Saturday, December 29, 2018

Where Can I Go

"Where can I go. I am here"
    ~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

Monday, December 24, 2018



Well, I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him, Tell me, where are you going
This he told me
Said, I'm going down to Yasgur's Farm
Gonna join in a rock and roll band
Got to get back to the land and set my soul free
We are stardust, we are golden
We are billion year old carbon
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden
Well, then can I roam beside you?
I have come to lose the smog,
And I feel myself a cog in somethin' turning
And maybe it's the time of year
Yes and maybe it's the time of man
And I don't know who I am
But life is for learning
We are stardust, we are golden
We are billion year old carbon
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden
We are stardust, we are golden
We are billion year old carbon
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden
By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere was a song and a celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bomber death planes
Riding shotgun in the sky,
Turning into butterflies
Above our nation
We are stardust, we are golden
We are caught in the devil's bargain

And we got to get ourselves back to the garden
Songwriters: Joni Mitchell Woodstock lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Friday, December 21, 2018


Backgammon is perhaps 5000 years old, originating in what is now Iraq - previously known as Mesopotamia. Backgammon balances randomness and order. Your dice throws "determine" possible moves. This reflects a random, somewhat arbitrary aspect of life. Every day, every hour, the unexpected shows up - regardless of how well our day is planned. As the game continues, past decisions "determine" the present. Reflecting everyday life. The sum of our past decisions and nondecisions "determines" the present. Backgammon allows you to talk while playing - providing for deeper interpersonal contact.  Playing backgammon (just for fun and without gambling for money) will improve your life. And even if you have no one to play with there are excellent computer programs who can tirelessly play with you.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Life Is Uncertain

We really don't know much
life is uncertain, to assume anything else
is the epitome of stupidity


Monday, December 17, 2018

Love Is All We Need

Love is all we need
many songs and poems say this
love is all we need
be love now

Thursday, December 13, 2018

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.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Beyond philosophy

A lover of wisdom may speak of wisdom all day long, yet not live that wisdom. Someone who possesses wisdom may say nothing wise at all. As a graduate student in philosophy, I became frustrated with philosophy itself. I saw academic philosophy as a craft without real answers to my deepest concerns. T. S. Elliot’s lines from “The Rock” moved my soul: 

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 information?

Shortly afterwards, Chögyam Trungpa showed up as a classroom guest speaker. He wore a blazer and turtle neck shirt, holding a can of Coca-Cola in his hand – not my image of an Eastern guru or yogi. He spoke directly and spontaneously. It took many years to realize that his presence was the teaching more than his words. Now, I don’t remember the words, but the presence remains. I look, and feel, for that same presence in others and within myself. I stopped  philosophizing, and started to prepare for wisdom by meditating. That was the beginning of a very long journey.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Kiva Time

Terry Penttengill cartoon
Click image to enlarge.

It is our quiet time.
We do not speak
because the voices are within us.
It is our quiet time...
We do not walk
because the earth is all within us.
It is our quiet time.
We do not dance
because the music has lifted us to a place where the spirit is.
It is our quiet time.
We rest with all of nature,
we wake when the seven sisters wake.
We greet them in the sky
over the opening of the kiva.

- Kiva Time (from the Cliffdwellers)

Friday, November 23, 2018

Hippie Days

"That was a long time ago", Americ

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Technological Singularity

Singularity, The. The Techno-Rapture. A black hole in the Extropian worldview whose gravity is so intense that no light can be shed on what lies beyond it.
From "Godling's Glossary" by David Victor de Transend

Vernor Vinge's (Math Department, San Diego State University) classic essay on the Singularity argues for a future global machine “intelligence” that transcends humanity – "the last invention". In 1993, Professor Vinge wrote:
The acceleration of technological progress has been the central feature of this century. I argue in this paper that we are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. The precise cause of this change is the imminent creation by technology of entities with greater than human intelligence. There are several means by which science may achieve this breakthrough (and this is another reason for having confidence that the event will occur):
  • There may be developed computers that are "awake" and superhumanly intelligent. (To date, there has been much controversy as to whether we can create human equivalence in a machine. But if the answer is "yes, we can", then there is little doubt that beings more intelligent can be constructed shortly thereafter.)
  • Large computer networks (and their associated users) may "wake up" as a superhumanly intelligent entity.
  • Computer/human interfaces may become so intimate that users may reasonably be considered superhumanly intelligent.
Ray Kurzweil brought discussion of the technological singularity through his book The Singularity is Near. Webcast of Kurzweil and others at MIT in 2006:

What is our future? Are we totally wedded to our own creation - computer technology?

Monday, November 05, 2018

Quiet Morning

Recording quality is low, but the message is important.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

What I have needed to see in light of recent events

This speech is from Charlie Chaplin's film The Great Dictator. It is an incredibly relevant and moving scene. One of the best speeches I have seen. Watch it with Hans Zimmer's music accompanying it:

"I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible- Jew, Gentile, black men, white…

We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each others’ happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls; has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind.

We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery ,we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all.

Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say “Do not despair.”

The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder!

Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men—machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have a love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate!

Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural.

Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it’s written “the kingdom of God is within man”, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power.

Let us all unite.

Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill their promise. They never will!

