Tuesday, April 5, 2022

The Beast is loose....

 


  There have been a series of videos of Russian soldiers who have either surrendered or been captured.  The ones in the videos--perhaps chosen because of their willingness to 'confess'--are contrite in the extreme, ashamed, scared, confused, apologetic and clearly did not want any part of being there.

  Meanwhile, out on the Ukrainian land, other Russian soldiers are behaving like the World War II SS Einsatzgruppen who roamed the eastern European landscape rounding up Jews and anybody who caught their attention, taking them into the forest and shooting them over trenches. I have yet to see any pundit or reporter give an explanation for why these troops are behaving like monsters.  In fact, perhaps they are worse than the SS, because they are apparently also murdering people for  the enjoyment of it.  Many of their victims have been found--especially in Bucha--with their hands tied behind their backs, signs of torture and then shot in the head.  There are nightmare stories that are coming out, for example mothers raped and then murdered in front of their children.

  Russian troops are committing wholesale war crimes...and, the entire planet is watching them do so.

 We have been offered no explanation to help us understand this carnage.  Do the Russians really hate the Ukrainians so much that they feel the need to treat them this way?  I've never heard that this was the case.  Are these beastly soldiers acting on orders from their commanders?  Or are they so loosely disciplined that they can do this sort of thing and not be held accountable?

  In the end, no matter what other exacerbating factors exist, responsibility lies at the feet of their commander, Vladimir Putin.  Whether or not he's fully aware of it, he is creating a stark legacy for himself.  The world is not willing to stand by and do nothing as he pursues this campaign of death, suffering and utter destruction.  Have you wondered what use Mariupol will be to its 'conquerors'?  The Russian missiles, artillery, air power, have pounded it into piles of rubble.  It looks as bad as any of the cities that fell under the bombs of the Eighth and Fifteenth Air Forces, during the strategic bombing of Germany....maybe worse than many of them. 

  So, Mariupol finally surrenders at some point, and who can blame them.  But, of what future use is this pile of rubble?  This city of about 440,000 will need to be re-built from the ground up.  Are the Russians willing to do that?  I have my doubts.

  Vladimir Putin is losing.  He may think he's accomplishing what he set out to accomplish, but that is only because he is being soft-soaped by his advisers and generals.  There seems to be a general agreement among his former advisers and confidants that it's a very touchy thing to tell Vladimir what he does NOT want to hear....could cost you dearly. And He is putting the Russian economy on very shaky ground, to the point of possible collapse.  He is determined to re-establish the Russian state as one of the world's great super-powers, take it back to Stalinist days and strut like a bully on the world stage, all the while threatening to initiate a world ending nuclear holocaust if anybody stands up to him.

Headed for a comeuppance......oh, it will come

  He's a little banty rooster who is so mentally incapacitated that he really thinks he can pull it off.  But, if the performance of his vaunted armed forces over the last six weeks is any indication, he CANNOT.  From my time in the infantry I know first-hand  that the quality often referred to as, "Esprit de Corps" is the critical ingredient in a military fighting unit.  Without a 'Gung Ho' willingness to get the job done, a unit will behave exactly the way the Russians are in Ukraine.  They are even making this lack of discipline and fighting spirit worse by devolving into something resembling Viking raiders of the distant past.  Looting, raping, pillaging are what soldiers do when they sense that their commanders don't care, and haven't got the stones to control their troops.

  And, the world is watching.  There are a lot of bad directions that this could go....and, really only one direction that would be desirable....the Russians retreat and stop inflicting this nightmare on their neighbors.  But, that is very possibly the one direction that ol' Vlad cannot countenance.

  That is just who he is.

  And, he needs to be euthanized as soon as his sycophants find their balls.


Thursday, March 24, 2022

Life and Death....

 

    The human condition is a complex and challenging state of being.  For starters, nobody survives being alive.  So, from birth we are operating under this cloud of uncertainty that hangs over us.  Of course, probably from the early cave-dwelling Cro Magnons, and, perhaps, even further back into the distant and dim regions of human history--including all hominids--people and their antecedents have wondered about death.  What, exactly, is it?

  The vast array of religions, from the most widespread with millions of adherents, to the smallest and most obscure, have all offered explanations.  There is also a considerable portion of us who are 'non-believers' and are suspicious of religion at large, and unwilling to accept pre-packaged ideas of the nature of reality.  Some of these folks think of themselves as 'agnostics', which simply means that one doesn't know, but is open to learning from reality.  Others--atheists--are more truculent about the whole notion of any organization putting itself in a position to dictate 'reality'.  And, honestly, much of what various traditions put forward is clearly more of an officially endorsed 'fairy tale' than it is verifiable by down-to-earth proofs of the various contentions.  Are you really okay with a snake offering Eve an apple?  Uh, okay....how was he holding the apple and speaking to her at the same time, eh?

