Extra-Human Conciousness

Tao_Equus

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On another thread Bananabrain posted the following:

"....I could point to the fact that this tree would not exist, nor would it probably give fruit, but for your involvement with it. you are part of the story of the tree, you have shaped its reality just as it has shaped yours. perhaps the tree has no emotional reality (i know there are people, even scientists, who would disagree with that) but if the tree has a "soul", it is surely grateful to you. the fact that you cannot detect it does not mean it does not exist. in fact, one might even argue that the tree recognises on some level that you facilitate the propagation of its DNA, so provides you with cherries....."

Who believes that all relationships with living things are two-way relationships in the sense that all living things are 'aware' of such interactions?
 
Me. But I don't think that all beings have the same kind of consciousness I do. However, I do think it entirely possible (and in my experience, probable) that beings such as trees and animals are aware of me and my intentions. Riding horses taught me that. A horse can read your emotions and intentions before your brain even consciously recognizes you've had them. Trees are something different, but in my experience they are aware and communicate in their own way.

But of course, you probably guessed at my response, Tao. :D
 
I think there is a connection, but I am not certain how it works. I think some birds respond to our feelings and thoughts. I always have a feeling that everything is connected. Sometimes I feel that trees listen, or that the ocean wants me to come closer or swim out further. When I get a response to a prayer, it makes me think that this world I am part of may not be real. Its a strong feeling, so good thing I'm not on drugs. It is possible, however, that we aren't real except to ourselves. A lot about the world makes sense, but some things don't make sense yet.

The context of the universe keeps changing as exploration proceeds. When I look at how everything about the world is secret until we explore it, then I wonder whether it was already there before we arrived. What we thought was true keeps changing. The depths of the seas, the stars, the quanta, the elements, the animals and people. Every time we learn something new about one of these, it is as though the entire universe has changed, because they change its context. How you and I see reality or the universe can change as early as tomorrow.
 
Who believes that all relationships with living things are two-way relationships in the sense that all living things are 'aware' of such interactions?

I can be counted in this group that believes in two-way awareness.

When sitting in meditation in a mountain retreat, gazing through the mosquito netting that separated me from the forest outside the zendo, there was a moment where my mind reached beyond its normal boundaries.

Suddenly, my mind was the trees and scene outside as well as sitting on the cushion. I "saw" that there was no inside or outside. Just as I was looking at the trees, the trees were looking at me.

Of course, tree's don't have eyes, ears or brains. So the "awareness" a tree possesses cannot be compared to awareness possessed by humans. That said, everything is one, shares a connection and interaction that we are not normally aware of, but exists none the less.
 
But of course, you probably guessed at my response, Tao. :D
Of course :) But can I push you a bit... could you try to explain in a bit more detail what is happening and perhaps try and offer some explanation? Oh and that applies to everyone!

The context of the universe keeps changing as exploration proceeds. When I look at how everything about the world is secret until we explore it, then I wonder whether it was already there before we arrived. What we thought was true keeps changing. The depths of the seas, the stars, the quanta, the elements, the animals and people. Every time we learn something new about one of these, it is as though the entire universe has changed, because they change its context. How you and I see reality or the universe can change as early as tomorrow.
I think that is the best written few sentences on that subject I have seen.

Suddenly, my mind was the trees and scene outside as well as sitting on the cushion. I "saw" that there was no inside or outside. Just as I was looking at the trees, the trees were looking at me.

.
Sounds a lot like my 'journey into outer space' experience. I bet you it was just as euphoric.

How do we define "living things"?
Ok Ok Ok... just for you Wil, you can talk about your pet rock called Leadbelly. ;)

I'm gona hold off on giving my take on it till there is a bit more feedback.
 
I'll wait, but I might it not go beyond the trees...and the lichen, and my yoghurt...

