Monday, November 11, 2013

Returning

As there's death in life
I find supreme life in death,
joy my old, new home. 


Friday, October 18, 2013

Is Money Necessary?








Reading some excerpts from a friend's novel, I came across this from one of his characters:  "You know the old saying: money is the root of all evil."
I commented to my friend that this was a misquote:  "It's actually: 'For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.' (1 Timothy 6:10)  Money in itself is neither good nor bad."

In literature, Scrooge in Dickens' A Christmas Carol is an example of the "many griefs" that can ensue when overconcern with money eclipses our humanity and fellow-feeling, and Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby portrays the Lost Generation and the emptiness of wealth without the compass of solid values.

Mark Boyle, author of The Moneyless Man and The Moneyless Manifesto, is one who seems to subscribe to the "old saying" and who has thus chosen to live without money.  After studying economics for six years in college, he was inspired by the movie "Gandhi" to be the change he wanted to see in the world. He decided that meant he would have to give up cash, initially just for one year, and this stretched out to five. He refers to money as "that soulless, empty, arbitrary concept" that is useless for providing our basic needs. "We are completely delusional about what we need in order to live nourished, meaningful lives...As the Cree Indian proverb goes, it seems that 'only when the last tree has died, the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught, will we realize we cannot eat money.' "

In contrast to Boyle's perception of money as a delusion, in David Cameron's book A Happy Pocket Full of Money, he calls it "an illusion, a shadow of something else...It is all just numbers written on paper and computer storage devices and assigned to people and entities like companies and investment groups — or, more accurately, further illusion!...The only reason this system does not collapse is that we all believe in it."  He says we should not look at the shadow, the illusion of money.  Rather, it's about developing internal value, or wealth consciousness, which he says "is available to all people equally...Like everything else that is important to our being alive — like air — wealth consciousness is free to all. But you can choose to develop it or not, or to exercise it or not."  He defines wealth consciousness as "simply the expansion of your consciousness and awareness into the wealthy parts of your Self...You are already wealthy, but you have been taught to choose not to experience your wealth."

 Since most wars and wasting of the Earth's resources come about through our belief in scarcity (or as Swami Beyondananda calls it, "scare city"), they will end when we are truly in touch with our inner riches, and when we believe in the possibility of abundance for everyone.  The outer reality reflects the inner,  and as this belief gains ground and becomes widespread, so will  unlimited, free, and sustainable energy technologies become available. And it all starts with each one of us, here and now.

We may need to redefine wealth or what it means to be rich.  Is it about winning millions in the lottery, or is it about having "enough"?  I think having enough is about being able to follow our chosen path, without wasting energy in worry -- whether it's worry about taking care of our basic needs, or on the other hand, about dealing with huge amounts of money. Of course, we are all different,  and some, like Mark Boyle, will feel abundant with much less or no money. He said that his first year of living cash-free was "the greatest experience of my life." He  is following his natural bent, doing his life's work.  Even without money, he is wealthy in his own way.  Others may need a lot of money and material possessions to feel on track and fulfill their purpose.  The important thing is to  be happy with our lives, comfortable with ourselves and with what we have, while staying open to our dreams, and following our heart.

In one of the parables of Sri Ramakrishna, there is the story of a woodcutter who was asleep and dreaming. When a man awakened him, he was greatly annoyed.  "Why did you wake me? I dreamed I was a king, I and my children had everything, I was on the throne and ruling over my country.  You destroyed my kingship!"  "Oh, it was only a dream," replied the man. "What's the problem?"

The woodcutter was further angered, but inspired to an important insight: "Get away from me, fool! My dream of being a king was just as real as my dream of being a woodcutter."

If the woodcutter could continue to feel the reality he experienced of his king state, he would, more and more, see this in his waking dream. We all need to do the same.  Gold-diggers get a bad rap, but I propose we become gold-diggers of our consciousness, embracing and living our golden dreams, in whatever form they play out for us. And somewhere, a king may be dreaming about being a woodcutter...

I also propose cultivating a "trust fund," simply trusting in our own life energy to meet our needs and guide us into right action.   This trust fund is one that will always be there for us and never run out.  To quote the shortest poem I ever wrote:

WORDS TO LIVE BY
Just
trust.

