“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”...
“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”...
“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....
Fertilizer makes roses smell sweet and bloom.
Too much brings them to stink and doom....
“Look at life through the windshield, not the rearview mirror.”
Looking through the windshield, we see with our eyes what’s now and soon to come; that’s life. In the rearview mirror is what has passed; now only an illusion our mind has convinced us is real.
Dwelling on what’s in the rearview mirror distracts us from living which increases our chances of unfortunate accidents....
“…I will say that if you’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.”
We feel alive when we’re lively....
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....
As the mind is a pond,
all that we see are reflections.
Translating images into words,
backward letters hard to read....
When the child swallowed ink,
his parents turned white....
There’s nothing new under the sun,
just ever-changing flames
of the eternally burning bush....
In the field of spirituality, an enlightened journeyman can help others on their journey. An enlightened master makes the journeys of others into a business....
“To be satisfied with what one has; that is wealth.”
Desiring what we don’t have keeps us from appreciating what we have.
Happiness is a function of gratitude for whatever little we have. Happiness is priceless, true wealth....
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....
“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....
“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....
The etymology of the word bullshit seems as messy as bullshit. 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 might have made them think they were on the right track until they realized it was 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....
“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 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 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...
“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....
“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 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....
“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...
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....
“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....
“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....
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....
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....
“[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....
“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.
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....
“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....
“The banality of evil.”
Evil is not solely the domain of Hitler and the many other monsters in history. Evil is commonplace; 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....
“[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....
“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....
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....
“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....
Happiness is not necessarily doing that which we enjoy but that which leaves us with happy memories....
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....
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....
“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....
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....
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....
“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....
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....
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....
“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....
“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....
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....
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....
“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....
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....
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....
“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....
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....
“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....
“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....
“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....
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....
“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....
“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....
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.
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....
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....
Those who know they know nothing are childlike. Those who think they know everything are childish.
When childlike, everything is new, unique, and arouses our curiosity which in turn reveals the universe with wonder. Those who think they know everything have preconceived notions which often lead them to childish or stupid choices and dull lives....
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 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,
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....
“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....
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....
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....
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....
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....
“In of the most striking patterns in yesterday’s  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....
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....
“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.”...
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.”...
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,
“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....
“When one realizes one is asleep, at that moment one is already half-awake.”
Self-consciousness precedes universal consciousness....
It’s said that man’s best friend is a dog. Read backwards, dog is god; truly man’s best friend....
“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....
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....
“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...
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....
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....
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....
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....
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....
“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....
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....
“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.”...
“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....
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.”...
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....
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....
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.”...
an infinite number of worlds,
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....
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....
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....
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....
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....
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....
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....
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....
“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....
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....
“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....
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....
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....
In the night sky,
looking for constellations
we see few stars....
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
Socialization has its costs....
“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....
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....
We have freedom of speech as long as no one is listening....
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....
“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....
“’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....
“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....
“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....
“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....
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....
The greatest blessing is realizing we are blessed. That’s the essence of gratitude which is the essence of happiness....
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....
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....
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....
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....
“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....
“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....
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....
“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....
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....
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....
“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....
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....
“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....
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....
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.
when we die
God reveals his other children,
an infinite number of stars....
“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....
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....
“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....
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....
“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....
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....
“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....
“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....
“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....
Individually we are not equal, but together we are one which makes us equal. If we are not one, we are nothing....
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....
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....
Wisdom is having many perspectives which in the aggregate allow us to best know the nature of something. In having many perspectives, we no longer cling to our own perspective. That’s true wisdom, being open to many perspectives and not identifying with any one....
“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....
Wonderful things are like a perfect steak: rare and well-done simultaneously....
The future is clear for all to see but memories blind us and desires distract us from seeing it....
“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....
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....
We start out whole and the picture is clear.
Out of the box we break apart
pieces and pieces
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....
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....
“The difference between medicine and poison is in the dose.”
Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing....
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....
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....
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....
“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....
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....
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
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....
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....
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
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
As it changes from one day to the next, one year to the next
Until what was vivid, becomes thin, vapid, and dissolves
Like an old movie reel
What of the future
What is it made of
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
Only the 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
To see the light
Is merely to look
It is inescapable
As is everything
Only the light
The past and future
Swallowed and digested in the light of now
Spreads in all directions
In the light
All is lost
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,
Yet it has infinite manifestations,
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 within us dims.
Delighted, we temporarily feel wonderful about ourselves; but the without the light within us, we cannot connect with others which is forever wonderful....
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....
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.
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....
Our nose, intuition, knows which choices are not right, to which we need say 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....
everything is new.
We who knew, before each experience that everything to come is new, were present and that made 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
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....
When we see God in each other
we are one with each other.
When we are one together
we are one with everything....
Sounds at the moment of awakening:
Aha, the realization that pleasure is the purpose of life.
Haha, realizing how simple it is to realize the purpose of life.
Hahahaha, laughing at how silly we were not to have realized this earlier....
“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....
“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....
“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.
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....
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, a vertical thread.
You, a horizontal thread.
Together we weave in and out
until the threads disappear
and a fabric is here....
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....
We are manifestations of God,
like the burning bush.
Our lives are the flames,
and the focus of our attention.
The bush is our soul,
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....
Once we know we don’t know anything
we can get on our way.
Our destination is the way of the Way
where we come to know there is nothing to know
as everything is nothing but one thing
that is ever-changing and interdependent;
it is what it is whatever it is....
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....
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....
Recognizing divine consciousness in others, enlightened people treat others with compassion. Yet, sometimes the enlightened may seem insensitive or even intentionally hurtful when they laugh at others, bruising their foolish egos. Compassion doesn’t necessarily mean one suffers fools gladly....
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.
connected joyfully all ways,
beyond stretches of time.
Together as one and
together as two,
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:
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....
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....
Luck is the key to success. Once we realize that we’re more than halfway to success.
Luck is identifying opportunities and making lucky choices to realize them. Anyone who thinks their success is solely a function of their own abilities and efforts is a fool. Fools are prone to bad luck.
To get lucky we need to vigilantly be on the lookout for luck. Luck happens everywhere but in some contexts more than others. Work is where lots of luck can be found. Working long hours and keeping our eyes open to for potentially lucky situations, we increase our chances of getting lucky. Then, when luck arrives, we recognize it immediately as we anticipated its arrival, embrace it and enjoy a ride to success, if we are lucky. If we’re not successful with the chance we took, it was still luck; only bad luck. But bad luck is better than no luck.
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....
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....
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....
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....
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....
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....
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....
Patients need patience, for time heals all wounds....
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,
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.”...
“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.”...
The mind is the flames;
and destructive burning heat.
The soul is the bush;
supporting the flames
but not transformed by the flames.
The mind is wisdom,
The soul is love,
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....
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....
We are free to experience the now as it is when we realize the past has passed....
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,
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....
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....
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 sad world our 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.
Every thing is an aspect of one thing, everything.
Every thing is an illusion
as everything is all there is.
Every thing is nothing
but a temporary aspect 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 (Buddha, Moses, Lao Tzu and Jesus) who came to know 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....
Nothing lasts forever
as nothing is the essence of everything.
No thing lasts forever
as the only constant is change....
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....
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 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....
Knowing is everything. Understanding is just a detailed bit of something....
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.
This one-hand quartz watch is an entertaining timepiece.
The watch’s one hand is gold-colored and emanates from a gold center disk, presumably the sun. The one hand is like a ray of sunlight whose movement reflects the passage of time. A full-circle move of the one hand represents the 24 hour day. Hence, the perimeter is crowded, allowing only markers that indicate time in quarter-hour segments. The day begins and ends at the lowest vertical point on the perimeter, the darkest hours. Other than the one hand and the markers, the watch face is a dark blue cover over the watch’s internal movements which is like dark matter; unseen but presumed to affect all that is seen.
With one-hand indicating time, it is like a sundial. Like the movement of the sun’s golden rays is the movement of the watch’s gold-colored hand. However, sundials are the most primitive of time-telling machines and this watch, propelled by a quartz movement, is most modern.
With a quartz movement, the watch accurately measures time with a monthly accuracy of 15 seconds, considerably more accurate than a mechanical watch. However, as it has no markers indicating minutes, reading the time indicated is a bit of guesswork with 5 minutes leeway. Ironically, the most accurate watch is also the least accurate watch.
As reading the time indicated is a bit of guesswork, this watch is unlike mechanical watches which we read without thought. Reading time on this watch requires our attention, awakening us a bit, and each reading is like never before which is the nature of time. Moreover, as we cannot precisely read the time, we know we can never be completely certain where we are in time. Maybe we can’t be certain of other things as well. If so, best to go slow and not make choices impetuously. As well, we are unlikely in the same time-place as most other people whose watches are more in sync.
The preceding is what I see in this watch, making the watch funny. Funny in that the watch allows very different views which are at odds. In looking at things I always find something about them funny. If not, I know I don’t know what I’m looking at....
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....
Well, it’s alright, ridin’ around in the breeze
Well, it’s alright, if you live the life you please
Well, it’s alright, doin’ the best you can
Well, it’s alright, as long as you lend a hand
You can sit around and wait for the phone to ring (at the end of the line)
Waiting for someone to tell you everything (at the end of the line)
Sit around and wonder what tomorrow will bring (at the end of the line)
Maybe a diamond ring
Well, it’s alright, even if they say you’re wrong
Well, it’s alright, sometimes you gotta be strong
Well, it’s alright, as long as you got somewhere to lay
Well, it’s alright, everyday is judgment day
Maybe somewhere down the road a ways (at the end of the line)
You’ll think of me and wonder where I am these days (at the end of the line)
Maybe somewhere down the road when somebody plays (at the end of the line)
Well, it’s alright, even when push comes to shove
Well, it’s alright, if you got someone to love
Well, it’s alright, everything’ll work out fine
Well, it’s alright, we’re going to the end of the line
Don’t have to be ashamed of the car I drive (at the end of the line)
I’m just glad to be here, happy to be alive (at the end of the line)
And it don’t matter if you’re by my side (at the end of the line)
Well, it’s alright, even if you’re old and grey
Well, it’s alright, you still got something to say
Well, it’s alright, remember to live and let live
Well, it’s alright, the best you can do is forgive
Well, it’s alright (alright), riding around on the breeze
Well, it’s alright (alright), if you live the life you please
Well, it’s alright, even if the sun don’t shine
Well, it’s alright (alright), we’re going to the end of the line
The Traveling Wilburys was a British-American supergroup which included Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty. They came together in 1988. “End Of The Line” was published in October, 1988. Roy Orbison came to the end of the line two months later when he died of a heart attack at age 52.
When we come to the time before our bodily death, the end of the line, we realize the purpose of life: to have a wonderful time, realize our potential and help others likewise; to make the most of our circumstances instead of hoping our circumstances change; to discover the universe on our own; and not waste our time daydreaming. Moreover, we should dance to the beat of our drum; be grateful for what we have; live each day as if it is our last; and reflect on our past from a mind-revealing, psychedelic perspective (psykhē “mind” + dēloun “make visible, reveal” (from dēlos “visible, clear)), perspective. As well, we need not concern ourselves with current conflicts as long as we connect to others with love. As to material possessions, they are meaningless as what matters is celebrating our good fortune of simply being alive. Moreover, throughout our lives our personal perspectives matter and we should accept the perspectives of others and not judge them. Finally, whether our lives are or aren’t glorious, bathed in sunshine, we are all going to die. That’s alright when we appreciate our lives until then....
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....
as nothing I knew.
I now know nothing,
all I need 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....
“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....
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....
According to Wikipedia, “A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation. The word “laser” is an acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation“. The first laser was built in 1960, Lasers are used in optical disc drives, laser printers, barcode scanners, DNA sequencing instruments, fiber-optic, semiconducting chip manufacturing (photolithography), and free-space optical communication, laser surgery and skin treatments, cutting and welding materials, military and law enforcement devices for marking targets and measuring range and speed, and in laser lighting displays for entertainment.”
Clearly, a laser can do many extraordinary things relative to a flashlight. Yet, for making our way through a dark thicket, a flashlight is better. Likewise, those with a laser-sharp mind are best not deployed to solve simple tasks. For example, undoubtedly Albert Einstein was extraordinarily brilliant, yet forgot the basic concept of gravity (what goes up must go down) as he lost most of the money he received with his Noble Prize in the stock market in the 1920s....
“The one who would be in constant happiness must frequently change.”
Those who are happy are grateful for and make the best of whatever their circumstances. As the only constant in the universe is change, to always be happy we need frequently change as our circumstances change....
“Any man who carries a hyphen about with him carries a dagger that he is ready to plunge into the vitals of this Republic whenever he gets ready.”
Theodore Roosevelt: “There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all … The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic … There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else.”
Identity politics in America has created a Tower of Babel as different identity groups don’t understand each other’s thinking and values. Trust between groups has declined which has led to hostilities. Lacking integrity, the Tower will collapse.
In broad terms, there are “progressives” who wish to destroy the historical American identity of capitalism and personal freedoms of speech and choice at the local level and supplant them with central government controls, while “conservatives” wish to preserve this American identity. Identity groups are represented by politicians whose operative word is “fight,” declaring: “I will fight for you [your group] for….” Rarely today do people frame an issue in terms of what’s the right thing to do, what’s best for America. Ultimately, there are temporary winners and losers on various issues but the country as a whole is every time the loser on a path to its demise....
“There are two young fish swimming along who happen to meet an older fish. The older fish nods at them and says: ‘Morning boys, how’s the water?’ The two young fish swim on for a bit and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and asks: ‘What the hell is water?'”
Of the most basic things we are often oblivious. Yet, as we enter Act 3 of our lives, the transition, our appreciation of the most subtle things is enhanced. For example, an “ugly” formica kitchen surface, that we desperately want to replace with granite, is overwhelmingly beautiful when we envision ourselves dying in five minutes....
Time is a light
from beyond the horizon
making its way to here.
Time is an echo
making its way to somewhere.
Time is a subtle breeze
lulling us to sleep....
Now know now
Our senses and mind create the now; an illusion of infinite manifestations that are engaging, distracting and often frantic.
To know now is to know the present. The present is not now. The present is the pre-sent, the space before we are sent what our senses and mind experience as now. The pre-sent is empty, nothingness; a peaceful place, like the space between when we exhale and before we inhale. The pre-sent cannot be described, it is what it is whatever it is.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
“Om Shanti” is invoked at the end of every Upanishad. The Upanishads are ancient Hindu scriptures on the nature of ultimate reality. “Om Shanti Shanti Shanti” means peace in body, mind and soul; peace individually, collectively and universally. The peace beyond understanding. The peace when all is nothing....
Wisdom and compassion are the essence of divine consciousness.
Wisdom is embracing many perspectives, not solely our personal perspective. Compassion is treating others as we wish to be treated.
Wisdom is light. Compassion is love.
While seemingly mutually exclusive, wisdom and compassion are mutually dependent as one doesn’t exist without the other.
Wisdom is the realization that “every thing” is a different aspect of one thing. While “every thing” appears as a distinct thing that seems it can be variously described, “every thing” is temporary and ever-changing. Thus, “every thing” cannot be described as it is not the same thing at the end of its description as it was at the start. Ultimately, “every thing” is a manifestation of one thing that cannot be described beyond that it is what it is whatever it is. Thus, “every thing,” when viewed as independent of the one thing, is illusionary. Though illusionary, “every thing” appears real, different from every other thing and as a function of our individual perspectives and attitudes. Thus, to truly know some thing, and ultimately realize it is part of the one thing, we need to embrace all perspectives and accept that our personal perspective is not better than that of others. This is wisdom. With wisdom, we embrace others and their perspectives as dear to us as ourselves and our own. This is compassion.
With compassion we treat others as we wish to be treated as we realize we and others are just seemingly different, temporary manifestations of one thing. Thus, with compassion, we identify with others and embrace their perspectives.
Hence, compassion and wisdom are one.
Ultimately, as in Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” wisdom is the light that leads us to compassion, the love of everything, as “every thing” is everything....
Keep smiling until there is something to laugh about.
Real smiles anticipate and welcome laughing. By smiling, we open ourselves up to seeing things in a funny way. That is, smiling has a powerful placebo effect that precipitates laughing.
Smiling is highly contagious. Our smile moves others to smile, making them likely to see something as funny. As others see the funniness of something, we’re infected by their laughter.
What’s funny (as in odd or ironic) is that nothing is funny but almost everything is. What makes anything funny is when people are unaware and take seriously individual or collective self-serving or delusional perspectives; when deceit is revealed; when the truth reveals what was held as meaningful is meaningless. That is, when people take illusions seriously.
But laughing is a serious matter. It’s an essential part of the purpose of life: to have a wonderful time, realize our potential and help others likewise. When we’re laughing, we and others are having a wonderful, liberating and soulful go of life.
In any event, laughing is one of the keys to health as it’s a non-poisonous remedy for pain or stress. We lose our self-consciousness when we’re laughing and forget whatever pain or stress was ailing us. Moreover, laughing with others connects our souls and energizes us which further relieves pain or stress.
Not all smiles however are created equally. Plastic smiles are not real smiles and have little therapeutic value. They’re artificial, man-made, like masks. Wearing a smiling mask limits our facial muscles from extending to broad smiles and soulful laughing....
Many folklore and religious beliefs hold that God created man from clay. Perhaps so. But clearly, “civilization” has refined the clay man; sanding and polishing, sanding and polishing; again and again and again. Now what remains of God’s clay man may still not be perfect, but there is more clay dust on the floor than anything else.
This parable speaks to the divide between “progressive” and “conservative” approaches to the political order. Simply, progressives aim to realize an idealized world in which individual freedoms are progressively more limited, while conservative, speaking for the clay man, say: “enough already.” As each side has compelling arguments, it is difficult to say which way to vote; but if God didn’t get it right when man was first created, it’s unlikely progressives will....
Every thing new as we knew nothing.
“Every thing new” because the universe is ever-changing.
“As,” simultaneously; that is, everything is new and yet I still know nothing about it.
“We” (not I) as there is only one thing: the universe which expresses itself in infinite and seemingly finite manifestations. Referring to myself as “I” implies I identify as a finite manifestation. Awakening is the realization that I am the universe, not a finite manifestation of it.
