Thursday, September 17, 2020

3 x 3 Meditation Practice

3 x 3 Meditation Practice

It's not in the books. It's in our hearts.
Spend 3 minutes, 3 times a day, in stillness. 
A total of nine minutes.
Doing this practice connects you back to 
being more-here-now as you live your whole life.
Pay attention to the "in and out breaths".
Watch the mind for three minutes without judgement.
Morning, early afternoon, and early evening;
or, just whenever. There are no fixed rules here.
Do this practice without judging how well you did;
a subtle and beautiful transformation will dawn.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Atomic Friend

Lately, I've been playing around with the fanciful idea of the "atomic friend." This is not about nuclear energy, it's about how we perceive the world. When we look across the table at somebody we're having dinner with, for example, we don't see that person or friend as photons cast in our direction — we see facial expressions. Likewise, we don't perceive sound vibrations, instead we're aware of words and tones of voice, which themselves are as full of meaning as facial expressions are full of meaning.
This view of the "atomic friend" is something we get from subatomic physics, our perception of ultimate reality below what we experience in daily life. It's sometimes referred to as reductionism — the idea that we can define things at a level and say, it's nothing but that, it's nothing but photons, it's nothing but sound vibrations. Yet that's not how we experience life. We experience it with meaning, and love.
The same reduction process happens very commonly in modern society, without the benefit of any knowledge of subatomic physics. We just have to look at the sophisticated games people play around money and power, for instance. Instead of appreciating a child's requirement for love, many people simply give the child toys and money as a substitute for love. They've reduced the relationship to a very quantifiable thing called money, saying "Well, I can't afford to really spend time with you" — that's a subconscious thought, of course — "I can't afford to really spend time with you, but I can give you money, because that's what I'm spending my time doing, and here's the money that expresses my love." Well, somehow the love gets lost in the experience. It's like reducing facial expressions to photons.
It's the same with manipulating people as pawns in power games, in order to aggrandize one's own self or ego. One can manipulate hundreds or thousands of people as an executive, without much concern at all for the feeling experience of the manipulations — like moving a factory from one part of the world to another without experiencing or even paying attention to those things, because we've reduced it to a game of money and power, saving money, or the wonderful joy of the power, being able to move all those materials and people from one place to another. Thes behaviors, I like to say, are truly unconscious.

Audio to text transcription, editing, and augmentation
by Peter Good. Cartoon by Terry Pettengill.

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Water's Way

As a child, I watched water slowly dripping from a leaky faucet. Waiting between drops, wondering how much a single drop would swell before falling into the white porcelain abyss, crashing onto the brown rust stain formed by countless past drops, finally followed by a hollow drip sound within the sink pipe's chambers. Water became a life metaphor during my senior year high school "Great Books" course which included Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching; on a hot lazy Spring afternoon I read these words from chapter 8:
That which is best is similar to water. Water profits ten thousand things and does not oppose them. It is always at rest in humble places that people dislike. Thus, it is close to Tao [the Way].
One day, I wanted to feel really rich. I decided on taking a hot bath; to soak my body and slow down the mind, finally feeling limp and relaxed all over. The water washed away my drive, my concerns, my worry, my thoughts. A gentle joyful bliss filled with simple appreciation overwhelmed me. An ocean in a bath tub. Water is so passive, so soft; it passes through the fingers. Yet, it can destroy mountains and cities. It's power is in its softness. Every dew drop mirrors the garden around it. We are like water, too; reflecting everything that is.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Enough is enough

My father was a Portuguese dairy milker in Southern California. My mother always worried when he was late coming home after work. She feared he would have an accident on the farm (cows are not always passive). She could be left destitute, with her only child—me. After all, my father's father had died in Massachusetts when my father was one year old, and my grandmother had no financial support. Grandmother returned to the Azores with my father when she ran out of money. Twenty years later my father returned to the U.S., and worked till he had enough money to send for us.

My father worked seven days a week; sometimes two shifts a day. At that time—the 50's and early 60's—one dairy farm laborer's income could support his family. Mother was the homemaker. My father earned a modest salary, but he saved enough money to buy a house with a 50% down payment. He even arranged to pay off the house early with a couple of large lump sum payments. He bought the family car with cash. He did not believe in credit or debt.

Later he took a modest job at Lever Brothers in Los Angeles. He felt he was in heaven because he only had to work one shift (plus occasional overtime) to feed the family.

When my father was an old man, he told me one day in simple Portuguese, "I don't have a big house, I don't have a fancy car, but what I have is clean and good. I like what I've earned. Some people look down on me for not having more. Still, I am happy with what I have. It's good to be satisfied. Enough is enough."

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Blank Page

Blank page. Openness. 
All possibilities still here. 
Add a line, mark, letter or word
and infinite possibilities fade
into finite actualities.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Feeling God's Presence

Feeling God is easy, once we recognize what it is; it's everything and nothing. God is simply all-in-all as-it-is. God is so obvious that we mostly don't notice God's presence; like the air all around and within our lunges. You don't notice air until you feel the absence of air; you don't notice God until you feel absence and separation from God. Sometimes if feels like God talks to us - be sure that its a divine message beyond you - and not the voice of your ego. The best part of learning to feel God's presence is that it provides good company. 

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Root of the Golden Rule

"The world's religions are rooted in experiences of cosmic consciousness. Often these experiences came after long periods of isolation and fasting. By looking at this common root, we can come to greater understanding of the unity within the diversity of religions."
Americ Azevedo - Voice & Thoughts 
Josh Williams  - drum programming, sounds, electric guitars, synths