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Showing posts from February, 2015

Destiny Rides Again

What often seems like a random meeting turns out to be a joining of forces as they intersect, seemingly by chance, at a crossroads. At this point, a form of internal combustion takes place that changes the nature of both entities forever.

One lamp lights another; a spiritual power house can lift up the life of another when they come into contact by the sheer power of presence. Or, it might be the casual word of a stranger, a movie, book or another human being - an auspicious moment can change a life forever for the better.

What creates these kinds of fortunate karmic events are impossible to determine, given the infinite combinations and permutations that bring us to this point. Synchronicity is a wonderful word that encapsulates the inexplicably wondrous ways of the universe.

So let's raise our collective glass and toast to happy co-incidences.

Isolation or Contemplation

It is interesting to note that in prison, one of the worst forms of incarceration is "solitary confinement." The human animal craves social interaction and when deprived, can go literally mad.

On the other hand, a longstanding tradition of many spiritual communities is "the retreat." Monks, nuns and all sorts of spiritual seekers will seclude themselves in order to deepen their connection to God, Self, or whatever the belief system dictates as the ultimate refuge.

Perception is everything. These two poles represent how a mindset can create a hell realm or one of liberation. Sometimes its hard to remember that we have a choice in how we want to view our life situation. Heaven or hell or somewhere in between? It's up to us to decide.

The Ultimate Stress Relief

Yesterday was the first day of the Tibetan New Year. In a tranquil house far away from the throngs, it was celebrated with as much authentic elegance and power as could be found anywhere in old Tibet. At the helm was a revered elderly Tibetan Lama whose longtime fellow practitioners assisted in special prayers and festivities.

By late afternoon, a handful of American guests lingered on and a conversation ensued between me and a rare species - a highly educated American man who left behind his Ivy League degree and a life of potential economic privilege to live in Asia to study with the masters.

Back in the United States now and officially granted the status of "lama" (a teacher that holds the lineage of his spiritual teachers), we discussed many matters, among them the real meaning of meditation and the aim of practice.

Buddhism in its truest form aims to set people free from the iron-clad grasp of the ego, to penetrate the mystery of life in human form and bring a person to a …

Changing Places

Humans beings, and animals for that matter, tend to like the comforts of home (if in fact they have one). For refugees, victims of natural disasters, wars, and all manner of displacement, this uprooting can have traumatic ramifications.

But there is an equal and opposite phenomenon: being transplanted into another environment that is equal if not superior to the comforts of home. While one may dearly require cherished human connections such as family and friends, it is rare that post-traumatic stress is induced by an upgrade in the quality of life.

The pig, in Tibetan Buddhist teachings, holds a lofty symbolic teaching. The actual animal will eat anything; thus it is said to have "one taste." It is used as a metaphor in said teachings to remind students that life has its ups and downs, ebbs and flows. An attempt to control these passages would induce a form of madness; you can't stop the wind from blowing, or the tides from going in and out, or the sunshine from emitting i…

The Weight of Weight

"Weight" in and of itself is a neutral word, imbued with meaning only in a specific context. Unlike other terms like "happy" or "sad" that have an unequivocal sense, "weight" has various meanings that ricochet from one pole to the other.

Everything has weight. Mass, no matter how large or infinitesimally small, implies some sort of existence. How size is measured is also a relative perception depending on one's own relationship to the "other."

In the human realm of ordinary perception (the 5 senses plus one), body weight has become one of the most talked about and thought about issues - decidedly a First World problem, although even in Third World countries, advertising is now muddying the waters with images of sleek cream and/or tan-hued women held up as the standard of feminine beauty. 

Herein lies the weight of weight. Fashion magazines, billboards, television and other mass media broadcast subliminally that we are not good enough …

The Fickle Hand of Fate

A close friend lost her eighteen year old son in a brawl when an opponent pulled out a knife and severed the beloved's life force. After this tragic event, her perspective changed radically. If I referred to any event that was more than one minute into the future, she would raise her pointer finger to the heavens and say, "God willing." Because after all, we really don't know when it will be our last out breath. She had learned that lesson ever so painfully.

