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LATEST CONVERSATIONS: I have learned about nonduality and SAND today.

I have learned about nonduality and SAND today and I can hardly express how I feel. Everything what I read about nonduality resonates with me completely. I have been researching the same ideas for years (and I mean years) without knowing there are people with the same mind set already gathered in community. I have not heard about SAND conference before. Do you plan to publish video/recordings from the conference in the future?

As I said, I have been researching nonduality and connection between science (based on recognizing separated objects) and spirituality (connecting everything in one) for years. On my path I found Dr Lester Fehmi, neuroscientist and psychologist. He runs neurofeedback clinic for attention disorders in Princeton, New Jersey.

Dr Fehmi works on brain waves pattern called – the whole brain synchrony in alpha frequency. He designed his own EEG neurofeedback machine which can detect it. He found that this pattern of brain waves can be generated when attention is directed to space (without ‘the’) which is between and inside objects as a common background of everything. It brings deep relaxation in a very short time.

On the base on a training on his own machine Dr Fehmi has formulated the four attention styles theory which I am very passionate about. The four attention theory says that we can attend the reality using four different attention styles. The two most distinct are the narrow/objective and diffuse/immersed attention styles.

When we are in the narrow/objective style the reality is filled with objects and one of them is self/ego. All objects are separated/distant from one another by space which is completely removed from our awareness as an unimportant and negligible element of the reality. There is a time needed to move objects from one place to another. Time itself is perceived as another object and it is separated to the past, the presence and the future. Objects have a specific location in an empty space and they can move (or can be moved) from one place to another (we can say, reality is based on doing). In this attention style brain waves are out of sync in alpha frequency.

When we attend in the diffuse/immersed style the reality is unified and all objects merge with their background – the objectless reality. We are in this style when we become aware of space which is between objects and permeates.It implies that there is no self/ego. There is no distance and time. Everything is here and now (reality based on being). This style can be detected by Dr Fehmi,s machine.

Sounds familiar now isn’t it?

I should remind you that Dr Fehmi is a scientist not having too much in common with the spirituality word. When I first read his book The Open Focus Brain I realized that Dr Fehmi describes a direct link between the way we perceive reality and the electric processing of the brain. Moreover he designed a neurofeedback machine which objectifies a subjective experience of attending in the diffuse/immersed attention style.

It was a huge discovery for me and I hope you may find it useful too. I am sorry if I overuse your patience by coping/pasting the text below but I think I may give you a better insight of significance of this. It is an introduction to my book about the four attentions theory. A part of the book can be downloaded from here http://openfocustrainingshop.com/product/the-magic-terrace/

Please, do not see it as an advertisement. It is only the very strong and honest need to share. The most important in it is an idea of attention flexibility and its benefits. Somehow, I feel that you guys will realize in seconds what it is about and how important it is 🙂 Please, remember, I have written it without knowledge that nonduality movement exists.

xxx

This book is for those who look for answers – important answers about love, happiness, who we are, where we go after death, and whether life has any meaning. It will guide those who live in pain, who are anxious, depressed, feel stuck, and struggle with making decisions. It will help philosophers, scientists, physiologists, marketers, sales people, meditators and creators to gain a deep insight into reality and improve their skills. Finally, it will help you to shape your life in a healthier and happier way.

I know, it is a huge promise but I am sure you will soon be surprised how simple it is.

First you should realize that all stimuli like sounds, light, touch and smell once registered by receptors, (inside your ears, eyes, skin and nose) become electric currents traveling along nerves towards your brain. In the brain these currents are processed and your reality is shaped. It means that the whole world around you full of colours, shapes, sounds and smells with its beauty and diversity has to be translated to electric signals in order for you to perceive it. I will suggest you even more. All your knowledge, experience, beliefs, passions, and ideas become part of your reality as small electric charges. Imagine that even you, yourself are – in a way – a group of electric signals traveling across your brain.

It would be quite natural to suppose this electric processing in the brain has to fulfil certain rules as you would find in any other system of the body. For example, everyone knows that the heart pumps the blood and the rule is that when it stops we are in a trouble. Similar basic rules have to work in the brain. The only difference is that the brain shapes our reality. It means that all imaginable human activities including thinking, feeling, loving, fighting, craving and achieving, should be based on these rules. There should be a way to use them in science, mathematics, psychology, religion and spirituality. They should be universal for all people regardless of culture, tradition or language. They should also connect many seemingly unrelated aspects of reality because all reality we know is produced in our brains.

