The Wayside (Prospects for reuniting after Reuniting?)

Submitted by Brick.2nd.GiG on
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By necessity, communities (especially internet ones) need to focus on their commonalities. Otherwise, there is little cohesion and the drive to remain a community weakens. Ironically, I have even witnessed this in online communities whose explicit goal was to cultivate community for its own sake--such nascent intentional communities rarely seem to flourish. When members' interests diverge or evolve, maintaining the community becomes less useful, both for the persons with divergent interests and for any members who maintain their original reasons for joining.

Reuniting was intended to help improve relationships that were in danger because of couples' lack of awareness about conventional approaches to sex, and although the community has evolved primarily in the direction of addressing problems that may accompany porn use, its basis is provision of a certain solution. Fundamentally, the site is most useful for persons who are suffering (for whatever sexuality-based reason). If members manage to solve their problems (that is, either quitting porn or instituting a healthy approach to sexuality within relationship), it appears that they actually lose the commonality previously shared with other members. For some, especially those who may have built strong friendships within the community (or who are devoted to the guru (since we happen to have a very charismatic one here (thanks be to Marnia, as always))), the end of suffering is not necessarily the end of participation in the community. Either visiting has become habitual, or providing support to others becomes a new purpose. Those who move on are going 'by the wayside' only from the perspective of this community (although some 'healed' individuals return with occasional posts (Neil comes to mind, in particular)).

Alternately, it is quite probable that some who might succeed in solving their porn- or sex-based problems do not immediately graduate to that (perhaps mythical?) state of being 'ultimately satisfied in life,' and thus may not be able to contribute much useful commentary at all. For example, reuniting was instrumental in helping me move past the impulse toward promiscuity (and lesser problems with porn). Yet, having solved those problems, I remain rather obstinately unsatisfied with life in general, even though I am happy with / appreciative of how I now approach sex. The message to be understood from my story, then, is that one set of problems is always traded for another--hardly helpful, already widely available from (choose your favorite Buddhist outlet), and certainly not a vote of confidence for the idea that solving your sexual problems will free you to abide in wholeness.

This community exists to guide members along the path to healthy sexuality. It does not (and perhaps cannot, while still maintaining vitality) provide guidance beyond the attainment of health. At that juncture, the diversity of members' non-sexual interests, lives, cultural backgrounds, politics, ethnicities, economic status, etc. becomes a powerfully divisive force. Certainly it is sad to move away from the community (for those who feel they can no longer contribute), but there appears to be little point in remaining, regardless of gratitude for the support provided here. In short, successful efforts to change the purpose can produce two outcomes: 1) a new community with a different focus, likely different membership, and a different atmosphere, or 2) a loosely-knit community that gradually dissolves due to lack of focus/commonality.

Even superficial similarities in non-sexual aspects of personality and ethics may not be sufficient to ensure cohesion. For example, I think it is accurate to say that hotspring believes it is important to live with the Earth rather than on it, that she appreciates the insight that can be gained through ritual use of certain plants, that she finds a meditative practice to be most rewarding, and that she is skeptical about the claim to absolute superiority made by western medicine. I unreservedly share these beliefs, but nonetheless approach them from a very different perspective. I am unable to endow the Earth with true agency (specifically, motherhood), but I still believe that the only defensible lifestyle (as distinct from culture) is radically simplified and indigenous. I value sessions with the plants (or derivations thereof), but cannot see the states they precipitate as spiritual or in any sense 'other.' My meditative practice (if 3.1x/week can be called a practice) has lead me to substantially different conclusions than e.g. I am an object of consciousness' consciousness. I think western medicine has been useful in its provision of hygiene, antibiotics, vaccines, and emergency surgery, but that advanced life support is inhumane. I appreciate the capacity of traditional knowledge systems to add to medical practice--e.g. acupuncture and novel plant medicines. I cannot, however, avoid skepticism of other alternative therapies such as CST (beyond the effects of sympathetic physical contact and placebo).

