Saturday, March 4, 2017

Is God Consciousness (or Vice Versa)?

Eventually, we're all asked the big question: "Do you believe in God?" In that moment, there are a couple directions you may go in. You may directly (and wisely) give a simple yes or no answer; but if you're like me, you’ll experience a kind of systems freeze, and once again find yourself back in the place where you struggle to define what God really means to you. Where suddenly you have to focus all your limited (like me) mental powers on that limitless concept, and try to get in touch with enough profound inner intelligence to provide some honest meaning. You have to try to contact and express your highest consciousness. You have to try to find God.

"In the beginning was the word," it is said, but then no words–their forms or meanings or manifestations–are possible for us without consciousness.

Now I wish I had that Big Guy up on the marble throne, sporting a regally coiffed beard, and absolute omniscient creative mastery over all being. Or some universal intelligence like a giant extraterrestrial brain, seated in the center of a super galactic organism—but I'm afraid I don't really have either of those. Either—or both, may well be true, but I still seem to need something closer to home. Something I may not be able to understand, but that I can identify with. Like, what would the requirements and qualifications of God's job description look like?

 1. Must be able to create, energize, and animate all life and material creation, as we know it.

2. Must be able to define and direct all reality or realities, based on an infinite variety of material structures, natural processes, and perceptions–as determined and experienced by all the sentient and non-sentient forms you create.

3. Must be able, and willing, to provide constant, unconditional love; and to benevolently support and guide all of life by establishing eternal standards of beauty, ethics, morality, and evolutionary progress (in both a physical, and spiritual sense).

Consciousness itself is the only universal force I can think of that can conceivably achieve and sustain all of that. I know that what little of it I possess myself is the only thing that permits me some identification, and some means for understanding the miraculous nature of Life, writ very large. For me, that makes Consciousness a pretty good candidate.

Quantum Physics has been performing reliably for long enough, and has been specifically and exhaustively tested enough to indicate that it’s Consciousness that provides the link between energy and matter– both in the sense of conscious observation being the catalyst for material creation; and for the existence of an active, intelligent Consciousness at every level of being.

"No phenomenon is a physical phenomenon until it is an observed phenomenon."
John Wheeler, Physicist

"Matter…is not an inert substance but an active agent…mind, as manifested by the capacity to make choices, is to some extent inherent in every electron."
Freeman Dyson, Physicist

I won't pretend to understand any of this too well, but all the evidence suggests that the connection of everything on a sub-atomic level ("entanglement" and "non-locality" in quantum physics' terms) demonstrates that there’s a transformational, creative force underlying our reality—a kind of connecting field that we, and everything else in our world, participates in. If we call that field Consciousness, we may be revealing the impossible magic trick that can make simple matter (like my brain) assume energy and intelligence. We may be pointing to the power that catalyzes the source and substance of all creation.
That sounds a little like a God requirement, doesn't it?

Look at all the forms of life that we easily associate with "The Divine," and they're natural, aren't they? The miraculous presence of life is so obvious in the forms of nature: cells, plants, animals, humanity. The Earth itself is alive—the ground and skies and seas—it's apparent to us in all those cumulative expressions of Consciousness like cell mitosis, the heliotropism of plants, the organic integration and sentience of animals, and the experience of this downright crazy life that we all share.
Even our scriptures defining "The Divine" suggest that at the heart of it all is the radiance of Consciousness:

I am the light that shines on everyone
I am the All.
The All came forth from me
and the All came into me.
Split the wood and I am there.
Turn over the stone,
and you will find me.
The Gospel of Thomas, Logion 77

I am the true Self in the heart of every creature...the beginning, middle, and end of their existence.
            The Bhagavad Gita 10.20

As for that last job requirement, the power and potential of unconditional Love can’t be denied by anyone. The world itself, at every level, undeniably responds to that force and calling. The characteristics of transcendent human behavior, like compassion, humility, tolerance, forgiveness, and generosity that also describe an ideally benevolent 'Great Spirit,' are the same ones we attribute to connecting to our "Higher Consciousness;" the connection that merges us—in Love—with the beauty of all being.

            " own true inner being actually exists in every living creature...[and] is the ground of that compassion upon which all true, that is to say, unselfish, virtue rests..."
            Arthur Schopenhauer

And tell me, where does our sane and charitable "voice of reason" come from, if not from the field of Consciousness, independent of the selfish gymnastics of human ego? The idea that ‘thought requires consciousness, but consciousness does not require thought,’ is something to keep in mind.
When we sit in the stillness of meditation, we encounter that radiant fluctuation–the effervescent ground of being that is Consciousness. There, in that field where anything is possible, we lay out the parameters of the workspace that we call imagination. And they are false borders—strictly of our own individual, and collective, design. Beyond them is the limitless possibility of Consciousness, alive and awaiting our willingness to explore. You might even call that uncharted territory “The Mind of God.”

