Update and Principle 4 Proportion 2

Besides these ongoing blog postings I occasionally post additional material on this site. Most recently a note entitled “Another Near Death Experience: The Three Pathways” you can find that here.

For those of you in Toronto attending our Wednesday get together can I suggest that you bring a friend with you? Perhaps someone you’d never normally invite to a meditation? Looking forward to seeing you (both!).

Principle 4, second week

We are continuing with our consideration of principle  #4 from chapter 13 of the book (The Inner Look). Also called  “The Principle of Proportion” it says: “Things are well when they move together not in isolation.”

This week our meditations on this principle are focused on the past i.e on: how I applied, or could have applied, this principle.

Here’s some personal reflections. I offer them in the spirit of dialogue and exchange, and look forward to hearing your thoughts about, and experiences with, this principle.

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Update

I just posted some new material. On one hand the beginning of comments on the documentary films I’m working on. This one starts in Poland during the Holocaust and WWll. You’ll also find new material added to my Glossary.
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A Belated Birthday Dream Part 1

Yesterday after posting Mark’s anecdote entitled, The Persistence Of The i, I noticed an anomaly. I was going to make sure that all the anecdotes I’d posted episodically were also available under the “Stories” drop down menu on my home page. But the first part of A Birthday Dream wasn’t listed in English, though the Spanish version was there.

So here it is, a belated part one. Complete with a doodle courtesy of R. Edward’s. I’ll also be listing it under the Stories/anecdote heading.

See you soon.
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my plans for this website, various links, magic, bees

My last posting was Paul Tooby’s intriguing writing about a recent experience. It sent me back, as I’m sure it did many of you, to re-read Silo’s Day of the Winged Lion. If you are reading this blog than you probably know it has a deep and unusual connection with me personally.

More about that connection another time… or not; I’m not sure there is any real purpose in going down that road. I’ll take it under advisement.

You’ll soon be able to follow me on twitter, so if you can’t get enough of these musings (?!?!?) or if you simply get bored because of their length you’ll be able to find more and even shorter ones soon at #dzuckerbrot. I’ll let you know when that happens.

I’ve got a number of postings still pending. I had promised something about time, coincidence and literary precognition, a couple of stories and some on-going biographical stuff. I hope to get caught up soon.

Meanwhile I’m wrestling with just how inclusive to make this website. I feel I’ve over thought it (self-censorship) it was intended to include a web of subjects that interest me -- just because they interest me. However, in practice I’ve wrestled with what would just be too boring for anyone -- even my friends who share some subgroup of those interests..


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Year's End and New Beginnings (again)

The Tricks Of Memory
I recall clearly how on the morning of my surgery the orderly showed me the way to the shower; he handed me a squeeze bottle of antibiotic soap and a towel. I remember the colour and smell of the soap, the rough texture of the towel. I can vividly recall the orderly's face and mannerisms but not as clearly as his sure and decisive movements, when, back in my room, he shaved my arms and chest. It is here that things get a bit strange. I know certain events took place after these minor indignities and before I received any drugs, but I can't recall any of it clearly; in fact was only sometime later, and after talking with people who were there that I started to 'remember' any of it.

I remembered being shaved; I didn't remember my wife coming in and chatting with me for the next hour or so. I didn't remember joking with her and the doctor as I was taken to the operating theatre. I didn't remember that a friend working at a hospital nearby dropped by to see me. I didn't remember the anesthetist coming in talking with me or starting my medication. In other words it’s not just that I don't remember 'flying' or anything else after the anesthetic I don't remember events that took place before I was 'medicated'. In fact over the next days the question of what I remembered and, even more troubling, who was remembering it, were to become pretty serious problems for me.

Post-op
After the operation I was taken to intensive care where I spent the next day or so under the watchful eye of monitors both electronic and human. Intensive care meant one nurse per patient, it also meant being hooked up to a number of machines. Some of them monitored vital functions others substituted for those functions -- like the machine, which, through a tube down my throat, breathed for me. That tube came out some hours after the surgery, others like the tube in the side of my neck or those in my legs and chest came out later, some like the catheter for my bladder came out the next day. The thin silver wires that lay neatly in two small coils on my chest were left in for a few days. These bare metal wires ran directly into my heart and were there in case something needed zapping in a hurry. All these tubes came out on time -- no problem. My first post-operative memory has nothing to do with them but with something that may seem much less intrusive, the triangular oxygen mask that covered my mouth and nose. I felt as if I couldn't breathe and the sweat and irritation from this respirator only seemed to make things worse. The nurses were great, very kind, very compassionate, but with no pity, hard as nails… an interesting combo.

