Saturday, 11 May 2013

Dialogue in Consciousness || Understanding Reality ( Well, trying to, at any rate)

What  is reality? Is it an illusion, a creation of sensory perception, a projection of our minds which has no existence of its own. Or is it independent of human experience. This has been one of the foremost questions I have had for a while now and have sought to theorize and frame answers now and again. Not that any possible explanations can be verified due to the nature of the subject.
The following is an article I found while aimlessly searching the net and was astounded by its relevance and insight. I don't agree a hundred percent with this but still, some of the explanations within this piece match closely with my own personal theories so here goes enjoy:

Dialogue in Consciousness

1.  What is the difference between a concept and Reality? 

a. A concept is a thought of a separate object together with a name or identifier of the object.
b. Thoughts begin to arise in early childhood. The infant's mind contains few concepts whereas the sage's mind sometimes may contain many thoughts but the sage always sees directly that separation is an illusion.
c. Without thoughts, there are no objects (e.g., in dreamless sleep, under anesthesia, or in samadhi) because, by definition, an object is the thought of it.
d. Reality is not a thought. Rather, It is absence of separation.

2.  What is meant by true and untrue concepts?

a. A belief is a concept which contains the concept of attachment.
b. A belief that cannot be verified by direct seeing is always subject to attack by a counter-belief. Therefore, it must be constantly reinforced by repetition of the belief. 
c. Since Reality is absence of separation, It cannot be perceived. Therefore, concepts cannot describe Reality (but they can be true, see g and h below).
d. Example: A material object by definition is separate from other material objects. Therefore, material objects are not real. The belief that material objects are real is constantly reinforced by materialistic culture, and is sustained only by a failure to see the distinction between objects and Reality.
e. Although concepts cannot describe Reality, they can point to Reality. 
f.  A pointer is an invitation to see directly the distinction between an object and Reality. 
g. If a concept asserts or implies the reality of any object, it is untrue. If it negates the reality of an object, it is true (but not a description of Reality). A true concept can be a useful pointer to Reality.
h. Example: The concept that material objects are not real is true, and is a pointer to Reality.

3.  What is the world (the universe)? 

a. The world (the universe) is the collection of objects consisting of the body-mind and all other objects. The world appears to exist in time and space.
b. However, time and space are nothing but concepts. They are not real.
c. Time is the concept of change. Since all objects change, all objects are temporal concepts.
d. Space is the concept of extension (size and shape). Since all objects are extended in space, all objects are spatial concepts.   

4.  What are polar, or dual, pairs of concepts?

a. Thought always results in inseparable pairs of concepts (dual pairs) because every thought has an opposite.
b. Reality is apparently split into dual pairs by thought. However, no thought is real since Reality cannot be split.  
c. The result of apparently splitting Reality into dual pairs of concepts is called duality. 
d. The two concepts of a pair are always inseparable because the merger of the opposites will cancel the pair.
e. Example: "I"/not-"I" is a dual pair of concepts. If the "I" and not-"I" merge, neither concept remains. 

5.  What is Awareness/Presence?

a. Awareness/Presence is not a concept or object. It is what is aware of all concepts and objects. 
b. It does not change and It has no extension so It is time-less and space-less.
c. However, It is said to be space-like because all concepts and objects are said to appear in It.
d. The terms “Awareness/Presence” and “Reality” are equivalent conceptual pointers.

6.  What are We? 

a. We are not a concept or object because We are what is aware of all concepts and objects.
b. Therefore, We are Awareness/Presence.
c. Because the body-mind and the world are objects, they appear in Us--We do not appear in them.
d. We do not appear in the body so We are not contained or restricted by it.

7.  What is existence? 

a. An object is said to exist if it is believed to be separate from Awareness/Presence. It then also appears to be separate from other objects.
b. Existence is only apparent because Awareness/Presence always remains unsplit.
c. The apparently real existence of objects is called illusion (Maya).
d. The sage, being only Awareness/Presence and knowing only Awareness/Presence, knows that he/she is not separate from anything.

8.  What is the "I"-object?

a. When an "I"-concept is believed to be separate from Awareness/Presence, it is said to exist as an "I"-object.
b. However, clear seeing shows that there is no "I"-object.
c. We are not objects and We do not exist as objects. We are Reality (Awareness/Presence). 

