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Data and Evidence

                               
The Magic Box 

Understanding the layers of this wonderful story is a challenge and akin to enlightenment itself.  Imagine that you are on the ground floor of a multistoried building.  You are able to look around and experience everything on the ground floor, but you never venture off of that floor because the other floors are too unfamiliar.  But you could choose to go up to the other floors, thus becoming familiar with those floors, the very ones you previously knew nothing about.  If you choose to stay on the ground floor, you'll never see the other floors, and you won't be able to experience or understand what is on them.

In the past I've described LOST as a metapuzzle and I still do, but maybe another way to explain is that it's like a koan.  A koan is riddle-like puzzle used for teaching in Zen Buddhism.  It cannot be solved by reason, but instead forces the student to solve it through a flash of insight.

I can observe and examine the story as a wonderfully huge metaphor being narrated via all the puzzling problems, bizarre mythology, imagery and symbolism we see on and with the "Island".  For the Castaways it is as if they are living in a fantastical "dream".
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 "A picture is worth a thousand words." 
I include lots of proof in every post I publish. This slide show is just an example of some of the things you may find interesting, bits, photos and moments in LOST time (captured by me), that may pertain to clues or proof that people and things may not be what you think they are because...
It's all in the details... and they're wrong."

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Here is an example clip where we see different versions of things:
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There are early episodes that set up certain proof of what the "Island" is and is about.  And on "Island" and off "Island" events always blur together- always.

A couple of very important episodes (of which there are many) that outright illustrates this is  "The Constant",  "The Package" and "Hearts and Minds."  You can also find more about the "Island" by checking out the tab Instructing Further.

The "Island/Eyeland

"This Place" is where the adventurous journey literally enables you to fall deep down into the rabbit hole and explore many levels.  The "Island" is constantly implied to being a place that is not part of the "real world"; therefore making it some sort of an "unreal world".  We get a few suggestions that the Castaways may not even be on an island at all. There seems to be more than one component to the "Island" experience/adventure. (See my notes on the DHARMA Initiative.)

Most importantly, their journey serves a purpose... for one to learn, to progress, to evolve, to fix one's broken self, to love and feel love, to learn compassion, to let go of  things that cause your suffering, to become free, find balance, take refuge, to return to the source, to be reborn, and to move on; the "Island" is the place you go to "die" and experience rebirth.
The show is not only steeped with the spiritual path to enlightenment but philosophy of "self/ego".  It is the ultimate metamorphosis.

* Something to keep in mind: the "Island" has been known to have or associate with hatches, cabin, medical station/sick bay, communications room, kitchen, pantry, armory, brig, berth/birth, charts, line, a dock, deck, wheel, anchor, (Drive Shaft), etc.  And it moves.

Compass

Not only are we told that the "Island" has special magnetic properties and issues, but we're also shown that, with a few of the Castaways, their moral compass is "off", as in the needle of their compass is shown slightly off of true north. We're given this clue in "Hearts and Minds".  Jack and his "Island" friends, along with the "Island", are seeking direction and have to be fixed. Why? One word- Broken.

Balance 

The Castaways are trying to find balance in their lives, hearts and minds.  After balance is achieved they are awakened and reborn and can live their life anew.  The quest for balance is represented within the episodes not only with some of the mythology of the story, but with the presentation of literal objects such as bicycles and scales.  

ID

The Castaways have roles, titles, and jobs and (a few or many) names but "no identity".

While on this journey the Castaways are constantly questioning:
* Who are you?
* Do you know who I am?
* Where are you?
* Where am I?
* Where are you going?

Names

We observe the constant repeat of names within the story.

Many countries and cultures use some form of the name Jack-John.

* Male versions: John/Jon, Johnny, Jonathan, Jacob, Jackson, Juan, Shane, Sean, Jack, Ian, Jonathan, Nathan, Henry, Johannes, Giovanni, Johann, Gjon, Gjin

* Feminine versions: Joan, Joana, and Jan

* Pierre Chang is an example of a name representing a clue within the story.  The hints come from his DHARMA Initiative on "Island" role.
- Marvin Candle
- Edgar Halliwax
- Mark Wickmund-
His last name represents "Light"

Vincent, my favorite wonder dog, is a "lab".

Note the times when names are different or spelled differently: Example is John Locke's name is spelled a few different ways (on his license, gun permits, etc) and even Jack Shephard's name is misspelled.
Science and Faith 

Yes, they both play a role in this "Island" adventure.  Look carefully because there are clues in the episodes to both.  I believe you can add technology to the science part.
Wake up

The Castaways are often in some sort of sleep state or are unconscious. There is a connection to things/experiences going on in their heads/minds.

Sleeping...Lucid Dreams...Hallucinations...Visions...Illusions...Trance/Zoned, Meditation...and Memory-  these occurrences all happen in some form through states/levels of consciousness throughout the story.  With that said, that would seem to answer much, if not all, of the "time and space" issues we and the Castaways witness and experience with the "Island" journey.

Eyes closed...Eyes open...Eye colors change... But are their eyes ever really open?
With the Castaways' in a sleep state and altered states of consciousness/different levels of consciousness, we can add to that the times they are just totally "zoned" and/or "high".   An example of these "sleeping" hints comes from things like the song The Dream Police by Cheap Trick playing in the back ground while Hugo is buying his I HEART MY SHIH-TZU tee-shirt, in "The Lie."  Also check out "Hearts and Minds" and "Further Instructions".  Another very important episode that shows us insight to the trip to this "special place" is "One of Us".  Hmmm...It's very Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland.
  • Locke's magic "nature" paste
  • Sweat lodge
  • Meditation and Yoga
  • Drugs, heroin, psychedelics
  • Alcohol
  • Injections 
  • IV-Intravenous sedation
  • Implants 
  • Brain washing
  • Hypnosis
  • Stress, lack of sleep
  • Dehydration
  • Orange drink w/sedatives
  • Darts laced with sedatives
  • Sedatives and horse tranquilizers
  • Anesthesia
  • Chloroform
  • Physically knocked unconscious
  • Apollo bars and other Dharma/Island foods
      Which of course may lead us into those being contributing factors in imagining, hallucinations, illusion, visions, apparitions, whispers, magic and pure Razzle Freakin' Dazzle.
      * NOTE: Many times I've asked the question "What is real and what is not real?"  After all, "real" is what you can see, feel, smell and taste. Therefore, "real" are electrical signals transmitting that information and it being interpreted by your brain that is creating its realism or a reality for you.  It is your consciousness that enables you to be aware of an external world; and aware of self, thoughts and feelings.  Reality can be experienced literally and it can be faked/contrived, merged, virtual and altered.  A simulated reality would be hard or impossible for a participant to distinguish from true reality. It is fair to wonder which parts or how much of the "Island" adventure involves the blurring or counterfeiting of reality.

