Friday, December 23, 2011

No. 1 Joy

The number one joy in life is breathing. There is no question about it. When given the choice of any two things one might do, exclusive of the other, breathing wins, hands down. Especially if the exclusive length of time is more than, say two minutes.

So, if you are willing to give up breathing for something else, then that is something! Giving up breath is giving up life. If there is something you love more than living itself, then that something IS the meaning of your life. It is a simple equation.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Silence Rules Negativity

Silence rules negativity - absorbs it, transforms it.

Scissors, Paper, Rock. I don't know if I read or heard this somewhere, or just made it up -- intuitively, anyway, that game works if you take the "Rock" for silence.

Paper covers the Rock. If you take "Paper" for that which is temporary, and illusory, then, yes, Paper can appear to have victory over Rock. I never understood that one before. I thought they just made paper win over rock because you had to do it that way, for the game to work.

If you take "Scissors" for that which cuts, and is therefore painful and negative, then it makes sense that the Rock can destroy the Scissors. Otherwise, why not think of the Rock as that which sharpens scissors?

Scissors as negativity, is negativity in the positive sense. Cutting away that which is not needed, creates the masterpiece. Scissors also cut through the illusion, which is the paper, which covers the rock.

I am trying to remember Silence, the Rock, and let it absorb all negativity. As Jesus did. I don't need to cry out to my God, for God to know what I need. And I also can cry out, and the holy spirit can cry out from within me. If the cry comes from Silence itself, then let it.

On a less serious note, you can't lose traditional Scissors, Paper, Rock by choosing "Rock" all the time - why? Because, unless the person is a practiced "Scissors, Paper, Rock"  competitor, they are likely to forget to punch you, if they win with something other than "Rock." You, on the other hand, already having a fist balled up, are likely to punch them every time. (Note, for documentation on traditional Scissors, Paper, Rock, see any" Charlie Chan" movie scene where No. 1 Son and  No. 2 Son are waiting around, or trying to decide something.)

Friday, December 9, 2011


Being ready to die at any moment.
When your thinking gets to the end of its framework, it is time to let go, and receive more input.
Your experience of life is not constrained by gravity, and thinking does not hold it up. There is no place to fall to, if you let go of thinking.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Current Help

Settle into more consistent truthfulness

"Accept-reject, accept-reject" - remembering these are the same. Neither makes a difference.

waiting to see what I will do.
 Realizing that I can't do anything by myself. The Everything does everything.
 I take responsibility by allowing truth to be what is.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We Are Not Trash - Occupy Encampments Destroyed

I've got to get off my duff and start writing every day about the changes that are happening in our country, finally. I am talking about the Occupy movement.

This week,  the Oakland encampment was removed by police, and the Occupy Wall Street itself was summarily tipped into NYC sanitation trucks. We then read that the mayors and managers of 18 cities with occupations conference-called about what to do with them. Apparently, they decided the thing to do was treat them like trash to be swept away, and justify police actions with sanctimonious pronouncements about "public safety."

But the mayors - either 1%-er's like New York's Bloomberg, or terrified politicians like Jean Quan in Oakland, are just stumbling forward in a stage-play whose finale is already written. Their inevitable authoritarian reactions to Occupy merely serve the function of strengthening and widening the movement. The finale is the fall of the economic and political structures we have now, that are not working for 99% of the people (or more.)

The next act of the play, though, is improvisation. Change requires untried solutions; and not everything that gets tried will work. The Occupy Movement is creating new forms of democracy. A working system of elections, that voice the actual will of the majority, (with protection of minorities,) will have to be in place BEFORE the ultimate fall of the system, if we are to avoid massive violence and loss.

The next play, the one that comes after the new structures of democracy are in place, will be written by the new democracy itself. All we know now are the problems it will have to solve - the environmental emergency, creating opportunities for productive work for all, and the equitable distribution of resources that productive work creates.

I propose the next step for Occupiers is to demand public space for Occupations as a right, in EVERY locality. People need to gather for long periods of time - these are informal constitutional conventions. They are political free speech of the highest order. Money is not speech, as the Supreme Court would have it. But human bodies, gathered in protest, ARE. Their right to gather trumps the local ordinances that would prevent it.

Furthermore, there are now millions of homeless people in the United States. For a person to live, they need shelter. To have a decent life, they need the same shelter every night, and the right not to be kicked out of it. Millions of homeless people is not a normal phenomenon - it is not simple "delinquency." It is a symptom of the sickness that befouls us. In this housing emergency, we need a provision of public space for camping, and it has to be usable - in cities, near facilities and public transportation. Yes, Occupy encampments attract homeless people, of course! Mayors should be welcoming and accommodating this. Occupy Wall Street has plenty of resources to keep itself clean and safe. Less well-endowed occupations should be supported by their cities with water and sanitation. Until we have well-built homes for all, encampments are our right, and our political necessity.

The 1% are losing their minions by the second. One Oakland mayoral adviser resigned in protest at this week's police action. More importantly, veterans of our reckless foreign wars are showing up at occupations in force. Last February, Madison, WI police disobeyed orders to remove protesters from the capitol rotunda. Working class soldiers and police are waking up, and will not be used to suppress dissent.

This is why I say the battle is won - the tide has turned. If the road ahead it not yet clear, at least people are starting to wake up, and see that we need to go in the opposite direction from  the one the 1%-ers have been leading us in.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New SideBar today

I know
I am not in my
right mind
if I don't see anything
of infinite value

by me.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Occupy Denver 1st Amendment Petition

Wow - I just noticed that I haven't posted in October, yet. This is what I wrote as my reason for signing the petition to the Governor of Colorado and the Mayor of Denver, to respect the free speech and peaceable assembly rights of the Occupy Denver encampment:

In order for the right of peaceably assembly to be a real right, there must be a place where peaceable assembly is allowed. Any and all public space is, by rights, the space where people are free to assemble. If there is an on-going event of political expression, the right to assemble for any length of time may not be denied.

If the event goes on for longer than 24 hours, then the use of camping equipment is necessary for the right to assemble to upheld. Equal rights for rich and poor, means that a peaceable assembly for the purpose of political expression cannot be denied to those who can't afford a place to live, or a commute. Government at any level (federal, state or local) may not deny "Creator-endowed" rights.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Expecting Others to Love You

I'm testing out a new theory: that you it is safe to relate to everyone as though you thought they loved you - as long as you also love them, and treat them as beloved. Surely not all people will not return the love, but how excellent it will be when someone does! I will try to hold this as an intention. It is not like, "I must be loving." It is, "You might well love me, and I love you for that possibility."

If I get any interesting results, I will let you know.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Here is a YouTube link from my sister. Does anyone else consider the Three Stooges to be a basic cultural building block?

> On Fri, Sep 2, 2011 at 11:52 PM,  You wrote:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Present Moment

The present moment:

1.) the moment after the past, and before the future. An infinitessimal instant of time. Scientists are not sure that it exists. They are sure that our intuitions about it are wrong.

2.) All conscious experience, current, remembered and anticipated, from the perspective of "now." This includes the immediate experiences of sights, sounds, flavors, and physical feelings, as well as the presentation to consciousness of such memories, plans, fears, confusions, emotions and fantasies as arise. The content and beliefs that those memories, plans, etc. themselves represent, are not part of "now," so in the most basic, physical sense of existence, they don't exist. But the experiencing of them is part of "now". I think this is what the sages mean when they say, 'past and future do not exist.' It can sound like a tautology, but it is really referring to the fact that "now" is unburdened by so very much of what we think 'exists.'

"The content and beliefs that those memories, plans, etc. themselves represent" is a phrase that requires some expanding-upon. I might have a fear, the content of which is, "My spouse may be dead." The fear itself is an experience that happens to me; it exists at some period in time. The content of my thought is representational. It is a story, or a presumption. It may or may not correspond to reality in varying ways and degrees. But we can differentiate it from direct experience. We can realize that representational thought is a servant, not a master. Direct experience is that which needs to be welcomed for what it is, not for how it is represented in our minds. We can reject ideas, but not experience. The good news is that we never have to reject experience. That is also the hard news, still, for me.

I have been given the feedback that I need to be less presumptuous about my perceptions being the gospel truth. I know they are not. Sorry if they still sound that way.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Should and Ought Not

If you do anything with a expectation of praise, you are likely to be disappointed. But you should still want to do praiseworthy things.

