I’m in print! Click here!

I’m in print! Click here!

Visit the above link to get a free “Look Inside” preview of my new book,
Meditation Q & A.   The subtitle is, “Questions submitted to online forums,
answered by Prahas.”  Enjoy!

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Beyond Information

In a world awash with data, please remember:  there is something immensely valuable beyond information.  A beautiful, divine silence exists beyond the mind-stuff.

There is a miraculous, subtle force in play which moves us gently toward this silence.  This is the story of how this force worked on me.

In my twenties, I was steeped in the intellectual world.  I was reading spiritual texts, but they did not penetrate.  When I turned twenty nine, I moved to a suburb of the city in which I was living.  This move lessoned to a large degree the noise and distraction to which I was subjected.  In astrological terms, I was in my Saturn return, so the miraculous force had the stars on its side.

One night, at a dinner party, I exchanged a few words with a new acquaintance.  She mentioned she spent six months in the U.S. and six months in India.  I didn’t think much of it.

A few weeks later, I was standing in line at a cafe, and I caught sight of a group of four people laughing and enjoying.  Upon looking more closely, I noticed the woman I had met at the dinner party.  I was wearing a tee-shirt with the logo of a theatre company with which I had worked.  My acquaintance said, “I didn’t know you worked in theatre.  This man is a world-renowned theatre artist from Germany.”  Introductions were made, and I sat down with them to have a coffee.

Two minutes later, I was crying my eyes out.

I have no recollection of what transpired between the introduction and the crying.  However, I do remember, after I finally calmed down, the German artist saying, “You are ready.”

There is an ancient saying.  The student does not find the Master; the Master finds the student.  In this case, the Master used one of his disciples to find me.

A few weeks later, I was immersed in a Zen Theatre course, which combined theatre exercises with meditation techniques.

Shortly thereafter, I became the disciple of an enlightened Master, and began to learn the methods which helped me to have a glimpse of that which lies beyond the spoken word, beyond the zippy thoughts, beyond the emotions, and beyond the sensations of the physical body.

It only took one glimpse of this peace, this silence, this blissfulness, to know that in the end, this is all I need.

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The Year 2020 in Review

“Throughout the entire history of the world, there has never been a single problem. Not one. Not ever. Nor could there ever be a problem.

Yet to our mind these “problems” seem very real.

Look at all the trouble our minds have gotten us into.”

–Peter Windi’Hi Cutler

*****

“There is a single word that serves as a fitting representation of 2020: resilience. Very few periods over the course of modern history have tested our resilience and shaped humanity, culture and politics the way 2020 has. From a global health pandemic, racial injustice and an increasingly volatile climate to complex geopolitics and a divisive U.S. election, the impact of this year will be felt for decades to come.‌

Our ability as a society to adapt, innovate and grow on a global and local level has been extraordinary. From innovations in science and medicine that accelerated a COVID-19 vaccine to the social awakening of citizens and corporations taking action in support of Black Lives Matter to communities rallying together to fight natural disasters to the largest turnout of voters in the history of U.S. presidential elections, this year has demonstrated our humanity, scars and all, and what it truly means to be a global citizen.

For Verizon Media, when faced with the very worst, I saw the best rise from our employees, consumers and partners. Our employees came together like never before, helping each other tackle the struggles of working from home. Our consumers relied on our entire ecosystem as a source for connections, transactions, trusted news and content — when accurate information was more critical than ever. We worked with our advertisers and publishers to innovate and develop products and services that catered to the “new normal.”‌

A year in review might suggest that the moments are behind us. What 2020 has shown is the events that defined this year will last a lifetime. Here is a snapshot.

January
The year kicks off with some of the worst wildfires in Australia’s history, destroying over 12 million acres of land. The World Health Organization announces the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, and the first COVID-19 case is confirmed in the U.S. COVID-19 will go on to kill over 1.6 million people worldwide by year’s end. The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump begins. Basketball icon Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others die in a tragic helicopter accident. A Ukraine-bound plane crashes shortly after taking off from Tehran airport; Iran’s government later admits it mistakenly shot the plane down. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announce their intention to step down from the royal family.

