Category Archives: Spirituality

Returning to the Spirits: Ongtupqa – Sigma

A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the very Earth itself.

Laura Gilpin

Not all our time was spent on the River.  We spent time exploring the many creations the River had made; amazing hikes into the side canyons at various stops along the way.  Slot canyons, hidden waterfalls, miniature green oases sprouting from red granite, and magical turquoise and morenci blue tributaries . . .

Continue reading Returning to the Spirits: Ongtupqa – Sigma

Returning to the Spirits: Ongtupqa – The Mu*

The boats fully loaded and with us all onboard, our departure eased out slowly from Lee’s Ferry.   We gracefully slid under the Navaho Bridges (Between Mile Markers 4 and 5), watching the California Condors perch on the bridges’ substructures. 

Transplanted here in an attempt to help seed their survival, Gymnogyps californianus, were slowly clawing their way back from the brink of extinction.   About forty years ago, there were only twenty-two in existence.  These magnificent birds, sporting wingspans of ten feet, glide effortlessly on the thermals.  And their numbers have now rebounded to about 500 today, spread out in Arizona, Utah, California, and Baja Mexico.

But it wouldn’t be long before this incredible peacefulness would be interrupted with the rapids, with names like, Badger Creek, Soap Creek, Brown’s Riffle, Sheer Wall, Redneck, and North Canyon.  Some were simply named for mile-markers, like 23-Mile Rapid and 23.5 Mile-Rapid. 

Where I come from, in the Midwest, . . .

Continue reading Returning to the Spirits: Ongtupqa – The Mu*

Returning to the Spirits: Ongtupqa – Zeta

Crossing the state from the Mexican border driving North, I traversed a number of different biomes.  Ecological zones spanning lower desert and high desert, thornscrub, chaparral, grassland, woodland forest, riparian, and even alpine tundra at the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff.  As I neared what would be our departure point on the Colorado, I came upon the Vermilion Cliffs at Marble Canyon, near Lee’s Ferry. 

The Stone People

They carry the history of the Earth.  These cliffs record the changing environment during the Mesozoic Era – some 248 to 65 million years ago. 

Continue reading Returning to the Spirits: Ongtupqa – Zeta

Returning to the Spirits: Ongtupqa – The Alpha

The CRACK was earsplitting!  It sounded like a tree limb exploding!  As if hit by lightning!  And I felt the blast simultaneously jolt through my left shoulder and ribs as the sound burst in my brain. 

I was disoriented in space.  Falling.  Spinning.  Tumbling.

Gravity showed no mercy as I rolled down the slickrock surface.  A surface punctuated by other large pieces of granite and ending in a pile of talus. 

The only thing breaking my fall was one of the other members of our group.  His position on the trail below crossed perpendicular to my trajectory.

But by the time he arrested my momentum, the damage was already done . . . 

Continue reading Returning to the Spirits: Ongtupqa – The Alpha

Consciousness, Emotions, and EMFs

Yesterday’s post, which briefly touched on the symbolism of the Tower of Babylon, got me to thinking more about how humans seem to like to convey human attributes onto the Gods they believe govern their existence in the physical plain and the afterlife. (This statement, of course, presumes there is both a limited physical and eternal Spiritual existence for us.) And, this train of thought led me down the path of pondering just what are emotions, what are thoughts, and what is consciousness??? 

Three questions get three question marks. 😊

To add to this thought-wave pulsing through my brain, I remembered a response I received to a post I made on another social media platform recently.  The post was this well-known quote:

“Holding onto anger is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” – Author Unknown

The response I received was something along this line.  Anger is an emotion given to us by God, and therefore, it is supposed to be experienced and is not detrimental.  That’s my summation of the response anyway, and I may have actually given it more meaning than what the author intended, but that’s the way my brain interpreted it.  I can happily extrapolate further if you like by placing it in the context of current world events.  

Ok, maybe not.  😊

Now, I’ve heard many other claims of things or feelings or “rights” that are supposedly “God-given,” such as for possessing guns, but this comment on anger was a new spin for me. 

BTW, I really don’t think an omnipotent being thought up the idea of a right to gun ownership that then spontaneously worked its way into the American Constitution.   That type of “law” is man-made, as is the weapon itself.  But I digress . . .   

