350 Chapters
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Medium 9780253205667

The Man of Cuautla

Felicitas D. Goodman Indiana University Press ePub

For years Ursula S., a Swiss painter, had been telling me about a figurine she had inherited from her grandmother. Her uncle had immigrated to Mexico and settled in Cuautla, not too far from Mexico City, and when his new house was being built, the workers came across a perfect little clay sculpture and brought it to him. During a visit to Mexico, Ursula’s grandmother saw it in her son’s house and liked it so much, her son gave it to her. Ursula was familiar with it from early childhood, and when her grandmother died, she inherited it. She finally brought a photograph of it to our workshop in Switzerland in the spring of 1987 (pl. 64).

The man is sitting flat on the ground, his legs apart and bent at the knees. His right hand is on his knee, the left arm is stretched a bit more than the right, and his left hand is placed somewhat to the side of his knee. He wears a feather crown, and his head is slightly tilted back. His tongue is between his lips.

What the Swiss participants told after we did the posture did not suggest any particular experiential type to me, healing, for instance, or divination. If anything, it seemed to be a spirit journey of sorts, but not a very productive one. Urs R. repeatedly saw three “pointed mountains.” Kathrin told about a wall and hearing rocks falling down a stone stairway. Monica had to look down, very deep down, past legs of stone. There were shadows of lions, according to Romana, but they had no manes. She came to a cleft in the earth; it was like a cave, and a shaft of light illuminated two or three more caves. Vrenie turned into a spectator:

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Medium 9781608680474

Part 5: Judaism

Patricia Monaghan New World Library ePub

The history of Judaism reaches back more than three thousand years to the area called the Fertile Crescent in the eastern Mediterranean, where a tribal people called the Hebrews, who became the Israelites, shared their land with Canaanites and other non-Hebrew peoples. The ancestors of the Hebrews were originally polytheistic like their neighbors. After the Babylonian Exile, which began in the sixth century BCE, the Hebrews started to be called Jews. Judaism emerged as a religion centered on only one divinity, a transcendent being who was theoretically beyond gender but was nevertheless spoken of primarily as a father and a king. God’s two main names, Elohim and YHVH, are not supposed to be pronounced. Elohim is simply rendered as “God”; for YHVH (which Christians pronounce as “Yahweh” or “Jehovah”), Jews say Adonai (Lord) for ritual purposes and use Hashem (the Name) in everyday conversation and writing.

Today, some fourteen million people of Jewish heritage make up 2 percent of the world’s population. Almost all are Jews by birth, which means that they were born of a Jewish mother, who traditionally descends from the biblical patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). Reform Judaism, however, recognizes the child of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother as a Jew if the child is being raised Jewish. A minority are converts to the religion, a process that is lengthy and difficult; Judaism does not have a practice of seeking converts.

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Medium 9780980184822

Why chatter about delusion and enlightenment?

Jed McKenna Wisefool Press PDF

..........With TV, movies and novels I don’t shun horror or violence. I get weepy at the right parts, I laugh when something strikes me as funny. The willing suspension of disbelief may come a little harder for me than most, not in the conventional sense but in the sense of forming an empathetic bond with the plight of the characters. The same holds true in “real” life. I see people fulfilling their roles and “acting” like “themselves” and I tend to forget that they really identify with their character and their character’s plight. There’s some whispering in the room as word of my presence is passed around. Some heads turn, people smile.I don’t come down here often, don’t do the mingling thing much, but tonight I just felt like watching something with other people. I’m a little concerned that my presence will detract from the viewing for the group, but there’s nothing wrong with making them a little uncomfortable. Maybe it will get them to somehow re-evaluate their own views of the programs we’re watching. Maybe my presence will make them self-conscious so they observe themselves observing dramatic performances, which might in turn encourage them to become detached observers in their own dramatic performances.........

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Medium 9780253000958

The Uses of Muscle

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

When I was a boy growing up on the country roads of Tennessee and Ohio, the men I knew all earned a hardscrabble living with the strength of their hands and arms and backs. They raised corn and cows, felled trees, split wood, butchered hogs, mortared bricks and blocks, built and wired and plumbed houses, dug ditches, hauled gravel, overhauled cars, drove bulldozers and backhoes, welded broken parts. They hunted game for the table in season, and sometimes out of season. Some of them had once mined coal in Appalachia or trawled for fish in the Great Lakes. Many had fought in Europe or Korea. They arm-wrestled at the volunteer fire department, smacked baseballs over fences at the schoolyard, and at the county fair they swung sledgehammers or hefted barrels to see who was the mightiest of the lot.