February
The United Kingdom finally exits the European Union in what has been coined Brexit. The Kansas City Chiefs defeat the San Francisco 49ers in a stunning Super Bowl comeback. Parasite becomes the first non-English-language film to win Best Picture at the Oscars. The Senate votes to acquit President Trump at his impeachment trial. Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man, is fatally shot after being pursued by three white civilians in Glynn County, Ga., and solidarity events are held across the nation. Harvey Weinstein is convicted on multiple charges in a high-profile court case. Joe Biden wins the South Carolina primary, notching his first win in a run that will eventually gain him the Democratic presidential nomination.

March
The World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic and lockdown begins in countries around the world, triggering a global economic reaction that causes the worst single-day point drop for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The highly anticipated Tokyo Summer Olympics are canceled. Racial injustice remains at the forefront of people’s minds as Breonna Taylor is killed by police during a botched raid in Louisville, Ky. The first COVID-19 relief bill is passed in the U.S., helping millions of people and businesses. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for COVID-19. Tom Brady signs with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a legendary run with the New England Patriots. Tiger King hits Netflix and becomes a quarantine smash. Yahoo celebrates 25 years.

April
Nova Scotia suffers one of the deadliest mass shootings in Canada’s history. Much of the U.S. is in lockdown mode, with New York hit the hardest by cases of COVID-19. The pandemic has a disproportionate effect on diverse communities, with Black people, Asians and Latinos affected the most. It continues to hit all economic sectors, with unemployment numbers at 14.7 percent in the U.S., the highest rate and the largest month-over-month increase since 1948, when data was first collected. Yahoo Life, a new vertical focused on all things mental health and wellness, launches. Verizon Media donates $10 million in advertising inventory to help mental health organizations. The highly anticipated mobile streaming service Quibi launches, only to shut down six months later.

May
George Floyd is killed after a police officer kneels on his neck for an extended period, setting off worldwide protests and a racial justice reckoning. Political protests calling for democratic leadership and economic reform begin in Belarus, and separate protests erupt in Hong Kong after China votes to impose strict national security legislation. Costa Rica is the first Central American country to legalize same-sex marriage. Cyclone Amphan hits India, causing significant damage and becoming one of the costliest cyclones recorded in the North Indian Ocean. “Murder hornets” become a new fascination as they reach North America for the first time.

June
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declares the country “COVID-free.” China’s economy bounces back into growth following a record Q1 slump. Global protests in the wake of George Floyd’s killing escalate as citizens call for police reform and justice. Verizon announces a $10 million commitment to organizations focused on social and racial equality. The Supreme Court rules against the Trump administration’s attempt to rescind the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program in a 5-4 decision. India wins a two-year seat on the United Nations Security Council.

July
The Trump administration considers banning the social media app TikTok, setting off a debate on whether the app poses a security threat to the U.S. Allegations of a toxic workplace emerge at The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Glee actress Naya Rivera drowns in a California lake. Beloved TV host Regis Philbin dies. The NBA resumes its season in a “bubble” at Disney World, and Formula 1 announces it will resume racing, beginning with the Rolex Grosser Preis von Osterreich. The first four weeks of the Indian Premier League experience a sizable surge in viewership, even surpassing the viewership of the English Premier League.

August
Joe Biden announces Sen. Kamala Harris of California as his VP running mate, making her the first woman of color on a major-party ticket. California wildfires rage, fueled by dry heat and extreme temperatures, showcasing the volatility of climate change. Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, is left partly paralyzed after police shoot him seven times in the back in front of his three children. A huge explosion of ammonium nitrate stored at a dock in Beirut kills over 200 people. The sudden death of Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman shocks Hollywood and fans alike.

September
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at the age of 87 from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer, setting off a major political battle over her replacement. Tributes to RBG, as she was fondly called, pour in from around the world to honor the feminist icon. President Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett as RBG’s replacement. Biden and Trump have their first debate, which highlights bitter exchanges and name calling and sets off a meme titled “Will you shut up, man?” in reference to a remark from Biden. Naomi Osaka wins her second U.S. Open title.