9.  What is it that makes other objects seem to exist?

a. Whenever the "I"-object appears to arise, the not-"I" object also appears to arise.
b. Then, desire for completion also arises, including the desire for the not-"I" object.
c. But, because fear/desire form a dual pair, whenever desire arises, fear also arises, including the fear of the not-"I" object.
d. Thus, the not-"I" object seems real.
e. Thought also splits the apparent not-"I" object into a multitude of apparent objects, and fear/desire makes them all seem real.  

10.  What is the true nature of all objects?

  a. All apparent objects arise in Awareness/Presence.
  b. Because physical space and time are apparent objects, they also arise in Awareness/Presence.
  c. No apparent object is separate from Awareness/Presence. Thus, all apparent objects consist of Awareness/Presence.
  d. Objects are not real as objects but they are real as Awareness/Presence.
  e. Awareness/Presence welcomes/loves all apparent objects that appear in It.

11.  What is the personal sense of doership

a. Along with illusory "I"-object, arises also the sense of personal doership.
b. However, since there is no "I"-object, there is no doer, no thinker, no chooser, and no observer.
c. Therefore, "we" have no control. Thus, whatever happens, happens. Whatever doesn't happen, doesn't happen.

12.  If there is no doer, how do things happen? 

a. Everything that happens is only an arising in Awareness/Presence.
b. Only one arising is present at any moment. No other arisings are ever present to affect the arising that is present.
c. Since no arising is present to affect the arising that is present, there can be no law of cause-and-effect.
d. The concept of causality, i.e., that one event causes another event, is only an arising in Awareness/Presence.
e. Since causality is only a concept, "I" can never do anything.
f. Because "I" can do nothing, neither can "I" choose. Thus, free will is nothing but an empty concept.

13.  What is suffering? 

a. The feeling of being separate is an arising that carries with it a sense of shame for feeling isolated, alienated, lonely, and disconnected.
b. The sense of free will is an arising that carries with it the feeling of personal responsibility for "my" past and "my" future.
c. The sense of personal responsibility is an arising that carries with it guilt and regret for "my" past and worry and anxiety for "my" future.

14.  What is awakening (enlightenment)? 

a. Awakening is the realization that I am not separate and I have never been separate. Therefore there is no shame.
b. Awakening carries with it the realization that I do nothing and I have never done anything. Therefore, there is no regret, guilt, worry, or anxiety.
c. Awakening is the awareness that Reality, which is what I am, has never been affected by any concepts.
d. Awakening is the awareness that my true nature includes a sense of Welcoming/Love.

15.  What can we do to awaken?           

 a. Since direct seeing shows that there is no doer, there is nothing that the "individual" can do to awaken.
 b. Since awakening transcends time, no practice that occurs in time can bring about awakening. Thus most practices do not bring about awakening.
 c. However, direct seeing can bring about awakening because direct seeing is timeless seeing.

16.  Does this mean that there is no hope for the sufferer? 

a. Definitely not. There are many practices that will lead to less suffering. However, like all other actions, they are never done by a doer since there is no doer. Therefore, "we" cannot do them. If they happen, they happen. If not, they don’t.
b. Example: To see that there is no “I”, look inward for it and see that there is none. See also that everything that happens, including all thoughts and feelings, happens spontaneously so there can be no doer.
c. Example: To see that no object exists, look and see that all objects are nothing but arisings in Awareness/Presence. Then, look and see that no object could ever bring "you" peace. Finally, see that nothing can affect You who are Awareness/Presence/Presence Itself.

17.  What else can we do?

a. We can go inward and downward and feel the breath. This takes us out of the head and the thinking mind and puts us in the body and the senses.
b. We can practice mindfulness and see that our attachments and aversions are nothing but arisings in Awareness/Presence.
c. We can become aware that all objects are nothing but arisings in Awareness/Presence and therefore cannot affect Us.
d. We can see that there can be no suffering in pure Awareness/Presence.
e. We can trust Awareness/Presence, which is our true nature.
f. We can rest in Awareness/Presence, which is our home.

This piece is taken from the following link:

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The Holographic Universe: Reality or Fantasy? You decide

Does Objective Reality exist or not? Maybe the following discussion by Michael Talbot will shed some light on this quandary.