“Knew” (not “know”) because every experience is a past experience, even as we experience it in what seems as now. Now is when our consciousness registers the universe expressing itself. However, now is not the present. Now is in the past. The present is the “pre-sent,” the universe before it expresses itself. Thus, all that we experience is effectively in the past.
“Nothing” is what everything is before it is. Upon awakening, we come to realize the universe is inherently empty, nothingness. Thus, everything is new as we experience it as it is what it is whatever it is in the now. However, as our experience in the now is effectively in the past, everything is an illusion....
Religious practices vary considerably such that there is no scholarly consensus about what precisely constitutes a religion. However, religions are generally founded on matters supernatural, transcendental and spiritual. Standing on this foundation, all early adherents are on equal footing.
As more adherents join a religion, structures are built upon its foundation to house them. The structures have many stories, stories upon stories; each sustaining the story above it. The most desirable living spaces in these building structures are those with the best views, those on the highest stories, the stories raised to reach the heavens. These living spaces are given to religious leaders and their wealthy supporters. Then, all adherents are no longer on equal footing. In fact, as soon as the structures are a couple of stories tall, their foundations are buried underground and not visible. All that remains are the stories....
Who we are is revealed by how we describe others. But that’s rarely how we see ourselves....
At birth we seem to separate from being one with the universe. At death, we reunite with the universe. Blessed are those united with the universe in life, for they do not suffer death....
Those who love the universe, love all its manifestations. Harmful things they fear, but not hate....
A circle creates spaces
inside and out.
Seemingly separate spaces,
yet as they are interdependent
their separation is an illusion.
As likewise goes for everything,
there can be nothing new under the sun....
Few people buy things, most are sold things. A true buyer chooses what they buy. A passive buyer is sold things....
We suffer when we desire what we don’t essentially need as desires preclude us from appreciating what we have.
Those who so suffer are fools, funny to everyone but themselves and other fools....
Our mind sees through our ears. When we see through our mind, we are blind to our blindness.
Our mind cannot see. It envisions the world through the stories, meanings, generalizations, etc. it hears as we are socialized. When we in turn see through our mind, we don’t see what our eyes see and are blind to our blindness.
For example, when a good friend tells us of a super-hot sex experience he had the previous night with a girl he picked up at a bar, we’re happy for him; until we realize the girl was our wife....
Each of us has a soul.
But there is only one soul.
The face of the soul is the face of God.
Our mind masks the face of our soul.
Our mind has an infinite number of faces.
Fearing the nothingness beneath our mask,
few dare remove it.
But only then can we see the face of God....
Peace is when we are one with everything.
The time before birth.
The time after death.
The time between falling asleep and awakening.
The time between exhale and inhale.
The time when there is only one thing, nothingness
The time before nothingness becomes everything.
Awakening is the realization
we are always one with everything
but for the time of our self-consciousness
when we are oblivious of nothingness....
“Om” and “oh” are the sounds before words were born.
“Om” is the incantation at the beginning and end of chapters in the Hindu scriptures, the Vedas and Upanishads. It is the sound made in ceremonies relating to the rites of passage such as weddings and during meditative and spiritual activities like yoga. It is the sound of the universe that’s meant to encompass all sounds; the sound attesting to our consciousness; the sound recognizing the divine.
Likewise, “oh” is a sound used to express our awakening, our immediate emotional reaction to something to which we have just been made aware.
The expression “Oh my God” is the most common expression heard at the moment of orgasm. In this context, “oh my God” means one is awakened to one’s oneness with God; one’s oneness with the universe before the beginning of time and as nothing becomes everything: the Big Bang.
As “Om” is an incantation that’s chanted as “Ommmmmmmmmm,” “oh my God” seems more consistent with the pace of approaching sexual climax than “Ommmmmmmmmm my God.”...
Each of us is generally described in terms of nouns and adjectives. But that’s not who we are. Nouns and adjectives are static while we are dynamic. We are nothing but an experience.
The experience is a play that we write, produce, direct and in which we star. Our individual plays overlaps with the plays of others as we play roles in their plays and they play roles in ours.
Some plays are well-attended by the gods in the audience, while others not. With little audience interest in our individual play, we find ourselves better financially rewarded spending our time playing roles in other people’s plays than in ours. In doing so, we abandon our plays and the freedoms they allows us. At that point we are nothing, just nouns and adjectives.
However, when we love those who have even very minor roles in our play and treat them like special guest stars, maybe one day they will be; and, if not, at least they’ll enjoy their roles more than otherwise....
We connect with each other through our mind and heart. Our heart is clearly the more important of two as we can live without a mind but not without a heart....
The secret to experiencing the intense beauty of every-thing is to experience each thing’s uniqueness as revealed by our senses; absolutely, as it is, not comparatively.
This is easier said than done as our mind automatically distracts us from experiencing the world purely with our senses. Our mind distracts us by referencing a sensuous experience we are experiencing now to other seemingly similar experiences*; comparing something now with something that’s passed or idealized. Comparatively, some things look more or less attractive than others; but, experienced absolutely, every-thing is always beautiful if not in all ways; at least it enlivens us.
A corollary is that we are distracted from having a purely sensuous experience when we describe or analyze an experience. To keep our experience as purely sensuous, we can only say of each thing that it is what it is whatever it is. However, there is one word that identifies our reaction is wholly sensuous: WOW. The sound of WOW is made by puckering our lips like when we kiss what we love, that to which we connect with as one. WOW is also our reaction upon awakening, when we don’t remember who we were yesterday, what we need to later today and everything around us appears as we’ve never seen it before.
*The etymology of the word “mind” is memory. When we see things through our mind, we don’t truly see. We are asleep to reality; only seeing illusions, thoughts and memories To be awake is to be in the now, to experience the world through our senses....
There is only one soul.
That’s why it’s called the sole.
The soul is rarely visible,
like the sole of our feet,
but it’s the axis connecting us to the Earth
and the foundation upon which everything stands....
Most of us think what we see is reality. It’s not reality. It’s just a movie projected from our mind. To see reality we need to close our mind and open our eyes....
In heaven we are all even
as only souls can enter heaven
and each soul is the same.
We can bring our souls to heaven
but we can’t bring our soles to heaven.
Those who know not of heaven
cannot part with their soles until nightfall.
Then they become lost souls.
For the sun reveals the entrance to heaven
and at night heaven’s gates are closed....
Our life is like a movie, an illusion on a screen; though it all seems very real, so we take it seriously. However, as the movie ends, the theater lights turn on; the theater is enlightened and so are we, realizing the illusions were illusions....
However dark, foreboding or uncertain the future appears, it doesn’t affect us when we are in the true-present, the timeless space before now and all that follows.
In late 1985 I was married with one child, unemployed, had little money saved and started a hedge fund managing the funds of a small group of investors. Soon after, in the Spring of 1986, I became embroiled in an “insider trading” scandal. The related investigation made the newspapers and shadowed me everywhere. I was at risk of losing overwhelming sums for legal fees, fines and penalties as well as the prospect of going to prison and being permanently barred from running a hedge fund which was my only viable means of earning a living. The investigation lasted for three and a half years by which time I had two more children. Then I was indicted. The trial concluded in late spring of 1990. I was found guilty. After two years spent on appealing the verdict, I was sentenced to 18 months in prison, fined $1.8M and had the prospect, pending appeals, of losing my license to continue managing money. I had also up until then paid roughly $2M for legal representation. I went to prison in January 1994. In January, 2000 I lost the appeals and was permanently barred from managing other people’s money.
With the attention I needed to give the investigation and trial and the dire consequences hanging over my head for eight years, investors and friends were astonished that I was able to continue running my hedge fund successfully without a care. My view was that beyond managing the hedge fund I had nothing to worry about one day to the next. The circumstances were what they were and I would deal with them as they unfolded. I wasn’t dying of cancer; things could have always been worse. In fact, I was grateful for my circumstances. I was happy. Simply, I was in the present and focused on whatever next was going to be in the now....
When facing the sun, shrouded in its warmth and the gazing at the beauty of everything, we’re often oblivious to the shadows we cast.
In the post, Being In The Present, I talked about my “insider trading” criminal case. Ultimately, as a result of losing at trial, I spent 1994 in a Federal prison in Fairton, NJ.
I looked forward to going to prison. Thought I’d have a good time meeting guys outside my social/business/special interests circles. Maybe get to do things I hadn’t previously been exposed to: garden maintenance, car repair, preparing institutional foods; maybe read some books. After having snapped some lawnmower blades on rock outcroppings and making a car’s problems worse, I was fired from those jobs. I didn’t get a chance to work in the kitchen because I casually mentioned to an inmate that I must have gotten genital herpes years back at a group sex party; as word got around, some were concerned herpes was transmittable through food, so I was nixed from that job. Didn’t get a chance to read much beyond periodicals. Most of the time spent was pondering the nature of things and interviewing the prisoners about their circumstances and how they viewed the world. I joked around a lot, seemed to entertain the mates and the guards. Paid someone $1 to make my bed daily, someone else to make me hand-cut potato fries and broiled New Zealand calves’ liver and another mate to clean the shower before I went in to jerk off. I thought I was well liked, until my last night there. Last night there, the prisoners typically threw a party for the one who was departing. As my time neared, I was getting the feeling they weren’t having a party for me. So I ordered 80 ice cream sandwiches from the commissary (from which you could privately buy foods and other stuffs) to ensure a party was to be. Everyone loved it; best party of the season. However, at some point during the party I said to a crowd of mates “you guys will probably miss me.” To which one replied: “We won’t miss you. We hate you.” Incredulous, I said, “really, why’s that?” To which he replied: “because you had too good a time here.” Now, 27 years later, I sometimes think maybe some people in my current life feel the same way about me. But, like in prison, I can’t imagine that to be so. Gazing at the sun I’m oblivious of the shadows I cast....
When we open our eyes we see what we sense, which a fool’s mind makes into nonsense.
We appreciate a beautiful artwork when we see it. That makes sense. A collector paying millions for such an artwork when an indistinguishable facsimile can be had for a pittance, that’s foolish nonsense.
Beyond beautiful artworks, there is beauty everywhere for those who have the sense to open their eyes; but not for fools who prefer nonsense.
Of course, “collectible” paintings are not purchased for the visual experience they provide but for their speculative value (that there will be a greater fool to pay more for them in the future), or as objects of prestige (identifying those who foolishly need to impress others or themselves) or as a pass to enter certain high-society social circles inhabited by other fools....
There is one God.
The God before the Big Bang.
The God beyond our comprehension.
The God that birthed billions of sons.
God’s sons too are gods.
They are the stars.
God’s son closest to us is our sun....
When we connect in the hole
we become whole,
The Shawshank Redemption is a story of men serving life sentences in a brutal penitentiary. The penitentiary is a metaphor for living in society. Most of us live our entire lives in a penitentiary. But in The Shawshank Redemption, as in society generally, a few have a chance at redemption, freedom: Brooks Hatlen, an old man who managed the prison library; Andy Dufresne, a banker wrongly imprisoned for the murder of his wife and her lover; and Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding, a prison contraband smuggler.
After 50 years of “good behavior” (a model prisoner serving others as a librarian; a kind man who cares for an injured bird) Brooks is free to leave. However, a sentence well-served, like a life well-served, doesn’t guarantee redemption. For Brooks there is no redemption. Redemption requires letting go of our past where we are imprisoned by our mind. While excited at the prospect of freedom, Brooks can’t part with his identity as a prison librarian and embrace the freedom that awaits him. He becomes depressed and hangs himself soon upon his release.
Andy is like everyman, not deserving punishment but punished nonetheless, forced to serve a role in life that’s not to his liking. He makes the most of his life in prison but for years devotes his time and energy on digging a tunnel from his cell to freedom outside the prison walls. On the day of his escape, he emerges from a hole in the earth, essentially reborn. Once free, like all free men he leaves the roles society has slotted him to live carefree in a beachfront village, presumably without risk of extradition. Andy finds redemption. His efforts are like years of meditation that culminate in escaping the prison of the role-plying self and past identities to be one with the world at large.
Ellis is long-imprisoned for a crime he committed in his youth. Periodically he comes up for parole which he’s denied. Again and again he tells the parole board that he is sorry about his criminal past, completely rehabilitated and would never do it again. Again and again, the board rejects his petition for parole. Then, finally, he tells the board that he often imagines a boy who he doesn’t know. He sees the boy about to commit a horrible crime and he only wishes he could grab that boy before the crime is committed. The board then grants him parole. Essentially, Ellis is saying that he no longer is the person who committed the crime for which he went to prison; the person he is now could never have committed such a crime and he would try to stop its commission if he saw it happening. Keeping Ellis incarcerated longer would be punishing someone for a crime they didn’t commit. His redemption comes from completely disavowing his past which allows him to smuggle himself out of prison. Likewise, we are only free when we leave the karmic prison of our mind.
Redemption, freedom, is ultimately the purpose of life. It comes not simply by living a good life, treating others well and satisfying our responsibilities. It comes from long and hard work to realize our personal and societal identities are temporary roles in the play of life. Then, we know the name of the play, “Terrific.”...
Absolutely, everything is beautiful; relatively, few things are beautiful.
Everything is beautiful because seeing is beautiful. Seeing is an experience in the now, an experience of the universe expressing itself.
Our mind can’t see. It can only remember. The mind compares things it has not seen but believes it remembers seeing and things it envisions. Once measured, some things are more or less beautiful; relatively, few things are beautiful.
The World Trade Center event is an example of that which is absolutely beautiful but relatively not. For the few who can see it as it is what it is whatever it is, they see the World Trade Center hit by planes and its subsequently collapse as a beautiful chaotic light show. However, for the vast majority, the World Trade Center event is a horrible tragedy relative to most of whatever else they see in life through their mind....
Art collecting and religion are alike. They are about community membership; not about the insights art reveals about the human experience or the worship of God, respectively....
Painful death comes fast or slow.
Fast from fast, from fast food slow....
Our mind defines us and the world around us.
We adamantly hold our mind’s view as reality
and fear to think differently
for if we let go our mind we’d lose it and be lost.
That’s how our mind controls us.
If lost, what would replace it,
who would we then be?
The undifferentiated mind,
the mind of God....
Since the beginning of time I can remember, everything seemed new and unique, especially the causal or coincidental relationship between things, why things are as they are. As well, I’ve been always amazed how people view the same thing so differently and hold no doubts about their respective perspectives. Curiosity has driven me down many roads to understand things. But after travelling countless miles, I realize the road was a treadmill as I still don’t know much about anything. But, I keep at it, probably because it’s not frustrating but fun, as the means and the ends are the same. Some would say that after a lifetime of fruitless effort, I’m a fool trying to understand things; but better that than undoubtedly being a fool thinking I do....
Consciousness is binary,
the present and the now.
The present and the now seem synonymous
but are mutually exclusive,
as one cannot exist without the other.
The present is the pre-sent,
the time before the universe is sent out as expressions of itself.
The now is when our senses initially experience the universe expressing itself.
Time doesn’t exist in the pre-sent.
In the pre-sent eternity lies.
The now is the beginning of time.
All other time,
past and future,
are illusions created by our mind.
The present is the beginningless and endless time
before a gong is struck,
shattering silence and awaking us to the now.
In the now we hear its sound,
and then slowly drifting away
until only silence remains,
The present is the space
between exhale and inhale.
Inhaling and exhaling is the now....
Progressives are clowns, the funniest people when they are not scary. Funny when they take their crazy thoughts seriously. Scary when enough others take them seriously and make them their leaders.
Progressives are idealists who aim to change the social/political order so they may better people’s lives. They are intellectuals who think they are smarter than the less educated and therefore they should decide what’s best for all. Alternatively, businesspeople take an empirical and practical approach to providing goods and services to people to choose for themselves how to better their lives. They provide what the market demands, without judgement of the desires of their customers.
Progressives view the social order vertically, an autocracy. Businesspeople view the world horizontally, a democracy where people vote with their cash.
Progressives are risk-averse and want to control everything. Businesspeople are risk-takers and succeed by managing risks.
Progressives promote their agenda with propaganda while businesspeople advertise.
Progressives need individuals to think as a group. Businesses thrive on independent thinkers choosing what’s best for themselves based on product quality and price.
Progressives are inflexible and face extinction as the world changes and they can’t. Businesspeople who survive are those most able to adapt to change.
Progressives hate the lower classes which they view as a necessary evil they need to accommodate. Businesspeople view their customers as the gods they serve.
Progressives envision building a house from the roof to the ground which inevitably crushes those building it. Businesspeople built a house from the ground up for all who can afford it to live....
Everything is unique now
and unlike itself after now.
Everything is nothing before it is something.
I am nothing before I am what I am whatever I am.
Nothing is one thing, nothing.
Everything, including me, is one thing....
Go for the best and forget the rest.
What’s best is that of which we make the best....
The present is the pre-sent, the space before the universe expresses itself as infinite unique manifestations. The present is empty. It is silent. Time does not exist in the present. It is dark until we light it up by opening our eyes. The now is when the universe expresses itself. It is when time begins. In the now we experience the universe via our senses and our mind.
The present is the space between exhale and inhale, between bodily death and birth, between going to sleep and awakening. In the present we are not distracted by the universe expressing itself in the now. We can observe the universe and come to know it.
The experience via our senses is what it is whatever it is; some of it to our liking and some not. It’s a visceral connection with the universe. The experience via our mind is of memories, meanings and stories that make us feel good, bad, indifferent and countless other states of mind.
We equate our mind’s perception of the universe with reality. We take it seriously and hold onto it regardless of how miserable it may make us feel. Perceiving the universe otherwise requires us to abandon our mind. We’re afraid to do that as we fear we would be lost without our mind. That’s how our mind imprisons us.
However, we can escape our mind’s prison and not find ourselves lost when we leave the now and go to the present. The present is a peaceful place where there is nothing to fear. In the present we can open our eyes and realize that there are infinite mind frames for experiencing the universe; that the mind frame we heretofore could not let go was not particularly more valid than others; that we are free to experience the universe through a mind frame of our choosing. This is wisdom. As a default, we choose the happy mind; a mind that is grateful, optimistic and free from karmic prisons.
With a happy mind, much of life is absurdly funny as we see most people taking their respective mind’s perceptions seriously.
When we open our eyes and light up the darkness in the present, we realize the universe is just light; infinite, eternal, ever-changing and unique manifestations of light; that we are light, not just individual little selves trying to make a go of it in the short time between birth and death.
