Friday in Santa Fe

02010-01-22 | Uncategorized | 14 comments

More snow…

Correlation Found Between Brain Structure and Video Game Success
The subjects who had more volume in an area called the nucleus accumbens did significantly better in the early stages of training. Meanwhile, those who were well-endowed in different areas of the striatum, known as the caudate nucleus and putamen, handled the shifting strategies better.’

Brain, video games, spirituality…

Somebody (((I certainly think Mind & Life should be involved))) should create a computer game that enhances the players ability to realize himself in a spiritual fashion (((I really don’t like the word spirituality, but you get my drift)))

Of course, nothing replaces practice, and by practice I mean meditation and dedication over time, but there are things like Genpo Roshi’s Big Mind method, that offer immediate results, little insights that can inspire a person and lead them to doing the time, by which I mean sitting in meditation or silence or prayer or whatever your path may be.

Similarly I imagine that one could design video games – I bet there are a number of Tibetan lamas that could provide some mind-blowing content – that could bring about changes in the brain that would in turn foster long-term development. Visualizations are a big thing in Tibetan Buddhism… that would work well for a video game. There has been a lot of neurological research that could be applied, too. And then there is Tantric Buddhism. That could could be more exciting than Grand Theft Auto to a young person…

I think self-realization has always been, and will always be, a two-part process. Immediate understanding and training on one hand and long-term internalization and integration on the other hand. This is not foreign to a musician, by the way. You learn a new technique and then it takes years to find ways to implement that technique in a natural fashion.

I think a great video game along these lines could be life-changing as well as very profitable for the designer.

Crazy Delicious Japanese Rice Paddy Art
…a village in Japan called Inakadate has a ridiculously awesome festival where hundreds of people help out and plant different varieties of rice that grow up to be different colors (and thus create images like the ones you see above). They started doing this to reinvigorate the town, and it’s done quite well! In 2006 there were 200,000 visitors alone.

Check out the rice-paddy-art photographs here.
Link to Google map.

London’s Unpackaged Grocery Shop Eliminates Wasteful Packaging | Inhabitat
Started by Catherine Conway in 2006, Unpackaged was a small market stall that became so popular that Conway decided to open up a full-fledged shop. The store sells almost all their goods out of bulk bins and the packaged items they do carry are minimal and easily recyclable. It’s certainly not as large as most grocery stores, and it doesn’t carry multiple brands of one item — in fact the store doesn’t carry many well-known brands (except for the wines).

Why unpackaged? Three reasons: first, it’s cheaper to buy and sell things in bulk, since the extra cost of packaging isn’t passed on to you. Second, packaging is a waste of resources and time, and requires extra fuel to transport that weight. Finally, packaging is really just trash and causes pollution because it is so often sent to the landfill.

Very nice! Website: Unpackaged

And, if you are wondering why I don’t like the word Spirituality, I’ll tell you:

I just don’t see that separation of spirit and physical things, i.e. the rest of the world. To me the exterior is a reflection of the interior, and the two are forever entwined. We can’t work on the physical side without changing the spiritual side and we can’t work on our interior without affecting the exterior. So, talking about spirituality creates, to me, an unnatural disconnect from the world, from this right here, right now. I think doing something, following the Eighfold Path, for example – or whatever your path may be – creates an overall change (((and by overall I mean the person following the path and, in fact, the whole world))). Or, to put it simply, doing becomes being and being becomes doing. And really, they are not separate, except in our conceptualizations.


  1. Brenda

    As a human being, I believe that my spirit is separate from an exterior reflection within a mirror. I know that I am not knowledgeable of what you are expressing; so I will read and meditate on your statement, to learn a new path of thought. Thanks.

  2. Thomas Faes

    …don’t see the difference between spiritual and physical things. Ottmar – you are SO right.

    I’ll switch to German now, ’cause it would take me over half an hour to say this in English.

    ‘Ganzheitlich’ – auch nicht grad ein schönes Wort, aber es geht in die Richtung, die Du anschlägst.

    Die alten Hebräer, ein urspr. Nomadenvolk, dachten übrigens vorbildlich in ganzheitlichen Kategorien. Das hebr. Wort für Seele (nefesch) bspw. bedeutet ebenfalls Kehle! – Kehle – dort wo ich Atem habe, wo meine Lebendigkeit liegt, wo ich Weite oder Enge spüre. Der Hebräer meint, wenn er von der Seele spricht, IMMER auch das körperliche mit. “Meine Seele ist bedrängt = das Wasser steht mir buchstäblich bis zum Hals…etc.”

