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

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

...

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

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

...

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

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

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

...

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

That’s a typical view of a 16 year old boy. However, this boy, Richards, happens to live in a body that looks like a haggard 80 year old. At 16, much of life is new and engaging and peak experiences are everywhere to be had. We love it all, want more and are excited about what’s next. However, as we age many of us focus our attention on keeping  ourselves looking young, not at experiencing the world as someone young.

...

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

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

...

“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. We die in the evening and are reborn in the morning with some resemblance to the person we were yesterday. So “good mourning,” have a good time mourning the person you were yesterday but don’t take that person too seriously as doing so will interfere with living your life today, the only life you have.

...

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

Everything is unique. No thing can be described or categorized as doing so would make it like some things and unlike other things. Thus, it can only be said that it is what it is whatever it is. He who speaks, to explain or describe, does not know of what he speaks; revealing his ignorance, not knowledge.

...

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

For those enlightened, everything is fascinating.

...

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

We and the universe are one. We are ever-changing, temporary manifestations of the universe.

...

Almost every person’s life is fascinating, entertaining; but that’s often not their experience of it.

Sleeping through life, a rhythm of habits and role-playing is not an interesting life.

...

The past is an illusion we create to entertain ourselves as tragedy or comedy. When we take it seriously we make our present experience an illusion as well. So if the past is not entertaining or we’re taking it seriously, best to dispense with it altogether and make the most of the situations in which we find ourselves.

...

Everyone I’ve ever met, whether they are dead or alive today, is right here, right now. I connect to them all, wherever they may be, and have their perspectives. Of this, I have no doubt as I know it cannot be otherwise. Everything happens at once and our mind has created time frames to create the illusion of past, present and future.  It seems strange that most people don’t experience the world this way.

...

It is funny that we hold in admiration those in roles of great wealth and power as their roles could easily be played by most of us. It is those whose lives are fraught with difficulties whom we should respect for their roles are most difficult. As well, we need to be thankful to them as someone needs to play those roles; if they didn’t then a vacancy might have us enlisted.

...

If someone doesn’t love or respect you, you are no different than they are if you resent them. Best to feel badly for them because they don’t get it.

...

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

...

A crazy society takes someone who is crazy seriously. Individually, we are crazy when they take our own crazy thoughts seriously.

...

When facing the sun, energized by the light, we can easily be oblivious of the shadows we cast on those nearby.

While bathing in the joy of enlightenment, we are truly not enlightened if we fail to see the sorrow we bring upon others. The essence of enlightenment is wisdom and compassion, identifying with everyone and everything.

...

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

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

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

...

Our sun reveals the finite world we know. Only at night, when we and our nearby star go to sleep, we realize there are infinite worlds as infinite stars are revealed. Wise are those who before they asleep know this secret of the night and that each of us is a star.

...

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

When we think we know something, our curiosity evaporates and we cease exploring to become truly knowledgeable.

...

“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.”

Other than for refining our risk management skills, dwelling on past events limits our ability to identify opportunities going forward.

...

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

Love is when the means and the ends are one.

...

“Ignorance is bliss.”

When we realize we know nothing about that which engages us, we are in bliss as our curiosity takes us on a journey of endless possibilities. When we think we really know something or what we’re doing, we are entombed in the imaginary bliss of ignorance.

 

...

Taste is a matter of taste, though some tastes are rudimentary, some highly developed and some sophisticated.

A small number of us are born with a super-sensitive nervous system and a refined sense of taste. The rest of us have a rudimentary sense of taste; we can’t say more about a sensual experience than that we like it or not; often don’t particularly take note of the experience. We can however develop our sense of taste to highly developed or sophisticated.

Through “meditative tasting” we can develop taste. Meditative tasting is limiting a sensuous experience to one sensory channel (sight, sound, taste, smell or touch), having many such experiences and articulating these experiences.

Alternatively, some develop sophisticated tastes which are a mark of a sophisticated people. Sophisticated people, as in the word sophistry, are primarily focused on appearing knowledgeable and having fine tastes but ultimately their sense of taste is rudimentary as their focus is not on the sensual experience but on how they appear.

...

At birth, the moment one becomes finite and no longer one with everything, newborns cry while everyone else is deaf to their cries and joyous. At death, the dying (who are about to become one with everything) die without a whimper while everyone about them cries. Maybe newborns and the dying, whom everyone views as understanding little at their stage of life, truly know something to which the rest of us are oblivious.

...

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

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

...

Best treatment for stress or pain is laughter as it’s hard to be stressed out or in pain when we’re laughing. What’s funny when we’re stressed out or in pain? It’s almost always funny when we take ourselves seriously which is what we’re doing when stressed out or in pain.

...

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

The etymology of mind is memory. Memory is a wonderful servant as it allows us to learn from our past experiences, successes and failures, to make good choices going forward. Memory is a terrible master when it creates categories for our past experiences and we experience the present not freely as it is but as a function of the category in which we place it. The categories are like a prison. When we cannot experience the present as it is, free of associations with other experiences, we are prisoners of our mind. Prison guards, however friendly, rule over us.

...

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

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

...

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

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

Those hearing the sound of distant music inaudible to those living in noisy villages express their creativity as they dance to the beat of a different drummer. Are they happy? Yes. Insane? No. Maybe those who think them insane are simply projecting their own insanity on others.

...

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

...

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

Best to manage risks than focus on opportunities.

...

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

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

...

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

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

...

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

Sleeping through life is akin to not to have lived.

...

The difference between an eccentric and someone enlightened is the former tries to get a rise out of others and the latter tries to get others to arise.

To get “a rise” out of someone is to annoy them as happens when you try to “arise” them from their sleep. The eccentric tries to awaken others whether or not they so desire, while someone enlightened helps others awaken only if asked to do so.

...

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

...

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

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

...

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

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

...

It’s all for the best as long as we make the best of our circumstances.

The present presents us with terrific possibilities as long as we’re not distracted by what might have been or what’s not available.

...

Bell ringing in the empty sky

Sound bouncing on my face

Awakening to time passing

...

Translating faces into words

Seeing my face in reflection

Strange letters hard to read

...

Those who are certain they understand things and things to come beyond a doubt undoubtedly don’t understand much.

The only thing certain is that each perspective is limited and much of life is random.

...

Hard to remember who we were in previous lives when oblivious to who we are in this life, one of infinite manifestations of energy and one with everything.

Our identities transition but we are eternal.

...

Thirsty child drawing with fountain pen

Drinks from the inkwell

His parents turn white

...

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

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

...

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

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

...

There’s nothing new under the sun

Only ever-changing flames from the eternally burning bush

And sounds of waves of light crashing on the shore at night

...

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

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

...

“The more you look the less you see.”

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

...

“Our shit don’t stink.”

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

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

...

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

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

...

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

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

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

...

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

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

...

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

A grain of sand is rarer than a star, yet surprisingly less noticeable or valuable. Perhaps 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 perhaps we are attracted to the shiny, not to the dull; or the mysteries of faraway stars stir our imagination which allows something to be anything, but grains of sand are grains of sand.

...

Our mind ascribes meanings to experiences which distort reality.

For example, if it comes to the light of day that our mate is having a mutually pleasurably affair with our best friend, we might be upset as this means we have been betrayed and they both are not trustworthy. However, these meanings are stories we’ve been told, we embrace and frame how we view the world. In reality, our mate and our best friend are simply enjoying themselves. How can we not be happy for both of them.

This is an enlightened perspective: accepting the world without judgment (it is what it is whatever it is), free from Karmic prisons (the stories we’ve made up and believe about our past keep us from experiencing the present as it presents itself) and happy to see others enjoy themselves.

...

So much depends upon

five baby rubber ducks

walking behind the red rooster.