      Perception-
      * Locke gave  Boone an experience; one that Boone interpreted as "real"
      * "Dave" and Hurley have a discussion about the "reality" of the "Island" and his experiences and the possibility of it all being in Hurley's brain
      * Many times over we've heard from Jack, Desmond and others "This isn't really happening", "This isn't real" etc.
      * In "The End" Christian tells Jack "I'm real. You're real. Everything that's ever happened to you is real. All those people in the church...they're real too"

      * Note: We are given information in the Args, The Mysteries of the Universe clips and the "Epilogue, The New Man in Charge" (all involving the DHARMA INITIATIVE), to brainwashing, psychotropic drugs and mind manipulation as being a few of the tools used in association with the experiences involved in the "Island" adventure/journey. 
      Game

      This element was indeed setup from the very beginning with "Pilot" and "Deus Ex Machina" and continues on through the series.  This cannot be denied.  Are you to take this layer literally, metaphorically (i.e. the game of ego/life) or both?
      It is complete with sides, opponents, players, markers, pawns, strategy, leaders, guidelines, rules, loopholes and cheats.

      A few more hints to games, matches, contests and tournaments:
      Backgammon
      Baseball
      Basketball (Including HORSE)                
      Bingo
      Boxing                                                      
      Cards -Blackjack- Poker
      Chess
      Connect Four
      Cricket                                                     
      Darts
      Dominoes
      Football
      Foosball
      I Never
      Golf
      Horseshoes
      Lotto                                           
      Mousetrap
      Operation                                                   
      Pinball
      Ping Pong                                                   
      Pool                                                       
      Race (Foot race. Sailing.)
      Risk (Axis and Allies)
      Senet
      Soccer 
      Tic TAC Toe                                               
      Video Games- including Gameboy Advance 

      Puzzles: Cypher, Crossword Puzzles, Word Search, Symbols, Symbolism, Cryptology, Anagrams, Play on words-Word play.

      You can find some of my ideas on this element, along with a few other elements and possibilities (i.e.  drugs, computers, machines, simulation, tests, experiments, etc.) with my post titled: ...And Yet We Keep Playing It.

      Allegory and Metaphor is used in telling the LOST story.

      Tests 

      The Castaways are in a constant state of being tested while on this journey.  Ask if the challenges are just part of natural events of the bloody snow globe of  the "Island" and/or are there a person or persons overseeing the adventure.  

      There are countless examples of tests in one form or another all through every episode. 
      The tests encompass psychological, mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. Challenges are presented as tests, exams, exercises, analysis, assessments, quizzes, essays, inquests, evaluations, inspections, ordeals, probation, trials, contests/games and experiments.

      "In Flashes Before Your Eyes" Donovan uses Desmond as the "Case in point" when explaining running a test over and over and using the wild card of unpredictability... and you will get different results.

      One experiences an event/incident and makes choices/decisions over and over again, until a lesson is learned.
        Loop  

        An example toward this concept can be seen in  "Catch 22" and "The Other 48 Days".  It arises in many other episodes as well.  This may connect the reasons we see, hear and experience different versions of things. (There seems to be a literal re-do of events, but we also must acknowledge metaphorically the redundant cycle of bad and/or old habits being a contributing factor in the loop concept as well.)
        A few examples:
        • Oceanic wreckage already inside the caves in "White Rabbit"
        • John Locke has a few different versions of his name and birth dates
        • Documents with different dates- Or dates that don't "add up" or multiple birthdays
        • Adam and Eve are discovered in separate alcoves in the caves in "House of the Rising Sun" yet are shown placed together by Jacob in "Across the Sea"
        • The dialogue Sayid has on the dock with Ben and the gang in Season 5 has differences in the two times we're shown it in "He's Our You" and "This Place is Death"
        • Charlie was in the front of the plane when it crashed yet ends up on the beach with those survivors
        • Kate tells Jack she's a vegetarian, yet in "Tabula Rasa" we see her eat bacon and eggs in Ray Mullen's kitchen
        • In a "Flash" we see that Sayid spends time in France, yet he can't interpret any of the French recording
        • Wedding rings show up on Castaways' and then are gone: Ana Lucia, Dr. Arzt, Desmond Hume, Rose Nadler 
        • Use of the same names, items, places, experiences, props, languages, dialogue, clothes, toys, etc., are recycled over and over again 
        • Jack literally "starting over" in the same starting position (the bamboo forest) a couple of times Although the point of Jack and the Castaways having to go back from where they started could also be placed in the Game category  
        • In "Tabula Rasa" the song Wash Away (Reprise) by Joe Purdy is a reprise which is a return or repeat
        • Example of a few words within the story that also hint to loop would include: circle, echo/Eko, ring, band, perimeter, record, revolution, round, stadium, wheel, cycle, re-cycle (which also represents Karma; come back around and bring back to life/renew), camp, clique, posse, envelope, boomerang, Ferris wheel, spiral, surround, and whirl. And we can't forget the Karmic phrase "It'll come back around".

            Images and Audio
            • Images of  Walt {even dripping wet} that can be seen by more than one person and his dialogue runs backwards
            • Jin hears Bernard and Sawyer speak backwards in The Whole Truth
            • Desmond watched the Swan Orientation film in Live Together Die Alone P1. The audio is backwards. Desmond stops then starts the projector and it fixes itself
            • The Swan Orientation film is missing pieces
            • Dialogue said by a character, yet a different and/or altered voice can be heard delivering the dialogue 
            • Boone's voice is distorted in Locke's dream/vision in Deus Ex Machina
            • All through the story we're given many cues to filmed/recorded/faked/projected video images on monitors, cameras and TV's and the use of computers. An example is The Cost of Living.  At one point Juliet even looks like a hologram in the glass at the Hydra
            • We're shown filming (with a script, cameras and cameraman) in Because You Left.  
            • There is also some major "glitching" going on
            • John experiences Horace chop down the tree as if it is looped footage in "Cabin Fever"
            • Jack and Juliet both/together see and talk to Harper in "The Other Woman"
            • Locke, Sawyer and Desmond can see the {blond} boy in the jungle
            • Kate and Sawyer both see the horse in the "Island" jungle by the Swan entrance/exit in "What Kate Did"
            • People and items appear and disappear.  Even the/Jacob's cabin appears and disappears
            • Claire observes her pregnant self in the jungle with Ethan in "Maternity Leave"
            • Sawyer sees Kate with Claire delivering Aaron in the jungle in "The Little Prince"
            • Locke and Sawyer see the light emanating from the ground/Swan Hatch in "The Little Prince"
            • Locke, Ben and Richard see shot Locke and Richard tend to him in the jungle in "Follow the Leader"
            • Miles observes his infant self leaving the "Island" with his mother
            • Miles watched his father read to his infant self in "Some Like it Hoth"
            • "Simulated sunlight"
              * One item of interest to always remember is that the Others don't leave tracks.

                Computers

                Although one part of the adventure on the "Island" centered around pushing the button on a computer, there are many other cues indicating computers may have a much larger role. Even in the finale we're shown the literal "reboot" of the "Island" as well as the vending machine at the hospital.

                Machines

                We are introduced to bizarre machinery, gizmos and gadgets on the "Island" and encounter issues with magnetic energy, hum of a magnet, engines whirling and motor sounds, rumbling, banging, buzzing, ringing in the ears, muffled sound, head pain, flashing, bright lights, and the swooshing, thumping, clicking, ticka-ticka mechanical sounds of a "monster".  To me it seems as though they are byproducts of what is going on in the Castaways' heads/minds; add to that the potential for a literal machine involved in the experience.  After all, there's no such thing as monsters or time travel.