I hope it is clear to you now that once we define these rules we can get the key to understanding ourselves and the world around us and this is exactly what the Four Attentions Styles Theory offers. It describes a basic rule of the brain electrical processing and links it to the way we sense the reality.

For example, you are reading these words now. In order to read, you focus on groups of black shapes arranged in lines. Your eyes are perceiving these shapes and translating them into small electric signals. These signals are being sent right now to an area of your brain towards the back of your head that is responsible for vision. They are processed there, and shared with the rest of your brain. Then, on the basis of your knowledge, experience and beliefs, they are being translated into letters, words and sentences – and they become meaningful to you.

This happens when you are focused on words. However, if you defocus slightly and widen your field of vision, you quickly notice that there is something else on the page in front of you. There is a lot of white space between and inside the letters. I would like you to realise, that the black letters and white space on the page are equally important in forming this page of text. Without white space the page would be completely black and without black letters the page would be only white. In either situation it would not be a page of text any more. Letters and white space are inseparable parts of the same thing – or, in other words they are the same thing.

The same applies if you replace a letter with any other object. For example, the book in your hands seems separated from you by empty space. Yet, if you defocus again (in three dimensions this time) you soon realise that empty space between you and the book and any other solid object around you is an integral part of the reality. As with the page of text, without space there would be only one solid object. Without objects there would be only empty space. Solids objects including you and space are inseparable parts of the same thing. In other words – they are the same thing.

You can see now that one of the basic features of the brain’s electric code is to mark a distinction between objects and space around them. It enables you to read, to walk without bumping into other people, and to sense a difference between you and the rest of the world. According to Dr Lester Fehmi, the neuroscientist and psychologist behind The Four Attention Styles Theory, your brain does it naturally all the time by generating electric signals that are out of sync (in alpha frequency).

It should be mentioned now that electric signals in the brain oscillate all the time traveling up and down along brain cells. You can compare them to rubber balls bouncing one next to another. They can be in sync (when they bounce together) or out of sync (when they have different speeds or directions).

When electric signals in the brain are out of sync, you are noticing objects (like letters on the page) excluding a ‘silent’ background from your awareness. This way of perception make all objects seemingly separated from one another, and one of these objects is you. It is commonly associated with focusing (narrowing an attention) on things. We can say, that you attend the reality in the narrow and objective way (or style).

On the other hand when signals are in sync you are equally aware of objects and space between them. Everything seems connected and unified. This style of attention is called immersed. It tends to happen when we defocus (diffuse an attention) hence this style is described as diffused and immersed.

The Four Attentions Styles Theory says that when you are focused on objects, ignoring space between them, you are in the narrow/objective attention style and your brain waves are out of sync.

When you are simultaneously aware of objects and space, you are in the diffused/immersed attention style and your brainwaves are in sync.

However unimportant it seems for you now, this small difference brings a profound change in the way your brain works and the way you think, feel and live your life.

Most of us rely on the narrow/objective attention style. Remember, I had to make you realise that there was white space on the page and that there is a lot of space around you. You naturally focus on objects and the ability to focus for a long time is seen as a very desirable skill. Dr Fehmi says that overusing the narrow/objective attention style makes the brain electrically unstable. It fuels the sympathetic part of our autonomic nervous system responsible for the fight or flight response. It makes us tired, chronically stressed and brings hidden tension to our lives. It also gives us a distorted view of the world in which everything is separated and distant and it sometimes makes us feel lonely, helpless, anxious and depressed.

On the other hand, the diffused/immersed attention style makes the brain more synchronous and stable. It makes us more relaxed and switches our system to the rest and digest mode. Dr Fehmi argues that practising this style of attention helps to balance our physiology and to develop a new insight into reality. With this practice, health significantly improves, and it becomes more and more evident that everything is already connected, unified and working in harmony. Dr Fehmi designed a series of exercises that reinforce this style. He based them on his own experience from the attention training he has been carrying out for most of his life. He uses a neurofeedback machine of his own design that is calibrated on a specific brainwave pattern called ‘the whole brain synchrony in alpha frequency’. According to Dr Fehmi, this brainwave pattern is directly linked to the diffused/immersed style.