Leadbelly, the wind, the stars, my bow and arrow....could we not all be a collective?
 
citizenzen said:
When sitting in meditation in a mountain retreat, gazing through the mosquito netting that separated me from the forest outside the zendo, there was a moment where my mind reached beyond its normal boundaries.
Well done! Your next assignment is to do it without the mosquito netting!
 
l too have a sense that other living things, apart from humans, have an energy field around them, emanating from them which we can in moments of self transcendence connect with and become aware of; of course we do this all the time with humans but the rational side, and language, and sight [body signals] can obliterate this sensation for want of a better word.

like wil says, define living. rocks are emanating electromagnetic rays and presumably so is everything else 'under the sun' rays, light. l used to get a lot of comfort hugging standing stones near my old house; projection of my subjectivity? probably, but it felt good [they looked liked 3 old crones in sillouette in the distance but were 10 feet high and part of a stone circle; l buried my cat in the middle hence my sentimentality:eek:]
 
I'll try to give some details of my own experiences, Tao, though it will make me look like a mad woman. LOL :D I can try to offer up some explanations, but to be honest, I don't have a ton of them- just vague ideas. I haven't invested as much time into thinking of explanations as I have into figuring out how to open up to doing it and using the information I gain.

First, I'd recommend a book of stories about this sort of thing: Kinship with All Life. Amazon.com: Kinship with All Life : Simple, Challenging, Real-Life Experiences Showing How Animals Communicate with Each Other and with the People Who Understand Them: J. Allen Boone: Books

On horses...

I've been working intensively with horses for about 11 years now. I had long communicated through riding and groundwork, learning to use body language as one of them rather than as a predator, so that I could more easily train them. But about six years ago, perhaps (I forget), I first had an actual exchange with a particular horse. I was cleaning the stall of a new mare that came in. I began receiving images and feelings from her. I have had this happen before with humans, but it's not quite the same. Horses largely communicate through (from what I've seen) is near instantaneous sharing of visceral feelings- what you might call "gut" reactions. You feel things from them first in your body, not your brain. You might feel their anxiety, fear, quiet, enjoyment and it radiates from your muscles and thorax to your brain- you feel it before you recognize the feeling you have been given. It makes a lot of sense if you consider that they are prey animals- the communication is first through feeling to the entire herd (and you) and this allows rapid and compelling communication of danger or pleasure. However, horses do more than that. They send images. The images are not like a human would send, associated clearly with a single thought that could translate into words. The images evoke feelings and a sort of gestalt of what is going on in the horse's head, not a particular train of thought. So far as I can tell, horses just don't think like us- they don't think linearly. It's all in free-association and big picture. Because of this, my own opinion is those animal communicators that get paid the big bucks (I've seen people shell out $100 per reading at show barns) and are telling people "Oh, your horse likes purple" (horses can't see purple) or "Your horse thought XYZ the other day" are talking total BS. This is not how horses think, what they care about, or what is useful communication to them. How horse to horse and horse to human communcation works in this way, I have no idea. I could say vaguely that everything seems connected energetically to allow this, or something about bioenergetic fields, but to be honest I have no earthly idea how I pick up on that stuff. And I am not entirely consistent- my mind has to be pretty clear to pick up on images. Feelings are easier. Incidentally, it's the same way with people- I only pick up on thoughts when people are "yelling" in their head or when my mind is exceptionally clear of my own noise. But I pick up on feelings and general senses of intent all the time.

In terms of the flip side, horses are incredibly sensitive to intention and thought (of course to varying degrees by individual). Many breeds that were created to live very closely with humans, such as Arabians, are so intensely sensitive to their human companions that they are mistakenly thought to be "crazy" or "unpredictable." In fact, they are very predictable. They mirror their human companion's emotions and intent so well and so quickly that the human has often not consciously recognized his/her own thoughts until they are present in the horse, which is nearly instantaneous. If you feel tense, the horse tenses- typically in the same spot of the body. If you imagine the horse doing a poor transition, he does. If you imagine a perfect transition, he does. If you even consider "halt," the horse has already stopped. If you are angry, even if you act OK and other humans would think you're being normal, the horse will react in fear of your anger. You can't fool them- they are like living lie detectors in terms of your focus and emotional state. How this works is to me pretty obvious- your intentions and emotions, when at a sub-conscious level, are already influencing your heartrate, pupil dilation, breathing, posture, muscle tone, etc.- and horses are extremely sensitive to this. Anger comes through your body as threat, fear comes through as danger, pleasure or relaxation comes through as confidence. And when you think sub-consciously to stop or trot or whatever, your body is already moving to prepare for this motion even when you haven't consciously told it to yet. I don't know if they receive images from us the way we can from them.