Realizing all is light, we fill with compassion. We’re joyous making others happy and helping them escape their mind’s prison as that’s our purpose in life....
Relatively, there is a small percentage of girls who are conventionally sexually attractive in terms of international tastes. Attractive girls are like two-seat sports cars with big headlights, not minivans. They’ve got a lot of torque, can reach 150+ miles/hour and have great handling. They provide a thrilling ride but are not practical for everyday driving and require a good deal of maintenance. Their looks are often a defense mechanism; they want guys focusing on their appearance and not what’s below the surface, their nature which is often volatile and selfish. Loving, wholesome, spiritual girls tend to be otherwise; not much to look at but wonderful soulmates. They don’t put themselves out as beauties because they want guys who are interested in who they are not how they appear.
So there is something for everyone or for every time frame. The attractive ones are best for meaningful relationships of less than an hour or until you run out of gas....
Life is simple. All we need is food, shelter, security and health. Our mind makes it easy. But the mind makes it complicated as it converts endless desires into needs....
In October, 1992 I started collecting tribal art. While initially I didn’t imagine tribal art would be expensive, I was soon amazed at how expensive some objects were; some fetching hundreds of thousands of dollars. What made these objects so expensive is that there is a limited supply of “authentic” objects. (Authentic objects are those made by a tribal people for their own use and used accordingly. That’s unlike “tourist” objects made for others and “fakes” made to appear like authentic objects.) Authenticity is essentially the sine quo nom of the collectibles markets generally. Without a limited supply of art objects qualifying as authentic, the art market would collapse. If objects were judged simply by their aesthetic appeal alone, facsimiles that were indistinguishable from authentic objects would flood the market, making authentic objects not worth more than the cost of making a facsimile. Without high-priced collectibles, there would be no collectors spending huge sums to support art museums, auction houses and well-heeled dealers.
Art, as well as everything else, is viewed by our eyes and our mind. Our eyes see things as they see things. As our eyes have no memory, our eyes cannot compare one thing with another. However, while some things engage and appeal to us and some less so, just about everything has a unique beauty to it from some perspective. Our mind cannot see, it can only hear. When we look at an art object in terms of its authenticity, provenance, description and in comparison to other art objects, we are “seeing” through our mind, not our eyes. The art market depends on collectors seeing through their mind, not their eyes.
As a collector I’ve met many dealers. One thing that several said in passing particularly struck me: there have been many well-considered collectors that as they got on in years often sold many of their “top” objects and purchased others that were clearly fakes or of lower quality. Dealers speculated that these old collectors simply lost their “eye;” that is, they could no longer distinguish a fake from an authentic object or they lost their sense of taste and as such were satisfied with lower quality objects. Perhaps or maybe these old collectors finally saw art objects with their eyes, not their mind.
Now, I too am an old collector and appreciate the mindset of the old collectors who were pooh-poohed by dealers and museum people. Someone truly engaged with the art itself (not with art as an investment or status symbol) solely focuses on the aesthetic and engaging aspects of an art object. Whether it’s fake or real is immaterial. Each object is what it is whatever it is; to be appreciated as it is, absolutely, not relative to something else or because it’s dressed in superlatively flattering adjectives. Collectors who’ve come to this realization tend to be older, having spent many lifetimes and considerable sums building their collections. They truly have a great “eye” as they see objects with their eyes, not with their mind.
More generally, beyond art, these older individuals tend to be in Act 3 in the play of life; the transition from their finite material selves to who they were before their birth, one with everything. In the transition, we see beauty everywhere. As to the art market, they shake their heads and laugh at the foolish collectors they once were....
As we busy ourselves, we are oblivious that we are one of billions of cells of the human body. After sustaining ourselves and realizing our potential, our purpose is to serve the body. While our conscious identity is our individual cell-self, who we truly are is the one body that was here before our cell-self arrived and after our cell-self is no longer....
“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
We may have regrets about being thoughtless and treating our body poorly; say, getting fat, a hangover or not sleeping enough. Yet, we never apologize to our body. Our body is who we are and we don’t apologize to ourselves. Likewise, in love, we and whom we love are one. Apologizing or thanking whom we presumably love implies we and they are not one; that we don’t truly have a love connection....
Underwear costing $20 new is worthless in our eyes if it’s used, spoiled and smelly. But in our mind it can be worth 1,000 times more than new if it came from Jacqueline Kennedy’s hamper....
Crazy are those who take their crazy thoughts seriously. A crazy society takes seriously someone who is crazy and makes them their leader....
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 know we are all unique and yet the same, infinite manifestations of God....
“When people are alone, they become spiritual. When in company, they become religious.”
When we are alone and our mind is calm, we can connect with everything, That’s a spiritual experience. When with others, we see ourselves as apart and separate and need rules and rituals to calm ourselves....
Those who think they are smarter than others often can’t see as much as those who don’t think so much about themselves relative to others....
The beauty is not that which is beautiful but that we can see beauty. When we can see beauty, everything is beautiful. The beauty we see is ourselves. Likewise, those who see ugly things are themselves ugly.
If we see something that isn’t beautiful, then it’s funny. Most people are not beautiful....
“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; though we assume we are and live in the context of our past identities. As to who we are now, it is difficult to say beyond “I am who I am” as we, like everything, are ever-changing....
“Silence is the greatest secret in the world.”
“He who speaks does not know, he who knows does not speak.” –Lao Tzu.
“Silence is the only voice of our God.” — Herman Melville.
In true silence we not distracted by sounds or other stimulation or by our mind’s thoughts. In true silence, we are in the present, the pre-sent, the space before the universe expresses itself and time begins. In true silence the universe is revealed as an ineffable ethereal experience. Attempting to share these revelations through words with others breaks the silence, shrouds its revelations in oblivion and keeps silence a secret....
It’s clear that everyone’s life is unique, fascinating and entertaining. But that’s often not their experience of it, unless they open their eyes....
In the play of life, we often respect those in roles of great wealth and power. However, those are easy roles that unremarkable people can play. Actually, most people who play those roles are unremarkable; if not before, than after they assume those roles. Difficult roles involve issues of poverty, poor health and harm’s way. We need respect and be thankful to those playing such roles; if they didn’t, then we might be called to do so....
“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 valuable lessons. However, defining ourselves by stories we create about our past has no value and distracts us from making the most of things to come....
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....
“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. Manifestations that have consciousness do not know they are God. 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 conceptualizing and communicating abstractly. This system enables man with the potential for divine consciousness. Thus, as the word enables man to connect as one with God, the word is God; the system is God.
The word begot the world. Word + I = world. When the word and I merged, the story of the world was created.
Words were first transcribed symbolically, in written form as cuneiform tablets, around 5,400 years ago. This is soon after the start of the Jewish calendar which marks this year as 5,782. Prior to that time, our progenitors were manlike but not man....
Easter is the most important holiday in Christianity. Easter commemorates the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ which Christians believe is proof Jesus Christ was the messiah, the one who would bring peace on Earth.
The historical events of Easter are the basis for the ubiquitous symbol of Christianity, the cross or Jesus on the cross (the crucifiction). It’s a funny symbol for a religion espousing peace. As Christ preached brotherly love among people regardless of their religious identities and was ultimately crucified for his heretic views, the symbol suggests that those who preach peace will be crucified. True to this view, murder and horror is what many who have walked under the banner of Christianity have brought to peaceful non-Christians since the time of Christ.
Ultimately, Christians believe that Christ, the messiah, will return and bring peace on Earth. Perhaps so, but in light of the violent history of the those professing to be Christians, clearly Christ is not a Christian....
Yesterday, I pulled out of my driveway for my weekly trip to the Darien Cheese Shop and a hundred feet later the car started seriously shaking. A flat tire awoke me from my routine. I stopped the car and started working with an air pump to inflate the tire. As it was taking some time, I wondered whether the tire would hold enough air for me to make it to a repair shop or I’d need to get it towed. Either way, it sounded like a bit more fun than the routine trip to the cheese shop. Soon a passing car pulled over and an elderly woman with grey hair came out and asked: “Do you need any help?” To which I replied: “Actually I’m terrific; blessed with a high-class problem, a flat tire.” We both laughed, connected by compassion and wisdom as the truth was revealed: temporary common problems are not problems but experiences to be enjoyed by all....
The size of a star is a function of how distant it is. Stars in the Milky Way seem tiny from Earth but are unimaginably huge up close. Popular stars who are far from our real lives seem huge but aren’t bigger than us up close. The popular stars who think their big are ridiculously funny in the context of real stars....
Every night we die and every morning we are born anew. Thus, every day is our first and last day of life. As it’s our first day, everything is fascinating. As it’s our last day, we appreciate everything....
The mind drives many far and wide, blindly seeking.
But everything is here and near for the See King.
Our mind is home to many hungry “I”s
who long for nothing when we open our eyes....
“The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.”
The mind is a wonderful servant when we use it to learn from our past experiences, successes and failures to make good choices going forward. However, the mind is a terrible master when it creates stories and meanings that frame our experience of the present. Our stories are like a prison, not allowing us to experience the present as it is. Prison guards, however friendly, rule over us....
Easy at the beginning, difficult at the end.
Difficult at the beginning, easy at the end.
Easy at the beginning retards growth
which makes the end even more difficult....
Babies see the world as it is, new and fresh, because they don’t remember what they see....
For those who remember who they were before they were born, life is difficult in the beginning and easy at the end. In the beginning, it is difficult to adjust to a world where most people live out of touch with reality, a world of individual and collective meanings and stories of the mind’s construction. But life is easy at the end as they know the wonderful place to which they are going which is from where they came....
Leaves in the wind
waving hello and goodbye.
Are the leaves waving to me?...
Buddha opened his eyes and was able to see the universe as it is. Had Buddha been studying Buddhism, he would have seen many things through his mind which would have precluded him seeing the universe as it is....
In the Bible, God appears to Moses in the form of an eternally burning bush. The bush however is not burning. As its flames are not devouring the branches, the flames must be light, not fire. The light however appears as fire, our mind perceiving it based on our past experiences where light in a bush can only be fire. The mind’s preconceptions blind us from seeing things as they are.
The burning bush, as the entire universe, is a manifestation of God. Moreover, the bush metaphorically reveals the nature of the universe: ever-changing (flames) and eternal (not burning). The light that appears as flames represents wisdom (Proverbs 3.18). The light unveils the bush, the eternal soul, from darkness.
The bush is seneh, a bramble, a rough prickly shrub which bears raspberries, blackberries or dewberries. As a prickly shrub with light abounding, the bush’s thorns are “the fiery ever-turning sword” that guards the path to the Tree of Life (Genesis 3.24). The path leads to the soul’s soul, the Tree’s fruit. Those who can see the fiery ever-turning sword as light and thorns can, without fear of burning or hurting, partake of the fruit to sustain themselves (Book of Enoch) as they become one with the soul’s soul.
When we understand the burning bush, we understand the universe; ever-changing and eternal. Then, we can find the soul’s soul and be one with everything forever. In the image of God, the burning bush, is the Tree of Life.
When we dispense with the mind, its preconceived notions and the fears they engender, we can see the universe as it is and ultimately connect as one with God....
The universe is nothing,
empty space and no time,
before it is everything.
everything is one.
Time begins when the universe expresses itself
as infinite ever-changing manifestations.
Then, we are still one with the universe
but often oblivious as to who we are....
This 5500 year old female figure comes from the time before the dawn of the written word. Much has changed since then but perhaps men have not. The figure is depicted with eyes, nose, breasts and a vagina; but no mouth or ears. Perhaps that’s how most men like their women.
More seriously, what this apparently sacred object (it is referred to as an “idol”) means is open to interpretation. Eye idols are almost invariably depicted with eyes only; no mouth, nose or other body parts. Perhaps that’s the nature of a presumably all-knowing deity, they observe and do not speak. As Lao Tzu observed more than 3000 years later: “He who speaks does not know, he who knows does not speak.”
Governments often sing and dance to different music. They sing of doing wonderful things for mankind as they dance on people’s bodies....
“If a man gives no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand.”
Until it is obvious, it is difficult to see things we haven’t first imagined. Imagining dangerous scenarios allows us to see and avoid them before they become reality. While these imaginings are stressful, they are less stressful than experiencing them....
“M” is a vessel with one bucket,
“W” a vessel with two buckets.
We can do more than Me.
For Me to be We
I need to turn myself upside down....
A common pastime is to explain the present in the context of past events and circumstances. While the explanations of experts and others sound cogent, they are mostly nonsense. If they were truly able to explain how the present unfolded, some of these geniuses would be able to predict the future; though none of them can.
Of course, there are always individuals who do correctly predict the future. However, rarely more than once are they the same individuals....
Years back, a friend, Joe, called to announce he was engaged and wanted me as the best man at his wedding. Joe was 6’4″ and his fiancé, Diane, wasn’t noticeably shorter. Physically, they saw eye to eye; otherwise, a completely incompatible couple.
Before Diane, Joe was not a pretty drunk for many years. He went sober coincidentally with starting a relationship with Diane. While no longer drunk, as he and Diane were clearly incompatible, he still couldn’t see straight. I advised him against the marriage; told him he was better off as a drunk. He said I didn’t understand, he was madly in love with Diane. I said that was the problem, love kept him from seeing clearly.
It turned into a very acrimonious marriage; screaming and fighting. Yet from a distance it was funny juxtaposing the image of Joe mad about Diane to Joe mad with Diane. They didn’t see the humor; exhausted, they finally called it quits five years later.
With divorce rates high, there must be many couples like Joe and Diane suffering the consequences of blind love. If not for marriages based on blind love, the number of divorces would likely drop 70%. But divorce rates would rise because there would be even fewer marriages....
The universe is nothing before it expresses itself as everything.
We are one with nothing and everything
but not one with every thing....
Each of us a piece
coming from a black hole.
Each piece together
at peace as a whole....
Heaven is peaceful and those in heaven want to keep it that way. So they only let into heaven only those who live peaceful lives on Earth.
After death, there may or may not be heaven and hell. But it’s of no matter as those living peaceful lives on Earth are already in heaven....
Entangled in the now
we’re oblivious to its beauty
which is clear
from before and after the now....
I don’t know me.
I don’t know you.
Only know us....
I am strong with my pain but not with yours....
“To be loved is like standing in front of a buffet. It means nothing if you are not hungry. To love is to enjoy that buffet…You have to feel what it is like to love someone before you can understand what an honor it is to be loved.”...
The Bible prophesied that one day God will send the messiah, the soul of God, to Earth to bring peace and resurrect all who are dead.
Presently, only the dead who are crazy or have no memory of Earth-life would choose to return to Earth before it is at peace. As the enlightened don’t return and more and more crazy beings do return, Earth becomes inhabited by lots of crazy people who bring pain and suffering to themselves and others. Unfortunately, at some point God will determine humans are not worthy of God’s soul to realize divine consciousness and will let them destroy themselves as animals. Those of us alive now need work to make Earth more peaceful to encourage the coming of the messiah. This is actually not difficult as messiah is within all of us, though few recognize messiah’s presence....
The Biblical story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is a revealing tale of male/female dynamics.
As the story goes, God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden as caretakers. For sustenance, they were allowed to eat anything they desired but the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life. In the Garden, all was good for Adam and Eve as they lived naked and carefree.
One day, Eve encountered a serpent in the Garden. The serpent is described as the most cunning of beasts, apparently it had legs and could talk. Soon after striking up a conversation with Eve, the serpent convinces her to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil so that she like God would know good and evil. After eating the fruit, Eve convinces Adam to eat it as well.
With this new-found knowledge, Adam and Eve came to know the good and evil of sexual intimacy; it felt good but was evil as it represented disobeying God’s rules, like the rules a parent imposes on its child.
Presumably, Eve was a virgin and as such their genitals became blood-stained after sexual intercourse. Realizing their bloody genitals would reveal to God that they had disobeyed God’s prohibition, they covered their nakedness with fig leaves. However, seeing their genitals covered, God realized they were trying to hide the bloody evidence of their misdeeds.
For their misdeeds, God punished the snake, Eve and Adam. God took away the snake’s legs so it must forever grovel on the ground. God punishes Eve by declaring that the seed of the snake and the seed of Eve will forever hate each other. Moreover, God (apparently believing Adam that Eve instigated breaking God’s rules in order to presumably satisfy her sexual desires) decreed that Eve will suffer the pains of childbirth, a consequence of sexual intimacy. God punishes Adam by banishing him from the Garden, where fruits for his sustenance were freely available. Instead, Adam is made to toil the Earth to sustain himself and to support Eve in exchange for sexual pleasures. Essentially, Adam and Eve were thrown out of their parent’s house to fend for themselves.
As the snake had legs and was able to talk, the snake must have been Adam’s penis, hanging between his legs and talking through Adam who cunningly acted as a ventriloquist. (That the snake, as above, bore a seed through sperm corroborates that the snake is indeed Adam’s penis.) Moreover, God (apparently thinking that maybe Adam was the instigator) punishes Adam’s penis, forever vanquished to grovel on the ground like men groveling for women’s sexual favors.
Thus, it was Adam who tricked Eve into eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, to convince her that sex was a natural act in which they should engage. Moreover, as the seed of the snake and the seed of the woman were decreed to forever hate each other, women and men’s sexual relationships would forever be contentious, based on give-and-take.
The story of Adam and Eve, written by men, blames a woman as the root of man’s woes, portraying her as a temptress that ultimately lured man to commit misdeeds. Adam’s male progeny have been doing like Adam ever since. While it’s unlikely we’ll be readmitted to the Garden, perhaps we can get a little closer to it if men take responsibility for their actions....
People who take their minds seriously are very funny. Seeing this omnipresent humor is the sine qua non to a wonderful journey through life. Unfortunately, few do. If many did, life wouldn’t be so funny; but would be blissful....
When we have no doubts about our perceptions, we close our eyes to other possibilities. If we weren’t so blindly confident, we would open our eyes and see things as they are, not as our mind has determined they are....
Scripture doesn’t much describe heaven, but it’s likely a cool place relative to hell. As heaven is relatively painless and hell excruciatingly painful, heaven is death by freezing and hell is death by fire....
“Life is a dream, so have fun with it.”
When we forget it’s a dream, it can turn into a nightmare....