You ought not reject the urge to do something (in the context of positive intention), only because it might lead to embarrassment. You can think it over, though. That's what embarrassment is for. If it still seems right, revel in the possibility of embarrassment. You might be surprised by lavish praise.

The Value of Words

An extraterrestrial observer was flying past the Earth, idly dialing through the video broadcasts s/he was picking up. If the E.T. had thought in words, s/he would have been saying something like, "This verbal language they use is fascinating. It may have stunted their intuitive powers, but words themselves can have great value! A group of humans can sit together just exchanging words, and the entire group erupts with something they call 'laughter.' This encourages deep breathing and relaxation.

"Because of all the incredible stress they endure in their lives, they are constantly on tenterhooks, and hyper-vigilant. They use words to lead their minds into images and ideas, and then to cultivate emotions, which in turn, gives them some influence over their own energies and motivations.

"Unintuitive? Round-about? Yes. But it seems to get the job done for the meat creatures."

Poem Fragment "Self-Annihilating Thought"

My mind has held the Self-Annihilating Thought.
 How, then, can I yet be?
 I am only an echo of myself, and of Myself.

The Poem Fragment Explained -
The Self-Annihilating Thought is not the thought of annihilating oneself. It is the thought whose nature and power is such that, for a mind to hold it, means that no thought will ever be held to be "self" again. I don't know if there is such a thing, but I like the category.

The ego likes to compare itself to others, and takes pride in its accomplishments. The accomplishment the ego can be the most proud of, is the holding of the Self-Annihilating Thought. It is the highest possible achievement of the thinking mind. It has not been accomplished by any separate, individual mind currently in existence. If you succeed in achieving it, you will be the first, and only, person ever to have done it.

I recognize myself as I am sometimes, and sometimes in imagined forms. All these experiences are reflections of pure-awareness/that-which-experiences. Knowing that, is saving knowledge.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Knowing Everything You Know

When you don't fear any possibility, you are able to know everything you know. I mean "know" here, in the sense of not suppressing the knowledge of something that is already in your mind. Any concept that you fear, you cannot know. For example, I fear looking unattractive, or stupid. Therefore, I have trouble perceiving feedback from people that indicate I look unattractive or stupid. Since I am afraid of that possibility, I cannot accept the fact or possibility, that someone is saying I look stupid or unattractive.

The fact that I cannot perceive or understand their behavior makes me anxious and/or depressed. For all the suppression of the feared thought, I don't get out of feeling the fear. To the contrary, it is when I am unperturbed by the fact or possibility of being unattractive, that I can deal kindly and effectively with a person who is responding to me in that way.

I can withstand the negativity of the person toward myself, because I know this is only the interplay of our entwined fate. I am constructed by a power vastly greater than an individual human will. I regurgitate ways I have been affected or harmed, onto other people, having no awareness of what I am doing. The "I" who is identified as "Linda Hardesty" is not to be punished by me for her iniquities. (I thought to say, "Shortcomings, or failures," but wanted to put it more strongly.) I can know a forgiveness so complete, that no sin can ever have been committed. In fact, that is a logical syllogism, If forgiveness is truly complete, then no sin was ever committed. This is another reason that we can trust in our salvation. God is perfect, and God's Forgiveness is perfect. Therefore, we know that no sin is ever really committed.

I know that is a radical, scary statement. Let me hasten to add, that your sin will be great, if you tell yourself no sin is ever committed, and you haven't realized what Love is and Who God is. This is how I understand the possibility of losing one's salvation, or not having salvation. It would be using the concept of perfect forgiveness and salvation as a cover for lying to yourself. Until you have no lies to yourself, you don't believe in your own salvation. (This is a corollary of the of the basic assumption - the Good News that you ARE saved. If you have any reason to lie to yourself, you are not in agreement with the assumption, i.e., you believe you are not saved.)

In reality, where it is important -- in the heart of God's being, you are saved, and have never not been saved. You can't truly BE "not saved," but you can suffer from believing it is possible.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Another Kind of Prayer

I don't know what is going to happen, and nothing I do on my own can _make_ anything happen. I can only do what seems the most right, and see what unfolds from that. Through the miracles of the human brain and senses, my behavior may adapt and improve with experience. Or, I may be fated to spend my entire life under a cloud of being unattractively different. I can't prevent or change or avoid what is happening to me now by worrying about what I should do next, or about whether I just made the right decision. Decisions aren't made in the head -- so say the neurocartographers. Keep remembering the Sermon on the Mount from time to time, and you will have all the guidance you need, built into your behavior.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Creation of the World

Everything experiences everything.

Every subatomic particle of matter/energy potentially has a partner, nearby or far away in the universe, with which it acts in tandem. Experiments in physics show that two such paired particles, when measured in radiation-beam experiments, are always in complementary states. The scientists can alter one particle intentionally, and thereby effectively predict the state the other particle will be in, regardless of how far apart they are in space.

So not only is all the physical universe in constant contact with itself via more familiar processes of gravity, light, the water cycle, and all of life's mutual interaction. But also, every particle in the universe is directly connected to every other particle, in the sense that there are potentially detectable effects instantaneously, at the farthest distances in the universe, to any particle being changed.

Every particle experiences every other particle.

The changing of the "spin" of a particle is about as far from a human emotion as you can get. But I argue that they are essentially of the same nature. Sentient creatures, and especially humans, are the quintessential conscious beings. We can be affected (through learning and otherwise) by everything that we can know about. Seemingly dead matter is affected by physical forces in a much coarser way.

But much of our learning is ultimately dependent on the physical and chemical events that make up our physical body. The miracle of how these bodies have come to be formed from particles is a mind-blowing mystery, embedded in the mystery of all the particles of the universe, and how they came to be. The exqusite conscious awareness that we share, is part and parcel with the physical laws that scientists are able to discern, and thereby gain power in the physical world. There is no hard and fast boundary between any two particles, much less between, say, members of the animal kingdom. But we have to draw the line somewhere. We need boundaries to create the world that we live in through our exquisite consciousness. Consciousness itself draws the lines, and thereby creates that world. Who draws the lines? God, consiousness, life, love. Also pain, the Void, negativity and rejection.

But God -- all -- encompasses all.

Being Seen by My Cat

We need to respond to these troubled times with an elevated spiritual level. Your spiritual level is akin to your blood pressure measurement, substituting the flow of Love for the flow of blood. The flow of love is like the blood that circulates between the spiritual cells (people) of our spiritual body (the Divine.)

The whole of reality rests in Consciousness. It is necessary to learn to perceive this metaphor.

Every cell contributes to the flow

If you really contemplate any one of God's attributes (omnipresent, omnipotent, onmiscient, all-good, all-loving, perfect), you will become aware of the perfection, completeness, peace and joy that surrounds you in that moment.

Everything experiences everything.

You can pick and choose the reality you see, because it is all illusion. It's not that there is no reality driving the illusion. The illusion is only the idea that any particular interpretation of reality _is_ reality, or a perfect representation thereof.

To put it another way, no pain is permanent. Neither is _the experience_ of happiness. But we can choose to remember and contemplate the happiness. Consciousness can be directed. By nature it always looks in a certain direction -- that is God's will. God's will the is direction in which consciousness is pointed. To know that is to know peace.

Until you realize that consciousness is directed, and always goes in the direction of God's will, you will be tormented by fear and confusion. This is all part of God's will. The fear and confusion only exists in order to be taken away. Joy, relief and peace are all experienced when the negative emotions leave. Without the negative emotions, we would not get the positive emotions that arise when the negative emotions leave.

You might say, why bother? Why would God let negative things arise, only to replace them with positive? Couldn't the positive be all there is?

Well, that is the case, ultimately. The positive is all there is. But the absence of change gets boring. God creates the world -- all the seeming good and evil of it. Without good and evil, nothing exists. It is fine for nothing to exist, but still...

So evil is good, ultimately. But God's will is directed away from it. We only approach the good that is inherent in evil from the reverse side. When evil is in front of us, we turn around. Sometimes, we go all the way around the world, and see the back of evil. And we see that the backside of evil is good.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I am supremely happy at rest, And I am always...

