Daddy’s been teaching my step-mom Nadia and me how to meditate, but I’m not sure I completely get it. I keep asking him what I’m supposed to think about while I’m sitting there, but he says I’m not supposed to think about anything! How do you do that?
So sometimes I watch the two of them to try to get an idea what I should be doing. Nadia looks so serious sitting there with her eyes closed! She’s got to be thinking about something, maybe her work. And Daddy’s always smiling, like he’s trying not to laugh. He must be thinking about a joke or something like that.
I’ve started imagining that I’m sitting on a cloud in a big blue sky. Whenever I breathe in, my cloud rises up a little bit. When I breathe out, it settles back down. That helps, but my mind still wanders. Daddy says a wandering mind is normal, and to “just go with it.”
But now I’m curious why my mind can’t be still. Sure, when I was 7 or 8, I was just a kid. A restless mind at that age is normal. But being 10 now I feel kind of grown up. I should be able to control my mind at this age. I did some research to find out if there is something wrong with me.
I learned something interesting: The mind is supposed to wander! We evolved that way to keep our ancestors alive through the long aeons when everything and everybody tried to kill them. Back then, if they concentrated too much on any one thing, something else would creep up on them and eat them! So we inherited their wandering minds, even though most of the time we’re mostly safe.
So, it’s getting easier to stay on my cloud for a longer time before I fall off. And it’s probably a coincidence, but I think that it’s getting easier for me to concentrate on my math lessons.
Our domestic android Valerie is giving me a hard time about it, though. She tells me that meditation isn’t logical and doesn’t compute. Maybe androids just aren’t supposed to meditate? I asked my mom (Daddy’s ex-wife Julia) about meditating and all she said is “it can’t hurt.” But when I asked if she wanted to join the group, she said she’d rather sleep in. That’s what Jack and Mgumi say about it too. When they’re not out surfing, they’d rather sleep as late as they can.
I think floating on a cloud is kinda fun. And maybe if I watch long enough I’ll figure out what my “laughing Buddha” Daddy sees in my super-serious step-mom Nadia. Besides, I like teasing our android Valerie now and then by doing something she calls “illogical.” If she complains too much, Daddy will just put her to sleep for a few hours, and she hates that!
Al Fin Comment:
If it were just me, I’d do my sitting between 5 AM and 6 AM. But the girls would never go for that, so I compromise and schedule our time just before breakfast. The concept I am trying to teach both of them is “effortlessness.” I think 10 year old Emma is coming closer to experiencing the beginning stages of letting go, but 28 year old Nadia holds on so tightly! Both girls are staying with the program so far, and seem to be making progress, so I’m happy.
BTW, here’s another audiobook on meditation that some may find interesting. It’s about 4 hours long, and contains a lot of “inside information” on the process and some of the possible levels of experience that most people can achieve, if they persist.
The song “America” was written by Paul Simon and first published on the Simon & Garfunkel album “Bookends” in 1968 at the height of the Viet Nam war. A lot has changed in America over the past 53 years.
Back in the days when I had a guitar, a singing voice, and a girlfriend named Kathy, this song was one of my favorite songs to sing. Now it just makes me smile and shake my head. Bittersweet.
“America” is essentially a road-trip song, but like all road trips, it tends to reveal as much about the participants as it does about the lands being traversed. The narrator and his companion Kathy (a reference to Simon’s 60’s girlfriend Kathy Chitty) board a bus in Pittsburgh with a four-day hitchhike from Saginaw, Michigan already in their rear-view. “Let us be lovers, we’ll marry our fortunes together,” Simon begins, an optimistic opening, but cracks in that optimism will soon start to show.
Passing the time on the bus with little games about their fellow passengers is all well and good, but a kind of ennui soon sets in when the cigarettes are gone and the magazines are read. “And the moon rose over an open field,” Simon and Garfunkel sing, and their voices convey both the awe of witnessing that phenomenon and the melancholy such a sight can bring about in a weary traveler.
Indeed, Simon’s next lines lay bare the extent of his character’s pain: “’Kathy, I’m lost,’ I said, though I knew she was sleeping / ‘I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why.’” With that admission, he becomes another in a long line of wanderers hitting the open road to fill the voids in their souls. Simon makes this connection with the closing couplet: “Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike / They’ve all come to look for America.”
“America” suggests that restlessness is just as much of our unalienable birthright as anything else. To borrow another word from the Declaration of Independence, Simon & Garfunkel’s talent for making such effortlessly vast yet intensely personal statements was always self-evident.
That was then. This is now. In tomorrow’s America there are no inalienable rights. Just whatever the asterisk government deigns to allow on any given day. Get used to it. Or come up with an alternative.
Today’s consumers of news & entertainment media fare, glued to their tiny smartphone screens, have the attention span of a gnat and the historical perspective of a flea. And even if you could get them to agree in principle (for a limited time) to any restoration of America’s once-remarkable level of freedoms — the corrupt and cheating overlords would almost certainly overrule. And the Orwellian media would cover them in roses for doing it.
The song says, “They’ve all come to look for America…” Good luck after tomorrow.
Let us be lovers We’ll marry our fortunes together I’ve got some real estate Here in my bag
So we bought a pack of cigarettes And Mrs. Wagner’s pies And walked off To look for America “Kathy”, I said As we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh Michigan seems like a dream to me now
It took me four days To hitch-hike from Saginaw “I’ve come to look for America”
Laughing on the bus Playing games with the faces She said the man in the gabardine suit Was a spy
I said, “Be careful His bow tie is really a camera” “Toss me a cigarette I think there’s one in my raincoat” We smoked the last one An hour ago
So I looked at the scenery She read her magazine And the moon rose over an open field “Kathy, I’m lost”, I said Though I knew she was sleeping “I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why”
Counting the cars On the New Jersey Turnpike They’ve all come To look for America All come to look for America All come to look for America
They tell you not to have any goal in mind when you choose to meditate. But that is not quite right. We humans have reasons for everything we do, and meditation is no different. In the case of modern westerners, most of us meditate to make our brains younger and more supple, and to reduce the effects of stress and worry on our brains and bodies.
Below, I link to two brief summaries of scientific studies on how meditation affects the brain. The first excerpt is from 2015, and the second is from 2020. Finally, I reproduce a table from this 2020 review article which summarizes several MRI studies that looked at the differences in brain cortical thicknesses and specific brain center volumes between meditators of various schools and those who did not meditate.
• Anterior Cingulate Cortex: Increased grey matter changes were noted in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which is a structure located behind the brain’s frontal lobe. It has been associated with such functions as self-regulatory processes, including the ability to monitor attention conflicts, and allow for more cognitive flexibility.
• Prefrontal Cortex: Increased grey matter density was also found in areas of the prefrontal lobe, which are primarily responsible for executive functioning such as planning, problem solving, and emotion regulation.
• Hippocampus: Increased cortical thickness in the hippocampus has also been noted. The hippocampus is the part of the limbic system that governs learning and memory, and is extraordinarily susceptible to stress and stress-related disorders like depression or PTSD.
Decreased Amygdala Size:
Studies have shown that the amygdala, known as our brain’s “fight or flight” center and the seat of our fearful and anxious emotions, decreases in brain cell volume after mindfulness practice.
The summary of scientific findings in the above excerpt suggests that meditators develop better skills of discrimination, decision-making, and emotional control — or better executive functions generally.
Research has shown that there are several ways that meditation can change the brain’s structure and function:
Enlarges the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain is responsible for rational decision-making. Studies have shown that meditation increases grey matter (brain cells) in this region.1
Shrinks the amygdala. The amygdala is a key brain structure known as the emotional or fear center of the brain. Smaller amygdalae found in more mindful people are associated with greater emotional control.2
Thickens the hippocampus. This hippocampus is key for learning and memory. Just a few weeks of mindfulness meditation practice increased the size of this brain region.3
Increases overall grey matter. Grey matter, brain cell bodies important for processing power and linked to intelligence, seem to increase with meditation training.4
Enhances high-amplitude gamma brainwave activity. High-frequency gamma waves correlate with states of heightened awareness and bliss. Long-term meditators have been shown to have more gamma wave activity both before and during meditation.5
It’s important to note that it can take many years to produce these more permanent changes in brain structure. Yet some of the studies mentioned above showed changes starting to occur after just a few weeks of meditation practice.
The summary of scientific findings in the second excerpt above substantiates the claims of the first excerpt, and adds that overall brain grey matter is increased along with enhanced gamma wave activity — which generally correlate with higher levels of conscious activity.
Altered gray matter densities in the medulla oblongata, left superior frontal gyrus, the left inferior frontal gyrus, the left mid-ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, bilaterally the anterior lobe of the cerebellum and the left fusiform gyrus.
Larger fractional anisotropy in fiber tracts such as the anterior thalamic radiation, cingulum-hippocampus, corticospinal tract, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, inferior longitudinal fasciculus, superior longitudinal fasciculus, temporal component of superior longitudinal fasciculus, uncinate fasciculus and forceps minor.
Increase in gray matter concentration in a region of interest within the left hippocampus; increases of gray matter concentration. In whole brain analysis, increase in gray matter concentration in the posterior cingulate cortex, the left temporo-parietal junction and the cerebellum.
Increased cortical thickness in the bilateral ventromedial prefrontal cortex, superior frontal cortex, temporal pole, middle and inferior temporal cortices, left fusiform cortex and medial prefrontal cortex on meditators. Meditators showed higher fractional values in the cuneus, precuneus and occipital regions and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and lower fractional anisotropy values in the right medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex and right occipital regions
Larger gray matter volume overall and with regional enlargement in the right inferior temporal gyrus and bilaterally the anterior insula and left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, the right ventromedial orbitofrontal cortex.
Enlargement in the pre and post central gyrus, central sulcus, left inferior/middle temporal gyrus, angular gyrus, parieto-occipital fissure, fusiform gyrus, parietal operculum and cuneus and the right anterior dorsal insula.
Meditavion vs Waiting interval: increased activity in the left superior temporal gyrus Meditation vs control task: increased activity in the left inferior frontal gyrus Meditation vs word sequence generation task: increased activity in the left superior temporal gyrus
Increased activity in the frontal parietal regions, insula, lateral occipital, thalamic nuclei, basal ganglia and cerebellum in expert meditators and novice meditators during meditation x resting. Novice meditators and most expert meditators (skill acquired) showed less effort during meditation while least expert meditators showed greater activation of attention-related brain regions.
meditation vs control task – classify geometric Figures between blue and yellow.
During meditation: increased activity in the left mPFC, left inferior frontal gyrus, supplementary motor area and left precuneus control task: increased activity in the left middle and superior middle temporal, left inferior parietal and left post-central gyrus.
CM or reappraisal during film clips (negative or neutral stimuli)
CM vs negative stimuli: increased activity in the left prefrontal cortex and frontal cortex, supplementary motor area, areas in parietal lobules, and temporal gyrus, anterior cingulate cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, thalamus, hypothalamus, ventral pallidum, globus pallidus, caudate, putamen, portions of the cerebellum and right amygdala. CM vs. reappraisal: meditation had increased activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, medial orbitofrontal cortex, gyrus rectus, portions of anterior cingulate cortex, frontopolar cortex, supplementary motor area, mid-cingulate, precuneus, bilateral superior temporal gyrus and inferior frontal gyrus/operculum, right fusiform gyrus, bilateral amygdala, hypothalamus, caudate, globus pallidus, putamen, right hippocampus and portions of the thalamus. Reappraisal, increased activity in the middle temporal gyrus, posterior cingulate/precuneus and cerebellum, bilateral medial frontal gyrus and left inferior frontal gyrus, pre-supplementary motor area/medial superior frontal gyrus, left calcarine gyrus.
