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Posts Tagged ‘Knowledge’

I’m continually amazed at the power of the human mind.  Its ability to process data and discern minute details is unparalleled.  Cray, the largest maker of super-computers (at least at one point in history), made computers that filled an entire room, took thousands of gallons of cooling fluids, all to process data at a fraction of the speed of the human mind.  Granted, their super-cooled CPU’s didn’t get bored.

I get bored sometimes, and when I do, I might play video games.  I’m not much into the violent stuff, but I like the stuff that challenges your hand-eye coordination. One program I liked (for the XBox-360) was Pro Gotham Racing.  I liked this partially because many of the race courses were modeled after neighborhoods in the 5 boroughs of NY that I know so well.  It’s an extra-special treat when you get to race an exotic sports car down a city street you have driven down in real life, in a regular car.

Sometimes, you’d be challenged with a race that would just kick your butt.  And so you’d restart, and it would kick your butt again and you would restart again, and so on and so forth for far too many hours.  But… if you stuck with it, that great little brain we have, would start to notice minute patterns.  In one race, I noticed that I got further, if on the very first turn, I crashed into the rear of the leading car (effectively taking them out of the race).  In fact, you couldn’t do well at all in that race unless you took out the front-runners on the first turn.  I don’t know how I arrived at those conclusions (lie, yes I do, trial and error over multiple restarts), but they proved to be true.  (full disclosure… I never buy the cheat-books… that would spoil all of the fun).

I find that this gaming mindset spills over into other areas of my life.  I program computers for a living, and the same faculty that helps me figure out what to do correctly, in a game, is the one that helps me figure out what is wrong with a computer program… or, my car, when it breaks down by the side of the road.  I don’t know how I do it, but its a little like those CSI videos, where you sort of ‘gaze’ inside to see how the bullet entered into the victim and nicked the aorta, you just know where the problem is coming from.

They say we only use about 10% of the capability of our minds.  I’m thinking it is maybe less!  Through the practice of meditation, I’ve learned that there is a way of directly ‘knowing’ something, without taking the ‘long way’ around through logical understanding.  There was a great book that I read several times when growing up called ‘A Wrinkle in Time’.  In the book, they gave this analogy… they said ‘imagine that you have a string stretched between the fingers of your two hands.  And, imagine that an ant walks across the string from one hand to the other.  It is a long way that the ant has to crawl.  But, if you were to bring your hands together, the ant could step from the start point to the end point without traversing the middle.’ (not an exact quote, I’m just remembering here).

We are used to the scenario where we start off not knowing something, then we get a bunch of books, do a bunch of reading, then eventually, we learn something.  But what if that wasn’t the only way to learn?  What if you could suddenly just know something, like in the movie, ‘the Matrix’, when they download a Kung Fu program, or a Helicopter Pilot program?

Well, in fact, it is possible!  The human mind is a much more capable beast than we give it credit for.  The only reason we don’t see this is that we don’t believe it is possible… we don’t test the envelop!  If you study with an advanced teacher… or study on your own, but seriously read the works of the advanced teachers, then you might experience this.  What happens is that they touch your awareness and download a ‘block of attention’ to your mind, just like downloading a zip file of some incredible research paper to your computer’s hard-drive.  In formal lingo they call this the ‘direct transmission of the dharma’.

By itself, that zip file sitting on your hard-drive is just taking up space.  If you don’t attempt to unzip it, or access it in some way, it’s not going to do you any good.  But, if you put your attention to it, you can gain access to the contents.  So, if an advanced teacher transmits a block of attention to you, you won’t immediately know what to do with it.  But, if they have at least given you an idea of the subject of the knowledge they gave you, then you will start to read the books, and do the background research on the topic… and then, this is when the magic kicks in… as you begin to acquaint yourself with the basics, you suddenly grasp the deep esoteric meaning of the topic… you unzip the zip file!  It is all plain as day!  It is as if you had always known this knowledge, but you’d forgotten it and had just remembered!

Wow!

People who learn how to harness this power of the mind may advance very quickly. It takes focus and hard work, but the payoffs are immense!  If you are not decoding the secrets of the Universe, then either you are not taking advantage of the power of your mind, or you are focusing it in the wrong direction.  I mean, it is nice to know the optimal way to cache the CBS video player’s content over a slow connection (Survivor/Amazing Race – hint, pause the player while it is playing, pausing while it has stalled will cause problems), but there are far more interesting things you could be comprehending!

