Uncategorized

Stars and Correlations

I watch our fragmented country and wonder. Do our astrological signs make us more likely to be liberal or conservative? If so, which ones? Do the stars lead us to be more apt to seek new experiences (typically characteristics of a liberal), or do they tend to lead us to embrace the familiar (typically characteristics of a conservative)? Does my sign make me tend to gravitate more towards antifa or the alt-right, for fracking or against it?

Now, I understand that the stars don’t make us do anything; if anything, they claim only to describe general tendencies. Life experience and reflection can result in us becoming a person quite different from the one who sits back and allows his or her tendencies to dictate their character. I get that. Still, I experience the influence of differences in insight, attitude, and tendencies our various signs can manifest in. It’s relatively undeniable.

So, as a Gemini, am I more likely to empathize with both sides? If my partner is an Aries (for example), is she more likely to want to go to Standing Rock with me, or to a Pro-Gun rights rally?

In observing the widening gulf between Americans, I have considered education, environment, life experience, and a plethora of other variables.

Could I be missing something obvious, something right in front of my face (as I quite often do)? I know no person can be quantified, and no group can be defined easily, but I still wondered…

So I decided to ask an expert, a woman I respect and one who has not only intellectual acumen and a good understanding or logic and reason, yet one who also has an intimate understanding of people, and of the influences of astrology in our lives. The jury’s still out, but we’ll see what she says…

A note for skeptics and empiricists; I am also one, to a degree. I was seriously skeptical about astrology and of anything not directly quantifiable and testable. A woman I know used some simple logic and an invitation to observe my experience and that of many others. I actually opened my mind to the possibility of this being ‘real’, of it being an actual factor in human personality and interaction. I’m not proselytizing, and ask only that you listen and perform the experiment for yourself, make the observation and have the experiences yourself, and then decide…or continue to observe and let things like decisions wait for more data.

A note for ‘believers’; the woman I am asking is perhaps the (I’ll say it, with confidence) best astrologer in our country, and of our times. Her insight and manner of explaining things and of facilitating ways this knowledge can be used for practical results in actual lives.

Her name is Debra Silverman, so Google her. Her skits describing various signs are entertaining and in many instances, spot on. Check her out.

Debra? Can you help me understand this better? Thanks and much love./

 

 

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Uncategorized

Heat

We all know about heat. It comes from inside us, and sometimes envelops us from outside. We can make heat. There is sometimes heat between us. We can have heated words. But I’m here to write about heat, the real heat, as in temperature, saunas, hotness (and not the sexual type). Heat.

When we’re in the heat, we often want to get out of it. When we’re cold, we wish for it. Our young bodies give off heat like little furnaces, as we grow and change. Our old bodies give off less and less heat, as we pile on sweaters and senescence piles on years.

Heat can be almost tangible, like a hot blanket placed on your skin, or like fire, or molten metal. The heat around the equator can make tools left in the sun too hot to touch. It can make simple tasks complex, and challenge our autonomic regulatory systems, stress our hypothalamus/hypothalamii.

Lack of heat (just a few degrees less than burning up) can cause our skin and tissue to freeze, causing gangrene and resulting in amputation (or appendages simply rotting and falling off). It is only in the narrow range around the freezing and boiling points of water that we as a species (and planet) can survive. Take away our main source of heat (that ball of plasmic hydrogen and helium we call the Sun) and all life will soon cease.

Just sitting and breathing requires (and results in) internal heat. The simplest cell processes require energy (measured in calories, a heat measurement), and give off energy. This life force, this metabolic (and digestive) heat is called Agni by the yogis. The life force (called Prana in Sanskrit) is channeled throughout the body, and is also leaked out the body by various ‘vayus’ (vayu basically means wind, and thus a heat sink for the fire of agni).

yoga journey

In yoga, we crank up the heat, for we find our bodies more supple when the muscles and ligaments are heated a bit. In the pure fire of agni (and sweat) we transform our bodies. Even the ubiquitous ‘ground tissue’ that envelops every bone, muscle, and organ is strongly affected by heat. Like glycerine, it is soft and supple when heated, brittle and stiff when colder. So we crank up the heat and go to a ‘hot’ class, or do a heated flow.