Besides moments of worshipful admiration for the nurses who took turns watching me, my major concerns were the twin problems of how to remove the mask that I felt was asphyxiating me and how to get out of bed. I kept pulling the respirator off and the nurse would gently but firmly insist I put it on. As for the bed I just kept trying to get up, not having much control of my body at this point that intention ended up with my body just tossing and turning or writhing about. The bed was somehow associated with the discomfort I felt and I just knew I should get away from it.

Only A Small Digression
Years ago I was in an accident where the truck I was driving spun out of control on a wet highway and ended up rolling over a number of times till ending up in a ditch. I remember a similar feeling as I stumbled away from the truck and collapsed on the side of the road, the only thing I could 'think' was that the truck had hurt me and I should therefore get as far as possible away from it. Same with the bed in intensive care I just wanted to get up. I remember feeling nauseous, I'm told I vomited. A few hours later they brought in a chair and let me sit there. Soon the mask was replaced with a smaller device that delivered oxygen to my nose and didn't cover my mouth. Things got a bit more comfortable and I was slightly less altered, but still in a twilight world far from daily life. From that point on I remember more things clearly, both external events and certain internal considerations or preoccupations.

Recuperation begins?
The external events were simple: the next day I was moved to a less intense observation room called a 'step down room' and a day or two later to a normal room for the rest of the week. I started to walk around and people came to visit me. I didn't sleep much but I could concentrate, I could converse, the second night after the operation I read an entire novel. But none of this corresponded exactly to my internal situation, which seemed to gravitate solely around questions of identity and location. As soon as I started to wake from the anesthesia as I lay in the intensive care ward I kept wondering whether I was finished with the surgery or waiting to go into surgery. My chest hurt, I could feel the cut and the bandages, on one hand I knew that meant the operation was over, but I didn't really believe it; I couldn't remember so I was sure I must be waiting to go into the operating theatre. The only certainty I had in all of this was the feeling that it would not be a good idea to ask the doctors or nurses because they would think I was confused and keep me in the hospital longer.

The question of whether I was waiting for the operation or recovering from it was one that kept reoccurring over the next few days -- as well as the feeling that it would be better not to let anyone know that I didn't know what was going on. This was not my only preoccupation however, not even the major one. Much of the time I thought about Ed and the situation he was in, suddenly I would realize that I was not in the same hospital that he was. It would dawn on me that I was in Toronto and he was hundreds of kilometers to the west in a different hospital, in a different city. At other moments I would realize I wasn't in London but I would find myself either in a hospital to the northwest of where I actually was (a non-existent hospital) or in another (non-existent) city. These places not only seemed real but familiar; it seemed perfectly normal to be there – wherever there was at that moment.

I suppose I must plead guilty to a certain paranoia, for example It seemed obvious to me that I shouldn't let anyone know that I didn't have a clue whether I was going in for an operation or recovering from one. If they knew they'd want to investigate my confusion and probably keep me there longer. In the same way it seemed obvious to me that I shouldn't tell a doctor that I didn't have any idea where I was or even who I was. In any case what would I say to the doctor, that at moments I thought I was at some hospital visiting my poor friend Ed? That a few times I thought I was in the hospital not for heart surgery but because I had incurable lung cancer. Or that sometimes I would vanish or perhaps I should say transform. I would be lying on my bed (or shuffling along the hallway, or sitting watching television) and then the ‘I’ that was a moment ago me was now Ed. It wasn’t that I thought I was Ed, anymore than you sit around thinking you are you. It was just that I was him. Trying to clarify ‘who’ was feeling all this would be difficult, but there it is – I would wake up, and as I waited to see my doctor at the same time I was Ed waiting in his hospital for the result of some test. Or perhaps I would just be sitting in bed and I would suddenly realize that I had, a moment ago, been Ed lying in his bed in his hospital room

And Recuperation Continues
Within a week after the operation these 'delusions' were pretty well gone. It was also around this time that I started almost inadvertently, in conversation with those who had been there, to 'reconstruct' some of the memories of what happened before the surgery: who had visited me, who I had spoken to, what we joked about etc. Still even now those delusions, those strange displacements of time, place and identity seem more real than those reconstructed memories of what I know must have happened.

