BRANDON WEST – When Genius Calls – The Six Qualities of an Extraordinary Life – 6-1-15

Brandon West  

When Genius Calls   –   The Six Qualities of an Extraordinary Life

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It is my intention to achieve and maintain a state of balance, bliss, love, rapture, inspiration, and peace; in essence, to live from a higher state of energy.

I believe that this is the ultimate desire of every human being. Regardless of the specifics of the desires and dreams that an individual may have, who among us does not desire for these qualities to infuse our lives?

Therefore the question isn’t if this is what we want or not, because of course it is. The question is how do we attain these six qualities of an extraordinary life?

Acting On Our Creative Desires
It is common, when working towards personal transformation or spiritual practice in general, to assume that habits are the source of these energies in our lives. And to a degree it is true, because when we act in alignment with our genuine self and calling our energy is realigned with Spirit and we become available for heightened states of awareness/energy.

But I have also found that our actions and our thoughts stem from these heightened states even more powerfully than our thoughts and actions are able to produce them.

Therefore it is important to understand the need for balance between action and stillness; between our habits and between simply surrendering and connecting. For it is precisely our insatiable tendency towards always acting, always needing something to be going on, always needing to be distracted by something, that has created these problems for us in the first place.

What I have seen with myself is that when I focus on writing, which is a passion of mine, I achieve all of these states naturally and organically. But it is not just the act of writing itself which helps me personally access this higher state of energy (higher in relative terms according only to my own experience). Of equal importance is the initial impulse to write and the state of connection that is conducive to allowing for and acting on this desire to write.

In the same way that everyone who has ever established an exercise regimen or a yoga practice can tell you, a large part of the difficulty of the continued practice is not just in the actual practice itself. Because we know that so long as we start we are usually guaranteed to compete the session or routine.

The difficulty is in overcoming the fixed course of our internal dialogue which is resistant to this new practice or habit or way of being, and making that internal shift necessary to act on that desire. In other words, overcoming that mental obstacle that is the only thing separating us from acting on our desires and our calling even.

We all have ideas and desires that are powerful and spontaneous – which are truly inspired – but we delay acting on them simply because the fixed course of our internal dialogue takes us in a different, but entirely routine direction. This occurs because our mental and energetic framework is out of alignment with this infinite awareness and powerful force that exists within us.

So the most direct way to change our lives isn’t necessarily to begin establishing new habits hoping that they will raise our level of consciousness, but rather to realign our energy and our attention to connect to this higher level of consciousness and allow our actions and habits to be a spontaneous expression of the higher consciousness that we are already at.

The key then is to synchronize with this force and to establish an open line of communication between this higher consciousness or higher self as it is sometimes called, and our actions. And it is this state which results in the spontaneous and natural embodiment of bliss, balance, love, rapture, inspiration, and peace – the six qualities of an extraordinary life.

Removing Distractions
Now the best practice that I know of to access this higher consciousness and overcome the fixed course of our internal dialogue is the practice of silence. Not meditation specifically, but simply silence: being silent, sitting quietly, observing, not doing anything, but simply allowing our awareness to expand in this silence and becoming open and available to the descent of Spirit and the impulses of intention. In other words, allowing yourself to maintain a state of silence in order to become inspired to do what you know you desire to do.

The effect that this has is that it disrupts our internal dialogue by bringing it into the realm of our conscious mind. So often we go through our lives on autopilot because we are engaged (distracted) by the routine and regular flow of our daily lives.

The downside however is that once our internal dialogue becomes sub-conscious, then it influences us and guides our actions subconsciously. Now that is not really an issue if you are living your dream and your doing what you love every day. However if you are not, then it is your internal dialogue which is subconsciously determining your thoughts, attitudes, emotions, behaviors, and actions and manifesting more of the same into your life.

But between each and every one of our thoughts is an infinite awareness which has inherent within it all of the six qualities of an extraordinary life which I have outlined above. And it is there, ever present, between each of our thoughts. Yet most of us are not living from that space of unlimited and uplifting energy, and are instead caught up in the current of our internal dialogue and in the drama of our lives which it is ultimately repeating again and again until we break free.

And while meditation is a direct and effective method of shutting off the internal dialogue, or at least interrupting it so that silence can infuse our lives with these qualities for a time (the length of which increases by degrees as you practice), we also need to do this same thing within our lives as well.

