Archive for November, 2008

30
Nov
08

December 1, 2008 – World AIDS Day

29
Nov
08

I die every night and I live every day

I am not a Buddhist, despite most of these blogs.  The teachings of Buddhism however, have a significant psychological and philosophical influence in my life for which I am most grateful – it is a most auspicious teacher and has been since childhood (In my Christian upbringing I was always attracted to the book of “Job”; he was my favorite old testament character along with “Joseph” and the most meditative Buddhist in Judaism, while Joseph was the most mindful). I posted below 2 excerpts from this weeks Tricycle’s Daily Dharma and a quote from Jack Kornfield’s “Buddha’s Little Instruction Book”.  For me the are about the paradox of embracing in order to “let go” (the latter of which is a theme in my recent blogs).  I hope they offer you as much insight as they have me:

Rebirth
We are in actual fact reborn every moment with new thoughts and feelings, and we bring with us the karma that we made in the past moments. If we were angry a moment ago, we are not going to feel good immediately. If we were loving a moment ago, we would be feeling fine now. Thus we live moment to moment with the results of our karma.

Every morning, particularly, can be seen as a rebirth. The day is young, we are full of energy and have a whole day ahead of us. Every moment we get older and are tired enough in the evening to fall asleep and die a small death. All we can do then is toss and turn in bed, and our whole mind is dreamy and foggy. Everyday can be regarded as a whole lifespan, since we can only live one day at a time; the past is gone and the future may or may not come; only this rebirth, this day, this moment, is important.

–Ayya Khema, When the Iron Eagle Flies

The mirror of death

According to the wisdom of Buddha, we can actually use our lives to prepare for death. We do not have to wait for the painful death of someone close to us or the shock of terminal illness to force us into looking at our lives. Nor are we condemned to go out empty-handed at death to meet the unknown. We can begin, here and now, to find meaning in our lives. We can make of every moment an opportunity to change and to prepare–wholeheartedly, precisely, and with peace of mind–for death and eternity. In the Buddhist approach, life and death are seen as one whole, where death is the beginning of another chapter of life. Death is a mirror in which the entire meaning of life is reflected.

–Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

Each Morning we are born again.
What we do today is what matters most
–Jack Kornfield


27
Nov
08

Just One Damn Day – better than if I lived a hundred

But why do I desire 2 days? *smirk*.  If you ever had one day like this I know you get it.  I am thankful to every “thing” that has pointed me in this direction. Deep Joy

Better than a hundred years

110. Better than a hundred years lived in vice, without contemplation, is one single day of life lived in virtue and in deep concentration.
111. Better than a hundred years lived in ignorance, without contemplation, is one single day of life lived in wisdom and in deep concentration.
112. Better than a hundred years lived in idleness and in weakness is one single day of life lived with courage and powerful striving.
113. Better than a hundred years not considering how all things rise and pass away is one single day of life if one considers how all things rise and pass away.
114. Better than a hundred years not seeing one’s own immoertality is one single day if one sees one’s own immortality.
115. Better than a hundred years not seeing the Path supreme is one single day of life if one sees the Path supreme.

The Dhammapada, trans. by Juan Mascaro

21
Nov
08

Observing the Change, Realizing the Hope

How do you recognize change?

It is a valid question.  How does your own “filter” skew(or screw) what you see? Do you have a preconceived idea of what change should look like? Does “I Already Know What I Want To See” keep you from seeing?

I have needed to shut off the internet news and “web-surfer posts”, because everyone is screaming, “See, there is no change.  Here’s “old” Washington again”.

So I needed to sit with this.  Just like I needed to sit with whether to support Obama (not my original choice) when everyone was yelling to go with him.  I have found value in quieting the mind chatter, remaining in touch with my core. To just be still and sit.

In sitting, I can remain open.  The more open I remain, the less my filter gets in the way of listening and observing.  And I am at a part of my life where I not only enjoy but I value this child-like quality. The quality of not knowing and thereby, Learning something.

Here are some changes I’ve noticed:

Since even before his election, Obama has reached out from the beginning to people who were rivals during his candidacy (specifically Clinton and McCain).  This IS a change in Washington.  A change I have desired and wanted (and might have missed if I only listened to the focus of the news media and not been of quiet mind).  This reaching out is a HUGE deal.

The above is also an example of negotiating PEACE.
Another change I’ve desired. 
There can be no international peace if we do not attempt to bridge the differences within our own party(s).  I have not seen an effort from either side in a very long time, like the effort I have seen by our President Elect.  This process gives me Hope.

I have seen a man not rely on his own ego, nor a narrow definition of Change as he contemplates his cabinet. I see someone who is willing to view history and see what has worked, chosen people who have made wise decisions in past administrations and honored their talents by choosing them to serve. I don’t know about you, but this is quite a change from the last 8 years and has the great potential to continue change by promoting peace and stabilizing our economy.

Finally, I have seen a man who has not reacted to racial slurs or religious inaccuracies from within our nation and more so from overseas – specifically from terrorists.  He has been baited.  He also shows no sign of taking the bait.  Again, this is quite a change. A maturity I have rarely witnessed the last 8 years.

So here we are only a few weeks after the election and people are already saying that there is no change and our future president has not even been sworn in.  My view is different.  I am not expecting an administration free of conflicts or imperfect decisions.  I hope to remain open, so that I can witness and acknowledge changes as they unfold, whether they are the changes “I expect” or more importantly, the changes I do not expect – and therefore have more difficulty seeing.

21
Nov
08

Increasing Movement in Order to Sit Still

I consider myself a novice, no make that a pre-novice, when it comes to sitting practice.

I am not very disciplined when it comes to sitting.  Both my mind and body are acclimated towards moving.

I am neither proud nor humiliated by that fact.  That is just the way it is.  It is the current me as I appear in the now.

I like what sitting does for me.  It benefits so many areas of my life: peace, calm, energy, wisdom, letting go, better sleep, increased compassion, kindness, better prioritizing, etc.  I just don’t always make time for it because that initial breaking through mind is uncomfortable.  And most of my life is dedicated to being comfortable.

Recently I rediscovered some practices that make sitting easier.  Certain forms of breathing that engage kinesthetic movement help me.  Like Thich Nhat Hahn’s walking meditation, “I breathe in, I move my right foot.  I breath out, I move my left foot.”  Only taking a step with each breath. (Even doing 10 breaths this way changes everything)

The most effective for me however, is a simple and uncomplicated Qi Gong or Tai Chi movement.  For some reason there is nothing more effective for me than engaging my body:
in a specific stance
through specific (and uncomplicated) hand and arm movements (again, I’m a novice, this isn’t about a big routine)
through simple breathing
and through the movement of unseen energy (Qi)

Nothing quiets my mind quicker.
Increases awareness by letting both thoughts and body tension fall away.
Connects me to the Heavens and Earth
Allows whatever remains to appear less threatening (ah, there’s that comfort level-thing again)
Transitions me into sitting. (the mindfulness and the meditation have already begun with the movements)

Here is a passage that reminded me of why the above is so important:
It is not merely enthusiasm that erodes when practice declines. Your body and mind can go out of tune. You are no longer a vessel of insight. The cardinal can sing; the wind can move the ironwood trees delicately; a child can ask a wise question–and where is your center? How can you respond? It is time to put yourself back in tune, to be ready for experiences that make life fulfilling. Take up the advice for beginners. Put your zazen pad somewhere between your bathroom and your kitchen. Sit down there in the morning after you use the bathroom and before you cook breakfast. You are sitting with everyone in the world. If you sit only briefly, you will have at least settled your day.

-Robert Aitken, Encouraging Words

BTW (I follow a practice similar to this  video “Bone Marrow Cleanse” – so easy to learn, you can quickly get the moves down and no longer have need to follow the video,  and just follow your own rhythm:
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1829933/purifying_qi_bone_marrow_cleansing/ )

19
Nov
08

What’s that about “Keeping your enemies closer”?

So I’m reading today’s Tricycle quote and have a total brain fart.  I mean I go completely blank after reading the word “equanimity”.  If I am paying attention, this going blank usually means something – whether it’s that I need more sleep, I’m over worked, or that the essence of the the word is speaking to my unconscious mind.  Doesn’t matter, point is – it’s about paying attention, a little mindfulness – make time for more sleep or cut back on work or look deeper into the meaning of the word.

(BTW, here’s the on-line definition of the word: equa·nim·ity (ek′wə nim′ə tē, ē′kwə-) noun, the quality of remaining calm and undisturbed; evenness of mind or temper; composure Etymology: L aequanimitas < aequanimis < aequus, even, plain + animus, the mind: see animal.)

After reading the passage again it was definitely the latter.  Here’s the passage; you can read why it spoke to me after, if you’re interested.

The near enemies are qualities that arise in the mind and masquerade as genuine spiritual realization, when in fact they are only an imitation, serving to separate us from true feeling rather than connecting us to it. . . .

The near enemy of loving-kindness is attachment. . . . At first, attachment may feel like love, but as it grows it becomes more clearly the opposite, characterized by clinging, controlling and fear.

The near enemy of compassion is pity, and this also separates us. Pity feels sorry for “that poor person over here,” as if he were somehow different from us. . . .

The near enemy of sympathetic joy (the joy in the happiness of others) is comparison, which looks to see if we have more of, the same as, or less than another. . . .

The near enemy of equanimity is indifference. True equanimity is balance in the midst of experience, whereas indifference is withdrawal and not caring, based on fear. . . .

If we do not recognize and understand the near enemies, they will deaden our spiritual practice. The compartments they make cannot shield us for long from the pain and unpredictability of life, but they will surely stifle the joy and open connectedness of true relationships.

– Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart

Yeah, this touched a nerve.  You see I  haven’t always been good at confrontation.  It throws me at times, takes me out of my center (I mean have you met my dad? lmao).  So I can be avoidant.  I can fight a good fight.  I can usually win an argument.  My desire however, is to really be at peace –  while remaining in – and continuing with – the conflict (whether the conflict is with myself or projected onto another). And I gotta say, I’ve come far along in this journey.
I have also seen this trait in many self proclaimed “peace loving” spiritual teachers.  They claim equanimity but are really just conflict-avoidant (and because I also have tendencies in this direction, these teachers tend to really get on my nerves and push my buttons. In other words, they bug the shit outta me, lol). What’s funny is I can handle the narcissistic grandiose spiritual teacher who  will usually never avoid conflict. Cause with them, what you see it what you get.
This is much more deceptive; it is a masquerade. It is the near enemy to spiritual growth.

Well, now that I’ve analyzed it, haha – maybe I can sit with it.  Chances are  indifference is disguised as equanimity somewhere in my life.  I’m just not sure where yet, I don’t see it . . . but I bet my friends can tell me; I usually keep them close  *wink*

18
Nov
08

Another day, same old mantra, Open your damn hand already

A few posts back I wrote about an eloquent saying I had come across:

“Open your hand and let the dead wood drop”

I still love that metaphor. Not chucking the wood, not chopping it up into pieces; just opening my hand and letting it drop to the ground, right where I am standing.
I never have any problem accumulating shit.  Building up my ego. I live sparsely compared to most Americans; I live like a king compared to people in underdeveloped countries – it’s a matter of perspective. Most of my accumulations are in my head and heart.  I need regular clearings.  Spiritual enemas.  A washing out of all that accumulated waste that keeps me from taking in what I need in life. I walk around with a clenched fist.  Just open your fuck’n hand already, John.  Sit down and be still.

I say the above with a smile.  My background was/is about perfectionistic German anger (apparently the only emotion that was “natural” for most family members to convey).  The reason?  Be tough, the world’s a harsh fuck’n place; you need to be tough to survive, to watch your back (although the “hard work” ethic has served me well too). I have to grin; that way of thinking creeps up every now and then, but in another sense it is so foreign. 
My “hard work ethic” rears up at times too, it tells me to “doing something” (like go chop up the dead wood and analyze it *grin*).  Damn, it’s dead wood – let it go, John.

I don’t beat myself up anymore and at the same time I am still able to hold myself to standards of development – in a friendlier way ( a bit more compassion towards myself). Sometimes a metaphorical slap upside the head does me well though, other times a metaphorical friendly conversation over a cup of tea does me well.  I am more reactive to the former and tend to be far more attentive when the latter is used.
It’s just a reaction to how I was raised.  A part of my psychological evolution. Not unfamiliar to many of us.  It’s a common way to be raised.
Another part of being raised in my family is to view life as black and white. Fuck colors, there’s hardly any room for grey, haha.  This has challenged me to let go even more. Letting go means choices, means possibility.

Who doesn’t love a world with possibilities?  To be able to say “I don’t Already know”.  To be open.

