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1 Bob Levin  Fri, May 4, 2012 2:03:59am
Fortunately, as a scientist my interest lies solely in the physical world and speculations about the spiritual dimension lie well beyond scientific scrutiny.

So in which category does consciousness belong? Science or spiritual? Having a definition of consciousness might help solve this puzzle.

2 Bob Dillon  Fri, May 4, 2012 6:44:41am

re: #1 Bob Levin

[Link: www.transcendentalconsciousness.com…]

Consciousness means: awareness, alertness, wakefulness.

Transcendental Consciousness means: awareness of your own self-referral consciousness, which is a state of absolute silence at the source of thought.

Consciousness differs at different levels. When you’re awake, you are aware of yourself and the world around you. When you’re dreaming, you are aware of some reality, but it is a kind of hallucinatory state. When you’re in a state of deep sleep, you are not aware of the world or yourself.

3 Bob Levin  Fri, May 4, 2012 11:19:26am

re: #2 Bob Dillon

Can you measure this? Does it fit the criteria for science? Or does the philosophy of science need some adjusting to accommodate this definition? Is this definition objective, or is it cultural?

Open territory, with almost no work done for hundreds of years. We know more about the electron.

4 Bob Levin  Fri, May 4, 2012 11:21:12am

re: #2 Bob Dillon

From a Jewish perspective, that definition is completely inadequate, which shows how important culture can be when tackling this issue.

5 Bob Dillon  Fri, May 4, 2012 11:58:11am

re: #3 Bob Levin

You can measure the resultant brain wave activity when a person experiences it.

[Link: www.tm.org…]

[Link: en.wikipedia.org…]

An analogy of consciousness is to a movie screen without the movie. We are unaware of it while the movie is projected on it, yet it underlies everything that we are experiencing.

6 Bob Dillon  Fri, May 4, 2012 12:17:43pm

re: #4 Bob Levin

7 Bob Levin  Fri, May 4, 2012 1:41:02pm

re: #5 Bob Dillon

So you’re saying that brain wave activity is a spiritual phenomenon? And you know this because you have a grounded definition of what is spiritual—as opposed to a vague definition of that which is not material?

8 Bob Levin  Fri, May 4, 2012 1:47:57pm

re: #6 Bob Dillon

I’m familiar with TM. Ultimately, the inner dialogue that one strives for within this discipline is completely different than the inner dialogue one strives for within Judaism. Unfortunately, this discussion is not common at the synagogue or Beis Midrash.

However, if I were trying to get the incessant noise of New York out of my head, I might stay a few weeks at the Holiday TM. Personally, I went farther east than India. Like the rabbi says, it’s a journey. However, the destination is not to say the Shemoneh Esreh with the techniques of TM.

9 Bob Dillon  Fri, May 4, 2012 2:49:16pm

re: #8 Bob Levin

It does not sound like you have had direct experience with TM. Your assumptions or understanding are incorrect as stated.

10 Bob Dillon  Fri, May 4, 2012 3:01:29pm

re: #7 Bob Levin

“So you’re saying that brain wave activity is a spiritual phenomenon? ” No.

Brainwave activity are indications of which of the major states of consciousness we are presently experiencing. Each has its own unique nuerophysiological signature. When one effortlessly has the experience of pure consciousness (awareness of awareness itself like the screen without the movie) the result is high amplitude coherent brainwaves that are front to back (occipital to pre frontal cortex and temporal to parietal) as well as cross hemispheric.

Scientific, verified and validated objectivity - to the meditators inner personal experience.

Spiritual? If you want it to be. Its a personal choice.

11 Bob Levin  Fri, May 4, 2012 3:31:16pm

re: #9 Bob Dillon

I always want to learn more. But tell me your experiences and understanding. This tells me more than a website. However, I do know people who are into it, and I appreciate the nuances of each person’s experience.

This is what I was referring to—

which is a state of absolute silence at the source of thought.

Not Jewish. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The source of Jewish spiritual thought, as you might deduce, is far from quiet. Although taxicabs are not present.

12 Bob Levin  Fri, May 4, 2012 3:40:33pm

re: #10 Bob Dillon

Brainwave activity are indications of which of the major states of consciousness we are presently experiencing. Each has its own unique nuerophysiological signature. When one effortlessly has the experience of pure consciousness (awareness of awareness itself like the screen without the movie) the result is high amplitude coherent brainwaves that are front to back (occipital to pre frontal cortex and temporal to parietal) as well as cross hemispheric.

Cross cultural? In other words, the scientists, whoever they may be, began with a concept of consciousness, which lead to their choice of meditators, which lead to their conclusions. And what major states of consciousness? Who’s defining these terms?

The line between science and religion, when it comes to consciousness is increasingly blurred, which was part of my original point. The other part is that there are certain things that will not be discovered in a lab. Qualitative things. And no machine, just by its existence, can magically turn a qualitative experience into a quantitative experience.

13 Bob Dillon  Fri, May 4, 2012 7:14:31pm

re: #11 Bob Levin

It would be good for you to start here: [Link: www.tm.org…]

At the top is a blue rectangle with “TM Presentation” on it. 39 min video of Dr. John Hagelin explaining it.

14 Bob Levin  Sat, May 5, 2012 8:12:08pm

re: #13 Bob Dillon

Well, I saw the entire clip, and he really didn’t explain the nature of consciousness other than it being the unified field. He did show many studies, which measure the electric impulses generated by the brain—but those impulses are not the same as consciousness.

Consciousness is really a wide open frontier for exploration.