...

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

...

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

Our perspective forms our reality.

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

...

“Silence is the greatest secret in the world.”

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

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

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

...

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

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

...

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

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

...

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

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

Ignorance: Fucked if I know.

Trouble: I guess I am fucked now!

Fraud: I got fucked at the used car lot.

Aggression: Fuck you!

Displeasure: What the fuck is going on here?

Difficulty: I can’t understand this fucking job.

Incompetence: He is a fuck-off.

Suspicion: What the fuck are you doing?

Enjoyment: I had a fucking good time.

Request: Get the fuck out of here.

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

Greeting: How the fuck are you?

Apathy: Who gives a fuck?

Innovation: Get a bigger fucking hammer.

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

Anxiety: Today is really fucked.

...

Bullshit

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

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

...

Each of us plays several roles in the play of life; some difficult, some easy. Difficult roles include having mental and physical health issues, poverty, dangerous situations, etc.; roles that require taking ourselves and our situations seriously. Easy roles are happy, simple lives. Difficult roles can win an Academy Award; easy roles not. Given the chances of winning an Academy Award, best to forgo that chance and go with the easy roles.

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

...

The Pope asked the Zen master: “Since you are one with everything, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” Zen master responded: “What’s a pin?”

“How many angels can dance on the head of a pin” is an expression from medieval times referring to the philosophical clergy debating pointless topics. Zen has no interest in angels as it questions the very basic assumptions we make about the identify of anything (say, a pin) as everything is forever in transition and as such cannot be described as it is somehow different by the time one finishes describing it. The point (no pun intended) of this post is to contrast the western religious view that presupposes certain concepts as reality (angels) with the eastern view that questions what we all agree is reality (a pin).

...

Everywhere people often ask two questions upon viewing something unfamiliar: what is it and how much does it cost. Only in Hong Kong have I heard people ask these questions in reverse order.

If something is priced beyond its affordability to certain people, they apparently aren’t interested in it’s utility as they don’t want to desire that which they cannot afford to buy. Desiring that which you cannot have is the foundation of suffering.

...

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

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

...

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

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

...

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

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

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

...

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

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

...

The universe is an ever-changing manifestation of light and its tangible forms (Mass = Energy divided by the speed of light squared), a fascinating kaleidoscope. Even more fascinating is each of our individual perceptions of it all. However, we can make it boring by sleeping through it all.

When we find something boring, we are looking at ourselves. Best to awaken, open our eyes and see the dynamic universe with its intense energy and beauty and let our curiosity take us on an uncertain journey. If we don’t see the energy and beauty, we are still asleep.

...

The answers are everywhere, all around us. But as much as we search for them, we will never find them until we ask questions.

Questions reveal the brilliance of mind. If they don’t, the questions make evident that we are searching for answers in the darkness, not asking questions. The brilliance of mind makes visible all the answers that are otherwise shrouded in darkness. For example, asking “what happens when one is enlightened?” is searching for answers in the darkness; asking “who am I” will reveal everything.

 

...

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

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

...

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

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

...

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

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

...

As the present is all there is, the present is the greatest present we can receive. Upon receipt, we know we’re alive; that all that was, never was; where we are is where we want to be.

...

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

...

Times heals all wounds but when we run out of time everything is healed. That is, when we transition from our finite lives (when we die) there are no wounds to heal. Best to heal all wounds before we transition by realizing the victim stories our minds created from our presumed past are not real, just stories with which we burden ourselves. Letting go of these burdensome stories allows us to otherwise spend our time to fully realize our purpose in life and, without the pain and stress of these imaginary wounds, have a bit more time before we transition.

...

“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

...

Everywhere are two-way mirrors with small holes. The mirrors separate us, allowing only an occasional glimpse of each other through the holes. Otherwise, all we see everywhere are reflections of ourselves.

Ninety percent of what we see and experience is ourselves. “We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.” — Anais Nin. However, if we smash the mirrors we can see everyone and the universe as it is and in so doing never see ourselves again.

...

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

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

...

Never the truth lies. Never the truth stands.  The truth is not subject to gravity as it gives rise to levity.*

The truth never lies or stands as the truth is not subject to the laws of gravity. As the truth is the truth, it never lies. As societies are invariably lying to themselves, the truth never stands in their way. While for some the truth might initially be of disturbing gravity, as the truth reveals the illusion of falsehoods it gives rise to levity for all.

* The treatment of a serious matter with humor or in a manner lacking due respect. In old science (16c.- 17c.), the name of a force or property of physical bodies, the opposite of gravity, causing them to tend to rise.

...

“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. Either way, our stories are like the children’s game of Chinese whispers; the stories change as we retell them to ourselves and others over time. Often the stories have little relationship with the past facts upon which presumably they are based.

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

...

All things are reflections, initially reflections of light and 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 we cannot see it when reflecting on what has passed.

...

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

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

...

“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.”

Life is a glass of sparkling water.
Each of us a bubble that seems to come out of nowhere,
transitioning its way to the top of the glass
and then seems to disappear.
We don’t disappear.
We become one with everything
which is what we have been from the beginning.

...

“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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.

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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 cages. Surely we would view them differently if we shared their cage, assuming we survive the experience. In the zoo we view them in isolation, superficially; unlike the experience of meeting them in a cage face to face where all we see is their true nature and our own.

...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“The Way [Tao] is ever nameless. Though simple and subtle…As soon as rules were made, names were given. There are already many names. One must know when it is enough. Those who know when it is enough will not perish.” — Tao Te Ching, Chapter 32.

Names are descriptions and identities. They are essential to the networks of communication and social order. Names are shortcut references to aspects of reality. However, names mask reality. Describing and explaining too much can make us oblivious to reality. While reality cannot be described, it can be known. Those who know reality know that it is one, with no beginning and no end, that they and reality are one and as such they never die as death is also a name.

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

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

 

...

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

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

When we have enough money to provide for our needs, we can focus our time on realizing our divine potential. As to our wants, we will never have enough money to satisfy them; thus we can waste our time and upset ourselves desiring that which we cannot have or try to make more money that will never be enough.

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

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

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“Real eyes   realize   real lies.”

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

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

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

...

Our time in this world is small. The time before and after is big. By focusing on the big time and unlocking its mystery our purpose in life becomes self-evident. If we can’t solve that mystery, simply live as you would wish to be remembered.

...

When we asleep we are one with everything. When we awaken we can quickly assume our prior identities and live in the shadows of the past or we can realize we are slowly separating from being one with everything and becoming selves that are apart and separate from everything. The latter is truly an awakening to the light.  Either way, once awakened, the purpose of life is to become one with everything before we temporarily or permanently asleep.

...

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 and are no longer unique; nor are we one with everything as group identities create a world of us and them.

...

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

When we have what we need we are free. Wanting imprisons us by demanding our attention. It will never be satisfied as the more we feed it the hungrier it gets.

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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 which ultimately destroy us.

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

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

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

Self-consciousness precedes universal consciousness.

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“Liberty produces wealth, and wealth destroys liberty.”

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

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

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

...

They understand much and know little;

long on intelligence, short on wisdom;

have more answers than questions.

High on an imaginary pecking order.

Never in doubt, often wrong.

The more they look the less they see

for they cannot see what they cannot imagine.

 

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

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“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.

...

Every moment is an extraordinary moment of creation that we should treat accordingly. Otherwise, what goes around comes around, we kill time until time kills us. This happens simultaneously, as killing time is an acknowledgement that we are dead.

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I took LSD when I was 16. I can’t describe the experience. It is ineffable. It is what it is whatever it is. Like the Tao, it is nameless; like Moses meeting God in the desert who identifies himself to Moses as “I am who I am.”

