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Showing posts from January, 2015

Gossip is Good for Nothing

When my niece was six years old, she had a run in with one of her adult relatives. No one told me about this altercation until a few months later. Family fights are an unpleasant subject and in my family of origin these unpleasantries were swept under the proverbial carpet.

Since I was close to said niece, I asked her why she had not shared this troubling encounter. She said, "You have to talk to the person you have the problem with."

Flabbergasted by this wise reply, I decided to take her advice. Talking to a third party about an issue (other than your therapist) often results in that third party talking to the person with whom you have the problem. And like a game of telephone, if the information is not relayed directly by you to the offender, it gets distorted. People love drama and tend to interject more negatively charged enthusiasm into an account than what one intended to convey.

Is this why gossip is considered a no-no in many world religions and ethical circles?

My mot…

The Medium Speaks Again

I saw James Van Praagh for a second time last night. Same venue, same marketing heading, but an entirely different show.

James claims that he never knows what spirit will direct him to do, and true to his word, the tone of night number two was quite different from the initial performance he put on the day before. (Maybe he got the vibe that he was viewed as leading a dog and pony show.) 

On the second round, he did a wonderful group meditation, told way less jokes (although a few standards were repeated), and the people for whom he read shed more tears - indicating that he had touched their hearts.

The most interesting part of the two-night experience was witnessing a public figure who was more or less in present time, reacting to the moment instead of a memorized script. And that's what it's all about. Anyone with a real connection to spirit knows that energy changes with the speed of thought. The split second the gestalt of the room changes, a good medium will pivot and respond…

The Medium Speaks

Last night I went to a lecture/demonstration by the famous medium James Van Praagh. Having trained with him about 15 years ago and being a practitioner of that art myself, I was curious to see him all these years later. Knowing how the process works, I wanted to see how he dealt with the fact that no medium, no matter how fabulous, has 100% accuracy. He stands before crowds of hundreds while I sit with one person. No matter. When someone pays money and expects real results, trust must be engendered despite a less than perfect batting average.

When I studied with him, his first book came out in the last week of our class and it became an instant best-seller; his career skyrocketed from there and Part II of our class never came to pass. But we got it: love, forgiveness, and healing are the real purposes of connecting with spirit. Or as a famous Tibetan lama once said, "Have no unfinished business." So if you didn't get around to peacemaking with a loved one in human body, t…

Blood Lines

Certain choice dogs, horses, cats and other creatures are subjected to selective breeding by their human owners. The bloodlines of these animals are of tantamount importance because the offspring from said champions yield big bucks in the marketplace.
In the human sphere, bloodlines also play a large role when it comes to the passage of money and property from one generation to the next. As this blogger is at the cusp of what is termed "old age," she and many of her friends have experienced the death of parents. In the case of those whose parents had assets to pass on, an interesting phenomenon has been observed.

In this modern age where divorce and remarriage happens, we get what my mother once called "the over-extended family." In a mixture of half-siblings, step-siblings, and full siblings, combined with step-parents and blood parents, the question of bloodlines versus emotional family ties makes for quite the stew...and plenty to stew over when the wills are read…

The Daily Grind

For a Starbucks addict, the "daily grind" could signify an exciting new blend, akin to "specials" that high end restaurants feature. For a factory worker with a robotic job, it might mean something entirely different; a pay check that wears away body and soul. For a parent who has good food to feed the children, the momentum of getting healthy nutrients into their bodies might get old after years of negotiation; for the parent who has no food to feed their children, it might be the never-ending daily struggle to find a few scraps to ward off starvation.

Another type of "daily grind" lies buried deep within the recesses of the mind and can afflict the poor, the middle-class, the wealthy, and people of all nationalities. That tedium springs from ignoring life's purpose. Like a hamster on a treadmill, the person who lives an unexamined life runs frantically trying to get somewhere yet finds himself caught inextricably in the wheel of samsara.

Every day whe…

The Great Ones

At any one point in history, great men and women walk the planet thoroughly steeped in the consciousness of Love. Sometimes their prominence shines publicly as thousands flock around them for inspiration, healing, and evolution towards enlightened mind.

Others emanate their refined vibrational presence within a small circle of fortunate individuals who cross their path. I recently encountered such a teacher in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, privileged to experiece his unceasing dedication to prayer, meditation, and wise counseling. His healing presence transformed my aching heart with a hand mudra that he effortlessly displayed .

Could we not also lead a life following the example of this miracle of mankind? And possibly, with this life-affirming love, create a heaven on earth?

One obvious answer: someone must be a manager, a worker, or an organizer of a society. No matter how simple a social structure, nonetheless people need to eat, build shelters, and clothe themselves. The logical p…

Press-urgh

Repeat "Press-urgh," rapidly like a tongue twister, and the tongue defaults to the familiar word "pressure." Either way, this little gimmick holds within it a metaphor for a trend hotly debated in the media.

