Chapter 4: Shaking the Tree

A Zen master, Nan-in, from the Meiji era, poured tea for his visitor, a university professor who wanted to learn about Zen. He filled his guest’s cup and kept on pouring. When the professor observed that the cup, being overfull, wasn’t capable of receiving more tea, Nan-in said, “Like this cup, you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

If a tree falls in the forest…
So we are altering our physical bodies on a cellular level with our thoughts; and in fact, it is our perception of our environment — not the actual environment — that is affecting our bodies.

So how does perception happen? In essence, reality is just a thought in our brain. This is because the human brain cannot perceive anything directly; it has to think about everything that the senses receive.

The brain is a highly effective filtration device: the network of cells that performs this function is called the Reticular Activating System or RAS for short. The RAS lets in only data that meets at least one of the following criteria: the data is important to your survival, it has novelty value, or it has a high emotional content.

— excerpt from the book Parallel Mind by Aliyah Marr
all rights reserved

Copyright 2007-2008 Aliyah Marr


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