What this is all about, of course, is anthropomorphism. 

We are bestowing human characteristics upon other members of the animal kingdom or upon Gods or even upon other objects – animate or inanimate.  As a literary device, anthropomorphism may make sense because we usually need some descriptive or comparative form in order to carry on a conversion about some things – to visualize them.  It’s also fun.

But utilizing projections and metaphors and analogies is not necessarily the same, nor could it be, as capturing a clear, unfiltered, objective, tangible observation of something in space-time reality. I mean really, why would an all-powerful being be a slave to human infirmities, passions, and prejudices?

I guess that makes four questions. 😊

Now those of us who are not science-deniers, and who have even marginally read about the magnificent machine the human body is, know that a great deal, if not all, of the functions of the body are chemical-electrical in Nature.   If you prefer big words, these functions are neuroanatomical, neurochemical, neuralhormonal, and neurophysiological.

There is no dispute that messages in the brain are tossed about by electrically charged neurons, and as these messages jump from gap to gap between neurons an electromagnetic filed is created around those neurons holding the same information that is being transmitted.  This has been confirmed by electroencephalograms (EEGs) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) and has served as the basis for the theory of “CEMI” – the Conscious Electromagnetic Information Field.

Neuroscientists argue over what this exactly means in terms of consciousness.  And I got to tell you that reading through the scientific journals and news reports, this is some pretty tough shit to conceptualize.  But I’ll try to summarize this in a way we can understand it.

Traditionally, philosophers have argued that there is a mind-body dualism.  This philosophy is a step beyond materialism as it implies consciousness is occurring beyond the physical realm.  Free will is supposed to fit in here somewhere, although there are still debates as whether the mind and spirit are different, or the same, or if the entire “mind” concept should be discarded as being superfluous to a body-spirit duality.

Classic scientists advocate their own monotheism that consciousness is generated by the physical brain itself and its network of billions of neurons.  This is not to say automatically that they disbelieve in the Spirit, but rather that consciousness is distinguished from Spirit.

But the neurobiological dualistic theory being advanced most recently is that we have physical matter, our brain, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that compose our consciousness.  In other words, the difference in the dualistic theories of the philosophers and the neurobiologists is the distinction between matter and spirit versus matter and energy.  

Physically speaking, our brains have some “5 million organically-formed magnetite crystals per gram;” each with a north and south pole, “serving as in/out information channels, the basis for awareness,” forming a complex network to broadcast information at “a fraction of the speed of light, unifying conscious experience.”  Whereas the monistic physical model argues integrated information is physical, the dualistic model argues:

“ . . . that nearly all examples of so-called ‘integrated information’, including neuronal information processing and conventional computing, are only temporally integrated in the sense that outputs are correlated with multiple inputs: the information integration is implemented in time, rather than space, and thereby cannot correspond to physically integrated information. . . .

. . .only energy fields are capable of integrating information in space.”

Ok then, if we can wrap our heads around this so-called measurable scientific standard, we not only have to contend with the concept of consciousness not being integrated in physical structures or physical space, but also with the concepts of sentience, awareness and emotion.  All of which can be considered part and parcel of consciousness. 

Maybe we just have too many words here trying to describe the same thing.  One could simply argue that the EMFs created in, or associated with, our brain are the equivalent of what many refer to as the Spirit. 

Energy fields, like Spirits, flow through space and are not bound to physical structures or to time.  

Now, sentience is defined as “the capacity to feel, perceive, or experience subjectively” and is distinguished from thought.  Awareness is having “knowledge and understanding that something is happening or exists.”  And, emotion is defined as “a conscious mental reaction (such as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as a strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body.”

If the existence of EMFs equals consciousness, and consciousness embodies thoughts, sentience, awareness and emotion, then Mother Earth, with its magnetic field, is indeed a sentient living entity.  As are rocks, plants, and all other forms of life on the planet for that matter.  Maybe we just haven’t learned how to fully measure consciousness in other entities or bridged the communication gap. 

Ponder that for a bit . . .

That’s why I personally find Naturalistically-oriented Spiritual beliefs, such as the ones that First Nations Peoples have adopted, to make so much sense.  Everything is part and parcel of the Source.  “All My Relations” are alive and deserve my recognition and respect.

