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    Welcome to my Blog. As I come across things that interest me I post them here. I try to incorporate those things which will help us to gain a better understanding of ourselves and the world we live in. Mine is a spiritual journey and I hope you are on one too.....


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On The Nature of Reality

Here is an interesting episode in the Buddhist chronicles between two wise persons —King Milinda and the Arahat Ven. Nagasena.
The King asked, “By what name shall I know you, Sir?” King Milinda
Ven Nagasena answered, “My companions call me Nagasena.
But the name and the person whom the name refers to do not
really exist.”
The King commented, “If Nagasena and the person do not
exist, to whom do people offer alms and who receive these
offerings? Since you receive them, you really exist. Why did you
tell a lie in spite of your higher nobility?”
Ven. Nagasena enquired, “Your Majesty, did you come to this
monastery on foot or by chariot?”
The King replied, “I came by chariot.”
Ven. Nagasena enquired further, “Well then, please show me
your chariot? Is the horse the chariot? Is the wheel the chariot?
Is the axle the chariot? Is the carriage the chariot?”
The King answered “No” to all these question.
Ven. Nagasena remarked, “Is there a chariot beside the horse,
the wheel, the axle, the carriage, etc.?”
The King again said “No”.
Ven. Nagasena commented, “Your Majesty, you said you came
here by chariot; yet you could not show me the chariot! Why did
you tell a lie inspite of your high honor?”
The King consented, “There is no chariot beside the horse,
the wheels, the axle and the carriage. Just a combination of these
things has been named the chariot.”
Ven. Nagasena remarked, “Very well, your Majesty, you should
understand Nagasena as you understood the chariot.”


Walking Meditation

When it comes to meditation most people think of a seated meditation in a quiet secluded spot. Well for most of us that is difficult to achieve. At best we may be able to find a few minutes a day where we can be alone and hope to not be disturbed while we try to meditate.
What if we could meditate while we were going about our daily activities? That would be an incredible way to spend some of our more mundane moments doing our daily chores.

One way we can meditate is while walking. Not only in a park or a forest but in a city also. This takes a little practice but the rewards are plenty. If nothing else you are learning to tune into your environment and can learn to fully enjoy your surroundings. Each moment can be a profound experience when we learn to be more aware and more conscious.
Video on how to do a walking meditation in the city

How To See An Aura

What is the aura? Where does it come from and what is its purpose? Is there a connection between the aura and the Universe? Is the aura the same as the soul?
The aura has more secrets than we are first led to believe. Through close observation some of these secrets will surface. The first question is, “What is the aura and how do you see an aura?” It is likely that you have seen an aura many times before but you didn’t know what it was – so you overlooked it. It is time to remove the veils that hide the aura from your awareness.
Video on how to see the Human Aura

About The Tibetan Book of the Dead

The Tibetan Book of the Dead, whose actual title is “The Great Liberation upon Hearing in the Intermediate State” or “Bardo Thodol”, is traditionally believed to be the work of the legendary Padma Sambhava in the 8th century A.D. The book acts as a guide for the dead during the state that intervenes death and the next rebirth. He is considered to be one of the first persons to bring Buddhism to Tibet. The Bardo Thodol is a guide that is read aloud to the dead while they are in the state between death and reincarnation in order for them to recognize the nature of their mind and attain liberation from the cycle of rebirth.

Tibetan Book of the Dead

The Bardo Thodol teaches that once awareness is freed from the body, it creates its own reality as one would experience in a dream. This dream occurs in various phases (bardos) in ways both wonderful and terrifying. Overwhelming peaceful and wrathful visions and deities appear. Since the deceased’s awareness is in confusion of no longer being connected to a physical body, it needs help and guidance in order that enlightenment and liberation occurs.
The Bardo Thodol teaches how we can attain Nirvana by recognizing the heavenly realms instead of entering into the lower realms where the cycle of birth and rebirth continue.

The following is a description of the bardo realms that one travels through after death.