"Love is the only gold," said Tennyson. And love is not just about personal relationships.
As adults, many of us need to get back the zest and love of life we had as children. Hopefully, we aren't just existing, not just passing time here on planet Earth. Life can be a love affair with All That Is, with who we are and who we can be.  How can we put a price on that?








Sunday, May 19, 2013

A TASTE OF MANZANITA HONEY






A TASTE OF MANZANITA HONEY
(Raw--Unfiltered)

I know I'm in trouble
when I start to identify
with the ants that keep trying
to get into the honey jar.

I've found a few
who made it,
tiny black corpses,
floating in their golden heaven.

Sighing, I scoop them out,
wipe the jar,
put it on another shelf.
They won't find it for a while.

Maybe those dead ants
are the lucky ones.
I, too, sometimes feel
I would die for a taste
of something sweet,

and so I eat chocolate
or take a drink
or watch a show
or have a toke,

and I wonder who keeps moving
the golden dreams.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Divine E. Bunny




My son Ben told me
his Christian friends,
hoping to save his soul,
asked him to Easter services
at their church. But he,
learning there would be
no Easter egg hunt,
politely declined.

I explained to him

about the organized church
of the Divine Bunny
and the factions therein:
those who hunt
the chocolate fudge eggs,
those who search for
the painted hard-boiled eggs,
and those who pray to find
the pink, yellow and blue
candy eggs, nestled in bright green
faux grass, in the wicker baskets
of many colors.

Then I said: but the real Bunny

encircles the Earth,
and we are all His congregation.
He knows " what's up, Doc,"
he knows our deepest longings
which he has already given
and are just waiting to be found.

Yes, Benjamin, my son,

there is an Easter Bunny,
a Santa, a Jesus,
and a God
of uncounted names.
They rove our world,
hiding treasures to delight
and enlighten,
sacraments of the senses
and the soul,

in the sweet-scented grass,

in the Wonderland that waits for us
down the rabbit hole.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

12 Ways To Look in the Mirror





My son Ben was assigned to come up with 12 ways to look in the mirror for his acting class, this is what he wrote.

12 Ways Exercise

Activity: Looking in the mirror.

1. I walk into the bathroom, sniff the cigarette smoke that is wafting in through the window from the aprtment below me. I turn to look in the mirror, and see a sunbleached wasteland, large creatures lumbering and moaning stampede past. My heatbeat slows, then accelerates. I lean forward to get a better look, resting my hands on the wall to either side of the medicine cabinet, then, disbelieving, I open the door of the cabinet and check the back of the mirror with my hand. I close the door and stare, rapt, into this strange world.

2. I step into the bathroom, feeling odd, and look into the mirror. My breathing is heavy and I am unsteady on my feet. As I look at myself, I suddenly realize that I am growing younger, my face is becoming softer. I rub my head and feel my hair, and then look down at my hands, as they begin to shrink inward, hairs retracting back into my body. I look back in the mirror and can see myself physically growing shorter and my head gradually sinks below the bottom edge of the mirror. I fall over and begin to curl up, catching my feet in the loose clothing that swims around me, feeling the cold tile under my belly, I begin to cry in a tiny baby’s voice.

3. I walk into the bathroom, I’m walking very evenly and carefully, as if I am balancing something. My head is three times bigger than normal. I’m not concerned, this was just the way I was born. I stand in front of the mirror, and my head begins to loll to one side alarmingly, and I grab my head with my hands and straighten it on my shoulders. I rub my cheek, scratch my nose, grab a comb and being brushing my hair back. I have to reach up as high as I can to comb the top of my head, and it is always in danger of tipping over to one side, so I have to continually be catching it with one hand or the other. I smile in the mirror, and head off to work with a bounce in my step.