I am somewhat distressed about my apparent inability to simply appreciate what are basically shared views. I clearly have considerable progress to make before I can be a more agreeable human...I suppose that in the meantime, it would be in everyone's best interest if I did not voice any further doubts. So in an attempt at positivism, I wish you success in creating the community space that you envision, and success for all those who are still working on their healing.

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Well, to answer as simply as

Well, to answer as simply as possible, it makes no sense to me to have a community formed around "healing" that is unwilling to ask what wholeness is or does feel like, since the root of the word heal is "whole." If this question is out of place in a healing community, I don't know how the community will heal at all. The idea that one can be healed sexually but not in other areas of one's life implies that our different selves and parts of our lives are fragmented, and that real wholeness does not exist. Which I personally don't feel is true. Are you proposing that if you did not become more whole and satisfied in the areas of your life that are still problematic, that your sex life would not benefit? It seems you are. And that is a belief system which is self-reinforcing, not a fact. The idea that "one set of problems is always traded for another" is your current story.

The story I am trying to look at is: wholeness is not a state to be reached, but is a constantly available fulcrum that we can orient to, if we are not too distracted by our disease to do so. AND, that both health and disease can and do exist simultaneously. And that a compromised system will become less so the more the quality of the health is attuned to, rather than the quality of the disease. If we start to orient to health, which is the basis of who we are, the disjointed parts that have become dissociated from the whole can come back into relationship with it.

"I cannot, however, avoid skepticism of other alternative therapies such as CST (beyond the effects of sympathetic physical contact and placebo)." Firstly, my purpose is not to stop anyone from being skeptical of alternative therapies. After all, we believe what we experience (at least I do). Since I have direct experience with very deep healing in CST, its natural I have that as a frame of reference, which I will use while coming here, and which is relevant because the effects I received were tangible and I still benefit from them. CST has unequivocally helped me more than anything else aside from QiGong with pain. In my last session, the practitioner got my fluid body communicating with my tissue system so that the tissues could reorganize and settle in their shape. As a result, my clavicle was able to rest in the new tissue shape more comfortably, and no longer pops in and out of place two times a day. This is a huge relief! To say you don't believe in alternative therapies "beyond the effects of sympathetic physical contact" shows that you may not know the true potential of sympathetic physical contact, for this is actually all that is needed and in some cases much more effective than touch which is manipulative and aggressive in its intent to "fix", and which the body instinctively rejects. This is because there is a part of the brain that reads the context of the touch, rather than just the sense input. So, sympathetic touch actually goes a long, long way - and I believe that that is one of the basic premises of this site.

Thanks for your thoughts tho! If others are in agreement I can move on.

I appreciate that you have

I appreciate that you have reminded me about the idea that wholeness is a matter of emphasis--I typically forget that this perspective is possible.

Responding to your statements about fragmented life: I would contend that acknowledging the existence of different areas or aspects of life is not the same as believing that life is fragmented. We cannot express every aspect of ourselves at any given instant--but that does not mean that the substantial proportion of ourselves that we happen to be suppressing is somehow a fragment. It seems evident that one can be sexually well / whole but, for example, physically unhealthy or compromised (whether by illness, injury, or lifestyle diseases). And I believe we could all find evidence that improving health / wellness in one area (for example, physical fitness or compassion) does not automatically translate to sexual well being. I'm not suggesting that some facets of life are completely unrelated to others, but rather that connections between components of an individual's life vary in their strength and influence. I do not deny that improvements in some areas of my life might improve my sex life (perhaps even by de-emphasizing the importance of sex).

