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Tag Archives: spirituality

Listen | David Whyte on the conversational nature of reality

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The Onbeing podcast episode with David Whyte.

David Whyte is a poet and philosopher who believes in the power of a “beautiful question” amidst the drama of work as well as the drama of life — amidst the ways the two overlap, whether we want them to or not.

Including…

The importance of asking beautiful questions

…a beautiful question shapes a beautiful mind. And so the ability to ask beautiful questions, often in very unbeautiful moments, is one of the great disciplines of a human life. And a beautiful question starts to shape your identity as much by asking it as it does by having it answered.

And you don’t have to do anything about it. You just have to keep asking. And before you know it, you will find yourself actually shaping a different life, meeting different people, finding conversations that are leading you in those directions that you wouldn’t even have seen before.

And…

Vulnerability

“Vulnerability is not a weakness, a passing indisposition, or something we can arrange to do without; vulnerability is not a choice, vulnerability is the underlying, ever present, and abiding under-current of our natural state. To run from vulnerability is to run from the essence of our nature; the attempt to be invulnerable is the vain attempt to become something we are not and most especially to close off our understanding of the grief of others. More seriously, in refusing our vulnerability, we refuse the help needed at every turn of our existence and immobilize the essential, tidal and conversational foundations of our identity.

“To have a temporary, isolated sense of power over all events and circumstances is a lovely, illusionary privilege and perhaps the prime and most beautifully constructed conceit of being human and especially of being youthfully human, but it is a privilege that must be surrendered with that same youth, with ill health, with accident, with the loss of loved ones who do not share our untouchable powers, powers eventually and most emphatically given up as we approach our last breath. The only choice we have as we mature is how we inhabit our vulnerability, how we inhabit our vulnerability, how we become larger and more courageous and more compassionate through our intimacy with disappearance. Our choice is to inhabit vulnerability as generous citizens of loss, robustly and fully, or conversely, as misers and complainers, reluctant, and fearful, always at the gates of existence, but never bravely and completely attempting to enter, never wanting to risk ourselves, never walking fully through the door.”

And the importance of darkness…

Sweet Darkness


…The dark will make a home for you tonight.
The night
will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
You must learn one thing. You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.”

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Watch | Shots of Awe

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Jason Silva hosts Shots of Awe, a short documentary series produced and distributed by TestTube (a Discovery Digital Network) that summates some of mankind’s most daunting scientific pursuits into fun and exciting videos, each only a few minutes long, that the layman can understand. All of them produced with hi-octane music and graphics that aims to get the viewer excited, which he does without in any way dumbing down what he says. Some of the topics covered:

Engineering Our Own Divinity: The buildings and spaces we build create a feedback loop that informs the lives we live, so we directly control the world and life we experience.

Digital Shamans: A syllabus of books written by brilliant people whose texts are geared towards thinking beyond the limits of the reality most believe we live in.

Psychedelic Technology: The very first thoughts an inventor has that lead to the invention of a previously uncreated technology are in fact hallucinations – thoughts that are not bound by the present reality.

Existential Bummer: Our most extreme emotions of happiness and love are often tinged with a hint of sadness, and Silva theorizes that it is because we have an understanding of the fleeting nature of all living things – that we and every living thing we love will die.

Artificial Intelligence: Fears that machine will eradicate us, its creator, are unfounded. Artificial intelligence is just an extension of intelligence beyond the bounds of physicality, it is us.

We’re On the Right Track: Despite doom and gloom theories about the disastrous state of present day society, hard data indicates that humanity is prospering as greatly as it ever has – the odds a man will die at the hands of another man, on a global scale, are the lowest they have ever been in history, for example.

 

Read | Science and Spirituality

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Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or of acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.

Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Watch | The World According to John Coltrane

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Produced with the cooperation of his widow Alice Coltrane, the documentary focuses on the later period of Coltrane’s work where he explored themes of Eastern spirituality. I’m not a fan of organised religion but I think Coltrane’s conception of God is beautiful. If you haven’t listened to A Love Supreme all the way through do so before watching.

I’d like to point out to people the divine in a musical language that transcends words. I want to speak to their souls.

