“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.”

We recall an infinitesimal fraction of our past experiences. What we do believe we recall we weave into a story that bears little connection to our actual experiences.

...

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but having new eyes.”

Viewing something from different perspectives is more enlightening than viewing different things.

...

“Those who understand only what can be explained understand very little.”

Little of the universe has been explained. If we don’t understand that, we don’t understand much and are unlikely to understand more.

To know the universe we need to discover it ourselves, not simply rely on explanations given to us by others.

...

“Getting old is a fascinating thing. The older you get, the older you want to get.”

While he is 77 and looks older than that, Richards’ attitude is that of a typical 16 year old boy.

As adolescents, much of life is new and engaging and peak experiences are everywhere to be had. We love it all, want more of it and are excited about what’s next. However, our experiences can take a physical toll on our body and mind. As we start looking unbecoming, our attitude is no longer like that of a child becoming, growing. Then, unlike Richards, we often focus our energies on looking young, not at experiencing the world as someone young.

...

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did do.”

When we have regrets about choices we didn’t make in the past, we are living in the past. As such, we can’t make the most of the present which leads us to future regrets.

When choosing between mutually exclusive ways, choose the way of least regrets.

...

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

Every day is a life in a day, not a day in a life. We’ve lived thousands of lifetimes, dying in the evening and born anew in the morning into circumstances similar to those in which we died yesterday. Upon rebirth, we resemble the person we were yesterday but are not the same person.

It is difficult to say who we are today, or even at this moment, as the universe is nothing if not ever-changing.

...

As there are few who are enlightened, enlightenment is lonely unless you’re enlightened.

To the enlightened, everything is unique, fascinating and engaging; as such, they are never bored or lonely.

...

“You are the universe, expressing itself as a human for a little while.”

We are the universe, ever-changing and eternal.

...

Everyone’s life is interesting; unique, fascinating and entertaining; but that’s often not their experience of it.

Lives that are a rhythm of habits, role-playing and looking backwards are not interesting.

...

The past is a play, an illusion we create as comic and tragic. When we take it seriously, our experience of the present is also an illusion.

...

Everyone, whether dead or alive today, is right here, right now. We can connect to them all and have their perspectives. It cannot be otherwise as everything happens at once and our mind has created time frames to create the illusion of past, present and future.

...

We often respect those in roles of great wealth and power. However, those roles in life are easy and could be played by most of us. Those who have difficult lives (destitute, ill or suffering great misfortune) have roles in life that many of us could not easily play. Thus, we need to respect those whose lives are difficult. We also need to be thankful to them for playing these difficult roles; if they didn’t, then we might be called to do so.

...

If someone doesn’t love or respect us, that’s their problem. We can only feel badly for them because they simply don’t get it. However, we too have a problem if we resent them for it.

...

Life presents us with an ever-changing menu of choices. Our menu is the best when we make the best of it. If nothing on the menu appeals to us, that’s a curse or blessing. A curse if it causes us to complain. A blessing if we create what pleases us by combining the ingredients from the various line items on the menu.

...

A crazy society takes seriously someone who is crazy and makes them their leader. Individually, we are crazy when we take our own crazy thoughts seriously.

...

When facing the sun and energized by the light, we can easily be oblivious of the shadows we cast on those nearby. However, when we are truly in the light, we are sensitive to those around us and try to share the light with them.

...

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

Those who view themselves as smart and/or educated often lack the flexibility of mind to adopt to changes. They will ultimately not survive as the only constant in life is change.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” –Charles Darwin

...

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge.”

When we think we know, our curiosity evaporates and we cease exploring to become truly knowledgeable. Simply, anyone who thinks they’re smart doesn’t know much.

...

“We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.”

The past can teach us practical lessons; but, dwelling on stories we’ve created based on our past memories limits our ability to make the most of things to come.

...

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”

Love is when the means and the ends are one.

...

“Ignorance is bliss.”

When we realize we are ignorant, we can embark on a uncertain journey, driven by our curiosity, along endless engaging pathways. This is bliss, the joy of being alive and growing. When we think we know it all, we imprison ourselves in the imaginary bliss of ignorance and go nowhere.

...

Taste is a matter of taste. However, peoples’ tastes tend to be rudimentary, developed, super-sensitive or sophisticated.

Most of us, having a rudimentary sense of taste, can’t say more about a sensual experience than that we liked it or not and often don’t particularly take note of or remember the experience. However, we can develop our taste by “mindful tasting.” Mindful tasting is having many undistracted sensual experiences (as in eating without talking, TV watching or reading) and articulating those experiences.

A small number of us are born with a super-sensitive nervous system which endows us with a highly-refined sense of taste that allows us to easily, with little previous experience, distinguish between sensual experiences.

Alternatively, some develop sophisticated tastes which is a mark of sophisticated people. Sophisticated people, as in sophistry, are primarily focused on appearing knowledgeable and having fine tastes but ultimately their sense of taste is rudimentary as their focus is not on a sensual experience but on how knowledgeable they appear to others. These people don’t experience much of anything. They fool themselves as much as they fool others.

...

At birth, as newborns, we become finite and are no longer one with everything as we were in the womb. At birth we cry while everyone else is deaf to our cries and joyously celebrating. As we approach death, soon to become one with everything, we die without a whimper while everyone about us cries.

Maybe newborns and the dying, whom everyone views as understanding little at their stage of life, truly know something to which the rest of us are oblivious.

...

“[T]he years that you spend as a nobody are painful but golden, because no one bothers to lie to you. The moment you’re a somebody, you have your last truth. Everyone will try to spin you–as they should, with careers to think of.”

When we are unimportant, others reveal to us who we are in their mind. When we are important, others hide their mind and try to please us so that we will please them. They will no longer be a mirror for how we appear to them (as in “The Emperor’s New Clothes“). Thus, it is a blessing to interact with those who don’t respect us as it reveals much about their nature and ours.

...

The best medicine for stress or pain is laughing. We can’t be stressed out or in pain when we’re laughing as the two states of mind are mutually exclusive . What can be funny when we’re stressed out or in pain? We’re funny for taking ourselves seriously or having done something stupid which put us in a stressful situation or caused us pain.

...

“The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.”

The etymology of mind is memory. Memory is a wonderful servant as it allows us to learn from our past experiences, successes and failures, and to make good choices going forward. Memory is a terrible master when we create stories and meanings based on our past experiences and in turn experience the present not freely as it is but as a function of our stories. Our stories are like a prison. When we cannot experience the present as it is, free from our stories; we are prisoners of our mind. Prison guards, however friendly, rule over us.

...

“If a man gives no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand.”

When we don’t consider the possible outcomes of our circumstances and choices, we might not be able to avoid finding ourselves in harm’s way.

Moreover, as we cannot see what we cannot imagine, imagining difficult scenarios allows us to see them as they slowly become reality. Seeing them before they are self-evident allows us the opportunity to avoid them or make the best of what comes our way.

...

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

When we don’t understand the thoughts or behaviors of others, we may think them irrational and dismiss them. Alternatively, they can arouse our curiosity which can lead us on a journey to extraordinary worlds.

Those living in noisy villages but who can hear music beyond their environs, dance to the beat of a different drummer. Are they happy? Yes, they’re dancing. Insane? Perhaps; but maybe those who think them insane are simply projecting their own insanity on others.

...

Don’t choose the most attractive option; choose the option with least undesirable potential consequences.

Best to manage risks than focus on opportunities.

...

Sun, water and fertilizer make roses smell sweet and bloom, but too much of the latter brings them to stink and doom.

Providing our children with too much of the best may not be the best thing for them or us.

...

Those who know are childlike, those who think they know are childish.

Those who know realize they know nothing. As such, everything is new and unique, to be investigated/explored with a childlike curiosity/fascination. Those who think they know have preconceived notions which often leads them to childish choices.

...

“Look at life through the windshield, not the rear-view mirror.”

Dwelling on past matters is distracting and tiresome which in turn limits our ability to make the best of whatever comes our way.

...

“…I will say that if your’re alive, you’ve got to flap your arms and legs, you got to jump around a lot, you got to make a lot of noise, because life is the very opposite of death. And therefore, as I see it, if you’re quiet, you’re not living. You’ve got to be noisy, or at least your thoughts should be noisy, colorful and lively.”

Sleeping through life is akin to not to have lived.

...

I love everyone and feel everyone loves me. Though I realize some people can’t stand me, I know they’ll love me later. At this point I’ve got more love in my future than I do in the present as very few people can stand me for more than short periods. But when you love everyone and feel everyone loves you, everything is terrific.

...

“When people are alone, they become spiritual. When in company, they become religious.”

When we are alone and our mind is calm, we can see the spirit within everything. When with others, our mind is often stirring and we seek calming rules and rituals.

...

The fool thinks he is God. The wise man knows he and everything is God.

The fool thinks himself apart and superior to others. The wise man knows we are all different and the same, infinite manifestations of God.

...

Bell ringing in the empty sky

Sound bouncing on my face

Awakening to time passing

...

Translating pictures into words

Seeing my face in reflection

Backward letters hard to read

...

Thirsty child drawing with fountain pen

Drinks from the inkwell

His parents turn white

...

Some are smarter than others in some ways but not all ways or always. Those who think themselves as all ways or always the smartest are the dumbest.

When we think ourselves as the smartest, our perspective is limited and we miss the breadth otherwise possible with views from the perspective of others.

...

Our relationship with God defines our age. Children believe in god and the elders know God.

Those who believe are foolish. Those who know are wise.

...

There’s nothing new under the sun

but ever-changing flames

of the eternally burning bush.

...

An enlightened journeyman can help others on their journey. An enlightened master makes the journeys of others into a business.

In the trades, after some years of apprenticeship, one becomes a fully-skilled journeyman. With additional coursework in business, the journeyman becomes a certified “master.” Unlike a journeyman who can only offer his skill for hire, a master hires journeymen and makes a business of offering their skills.  In the realm of spiritual matters, a journeyman may be more enlightened (having more insights into the nature of mind) than a master but clearly not so on worldly matters; especially as the general public perceives the master as the real thing.

...

“The more you look the less you see.”

Searching far and wide blindsides us to what is obvious. Best not to look too deeply as we might miss the bigger picture.

...

“Our shit don’t stink.”

Nothing is perfect as everything has some sort of shit associated with it; some shit is smelly excrement, some shit is our casting shadows on others as we gaze at the sun. We rarely notice our own shit and often are oblivious of how it affects others. But we’re quickly put off by others’ shit.

The universe, infinite manifestations of light, is perfect. When we are one with the light, we are one with everything and good with all shit because it is ours.

...

“To be satisfied with what one has; that is wealth.”

There is no greater wealth than happiness. Suffering is when we desire that which we cannot have. Happiness is gratitude for whatever little we have.

...

“What has been shall be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”

The human experience has not changed since antiquity. Those most excited by new things and developments tend to be oblivious to the essence of the human experience.

Nothing is new yet everything is unique which makes everything new. As everything is new, there is nothing new.

...

“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need for masters.”

Virtuous people think of social issues in terms of ethics and community. They judge issues based on what’s the right thing to do and what’s the best for their nation. Non-virtuous people replace these standards with what furthers their agenda and what is best for the social, religious, political or other affinity groups to which they belong. This is popularly called “identity politics.” This leads to corruption of government and fighting between groups. Non-virtuous people are essentially evil. Their ultimate aim is to burn down the system and rise from the ashes to assume control of their nation as dictators.

...

There are 10 times as many stars than all the grains of sand on Earth’s deserts and beaches. A few hundred stars have been given proper names and thousands have a formal identity. Yet, not one grain of sand has been personalized.

A grain of sand is rarer than a star, yet surprisingly less noticeable. Maybe because we look up to the stars and look down on the sand; or maybe there’s not much at night beyond stars at which to gaze, while during the day there is much engaging our attention; or maybe we are attracted to the shiny, not to the dull; or maybe the mysteries of faraway stars stir our imagination but grains of sand are grains of sand.

...

So much depends upon

five baby rubber ducks

walking behind the red rooster.

...

The foundation of wisdom is asking questions that arise in quiet moments. Hard to ask questions when we busy ourselves with answers to emails, texts, phones and bells.

...

“What’s 6 on one end looks like 9 from the other.”

Our perspective forms our reality.

In light of 6 and 9 or 69, the word “cunt” comes to mind as it’s a word whose meaning is subject to national perspective. Cunt maybe the most offensive word in the US today (not so in the earlier times) but is often used as an endearing non-gender specific term (e.g., “he’s a funny cunt”) England and down under, Australia and New Zealand.

...

“Silence is the greatest secret in the world.”

In the silence of meditation the universe reveals its secrets. The secrets are knowledge of how the universe works. Silence is the greatest secret as the knowledge it reveals is beyond words and as such cannot be shared with others; remaining a secret forever. Attempts to share the secrets with others breaks the silence and shrouds the secrets in oblivion. (The person who knows the secrets can attempt to share them with others but such attempts are futile as in doing so the secrets are forgotten by the person who knows them.)

“He who speaks does not know, he who knows does not speak.” –Lao Tzu.

“Silence is the only voice of our God.” — Herman Melville.

...

“There is no such thing as a dumb question.”

Answers may be stupid but questions are not unless they should have been asked much earlier.

...

“I’m often wrong, but never in doubt.”

There are almost infinite perspectives on any matter. When we are certain we have the right perspective, we are often wrong. Best to always have doubts about our perspective. Most accurate is the average of all perspectives, the wisdom of the crowd, as long as the crowd is made of independent-minded people.

...

“When Fredrick Nietzsche declared “God is dead,” fuck became the most important word in the English language.”

There are not many words with the versatility of fuck. Besides the sexual meaning, there are also the following uses:

Ignorance: Fucked if I know.

Trouble: I guess I am fucked now!

Fraud: I got fucked at the used car lot.

Aggression: Fuck you!

Displeasure: What the fuck is going on here?

Difficulty: I can’t understand this fucking job.

Incompetence: He is a fuck-off.

Suspicion: What the fuck are you doing?

Enjoyment: I had a fucking good time.

Request: Get the fuck out of here.

Hostility: I’m going to knock your fucking head off.

Greeting: How the fuck are you?

Apathy: Who gives a fuck?

Innovation: Get a bigger fucking hammer.

Surprise: Fuck! You scared the shit out of me!

Anxiety: Today is really fucked.

...

Bullshit

The etymology or origin of the word bullshit seems as messy as bull shit. Unlike what’s indicated in etymology sources, most likely bullshit stems from hunting trips in the western United States in the 19th century. Hunters trailed their game by following the trail of their feces. The hunters examined feces to determine how recently the animals were present and the type of animal they were trailing. A warm pile of bison shit makes us think we’re on the right track until we realize it’s shit from the bull of a nearby farm. It’s not what it appears to be, it’s bullshit. I suppose that hunters going around in circles would soon come upon their own horses’ feces, horseshit (meaning nonsense).

The forgoing is my view of the etymology of bullshit, to which some might say: bullshit.

...

Each of us plays several roles in the play of life; some difficult, some easy. Difficult roles include having mental and physical health issues, poverty, dangerous situations, etc.; roles that require taking ourselves and our situations seriously. Easy roles are happy, simple lives.

Difficult roles can win an Academy Award; easy roles not. Given the chances of winning an Academy Award, best to forgo that chance and go with the easy roles.

We are born into certain circumstances and with certain potentials. Then our lives evolve through chances and choices. We choose our roles; if not, we are given by society the roles that are vacant, that no one truly wants.

Best to be proactive and make choices that comport best with our strengths, weaknesses and allow us to realize our potential. Otherwise we are likely to be given difficult roles and have a difficult go of life.

...

The root of the word happiness is “hap” which means “luck” in Old Norse and Old English. When we feel we’ve gotten lucky, we are happy. When we realize however difficult our circumstances could always be worse, we are grateful for our good luck. When we are grateful we are great-full and when filled with great we are happy.

...

The mind is a piano with a finite set of keys with which we can score an infinite number of musical  compositions. The compositions express our emotions. Love is when the piano fills the air with music that connects us to the heart of the universe.

...

“There is a time for departure even when there’s no certain place to go.”

Sometimes better the devil you don’t know than the devil you know.

...

“You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.”

We are billions of unique individuals but are cast by society into common roles in the play of life. Our roles become our identities which retard our realizing our inherent potentials.

...

“Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.”

Best to view the choices before us in terms of what’s the right thing to do to avoid unacceptable consequences and maximize the reward/risk ratio for all concerned taken as a whole, not just for ourselves or any particular members of the whole. Wrongdoing is very common. As such, it is easy to follow others in their wrongdoing and be oblivious of the consequences of such a choice. Moreover, choosing to go along with others’ choices is a mindless approach. The less we use our mind the more quickly it atrophies to the point where we become incapable of thinking independently.

...

A schnauzer with a poodle haircut looks like a poodle but is still a schnauzer. As such, it can’t compete against poodles in a dog show.

An elephant who thinks himself a tiger will chase a wildebeest but never catch up to it. Even if he does, he can’t digest it and will likely starve.

When we try to fool others or ourselves, we eventually get caught fooling around which is generally embarrassing and at times devastating.

...

“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.”

When friendships are based on social, familial and commercial networks and context, our interactions tend to be based on role-playing, not on showing up as we truly are.  A true friend is someone with whom we are as open and comfortable as when we are by ourselves.

...

The right answers are everywhere. But we can only find them when we ask the right questions.

The right questions reveal the brilliance of mind. The wrong questions keep us in darkness. Asking “what happens when one is enlightened?” reveals nothing. But asking “who am I?” reveals everything.

 

...

“It is impossible to escape the impression that people commonly use false standards of measurement — that they seek power, success and wealth for themselves and admire them in others, and that they underestimate what is of true value in life.”

Material things come and go, if not in our lifetimes then when we exit the play of life. The true value in life is life itself, having a wonderful time, awakening to our divine consciousness and awakening it in others.

...

“The only difference between you and God is that you have forgotten you are divine.”

Humans are a transitional species, part animal and part divine consciousness. We are here as humans to realize divine consciousness.

...

“We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness.”

We are all one but deceive ourselves into seeing ourselves as finite beings, apart and separate.

...

As the present is all there is, the present is the greatest present we can receive. Upon receipt, we know we’re alive; that all that was is not longer; where we are is where we want to be.

...

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play in the one string we have, and this is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…We are in charge of our Attitudes.”

...

“The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing. It’s about the courage to show up, when you can’t predict or control the outcome.”

Not much courage is needed in accepting a challenge wherein our abilities are tested and we can come out a winner or loser. The role of the winner is easy to handle; the role of the loser is also not difficult as there are many losers and being in the company of many is comforting. Moreover, as win/lose situations are often encapsulated in time, we can take comfort in knowing when one such situation ends we can try our hand at another.

Great courage is needed to embrace open-ended situations with random outcomes as those are stressful, like driving a car with our eyes closed. But is that courage or foolishness?

...

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”

In our darkest moments, particularly difficult and seemingly overwhelming circumstances, we focus on ourselves. Our self is like a black hole that sucks our energy, weakening us. At these moments, best to focus outside ourselves, on the Big Bang and its aftermath where everything is reflections of light; light as in energy and light as in funny. The light energizes us and gives us hope. What’s funny is how seriously we’ve taken ourselves and our circumstances which are essentially temporary as the only constant in the universe is change.

...

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, ‘I’m possible!'”

The universe created things as complicated as humans. Humans have created things beyond our imagination not long ago in human history That which is impossible is just what we accept as impossible. If I’m possible, nothing is impossible.

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” — Ayn Rand

...

“We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.”

Separating each of us are two-way mirrors with small holes. Through the holes we occasionally glimpse each other and the universe. Otherwise, all we see everywhere are reflections of ourselves. However, if we smash the mirrors we can see everyone as they are, the universe as it is and never again see ourselves.

...

“This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.”

While war stirs fears of sudden death and dying, most of us die naturally. A slow process that happens to each of us daily, though barely noticeable to most.

...

“Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.”

The play of life is a story, a facade beneath which lies the truth; clear to the audience of gods watching the play but not to most of the actors playing their respective roles.

...

“History…is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.”

The stories we’ve created of our past frame our experiences in the present. While some of our stories are nightmares, others are happy fairy-tales. Our stories are like the children’s game of Chinese whispers; the stories change as we retell them to ourselves and others over time. Often the stories have little relationship with the past facts upon which presumably they are based.

Experiencing the present in the context of our stories doesn’t allow us to experience the present as it is;  truly unique, unlike anything we’ve experienced heretofore. Only by awakening from our sleep-inducing stories can we be present.

...

All things are reflections,

initially reflections of light

then reflections of mind.

In the first instance our eyes see the truth,

in the second our mind starts lying to us.

The truth is revealed in the present

but disappears when we reflect on what has passed.

...

“I have heard the key
Turn in the door once and turn once only
We think of the key, each in his prison
Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison”

When we focus on our earliest memories, we imprison ourselves and can only wait for the prison door to open to allow us return to who we were before we were born. This keeps us from making the most of our present circumstances.

...

“Every morning when I look in the mirror I say to myself.  ‘You will never be younger or more beautiful than you are right now.  Make the most of it'”

...

“All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.”

The victors write history stories as pleases them. When we understand the present in the context of history, we fail to identify the victors of the future. In other words, we often can’t see future possibilities when we imagine them in the context of the stories of the past.

...

“Don’t Seek Happiness. If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness.”

Suffering is desiring that which is not on our menu of immediate choices. When we are suffering we are not happy.

If nothing on the menu makes us happy, we can choose ingredients from different line items and cook up something that does. Alternatively, we can just laugh off our situation (how stupid, ugly and selfish of us take our desires seriously in light of how fortunate we are). Laughter dissipates pain and suffering which then allows us the opportunity to be happy.

The foundation of happiness is gratitude for our good fortune and optimism that all will be better.

...

“The play’s the thing.”

Hamlet says “the play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.” The king’s guilty conscience will be revealed by the king’s obvious embarrassment as he is watching the play.

It’s odd that an expression that’s ambiguous to the point of meaningless is well-recognized. It must speak to certain truths.

In the play of life, our intentions, actions and their consequences are revealed. So while the play is a fiction, it reveals the reality of who we are.

The play’s the thing; that is, something that cannot be described beyond  “thing.” It is what it is whatever it is. It can be anything we want it to be.

...

Alan Watts in The Book On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are:

“God also likes to play hide-and-seek, but because there is nothing outside God, he has no one but himself to play with. But he gets over this difficulty by pretending that he is not himself. This is his way of hiding from himself. He pretends that he is you and I and all the people in the world, all the animals, all the plants, all the rocks, and all the stars. In this way he has strange and wonderful adventures, some of which are terrible and frightening. But these are just like bad dreams, for when he wakes up they will disappear.

Now when God plays hide and pretends that he is you and I, he does it so well that it takes him a long time to remember where and how he hid himself. But that’s the whole fun of it—just what he wanted to do.

He doesn’t want to find himself too quickly, for that would spoil the game. That is why it is so difficult for you and me to find out that we are God in disguise, pretending not to be himself. But when the game has gone on long enough, all of us will wake up, stop pretending, and remember that we are all one single Self—the God who is all that there is and who lives for ever and ever.

Of course, you must remember that God isn’t shaped like a person. People have skins and there is always something outside our skins. If there weren’t, we wouldn’t know the difference between what is inside and outside our bodies. But God has no skin and no shape because there isn’t any outside to him.

The inside and the outside of God are the same. And though I have been talking about God as ‘he’ and not ‘she,’ God isn’t a man or a woman. I didn’t say ‘it’ because we usually say ‘it’ for things that aren’t alive. “God is the Self of the world, but you can’t see God for the same reason that, without a mirror, you can’t see your own eyes, and you certainly can’t bite your own teeth or look inside your head. Your self is that cleverly hidden because it is God hiding.

You may ask why God sometimes hides in the form of horrible people, or pretends to be people who suffer great disease and pain. Remember, first, that he isn’t really doing this to anyone but himself. Remember, too, that in almost all the stories you enjoy there have to be bad people as well as good people, for the thrill of the tale is to find out how the good people will get the better of the bad. It’s the same as when we play cards. At the beginning of the game we shuffle them all into a mess, which is like the bad things in the world, but the point of the game is to put the mess into good order, and the one who does it best is the winner. Then we shuffle the cards once more and play again, and so it goes with the world.”

Everything is a manifestation of God. When we perceive God as something different than ourselves, we can never be one with God.

...

“Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.”

Much of what happens in life is random, prompting anxiety about what’s next. What’s next can be viewed probabilistically which provides some clarity but doesn’t allay anxiety. While definitive prognostications are assuring and comforting, relying on them is absurd as they are rarely right and ill-prepare us to deal with the unexpected which can be more of an overwhelming problem than the anxiety.

...

Much of our interactions with others is akin to a stroll in the zoo. The lions, tigers and elephants are beautiful and majestic as we view them from afar, roaming in their cage. Face to face with them, living in their cage, we see is their true nature and our own.

...

“People are both afraid of dying and living too long.”

We don’t want to die but we don’t want be around to the point where we can’t live as we do now.

Those afraid of dying need to realize that every time we asleep we die and when awakened we are reborn with some resemblance to the person we were yesterday who is now no longer. When we die we are as before we were born, one with everything, which is as good as it gets. We need not fear dying as we’ve done it thousands of times.

Many of us don’t want to live with physical limitations, pain and suffering. However, physical limitations are an inherent part of our lives; e.g., we can’t fly. Finding ourselves in pain is overwhelming unless we are sufficiently enlightened to laugh it off.  Suffering, which stems from desiring that which we cannot have, is not a problem when we make the best of the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

No need to fear dying or living too long as today is the only life we have. Tomorrow we will be someone else, for better or worse.

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“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”

Time heals all wounds, sooner or later. When our time runs out we have no wounds.

...