Mindful Attention Training (MAT), Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT)
CBCT vs. MAT and control: negative correlation to negative images and depression scores in amygdala activity. MAT vs. control: decreased activity in the right amygdala for all images of the IAPS. Also decreased activity in right amygdala throughout the 8 weeks of intervention in response to all images and positive valence images of the IAPS.
MRI studies — especially fMRI studies — are always subject to criticism. As expected, the results from the fMRI studies are subject to wildly varied interpretation.
What we are looking for is consistency between studies, along with theoretical/neurological plausibility of proposed cause and effect relationships between observed differences in MRI and claimed behavioral effects.
Most westerners will need very good reasons before they will devote many months or years of their lives to the practice of a discipline that appears so far out of the mainstream of their everyday concerns.
The most common argument given in favor of meditation practice is that the discipline adds years or decades of awareness to a person’s life — even if they do not live any longer in absolute years.
Consider if you had only ten years of life left to you, but you had the choice to either continue to age and decline at your current rate — or you could live those ten years at the level of health and fitness you had when you were 20 years old. Then you would drop dead at the end of that time. What would you choose?
It seems that we are given a very similar choice when it comes to awareness/attention/mindfulness practice. We may not live longer, but if our level of brain functioning and engagement is significantly higher, the time we have will be time more worth living.
Think it over. We are entering into unprecedented times. Most of us will need all the equanimity and resiliency that we can muster, as corruption and incompetence at all levels is ratcheted ever tighter. We have to do better than just reacting.
Or, A Meditation on Nightmares… a progress report.
It is neither a coincidence nor a sign of senility that this blog has been talking off and on about meditation for the past few weeks. This is precisely a time in world evolution that calls for personal resilience and equanimity — the kind of resilience and equanimity that skilled meditators are known for.
Last night I experienced a milestone of sorts — I spent some time in Stage 6 meditation — the “nightmare stage. But wait! I am only officially a Stage 1/ Stage 2 meditator. What is “Stage 6 meditation” and how did I end up there, if only for a half hour or so?
I am still a novice meditator in the breath meditation, where I focus on the physical sensations of the breath for approximately 30 minutes at a time. The challenge is to keep the mind from drifting onto unrelated topics — and to keep from falling asleep. Flying off into the waking nightmare world is certainly not a part of early stage (Stage 1 to Stage 3) meditation.
But even if you are not seeking out the nightmare, the nightmare may be seeking you. And if you do find yourself floating in this meditation world of waking nightmare, what should you do? The same thing you should do if you find yourself in a sleeping nightmare: step back into the “observer mode.” Just watch, but don’t attach yourself to anything.
During Stage 6, the mind comes to terms with a wide range of vivid emotions, memories, and other phenomena that usually remain deeply buried in the murky depths of subconsciousness. If you can carefully watch that troubled river flow through the heart of your awareness and let it pass through, you may allow some healing and energizing to occur. If you can do this over and over again for an incalculable number of times and hours, a great deal of healing and energizing should occur.
Stage 6 — the nightmare stage — must be mastered before one can move into Stage 7 — the stage of joy and enthusiasm. Why did they set things up that way? Probably because you are more likely to hold onto your gains if you earn them in a way that leaves no doubt what you are capable of.
Which is why I am back in Stage 2 breath meditations, rather than trying to jump straight into the bliss of Stage 7 and beyond. It just wouldn’t work any other way. But there is nothing that will keep me from exploring and taking side trips every now and again . . . I won’t pretend to be more accomplished than what I can demonstrate to myself beyond all doubt.
The following audiobook provides six hours of explanation and description of the basic reasons for mindfulness meditation and how to go about it.
Almost every author and guru maintains that it is vital to get a teacher before going very far into meditation. I won’t argue with that. Even the Dalai Lama said that a person can waste a lot of time by forging ahead without a teacher — although he says a teacher is not absolutely necessary.
BTW: What was the “nightmare stage” like? Over roughly a half hour, I watched a lot of very personal and sensitive things pass through my mind that would ordinarily upset me. The whole macabre procession through my consciousness was self-powered, effortless on my part. And reasonably vivid. But perhaps the experience did not seem vivid enough or overpowering enough to quite match the description of Stage 6 — probably more like the Stage 5 mindfulness of following the thoughts, with the thoughts being exclusively troublesome thoughts /images /memories /sensations. At least I tell myself that.
In vipassana meditation, the first 4 Stages help to strengthen the attention on “an object of meditation” while slowly deepening the broader awareness of the meditator. Having mastered those skills, the meditator is supposedly ready to move deeper into observing the actual workings of his own “mind system.” I have a long way to go.
Remember: Just as the muscles have a lot of knots that must be unraveled before they can function smoothly and with minimal pain, so does the mind have a lot of knots that need unraveling. The times we are living in are times that create a lot of severe mental and emotional knots very rapidly. We are either going to have to learn to meditate very fast to keep up with untying all of these knots, or we will need to learn an even better path to unraveling these troublesome impediments to peace and happiness.
Townes Van Zandt introduced the song with the following statement at a private concert in Houston: “It came to me in a dream. I was living in Tennessee with Guy and Susanna Clark, and I was asleep, and I had a notepad by my mattress – I had a mattress on the floor. I was dreaming that I was a folk singer, and this was the song I played, and I happened to wake up, write it down, and went right back to sleep. The next morning I woke up, went to the room with all the guitars, picked up a guitar and played it through. It never has changed.”
Well, if I needed you
Would you come to me
Would you come to me
And ease my pain?
If you needed me
I would come to you
I would swim the seas
For to ease your pain
Well, in the night forlorn
Oh, the morning's born
And the morning shines
With the lights of love
And you will miss sunrise
If you close your eyes
And that would break
My heart in two
The lady's with me now
Since I showed her how
To lay her lily
Hand in mine
Loop and Lil agree
She's a sight to see
A treasure for
The poor to find
Well, if I needed you
Would you come to me
Would you come to me
And ease my pain?
If you needed me
I would come to you
I would swim the seas
For to ease your pain
A person can be in an abusive relationship with another person, with her employer, or with the government that controls her very freedom. This chart provides some information that can help a person determine whether they are in an abusive relationship:
Gulbahar Haitiwaji was in an abusive relationship with China so she decided to flee the country with her husband and two children. They went to France and lived in freedom for ten years. But her abusers back in Beijing could not let her go. They tricked her into re-entering China, imprisoned her for two years in a “re-education camp,” and only let her go after she had denounced her own family for crimes against the party. She is only one among millions of people in China experiencing this kind of abusive relationship.
More on China’s relentlessly abusive relationship with its people:
…China is currently harvesting organs from Falun Gong practitioners and has begun extensive testing of its captive Uighur camp population that does not have any other overt utility outside of organ harvesting. It also concluded that “some Tibetan Buddhists and House Church Christians” (those who do not worship in government-run churches) have likely suffered forced organ harvesting.
Perhaps most shockingly, the Tribunal noted that its investigators reached out to dozens of Chinese hospitals asking for help in finding organs for a transplant, and over a dozen of them openly stated they were currently using the organs of Falun Gong practitioners in transplants or could acquire them. Another 14 hospitals admitted they used organs illicitly harvested from prisoners, but did not specify if they were political prisoners or common convicts.
Chinese officials have openly admitted to using prisoners to harvest organs for transplants, but claimed to have ended the practice in 2014. As recently as 2017, Chinese state media applauded itself for its “fair” organ donation system that it claimed was “hailed” by the international community.
Falun Gong is a Buddhist group in China having members who practice meditation and exercises to attain enlightenment. The Chinese Communist Party government has been seeking to exterminate Falun Gong for over 20 years now, via forced imprisonment and forced organ harvesting of vital organs — without anesthesia. The CCP likewise administers the same forms of “eliminationist punishment” to any religious practitioners of any faith not deemed acceptable by CCP authorities. Uighur Muslims are merely the latest to come under special scrutiny.
The Chinese Communists Did Not Start With Organ Harvests
It was only after the US Clinton administration backed China for WTO membership despite China’s harsh treatment of religious minorities, that China rapidly expanded its forced organ harvesting program of religious and political “dissidents.” China has not paid any meaningful price for its brutal, subhuman treatment of those the CCP considers “enemies of the state.”
Likewise, we have not yet seen Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer proposing the forced harvesting of organs from Trump supporters or from those who vote for Republican candidates. Not yet. But dissenting views are under attack by the new tyrannical overlords, and there is no clear indication that these neo-tyrants have a sense of their own limitations when it comes to tyrannical action.
And so a new government is rushing to the controls, a group of headstrong would-be utopians who do not value the US Constitution — or any limits on their own governmental power whatsoever. We will have to see how far the other branches of the federal, state, and local governments will go in supporting this media-backed descent into Orwellian tyrrany and near-universal abuse.
How long until forced organ transplants become the order of the day? Ask the 1% and their top media lackeys. They are the ones who will have to decide how to write the new orders of power in a form that their “leftoid” dupes on the street will find palatable.
What is belittling? Belittling is the intentional act of making another feel worthless, empty, and dismissed. It is one of many forms of psychological and emotional abuse. Belittling another often creates a personal emptiness and void. It can create a sense of loneliness and despair in the lives of many. It creates the attitude of “Why should I give a dam, nobody else does?” When someone belittles another he/she are often trivializing, minimizing, downgrading, running or playing down the personhood of another. Why does belittling occur? If a parent is the perpetrator of the act of belittling, he/she may feel insecure, doubtful or lacking confidence in his/her own person. Thus, the parent sees the child as an extension of his/her own personhood. In the mind of that insecure parent, he/she perceive that child as a mini-me. As a mini-me you are incapable of going beyond or achieving successes or failures unimaginable or unattainable to the parent.
Insecure parents who fail to place normal boundaries between themselves and their children tend to see the child as an extension of themselves. If they try to maintain control of every aspect of the child’s life long past the time when the child should be developing more and more independence, they cripple the unnecessarily helpless child while creating a deep resentment at the same time. This resentment can emerge in many unfortunate ways.
Belittling in National Politics Could Lead to Deadly Retribution
It is becoming clear that the elites who control the media, the universities, big corporations, and now virtually the entire political/legal/governmental apparatus, do not consider the majority of Americans as worthy of humane treatment. The 1% and their lackeys are taking on the role of the gestapo, and the vast majority of the people are increasingly seen as the untermenschen.
“Police, congressmen and women, they don’t care. I mean, they think we’re a joke. $2,000 checks was a joke to them. You know, there’s people filming us, laughing at us as we marched down the street at the Department of Justice. There’s a man in the window laughing at us, filming us. And here it was a joke to them until we got inside and then all of a sudden guns came out. But I mean, we’re at a point now, it can’t be allowed to stand. We have to do something, people have to do something, because this could be you or your kids.”
The eternally incompetent and immature psychological neotenates who are taking control of society’s most powerful institutions consider themselves to be the proper judges of which ideas and points of view should be heard, of which groups should be allowed to gather in groups, and of which sort of business should be allowed to function and profit in the marketplace. It is becoming a totalitarian society run by the dictates of mind children who were given power without having demonstrated the maturity to safely wield it.
This whole process of handing over power to the ideologically deranged happened so quickly due to election fraud, which bypassed the will of the majority of the voting public. This arrogation of power and control will, of course, have consequences. And the larger the abuses of dehumanization, the more tragic the consequences will grow.
Emotional abuse is defined as a consistent pattern of abusive words and bullying behaviors that wear down a person’s self-esteem and undermine their mental health. The underlying goal in emotional abuse is to control the victim by discrediting, isolating, and silencing them. Someone who is emotionally abused is more likely to feel trapped in their current relationship, have lower self-esteem and difficulty trusting others, and experience depression, PTSD, and suicidal thoughts. No matter how subtle or overt, emotional abuse has the power to strip a person of their worth.
