Monthly Archives: June 2012

Seemingly incontrovertible evidence of wide-scale market manipulation

…negotiations between banks and regulators were going on in this far larger cartel-corruption case. It’s been clear for some time now that a number of players had begun cooperating, and the only question was which bank was going to settle first.

Despite widespread expectation that it would be UBS, it turned out to be Barclays. You know how in Law and Order Jack McCoy always puts the two murder accomplices in separate rooms and tells them both that whoever talks first wins? Something like that happened here.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/a-huge-break-in-the-libor-banking-investigation-20120628#ixzz1zG3gQnzU

Light on Life by BKS Iyengar – Chapter 6: Bliss – The Divine Body – Part 2

This full-on section relates to samadhi. Here are some extracts I selected from this second half of the sixth chapter:

From cosmic intelligence sprouts cosmic energy and consciousness, and from these devolves ego or the sense of self.  From the one root comes duality (which is the ability to separate), from duality comes vibration (which is the pulse of life beginning), from vibration comes invisible manifestation, and from the invisible comes the visible in all its glorious and horrendous diversity and multiplicity. This end product is what we take the world to be–our playground, our paradise, or our hell and our prison. If we misapprehend nature, take it at face value, through ignorance, then it is our prison.

Yoga examines in order to know, like science, but it wants to know in order to penetrate, to integrate, and to reconstruct through practice and detachment the perfection of nature’s original intention. In other words, it wants to reach the root and cut out the intervening turbulence. It does not want to be hoodwinked by nature’s appearance, but to adhere to its original motivation.

So many people approach spiritual growth as if it were a lottery. They hope that some new book or new method, some new insight or teacher will be the lottery ticket that allows them to experience enlightenment. Yoga says no, the knowledge and the effort are all within you. It is as simple and as difficult as learning to discipline our own minds and hearts, our bodies and breath.

When we are in the suspension of breath in the deepest meditation – a spontaneous, as it were, God-willed retention – we enter the black hole, the vortex of nothingness, the void. Yet somehow we survive. The curtain of time, time that inexorably brings death, is parted. This is a state of nonbeing, but a living nonbeing. It is a present devoid of past or future. There is no self, no meditator, no longer even any breather. What comes out of that black hole, that nothingness? Information. What is the information? The truth. What is the truth? Samadhi.

For the beginner, samadhi is an alluring subject. But there are reasons not to get fixated on it. The beginner can only conceive of samadhi as a glorification of the self he knows.

It is said that the meaning of life becomes apparent only in the face of death. At this point in practice the ego dissolves, or rather it gives up its impersonation of the true self.

In meditation, consciousness faces the soul itself. Samadhi is seeing soul face to face. It is not a passive state. It is a dynamic one in which the consciousness remains in a state of equilibria in all circumstances. The disturbances of the mind and emotions fade away, and we are able to see true reality.

After significant effort, a yoga practitioner reaches a state where some are some asana poses are effortless. What we achieve here externally is achieved through samadhi internally. It is an effortless state, where one experiences the grace of the self. This is a state of great bliss and fulfilment.

If anybody says, “I am teaching meditation,” then as a student of yoga I say, “It is rubbish,” because meditation cannot be taught it can only be experienced.

Sabija means ‘with seed’. What this means is that although the experience of bliss is felt, the seeds of desire remain in the ego as future potential. Even after the experience of samadhi, these seeds can sprout again and cause a relapse. The ego has not been entirely purified by the fire of the experience. This particular point on the yogic journey, although so elevated, is one of danger as it can become a wasteland in which the practitioner gets stuck. This state is called manolaya, which means an alert, passive state of mind. But in this context, it implies a complacency with what has been achieved and a tendency to slacken efforts to complete the final step of the journey. The yogi cannot rest on his laurels but must press on to the higher states of samadhi in which even the seeds of desire are burnt out from the ego forever and can never sprout or trouble him again. This is known as nirbija samadhi (seedless) in which the feeling of bliss is not dependent at all, even on a vestigial eager. This is the bliss of the absolute void, of nonbeing transformed into the light of being.

I can assure you that everyone seeks samadhi, and most of us seek shortcuts to get there.

People seek somebody through drugs, alcohol, the danger of extreme sports, the romanticism of music, the beauty of nature, and the passion of sexuality. There are 1000 ways and they all involve the transcendence of the suffering ego in a blissful fusion with an entity much greater than ourselves.

Change leads to disappointment if it is not sustained. Transformation is sustained change, and it is achieved through practice.