  A Love Supreme was only performed once in its entirety, in Antibes France in the summer of 1965 – here’s a video.

 

<br /><a href=”http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x28hlg_john-coltrane_music&#8221; target=”_blank”>John Coltrane</a> <i>by <a href=”http://www.dailymotion.com/madafonka2&#8243; target=”_blank”>madafonka2</a></i>

Watch | Hoffman’s Potion

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On August 16, 1943, Swiss chemist Albert Hoffmann was synthesizing a new compound called lysergic acid diethylamide-25 as part of his search for a drug that could help cure migraines. He accidentally got a couple of drops on his finger. The chemical, later known worldwide as LSD, got absorbed into his system and soon after he experienced an intense state of altered consciousness. On that day Dr Hoffmann became the first person to drop acid.

Intrigued by the experience, Hoffmann set about meticulously experimenting dosed himself with 250 micrograms of LSD and then biked his way home through the streets of Basel.

This documentary traces the discovery of what Hoffmann called ‘medicine for the soul’ and research into its use as a treatment for the mentally ill. All told by the people that were there and did it, including Albert Hoffmann himself, Stanislav Groff, Humphry Osmond, Aldous Huxley and Ram Dass.

Complement with the wonderful documentary Magic Trip. Magic Trip is a real-time documentary, pieced together from 40-year-old film, about a cross-country trek just prior to the whole 60s hippie thing happening.

Ken Kesey was the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest In ’63, he and a few friends were visiting New York City and witnessed the preparations for the following year’s World’s Fair. Kesey, who lived in Oregon, determined on the spot that he’d grab some people and make a trip across America to the fair. The group wound up too big for a station wagon, so an old yellow school bus was procured and customized. The bus was painted in an array of bright, friendly, psychedelic colors. All the various paraphernalia of the various artists aboard came along and so did plenty of cameras and sound recording equipment. Thing was none of them were film makers. As a result the grand plan to make a film of their journey once they got home never happened because they couldn’t piece it together and sync the sound. Then Martin Scorceses’s film foundation stepped in and provided funding for all the footage to be repaired and the separately recorded audio to be synced, the process took over a year.

It’s a fascinating fly on the wall look at the birth of the hippie movement before it was a movement. It’s also notable for having Neal Cassady involved as part of the gang. You’ll know him as the real life Dean Moriaty from Jack Kerouac’s book On The Road. Particularly interesting is the use of LSD of course. Timothy Leary features heavily explaining how he thought it should be used. What’s most interesting is how refreshingly honest it is. The scenes when Ken Kesey’s madcap artistic lot meet Timothy Leary’s lot in their fancy house is great. They were expecting this great meeting of minds but it wasn’t, they were just too different and they didn’t get along. Then there’s the scene when they discover a way to create tie dye in a lake – hilarious.

http://putlocker.bz/watch-magic-trip-online-free-putlocker.html

After watching these documentaries I think about drugs today and I worry about the fact that they are criminalised so we know very little about the new substances that are being developed and used. We know the exact chemical make up of LSD and MDMA, some scientific research was done in the past and more is now starting to be done again (http://www.maps.org). We have even interviewed the scientists who invented the stuff, like Dr Hoffmann. The new stuff is hidden, opaque and potentially dangerous and that can’t be good.

Read | The Cosmogony of David Lynch

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First let’s start with a definition of Cosmogony from Wikipedia:

Cosmogony (or cosmogeny) is any scientific theory concerning the coming into existence (or origin) of either the cosmos (or universe), or the so-called “reality” of sentient beings. Developing a complete theoretical model has implications in both the philosophy of science and epistemology. The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model of the early development of the universe. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmogony

http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sight-sound-magazine/features/remain-light-mulholland-dr-and-cosmogony-david-lynch

This article examines the Vedanta inspired spiritual philosophy that underpins David Lynch’s work.

Read | Psychedelics: bridging science and spirituality

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http://www.lifeartsmedia.com/psychedelics-bridging-science-and-spirituality

“In order to bring about a scientific methodology of the mystical experience, we must first end the prohibitive and destructive war on drugs.”

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