I later read a book, The Tao of Equus, in which the woman experienced something similar. So that was interesting- could be she and I just have similar personality types (and madnesses LOL), but on the flip side, it could be that those who are sensitive in this way pick up on the same communication styles from other beings.

Amazon.com: The Tao of Equus: A Woman's Journey of Healing and Transformation through the Way of the Horse: Linda Kohanov: Books

So far as I can tell, dogs and cats are similar, but they are more linear in thinking. They can form a plan. They're more like us, which makes sense to me, given that they (like us) are ominvorous and/or predatory, which takes a lot more planning than prey animals and yet necessitates less immediate communication of danger. But though I am very close to my dogs and my kitty I had for 20 years (now passed away), I must confess that I haven't put as much work into trying to communicate that way with them. It sort of evolved on its own with the horses because I was working many different horses and spending hours and hours each week doing it.

On insects...

I dislike killing things. And I dislike insects. So after reading "Kinship with All Life," I had the new idea to communicate my needs to insects- mostly about them peaceably leaving my personal bubble. :) For the most part, it works. Spiders, beetles, crickets- all are pretty good listeners. I either ask them to leave on their own, or if I need them to be gone immediately, I get a cup and ask them to get in the cup. I reassure them about what I'm doing, and take them outdoors and release. My husband doubted my insect-communication skills until one day I was asking a cricket to get in the cup and the cricket jumped from the floor into my cup- I was standing so he jumped about four feet directly into the cup, then stayed there until I got him outside, after which he jumped out of the cup. Could be a coincidence... or maybe I am a cricket-whisperer. LOL By the way, if anyone has tips on communicating with roaches- let me know. They have never, ever listened. LOL

On trees...

Trees do not give me images or thoughts, but rather feelings. Complex feelings, like the sort you might have after a vivid dream as you wake up and forget what you were dreaming about or the kind you get when you can't quite remember an event but you call up the mix of thoughts and emotions you had at the time. Trees also give me a sort of wisdom- they are teachers. I wouldn't say they transmit ideas as much as inspire them. They have an energy to them- the Redwoods have a low sort of hum that is so overwhelming that it brings me to tears. And the Bristlecone Pines feel like they are very quiet, patient trees. Individual trees feel different, but so do entire species or, I should say, genera. Some trees have more going on in there- almost like being a person and coming closer to images or thoughts- they tend to be older trees. I don't know why, but plants gain more ability to communicate as they get older, or so it seems. The oldest are like mentors and comforters, though they can feel bristly at first until one gets to know them and they understand you are respectful and won't cause harm. Then they tend to be quite parental.

Trees are like crystals in a way, as they have a certain "hum" to them, a certain energy. Crystals don't impart feelings though- more like energy (in the literal sense- like feeling different kind of electrical zaps at different intensities and frequencies). However, different rocks will have an effect on me- but it is more mechanical than personable.

I have heard from some that bodies of water have a sort of consciousness, but I haven't been able to experience that yet. I suspect it is partly because I am a woods-person more than a water-person, so I am rarely spending time with rivers or lakes. The sea certainly seems to me like it has a great big consciousness- it generally makes me giddy with happiness as it feels like I can breathe with it and feel the vastness of what it would be like to be such a being. Places seem to have memories, but not necessarily personalities. The feelings and images I get from places are tied to past. I'd guess this is a sort of energetic signature of some sort- don't know how to describe that. Places also have different energies- kind of like rocks- but this may be tied to the earth's energetic field or (a pet idea of mine, though entirely unfounded) points at which the earth's (and our universe's) plane touches another- this goes along with a sort of multiverse concept in which the various universes might be intersecting but largely unaware of each other.

So there's my long ramblings on the subject. None of it is scientific and most of the explanatory ideas (outside of body language with horses) are just ponderings I've had without much time given to them.
 
By the way, if anyone has tips on communicating with roaches- let me know. They have never, ever listened.

Shortly after dropping out of art school to pursue Zen Buddhism, I was living in Tucson, Arizona, in a small apartment and encountering roaches for the very first time.

I tried to practice non-violence, thinking that I could coexist with these little creatures. However, one night, I was awakened in bed by the skittering of one running across my chest. That was enough for me to change my philosophy to, "DEATH TO ALL COCKROACHES!!!"

A combination of boric acid and powdered sugar ended their brief reign.
 
