Old Baby 108

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  1. Max's Gamma Radiation

    athayogaanushaasanam-And now begins the teachings concerning yoga yogashchittavrittinirodhah: Yoga is the cessation of thought waves Yoga Sutras 1:1-2 This verse from Patanjali explains why a yoga teacher would consider a lack of brain waves to be a desirable, significant finding-especially if one equates "chittavritti" with brain wave activity. Patanjali and EEG are thousands of years apart making it difficult to conclude that one could describe the other. Yet one can make a compelling argument in this direction if one examines both ancient descriptions of states of consciousness and modern findings that connect neural functioning with subjective states of awareness. As an EEG researcher, I was drawn into this discussion by your first post which correctly distinguished the phenomenon of gamma radiation from the phenomenon of gamma frequency brain waves. It is important to note that the gamma frequency has only been identified in the past 10 years or so-and even today some researchers still cling to the four frequency paradigm that classifies anything over 14Hz to be Beta activity. Until recently, scalp recordings could detect gamma waves only up to 70 firings per second, but in 1998 researchers at Johns Hopkins University discovered brain waves up to 100 oscillations per second by placing electrodes directly on the surface of the brain (ECoG). Knight and his UC Berkeley group used the same technique to show last year that brain oscillations can occur up to 200 times per second - and perhaps as fast as 300 times per second. In your original post you claimed that, "There are higher brain wave functions than gamma, associated with Samadhi." I do not know where you obtained this information but in my research there is found no classification beyond the gamma range and the association with Samadhi does not fit the current thinking regarding high-frequency oscillations. One theory is that brain oscillations organize neurons into cooperating groups: low-frequency waves synchronize the firing of large groups of neurons, while the higher frequencies synchronize smaller groups. High-frequency oscillations can be compared roughly to neurons talking "on cell phones" to other localized neurons in "their circle" whereas low-frequency waves act like "radio" broadcasts from large groups to large groups. Gamma oscillations have a more firmly established association with memory functions...it is possible that meditating on unconditional compassion while cultivating a state of being and not a specific memory or object of awareness could trigger a functionality similar to memory.
  2. Max's Gamma Radiation

    David Bruce Banner was his name on the TV series...the original comic book character's name was Robert Bruce Banner-I call him Bruce because that's what his mama called him
  3. Max's Gamma Radiation

    Was it not gamma radiation that transformed physicist Bruce Banner into The Incredible Hulk? How can anyone doubt the scientific veracity of these claims when it is a well known fact that not only The Hulk but Spider-man and the Fantastic Four have all developed superpowers based on their exposure to gamma radiation in one form or another. Now some skeptics may argue, "Spider-man was bitten by a radioactive spider," or "The Fantastic Four were exposed to cosmic rays," but I say gamma radiation is the meat and potatoes of any good superhero story. Nowadays everyone is crying 'genetic mutation"-but what do you think makes their DNA grow that extra helix? "Don't make me angry...you won't like me when I'm angry."
  4. Enlightenment

    And, can you say the 3D creature ( in fact, only its cross-section) is being studied and understand ? Once the 2D creature has become a 3D creature itself, then everything about it will become very simple, any expanation seems superfluous. Consider this in terms of your metaphor: What if the goal of the 2D creature is not to understand the nature of the 3D creature (which is unfathomable from its own level of observation) but through its studies to better understand its own 2D nature and open its awareness to the existence of dimensions outside of its own?
  5. Enlightenment