The ultimate source of my alienation is, I'm quite certain, dispossession--the fact that I am landless and have no obvious way to change that status. This alienation developed concurrently with other problems (sexual (promiscuity impulse, pornography) and non-sexual (depression, lethargy, physical pain from repetitive stress work injury)), but I believe that these other problems are simply satellites. Whereas you may consider yourself to be basically whole save for a few minor disease elements, I find it rather difficult to work from the assumption that my present situation contains everything necessary for wholeness. In any particular moment I might not have any immediate problems, but overall, basic conditions for security, tenure, and belonging have not been met. The one certainty in my medium-term future is that within three years I will live somewhere very distant from my current location. All of my efforts in my current location are ephemeral--obviously death makes this true for everyone in the long term, but here I'm concerned with consequences of my actions within my own life. Connections that I have made to the human community will soon be severed. Useful plants that I established (on what minimal space was available) will be abandoned before they mature. Familiarity that I am developing with the climate, seasons, and character of the place will become obsolete. So what is my role here? On a good day, I would say 'visitor' (on a bad day, 'inmate'). I may live in a building, but I do not have a home, a place with which to identify--without such a fundamental provision, how is it possible to be whole? My inner voice has raised itself to an immature whine at this point, suggesting that a reasonable, relatively simple solution exists, but that I am somehow refusing to acknowledge it...

A note on CST: I would not want to claim that you have not experienced healing at the hands of a CST practitioner--I have no reason to suspect your account. I am even open to the possibility that such therapy could cure me if I ever had a relevant malady, and I understand that sympathetic touch has real, measurable therapeutic value. What is difficult for me to accept is that CST functions in the way that its developer(s) claim. It is not evident that craiosacral fluctuations are equally detectable or accessible, even to trained CST practitioners:

  • http://faculty.une.edu/com/shartman/sram.pdf)
  • This uncertainty may have nothing to do with success rates in therapy, but does suggest that successful therapeutic outcomes are realized through some other mechanism.

    Finally, I would like to clarify that I did not mean to imply that you should move on from reuniting--I was principally questioning the utility of my own presence here. And if there is some measure of success at constructing forums or threads concerned with non-porn aspects of sexual healing, or healing more generally, then I could certainly benefit from that and would be inclined to visit more frequently.

    I respond to your comments

    I respond to your comments on CST because they are personally interesting to me, while they may not be for others in this forum. I have been studying and practicing CST for the past year and a half, and it has a lot to offer.

    I am familiar already with the literature that you have passed on. Current approaches to craniosacral therapy in the biodynamic model do not even track CST fluctuations, because these fluctuations are a reflection of the person's nervous system, and different people's nervous systems have great variation depending on how activated or nervous the person is. My teacher and others have observed that people who live close to the land, especially indigenous people who have for generations, have very slow CST fluctuations. Nevertheless, in the biodynamic model, since CST fluctuations are part of the nervous system, and since we seek to work with tides that existed before the nervous system did, we generally don't pay much attention to CST tides. They are generally too fast and managing too much in the contemporary urban client.

    The research shows that "different examiners tended to measure different rates for the same subject but a single examiner tended to measure very similar rates for different subjects." If the people writing the paper had looked deeply into craniosacral methodology, this would not be surprising, and it would not be proof of contradictory evidence, because the method of synchronization that happens in CST happens by way of the therapist tracking their own system, not the person's system. A faster system will then synch up with the slower one, because it is more regulated. The practitioners in these studies had experience ranging from 11 months to 20 years. In other words, they were different ages. And, the people reporting slower CST rhythms were older. That is because they grew up in a time when things were less speedy, and older people generally have a slower tempo.

    In any case, the form of CST that I am studying is not mechanistic anyway. We do not look for mechanisms at all. It is a vitalist tradition. That means we listen to what the body tells us, we don't look for what we think the body is supposed to say, or rhythms it is supposed to have. The only really important point is to slow down. When we do that, the body starts to regulate, and the intelligence comes to the fore. The availability of this healing through slowing down is amplified when in resonance with another person within a caring relationship. Why? Because that is how we learn to self-regulate as babies. CST mimicks the developmental growth of our nervous system within a caregiving relationship, and that is why it works. Care - not mechanistic fluctuations - are at the heart of the healing process.

    To at least try to make this somewhat relevant to the focus of this site (and it is), I would propose that the slowed down sense of awareness, the resonance that happens through safety and caregiving that happen in a CST session, are healing for the same reason that karezza is healing. Both use the same techniques.