  There is life after death.  That is a bold statement that demands some kind of proof.  I cannot prove it for you, however, because you need to arrive at your own conclusions, or what you have will simply be a 'belief' in which you have taken my word for it.  Belief is utterly different than actual knowledge of something.  Said knowledge comes only from actual life experience.  When you have lived through something, you know it's real. If you take it on belief, it means you're not sure, but are choosing to assume it.  

  Not good enough.  No, no.

  In 1972 I was hitching across the country from Marin County CA to New Jersey.  I was picked-up in Albuquerque by a fellow in an old Chevy, and he was towing his old GMC pick-up, loaded with all of his earthly possessions.  In Oklahoma City, at about 3 in the morning, he saw his exit for the Will Rogers Expressway and attempted to swerve across three lanes to go there.  The whole package....car and pick-up....started to slide and when it hit the shoulder and then the ditch, the car tucked under, the truck went over it and the car rolled about four times.  Gene, the driver was tossed out of the closed driver's window, and I was tossed about inside like a rag-doll.  I came to standing on the roadside with a state trooper shining his light in my face. "Are you alright, boy?"  To which I answered, "Am I really alive?"  At which point the trooper informed me that I was indeed alive, although he was amazed that was true.

  As the car was tumbling, I had retreated from my body and was watching the whole mess from a place I can only describe as a 'detached' perspective....like a bank camera.  I remember wincing as I watched my former self tossed and hammered.  It was a very calm and surreal few moments.  

  And, as if this wasn't enough to convince me that we are capable of existing independently of our bodies, a few months later, I was on a scaffolding in Kempten, Germany, that collapsed and the same thing  happened again.  Holy cow, Batman!  In both instances, it was seemingly miraculous that I not only survived but was uninjured.  But, the take-away was profoundly crystalline.

  We are not our bodies.  We inhabit this biological organism made of hair, teeth, meat and bones, but it is NOT US.  It would be accurate to say we 'borrow' it....or, perhaps, we rent it because we do have to clothe, feed and shelter it for as long as we are in it. And, yes, we have to educate ourselves, repair and heal ourselves, and there are 'life lessons' that we came here to learn.  The most important of which is how to be a decent human being.

  Of course, some souls come here to learn by failing.  I have known folks of very advanced spiritual station who insist that souls like Hitler and Stalin....and now Putin...come here to  be monstrous and give the rest of us a chance to learn, serve and even sacrifice as we react to such dark energy.

  I have never felt that the purpose of being a human being is to come here and simply while the time away satiating appetites.  In fact, I suspect that the very existence of those appetites is there in order to challenge us to rise above simply taking a bath in earthly pleasures.  Anything is likely doable--within reason--as long as we don't just dive down the rabbit hole of temptation.  Once an appetite becomes an addiction...we have lost our way and will spend as long as it takes to spin our wheels....eventually getting back on track, even if it takes several turns here in different bodies.  

  Yes, I have mentioned reincarnation recently and I remind you of the book 'Soul Survivor' as a proof that it is real.

https://www.amazon.com/Soul-Survivor-Reincarnation-World-Fighter/dp/0446509345/ref=sr_1_1?gclid=CjwKCAjwrfCRBhAXEiwAnkmKmTQbeTOGLf6GAY1KLQjmha15LRDTiWrjtEYegzegMBXE7c0nYWWbuxoCboIQAvD_BwE&hvadid=174211220367&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9002618&hvnetw=g&hvqmt=e&hvrand=13272211273958426742&hvtargid=kwd-7270254571&hydadcr=22537_9636736&keywords=soul+survivor+book&qid=1648150729&sr=8-1

  Eegads!  I am amazed that such a long e-addie will work, but give it a try.

  So, here we are, trapped in this earthly vehicle until we die. For some, life seems like one long sentence in Guantanamo.  For others, it is a rather easy and almost heavenly experience.  But, for most of us, it is somewhere in between those extremes.  Most people do have challenges of one sort or another.  When I see a person in the grocery store who is morbidly obese...I mean, 400 lbs. or so....my heart aches for them because I have a sense of how difficult it is carrying all that weight around.  I have an extra 20 plus pounds I would like to ditch, but and extra 200......phew!!

  Of course, there is a complete menagerie of pitfalls that people encounter while in this human state.  Addictions....to any and everything....are a great source of sadness and pain.  Managing to make it into adulthood as a decent human being also seems to be a challenge for a large segment of the population.  How come there are so many people who love a complete monster like Trump?   He crosses every red-line, dots every 'I', and crosses every 't', when it comes to bad behavior.  It's too easy to just label him as 'evil'.  He's a champion liar, a dire narcissist, a hater of all kinds of folks....pretty much anybody who doesn't fall for his lies.  He's a sadist, a thief, a creep on too many levels to name...and there is this huge mob of people who think he's the savior of humanity. Say what!  