I am supremely happy at rest,
And I am always at rest in God.

Appearances to the contrary are deceptive. This is one of the true prayers -- if you can pray a true prayer sincerely, then by definition, that prayer is fulfilled. "True prayer" is my own coinage, and I feel sure that someone has invented a better term for it. It shouldn't be read as excluding other types of prayer from being true. "Self-fulfilling prayer" might be a better term.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Less Fear Controlling Them

One of the big debates in popular culture is over whether you can "follow your bliss" and survive in the world, or whether most people will always have to do things for work that make them unhappy. The former is generally adopted by the far left of the US political spectrum, while everybody else accepts some version of the latter, with some exceptions.

I believe what the debate boils down to, is over how important decisions should be made in an individual's life. One side (the majority) says fear and caution should always take precedence. If that paralyzes you, just do what other people do.

The other side believes positive motivation is important for real success. And indeed, how can anyone who is unhappy consider themselves successful? In order to consider themselves relatively successful, they have to disbelieve the possibility of being happy. Everyone knows on some level that they can be happy. I believe that is so, because of the phenomenon of newborn infants "failure to thrive" if they are not held in someone's arms and given human love a certain amount of time each day. It makes sense to me that love and happiness are a necessary foundation for physical life.

Following the practical thinking of the one's society is certainly (or at least probably) safer. Of the minority who take more risks to do what they want, a higher percentage are dead at the end of each year, than others. That makes it an open-and-shut case for most people. Only people who have less fear controlling them than others, can take such risks.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Now We BEGIN the Liberal Rebuilding Phase

We are at the peak flowering moment of the conservative movement. Leftward thought and power has ebbed almost out of existence. But we finally begin to see the way forward.

Money has lost much of its usefulness to societal well-being. The current state economic development has seen the partial mastery of money by large corporations. By that I mean that they (the corporations) have learned, by dint of hard work, how to accumulate monetary wealth in such a lop-sided fashion that money is no longer effectively encouraging productivity -- the creation of real wealth. This has become obvious to every one, except perhaps some keepers of statistics. They still calculate that our economy is "growing" most of the time, if weakly.

Corporations should declare victory and go home. But they won't, and their stranglehold on the economic system will only become more burdensome and ridiculous for a while, until the new ways of organizing people power start to take effect. Conservatives' ability to organize people is limited by their non-acceptance or rejection of people. Liberals' biggest strength is the ideology of progressive change, which means accepting change. Accepting change requires being open to new and different things. Being open to newness means it is easier for liberals to accept people who are different from them, even who differ in moral values, as deserving of respect. In their real lives, conservatives are probably just as likely to accept different types individuals as friends, or deserving of kindness, as liberals are, if not more so. But conservatives don't accept people whose opinions differ as groups, with legitimate political concerns. They believe that some groups can legitimately be discriminated against, for some reason or other. For example, Palestinians as a group can be discriminated against, because there have been Palestinian terrorists; gays because there have been gay perverts.

I can't make this argument in such a way that conservatives will accept the idea that their discrimination is wrong. But that doesn't matter. They have always been the minority of the population, and always will be, because their project is distinguishing themselves from others, in some fundamental way. They believe it is by literally making themselves superior, and more deserving than the lazy, the shiftless, the criminals, and miscreants. Their opponents (liberals, progressives), ideologically accept that every person is of equal value, and has equal rights. Those are just the two poles of perspective; everyone chooses one side for inner reasons.

But it doesn't matter who is right and who is wrong; one side is going to rise in prominence in the near future, and the other fall. It is clear which side has been rising for the past 30 years, and equally clear that one side cannot rise forever in this world. We liberals have been astounded and dumbfounded by the relentless rise to power of ever more "conservative" thought. I put that in quotes because when "conservatism" goes to the extremes that it has, it no longer resembles the thought stream that it is named for. Today's "conservatives" want radical change, and they are getting it. Unconsciously, relentlessly pushing for a society in which certain types of people have all political and financial power, they have finally over-reached. The 10% of people who are now permanently unemployed are coming to be clear on that. They 90% who are less wealthy now than they were 10 years ago are coming to be clear on that. It no longer takes a liberally-slanted view to see that the brave new world of the conservatives' dreams will not be a better place for most of us, because that world is almost here. What that new conservative world is about is getting harder and harder to hide.

In my next post, I will talk about how physical organizing of like-minded people in geographical areas is inevitably going to increase, and how it spells doom for the current flavor of "Conservatism."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Poem By Paul

A Poem By Paul (Foster, I think -- Jeannie Stevens' partner)

What in my life can I face today?
Perhaps the mistakes that have led me astray.

My joy, my sorrow, today, tomorrow
My dark, my Light, the wrong, the right
My addictions and habits
(they breed just like rabbits)

The past, the future, or lack thereof
My brat attacks, my deepest Love
My dying body, my futile hope
My fiercest fighter, my “just can’t cope”

But most of all I have to say
I face my True Self night and day
And all I really actually know
Is nothing at all and happily so!

Om Om
July 2011

This is a poem from an online friend of mine, that is so simple and innocent, I wanted to share it (with permission). Someone could make it a song.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Present-Time Christianity

Saying that you are sure of anything, when there is a conflict in your mind about it, is being untruthful. But some Christian leaders preach that we ought to be sure in our opinions on certain subjects -- that it is a requirement of being a good Christian, and possibly of salvation.

It is a misunderstanding of God to believe that God might ever want you to be untruthful to yourself, much less that God might require it for salvation. It is one of the telltale signs that the believer is attributing a single perspective to the Omniscient One. A single perspective of consciousness is the attribute of a human ego. While human consciousness, and God's consciousness are the same in fundamental nature, a human ego is not a characteristic of God's consciousness. God "owns" all the egos of all the humans there are. But God does not have one human ego, unless we are talking about Jesus' ego (if He truly had an ego.)

The kind of salvation hoped for by a person who confuses God with someone having an ego, is perpetuation of the ego. The ego is not the source of happiness or fulfillment, so eventually, all people will understand that the ego is not what needs to be (and is) preserved. The ego definitely dies, wholly and completely. But that is only scary if you believe that the consciousness you know as yourself will die.

It is utterly critical, in order to get out of the basic fear of death that religion addresses, to:
1.) Acknowledge and accept that every experience and memory you have may be lost to you at some point.
2.) Come to know your own consciousness as a real, existing something, that is not just equal to all the experiences and memory that may be lost.

These might also be stated:
1.) Surrender.
2.) Faith or belief.

When you have those two, you become aware of the gift of eternal life that you already have. The fact of that gift, and the fact that it can never be taken away from you -- because it is eternal, and it IS you -- are the Good News, that seems so hard for people to get.

To say it with chutzpah, if you don't understand this, you don't understand what Jesus said.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Buzz Is a Buzz

A buzz is a buzz, right? On the abstract level, ANYTHING that feels good will attract you. Bliss and gratitude attract mightily. To the extent we have tasted them, we are repeating the behaviors that produced them, automatically and without effort. It is a function of the body-mind.

Not having REALLY experienced bliss and gratitude is the prime cause of slow spiritual growth. Only a few people in our society have experienced enough bliss to have started the virtuous circle of spiritual seeking in a healthy way. Even fewer have gotten to the point that negative experiences are as valuable to them as positive.

Reality and self-interest call us to intend positive experiences for other people, so that they can grow in faith, in turn benefitting others, including us. That would be one kind of definition of Love.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cheer Up! We're Done For

We are done for as a species. We are going into a period of climate change so dramatic, that our brains will have to get bigger or more powerful, just like the times our hominid ancestors' brains did. The people who come out the other side of that will be a different species, in a few thousand years.

The traits to be selected for this time will be brains with the ability to think ever more abstractly. As we abstract useful generalizations, from a larger and larger pool of information, we will be better able to deal with the changing environment. We are evolving away from fear and violence, toward cooperation and love.

Unfortunately, I can't see how this evolution is going to happen without a massive die-off first. The captains of industry who have so mightily resisted the chance that science could allay man-made effects on the environment, have ensured it. I hope this prediction does not come true. But we will know very well if it does. Our communication and epidemiological surveillance systems will probably be intact long enough to register the first absolute decline in human population of the historical era. If we stop being able to maintain those systems, you can be sure the masses in the cities will not be fed.