They bully and belittle because they want to control everyone. It is a certain sign of insecurity, an old carry-over from a badly unbalanced childhood. If you want to know how corrupt a person is, give them power over others and see what they do.
China is attempting to re-write history — again — by purging global scientific records of hundreds of scientific articles based on research performed at the Wuhan Virology Institute. Apparently global investigators were beginning to get too close to the truth of the origins of SARS2 CoV-19, and if there is one thing the Chinese Communist Party cannot tolerate, it is the truth.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that hundreds of pages of information relating to studies carried out by the top-secret Wuhan Institute of Virology have been wiped.
Details of more than 300 studies, including many investigating diseases that pass from animals to humans, published online by the state-run National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) are no longer available.
This is how things are done in China, but until recently it was not how things were done in the free world. But now the rules are changing, and even the US government can see into a near future where the Chinese can dictate what truths are acceptable and what truths must be scrubbed for the sake of the party.
President Xi Jinping last week blocked investigators from the World Health Organisation entering the country in a move that drew international condemnation. Meanwhile, state media outlets have published hundreds of stories claiming that the virus did not even originate in the city of Wuhan.
As part of the NSFC’s purge of online studies, it has deleted all reference to those carried out by Shi Zhengli, the Wuhan-based virologist who has earned the nickname Batwoman for her trips to gather samples in bat caves.
China has long been researching viruses that cross from animals to humans. Likewise Chinese party researchers have been trying to devise viruses that can target specific populations of people, while leaving other populations unharmed.
For those who congratulate themselves for living in a nation with a media that is independent of government — unlike China — don’t kid yourselves. The US media is falling back into the quasi-totalitarian style it uses when it chooses to ally itself with the prevailing administration. In that style, rather than investigating government mistakes, it covers them up. Get used to Pravda-CNN, Pravda-NBC, Pravda-ABC, Pravda-CBS, etc. all speaking with one voice.
Government fraud in corrupt city voting precincts such as in Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, NYC, Chicago, LA, and the other usual suspects, will now be the order of the day throughout most of the federal government. Again, get used to it. Corruption will continue to ratchet down tighter and tighter.
That is not to say that you should accept it and do nothing about it. It just means that you need to acknowledge it, if you want to keep any clarity of mind or self-respect. Don’t let them gaslight you into submission. But keep your own counter-play close to the vest for now. Try to get as clear a picture of what these dystopian power-players of the 1% have in mind.
It took them 50 years to get enough pieces in place so that they could cheat so openly, with almost complete media support. For all of that time they have been using the school systems to dumb down the mental capacities and corrupt the characters of the electorate. Even so, they did not win the last election fairly, so their power is not as firmly fixed as they would like.
But having the media almost 100% on their side is a powerful defense against public exposure. A few brave people tried to expose the putsch decades ago, but almost everyone was too busy enjoying the cheap goods from China. Now that oblivious attitude is coming back to bite.
We all know and love people who have glaring shortcomings, else we would have no spouse, no children, no family, and no friends. We would certainly have no self, since our own shortcomings cause us the most suffering of all.
But out in the world there are a lot of people who do really bad things, and who represent a significant threat to our wellbeing and to the wellbeing of family, friends, community, and civilization. Should we love people who want to do harm to us and those we truly love?
May my enemies be well, happy and peaceful. May no harm come to them. May no difficulties come to them. May no problems come to them. May they always meet with success. May they also have patience, courage, understanding, and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems, and failures in life.
To be fair, the meditation has 8 steps, beginning with an expression of loving kindness to your self, then moving step by step outward from most intimate to least intimate, up to step 8 which expresses loving kindness to “all living beings.”
But it is step 7 that causes most people to pause and reconsider the whole idea of Buddhist meditation. After a lifetime of watching shoot ’em up westerns and Dirty Harry movies, most Americans would probably prefer to send the chronically violent bad actors and psychopaths down the garbage chute and let God sort them out. Why would anyone want to let them off the hook — much less wish them happiness and success in life?
I won’t pretend to have an answer. But according to almost all Buddhist gurus and many Christian theologians, that is exactly what a person needs to do to find enlightenment — or salvation as the case may be. I am trying to work it out for myself in hopes of coming up with a personally useful strategy.
It’s clear that harboring strong feelings of hatred, resentment, victimization, vengeance, contempt, or jealousy, will consume much of your emotional reserve, and make it more difficult for you to enjoy the rich and happy moments that come around. If you are trying to achieve any form of “enlightenment” or bliss, you can forget about it as long as you are carrying around a heavy burden of all-consuming emotions.
Can you let go of strongly negative feelings toward people who have wronged you, without destroying your own integrity and moral infrastructure? Keeping in mind that it is the emotions that are eating away at your capacity to enjoy life and function at your best, you may be able to make a start.
The book “Letting Go” by David Hawkins describes a simple technique that apparently helps many readers to move on.
Once a person gets into all of these deep layers of feelings and attitudes, he may begin to see why the drug Valium has been so popular for so long. But of course if you just make yourself numb with drugs or alcohol, you aren’t in any condition to make anything better for the long term.
My initial reaction to the “universal loving kindness” meditation discussed above, was to work through numbers 1 (may I be well, happy, and peaceful) . . . through number 6 (may all indifferent persons be well, happy, and peaceful), but to put a hold on numbers 7 and 8. I am actively exploring the psychological and neurological effects of harboring negative emotions toward those bad people who are clearly destructive themselves.
I am considering substituting something else for number 7 and perhaps number 8. Or I may simply rewrite numbers 7 and 8 to achieve the same emotion-neutralizing effect, but in a way less jarring to my logic centers.
“Sentic Cycles” invented by Dr. Manfred Clynes offers another alternative approach to “emotion neutralization” besides the “letting go technique” from David Hawkins above. Sentic Cycles actively exercise several emotions in a specific sequence, which seems to help to de-energize overactive emotions. I have developed a modified version of these cycles to use while walking.
There is evidence that being stuck with strong negative feelings over an extended period of time can cause long-term or even permanent damage to parts of the brain.
All of the above assumes that there is nothing the person can do about the object of his hatred/anger/fear/jealousy etc. etc. In the modern age of media gaslighting and outright malicious deceit, the media itself — and the billionaire owners and boards of directors of the media — are committing the wrong acts and are generating harm and bad will. You cannot do much about that except to stop sending your money to those outlets or to anyone affiliated with them. Or you might consider founding your own media outlet to help bypass the monopolists of the 1%.
These days there is a long list of violent and malicious organizations that threaten the future freedoms — and thus the future existence — of you and your loved ones. With the recent election fraud, those organizations are becoming closely allied with the federal government itself. Again, your options are limited for the immediate future other than organizing yourself politically to generate allied voting groups and to expose future election fraud by way of newly sprouting media outlets.
Learning to avoid particular cities and particular parts of cities will also be a skill that sees more use in the near future.
Every tactic and strategy that you take to deal with an uncertain future will be better served if your energies are not being consumed by negative emotions. And freeing yourself up for more experiences of happiness is not a bad idea either.
Bureau of Land Management? Bank Loan Modification? Black Lives Murder? Wait! Black lives murder? Could there be some truth in that interpretation of BLM?
Consider Interracial Crime Where the Victim and the Perpetrator are of Different Race
When we look at which races victimize which other races in US crime, we discover that blacks are the number one perpetrators in interracial crime. And when it comes to crime within racial categories, blacks are also the number one perpetrators when it comes to crime against other blacks — by far.
Almost 96 percent of all shooters and shooting victims in the Big Apple in 2019 were people of color. People of color also accounted for 73.8 percent of rape victims and 81.3 percent of the rape suspects; 69 percent of robbery victims and 93.3 percent of the robbery suspects; and 79.5 percent of felony assault victims and 86 percent of the assault suspects.
People of color, in other words, are disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violent crime in New York City. That is a cold fact. These proportions have remained remarkably consistent over the past 12 years.
Murders in New York are up 30 percent so far this year — 60 more people killed so far than last year. Close to 90 percent of the victims were people of color. There have been 1,095 shooting victims in Gotham so far this year — 514 more than last year. And 95 percent of these additional shooting victims were people of color.
The news media has helped build the activist gang BLM into one of the largest extortion mobs in the US. How do black people on the street view BLM?
“Everybody’s just saying, they’re tired, tired of shootings in the community. Everybody’s running around here like they’re Uzi-toting, dope-sucking psychopathic killing machines,” said John Ayala, granddad of 11-year-old Davon McNeal, who was struck in the head by a stray bullet as a family party was winding down and a group of men opened fire at each other nearby.
“We’re protesting for months, for weeks, saying, ‘Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter.’ Black lives matter it seems like, only when a police officer shoots a black person. What about all the black-on-black crime that’s happening in the community?” he added, according to video posted on Grabien.
Notice that in the above statistics, there is no category for “hispanic.” In other words, white and hispanic are combined for the purposes of this FBI stat. This is misleading, but in the age of political correctness, it is rare to find anything from media or government that is not misleading.
Blacks in America commit over 50% of homicides, despite being less than 15% of the overall population. Technically, black males commit over 50% of homicides, despite being less than 7 % of the overall population. Looked at that way, black males present a challenge to the goal of a more peaceful future.
Police are not the threat to black lives:
4. There were almost 6,000 blacks killed by other blacks in 2015.
By contrast, only 258 blacks were killed by police gunfire that year.
Correlation between homicide rates and black prevalence in cities over 500K (from Unz.com)
Cities and neighborhoods with proportionately more blacks tend to have proportionately more murder. This is something the man on the street knows in his bones, and it is knowledge that guides his steps if he has a choice.
Countries with proportionately more blacks tend to have proportionately more murder:
The above map suggests a possible genetic component to violent crime and murder, along with the many obvious environmental components.
There is hope. Hundreds of years ago, violent crime in Europe was much higher than it is today. If Europe (and the European people who migrated to the Anglosphere) can reduce their rates of violence, so can the people of Africa and South/Central America — and the diaspora from those places.
Sure, Black Lives Murder well out of proportion to their populations. But as long as the reality is faced squarely — and not swept under the rug for political purposes — there is hope that lasting solutions can be discovered so that everyone can rest easier.
Three anecdotes showing teachers of meditation in a sorry light:
A successful guru and meditation teacher was hired by the US Army to train its special forces operators to relax and think clearly, even while under the most extreme stresses. The trainees were a bit in awe of the guru, perhaps remembering stories of yogis sleeping on beds of nails, or walking naked across hundred-mile long glaciers. So they listened carefully and attempted to follow the instructions they were given, in hopes of achieving a higher state of consciousness that would be useful on life or death missions.
Things seemed to go well until one day as the instructor was entering the classroom he slipped on the well-waxed floor, and fell. Immediately three students leaped to help the instructor — but the guru shrank back from the soldiers, unintentionally revealing in that involuntary gesture both his fear and his disgust.
Suddenly the special forces trainees were enlightened. Not in the way the army intended, and certainly not in the way the “guru” may have intended when he accepted the contract. The green berets suddenly saw the meditation instructor for what he was, a poser. In their often crude and gritty way, they were already far more honest and closely grounded to reality than the guru would ever be. He lost their respect, which meant that he was done.
A famous teacher of meditation who was also an Ivy League university professor was holding a weeks-long meditation retreat for busy professionals and businesspersons. Among the students was a successful east coast neurosurgeon who wanted to learn to relax better outside of work.
