building a beautiful and bountiful world in collaboration with nature

Archive for September, 2011

The Whole Mind

I once had a job as a produce worker at a natural food store. I often worked the evening shift, which seemed to mostly involve stacking a lot of apples. My co-worker, Raymond, was a sweet guy in his twenties. We would often find ourselves stacking apples in a quiet, nearly empty, store, while having very philosophical conversations about the nature of life and being.

Raymond asked me one evening, “So, when does the air become you? Is it as soon as it enters your nose? Or when it gets to the lungs? Or is it when the oxygen from it enters the blood stream? Or when it gets incorporated into a cell? When does the air become you?”

I love that question because it shows how arbitrary the lines we draw are. Is anything in this Universe really separate from anything else? This planet, for example, lives on sunlight. The plants and algae incorporate it into their tissues, and the entire food web is born. Our bodies are literally made of light – sunlight – making us physical extensions of the Sun. Looked at like that, knowing the Sun is part of a galaxy that both birthed and supports it, it’s not hard to see the Universe as one very large Body.

It is the mind part that seems to separate us all. We like to think that our thoughts are completely private, but there is a great deal of evidence they are not. I cannot tell you how often I have been standing at the kitchen sink doing dishes, thinking my “private” thoughts, when my husband starts talking to me about the exact subject I have in mind. Dr Cleve Backster regularly found that the polygraph record of his plants showed them responding to people’s thoughts , especially thoughts that were backed with a feeling of intent. We don’t know how much they “hear”, but the plants in our homes, offices, and gardens are definitely monitoring our thoughts, and paying attention when it is relevant to them.

There is other evidence that our minds are not as separate and shielded as we like to believe. Dr Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of morphogenetic fields describes a shared or collective mind specific to each species. In the 1920’s in Southhampton, England a bird called the Blue Tit learned to tear into the cap on a freshly delivered bottle of milk and drink the cream. Soon, Blue Tits one hundred miles away were doing the same, even though Blue Tits only fly about 15 miles. By 1947, breaking caps and drinking cream was a common practice among Blue Tits throughout Britian, Holland, Denmark, and Sweden.

It seems unlikely that this behavior could have spread so far and so quickly through a process of observation and learning. The morphogenetic field theory suggests instead that all Blue Tits have access to a shared “mind” into which they deposit information and experience and from which they can retrieve information, especially very useful information.

In scientific studies around the world, it has been demonstrated many times that whether the subjects are rats escaping from a tank, English schoolchildren learning Japanese rhymes, or the average adult confronted with solving a crossword puzzle, it is easier to learn skills and solve problems if many others have done so already. Our individual learning and experience does seem to be collectively available.

In David Wilcox’s book, The Source Field Investigations, he suggests that all of this evidence indicates the existence of One Mind – the mind of, or the mind that is, the Source Field, that creative force behind and within the Universe. I said in an earlier blog that all bodies come with minds. So it makes sense: one universal Body, one universal Mind. A mind that we are connected to, still, and can tap into, retrieving information and ideas.

Considering all this reminded me of the Mandelbrot set, an image that contains the whole of fractal mathematics. Fractal math is the math that Nature uses. It is the math of self-similar, repeating patterns. It is the math that describes how oak trees can generate billions of leaves each year which all hold to a recognizable pattern, and yet are each individual – ever so slightly different from each other.

This is a picture of the Mandelbrot set.  Imagine this as an image of the universal Mind, a mind of infinite creative potential.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 This is a close up of one part of the set.  Imagine that we have zoomed in on an image of one species morphogenetic field.

This is a closer close up.  Now we begin to see the”individual” minds that are seamlessly connected to the larger picture/Mind.

One of the interesting things about the Mandelbrot set is that it is infinite.  The more you zoom in, the more details you see.  It is a neverending dance of repeating, yet varied pattern.  An infinite mind creating an infinity of details, living an infinity of lives.

For an experience of that, check out the zoom-in experience of the main Mandelbrot set photo on the Wikipedia website.


Eating Garden Gifts

I seem to be spending more time in the kitchen than the gardens this past week.  It’s not my ideal, but necessary, as I honor the gifts of the garden by drying tomatoes and making salsa and coleslaw and feta cheese (the gifts of the goats, who in many ways are part of the garden). Canning time is on next week’s to do list, for the tomatoes and maybe for roasted peppers if I feel very ambitious.

I have also started reading an awesome book, The Source Field Investigations by David Wilcox (see divinecosmos).  It is a synthesis of scientific investigations into the underlying consciousness/energy creating the universe, what he calls “the source field”.  Wilcox starts his book by revisiting the experiments of Dr Cleve Backster, some of which I’ve mentioned before.  He offers some extra information, worth mentioning here.

