Your Band Sucks

March 15, 2014

Your Band SucksEven if you don’t have a band, and most of us don’t, there are individual components that make up who you are, and if they aren’t playing in concert together, your band sucks. To clarify, let me begin by defining a word that bothers me, then I’ll get back to how your own personal one-man-band sucks (hopefully not). There is one word I dislike as much as the word Yoga because of its connotations. I may dislike it more, but not by enough to discern at this point, and that word is spirituality. Yoga and spirituality go together, and in one subjective viewpoint they can be obvious and beautiful; but in another, the skeptic, doubtful, close-minded viewpoint, a misguided or misunderstanding one, the two words together are ugly and laughable, a point of embarrassment for anyone who dares use them without joking. So which is correct? Probably neither, and it is irrelevant. It is the differing comprehension of the meanings of these words that is at fault, much like when using the word God.

Grumpy Band Sucks

So, onward we proceed to discuss not God, not the creation of the universe nor the creation of the creation of the universe of the universe. Let us first agree that the human body is a thing, much like all things are things, but the human body has the appearance of a unique identity through a complex collaboration among different areas of that body, performing specialized tasks. To be a person, with a name, and unique identifiers to be singled out from any other similar other human being, even a genetic clone like a twin, is the result of a whole that is clearly greater than the sum of its parts.

We can compartmentalize these parts into three categories, thereby simply adding the sum of only three parts, and coming up with one whole that is greater than the sum of these three parts. This whole we will call the fourth part, slightly greater than any human body, yet fully containing the whole human being. This fourth part is the right of every person, the skill of utilizing these three parts of the human body no matter if your body feels lacking in some way, and this fourth part is also absent from many people who do not understand how to be alive in the sense of making themselves whole. The three parts identified are the Intellect (the mind), the Body (the entire physical mass of your living flesh that occupies space), and the Heart (the emotions that are felt). We can say Mind, Body, and Heart while understanding the delineations of how these three do not overlap each other even though the words can be confusing if we think the mind is the brain which is part of the body and the heart is in the body so it is all body. But, just as the mind is separate from the brain, and emotions are separate from the heart itself, these assumptions are misleading and the delineations should be recounted or simply different words used.

Now with these three parts defined, dwell on your own experience of owning and using them. Confirm that you have them and define them within you. See that they are separate and individual. Also see them in the next closest people in your life and think about how they are expressed so that you perceive them. Think of every human being on this planet as owning, using, and expressing these three aspects of their being that contain everything that is who they are. That’s right, now back to you, everything about who you are is contained in these three categories independently expressed by you out in the world.

Now if these three things that make up all of you are used together, sympathetically, they resonate into something bigger and greater and unexpected, a greater whole. What this means is that when using the Mind and being aware of the Body and Emotions, not just being all-Mind, or all-Body, or all-Emotion, all three aspects of you are included in everything you do or don’t do. When you live this way, a greater whole emerges in a wisdom state, a knowing that is mind-knowing, body-knowing, and heart-knowing, so you KNOW with not just your little 3 pound brain and your Mind, but you know completely, with your whole self. This knowing which is still you, not God or even a god, not the universe or any universe, but you. This “you” is spirituality.

Bass Solo

Now look up the definition of spirituality as all popular dictionaries define it. Here is an example, and see how wrong, confusing, and lacking of explanation the definitions are in comparison to the above:

World English Dictionary

spirituality  (ˌspɪrɪtjʊˈælɪtɪ)
n  , pl -ties
1. the state or quality of being dedicated to God, religion, or spiritual things or values, esp as contrasted with material or temporal ones
2. the condition or quality of being spiritual
3. a distinctive approach to religion or prayer: the spirituality of the desert Fathers
4. ( often plural ) Church property or revenue or a Church benefice

spir·it·u·al·i·ty [spir-i-choo-al-i-tee] Show IPA

noun, plural spir·it·u·al·i·ties.

1.

the quality or fact of being spiritual.

2.

incorporeal or immaterial nature.

3.

predominantly spiritual character as shown in thought, life, etc.; spiritual tendency or tone.

4.

Often, spiritualities. property or revenue of the church or of an ecclesiastic in his or her official capacity.

It really is no wonder that the word spirituality makes people like me cringe and the misuse of the word, or should I say the disuse of spirituality as the fourth sum of everyone’s three parts, is ruining its own chances. One very welcome benefit of living with spirituality realized within yourself is the independence of the self. Many people without understanding spirituality are too dependent on one or more of other people’s three parts, pulling and draining from them what their own body craves naturally, the greater sympathetic resonance of all three categories of self. In using the word resonance, it applies to the way sound energy resonates objects and causes them to ring at their resonant frequencies. Your three parts can be focused to ring at their resonant frequencies to the highest extent of their amplitude like three notes being played on an instrument, or like three instruments being played together in concert. Within each of us is a trio of musicians dying to play together the most beautiful music imaginable at the loudest volume. When they don’t it’s like your band sucks because they’re each only interested in their own terrible solo projects. So when you see somebody lacking in spirituality, don’t even try to talk new-age mumbo jumbo, just know that their band sucks, and no one is coming to their shows.