In 1982 a remarkable event took place. At the University of Paris a research team led by physicist Alain Aspect performed what may turn out to be one of the most important experiments of the 20th century. You did not hear about it on the evening news. In fact, unless you are in the habit of reading scientific journals you probably have never even heard Aspect's name, though there are some who believe his discovery may change the face of science.

Aspect and his team discovered that under certain circumstances subatomic particles such as electrons are able to instantaneously communicate with each other regardless of the distance separating them. It doesn't matter whether they are 10 feet or 10 billion miles apart.

Somehow each particle always seems to know what the other is doing. The problem with this feat is that it violates Einstein's long-held tenet that no communication can travel faster than the speed of light. Since traveling faster than the speed of light is tantamount to breaking the time barrier, this daunting prospect has caused some physicists to try to come up with elaborate ways to explain away Aspect's findings. But it has inspired others to offer even more radical explanations.

University of London physicist David Bohm, for example, believes Aspect's findings imply that objective reality does not exist, that despite its apparent solidity the universe is at heart a phantasm, a gigantic and splendidly detailed hologram.

To understand why Bohm makes this startling assertion, one must first understand a little about holograms. A hologram is a three- dimensional photograph made with the aid of a laser.

To make a hologram, the object to be photographed is first bathed in the light of a laser beam. Then a second laser beam is bounced off the reflected light of the first and the resulting interference pattern (the area where the two laser beams commingle) is captured on film.

When the film is developed, it looks like a meaningless swirl of light and dark lines. But as soon as the developed film is illuminated by another laser beam, a three-dimensional image of the original object appears.

The three-dimensionality of such images is not the only remarkable characteristic of holograms. If a hologram of a rose is cut in half and then illuminated by a laser, each half will still be found to contain the entire image of the rose.

Indeed, even if the halves are divided again, each snippet of film will always be found to contain a smaller but intact version of the original image. Unlike normal photographs, every part of a hologram contains all the information possessed by the whole.

The "whole in every part" nature of a hologram provides us with an entirely new way of understanding organization and order. For most of its history, Western science has labored under the bias that the best way to understand a physical phenomenon, whether a frog or an atom, is to dissect it and study its respective parts.

A hologram teaches us that some things in the universe may not lend themselves to this approach. If we try to take apart something constructed holographically, we will not get the pieces of which it is made, we will only get smaller wholes.

This insight suggested to Bohm another way of understanding Aspect's discovery. Bohm believes the reason subatomic particles are able to remain in contact with one another regardless of the distance separating them is not because they are sending some sort of mysterious signal back and forth, but because their separateness is an illusion. He argues that at some deeper level of reality such particles are not individual entities, but are actually extensions of the same fundamental something.

To enable people to better visualize what he means, Bohm offers the following illustration.

Imagine an aquarium containing a fish. Imagine also that you are unable to see the aquarium directly and your knowledge about it and what it contains comes from two television cameras, one directed at the aquarium's front and the other directed at its side.

As you stare at the two television monitors, you might assume that the fish on each of the screens are separate entities. After all, because the cameras are set at different angles, each of the images will be slightly different. But as you continue to watch the two fish, you will eventually become aware that there is a certain relationship between them.

When one turns, the other also makes a slightly different but corresponding turn; when one faces the front, the other always faces toward the side. If you remain unaware of the full scope of the situation, you might even conclude that the fish must be instantaneously communicating with one another, but this is clearly not the case.

This, says Bohm, is precisely what is going on between the subatomic particles in Aspect's experiment.

According to Bohm, the apparent faster-than-light connection between subatomic particles is really telling us that there is a deeper level of reality we are not privy to, a more complex dimension beyond our own that is analogous to the aquarium. And, he adds, we view objects such as subatomic particles as separate from one another because we are seeing only a portion of their reality.

Such particles are not separate "parts", but facets of a deeper and more underlying unity that is ultimately as holographic and indivisible as the previously mentioned rose. And since everything in physical reality is comprised of these "eidolons", the universe is itself a projection, a hologram.

In addition to its phantomlike nature, such a universe would possess other rather startling features. If the apparent separateness of subatomic particles is illusory, it means that at a deeper level of reality all things in the universe are infinitely interconnected.

The electrons in a carbon atom in the human brain are connected to the subatomic particles that comprise every salmon that swims, every heart that beats, and every star that shimmers in the sky.

