Community is Shared

 

I am a sociologist by training. I love to think about culture, people, interactions, identity issues and patterns. Emile Durkheim, the famous French father of all things sociological, argued that one must treat ‘social facts as things’. These “facts” become the subject of study for sociologists. Further, Durkheim believed that collective phenomenon is not merely reducible to the individual actor. Society, he believed, is more than the sum of its many parts. It is a system formed by the association of individuals that come together to constitute a reality with its own distinctive characteristics. Let me think of an example: how about language? Language pre-exists our birth and it continues after our death. Perhaps some of us will have the honor of inventing some new recognizable slang (LOL, duh), however, most of us will go to our grave influencing language to a very limiting degree.

One of the many things I love about yoga and meditation is the feeling of community shared by the many practitioners of both. I love knowing that yoga long preceded my birth and will continue long after I am gone. I love knowing that practicing meditation will go on and on far into the future for my children and my children’s children. I love being a part of a community with shared values.

Like most sociologists, I believe that individual happiness depends on people finding a sense of meaning outside of themselves and connected to the larger society. Social integration is necessary for the maintenance of the social order. There is something so special about walking into a yoga studio and knowing that for one hour you will share a space with like minded people. There is something so profound about meditating with a friend and feeling the bliss of the shared experience. As any sociologist will confirm, we know ourselves through the mutually shared values, habits, routines and patterns of our culture. Building community at the yoga studio or meditation center sends a great message to the culture at large. It confirms the value of taking care of yourself and reminds you of the many people who hope to build a more peaceful, loving, health conscious society.

Molly Beauregard

Stalking the Wild Pendulum by Itzhak Bentov

March 2015 Book of the Month

Radical when it was first written in 1977, Stalking the Wild Pendulum offered the reader  a revolutionary image of the human mind and the universe. We at TTSM hope our July 2012 book pick reignites the passion for consciousness studies first inspired by Bentov more than thirty five years ago.

In his creative first book, Itzhak Bentov paints a provocative image of the universe as comprised of sound vibrations, light rays, subtle energies, and packets of consciousness. He also discusses his  ideas that our brains are actually thought amplifiers, not thought’s source; that the universe is a hologram, as is the brain; that we can instantly reclaim any information ever known; that our bodies mirror the universe, down to the working of each cell; that we are pulsating beings in a vibrating universe, in constant motion between the finite and the infinite. Research on the non-locality of consciousness and the holographic nature of the brain are now commonly discussed and explored in the field of consciousness studies. However, it was Bentov’s original work that brought these kinds of issues to mainstream science and made them worthy of consideration using well-constructed reasoning and inspired speculation.

Bentov uses clear, imaginative and inspiring language as well as witty illustrations to drive his points home. His exciting perspective on human consciousness and its limitless possibilities inspired many throughout the late seventies and eighties. It just may be time for a second look at this unique take on consciousness studies!

Oneironautics – A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming

February 2015 Book of the Month

Do you dream? 

Of course you do.  Everyone does.

When someone says that they don’t dream what they’re really saying is that they don’t remember their dreams, not that they didn’t have any.   In a dream we still have access to all our five senses:  we can see, touch, taste, hear and even smell in dreams.  Sometimes a dream is so real that it’s indistinguishable from waking reality.

What if it were possible to go to sleep tonight and wake up inside one of your dreams?  Think about it.  If you knew that you were dreaming, the possibilities would be endless, right?  Maybe you’d fly across the ocean, reunite with a past love or relative, talk with dream characters, or explore new talents you never knew you had.

Turns out, we can do this, and it isn’t science fiction.

It’s called lucid dreaming.

Our book, Oneironautics: A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming, is an illustrated guide for those wishing to learn how to lucid dream.  In it you’ll find everything you need to know to have your first lucid dream, as well as practical advice on how to take it even further–what to do after you become lucid.

With the help of beautiful illustrations, our guide will teach you everything from flying with control, to dealing with dream characters, to shooting fireballs. It’ll even dive into the depths of nightmares and show you how you can turn them into your advantage.  You’ll learn how to stabilize and guide your dreams as well as how to overcome common mistakes that beginning Oneironauts often face.

– Dylan Tuccillo, Jared Zeizel, Thomas Peisel

 

The Translucent Revolution by Arjuna Ardagh

January 2015 Book of the Month

For more than a decade, Ardagh has studied what he believes to be a profound revolution in human consciousness. This shift in awareness is marked by what he calls “translucents” — individuals who have undergone a spiritual awakening deeply enough that it has permanently transformed their relationship to themselves and to reality, while allowing them to remain involved in ordinary life.

The Translucent Revolution tells the story of hundreds of individuals just like you who display characteristics of “translucence”. These individuals continue to quietly work and play at life with more happiness, more satisfaction and increased purpose.

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda

December 2014 Book of the Month

Autobiography of a Yogi is recognized around the world as a literary and spiritual classic. Written in 1946, the book sets forth not only the recounting of an extraordinary life but a fascinating introduction to the spiritual thought of the East. In addition to sharing many amazing anecdotes from both his childhood and adulthood, Paramahansa Yogananda highlights stories from his many encounters with other highly awakened, spiritually evolved individuals and tells of the miracles connected to them.

As the founder of the Self Realization Fellowship, Yoganada developed a complete philosophy and way of life dedicated to creating a greater understanding of the true power that resides within.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

July 2014 Book of the Month

“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding.
Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.”

We won’t make any promises that Jonathan Livingston Seagull will change your life. The simple novella has undoubtedly been oversold for years as a new-age miracle worker. However, despite its outsized reputation, this 1970 international bestseller still offers some lovely insights and timeless inspiration to readers of all ages. Besides, it’s a perfect beach book! (You won’t even have time to get burned – only takes an hour to read from cover to cover.)

