Saturday, October 31, 2009

Rebirth and pastlife recall - A Halloween note

Happy Halloween...!!

An interesting thought came to my mind while I was thinking about the whole spooky-night frenzy. Is there any use of knowing who we were in our past lives and knowing what we did?

My Buddhist upbringing is not the only reason why I understood that there is existential seriality, or in plain English - continuation of the consciousness from one life to another. When I was a child, I was taught there is rebirth; that I had a life before and I will have a life after this one. For the most of my childhood through early twenties, I believed there is life before and after death. Then, in my mid twenties I realized that I can't just go on blindly believing something and need to have proof myself; that it will no longer be just a belief but it is something I know and understand. So I sat down and started analyzing the facts.

Though I was born to an average Sri Lankan family, I had quite a few different characteristics in me that set me apart from the rest of my family. I was not your typical, obedient Sri Lankan girl who will do exactly and as only as the parents say. I had a lot to say about a lot of things, all the time. I was the rebel. No one in my entire family had ever traveled outside of the country before (except for one of my aunt's husband before he was married); no one had the flare for speaking English; silly things like love for olives and olive oil. No one was very artistic in my family and I was a relatively accomplished artist with 2 solo exhibits under my belt by the time I was 22. And I was pretty much a self-taught artist (I must give credit to those few artists in SL who were kind enough to share a few tips with me). These were subtle hints that I did not inherit nor acquire these qualities and characteristics through my family or the environment that I was brought up in.

When I came to the US for the first time at 16, I felt that I'was finally home. I made friends with a guy I had such a strong bond with that felt I must have know this person before. Today, I have a group of friends that I am so close to and we share the strongest connection, I can only describe our relationships as we know each other from lives before. These reasons strongly pointed toward the existence of life before this life.

Then at the IAC educational center, I tried out a few techniques to have out-of-body experiences. That sealed the deal. I now know life exists beyond the human body and I have first hand experience to back my assumption.

There is extensive research done by Brazilian doctor Waldo Vieira, M.D. on OBEs. His books Projections of the Consciousness, a diary of various experiences he had with OBEs and Projectiology, a large book very meticulously documenting everything about and around the phenomena are a must-read. They are great because Dr. Vieira has managed to scientifically analyze the information about the phenomena at great depth, it really helped me question my beliefs about rebirth and seriality and separate facts from instill beliefs.

Anyway, getting back to the original question, is there any use of knowing who we were in our past lives and knowing what we did?

One can argue, what is the use of knowing if I was Cleopatra some lifetimes ago? Or what if I was a peasant? What if I was a reckless soldier who had taken many lives of others? Isn't this knowledge only going to make me feel really good briefly or make me feel really horrible?

Lets stop and think about some of the advantages. What if I can find out who I was and what I did in a past life? What if I am able to link some traits I have in this life that are similar to some traits of the past? I can now use this knowledge to work on my weak traits and to strengthen my strong traits. What if I had started some task in a past life that I could not complete before death and now I have the opportunity to see it to completion? What if I had done a lot of good things in my life before, and knowing that I am in a better condition to do even more and use that as extra motivation? And if I did not have a very productive, accomplished life before and realizing that I can't do the same thing again in this life and I must try harder and do much, much better?

There are four brilliant researchers who have published books on the topic of rebirth and retrocognitions, or past-life recall.
Its a good place to start if you are interested in learning more about these topics.....

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Grand Central Building - NYC

The paper I have to submit for my History 1 class reminded me of a paper I did for one of my other classes back in 2008. So I dug it up and here it is.......


anori Sumanasinghe

Spring 2008 - NYCCT

Italian Renaissance Art And Architecture – Prof. C. Santore

Architecture across time:

A Modern Structure reflecting Classical and Renaissance Architecture

Throughout the history, artists and Architects have looked in to the works of our ancestors and learnt from their examples. When Artists and Architects during the Italian Renaissance turned to classical Greek and Roman art and architecture to learn about structures, not only they created art work reflecting characteristics of classical art and architecture, they also raised the standards for definition of perfection in an artwork. Modern day artists still look into Classical and Renaissance architecture and Grand Central building in Manhattan, New York built in late 19th Century is an example of this trend.