October
The Senate confirms Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. President Trump and the first lady test positive for COVID-19, in addition to over a dozen others associated with the administration. Two legends in film and music pass away: Sean Connery and Eddie Van Halen. The NBA sets a successful example for a sports comeback as the season ends with zero positive COVID-19 results for players within the Orlando bubble. LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers go on to defeat the Miami Heat to win the NBA championship.. LeBron James and the LA Lakers go on to defeat the Miami Heat to win the NBA Championship.

November
With much anticipation, Election Day arrives and more Americans vote — including by mail — than in any other election in U.S. history. Joe Biden is declared president-elect, winning both the electoral and popular vote. The U.S. formally exits the Paris Agreement. Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek dies after battling pancreatic cancer. India resumes international cricket in Australia for the first time since March.

December
The first COVID-19 vaccines are administered in the U.K., followed by the U.S. The rollout of the vaccine creates a sense of optimism across the globe as cases continue to surge across the U.S. The Electoral College casts its votes and officially affirms Joe Biden’s victory.

*****

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a year like no other. As unrelenting as the headwinds were, what I saw — citizens and communities across the world exhibiting courage, humility and sacrifice — made me optimistic. Resilience is what defined 2020, but more importantly, it will be what takes us forward.

Thank you to our employees, consumers, partners and everyone who joined us on the journey this year. I look forward to the prospect of a new year in which we can see each other in person, share a handshake or hug, and pass one another in the hallway with a smile and a simple “Good morning.”

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2021 for you and yours.

Best,

K. Guru Gowrappan
CEO – Verizon Media

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Ordering Food on My Smartphone

Friends,

There is a recognition that change needs to happen.

There is a recognition that our institutions are imperfect and need updating.

There is a recognition that we need to shift from Game A to Game B.

There is a recognition that our sensemaking needs a lot of work.

There is a recognition that the information ecology is terribly polluted.

And – even as we work to create heaven on earth, let us not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

***

I was sitting in my car this morning.  I pressed a couple of icons on my smartphone.  I drove a mile or two, got out/ of my car, and picked up a package with the food items I had just ordered.

Allow me to present a partial list of the things behind what had just happened:

* Computing power has advanced to such a degree that we have icon-based, easy-to-use software allowing me to pull up menus and place an order;

* Computer hardware has advanced in so many ways:  miniaturization; touch screens; the list goes on;

* Sitting in my car using LTE technology, my smartphone can send a signal to a cell phone tower, which routes it to some kind of Internet interface, which sends my food order to the restaurant in a matter of milliseconds;

* Our financial system allows the phone app to transfer funds from my bank account to the restaurant’s bank account.  There is enough trust built into the system that I believe the restaurant will act in good faith and provide me with the goods I ordered, and the restaurant believes that the bank will in fact credit their account with the funds;

* Farmers from around the world worked hard to produce the raw materials which went into the food I ordered.  Truckers transported the food on roads built by thousands of workers.  Factories may have processed some of the farm-products into food-stuffs:  ie sugar cane into sugar.   Accountants tracked the finances behind each of these activities;

* What to say about my vehicle?  The internal combustion engine; the gas, oil, plastics, and metals and their trajectories.  The traffic laws which allow us all to drive with a reasonable amount of safety.  The street lights and stop signs…

* And all of this remains possible in the midst of a pandemic and an extremely contentious election cycle.

I could go on, but I think the major point is clear.  With all of its faults, our society has made it possible for me to pay for food and eat it in a nearly miraculous way.  

Are there shortcomings with each of the processes I have mentioned?  Certainly.  Is there room for improvement, for upgrades to the systems?  Absolutely.  But let us move incrementally, recognizing that when we change one thing, it effects the whole puzzle.  

Let us celebrate the creativity and output of our ancestors even as we work to improve things.

Love.

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Happening By Itself – Joan Tollifson

This is really good – a six minute read.

Click here.

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Video tribute to Justice Ginsberg

Click here for the YouTube video. Fly high, RBG!

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On Climate Change

With all of the fires and storms, I felt it was time again for me to post my thoughts on climate change.  

Let me preface this by saying I do believe it is time for more action to reduce the human-made emissions which contribute to climate change.  However, I  think many people misunderstand the science.

I’ve looked at mainstream coverage of the science, going beyond the summary reports into individual studies.  I’ve also looked at two or three “skeptic” scientists.  I can summarize my position thusly:

* I am convinced the climate is in fact warming due to human-made effects.