I came across another “open hand” writing that again gave me yet another choice.  Not just one way. It was like a slap upside the head that stopped me in my tracks so I could sit down with a comforting cup of jasmine green tea *smirk*. (It also works well regarding a “clinging” that comes with our financial times right now or a “clinging” to the last 8 years of our political climate)

Tricycle’s Daily Dharma

An Experiment
Let’s try an experiment. Pick up a coin. Imagine that it represents the object at which you are grasping. Hold it tightly clutched in your fist and extend your arm, with the palm of your hand facing the ground. Now if you let go or relax your grip, you will lose what you are clinging onto. That’s why you hold on.
But there’s another possibility: You can let go and yet keep hold of it. With your arm still outstretched, turn your hand so that it faces the sky. Release your hand and the coin still rests on your open palm. You let go. And the coin is still yours, even with all this space around it.
So there is a way in which we can accept impermanence and still relish life, at one and the same time, without grasping.
-Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Sure someone can take the coin, or not. Someone can add to the coin, or not. Willingness. Possibility. Choice. Openness. (and maybe even letting go)
Have a good one and thanks for stopping by.

17
Nov
08

A Fish Does Not Know It Is In Water

dsc00892_edited-1

Words are only for distinctions,
and so there cannot really even be a symbol,
not even an idea, of the non-distinction.

We cannot think it, but we can feel it,
though we do not feel it like an object.

You feel you are alive, that you are conscious,
but you do not know what consciousness is because consciousness is present
in every conceivable kind of experience.

 It is like the space in which we live,
which is everywhere.

It is like a fish in water;
the fish does not know it is in the water,
because it never leaves it.

(Alan Watts)

17
Nov
08

Enlightenment with a twist (make mine with lime and vodka)

Just Fuck’n Brilliant – no matter how many times I watch it – Infinitely Brilliant

14
Nov
08

Are you evolving as a Listener? (or, How I moved from “at least I know” to “I don’t Already know”)

My background in Counseling tends to make me think in terms of developmental stages or evolution.  So I am attracted to ideas/theories like Maslow, Piaget, Kohlberg, Graves, Beck, Wilber – Spiral Dynamics, Integral Theory, etc.  So I came across “The Theory of U” by Otto Sharmer (recommended by the latter), I’ve posted the beginning of the theory which has to do with Evolving as a Listener.  This also gels well with many of my Taoist beliefs about remaining open enough to say “I don’t already know”.  “Change” has been a buzzword along with ‘Hope” these last few months.  Real change happens when you remain truly OPEN. So, are you evolving as a Listener?

Learning to recognize the habits of attention in

any particular business culture requires, among

other things, a particular kind of listening.

Over more than a decade of observing people’s

interactions in organizations, I have noted four

different types of listening.

􀀬􀁉􀁓􀁔􀁅􀁎􀁉􀁎􀁇􀀀􀀑􀀚􀀀􀀤􀁏􀁗􀁎􀁌􀁏􀁁􀁄􀁉􀁎􀁇

“Yeah, I know that already.” I call this type

of listening “downloading”—listening by

reconfirming habitual judgments. When

you are in a situation where everything

that happens confirms what you already

know, you are listening by downloading.

􀀬􀁉􀁓􀁔􀁅􀁎􀁉􀁎􀁇􀀀􀀒􀀚􀀀􀀦􀁁􀁃􀁔􀁕􀁁􀁌

“Ooh, look at that!” This type of listening

is factual or object-focused: listening by

paying attention to facts and to novel or

disconfirming data. You switch off your

inner voice of judgment and listen to the

voices right in front of you. You focus on

what differs from what you already know.

Factual listening is the basic mode of

good science. You let the data talk to you.

You ask questions, and you pay careful

attention to the responses you get.

􀀬􀁉􀁓􀁔􀁅􀁎􀁉􀁎􀁇􀀀􀀓􀀚􀀀􀀥􀁍􀁐􀁁􀁔􀁈􀁉􀁃

“Oh, yes, I know exactly how you feel.”

This deeper level of listening is empathic

listening. When we are engaged in real

dialogue and paying careful attention,

we can become aware of a profound shift

in the place from which our listening

originates. We move from staring at the

objective world of things, figures, and

facts (the “it-world”) to listening to the

story of a living and evolving self (the

“you-world”). Sometimes, when we say

“I know how you feel,” our emphasis is on

a kind of mental or abstract knowing. But

to really feel how another feels, we have

to have an open heart. Only an open heart

gives us the empathic capacity to connect

directly with another person from within.

When that happens, we feel a profound

switch as we enter a new territory in the

relationship; we forget about our own

agenda and begin to see how the world

appears through someone else’s eyes.