We need also to find this silence on another level in order to translate our inspiration and our ideas into our lives and into the world. So in the same way that it is important to interrupt the incessant internal dialogue of our minds in order to create space for creativity, inspiration, and transformation, we also need to do so on another level: the daily routines of our lives.

Our lives and our daily routines are the manifestation of our internal dialogue. So, as hard as it may be to accept, your life is a projection of your internal reality. Therefore just as it is important to create space in our minds for inspiration and such to come through, it is also important to create space in our lives to translate some of that new energy into action so that we can make direct changes to our lives, and so spontaneous inspired action can come through as well.

Overcoming Procrastination
So next time you find yourself procrastinating doing something that you know you want to do, and enjoy doing, try creating space and just being silent. Much of the time when we are procrastinating acting on our inspirations and our heart centered desires, it is because the are not a part of our habitual energetic alignment and corresponding internal dialogue.

Therefore while sitting in front of the T.V. and guiltily knowing that we would rather be [meditating/writing/reading/whatever it is that you like to do], it takes a lot of effort to shift right from that deeply ingrained habit to something else. So instead of trying to do that, simply commit yourself to sitting in silence for a bit.

Instead of turning off the TV to get up and run or meditate or whatever, simply commit to turning off the television and going somewhere quiet to sit for a little bit. This is much less of a shift and a commitment, thus it is easier to do. Yet when you enter into silence and create space in this fashion something truly magical happens.

The longer that you sit for, even if it is just 15 minutes, you will find yourself slowly and naturally actually wanting to do what before seemed like such an enormous task. And all it takes is that little time of silence, because as soon as silence is established and our attention is no longer directed at something which is very distracting, then our energy begins to realign with ourselves – our genuine self and higher self – and our mental dialogue changes accordingly, and the urge to act in alignment with this new and higher energy begins to guide us.

This is all such a natural process, and for this reason it is not only useful for overcoming our mental obstacles to acting upon our passions and our inspiration, it is also essential for discovering our passion and our calling. Because once we get into this space, whatever desires compel us into action are automatically in tune with who we are at a much deeper level.

Creating Space In Your Life
Therefore in your day, apart from your meditation practice, I encourage you to cultivate space. You could start your day off with a silence, or simply take a few minutes in between task to see what you are inspired to do in that moment, or you could use silence to shift into a higher state so that you can pierce the veil between you and higher consciousness as I suggested above. The length of time is irrelevant. Just long enough to center yourself in a place where you feel good, and feel good about what you are doing and how you are using your time.

This space is time when you are not meditating, or reading a book, or doing yoga, or eating, or cooking, or exercising, but simply being. And if you create this space every day, then eventually a time will come when you find yourself spontaneously inspired into action. This is the effect desired and it is guaranteed if you are consistent in your practice of creating space.

The famous musician David Crosby (of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young) had a practice where he would leave a space of an hour open every day where he would sit and wait for lyrics to come. He wouldn’t coax them to come, he would just sit and wait. And sometimes a tune would spontaneously appear in his mind and he would write it down, but if it didn’t, then he wasn’t stressed and he would sit patiently in silence all the same and simply wait, ideally without expectations.

Franz Kafka had a similar observation:

“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”

And in this space we become available for this force that is behind us at higher levels of our awareness to come through and create and to express the truest essence of ourselves. And one day we may learn to live from this force in each moment of our lives and have it guide our every action and endeavor, our creativity, our choices, spontaneously and correctly because this guidance is in the most perfect alignment with who we really are and with the universe that it is possible to achieve. Because these actions emanate through us from our higher consciousness which is at the level of universal consciousness itself.

Ultimately we can live from this force in every moment of our lives. For many of us our lives are obstructing this force, but that statement is not exactly true. What is really occurring is that we are obstructing this force working through us, and our minds are simply a reflection of this internal obstruction.

To change this is a simple yet consistent process akin to the practice of yoga. Through yoga we enter poses that unblock energy that has been either trapped or become stagnant within us, and by doing so it increases the flow of energy within our body (by removing these blocks) but also by helping us to align with and connect to universal energy which, over time, begins to flow throughout our bodies and animate us on a much higher frequency, as it is meant to. For we are cosmic, spiritual, universal, or galactic beings. Whichever word resonates most closely with you.