The only memory I have of it all 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. Alternatively, I realized I was a prisoner of mind and that the only path to freedom was to merge mind and self as mind and self is all there is. That realization, the first awakening.

...

Our time in life is relatively short when compared to the time after we transition to death and before we transition to birth. The time before birth must be long because we can’t remember any of it. But maybe we don’t remember it because before birth we are one with everything and as such, with no mind, there is nothing to remember.

...

An ice cube alone melts faster than many ice cubes congregating together.

Connecting with others is energizing which in turn sustains us.

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

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

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“The banality of evil.”

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

...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Survival of the fittest.”

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

...

Every thing is everything and everything is nothing.

Every thing is unique. No thing can be described or categorized as every thing is forever transitioning, a temporary part of everything and one with everything. As every thing does not exist before it transitions into its present form, everything is nothing.

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“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.”

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Others hear the sounds we make when we express our unsolicited opinions. But 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 nearby.

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

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

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

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

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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 and our individual perspectives of reflections of mind are from those respective points. We each tend to take our finite perspective seriously and identify it as 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.

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Happiness is not necessarily doing that which we enjoy but that which leaves us with happy memories.

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

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To see things as they really are, not as a function of our memories or limited perspectives, we need close our eyes; for everything otherwise is an illusion; it’s true nature is nothingness; never-changing and eternal.

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Idol worship is holding sacred a tangible object and interacting with it as though it is god, that which reigns supreme over all that will transpire over time.  The idol negates the sacredness of all else. Everything, however, is a manifestation of god. Holding an object sacred and another not negates the presence of god in everything. Likewise, taking something (other than that which are lives are dependent upon) very seriously is akin to idol worship.

i-doll a doll representing me. t’m taking myself too seriously  when you forget you are one of the gods and you behave like an animal. god sees this world as entertainmtent; if you don’t you are not god

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

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

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Everything is interesting. If not, that too is interesting as that tells us something about ourselves: that we are not interesting. Much of life is experiencing ourselves again and again in different forms; always the same and always and all ways different.

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Life is surprising, challenging and ultimately amusing. That’s the definition of a funhouse.

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When we identify with one country, one religion, one political party or one role in life to the exclusion of all others, our experience of life is not unique and we are oblivious that we are one with everything. We are however what we’ve always been: nothing, nothing shrouded by various identities. Nothing is forever nothing.

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

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When you are at the bed of someone who is transitioning, at the point when they will not return in bodily form, the last goodnight, the last sleep after countless thousands of temporary sleeps; hold their hand and play transcendental music like a bell ringing in the empty sky to quiet their mind until they and the waves of sound become one. If the urge to speak arises, 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.”

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

The only 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.

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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.

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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 but for looking forward to their bonus. The successful employer looks forward.

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The phrase “it’s all downhill from here” has duel meanings: 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.

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“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.

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No thing but nothing is forever.

The universe is ever-changing manifestations of nothing. Every thing, before and after it is, is nothing.

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Follow your dreams only if you keep your eyes open.

If you’re passionate about a career but lack the talent to make dollars, it doesn’t make sense.

A singer with a lot of passion and no talent can be successful as a comedian.

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

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

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

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Unlike the light atop a lamppost that guides our path forward, generalizations and the stories we’ve created to describe the past are like a lamppost supporting a befuddled drunkard who thinks he’s on good footing and understands the world about him.

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

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

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The more you look the less you see.

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

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

Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi sold for $450.3 million on November 15, 2017 at Christie’s.

The discerning buyer, by definition, has good judgement. The sophisticated buyer has a great deal of worldly experience and knowledge of fashion and culture. However, the sophisticated buyer, as implied by the root of the word sophisticated, is a sucker for sophism, a specious argument used for deceiving someone.

An artwork is not worth much beyond its current cost of production when we can’t tell a genuine historical artwork from its facsimile as they both provide us with the same visual experience. That an artwork is rare, important and whatever are just magic words that levitate its price as high as the sky in an imaginary world. That’s called buying with our ears not our eyes.

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The body’s nerve cells make up 2% of its cells and consume 20% of its energy.

“I’ve got the brains and you’ve got the money. Let’s go into business. In the first year we’ll be partners, split everything 50/50.”  “What about the second year?” “In the second year I’ll have the money and you’ll have the brains.”

While the mind does not do hard physical work as do other cells, it creates our reality which saps much more energy.  It is also nimble at tricking others and often ourselves as well.

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I am God. Anyone who doesn’t recognize I’m God doesn’t recognize that they are God.

God is the creator of the universe. The universe is the manifestation of God. God and the universe are one.

God is that which is beyond our understanding. But we can know God. We can experience God. But there are no words to describe the experience. Thus, “[h]e who speaks, does not know. He who knows, does not speak.” — Lao Lzu.  That is why God, in the Bible when asked who he is, responds: “I am who I am.”

Who are you?

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Bad luck is better than no luck.

Misfortune we can attribute to bad luck. Doing so doesn’t diminish our confidence in our abilities, choices or efforts; thus, confidence allows us another chance at whatever at which we failed.

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

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Everything is energy, waves of light and sound. When energy is slowed, it takes tangible forms, matter (E=M*C*C). On a personal level, we can convert matter into energy.

Our interactions spark energy. When our interactions are habitual or mechanical, the energy sparks are almost imperceptible. However, when our interactions are sincere and authentic, 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 expressed as heartfelt laughs.

How does that feel? Terrific, the energy is therapeutic as laughter is the best remedy for pain and stress.

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Leaves and flowers come and go.

Branches slow to grow,

only seen by those who know.

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Wisdom is having and amalgamating multiple perspectives, not solely the perspective from our finite selves, the “I” 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. Alternatively, we can view our current circumstances from the prospective of the end of our days, the death perspective. The death perspective allows us insights into the many possible consequences (and how we would feel if they came to be) from the choices we make today; thus, limiting our regrets at the end of our days.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Between the drum beats of the pulse

between the motion of breathing

there is an empty space where all is still.

When young, I anxiously waited in the empty space

for the next beat or breath to engage my attention.

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

From here, I can appreciate the wonder of creation.

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

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

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

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

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We often let the past overshadow the future, making the future hard to see in the clear light of day. It’s hard to see forward when looking back at the past. Those who know the present are best at seeing the future. Those who understand the present in the context of the past know little.

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 tomorrow as will the person who knows only that it is trading now at $45.

...

We are but drops of water raining from the sky.

No need to wonder why,

as it’s clear when we die

in the ground, river or sea

where but a memory are we.

...

“If it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense.”

If it makes cents, it may eventually make dollars.

...

“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

and on the floor worthless.

Same paint, never the same.

...

Some lives are complicated, some simple. Complicated lives seem more interesting with lots of scenes, emotional upheavals, dramas, complications and details. But as the devil is in the details, complicated lives are a dance with the devil and at times overwhelming.

Simple lives are happy lives, filled with gratitude for their good fortune of living simple lives.

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.

...

Don’t read tea leaves too carefully lest you create a tempest in a teacup.

...

Whether a glass is half-full or half-empty depends on our attitude; half-full reflects gratitude; half-empty implies suffering which arises from desiring that which is not available. Regardless of our attitude, the glass is always full, ranging from full of liquid to full of air. Something like air is not visually tangible and that we take it for granted doesn’t deny its existence.

...

We cannot predict an uncertain future based on our perception of the past. However, while the present is what it is whatever it is, we can explain the present in the context of the past. Thus, the past is of little value.

...

“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.

...

“God is in the detail” is an old expression now rarely used which means that attention paid to small matters, details, can produce big rewards.  When we are silent, still and carefully observe details, God is revealed and we realize we and God are one.

This expression has evolved into “the devil is in the details” which means details can be devilishly troublesome impediments to a successful course of action. When pursuing our goals we objectify the world with which we have an adversarial relationship.

