|99 Nick Chakras|
BABY STEPS TOWARDS A BRAND NEW PHYSICS
Quantum theory is mankind's most successful mathematical connection with Nature. But after more than one hundred years of immense conceptual and technological success, it seems to possess at least one fundamental flaw. Despite the fact that we know that the world works by purely quantum rules, our only access to this world (so far) is via completely classical measurements. The goal of quantum tantra is to open up new doorways into Nature, new connections that are intrinsically quantum not classical, that are deep, direct and intimate and that probably have more to do with consciousness than with unconscious measuring instruments.
Nature's hinting there's new ways to meet Her
More intense, more engaging -- and sweeter
But like shy maiden aunts
We say "O dear me, no!" to Her Dance
"We'd rather be reading our meters."
One possible realization of quantum tantra is that I learn to experience the physical world in a manner analogous to the way that I experience my own body. A new kind of mind-merge with matter made possible by our radical understanding of how things really work. I envision this new learning to be augmented by some sort of quantum-inspired technology which I have called a Convivium. Or sometimes an Octoscope.
Since physics is a more fundamental science then chemistry for exploring deep reality, with all honor and respect, I consider psychedelic drugs as mere training wheels compared to quantum tantra. But as a pragmatic explorer I realize you gotta use what you got.
While waiting for my Physics Muse to deliver me a Convivium or Octoscope, my most immediate way to prepare for direct entry into the quantum world appears to be expanding my awareness of this physical body that daily carries me about in the world.
So for many years, I have been carrying out a Chakra Project to expand the number of body centers into which I could place my awareness -- the main hypothesis being that a body part to which I direct my attention is in some way essentially different (in a quantum way?) from a body part that I leave unattended. I began with the Seven Classical Hindu Chakras, extended this number to Twenty-Four, then Sixty-Four, then Eighty-Four. Then finally to the Ninety-Nine Nick Chakras illustrated above. I have used this new chakra system in various ways, from systematically expanding my bodily awareness, to reciting a kind of bodily Rosary, to preparing my body for massage, to falling asleep at night by counting chakras instead of sheep.
For exploring a new territory, it's useful to have a good map. But once you're there you can toss the maps away. Follow your own interests and curiosity.
Besides the chakras, I've found many other good maps for exploring the body's wonders based on your particular training and interest.
Being mainly a bookish person, I'm not much interested in sports, but loved ocean swimming and had been a fairly good tennis player at the City Park level. For more than twenty years I have been working with weights under the direction of a world-class power lifter, ex-Marine and ex-police officer. So far, all without books.
But then I discovered Frederic Delavier's Strength Training Anatomy.
|Delavier's muscle maps for power lifters|
Delavier is both a trained artist (five years at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris) and a champion power lifter (best in France 1988). His book spends a few pages on every classic lift, and illustrates with simple color-coded drawings exactly which muscles you are utilizing for that lift. (You can confirm Delavier's insights by what parts hurt the next day.) He also includes sections on stretches for relaxing parts of the body that have been tightened by serious exercise and illustrates which muscles are involved in each stretch. Here is a video review of Delavier's wonderful book by an admiring body builder.
For the last couple of years I have been enjoying monthly massages from a lovely Buddhist masseuse who lives at Vajrapani Institute, our local Tibetan Buddhist retreat center. Her body work combines sensitive attention plus exercises in visualizing each moment as Empty, Impermanent, yet paradoxically infused with Compassion. These massage sessions got me interested in yet another book (another set of body maps).
|Andrew Biel's body maps for extremely informed palpation|
Andrew Biel's Trail Guide to the Body is the premier source for intelligent palpation. Both the author and the illustrator Robin Dorn are licensed massage practitioners. The trail guide metaphor is useful and witty: for example, the trip round the elbow is called "exploring Knob Hill". Dorn's skillful drawings have just enough detail to be useful yet uncluttered. You could spend a lifetime exploring your body or someone else's using this nearly 500-page book as a map. I'm currently involved in trying to confidently palpate the eight carpal bones at the base of my hand. Here's a video interview with the author who among other things describes his favorite muscle. Hint: it's a muscle you've never heard of.
Although I play jigs and reels in an Irish session band, I'm not really much of a dancer. The nearest I got to serious dancing was studying Aikido with Linda Holiday in Santa Cruz. Throwing and being thrown in many different ways by many different kinds of bodies brought me very much in touch with what being embodied actually felt like both in and out of Linda's dojo.
I was also married for more than thirty years to Betsy Rasumny, a talented improv dancer who taught and performed in New York, Montreal, San Francisco and Santa Cruz. For me, one of Betsy's finest teachings was that, for someone who is fully present, every movement can become a dance. My wife was an expert at being fully present. Among the many gifts Betsy left me after her death in 2002 was this book on body maps for dancers.
|Andrea Olsen's Guide to Experiential Anatomy|
Andrea Olsen's BodyStories: A Guide to Experiential Anatomy is exactly what it claims to be -- a guide to actually feeling what it's like to be present in your own particular body. There are pictures of bones and muscles but accompanied with children's drawings and other art work designed to invoke the strange unspeakable mood of this particular kind of embodiment. In her dedication, Andrea Olsen states that the function of this book is not to demystify the body -- but to help embody the mystery. Designed for dancers, this book contains movement and palpation exercises both alone and with a partner and is peppered with short anecdotes (body stories) from Olsen's long career as a teacher and performer. Here is a video of Andrea Olsen giving a TED talk/performance in Monterey, CA. Is this woman embodied or what?
One version of quantum tantra would be experiential anatomy on quantum steroids. The octoscope (or convivium) would open up our universe to non-classical modes of inquiry, to brand new experiences of the physical body not to mention new experiences of the physical world, providing strange new openings into reality entirely unavailable to our species before the discovery of quantum theory.
When we coat our nipples with europium oxide
When we touch our tongues to crystalline tin
When we hold in our hands these obsidian palm stones
Will She unlock Her darkness and welcome us in?
|Nick discovers a convivium|