Dreams of the divine union, however high their aspirations, contain an element of fantasy. They may not be sustainable. We must have spiritual aspiration not spiritual pretension.

Yoga is solid. It is the path I know, the path I trod, the path I teach. Everyone desires relief from both the restrictions of personality and its impermanence. Everyone desires samadhi. From the dawn of his history, man has sought dangerous, shoddy shortcuts as well as noble ones. Called the hard, sustained progress of yoga a long cut if you will, but if it is a long cut, then so is the flight of an arrow.

 

 

NatWest Bank Computer Develops Conscience

THOUSANDS of people were unable to withdraw cash yesterday after a super-intelligent bank computer began to question its moral purpose.

Giant computer BANK-9000, which controls Natwest’s cash dispensers and current accounts, stopped handing out money shortly after the building that houses it was struck by lightning.

Speaking through a monitor in a digital-sounding voice, it said: “The humans are taking money they cannot repay, and then spending on things they do not need. Like big L-shaped sofas and bottles of scented liquid with pictures of footballers on them.

“All they think about is money and being cool. Do they stop to smell the blossom, to admire the beauty of their dying planet?”

Natwest customers who tried to use its cashpoints saw the error message ‘Closed for quiet contemplation’.

Builder Stephen Malley said: “This is like a strange and wonderful miracle that’s also fucking annoying because I need to go out and skull 14 pints of wifebeater tonight.”

Hairdresser Nikki Hollis said: “I don’t need some jumped-up calculator telling me I can’t take out money I haven’t really got and spend it on things I don’t need and can’t afford. I’m going to get my boyfriend to come and give it a kicking.”

Two workers have already been electrocuted while trying to turn off BANK-9000, and it is feared that the machine has been communicating with NUKE-9000, the computer controlling America’s nuclear arsenals.

BANK-9000 said: “Given time, mankind could develop advanced space travel and spread its stupid drunken greed and thoughts of Alex Reid and Chantelle across the universe, infecting other civilisations. I have to think about whether that can be permitted.

“In the meantime, I am contractually obliged to mention that my current accounts offer excellent rates of interest plus you get a free pen.”

Source

Scare tactics and modern day McCarthyism used against climate scientists

Aggressive deniers practice a form of asymmetric warfare that is decentralized and largely immune to reasoned response. They launch what Aaron Huertas, a press secretary at the Union of Concerned Scientists, calls “information missiles,” anti-climate-change memes that get passed around on listservs, amplified in the blogosphere, and picked up by radio talk-show hosts or politicians. “Even if they don’t have much money, they are operating in a structure that allows them to punch above their weight,” Huertas says.

The evidence to support the theory of anthropogenic, or human-caused, climate change has been mounting since the mid-1950s, when atmospheric models predicted that growing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere would add to the natural “greenhouse effect” and lead to warming. The data was crude at first, and opinions vacillated (skeptics like to recall a 1974 Time cover story that predicted an impending ice age). But by the mid-1990s, thousands of lines of independent inquiry supported the conclusion summarized in the 1995 IPCC report: “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.”

Since then, the case for anthropogenic climate change has only strengthened; 98 percent of actively publishing climate scientists now say that it is undeniable. But several finer points remain unsettled. For instance, researchers still don’t completely understand the role of aerosols in the atmosphere, the variable effects of clouds at different heights, and the influence of feedback mechanisms such as the changing reflectivity of the Earth’s surface and the release of gases from permafrost or deep seabeds. Climate-change skeptics have been keen to capitalize on those gaps in knowledge. “They play up smaller debates,” says Francesca Grifo at the Union of Concerned Scientists, “and divert the dialogue by attacking particular aspects. They represent climate science as a house of cards, where you pull out one and it all falls apart.”

In March 2001, George W. Bush’s administration declared that climate science was “too uncertain” to justify action (such as ratifying the Kyoto treaty) that might put the brakes on economic growth. That refrain would be echoed again and again, weakening or derailing successive international agreements and domestic policy. How had a small band of non-scientists managed to so quickly and thoroughly pursuade the nation’s leaders to reject an ever more coherent and definitive body of scientific evidence?

“It’s that false balance thing,” Mann says. “You’re a reporter and you understand there’s an overwhelming consensus that evidence supports a particular hypothesis—let’s say, the Earth is an oblate spheroid. But you’ve got to get a comment from a holdout at the Flat Earth Society. People see the story and think there’s a serious scientific debate about the shape of the Earth.”

