Tuesday, December 13, 2011

International Area Studies Meditation Talk

International Area Studies Meditation & Talk (December 9, 2011) by americ

Talk and meditation presented for International Area Studies students at UC Berkeley on December 9, 2011 - a week before semester final exams - the most stressful moment of the semester. Two short five minute meditation sessions were conducted. I aimed to inspire students with an easy method of daily meditation practice: five five-minute sessions spread throughout the day. I call it the Five by five meditation method or just 5x5. Enjoy. 

Two five minute meditations were recorded - which are each abridged to one minute. You may wish to pause and
restart recording at those points, in the spirit of the talk.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Meditation Poetry Slam - Fall 2011

Students of Fall 2011, PACS 94 (Meditation Theory & Practice) at UC Berkeley: presenting their own poems inspired by meditation practice.

Meditation Poetry Slam - November 16, 2011 by americ

Saturday, November 26, 2011

E.E. Cummings "I Thank You God For This Most Amazing Day"

We don't need to believe in God, to feel moved by the joy of these words.



I'm thankful E.E Cummings lived, wrote, recited & recorded this poem.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Occupy Your Mind

Meditation talk given at UC Berkeley on November 9th, 2011 - the day when the Occupy movement came to campus. Reflections on inner "occupy" in the time of the social "Occupy Wall Street" movement(s).
Occupy Your Mind by americ

Sunday, October 30, 2011

This Class Not About Meditation - It is Meditation

Audio recording of meditation talk at University of California, Berkeley. Meditation is not separate from any aspect of life. All of life is infused with the potential of intense presence-at-hand.

This Class Not About Meditation - It is Meditation by americ

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Desire Behind All Desire

It's not so important how long you live; but that you realize who you really are before you pass away. In that self-realization is the true goal of life consciousness. The desire behind all desire.

Monday, October 10, 2011

HBO's 'Enlightened' Take On Modern Meditation

This afternoon (1:27 pm, October 10th), I'm listening to the Terry Gross interview of Laura Dern and Mike White on NPR's "Fresh Air". Suddenly, my mind is twisted with the story of a new HBO television show about meditation and enlightenment. The series starts tonight. You will be enlightened!

To hear the interview or read parts of the transcript visit THIS LINK 

From the program description:

Can people really change? That's the question Laura Dern and Mike White ask in their new HBO series, Enlightened, which premieres Monday night. The show features Dern as Amy Jellicoe, an ambitious executive who has a nervous breakdown at her workplace. She goes to a rehabilitation center in Hawaii, where she experiences an awakening.
When Amy returns home, she wants to put her new philosophy into practice — meditating, communicating better with her mother (Diane Ladd), and fostering a healthier relationship with her ex-husband (Luke Wilson). But she finds her lessons of enlightenment being put to the test.
Show creator Mike White wrote the series and also directed some of the episodes. White and Dern join Fresh Air's Terry Gross for a conversation about Enlightened.



Sunday, October 09, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Becoming a Mainstream Dialogue

I've been watching the fast growing "Occupy Wall Street" movement on Twitter and in the mainstream media online. Today (Sunday, October 9th), it emerges as a major news story on CBS's online website. The cat is out of the bag - the "money, wealth, and power" discourse is up for renewal. I'm hoping it's a return to reality and away from ideology. This will take a massive amount of dialogue in all directions; between many kinds of people.

Occupy Wall Street is now a "normative dialogue" (a dialogue about the kinds of society we value) between people on the streets, people at home watching/reading the news, and talking with friends at coffee houses, local markets, workplaces, etc. There are also the measured responses of those with "control" on all sides of the political spectrum. We are facing a profound social-political-economic mystery. All I hope for now is that we all stay nonviolent and be open to deepening dialogue and understanding - open minds, suspending all judgments. Let truth guide us.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Outremer by Fanny Howe

I recently "discovered" a new poet in my life, Fanny Howe while reading Poetry Magazine's September 2011 issue - which published Howe's long prose-like poem, Outremer. Upon reading it three times, I was hooked. Here's video reading of Outremer (a collaboration by Fanny Howe and artist Maceno Senna):


Outremer from Fanny Howe on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

"Greed is Good" - Wall Street & Beyond

Years ago I saw the classic 1989 movie: Wall Street. A story of a corporate takeover artist. He took over one company at a time. Small stuff compared the financial engineering that brought down the world's financial system in 2008, followed by global economic depression.

