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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Buddhism, love, yoga, yoga in politics, yoga politics

Voting As a Yogi

Yogis (practitioners of yoga) believe in (and live by) a few principles, if they truly follow the path of yoga (as more than just a different type of workout). We base our practices first on non-violence, which simplifies candidate choice immensely. In fact, it eliminates the ‘Big Two’ (Democrats and Republicans), whose platforms obviously and loudly promote war and militarism.

It’s quite simple…either we are for peace and non-violence, or not. It is impossible to vote for candidates who start or promote wars in sovereign countries and still tell ourselves we support non-violence and non-harming.

yoga journey

As yogis, we also believe in the unity of people, the inclusion and consideration of others in our thoughts and actions (and voting decisions). Thus, parties who exclude others are easily removed from our consideration. This effectively eliminates the Libertarian, Constitution Party, and the ‘Independent’ parties.

That is quite simple as well. Any party or group that does not allow the rights and privileges we claim for ourselves to others is beyond the pale of humanity, beyond what we as people aspiring toward decency (if not divinity) could accept.

What is left? What choices do our yogic values leave us? They leave us only with minority, mostly progressive parties. These are parties people say are for the dreamers, for those who look at the world through rose-colored glasses. These are the parties with few votes or seemingly few chances of winning.

black sheep

Do we care? No, we are dreamers, in a world that seems bent on killing each other. Yes, we look at the best in the world, try to see (and invoke) the best in ourselves and others. Call us stupid and naive, but we follow the Higher Path, one pointed out by sages throughout the ages, and by our own hearts.

Do we stick to our beliefs? Yes, if we are truly yogis and not just people out copying the latest fad. Our confidence comes from knowing that some things are indubitably right, such as consideration, compassion, and understanding (and the political parties that promote -and act out- these values).

Yogis ascribe to other values, values I suggest we all could benefit from using as a compass or guideline when dealing with each other (and politics is all about dealing with each other). These observances and prescriptions (yama and niyama) are our basic ‘Bible’ (and as we can see, they do not interfere with the sacred literature or beliefs of any truly non-violent and peaceful belief system. They are:

yoga sutra

Observances:

Restraint, observance, posture, breath-control, sense-withdrawal, concentration, meditation-absorption and enstasy.

These are mostly internal observances, and merely help us to discern clearly between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, to help us see beyond the unreal to what is Real. They are not directly related to politics, but help us to discern clearly (as reasonable and peaceful political decisions require).

Restraints:

Non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, chastity (in ways different than you think), and greedlessness (or non-coveting).

These restraints can and do help us in choosing political candidates and parties.

Violence: How can we support people who advocate violent means to solve problems? How could we possibly support candidates who espouse these (violence-begetting) solutions? Wars on drugs, wars on terrorism, wars on crime have all proven to be futile, and have caused (and do cause) more problems than they solve. How could a yogi who believes in non-violence support such things? The clear and easy fact is…they cannot.

Honesty: How can we vote for candidates that knowingly and willfully lie to us, those they are supposed to represent? How can they engage in ‘shady’ affairs and still hope to get our support? How could we support candidates who play semantical games with the truth? How could we support them when they do such things?

Non-stealing: When we invade sovereign countries, when we use power to force others to do our bidding, we attempt to steal their liberty and freedom. When we live richly, a nation of fat people while others starve (or promote policies that seek to continue this madness) we effectively take food out of the mouths of others to feed our own gluttony. How could any yogi support such things? How could any Buddhist or reasonable person?

Chastity: How could we support candidates who speak in sexual terms, award or seek outward appearances more than substantial realities? How could we support a empire-building paradigm that seeks to impose our own vices and lack of modesty and respect on other cultures?

Greedlessness: How could we support policies that put people out of their homes, result in massive numbers of refugees, or otherwise marginalize others, policies which seek to gain ascendancy over them to support our own greed?

These basic guidelines of yoga (and I contend of all reasonable people worldwide) can definitely help us in discerning who (and who not) to vote for. ‘Pragmatic’ considerations, and other justifications cannot be used to dilute the undeniable truth of these core principles we believe in. If it is wrong to harm others, then it is always wrong. Saying we need to put aside what our hearts and consciences tell us to gain some ‘practical’ or ‘tactical’ (or even ‘strategic’) goal are nothing but situational morality…essentially immorality, as convenience dictates.