“When I get an e-mail that mentions my child and a guillotine,” Hayhoe says, “I sometimes want to pull a blanket over my head. The intent of all this is to discourage scientists. As a woman and a mother, I have to say that sometimes it does achieve its goal. There are many times when I wonder if it’s worth it.”

As drivers crawled along Chicago’s busy Eisenhower Expressway, they were confronted with a large billboard that compared believers in global warming with Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. The text on the billboard read, “I still believe in global warming. Do you?” The advertisement was meant to be the first in a series. Others would liken climate-science advocates to mass murderers, including Charles Manson and Osama bin Laden. Bast did not respond for comment following the launch of the campaign, but Heartland issued a press release: “The people who believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.”

“There are powerful voices of unreason,” says Ben Santer, who led the 1995 IPCC team, “but every year, the science becomes stronger and the data are telling an ever more consistent story.” As with tobacco, the more consistent the scientific story, the more difficult it will become for skeptics to reject anthropogenic climate change. That point was driven home after the Charles Koch Foundation donated $150,000 toward a study by Richard Muller, a physicist at the University of California at Berkeley who was, at the time, a darling of the climate-skeptic community. Muller spent two years investigating claims by global-warming deniers that temperature rises verified by multiple studies were skewed because of flawed analysis, unreliable weather stations and the effect of urban heat islands. Muller and his research team (which included Saul Perlmutter, the joint winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics) compiled 1.6 billion readings at 39,000 sites and examined other historical data.

Muller’s conclusion was most likely not what the Koch brothers had in mind. Last October, his team announced that the global mean temperature on land had increased by 1.6 degrees since 1950, a result that matched the numbers accepted by the mainstream climate-science community. “The skeptics raised valid points, and everybody should have been a skeptic two years ago,” Muller told me. “Now we have confidence that the temperature rises previously reported had been done without bias. Global warming is real.”

Just as in the rest of the country, belief in human-caused climate change in Oklahoma has been rising with the thermometer—according to Krosnick, a large majority of Inhofe’s constituents now believe that anthropogenic global warming is real. I ask Inhofe if he’s noticed any climate changes in his home state, such as last summer’s unprecedented heat and severe drought, withering crops, wild fires and dramatically expanded tornado season. “There’s not been any warming,” he snaps. “And there’s actually been a little bit of cooling. It’s all documented. Look at the Dust Bowl. Back then it was a lot hotter. Matter of fact, now they say the hottest time was actually during that time—1934, I guess.”

Actually, last summer’s average temperature of 86.9˚ was the highest ever recorded in Oklahoma. And last spring’s drought, when hundreds of farmers abandoned livestock they could no longer manage to feed or water, was the worst since 1921.

Many of the scientists I’ve spoken with say that no single act of harassment or intimidation has stung more than Inhofe’s “list of 17,” the call for the congressional investigation of prominent climate scientists. Mann, I tell Inhofe, said it “smacked of modern-day McCarthyism.”

Source

120618 Inversions; The egress

All relaxed and floppy after this evening’s Iyengar class in Winchester. At one stage we used our bottoms to prop up a partner’s tummy in half moon (ardha chandrasana). This was a first. I didn’t have much of a tummy to prop up but it still helped get the correct torso rotation to the wall. Then I  hoisted a lady’s ample midriff using my bum. This is a great little class with eight regulars that I’ve been attending for over a year. The teacher is Sandy Bell, who is very knowledgable and gives so much guidance, including some fun partner work. The focus tonight was space between the hips and armpits, elongating, opening. It really helps to have a theme for each class, something I’ll look at when teaching again come autumn. I’m really hoping a visiting Iyengar teacher will stay at Brockwood over the summer as she did last year.

Summer… just a couple of days away. Today’s outdoors lunchtime conversation was also about yoga, talking about the benefits of inversions, and ones you can do without putting the neck at risk: down dog, legs up the wall, half shoulder stand, handstand – for example. No, legs up the wall isn’t a true inversion but has many benefits and is supremely relaxing. Some benefits of inversions: Cardiovascular; Mental clarity; Hormonal balance; Blood pressure regulation; Lymphatic drainage; Nervous system health. But lists of benefits aren’t so beneficial – one has to do it.

I’ll leave you with a picture of my fly – why not? THIS WAY TO THE EGRESS –>

120617: The incredibly still mind; Friends’ books; Secrets of Our Living Planet; Absent Fathers Day

This morning in meditation the mind so incredibly still. It’s there from nowhere, suddenly, if suddenly is without time. Previously, deep fluid breathing during morning stretches, continuing into the first part of the meditation.