Is greed the real engine of human progress? Given all the current events around the "Occupy Wall Street" protests, let's revisit the "greed is good" speech by the movie's main protagonist: Gorden Gekko (played in 1987 by Michael Douglas). Here are his words in court:



By the way, Gekko did not use the the words "Greed is Good" in the original Wall Street film. Here's a transcript: “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures, the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind and greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the U.S.A."

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Nicholas Ashford, MIT Economist re: Occupy Wall Street

The "Occupy Wall Street" protests in New York are growing into a global event. This phenomena questions basic assumptions about money, value, society, and environment. This second week of September 2011, see many main stream news stories emerging. The following extracted from http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2011/1004/Occupy-Wall-Street-flash-in-the-pan-or-beginning-of-a-movement.

Americans should be prepared to see this movement take hold and spread, says MIT economics professor and lawyer Nicholas Ashford, author of “Technology, Globalization, and Sustainable Development – Transforming the Industrial State: Exploring the Critical Conflicts between Economy, Environment, and Employment.”
It’s not just a matter of people being “mad as hell and not taking it anymore,” he says. “It’s more crucially the dawning realization that the US economy was always built on quicksand, and that our current dismal state is not the anomaly, but the reality.”
“Instead of waiting for the economy to ‘bounce back’ to a previous state of health that was nothing but a sad illusion,” says Professor Ashford, “Washington, Wall Street, and big business need to address a strategy for moving forward from where we are,” not from where they thought we were.

Monday, October 03, 2011

River of Thoughts

a river of thoughts flowing
through my days
returning to the ocean
never ending, always waving

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Meditation & the Practice of Law

The Practical Value of Meditation in Law Practice. Talk, guided meditation, and question/answers. Delivered by Charles Halpern, Director, Berkeley Initiative for Mindfulness in Law. (Bolt Law School, University of California, Berkeley). Presented to the 300 students of Americ Azevedo's "Theory and Practice of Meditation" course at UC Berkeley. September 28th, 2011.
Listen/Download  
Long quiet guided meditation moments deleted from this audio file.

Monday, September 19, 2011

1 Giant Leap - Trailer for 2nd Film - 2sides2everything

This is a philosophic snapshot of how people around the world feel and think about the "big questions". Indeed, an important enterprise. (Many thanks to Marianne Henry for bring this to my attention.)

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Politics, Leaders, and Followers


Politics is larger than life. Our relationships to leaders are reduced to those of children looking upon a distant parent. We tend to demonize or sanctify them! Reality is distorted. If you are a leader you sign up for being “the reason” why things appear to be working or failing. Leaders cannot be leaders without followers. Look to the quality of followers to understand the quality and power of the leaders.  (+)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mining Circle Building - Inside View

View from my Engineering Ethics class (Summer 2011).

Thursday, July 28, 2011

There's Nothing to Do

What needs to be done?

There's nothing to do.
It's all done.
Move about as you do.
No need to add your concern -
it does not help at all.

Now, how shall we act? Action without attachment to results is best. You know the outcomes, and perform the tasks without grasping. Tasks will happen more precisely, more actions, with more joy, and fulfillment. You are living your life now – rather than in the future.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

It passes

There is
That consuming
Desiring part
Empty inside
So wanting to fill up
On things, people, events
What is it?
Genetic instincts
Blindly driving us
To buy, produce, consume
Meaning?
Just tired and hungry
Sit with it
It passes

Friday, June 24, 2011

Another kind of wealth

Barron's: The Dow Jones Business and Financial Weekly published (August 11, 2003) a letter to the editor, in which I wrote the following:

I was delighted with one of your recent cartoons (Mailbag, Aug 4). Two well-fed men are on a commuter train and one says to the other, "All the harping about the rich getting richer; what are they supposed to do?" I propose a basic answer. Don't expect the rich to give away money or have fewer tax breaks. But expect the rich to use their own time wisely, to go deep into the meaning of their own lives, finding the way to real happiness. Those who do so will become different people -- no longer trading the wealth of the human heart and soul for just more material wealth. That would change the world.

