Branch Theory…

Depending on your cosmic-view, there is either one Universe or infinite. The concept of the multiverse is not a new one developed by Stan Lee and those at Marvel Studios, it dates back to 1954 Hugh Everett and his MWI (Many World Interpretation) which postulates that quantum effects constantly cause the Universe to split or branch.

Therefore, every decision we make creates a new universe, so that all possible outcomes are played out, somewhere and somewhen.

If the MWI theory view is correct, then our actions in this Universe, our consensual reality, shapes that of our cosmic doppelgängers in parallel universes, then linking this to the Newtonian thought that every action has a positive and negative reaction, would mean that the inversion of our actions materialise somewhere else.

So the question could be, if we do bad things in this Universe, does that mean good things happen to our counterparts in other universes, and does that effectively mean that there is an evil serial killer version of Mother Theresa?

Clearly we’ll likely never know the answer to that question as our abilities (for the vast majority of us) are confined to three dimensional time and space, but the reason I call this out (very early on a Saturday morning) is that I watched a film twice at the cinema this week, “Everything, Everywhere, All At Once”, which had a profound impact on me (why else would I see I twice in two days).

Whilst I have a rudimentary understanding of scientific concepts, is quite often through the arts that messaging truly resonates with me. A film, a song lyric, a play, a book, a poem, an artwork, all have the ability to poke around inside my head and turn on light bulbs in a way that complicated cosmic or consciousness theory cannot. For me, it’s so important that we keep funding media and arts for the young, failure to do so really would result in a boring and meaningless Universe.

“Everything Everywhere…” could be likened to watching The Matrix on LSD, and director Dan Kwan has said as much.

Without giving too much away for those who have not seen it (yet, a must-see in my opinion), it centres around a character who appears at first glance to be living her worst life possible, a laundromat worker with failed ambitions filing her taxes, totally disconnected from her husband and daughter.

The next two hours is a visual and hilarious journey through time, space and the multiverse, giving insights into the other versions of herself that dwell in parallel universes, one’s that on the face of it are clearly more successful than her. The end scene still makes me tear-up just thinking about it, such a profound message to those who really have been paying attention.

And so to branch theory (if that is a thing). After the second sitting of the movie, I took it upon myself to walk back to my hotel through the magnificent parks of London, and it was during that two hour sun and shirt drenched bimble that I reflected on my own branch theory up until now.

It’s fair to say that we wouldn’t really influence the multiverse (should it exist) at an early age, as most of our decisions are made for us by our elders, whether it be parents, siblings, extended family members or teachers. When choice really kicks in is arguably around puberty where we become the ones that choose what to do, which paths to follow, and for me, that is when we become independent and our actions or inactions are on us (unless we are in very difficult circumstances, being controlled or abused etc).

Clearly most of us have done both good and bad things in our lives, things that we are proud of and things that we regret. Without having the benefit of a time machine to put right the wrongs, I’d argue that we should not, on the basis those inactions and things we should not have done inform who we are today and how we become more worldly and wiser as a consequence, passing these tenets and messages down to our children and comrades, eradicating that type of behaviour or poor decision making.

After cataloguing all of the positives and negatives that have come out of each branch decision that led me up until this morning, I came to the same conclusion that Michelle Yeoh came to in the film, that although nothing is perfect, in this very moment I can safely say that I am happy with the outcome of the first fifty years of my life, and go a step further by saying I’m living life like the best version of me.

Do I have the very best of things, a sports car, a super yacht, a supermodel wife, a rock star status, billions in the bank or a huge schlong, absolutely not (except perhaps for maybe for the last one!).

What I do have is an amazing wife, three incredible children, a small set of great friends and neighbours, a nice house, a modest mode of transport and enough money in the bank not to worry about where my next meal is coming from.

As a result, I can safely say I am happy and that happiness turns into kindness for others, and will do so even more after I retire and can spend more time on community projects.

I would also go on to say that I am truly sorry for anyone that I have hurt or offended in the past, immaturity doesn’t excuse poor choices.

And to all those other “me’s” out there beyond the barriers of my Universe, in the immortal words of Elvis Costello, I send you “peace, love and understanding”…

BioHack: Tracking…

As mentioned in my previous post, having access to our biological data is one thing, understanding it and tracking it is another.

With the advent of wearables (Apple Watch), bio-lab start ups like Forth (no not those bio-labs!) and the continued National Health Service checks (free upon request), accurate data on how our body is performing is available and relatively inexpensive.

