Thursday, November 30, 2006

How to Change Your World

"The principles you live by create the world you live in;
if you change the principles you live by, you will change
your world."
        -Blaine Lee

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Glurg in the Forest

Glurg was confused. This was a new kind of forest. There were no coconut trees. No coconuts. No coconut Princess. He wandered aimlessly. Then, having recently read Siddhartha, he sat down near a river. He spent a lot of time sitting there and thinking, with no plot development whatsoever. He felt a little blue, kind of hungry, and a little lonely, and thinking maybe those coconuts were pretty good after all.

Then, plunk, something fell down and hit him on the noggin! "What strange gift is this from the Forest God?" The river said "OM", and was the same everywhere, yet never the same. Glurg spent some time pondering that while tossing this gift back and forth from hand to hand.

He had never seen such a thing, and thought perhaps it was useful for some type of athletic competition. But he did not have any team-mates, nor a rival team, so he just chomped into it, and was instantly covered with lucious, juicy, pulpy mess.

The taste. It was exquisite. It was sweet, juicy, lucious, and delicious. Better than anything he had ever eaten before. He devoured it, and stepped into the river to rinse the stickiness off his hands and face. The river continued to mumble "Om".

Glurg looked up. OMG, these treats were dangling everywhere! He was in the Incredible Mango Forest! Glurg did not want to be a glutton, but he loved those mangoes and ate two more. Then, he stepped into the river, and noticed that it wasn't the same river he had stepped in earlier.

Glurg sat on a stone and thought about that for quite a while.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Mindfulness and Peace... Mindfulness IS Peace

A Teaching on Mindfulness

There is a Buddhist teaching on mindfulness from the fourth section of the Samyutta Nikaya, called the Malunkiyaputta Sutta. The sutta is a story of a hermit who traveled thousands of miles to meet the Buddha.

The Buddha has an exceptional way of teaching in a manner that was suited to each student 'like an arrow meeting its target'. His teaching for Bahiya, the hermit, was:

In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen.
In reference to the heard, only the heard.
In reference to the cognized, only the cognized.

This teaching is the teaching of how to end of suffering.

The causes of suffering are what cause loss of mindfulness.

When we are distracted by 'endearing charms' of people, sounds, aromas, flavors, material possessions, thoughts and ideas, or wanting to be someone other than who we are, 'passion grips the heart and fills us with clinging desire'. The mind is distracted by desire (for what we want) and dissatisfaction (with what we don't want) and so we suffer.

The Buddha teaches:

They who dwell mindfully, retain mindfulness, do not cling, just observe what they see without reaction and proceed mindfully will not grasp for things, and will therefore not suffer.

When we are mindful of our situation, without wanting more than what is, we find peace.

The Triple Truth

Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.
 
- Buddha

Friday, November 24, 2006

Buddhist teachings on relationship...

Buddhist teachings on relationships draw on the productive tension between being fully open to experience and letting go of expectations and attitudes that keep us turning in cyclic existence. 


The Buddha

Don't give way to heedlessness
or to intimacy
with sensual delight--
for a heedful person,
absorbed in jhana,
attains an abundance of ease.

Dhammapada

Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind to Dharma (#4)

The flaws of cyclic existence: Relatives at home, enemies, friends and possessions in the world are the causes of worry for the body and mind. Only virtuous actions can benefit others. Therefore, I will not be attached to these ties and I will cast them away as I would a snake in my lap.

Ngondro Practice text provided to students of Karma Kagyu Tibetan Buddhism

Milarepa

If one stays too long with friends/
They will soon tire of him;
Living in such closeness leads to dislike and hate.
It is but human to expect and demand too much
When one dwells too long in companionship.

"The Song of the Snow Ranges"

Nagarjuna

There is pleasure when a sore is scratched,
But to be without sores is more pleasurable still.
Just so, there are pleasures in worldly desires,
But to be without desires is more pleasurable still.

Nagarjuna, "Precious Garland"

Sharon Salzberg

There's a famous quotation from the time the Buddha learned of the deaths of two of his greatest disciples: "It's as if the sun and the moon have left the sky." From that quotation, I would guess that while the Buddha loved all beings everywhere, with no exclusion, he also had relationships that were special to him, and he felt their loss.