  But, once a person stops and begins to pay close attention to their life and their ability to learn from what it offers, everything changes.  And, eventually, one comes to the understanding that we came here to do just that: to learn.  To learn how to become fully human, in the highest and most spiritual sense of what that means.

  So, what about dying and death?  Oh, that is a longer subject than to simply throw a sentence or two at it.  But, I will say this:  Swedish scientists, some decades ago, put the beds of terminal patients on very precise scales.  At the moment these souls passed out of their bodies....the scales recorded a loss of approximately 22 grams. 

  Einstein said, essentially, that energy has mass.  Apparently the energy that constitutes a human soul has about 22 grams of it.  

  Hmmmm.......

Asha Greer....in preparation for leaving.


Monday, March 14, 2022

The Meaning of Life...

 

   Okay, yes, that is a grandiose title for this piece.  But, it's also something that is easily overlooked as we go about our daily lives.  If a person insists on ignoring what is perhaps the ONLY question that really needs to be answered in this life, it can make life much more of a struggle than it really should be or needs to be.  

  The question, of course, is, simply, "What's it all about?"  "Why are we here?" is another bold yet bland conundrum.  The answer to this is not really complicated despite the fact that countless tomes have been written down through human history trying to do it justice. 

  But, in order to really arrive at an answer that feels adequate, maybe even better than adequate, we need to understand "who we are".   And, that is a puzzle that is still resisting any reasonable solution.  I am foolish enough to step forward and take a stab at it, however.  So, here goes.

  We are souls, spirits, who come here and take up bodily form in order to evolve, to learn something. I previously told here the story of a small boy growing up near New Orleans who was ultimately accepted as the reincarnation of a navy pilot who died during the battle of Iwo Jima.  The book is, "Soul Survivor", and I strongly recommend it to anybody who is deliberating whether or not reincarnation is 'real' and if so, what does it say about us?

  I also have had a number of personal experiences that have convinced me that the above is true. Of course, it doesn't help things that we are now living in a time when far too many people claim that the 'truth' is whatever they say it is.  Honesty, integrity and honor are being pushed rudely aside by those who simply crave dominance over the rest of society and are willing to sacrifice the truth to have it. You already know who these craven idiots are.  There's a whole cabal of them inhabiting MAGA land and their voices are being shrilly represented by almost every conservative politician and the shills on Fox.  

  May we set them aside for now?  Please.  

  In 1972 I flew to Europe and landed in Paris with $200 in my pocket.  I started hitch-hiking and was picked up in Luxembourg by a German who soon offered me a job in his cottage industry metal shop. We drove to his tiny village in the Allgau, a part of Swabian Bavaria that borders the alps south of Munich with the medieval city of Kempten in the middle of it. Herr Ingenier Eddie Dobermann gave me room and board to spend my days two stories below helping to build stoves that burned used motor oil.  I opened my windows each morning on a view of the Alps right out of 'Sound of Music'.  It was a magical time.  

  But, it was also speckled with experiences that repeatedly drove home the definite feeling that I had lived there before....in a prior lifetime.

  This had actually started before my plane was on the ground in Paris.  I looked out the windows over the coast of France and as I looked down on Normandy I knew I had been  there....as a pilot. And, for the next three months, every so often, something else would happen to let me know that  I had history there.

  Prior to that time in Europe, I had experienced moments that definitely spun my head around and made me question, for instance, the un-shakeability of the time-distance continuum.  Here's a single example: I was standing in the station at Princeton Junction, waiting for a train to Philadelphia.  An express train to NYC blasted through at over 80 mph, and the station doors in front of me blew partially open and swung back and forth.  Suddenly, I realized I had lived this moment before.  Yes, a so-called, "Deja Vu".  It would be utterly as easy as falling off a log to get all twisted up in metaphysical complexities and to render such minor experiences as useless. 

  I choose not to do that, however.  I have taken all such moments and strung them together like beads.  Then I examine the totality of them, as a group.  And, what comes out the other side is the unavoidable conclusion that much of what this society considers to be 'firmly established', i.e. 'true', is not firm ground at all but a rather mushy swamp.  

  The take-away, for me, after seven decades of observing my life as it happens, is that we are not the creatures we have accepted as 'real'.  Whatever you want to use for a label, i.e. soul, spirit, etc....we are entities who inhabit different host bodies.  There is way too much evidence for me to retreat into the belief that we are just this lump of hair, teeth, meat and bones that bumbles along though life until we die.  We are born, struggle to figure life out, and we must watch as our 'host' ages and finally "gives up the ghost".  [Pun noted].

