The Non-Dimensional Reality - cont.
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Crystals and clays propagate, unquestionably, but life they are not. There is no locus of genetic continuity, no organism. Such systems do not evolve; do not change in genetic ways to meet new challenges. Consequently, the definition of life should include the capacity for evolution as well as self-replication.
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Origins of Life
 For life to exist and be sustained it needs an energy source which the Universe provides in the form of photons of light ; then it needs water which seems to have arrived in water-rich meteoroids that bombarded the molten Earth around 4.1 to 3.8 billion years ago (and were the cause of the craters we see on the Moon). Water then interacts with elements leached from rocks to create chemical imbalances enabling oxidation/reduction reactions and the formation of simple organic compounds which are organised by nucleic acids (RNA & DNA) into amino acids that are sequenced into proteins.

Proteins on their own could be regarded as life forms but are too unstable to develop into anything substantial. It’s only when a protecting cover (cell membrane) encloses nucleic and amino acids that life starts to make headway some 3.8 billion years ago in the form of bacteria and archaea . (Note that viruses used to be thought of as non-living since they do not have cell membranes and do not evolve but the recent discovery of pandoraviruses may prove this assumption wrong. )

By definition things that do not evolve do not contain life.
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 The exchange of genetic material in the evolution of cells occurs ‘horizontally’ in a number of different ways: a virus can transfer genetic information (transduction ), or the cell can just pick up stuff lying around (transformation ), or a bridge can be built between two cells, called conjugation’. Sexual conjugation or Isogomy is thought to be the precursor to sexual reproduction and first appears in cells with a nucleus (eukaryotes) about a billion years ago.

It appears that the primary reason for exchanging genetic material was originally to repair damaged DNA rather than for the spin-off in genetic diversity ; but there is much about the origins of life and the comparatively rapid differentiation into all life forms, including Homo sapiens, that are still the subject of scientific and religious debate.
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Evolution and the Self
 Scientific research has gradually unveiled ‘Mother Earth’ as being saturated with interconnecting life forms of which the basic building block is the DNA molecule. Even the human gastrointestinal tract is a habitat containing around 400 different species of bacteria all vying for a dominance which is dependent on the constantly changing gut microenvironment. But regardless of complexity, all forms of life share a common instinct - they seek their own evolutionary niche, a place to flourish, replicate and innately improve their own survival capacity.

The enormous complexity of life on Earth derives from 3.8 billion years of evolution. Consider the mating rituals of the Birds of Paradise, dung beetles that navigate by the stars, the eyes of the Mantis Shrimp, the plants and animals surrounding underwater hydrothermal vents, or the life cycle of Australian eels born in the ocean depths off Vanuatu and journeying for three years to get to their parents fresh water homes 4,000 km away – often beyond dam walls and requiring the crossing of roads and other barriers. The Monarch butterfly also travels 4,000 km in an annual migration that takes them back to the same trees - even though the arrivals may be the 4th generation offspring.

Humans have assumed the mantle of being the most intelligent of Earth’s life forms, with the human brain tripling in size over the last few million years while the prefrontal cortex has increasing six fold - an evolutionary jump which is hard to explain using Darwinian Theory. If the growth of the prefrontal cortex has accelerated beyond the rest of the brain then perhaps our rapid evolution relates to its functions which are planning, decision making, personality expression and social behaviour – all tasks that define the individual’s sense of ‘self’.

Human DNA is 99% the same as chimpanzees and although gene regulation is considered one of the driving forces of evolution our evolutionary advantage has somehow been brought about by fast-evolving ‘switches’ which turn genes on and off and may be related to our decision making. The study of this affect is termed epigenetics and in recent years epigenetic studies have added a Lamarckian nuance to Darwin’s theory of evolution.

‘The Swedish chicken study was one of several recent breakthroughs in the youthful field of epigenetics, which primarily studies the epigenome, the protective package of proteins around which genetic material – strands of DNA – is wrapped. The epigenome plays a crucial role in determining which genes actually express themselves in a creature's traits: in effect, it switches certain genes on or off, or turns them up or down in intensity. It isn't news that the environment can alter the epigenome; what's news is that those changes can be inherited.’
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 A child is born without knowledge of physical form, emotional signals, and cognitive processes – blank within a physical world. From that point onwards and within the framework of astrological markers, the child draws on the surrounding environment to derive a sense of meaning and self understanding.

The successful integration of self is affected by the growth environment and is somehow guided by a sense of right action. Every chart has its flavour and a person will act in line with that inclination although its expression can be in multiple ways with multiple and cascading effects. Wrong actions produce negative results – an illness, an accident, misfortune, while right actions lead to understanding, community respect and good fortune.