"The Open Heart," Q&A at www.beliefnet.com

Sangharakshita

Sex according to Sangarakshita is rooted in the Lower Evolution and does not, in his experience, enhance communication between individuals. And sexual relationships, encouraging as they do neurotic dependence on one's partner, need to be kept at the periphery of one's life.

"An Introduction to the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order"

Lama Surya Das

This is how we love, Buddha-style: impartial to all, free from excessive attachment or false hope and expectation; accepting, tolerant, and forgiving. Buddhist nonattachment doesn't imply complacence or indifference, or not having committed relationships or being passionately engaged with society, but rather has to do with our effort to defy change and resist the fact of impermanence and our mortality. By holding on to that which in any case is forever slipping through our fingers, we just get rope burn.

"A Buddhist Valentine," from Ask the Lama column at www.beliefnet.com

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Free passion is radiation without a radiator, a fluid, pervasive warmth that flows effortlessly. It is not destructive because it is a balanced state of being and highly intelligent. Self-consciousness inhibits this intelligent, balanced state of being. By opening, by dropping our self-conscious grasping, we see not only the surface of an object, but we see the whole way through.

Meditation in Action

Lama Thubten Yeshe

Some people live closely guarded lives, fearful of encountering someone or something that might shatter their insecure spiritual foundation. This attitude, however, is not the fault of religion but of their own limited understanding. True Dharma leads in exactly the opposite direction. It enables one to integrate all the many diverse experiences of life into a meaningful and coherent whole, thereby banishing fear and insecurity completely.

Reprinted from "Daily Wisdom: 365 Buddhist Inspirations," edited by Josh Bartok, Wisdom Publications, 2001

It is precisely because our present life is so inseparably linked with desire that we must make use of desire's tremendous energy if we wish to transform our life into something transcendental.

Introduction to Tantra

Herding Cats

One minute...
 
 
Seem familiar?

A family is...

A family is a place where minds come in contact with one another. If these minds love one another the home will be as beautiful as a flower garden. But if these minds get out of harmony with one another it is like a storm that plays havoc with the garden.
 
- Buddha

Pure Entertainment

Here is an awesome parody of Star Wars. No deeper philosophical meanings whatsoever.
 
Enjoy!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I am a LITTLE upset with CHINA right now!

Why? Well, because of PERSECUTION!!

Not long ago, Lobsang told us of a video he received of a Chinese soldier shooting down Tibetan refugees, just like they were little targets on a shooting range. Bang. Bang. Bang. Then, he sat down under a tree and had lunch.

Lobsang talked for a while about compassion and truly cherishing all sentient beings. Someone asked how to cherish that Chinese soldier. He pondered, and told us to remember that the soldier acted as he did because of causes and conditions that brought him to that place. Perhaps he didn't have loving support as a child, or was tortured, or we can't know. When it's reallly hard to cherish someone that has done horrible things, he suggested thinking of the person as a baby. Suddenly that changed the whole feeling tone of the situation. I trey to remember that thought.

Then the SECOND reason I'm upset with CHINA is more PERSECUTION!

I was at the amazing Wears + Wares (www.wearsandwares.com) artisans market in Boston (which continues on Saturdays through December). On my way back, through the common, there was this group of people doing tai chi. They had presentation boards about torture and imprisonment in China of practitioners of Falun Gong.

Now, these 4 people were doing the Falun Gong exercises. A series of 5 Qi Gong exercises that are slow, peaceful, and harmless. Apparently if you do that in China, you can get arrested, imprisoned, and well, it gets really ugly... Visit www.falundafa.org for instruction on how to do the exercises, and/or political updates.

Seems like thousands of people have been disappeared for practicing this. I don't really understand why, but Amnesty International confirms the persecution. Maybe it's becasue millions of people practiced these exercises, and got together in groups to do it. (I'm thinking China doesn't really like people assembling on their own.)

Anyway, I have been practicing tai chi for 25 years now, and have thought it would be nice to practice in China sometime. Think again Sister! It's hard to grasp that my own activities would be reason for torture in another country.