We are the focal point of infinite, universal consciousness, and our bodies and our individuality is a projection of that consciousness. And that consciousness is accessible within us all and is an immeasurable and enormous force that is waiting to act through each of us to accomplish and manifest all that we already desire to be and become.

We only need to awaken to this higher consciousness and come into alignment with it. And through us it will work miracles exactly in alignment with who we knew we were and could become all along, and yet in ways beyond what we could imagine.

So just like in the practice of yoga, all that we need to do is practice creating space in our lives, and then from this space the true expression of ourselves – and much higher energy/consciousness – emanates. And it gradually unblocks the energy that is stagnant in our lives, thereby restructuring our lives, as it guides us (our energy) into new actions, new habits, new thoughts, new emotions, new experiences, new relationships, and possibly even to new paths altogether.

Realizing An Extraordinary Life
About 80% of people dislike what they do every day, and this is why, because they never create the space for their true nature to come through and inspire them to a new course of action and to a new path that is their true calling. And this would spontaneously and irreparably break that daily routine that presently defines them, but which really distorts and imprisons them because it obstructs their true nature and their true purpose.

To a degree we are imprisoned by our actions and our habits because so much of the time they are arbitrarily chosen from our habitual internal dialogue instead of from higher consciousness and a place of inspiration. Or we simply repeat what we did yesterday because that’s is how we learned to live, behave, think, feel and act when we were young, even though it didn’t satisfy us then nor is it bringing us closer towards our dreams. And sometimes we become so stuck in our ways and our routines and there is no outside force that is acting upon us which will dislodge our routines and set us on a new path towards self-realization and self-actualization of the deepest dreams and most enormous power that is lying at wait within each and every one of us.

Creating space, both through meditation and through a literal space in our daily lives, opens us up to just such a force. Except that force is really an internal force, and it is higher consciousness. And when we become available for higher consciousness by creating space and allowing for it, then our actions truly change because instead of working towards bliss, balance, inspiration, exhilaration, and enthusiasm, we live from it.

All our actions are then infused with these energetic/emotional qualities because those qualities where what inspired that action. This is precisely what Wayne Dyer meant when he said:

“There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.”

Your thoughts, emotions, and actions determines your life. Of that there is no question. But your habits alone are not the most important thing. Establishing habits for the sake of establishing them and because you think they will get you to where you desire to go is not the most effective course of action and it probably won’t work.

Instead strive to achieve higher consciousness and then create space for this higher consciousness to spontaneously inspire you to a course of action. And when you get in this universal creative flow, all the bonds of your life will be broken and you will find yourself living an extraordinary life and experiencing the six qualities of an extraordinary life at levels you never thought where possible for you.

Just like in yoga however, this is a gradual process. And it is one which will take place over a period of time, therefore it requires your commit to it. Your life will not change in a day. But if you begin to open up to higher consciousness, this new energy will begin to slowly and incrementally infuse your life and help you to express your energy in such a way that unblocks the energetic blocks and stagnant energy in your life to allow energy to flow as it is directed where it needs to be directed for you to grow.

You too can achieve these six qualities of balance, bliss, love, rapture, inspiration and peace. It is your birthright, and it is in your very nature to live from these emotions. Indeed it is your fundamental nature. And to do so, above all other potential habits, establish the daily practice of silence. And when inspiration calls, when genius whispers to you in the space between your thoughts, listen to it.

“I shun father and mother and wife and brother when my genius calls me” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Source:“When Genius Calls: The Six Qualities of an Extraordinary Life” by Brandon West, May 29, 2015 at http://www.wakingtimes.com/2015/05/29/when-genius-calls-the-six-qua…

Original link: When Genius Calls: The Six Qualities of an Extraordinary Life

Brandon West – The Nature of Mind – Holographic Brain – 1-10-15

Technology Trapping Figure

 

Written by Brandon West, Contributor for Waking Times, January 9, 2015 – http://tinyurl.com/nsjqal7

What is the true nature of mind, and what is the real function of our brains?

The purpose of this article is to provide evidence that strongly indicates that you are not your brain, or your body for that matter, and that the nature of mind, of memory, and of our brains may actually be vastly different than we have been lead to believe.