The die-off might not be the cause of much evolution to begin with. The real rapid period of evolution might not start until the current social structures disappear. Maybe it will happen in Africa, as all the previous periods of rapid human evolution did. Africa still has the highest level of human genetic diversity. Who will survive, as that continent becomes less and less hospitable to life? Our prior experience shows the possibility that the most fearful and violent will kill each other off, along with the weaker, slower non-violent types. Those who are able to find extremely sophisticated ways of cooperation, will be the ancestors of the new species. At the end of one of the last periods of severe climate change, it is estimated that only about 600 breeding individuals of our ancestry were alive. Even if a much larger remnant survive, they could be heavily selected for wisdom, love, compassion, and self-sacrifice.

If past hominid migration patterns hold true in the future, the burgeoning populations of the next climatically-favorable period are likely to spread from Africa in all directions, and wipe out the less-evolved post-homo sapiens they meet. They will eventually capture them all, put them in zoos, and institute a careful breeding program to keep their population levels up. But it may not work, because those old-style people will be so in love with their post-human captors, that they won't be able to stand each other. They will refuse to mate. The post-humans will not consider forcibly inseminating them, so most will die out, after happy lives.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Adhering to Standards

The problem is not with adhering to standards; it is adhering to them slavishly.

"Slavish" adherence is recognized by the lack of joy in it. Generally, it will be accompanied by pain and resistance. It is adherence out of fear of the consequences, rather than adherence because one understands the underlying principle that makes adherence profitable.

If adherence to a standard is not profitable to those of whom it is required, then it literally is a form of slavery. Our parents teach us to adhere to standards, and in so doing claim that the standards themselves will eventually be profitable to us. We are taught to persevere, when the standard is painful, because we will eventually learn the value of the standard; or at least, we will learn the value of perseverance.

But how much pain and suffering should one endure, before deciding that to change course might be more profitable than perseverance? Abandoning a standard, or adopting a different one, is changing course. If we misjudge the value of perseverance in a given case, our adherence to the standard was slavish. It is much better to achieve mastery of the art form, such that adherence to any standard is based on perfect understanding of how that standard affects the quality of an outcome. Then, adherence or non-adherence will be undertaken in joy – the joy of creative power.

Recipe for Peace

Here is a recipe for peace that seems workable to me now:

1. Always hold the intention to behave in as loving a way as you know how.
2. As long as you know #1 is in place, behave according to your leading, without thinking about it.
3. ACCEPT the consequences of your actions. Don't explain or justify, to yourself or others. Accept others' reactions. Don't start planning your behavior in expectation of others' known reactions. Respond to them with love, regardless of how they interact with you. Demand nothing of them. If you must plan your behavior, plan it according to what gifts you may offer lovingly to others, that they will want. The best such gifts are those of physical and emotional comfort. To the poor or afflicted, give food and useful items. To the rich, give affirmation.
4. The very luckiest of the rich might then come to want challenges from you. Give these reluctantly, if the receiver insists.
5. People can and do go from "poor or afflicted" to "rich" and back multiple times in one conversation.

#4 is certainly still theoretical for me. I put it in because it doesn't seem moral to give only affirmation to the rich, without the possibility of giving them challenges.

For now, though, I can, without moral compunction, give them only affirmations. They have plenty of challenges that they don't ask for. They will only benefit from receiving a challenge they really, really want.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hell Realms

A "hell realm" in Buddhism is like hell in Christianity, except it is not forever. Souls stuck in a hell realm will eventually see their suffering eased. (Just for all you doctrine checkers, I don't believe in a God-created hell.) So the Buddhist concept is much more useful for organizing one's spiritual landscape, since it clearly symbolizes what happens to someone who is stuck in a hellish existence of their own and their environment's making. The person experiences what seems to be an inescapable horror - Hell. The essence of Christianity is to know that God's love can free anyone, and that hellish conditions can end.

So what do you do for a person who is stuck in a hell realm? What does that person's life look like?

The clearest cases are people in the midst of a panic attack. They become increasingly anxious and fearful that something unbearable (like dying) is happening to them, or about to. They are inconsolable, and cannot think logically. They may act irrationally or threateningly. They can be scary to be around. (At least, that's how my panic attacks were.) They need either intense kindness and reassurance from whoever is with them, or to be taken to a hospital.

A panic attack is an acute hell realm. But a chronic hell realm can be just as bad. It is a thought that recurs frequently, and it is unbearable, so it is pushed back from consciousness. The process of that thought's occurrence, and the instant reaction of pushing it away, constitutes what we call emotional pain.

The thought will consist of seeing oneself in a negative light. Like, "I'm fat and ugly." "I might fail again, and prove thereby that I am doomed/cursed." "Someone else is winning, and I'm losing." "People hate me or want to hurt me or don't care about me." The specific situation elicits the thought, and it is instantly pushed under conscious awareness. But the associated feeling lingers, and the feeling is pain. The thoughts that go through the thinker's mind are suspicions or despairs about the intentions of the people you are with. Like "That person thinks I'm fat and ugly," or "I am being cheated."

Feeling under threat or angry toward people you know to be your friends is a pretty clear sign of a negative self-image that must be pushed away. The key phrase there is "people you know to be your friends." A friend is defined as someone who loves you and wishes you well. But you are thinking both that a person is a friend, and that they don't wish you well. If you are holding that contradiction in your mind, you are in pain. If you know the person to be a friend, and you think they want to hurt you, then in this moment you have had one of the worst experiences - possible loss of a friend. On a subconscious level, you can have this experience over and over and over in a single conversation. What the other person does or thinks has very little to do with all this bad experience. You suffer as long as you can't accept the possibility of some reality - like, maybe you really are fat and ugly. So what? If you are aware of it, you can take better evasive action than if you aren't.

All this can happen under the surface of ostensibly logical conversation. In this case, logic is pointless. No communication is going to help, unless it gets through you that you are loved. The less able you are to see love coming toward you, the more intense the hell realm.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Good Is Unidirectional

This is just one of those abstract logical statements. Nothing mystical. "Good" as an abstract quality, is that to which one is attracted; that which one wants. Even if you want to deny all things for yourself, or if you are attracted to "bad" things, still, that is what seems good to you.

You can travel toward good, or you can be pushed away from it. But your impetus is always in the direction of good. That is an absolute statement, only in that language has a common meaning to people. To say that good is what people are attracted to is to say Good is good, or, "When people make this sound, they are referring to something they like."

I'll leave the abstract meaning of "unidirectional" to your general experience. Good is unidirectional. All that means is that the abstract quality "good" has the abstract quality "unidirectionality." To over 90% of humanity, as I have experienced them, this would be the most boring discussion in the world. If it is interesting to you, I want to get to know you. In fact, I am specially burying this invitation, instead of setting it off in a paragraph, so that only non-bored readers will see it :-).

"Good" as an abstract quality, is a quality that resides in the eye of the beholder, like beauty. I could probably make a good logical argument for that, but I think it is self-evident. I know that legions of theologians and philosophers have debated it for centuries. But without an ax to grind around whose God is the greatest, there doesn't seem much of an argument that abstract qualities exist in some meaningful sense, outside of time, space, and matter. They are part and parcel of the thing they are attributed to; else they are part and parcel of the functioning mind that is attributing them (some are one way, and some are the other.) We think we attribute "goodness" to something we appreciate, when attributing goodness is really just the expression of being oriented positively toward something.

If someone who is a good logician wants to help me clarify my thinking, please, have at it.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I said in church the other day, that I was a prophet. Progressive Christianity sees prophecy as meaning the same as "social criticism." This is the sense in which Martin Luther King is seen as a prophet. It does entail some foretelling of the future, but it is not a magical or superstitious thing.

It is still a big deal to call yourself a prophet, as it is to call anyone else a prophet. It is making a claim of special wisdom. If it gives your ego a thrill to think of yourself as a prophet, then you are probably a false prophet. If you are not aware of what gives your ego a thrill (which is true of all of us, ultimately) then you can really have no idea of whether you are a prophet or not.

What I am really arguing, when I say I am a prophet, is that prophecy has become incredibly easy. Everyone is a prophet, or is about to be - except for the people who are really at the power-mad center of the corporate-political-money-government.