I was unaware that as Backster pursued his investigations with plants hooked up to lie detectors (polygraph machines), he started putting smaller plants into copper Faraday cages.  These cages stop electromagnetic waves, yet Backster continued to get reactions from these plants, indicating that their responses to the emotions and/or thoughts of humans, brine shrimp and other participants in his experiments were not mediated via the usual suspects (i.e. electricity, magnetism, infrared, etc.).

Backster also did experiments with human white blood cells hooked up to the polygraph via fine gold wires.  He found that the graphs produced by the blood cells exactly matched the actual experience of the human donor, showing spikes of alarm at times that were anxious or stressful for the person, even when that person was 300 miles away!

Backster also did interesting things like taking an egg from a store-bought dozen and putting it in a lead-lined container to stop any electromagnetic fields.  He then measured that egg’s reactions as he, one by one, dropped its former neighbors into boiling water (presumably on their way to becoming deviled eggs).  The egg had a severe reaction every time.  As did vegetables, fruit, yoghurt and raw meat when tested similarly.  Even when eaten raw, these all “burn” in our digestive systems.

But there is hope!  Wilcox relates that in private conversations with Backster he has been told that “positive , loving thoughts” sent to any food prior to cooking or eating prevent these severe reactions from occurring on the polygraphs.  An excellent reminder to offer my appreciation liberally – as I work and harvest in my gardens, as I prepare foods in my kitchen, and as I eat these precious gifts from Nature.

For the truth is, the biological lifeforms on this planet clearly have the ability to and often do engage in a constant conversation with each other.  Animals, plants, bacteria, insects, fish, birds, and humans.  We may not know how this communication is taking place, but over and over it has been clearly demonstrated to exist.  Everything on that list is listening in on the humans, and we too were designed to listen and participate.  The HeartMath Institute calls it psychophysiologic coherence.  I call it integrative awareness:  Relax.  Breathe.  Pay attention to your physical senses.  All of them. Relax again.

We’re on our way.

The Garden’s Deeper Pattern

There is an area in the garden where the bugs like to hover and dance.  I call them bugs in the generic sense.  I’ve no idea if they qualify as gnats or flies or something else, but they seem to live in a loosely arranged cluster.  At least, that’s how they spend the afternoons, zigzagging back and forth, up and down and around in a fairly well-defined area that’s roughly a ten foot diameter sphere.

From my vantage point in the shade, they look like points of light hovering and moving about.  I wonder if this is what life is like for atoms hanging out in deep space?  Is this what photons do when they find themselves confined to a test tube?  Is there meaning to the movements of these bugs?

The loose cloud formed by these bugs seems so unorganized compared to the pictures of crop circles I’ve been enjoying over the past week.  (Check out  The precision, complexity, and patterning of the crop circles is often intensely beautiful.  I think the main message behind them is that there is order, harmony, and patterning behind all the apparent randomness in this world.

I remember reading many years ago about experiments done by Karl Pribram in which he took some chemicals, noted their patterning – how they related to each other, what processes they engaged in, how they were organized and structured – and then heated them up.  The result was chaos at first, but then rather suddenly and spectacularly the chemicals formed into a completely new pattern, more highly organized and sophisticated than the first.  This experiment was cited as an example of how a paradigm shift takes place, but it also simply demonstrates Nature’s inherent ability to find pattern in the form of ever more sophisticated organization, relationship, and process in every situation.

I can feel, very strongly lately, that the world is changing.  Not just climate and weather and economics, but something deeper.  There are waves appearing on the horizon bringing something very new, something we haven’t named yet, something barely visible to the mainstream lens.  Something generated by the deeper pattern of all our lives and all of Life.

When I take the time to sit with Nature – whether in a garden, or a park, or a beach, or in the mountains – and I take the time to tune into all my senses, connecting my left brain to my right brain, my brain to my heart, allowing myself to become a bodymind steeped in integrative awareness, I connect to this underlying organizing process that seems to be always changing, expanding, and evolving.  I become connected to the patterned flow of energy and vibration that creates the events and forms we see, and I become more able to participate in the creation of the newly evolving, developing patterns and structures.

The vegetable garden I created this year was the most difficult I’ve experienced in a long, long time.  Seeds were slow to germinate and then the seedlings promptly disappeared (insects? rabbits? gophers?).  The gopher tunneling was so bad under half the garden that transplants in that area just sat due to the regular root pruning they received.  And the late spring followed by relatively cool summer temperatures, meant the tomatoes and red sweet peppers have waited until this past week to ripen in any significant numbers.

It was easy to feel discouraged at times, but comforting to tune into Nature.  I was watching a friend leap sideways through my garden in early June when I realized that the straight rows weren’t useful here anymore and suddenly saw that the empty bed spaces were showing me a way to redesign and reorganize the basic structure and layout.  And giving me the opportunity to start right away.  So while I’ve had less early produce than I would have liked, my kitchen now overflows, and I’m excited to see what next year brings as this new underlying structure continues to unfold.

I’m excited to see what all these new underlying structures bring as they continue to unfold, because the world, she is a changing!