The idea of ‘preemptive strikes’, ‘collateral damage’, and ‘justified war’ are insanity to us, the mere justifications of madmen and warmongers. The idea of imposing our might on others, loss of civil rights for our own ‘security’, and many of the other things promoted by the Big Two parties has proven to be pure and unadulterated madness.

Earth burning

Choices are simplified by yogic guidelines, and obviously inappropriate candidates can be eliminated, but still hard choices remain. We might ask ourselves ‘would one of the sages vote for one type of madness to avoid another?’ Would they accept a little bit of war, but merely because we just had to? We must ask ourselves these questions, and decide if we truly believe and live by yogic principles, or if they are just ‘guidelines’, to be conveniently altered at our convenience.

Only yogis can ask these questions, each individual yogi, in the confines of their hearts. Only they can ask…does this candidate or platform reflect my yogic values? Only the individual yogi can know the truth of their own heart, and the answers that come naturally from them.

We must decide if we want to use our votes to reflect our consciences and beliefs, or to achieve the political goals of someone else. We must decide if our votes are commodities, to be bought by the highest bidder, or if they are reflection of our vision for ourselves and our nation. In the case of the latter, we vote not to win, but to be right…according to our own hearts and convictions, to our own ideals. It doesn’t matter if our votes serve to make someone else win or lose, for we know what our own truth and thus duty in this matter is.

arjuna

It’s like the tales of the Great Epic: the warrior (Arjuna) had to simply perform his own duty, as he saw it, without regard to imagined consequences. He had to do only what was right by his lights, and let the chips fall where they may. That’s all we as yogis (and humans) can hope to do. We vote what we believe, and let the chips fall where they may. Dang the durn torpedoes and straight ahead, as they say.

So our beliefs can undoubtedly help us in our political decisions, but even so, many good options exist. Among the choices, a yogi can hope to discern, take action to help them discern more clearly. Read the platforms of the remaining parties. Feel the truth of what they stand for in your heart, and pick the one which resonates best. Does Green seem a bit more humane and conscientious than socialist? Do their voting records seems so? Or does the opposite seem true to you, feel true to you? Then vote that way, in confidence that you have evaluated the candidates and platforms, given thought, consideration (and heart) to the issue, and done your best as you know it.

This will relieve us from political arguments, concerns, or divisive ‘debates’, and allow us to focus on the things that matter, the things dear to us: life, our practices, those we love, the things we can do to help make this a better planet, to help make us better people. If we vote by these guidelines, we can’t go wrong.

heart om2

peace earth

Yogi brothers and sisters, friends, New Romans, fellow countrymen (the three who might read these words), lend me your ears and hearts, give me the boon of your true consideration. If you feel my words resonate, or are merely worth considering, please share them with your friends.

(c) 2016 Mark Francis Mullen. Please do not reproduce without permission. Publication on Facebook or other social media are not intended to (or able to) assign any rights to the same.

 

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Buddhism, chakra science, life, love, miscellaneous maunderings, spiritual consumers, western yoga, yoga, yoga science, yoga transformation

Selling me Enlightenment

In the western world, yoga is a ‘growth industry’. So I am not surprised when people try to sell me yoga spin-offs…or yoga itself. In their exuberance and desire to share, they might forget that they can’t sell me what I already own. Yet I get it, and am glad they are excited enough to even try.

I’d take a pair of PF Flyers. Sometimes I do. I like them and am glad to be sold a pair. Oh, hold it…you don’t need to sell PF Flyers…they sell themselves…kinda like yoga does. They could sell me a chance to dance under the summer sky as well – but I already do.

unicorn stars

I know a woman who is the perfect enlightenment consumer. She travels all over the world, attending classes and course and seminars on stuff like tantric massage, non-dualism, whatever seems to interest her. She buys beads and yoga classes and Esalen courses like they are going out of style. She could probably feed an entire African village on the money she spends yearly on this stuff.