Many news outlets have refused to air the new cover of  Charlie Hedbo, which depicts the Prophet Mohammed holding a sign that says, "Je suis Charlie," and a phrase above his head, "All is forgiven." The inclusion of this phrase is remarkable under the circumstances and the consciousness of the cartoonists who created it should be lauded.

Alas, there was pressure from within the ranks of CNN, MSNBC, Al Jezeera and other international media outlets not to show this new cover for fear of more reprisals from the true infidels (the terrorists).

There is some truth to both sides of the argument:

1) Insane fanatics can't take a joke, so why provoke more acts of gratuitous violence (which have already occurred in some parts of the world)? Would you…

Alone Versus Together

The parents of teenagers often hear a refrain from their offspring: "Leave me alone!" Conversely, this age group craves the company of their peers; the result of merriment by these developing hominoids can be chaotic.

So why do creatures sometimes want to be alone and at other times cling to the presence of like-minded souls?

In the relative world, we actually have two worlds - the inner world and the outer world - although in reality they form a continuum with dividing line (molecular love-making). Creating a harmonious balance between alone time and social time can be an art form.

Having been habituated to "together time" in a marriage of thirty years, where my husband and I had home offices, I am finding it an interesting challenge to appreciate "alone time." When Michael was alive, it was nice to occasionally have the house to myself for a few hours. He was not a noisy fellow but had high octane brain power; the electricity generated by this 3 pound orga…

Fearlessness

There have been controversies swirling around the behavior of religious leaders of all stripes for centuries. Leaving aside those who have clearly forgotten that killing is a sin against Love, another kind of violence has cropped up amongst  spiritual teachers.

Called "sexual misconduct," this phrase applies to gurus, rabis, roshis, rinpoches, imams, priests, ministers etc. who grope the faithful or have the faithful grope them. While it is illegal for a therapist or a school teacher to behave thus, the lines are more blurred in the private sector (no pun intended).

Of course anyone can sue anyone for sexual harrasment or worse. But in the enlightenment profession, seekers are more likely to be confused about the motives of the spiritual teacher than if their therapist hit on them whilst on the proverbial couch.

Many students involved in religious/spiritual traditions claim that their teacher is enlightened, but this seems a suspect assumption. If the student is not enlightened…

The Odor Mystery

If you have ever entered a small public bathroom where the previous occupant has either 1) emptied the stomach's contents violently, or 2) emptied the colon's contents mightily, we would all agree that the smells evoke repulsion and a strong desire to exit that room posthaste.

Multiply that experience to every foul smell emitted by man or beast on the planet and the extent of the stench could reach proportions imaginable only to quantum physicists.

There is surely a scientific explanation why smells seem to be purified as they circulate the globe so that "fresh air" is still a viable concept in many rural and uninhabited places.

In the meantime, this uninformed blogger simply chooses to muse about this mysterious planet upon which we park our carcasses, in all its wondrous facets.

Boko Haram Who?

The wall to wall news coverage of terrorist attacks in Paris has been touching, especially the sight of 50 world leaders walking boldly, arm in arm, at the Unity Rally. (Did the USA think it unimportant to have our President or Vice-President there because France is outside our ethnocentric sphere, despite being our oldest ally?)

I learned from a French friend living in the provinces that in addition to the 1,500,000 strong in Paris, another 2,500,000 people marched in other areas of France, only to be ignored by the international media. She had hoped that the massive outpouring nationwide would be the hot topic, and not just enchanting Paris.

But then again, the pecking order lives on, firmly in place. At the bottom of newsworthy topics was the massacre of 2,000 villagers by the Boko Haram in Nigeria during a 6 day spell of hell. Is this not by sheer magnitude more horrific? 

It first came to my attention as my gaze was fixated on a gargantuan puppet of Lady Liberty floating through the…

Blasphemy is Blasphemous

"Blasphemy is the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God, to religious or holy persons or things, or toward something considered sacred or inviolable." (Wikepedia)

Blasphemy is a loaded word. The French banished blasphemy as a punishable crime thanks to the French Revolution circa 1789. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are ideas that underly the entire American Constitution and were inspired by the Enlightenment philosophers of France. 

The major media groups in the USA have been taken over by 4 conglomerates with a hidden agenda - insuring the bottom line of multinational corporations. Yet, when one looks at North Korea or countries under Shariah law, where freedom of speech delivers a death sentence, we in the West undoubtedly have greater liberties.