* What the effect of this warming will be is far from clear, from a scientific standpoint.

With one exception, the claims of future calamities are based on statistics and computer models, which do not satisfy me.  Statistics on a global scale are frankly easy to massage to one’s liking.  And the attempts to model climate over time — to take into account all of the various factors and forces at play — are noble indeed, but to me are inconclusive.  Consider the classic one-liner from chaos theory:  the flapping of a butterfly’s wings over Hawaii can lead to a tornado in Nebraska.  How in the world can scientists model with any degree of certainty weather patterns years or dozens of years from now?  While the sheer number of studies predicting ill-effects is cause for concern, the doom-and-gloom hysterics seem overblown.

The exception is sea level rise.  While I am convinced that measuring sea level is somewhat tricky, the combination of the melting of the glaciers (proven to me), and the expansion of ocean water due to temperature rise (also proven to me), indicate there is a real risk to coastal cities.  

While the number of major calamities seems to be growing, most climate scientists will agree that their tools and techniques are not sufficient to say conclusively that any one event (forest fire, hurricane) has been caused by climate change.  They are certainly working on developing tools which can do so, but they are not there yet.  Add to this the vastly more rapid and comprehensive communication of daily events to many of us worldwide (fifty years ago we simply didn’t hear about as many weather events), and our perception of what is happening may be skewed.  With regards to forest fires, I’ve heard several people say at least one cause relates to the ways in which we have been managing our forests.  

That being said, on an intuitive level, it certainly seems to me that the number of extreme weather events is increasing, and doing so in line with the predictions of the climate change computer models.  It is tempting for me to agree with Bernie Sanders and the governor of California and many others.  But the science just doesn’t support my intuition – at least not yet.

Climate science for me resides between a hard science (chemistry) and a soft one (sociology).  And predicting the future in any domain is tricky business.  However, there is enough science to provoke me to want to watch things like heat waves, draughts, fires and so on.  And to begin to prepare for the worst.  Therefore, I support the calls for action to reduce emissions which cause climate change, as well as funding for preparations to deal with calamities (especially coastal flooding due to sea level rise.)

Lastly, many of the prescribed solutions (moving to non-fossil fuels, eating less meat for two examples) seem like good things to do for several reasons, for individuals as well as the planet.  So why not just do the good things, for goodness’ sake (whether or not climate catastrophe is just around the corner)?  This question of course is an invitation to a longer conversation… 

Offered with Love.

***

Post script:

My hypothesis is many people recognize that humanity is doing many harmful things.  It is clear that spewing pollutants into the air from all kinds of smokestacks is bad for us.  It is clear that discarded plastic is polluting our lands and oceans.  It is clear that air quality is declining in many places around the world.  It is clear many people cannot drink the tap water anymore.  And the list goes on and on…  So my hypothesis is that many people use climate science as a way to persuade people that we need to make healthy changes.  Because apparently it is not enough to simply say, “doing these things is bad — we can see that — so let’s stop doing them.”  I know it is bad to eat processed sugar, but I don’t stop.  But if the fate of the world is at stake, then maybe I’ll stop.  

***

PPS:  This statement needs researching.  “As you warm up the atmosphere it can hold more moisture and so it can pull more moisture out of forest ecosystems, therefore drying them out faster.  And so then as long as you get spark and wind, and you’ve got enough to burn, you are going to burn it.”  Park Williams, hydro-climatologist, Columbia University.   As quoted on the PBS News Hour.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aul7dVMaJRs

The following link is an excellent, accessible dive into the subject. From a brief skim, my conclusion is this: while there is some evidence climate change is leading to more severe forest fires, it is not yet conclusive. I would add that it seems logical that increased temperatures would lead to more evaporation which would lead to dryer forest vegetation which would lead to more fuel for fires. However, because there are so many factors to consider, it is a hard thing to pin down scientifically. At any rate, this link is definitely worth a skim…

Click here for the link

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The Mechanism (video version)

Prahas talks about interconnectedness and the localized actor.

Click here for the video.