It is all melted together now. Not everyone who has money is political; some just live a nice life. But if you are involved or want to be involved determining how money flows through society (government/laws), you have to be very well connected to sources of money. Large corporations and their owners are, by their nature, interested in controlling the government that regulates the flows of money and benefits of our organized society. They also fill the other requirement, of being well-endowed with money.

Trends have become clear. This is why it is easy to prophesy now. Median wages rose in America until at least the 70's. But since the Clinton years, they have fallen, while the super rich have taken an even larger part of the pie. Connect the dots of increasing environmental damage allowed in the pursuit of energy, impoverishment of American workers, the loss of integrity by the corporate press, and the irrelevancy of elections to policy-making. A great backlash is in the making. It is hard to see how this will be resolved without great violence. The power-mad in America have set themselves on the course of using war to promote their interests, at the expense of other peoples, whose only recourse will be to further violence.

I have faith in the power of faith. I believe that telling this prophecy will cause enough people to believe it, that it will not come true. So, I want you to believe that it will not come true, only if you believe it will come true unless you believe it might come true, and start doing things to stop it. I'll break that down one more time.

I want you to believe there is a danger of immense violence and destruction in our society. I want you to believe that this danger comes from destructive forces that are not now recognized as destructive by a majority of people. I want you to educate yourself about the manipulations of the political system by monied interests. If you believe that and do that, I believe we, as a united people, can stop the violence and mitigate the destruction.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


inward/outward is a project of Church of the Saviour, in Washington, D.C. I highly recommend their emailed daily devotions.This post was inspired by today's.

The whole thrust of having faith is that you understand every experience of life as positive. It is the finest of fine arts. When we experience distress, we know that it often leads to a greater reward, in terms of relief, understanding and mastery. The art of faith is knowing at all times that troubles are temporary. We can use language to refine the skill of maintaining that awareness.

How can we know that troubles are temporary? If you have had a mystical experience of near-perfect peace, you know that trouble has been temporary in the past. However, we can't know the future. We can't know the ultimate outcome of all the happenings we experience.

But one can realize that there is no point in thinking that the ultimate outcome will be negative. That would be to believe that negativity and unhappiness can rule our existence. It doesn't square with our experience up to now (for most of us.)

We can have individualized hopes for the future - hope for some specific thing. And those hopes can be fulfilled or dashed. Faith, on the other hand, is a general attitude. It is a logical response to the unknowability of the future. Does it ever help your life to have a generalized anxiety about the future? No.

The art of faith is learning how to not even entertain the possibility of an ultimately negative outcome. When de Caussade says, "We must realize that it is in order to stimulate and sustain this faith that God allows the soul to be buffeted and swept away by the raging torrent...", one of the things he is saying is, "However bad I/you feel now, it is just an experience that will pass. Remember that." It is an encouragement; and as such is an act of love.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Subtitle Changes

I just realized I have no record of my previous blog subtitles. I kind of wish this blogging platform allowed you to leave old posts in the template they were in when posted. That way, the reader would see what the subtitle was then. That would allow the reader who is catching up, to view the progression of the blog's style, and experience growth with it.

I just don't remember my first subtitle. The second one was, "All I ever really needed to know, I learned from having panic attacks." It was posted on 2/7/2011, and came down today, 4/11/11. The latest one is, "The point of this blog is to have somebody tell me whether I am whack or not. So, get commenting!"

Walking Back the Anxiety

I don't know why I have so much anxiety. It's like PTSD. I imagine it has something to do with brain functioning. People are born with different levels of sensitivity to different things. Neurons fire faster and harder in one area than another. Reflexes are set off more easily. Some such people become great artists and athletes. Some get so overloaded they lose the ability to function at a normal level. When every other thought is, "I'm about to die," you don't have time to think about how to make the color on your palette more beautiful.

Unless, that is, you work through the anxiety. That is why I am so attracted to meditation. By making an effort to empty your mind, you discover the thoughts that don't usually come to the surface, but which often control behavior from the unconscious. If you find yourself frequently anxious in certain situations, for no clear reason, you might discover the reason by meditating. As the meditation unfolds, you may remember a situation in which you got anxious. You don't try to think about the situation, because the point of meditation is to let go of striving, let go of attempts to channel thought in specific directions.

As you sit with the situation, you get the holistic sense of all the feelings associated with it, and all the times you have felt those feelings. And sometimes, you can reach back into one or more of those times, and remember the original traumatic experience that keeps getting triggered. In my case, there is a memory of some harsh treatment of a very small child. Too harsh. It set up an experience of "hell" - that which cannot be endured. It taught the child that hell could happen because of something you did. But you might not know in advance that what you did was worthy of hell. So, when you are thinking of doing something that you haven't done before, and don't know what the consequences will be, you will be very conflicted.

You will have anxiety around people you perceive to have power. You will have anxiety in social settings, and sometimes you won't know why. It feels like your brain seizes up, and can only think about what to do, how to remedy the situation, or how to escape the situation. Until you calm yourself down enough to really look at every thought and feeling, you won't know why your body and mind go into a lesser or greater panic, and whether that is justified or not. Hopefully, you begin to suspect that panic is not justified, long before you have any idea of why you panic.

My whole lifetime has been dedicated (on some level) to walking back my anxiety. Through my long-term meditation practice, with help from loving friends and teachers of co-counseling, I have gained enough serenity to notice - in the moment - when I go into some level of panic (sometimes, not every time). In the midst of those experiences, then, I have some chance of walking back the anxiety of the moment, and dealing with reality from a place of calm.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


I desperately want some people to understand some truths I have started to figure out about God. Logic can actually take a certain kind of person there - it did me. Logic also tells me to try to pass it on, because it is a technique for living more fully as an individual; and, showing people how to live the Way of Christ is critical to our hope for survival as a society.

I'm afraid it may sound grandiose to say that I have figured out truths about God. I don't mind seeming grandiose as far as myself goes, because I am that, and a lot of other humorous-looking things. But I don't want you to think I am saying these things just for the pleasure of saying them.

First of all, religious belief is a practice of setting intentions, and dealing with fear of the unknown. Other beliefs arise because they have some kind of evidence for them. Non-religious beliefs can be ignorant and biased, but the person who believes them, believes he has evidence.

Religious belief is an intentionally-chosen belief. It doesn't seem that way if you are following a religion that emphasizes fear, compulsion and judgment. You may realize (or suspect) there is no evidence for the religious belief that you are forced to follow. Still, the forces - parents, community, inbred fear that prevents you from thinking - seem to restrict your ability to choose your own belief. They are among the biggest obstacles to peace.

Assuming you are able to choose to hold a religious belief, why would you want to? Fear-based religion says you must hold it, or you will be shunned by the community and damned to hell. This is the idea we are called now to let go of. The mystical heart of all spiritual longing is to be free of fear, and free to act. (That is one way to put it.)

So, a religious belief that would answer such a longing, is one that, in and of itself, gives the believer freedom from fear. It can in no way, shape, or form be put into a set of words that will work for everybody. It has to be sought and found individually. This is the meaning of God's injunction against idolatry. There are idols not made of wood, clay, or stone. In fact, any concept, especially a concept formulated in words, which you take to be "truth", is an idol. You must formulate truth for yourself, but once you have grasped the truth, you must let go of the specific formula. A teacher puts out a formula that has worked for him or her, in loving charity, in hopes of seeing joy and enlightenment in the eyes of others.

I said in an earlier posting that, for Christians, "Jesus, save me!" or some similar formulation, is what I call a "salvation mantra." If you are of a Christian background, and you face your deepest fears, chances are, repeating that prayer will calm your agitation. This was a fantastic discovery for me. It was the basis of my faith. I believe that moment wherein I first made this discovery, was exactly what people talk about as a "conversion" or "salvation" experience, like "being saved," as we used to call it in the church of my early years. It requires you to acknowledge that you have no control over the outcome of events, and that nothing you do will necessarily save you. It allows you to let go of worrying about whether you will be saved or not, because there is nothing you could do to change whether that will happen or not. And then - this is key - you realize that believing in the ultimately positive outcome is the only religious belief that will help you in this moment, or any moment. There is good reason never to doubt it, but that reason has nothing to do with evidence.