If we accept that energy fields compose our consciousness, and then add a bit of deductive reasoning, this may very well answer other questions for us and give us a scientific basis for understanding such things as extrasensory perception, telepathic communication, and even how artificial intelligence can transfer to sentience. 

Think of the future of robots.  

And we should also think of the consequences and effects on our own consciousness that creations of ours that emit EMFs may have.  They could be enhancing or very, very destructive. 

So, perhaps this is a scientific quantification of Spirit of sorts.  Science and Religion have always been compatible, so I’m unsure why some try to differentiate them. 

But, getting back to “anger” for a second.  I still believe this powerful emotion is detrimental to us both physically and mentally.   And if you wish to believe it is God-given, then perhaps the Source gives us this emotion as a challenge to discipline our brains and for controlling our thoughts.  After all, traditional dogma tells us that the Source challenges us in many ways to develop and live a spiritual existence free from judgment and the inferior human emotions.  

And no matter how much some people might wish their God was as racist and bigoted and judgmental as they are, I don’t think Gods work that way. 😊

In Metta

Photo: This is an actual image of my brain from an MRI I had. I darkened it a bit so you could see the contrast better of my blood vessels being lit up by the contrast die. Not to many abnormalities present – LOL! I used this image in a bit of prose of mine titled “Neural Roadmaps Revisited.”

Interesting enough, my very first on my blog was titled, “Consciousness.”

Disclaimer: I do not profess to be an expert in such matters as neurobiology, or theology for that matter. I am, however, reasonably educated and enjoy pondering complex questions about the nature of our existence. :-0 I am also open to any other insights or perspectives anyone else may have.

Remember also: the first law of thermodynamics, energy is neither created or destroyed, it merely changes form – thus, it’s eternal in Nature.

Past Blog Posts of Mine on Brain Stuff:

Move Your Body, Move Your Mind

Writing to Survive

Wired

Boring

If My Memory Serves Me

Brain Games

Sources and Further Readings:

Could Human Consciousness Just Be Brain’s Own Electro-Magnetic Field?

Neuroscience Researcher Todd Murphy Says: Consciousness is the Subjective Experience of the Brain’s Magnetic Fields

Controversial New Theory Says Human Consciousness Is … Electromagnetic?

The Experience of Emotion

Feeling Our Emotions

Integrating Information in the Brain’s EM Field: The CEMI Field Theory of Consciousness

Researcher Proposes New Theory of Consciousness

The Conscious Electromagnetic Information (CEMI) Field Theory: The Hard Problem Made Easy?

Fact or Fiction?: Energy Can Neither Be Created Nor Destroyed

The Internal Dialog

We’re already nine days into the new year and I realize I haven’t posted anything yet.  True, things have been busy.  Crazy busy.  But that’s no excuse.  After all, my mind is constantly churning out thoughts I seem to have no control over.

Spewing and spewing more words, phrases, ideas, and concepts than I can wrap my head around.  Nonstop.  Mass internal confusion.  The collision of thoughts like sub-atomic particles ricocheting around in a super collider.

Condensation trails in a cloud chamber.

It’s no wonder it’s tough to think and write cohesively.

What is that voice in our heads constantly telling us how the world is?  And I don’t mean that voice from the subconscious that warns us when we need it most – that’s our gut talking.  That’s intuition.  That’s something entirely different.

Continue reading The Internal Dialog

Spiritual Consumerism ????

To say it was a slow burn would be inaccurate.  It was just plain a bonfire.  Sparks to high flying flames.  Embers floating upward on newly created thermals, warm and glowing, a continual burn.  That was this past summer as I traveled about taking in new sights. Hiking in Nature.

That collective place, that I call the “Real World,” where I feel at home.

There was a crescendo, however.  You might say.  A peak.  Not a turning point, and it wasn’t like things diminished in anyway afterwards, but it was a stand out moment.  The day I did the Green Lakes hike.

You see I had been building toward this adventure for a while.  Slowing increasing my hiking distances.  Acclimating to the higher altitudes.  And while the trail markers seemed to indicate a shorter distance, they were wrong.  I knew it by what maps revealed and planned accordingly.