Still, I’m down. It’s her money and she earned it. I might do the same if I was as monetarily ‘rich’ as she was (is). Might. I might buy me some new mala beads, or pay to go to one of those groovy juice cleanses, or take a course on manifesting the Divine through my eyes and smile. Maybe. Or maybe I’d just buy an apple or some PF Flyers.

PF

It used to kind of freak me out how our Noble Path has become littered with billboards selling hints on how to get further down the path. Sometimes those commercial come-ons are planted right in the middle of the path. Yeah, it used to freak me out, kind of like selling sex does. I found it slightly abhorrent, a bit tawdry, and generally in poor taste.

See, the merchants trying to sell me these beads and trinkets were…merchants. When I considered their words, I also observed their eyes. Did the products they tried to sell me work for them? Were their lives visibly improved by the products they were selling?  Quite often they had that same look all salesmen have, no matter what they are selling.

salesman

These days, I am quite a bit more open to what they are selling, and the fact they are selling it. After all, they have to eat too. I remain less enthusiastic about being sold something. Once again, a caveat – I get it. Selling something of real value (like yoga or associated ‘products’) is perhaps even helpful. I am quite sure I would benefit from these offerings. Yet in the end, I see the money I might spend as a new set of drums for a young drummer, or as broccoli when I most need it, or maybe a new pair of PF Flyers.

From my words above, I can see that while those merchants might be sellers, I am somewhat of a consumer; I evaluate products and their worth, look for the best buy, for the ‘most bang for my buck’ (even though I don’t want bangs and have few bucks to spend on anything superfluous). So I find when I ‘point a finger’ at merchants, I am also pointing at myself; when I look askance at those sellers, I am pointing my skepticism at myself.

Some of the people ostensibly ‘selling’ to me are merely offering products they found helpful themselves, and they have a desire to share that with others. Some work on a ‘commission’ of helpfulness, of spreading knowledge and healing. They may get some money as an epiphenomenon (sort of a residual result of their actions). They may use money to signify the exchange of energy. In those cases, unabashed mercantilism is a bit more palatable, makes quite a bit more sense.

They know I am a ‘poor’ yogi, somewhat of a renunciate…but still they try. Kundalini classes, cleanses, ecstatic dance (as if I need to be sold that, which to me is natural). They do it in good faith and with an open heart. They never ‘hard sell’…and on consideration, most of them don’t really sell at all. They simply offer, offer what is indubitably a good deal.

So where does the ‘problem’ lie…in their innocent (and perhaps ingrained) commercialism, or in my (quite possibly unreasonable) resistance to that perceived commercialism? Who knows? As an author, I can rarely give concrete answers, just ask questions…or simply state my viewpoint of the moment, allow the thought-clouds to drift away through the world, released from the expansive confines of my mind.

Jumping

I wrote a blog about ‘Selling Yoga’ a few years back. Since, I may have refined my views on the subject (as I may later on this one). It’s an ongoing process, revising and refining my perspective. What seems true today may seem like horse dung tomorrow; it’s the way of the world, dontcha know? So I just blab these thoughts out in words, and later read and consider them. Sometimes it seems like someone else wrote those words, someone slightly (or totally) ridiculous. Sometimes it seems like someone fairly wise wrote them.

light

To paraphrase a famous quote (whose author I forget at the moment), how will I know what I think unless I say it? How can I examine what I ostensibly think unless I put it out there for later consideration and assessment? Sort of an odd logic, but somehow relevant despite that. So I say stuff, any crazy old thing that pops into my head, or piques my attention and demands my consideration. Then I regard what I have said..does it ring true? What are other valid viewpoints on this subject? Are any viewpoints or insights more valuable than another? I don’t know, but still I do it.

So here I am, about to embark on another great day, full of play and laughter, full of fun. Along the way, I may get a glimpse of enlightenment. Most likely I will not buy or rent it from others. I don’t want their brand of enlightenment, but my own (even if it is a poor facsimilie for the real thing).

meditator

Give me something, freely offered, and I will gladly accept (assuming it is worth having). Share ideas, concepts, or action that may be helpful to me, and I’m down. Try to sell me something, and I will most likely RUN. Or resist. It’s just me..being the current version of me.

me 4

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