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Prahas Talk August 2nd, 2020

Prahas explores the absence of peace inside; the threats we face; accepting what is; the fear of death; the right to a sacred space around the body; and the samurai warrior’s code: to fight only when no anger is found within.

Click here to view the video.

 

Posted in Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Meditation, New Age, Politics, Psychology, Spirituality | Leave a comment

Statistics which demonstrate racism

List of statistics which shows racism towards African Americans

(For reference: In 2019 African Americans made up 13.4% of the total US population. [0] )

Money, work, and finance:

In 2018, the overall poverty rate for whites was 8.1%. For blacks, it was 20.7%. [1]

Between 2002 and 2018, blacks on average earned between $20,000 and $25,000 per year. Whites averaged between $37,000 and $42,700 per year over the same time period. [1]

The unemployment rate post-Covid-19 for blacks is 16.8%; for whites it is 12.4%. [1]

As of 2020, only four Fortune 500 companies have black CEOs. That’s 0.8% of all Fortune 500 companies. [1]

The employment-population ratio looks at the percentage of an ethnic group which has a job. Just before Covid hit, blacks stood at around 58% percent with a job. Whites were 62% and hispanics were 65%. In 2011, blacks were at 51.5%, and whites and hispanics were both at 59%. [1]

Between 1967 and 2017, black workers have earned far less than white workers: between 58% and 69% less over that time period. [1]

One US study found that job resumes with traditionally white-sounding names received 50% more callbacks than those with traditionally black names. [2]

In 2020, 73.7% of whites owned a home. For blacks, it was 44%. [1]

Politics

The 116th Congress has 57 black members. That’s 10.65% of the total seats. [1]

Education

Between 1964 and 2018, when looking at the percent of people age 25 or older who have completed college, there has consistently been between a 5% and 10% gap between whites and blacks. In 2018, 35.2% of whites had completed college; it was 25.2% for blacks. [1]

In 2013, 40% of whites earned Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) credit in secondary school. In the same year, 23% of blacks did. [1]

During the 2015–2016 school year, black students represented only 15% of total US student enrollment, but they made up 35% of students suspended once, 44% of students suspended more than once, and 36% of students expelled. The US Department of Education concluded that this disparity is “not explained by more frequent or more serious misbehavior by students of color.” [2]

Policing and Crime

On non-lethal uses of force, blacks and Hispanics are more than fifty percent more likely to experience some form of force in interactions with police. Adding controls that account for important context and civilian behavior reduces, but cannot fully explain, these disparities. [3]

Black men are roughly five times more likely to be imprisoned than their white counterparts — and nearly 13 times as likely in the 18-19 age group. [1]

Marijuana usage rates are similar between white and Black Americans, yet Black Americans are 3.64 times more likely to get arrested on marijuana possession charges. [1]

Black Americans are more likely than white Americans to be arrested. Once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted, and once convicted, they are more likely to experience lengthy prison sentences. [2]

On average, black men in the US receive sentences that are 19.1% longer than those of white men convicted for the same crimes. [2]

***

The Washington Post has compiled one of the most thorough datasets available when it comes to fatal police shootings, and it has sparked debate over what it means when it comes to racial bias in police killings.

The data show that more than half of the people fatally shot by police in America within the last five years were actually white — but fatal police shootings of Black people were disproportionately high, considering they account for roughly 13% of the US population.

As of June 12, 2,469 white people had been fatally shot since 2015 at rate of 13 per million, whereas 1,293 Black people were fatally shot at a rate of 31 per million. [1]

***

Health Care

Black persons have an age-adjusted Covid-19 hospitalization rate approximately five times that of white persons. [4]

In 2018, 5.4% of whites lacked health insurance. In the same year, 9.7% of blacks lacked it. [1]

Black women are three to four times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death than white women, even at similar levels of income and education. [2]

*** End for now — I hopefully will be adding to this document. ***

Citations:

[0] https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045219

[1] https://www.businessinsider.com/us-systemic-racism-in-charts-graphs-data-2020-6#the-employment-population-ratio-measures-the-share-of-a-demographic-group-that-has-a-job-and-its-been-lower-for-black-people-for-years-1

[2] https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-racial-discrimination

[3] https://law.yale.edu/sites/default/files/area/workshop/leo/leo16_fryer.pdf

[4] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/racial-ethnic-minorities.html

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The Mechanism

The Mechanism

By Prahas

Prologue

A baby is born.  She is given a name.  She grows up and learns all kinds of things from parents, teachers and friends.  A personality is formed.  She does her best to present her good qualities to the world.  The other qualities she hides and stuffs down: they become her shadow.  But all the while she walks around thinking she is a separate, unique person.