Everything interpenetrates everything, and although human nature may seek to categorize and pigeonhole and subdivide, the various phenomena of the universe, all apportionments are of necessity artificial and all of nature is ultimately a seamless web.

In a holographic universe, even time and space could no longer be viewed as fundamentals. Because concepts such as location break down in a universe in which nothing is truly separate from anything else, time and three-dimensional space, like the images of the fish on the TV monitors, would also have to be viewed as projections of this deeper order.

At its deeper level reality is a sort of superhologram in which the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously. This suggests that given the proper tools it might even be possible to someday reach into the superholographic level of reality and pluck out scenes from the long-forgotten past.

What else the superhologram contains is an open-ended question. Allowing, for the sake of argument, that the superhologram is the matrix that has given birth to everything in our universe, at the very least it contains every subatomic particle that has been or will be -- every configuration of matter and energy that is possible, from snowflakes to quasars, from bluĆ¼ whales to gamma rays. It must be seen as a sort of cosmic storehouse of "All That Is."

Although Bohm concedes that we have no way of knowing what else might lie hidden in the superhologram, he does venture to say that we have no reason to assume it does not contain more. Or as he puts it, perhaps the superholographic level of reality is a "mere stage" beyond which lies "an infinity of further development".

Bohm is not the only researcher who has found evidence that the universe is a hologram. Working independently in the field of brain research, Standford neurophysiologist Karl Pribram has also become persuaded of the holographic nature of reality.

Pribram was drawn to the holographic model by the puzzle of how and where memories are stored in the brain. For decades numerous studies have shown that rather than being confined to a specific location, memories are dispersed throughout the brain.

In a series of landmark experiments in the 1920s, brain scientist Karl Lashley found that no matter what portion of a rat's brain he removed he was unable to eradicate its memory of how to perform complex tasks it had learned prior to surgery. The only problem was that no one was able to come up with a mechanism that might explain this curious "whole in every part" nature of memory storage.

Then in the 1960s Pribram encountered the concept of holography and realized he had found the explanation brain scientists had been looking for. Pribram believes memories are encoded not in neurons, or small groupings of neurons, but in patterns of nerve impulses that crisscross the entire brain in the same way that patterns of laser light interference crisscross the entire area of a piece of film containing a holographic image. In other words, Pribram believes the brain is itself a hologram.

Pribram's theory also explains how the human brain can store so many memories in so little space. It has been estimated that the human brain has the capacity to memorize something on the order of 10 billion bits of information during the average human lifetime (or roughly the same amount of information contained in five sets of the Encyclopaedia Britannica).

Similarly, it has been discovered that in addition to their other capabilities, holograms possess an astounding capacity for information storage--simply by changing the angle at which the two lasers strike a piece of photographic film, it is possible to record many different images on the same surface. It has been demonstrated that one cubic centimeter of film can hold as many as 10 billion bits of information.

Our uncanny ability to quickly retrieve whatever information we need from the enormous store of our memories becomes more understandable if the brain functions according to holographic principles. If a friend asks you to tell him what comes to mind when he says the word "zebra", you do not have to clumsily sort back through ome gigantic and cerebral alphabetic file to arrive at an answer. Instead, associations like "striped", "horselike", and "animal native to Africa" all pop into your head instantly.

Indeed, one of the most amazing things about the human thinking process is that every piece of information seems instantly cross- correlated with every other piece of information--another feature intrinsic to the hologram. Because every portion of a hologram is infinitely interconnected with every other portion, it is perhaps nature's supreme example of a cross-correlated system.

The storage of memory is not the only neurophysiological puzzle that becomes more tractable in light of Pribram's holographic model of the brain. Another is how the brain is able to translate the avalanche of frequencies it receives via the senses (light frequencies, sound frequencies, and so on) into the concrete world of our perceptions. Encoding and decoding frequencies is precisely what a hologram does best. Just as a hologram functions as a sort of lens, a translating device able to convert an apparently meaningless blur of frequencies into a coherent image, Pribram believes the brain also comprises a lens and uses holographic principles to mathematically convert the frequencies it receives through the senses into the inner world of our perceptions.

An impressive body of evidence suggests that the brain uses holographic principles to perform its operations. Pribram's theory, in fact, has gained increasing support among neurophysiologists.

Argentinian-Italian researcher Hugo Zucarelli recently extended the holographic model into the world of acoustic phenomena. Puzzled by the fact that humans can locate the source of sounds without moving their heads, even if they only possess hearing in one ear, Zucarelli discovered that holographic principles can explain this ability.