4. I walk into the bathroom and begin to shave, looking in the mirror. “hey, lookin’ good, oh yeah.” I begin rinsing the razor in the sink when I hear a voice close by. I look up, and listen, my head cocked. I walk out of the bathroom and into my small apartment, but there’s nothing. Then I hear something again, coming from inside the bathroom. I walk back in and say “hello?” I hear a response, coming from the mirror. “what?” I say, as I turn to the mirror, looking intently at my own reflection “who are you?” I say, leaning my weight on the sink. “You can’t be me, I’m me” I reply, putting hand onto my chest. “That’s not true!” I reply angrily, and then I turn and face the wall. “This is crazy, something’s happening to me!” Then I whirl-- “You,” I point my finger at the mirror, “don’t say that about my mom!” I put my face in my hands. “Oh my god, you’re so mean!” Then I get angry and move in close to the mirror. “I’m going to smash you to bits!” It grabs me by my throat,  choking me. I scrabble at the sides of the medicine cabinet, and grab the reflection’s wrist, I finally pull free, gasping. I run out of the bathroom and slam the door behind me. Then I sit and catch my breath. I pull my cell phone out of my pocket, and call dial a number “Hello? are you there? Please pick up, doc... its happening again...”

5. I’m the richest man in the universe, I slide down into my bathroom, where a butler stands, holding up a mirror. I trot over to the mirror, and stand while I am shaved, combed and powdered by Tunisian triplets. I turn my head back and forth as they rub my face with aftershave, sleepily observing what is happening. When they stop fussing over me, I mess up my hair with my hands, and run off hooting.

6. I look in the mirror, but it is only me, looking back at myself.  I stand there, arms outstretched, hands resting on the wall, staring right into my own eyes, looking at myself looking at myself. Then I laugh, because it’s not me at all, it’s just someone who looks like me. I stare at the other guy who looks like me. But it actually it is me I realize, so I laugh again, this time louder. It was me all along! Then I look at myself again. My hands slip and I fall face first into the mirror. I’m very very drunk.

7. I go to comb my hair while looking in the mirror, and the comb escapes, running up my shoulder and leaping onto the floor. I spin around and slam the door of the bathroom so it can’t get out, then I bend over, holding a newspaper. “Hey, it’s ok,” I say soothingly as I reach under the back of the toilet to grab the comb. But it’s too quick for me. It leaps in the air, scrabbling around on the smooth surface of the tub. I pull back the shower curtain, smiling as I watch it try to get out of the tub,  wild-eyed. It just looks so silly.

8.I stand looking at the mirror, then I wave my wand at my face and cry “Beardicus Grownicious!”  Instantly, a beard begins to sprout from my face. “Ooh,” I say, as I reach up to my face and feel the hair streaming out of my face. As the beard gets bigger and bigger, my eyes widen with horror. I wave the wand at my face, but it gets caught in the growing hair and gets knocked from my grasp, carried away by a giant river of hair that is roaring out of my face.  "No!” I cry. The hair fills up the room and forces me up against the wall. “Stopicus grownicious” I cry weakly.  Then I’m saved by Harry Potter.

9. I’m incredibly old, I’m bent over, my head is a shrunken raisin, all squinched up, and I slowly, carefully walk over to the bathroom, resting my weight on the wall, then the doorknob, then the sink. “Woo,” I say, as I rub my hip. I look into the mirror, squinting. Then I pull out my glasses, carefully rubbing them with a cloth I keep in my breast pocket. Then I put them on, look in the mirror and squint again. “Looking good!” I smile a toothless grin, and then slowly begin shuffling out of the bathroom.

10. I’m a tiny baby kid, I’m full of energy. I run around in a circle 3 times, making plane noises. Then I run into the bathroom. I look up at the mirror, but it’s too high. I run out and grab my toybox, and begin pulling it into the bathroom. It’s very heavy, and I have to lean my whole weight into pulling it. I finally get it in the bathroom, and clamber up on top of it. I look at myself somberly, and then make a hideous face, involving my tongue and my cheeks, but I can’t hold it because I'm laughing so hard. 

11. I try to look in the mirror, but it’s so dirty. I squint and move my head this way and that, but all I see is a greasy shimmer. I spray some Windex all over the mirror and begin wiping it down. I wipe it all over, up and down, round and round, I spray even more Windex on it, and wipe some more. Then I throw the dirty paper towel into the trash and look into the mirror. Then I walk away.

