Monday, August 17, 2009

Everyday thoughts

Everyday thoughts

1. I have a friend
There is this fellow I see from time to time who is tortured by the past and future anticipated events. He is particularly fixated on the rumors of the end of times promoted by the Mayan calendar, I Ching and Nibiru conspiricists. I have two things to say about this.

First, the people who make money off of peoples’ fears are contemptible. The unwitting people who pass on these false ideas are part of the problem. In my research, these are rank hoaxes driven by a desire to make money from other peoples’ fears. I guess the other possibility is that these people are demented in some way. There is much harm done in these activities. If someone wants to create these fictions as a way to entertain, they should clearly designate it as such.

Second, as a more general philosophy, because of the nature of the interrelatedness of everything, it is nearly impossible to predict events far into the future. Surely, if everything is interconnected, there are infinite possibilities. As each moment arises, it is as if the world and everything in it has been recreated with a whole new set of possibilities. So if someone tells you what is going to happen far onto the future, they are really only describing one set of possibilities.

2. What about the freezer in the back?
I was in line at the grocery recently. The lady in front of me was complaining about the price of the bird seed she was buying. I told her I mix my own seed to save money and mentioned I have wild turkeys that enjoy what hits the ground.

The check out lady asked me “You don’t shoot them do you?” I laughed and said “No, but have you seen all the dead turkeys in the freezer in back?” We all forget that life lives on life, and when we do we lose something. Whether it is animal, vegetable, fruit, seed or nut we interrupt the expected course of some living thing in order to live ourselves. Realizing this fact will make us more mindful and thankful for the sacrifice.

3. What, you hate change?
My dogs and I love soft serve ice cream. Every summer we stop periodically for a soft serve cone to share. The other day we stopped and the customer in front of me was talking to the server about how he hated change.

As he turned to leave, he looked at me as if to ask me what I thought. I told him the story of his life is measured in change. In fact he is change, so to hate change is to hate himself. I smiled deeply and he smiled back as we went our separate ways.

We go through this life thinking that everything will stay the same. We are surprised when the wheel of life pivots and we see the other side of suffering or joy. Change is time and time is change. Everything is impermanent. If we can fall into the present moment of now, the past and future dissolve, and we can appreciate the magnificence of each moment as it arises within us, knowing for sure change is coming.

4. Why so sad?
While there is nothing wrong with feeling sadness, over time it is an indication we are living in some past moment. Sadness is realization of a disappointment, a loss or other setback. For me, it is important to fully experience this emotion when it appears. This allows me to appreciate what is going on in the present moment. If I don’t, the sadness may continually arise at odd moments.

While I have never been big on ceremonies, our traditions may help us in this regard. When each of my parents died we had a small gathering of loved ones, officiated by my parent’s minister. These small ceremonies really helped our family fully experience our sadness together. It eventually allowed us to move on with life.

So what if we continue to feel sad? After some reasonable time, we should be vigilant. Continuing sadness can steal the joy and happiness of our present moments. It is as if false clouds come into view and hide the clear blue sky above.

What do we do? We bring our full attention to our sadness. We realize that it is not our true nature to always feel sad. We realize that this is an unresolved, unsolvable obsession of the ego. We wait for the next thought, patiently wait for the next thought and take back our focus on the present moment.

5. Why so sad II?
When my mother died, our family was devastated. She had been the glue that held us all together. Her loss particularly affected my dad. He had lost his soul mate.

One day several years after her passing, I had a chance to talk to my father about my feelings. He asked me if I missed her as much as he did. I said that I missed her physical presence, particularly our morning coffee together. I also said that she was very much a part of me, she resides within my heart; that I feel her there everyday. He said that it was the same for him and for that connection we were both thankful.

6. Why so angry?
It is said anger is the result of unresolved fear and frustration. Anger arises out of the meaning we have assigned something. This is always so.

We may want to discover what it is that has really made us angry and question the meaning we placed on the subject of the anger. From this new place of attention, we can decide whether we are still angry.

Sometimes the anger will immediately disappear as we reset the meaning we have placed on a thing. There may come a time when we recognize anger for what it is, an emotion based in past action. A healthy response is to broaden our view into a more holistic one and try to find forgiveness in our heart.

A few years ago, I found some deep tire tracks at my driveway’s entrance. One of the guys who was working here said it was probably someone who was upset with me for developing the property into a horse farm. I could feel my temperature go to the moon. How dare they?

A few minutes later another guy asked me why I was upset. After I told him what had happened, he laughed. He had seen the person who made the tracks; the poor fellow’s brakes had failed and he barely got his truck stopped in my driveway. The person was very sorry and had apologized. Wow, did I ever feel stupid!

The danger of anger is it clouds the mind. It takes us out of the present nectar of the universe. Each moment in anger is a lost opportunity for peace and grace.

7. The Life Divine by Sri Aurobindo
Sex, Ecology and Spirituality, the Spirit of Evolution by Ken Wilber
These two books are monuments to mankind’s ability to think and comprehend spirituality. Their scope is beyond most people’s ability to grasp. I find myself unable to put into words how important these books truly are. No spirituality library is complete without them.

8. The Tao of Natural Breathing by Dennis Lewis
Relaxing Into Your Being by Bruce Kumar Frantzis
The Great Stillness by Bruce Kumar Frantzis
These are terrific books on breathing meditation. I use them everyday.

9. Nexus by Mark Buchanan
Hidden Order by John Holland
Synch by Steven Strogatz
Six Degrees of Separation by Duncan Watts
Linked by Albert Laszlo Barabasi
Relics of Eden by Daniel J. Fairbanks
Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin
This collection of scientific books forms a basis of confidence in our interconnectedness.

10.Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hahn
It’s Up to You by Dzigar Kongtrul
Wake Up and Roar by H. W. L Poonja
The Great Medicine by Shechen Rabjam
The Voice of Knowledge by Don Miguel Ruiz
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
On Buddha Essence by Khenchen Thrangu
In my opinion, these books are written by those who have experienced the peace that passes all understanding. I hear in their voice the echo of my own voice.

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