Monday, April 6, 2009

Spiritual Star Trek DS9 & VOY: Pranayama, Meditation & Animal Guides

Star Trek DS9 2x23 Crossover
Before Kira and Bashir get transported in a shuttle to a parallel universe, they exchange the following dialogue about meditation.
KIRA: Could you take it for a while. (the helm).
BASHIR: Sure. Mind if I put on a little music?
KIRA: Actually, I do... I was hoping to meditate for a few minutes.
BASHIR: Of course. I didn't know you meditate.
KIRA: Every day. (Really Kira? ;p With your temper? Hehe)
BASHIR: I had the opportunity to study meditation with Isam Helewa when I was in college. Remarkable fellow... he sort of took me under his wing... I can't tell you how much I learned from him... the man was a master at rhythmic breathing.
KIRA: (bristles...) You'll have to give me a few tips some time.
BASHIR: Gladly. And I'd be very interested in any Bajoran meditation techniques you'd like to show me.
KIRA: We... just usually like to sit... quietly.
Bashir starts to breathe in what sounds like a pant... after a beat she opens her eyes, looks at him..
KIRA: What are you doing?
BASHIR: Bellows breath. Thirty quick breaths followed by one long intake of air through the nose and hold. Increases the energy flow... here, it's quite simple. (Variation also used here in Incredible Hulk)
KIRA: (no hopes for meditation) How about some music...

Star Trek VOY 1x06 The Cloud
Captain Janeway gets some help from Commander and Shaman Chakotay.
JANEWAY: Exploring this nebula should raise some spirits around here, don't you think, Commander?
CHAKOTAY: No way to go but up.
JANEWAY: You're closer to the crew than I am. How bad is it?
CHAKOTAY: There's a nuanka, a period of mourning that everyone's going through. It's a natural reaction.
JANEWAY: I'm worried about them. I wish we had a counselor on board, but the nature of our mission didn't require one.
CHAKOTAY: We talk to animals. It's a Native American tradition.
JANEWAY: Animals?
CHAKOTAY: Our own counselors. We're taught that an animal guide accompanies us through life. Basically, it's what Carl Jung thought he invented when he came up with his active imagination technique in 1932. But we've been doing pretty much the same thing for centuries.
JANEWAY: Is there a different animal guide for everyone?
CHAKOTAY: Actually, yes.
JANEWAY: Let me guess. Yours is a bear.
CHAKOTAY: Why do you say that?
JANEWAY: You strike me as the bear type.
CHAKOTAY: Thank you. The bear is a very powerful animal. It has great pokattah. But he's not my animal guide. The creature that guides us doesn't define who we are. It merely chooses to be with us.
JANEWAY: Okay. If not a bear, then what?
CHAKOTAY: I can't tell you that. It would offend my animal guide if I spoke its name. (Really?)
JANEWAY: But he guides you well?
CHAKOTAY: Actually, it's a female. But yes, she usually guides me very well.
JANEWAY: Can one just choose their own animal guide?
CHAKOTAY: It's not quite that simple.
PARIS: Captain. We're approaching the perimeter of the nebula.
JANEWAY: Slow to one-third impulse.
CHAKOTAY: If you're interested, I'll be glad to teach you how to contact your animal guide.
JANEWAY: You've got a date.
[Later in the Captain's Ready Room]
JANEWAY: What's this?
CHAKOTAY: My medicine bundle. I've never showed it to anyone before. After what you said this morning, I thought it was important to let you see.
JANEWAY: Will it help me find my animal guide?
CHAKOTAY: Eventually you'll have to assemble your own medicine bundle. But this will allow me to assist you in your quest for a guide.
JANEWAY: Now? Now.
CHAKOTAY: A blackbird's wing. A stone from the river. An akoonah.
JANEWAY: Akoonah?
CHAKOTAY: My ancestors used psychoactive herbs to assist their vision quests. Now they're no longer necessary. Our scientists have found more modern ways to facilitate the search for animal guides. Place your hand on it. And concentrate on the stone.
CHAKOTAY: A-koo-chee-moya. We are far from the sacred places of our grandfathers. We are far from the bones of our people. But perhaps there is one powerful being who will embrace this woman and give her the answers she seeks.
Spiral Stargate Stone to focus on
CHAKOTAY: Allow your eyes to close. Breathe to fuel the light in your belly. And let it expand until the light is everywhere. Prepare yourself to leave this room and this ship and return to a place where you were the most content and peaceful you have ever been. You can see all around you and hear the sounds of this place.
JANEWAY: I know this place. It's--
CHAKOTAY: You must not discuss with me what you see, or you will offend your animal guide. [Those are easily offended animal guides, I never read about this, anyone else know about not sharing this? Maybe part of the "Mystic Path is taken alone"?] As you continue to look around, you will become aware of other life that shares this place with you. It will be the first animal you see. That is the one you will speak to. Do you see an animal?
CHAKOTAY: Speak to it.
JANEWAY: What do I say?
CHAKOTAY: You know what you want to ask.
*computer beep*
JANEWAY: I'm sorry. I should've asked the computer for no interruptions. Come in. [Half-Klingon and former crew member of Chakotay's Maquis ship B'Elanna Torres comes in]
JANEWAY: The Commander was introducing me to my animal guide.
TORRES: I hope that you have better luck with yours than I had with mine.
CHAKOTAY: B'Elanna's the only one I know who tried to kill her animal guide. [Oh that (half-)Klingon Star Trek humor!]
JANEWAY (V.O.): A-koo-chee-moya. We are far from the sacred places of our grandfathers and from the bones of our people. But perhaps there is one powerful being who will embrace this good crew and give them the answer they seek.

