Saturday, November 28, 2009

More posts coming up..

My sincere apologies that I haven't been able post anything since early November.

I didn't have access to the web while I was traveling and since I came back I have been super busy with preparation for final exams.

I have a bunch of entries saved in draft and I promise I will go back to them and post them within the next 2 weeks.

Also stay tuned for more new posts....

Thank you :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Back in Lisbon

We are back in Lisbon after visiting the campus. It was such a lovely experience to be there. Taking the labs and seeing everyone from around the world, you just can't compare the feeling to anything ...

We had one more day to do touristy stuff before we head back to US and we decided to make the best of it. We head back to square Rossio. There is an observation deck that you can visit near the square and you can see the skyline of the entire city. You have to take this beautiful old-style elevator to get to the deck. (Tip - If you buy an entire day pass for 4.50 Euros, you can use the train & the bus as much as you want. There was a bonus, we found out that we can gain entrance to the elevator using the same pass, for Free !!! )

The elevator itself was quite charming. It was built in Gothic style architecture, complimenting what you are about to see when you go up the elevator.

The Elevator - Image by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

Once we finished admiring the skyline, we decided to see what is at this level in the city. There is a small bridge from the elevator connecting to a higher elevation of the city. There were some ruins of what seem to be an ancient Gothic Cathedral or something like that and we decided to explore that. I must say, that was one of the best decisions I made during this trip.

The church of Carmo Covent from the Elevator - Image by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

The entrance to the church of Carmo Covent - Image by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

It was a structure that built in 1389 and was destroyed during the earthquake in Lisbon on the 1st of November 1755. Church of Carmo Covent was then turned into a museum and it houses all the remaining original pieces of the building and other artifacts from the monasteries of the era. The building is massive, one can see where the ceilings must have been looking up at the ruins of the vaults. Its a very tall building, typical of traditional Gothic architecture. Beautiful pointed arches and elaborate, decorated columns are just breath taking...

Outdoor displays at the church of Carmo Covent - Images by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

The indoor display section also house many, many beautiful artifacts.

Images by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

I have so many more pictures and so much to tell but I want to tell about the other places I went to so I would stop about the Church of Carmo Covent for now. But I would highly recommend for you to take time to visit this place.

Our next stop was to be the Castle you can see across from the Church / Museum. So we walked back to Square Russio. We didn't take the elevator, instead we walked through beautiful narrow roads of Lisbon. Its amazing how narrow the streets are but how people drive cars in both direction and still manage not to knock the pedestrians down.

Images by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

Back at the Square, it was packed with people. We immediately knew all these people were tourists from Bosnia who were there to see the Portugal vs Bosnia Soccer match. It was like a sea of people wearing Blue and Yellow clothing, drinking beer, singing (I assume) were Bosnian songs. It was quite entertaining actually.

Then we head off to the Castle. You can get entrance to the Castle of S. Jorge for 5.oo Euros if you are a student and I think around 15.00 Euros for others. By the time we arrived there, I was pretty tired so I didn't look around much for the history but I found some details in the internet later. You can read more about the castle here.

Images by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

We decided to walk down the hill instead of taking the bus down back to Sq. Rossio. On the way back we saw the most oddly shaped, majestic Gothic Church - Church of Santa Maria Maior.

Church of Santa Maria Maior - Images by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

Don't be fooled and think this is just a beautiful Gothic cathedral. Once you finish seeing the beautiful church, buy a ticket and go to the Archeological dig... You will be just fascinated - I was! This cathedral was built on ruins from 1st and 4th century A.D !!! Archeologists have dug up Roman streets, steps and stores; also Islamic and medieval structures. There are parts of structures from 14th & 18th Century as well. ....!! It was interesting, all that history in one place and to feel the energy from all these different times.....

Archeological dig at Church of Santa Maria Maior - Images by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

Church of Santa Maria Maior is a must see if you are in Lisbon.!!!

We are leaving Lisbon tomorrow. I'm sad. It's a beautiful city. And I haven't even seen a fraction of it's beauty. But I will be back again, hopefully next year. Until then ... Adeus Querida Lisboa..!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

COP15 video

IAC decided to submit an entry to a competition that took small videos about Environment and Climate issues that is related to the Copenhagen summit in December. So we got to work and got our hands dirty.....

IAC being a truly international organization we decided to have volunteers from different countries talk about our responsibilities to our environment in their native languages. It was also appropriate to produce this video at the campus because conservation and sustainability is a big part of the facility.

The video came out pretty cool. Check it out here .

Here is the transcript in case you don't understand all the languages :D

The International Academy of Consciousness is a volunteer-based, non-profit organization dedicated to consciousness research and education. We have taught in 40 cities around the world, from L.A. to Tokyo, but we are making an appeal to you today from our Campus in the Alentejo region in southern Portugal: let us work together to raise awareness on climate change!

We study what is popularly known as human essence, atman, ego, spirit, or intelligence principle – that which we all are. Our scientific research into extraordinary experiences such as near-death and out-of-body experiences has led us to a new, non-mechanistic paradigm. Rather than seeing ourselves and all living beings as things or machines, we discover that consciousness and life extend beyond the physical dimension and common senses. Our experience shows us that this kind of paradigm shift leads to many positive changes, including greater ecological awareness.

We present IAC’s Phytoenergy Laboratory. It is designed to facilitate the connection between individuals and nature, through the perception of bioenergy. Bioenergy has been part of cultures throughout history and around the world. It is also known as chi, qi, prana, axe, vital energy and dozens of other terms. In the US, for instance, the National Institutes of Healths are researching it as the biofield.

In this laboratory, people are able to perceive their subtle energy field as well as that of the trees and so on. This helps us realize a greater communion with nature and our School of Spiritual Evolution called Earth.

The Projectarium is the world’s first laboratory specifically designed to facilitate the projection of the consciousness, also known as out-of-body experience or OBE. The OBE and allied phenomena can be used to extend scientific investigation beyond the normal physical senses. Similarly, the IAC trains individuals to achieve OBE’s as a way discover that they are more than the physical body through personal experience.

Research shows that people have near-death and out-of-body experiences tend to become more fraternal and universalist with a greater sense of stewartship for the Earth.

Faced with the realization that our life can have real purpose, that our thoughts and energy have a real impact, and that we survive death and will likely return to Earth in future life times, we inevitably have a keep ecological awareness. This is reflected in our sustainable construction and living practices at the IAC Campus.

Our buildings have been constructed with the highest thermal efficiency. All laboratories, including our tree-top laboratory, have been constructed without damaging the local flora. We have an active OASIS Project, which aims to enhance the local flora and fauna at the IAC Campus, which is one of the few no-hunting zones in the area. The campus has an ongoing taxonomy project that catalogs the thousands of species of the ecosystem.

Besides our conservation practices, we are developing a rain water reclamation system to help us deal with the increasing drought in this already arid region. Climate change has a direct impact in the sustainability of this facility and the entire region.

We will continue to promote multidimensional self-awareness and building our campus in a sustainable way…

Raise your voice... raise your awareness on climate change!

… A healthy Earth is vital for the evolution and survival of humankind. !

That's me right at the very end of the video, speaking in Sinhalese... :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


It’s 11:45 am; sunny autumn day at the beautiful IAC campus in Evoramonte. I am going to use the Projectarium for the first time and try and have an out-of-body experience (OBE).

Image by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

The Projectarium is a full spherical structure at the center of the campus. It’s the only projectarium in the world and it’s a laboratory built specifically to experiment with OBEs.

There is a platform extending to the center of the sphere (Like Cerebro in X men) and has a bed at the end with All white bed linen. Temperature and lighting is controlled in the lab. Light is emitting from underneath the platform and I believe the AC / heather is also underneath the platform hidden from the researcher’s view. The Tempurpedic bed can be adjusted to elevate the head & legs at the desired position of the researcher.

Image Credit : IAC

Some myths about OBEs:

1. That you need to take a drug to induce an OBE.

2. If you go out of your body that you will not go back in again.

3. Someone else will posses your body if you project your consciousness and you will not be able to enter.

4. Only selected ones can project and have experiences

Scientfic research and thousands of reported spontaneous cases have reported these are not true. Personal experiences suggest that when you think about your physical body while you are projected that you immediately come back. The silver cord acts as a natural, personalized connection that responds to the physical environmental changes and prevents the psychosoma from completely disconnecting from the physical body. This disconnection happens only once in our life time, that is during out actual desoma or death of the body.

What did I do at the lab?

I have 10 minutes for preparation before the lab session. I selected a technique that I will apply to have an OBE and I selected a goal that I will try to achieve or reach during this projection. Then I set the timer for 1 hour and 10 minutes and lay down on the bed. I adjusted the bed elevations, put small cessions under my elbows and knees and put a light blanket over me so I don’t get cold during the experiment.

Then I thought about my goals and make a mental note of all sensations I felt. I applied a relaxation technique to become calm, serene and focused. Then I started circulation of energy from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet and back up. Gradually I intensified the amount of energy that was moving and increased the speed. I tried to achieve a vibrational state but I was not able to. Once I stopped, I thought about my goal again and started applying the technique.

I was feeling calmer and focused than usual. There is the Annual General Meeting going on at the campus and I came to the lab in the middle of the meeting so I was expecting to be much more anxious but, surprisingly I was calmer than usual.

After the first attempt, I was able to only project my hand. But through out the entire time, I was able to feel energetic movement around me and my psychosoma. I felt my psychosoma nearly fully projected from my soma. There were certain points in time I felt very curious sensations in parts of my body. During the second attempt I was able to partially disconnect from my body momentarily.

After the set time, the timer when off and I connected with the physical body. I felt very calm and I felt energized. I gathered my thoughts and thought about what to document about the experience.

It is important to document the procedure and everything involving the experiment. For this purpose projectors usually keep a pen and paper on the side of the bed. Some prefer personal voice recorders or a laptop.

To learn more about Techniques to project, preparation and setting projective goals, you can read selected chapters from Projectiology by Dr. Waldo Vieira. To read accounts of various types of projections you can check out Projections of the consciousness also written by Dr. Vieira. Robert Monroe has written a few books about OBEs as well.