  Some mystics insist that we not only reincarnate in different bodies, but that we spend time in the animal and plant kingdoms as well.  Let me say, I have no recollection of being a cabbage, but my wife might nod her head wisely and give me that look, as if to say, "You fart like a cabbage, so..."

 In the end, it matters little who or how many bodies you have had or are presently borrowing.  What matters is learning.  Learning what?  Learning what MATTERS. And, that  is how to become fully human.  Yes, I know I have to explain such a bold comment.  So, here goes.

  What really matters in this life is leaning how to love, how to become a loving and compassionate being.  It's not about how much money and 'stuff'' you accumulate.  Watching the Russian oligarchs scramble to hide their super-yachts is comical.  Apparently, if you want to be a 'real' oligarch you need to spend at least a couple hundred million on the fanciest and most outlandish, not to mention flamboyantly tasteless, boat.  Yup.  You need a big-ass fancy boat....preferably one well-stocked with scantily clad young women whose apparent responsibilities appear to be limited to keeping the billionaires 'happy', whatever that means.  

  The entire struggle for wealth, or the battle to either escape, or at least survive, the cruelest depths of poverty, is predicated on the idea that this defines us.  Who we are is largely determined, in the minds of many, by how much and what we have.  Sadly, my own life experience has suggested that a large majority of the very affluent are 'idiots and assholes'.  That doesn't mean that there are not some very enlightened and good rich folks, not a all.  It does mean that just because you have a ton of money, it doesn't make you a decent human being.

 So, look around the vastness of human society and see if you can identify some souls...any souls...who are indeed decent and worthwhile people. Actually, there has been a plethora of 'systems' for doing this. Every major religion...and I suspect even the tiny, unknown ones....has a system of anointing saints, masters and prophets.  It varies, but they all have channels for both identifying and honoring those beings whose lives have been marked by a great depth of compassion, of love in action.  And, with minor exceptions, these systems are quite successful at helping us to know who is worthy of our respect and admiration...and of being emulated as examples of what a human is supposed to be and do.

  I have actually been in the physical presence of a number of souls who fall into the 'enlightened'  category.  On a summery day in Marin County, I sat and listened to one very prominent Sufi master holding forth.  Hardly noticed--at least by me--an elderly man was shown into the room and seated next to me, at which point I noticed that he was blind and had a very gentle presence.  As the loud man spoke of sealing wax and other fancy things, this elder picked up my hand and held it in his in his lap.  Shortly after he did this I felt an overwhelming sense of inner joy and tears began streaming down my face.  When we parted at a later time, we merely looked into each others' eyes and nodded with a subtle smile.

  This man had just taught me a life-lesson that would affect me for the rest of my life.  And, he did so without ever speaking a word. 

  So, without further ado, here it is:  The meaning of life is to become fully human, and love is the doorway to that realization.

  If a person gets caught-up in the need to satisfy appetites, whatever they may be, and starts to think that if they can just have all the things they crave, it will all be fine.....they are lost.  At least for the time being, they will wander in the forest as long as it takes for them to finally realize they have been chasing a phantom.  Money, fame, power, houses, boats, planes....and people...are never going to bring a sense of genuine fulfillment.  I have known far too many rich folks to believe otherwise.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that there is a greater degree of dissatisfaction and even a deep melancholy among those who do accumulate it all,...only to find an emptiness that is undeniably heart-breaking.

 I watched a billionaire upbraid his twenty-something son for wanting a very expensive camera lens.  It was easily affordable for this man, and yet, he was treating his son as if it was the request of a spoiled little boy.  I felt a deep pang of sadness as I watched this.  It was one more instance of seeing how the material world gets a hold of people and blinds them to what is really important.  That billionaire is long dead now.  And, I am guessing that he died never knowing what a great kid he had, and, likewise, his son must recall how unkind his father was..... and that is just tragic.

You can take this to the bank.  We come here and take up bodily form in order to learn how to love.

That's it.  

And, as you look around the world today, at what is happening in the political arena, world conflict as in Ukraine, our assault on the planet's ecosystem, and our treatment of our fellow humans and all sentient beings.....it becomes apparent that the one thing that could heal and bind us together in a common purpose, is missing. 

And, it's love.

By the way: if you really can't imagine what love is,  I have two Golden retrievers who would be pleased to give you a demonstration.  

Just a thought.


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Understanding Anger....

 

      We are living in what feels like increasingly angry times.  There is just so much that is anger provoking.  We're in the most dire straits this democracy has been in since the Civil War, to the point that the 'next civil war' is becoming a frequent topic on news sites.  People are beginning to look at some kind of violence as almost inevitable.  Apparently, over 30 MILLION Americans are accepting the idea that violence is necessary to return the presidency to the Idiot...in complete denial of the fact that we had a fair election (as proven in the courts over and over ad nauseum).  January 6th was just a sample of what lies ahead, streamed into homes around the world, live, as it was happening.  It was vividly surreal to be sitting in front of the t-v watching a mob storm the capitol.  

    Then there is climate.  As of now, we are losing the battle to convince people that we need to do something deeply dramatic if we're to avoid extinguishing not only the human race, but taking thousands of other species down with us.  We are making banner progress in actually destroying the ability of our host planet to sustain life, at least, as we know it.  Sea-level rise is the least of the problem.  Yes, that will be catastrophic in its own right, but, between biblical level droughts (and consequent famines in various parts of the world), wild-fires, tornados, hurricanes and flooding from violent storms....never mind sea rise....we are headed for a total collapse of contemporary civilization as large areas of the planet become unable to sustain life as we now know it...we are looking down the barrel of the gun that will wipe us out.  In more academic and more gentile discussions, it's now common to hear the term, 'existential' as it is applied to the climate crisis.  That is merely a toned-down, more civil, way of saying, "Holy Shit!!!  We're all gonna die!!!"  

   Nobody wants to sound like Chicken Little running around screaming that the sky is falling...

    But, it is.


                                                                           

Angry Planet.....

  Beyond our nightmarish political and environmental situations....we are still deep in a pandemic that has already killed over 800,000 Americans and is headed for ONE MILLION within the next two months or so.  And, even as this virus and all of its variants continues to kill people around the planet, millions of Americans--and significant numbers around the world--are protesting that they are being asked to get a vaccine that could save not only their lives, but their loved ones as well.  Another surreal aspect of our current situation.  People are choosing to reject science in favor of the lies from unhinged, hare-brained, far-right idiots.  It's like watching as the lemmings charge off the cliff into the sea.

  So, why wouldn't any sane person be angry?  I feel like I have been in a state of constant anger--albeit mostly at a low boil--for most of my life.  I was pissed as a kid because my parents sent me off to prep school without ever asking if that was something I wanted to do.  I was pissed because I was expected to spend endless hours doing algebra, Latin, and other subjects that I genuinely despised...always without any explanation of why this was necessary to my becoming an adult.  Turns out, it wasn't.  I have never used algebra, geometry, calculus or most of the crap that was stuffed down my youthful gullet.

  By the time I was fifteen, I had come to the point of having to decide that either the world at large was bat-shit crazy.........or I was.  I had the temerity to decide that it was the world  that was terribly fucked-up. I had, of course, lots of evidence to support that viewpoint.  For example: we live in a society where murder is considered a heinous capital offence.  But, your beloved homeland can demand that you report for duty, stuff you in a uniform, teach you war making skills, and send you off to kill people you don't even know....for reasons which often remain unclear and have proven to be not particularly valid in the long run.  How insane is that?

  Yes, of course, there are valid reasons why a populace must rise to the occasion and fight against evil forces that would otherwise enslave them.  That was what World War II was about.  Had we not been willing to fight the Axis powers, the world would have become a planetary nightmare society, ruled with mass violence and cruelty.

  But, that was the exception.  Were we justified in spending trillions of dollars and thousands of young American lives....not to mention inflicting severe violence on the people of both Iraq and Afghanistan? History will be the final judge, but it's not looking very good at present.

So, if the world around us is filled with anger provoking situations, how, then, can we deal with it without just feeling inwardly chaotic and upset all the time?  As one who has done that for far too long, it has become a subject for me to investigate and to find solutions for going forward.  I don't want to go out as my life comes to an end, feeling this way.

 I have paid attention to anger.  I know anger.  I have been dominated by it for far too long.  I want to escape it's powerful grasp.  So, what am I to do?

 I believe that the answers--for there are many--are right in front of me.  I am hugely grateful that I had the good sense to drop out of grad school and migrate to the Bay Area in 1971.  I was suddenly immersed in the 'counter-culture', and it was laden with surprises and incomparable gifts. One of those gifts was being accepted into an extended family of fellow travelers on a path that felt like it was leading us to some greater understanding....of life, of love, of reality. Each member of that 'family' was exceptional in their own right.  I had never met people like that and I was amazed to feel that I had--on one level--finally come home, for the first time in my life.

 I entered into a kind of free-flowing state of consciousness. I was open to life and real learning for the first time and it was immensely exciting.  There is an expression in Zen Buddhism that goes: "I thought I was the seeker and found I was the sought."   And, that was how it happened for me.  I rented a room, fell into a relationship with a woman who was a free spirit, and held up my hand at a meeting in Sausalito when an interesting chap asked who planned to attend a Sufi Camp in Healdsburg.  