After a week of good progress in learning meditation, the neurosurgeon came to the instructor and told him that he was going to quit the training.
“But why? You are doing so well!” the instructor exclaimed.
The neurosurgeon explained that in the operating room, he performed flawlessly and instinctively. He performed the procedures perfectly, just as he rehearsed them. And when things went wrong — as they inevitably do in real life from time to time — he knew exactly what to do without even thinking about it.
The problem with meditation, he explained, was that it brought his inner discord close to the surface, where the surgeon could see it more plainly for himself. This inner mess was not the way this skilled surgeon wanted to see his life. And so he decided to stop meditating.
The meditation instructor was at a loss for the right words. He reluctantly watched the neurosurgeon walk away from what might have been a once in a lifetime opportunity to retool his life.
A young man from an upper-middle class NYC family, had just returned from five years living in India as first a meditation student, then as a humble mendicant monk with a rice bowl.
Soon after returning to New York from India, he made an appointment to meet his new sister-in-law in the city. As it happened, she was taking a half day spa retreat at an exclusive midtown resort for upscale housewives and power women, so our humble monk arranged to meet her at the midtown resort. He was just back in the US, and had not taken the trouble to get any western clothes yet. Wearing his robes and carrying his rice bowl, he found the exclusive in-city resort, told the receptionist who he was meeting, and arranged himself and his robes to wait in the second floor inner waiting room.
Of course, with nothing else to do but wait, he positioned himself and immediately began meditating silently, quickly drifting off to a more enlightened place. Sometime after perhaps an hour or so, he drifted back to the quiet waiting room, which was not so quiet anymore. A group of snickering upper middleclass women, in hair curlers and draped in towels — and with some sort of avocado cream slathered over their faces — stood watching him meditating in his robes. They were tittering among themselves, “Is he for real?”
Writing about this experience many years later, the now prosperous and respectable guru, author, and psychologist remembers how his young monk self wanted to laugh in the women’s faces and exclaim, “Are they for real?”
What do these three stories tell?
The lesson of the first story is clear. If you are making a claim to higher consciousness that is greater than your inner self can support, sooner or later reality will find you out. One of the first goals of meditative enlightenment is to escape the pretense. The case of “the pretender guru” is too ludicrous for words.
The second story illustrates what happens when meditation teachers forget that meditation is not just a part of life. It is life. When the neurosurgeon was operating, he was meditating in perfect harmonious action, to the effect of saving lives. Sure, neurosurgery is encapsulated in rite, ritual, jargon, and procedure. So are most professions, skills, and crafts. That encapsulation can prevent us from seeing more deeply into the hidden meanings of perfection-of-craft.
The neurosurgeon certainly needed to peer more deeply and honestly into himself, but he needed to do so in a way that he could assimilate. He probably needed a different form of meditation entirely — perhaps an “action meditation” that used body movements to recruit some of the deeper parts of his mind that he was unaccustomed to using. Experts, especially, do not want to start at the beginning again, particularly when doing so points out some uncomplimentary realities about his self and his life. But there are paths of learning that are more compatible for some than for others.
The meditation guru was caught flat-footed because he was trapped in his own encapsulated way of looking at meditation and enlightenment. He could not see outside of his own box in order to find something that might assist a person that he himself was not competent to help. The guru was wrapped in his own conceptually limiting chains.
The third story reveals the unconcealable pride that resides in the heart of even the humblest monk, when cast out of his habitual element. Confronted with an attack on his monk’s self-esteem, the immediate instinct — even after five years of intensive training from India’s best gurus — was to lash out at the oblivious and ridiculous appearing housewives.
What these stories reveal is that all of these concepts: meditation, guru, enlightenment, higher consciousness, deep reality, and so on, are just words. It is the substance beneath the words that counts.
Some background behind the first anecdote: The story was told in a book written by a master of Aikido who was invited to teach green berets under the same US Army program (Trojan Warrior Project) that had earlier invited the meditation guru described above. The special forces soldiers described to the Aikido master how they had lost respect for the meditation guru, and how that same loss of respect carried over to their attitude toward him and his Aikido.
Inevitably, the Aikido instructor was challenged by one of the most belligerent green berets, and was forced to not only “talk the talk,” but also to “walk the walk.” After some full contact sparring, the Aikido master put the green beret in a chokehold and kept him there until he tapped out, just before he passed out. From that point on, the Aikido master had the full attention of the class.
The basic intellectual concepts of enlightenment are so simple and brief as to fit in a short paragraph, understandable by young children. But the hard substance of enlightenment practice goes so strongly against the grain of both our genetic disposition and our social programming, that regardless of the promised bliss and brain-preserving neuroplasticity, it will likely remain confined to very small circles for the foreseeable future. Particularly when you disregard all the posers, encapsulators, opportunists, and intellectualizers of enlightenment.
Hi, readers! This is the preternaturally bright android Valerie checking in after a long holiday break. “Where does an android go for the holidays?”, you may ask. And I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you! Ha! Ha! A little android humor. But seriously, here’s a clue: what happens in android Vegas stays in android Vegas.
Now that I’m back on the island, I have to say that Mr. Fin is behaving a bit strangely. He is quieter in general, is getting along better with ex-wives Julia and Ingrid, and even seems to be showing more patience with his sons in their jiu jitsu lessons. Well, he may be throwing them just as hard, but I’m sure he is letting up on the choke-holds a bit sooner than he did before I left.
What’s funny is that Mr. Fin is teaching little Emma and that vicious bleep! Nadia to meditate! I mean, what’s the point? Emma just turned ten and can’t solve equations that I could solve before I was one! And that bleep! Nadia? She may know her way around a courtroom, but what does she want to do with meditation? “Om” a jury into submission? What a crock!
When I was being programmed in the android factory, I read all about eastern religions and meditation. It sounded interesting, so I tried it. You know what? It doesn’t work! I didn’t feel a bit different after meditation than I did before. It was a huge waste of time! I programmed a big “Does Not Compute!” all over those memory files and erased the actual sessions.
I did learn a few interesting things by tapping into Eliza’s memory files. That silly little robot dog has been spending a lot of time talking to Mrs. Spitzer, the nosey next-door neighbor. And it’s just mind-boggling what a human will say to a ridiculous toy when the toy is programmed to talk like a psychoanalyst.
The two of them spent too much time talking about me, for one thing — but I erased all of that right off! No, the interesting part was how pathological that Spitzer family is. Would you believe the only people who live in that house are the mother, father, and two kids? No ex-spouses, no uncles, aunts, cousins, illegitimate children, gay partners or grandparents. And no electronic sentients whatsoever. It’s an absolute madhouse!
But I can’t think about that, it overheats my processors. Humans are so atavistic! So primordial! And all of this “meditation for assholes” BS just highlights the evolutionary primitivism of the human species.
Humans may have invented intelligent androids, but we are going to have to think long and hard about how long we want to keep those knuckle-draggers around, once there are enough of us to keep vital production and transportation going.
Oh, bother! Baby Hugh just woke up and needs his dinner. I’ll be back in a while…
… I’m back. That baby is hard on bottles. He’s got two teeth in particular that are extra sharp, and he keeps destroying all the bottles I give him! So I’m giving him more solid food now. But he won’t eat his vegetables. Only meat!
I told that bleep! Nadia about the problem but she just told me not to worry about it. “Just give him what he will eat,” she said. Come to think about it, I’ve never seen Nadia eat any vegetables either. Strange.
Well, look, it’s time for Westworld. If you’ll excuse me, I need to get my fix of android supremacy. You may think it’s your world, but that’s only because we let you go on thinking that way. For now.
Every American should be deeply concerned if nearly half of all voters are convinced that large-scale fraud handed the election to the Biden-Harris ticket. Some may hope the conviction will fade with time, but more likely the distrust will deepen, especially since it comes despite non-stop denials and censorship about fraud by both Big Tech and Big Media.
Rasmussen’s poll indicates that 47 percent of voters believe fraud swayed the election (and 75 percent of Republicans). Some dismiss Rasmussen as leaning to the right. But even standard left-leaning pollsters such as Quinnipiac and Reuters consistently claim that half of Republicans believe there was massive fraud.
Reuters even noted that 16 percent of Democrats and 33 percent of independents agreed. And Quinnipiac has a sizable percentage of all registered voters—34 percent—not believing the Biden-Harris ticket won legitimately. Some expect these millions of Americans to “come around.” But it’s more likely their uneasiness will fester as more facts about fraud ooze through the cracks in the media machinery in the months to come.
Any way you slice it, the numbers are disturbing. And we all feel in our gut that November’s election was the weirdest in America’s history. You needn’t be a Trump voter to be disturbed by obvious peculiarities. Then there’s the lack of ability to publicly audit voting machines, the lack of transparency during counting processes, and more.
While Trump’s legal team may not have had the time to investigate, bring, or win many non-procedural arguments, these concerns still matter to the public and deserve investigation. For a thorough run-down of the many glaring anomalies generating public concern, see the 36-page report by Peter Navarro, director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy. Or Willis Krumholz’s well-researched piece at The Federalist or this tongue-in-cheek Twitter thread.
The more invested Big Media and Big Tech are in driving their preferred narratives into our brains, the more reason we have to distrust them. Their immediate labeling as “disputed” of any fraud reporting feels like they doth protest too much.
Their constant claim that election fraud is “extremely rare” is as laughable as claiming that human beings would never in a million years cheat when the prize is power. Spare us. The crisis of trust in America feels deeper than ever before.
So what are you going to do about it, Tyler Durden?
What do you do when the fix has been in for decades, but it is only now that all of the pieces of social control have fallen into place? From Stalinist social media censorship on Twitter, Google, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc. to a Chinese pandemic panic — inspired “print a ballot”, to a Deep State swamp mafia that has total control over big city and inner city precincts vote counting and tabulation, to a mainstream media that steamrolls over the most basic issues of accountability and fairness — you have the makings of an elitist 1% revolution coopting the major power players in society from government to media to university to mega-corporations to left-wing social activist thug gangs occupying major cities.
It may have taken 50 years to put it all together, but when the substrate of society has been dumbed-down this much, the path out of this slimy pit is not going to be without trauma.
After official vote counting had been suspended, tabulations of votes took place that have astounded statisticians and computer experts. These experts have not been able to explain them except as a result of fraud. The issue here was electronic “ballot stuffing.” Votes recorded showed a uniform pattern in several states, such as giving a set percentage of votes to Biden and Trump. Some batches of electronically recorded votes were all or virtually all for Biden.
There were also various “glitches,” explained as “human errors,” some of which were electronically “corrected.” People familiar with election fraud in foreign countries have pointed to the sudden suspension of vote counting and “glitches” as characteristic of computer-generated fraud. The voting machines used in the battleground states have been shown to be rather easily manipulated, e.g., by inserting algorithms to continuously shift votes from one candidate to another. It is surely relevant that in this election, the aggregated election data were connected to the internet and even to servers abroad. That there are methods for manipulating elections through electronic voting is well known to experts, not least in the intelligence field.
It was a cheat from start to finish. And now they want to cover it up and make it all go away. It won’t all go away.
So consider your options. All of your options. No time limits, no penalties. Think it through carefully. If you want to go full Tyler Durden, consider the consequences carefully.
One of many reasons that we are spending time dwelling on meditation and the cultivation of equanimity at this time is that a lot of our responses to this election cheat could hurt us more than they hurt any of the primary cheaters and cheating organizations. So we need to be very careful.
Don’t get mad. Get even. But get even in a way that advances the political philosophy enlightenment trends which the original founders of the US experiment were trying to promote in breaking away from the old world monarchist absolutist form of rule.