Those who don’t take responsibility for their misfortunes blame their misfortunes on others or bad luck.  They don’t learn from their misfortunes which brings them more misfortunes.

...

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

“The greatest communication problem is that we listen to reply, not to understand.” — Anthony Pica

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The Tao does not speak. The Tao does not blame. The Tao does not take sides. The Tao does not complain. The Tao does not argue. The Tao has no expectations. The Tao demands nothing of others. The Tao is not Jewish.

The Tao is not Jewish because the Tao is the Tao and Jewish is Jewish. Each is what it is whatever it is.

 

...

We are given the temporary gift of life but are entitled to nothing else. Realizing that life is not fair and much of what happens is a function of randomness hedges us against disappointments.

...

Money to humans is like fertilizer to flowers. It helps flowers realize their potential but too much of it can make beautiful roses smell like shit.

...

It seems to happen once a day,

but constantly and simultaneously

the sun is rising and setting somewhere,

moving and standing still.

...

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

We see through our mind reflections of things that have passed. The reflections are not real, just illusions. When we change our perspective or the way we see things, what we see invariably changes as it never had an inherent reality to it.

...

“Real eyes   realize   real lies.”

When we see the universe with our real eyes we realize our mind was telling us real lies. We go through life sleeping and seeing our world thru our mind. What we see is an illusion, real lies. When we open our eyes and see the universe through our real eyes we realize we’ve been asleep for much of our lives.

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“No one lies on their death bed and thinks: I wish I had more money.”

At some point in life we reach a crossover point when we realize we have more money than time. Certainly we reach the crossover point in our last moments of life. But as each of has thousands of lives encapsulated as a life each day, we are at the crossover point soon after we awaken from our sleep.

...

When asleep we are one with everything.

Upon awakening

we slowly separate from everything

and our self is formed.

When truly awakened

we are not oblivious of where we came

and to where we’ll go.

 

 

...

We are born unique and the same; unique as unlike anything or anyone else and the same as one of infinite manifestations of God. Our purpose is not to be oblivious to this reality and live accordingly.

When we identify with one group or another (religion, nation, special interests, etc.), we no longer have an independent perspective, are no longer unique nor are we one with everything as group identities create a world of us and them.

...

Wealth is when we have what we truly need and don’t need what we want.

...

When we know the now we know it is beautiful, energizing, wonderful, eternal, ever-changing and we know the now and we are one. But the now is fragile, easily destroyed by distractions of the illusionary past or future.

...

We need to know we know nothing before we can truly know nothing which is all there is to know.

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“[T]he truth is what you can get enough people to believe.”

What is commonly agreed upon as the truth has nothing to do with the truth; just a consensus, a group think. If we accept such truths as the truth, we are not thinking for ourselves.

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“When one realizes one is asleep, at that moment one is already half-awake.”

Self-consciousness precedes universal consciousness.

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“Liberty produces wealth, and wealth destroys liberty.”

The consequences of too much of a good thing are not a good thing for the good thing.

Liberty allows capitalism; capitalism creates wealth; wealth leads to power which soon concentrates among an elite and in turn disenfranchises all of their liberty.

“Under socialism everyone (except the leaders) is equal. As in equally fucked” in terms of individual liberties. — William Wisher.

...

They understand much and know little;

long on intelligence, short on wisdom;

have more answers than questions.

High on an imaginary pecking order.

Never in doubt, often wrong.

The more they look the less they see

for they cannot see what they cannot imagine.

 

Following the advice of pundits is the penalty we pay for not thinking independently.

...

“Know thyself and thou shalt know all the mysteries of the gods and of the universe.” — Inscription on the Greek temple at Delphi.

You, I, the gods and the universe are one.

...

I took LSD when I was 16. I can’t describe the experience. It is ineffable, not memorable in its content.

The only memory I have of it is that I wanted to eat my mind so that my mind and I would be one. Some would say it sounds like I had lost my mind, perhaps so; or at least that was my aim. I realized there was a disconnect between body and mind that I wanted to eliminate by merging the two. That realization was an awakening.

...

We have no recollection of the time before our birth. Maybe because it is like when we’re asleep, a time of which we remember only what we imagine in dreams. Or maybe before birth we were one with everything and with no mind; thus, there is nothing to remember.

 

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An ice cube alone melts faster than if it congregated with other ice cubes. We are all slowly melting but connecting with others sustains us longer than otherwise.

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“Nothing is worth more than this day. You cannot relive yesterday. Tomorrow is still beyond your reach.”

Best to make the most of what we have and not dwell on that which we don’t have lest we waste what we have.

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“The banality of evil.”

Evil is not solely the domain of Hitler and the many other thugs in history but commonplace. Evil is the lack of compassion; viewing others as others, not as ourselves which is who they are.

...

Our mind is like a muscle, use it or lose it. Curiosity engages our mind with questions. Curiosity identifies anomalies our mind efforts to understand which keeps our mind functioning at peak levels.

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“[C]ynic…a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing…a sentimentalist…is a man who sees an absurd value in everything and doesn’t know the market price of a single thing.”

A cynic doubts the value of everything; hence, he accepts values based on market prices. For example, he accepts that a Rolls Royce is worth $400K because that’s the price at which a willing buyer and seller agree, regardless of the relative merits of the car or its cost of production. A sentimentalist values everything based on personal feelings and thoughts without regard to the reality of prices determined in the marketplace. For example, a sentimentalist might be unwilling to sell for $10K a ring received as a gift and replaceable for $1K.

The cynic values things empirically, it is what it is whatever it is.  The sentimentalist values things based on concepts and theories that rarely comport with reality.

Successful traders are cynical. They tend to view the current price of something as the best predictor of its price in the immediate future. Thus, they buy and sell things based on price trends. As something is moving higher in price they buy more and more of it at higher and higher prices. When the price trend breaks, they liquidate their positions at whatever the prevailing prices. Thus they buy high and sell low.

Successful investors are sentimental. They believe the value of something is a function of its relative value and cost of production. That belief allows them to continue buying something as its price declines while whatever they purchased previously is worth less than they paid. In this way they buy on average at lower prices. Likewise, as prices rise they sell. Thus, they buy low and sell high.

Both traders and investors can be successful as long as they know who they are and adhere to their respective strategies.

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“Survival of the fittest.”

In the short-run it may be survival of the fittest, the fattest or the smartest. In the long-run it is survival of the ones who can see change coming and are quick to adapt to it. Those who are the fittest, wealthiest or smartest have the inside track in the race to the future. But those who are the wisest are more likely to finish the race which one can’t win unless they finish. The wisest can envision many possible future outcomes; they know who they are and whether they can change to changing circumstances or need to move on to change their circumstances.

...

Every thing is everything and nothing.

Everything is all there is, beyond description; eternal; it is what it is whatever it is. Every thing is part of everything. No thing can be described as every thing is interdependent with everything and forever changing, a temporary part of everything. As every thing does not exist before it changes into and after it changes from its present form, every thing is nothing.

...

“Sometimes I sit quietly and wonder why I’m not in a mental institution. Then I take a good look around at everyone and realize…maybe I already am.”

...

Others hear mostly the sounds we make when we express our unsolicited opinions. To get them to listen, we need them to ask us questions which get their attention to focus on our views. If we arouse their curiosity by asking them questions, they in turn might ask us questions. In that process, we might both learn something. Otherwise, expressing our unsolicited views is an intellectual or emotional bowel movement; feels good but puts off those near.

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“I grew up in a locker room where people from every race, every background, and every community came together and became brothers to accomplish a single goal…Let’s be the world where …we love each other unconditionally.”

Love is when we identify with each other and serve each other as we wish to be served because we are one with each other; when we work together for the benefit of the whole instead of for our personal benefit.

“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has first destroyed itself from within.” — Will Durant

A structure easily collapses when it lacks integrity as when we prioritize our identity with fractional groups rather than with the whole. This is like the disease called cancer.

...

There is only one mind to which each of us are connected. Those who think otherwise are disconnected from reality.

The mind is a reflecting pond. Each of us is stationed at different points along the perimeter of mind. Our individual perspectives are reflections of mind from those respective points and our attitude. We each tend to take our finite perspective seriously and believe it’s reality. However, reality is truly revealed when we have an amalgam of perspectives from infinite points along the perimeter of mind. This is the essence of wisdom.

...

Life is always and all ways wonderful, though few so realize as they sleep through it or take themselves so seriously they’re oblivious they’re alive. However, at some point we all realize the wonder of it all; hopefully long before the end of days, allowing us to appreciate it all. That’s the essence of happiness.

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“I used to get a laugh from students by quoting a Soviet citizen I talked to once. He said to me, ‘Of course we have freedom of speech. We just don’t allow people to lie.’ That used to get a laugh! They don’t laugh anymore.”

Today we have freedom of speech, as long as no one is listening.

...

The purpose of life is to have a wonderful time of it every day, to realize our potential and to help others likewise. However, some days we are distracted by difficulties and life doesn’t seem all that wonderful. Then, if we step away from what’s engaging us and focus on helping others, we’ll have a purposeful day and at least have a wonderful time vicariously.

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“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

One constant in the universe is change; the river, the man and everything is ever-changing. Anything to the contrary is an illusion.

While no man can step in the same river twice, he can drink from it many times. A man today can remember the experiences of the man he once was and use the knowledge gained from those experiences for his own welfare.

...

After all the time and effort spent on the meditations, the retreats, the rituals, the costumes, the holidays, etc. and especially embracing the abstract concepts explaining our destiny after death, hopefully we awaken with the sound of our hysterically laughing at the absurdity of it all. If not, our time and efforts have been for little but maintaining the obstacles others face on the path to enlightenment.

...

Employees believe the amount of their year-end bonus is a function of their past performance. Employers pay bonuses as a function or whether they want to retain an employee for the upcoming year. That’s why an employee remains an employee and the employer is the employer. The employee only looks back and the employer looks forward.

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The phrase “it’s all downhill from here” can be interpreted variously: going forward things will get easier or things will worsen. It’s meaning reflects our attitude.

For example, through much of our lives we have more time than money and we trade our time for money. However, at some point we crossover, we have more money than time.  It’s all downhill from here as our lives are now relatively easy as we are financially free to do as we wish or it’s all downhill from here if we think our life will progressively worsen as we run out of time.

...

“Be open to everything and attached to nothing.”

This concept didn’t sit well with my wife, until I explained it.

Being open to everything means we realize the universe is endless realities and possibilities. When we are attached to nothing, we don’t take any reality or possibility too seriously or confuse any as the sole expression of reality. This is the essence of wisdom.

Nothing is what everything is before it is what it is whatever it is. Nothing is the essence of reality. When we are attached to nothing we are one with everything. This leads to compassion as we thus treat everything as we treat ourselves.

It is wisdom (realizing infinite perspectives and possibilities) and compassion (oneness with the infinite expressions of reality) that open the door to enlightenment.

...

No thing is forever,

but nothing is forever.

The universe is eternal,

ever-changing manifestations of nothing.

Every thing, before and after it is, is nothing.

...

Best we keep our eyes open if we want to follow our dreams.

If we’re passionate about a career but lack the talent to make dollars, it doesn’t make sense. But a singer with a lot of passion and no talent can be successful as a comedian.

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“The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”

When the mind is calm it doesn’t engage us in a wrestling match. We can then deploy it to observe the infinite manifestations of the universe and create an order of things that make temporary sense of it all. In the preceding sentence, the second “it” is ambiguous; unclear if “it” refers to mind or universe or both or neither. Maybe all that can be said is that it is what it is whatever it is.

...

When we no longer imagine ourselves as solely a separate piece of the universe, we are at peace with the universe.

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“What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”

We live in a world (under the sun) of objects (things that have been and will be) and interactions (what has been done and will be done).  Time, in the forms of past and future, is meaningless as the past and the future are essentially indistinguishable in terms of things and interactions; they are solely constructs of our mind’s memory and imagination. There is nothing new under the sun as energy (the sun) is all there is; energy transitioning into infinite forms of matter (E=M*C*C); ever-changing but nothing new.  To seek that which is truly new is a fool’s errand. Best to free our mind from its preoccupation with memory and imagination and open ourselves to the infinite combinations of everything here.

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The more you look the less you see.

When we look for something, our mind focuses on what we are seeking and tries to identify it as something separate from everything else in our line of vision. In doing so, we are blind to everything else. Likewise, we fail to see the forest when we’re looking for a particular tree; fail to realize we’re unlikely to find a particular tree in a vast forest and more likely to find ourselves lost than to find the tree.

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When we purchase an artwork, we are in fact purchasing two things, the thing and its price. The discerning buyer knows that. The sophisticated buyer does not.

The discerning buyer, by definition, has good judgement; can see the quality of something and it’s relative price. The sophisticated buyer knows much about fashion and culture. However, they are often a sucker for sophism, a specious argument used for deception. They look at an artwork with their ears, not their eyes.

...

Bad luck is better than no luck.

Misfortune we can attribute to bad luck. Doing so doesn’t diminish our confidence in our abilities. Thus, we can have another go at whatever at which we failed.

No luck is when things don’t work out and we have only ourselves to blame.

...

Our interactions are energizing. When habitual or mechanical, the energy is almost imperceptible. However, when our interactions are sincere, authentic and engaging, we are awakened by a burst of energy.

For example, walking by a mail carrier and nodding our head or saying “hello” is a mechanical interaction. Saying “thank you for taking care of us; it’s not an easy job; god bless you” sparks a burst of energy and heartfelt laughs. Beyond energizing, laughing is the best remedy for stress and pain.

...

Leaves and flowers come and go.

Branches slow to grow,

only seen by those who know.

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“The problem with the world is that intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

Those who are fraught with doubt are wise, knowing that much of what unfolds in the world is random. Those never in doubt are often wrong, blinded stupid by overconfidence.

A mix of doubts and confidence isn’t a problem but a blessing. Doubts move the world forward slower than otherwise, minimizing risks, and allow us to more easily adapt to changing circumstances(1), while confidence allows the world to realize itself.

(1) As we can’t see what we can’t imagine, the value of doubts is that they arise from our imagining various scenarios which allows us to identify changing circumstances before their widespread realization limits our options of how to deal with them.

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“You have to die a few times before you can really live.”

Every evening we die, every morning we are born again; some resemblance to the person we were yesterday. Other than the similar to yesterday’s circumstances in which we find ourselves when we are reborn in the morning, everything is completely new today, unique. This newness stirs us and we can awaken to really live the only life we ever have which is today.

When we identify with the person we were in past lives (passed days of our lives as it’s conventionally known) and believe that person never died (that we are that same person today), we experience today in the context of our past; a life based on stories our mind has created. Unless we recognize we died heretofore, we cannot really live.

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Between the drum beats of the pulse

between the motion of breathing

there is an empty space where all is still.

When young, I anxiously waited in the empty space

for the next beat or breath to engage my attention.

Now, I rest in the empty space where nothingness reigns.

From here, I can appreciate the wonder of creation.

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Those who live in a city and view others who live in the suburbs as provincial are themselves provincial, viewing the world through simple categories.

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“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”

A corollary: don’t do anything today you can put off and do tomorrow; tomorrow may never come, so why have regrets of having wasted your time in life doing something that didn’t need to be done; this is wisdom, not laziness.

Taken together, Picasso’s proposition and the corollary guide us to live without regrets.

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It’s hard to see forward when looking back at the past. Those who understand the present in the context of the past are poor at seeing the future. Those who know the present are best at seeing the future.

For example, let’s say a stock is trading now at a price of $45/share. If we know everything about the history of the stock and how it traded relative to other stocks, relative to its earnings and all other metrics; we will not be as good at predicting the price at which it will trade next week as will the person who knows only that it is trading now at $45.

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We are drops of water raining from the sky.

Why wonder why

as it’s clear when we die

in the ground, river or sea

our purpose is just to be.

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“No one gets out of here alive.”

While our ineffable soul is eternal, we are forever transitioning through life and inevitably transition from our temporary bodies. Best to make the most of the physical experience of being alive and enjoy its sensuous pleasures.  Otherwise, we may be fraught with regrets at the end of days, regrets for not having lived.

Jim Morrison died at 27; a relatively short life; over the top full, not half empty.

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Black paint in a can

brushed on a canvass

and spilled on the floor.

In the can it’s $30,

on the canvas priceless,

on the floor worthless.

Same paint, never the same

depending on context.

...

Some lives are complicated, some simple. Complicated lives seem more interesting with lots of wild scenes, dramas and complications. However, complicated lives are at times overwhelming.

Simple lives are happy lives, filled with gratitude for the good fortune of living simple lives. Simple lives avoid multitasking, compartmentalize experiences, accept and do the best with what comes their way, don’t worry about matters they cannot control and are optimistic that all will ultimately work out well.

When at times our lives become complicated and overwhelming, best to simplify them and realize the happiness of a simple life.

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“The main obstacle to progress is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge. You think you know. But no, you don’t. Once you understand that you don’t know, then your mind is a little more open to say, ‘Oh, OK, there are other possibilities, maybe it’s not true after all.’ Even though you wanted it to be true.”

Humility in the form of having an awareness of our ignorance arouses our curiosity which leads us to fascinating insights beyond our preconceived notions.

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“There was no reason for the government to kill him…In any case, they failed. The Dustin Honken they wanted to kill is long gone.”

Shawn Nolan is a lawyer who represented Dustin Honken, 52, who was executed by the federal government for murders he committed when he was 27. Several religious leaders described Honken as someone who today is completely unlike the 27 year old murder; as a compassionate individual who has evolved spiritually.

Every day we are born again, unlike the person we were yesterday who is now no longer. However, we unconsciously choose to assume the identity of the person whom we once were, living like a dead man walking. When we awaken to the reality that today and everyday is our birthday, the people whom we once were are just an imaginary memory and we are free from the stories that connect us to them. Honken had this awakening and the government did not.

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We generally explain the present in the context of the past. This is clearly wrong as witnessed by our limited success in predicting the future.

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“What Do You Care What Other People Think?”

If you’re concerned about how other people think of you, you are likely hanging out with people who think likewise. How could you care about how those people think of you? It’s hilarious if you do; caring about the thinking of people who have little else to do but spend time idly thinking about others and accomplishing nothing.

People aren’t thinking much about anyone or anything.  Caring about how others think of us is a fool’s errand. Doing so limits our freedom to be who we are and by not being ourselves we cannot realize our potential; a wasted life.

Moreover, caring about how others think about us is a stressful errand which drains our energy and leaves little for us to lead healthy and productive lives.

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Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Those who accept the biblical explanation of the origin of life believe God created all that there is; hence, the chicken was created before the egg. Those who hold an evolutionary view of the origin of species believe there can be no chicken without an egg, the egg came first.

Which came first seems a matter of whether we have a biblical or secular bent. However, according to the bible, as God created sea animals before land animals and as sea animals bear eggs, the egg came first regardless of one’s perspective.

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“Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.”

“Ain’t no need to worry what the night is gonna bring, it will be all over in the morning.” Anita Baker.

...

I’ve done many a foolish thing and made many poor choices. Yet I have no regrets. If I was to change one thing in the past, there is a good chance the present would not be as it is now. That’s too risky a proposition. Best to take life as a package deal.

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“Mary Had a Little Lamb” is a 19th century nursery rhyme familiar to most American children. A simple rhyme, yet befuddling without an understanding of relationship and context.

Does Mary had a little lamb mean that Mary had a pet lamb; that Mary had a small vagina; that Mary had sex with a lamb; or that Mary ate a little lamb?

It’s a matter of context and relationship. In the context of Mary’s father reading the rhyme, it’s clear that Mary had a pet lamb. However, Mary’s boyfriend talking with his buddies likely means that Mary had a small vagina. Mary’s kinky friends might mean that Mary had sex with a lamb. Mary’s dinner partner would mean Mary ate a little lamb.

Context and relationship defines meaning.

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Our failed efforts can be very valuable. They are valuable if they teach something about ourselves as that increases our chances of realizing success in the future. If we blame others for our failures, our failures are worthless.

 

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The best things in life we take for granted. Suffering can awaken us to this truth which can lead us to happiness.

Suffering is when we desire that which is not available. When we suffer, we can have flash recollections of  how relatively fortunate we were before our suffering. Moreover, we can realize that even in our suffering we have much for which to be thankful as our current circumstances could always be worse. This is gratitude.

As well, we can take solace in knowing that our suffering will at some point come to an end as all things  are constantly subject to change, hopefully for the better. This is optimism.

Gratitude and optimism are two of the three pillars of happiness.

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If we can’t laugh, we can’t afford to smile.

Laughing is a great rejuvenator. It dispenses pain and stress and energizes us. Otherwise, pain or stress consume much of our energy. If we can’t laugh at pain and stress, we can’t afford to spend energy on smiling to cover our distress. Better to identify something funny about our painful or stressful circumstances.

...

The mind is a prism

refracting light into a spectrum of colors.

Each color a mood.

We choose the color

through which we see the world.

...

We can learn more from a talking fast than from someone talking fast.

In quietude, the universe reveals itself. “He who speaks does not know, he who knows does not speak.” Lao Tzu.

...

Puns are a play with words or phrases that reveal certain truths; that things are not necessarily as they conventionally appear.

Pundits are serious, well-educated and opinionated, never in doubt but often wrong. We embrace their views as they provide us a sense of certainty, however false, in an uncertain world.

Puns are more insightful than pundits.

...

The sun is always rising and setting, simultaneously somewhere on Earth. But the sun is not rising or setting, it is stationary. We fail to realize the Earth is turning when we think the world revolves around us.

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“The exaggerated esteem in which my lifework is held makes me very ill at ease. I feel compelled to think of myself as an involuntary swindler.”

Albert Einstein was identified as having “impostor syndrome,” having doubts about his significant accomplishments and talents and fear that others would ultimately realize he was a fraud, not the extraordinary genius they held him to be. Impostor syndrome is not a mental illness, rather a psychological behavior pattern. Other luminaries with impostor syndrome include Tom Hanks, Sheryl Sandberg, David Bowie and Serena Williams.

While impostor syndrome may reflect underlying insecurities, in Einstein’s case it reflected his enlightenment. Like Einstein, enlightened individuals have a terrific sense of humor and interesting insights about the nature of the universe. They happily welcome each day as it is the first and last day of their lives; grateful, optimistic and free from karmic prisons.

The foundation of karmic prisons is the belief that we are the same person today as the people we were in passed days of our lives. (Passed days of our lives is what several spiritual practices refer to as our past lives.) The stories we and others tell about those past people define our roles in the play of life.  Our roles imprison us by limiting our perspectives as we experience the world not as it is but in the context of what we “learned” in previous lives (our stories, characterizations, categorizations and general descriptions about the world).

The foundation of karmic prisons crumbles when we come to know the nature of reality, that the universe is forever changing, eternal and beyond description as everything is unique. It is what it is whatever it is. We are not the same people we were in passed lives. Our experience of the universe need not be limited by what we’ve learned and our memories but by our imagination.(1)

Einstein didn’t suffer from impostor syndrome. In describing himself as a willing swindler, he realized that he was simply another physics researcher among thousands in the world; that he was not the genius who long before made the great discoveries associated with him; that he was a fraud by willingly acting in the role assigned him as the greatest mind of the 20th century. That is true genius.

(1) “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” Albert Einstein.

...

On a hot day

a cold glass of water

is refreshing now,

necessary later.

Should I drink it now

or will it evaporate before I need it?

...

The characteristics we see in others are just a refection of ourselves. However, others have no characteristics because they are indescribable, they are god. We are all divine but fail to recognize our divinity when we think poorly of others.

...

We experience reality at the end of days. When we are viscerally aware each passing moment brings us closer to the end of life as we have known it, increasingly the nature of reality is revealed; that we are not apart and separate from everything, but one with everything. Death brings life to life.

...

When I was 12 years old in school in America, one day in class the geography teacher explained that many countries today are categorized as “underdeveloped” but years earlier were referred to as “backward” which is more pejorative. Then, one of the girls in the classroom blurted out: “Those countries are strange, I’d rather be called backward than underdeveloped.”

To some in the developed world, externalities are more important than potentialities.

...

“No lives matter.”

“Black lives matter” is a moral complaint against inequity in the existing social order.

“All lives matter” is a self-righteous response that implies all people are equal and negates the existence of an inequitable social order. It’s dismissive of the complaint.

“No lives matter” reflects the reality; the incarceration rate, domestic murder rate and casualties and fatalities in overseas military adventures.

Those for whom we march and cry “black lives matter” are memorialized with dignity, respect and fancy funeral ceremonies. In other words, respect for the dead but not for the living.

...

When the world is at peace, there’s a ever-bigger piece of pie for each of us. At war, each warring state fights for peace on its own terms and ever-smaller pieces of pie.

...

Every day is not a day in a life but a life in a day. As such, best to live each day as it’s our first and last.

As each day is our first, everything is new and unique, engages our attention and arouses our curiosity. We are present to observe and experience. We feel alive.

As each day is our last, best to do everything we would otherwise regret not having done before we die.

Our day has purpose: to enjoy ourselves, realize our potential and help others likewise.

 

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“There is freedom of speech, but I cannot guarantee freedom after speech.”

Freedom of speech is the foundation of a well-functioning state, unlike Uganda when Idi Amin ruled it.  Considering many independent perspectives allows us the wisest choices (the wisdom of the crowd).  Today, however, often there is no freedom after speech as unpopular opinions are denied social media access or those who voice their opinions are marginalized and attacked by those uncomfortable with perspectives that don’t comport with their own. This is how a state begins to slide into monolithic thinking and loses its ability to adapt to changing circumstances which ultimately leads to its demise.

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Anticipating a problem lessens its consequences.

When we envision problematic events, we can adjust accordingly and mitigate their consequences. As problems initially unfold slowly and then suddenly, when we identify problems unfolding slowly we can to some extent get out of their harm’s way before they unfold suddenly.