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There is an old saying that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.  I don’t think there is any guarantee that goes along with that by the way!  You could be ‘ready Freddy’, and nothing happens.  But, my experience has been that if you are eager, sufficiently humble, and willing to work hard, then teachers will appear. How?  I don’t know, it’s a mystery!

If you want to learn something… anything… then you need to put that thing forefront in your consciousness.  Get every book you can get on the subject, attend seminars, and subscribe to magazines.  That will put the subject in your consciousness, and connect you with other people who have the same subject in their consciousness.  In so doing, you may come across some small shred of information that leads you to a person willing to teach you what you want to know. You just have to be willing to pay for lessons, or apprentice yourself to them… whatever they may require.

I wanted to learn this instrument called the shakuhachi.  It is an ethnic Japanese flute made out of bamboo (the Chinese have very similar flutes), and it is notoriously hard to play.  So, I researched them and found a local guy in NY who made and sold them.  I offered to buy one and he came to my apartment, played the flute for me, since I couldn’t even get a sound out of it yet, and he told me about a local teacher I could take lessons from if I wished.  I researched the teacher and found that he was the most advanced teacher for this instrument outside of Japan, right here, in my city. Soon, I was learning, what I wanted to learn, from one of the best teachers in the world.

The same methodology has worked for me when wanting to learn about boats and long distance sailing, fencing, martial arts, skydiving, film editing, bicycle mechanics and many many other subjects.

When I became interested in meditation and self-discovery, I met a teacher and I didn’t even know that I was looking for, nor even interested in having, a teacher. But there he was.  Later, I recognized that the meeting was just the culmination of one or more years of conversation that my deeper being, my soul, had been having, unbeknownst to my conscious mind, with this very same teacher.

So many of my ‘big ideas’ weren’t even my own ideas.  They were suggestions the teacher made during my dreams.  He had this ability to visit people in dreams, sometimes thousands of people simultaneously, and carry on a dialog. “Say, if you’re looking for a career change, why don’t you think about going into computers?”. “Say, if you want to be happier, find true love, why don’t you consider learning meditation?”.

I studied with my meditation teacher for 13 years (in the physical).  And one of the more interesting things he taught me is that a teacher doesn’t really teach that much through the explicit instructions that they give… oh sure, that’s important information, but the real teaching is on a much more esoteric level; teaching happens on a vibratory level.  When you spend time with a person who knows what you want to know, their mind vibrates at a certain level, and at that level of vibration is the knowledge that you seek.

When you spend time with a teacher, a part of you is making note of the vibratory energy of their awareness.  If you then try to bring your own vibration up to the level of theirs, you can suddenly absorb much of the knowledge that they have to offer.  In the spiritual texts, they call this “the direct transmission of the dharma.” Really, it is just pattern matching!

So, if you want to learn something.  Find someone who does exactly whatever it is you want to learn, then do whatever you’re willing to do to spend time around them. It’s a bonus if they are willing to give you explicit knowledge and instruction, but what you really need, is to just absorb their level of vibration, their mind-state.  That will transmit to you more knowledge than you can possibly imagine.  So, do whatever you have to do to just hang out with them… and, well, I guess, knowledge does, in fact, rub off!

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Stalking

For a hunter to be successful, he needs to learn everything he can about the behavior of his prey.  What do they eat, and when, and where? When do they sleep? Where do they congregate?  We are all creatures of habit, and so by learning your prey’s habits, you can predict their behavior and so position yourself to take full advantage.  The term for this is ‘stalking’.  Today, when we hear that word, we think about creepy people who follow celebrities around.  But not so long ago, Carlos Casteneda introduced the concept of stalking yourself, in his books about the teachings of Don Juan.

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We all have behaviors that are self-destructive, or at the very least, counter-productive.  By learning our own habits, we can predict these behaviors and take steps to remedy them.  You can stalk yourself to eliminate any unwanted behavior. Do you eat or drink too much?  Do you not get enough exercise?  Do you think too many negative thoughts?  Learn your habits.  Learn how and when these behaviors appear, then you’ll be able to predict them, and take steps to avoid them.

I have a friend who was a social smoker.  She didn’t smoke much, but she wanted to quit altogether. So, she looked at her habits and determined that the time that she most felt the craving for a cigarette was when socializing with friends over drinks at the local bar (back in the days when you could smoke in bars).  The solution? Simple, she found a different place to socialize with her friends and she talked one or two into trying to quit smoking too.  So, they had strength in numbers!

Stalk thyself!

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