The clear bead at the center changes everything. There are no edges to my loving now.
Jalal ad-Din Rumi

In the radiance of the limited senses we possess, we are clearly a part of this creation. We are all an expression of this Consciousness, and I wouldn't be the first to suggest that as an expression of that Divine Consciousness, you (like everyone and everything) are an expression of God—however you choose to define that field, that being, that infinite possibility.

In pop technology we say that “if the application (consciousness) is free, the user (life) is the product (God).”
I guess it would have been a lot faster if I'd just given a yes or no answer to that big question, but apparently, I need to run it around a bit until I can let go and simply experience what appears to be real to me—that Consciousness is God.

…Or was it vice versa?

The book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is now available everywhere, but ask for it it at your local bookstore!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Animation I've Been Up To: Design for IdeaRocket

Over the past 5-6 years, I've been happy to serve as the principle designer, Art Director, and Creative Director for IdeaRocket Animation. During that time we experienced terrific growth, and had some great clients. I've moved on, back to animation freelancing and the fun of designing for kids' show. Here's just a few of the pieces, and design (some used, some unused) that I managed to whip up during that time (click on 'em to enlarge the whole show):

For Venmo...

…based on an animated comic book format. Google it.

 ...a little psychedelia (char. concept W.Gadea).

For a Canadian cracker-maker…

 in the style of the great Swarte…

A couple "puppet show" looks, unused for the spot…

… an urban girl bg that did get used…

 A sample look for Verizon.

Some straight whiteboard…

…with a little color

Motion Gfx with the great Jacques Khouri.

Some fun traditional character stuff…

…and a little retro traditional.

A cool BG look for a recent gig.

Ending with a combo look for a corporate client…

Most of these full animations can be found on IdeaRocket's Vimeo page, FYI. Cheers, animation lovers! I hope to see you back on children's primetime soon!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Paranormality is the New Reality

Have you ever met Bigfoot? Well, neither have I, but not for the lack of trying. When I was a kid, many years ago, my mom took us on a summer adventure searching for Sasquatch (although she denies it now). That was a long time ago – way back before Bigfoot even had an agent.

A lot of things have changed since then. In those days, no one used the term “paranormal” yet, referring to all the crazy stuff that science couldn’t easily explain, like UFOs, ESP, ghosts and evidence of the afterlife, unknown species of hominids, and the possibility of life on other planets. Even alternative energy sources, quantum physics, animal intelligence and all the rest were simply considered to be “koo koo,” with one finger circling your ear.
 Of course, nowadays what we call paranormal is possibly more normal than what we call normal.

“Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is opposed. Third, it is regarded as self-evident.”
Arthur Schopenhauer

What does paranormal really mean? The Greek prefix para means “besides; alongside of; or beyond.” As such, paranormal refers to a normality that runs alongside of our usually accepted standards. Geometrically speaking, it “shares a common side, and a common vertex,” or source. So in its basic sense, it is adjoined to what’s normal, and comes from the same point of origin.
To Webster, it’s basically everything that isn’t understandable scientifically. But if you go back (or especially if you stay put) anywhere in human history, that would mean that everything we’ve ever learned (or will learn) scientifically either has been, or currently is, in a way paranormal.

The ascension of the paranormal in our cultural reality isn’t the result of all those ancient alien gods or ghost hunters streaming on your flatscreen. No, those shows are simply symptomatic of the new reality I’m talking about. The real contributors to our change are the rapidly expanding consciousness flooding our world, and the realization of it through our technological global mind, the internet, which simultaneously informs and connects all intelligence on our planet. In short, it’s cause is the spiritual and technological evolution of humankind.

Way back when, the existence of the internet would have been popularly considered a scientific impossibility, but now it’s a functioning metaphor, pointing directly to the foundation of much of what we’ve always considered to be paranormal; that is, a magically interconnected world, where anything that can be imagined is truly possible.
In the wake of quantum physics, and the description of an observer-dependent, wave-based reality where matter realizes itself from the fluid energy alive in the quantum vacuum, crystallized in a musical, extra-dimensional geometry; and then consciousness arises within that matter, connected faster than the speed of light within the “cosmic plenum” or “zero-point field” (the alchemists’ unus mundus), it becomes clear that little is outside the realm of possibility – especially as long as we’re flying around on this planet in outer space. All of that “real” stuff sounds pretty paranormal, doesn’t it?