There is a particular sweetness to Richard Bach’s writing. His book chronicles the adventures of a restless seagull intent on perfecting his flying abilities. Despite being cast out of his tribe of gulls as a result of his ambition, Livingston persists in following his dreams. His sometimes lonely journey ultimately leads him to learn many important lessons. Using flight as the ultimate metaphor, this is certainly a story about finding a higher purpose in life.

Often cited as a “spiritual primer” or “hippie self help book”, Jonathan Livingston Seagull is an American classic.

Spirit Has Spoken Thru Me

Spirit has spoken thru me,
Though i am still catching up.

These lights you call stars are shards of your broken wholeness.
Why do you dream such painful dreams?

Reality is not like this.
For a moment at your request it can appear so,

But only so you can see yourself shimmer in a cold clear midnight sky.
And only for a moment.

The cold misaligns you,
Fools and folds your senses into aloneness.

At least then a longing for communion and warmth awakens.
And return is promised.

Dualism is such a disturbing game to play.
Is the view really worth the anguish that carries you there?

Deb Smith

Figuring It Out

When I first read the following quote, it really stuck with me. Mahatma Gandhi said, “A man is the sum of his actions, of what he has done, of what he can do, nothing else.” I think why this impacted me is because of how relatable it is to the way people’s lives are looked at sometimes: a series of actions or experiences and expectations. Interestingly, through Molly Beauregards Consciousness, Creativity and Identity class and making sense of my own feelings about it, I feel Gandhi might have been wrong.

I have been told for a long time that people are who they are because of the situations they have gone through in their lives. I heard over and over variations of Gandhi’s words. And I believed this too. It made enough sense. I could rationalize certain situations and boil them down to find the answers I was looking for, whether I was analyzing someone else’s actions or my own. I didn’t really look too closely until after I had graduated high school and began to see those experiences from a different vantage point. I had a typical Catholic, stable, loving, and carefree upbringing. If I really was a product of everything I had done up to that point, then why was I still feeling like I didn’t have a strong footing or really know who I was?

I thought in order to figure it out I would be doing the same thing I had always been doing. But looking back on my life didn’t really do anything for me—and still really hasn’t. It turns out, taking all the pieces and trying to put them back together doesn’t really form a whole me. Thinking about the idea of being the “sum of experiences” now, I get a feeling of being a stranger at a funeral. My life would be equivalent to hundreds of photographs pasted to boards, stored in scrapbooks and looped on a powerpoint projected on a wall. This is supposed to provide a summary of life? Yet, a glimpse is all the photos can be. Just as analyzing the snapshots of experiences someone has had in their lives is only a glimpse into what it means to know that person’s true self. Humans are not simply equations: bad experience plus good experience plus confusing experience equals a whole person.

According to C. Mills, many people become falsely conscious of their social positions. They don’t know they are greater than their experiences, and they live their lives thinking that the things they’ve done and seen make up their whole person—even when they might have not had much control over what was going on. People aren’t just reflections of the things they’ve gone through, and shouldn’t be reduced to that. What is bigger than what happens to us in our lifetimes is the connections between those experiences, and the connections we make with people along the way. No matter what you do to figure anyone else out, you can really never know how they’ve made their connections.

This is why I feel that humans have failed to come up with a solid definition of what it means to be conscious, or to have a soul, or to love someone so deeply that you would sacrifice your well being for theirs, even though it isn’t rational. No matter how hard we try, the human experience cannot be boiled down to an equation able to be repeated. I know humans will continue to try to “figure it out”. There is something about cracking a code that is satisfying. But if in the process of solving this equation, you are reducing people to narrow parts, then you are only getting a glimpse into what makes up a whole person. There will ultimately always be something missing from the equation.

Colleen Arce | Interior Design student at the College for Creative Studies
http://www.behance.net/ccarce

 

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

April 2014 Book of the Month

“A good book on your shelf is a friend that turns its back on you and remains a friend.” ~Author Unknown

This book is an old friend. Molly and Chelsea have decided to read it together this month. Please join!!

Written in 1922 by Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha, is a gem of a book. The story recounts the spiritual journey of self awakening that a man named Siddhartha undergoes during the time of Buddha. This classic novel grabs the readers heart and opens it to the infinite potential of who a man can become.

Becomming the 2014 Auto Show Poster Winner

As a metro Detroiter, I’ve been going to the auto show for some years now. I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to illustrate the auto show poster. The theme is celebrating 25 years so I decided to capture something that has been constant with this event all of the years it has been in existence: the logo. I captured the logo as a woman, using the modern colors of the logo to create a piece that wasn’t necessarily about one specific car, but the event as a whole.  I used the techniques I’ve learned from my fashion illustration courses that have shaped my own love for illustrating models and haute couture. With this in mind, I created this piece as a symbol to show the glamour and beauty of the North American Auto Show.

Emily’s Tuning the Student Mind statement:

“I took Conscious, Creativity, and Identity because I read the description and it said we’d be meditating and I said, “Sweet! Basically sleeping, definitely taking that.” I was so wrong. Not only was the course content so completely informative on the topic of sociology, but the opportunity to learn Transcendental Meditation from a professional practitioner was so amazing. TM completely changed my life and provided me with a deep calmness and confidence I had never experienced. I am a deeply religious person and even my prayer time was strengthened as I felt I could connect on a much stronger level with my Creator because of the descending meditation techniques I was taught. The point is, once you learn and if you allow it, TM can completely transform your life for the better. I dare you to try.”

Emily Daugherty

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