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"Piercing the Cloud" is the story of a young boy's journey into science and spirituality. At 9 years old Jaime is stripped of his family, friends, country, and language, and sent to the U.S. in pursuit of a better life. The departure makes Jaime keenly aware that what he thinks of as the self, the personality that defines him, is really the composite of stories he and others have repeated. This memoir is about the search for the true self that Jaime, and many others, are on each and every day.
As a trained Neuroscientist, Jaime's views on science are at loggerheads with his views on the spiritual. His story offers hope for anyone living in an apparently empty world in which questions are more numerous than answers.
About the Author
I am Professor of Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, and Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. For 28 years, I directed the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory where I explored the relationship between mind and brain. I am the author of many widely cited papers on animal and human cognition and systems neuroscience. I am the editor of one academic book, "Mirror Neurons." But I am more than an academic. I have been interested in spiritual matters for over twenty years. This led me to explore Zen Buddhism, train with a master teacher, and develop my creative side. I have published two books of poetry, "Quieting of a Mind" and "Dawning of a New Mind," focusing on mind-brain relationships with an emphasis on spirituality, mysticism, environmentalism, and social activism. In my creative writing, I explore how true seeing, hearing, feeling, and thinking can quiet the overactive monkey mind and how it allows silence to become the fountain of creative thought. From such silence I have experienced the emergence of a new perception and awareness: An awareness of unity infused with intrinsic joy and filled with a deep and uncompromising dedication to what is true and real while exuding love and empathy towards others.
"Piercing the Cloud: Encountering the Real Me" is my autobiography. Throughout my training as a scientist, I felt the constant presence of an unseen yet helpful and guiding presence whose existence conflicted with my scientific outlook. This lead me to develop an intense interest in spirituality. But the conflict and antagonism between my scientific and rational self and my spiritual and metaphysical experience, coupled with the vicissitudes and mysteries of life, drove me to a crisis point. To resolve the crisis, I had to deny science or deny spirituality, for they could not coexist. However, the resolution I reached is unique and became the intermingling of both viewpoints, providing intuitions into the meaning of life and my place in the world. My story is unique and yet similar to all stories of those who have searched for the truth. It offers hope for anyone living in an apparently empty world in which questions are more numerous than answers.