The sun shows us every significant thing on earth and the billions upon billions of stars tell us how insignificant it all is....
My son, Alex, yesterday tore his Achilles’ tendon while playing squash. An operation to repair the tendon and 6+ months of rehabilitation will follow. While the injury is an immediate and serious lifestyle and physical problem, Alex was calm. I suppose he was grateful, as his circumstance could have been worse. and optimistic they will get better. As such, we’ll save some money. While Alex and I are very different personalities, his attitude makes clear we’ll never need a DNA paternity test....
When past is passed
it is over and under,
finished and buried.
When past is past
it is over and over
hanging over the present....
“Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.”...
Yesterday it was reported that SpaceX, a company controlled by Elon Musk, paid $250K to settle a sexual harassment employment dispute whereas a flight attendant at SpaceX claimed that Musk offered her a horse (she apparently loves riding horses) in exchange for a “sexual” massage. Presumably, Musk’s offer was: I’ll give you a horse if you take care of my horse.
Musk contends that the sexual harassment claim at issue has been mischaracterized; the disclosure of which is an effort by the political left to discredit him because he has taken to task many of the left’s absurd ideologies and programs.
Clearly the left despises Musk because he is an “unfairly advantaged” successful businessman who criticises them. Essentially, the left is saying, rightfully so, that Musk’s success is unfair because Mush has quite a bit more testosterone than those smart enough to lead the left but not able enough to get it up to making money and having fun....
The universe is the universe,
like the soul,
eternal and unchanging.
The universe itself
is forever changing manifestations.
It is always the same,`
all ways different.
We are the universe,
manifestations of the soul....
When we see through our mind we are often distracted from seeing through our eyes.
For example, my father took his mind seriously which often limited his ability to enjoy things as they are. Recently, my sister informed me that our father, who was an orthodox Jew, was quite angry after he consummated his marriage with our mother and realized she was not a virgin as she had claimed. I thought it funny that he was upset as his mind distracted him from what truly mattered, the pleasure of lovemaking. That she had bed others before him and mislead him was besides the point.
But, perhaps more understandably, he felt that marriage was a significant financial commitment on his part for which he expected to have first dibs on certain bedroom benefits; yet, apparently, others received the benefits for free....
Thinking I’m a somebody
makes me a nobody.
With no body
Enlightenment is not a utopia. Enlightenment and unhappiness are not mutually exclusive. One could simultaneously be enlightened and unhappy, momentarily.
Enlightenment is as the word is, to be “in-light;” that is, the realization that the entire universe is energy (light), including seemingly solid forms (M=E/C*C), and we and the light are one. While solid objects occasionally cast shadows over us, the shadows are temporary illusions that are quickly dissipated by our light....
By definition, a mutt is a dog of uncertain pedigree. A mutt is also a person who is stupid or incompetent. Those who don’t allow a mutt to compete at a dog show are also mutts.
Imagine an extraordinarily beautiful, athletic and intelligent rescue mutt; so smart, the mutt masters every trick in the book and even learns to play checkers competitively with a 10-year old. Surely, the mutt would win first prize at any accredited dog show, become instantly popular with the general public and be in great demand for breeding which would improve the genetic pool of dogs generally, be financially rewarding for its owner and allow the dog to have fun.
Unfortunately, without a pedigree, the mutts who run dog shows wouldn’t allow the mutt to compete, fearing the mutt would outshine them as it would do more to promote general interest in dogs than could they or any pedigree dog.
We experience life through the mind and the senses. The mind, by its etymology, is a mnemonic device. Our mind transforms the perceptions gathered by our senses and sorts them into categories of similar past experiences; rendering perceptions not as it is what it is whatever it is, but as artificial constructs of the mind. Thus, experiencing life through mind is not experiencing life in the “now” but more as on autopilot. Know, not now; we feel we know what we are experiencing but we are not in the now.
Experiencing life through our senses, principally through our eyes and ears, is the experience of the now. Beyond both eye and ear starting with the letter “e,” the “e” face type looks like an image of an eye and ear. “e” is also the core letter in the word “new.” When we truly experience life through our senses, everything is new because nothing is ever the same; but in our mind.
Upon experiencing the newness of everything, we can experience the now. “Now” is formed when “e” is replaced with “o.” “o” is a universal image of the sun, whose light is the essence of everything. “o” also reveals the nature of the now.
Like all things in the universe, “o” has a within and without that appear as a mutually exclusive duality (something is either the inside or the outside but not both). However, the inside and outside are interdependent as one cannot exist without the other. Hence, when we are in the now we know that the dualities that seem to exist in life are illusions as everything is one....
“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Happiness is gratitude, optimism and freedom from karmic prisons. Karmic prisons are artificial constructs; stories, descriptions, categorizations and generalizations our mind creates. These constructs control how we perceive and interact in the world. They at times allow us temporary joys but preclude us from long-term happiness. As each mind’s constructs are unique, those who are not happy are unhappy in their own way....
What is within is always the same, the soul.
What is without is ever-changing.
What is within is essential.
What is without we can live without....
When we perceive ourselves as an individual cell with an independent existence, we live and die imprisoned in our cell. However, when we realize each of us is a unique cell in a body of infinite cells whose purpose is to serve the body, then we know the presence of God.
The soul is ineffable and ethereal. Neither our body nor our mind can experience the soul. However, we know it exists when it connects with another soul. It is then that we know the presence of God....
“One of the most uncommon things in life is common sense.”
We perceive the world through ideological and personal associations which cloud our thinking. On the rare occasions we are dispassionate, the sun comes out and we can see clearly....
As babies, milk supplants crying with joy. As adults, the Milky Way can have the same effect.
In the dark-sky we can fully engage looking at the stars in the Milky Way and realize the essence of happiness; beyond thoughts, beyond words, the overwhelming beauty of it all; right here, right now.
Once our basic needs of food, shelter, security and health are satisfied, it’s hard to take too seriously much that’s happening in our infinitesimally small space in the universe. When our mind engages our attention, we take its thoughts seriously which is the root of much of our unhappiness.
While 100 years ago everyone lived under the dark-sky, today 99% of people live with some degree of light pollution; precluding their eyes from drinking the light from the Milky Way....
“A man chases a girl until she catches him.”
He can only escape if he loves the chase more than the girl....
Our time on Earth is an entertaining journey as long as we don’t forget it’s a temporary holiday from our space in heaven. For us who don’t remember, even the most wonderful lives at times are hell....
“When a man is perfect, he sees perfection in others. When he sees imperfection, it is his own mind projecting itself.”...
As there are few who are enlightened, being enlightened might seem lonely but to those who are enlightened. The enlightened embody wisdom and compassion; feel connected as one with everything; see everything as unique and fascinating; and have lots to laugh about as people are absurdly funny when they are blind to the light and see only with their mind. When we are connected with everything, engaged with the world and are laughing much of the time, we are not lonely....
When a circle is very small
we mostly see its perimeter,
As it gets bigger and bigger
we focus on the space inside.
the perimeter disappears
the concept of inside and outside disappears.
All that remains is one thing.
It cannot be described
as it has no surfaces.
It is what it is whatever it is.
Those who are very small
see small circles everywhere.
They focus on surfaces,
and think they know what they see....
“Two hands clap and there is a sound, what is the sound of one hand?” This well-known Japanese koan has evolved colloquially into simply: what is the sound of one hand clapping?
A koan is question a Zen master would ask a student to help the student see beyond the illusory nature of conventional thinking and realize the nature of reality as they progress towards enlightenment. Often students struggle mightily, sometimes for years, before they move beyond a koan. When they do, it’s like exiting a house their mind has built to shelter them but which has also imprisoned them, limiting the sunlight that enters the house.
For many years Victor considered possible answers to the question of the sound of one hand clapping. Again and again, Victor would enthusiastically embrace an answer but only to soon realize it was inadequate. Yet, it was clear that the answer was a key to exiting the house and seeing the light. At some point, Victor put aside the question and went on with his life in Act 2, the Earth Experience, in the play of life.
At the beginning of Act 3, the Transition from finite bodily form to oneness with the eternal soul, the answer arrived: The sound of one hand clapping is the sound of one hand clapping; it is what it is whatever it is. As well, the sound of one hand clapping is the sound of laughter; as it’s funny seeing the mind grappling with an absurd concept, like a dog chasing its tail.
We cannot experience the universe directly; doing so would be overwhelming, like living without housing shelter. Hence, our mind makes sense of the inputs our senses provide it by organizing, categorizing and rationalizing the inputs. As we describe and compare things, we reflect the perceptions of our mind. Our mind aside, there are no words to describe a purely sense-based experience of the universe. It is what it is whatever it is. The experience dispenses with subject and object as both are simply one. This is being in the light.
When we are in the light, our karma is revealed as an illusion. Karma is a function of memory (our mind) and affects how we perceive our experience in the now. In the light, in a sense-based experience, we realize our memories are not real. Thus, Zen students who seriously reflect on what is the sound of one hand clapping are funny. They seek the key to escape from the prison of their mind, yet they engage with the mind which keeps them prisoners....
CAT is an acronym for a sheriff’s Criminal Apprehension Team which tracks and arrests offenders wanted for serious felony crimes. Cats don’t scratch when they purr. Cats don’t like any sort of water.
Some years back, I lived in Westport, CT. One day, as I was driving to play squash, I was on a business phone call and startled by red lights in the rearview mirror. Soon enough, I was parked on the side of the road with a police car behind me. An overweight officer came out of his vehicle. He was livid, screaming: “You were on our cell phone.” I said: “Officer, I know I was on the phone, I shouldn’t have been, poor judgement on my part. But I’m a bit late for a squash game. How about I give you my license and registration and meet you back at the station house after the game and we’ll sort it all out?” He then got even angier and screamed: “You can’t do that.” As our temperatures were rising, I said: “Officer, I see you are upset. I think you are upset with me. I feel terrible. We are here to take care of each other and I’m not doing a good job of it. Please, tell me, what can I do to make you feel better?” At that point, our minds calmed and he said: “Let’s forget about it.” A cat doesn’t scratch when it’s purring.
I told this story to a lawyer friend from Spain. He said that he often gets stopped for traffic infractions but never gets ticketed. Simply, when stopped, as the police officer comes asking for his driver’s license, my friend puts his right hand finger, which is out of the officer’s view, to his nose. From his left side, it appears his finger is sloshing around in his nose. He then takes out his driver’s license with his right hand and offers it to the officer who invariably refuses it and tells him to be considerate (perhaps prophylactically) of others. Cats don’t like all sorts of water....
When stock market prices rise dramatically and unjustifiably based on the earnings prospects of companies, it’s called a bull market; when they precipitously fall it’s called a bear market. According to Investopedia: “The terms ‘bear’ and ‘bull’ are thought to derive from the way in which each animal attacks its opponents. That is, a bull will thrust its horns up into the air, while a bear will swipe down. These actions were then related metaphorically to the movement of a market. If the trend was up, it was considered a bull market. If the trend was down, it was a bear market.”
Alternatively, perhaps a bull market is like a bull charging at a matador’s red cape. The bull is charging ahead at something it sees as real and alive (the moving red cape, rising prices), but which ultimately is a mirage, a delusion. as there is nothing behind the cape or to justify rising prices. Likewise, a bear market is like a hibernating bear which cannot be enticed to eat food it’s offered (like buying stocks that are easy to be had, cheap) because it is sleeping....
In recent years there’s been a loud call for diversity at large companies. The practical ideology supporting diversity is that without discrimination an organization can access wisdom (see the wisdom of the crowd) which is essential to realizing its potential.
However, diversity, as articulated by government, is superficial and not as effective as true diversification. As the government sees it, individuals are not unique but belong to one or several groups; religious, racial, sexual, ethnic, etc. The goal of diversity is to have employees in every large organization as members in different groups such that all groups are represented in an organization in some proportion that reflects society at-large. This mechanical approach often misses its intended goal as the viewpoints of members from different groups are not necessarily meaningfully diverse.
Organizations naturally discriminate in their hiring practices. For example, it “makes sense” for a company to require all hires to be hardworking people. However, a company that aims for a diverse workforce would hire a few lazy workers as well. While the lazy workers might put a drag on existing operations, they would likely find easier processes to get the job done which would lead to greater efficiencies. That’s the benefit of having a diverse workforce.
The government also has an idealistic ideology that promotes diversity. It is the absurd notion that relative equality among members in society makes for a happy society. As the human species benefits by having diverse talents and personalities, there will always be lazy and industrious people. However, few industrious people work industriously for similar financial outcomes as those who are lazy. Hence, the idealistic ideology promoting diversity leads to a lower standard of living on average for all. That’s unlikely to make many societal members happy....
When we have more answers than questions, we are following the ways of others. When we have more questions than answers, we seek our own way. As the answers to our questions beget more questions, we are always in disequilibrium; more answers than questions or more questions than answers.
Seeking. More seeking, more questions; we’re like a dog chasing its tail until it collapses from exhaustion. Then, the questions stop. It is what it is whatever it is. Now, calm, we can enjoy things as they are....
Today, June 12th, is my birthday. It’s not a significant day unless I’m stopped for a traffic violation and given a pass by a sympathetic police officer.
Birthday parties celebrate the calendar date upon which we arrived on Earth for our short time here. Deathday ceremonies celebrate those who have transitioned to be one with everything forever.
Birthday celebrations are ubiquitous while the deathday is rarely acknowledged in the Western world outside of Chinese, Japanese, Jewish, Korean and Vietnamese communities.
Birthday parties are an incapsulated mix of food, chitchat, perhaps a couple of speeches and gifting. Deathday ceremonies can be more fun and impactful. On the deathday we can gather and each attendee can view their life and the lives of others from the perspective of the one who is one with everything. Then, those who have gathered can be born again as they perceive themselves in a new light and the presence of the one who transitioned is felt by all for a time long passed their deathday....
When we perceive ourselves at a higher plane than others, we are truly not as our mind is then like most minds, distracted with nonsense, and we are not enjoying our plane ride fueled by a laugh at those who see imaginary planes....
“If you think about where you are, you’re probably somewhere else.”
There is only the here and now. Thinking about where we are, or comparing ourselves to others separates us from this here and now. Lost, yet not knowing it, our thoughts take us somewhere else, a somewhere that soon turns to nowhere....
“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....
At whatever we look, we see ourselves; especially that with which we most closely identify. In that light, are you a knife, fork, or spoon?
People who identify as knives tend to view the world as bigger than themselves; a world which needs to be cut to a smaller size to make it digestible. They see only one way of doing things as knives can be safely held from only one side.
Forks are people who look to identify simple opportunities to enrich themselves. Most businesspeople identify as forks.
Spoons look like the human form. They are gentle, cupping their food. Moreover, they are relatively friendly as they can safely be held from either side.
Alternatively, there are chopsticks. Chopsticks can be invariably held by one side or the other; that is, we treat others as we do ourselves. People who identify as chopsticks view life as not viable when lived independently (one chopstick), but easy when we work in tandem with others....
When off the common path we wander
We see the world with wonder....
Time and Transition
Time is invisible, like the wind.
Only seen in its affects on everything
On the back of the wind clouds take a ride
Until over the horizon they hide.
Soon they return from I don’t know where
But I enjoy them now and do not care....
Time is an imaginary measure of the space between events.
It only exists because we are its parents.
Time is a river from fountainhead to sea.
It wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for me.
The river is the river, it is as it is.
where I am in the river makes time whiz.
I am who I am, unchanged from the fountainhead
until the time I think I’m dead.
The river is the river, even when its part of the sea
But that is something I cannot see....
Shitting with Victor
Shit my pants yesterday.
43 seconds away from my bathroom.
After a furious run home. A quixotic run interrupted by several emergency sphincter squeezes. Made it all the way from E79 and 1st to 64th and 1st. And up five flights of stairs. Made it through a door key twist. But…The 1st wave forged through just as the front door swung open.
Was about to fight the gods one last time and try a superhuman sphincter squeeze…When in a flash, I thought of Victor. Thought of it is what it is. Thought of laughter.
And out it came. All of it. A big bang of shit. Down my leg. Effectively ruining my favorite pair of pants. Favorite pair of socks. Decent pair of shoes. And when I eventually made it to the toilet, I sat there laughing.
Thinking of Victor. Sure. My mom was there too. Chiding me in a yenta’s voice – “Why? Why Eddie why? Why couldn’t you hold it for 43 more seconds? What is wrong with you Eddie?” And my forensic voice was there as well – “Was it the homemade shrimp and lobster sauce? Was it too much sauna? Are you growing old and incontinent?”
And the ole Heart und Fear duet – “Was it your earlier session with the kid? That moment you suspected he is doomed? Doomed forever to be that 7-yr-old the cops would find hiding under the blankets when they called for domestic violence.”
The whole chorus was sitting on that toilet.
But the lead vocals belonged to Victor. The lead vocal was laughter.
And as I walked downstairs onto 1st Avenue seeking a respectful place to leave my shopping bag of shit…As I laughed and laughed at the mission…As I laughed at the UES [upper East Side, Manhattan] women checking me out thinking I’m some domesticated male doing a late grocery run…”Can’t they smell who I am?”
A pleasant thought ran across my mind. Maybe my client isn’t doomed. Then again, maybe he is.
It is what it is.
Those who know how to talk don’t necessarily know what they are talking about.
Those who are articulate can paint a beautiful forest. Those who know can grow fruit bearing trees....
The world is fascinating when we realize we are like newborns and know nothing. We are at peace when we are sleeping, one with everything like before birth, and know there is nothing to know.
Otherwise, we are prisoners of our mind, an orderly world that is neither fascinating nor peaceful as we are artificially separated from everything....
lateral on our head,
hear the here.
anticipates what is not yet seen or heard.
The nose knows.
interprets what it sees
in the context of the mind.
The eye is the I....
God may or may not exist. If God exists, presumably we will meet God when we transition out of this life. Then, God will ask us: “How is the life I gave you?” Grateful for God’s gift, we want to respond that “it is terrific.” However, if that is not our experience, we need be truthful as God knows the entirety of our life experience. If there is a day of our lives we don’t deeply appreciate with gratitude, God knows that.
God put us on Earth to enjoy ourselves every day, realize our potential and help others likewise. If that is not our experience, we are not doing as God has commanded and God punishes us. God, seeing we are suffering, will think we enjoy suffering. Thus, our punishment will be to eternally suffer. When we have a day that’s not terrific, it feels like eternity.