12. I look in the mirror, but I think it’s another fish, so I bump my head against it for the rest of my life.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Trial: Flight From Self








In The Trial by Franz Kafka, Josef K. is put "on trial" for an unnamed offense. Prior to this, conflicts and inconvenient desires are ignored, festering under the bland surface of his rigid, routine existence, where even his visits to his mistress take place on the same day each week. The trial brings those conflicts out into the open.

K's plight worsens the more he shies away from taking responsibility for himself. He represses a strong feeling of guilt which emerges abruptly at decisive moments, while in court, he denies all guilt until the very end. To Miss Burstner he says: "Your room was thrown into disorder a bit this morning, through my fault to a certain extent--it was done by strangers, against my will, and yet, as I said, through my own fault." The "strangers" in question are the warders, who are whipped by the authorities following K's accusation, and he cries out, "I do not consider them to be guilty at all; it is the organization that is guilty, it is the high officials that are guilty." What is more, "it would have been almost simpler if K. had taken off his clothes and offered himself in place of the warders." And on the following day, he closes the door to the lumber room where they are being whipped, "hammering against it with his fists as if it would be shut tighter that way." His ultimate reaction to anything that doesn't fit his heretofore tidy, cloistered way of life is to deny and "shut the door" on it. He wants the lumber room cleaned out: "I tell you, we're being drowned in filth!" Conflicts, irrational incidents are experienced as overwhelming filth that must be thrown out, rather than faced and worked through.

Josef K. is very attracted to Miss Burstner, but is passive in relation to her. She has little "experience in legal matters", but she "would like to know everything, and legal matters, particularly, interest me very much. A court of justice has a particular attraction, don't you think?" She is "inordinately disappointed" that K. himself does not know what his prosecution is all about. The "court of justice" here represents the law of Josef K's inner being, or soul-self. Since he fears and in fact flees from that self, he is unable to have a truly intimate relationship with another person.

K.is in a rage at his arrest, but at the same time, he succumbs: "He harbored the intention...of offering himself up to them for arrest." He sees the situation as a "comedy", and at the same time, it gives rise to thoughts of suicide that recur throughout the novel.

His first impulse is to deny any wrongdoing, proclaiming that he has been falsely accused. He can only think of struggling against the forces threatening him. In the face of such external blows, he has not developed the kind of unassailable inner freedom and security that Kafka spoke of in Reflections on Sin, Suffering, Hope, and the True Way: "The fact that only one world of the spirit exists, takes hope from us and leaves us certainty."

K's conversation with the priest in the cathedral illustrates this concept of spiritual independence. They agree that his case is "going badly", and the priest asks him what he proposes to do about it. K's answer is: "I'm going to get more help...There are several possibilities I haven't explored yet." "You cast about too much for outside help," said the priest disapprovingly. "Don't you see it is the wrong kind of help?" K. then makes a derogatory remark about the character of the men in court, calling them "petticoat-hunters,"and the priest loses patience: " 'Can't you see even one pace in front of you?''...It was an angry cry, but at the same time sounded like the unwary shriek of one who sees another fall and is startled out of his senses." The priest then relates the parable "Before The Law." In this parable, there is the possibility that the man from the country can enter the door to the Law (which is his God-self, the Law of his Inner Being) after his death; what is more, he could have entered it during his lifetime, had he asked earlier for whom the entrance was actually intended, instead of waiting until he was at the point of death. Then he would have received the "redeeming message": the door was meant for him all along.

K., in plotting how to get "help," puts himself in the position of the man from the country pleading with the doorkeeper to let him in. As the man from the country is fixated on what he thinks of as the ultimate power of the doorkeeper, so K is fixated on the idea of getting help from others who he imagines to be "in the know," somehow more able than he to solve his problems. He has hopes that the priest will be able to help him: "...it was not impossible that K. could obtain decisive and acceptable counsel from him which might, for instance, point the way..." But at the end of their meeting the priest also identifies himself as a member of the Court, and once again K. is thrown back on himself.

K. comes to feel it is his "duty" to execute justice upon himself, but as he is never clear about the details of this, he is executed in a "play" put on by puppet-like "tenors" and "supernumerary actors." In the end, he is assailed with questions:



Like a sudden blaze of light, the casements of a window flashed open there; a human being, faint and tenuous in the distance and at that elevation, suddenly leaned far forward and stretched his
arms even farther out. Who was it? A friend? A good person? Someone who was concerned? Someone who wanted to help? Was it a single individual? Was it everybody?



