Friday, August 31, 2012

Environmental Sabbath Day - A Simple Proposal

In our efforts to reduce greenhouse gases we often overlook the cultural dimensions. These days, we love the idea of “24/7” – that production and services run “24 hours a day, 7 days a week”. Certainly this makes for higher production of goods and services, as well as greenhouse gases and general degradation of life on earth! What ever happened to the “the Lord’s Day” or the Sabbath? One day in every seven set aside as a Holy Day; on that day, no work. Yes, things shut down; instead talk with family and neighbors, and walk around the neighborhood; that sometimes included not using machines, such as automobiles and aircraft. With a weekly “Environmental Sabbath Day” we would save upwards of 10% of energy use! Plus, get back the time to slow down, relax and have more humane lives. Good for the environment, good for us.

Image source

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Helping a blind man

"Amelie has a strange feeling of absolute harmony. It's a perfect moment. Soft light, a scent in the air, the quiet murmur of the city. She breathes deeply. Life is simple and clear. A surge of love, an urge to help mankind comes over her."



Amelie spots a blind man at the curb who is about to cross a busy street. She has seen the man a couple of times before in short glimpses. Now...

"Let me help you. Step down. Here we go!
The drum major's widow!
She's worn his coat since the day he died.
The horse's head has lost an ear!
That's the florist laughing.
He has crinkly eyes.
In the bakery window, lollipops.
Smell that!
They're giving out melon slices.
Sugarplum ice cream!
We're passing the park butcher.
Ham, 79 francs.
Spareribs, 45!
Now the cheese shop.
Picadors are 12.90. Cabecaus 23.50.
A baby's watching a dog...
that's watching the chickens.
Now we're at the kiosk by the metro.
I'll leave you here. Bye!"


Monday, August 27, 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Wonder

Dustin Hoffman & Natalie Portman
*Dialogue starts at :41 (not my commentary at 3:14 )
Quick Context: Mr. Magorium is about to pass away and is comforting his protege and best friend Molly Mahoney. As most of us do when we are about to lose something we love immensely, Mahoney tries to hold into Magorium for his final moments; she loves him too much to lose him. Magorium's response  to her has helped me get through tumultuous times and moments of intense change. Moving forward can be  so difficult, yet it only takes that first step or final sentence to turn the page.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Welcome back dear friends

Someone comes home and their friend says, "Where have you been?"

"Strolling about in the hills..."

"Well, where did you go?"

"...I went out,
following the scented grass;
and came back,
chasing the falling blossoms..."

Saturday, August 18, 2012

IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD



I am currently re-reading the Will to Power by Friedrich Nietzsche. It’s an intoxicating read if for nothing else but his use of language. I’m not sure I swallow Nietzsche whole, but at least I pride myself at digesting ideas that stretch my imagination and thought. You see, for me one of the crowing stars of “humanitarian civilized life” is literacy

In my belief system, if one is able to read and write then one is able to understand the world around them, and absorb the issues that create that world in both good and bad ways. As a result, opportunities increase, as do choices, and as an informed participant in the world of reality, one is able to guide their life in a positive direction and away from oppressive and exploitive situations. By continually choosing “good” one optimizing their life and a few fortunate ones eventually become Enlightened. In other words, literacy is a direct path to one’s highest and best use of personal attributes whatever they may be.

Simultaneously, I believe in spiritual attainment. I practice meditation, and devote a large portion of my life to a self-designed modern monk lifestyle. No, I don’t beg for a bowl of rice, nor do I live in a barren one-room monastery. However through good action, minimization of hubris and greed, I feel I have found the good and to a small degree experience heaven on earth, albeit with all the bumps and curves in the luscious road of life.

With that context in mind, I recently received an email from an Ashram in India who wanted to do some publishing business with me. I was delighted to receive the email, and wanted to participate in their efforts. We exchanged emails and shared information to gain a better understanding of each other. Then I received an email that contained this statement:

(Our Swami) …is a saint who is void of worldly education, yet internally organized by the grace of accomplished Guru that becomes possible after a long practice of meditation. He considers writing as an obstacle on the path to the Supreme Beatitude …



Okay!?!  CONFLICT TIME!

All of a sudden a fork in the road on the path to Enlightenment appeared in front of me. One the one hand, the basic tenet of literacy in upgrading an individual’s life versus remaining absolutely true to the soul and letting the spirit of the universe, the It, the All, completely guide the way, not words.  

Mind cramp!