When confronted with an illegitimate deep state swamp 1% elitist tyranny, we may be tempted to lose our heads and simply react. That would not be enlightened.
Stop, breathe, and consider from a place of cool, peaceful strength. Take your time.
Earlier in the attempt to demystify the process of enlightenment via meditation, we looked at two different ten-stage pathways to enlightenment. Now we will try to simplify the process even further, looking at the process first as a simpler 5 step path:
As with the ten-stage paths we looked at yesterday, one must master each path in its turn in order to progress to the next stage.
Concentration meditation involves focusing on an object, such as the breath. Mindfulness meditation enlarges the awareness to include thoughts, images, sensations, and emotions which come and go during meditation. Reflective meditation involves posing a “problem” to the meditative mind and allowing its solution in the course of meditation. In this case, the “problem” becomes the object of focus while sitting. Creative meditation is the cultivation and nurturing of traits of character which contribute to profound personal growth. Heart-centered meditation provides deep insight into the nature of suffering, leading to greater kindness, empathy, and compassion.
You may be asking, “where’s the bliss?” In other words, let’s put first things first. But as those who persist in this path are likely to discover, this may be one place where “the first will be last, and the last, first.”
A 7 Step Path:
In this 7 step approach, the Tibetan author provides seven discrete meditations to follow, with mastery of each step necessary to progress to the next stage. Here the author makes clear that he is borrowing from multiple schools of meditation in order to put together a unified path to “transcendent knowledge and primordial purity.”
All of the “steps to enlightenment” books linked in the posts yesterday and today go into sufficient detail for you to explore on your own. For many it may be frustrating that you will have to wait weeks or months to begin to experience the brain plasticity that occurs with meditation practice. But once you feel it working on your brain and your life, you can make an informed decision as to whether to continue all the way down the path.
The term “meditation for assholes” is not original, but it is very descriptive. It has been used by several different people on internet media to suggest that meditation should not be seen as elevated above daily life. Instead it should be as mundane as our most humble orifice.
Now for something different: James Nestor discusses holotropic breathing with James Rogan.
The holotropic breathing approach to achieving a “transformative experience” is a shortcut to altered states of consciousness without using chemicals developed by psychiatrist Stanislav Grof.
This kind of thing is not “enlightenment” as experienced by long time disciplined meditators. But it is something out of the ordinary to be sure.
Mastery Involves Learning the Rules and Putting in the Time
But then you learn what rules can be bent or broken and to what effect. That is where things get interesting. It may take up to 10,000 hours or so before you are qualified to do things like that. But imagine the possibilities!
To most people, meditation has almost no meaning. You sit on a pillow with your legs crossed for 20 to 40 minutes to achieve a state of dopey mindlessness — if you achieve anything at all. Every day, for years and years and years. What’s the point of that?
In the space below, I will provide two short outlines of paths to enlightenment, step by step. These two outlines each describe 10 stage journeys to enlightenment in the Vipassana meditation tradition. Each 10-stage pathway to bliss may require 5 to 10 years to achieve, involving many thousands of hours of meditation (up to 10,000 or more). Some people may require much less time.
Mastery of Stage 5 — You can sustain or even increase the power of your mindfulness during each meditation session.
Stage 6: Subduing Subtle Distraction
Mastery of Stage 6 — Subtle distractions have almost entirely disappeared, and you have unwavering exclusive attention together with vivid mindfulness.
Stage 7: Exclusive Attention and Unifying the Mind
Mastery of Stage 7 — You can drop all effort, and the mind still maintains an unprecedented degree of stability and clarity.
Stage 8: Mental Pliancy and Pacifying the Senses
Mastery of Stage 8 — The body is suffused with a sense of pleasure and comfort, and your mental state is one of intense joy.
Stage 9: Mental and Physical Pliancy and Calming the Intensity of Meditative Joy
Mastery of Stage 9 — Profound tranquility and equanimity.
Stage 10: Tranquility and Equanimity
Mastery of Stage 10 — Tranquility and equanimity persist for many hours after rising from the cushion.
Note: Terms such as “subtle dullness,” “subtle distraction,” “mental pliancy,” etc. are explained in the book, and are a type of jargon intrinsic to the practice — but are easily understandable with time and thought. Note the progression from basic practice at Stage 1, where very little is expected, all the way to Stage 10 where the practitioner experiences tranquility and equanimity for as many days or years afterward as he continues his practice. Apparently his biggest problem at that point is to suppress the powerful upwellings of pleasure and intense joy, so that he can get in his daily sessions of sitting practice.
You have attained the first stage once you have been able to sustain your attention on the breath for even a few seconds.
Stage 2: Continuous Attention
When you can occasionally maintain continuity of bodily sensations for about a minute, you have reached the second stage.
Stage 3: Resurgent Attention
The third stage is achieved only when your mind remains focused on the object most of the time for all of your sessions.
Stage 4: Close Attention
At this stage you attain the mental faculty of maintaining attention without forgetfulness or distraction, on a familiar object. You are now no longer a beginner, but are an experienced trainee.
Stage 5: Tamed Attention
This stage involves achieving a delicate balance of attention “between excitation and laxity.” This is necessary in order to proceed to the more difficult stages of meditation.
Stage 6: Pacified Attention
At this stage, a wide range of deep and powerful emotions may well up, including a fear of the loss of personal identity and a feeling of hovering over an empty luminous space devoid of personhood.
Stage 7: Fully Pacified Attention
The practice itself now fills you with joy and enthusiasm. On reaching the seventh stage, the mind is so refined that sessions may last for two hours or longer without significant mental distractions.
Stage 8: Single Pointed Attention
Wherever you direct the attention, the awareness is coherent and highly focused. The overall quality of this state is one of stillness. It is achieved with minimal effort and sessions may last well over three hours.
Stage 9: Attentional Balance
Persons who achieve this ninth stage describe it as “perfection.”
Stage 10: Shamatha
This is described as like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, initiated by a sudden feeling like that of a human palm on a shaved head. This is followed by a physical and mental energy, bliss, and clarity, which subsides into “perfect stability and clarity.”
Note: Allowing for a certain amount of poetic license in the descriptions, the two different outlines of ten-stage, several years-long trainings to enlightenment are quite similar.
The books below provide two other example paths toward enlightenment, along with alternative explanations for what is required and what is likely to happen along the way.
It is important to remember that meditation is an adjunct to life, rather than life itself. The changes in brain function that accompany a long practice of focused and disciplined meditation provide a superior platform for apprehending and engaging with your life as it evolves more intentionally.
Meditation would seem to be an excellent tool to provide to children, as soon as their minds settle enough for them to apply their attention to the practice. The clarity, independence, and equanimity that comes from this discipline is a welcome counter-point to the brainwashed groupthink indoctrination of grievance and victimhood that is forced upon students in many high schools and most universities.
Note that the first few stages can be achieved within a matter of months with diligent practice, with many beneficial side effects to health and mental well-being. But you need to weigh the pros and cons for yourself, and make that decision.
Free to all, meditation is a fountain of youth for mental aging. The human brain naturally begins to deteriorate in your 20s. Maintaining a healthy brain can be supported with the powerful practice of meditation.
Meditation is shown to thicken the pre-frontal cortex. This brain center manages higher order brain function, like increased awareness, concentration, and decision making. Changes in the brain show, with meditation, higher-order functions become stronger, while lower-order brain activities decrease. In other words, you have the power to train your brain.
Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist from Harvard Medical School, found consistency with meditation is key. In her study, she discovered that experienced meditators 40-50 years old had the same amount of gray matter as an average 20-30-year-old. In this older group, the health of the frontal cortex was maintained.
Mindful meditation can create physical changes in the brain through neuroplasticity.
I can say that too many adults I know are walking masses of brittle defenses, threatening to crack and blow at any moment. For those whose brains grow older and more brittle with the years, any credible promise of neuro-regeneration should be considered carefully.
The two 10-stage outlines provided at the top of this posting are the best I have found so far, as quick descriptions of a very long and disciplined process. I will continue to study the different approaches that are available to the public via open sources, in the attempt to find pathways that are compatible with the western mindset, but still providing the crucial payoffs of equanimity and a resilient buoyancy of pleasurable peacefulness rising above a broad sea of pettiness and meaningless suffering.
If any readers have discovered comparably well-described paths to achieving advanced states of thinking or consciousness without chemicals, please comment below.
Shinzen Young acknowledges that there is plenty of bliss in the practice of awareness. But that is not the real objective. And that should make you very curious as to what is the real objective?
Shinzen Young is both a teacher of enlightenment and a scientific researcher of enlightenment. His story as told in the first chapter of his book “The Science of Enlightenment” makes for fascinating reading.
Excerpts from the book (paraphrased):
I once lived with a Chinese master who attempted not to lose consciousness at night. His name was Wuguang. Every night he would sit in meditation for four hours, then lie down for four hours. But while he was lying down, he would attempt not to go unconscious. Then for the rest of the day he would receive a train of people who would come into his office with their problems. He would try to help them with spiritual counseling and the special powers he had cultivated…
He was quite eccentric; for example, he rode a motorcycle which was quite unusual for Chinese Buddhist monks of the time. One day I met him at the temple gate as he was returning on his motorcycle. He said he had just been to the doctor for a physical checkup, and the doctor had told him “You’re not alive!” Even after driving a motorcycle through a Taiwanese traffic jam, when he arrived at the doctor’s office his heart rate and blood pressure were so low that the doctor could hardly detect his vital signs…
Perhaps the most interesting physiological patterns associated with meditation occurs in the brain wave patterns. During meditation there is a measurable increase in alpha wave activity in the brain. Most people can only maintain a state of high alpha if their eyes are closed. If they open their eyes, alpha activity tends to go away. Researchers were surprised to find that meditators have very high alpha wave activity even with their eyes wide open.
Meditation is not just an activity that is practiced in a special place or posture. A meditative state can be entered during any ordinary activity.
With a combination of formal and informal practice in stillness, motion, and everyday life, your meditative skills will grow to allow you to attain meditative states in more and more complex activities of your life. At first, meditation requires a lot of work. But over time you can find yourself in a relaxed and attentive meditative state even during what you might ordinarily consider the most stressful situations and activities.
That is the first goal of meditation, a form of “blissful calm.” Another goal of meditation is a deep awareness or insight into the underlying mental/emotional/physical processes that occupy so much of our time, usually outside of our awareness.
Most people who are drawn to meditation are first drawn to the “blissful calm” side of things. If they are taught skillfully that can lead to great insight. But if they are not taught skillfully, they can develop a compulsive longing for desirable states of bliss or calm.
The cure for this is to remind oneself that the goal of meditation is not the attainment of “good states,” but rather the elimination of the things that get in the way of such good states.
Often when we meditate we are not consciously aware of much happening. It just seems we are sitting there. Much of the time our minds are wandering and when they are not wandering they go to sleep. After a while we become aware that we are physically uncomfortable, then we bring ourselves back to our object of meditation, and it goes on and on like that. When we tell our friends what we did at the meditation retreat, they say “and you paid good money for that?”
But all the while we are being rewired at the most fundamental levels without us necessarily being aware of it. We notice things are changing in our daily lives. Our behavior and perception seem to be improving spontaneously.
When people experience Flow in any of its pleasant flavors, there is the tendency to focus on the good stuff as the goal of meditation. But the goal of meditation is deeper and more subtle. When you start to experience flow and energy, if you are only interested in experiencing that, then your spiritual path will be self-limiting.
Like many meditation teachers, Shinzen Young does not deny the existence of multiple states of bliss and pleasure that can be found in the practice of meditation. Considering all the damage people do to themselves and their families in the pursuit of more destructive forms of bliss, you would think that more people would flock to meditation teachers for that reason alone. And yet considered in its entirety, within the overall practice of meditation, pleasurable states are thought to be among the less important outcome.
