Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Empty Boat

He who rules men lives in confusion;
He who is ruled by men lives in sorrow.
Yao therefore desired
Neither to influence others
Nor to be influenced by them.
The way to get clear of confusion
And free of sorrow
Is to live with Tao
In the land of the great Void.

If a man is crossing a river
And an empty boat collides with his own skiff,
Even though he be a bad-tempered man
He will not become very angry.
But if he sees a man in the boat,
He will shout at him to steer clear.
If the shout is not heard, he will shout again,
And yet again, and begin cursing.
And all because there is somebody in the boat.
Yet if the boat were empty.
He would not be shouting, and not angry.

If you can empty your own boat
Crossing the river of the world,
No one will oppose you,
No one will seek to harm you.

The straight tree is the first to be cut down,
The spring of clear water is the first to be drained dry.
If you wish to improve your wisdom
And shame the ignorant,
To cultivate your character
And outshine others;
A light will shine around you
As if you had swallowed the sun and the moon:
You will not avoid calamity.

A wise man has said:
“He who is content with himself
Has done a worthless work.
Achievement is the beginning of failure.
Fame is beginning of disgrace.”

Who can free himself from achievement
And from fame, descend and be lost
Amid the masses of men?
He will flow like Tao, unseen,
He will go about like Life itself
With no name and no home.
Simple is he, without distinction.
To all appearances he is a fool.
His steps leave no trace. He has no power.
He achieves nothing, has no reputation.
Since he judges no one
No one judges him.
Such is the perfect man:
His boat is empty.

Chuang Tzu

(The original beginning was here, and appeared sometime shortly prior to April 22nd, 2012)

   We're going to change the world. We're going to change the way we think about ourselves, each other, and the planet we all share.

   We, the population of the planet, are currently an unimaginable seven billion, (7,000,000,000). Spread out evenly across the fifty-six million square miles of land surface area on the planet we are at a population density of 125 per square mile, or just a sliver over 5 acres per person. This population figure represents a one hundred thirty-three percent, (133%) increase since 1960, a mere fifty-two years ago. If we continue at this rate, by the time the kids entering High School are ready to retire, we will be over sixteen point three billion, (16,300,000,000). In light of the degradation of the environment over the last 52 years this unbridled explosion of human growth, while showing no signs of stopping or even slowing down, appears unsustainable. We'll come back to this.

   In April 1996 a man named Ted St. Martin, having never played a game in the NBA, completed 5,221 consecutive free throws with a basketball. How did he do this? Simple; he eliminated, from his mind, the possibility of failure.

  For thousands of years man dreamed of flying. At the dawn of the 20th century we finally achieved this dream. Within sixty years, after leaving the ground, we crash landed a spacecraft on the Moon. Within ten short years of this we sent three men a quarter of a million miles through the vastness of space. Two of them landed, and walked, on the surface of the Moon.....................And then they came back.

  These two examples demonstrate, clearly, the staggering potential of Humankind

  One thing that has always been unarguably true is that we create our own reality. Just like Mr. St. Martin created the reality of 5,221 consecutive free throws, and just like we created the reality of going to the Moon and back. Just like we have created the reality that we exist in today.

   Which brings me to my first question. Is this the way we want to live?

  Please try and consider that while you read this you are one point six million (1,600,000) miles away, relative to our Solar system, from where you were yesterday at this time. The mind can grasp the Sun because we can see it with our eyes, and relate it to the other things we see with our eyes. At the same time it is estimated that the Sun is 864,400 miles in diameter. How can the human mind possibly grasp this? What do we have to relate it to? Consider a scale model of the Solar system. If the Earth were one inch (1") in diameter the Sun would be slightly over nine feet (9') in diameter and sit over nine-hundred seventy-eight feet away, (978'). That's well over three football fields.

  A one inch orb and a nine foot orb sitting three football fields apart. This is what our Earth/Sun system would look like if we could see it from far enough out in space.

  So I've been tossing out some numbers that most of you have probably never considered. Why? Understanding. How well do we understand the simple physical dimensions of our own existence. Take the example of our Solar system above where 1" equals roughly 8,000 miles and the Sun would be 9' in diameter. This one inch orb would describe a circumference of 6,145 feet in orbiting, (i.e. revolving around), the nine foot orb we're using to model our Sun. This I can clearly relate to, I can easily grasp the physical dimensions of my model. On the Grand Valley floor it would look relatively tiny from the top of the Colorado National Monument. When we expand it all out to match the actual physical dimensions of our reality it goes beyond my mind's ability to fully comprehend it.  

  This monolog is just beginning, and I mentioned all that to ask this: If we can't even begin to comprehend the simple physical dimensions of our own existence how do we presume to speak for God?


    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter can not understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices, but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence and fulfills the duty to express the results of his thought in clear form."

 Albert Einstein   Quoted in:  New York Times    March, 19, 1940

    "Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on Earth, more than ruin, more even than death....Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of Man." 

Bertrand Russell

"Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet."

Ralph Waldo Emerson 

  How are we going to change the World? I'm going to convince you to help me.

   If our planet where as little as 3% closer to our Sun, or perhaps 15% further away, we Humans would probably not be here. Too hot or too cold. I've previously mentioned the inconceivable vastness of our solar system. Within this vastness our survival lies in this tiny band of a slightly elliptical orbit around our Sun. This is what I've come to call the astronomical impossibility of our existence. Yet here we are. 