When we are done, we are positively glowing. That glow is not just from the DMT and endorphins released by our physical practice, or the Holy Fire channeled by our spiritual practice. It is the actual glow of heat, and almost visible physical aura that surrounds us, as the biological miracle that is our bodies hums and glows happily.

Heat.

We love it when we need it, hate it when it is too much.

It fuels our basic processes, our relationships, and our lives. We create heat when we run, make love (oh, how much heat), or even sit reading a blog.

The heat is in me, and it is in You. We channel it, focus it, use it. We ride on the wave of the fire, the fire of Life that burns within us.

I love heat.

wave cloud

Author’s Note: this entirely extemporaneous blog as written on-demand, with the subject given just before writing. It took fifteen minutes to write. It is raw and unedited. I hope you can feel the heat, for heat is best left unpolished, unedited, unmodified.

 

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Uncategorized

On Service

In these troubled times, when we all seem so divided, what is a conscientious citizen to do? Will stopping traffic on the interstate stop the “Electoral College” from over-riding the popular democratic vote? Will writing my congressional representative or protesting change things?

What should I do? What CAN I do? Where (or how) can I make a meaningful contribution to society, where can I help implement positive social change? How can I support and increase local democracy, state democracy, national and (as desired) international democracy?

Perhaps more importantly, how do I manifest and maintain responsible personal government, before I look for good government outside myself? How do I make myself an educated, I intelligent, and compassionate voter and citizen, before I look to others to be so?

How do I create positive change in myself and my community, while engaging myself in stewardship of the things I love most? How do I get involved in a way that unites us all, instead of dividing us?

These are questions I have been asking myself during the election and continue to ask myself. I find it incumbent on me (but not necessarily others) as a good citizen.

For me, few activities fulfill these requirements. Yet it is critically important to me to fill my precious 86,400 seconds per day (if lucky) with as much service and stewardship as possible.

I have spent plenty of time trying to (or allowing to) improve myself, or in basely seeking pleasure or looking out for my own welfare. I have long experienced that real meaning is possible only in service to others. I have marveled how once I place my compassionate attention beyond the boundaries of my own nose, my perceived pain and suffering decreases and my perceived happiness increases, especially if that attention is focused toward helping or supporting others.

I find to the degree I focus on things that unite us, I am happy and productive of the general Good, and as I focus on things that divide us, I am less so.

Of course, there are times one must differ from the majority (in support to personal ideals promoting peace, goodwill, fellowship and fairness to all, if necessary. That can often be done by peacefully holding my own space and beliefs/conclusions, while honoring the right of others to hold differing ones. I can do that while openly trying to understand the viewpoint and needs of those ostensibly opposed to my own.

I can still do that while focusing on what unites us, and spending my time on service and activities that help us all.

Bow I do that will be part two of this blog (written once the sun goes down). For now, there is one critical wildlife habitat I need to concern myself with, only a few last precious seconds to pick up trash before it sets behind the mountains There is only one Now, and I must go I into it, in service, stewardship, good will to all.

A smile and some service is a potent remedy to what ails us.

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Uncategorized

God(dess) Enough For Me

While we might feel we experience the Divine in everything and every moment, we also must admit this might simply be a construct of our minds, as the Buddha suggested. Still, no one knows for sure…it is a subjective and individual experience, each different than the other. Some say we might know for sure when we die, while some say we can only know for sure Now. Everyone has their idea of ‘God’ and the Divine, with none more valid than another.

God

330px-Ravi_Varma-Lakshmi330px-Ravi_Varma-Lakshmi

I am totally okay if at the end of the day someone could prove there is no god(dess). Would that make the magic of the rain or sunrise any less? Would it seem (or be) any less if the hand of god(dess) was merely the workings of Nature? What if there was no God(dess) consciousness of herself (or himself) as such; would that be okay? Would we glory any less, or would our hearts rise in praise and gratitude any less?