Zucarelli has also developed the technology of holophonic sound, a recording technique able to reproduce acoustic situations with an almost uncanny realism.

Pribram's belief that our brains mathematically construct "hard" reality by relying on input from a frequency domain has also received a good deal of experimental support.

It has been found that each of our senses is sensitive to a much broader range of frequencies than was previously suspected.

Researchers have discovered, for instance, that our visual systems are sensitive to sound frequencies, that our sense of smell is in part dependent on what are now called "osmic frequencies", and that even the cells in our bodies are sensitive to a broad range of frequencies. Such findings suggest that it is only in the holographic domain of consciousness that such frequencies are sorted out and divided up into conventional perceptions.

But the most mind-boggling aspect of Pribram's holographic model of the brain is what happens when it is put together with Bohm's theory. For if the concreteness of the world is but a secondary reality and what is "there" is actually a holographic blur of frequencies, and if the brain is also a hologram and only selects some of the frequencies out of this blur and mathematically transforms them into sensory perceptions, what becomes of objective reality?

Put quite simply, it ceases to exist. As the religions of the East have long upheld, the material world is Maya, an illusion, and although we may think we are physical beings moving through a physical world, this too is an illusion.

We are really "receivers" floating through a kaleidoscopic sea of frequency, and what we extract from this sea and transmogrify into physical reality is but one channel from many extracted out of the superhologram.

This striking new picture of reality, the synthesis of Bohm and Pribram's views, has come to be called the holographic paradigm, and although many scientists have greeted it with skepticism, it has galvanized others. A small but growing group of researchers believe it may be the most accurate model of reality science has arrived at thus far. More than that, some believe it may solve some mysteries that have never before been explainable by science and even establish the paranormal as a part of nature.

Numerous researchers, including Bohm and Pribram, have noted that many para-psychological phenomena become much more understandable in terms of the holographic paradigm.

In a universe in which individual brains are actually indivisible portions of the greater hologram and everything is infinitely interconnected, telepathy may merely be the accessing of the holographic level.

It is obviously much easier to understand how information can travel from the mind of individual 'A' to that of individual 'B' at a far distance point and helps to understand a number of unsolved puzzles in psychology. In particular, Grof feels the holographic paradigm offers a model for understanding many of the baffling phenomena experienced by individuals during altered states of consciousness.

In the 1950s, while conducting research into the beliefs of LSD as a psychotherapeutic tool, Grof had one female patient who suddenly became convinced she had assumed the identity of a female of a species of prehistoric reptile. During the course of her hallucination, she not only gave a richly detailed description of what it felt like to be encapsuled in such a form, but noted that the portion of the male of the species's anatomy was a patch of colored scales on the side of its head.

What was startling to Grof was that although the woman had no prior knowledge about such things, a conversation with a zoologist later confirmed that in certain species of reptiles colored areas on the head do indeed play an important role as triggers of sexual arousal.

The woman's experience was not unique. During the course of his research, Grof encountered examples of patients regressing and identifying with virtually every species on the evolutionary tree (research findings which helped influence the man-into-ape scene in the movie Altered States). Moreover, he found that such experiences frequently contained obscure zoological details which turned out to be accurate.

Regressions into the animal kingdom were not the only puzzling psychological phenomena Grof encountered. He also had patients who appeared to tap into some sort of collective or racial unconscious. Individuals with little or no education suddenly gave detailed descriptions of Zoroastrian funerary practices and scenes from Hindu mythology. In other categories of experience, individuals gave persuasive accounts of out-of-body journeys, of precognitive glimpses of the future, of regressions into apparent past-life incarnations.

In later research, Grof found the same range of phenomena manifested in therapy sessions which did not involve the use of drugs. Because the common element in such experiences appeared to be the transcending of an individual's consciousness beyond the usual boundaries of ego and/or limitations of space and time, Grof called such manifestations "transpersonal experiences", and in the late '60s he helped found a branch of psychology called "transpersonal psychology" devoted entirely to their study.

Although Grof's newly founded Association of Transpersonal Psychology garnered a rapidly growing group of like-minded professionals and has become a respected branch of psychology, for years neither Grof or any of his colleagues were able to offer a mechanism for explaining the bizarre psychological phenomena they were witnessing. But that has changed with the advent of the holographic paradigm.