It must also be said that once we have baselined our biology, we should not of course concern ourselves to often once any plans to remediate ailments are initiated, unless of course we are elite athletes or personal trainers, as too much attention may lead to a little paranoia and anxiety, certainly possible in my case!

To that end, I spend some time reviewing my Apple Watch data yesterday and also the results that came in from my NHS MOT the week before last, and went a step further to do a full body scan of the things that pain this man of five decades.

By and large the Apple Watch data is very useful:

Given my state of advancement in years, I’m quite happy with the data.

Clearly only we (or medically trained professionals) can know what pains and grumbles are taking place within the body, and only some of the data from devices and tests can reveal those (physical maladies and manifestations based on cause and effect), so to get a true bio-hacking baseline, I took it upon myself (validated by the wife who is a holistic therapy professional) to engineer a full set of diagnostics and advisories (the car MOT analogy really fits well here), the output of which is below:

So once the results come back from Forth and the NHS scans, I should be able to baseline my biology and put in place (in true project management parlance) a “return to green” plan to fix all of the issues I have, and identify any risks that may occur so I can put in place mitigation plans to, as Wim Hof would say, live a happy, strong and health life.

BioHack …

We face many existential crises in our lifetime, the first as early as the day we appear from the womb, unless of course your father (or mother) allows his (or her) fetus to gestate in a box, in which case it’s a simple task of opening the lid. We face other risks as we proceed on with our life journey, from conflict situations to simply crossing the road, each a given set of variables and mortality probably factor, all of which are fed into the calculator of life and outcome decided.

Our cells replicate every seven years, during which process they carry with them any defects they pick up along the way, cycling and weakening. Imagine a scenario where you take a copy of a computer’s hard drive that already has bad data on it, and then take a copy of that, and a copy of that copy, and so on. Eventually some of the programs will stop working, eventually all of it will stop working. The hard drive is no more, it’s pushing up the daisies, it is an ex-computer.

And so it is with us, over time our bodies degenerate, our individual body parts start stopping and our overall system crashes as a result, resulting in the inevitable departure from our meat covered skeletons made of stardust and hair, to either oblivion or the never-after, depending on whether your glass is half-full or half-empty.

Whilst death is inevitable, the way in which we pass over may not have to be a painful one. Enter the concept of bio-hacking.

I had a health scare a couple of weeks back, the true results of which will only be known in the coming weeks, and it was during that process of discovering what was wrong with my system that I came across bio-hacking. In a nutshell, it sets in motion certain mechanics that allows practitioners to positively impact their own biology to provide (painless) longevity. Going a step further, they obtain real-time data on what biological processes are working well and what are not, and as a result they put practices and procedures in place to optimize the human experience, especially as the biological clock ticks on, and on, and on.

I live in the UK where one can request all personal medical data, all of which can be made available via a secure log in, and that information is now available to me. It revealed many things that I already knew and some I didn’t (or had simply forgotten), but for the first time I obtained some real insights and trends on my personal health and subsequent deterioration over the last three decades. Full blood counts and liver, kidney, heart, thyroid, cholesterol test results are there to see in full and glorious technicolor, big data.

Now in my fiftieth year on this little blue dot, my cholesterol is slightly higher than it should be and my kidneys are starting to function less well, but everything else (including vitamin and mineral levels) is doing remarkable well. Clearly the data doesn’t cover the metaphysical aspects of mental well-being (oh how I wish it would!), but it goes some way to validate that the diet and practices I have adopted over the last four decades have resulted in a decent set of results as I approach my twilight years. I now have a real plan to live life in complete symbiosis with the energetic carcass I haul around each day, and bio-hacking will help.

  • I was totally convinced that there was real science behind the Wim Hof Method (in term of cold therapy and breath work which lowered inflammation levels), this validates that
  • Intermittent fasting (especially during certain times of the day – using circadian cycles) initiates ketosis and is another method not uncommon to me either, an essential part of my periodic detoxification periods,
  • No one can ever underestimate the power of sleep for recharging the internal battery that charges us up for another day of activities
  • Blue light I was aware of, and whilst I won’t purchase the $100 glasses and sit in the living room watching TV looking like Bono’s Scouse doppelgänger, I have turned on the orange filters on my devices for any late night reading and viewing
  • And then, the three gratitudes…

There is so much chaos and disarray in the world just now and although it may appear that we are surrounded by darkness at all times, there are slithers of light that illuminate the good things that happen too. The process is very simple, document three (or more!) good things that happen during the day, even the seemingly insignificant ones, and reflect on those little moments at the end of the day, thankful that they took place (go a step further to use this time to kick start some pre-sleep meditation). It is incredible that such a simple and minute thing can yield such a significant impact on mental well-being and sleep.

