Thursday, June 30, 2011

Terrfic couch! and Ambience at Oregon house

Here in Oregon Hillsboro, the place where I'm staying, there's a crazy comfortable couch. Sitting on it provides the most comfort I've ever felt as far as I can remember. After a few mins of sitting, I totally feel like I'm floating. To add to that there's an awesome surround sound music system which confuses me into believing a few sounds from it are actually from a real thing. There's also a huge flat screen TV and an open garden with a small play slide visible through tall glass windows. The hall extends into the left side with a platform like partition and this side has a pool table and a very high ceiling. There's a cool looking lamp which gives out a subtle diffused yellow light on the right and to the left there an chess piece like wooden object with a buddha statue over it. There are some interested decor items and a clock that reminds me of the Adyar terrace bedroom. The backyard to the right, faces the east side, so there's awesome sunlight coming through in the morning and during sunset it comes in through the left window. To the left partition there is also a keyboard which sounds brilliant due to the high ceiling and openness. There are some stuff toys too from Disney land behind the TV which gives a very homely feel. In the platform to the left there is a bowl having dried roses which gives out a really pleasant smell. Everything is so airy, open and free with awesome/bright views through the large glass windows.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Feeling numb in the attraction department

After having stayed in the US for almost a year, there is one phenomenon that has still stuck. I am not that attracted to foreign/American girls. I kept wondering why this is so, and figured out the following reasons:
Their skin, body shape, facial features etc. are just too different from me in a fundamental way. So I just see them as they are without any "dream overlay" which is very strong for most of the Indian girls(who look similar to me). I sometimes wonder if I looked at all the Indian girls with a fantasy dimension that has stopped happening here/

I never realized that this "dream overlay", fantasy dimension made such a day and night difference. This dimension creates a nuclear attractive force and a sense of strong connection.
I miss that feeling here and I hope I get it back soon.

This may also explain why I like to keep my romantic relationships short since usually if they go for too long then the dream/novelty/significance aspects get broken and the whole thrill/experience of the romantic relationship lies in this fantasy overlay.

The brain's CEO

Its interesting to think about what kind of skills a director, VP or a CEO of a company might be having. These skills are said to be in the frontal lobes of the brain which are supposed to be responsible for executive function.

How does one develop those skills to maintain clarity of all the chaos around and make optimum decisions using judgement and understanding. How does one hold multiple ideas/priorities in the brain at the same time? I wonder what exercises would be good to develop that skill. It seems to be a pretty important skill in the corporate world as a whole in order to "move forward".

I would  think the following activities should improve this function:
1. Practicing mental maths
2. Reading a lot of material and then writing an essay
3. Debates/Active discussions
4. Practicing Memory Recall, memorization
5. Trying to attend to more than one thing at once
6. Playing sports (almost all of them help in this regard)

Energy transmutation

We should try to let all the energy be free i.e. by not trying to control its flow and letting it free irrespective of circumstances. Even if a path is blocked, the free energy would transmute into some other form and still continue to flow like water.

For e.g.: If you are in the heat of society your free energy would create different goals vs. if you were staying in a much quieter place. The energy will change form into whatever is appropriate. We just need to make sure its flowing freely.

A good way to practice this is breathing meditation where you simply watch the breath exerting absolutely no control on it. This relaxes, wakes you up and releases the pent up energies.

About attraction from finding unexpected similarity

We are attracted to people who bring unexpected familiarity. If they are extremely familiar, say a family then we are conditioned since long to not think of them from that perspective.If they are too dissimilar, then there is nothing to relate to and very hard to sustain.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Reality is like a fractal

Each situation/experience is completely unique:
After closely observing different states of my mind even during a single day, I found that it was really hard to compare 2 states. What we usually do is that, if something is not engaging or pleasurable we stop giving it concentration or attention. So only a narrow band of experiences receive this attention and this habit reinforces itself. After a while we spend all our time/effort trying to recreate those experiences and we ignore or get averse to everything else. In other words we are only awake when we recreate some pleasurable experience, else we are half asleep. The more I try to remain awake to everything including neutral experiences, the more I gain knowledge about all the aspects of an experience(endo and exo reality) and this makes me wonder "If I am fully awake to all experiences, would the experience itself even matter much?"

Analogy: Its kind of like, on the ground you think a 80 floor skyscrapers is so tall it almost touches the sky and you look at a 3 floor building beside it and think about how short it is. When you actually get to the sky, you realize that all the skyscrapers including the 3 floor building are not that different, all are pretty small in the larger picture. Infact the 3 floor building might have an underground foundation of another 80 floors which would be invisible to you. So in reality the 3 floor building is taller than the 80 floor one.

Reality is much much more than our perception of it. You can see so many paradoxes of this fact in your everyday life too. That's why its important to be broad minded and keep exploring.

2 experiences cannot be really compared and rated since in each mental state, you carry different wants, likes, dislikes, cravings etc. So whats the point if I get something which I do not even want?

Its like a fractal, continuously morphing and changing with the inherent patterns being maintained somehow.
All these images are from the Mandelbrot set. They look so different to our eyes but the algorithm is the same. I am guessing even our deep self works in a similar manner.