The First Bardo
The first bardo comes at the very moment of death, when there dawns the Clear Light of the Ultimate Reality. This is the very content and substance of the state of liberation, if only the soul can recognize it and act in a way to remain in that state. The instructions intended to be read at the moment of the person’s death are designed to help him do this. He is told, first of all, to embrace this supreme experience not in a selfish and egoistic way but rather with love and compassion for all sentient beings. This will aid him in the second step, which is to realize that his own mind and self is identical with the Clear Light, implying that he himself IS the Ultimate Reality, “the All-good Buddha”, transcending time, eternity, and all creation. If he can recognize this while in this supreme state at the moment of death, he will attain liberation – that is, he will remain in the Clear Light forever. This condition is called the “Dharmakaya”, the highest spiritual body of the Buddha.
Most souls, however, will fail to do this. They will be pulled down by the weight of their karma into the second stage of the first bardo, called the Secondary Clear Light seen immediately after death. At this point, there are separate instructions to be read according to the spiritual condition of the person while in life. For an individual advanced in meditation and other spiritual practices, there is repeated over and over the same instructions as at the moment of death, enjoining him to recognize himself as the Dharmakaya. For a person who was still at a student-level on the spiritual path, there is the injunction for him to meditate on his “tutelary deity”, that is, the particular god for whom he performed devotional practices while alive. Finally, “if the deceased be of the common folk”, unpracticed in any spiritual disciplines, the instruction is to “meditate
upon the Great Compassionate Lord”, which is to say an “Avatar” worshipped by the multitude, equivalent to Jesus as conceived by the average Christian.

The Second Bardo
If the soul is still not liberated at this stage, it will descend into the second bardo, which is said to last for two weeks. The second bardo is also divided into two parts; in the first, the soul of the deceased encounters what are referred to as “the Peaceful Deities.” On each of the seven days, a particular Buddha-being will appear in radiance and glory, with a bevy of angelic attendants. At the same time, on each day in turn there will shine a light from one of the six worlds of the Buddhist universe, called “Lokas” (the basic meaning is “place”; our English words “location” and “locale” are derived from the same Sanskrit root). On the first day of the second bardo, there appears to the soul the divine Father-Mother – that is, the supreme deity of the universe, transcending all dualities, including the division into sexes. The next step in the destiny of the soul is determined by his reaction to this God. If his life on earth was well lived, he will now be in a state of purity and grace, and he will enter into the joy of the God and attain liberation. If on the other hand he has lived an ignoble and impious life, the effects of his bad karma will cause the intense radiant presence of the God to strike fear and terror in his
heart, and he will be drawn instead to the softer light of the Deva-Loka, which has dawned along with this deity. This is still a fairly attractive fate, for the Devas are the Gods (or angels), and their Loka is equivalent to the Christian heaven; however, the Buddhist teaching is that even heaven is not the highest spiritual objective, because it is still only a temporary state in the manifest universe. Liberation is believed to be the only final and permanent resting-place for the soul, an un-manifest state beyond all existence.
On the second day, there appears the second-highest God in the Buddhist pantheon – in fact, he is actually the Second Person in the literal Buddhist Holy Trinity. At the same time, there dawns a smoky light from hell; and here we note that, just as the Buddhist heaven is not a permanent, eternal state, neither is its hell. Even the most wretched souls will eventually work their way out of even the deepest pit of hell, just as even the highest and purest souls will eventually lose their footing in heaven and descend again into the cycle of death and rebirth. Liberation is the only way out.
Once again, if the soul responds to the “dazzling white light” of the second God with the joy of a pure heart, he will be liberated thereby; but if he specifically reacts with ANGER from having indulged in this vice on earth, he will recoil from the light in fear and be drawn into hell. The pattern is repeated on the third day; this time it is the fault if egotism that will cause the soul to react to the God with fear, and he will be drawn to the human world, where his next incarnation will thereby take place. On the fourth day dawns the God of Eternal Life; if the soul has a negative reaction to him because of miserliness and attachment, he will be drawn toward rebirth in the Preta-Loka, a world of “hungry ghosts” who have huge stomachs and throats the size of pinholes, and so they wander about in a constant state of unsatisfied ravenous desire. On the fifth day comes God in the form of an Almighty Conqueror; this time it’s jealousy that will unseat the soul, and he will be born into the Asura-Loka, a world of fierce warrior-deities (or demons). On the sixth day all the deities return and dawn together, along with the lights from all six Lokas. On the seventh day there appear the Knowledge-Holding Deities, who are more fierce and demoniclooking
than those that have previously dawned; and in fact they are sort of a transitional element to the next stage of the second bardo, where the soul encounters the wrathful deities. Meanwhile, if because of stupidity the soul cannot face the Knowledge-Holding Deities, he is drawn toward the Brute-Loka – that is, he will be reborn on earth as an animal. In the second week of the second bardo, the soul meets seven legions of Wrathful Deities: hideous, terrifying demons who advance upon him with flame and sword, drinking blood from human skulls, threatening to wreak unmerciful torture upon him, to maim, disembowel, decapitate and slay him. The natural tendency, of course, is for the soul to attempt to flee from these beings in stark, screaming, blood-curdled terror; but if he does, all is lost. The instructions at this stage of the Bardo are for the soul to have no fear, but rather to recognize that the Wrathful Deities are really the Peaceful Deities in disguise, their dark side manifesting as a result of his own evil karma. The soul is told to calmly face each demon in turn and visualize it as the deity it truly is, or else as his own tutelary deity; if he can do this, he will merge with the being and attain the second
degree of Liberation, that lesser aspect of it which is now the best he can hope for here in the second bardo.
Furthermore, he is told to awaken to the fact that all these fearsome creatures are not real, but are merely illusions emanating from his own mind. If he can recognize this, they will vanish and he will be liberated. If he can’t, he eventually wanders down to the third bardo.