Since time immemorial, man has been fascinated by the mind, leading great thinkers from Hippocrates to Descartes to ponder the nature of mind with wonder. Fast forward to modern times and observe how the mind is still revered and is dominating our culture. We have a lot of firm beliefs about the nature of mind, and I believe the ego – our limited perception of ourselves – and thus human ignorance, is intricately tied in with these beliefs.

But the truth of the matter is that we only understand a fraction of the minds potential, i.e. it’s capability of rote memorization and other analytically orientated functions, and we use even less.

We know hardly anything about the brain let alone the nature of mind. Is it possible that we are missing crucial aspects of its function and entire areas of development and potential that simply slide under the radar because they are not accepted by modern thought?

In this article we will explore the idea that the brain itself, with its tissue and neurons that we have until now deemed the source of our thoughts and identity, is actually just a tool, a receiver of human intelligence and consciousness, but not its source; and that the human mind is not sourced in the brain any more than the internet can be found in your laptop or your modem.

“My brain is only a receiver. In the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.” – Nikola Tesla

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Projected Memory on the Screen of Consciousness

To begin I would like to delve into the work of a Canadian neurosurgeon named Wilder Penfield. Through his work with epileptic patients spanning from the 1930′s into the 1970′s he found that “stimulation of the human cerebral cortex with a gentle electrical current sometimes awakens specific memories, at other times dreams.” His work gave him insight into the function of the brain, memory, mind, and the interactions between them.

(This information on Wilder Penfield’s experiments is from his lectures The Mechanism of Memory, and Some Mechanisms of Consciousness Discovered During Electrical Stimulation of the Brain unless otherwise specified.)

During brain surgery once the brain was exposed, he found that by using an electrode that produced a “gentle” electrical current, he could stimulate areas of the brain and get specific, repeatable, intriguing and often times simply fascinating results. The patients were kept conscious throughout the procedure so that the doctors could carry out a conversation throughout the operation and receive immediate feedback on the nature of the experience these electrical currents would produce.

In one case an area he stimulated caused a man to not only hear a piano being played, but also to see the man sitting in front of him playing the piano. In another case a boy reported seeing men sitting on a chair and singing, and in yet another case the patient heard a complete orchestra. In each of these situations the individuals involved didn’t see fleeting shapes of people, or the wisp of a song, but they saw the image as vivid and clear as if they were actually there in the room.

One woman even heard a song, which turned out to not even have been one of her favorite songs, being played when an area of her brain was being stimulated. When stimulated at intervals without her knowledge (because the brain has no tactile sensation), the same song began playing again from the exact same spot.

The sound was so clear and flawless that she mistook a device in the operating room as a musical device that they were stopping and starting at intervals.

In all cases the patients recalled the events not like you would commonly recall a memory, which is usually as a fleeting mental image, but rather in such explicit detail that it was literally like they were reliving the event in question. Some patients literally saw people in front of them, and heard them just as clearly as if they were actually there.

As Dr. Penfield phrased it, it was like the mind was able to “project a memory or a dream upon the screen of consciousness.” Moreover he found that when he stimulated the brains of individuals and they remembered something, an image, or sound, or a feeling, those memories were always accompanied by the thought processes that accompanied them at the time. Therefore our brains record sensory data as a whole unit.

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Holographic Memory and the Nature of Mind

In my article the unified field and the illusion of time, we explored some evidence supporting the understanding that all information is encoded directly into the field – the energy density of space/time – all around us (which unfortunately is beyond the scope of this article). But if we apply that understanding to the perception going on in this circumstance when Wilder Penfield stimulated the brains of his patients, what occurred was that his patients seemed to have perfect recall of past events and in visual cases, 3D or holographic memory.

This is not normal perception.

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What if the stimulation of the brain itself caused his patients to project their memory onto the field? Or what if that information was already present in a holographic sense meaning that those images, and those songs and memories were encoded within the field, possibly recording directly into the field by the brain itself, and the stimulation by chance allowed them to perceive the memory directly in the field?

This not only suggests the possibility of holographic memory in human beings, but a very different understanding of memory itself (which we shall explore later).

The other thing that is interesting is that the events which were brought back were entirely mundane, meaning they were generally ordinary events of no significance. This suggests that our brains actually record every detail of our lives, even the mundane and ordinary, and that they are accessible to us if we could figure out how to access it, or in other words, how to tap into the full potential of our minds.