As we are often busy focusing on our goals, we rarely explore details around us to simply appreciate them and enjoy ourselves. Exploring details, not pursuing goals beyond our needs for sustenance, is the purpose of life. Better to commune with God than negotiate with the devil.

...

“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.

...

Everyone seems to want to be happy. I’m clearly happy. Yet, no one wants to be like me, eccentric (etymology: out of center). People choose to be with their unhappy friends, relatives, associates and drama-filled roles in life rather than to be independent-minded and happy. Most are afraid of parting with their affinity groups, identities and roles for fear of a mental breakdown. The key to overcoming this fear is also the key to happiness: don’t take yourself seriously.

“One thing I’ve learned about life is that if you really let go, it’s just a joy ride.” Ricky Williams.

...

I’ve done many a foolish thing and made many poor choices; the consequences of which have long haunted me.  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 the as it is right now. That’s too risky a proposition. Best to take life as a package deal.

...

“Mary Had a Little Lamb” is the name of a 19th century nursery rhyme familiar to most American children. A simple rhyme, yet befuddling to computer systems trying to understand language.

Objectively, what does it mean that Mary had a little lamb? Does it mean that Mary had a pet lamb; that Mary had a small vagina; that Mary had sex with a lamb; that Mary ate a little lamb; or all of the foregoing?

It’s a matter of context and relationship. In the context of a children’s rhyme, it’s clear that Mary had a pet lamb. In the context of dinner with friends, it’s clear that Mary ate a little lamb. In terms of relationship, Mary’s father would say Mary had a pet lamb; Mary’s boyfriend, depending on how he’s built, might say Mary had a small vagina; Mary’s kinky friends might talk about her interest in bestiality, sex with a lamb. Computer systems have a difficult time understanding context and relationship; maybe we do as well.

...

Our failed efforts can be very valuable, depending on whether we learn from them or blame them on others. If they teach us about ourselves and keep us hungry, we increase our chances of realizing success in the future. If we blame others, our failures are worthless.

The fruit of success is delicious; best to share it with others, not keep it all for ourselves; best to not greedily devour the fruit as in so doing we may inadvertently swallow its bitter pit, a painful exercise which in turn reduces our chances of realizing success in the future.

...

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

Suffering is when we desire that which is not available. When we suffer, we have flashes of recall of times before our suffering began; how relatively fortunate we were in those times that are now just a memory of paradise lost. Likewise, 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. Moreover, we can take solace in knowing that our suffering will at some point come to an end as all things (our state of mind, our circumstances) are constantly subject to change, hopefully for the better. This is optimism. Gratitude and optimism are two of the three pillars of happiness.

...

If you can’t laugh, how can you 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 don’t laugh, how can we afford to spend energy on smiling to cover our distress. Conversely, no need to effort to smile if we’re laughing all the time.

Best to put ourselves in situations that have the highest potential of hilarity and to identify something funny about whatever our circumstances.

...

The mind is a prism refracting light into a spectrum of colors,

each color a mood.

It’s our choice,

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 more insightful than pundits.

Puns are a play with words or phrases that reveal certain truths which is what makes them funny; funny as in odd and funny as in humorous. Puns reveal that something can be variously perceived; that something is not necessarily as it conventionally appears. This is the nature of reality.

Pundits are serious, well-educated, opinionated, and 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 serve us better than pundits.

...

The sun is always rising and setting, simultaneously and continuously. In fact, the sun is not rising or setting, it is where it is wherever it is. Our mind’s fixed perspective makes the sun appear to be rising and setting only once each day. Our mind has created the concepts of day and night.

...

“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.

...

The characteristics we see in others are just a refection of ourselves. Others have no characteristics because they are indescribable, they are god. Thinking negatively of others is sacrilegious.

In other words, much of life is experiencing oneself in the various forms of others. We are all divine and degrade our divinity by thinking poorly of others.

...

We certainly experience reality at the last moments at the end of days. When we are viscerally aware each passing day brings us closer to the end, increasingly the nature of reality is revealed. Death brings life to life.

...

As we mature, we know to mostly look forward not backward. When underdeveloped, we are backward.

When I was 12 years old in school in America, one day in class the geography teacher pointed out that many countries are categorized as “underdeveloped” (having unrealized potential) but years earlier were referred to as “backward” or primitive which is more pejorative; to which some girl in the back of the classroom blurted out: “Those countries are strange, I’d rather be called backward than underdeveloped.”

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 the fruits we reap we bake into an ever-bigger pie we share by piece. Otherwise, at war, many are fighting over peace and an ever-smaller pie.

...

Live each day as it’s your first and last.

Live each day as it’s your first day of life. Everything is now new and unique, engaging your attention and arousing your curiosity; observe and experience. You are now present. You are now alive.

Live each day as it’s your last day of life. Do all you would otherwise regret not having done before you died. Your life now has purpose.

In reality, each day is the first and last of life. Each night we die and are reborn anew the following day, similar in circumstances but unlike the person we were yesterday, however much we effort to identify with that person. Each day is not a day in a life but a life in a day.

A good life is living as the first and the last day of life are the same. Hence, distinctions (as most distinctions) such as first and last are meaningless.

Best to make the most of our daily life by living it fully and helping others experience it likewise which in turn enhances our experience.

...

Luck is when we find ourselves in opportunistic situations and make appropriate choices to realize the opportunities which in turn bring us success.

To “get lucky” we need to constantly be on the lookout for luck. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool. Fools often have bad luck.

Luck happens everywhere but in some contexts more than others. Work is where lots of luck can be had. Hence, best to look for luck while working. The longer we work the longer we look, increasing the chances we will see luck coming. When luck arrives we recognize it immediately as we anticipated its arrival. We then embrace it fully and enjoy a ride to success.

Those who have been successful and feel their success was a function of their abilities, dismiss luck. Hence, they don’t look out for luck and when luck comes by luck passes them by. This leads them to realize mediocre outcomes at best or their demise at worst. In others words, they become unlucky.

Those who know their success was more luck than anything else, work long hours and keep an eye out for luck. And they keep getting lucky.

...

“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.

...

The universe is infinite temporary manifestations of that which is beyond description (it is what it is whatever it is); forever changing, yet unchanged as that which is beyond description is all there is.

...

Anticipating a problem lessens its consequences.

When we envision problematic events, we can adjust to them before they arrive in full force; mitigating their consequences. When a problem first appears, we can more easily see it if we previously imagined it. In turn, 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.

Many of us fear envisioning potential problems and their consequences as doing so makes us anxious; thus we suffer the consequences of our blinding fears.

...

I’ve lived in New York City the past five years. The city has slowly decayed over that time and with the virus/quarantine has done so rapidly. At month’s end I’ll be moving to Greenwich, CT.

A few city-dwelling friends declared: “Wow, I can’t believe you’re moving to the burbs.” This view is hysterically funny; if not to them, then at least to me.

Greenwich is Greenwich, a certain geographic area. It’s on coastal waters, very green with plant-life and inhabited by people. The “burbs” is a conceptual categorization; ultimately meaningless but for those who choose to view the world in terms of empty stereotypes.  For those people, someone living in the burbs is beneath them economically and/or socially in that the suburbanite has chosen to live in a non-diverse, narrow-minded, pedestrian world which defines that person. That’s funny in that city-dwellers who hold such views are limited in their thinking, narrow-minded and pedestrian. They are below us for the reasons they look down on others. Who is us? The gods enjoying the play of life.

...

“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.

...

“In God we Trust.”

“In God we Trust” implies we only trust God and not others. We don’t trust others when we are not trustworthy.