As Grof recently noted, if the mind is actually part of a continuum, a labyrinth that is connected not only to every other mind that exists or has existed, but to every atom, organism, and region in the vastness of space and time itself, the fact that it is able to occasionally make forays into the labyrinth and have transpersonal experiences no longer seems so strange.

The holographic paradigm also has implications for so-called hard sciences like biology. Keith Floyd, a psychologist at Virginia Intermont College, has pointed out that if the concreteness of reality is but a holographic illusion, it would no longer be true to say the brain produces consciousness. Rather, it is consciousness that creates the appearance of the brain -- as well as the body and everything else around us we interpret as physical.

Such a turnabout in the way we view biological structures has caused researchers to point out that medicine and our understanding of the healing process could also be transformed by the holographic paradigm. If the apparent physical structure of the body is but a holographic projection of consciousness, it becomes clear that each of us is much more responsible for our health than current medical wisdom allows. What we now view as miraculous remissions of disease may actually be due to changes in consciousness which in turn effect changes in the hologram of the body.

Similarly, controversial new healing techniques such as visualization may work so well because in the holographic domain of thought images are ultimately as real as "reality".

Even visions and experiences involving "non-ordinary" reality become explainable under the holographic paradigm. In his book "Gifts of Unknown Things," biologist Lyall Watson discribes his encounter with an Indonesian shaman woman who, by performing a ritual dance, was able to make an entire grove of trees instantly vanish into thin air. Watson relates that as he and another astonished onlooker continued to watch the woman, she caused the trees to reappear, then "click" off again and on again several times in succession.

Although current scientific understanding is incapable of explaining such events, experiences like this become more tenable if "hard" reality is only a holographic projection.

Perhaps we agree on what is "there" or "not there" because what we call consensus reality is formulated and ratified at the level of the human unconscious at which all minds are infinitely interconnected.

If this is true, it is the most profound implication of the holographic paradigm of all, for it means that experiences such as Watson's are not commonplace only because we have not programmed our minds with the beliefs that would make them so. In a holographic universe there are no limits to the extent to which we can alter the fabric of reality.

What we perceive as reality is only a canvas waiting for us to draw upon it any picture we want. Anything is possible, from bending spoons with the power of the mind to the phantasmagoric events experienced by Castaneda during his encounters with the Yaqui brujo don Juan, for magic is our birthright, no more or less miraculous than our ability to compute the reality we want when we are in our dreams.

Indeed, even our most fundamental notions about reality become suspect, for in a holographic universe, as Pribram has pointed out, even random events would have to be seen as based on holographic principles and therefore determined. Synchronicities or meaningful coincidences suddenly make sense, and everything in reality would have to be seen as a metaphor, for even the most haphazard events would express some underlying symmetry.

Whether Bohm and Pribram's holographic paradigm becomes accepted in science or dies an ignoble death remains to be seen, but it is safe to say that it has already had an influence on the thinking of many scientists. And even if it is found that the holographic model does not provide the best explanation for the instantaneous communications that seem to be passing back and forth between subatomic particles, at the very least, as noted by Basil Hiley, a physicist at Birbeck College in London, Aspect's findings "indicate that we must be prepared to consider radically new views of reality".

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Alchemist by Paulo Coelho|| Review by Maira Salman and Amna Gillani

PAULO COELHO'S enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom points Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transformation power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.

Deeply philosophical, a literary marvel and simply unputdownable, Paulo Coelho's radiant masterpiece will undoubtedly leave his readers spell-bound. "The Alchemist" is an epic Odyssey as a young shepherd struggles to surrender to his heart's desire. His awakening recognition of his Personal Legend( i.e. destiny) led him to sacrifice his family's love. Blindly following his dream, heedless of the dangerous implications, he commences his voyage to the pyramids of Egypt in search of spiritual and literal treasure. Directed by an eccentric monarch, he gambles all his life's work to undertake a perilous expedition only to be manipulated by various individuals who portray loyalty. Losing his carefully accumulated wealth in a   in a sea of moment's distraction, Santiago is engulfed in a sea of despair threatening to drown him in tides of self pity. But he did not fall prey to it. In order to compensate for his inexplicable loss he is forced to earn his living through scrubbing crystal.
Santiago is in a midst of omens portraying his complicated destiny evoking a spiritual awakening in both him and the reader. His dream was to Santiago what water is to survival, what majesty is to an eagle and what inspiration is to an artist .Profound and inspirational, thorough and expressive, compelling and comprehensive, Paulo Coelho's work is a must-read for all book lovers.
Highly Recommended.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Master of Art|| Neil Buchanan's Majestic Paintings

Neil Buchanan ,an incredible artist with tremendous talent and potential, whose show Art Attack taught me all I know about art. The perfect show to instill creativity in children, Neil not only teaches to make amazing, handy things out of waste material and scratch but also teaches the most amazing art techniques from drawing to painting that simplifies art for amateurs. I could not possibly imagine a childhood without illuminating my days with Art Attack and it was greatly appalling for me and my sister to find out that the show would no longer be aired in our country.

A few of Neil's astounding artwork is displayed below.Get ready to get mind-blown.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Mind-blowing Trick

Okay I want you to think of a shape...any shape e.g. a square. Don't think of a square though.
Now think of another shape e.g. square but NOT a square.
Put the first shape inside the second shape.
Now you have to concentrate on your shape with all your will-power.
You thought of a circle and a triangle, didn't you?

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Pick of the Week|| Portuguese Village Built Among Rocks

Monsanto is a beautiful village built in the Portuguese countryside.Featuring narrow streets carved from rock and granite houses squeezed between giant boulders, it looks like a real life Bedrock. 
At the top of the 400 feet high hill stands a very old square built fortress / castle. The castle played an important role in Medieval times when the Templars Grand Master built a castle which withstood several battles including the Napoleonic invasions. In 1938, Monsanto was bestowed the most "Portuguese town in Portugal."


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Bartimaeus's Journal|| New Addition by Jonathan Stroud

 Bartimaeus- one of the best books ever written, not only in my opinion but of millions, just a look at its incredible 4.36 rating at Goodreads. One which leaves one with an unexplainable, simply overpowering desire for more and more......and more!In order to sate, to an extent, the craving for more material about Bart, Jonathan Stroud has shared Bart's Journal with us on his blog. Read part of the journal below.

As part of my current charge I have been instructed to provide an occasional journal of my recent activities*. Since my most trivial thoughts are suffused with rare insight and the ringing clarity of true wisdom, this is a good deal for you. So here we go, then. Listen and be enlightened.
 (*I avoid the term blog, since coincidentally this word is also the name of a repulsive sub-caste of foliots, characterised by ooze, fleshy folds and gills of blue-grey gristle. Think slugs, but with worse personalities. Magicians send them to harass their enemies in their sleep; after a night of tormented dreams, the sleeper wakes to find his bed-clothes crossed with trails of slime… Where was I? Oh, yes – this being the case, I'll stick with journal if you don't mind.)
*I'm not one for exact timekeeping, since (a) time doesn't exist in the Other Place, (b) I'm never sure whether to use the Gregorian, Julian, Egyptian or Mayan calendars. So don't expect exact days or months. Or centuries, for that matter.
In Other Place. Did nothing.


Yep, same again. Saw a few nice whirling colours and things. That's it. Easy, this journal lark, isn't it?

Still nothing. Long may it continue.

*Dangerous because any verbal hiccup while giving me my orders would break my bonds and uncage my savage wrath. Ooh, gave myself a bit of a shiver writing that. That's literary talent.
Well, it didn't. Today summoned painfully to earth by a short fat English magician with a dangerous stammer*. She's got some kid sidekick (in adjacent circle) to do her talking for her; a wise precaution. Through him I got my orders. She fears attack by her rival, the so-called 'Archmage of Tunbridge Wells'. I am to guard my master's property and her person. Am the rest here

Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Clock Strikes Twelve by Patricia Wentworth|| Poem and Review by Obsidian Fury

The Paradine family has gathered to celebrate New Year's Eve. Alas, when the clock strikes twelve old Mr. James Paradine, the patriarch, is found murdered. Yet, he seemed to invite his demise when he accused a family member of disloyalty. Now, Miss Silver must unravel the mystery of troubled love and sudden death.