Example: Want becoming irrelevant: A child may crave for a toy that is purposely kept on the top shelf. It might think to itself "Wait till I become 6ft tall, I'll snatch away the toy and no one can do this to me again". Do you think the toy would even be relevant one the child is really 6ft tall?. We use our memory to maintain this want state.

Example: Dislike becoming irrelevant: A child may hate cabbage. But slowly it acquires a taste for it and after growing up it may become neutral to it or even start liking it.

Example: Dislike become a like and like can turn to dislike: Sometimes you dont like a person, but once you get to know them, you find out all the similarities and then wonder "Why did I judge this person so harshly?". On the other side of it, sometimes think a person is cool and later the more you get to know them, the more irritating they get.

We recreate wants by using our imagination and fantasy many times even during the course of a single day. For all these activities 'memory' plays a crucial role. That's why in breath meditation if you concentrate on the smell, its a good exercise because you have no memory of smell, you are forced to be in the moment.

That's why it is important to pay attention to every moment of your life cause each experience is unique and if you see things fully awake, as they are, you;ll realize that nature is pretty impartial.
All meaning as we know of is created by duality. Once this is known, everything can be understood more deeply.
We distort reality in so many ways: Cultural conditioning, habits, beliefs, mime's from other people etc.

Rating of experiences:
  • We usually rate an experience as higher if it creates meaning. A deep want is created and satisfied quickly. (Trench theory: Creates a deep trench and fulfills it quickly, so you can perceive deep meaning) OR the deep want lingers for long and then suddenly gets satisfied. If the want fulfillment is too gradual, you would be unable to perceive meaning since your memory would fade and according to me 95% (5% benefit of doubt) of meaning is created by comparison alone.
  • We obviously also have a preset set of pleasurable experiences (high dopamine, high serotonin, dream hormones, DMT etc.)
  • We also rate experiences as higher if they create meaning in any sense.
  • When we are dis-inhibited, that freedom experience is also rated highly.
Synonyms for experience: perception, mood, state of mind, master metaphor

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Physical and Mental component of sports

For a long time, I would concentrate on the physical component of sports like football, cricket, tennis etc. Since I'm physically really fit, I thought that's all that was required. But somehow, in an actual game, I would always feel a bit lost, overloaded and used to experience very little clarity. Then I realized, these symptoms were related to my memory and attention.

Skills required:
  • Tracking multiple fast changing dynamic parameters.
  • High activity in the decision making center of the brain.
  • High frontal lobe activity and thinking on your feet

I also noticed that these skills help a lot in later life in a lot of endeavors.The situations where I found the skills quite analogous were:
    • In the business or work environment. Fast intelligent decision making in the present moment.
    • In social situations, tracking what multiple people are talking, extracting the general topic, figuring out what to contribute and doing that.
    • Any presentation like situation where you need to think on your feet.

    So the mental skills required for sports and business are surprisingly analogous to each other. It is usually these skills that are glorified by society. In childhood, peers would admire you if you were really good at sports and in later life it shifts to the business world.

    Why this obsession with sports, business and for that matter just about DOING instead of BEING?

    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    About the Dark Knight - Batman 'Joker' concept

    Its the outlier truths that really disturb us or make us question or think. One such example is the Dark Knight movie which exposes how nature is much more than scheming and controlling everything. There is this element of chance or probability involved in everything. This probability could also be shaped by how much we understand and perceive. More the ignorance, more the uncertainty.

    The joker in the movie even challenges basic morality and proves that threatening and desperate times completely remove ordinary morality we follow in our day to day life and makes us act purely on our deepest desires or instincts. This again brings out the question "Is Morality really something absolute/true or is it just something we have been conditioned to believe in?"

    There is another dialogue in the movie where he quotes "People are their true selves only just before they die" since they stop acting out of all the created concepts and act purely on instinct at such times. But it is incorrect to say this too. If you create a life threatening situation for someone, his only priority may become saving his life or his deepest beliefs and conditioning may take over. But this too is not who we really are. We are truly just energy. Everything else is part of the situation and our conditioning, level of awareness, level of understanding etc. The nature of reality is still unclear and this theory is just a small fragmentary conjecture in the whole picture.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Nature as a metaphor for everything

    Sometimes, I walk by nature and observe different trees of different sizes, texture, shape etc. and also the streaks of grass in the ground and wonder:
    Why is there so much diversity?
    What is a grass blade a grass blade and why is a tall tree a tree? What is their inherent meaning?
    Why are the grass in the ground so similar looking? Why is there so much difference between them and the other living plants and trees?
    Are we also that different from each other like a big tree and a shrub? Could we also be as similar as the blades of grass next to each other? How is there so much similarity and yet so much diversity too?

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Floatation tank experience - Jun 7th

    After doing a lot of research on floatation tanks and the different experiences people have had in it, I decided to try a session myself. I was intrigued by this sensory deprivation idea back in India too. But I just could not find any floatation tanks in Mumbai. Luckily I found one here in Seattle. Its was a bit expensive - 65$ for 1.5hours but I guess it would have been the same rate in India as well.