􀀬􀁉􀁓􀁔􀁅􀁎􀁉􀁎􀁇􀀀􀀔􀀚􀀀􀀧􀁅􀁎􀁅􀁒􀁁􀁔􀁉􀁖􀁅

“I can’t express what I experience in

words. My whole being has slowed

down. I feel more quiet and present

and more my real self. I am connected

to something larger than myself.” This

type of listening moves beyond the

current field and connects us to an even

deeper realm of emergence. I call this

level of listening “generative listening,”

or listening from the emerging field of

future possibility. This level of listening

requires us to access not only our open

heart, but also our open will—our

capacity to connect to the highest future

possibility that can emerge. We no longer

look for something outside. We no longer

empathize with someone in front of us.

We are in an altered state. “Communion”

or “grace” is maybe the word that comes

closest to the texture of this experience.

When you operate from Listening 1 (downloading),

the conversation reconfirms what you

already knew. You reconfirm your habits of

thought: “There he goes again!”
When you operate

from Listening 2 (factual listening), you disconfirm

what you already know and notice what is new out

there: “Boy, this looks so different today!”
When

you choose to operate from Listening 3 (empathic

listening), your perspective is redirected to seeing

the situation through the eyes of another: “Boy,

yes, now I really understand how you feel about

it. I can sense it now too.”
And finally, when you

choose to operate from Listening 4 (generative

listening), you realize that by the end of the

conversation you are no longer the same person

you were when it began. You have gone through

a subtle but profound change that has connected

you to a deeper source of knowing, including the

knowledge of your best future possibility and self.

Want to know more? Go to:
http://www.presencing.com/docs/publications/execsums/Theory_U_Exec_Summary.pdf
I love discovering – don’t you?

14
Nov
08

3 thoughts re: the upheaval in the Financial World (a follow up to yesterday’s music video post)

Advice for the Dark Ages, a message to the American Buddhist Shambhala community. For the full text, go to the Shambhala site. ~ via Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.

This is a very difficult time. The upheavals in the financial world are causing widespread distress, as are fears about climate change, intensified political polarization, and rising aggression. It is what the Shambhala Buddhist teachings call a “dark age.” We experience the darkness as confusion, unhappiness, and lack of purpose.

It was for times like these that the Buddha gave the teachings on enlightened society to King Dawa Sango, the first sovereign of Shambhala. At present, the truth of those teachings is clear. For a society to be
truly harmonious, it cannot be based on greed and anger. When we understand this, we see that what is happening around us is literally caused by the absence of Shambhala vision [compassion, meditation practice, aspiring to work toward peaceful, enlightened society].

Uplifting our minds and increasing our life-force energy begins with that vision. So I am asking all of you, as citizens of [enlightened society], to rise to this occasion.

First, take these precious teachings to heart and practice them. That includes meditating for a short period every day to stabilize your mind and generate compassion. Contemplate your unshakeable karmic connection to the lineage [of brave, decent peaceful warriors who practice meditation and study peace] and reflect on your nature as the profound, brilliant [basically good king or queen of your own world].

Second, see fear for what it is: a lack of trust in your genuine being, which naturally radiates compassion and kindness. Take the big view of what is most important in this and future lifetimes: to become stronger and more realized in order to help others. Take care of yourselves, but don’t hide behind the false security of self-protection. From the ground of basic goodness, open your heart and serve others.

Third, be generous. This is not a time to close down or hold on, but to offer from the natural well-spring of generosity. Be generous with those you love, but also with those you are tempted to blame or dislike. Be generous, too, within our mandala, which needs your support more than ever to proclaim the glory of Shambhala.

Practicing, serving, and giving: this is the path of the warrior bodhisattva. It is both transcendent and earthy. When we orient our minds this way, we are creating a sustainable environment. The wealth that it
generates is inexhaustible.

I love you and am with you as we tread this golden path together.

The Sakyong, Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche

13
Nov
08

What about me? (What about you?)

I stumbled across this music video by Buddhist teacher SAKYONG MIPHAM RINPOCHE many of you may already know. Worth posting, yeah?

08
Nov
08

Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see

This is perhaps my favorite parable about life (better said, about “living”) about living each moment in the moment . . .

A Parable

Buddha told a parable in a sutra:

A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.

Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!