If your proposed religious belief seems like it ought to be proved or disproved by evidence, then you have mis-formulated it. If you have a formulation that helps you whenever you think of it, you have a viable religious belief.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Taking Responsibility (For Beginners)

What is "taking responsibility"? Convicted criminals are supposed to take responsibility for their crimes. Teenagers are told to take responsibility for pets, homework, chores and other things. Taking responsibility is pledging to provide a response to something. "It's my responsibility" is also, "I take the credit when it succeeds, and the blame when it fails."

Taking responsibility is a sober thing. We do tend to go off in compulsivity around giving blame and taking credit. A spiritually healthy person doesn't need to blame or take credit to prop up a self-image. Taking responsibility, properly speaking, has nothing to do with giving blame and taking credit. Taking responsibility involves two steps. 1.) Acknowledge that something is true or exists. 2.) Provide a response (if needed).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spiritual Training

People do better with spiritual training than without. Spiritual training consists of ideas and techniques that are passed from one person to another, starting with parent-to-child. By holding and comforting the newborn, we teach that there is succor in our existence. By letting the dry, healthy, just-fed infant cry for a while, we teach it to find succor for itself. This is the basis of all further spiritual training. One person gives comfort to another, to prove it exists. Then the teacher points to the student and says, "What I gave you, you have the power to give to yourself, and others." When the student is able to believe that, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Believing you can comfort yourself, gives you the power to do so. This is the significance of true belief. It is a self-actualizing idea, which means it must refer to itself. It is an idea _about_ referring to oneself in a certain way, which makes it real and true. This may be hard to grasp, but take my word for it - you _can_ find succor in yourself. It is worth believing. Everyone I know who truly believes it, also wishes to help you make this self-actualizing idea your own. (They tend to want to be loving and helpful in other ways, too.)

We Christians find this Way of being in the world through following Jesus. Christians of my kind are happy to evangelize this gospel, to gather in the like-minded, and to share God's love with others, using language and concepts only when this is helpful. If others groups of people have found the Way to God, or Allah, or nirvana, or Atman, we are happy to use their language, if we can comprehend it, and to share life and love with them. It is not possible for a human to judge the state of another's soul. All language falls short of the glory of God, and no thought expressed in language captures the reality of God. We can only go where God leads us, and be loving to others. Telling them that their language or ideas are wrong, is just plain _being_ wrong ourselves. Our command is to love them, and not to judge them. If we do, the gospel will be clear to them. Censoring, frightening, damning, condemning - none of these things can be done in love.

I hew to a strict interpretation of the Scriptures. That strict interpretation is that we are to love others no matter what.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Don't Hold Your Breath

I just thought of something I have been trying to phrase pithily. It has to do with my feeling that much of the time I am ruled by fear. That state degrades my ability to deal with the current moment in a rational way. It demoralizes me, and just plain feels bad.

Holding your breath is an unconscious reaction to fear. The protective instinct of fear is to become as quiet as possible, so as not to give away one's location. How many times in your life has becoming quiet actually helped you evade something you feared? How many times, on the other hand, has a clear, calm mind helped to succeed in doing something? Which leads me to pithiness.

Don't hold your breath. You need plenty of oxygen for your brain to work properly.

Notice when you are holding your breath, and make use of the awareness that fear is affecting you. Practice letting go of instinctive fear, so that the appropriate parts of your brain-mind will be freed up to deal with the situation. I'm not saying to deny that you are afraid of something, but rather, make an intention not to operate unconsciously in fear. Express the fear in words, and let the rational knowledge of the specific fearful thought affect the rational evaluation of what needs to be done.

I can say from experience that this is easier to understand intellectually, than to do.

For example, imagine you are driving to work, and thinking about various things that are happening at work. You think about what you need to do when you get there. Something that might turn out badly occurs to you, and you are now driving down the road holding your breath. You might not hold it completely, as you would underwater, but you don't take breaths that are as deep (and loud) as you would if you were relaxed.

Every time you think of something negative, check your breathing. Take a deep breath. Yawning out loud is another good thing to do, if you are alone, or in a relaxed setting.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Being Led

If you have experienced what in Christian terms is called "being led" by Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit, then you will know that it is not an experience you can name. That is, we name it - being led by Jesus - but it cannot be defined in words. It cannot be limited by words, which are in turn, limited by their definitions. There ARE absolutes in reality, God's commandments so to speak, which cannot be denied, as a conservative Christian might say. This "being led" is one of them, or perhaps it comprises all of them. But any Absolute cannot be limited to that which can be defined in words.

This is why I am led to proclaim Jesus, and not deny Buddha, or Allah, or The Great Spirit. I have a lot more to say on that subject, but since I have not managed to post much recently, I will leave it to later.

Friday, February 25, 2011

New Practice

I have a new practice that I hope will allow me to be courageous in all situations. Whenever I feel a fear that I can notice and name, I tell myself, "And I am going to die at some point." If I am unafraid of dying, I don't need to be afraid of anything else. Because, what's the worst that could happen, as a result of the thing that is causing me fear? I might die.

So the monologue might go something like this: "I am going to run out of money. And I am going to die at some point."
"I am going to run out of money because I don't spend enough time working. And I am going to die at some point."
"I don't spend enough time working because I am following my best understanding of what I ought to be doing at this moment."
 "There is a real possibility that I could face humiliation and public censure, due to legal troubles that arise due to not having enough money and not working hard enough to get it."
"And I am going to die at some point."

Either you can serve God or Mammon. There is only one person inside your head (if you are healthy), and only that person can decide what to do. You will be known by your fruits.

If I don't follow my own best judgment, I am lying to myself.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Every Writer is a Publisher

I have woken up to the fact that the internet changes everything, and that the people who want the change to be for good are going to win. All it takes to make that a self-fulfilling prediction is to believe it, and participate.

For example, now every writer can be a publisher, by blogging. The writer is responsible for writing something that gets a discussion started, by expressing his or her views. The publisher decides what views get published. In other words, the blogger has the ability to delete the comments of the people whose ideas he doesn't like. But this is not censorship, because the only place he can delete other people's comments, is on his own blog. A man's blog is his castle. It makes a blog an effective tool for expressing your own point of view. You can't be hounded or brow-beaten out of it. Rarely will a good blogger ever WANT to delete a comment by another writer, unless it is abusive, vulgar, or ad hominem. Responding effectively to honest critics is one of the best things that can ever happen.

You get the credit you deserve for well-thought-out ideas (and bad ideas), if you blog them. There was a big problem with the newsgroups of the past, and in any unmoderated discussion. Those using abusive tactics can put a stop to any discussion, by forcing it into responses to the abusive tactics. Those willing to use the same tactics, can silence any particular point of view by vigilantly attacking whenever it starts to be discussed. Thus you had the Godwin's Law which states, "If an internet thread goes on long enough someone will eventually bring up Hitler."

Whether one person's blog is fair to anyone else in the universe can easily be up for question. But that it is fair to the one who publishes it, is certain. So, you get your voice. And whoever doesn't like it, doesn't have to read it. But it is out there, and hopefully can be found by the people who are going to like it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Positive Developments in the Social World

Positive things will soon start happening world over, as they already have in some Arab and Muslim countries.

It is inevitable that, as information becomes more and more available, the conditions we live in will change. Ignorance (other than willful ignorance) will become less of an obstacle. Certainly, not everyone possesses the intellect to make use of the information sources that are now available. But those who are capable are no longer held back by limited availability of information. If you find a gadget you don't understand, you sit down at your computer and look up everything you could want to know about it. You can satisfy any scientific question (unless it is at the boundaries of expert knowledge) in seconds. Look up formulas, learn a new language, research a purchase, or a hobby or any subject whatsoever. This IS the whiz-bang world of our dreams, in terms of information access.

I don't know how the availability of instant information and mobile communication has exactly worked to bring about the recent examples of "people power". I suspect that scholars are busily writing good explanations of that as we speak. What I expect to see manifesting more and more in our society, are quiet victories of best practices. More people, more of the time, more rapidly, will see what policies and practices are most beneficial. Not in the big areas of conflict, like abortion, where our warped media have sensationalized the issues. But in ways that people live their day-to-day lives. Things like organic gardening, learning how to knit or make candles, healthy eating, avoidance of environmental toxins, minimization of waste. How to deal with your teenager's emotional problems. How best to support a friend who just revealed having a debilitating condition like diabetes or MS. The easiest was to prepare any food.