We used to think that only very particular things could be possible on our planet, which was clearly at the center of the stars revolving around it. Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler were paranormal koo-koos back then. Recently, the space telescope bearing Kepler’s name has discovered it’s one-thousandth earthlike planet. From that we can easily extrapolate the existence of an infinite number of planets like ours, and so too, an infinite array of human-like life forms (many of which, one way or another, possibly visit our little planet).

One of my favorite guys, Dr. Carl Jung, tried to partially describe these concepts of a paranormal cosmic ether or “Akashic Field,” and the “psycho-social” anomalous phenomena of extra-terrestrial travelers in his books, “Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle,” and “Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies.” But despite his careful description of an independent, interlocking field of consciousness, and his rational suggestion of an archetypal based kind of mass-illusion at work in the world, there was no real way around the overwhelming scientific evidence, and personal testimony verifying the existence of each of these “new realities.” Like most scientists and academicians, he had to tread lightly, lest he upset the conventional apple cart, and destroy his professional credibility.
In that sense, the “psycho-social,” mass-illusion based theories of skeptical scientists can cut both ways. The same type of group ‘wishful thinking’ that can be applied to the average suggestible Joe can also apply to the traditional scientific community – to their own kind of ‘cognitive dissonance’ (or denial), evidenced by centuries of their membership in a Flat Earth Society of one kind or another. Another of Dr. Jung’s famous quotes comes to mind in this case:

“One of the main functions of organized religion is to protect people against a direct experience of God.”

  I wouldn’t be the first to suggest a similarity between organized religion and the institutions of science, but I may be one of the few people you’ve ever heard say that God is paranormal, and in fact, the very foundations of all our science and religion fit into a paranormal framework, rather than the other way around. What we call paranormal is always finally reached through further evidence of an enhanced reality, permitted by a more balanced, less insistently delusional approach, or by pure faith. There has always been a metaphysical core to the progress of our understanding.
When we simply sidestep conventional, archaic beliefs, and follow the paranormal path (from a common origin) that heads more directly along our spiritual and technological evolution – engaging a sixth sensory potential, you might say – we can start considering our new realities in a much more beneficial, even realistic way. We can even start to consider some of God’s “alternative” work.

Then UFOs are simply real indications of a technology that, being available to other people from the stars, is available to us – based only on the limits of our imaginations. On a personal paranormal note, I’ve witnessed three UFO events myself: “The Phoenix Lights;” a swarm of orbs; and a ‘star’ that zipped away, drawing a huge “Z” across the sky (…and I’m only high on life).
The silhouettes of “stealthy” aircraft, regular documented occurrences of different, “unidentifiable” crafts, the odd coincidence of “The Roswell Incident” with our sudden surge of technological innovation like integrated silicon circuitry, fiber optics, microwave technology, advanced construction materials, and the development of alternative propulsion, power sources, and artificial intelligence all suggest to fascinating new realities, many that are already commonly at use.

We may find the Crystal Skull phenomena kind of silly while we read about it on devices linked instantaneously to the global brain, operating on microscopically programmed crystal circuitry.
It becomes pretty impossible to imagine that some of those intensely elaborate, precisely hewn crop circles appear overnight thanks to techies with boards and rope.
There’s a ton of evidence, conjectural and empirical, for transpersonal communication (formerly ESP) in a human sense – not just in the reliably provable context of quantum non-locality and entanglement.
Reasonable investigation of the literal mountains of alternative archaeology can bring to light an entirely different history of humankind than what ‘s conventionally accepted; and the former science fiction of genetic manipulation and fabrication of species becomes reality, once we’ve mapped the human genome, and regularly manipulate those building blocks ourselves.
The confluence of “conspiracy theory” with the paranormal gets stood on its head by the revelations of whistleblowers, documenting our super hi-tech mass surveillance by ‘secret’ corporate and governmental agencies.

I also happen to be a three time near death survivor, and as such (along with hundreds of thousands of others) can testify to the experience of a broader, enhanced field of consciousness, beyond the limitations of our physical form (and I’m not particularly paranormal). This field of consciousness then could easily contain a profundity of animal intelligence – the understanding of which is being expanded upon by science everyday; as well as ghosts, aliens, and extra-dimensional phenomena of every kind. It could provide the basis of the very “cosmic plenum” that enables and energizes everything we experience as being either normal or “paranormal.”