The Third Bardo

In the third bardo the soul encounters the Lord of Death, a fearsome demonic deity who appears in smoke and fire, and subjects the soul to a Judgment. If the dead person protests that he has done no evil, the Lord of Death holds up before him the Mirror of Karma, “wherein every good and evil act is vividly reflected.” Now demons approach and begin to inflict torments and punishments upon the soul for his evil deeds. The instructions in the Bardo Thodol are for him to attempt to recognize the Voidness of all these beings, including the Lord of Death himself; the dead person is told that this entire scene unfolding around him is a projection from his own mind. Even here he can attain liberation by recognizing this.
The soul who is still not liberated after the Judgment will now be drawn remorselessly toward rebirth. The lights of the six Lokas will dawn again; into one of these worlds the soul must be born, and the light of the one he is destined for will shine more brightly than the others. The soul is still experiencing the frightening apparitions and sufferings of the third bardo, and he feels that he will do anything to escape from this condition. He will seek shelter in what appear to be caves or hiding-places, but which are actually the entrances to wombs. He is warned of this by the text of the Bardo Thodol, and urged not to enter them, but to meditate upon the Clear Light instead; for it is still possible for him to achieve the third degree of liberation and avoid rebirth. Finally there comes a point where it is no longer possible to attain liberation, and after this the soul is given instructions on how to choose the best womb for a favorable incarnation. The basic
method is non-attachment: to try to rise above both attraction to worldly pleasures and repulsion from worldly ills.

The final words of the Bardo Thodol are: “Let virtue and goodness be perfected in every way.” “Be not fond of the dull smoke-colored light from hell.” – Tibetan Book of the Dead


We have many I’s. If you are not familiar with that term you will also recognize it from other schools of thought , which identify it as our ego, self image, and the individual. Those particular traits we like to think of as our own and that which makes up our identity.