So, that's why I am a little upset with China right now.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Wii got a Wii! Whee!

or... Billy and Sue's Big Adventure

We had a unique experience this weekend! The Nintendo Wii launched on Sunday, November 19. It is called the Wii (pronounced 'wee') for those of you who haven't read anything in the last 12 months, which is how long we have been waiting for this day.

Well, our mission, which I chose to accept, was to get one on launch day. After the PS3 riots and shootings on Thursday night, I was wondering if this was my most brilliant idea. But, Saturday night, at 10:30 pm, Billy and I headed out with a car full of chairs and blankets, to the BestBuy parking lot.

We were not alone. We staked out place in the line with our chairs, unpacked our blankets, took out the backpack that Sandy packed for us, and sat there. Ahead of us in line were a number of bodies in sleeping bags and blankets, several tents, numerous lawn chairs, and some people standing and leaning against the wall.

It is amazing how many positions you can get into in a fold-up chair, none of which are comfortable for more than 5 minutes! Billy sat there comfortably draped in fluffy blanket, looking like Buddha playing a DS. (Maybe the chairs are more comfortable for younger people.)

About every 10 minutes, he updated me on our progress, which was less than inspiring. The lighting in Best Buy parking lot is bright enough to read by. Unfortunately, I had napping in mind, and didn't have any of of my current reading (Wicked, No Time to Lose, Tricycle)...

When my body temperature had dropped and my nose was icy, I went into the car and turned on the engine and the heated seats and warmed up. also napped briefly. I looked over periodically. Buddha remained seated and calm and safe.

Back to the line. Well, a group of older adolescent boys and young men were playing soccer. A couple people were scooting around the parking lot on skateboards. It was a friendly crowd. A large number of people were playing their Nintendo DS (handheld) games.

I tried to view it as a trial run for a silent meditation retreat. That helped me not at all. I decided never to be homeless in New England. I wondered if the homeless were warmer than I was because they have cardboard boxes. Maybe they know something I don't know. Next time... I'm bringing a nice big comfy cardboard box. If there is a next time...

I returned to the car for another warm-up, and nap. Suddenly there was a rapping on the window. "Mom, come over, everyone is packed up!!" Holy smokes! Had I missed something? All the tents and chairs were now packed up, and the line had condensed itself a bit, but was still linear and peaceful. My knee had fallen asleep, and I seemed to be a peg-leg as I shuttled our chairs and blankets back to the car. Then stood in line. It was 6:15, with a very light (thank you very much) drizzle.

About 15 minutes later, an angel appeared (in the form of Bill) with hot cocoa and coffee. The Angel and Buddha stood calmly in line while I drove off to Dunkin Donuts to use the bathroom.

The Best Buy people came to empty the trash bins (Dunkin Donuts cups and boxes, Red Bull and other caffeine cans, cheetos and chips bags. 50 people make a lot of trash on a cold night.) They explained the process. At 8:00, they would hand out tickets entitling the holder to a Wii. Then, someone would come out and take your order for Wii accessories. At 9:00 the first 15 people would be let in. Nice and orderly please! Then, small groups would be admitted until all the Wiis were gone.

What I wanted to know was: "Why did everyone pack up their stuff? Why didn't they just pile into the tents when it began to drizzle? Why did I put my chairs into the car?"

Time passed. People became more jovial. We made a HUGE number of wii/wee jokes. OMG. I said they were handing out the tickets from oldest to youngest... that way I would be FIRST!! The color drained out of Billy's face slowly.

Then it happened. the first 15 people went IN! Someone came out with a Wii. Everyone cheered and clapped as though he had just saved Gotham City from the Penguin! We all proceeded in peacefully, in small groups, and within 20 minutes, they were all gone....

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Distorted Perception of Beauty

Thank you Bodhipaksa, for this link. It's a one-minute film, worth watching. (Otherwise, would I even put it here?!?!)
 
 
See how our perception of beauty is manipulated by the media.
 
