Sunday, December 30, 2018

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.