                Heart

                This story shows us what is in one's heart and getting to the heart of the matter. We see the Castaways' change or mend what is in their hearts thus giving them a kick start to a "new life."  This is true for the Castaway's and is represented with the "Island" adventure and its light at the heart of the "Island."

                Mind 

                On the "Island" what you wish for and if you really believe it, will be (or was).  The power of the mind is different for everyone.  That is why Locke believed what he saw was beautiful and Eko may have seen the opposite or simply something different.  One's mind creates thoughts, ideas, imagination, curses, beliefs, perception and will; positive or negativeBelieving things into existence!   The mind is what creates such intense and deep seeded belief such as fear, anger, ghosts and monsters, etc.  But in reality thought doesn't have true authority.  Power of thought is in one's mind.  It is because one continues to give power to those thoughts that one can become emotionally "paralyzed;" one becomes and remains stuck or frozen and unable to move forward.
                For example, "Smoky" is a thing "made out" of whatever or whoever one wants it or believes it to be; the idea being, one's own mind creates its existence, its function and its demise.
                Just a couple of examples of the Mind:
                • Eko and Locke's experience with the force on the "Island" were different.  Locke says he saw "it",   "I saw a very bright light. It was beautiful."   Eko admits that is not what he saw.  In both situations both men were not afraid. 
                • In "Pilot" when the "monster sounds" were heard by the new arrivals to the "Island", Walt's first response to the sound was "Is that Vincent?" and Rose related the sound to a train/subway.  And it is important to note that not everyone is always afraid of it. 
                • Sullivan is a hypochondriac; develops rash and other ailments from "stress and anxiety".
                • Jack talks Shannon down from an intense "panic" asthma attack (Use of Jedi mind trick)
                • Charlie believes he has to die because Desmond told him that's the only way Claire and the baby will be saved.  
                • Juliet imagined her ex-husband, Edmund, getting hit by a bus and he does.
                • Hurley believed he could start the old Dharma van. He also believes the numbers are bad and his is cursed.
                • Richard believes that he can't age (because of Jacob) and that Jack/they are literally dead and in hell, and much more. 
                • Jacob, Jack and Hurley "believe" they acquire "some sort of power" by drinking the wine/water along with an incantation and a snazzy catch phrase.  
                • Frank believed (and took a leap of faith) he could fly the Ajira plane of the "Island" with the awesome duck tape repair job.
                Notice that on the "Island" when someone asks a question like: Hurley asks Locke "What do you think is in the hatch?"  in turn Locke asks Hurley "What do you thinks in the hatch?" 
                Another example is when Sayid asks Mikhail what the pylons were, Mikhail asks "What do you think they are?"  We await their answer as their answer is based on what they believe; their individual perception.

                  Mental and emotional issues 

                  These issues plague the Castaways and "Island" residents. They must find a way to ease/eliminate their suffering.

                  Fear,  abandonment, addiction, alcoholism, insanity, anger, hate, sadness, loss, trust issues, pain, guilt, grief, loneliness, eating disorders, desperation, confusion, failure, uselessness, crimes, murder, violence, greed, lying/cons, separation, regret, trauma, feeling the victim, worry, attachment, ego/self, and hanging on to all of that pain.   The "Island's" adventurous magical journey presents challenges, choices and lessons, teaching and helping them learn to let go of those issues thus freeing them from the chains that metaphorically bind them.  This also can be seen as a means not only of learning, but of rehabilitation and/or therapy.

                  We're given indications of mental issues with Santa Rosa Mental Hospital, schizophrenia, insanity, and other psychosis, and the need to be medicated with Clonozapam.

                  We're also given the added hint to prison, prisoner, jail, imprisonment, confinement and punishment; as well as actual criminal behavior.  Remember, you can take these prompts literally and/or metaphorically.

                  Philosophy

                  The names given to many of the "Island" residents are obvious connections to famous philosophers.  Important to me is the nod to philosopher John Locke.  He was one of the most influential of the enlightenment thinkers.  Locke's important works educated people to the concept of Tabula Rasa and the Theory of the Mind.   The Theory of the Mind is often cited as the origin of modern conceptions of  identity of self.  He was the first to define the self through a continuity of consciousness.   Feeling we are born, our mind is a blank slate, and that knowledge is determined only by experience derived from sense perception.

                  I find the introduction of John Locke's follower Jeremy Bentham to be important as well. He designed the building known as a Panopticon.  His Panopticon is a prison building designed with the concept of allowing an observer to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) prisoners without the incarcerated being able to tell whether they are being watched, thereby conveying what one architect has called the "sentiment of an invisible omniscience".   He described the Panopticon as "a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example.


                  Authority
                   
                  When combining the clues and information from the episodes, the ARG's and any other "outside the episode" support to the story, it is indicated there are organizations of people of some sort of authority involved in the overseeing of the entirety of things and watching "Island" events unfold.  Some come simply in the form of people in an authoritative role, other times we're pointed in the direction of person's in a powerful organization or company involved in the creation and execution of events and activities with the "Island" adventure.  Nods to the Military cannot be ignored.
                  Examples: police, sheriff, marshal, detective, attorney, teacher, principle, chief,  military soldiers (general, captain, etc.), boss, executive, researchers, scientists and doctors of many fields, powerful and wealthy people, priests, nuns, monks, and guides.

                  Guides

                  As this adventurous journey plays out we are introduced to people who seem to be involved strictly in a guiding role.  Christian, Eloise Hawking, Matthew Abbadon and even Rose are just a few of the special guides in this journey.  Also note that the Castaways have provided some guidance to each other at some point. (I'll also note here that there I times I get a sort of feeling that the other Castaways are facets of Jack or facets of each other.) A guide can be depicted in many ways, even a "constant" (although a person technically cannot be a constant because they are really variables)
                  * In LOST "constants" can show up as people and/or items and such, as their purpose seems to be to keep the castaway on the path and/or to keep them anchored.  In my opinion the constant in this journey may be the "Island" and the person himself, and the fact that in reality the only true constant is change.
                   
                  Metaphor

                  The concept of Zen Buddhism and other spiritual and metaphysical culture; the path to enlightenment. This journey involves many layers itself, via stages of consciousness where states of perception, consciousness, mind and body constantly change.
                  Other Spiritual and Mystical Ideologies and Ancient Cultural and Mythological references include:
                  • Alchemy
                  • Astrology
                  • Australian Aboriginal
                  • Buddhism
                  • Christianity
                  • Egyptian
                  • Faith Healing
                  • Greek
                  • Hindu
                  • Mesopotamia
                  • Muslim
                  • Native American
                  • Roman
                  • Taoism
                  Although Hurley's comic book ends up in Walt's hands, the last we see of this comic book is when Michael throws it into the fire and stares at it.