One of the main characteristics of Classical and Renaissance architecture is the Monumental nature of the structures. The exterior and the interior of Grand central building is very monumental. This can be seen with the larger sculptures, large columns on the outside of the building, very high ceilings and the large windows and doorways. Also as in many classical & Renaissance structures, the Grand Central building uses Marbles on walls & Floors. (It can be assumed that the walls are Marble clad unlike the classical structures, Constructing with Marble in modern times would be relatively expensive than constructing with Cement.)

Picture 1.1

Picture 1.2

The entablature on the exterior of the building, the Doric style columns, the intricate sculptures and Metopes are characteristics of classical architecture.

Picture 1.3

Picture 1.4

Picture 1.5

The main concourse is a large, beautiful, open room with a very high barrel vault ceiling. The celestial and zodiac designs adorning the green background of the ceiling can remind the viewer of Greek mythology which has been the subject of many artworks from the classical and renaissance era.

Picture 2.1

Picture 2.2

The large windows in the main concourse resemble the windows of a church or a cathedral or a roman basilica. The window openings in the ceiling also reminds of the window openings of a nave in a roman basilica.

Picture 2.3

Picture 2.4

The grand stair cases on either ends of the main concourse bare similarities to those from the renaissance period.

Picture 2.5

Picture 2.6

The acoustic room at the lower level dining concourse has a very interesting ceiling in the shape of a sail vault (picture 3.1 & 3.2). Renaissance architect Brunelleschi used sail vaults in his designs and structures.

Picture 3.1

Picture 3.2

There are many arches that can be found throughout the building adorned with simple yet elegant keystones, Voussoirs and imposts. These arches are elliptical arches or three centered arches.

Picture 4.1

Picture 4.2

Ceiling details at the lower level (picture 5.1) resembles the details of an interior of a renaissance building.

Picture 5.1

Though volutes were made with marble and stone during the classical and renaissance period at the Grand central building these volutes are made out of steel as can be seen in picture 6.1.

Picture 6.1

Grand Central building serves as a transportation hub, a tourist destination and a commercial location with offices, apartments, shopping centers and dining. Like many classical and renaissance structures we see today, this building is a public building and used by the general public. It attracts tourists and marvels its users. The architecture of the building leaves an impression on the minds of its admirers as the classical structures continuous to do so in our minds.


Image 1.1
Image 1.2
Image 1.3
Image 2.1
Image 3.1

All other images by
(C) Manori Sumanasinghe, 2008


Some of my first few models

These are some of the first few models & drawings I made for my design 1 class...

They are very linear right now and I wonder when we will shift towards more organic shapes. I am not a big fan of corners, for me they symbolize the limitations we create for ourselves.

I wonder.....
.... What if the shape of the space we occupy predispose us to think in a limited way?
.... Is there a connection between the subtle energies within a given space to the shape of this space?
.... If there is a connection, how do we incorporate this knowledge into our design?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Visit to Portugal and other news

My husband Nelson and I are going to visit the IAC Campus in Portugal in 2 weeks time and I'm really looking forward to that. The campus itself has very unique architecture. There are two dome-shaped laboratories named Cosmoconscientiarium and Immobilitarium. There is also one spherical laboratory designed specifically to research out-of-body experiences called the Projectarium and a laboratory that looks like an expensive tree house called Phytoenergy Lab there. I have never taken any lab sessions there before but this visit I managed to get bookings to do self experimentation.

The area where the campus is located is historically very significant. So we plan to visit the archeological sites, Castles, Roman ruins and aqueducts in Evora area. If we have time we will cross the boarder over to Spain to see some places too. Back in Lisbon, we will go to see the museums and castles. Nelson's brother-in-law is an archeologist so hopefully we will have our own family archeology expert guiding us around.

On other news, Nelson wrote a chapter in a book which got published recently. Its available in Barnes and Noble and now... (Click image to read more about this book)

He also gave an interview to a blog recently, click here to read it.