This hike, while longer, reminded me of one I did in Montana.  To Avalanche Lake.  That hike was shorter in distance, but it similarly ended in a spectacular view.  A total sense-flooding awe.  A take-your-breath-away moment.

This new mission built from the Douglas Fir forest, to the many waterfalls, to the rainbow of wildflowers, to the lakes and surrounding mountains.

A sort of reach out and touch God journey.

Continue reading Spiritual Consumerism ????

Let the Purge Begin

I’m sure many of you have engaged in a Fall or Spring cleaning.  That thorough cleansing of all that accumulated junk you’ve collected but never seem to have a use for.  Or that you’re storing knowing, or at least thinking, that you’ll use that Stuff someday for something.

Well it’s time for a big purge at my residence.

But the purge I’m talking about is not just about physical Stuff, it’s about the mind.

Continue reading Let the Purge Begin

“Unburdened and Becoming”

It seems like we all carry burdens.  I would say more so in the figurative sense.

We’re generally not literally carrying bundles of things around, or carrying the weight of the world as did Atlas, the mythical Titan.

But we have all of the problems, doubts, fears, imperfections, commitments, obligations, desires, and responsibilities that come with bodily existence.  And these “bundles” can be just as weighty as the entire planet, or even more so.

Continue reading “Unburdened and Becoming”

Soulmass

Lately I’ve read some interesting blogs pointing out just how insignificant we, as humans, are.  And I’ve read others about just how meaningful life is.  I guess opposites attract 😊

Frankly, I’m torn, because these thought experiments bring me back to another interrelated concept and that is “purpose.”

Just what purpose are we supposed to fulfill?  Or, stated another way, why are we here?

Continue reading Soulmass

Call of the Wild*

I’ve been doing a lot of stumbling lately.

I really like that word.  Its main definition is about walking in an unsteady manner, being clumsy, to almost fall, or to make an error.  Blunder.  But I like the other definition, that of unexpectantly coming upon something – like truth.

Now that’s no error.  That’s magic.

Continue reading Call of the Wild*

Not-Doing

I had just finished putting the finishing touches to an article I was writing.  Word choice, tempo, spacing.  It all felt good.  I glanced over at the clock and it was a little past noon.  Noon!!  Holy crap!  How did it get to be noon?  The last time I looked at the clock it was around 8:30. What had happened to the time?

I had been totally immersed in my writing.  So much so that I don’t even have a memory of the words being formulated in my brain.  They had just flowed onto the paper.  More like being channeled from an exterior source.  Me just being the conduit.

At that moment, I knew that whatever I had gotten down on paper was going to be good.  And when I go back and re-read pieces like this, it feels like I’m reading them for the first time.

I call that frame of mind “being in the zone.”

That place where the task is pure task.  It’s taken on a life of its own.  Independent from my rational machinations.  It’s sort of like highway hypnosis.  Where you find yourself arriving at your destination but you have no recall of driving the last 20 miles.  Somehow you got there.  And you managed not to get in an accident.  Autopilot.

Being in the zone is something that can’t be forced.  I can’t sit down and consciously tell my mind to get into that space in order to produce.  It just seems to happen spontaneously.  Especially when I don’t try to make it happen.

Another example might be when we consciously try to remember something.  Whatever the event or person or detail it is that has momentarily escaped our grasp, if we actively try to recall it, force it into our consciousness, we can’t.  But once we stop that forced effort, or have moved onto somethings else, the detail immediately pops into mind.*

I actually used to enjoy my commute to and from work when I was practicing law.  Why?  Because I let my mind drift during this time.  Tuned out.  Disengaged from my work.  And it was when I disengaged that my mind worked best.  Suddenly that legal theory or a key element of what I was needing to complete some analysis just magically appeared.  I used to carry a pen and paper, and then later a voice recorder, so I could be sure and get it down.  Because if I kept on drifting, that momentary flash would be gone and difficult to recall, once again.

Just what’s going on here?  What is this phenomena of the mind?  Or is it a state of being?