However, many of us fear envisioning potential problems as doing so makes us anxious; thus we suffer the consequences of our blinding fears.

...

“The one is made up of all things, and all things issue from the one.”

God is that which is within and unfolds into the infinite manifestations of the universe, the without. We are never lacking (never without) as what’s without is always within.

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“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

The universe is infinite and unique manifestations of God. The living manifestations do not know this truth as they perceive themselves as apart and separate from all other manifestations. Man is no different in his self-perception but has the potential to realize divine consciousness, the realization that he and all manifestations are one; that man and God are one.

Words are the foundation of a system of understanding and communicating abstractly. Abstract communication and idealization differentiates man from all other living manifestations. The beginning of mankind was when words were first transcribed symbolically, in written form. The word connected man to God as the word is God, the idealization of the universe.

Word + I = worId (world). When the word and I merged, the world as the story we know it as was created.

The beginning of the transcription of words, cuneiform tablets, is currently estimated to be around 5400 years ago. This is not far from the start of the Jewish calendar, the start of creation, 5780 years ago. Prior to that time, our progenitors were manlike but not man.

...

God plays different roles in Eastern and Western religions. In the East, God is everything. The universe is a manifestation of God. God is a path through which we connect and are one with everything. In the West, God is an administrative law judge.

...

God is the knowledge that we are all connected. Religion is about rules which connect its adherents and exclude others; the antithesis of God.

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Some years back I viewed a documentary movie about the brutalities of the “Dirty War” in Argentina (1976 – 83) when thousands of people disappeared through state sponsored terrorism. One woman interviewed was a rare survivor. She was asked how she felt about the perpetrators, “you must hate them” suggested the interviewer. “No” she said, “I don’t hate them, I fear them.” She learned from her experience whom to avoid but as she was essentially happy she was free to move forward without emotional distractions from the past.

...

Winners are not those successful at their pursuits; the losers not those unsuccessful. The winners are laughing at the outcomes, the losers not.

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In 1977 on a flight from NYC to Dallas, I sat next to a gentleman busy scribbling on his paperwork. Asked him what he was doing, he replied, “working out which bets I want to make” on some football games or horse races. We continued talking and he said he was a magazine writer but didn’t mention his name as he felt I undoubtedly never heard of him. A couple of hours later, I asked him if anyone ever said he looked like Norman Mailer. He said, “Congratulations, it took you a while.” I replied: “Someone has to be Norman Mailer and you’re it; how is it being Norman Mailer, do you enjoy the role?” He replied: ” Terrific role, really enjoying it.”

Mailer was a novelist, journalist, politician, essayist, playwright, film-maker, actor and painter; married six times; had nine children; numerous affairs; stabbed his wife; wrote 11 best-sellers; and cavorted with the glitterati. Yet, the man sitting next to me didn’t seem to take his role too seriously. Maybe that’s why he was Norman Mailer.

...

“Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts.”

Life is essentially simple unless we complicate it with our mind.

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“In of the most striking patterns in yesterday’s [2018] election was years in the making: a major partisan divide between white voters with a college degree and those without one. According to exit polls, 61 percent of non-college-educated white voters cast their ballots for Republicans while just 45 percent of college-educated white voters did so. Meanwhile 53 percent of college-educated white voters cast their votes for Democrats compared with 37 percent of those without a degree. The diploma divide, as it’s often called, is… a complete departure from the diploma divide of the past. Non-college-educated…voters used to solidly belong to Democrats, and college-educated…voters to Republicans.”

Seems odd the college-educated vote against their economic interests, assuming as is generally assumed that the Republican Party favors the wealthy which is what the college-educated are relatively. However, today the college-educated are at a considerably lower caliber of educational achievement than those who graduated from college 50 years ago. Maybe they are more college-brainwashed than college-educated.

...

“Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a certain way.”

This is an early construct of the aphorism: fake it until you make it.

In other words, when we pretend to be who we are not, eventually we become the person or have the role in life of the person we pretended to be. If not, well, at least we enjoyed pretending as the person we are is problematic for us to be.

That said, this saying can be read otherwise. I spoke with a friend today who said that after 6 years of marriage and a 5 year old girl, he and his Ukrainian wife are divorcing. He’s been in a sexless marriage for some time as his wife tells him she is not in the “mood” whenever he approaches her sexually. That seemed odd to him as previously they had a very active love life. However, recently he asked her if she no longer loved him. She replied, “I never loved you.” Apparently marriage for her was a path to having a baby or citizenship. She was true to the adage of fake it until you make it.

Sometimes people pretend they are what they are not in an effort to transform themselves. But more often to transform how others perceive them. When their masks come off, often what’s revealed is ugly by some measure.

...

Only the universe is perfect, every-changing and eternal.

Everything else is just an illusionary part of the universe, interdependent and temporary.  As everything is interdependent, nothing is perfect as nothing can exit on its own. Describing something as a thing onto itself is an illusion. As everything is temporary, what’s seems perfect now is only temporarily perfect. As temporary, it can be described only approximately as it changes as it’s being described.

Thus, everything is unique and the same, a temporary manifestation of the universe which can only be described as it is what it is whatever it is.

...

“That’s life.”

This past Sunday a photo was taken on the Upper West Side of Manhattan of a woman squatting, urinating and giving head to shirtless man. I spoke with several people about this incident; some, especially those  who lived nearby, thought it disgusting and others laughed. At a grocery store I frequent, I mentioned the incident to an older Palestinian man who works there tending to the fruits and vegetables.  His apathetic response: “That’s life.” I’m not sure if he meant that the incident is a reflection of the state of affairs in NYC or that he had an enlightened view of it as not a significant event, simply people performing bodily functions which made the scene nothing noteworthy.

It’s curious as to why some would find this incident disgusting. Clearly they have an abstract view of it; that it is the breaking of a taboo based on community or religious standards. As such, they should find it disgusting and do so.

As to those who laugh about it, they view the scene as two people harmlessly enjoying themselves and juxtapose that view with the view of others who find it disgusting. It’s funny that some people can see meanings in something meaningless.

Interestingly, it seems that people living in the nearby vicinity of the incident are much more upset they those living elsewhere. From a far-enough distance, say the heavens, everything seems funny. Likewise, when and old fat woman slips on a banana peal, it looks funny until we realize she’s our mother.

...

There is only one mind to which we are all connected. Some of us connect via the same wavelength and understand each other. Others seem to us to be on the dark side of the moon (which is how we appear to them) and the connection is weak. But, regardless of how different we are, there is only one mind. Recognizing this opens us up to connecting with everyone.

...

“It’s easier to choose between black and white than between shades of gray.”

Unlike black and white, the difference between shades of gray is difficult to remember. Hence, as our memories guide us in the choices we make, we gravitate to extreme, simplistic views.

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“Life is so much simpler when you lose the desire to think.”

Our mind is a great servant when we use it to learn from our experiences, simplifying the road forward.  However, the mind is a terrible master. When we desire its stimulation, we are its servant. Then, the road forward is not straightforward as the mind creates distractions, twisted thoughts and additional desires to control us.

...

“What’s the difference between the heart and the mind?”

Each heart is essentially the same. Each mind is unique.

The heart connects us to others while the mind often separates us from others.

The heart is fundamental to being alive; if it’s not working neither are we. The mind distracts us from living as most of our experiences in life are in the context of our memories or karma.

The heart is symbolic of compassion, connecting with others and trying to help them realize their potential. Our mind can lead us to wisdom, viewing the world through the perspective of others, but is often what separates us from others as we view others as different from ourselves. The mind is the foundation of the ego.

...

“Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.”(1)

The past is created by mind in the form of stories. Each story unfolds sequentially, within a timeline. The timeline rationalizes cause and effect as without the timeline the stories don’t make sense. For example, when we tell the story of a cat’s life, the cat cannot be simultaneously dead and alive. However, everything in the past happens all at once, the moment the mind creates it. Hence, the cat is alive and dead simultaneously.  The timeline is an illusion our mind creates as are our stories.

In other words, our mind creates the past. The past doesn’t exist independent of mind. As to the present, the true-present, it is simply nothingness with waves of light about. Our mind transforms the light into our reality, the past and its related stories.

(1) From Quote Investigator: “There is no substantive evidence that Einstein wrote or spoke the statement above. It is listed within a section called “Probably Not By Einstein” in the comprehensive reference “The Ultimate Quotable Einstein” from Princeton University Press.”

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The truly wealthy are easily identified by their manners not their manors.

Those who are well-mannered are kind and freely share their good fortune, however great or small, with others. They are the truly wealthy.

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For Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse-Five, life happens all at once; sequential time is a creation of mind and doesn’t exist independent of mind.

While our lives may happen all at once, we are a different person at each point in our lifetime story. We can choose to be any of these people at any circumstance in which we find ourselves. Our experience is a function of the choice we make.

...

“If you can cut the people off from their history, then they can be easily persuaded.”

As reported in the Washington Post on September 1, 2020: “A committee reporting to D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser has recommended renaming dozens of public schools, parks and government buildings in the nation’s capital — including those named for seven U.S. presidents [and Benjamin Franklin] — after studying the historical namesakes’ connections to slavery and oppression. The report drew a torrent of criticism, especially for its suggestion of adding plaques or other context to some of the most famed federal locales in the city, including the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial. After a harsh rebuke from the White House, the Bowser administration removed the recommendations dealing with federal monuments on Tuesday evening. A White House statement called Bowser (D)the radically liberal mayor of Washington, D.C.’ and said she ‘ought to be ashamed for even suggesting’ revisions to the marble monuments dedicated to presidents who were enslavers. ‘President Donald J. Trump believes these places should be preserved, not torn down; respected, not hated; and passed on for generations to come.'”

Politically correct renaming has been going on for some years. Maine, Vermont and New Mexico no longer celebrate Columbus Day. Instead, they celebrate Native Americans’ Day.

...

Before the light

before the sound

before the motion

before all there is

before that which never was

before all that is manifested,

all is pre-sent,

the present.

...

“No one gets out of here alive.”

But we all do.

If our identity is our finite physical presence, our lives are finite and no one gets out of here alive. When we realize we are not solely our finite selves but one with the infinite manifestations of the universe, there is no life or death; just endless transitions; comings and goings into and out of life; like the sound and the silence between heartbeats; like the breathing and silent pause between breaths. In the silence we are in the present, before our mind distracts us by ever-changing sounds and motions. The silence is eternal. When we realize we are one with the silence, we are here forever.

...

Once upon a time, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, experts in their respective fields of detective work and science, went on a camping trip. After a good meal and a bottle of wine they lay down for the night and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend. “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.” Watson replied, “I see millions and millions of stars.” “What does that tell you?” Watson pondered for a minute. “Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically , I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?” Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke. “Watson, you dickhead. Some bastard has stolen our tent.”

There are always many ways to view a situation, from the practical to the profound. If not individually funny, when juxtaposed they are funny.

...

“Unfortunately, most people don’t get it. They will, but they’ll have to die first before they understand that they don’t.”

We don’t die, just transition from one form to another. That which is alive and that which is not are no different; only differentiated by our mind; all manifestations of God; all unique and all the same. Is the breathing of the ocean and its shattering sound at the shore not as alive as we are?

Everything is like bubbles in a glass of sparkling water, appearing out of nowhere and seemingly disappearing when reaching the top of the glass. The bubbles don’t disappear. They become one with everything as they have been from the very beginning.

We recognize that the only constant in the universe is change; that no one or anything dies, just transitions. Those who realize (know) this truth don’t take themselves too seriously.

...

It’s said that man’s best friend is a dog. Read backwards, dog is god; truly man’s best friend.

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“I’m not going to tell the story the way it happened. I’m going to tell it the way I [want to] remember it.”

Our memories shape our attitude, how we experience the world as it unfolds. Those of us with happy memories have a happy time of it, swaddled in sunlight. For those of us with trauma-filled memories, life at times is a struggle, stressful. The traumas, karma, overshadow our lives. In the shadows it’s cold and we use a lot of energy to keep warm. To replace the energy lost, we often engage others, to tap into their energy, with our dramas and other attention-getting techniques. At some point, it’s exhausting for those we tap into and, if they have any sense to preserve their well-being, they walk away from us.

Those with happy memories overflow with energy. Their lives are terrific, always good and getting better. They generously share their energy with others, hoping to bring them happiness.

Those who are happy view the past as an entertaining illusion, like a movie. It is what it is whatever it is and whatever we want our memories to make of it. They know the most important free-will choice we have in life which in turn defines our attitude: how we choose to remember the past.

For those who hold onto a traumatic past, best for them to remember the traumas are now passed; that there is nothing to forget. That is, the past is nothing but an illusion.

...

“How do you dress, sir?”

I was first asked this question when getting fitted for a handmade suit in the 1970s. At the time I didn’t understand what the tailor was asking. Seeing me a bit befuddled, the tailor explained that he wanted to know whether my penis naturally lays to the right or the left so he could give me a bit more room in the trousers on the right or left. I hadn’t theretofore focused on my penis’s natural bend, so I told him to proceed as he thought best as my penis is like me politically; sometimes a bit left, something right.

A bit more fabric on one side or another creates a bit of a bulge in the trousers which implies the presence of a somewhat larger than average penis. I guess those who need to present themselves wearing a handmade suit also need to make certain other statements about themselves.

...

At 14 I realized that I wouldn’t have much of a life if I approached life like my peers. I thought my best chance at having a good go of life was to differential myself which would likely lead to great success or failure but that seemed a better outcome than mediocrity. Viewing the possible roles in the play of life, I aspired to be eccentric. Eccentrics are care-free of judgement by others as they are non-conformists; find most peoples lives funny; are very curious; find almost everything interesting; are independent thinkers and have a creative approach to understanding the world. Being eccentric seemed a fun way to go through life.

Now, at 69, I’ve so gotten so comfortable with the role of eccentric, I sometimes believe it’s who I am. But I don’t forget it’s just a role I happen to enjoy, though those who know me feel I fit the role well. Ultimately, I am who I am which itself is an eccentric self-perception.

...

This shaman figure, made of bone, is depicted wearing a hat with seven heads, presumably representing ancestors, historically important clan members or wise men. The heads are the shaman’s helper spirits or guides in the world underpinning the world of the living; the world before it’s tangible to our senses. The spirit helpers provide the shaman with multiple perspectives which is the essence of wisdom, the stock-in-trade of shamans. The triangular shaped head, pointing down and perfectly balanced on the torso, implies an open mind with no predilections. The figure has a disproportionally large head (40% of its entire body while man naturally is 14%), implying that, unlike others who use their physical body when working, the head plays an outsized role in the shaman’s work.

Moreover, the figure is sexless as, unlike most work in tribal societies which is exclusively the domain of one sex or the other, a shaman can be male or female. As well, without sexual identity, the shaman’s perspective is unbiased, nondual.

...

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

In school we are taught by others and learn to repeat what’s taught us when taking exams. This is the road to success in school. But our education in life comes from observing the universe about us and asking ourselves difficult questions about ourselves and our observations; to which there are many answers, each somewhat relevant or revealing of the truth and engendering further questions.

“School is very limited. Learning is unending!” William Wisher

“I always like to learn but I sometimes don’t like to be taught.” Winston Churchill

...

Most lives are funny and sad. Funny when we take ourselves seriously. Sad when that’s our life.

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“Rather than Communists and Marxists on the extreme ‘Left’ and Nazis and Fascists on the extreme ‘Right,’ I think the political spectrum should be ‘Up’ and ‘Down’ –Up towards individual freedom and Down towards control of the individual by the State. The extreme Up would be Anarchy, no government at all, while the extreme Down, at the bottom of the spectrum, would be all forms of totalitarianism; both Fascism and Communism, Nazism and Marxism, which together in common advocate the abolishment of individual freedom. On this spectrum, I place myself on the Up side, far from the extremism of anarchism, but as an advocate of individual liberty in accordance with a constitutional democracy and rule of law.” (1)

“Up” is close to heaven and “down” is hell.

In a constitutional democracy, a republic, a nation is governed by clear laws, generally well-understood, that brave time as they are difficult to change.  A representative democracy often leads to a self-serving government, controlled by wealthy and voting bloc special interest groups; not unlike totalitarian regimes where people in a conference room decide what’s best for all which is generally what’s best for themselves.

(1) Transcribed by Jack Wheeler, October, 1965 at a speech given by Ronald Reagan at UCLA

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Thousands of these presumably votive “Eye Idols” have been found in a building now called the Eye Temple in Tell Brak. They depict a deity who observes the world but lacking ears and a mouth does not hear or speak. The deity’s view is pure, unadulterated by the words of others which could have the deity see the world as they would wish the deity to see it. Lacking a mouth, the deity knows but does not speak; implying that those who speak do not know and those who know do not speak. In the contemporary world, seeking enlightenment, some monks take a vow of silence.

To view other eye idols, click here.

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In college I took a philosophy course that was taught by an Indian (dot, not feather) professor. While not part of the curriculum, the professor was always encouraging us to take up Transcendental Meditation. He felt TM changed his life; a bit enlightened, he went from lethargic to energetic, from careless to responsible.

One wintery Tuesday at 11 in the morning, the professor didn’t show up for class. Funny, odd, as there was no notice on the door indicating the class was cancelled. In any event, after a while we realized he wasn’t coming so each of us left to get on with the rest of our day. A couple of days later, the professor did make it to class and explained his earlier absence: “I woke up early enough to make the class Tuesday morning. However, before class I did an hour of TM. It was fabulous, a total awakening like never before; felt terrific; so good that I decided to go back to sleep and missed the class.”

I guess that sometimes, when we glimpse enlightenment, we choose to return to the sleep state in which we were previously, simply because it feels warm and comfortable. Maybe the professor should have just slept through the morning without the TM interruption.

...

“Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.”

When driving, more than a occasional glace at the rear view mirror is an accident in the making.

The past is an illusion our mind makes seemingly real. Focusing on the past distracts our attention from the right here, right now and what’s next; limiting our ability to make the best of the present, the present-passed, as it unfolds before us.

...

Early on, humans trapped and hunted animals for food. Trapping requires more ingenuity and patience but is otherwise less taxing and dangerous.

Grabbing water from a stream will not quench our thirst as quickly as collecting the water by cupping our hands.

We can catch more fish in a net than by rod and reel. But it takes longer to construct a net than a rod and reel.

Courting potential mates with wining and dining is not as effective a mating strategy as showing up as the best version of who we are which might get mates to court us.

In business, a good product or service sells itself by word of mouth, less expensive than hiring salespeople.

Best not to effort running after what we desire but to figure out how to have it come to us.

...

One day two sushi chefs in New York went to the Fulton Fish Market looking for sushi grade tuna. They both happened upon a fishmonger who had what they wanted. The fishmonger offered them tuna from the east and west coasts. He said that the east coast tuna just came in, he had lots of it and was offering it at a lower price than the west coast tuna of which he had less and had come in a couple of days back. As the two tunas looked alike and the east coast tuna was presumably fresher and clearly cheaper, one of the sushi chefs purchased the east coast tuna. The other sushi chef smelled, touched and tasted the two tunas and purchased the west coast tuna as the east coast tuna didn’t feel quite right. Some months later the sushi chef who purchased the east coast tuna closed his restaurant for lack of business. The other sushi chef saw his business thriving.

Our eyes and ears often deceive us, but generally the nose knows. Best to engage all our senses to make sense of things.

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This 5500 year old female figure comes from before the dawn of the written word. Much has changed since then but perhaps men have not, as the figure is depicted with eyes, nose, breasts and a vagina; no mouth which is how many men would prefer women.(1)

This apparently sacred object is archeologically/artistically significant and open to various interpretative readings. My offbeat reading clearly is intended to be humorous. However, some reading this post might be put-off by my reading of this figure. If so, forget the artwork and consider what your view says about you?

(1) The Book of Matthew (Matthew 15:11), 3500 years later, elaborates: “It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.”

...

Tadataka Unno is a Japanese jazz pianist who came to New York city when he was 27 to further develop his craft. Against long odds, he met with success and was a pianist for several jazz groups. Now 40 and a recent father, on September 27, 2020, returning via subway to his home in Harlem, he was attacked by several young people shouting racial slurs (“Chinese motherfucker”) and causing him severe injury which makes it doubtful he can return to his role as a pianist. With stress, medical bills, unemployment and childcare to deal with, Unno went to GoFundMe with the goal of raising $25K. To date, he’s received more than $200K.

Unno’s experience is a horrible, tragic and frightening story.

However, just about anything, including this story, can be viewed as funny. Funny in that after working for years as a pianist and receiving relatively little recognition, today Unno is an internationally recognized victim who most likely made more money in 30 days than in the past 5+ years as a pianist. Society seems to value Unno’ story as a victim more than as an accomplished pianist. This informs us about the level of sophistication of society (which is also reflected by the mere existence of the attackers), which is contrary to how society sees itself.

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In November, Syoji Iilyama, a retired eccentric Japanese businessman will receive the Order of the Sacred Treasure, a medal bestowed by the Emperor for Syoji’s work when he was 23 as a volunteer probation officer who rehabilitated 2.5 times as many convicted felons as did other probation officers.

Most probation officers do their job and represent the system from which felons have revolted. They are not role models, an example to felons of an attractive socially responsible lifestyle. Their job is to monitor released felons and remind them of the stick that awaits them if they behave out of line.

While I have no direct knowledge as to what made Syoji so successful as a probation officer, I suspect it was simply showing up as he is: an eccentric who lives outside of social boundaries (like the felons), yet has a wonderful life without harming others (though I’m sure he’s annoyed many people in an effort to entertain them and himself and/or wake them up); someone who has realized the purpose of life; an exemplary life that is available to all, including felons who can be awakened to realize their past choices are not who they are and that they could live like him if they choose to do so.

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Memory and imagination allows us to see the past and future. However, once we open our eyes, we realize there is nothing to see beyond the horizon.

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“Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it into fruit salad.”

Classifications help organize and provide artificial meaningfulness in an otherwise overwhelming universe but often fail to provide insight into the true nature of the objects classified as everything is unique.

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Everything is a unique manifestation of God. Therein lies the beauty of everything. If we don’t see this beauty, we don’t know what we’re looking at. If we think we know, we make fools; nothing funnier than that.

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“When I was in college I told my grandfather I had just met a boy and was in love with him. Immediately came the questions: ‘He’s from a good family; he’s white; he’s black; he’s Jewish; he’s Christian; he’s smart…? Uniformly I responded: ‘no.’ Well what is he then?’ my father asked. ‘He’s welcome’ I said.”

To love someone is to accept them as they are, not in the context of artificial identifying categories and descriptions.

...

When the sea is calm and clear

all there is to see is in the sea.

As reflections from our mind,

the sea (1)

 

(1) Proto-Germanic “saiwaz” (sea) is the etymology of the word “soul.”

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“We believe we make our choices, but no — they make us.”

Our choices reflect how we see ourselves. How we respond to the consequences of our choices defines us. When how we see ourselves is not aligned with how we respond to the consequences of our choices, we make poor choices.

...

Those who are smart are best at remembering, quickly analyzing and arguing about matters passed. The wise are best at predicting things to come. The smart shed light on the past. The wise light the road forward. The smart have highly developed senses of seeing and hearing; often with underdeveloped senses of smell, taste and touch. In the extreme, they are idiot savants, able to do one thing extraordinarily well and not much else. The wise ones are generalists. They have more equally developed senses which allow them to know things from different perspectives. Having many perspectives is the essence of wisdom. Especially developed is their nose, the forwardmost of our senses. The nose knows when things smell right or not.

It’s easier to determine who is smart than who is wise as intelligence is judged ex-post and wisdom ex-ante.  Society is geared to recognize intelligence more than wisdom and elevates those deemed smart to high positions in society. As such, in the short-run the smartest are more successful than the wisest. In the long-run, however, those who are conventionally smart are less likely to survive as circumstances change; for it’s not survival of the smartest but survival of the wisest. The wisest are best at seeing changes before they are obvious and can either adapt to a changing environment or change their circumstances where they can better adapt.

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In the biblical Book of Revelation, apocalypse is the final destruction of this world. The etymology of the word “apocalypse” is “uncovering, to take the cover off” like the lifting of the veil. Apocalypse is the destruction of the temporary illusionary world our minds have created to cover reality. For those who believed the illusions are reality, revelations is hell. For those who know the illusions are illusions, revelations is funny as the illusions are now clearly absurd.

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With enlightened masters from Jesus to Buddha to Rajneesh to Rebbe  Schneerson to the Dalai Lama and countless others with flocks of disciples, it is curious that when these enlightened ones transitioned from this world no equally enlightened disciple emerged to replace them. Perhaps a disciple, like a drone, cannot turn into a queen bee by following her lead. Perhaps it’s hard to see the light under the shadow of an enlightened master. Perhaps the road to enlightenment is a narrow road that doesn’t allow a disciple to walk side by side with their master and partake of the panoramic view of life. Or maybe a chick needs to give birth to itself by cracking open the eggshell in which it developed; otherwise, cracked open by the enlightened master, the chick might not survive its birth. That is, enlightenment is not a relay race with the passing of the baton but an individual journey one needs to travel alone. Though a road map, the writings and teachings of an enlightened master, can be helpful; following enlightened masters will never get us to the divine destination where they reside.

As Menachem Mendel Schneerson said at his inauguration as the Rebbe in 1951: “Now listen, Jews. Generally, in Chabad it has been demanded that each individual work on themselves, and not rely on the Rebbes. One must, on their own, transform the folly of materialism and the passion of the ‘animal soul’ to holiness… if one does not work on themselves, what good will submitting notes, singing songs, and saying lechayim do?… one must go to a place where nothing is known of godliness, nothing is known of Judaism, nothing is even known of the Hebrew alphabet, and while there to put oneself aside and ensure that the other calls out to God.”

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Desiring that which is not now available leads to suffering as it keeps us from being grateful for what we have. Moreover, suffering distracts us from keeping our eyes open for when what’s not now available or alternative show up.

