Archive for November 12, 2012
Scientists understandably don’t have much patience for the notion of extrasensory perception. Yet evidence persists in the psychological literature that people’s bodies sometimes unconsciously “predict” unpredictable future events. These visceral responses don’t appear to be the result of sheer chance. That’s the result of a meta-analysis of earlier papers on this subject conducted by a trio of researchers led by Julia Mossbridge of Northwestern University.
They started with 49 articles but, in bending over backwards to take the most conservative possible approach, tossed out 23 that, for various reasons, didn’t meet their standards. The effect remained. By “effect,” I’m not talking about people having the ability to read palms or tea leaves. What the studies measured was physiological activity—e.g., heart rate or skin conductance—in participants who, for instance, might have been shown a series of images, some harmless and others frightening. Using computer programs and statistical techniques, experimenters have found that, even before being shown a troubling image, participants sometimes display physiological changes —a faster heart rate, for example—of the kind that would be expected only after seeing the image, and not just because the subjects know a scary snake picture is coming sooner or later.
Nobody has been able to explain this phenomenon, although some scientists believe it’s the result of researchers somehow tipping off their subjects. In quality studies, however, images have been randomized and even the experimenters don’t know what’s coming—unless the same physiological prediction mechanism is at work in them. The remarkably significant and homogenous results of this meta-analysis suggest that the unexplained anticipatory effect is relatively consistent, even if small in size. The cause of this anticipatory activity, which undoubtedly lies within the realm of natural physical processes as opposed to supernatural or paranormal ones, remains to be determined.
Unfortunately, people aren’t very good at hearing what their bodies may be telling them, even when getting the message could mean averting disaster—which has led Mossbridge to wonder if there might be value in a feedback device of some kind, perhaps in the form of a Smartphone app attuned to your body’s alerts.
There is one word that is not well known – but needs to be. The word is "seva," which in Sanskrit means "service." I’ve learned that service is not just any kind of service, but rather selfless service performed with a sense of gratitude. It is service infused with kindness and respect for the ones served, and it arises from a place of peace and love. If we do our work and carry out relationships in accordance with service, the world would change profoundly. Service is not about taking a few hours out of our busy week to help others. It’s not something to be turned on and off, as if kindness, compassion, and gratitude are qualities to be doled out in limited amounts.
Service is about designing our lives in such a way that we consistently serve others selflessly. Every action, every interaction should be service. This includes our work lives. Professionals of every stripe – lawyers, doctors, dentists, and others – often assume a distant or even superior attitude toward their clients or patients. They fail to connect with the other person’s humanity. For caregivers to take such an attitude is especially sad because for such professions, the rewards of service are great.
If a doctor, for example, greets a patient with an attitude of compassionate service, with actions and words that essentially say, "I am thankful to you for finding me worthy of service to you, and for providing the means of my livelihood," then the doctor will likely find that the patient already feels better before anything else is done or said. Service is not selective. It does not evaluate our fellow beings and select some for care and respect while ignoring others. It treats all humans with compassion and tenderness. Taking up an attitude of service with gratitude provides us with many rewards in all four dimensions of our lives: physiological, mental, social, and spiritual.
In regard to our physical health, service is a form of positivity, which has been linked to a number of physiological benefits. These include a decrease in stress hormones, lowered blood pressure, and improved immune system functioning. Practicing selfless service with gratitude also increases our levels of the feel-good hormones prolactin and dehydroepiandrosterone.
Socially, when we let service guide our interactions with others, we create open spaces where people feel acknowledged, respected, and cared for, as their barriers come down. To practice service is to recognize the natural bond between ourselves and others. Kindness and compassion take us out of our selfish egos and expand us, making us larger. We strengthen our relationships and friendships, while creating new ones. Socially, everyone benefits from service.
Mentally and spiritually, service promotes powerful happiness-creating emotions – kindness, caring, and gratitude. This not only brings profound karmic benefits, it infuses our lives with meaning and value, lifting us up spiritually along with those we serve. By profoundly affecting all four of our dimensions, service builds health, peace, harmony, and joy in our lives.
My friends, I urge you to undertake all of your activities, personal and professional, in the spirit of service. To do so is to live by your heart. Without striving, without effort, you will be the recipient of many priceless rewards.
Act, React, but Never Try. This really makes no sense to us. We have always been taught to try hard, to keep trying and never give up. In order to succeed, we have to give it our all. Otherwise, we won’t make it in life. We always worked hard in order to be successful and it has paid off. In order to get it, in order for your goal to arrive in your life by itself, you must first let go. In nature, nothing is forced. All things occur and manifest themselves from their own ‘seed potentials’. There is a natural potential in everything, in each of us, which grows of itself. Sometimes we only need to cultivate it for our seed potential to realize itself. There must be no Self behind action; there must be no ‘me,’ no ‘I’ which forces the action for its own sake. This is what we call unconditioned effort, which is very different from a conditioned effort that may have its roots in our past experience, as when our parents instructed us—thinking they were doing the right thing—to push us to get results for the sake of succeeding and what is succeeding? Is it not personal happiness and contentment that we have each come here to find? You do not want to know that you have fulfilled your own potential, like a tiger catching its prey? There is no Self directing the effort of the tiger. It is an action based upon unconditioned effort or non-action, which is the natural seed potential of the tiger. It is No Mind.
We all have natural abilities and talents. We need only to not try for these inner potentialities to manifest themselves, just as a seed needs no effort or force to grow into a tree, since the tree, potentially, is in the seed. Therefore, each of us has our own tree in our birth-seed. And with natural, unconditioned effort, we allow it to spring forth and grow. Sometimes it is difficult to see the tree in the seed.