    I brought up earlier the observation that I experience a unified field and the ability to resonate with another when I realize that I am the object of consciousnesses' consciousness. This may seem like an abstract or philosophical viewpoint, but it is an explanation for a very real experience. What it means on a practical level, if that seems too abstract for people, is learning to surrender to the intelligence and wholeness that already exists. To trust that. To know that we are that. When we are able to do this, rather than always living in the world of objectifying the world with our approach to it, we find that we can really become refreshed. I propose that the skill of knowing we are already a part of a much greater intelligence, and that there is nothing, essentially, that we need to "do", is also at the heart of the unitive experiences that happen in karrezza. And in my opinion, that is the main difference between what the conventional mind will find to be a fairly boring attempt at some esoteric lovemaking style, and what the humble mind that is an object of consciousness will find to be a real experience of bliss.

    Please do not underestimate

    Please do not underestimate the conventional and modern mind, after all, its the medium by which you are even expressing your experiences and insights. The indigenous mind doesnt know "more" than the conventional mind, they know "different". I like your points of view, I think you have a lot of good insight, but you work so hard in trying to distinguish the superiority of an alternative way of approaching things, when they are just different ways of looking at the world, some good aspects, some bad. Im a modern man, Ive lived in big cities, Ive romanticized the pious indigenous man who lives close to the earth, but synthesis rather than exclusion I feel is key. We are all looking for freedom, there are a lot of people in my area who seek it through giving up society and trying to live close to the earth (if they can get past the temptations of Ben and Jerry's, pot, and food stamps), I admire them for doing what they want to do, and Im sure that they experience some freedom. However, Ive experienced bliss and freedom while living in the middle of a city coming into contact with thousands of people and their ideas, experiencing culture, and delving into and sharpening the intellect through modern education.

    "Care - not mechanistic fluctuations - are at the heart of the healing process."

    There would be a mechanical component. This is where I have a problem with new age stuff- Explanations are given to processes that are more based on fantasy and wishful thinking than reality. Its like the christian explaining that earthquakes are the result of homosexuality, and we should therefore give up our evil ways.

    I want truth and health as much as anyone else, but alienating and claiming moral superiority under the guise of "enlightenment" is totally bogus.

    Courage is knowing what not to fear.
    -Plato

    Hey JRsun, I never did claim

    Hey JRsun, I never did claim moral superiority or enlightenment, but it seems my tone has caused a lot of people to be on the defensive. I, like you, have lived in massive urban environments (Brooklyn, Istanbul), and a few smaller ones (Munich, Vienna, Portland). My point was not at all to say that bliss can't be found in urban environments. My point is just that physiologically, such a lifestyle, with so much input -and, I hope you would agree, a generally faster pace - requires a faster-paced nervous system. It is a GOOD thing that the nervous system and the CST pulse has adapted to such an environment by speeding up, otherwise people would be in overwhelm. I recall watching my mom's struggle to even cross the street when she visited me in NYC after living down a dirt road on a hippie commune for 30 years. Her system was not adapted.

    It is common knowledge that faster-paced urban environments in highly populated areas generally are more stressful for people, and that stress compromises people's health. That's not to say that there aren't some people that can't manage that lifestyle without stress. Some apparently thrive off of it.

    It is not at all easy to live rurally anymore. As you point out, many people who do so do so with the help of food stamps. Others, like me, are able to telecommute and take advantage of the computer as a means of livelihood while living in the country, in a way that would have been impossible 30 years ago. So, in a way we can have the best of both worlds: urban connections and rural lifestyle. This is what I strive for, as I am not an isolationist and have seen firsthand how isolation out in the boonies can have detrimental effects, as I have watched this happen to many of the people on the commune I grew up on. That said, most people who choose such a lifestyle do so because they want to be MORE involved with their food systems and community, not less involved, and certainly not dropouts, which is an unfortunate misconception. One advantage of rural life, especially rural life with a dial-up connection, is that online porn addiction is almost impossible, as video streaming is spotty.

