Thursday, October 31, 2019

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Talking to Myself

While shaving in the morning, I noticed I was rushing. Why was I rushing? I had no fixed appointment for the day. I realized that many years of early morning commuting trying to catch the subway to the city had, in fact, embedded the habit of rushing while shaving. Here was the rushing without reason to rush.
I started talking to myself silently, "Say you!" Looking more deeply at myself in the mirror. "Yes, you! You are rushing. Why are you doing that? You've no reason to rush. You're free now. No appointments or schedule today."

I relaxed, wondering about this. My self-voice continues, "See it's not so bad talking to yourself. You're not mad. Besides you can mention this in your philosopher-at-large blog." There I was, talking to my best friend (and sometimes worst enemy). Certainly, it was not madness - as long as I know what I'm doing.

Talking to one's self has practical value -- beats listening to the radio, which eliminates the possibility of tuning into channel KSELF! Of course, we are not always ready for so much self-knowledge -- that's a lifework.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Most Distant Course

It is the most distant course that comes nearest to thyself, and that training is the most intricate which leads to the utter simplicity of a tune.

The traveller has to knock at every alien door to come to his own, and one has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end.

My eyes strayed far and wide before I shut them and said `Here art thou!'

The question and the cry `Oh, where?' melt into tears of a thousand streams and deluge the world with the flood of the assurance `I am!'

                  ~~~ Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali, #12 ~~~

Friday, October 25, 2019

Just Be

It's been said that: This is the best of all possible worlds! Why? A non-existent possible world is just a dream, an illusion. My self and your self are both "self" seen from different directions. Parmenides, the Presocratic philosopher, showed us that whatever is just is - and cannot not be. Can't be anything but what it is. BEING IS unchanging, eternal. So relax. Just be.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Doing Nothing Day

It's Thanksgiving. Dropped into Whole Foods Markets early morning. Saw a copy of Adbusters Magazine - last page suggesting November 29 as "Do Nothing Day", a total contrast to Black Friday commercialism. #donothingday on Twitter. Inspired this audio suggesting a weekly do nothing day - a real day of rest from our commercial techno-culture.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Questions of Existence

“Why do we exist?” “Why is there something rather than nothing?” These are questions of being. Questions remarkably productive to ask simply because they are bottomless, without final answers. Questions of existence pull us out of ordinary life – putting our lives into “question” - and, bringing us into silence.
(Professional philosophers may consider questions leading silence unproductive and even dangerous. But a philosopher-at-large does not worry about that; she or he may find wells of wisdom in that silent stillness.)
So, be silent and wait. Wait without expectation. The unexpected may come without invitation.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Dreaming of Socrates (unreleased draft series)

Sometimes I dream of being a Socrates. To live out the ideal of dialogue as the prime tool for intellectual exploration via collaborative intelligence. Socrates did not write; instead, he was a master of dialogue. People came to him becoming totally disarmed after realizing that they did not know what they thought they knew. Socrates himself did not claim knowledge; only divine wisdom - the knowledge of knowing that he did not know. His dialogues may have not netted definitive answers, but they did yield death of thought and exploration into a subject. Even more, Socrates demonstrated real thinking on his part, and demanded the same from everyone else. So, to be in a "Socratic dialogue" was (and is) one of the most exciting learning experiences anyone can undertake. It does not always work, but when it does it is memorable.

His work was to get beyond mere opinion to truth. Rarely did he say "this is it".
Rather, the process itself was enough to satisfy the love-urge for wisdom.
Asking question.
Digging into doubts at every turn. Until everyone's minds are on fire.
Alive with desire to understand.
This was Socratic dialogue -- an act of intellectual midwifery.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Robots, Humans, and Gods (unreleased draft series)

Once upon a time, I would think intensely about robots. They are the "zombie" aspect of the human being. Human's are spirit - that's what makes us human. Robot's are matter looking like spirit. Of course, someday a robot will be spirit, so it will also be human. That will be something. We become as gods. Paraphrasing somebody else): We better be good at being gods! If not, lots of deep trouble. 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

We Don't Know Anything (unreleased draft series)

I must know myself if I am to be free. That is the first and hardest thing to do. Listen deeply, ever deeply to the soft sweet voice of the heart. It is kind, quiet, and filled with tears of love - just love. All that is in this physical world passes away. We are given a life and the possibility living with dignity and integrity within daily circumstances. Just live with trust. If you need to change your life, and your heart tells you that it's true, then do it with all of your heart. No one is there to judge except yourself.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Shel Silverstein - Forgotten Language

Forgotten Language ©

Once I spoke the language of the flowers,
Once I understood each word the caterpillar said,
Once I smiled in secret at the gossip of the starlings,
And shared a conversation with the housefly
in my bed.
Once I heard and answered all the questions
of the crickets,
And joined the crying of each falling dying
flake of snow,
Once I spoke the language of the flowers
How did it go?
How did it go?