  6. Enlightenment

    Science is indeed a limited form of gaining knowledge and psychology more limited still...but just because something is limited does that necessarily make it futile and trivial? The life of a human being is limited, it begins one second and ends another. The human being while alive suffers greatly due to its own limitations. Does this make the life of a human being-the futile experience of a trivial existence? If we accept the possibility of enlightenment-then it appears that life does have some purpose (to gain enlightenment) therefore it is not futile and being a human has some value (humans can become enlightened) therefore it is not trivial. If you examine your initial statement you will find that it contradicts itself. Enlightenment has been the subject of psychological research (as some people may try to do) which negates your previous assertion that enlightenment could never be "the research target of psychology." You qualify that any such attempts (though impossible according to your first statement) will be futile. I am not tearing your words apart to pick on you, I am merely pointing out that you are not expressing what I think you wish to express. I think you want to say that psychology (or any science for that matter) can never fully understand enlightenment from its own limited perspective. This is a statement that I can agree with-however I must point out that the scientific method is designed to collect data objectively...understanding is not part of the method. Understanding may never come but this does not in any way hinder the process of observation. Having been one of those misguided individuals who studied and sliced, I thought perhaps I could give you some idea of how we went about doing what we did. First of all, in psychology (or should I say psychophysiology since that is what we were doing) we take this concept of enlightenment that pervades human culture and say, "What is enlightenment and can be objectively verified?" History is full of examples of enlightened individuals, as well as detailed descriptions of the enlightened state. Based on these many individuals in the current era assert that enlightenment does exist and that there are various means of attaining this state. The world today is a supermarket of enlightenment, with teachers on every aisle who are ready to show you the way to get there. One of our psychological methodologies was to find individuals who self-report being enlightened (a difficult task to say the least) and then interview them to find out what experiences they have had which leads them to conclude that they have achieved enlightenment. We compare the interviews of these individuals with each other and determine the most commonly reported experiences. This process does not allow us to assess in an objective way the concept of enlightenment but it does allow us to find out more about people who report being enlightened. This is an extremely subjective approach that is fraught with problems. The first of these being that the most commonly reported experiences of enlightenment are identical to historical descriptions of enlightenment. While many self reporters would see this condition as adding validity to their claims, the argument could be made that people desire this enlightened state-which is described by their tradition-and then shape their own experiences to fit the mold (or better yet, shape their description of their experiences to fit the mold since there is no way to verify whether or not they had the experience at all) The question then becomes, "How do we overcome the subjective nature of human experience to verify that enlightenment is more than just a myth?" Most spiritual seekers would say, "By knowing it for ourselves and feeling it in our own mind and heart." This view embraces subjectivity but does not overcome it. The source of subjectivity is the brain. All functions of the body correspond to functions of the brain. All sensory and cognative functions correspond to functions of the brain. What neuroscience has also found is that different subjective states of consciousness are characterized by different patterns of neural functioning. Until the 20th Century the ability to measure the electrical activity of the brain (EEG) was unavailable and no method for objective verification of consciousness existed. Now with this technology (combined with Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Positronic Emission Tomography) not only can we observe how the brain functions but the specific structures involved with that function as it happens. That's pretty cool...but how does it relate to enlightenment? By our thinking, the subjective experience of enlightenment if it is not a myth must have some neurological component that differentiates it from the common experience. We compare the brain activity of our self-reported enlightened people with the brain activity of people that we find on the street (who neither claim to be enlightened nor have any knowledge of what our study is about) and we find some interesting things. The findings are not conclusive nor do they confirm or deny that our self-reportering enlightened people are actually enlightened. We have found that different forms of meditation have specific effects on the brain...you are not wasting your time meditating; something is really happening neurologically-and from what we know about the brain-the effects are good. We have also found that the brains of long-term meditators operate differently than non-meditators during activity-which seems to indicate that you carry the good neurological effects of meditation with you into the rest of your day. The longer that you meditate (in years) the more similar your brain function during tasks is to your brain function during meditation. This observation alone is objective evidence that a state of enlightenment could possibly exist. (Brain functioning during tasks could be identical to brain functioning during meditation) I said all of this just to say: If you accept that science has limitations and work within the boundries of those limitations then there is no reason whatsoever that a scientific examination of enlightenment cannot be attempted. There is also no reason that such an examination should be deemed futile. It is easy for the scientist to dismiss the spiritual path as pure hocus-pocus and goobledegook. It is just as easy for the spiritual seeker to scoff at the arrogant ideology of empiricism at the basis of the scientific method. For the seeker and the scientist to meet on a common ground and view each other with equal dignity is difficult for both to do but I think it is a beautiful thing.
  7. Introduction to the Tao Bums

    Well, if I go by just what I see on the website or read in the book then I think Max should leave human society alone to evolve for awhile and join the X-Men in their struggle against Magneto. (The Uncanny Max-Men, perhaps?) Thanks for the welcome though I realize that this site is not designed to be a Kunlun site (I apologize for feeding the monkey-Bad monkey!) but it does allow access to Chris who appears to be the strongest link to Max's knowledge available at this time. It also allows access to a number of other Kunlun practioners who are very open in discussing their dedication to the path. I have read many of the posts related to the subject of Kunlun before joining this group and will do my best to only address Kunlun issues that have not been previously discussed or issues that have been discussed but not clarified to my satisfaction (If and when I choose to address them at all.) I hope that no one misunderstands my statement of intent as an accusation that Max is indeed a fraud or that he has not mastered one art or another. Normally, I would not even entertain making a judgement of this nature (given the absurd conditions inherent in making judgements) but when a student asks me, "What do you think of this guy? I'm thinking about doing this practice." it puts me in a weird place. I did not ever think of this guy before I was asked what I thought of him. Honestly, I don't know what to think and try to avoid it as much as I can. I think if he came to Iowa, then I would go and see him-it would be impossible to evaluate either the man or his methods without direct experience of both.
  8. Who thinks Bill Bodri is right?

    Energy practices are considered a sidetrack to cultivation because the awareness of the mind during energy practice is still operating within the limited conventions of a conceptual reality. Energy practices are systematic: systems are developed conceptually, consist of interacting parts, and are governed by rationalistic activities of the mind. No system can rid itself of the conceptual framework that contextualizes its own prescribed activities. More bothersome than the concepts which define the practice are the concepts that govern the steps of progress in the practice-learning, achievement, attainment of mastery-all of these concepts seperate the knower from that which is to be known and provide a basis for the attainment of knowledge-that basis being the state of ignorance. Cultivating Tao is to embrace ignorance completely and abandon forever the pursuit of knowledge.
  9. Introduction to the Tao Bums

    I was having dinner with one of my former tai chi students the other night and he excitedly showed me the Lama Dorje movie trailer and the book "Pillars of Bliss"-apparently he had a friend who attended the seminar in LA. Being knowledgable in many of the traditions that Max claims to have mastered I decided to investigate him in the interest of protecting my friend from fraud and maintaining the dignity and integrity of the celestial arts that humanity has inherited. My research has led me to this site and I have read a lot of the posts on a few of those particular threads. I thought that I might sign up and discuss.