How Many Brains?

In some ways, the whole body can be seen as a “brain” in the sense that the brain is an interface with mind and consciousness. However, there are certain centers that are more focused as a nerve plexus. We could say they’re more connected. We usually think of the brain as being in the head between our ears but recent research has discovered other major centers of nerve concentration that have other specializations. The brain between the ears is composed of about 100 billion neurons. It behaves as the central processor, the place where most of our sensing is interfaced … Continue Reading…

The Importance of Actual Yoga

In Yoga, the key is settling the mind. Then the Self “behind” the noisy mind can shine through. Yoga Sutra 1 v2-3: Yoga is the complete settling of the activity of the mind. Then the observer is established in their own nature. This state of quiet mind or yoga is known by many names like Samadhi, transcendence, or Turiya. Many techniques today try to force or control the mind to settle. But as this is not arising naturally, it is difficult to achieve. When it happens, a rare clear transcending may be seen as an awakening. But real Self Realization … Continue Reading…

Our Drivers

Becoming self-aware and learning to recognize where we have work to do can be a difficult process. But the difficulty is only in the complexity and the discomfort of seeing our shadows. It also requires a degree of letting go of control and protective stories. The complexity arises partly because we’re built in layers so there’s layers to what moves us. And partly because many dynamics are layered in themselves. For example, we have unresolved trauma from a nasty experience in our childhood. We didn’t have good skills for healing so we learned to suppress it instead. When experiences remind … Continue Reading…

Awakening The Body

As I wrote about back on Melting the Body, the process of purification and clarity moves from our becoming a good reflector of consciousness into the mind, senses, emotions, then physical body. Enlightenment is just the beginning. As that awakening becomes more embodied, the laws of nature that create the appearance of this physical form are also awakened. They then shift from having a fixed, rigid role to becoming more fluid. Apparently, Sri Aurobindo spoke of waking the bodies cells. I suspect he was referring to the same thing. While they still sustain this body, those devata (laws of nature) … Continue Reading…

Listening to Someone Awake

After someone awakens, they begin to notice the difference between speaking from the mind and speaking from deeper within. Sometimes we notice silence speaking through us, perhaps saying things we didn’t know personally. Of course, I’m not talking about channeling. I’m talking about our universal higher Self moving through us. I’ve written about the 4 levels of speech. We’ve all met people who just talk reactively and mindlessly. And many people speak from the mind. In that case, everything is about concepts and polarities of right and wrong, good and bad, and so forth. But if we can step back … Continue Reading…

The Receptors

The mind is powered mainly by the 3rd chakra at the solar plexus. And the mind field or mental body is a field that surrounds the entire body to some distance. Why then do we subjectively experience thoughts as being in the head? Consider where we have our receptors for thinking. We can describe the brain as a receptor or antenna for the mind. The brain is the physical interface for mental energy. Thus we recognize thinking as happening “in the head.” The movement of thoughts is not restricted to the brain though. Thoughts move through the “space” of the … Continue Reading…

The Trinity of Self

Atman or the Cosmic Self has a three-fold nature. It has a subject or observer aspect, the process of observation, and the object or observed aspect. I illustrated this here. As consciousness is aware of itself both globally and at every point, it can observe its own dynamics and experience this directly. “Locally” or personally, we experience this as the ego or I-sense, the intellect, and the mind. Samkhya describes how Buddhi (intellect) recognizes self as different from other, creating Ahamkara, the I-sense or ego. This arises in early childhood as a baby distinguishes itself from mother. Manas or mind … Continue Reading…

The Irony of Seeking

At some point on our life journey we tend to become seekers. The desire for more, experiences, exposure to some teaching; something triggers a shift. We transition from a life focused on our individuality to something bigger and deeper. Usually, a good part of the seeking process is framed as self-betterment or escape. In other words, we’re still very much personally oriented. The search is usually driven by aversion to pain or a grasping after more pleasure or both. As Yoga observes, both of these lead only to suffering. At the same time, the seeking activity helps keep us on … Continue Reading…

Where are the Senses?

In our culture, we’re encouraged to think of the senses as part of our body. We can point to the places in our body where we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. However, if our senses are parts of the body, how do we have full sensory experiences during dreams, when our body is asleep? This is because our senses are not in the body, they’re in the mind. When the mind is awake, so are the senses, be we in waking state or dreaming. When the mind sleeps, as in deep sleep, so do the senses. The body includes vehicles for … Continue Reading…

On Truth

The “Truth about Reality” is way beyond the mind so cannot be found though reading or hearing. All we gain through the senses is information from which we build concepts about the world. This is neither truth nor reality. At best, we have a working hypothesis. Philosophy and spiritual teachings can offer pointers and maps, like a route to deeper truth. But they are not truth in themselves. Reality can only be known directly, by being. We can describe experiences of reality, but it’s always through the lens of this physiology. How much of it we embody. But what we … Continue Reading…

We’re Growing

If we check the news, we may well see the world appearing to be going down hill. If you follow jyotish trends, you’ll known that the UK, EU and now US have moved into more challenging and unpredictable Rahu periods. However, understanding the larger trends requires taking a bigger perspective. In the late ’60’s, you could probably count the number of awake people you’d heard of on one hand. On long retreats, you had to go to places like India and would spend the vast majority of the day in rounds of yoga and meditation. By the mid-70’s time in … Continue Reading…

Getting off the Horses

During the second part of the Sophia panel discussion, David Ellzey surprised us with a snippet of spontaneous and surprisingly expressive mime. In the video linked below,  he speaks about letting go of our stories, the noisy horses of our mind. Really enjoyed this. (sorry – settings block posting the video here) vimeo.com/134469932