A brawny, joking, red-haired southern charmer who often won those contests was my father. He had grown up on a farm in Mississippi, had gone to college for a year on a boxing scholarship, had lost the cartilage in his nose during a brief Golden Gloves career. After moving north to Chicago, where he met the woman who would become my mother, he worked by turns as a carpenter, a tire builder, and a foreman in a munitions plant, until he eventually graduated to wearing a white shirt and sitting all day at a desk. He never liked the fit of a desk or a starched shirt, however, so as soon as he came home from the office he would put on overalls and go to work in the shop, garden, or barn. He could fix every machine we owned, from the car to the camera, and he needed to fix them, for we rarely had enough money to buy new ones. Although he grumbled when the tractor threw a belt or the furnace quit, as soon as he grabbed his tools he began to hum. He took pleasure in using his strength and skill, and I took pleasure in watching him. Around our house, whenever anything heavy needed lifting or anything stubborn needed loosening he was the one to do it. He could tame a maverick horse, hoist an oil-slick motor out of a car, balance a sack of oats on his shoulder, plow a straight furrow in stony ground, transplant a tree with its root-ball bundled in burlap, carry my sister and me both at once in his great freckled arms.

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Medium 9780253205667

Appendix: Some Practical Points

Felicitas D. Goodman Indiana University Press ePub

—If you would like to try any of the postures I have described, you will need rhythmic stimulation. With some practice, you can record a tape for yourself, using either a drum or a rattle. The beat should be even and rather fast. Mine is timed at 200–210 beats per minute, and one session should last about fifteen minutes.

—Familiarize yourself with the posture first, then do a breathing exercise. It consists of fifty light, normal, complete breaths, with inhaling, exhaling, and pause constituting one breath unit. At the conclusion of this exercise, assume the posture once more, close your eyes, and start listening to the beat of the instrument. After a while, you may no longer hear the soundtrack. Do not worry about it. Your nervous system registers it anyway, although out of awareness. If you try to get back to the sound, you may interrupt your vision.

—As soon as the soundtrack stops, and provided you are clinically healthy, you will return to ordinary consciousness. Once in a great while a person does not manage this transition well. For this reason, a beginner should always have a companion. If the companion notices that the trancer does not come to right away, the first thing to do is to call his/her name. Gently releasing the trancer’s posture is also a good strategy, and providing a glass of water will help, too. As the group leader, you will occasionally go into a light trance yourself. One of my participants told that as she was rattling, her Indian spirit friend appeared before her and rattled along with her.

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Medium 9780980184839

Dicking Around

Jed McKenna Wisefool Press PDF
“I’m not,” I say, recalling a conversation under similar circumstances from college.

“Huh?”

“I’m not really here,” I repeat, wondering if he’ll go for it, if he’s in the right state of mind........... See All Chapters
Medium 9780253205667

In the Land of Centaurs and Mermaids

Felicitas D. Goodman Indiana University Press ePub

In scanning a book recently about archeological finds in Europe,10 I noticed the picture of a figurine dug up in Thessaly (present-day Greece), about eight thousand years old (pl. 68). It represents a nude, rather full-breasted woman, sitting with both her legs turned toward the right side, her hands resting on her knees. Examining the figure shown a bit more closely, I realized that what at first glance seemed merely an oddly shaped face was really a mask, possibly that of a bird. That was exciting, for wearing a mask among hunter-gardeners or horticulturalists, as we know from their modern counterparts, is always a sign of a religious occasion, involving a trance experience as a matter of course. But what was even more intriguing was that in this case, the mask was combined with a totally unfamiliar posture. Ordinarily, the postures that come to light from such early horizons in Europe are those that are encountered in many other areas of the world as well, of birthing, of the Bear Spirit, of metamorphosis, and so forth. But here was one that was completely unknown in the later record. We had planned a workshop anyway for experienced participants only, to be held in a camp in rural Ohio, so this was an opportunity to try and see what the lady from Neolithic Thessaly had to teach us.

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Medium 9780989175913

20. Philosophical Zombies

Jed McKenna Wisefool Press PDF
Only you know if you exist, but you have no idea about anyone else. In philosophy, this is called the Problem of Other Minds, and the Philosophical Zombie thing is a real tool for understanding that perceived entities – everyone else– cannot be assumed to possess I-Am/Consciousness. They could just be non-sentient actors playing their roles on the stage of my dreamstate – my dreamstage. For all our feelings of community and connectedness, the existence of other people can never be more than a non-probable belief.

I say again – it would be hard to overstate this point – that no mystic or deity or high-placed insider could ever know more than I Am. However you reckon the universe, whatever you believe, no one can ever know more than you know. There is no greater authority in the universe than you. If you know I Am, then you have reached the Knowledge Maximum. Well done, I’m sure your parents would be very proud, if they actually existed......... See All Chapters
Medium 9780980184839

Why Arjuna Got Back Up

Jed McKenna Wisefool Press PDF
Curtis is inside working on the laptop in the office, so when the doorbell rings, both indoors and through an outdoor speaker, I assume he’ll take care of it, which is wrong because it rings again a minute later.