Dr Fehmi’s ultimate goal is to teach people how to develop attention flexibility, which means that you can balance all attention styles at the same time. Attention flexibility is a very real experience that everyone can develop and enjoy. It brings a profound change in the way you behave and feel about the world. You can focus (narrow your attention) on objects staying diffused and feeling that everything is one at the same time. You see the materialistic side of the world (full of objects you can get) and you feel deeply the essence of spirituality (where everything is one, unified). You are truly balanced, fulfilled and happy. It also gives you a range of new skills such as relieving physical pain, reducing anxiety, solving problems, improving creativity, mastering your performance in whatever you do and many, many more.

To understand how attention flexibility works, it is important to realise that an object could be anything you can focus on – a letter on this page, a sound, a smell, a problem, a thought in your head, a challenge, a future goal or a feeling coming from your body such as pain, anxiety or hunger. Non of these things can exist without space around them. They need a ‘silent’ background to become noticeable for you. In the brain, they all are represented by electric signals being out of sync.

When you are attention flexible you have the ability to restore synchrony in your brain. You do it by becoming simultaneously and equally aware of an object and space around it. It makes an object merge with its background and dissolve. You can dissolve your physical pain, anxiety and fear. You can solve – or dissolve – problems or make your future challenges achievable with ease and joy. You see your opponent as a target which is distant from you (out of sync) and an integral part of you (in sync) at the same time. You can fight against him and love him at the same time. It stops you from freezing with fear or being overwhelmed with rage. You can remain balanced, having access to all of your resources and win a fight while staying in harmony with the world and your beliefs.

I have learned about nonduality and SAND today.

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I enjoy helping people and making the Universe a happier place. Fortunately, I work as a family doctor and this is a part of my job description 🙂 For many years I had some questions at the back of my mind like what is happiness, what is love, who we are, where we go after death, where this all suffering is coming from… I know many people would not be bothered with it but somehow I was. I have been a regular meditator since I was a teenager (mostly ZEN tradition) and I was searching for answers in my head and in my heart. My turning point was reading a book The Open Focus Brain by Dr Lester Fehmi. He runs a neurofeedback clinic for attention disorders at Princeton, New Jersey, US. I enrolled an Open Focus workshop and I became a true enthusiast of Dr Fehmi's approach. I love it because it beautifully connects a western scientific way of thinking with far east approach to reality. It also gives a very simple, practical solutions to a physical pan, anxiety, insomnia, creativity etc. I would like to make Open Focus a lot more recognizable because it is worth it!

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12 Responses to “I have learned about nonduality and SAND today.”

  1. October 28, 2014 at 2:14 pm, Mit Jones said:

    Thinking is to awareness, what looking is to seeing, they are both contracted forms of
    consciousness reinforcing the sense of separateness.

    In describing the process by which we experience our reality there is a important part often left out. The information that makes up the experience must be processed before the experience can be recognized.

    Example; the experience of seeing a tree. In the process you describe electrical impulses emanating from the tree, to the eye then travel to the back of the brain where it is recognized as a tree. There is at least one very important step. After the eyes and before the recognition, memory must be engaged, labels must be placed on each item, information must be processed. Without it there is no experience.

    Understanding this should lead us to realize all our experiences come from memory, that is why we can not experience “NOW” the information that makes up the experience must be processed. It’s a consequence of time.

    • October 31, 2014 at 8:19 pm, tomasz kopec said:

      Hi Mit Jones,

      Thank you for reading it. I am aware it was a long exercise 🙂

      You said – Thinking is to awareness, what looking is to seeing, they are both contracted forms of consciousness reinforcing the sense of separateness.