 
 
(To visit Bodhipaksa's blog, http://www.bodhipaksa.com/blog/ )

The Guest House -- by Rumi

The poem below is part of the course Mindfulness in Daily Life, offered by wildmind.org. This is part of the curriculum on 'mindfulness of feelings'.
 
I love Rumi. I love this poem. I love the wildmind courses. I love to share.
 
-------------------------------------------------------
The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all
even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture.

Still, treat each guest honorably.
he may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice;
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Target

Lobsang tells this story...
 
Lobsang was traveling on a train with other Buddhist monks. One monk was busy talking, expounding his knowledge, and showing off how much he knew about everything. His air of superiority and know-it-all-ness irritated Lobsang terribly. On and on this monk went, talking to anyone who would listen. Lobsang got more and more frustrated with this annoying monk and his endless puffery.
 
Later, Lobsang was sitting with another monk, having tea. He said "Wasn't that guy so annoying... going on and on as though he knew everythiing. It didn't seem to bother you though. Wasn't it awful?"  The other monk said "No, it really didn't bother me at all.  Lobsang, he likes to stand and shoot his arrows. It seems like you enjoyed putting your target in front of him."
 
So today, as I was irritated by the air of superiority of a fellow traveler, I realized that it was I who was putting my target there to be shot at. Once I moved my target, the condescending tone really didn't phase me anymore.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Make Today Your Masterpiece

"Success is about who you are, not what you have.
Successful people work to discover their talents, to
develop those talents, and then to use those talents to
benefit others as well as themselves."
    -Tom Morris
 
-- I'm using today to learn, grow and make my life better
-- When I help other people they love me
-- I'm growing in skill and ability today
-- I let go of petty differences to focus on important
  lessons
-- My eyes are open to the lessons in life
-- I'm making today a masterpiece

Buddhist Wisdom du jour

It is important to recognize the power of our emotions--and to take responsibility for them by creating a light and positive atmosphere around ourselves. This attitude of joy that we create helps alleviate states of hopelessness, loneliness, and despair. Our relationships with others thus naturally improve, and little by little the whole of society becomes more positive and balanced. - Tarthang Tulku

More affirmations...

-- Today I'm performing at my best
-- I love staying busy
-- When I see a new task, I do it, schedule it or delegate it
-- My time is valuable and I treat it that way
-- I'm uncovering my larger purpose now
-- My purpose is bigger than myself
-- I'm giving incredible meaning to my life
-- Purpose and I are one
-- My purpose puts all things in perspective
 
------------------------------------------------------------------
Replace your mental junk food with food for growth!

Glurg's Big Adventure

Once upon a time, there was a hermit named Glurg. Glurg was on an island, and life wasn't too good. It wasn't too bad either, but Glurg just wasn't too happy. There were coconuts, (lots of coconuts) but nothing else to eat, and Glurg really wanted to get off that island. Glurg wanted to fly a kite, and jump on a trampoline, and make a stir fry. Glurg was sick of coconut.

One day, an amazing miracle (the best kind of all) occurred! Glurg was walking through the coconut forest, when, what to his wondering eyes should appear? A miniature sleigh? Eight tiny reindeer? NO.... A bridge.

Glurg saw a bridge that touched the island and reached out over the sea. A bridge. Oh my goodness, Glurg was beyond happy. He jumped right on that bridge. He loved that bridge. He hugged that bridge. He had thought he would never see a bridge, and he would NEVER get off that island, and all he would ever have for the rest of his life was coconuts. A bridge. Glurg hopped, and skipped, and jumped on the bridge... singing The Rainbow Song, because that's the only song he knew.

Glurg was happier than he had been in years. He sat on the bridge, climbed on the bridge, ran back and forth across the bridge. He even did cartwheels, which he thought he couldn't do anymore! He could just stay on the bridge FOREVER... that's how happy he was.

But there was no food on the bridge.

Glurg was getting a smidgeon hungry. He thought there might be a world with something other than coconuts, but he didn't know for sure, because he had never seen anything else. And he didn't even know where that bridge went. It was feeling a little scary.