Yeah, the buggers are not good listeners. I can't imagine more difficult tests of non-violence than roaches... oh, and mosquitos. But at least the mosquitos have an excuse that you are their foodstuff.
 
l too have a sense that other living things, apart from humans, have an energy field around them, emanating from them which we can in moments of self transcendence connect with and become aware of; of course we do this all the time with humans but the rational side, and language, and sight [body signals] can obliterate this sensation for want of a better word.
Me too....and I used to harbour the idea that there was a real communication going on. These days I tend to think of it more like a combination of reading a book and repeated experience than anything transcendental...so to speak. Though, as I will go on to explain in my next reply to PoO, I am pretty certain that you can form communicative relationships with animals that appear almost magical, as Poo indeed maintains. I think we are all, for once, singing from the same score on this one. It is just a matter of interpratation of cause that needs discussion.

like wil says, define living. rocks are emanating electromagnetic rays and presumably so is everything else 'under the sun' rays, light. l used to get a lot of comfort hugging standing stones near my old house; projection of my subjectivity? probably, but it felt good [they looked liked 3 old crones in sillouette in the distance but were 10 feet high and part of a stone circle; l buried my cat in the middle hence my sentimentality:eek:]
I am only a layman but when it comes to the sciences I am a polyglot and geology is one of the languages I love. I have a small collection of stones that I can call friends and that have characters as individual and diverse as any 'living' things. Having worked minutely in stone I certainly know they have character. I used to make micro-mosaic art objects using stones I often collected, and cut and polished in my own tumbler. Lapidry was my first real hobby. I was not intending to diminish Wil's question, just have a wee joke at his expense ;)
 
path, that's exactly the sort of experience I call empathy - hang on, let's start giving it a capital E - Empathy.

Normally, "empathy" simply means to relate, but as an Empath, to me it means you're susceptible to the emotional states, feelings, and thoughts of other living forms.

(I'm not quoting anything here, simply referencing my own Empathic experiences).

It's absolutely amazing how normally it comes up in general life - but mostly mundane circumstances, which is one of my big frustrations with being an Empath - how do you use it for a greater good? At present it presents evolutionary advantage in terms of a greater awareness of situational experiences, but what else can we really turn it to?

Anyway, I just wanted to say I regard your experiences completely normal, and I've had them with all sorts of animals. The really surprising thing, I think, is when people consider it unusual.

I think anyone with a close pet has almost certainly experienced it in some way, for example, knowing somehow there's something wrong with an animal, without any obvious cues, but without the language to describe the experience, it becomes lost in translation.

As before, I don't believe it's some form of supernatural ability either - I think it's a normal and perhaps very primitive form of sensory perception that is underdeveloped but present in a basic form in humans - but as nativeastral alluded to in another post, is easily drowned out by the conscious experience.

After all, there are so many sensory experiences we consciously block out unless they present information important to the immediate experience - for example, how manby of us reading this post at this instance are aware of the smell of their surroundings? The sense of whatever their fingers are touching? Chances are, you were already filtering these signals out because all you needed to focus on was the visual, and perhaps your sense of hearing cocked in case of a sudden noise of danger.

Something I'm trying to do recently is try and get an idea of whether there may be a specific set of tissue involved in this whole Empathic process. "Gut feeling" is a very simple but apt way to describe it, but I'm currently wondering if there may be any tissue in front of the lower spine that may offer clues - namely because I often get a sense of "feeling behind myself" (like I'm somehow falling back inside myself) if that makes sense, when I'm most aware. (or is it simply a change in brain pattern?).

Then again, perhaps there's a larger explanation directly involving bio-electromagnetic fields. The scientist in me want's to rationalise the process, in order to better understand and communicate this.

Empathic experiences are so normal and everyday, but I'm really frustrated on how to use it in a more positive way. I can see how it can be used for improved personal survival, or for caring for individual creatures - a general improved situational awareness. But I keep thinking there must be more to it - perhaps some way to use it as a group experience in some way.

Hm...
 
I haven't invested as much time into thinking of explanations as I have into figuring out how to open up to doing it and using the information I gain.
I think it is a difficult thing to do to offer explanations.... it can be easy to get lost in them. And explaining them can leave you feeling like a fruitcake very quickly. This is a typical feeling in any experience where there is a gap in knowledge is it not? Like trying to communicate you want to know where the bread shop is without a shared language for example.