      What would you say about watching a good movie or reading a good book? You enjoy the film and there is no clear division between you and the main character. Millions people all over the world were living Harry Potter life (and it felt great to them). They fought with bad characters as him, they were happy/said with him etc. They felt as one with Harry, almost literally. In other words they lost the sense of separateness. They immersed with something which was out of them. By the way this is why we say a book is good because we can easily immerse in it. We like to be in this style of attending and spending time on activities which we are passionate about like hobbies, sport or listening to the favourite music, chanting on the football stadium feeling as one with thousands, dancing to the rhythm in a club, etc The whole entertainment industry is based on immersing, loosing a feeling of separateness. Being in this style of attention we connect to others, we click with someone, we are jumping on the same wave. In this style the sense of time is distorted. You could effortlessly watch a three hour film feeling as if it was only five minutes long. We loose sense of time and allow ourselves to flow, letting go, and forgetting an urge to control. This style of attending is called narrow/immersing (in Open Focus language)

      You said – The information that makes up the experience must be processed before the experience can be recognized.

      It is very true in a dual word. There is you and something you look at. On the base of you memory you can name it, like or not like it or you can have an opinion about it. I understand that in nondual reality (objectless attending) you are an experience. There is no recognition of the distance. You are one. And it can happen in narrow style (mother and a child, true lovers, best friends) or diffuse style (total unity, immersion, harmony, oneness, everything becomes one thing and then the reality of things/objects merges and becomes borderless)

      I have tried to summarise the relations between non duality and the four attention styles theory. See below,

      1. Both objective (dual) and objectless (nondual) realities are equally real. It depends on our attention style which of them we perceive.
      2. The diffuse/immersed attention style (objectless/nondual reality) can be practiced using Open Focus exercises. They are very helpful because they make an attention diffused and immersed generating the state in a very short time. They can help to access pure awareness and let things happen, observe without naming, admire without looking for purpose and rules.
      3. Everyone can become attention flexible and has ability to switch an attention styles. Ability to switch attention styles (from objective to objectless) is very practical in everyday life and enables to dissolve pain, anxiety, become more creative, fall asleep etc
      4. Everyone can live in Open Focus and practice attending in all styles at the same time.
      5. The diffuse/immersed attention style has been linked to a specific brain waves pattern called the whole brain synchrony in alpha frequency. It has been done by Dr Lester Fehmi, neuroscientist and psychologist form Princeton, US. Dr Fehmi designed an EEG neurofeedback machine which can detect this brain waves pattern. We can say that his machine objectifies a subjective experience of attending in the diffuse/immersed attention style. It also means that Dr Fehmi defined a direct link between electric processing in the brain and the way we perceive reality.
      6. The four styles attention theory describes two ‘mid’ attention styles between the narrow/objective and the diffuse/immersed. They are narrow/immersed and diffuse/objective. It gives a very good tool to understand, explain and practice sensing objectless reality.

      Thank you for discussing it,

    • November 25, 2014 at 3:30 pm, runstill said:

      seer, seeing and seen are not separate from the other, no thought is in
      play when truth is not filtered by the thinker…

      • November 25, 2014 at 6:34 pm, Mit Jones said:

        The TRUTH is there is no thinker, there is only thought constructs. The filter you refer to is called conditioning and it is a long ways from TRUTH.

        There is no TRUTH in an illusion, for the foundation of illusion is deception.

        • November 26, 2014 at 1:12 am, runstill said:

          Agree with this. The thinker can never know truth , it doesn’t exist from the perspective of truth, it is nothing more than a conditioned
          thought.
          What looks out of my eyes is what is looking from yours…

  2. November 01, 2014 at 5:51 am, William Croft said:

    Tomasz, great to see your post here. Just sent you a couple emails. Like Tomasz, I’ve been involved with Les Fehmi’s Open Focus for some years (the early 1980’s). And have recently been refining the 5 channel synchrony protocols, using OpenBCI (open source brain computer interface) technology.

    Tomasz has some wonderful guided meditations that work to deepen and expand the Open Focus principles to related areas.

    William

  3. November 10, 2014 at 4:34 pm, Mit Jones said:

    It is difficult to have a discussion related to subjective experience, first we are never certain we are talking about the same thing. You seem to believe if someone see the world in a certain way they will be better for it. Your perspective is objective and each personal experience will be similar but what is it you wish to accomplish. You are simply substituting one illusion for another. There maybe more to gain by examining what has brought you to believe the world needs to be seen in a different way. For that you will have to look inside self reflection is the starting point or non-duality.