Rockefeller Drug Law Reform Passes in NY

Late last night, after more than five hours of heated debate, the NY State Senate voted to reform the Rockefeller Drug Laws (Nelson...). The State Assembly has already passed the reform package, and Governor Paterson is expected to sign the finalized state budget shortly, which will make Rockefeller reform a reality.

Check out this video of Senator Eric Schneiderman, the sponsor of the reform legislation, defending his vote on the Senate floor.

State Senator Eric Schneiderman on Rockefeller Drug Law Reform

Now, thousands of future felony drug offenders will have the right to individualized justice in the court room, and judges will be able to sentence people to treatment and other alternatives to incarceration. The State will allocate additional funding to these programs. In some limited cases, people who are currently incarcerated under the Rockefeller Drug Laws will be able to apply for resentencing and release.

While this is not the end of the Rockefeller Drug Laws, if we have anything to do with it, it will be the beginning of the end. Drop the Rock will continue to organize and advocate for the full repeal of the laws.

This is a great moment for justice in New York State, and a validation of our organizing efforts. We should all feel very proud of this accomplishment.

Scientists 'discover' source of wisdom in the human brain

Scientists have discovered the source of wisdom in the human brain, it was revealed today. (No superlatives here... lol)
Experts have pinpointed the part of the brain that guides people when they are battling with difficult moral dilemmas, according to a study.
Highly-sophisticated brain scans (are you dazzled yet?) show that the response is linked to certain areas usually associated with primitive emotions of sex, fear and anger.
The findings, revealed by the Observer, are to be published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
They are a significant departure into an area of expertise that has long been regarded as one of religion and philosophy.
Study author Dilip Jeste, professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the University of California in San Diego, said: 'Our research suggests there may be a basis in neurobiology for wisdom’s most universal traits.'
He and colleague Thomas Meeks discovered that a person weighing up an issue that just called for an altruistic response used the medial prefrontal cortext of the brain.
This is linked to intelligence and learning.
But when someone is battling with a moral dilemma, other areas of the brain are used such as the parts linked to rational thought and primitive emotions.
Mr Meeks said: 'Several brain regions appear to be involved in different components of wisdom. It seems to involve a balance between more primitive brain regions, like the limbic system, and the newest ones, such as the prefrontal cortex.'
This type of research has only become possible in recent years due to technological advances in brain scanning, including functional magnetic resonance imaging.
This means experts can examine which parts of the brain that are used when people consider various tasks.
Such research has been made possible by the increasing sophistication of brain scanning techniques, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
These allow researchers to see which parts of the brain become active when people undertake mental tasks.
Professor Jeste admitted the possibility that wisdom and free will are based on the make-up of someone's brain rather than metaphysics is unsettling.
But he said: 'Knowledge of the underlying mechanisms in the brain could potentially lead to developing interventions for enhancing wisdom.' (or manipulating it)

Daily Mail link

Push me, Pull me: "Change" in the White House

Bush puppet, to be used when you want to delude the people with 'fear'.
The Bush Push. A push strategy in marketing is used when a new product has been developed or improved which is unknown to the consumer: '(False Flag) Terrorism' and 'Neo-Conservatism' for instance.
Obama puppet, to be used when you want to delude the people with 'hope'.
The Obama Pull. In a "pull" system the consumer requests the product and "pulls" it through the delivery channel. "WE WANT CHANGE" :p Yeah, good luck with that.

It didn't take long for the new puppet to switch from hope-BS to fear-BS. Coming to Europe and saying stuff like "Europe is just as or more likely to be hit by Al Qaeda." Wow, thanks man, now that is hope. As in, gee, I hope my country doesn't get hit by your False Flag attacks.

Pearl Jam: Push me Pull me