  At that camp, I met a man unlike any other I had ever met, or have met since. His name is Wali Ali, and he has a gentle and kind presence as he goes about teaching a wide variety of meditative techniques and other means of accessing one's Higher Self.  Sufis often refer to God as, "The Beloved" and so it has been for me.  Instead of the old, bearded dude on a heavenly throne passing out favors and punishment, I discovered the Great Mystery.  By definition this Mystery remains mysterious, but it is eminently knowable via Its, His, Her, attributes.  Beauty, Harmony and Love are what might be called 'The Big Three' (just my term)  and these are aspects of the human condition that bring about feelings of Bliss, acceptance, Peace and, yes, Joy. 

  This, however, in no way means that I have been in that space perpetually since learning that it exists and is accessible.  I soon left the spiritual and nurturing environment of the Bay Area and dove into the real world again.  I met challenges and was bested by some and bested others.  In the intervening years, I have struggled, but I have also had the great joy of becoming a parent, and a grandparent.  I have lived a pretty simple life (nine years in a log cabin without running water at one point), but I have never felt deprived.  I have a wonderful wife and we operate very well as a team.  Yes, we get frustrated and a bit 'snappy' at times, but that is because we're both strong-willed and have strong opinions.

  What remains to be mastered, however, is the fact that anger is like a volcano.  It can lay dormant for long periods and, all of a sudden....there it is, spouting red-hot lava.  It can be triggered by anything that feels like a threat to one's ego.  I am still waiting to meet the first person who is not carrying at least some baggage from their childhood.  Those little nuggets of 'damage' that were installed in the child...cruel words, judgement, scolding and diminishing....are all easily capable of bringing the dragon out of its cave. 

  What then?

  It is becoming clear to me that the first step in learning to master my temper is to become skilled at recognizing when it first raises its ugly head in any given situation.  There is a point at which the 'volcano' starts to stir and the rumbling can soon become the first eruption of incandescent rock.  This is a pivotal point.  If you can pull back at the moment you realize that a trigger has awakened the monster, there is a good chance that you can resolve the situation without it becoming a three-alarm fire.  Once you realize what is happening, there is a very limited window to put the brakes on.  This can be done by turning toward your awareness of breathing.  Breath is the key.

  In esoteric schools, all around the planet, the one thing they all seem to share is the knowledge that the breath holds the key to achieving a state of harmony, of awareness, of realization. 

  These sundry schools, orders, whatever one wishes to call them...have so-called 'practices' and these are infinitely variable from tradition to tradition.  Meditation has one goal, regardless of the tradition within which it occurs: entering the present.  Once a devotee learns that breath can calm the roiled waters of the erupting emotions....the rest is remembering to use the tools that one has when they are needed.  It's easy to intentionally sit down and enter into a meditative state....when things are calm already. It's quite another thing to be able to pull back and disengage from an emotional miasma.  Learning to do this is a skill that is ever so worthwhile.  It doesn't come easily, especially at first. But, if one persists and has the will to change that which is making life more difficult, it's easily worth the effort.



Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Thank God for Anthony Fauci...

 

   You might  have seen various news articles yesterday and this morning, reporting that Anthony Fauci called a congressman a 'moron'.  It happened that Dr. Fauci thought his mic had been cut and he was not going viral with this opinion.  However, I am very glad he did. And, the senator, Roger Marshall, from Kansas, really seemed intent on earning that sobriquet.  In fact, his lame and baseless attack on Dr. Fauci was only matched in its profound idiocy by the attack launched by long-time professional Idiot, Rand Paul.


Doctor Anthony Fauci 

   In all of these past months, we have watched as Anthony Fauci practiced amazing restraint in the face of ongoing GOP attacks....including ongoing efforts by the Big Orange Idiot himself to belittle and disenfranchise this life-time devoted public servant.  And, if you doubt that Anthony Fauci is exactly that all you have to do is go back and look at his record.  

  The man has, throughout his entire career, only wanted to understand potentially disastrous viruses and other biological threats and offer his best guidance on how to cope with them, both as individuals and as a society.  It's what an epidemiologist does and he's one of the best in the field.  He had to sit there during the disgustingly narcissistic White House Covid briefings as The Idiot spouted denial and nonsense.  It was only Dr. Deborah Birx who was present to witness the Idiot's descent into madness as he suggested we drink bleach, stick powerful lights up our asses and other nonsense.  There was a collective gasp that rippled across the land, when he turned to Birx and asked if these non-sensical actions could be "....looked into".  I still find it astonishing that the Idiot himself has no clue how he appears during such sessions.  But, that is also why he's gone to great lengths to surround himself with sychophantic grovelers who nod and drool as he expounds his nonsensical bullshit.