The island was familiar, after all. Coconuts are kind of tasty. You can make almond joy ice cream, or coconut ambrosia with them. Maybe that wasn't so bad. Who knows... the bridge might just lead to a SWAMP, with nothing, not even coconuts. Boy, if it did, he would sure wish he was back on the island with the coconut trees! THEN, he would be sorry.

Glurg nearly turned back, when the next amazing miracle happened! Glurg had a dream. He dreamed of enchanted broccoli forests, and friendly folk who shared their trampolines, and a circus. Glurg had a burst of courage, and RAN across the bridge, even though he couldn't see the end. He ran because he didn't want to go back to the island, but he was a little scared, and he had to cross before he lost his courage. He chose the adventure, the unknown, the opportunity.

And, Glurg kept running across the bridge, over beautiful glistening water. Sunny and full of jumping fish and diving birds. Glurg ran through the wind and enjoyed getting his hair blown all over the place. Glurg got to the end of the bridge.

He didn't want to get off the bridge.

It had been so nice. So beautiful. So happy. The shining water, the diving birds, the cartwheels. He didn't want to leave all of that.

But he did. He jumped off the bridge. He felt SO sad because he loved that bridge. But he had to get on the land. And he did. As he looked back at the bridge, he felt so sad. It had been a beautiful time on the bridge. He would miss that glistening sea and salty breeze. He walked into the forest, and began a new life.

So, dear reader, please use the comment feature to answer any and/or all of the following questions.

a) Is this an allegory, metaphor, analogy, simile, onomotopoeia, fable, tale, or the true recitation of actual historical facts as channeled through this humble author?

b) What happens to Glurg in the forest?

c) Has Glurg crossed the Rubicon?

d) Do you have any advice for Glurg?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Test this out...

Today's quote:
 
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. - Buddha
 
Try these practices. Test them. Observe your experience. If you have more happiness, then something is working. If not, adjust. -- Sue

Monday, November 13, 2006

Where is the Rubicon? and Have You Crossed It?

Today, I commented to a friend that 'we have both crossed the Rubicon'. That went over well. So, I need to discover, and explain.... Where is the Rubicon? and, Have you crossed it?

Thank you Wikipedia, for a nice, concise explanation....

The Rubicon (Rubic┼Ź, Italian: Rubicone) is an ancient Latin name for a small river in northern Italy. In Roman times it flowed into the Adriatic Sea between Ariminum (Rimini) and Caesena (Cesena). The actual modern identity of the river is uncertain; it is usually identified as the Pisciatello in its upper reaches and then the Fiumicino to the sea. "Crossing the Rubicon" is a popular idiom meaning to go past a point of no return because it was an ancient boundary between Gaul and Italy. Julius Caesar crossed the river in 49 BC deliberately as an act of war where he is supposed to have said that "the die is cast" and where he would eventually come to power.

The crossing of this small stream in northern Italy became one of ancient history's most pivotal events. From it sprang the Roman Empire and the genesis of modern European culture.

And yes. I have crossed the Rubicon. As Caesar would say "the die is cast"!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Life: Railroad Track? or Circus Tent?

Another in my continuing "Metaphors for Life" series.

I ask myself... "Is life like a railroad track? Or is it more like a circus tent?"

I drive around a lot, and I have plenty of time to engage in this type of dialog with myself. So, I observe (as all great minds do), and I see some lives on a railroad track. These people know where they're going, and it seems their path goes straight there. It may take a while, sometimes it's a slow train, (a few of my friends had the bullet train), but they keep going in a straight, sensible, reasonable track to success.

And by success, I don't just mean career. It could be career. It could be marriage and relationship. (Kudos to those who can maintain a single, dedicated, relationship over decades!) It could be inner peace, or enlightenment, or musical performance. But, for some, that track goes on and doesn't swerve suddenly.

Then, I observe some more, and notice some lives in a circus tent. Lots of acts going on at the same time. New acts every few minutes. Occasionally, you get shot out of a cannon. (There is ALWAYS a net. One must remember this in the circus tent life!) The music is kind of brassy, but uplifting. People around you laugh and feel good and eat cotton candy.