In finance, trust is the ability and willingness to pay one’s debt. Ironically, the motto appears on US currency which, like God, will retain its value as long as we believe and often beyond the point of credibility. This is the placebo effect, the invisible glue that keeps a chair together after its nails have rotted. Best to be careful when sitting down on it, especially if we are overweight.

...

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

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

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

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

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

...

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

...

God is the knowledge that we are all connected. Religion is about rules which connect its adherents and exclude others. That can’t be what God’s about.

...

When we truly open our eyes, we see joy and sorrow, times good and bad. When we close our eyes and view the world through the eyes of God, everything is funny; odd and hilarious.

...

Some years back I viewed a documentary movie about the brutalities of the “Dirty War” in Argentina (1976 – 83) when as many as 30,000 people disappeared through state sponsored terrorism. One woman interviewed was a rare survivor who resettled in France. In the interview 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 from traumatic memories; able to go forward without looking back.

...

Winners are not those most 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 immediately responded, “Someone has to be Norman Mailer and you’re it; how is it being Norman Mailer, do you enjoy the role?” He replied: ” Terrific role, really enjoying it.”

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

...

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

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

...

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

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

...

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

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

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

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

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

...

As everything is interdependent, nothing is perfect as nothing can exit on its own. As everything is temporary, what’s seems perfect now is only temporarily perfect.

Only the universe is perfect; not dependent on anything (as there is nothing but the universe), ever-changing and eternal. It cannot be described beyond that it is what it is whatever it is.

As everything is interdependent, describing something as a thing onto itself is an illusion. As everything is temporary, something can be described only approximately as it changes as it’s being described.

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

...

“That’s life.”

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

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

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

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

...

There is only one mind to which we are all connected. Some of us are connected at similar wavelengths and understand each other; others seem to us to live on the dark side of the moon which is how we appear to them and the connection is weak at best. But, whichever way one is, there is only one mind. Recognizing there is only one opens us up to connecting with everyone.

...

I moved last week from New York City to Greenwich, CT.

In the quietude of the countryside, in a house facing a graveyard and backing up to wetlands, absent is the inaudible sounds of human protoplasm. A meditative space; here, nothing to hear and like a dark night at sea, nothing to see; the road to the present, a place to experience the universe before it’s shaped and defined by mind.

...

“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.”

...

Art is all that is artificial, man-made. From shoe laces to buildings, trillions upon trillions of artworks abound. Artworks are generally fungible as an identical artwork can be made to replace an existing one. As such, the market price of an artwork over time tends to be a function of its cost of production. When its market price exceeds its cost of production, more artwork are made. When its market price is below its cost of production, none is made.

However, there is a relatively microscopic number of artworks that are different from all others, collectibles. Collectibles trade at prices that have no relationship to their cost of production, often many many multiple times higher than their cost of production. This price anomaly, between artworks generally and collectibles, has little to do with the inherent visual experience a collectible provides as a perfect copy of a collectible, indistinguishable by the human eye from the original, can be easily produced.

The price of a collectible is a function of its non-visual characteristics; the celebrated artists who created it, provenance, perceived store of value, self-validation (or bragging rights by virtual of its price), the “hunting instincts of collectors, belief in the greater fool theory and other non-visual factors. Hence, the price anomaly is sheer human folly, experiencing collectible artworks not with one’s eyes but with one’s ears and mind; an illusion, difficult sometimes to see as they’re covered with bullshit.

At some point, at the moment of mass awakening to divine consciousness, collectibles will trade at prices in line with artworks generally. Then, there will be a Wall Street Journal article with the headline: The Emperor Catches a Cold. Stories of emperors who purchased collectibles and found themselves out in the cold financially because they weren’t wearing any clothes.

So why buy high-priced/over-valued collectibles knowing that at some point they’ll be relatively worthless? Well, collecting is fun, mass awakening seems unlikely to happen anytime soon and ultimately, as no one is getting out of here alive, everything is worthless anyway.

...

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

Those who are well-mannered are generous of spirit and freely share their good fortune (however great or small) with others. Thus, they are truly wealthy.

...

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 happen all at once, we are a different person at each point in our lifetime story.  Each of these people are equally real, equally present. At any moment, we can choose to be whomever of these people we wish to be. While we are an amalgam of all these people, the choices we make each day cumulatively define our experience.

In the last years of my mother’s life, she was mentally clear but otherwise incapacitated; only able to be carted around in group activities in a nursing facility. Her days must have been intolerably long. I once asked her how she spends her day. She said, “oh, I am busy all day; barely have time to do anything.” What was she busy with? “Thinking about my life.”

...

Organizations like governments, businesses, NGOs, unions, etc. get their start by providing customers (or citizens as the case may be) with goods or services at a reasonable price. Once they perceive themselves firmly established, these organizations tend to become over-confident, self-important and self-serving. They view their customers as necessary evils. Soon after, the goods or services go down in quality while their prices go up. While this seems initially tolerable as the customers are buying out of habit rather than conscious choice, at some point an organization loses its customers’ favor. Simply, the customers feel that the organization doesn’t love them, so they don’t love them back. This starts the organizations’s long-term decline until it is no longer.

Self-serving is the road to self-destruction. While every organization’s demise is inevitable, if an organization can avoid self-destruction it’s likely to live longer.

Ultimately, organizations are abstract constructs, they don’t really exist. They are simply people working together. The fate of people is not different from that of organizations; serving others is the road to a long life.

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Each of our lives are seemingly finite and at some point we transition from here. In the transition, we become one with the universe. We need not fear the transition, death as it’s commonly called, as the universe is ever-changing and ever-endless as we are.

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The standard format for an organizational meeting is a presentation followed by a question and answer session. Perhaps a better format is to dispense with the presentation as it can be distributed to meeting participants before the meeting for their review. Then, the meeting is solely a question and answer session where only participants with questions and answers attend. This format avoids wasting the time of uninterested participants. As well, in information exchanges, we engage someone’s attention when answering their questions; otherwise, when we are talking to someone unsolicited, their attention often drifts elsewhere.

Moreover, by not asking questions, the participants are implicitly agreeing with the proposals put forth in a presentation. That encourages them to read the presentation.

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In the Hebrew calendar today begins the year 5,781 (John 1:1). Typically on this calendar date Jewish people wish each other “a healthy, wealthy and happy New Year.” This implies that health is a key to making a go of life; that health is a prerequisite for realizing wealth and that without a modicum of wealth (freedom from concerns about food, shelter and security) it is difficult to be happy.

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Our mind is like a prism taking light that is perfectly clear and disassembling it into component colors to which we pay more attention than to what we can see through the clear light.

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

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

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

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The upcoming presidential election in the States is about what you should hold tight; hold your nose and vote for Trump or vote for Biden and hold your wallet as there will be less in it soon enough.

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Often ideology disguises personal ambition; authenticity disguising the lack of sincerity.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was undoubtedly an authentic liberal on the Supreme Court. However, her authentic liberal mask hid her lack of sincerity for the cause. As she was for many years in poor health, she was often encouraged by the liberal community to retire during the Obama years so that he could nominate another liberal in her place who would have a significantly higher life expectancy to push the liberal agenda. She simply refused as she liked her job. Her personal ambition trumped her political agenda. Had she been sincere, she would have retired some years back.

Likewise, there are many who rarely participate in religious activities, yet pray to God in difficult times; not authentic but clearly sincere.

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Many years ago I was in a relationship with a girl who one day informed me that I wasn’t good in bed. To that I said, “Ok, what else is on your mind?” She then asked “Don’t you want to know how you can improve?” I said, “Not really; I’m good with things as they are. If I’m to make it better for you, it may not be as good for me. My performance in bed seems good enough for you that we’re still together, so why change.”(1)

Her suggestion that we could improve our relationship was reasonable enough, a good relationship is presumably based on give and take. My response seemed selfish, essentially: I am who I am, take it or leave it.