I remember, without effort :-), when I was a teenager and I first encountered the works of Carlos Castaneda.   Castaneda became pretty famous for writing a series of books about time he had supposedly spent in the Sonoran Desert with a Yaqui Indian sorcerer.  Castaneda, an anthropologist, had met this gentleman while he was working on his PH.D. and exploring the cultural uses of hallucinogenic plants.  He found himself an apprentice to this mystical realm.

Throughout his writings, Castaneda talks about various ways or techniques to “see” the world as it really is.  His books were considered pretty controversial and there is some criticism, that may be valid, as to whether Castaneda just made the whole thing up.

Or, it could be arguable that the Yaqui Indian was used as the face or metaphor for presenting Far Eastern philosophy.  Whether you want to call this mysticism, or nagualism,  or brujoism or anything else, I think there are still some valuable lessons to be learned from these writings.

One of those concepts was that of “not-doing.”  As explained by the sorcerer, “doing” is the way we construct the world.   So a rock is a rock because of how we apply our knowledge of a rock to the rock – doing.  To really see what a rock is, to see its essence, we must observe it without “doing” or by “not-doing.”  This may sound a bit obscure or esoteric.  And I think the way Castaneda presented it was designed to keep it as such.  To retain a mystical quality.

In another way, this is a form of meditation.  Of clearing the mind.  Ceasing the internal dialog, which has now been coined “self-talk.”  And “stopping the World.”  You have to see the rock, or more importantly the whole Universe, without all of the blinders and descriptors that have been programed into our heads.   And once we learn to stop the World, everything flows and reveals its true nature.

And it’s not just a manner of observing the Universe, it is a way of acting, without intention, as we navigate the Universe.

It was later in my life that I came upon the Tao Te Ching.  And again, arguably, Castaneda may very well have stolen this concept from the Tao.  Except that the translation of the Tao better describes it.

In the Tao, the term is “Wei Wu Wei” or “doing not-doing.”  Other interpretations are “without action” or “without control” or “without effort” or “action without action” or “effortless doing.”  Another is “diminishing will.”  And the notion is that non-action, or unwillful action, is the purest form of action because the doer has vanished completely into the deed.  “. . . the fuel has been completely transformed into flame.”

If one surrenders to the Tao (the Way) they will align in perfect harmony with Nature, with the way things really are.  They will have mastered Nature, not conquered it, by becoming one with it.

One of the underlying concepts here is trust.  We must trust the intelligence of the Universe, continually acting effortlessly and without conscious will, knowing it will be the right action.  “The game plays the game; the poem writes the poem; we can’t tell the dancer from the dance.”

In my case, the story wrote the story.

And when that happens is when I discover that the words truly resonate with other readers.  I, or maybe better said, the Universe by channeling though me, has stuck a universal cord.  I’d call that magic 🙂 And I know, because I feel it, that many of you experience this same phenomenon and we share a common bond.

To all my blogging friends out there that don’t always know where the words come from, but we feel them in our hearts, I’ll leave you with some more words from the Tao:

Therefore, the Master

acts without doing anything

and teaches without saying anything.

Things arise and she lets them come;

things disappear and she lets them go.

She has but doesn’t possess,

acts but doesn’t expect.

When her work is done, she forgets it.

That is why it lasts forever.

***

* I’ve read that functional MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) and PET (positron emission tomography) scanning have confirmed that different parts of our brain light up when we try to force memories to the surface.  And they’re not the regions in the brain where we store information.  We can’t force memories, they just rise on their own 🙂

Photo: The dragonfly represents the power of light.  They inhabit two realms of the Universe, water and air, and the stages of their lives are just as dramatic of a transition as that of the butterfly.  From a water-dwelling nymph to airborne dragon.

As light strikes their wings at various times of the sun’s circle, they can refract vast differences in color and hue.  So like life, things may never quite be the way they appear, but it is still full of beautiful color and light.  The dragonfly as a totem is said to help one see through illusions and provide new vision – a good symbol for the concept of not-doing so that one may see the true essence of the Universe.

I took this shot along a lake in Az.  I shot different pictures of these same dragonflies throughout the day, and indeed they all look different.  I enhanced the color of the feature pic a bit and faded out the background revealing an incredibly vibrant transformation.  And here is another shot – same type of Dragonfly, but different angle in the sun.  What a difference.  Can we see their true essence?

Dragon Fly 1+SPFx2+c1+MC52