Yeah. I'm a circus girl. And that's cool. What isn't cool is when I compare my circus program with the train schedule. OMG! I never know what time I'll get into a station. I don't even know what station I'll be at next!! This comparing is a source of suffering (not sure if Buddha knew about this, or if it fits somewhere in the 'craving, aversion, delusion' trio.)

Is there anyone who doesn't enjoy a circus? They're great! And living the circus life is also great. But don't marry a conductor. They want to punch tickets, stay on track, and don't like cotton candy on the seats.

The busy mind then begins to evaluate. It LOVES to evaluate (almost more than it loves comparing). Which is better? Train track? Your train track friends are successful, secure, stable, in durable relationships. That looks pretty good. Circus tent? It's lively, surprising, and sometimes scary. Hmmm.

Neither is better. Any more than Almond Joy ice cream is any better than Chocolate Brownie Fudge Chunk. They're both great. What is NOT great is that evaluating mind... Is my life OK? Is it OK to like Almond Joy ice cream? Maybe I really should like Chocolate Brownie Fudge Chunk more, (a LOT of people do). What is it with me and coconut anyway? Must be genetic. Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate yourself into a miasma of uncertainty and even (sometimes) depression.

How about enjoying the trip. On a train? Enjoy the scenery. Smile at the conductor. In the circus? Remember there is a net! Laugh with the clowns. Be a clown!

And if the circus is ready to open in a new town, it's OK to take the train.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Today's Empowering Thought

"Objects we ardently pursue bring little happiness when
gained; most of our pleasures come from unexpected sources."
      --Herbert Spencer
 
Your moods are primarily the result of what you focus on.
 
-- Today I'm focusing on what's good
-- I transcend problems
-- I am solution oriented now
-- I'm helping other people feel good about themselves today
-- I allow myself to feel unbounded joy now
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
You may be wondering.... "What's with all these quotes and affirmations?" "Where are they coming from?" "Why is she blogging them?"
 
Well, they are brain food. Whole-grain, no trans-fats, brain food. They are encouragement and we all need it. Think about the junk food you've been feeding your brain lately. I don't want to honor those negative thoughts by writing them down, but I'm sure you've had one. And I've had quite a few.
 
The mind gets so busy interpreting things, and if it's in a mood, it can take everything as a slam. Combine this with our educational system which teaches you from a very early age to 'find what's wrong with this picture'.... At an older age 'find what's wrong with this product'... And (God Forbid) 'find what's wrong with this person/relationship/situation/job'.
 
If we spent half as much energy finding what's RIGHT, with ANYTHING, we would be in such a different place. I am convinced the world would change.
 
Let's change the world. OK? Just for today... see the light, notice what's great, appreciate what's working. Try it. If you feel better, do it again. If not, leave a comment because I want to know if this works, and I NEED DATA! (My own limited experience is pretty promising.)
 
[This stuff is coming from www.todayisyourdaytowin.com, a motivational site I stumbled upon when researching affirmations in order to avoid actually WRITING them. I signed up for the daily email. A bit verbose and not as interesting as what I write, but still, something positive in my inbox, and daily reminders that I CAN retrain my mind to create more happiness, and less suffering. so far, it's working great!]

Friday, November 10, 2006

Inquiring Minds Want To Know...


Can you put a picture into a blog entry. Well, let's just see. There is a little icon that looks like a landscape up there. I'm going to click it....


Well. It took me to a cool little "select your picture" form. I selected the picture at left, because I love it, (and who wouldn't).

Then, it let me choose where the picture would go in my entry, and how big. I picked medium size.

So there you go. It was easy.

Now. I'm not sure if I can do this from an email. I'm thinking that my email postings may be just text. (Suppress your disappointment.)

Today's breakthrough lesson. My brain is happily releasing endorphins because it learned something new. Tra La La.

Your role...

Play your part in the comedy, but don't identify yourself with your role! - Why Lazurus Laughed by Wei Wu Wei

What Color IS the lily?

"Should one look through a red glass at a while lily, he
would seem to see a red lily.  But there would be no red
lily.  So it is with humanity's problems.  They consist of
false mental pictures."
      --M.D. Garbrick
 
----------------------------
 
What glasses are you wearing right now?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Don't give up!!