I suggest the universe turning on its axis, the ebb and flow of the seasons and the tide, the timeless drift of galaxies is plenty divine, and requires no more to make it perfect. Would it be any better or worse if it had a Creator, or if it simply Was? Is?

galaxy.jpg

Is the Infinite Radiant IS any less than a mighty and omnipotent God? …a God who wants us to do stuff that seems more like the desires of people than of gods? What is so bad about the way things undeniable are, that we want or need to add gods and angels, devils and commandments? If all that were B.S., would it be okay anyhow?

something

nothingness

Note that I try to stick to questions here; questions only you can answer, in the safety and privacy of your own heart. You don’t need to proclaim, or testify, or even say it out loud. You don’t have to kiss a cross, or rub purple mud into your belly-button. Whatever the ultimate ‘answer’ is, or if there even is one, doesn’t matter. It is all here Now, all okay Now. In fact, that’s all there is…Now, this one precious moment.

heart om2

If you are sharing it with a loved one, or if you experience it in (even relative) health, how much more ‘god’ do you need or want? When butterflies flit past our faces, do we really need angels? Couldn’t this crappy old defective world and our fallible old selves be simply…enough? Okay? Do we need or even want perfection, when the eternity of Now is at our fingertips?

wave cloud

 

 

 

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Uncategorized

The Ten Commandments: A Guideline to Morality?

A fellow on the Quaker website made the statement that the Ten Commandments (the Decalogue) provides an ethical basis to evaluate religious establishments.

I wanted to examine if that was possibly true…are the commandments universal? Are they something an omnipotent, divine being concerned with love and unity would tell us? Do the ‘ethical’ propositions in the Decalogue apply to all religions, either as a basis for morality and ethics, or as a basis to evaluate religions?

The Commandments (reportedly given by God to Moses; see Thomas Paine on this subject) are:

1. Thou shalt not have any other gods before me

2.Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image

3.Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain

4.Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy

5.Honor thy father and thy mother

6.Thou shalt not kill

7.Thou shalt not commit adultery

8.Thou shalt not steal

9.Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor

10.Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, wife, servants, or animals

Numbers 1-3 are definitely not universal. Some cultures perceive the divine to manifest in a number of ways (interpreted as a number of gods by westerners). Some like graven images and statues. Some do not think ‘God damn’ is a curse. These are by no means capable of evaluating a religion.

Note that religions are based on faith and superstition, not on empirical data or facts which can be checked and compared. Thus, the claims of no religion outweigh those of any other…nor do they take moral precedence over another.

Numbers 4 and 5 are entirely subjective, and dependent on culture. Thus, they are no basis for universal comparison or evaluation.

Number six (no killing) is the only precept that is potentially universal, yet the supposed god who gave this commandment is also the god who reportedly ordered the Hebrews to massacre the Canaanites. A god who orders genocide? Hardly.

victory-of-joshua-over-amorites-1626blog

Joshua performing genocide on the Amonites…per God’s order?

 

Number 7 (adultery) is a social precept. Not all belief systems ascribe to monogamy

Number 8 (stealing) is the second potentially moral (and potentially ethical) precept in the Decalogue. However, it does not account for poor who have no means to pay, and the sick who have no means to work. All things being equal though, most of us would agree that taking things that are not ours is (if not bad) in poor taste and a social problem.

Number 9 (truth) is the third moral precept, and potentially universal (as are precepts against killing or stealing).

Number 10 (coveting) is unique to Christianity. No other religion condemns one for ones thoughts or impulses. We can only be judged based on our demonstrated actions. Thus, this precept is not valid universally.

god spy

The decalogue describes a patriarchal god, a jealous god, and an angry god…hardly universal traits (or universal perception of the divine), and hardly a description of the God of Love.

God doesn’t get pissed.

Jesus and the moneylenders

God doesn’t order us to kill people, or applaud us for taking their wives (e.g., David and Uriah’s wife). No, these precepts are hardly universal, and thank God for that!