However, the foundation of a good relationship is take it or leave it; a partnership based on accepting each other as you are, connecting in ways best for all and avoiding interacting in ways that potentially create conflicts. Take it or leave it implies each person is a package deal. It acknowledges that no one is perfect and that by buying into a relationship with another person, the totality of who they are (their package) will hopefully always outweigh any aspects that at times could put us off.

Relationships based on give and take are like a business deal, they’re prone to disintegration over accounting issues. That is, “I did this for you and you haven’t done anything to help me lately.”

Relationships generally begin as take it or leave it. When they stop working, it’s time to either say goodbye or try to keep it together by negotiating a favorable resolution to whatever conflicts have arisen, a give and take process. Sweet goodbyes are an express train which otherwise is a local that eventually finds itself at the same destination.

That said, love conquers all. In a love relationship, all is perfect; including each other’s shit.

(1) The fact is that she wasn’t particularly good in bed either but was entertaining enough to continue with and it’s not my nature to complain.

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Were you ever curious as to why people in China use chopsticks, especially as there are few forests in China to make wooden chopsticks?

As there were few forests in China, there was little wood to fuel fires for cooking. Unlike Europe where wood was readily available, it was economically prohibitive to cook whole animals or large animal parts for long hours. Hence, animals were cut into bite size pieces for quick cooking (the etymology of the word chopstick is quick) and knives and forks were unnecessary, giving rise to the use of chopsticks. Likewise, instead of cooking on a skillet or spit, food was cooked in a wok which has a large cooking surface that requires less fuel for cooking.

Curiosity makes things beautiful.

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In The Odyssey, the first island to which Ulysses travels is the land of the lotus eaters. On the island the lotus eaters give a couple of his men lotus fruit to eat and the men soon become intoxicated and bereft of any desire to continue their sail home to Ithaca. The men beg Ulysses to remain on the island and weep bitterly when Ulysses forces them back on the ship.

Home represents the past. Intoxication freed the men from thoughts of the past and desires to go forward with their lives in the context of the past.  Freedom from the past is one of the keys to happiness, however temporary as in the case of the lotus eaters.

The lotus flower is symbolic of eternal(1) beauty and purity. In the morning it emerges unblemished from the watery muck in which it lives. At night, it submerges into the muck. Born anew daily, everyday its birthday, the lotus flower is free from its past incarnations as were the men in the Odyssey who ate the lotus fruit.

Like the lotus flower, we die each night and are reborn the following day. This realization frees us from karma, how the past frames our lives today. Perhaps there is more to be gained reflecting about the lotus flower than eating its fruit.

(1) Attesting to its eternal nature, lotus flower seeds can hibernate for thousands of years and yet come alive when the opportunity to germinate presents itself.

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Before the light

before the sound

before the motion

before all there is

before that which never was

before all that is manifested,

all is pre-sent, the present.

The present is found in the absence of the universe,

before the universe manifests itself.

We are given many gifts

but one present.

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“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.

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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.

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“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 becoming one with everything when reaching the top of the glass and seemingly disappearing.

Many of us recognize that the only constant in the universe is change; that no one or anything dies, just transitions. Those are believers. But few realize (know) that’s the way the system works. Those who do are the enlightened. This realization protects them from taking their current circumstances, current events and themselves too seriously. They make their journey through life a joyous experience and give their hand to others so that they may join them; though few do. The others just wake up to this reality when it’s their time to seemingly die.

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God is everywhere but we cannot see God unless we imagine God’s presence. (Actually, we can’t recognize anything our mind has not imagined.) Our mind doesn’t want us to imagine God as doing so would reveal our mind is manipulating us, denying us of experiencing the present which is where God resides. However, our mind does allow us to experience the manifestations of God, the universe. Before the universe is created and underpinning the universe, God is hiding.

A common perception of God is that God is that which is other than ourselves, that we and God are mutually exclusive. This cannot be as God is all that is and is hiding behind all that is. The universe is how God is expressed; each expression unique but all connected to their source, God (1).

(1) As above, it all begins and ends with God.

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“Black sheep by 1822 in figurative sense of “member of some group guilty of offensive conduct and unlike the other members,” supposedly because a real black sheep had wool that could not be dyed and thus was worth less. But one black sheep in a flock was considered good luck by shepherds in Sussex, Somerset, Kent, Derbyshire.” Etymonline.com

Likewise, in society, white sheep are more desirable than black sheep because they (their fleece) can be manipulated (dyed). However, a black sheep in a flock of white sheep is considered lucky perhaps because it implies genetic diversity which makes for a healthier flock.

I’m often like a black sheep that feels wonderful after a shampoo wash, cleansed of the thorns and thistles that everyday life entwines in fleece. I try to convince white sheep to have a wash but they’re afraid the wash will turn them into black sheep, not as commercially desirable but the last to go to the slaughterhouse.

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When we have a choice for president (or for any job generally) between someone authentic and someone who’s pretending, it’s often difficult to tell who’s who; so we choose whoever best looks the part.

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We love our dog and our dog loves us. However, we perceive each other differently. To us our dog is our dog. To our dog, we are god. The difference in perceptions is a function of reading “dog” left to right or right to left. Our dog has it right, right to left. It has the better sense of smell; the nose knows: both our dog and we are manifestations of god.

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

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

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

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

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

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I am who I am. I am me. I am Victor or at least that’s the name people use to refer to me.

I am not white, black, Jew, Christian, Hindu, American, French, Japanese, Democrat, Republican, upper class or any other of innumerous categories. None of us is any of these things, unless we think we are. The categories are empty as no one is simply the person a category attempts to define. Each of us is far greater, one of infinite manifestations of God, than any category into which we or others place us. When we identify with a category we are as empty as the category itself.

“I am who I am” is how in the Bible God identifies himself to Moses.

All of us are God. However, we relinquish our god identity when we embrace category identities. God is beyond description and duality. Category identities create a dualistic self-view; that is, if we are in a certain category (say Jewish) then we are not in another category (say, Muslim). Category identities often lead to conflicts between those who identify with one category but not another. Ultimately, when our identities are categories or we view others in terms of categories, we are imprisoned in animal consciousness which keeps us from realizing our divine consciousness.

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“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; a status symbol for some men. I guess if one needs to present themselves wearing a handmade suit, one needs to make certain other statements about themselves.

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In the play of life, Terrific, some actors play the fans in the sports stadium and others choose to be players on the field. Those in the stands have chosen the easier role but at the cost of their personal freedom.

I’m not big into spectator sports, other than pornography.

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

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

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When our experiences and what we’ve learned (our past) limits our imagination, we are effectively dying.

A friend was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. The prognosis is not good but there’s hope with immunotherapy treatment. However, without a seeming miracle, my friend is unlikely to survive past six months. Most people would say she is dying. (Though in this world no one is getting out alive; everyone is dying; some sooner, some later; some slowly, some more quickly.) However, unlike most of us, she is very much alive and growing, not dying. She appreciates the newness of everything as the world unfolds before her and experiences the wonder of it all. That’s what it is, being alive.

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There is a fine line between those who are enlightened and the mentally ill, especially those who experience a manic episode. Both states of mind can seem indistinguishable in terms of how the enlightened and mentally ill feel at the moment. However, someone mentally ill may feel they are God, the messiah or Buddha; while those who are enlightened know they are God as is everyone, though many are sleeping through life and don’t realize who they are. That is, mental illness is manifested by a sense of being special; enlightenment is the realization that everything is unique, ever-changing and the same, the light.

Moreover, the enlightened know the past is an illusion, while for the mentally ill the past is reality. As such, we are all at times mentally ill; more or less.