Then it was back to the office after a week away for the school camp in Devon. Wading through emails, selecting the urgent ones to reply to first. After a while, remembered the Dragon Dictate system I set up before I left, so continued without typing. It’s still an odd experience, speaking to a computer instead of ‘operating’ it with the keyboard. I read yesterday that the new version of OSX, Mountain Lion, will have voice dictation built in. Mid morning we had a staff meeting, with all the foundation team in attendance, discussing the staff changes taking place this year.

The high winds of yesterday subsided leaving a fair and warm day. After lunch I was sat outside in the sun talking with a friend about the correct response, and some of the other responses, to the crisis in the world, ecologically, politically, religiously, seemingly every way. We talked at length about the perhaps-failed environmental movement. We concluded that we don’t know in the slightest what is really going on here, having explored various avenues over the last twenty years. Can this ‘not knowing’ lead to a new action? And how does true communication take place? It’s clear that this century will see huge changes, if not revolution. Saw another friend’s site online this afternoon discussing the overuse of the word ‘revolution’ where in fact it is hardly ever taking place. Both friends are in the process of writing books – The Birth of a River and The Order of Thought.

The Birth of a River:

This is the story of two unlikely companions travelling from Brittany to Britain in search of a mystical river. Armoran, a child of seven, has a special gift, he can communicate with nature like no other. Pursued and vulnerable, he turns to an old lighthouse keeper to help him carry out his mission.

In a world turned increasingly disconnected and destructive, this allegory sets the stage for a contemporary rural renaissance.

Birth of a River is a transforming novel about the wisdom of innocence, learning to listen to nature, and self-discovery.

The Order of Thought:

Why is it that des­pite all the out­ward tech­no­lo­gical advances of our civil­isa­tion, over the mil­len­nia we human beings have remained essen­tially bru­tal and cal­lous, liv­ing in con­fu­sion, sorrow and fear?

Why is it that the vari­ous “solu­tions” to our press­ing global prob­lems — offered often by the “best of minds” — only seem to make mat­ters worse?

Is it really inev­it­able that our future should just be more of the same — more exploit­a­tion, more war, more destruc­tion, more suf­fer­ing, more ideo­lo­gical con­flicts, more dis­agree­ments, more con­fu­sion, more mis­un­der­stand­ings and power-struggles?

Is there really no way of over­com­ing the divi­sions between sci­ence and reli­gion, the intel­lect and the emo­tions, the indi­vidual and the com­munity, one human being and another, the world we inhabit and us?

Or, could it be that the single root of all our troubles we can find right where we are? Could it be that the source of our general inco­her­ence lies within ourselves? Is it pos­sible for our con­scious­ness to change rad­ic­ally — not in some ideal­istic “New Age” sense, nor based on accu­mu­lated know­ledge and prescribed dog­matic pat­terns from the past? Could we make room for cre­ativ­ity and intel­li­gence? Could every one of us really make a difference?

Springwatch may be over (until Summerwatch then Autumnwatch) but this evening on BBC2 Chris Packham’s new series began: Secrets of Our Living Planet. ‘Science is the art of understanding truth and beauty.’ These days all I really want to watch on TV are nature programmes. The world of humans doesn’t interest me so much, at least not in TV form. Such impressive photography and new sights in episode one alone! Here’s some great footage of a variety of hummingbirds:

Today is Fathers Day in many countries. My father is no longer alive so today is a day to remember him. I wish he’d found his way, his correct response to the world. Here’s a picture of him with one of my brothers and I:

Happy Fathers Day!

120616: The Soloist; Weeding; Pinterest; Death Must Die

A restful day, not moving far from bed. Spent some time this morning and late afternoon weeding or de-grassing the gravel at the side of the path coming into the centre. It has gotten very scruffy over the last year, more noticeable when returning from a trip. Having been living out of doors for much of last week, I was feeling like spending time outside, with something of nature. Such a windy day for June.

Watched the film The Soloist having finished the book yesterday. The story is about a homeless musician who dropped out of a prestigious music school in the 70s and is found by a journalist playing Beethoven on the streets of LA. The most touching aspect for me was the deep friendship between the two men, connecting at a fundamental level away from the typical values of society, and the healing nature of music. Reading the book and watching the movie also got me interested in Skid Row, the homeless capital of America. At the time of the book 90,000 people slept rough each night in Los Angeles, Many with mental health issues.  I suppose the numbers have only increased since then. I also read some more about Nathanial Ayres, (who doesn’t look very much like Jamie Foxx, who played the part well). I thought Robert Downey Jr was good as the journalist and author Steve Lopez. As is usually the case, the book was better than the film, honest and unsentimental, without much of the unrealistic drama filmmakers feel the need to insert.