Enjoy this from Josh Groban...

http://www.bordersstores.com/features/feature.jsp?file=groban_youareloved

Here's a good attitude!

I have to thank my son for this lesson in perseverence.

He has been doing some Flash animation recently, and posting his short animations on a site called Newgrounds. When you post something, people dive all over it, rating it, and if you get low numbers.... BLAM.

Well, he put up his first short animation. It got BLAMMED. So, he revised it a bit, maybe added music or some other details.... BLAMMED again. [And for those of you with thick skin, this BLAMMING happens within minutes. The short little life of that short little animation is crushed mercilessly quickly.]

He went on to make something new. Put that up and sent me the link in an IM. I actually got to see it before it got BLAMMED, which happened within five minutes. My niece got there after the BLAM. She put the animation on her web space and linked to it from her blog. I linked to it from my blog. (Take THAT you Newgrounds stupid-heads!)

I started to get mad at those Newgrounds know-it-all-geeks. I mean, can't they give a kid a chance? They are merciless! Were they ever beginners? Yeah, so I was wondering how Billy was going to take this negative feedback. (It's so easy to be mercilessly negative when you're also anonymous...)

I kept my mouth shut, and watched.

Shortly, he came out and said.... "Well, I'm not putting anything else up on Newgrounds until I get a whole lot better at Flash. I just made my own web site where I can put my stuff and people can see it if they want to."

http://www.freewebs.com/glorgans_flashes/myflashes.htm

Now. Freeze frame here for a minute. What a strong, healthy attitude. What perseverence. What a clever solution to the cruel vagaries of techno-democracy. I, for one, am often crushed by the merest whisper of a criticism. Here is my adolescent son, BLAMMED several times by folks who have no problem writing negative and rude commentatires, and he just decides to go play in a different sandbox.

Is he a genius or what? Must get it from his mom....

Let's do this...

Live your life in happiness, owning nothing. Feed on happiness like lustrous gods. Be Happiness Itself.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Walking the Labyrinth of Life

The Labyrinth is a metaphor for life.

I walked the labyrinth in Concord slowly this evening. When I began, I could see the center (the goal?) not far ahead. The path led left and curved round, and twisted back and after walking about 50 yards, I had progressed the four feet to the center!

Isn't life just like that? You're right next to some objective, and you start working on it, and then the path curves round and miles later, or days later, you seem so close again. Then, there is a sharp curve and miles later, you reach the goal.

The main thing is to enjoy the walk. Slow down. See the path, and what it brings to you. You could just clomp over the brick barrier, straight to the center, but what fun would that be? You would have missed the WHOLE labyrinth!

Is the winner the one who gets there first? Or is the winner the one who gets there calmest? Or is the winner the one who enjoys the walk?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Optical Illusions -- click to see!

Go take a look at this Flash thing that Billy made.

I think it's clever, funny, and has an intellectually stimulating surprise finish.

What do you think? Please leave comments.

http://www.mittenmitten.com/photos/billy.html

Enjoy!

If a blogger blogs and nobody reads it, does it mean anything?

There is the age old question about a tree falling in a forest with nobody there to hear it. Does it make a sound? And why does anybody care? Don't they know there are wars, famine, hungry people, and people without socks in the world?

Really.

As a blogger, I now have a parallel concern about the universe... If I blog, and nobody reads it, does it mean anything?

And, we can enjoy the equally profound... Why would anybody care?

As Shakespeare would say "To blog, or not to blog, THAT is the question!" (He never did use enough emphasis!!?!) Why do bloggers blog? Why am I blogging? I know that NOBODY is reading this stuff. Almost nobody even knows it's there, and those precious few who do, are very busy, and are reading profound philosophical treatises, or cookbooks.

So why do I bother? It's like Mt. Everest. I blog because it's there. It drains these juicy verbal snatches out of my mind, and leaves my mind cleansed, pure, refreshed like after a torrential rain on a Hawaiian beach. I blog to be creative, and anonymous, and profound, and inspiring. Because I amuse myself with words and wit, and don't have enough live audiences to amuse...

Or as Renee Decartes would say "I blog. Therefore I am."