So as my fiftieth birthday approaches, I go into it knowing that I have the mechanics in place to live out the second half of my life in a healthy and informed way. And if ancestral DNA challenges that status quo, then at least I will be able to tune in to the biological process quickly and put things right, whether that be via surgery or homeopathy (preferably the latter).

Eating and drinking the right things, exercising in the right way and surrounding ourselves with the right people is a real formula for success, and with that we can live to one hundred, just like the Okinawans, the Sardinians and the Adventists:

Of course I can’t plan for being hit by a car, but I’ll be sure to use the pelican, toucan and zebra crossings going forward 😊

The Iceman Cometh…

Baader–Meinhof is a phenomenon in which after noticing something for the first time, there is a tendency to notice it more often, leading to a belief that it has a high frequency, and perhaps (taking it a step further) there is an esoteric force at work, pushing it into consciousness, giving the self a nudge to find out more.

I had never heard of Wim Hof until recently. The first time I heard the name was when I took to the road last year to survey the land for our planned eco-retreat (the progress of which is near zero due to pandemic related logistics issues). Our trip to the Lammas eco-village soon after raised his profile further, and further still with my foray into ishnaan (ancient cold water therapy first practiced by Indian sheikhs in the Punjab) and finally Russell Brand who has waxed lyrical about the guy for the last eighteen months.

As my recent duhkha post detailed, I have been trying far too hard to find enlightenment, peace and equilibrium over the last decade, in a desperate attempt to find answers to the hard questions of why are we here, how do we maintain a healthy mind and body and what happens to our soul when we die.

I have undertaken many practices during that time, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, reiki, kundalini and all forms of holistic therapy. Whilst that was not wasted time, I found that I was no more balanced than before, wiser of course and more knowledgeable, but still somewhat out of kilter.

One of my commune comrades started to talk about Wim Hof again a couple of weeks over breakfast, and I decided to take a deeper look into this guy to find out what his method was (WHM – Wim Hof Method).

After watching some of his (and Russell Brands) YouTube videos and downloading his free app, I found that his approach to wellness was simple, so simple in fact that it was instantly accessible to all, free at the point of entry, which used our mind, lungs and skin to help retune our physical and meta-physical states of being to bring back balance, calmness and a super-charged immune system to boot.

Contrast that to the other forms of conditioning out there, chemical conditioning via Big Pharma, mental conditioning via Big Therapy, physical conditioning via Big Trainers, spiritual conditioning via Big Religion, all of which comes at considerable expense.

Even the spiritual practices like yoga, transcendental meditation, and holistic therapies don’t come cheap, but the WHM looks to give you all of that balance for free via (in the main) breathing techniques and cold water therapy. That’s it. No detailed rules, laws, regulations, dogma, trinkets, gadgets, just you, your body, your time and water.

Naturally this sounds too good to be true, but as with many things in life (with the exception of injecting heroin, jumping out of a plane without a parachute or supporting Liverpool FC), I’ll try anything once.

So I did just that, and all that I can say is that it works, or at least it is starting to.

Breath work I have done before in yoga (relaxing and energetic), but never have I attempted body oxygenation and breath retention. Within the space of just a few days, I found myself being able to hold my breath for just shy of three minutes, post-which my stress levels plummeted to absolute zero. No technique I’ve done thus far has allowed me to go from breakneck speed to a dead stop so quickly. Remarkable.

The cold therapy I found quite easy too. New Years Day this year saw me in sub-zero temperatures in the sea close to home, albeit with a swim suit on, and I have taken cold showers since, but not with such routine or regularity. Every day I wake up now, energised after unbroken nights of slumber (another benefit of the WHM), almost racing for the spare room where I take my morning “meds” in the form of breath work and contemplation, followed by either a cold shower or a quick dip in the sea if the tides are right before the work day commences.

I am already seeing the benefits, I feel my head is less foggy, my body is reacting well to the new practices, and conflict situations in work have been dealt with as matter of fact rather than “oh no!” scenarios.

Naturally I wanted to know as much about Wim Hof as I could, so my wife bought me his recent book for my birthday which came today, three chapters down already at lunch and I’m in awe of the guy. Humble and honest background, no bullshit, easy to read and the words come straight from the heart, giving me the impression that this guy is both authentic and awesome in equal measures.