We got interviewed on MDC TV Architecture forum recently about Consciousness and Architecture. I don't know when it will be aired yet but when I have the video, I will try to publish it here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Architecture in Miami

One of the assignments for our Architecture History 1 class was to identify buildings/ structures/ gardens with historical architectural styles and influences in Miami and write up a paper.

On Saturday 27th, one of my colleagues and I set off to look for these buildings. We were only able to go to 11 places but it was amazing to see how many interesting places are just around the neighborhood and we never stop to appreciate them.

In Coral Gables area we went to see the Cocoplum woman's club, Schenley park, Church of the little flower, Coral Gables Congregational church, Biltmore hotel, Fountain at the circle by Biltmore, Venetian pool, City hall of Coral Gables. Moving towards Miami, we were able to visit Beth David Congregation, St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church and Chinese styles homes by Sansovino Ave and Maggiore.

1. Cocoplum Woman's club

2. Schenley park

3. Church of the little flower

4. Coral Gables Congregational church

5. The Biltmore hotel

6. Fountain at the circle by Biltmore

7. Venetian pool

8. City hall of Coral Gables

9. Beth David Congregation

10. St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church

11. Chinese styles homes by Sansovino Ave and Maggiore.

We plan to go to Downtown Miami, Opa-Loca and North Miami to see some more buildings next week. I will post the paper once I submit it to the professor.

So stay tuned for that and more.....

** All images by (c) Manori Sumanasinghe, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Welcome / Introduction

I'm an Architecture student and I am interested in finding out more about the relationship between Architecture and consciousness.

I first got interested in Architecture when I saw the blue prints of my parents' home. I must have been 6 or 7 years old and my parents were overlooking their home being built. I was fascinated with the drawings; I was fascinated watching the house being built. I started drawing & designing doll houses, then my dream house as a teenager. When I was 16 yrs old, I got this unique opportunity to come to the US to take part in a Summer program. (By the way, did I mention I'm from Sri Lanka?.. Ok now you know) When I went back, I sat down and thought "wow, its a whole big world out there loaded with opportunities. What do I want to do with my life? How do I make these opportunities come my way?". So I sat down and decided I will put my skills, talents and interests together and figure out what is the best thing to do. That is how I decided I want to be an Architect. (By the way, I'm an Artist too.) It took me another 10 years to get to college and I will tell that story later. But, in 2007 I finally made it to college to Study Architecture. Currently I'm a lower division Architecture student at MDC.

Consciousness & related stuff:
(**Consciousness: The human spirit, intelligence principle, self)
I was born in Sri Lanka, to a very Buddhist family. My mother meditates and studies the Buddhist philosophy. I started meditating when I was 11 - 12 years old and I started studying the philosophy a few years later. I wanted to learn about human consciousness, about the next stage of life, how far can I go, is there a limit to the development of human consciousness, what are the things I can do with my life, etc.? Then in 2003, I came across the International Academy of Consciousness. It is a 501(c)-3 not-for-profit, volunteer based organization that does consciousness research and education. Armed with a strong global volunteer team, they take a scientific approach to studying the consciousness without and beyond religious affiliations. (Find out more about IAC here.) I was intrigued. I was already familiar with some of the concepts they were studying such as Out-of-body experiences (OBE), Past lives, reincarnation, bioenergy, astral body, karma, development of psychic abilities, development or evolution of the human consciousness, assistance and other related topics. So I took a few courses with them in their educational center in NYC and started volunteering when I came back to the US in 2007. I decided the best way for me to get more actively engaged in learning about myself but also assist was to volunteer. Then I met Nelson, now my husband through IAC and moved to Miami. He was a volunteer at IAC Florida Educational center and now we both volunteer here in Miami.

Consciousness and Architecture
It only made sense for me put both these interests together. I wanted to learn more about both these topics. I wanted to study and understand more about the relationship between these 2 topics. So here I am today, trying to accomplish this....

During the process of learning and researching these topics, I would like to share the experiences and knowledge I acquire. I also have traveled a bit, seen and experienced the world a bit and have many stories to share with the world. So I decided to make this blog.

I hope you visit again to

Thank you !