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Showing posts from September, 2017

The Unbearable Politeness of Being

Theoretically, it is impossible to become enlightened and simultaneously act in a self-serving manner. Like the surgeon who uses dissolving stitches, analyzing one's own mind in order to understand its modi operandus dissolves egotistical motives; the ultimate metaphysical manifestation of courtesy.

How does one set about doing this in the fast paced western world of materialism?

The Dalai Lama and other great masters instruct students to critically examine the teachings and the teacher before buying into them. While this lazy Americanpractitioner makes no claims as to a true understanding of the dharma, nonetheless it seems important to carefully examine doctrines for their relevance. Personal understanding, grounded in experiential knowledge, is the only foundation upon which to build. 

Conversely - or perhaps paradoxically - trust, faith and dedication are vital ingredients in following a path to realization. When one is a beginner, a worthy teacher must be found.

As one ventures i…

Jackhammered

What could be better than sitting on a shady terrace during sunny, cool California weather with an easel, canvas and paints on hand - that is, if one is an amateur, a professional, or another sort of being with artistic impulses.

Imbibing this glorious moment, entranced by the vibration of cerulean blue flowing off the tip of my paintbrush, I become aware of an intrusive sound that penetrates the rapture.

It's a jackhammer. It's Saturday. It's a lily-white upscale suburban neighborhood filled with people for whom order and neatness is the most prized value. It's a town whose city planners manage a budget colored black - as in profitable.

I pretend that the machine's noise doesn't matter; an unimportant annoyance in the background. This rationalization lasts for about15 minutes, but as the rata-tat-tat lingers on, my awareness begins shifting. The Complainer-in-Chief starts her internal dialogue about people who have no business disturbing the peace on a weeken…

God's Will?

The horrors of abnormal weather systems, provoked by climate change, are vesting their wrath upon us. Interpretations abound as to the meaning of it all. For sure, Mother Nature is expressing immense displeasure at the treatment of her bounty. Human folly and short-sightedness are one cause, stoked by a capitalistic fervor born of the Industrial Era.
Or, if Darwin was right, human beings are overrunning their environment, thus precipitating a culling of the global flock through war, natural disaster, and human greed, among other less obvious causes.

Whatever the reason, certain people have an irrational perspective. This morning on CNN, a plus-size lady in a giant pickup truck was interviewed by a reporter. She lives on the Atlantic seaboard of Florida, which is in grave danger from an oncoming hurricane of never-before-seen proportions. Despite urgent pleas from the authorities to evacuate, she is staying put.

"Why?" queries the reporter.

"Because we always have staye…