Monday, November 9, 2009


It's the 9th of November and we arrived at the IAC campus for our Annual General Meeting. We took a bus from Lisbon and it was nice smooth bus ride. (The bus station in Libson has the best cafeteria ever !!)

The bus took us to Estremoz, a small town close to the campus. With a population of around 2000 people its a charming little town you would absolutely fall in love with. We called in for a taxi once we arrived there so we can go to the campus. While we waited, I started checking around the local architecture. The building that is used as the bus station is an old unused train-stop, has truly impressive traditional tile work. I was fascinated with the intricacy of the artwork and the details...

Images by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

On the way to the campus, we saw a real marble quarry. I wish I had time to stop by and go there but unfortunately I couldn't. I surely will cover this next time but if you are in the area, check it out.

After the first day of the meeting, we went back to Estremoz and checked into a small hotel. Cafe Alentejano is a cute little family run place that was quite affordable. A double room was 35 Euros a night, breakfast included. Cool thing about this place was that they have a cafeteria in the first floor where local old folks hang about all the time, the second floor is a restaurant and take it from a person who loves food, THEY ARE GOOD !!! The third floor are rooms. They only have a very few room and the rooms are small but clean and adequate. You will find fresh bed linen, a TV, heat / Air conditioning and a clean bath room that gets cleaned everyday.

You will notice how even the smallest places have beautiful marble flooring and fixtures. I was so taken back and I thought this was just wonderful.........

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Its the 8th of November and we set out to explore Lisbon again.

Did I mention that you have to go with a map and dictionary or you will be lost? Well, we kept getting lost like zillion times but accidentally bumped into this mosque. It reminds me of the Great Mosque at Samarra in Iraq.

Image by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

We eventually arrived at the Nation's park, which was the 1998 Expo ground . If you ever visit Lisbon you must visit this place, especially the Oceanarium. It's just breathtaking! From the location to architecture to the beautiful creatures themselves, it is just amazing.

Oceanarium - Image by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

At the entrance is a gigantic sculpture made out of recycled material (I think its crushed soda cans) in the shape of an ancient sea monster that is hanging from the ceiling.

Sea monster at the Oceanarium - Image by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

Before you catch your breath, you will notice something odd about the backdrop of this sculpture. True to Portuguese architecture, the architects have used white and blue patterned tiles. Up close it seems all random.... and then you step back !! Lo-and-behold, it is a beautiful mural, a mosaic of sort, of fish !! Modern way of using a traditional art form, very clever indeed.

Up close tile detail - Image by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

Up close tile detail - Image by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

Hmm... That's odd, that looks like a sea horse - Image by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

Step back and you see this !!! - Image by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

I haven't been to all that many aquariums but this was nothing like I've ever seen before. It was truly amazing.. Giant tanks and fish of all sizes and varieties, it was mesmerizing.

Images by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

The photos don't do justice to the true beauty of this experience so, I highly recommend you to swing by the Oceanarium when you are in Lisbon the next time.

And don't forget to take the cable car trip when you come out of the Oceanarium. You will love the skyline of the Nation's park and Lisbon....!!

Image by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

While you are there, enjoy the modern Lisbon architecture...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

From Lisbon

We arrived in Lisbon on Friday, 6th November. We spent some quality time with our 2 nieces. It must have been amusing to watch the two kids and myself trying to communicate with each other. They don’t speak English and I don’t speak Portuguese… :)

On Saturday, we visited a ship from the 19th century D. Fernando II e Gloria. It’s a permanent display after restoration at the trasportation hub at Cacilhas by the Tagus river (Portuguese name of the river is Tejo). It was not even one of the biggest ships from that time. Its just amazing……!!

Image by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

** For more pictures of the ship click here

We took the ferry and crossed the river and went to the center of Lisbon. I must warn you, pick a travel guide book and a dictionary. Nelson is native Portuguese but we kept getting lost because different people gave different directions. We eventually arrived at the city center but all the trouble of getting lost and getting wet caught up in the rain was all worth it.

We started at Rossio Square. There are 2 amazing large fountains and a huge monument at the center of the square. All the structures around the square and the square itself dates back a few hundred years.

Square Rossio, Lisbon

(Images by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009)

Every building has such amazing architecture and details its just breathtaking. The contrast to what we are used to here in the USA from what you find in your average European city is just amazing. Very Elaborate doorways / entrances to buildings made out of not just in any-old material but marble ...people ! Real beautiful Marble !!!! Narrow streets with hand-laid asymmetrical tiles and patterns, magnificent arches ..... I can just go on!! Its just so BEAUTIFUL !!!!

Entrance to a transportation hub

Image by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

The other wonderful thing is the little cafés you find everywhere on little, little streets. And the food is marvelous no matter where you go. Ahh the Olives, chocolates and wines... Can't get enough of all of the wonderful stuff in Lisbon.

Lovely Lisbon street. This one is wider than most..

Image by Manori Sumanasinghe (C) 2009

Stay tuned to read about Portugal, Architecture, IAC Campus and more.....