Consciousness in the 17th Century

 

17th Century Representation of Consciousness;  Wikipedia Creative Commons terms of use
17th Century Representation of Consciousness

 The Mind is like magic!

I love this kind of stuff. Anything about the mind interests me. The mind is a Pandora’s Box full of unknown (unconscious) wonder and potential. It feels similar to “real magic” to me, and it seems this was the case in the 17th century as well. That amazes me; as little as we know today (more and more each day with VMRI, and so forth) yet all the years back to the 17th century, very little seems to have progressed in the science of the conscious mind or consciousness itself.
 

Where and what is Consciousness?

Meditating, dream analysis, and inner work, cultivates awareness, thus consciousness. You become conscious of your world only when you become aware of the world around you; consciousness is awareness. 
 
I read and listen to long-time Buddhist practitioners, Buddhist Monks and Nuns, and meditation practitioners (sans Buddhist teachings.) One thing they all have in common is the understanding that meditation, whether part of Buddhist traditions or not, requires practice. Every book, video, audio I read, watch, or listen to all have the same direction: practice. They themselves use terms such as “…my meditation practice…” or “…when I practice meditation…” My point is that meditation starts as an awkward, vulnerable, and at times embarrassing action that we have only read, heard, or viewed; it is difficult to start, but starting is no different than six or ten years from now- practice, practice, practice. There is no end to practicing meditation or learning the Dhamma, if you choose, as both are life-changing regardless how much you practice; however, the more you practice, the more your suffering subsides to nothing.

 

 

 

 

 

Loving Kindness

Practice Loving Kindness Toward You


 

The Buddha said, “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Read that again.

Loving oneself seems so elusive today! Why? Why do people not love themselves, or worse, think they don’t deserve love from anyone else. With no mention of “affection,” because I think it’s redundant to love, which is the key – The Key – to this and every other life. Love can be learned with the right intentions and the right circumstances, but love is also part of our “firmware” when we are born. It’s not put into use for a few years, but it’s there and one is, hopefully, shown love from the time they are born. Sadly, that is not happening enough in our world. 

Loving Yourself

You deserve your love and admiration. You are enough and you are beautiful. We all are! Not one shit shall be given about what others think and say with regards to who you are as a person – who you are inside. All the clothes, houses, cars, schools, glasses, shoes, pools, flat screens, and so forth mean NOTHING. Nice to have, yes, but no amount of money, fame, or notoriety will fill you like loving yourself fills you. It is paramount that you begin the process of learning how to love yourself. You then teach your s/o, children, neighbors, and it takes off. The collective unconscious picks it all up and spreads loving kindness to all. 

Loving Kindness Meditation

I found Loving Kindness Meditation, known as Meta in Pali, five years ago through the podcast channel for Insight Meditation Center (IMC) in Redwood City, California. They were the only “Meditation for Beginners” podcast I found and still find it the best variety of speakers and topics meditation podcast today. Visit their Web site and follow the links to the six-week meditation course for beginners and start there. IMC teaches Loving Kindness Meditation and they do it well. They have a retreat center where they host 1 day to 30-day meditation retreats (and probably  longer.)

Loving kindness is good for you and your Self. Loving kindness toward every being on the planet, every plant, animal, fish, all deserve thoughts of loving kindness. Enemies, friends, mothers, fathers, hated siblings, and YOU deserve your focus of loving kindness. Meditation is an opportunity to focus your loving kindness on one person or one group of people, and always on yourself. Practice Loving Kindness meditation 20 minutes a day and learn to love yourself.

Who’s Your Therapist?

If you don’t have a therapist then find one (not a shrink – a Doctor Psychiatrist). Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) are therapists. Most list a specialization (drug abuse, teenagers, addictions, and so forth,) but you end up working best with the one you work best with; specialization or not, it works. The therapist is a non-biased licensed person whose job it is to listent to you and help you find a path leading to your answers. They aren’t to be used on an “as needed” basis either. Find a good therapist that you are comfortable with and continue with them for the next 10 years. These therapists help you on your journey through life; the first half of life (get married, kids, career, raise kids) and the second half of life (no kids, no idea who you’re married to, shit starts to make no sense, and so forth, or a “midlife crisis,” which I’m going through myself.) A guide through both halfs of life is very helpful.

Face it, life is a bitch and a good guide (therapist) is very handy to have. Doctor-client privileges exist, so your discussions are completely private (there are some terms and conditions that apply around crime, self harm, suicide, and so on,) and a good therapist will walk with you down the path, lead you to your answers, but will not point them out. It’s like the saying “If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” If your therapist tells you what to do and gives you all the answers, then you aren’t going to learn a damn thing. But when they lead you to the answer and YOU find it, that is what Oprah calls an “ah-ha moment,” and it’s quite amazing when you learn something, that clarifies something about you that you’ve never understood. Find out why you do what you do. It’s amazing.

I am in no way promoting IMC for any reason except my personal bias.

Self Compassion – Accept Yourself

Why Self-Compassion Is the Key to Being Our Authentic Selves – Tiny Buddha


I don’t often site other blogs because I don’t want to plagiarize, cause conflict, basically I don’t want to piss anyone off. However, this article hits home for me and I wanted to share it.