                  There are connections in the LOST story to this great comic, but what I find most important is the cover. It shows us the literal coming together of two halves creating one new whole.
                  Literature and famous authors

                  * Charles Dickens is referenced often in LOST. In addition to his important works he was notably ardent on visiting prisons, mental institutions and reformatories.
                  A Christmas Carol
                  A Tale of Two Cities
                  Our Mutual Friend
                  • Adolfo Bioy Casares- The Invention of Morel
                  • Agatha Christie- Evil Under the Sun
                  • Ambrose Bierce- An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
                  • Antonie de Saint-Exupery- The Little Prince
                  • Ayn Rand- The Fountainhead
                  • Carlos Castaneda- A Separate Reality
                  • C.S. Lewis- The Chronicles of Narnia
                  • Flann O'Brien- The Third Policeman
                  • Flannery O'Conner- Everything That Rises Must Converge
                  • Fyodor Dostoevsky- The Brothers Karamazov- Notes from Underground
                  • George Orwell- Animal Farm
                  • Gilgamesh- The Epic of Gilgamesh
                  • Henry James- The Turn of the Screw
                  • H.G. Wells- The Shape of Things to Come
                  • Homer- The Odyssey
                  • James Joyce- Ulysses
                  • Joseph Conrad- Heart of Darkness
                  • Joseph Heller- Catch-22
                  • John Steinbeck- Of Mice and Men,  The Pearl
                  • Judy Blume- Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret
                  • Jules Verne- The Mysterious Island, The Survivors of the Chancellor
                  • Kurt Vonnegut- Slaughterhouse- Five
                  • Laurence Shames and Gary Troup- Bad Twin
                  • Lewis Carroll- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found there
                  • L. Frank Baum- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
                  • Madeline L'Engle- A Wrinkle in Time
                  • Mark Twain- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
                  • Phillip K. Dick- Valis
                  • Richard Adams- Watership Down
                  • Robert Heinlein- Stranger in a Strange Land
                  • Søren Kierkegaard- Fear and Trembling
                  • Stephen Hawking- A Brief History of Time
                  • Stephen King- Carrie
                  • Walker Percy- Lancelot
                  • William Golding- Lord of the Flies
                  Other References:
                  • Astrology
                  • I Ching  aka The Book of Change
                  • Parapsychology
                  • The Holy Bible
                  • The Holy Qur'an
                  • Comic books and super-heroes
                  Another important source to note is Joseph Campbell, an American mythologist, writer, lecturer and philosopher.  He is best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion.  Campbell developed a life-long interest in Hindu, Indian and Asian ideas and philosophies.  His work extensively covers facets of the "human experience".  He explored patterns in human behavior and in myths and legends.   He is also the man who shared his insight on his monomyth- "the Hero's Journey" in mythology and narratives from around the world.  Campbell's "the Hero's Journey" is executed beautifully in LOST.  


                  Instruction

                  We are often pointed in the direction that manuals, protocol, blueprints, brochures, charts, diagrams, directions, model, plan/game plan, handbook, instructions, key, maps, script, manuscript, notebook, etc., and of course diary and journal, are vital keys to the story.

                    The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead is an instruction manual intended for use during sessions involving psychedelic drugs.  It is authored by Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert. The three men took part in experiments investigating the therapeutic and religious possibilities of drugs such as mescaline, psilocybin and LSD.
                    In the 1960's John Lennon  explored the "mind freeing" and "altered state of consciousness" experiences with drugs to reach enlightenment, spiritual connection and experience "ego death."  On the album Revolver, specifically the song "Tomorrow Never Knows," Lennon's lyrics were directly connected to Timothy Leary's The Psychedelic Experience.

                    "Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream
                    It is not dying, it is not dying
                    Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void..."

                    Important note:  I have always felt the path to enlightenment is the cornerstone to the entire LOST story, and even though I discussed many other layers of the story, e.g. it's happening in their heads/minds/consciousness, they are sleeping/dream state/altered state, drugged up, real/not real, "game", flashes, maps, mental/emotional heath, imprisonment, guides, they are being watched/watched over, study/tests/experiments, military, mental/emotional health, metaphoric death and rebirth, machines, and yes even the notion of matrix, that those concepts presented via symbolism and metaphor on LOST are indeed addressed interestingly enough in The Psychedelic Experience manual along with all the other connections we get from philosophy, spiritualism, psychology, science, and all of the other important themes.

                    Fertility/Pregnancy

                    The mythology of the story tells us of a fertility issue on the "Island" and we're led to believe it is connected to the electromagnetic properties of the "Island."  Researcher Juliet Burke was brought to the "Island" because she enabled a female cancer patient (her sister, Rachel) while still being treated for cancer, to get pregnant via Juliet's injections.  Juliet created life where there shouldn't be life created.  In the metaphor, mythology, and symbolism layers of the story it makes perfect sense that the infertility issue is really related to the Castaway.  They are, in a sense, barren when they arrive on the "Island," and until they reach the completion of their successful "Island" journey, it is then and only then, they themselves are no longer barren and experience a rebirth on the "Island."
                    The DHARMA Initiative

                    The DHARMA Initiative was a scientific research project started in the 1970's by Gerald and Karen DeGroot. They were two doctoral candidates at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The project was financially backed by Danish industrialist Alvar Hanso and The Hanso Foundation.
                    (We get a hint to things possibly beginning a little earlier with The Lamp Post Station; as it seems to have been built in the 1960s.)

                    The DHARMA Initiative recruited candidates/participants for research and repeatedly put them through exercises and tests. These rats in a maze with no cheese had a goal.  One could deduce that the DHARMA Initiative gathered Intel on its candidates/recruits/participants and exploited it as a part of the subject's learning and evolution process.

                    * I've always considered us the viewer, an active participant in the story; hence to some extent we are part of the experiment as well.

                    ☸ The DHARMA Initiative: Department of Heuristics and Research on Material Applications
                    • department: one of the principal branches of a governmental organization or such.
                    • heuristics: encouraging a person to learn, discover, understand, or solve problems on his or her own, as by experimenting, evaluating possible answers or solutions, or by trial and error: of, pertaining to, or based on experimentation, evaluation, or trial-and-error methods.
                    • research: diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover or revise facts, theories, applications, etc.
                    • material: formed or consisting of matter; physical; corporeal: the material world.
                    • application: the act of putting to a special use or purpose
                    Translation 

                    DHARMA's acronym translation shows us that a group of people under the direction of a specific department puts candidates/recruits/participants into a life-like, physical and corporeal environment, and runs them through experiments a number of times, via trial and error methods, all for a specific purpose.
                      Some of the tools the D.I. used:
                      • Drugs
                      • Video
                      • Imagery (illusion, hallucination, hocus-pocus, make believe, imagination and the like)
                      • Audio
                      • Computers
                      • Mnemonics
                      • Brainwashing
                      • Meditation 



                      I am profoundly aware that there are many literal and metaphoric layers to the LOST story, many of which I have touched on in my posted notes.

                      In the following bits of data and evidence I want to address the Castaways' six year journey using Dharma and the metaphor layer of the story. 

                      There are many spiritual motifs in LOST.  I want to give you some insight specifically into Zen Buddhism, as it is a theme that runs heavily through the story. There are many levels to explore.  Hints to drugs and dreaming within the LOST tale, including "freeing the mind" via states of consciousness, lucid dreaming, mediation, yoga, etc.-  the adventurous journey looking to be facing and releasing "self/ego" - ending their suffering - learning to "let go" - knowledge/knowing, love, compassion, finding balance and metaphoric cycles of birth, death and rebirth.