The clock strikes twelve
All the people cry 'O Hell!'
A bomb's been flung
On the family interests which has wrung
Out the secrets, mysteries, unsolved fantasies
Claimed shame, and fame, but who's to be blamed?
Defiance, Distrust, Diabolical schemes
Are being coaxed in their heads...
And all this time,with that sardonic pride
Awaits the one in the Study room...
He can wait all he wants... but who's to come?
Don't bet all your cards
Till the clock strikes twelve
And more than one man cries 'O Hell!'

The Paradine family has gathered to celebrate New Year's Eve. Alas, when the clock strikes twelve old Mr. James Paradine, the patriarch, is found murdered. Yet, he seemed to invite his demise when he accused a family member of disloyalty. Now, Miss Silver must unravel the mystery of troubled love and sudden death.

So the queer idea is that I'd devoured this lush descriptive read about 2 years ago. Having read and re-read it at various intervals I found it interesting every time. 

There's the dominating, sardonic Mr James Paradine, a tall tower of resolution and that unbeatable personality you find in the 'rich' blooded men... All the characters are introduced in a flow with the central mystery *bang bang*'in in with a finality. There's nothing more to say except that the Clock Strikes Twelve is no wonder a fantastic read when you really want to sink in with a cup of coffee and of course, the read itself.

The story and its highly developed individuals, the clues... all add up to the Miss Silver 'thing' =)
I especially like the so realistic way the writer portrayed the ever-closing knit of distrust, shock, suspicions they experienced as the book proceeded. And other more unexpected surprises... 

Though frankly the appearance of this 'dowdy serenely knitting governess' only made its way in thru about half the book; I'd really have preferred lesser of the sometimes boring details, and more of that zing... 

Anyhow, I've no remorse and by the end of the way, in fact, I'm glad I read this art.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Heroes of Olympus|| Best of Character Art

Heroes of Olympus. Loved by readers because of Mr. Riordan's humorous yet gripping writing style and of course the great character art. Have a look at some of the best yet.

No.1 Hera 

No.2 Arachne

No.3 Ella the Harpy

No.4 Festus the Dragon

No.5 Aphrodite

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Kane Chronicles|| Best of Character Art

Rick Riordan's character art is gaining popularity at a fast rate. See the best of Kane Chronicles Character Art.

1. Anubis
2. Isis
3. Zia Rashid
4. Ra
5. Horus

Monday, 14 January 2013

Blackveil by Kristen Britain ||poem by Obsidian Fury

Blackveil, despite entering some reader's hate list, managed to get a rather impressive 4.11 rating on  Goodreads Perhaps this is the moment to share an artistic if not enthusiastic poem about Blackveil written by Obsidian Fury.

Etherea in the breeze,
of a tainted realm,
the silvery moon,
its sheen the power of the realm,
the dreary depths of Blackveil,
a journey time will only tell,
Sir Karigan G'ladheon... 'Ur simply awesome'I wanna yell!

Traversing across a landscape, 
once the heart of all the Eletian Race,
its foundations of moonbeams,
that had shone and bathed the pool in the south leaf, but then,
his greed, his unearthly madness, driven by lust and promise of power,
his name itself a black heart of stone,
the restrains of the man he once was, are no more,
corporeal sentience whisked into the waning future,
a wrath of darkness, a wreath of tainted magic, behold the future, beheld by Sacoridia,
12 lights in the shadows, 12 driven to the tainted land,
Half the dozen of them Eletions, their hearts brimming with sorrow, with fearful hope,
of what is left of the heart of their once land,
of what, of who await them in Blackveil, though for them it still glows with the light of Avarith.
The rest, half of them again venturing by order, for glory perhaps but not of their own will power,
and then the three who remain,
Are the Legendary Green Riders,
the blood of their heroic predecessors flowing in their veins,
bolstering their spirit, giving power to their dreams,
gifted by pure magic, bearers of the winged brooches,
cloaked in the Green of their legacy,
with hearts of gold, truly brighter than the bright moonlight that once shone in murky depths of the feared realm,
One of them, hankers to volunteer his own life,
One of them, the bearer of endowment to talk with the wild life,
The last among, her honor lies in her heart,
Well aware of the lurking in the dark landscape,
she prepares to venture on the unforgettable journey,
for tis her birthright.
For she is Sir Karigan G'ladheon,
Green Rider.
Green Rider.

Cover Art|| Belgariad by David Eddings

2013 starts with the 5 book fantasy epic by David Eddings, Belgariad. The reviews will be up soon but incredible enjoy these book covers till then.

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