Entrain Your Brain

April 19, 2013

Non-local ConsciousnessSomehow years ago I became aware of binaural beats and a vague connection to brain waves. Eventually the concept that meditation, its effects on the brain, the results of those effects in how reality is perceived, and the effects of listening to binaural beats, were similar—or linked in a way to have the same results—came into my general sphere of understanding. Yet, I really didn’t understand it, until now. It’s quite simple actually, so I’d like to explain it.

Since I’ve experienced both ways of getting to the same place, I’ll try to give you both perspectives, and I can say that both work well. I have specific blog entries that deal with how to begin meditating naturally, so I suggest to look there for details on how to do that. Since meditation requires zero outside technology and can be done in a natural environment with only your breath, and your mental focus, it is the clear winner here, and the most rewarding. Binaural beats require a playback device like an iPod and stereo headphones, as well as two working ears, so you’re going to need more than just your physical body as-is, but it is a great way for lazy people that just don’t want to do the work and prefer that others do things for them to suddenly have what looks like a brain that has been meditating. However, non-meditators may not actually be ready for the higher focus of a more synchronous brain and the effects at first could have you feeling like a spoiled child that didn’t get what he or she wanted for Christmas this year. If you fully accept what it means to have a newer, better brain, no matter what you think is happening, and you won’t meditate for whatever reason, strap on those ear buds.

I’ll begin by breaking down brain waves and ranges of operation within broad, understandable definitions. The good news is that brain waves are in a narrow band of low frequencies generally below 40Hz. Beta waves are the black sheep of the list, the ones you want to avoid; Beta waves may be the reason you should start meditating in the first place. From 13Hz to 39Hz, these are called Beta waves, usually associated with active, busy, or anxious thinking and active concentration, arousal, cognition, and or paranoia. However, beginning at 40 Hz and above to the upper limit of brain wave frequency are Gamma waves, associated with higher mental activity, including perception, problem solving, fear, and waking consciousness. Because Gamma waves are above 40Hz, these are not considered meditative ranges. Below 13Hz and down to 7Hz are Alpha waves, the realm of waking relaxation, pre-sleep and pre-wake drowsiness, REM sleep, and dreaming. From 7Hz to 4Hz are Theta waves, deep meditation and relaxation and NREM sleep brain activity. Below 4Hz is deep dreamless sleep and loss of body awareness, or Delta waves. For more detailed descriptions of these ranges, read this.

Way before I’ve tried binaural beats to stimulate my brain into certain frequency ranges, I’ve meditated with great success and the results were high creativity, constant sense of well-being with rational optimism, more detailed sensory feedback from all of the senses, and a strong desire to continue engaging in daily routines that promote meditation as a start to every day. After the first few weeks of aligning the mind into a flowing whole instead of a polarized two halves, you invariably have no choice but to experience your strong connection to everything around you and how the biggest, most obvious defining characteristic of your being is that you are here now and every millisecond is a celebration of that truth by the excitation of every atom or force field around you, including you. You can, for the first time, realize the existence of what some may term spirituality, and it also explains clearly that those who cannot acknowledge spirituality have not yet meditated successfully. Binaural beats don’t have that effect, and probably won’t get you there alone, but if a deep understanding of the universe without words to describe it is not your goal, you can still be highly creative, focus your mind into greater relaxation, rid yourself of anxiety, and prepare yourself for the richer organic experience. Since I am doing both, the experience is triple rewarding because I have the three experiences of organic meditation, binaural beat meditation, and both, or some may even argue that a fourth option is now open to me, none at all.

The experiential descriptives used in the list above are a good guide on how to meditate: want to put your brain into Theta wave ranges? All you have to do is breathe and still your mind while staying awake, not going into REM, and not dreaming. Some people only need that much information, and I may be one of them. For the rest of you, there is still hope. Binaural beats coax the brain into operating in these ranges through entrainment. The phenomenon called frequency following response allows binaural beats to be played into your two working ears, and the brain has no choice but to listen and to move towards the frequency of the stimulus, which in this case would be the range of the meditative brain wave frequencies. I will be creating and posting meditative sound files in the specified ranges of desired brain activity on the cloud for all readers of this blog to access and enjoy, all tested and approved by me with any detailed notes for the listener that I find noteworthy through my experiences with them. Since these binaural beats will also be dressed up in musical tones and recordings of natural sounds that I myself have captured, they may even be played during your daily practice without distraction.
Update: Here you will find a stream of a 30 minute Theta wave sound file. Be sure to listen with a relaxed focus, either with your eyes closed or in an environment that will not visually distract you. I find that lying on your back before sleep while listening to this Theta wave audio is very effective and allows the mind to easily move into restful REM sleep. An alternative would be to either sit in a comfortable meditative position while listening during the day and breathing with focus, eyes either closed or open focused on a point about 6 inches in front of you so that your surroundings are out of focus, or simply lying down as you would for a short nap but staying awake and aware. It is important to listen for the full thirty minutes without interruption.

You can download this file here to keep on your device without the need for streaming.