These descriptions don't capture the strangeness or the ordinariness of these moments. They were strange after the fact, in that they revealed a great confusion. They were also strange because they kept occurring over the next days in a range of variations. All this however seemed very ordinary in the moment—it was obvious I was me (who ever that was) here (wherever that happened to be); in one hospital or another in Toronto, in London or in some other place, I was myself (?) recovering from surgery or waiting to go under the knife, dying of untreatable lung cancer or visiting a friend in the hospital. I, maybe I was not me at all, I was my friend Ed.

While I started to recover quickly they kept me in the hospital a few extra days, not because they’d discovered that I’d lost my mind but simply because of a mild infection. Had I mentioned my strange symptoms it might have been dismissed as a consequence of the anesthetics. A bright young medical student might have, however, scribbled ‘pump head’ on their notes. It’s a term that’s sometimes used for those whose brains are affected as a consequence of the heart-lung machine. The machine that’s used to keep the blood flowing, it can have some pretty serious –sometimes-permanent – neurological consequences.

Oh yeah, as for flying out of your body. You can imagine what a great relief it was for me when a researcher in Virginia recently offered scientific reassurance regarding those cases where patients reported finding themselves out of their bodies during surgery. His report maintained that these experiences were in fact nothing to worry about. According to this diligent scientist what we are dealing with here is not a symptom of mental disease and should not be treated as such. It is simply a reaction to stress.

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Un Sueño de Cumpleaños Part 4

And here’s the th and final instalment of Un Sueño de Cumpleaños
with Rafa’s doodles of course.

Hopefully the technical problems that caused the loss of the last few postings are resolved. The highly technological fix I came up with is to save and backup more frequently. In any case I reposted the deleted postings as best I can. So if you read further you’ll find the 4th and final instalment of A Birthday Gift.

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A Birthday Dream Part 4

Hopefully the technical problems that caused the loss of the last few postings are resolved. The highly technological fix I came up with is to save and backup more frequently. In any case I reposted the deleted postings as best I can. So if you read further you’ll find the 4th and final instalment of A Birthday Gift.

With Rafa’s doodles of course

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temporary technical problems

We’ve had some technical problems and lost the most recent updates. We are hard at work to resolve the issue.
check back soon!
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Un Sueño de Cumpleaños Part 3

Same as the previous but the Spanish version. Read More...
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A Birthday Dream Part 3

A number of updates to the website that include: new links, additions in the glossary, a new (old video), the next instalment of Birthday Dream complete with Rafael Edwards illustrations and more.

The video is Called
Blink of an Eye it was made around 20 years ago but I think you’ll find it timely. It was based on an idea Silo explored in Letters to my Friends. It was designed to use the ideas around the acceleration of time in order to open discussion about what would it take to change the world (nothing less!).

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Language and Monkey biz

I just changed some elements of the layout of this site. It’s all an attempt to shift things to more of a blog driven site then a website driven blog… or something like that. Anyway the idea is to emphasize the ongoing transient (and yes, fragmentary) nature of the blog postings. It’s as if they were moments when something passes into the central focus of the consciousness and use the rest of the website more as the memory or co-presence.

Hope that’s not too high falutin. For my non-native English speaking friends lets just say that is a word meaning something like pretentious, pompous or arrogant. But what’s important is that Its part of a family of words that could include: hoity-toity, and bon ton. It’s the kind of thing we might associate with the “discourse” of alchouetes.

For some thoughts on a term from my own personal glossary (idolect) check out Monkey biz in the body of this entry.
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Un Sueño de Cumpleaños Part 2


Lots of new stuff and links to lots more. 2nd part of A Birthday Dream. And more.

Unfortunately Isa you’ll have to wait a little longer for the promised continuation.

