This is my little prince, Haruki, named after the author Haruki Murakami:
(Laughter is the Best Medicine, photo by Gabriel)
He has also modeled for me often.
And this is my first attempt at a lino print:
Cat in Blue Moonlight
And while I'm posting about excellent medicine, I would like to share an interview I stumbled across from Ode Magazine between Jurrian Kamp and Biologist Bruce Lipton. The discussion centers around the change in Lipton's studies from being centered around a belief in the power of genetics to shape our lives (fate in terms of behavior and physical health) to being centered around the idea that not just our environment, but more how we perceive our environment shapes our lives (again: both physical health and behavior) Kamp explains Lipton's studies:
Lipton’s discoveries are part of an emerging new biological paradigm that presents a radically different view of the evolution of life: epigenetics. Epi means “above” in Greek, so epigenetics means control above the genes. 'It turns out that as we move from one environment to another environment, we change our genetic readout,' Lipton says. 'Or if we perceive that our environment is not supporting us, then that perception also changes our genetics.'
So, following the ideas in posts I and II on this topic, he's defining the underlying 'image' we carry around in our deep subconscious which explains what we can see of this world, what we will miss, our health, our happiness, wars, famine, and violence (yes!) as DNA. His "picture" is, in fact, a coded sequence. That coded sequence may have a gene in it that practically guarantees cancer. So that's the fated outcome of that picture. Then it becomes sort of an emergency to change the picture, yes?
We are masters of our genetics rather than victims of our hereditary traits. Our fate is really based on how we see the world or on how we have been programmed to experience it.
Again, his science supports the idea we have seen in other belief systems that for some reason, you tend to produce your underlying image before the age of five:
...neuroscience reveals a startling fact: We only run our lives with our creative, conscious mind about 5 percent of the time. Ninety-five percent of the time, our life is controlled by the beliefs and habits that are programmed in the subconscious mind. You may hold some positive thoughts but that has very little influence on your life because of the limited amount of time you actually run with your conscious mind.”
Kamp says: "Lipton explains that there is a good reason for the automatic “playback” function of the subconscious mind. As children, we learn to walk. While we do so, our lives are determined by the process. It takes all our energy and attention. The same happens when we learn to drive later in life. But once we have acquired these new habits, the subconscious mind automates the procedure. Whatever seemed almost overwhelmingly difficult at one point now is simple. We don’t even think about it anymore when we put one foot in front of the other or drive home from work.
However, we don’t just record simple motor functions like walking or driving. In the same way, we also record perceptions and behaviors. And we do most of this recording in the womb, during the second trimester of pregnancy, and during the first six years of our lives. “The fundamental programs in your subconscious mind are not your own wishes and desires,” Lipton points out. “They are behaviors you copied from other people, primarily your parents and your family and community. Your beliefs are actually their beliefs, their wishes and desires. You are ‘playing’ behaviors that were downloaded into you when you were a small child. And it is not very likely that these behaviors are what you are looking for today. You are sabotaging yourself!
He explains that this automatic behavior is not something you can talk to or reason with; we have all, I'm sure noticed that we can make the same 'realizations' about how we should feel or behave in a certain circumstance over and over without it ever actually happening. That's because those beliefs are recorded well below logic, in an emotive memory--I believe a more symbolic memory. We have to speak to those symbols, find them and move them around, in order to have the impact we want.
Mr. Lipton suggests that there have been good results in this sort of thing using hypnosis or subliminal tapes; in his own book (Biology of Belief), he outlines a simple technique he calls PSYCH-K which he claims has profound results.
He also makes another interesting point about health that matches what dream theory tells us. That point is about the cohesiveness of reality. He explains that what we perceive as an individual, a person, our 'self', is really a community of some 50 trillion or so cells. And the extension of that is that really, each of us is a cell in one "giant collaborative superorganism." He calls what we are doing to each other with crime, terrorism, violence, and theft, is nothing more than an autoimmune disease: the body fighting itself in a senseless act.
But most interesting about his article was that, just like in the example used in the Second Post on this topic, Dr. Lipton uses love as the re-creator of the 'universe' as you know it.
Kamp (the interviewer) explains: "When we fall in love, our conscious minds, with our wishes and desires, are running almost full-time--not 5 percent of the time, but 95 percent. That condition can be life-changing." This is what Lipton calls the honeymoon effect--those moments when the universe is heaven, because we are creating it from desire, instead of passively watching it from the cage created by the disempowering beliefs of an utterly dependent child subconsciously soaking in the fears and angers of the adults around him in an attempt to stay safe.
Another excellent discovery which continues in this vein and links it to another topic I've explored here, Ars Memoria (here, here, here and here ...not exhaustive :P) is this TEDtalks video of Joshua Foer on memory. He reminds us that memories (like the one of Maria) make us who we are. They build upon that basic, defining image you have and solidify it (because you're perceiving your experience of living through the holograph of that image), give it new symbols to work with--basically each memory becomes an extension of visual vocabulary.
Here's the thing: by 'outsourcing' our memory skills to devices, we make ourselves even more passive 'participants' in our own lives. I think here about how a cat finds his way home without GPS or Google Maps, even when you've accidentally let him out of your car somewhere halfway across the country when you got out to get gas, somewhere he/she had never been before. Why can't we find our way out of a small forest if we stumble off the beaten path?
When you're active about your memory making, especially when you're using this 'memory palace' technique Foer describes (an ancient technique, outlined also in earlier posts under Ars Memoria), you are actively placing symbols in the structure that symbolizes your 'self' to your mind: the palace, your home. Now, to some extent, those symbols, and what you are inclined to do with them, are going to be led by your genetic code, your childhood-created, subconscious image defining the world and the relationships and movements that can be made within it. A trick that memory champions use to subvert that--a trick that goes way back past the ancient Greek practitioners--is to posit ridiculous, senseless objects, characters, and relationships to undercut your natural tendency to adhere to your previously defined, underlying logic. The ancients felt that if you perfected these memory techniques, you would have something akin to magical powers; you would be able to magically alter the world around you. I would posit that you would be altering your perception of what is possible--you would be altering what you could see. When Einstein labeled certain events 'spooky action at a distance,' he was talking about actions which had results that could not be explained, mainly because we are not able to see all the teeming, shivering atoms that make up the universe. Everything is touching. If you could see those atoms, the action wouldn't seem so spooky. In this video, Joshua Foer talks about 'elaborative encoding,' and tells us that the distinctions noted in brain studies of memory champions were not in size or structure but rather in the fact that they were using spacial recognition areas of the brain when memorizing information (for example, lists of numbers)--meaning, again, image and also spatial relationship between images: just like that secret, subconscious, not fully-understood, explored, or even recognized Palace your mind created before you turned five. In the video, he walks you through some techniques to do some heavy remodeling in that memory palace, and therefore, if all this follows, some heavy remodeling of the planet.