Some days are difficult. But, they could always be worse. Thus, we always need be grateful. Gratitude makes for a terrific day.
Either way, whether we believe the God narrative or not, we are fools if we don’t have a wonderful day....
We experience the world through our face and react to our experience with our mind which expresses itself through our face. Moreover, our facial expression affects how we experience the world before our mind reacts to it, a self-reinforcing process. For example, an experience to which our mind reacts as happy makes our face happy which in turn predisposes our face to experiencing the world in a happy way to which our mind tends to react to with happiness that expresses itself again as a happy face. Essentially, a happy facial expression predisposes us to experiencing happiness....
Everyone wants something special as long as it tastes like vanilla....
Great talent is very rare. Good timing is even rarer.
Pablo Picasso would have been committed to a mental institution had he made his artworks a hundred years earlier or he would have been a pauper had he made them a hundred years later. It takes true genius to know how to use which talents which times; though most of that genius is just luck....
“Everyone wants to go to Heaven, but no one wants to die.”
Our ego is our identity. It keeps us apart and separate from everything it perceives is not us. Our ego identity is very powerful. We are afraid of our vulnerability without it. However, when we bury our ego, encapsulate it, we realize we are truly one with everything as there is only one thing, everything. That is heaven on Earth.
When we realize we can be in heaven with only the death of our ego, fear of dying is not an obstacle on the way to heaven....
With all our responsibilities and commitments, we think we don’t own our lives; but everything we think we own owns us....
As the universe is infinite, ever-changing and eternal, we can never know everything. But once we know nothing, we know all there is to know.
Every thing, before it is what it is whatever it is, is nothing. Thus, every thing is essentially a unique manifestation of one thing, nothing....
We often praise and love people more when they’re dead than when they were alive; maybe because they can do no wrong when they’re dead....
Philosophers are like economists, they can explain everything but don’t know anything. Philosophers can’t tell us where we are and economists can’t tell us where we are going....
“I loved money and I loved children but couldn’t afford to have both. I chose to have children because they could love me back.”
Hopefully, children pay us more interest than does money. Likewise, hopefully, the time and resources we invest in children realizes a higher return than otherwise....
Every day is not a day in a life but a life in a day.
This is a simple but subtle truth. While our mind has us believe that we transition seamlessly from one day to the next, we are not the same person today as the person we presumably were lifetimes ago, days now passed. Perhaps this is easiest to see when we consider the physical appearance and the interests and perspectives of the person we are today with those of the person we presumably were ten years ago.
This truth implies two apparently conflicting but complementary corollaries: each day is our first and last day of life. Thus, the qualifiers of first and last are meaningless as are most things to which our mind attributes meanings.
However, as our first day of life, everything is new; intensely beautiful forms and colors engaging our attention and arousing our curiosity. We are present, grateful we are alive.
As our last day of life, we are at peace; knowing we came from being one with everything in sleep death to which we will soon return.
The realization that each day is our first and last makes for a wonderful life....
Water doesn’t know time, but we use it to envision time.
Time is water in a stream. Downstream is the past, upstream is the future and the water in between is the present. But water is water, not knowing itself different from one place to another; only knowing that it is here now or not. Thus, it is we who create time....
Our mind is the greatest impediment to true love.
True love is unconditional connectedness, whereby a subject and object are one. For example, we love our hands as we love ourselves as we and our hands are one. We may not like our hands when they are dirty, but we still love them.
Our mind often makes love conditional. For example, it is rare that the “deep love” we have with our mate is not conditioned on their sexual fidelity.
True love, unconditional love, braves space (physical separation), time (continues to energize us over long periods of time) and distractions; but not the workings of our mind....
There are three levels in the corporate hierarchy: standing up, sitting down and laying on one’s back. Companies work well when management is standing, pushing their firms forward; workers are sitting, getting the work done; and salespeople are laying on their backs pulling customers in. Companies are dysfunctional when people take positions that ill suit their roles. For example, when management is on its back, doing nothing, or when salespeople are standing up, pushing workers around. However, workers will always be workers because they have been neutered, having no desire for push or pull....
Love is like water in a stream
connecting all, far and near.
Thoughts are like a bend in the bay
not allowing water to go its way.
When the stream or bay overflows
it’s beyond imagination how far it goes....
No thing is perfect, but nothing is no thing which makes it perfect.
No thing is perfect as everything is temporary, everchanging. Thus, whatever thing may seem perfect now is not perfect later which makes it not perfect now.
Nothing is perfect as nothing is forever unchanged. As everything is nothing before it is something, nothing is perfect as it’s the essence of everything. Moreover, as nothing is no thing, it casts no shadows; thus, nothing allows a clear view of everything.
Nothing is “0,” a circular line that is perfect as it has no beginning and no end. While the circle seems to give rise to imperfection — a duality of mutually exclusive spaces, a within and without — the spaces are not mutually exclusive. They are mutually dependent as one cannot exist without the other, making them perfect together....
“Give a man a mask, and he will show you his true face.”
What an individual does when they’re an anonymous member of a mob reveals their true nature.
We can learn more from someone’s internet searches than through the answers to their searches....
Suicide is the ultimate selfish act; selfish on a macro and micro level.
On a macro level, suicide is selfish as it implies we are focused on our suffering and not the far greater suffering of others who would love to be in our shoes. We are not suicidal when we recognize the suffering of others and come to their aid as that in turn distracts us from our suffering. Moreover, when we recognize our relative good fortune, we are grateful. Gratitude is one of the keys to happiness. Happiness precludes suicidal thoughts.
On a micro level, when we die, it is most difficult for the ones that we leave behind. Thus, suicide is selfish as we think our death is an exit from our suffering and don’t consider the suffering it will cause others.
Of course, if we are painfully and terminally ill and a burden to others, suicide is not selfish. Unfortunately, most suicides are premature, mistaking one’s current mentally-induced suffering for physical terminally ill pain and the misperception that we are a burden to others....
“I would be fine with living until 120 as long as I could fuck everyday.”
As we go deep into old age much of our body and mind fails us. The ultimate testament of our love of something is wanting to be alive as long as possible with all the attendant ailments as long as we can do our favorite thing.
Enthusiasm is contagious. When someone, like the person quoted above, is so enthusiastic about a certain activity, we’re excited to join them....
“Wanting to reform the world without discovering one’s true self is like trying to cover the world with leather to avoid the pain of walking on stones and thorns. It is much simpler to wear shoes.”
Those who favor country or worldwide government programs as the solution to every perceivable woe lack a practical understanding of human nature. Allowing individuals and small communities to choose their way is more economically practical as well as equitable, as people can vote with their feet....
“Silence is truth. Silence is bliss. Silence is peace. Hence, Silence is the Self.”
Silence, nothingness, is what everything is before it is and what everything is after it is. The essential nature of everything is nothing. Hence, every thing is one thing, a unique temporary manifestation of nothing.
When we identify as one thing, nothing, we can self-describe ourselves only as “I am who I am” and everything is what it is whatever it is. It is then that we are free from the identity our mind has constructed and are one with everything.
Our mind cannot see but it can hear and speak. Through hearing and speaking our mind constructs the world and our identity. Silence calms the mind and keeps it at bay from performing its mischief....
“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....
Before birth, we are in the present, the pre-sent; the peace before the universe expresses itself.
At birth, we are in the Now. The Now is the universe expressing itself. In the Now, we have an intense sense of awareness as everything is unique, ever-changing and interdependent. It’s so intense, it’s exhausting; that’s why babies sleep much of the day. In the Now, nothing can be described or has meaning as nothing is comparable to anything before or after the Now as the Now is all there is.
As the Now is overwhelming, our mind artificially transforms the Now so it’s palatable. Our mind does this by creating stories, descriptions, categorisations and generalisations about our past experiences in the Now. These memories are our mind, not the Now. The memories seem real, but are illusions. They mask the Now, precluding us from experiencing the Now directly. In effect, the illusions imprison us.
However, we can escape from our mind’s prison when the past is passed; that is, when we let go our belief that the past is real. Freed from the past, we can enter the Now and now know Now for all its beauty and wonder. While it’s beyond words and descriptions, in the Now we know we are one with everything, connected by love.
As it’s at times overwhelming, we can only be in the Now temporarily and need periods to rest. Soon, questions arises: Who am I, where am I?
To answer these questions, we need to separate ourselves from the Now by minimizing sensory stimulation via meditation or other sensory deprivation technique. Then, with our mind calm, we can enter the present; the pre-sent; the peace before the universe expresses itself. This is heaven.
In the pre-sent there is nothingness but the soul; the fountainhead of everything, creation. In the pre-sent, we and God are one. We are the audience watching the universe and the play of life unfold in the Now. While what we see is beyond descriptions and words (the operating system of our mind), our reaction to it is twofold, funny and sad. Funny to see people take their illusions seriously and sad to see them imprisoned by their mind. However, our sadness is temporary as we know they will all be in the pre-sent, in heaven, when they leave their bodily lives.
Thus, there are two ways to heaven; experiencing heaven on Earth or after the inevitable....
“Does a man who is acting on the stage in a female part forget that he is a man? Similarly, we too must play our parts on the stage of life, but we must not identify ourselves with those parts.”
Life is a play named “Terrific.” For most of the actors it’s not terrific as they identify with their roles, take themselves seriously and in turn make fools of themselves. Often, for them the play is a tragedy. As to the enlightened actors, they know the play is a play and their roles are not who they are. For them, seeing the others take themselves seriously, the play is a comedy....
“Nothing would exist without our awareness of it. Our thoughts, our awareness, allows its existence. Without our thoughts there is nothingness. This is wisdom. That’s why when we see someone take their thoughts seriously we can only laugh.”...
“[T]here is nothing new under the sun.”
The sun, energy, is the essence of everything. Every-thing is one of infinite manifestations energy. As the manifestations are infinite, there can never be anything new.
The only constant in the universe is change; hence, every-thing is new. As every-thing is new, there is nothing that is distinguishable by its newness; hence, there is nothing that is new.
The universe, everything past, present and future, is nothing before it is what it is whatever it is. Hence, nothing is what is new
Since nothing is new, nothing is old. Thus, time doesn’t exist. Everything happens all at once. However, our mind fools us into thinking otherwise as it creates stories which attempt to make sense of things past, present and future; a fool’s errand. A wiser approach is not to think too much and simply enjoy it as it is....
“The more you look the less you see.”
When we are frantically searching for something, we might not see the obvious. When sitting still, we can sense the presence of everything. A spotlight reveals great detail but a floodlight illuminates the room....
America is a funny partner on the dance floor; singing one song and dancing to another.
An often-sung phrase from the Declaration of Independence is that the purpose of government is to protect each citizen’s right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Ironically, in terms of life, directly (through overseas military adventures in Korea, Vietnam, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Kosova, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq) and indirectly (as the biggest arms exporter in the world), the US has caused more deaths outside its immediate borders in the past 60 years than any other country Moreover, as regards liberty, the US has the highest incarceration and solitary confinement rates in the world. As to happiness, the US steers its citizens away from happiness, the hallmark of which is gratitude. Instead, as a consumption-driven economy, its citizens are encouraged to become addicted to never-ending desires.
While singing euphoniously about personal rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, clearly the country dances to another tune. This lack of integrity is funny to watch but not if we want to dance and sing until we are one with everything....
There is only one mind. It’s like a reflecting pond.The reflections we ponder are a function of where we stand along its perimeter. While we can choose where we stand, most of us never change our position. In fact, tired of standing, we sit down and soon fall asleep; awakening when it’s time to die.
Wisdom comes to those who position themselves variously along the reflecting pond. With reflections from many perspectives, the wise know that reflections are reflections; not reality. However, with diverse reflections, they get a sense of reality.
The ignorant never change their position along the pond. They think that what they see is reality. They ignore reflections from any position but their own.
The wise are open, flexible and don’t take any single perspective or themselves too seriously. The ignorant are often hysterically funny when they take their reflections seriously; though they can’t appreciate the humor because they lack that perspective....
Time is a rapid river dancing thing
when we are in the river rafting.
Over the rapids, too quick for us to think
about what’s past, what’s future or anything;
just engaged with what’s about to be now.
and how to deal with it somehow.
On the shore
we can hear the river roar.
But when still and silent within,
time moves without a din....
The right answers are everywhere, when we ask the right questions.
The right questions alight a path to the right answers. The wrong questions keep us in darkness. For example, asking “what is it like to be enlightened?” takes us nowhere.. But asking “who am I?” starts us on the road to enlightenment....
Every mind has a fascinating perspective, at least temporarily. When we meet someone we immediately find boring, we are meeting our mind....
Being asleep is like death,
we are one with everything.
Upon awakening from sleep
we slowly separate from everything
and our self is formed.
Our self makes life a dream.
When we awaken from the dream
our self disappears
and we are not oblivious of from where we come and go.
Then we are one with everything again.
Some have good dreams,
some have bad dreams.
But waking up is wonderful for all....
We are truly wealthy when we have what we need for sustenance and realize we don’t need what we want.
The truly wealthy are easily identified by their manners not their manors.
Those who are well-mannered treat others as they themselves wish to be treated because they identify with others. Those living in manors choose to separate themselves from others. The truly wealthy have everything as they are one with the whole, not apart from the whole....
Life is a journey through a labyrinth.
Before we are born, we are in the center or mandala of a labyrinth where everything is one thing until it is born as a unique something. Soon after birth, we develop a sense of self that has us as the center of the universe and outside the labyrinth. It is then we begin our journey through the labyrinth and back to the center from where we came.
The path through the labyrinth is clear when we open our eyes and follow the light emanating from the mandala. While our mind often helps us along the path, at times it’s a great impediment as it turns the labyrinth into a maze. This happens when we see things not as they are but as a function of our memories, ideologies and imaginations.
The difference between a maze and a labyrinth is that labyrinths have a single continuous path which leads to the center, while mazes have paths which branch off, some leading to dead ends, which keep us from reaching the center.
The critical choices in life are which labyrinth to enter and to not allow our mind to turn the labyrinth into a maze. The optimal labyrinth we choose comports with our strengths and weaknesses. When we follow the path of light, our mind cannot make the labyrinth a maze....
We are given the temporary gift of life and are entitled to nothing more. Realizing that life is not fair and much of what happens is a function of randomness tempers our hopeful expectations and hedges us from disappointing outcomes. This calms our mind. Moreover, knowing we have all we are entitled to, we are grateful. Gratitude is the essence of happiness.
“Don’t have to be ashamed of the car I drive (at the end of the line)
I’m just glad to be here, happy to be alive (at the end of the line)
And it don’t matter if you’re by my side (at the end of the line)
I’m satisfied.” End of the Line, Traveling Wilburys
The past is always funny, if not in reality then as we create it in our memories.
Mental illness is when the past is not funny and we can’t get passed it.
When the past is funny the present is funny as well. That makes it easy to identify who is mentally ill....
Life is a beautiful present
we receive only when we are present.
When we are present
we are life, the present....
There are people who are said to “have more money than God.”
These presumably few people can have whatever they want in the material realm. However, everyone has more money than God; as God, the supreme being that is manifested as everything there is, has no need for money; for God has no wants. The truly few people who have no wants are akin to God; surely a better role in the play of life than having all the money in the world....
Being asleep or awakened are very similar experiences. Either way, we are dreaming. The difference between the two states is that when we are asleep we are dreaming and don’t know it, while the awakened know they are dreaming....
Everything has an inside and an outside.
The outside is an expression of the inside.
The outside is always unique.
The inside is always the same.
The inside looks like an empty hole,
though it is the soul
which makes all the outsides whole....
How often do we hear the claim that our nation is a democracy? Was a democratic form of government the vision of the Founders? As it turns out, the word democracy appears nowhere in the two most fundamental founding documents of our nation—the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Instead of a democracy, the Constitution’s Article IV, Section 4, declares “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.” Our pledge of allegiance to the flag says not to “the democracy for which it stands,” but to “the republic for which it stands.” Is the song that emerged during the War of 1861 “The Battle Hymn of the Democracy” or “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”?
So what is the difference between republican and democratic forms of government? John Adams captured the essence of the difference when he said, “You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe.” Nothing in our Constitution suggests that government is a grantor of rights. Instead, government is envisioned as a protector of rights.
In recognition that it is government that poses the gravest threat to our liberties, the framers used negative phrases in reference to Congress throughout the first ten amendments to the Constitution, such as shall not abridge, infringe, deny, disparage, and shall not be violated, nor be denied. In a republican form of government, there is rule of law. All citizens, including government officials, are accountable to the same laws. Government power is limited and decentralized through a system of checks and balances. Government intervenes in civil society to protect its citizens against force and fraud, but does not intervene in the cases of peaceable, voluntary exchange.
Contrast the framers’ vision of a republic with that of a democracy. According to Webster’s dictionary, a democracy is defined as “government by the people; especially: rule of the majority.” In a democracy the majority rules either directly or through its elected representatives. As in a monarchy, the law is whatever the government determines it to be. Laws do not represent reason. They represent power. The restraint is upon the individual instead of government. Unlike the rights envisioned under a republican form of government, rights in a democracy are seen as privileges and permissions that are granted by government and can be rescinded by government.
There is considerable evidence that demonstrates the disdain held by our founders for a democracy. James Madison, in Federalist No. 10, said that in a pure democracy, “there is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party or the obnoxious individual.” At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Edmund Randolph said, “that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy.” John Adams said, “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” Later on, Chief Justice John Marshall observed, “Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos.” In a word or two, the Founders knew that a democracy would lead to the same kind of tyranny the colonies suffered under King George III.
The framers gave us a Constitution that is replete with anti-majority-rule, undemocratic mechanisms. One that has come in for frequent criticism and calls for elimination is the Electoral College. In their wisdom, the framers gave us the Electoral College so that in presidential elections large, heavily populated states could not use their majority to run roughshod over small, sparsely populated states. Amending the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress, or two-thirds of state legislatures, to propose an amendment and three-fourths of state legislatures to ratify it. Part of the reason for having a bicameral Congress is that it places another obstacle to majority rule. Fifty-one senators can block the wishes of 435 representatives and 49 senators. The Constitution gives the president a veto to thwart the power of all 535 members of Congress. It takes two-thirds of both houses of Congress to override the president’s veto.
