So this Hasidic Jew is kicked off a plane when he starts to pray...

Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. But this is the world we live in now. The new world. The new world order.

As strange as this article is, it's made even moreso by this particular statement.

"The attendant actually recognized out loud that he wasn't a Muslim and that she was sorry for the situation but they had to ask him to leave," Faguy said.

article here

Called "davening": To recite

Called "davening": To recite Jewish liturgical prayers.

Often preformed with a rocking motion, back and forth. Muslims do it too. So do Christians, often side to side. A meditation or prayer intensified by a body motion (antithetical to stillness, yet equivalent in purpose) for the added effect of feeding back into the mind, and spirit.

Creeps the shit out of people who insist, persist, in seeing the world as only they demand it should be. So if you like to rock side to side, all those who rock back and forth or dip their head to the floor just have no idea what they're doing. Right? "In the name of God, only I know how to pray."

If we all rocked back and forth, or side to side, or deep-knee bent.... in unison... the world would be at peace? Always that godless heathen who's going to be jumping up and down.

The utmost unreal irony..... a world blown to bits.... because "only my religion knows how to pray to God, and yours don't." Pathetic.

It would be funny, to see the final cage match between all these people.... if they didn't have the buttons for "Armageddon". Have they no mind for those who don't "believe" Armageddon is necessary.... but only the tool of manipulation, fear, and servitude of one simple man under another.

Damn straight God is giving us a chance to prove ourselves.... prove to the Universe that We recognize the dignity in all humanity.... no matter how individuals know God.


"The truth shall make you free." Why not make the truth free? We live on a priceless blue pearl, awash in a universe of fire and ice. Cut the crap.

Within You and Without You

"The more closely we consider the elaborate interplay of brain and body, the more clearly one compelling theme emerges: movement is essential to learning. Movement awakens and activates many of our mental capacities.
Movement integrates and anchors new information and experience into our neural network. Movement is vital to all the actions by which we embody and express our learning our understanding and our selves."

"Singing stimulates the nerves in the vestibular system, the eyes, ears and vocalization areas, thus waking up the brain to new learning and a more optimal processing of sensory information". [The vestibular system is also responsible for the maintenance of physical balance.]

Smart Moves: Why Learning is Not All In Your Head, Carla Hannaford, Ph.D., Great Ocean Publishers, Arlington, VA 1995.

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"When we integrate mental activity with sensory-motor experience (moving, singing, or participating rhythmically in the acquisition of new information), we learn on a more sophisticated and profound level. When we read important material out loud with Vivaldi playing softly in the background, we retain that material more effectively. Petr Janata of Dartmouth College's Center for Cognitive Neuroscience recently used functional magnetic resonance images (fMRI) of the brains of eight musicians to discover the role of the brain's rostromedial prefrontal cortex in remembering music (it's located in the center just behind the forehead). Of note, this area of the brain also plays a
role in learning and in control of emotions."

Boston Globe, December 17th, 2002 (page C24).

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"Musical messages come from two sources: the external environment (aural) and the internal environment (proprioception). The mind can blend and assess these two signals; however, we learn at an early age to attend to the aural signal and to suppress our musculature impulse to move. Eurhythmics balances attention on both sources of stimulation and thus improves the processes of perception, attention, memory and action."

"There is a collective tendency to separate the sensory, mental, kinesthetic, emotional, intellectual and spiritual aspects of experience [but] you have only one nervous system."

The Rhythm Inside: Connecting Body, Mind and Spirit Through Music, Julia Schnebly-Black, Ph.D. and Stephen F. Moore, PhD., Rudro Press, Portland, OR 1997.

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"And so the experience of music is an entirely artificial one, its qualities almost unknown in daily life apart from special moments when things come together just right."

Music, The Brain and Ecstasy: How Music Captures Our Imagination, Robert Jourdain, William Morrow & Co., 1997.

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"A mantra or chant often starts out up in the head, where you're thinking about it. You think about the word -- how to say it and what it means. Then the word begins to go down into the throat, into a physical experience of the sound itself. Next it starts to move down into the heart. And, eventually, it becomes the engine that's running you. You're not singing the sound -- the sound is singing you. It's bringing you closer and closer to another plane of consciousness, offering you a way to live simultaneously on more than one plane of reality. It's allowing you to experience other parts of your identity, to recognize that there's a lot more to you that what you see or what you think."