–Paul Reps, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

07
Nov
08

Network of Causes

No man is an island and neither are his emotions.  I thought this was a great follow up to yesterday’s blog:

November 7, 2008
Tricycle’s Daily Dharma

A Complicated Network of Causes

The view of interdependence makes for a great openness of mind. In general, instead of realizing that what we experience arises from a complicated network of causes, we tend to attribute happiness or sadness, for example, to single, individual sources. But if this were so, as soon as we came into contact with what we consider to be good, we would automatically be happy, and conversely, in the case of bad things, invariably sad. The causes of joy and sorrow would be easy to identify and target. It would all be very simple, and there would be good reason for our anger and attachment. When, on the other hand, we consider that everything we experience results from a complex interplay of causes and conditions, we find that there is no single thing to desire or resent, and it is more difficult for the afflictions of attachment or anger to arise. In this way, the view of interdependence makes our mind more relaxed and open.

–The Dalai Lama, A Flash of Lightning in the Dark of Night

from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

06
Nov
08

My illusions

It is very common for me to over identify myself with my thoughts or feelings.  Like my thoughts are, oh so important and my current feelings are,  oh so real.  Ever do that?

The reality is everything changes.  My thoughts about issues change as I get more information, or as I process something, or with hindsight.  My feelings can change even faster depending on what song is playing on the radio, or if someone cuts me off on the highway, or if my niece gives me a hug.  It’s all Impermanence.

Remember, no matter what it is, “this too shall pass”.  (Our electoral process alone is a great example of that)

That’s where meditation is centering for me. It allows me to step back and observe (with a gentleness and kindness) what is going on in my head (without judgement) and also what I’m feeling at the moment (without over identification).
To paraphrase some of Wilber’s thoughts – it’s the big “I” observing the little “i”.  The Greater Self behind the self.

Now my habits often keep me in a “mindless” state rather than a “mindfull” presence.  But even just a few moments a day of reconnecting with the big “I” can not only change thoughts and feelings but can even change heart rate, blood pressure and sleep.  I’m not even talking about hours – just a few minutes of reconnecting. The biggest change over the years has been one of nonjudgement.  I don’t beat myself up for not meditating; I’m a lot kinder to myself.  I just make time to meditate again without spending a lot of energy on the “missed” meditation or mindful times.  (Genpo Roshi’s “Big Mind and Big Heart” helped  me evolve in this)

I also believe in clinical depression and medication (this is not a post about how quickly we tend to take a pill to solve a “feeling”, but  to say there is a “place” for science and meds).  If you take medication for a chemical imbalance, it can enhance the  “observing process” of meditation.  Often times it is too painful to observe without it.  Just don’t overidentify with your diagnosis, remember being say, “bipolar” is just a part of who you are – and all the more reason to not over identify with thoughts or feelings (which is common to that diagnosis).

Here is a quote from ~ Anthony de Mello, 20th century Jesuit priest
from Awareness.
It speaks of this over identification well:

“Don’t say, “I am depressed.” If you want to say, “It is depressed,” that’s all right. If you want to say that depression is there, that’s fine; if you want to say gloominess is there, that’s fine. But not: I am gloomy. You’re defining yourself in terms of the feeling. That’s your illusion; that’s your mistake. There is a depression there right now, but let it be, leave it alone. It will pass. Everything passes, everything. Your depressions and your thrills have nothing to do with happiness. Those are swings of the pendulum. If you seek kicks or thrills, get ready for depression. Do you want your drug? Get ready for the hangover. One end of the pendulum swings over to the other.”

Thanks for stopping by,
John

04
Nov
08

Cha-Cha-Changes (for us all after the Election) wooohooo!

04
Nov
08

Red: red wine, redrum, red rain falling down (the next video)

Moving up the development spiral from purple (see my purple post a few days back) – which is the tribal and family oriented stage of life, we can see the need to break away and be independent (and often very narcissistic in our breaking away).  In societies this was reflected in movements from tribes to fuedal kingdoms – in human development it’s the rebellion of teenage years. The Red Stage.

In arrested development it’s those people who remain so grandiose and self absorbed that unless they are a family member or boss – we rarely have anything to do with them. They never move into the next stage of development – and let’s face it, there are things you can get away with as a teenager that you can’t get away with any other time in life.  And it’s inevitable like any “developmental theory” that we hopefully move up the spiral and through the stages (both individually and collectively).

Anyway this video has both the worst and BEST of the Red stage.  This is so unlike the purple stage where the tribe or family means more than the individual – no wonder it’s so hard to let our teenagers go; it’s the reason we worry and want to keep them close to the tribe – but it’s also the reason we know we gotta let em go!  I love this video and it’s no wonder Bono picked her to cover one of his songs.  She actually lived this . . .