The 1,500,000 strong Unity Rally in Paris today underscores such liberty, with world leaders marching arm-in-arm. It affirms respect for life and underscores the ultimate blasphemy of the terr…

The Power Behind the Throne

"The power behind the throne" refers to women who exert mighty influence on their significant others, usually male, who occupy more visible positions in society. Apparently, it is such a common trend that this aphorism has survived multiple decades.

Leaving aside women who actually sit on the throne, such as Queen Elizabeth II, ample evidence exists to prove this theorem. Take General Petraus, for example, who was not only the head of the C.I.A. but the Supreme Commander of the armed forces in Afganistan. The government is seeking criminal charges against him for disclosing classified information to his mistress. 

And then there was the dude I dated back in the early 1980's who claimed to have worked for the US Government in Russia and was seduced by Svetlana, the gorgeous blonde KGB agent. He boasted of having enjoyed their pillow talk without disclosing state secrets; however this might have been an apocryphal tale.

The most astonishing example to date was given by an &qu…

Retail Terrorism

A news reporter refered to the Charlie Hebdo and kosher grocery story attack in Paris as "retail terrorism," to be distinguished from "wholesale terrorism." Apparently, "retail terrorrism" refers to acts committed by individuals as opposed to "wholesale terrorism," which is state-sponsored.

The monikers assigned to these murderous acts are astonishing and tip us off to the real problem underlying an epidemic of radical fundamentalism. "Retail" and "wholesale" are terms used in the marketplace...the human moshpit where there are winners and losers in the contest for money, power and resources.

The political Rubiks Cube that has led to this dismal state of affairs resembles a bar brawl. One intoxicated person with unresolved anger takes a swing at another bloke, and in no time the whole joint is fighting. And nobody knows why.

Tracing the roots of our current state of world affairs would take us back to the dawn of civilization; …

Je Suis Charlie

Due to the horrific killings in Paris at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, Americans will have learned a little French. Having domiciled with a Frenchman for decades, I learned a wee bit of this hard-to-learn language.
Without the guidance of my expert, I am going to venture recklessly into a linguistic analysis. There is a nuance in the phrase "Je suis Charlie," which translates literally as "I am Charlie." Technically, to introduce oneself by name, one would say, "Je m'appelle Charlie." 
Thus, when the native French speaker says "Je suis Charlie," it has a deeper ontological meaning: Charlie and I are one and the same being. What happens to Charlie happens to me in an interdependent universe.
As language follows consciousness and vice-versa, this phrase accurately reflects a new world order: we stand together as human beings, not tribal/religious identities that see "others" as disposable.

The Dreaming Life

It has been said that the departed often use the dreamtime to communicate with the living, as the veils are thinner when one has parked the thinking mind in sleepy-time mode. Thus, a question often asked of me:

"Has Michael come to you in dreams?" 

The answer is yes, but...

My first dream after he passed was like all the other dreams from the 30 years we were in the physical together - a recurrent dream taking place in public spaces with lots of people surrounding us; we were always running hither and yon to accomplish an amorphous task. 

The second time he appeared in dream was as it is should be according to the mystics: cosmic, divine, and with a message. For the first few months after his death, I had been waking up with the desire not to wake up; my self-talk went something like this: "Oh shit, another day." After thinking thus for a few months, it dawned on me that a more positive message would serve my life on earth better. So upon awakening the next morning, I…

Nature's Balm

Ten miles up a winding country road high in the Rocky Mountains, nestled in a panoramic spot, there lives an elderly couple who found their way out of Third World hell to a paradisaical mountain lifestyle. 

As a guest in their Shangrila for a few days, I was unaware of the subtle power of the wilderness until descending again to the freeways and byways of Denver (which hardly qualify as "city" compared to the likes of New Delhi or New York).

To put it succinctly, I was floating in blissful peace for at least five hours once back in "civilization." Had it been the fresh mountain air? Or the energetic force of Nature,
unencumbered by human pollution? Or the company of seasoned human beings that have known suffering and created peace instead?

Even if my own abode hardly resembles a hell realm, the distant hum of traffic, the leaf blowers, the cookie cutter lawns - not to speak of the mundane complaints of the well fed - all subtly erode the core of well being with a persi…

Emotional Contagion

This  might sound ridiculous but the other day I got angry that two of my friends were angry at each other. I was only a casual onlooker to the altercation, and it was over something totally inane.

I got angry because what they were angry about was so trivial, so stupidly egotistical, and most of all unnecessary.

Then again, what was I thinking to carry that poisonous feeling for three days?

Anger is contagious. Someone may not vomit their emotional dross on you directly but the stench pervades the space around it. It now makes perfect sense how wars start. It begins with petty emotions that are not checked but rather fanned into larger and larger flames until a conflagration is upon an entire society.

So today I will put on my anti-anger shield - compassion and forgiveness - and mind my own spiritual business!