The solar influence in a birth chart has a self integrating function which attempts to assimilate and incorporate all the attributes of the native, regardless of any incongruous tendencies within the self. Jeff Mayo in his book - The Planets and Human Behaviour, provides many meanings for the symbolism of the Sun with its dot encompassed by a circle. In essence these explanations - from Jung and Blavatsky to Jones, Hone, Leo, Norris, et al, can be summarized as the circle being ‘everything’ and the dot representing the self within everything.

But maybe the newborn has more than a ‘blank sheet’ when born! Perhaps the knowledge of material forms attached to values and emotional responses is already imprinted on inherited DNA – a DNA that dates back to the start of creation. Perhaps the eel and the Monarch butterfly habits are enabled by a ‘genetic memory’ as suggested in humans with Savant Syndrome where the mentally handicapped exhibit genius capacity.

Genetic memory would provide an advanced starting point for the new born even without their being aware of such a thing until stimulated by association later in life. Genetic memory would act as an accelerating factor contributing to the phenomenal rate of human evolvement much as in the mechanics of the epigenome.
‘Epigenomic modifications remain as cells divide and in some cases can be inherited through the generations. Environmental influences, such as a person’s diet and exposure to pollutants, can also impact the epigenome.’
 Three factors determine an individual’s reality: the positioning of the birth moment in space; the growth environment providing the grist for development; and the genetic background of the person’s linage. The favourable mixing of these three factors would lead to a greater rate of evolution than predicted by Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Astrologers understand the first and the second of these factors, and have an inkling of the third if they take the time to enquire into their client’s ancestry. Psychologists understand the second and scientists are still debating the third.
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Self an Illusion
 Buddhist thought sees self, I and mine as being illusions:
‘...there is no "self" in the sense of a permanent, integral, autonomous being within an individual existence. What we think of as our self, our personality and ego, are temporary creations...’
 This line of thinking then proceeds to attribute the perceived sense of self as being an ephemeral aggregate of physical form, feelings, thinking, values, and ‘truths’.

Buddhist philosophy derived from Siddhartha Gautama’s enlightenment, and involved an understanding of the true nature of ‘being’. Since Siddhartha’s being is a summation of his own particular physical, mental and psychic disposition, an astrological look at his natal tendencies should shed light on his philosophies.
 
Buddha’s birth date is uncertain but it is generally agreed that he was born around midday on a Full Moon in April/May which would correspond with a Taurean Sun conjunct his MC, a Scorpion Moon conjunct the IC and a Leo Ascendant. This would give him a noble bearing (Leo Ascendant), a strong sense of purpose (Sun conjunct MC) and a conflict between ego and emotions (Sun opposite Moon). To understand the conflict between ego and emotions Siddhartha would have to answer the questions that this arrangement poses:
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‘ You will probably find yourself torn between an environment that is very comfortable and supportive versus a real need to grow, progress, and push out on your own. You are always feeling caught in the middle, forced to choose between surroundings that are supportive (but not progressive) and new directions that bring advancement that may be at the expense of your comfort. Getting these two opposing directions to work together may require some real compromising skills on your part.’
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 In real life the parallel is that Siddhartha Gautama was born into nobility and his father did not want him to venture outside the castle walls where he might witness the old and the sick and become aware of the mortality of man. After a few secret trips outside the palace Siddhartha finally decides to leave for good, he discards his adornments puts on the robes of a monk takes up a begging bowl and proceeds in his quest for universal peace and happiness.

Eventually Buddha’s enlightenment is the understanding of his own being. He detaches from his sense of self (Sun) so that the stressful influences of his emotions (Sun opposite Moon) can be understood from an impersonal point of view.

But whether the self is real or not would seem to be less relevant than the fact that the human body serves as a platform from which to view the interacting world around us. If the self is confused by a matrix of contradicting influences then detaching from the self would seem to give a better view, but at other times self understanding may be more efficiently achieved by the assertion of personal ego – as much as from negative outcomes as from positive.
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Science versus Religion
 Particle physicist Brian Cox’s television series ‘Wonders of Life’ gives a good scientific explanation for the evolution of life on Earth but there remains the big question of a starting point for the infinite Universe.
‘Extrapolation of the expansion of the Universe backwards in time using general relativity yields an infinite density and temperature at a finite time in the past.’
 The Big Bang (13.8 billion years ago ) explanation does not do it for me since infinity was a contemplation that often kept me from adolescent sleep and is still a concept that I’m not comfortable with.