We are more than what we appear on the surface. What we see in the mirror everyday. What we call I is just a means for us to relate to this physical plane in time and space. The trick is to peel away these layers of illusion and discover your true identity. As long as we hold onto the belief that this physical body is all we are we will continue to have our lives be controlled by external forces. Those immutable heavy anchors of ignorance will lay waste to your birthright of being a multi-dimensional being that exists on many levels. We don’t need to rely on these outside forces to make us happy. We need to look deep inside and create our own happiness by accepting who we really are.
All is ONE….We are not Separate…..We all are from the same source…..We are Infinite……Peace…..

Keep the pineal gland operating and you won’t grow old – You will always be young!

The pineal gland was called the “third eye” by ancient people. It was thought to have mystical powers. This may be why the French philosopher Descartes decided that the pineal gland was the seat of the human soul, the location of what we call the mind. The pineal does contain a complete map of the visual field of the eyes, and it plays several significant roles in human functioning.

Also called the pineal body or epiphysis cerebri, the pineal gland is important to this discussion for two reasons. First, it is the center for the production of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is implicated in a wide range of human activities. It regulates daily body rhythms, most notably the day/night cycle (circadian rhythms).

Melatonin is released in the dark, during sleep. The recent melatonin craze sweeping through the health conscious community makes claims that the hormone slows the aging process (a defense against free radicals), prevents jet lag, is implicated in seasonal affective disorder, coordinates fertility, and allows for deep restful sleep patterns.

Melatonin is a very ancient hormone that is found throughout the animal kingdom. In reptiles and birds the pineal is close to the skin and needs no interaction with the eye to register day/night cycles (this is where the notion of the ‘third eye” comes from). In these animals, the pineal gland is the master clock. In mammals, however, the pineal gland is subordinate to the eye/SCN system. Light severely curtails the production of melatonin.

Melatonin has been shown to inhibit the growth and metastasis of some tumors in experimental animals, and may therefore play a role in cancer inhibition. Removal of the pineal gland and/or reduction in melatonin output have been implicated in the increased incidence of breast cancer in laboratory animals. Patients who have breast cancer have lower levels of melatonin in the blood. The hormone has also been shown to be protective against genetic damage, and it has a stimulatory effect on the immune system.

The anticancer role of melatonin in humans is not established yet, but in a study involving blind women, melatonin production was found to be higher at all times. This finding was associated with the finding that breast cancer in this study was correspondingly lower for these blind women compared to the general population.

The pineal gland has been implicated in a number of disorders including cancer, sexual dysfunction, hypertension, epilepsy, and Paget’s disease. The pineal gland calcifies with age and melatonin production correspondingly decreases. This decline in melatonin has been suggested to be a trigger for the aging process.

Environmental stresses affect pineal function, impacting overall body alertness, temperature levels, and hormone operation. Stresses that affect pineal function include unusual light and dark rhythms, radiation, magnetic fields, nutritional imbalances, temperature swings, high altitude, and overall daily stress patterns.

Melatonin, if any of these claims turn out to be substantial, is a powerful body chemical, with important implications for human functioning, especially (I would suggest) for blind and visually impaired individuals. If light inhibits melatonin production, then blind individuals lack a mechanism for balancing the melatonin levels in the blood.

Melatonin overload may be related to seasonal affective disorder, the depression some people feel during the overcast, short days of the winter months (when there is minimal sunlight). Are blind individuals more susceptible to depression because of a melatonin imbalance?

I’ve worked with enough blind children to know that their sleep patterns get all messed up. We usually tell parents that the reason is simply a lack of feedback about when day has set and night is here. We establish a routine for the blind students that replaces the natural rhythm. The role of melatonin may be important for these children. We may be able to help them sleep better and in a more balanced rhythm using medications to counter the excess melatonin in their blood streams. This is not an endorsement of drug therapy, only speculation as to whether its use would be helpful.

Studies do show that partially sighted eyes may still maintain subconscious awareness of light or its absence. For these people, the circadian rhythms established by the pineal gland are intact. For totally blind individuals, with no subconscious feedback to the pineal gland, there may be periods of severe insomnia, or they may fall asleep at unusual times (like during math class).

