About this weeks topic
Welcome to your first lecture!
Our journey begins with the most profound and important aspect: What is wholeness really? The idea of wholeness is one of the hardest to grasp metaphysical concepts, and at the same time the most fundamental matter. The word is being excessively used today, often without a deeper understanding of its profound implications.
One way of grasping wholeness is by understanding its relationship to separation, which leads us to the truly mind-bending case of the coincidence of opposites, the "coincidentia oppositorum". Everything in the cosmos but the whole has an opposite. You might have noticed that if you go far enough in any one direction, you reach not more of what you desired, but actually the opposite you tried escaping.
It just happens to be the case that our brain is fundamentally divided in a way that allows it to perceive the two fundamental qualities of the cosmos - union and division - separation and wholeness - non-duality and duality - simultaneously. They are two fundamentally contradictory ways of looking at the world it seems, or as Iain McGilchrist put it, ways of attending to the world. Learn about where the name ONE came from in this first lecture! Enjoy!
This weeks videos
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Recommended Reading & MAterials
- Iain McGilchrist - The Master and his Emissary (Non-Fiction)
- Iain McGilchrist - The Matter with Things (Non-Fiction)
- All Zen Buddhist literature and specifically Zen Koans
- Gregory Bateson - Steps to an Ecology of Mind (Essays)
- Robert M. Pirsig - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Novel)
Jill Bolte Taylor - My Stroke of Insight (TED)
This weeks Exercises & Homework
Take just 5-10 minutes times to synchronize your different levels of experience!
1. Close your eyes, take a moment to feel your heartbeat. Take three deep breaths with sounds, slowing down your pace, activating your five senses.
2. Follow the sound of your breath and bring all your attention to your bodily sensations. Just notice the quality. Sensations. Tingling, vibration, energy, numbness, pain, pleasure. Whatever is there, just feel it. Take a few minutes to just experience this.
3. Expand your attention to include your emotional body. Notice now also the quality of your feelings and emotions. Sadness, anger, joy, fear, whatever is there can be there. Focus on feeling the quality over labeling, understanding or interpreting the feeling. Take a few minutes to experience this.
4. Expand your attention once more to now also include your mental body. Notice now also the quality of your thoughts. Focus on noticing the quality over following and thinking the thoughts. Take a moment to experience this.
5. Gently open your eyes and feel the totality of your experience. If you are not alone, make eye contact with someone and notice how your sense of self shifts as you become a relational being.
Enjoy the feeling of presence and alignment in your being!
Whenever you want to activate your right hemisphere, just bring your attention to the direct somatic (bodily) sensations. This is the quickest hack to move from thinking to experiencing. For example notice the quality of sensations in your pelvic floor, your face, your sitting bone, your belly and so forth. Notice the quality of your breath. Take a deep breath and exhale with a slow, gentle, loud sound. Feel the vibration of your voice in your own chest. Notice the impact. Notice what is ever changing and shifting, notice the aliveness in the stillness.
It is helpful to have a regular meditation practice to increase the time spent in right hemispheric attention. A wonderful way to make sure you are actually experiencing as you sit and not following thoughts, is to focus your attention on the edges of your peripheral view, fully opening your visual field. The left brain is engaged in narrowly focussed attention, while the right brain is engaging in broad. open, sustained attention. You can always come back to the state of presence by attending to the edges of your visual field. If you can keep it open for an extended amount of time, try adding the sensations of your face to your open attention, and allow the two senses (feeling and seeing) to start blending and becoming one. Once you manage to hold that, add sound to the field!