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architecture, earth-friendly housing, Green community building, Uncategorized

A Call for a New Architecture

Our old paradigm of non-integrated, ‘stand-alone’ architecture has resulted in the littering of our precious surface space with unsightly buildings and edifices. This wasteful paradigm precludes use of the surface land for gardening, yards, or pleasant outdoor living spaces – the land potentially used for these is taken up by inefficient box-like structures.

Older ‘visionary’ architects showed remarkable lack of vision, in merely softening the lines of the boxes, or in feeble attempts to hide them with natural features. At the end of the day, once-pristine valleys were littered with a series of boxes, as ‘developers’ failed to truly develop the land, and instead tied it up supporting structures that have not changed in essence since the dawn of ‘buildings.’

building old

I propose a ‘new’ architecture; one integrated with nature, one that allows a better use of the land (both commercial and residential). The architectural paradigm I propose (the same I did in 1976) will increase energy efficiency immensely, reduce electricity requirements, and simplify cooling and heating of living/working spaces. It will reduce building maintenance costs considerably.

The paradigm I propose is not really new – it has been used by other animals since the dawn of time. It was popularized by J.R.R. Tolkein’s mythical hobbits. These furry-toes creatures lived in comfortable houses built mostly underground, allowing the surface space to A) remain unsullied and natural or B) be ‘put to use’ as home gardens (enough space to feed the family living below) or simply as above-ground yards, gazebos, rock-gardens, etc.

Ancient underground cities in Cappadocia region of Turkey, in Italy and Wales show this idea is not new. While not entirely underground, the abandoned cities of Mesa Verde in North America exhibit a similar integrated synthesis between natural spaces and community spaces.

mesa verde

Native American pit houses approached this ideal, and if modernized would be an integration between partially above ground housing and nature. Note the visual and ecological impact of housing is minimized with both these interim methods.

pit house

Of course, we have a possible bias of living in holes underground; we imagine moles burrowed in dark, confined spaces without fresh air and shudder. Yet with modern technology, the underground living spaces could be virtually indistinguishable from above-ground living spaces; big-screen monitors, cameras, and microphones could bring outdoor views to video ‘windows’ in below-ground quarters. These screens could show a painting, a ‘window’ view of outdoors, or be used as a TV or computer video monitor.

With modern HEPA air filtration, the air in a new ‘below ground’ home could be just as fresh as a traditional one, and perhaps healthier, since pollen, dust, and pollutants would be filtered out. The ‘exhaust’ from the structure could be carbon-filtered (of smoke, gases, odors, etc.) before being returned to the atmosphere.

As the Earth provides both an insulating and cooling effect, cooling a house in summer or heating it in winter will be much simpler (and thus more cost and energy effective). Sheltered from snow, wind, and rain, the modern housing would be protected from the most direct and obvious effects of weather.

Carports just below the surface would keep the surface space from being littered with automobiles, and provide protection against theft, vandalism,  and the elements. Thus, a typical home’s surface profile may show a driveway stopping at a vehicle lift, or disappearing into an underground or mostly underground carport. An alternative would be community parking areas (also undergound, perhaps below a community garden or solar farm), like modern ‘park and rides’, allowing the residents to walk or bike from their homes to the lot. This would save many tax dollars on unnecessary intra-community roads, by limiting the travel (and thus wear and tear) on them, or eliminating the need for them altogether.

Imagine the neighborhood you live in now, if all you could see when you looked out was gardens, yards, and maybe solar panels. No unsightly houses and cars; at best maybe a gazebo or sheltered porch. Just imagine. Would the land look better, would your view improve? Would you feel you lived in a more beautiful place? Or would your valley look better covered with traditional box homes, packed right next to each other, and lined up like a child’s building blocks?

valley

The same paradigm could apply to commercial structures such as malls and public buildings. When you went to the courthouse or library, what if instead of seeing an aging building which would soon need to be replaced, you saw merely a park or community garden, with a discrete entrance way to the below-ground facilities? For those concerned with safety and security, these types of buildings would be easier to protect, police, and control access to than typical above-ground structures.