When I thought about it, Jesus didn’t read and write. Yet, I’m sure Buddha did because of his royal upbringing. God wrote the 10 commandments down, creating a propensity to read as a fundamental understanding of human morality. I’m not quite sure about Lao Tzu, but I can’t think of too many examples of illiteracy in the spiritual world.

Then again, maybe everyone along the way compromised with the world, negotiating a treatise of social harmony.  Minimization and deflecting intrusion is certainly a must for a soul-filled life, but the inability to scan SFGate, the New York Time or the Huffington Post seems mind crunching and maybe a little ignore-esque



Okay! Maybe I need more time to digest this dilemma. But for right now, I’m settling for the resolution of BALANCE and MODERATION.  However, I also like cream and sugar in a cup of strong French Roast coffee. Maybe I’m just a moderate at heart. 

Elliptical Trainer

Heavy. That describes many emotions and situations. It sits on our minds and bodies. At least, it feels like it does. How real our thoughts can become to the point of putting physical strain on us. Become depressed and its hard to move or get out of bed. Become happy and you seem to float on air. That's quite a bit of power to surrender to something as fickle as the mind. But, when you stand in your own power, these thoughts have no effect on the body. We can always become stronger by weightlifting; the act of meditation. Its the simplest exercise you will ever do, though, probably one of the hardest. You don't have to lift anything to gain power, on the contrary, you let go. Don't hold onto the strain; don't lift it. See how powerful, yet light you've become?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

For Today...


Today,
put your hand over your heart;
your pulse will remind you that you are alive.

Today,
close your eyes;
it will remind you that this drama,
the movie which you think you play out as the main character
is just another story.

Watch this drama unfold...

Focus on your breath.
Breathe in the life that pulsates around you.
It will remind you that you are not separate.

You are the pulse
which reminds others
that they too 
are alive.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Online Imperfection


We spend too 
much time working out
perfect metheds  methods (!)
of online communication.
                                  I say - honor the
                                  imperfections - here
                                  is the human touch.
One had  handwritten letter
is worth 100 printed  
store bought cards.

Editors note: Written back in 2006.  While still using Windows ME!

Tears

Tears cleanse the soul of the past - bringing release into this present moment.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Truth Wealth Realization is Needed - Now!

We are born with true wealth, but constantly forget to realize the wealth we already have. Failing to acknowledge our true wealth we keep grasping for more, like hungry ghosts who are never satisfied while constantly eating! Thus, we go about despoiling the earth, corrupting relationships, and twisting societies into grotesque forms that promote needless suffering for ourselves, others, and the earth as a whole. Realizing true wealth leads to personal, interpersonal, and transpersonal fulfillment. Furthermore, the long-term survival of life on earth depends upon true wealth realization.

We need deep psychological and spiritual healing of individuals, groups, communities, nations, and the earth. The bedrock of this healing is a return to this present moment, not in a selfish, narrow way, but in a way that includes the totality of what is here–there as well as past–present–future. It is nothing less than the ancient ideal of enlightenment of all sentient beings.

(This is part of an article titled "Realizing True Wealth" that first appeared in Verna Allee & Dinesh Chandra (Eds.) What is True Wealth & How Do We Create it? Indigo Press, A Division of Print and Media Associates, New Delhi, India, 2004.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

SILENT ILLUSION


 I was approached by a new college graduate recently, a very delightful young woman, intelligent with a fairly good work ethic in school. The real world seemed to throw her for a loop. She was expecting something quite different from her degree. Instead, she has an enormous debt, no job, and is looking for answers to her situation. When she was going through high school we use to discuss philosophy, art and life so it was fun to engage with her again on a new level of problem solving.

She spent a long time grappling with the problem of life, its confusion, its salesmanship, its hypocrisy. I found myself nodding in agreement, without any valuable input to her situation. From my viewpoint, many people at many levels were sharing her frustration.

Then all of a sudden she stopped talking, and spent a few moments gazing into her head. I could hear the wheels churning. Then slowly she looked up to me and said, "You know, it might all be an illusion. It could be that I could reconstruct the way I see the world, and maybe devise a new approach!" I was dazed. I nodded my head in agreement, and after she left with a jovial good-bye, I sat and stared at the wall for a long time with Vivaldi playing in the background. I finally sat down and produced my thoughts in the video below. I credit this young woman for her bravery and innovative thought. To me it showed the essence of an enlightened soul.
.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Between lines

Between Heaven & Hell
Stands a story
Of love, passion & hate
Between the lines
There's no-story
Only bright light
Steady, eternal

Monday, August 06, 2012

Playing with Oneness (more Sunday morning meditation)


 I.
All is one
and One is all;
Not for a ball-team,
But a ball!
Fun is what you make of it;
Bliss is even better.
As one in All,
      all is One.
      Oh what fun!
      (happiness in the sun).