    Yes, I do feel that many indigenous cultures were overall more balanced, tho I don't like the word 'superior', it is too moral. On a very basic level of sustainability though, 'superior' cultures would be those that don't destroy themselves and their offsprings future. There is evidence of crash and burn in some indigenous cultures as well.

    The point of my life is not to feel superior, but to feel full of life, refreshed, and able to be of service. So, anything that compromises these things I see as undesirable, which seems only logical. We all want quality of life and we all have different definitions of what that is and how to get there.

    Re: mechanisms. Humans are not machines. The bulk of medical research, autopsies, and study is done on cadavers, through torture of animals, and through the study of disease states. But that does not mean that because this is the status quo, that there is no scientific validity behind the mechanisms of life through the study of living people, the study of health, and the study of care. It's just that as a culture we haven't funded that research quite as much. However, it does exist. My favorite book for the scientific basis behind energy medicine is James Oschmann's "Energy Medicine in Human Therapeutics and Performance", which cites a lot of that literature. Mae Wan Ho, a physicist, does an amazing job looking at the mechanisms of wholeness in organisms and the benefits of stored, rather than thermodynamic, energy systems (speaking of which, I would describe karrezza as an approach leading to 'stored energy', too!). And quantum mechanics clearly spells out just how limited mechanistic approaches to reality are, since how something is observed affects the outcome. That means that intentionality and care would have huge differences in outcome when used in a therapeutic setting, as opposed to using just mechanistic approaches. And as for placebo affect, why not use people's suggestibility to help them heal? All that matters, after all, is that we get positive effects and results. The method is secondary, and who am I to judge placebo if it actually helps people?

    There is something larger than mechanisms going on in the human body. To the extent that we focus on mechanisms, we limit our understanding of what LIFE is. If your inquiry is not about life, but about mechanisms, mechanisms suit mechanistic thinking just fine. It serves its purpose. And yes, the conventional mind and conventional thinking have their place just like conventional lovemaking does. Given that we are in an online forum, language is the only way that I have to communicate in a conventional way about unconventional experiences, most of which exist on a realm that is non-verbal.

    Yes, my tone gets

    Yes, my tone gets misinterpreted too, sorry for my end of the confusion.

    There is something more than mechanisms, but we need to be careful in filling in those blanks with our imaginations. Whether what you say is true or not, Im not sure, Im sure some is.

    There is a bit of a language barrier in our ideas. We might use similar words, but the meanings are different, that could add to our confusion too. Either way, its nice to have different perspectives and I have benefited from yours in the past.

    Courage is knowing what not to fear.
    -Plato

    humility and pace...

    Please forgive my haste to view everything in a mechanistic way--this is a consequence of my 'training,' and it is becoming progressively more difficult for me to think in any other manner. It appears that CST is an entirely different modality from the techniques underlying science and physical technology; I should not be making pronouncements about CST because, as you rather politely point out, I don't know what I'm talking about.

    I do, however, genuinely understand the benefits of living at a slower pace. I work in a field that requires increasing productivity and analytical capability, but lately my primary ambition has been to drop out. If I do not do so soon, I fear I'll forget entirely how to stop striving for results and recognition. I may also be learning some of the rudimentary benefits of humility as well--even two or three years ago I would not have been open, for example, to the possibility that CST can actually heal. I would have dismissed the proposition outright, whereas now I can see how it might be wise to stop providing a critique of a system with which I'm totally unfamiliar...

    Right now, I have two options--I could continue dissecting my thoughts, focusing on my suffering, or I could massage my wife's feet. If I've learned anything, I should select the latter. I'll try a light touch, a slow pace, and an empty mind.

    Massage the wife's feet! I

    Massage the wife's feet!

    I too am analytical. I love science. I especially love science that confirms ancient esoteric belief systems. The Dalai Lama challenged anyone to find any part of buddhism that cannot be confirmed by science.