Then, perhaps, it dawns on her there may be something more to see.

Who Am I?

One of the fundamental lines of inquiry a spiritual seeker follows is simply this:  who am I?  In fact, the bulk of Ramana Maharshi’s teaching was to have his disciples contemplate this question.

One of the phrases I began using early on, to replace the standard “I”, was “the body-mind.”  When I thought of myself, I thought of the physical body and the mind (which in this usage includes the emotions).  And I began to notice these things effected each other, so it made sense to use a term which combined them.  Later, I began to get glimpses of something called awareness or presence or the witnessing consciousness.  So I expanded the noun to “body-mind-Being.”

Over the last several years, however, I began to recognize that in fact I really had no idea what is going on in this body-mind-Being.  The beliefs and notions I had about it, one by one, began to be proven incorrect or woefully incomplete.  And more and more I was left with what the Zen people call, “don’t know” mind.  I really didn’t know who I was.  Good!

A new term was needed.  And it was then I began to refer to myself as “the mechanism named Prahas.”  Or just “the mechanism.”

I like the term because it is so open-ended.  When I use it, I recognize that I don’t know much about its functioning; its components; the ways in which it interacts with other mechanisms (people) and the world around it.  I don’t know much about the bio-electricity and bio-chemistry of the mechanism.   The word doesn’t imply a gender.  The word emphasizes functioning; processing; a constant stream of happenings rather than a fixed entity; verbing rather than nouning.

The Expansion

For several years “I” was quite happy with the term “the mechanism.”

And then, during a recent meeting (where we explore many things spiritual), something profound happened.  The insights came pouring in quite quickly.  What follows is an attempt to unpack these insights in a semi-coherent way.

Many years ago “I” gave a speech to a group of educators.  Here is a small portion:

“What is the context? Where are the boundaries?

Where do you end and I begin? You exhale a part of you…..

Moisture borrowed from a cup of java
(part Columbian or perhaps Andean)
mingles with carbon dioxide,
produced by the mitochondria of your cells…

You exhale a part of you, and then I, perhaps, inhale you.

Make you part of me, in some small, infinitesimal way.”

There is some wisdom here.

Imagine looking at “my” body and the space in a circle around it.  Populate this space with a couple of other people, some plants, and a car with its gas motor running.  Now imagine you had a pair of special glasses.  When you put them on, all you can see is oxygen atoms (colored blue) and carbon dioxide molecules (red).  And the glasses have a fader, so you can fade in and out the outlines of the people and car and plants.

What would you see?  You would see a flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide particles.  With every in-breath, a mix would flow into the physical body of Prahas.  With the out-breath, there would be more CO2 and less O2.  These molecules would disperse into the air.  The plants would take in the CO2 and output O2.  The car would be spitting out CO2 (if it has a catalytic converter).  And so on.

When you totally filter out the outlines of the people etc, all you would see is a flow of particles.  There actually would be no separation in the domain of oxygen and CO2.  There would be no individual Prahas.

Let’s think about something which appears to be more concrete.  The carbon atoms in the body.  (Oxygen makes up 65% of the human body; carbon makes up 18.5%). [1]  Much of the carbon in “my” body is derived from food.  (After all, you are what you eat.  🙂  )  Instead of picturing a small circle around the body, imagine a circle of 200 miles radius, which includes “my” home, a bakery, a factory and a farm.  Wheat is grown on the farm, and it contains carbon.  It is transported to the factory which converts the wheat into flour.  The bakery buys the flour and bakes it into bread.  The mechanism named Prahas buys the bread, brings it home, and eats it.  Yum!