Wilder Penfield himself remarked that if the brain was indeed recording all of experience, then it is only natural that when dipping into this massive archive of information and memory that we happen upon ordinary events considering the vast quantity of information recorded in our lifetime (from How To Know God by Deepak Chopra).

In Deepak Chopra’s book How To Know God, he also cites how Wilder Penfield noted that the brain even retains memory while dormant, such as the fact that when patients are under deep anesthesia during surgery, about one percent of the population has a recollection of what the doctors were saying, and even some details of the procedure. It is interesting that…

“Under deep anesthesia, there are practically no higher brain waves at all, making it impossible for the cerebral cortex to accomplish anything so complex as remembering what a surgeon is saying.”(How to Know God, p. 217)

This is one of the reasons why Wilder Penfield concluded after nearly 40 years of research that the mind was an entity separate from the brain, and which did not rely on the brain to function.

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Who Is The One Doing The Moving?

Deepak Chopra in his lecture series with Wayne Dyer entitled Living Beyond Miracles tells of another of Wilder Penfield’s experiments where he is stimulating the motor cortex of a patient’s brain which causes the patient to raise their arm in front of them. If we were to ask the man if it is him moving his are, he would reply that ‘No, I AM not.’

But when Penfield asked him to move his arm to the side the patient could move his arm, and he responded with something akin to ‘I AM moving my arm’, or ‘now I AM moving my arm’. Who is this I AM presence who is doing the moving? And why is it not activated when the body is moving on its own?

If our brain is the source of who we are, then any stimulation thereof which resulted in motion should give us the perception that it is us who is moving, but as Deepak Chopra states, because that is not the case this is indicative that our brain is not who we are, that the brain and body is only superficially related to who we are, and that the brain most certainly is not the source of who we are.

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Brain Tissue Is Apparently Optional

Removing a hemisphere. Evidence for the holographic brain concept, and that our brain is only a recorder of experience and not the source of the mind can be found in a study done by Johns Hopkins University (J.H.U.) where they worked with brain-damaged children. They found that they could improve their level of intelligence and physical coordination by removing the damaged hemisphere of their brain. In essence, they literally cut out the damaged chunk of the children’s brain.

Within our current understanding of the brain this operation should significantly damage, if not irreparably hinder the child’s ability for memory and cognitive functions. From conventional understanding all of the functions which that hemisphere of the brain took care of would no longer be implemented leaving the child mentally deficient, or fragmented in some form.

If memories are stored in the brain, then after this operation those children should have lost those memories pertaining to the removed portion of their brain … if memories are stored in the brain. Yet the results were astonishing, and once again defied conventional thought.

Dr. Eileen P. G. Vining of J.H.U. studied 54 of the children who underwent the operation and she was simply astounded by the “retention of memory, and by the retention of the child’s personality and sense of humour.” A new version of the study was published in 2003 by John Hopkins University that dealt with 111 kids who had the operation between 1975 and 2003. Out of these 111 children 86% of them were seizure free or no longer needed medication (David Wilcock, The Source Field Investigations).

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The mystery of hydrocephalus. For more evidence we move towards the work of Dr. John Lorber who is one of the world’s top experts on the condition known as hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is due to a problem with the flow cerebral spinal fluid which surrounds and cushions the brain, and when there is a blockage in this flow the pressure within the individual’s cranium is increased. Hydrocephalus means literally “water on the brain,” and brain swelling in this case leads to an oftentimes dramatic compression of brain tissue.

Dr. Lorber studied a total of 253 people with this condition. In the most severe cases, the pressure in the brain would increase to such a high level that the brain tissue would be compacted leaving the patient with only a fraction of their original amount of brain tissue. In Dr. Lorber’s study 9 people reached this severity with around only 5% of their total brain tissue left. That means only 5% of their neurons, brain cells, synapses, and so one were available in the patient’s brain.

Amazingly 4 out of 9 of those people with less than 5% of their brain tissue had an IQ over 100, and 2/9 had an IQ greater than 126. In other words 66.6% of them were fine. Given the drastic loss of brain tissue the obvious question is how is this possible? How can someone with almost literally no brain be intelligent at all, let alone above average?

Dr. Lorber was directed to a student at his university by his peers, literally based on the intriguingly large size of his head, they thought he may be of potential interest. This student had an IQ of 126 and had a “first-class honours degree in mathematics, and is socially completely normal.”

