Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is Wireless Just a Metaphor?

There are so many things we tend to take for granted. For me, sitting with my laptop in the living room and transferring files or accessing my desktop, or going online through a wireless network is so routine that I seldom consider what it entails.

Energy is flowing through what appears to be empty space.

What scientific evidence do we have that it's happening? Well, obviously if the files open or the web page loads, we know that wireless technology is real.

But what about or own technology? Neuroscience has shown that electrical energy actually moves through the brain as we think.

In fact, the stimulation of such energy can occur in surprising ways. There is a phenomenon known as "mirror neurons" that fire not by direct stimuli, but rather just by observation. The Fast Company blog describes the findings of Dr. Marco Iacoboni at the Brain Research Center at UCLA who believes that we are actually "wired for storytelling."

His research is based being able to measure the differences in mirror neuron activity when individuals were shown images or told stories by people with whom they empathized or identified; the greater the sense of connection the higher the mirror neuron activity.

This is fascinating on many levels, not the least of which is that it is literally a tangible measure of a quality we might term "emotion" in the brain.

In some personal matters I had occasion to connect with an individual in a professional setting, but one which was highly charged with emotional energy—and to feel our connection we held hands. Then I moved back across the room, and was asked whether I still felt the connection, and I joked, "I don't really believe in wireless."

But actually I do, and you probably do too.

How many times have had the phone ring just as you "happened to" think about who called?

Where this leads me is to the issue of what science considers "real" -- like mirror neurons – and what it considers irrelevant do to an apparent absence of evidence.

While we may certainly believe in wireless with respect to our laptops, we may not readily admit to such a belief with respect to our own technology – our minds and our bodies.

But the more we connect with either – through meditation, body work or some other "New Age" (and apparently unscientific) method – we can determine the reality directly based on our own concrete experience.

Do you miss someone who died or you no longer have contact with?

Have you ever identified that feeling in your body?

Is it any less real to you than your wireless connection to the Internet?

What about compassion, for others or for yourself?

Do you experience it when you meet certain people, or even when you see a posting on Twitter or Facebook? Do you sense it inside yourself, can you sometimes feel yourself shutting it off, or denying its reality in order to numb yourself to a painful reaction?

In a recent blog entry I wrote about Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation by Douglas Rushkoff as a particularly powerful description of why social media is growing as a response to the pursuit of profit at the cost of humanity. ("A shrill condemnation of how corporate culture has disconnected human beings from each other.")

But there is an undeniable movement toward reconnection—from the election of Barack Obama to the growth in social technologies—more and more people are accepting the reality of how important the energy of love and compassion is – and its reality as a physical, psychological and real force of nature.

One might speculate as I have that in some ways the Internet is an evolutionary nervous system in its ability to transmit this energy (wirelessly?).

But as many have noted, the key to conducting the energy of compassion, love or any emotion is belief. In another blog I mentioned a book by biologist Bruce Lipton, actually titled the Biology of Belief. (Its new subtitle is "Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, & Miracles")

Such a concept and much of Lipton's work is enough to give many traditional scientists heartburn.

What about you?

Can you make the connection between the undeniable reality of wireless energy that performs in our computer technology to the presence of a different flavor of energy (organic but no less real) that permeates our own being?

To me the recent advancements in neuroscience, psychology and quantum physics easily let me accept it intellectually—which can be the first step. But in my own experience, through meditation and sensation, I am finally beginning to know it, profoundly in my depth.

Unfortunately there is no real manual to troubleshoot our own technology – or perhaps there are too many conflicting manuals – from medical textbooks to religious works.

And so there are also no clear answers. But just as my web page loads, and my laptop's inner state is changed, so too, if I connect with the cells, tissues, organs and senses within me, I can sometimes feel and observe my own state changing.

Who performs the observation? That's a tough call. But the reality of wireless emotion and thought is no longer open to question, at least for me.

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