OK it won’t let me embed the video so here’s the link to YouTube. GO! It’s worth it:

04
Nov
08

I looked: under the bed, in the pants I wore yesterday, even in the fridge

“If you can’t find the truth right where you are, where else do you think you will find it?”
Jack Kornfield

03
Nov
08

purple: rain? people eater? barney?

Over the course of the next week or so I am going to post some of my favorite videos that I think represent some of the best stages in Spiral Dynamics (if you’re not familiar with this Theory and you want to learn more look up Spiral Dynamics and: Ken Wilber, Andrew Cohen, Don Beck or see http://spiraldynamics.net/DrDonBeck/essays/stages_of_social_development.htm  There is also a link to Joe Perez on this page and he has some great 4 quadrant, spiral news posted daily)

If evolving means incorporating the best of each level of development as we move up the Spiral and not rejecting what each stage has to offer (including the Shadow work), then I hope these videos will give some insight to a part of each stage (as represented by a color) and help you stay connected to that part of yourself . . . no matter what color you currently resonate in (as for me, I’ve got one foot in Yellow)

So I’m beginning with Purple, (the Animistic, tribal stage) enjoy:

02
Nov
08

Being

An Awareness
An Awareness

I remember the morning I took this photo. Busy people rushing around. Yelling, running, occupied.  Lotus just “being”.  A transportation into the “now”.  A sharing in the moment.

02
Nov
08

Dead Wood

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

~ H.H. The Dalai Lama

How beautiful and simple is that? The Philosophy of Kindness.
I came across this quote along with some writings on “Letting go”.  Now I get that I need to let go of things – I do way to much fucking accumulating with my head and sometimes with my heart too.  The economy as well as my present economical situation has made material accumulation a let less than it’s been in my past, and I’ve been letting go of complicated accumulations in my head more and more. 
Anyway, in this life-long letting go process there are moments of, “Oh shit – this makes TOTAL sense; I already new that – it’s just no one ever stated it like that”.
The above quote by the Dalai Lama is one of those, another one was an example of letting go and I do not have a citation (I searched for it but to no avail – think I read it in a David Richo book – if you know the Zen master who said this, leave me a comment) so I will paraphrase:

“Open your hand and let the dead wood drop”

I love that.  Again, it’s simple, not complicated – like the Dali Lama’s quote. It’s not about trying to take the shit in my life (or in my head) and throwing it out – forcing it away.  It’s more like taking a deep breath and letting it fall away. Not tossing the the piece of dead wood; not burning it; not breaking it up into little pieces. Just opening my hand and letting it drop.  The wood serves no purpose. Let it go.

I hope you have a day with open hands . . .

02
Nov
08

I should be committed

“The acorn becomes an oak by means of automatic growth; no commitment is necessary. The kitten similarly becomes a cat on the basis of instinct. Nature and being are identical in creatures like them. But a man or woman becomes fully human only by his or her choices and his or her commitment to them. People attain worth and dignity by the multitude of decisions they make from day by day. These decisions require courage.”

~ Rollo May, 20th Century Existential Psychologist

Kind of appropriate during election week huh? Like any other time wouldn’t be appropriate.
Oh well, I’m glad my “SELF” does not need to choose like my “self” does.  That’s grounding for me.  Because while some days I have much courage – and actually choose with a balanced head and heart, other days I’m just, “king of the forest” making some really shitty choices out of a fearful ego. 
Thank god there’s always another chance at relationship with others – with myself.  A chance to have the curtain pulled back, to wrestle with flying monkeys, to get a smack on the nose (ok, enough of the damn Oz references).  The bottom line is that I don’t always choose with courage – but I always get another chance to choose and that’s the fuck’n beauty of life!  To learn to be fully human.
And then to learn to move beyond this and to –
let it go . . .
Resting in the “SELF”




Live'n Aloha on Maui.
Lately just posting pics, artwork, vids, & music with just a headline (less seems to be more).
Into Wilber, Beck, Zen Stuffs, Spiritual Concepts, Philosophy and Humor (kinda geeky humor).
Currently attempting to strengthen my meditation skills (this has been a 20 yr process).
Thanks for stopp'n by and please leave a comment. Poz or Neg, all comments welcome.
"I don't like Spam" (said with a British accent)

November 2008
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