The bread is broken down in the gastro-intestinal tract and yields carbon.  “When combined with water, [carbon] forms sugars, fats, alcohols, and terpenes. When combined with nitrogen and sulfur, it forms amino acids, antibiotics, and alkaloids. With the addition of phosphorus, it forms DNA and RNA, the essential codes of life, as well as ATP, the critical energy-transfer molecule found in all living cells.” [2]  All of these things (sugars, fats, etc) become part of the physical body of Prahas.

If we put on our filtering glasses and set them to see only carbon atoms, we again see a flow.  There is not “my” body, separate from the rest of the world.  No — there is a flow of atoms:  from wheat to flour to bread to stomach to amino acids, DNA and ATP.  From farm to factory to bakery to home.  The separateness begins to disappear.

So what does this have to do with the term “the mechanism?”  “I” had been thinking about the mechanism referring to the body-mind-Being named Prahas.  But now, with regards to the oxygen and CO2 portion of the body-mind, “the mechanism” is referring to the system which describes the flow of these molecules in and around the body-mind.  And if we want to be more accurate, we need to zoom out, and see the air-flow over the entire Earth!  The mechanism with regards to O2 and CO2 is planet-wide!   And we have seen we can also fold carbon atoms into the mix.  The mechanism called Prahas could also be labelled “the mechanism called Planet Earth!”  There might be a slight increase in the density of certain activities of carbon et al in the locality of the physical body named Prahas, but that’s just an increase in activity.  The concept of “I” does not arise from the activity, nor is there any inherent specialness about it.

Thought-Forms

What about thoughts?  Surely a unique aspect of “my” personality is the way in which “I” put together thoughts internally.  One of the things that makes “me” uniquely “me” is the set of beliefs, ideas, and expectations “I” hold to be true.

But when this notion is examined more closely, we can see that the vast majority of thoughts which pass through the brain arise from other places:  books which have been read; articles skimmed; TV shows watched; conversations which have been had.  There is a vast repository of thoughts, stored in all kinds of media, and transmitted from one person to another in all kinds of ways.  It seems instead of calling it “my mind” it would be more accurate to call it “The Mind.”  [3]

There is a collective soup of thoughts; a flow of thought-forms; a cloud; and there is a localized awareness of a tiny subset of these thoughts in the general vicinity of the mechanism named Prahas.  Perhaps it would be more accurate to say in the realm of thoughts, the mechanism is a vast thought-processing and thought-transferring machine, at least as large as Planet Earth.  “I” am this mechanism.  To say something about localization is to separate “me” “my brain” and “my thoughts” from the collective soup.  But upon deeper inspection we see there is simply no separation at all.  Imagine donning the filtering glasses, setting them to see thought-forms, and fading out the outlines of “my” body, head and brain.  What remains?  Simply a flow of thoughts.

If you are starting to squirm in your seat as you read this, you are understanding.  The embedded beliefs that “you” are “you” may be beginning to melt away.

Chi Energy

This section relies on the fact that you, dear reader, know of the existence of chi energy.  To explore this premise is beyond the scope of the essay.

When doing a tantra exercise, “I” have noticed a melting of “my” energy with “my partner’s” energy.  If we are physically touching, our sweat is co-mingling.  “My” exhale becomes “her” inhale and vice versa.  The light and energy waves dance between and among our eyes.  The energy flows through our bodies in many beautiful ways.  In such a sacred sexuality exercise, it becomes very clear that “the mechanism” becomes the combination of the two body-minds and their energies.  We see that what we thought was two bounded systems (“me” and “her”) is in fact significantly more unified.

We can see a similar phenomena when a group of meditators gathers around a table to dialogue and be silent together.  Sitting with dear friends in an energetically interconnected space a dissolving happens.  In those moments on an energetic level “the mechanism” is all of us melted into one.

We’ve already discussed the soup of thoughts.  The same can be said about energies.  It’s not “my” energy or “your” energy.  There is a constant flow.  “My” body-mind-Being is constantly being filled with and influenced by “external” energies.

Eventually we come to know, in the dimension of energy, there is no local bounded mechanism.  There is simply an infinite swirl of energies of various frequencies.

The Implication

We’ve looked at O2, CO2, carbon, thoughts, and energies.  And in each case, we’ve watched as the notion of a separate “I” has disappeared before our very eyes.  Now let us expand even farther.