Incredibly, he has twenty-six work records, mostly ice-related shenanigans, but it was his clinical trials that pricked my attention most. Here was a guy in his fifties, deploying his own breathing/cold therapy/mind over matter techniques being injected with ecoli under lab conditions, monitored by medical practitioners to see how this man really reacted when his body was put under a real attack, only to find that his immune system was so strong, the bad bacteria had no impact on him whatsoever. He repeated the experiment with twelve of his trainees a short while later and all twelve tests had the same outcome.

What is this? Is it luck? Is it good DNA? Is it poor test conditions? Or is it the fact that here we had a man who could manipulate his immune system in such a way that made him somewhat impervious to bacteria and viruses, even when injected directly into the body?

From what I have read thus far, the science backed up the latter.

Many have frowned upon me when I have told them that I will not be taking the Covid vaccines, on the basis that I believe that I am healthy enough for the virus to only impact me slightly, and that the vaccine is still only on emergency licence until 2023 with no clinical conclusions reached. Mr Hof it appears has now given me the opportunity and associated techniques to boost my immune system even further, which I will embrace with freezing arms (from the cold showers).

I’ll continue to do the daily exercises to see how the practice improves my mind, body and soul, but may leave the ecoli injections a while longer…

Humanity: The Real Virus…

Over the past twelve months, we have all to some extent become fledgling virologists. Every news bulletin is presented in front of a large screen emblazoned with various Covid-19 info-graphics depicting how the virus attaches itself to the human cell, opens up a way in and infects the cell until the point where it is either extinguished by antibodies that the cell produces or it takes hold and kills its host, propagating and replicating.

Covid-19

Over the same time period, I have had some very interesting dinner table discussions with the family, and especially my nineteen year old son who is currently studying English Literature and Creative Writing at University.

He loves engaging in thought-provoking dialogue and I’m more than happy to deliberate and cogitate his musings and arguments and wade in with my opinions, so after re-watching Outbreak with Dustin Hoffman, my thoughts turned back to Covid-19 and the info-graphic depicted above on how the microscopic world of an individual cell and things attacking it could be viewed on a much larger scale and how humanity is self-creating real and credible threats to our very existence on Planet Earth, and how cause and effect is impacting our ecosystem.

My opening statement was that humanity (not unlike Agent Smith from The Matrix), is a virus that is attacking the very ecosystem it needs to survive. A virus is defined as “an agent that infects living organisms, often causing disease and death, which in itself is unable to replicate without a host”. Whilst I concede that Earth is may not be conscious (in the way that our brains are) and it does not have a sense or morality, when viewed as a single organism, it is living and can generate effects from the various causes imposed on it to protect itself from extinction.

Existential Risks

I took up my pen (converted to a jpeg for clarity) and drew a crude Covid-19 virus molecule and replaced each S-Protein nodule with each anthropogenic risk we are currently facing (adding a non-anthropogenic risk for good measure) and discussed each one at length:

  • Nano Technology: Also known as grey goo, the current train of thought is that as humanity advances technology and things get smaller and smaller, there is (however small, nano even) a risk that molecular nanotechnology becomes out-of-control and self-replicating machines consume all of the biomass on Earth while building more of themselves, which in theory could consume the entire planet down the core with nothing Mother Earth could do to prevent it. The stuff of science fiction horror movies perhaps, but still a potential risk but we agreed that we would likely not see this one materialising any time soon
  • War: What is it good for, absolutely nothing (except for the economy of course, as described rather simply and expertly in Zeitgeist: The Movie – one of the best documentaries I’ve seen). The most clear and present danger that humanity currently faces is the ability to destroy itself by conflict, by war. History tells us that a global foot war would never wipe us out as there would lways likely be a winning side. A nuclear war and associated nuclear winter could of course do two things, wipe out humanity plus many plants and animals but the Earth could recover in time (much in the same way it did during the dinosaur era), or toxify the atmosphere and boils the seas so much that all carbon-based systems cease to exist and Mars 2.0 happens
  • Pollution: It is abundantly clear climate change is here and having a huge impact our ecosystem. Through heavy industry, toxic/plastic waste, deforestation, desertification, natural resource extraction and consumption, the effects are stark and plain for asll to see (whilst not including certain deniers and Paris Accord withdrawers). If those are the main causes, then the effects are equally as numerous, with Earth (in a non-conscious way) producing storms, fires, floods, famines, viruses, earthquakes and even plagues of locusts, all very biblical and ominous. In theory, Earth could in fact continue to react in this way until humanity is wiped out and the order is reset and recovery takes place. Whilst war seems to be the primary risk to life on Earth, if left unchecked climate change is a close second.
  • Artificial Intelligence: We all love a good dystopian novel/movie, with seminal classics like The Matrix, Terminator and latterly Westworld spinning a shared narrative that self-realising machines become super-intelligent and wage war against humanity until it’s near ultimate demise. Whilst there many benefits to automation (I myself am heavily involved in developing intelligent monitoring systems – not in a state surveillance way I might add), there is a danger, however limited that self-awareness and autonomously acting systems could in theory wreak havoc and Stephen Hawking himself theorizing that AI could indeed see the end of the human race. A quick look at the Boston Dynamics production line (Atlas and Spot which are now available via mail order) would and should give some insights to the potentiality and realisation that a new order could be created if the light-bulb ever gets flicked on, however small the risk appears today
  • Bio Technology: A biological war could in theory make the human race extinct if a virus reached 100% of the population and had a 100% mortality rate, but Mother Earth (which can do nothing to prevent a man-made biological war) would continue and positively recover from everything man has thrown at it. We may never get to find out how Covid-19 was released on to the human race (by accident or by design), but the wonderful thing about a virus is its ability to mutate to survive, so if you believe that it was released by design by some sort of illuminati / NWO, then lets hope they keep full control on the SAR-COVID-2 strand and don’t let the mortality rate increase to 100%, else that could be end of days territory.
  • Resource Consumption / Overpopulation: Clearly we have problem, arguably the biggest problem and most realistic threat to our way of life. David Attenborough has said that overpopulation is the biggest existential threat to life on Earth, if we don’t do something about it, nature will do it for us. We have seen unprecendented natural disasters over the last few years and as the planet gets warmer and wilder, and as we consume more than we can produce – using mass-production techniques which release more CO2e into the atmosphere, then our ability to cultivate the land diminishes, desertifcation increases and as such the increasing population goes hungry, until at some point we have burned all the trees, destroyed all of the soils, raised all salty sea levels leaving our ecosystem infertile. Some say that Covid-19 is naturally occurring and it is a curse that Mother Earth has put on us to wake us up to the root cause of our problems, over population.
  • Genetic Modification: A few Hollywood films have placed such a concept onto the silver-screen. We play God by mapping out our DNA strand and modifying it to iron out the kinks, remove all defects to create post-modern-man, with catastrophic consequences. There is also the notion of cybernetics, where man replaces carbon-based appendages with technology, resulting in a fight between it and IT. The stuff of B-Movies however is unlikely to come to fruition.
  • Scientific Exploration: So what exactly is going on at CERN? OK they allegedly found the Higgs-Boson God particle, but what they intend to do with it is not entirely clear, neither is the roadmap of experiments. There are clear and present dangers in scientific experiments of this scale, with the potentiality to rip time and space apart, creating a black hole that we all fall into never to return. As Socrates Johnson once said, all we know is that we know nothing, and if Dan Brown’s Angel & Demons anti-matter theme has anything to go by, messing around with the laws of physics we know very little about may see us disappearing up our own arseholes.
  • Non Anthropogenic: Extinction Level Events. Meteors, aliens and demons (in that order) have the ability to bring the seven point eight billion population count down to zero in a matter of seconds. Deep Impact, Armageddon, Star Wars, Independence Day and Constantine all depict such events in glorious CGI, let’s just hope Morgan Freeman, Bruce Willis and Mark Hamill, Will Smith and Keanu Reeves don’t retire any time soon.

The response to all of this from my “son-beyond-his years” was abrupt and to the point:

Son: “Dad?”
Dad: “Yes, son?”
Son: “Two things. Firstly, you think too much. Secondly, you’re an idiot…”

Cloud consciousness…

Logic dictates that as an IT professional and a cosmic crusader on a constant quest for the truth, evidence is sought across all forms; science, technology, philosophy and religion.

In work recently, we have moved our solution to the cloud and as such the vendor pitches presented diagrams of the benefits of moving away from in-house infrastructure and applications.

Whilst listening to the sales spiel, my mind drifted away from the corporate patois and focused in on the on-screen diagram depicting a typical overview of cloud computing, instantly taking on a whole new angle.

Take Drop Box. I currently take pictures and videos from various mobile devices and store them in my local cache (local cache being RAM when I’m viewing them, hard drive when my computer is turned off). So that such “memories” are not lost, I log on to the Drop Box cloud via a user name and password (personal to me) and upload the said pictures and videos. All such “memories” are materialistic, physical.

Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing

Brain Function

Take your brain. You currently take pictures and videos from your senses and store them in your local cache (local cache being the limbic system, a store which lets you recall memories during conscious awareness when you are awake and also during unconscious awareness when you are asleep). All such “memories” are non-materialistic, metaphysical, but where is our esoteric ethereal Drop Box?

