my High Self trying to help me understand?

What I really wanted to write about was the gender-polarity of the views over the Kavanaugh hearings. Even today on Facebook, I see the posts by outraged women countered by a few male comments below them saying basically “What’s the big deal? He’s qualified. Get over it!”

Well as a woman, I can honestly say that this situation/subject matter handling isn’t something you “get over” as much as you work through it to come out the other side—maybe a bit battered and bruised in the process, but alive and resolved to never let it happen to you again. THAT’S the BIG DEAL.

For US as women, this is just the latest character-building material that defines us either as a malefemalebrains35brain.jpgsuccessful survivor of malicious male intentions or as a helpless victim of them.  For those who erroneously believe the political/righteous battle is now over, I am amazed at your naiveté.  It has only begun—renewed by such flagrant dismissal of women’s attempts to get those in power to listen to us and take our claims seriously. Once again, we’ve been underestimated, but that is our true advantage in this situation with the midterms only a month away. Our VOTE is powerful—individually and as a group block.

And even in stating that, at the same time I see Higher Intention’s influence in this overall scenario of Trump’s ascendance to power with the flagrantly-hailed patriarchal mind-set of women as easily-dismissed, inconsequential objects of a male dominated world that through some weird quirk of fate (or Spirit’s perverse sense of humor), he presently rules.

So where is the “immeasurable ALLNESS” in this?

The ALLNESS is in the process itself: adversity drives resistance, and resistance drives change. Polarity exists to provide movement and counter movement to progress our conscious awareness.

The progression of conscious awareness drives higher thought and human behavioral adaptation to expanded ways of thinking.

The “immeasurable ALLNESS” in this situation means that as a human species, we are continually testing ourselves and our latent abilities to recognize our human sameness, rather than our gender differences.

2ndmouthtape43.jpgThe ascendance of Trump meant that the “King of All Shadows” is fully exposing how easily personal perversion and greed affects collective social behavior—human desires—human weaknesses—human motivations.

We’re being schooled in how divisiveness and fear can control the masses—IF WE ALLOW IT TO HAPPEN!

The real question is: Are we going to accept the challenge and make the much needed change in political leadership that drives our nation forward, rather than let them pull us further backward?

I hope so.   I VOTE to move forward with positive changes for ourselves and for our nation.

VOTE in November—it really does represent “the immeasurable ALLNESS in everything” that we hold dear.

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Evolution and Transformation

I’m still considering the previous post with theworldreligionsnames.jpg “Evolutionary Tree of Religions” showing the known beliefs of cultures from our earliest documented origins to the present, when I assess my own life for my personal belief transformations throughout the years and decades of my own existence.

As children, we don’t have much say in how we are taught to perceive the world around us and view our place in that world. Those beliefs were thrust upon us by parents or religious leaders, or we were simply immersed into them by the religious community’s power in our birth location.

age of questionsWhen we reach a more questioning age, we start to have doubts about what we’ve been told to believe because we can then pit that prescribed belief against what we see for ourselves as occurring to us and around us—what we feel as opposed to what we’re told to feel.

That’s when the “WHY’s” start to accumulate within us, and we conclude there must be more to this world and to ourselves than what we have been previously told by others. That’s also when we start searching for our own answers to the deepest questions of WHY we exist and what we are supposed to do with our lives.

jimmycarterquotereligion.jpgThe biggest WHY I’ve always felt about organized religion in general is: Why are they trying to control my thoughts and my behavior, or trying to force me to believe what makes no sense to me?

Why are they insisting on placing blame on me for something I had nothing to do with that supposedly occurred thousands of years ago, or why are they trying to shame me simply because I am a woman?

So my own spiritual evolution has been as transformational as that chart showed, except mine happened in a considerably shorter time period. And amazingly enough, I find that the earliest form of religion known as animism, is still my basic belief because I’ve personally witnessed it through my own energy work and shamanic experiences.  Spirit is a conglomeration of energy, and it can take innumerable forms.

ANIMISM:animismrock.jpg

“Animism is the worldview that non-human entities—such as animals, plants, and inanimate objects—possess a spiritual essence. Animism is used in the anthropology of religion as a term for the belief system of some indigenous tribal peoples, especially prior to the development of organized religion.” (Wikipedia)

I would hardly call my evolution of beliefs primitive, but I would certainly call most organized religions as such: primitive, judgmental, biased, misogynistic, deceptive, and meant to control the masses using psychological ploys with threats of physical harm to non-compliers.

Check out the chart again for the most recent dates of those religions mentioned and see when your own religion originated. See the branch that it grew from. See the root of that branch and the tree it connects to. Everything on that chart is simply a matter of a particular interpretation per region of what is happening to us and around us.

Every different religion is a particular perspective associated with an original founder’s perception or interpretation of life and how it developed.

Then others took that original perception and tweaked it to match their own interpretations for whatever reason they felt was valid.

Maybe God spoke to them. Okay.  Maybe God speaks to anyone who will actually listen. OR….maybe they interpreted whatever they “heard” or intuited as GOD when it might have been something else laying down rules of shoulds or should-nots.

sciencereligion.jpgBut again, why were these behavioral rules even necessary if not to control the masses and justify a self-appointed leader seizing control over a group of people?

One thing you cannot do when you assess a religion’s origins is to take the personal motive out of them.

No matter the myth—no matter the story, someone said to others: “This is the world as I see it—This is the world as I was TOLD it is to be—This is how we live our lives—This is who we pay homage to and worship in specific ways—This is MY truth and it must also be YOUR truth because I said it is so—This is MY belief and it shall now be YOURs as well, because I am stronger and more powerful than you are—My followers are stronger and more powerful than your followers—We will crush you if you do not follow our beliefs because MY GOD IS GREATER THAN YOUR GOD!“  10powerfulreligions

Etc., etc., through the ages. Dominant religions were the ruling religions.

So if you take the human motives out of organized religion, there is little left to actually believe other than what one personally interprets for oneself.  I think that’s called subjective relativism.

Relativism is the idea that views are relative to differences in perception and consideration. There is no universal, objective truth according to relativism; rather each point of view has its own truth.” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Or that’s simply my opinion of organized religions: They seem to operate from their own concept of cultural relativism which tends to negate the opinions of others not within their circle of influence.