Mother Theresa noted that America is a land of spiritual poverty. Everyone, even the poor, have televisions, but poor in spirit. People are valued by the things they have, not their wisdom and spirit. Perfectly intelligent well-off women and men gather to talk about their cars, houses, and things they own or are planning to buy. Often, hiding from themselves, through feigned joy, the feeling that life is meaningless. You are encouraged to spend your life energy getting the right car, right house, right club membership, right clothes, and way of talking - to the point that you forgot that you are, at the bottom, none of these things. Real satisfaction keeps receding into the horizon. Stories are told of people who buy the expensive car, and find a week later they need "something" else to drive them on to achievement.

(+)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Atlantis revisited














It's been said that the Azores Islands are the tip of the lost continent of Atlantis – home to a civilization of the highest technology. The Atlantians, like the citizens of Babel were overpowered by their technology. By divine power or human ingenuity both were brought to total destruction.

The Azores are in the Atlantic ocean about 800 miles east of Europe, in the middle of nowhere, which makes them a stepping stone between North America and Europe. Columbus’ last stop before proceeding to the New World was the Azores Islands. His sailing ships where the high technology of the time.

I was born in the Azores Islands as World War II ended. I immigrated from the Azores to the U.S.A. with my parents at the age of two. As I grew up in America on a farm in Los Angeles County, I fell in love with science and technology. To me it was magic. Happily learning to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen, building a radio transmitter and receiver, looking into the deep sky with a telescope, and creating electricity by moving a magnet through a wound coil of copper wire. I wanted to be a wizard; my magic wand was a pen.

(+)

(Image of Terceira Island, Azores. From Oceandots.com.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Wayseer Manifesto

Today, into my world came a gift from a friend*; a YouTube video that speaks to the part of us tuned to Truth, the Way, the Cosmic Order, the Absolute, God, ...

Dare to listen and feel with your heart:




* Marianne Henry

Friday, March 25, 2011

Failing into success

The way up and the way down is the same. Failure and success are two sides of one coin. A duality that is not! No success is lasting, regardless of how solid and powerful it looks. Even the whole universe will run down, will fail. Profound failure can become profound success. Jesus' life work "failed" into becoming the most abiding success in religious history.

Every time I fail, I let myself feel the failure as deeply as possible. A whole new perspective soon arises with rich fields of opportunity. Learn to be thankful for apparent failures -- this flips the perspective. Failure never happens; it's my expectations that failed to match reality at the moment. Change the expectations; look again at what-is with clearer sight. Go on. Live fully.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Technology and the meaning of life

The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.

Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

-- T. S. Elliot

We uncouple technologies, such as computing and road building, from our deepest human values. The questions asked by T. S. Elliot become irrelevant as we refuse to acknowledge the human context.

Students at universities become mainly focused on "practical knowledge" that leads to high paid jobs. The values by which we guide our technological development and application become afterthoughts. We must wonder if technology now controls human life more than humans control technology.

Information technology is valued above wisdom. There is no "wisdom technology". It's easier to understand information technology then wisdom. A high school student can quickly grasp computer programming, but it takes almost an entire lifetime to mature to wisdom. People who think of themselves as wise because they have read some books are dangerous. Wisdom is lived, not mastered as procedures and facts that can be scored on an exam sheet.

Data and information are the "atomic" components of knowledge. These components don't make a lot of sense by themselves. Water is composed of molecules, which are in turn composed of atoms of hydrogen and oxygen. We could say that molecules are like information and atoms (a level further down) are like data. But such an understanding does not allow us to understand the "wetness" of water. Wetness is an emergent phenomenon that is experienced by sentient human beings. When we look at a friend, we just don't see atoms and molecules, we see a friend.