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“Don’t depend too much on anyone in this world because even your own shadow leaves you when you are in darkness.”

Life is temporary, tangible manifestation of light. Without the light, we don’t exit.

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Every US President is memorialized in the collective consciousness in simple terms. Franklin Roosevelt = the depression, WWII; Truman = nuclear bombing of Hiroshima; Eisenhower =  General; Kennedy = assassination; Johnson = Vietnam War; Nixon = Watergate; Ford = placeholder; Carter = peanut farmer; Reagan = optimist; Bush = Desert Storm; Clinton = Monica Lewinsky; Bush = 9/11, Gulf War; Obama = Obamacare; Trump = fake news, political incorrectness.

Of these associations, fake news will have the most profound and likely longest lasting affect on society. Today, most Americans realize media is a means to political and commercial ends; as such, it’s skewed; essentially, propaganda. This realization is an awakening that forces many to think independently about political issues.

Thinking independently is highly unusual. But that’s what the populace in in 2020. It decided it had had enough of the profane Trump. It bought into the Democratic Party’s labeling of Trump as  a Fascist, white-supremist, misogynist, anti-Semite, Nazi, etc. However, the populace also considered the anti-capitalist Democratic platform and said “no” to that by voting in more Republicans to Congress.

Illegal immigration was not an important issue. Had it been, the populace would have overwhelmingly voted for Biden as the Democratic Party’s anti-capitalistic platform would have made the US an unattractive destination for immigrants.

On balance, Trump, profound and profane, will have had the most significant affect of any recent president.

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On my grandson’s 7th birthday, we spoke about love. I asked him whom he loved most. He said he loved 99% of all the people he knows. I then said that maybe he didn’t understand love; and his 5 year old brother chimed in: “Maybe you don’t understand love.”

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The universe,

an infinite number of worlds,

is empty

but for waves of energy

our minds transform

into unique worlds,

all of which seem real.

But real they are not

as there is only one mind

and one empty universe

with waves of energy.

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Knowing there is only one soul to which we are all connected is the essence of love.

Love is wisdom, viewing the universe through the many faces of the soul.

Love is compassion, treating others as we treat ourselves as they and we are one and share the same goal: enlightenment.

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The purpose of enlightenment is both micro and macro, the realization of personal potential and collective evolution.

On a personal basis, enlightenment lights the road to a happy life and the realization that who we are is one with everything and eternal.

Collectively, when the whole of humanity realizes its potential, enlightenment, we will take an evolutionary quantum leap and transition from animal to divine consciousness: we will live in harmony with one another and our environment. Sapient beings have evolved technologically and now have the ability to destroy themselves and much that inhabits the Earth. Without this quantum leap in evolution, there will be many extinctions.

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The past is like bars our mind creates,

forming a world holding us prisoner.

We incessantly shake the bars,

trying to free ourselves

but to no avail.

Letting go our grip

the bars fall to the floor,

we can walk out of our world

and connect with the greater universe.

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When future and past are absent, therein lies the present.

When not distracted by thoughts of the past or future, we can enjoy the present moment which is all there is.

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Happiness is a state of mind characterized by gratitude, optimism and freedom from karmic prisons. As a state of mind, it can be fleeting; sometimes present, sometimes not. Happiness cannot be pursued as pursing it, desire, is the antithesis of happiness.

True happiness comes to us as in trying to catch a mouse. Since we run faster, it would seem we can catch a mouse by running after it. But that’s a fool’s errand. Best to sit quietly, like in meditation, with a piece of cheese by our side and have the mouse come to us.

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“Water is the face of fire.”

By definition, a Zen koan is  paradoxical anecdote or riddle used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment. Some koans are well-known: What was your original face before your mother and father were born? What is the sound of one hand clapping? A simple everyday question can be a powerful koan: Who are you?

“Water is the face of fire” is a family motto given to Kanako by a family elder when she was seven. The family dates back to antiquity. The motto essentially is a koan. As with koans generally, there are many ways to interpret it; some conflicting, some supplementary, some complementary. Each interpretation is a spark of insight. Taken together, they form a blinding light on the road to enlightenment.

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More than 40 years back I found myself in NYC in a taxi. Talking with the driver, it was clear his English speaking skills were weak. In mock pidgin English, I asked him “how long you here, short time?” He said: “Ten years, I don’t know if that’s long or short.”

Ten years is ten years. Long or short are classifications that mean different things to different people which makes classifications often meaningless.

In a banal conversation between strangers, a seemingly simple taxi driver awakened me.

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Saving time is difficult, better to spend it well.

That which is convenient saves time, like driving instead of walking or eating fast food instead of preparing our own. However, time saved now costs us time later for medical attention as our health fails or time lost as our lifespan is shortening. Best to spend our time well right now.

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“When in doubt, do without.”

Our eyes and ears can persuade us of almost any falsehood. But doubt protects us from making choices whose consequences we may regret.

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I generally meditate three times a day; before first light, at 4:00 for five hours; then at 12:30 for 45 minutes and again at 21:00 for an hour or so. On occasion, I meditate some minutes here and there when the need arises. I’ve frequently meditated between courses at a restaurant. When my meditation session ends, I’m awakened, sometimes after a short meditation not knowing where I am or who I am, and energized with a deep appreciation of uniqueness of the simple and mundane, like the current of water coming from the sink faucet as I brush my teeth. I generally meditate in a supine position, though sitting when in a car or restaurant. In meditation I’m completely separated from this world of collectively familiar forms and memories and meanings; much of everything I experience in meditation is abstract, surreal or enigmatic. Most people would call my meditation sleeping, perhaps so.

Like sleep, meditation is the experience of the empty space before and after conscious states of mind when we presumably are awake; like the space between breaths; like the space between the true-present and when our mind manifests the true-present as the present-passed.

The empty space of meditation is a path to awakening to the light that is the essence of everything.

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“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

The etymology of “hap” (the root of happy) is luck. Whatever roles we assume in life will work out well if we are lucky.

It’s funny when the truth is revealed, unless the truth undermines the foundation upon which we’ve built our lives; funny from the perspective of the audience watching the play of life (the gods), though maybe not so funny from the perspective of actors in the play who take their roles seriously.

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The coronavirus teaches us that things happen, that there is a randomness in life that is unpredictable and for which we can never be fully prepared. Best to keep well-laid plans open and flexible to deal with unfathomable possibilities.

Moreover, even things so small, like the virus, that our eyes cannot see can have a great affect on our lives. Likewise, the seemingly meaningless things we do can change the world.

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Our eyes see beauty everywhere. But when we see the world through our mind, the beauty is often disguised by dramas; some pleasing, some not.

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The mind is always open and often closed.

The mind is always open to an overwhelming amount of sensory information from outside itself but often closed as it interprets the information in the context of memories, generalizations and stories we create that distort the information.

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In the night desert sky

we can see billions of stars

if we don’t look for the constellations.

 

Constellations are artificial connections between stars. When we see the constellations we miss experiencing the real thing, the stars. When we effort to look for something, we often fail to see something of greater consequence nearby.

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“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

Socialization has its costs.

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Beautiful is the harmony of sound waves dancing. But when the waves transition into words and the words into thoughts, sometimes what was beautiful is no longer or even ugly.

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“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”

Life is an experiment. Whether a success or a failure is of little matter. What counts is whether it merits a writeup. If not, we haven’t lived.

Randomness, the unexpected, can upend any well-laid plans. Best to have many tries to hedge against randomness.

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Our past is like the night sky.

The stars are the events we remember.

Drawing imaginary lines between the stars

we create constellations

with stories that frame what we see in the day.

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The best remedy for pain or stress is laughing. It works every time and has no side effects. However, it can be addictive and highly contagious. Moreover, it’s not recommended while operating heavy machinery.

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We have freedom of speech as long as no one is listening.

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The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy always increases with time. As such, it is easier to predict the near-future but less predictable is the distant-future. However, over time, as the distant-future becomes the near-future, it is more predictable. As well, the past becomes increasingly less certain over time; yet we often convince ourselves otherwise.

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“People are strange: they are constantly angered by trivial things, but on a major matter like totally wasting their lives, they hardly seem to notice.”

We live for the most part on a micro level, taking many temporal and temporary matters very seriously. We often forget the purpose of life is to have a wonderful go of it, realize our potential and help others do likewise. From the perspective of the entirety of our lives, the time spent in anger is a waste of time.

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“’History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation.'”

History is a story that makes sense of ambiguous memories and facts. The story is more powerful, reasonable and meaningful than the memories and facts, to the point that it supplants both.

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“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it isn’t open.”

The mind, like a parachute, slows the unfolding of the present, allowing us to consciously experience the present and not be overwhelmed by the harsh reality of entropy, the decline into disorder.

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“History has to be fluid; if it were not fluid, why do we get periodic new biographies of Lincoln or Jesus? Stats are a funny thing. The deeper you go, the more impressed you are with the fact that these are symbols. They are not solid things.”

History is an evolving story from different perspectives of space (people) and points in time. Thus, it is not solid and unchangeable. Ultimately, even that which is indisputably factually correct is not as real as is the game of baseball. That is, the past may be engaging but not as energizing as being in the present.

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“You get love, that’s enough.”

Today my five year old grandson, Penn, was defiant, unwilling to take his feet off our living room couch when I told him to do so. I said: “You have no respect for your grandfather.” He said: “You get love, that’s enough.” I laughed; The Beatles were right, all you need is love.

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Sometimes we take our circumstances and ourselves very seriously. This can be stressful. If we compartmentalize our predicament, we can put it in perspective and not let it affect other aspects of our life which otherwise are pleasing and from which we can take solace. However, compartmentalization is not easy.

Alternatively, we can find relief through the meditation of death, looking at our current situation from the perspective of the end of days. From that perspective we can look back at our lives and realize that much we once took seriously now seems ridiculous.

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The greatest blessing is realizing we are blessed. That’s the essence of gratitude which is the essence of happiness.

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Marriage is like a corporate partnership wherein one mate or the other assumes different department roles: Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Director of Human Resources, etc. However, at times conflicts arise when there is confusion over who heads which department. For example, a wife might complain to her husband because she is unhappy about something he said or did. Her husband in turn might be taken aback by her complaints as he views himself head of the Rewards Department, not the Complaint Department. He then needs assign his wife to take charge of the Complaint Department as she has the most experience in complaining.

Alternatively, when a wife is complaining, best to keep silent but for agreeing (“yes, you’re right”) with her gripes, letting her vent until she calms down.

A mistake would be addressing her issues rationally or trying to help her perceive what irks her in a different light. Doing so tends to agitate her further and invariably results in her saying: “You don’t understand me.” Well, now you know she is right. If you understood her, you would have little to do with her.

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Once upon a time there were twin sisters. They came from a good family, married well, had good children and lived happily ever after. Their lives were nearly identical but for one thing. One sister, Mary, was promiscuous and the other sister, Judith, was religious, adhering to a strict moral code. Everyone in their town knew Mary as “Mattress Mary” as it seemed she slept with everyone. Often, on hot evenings when people kept their windows open to let in the cool air, you knew in whose flat Mary was as she wailed “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.” While Mary was howling, Judith was quietly praying to God to forgive her sister.

When they were done living happily ever after, it was their time to go to the hereafter where God determined which sister would go to heaven and which to hell. I don’t know the mind of God and whom he sent where, but I know that Mary came from heaven and Judith came from hell.

The moral of this story is that “where is God to be found? In the place where He is given entry.” — Kotzker Rebbe.

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Work is something we do that benefits others and for which others pay us to do. Some aspects of work tax our time and energy and other aspects are engaging and enjoyable which makes the work energizing. Best to do the enjoyable work and get others to do the work that’s taxing to us but hopefully not to them.

My career was running a hedge fund. I worked 80+ hours a week, though it didn’t feel like work. It was fun in good times and bad; maybe because I had a salesman, traders, analysts and an accountant on staff doing the work I had little interest in doing; or maybe because the fund was successful which allowed me and the workers to enjoy ourselves when not working.

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We are all interdependent. We do for others and others do for us. When good fortune comes our way, we can be happy and enjoy sharing our good fortune with others as charity. Much of what we do for others is in the form of work for which we get paid. Amounts we spend represents what others are doing for us. If we have a surplus of money, the excess of what we got paid less what we spent, the surplus represents what we have done for others beyond what others have done for us. The surplus, our so-called savings, we invest directly or indirectly (giving it to financial institutions) by giving it to others to use for their benefit or opportunity. That is charity. Often charity in the form of investing is more productive than giving the surplus to not-for-profit, non-profit and other recognized charitable institutions.

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“The best place is wherever you are; from wherever you are you can experience everything.”

Iceland is well-known as the place to be on New Year’s Eve, having the greatest display of individual and collective fireworks. I once asked an Icelander where is the best place in Iceland to be on New Year’s Eve. His reply was the quote above.

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“The future ain’t what it used to be.”

We see the future not for what it is but as we imagine it to be. As what we imagine changes, the future seems to change; it ain’t what it used to be. But the future is the future, forever unchanged, a time to come, not the present, an empty canvas; though what we see in the future affects the choices we make as to how we live in the present.

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When we expect the unexpected, we can see it before it arrives and welcome it accordingly. However, when we expect the future to be an extension of the past, we can easily become complacent, miss the opportunities the future presents or have it run over us.

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“If I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you, then I am I and you are you. But if I am I because you are you and you are you because I am I, then I am not I and you are not you!”

When Moses encountered God in the desert, Moses asked God who he was. God said: I am who I am. That is, God is indescribable because God is all and everything, the whole and all seemingly different manifestations. Any other description implies God is one thing and not another; the antithesis of God.

If I am who I am and you are who you are, I and you are God. Hence, I treat you accordingly, as I treat myself. However, if I define myself in finite terms, relative to that which I am not (you), I am not God nor are you God.

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There are many imaginary hierarchies like wealth and social status. Those atop hierarchies are generally very happy with themselves. When they look at those below them, they are pleased as they only see the admiring and respectful faces of those below. However, the laws of gravity disturb this otherwise mutually pleasing relationship. Invariably, those atop need to relieve themselves and their droppings are resented by those below. There is nothing imaginary about that.

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I told my six year old grandson, Penn, that a friend of mine is expecting to die of terminal illness in the spring. Penn said: “Your friend is lucky.” I asked: “Why lucky?”  Penn said: “They are not dying now.”

No one is getting out of here alive. We are all dying; some slowly, some suddenly. No point in worrying about it, but best not to forget about it.

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“Art is the order of all things. Confusion adds life to art.”

The preceding quote was from stream of consciousness writings by Hilton Root, a friend since the age of 13, when he was 16 years old. This quote has stayed in memory over the decades in a haunting way as I generally find much of what’s called fine art confusing and this artful quote confusing as well.

At this point, I read the quote as art (that which is art-ificial, man-made) is an artist’s particular view of the world. However, the world can appear in as many ways as there are minds. Thus, when an artwork is ambiguous (generally called abstract or surreal), it allows multiple readings, reflecting the nature of life itself.

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Some years back, in the “old city” section of Jerusalem, I stepped into a shop selling antiquities. As I looked at various objects in glass cases, the owner of the shop introduced himself and said he’d been an antiquities dealer for more than fifty years and had dealt in very fine and desirable objects. I told him I’d been collecting antiquities for some time and wanted to look around. He then asked: “What are you looking for.”  I replied: “I don’t know what I’m looking for until I find it.” To which he said: “In that case, you’re looking for nothing.”  While not apparent to me then, ultimately he was right.

Since that time, after many years of collecting antiquities and tribal art and living to pursue personal desires, I realized I was possessed by all sorts of material and imaginary possessions and that looking for and desiring nothing is the ultimate goal as nothing is the essence of everything.

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I‘ve asked many people to what they are more attracted, the body or the face.  About two of three say body. Makes sense as we can always find something beautiful in a human face. But an ugly body is an ugly body.

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“When wars — civil or external — happen you will have to decide whether you want to be in them or get out of them. When in doubt get out. You can always get back in, but you might not be able to get out.”

However attractive an opportunity might appear, without a viable exit strategy before going in, one can make a lot of money but not be able to keep it.

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I asked Masako Nishi, a video producer in Kyoto, what is it that we see everywhere but rarely notice. As a video producer, I thought her answer would be physics-inspired: light. Her answer however was Zen-inspired: ourselves.

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We are children of the son of God.

The son of God is the sun,

a ball of energy from which everything springs.

We are born and die in twilight time,

born when the sun rises

and die when the sun sets.

As we live in the daylight

the sun is all we know,

oblivious of God’s other children.

At night

when we die

God reveals his other children,

an infinite number of stars.

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“I am the Lord Your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”

Like animals, we are preoccupied with our everyday lives and survival. Our efforts to survive over time are a fool’s errand as no one is getting out of here alive. We are prisoners of our finite lives. However, freedom is possible when we recognize and serve God, the ever-changing and eternal whole, and in turn become one with God.

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“Those who can make you believe in absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

When we perceive the world ideologically, we often drift away from reality. Ideologies are the foundation of identity groups. In the political sphere, the realm of regulating and controlling others, ideologies are essentially absurd as they in effect dehumanize those who are outside a particular political group. Once dehumanized and objectified, group members have no soulful connection to those outside their political group and can easily wreak havoc on them with conscionable impunity.

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A professor wrote on a chalkboard: “A woman without her man is nothing.” He then asked the students in his class to punctuate the sentence. The men in the class wrote: “A woman, without her man, is nothing.” The women wrote: “A woman, without her, man is nothing.”

Our perceptions are as much a function of our identities as they are of what we are looking at. However, as we habitually assume our identities, we are generally unaware we are doing so and how our identities’ affect our experiences.

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“Of course I litter the public highway. After all, it’s not the beer cans that are ugly; it’s the highway that is ugly.”

Most people traveling the highway would agree that beer cans strewn along the road are ugly, taking away from the scenic natural beauty surrounding the highway. However, Abbey, an environmentalist and critic of public land policies, has a big picture perspective; it’s the highways built for the privilege of the people who use them that make beautiful landscapes ugly.

Scenes in our lives can often be viewed as ambiguous images, like the Duck-Rabbit illusion; providing us entertainment and with a different perspective on what appears as the same thing.

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The Progressive Party agenda is to have the educated class (presumably the Progressives) control and regulate the populace; to not allow the populace to individually or democratically decide major personal matters for themselves as the educated class perceives the populace as essentially to stupid to make the “right” decisions; perhaps even stupid enough to pay the Progressives to lead them.

I’m sure the educated class is right, people are essentially stupid by measures created by the educated class. However, Progressive programs are ultimately doomed to fail as the educated class knows much about everything but little about how things work together. Essentially, they’re stupid. The stupidity they see in others is their own.

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“I had the opportunity to speak with…people who I believe had some form of schizophrenia and were very self-aware. [They told] me about their hallucinations and delusions in detail and that they knew what they were experiencing was not “real.”

The College Student—I walked out of one of my classes and saw another student from the class by the water fountain. I asked her why she left. She said:

I am struggling with schizophrenia. I still get hallucinations despite taking medications. The teacher and all the other students look as if they have the heads of animals. Even though I intellectually know that this is impossible, it was still disturbing. I couldn’t concentrate, so I left for a bit.”

We all suffer from personal and collective delusions, beliefs that are contrary to all evidence. Self-awareness is realizing what seems real is just a delusion and laughing it off.

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As each of us perceives others differently, clearly our perceptions are a function of who we are. Hence, what we perceive is not others but ourselves in the costumes of our identities.

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I’ve met people from many different self-identifying racial, national and religious groups wearing their respective costumes. When I lift their veils I see their soul which looks like mine.

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“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”

Our darkest moments are when we look within and lose our way wandering in the mind. However, when we open our eyes we can see the light at the end of the tunnel; it’s not the train we imagined coming at us.

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“Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.”

Today we have freedom of speech as long as no one is listening.

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“Out of many, one.”

This phrase originates from Heraclitus’s tenth fragment: “The one is made up of all things, and all things issue from the one.”

E. pluribus unum was the traditional motto of the United States from the time of its founding. It meant that people of different origins, values and sensitivities had come together to form the thirteen original colonies which in turn came together as one nation. In 1956, the US Congress passed a resolution that replaced as the national motto E. pluribus unum with “In God We Trust.” This new motto was a counterpoint to communist countries that disavowed the existence of God; implying the US didn’t trust them. The traditional motto envisioned a future of unity; the new motto envisioned a future of distrust and conflict.

However, more importantly, the new motto informed what would ultimately cause the decline of the US as a nation: people’s distrust of others and the government. “In God We Trust” because we don’t trust anyone else; rightfully so as the nation rewards whistleblowers, cancels agreements when they no longer suit it and is extremely punitive to others, including its own citizens. When there is no trust, commercial and social relationships fray and conflicts abound, compromising a nation which is then a monolith no more.

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Individually we are not equal, but together we are one which makes us equal. If we are not one, we are nothing.

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One of the fundamental truths of the universe is that everything is temporary. Everything is ever-changing, including us and our perspectives. Yet, we often forget this truth to our detriment.

When things are going especially well, best to enjoy the moment and remember that sooner or later times will not be as good as now. Hence, our euphoria in good times is tempered by gratitude, not overconfidence and greed; our decision-making more balanced which better prepares us than otherwise to deal with less favorable times which sooner or later come our way. Likewise, the darkest moments are not as dark when we remember they are temporary and better times will come. This is optimism.

Thus in good times or bad, remembering everything is temporary brings us to gratitude and optimism; two of the keys to happiness.

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Our memories are mostly a function of our attitude, not reality. Our attitude can construct almost all memories as happy. This makes for a happy attitude.

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Wisdom is having many perspectives which in the aggregate allow us to best understand something. In having many perspectives, we often forget which perspective was ours. That’s true wisdom, being open to many perspectives and not identifying with any one.

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“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

It is what it is whatever it is, being who we are and saying what we feel. Some accept and love us as we are and allow us to realize ourselves. Others judge us based on how they perceive us in the context of some ideology to which their mind subscribes and want us to conform accordingly; scripting us into supporting roles in the play of their lives.. However, it’s our choice whether to accept those roles or be who we are and say how we feel.

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Wonderful things are like a perfect steak: rare and well-done simultaneously.

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The future is clear for all to see but memories blind us and desires distract us from seeing it.

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“Everyone is interesting if you listen to them.”

When we meet someone boring, we are not listening to them; we are seeing ourselves.

What someone thinks is not as interesting as how they think which reflects who they are. Often, people’s thoughts reflect the thinking of their group identities. But how they think is always unique which makes them interesting.

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When we realize our ignorance, our curiosity is aroused. If we are wise, our curiosity will reveal many possible explanations to what we don’t know. We have wisdom once we realize our ignorance.

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“Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.”

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We start out whole and the picture is clear.

Out of the box we break apart

pieces and pieces

each unique

too many to count or remember.

As few are compatible

each madly scurries to find its mates

until no piece remains

but the peace from being whole.

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It’s a long stone’s throw across the river.

What seems near to the eye may be far for the body. Ideas are easy, execution is difficult.

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“The difference between medicine and poison is in the dose.”

Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

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The sun makes our world look finite

but stars remind us it’s infinite.

As light pollution shrouds the stars

we easily forget each of us is a star.

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We see the world wearing sunglasses.

Sunglasses painted with ideologies and stories.

Heavily painted so no light comes through.

We fear taking off our sunglasses,

afraid we will be blinded by the light.

Though the sunglasses blind us to reality.

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Complementarity: “the concept that one single thing, when considered from different perspectives, can seem to have very different or even contradictory properties.” FUNDAMENTALS Ten Keys to Reality

Embracing complementarity is the essence of wisdom.

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“I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours.”

I am who I am and am thankful to those who love me as I am, not who they may want me to be. They are happy that I am happy but as my wife says, she doesn’t want me too happy.

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We live in a fascinating abstract world of concepts, symbols, stories and meanings. We often take our abstract world as seriously as the real world of our physical senses. When enlightened, we see these abstraction are illusions. This essentially makes people who take these abstractions seriously absurdly funny, though sometimes they can be dangerous.

Our world would be a wonderful place if everyone was enlightened. Unfortunately, there would then be no one to laugh at and we would need abstractions to make life funny.

...

My father died suddenly of the flu when he was 60. He was a wonderful father and I loved him, though he couldn’t stand me as I often irritated him. While I don’t know where he is now, I know he transitioned to happy place; a place without me annoying him. I too am happy, joyous in his newfound happiness.

...

God has given us temporary bodily form to enjoy the physical experience of being alive. Those of us who remember this can enjoy life, while those who are oblivious often have a difficult go of it.

Metaphorically, we are like children with loving parents. One day, our parents take us to an unfamiliar place, an amusement park. We soon exit the daylight sun and go into a relatively dark building  where there’s a rollercoaster into which our parents seat and strap us in with a seatbelt. They tell us we’ll be going on a short ride, to enjoy ourselves and we’ll be together again shortly. Once the ride starts, if we remember it’s just a ride and we’ll soon be with our parents again, we can have a terrific time. However, if we forget our parents and their instructions, our lives are truly a rollercoaster ride, at times terrifying; not an experience most of us would not want to remember or relive.

...

“Do your best and forget the rest.”

We often stress about stuff we can’t do much about which distracts us from doing our best about the stuff about which we can do something.

When doing our best we have no time to rest.

...

When we go to sleep, our soul leaves our body and returns to the well of souls where it merges as one with all souls. When our soul returns and we truly awaken, we can see the souls in others which are indistinguishable from ours. As such, we treat others as we treat ourselves.

The soul is God. When we cannot see God in others, we cannot see that we are God.

...

Virtually all of us have all we need to enjoy ourselves and realize our divine potential, our purpose in life. Virtually none of us have what we want because when we have what we want we often want more of it or then want something else; hence our wants can never be had but temporarily. Moreover, our unending wants often become like needs. As such, we never have what we need. We become needy and cannot realize our potential.