There is even a simpler way to expose the tyranny of majority rule. Ask yourself how many of your day-to-day choices would you like to have settled through the democratic process of majority rule. Would you want the kind of car you own to be decided through a democratic process, or would you prefer purchasing any car you please? Would like your choice of where to live, what clothes to purchase, what foods you eat, or what entertainment you enjoy to be decided through a democratic process? I am sure that at the mere suggestion that these choices should be subject to a democratic vote, most of us would deem it a tyrannical attack on our liberties.
Most Americans see our liberties as protected by the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, but that vision was not fully shared by its framers. In Federalist No. 84, Alexander Hamilton argued, “[B]ills of rights . . . are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. For why declare that things shall not be done [by Congress] which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given [to Congress] by which restrictions may be imposed?” James Madison agreed: “This is one of the most plausible arguments I have ever heard urged against the admission of a bill of rights into this system . . . [because] by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power, it would disparage those rights which were not placed in that enumeration, and it might follow by implication, that those rights which were not singled out, were intended to be assigned into the hands of the general government, and were consequently insecure.”
Madison thought this danger could be guarded against by the Ninth Amendment, which declares “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Of course, the Ninth Amendment has little or no meaning in today’s courts.
Do today’s Americans have contempt for the republican values laid out by our Founders, or is it simply a matter of our being unschooled about the differences between a republic and a democracy? It appears that most Americans, as well as their political leaders, believe that Congress should do anything it can muster a majority vote to do. Thus we have been transformed into a democracy. The most dangerous and insidious effect of majority rule is that it confers an aura of legitimacy, decency, and respectability on acts that would otherwise be deemed tyrannical. Liberty and democracy are not synonymous and could actually be opposites.
If we have become a democracy, I guarantee you that the Founders would be deeply disappointed by our betrayal of their vision. They intended, and laid out the ground rules for, a limited republican form of government that saw the protections of personal liberties as its primary function.
Walter Williams is John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University.
Some years back I was friendly with a man, Everett, the parking attendant in my New York City office building garage. Everett hailed from South Carolina which he left in the late 1950s to serve in the Korean War. After his military service, he lived in Boston for 15 years and then moved to New York City where he was living for 10 years when we met.
As he lived in the South before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, I was curious what life was like in the South from the perspective of a black man. (Oh, did I forget to mention Everett was black!) Everett said life down South was good in terms of black/white relations. Whites and blacks lived segregated; everyone knew their place and relations were friendly. He never felt uncomfortable with whites. He never felt anyone hated him because he was black until he moved to Boston. In Boston, black people were marginalized and often came in harm’s way if they went to white neighborhoods but as service workers. Things got progressively worse when schools were forced to integrate. New York City he found was more friendly to black people but not by much.
On occasional trips to visit family in South Carolina, Everett found the good old days no longer as mandated integration disturbed the old social order and tensions were high between whites and blacks. He often wondered whether the idealists pushing for integration were more interested in creating racial conflicts and upsetting the social and political order than peaceful coexistence or whether they had good intentions but no common sense and insights into unintended consequences.
Moreover, while integration provided more economic opportunities or high-paying token jobs, Everett felt the cultural collapse of the black community and the economic divisions and related stress that integration created came at too high a cost. That is, as the creation of an integration focused social order required the destruction of an older order, perhaps integration via evolution would have been better than via revolution.
I asked Everett what others in his community thought of his views. He said no one took him seriously because he was a Republican....
“[S]ince love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.”
When others fear us, they don’t attack us; thereby fear provides us a certain level of safety. However, fear can turn into aggression as a cornered rat can leap to bite us in the jugular or starving peasants revolt against their king.
Love is unconditional. Moreover, those we love we treat as we wish to be treated. Thus, when we are loved, though we may not necessarily be liked, we never need worry of coming into harm’s way as a consequent of the actions of someone who loves us.
Hence, it is safer to be loved than feared....
I see all sorts of animals up in the clouds,
their shapes changing as the wind blows.
Some are angry
some are happy
and with some it’s hard to read their minds.
Only when I climb a distant mountain
I get above the clouds
and realize the clouds are just clouds....
Life is like a mirror. Smile at it and it smiles back at you.”
Our attitude forms our experiences.
Life is a multi-ring circus of dreams unfolding simultaneously; good dreams, bad dreams; whether good or bad determined by the dreamer.
Awakening is the realization that we are dreaming. Awakened, we are grateful for whatever our dream and make the best of it.
When life is not an engaging, fascinating and wonderful experience, we are sleeping....
Nothing is as wonderful a gift
as the present of life.
Those who are distracted
by wanting something more
do not appreciate the present....
Reflecting on the past, we go down a rabbit hole.
Looking up at the sky, the light makes everything whole....
When we perceive the world as a duality, it’s our self and all the rest;
often a tiring interaction at best.
To truly rest, we need become one with the rest.
When truly at rest, we are at peace. Peace is the nothingness that remains after we forget about everything, our self and all the rest. In nothingness, we are one with the nothingness; at rest, at peace.
Alternatively, when we abandon our self, we become one with what remains: one with everything (all the rest). Then, without the tiring friction of duality, we are at rest, at peace.
Peace can be had in a place of nothingness or when we are one with everything. Either way, there is no self which is what tires us....
Political parties are like flavors at an ice cream shop. We often busy ourselves deciding which flavor we want without considering whether we’re allergic to its ingredients or looking at whether the shop is clean....
Anything and everything are essentially nothing before they are what they are whatever they are. Moreover, as anything and everything constantly change, they are whatever they are but temporarily and then again nothing.
As anything and everything are nothing before and after they are something but for an instant, maybe they’re also nothing when we perceive them as something; that is, whatever we think they are is an illusion sustained by our mind...
“He who speaks does not know, he who knows does not speak.”
The universe is infinite, ever-changing manifestations of that which cannot be described, but who some call God. The manifestations are interdependent; that is, no seemingly discrete/finite manifestation exists independently as the manifestations are essentially different aspects of one thing, God. As all things are temporary and interdependent, any descriptions are illusionary as what’s described no longer exists and not representative of the whole of which it is an infinitesimal part. Thus, he who knows this truth does not speak beyond describing anything and everything as it is what it is whatever it is which is akin to not speaking. He who does speak is on a fool’s errand as he does not know this truth.
He who experiences and reflects on his experiences can come to know the nature of things. The more he knows, the more he desires to know. However, as he cannot experience and reflect when he is speaking, he chooses not to speak. He who speaks does not know and has no desire to know.
He who knows knows that his perspective is one of infinite perspectives and that what something is is at best approximated by an amalgamation of many perspectives. Hence, knowing his perspective is limited and unlikely more knowledgeable than the average perspective, he doesn’t speak. He who speaks doesn’t realize this truth.
As speaking and knowing are mutually exclusive, we need to choose whether we want to know or to speak. To know is to connect with the universe through our senses. Connected and undistracted by our mind, we experience our oneness with everything. Unlike knowing, speaking is the mind expressing itself to get the universe’s attention. As such, speaking presumes we and the universe are separate entities, the antithesis of oneness. He who knows choses oneness (knowing) instead of separateness (speaking); thus, he does not speak. As he who speaks is separate from the universe, he does not know the universe.
We know all there is to know upon opening our eyes, awakening. What we know we cannot describe because our eyes can see but cannot speak. Thus, he who knows does not speak. When we speak, our mind is talking. However, our mind’s perception of reality is more a function of our mind than reality. Thus, he who speaks does not know.
We come to know through direct experience. Speaking can artificially simulate an experience but the simulation is just a shadow of an experience. Thus, he who knows knows the futility of speaking, so he does not speak. He who only knows through artificial simulation does not truly know, so he speaks.
He who speaks thinks he knows. He who does not speak knows nothing, the essence of everything before it’s something. There’s not much he can say about that.
Or, simply, “Nothing is known. There is nothing to speak about.” — Pamela Mills
Or, “[I]f you have seen the truth you will know that it is beyond words and so cannot be described using words. If you have not seen the truth you will think you can describe it adequately in words and will try to do so.” — Andria Nix
The past is a comic and tragic illusion our mind creates. When we believe the illusion is real, our experience of the present is also an illusion....
Before birth, we are one with everything.
After birth, we begin self-defining ourselves as finite beings apart and separate from everything that is not us. This process is at first frightening, painful, overwhelming. In reaction, we cry. However, those in midlife are deaf to our cries as they joyously celebrate our birth.
As we approach death, we are at peace. We die without a tear, knowing we are transitioning to be again one with everything. However, those in midlife cry as we depart. As misery loves company, they are sad to see us go.
Those in midlife view newborns and the dying as understanding little. However, maybe they know something of which those in midlife are oblivious....
“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”
“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”
“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”
“Many people think excitement is happiness…. But when you are excited you are not peaceful. True happiness is based on peace.”
“You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free [to be themselves]”
“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.”
“Life is available only in the present moment.”
“When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.”
“The secret of Buddhism is to remove all ideas, all concepts, in order for the truth to have a chance to penetrate, to reveal itself.”
“Usually when we hear or read something new, we just compare it to our own ideas. If it is the same, we accept it and say that it is correct. If it is not, we say it is incorrect. In either case, we learn nothing.”
“You cannot resist loving another person when you really understand him or her.”
“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.”
“If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.”
“Attachment to views is the greatest impediment to the spiritual path.”...
An expert, when authenticating an artwork, rarely appreciates an artwork as someone who is simply looking at an artwork.
When an artwork is expertly proclaimed a “fake,” most people can no longer see it through their eyes as they did before the proclamation. They see it through their mind and their mind sees through their ears.
When we focus on the details, we often fail to see the beauty of the whole....
Even the most wonderful people take a shit which doesn’t smell good to anyone but themselves. How we feel about them depends on how we see them, as a hole or as a whole....
What do we see everywhere but rarely notice?
Every-thing we see is not a thing, just a reflection of light off a thing.
Actually, objects themselves are light. Objects, Mass (M), are Energy (E) slowed down by the speed of light (C) squared (M=E/C*C). That is, when light is slowed down from its unimaginable speed, it takes solid forms.
As light is omnipresent and everything is light (including ourselves), we rarely notice it for what it is.
When we realize everything is light, we realize that every-thing we perceive not as light is an illusion....
It is what it is whatever it is.
What it is is of no matter.
What matters is that it is....
Love is like light.
It can be bent and redirected but can never be broken.
The more light that’s emitted, the more shines back at us.
Without light, we are in a cold dark place.
With light, we can connect with everything around us.
Light is what we see everywhere but rarely notice....
When Victor was 13, he didn’t need glasses but marveled at the experience of those who did as they saw the world completely differently when they did and didn’t wear glasses. Poor eyesight seemed like a blessing that could lead to great insight.
To the myopic, much of the distant world is ambiguous; making it clear to them that in their natural state, without the intervention of glasses, they don’t know what they are looking at; this realization is the first step to wisdom. Unlike most people who are never in doubt but often wrong about what they see.
Realizing our ignorance arouses our curiosity, putting us on a never-ending journey of discovering the newness of everything as everything is forever in flux; inherently ambiguous until our glasses or mind make things seem clear temporarily.
Interestingly, those who wear glasses have, statistically, a significantly higher IQ than those who don’t. That doesn’t mean they are inherently smarter, just the they use their mind wondering about the nature of things because they realize they don’t know what they are looking at. That’s the essence of wisdom....
“We need to realize…that when we look back at the past, we don’t recapture it; we reconstitute it. We turn it into something it never was: clear from the start.”...
You can’t push on a string.
Unsolicited monologues get little attention.
However, we have people’s attention when we respond to their questions.
When we question others, they give us their mouth. When they question us, we have their ears.
As our questions arouse their curiosity, eventually they might question us, open their ears and let us enter their mind....
Nothing is unique because everything is unique.
When we see something that is not unique, we are seeing it with our mind....
Enlightened are those who look up, see the light and come to know that they and the light are one. Those who look down on others cannot see the light....
Until we know we know nothing, we know nothing....
Something is wrong when we can’t unconditionally enjoy simple bodily pleasures like sex and recreational drugs. Nothing is wrong when we enjoy these things, unless they get to our head....
Those who see the light embody wisdom.
Those who feel its warmth embody compassion.
Without wisdom and compassion, there is no light....
No know now
Now know no
Know now no
No know now. I don’t know the now, the present.
Now know no. I now know nothing. As I don’t know the present and the present is all there is, what I know is nothing.
Know now no. I know the now, the pre-sent, is nothing. As the now is nothing before and after it is what it is whatever it is, the now is a temporary manifestation of nothing.
The way to enlightenment has three steps. First is the realization that we don’t know the ever-changing eternal now which by its nature is unknowable. Second is the realization that as the now is all there is, we know nothing. This realization vanquishes our mind which has heretofore convinced us that we know many things. Third is the realization that the now is essentially nothing expressing itself temporarily as something and as such our perceiving it as real is just an illusion.
In meditation, we focus the mind on the three phases of breathing; the inhale, the exhale and the pause until the next inhale. We recite “no know now” on each inhale and are silent during the exhale and the pause. After many rounds, we recite “now know no” on each exhale and are silent during the inhale and the pause. Then again after many rounds, we recite “know now no” during the pause between inhale and exhale and are otherwise silent. This cycle is repeated and repeated and repeated until we and the sound of the mantra become one.
It is then that we know we are nothing and rejoice in being something, whatever it is. Gratitude is a key to happiness.
No know now
Now know no
Know now no
Yes Yes Yes...
“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....
“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. In effect, we are playing the game of Chinese whispers, unaware we are playing with ourselves....
When Victor was a little boy (though maybe he’s still a little boy), he was always mystified how almost everyone was certain about things. People were certain about matters of God, about who is smart or stupid, about concepts of right or wrong, etc. Victor, however, was uncertain of seemingly everything, especially as each person had a different perception of the same thing and each certain theirs was correct.
Only after reading the story of the Ten Men and the Elephant Victor realized why so many people were without doubts. They each looked at things through their mind, (conceptually, comparatively and through group thinking), not through their eyes; hence, they didn’t know what they were looking at.
If they saw through their eyes, they would know that each person’s perspective is as valid as one’s own since every individual perspective is limited; hence, they could be certain about nothing.
Living with uncertainty can be stressful. Thus, most people relieve the stress by believing their perspective is undoubtedly right. However, “uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.” — Voltaire...
This surreal 19th century Kongo fetish (an inanimate object worshiped for its supposed magical powers or because it is considered to be inhabited by a spirit) depicts a bundle containing juju (magical substances that empower an object) from which a mirror-faced head with a feather atop emerges. When we look at the mirrored face of the object, we see ourselves. This suggests we are the fetish and the fetish works its magic through us. The feather protruding from the head suggests the mind of the fetish connects it to the spirit world; that can take flight and see beyond the range of man....
From a black hole
we come out as a big bang
and turn into confetti....
Those who blame their misfortunes on others don’t learn from their misfortunes which brings them more misfortunes....
Good Luck is sensitive to respect. When we recognize Good Luck as a key to our success, we are likely to have Good Luck revisit us. Recognizing the role of Good Luck keeps us from hubris which invites Bad Luck.
Moreover, Good Luck is the key to happiness. The root of happiness is “hap” which means “luck.” When we realize how lucky we are (absolutely or relatively), we are happy....
Money is to humans is like fertilizer is to flowers. It helps flowers realize their potential but too much of it can make beautiful roses smell like shit.
Specifically, “over fertilization can actually decrease growth and leave plants weak and vulnerable to pests and diseases. It can also lead to the ultimate demise of the plant. Signs of over fertilization include stunted growth, burned or dried leaf margins, wilting, and collapse or death of plants.” — Gardineningknowhow.com...
“The only difference between you and God is that you have forgotten you are divine.”
Humans are a transitional species, born with animal consciousness and the potential of divine consciousness....
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....
Life is an eternal play; at times a tragedy, at times a comedy. Either way, it’s entertaining to the audience. As for the actors, it’s always fun for those who realize it’s a play. For those who don’t, life is a tragedy and comedy until it is nothing at all....
A man truly loves himself when he loves others, but cannot love others if he gets an erection when looking at himself naked in the mirror....
We are prisoners when our dreams are based on our memories and are free when we dream with our imagination....
“By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” Genesis 3:19
“All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.” Ecclesiastes 3:20
In life, we’re oblivious of dust but when we are dusting and then we just want to rid dust from our sight.
However, when we are aware our animal bodies will turn into dust, we are reminded of our purpose in life: to have a wonderful physical experience and realize our potential of divine consciousness which makes us eternal....
If we are not one with everything, we are basically nothing.
In life, relatively nothing; after life, absolutely nothing....
Every thing is everything
as every thing is not a thing,
just an aspect of everything.
As every thing is not a thing,
every thing is nothing....
“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....
“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....
“The medium is the message.”
McLuhan was also a punster, to wit:
“The medium is the mess-age.”
“The medium is the mass-age.”
“The medium is the massage.”
The medium is the message means that the content carrier (TV, movie, newspapers, etc.) frames the content such that the content is distorted, sometimes to the point it is unrecognizable by the content producer. The medium is the message is like the game of Chinese Whispers, things from the mouth sound different than from the source.
The medium is the mess-age implies that the same content viewed from different medium can be so differently perceived that the content is confused, a mess.
The medium is the mass-age means that there is a very large number of medium conveying the same content.
The medium is the massage means that the medium focuses on relieving the pain or stress of the viewer more than delivering content. That is, frame the content to make the viewer content.
When we awaken, we realize the medium is not the message....
People are funny, from a distance. That’s wisdom. But, as we get close to them, laughter turns into sadness as we realize they aren’t joking and we project ourselves in their mindset. That’s compassion.
Realizing we are one with everything is wisdom. Experiencing ourselves as one with everything is compassion....
In our mind
some things are the same,
some things are different.
no thing can be compared to another
as all things are aspects of the same thing,
We see things not as they are but as a function of our position and disposition.
Having recently spoken with some people on the Left, they all view Joe Biden as maybe a bit old but certainly of sound mind and effective in performing his job. Moreover, they view Kamala Harris as possessing more than average intelligence, but not as articulate as most politicians.
Those on the Right view Biden as obviously in early senility. As to Harris, they view her as a moron (IQ between 50 – 75 (average IQ is 100)), though none identify her as an imbecile (IQ 25 – 50).
