Saturday, August 21, 2010

Maverick's Missive

Dictated to me today, through my brain, by my friend Maverick. He's been bugging me about it for weeks. Make what you will of it.

-Begin transcript-

This is so simplified as to be almost false, or barely credible. And yet it is my gift. It is my best attempt.

The body is a sophisticated piece of bio-machinery designed to house a spirit.

(MW: by whom? why? what is a spirit?
Mav: These plaguing questions are beyond the body's limited ability to comprehend.
MW: Isn't that convenient?
Mav: I'm not convinced it's true. I simply cannot make it into language for you. I am not so skilled.
MW: You don't trust me
Mav: You don't trust me. Please leave this exchange in for others.)

The body is of matter. The spirit is of energy. The concepts of matter and energy are not prerequisites to understanding; yet, they should be self-evident if you try.

The body cannot act without the spirit. The spirit cannot matter without the body. The concepts of acting and mattering are not prerequisites to understanding, but some rudimentary contemplation would be advised.

I posit that spirit and body matter and act through a third, new entity that is created when they come together. We can call this the self. The self is a creature born of body and spirit in solution together (chemical use of the word solution).

The body and spirit fight for control of the self, while the self often goes about its business of surviving this strange and hectic plane, totally unaware that it is not, itself, the body. The body cultivates this belief. Pre-programmed with a tremendously adaptable self-preservation mechanism, the body strives to act, through the self, to preserve itself. It does not always judge well in its determination of how to do that. Its tools of choice are often chemical and electrical, beyond the control of the self; completely automated bio responses to stimuli.

The spirit, on a quest to reunite with other spirits to...do something...attempts to sway the self using, primarily, brain processes. Because the body already hard-wired many early brain processes, and life was experienced primarily through fight-or-flight responses to negative stimuli, the spirit started out at a disadvantage. The spirit is limited by the pathways available to navigate in the brain and nervous system. Creating new pathways is difficult, though it becomes easier once self-awareness begins. The spirit also remains disoriented for some time, having no memory of why it is here and often no understanding that it can be part of the self and not just a passenger in the body.

As the self becomes more aware of the pushes and pulls between the body and spirit, it may come to resent both. When the self becomes open to one at the expense of the other, the favoured rewards it. However, the rejected finds ways to punish the self. When the self is open to body and spirit through love of both, and especially if it can help them love each other, the self can begin to become self-aware with a lifetime goal of self-actualization. Few win the race, but many finish the marathon. We do not know if it is possible for everyone to reach the state of capacity for self-awareness. I believe it is possible for all undamaged humans to attain this.

I must tell you that there are many who do not believe in the self at all. In fact, it is not a mainstream belief. We have not found a way to prove or disprove its existence. We tend to see the process of spirit inhabiting body as one of spirit learning to control the body as a benevolent dictator, taking care of the body while guiding its actions. Failure to do so results in a life with limited attainment, with the body dictating the majority of actions and decisions.

We assume that the spirit becomes so confused by the process of mattering that it lets the body take over and get the upper hand, early on, and has a hard time learning to control things. The idea that the self, a third entity, comes into existence...well, it is game-altering.

And so I ask you, does it exist?

-End Transcript-

Gee, Mav, you used to be more fun.
(Shut up, it's important.)

Okay, I'm going to chew on that for awhile. Care to share?


  1. Yes, the self does exist. Simply put, when the body and the spirit comes together something cataclysmic happens. The self emerges as probably the most important form of energy the universe could ever witness. And it does tumble around us fighting for awareness. But I think that it can also be not always fighting either. I think it's just sometimes patiently waiting for a time when it can just emerge and just Be.

  2. self..aware..I do not know a time when I wasn't
    Life..mind..body..spirit a delicate balance that we must find, each an important part.
    we are here..just a short time
    why?..exploring that daily
    but I sense I'll just find out when we leave

  3. I hope enlightenment doesn't come to only the undamaged humans. (In fact, are there any undamaged humans?)

    Love this. Glad Maverick was feeling talkative.

  4. Although I ostensibly wrote this post, I don't feel ready to comment. Maverick is tricky - he likes to mix truth and fiction and put me to non-obvious tests. This entire premise feels tricky to me, not to mention the question. I need to mull.