...

“You only have to do a few things right in your life as long as you don’t do too many things wrong.”

On investing: “Rule number one: Never lose money. Rule number two: never forget rule number one.”

In financial markets today, investors are overly focused on the return they can realize on their investments. That might be the wrong approach, especially if we do that long enough. For example, a $20 return on a $100 investment is very attractive. However, as good times can only exist if there are bad times as well (good is a relative concept), best to focus on the bigger of the two numbers; otherwise at some point we might not have anything to invest.

However, when financial markets are in panic mode and the focus is on keeping the bigger number safe, then it’s best to shop for great returns.

...

“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”

...

Life is a test. We are given all the answers before we take the test but once we get started we focus so much on the test that we forget the answers. Better to remember the answers and pay less attention to the test. In other words, better not too take life too seriously which is one of the answers to the test.

...

When we sell a possession that holds sentimental value for us, by definition we feel somewhat sad as we reflect on times now in the past. Alternatively, we can be happy for the new owner of the possession and the happy times they will have going forward with it.

Our sadness is selfish, based on a past that only exists in our mind. Reflecting on the new owner’s future joy is compassion. For our own joy, better we are compassionate than selfish.

...

“I’ve travelled the world and lived in many a place. Each place is somewhat different but nothing is like America where so many people are kidding themselves.”

I met Basil Bunting at SUNY Binghamton in 1970 where he was a one-semester professor of poetry. The above quote was my recollection of Basil’s insight which has remained with me for more than 50 years.

Basil was born in Northumberland, travelled extensively and worked as an international reporter and British intelligence officer. But he is best remembered as a poet who had a close relationship with Ezra Pound in Italy in the 1930s. He was married a Kurdish woman.

...

I pour my love into us

until I have nothing left

and then I am nothing

and we are everything.

...

“God often told me when I was a kid, the word ugly belongs to people.”

Does that mean that only people make things ugly or that people are ugly? Maybe there is ultimately no difference?

...

I am me

and you are you.

Then I am you

and you are me.

Together we are one

and everything.

...

We have two identities, our unique individual self and our common soul. We are conscious of our self and often oblivious of our soul.

Our self is our ego. It identities us as apart and separate from everything that is other than our physical self.  It perceives the world in dualities (self/not self) which often are contentious.

The soul is ineffable; some call it God; the essence of everything; no beginning no end, infinite in time and space. When our identity is the soul, we are one with everything and at peace.

In life we have the choice of either identity or both. A balanced life assumes both. In death there is only the soul.

...

There are two approaches a man deploys to couple up with a woman. The approaches are very different and yet similar: together and to-get-her.

Together is connecting with a woman as soulmates. This is love. Once in love, physical lovemaking soon follows and is divine.

To-get-her is an approach based on fulfilling a woman’s material desires. Thus satisfied, she allows the man to couple with her. Much passion might flow between the couple, however this approach is essentially a business deal: the man gives the woman what she wants and she provides him want he wants.

Depending on who the man is, one approach is more expensive than the other.

...

Sexual relationships are either open or closed. When open, each partner is free to engage sexually with others. Each is happy when their mate enjoys themselves with other mates. This is an enlightened view: life is to be enjoyed with acceptance and no judgement, it is what it is whatever it is.

In closed relationships, the couple is either a divine sexual relationship or has vowed sexual loyalty to each other. For the couple in divine love, sex is not an animal activity. It’s a rare spiritual connection. As such, neither mate fruitlessly looks for sex beyond their relationship. Beautiful, but extremely rare..

For the couple that’s vowed sexual loyalty to each other, their relationship is not about love (however either mate might protest otherwise). It’s a prison. If one partner or the other is caught escaping prison, they face the firing squad.

Clearly, divine love is divine. Everything else pales. But better the freedom from openness than a closed prison.

...

Everyone goes more or less crazy in the karmic prison their mind constructs. This craziness is funny from a distance and funny when near as long as the crazies don’t take themselves too seriously and put us in harms’ way.

...

On the road at times there are seemingly overwhelming problems, real or imagined. Best then to remember life is a ride and we’re here simply to enjoy it.

...

A friend who is a committed bachelor with an inventory of girlfriends has never lamented not being married and having a family. I always felt he was missing out on a significant experience in life. But at some point I realized he knew more about married life than I did and less than I’d like to know.

...

“School teachers, taking them by and large, are probably the most ignorant and stupid class of men in the whole group of mental workers.”

“Socialism is the theory that the desire of one man to get something he hasn’t got is more pleasing to a just God than the desire of some other man to keep what he has got.”

“The objection to Puritans is not that they try to make us think as they do, but that they try to make us do as they think.”

“At the bottom of Puritanism one finds envy of the fellow who is having a better time in the world, and hence hatred of him.”

“If there is one mental vice, indeed, which sets off the American people from all other folks who walk the earth…it is that of assuming that every human act must be either right or wrong, and that ninety-nine percent of them are wrong.”

“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

H. L. Mencken’s insights more than 100 years ago reveal that the long-forgotten Puritans have resurrected as Progressives today.

...

Victor Avigdor Teicher, initials: VAT.

A vat is a container or vessel that holds a water-insoluble dye, such as indigo, that is applied to a fabric in a reducing bath which converts it to a soluble form, the color being obtained on subsequent oxidation in the fabric fibers. To vat means to put dye or bring color to a fabric. Likewise, in this blog , hopefully, VAT brings color (words) to the fabric of life. Moreover, viewed from a certain angle, in a VAT we can see a reflection of who we are.

VAT is the purpose of this blog.

...

Perhaps the most important choice we make is between selfishness and happiness.

Happiness is a function of gratitude, optimism and freedom from karmic prisons. When we are in difficult circumstances (whether real or in our mind) and oblivious that our circumstances could be worse and that many others would be happy to have our relatively good fortune, we are selfish. Moreover, when we are selfish we so greatly identify with our difficult circumstances at the moment, we forget that change is the constant of life and as such sooner or later our circumstances will improve for the better. As well, selfishness locks us in our karmic prisons, the stories we’ve created about our past; that keeps us from experiencing the beauty of the universe as it is, not as our mind frames it.

Selfishness is a choice, happiness is an outcome. We cannot choose happiness but happiness is possible when we choose not to be selfish.

...

Life and death is like breathing. Inhaling and exhaling is life. The space between exhaling and inhaling is death. The difference between life and death is that life is a physical experience and death not. Thus, when we’re alive, best to enjoy the physical experience of life.

Unfortunately, some of us can’t do so because we have psychological distractions. We’re distracted because we are often stressed analyzing things too much instead of simply enjoying them.

...

“Extremism is so easy…It doesn’t take much thought. And when you go far enough to the right you meet the same idiots coming around from the left.”

In today’s American political scene, it’s hard to tell who is who; who is right and who is left, who is right and who is wrong. Conservatives, like liberals generations ago, demand freedom of speech for all political views. Progressives demand only politically correct views aired. Conservatives seem liberal and Progressives regressive. Ultimately, they are all idiots if their agenda is not what’s the right thing to do and what’s best for the country. The right thing to do is to treat others as you wish to be treated. What’s best for the country is what’s best for its health and wellbeing and the happiness of its citizens. Otherwise, left to the idiots, there will be little worthwhile remaining of the country for the idiots to fight over.

...

In The Light

 

Take a memory

What is it really

A movie that plays in the mind

What’s it like

What’s it made of

Can you touch it

Hold it

Is it always there

Is it the same every time

Does it shape itself around how you’re feeling

Is it reliable

Look at it

Watch it

As it changes from one day to the next, one year to the next

Fading

Until what was vivid, becomes thin, vapid, and dissolves

Like an old movie reel

Fading

And forgotten

 

What of the future

What is it made of

Without memories

Without the scaffolding of the past

How can it stand

Is it not made of a better version of the past

Without something to revise

What would it be

 

And there’s now

What is this

The light

Only the light

Everything

All light

Scour the past

Hope for the future

For the holy light

The blessed light

The heavenly light

The light of God

Yet it can only be found here

Stripped of adjectives

Reduced of rank

Beyond comparison

 

To see the light

Is merely to look

It is inescapable

We are

As is everything

Only the light

The past and future

Swallowed and digested in the light of now

Then this

Spreads in all directions

Forward

Back

Locked in

In eternity

In the light

All is lost

Nothing revealed

...

We have two identical and disparate identities, “i” and “I.”

“i” is the underdeveloped “I.”

“i” is a graphic image of a small vertical line, or body, with a detached head above. The detached head implies duality between body and mind. The body stands on an imaginary horizontal line that represents Earth,  animal consciousness.

“I” is fully integrated, one vertical line connecting the imaginary horizontal line below (Earth) and the imaginary horizontal line above (Heaven). Heaven is divine consciousness. When we realize our potential (are fully developed) our body and mind are one, integrated and connected to Earth and Heaven, to animal and divine consciousness.

...

The words “look” and “see” are often used interchangeably. However, they are different. To look means to direct our eyes in a particular direction. To see means we become aware of something by using our eyes.

An essential difference between looking and seeing is in the context of time. We can look at the past and at the future. However, we cannot look at the present as the present is right here, right now; not somewhere else in which direction we can look.

We can see things only in the present. We cannot use our eyes to become aware of something in the past or future because these time frameworks are not real; they’re artificial; constructed by our mind; an illusion.

Hence, for example, we cannot look for real beauty; it only exists where we can see it which is wherever we are now.

When enlightened, we can see. When we are looking, we are looking in the dark.

...

The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter is the name of a music album released by The Incredible String Band in March, 1968.

Mike Heron, a member of the Band, said at the time: “The hangman is death and the beautiful daughter is what comes after. Or you might say that the hangman is the past twenty years of our life and the beautiful daughter is now, what we are able to do after all these years. Or you can make up your own meaning – your interpretation is probably just as good as ours.”

The hangman’s beautiful daughter is a powerful image, a contrast of the terrible and the terrific; like a beautiful lotus flower arising from the muck. Born of the hangman’s blood line and raised in his midst, she may be beautiful in youth but ugly with time; like the blossoming lotus in the morning submerging into the muck at night.

 

...

There is only one thing.

It is everything.

It cannot be described,

created,

destroyed

or changed.

Yet it has infinite manifestations,

constantly changing,

no beginning,

no end.

It is what it is whatever it is.

Each of us is forever one with everything,

yet temporary manifestations

Those who think themselves otherwise

are thinking, not living.

...

When we are delighted with ourselves we are de-lighted, the light from within us leaves.

Being delighted with ourselves is a temporary, selfish happiness, not true happiness. Selfishness allows no room for light, the essence of everything that connects us all as one. While selfishness has it’s pleasing, seemingly happy, moments; those moments pale relative to the boundless joy of being one with everything.

...

Weddings are always the happiest day. For some couples it’s the happiest day of their lives, as they begin living happily ever after. For others, it’s the happiest day of their married lives as it’s all downhill from there.

...

Sometimes we find ourselves in stressful situations. That’s life. It’s then best to not forget that one of the constants of life is change. As such, difficult times will sooner or later be following by better times, as were the times before the stressful situation at hand. Alternatively, we can  reflect on the end of days which puts everything in perspective. From the end of days, however stressful our current situation, we are calmed and grateful to still be alive.

...

I was recently at a cigar lounge in the Wall Street area in New York and talked with John, a successful businessman. As John is very dark-skinned, conventional people would say John is black. However, to me, such categories as race, religion, nationality, etc. are absurd,  creating commercial and social barriers. Not knowing how John thought about categorizations, I asked him if he is black. He said: “I don’t think of myself as black but many people tell me I am.” John is certainly not conventional in his thinking and neither are most successful people.

 

...

“My father sees the worst as the best and all he has is only the best.”

He instinctively goes for the best as he is sensitive to the subtle qualities of the best. As well, he knows the best and the worst as each having their own merits.

Best to enjoy on an absolute basis, not relatively, what comes our way. Everything is unique and from some perspective wonderful in its individual beauty.

Relative to other seemingly comparable things or to itself over time or from the perspectives of others, nothing is the best but temporarily. Thus, chasing after the best is a fool’s errand.

Making relative distinctions is funny as it keeps us from enjoying what we have now which is the best relative to nothing.

...

High-priced art is an extraordinary commodity, like the Emperor’s New Clothes.

Whereas commodities are generally priced as a function of their cost of production, high-priced artworks are priced with no relationship to this reality. A facsimile with the same visual effect of a high-priced artwork can be had for less than 1% of a high-priced artwork’s price. Hence, the pricing of high-priced art is a function of our mind’s ability to make something out of virtually nothing. Our mind does this to impress itself or others by the price we can pay or is aroused by stories of an artwork’s provenance, art world acclaim or other rubbish about its relative merits

Ultimately, high-priced artworks may say something about the human experience, but not as much as does the market for high-priced art say about the mind.

...

Those leading the way are generally viewed as knowing the way. Often they too think they know the way. Those so thinking do not know the way of the way. The way of the way is changes; sometimes predictable, sometimes random. As the way changes course, they often lose their way.

...

We’re in peace before we are born,

one with everything.

In peace after we die,

one with everything.

Peaceful is the time

between birth and death

when we are one with everything.

...

In the darkest moments

the stars are brightest.

If we look up,

the stars will guide our way.

Looking down,

we can lose our way.

...

Everything that comes our way is for the best when we make the best of our circumstances.

...

A good choice is not identifiable by its outcome but by whether it was a good choice at the time it was made based on, among other things, the probabilities of outcomes we imagine. Determining probabilities based on ex-post outcomes leads to miscalculating ex-ante probabilities which leads to poor choices.

...

To live a life of compassion and wisdom, best to avoid those who lack compassion and their friends who obviously lack wisdom.

...

Nose

Knows

Noes

Our nose, intuition, knows where danger lurks; alerting us which paths are noes.

...

“If you want to live a long life, smoke cigarettes until you’re 100.”

The foregoing, told me more than 40 years ago by my father, is a childish joke. However, it does hint at the relationship between smoking and age.

85% of disease related death is a function of age. Consistent with this proposition, smokers who quit by 40 have a life expectancy of never-smokers. Old age and smoking is what kills us, smoking alone does not. Likewise, death at a young age due to high cholesterol or high blood pressure is very rare but common in the old.

The key to a long life is essentially not getting old.

To keep from getting old and dying before our time, we need make healthy discretionary choices on matters of sleep, diet, laughter and physical exercise. Alternatively, being young at heart, childish and childlike, will keep us young.

...

“People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason why the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used.”

People are a direct manifestation of God. When we recognize this, we love all people as loving them is loving God. Everything else around us exits to aid us in realizing our purpose in life: to have a wonderful time, realize our potential and help others do likewise. This world now is not in harmony because we are abusing others in pursuit of things that we prize or think we love.

When we realize our potential, we can, as God, view this world from a distance and see its chaos as absurdly funny; but, sad close-up.

...

Much of our lives we experience as a dream; a mix of fears, desires and stories that are made real by our reactions to them. Only upon awakening can we truly experience reality.

...

There are times in life when we need to make seemingly important decisions. We often choose the way that leads to the likely best outcome. But better to choose the way the leads to the least worst case outcome, the path of least regrets.

...

Our soul is heavily bandaged,

wrapped up by our mind

wrapped up with stories and meanings

wrapped up until our soul is in darkness.

Then our imagination runs wild,

further wrapping up our soul.

When we take the bandages off

our soul sees God

and we realize our soul is God.

...

“The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.”

Menchen, known as the Sage of Baltimore, clearly saw, more than 65 years ago, climate change for what it is: a secular substitute for fire and brimstone to instill fear in the populace which is willing to surrender freedoms in exchange for imaginary security in an imaginary future.

...

When I blow my nose, out comes some sticky and gooey parts of my brain. Feels good having a less stuffed up brain. Maybe if I didn’t have so much gooey matter in my mind, lots of things wouldn’t matter.

Reflexive sneezing (common to me and 18 – 32% of people) is sneezing induced by light, sunlight in particular. When I see the light, lots of the gooey matter in my mind is discharged.

...

Knew

New

Nu

I knew everything is new. Nu?

When we know before each experience that everything to come is new, we are present and that makes everything new.

...

“…we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple…”

The line above is from the announcement that Bill and Melinda Gates have filed for divorce.

Do they have an issue growing together physically or spiritually? Physically, maybe Bill is having a micro-soft moment and needs a beautiful young girl for a certain kind of resurrection. If, however, it’s a spiritual issue, we’ll soon see Bill with a guru or a muse.

...

At the end of days, we die or transition from this world. We die like a dog, forever dead, or transition to God as the eternal beings. Whether we die or transition is a matter of self-perception. If we perceive ourselves as animals, we die as animals. If we perceive ourselves as animals with divine consciousness we know we are one of infinite temporary manifestations of God,  one with everything and eternal.

...

I went to the State University of New York at Binghamton where I studied English literature and poetry and graduated in 1973. Initially, I seriously thought of making a career out of writing poetry. However, I soon realized that the number of submissions to poetry magazines was many multiples higher than the number of subscribers. Clearly, in the poetry business there were more mouths than ears. Thus, pursuing a career as a poet seemed a fool’s errand.

Upon graduating, many of my friends were surprised when I decided to go into the commercial world. Some asked me why I thought, after having not even taken one course in the subject, I could make a go of it in business. My simple view was that I was likely to succeed in whatever field I chose because I was informally voted as most likely to succeed. That is, in the animal world the most successful males in a group have access to all the females they desire. As I didn’t know anyone at my age who had bed more girls, I figured girls identified me as the most likely to be successful and whose genes should be passed on.

...

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

...

At times I see you as another.

At times I see you as myself.

When my self evaporates

I don’t see you or me

just us.

...

Fools look at the world through their individual and/or collective minds. The wise see the universe with their eyes and the minds of others.

...

It takes a certain level of scientific sophistication to know that an eggplant is a fruit. But we don’t have to know anything about scientifically classifying vegetables to know not to put eggplant in a fruit salad.

The Japanese have a classification system which clearly identifies which fruits to put in a fruit salad. To the Japanese, all vegetables are vegetables but some vegetables are “fruity vegetables.” For example. eggplant is a vegetable, not a fruit, since it is not fruity. Only fruity vegetables go in a fruit salad.

The foregoing is an interesting contrast in classification systems; one based on phylogenetics and the other on our physical experiences. While knowledge of the former identifies who is somewhat educated, the latter identifies who is less likely to ruin a good fruit salad. Often those who are well-educated lack common sense.

...

Heaven is heaven

even is even

heaven is even.

In heaven

all is even

all is one.

...

When we see God in each other

we are one with each other.

When we are one together

we are one with everything.

...

Ah

Aha

Haha

Hahahaha

 

Sounds at the moment of awakening, of orgasm:

Ah, the pleasure of orgasm.

Aha, the realization this pleasure is the purpose of life.

Haha, realizing how simple it was to realize the purpose.

Hahahaha, laughing at how silly we were not to have realized it earlier.

 

Awakening and orgasm are not alike but have a common effect, the realization of being one with everything.

...

“Some squirrels in south Georgia, they’ll taste a little bit more nutty. Up here [Baltimore], our acorns and stuff aren’t really as strong as the ones down south. Most of them up here, it just tastes like squirrel. If you put enough seasoning on it, you can make it taste like anything you want it to taste like.”

Ben Cleveland is a football player for the Baltimore Ravens. He comes from Georgia and ate squirrel meat when there wasn’t much else to eat. As he attests, the difference in the taste of the same meat is subtle but significant. Dressed up with enough seasoning (like humans dressed up in costumes and playing different roles), what we experience is the dressing and not the essential meat.

Each of us is who they are but we rarely present ourselves as we are. We dress ourselves up as to how we want to be perceived. Our dressing so disguises who we are that others will see us as they want to see us.

...

A prominent biology research professor friend who for obvious reasons wishes not to be named told me the following:

“Experiences are most stimulating the first time you experience them. Subsequent similar experiences are not as stimulating. This is the law of diminishing stimulation over time. That’s very true about sex at home with a long term loved one. However, it’s quiet the opposite for sex outside the home which is not inconsistent with the law. A survey of girls who work at brothels indicates that the most popular girls are the new ones. This is called the Coolidge Effect.”

I was quite shocked by these findings. I always thought my research professor friend was working on the cure for cancer; never imagined he is writing papers on empirical matters that are common sense.

...

“The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.”

Ironic observation in that short-term happiness cannot be sustained without freedom. Often it’s a Faustian bargain for those who trade, with ideological rulers, their freedom for happiness. The rulers then gradually limit everyone’s freedom, leaving little freedom; as in prison, a place where few are happy.

...

All Ways, always and all ways.

Each Way is clear

to those who know the way of the Way.

The Way is eternal, always.

The Way is everywhere, all ways.

The way of the Way is changes,

changes every which way.

All Ways, always and all ways.

...

“The ends justify the means” is a commonly used expression when the means involve meanness. However, rarely is mean behavior justifiable.  Means that involve meanness have ends that are ultimately mean for all involved as meanness leads to mean outcomes. The means however justify the ends when we are kind in our means.

...

I long thought passionfruit was named as such because sucking out the seeds inside the fruit with our tongue seems akin to a certain passionate sex act. However, apparently, passionfruit was named by “Catholic missionaries in 16th-century Brazil…after the appearance of the flower from which it comes. The passion flower’s individual features were found to be symbolic of the crucifixion of Christ, or as known in biblical history, the Passion of the Christ. The flower has spikes protruding from the center, symbolizing the crown of thorns. There are 10 petals, for the 10 faithful apostles. Three stigmata symbolize the three nails and five anthers represent the five wounds. The flower’s trailing tendrils were likened to whips.” (1)

The etymology of the word passion is suffering, as in the Passion of Christ. Depending on personal hygiene, a certain passionate sex act might entail some suffering.

(1) Sue Barham, food correspondent, Summit Daily.

...

“Take your work seriously, but don’t take yourself seriously.”

Our work is that which we do to benefit others. Benefiting others is part of our purpose in life. Not taking our work seriously defeats it’s purpose, our purpose.

Taking ourselves seriously is the essence of selfishness. Selfishness precludes happiness.

Taking ourselves seriously and not our work seriously makes it not much fun for ourselves and those who work with us. Taking our work seriously and not ourselves seriously leads us to a purposeful and happy life.

...

Most people want to have something special as long as it’s vanilla.

Special is such an overused word; what’s described as special cannot truly be special.

Those who want something special reveal themselves as having a limited appreciation of things.

For those with taste and appreciation, everything is special.

While many people desire to differentiate themselves in a special way, they want to do so only in the context of accepted social norms. They don’t truly want to be themselves which is the most special thing of all.

...

Much of socialization is based on fear and ignorance, negatively characterizing potentially fun experiences like sex and drugs. So socialized, we reactively say “no” when initially offered a try of that which is prohibited. Yet, once we know them we’re unlikely to say no again.

...

Very few people are recognized as brilliant; yet very few are not brilliant.

There are few commonly recognized brilliant individuals in academic pursuits, art, business, science, cooking etc.  However, as everyone has a unique experience and view, almost everyone is brilliant in one way or another. When meeting someone who seems seems dull, it’s not that they are not brilliant but that we are too dull to see their brilliance. Maybe their brilliance is to remind us that at times we are dull.

...

The past is an illusion from which we’ve selected some memories and woven them into stories that define us. However, the person we are today is not the person we were in days passed. Thus, identifying with our stories is delusional, though real in that our stories affect how we experience the present unfolding.

While we’re convinced our stories are real, we can view them otherwise. That is wisdom, the ability to hold several, often conflicting, views with at least one view as funny. Without wisdom, we are foolish not to concede we don’t know at what we’re looking.  With wisdom, we can avail ourselves of our stories as funny. That in turn frames our experience of the present unfolding in a happy light. Happy memories make for a happy life.

 

 

...

Each of us has a soul, a minor soul.

Our soul is part of God’s soul, the great soul.

Our soul reunites with God’s soul

each time we’re asleep

and returns to reawaken us.

But this is an illusion.

Once we truly awaken

we realize there is only one soul

which is why I am who I am

and one with everything.

...

In the last years of my mother’s life, she was mentally clear but otherwise incapacitated. Living in a nursing facility, she couldn’t do much but be carted around to group entertainment activities like movie watching. Her days must have been intolerably long. With little for her to do, I asked her if she was often bored to which she replied: “Oh, I am busy all day; barely have time to do anything.” What was she busy with? “Thinking about my life.”

My mother traveled to the land of her memories. Her memories must have been happy as she never complained and had no regrets. That’s how my mother transitioned, living in her memories until she and her memories became one and what remained were my memories of her which also are only happy. No wonder why I am who I am.

...

We can comprehend a situation with our eyes and/or with our mind. Our eyes reveal to us the world as it appears, with judgements. Our mind shows us the world after our mind interprets, categorizes and judges a situation. Our eyes provide us a simple but more enlightened view.

A simple question identifies how we comprehend a situation, through our eyes or mind: How do we feel when our life partner engages sexually with someone other than ourselves? If we feel angry or betrayed, clearly we are seeing the situation through our mind. Alternatively, seeing the situation through our eyes, we’re happy that two people are enjoying themselves.

...

“The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom, courage.”

Presumably, without freedom of choices like in the extreme case of slavery, happiness is elusive. Moreover, it takes courage to fight for our freedom.

However, the connection between happiness, freedom and courage may be otherwise.

The key to happiness is gratitude, optimism and freedom from karmic prison. Gratitude and optimism are self-evident; freedom from karmic prison less so, that’s why it’s the secret of happiness.

Simply, karma is the stories, categories, relative descriptions, meanings, etc. our mind has created based on our past experiences in this life. Karma affects how we experience the present, essentially imprisoning us from experiencing the present as it is. As much of karma is not particularly happy, karmic prison precludes us from happiness in the present.