On horses...

I've been working intensively with horses for about 11 years now..... Horses largely communicate through (from what I've seen) is near instantaneous sharing of visceral feelings- what you might call "gut" reactions.... You might feel their anxiety, fear, quiet, enjoyment and it radiates from your muscles and thorax to your brain- you feel it before you recognize the feeling you have been given.
I think this is some essence of what is indeed happening. And as you indicate it takes years of experience to get to the stage where it becomes natural, as long as it takes to get a doctorate ;)

It makes a lot of sense if you consider that they are prey animals- the communication is first through feeling to the entire herd (and you) and this allows rapid and compelling communication of danger or pleasure.
Here you recognise the awareness of what a horse is in the animal kingdom, how it evolved and what drives its reactions to its environment. That is a key aspect of your education on them, all easily calculated into the bigger picture. And the anthropologist in you evidently has no problem applying the same ideas to non human 'people' too :) So far there is nothing extraordinary being invoked. And then...

However, horses do more than that. They send images. The images are not like a human would send, associated clearly with a single thought that could translate into words. The images evoke feelings and a sort of gestalt of what is going on in the horse's head, not a particular train of thought......
How horse to horse and horse to human communcation works in this way, I have no idea. I could say vaguely that everything seems connected energetically to allow this, or something about bioenergetic fields, but to be honest I have no earthly idea how I pick up on that stuff....
But I pick up on feelings and general senses of intent all the time.
But do they? Or is your feeling composed entirely of your own knowledge built on years of intimate experience? Yes you are communicating with the horse, you have as you state developed a language of communication with horses, and as it becomes fluent then you can know what is about to be said. Just as you can with fluency in any language. I suggest that this fluency allows you the pleasure of a self indulgent symbolism that reflects your appreciation of a knowing relationship. That the horse is not sending you the images but that you are building them yourself based on experience. It is no less wonderful for it either.

I don't know if they receive images from us the way we can from them.
No, they build there own pictures based on their intimate experience with humans. I think western culture, developed as it has from monotheistic paradigms that state or imply humanity separate and above the animal kingdom, still has trouble recognising how intelligent many animals really are and in how many weird and wonderful ways. Starting at what all animals share, the need for food and reproduction, you can see common themes emerging wherever you look. Animals that work in social groups, including insects, very often form what is by any other name intelligence.

I later read a book, The Tao of Equus,
I remember you mentioning it in another thread. I wonder why that stuck in my mind? :rolleyes::D
Now it has cropped up again and to show I do care about what you ask me to read I am going to order it.

On trees...

Trees do not give me images or thoughts, but rather feelings. Complex feelings, like the sort you might have after a vivid dream as you wake up and forget what you were dreaming about or the kind you get when you can't quite remember an event but you call up the mix of thoughts and emotions you had at the time.
Having worked intimately with trees and timber I know exactly what you are talking about. But again as above I think that it is a language issue. It is not possible to have a meaningful conversation but you can sense the life force of a tree. I think this is real and happens via unconscious perception of tiny bio-electric fields. Trees are 'shocked' when that chainsaw starts cutting into them. They immediately go silent. I do not think trees think but I believe they have some ponderously slow awareness. When you time lapse up the grouth of plants they look and behave much more like animals that we noramally percieve.

I have heard from some that bodies of water have a sort of consciousness......
.... Places seem to have memories, but not necessarily personalities..... .....this goes along with a sort of multiverse concept in which the various universes might be intersecting but largely unaware of each other....
Again I think these are all projections of something happening internally within the individual that are at the boundary of explanation and cause the brain to create a working imagry to understand it. Things like multiverses and quantum fields are at the edges of mathematics and give tantalising glimpse of magical realms that may well exist and that we must to some degree inhabit. But it is only spooky because we do not speak its language.....yet.
 