Where did the O2 and CO2 and carbon come from?  Our best science indicates that the heavier atoms were created in the fusion of stars located all over the cosmos.  The flow of particles is not limited to Earth:  it is inter-galactic.  We are stardust!

So the mechanism is not “my body-mind,” nor is it even Planet Earth.

The mechanism is the universe!  “I” am the universe!  “You” are the universe!

When Al Mansoor said “I am god” this is what he was saying.  He was saying the mechanism is the universe.

“I” know it has been said before.  Same old same old.  But these days the mechanism is seeing it so clearly.  It has a different quality to it.  It is intense and beautiful.

Coming Back Around to Individuality

Eventually we need to come back and acknowledge there is an actor local to Prahas.  “I” don’t understand the nature of this actor.  But “I” do know that “I” can decide to move “my” legs and they move.  And “I” cannot decide to move a tractor in Nebraska.  With regards to activation, there is a limit to “my” effectiveness.  And in some sense this creates separation.  Perhaps we could divide the universe into two sets:  1) things “I” can effect; and 2) things “I” cannot (clearly and directly) effect.

Here is an exploration to leave for another day.  A very popular subject in therapeutic circles is the notion of setting boundaries.  “I am not going to allow her to treat me this way any more.  I am going to set a clear boundary.  No more mistreating me.”  Or how about:  “I am not a dumping ground for your rage!”  And then there is this statement:   “I am not going to allow that negativity into my field.”

There is something to be said for these notions.  And at certain points along the way, it might be important for a person to live this way.  And — the mechanism can think of two examples of approaching things differently.  It has been said, while meditating, if a loud noise is happening outside, to let the sound waves pass through.  Don’t wish it was quiet.  Rather, allow and accept the noise as part of what is happening in the moment.  Don’t set a sound boundary.  Rather, allow and accept the flow of sound as it arises.

There is also a story from a spiritual teacher.  As it is remembered he decided to be totally still for several days, and simply witness without judgment what was happening.  There was a point when ants were crawling on his body.  Instead of wiping them off, he simply accepted it.  No boundary setting there.

The moral of the story may be this:  recognizing no separation, and living this recognition in each moment, are two different things.  🙂

Conclusion

Perhaps there is no conclusion.  Perhaps there is just practice, moment to moment.  The recognition that the mechanism is the universe comes and goes; is remembered and forgotten and remembered again.

Practice.  Heartful acceptance.  Breathing in.  Breathing out.  Love.  Silence.  Space.  Formlessness.

And more love.

Be well.

******

[1] https://biobeat.nigms.nih.gov/2015/07/elements-that-keep-us-alive-also-give-color-to-fireworks/#:~:text=By%20mass%2C%20about%2096%20percent,and%20nitrogen%20(3.3%20percent).

[2] https://www.ecoliteracy.org/article/carbon#:~:text=Carbon%20is%20life.&text=When%20combined%20with%20nitrogen%20and,found%20in%20all%20living%20cells.

[3] I first heard this phrase used by my transformer formally named Wadud (now named Prasad).

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Censorship

In my view, the censorship by large tech companies is going too far. To wit: the Plandemic video. There were certainly errors and misinformation in the video. But there was also plenty of rebuttal and debunking and fact checking which followed. Good. A healthy discussion! And — out of my exposure to this video and other posts, I did a bit of research which unearthed this tidbit: in 2019, the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the organization led by Dr. Fauci, funded scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and other institutions for work on gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses. Many scientists have criticized gain of function research, which involves manipulating viruses in the lab to explore their potential for infecting humans, because it creates a risk of starting a pandemic from accidental release. (Source: https://www.newsweek.com/dr-fauci-backed-controversial-wuhan-lab-millions-us-dollars-risky-coronavirus-research-1500741). I did not know about this research until I began coming across Plandemic and other posts like it. My point is this: whenever greeted by any data or information or borrowed knowledge of any sort, I need to engage my critical thinking and research skills, and separate the wheat from the chaff. There is always more to any story. One must dig, and dig deep, to get closer to the facts. For me, the central take away is this: the solution to dealing with the deluge of information is local. Each individual must be educated to develop critical thinking and research skills. So they can discard the rubbish, from wherever it arises: from CNN and Russian bots alike.

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