                      * Rebirth: Renaissance-Comeback-Recovery-Resurrection-Return-Revival-Renew-Awaking.

                      Because we were shown the "spring" in the temple in the final season of LOST,  keep in mind that "rebirth" may very well refer to the metaphoric "death" or "ending to something" and the "new beginning" or "rebirth," and not a literal death and reincarnation.
                      The symbolic images shown to us through the story and directly associated with the Castaways connect with Dharma, Karma and Zen Buddhist practices: the Bagua, wheel, light, colors, Dogen, the temple, waves, fish, mirrors, Achara, Eko, Maala/mala, Namaste, Shambala, water, spiral, scale, balance, consciousness, shape-shifting, monsters, smoke/fire, black and white pebbles, etc., all the way through to The End where it appears that on "Island"and Sideways experiences sync and ultimately converge.

                      The following is information I observed that directly connected to the "Island", Jack and the Castaways while on the path to finding truth, maturing/growing, learning, letting go, freeing themselves from their suffering, finding balance, compassion, and giving and feeling unconditional love.
                      You will find much more detail and connections within my episode notes on this site.
                      It is important to understand that the path to enlightenment is about the student beginning the journey "now."  It teaches the student many things including Karma, balance, to become awakened, to reach enlightenment and/or the state of "Buddha."  It is a spiritual (not religious) journey... a kind of walkabout of self discovery and so much more.   It is not about God or a God; as Buddha is not a God.
                                          Some Information about the path to enlightenment

                      Enlightenment: English translation of this Sanskrit word "bodhi," which literally means "awakening."  Enlightenment is compared to awakening, as a person suddenly experiences a complete transformation of body and mind from sleeping to waking up.

                      In Zen Buddhism, Satori is also a word that describes the state of sudden indescribable intuitive enlightenment.

                      Buddhism teaches that the idea of self is merely an illusion. One wrongly identifies perception, consciousness, mind and body with what he calls self.  In reality, there is no abiding entity that could be identified with a self because the states of perception, consciousness, and mind and body, constantly change.


                      Cosmic consciousness: The idea that the universe exists as an interconnected network of consciousness, with each conscious being linked to every other. Sometimes this is conceived as forming a collective consciousness. The idea bears similarity to the ancient Buddhist concept of Indra's net/Indra's Pearls/Indra's Jewels, Teilhard de Chardin's conception of the noosphere, Hegel's Absolute idealism, Satori in Zen. The use psychedelics such as LSD and Psilocybin mushrooms have asserted that they have had direct experience of the cosmic consciousness.

                      Diamond Consciousness: responsible for the "diamond perspective", its capacity is to look through all facets.


                      Lineage

                      An authentic lineage in Buddhism is the uninterrupted transmission of the Buddha's Dharma from teacher to disciple. The transmission itself can be oral, scriptural, through signs, or directly from one mind to another. Some branches of Buddhism, including Zen and Tibetan Buddhism maintain records of their historical teachers; these records serve as a validation for the living exponents of the tradition.

                      * The principle teachers of the Ch'an and Zen traditions are known as Patriarchs.  I note this because we have the obvious connection of Christian shepherding Jack through his journey. Also note that Jack believed Christian held some sort of power over him and he needed to let go of those things.

                      ☯ The core of Buddhism is made up of the three pillars of the Buddha, the Dharma (his teachings) and the Sangha (monks and nuns).
                      A few visual examples of Monks and Nuns in LOST: Nuns, Priests, Monsignor, Brother Campbell and the Monks, Monk Desmond, Altar Boys, Yemi and then Eko becoming Father Tunde.


                      Dharma is the teachings of the Buddha: Truth. Additional meanings are: The righteous/right way of living, law/universal law of nature, phenomenon and the source of things. Mental contents and is paired with citta means Hearts and Minds.

                      In LOST, "The Dharma Initiative" translates to "The Start of the Eight Fold Path."
                      ☯ a Buddha is a person who has developed all positive qualities and eliminated all negative qualities. Buddha was an "ordinary" human like you and me before he became enlightened. The Buddha's challenging spiritual quest and journey lasted six years.
                      ☯ the state of a Buddha is not impossible to reach.
                      ☯ there are 16 Bodhisattva Precepts.
                      ☯ Buddhist Mala Beads: 108 beads representing the human passions. This number also ensures the worshiper repeats the sacred mantra 100 times.

                      Along with many other spiritual icons seen in LOST such as the Ankh, the Hamsa and Cross, we see additional hints of Castaways wearing some form of Mala Beads. The beads are used for spiritual focus during yoga, meditation and prayer.
                      ☯ A fun note of LOST story telling: Of course the finale of the story gave us a "new man in charge", but I can't help to connect the visual of lovable, happy and rotund Hugo in that role, as it reminds me of the image I already have of a Buddha.

                      Achara: Right custom, conduct, practice, external observance of established rules and laws.
                      Benefactor: Someone who has treated you with kindness and generosity; a person who has enriched your life or inspired you.
                      Eko 'ham bahusyam: May I, the one, become many.
                      Ensō: A Japanese word meaning "circle" and a concept strongly associated with Zen.
                      Flame: "Mind like fire unbound."  A flame burning by itself- independent.  Full understanding only comes through direct experience of this "state" which is beyond the limitations and definitions of time and space. Some Tibet/Laos Buddha statues are shown with a flame atop their head- It is symbolic representation of their wisdom, goodness or enlightenment. 
                      Kannon: Personifies compassion.
                      Mauna: Vow of silence.
                      Mirror: is also used to explain various doctrines and is a symbol for clarity, completeness of perception, and purity of consciousness.
                      Sinking Mind: A dreamlike state in which mindfulness is not in balance with concentration
                      Skull: signifies impermanence and encourages a life of compassion.
                      Skull cup: a drinking vessel or eating bowl, carved from the top of the human skull, used in rituals.
                      Son: the Korean word for Zen.
                      Yemmei: In Zen Buddhism means "Prolonged life". (The Yemmei Kwanmon ten-clause sutra)

                      OM Mantra: The dot at the top of the OM symbolizes Turiya, the Absolute Reality, or Pure Consciousness.  (This may be represented in the magnet hum on the "Island" as they sound similar.)

                      Symbols for the Buddha:
                      * Eight Spoke Wheel- symbolizes the Buddha turning the Wheel of Truth or Law
                      * The Bodhi Tree- refers to the tree under which the Buddha achieved enlightenment
                      * Buddha's Footprints- symbolize the physical presence of the Enlightened One
                      * An Empty Throne- is both a reference to Siddharta Gautama's royal ancestry and to the idea of spiritual kingship - enlightenment as ruler of the spiritual world
                      * A Begging Bowl- refers to the story that shortly before the Buddha reached enlightenment, a young woman named Sujata offered him a bowl of milk-rice

                      Symbolism of a few animals in Buddhism:
                      * Lion- regal strength and power
                      * Deer- a direct reference to the first teaching by Buddha in Deer Park, Sarnath
                      * Horse- energy and effort in the practice of Dharma. Also symbolizing the air which runs through the channels of the body and is the vehicle of the mind
                      * Elephant- mental strength. Buddha entered his mother's womb in the form of a white elephant
                      * Peacock - wisdom
                      * Garuda aka Suparna- (bird-like creature)  "Well-winged" or "Having good wings"
                      - The Emerald is also called Garuda Stone- is considered protection against poison and Garuda images appear in jewelry as protection against snake bite.

