Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Timekept timekeepers

I journeyed to London,
to the timekept City

--from "The Rock"
T. S. Eliot

I once read a novel where the main character got so frustrated with time that he tore out the hands of a clock. But the clock kept ticking anyway! Shortly after graduating from college, I developed the habit of being late for work. Even during college I was often late for classes. I would constantly look at my watch and race against it to be "on time."

One day my wristwatch fell into the dish washing sink. It was not waterproof. Thereafter, I lived without a wristwatch. Soon I discovered that I did not need a wristwatch. Clocks were everywhere. Banks had signs flashing the current temperature and time. The radio announcers told the time on the hour. There were clocks in supermarkets, offices, and classrooms. Most people had wristwatches.

I stopped being late after my wristwatch drowned in dish washing waters. I discovered that I did not have to race the clock as I just adjusted down my expectations of what I could do in ten or fifteen minutes. I began to realize exactly what I could do between two events, I began to feel like I had more time. I used to look for “a spare 10 minutes” in my watch, and fill up that time with something rather than going to my appointment – naturally, I could not do all those things. I am a human being not a computer slicing nanoseconds. I became in touch with my natural time rather than just clock time.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Clock time and natural time

In the 1920's a French critic of modern civilization argued that toward the very "end", things would speed up. We would have more and more choices, more things to acquire, and more things to do. This, he wrote, would be the human condition just before the collapse of Modern Civilization -- a civilization based on an almost exclusive devotion to the demons of money and time. Our current lack of time is a symptom of cultural bankruptcy. We have more options than a human being can manage. We are supposed to be parents, good workers, sexy mates, and personally well developed in every way. There is just not enough time.

There is clock time and natural time -- these two kinds of time may or may not match. It's possible to be "on time" by the clock, yet early or late by natural time. We can never be "on time" by racing against the clock -- the clock will always win, if not by the numbers, by wearing us down and making us die young of high blood pressure. When we are on natural time, we are always "on time". We are not either waiting or rushing. We are always in the right place at the right time. Doctors used to advise that newborn babies be fed at regular intervals such as 9 a.m., 12 noon, 3 p.m., etc. This was one method of taking natural time away from our lives.

The art of living is that of harmonizing clock time with natural time. Clock time holds the modern world together. So we need to adjust our clocks to fit human needs, not human needs to fit the clock. Airlines need to run on schedule. But human beings should just "show up" and move on as they will. I never looked at bus schedules, but I used buses all the time. I just showed up and waited. If there were enough buses coming up, I did not particularly worry about when the next bus came. If I plan my days properly, I move through my appointments with time to spare.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Busy being born

He not busy being born
Is busy dying
- Bob Dylan*

*From his song, “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Audio comments on the nature of words:

A Vision

In forests, deserts, plains, mountains, and valleys – the ancient healers of soul, mind and body knew Grace, Power, Wisdom, and Love. They lived before civilization – directly with the sky, earth, sun, rain, fire, and seasons. Now few know the sky, instead looking at reports on the news, reading books, and other media. Few of us understand or live primal ways of life.

Agriculture brought cities; and the flowering of poetry, writing, politics, and the division of work into complex social arrangements. Some went back to the forest and deserts to connect with the elemental powers. The playful Krishna, the cool wise Buddha, the heartfelt Jesus, the long-lived Lao-Tzu, the messenger Mohammed – each one spent time in the wilderness away from civilization; plus, so many others now unknown to us. They returned to their communities speaking and teaching of the Way, the One God, and Enlightenment.

We quest for the stars and knowledge of atoms, forgetting the primal knowledge of Life and soul; and, recklessly ruling the earth and each other.