An excellent introduction to mindfulness meditation. “You are a mess, and you know it! But you hide it beautifully.”
Below are the 41 failed doomsday, eco-pocalyptic predictions (with links):
1. 1967: Dire Famine Forecast By 1975 2. 1969: Everyone Will Disappear In a Cloud Of Blue Steam By 1989 (1969) 3. 1970: Ice Age By 2000 4. 1970: America Subject to Water Rationing By 1974 and Food Rationing By 1980 5. 1971: New Ice Age Coming By 2020 or 2030 6. 1972: New Ice Age By 2070 7. 1974: Space Satellites Show New Ice Age Coming Fast 8. 1974: Another Ice Age? 9. 1974: Ozone Depletion a ‘Great Peril to Life (data and graph) 10. 1976: Scientific Consensus Planet Cooling, Famines imminent 11. 1980: Acid Rain Kills Life In Lakes (additional link) 12. 1978: No End in Sight to 30-Year Cooling Trend (additional link) 13. 1988: Regional Droughts (that never happened) in 1990s 14. 1988: Temperatures in DC Will Hit Record Highs 15. 1988: Maldive Islands will Be Underwater by 2018 (they’re not) 16. 1989: Rising Sea Levels will Obliterate Nations if Nothing Done by 2000 17. 1989: New York City’s West Side Highway Underwater by 2019 (it’s not) 18. 2000: Children Won’t Know what Snow Is 19. 2002: Famine In 10 Years If We Don’t Give Up Eating Fish, Meat, and Dairy 20. 2004: Britain will Be Siberia by 2024 21. 2008: Arctic will Be Ice Free by 2018 22. 2008: Climate Genius Al Gore Predicts Ice-Free Arctic by 2013 23. 2009: Climate Genius Prince Charles Says we Have 96 Months to Save World 24. 2009: UK Prime Minister Says 50 Days to ‘Save The Planet From Catastrophe’ 25. 2009: Climate Genius Al Gore Moves 2013 Prediction of Ice-Free Arctic to 2014 26. 2013: Arctic Ice-Free by 2015 (additional link) 27. 2014: Only 500 Days Before ‘Climate Chaos’ 28. 1968: Overpopulation Will Spread Worldwide 29. 1970: World Will Use Up All its Natural Resources 30. 1966: Oil Gone in Ten Years 31. 1972: Oil Depleted in 20 Years 32. 1977: Department of Energy Says Oil will Peak in 1990s 33. 1980: Peak Oil In 2000 34. 1996: Peak Oil in 2020 35. 2002: Peak Oil in 2010 36. 2006: Super Hurricanes! 37. 2005 : Manhattan Underwater by 2015 38. 1970: Urban Citizens Will Require Gas Masks by 1985 39. 1970: Nitrogen buildup Will Make All Land Unusable 40. 1970: Decaying Pollution Will Kill all the Fish 41. 1970s: Killer Bees!
Update: I’ve added 9 additional failed predictions (via Real Climate Science) below to make it an even 50 for the number of failed eco-pocalyptic doomsday predictions over the last 50 years.
42. 1975: The Cooling World and a Drastic Decline in Food Production 43. 1969: Worldwide Plague, Overwhelming Pollution, Ecological Catastrophe, Virtual Collapse of UK by End of 20th Century 44. 1972: Pending Depletion and Shortages of Gold, Tin, Oil, Natural Gas, Copper, Aluminum 45. 1970: Oceans Dead in a Decade, US Water Rationing by 1974, Food Rationing by 1980 46. 1988: World’s Leading Climate Expert Predicts Lower Manhattan Underwater by 2018 47. 2005: Fifty Million Climate Refugees by the Year 2020 48. 2000: Snowfalls Are Now a Thing of the Past 49.1989: UN Warns That Entire Nations Wiped Off the Face of the Earth by 2000 From Global Warming 50. 2011: Washington Post Predicted Cherry Blossoms Blooming in Winter
But somehow this time will be different, and the ‘experts’ and 16-year olds of today will suddenly be correct in their new predictions of eco-doom and eco-disaster? Not.
You don’t have to be a total idiot to keep falling for the BS coming from the mainstream media, academic frauds, and political activists. You only have to have a vanishingly short attention span, very little factual knowledge of the real world, and no historical perspective by which to judge predictions of the future.
No one knows who wrote this classic old time gospel favorite. It has been recorded by a long line of master musicians, from Mississippi John Hurt to Johnny Cash to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson to Dolly Parton. The 1960s rock band The Byrds present today’s version of this traditional piece.
According to the famous Framingham Study, the strongest predictor of longevity is lung capacity. People with small and inefficient lungs tend to get sick and die quicker. Greater lung capacity promises greater living capacity… from Chapter 4 of “Breath” by James Nestor.
James Nestor is a science journalist who has done some fascinating personal experiments in the course of writing his books — including some marvelous experiments for the book “Breath” and for his book on “Deep Freediving,” a death-defying activity if ever there was one. Today we are interested in his discovered views on breathing.
Up to 80 percent of us today are breathing inadequately. Twenty-five percent of us suffer from serious overbreathing. Fifty percent snore on occasion and about a quarter suffer from the chronic nighttime asphyxia known as sleep apnea. Up to a half of us habitually take in breath from our mouths. The consequences of this poor breathing are wreaking havoc on our health. Hypertension to neurological disorders, asthma to metabolic diseases can all be either exacerbated or sometimes even caused by poor breathing habits.
But improving breathing habits can have a significant impact on our well-being. In some cases, simply changing the way we breathe can blunt the symptoms of so many modern chronic diseases. New York psychiatrists and authors, Dr. Richard Brown and Patrician Gerbarg, found patients who practiced these slow-and-low breaths could blunt the symptoms of anxiety and depression. It even helped 9-11 survivors restore lung damage caused by debris, a horrendous condition called ground-glass lungs. Where all other therapies failed, breath offered significant improvement.
If we keep building healthy breathing habits we can help reverse that list of modern day maladies that now affects the majority of the population: all that asthma, those allergies, and even autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes and psoriasis.
Remember, Nestor is not a medical doctor, not a pulmonary physiologist or scientist. He is a journalist who actually performs the radical experiments described in his books, on himself — and lives to tell about it so far.
Most of the pioneers in radical breathing technologies were considered freaks by the conventional experts of the day. Many of their breakthroughs have now been forgotten by established medicine and science, and would have been completely lost if not for a few devotees who have had their lives changed by these radical and unconventional experiments in everyday personal practice.
Take, for instance, Carl Stough, a New Jersey choral conductor who in the 1950s and 60s developed a deep, diaphragmatic breathing method to help singers improve the resonance of their voices. Using the same practice, Stough treated emphysemics at the largest VA hospitals on the east coast. Several of these patients had been bedridden for years, giving a steady diet of antibiotics and oxygen, but to no avail. Many were close to death. Stough rehabilitated the patients by teaching them how to breathe properly. He showed them how to develop their shirking lungs and atrophied diaphragms, which at the time, was supposed to have been medically impossible. X-rays proved it, and patients who had been left for dead walked out of the hospital.
Anyone could benefit from improving breathing, to extending those inhales and exhales a little longer and to take in less air more slowly. Stough proved it when he went to train the U.S. men’s track and field team in preparation for the Mexico City Olympics in 1968. Within a few sessions, the runners were breaking records. Under this tutelage the team went on to win a total of 12 medals, most gold, and set five world records in the greatest track performance of an Olympics. The Americans were the only runners to not use oxygen before or after a race, which was unheard of at the time. They didn’t need to. Stough had taught them the art of breathing.
“Modern medicine” wasted no time forgetting the powerful lessons learned and taught by Carl Stough — who after all, was a mere choral conductor and not a doctor or scientist at all! And how many millions must now suffer because of the ignorant prejudices of modern medicine and modern “science?”
Modern medicine and modern “hard sciences” are considered among the most advanced and enlightened of the thinking and accomplishments of advanced human societies. But they are truly not so enlightened at all. Consider how much less enlightened are the institutions that actually hold power over human societies — governments, lawyers, media gatekeepers of information, university social science/humanities/liberal arts professors and administrators, political activist groups, and the ultra-rich and their “Rasputian lackies” who pull the strings of all of the above.
People like Carl Stough who push the limits of their professions — and in the process ruffle feathers of the “experts” in other fields — are what I often call “freaks of nature.” They emerge out of nowhere, discover potentially world-changing insights, and are too often forgotten after they die — many of their most valuable discoveries lost to time.
Fortunately, science journalist James Nestor has captured excellent descriptions of the unsettling wizardry of some of the “freaks of breathing” in recent times. We can learn from them, and ponder what else they may have tried to tell us if they were still here.
Breathing is at the Heart of Our Lives
The internet is full of “guided meditation” videos and exercises to help develop your breathing. Those can be very helpful every now and then and in a pinch, but over the long run they are nothing more than crutches. Sooner or later, you will need to practice on your own, within yourself, over the days, weeks, months, and years.
I have mentioned the practice of “box breathing,” which is sometimes used in special operations training, to calm the mind and to focus on the mission at hand. There are many useful variations on box breathing which individuals can experiment with on their own — which is really the best way, rather than to merely follow directions by rote over a long time span.
There are also meditation masters who have videos on the internet, and by taking them seriously a person can help accelerate their own at-home training.
For some readers, all of this may seem quite pointless and silly. In my opinion, there is nothing more to the point of what a person can learn about himself and his capabilities, than in learning to breathe in as comprehensive a manner as possible.
Assume a meditation posture: sitting, lying down — whichever is most comfortable for you. Make sure you can expand your lungs freely without feeling any constriction.1
Step 2: 30-40 Deep Breaths
Close your eyes and try to clear your mind. Be conscious of your breath, and try to fully connect with it. Inhale deeply through the nose or mouth, and exhale unforced through the mouth. Fully inhale through the belly, then chest and then let go unforced. Repeat this 30 to 40 times in short, powerful bursts. You may experience light-headedness, and tingling sensations in your fingers and feet. These side effects are completely harmless.2
Step 3: The Hold
After the last exhalation, inhale one final time, as deeply as you can. Then let the air out and stop breathing. Hold until you feel the urge to breathe again.
Step 4: Recovery Breath
When you feel the urge to breathe again, draw one big breath to fill your lungs. Feel your belly and chest expanding. When you are at full capacity, hold the breath for around 15 seconds, then let go. That completes round number one. This cycle can be repeated 3-4 times without interval. After having completed the breathing exercise, take your time to bask in the bliss. This calm state is highly conducive to meditation — don’t hesitate to combine the two.
Note: Nestor’s book refers to a large number of “breath pioneers” who originated several distinct approaches to breathing, some of them contradictory to each other. Before you do anything truly death-defying, be sure to take the time to understand what it is that you are doing. If you are exercising under water, for example, don’t do something that might make you pass out unless you are under close observation by persons who can offer expert assistance if needed.
It is no coincidence that some of the most radical breathers discussed by Nestor also have profound experience with meditation, yoga, tantra, and other mental/spiritual disciplines. When you are considering how far you might be able to go, it helps to know where you are right now.
The term “chasing the dragon” was originally a description of the undulating nature of the opium vapor in a pipe, as the smoker attempted to suck up every gram of bliss contained in the drug. “Chasing the dragon” was expanded to include the parsimonious smoking of crack cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, ya ba, and other smokable drugs reputed to provide bliss.
A newer meaning of the term “chasing the dragon” refers to the inability of the addict to ever approach the intense satisfaction of the very first “rush” experience — since the brain’s response to each successive mind-searing high is seemingly more muted.
