Friday, September 26, 2008

A Man

Many of you will remember my postings about "A Man." His real name was Morey and he died this past Tuesday night. His family called to say that I had shared some of his best days in the last part of his life. Morey was a friend.

Because of his failing mental capacity, Morey would often have to find creative ways to express what he was trying to communicate. I loved these unintentional witticisms. During our time together, I collected many of these funny little sayings.


"The Wit and Wisdom of Morey"
• This country has set itself up real nice: it has so many relationships in it.

• You have to help people with their problems because they are hypnotized by them.

• Religions tell you that you are better than everyone else. That’s how all the trouble starts.

• If someone has a different religion, you don’t have to date them or take them out or anything. But you can respect them.

• All you can do is to make your life pleasant and your family’s—that’s the thing. Getting along is respecting other’s feelings.

• Chew your food fine and slowly—that's the thing. And stop when you start to feel full. You can always start again.

• You can’t manage someone else’s mind.

• It sure is windy today; maybe I’ll get a new head!

• The weather has nothing to do with voting. (meaning: you can’t do anything about the weather)

• Fresh air cheers my heart.

How to get along with others:
• I always say, ‘Well, you may be right. I’ll consider it.”

Evolution and Capitalism:
• I wouldn’t be surprised if some day a bug learns to speak English. As long at it buys something, we probably won’t mind.

Concerning old age:
• It doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t help either.

Regarding a bookstore (the double entandre):
• It has a lot of stories about it.

Collective nouns:
• Cars (in a line of backed-up traffic) – a “li-on of cars”
• Clouds – a “ruffle of clouds”

Gambling:
• I made money once, but it wasn’t my fault.

While recovering from bronchitis:
• The trouble with fighting nature is that nature doesn’t talk.

Evaluating a restaurant:
• It’s perfect for those who like it.

When asked about how he stays so fit:
• Well, I’ve been at it a long time.

On Globalism:
• The whole world is together and when people come from other places through marriage or acquaintance, you have to adopt them.

When he had an upset stomach:
• Just imagine if your bottom could speak.

Exercise:
• You don’t feel like falling asleep while you are walking.

Zen by Morey:
• Good things are well kept.
• I’ll finish and then I’ll be done.
• Human beings are human beings.

Clouds in the sky:
• You don’t have to antagonize them or anything. Just appreciate them and they just look pretty.

Morey

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Zazen

If you glance to the right-hand column under books that I've recently read, you'll notice "Being Zen". An excellent book, this reading over the weekend introduced a form of zazen meditation into my meditative practice.

Meditation for me has exploded over the past month and a half, making all that I've done before seem like child's play. It is actually impacting my daily life; imagine that! I like to think that it has been the years of practice up 'til now that helped to set the stage. But whatever the source, I'm excited and engaged in daily extended practice (for me that means a couple of half hours to 45 mintues sits) and frequent self-reflection throughout the day. It feels good to sense that there is no arrival destination, just the here and now.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Journey to Nuremburg

By Hermann Hesse:

"Reasons, so it seems to me, are always obscure, causality never prevails in life, only in thought. The completely intellectualized man to be sure, one who has altogether outgrown nature, should be able to recognize an uninterrupted causal nexus in his life and would be justified in considering the causes and impulses accessible to his consciousness as the only ones, for he would consist wholly and entirely of consciousness. However, I have never yet encountered such a man or such a god, and with us humans I permit myself to be skeptical about all ostnesible motivations for any action or occurrence. There is no one who acts from "reasons"; people simply pretend to do so and they try very hard, in the interests of vanity and virtue, to convince others that this is true. In my own case, at least, I have been able in each and every instance to determine that the impulses for actions lie in regions which neither my reason nor my will can penetrate. "

Friday, September 12, 2008

9/11 Chapter Closes

I want to thank those of you who have encouraged me to keep expanding my ability to love myself and others, to widen my circle of acceptance.

Last evening, my best friend in Albuquerque and I amiably ended our friendship. He indicated that the relationship was not compatible with those in his life and that it would not be in keeping true to himself.

I felt good to be able to stand honestly by my commitment to the friendship, offering to leave the doors open, but, at the same time, not needing the friendship. Able to go forward with or without, and, even without, being able to honestly welcome him should he ever feel otherwise.

As one of you said, mixing Hesse with the words of the song Desperado, "being loved isn't important, but letting someone love you is." I continue to learn that. This chapter allowed me to live it, being okay with his rejection of the friendship (being loved isn't important) while also remaining open to it if it were there (letting someone love me).

Thanks for being friends who encourage me to grow and expand my circle of friends, rather than restricting them. Even when you may have doubts as to their benefit to me (and many of you expressed your doubts), you have encouraged me to still face the best and the worst and to proceed to a new level of understanding and grace. That makes me stronger and able to embrace others.

Thanks for encouraging me to not back away.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

"The attached video is of dolphins playing with silver colored rings which they have the ability to make under water to play with. It isn't known how they learn this, or if they're born with the ability.