The second reason for interest in the pineal gland is that it contains magnetic material in birds and other animals. It is a center for navigation. This, of course, is important for blind individuals. If the pineal gland turns out to contain magnetic material in humans (researchers are looking), then it may be involved in navigational processing. Magnetic processing is subtle and may be part of the bodies unconscious navigational system. Mobility specialists are aware of this possibility, but we have yet to use it to train students.

Studies done mostly with birds strongly suggest that the pineal gland is a center for navigation. Scientists believe that the pineal body is a magnetoreceptor, capable of monitoring magnetic fields, and helping to align the body in space. Changing the direction of magnetic fields around the heads of birds alters their ability to orient.

Electromagnetic fields (EMF) suppress the activity of the pineal gland and reduce melatonin production. EMF activity therefore disrupts the bodies circadian rhythms.

In lower vertebrates, the pineal gland has an eye like structure and it functions as a light receptor. The pineal gland may be the evolutionary forerunner of the modern eye. It is located within the third ventricle. It is large in children, but shrinks at puberty. It appears to play a major role in sexual development, hibernation in animals, metabolism, and seasonal breeding. In humans it affects circadian rhythms, sleep patterns (melatonin levels increase at night), and is implicated in seasonal affective disorder. The abundant melatonin levels in children is believed to inhibit sexual development. When puberty arrives, melatonin production is reduced.

There is a pathway from the retinas to the hypothalamus called the retinohypothalamic tract. It brings information about light and dark cycles to a region of the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). From the SCN, nerve impulses travel via the pineal nerve (sympathetic nervous system) to the pineal gland. These impulses inhibit the production of melatonin. When these impulses stop (at night, when light no longer stimulates the hypothalamus), pineal inhibition ceases and melatonin is released. The pineal gland is therefore a photosensitive organ and an important timekeeper for the human body.

Retinal research done with hamsters demonstrates another center for melatonin production. Located in the retina, this center implies that the eyes have their own built in circadian timepiece. This retinal system is distinct from the brains body clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Biologists found that they could throw the retinal rhythms out of sync with other circadian cycles. They also found that they could set and reset the retinal clock even when the SCN was destroyed.

The retinal clock produces (stimulates the production of?) melatonin. Researchers are now looking for the exact location (s) of this clock in the human eye (and expect to find it). No one yet knows what the separate clock is for or how it relates to the SCN. One thing is clear: there is a melatonin craze right now. People are taking regular doses of the hormone. There is a question whether or not regular doses of melatonin may damage the eye over time. Melatonin could affect the timing of hormone peaks in the eye. High retinal melatonin levels combined with exposure to bright light might cause retinal damage. This is speculation (a caution) at this time.

Shadow People, Ghosts, Aliens or Inter Dimensional Beings

Did you see that dark, fleeting shape out of the corner of your eye? Perhaps you caught a glimpse of a strange entity that is being seen with greater regularity around the world. “What was that?” You were sitting comfortably on your sofa reading the latest issue of Fortean Times in the dim light when movement across the room caught your attention. It seemed dark and shadowy, but there was nothing there. You returned to your reading – and a moment later there it was again. You looked up quickly this time and saw the fleeting but distinctly human shape of the shadow pass quickly over the far wall… and disappear.

Shadow Being

Shadow Being

What was that? Some natural shadow? Your heightened imagination? A ghost? Or was it something that seems to be a spreading phenomenon – apparitions that are coming to be known as “shadow people” or “shadow beings.” Perhaps this is an old phenomenon with a new name that is now being discussed more openly, in part thanks to the Internet. Or maybe it’s a phenomenon that, for some reason, is manifesting with greater frequency and intensity now.

Those who are experiencing and studying the shadow people phenomenon say that these entities almost always used to be seen out of the corner of the eye and very briefly. But more and more, people are beginning to see them straight on and for longer periods of time. Some experiencers testify that they have even seen eyes, usually red, on these shadow beings.