  Time and time again, Anthony has tried in every way he can to bring the Covid narrative back to basic, fact-based science, to remind us that getting vaccinated and boosted, wearing masks and avoiding close contact in public, and even some family settings, are the way to avoid being one of the poor bastards who end-up begging for the vaccination as they hurtle down the long dark tunnel towards death.  How many stories have you seen where some fool has railed against the vaccines....only to wind-up in the ICU on a ventilator and then dying?

 Tucker Carlson, and his cute little friends at Fox, have been telling anybody who'd listen to avoid getting vaxxed....even as they are vaxxed themselves.  It is not an exaggeration to state that they are KILLING PEOPLE with this despicable advice.  It's a fact...something most GOPs apparently have an allergic reaction to.

  For two years now, Anthony Fauci has remained true to his mission: getting people to believe in science and to accept facts as provable, useful truths...ones that can save your life.  He has not only been viciously maligned by assholes like Marshall and Rand Paul, he has had death threats and even threats of harm to his family, always, of course, couched in vulgar and violent rhetoric.  He's put up with more than most people would ever be willing to tolerate, and, yet, he's still out there in front of the cameras trying to convince the country that we can cope with all of this simply be following the science and getting vaccinated.  It's his mission in life, and he's very likely saved more lives than any other single individual, by being so consistently and blatantly honest....despite what it has cost him and his family. 

  He's an honorable, patient and wise man.  And, not only that,  he's a gentleman.  But, even a person of his honorable standing and decency has their limits.  And, I, for one, was very gratified to hear him voice his once again honest opinion of a senator who has acted dishonorably, dishonestly and is simply a goddamned fucking ASSHOLE.

  You go, Tony.  

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The Truth about Lying.....

 

    In the innocent world that I grew-up in, lying was considered a 'bad' thing.  If you lied, then you were being a wrong-headed deceiver of others....and, you were, in general terms, a 'bad person'.  The lead-in to the Superman show on our tiny, black and white t-v's even celebrated, "...Truth, Justice and the American Way."....along with the super-dude being, "....faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound."  It was broadly held that 'liars' were sub-standard, indecent and undesirable people.  It was a serious insult to call someone a 'liar'.  

  My how things change, eh.  In the present, it now happens that lying is just something people do to get what they want....money and power, almost always.  Right?  If 'the Truth' truly is 'inconvenient' then you simply suppress it with a barrage of lies.  Once you begin doing this, you have jumped out onto a very icy slope and you are headed down a path from which return is rare, if not impossible. Once a person has managed to subdue, even to slay, their conscience, the way back becomes unclear and murky. Most who decide--either by default, or with real intent--to be dishonest people, have made a decision and will stand behind it to the end.  We are watching this manifest on a massive scale across the land:  people are choosing to believe the Idiot's 'Big Lie', and in many cases they even know it's bogus...but, they will fly that 'Trump 2020' banner on their lawn regardless.  And, they hope he'll run again and this time they won't be so incompetent about stealing the election.  They will just do it and let the devil take the hindmost....and he will.

  When Kellyanne Conway stood in front of television cameras outside the White House and took a deep-ish breath before speaking, it was her feeble and dying conscience's last breath.  The next words out of her mouth have become a permanent part of her legacy and will follow her to the end of the trail.  She put forward the idea that there are such things as, "...alternate facts".   It was a truly gob-smacking moment.  She stood before the entire world--in effect--and said, essentially, that facts are elusive.  You can have this piece of  information, and it can be 'true'.....or, maybe not.  There exist--according to Kellyanne--no real means of establishing that one 'fact' is 'true' while another is 'false'.  It's all a great big ol' swamp and it's not even clear if it's full of alligators.  One supposes that we'll have to drain it if we want to find that out.

  As I have mentioned previously on this venue, we now live, move and breathe in a 'post fact' world. Just because you say something is not true...or true, for that matter....doesn't mean it is so.  You have your facts and I have mine, and, the fact that they don't agree no longer means that one of them is 'false' and the other is 'true'.  No, no....   Now, I can have my own made-up factual reality, and you can have yours.  Except, of course, for the fact that I will relentlessly attack your version and promote my own, until yours is impugned and mine is widely accepted.  Then I will have the upper hand and you will be the loser.

  Hey, this is the basis for the entire argument being jammed down viewers throats by the far-right....which, by the way, is no longer so far out on the right wing spectrum of possibilities.  In fact, the so-called 'far right' is now squatting firmly in the middle of everything conservatives want you to believe and will lie, cheat and steal to obtain. The lying has become so pervasive and outrageous that the Orange Idiot could stand in front of a rally in Georgia last weekend and go on and on about how the farcical re-count in Arizona had proven the election was stolen from him....when it was public knowledge that this is a very big, fat lie.  The genuine FACTS of the situation are that it proved he lost by an even larger margin than originally stated.  He has zero restraint and is seemingly confident that he can lie his ass off and his sycophants will believe him.