Cosmic Consciousness

Take the Akasha (or cosmic consciousness). As individuals, reality or existence is a subjective experience for each and every one of us. There is a growing body of (noetic) science which posits that all human experience is captured and uploaded to a central core which exists outside the space-time-continuum (though a Drop Box style upload is replaced with an entanglement to the source), a belief held dear by ancient Hindus.

The previous skeptical me would have laughed that off a while back, putting it down as a work of fiction. Now however, the evidence for such a mechanism grows exponentially. Near Death Experiences, Out of Body Experiences, After Death Communication, Medium Communication and Past Life Recall all point to a premise that not only does conscious experience appear to exist beyond the brain, but that under certain circumstances the “consciousness cloud” can be accessed.

Let’s take a look at the example below, and in particular Derek:

Akasha

Like ourselves, Derek logs in and uploads his personal data to Drop Box so it doesn’t get lost in case he has a local hardware failure. Additionally, Derek works for the Drop Box Security Management Team and as such has universal access (via the Admin user name and password) to see the photos and videos of others.

Derek’s skills do not end there. Derek is a medium and has the ability to tune in to the cosmic consciousness and obtain the memories and experience of others. He has in cosmic terms been imbued with the ability to both upload and download to and from the cloud.

If we are to believe that such growing “alternative” evidence exists and it’s sources can be trusted (including our own non-materialistic experiences), then so it will be that the cosmic consciousness will continue to evolve and mature.

Whether our not we are simply perception transmitters or whether our consciousness continues to exist beyond our hardware failure (physical death) remains to be seen…

Signs are there, learn how to look…

Synchronicities, according to Carl Jung, “are events that hold meaningful coincidences if they occur with no causal relationship, yet seem to be meaningfully related”.

Coincidences, according to Plutarch, “are no great wonder if in long process of time, while fortune takes her course hither and thither, numerous coincidences should spontaneously occur”.

Serendipity, according to Horace Walpole, “means a fortunate happenstance or pleasant surprise, discoveries which happen by accident and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of”.

Over the last three weeks, the wheels on my Buddhist motorbike have been well and truly out of kilter, and so it seems have those to close me. Looking for the root cause of my problems these days is a lot easier than it used to be, my mind is relatively clear and signs of cause and effect present themselves with transparency.

My daughter came out of school on Friday visibly upset and after some of my soothing words and warm hugs, enlightened me with the root cause of her classroom woes. I told her not to worry and that we would talk about it at the weekend and if needs be I would go in to see the teacher.

So sitting down on the sofa after breakfast, I grabbed a piece of paper and a propelling pencil from my office desk and went over to the bookshelf to find a hard back book to lean on. The one which (almost) literally jumped off the shelf was Coincidences by Brian Inglis. That was the start of it. I had a pretty rough time in school and in part it was down to the lack of parental support, very rarely did my parents sit me down to understand or tease out from me the root cause of the problem and guide me to potential solutions (the only one I recall them suggesting was “punch them”, not sage advice).

Here I was 30 years later on the sofa with my daughter, evidently with more wisdom on my side. In truth her current issues are quite minor (noisy boys in the classroom and a bossy friend) but truly listening to her, soothing her and agreeing to put a plan of action in place to reduce/remove her suffering turned her frown upside down. We drew out a map of her classroom and she showed me where the noisy boys who were disturbing her concentration sat; she showed me where the bossy friend sat; she showed me where the teacher instructed the class from. It was clear that explaining her situation and my offering to see the teacher next week to improve the situation would help her a lot. After our conversation she turned to me and said “I love you Dad”. Beautiful.

Climbing the stairs to the bathroom for morning shower, I briefly reflected on the book I had picked from the shelf and our very own coincidence of school-time woes. Showers and baths are great places to think and to purge oneself of thoughts and negativity and today was no exception. I thought long and hard over the last three weeks and the root cause of my current dhukha state was work. The high profile project I am working on has gone off the rails a bit of late and as a result has piled on the pressure and stress for all those involved. I understood this. I also understood that there is little I can do about it, but what I can do is to stop getting stressed about things that are not under my control.

After stepping out of the shower, I felt like the dhukha had washed away with the suds and for the first time in a few weeks my head felt clear. As I dried myself, I stood a while looking at the picture we had bought for our bathroom re-fit this year. It’s not an expensive piece, just a few pounds from the local store. It’s not a masterpiece by any stretch, just a photograph of a collection of seaside paraphernalia. For the first time I looked at it, really looked at it, deconstructing each element, and it wasn’t long before a surge of energy and synchronicity hit me.