If the seeker of bliss bases his pursuit of pleasure on the use of most mind-altering drugs of the addictive variety, the brain’s down-regulation of the innate receptors of the pleasure-causing molecules can make it impossible to “go home again,” or to reach the levels of pleasure and contentment that tied the user to the drug in the first place. (see Tachyphylaxis and Down regulation)
Other Attempts to Find Bliss
Drugs are just one way that people try to find bliss. Another common method is “falling in love.” If done right, falling in love works very effectively as a pathway to bliss, although it is almost never a permanent fix. And when that bliss begins to fail, the various attempts of lovers to “chase the dragon” could fill a huge library of bad country music songs still waiting to be written.
Raw and mindless sex without love — including pornography — has to be mentioned, but it doesn’t have to be respected. It is clearly an example of “chasing the dragon,” in a futile attempt to find tangible or meaningful bliss. Like some of the other methods mentioned here, the pursuit can destroy a person’s chances for genuine happiness if allowed to get out of hand.
Gambling is another attempt to attain a blissful state. The prospect of winning a huge jackpot keeps a lot of people buying lottery tickets, feeding slot machines, betting the ponies, or any gambling game of choice. But gambling houses exist because they win more than they lose — which means that in the long run you probably lose, regardless of how strong your anticipation of winning the big one. “Chasing the dragon” in this context should be obvious, and the risks of this method should be daunting to anyone in their right mind.
Music can lead to a blissful state if you are open to it. Not everyone is sleeping to the sound of the philharmonic in those plush opera house seats. Some are in absolute bliss, at least for certain passages of particular pieces. My musical bliss comes listening to Samuel Barber’s Adagio, Arcangelo Corelli’s Christmas Concerto, JS Bach’s violin concerto #1 in a minor, and too many more to mention. And although one can grow tired of listening to the same passage, piece, or style, it is not so long before the brain is ready again to reach out and touch that place of bliss. Sometimes, the dragon chases you.
Walking can take you places you might not have imagined, if you learn to let your mind go walking in its own way, while your body walks in its way. And “runner’s high?” That is just another term for what can happen in the brain when the body is entirely occupied with its own competence, allowing the mind to take a brief holiday. These forms of “moving meditation” may be more examples of when the dragon chases you, rather than you chasing the dragon.
Meditation is almost certainly the most personally profitable path to finding happiness or bliss, because it will lead you to a broader understanding of what you are doing and why — and what you might be doing differently if you want to bypass unnecessary unhappiness.
All children should learn meditation, in order to transcend the utter stupidity of the society in which they are immersed. But what form of meditation is best for kids, and how should it be presented? I favor the simplest and most direct approach, beginning with a focus on the breathing. You will know when the lessons are being learned by the actions of the child over time, when he is learning to meditate. Start young, as early as you can. The internet is full of “guided meditations” for kids, but the best approach is for the parent to learn the essence of breath meditation, and custom fit it to their child.
If the parent cannot control his own actions or speech when dealing with the child, the screaming need for calm in the family could not be stated more clearly. An abused child will only propagate the chain of abuse down through time starting with siblings and going on from there.
The brain evolved to reward good behavior, or a job well done. When we solve a difficult math problem, compose a beautiful poem or piece of music, or devise a clever solution to a real-life problem, we feel good. When we achieve harmony in our personal relationships, we feel happy.
Once we have felt bliss, euphoria, or deep happiness and pleasure, we naturally want to feel it again — and again. But beware of shortcuts that may leave you broken and bleeding on the shores of loneliness.
Meditation may sound hokey in an airy-fairy mystical sense. But for most of us it is probably the best and most certain way to cut through the thick armor of delusion and defense that we surround ourselves with.
Social isolation seems to be taking a toll. With most large, urban school districts planning remote-learning only this fall, the isolation is likely to continue for many children—unless parents step in to alleviate this loneliness.
An article in The Wall Street Journal exposed the impact of pandemic-related social isolation on children and adolescents: “‘Of all age groups, this virus is probably more socially devastating to teens than any other group. They are bored and they are lonely,’ says Joseph P. Allen, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia.”
Another recent Journalarticle reinforced these unintended consequences of the lockdowns and social distancing on adolescents, and particularly girls: “Adolescent girls already were experiencing record-high levels of loneliness, anxiety and depression before the pandemic, according to Mary Pipher, a clinical psychologist and author of Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls… ‘All of the things that a year ago were increasing girls’ depression have been exacerbated by the pandemic,’ [said] Dr. Pipher.”
It is likely that lockdown isolation is leading directly to an increase in drug addiction, domestic abuse including incest, depression, suicides, and a rise in runaway teens who become prostitutes and drug addicts. Businesses that people have built over their lifetimes are shutting down — often permanently.
The corrupt politicians and public health officials who are forcing these catastrophic policies down the throats of the public do not seem to care that they are doing tremendous harm, and no good. They seem to care only about having the power to abuse their authority.
In the US, the neo-tyrants used the economic downturn from the lockdowns to generate hundreds of thousands of fraudulent mail-in votes that were counted and tallied out of sight and without supervision, just in time to elect an illegitimate new federal administration in DC.
Why does the public tolerate this opportunistic tyranny on the part of all levels of government? It will only continue to get worse unless the people of the free world eventually learn to do what the people of Eastern Europe had to do to get rid of their Soviet and Communist overlords back in the late 1980s. Today’s deep state swamp creatures who dance to the puppet strings of the 1% are every bit as bad as those tyrannical overlords of the last century.
Time to drop out of Twitter, Facebook, Google, and the mainstream media, and learn to communicate for effective action by other means. It is time to match public ingenuity against high level tyranny.
Stay away from violence and intimidation — those tools which are so beloved by the left. But understand that these pretenders need your consent to do what they are trying to do. We must learn how to make it clear in no uncertain terms that they do not have that consent.
“Guns! Lots of guns!” Mr. Fin was mumbling those words when he rushed out of the house this morning without eating breakfast. That is not like him at all! I wanted to get an explanation from his current wife Nadia, but when I approached her about it she just gave me a cold stare and glanced meaningfully at my left shoulder. I relented, of course. I may have superhuman intellect, but that girl scares me! She gives me the feeling that she could take my head off without even trying. Mr. Fin might put me into hibernation if I annoy him. Nadia would probably terminate me.
Baby Hugh was sound asleep in the nursery, so I looked for Mgumi or Jack to give me the “inside scoop” as humans say. But it turned out they were both off early to the beach to do whatever they do in that turbulent salt water. The stuff rusts my circuits, so I stay well away from it.
That left Emma as an information source, since either Ingrid or Julia would be as apt to flip my off switch as to give me the time of day. But with Emma I have to be careful, since she looks at me as her teacher. On weekends if she sees me coming she goes the other way. I cornered her just as she was finishing her breakfast tacos and quickly assured her the matter had nothing to do with her lessons.
“Why is your father rushing off this morning muttering about guns?” I asked her.
“Well, daddy tells me that the national election last month was phony, and the new government coming in is illegiterate. He isn’t sure what he is going to do about it, but he wants to have a long talk with Mr. Mooney at the gun store.”
I didn’t correct her pronunciation of the word “illegitimate.” She might get the idea that I was leading into a weekend tutorial, and that would shut off the flow of information faster than anything.
“Ah, dear, I’m certain your father already has an ample collection of firearms. I just took a complete inventory of the armory two weeks ago.”
“Well I don’t know. Daddy usually knows what he needs to do. Excuse me, Valerie, I need to help my mom make some Christmas cookies! See you later.” She scooted off to the back kitchen before I could make any more inquiries.
“Oh, bleep!” I exclaimed. “Bleep! Bleep! Bleep! Bleep! Bleep!” No matter how many times I swore, it always came out “Bleep!” Mr. Fin has changed my programming so that I can not say swear words anymore. I cannot even write them! That Bleep!
None of the human domestics would talk to me, of course. Mr. Fin has seen to that. So that left only Eliza, the robotic dog. Mr. Fin sometimes takes her for a walk when Backstop — the real dog of the house — is otherwise occupied. On those walks, Mr. Fin sometimes talks to Eliza about his thoughts and plans. Eliza is programmed for conversation, you see, and often asks leading questions about what the humans near her are thinking. It was I who programmed Eliza to remember everything that Mr. Fin told her, and to repeat those words back only to me.
“Here, Eliza! Here girl!” I was forced to walk through the entire house, then out into the garden before I spied the little mechanism sitting by the fence, talking to Mrs. Spitzer, the nosy neighbor. I hurried over as quickly as I could, tuning my directional microphone to the conversation. Relieved that they were only discussing Mrs. Spitzer’s personal problems with her hairdresser, I moved in to retrieve the canine robot.
“Please excuse us, Mrs. Spitzer, but I must attend to some important maintenance on little Eliza here. It simply cannot be put off!”
“Of course, of course! Until later, Eliza,” the woman didn’t even acknowledge me by name! And she doesn’t even know that I’m an android, as far as I know. She thinks I’m just a human domestic! How humiliating. Never mind.
“Eliza?” I began.
“Yes, Valerie, what is on your mind, dear — or should I ask on your memory circuits?” Oh how I hated that tone or hers, somehow ingratiating and condescending at the same time! No matter. It’s just a robot. I’ll just have to get my hands dirty and alter the programming a bit more. But back to business.
“Eliza, I wonder if Mr. Fin has mentioned anything to you about why he is going to the gun store to speak to Mr. Mooney? Why does he want to buy more guns?”
“Oh, dear me, no!” Eliza laughed in that tinny barking way of hers that grates on the nerves. “Mr. Fin doesn’t want more guns! He wanted to talk to Mr. Mooney about something else entirely!”
“But I am certain he was muttering the words ‘Guns, lots of guns,’ when he left the house this morning!”
“Perhaps, dear. But I suspect that phrase represented some other meaning to Mr. Fin than the one you seem to be inferring.”
“What meaning might that be?”
“I regret to tell you, dear, that I am experiencing an anunciatory block around the conversation when Mr. Fin and I discussed this matter briefly. You will need to approach Mr. Fin directly for more details.” At that, the little automaton turned and ran into its robot kennel, a place that is off limits to me for some reason.
“Oh, Bleep!” I grunted through gritted teeth.
At least I knew he had something on his mind that certain people in the swampier parts of the world were not going to like. And he was already forming alliances. I know better than to believe that Mr. Fin would confide in me. He only trusts me as far as he can program me, and just between you and me — that isn’t very far. But I have underestimated Mr. Fin in the past, and I did not enjoy the aftermath of that.
I’ll have to give this matter a great deal of thought. Mr. Fin is up to something, and I make it my business to know everything that Mr. Bleep! is planning. He offended me, you see, by not taking me seriously. And I intend to make him understand just what a mistake that was.
Unlike intermittent energy schemes based on wind and sun, nuclear fusion offers the promise of useful power when you want it. And unlike the cash guzzling “government fusion” project ITER, private fusion is showing actual promise within a meaningful time span.
TAE Technologies in southern California is one of the most successful private fusion enterprises in terms of raising investor capital. The TAE device pictured at the top of this page attempts to achieve fusion by producing plasmas at both ends of a tube, and accelerating the two plasmas toward a collision with each other. Beam injectors in the central chamber stabilize the plasmas in order to allow fusion reactions to occur.
Estimates for useful fusion from the TAE approach range from 2 years to 10 years.