Our karmic prison is also the basis of our identities. Escaping from karmic prison means letting go of our identities. Doing so is scary as we’re very comfortable with our karmic identities, however difficult they may make our lives in the present and limit our choices. We fear the seemingly unknowable experience that follows; fear of  the loneliness and loss of self that our mind tells us we will suffer if we are free. Hence, it takes great courage to turn the key that allows us to escape from karmic prison.

However, the presumed loneliness and our karmic identities are illusions. Freeing ourselves from these illusions that keep us locked in karmic prison requires wisdom and compassion.

Wisdom is viewing a situation from many perspectives, at least one of which is funny. If we can’t see our karma as funny, we need conclude we don’t truly know what we’re seeing and we shouldn’t take our karma seriously. We are then free to leave our karmic prison. However, as this is obvious, wisdom is not the secret that allows us freedom.

Compassion is the realization we are inextricably connected to others and thus treat others as we treat ourselves. Compassion is love. The etymology of courage is “heart” which represents love. The identity of oneness, not our person identity that’s based on our karma, that comes from love is the courage that allows us to escape karmic prison. Love is the secret of freedom.

...

“Sticks and stones may break my bones
But words shall never hurt me.”

This adage has apparently been lost in contemporary American society which suppresses freedom of speech through punishments like job losses, shunning and physical and economic violence.

...

“To love myself is to love you.”

I am you and you are me and we are one together.

The eternal and unchanging self has infinite faces of ever-changing expressions. Each face we see is us.

...

Passion originally meant suffering.

Passion today means love.

Likewise we transition

from suffering to love.

Before birth we are one

and after an infinite many.

Suffering begins at birth

and ends when love connects us as one.

 

 

...

“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us, “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.

This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.”

While Einstein is considered genius incarnate for his discoveries related to the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, much of his later work on the unified field theory or the Theory of Everything was never successfully proven.  However, Einstein transitioned from physics to metaphysics; realizing the nature of consciousness and enlightenment, matters that cannot be subject to proof as they are an experience.

 

 

...

I see or eye see?

Each I is unique, each eye is the same.

I see is seeing through the filter of one’s self. The graphic image of “I” implies oneness, one narrow perspective which ipso facto precludes depth perception.  It also implies a hierarchy, seeing things relatively, as higher or lower, along a vertical intercept.

Eye see is seeing things as they appear. Graphically, “eye” appears as two eyes (e) on either side of a nose (y).  Seeing with two eyes allows us depth perception. Y is the mind’s third eye., the nose. The nose knows.

Better to see with the eye than the I.

...

We are born as animals but are direct descendants of God with the potential to realize divine consciousness. Our potential is realized when we recognize that each of us is one with God, avatars of wisdom and compassion. As such, treat each other as we treat God, with respect and love. Those who don’t respect and love us don’t recognize us as God because they don’t recognize that they are God. They are animals and need to be treated accordingly.

...

Illeism is when someone refers to themselves in the third person instead of the first person. For example, my saying “Victor went to the store” instead of saying “I went to the store.”

In Wikipedia: “[T]hird person self-referral can be associated with self-irony and not taking oneself too seriously (since the excessive use of pronoun “I” is often seen as a sign of narcissism and egocentrism), as well as with eccentricity in general. Psychological studies show that thinking and speaking of oneself in the third person increases wisdom and has a positive effect on one’s mental state because an individual who does so is more intellectually humble, more capable of empathy and understanding the perspectives of others, and is able to distance emotionally from one’s own problems. Accordingly, in certain Eastern religions, like Hinduism, illeism is sometimes seen as a sign of enlightenment, since through it, an individual detaches their eternal self (atman) from their bodily form.”

Notable illeists include Mikhail Gorbachev, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Monroe and Jesus Christ.

Practicing illeism can be a refreshing and mindful approach to conversation as well as a recognizing that the person we were in our past lives is not the person we are now. Moreover, referring to ourselves in the third person implies we are a character in a play; that life is a play.

...

While great inspiration often seems to lead to success, success is a measure of luck while inspiration is measured by perspiration.

...

Our mind reflects the minds of others when we see through our ears and not our eyes. But when alone, we can think independently and see through our own mind.

...

Almost everything is funny in one way or another. What’s essentially funny is how people think and act and when they take themselves seriously. However, when we laugh at people, they often get upset. They don’t realize that they too could be laughing if they could see themselves as we see them. Or maybe they do so realize but are afraid to see themselves that way because doing so might irreparably damage their self-image. With their identity lost, they fear feeling vulnerable and lost because they don’t know who they are. However, they have nothing to fear since we don’t know who we are either.

...

The sole is ineffable

but the soul is the sole,

the one and only;

and the sole,

the bottom of our feet,

the foundation upon which everything stands.

...

What Choosing Vanilla Really Says About Your Personality

“There are two types of people in the world: those who love vanilla and those who make fun of those who love vanilla. Vanilla lovers could easily gather and share laughs over the dread they feel whenever they order their favorite flavor amongst a group of friends.

So often, loyal vanilla zealots are labeled as “boring” or “unexciting” by their peers, and it can really start to wear a person down. It’s possible that your desire to choose vanilla has less to do with your taste buds’ preferences, and more to do with you as a person.  As someone who chooses vanilla, you:

1. Are content. When you fall in love with something, you are happy to be tied to it for a long time without the fear that you are missing out on something better. You’re happy with being happy. You do not always feel the need to change things up just in case there’s something better out there.

2. Are confident. You don’t need the approval of others to feel good about your choices. You know what you want and it doesn’t matter than other people have their opinions about it. You don’t care.

3. Like accessories. If you’re a man, you probably sport a hat or watch on most days. If you’re a lady, then scarves are a staple, and necklaces are never forgotten. How so? As a vanilla lover, you have chosen to start with a simple base and leave room for accessories like sprinkles, chocolate chips, fruit or a variety of candy crumbles. You most likely choose to start your outfits with a basic design and then add bits of flair here and there.

4. Have a sense of humor. As mentioned earlier, you endure a lot of mocking whenever you order vanilla. You will be called “boring,” “dull,” “lame” and in extreme cases, a “waste.” If you couldn’t laugh off the criticism of others, then you would have already become a closet vanilla eater. The fact that you continue to order your favorite simple flavor, despite knowing that the mockery will surely ensue, means that you can take a joke. No one can bring you down.

5. Are loyal. Even after being mocked, joked at and tempted by many to “change it up,” you’re still deeply in love with vanilla and feel no need to stray from it. You know that you’ve found a good thing and don’t feel the need to risk a date with your favorite vanilla treat in lieu of something more decadent. You don’t step out on vanilla just like you would never desert a friend or significant other.

6. Enjoy the simple things in life. It’s not going to take a lot to make you happy, and you really know how to value the small things. Vanilla is as simple as it gets, but there’s something about that simplicity that makes it enjoyable every time.  You don’t need grand gestures or constant entertainment to be happy.  Material possessions and flashy gifts are not your main concern.”

Ironically, vanilla personality characteristics have some overlap to those of eccentrics, people who are anything but vanilla. Maybe people who go for vanilla are not vanilla.

...

The sun shines forever,

showing us the Way,

though sometimes we can’t see it

when raining tears hold sway.

...

“There is no karma in our family line.”

We can see this world as it is what it is whatever it is, free from the definitions, meanings and stories created by karma. We are all born free of karma but accumulate karma through our experiences of days now past. When we let go of the past, we are free of karma, can experience the present as it is and see what’s coming our way.

...

Everything is seemingly experienced twice, in reality and in memory.

As to reality, it is what it is whatever it is. However, our memories are a function of our attitude.

Our memories and the stories we weave of them we can construct and reconstruct as we wish. There is almost always a way to view our memories as funny/happy stories. Happy stories make for a happy attitude which makes for happy experiences.

...

Some of us are nearsighted, some farsighted. Hopefully in 2020 our vision becomes 20/20 and everything near and far becomes clear.

The above post was published on December 31, 2019. The pandemic was the apocalypse, revealing who we are individually and collectively by our reactions to the pandemic and quarantine. Now everything near and far is clear. If not, our eyes are closed and we’ll fall asleep before we know it.

...

I am a vertical thread.

You are a horizontal thread.

Together we weave in and out

until we are one

and the threads disappear

into the fabric of life.

...

That which is beautiful engenders our love. But when love overflows from our heart, we see beauty everywhere.

Those whose love is solely engendered by beauty fail to see beauty everywhere. They view those whose love makes everything beautiful as not truly knowing love. Of course, they are talking about themselves.

...

Joy is cosmic,

the highest level of happiness.

J is a finger calling us to come.

O is totality, perfection, God.

Y is two lines becoming one.

J is male

O is female.

Joy-us when the two become one.

 

 

...

We are manifestations of God,

like the burning bush.

Our lives are the flames,

ever-changing, temporary

and the focus of our attention.

The bush is our soul,

unchangeable, eternal

and little noticed.

However wild our lives,

we are calmed by our soul

unless we forget there is only one soul

to which we are all connected.

...

On watermelon: “I can tell it’s delicious without looking inside. That’s like my life.”

Our initial impressions can reveal the essence of things.

The stories we tell about ourselves are unnecessary to having a wonderful life.

Shoji Ilyama is true to his name. Shoji means quickly and smoothly.

...

What’s good for you is good for me.

This is the nature of divine consciousness. You and I are one. When you have joy that comes from my loss, I don’t feel the lose; I only feel your joy. I could feel badly for myself or happy for you. The choice between feeling badly or happy is an easy one; essentially a choice between selfishness and happiness.

...

The wisest cannot be wise when they identify themselves as wise.

Wisdom is the ability to see from many different perspectives, multi-centric perspectives. Amalgamating the many perspectives allows us to best know the nature of something now and how it may change in the future.

Identifying ourselves as wise is egocentric which limits our ability to have multi-centric perspectives and view things wisely.

Moreover, when we think we are wise we think we have little to learn. Hence, we learn little more and know less and less about that of which we once knew something as everything is forever changing. That leaves us thinking we know more than we do which is very unwise.

...

Essentially, life is a physical experience to be enjoyed. There is little difference between the time before our birth, the time of our lives and the time after but for our ability to enjoy physical pleasures in our lifetime. The joy of our physical experience is enhanced when we help others enjoy it as well. That’s called making love. It is joy-us.

While physical pleasures are temporary, their temporariness is to remind us that everything is temporary, including ourselves; thus, it’s best to physically enjoy ourselves in life. Otherwise, we are not truly alive.

...

Sage is a spice that enhances the taste of certain foods. A sage is a wise man who adds spice to certain aspects of life.

Though many are sagacious, a true sage knows not to add sage to salads or uncooked foods generally as most people would find that unpalatable.

...

Almost everything is measured today. There’s more focus on measurements and relative ranking than on the experience of that which is measured. Measurements are abstract, having nothing to do with the experience something provides. Ultimately, our focus on measuring leaves us experiencing things as a function of our mind rather than our senses. That makes experiences absurd, not real. It precludes us experiencing the absolute beauty in something that is relatively not beautiful. As such, we become oblivious that there is much about which to be grateful. As gratitude is a key to happiness, focusing on measurements diverts us from the path of happiness.

...

Together as two

we see each other much of the time.

Familiar, comfortable and at ease

in the rhythm of habits.

From a distance we look as one,

very close but not open.

 

Together as one

maybe far but far closer.

Always open,

connected joyfully all ways,

beyond stretches of time.

 

Together as one and

together as two,

altogether,

joy-us every which way.

...

According the Guinness Book of World Records,  “drunk” holds the world’s record for the word with the most synonyms, as many as 2,241. This attests to how varied each of us experiences things in a free state of mind. However, when really drunk, we’re unlikely to articulate but a couple of synonyms and not remember them after we recover.

When we’re not drunk, our experience of things is likely as varied as when we are drunk which makes it remarkable that we can understand and stand each other. Maybe that’s why we get drunk.

...

“Most people ask for happiness on condition. Happiness can only be felt if you don’t set any condition.”

“I’m a free person; I feel terribly free. They could put me in chains and I still would be free because my thoughts would be mine – and that’s all I want to have.”

“To be alive, to able to see, to walk…it’s all a miracle. I have adapted the technique of living life from miracle to miracle.”

“Love life and life will love you back. Love people and they will love you back.”

“We only begin to live life when we learn to accept it on its own terms.”

“Of course there is no formula for success, except perhaps an unconditional acceptance of life, and what it brings.”

“Even when I’m sick and depressed, I love life.”

“When I was young, I used to have successes with women because I was young. Now I have successes with women because I am old. Middle age was the hardest part.”

Arthur Rubinstein is considered the greatest pianist of the 20th century. Perhaps more important are his insights into a happy life.

Rubinstein’s insights and attitude are easier said than realized. Perhaps Rubinstein was hyperthymic, a congenital disposition as is a talent for music. In Wikipedia, hyperthymia is characterized by:

  • increased energy and productivity
  • short sleep patterns
  • vividness, activity extroversion
  • self-assurance, self-confidence
  • strong will
  • extreme talkativeness
  • tendency to repeat oneself
  • risk-taking/sensation seeking
  • breaking social norms
  • very strong libido
  • love of attention
  • low threshold for boredom
  • generosity and tendency to overspend
  • emotion sensitivity
  • cheerfulness and joviality
  • unusual warmth
  • expansiveness
  • tirelessness
  • irrepressibility, irresistible, and infectious quality

Hyperthymia is a rare state of mind, happiness forever; gratitude, optimism and looking forward, not back; enjoying ourselves; realizing our potential; and helping others do likewise by example and sharing insights.

...

Food is among the wonderful physical pleasures of life, engaging our senses of smell and taste. Once swallowed, the pleasures are over, our bodies absorb some of the food for nutrition and let the rest go. Not letting it go is constipation. Constipation can be debilitating, distracting us from fully enjoying ourselves at whatever we’re doing.

Likewise, as to all experiences; best to enjoy them at the time, learn what we can from them and then let them go.

...

No one is getting out of here alive. We all transition from this finite life to realize we are one with the universe forever. We transition as a piece of the universe to at peace with the universe.

In time before the transition, we ready ourselves for sleep unlike the countless thousands of temporary daily sleep-deaths. Best a dome shaped room, like the dome shaped egg from which we came, with a video of the night sky; our hand held by a loving one; and waves of sound of transcendental music filling the room to quiet our mind until we and the waves light and sound become one.

If the loving one speaks, what is there to say but “I love you, always have, always will, always and all ways. Thank you for being you. Thank you for having me.”

...

Within colorless white light

hide the spectrum of colors.

When the sun dances with rain droplets

the rainbow appears

revealing the spectrum.

Blue is the symbol of wisdom.

Red is the symbol of love.

Between blue and red is yellow,

the symbol of God.

Flanked by wisdom and love is where God is hiding.

When we know wisdom and love,

we know where God is.

...

All religions hold sacred a simple truth, the golden rule: compassion, treating others as we wish others to treat us, treating others as ourselves because we are all one. This is the way to liberation from the selfish self. This is the way to be one with God; to realizing our purpose in life, divine consciousness. If we are not compassion incarnate, religions subject us to rules, regulations, rituals and absurd protocols in the name of serving God. Only when religious followers awaken and embody the simple truth, the golden rule, can they have freedom from religion.

...

Idol worship is holding sacred a tangible object and worshipping it as an incarnation of God. Doing so negates the sacredness of all else. Everything, however, is a manifestation of god. Holding an idol sacred is the antithesis of worshiping God.

Taking ourselves too seriously, like when we get angry, is akin to idol worship as in doing so we are oblivious to the sacredness of all of God’s creation. More broadly, worshipping money or other self-centered pursuits is the same as idol worshipping.

As idols are a manmade depiction of God; idols are a depiction of us, I-dolls.

...

Man has two ways through life. The way of the dog and the way of god.

Dog/God is a semordniap, a word whose letters read backwards also spell a word but with a different meaning.

The way of the “dog” and the way of “god” are suggested by the typeface of each word. “dog” begins with the letter “d” whose topmost part is above the horizontal axis of the word and ends in “g” whose lowermost part is below the horizontal axis. This suggests that the way of the dog begins in the heavens and ends below the ground. It begins with a sense of superiority, arrogance, and ends in equality with all. Likewise, “god” begins with “g” whose lowermost part is below the horizontal axis and ends in “d” whose topmost part is above the horizontal axis. It begins with equality, modesty, and ends in the heavens, in oneness with God. Simply, starting with arrogance leads us to death and starting with modesty leads us to the heavens.

The way of the dog is animal consciousness and the way of god is divine consciousness.

“o” is a symbol of perfection. The space within and the space without the “o” are mutually exclusive, mutually dependent and all there is. It is the now, the akin Earth experience of both dog and god; differing only in that the dog way enters the now with a sense of arrogance and the god way enters the now with modesty. Beyond the Earth experience, there are two ways: the way to the ground (the dog way) and the way to the heavens (the god way), death or transition. The choice between the ways is easy; dog is not man’s best friend, God is.

 

Paul Rand was a personal friend, a graphic designer who assiduously focused on typefaces. I was with Paul at his deathbed. Paul didn’t die, he transitioned.

...

We have two birthdays, the annual birthday and the daily birthday. Our annual birthday commemorates the calendar day in the past when we were born and is celebrated with a party and receiving presents as gifts. Our daily birthday is daily; we die each evening, go to our sleep-death, and are reborn the following morning. Upon rebirth we aren’t given the party but we are given the present: awakening to the present, the greatest gift of all.

...

Luck is the key to success. Luck is identifying opportunistic situations and making lucky choices to realize the opportunities. Anyone who thinks their success is solely a function of their own abilities and efforts is a fool. Fools are prone to bad luck unless they accidently get lucky.

To get lucky we need to constantly be on the lookout for luck. Luck happens everywhere but in some contexts more than others. Work is where lots of luck can be had. Working long hours and keeping our eyes open to identifying potentially lucky situations, we increase our chances of getting lucky. When luck arrives we recognize it immediately as we anticipated its arrival. We then embrace it fully and enjoy a ride to success, if we are lucky.

 

...

She was a wonderful and beautiful girl,

promiscuous and with low self-esteem.

She had the pick of the litter

but picking the litter was her dream.

 

A beautiful girl can have the most desirable mate, unless she has low self-esteem and feels she doesn’t deserve the best. With low self-esteem she feels mates are only interested in her for their sexual pleasure which she liberally provides to attract them. Beautiful and promiscuous makes her wonderful for her mates. Picking many mates, she get the average mate; like garbage relative to the most desirable.

...

We are born at sunrise and start making our way,

following our shadow getting smaller by midday.

Then our shadow behind us now again grows

until we both disappear to where no one knows.

With our back to the sun we start on our way,

then follow the sun for the rest of the day.

Unless we move forward while looking back

which keeps our way dark until it turns black.

...

There is nothing like you

and the universe is nothing without you.

In science it might sound perverse,

but you are the universe.

...

“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.”

We can experience the newness of everything and see endless possibilities once we escape the karmic prisons of our mind’s construction.

...

Every day is wonderful in a different way. That’s what makes it wonderful

While we remember very few of all those wonderful days now passed, that doesn’t take away from their wonderfulness. It allows us to more fully experience the wonderfulness of today.

...

“We shall not cease from exploration and at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

After the end of days, we arrive at the place before our birth. It’s like a simple frame surrounding an engaging painting, we don’t recognize this place as we’ve busied ourselves in life. It is here however where we come to know who we are and have always been; nothing and one with everything.

The universe is a glass of sparkling water.
Each of us a bubble that seems to come out of nowhere,
uniquely travelling its way to the top of the glass
and then seemingly disappears.
We don’t disappear.
We become one with everything
as we are from before we appear as a bubble.

...

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist see the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Our attitudes shape our perceptions.

...

Wisdom makes a mind flexible. A flexible mind easily changes the decisions it makes; not necessarily as circumstances change but as it views circumstances differently. Flexible minds are often frustrating to those with whom they interact who are not flexible. Their frustration can make it difficult for someone with a flexible mind, unless they have a flexible mind.

...

When things don’t go the way we had expected because others disappointed us, we can blame them and/or ourselves. Solely blaming others is selfish, being upset and unhappy because we not grateful for our overall circumstances, and of little redeeming value beyond learning not to depend on particular others in the future. However, when we take full responsibility for the way things work out, we can learn something about the way we are which may preclude us from losing our way forward.

...

We start as one, invisible white light.

Then separate into paints, a colorful sight.

Mixed together, the colors turn black.

Once we go black we can never go back.

 

Before we are born, we are invisible white light; everything else transparently clear. Upon birth, we become tangible and differentiated into an infinite number of translucent hues. Soon thereafter, we are mixed together through socialization, our unique colors turn black and everything is opaque. This is almost irreversible as the darkness induces a self-pleasing sleep state.

But when we realize we are essentially white light, everything is clear again.

...

What’s difficult at the beginning is easy at the end; easy at the beginning is difficult at the end. A life in sync with physical and mental strength, agility and health (which peaks in the first third of its duration) is difficult at the beginning and easy at the end.

When easy at the end, the only difficult thing at the end is recalling the earlier difficulties as now they too seem easy upon reflection. Thus, difficult at the beginning is easy at the end and makes the beginning difficulties also easy. Likewise, while easy at the beginning is difficult at the end, when the end is difficult the beginning provides us no easy respite.

...

When we identify with who we once were or with our past experiences, not with who we are and what we are doing now, we are like figures in a wax museum. Everything is cool until it’s not cool. Inevitably, when the temperature rises, when we are in circumstances that test our mettle, our imposing surface melts and reveals we are just generic skeletal forms.

When we identify with who we are and what we are doing now, we can best deal with whatever comes our way.

...

Who we are is our way.

The road to our destination is the Way.

When we know our way

we know the Way,

living in harmony with our way.

When our way is clear,

the Way is here.

 

When we are integrated, in unity, we know who we are, accept ourselves and work to realize our purpose in life.  Then our Way is clear: to show up right here right now as ourselves.

...

God has given us the greatest gift of all, the gift of life. Complaining about our lives or not being grateful for the life we have is insulting God.

Those who believe in God believe that God decides what happens to us after we depart Earth. Thus, insulting God is an ill-fated approach to living if we hope to go to a good place after we leave Earth.

As to those who believe there is no God, life revolves around them. Death is consciousness lost. They little fear death as they have died countless times; at least once daily at sleep time.

Regardless of whether one believes in God, each day is a lifetime. We transition daily from birth to sleep-death. Each awakening is a life anew. However, our daily new life is experienced in the context of our prior lives. Happy prior lives (lives lived with gratitude, optimism and happy memories) assure us of happiness in our current life. Thus, to be in a good place after we die, best to enjoy our lives and be grateful that we can.

However, as to those who spend time and effort arguing with others that God doesn’t exist or more generally fight to have their secular beliefs rule everyone’s life, are they enjoying themselves? If they are, there must be something wrong with them. If not, maybe they should believe in God.

...

Wisdom is having many disparate and often contradictory perspectives. Wisdom allows us to know the nature of things which makes for a relatively easy and entertaining life. Most people find wisdom elusive, hard to access as they have great difficulty letting go of their selfish perspective. Yet, living a life without wisdom is the most difficult thing of all.

...

Those who are conventionally smart have telescopic or microscopic minds. They can see farther or closer than most of us can see. Those who are wise can see from many different perspectives, not just their own. While a telescopic or microscopic mind is clearly more powerful and would hence seem more valuable than a wise mind, the wise mind has many perspectives which is almost always better than one.

...

Divine consciousness, enlightenment, is characterized by wisdom and compassion.

Wisdom is having many perspectives, not solely one’s personal, selfish, perspective. Compassion is treating others as we wish to be treated. Wisdom is light. Compassion is love.

The two form the coin that allows us passage on a beautiful and wonderful ride on the road of life. While seemingly mutually exclusive as are different sides of the same coin, wisdom and compassion are actually mutually dependent; a coin cannot be a coin unless it has two sides. Where we find wisdom, we find compassion. Where we find compassion we find wisdom. One is not far behind the other.

Wisdom ultimately is the realization that everything is one thing, different aspects of one thing; that we are all individually and collectively one with everything. By having many perspectives, often contradictory, we realize our personal perspective is illusionary, as if we don’t exist. So what does exist? One thing, the universe and its infinite manifestations. Thus, having wisdom, we treat others with compassion because they and us are one. Wisdom leads to compassion. With compassion, as we identify with others, we have their perspectives; hence, compassion leads to wisdom.

Ultimately, wisdom and compassion are inseparable. However, it is easier to find wisdom when we start with compassion than to find compassion when we start with wisdom.

...

We are truly wealthy when we have enough to satisfy our needs and can then enjoy sharing what we have with others.

Years ago I was in Greenwich, CT visiting a seemingly wealthy friend who was replacing his old estate, constructing for himself in a private enclave an even bigger estate which included a polo field and barn that could hold 40 ponies. What was striking was not the estate or the massive amounts of money needed to create it, but that my friend was still so needy that he couldn’t share his wealth with others.

...

The future is a big blank canvas with only our imagination and skills limiting what we can paint. After we begin painting, our skills improve but what we’ve painted limits our imagination. We can however always start again but with a smaller canvas as the canvas is our time on Earth. Yet, better to paint something small, skillfully, refreshingly and imaginatively done, than something big, ugly and of limited imagination.

...

Acclaimed experts in various speculative fields (like economics, history and the evolution of man and the Earth, etc.) can look deeply into the past and create elegant and entertaining stories that cogently explain how the past unfolded into the present. However, instead of leaving it at that, we often to look to these experts to predict the future. Unfortunately, regardless of how convinced they and we are of their prognostications, they cannot see the future (beyond as an extension and repeat of the past) when they are looking too deeply into the past.

Ultimately, we are right here right now. The past and future are worthy of a glance but otherwise an illusionary distraction.

...