I apologize for the delay in updating but I’ve been on the road quite a bit working on our latest CBC production (
A Dog’s Life for The Nature of Things). Roberto Verdecchia’s film on Alzheimer’s which we have had the pleasure of producing. We have some other films in development but more about them in some future update.

and another instalment in Spanish of
Un sueño de cumpleaños .

Thanks again to Rafa for pix and comments and to H. and other anonymous and semi-anonymous friends who have contributed to this site in so many ways.

more stuff coming soon including material on synchronicity and other weird shit…..

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A Birthday Dream Part 2


Lots of new stuff and links to lots more. 2nd part of A Birthday Dream. And more.

Unfortunately Isa you’ll have to wait a little longer for the promised continuation.

I apologize for the delay in updating but I’ve been on the road quite a bit working on our latest CBC production (
A Dog’s Life for The Nature of Things). Roberto Verdecchia’s film on Alzheimer’s which we have had the pleasure of producing. We have some other films in development but more about them in some future update.

and another instalment in Spanish of
Un sueño de cumpleaños .

Thanks again to Rafa for pix and comments and to H. and other anonymous and semi-anonymous friends who have contributed to this site in so many ways.

more stuff coming soon including material on synchronicity and other weird shit…..

Meanwhile...

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Un Sueño de Cumpleaños (en Español)

And here’s the anecdote Un sueño de cumpleaños (in Spanish obviously)

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A Birthday Dream Part 1

As of June 9, 2013 there was lots of new stuff here. The complete text (with illustrations) of Patanjali’s Circus can be found in the anecdotes menu. There is also an unusual conversation with Silo about the virtue of individuality. In my blog you’ll find the first instalments of A Birthday Dream in Spanish and English appear in my blog with some Illustrations by Rafael Edwards. Stay tuned and I’ll tell you about when Silo first told me about this apparent violation of times customary flow.

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another addition to the website

Thanks to Ana L’homme I am now able to post a Spanish translation of the letter I wrote to Michael C about attention. I’m posting it as “la atención”. To find it click on the heading titled correspondence. Or just click here. Read More...
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teenage memories, notes from Rafa


Among the other things uploaded in the last few days is my first entry about life before Silo. This one is a few pages about an interesting character (and related issues, like drugs and other things appropriate to that era of the late 60s). Pure Sound Jack was the nom de guerre of one of the people who frequented a house I lived in with some friends when I was 16.

On a very different note you’ll find in the body of this post (click where it says “read more”) some comments from Rafa along with some notes about how he remembers the making of Sage of the Andes...

In the near future, more tales of my mis/well spent youth, anecdotes about Silo, another instalment of Patanjali’s Circus, more video, and more on attention, the Pure Form, and…

In an upcoming blog I’ll put forward a very simple hypothesis about prayer. Though simple it may, at first, sound like a very odd notion. It can be expressed like this: atheists, and theists, believers, semi-believers and non-believers all pray. And what’s more everyone’s prayers are heard, and answered, even if there is no transcendental entity that hears them.

As an important British biologist said (back when the word queer only meant strange or odd), “Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose”.
J.B.S. Haldane (1892-1964)


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Medicical Issues in Spanish and...

Hola. If you haven’t noticed there is a Spanish translation of the letter I wrote which covers some anecdotes and observations about illness, medicine and Silo’s advice to me and some others. If memory serves me well this translation is the work of Hugo Novotny and Ana L’Homme.

To make that short video with Silo at the cafe, easy to find I’ve also added it under the menu heading “Silo”. It’s titled “Cafe Chat”

I’ve also added RSS if you want to be notified of new blog entries. It seems to work on Safari. When I look at it in Chrome I just get text and code. Any suggestions? Is it working for you on your browser? Let me know.
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An Update

I’ve added a number of things today, including the ability to leave comments on each page of the blog. Please do. I think I’ve fixed the video of Silo so please take a look at the 13-04-18 entry: Silo and Liberation. Let me know if that works for you. Read More...
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your feedback

Hello I’m adding on the ability for you to leave comments on these blog postings. Please do. Diversity and differences of opinion are very welcome. If however your an asshole or your post is totally out of theme you will be deleted (see my note under the heading “writingon the webpage “more about this site”).

I’ll also try to keep you up to date on the material added directly to the website (not on the blog). There will be a lot of new stuff in the near future.

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