Josef K. does not know the answer to these or the other questions raised by his trial; he has not attained certainty within himself. But, even as the man from the country in the parable "Before The Law" may be able to enter the door to the Law after his death--for the "portal of the Law is always open...always, that is, irrespective of the duration of life for the man for whom it is ordained, the doorkeeper will not be able to close it"--so too, perhaps, Josef K. may attain certainty after his death. He has made progress; he has been forced to look into himself, has learned that there are important questions, and he yearns to know the answers.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Anne Frank Speaks







[…] I get cross, then sad, and finally end up turning my heart inside out, the bad part on the outside, and the good part on the inside, and keep trying to find a way to become what I’d like to be and I could be…if only there were no other people in the world. (8/1/1944.6)

I am a young girl still, yet no age at all,
and I have learned some things.
I know now I have always been free
to be all I can be,
to soar with the birds of the soul
even as we hid ourselves away
and hardly dared to play,
tiptoeing around
for fear of being heard downstairs.
I see now that all I've lived
has been part of me.
and I know, beyond doubt,
there are no "other people" in the world
or anywhere,
for my heart is still turned inside out
and I see them there,
sharing, living, loving, free,
my heart, my part,
dancing here upstairs with me.

Friday, January 25, 2013

First Poem (Age 8)






JUNGLE

Dimly aware of approaching shadows,
wandering on, on, on,
lost in the stillness of the shadows,
wanderer, beware!
Swinging branches,
trembling water,
hidden fears are there.

Wanderer, go back, go back
to the place from whence you come.
Many, many wanderers
lie already in the tomb.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

If That's All There Is




The Peggy Lee song "Is That All There Is?" has been hanging around on the edges of my consciousness lately. I've noticed that messages often come to me through songs that will run through my head, and so I've learned to pay attention. In the song, Ms. Lee reminisces about various events in her life: her father rescuing her from a fire
and watching it burn down; her first visit to the circus; and falling in love. Each one left her wondering, is that all there is to this? - to a fire, a circus, to love? Yet the final message is upbeat and far from resigned. The chorus goes:

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is

I've been wondering the same thing on and off lately. "Is that all there is?"
For years I'd been entranced by the speculations around the 12/21/2012 date (also referred to as the Singularity) by sources as disparate as Terence McKenna, Peter Russell, David Wilcock, and a being known as "Joy-Divine," channeled by one who calls himself "Zingdad," in his book The Ascension Papers. Peter Russell describes the Singularity: "This is the term that mathematicians give to a point when an equation breaks down and ceases to have any useful meaning. The rules change. Something completely different happens."


The Singularity, or Zero-point, or Novelty Theory on December 21, 2012, was not about the end of the world as portrayed in the disaster scenarios, but about the end of the world as we know it, and an evolutionary leap into - who knew what? Well, guess what I was doing on that date. Cleaning my apartment!


Joy-Divine, or J-D, speaking of the Singularity, said that it was the turning point as we head back to ultimate reunification of the whole system of reality, and that for a moment or longer, we would be at one with the heart of Oneness, wherein there are endless possibilities for experience. J-D predicted that we would choose to "stay in the game" here on the old familiar Earth, but that we would be playing in new and different ways.

Terence McKenna referred to this as "the denouement of human history", wherein "the universal process of compressing and expressing novelty is now going to become so intensified that it is going to flow over into another dimension." Interviewed by OMNI magazine in May 1993, he said:

"All evolution has pushed for this moment, and there is no going back. What lies ahead is a dimension of such freedom and transcendence, that once in place, the idea of returning to the womb will be preposterous. We will live in the imagination. We will quickly become unrecognizable to our former selves because we're now defined by our limitations: the laws of gravity; the need to eat, excrete, and make money. We have the will to expand infinitely into pleasure, caring, attention, and connectedness. If nothing more -- and it's a lot more -- it's permission to hope."