The elements that stood out:

  • The Shell (the company I work for).
  • The Anchor (the heavy weight dragging me down).
  • The Rope/Noose (the constricting nature of working in high profile projects and for “the man”).
  • The Net (a symbol of entrapment).

Here staring me right in the face was the root cause of my woes, my dhukha, but there are two further symbols to counteract the negativity:

  • The Fish (a reference to the Almighty).
  • The Stars (for me, a symbol which represents the Universe and of cosmic consciousness).

I am a firm believer that with a clear mind, the signs (call them breadcrumbs, call them synchronicities) are there, you just need to learn how to look…

The Search for the Quantum Soul…

Invisible things. Unseeable things. There are plenty of things in this Universe that we cannot perceive due to the limited senses that we have, even with the advent of technology and instrumentation. Granted we can see a lot more than we used to be able to, but we are still limited to perceiving the macro-world and not the immaterial world.

We cannot see feeling, yet we can feel or detect it. We cannot see emotion, yet we can feel or detect it. We cannot see consciousness, yet we know that it exists (whether local or non-local, science or God is still up for grabs).

Reality is both self-perpetuating and internally generated. What I perceive, what I see, what I experience is personal to me, very personal to me. We may see an object in the same way from a materialistic perspective, but how we feel about it will invariably be very different. That said, if reality is both self-perpetuating and internally generated, then you may not actually exist (“there is no us, there is only I”).

Metaphysics has and will always be a hard nut to crack. To prove one’s own subjective experience difficult if not impossible, and not very scientific.

Spirituality and noetics has a problem, a hard problem. Science is easy. You take a thing you can perceive, you run a test, you see the results, you have the evidence to suggest the way a thing is. How do you do that with a thing you cannot perceive a thing you cannot see? Science sees consciousness as an epiphenomenon of the most complex organism in the known Universe (the human brain), and as such it is the responsibility of non-science to prove otherwise.

I have read evidence to suggest that consciousness exists outside of the brain and although I lack any real direct experience thus far of knowing that, I lean more towards that way of thinking. Mainstream science conveniently bundles up all mystic experience under confusion and delusion, rather than tackling the hard problem head on.

That said, there are people out there who are in search of scientific evidence that the soul exists and it does so at a quantum level (and by quantum I mean quintessence – the fifth element, Akasha). Dr Penny Sartori and Professor Stuart Hameroff are both experts in the field of anaesthetics and suggest that conscious awareness and experience occurs even when the brain is flat-lining (be it a near death experience or under anaesthetics).

The study of quantum mechanics (what Einstein called spooky action at a distance) and the progression towards a unified theory of everything may prove one way or another that consciousness exists in a dimension outside the material world.

Science, religion, philosophy and spirituality can co-exist. Science, religion, philosophy and spirituality does exist and it resides in me.

I may have near death experiences, I may have out of body or psychedelic experiences and I may be able to hear communications from realms beyond but how do I prove that to the outside world?

The answer is I don’t have to. What I see, what I experience, what I know is personal to me and only me.

I witness synchronicities on a regular basis and see them as markers for the bigger picture, evidence to suggest that all is not what it seems and in fact the quantum soul may in fact exist…

“Ists” and “Isms”…

Soul mate. Betrothed. Life partner. Wife. She’d be the first one to admit she is not very philosophical, nor is she scientific, nor religious.

As we lay next to each other last night before hypnogogia set in, I was reading an interesting piece on HuffPost relating to the belief scale, from materialist science to fundamentalist religion and all points in between, she was checking what was going on in the “real world” over at Facebook.

As I read on, stroking my everlong beard and grunting in approval to what was being presented by the author, she turned to me and said something quite profound:

“What are you actually looking for? Why do you spend so much time trying to fit yourself into a certain category, why can’t you just be you? I don’t fit into any category and I’m not concerned by that, I live in the here and now and don’t care too much of the past and the future, living in the now is what’s importantly surely?”

Well knock me over with a set of meditation beads. I’ve read a lot recently (mostly of Buddhist orientation) but here was a statement which summed it all up in one breath. She is of course right (as wives always are of course) and living in the now is the most important thing, having supporting Buddhist principles (the Four Noble Truths) can also help in dealing with the now situation so it has not been wasted time by any means.

Living in synchronicity with everyone and everything in the Universe is something “we” should all aspire to (on the basis the “we” are all one anyway).