    The study of CST is a study of wholeness through an in-depth and scientific understanding of embryology. So it actually does have a very scientific basis. My cranio teacher has a Phd and teaches embryology on the graduate level. He also recognizes the limitations of science and the scientific approach.

    The problem is that science will never catch up with reality. And given that, many of us decide to rely on firsthand experience, and are super happy when scientific studies emerge that confirm what we and ancient cultures have been pointing out from the get go. But we're not going to wait around for science to get with the program, largely because science's studies are largely directed by profit motives, not caring motives.

    Here's a bit of science for you: developmentally, our heart develops before our brain and nervous system. When the brain does develop, it resides below the heart, as though bowing down to the "first brain" in humbleness, before coming forward and upwards. The heart has also been shown to be capable of overriding commands from the brain. So, the heart is our first brain. "Cardioception", the ability to tune in to the beating of the heart and the sensation of the pulsing of blood through our system, has shown to enlarge the medial prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain activated during meditation, within a mother-child caregiving relationship, and I would guess, during craniosacral sessions (since we orient using cardioception). It is also the part of the brain associated with emotional self-regulation and empathy.

    Thanks for all your input.

    This topic of the community here has got me thinking

    Here's what I realized: helping others often brings out the best in us. Perhaps most of us just don't feel comfortable pontificating about random philosophical truths, and yet, when confronted with someone's pain, we dig through what we've learned that we think might be helpful and share it.

    Often that very process helps gell deep thoughts and leads to new insights that help both giver and receiver.

    That said, I think I have an idea for how to flag posts that are not about recovery so those with limited time can hone in on the ones that might be of most interest. I'm running it past the other admins to see what they think.

    Meanwhile, I value you both tremendously, and Brick, I don't see why you think grousing about your other unhappiness is any less welcome here than your earlier challenges. Please stop by whenever you want to complain. Sometimes just posting about something leads to an insight. And who knows? You might even jog one of us into saying something worth "listening" to.

    And Hotspring, I'm working on a thread myself called "Beyond Hooking Up." Many aspects of your recent contributions are very important, and I particularly want to address that one.

    Explanation of ♥

    We're thinking about indicating posts that are not specifically about recovery with this symbol. Everyone is welcome to post on any thread, but depending on one's mood, one might prefer to focus exclusively on recovery or non-recovery threads.

    Thanks for nudging me

    I'm just waiting for "janitor's" OK to put this into effect. I think it will make everyone happier. Those with time can read everything. Those who just want recovery stuff - or "other than" recovery stuff - will have less to wade through.

    My hope is that we can also get a link to the ♥ posts over where the "Karezza" link is now, which means I'll have to mark them all as "♥" topics.

    After talking about being

    After talking about being the object of consciousnesses' consciousness, I thought it interesting that I came upon an article called "Feeling Conscious" that asks: "What if consciousness is not produced in the brain, but rather what if the brain acts as an antenna connecting to a conscious field that we casually refer to as reality?"

    And: "Research . . . . has revealed that consciousness has essentially local and nonlocal properties. These findings are at least forty years old by now and have been demonstrated through dozens of different sorts of tests."

    http://www.realitysandwich.com/feeling_conscious

    some sandwiches are more palatable than others

    My respect for realitysandwich has diminished rather sharply in recent months. Jay Michaelson is a notable exception, but even Adam Elenbaas, whose posts originally directed me to Reuniting, has lost some stability with his recent foray into astrology--some things that seem like a good ideas during an ayahuasca session may not, in fact, be useful at all. Additionally, the unbridled enthusiasm for technology demonstrated by most sandwich posters is directly at odds with their concurrent message bemoaning ecocide. Some of that schizophrenia is evident in this recent robot emotions article (setting aside for the moment the very serious problem of conflating emotions with consciousness): the author feels justified in comparing complex biological entities about which we know very little to internet-connectivity machines so simple that they can be operated by half-aware seven-year-olds. Moreover, the metaphor is barely coherent. The speculation is that consciousness is a universal field accessible, but not generated, by discrete structures (brains, bodies). Elliot Edge apparently thinks that the internet is a universal field that computers tap into--at risk of stating the obvious, the internet is not a field, and it exists strictly within a finite assembly of computers. The internet-computer analogy supports only the (conventional?) view that consciousness emerges from brains/bodies. Also, the final statement ("Perhaps our efforts in the field of AI should look more like the manufacturing of an antenna, rather than a brain.") is nonsense because one of the first hypotheses in the article was that brains are antennae designed to access a signal of the universal field of consciousness. Thus, his last sentence actually reads: Perhaps our efforts in the field of AI should look more like the manufacturing of a brain, rather than a brain. Or alternately: ...an antenna, rather than an antenna.