The mysterious sightings have become a hot topic of conversation in paranormal chat rooms, message boards and websites, and it was given widespread attention on The Art Bell talk radio show. Art’s listeners even submitted their drawings of how they perceived these beings, and they can be seen in a haunting gallery on Art’s site.

What are shadow people and where do they come from? Several theories have been offered.

The Imagination
The explanation we get from skeptics and mainstream science – and who are usually people who have never experienced the shadow people phenomenon – is that it is nothing more than the active human imagination. It’s our minds playing tricks on us… our eyes seeing things in a fraction of a second that aren’t really there – illusions… real shadows caused by passing auto headlights, or some similar explanation. And without a doubt, these explanations probably can account for some if not many experiences. The human eye and mind are easily fooled. But can they account for all cases?

To call these entities ghosts demands first a definition of what we mean by ghosts. (See the article: “Ghosts: What Are They?”) But by almost any definition, shadow people are somewhat different than ghost phenomena. Whereas ghost apparitions are almost always a misty white, vaporish or have a decidedly human form and appearance (very often with discernable “clothing”), shadow beings are much darker and more shadow-like. In general, although the shadow people often do have a human outline or shape, because they are dark, the details of their appearance is lacking. This is in contrast to many ghost sightings in which the witness can describe the ghost’s facial features, style of clothing and other details. The one detail most often noted in some shadow being sightings are their glowing red eyes.

Demons or Other Spirit Entities
The dark countenance and malevolent feelings that are often reported in association with these creatures has led some researchers to speculate that they may be demonic in nature. If they are demons, we have to wonder what their purpose or intent is in letting themselves be seen in this manner. Is it merely to frighten?

Astral Bodies
One interesting idea suggests that shadow people are the shadows or essences of people who are having out-of-body experiences. According to Jerry Gross, an author, lecturer and teacher about astral travel, we all travel out of the body when we are asleep. Perhaps, this theory says, we are seeing the ephemeral astral bodies of these twilight travelers.

Time Travelers
People from our own future, another idea states, could have found the means to travel to the past – our time. However they are able to accomplish this incredible feat, perhaps in that state they appear to us merely as passing shadows as they observe the events of our timeline.

Inter dimensional Beings
Even mainstream science is fairly convinced that there are dimensions other than the three we inhabit. And if these other dimensions exist, who or what (if anything) inhabits them? Some theorists say that these dimensions exist parallel and very close to our own, although invisible to us. And if there are inhabitants in these other dimensions, it is possible that they have found a way to intrude on our dimension and become, at least partially, visible? If so, they could very well appear as shadows. It has long been held by psychics and other sensitives that beings on other planes of existence are of different “vibrations.” Science is beginning to look at reality, on a quantum level, in the same way – that particles of the smallest size exist as vibrations. Perhaps, some theorize, the vibrations of our existence are beginning to mesh with those of another dimension, which accounts for the increase in such phenomena as ghosts, shadow people and possibly aliens.

The alien and abduction phenomena are so bizarre that it’s no surprise that extraterrestrials are suspects as the shadow people.  Abductees have reported in many cases that the alien grays seem to be able to pass through walls and closed windows, and to appear and disappear abruptly, among other otherworldly talents. Perhaps, too, they can go about their alien agenda disguised in the shadows.

There’s a good deal of overlapping among the above ideas, of course. Aliens and ghosts could be inter dimensional beings, or aliens could be time travelers – and some believe demons are responsible for all of these disturbing phenomena.

There is no way to prove or disprove any theories about a phenomenon that is so mysterious, that happens so quickly and without warning. Science finds it virtually impossible to catalog or study such phenomena in any methodical way. All we can do, at present, is to document personal experiences and try to piece together what the shadow people phenomenon might be. Perhaps it’s an old mystery becoming more recognizable… perhaps it represents a doorway to and from different planes of existence… or perhaps it’s just shadows.

Eric Pepin