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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.

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“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

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I am who I am. Otherwise, I am who you think I am which is your trip not mine but may ultimately be my trip as well.

Most of us perceive ourselves through the eyes of others. Each person perceives us differently and it is for us to chose through which person’s or people’s eyes we perceive ourselves. Those people we aim to please by conforming to their views of the world. When we close our eyes, we think like others and lose our unique identity.

As children we see ourselves through the eyes of our parents and aim to please them. While our parents are our initial eyes, as we develop we see ourselves through the eyes of others we know or imagine. Thus, if not the ambiguous “I am who I am,” best to chose carefully whose eyes we use to perceive ourselves.

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Most peoples lives are funny and sad. Funny in that they take themselves and their illusions of reality seriously. Sad as that’s their lives.

The play of life begins as a tragedy and ends as a farce. Initially we take it all very seriously and ultimately we realize the absurdity of having done so.

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

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

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

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

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

To view other eye idols, click here.

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In college I took a philosophy course that was taught by an Indian (dot, not feather) professor. While it was not part of the curriculum, the professor was always encouraging us to get into Transcendental Meditation; convinced it forever changed his life; from lethargic he had became 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 we 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.”

Sometimes, when we glimpse enlightenment, we choose to return to the sleep state we inhabit generally, simply because it feels warm and comfortable.

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“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.

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The tangible universe

the whole of it

is just a surface surrounding a hole.

The surface ever-changing

the hole eternal.

Like the image of God,

the burning bush,

its flames ever-changing and its branches eternal.

Like Swiss cheese

holes within and cheese without

mutually dependent

otherwise it’s not Swiss cheese.

Like the human eye

each of us with the same colorless pupil

and unique pattern and color surrounding the hole.

...

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.

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.

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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, the east coast tuna was presumably fresher and clearly cheaper, one of the sushi chefs purchased the east coast tuna. The other sushi chef smelled, touched and tasted the two tunas and purchased the west coast tuna as the east coast tuna didn’t feel quite right. Some months later the sushi chef who purchased the east coast tuna closed his restaurant for lack of business. The other sushi chef saw his business thriving.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Our conscious mind experiences the world as photographs. However, the universe unfolds as a motion picture. Like a picture is worth a thousand words, a movie is worth a thousand photos (which in fact is what a movie is, thousands of sequential photos quickly unveiled one after another). Having only a handful of photos from the movie, we have only a small glimpse of the storyline in the movie.

When our mind tries to grasp the universe unfolding, it creates a handful of fuzzy photos and related stories based on the photos. The photos don’t necessarily support the stories but our mind believes the photographs and the stories as they are projections of our mind. The stories often lack an understanding or knowledge of the movie but most of us believe the stories are real and meaningful and we react to them accordingly. However, when we understand or know the movie, the stories become laughable. Hence, if we are not now laughing, we don’t know the movie; so best we don’t take our stories too seriously.

...

When we realize our potential, we can say “I am who I am,” I am I. I am a capital “I,” fully developed, with integrity, standing tall and able to see the forest and the trees. Underdeveloped, with the consciousness of human animals, we are a lowercase “i;” a small head disconnected from a small body, implying duality, and unable to see the big picture and beyond the immediate.

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

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

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

...

Our mind’s eye, with memory and imagination, allows us to see the past and future. However, once we open our real eyes, we never look back or beyond the horizon as there is nothing there to see.

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

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

...

In everything there is something beautiful; if not, then it’s funny.

Everything is a unique manifestation of God; therein lies the beauty of it all. When we don’t see the beauty, we don’t know what we’re looking at. But if we don’t know and think we do, we make fools of ourselves which is the funniest thing of all.

...

In large organizations, decision-making happens centrally and locally. Centrally, from headquarters, solutions to big picture problems, whether real or imagined, often create additional problems from the solutions’ unforeseen consequences. Solutions to this second generation of problems often create additional problems and so on and so forth. Often these problems arise due to the lack of sensitively to local conditions and preferences.

As it’s hard for the executive chef of an international chain of restaurants to identify from a photograph whether a bouillabaisse tastes right, best to have the chef in each individual restaurant decide the mix of ingredients and food display as tastes differ between localities.

Likewise, the United States, from its founding as a mostly locally administered government, is now in the name of the common good inexorably moving to one size fits all; Federal, central government, management. However, there are great divisions among the populace on matters of guns, abortion, gambling, prostitution, schooling and drugs. Perhaps best to let people locally decide what’s best for themselves. Those who disagree with local rules and norms can holiday elsewhere or vote with their feet.

...

“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.

...

We are born of the sea,

When the sea is calm and clear

and the sun rests below the clouds,

all there is to see is in the sea.

When the sea is murky

we can see ourselves,

reflections from the sea.

Our mind is the sea.

(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. Smarts sheds light on the past. Wisdom lights the road forward. The smart ones 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. (Especially developed is their nose, the most forward of our senses. The nose knows when things smell right or not.) Having many perspectives is the essence of wisdom.

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, ceteris paribus, are more successful than the wisest. In the long-run, however, those who are conventionally smart are less likely to survive the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune; for it’s not survival of the smartest but survival of the wisest, as the wisest can best at seeing changes before they are obvious and either adapt to a changing environment or move on and change their circumstances to where they can better adapt.

...

The etymology of the word “apocalypse” is “uncovering, to take the cover off” like the lifting of the veil.  Apocalypse is the revelation of the truth. Apocalypse is generally associated with the destruction of the world as we think we know it or revelations of the divine. As such, apocalypse is either hell or heaven, respectively.

When the truth is revealed, the illusions we’ve created to cover reality are removed and their absurdity is revealed. This moment of awakening is the ahah moment, quickly followed by haha.

...

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 and distracts us from keeping our eyes open for when what’s not now available or something else shows up.

...

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

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

...

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 to understand certain issues. Having done so in 2020, the populace decided it had had enough of the profane Trump but deeply considered the anti-capitalist Democratic platform and said “no” to that. Likewise, illegal immigration was not a major issue in the election. 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. That’s why there was no “blue wave” or coattails affect with the Biden victory.

As to profane, secular orthodoxy’s constitution is politically correct speech. Trump had none of that which got him unfavorably branded as Fascist, white-supremist, misogynist, anti-Semite, Nazi, etc.

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

...

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.”

...

The universe,

an infinite number of worlds,

is empty

but for waves of energy

our minds transform

into unique worlds,

all of which seem real.

But real they are not

as there is only one mind

and one empty universe

with waves of energy.

...

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, interacting with others as teammates that are part of the same soul 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 and entertaining life.

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 living in the context of how we view ourselves in the future and unbridled by pre-conceived notions and stories we create from events now passed, we can enjoy the intensely beautiful present moment (present-passed) which is all there is.

...

Success is fleeting and random; it comes and goes. Best not to bet solely on our own success.  When we derive joy from the success of others, we are hedged; if not celebrating our own success, we can celebrate the success of others. To that end, we are well served helping others succeed.

When we celebrate success, whether ours or that of others, we are grateful (great-full, full with great feelings). Moreover, the success of others encourages us to feel that we too have a chance success will come our way. That’s optimism. Gratitude and optimism are two of  of the three pillars of happiness.

...

I recently viewed a video captioned “Donald Trump’s Concession Speech.” The video was 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.

Perhaps cute to those who view Trump as a defiant crook heading a misogynist racist male cabal. But the video clip is more telling than cute.

Brokerage firms have two arms, sales/trading and research. Sales/trading is what the business is about; 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 are highly educated, articulate, well-reasoned and cogent in their analyses. However, while never in doubt about their recommendations, they are often wrong. Moreover, there is a 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 and intelligent, they should lead a firm and have traders/salespeople work for them. Traders/salespeople view themselves as working for the customers which are the essence of the business. As to who should be in charge, traders/salespeople believe in 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 analysts would throw Trump and other bad boys in prison or otherwise limit their laissez-faire approach to life. But then how will the analysts afford to buy milk and who will make the milk?