The article is on Tinybuddha.com and starts with the following quote:

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Puppy falling asleep gif
He barely catches himself…too cute.

After you finish watching the cute puppy, go read the article:

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/self-compassion-key-authentic-selves/

Read it a couple of times and share it. Everyone I know struggles with this. “Keeping up with the Joneses” causes much anxiety and depression, and it is unnecessary.

Enjoy.

Internet Speeds – WiFi and Wired, Why Speeds Vary, and ISPs and Their Tricks

Introduction

I wrote this as an addition to a post I wrote years ago entitled “Why are my download speeds so slow”. Much has changed since then, so I updated the blog to include the information you are about to read. Someone told me that I should have this info in its own post as well as leaving it where I wrote it. I agreed.

Internet speeds vary by ISP, modems, routers, speeds you are paying for, bandwidth on your home network, ISP throttling, and more than anything, lack of knowledge by the consumer as to what they are paying for when they sign up for Internet service.

ISP Throttling

Throttling is the intentional slowing of your Internet speed by your Internet provider. They all dismiss the notion, yet they all do it. Particularly to limit your amount of bandwidth on certain days of the week (Saturdays and Sundays) and certain hours (during weekdays between 6pm and midnight roughly.) Further, if you and your 30 neighbors are all using Comcast, for example, you are all sharing the bandwidth, which your ISP splits up so everyone has some.

How Can I Test My Speed?

I have an iPhone app called Speedtest by OOKLA, which I believe is free and it is available for both iOS and Android. Download it and see what it shows. Run it at 2pm on a Tuesday or Thursday and again at 8pm. You’ll see the difference. Also, there are many sites that you can visit, which offer speed testing. I use Testmy.net on my PC and Speedtest on my phone. My PC is wired and my phone is WiFi. Guess which is faster? The wired of course. Both the phone/tablet app and the Web site enable you to keep a log of your upload and download speeds and they compare you to your city, your state, the country, etc., so you can see your speed as a percentage of the average person in your state, or whatever.

Understand What You are Paying For

You get what you pay for and signing up for Internet service is no different than any other service you pay for. If you’re on the $19.95/month plan, then your upload and download speeds are slow. If you’re on the $80/month plan, then your speeds are faster than the $19.95 plan – all the time. That is, even though your upload and download speeds still slow down during high-use days and times, it is still faster than the $19.95/month plan. Check with your ISP and ask them what speed you have, if you don’t know. And pay attention to the terminology that the ISPs use for speeds when talking to them and what they say on their commercials. “54 “meg” download for only $29.99″ sounds great until you understand that it’s not megabytes (Mb/s) they are talking about, which we are all used to hearing; they are talking about megabits (Mbps).

An Example and Explanation of Mbps versus Mb/s

Here’s an example. At this time, Century Link is offering “Connection speeds up to 40 Mbps in select areas” and if you are in one of the selected areas, Century Link (or whomever you choose to use) will tell you that you get 40 “meg” download, which is great! Right? Wrong, because again Mbps is megabits per second, not Mb/s, which is Megabytes per second. 

If you’re downloading a file that is 1 gigabyte (GB) at 40 Mbps it would take how long? Thinking Megabytes per second, which is what the Internet providers infer by using the term “meg” (“meg” has always meant megabyte in the tech world, so everyone is familiar with it) and there are 1000 megabytes in a GB, then it should take roughly 25 seconds to download the 1GB file! Woo hoo! That’s damn fast! But wait, you don’t have 40 megabytes per second. You have 40 megabits per second. So, how many megabits are in a megabyte? There are 8 megabits per megabyte, which makes your 40 “meg” download speed, more like 5 “meg” per second. Much slower download speed, isn’t it?  So, your file is 1GB (1000 megabytes) and your download speed is 5 megabytes per second, so your real download time for that 1GB file is 3.5 minutes (still faster than my original 2600 baud modem or the ultra fast 14.4 modem.) That is IF, IF, your speed is at 40Mbps.

The actual download speed is typically lower than what you bought. Read the fine print and it is actually “up to” 40Mbps. Figure at that speed minus bandwidth sharing, minus throttling, minus Xbox games online, minus your significant other on their iPad, you will probably have around 18 to 20 megabits per second download speed, if that, which is roughly 2 megabytes download speed. Right this second, my wife is watching something on Netflix via WiFi through our Xbox and my kids are each on their tablet or phone. My speed test app on my iPhone (WiFi of course) is, I’m not joking here, 2.25Mbps and my upload speed is 5.83Mbps. I use Comcast and my speeds I’m paying for are something like 70Mbps download speed. Now, the wired PC speeds: 45Mbps download and 6.5Mbps upload. My WiFi is super slow. So, if you can wire your Xbox or PS to the router instead of using WiFi, you will have much faster speeds. The ISPs don’t even advertise their upload speeds, only their “ultra-fast 40 “meg” download” speeds are advertised.

Call your ISP and ask them what the fastest download speed you can buy is and when they tell you “40 meg!” say “Is that 40 Megabytes per second or is that 40 Megabits per second.” Betcha they don’t know. But, now you do.

I hope this helps.

John