Meaning is the real food of human life. Our real task is to arrange education, family, society, moral training, technology and economic arrangements in way that allows meaningful human life to unfold for as many people as possible. Clearly, we have remarkable technologies. But do we have enough meaning?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

With what do you buy your money?


With what do we buy our money? Many years ago, I was giving a talk on wisdom in the world. At the end of the talk, I was approached by an old man. He came up to me and said, "I want to ask you a question." I said, "What's that?" He said, "With what do you buy your money?" I thought about it for a minute, and said, "With your life, of course." He said, "You're right, and I wish I had known that when I was much younger. For all my life, I worked for money. I put all my time into working for money that I thought I would enjoy later on." He explained that he just never thought about anything else except working to save money, to put money away, to plan for the future. And the future had arrived, and here he was, an old man. And he expressed that he had a sense of bitterness about that, that he hadn't achieved an earlier understanding about the importance of living life, and that he had indeed bought his money with his life. (+)

Image by Terry Pettengill.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Running like snails

We take jet planes to get somewhere fast, while taking hours to get in and out of airports for a one hour flight. Booking passage, packing, deciding what to take and not take, freeway travel, airport security, weather problems, and the unexpected mechanical problems -- a one hour flight becomes a half-day event. This is "running like snails." Rage is a symptom of running like snails. You see it with commuters on trains and freeways; and, on the internet and in the office.

Freeways ought to move quickly -- everyone gets on them during "rush hour". "Rush hour" could be renamed "running like snails" hour. Fast automotive technology meets congested overcrowded freeways. Road rage flares on freeways as drivers try to move faster. Every year 40,000 people die because of the need to “get there on time”.

Companies now organize around information efficiency for maximum profit. For instance, eliminating contact with "ineffectual" and “expensive” humans, instead providing web pages and interactive voice activated telephone services. Customer satisfaction problems are more difficult to resolve nowadays. No one can hear you scream in cyberspace! Fast internet service does not make us more productive, rather it gives us more distractions along the information superhighway.

Someday we will all learn to just walk like lightening.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Time-Money-Love

After many considerations, it's clear modern technological life has three fundamental categories: time, money, and love. Insights can be gained by looking at the weight that is applied to these categories in different life circumstances.

We can’t separate time, money, and love. In moments of insight, meditation, and spontaneous grace: it becomes clear that time, money, and love are just time-money-love; like space and time in physics are now fused into space-time.

Ask ourselves the question how does time-money-love play itself out in our lives? More money, less time? More time, more love? Is more money, less love? Yes, no, maybe? Look deeply into this.

Friday, March 11, 2011

My window of time

View out my window of time
People and cars passing by
Meaning is not an issue
Only the Being all around
It is what it is as-it-is
So easy. You know that
someday you'll step off this
life. So accept it in
ways deep inside. So inside
that it's just That.
Breathe into Being
this morning. You and I
are here where we are

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Brilliant Discussions

During Kiva Time of Winter 2003, in the Oakland hills, I recorded my good friend Glenn Matson sharing a few thoughts on the Native American Indian practice of brilliant discussions. This practice has profound implications for dialogue in schools and businesses - and with friends.

LISTEN TO "Glenn Matson on Brilliant Discussions" (1397 kb; time 2:00)



Brilliant discussion regarding time

Glenn Matson introduced the idea of brilliant discussions. As we proceeded with our recording session, we moved into a brilliant discussion focused on the the nature of time.

Perhaps, the greatest miracle is the one that creates time. The quality of no-time, no-space is all inclusive. Time might not be real. We became almost speechless. The mind and soul are drawn to deeper levels.

LISTEN TO "Glenn Matson & Americ Azevedo in a brilliant discussion on time" (4002 KB; time 5:41)


Image from Corbis.com online catalogue.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Sierras Wander

My friend, Glen, took a long, long hike in the High Sierras. He's his report, complete with text, pictures, and video:


Enjoy!