  AND THEY DO.

Write him off at your peril.  This man is the greatest
danger to Democracy and America that we have
ever had.

    This might not matter in a world where such despicable behavior is simply understood as an inferior and terrified mental case doing what he's always done.  I mean, who cares, right?

  Well, we might tell ourselves that such blatant, dishonest, and dishonorable behavior is just more of the same.  But, the fact is, he is doing grave damage to our republic.  If you look at what happened on January 6th, at some point, you have to realize that this was not just a bunch of mal-contents who cannot accept that their asshole-idiot lost the Oval Office....but, that these people conducted a violent assault on the rule of law, on democratic principles, on LIFE as we know it, on the government itself and thereby ON ALL OF US.

  The Idiot and his cronies....a whole lot of them, many of them just as willing to lie, cheat and steal like he is....are a growing and dangerous threat to the American way of life.  If we allow ourselves to remain at all passive in the face of this dire threat, we will be living in a third-world style banana republic before we can even understand that it has happened.  The forces for this are gathering themselves, making bogus laws in state legislatures that will render the idea of open, fair, and honest elections to the dustbins of history.  

   As I have, along with many others, said so frequently, this democracy will disappear overnight and we will have something painfully in common with the people of Germany, i.e. we will have watched in disbelief as it all happened.  And, our means of fighting back, of resisting, will be beyond reach for most Americans.  It will be a 'done deal' and we'll be standing here asking ourselves, "What the fuck happened?"


Thursday, September 23, 2021

Nobody is using the term: diaspora....but, that is what is happening

 

    The dictionary defines 'diaspora' in multiple ways, but the one meaning that seems appropriate at present is 'displacement' and it is here and happening now.

   As the climate continues it shift towards becoming more and more deadly, we are seeing it happen almost as if we were standing on a street corner and watching as cars and trucks slam into each other creating a giant pile-up.  The storms are becoming more frequent and more violent and massively destructive.  The wild fires in the west are simply out of control.  The drought that may culminate in some very scary crop failures is happening in various parts of the country.  I just saw a news item on how low the reservoirs in northern California are......i.e. never been this bad. And, we haven't even mentioned the pandemic that continues to ravage the planet.  

   It was announced just yesterday that we have surpassed the death toll exacted by the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918.  So, we're at almost 700,000 and counting.  We blew by the death tolls of every war America has participated in, and I noted that when we passed the World War II toll of 405,000. 

  The simple truth is that larger and larger areas of the planet are rapidly becoming uninhabitable.  There is no longer any ability to sustain life in these regions....no water, no crops.  Disease and despotic leaders have come to the fore and it's going to get a whole lot worse before it even shows the possibility of improving.  These people from Haiti, Guatemala, El Salvador, and on and on...did not walk out of their humble dwellings to begin a foot journey of incredible danger and difficulty on a whim.  They did so because they have lost any hope that they would survive if they remained where they were.  It was clear to them that they had no future where their families have lived for many generations.

  So, the inevitable result of this tsunami of hopelessness.....is a diaspora.  It won't stop anytime soon, because these poor souls are between a rock and a hard place, i.e. stay and die, or go and perhaps die anyway.  But, most of them still have the courage and the stamina to cling to HOPE. On the outside chance that they will survive the journey, the crime and hunger, the exposure to the elements...and even endure being whipped with the reins of an officer's horse, as he tries to force them back away from crossing the border. (You may have seen this happen just a few days ago.)  These people still carry on.  Nobody who has an ounce of human compassion can watch footage of this crisis and remain dry-eyed.

  It's far too easy to conjecture that they just envy America and Americans and want what we have.  How dare they?  What they want so desperately is to have a life with some even slight hope for a future.  Can you even imagine what it would be like to be in their situation?  How does one lift their head on awakening each morning and face a day like they do?  At present, the souls huddled under the bridge in Del Rio Texas, are enduring furnace-like heat, privations of every kind, watching their children die from very preventable causes and knowing that the next thing that happens could well be being sent back to the hell that they gambled with their lives to escape.

   And, a whole lot of Americans just fear these people, are willing to stuff them right back where they came from because of the imagined threat they pose to our way of life. 

  Once again, we are at a moral crossroads: either we can treat these people with kindness and compassion and do what we can to ease what they are and have gone through.......or we can just play hardball and tell ourselves that it's their tough luck to be them.  Ayn Rand would be delighted with that option, eh.  SUCKS TO BE YOU.

I am still not ready to believe that is who we really are....as a nation or as people. 

  But, I am starting to slide in that direction........................

Hell comes in many forms....