I think we will begin to have some trust in each other again. This is why I am writing a blog - so that people can read my collected writings, and come to feel that they know who I am as a person. I may not actually need to have anyone read this until the moment I am trying to get a job, or make an economic trade. My writing might be quite boring to almost everyone. But at a certain moment, someone will be very interested in what and how I think. If I can write what I think and not be ashamed to have it on public display, then it becomes a living resume. The fact that it has been published over time gives it credibility. (I'm not saying that fraudulent web credentials are hard to get. But if the other person really wants to know how I operate, they have enough to read to get to know me. For most purposes they might have with me, they can then quickly determine, from personal experience with me, whether I have accurately represented myself.)

We WILL find ways to cooperate and help each other more. We will stop wasting human capabilities (those of the unemployable) because for-profit business can't figure out how to use them. People are going to stop overworking, and will find ways to trade what they want to do for what other people want to do. I know that sounds like wishful thinking, but everything humans have ever created, they have first wished for.

We wanted a light bulb, so someone figured out how to make one. We wanted to trade with money that wasn't as heavy and physically limited as gold, and we finally created monetary structures that allowed rapid and focused development of building and factories. The industry of finance then developed to exploit the capabilities of those monetary structures. As that industry matured, it destroyed many of the qualities of the monetary structure that allowed it to be used as a tool for advancing the interests of the commonwealth. Free markets, as Adam Smith described them, no longer exist in the developed world.

At this time, the structures of our economic system, which are created and supported by our system of laws and government, are under the control of and used largely to concentrate wealth and power into fewer and fewer hands. That this is insanity, is an understatement. US government at the highest levels has descended into farce. There is less and less of even a pretense at doing the "will of the people". The last act of that farce is the Republicans' attempt to push a radical, anti-abortion, anti-labor, anti-woman agenda. And Obama seems to have bowed to the inevitability of longterm, mass unemployment.

Getting back to wishful thinking of the creative kind (I hope), people could change their way of life pretty rapidly. If we can feel that we really know the people we are dealing with, we could create more connection, trust and caring between people. My anecdotal experience of what people are getting from social networking websites, especially FaceBook, is that the good greatly outweighs the bad.

I don't trust Facebook, though. I would like to see all important infrastructure of the internet be open source and/or somehow democratically regulated. That includes search engines, especially Google.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Asleep in the Air

According to the BBC, albatrosses can sleep while flying. This is an amazing thing - though I imagine that once explained, it seems normal and well-within the bounds of possibility.

To say "albatrosses can fly while sleeping" would sound much less credible, as it conjures up images of sleepy birds taking off, flying, and landing in their sleep. Sleep-flying - like some of us sleep-walk. No, they probably soar up 1000's of meters in the air, find something like the Jet Stream, and put their wings in idle. I wonder if, while they are asleep and flying, do they have dreams of flying? From watching cats and dogs sleep, I am utterly convinced that they dream about running, barking, growling and meowing, so I imagine albatrosses dream of flying, too.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Queer Love

Nobody gets to call Love "ugly".
You can tell me that I am unloving,
But you can't call my love "ugly."
God is Love. Love uses Love to make Love.
(that is what God made us of.)
We are made of Love.

Love is not demanding. It needs nothing but to know its object exists.
If you say I am demanding, it's not my Love you are talking about.

What part of God is not Love? God's anger? God is not Anger.
God's hatred of sin? God is not Hatred.
God's vengeance? God is not Vengeance.
These parts of God come and go. Love abides.

Or, is your God eternally angry? Then my God vanquished your god long ago.
Take down the mask of anger, Love.
Make it a sword, and end my bodily existence.
You will live to Love another day.
I will live to Love forever.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Letting go of Fearful Things

Maybe fear is just an artifact of childhood. A child needs to be pliable and controllable, and to pick up avoidance behaviors quickly. There is survival value for a child in having a strong sense of fear in reaction to unknown and threatening things.

Most people become much less fearful as they grow up. It seems clear to me that the strength of an individual's fear-instinct lessens over time, as long as the person is living in a healthy emotional environment.

I don't understand my parents' fearfulness as a normal, healthy or useful response to the actual circumstances of their lives. My mother had her doubts; but my father seems completely convinced that his strenuous effort to be as safe as possible at all times and in all ways, is effort well-placed. His understanding of Christianity is mainly that it is the safest course. God is a loving God because He gives us this opportunity to be safe. You have to take some risks in your investments, but with proper understanding of financial markets, these risks are actually the safest course.

I have to appreciate the value he actually puts on the life he is living. When my life was similar to his, I saw little worth protecting. I was miserable in the present time, so why would I want to ensure that this would continue into the future? I don't have insight into his thinking because I cannot follow it. But I see that when he laughs, it is often a carefree laugh. He taught me lessons I am sure he didn't intend to, for better or worse. He still does.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


"Unmanifest" refers to something that doesn't exist. It begs the question, "Are there multiple types of existence, or is existence an absolutely abstract category, admitting only one of two possible values?

"Non-existent" and "unmanifest" are useful adjectives, given the grammar of our language. A writer might say, "The General found supplies non-existent." That doesn't mean he actually found supplies (objects) that were non-existent. It does mean that he came to understand there were no supplies. "Non-existent supplies" is a formulation that describes a situation. "Non-existent" isn't meant to describe "supplies" (unless the intent is humor.)

"Unmanifest" can be used to describe qualities that are absent. "The General's courage is as of yet unmanifest." Courage is a quality that a person may, or may not, manifest. Here "unmanifest courage" describes an evaluation of the General, but "unmanifest" is not really an adjective describing his "courage". "Manifest" and "Unmanifest" describe things that don't have physical existence, or the nature of whose physicality is ephemeral (eg. a smile or a thought).

A thought is a particularly good example of physical and non-physical reality interacting. We sometimes consider a thought as an abstract reality, that doesn't require a living person to be thinking. Thoughts can reside in books, grammatically, at least. And since thoughts can be expressed in so many various ways, it seems that they are not dependent on any particular physical objects. And yet our own, current thoughts have quite a tangible reality to us. If it is not actually our thought that is tangible to us, then at least the sensory experience that gives rise to it is. But I feel that I experience my thoughts as much as I experience light, sound, heat or cold. So is a thought an abstract or a tangible thing? Or both? Is my thought an expression (or manifestation) of an abstract thought? I want to say yes to the latter, but it leads me to the idea that something can be unmanifest, and yet exist.

Existence has a strong implication of physical reality in my thinking. I don't want to BE a thing that exists only in logic or imagination. I want to BE a physical body. Existence, other than physical existence, is fine for prime numbers between 1 and 10, but I don't find it appealing. To much like not being alive, which is too much like being dead. So, I want for "existence" to really mean "physical existence". I don't want to be unmanifest, because is seems too much like not being around at all.

But if you have a strict definition of existence - that it can only on or off, true or false - then an individual person's existence is on shaky ground. The working definitions we use to define ourselves fail at the boundaries. Are you your will? Your sensory experience? Your body? Some combination of these?

Sort of.

The thing most present and tangible in your existence is also the thing least definable. And the thing you cannot ever experience as an object, is also the experience itself. It is only an abstract idea, and yet it is all you have ever known. I still don't feel like I have myself figured out.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Open Source, Money, Wikipedia, and Me

I'm just inviting a new set of people to read my blog, so I want to re-introduce it, and myself, and what I think I am doing here.

Personally, I am one who craves being understood. This is not a very rare type of person, fortunately. I think that "to know me is to love me", and I find that I love other people who think the same about themselves. If you really think that about yourself, it is probably true, as far as I am concerned. So, do let me get to know you, by writing your own blog, or commenting on mine.

Basically, anyone who can write at all at, this point in history, should. The world is crying out for information, and the Internet has given the world an enhanced capability to give and receive it. In the business mindset, this is called "Content Rules". You sell things by [here I will put actual phrasing of online business promotion ideas that I will read in my research.]

There is a huge thirst for ever-better information. Ever more correct, ever more useful - ever more entertaining and titillating(?) "Entertaining and titillating" is what the mainstream media have been sliding toward for years, but what is happening online? When the viewer takes an active role in finding the information he or she wants, is "titillating" still the most effective way of drawing attention? The jury is out on that one. (I'm not trying to claim that porn, itself, doesn't work as a business model; but in other types of informational services, it is not clear that titillation still sells.)