    I believe each persons world appears moment by moment, the story of you and the story of me were written long ago. We are actors upon a stage. I do not believe we have free will or the ability to choose anymore then a drop of water in the ocean.

    I posted this comment before but I think it may add something to this discussion.

    As it appears the universe is continuously in motion on every scale Each and every
    particle is effected by the previous moment and the movement and position of the adjacent particles. This would indicate the individual particle does not have free will. It is simply moving with the vibration of the whole. If it is oneness that we are in search of, free will can not exist, for free would be a rebellion against the whole.

    Are your experiences the core of your belief ?

    Is your reality made up of what you believe ?

    If you believe you have free will, does it matter, that you don’t ?

    The sensory being doesn’t command itself to; see, feel, smell, hear, or taste, these sensors are doing their jobs automatically. He doesn’t tell his heart to beat or his lungs
    to inflate they are just taking place. Thoughts arise with no effort being made. So where is the free will ?

    Seeing happens by itself, looking requires attention.

    Hearing happens by itself, listening reqires attention.

    Thought happens by itself, thinking requires attention

    Is our free will in the ability to direct our attention towards and object or to contemplate a subject ? Both of these realization occur after the experience. experiences

    Do we actually have the ability to direct either ?

    • November 18, 2014 at 4:08 pm, tomasz kopec said:

      Hi MIt,

      I have given you many examples when you can connect by looking/watching (a good move, football game, reading a good book). You can attend and l feel fully connected (immersed). It was just to show you that looking does not necessary reinforce separateness. It depends on you how you look (how you attend). You can look and connect and you can look and stay separated (when you watch a boring or controversial discussion).

      It means that you are creating your world by attending in different ways. You can look/listen/think and stay connected or separated. It is up to you. I can imagine it may be not so far but it certainly may became you conscious competence.

      We have (as separate objects) full ability to direct our attention on free will. The whole (consciousness, awareness, etc) directs us but it is sensitive to our will. We are separated and connected at the same time. We are the whole from which we as objects emerge and we remain the whole at the same time. Why we as the separated objects should be less decisive as we as the whole?

      In other words the dual and non dual realities are equally real. Electron as particle is as real as electron as wave.

      Can you explain the reason why you believe the individual particle does not have free will or its will does not matter?

      Regards,
      Tomasz

      • November 19, 2014 at 2:35 pm, Mit Jones said:

        Understanding your concept is not the problem. But what you are talking about has nothing to do with nonduality

        The experience of nonduality is without identity.

        When you get immerse in a movie or a good book, you are
        drawn into the story, you are identifying with it. You may pick up the book or go to the movie, but you do not choose to be immersed in it, any more then you choose to be immersed in life’s story.

        You state;
        “It depends on how you look (how you attend). You can look and connect and you can look and stay separated.” My Question is are you a separate object ? I am trying to establish your point of view.

        You believe you choose. When does this choice take place?

        If you examine yourself through the spectrum of time you will recognize the contradiction of your own existence. Only in memory do you exist in the past and only in imagination do you exist in the future, these are simply thoughts and ideas. You do not experience your existence in each moment, all things come from memory. Each experience must be processed and filtered before your realization of it can occur.

        You asked;
        Can you explain the reason why you believe the individual particle does not have free will or does not matter?

        The particle is the creation of form, it is not the creator. Each life, each particle has a story to be told. It is a grand play, but we did not write the
        story.

        love always
        mit

      • November 26, 2014 at 4:52 am, runstill said:

        When your walking down the street you are walking in/through your conscious. When this is seen without the thinker in play non-separation is reality, there never is not two…

    • November 25, 2014 at 7:07 am, runstill said:

      thought is from the thinker, the thinker is the illusion..

  4. July 23, 2018 at 5:34 pm, derrida unknown said:

    When/now I feel “as one”. Choice/distance/difference is irrelevant. Free of concepts. Choice/distance/difference are concepts. “To now” “from now”, what’s the difference? When I look into the Hubble telescope am I looking from myself or at myself? “Both” or “neither” are concepts. I just read an article that explains it nicely. “Presence does not love. It is love-Rupert Spira”. I’ve been at this for years and it seems I am finally starting to disappear as sense of separation. The trick is to get/help “each other” to see/feel/be aware/love, now

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