"As if by magic, the dolphin does a quick flip of its head and a silver ring appears in front of its beak. The ring is a solid, donut shaped bubble about 2-ft across, yet it doesn't rise to the surface of the water. It stands upright in the water like a magic doorway to an unseen dimension. The dolphin then pulls a small silver donut from the larger one. Looking at the twisting ring for one last time, a bite is taken from it, causing the small ring to collapse into thousands of tiny bubbles which head upward towards the water's surface. After a few moments the dolphin creates another ring to play with. There also seems to be a separate mechanism for producing small ri ngs, which a dolphin can accomplish by a quick flip of its head.

An explanation of how dolphins make these silver rings is that they are 'air-core vortex rings'. Invisible, spinning vortices in the water are generated from the tip of a dolphin's dorsal fin when it is moving rapidly and turning. When dolphins break the line, the ends are drawn together into a closed ring. The higher velocity fluid around the core of the vortex is at a lower pressure than the fluid circulating farther away. Air is injected into the rings via bubbles released from the dolphin's blowhole. The energy of the water vortex is enough to keep the bubbles from rising for a few seconds of play time."

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Worth Reading

If you get the opportunity, definitely read Hermann Hesse's A Day at the Spa. It's a wonderful look at all of life through the lens of his stay at the Baden Spa.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Meaning

I decided yesterday that looking for meaning in life is like trying to look for a cloud within a cloud. You won't see one. The cloud is the cloud. Living is the meaning. Maybe the stuff we do might be compared to the water particles of the cloud.

Critique of VP Nominee Palin

Attacks, praise stretch truth at GOP convention By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer
Wed Sep 3, 11:48 PM ET

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her Republican supporters held back little Wednesday as they issued dismissive attacks on Barack Obama and flattering praise on her credentials to be vice president. In some cases, the reproach and the praise stretched the truth.

Some examples:

PALIN: "I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending ... and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere."

THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. While Palin notes she rejected plans to build a $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport, that opposition came only after the plan was ridiculed nationally as a "bridge to nowhere."

PALIN: "There is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform — not even in the state senate."

THE FACTS: Compared to McCain and his two decades in the Senate, Obama does have a more meager record. But he has worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year. To demean that accomplishment would be to also demean the work of Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a respected foreign policy voice in the Senate. In Illinois, he was the leader on two big, contentious measures in Illinois: studying racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation.

PALIN: "The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment income taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars."

THE FACTS: The Tax Policy Center, a think tank run jointly by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, concluded that Obama's plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain's plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after tax-income for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded.

Obama would provide $80 billion in tax breaks, mainly for poor workers and the elderly, including tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit for minimum-wage workers and higher credits for larger families.

He also would raise income taxes, capital gains and dividend taxes on the wealthiest. He would raise payroll taxes on taxpayers with incomes above $250,000, and he would raise corporate taxes. Small businesses that make more than $250,000 a year would see taxes rise.

MCCAIN: "She's been governor of our largest state, in charge of 20 percent of America's energy supply ... She's responsible for 20 percent of the nation's energy supply. I'm entertained by the comparison and I hope we can keep making that comparison that running a political campaign is somehow comparable to being the executive of the largest state in America," he said in an interview with ABC News' Charles Gibson.

THE FACTS: McCain's phrasing exaggerates both claims. Palin is governor of a state that ranks second nationally in crude oil production, but she's no more "responsible" for that resource than President Bush was when he was governor of Texas, another oil-producing state. In fact, her primary power is the ability to tax oil, which she did in concert with the Alaska Legislature. And where Alaska is the largest state in America, McCain could as easily have called it the 47th largest state — by population.

MCCAIN: "She's the commander of the Alaska National Guard. ... She has been in charge, and she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities," he said on ABC.

THE FACTS: While governors are in charge of their state guard units, that authority ends whenever those units are called to actual military service. When guard units are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, for example, they assume those duties under "federal status," which means they report to the Defense Department, not their governors. Alaska's national guard units have a total of about 4,200 personnel, among the smallest of state guard organizations.

FORMER ARKANSAS GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Palin "got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States."

THE FACTS: A whopper. Palin got 616 votes in the 1996 mayor's election, and got 909 in her 1999 re-election race, for a total of 1,525. Biden dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses, but he still got 76,165 votes in 23 states and the District of Columbia where he was on the ballot during the 2008 presidential primaries.

FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOV. MITT ROMNEY: "We need change, all right — change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington — throw out the big-government liberals, and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin."

THE FACTS: A Back-to-the-Future moment. George W. Bush, a conservative Republican, has been president for nearly eight years. And until last year, Republicans controlled Congress. Only since January 2007 have Democrats have been in charge of the House and Senate.

___

Associated Press Writer Jim Drinkard in Washington contributed to this report.

Monday, September 01, 2008

I have long thought I was alone in despising daily tasks. I have found a comrade in Hermann Hesse:

...not to think of all the stupid actions demanded of us every morning: stupid dressing, stupid shaving, stupid tying of one's tie, saying good morning, reading the mail, making up one's mind to some sort of activity, resuming the whole mechanical routine of life.

...I get up, I wash, I shave, I carry out those ocmplicated activities which are necessary to get into one's clothes and shoes, I choke myself with the shirt collar, I stuff my watch into my waistcoat pocket, I adorn myself with glasses, all with the sensations of a convict who for decades has followed the prescribed rountine and knows that it will last his whole lifetime, it will never come to an end.

(Hermann Hesse, A Guest at the Spa)