Returning to the video, it’s actually very funny. 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 might not know much but they know when the Party leaders are laughing at them, thinking they are stupid, and they don’t like it.

...

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 something, desire, is the antithesis of happiness. Pursuing happiness is like trying to catch a mouse by chasing after it; seems easy as humans run faster than mice but ultimately it’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.

...

“Water is the face of fire.”

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

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

...

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, as was my question.

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

...

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 food. 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 make the most of our time 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 and dreaming; perhaps so.

Like sleep, meditation is the experience of the space between conscious states of mind, before and after the meditation; like the space between breaths; like the true-present before 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.

...

It’s my casual observation that most people can take me in only small doses and many simply don’t like me or care to hear what I have to say. This is a common self-perception of those like me who are eccentric. But I’m oblivious to this reality as I feel everyone loves me and I love them regardless of how they treat me. That’s an eccentric view.

...

“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.

...

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

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

...

Our eyes reveal beauty everywhere. But when we see the world through our mind, the beauty is 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 desert sky

we can see billions of stars

if we don’t look for the constellations.

 

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

...

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

Socialization has its costs.

...

Beautiful is the harmony of sound waves dancing. But when the waves are bent into words and the words into thoughts, sometimes what was beautiful sounds ugly.

...

“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.

...

Our past is like the night sky.

The stars are the events we remember.

Drawing imaginary lines between stars,

we create constellations.

The constellations we spin into stories

that define what we see in daylight.

...

For pain or stress, the best remedy is laughing; works every time; no side effects; but can be addictive and highly contagious; not recommended while operating heavy machinery.

Last summer I closed a car door on my finger. WOW, painful; but the pain immediately disappeared when I started laughing at how stupid I was mindlessly talking with someone and not paying attention to closing the door.

...

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

This blog has had over time as many as 465 subscribers and now has 235. While subscriptions are gratis, no one has subscribed independent of my introduction. This apparent failure to gain traction has benefited the blog, allowing me to say whatever I wish about socially, politically and religiously sensitive issues. Success, as in Facebook, begets scrutiny and pushback which in turn leads to repression, the devil’s bargain. Best I stay away from Twitter, Instagram and other social megaphones that might help the blog gain a larger audience.

I suspect that over time, perhaps after the time of my transition out of here, the views conveyed in this blog will be embraced and helpful to many in making the most of their experience on this planet; not unlike my buying Polish bank debt at 15 cents on a dollar when everyone thought I was nuts, until I sold them to the general public at 70 a couple of years later.

...

I’ve suffered many traumas and no traumas at all; the best of all worlds, memorable experiences that may have been traumatic at the time but don’t burden me as I move forward experiencing the present unfolding.

I must have suffered many traumas because when talking with others about certain experiences I’ve had, they often grimace with pain or anxiety. Yet, I can only recall these experiences in a happy light, comic with a bit of drama thrown in. How we recall the past is the foundation of our experience of the present. Happy memories come from finding as funny what would appear as traumatic experiences.

...

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

...

The only thing permanently ours is hours, the number of which we have is uncertain. Everything else that’s ours is certainly so for only a temporary number of hours.

...

“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.

...

We are light in tangible forms

but live in complete darkness.

From the darkness our mind creates a visible world

with roles for everyone;

some terrible, some terrific.

When we open our eyes

light reveals our world was just a dream.

The light makes light of our dream

unless we take our dream too seriously

and are afraid to open our eyes;

that’s a terrible dream.

...

“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.

...

There are peoples that look back to the past for guidance, facing the past as they move forward backwards. These peoples tend not to be highly developed in terms of technology and are considered relatively backward.

Today these peoples are called underdeveloped, not backward, as underdeveloped implies the potential for development. However, there are many successful women who would rather be considered backward than underdeveloped as that gives them a competitive advantage.

...

Sometimes we take our circumstances and ourselves very seriously. In doing so we are often overwhelmed with stress. If we compartmentalize our predicament, we can put it in perspective and not let it affect other aspects of our lives which otherwise are pleasing and from which we can take solace. However, while to some compartmentalization comes easy, to others not so much.

When compartmentalization is not something we can easily do, we can find relief from our woes through an out of body experience, the meditation of death. The meditation of death is imagining ourselves as dead. From that perspective we can look back at our lives and realize that much we once took seriously now seems ridiculous.

...

The common seasonal greetings of merry Christmas and happy New year seem odd as the adjectives merry and happy are incongruous with the occasions with which they are linked.

Happy is joyous and merry is tipsy, slightly drunk. Christmas, a joyous time with friends and family, would seem a better fit with happy, as in happy Christmas, than with merry. New Year, often celebrated with some strangers who don’t feel like strangers as they are drinking with us, would seem a better fit with merry, as in merry New Year, than with happy.

Maybe we say merry Christmas as we would like to have some drinks on Christmas to make it a bit more merry than just another night of friends and family. Maybe on New Year’s eve we want to feel there is real happiness, though it’s only drinking with strangers.

...

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 the 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 and up in arms, 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 in a different light what irks her; these approaches tend to agitate her further and invariably result 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 at night 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 or, depending on what it is, not show up for it. Expecting the unexpected frees our mind to explore endless possibilities that can provide us with insights into matters present. However, when we expect the future to be an extension of the past, we can easily become complacent, fall asleep and miss it 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.

...

When I was less than 7 years old, I had a recurring dream of the night sky with the Earth and stars suspended in the ether. I was above the Earth embracing someone, my soulmate, to whom I was connected via our navels. Then a bolt of lightening severed our connection and we both fell to Earth, no longer connected or in contact. This dream affected the trajectory of my life as my self-assigned mission on Earth was to find my original mate. In my journey I met few soulmates but many holes I’ve made whole. It’s been fun but maybe as a child the person I was seeking was my mother who was sleeping in the room next door and my journey was about pleasure seeking more than anything else.

Another recurring dream I had as a child was of an image of Earth partitioned into innumerable spaces or rooms. Each space contained people in various scenes and interactions and it was for me to choose which space to go into and engage in the scene accordingly. I must have been very young when I had this recurring dream because sometimes, depending on which room I chose to enter, when I awoke the bed was wet.

...

The only thing I am certain about is that I’m not certain about anything but am certain about nothing.

The universe is infinite ever-changing unfolding manifestations which appear differently to each of us depending on our spatial position and the stuff in our mind that skews, organizes and tries to make sense of it all. Thus, I am not certain about my perspective about anything as it’s just one of infinite perspectives and my mind makes of things that which they are not. However, I am certain that before the manifestations arise there is nothing, regardless of what our mind imagines there to be.

 

...

Our reactions to imaginary things makes imaginary things real.

Our mind creates imaginary things; the past, the future and things that have a seemingly independent and permanent existence. This is how our mind controls us. Our reactions to imaginary things fuel the imagination of other minds which reinforce our view that imaginary things are real.

...

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 who are excited to see them. However, the laws of gravity disturb this otherwise mutually pleasing relationship. Invariably, those atop need to relieve themselves and their droppings make resentful those immediately 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.

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

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

 

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I‘ve asked many people to what they are more attracted, the body or the face.  About two of three say body. Makes sense as what might appear as an ugly face can look beautiful from some perspective, but an ugly body is an ugly body.

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

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

 

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

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We are children of the son of God.

We call God’s son 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.

In life this world of the sun is all we know,

oblivious of God’s other children.

In death God reveals his other children,

an infinite number of stars.

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

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

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