What did the ancient ones know and teach? Did they cut through all illusions and see truth behind the blinding power of ego? Can we weave these personalities, these archetypes, together into wholeness? Can we? Dare we not? This is the age of a new alliance between humans, all life, earth, cosmos and humble understanding of the All-in-all.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Political “Idiots”

"Our word 'idiot' comes from the Greek idiotes which was the term to describe someone who lived an entirely private existence and took no part in the public life of the city. Most of us today are idiots, then, inasmuch as we fail to exercise our political intelligence." – David Miller, Professor of Political Theory, Oxford University*

* David Miller. Political Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2003. page 48.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Morning Dispatches

Everyday I walk down
to the local coffee house;
get a cup, sit by the window
facing the hills, before sunrise.
From my shirt pocket, I pull out a
couple of folded sheets
of loose paper, fountain pen,
and wait for a "dispatch" -
a “bead” of wisdom
to come out and flow
upon the sheet of paper.

For a long, long time
writing a book of wisdom.
Not quite like writing instructions
for fixing a leaky bathroom faucet.

Wisdom reflects the
immediacy of this moment.
It must always sound true –
thoughts, spoken and written
in a timeless present.

You can't just memorize wisdom;
you unpack wisdom
from the depths of your being
as if connected to all Being.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Space of silence

"Be still, and know that I am God!
Psalms 46:10

Meditation is like listening for Silence
Prayer is like talking to Silence
Contemplation attends to thoughts between Silence

Dance in the space of silence
Hear an eternal ocean within

Life’s like a dance of
Activity, prayer, and deep silence

Silence holds beginnings and insights;
With power beyond imagination

Monday, June 14, 2010

A humble start

I began elementary school with no knowledge of English. I never played with any other children until the first day of class! The world had many adults and one child – me. My first English word was “stupid” – the name the kids called me on the playground. No one on the playground spoke Portuguese. I hid in cupboards and lost weight from nervous distress. Eventually, I was placed in the equivalent of a retarded group of students. I’d go to bed praying to God to make me smart. A few years later I became the class “nerd” or “brain”. Intelligence or the sense of belonging to a group can’t be taken for granted. I now see that true intelligence is not in doing “class assignments” well, but in manging our own self-transformation toward “being all that we can be” – that is, to full actualize.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


To recall, to think
that all my life I've been
writing notes and journals.
I don't know if this is good
or bad - don't care.
It's what I do.
Everyone does something.
Everyone has a karma.
We are placed in a
context as we come into
this life. No choice
about it. No freedom it seems,
but, if conscious, if aware
freedom comes with training,
restraint; the ability to
wait and watch for
an opening to our
heart's desire comes.
Follow it. It's your calling.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Holy instant

With well tuned mind
Every moment is holy

We embrace this holy instant
drinking the wine of bliss

Even in fiery spells
Of sweet lust
or bitter rage

We can awaken
Through consciousness
To our own true nature.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Hopi Elder Speaks

During a recent "Wisdom Circle" telephone conference call, Marrianne read a wonderful quote from a Hopi elder -- directly off her refrigerator door. Later she found the text on several locations on the web (the follow being from http://people.tribe.net/cortt/blog/af1171e9-aac3-4825-aeab-759b860e3ebc) :

"You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour. And there are things to be considered . . .

Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader."

Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said, "This could be a good time!"

"There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are torn apart and will suffer greatly.

"Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above water. And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, Least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

"The time for the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from you attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

"We are the ones we've been waiting for."

-- attributed to an unnamed Hopi elder
Hopi Nation
Oraibi, Arizona

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Community deficiency disorder

I met a man from Mexico who reported that in his small village people did not use antidepressant drugs. "We don't let anyone slip away into depression. We give our friends attention, play with them, talk with them, and make them feel loved. Soon, their depression lifts." We, on the other hand, live in a society that encourages isolation. This is what the consumer society is all about. We substitute services and products for real contact with people; as if products and services can replace real community. Highly rich technological consumer oriented societies suffer from community deficiency disorder. Can we take the cure?

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Quality of mercy

Justice tempered by mercy is the practical application of love in public life. All would do well to take to heart William Shakespeare’s the words of mercy within the Merchant of Venice, in the trial scene near the end when the judge, Portia, says,

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

A mystic moment

Nothing to prove.
Standing just as human.
Living, spontaneously from center.
Listening for God's voice within.

And, what is "God"? Not a word.
It's reality, the sense of truth
opening to the unlimited.
Unspeakable, it is.