Snippets from the article in question below:

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It’s time to use the power of the Internet to confront the two great strands of the modern world, the “two cultures”: the scientific, and the humanistic. Must these two cultures run on separate tracks? Must they be at war with each other? Or could conflict shift to comprehension?

We are not talking about making science into a religion, or religion into a science. We are talking about finding the unity in diversity that’s basic for a healthy community.

Both religion and science are key factors of life in our communities. There is no question that religion plays a crucial role in how humans make meaning, create community, act politically, and find mandates for how to live a good life. We can say the same thing about science. It, too, plays a crucial role in our life already because of all the science-based technologies we use. They shape how we live, what we consume, and what we want to, and can achieve.

Both religion and science shape the way we see the world, and for that reason they shape how we act in the world. We all carry a view of the world in our head and act in light of it whether we know it or not. The trouble is that religion and science create different, and in some respects opposing, views. The time has come to look at these views and see whether their contrasts really are a chronic, irremediable cause for conflict. Conflict between religion and science is dangerous, for it rends asunder the fabric of society and can degenerate into violence.

Of course, there is not just one science worldview and one religion worldview but as many as there are science-minded and religion-minded people in the world. Yet there are some typical features of the individual worldviews, and these are useful when we try to compare them and seek to understand their agreements and disagreements.

Take, for example, the typical worldviews of the following people:

The Classical Scientist
The world, including all things and all people, is but a collection of bits of matter that move about in space, impacting each other. There is no meaning or intention behind this, it’s just the way things are. If you think differently, you only project your own subjective values and feelings into the objective, and objectively meaningless, world. The worldview of the classical scientist is that of Newtonian physics: the universe is a giant mechanism that runs harmoniously, if meaninglessly, through all eternity. It’s the view of most of the people who consider themselves scientific. The classical scientist is on the science end of the scale. He is in direct opposition to the orthodox religionist, who, particularly if he is a fundamentalist, is on the other end.

The Orthodox Religionist
The world we experience is the work of a divine Creator. It’s not the entire world or even the highest world; it’s only the temporary world below, the precursor of the eternal world above. The earthly world derives its meaning from the will of its Creator, and human beings achieve their personal worth and ultimately gain their salvation by obeying His commands. The worldview of the orthodox religionist is shared by the devout Christian, Jew, and Muslim. The world is the creation of a transcendent God and testifies to His omnipotent will and spirit.

The Mystic
The entire world, with all things in it, is infused with spirit and consciousness. We are who we are, and everything is what it is, because of the divine spark we all embody. The entire cosmos is a whole and is holy in its entirety. The world of the mystic is the world of traditional peoples and Eastern religions. It’s a world infused by spirit and consciousness; all things are alive and everything that happens to them has deeper meaning. The mystic is on the religion side, but he is not at its end, for he is generally less explicit and dogmatic than either the classical scientist or the fundamentalist religionist.

The Atheist
The only things that are real in the world are the kind of things that we see with our own eye and grasp with our own hand. The rest is just talk, illusion or wishful thinking. The atheist’s worldview is clear-cut: only what we can see and touch is real, everything else is imagination or wishful thinking. The modern atheist is dogmatic on what he claims to be the side of science. He is opposed to all views that claim that reality has a higher dimension.

The New Scientist
We can know the world by following the scientific method: codifying and quantifying the data of human experience and applying the laws of reason to them. This gives us a complex world furnished not only by what we can touch and see, but also by quarks, black holes, and quantum fields, things too small, too large, or too subtle to perceive. The new scientist should be open to all ways of thinking about the world but tends to disregard or dismiss ways that don’t measure up to his concept of sound knowledge. The new scientist’s worldview is in principle open to everything we can experience and to everything we can rationally derive from experience, as long as it’s verified by repeatable observation and controlled experiment.

These are the prototypes of the principal kinds of world views people espouse today, even if they don’t espouse them as cleanly and starkly as this. They line up along a scale with science on the one end and religion on the other.

What about you and me, what kind of worldview do we hold? Only you can answer the question regarding your own view. Entering this “worldview café” doesn’t need to make you collapse your differences or become dominated by just one kind of view. Instead, it can create a better appreciation of your differences and a greater willingness to live with them.

After all, we all share the same planet and would best share it without ignoring, dismissing, or denigrating each other. A little more understanding could produce a good deal more tolerance and a greater will to live together in peace. This would be a good thing indeed in a world rent by incomprehension and miscommunication and rocked by occasional violence.

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Based on the above, I would say that I was primarily a Mystic with New Scientist tendencies, but perhaps as my wife has said, I should focus on being me…