Yesterday, the great news correspondent Bob Simon was killed in a car crash on New York City's Westside Highway, a route I took regularly from my suburban house into the city as a teenager and young woman. He was known for his courage as a war correspondent; even captured and tortured for 40 days by Sadam Hussein's troops during the Gulf War. That he would die in the supposed safety of a chauffered Lincoln town car seems insane - but true.

His ending reminds me of yet another bizarre twist of fate. A wonder…

The Grammys

Last night my son and I watched the overly long Grammy Awards on television. Usually, both of us try to practice loving-kindness, speak at all times with positive words, and see the glass half full. Maybe the stars (in the sky) were in a peculiar alignment, because instead of our usual high-minded attempts, we launched into an evening of star bashing and critiques of Grammy production missteps with hilarity and/or frustration.

The sets were a mishmash of designs; many of the vocalists' voices dropped into the background as a mighty piano drowned them out; and with the exception of Annie Lennox and Rihana, most of the others seems to hold back with lackluster and sometimes out of tune performances. Even worse, many of the songs were an amalgamation of droning pleasanty missing that special something that makes a world sing that song for decades to come.

No doubt some industry insider will read this critique with indignation - and of course all perception is subjective. So this is my …

The Dancing Bear

In a desperate ploy to postpone doing taxes as I promised myself on this Saturday afternoon, a more pleasing thought occurred...write a blog. As nothing within my soul screamed out for expression, I did a free form association to plumb the depths of my subconscious for a topic. The phrase that came up was "the dancing bear."

With no idea why this particular three word phrase ticker-taped across my brain, I Googled the phrase and Lord Amighty, what did I find but a site with the words in it "the dancing bear," which I clicked on.

Suffice it to say that after I left that site and Googled once again, there were plenty of videos of real live bears doing all sorts of cute maneuvers, embellished by the soundtracks of rappers. But the first click of the mouse had given way to a site in la-la-land: bachlorette parties with girls giving blow jobs to men with the biggest thangies one could ever imagine (think horse).

In the background were all sorts of "nice" girls en…

The Bizarre Twists and Turns of Karma

Anyone reading the news or listening to its broadcast version knows about the sadistic killing of a Jordanian pilot by a fanatical group in competition with Adoplh Hitler for "worst brutality of the Millenium."

The pilot's elder brother had saved him from death by fire twice in his early childhood: the first time, when the future pilot accidentally started a blaze, and again when he was poised to stick a nail in an electric socket.

There is a chilling irony that this pilot was burned alive by others, on purpose, in his adulthood - after by his own hand he had almost killed himself with the same element. Most people would say this was a coincidence, but in life there are no co-incidences. Maybe the young child foresaw his fate and attempted to leave in a less punitive manner. Maybe he was preparing himself for the future torture he would endure. 

Only with the panoramic perspective of the All-That-Is would anyone be able to untangle the developments of this now tragic lif…

The FBI Loves Facebook

The FBI has not officially expressed its glee about the benefits of social media and its mosh pit of juicy tips. However, it seems that our top cops find a trove of treasures from this global habit.

However, drunken frat boys who boast of gang rapes on their Pages are not the target of that illustrious group. The Feds go in for the heavier stuff, like recipes for bombs posted by the jihadist bunch - or young men disenfranchised by high school bullies and own enough firepower to take down a herd of elephants.

Not unlike the FBI, parents also find Facebook a great source of information about their children's doings (ET phone home).

We are a country of innocents, so accustomed to freedom of speech that our every thought can be paraded to the many with no fear of reprisal. Although this is a blessing, revelations about the extent of NSA eavesdropping should give us pause.

Many countries have found themselves turned upside down; populations displaced with very little warning as military co…