What if instead of unsightly government housing projects, we built them underground, and left the surface for a community garden, which could potentially feed (and productively occupy) large parts of the tenants? What if instead of new malls blighting our landscapes, we saw parks above, then below parking lots and stores? What if Wal-Mart used the above ground space saved to make solar farms, to provide the entire facility’s electrical needs at no cost to the company or communities?

Would you rather have this (a current Wal-Mart ‘super store’ footprint)…

Wal Mart

…or this? Which has a more positive impact on the community and planet? Which would be more profitable to Wal-Mart? To us?

solar farm

Simply by deciding to build down instead of up, we can change the entire landscape. By adopting this new paradigm, we can save ourselves costly maintenance and upkeep above ground buildings require due to ‘wear and tear’ due to exposure to the elements. We can utilize our land more productively and efficiently. We can minimize energy and maintenance requirements.

In a planet that soon will have nine billion people, a planet in which many go hungry, this not only makes sense, but seems imperative. In a planet where much of the litter we make is the buildings themselves; defacing or disturbing the landscape, exhausting unfiltered pollutants, and in general cluttering up the whole place, this is insane.

building detroit

Detroit makes my case better than any words could; an entire city, once the major manufacturing center of our nation, laying in virtual ruins, a pile of trash we made above ground and then abandoned.

In the new paradigm, we would stand to lose little and gain much. Rich people could still have their massive rooms, and still decorate them opulently. Instead of walking through a door to get outside, they might have to take the stairs or elevator first. So many do this in ‘high-rise’ apartments already, the change would be subjectively subtle.

There were many entries for sustainable construction projects in recent years, and this year’s Holcim awards show good attempts at integrating existing spaces, but scant few (none) for implementing an entire new paradigm. Perhaps the best practical solution would be to combine above-ground sustainable construction and communities with newer, below-ground communities.

Whatever we decide on, we had better do it fast. Our population is growing and our ecological burden on the planet as well. We continue to trash our precious surface spaces with unsightly and inefficient above ground structures. Before need presses us underground, a planned step in that direction may preclude a future survival need to do so.

As we abandon old and outmoded ways of thinking about our world and ourselves, I suggest it is time to abandon old ways of thinking about our living spaces; not only where they are built, but how. It is time to abandon wasteful and inefficient paradigms. I call on modern architects to provide us with designs for new and more efficient structures, structures with less visual and environmental impact on our communities. I call on citizens to insist on new ‘green’ communities, instead of the boxlike and virtually identical ‘Californication’ homes that have been pushed by ‘developers’ on our communities.

development

I call to an end on the same old communities, built by mega-builders and promoted by developers. These new developments are a blight on our landscape, a misuse of our land, and do a disservice to community members by providing poorly-insulated, non-green homes that will require an ongoing investment to maintain, heat, and cool. Any up front difference in construction cost (and thus price) would be easily recovered over the years, in personal savings and in  positive effects on the community.

I call on mega-corporations like Wal-Mart and on our government to lead the way in this initiative. Once people see the cost-benefit analysis has proven in reality to be in their favor, more and more people and corporations will get on board. If people are offered the choice between living in an integrated community, or in a typical series of boxes like they do now, I think they will choose integrated every time, once the benefits are demonstrated.

I call on activists to insist on this type of financially, ecologically, and environmentally sustainable construction at all levels.

If we heed the call, we could truly begin the ‘greening of America.’ Modern and visionary architects could provide conceptual plans for consideration. The firm that leads in this could not only positively impact the communities and thus the nation, but also set the standard for others who will eventually follow.

Opportunities abound, in the midst of our crumbling cities and infrastructure. As Albert Einstein so famously said (translated loosely into English) ‘the significant problems we face today can not be solved at the same level of thinking that originated them.’ Here is an opportunity, to move forward in our ways of thinking and being, as individuals, families, communities, and as a nation and planet. Here is an opportunity to implement our sustainable ideals into the very core of our human experience; where and how we live.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Uncategorized

Peace…Not Just a Word

Peace. We all say we want it. We definitely want it for us…on our terms. Peace for others is a different matter. We seem to see peace -true peace- as an option, not a necessity. Most of us want to consider ourselves peaceful people…yet we vote for candidates who support continued and expanded war. Let’s get this straight…if we vote for war or war candidates, we have nothing to do with peace, in fact just the opposite. We promote and enable war by voting for war candidates.