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Taoist Farmer

This story seems particularly relevent again today...
 

The Taoist farmer lived in a small town in China. People were poor there, and didn't have any luxuries. One day, the farmer's horse ran away. Because the town was small, everybody in town knew what had happened. They all came running to the farmer, who was hoeing his field. "That is so terrible, so terrible!" they exclaimed. "Maybe", said the farmer.

The next day, his son went out to search for the horse. At the end of the day, the farmer was working in his field when his son came home with four horses! Everybody in town came running to the farmer. "That is so amazing. You are so lucky! What good fortune!" they exclaimed. "Maybe," said the farmer, continuing to work his field.

The son worked to train those wild horses. It was a hard job, and he worked steadily. One day, he was trying to ride one of the new horses, when the horse threw him, and he fell. He was badly hurt. The doctor treated him for a broken leg. Now the son could no longer help with the farm chores. All the neighbors came right over to the farmer, pouring out their consolations. "That is too bad." "Oh, you were so unlucky." "How terrible it is that your son was hurt." The farmer continued planting his seeds and responded, "Maybe".

About a month later, the king declared war on the nearby territory. All young men were obliged to serve in the army. As the neighbor lads marched off to the war, some of the parents came to the farmer. "You are so lucky. Your son has a broken leg, and can't serve in the army." The farmer continued working his field. "Maybe," was his reply.

 

It is so easy to get caught up in the trauma of the moment. It looks so grim, or so perfect. It's hard not to get caught up in the emotion of the moment's events. But, life takes its funny turns, evolving in unexpected ways. What seemed a tragedy could really be a blessing in disguise. What seems a blessing, could be the prelude to tragedy. One can never predict. The best one can do is keep working the field, accepting the events, responding as needed.

So, I continue my duties, knowing that today's tragedy may be the seeds of tomorrow's blessing. I can only continue, and accept the life that flows over me.

Expunging

The human heart is such a fragile thing. It's amazing that it drives the whole organism, when it can succumb to such silly infatuations, and be derailed by simple flirting.
 
Yes, it's easy to love yourself when you are loved by someone special. Sometimes. It's easy to reject yourself when you are rejected by just about anyone. Even the Dunkin Donuts people. I think, in our Western education, we're indoctrinated to take much more notice of the negative marks, the rejections, than of the positive marks. And we are trained in offering criticism more than in offering encouragement. (There's a new project for me Encouragement Education!)
 
Of course, it is ridiculous to have your self image fluctuate with the attentions of another person. The self is a boat on the samsaric sea of life. A strong boat that can travel safely through the storms of love and rejection (both are stormy).
 
Now, the Brain is very cool, understanding these things clearly, and so articulate as well. The flakey Heart goes ballistic whenever there is a storm:  a love storm, or a rejection storm.  How does one master the steadiness without being cold-hearted?
 
Good question. Buddha, of course, had the answer. All things are impermanent. Everybody suffers. Suffering is caused by craving, aversion, and delusion. (Bingo for Buddha on this one!) It is possible to stop suffering. (OK, I'm willing to work with you here.) The way to stop suffering is the eightfold path. (This is where it gets hard. LOTS of work and discipline to even keep track of those eight, much less PRACTICE them.)
 
Yes, I recently had major heart-storms. Love, rejection, confusion, senseless infatuation, unrealistic dreams, dashed hopes... the whole nine yards. I also caused major storms as well. It's a two-party experience. Karma - your experience is the consequence of your actions. Sometimes it comes back atcha fairly quickly.
 
So, I was brewing with loss and confusion (poor me!), and no shoulder to cry on (OMG!!!!) when I learned of another friend heading into the tunnel of breast cancer treatments. Freeze frame. I remember that. Strength. Determination. The strong boat on a samsaric sea. Compassion. Perspective. Recalling the episode of chemotherapy and radiation put this Sad Demise into perspective. It is a spec, a tiny little brook in the river of my life, maybe just a raindrop.
 
The expunging ceremony is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, November 11. The expectations, wishes, foolishness will be shredded and burned. The lessons duly noted on stone tablets. Life goes on. My boat is strong. All are welcome.