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This article on The Mind Unleashed contains a lot of truth, truly paradigm exploding stuff. My latest thinking is that we are in chaotic,  confusing times. Obvious, sure. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the soul sickening news of war, plagues (Ebola), environmental destruction, ad nauseum (new band name!). That’s what the “news” focuses on since promoting the horrors pushes people’s buttons, bringing in viewers and, guess what, REVENUE! But there are just about as many positive things happening, probably more in fact. All it takes is for us as individuals to do a variation on what the venerable Dr. Leary suggested. Tune in (to the more positive channels) turn on (not necessarily to a substance, though some of those discussed in this article can be beneficial, *wink wink nudge nudge*); and DROP OUT. Dropping out doesn’t necessarily mean going off grid or becoming a traveler, though some may choose to do that. It can mean taking the time you are granted away from work and chores to reconnect with nature, leave your phone at home (you can do it! It’s liberating!), get to know your neighbors, do something/anything other than keeping your brain connected to one of the many screens that are so pervasive these days. Often a slight deviation (love that word), such as just, for once, leaving that phone at home while you go for a walk, can result in a slight course change, which can in turn open up new vistas. We all have choices, all the time, though we often hypnotize ourselves, or allow ourselves to be hypnotized, into believing that we don’t.
It’s all up to you my friend. We are all responsible for our own spiritual development. Not Jesus. Not Buddha. Not Ctulthu or Satan or Krishna. Different things can be helpful guides at times, but in truth what we need is right here with us and constantly surrounding us all the time. The trick is to open our eyes more, increase our awareness, become more connected with our surroundings.

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Another incident where a number of people, this time including children, are killed by someone with a gun. Things like this may not truly happen daily, but it sure seems like it. It also seems like the incidence is increasing.  Something about this particular one seems emblematic, though. A white man, in Texas, in a quiet suburb on a cul de sac named Leaflet Lane (they probably don’t call it a cul de sac though, since that’s French). Overly green grass. American flags waving. What appears to have been some sort of domestic incident goes sideways. Four children and two adults end up dead, possibly having something to do with an angry white man who has access to gun(s) didn’t have things work out the way he thought they should. Just another incident. The discussion on the link is instructive too, with the arguments over whether this should be labeled a mass killing or not. Only six, four kids, after all. I think the unstated rule is that it has to be double digits before it is considered “mass”. Like it matters what word we use. It certainly doesn’t matter to those kids who are dead.

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Consult different sources, think for yourself, trust your gut and discard dogma in all its forms. Realize that whatever the source, whether it’s a person, an organization or even a book, even “holy” books; it comes with its own inherent bias. If it is in accord with your own biases, acknowledged or not, you are more likely to believe it is “the truth”. All so-called truth is relative, just as our perceptions are.

I think that’s a quote from Dune, or maybe Heinlein, not sure. Regardless, this article resonates with me. I really think the stress we induce by worrying so much does more harm than the things themselves. Are we needlessly living our lives in fear? (from Wilderness Innovation)

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! One more time, just one more time, if I have someone say “Second Amendment! Second Amendment” to me as a kneejerk reaction, I might just have to, get MAD at them or something. This incident has really brought the snarky cynical bastard in me who comes out when the idiocy threshold has been crossed. Just HOW PERFECT is it that these “revolutionaries” were apparently going to take over a WAL-MART and use it as their base of operations. Plenty of food, guns and flag t shirts to be sure. A PA system with which to communicate with your fellow revolutionary who might be goofing off playing a video game or watching FOX on TV instead of preparing their next assault, or out flyering trying to attract converts. Also, just about everything you need to whip up a fine batch of meth in the lab where the garden center used to be.

It is a special experience to be awake and alive each morning as the world wakes up. From absence to presence. It happens on a daily basis, and we have all experienced it, but it’s easy to forget how amazing it is. (image from http://danhawk.com/danhawk/2012/07/08/clover-sunrise)

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Rumi Rumi

Rumi (30 September 1207 – 17 December 1273), was a 13th-century Persian poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi mystic.Everyone have greatly appreciated his spiritual legacy. Rumi’s importance is considered to transcend national and ethnic borders. His poems have been widely translated into many of the world’s languages and transposed into various formats. He has been described as the “most popular poet in America” and the “best selling poet in the US”.

Rumi’s works are written in Persian and his Mathnawi remains one of the purest literary glories of Persia, and one of the crowning glories of the Persian language.

The words of Rumi are so deep, so perfect, so touching, that when one man repeats them hundreds and thousands of people are moved to tears. They cannot help penetrating the heart.

Buy The Essential Rumi

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river
moving in you, a…

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I am old enough to remember seeing Liberace on TV. the only thing that I have a Dad, who has his own truck, and he’s getting older. He has let me drive it once or twice, and I have tosay it has become a slightly diminished thing without her presence. I have my doubts. But in a way I consider myself fortunate to live in such interesting times,

Connectedness

A few months ago, I started a more concerted effort to study the Tao. Some days I am better at spending some studying than others. The more time I spend immersing myself in the wisdom of the Tao, whether communicated through books (Deng Ming Dao’s works are the ones to which I go most frequently), or through just paying attention to the world around me, the more aware I become.
I follow a few organizations and people on Facebook who post pictures of animals. I have a habit of saying hello to the pictures, and I am not ashamed of this. I also greet the beings, human and others, whom I meet out in the world. There is a family of some kind of water birds (small and black, with red beaks) in the pond where I get off the bus, and I make a habit of looking for them every morning, and greet them if I see them. Weird, maybe, but possibly the world needs more weirdness like that.
Yesterday, I was outside for a smoke break and noticed something crashing through the branches of the palm off to my right. It wasn’t a graceful descent, like that of a bird or a squirrel, so I went over to investigate. In the grass, looking scared, was a fledgling mockingbird. AL MOST big enough to fly, and after a few moments recovering its wits, that is what it tried to do. Wings weren’t quite working yet, though, so it hopped off to a safer place, away from the big scary human. I have no idea whether the consoling words I offered to the little one had any effect, but I like to think they did. Maybe it was only in my mind – I tend to think it was something more – but there was a connection there, and it only took the small act of caring a little bit for the welfare of another being for that connection to occur.
Our lives get so busy sometimes, and we get so distracted, that we fail to make these connections, whether with humans or with other beings, whether they are animal or plants, in our surroundings. I guess I have come to discover, and value, that it is these connections which sustain me, teach me, and help me to become a more responsible, respectful resident of this beautiful universe in which we live.

Haiku 818

Haiku 818

We are but vessels
waiting for passion to pour
in and fill the cracks

(inspired by, of all things, Keats’ ideas on negative capability and John LeCarre’s The Little Drummer Girl)