Archive for meditation

One Megabyte

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2012 by javedbabar

Alan and Patricia were always welcoming. As soon as he neared their forest cabin, Bobby began feeling happy and relaxed. His weekly trips there were a tonic.

There were things going on at the farm that he didn’t understand, and that worried him somewhat. Tomatoes grew better when exposed to advertising jingles, mushrooms were affected by satellite TV channels, and he was encouraged to drink a “healthy natural beverage” that somehow unsettled him.

Alan’s workshop was full of technology. Bobby wasn’t sure if this was the right word though. It was state of the art technology once upon a time, but these days of smaller, better, faster may now cause it to be labelled junk. There were many metal boxes with buttons, wires, levers and cogs.

“Do you still use all these” – Bobby didn’t know what to call them – “machines?”

“Sure I do! They still work. Why shouldn’t I?”

Bobby pulled out his smartphone. It never received a signal on the farm but here it worked beautifully. “This phone has more power than everything in this workshop. I’m not trying to show off; anybody with twenty dollars a month to spare can have one. I just mean that your machines seem outdated.”

“So you think I should donate them to the museum?”

“Not necessarily,” said Bobby. “But maybe. Wouldn’t you be better off with a small, simple gadget with multiple functions? And when technology advances, you can upgrade.”

Alan looked at him with seriousness. “What is the data limit on your smartphone? Ten megabytes? A day? So three hundred megabytes a month. Well, I transfer one megabyte a month.”

Bobby was about to be impressed, but then thought, hang on! He said, “Do you mean one gigabyte? So you transfer three times more than me?”

“No I meant one megabyte. That’s plenty. I do use some compression technology, but that’s it!”

Bobby was confused and stood blinking.

Alan pushed a few buttons and lights appeared on metal boxes. “In the early days there were radio transmissions for only two hours a day. When TV came along, we had only one hour a day. Telephone calls were very expensive; you’d watch your minutes carefully. With computers there was limited bandwidth, it was precious and you preserved it. A photo took half an hour to download, and a movie took all day.

“We appreciated those things. Our family would gather around the radio. We would watch TV together. Receiving a call would be a special thing.

“Now everything is always available. It’s too much. People receive endless news, data and popular culture. It is making them sick. They flick through these things as if they are empty boxes, always looking for the next one, hoping it will be full.

“Patricia and I pick one thing a day and focus on it, whether it is a message, a photo, or scene from a film. We enjoy that thing only. It is like a meditation. And we’ve found that after one hundred years, we’ve never been bored yet. Do you want to see today’s special selection?”

Bobby nodded.

Alan showed him a picture of the Lucerne Valley one hundred years ago, before the time of roads, factories and malls. There was just land and light. Its beauty made him weep.

Living on the Moon

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2012 by javedbabar

Despite there being a full moon tonight, Guru Baba had encouraged Sami to undertake a Dark Moon Retreat. Such were the strange ways of his holy bossman. He was never predictable.

Now back in the boggy part of a field outside Lucerne Village, they studied the moon. Sami felt a new lightness after his prolonged meditation, as if a great burden had been lifted from his soul. Guru Baba was right – death required preparation, as did any important task. Right now Sami’s gaze was floating high and he said, “I wonder what it would be like to live on the moon?”

“Why wonder?” said Guru Baba. “Why don’t you find out?”

“How can I do that? Is there a special form of meditation?”

“No, no, no! Not everything is about meditation! You youngsters get carried away. That’s why Lao Tzu said, Those who know, do not speak; those who speak, do not know. People just hear one thing and get stuck on it, like there’s nothing else.”

Sami became self-conscious and said nothing more. Guru Baba sensed his distance and said, “I’m sorry, it’s my pet peeve. Meditation has a purpose, but so does logical thought.” Sami remained quiet. He needed encouragement. “Come on, let’s find out what it would be like to live on the moon.”

Sami said quietly, “Okay, how?”