You are not your thoughts arising. You are not your attractions and aversions arising. You are not your memories coming up and fading away. You are not your job. You are not your relationships to parents, children, friends, co-workers, opponents, or anyone else. You are not your clothes, social position, race or nationality. You are not old or young. You are not any "thing" at all. You are without properties. You are infinite potential. You are being and nonbeing -- without limit. So, stand free beyond boundary and limit. As if infinitely radiant sky.


The river rushes,
The last rains of spring.

A rose bud in my hand
Its petals fall to the ground.

This Moment—
A clod of earth
Between my fingers,
Crumbling to dust.

I brush it off,
And reach out
For the next touch.

To summer sunlight.

I am that Light;
And I am the dust
Returning to the Earth.

                         Diane Shavelson (~1999)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Knowing and Speaking Reality (unreleased draft series)

Knowing reality is not the same as speaking reality. No one returns from the clear vision of reality who can give a lecture or write a book about it.

The vision of reality is not transmitted with words.

Knowledge of reality is clouded by thoughts, emotions, health issues, social environments and the weather.

Knowing reality is like standing outside yourself.

That is ecstasy. Don't confuse ecstasy with elated mind states. Ecstasy is "standing outside yourself". It could be quiet and peaceful.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Big “Self” and little “self"

It’s often said, “Be true to yourself.” Easy to say. But, what is the “self”. It’s not an object. And, there are different notions of “self” floating around. Often you’ll see a distinction between the little “self” and the big “Self”. If I go back to India and the Vadas, I find that the word Atman corresponds to the big self, the Self with the capital “S”. This Atman is related to the Brahman (what may be called the Oversoul, or field of infinite potential actualizing as all that is). 

But, for us, the self is the ego – that sense of being separate from those around us. That sense of separation, the self as ego, is most useful for survival in the worlds of society and nature. Yet, it can cause isolation and puzzlement about the meaning of our lives. The self-ego knows that it's existence is tentative and always at risk. This is hard. Hence, our need for transcendence beyond the little self to the Big self. 

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Einstein's Office - Last Day (unreleased draft series)

Albert Einstein's office at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, photographed on the day of his death, April 18, 1955.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Resting in the present

“Resting in the present” is the same as saying “resting in God”.

God is the Presence in the present moment –
the luminosity sustaining our vision of self and world.

More we cannot ask.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Always Beginning, Always Ending

This moment: always beginning, always ending. 
Pulling us in; pulling us away. 

Become still within; even while in the world.

The body is a platform. 
Strengthen the body. 
Eat good food, exercise.

Feed the mind true ideas.
Surrender to love. 

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Go backwards in time

"A long time ago I discovered it’s best to go backwards in time. As years mounted up, I became more playful, more flexible. It seems that's the best way toward a good long life. It now appears that I'm getting younger while you're getting older!" - Merlyn Aya

Friday, October 04, 2019

Waking Up

Waking up to my own life has been "the journey of a lifetime". I was a dreamy child in grade school. Now, I am a dreamy "new" old person. What can I say? Do we really change, or is it an unfolding variation of "life" that runs runs its course from birth to death? If you awaken and stay awake you are called "enlightened" (full of light). Staying awake is difficult. Only grand-masters are fearless enough not to run back into fluffy dreams. The point is to get free of illusion. To be real without interruption. That takes great inner courage. Stillness or meditation is a warrior's path.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Today's Today

Often we forget that today is here.
We pass from day to day not noticing
that it is today.
Never again will it be "today's today". 

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Ocean of Life

Sometimes I feel the ocean of life
Kicked around by waves of feeling and thought 
Such moments seem endless
Reality sets in - endless moments abruptly end 
There we sat, stun surprised

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Indra's Net

The Net of Indra is a profound and subtle metaphor for the structure of reality.  Imagine a vast net; at each crossing point there is a jewel; each jewel is perfectly clear and reflects all the other jewels in the net, the way two mirrors placed opposite each other will reflect an image ad infinitum.… Every jewel is intimately connected with all other jewels in the universe, and a change in one jewel means a change, however slight, in every other jewel…. Once, when someone praised Gandhi for his compassionate politics, he answered, “I am here to serve no one else but myself, to find my own self realization through the service of others.”

Stephen Mitchell
The Enlightened Mind: An Anthology of Sacred Prose