I’m sorry to have left Bigfoot standing in the corner all this time. He must be feeling neglected – as hard as he is to ignore. But discoveries of “lost peoples,” and samples of early hominids, whose genomic analyses demonstrate relationships to completely unknown species of early man; along with the simple vastness of everything we have yet to discover, have got to make him, at least, not so paranormal after all. “I’m not going to flat out deny their existence,” says Jane Goodall, highly credible primate researcher, I’m sure that they exist.”

Perhaps we’d be better off embracing our paranormality. Or how about this? How about we just simplify all the old definitions, and call it all Reality.

The book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is now available everywhere, but ask for it it at your local bookstore!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Creating Your Landscape with Karma, Intention, and Ego

...let's dance

" made by mind. If one speaks or acts with with a pure mind, happiness will follow..." 
 Buddha, The Dhammapada

In the course of our time here as our path takes us towards what some call self-realization, there is a kind of leveling of the landscape of our life, so to speak, as we get more and more accustomed to simply being alive and getting along. That which didn't kill us, has not killed us, yet. When we look back at the past, the rough features of that daily existence—which at the time seemed so difficult to maneuver—the power of all those dramas we took part in unconsciously diminish and the landscape over which our road has taken us seems to smooth out into a calm, even plain of being. Of what was, then. Just as the future arises unpredictably out of nothingness, the past simply returns to the uncreated, only popping up occasionally like a whack-a-mole when we need to re-learn the same lessons we've forgotten. 

 The landmarks left standing behind us are just the ruins of those "great dramas" that shaped us, that changed us. Their matter and mass blow away like sand castles in time-lapse photography. We intuitively understand our quantum reality, the way it builds and deconstructs—packets of energy and information that become real when they react with our consciousness, and one another. Nothing is actually solid. 

 Ahead, the landscape likewise appears even and smooth—except for potential obstacles arising that will only manifest themselves as difficult life-events if we invest them with too much of the wrong kind of energy, and turn them into monuments to future drama, future suffering. This includes the inevitable sorrows and losses of life. The death of a pet; the loss of a romance; a career disappointment; the passing of a parent. But as we go on, we learn that we can avoid a lot of the difficulty in those obstacles by approaching them a different way, maybe with love this time. We can climb to the top of those monuments to past or potential dramas and put them into perspective. We can energize their quanta with positivity.

Look out over the views behind and ahead of you, and notice that the landmarks left on the geography of your past are the same shape and made of the same stuff as those potential obstacles ahead. Become a geographical detective. What do those patterns mean, and where do they come from? Why are they always so familiar? You know you have built those forms out of potential energies, and going forward you know that you can bring anything into being by focusing your energies on it. That's "The Secret."

Once you determine your patterns, you can build your life landscape based on the three great life factors: Karma, Intention, and Ego:

Karma is practically self-explanatory at this point, the average person's consciousness now being evolved enough to almost automatically understand that each soul labors towards it's inherent completion, and the cause and effect generated by one's life or lives determines what's needed to complete the lessons. Life is the result of cause and effect. You have to do something because you have to learn that. Your life sets itself up with certain conditions, the luck of the draw and the seeds that you plant, so to speak. Life doesn't happen to you, it happens for you. It's evidence of the spiritual evolution of our species that this formerly esoteric Eastern concept is now pretty well part of the global mainstream of thought. What goes around gets around.

Intention refers to the fact that we live in that thoroughly plastic, quantum world, where whatever you set the focus of your intention on, and follow the event stream of your life diligently and with passion, you can manifest out of the potentially material field of being. The trick is that you have to show upkeep trying, and believe. There are greater powers at work than meet the eye, and they are quite capable of producing your wildest dream, just as you are quite capable of preventing it by your own resistance and negativity. Which leads to the last of the three, Ego.

Ego is simply the mechanism by which one remains fictitiously attached to the visible, superficial, material aspects of the world. It fears the underlying change, which is life. It's the false self that keeps you out of alignment with The Divine by convincing you that you're separate from it, often because you "don't deserve it," when you naturally deserve to manifest your dreams as much as anyone. If you can put this Ego (judgment and comparison) aside, you'll immediately develop insight to being. Using this insight, life will show you your karma; and then when you focus your intention on following your life, you can take short-cuts along your karma path simply because your soul is learning the lessons it requires for completion. Jung called it IndividuationSome of us tree-huggers call it finding yourself.

"Samsara, the transmigration of life, takes place in one's mind. Let one therefore keep the mind pure, for what a man thinks that he becomes."
 Maitri Upanishad 6. 24

The book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is now available everywhere, but ask for it it at your local bookstore!