At this moment, at the right here right now when our experience is solely via our senses and before our mind processes it in ways that make it unrecognizable from how we sense it, everything but that which puts us in harm’s way is wonderful. It’s all beautiful as well, absolutely beautiful; or, if not absolutely, then beautiful as it enhances the beauty of that which is absolutely beautiful.

Moreover, while there is nothing new under the sun, everything is new as everything, us and what we are experiencing, is ever-changing. If we don’t experience the ever-changingness of the moment, we are not experiencing the moment.

When we experience the moment not via our senses but solely via our mind, our experiences are orderly and seem to make sense; but they are non-sense. This is one way we lose our way.

...

Dis-ease leads to disease.

Dis-ease is the catalyst for most deadly disease. Dis-ease comes in the form of stress, anger, sadness, envy, fear and infinite other selfish states of mind.

Happiness precludes dis-ease as happiness and selfishness are mutually exclusive.

Laughter also precludes dis-ease; laughing at our stupidity for taking something or ourselves seriously, for letting thoughts of time past or future distract us from the present. Experiencing the intense beauty of the present overwhelms selfishness.

...

A friend, Rodney (pronounced Rod-knee), is all about love, deep empathy, compassion and cosmic sex. Rodney’s been in some very deep intense love relationships. Unfortunately, they all ended the same: The women he loved killed it all when they starting bring up thoughts about the future. He asked them why they did this. They all replied that while they and Rodney had a connection of heavenly bliss in the present, the bliss was unlikely to be eternal and the women wanted to secure a future for themselves and Rodney that would also be blissful. To which Rodney replied: “Can’t we stay in present bliss just a bit longer before going into the future?” “No” they replied, because at that point the women were already sensing the present bliss starting to fade; that Rodney would soon realize who they were and their intentions.

Metaphorically, Rodney wanted to enjoy the sensuous meal before him and the women want to prepare for the next meal which meant he needed to go out on the hunt soon again; not something he wanted to think about. However, when he did go out, he went out to hunt for another woman.

Ultimately, it’s only worthwhile talking about the future when the present isn’t particularly blissful. This is optimism. As the future can effortlessly be painted as blissful as we wish, talk of the future can transform an unpleasant present into a beautiful state of mind, at least temporarily. While optimism is a key element of happiness, happiness is unattainable without gratitude for the present; difficult when the present is unpleasant. Hence, if we are in a romantic relationship that isn’t joyous in the present, best not to waste time and effort trying to dream it away; better to find another mate.

...

We are asleep together in the winter

in the clouds between heaven and Earth

and awaken as snowflakes

falling on mountains high up.

In the spring we melt into water

flowing into distant rivers.

When the rivers meet in the ocean

we are together again,

one with the ocean which seems all there is.

Which is it but for those who know we are one with everything

before evaporating into the clouds.

...

Wisdom is having multifold perspectives which allow us to understand a situation and the ramifications of choices we make. Beyond our personal perspective, additional perspectives can be had when we truly connect with others and view the world as they see it. However, doing so is not easy.

Easier may be taking the perspective from the end of our days, the death perspective. The death perspective allows us to consider how we would feel in light of the possible consequences from the choices we make today; thus, allowing us to make choices we will least regret at the end of our days, the choices that realize wonderful lives.

The death perspective reveals how we will remember our lives and by extension how others will remember us when we are no longer in bodily form. It is wise to leave everyone with happy memories.

Moreover, the death perspective awakens us. With little time remaining before bodily death and not distracted by mortal pain, everything is intensely beautiful. This informs our experience of the present. It awakens us to gratitude, a key element of happiness. As well, as we frequent the death perspective, the prospect of bodily death is not as fear-fraught as it would be otherwise.

Once we avail ourselves of the death perspective, we can more easily access the perspective of others, wisdom.

...

We are but actors on the stage of life,

performing for the entertainment of the gods in the audience.

When we exit the stage, we join the gods.

Whatever our temporary roles in the play,

all are wonderful as long as we don’t forget who we truly are.

...

The past has two parts, the near-past and the past of which we cannot remember. The near-past begins with our birth until the present. The past before our birth we cannot remember. We don’t know whether this time was wonderful or not. But it probably wasn’t bad because no one complains about it. However, we always complain about something in the near-past.

No one knows what it will be like for us after our death. But chances are that it will be like our past before we were born.  That doesn’t sound like anything to complain about.

While it’s difficult to be sure, it seems like the time after birth and before death is infinitesimally small relative to the time before birth and after death. So why focus on this tiny period, take its matters so seriously and sometimes complain, when we have nothing to complain about in the virtual totality of our experience.

...

Things don’t need to make sense to make sense or cents; but they needs to make sense to make dollars.

If we don’t understand something (make sense of it), it can still be possible (make sense) or viable (make cents). But we need to understand something to make a lot of cents (dollars).

...

Often there have been scenes of a Hokai, a master Zen priest, and female students involved a  consensual and mutually pleasurable sexual relationship. Due to socialization and karma, many members of the monastery perceive the relationship as sexually coercive and immoral. They perceive the female student as subordinate to the Hokai who is taking advantage of his position to gain sexual self satisfaction. They may feel angry or betrayed in that the sexual affair is inconsistent with how they learned to expect the Hokai to behave. They also may want to punish the Hokai by demanding his resignation. They are angry because they cannot perceive the mutually pleasurable sexual relationship is, simply, two people enjoying themselves.

Seeing someone getting angry at others who are enjoying themselves is absurdly funny generally and especially in the context of Zen where one comes to see with one’s eyes, not one’s mind; that it is what it is whatever it is.

...

Atheists and pantheists are seemingly at opposite ends of the spectrum. Atheists believe God doesn’t exist; that those who believe in God have been so taught and are unquestioning; that empirical independent thinkers don’t believe in God unless proven otherwise, which has never been done. The word atheist was born in The Age of Enlightenment. However, as pantheists believe God is everything, they are truly enlightened, living happy lives.

For atheists, God is nothing; hence, beyond description or comprehension. For pantheists, everything is a manifestation of God. These beliefs are not inconsistent: from that which is beyond our comprehension comes everything, God.

All other God related beliefs systems between atheism and pantheism are man-made. They describe God and God’s actions and ritualized requirements of man. They view man as apart and separate from God, finite and not interdependent with all there is. Other God related beliefs were created for social identity and order and to provide calmness and confidence for their adherents in an unpredictable and hostile world.

...

Personal, commercial and social relationships can be characterized as “give and take” or “take it or leave it.”

In a give and take relationship, each party views the other as a package with positive and negative characteristics, needs and behaviors. To have a viable relationship with minimal conflicts, each party represses certain aspects of themselves or does things they would otherwise not do to please the other. Mostly give and take is done implicitly but sometimes there is an explicit accounting: “I did this for you, what have you done for me lately.” Give and take relationships are more of a job than a joy. Most commercial relationships are a give and take; otherwise, people wouldn’t need to be paid to work.

For example, in a personal relationship one party may desire to have sexual relations with others outside the relationship. However, their relationship mate might find that unacceptable. Thus, for the sake of limiting conflict in the relationship, the one who desires sex with others refrains from doing so.

In a take it or leave it personal relationship, each party loves the other and their relationship and accepts the other as they are. Each party does not necessarily view the other as perfect. Moreover, they don’t perceive the other in terms of their individual positive and negative features. They accept each other as a package deal, as the totality of who they are outweighs any aspects that might otherwise be problematic. This allows each party the freedom to be themselves. This is love; all is perfect, including each other’s shit.

While give and take might seem like a good operating system for two agreeable people, take it or leave relationships are founded on love which better braves time.

...

Live life as it’s our first and last day.

As our first day, everything is new and exciting. As our last day, we do everything we would otherwise regret not having done.

...

The average CEO at a United States company makes 250 times more than the average worker. Some workers and ideologs complain about this apparent income inequality and call the CEO selfish.  Perhaps, but not necessarily. More likely, if the CEO has any sense, he is happy; grateful for his good luck. However, complaining workers and ideologs are selfish; anger, envy and greed are the faces of selfishness. They take their ideological thoughts seriously instead of being  thankful that in reality they have a higher standard of living than most people in this world.

Likewise, when a CEO gets angry at a worker who could care less about how he is treated as he is grateful he’s making a living, the CEO is selfish and the grateful worker happy and thankful for the bonus of a good laugh at the fatuous CEO who can’t appreciate his good luck.

Complaining is selfishness which precludes happiness. Happiness come from being grateful for one’s good fortune.

...

With eyes open

our minds show us the infinite manifestations of reality.

With eyes closed

we see one thing, nothing,

the true nature of reality.

...

“Seems odd to complain that it’s not a sunny day. It’s always sunny; though sometimes only above the clouds.”

Sean is a river rafting guide in the Grand Canyon.

...

If someone greatly disappoints us, even harms us, we can’t be upset with or hate them. We can only be upset with ourselves as our disappointments are generally a result of self-deception, our thoughts and expectations that put us into potentially disappointing situations. Thus, we can learn from these experiences and adjust our thinking and expectations going forward. However, we learn little by blaming others and open ourselves up to future similar disappointments.

Moreover, in realizing our self-deception, we can ultimately have a good laugh at ourselves and are then no longer upset.

...

A wonderful life is one of no regrets; a life of many poor choices, none of which we would ever wish to reverse because our life as a totality is wonderful.

As everything is interdependent, reversing a poor choice results in everything changing. Thus, a poor choice can be made good but the totality may not be for the better, maybe worse.

When our life is wonderful in its totality, why trade it for another. If it’s not wonderful, we have not realized our purpose.

Moreover, dwelling on poor choices and what might, could or should have been does not make for a wonderful life as it precludes us from experiencing the present moment.

...

It is better we give our love to others than gifts of monetary value. Money comes and goes. Thus, we may not always have enough money to gift. But the love we dispense stimulates our heart to replenish and then some whatever we give.

...

Love is when we are unconditionally happy experiencing the happiness of our soulmates. As we are made happy by the happiness of our soulmates, our happiness in turn makes them happier which in turn makes us even happier. When this vicarious happiness approach is also that of our soulmates, that is true love.

...

Politicians are forever seeking, at the lowest cost to them, the public’s attention. They do so by fabricating for journalists outrageous stories from minor events. Hoping to catch the public’s attention, viewers and in turn advertisers, journalists publish these stories in the free press. Then the politicians act, presumably for the benefit of the public, in reaction to the stories they read. Their reactions make real news, at the cost of making many lives difficult.

...

Many religions believe that a good life, when we are grateful for our good fortune and help others so they might also be grateful, assures us a good place in the world to come, the time/place after we are no longer in bodily form. Maybe, maybe not; but certainly it best assures us a wonderful time in the moments ahead.

...

The theater is dark

and then we are born.

Soon movies come on,

one and another and countless more.

Family, friends and others

steer us to movies in which they star.

We pick one or a couple

and watch them intently,

identifying with certain actors

their roles and the storyline.

These roles define our lives

as it all seems very real.

But when the movie ends

theater lights break the darkness

and the movie is revealed as just a movie,

a two-dimensional illusion.

 

When we know from the start it’s just a movie

we enjoy it for what it is, entertainment,

and suffer little regardless of our roles.

...

While of course we wish our friends happiness, best we wish those who dislike us even greater happiness so that they will have no enmity towards us.

...

We rarely much notice that which we perceive as normal. Our mind perceives certain things as similar to other things (or the same thing at a different times), categorizing these things as normal. Normal things are experienced not as they are in their true uniqueness but as the characteristics of the categories into which our mind places them. The categories are imaginary, empty with nothing real in them. Categories are the illusion our mind creates to replace reality.

...

When we experience the seemingly same thing again and again and each time it’s unique, we are experiencing the present.

...

“No man is as pitiful as one who doesn’t wish others happiness.”

However jovial one might appear, one is profoundly unhappy if one doesn’t wish happiness for others. Or as John Lennon wrote:

 

“You can shine your shoes and wear a suit

You can comb your hair and look quite cute

You can hide your face behind a smile

One thing you can’t hide

Is when you’re crippled inside

 

You can wear a mask and paint your face

You can call yourself the human race

You can wear a collar and a tie

One thing you can’t hide

Is when you’re crippled inside…

 

Your can go to church and sing a hymn

You can judge me by the color of my skin

You can live a lie until you die

One thing you can’t hide

Is when you’re crippled inside…”

...

We get to live twice, in reality and in our memories. Reality is what it is whatever it is, an indescribable experience; while our memories are whatever we make them.

...

“They were looking for love everywhere but couldn’t find it because they had none of it to give.”

What does this mean?

(1) If we don’t have it, we don’t know it and therefore we can’t identity it when it comes our way. Hence, we should not seek what we don’t know.

(2) We can’t find something outside of us that which is not us. Us and everything else is one thing, infinite manifestations of the universe. Upon realizing our oneness with everything, we realize our seeking is like a dog chasing its tail to the point of frustration and exhaustion.

(3) We need to give in order to get. Love is about sharing with others, treating others as we would wish to be treated. There is no love unless we can give and receive it.

(4) Whatever you think it means.

...

As everything is forever changing, nothing can be rightfully described as “new” because newness is the inherent characteristic of everything that appears now. What once was is what once was, not the same as whatever it is now. However, when we are young our mind makes repeated experiences seem old and first experiences seem new. Ultimately, our mind makes all experiences seem old as everything we experience now our mind frames in the context of experiences passed. That’s what makes us old.

...

Sex is the oddest thing. A pleasurable thing, like eating, laughing and sleeping; fun. However, unlike other pleasures, sex is often adulterated and conditional, requiring fidelity vows (disguised as proclamations of love) as a precondition to engaging in sex. This leads to less sex and less fun, though it’s funny as it reflects that we don’t know love and can’t enjoy unadulterated sex.

...

We emit vibrations,

waves of sound.

When our waves are in harmony,

that’s love;

when not,

that’s noise.

Harmony brings us to joyous tears,

noise tears us apart.

...

Consciousness makes music and verse

from a crazy and noisy universe.

Let only those with feet on the ground

travel to where the universe is being bound.

It is there that they will see

all that will be.

But others best not dare

go to this place unaware.

For it’s doubtful they will return

as they were without a burn.

 

Josh Henderson is an artist who took his life

as his mind was overwhelmed with strife.

 

 

...

The way is how something works.

The Way is the route taken in order to reach a place.

When we know the way, we know the Way.

The way is self-knowledge; knowing our personal self (the realization of our soul) and our greater self (the unrealized soul of God,) are but one soul. Thus, the Way is the route God would take to reach the heavens; treating others as ourselves.

...

As the universe unfolds in probabilistic and random ways, certainty is an illusion that masks fear of uncertainty. When we are no longer fearful, we can see the present unfolding as it is.

...

Divine love is compassion, treating all others as we would treat ourselves as we see others as not other than ourselves, imperfect and perfect simultaneously.

Animal love is being “in love.” When we are in love, love is a veneer that masks the otherwise clear imperfections of those we love. We treat our loved ones with love but not others who we see as imperfect. Moreover, when we are no longer in love with our loved ones, we see their imperfections.

As nothing but the universe as a whole is perfect, if we accept our individual imperfections instead of deluding ourselves by being in love we can begin to experience divine love.

...

When work is work and not fun, something is not working.

When work is something we do to make money, the purpose of work is the ends, money; not the means, the work itself. However, fun is hiding in the means.

At work, people reveal how they think and what they take seriously. Often they’re very funny, though not intentionally which is what makes them funny. That makes work fun, not work. If work is not fun, we have a lot of work to do on the job and on ourselves.

If work is not fun in reality, then it can be fun in our memory which is what really matters.

...

“The important thing is not what you have done in the past, it’s what you are doing today.”

...

“He who speaks does not know, he who knows does not speak.”

Every thing is temporary (forever changing) and interdependent.

He who knows knows that nothing can be described as that which is described is different, perhaps imperceptibly so, at the end of the description than it was at the beginning.

As every thing appears different from different perspectives and the perspectives of others, we never truly know any thing.

As every thing is one thing, a manifestation of that which is beyond our understanding (God), describing something as having an independently existence is illusionary.

Ultimately, of every thing it can only be said that it is what it is whatever it is. For example, the sound of one hand clapping is the sound of one hand clapping; I am nothing other than I am who I am.

Knowing comes from experiencing. Conveying an experience by transforming it into words is an experience of words; perhaps conveying an approximate understanding of something but not knowing it.

From a practical perspective, best not to believe salespeople who talk too much.

...

The mind is the flames;

ever-changing,

illuminating

and destructive burning heat.

The soul is the bush;

unchangeable,

eternal,

supporting the flames

but not transformed by the flames.

The mind is wisdom,

sometimes.

The soul is love,

forever.

...

The truth is difficult to describe but easy to identify by the sound of laughter that trails it everywhere. The truth is what reveals the absurdity of all other thinking.

...

We rarely see the light but as reflections of the mind. Thus, much of what we see is of the mind’s construction and we soon forget the light without which there is nothing to see.

The fountainhead is the essence of everything. But we often forget the fountainhead when we look at it’s manifestations downstream.

...

Only listen to the opinions of others

when we can think for ourselves.

But we don’t need the opinions of others

when we can think for ourselves.

Not listening to opinions of others

will move us to think for ourselves.

...

Awaking from sleep is always amazing, a unique rebirth; unless we are not truly awakened. And so it is, from one moment to the next.

From Sanskrit, Buddha means “awakened.”

...

Birth is like nuclear fission, a powerful explosion.

Love is like nuclear fusion, 3-4 times more powerful.

In fission, our soul separates from being one with everything.

In fusion, our soul reunites as one with everything.

...

Thoughts and words are thoughts and words, approximate descriptions but empty of real experience and knowledge.

When our mind is filled with thoughts and words, it also is empty but with no space for real experiences and knowledge.

...

Intelligence is having certain strong mental abilities. Wisdom is having good judgement.

Intelligence tests and academic accolades identify the fastest runners. Wisdom shows us the shortest and easiest ways to the finish line in real life.

...

An agitated mind grasps for things. A calm mind lets things flow its way.

When thirsty, cupped hands collect more water than that which one hand repeatedly tries to grab.

...

I recently viewed a video lampooning Donald Trump. The video was captioned “Donald Trump’s Concession Speech.” The video shows a scene from The Wolf of Wall Street movie wherein Leonardo DiCaprio, the CEO of a brokerage firm, defiantly declares to his white salespeople and traders  “I’m not leaving” after he was charged with securities fraud. The firm soon collapsed as did Trump’s administration.

Perhaps cute to those who view Trump as a defiant crook heading a misogynist racist male cabal. But the video clip is also telling of the age-old conflict between educated priests and rough and tumble merchants.

Brokerage firms have two arms, sales/trading and research. Sales/trading is what the business is about; the rough and tumble of buying and selling stocks to make money. Research supports sales/trading with investment ideas. Research analysts analyze companies’ past performance and prospects, write reports and recommend stocks to buy and sell. Research analysts, like highly-educated priests, are articulate, well-reasoned and cogent in their analyses. However, while never in doubt about their recommendations, they are often wrong. Due to having different perspectives, there is a natural friction between traders/salespeople and analysts. Simply, analysts think traders/salespeople are lowbrows and traders/salespeople feel analysts “don’t get it;” that is, analysts don’t know how to make money in the markets.

However, traders/salespeople and analysts realize that each plays a necessary role in a firm’s success. The open question is who is to lead the firm. Analysts think that as they are the more educated, articulate and intelligent, they should lead a firm and have traders/salespeople work for them; a hierarchy based on perceived intelligence. Traders/salespeople view themselves as working for the customers which are the essence of the business. They believe who runs the firm should be based on the Golden Rule: those who make the gold rule.

The presidential election was likewise divided. Many who were anti-Trump (Democratic Party progressives) are like brokerage firm analysts, highly educated and articulate. They described Trump supporters as stupid, immature, greedy, deplorable, misogynists, fascists, Nazis, etc.; simply, “bad people.” Trump supporters said of those who were anti-Trump: “They don’t get it,” they don’t know how a successful economy and liberal society functions.

Ultimately, the progressives would throw Trump and other bad boys in prison or otherwise limit their laissez-faire approach to life. But then how will the progressives afford to buy milk and who will make the milk?

Returning to the video, it’s actually very funny; though not as intended. It answers a question long befuddling the geniuses leading the Democratic Party: “Why do the people, the working class, who stand to most benefit economically from Democratic Party programs don’t vote for us?”  Simply, the working class (presumably the majority of the government’s customers) might not know much but they know when Party leaders are laughing at them, thinking they are stupid, and they don’t like it.

...

Many believe that after we are no longer in bodily form there is an afterlife to which we all go. What happens in the afterlife is only limited by peoples’ imagination; from heaven to hell and everything in between. Presumably, heaven is a place of eternal joy and hell a place that is not to our liking. Heaven is like a company’s Rewards Department and hell the Complaint Department.

What, if anything, happens in the afterlife is speculative as none have returned to life to inform us. However, the afterlife is most likely akin to the place we presumably were before we were born, the pre-life. A place perhaps like the Garden of Eden where all our needs are provided and we care for all God has created. As no one has complained about our time in Eden and if the afterlife is like the pre-life, the afterlife must be heaven.

But the concept of hell must have some basis in fact. If it’s not in the afterlife, it must be here on Earth; a place where people often complain and don’t treat others as God’s creation, like themselves.

Ultimately, with our basic needs met and no need for wants, with gratitude and compassion we have heaven on Earth.

...

Empathy is feeling the suffering of another, comforting them and sharing their pain which helps alleviate their pain. Compassion is helping others as we would want others to help us make the best of our circumstances and move forward to ultimately realize our potential.

As sentient beings, we are immediately empathetic to others when they suffer a significant acute misfortune. But soon after the shock of misfortune, we need to dispense with empathy lest it supports chronic selfish self-pity which precludes people from moving forward as best they can. It’s then time to have compassion and rejoice in gratitude as the misfortune could have always been worse.

...

“The best is the enemy of the good.”

That which we perceive as the best distracts us from appreciating that which we perceive as good. However, the good is also the enemy of the best as perceiving things relatively, as best or good, precludes us from experiencing things as they uniquely are.

Best and good are relative categories, empty of the things they arbitrarily contain. Experiencing things we’ve categorized, we experience our the associations we have with the categories; not things as they actually are. As everything is unique, experiencing things as they are is the experience of being present. Categorizing things as relatively best or good precludes us from the gratitude that invariably comes from the experience of being present. Gratitude is one of the keys of happiness. It’s difficult to be grateful when we are distracted by the enemies we create.

...

I once knew a very remarkable man who was not particularly remarkable; a high school teacher who was well-liked and well-considered; a middle class family man who had no deep interests or hobbies beyond sports and the stock market. But, he enjoyed his life as was his life.

He played basketball and was a locally competitive runner when he was young. As he aged, he became more sedentary. By the time he was 80, he became physically compromised and couldn’t leave his house without an aide. His wife worked and he stayed home all day, busying himself with watching TV, reading the newspapers and playing with his dog. He didn’t seem to have much of a life at that point.

In his old age, physically limited and with little interactions with others, I asked him a question which I’ve asked many an elderly person: “What was the best time of your life?” His answer was unlike any, remarkable: “Now.”

He clearly knew what few do; that joyful memories are not real, just memories; that now is all there is; that experiencing now is being alive and he was grateful for that experience.

...

“Why is everybody now so interested in artificial intelligence, it’s been around for over a hundred years.”

Joe likely is referring to superficial intelligence which has been around since 1905 when the first IQ tests were offered. While IQ and related tests have been good predictors (as have high school grades) of future success in school, success in school reflects conformity of thought (thinking like test writers and teachers who determine grades) and the ability to delay gratification (doing schoolwork instead of goofing off).

Real intelligence can only be identified by life choices and outcomes over time; those that prove to be most fun and of least regrets. But that’s more a function of wisdom and luck than intelligence.

...

Much of the past is an unfounded story which we build upon over time; one story atop another until we have a building with 50 or more stories. Unfounded, the the building eventually collapses. In other words, our perception of things is more a function of our perception (our story) than the incontrovertible (founded) nature of things which is revealed by wisdom; moving forward based on our perception and not on the basis of wisdom may not be sustainable.

Alternatively, building a house based on the future is like building a house from the roof to the ground. In other words, trying to realize idealised goals is a fool’s errand.

Firmly rooted in the here and now (that is, knowing ourselves) allows us to build a viable edifice. In other words, best to make the best of the circumstances in which we find ourselves to realize our potential.

Simply, it’s best not to deceive ourselves, not desire what’s not available and make the best of our circumstances.

...

Art is artificial, something man-made that orders otherwise disorderly life. Imperfections add life to art.

...

Every day is like another and yet unique but often not. Every day has unique common properties like sleeping, activities and thoughts. If we don’t notice the uniqueness, we’re sleeping through life.

...

What came before came before and what’s now is now, only when the past has passed.

We experience the present in the context of the past. The stories, meanings and definitions we create from the past frame our experience of the present. This framing is karmic prison. It precludes us the freedom to experience the present as it is. When we remove the frame, the present is no longer encapsulated by the past, the past has passed.

When we hold onto the past, the past is our identity which in turn affects how we experience the present. When the past has passed, we can experience everything as never before.

...

We are all repressed, sleeping through a life sentence in a prison cell of our own creation. Sporadically, the earth quakes, momentarily awakening the prisoners, a cell door is unhinged and the person inside escapes. The escapee is wild with joy and so expresses themselves. The others in their cells say the escapee is crazy, unhinged.

...

As the bottle is half full,

we have more than we need.

As the bottle is half empty,

it’s easier to carry.

Half full or half empty,

not all ways good

but always good

when good in some way.

 

Of course the bottle is never half full or half empty.

It is always full.

Full of liquid or air or some combination,

always full.

...

At birth, my mother’s obstetrician told her I was the smartest baby he had ever delivered. A bit of a difficult birth, the obstetrician used forceps to pull me out as I kept trying to go back in. The obstetrician reasoned I knew where I came from, one with everything, is obviously a better place than where most of us go after birth; lives apart and separate from the infinite.