While I did not 'believe' per se, I did have hope. I enjoyed 'entertaining' the notion and the implications of such a quantum leap in our evolution. Along the way I was also learning about the creative abilities of consciousness - i.e., that reality is a self-created illusion, that it is literally our dream, and about becoming lucid within it, consciously dreaming, creating and living out our choices.

Recently I was telling my son about a dream I had that I thought was somewhat humorous. I was one of the speakers at a gathering of people with various addictions, and one piece of advice I gave was: "Don't buy booze." While I was laughing at the seeming reductionism of that dream pronouncement, my son was arguing with me that this was insensitive to the complexity of addictions - "Some people can't make that choice." I responded that we are always choosing, and we often choose by default - as for example, in the case of the problem drinker who wants to quit, but doesn't make the firm commitment to do so. "That's judgmental," said Ben, and I explained that no choices are wrong or bad in themselves, but if we want change, we have to make a definite choice and stick to it. Then I realized he thought I meant I was saying this to people I knew, which is not the case. I clarified that I was sharing a dream and some ideas. But at the same time, I realized that ultimately it does come down to such simple measures, and making fundamental choices. Moving in the direction of our preferences, whatever they may be.

In Robert Fritz' book The Path of Least Resistance, he speaks of formally choosing as a first step in the creative process. He even recommends stating our choices, i.e.: "I choose..." We become self-directed, putting trust in our own creative power. As another spiritual teacher put it: "What you say goes." Even if we don't believe we have that kind of power, isn't trust and faith in ourselves more productive than self-doubt? As we move out of our comfort zone and take creative risks, we make progress, and we may ultimately find we've created something even better than what we initially imagined.

The 'strange attractor" or "transcendental object at the end of time' as McKenna put it, which he pinpointed at Timewave Zero on Dec. 21, 2012, has the effect of increasing the interconnectedness of the universe (we become "one with the heart of Oneness"). As James Joyce wrote in Ulysses: "All human history moves towards one great goal, the manifestation of God." The Apotheosis: man becomes God.

To 'realize' something is to see (real eyes) the truth therein. We have always been one with the Oneness, one with God. Seeing this, and formally choosing it, makes it real in our experience - perhaps the most important 'fundamental choice' we'll ever make.

David Wilcock wrote in his most recent and exhaustive update titled December 21, 2012: Romance and Reality:


Earlier along, I was taken in by the "romance" of everything happening at the end of 2012.

However, it is very clear that we need to see some major changes in our own physical, everyday world here on Earth first.

I contend that we need to see some major changes in ourselves. As I said to my son in our discussion of my dream, if we want change, we have to make a definite choice and stick to it. We have to trust in ourselves, and be the change we want to see, instead of waiting for it to be visited on us. Our trust must be such that we give thanks for this in advance. This is the game-changer allowing for something completely different to come forth. We need to become new, and then we will see the new age prophesied in the mythologies of so many ancient cultures: a world of unity, love, and brotherhood. Of freedom and transcendence. Hey, maybe even a self-cleaning apartment!

"Is that all there is?" An online friend saw my first draft of this post, and shared that his professor in Civilizations had just referenced that very song, saying Peggy Lee had asked the primordial question that has been with us from the beginning. "What he is most wanting to convey," said my friend, "is all the things about us that have not changed and because of that, how looking at our collective past yields rich and meaningful information about our collective present." He went on: "He was saying the fact that tools for the living have been found buried with remains as old as 35,000 years indicates that even the earliest man was asking if the dead might be needing these tools wherever they might have gone. Therefore, man was asking a question about existence when they included tools with their dead." Yes, asking a question, and it seems, reaching a conclusion - or they wouldn't have provided the tools. Ancient man was also asking, and answering, in their prophecies about the end times and the transformation into a Golden Age. Perhaps in passing on this vision, they were providing us with an important tool.

This is indeed all there is, in the sense that all is available to us. We live in a Field of infinite possibilities, and our vision, choice and gratitude brings forth the potentials we desire.

We may not be there just yet, but it will happen as soon as we are ready. In the meantime, as Peggy Lee sang, if that's all there is, let's keep on dancing. And maybe that's enough. Maybe Terence McKenna was right when he said, replying to a question about the ultimate goal of human evolution: "Oh, a good party..."


Peggy Lee's kickass performance, "If That's All There Is":