    I fixed up an appointment in the afternoon. That day, before leaving, I planned the entire bus routes for going and coming and took pictures. After changing 2 buses and walking a real long distance (around 4kms by foot in total) I finally reached the place. I had to constantly check the GPS to make sure I was on track. It was mostly a rainy-cloudy day with intermittent sunshine.

    The tank was privately owned in an independent house. On entering the house, I was impressed by its interiors. It was my typical image of what a rich guy's house would look like. I was first told to go to the bathroom and shower with a very different brownish "earth like" smelling soap. It had a very unique smell. Then I went to the tank room where I saw this spacecraft like tank. This kind o got me further excited about the experience. I positioned myself into the tank after rolling up a bubble cover which was supposed to maintain the heat. He showed me the cool control display that controlled the temperature and lights. I was provided with a water bottle and a towel to wipe my face since the water was incredibly salty. After the explanation, he closed the tank door and told me he would check on me after an hour.

    The experience:
    It was completely dark whether I opened or closed my eyes. My ears were submerged in the water too, so I could hear my breathing and heartbeat. After a while I could even hear the winking of my eyes. It was a bit of effort to let go of controlling the breath. Throughout I felt that my breath was somewhat shallow and I would now and then take deep breaths which would slightly move me up and down in the water. My mind was a little figity throughout. It would keep jumping from one topic to another, mostly mundane or regular stuff. I was trying to concentrate on my heartbeat and slow it down. I had a small jerking response from my legs around 2 times indicating I was moving beyond the hypnogogic jerk.

    I found visualization also a little difficult. When I tried to imagine people, I would have to refresh the image almost every second. It was quite difficult to maintain a continuous image which is surprising because I could do that easily even while lying down on a normal bed. Maybe the experience was really novel and new and I had not reached the same level of familiarity and comfort with it. I tried to imagine VIBGYOR from red to violet trying to feel each color completely. I would try to imagine that the color is all around me and within me too (I am made up of that color). The color which I found the most moving was shades of lighter blue. It brought back a feeling of wonder which I had felt in childhood.

    Basically I was in a somewhat strange state of mind. The thoughts were not very different or I did not have any exotic sensations but I felt I was fairly deep into my mind. After the 1hr was up, a light music (kina like African drums instrumental) was played and I was asked if I wanted to continue. I decided to stay for another 1/2 hour. It was difficult to completely let go of the body in that floating environment. I probably found it easier doing it in a normal bed, but maybe it takes a few times to get used to. I still feel that environment has a lot of potential.

    I understood the what had happened during the experience better after observing the effects it had in the later part of the day. I felt an unusual freshness which I'm not sure if I have ever felt before. Something new and sparkling inside me is the best way I can describe. Some kind of glorified freshness feeling. I also had great memory of every single thing I imagined in that tank. I wonder if its because I reached theta state, I'm not sure. Overall I felt lighter throughout the day, like Ive lost some 10+ kgs.

    Improvements for next time:
    1. I need to let go more - let go of fear, let of of controlling breathing, let go of the uneasiness due to the unfamiliar environment.
    2. I need to eat enough food
    3. I could maybe go when I'm more exhausted to reach theta faster
    4. Keep some mantras or concentration tasks
    5. Try defined visualization tasks
    - sunrise and sun
    - feel its intensity brightness, light, heat
    6. Positive visualizations

    Saturday, June 4, 2011

    Sense of Wonder about great people and works

    We find "great" people from different fields throughout the world. As I read about their history and achievements I ask the questions: What is greatness? How is it defined? Who defines them? Why do we need this concept?

    More than their specific field of work, what really intrigues me at a deeper level and trans-personally is the state of mind that creates this work. What is that state of mind?
    Evokes wonder in me.

    Cycle of job meaning

    - Say, I work at 'Lattice Semiconductors' and help them design their website
    - This would help them get ahead in sales and revenue and put them at a better market position
    - This would lead to related industries throughout the world buying more of their products.
     Industries purchasing
    • Wireless devices(DSP, Processors)
    • Wireline(Ethernet, PCI express, RAM, Sonet)
    • Video interfaces(DVI, HDMI) and Cameras
    • Security and Surveillance(Camera Dev kit)
    • Manufacturing
    • Automotive(GPS, multimedia, remote LCD, marine, image/video processing) 
    • Military and Aerospace(Remote systems, multi function h/w)
    - This would keep the technology world running, more of an operational way.
    - I deal with audio, video, computer h/w, internet related stuff and vehicles like cars on a daily basis. So this is how my job completes the circle.

    Our smell sense

    The sense of smell is the only one where we do not have memory of it. It is impossible to recall a smell. We can imagine everything associated with it but not the smell itself. Maybe thats why concentrating on the breath creates a good level of detachment since the only sense connected to breath is smell and that does not have memory. It is purely in the present moment.

    Qualities of a diamond mapped to experience

    The ideal +ve experience is where the mind is like an infinitely large diamond that is clear, does not hold anything but yet, reflects/refr...