This reminds of to just be in the moment and not think about the goal or the result. Don’t block the effort by trying too hard and overcompensating. When we try too hard, even to find God, all we find is Scripture and not the experience and that’s like looking into the cloudy water, isn’t it? I once heard a priest give a sermon that emphasized letting go in order to experience God directly. It really resonated with me.
We find the cloudy water and lose sight of the bottom of the pond. These ancient paradoxes come from truths that have been with humanity for thousands of years, since we first discovered what the ancient masters called the self-nature, or what you might call spiritual awareness. We all share the same seed potential of enlightenment, it is in our genes. We all seek the something more. These paradoxes guide us in developing our full potential. You learning application of this basic idea of not trying will allow your full seed potential to sprout and grow. Know your potential, and let it manifest of its own accord without thinking what you should do or how you should have performed, or thinking what everyone else says you should do. So what we really needed to do is eliminate all the shoulds and expectations that we and others forced upon us. Maybe all those times we wasted being sick or stressed out could have been avoided.
Pressure itself is not bad, for even as water flows between rocks in a stream, it flows with more force due to the natural pressure created by the rocks. The water reacts naturally to the obstacles in its path. The stream does not need a pump to push the water downstream, and all the water will eventually end up in the same place. Recognize that your actions and reactions to the world around you create a natural flow and force. When encountering the rocks in your stream of life, the pressure will increase as it does in the stream, but know that this is natural. Don’t fight it by trying to stop it. Simply move with it until there is calm water, and then you will act with greater efficiency. All you need to do is remove your conditioned artificial idea of having to try to pump the water. The ‘I’ produces the artificial pump to force the water to where it would have gone naturally if left alone, just as a seed will become a tree even when you pay no attention to it. When we perform by just letting go and losing self in the moment, we actually perform better. That’s what the zone and peak performance is all about.
Our minds are trained from birth to be overly analytical. We over-think and over-analyze; we feel we must identify and name everything, categorize, and associate to understand how each thing fits into our world. We never objectively perceive reality as it is. We perceive, act, and react as we have been conditioned through a lifetime of environmental and genetic cues. We block our intuitions, inspirations, creativity. Where’s My Zen (higher perceptions and spiritual awareness). We simply lose our Zen and inevitably suffer the consequences. Convinced that we’ve been taught properly, we assume that any perceived shortcomings are our own personal failures. We think we’re just not trying hard enough, so we try harder. Many of us try so hard we become stressed out. We shut down our creative flow and inhibit our natural abilities. Our vision becomes jaded. Our emotions, dulled. Our bodies, tired. We literally worry ourselves sick. We no longer move through life with the fluency and vibrancy of youth. We lose the play. We lose the “flow” by over-trying, over-thinking, and over- analyzing everything and everyone. We begin to look for a way to once again find our inner contentment and ponder the question, “Where’s my Zen?”
Experiencing your Zen breaks the illusion and limitations of the overly analytical mind, so through No Mind you can experience the mind’s full, limitless potential. It liberates your natural, inherent abilities and talents, without effort. It allows you to become aware of a lifetime of conditioning so you can begin to live and experience unconditional life made possible by knowing where your Zen is. Only then can you see who you really are, fully express yourself, and attain peak performance. You then live in a new spiritual awareness and discover the full potential of your own mind-body dynamic—the breadth of your natural abilities and talents.
Awareness liberated from the constraints of your conditioned self, your ego or I-illusion, is then free to flow into all areas of your life—sports, health, business, relationships, spirituality, and academics—leading to reduced stress, peak performance and deep inner contentment. A liberated awareness is the key to realizing enlightenment. We realize that there can be no literal answer to the question, “Where’s my Zen?” We can only experience it. We are born enlightened, then we lose it. Now, following the path of No Mind, we can experience it again. Master Nomi opens the “gateless gate.”
Zen Attitude is inspired by the cosmos. It is inspired by the natural world developed for the human world. Perfection of humanness is the whole as a part. Potentiality that is inherent in all those of strong will. All those who pursue the Way seeking liberation, seeking release from bondage, seeking one’s own destiny; followers in the Way where all masters have passed. Nothing is hidden in the sacred teachings. There are no special orders, no esoteric doctrine, no mystical powers and no eternal supremacy. There is nothing to cling to, only one’s determination in the realization of truth. Realization of enlightenment is a quite laughable state, nonsense riddles all grasped with all humility of the accomplishment.
There are no sins. Evil is strictly the act of mind. There are no prayers. Ultimate desire and hope are within. There are no graces. One must sanctify oneself. There is no faith other than one’s own determination. There are no prophet’s words. Attachments to ideas hinder the path. There is freedom of faith, yet there remains only doubt. Now there is no doubt and world religions exist simultaneously. The world created a hundred ways. History has many stories. Where in lies the absolute truth? Condemning one condemns another. This is truth and that is false exists only as an independent belief. Absolute truth needs no source. Absolute truth needs no label. Labels manifest prejudices and as such are hindrances. Recognizing truth as truth appears as a mystical inner journey.
A question of faith, a question of belief and when ones “Sees” faith and belief disappear; yet truth is simple found everywhere yet nowhere; like dying of thirst while in a sea of fresh water. Attitude is thought. Attitude is feelings. Attitude is a state of mind. Zen dispels all attitudes. So…Zen attitude is its very absence.