Wednesday, November 18, 2009

2009 11 18. Wednesday.

Today was my second full day of teaching compost to the students at the nearby Amma grade school. Went well. Pretty much the same as the first day. I estimate I spoke to about 400 students total both days. Wonderful that all those kids now know all about the benefits of composting. I told them to talk to their parents about maybe starting some small compost piles at their homes.

On both days I took one of the school buses back to the ashram. Definitely brought back some very distant memories of riding in a bus overflowing with screaming kids jumping around, hitting each other and generally acting just the way I did at that age. A group of young boys near me took delight in asking me my age, where I live, if I'm married, etc. All my short answers elicited gales of giggles and laughter.

Young Boy (smiling like he knows I'm going to walk right into his clever trap): "Where do you live?"

Me: "At Amma's ashram."

Group of Young Boys: (howls of loud laughter and punching each other)

(same scene repeated with each question, including the bonus of seeing the young girls rolling their eyes at the boy's behavior.)

Oh well, perhaps in small town India being easily amused has its advantages. The same all over the world.

I was riding in the back and the ancient bus had almost no suspension. Every time we went over a bump I was hurled skyward only to slam back into the very thinly padded seat. Ouch. Where's my chiropractor? That's one way to get the old karma pounded out of me. The boys loved it, of course. More howls of laughter and throwing of celebratory punches after each big bump.

Had a nice talk with Norma today. She's a young British lady who has done some interesting work with anaerobic composting. All the compost we do currently is aerobic. Norma has some experiments she wants to do to see if anaerobic composting can be more efficient than what we're now doing. We shared about how to do the experiments and what equipment we need.

After speaking with Norma, I had the second meeting with the 4th year Biotech college students to discuss the possible experiments of using cellulosic and lignin enzymes to help the woodchips in the compost breakdown faster.

Because I'm a science junkie, I always love the idea of doing experiments to see how things really work under different conditions. I think that's one reason why I'm drawn to spiritual practice. All the scriptures and gurus say if you do the practices properly, you'll get the result (and enlightenment is a pretty darn nifty result in my book) so I'm doing the experiment on myself to see what happens. So far the experimental results are "Mind full of putrid egoisitc crap - 100%. Enlightenment - Zilch". Oh well. Rome wasn't burned in a day. Maybe a Zen Master would say that Zilch and Enlightenment are the same... Maybe I'm a Zilch Master.

"Does a dog have Buddha nature? Zilch. Does Advait have Buddha nature? (more howls of laughter)"

For those interested, definitely check out episodes 140 and 141 of the "Buddhist Geeks" podcast. They interview Dr. James Austin, another neuro-scientist who's done extensive research on mediation and all its positive effects on the brain. Bottom line: Start meditating if you're not already doing it.

Wow. Check out: Very cool article. Full human brain simulation not far down the road? Maybe simulated enlightenment soon after. If they can simulate my brain maybe I can get all the simulated Amma hugs I want. This line of research will get very interesting when they start to connect these simulated brains to real sensors and actuators. Watch out. You heard it here first, folks. Our ipods will become "I" pods. I'm now putting my bets on a sooner rather than later Singularity. Maybe one of the main jobs of God-incarnations like Amma and Sai Baba is to help guide us as we create more and more powerful computers, artificial intelligences, biotechnology and nano-technology. Maybe now we're like adolescents with some really powerful and potentially dangerous tools. Definitely want Mom and Dad around watching carefully and intervening as needed when we're playing with such tools. Maybe they'll be something like a spiritual Singularity to go along with the technological Singularity. Sure hope so!

No comments: