Jun 29 2011

Superman Vs. Batman in the Theater of the Mind

It’s the perennial question: Superman or Batman? Who’s better? More importantly, which one is most like you? We’re not just talking about comics here, but about the theater of the mind, the interaction between mind and body, and the synthesis of all that comprises your mind, the engine that runs your consciousness and fuels your psychic energy, your ambition to live by the truth, be authentic, and grow in mindfulness.

Do you run on an endless supply of natural power, a genius of immense proportion to whom all things come easily? Do you always get what you want without even trying? Are you, like Leonardo, apparently seamless in your ability to bring the figure out from the stone as though it costs you nothing? Or, rather, are you like Durer, slaving away to produce praying hands, symbols of your hope that you will be granted the grace to subsidize your hard work and effort? Are you all-powerful like Superman, or hard-working and sweating hard like Batman?
Another question you might ask when you consider the powers of your mind and your goals, is how aware you are of the unity between your mind and body, and other factors that contribute to true and authentic, mindful personhood, is the difference between nature and technology. Are you, like Superman, naturally endowed with supernatural insight? Or have you gained wisdom through rough experience, and adjusted your sights accordingly? Do brilliant thoughts come to you as if from heaven? Do great problem-solving ideas rain down into your brain in plentitude? Are you the guy with all the answers? Or, do you have to think hard, consider, rethink, test, practice, read, study, and then think again? Do things come to you easily, or despite the rich resources you have in your possession, do you have to work like a dog to get anywhere?

Do you just seem to know everything? Do people turn to you as the perennial answer man, or the Martha Stewart of metaphysical mind conundrums? Are you never or rarely wrong? Or, do you admit to not knowing the answers all the time, but are committed to finding them out, mind and body poised, teeth gritting as you doggedly pursue the beast, whatever answer or experience that may be?

Is your public persona the real you, like Superman, but perfect and untouchable? Or does your public persona wear a mask, and sometimes bleed? Can only kryptonite hurt you, or stain your mind? Is there only one enemy, some external force that can bring you down? Or, are you only all too aware of your own human weakness, both in mind and body, so that you shield your mind with psychic armor, employ all your resources to protect yourself as you venture like a courageous, frail soldier into the dark dredges of awareness?
If you are Superman, you have the gift of the gods, and truly are an alien visitor, or on an intense ego trip! If, like the rest of us, you are Batman, claim your own power as a vigilante ambassador for truth and justice in the theater of the cosmic, collective mind. We need more people like you.

Jun 22 2011

Do Animals Have Spirits and Do They Go to Heaven?

Human beings are of course animals, but animals that have evolved in body, mind, spirit and other powers so as to be distinct from the rest of the animal kingdom. The evolution of the human mind, evidenced in self-awareness, speech and language, signs and symbols, the depth of the unconscious mind and the technological heights of the scientific mind, all contribute to expanding the gap between the human person and other animals. In fact, the distinctive aspect is that of personhood itself.

What is a person? We know from experience the difference between a human being with whom we are familiar and a dog, that qualitatively while we may love both, there is a marked difference in the way we relate to each. We may cynically say we would prefer the undivided camaraderie of a dog to a lover, but most of us really desire the complexity of communion that only another human being can bring. The human is a unique combination of body, mind and spirit that is different in quality from that of a canine.
The difference in quality seems to be distinctively centered on the spiritual aspect of the human. The mark of spirituality is personification itself, which is rooted in consciousness, both of others and of one’s self. The Greek word for “person” means mask or face, and its meaning infers the idea that we derive our personhood through the awareness of others and a relationship to others that demands we “interface” with them. This face is our humanness, and it is the chief quality of the human spirit, manifest in the soul and produced through the complexities of the human mind.

Other animals do not share this attribute. They do not put on a “face” in order to commune with each other, develop layers of conscious thought, and plough through the unconscious mind to root out psychopathologies, or develop a scientific mind in the pursuit of progress or deeper understanding of themselves or the world around them. Animals have souls (if a soul is body, mind, but not spirit), but they are not spiritual creatures precisely because they are not personal creatures. Their interaction with us and with each other is governed by instinct and other genetic or innate qualities.

Other animals are nevertheless valuable because as living organisms they have an experience of mind, but one that is unlike the human mind. They have no unconscious mind. They have no scientific mind. But they suffer, they foster various emotions, they are privy to desire. As sentient entities, they have intrinsic value even if they are not spiritual beings. The human spirit – an evolutionary addition – marks our species as one that can summon the idea of God, and as persons that have the opportunity to relate face to face with divinity, contemplate an afterlife, paradise, and eternality; and it is that attribute that may carry us forward into such realities. This is not the case for other animals, which seem to manifest essence absent individual personhood.

Jun 15 2011

Telekinesis and Psychokinetic Powers

There are many mysteries implicit in the psyche of the human animal, unknown regions of the subconscious mind, and uncharted parts of the brain with innate functions yet to be exercised. Some people who practice a science of the mind claim to have the ability to perform what seem to be supernatural feats, but which ultimately have a rational explanation, even if it is beyond human reason.  The art of telekinesis, which is an aspect of psychokinesis, is the apparent ability to move objects (including oneself in the case of levitation) without using physical force, to exercise mind over matter by channeling energy from the mind, body, spirit and soul from the point of the body’s own centers of energy to influence the physical world around them.

Among these are those who claim to possess the power to bend spoons or read cards by merely manifesting the intent, and art or science of the mind that in a benchmark of parapsychological research.  Skeptics often allege that such feats are the product of sleight of hand, parlor tricks, and clever magic tricks that can be reproduced in a similar environment without controls, and definitely not an example of mind over matter. Believers, however, persist in their claim that the phenomena is real, that the subconscious mind retains innate powers that most people have merely failed to develop.

Such assertions are not the sole property of self-named psychics, paranormal celebrities, or even, indeed, magicians, but have an ancient root in many of the world’s religions. Some of the powers in that context include clairvoyance or telepathy, the ability to know the thoughts and intents of another person’s heart, communication with the dead, levitation, turning objects into living creatures or vice versa, and multitudes of other claims. In the Old Testament, Joseph interprets dreams and turns staffs into snakes. In the New Testament, Jesus is resurrected from death, and a later believer is baptized in one location and comes up out of the water in another, hundreds of kilometers away.

The science of the mind that can produce such feats as mind over matter, whether it arises from the subconscious mind or is a concerted effort of the mind, body and spirit, also is evidenced in numerous claims of healers, both in conventional religion and in animist or shamanic practices. Healers influence the physical aspect of the human body by casting out disease or miraculously generating new cells – in elaborate cases, bringing the dead to life. Modern practitioners sometimes refuse medical attention because they would see it as a denial of their faith in the power of the mind over matter and in God.

In any case, there is a connection between modern claims to psychokinesis, telekinesis and religious faith in the supernatural, although people in the latter category often critical and skeptical of the former. One might, however, consider the whole basis of spiritual life as a paranormal claim, the notion that there is more to existence than physical reality.