As to disposition, those who are happy with their economic position and prospects, favorably view Biden and Harris. Those who feel their way of life, in terms of safety and individual liberties, is threatened and that the country is “going in the wrong direction” (presumably right is right and left is wrong) are very unhappy with Biden and Harris.
Clearly, those who are wise know it’s difficult to know who Biden and Harris really are. Moreover, as politicians, it’s unlikely they know....
As everything is only in the present, the present is all there is and therefore the greatest present we can receive. Upon opening ourselves up to receive the present, we become one with everything and we want for nothing which is everything before it becomes the present....
The Buddhist path to liberation refers to enlightenment. Liberation is liberation from the personal mind.
There is only one mind, the universal mind, the mind of God. The universe is the manifestation of the universal mind in the now. Dwelling in our finite body (which seems apart and separate from the universe) is a personal mind that is connected to the universal mind. However, we identify with our personal mind and are mostly oblivious to the universal mind. The path of liberation is realising our connection to the universal mind.
The personal mind buffers us from directly experiencing the now. In other words, we experience the now not as it truly is but as a function of our personal mind. The personal mind defines, describes and compares; transforming the now, which is a flow, into a static experience. The now we experience with our personal mind is illusionary, empty of reality. However, we embrace our personal mind for we fear losing our identities and in turn being alone, not knowing who we are and where we are.
The personal mind is grounded in memories. The memories are stories we create based on our intentions, actions and their consequences in previous lives. (Previous lives are previous days of our life.) These illusionary stories frame, define and describe the now. These stories are our karma.
By not allowing us to experience the now directly, our karma essentially holds us in a karmic prison. Liberation is liberation from our karmic prison.
Once liberated, we can experience the now as it is and in so doing we become one with the now, one with everything, eternal. There are no words to describe or compare this experience. All that can be said is that it is what it is whatever it is.
The path to liberation is how we escape the karmic prison of our mind.
Our escape is difficult, blocked by fears created by our personal mind. To escape, we need to quiet our mind until it falls asleep. Then, we can sneak passed it to liberation. Meditation puts our mind to sleep. When our mind is asleep via meditation, we transition from our personal mindlessness to universal mindfulness as our personal mind merges with the universal mind.
Beyond meditation, we can renounce our personal mind. This is done by surrendering to the reality that we know nothing and that every-thing our personal mind tells us is not real, just illusions. Then, our curiosity is aroused; what am I, who am I, why am I? To answer these questions, we observe the universe with our eyes; not with our personal mind. We know we are experiencing the universe with our eyes when every-thing is unique, an experience like no other; nothing can be described, nothing can be compared. All we can say is WOW, as we feel connected to and love every-thing and everything. (Mouthing the word “wow” is like mouthing a kiss.) With our eyes open, we can see the light and come to know that we and the light are one. Now the path is clear. We are the path, the way of way (WOW).
This is the path of the Buddha. A path guided by the light, not by a guru who at best can only reflect the light....
Everything is always beautiful. Every-thing is always, but not all ways, beautiful....
The serenity of this mother goddess amulet from the dawn of civilization is reminiscent of certain sculptures of Buddha who arrived at the dawn of human consciousness....
The universe, everything, is the manifestation of God. Loving God is loving everything and every-thing; even those things we don’t like and seek to avoid....
“You are the universe, expressing itself as a human for a little while.”
As we are the universe, we are eternal. But if we solely identify with our fleeting human form, we will surely die....
“You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.”
We are billions of unique individuals but are socialized into common roles in the play of life. Our roles become our identities which retard our realizing our inherent unique potentials....
“Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts.”
Life is essentially simple and beautiful, unless we complicate it with our mind....
“May you live in interesting times.”
This quasi-blessing is actually a curse. Times that are not interesting are peaceful, while times that are interesting are times of great conflicts. Clearly, it’s better not to live in interesting times.
Interesting times are generally interesting. To wit, most history books are about wars and conflicts, very few are about when the world was at peace.
People are likewise. They have more interest in their traumas than when they were carefree. Perhaps they would be better served showing little interest in their personal history. That way, they can move forward carefree....
From black hole to big bang.
Love is fusion.
Birth is fission....
When we are the person we once were,
we are nothing.
When we are not the person we once were,
we are everything....
As every-thing is interdependent
every-thing is no-thing
just a facet of everything.
No-thing can be described
as descriptions are empty generalizations,
the personal mind’s creation,
making something out of nothing.
Every-thing is temporary
and everything is eternal.
Descriptions are the personal mind’s vanity,
vain attempts to eternalize that which is no longer.
The universal mind is empty of words.
It is still
and yet busy
eternally manifesting itself as everything.
When our personal mind is still
it merges with the universe mind
and we are one with everything....
Earth is an eyeball peering from all sides into peaceful space.
Here and there, a restless mist scrubs its face.
The dew left in its wake
makes a watery mess of the landscape.
The flood and the hideous
gather the attention of those now oblivious
to everything beyond the sky
where those who rest in peace lie....
Elohim is a Hebrew word that literally means “gods” but is used in prayer to refer to God in the singular, one God.
Literal meanings relate to the mundane. In the secular world, there are a virtually infinite number of human manifestations of God, the faces of God. These are elohim, gods. In prayer, we enter the spiritual realm in which there is only one God from which everything emanates.
As humans, we are elohim; we are gods. As such, we can view ourselves as different from other elohim (in which case we don’t recognize them as gods) or realize that we are one of the infinite faces of God; that is, that we are God.
Hashem, “the name,” is a Hebrew word referring to God. This name for God is purposely ambiguous, unspecified. If God’s name was specifically identified, it would imply God is one thing and not another; the antithesis of God as God is everything. However, referring to God as “the name” suggests that knowing God’s name reveals the nature of God. When we come to know the meaning of Elohim, the secret of our oneness with God is revealed....
“All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for… reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration.”
However upsetting our circumstances, we can always be grateful they aren’t worse. Gratitude is the foundation of happiness.
Let what’s past be passed. Holding on to the past limits our ability to grab whatever opportunity next comes our way.
The foundation of anger is selfishness. When we’re angry we take ourselves so seriously we are oblivious to the dire circumstances of others who would be thrilled to be in our shoes. However, when we’re compassionate, we’re grateful as we see our circumstances through the perspective of those less fortunate. Selfishness precludes us from happiness....
There are many interesting and wonderful roles in the play of life, but the role of God is incomparable as God creates the universe and is eternal. Unlike roles for which many people compete for the few available vacancies (there are just so many professional football team owners), the role of God is accessible to all. However, the greatest impediment to our realizing our role as God is our individual and collective identities....
Even-ing is when we are all made even; the smart, the stupid, the rich, the poor; all even, equal, in sleep-death. In sleep-death, our soul returns to its source where all souls are sole, one, even.
Oh eternal universe.
Oh ever-changing universe.
Oh endless universe.
Thank you all for giving me a role in the play of life, “Terrific.”
Thank you for divine consciousness.
Now, in sleep-death
my soul returns to its source
to which it has always been connected
to be one with everything
before everything becomes something
that is what it is whatever it is and before time begins.
Hopefully soon, my soul returns and awakens the vessel holding the light of life.
Life begins not upon our awakening, but in sleep-death. A wonderful Earth life awaits us upon awakening when we enter sleep-death in a happy state of mind. In the Evening Prayer we express our gratitude. Gratitude is the essence of happiness....
Politicians are best as a form of comic entertainment. However, when many people take politicians seriously, we’re forced to take these people seriously because the politicians will lead them to war....
Heaven is “He-even.” In heaven, He (God) is even. That is, the heavens comprise an unimaginable, infinite number (billions of planets spinning around 100 billion stars in each of 10 trillion galaxies) of seemingly distinct parts that are not distinct; they are interdependent; thus, even. Like the infinite faces of God are equally significant, even, manifestations of one thing, God.
This realization (that everything, including us, is God) delivers us to a state of complete bliss, delight and peace; heaven....
“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; appreciating the wonderfulness of it all, awakening to our divine consciousness, and helping others likewise....
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
We see what’s passed in reflections our mind has constructed. The reflections are illusions, not real. When we change our reflections, what we see invariably changes as it never had an inherent reality to it.
A funny (as in odd and humorous) thing recently happened to Victor. Victor was taking a night flight from NYC to Lisbon, sitting in First Class. As Victor never eats on commercial airplane flights, Victor wasn’t paying attention to the food service. Apparently, he was not alone. The Stewardess also wasn’t paying much attention until she saw Victor drenched in 3/4 of a bottle of Champagne which she inadvertently dislodged from its casing. Victor’s immediate reaction was to laugh. Likewise, in other similar passed situations, Victor was quick to laugh . However, until now, I didn’t realized why Victor thought such situations funny.
Now, upon reflection, Victor’s nature is such that Victor instinctively views a situation as how others in the situation might react and how others would perceive the situation. These perspectives are generally funny. Victor has been embracing alternative perspectives since he was a child, when he realized that everyone views a situation differently and as such there is no definitive perspective, including Victor’s. Thus, to understand a situation, Victor automatically takes many perspectives.
What’s funny about a passenger’s Champagne accident is that many people in that situation would have been upset or even angry. That’s a selfish reaction as being upset is succumbing to their ego and not realizing how happy they should be in their circumstances relative to most people in the world. An egotistical fool is always funny. Moreover, many people who are forever stressed out about money matters would love to be in the passenger’s situation, with the presumed freedoms accorded to someone wealthy enough to fly First Class. Yet, these people are fools as well because an angry passenger has no freedom; he is a prisoner of his ego, as are those who admire his situation.
Of course, the Champagne accident could have been actively made funny had Victor had asked the stewardess to give him her shirt as she had wet his and he needed a replacement.
Now. I understand why when Victor has been to the movies, he is often laughing while others are not.
P.S. While I am who I am, people socially refer to me as Victor. I refer to myself as “I” when talking in the present and as “Victor” when referring to myself in the past, a person who is now passed. Referring to oneself in the third person is call illeism....
Stupidity is the privilege of the young. The young are forgiven for doing stupid things so they can learn they are stupid. Those who don’t learn this lesson are stupid....
Waves of light come and go
but when is hard to know
as what we see
is only our memory.
Waves of sound come and go
neither fast nor slow.
All we know is when they show....
No thing is forever, but nothing is forever.
The universe is eternal, ever-changing manifestations of nothing.
Every thing is nothing, before and after it is what it is whatever it is.
Every thing does not exist but as a surface of everything....
It was 1971, Victor was 20, sitting on a futon and waiting for the journey to begin, to see what the psilocybin mushrooms had to say. As his eyes looked up, a painting on the wall was melting, colors spilling beyond its frame, on the wall, covering the floor; brilliant colors bubbling and burping. Then, Victor noticed he was elevated six to ten inches above the futon; weightlessness; the peace beyond description. After, he directed the paint colors to dance and form paintings.
A profound journey.
While the journey was wonderful in and of itself, it beckoned explanation beyond a write-off as simply an hallucination where the abstract and surreal supplant the realistic.
However, only recently, did the message from the psilocybin vision dawn on me: everything is one thing, forever-changing; being one with everything is the ultimate peace to which our mind is the greatest impediment; and, ultimately, when we are one with everything, we create the universe.
The paint overflowing its canvas implies that what we see in the realistic world as discrete, self-contained things is actually one continuous, interconnected, interdependent, ever-changing thing; the everything.
However, our mind convinces us that the universe is made of discrete things. The mind does this so that we view the mind itself as discrete; different from other minds and, as such, it needs to be protected from the others. The mind feels protected and thrives when we pay it attention and take it seriously. Maybe our mind has convinced us of other falsehoods; e.g., who we are.
The weightlessness implies that discrete things cannot be differentiated by weight, as all things are equally weightless. In that sense, all things are one. The peace that accompanies weightlessness is the peace of being one with everything.
In a world where everything is continuous, interconnected, interdependent and equal, everything is one.
Victor directing the paint colors to dance and form paintings implies that when we are one with everything the world is our creation as are our interpretations of psilocybin visions....
Balabusta is a Yiddish word derived from the term for a woman who is “master of the house.” Balabusta is pronounced as she would often be described: ballbuster....
My arms and legs work well together but I wonder whether they know each other exists. With little self-awareness, each likely feels it has an independent existence. If they knew who they were they would quickly realize that they are not independent things; they are interdependent as they couldn’t exit without everything else to which they’re part of and connected. Maybe when I think of who I am I’m thinking the way my arms and legs are thinking, with little self-awareness. Upon awakening, it’s clear I only exist as one with everything....
Encapsulated, raw intelligence is characterized by one’s abilities in matters of conceptual thinking, memory, compiling and quickly analyzing information and creativity. However, the truly intelligent are those who have the ability to learn something from virtually anyone, magnifying their intelligence by using the intelligence of others. This is wisdom, a more powerful ability than raw intelligence....
The sun rises and sets once each day.
Yet it does so all day,
simultaneously and continuously....
“He who knows enough is enough will always have enough.”
It’s easy to satisfy our needs and impossible to satisfy our desires, but temporarily....
Those who love certain people but not all people are sentimental. Those who love everyone are practical....
Heaven is real, hell an illusion.
In heaven are those who realize everything is an expression of God. In hell are those whose mind tells them otherwise....
When we feel loved only by those with whom we are close, we are closed to others. When we feel everyone loves us, we are open and free.
When we realize everyone is God, we feel everyone loves us; if not now, then later....
Love is ineffable, ethereal and yet eternal. When a love relationship concludes, we can only conclude it was never love; as when what was once and is no longer, never was....
“We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create for the moment the illusion that we’re not alone.”
Orson Welles was an actor, director, producer and screenwriter; an innovator in film, radio and theatre; considered among the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time. He was also a master illusionist or magician.
When our identity is our finite self in time and space (which we perceive as apart and separate from everything that is not our self), ipso facto we are alone regardless of how we might delude ourselves otherwise.
When we come to realize that every-thing is not a separate thing but a temporary facet of one thing, the everything; we are not alone as we do not have an independent existence. It is then that the eternal light dispels all illusions as we are one with the light which has no beginning and no end. We are God which is that which is beyond our mind’s descriptions as descriptions imply that something is one thing and not another. We are no longer a piece but at peace, beyond our mind’s comprehension for the mind has deluded us to identifying ourselves as apart and separate from the everything....
“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”...
Men are the sun, women are the moon.
The sun is happy, seeing its reflection in the full moon.
As Earth shades the moon, the sun’s happiness wanes....
“Water is the face of fire.”
“Water is the face of fire” is a family motto given to Kanako by a family elder when she was seven. As a family motto, fire (whose forms are rapidly changing) represents a person’s relatively infinitesimally short life. Yet, the family line, each family member’s true identity, like water, is eternal and unchanging.
The motto is akin to a Zen koan, a paradoxical anecdote or riddle used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and awaken us from the preconceived notions that frame our perceptions.
The coexistence of seemingly incompatibles, water and fire, implies that our perception of something and its essence may be significantly different, though both are aspects of the same thing. The nature of water is forever-unchanging, while the nature of fire is forever-changing. As water is the face of fire, beneath the calm appearance of water lies a wildly-changing essence. While we tend to perceive something as static, that’s a misperception; for the universe’s only constant is change. Moreover, while water and fire seem incompatible as parts of one thing (an object and its face), they, like everything, are different aspects of the same thing; implying everything is one....
The dead have complete self-awareness of their state of consciousness; they know they are in the audience watching a play in which those who are non-dead are acting out various roles in life. Those who are non-dead are not necessarily alive, self-aware; they have the potential to be alive but mostly they are non-dead....
No thing is perfect but nothing is perfect.
As no thing is perfect
every thing is forever-changing
in its quest for perfection.
Every thing is nothing
before and after
it is what it is whatever it is.
As nothing is perfect
nothing is forever-unchanging....
“Life is a dream; some have a good one, some have a bad one.”
Dreams are dynamic, changing from good to bad and good again. Hoping our dream gets better keeps us dreaming. However, when we awaken, everything is neither good nor bad. There is no good nor bad. All that is is just beautiful.
Frieda Teicher is my grandmother. When Victor was 6, she sparked his curiosity to wonder what happens when we wake up from our dream....
Subject and object only can be in time past and time future.
In the present, all there is is is.
“Is” is “I” in plural,
infinite manifestations of the one I.
No subject, no object
just being, is....
It’s difficult to imagine hearing if we are deaf.
It’s impossible to open our eyes unless we know they are closed....
I am who I am.
However, more specifically, from the top down, I am God and anyone who doesn’t recognize I am God doesn’t recognize they too are God.
From the bottom up, I’m a comedian and also my greatest audience. I find almost everything funny, though others seldom do. What’s funny? When we take ourselves seriously....
What’s good for you is good for me.
This is the way of divine consciousness. You and I are one. When your joy appears to derive from my loss, I rejoice in your joy and am oblivious to my loss. The choice between feeling badly for oneself or happy for us is essentially a choice between selfishness and happiness....
Our sole connects us to Earth.
It’s the foundation upon which we stand,
little noticed unless it hurts
and unseen but when we’re supine at sleep death.
That’s the nature of soul....
It’s wise to think a dog is a wolf and not to think a wolf is a dog. However, as a dog could be anything, including someone’s reincarnated mother, it’s wiser to have a wide imagination with no preconceived notions; especially as we can only see what we can imagine. To the enlightened, seeing things as they truly are, a dog is one of infinite manifestations of God and a semordnilap; as God is dog spelled backwards....
“Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.”
As we make our way in this world, we are seemingly more vulnerable and less likely to survive without the ability to see than without the ability to hear. Hence, it would seem better to be deaf than blind. Yet, when we connect with others by hearing and talking, we can see through their perspectives which is the essence of wisdom. Moreover, connecting with others is fundamental to love. Wisdom and love (compassion) transform this world into heaven. There is little point trying to make our way in this world by seeing if we can’t arrive at its ultimate destination, heaven. Hence, it is better to be blind than deaf as deaf is death.
Seeing allows us to connect (experience) things. However, seeing confirms that we are apart and separate from things. Hearing allows us to connect with and as such be one with others. Better to be able to hear which has us one with everyone, than to see which confirms our separateness. When we are one with everyone, we are in heaven.
Most people would rather be deaf than blind; implying that most people feel vulnerable, apart and separate from others. For them, there is no heaven....