Well, I never rule out that I might just be very imaginative. But then, I have seen the effects of this communication enough to have developed a sense that it is real and natural as well. What I mean is that I know, through experimentation, that I can at least sometimes send complex images or thoughts to humans, so I don't rule out that it might work that way with animals or other living beings as well. Then again, it might not. The thing with telepathy is whether or not I receive images from a horse or I create images in response to a horse's communication, I can know that when I am still and open, I receive images. I can never really know what the horse or tree or other being experiences as a result of my sending stuff toward them, because unlike a human, I cannot have confirmation through words... so it becomes a circular reasoning. This is partly why I haven't bothered with explanation so much as experience. I do know that it is a two-way street because they respond to me. I've had the experience where even elements sometimes respond to my energy and focus (notably air, but I suspect fire and water won't be too far off once I work with them more).

I do recommend Tao of Equus- not for its scientific or explanatory value (please, please if you're going for that, choose something like "Ecologies of the Heart" or "Loving Nature") but I think you'll get a kick out of it if you love horses and psychology. :)

It's interesting to hear about your experiences with stone and trees, Tao. It's nearly unbearable to me when a whole stand of trees is killed at once, especially if in a sudden and human-induced way. The remaining trees are affected, and I can feel this- it does approximate shock for them as well, and a sort of deep sorrow. However, trees can really teach us something because despite being incredibly generous beings (life-giving, really, without asking for anything much in return) they are both resilient and yet accept death with a sort of quiet resignation. I don't really know how to describe the feeling, but it puts our fears as humans into perspective.

It's worth saying that I don't think any of it is "supernatural," really. As Brian says, I think this stuff is normal and natural. Perhaps some are just better at it than others, just as some people are better at art or math or giving speeches. I don't really believe in a supernatural, when it comes down to it. Or rather, I think the boundaries between supernatural and natural aren't there. It is our perceptual boundaries that delimit these "spaces," not reality itself. I do think magic exists, but you could say I have a very natural view of magic- that focused intent can directly impact the physical world along lines of probability and that information can be communicated in ways beyond the usual human type of sharing stuff through words with the delay of conscious language use. However, I think the stuff that appears supernatural is really just a different kind of natural. Even my concept of God is a Divine One that is a process, a force, that manifests as we need it... and thus there is no boundary in my mind between what I think or create, and what is coming from the "outside" of myself. My view of reality is that the concepts of "me/inside" and "other/outside" are illusions. Really, I am just the universe being itself, I am the Divine manifesting in a temporary way.

This view helps me both to make some sense of empathy, which I've always experienced. It also helps me open more to it and not be too afraid when dealing with beings that are really different than "me"- I remember that it is within me to be them, and vice versa. We are all interbeing with each other, and the "magical" part is that we're able to pretend to ourselves that we are separate entities! I am only a temporary illusion as a human being, but really inside of me are all the beings, the entire cosmos. I can take refuge in the connection to all life, to the Divine unity, when I feel it necessary.

So, I dunno, Tao. My spiritual life is deeply organic. I believe in a lot of stuff considered crazy by usual standards of thought on religion, but I also view my beliefs as transitory- as the best thing I've got to help my brain make sense of my experience. It's not my focus to define to heavily where I am "going," so to speak, but rather how to be in this moment with maximum joy and peace in life. So I can be tough to pin down because I'm apt to think anything is possible and revel in the diverse ideas of what could be, rather than choosing a particular view of what is.

As for usefulness of being an empath, I struggle with this as well. Not all is roses and feelings of connection with all life, you know? Most of the unpleasant stuff comes from humankind, and I never quite know what to do with it except to learn to "shield" myself, to turn down the volume. Even so, things like mental illness or cruel intent makes me cringe inside and is quite uncomfortable. I once sat in a Bible study with a woman who was "screaming" inside so loud and was so suicidal it made me feel sick. But how to go up to a perfect stranger and try to assist in something like this? What does one say? It's much easier with animals and plants, who have no identity to protect and will welcome emotional or physical relief.
 
Tao raises an interesting point I'd like to explore a bit further - I very much believe that whatever we may sense or perceive in the world, the mind will inevitably act as a filter, not least to render what we perceive into something we can better understand and comprehend.

Certainly this has felt true with general spiritual experience, where sometimes what we experience is too extreme and beyond explanation for the mind to be able to understand - therefore a concept that seems more familiar is interpreted into the mix.

I think this often comes up when people refer to spirit guides, personal angels, past live mentors, and similar. I suspect a deeper process is at work, but one that is too unintelligible for the human mind to ordinarily comprehend, hence reduction of the experience into something more anthropomorphic, therefore comprehensible.