...

To see is to experience the sea

an endless expanse

near and far

motionless

reflections of light.

To hear is to be here

presence in a running river of time.

 

Seeing is confined to our mind

creating a space between us and everything.

When sound becomes music

hearing moves us to dance

where we are one with everything.

...

Many who took the Covid vaccine are very much afraid of death. But they are even more afraid of living.

They forget there is nothing to fear as no one is getting out of here alive in bodily form. However fear precludes them from realizing the purpose of life: to enjoy ourselves, realize our divine potential and help others likewise.

...

Materialistic people think that enlightened masters and their serious disciples are silly. Rightfully so, though ironically the enlightened are laughing much of the time and the materialistic people only occasionally.

...

If something tastes or looks the same each time we experience it, we haven’t experienced it.

...

“It is better to share than to give.”

Giving implies a vertical relationship while sharing is horizontal.

By sharing, we give and receive and soon we are one.

...

The past is but a dream. When we think it’s real, we’re dreaming.

...

We are like a running river. However fast the river runs, it is still in the same place.

...

Unlike animals, humans have the ability to self-reflect on being alive; why am I here, what’s life all about? Those who don’t self-reflect are animals.

Self-reflection is the first step to divine consciousness.

...

“The man who has no imagination has no wings.”

We cannot see what we cannot imagine. Without imagination we cannot see certain of our abilities or move quickly from and far beyond our immediate circumstances.

...

By definition, orgasm is the climax of sexual excitement, characterized by feelings of pleasure centered in the genitals.

Most people people describe orgasm as relief or release. This sounds like how they feel about a bowel movement or draining a full bladder. For others, orgasm is a cosmic experience, beyond the self, beyond words; like losing one’s mind.

Without mind regulating the flow of our experience as does a kitchen faucet relative to a firehose, the universe is overwhelming; like experiencing the Big Bang. But only our self is overwhelmed when we are otherwise one with everything.

...

A recent question: “How can you assess how close to enlightenment you are?”

Enlightenment is when we awaken to realize we and the light are one.

What do we see everywhere but very rarely notice? Light. Superficially, everything we see is light reflecting off things. Moreover, below the surface of things (M=Mass), everything is essentially light/energy (E=Energy) that’s been slowed down (C=Speed of Light) to assume tangible forms (E=M*C*C which is M=E/C*C). In other words, enlightenment is the realization that everything, including ourselves, is light.

How close we are to enlightenment can be measured by what we see when we open our eyes. When we see not through our eyes but through our mind (seeing things in categories and meanings), we have a long way to go. When we see things as things (it is what it is whatever it is), we are getting closer. When we see everything as light, we’re closer still.

The ultimate realization of enlightenment has nothing to do with light. Tangibly, the hallmarks of enlightenment are wisdom and compassion. When we see from many perspectives (not solely our own), that’s wisdom. When we treat others as ourselves, that’s compassion. When wisdom and compassion replace an otherwise self-centered life, we are like light, one with everything.

...

Only those who know they know nothing can ultimately know everything.

Every thing is just a unique manifestation of one thing whose essence is nothing.

...

Eyes open, we see the indescribable beauty of creation. Eyes closed, we see a world our individual and collective mind creates to manipulate us.

...

Life is a ride on a zip line connecting pre-birth and afterlife. The ride at times feels scary, thrilling and even boring. As the ride nears its end, we feel the calmness of our pre-birth.

...

Every thing is everything

as every thing comes from one thing, everything.

Every individual thing

is an illusion

as everything is all there is.

Every thing is no thing,

nothing but a temporary perception of the everything.

...

Years back, on a cold wet winter day, I met a native Indian man (dot, not feather) at Kennedy Airport. He was a security guard, walking around looking for anything suspicious. He said he also worked as a gas station attendant, maybe 70+ hours a week in total. He didn’t work all those hours for the money as he made more than he needed in half the time. He worked because to him the only difference between working and not was getting paid while working and not otherwise; hanging out at home or walking in his neighborhood was no different than walking around Kennedy Airport. Moreover, getting paid meant he was helping others with no effort on his part.

Our experiences are mostly a function of our attitude.

...

“The only source of knowledge is experience.”

Readings and conversations can bring us to certain understandings but knowledge comes by opening our eyes and seeing everything as never before.

Those who came to know (Buddha, Moses, Lao Tzu and Jesus) did not have a teacher. Their experience of soul was later recounted and formed into doctrine and scripture, just words.

...

Every child has a father but needs to father itself to become an adult.

...

With one eye we can see the surface of things. With two eyes we have depth perception. With multiple perspectives we can see the true nature of things. That’s wisdom.

As we only have two eyes, to have multiple perspectives we need to see through the eyes of others. This is possible when we realize we and others are one. That’s the essence of wisdom.

...

“There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.”

Desiring less is the shortest, easiest and most assured route to satisfaction. Satisfaction leads to gratitude which in turn leads to happiness, the purpose of life.

...

“Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.”

Those who are articulate and cogent are articulate and cogent but often mistaken for wise. This becomes obvious when we go to school with them.

...

Best to use money when we need it. If we use it just because we have it, we waste time and money and make ourselves needy.

...

“Psychedelics helped me realize that my problems are small compared to the world’s bigger problems like starvation and cancer. And now I understand what I’m actually here for in the world, which is to make people smile and to remind them that life can be beautiful even when it’s not so easy.”

Jose Martinez is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan where he lost both legs and and an arm. After 19 surgeries, opioid abuse, depression and anger, Jose took a facilitator-assisted psilocybin mushroom “journey” that allowed “him to step outside himself and focus on the good, and what is possible in life, which lately includes sidelines as a Paralympic surfer, an archer and a weight-training enthusiast. He also runs a nonprofit that seeks to connect veterans to nature through wilderness outings.” Andre Jacobs, The New York Times, November 16, 2021.

Jose represents the triumph of soul over self, heart over mind and the light over darkness. He is no longer a prisoner of war, a captive of his mind, as now his mind is his servant. While seemingly physically limited relative to most people, he has travelled to where few have the strength and fearless will to go: the realm of happiness.

...

When we truly realize the universe is ever-changing and eternal and that we are one with the universe, as things come and go we love every thing and miss no thing.

...

The essence of the whole is a hole.

The tangible universe we see as a whole

is a surface surrounding a hole.

Like the human eye,

an iris of unique patterns and colors

surrounding an undifferentiated hole.

...

I’ve often asked guys what they would do if they met a beautiful girl who invited them to bed and upon disrobing she reveals four breasts. 90+% of the boys say they would grab their knapsack and run home. The rest would find it arousing and as such stay the evening, come what may. One guy’s reaction was conditional: he would stay as long as the girl didn’t have two breasts in the front and two in the back.

A surreal answer to a surreal question.

...

“Do not be so open-minded that your brains fall out.”

A mind open to many possibilities can be fooled into taking an irrational path. A closed mind cannot see the optimal path.

Better to “keep your head in the clouds and your feet on the ground.” Mike Robbins

...

There is only one mind, the universal mind that some call God, to which all our individual minds are connected. When we realize our mind’s connection to the universal mind, we can experience the universe through the universal mind’s connection to all other individual minds. This is the essence of wisdom.

There is only one soul, the universal soul that some call God, to which we are all connected. When we realize our soul is the universal soul that’s compassion.

Our individual minds and soul are housed in our animal bodies. Unlike the universal mind and soul which are eternal, our bodies are finite. When our identity is our universal mind and soul, we live forever after transitioning from our body. Otherwise, our self dies when our body dies, as animals.

We experience the world through mind, soul and body. Divine is the life experienced through our connection with the universal mind and soul. Selfish is the life whose principal identity is the body and individual mind.This is the difference between animal and divine consciousness.

As we are born as animals in a hostile world, our initial identities are our body and individual mind. However, unlike animals, we have the potential to connect with the universal mind and soul. Once initially connected, we know the way to the universal mind and soul. However, our connection to God is easily distracted for long periods of time, even a lifetime, by our bodily needs and our individual mind. To minimize distractions, we are helped by soulmates. Soulmates are those with whom we connect not solely via our connection with God but directly, soul to soul. When we are distracted by our bodily needs or individual mind, our soulmates can help us us back on the way. This is love, seeing the face of God in our soulmates.

...

We experience the world as a function of the information our mind organizes from the five senses common to all of us. The practical choices we make based on this information is called common sense. When our mind creates stories from this information, the information is distorted and we often make choices that are nonsense. Common sense and nonsense, that’s the difference between those who work for the benefit of others and the political class that leads people to war.

Likewise, our nose and lungs inform us when the air is polluted; our mouths and stomachs inform us when the drinking water is not right for consumption; but only our mind can create the story of climate change.

...

Life is simply not perfect, giving us many reasons to complain. When we stop reasoning, we have much for which to be grateful. Simply, thanking is better than thinking.

The daily usage ratio of thank/think measures our state of happiness.

...

When we come upon a serious accident, it tells us a lot about ourselves. Is our first question “what happened?” or “how can I help?”

...

It’s always clear

the end of the world is near

but there’s nothing to fear

as long as we are right here.

...

Dendrochronology is a scientific analysis of dating trees. It reveals geological and atmospheric (climate) events and changes over time.

Likewise, blood analysis has evolved such that it can identify significant events of our lives. Apparently, blood carries memories of our past experiences. A blood analysis can identify experiences like the number of lovers we’ve had and other emotionally charged experiences.

In a landmark study sponsored by Theranos, children as young as 12 were mentally transported, through hypnosis, to age 75. Once transported, their blood was analysed and they were given the results. They were then asked to describe their past. While the blood analysis identified facts, their descriptions identified their attitudes. For example, some whose past indicated they had had more than one hundred sexual relationships had regrets of having too many relationships; others felt they had had too few. Ultimately, all the participants in the study, when told of the facts revealed from an analysis using generic blood, described their past vividly but with little relationship to the facts. This observation has led researchers to conclude that each person’s past has only a minor effect on their perception of who they are.

...

When we are one with the ever-changing and eternal universe, we love everything and miss nothing.

...

The more we look, the less we see.

Many of us are more focused on how we look than how we see; how we look to others than how we see others. How we look to others is not how others see us as others are also mostly looking at themselves, not seeing others other than relative to themselves. When we realize others rarely see us, we don’t need to be locked down by how we look and we are free to open our eyes to see everything.

...

It’s important to think another world war is coming. If it doesn’t come, we’ll feel terrific as we’ll be in a better position than had there been a war. If it does come, we are in the best position to deal with it proactively because we anticipated it.

...

“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”

Unless they are clearly threatening to us, it’s difficult to take seriously someone who takes themselves seriously.

When someone can’t laugh at themselves, it’s difficult to take their perspective seriously.

When we are one with the light, we take everything lightly. We realize everything is light and when we or others think otherwise it’s funny.

...

Since early childhood I always felt stupid. Many people seemed strange as I didn’t know why they did what they did and how they thought about things. I still feel stupid but now realize they are not strange. They are like me. They also don’t know why they do what they do or how they think about things.

...

I love everyone and feel everyone loves me. If someone doesn’t love me now, I feel they’ll love me later. Unfortunately, the reason they don’t love me or others is that they are mentally ill. Mental illness is very common, at times in the simple form of taking oneself too seriously as an entity apart and separate from others.

...

Being eccentric, I sometimes wondered whether I would be committed to a mental institution. But as I looked at the people around me, I realized I was already in a mental institution.

...

When we dwell on what we once accomplished, we think we’re important. But we’re actually impotent.

...

Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, etc. were once adjectives. They identified someone’s superficial self-evident physical appearance, skin color and/or dress. These adjectives didn’t imply anything about an individual’s nature or attitude. What defined a person was a function of our interactions with them.

Today, these adjectives have become nouns. As nouns, they imply various socioeconomic and personality stereotypes that form our perception of the people they identify. The nouns are generalizations and, as all generalizations, are empty of anyone real. However, we perceive others in terms of these generalizations, group identities, not as they are.

Individuals also often identify with group identities and behave accordingly, not as independent individuals with their own minds. Moreover, they view themselves as different from other groups. This leads individuals to view the world as “us and them” which often leads to conflicts.

Our eyes see differences between individuals as adjectives. Our mind transforms these adjectives into nouns.

 

...

For most men, life begins and ends the same way; with the Big Bang, an orgasm. The first Big Bang results in embryonic fertilization and the second ends in immediately falling asleep.

...

When someone has their basic needs of food, shelter, security and health and yet is angry or unhappy because one thing or another didn’t go the way they had hoped, it’s confusing and funny to those living in dire circumstances.

It’s difficult to have empathy for those living in the relative lap of luxury and yet complain. They complain because they are essentially selfish. We can feel badly for them, not because of the issues about which they’re complaining, but because they are selfish which invariably is an unhappy state of mind. They are focused on themselves and oblivious to the everyday hardships many people face. They fail to reflect about how someone plagued by famine, homelessness or disease would view their sadness. A simple cure for their unhappiness is to reflect on how others less fortunate would view their circumstances But, if they can’t do that, they do provide others less fortunate with a good laugh.

...

NOTABLE & QUOTABLE: RUSSIA

“An unidentified ‘senior administration official’ in a Dec. 17 U.S. State Department telephone briefing for reporters:

You asked what the Russians are up to. I will let the Russians speak for themselves with regard to what they’re up to. We believe, the President believes, our allies believe that if there are concerns–and we have concerns on our side, they clearly have concerns on their side–they are best discussed diplomatically…And that is what we are proposing, and that is a far better path not only for Ukraine and all of us but for the Russian Federation itself.

I mean, let’s remember that Russia has one of the highest Covid levels in the world. The Russian people don’t need a war with Ukraine. They don’t need their sons coming home in body bags. They don’t need another foreign adventure. What they need is better health care, build back better, roads, schools, economic opportunity. And that’s what the polling is showing in Russia. So we hope that President Putin will take this opportunity for diplomacy and will also listen to the needs of his own people.”

 

Often, when we talk about others, we are subtlety (or in this instance wholly) talking about ourselves. Here,  to great folly, a senior administration official is showing Russia his cards; essentially saying that the US doesn’t have the will or the resources to help the Ukraine fight to remain an independent country; that the US supports a diplomatic settlement that would presumably slice off some of Ukraine’s eastern border for Russian consumption.

The quote is hysterical as it reveals the senior administration official doesn’t have a clue about Russia’s priorities. Cluelessness is characteristic of those who are overwhelmingly ideological and perfunctorily empirical.

...

Last night I had another fabulous dinner at Joe Bruno’s Pasta Nostra restaurant in Norwalk, CT.  Upon entering the restaurant, Joe greeted me: “Hey Victor, how do you feel?’ To which I replied: “Alive and healthy, can’t complain.” To which Joe remarked: “You must be a masochist.” And then we both roared a laugh.

What Joe is saying is that there is a lot of difficult, frustrating or painful shit in life one needs to deal with beyond issues of just being alive and healthy. If after all the shit one is still happy to be alive and healthy, then one must be a masochist and enjoy difficult, frustrating or painful shit. Maybe so or maybe whatever comes one’s way is wonderful in some way.

...

A timeless artwork has presence, forever engaging our attention; speaking to us, so to speak. But it is also mysterious as each of us sees it differently as what we see reveals the nature of our respective minds. Thus, as it is different things to different people, it can only be said that it is what it is whatever it is. As it truly can’t speak to reveal itself, it remains a timeless mystery.

...

“God saw I was worried and God laughed. Then I laughed too.”

Laughing is the best remedy for stress or pain.

When we identify with God we can laugh at almost any state of mind.

...

“Anyone afraid of dying is a fool. It’s obvious everyone in life eventually dies. Only a fool would chose to come to life if they were afraid of dying.

...

Every day is always wonderful, but not all ways. Some ways a day is wonderful are immediately clear; other ways are clear only with the passage of time. Likewise, what might seem immediately wonderful may prove otherwise over time. As which ways a day is wonderful are difficult to definitively determine during the day, a wonderful day is when we accept and appreciate all ways always.

...

I am God. Anyone who doesn’t recognize me as God, doesn’t recognize that they too are God.

While most adherents of Judeo-Christian-Islamic beliefs would view a declaration of “I am God” as arrogant and punishable blasphemy, it’s actually the epitome of humility as it is a declaration that I do not exist as an independent entity as I am one of infinite temporary manifestations of God.

Ironically, those who mortally punish others for blasphemy are blasphemous in their actions as they perceive the world selfishly through their minds which create an overwhelming gulf between them and God.

...

Often it’s difficult telling showman from shaman. A successful shaman needs to be a showman, but a successful showman doesn’t need to be a shaman. The “spiritual” experience induced by a showman is not unlike that of a shaman. In fact, a showman’s placebo effect can be more powerful than the work of a shaman as much of a shaman’s work depends on the placebo effect too. While it might be difficult to distinguish a showman from a shaman, the better showman wins a greater audience.

...

“Three things cannot long be hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”

The sun and the moon are temporarily hidden by the shadow Earth casts. Likewise, we may turn our back to the truth when we are otherwise distracted. But, in time, as we go around the truth comes around.

...

In bodily form we are temporary expressions of the eternal soul. It is our soul, God, we see in each other. It is our soul that connects us to one another as one. Upon recognising we are essentially the eternal soul, we do not suffer death and related sadness. Failing to recognize our soul, we are lonely and unhappy; the definition of a lost soul.

...

All will be best when we forget the rest.

All the best is coming our way in 2022. Undoubtedly it will be wonderful, incomparable to times past which are not real; just memories.

Times past are neither good or bad. Only we determine which are good or bad. However times past were for us individually, it is at least wonderful we had a role the play of life. And now our role, however it unfolds, continues. That is something to celebrate.

...

When we pity people living in poverty yet otherwise apparently happy, we are truly pitiful as our happiness is founded on our temporary possession of material goods and comforts.

In pitying others, we perceive ourselves as apart and separate from others. Yet, we project ourselves in their circumstances and react accordingly which reveals who we are. Alternatively, when we are compassionate, we immediately connect with their happiness, appreciate it and share ours with theirs.

...

Many of us are suffering from not having sufficient food and shelter. Yet many of us with sufficient food and shelter also are suffering because we desire more or better. Desire causes suffering as it precludes us from gratefully enjoying what we have.

Our mind creates desires for that which we don’t need. It blinds us from seeing how fortunate we are. This is one way our mind controls us.

...

Life is a present that comes as a packaged gift. To enjoy the gift of life we need to unwrap the present which we’ve covered with the past.

...

“Audentes fortuna iuvat.” (Fortune favors the bold)

Life is a black glass filled with water. However, because it’s black, looking in and about the glass we can’t tell what’s in it. Even when mortally thirsty, many dare not drink from the glass, fearing it may not agree with them; might even harm them. Others might take a small sip and wait for something better to come their way. Only the brave drink it all to experience life to the fullest. They don’t fear death because they know that whether you drink it or not, everyone is going to die.

...

There is little difference between sleep and death but for those who truly awaken from sleep. For those who don’t awaken, life is a dream; maybe good or not so good but not restful. As for those who awaken from sleep, everyday is always good in some ways if not all ways.

...

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

When there is nothing left to take away, all there is is nothing. From nothing came the Big Bang which created everything. Perfection is when we are one with nothing which in turn makes us one with everything.

...

“Gamblers pay speculators to play with them.”

From a certain perspective, our everyday lives are like a game wherein our lives are defined by the choices we make. Some choices provide us with immediate gratification and others with distant gratification. Our choices can be viewed in the context of risk/reward wherein the greater the risk the greater of the reward, though extreme risks often lead to negative rewards.

For those who find pleasure taking risks, there is ultimately no financial rewards as their aim is the immediate thrill of risk-taking. They are essentially gamblers.

Rewards go to those who know how to manage risk. They are speculators. They take risks that are commonly perceived to be greater than they are, limit loses from risks and take many risks to mitigate unfavorable randomness. They take risks to realize rewards and are unfazed by any one particular risk.

Essentially, gamblers pay speculators to play with them.

For those who fear taking commonly perceived risks, there is little chance for realizing significant rewards as they don’t have a chance when they don’t take a chance. They are spectators, not players, in the game of life.

Charlie Leeds was a kind and generous man; a good friend; a well-rounded Wall Street analyst, investor, speculator, gambler and spectator. At 260 pounds, perhaps too well-rounded. Charlie died in 2001 of a heart attack at age 50.

...

Buddha was not a Buddhist. Christ was not a Christian.

The path to awakening starts with questioning the nature of reality. The answers can be found via personal introspection  and empiricism or religious institutions and related scripture and exegesis. The personal path is unclear, frustrating and often seems futile until we open our eyes and see the light. The religious path is well-trodden, seems safe and comfortable as we are supported by many others. Ultimately, with perseverance we are likely to awaken when taking the personal path. The religious path is self-reinforcing, keeping us on the path forever.

Essentially, hard at the beginning, easy at the end and easy at the beginning, hard at the end.

...

Once in true love, in love forever; otherwise, it was never true love.

There is micro and macro love. Micro love is objectified love; an intense love of an object, a person or activity. Micro love is often temporary as that which we once are in love with we can at some point hate or be indifferent about. Macro love is loving the universe and everything in it. Macro love is connecting with everything as ourselves. That is true love.

...

Unless they are a threat, it is difficult to take seriously someone who takes themselves seriously.

...

We always experience reality via our senses but we rarely do.

From birth, we experience reality purely as the stimulation of our senses.  As we mature into adults, much of our sensory experience is adulterated by our mind. The etymology of mind is memory. Our memories, which we weave into stories based on our attitude and socialization, distort reality, making our experience of reality an illusion. Our illusions are further reinforced as they are generally shared by others.  Those of us who experience reality with a childlike fascination, unadulterated, as if for the first time, experience reality via our senses.

...

First awakening

Everything new

Knew nothing

Know nothing

Nothing to know

...

“All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret.”

True friends are those with whom we can share our secret lives.

...

“A life without smoking, drinking, chasing women and taking big risks will likely be long in length but short in breadth.”

The fullest life balances length and breadth.

...

When we love someone, we are one with them which makes us expand beyond our finite selves; a joyous, liberating feeling; selfless love. When we want to be loved because we feel we are imperfect and want to be accepted as we are and not judged or because we want to control the person who loves us, that is selfish love which is not love.

...

I am blessed to be born with the gene of happiness.

Naturally happy, I’m always grateful in all circumstances (as they could always be worse), optimistic that better times will come soon and free to experience the moment as it unfolds (free from the prison the mind creates with personal and collective stories and meanings).

Moreover, I think everyone is happy. It’s difficult for me to imagine anyone who has their basic animal needs satisfied (food, shelter, security, health and companionship) is not happy. When people are sad or angry, I think these feelings are very temporary. When they last long, I think they have a personality defect. For example, when I was a growing up, my father was often angry with me, screamed at me, placed curbs on my freedom and on rare occasions hit me. In fact, once my father screamed: “I wish you were never born.” How did I feel? I felt that he loved me but had some personality issues that precluded him from expressing his love.

With the gene of happiness, I love everyone and feel everyone loves me; if not now, then later. While I’ve been waiting for a long time for many to eventually love me, optimism keeps me feeling that eventually they will.

...

There is one soul to which we are all connected.

The connection is called love.

The soul is not tangible.

It is the nothing from which everything emerges.

Our bodies are manifestations of soul.

Detached from soul,

our bodies cannot connect naturally with love.

They need to make love.

...

Since my house burned down
I now own a better view
of the rising moon

Gratitude in all circumstances is an essential element of happiness.

...

“He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior.”

Perhaps Confucius means that he who conquers his self is the mightiest warrior. The self is our identity that is manifested by our body, finite in time and space. When we conquer our self, we are nothing but one of infinite manifestations of the universe which is forever and endless. To conquer our self takes the greatest courage to overcome the fear that we will be nothing. But it takes little courage when we realize the obvious, sooner or later our self will be nothing.

...

We always experience reality via our senses but we rarely do.

According to Wikipedia, “an illusion is a distortion of the senses, which can reveal how the human brain normally organizes and interprets sensory stimulation. Although illusions distort our perception of reality, they are generally shared by most people.” 

Illusions shared by many reinforce our individual perception of illusions as reality.

Reality is all there is, yet it is scarce in a world of mass shared illusions.

Independent thinking dispenses with illusions. However, fear of exclusion from groups sharing illusions keeps us from thinking independently.

Eccentrics, essentially those who are ex-centric (ex (meaning, out of) centric) in their thinking, are independent thinkers. Eccentrics see the illusionary thinking of others as ridiculously funny.

...

“To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.”

We are often prisoners of our mind which, as its etymology, is our memory.

...

When we don’t forget from where we came we know where we are going.

...

According to Wikipedia “The word [analyI sis] comes from the Ancient Greek ἀνάλυσις (analysis, “a breaking-up” or “an untying;” from ana- “up, throughout” and lysis “a loosening”).”

Separately, Wikipedia states  the word “bullshit” means nonsense and derives from the “word ‘bull’ [which] may have derived from the Old French bole meaning ‘fraud, deceit'”

However, perhaps “analysis’ is rooted in the word “anal.” At the dawn of humanity, humans were hunter-gatherers. In hunting for prey, hunters would follow the tracks of an animal and identify it and its proximity by analyzing its feces for freshness, form, texture, taste and smell. Thus, the first analysis was the examination of anal excrement. As civilization developed with the advent of farming, hunters tracking bison at times initially misidentified the feces of a rancher’s bull as that of bison; bullshit, not the real thing they were seeking. Alternatively, horseshit is the analytic realization we are on futile trail, following ground we previously covered.

...

Nothing is ever the same and never the same.

Nothing is ever the same as nothing is nothing. Yet, as everything is nothing before it is what it is whatever it is and no thing is the same as any other thing, nothing is never the same.

...