"Our essential state, as human beings, is unconditional spirit. The spirit is who we really are, and the spirit is the most powerful, creative aspect of our life. It is a force as real as time or gravity. It is equally abstract, equally incomprehensible, equally mysterious. But it is much more powerful. The spirit is the most creative aspect of our life. In simple terms, spirit is awareness. It is the level of the field of creation. It is the choice maker inside you and me. This awareness or spirit is the thought generator, the creative potential, the potentiality for energy and information, our infinite flexibility. It is very powerful because it has the potential to generate infinite combinations of space-time events, combinations which have never occurred or existed before. As this awareness, which is our essential state, interacts with its own self, it creates certain mental patterns. And thus, out of the spirit emerges the mind -- our attitudes, beliefs and behavioral patterns, giving birth to our responses to situations, people, things and circumstances, and leading to all the events which will occur in our lives."

" ... awareness produces bio-chemistry -- the floor of awareness translates into the floor of biological information. And the floor of biological information can be words and sounds. Words and sounds can become the triggers for biological information; sound can create our everyday reality, our life experiences, even our health.

Words and sounds also determine our ability to fulfill our desires, since the ability to fulfill our desires is just a function of our beliefs, assumptions, expectations and self-image. The words we use and hear, the words that silently permeate our consciousness in every moment of our lives, are constantly creating the program, the drama of our existence. Do not, therefore, underestimate the power of sound and words.... Chanting and music can bring about transformations in your awareness, can open you up to the unfolding of your own potential, the flowering fields of your possibility to fulfill any desire you have. Your redefined sense of self will be received by every cell in your body: you will have created a new reality."

"The gateways to the soul and spirit are opened with prayer, voice, repetition and sound. The litanies in the Roman Catholic tradition, the zikrs of Sufism, the rhythmic chants of African invocations, the repetitive phrases of pep rallies and the mystical worlds unifying us to God -- all are part of the transformational power of sound.

The repetition of a vocal sound modifies the breath, the body and the mind. Each tone vibrates the bones of the chanter, the cantor, the singer and the devotee. The
elongation of the vowel sound is remarkably healing to the brain and the body. Brainwaves begin to balance after three or four minutes, and the muscle and skin temperature increases.

One of the greatest secrets of sound and music is that their power is not heard, but is instead felt by the bones, muscles and fluids in the body. Chanting is a simple and essential way to reduce stress and anxiety. The ancients intuitively knew that the balancing of the body, heart and mind through the voice is a direct path to God consciousness. The mystical traditions of overtone chanting such as are found in Mongolian and Tibetan styles produce powerful and distinctive overtones that resonate from the solar plexus, the base of the spine and the crown of the head, as well as the throat. The whole body is a vibrating string or column of air, an embodiment in sound of sacred time and space."

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There is evidence that these meditative states -- which rely on shutting down the senses and repeating words, phrases or movements - are a natural part of the brain, and that humans are inherently spiritual beings.

Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief, Andrew Newberg, M.D., Eugene D'Aquili, M.D., Ph.D., and Vince Rause, Ballantine Books 2001.

Marghanita Laski, in her pioneering study of religious and secular ecstasy, studied the "triggers" or circumstances leading up to the experience of ecstasy. She found that one was movement.

In particular, she wrote, "the kinds of exercise or movement that seemed relevant to ecstasy are two: regular rhythmic movement such as walking, jogging along on a horse, riding in a carriage, etc., and swift movement, such as running, flying, galloping."