It's no accident that a lot of religious stories and mythologies use anthropomorphised forms and simplistic analogies to describe often more complex processes - because otherwise they would be far harder for a general audience to grasp.

It's also worth remembering the recent discussions on NDE's, as I suggested there prior research had suggested common elements being described in very culturally defined presentations (and hence my continued surprise that my own drug-induced NDE was completely missing any cultural or otherwise familiar symbols and forms, and therefore wondering if it may have been a regressed memory from when I was born strangled by my umbilical cord).

I've often considered it a key spiritual task to try and find ways to interpret spiritual experience with as little cultural or personal influence as possible, to try and uncover something of the deeper experience.

In terms of empathy though - I know exactly what Path of One means again - some people are like walking radios, but it can easily "sound" like they are detuned or between stations!

Where it really becomes far clearer is in instances of strong emotions - anger, pain, depression, love, lust, joy, etc.

You can experiment with this yourself by walking down the street, and everytime you feel someone looking at you, instead of turning around, remain aware, and see if you can get a feeling for the emotion behind it. Then look and see if you may be right by gauging visual cues.

That may be easier to do being male - I suspect many women may be more subject to outright lustful gazes, whereas being a male who dresses quite alternatively, I can feel a small variety - commonly lust, curiosity, aggression, fear.

I don't tend to see empathic experience in images, but I have noted it more with animals, perhaps because it is more difficult for us to directly understand the communication, so some part of our being perhaps redacts it into a more comprehensible experience we can react to. I'm not sure if that makes sense to you, PoO?

I do know one thing - when we look at the world as a visual being, we are already seeing it in a very filtered and narrow way. There's a huge flood of information encompassing the whole electro-magnetic spectrum across the world, yet we only perceive a very narrow band called the "Visible Spectrum". We can't see infra-red, ultraviolet, radio, x-rays, or similar. Yet this narrow band view defines our view of reality.

And yet what a wonder it would be to see the world through all of the spectrum - and yet how confusing and difficult to understand it would be!

Bees apparently perceive a lot of ultra-violet, and many insect-pollinated flowers also bloom in ultra-violet ranges - so in an objective sense, what is the real colour of a daffodil? Yellow or orange to a human, only because we have a limited view and understanding of the world, when in a broader range it's likely to appear far more purple.

And yet the difference between one colour and another in the visible spectrum can be measured in terms of nanometres in wavelength - a tiny tiny difference.

That therefore makes me wonder - if we are able to perceive emotional states of others without visual cues, from the interactions of our electro-magnetic fields, then would the small changes in blood ion concentrations (which at least in part would help generate such fields, among other sources) resulting from different hormone levels accompanying different emotions really be that difficult to perceive, if already able to perceive it?

Here's a little thought experiment - next time you look at people, imagine they are surrounded by many tiny lines extending out and returning upon themselves, a little like a plasma ball if you will. Now do that the next time you walk down the street, and also imagine that every time you are looking at someone, that some of your own force lines from your own bio-field touches theirs directly. Now observe how many of those people you look at in that way suddenly glance around, straight at you. :)
 
Kim, interesting what you said about trees. Reminds me of a very touching poem from years ago by Sheldon Silverstein, "The Giving Tree:"
Classical Poem: The Giving Tree by Sheldon Allan Silverstein at All poetry
Yes, horses and dogs seem to have a particularly sensitive perceptual ability, the former being the basis for use of what is called "equine therapy." Certainly horses and dogs seem to sense such things coming down the pike as potential natural disasters, be they severe storms, etc. Dogs seem, (excuse me Tao:p), to appear to sense extracorporeal presences-as in at times when dogs growl into corners of houses where we humans see nothing. As for being an empath, well my current wife is one. So, I've seen that in operation. I, too, hate it when I see trees cut down. In this terrain where I live we could use all the trees we can get.:) However, don't feel the same degree of sadness to see the crabgrass go.:D earl
 
Brian, as to your comment re trying to see spiritual, etc. experiences through other lenses than personal/cultural ones-I think all we can do is be open to whatever experience throws at us and, while it would be human to attempt to figure it our later, I tend to doubt we can ever be sure we really know what's going on. Merely, to remain open to it, without glossing over it is perhaps enough. We may have a deeper understanding when not in human form, but who knows?:) earl
 
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