II.
The laughter and the tears
Melt into the years
And become
     One.

III.
The Oneness-of-all-things
is no less
than more
(more-or-less)
and no more
than one
is All.

IV.
“Playing with the One,
       no less!”, says Americ,
              my loved-one.

                         Diane (July 2012)

Sunday, August 05, 2012

To the Anonymous Commenter

http://philosopher-at-large.blogspot.com/2012/08/time-goes.html
“What happens when you feel so far from the light? I read about stillness and peace here but they are just concepts to me. I want to be one with everything too. I want to be happy like you.”

I've been meditating on this all day and I have got to say that it’s incredibly difficult to respond to this. I want to say that you are always one. That you are not far from the light because you are a part of that light. Peace and stillness are always there whether we experience them consciously or not because they don’t need to be conceptualized.

These statements, I believe, are all true.

But I feel it wouldn't help. They would just become more concepts, especially when you feel like this. I know because I was here yesterday. I wanted to say to everyone, “I want to be happy like you!” Yet, unlike you, I didn't. I didn't have the courage.

I wrote a post entitled ‘Bad Day’ but decided not to publish it because I felt it was too out of place. The post was about separation; a choice to see separation and do nothing about it. I couldn't post that. No way. It wasn't peaceful, spiritual or helpful at all. But you had the courage to do something which I did not. You confronted your feelings of separation to reach out and express how you felt. 

I can't tell you how to feel peaceful or still or even happy. All I can say is that in our feeling of separation, you and I are one. You can't be far from the light, my friend, if it is your light which gives me the courage to post on a bad day.

"Bad Day"

Pure light is right behind this cellophane wrap. I can see it. I could touch it even...only if I made the choice to finally tear it away. But it’s that choice which is the hardest. To shed everything and step towards it. Be one; truly luminous. I can see the cellophane. But I don't want to walk through. I'd rather compromise and continue to watch the pretty light...

Saturday, August 04, 2012

morning cappucino

There's something about sitting in the morning at the coffee shop in the city. It's empty, and you observe people coming in, slowly. Perfect time for reflection and getting minor things done. Cappuccino was good, wifi was even better.


Tonight I'm watching alone and for myself for the first time: Ascenseur pour l'├ęchafaud (1958).

Friday, August 03, 2012

Time goes

Time goes building
days, years, lifetimes.
Nothing stops at my door,
the train always moving.
Still, real Mind is still,
eternal, one.

Image Source: touchn2btouched

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Truth and Freedom

Tell me. How do we live the
truth?

It's been said and
written: the truth shall make
you free. But, to know the
truth that makes you free is
to live, to embody the truth.
I believe that we must strip away
one illusion after another.
So that we are not distorting
reality. We must learn what's
below our senses; learning
how our emotions and
special personal interests color
our responses to reality.
To know both what we can
and cannot change.
To live with our
shadow, shades of gray,
and the light -- all at once.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

THE FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT



My wife and I were enjoying the calm, soothing ambiance of my favorite Japanese restaurants, eating our favorite dishes and talking about the philosophical issues of life. It has been a long held family tradition to discuss philosophical matters and on this particular night we were talking about the bane of materialism, the crushing pressure of life, the time poverty of modern existence when our waitress came to the table. I turned and asked where she was from and she answered China. She had been away from her homeland for a long time and readily acknowledged that a lot has changed in China from when she was there. I asked her more out of a whim than anything else what she felt was the main difference between the two countries.  Now, I honestly thought the answer would verify the points I had been making about materialism overtaking our lives. However, after reflecting about it, she turned to me and said, “FREEDOM!” 

She explained that she could go here, there, anywhere without restriction, without government intervention, without fear.  It was paradise. Her answered stopped me cold. Freedom! Movement! Lack of spatial restraint. I had never thought of that before. Here I was dwelling on useless buying habits,  as I inadvertently overlooked the subtle freedoms that go into moving from one geographical space to another.  I realized the diversity of humanity is based on its ability to move from one location to another throughout eons of history. Maybe spatial movement is a deeper part of us that we don't always understand or recognize. Maybe we should see life as a dance not only through space but mind. Anyway, it certainly was an eye opener for me, but then again that's why I love going to my favorite Japanese restaurant.