    Although possibly not evident from the preceding screed, I am not dismissing the proposition that consciousness may be a field, and that brains may access it. As far as I understand, neurology has yet to show whether measurable physical states correspond to subjective experience, so it is a mistake to assume that the theory of brain-emergent consciousness is basically correct, and that it will be validated just as soon as the fMRI machines have a little more resolution or we have enough computing power to emulate a neutral network. It is equally likely, absent any evidence, that consciousness is indeed a field to which brains are uniquely attuned. Of course, this idea has its own problems--much like the aether, there is no evidence for its independent existence. A further difficulty with this proposition is the process of death or even temporary loss of consciousness. If consciousness is a universal field and if brains are antennae that capture and translate that field, it would seem unlikely that someone with a structurally intact brain could due--yet this happens all the time. It seems more parsimonious to presume that the brain generates consciousness, and that death and its attendant cessation of consciousness is due to the generator shutting down rather than the antenna disconnecting. Either way, I see some serious restrictions on self-awareness that are possibly more important than identifying a plausible mechanism for the phenomenon. Anything that we can think about exists only in our awareness--including self-reflection. 'Awareness of' (or 'thoughts about') is an experience, not an item or a complete system, so thoughts that we might entertain about the system that is itself doing the entertaining cannot fully represent the system. Probably. I'm admittedly out of my philosophical depth by now (I can't even explain how the Chinese Room works on demand--I have to work my way through the construct from scratch whenever I encounter it), but I think than another way to say this is that nothing can explain itself--a rock cannot give an account of its experience or its constitution, a computer cannot understand itself even if it contains files that encode instructions for its every detail, and a human being, as a consciousness, has no ability to explain how that consciousness manifests. A less convoluted phrasing: systems of a given level of complexity can only comprehend systems of lesser complexity. Which I suppose should be the ultimate humbling realization--whatever generates our awareness, either brains themselves or fields with which brains interact, is beyond our comprehension (despite what the neurologists claim...).

    Brief note on previous post: I would not like to accept the Dalai Lama's challenge do disprove even a single aspect of Buddhism using science. Unlike the god religions, none of what I've read about Buddhism suggests that it makes any unsubstantiated claims. It appears to be an equal-access protocol, and in that way is procedurally identical to science.

    Brief additional note: Using my unfathomably complex consciousness to its highest potential, I massaged my wife's feet last night, and again this evening, for perhaps 40 minutes each session. I was not expecting 'results,' but she has expressed unreasonable happiness, and bestowed many spontaneous kisses. We were scheduled to have sex tonight, but it didn't materialize...surprisingly, I am euphoric! This is a calm euphoria that compartmentalizes my concerns and anxiety. Problems exist, but are of no consequence.

    I enjoyed you post

    I think I was heavily influenced by Jane Roberts' "Seth" books when it comes to issues like these.

    I've sometimes wondered if some kind of conscious field exists (of which we are a part), sort of an ever-unfolding energetic mushroom cloud of creativity.

    Perhaps we become more (or less) able to discern this underlying reality depending upon how finely we tune our antenna. To me, death could very well be irrelevant in the sense that material-plane focus may be but one of our foci...and of little consequence to our greater whole when this one (or any one) blinks off.