The Living Corpse

January 20, 2012

“You’re just dead people that didn’t die yet.” -Louis C.K.

When was the last time you asked the question, “Are we not all titans and giants, imprisoned in hell”? If it’s been a while, or maybe never, after reading this entry you may want to ask it every day upon waking. Before I get into discussing more physically demanding musculoskeletal postures that are sure to invigorate your neurofascia, I’d like to take a moment to work backwards from what is the most important part of why you got into this whole yoga business, Corpse Pose. In terms of classification and level, it is all about perspective. As a matter of fact, your perspective will either take you on an amazing journey in Corpse Pose, or it will not move you at all, maybe even have you taking a short nap. In other words, it is you, your perspective, your personal involvement, the things that are internal and in the realm of nonshareability among others that will make or break this experience, leaving you fully responsible for what you get out of it. If it doesn’t work for you, it’s not the yoga that didn’t work, but it was you who didn’t show up to the party; depending on your perspective, therefore, lying there like a corpse after your self-imposed intense physical and mental stresses can be very easy if you understand that you are now uniting your mind, heart, and body in a scared trinity that project spirituality as they are overlaid, or it can be very advanced and difficult as you struggle with wondering, questioning, being lost, missing a connection to yourself, and only being able to view it externally as you lie there on your back and breathe. Perspective is what we have as our secret weapon to change absolutely nothing in the physical world around us, the external, yet by changing the internal, suddenly everything changes and the entire existence of all things from our earliest memories to the most now moment is different, in an instant.

Photo courtesy of BonesBob

What is working on your body in lying there as if you are dead, as you can imagine, is gravity. Ah, the ever mysterious gravity, that scientists still cannot grasp fully as a concept in context of our world from the very large down to the infinitesimally small. But you can lay there and ponder it with your mental focus, because, alas, you are not dead, yet. To reiterate the driving force that is your vehicle through your liberating perspective, whatever “gymnastic” demands your immediately prior asanas make on your body in terms of strength, flexibility, and balance, your new challenge here is to release all of the tension from every part of your body AND your mind; if you get this one wrong, you may fool others from a distance, but you’ll know if you are trying to fool yourself or you have been successful in letting go and thereby coming into the full embrace of not just this or that, but all that is. Atheists beware, this may be the most dangerous pose for you, unless of course you are interested in transformation and change. From my personal experience and perspective, the religion in which I was brought up had its own form of Corpse Pose, except you were expected to do it on your knees with your back unsupported, and with your hands folded in prayer in front of your heart. I don’t know about you, but I found that a lot more difficult.

So, what challenges do you face, with your little mind that is definitely going to be flitting about like a little moth in an almost empty closet, looking for that one forgotten wool scarf on a shelf in a corner way in the back, in the dark? You may have a problem with fully relaxing because you think too much about your body. The first thing you will struggle with is that what looks like you lying there symmetrically with your legs and arms straight, palms up, feet falling outward, may not feel symmetrical as your curvy parts of the backside of your body make contact with the floor. Just surrender to the fact that what you may be feeling proprioceptively (the information being relayed to your central nervous system about your environment) may not initially line up with the fact that your body is indeed positioned just right. This way you are now ready to achieve a deep state of emotional and physical relaxation. If you have body issues, meaning you have difficulty or inability to accept your body as it is, this will be the primary reason stopping your progress. You need to accept your body as it is, and not how you wish it to be.

Savasana

You will be breathing, concentrating on your breath, meditating on your back as you release and forget about your body once each and every part of it has been accounted for and systematically relaxed. You’ll know you are there when you get to that last area of your body and relax it; your mind will search for any remaining areas of the body connected to it that still require relaxation, and in finding none, you will feel both weightless and free, while still being in full participation with gravity as you feel your heavy body sinking into the floor as if it is ever more becoming softer, more accepting of your weight, wanting to get closer to you, one with your body. This deep state of conscious relaxation is different from sleep, so don’t sleep! If you can imagine how you breathe when you sleep, in other words breathing without controlling your breathing, that is your goal. Be fully aware of your breathing while not controlling it. The reason for this is your breath has a natural rhythm, and you have to let it run wild in that rhythm. When you are too aware and control your breathing, you cage it, altering its natural rhythm. Set the breath free and let it run wild, and you yourself will step out of your cage and run wild.

How long should this go on for? I like to generalize it to ten minutes, but I obviously don’t set a timer or look at a clock. You know what ten minutes feels like, so prepare for that. Just like all other asanas, when you know you’ve had enough, you just know. Good indicators that you are ready are experiences of having been fully released from conscious, mundane, egocentric reality for a time frame that naturally makes you want to jump back into life as if you have just been reborn into your body to start new. Your mind will start to nudge you to want to come back into being and have new levels of optimism and enthusiasm for the possibilities offered to you in this life. When the physical relaxation feels complete and complimentary to your physical demands that have come before this time, and the mental and emotional release have peaked and come back to a resting state, all three of these aspects will come to a synergy like three key aspects of yourself resting at the bottom of a deep bowl. Your eyes will naturally want to open; the smile on your face is optional.