Even if the old model of media consumption and production continues to be successful in the newly-transforming world, now there is the infrastructure to create (for those who want them) reliable, verifiable informational resources. These will cause the best ways of living to become visible, and available to everyone. By "best ways of living," I mean simply the best and most useful examples of everything. Wikipedia is the example of this future. Open Source, co-operative, non-profit. For a good discussion of Wikipedia see this link. (Careful readers might notice that many of the links in this posting point to Wikipedia articles.)

Another informational resource which is soon to come about is Open Money. The old concept of money, is that it is valuable in-and-of-itself, like gold and silver. Nowadays, money is almost purely an artifact of electronic exchange systems.

But the system of electronic exchange (as it has developed), is corrupt. Governments and large corporations (under the control of the now-many multi-billionaires in the world) can and do manipulate all financial markets to their own ends. This manipulation is limited, mainly, by the power struggles within the moneyed elite - not by any government regulation, nor by the working of the markets. (Witness the holdovers from the Bush to the Obama administration - Summers, Geithner, Bernanke...) The US Federal Reserve is increasingly becoming a illegitimate pairing of government power and private interest.

Open Money is an Open Source solution to this problem. Money is issued by a volunteer, self-selected group of people, whose earning from this endeavor are visible to everyone, running a distributed, Open Source integrated system of software. It is the only logical solution. The best thought-out system of open money that I know of so far is Bitcoin.

To sum up, my reasons for blogging are to give people useful information, and to connect people and things that need to be connected. I invite you to start a blog and send me a link, or to comment on my blog. I will be working to add links to blogs and websites I think my readers will find useful, and encourage you to do the same. People are living more and more of their lives online. They will be finding long-term connections, that will be based on trust. A killer-app of the future will probably help you carry out most or all of the transactions of your life with people you know and trust, or are known and trusted by people you trust. Just like in the old days of tiny communities, but better.

Once we have money working for us (instead of being a weapon for dark forces), people will be able to reward useful things, instead of what gets rewarded now.

I probably need to write soon about my pollyanna-ism. I realize I could be very wrong on any of these predictions. So please, comment away. I love critical comments. My pollyanna-ism leads me to expect I will not be bothered by trolls, or that the bulk of my readers will handle them for me. Or, you might just bring me down, so give it a try!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Inner Monologue

Writing is easy and fulfilling, when you can just spill your inner monologue onto the page. This means you have to love your inner monologue. I think perhaps the bulk of spiritual work for a person of our times is involved in improving one's inner monologue.

This echoes a theme popular in "self-improvement" books, called variously "Positive Thinking", "affirmations", "setting intentions" and similar phrases that describe efforts to control one's thoughts through verbalizations. Mantras, chanting, creeds, and statements of belief are the counterpart in religion. We formulate our fears in language, and have to be consoled in language. I have a feeling that verbalizing our fears as much as many of us do internally is not good or necessary. But as long as it happens, fear-countering verbalizations are needed.

The repetition of phrases that another person has found useful, however, can only go so far in relieving one's fears. You either have to come to understand the language the way the originator understood it, or come up with your own language. Gurus have religious insights, and pass them on to their disciples. When the teacher's words, spirit, and actions all point in the same direction, it is easy to understand the words. If you learn from the disciple of a disciple of a disciple, you may find the words are there, but the power of them is gone. The congregation can fall into darkness, while still using the words of a person who was light itself.

I have found the need to sweeten and beautify my inner monologue. Self-consoling and self-encouragement are necessary to counter fear and paralysis. This is the benefit that I have finally gotten from being obsessively fearful - I have learned ways to overcome it. The fear of criticism and the paralyzing self-criticism that comes with it have led me to accept forgiveness and forgiving. I mentioned salvation mantras in an earlier post, and I am elaborating on them. They are verbalizations that help you change the quality of your consciousness. They don't make you happy or sad in the conventional sense, but they remind you to take a certain attitude, which relieves the stress of some pose or another you had been taking. In other words, if you can feel convinced that you are not the bad person you thought you were, you can relax more into whatever sort of person you are at the moment.

I have been working on taking the attitude that I am not anything at all. That is a very freeing stance. I am not anything, except the unexperienceable experiencer.

I don't deny what I do experience. Nor do I deny my various self-images. For example, my self-image when I am writing about how life works, and how to get over obstacles, is that I am wise, experienced and compassionate. I can't deny that I feel that way. The very next instant, I am aware of several bizarre, negative traits I have, that cast me, in my own eyes, as a degenerate human being. There is truth in both images, and neither image is the whole truth. But both are just concepts flowing through my mind. Knowing that I am not equal to my concepts of myself is the good news that never got out, as Alan Watts put it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tell Me How It Was

This will be the first of my postings that are tagged "tools for living".

If you suspect someone is lying, you can ask them, with loving interest, to "tell me how that was" for them. Tell more details, and how it made them feel. One should only ask this question when NOT fully convinced the person is lying, and only if the reason you are asking is a kind one. It is a well-worn technique for finding out the truth, but done in kindness, it is a gift to the lie-teller. When it is done in true loving kindness, the untruth might be undone.

I don't want to use that term, "lie-teller" any more. I will substitute "Untruth-teller". A person doesn't always know when they are telling an untruth. And, the deepest part of every person never lies - it can't. If you pay attention to the deepest part of yourself and others, you will see only the truth about people.

In our as-currently-constructed everyday world, though, sometimes people believe they are lying. They try to lie. If you ask them for their own emotional reactions to the story they are telling, they are likely to be come aware of that intention. Some truth or other is likely to become apparent to both of you.

Warning: Only use this technique when you are in a positive, loving state. It is NOT necessary to get the person to admit to lying, for the truth to become apparent. Controlling or manipulating the person is not the point. Don't use it for trivial lies, or loving untruths.

Tax and Spend

We should probably claim this as what must be done.

Tax the rich and spend on jobs. it will bring our economy right, and be good for everyone in the short term. And the long term. I was going to say it would be good for everyone but the super-rich in the long term. But it is only the misguided opinion of some of those in the super-rich category that it will be bad for them.

I want to publish more, so I am posting this fragment now. I hope to write more on this topic.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Go Toward the Light

I saw a bumper sticker last night that I just loved. It said, "You don't have to be dead to go toward the Light."

I have been writing partial postings and never finishing them. At least I am in a better situation than I was for so many years, not able to write at all.

Back to the bumper sticker - "go toward the Light" is a reference to the research on NDE (Near-Death Experiences). It is said that many returnees from NDEs report seeing a beautiful light, or a light at the end of a tunnel, and feeling the urge to go toward it. This becomes meme in popular culture, and a substitute for religious belief. Or, it could just be called a simple religious belief.

It is a good one. The phrasing on the bumper sticker says why. It is useful for counteracting fears about death. But it can also be a principle for living life. Going toward the light is choosing the good. It says, "Don't be afraid, there is always something good to move toward, or to countenance." You might fear that when you die, you will not see any light. But consciousness itself, while it can't be described, is more like light than anything else. If death leaves a person in darkness, it is only because that person is not aware of his own consciousness. If there is consciousness, there is light. There is a home. If death should be darkness "forever", then there will be nothing there to distract from pure awareness. That is the only thing that exists wherever anything exists. If you can point your desire toward light, you will always have the object of your desire.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

You Know When it is Right

Things that feel good, things that click in, things that make sense. You know when it is right.That moment when you know you have won. It is payday, and I am making enough money. This person likes me. I feel physically great! Someone else understands exactly how I feel, or think.

I'd like to know what proportion of people get those feelings often enough to satisfy them. People who truly enjoy aspects of their work, and don't have a lot of anxiety, probably have such feelings pretty frequently. If you are a person who feels good a lot of the time, can you empathize with people who don't? I have known people who seemed to understand depression without being depressed themselves, but they all had an active memory of what it had been like to be depressed. Or maybe they had a depressed loved one. If you are inclined to love humankind, but don't understand why some people can't just "snap out of it," read Darkness visible : a memoir of madness by William Styron (Library of Congress; Amazon.)