Gary R Smith M. - In short, I believe what we need to do is to critically examine all religions to extract the useful, while eliminating the lies and that which is counter-useful....
So that is the reason that I insist on having correct definitions of things and analyzing how things work instead of simply taking them for granted.
It's because I am developing a "religion" of the future with the same kind of thoughtful approach as the medieval scholastics gave to Christianity....
G. - Michael, I honor you and what you are doing. I have another emphasis and feel both are 'needed.' We benefit from sharing our distinctive perspectives, to see our own work in a more rounded way and make the outcomes more useful. You have helped me in many ways, including the honing of my language to be more precise -- which gives me a clearer picture for my work and personal practice.
My primary emphasis, rather than on developing a 'religion,' is on designing a practice with the intention of making it as simple and effective as possible for increasing one's resonance with the Whole. I call it Heart Breathing, which you saw in its earlier stages.
Resonance (according to Merriam-Webster) is meant in this context as: c : a quality of richness or variety d : a quality of evoking response
Michael F Here is a question that might elucidate some clarity.
We have 2 rooms, each containing one rock. We have 2 self-professed new-age practitioners (lets include shamans from different countries who do not know each other).
Each practitioner goes into the rooms, one at a time, and communicates with the rocks (asks them a fixed question)
Will the answer given by the rocks agree?
That is, will Rock A tell the same story to Shaman A and Shaman B?
Or will rock A and B tells the same story to Shaman A but a different (shared) story to shaman B?
Does the answer come from the rock or from the shaman?
I'd like to see this experiment done.
I view it more as "scrying" - the rock doesnt have the answers - the practitioner does. The rock is just a (useful) focus.
Elias Yako Serras Indeed.
Lets try on this premise though- two experts of X(fill in the blank) seperately interact with that X. They each emerge from the experience with some information (words, stories, song, measurements...) We might think of these credible experts as people who have spent considerable time and effort learning about X whether through the lens of western science or through their native culture's framework of study and awareness.
Note that "credible expert" has a very different connotation and meaning from your "self-professed new-age practitioners” in the first experiment. I can practically hear you shaking your head at the idea of a Shaman being regarded as a credible expert or as an indigenous scientist even… but perhaps you will consider the following passage from the same book I mentioned previously.
“Anthropology’s inability to discern the shaman’s allegiance to nonhuman nature has led to a curious circumstance in the ‘developed world’ today, where many persons in search of spiritual understanding are enrolling in workshops concerned with ‘shamanic’ methods of personal discovery and revelation. Psychotherapists and some physicians have begun to specialize in ‘shamanic healing techniques.’ ‘Shamanism’ has thus come to connote an alternative form of therapy; the emphasis, among these new practitioners of popular shamanism, is on personal insight and curing. These are noble aims, to be sure, yet they are secondary to, and derivative from, the primary role of the indigenous shaman, a role that cannot be fulfilled without long and sustained exposure to wild nature, to its patterns and vicissitudes. Mimicking the indigenous shaman’s curative methods without his intimate knowledge of the wider natural community cannot, if I am correct, do anything more than trade certain symptoms for others, or shift the locus of dis-ease from place to place within the human community. For the source of stress lies in the relation between the human community and the natural landscape.”
Gary R Smith Michael,
It is interesting you propose an experiment. The thought has been in my head for a few days to ask if you could devise an experiment which would prove or disprove the innate property of rudimentary consciousness in all matter/energy.
You are correct, first we have to establish a common understanding of the meaning of the word consciousness as a basis for such an experiment.
Then perhaps we need to agree upon an outcome that would prove or disprove the hypothesis that matter/energy is inherently conscious.
If for you the only proof would be that two experimenters receive the same answer from the stone, we are not on the same page. That sounds like a humanized version of what consciousness means.
My mind is open to the possibility that consciousness exists in many forms and on a spectrum from the most fundamental to the more complex. At the most primal, consciousness is the capacity to respond to stimuli. Does a stone respond to stimuli? Does it oxidize and its atoms dissolve into the air and earth? Does it retain the warmth of the sun, its atoms excited by the heat? Does a crystal interact with the light? To some, those may be indications of mechanical action only. To me, they are indications of the inter-dependence and inter-actions within the gestalt of the whole. My ability to communicate using language is not an indication of consciousness, but of a development in the brain.
It would be of interest and value to conduct such experiments. I have not heard that such has been done with stones, but surely others have thought the same. Perhaps the first step is to learn what valid experiments have already been performed. I know of experiments with plants along these lines, such as those described in 'The Secret Life of Plants.' However, the studies and experiments are prime examples of sloppy science. I just now found this critical review, which makes sense:
'To be completely honest, I truly wanted to believe that some of the “secrets” in this book are true. Perhaps some are, but even with a very open mind I had a hard time swallowing most of this “new age” pseudo-science. In addition this book is poorly organized, in a dire need of editing and at times deadly boring.
'The authors’ propose that we/human beings have a conscious connection to the plant world. This I believe is possible – although the premises presented here attempt to convince that the plant/human relationship is detectable, personal, and not limited by distance. The research was not done under double-blind rigorous scientific protocol.
'I do however think that there is an important connection between plant life beyond sustenance, photosynthesis and aesthetic value. To quantify a connection measured between two different types of consciousness -- I would imagine would have to be very detailed and complicated. Something that is definitely beyond reach of the scientists which are presented here.
'I think it’s safe to say that some people are connected to the plant world and can communicate with effectively with it…i.e those with a green thumb. But this ‘natural’ connection isn’t proven in this book.'
The above is from Chaz's review on Goodreads of 'The Secret Life of Plants: A Fascinating Account of the Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Relations Between Plants and Man' by Peter Tompkins, Christopher Bird
I am in agreement that such books are best avoided or ignored. My inclination goes more towards this from 'Plant Spirit Medicine' by Eliot Cowan -- yet I do not accept it blindly either, only feel initial openness towards the idea:
It would be best to read the whole in its context, but for here, a shaman in the Amazon jungle told an American adventurer, "...If you want to actually use a plant yourself, the spirit of the plant must come to you in your dreams. If the spirit of the plant tells you how to prepare it and what it will cure, you can use it. Otherwise, it won't work for you...."
The author goes on to say,
"The American firm, infatuated with its 'superior' technology, will go to the jungle dreaming of profits from a patent-able new drug. No one will think of asking the shamans what the active ingredients are. If they do ask, they won't like the answer. There is only one active ingredient in plant medicine - friendship. A plant spirit heals a patient as a favor to its friend-in-dreaming, the doctor."
Of course, a person of another persuasion could propose other possible explanations for the healing. But until one is proved or another disproved, my mind is open. Plant spirit? Rudimentary consciousness and will? Inter-dependencies and symbiotic relationships we do not yet understand?