    Perhaps each being's consciousness kind of like a multidemensional disco ball, with many facets, only one of which is paying the slightest attention to material-plane events. My sense is that it's like we can play lots of video games at once, and each one is generally compartmentalized, so we can experience it as "all there is"...at least until we get curious and start putting up our antennae.

    For me the I Ching has also broadened my horizons as it seems to operate from a perspective that is beyond time and space...in a sort of quantum fashion.

    I realize that these ideas cannot be tested to your satisfaction, and I respect that. But then, a lot of quantum processes don't obey other physical laws.

    In any case, I was glad to hear how deeply satisfying those foot massages are. Smile

    possibilities

    Your hypotheses reminded me of a statement by hotspring from an earlier post in this thread:

    The problem is that science will never catch up with reality. And given that, many of us decide to rely on firsthand experience, and are super happy when scientific studies emerge that confirm what we and ancient cultures have been pointing out from the get go.

    The first sentence is certainly true--as a system substantially less complex than the one it attempts to explain, science will never account for the causes of all observations. The first clause of the second sentence is a very reasonable reaction--reliance on personal experience (here, your perception that we are multifaceted beings) is indispensable. Personal validation is also not necessarily the simplest or easiest approach, which is likely why it is so attractive to adopt preexisting belief systems (whether derived from science, religion, or ancient cultures). I think it probably involves much less effort to listen to extant myths than to reconstruct our own--a probable cause for occurrences like, as in the recent national poll, a religious populace cognizant of less of its own doctrine than the nonreligious demographic.

    Relying on personal experience is accompanied by an inherent risk--it may be difficult to discern knowledge from belief in certain cases. This is especially true for abstract propositions developed from personal experience. Some beliefs may not be at odds with experience, yet may be unnecessarily complex, or even entirely superfluous. Most hierarchical religious beliefs fall into the latter category. Even beliefs about the apparently objective world can be illusory--time, for example. Some scientists recently demonstrated that time 'moves faster' a few centimeters above the Earth's surface than directly at the surface. But did they measure time, or were they observing differential rates of change in physical bodies relative to one another? Perhaps my grip on sanity is tenuous, but it seems to me that time is auxiliary to motion. Every time-dependent physical law can be expressed as a time-independent formula, that is, in terms of completely observable, verifiable entities. That we cannot even define time, let alone identify it as a fundamental force, suggests that it is a mental construct. By no means am I saying that our mental constructs are useless (though some may be!). Rather, I want to emphasize that (I think!) it is important to try to realize when we are considering a thought structure as opposed to an objective phenomenon. We might try to do this on one level in meditation--but why confine the exercise to sessions? Actually there is a very practical reason: so much of what we do involves manipulating and negotiating mental constructs that if we pause to question our basic motives, we become completely paralyzed. In terms of functioning in society, existential paralysis is obviously problematic. In terms of realization, however, the exercise can be immensely informative.

    For once, my pontification is actually relevant to relationship and harmony. Upon extensive self-reflection since my introduction to reuniting, I realized that much of the complexity of my sex drive comprised intertwined mutations / permutations of what is an extremely simple act. I am seriously considering that variety may not actually be the spice of life! Instead, the condition of being alive is itself 'the spice,' such that we always (maybe often?) have access, should we remember it, to awesome, indescribable, and humbling experiences. Being fully present for slow, gentle, monogamous, vaginal sex (sorry for the andro/heterocentric perspective) presents an experience far richer than being flooded with testosterone and ------ ----------- another woman ----- --- ------ ----- -- --- ---- -- ------, ----- ----- - ---- ---- ------ -- ---- --- --- unable to walk for a week, let alone remember what the experience *actually felt like*. There must be a reason why those sexuality books always say that the brain is the most important erogenous zone. But do we want to seek experiences that satisfy us primarily in our brain--as the completion of thought structures that happen to involve certain specific sexual configurations? Or is it more fulfilling to experience the widest possible range of sensations and emotions while performing acts so simple (karezza, light touching, quiet sitting meditation) that we are completely liberated from the limits of our ideation?