                      The Eight Auspicious Symbols:
                      The Umbrella or Parasol
                      The Fish or Golden Fish
                      The Treasure Vase
                      The Lotus
                      The Conch Shell
                      The Auspicious or Endless Knot
                      The Victory Banner
                      The Dharma-Wheel

                      Stupa-from Sanskrit स्तूप stūpah which means "crown of the head".  Also means "heap"; a mound like structure originally containing Buddhist relics.  All Stupas contain a treasury of small offerings. Stupas generally represent the enlightened mind of the Buddha. The shape of the Stupa represents the Buddha, crowned and sitting in meditation posture on a lion throne.  Building a Stupa is considered beneficial, leaving positive karmic imprints in the mind.  On the absolute level, one will also be able to reach enlightenment (the goal of the Buddha) quickly.

                      Symbolically, Stupas represent the following five elements:
                      * Earth - Represented by the square base of the stupa
                      * Water - Represented by the round dome of the stupa
                      * Fire - Represented by the cone-shape of the stupa
                      * Air - Represented by the canopy of the stupa
                      * Space - Represented by the volume of the stupa

                      Eight Great Stupas:
                      Lotus Blossom Stupa
                      Enlightenment Stupa
                      Stupa of many doors or gates
                      Stupa of descent from the god realm
                      Stupa of great miracles
                      Stupa of reconciliation
                      Stupa of complete victory
                      Stupa of Nirvana

                      Buddhist symbols consists of two of the following two key mountains:
                      Vulture Peak; Situated in northern India, it is the place where Lord Buddha delivered a number of sermons.
                      Mount Meru; It belongs to the Buddhist cosmology and is considered the mythological center of the Buddhist universe. It is also the link between hell and heaven.

                      Mahayana means "The Great Raft" or "The Great Vehicle."  It is the largest and most influential of the three main forms of Buddhism (the other two being Theravada and Vajrayana ). It is practiced in China, Japan and Korea.

                      The Diamond Sūtra: a well-known Mahāyāna sūtra from the Prajñāpāramitā, or "Perfection of Wisdom."

                      The Heart Sūtra: a Mahāyāna Buddhist sūtra. Its Sanskrit name translates to "Heart of the Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom."

                      The depiction of the Buddha's eyes (especially on stupas), as is frequently seen in Nepal, look in all four directions, representing the omniscient mind of a Buddha.
                      Karma: The Sanskrit word literally means "action."  In Buddhism karma refers to one's intention or motivation while doing an action.
                      The Four Laws of Karma: The law of karma is a law of cause and effect, or an understanding that every deed produces fruit.
                      1. Results are similar to the cause.  "Positive" actions are defined as actions that have happiness as a result; "negative" actions are defined as actions that lead to suffering as a result.
                      2. No results without a cause.  As in science things don't appear out of nothing. It's cause and effect.
                      3. Once an action is done, the result is never lost.  Again, it's cause and effect.
                      4. Karma expands. Once we have an imprint of an action in our mind it becomes habit. Psychology often stresses a similar point when explaining actions of adults from their childhood experiences
                      The Three Universal Truths:
                      1. Nothing is lost in the universe
                      2. Everything Changes
                      3. Law of Cause and Effect (karma)

                      The Four Noble Truths:
                      1). Suffering (can be distinguished in three types)
                      1. Suffering of suffering:  obvious aspects as pain, fear and mental distress
                      2. Suffering of change: the problems that change brings, like joy disappears, nothing stays, decay and death
                      3. All-pervasive suffering: this is the most difficult to understand aspect, it refers to the fact that we always have the potential to suffer or can get into problematic situations. Even death is not a solution in Buddhist philosophy, as we will simply find ourselves being reborn in a different body, which will also experience problems
                      2). The Causes of Suffering
                      The reason that we experience suffering comes ultimately from our mind. According to Buddhism, our main mental problems or root delusions are: attachment, anger and ignorance. Because of these delusions, we engage in actions that cause problems to ourselves and others. With every negative action (karma) we do, we create a potential for negative experiences.

                      3).  Suffering Can End, Nirvana is Peace
                      Although suffering is always present in cyclic existence, we can end this cycle of problems and pain, and enter Nirvana, which is a state beyond all suffering.  The reasoning behind the Third Noble Truth is the fact that suffering and the causes of suffering are dependent on the state of our own mind, so if we can change our own mind, we can also eliminate suffering. When this process is complete, we can leave cyclic existence and enjoy the state of Nirvana, free of problems.

                      4). The True Path, or Eight-Fold Noble Path
                      If we can control our body and mind in a way that we help others instead of doing them harm, and generating wisdom in our own mind, we can end our suffering and problems.

                      The Four Powers of Purification

                      When one wants to purify past negative karma, one has to do some "action" with the correct motivation.  An important mental factor that is required is sincerity or honesty with oneself.

                      Four Powers of Purification

                      1. Power of the Object: One should practice thinking of all sentient beings one may have hurt. Traditionally, one remembers all sentient beings and the Three Jewels of Refuge (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha), by generating compassion for all sentient beings and taking refuge
                      2. Power of Regret: This should not be senseless guilt or self-recrimination, which are said to be useless emotional torture. What is intended here is to examine oneself and one's actions and to recognize that negative actions done in the past were very unwise
                      3. Power of Promise: As a logical consequence of the above, one should promise not to repeat these negative actions. It is good if one can promise to avoid a negative behavior for a specific time, or at least promise that one will put effort in avoiding repetition. Not being honest at this stage makes the practice useless or even harmful to oneself
                      4. Power of Practice: Basically any positive action with a good motivation can be used as practice. Traditionally in Buddhism, one can practice e.g. making prostrations (throwing oneself to the floor - as a means to destroy pride), making offerings (to counteract greed), reading Buddhist texts (to counteract ignorance and negative thoughts), reciting mantras etc.

                      The Five Qualities of Enjoyment:
                      The Mirror is a symbol for visual form
                      The Lute symbolizes sound
                      The Incense Burner represents smell
                      The Fruit refers to for taste
                      The Silk relates to touch

                      In offering these qualities, one meditates on their nature and the intention of abandoning craving.

                      The Seven Jewels of Royal Power characterize different qualities of a king, which he must have for staying in power. They collectively symbolize the secular power and can be offered symbolically to the Buddha.
                      The Precious Queen
                      The Precious General
                      The Precious Horse
                      The Precious Jewel
                      The Precious Minister or Householder
                      The Precious Elephant
                      The Precious Wheel

                      The Eight Offerings:
                      Offering water to cleanse the mouth or face
                      Offering water to wash the feet-
                      Offering flowers signifies the practice of generosity and opens the heart
                      Offering incense- symbolizes moral ethics or discipline
                      Offering light
                      Offering of perfume or the fragrance from saffron or sandalwood-  It signifies perseverance or joyous effort. Through that one quality, one develops all the qualities of enlightenment
                      Offering of food that has a lot of different tastes signifies samadhi, which is a nectar or ambrosia to feed the mind
                      Offering of musical instruments. The Eight Lucky Articles or Eight Bringers of Good Fortune to support the practitioner's efforts at reaching enlightenment. Each of these also represents an aspect of the 8-fold Noble Path

                      The Noble Eightfold Path
                       
                      This is a symbol of the wheel with its eight spokes representing the Noble Eightfold Path.  Buddha's teaching goes round and round like a great wheel that never stops, leading to the central point of the wheel (hub), the only point which is fixed- Nirvana.  The eight spokes on the wheel represent the eight parts of the Noble Eightfold Path.  Just as every spoke is needed for the wheel to keep turning, we need to follow each step of the path.