  5. This is one of your writings that I have to re-read to get the full scope.
    I love your brain!

  6. okay, it's really too late for me to have read this cause it's exciting, stimulating, but i can't begin to string thoughts into words into sentences that even vaguely resemble understandable. so, here are my thoughts in unsegued bits:

    ~ i like the linear, formulaic process. body + spirit = self. it's not my normal way of thinking (except to rebel against it), yet it is most comfortable here.
    ~ "the body strives to act, through the self, to preserve itself. It does not always judge well in its determination of how to do that." - funny. true and funny.
    ~ "Because the body already hard-wired many early brain processes, and life was experienced primarily through fight-or-flight responses to negative stimuli, the spirit started out at a disadvantage." now i am really chewing on this one because the past few days, i've been pondering about why so much negativity. why so many people (including me, sometimes) seem to feel more comfortable in the realms of negtivity.
    ~ "The spirit is limited by the pathways available to navigate in the brain and nervous system." actually, i have studied neuroplasticity, neuroeconomics, and general neurobiology for years now, and there are limitless pathways available. wait. maybe i'm thinking limitless possibilities and possibilities for new pathways while mav is saying that there currently exist limited pathways. i'm a skoch confused about this one.
    ~ Creating new pathways is difficult, though it becomes easier once self-awareness begins." true. very, very true. when dendrites connect, a myelin sheath covers the connection, and each time that road is traveled, another covering is added, and with each covering the connection (or pathway) is strengthened. however, with disuse, the coverings disintegrate and the connections fray and eventually dissolve. with increased self-awareness, we see thought patterns, and with attention and discipline, we can form these new pathways and strengthen them with use.
    ~ "I believe it is possible for all undamaged humans to attain this." are there (m)any undamaged humans out there?
    ~ spirit controlling the body as benevolent dictator: yes, i agree that's the current and prevalent theory, though i've known athletes who shove the spirit completely aside and let the body run the show. they are not undamaged.
    ~ self as third entity: hell yes. that's game altering.
    (and i think mav is fun as is, but then i'm weird.)

  7. Very helpful, Jeanne. So my sense of "undamaged" from Maverick is physical - the pathways work, the body is not prevented from sending electrical impulses or adapting by brain or bodily damage. Emotional damage and "minor" damage are in another ballpark. He was also being a bit flip, I think...he likes to throw in absolutes to see what happens.

  8. So, self as an entity. I keep hearing people say "we are eternal" and "you cannot die" and such things. And it's always rung so false for me. I was contemplating why when Maverick started on about the "self" for the first time.

    The body clearly does not survive. The spirit - maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. My best guess is some kind of dissipation. But what is created when body and spirit come together - that cannot survive. So is that just an experience of the spirit within the body? Or am I something else, something unexpected, something new that exists only because the two are combining? Is my consciousness something beyond either body or spirit?

    I feel that it is. But he's right - it's so oversimplified as to feel false.

    Am I content to think "I" will be subsumed in some kind of spiritual memory in the universal consciousness when this piece of "bio machinery" expires? No way! So, that, to me, feels like a self.

    I'll try again when I'm not so tired...

  9. I think the net lends itself very well to this type of meditation. In large part because how do we, why do we, attach to who we attach to? The net is a taste of the world of spirits, all of us wandering loose represented by electrons blipping along an invisible road, with only the vaguest notion of what a map might be.

    So if the net is filled with spirits, and we're accessing it with our bodies (which makes me feel very kindly toward my body, I must say) the self is - what? The person I manifest? The self I am seen to be? I think so. Reflected back at me as a unity of body and spirit. The child, however, of many spirits, because each of them has given me their gift of perception.

    Sorry if it sidetracks, I have been pondering this for a long time - my piece Once Upon A Time Everyone Had Bodies was some of my thinking spirits. :) I like to think I can kythe.

  10. I'm so glad I pinged you! Many spirits create a spirit concoction which, coursing through the body, creates the self? Sort of?

  11. Yep, at least that's where I am now in my thinking, and have been for a while. :)

  12. In a couple of years you may meet a character named Mad Maddie B, who takes that idea to an extreme. I'm not skilled or accomplished enough to write her yet, but I can't wait to talk her over with you.

  13. Well this is really getting deep....

    I for one have held the hand of death for almost 30 years... I have euthanized more animals then I care to admit...I have sat with people and animals as death came for them...
    and this is what I have to say on leaving...

    the energy leaves....and in that moment the body becomes a shell...little electrical impuslses flowing as the energy that once was leaves...I;ve seen it leave like a cloud, like a wave, like a light, and slip away like water, and then the body is still. What was there is no more....

    where we go??? who knows... but I do believe life is life is life... all life is the same just the molecules are arranged in different orders...and some are more aware than others... but cellularly on the atomic level there is no self, there is no tree...just energy...

    but we don't live in the atomic plane... well not all of us and not all the time LOL

    body needs the energy of spirit and each of us gives the energy that is life a seperate self,
    each of us in on a different path along this road they call life whick for all things ends in death.. the changing of our energy then goes from solid form to waves of energy and the cycle of life begins again.

    Do we retain memories of this physical form... who knows... maybe...but I can tell you this

    we get to choose how we walk this path...
    we get to decide how to be aware
    we get to change so many factors of life
    that no other lifeform does
    and in this wonderful present
    we should see that joy begets joy
    love begets love
    amd we have some pretty amazing power over ourselves...and the world we live in
    it's all up to you....
    how you are treated
    and how you treat the world

    and I leave you with this.... which changed me

    If the second you die... the first question asked is...

    Did you have a fabulous time??

    what will you answer?

    me.... I had the time of my life !
    I loved every chance I got
    I cried when I felt emotional
    I touched manylives
    I was remembered by many
    I made people smile and laugh
    and feel good about themselves
    and I had a blast...
    yes there was some shitty times
    and some horrible things
    but all it all I love it all


  14. thank you. I have so much to write that I think it must move to a new post soon...but please, keep these thoughts coming. I can't get my mind to be still about this.

  15. this morning i woke up saying "tell maverick (again) that i applaud his ability to sidestep current theories and opt for independent thoughts."

    luna: yes. i, too, have been an end of life doula - as strange as it may sound, those have been some of the most cherished, honored, memorable times of my life. and when you speak of atoms and molecules, i think of candace pert's work: molecules of emotion and everything you need to know to feel go(o)d. i have pulled them out to reread at least my notes and conversations in the margins. and bruce lipton and his book, biology of belief in which he busts the so-called central dogma of watson and crick. his discovery that genes do not equal destiny is, well, at the risk of understatement, important. epigenetics holds that dna can, in fact, be altered, by . . . well, i'm probably getting off course here. suffice it to say that it all does come together, though, at the cellular/molecular level. we can, when spirit and body work together, create a new self.

    fun, this.

  16. I once saw a movie, maybe Bull Durham?, and in it there was a quote about a guy who "was not cursed with self-awareness." It was considered a blessing in that context. I have always remembered that quote, have pondered it often, even after all these years.
    Now, here, you give me more to ponder. Much more.

  17. I am very weak in understanding spiritual...confusion..confusion...it is not easy to bring someone out from utter confusion about life and learning...!!!

  18. To be fair, Mav isn't one to coddle us along. Take your time. Choose one line and stay with it for awhile.

  19. I think, ultimately, though our bodies may die and return to the earth, our spirits and sense of self will continue to be united. Where they go? I'm not sure any of us will know until we get there. But I feel strongly that the strength of spirit and self are too strong to just simply disappear. How do I know? Well, I think because in someways I saw it firsthand. My grandmother held on to her body for 8 years while suffering with Alzheimer's Disease. And I'm not talking the dementia that people get -- losing keys, talking to herself kind of stuff. She did that part of Alzheimer's for 4-5 years already. This was 8 years of being in a severe vegetative state. We fed her, bathed her and read to her. She wasn't there though. Or was she? I don't know.

    She outlived all her doctors. She always responded to my grandpa and nobody else. She knew his voice and his touch. She refused to die. Her body continued to waste away but her body and sense of self continued to hold on to her body and her organs, everything.

    Finally, it wasn't until my grandpa held her hand one day and told her that he would be okay without her, and essentially gave her permission to die that her sense of self let go. A day later she died.

    I'm not sure if this helps to reconcile Maverick and his turmoil. But I do know, that in the end of those final years when my grandma's body was deteriorating, there were times when we knew her spirit and self weren't connected to that bio-machine. Where were they? The hell if I know.

  20. Wow. I'm not sure, since I'm so late, that I have anything of substance to add to this conversation. I must ponder Maverick's words, and those of your skilled and thoughtful comment-ors. I have not, I don't believe every really thought of this, this self, in quite this way before but I do love that it is a 3. As in so many philosophical discussions, 3 is a large and powerful number. the spirit needing the body to be the self. I must ponder. Thank you and thank Maverick for such a fascinating bit to chew on. xo

  21. I could comment an entire book here - so inspired by your Maverick (and you). But I won't. I will say only, the information that Maverick offers is consistent with what my guides show to me. Isn't this an interesting experience?

    Half the time I am shimmering with awe, the other half wondering whether I've invented the whole thing.... and the THIRD half, I'm reminding myself (or is it my guides reminding me?) that we are ALL always inventing all of it.


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