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Prayer itself is spectacular in its diversity. Many forms of prayer and meditation involve movement and music. These include the call-and-answer choruses, clapping and rhythmic movement of African-American congregations that
started in the Deep South during the time of slavery that gave birth to the blues, jazz and rock-and-roll. Sufis (sometimes called whirling dervishes) practice a meditative, deliberate, rhythmic, trance-like dance that is full of joy from their hearts and minds. The aesthetic performance, inseparable from its music, mesmerizing to spectators, carries its performers to a state of ecstasy.
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Psychiatrist Thaddeus Kostrabala: "I liken running itself to the major techniques of meditation, and sometimes prayer, employed by virtually all disciplines both East and West: the constant repetition of a particular word or series of words, whether it be ‘Om, na, pad na, on na’ or the Hail Mary. It matters little what value that particular philosophy or religion attaches to the use of the word, phrase or prayer. It is clearly intended to be an opening into another aspect of awareness. In short, by means of repetition, the phenomenon sought -- the touching of another state of consciousness -- is achieved. The same process occurs in the repetitive rhythm of slow long-distance running: sometime after 30 and 40 minutes, the conscious mind gets exhausted and other areas of consciousness are activated."

Aldous Huxley, in his book of the same name, borrows from the philosopher Leibnitz when he refers to an ancient and coherent body of knowledge that has arisen repeatedly in almost every society for the past three thousand years, whether Stone Age cultures, or in the writings of Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism or Christian mystics. It re-appears in every century, surviving every period of skepticism and despair. It exhibits a core of fundamental agreement, though the intellectual forms, language, rituals, practices and qualities of experience have differed among them.

The central perception of the perennial philosophy is that there is a fundamental reality or ground of existence that transcends the ordinary world, yet exists within it. However separate in appearance they may be, the individual, the universe and the transcendent divinity are essentially one. This spiritual reality is the source of all consciousness and can be known directly because we are secretly joined with It already.

In The Zone: Transcendent Experience in Sports, Michael Murphy and Rhea White, Penguin/Arkana, 1995

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Whether on the golf course or in the church, mystical experience is characterized by a dramatic shift in attention to the richness of the present.

On the Sweet Spot: Stalking the Effortless Present, Dr. Richard Keefe, Simon and Schuster, New York 2003.

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".... It's all within yourself.... you're really only very small, and life goes on within you and without you...When you see beyond yourself, then you may find peace of mind is waiting there, and the time will come when you see we're all one, and life goes on within you and without you." -- The Beatles

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A social philosopher attended several rites of Shintoism during a conference on religion in Japan but told a Shinto priest that he didn't understand the ideology or theology that Shinto practice represented. The Shinto priest paused as though in deep thought and then slowly shook his head. "I think we don't have ideology", he said, "we don't have a theology. We dance."

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers, HighBridge Audio, Minneapolis, MN.

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All mind/body healing is accompanied by changes in perceived time and space.

Amusing (to me) aside

The Petr Janata you cite above was my housemate for a year when we were undergraduates.

On Finding Your Personal Mantra

On Finding Your Personal Mantra

I don’t think that one has to search for one’s personal mantra. There are many examples given to us as possibilities. A mantra and other such behavioral tools can be used frequently enough that the handle of the tool, worn with age, eventually fits the grip of our soul. This may suffice for a while. But this may be erroneous practice in the long run. I think that one’s mantra cannot be found as if trying on a pair of new shoes, or test-driving a new car. (My family always bought Fords; how about yours?)

Walking in various types of shoes may indeed teach us something about walking, or shoes. Using a simple mantra borrowed from elsewhere may help our brains and our souls become more adept at recognizing certain kinds of rhythms, internal and external.

But, in the end, one’s mantra arises from within; it is not a language that comes from someone else. It is not even just words, although we can struggle to find the right words for this as we do for anything else. I like musical sounds, but even those become irrelevant. Sometimes we can quiet everything down through meditation or prayer or church-going or sitting still to listen for the background hum of the Big Bang. But such activity can’t be done in pursuit of something. It’s the journey, isn’t it?, and not the destination or even the intent.

But when we sit down and shut up for long enough regularly enough, eventually we start to pick up on that subtle rhythm for which we are only an instrument vibrating in tune with ourselves, reflecting the energy from a more distant source, an energy that gets us up in the morning, keeps us up late, pops into our heads when we’re driving, wakes us up in the middle of the night, and otherwise shows up in our lives in interesting, amusing and challenging ways. If our early focus on mantras leads us to try on another pair of shoes, then we find something that seems to fit, and we wear them for a while. We discover, though, in the end, that we really enjoy going barefoot.

Our mantra is how we sing our self in what we do.