                      1. Right View: The right way to think about life is to see the world through the eyes of the Buddha- with wisdom and compassion.
                      2. Right Thought: We are what we think. Clear and kind thoughts build good, strong characters.
                      3. Right Speech: By speaking kind and helpful words, we are respected and trusted by everyone.
                      4. Right Conduct: No matter what we say, others know us from the way we behave. Before we criticize others, we should first see what we do ourselves.
                      5. Right Livelihood: This means choosing a job that does not hurt others.  The Buddha said, "Do not earn your living by harming others. Do not seek happiness by making others unhappy."
                      6. Right Effort: A worthwhile life means doing our best at all times and having good will toward others. This also means not wasting effort on things that harm ourselves and others.
                      7. Right Mindfulness: This means being aware of our thoughts, words, and deeds.
                      8. Right Concentration: Focus on one thought or object at a time. By doing this, we can be quiet and attain true peace of mind.
                      Following the Noble Eightfold Path can be compared to cultivating a garden.  In Buddhism one cultivates one's wisdom. The mind is the ground and thoughts are seeds.  One needs to clear a field by purifying it from rocks and weeds and then planting seeds. Study and meditation, watering, nurturing, by doing positive actions, and a new harvest will grow.  Deeds are ways one cares for the garden. Our faults are weeds.  Pulling them out is like weeding a garden. The bountiful harvest equals real and lasting happiness.

                      Buddhist Cosmology: This is how the universe is seen through the "Divine Eye" of Buddha.
                      It can be divided into two related kinds:
                      Temporal- describes how those worlds come in to existence and then pass away. It assumes an infinite span of time and is cyclical. The basic unit of time measurement is known as "Great Eon".
                      Spatial - describes the arrangement of the various worlds within the universe

                      Spatial can be divided into two branches:
                      Vertical Cosmology- the arrangement of the worlds in a vertical pattern; some higher, some lower.
                      - the universe exists as many worlds (or planes) stacked one above the next in layers.  A "world" is not a location.  Each world corresponds to a mental state or state of being.
                      Horizontal Cosmology- describes the groupings of the vertical worlds in sets of thousands, millions or billions.

                      The Cosmology has also been interpreted by symbolism and allegory via 10 Spiritual Realms (by some forms of Buddhism): 10 conditions of life sentient beings are subjected to.


                      Colors

                      Gold in Buddhism symbolizes the sun or fire as well as describing the color of The Buddha's skin. It is used to represent enlightenment or an enlightened being.

                      Five colors (pancha-varna) symbolize a state of mind, a celestial Buddha, a part of the body, a part of the mantra word Hum, or a natural element. (Blue and black are sometimes interchangeable)

                      The Bagua also uses color to define each of its eight segments.
                      Prayer Flags come in sets of five and use five colors:
                      • Blue (symbolizing sky/space)
                      • White (symbolizing air/wind)
                      • Red (symbolizing fire)
                      • Green (symbolizing water)
                      • Yellow (symbolizing earth)
                      ☸  Dharmacakra (dharma = truth/law, chakra = wheel)
                      "Wheel of Dharma" or "Wheel of Law" is an ancient symbol of Buddhism.
                      The Wheel of Life or "Samsara", symbolizes the cycle of birth, life, and death. When one revolution of the wheel is completed, life begins again with rebirth.
                      The Tibetan Wheel of Life symbolizes the Buddhist perspective on life and contains within it numerous symbols of Buddhist themes and teachings.
                      Chakras: "wheel" or "turning;" the Chakras are said to be "force centers" or whorls of energy permeating from a point on the physical body
                      Chakras are typically depicted in two ways:
                      1. Flower-Like: a specific number of petals are shown around the perimeter of a circle.
                      2. Wheel-Like: a certain number of spokes divide the circle into segments that make the Chakra resemble a wheel or Chakra. Each Chakra possesses a specific number of segments or petals.


                      7 primary Chakras:
                      Muladhara-Base or Root Chakra (ovaries/prostate) RED
                      Swadhisthana- Sacral Chakra (last bone in spinal cord *coccyx*) ORANGE
                      Manipura- Solar Plexus Chakra (navel area) YELLOW
                      Anahata -Heart Chakra (heart area) GREEN and "High Heart" is TURQUOISE
                      Vishuddha- Throat Chakra (throat and neck area) BLUE
                      Ajna- Brow or Third Eye Chakra (pineal gland or third eye) VIOLET
                      Sahasrara-Crown Chakra (Top of the head) WHITE

                      ☯ Yoga is any form of spiritual discipline aimed at gaining control over the mind with the goal of attaining liberation from rebirth. Yoga has long been a practice of "balance."
                      Yoga is Sanskrit for "yoke." It refers to "yoking oneself to a discipline." When used in Buddhism, it can refer to physical or meditative disciplines that enable mystical experience.

                      Tantra- Tantric Symbols:
                      The Bell
                      Mala Beads
                      Kapala or Skullcup
                      Small hand-drum and large Chod-drum (Tib.)
                      Swords
                      The Kartika (Skt.) or curved knife
                      The Khatvanga (Skt.) could be called a magic wand or magicians' stick
                      The Hook
                      Phurba or Ritual Dagger
                      The Tibetan Bumpa is a ritual vase which represents the palace of the deities
                      Mallets or Hammers (Skt. mudgara) and a Club (Skt. gada)
                      Bow and Arrow
                      The Trident
                      An Arrow with Ribbons
                      The Lasso

                      Mudra is a symbolic or ritual hand gesture.
                      Examples of Mudra hand symbols/gestures and lotus sitting position:
                      * Gesture of Turning the Wheel of Dharma
                      The thumb and index finger of the right hand stand for wisdom and method combined. The other three raised fingers symbolize the teaching of the Buddhist doctrine, which leads sentient beings to the paths of the beings of three capacities. The position of the left hand symbolizes the beings of the three capacities, who follow the combined path of method and wisdom.
                      * Gesture of Meditation- Dhyana
                      The nerve channel  associated with the mind of enlightenment passes through  the thumbs. Thus, joining of the two thumbs in this gesture is of  auspicious significance for the future development of the mind of  enlightenment. Balanced meditation.
                      * Gesture of Bestowal of Supreme Accomplishment
                      The gesture of the right hand symbolizes bestowal of supreme accomplishment. That of the left hand symbolizes meditation. Together, they stand for the Buddha's power to bestow supreme and general accomplishments on his disciples, while he meditates.
                      * Gesture of Pressing the Earth
                      The right hand gestures pressing the earth to bear witness. The position of the left hand symbolizes meditation. Together, they stand for the Buddha's overcoming of hindrances while meditating.
                      This gesture 'of touching the earth' or 'calling the earth to witness', commemorates Gautama Buddha's victory over temptation by the demon Mara.
                      * Gesture of Turning the Wheel of Dharma while in Meditation
                      The gesture of the right hand stands for turning the wheel of Dharma, while that of the left hand symbolizes meditation. The two conjoined symbolize teaching the Dharma while in meditation.