Recently, at dinner, my son-in-law mentioned that he was put off by a guest who attended a barbeque held at my house this passed summer. He said the guest was very disrespectful when he spoke to and about me. This surprised me as I couldn’t recall anything disrespectful, but, in any event, I can never remember anything unpleasant or take this guest seriously; certainly not as seriously as this guest takes himself. That makes the guest funny, not disrespectful....
Light reveals infinite ways
we can take until the end of days.
Which way to take is not clear
until in noisy sounds music we hear.
Then we need not the ways revealed by the sun
as music makes us all one....
Everything revealed by light is beautiful,
unlike sounds which are noisy.
Yet, hidden in noisy sounds is music,
the most beautiful thing of all....
Our mind makes things here and there in space (us is here and and them is there) and time (present is here, past and future are there). Our senses reveal the here and now which is all there is....
When our mind makes sense of our senses, we no longer experience our senses....
Nearsighted is the girl who is attracted to a man over 70.
Farsighted is the girl who is attracted to a man who has passed the crossover point, when he henceforth has considerably more money than time....
While there is little we can do to help those whose lives go wasted, no death should go wasted.
Death is a moment of reckoning, when we can glean certain truths about life from the life of the person who has passed. Ultimately, the truths are all the same regardless of who has passed: know thyself, live each day with wonder and gratitude as it is your first and last day of your life, realize your potential and help others likewise. Knowing and sharing these truths is the little we can do to help those whose lives may be otherwise wasted....
Dark shades of clothing absorb light which then converts into heat. Light shades reflect light, causing no noticeable change in heat. That’s why dark clothing is worn in winter and light clothing in summer.
Likewise, when we are stressed out, our mood darkens, we absorb light and our body temperature rises. When we are happy, lighthearted, we reflect light and are calm and cool....
Those who absorb light are dull. Those who reflect light are brilliant....
Successful students reflect their teacher’s light. Brilliant students look outside their classroom to see what the sun’s light reveals....
Some years back, when one of my children passed puberty, one day they called me “Victor.” It sounded odd, but that’s a way some children assert themselves. I laughed at what some might take as disrespectful and said: “You can call me whatever you wish but if you cease calling me “father” I might forget I’m your father and you might not like the consequences of having our relationship like that I have with others whom I equally love but who aren’t in my will.” They never again called me “Victor,” but that might be because I would not have recognized them if they had....
The most frequently used noun in the English language is “time.” Remarkably, the most frequently used noun identifies something that’s not real, a concept. This suggests that life is an experience in the context of time. Actually, life is more an experience of time than of life.
(The most frequently used pronoun is “I.” The most frequently used verb is the “be” complex as in “am.” The most frequently used noun is “time.” Based on the frequency of use, what we never say is what we say the most frequently: “I be time” or, derivatively, “I am time.”)
However, there is an alternative way of experiencing life, outside the context of time; when past, present and future are one. Everything is one in the pre-sent; when there is only one thing, nothing, before there is everything.
In the pre-sent, we realize samadhi, the highest state of consciousness. In samadhi, we are one with the universe, free from our illusory self. Samadhi is a state of joyus calm as we experience the beauty of creation. Meditation is the road to samadhi....
When we are selfless, we treat others as we treat ourselves. Implicitly, the self, our identity as a finite being that’s apart and separate from others, is what separates us from being one with others....
“A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money.”
A funny line because we have mental associations and make generalizations about the rich which bear little truth regarding an individual who happens to be rich. The undoubtable truth is that the rich man is simply a man who has money. When the truth is revealed and we realize our mental constructs are illusionary is the essence of something funny.
Being rich is a matter of money, but otherwise it’s meaningless. Any inferences made based on someone having money is poor judgement. Good judgement is more valuable than money.
Money comes and goes. Good judgement doesn’t necessarily assure money coming, but it’s helpful in keeping it from going.
Poor judgement and good luck can bring great wealth, as in heavily playing the lottery and winning. Good judgement, unlike poor judgement, more likely assures our basic needs of food, shelter, security and health. Once our basic needs are met, we are absolutely rich. Realizing this truth is good judgement.
When we are absolutely rich but perceive ourselves as poor relative to others, we will always be poor because we have poor judgement....
“Tragedy is just comedy that hasn’t come to fruition. One day we will laugh at this. We will laugh at everything.”
“Everyone is a comedy. If people are laughing at you they just don’t understand the joke that is themselves.”
Life is a play, “Terrific.” The play is our journey in life. It starts as a tragedy and ends as a farce. When we get scripted out of the play, we join the gods in the audience for whom the play of human follies provides entertainment. Those who realize this truth have a wonderful journey; forever, whether on stage or in the audience. For those who don’t, life is a mix of good and bad roles in the play and eventually they die....
“Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until they speak.”...
The mind is the night sky.
Stars are events we remember.
Imaginary lines create constellations
whose stories affect what we see in the day....
The way is the nature of the universe; ever-changing, interdependent, eternal and infinite light manifestations of the sole One, the soul. The Way is the path we take from when we are a manifestation in bodily form at birth to our bodily death when all that remains is the soul. When we know the way of Way, we can be one with the One before our bodily death. Then, the Way disappears as the illusion it always was and all that remains is light. We are present, the soul before it is realized as light manifestations.
When the present is realized as light, our sensuous experience of it cannot be described (it is what it is whatever it is) but as the acronym of the way of Way (“WOW”). The sound of WOW is made by puckering our lips like when we kiss what we love, that to which we connect with as one. WOW is also our reaction upon awakening, when we don’t remember who we were yesterday, what we need to do later today and everything around us appears as we’ve never seen it before....
As stars are motionless,
the sky is timeless.
Yet constellations tell time far and near,
time of night and the month of year....
“Formal [college] education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”
A college education reduces the risk of winding up with a low paying job. Those who are self-educated are precluded from most well paying jobs; hence, they can take a low paying job or try their luck with self-employment where there’s a chance they make it big or lose whatever they had. Clearly, the self-education route is risky. Risk taking is a key to making a fortune.
A formal education is a reactive process as students strive to come up with what their teachers have determined are the conventionally “right” answers. Essentially, successful students excel at conformity of thought, not at creative thinking, which limits their ability to create exceptional value in the confines of a large organization. Self-education is proactive, motivated by having more questions than answers and characterized by independent thinking which ultimately can lead to discovering new, better or cheaper ways of doing things.
Buddha and Christ had no gurus....
All around us are things things things, thousands and thousands of things and things that change into other things. However, when we move farther and farther away from things, the things become smaller and smaller until all we can see is one thing. This is the universe, one thing that we see as an infinite number of things which in turn makes us oblivious that it is only one thing. Seeing the one as many is our mind’s creation; otherwise the many things don’t exist.
This realization, that the many are One, can happen anytime but often happens during the transition as we become selfless, merging into one thing which is what we have always been.
As all things are just infinite aspects of one thing, we cannot describe the one thing beyond saying that it is what it is whatever it is. Yet, as it is selfless, those who know it feel it as all of mankind at peace
Shanti Shalom Salaam....
As we come to the the third anniversary of our blog, I, your humble narrator, thank you for your presence, accepting the blog’s presents which I’m happy to deliver. However, I wonder, as I rarely receive comments on the posts but from a few people, whether many in our small audience of subscribers are finding the blog entertaining or otherwise worthwhile. My aim is that at least one person gets something out of it; otherwise, why continue with it. But, I may be hedged as I thoroughly enjoy it.
Always and all ways,
“Like Bernie Madoff made off with the money, Sam Bankman-Fried will be a bankman fried.”
In German, a digraph (two letters together that spell one sound) made of two vowels is pronounced as the second vowel. Thus, “Fried” is pronounced as “freed.” In English, only the first vowel is pronounced. Thus, “Fried” is pronounced as “fried.”
In Germany, which is not as punitive as the U.S., Sam Bankman-Fried, if found guilty, would likely be “freed” after a handful of years in prison. In the U.S., he would be “fried,” imprisoned for a couple of decades....
“I make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes.”
All that’s now is now no longer.
What is gone doesn’t exist.
All there is is what comes next
with which we can just do our best....
Who we are is our way.
The road to our destination is the Way.
When we know our way
we know the Way....
The definition of “expensive” is costly. It’s etymology is Late Latin expensa, “disbursement, outlay.”
However, perhaps the root of expensive is simply things people buy without (ex) thinking (pensive) about price.
Only without thinking about price, one easily buys an off-the-rack Kiton sports jacket ($9,995) at Neiman Marcus instead of an equally functional jacket at Men’s Warehouse for $100. That’s what the Emperor does if the emperor has no clothes.
Those who buy expensive jewelry are schmucks. Schmuck is the German word for jewelry....
God’s pupil, the sun, reveals the world.
When our pupils see the world,
we are God’s pupils or pupil....
When I was a child in Act 1 of the play of life, “Terrific,” my parents, friends and teachers showed me the ways of this world. However, their views were not as interesting to me as the views of the elders, my grandfathers. As my grandfathers’ perspectives were from the end of days, Act 3, I felt the light they projected from their position to mine would best show me the way forward.
My paternal grandfather came from Leipzig, Germany. He, my grandmother and father escaped to Israel in 1938, just before all roads out of Germany closed to Jews. My grandfather was a successful businessman in the printing business in Germany and the envelope manufacturing business in Israel. Yet, after 18 years in Israel, my father, who worked for my grandfather and had married my mother in 1950, yearned for the economic opportunities he envisioned in America. So in 1956, when I was 6 and my sister was 2, we moved with my grandparents to Brooklyn, N.Y.
My grandfather opposed moving to America. Before leaving Israel, he told my mother to take a long deep look at the comforts she had in Israel because it would be a long time before she would have those comforts in America. He was right. My family arrived in America during a recession and struggled for several years.
My grandfather went through many ups and downs in life. However, with his ability to see situations from many different perspectives, he always found creative solutions to whatever problems arose. Moreover, he always found a perspective that made a situation funny and was always grateful as every situation could have always be worse. This was the foundation of his happiness. His was the attitude that I naturally adopted.
My maternal grandfather was a dry goods store owner in Haifa, Israel. His approach to life was to enjoy the physical pleasures of life; eating, talking and sex. However, as his lifestyle took its toll, in his last years, he was overweight, diabetic and unsteady on his feet. That taught me that getting fat is just deserts for eating just desserts. While he would likely have been in better shape had he restrained his desires, in his last days he felt the pleasures he realized were greater than their costs. He too was happy. Enjoy the physical pleasures of life is what I learned from his life.
My grandfathers made clear my way; to physically enjoy life and realize my potential by making the best of every situation. That describes my life in Act 2. While my grandfathers would likely not have approved many of the choices I made on the way to where I am now, a grandfather in Act 3, their light guided my way on a happy life which is all my grandfathers would have hoped.
Moreover, now that I’m in Act 3, the transition, I’m no longer interested in the views of elders. I’m drawn to the energy of those younger; especially my grandchildren. They are closer to where I’m going than I am. Maybe they can reflect the light from which they come to guide me to where I’m going....
The past is just a small number of photos which we weave into a movie. While constrained by what’s depicted in the photos, seemingly happy or sad scenes, we nevertheless have great freedom to make the movie a comedy or tragedy. Our attitude determines the storyline. However, when we take what we see in the photos seriously, we lose our freedom to make the movie to our liking....
“Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.”
This motto is the mindset of those with the eating disorder anorexia.
Anorexia aside, the motto may serve well those trying to diet and exercise for good health outcomes and conventional good looks.
A change in diet and an exercise routine take time before their effects on health and looks are noticeable. For many, these desired outcomes are not as enticing as the immediate gratification from eating with abandon while sedentary, watching TV. However, a diet and exercise program also provides immediate gratification when we focus on how we feel when we dress in the morning and our clothing feels a bit but noticeably less tight than yesterday; a wonderful feeling that lasts all day. Nothing tastes, or lasts as as long, as good as that feels.
Moreover, while a healthy diet and exercise are positively correlated with life expectancy, time and effort spent to increase one’s life expectancy is a fool’s errand as no one is getting out of here alive. However, diet and exercise forestall chronic diseases which are often overwhelming distractions from simply enjoying being alive. Health life expectancy is the time before the onset of chronic diseases. On average, health life expectancy is ten years less than life expectancy. Ten years maybe is a reasonable sentence for the foolish crime of abusing one’s body instead of rejoicing with consciously eating and sex, an exercise which provides immediate gratification and longer-term health and appearance benefits. Maybe that’s why Kate Moss liked the feeling of being thin, that made her attractive so that she could engage sexually with anyone she wished and have fun exercising....
We are born at sunrise and start making our way,
following our shadow which gets smaller and smaller until midday.
Then our shadow behind us again grows
and we follow the sun to where no one knows.
The way forward is clear after midday
unless our shadow appears which means we’re going the wrong way....
In this holiday season, marked by gift giving and celebrations, it feels great to be wealthy.
Wealthy are those whose have what they need in terms of food, shelter, security and health and know they need nothing more. Wealthy are those who rejoice with what they have now and are not distracted by desires for that which they don’t have. Moreover, the wealthy are grateful as they know their circumstances could always be worse. When we are wealthy, we are great-full; full of feeling great....
Wealthy and admirable are those who make the best with whatever little they have. Poor, pitiful and absurdly funny are those who try to appear wealthy, as the emperor who had no clothes....
“You can’t go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending.”
While this quote is misattributed to C. S. Lewis, a British writer and Anglican lay theologian, it is consistent with his general thinking.
We can’t simultaneously hold onto the past and have a firm grip of the steering wheel....
We are all the same before we are born and all the same after we are no longer. We come from and go to a calm, timeless, eternal place where only the soul resides. Some call this place heaven.
Infinite selves are born of the soul. The selves make their way through life but cannot survive the transition back to heaven. Only the soul survives in life and heaven.
In life, we are a temporary self identity and the eternal soul identity of which we are often oblivious. When our identity is the selfless soul, we are in heaven....
As stress, directly or indirectly (as a factor leading to an unhealthy diet), results in poor health outcomes, it’s ironic that many health conscious people worry about their health....
We have two general identities, the self and the soul. The self is our identity in life. The soul is our identity eternally. Hence, those who only identify with their self will ultimately die when their physical bodies are no longer, while those who identify with the soul are eternal.
We each have an individual self; hence, there are billions of selves on Earth now. But there is only one soul to which we are all connected.
The self guides us through life; in effect, our self controls us. Our self is a mental function, an interplay of our senses and memories and related stories that frame our experience in life.
The soul is God. Everything, before it is manifested in the now, is the soul. The soul is the pre-sent, the time before time begins.
The self identifies as being apart and separate from all that is not its finite body. The soul identifies everything as its manifestation as the soul is the progenitor of everything. The soul recognizes every-thing as temporary and finite, yet part of itself. To the soul, the universe is one thing with infinite centers.
Those whose identity is the soul are selfless; treating everything as they would treat themselves, for they know that they and everything are one. This is compassion.
The multitude of selves have the capacity to understand much of what happens in the now. The soul understands nothing, the pre-sent. Yet the soul knows, while the self cannot know. Knowing is ultimate wisdom.
As nothing is perfect in life, suffering of one sort or another is common. However, suffering is the domain of the self. The soul does not experience suffering. The soul’s experience of things is that it is what it is whatever it is. Our soul identity provides us a respite from suffering and brings us to peace.
The key to a peaceful life is knowing who we truly are. While ultimately all of us will be at peace as one, as we were before we were born, it would be beautiful if all are at peace on Earth....
Hope all is well and getting better.
May you have a healthy, wealthy and happy New Year and all time thereafter.
Health is key to realizing wealth. Wealth is having our needs provided and not distracting us from realizing happiness.
Always and all ways,
All there is is now
and what is before now
which is everything,
before it is something.
What was before now is no longer,
but a memory.
Our self is in the now and what was before now.
Our soul is before the now....
Those who are not enlightened, live in darkness. Their life is a dream; sometimes a happy dream, sometimes a sad one and much of it somewhere in-between. As each day is another dream, they need to be extraordinarily lucky to have their entire life a happy dream.
The enlightened have happy lives. They realize they and the universe are one, the soul that some call God. The soul forever cycles between revealing itself, changing and disappearing. As we are God, we are free from the endless cycle of dreaming. The realization of our oneness with the soul makes for a happy life and death as there is no death and whatever is we accept as it is what it is whatever it is.
Unlike the dreamers who take their dreams seriously, the enlightened know life is a play, a comedy (“Terrific”) we perform before an audience of Gods. Moreover, when we are scripted out of the play we join our fellow Gods to watch the hilarious play of actors taking their dreams seriously....
“The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.”
Likewise, the less you look, the more you can see.
In quietude and with eyes closed, we are free from the world our mind has created, we forget our self and solely the soul remains which is all that ever was, is and will be....
Empathy is selfish, soulless. Compassion is selfless, soulful.
How we think and feel defines who we perceive we are in this life, our self. How the self experiences life as it unfolds in the now is a function of stories, generalizations and categorizes our self has created. What we experience is not the now but our stories. Moreover, our self perceives us as apart and separate from everything that is other than our self; thereby, our self denies the existence of the soul, the common progenitor of everything.
When we are freed from the world according to our self, we are selfless. Selfless, we experience life as it is, through many perspectives, not solely our own personal perspective based on our stories and generalizations. This is wisdom. Moreover, as selfless, we are the epitome of compassion as we treat others as we wish to be treated because they and us are one, not apart and separate.
Without the self, all that remains is us as an expression of the soul. The soul is the essence of everything, every-thing before it is what it is whatever it is.
For example, crying over spilt milk is selfish. Once the milk has spilled, it is now no longer. There is no reality to the milk but as it exists in our mind, the self. Our crying is in reaction to our self’s illusion that the milk existed and is now lost. Having empathy for someone crying over spilt milk implies the empath is also selfish, taking the illusion created by the self as real. This reinforces the self’s existence.
Alternatively, when we are selfless, we are soulful. We dismiss someone’s crying over spilt milk as nonsense. Instead of empathy for the person crying, we have compassion. We nurture their soul to expand its expressions. We do so by helping them see many perspectives as to how to make the best of their current circumstances. We focus on ways they can make fresh milk or other things, like babies, that expand the expressions of the soul.
Likewise and simply, empathy is when we commiserate with someone who is distraught after having lost their job. Compassion is helping them