If the concept of infinity cannot be understood then perhaps the external world is an outward manifestation of an internal reality that is non-dimensional, with the internal reality being the truer since the external world with its sensory and emotional colouring changes an individual’s perspective to the point that one may see black while another sees white.

In the same way that Astrology provides a ‘Language of God’, conceivably the physical correspondence and vitality of a non-dimensional internal reality could be ascertained by therapeutic techniques such as Chakra Healing , Kinesiology or Reiki.

Chakra Healing is based on one of the oldest philosophical systems in India (circa 900-600BC), Samkhya which puts forward the premise that the universe consists of two realities - consciousness and matter - with intellect providing the connection between the two realms. Intellect derives from consciousness and evolves into the ego-sense of self-consciousness which defines itself by using the sensory organs of physical perception.

Coincidently Vedic sage Kapila is credited as being the founder of Samkhya and it is said that his students built the city of Kapilavastu - the place of the Buddha’s upbringing within the walls of his father’s palace .
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Meditation or Hypnotic Trance
 Meditation is an important technique used by Buddhist practitioners and usually involves a trance state such as exists in hypnosis with the difference being that meditation usually uses focus without thought, while hypnosis is usually end oriented.

Stephen Brookes, one of the gurus of hypnosis uses:
‘…indirect suggestion, naturalistic trance techniques, hypnotic metaphor, pattern intervention, conversational hypnosis techniques and unconscious communication...’ with Brookes particular slant being ‘…a more humanistic, spiritual and non-prescriptive approach’.
 In the You Tube clip attached , Brookes recounts how in his first attempt at hypnotism (in front of a public audience), he was able to make his subject’s friend ‘disappear’ through hypnotic suggestion.

The hypnotic affect is similar in process to the mechanisms of memory construction with highly charged moments being the best remembered and at the same time being the most susceptible to manipulation by suggestion. The implication for us all is that we may not know what is real and what is not and perhaps meditating on nothingness gives us a contrast from which we may separate the subjective from the objective. (Igor Ledochowski is another hypnotic guru who works in a similar fashion to Brookes.)

When moving ‘forward’ we focus to achieve outcomes and then reflect (meditate) to see if the outcomes were in a positive direction. It may well be that the suggestive powers of the advertising industry has human kind in a forward moving trance such that a period of standing still will create a new paradigm in human evolution.
Biophotons – The Science of Interrelatedness
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A photon is an elementary particle of light emitted from stars all across the Universe, while biophotons are photon emissions of biological systems. Biophotons were first observed by Alexander Gurwitsch in 1923 and led to the theory of morphogenetic fields later pursued by plant physiologist Dr Rupert Sheldrake .

Marco Bischof’s widely acclaimed book ‘Biophotons - The Light in Our Cells’ states that:
‘…light emission is an expression of the functional state of the living organism and its measurement therefore can be used to assess this state.’ ‘…the biophoton light is stored in the cells of the organism - more precisely, in the DNA molecules of their nuclei - and a dynamic web of light constantly released and absorbed by the DNA may connect cell organelles, cells, tissues, and organs within the body and serve as the organism's main communication network and as the principal regulating instance for all life processes… and indicate its possible role as an interface to the non-physical realms of mind, psyche and consciousness.’
Increased biophoton emissions have been observed from senescing plant life and from tumour growths which indicates it to be a measure of oxidative stress. Space Physiologist and Theoretical Neurophysiologist, Karl Simanonok, suggests that biophotons may be the mechanism that connects all life forms:
‘Evidence is presented for existing and hypothetical structures and functions which 'bridge the explanatory gap' to mechanistically explain how individual consciousnesses could be derived from a higher (God) consciousness through an interface created in the brain by endogenous (emitted from within) light. It is hypothesized that photons emitted from cells in the brain are guided to the surfaces of the brain's fluid-filled ventricular spaces, where the photons interact with beating cilia lining those ventricles and are guided by the beat timing to form interference patterns in the ventricular spaces, creating an interface (a nexus) through which a tiny portion of the "light of God" is able to animate the corpus.’
There has been an increased interest in the study of biophotons in recent times and perhaps, via scientific discovery, we may yet come to the same conclusion as Indian guru Paramahansa Yogananda.
‘We are all part of the One Spirit. When you experience the true meaning of religion, which is to know God, you will realize that He is your Self, and that He exists equally and impartially in all beings.’
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Origins of Life
Evolution and the Self
Science versus Religion
Meditation or Hypnotic Trance
Self an Illusion
Biophotons – The Science of Interrelatedness