A brain scan was done on this individual with surprising results. It was found that out of the normal 4.5 cm of brain tissue, his condition had been compressed to only a few millimeters. In other words his head filled with cerebral spinal fluid, and only a few millimeters of brain tissue, yet he was still high functioning with above average intelligence (David Wilcock, The Source Field Investigations).

I have no technical understanding of how this is even possible except to simply suggest that possibly the conductivity and crystalline nature of water may be a contributing factor. Yet what this should clearly illustrate that we know very little of the true nature of mind, or the brain. Both of these once again demonstrate that the mind is independent of the brain.

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The Nature of Mind-Brain Connection

This evidence raises some important questions:

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What is the real function of our brains? Is it the brain tissue itself that creates our intelligence, or is it the electrical and conductive nature of the brain that allows us to connect to intelligence? More or less like a sophisticated antennae, just like Nikola Tesla observed of himself early in the 20th century.

All of this information so far creates a lot of friction with the current propagated understanding of the brain, if it doesn’t debunk it altogether. The information that Penfield discovered is suggesting that our brains are independent of our minds, and that all our memories are recorded in their entirety, and with the same detail that we experienced them. From where we do not yet know.

I also suggest that this is evidence that we have the potential for holographic memory. This hypothetically is a possible function of our minds where our memory is projected powerfully onto reality (onto the screen of the universal consciousness) so that we can experience and relive our memories in 3D. After all, this is what Wilder Penfield’s patients experienced.

As Johns Hopkins University, and John Lorber’s research found, it may not be that our brains are really that important. If children can have half their brains removed and retain their memories and personality, and if people can function with less than 5% of their brain tissue with above average intelligence, then what is the true purpose of the brain but as a vehicle for intelligence, not as the source of intelligence?

Like a highly sophisticated bio-technology that we use to experience this level of reality, create reality, and express ourselves. Like in the movie Avatar, maybe we are not actually our bodies but are just operating them.

Is our brain really where memories are stored? There is actually no evidence to support that even our memories are stored in the brain, and never has there been a memory discovered in the brain. This is because our brains are constantly changing and are not fixed structures.

The evidence is finally lining up with ancient spiritual truths from every culture which expressed explicitly that we are divine, and that our true nature is conscious awareness, and that we are merely a fragment of that divine consciousness expressed in physical form.

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Conclusion

We may be vastly underestimating the power of our minds, and our true abilities to use them. If our minds can remember entire songs to perfection or orchestral performances that we only heard in passing then what is stopping us from accessing this on a conscious level?

It seems that every single detail of our lives is recorded with our brain, so the question I have is how do we access that information, and from where do we access it?

This evidence provides a truly exciting shift in the way we can view our minds, and more importantly our potential. If an electrode in our brain is able to stimulate such vivid recollection, is it not possibly that we can develop our imagination and our mental abilities to this point naturally so we can use that ability at will?

Is it not possible that there is much more going on during a simple thought process or recollection of an event than we give ourselves credit for? That is exactly what Wilder Penfield found which caused him at the end of his career to see the nature of mind as a field of energy or information which Deepak Chopra (I believe) termed the ‘mind-field’.

What if your essence is not in your brain, or in your body, but in a formless field of energy?

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About the Author

Brandon West is the creator of Project Global Awakening. A website dedicated to the research of a variety of scientific and spiritual disciplines, and applying that knowledge to help you live an inspired life and change the world. Follow Project Global Awakening on Facebook, and Twitter.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

http://cultureofawareness.com/2015/01/10/brandon-west-the-nature-of-mind-and-the-holographic-brain/

Brandon West – Diligent Practice – The Path to Knowledge – 6-22-14

Lao Tsu

 

Written by Brandon West

Throughout our lives if we take the time to master each new idea that comes powerfully in our lives, each new habit or way of thinking or art or endeavor that we are inspired towards, then with diligent practice, we will grow magnificently. All that is required is a new perspective of life, and of learning.

Lao Tzu elucidated this concept clearly in the 41st Verse of the Tao Te Ching:

 

When the best seeker hears of the Tao he strives with great effort to know it.
When an average seeker hears of the Tao
he thinks of it now and again.
When the poorest seeker hears of the Tao
he laughs out loud.
(Jonathan Star translation)

A great scholar hears of the Tao and begins diligent practice. A middling scholar hears of the Tao and retains some and loses some. An inferior scholar hears of the Tao and roars with ridicule.

(Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life)

I believe that each one of us have the potential to be in alignment with the best seekers, and with the greatest scholars, and according to Lao Tzu, the major difference is diligent practice.

 

 

Diligent Practice

How often do we unwittingly roar with ridicule and balk, if only in our thoughts, at some new concept or idea for no reason other than because it is different from what we currently know and understand? Moreover, how often do we hear information or ideas that we resonate with, but which slip from our minds mere moments later only to appear on occasion in flashes of insight which lead to nothing?

If we want to truly experience the universe (Tao) as Lao Tzu is suggesting, or experience the benefits of any practice or new idea directly, then we must begin diligent practice. This is the only way.

If you hear of the benefits of meditation for example, the only way to experience them is through diligent practice because practice alone will change you dramatically and help you to directly experience your chosen art and the new aspects and potential within you which studying an art will invariably release. And it is impossible to comprehend how you will change beforehand.

This is true with every single pursuit.

Each and every one of us are completely unique. Our lives are different, we have different goals and aspirations, and we have different passions and mediums of self-expression. Yet this concept of diligent practice applies directly to each and every one of us. For in no person would diligent practice be detrimental, and it is the only path to mastery which is a universal desire, whether it is acknowledged or not.

Diligent practice means simply to apply ourselves wholeheartedly to whatever we are learning, and to hone our talent, understanding, or skill down to a point through sheer repetition and practice until it is subconscious; until it becomes a part of who we are.

With diligent practice of our art or of a skill over time, the beauty is that we become what we are practicing. Therefore all internal boundaries begin to fall away one by one so that we can achieve a state of fluidity where our self-expression is unhindered and where we express the absolute truth of who we are and what is inside of us.

Only through diligent practice can we achieve this beautifully open state because the aspect of ourselves which we overcome through the self-discipline, commitment, and sheer effort of diligent practice is all of the internal obstacles between us and our creative source.

By overcoming the internal obstacles to achieve fluid self-expression in one art, we overcome our limitations of self-expression in general and thus can apply that knowledge and experience to any art and any endeavor. We can go from learning an instrument, to dancing the tango, but the principles of learning and mastery are the same in both instances of which diligent practice is an essential component.

This is the new perspective of life and of mastery that I am talking about. It truly isn’t new, but for some of us, especially for today’s youth (and at 22 years old myself I feel I have particular insight into the state of youth today) it is a new way to look at our lives, a new attitude, way of being, and a way to live in more depth.

From my own personal experience and from observation I feel that true diligent practice in general is an attitude that is missing from the world today, and it very well could be the reason why our society is so superficial in (the mainstream expression of) our art and in our materialism, and why we are under the spell of instant gratification.

For through diligent practice we truly master ourselves because we develop the ability to focus and maintain attention on whatever we are learning, and whatever we desire, thus we develop the ability to become skillful at anything and to truly become anything. But the real benefit is self-knowledge.

When we diligently practice something, we go beneath the surface of what we are practicing and of ourselves. We find things within that we did not know where there, from talent, to creativity, to knowledge pure and true. And in our art we discover fundamental principles which are inherent within everything in nature.

We are all extensions of source, therefore everything, every art and every being, must be a path back to source and must also be governed by the same fundamental principles. These fundamental principles is precisely what Lao Tzu meant by the word Tao which literally translates to ‘path’ or ‘way’, but which implies the way of the universe, nature, and the divine. And by travelling that path we cultivate knowledge directly from the universe which is universal wisdom, which is something we need more of and are definitely seeing more of in the world, particularly in the last 100 years or so.

Every time we notice something about ourselves or in our lives that we desire to change, or to learn, or to experience, instead of just thinking about it, we should all follow Lao Tzu’s advice and “begin diligent practice”.

Begin diligent practice and become who you desire to be, and do what you desire to do. And by living in this way you will transform by degrees and your life will become the greatest source of knowledge through direct experience you could ever imagine. As new ideas and endeavors come into your life give yourself fully to the diligent practice and application of them and you will grow in exactly the way you need to in order to become the best version of yourself. It is all divinely orchestrated.

Diligent practice is the path to knowledge.

 

Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.
– Bruce Lee