Earth burning

Both sides of the Big Two political parties think the other candidate is for war, not theirs…but both publicly promote war-based platforms, legislation, and policies. Both deride their opponents’ warlike paradigm, but cling tightly to their own, justifying them as ‘necessity’ or ‘self-defense.’ It is beyond ludicrous, beyond bizarre, beyond heinously criminal.

Bombing countries halfway around the world who are not attacking us can in no sane mind be interpreted as self defense. Using military ‘operations’ that bypass Congress and constitutional law to invade sovereign countries is by no means or no possible interpretation peace-like or peaceful. It is out and out war…the definition of illegal war. To support politicians who do such things or support such things is a vote for war.

Let’s be clear about that.

alice and ralph

If you vote for war or candidates who support war in their platforms, you are not peaceful, so quit saying so. You are making a mockery of those peace T-shirts you wear. You are making a travesty of the peace so many fought for.

I don’t care about your justifications (if I don’t vote for this warlike candidate, another will win who is more warlike). They are insane. War is war, no matter which president-elect or party leads us into it. If you vote for that, you have shown your true colors. Don’t try to rationalize it to me, or to yourself. War is war. You either support it, or not. You either vote what you believe or not.

Now, I cannot challenge the right of people to vote for war…this is (warlike) America, after all. What I can deride, protest, and abhor is voting for war and trying to think you are a progressive liberal for peace. If you vote for war, you are anything but progressive, anything but liberal. Get that right.

Army parade - armed soldiers in camouflage military uniform

It doesn’t matter if you have a list of reasons (rationalizations) for voting for war…the simple fact remains that you vote for a war candidate. Hillary Clinton has started (or helped start) a few wars, and is the successor to a president who has ordered military air-strikes against a sovereign nation in the midst of civil war.

Military air strikes (whether precision or not) are unleashing war. Just ask any mother and child who is under the falling bombs. Mothers for war? We have many of them, thinking they are voting for progress, for a woman president, for positive change. Bombing countries without international support or agreement is not positive change, no matter what the reason (excuse) given. A mother who votes for war is voting against all mothers and children who end up victims of war (on both sides). Do you want a woman president so badly you will accept a warlike one, one who makes war on other women and children?

(EDITORS NOTE: Image contains graphic content.)

The other major candidate is most likely no better. While he has not started or engineered wars like his opponent has, his policies and attitudes are anything but peaceful. So voting for either major candidate is a vote for war and warlike policies. It is a vote for the outmoded paradigm of might makes right, and diminishes not just yourself, but all of us.

If we promote peace in our personal lives and then vote for a candidate who will bring war to the world, what good is our peace ‘fronting’? Until we align our personal lives and beliefs with our votes, we are voting against ourselves, voting against what we tell ourselves we believe in.

It’s really quite simple.  You either believe in peace or not. You either vote for your beliefs or not. You either go down on record as having voted for the wars that will surely result if the Big Two win, or not. Some things are black and white. Peace or war…they are polar opposites. You can’t have a ‘justified war’ or a ‘necessary’ war; those are forked-tongue double-talk politicians use to get you to vote for war.

You can wear those love beads all you want. Wear a peace T-shirt every day…get a peace tattoo. The fact remains if you vote for war (or candidates who support war), you make a mockery of those icons, make a hypocrite of yourself, and contribute to the war on this already hurt and bleeding planet. Just don’t try to tell me you are for peace, or a peaceful person. That kind of nonsense may work with two-digit IQ people who also vote for war (and congratulate themselves on being peaceful), but not with me.

So quick, tell me true…tell our nation and the world – with your vote.

Is it to be peace or war?

 

 

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