“I guess I’ll get that,” he shouts.............. See All Chapters
Medium 9780989175944

ACT V: ANATTA

Jed McKenna Wisefool Press PDF

ACT V: ANATTA

Transition music, sung by kids:

WHILE THE MOON HER WATCH IS KEEPING

ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT

WHILE THE WEARY WORLD IS SLEEPING

ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT

O'ER THY SPIRIT GENTLY STEALING

VISIONS OF DELIGHT REVEALING

BREATHES A PURE AND HOLY FEELING

ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT

SETTING

Semi-rustic cabin interior, messy, lived in. The space is softly lit with candles and lamps. Entry door and stone fireplace audience left where a fire burns. Rocking chair beside the fireplace and a couch facing it. Audience right, kitchenette, hall and bathroom out of view. Nearby a telephone stand with an old black rotary phone and a wall mirror. Downstage audience right, a small dining table used as a messy desk, littered with paper in sheets and crumpled balls, water bottles, coffee cups, etc, a laptop on one end and a printer on a chair, a desk lamp lights the laptop and more debris. A waste basket is overflowing and surrounded by crumpled paper.

CHARACTER

Julie: Thirty-ish female. Frazzled. Thin. Wears loose jeans and a baggy sweater, unkempt, no make-up, bare feet. Long messy hair.

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Medium 9780989175913

22. Song of Childhood

Jed McKenna Wisefool Press PDF
Medium 9780980184822

One Truth

Jed McKenna Wisefool Press PDF
Medium 9780971435223

The Ministry of Awakening

Jed McKenna Wisefool Press PDF
“You might want to think about this,” says Bob, looking at me over the tops of the pages he’s holding. “These amateurs and hobbyists, as you call them, are your audience.”

“My audience?”

“Well, your intended audience,” he clarifies. “It might not be wise to alienate them like this.”

“If I have an intended audience,” I reply, “it’s people who know they’re stuck and want to get unstuck, not people who don’t know they’re stuck and just want to pass the time and pass judgment.”

He sighs in exasperation. We’ve been having more or less this same conversation for several days.

“And what do you suppose is the difference?”

“The former would receive criticism with gratitude, and the latter as a personal attack. Awakening is a process of breakthroughs, and breakthroughs don’t come from incense and candlelight and inner peace. You look at spiritual aspirants as those most likely to achieve awakening, but........ See All Chapters
Medium 9780253205667

The Emergence Story

Felicitas D. Goodman Indiana University Press ePub

Two Indian friends, Rosemary from Taos and Joseph from Picuris, were participants in the first workshop I ever did in Cuyamungue, in the summer of 1982. We had done the postures together that I had worked through for the German television program, and then the question came up whether there were also others that I had not tried yet. So I got out the few examples that I had collected at the time, and we decided on the posture of a man squatting on a carved red sandstone pipe, an exquisite piece of art created about A.D. 1300 and discovered during excavations in Hale County, Alabama (pl. 63). The man is naked except for a cap, perhaps made from strips of hide. He has his tongue between his lips. His left hand grabs his lower left leg at an angle, his right hand is on his right knee, but stretching upward on the side of the leg, and his buttocks rest on the ground, a posture extremely demanding physically.

Both Joseph and Rosemary were shaken by what they had seen in the trance using that posture. It was dark, said Joseph, and the earth had burst open, as if an enormous volcanic eruption was about to take place, and the sky was lit up by exploding stars. Rosemary had heard people screaming, sighing, and moaning as if they were about to die. They both said that they would not try that posture again.

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Medium 9780253205667

Two: Getting in Touch with the Spirits: The First Discoveries

Felicitas D. Goodman Indiana University Press ePub

In the Protestant Christian tradition in which I was raised, it was held that the only way in which a human could communicate with the beings inhabiting the alternate reality was by prayer. But in the view of the vast majority of other traditions, speech, as the mode of communication of ordinary reality, is singularly unsuited for this purpose. It is but a hardly audible knock on the very thick wall separating humans from the spirit realm. In fact, humans have to make a truly heroic effort to be noticed on the other side. Merely talking, falling into a worshipful mood, feeling “transcendent,” “numinous,” or “oceanic,” or whatever other pompous words are listed in the dictionary, simply will not do. Instead humans, if they have the urgent necessity or desire to squeeze through the chinks in that wall, need to change the very functioning of their bodies in the most radical way. The term summarizing these changes is religious trance, one of a large group of altered states of consciousness of which humans are capable. It is termed religious because observation shows that it is the one occurring in religious context, that is, when contact is made with the alternate, the sacred, reality. (For the problem of defining “religion,” see Goodman 1988.)

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