15 Bob Dillon  Sun, May 6, 2012 5:06:44am

re: #14 Bob Levin

Of course they are not the same. They are indicators of what is happening in the brain as an individual experiences different states of consciousness during meditation.

Exploration of consciousness: One of the many reasons why millions of people worldwide have integrated this simple, natural, effortless, practice into their daily routines. We all have the necessary lab equipment between our ears to do our own personal research into consciousness based on our own experiences.

You may find this more compelling: [Link: www.tm.org…]

This video serves as an introduction to Dr. Hagelin’s online course, “Foundations of Physics and Consciousness.” For more information about the course and to register, please click here: [Link: elearning.mum.edu…]

Dr. Hagelin conducted pioneering research at CERN (the European Center for Particle Physics) and SLAC (the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center). He is responsible for the development of a highly successful Grand Unified Field Theory, which was featured on the cover of Discover magazine.
Dr. Hagelin was named winner of the prestigious Kilby Award, recognizing him as “a scientist in the tradition of Einstein, Jeans, Bohr, and Eddington.” The Kilby Award is presented to scientists who have made “major contributions to society through their applied research in the fields of science and technology.”

16 Bob Levin  Sun, May 6, 2012 5:41:34am

re: #15 Bob Dillon

What are we talking about now? What am I supposed to be compelled about?

17 Bob Dillon  Sun, May 6, 2012 1:35:05pm

re: #16 Bob Levin

Physics and Consciousness?

18 Bob Levin  Sun, May 6, 2012 1:55:09pm

re: #17 Bob Dillon

I would certainly agree that the language of physics is coming very close to similar concepts discussed in religious texts. Part of the debate within physics, regarding string theory or m-theory, is that it’s just not testable. Is that a problem with the theory or a problem with the methods of scientific proof and testing?

From a religious perspective, if one tackles the issue of consciousness, yes indeed we are all walking laboratories. We still face the issue of grounding our knowledge—but that is very do-able by adopting the methods of proof that a detective would use, or methods that would stand the test of a courtroom.

However, the conclusions that a Hindu would reach about this fundamental nature of the universe are different than those reached by a Buddhist, which are different that those reached by a Jew—assuming assimilation hasn’t wiped clean the hard drive of the practitioners.

19 Bob Dillon  Mon, May 7, 2012 11:47:27am

re: #18 Bob Levin

However, the conclusions that a Hindu would reach about this fundamental nature of the universe are different than those reached by a Buddhist, which are different that those reached by a Jew—assuming assimilation hasn’t wiped clean the hard drive of the practitioners.

The Rabbi and I along with Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Atheists and Agnostics along with the entire alphabet soup of religious labels practicing TM (~6 million world-wide) and holding to their personal belief systems would and do disagree.

20 Bob Levin  Mon, May 7, 2012 1:17:18pm

re: #19 Bob Dillon

Of course they would disagree. However, the alphabet soup that doesn’t practice TM would agree.

If I chose to argue this, and I don’t because each person’s spiritual path, especially that of Jews, has more twists and paradoxes that an Escher drawing on steroids, but if I chose to argue this with the rabbi, I believe the rabbi’s best argument would be that TM is like pistachios, which are kosher. In other words, there’s nothing wrong with TM.

I would take the position that exploring our specific traditions and scriptures would yield something quite surprising, and would be closer to our task as Jews. I’m sure the rest of the non-TM alphabet might take the same position regarding their cultures, scriptures, and traditions.

21 Bob Dillon  Tue, May 8, 2012 9:07:17am

re: #20 Bob Levin

We can certainly intellectualize forevermore. TM is not about intellectualizing. It is about direct personal experience. Therefore there is nothing to believe. We don’t even have to believe its going to work. Beyond having an understanding about the mechanics of what we are doing and correct practice of the technique the rest is all about the profound physical benefits (as positive side effects) from this simple, natural, effortless mental technique.

I would love to sit off-line with you and go back and forth as you raise many valid and interesting considerations worthy of intellectual exploration. The net is just too time consuming a venue for that (from my side).

22 Bob Levin  Tue, May 8, 2012 1:49:56pm

re: #21 Bob Dillon

I agree. I wasn’t saying that TM is a placebo. I believe what you are saying. However, spirituality and consciousness is a pretty complex topic, and journeys exploring consciousness are not filled with straight lines. It is all quite paradoxical to say the least.

There are many Jews (some of my best friends and an entire branch of my family are heavily into TM) who find this helpful. However, there is so much more to Judaism than what is taught, even in Yeshivas and day schools. I’ve mentioned many times that Jewish institutions have failed miserably when it comes to actual Judaism, instead focusing on Holocaust remembrance for religious meaning—the foundation of which is ‘never again.’ Well, all we need to do is look around to see how well that approach has worked.

Who is doing this poor teaching? Rabbis and no one else. For this reason, paradoxically, I’m not sure how much expertise rabbis have regarding Judaism—beyond the most superficial aspects. This would take us into the problems, or challenges, that rabbis have while practicing and teaching Judaism—and they freely admit these when asked.

I have had many conversations with black hat folks, talking about these problems, and I ask—have you thought about actually practicing Judaism, since you’re already dressed for the gig? I know these folks, and they know me, so they understand what I’m getting at—and what I’m implying can be a difficult challenge. Many many times they choose to have their present problems rather than work their way out of the double-bind. That’s just the way it goes.

To use a music analogy—simple, easy, and effortless is Doris Day. Judaism is Anita O’Day.


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