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people!

Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance!

Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!"

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Let It Be

When the broken hearted people living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be

Faith, trust, and surrender. Practice that today

Sunday, October 14, 2018

True Wealth

True wealth is more than money. It is being fully alive here and now. To become more present is key. Money by itself is a form of death. It's abundant life that is true wealth. Make no mistake. Our society forgets this and encourages money making at the expense of Life. A case of mistaken identity.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Tilopa's Mahamudra Teaching to Naropa

Is space anywhere supported? Upon what does it rest? 
Like space, Mahamudra is dependant upon nothing; 
Relax and settle in the continuum of unalloyed purity, 
And, your bonds loosening, release is certain. 

Gazing intently into the empty sky, vision ceases; 
Likewise, when mind gazes into mind itself, 
The train of discursive and conceptual thought ends 
And supreme enlightenment is gained. 

Like the morning mist that dissolves into thin air, 
Going nowhere but ceasing to be, 
Waves of conceptualization, all the mind's creation, dissolve, 
When you behold your mind's true nature. 

Pure space has neither colour nor shape 
And it cannot be stained either black or white; 
So also, mind's essence is beyond both colour and shape 
And it cannot be sullied by black or white deeds. 

The darkness of a thousand aeons is powerless 
To dim the crystal clarity of the sun's heart; 
And likewise, aeons of samsara have no power 
To veil the clear light of the mind's essence. 

Friday, October 05, 2018

Wild Card

While it can take time to realize that it is never too late; you always have time to change your own fate.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Waking Vision

I had a waking vision many years ago. I was sitting in my rocking chair. Closed my eyes. Had a conversation with a force, a power greater than myself. I was standing on the edge of a cliff. A voice spoke, “Jump off. Trust me. You’ll be okay.” So I did. Suddenly I was floating in space, as if swimming in an atmosphere with a lovely warm pink quality to it. Perhaps like living in my mother’s womb.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Businessman or Employee

In the 1970's enlightenment was in the air. India, Tibet, and Japan exported many spiritual teachers to the U.S.A. Demand was high for insights from the Buddhist and Hindu traditions. I attended a workshop with one such a teacher fresh from India. He said: "You are either a businessman or employee!" It was an unforgettable comment. A businessperson does not assume there will be a "next" paycheck. To succeed, businesspersons must generate "confidence" (a word based in Latin, meaning "with faith"). A business' source of supply depends on the ebb and flow of clients, the cycles of the seasons, and the economic climate. Nothing is taken for granted. An employee believes that paychecks will keep coming -- hardly thinking the businessperson, the employer, is mortgaging their house to finance the next month's paychecks. The spiritual teacher from India, was a businessman. He scheduled talks, got the word out, collected money and planned for future workshops. He was not an employee. When I saw him, I did not appreciate that businesslike quality. Now, I see it as spiritual, and close to the Buddhist ideal of living with knowledge of impermanence. Employees pay a price for security -- akin to surrender of the ego. Come to think of it: that's Buddhist, too.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Friday, September 21, 2018

Choruses from The Rock – T.S. Eliot

The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven,
The Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit.
O perpetual revolution of configured stars,
O perpetual recurrence of determined seasons,
O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying!
The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to God.
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?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Brings us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.

{First stanza}

Monday, September 17, 2018

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

THE INTERNET IS MY omnipresent conduit to infinite distraction

THE INTERNET IS MY omnipresent conduit to infinite distraction. It is the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do at night. In between, my smartphone ensures that I am never very far from my next Google-Facebook-YouTube-Craigslist-Amazon fix. I have been in rooms full of people, each glued to a hand-held device and completely oblivious to the others.
What began for me as a thing of wonder is now merely my drug of choice. I miss my friends — the very ones whose hourly Facebook posts keep me up to date on their every move. I miss sitting on the front porch of my row house on a warm summer evening and talking to the neighbors who walk by. My nervous system spent the past two hundred thousand years evolving in an environment of human interaction, and now that’s disappeared almost overnight.      -- Rick Silberman   Grass Valley, California

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Hermann Hesse - quote

We must become alone, so utterly alone, that we withdraw into our innermost self. It is a way of bitter suffering. But then our solitude is overcome and we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible. And suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for in our innermost soul we know ourselves to be one with all being.
~ Hermann Hesse

Monday, August 27, 2018

Light of Life

The light of life
    opened the day
    I sat waiting
    for the sun
    to rise from
    my horizon
    of darkness
    and dreams

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Image result for picasso
La Soupe, by Picasso in 1902

Thursday, August 09, 2018

W.H. Auden, Under Which Lyre (A Reactionary Tract)

In a witty 1946 poem, W.H. Auden contrasted the way of "experts" with the Hermetic path of the trickster.
Harvard Magazine (November-December 2007)

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Someday I’ll get caught up

I KEEP IMAGINING THAT SOMEDAY I’ll get caught up: write those letters, read those books. What a great imagination! My plans smile at me from tomorrow, always tomorrow. And here it is, always today.
                                     --  SY SAFRANSKY
                                               The Sun, December 1995

Friday, July 20, 2018

Bob Dylan 1963

Current state of affairs: 

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.
Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.
The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'
Stand up now or forever hold your peace