“You asked a question: What would it be like to live on the moon? Ultimately you must answer all of your questions yourself. Nobody else can do it for you. Let’s break down the components of life on the moon. What will you need to live there? That’s right, some kind of a base or home. What will you make it out of? Yes, materials brought from earth, or mined on the moon. How will you breathe? Yes, using recycled air, maybe via algae-based purifiers. What about light? Yes, you will need to be prepared for very long days and nights – up to two weeks – unless you live at the poles. And temperatures? Yes, there will be huge fluctuations. And gravity? Yes, you will need to compensate for the lack of it, and there could be long-term hazards to health. See, you just ask the right questions and answers present themselves. Please continue yourself.”

Sami said, “Power could be made using solar or nuclear methods. Food could be grown by rotating crops to regulate sunlight, creating radiation protection for them, and introducing insects for pollination. There’s water frozen at the moon’s poles that could be processed. Transport would be easy with the low gravity there, using locally-produced fuel or electromagnetic cannons. Communications would be easy, with no atmospheric diffraction. But…”

“What is it, go on…”

“Being so far from earth. It would feel very isolated.” He thought some more and said, “But the earth would be clearly visible. It would look so beautiful always, like a precious blue pearl. I would love it more than ever.”

Dark Moon Retreat

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Unknown with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2012 by javedbabar

Guru Baba said, “Are you scared of death?”

Though he knew that his holy bossman was full of surprises, Sami was often unprepared for his questions. Sami had been given the day off, yet told that he’d be “working all night,” and here he was in a field beneath a full moon, being asked about death. He’d never really given it much thought. He said, “I suppose I am.”

Guru Baba grabbed his hand and said, “Come on then!”

Sami resisted. “Where to?”

“To death! Let’s go there!”

What was he up to? Sami turned to face him and said, “Guru Baba, I don’t want to die yet.”

“Why not? Practice makes perfect!”

Sami pulled away. “What do you mean by that? You’re scaring me now.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to. It’s just that the best way to prepare for anything – a race, a test, a holiday – is to engage in some practice. There is an ancient method to prepare for your death called the Dark Moon Retreat, performed during the darkest lunar phase.”

“But Guru Baba, there’s a full moon tonight. That’s why we’re out here.”

This stopped the sage in his tracks. “Ah! So there is!” He looked rapidly from side to side before his gaze settled on some farm outbuildings. “No problem. Let’s go over there.”

Guru Baba climbed over a barbed wire fence. “Shouldn’t we get permission to come here?” said Sami.

“No, no, no need for that. Come on over. The Egyptians used to meditate in pyramids. The Teotihuacanos too. Holy men and women would enter their inner chambers alone and spend the night there, removed from all sources of light and sound, yet filled with visions of the inner workings of worlds. We don’t have any pyramids here, so this will do. Let’s have a go.”

Sami was bemused by the choice of an A-frame barn as a pyramid stand-in, but held his tongue. Guru Baba said, “It is a restricted practice, only for use under appropriate spiritual guidance. Do you think I qualify for the role of spiritual guide?”

Guru Baba was one of the world’s leading holy men, recently retired to “that lovely village with the white mountain above it.” Sami smiled and nodded.

He was instructed to sit cross-legged on hay bales and breathe slowly in and out. “Lose all of your thoughts,” said Guru Baba. “Keep only the gaps between them. Look at the spaces.” He waited a while, and said, “Good. Whether we live or die, we are always connected. We have seven spiritual centres in our bodies, infused with seven colours, and connected with seven planets. Now focus on these centres, planets and colours, and recite these seven holy syllables.” He broke off for a moment to think up some words, and then said, “I am Sa-mi so am I.”

Sami did as he was told. At first he felt the hay prickling his bottom.

Then he was aware only of his words.

Then the centres.

Then colours.

Then planets.

There was a sequence of degeneration where all words, centres, colours and planets fell away. Sami saw reality clearly – who he was truly – and then experienced terrifying hallucinations – who he had been in lesser forms.

Guru Baba watched Sami’s rainbow body shining. It illuminated the whole barn. He sensed fluttering above. “Poor bats,” he thought. “So confused. Maybe this will enlighten them too.”