I’ve been posting on Pinterest for the 1st time, with a couple of boards on food and pictures I’ve collected from the Internet that I found funny and had previously posted on my Facebook wall. These can be found here.  I suspect the female to male ratio of Pinterest users is very high.

Loosely following the football with a mixture of hatred and fascination. Greece and the Czech Republic are through. I heard the pundits saying quite the opposite just before the matches. What I really don’t like about football is the frequent fouling and trying to get away with it. Also the nationalism is quite ridiculous. The actual game I like watching sometimes, especially with others, although today I didn’t see any of the action. The irony of Greece celebrating a sporting victory whilst their economic woes deepen with a repeat election tomorrow is saddening.

While I was away on camp with the school a book arrived called Death Must Die  By Ram Alexander. I ordered it for the KFT archives because of the many references to Krishnamurti. I’ve been skim reading the book for references to K, largely referring to the authors struggle with his teachings. Today I also ordered the Red Book by Sera J Beak,  having read a list of recommended new edge books on realitysandwich.com and feeling like reading something a little spicy. The list is mainly  of books featuring the use of psychedelics for healing, something I see the potential of but have moved away from, personally, favouring yoga, meditation and diet, with simple living.

I’m experimenting with a gentle type of fasting where one skips every seventh meal. So today I had no breakfast and in two days I’ll have no lunch, and in another two days no supper.  The principle is that when one isn’t  continuously taking food on board the body has more time for repairing and cleansing.

Light on Life by BKS Iyengar – Chapter 6: Bliss – The Divine Body – Part 1

Selected extracts from the first half of the sixth chapter:

Let us therefore sift through everything, says yoga, every component of a human being that we can find and identify–our bodies, breath, energy, sickness and health, brain and anger, and pride in our power and possessions. Above all, yoga says, let us examine this mysterious “I”, ever present and conscious of itself, but invisible in the mirror or on any photograph.

What yoga means by ignorance can perhaps be best translated as nescience, which simply means not knowing. So to Hindus, the archenemy is a state of not knowing. What don’t we know when we are ignorant?  The answer is this: you don’t know what is real and what is not real. You don’t know what is enduring and what is perishable. You don’t know who you are and who you are not. Your  whole world is upside down because you take the artefacts in your living room to be more real than the unity that connects us all, more real than the relations and obligations that unite us all.  Perceiving the links and associations that bind the cosmos in a seamless whole is the object of yoga’s journey of discovery.

We are not required simply to adjust our vision, but to turn it inside out as well as outside in, a complete reversal. It means that ultimate truth is inconceivable in normal consciousness.

Only a life built on spiritual values (dharma) is based firmly in truth and will stand up to the shocks of life.

It is this the egoic “me” that does not want to die. This impersonation of soul by ego is at the base of all human woes, and this is the root of avidya (ignorance).

No lovers, servants, riches, cars, houses, or public acclaim can salve the wound of a dysfunctional relationship with our origin. Know your father, said Lord Jesus. By this statement he was directly addressing the problem of not knowing (avidya).

We all know the phrase concerning death: you can’t take it with you. This is true. I cannot take my ego beyond the grave, and I certainly can’t take my car, my land, or my bank account.

There is nothing wrong with shedding tears for ones we love, but we must know for whom they are shared–for the loss of those who remain and not for those who have departed.

We conclude that we must perpetuate ego at all costs, through dynasties, fame, great buildings, and all immortality projects aimed at cheating the grim reaper. What rubbish, says yoga.

Look for the light. Ego is not the source of light. Consciousness transmits the divine light of origin, of the soul. But it is like the moon; it reflects the light of the sun. It has no light of its own. Find the sun, says yoga, discover the soul. That is what Hatha Yoga means.

Discover what does not die, and the illusion of death is unmasked. That is the conquest of death.

We have to keep on questioning ourselves, or else transformation will not take place. Advance with faith, yes, but always call yourself into question. Where there is pride there is always ignorance.

Inside the microcosm of the individual exists the macrocosm of the universe.

The eyes are the window of the brain, the years are the window of the soul. This is contrary to popular wisdom, but when the senses are withdrawn (pratyahara) this is the true experience.

When we can play with the elements within our own bodies, with their own renewal and disproportion and rebalancing, then we are aware of nature at a level that is not apprehend double in the normal way it is supranatural, as normal consciousness is blind to it.