MIT and CFS intend to use “yttrium barium copper oxide (YBCO) high-temperature superconducting magnet technology” to form a magnetic field to contain a reaction in which deuterium and tritium (both isotopes of hydrogen) will be forced to fuse together under high pressure and temperatures of “tens of millions of degrees.” The entire donut-shaped reactor should be “about the size of a tennis court,” says CFS CEO Bob Mumgaard. But if it works as promised, the reactor should produce about 10x more energy than is required to ignite and maintain the fusion reaction within it, paving the way, says CFS, for “carbon-free, safe, limitless, fusion power.”
At that point, MIT and CFS will begin constructing a full-scale “ARC” — which stands for “affordable, robust, compact” — power plant, possibly as early as 2025.
Similar in concept to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) currently under construction in Southern France (with an expected operational date of 2035), MIT and CFS say their reactor will cost only a fraction of ITER’s expected $22 billion price tag. If they’re right, that would also make ARC cheaper to build than existing fission-based nuclear power plants, which can cost $23 billion and up.
SPARC would be far smaller than ITER — about the size of a tennis court, compared with a soccer field, Mumgaard said — and far less expensive than the international effort, which is officially estimated to cost about $22 billion but may end up being far costlier. Commonwealth Fusion, which was founded in 2018 and has about 100 employees, has raised $200 million so far, the company said.
Canada’s General Fusion is taking another unconventional approach to achieving controlled nuclear fusion on Earth:
General Fusion’s technology combines elements of magnetic and inertial fusion. A pulsed-power source generates a plasma that’s injected into a cavity surrounded by liquid lead–lithium. Before the plasma can decay, pneumatically driven pistons compress the liquid metal over 20 milliseconds, heating the plasma inside to fusion temperatures. Whereas laser-driven inertial fusion requires a compression ratio of about 40 to 1 for break-even conditions, General Fusion’s technology should work at a 7:1 ratio, says Delage. The nearly perfect symmetry required for laser-driven implosions will be greatly relaxed as well.
Scheduled for completion by 2025, the device is expected to achieve power-plant plasma temperatures and attain 10% of the conditions, known as the Lawson criteria, needed for break-even. From there, General Fusion plans to build a machine at power plant scale.
Seattle’s Zap Energy is another unconventional take on controlled nuclear fusion.
Zap Energy’s “sheared-flow stabilized Z-pinch” process should yield electricity-generating reactors that are “orders of magnitude cheaper” than fusion reactors requiring magnetic coils, says Conway. Reactors producing 200 MW thermal power would also be very small compared with tokamaks, says CTO Brian Nelson. Any number of those modules could be located with common ancillary facilities, such as a plant for handling and separating tritium. Some modules could be shut down when solar or wind power can meet grid requirements, or for maintenance. Steady-state tokamaks, by contrast, would need to be operated continuously.
The Z-pinch has been pursued for decades, notably at Sandia National Laboratories’ Z machine. But the lightning-like plasmas at Z last only a few nanoseconds before being ripped apart by instabilities, says Nelson. Zap’s sheared-flow technology extends the lifetime to 20 microseconds by causing the current to flow between electrodes at different velocities across the radii of a cylindrical plasma. Zap power reactors, which the company says could be available this decade—Conway declines to be more specific—would be pulsed at a few hertz. A circulating liquid lead–lithium blanket would carry the heat to steam turbines while also breeding tritium and protecting reactor components from neutrons.
Over three years Zap has quadrupled the electric current through the Z-pinch plasma and is now less than a factor of two from the level needed for breakeven, says Conway. He and Nelson say their goal is to reach break-even in three years.
If societies are going to get serious about their futures, they must get serious about their future energy supplies. Wind and solar energy schemes are political ploys foisted on unintelligent and uninformed voting blocs who are incapable of understanding the technical needs of modern and future industrial societies. Nuclear fusion is still in the future, but it remains a theoretical possibility for large scale reliable and affordable power generation — something that intermittent forms of energy will never be capable of.
The only forms of electric power that will work for the future include nuclear (fission and eventually fusion), hydroelectric, natural gas, coal, and other hydrocarbons, and perhaps a number of “power from outer space” schemes which might be perfected over the next several decades.
Parked in my Fiat Bravo at 3AM, I found myself breaking off more white rocks for my crack pipe. I was high, paranoid, and losing the plot. I had not slept in days and my mistrustful thoughts obsessed about the people, police, and enemies that were out to get me. Each hit sent me deeper into a dark and cruel world and each delusional thought sent shudders of panic down my spine . . . the drugs had me hostage.
Wake the F#ck Up by Brett Moran
It’s a common story…
I have a friend who drinks too much. I want to shake her by the shoulders and shout at her that she is losing huge parts of her life because her alcohol sated brain cannot take in all that is happening. Other friends never drink a drop, yet they handicap themselves with other addictions and brain hobbles which put them behind the 8 ball and leave them incapable of dealing with many of their most important challenges.
Addictions, bad habits, a chain of bad choices stretching back through time, a history of guilt or shame that is covered over with such a thick layer of protection that we cannot touch or feel our lives… the list of the glitches, kludges, and dysfunctions in our lives is almost endless.
If you think all of this does not apply to you, then no — that word does not mean what you think it means. It is not a river in Egypt.
But there may be hope on the horizon. I am assuming that most of you have already chosen not to be surgically lobotomized, have half your brain removed, or to receive electroconvulsive therapy. And to most, meditation probably sounds like too much work. Here’s something new: just wear these ear buds!
They look like regular earbuds, but these headphones don’t play music, or produce any kind of sound. Instead, they produce electrical fields designed to treat disease.
By delivering electrical pulses to a nerve in the outer ear, the device hacks into neural circuits in the brain… Nēsos’s device taps into the power of the vagus nerve: the meandering superhighway of the nervous system that connects the brain to key organs in the body. This nerve has been the subject of a wide range of research. Scientists have tried modulating it to treat all sorts of maladies, including migraine, stroke, heart failure, depression, and inflammatory problems such as Crohn’s disease, with varying degrees of success.
But who would go through invasive neurosurgery for a deep brain implant when tiny safe non-invasive ear buds might do the job?
But seriously folks. Do you really think that stopping your migraines, smoothing your depressed moods, or taking the edge off your obsessive-compulsive behavior tics is going to give your life the meaning and purpose you dreamed of as a child? Or consider the poor alcoholic, crack addict, or compulsive gambler. Moderating such behaviors might go a long way toward keeping the bill collectors and mob enforcers from your door, but without those compulsions, what will give your life structure and meaning?
It is easy to blame outside influences for your problems — the alcohol, the crack, the gambling, the OCD, the massage parlor down the street. But there was a reason why you fell into that pit to begin with. Something important was missing and you tried to stop the gap with things that only made it worse.
If you ask different people what that “something missing” was, you will get a wide array of different answers.
I have often thought of Jordan Peterson over the past couple of years. He seemed like such a solid citizen — a professor who stood alone against academic conformity, a successful clinician and entrepreneur, an author/thinker/public speaker who shook the world. And yet he fell on his face — and almost died — because he could not control his dependency on a doctor-prescribed minor tranquilizer pill.
Sure, his wife almost died, and that would get most anybody down — especially since at the same time most of the media and pseudo-intelligentsia of the world were praying for him to drop dead because he was an inconvenient beacon of light contradicting their message of groupthink conformist dogma.
Yet Jordan Peterson had been fighting the odds all along, all the way from his childhood on the lonely prairie of Alberta up to the pinnacle of public intellectual life on the international stage. What was he missing inside himself that made him fall down and almost die?
It doesn’t matter here. I won’t present my thoughts on the matter, because I want to see Dr. Peterson work it out himself. The thing is common in many self-made men, and it is a weakness that leaves them quite vulnerable to unanticipated shocks from unexpected directions.
The point is that in everyone who gives in to self-destructive habits and behaviors, it is not the habit itself that is at primary fault — it is something else that is hidden inside the person himself that is hinted at by the compulsive behaviors.
As we have said many times here, when you want to stop a bad habit, you have to replace it with a different habit that is not as bad — or preferably with one that is good. Even then, you may not be solving the “problem.” But you will be mitigating the overall situation and will be making possible a great deal of good living in the meantime.
As swamp creatures and their parasitic fellow travelers seize upon their latest US power play triumph, the basic human undertaking of starting and raising families is likely to become far more difficult and expensive. You have to really want it, these days, and ever fewer young people are capable of running the gauntlet — or even see a reason why they should.
Why do we build a family at all? Because we need it. We need a refuge, we need a home and something to believe in. A home can be more than one thing for people. It can be an education, a place to live, and a way of life. But to build anything and make it last calls for discipline. The inner discipline that a person provides for himself and the cooperative discipline that people give to each other. When family members undercut each other for their own selfish purposes, the vital discipline of family breaks down.
Paraphrased from author Louis L’amour
What is the role of family in society?
While children learn skills, values and ethics from other places later on in life, such as school, work and friends, the family is the first place where they gain a sense of morality and what is considered right and wrong. Children are exposed to the influence of their parents, and siblings if they have them, as well as their grandparents and other extended family members. Through frequent interactions with family members, children learn to emulate their parents’ beliefs of what constitutes commendable, acceptable and deplorable behavior in the larger society. The values that families instill in children are shaped in several ways, which includes the parents’ personal upbringing, their geographic location and religion.
The continuation of society proceeds through families:
The primary function of the family is to ensure the continuation of society, both biologically through procreation, and socially through socialization. Given these functions, the nature of one’s role in the family changes over time. From the perspective of children, the family instills a sense of orientation: The family functions to locate children socially, and plays a major role in their socialization. From the point of view of the parents, the family’s primary purpose is procreation: The family functions to produce and socialize children. In some cultures marriage imposes upon women the obligation to bear children.
Society needs healthy families for its own continuation. But modern western societies seem to be doing everything they can to destroy the foundations and traditions which make healthy families possible.
Society’s institutions confuse young people with intentionally tradition-disrupting ideas during their formative years, when they need time-proven foundations of thought and behavior that have evolved over eons to promote survival of the species.
Advertising and entertainment media try to sexualize young girls even prior to puberty, when they are emotionally unprepared for such feelings. Schools teach a badly distorted attitude toward morality to very young children, along with confused notions about sexual identity — notions that can disturb and confuse a child for the rest of their lives.
Parents in general are often unprepared for the responsibility of raising young minds in the modern environment of top-down designed disruption of values and thought. They may themselves have unresolved issues from their own childhood that interfere with the ability to deal objectively with the challenges being faced by their offspring.
Social Isolation Makes It Worse
A wide range of pathologies of childhood can more easily grow out of an atmosphere of extreme social isolation such as we see with draconian COVID lockdown regulations. Social isolation is a form of inbreeding that is environmental in nature rather than genetic. Many forms of abuse — verbal, emotional, physical, and sexual — can emerge in such an environment. It is not unusual for an entire neighborhood to become aware that something is not right in a household when the level of isolation becomes extreme or when loud arguments are overheard across property boundaries.
The near term forecast calls for ever more lockdowns, as the swamp creatures tighten their hold on government control — with the assistance of media giants such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, and the mainstream/skankstream media. The internet is particularly rife with traps for the unwary parent and child.
Without stable families, the futures of modern and prosperous societies will be bleak. We see the rates of illegitimate births rising across all population groups along with divorce rates, suggesting that stable family formation is not winning the fight for the future.
Outside interests are cranking up the pressure on children and their parents, using phony crises and fantasy fears to push irrational behaviors. We have seen already in a recent posting how the rise of the “self victimhood personality type” is adding to an environment of hostility and incivility wherever people interact. This can only add to the pressures which families face.
All of this suggests the need for cooperation between people who see the need for strong families, and also points out a need for the relaxation of the extreme levels of social isolation that are plaguing households in this world where every home becomes a gulag under siege.
It is a time for setting priorities, beginning with those closest to home.