                      Emptiness is usually the description of enlightenment.  This description is often difficult for most to comprehend, leading to the idea that it is "nothing" and therefore perceived as unpleasant.  This is the final step before Nirvana.
                      In "The Package" Sayid reveals to Locke that he doesn't feel anything. "Anger. Happiness. Pain. I don't feel it anymore."


                      In Zen: Walking Meditation and the Labyrinth
                       
                      A great example of the following three stages of the walk is depicted beautifully in the episode "Lighthouse" (and on to "The End").

                      * Purgation (Releasing) A releasing, a letting go of the details of your life. This is the act of shedding thoughts and distractions.  A time to open the heart and quiet the mind

                      * Illumination (Receiving)  When you reach the center, stay there as long as you like.   It is a place of meditation and prayer.  Receive what is there for you to receive.

                      * Union (Returning)  As you leave, following the same path out of the center as you came in, you enter the third stage, which is joining God, your Higher Power, or the healing forces at work in the world. Each time you walk the labyrinth you become more empowered to find and do the work you feel your soul reaching for.


                      Guidelines for the walk: Quiet your mind and become aware of your breath. Allow yourself to find the pace your body wants to go. The path is two ways. Those going in will meet those coming out. You may "pass" people or let others step around you. Do what feels natural.

                      The episode "The End" brings us to Bindu:


                      Understanding the end of the journey: Bindu means "point" or "dot," is sometimes likened to a pearl, and is often related to the principle of a seed.  There is a stage of yoga meditation in which all experiences collapse, metaphorically, into a point from which all experiences arose to begin with.  The Bindu is near the end of the subtlest aspect of mind itself, after which one travels beyond or transcends the mind and its contents.  It is near the end of time, space, and causation, and is the doorway to the Absolute.

                      Convergence of practices: Awareness of the nature of Bindu helps tremendously in seeing how all of the various practices are complementary, not contradictory, with each, in its own way, leading in the direction of the Bindu.  The Bindu is the convergence point of meditation, contemplation, prayer, and mantra, and is part of the mystical, esoteric aspect of many spiritual and meditative traditions.  The experience of Bindu is an actual internally experienced reality, which is the convergence point of the highest principles and practices of Yoga, Vedanta, and Tantra.  Seeking to experience and then transcend the Bindu serves as an organizing principle and focal point for all of those spiritual or yogic practices that are intended to lead one to direct experience.

                      Symbols of the Bindu: The Sanskrit root of Bindu is to break through to burst through. The symbol has been used in a variety of ways, including the following:

                      * The dot as a symbol: The point or dot has been widely used as a symbol for the way in which the unity or unmanifest coexists at all times and places with the gross, external, or manifest worlds.

                      * Cross: The point or dot has also been used as a symbol of unity emerging through four lines to form the appearance of two lines crossing. The journey inward is merging back into the point.

                      * Yin-yang: The dot shows two fundamental forces of static and active, with the seed of one permeating the other, manifesting as the symbolic 10,000 things, while ever remaining one.

                      * Dot and crescent: The point and the crescent is an ancient symbol of the unmanifest point and the manifest reality, later seen as a five pointed star and crescent.

                      * Light and a tunnel: People having near-death experiences may report seeing light at the end of a tunnel. The tunnel is the subtle channel called Brahma Nadi and the light emerges from Bindu.

                      * Hub of a wheel: The ever-still hub of the wheel symbolizes the Self (Atman) and the spokes are the Four Functions of Mind (Manas, Chitta, Ahamkara, Buddhi) engaging the outer world.


                      Nirvana: Simply, it is the cessation of suffering.  Also known as "the end of the world" in that there is no identity left and no boundaries for the mind.

                      The student attains perfect lucidity, clarity, awakening, a peaceful state of the mind that is free from craving, anger and other attachments or causes of suffering.  With this freedom and the newly acquired "knowing," the ideal and true human being becomes realized. It is a rebirth.

                      Nirvana is not a "place" like some would perceive as a place to go after death, similar to "heaven."  It is a state of consciousness, a state of knowing; not just an awakening but an illumination.

                      To be clear, yes, a person can attain Nirvana without physically dying.

                      Tibetan Belief

                      The Dalai Lama is the Buddhist leader of religious officials of the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" branch of Tibetan Buddhism.  The name is a combination of the Mongolian word Далай "Dalai" meaning "ocean" and the Tibetan word བླ་མ ་"Blama" (with a silent b) meaning "chief" or "high priest."   "Lama" is a general term referring to Tibetan Buddhist teachers. 

                      Bardo is a Tibetan word meaning "Intermediate State."  It also translates as "transitional state" or "in-between state".  Together six bardos form a classification of states of consciousness into six broad types- Bardo of  This Life, Bardo of Meditation, Bardo of Dream, Bardo of Dying, Bardo of Dharmata, and the Bardo of Existence.

                      Any state of consciousness can form a type of "intermediate state," intermediate between other states of consciousness.   You can consider any momentary state of consciousness a Bardo, since it lies between our past and future existences; it provides us with the opportunity to experience reality, which is always present but obscured by the projections and confusions that are due to our previous unskillful actions. (Please note we hear about "between places" and outright see Eko in a sleep/altered state in "?" when Charlotte Malkin talks to Eko about Yemi in the airport.)

                      The overall name given to the whole cycle is Profound Dharma of Self-Liberation through the Intention of the Peaceful and Wrathful Ones or as Karma Lingpa's Peaceful and Wrathful Ones.

                      The Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State or Bardo Thodol is a funerary text.
                      It also mentions three other Bardo: those of "life" (or ordinary waking consciousness), of "Dhyana" (meditation), and of "dream" (the dream state during normal sleep).

                      In the third Bardo the soul encounters the Lord of Death, a fearsome demonic deity who appears in smoke and fire, and subjects the soul to a Judgment. If the dead person protests that he has done no evil, the Lord of Death holds up before him the Mirror of Karma, "wherein every good and evil act is vividly reflected."  Now demons approach and begin to inflict torments and punishments upon the soul for his evil deeds.

                      The Tibetan Book of the Dead was written by a Tibetan monk. The Book of the Dead describes in detail the stages of death from the Tibetan point of view.  It chronicles the experiences and religious opportunities a person encounters at various stages: while dying, at the moment of death, and during the 49-day interval between death and rebirth.

                      TAKE NOTE 

                      It is important to be aware that the living can benefit from this book, as it is believed by many that this book is actually written cryptically to cloak the Tibetan Buddhists mystical teachings for the living to reach enlightenment so they can truly "live".   This makes sense as no one has ever come back from the dead to share details of  death, even though the book insists we have done so many times.
                             After all, only fools are enslaved by time and space.