    Erst durch das Denken in Abstraktionen, von den Griechen erfunden (Aristoteles) wurde Materie und Geist gedanklich getrennt, und das gesamte Abendland hat dann diese Schiene nie mehr verlassen.

    Herzliche Grüsse aus der Schweiz,


  3. Ottmar

    Sehr interessant, Thomas. Vielen Dank.

    Thank you Brenda.

    The separation of spirit and “material” world, that duality of absolute and relative is age-old. However, there has also been another point of view for a long long time, unity. Then there may be a third view that encompasses both. The best visual reference for this third view may be the Yin Yang symbol. One whole, encompassing two equal shapes… By the way, have you ever noticed that there is a small white point inside the black shape and a white point inside the black shape – that’s because when one quality reaches its peak it will naturally begin to transform into the opposite quality. Yin compassion can involve Yang “tough love” or, a General might realize that through yielding on part of the battlefield he might win the war.

    Anyway, these are all concepts and as such can achieve only so much. It’s mental jousting.

  4. Brenda

    If we as humans beings could see the “Big Picture” as in this wonderful article on Japanese Rice Paddy Art. Wonderful. It seems that in the smallness of how “one person planted, departed, filled with hope for the whole but never quite understanding the fullness of the harvest’s vision.
    Humility of one to nurture peace, resulted in growing a community to be an Art of Beckoning Beauty created for the one vision to share. So fragile as one blade but so strong as a community of one.
    It is so good when people work together for the common good.

  5. yumi

    Ottmar wrote, “…that’s because when one quality reaches its peak it will naturally begin to transform into the opposite quality.”

    On one hand what we think the yin/yang is circular, but it is also this: yang: ? and yin: ?. A straight line or a pause in between the line. From the same element as the circle, but this time blocks of lines.

    I like to think of that has a real element like water: ice, snow, raging torrent (tea water), mist…evaporates becomes part of the air, the earth; with fire creates steam. Again, one element that can change form, but is not separate.

  6. yumi

    Maybe. I should explain the idea of water?
    “yin” is considered more yielding, femininity. “yang” is considered grounded, masculinity.

    Water can nurture the earth, provides growth; is soothing/healing, quenches the thirst…all yin traits. It can transform into the hard shape of ice, hail; with fire it can create steam to power/transport or as Chinese tea at the full boiling point, become a “raging torrent”…yang traits.

    One element.

  7. Ottmar

    Water is a great example. Thank you Yumi. Wikipedia has this:

    Yin and yang transform each other: like an undertow in the ocean, every advance is complemented by a retreat, and every rise transforms into a fall. Thus, a seed will sprout from the earth and grow upwards towards the sky – an intrinsically yang movement. Then when it reaches its full potential height it will descend.

  8. yumi

    “…like an undertow in the ocean, every advance is complemented by a retreat, and every rise transforms into a fall.”

    That’s a pretty nice visual.

  9. Brenda

    Friday Evening Photos: As water graces the winter branches to wait in disguise, so patiently; ever so quiet, gentle delicate touch of community snowflakes are hoping for silent renewal that quench’s the thirst of a traveler’s spirit beneath the earth’s strength.

    Thank you Thomas, Ottmar and Yumi, your lessons are blessings to me. Especially, about the Ying Yang Symbol, to know what the small white point inside the black shape was the key of learning for me. Yumi, I love to reflect about water. Thomas, the visual of a spirit’s breath that reminded me of a life lesson of a dear loved one in my past.

  10. Brenda

    Yes, spelling is important- YIN YANG – I will remember :)

  11. Boris

    Yumiko – you might want to take a look into the Luc Besson movie “Le Grand Bleu”. Watched a “making of” yesterday where Besson describes the female side of water.

    (If you decide to take a look, make sure it is the long version!)

  12. Ottmar

    Ah, with Jean Reno as the Italian diver…

  13. yumi

    Look what you can find in this journal…
    1) current snow conditions
    2) your brain or my brain
    3) rice
    4) zero packaging
    5) 8 roads to getting it right
    6) yin yang
    7) …a movie to explore (I’ll have to look for that one)

  14. dave

    Yumi: “Look what you can find in this journal” … all in one neat package.


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