  My views and beliefs are Taoist, Taoism embraces this paradox of the astronomical impossibility of our existence and the here we are. Taoism acknowledges the duality in all things, the Yin/Yang, high/low, masculine/feminine, which is inherent in this Life/Death. Yes validating No by standing against it. Taoism allows for the wondrous mystery of our creation which lies beyond the ability of the Human mind to comprehend.

  So, how are we going to change the World?


  Yes we. 

  If you're still reading this then, in fishermens terms, I've set the hook. Now I just need to land you, to get you into the boat. It's going to take co-operation to even begin this undertaking. In beginning to change the World we're going to have to cover a lot of ground because we won't accomplish anything by changing just one or two of our routine habits. We're going to have to change most everything. We're going to have to give up the idea that by putting band-aids and salves on the festering sores and lesions of the current Human condition that we're going to cure our disease. Time to take our medicine.
  We are living out a story. It's a story about how Man is supposed to live. We call the ancient Greek's story mythology. It was not mythology to the ancient Greeks. These stories are common to all people, everywhere, and have been since we first started misconceiving ourselves as somehow special, different, removed from, and separate from the rest of our creation. We've been living out the same story ever since Man became Man. This touches the root. This brings us to where we should attempt to begin. We can change the World by changing the story we're living. We can change the story we are living by teaching our children a new story. When our children begin living this new story then a new Human history will have begun.

  I want what is best for everyone. Capitalism has never been, and will never be, what is best for everyone. Capitalism is an unnecessary evil we have inflicted upon ourselves. I mentioned earlier how Taoism embraces the paradox between the "astronomical impossibility of our existence" and the "yet here we are". When I look long enough, and deep enough at any aspect of this existence I see paradox. One of the paradoxes I see in capitalism is that a majority of those most oppressed by this greed driven system are the ones who cling to it with the most heated and fervent passion. Why would they favor such oppression over an alternative? Because the story they have been living out says there is no alternative.
  "I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate (the) grave evils (of capitalism), namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow-men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society"

                                  Albert Einstein: Why Socialism? 


  I've read through this first part of the blog several times. I realize I'm jumping around quite a bit. We have a long ways to go yet, and a lot of ground to cover. Please bear with me, this all ties together.

  Reality is perception reflected outward. This reflection radiates from the soul, or spirit. That unseen, and quite often unacknowledged, part of us that is most real. When the spirit is at peace, like the undisturbed surface of a pond, the reflection matches the perception. When the spirit is at peace we can begin to understand the ringing, joyful harmony of the universe that set the stage for the emergence of life on this planet. When the reflection mirrors the perception, as in the surface of a calm pond, we see the true reality of our existence. In the beginning everything was perfect, the stage had been set, for the emergence of Life. Any otherwise and we would not be here. 

  So, what happened? How did we come to be at war with ourselves, and each other, and this planet we call home? Man decided to become man. We decided that perfection wasn't good enough. We decided, fueled by our boundless arrogance, that the laws that governed this dynamic harmony which led to all creation did not apply to man. The mind of man decided to overrule the spirit of man. This upset the spirit of man greatly and as the spirit of man became upset, like tossing a pebble into the mirror like surface of a calm pond, our reflection no longer matched our perception. Our reality became distorted. As our reality became distorted the mind became confused. The soul, the spirit of man, knew this was wrong, this decision to disregard the laws of our own creation. But the mind of man would have none of it. After having had a taste of what the mind of man perceived as his uniqueness he turned his back on the oneness of all creation. The spirit of man and the mind of man were at odds. And so it is today. There is a way to resolve this conflict.

  When the mind of man decided that the laws of nature did not apply to him he began to focus on his outer world, and to ignore the inner world where the spirit dwells. This further aggravated the disharmony created by the rift between the mind of man and the spirit of man. This disharmony has increased with each passing day, hour, minute, with each passing second since man became man. So how can we resolve this conflict? Simple. The mind of man has to lessen it's focus on the outer world and begin to look inward where the spirit dwells. This inner world is as vast and unfathomable as the outer world. The mind of man is the doorway to this inner world. All we have to do is open it. 

  Do you see a parallel to other stories about this falling out between the Mind of Man and the Spirit of Man? This "fall of Man"? Does original sin ring a bell for anyone. If you're on the green side of the grass it should. This was one of the first problems I had with the christian doctrine. What sin am I guilty of simply for being born? Some, allegedly, distant relative ate an apple and now myself and all my brothers and sisters have to pay for his indiscretion for all eternity? Says who?

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" 


 "Each thing comes in it's own time."

   She was a wise woman masquerading as a cashier in a small, local grocery store four blocks from where I grew up. I worked there with her for several months back in '95-96'. Tim Murphy and I were as close as two adolescent boys who grew into young manhood together could possibly be. We learned about unconditional love from, and through, each other. No words will ever adequately describe the sorrow I feel, to this day, over the loss of my dear friend. The one who took Tim from us started frequenting the store shortly after I began working there. After observing my increasing agitation with each subsequent visit by this most unwelcome of patrons she approached me and we talked. I expressed to her my growing rage and my aversion to having to deal with it at this time, and in this place.

   That's when she said it. "Each thing comes in it's own time." Sixteen times around the Sun and that voice echoed across the heavens and straight to my heart this evening.

   Murphy and I used to talk about everything. One time, while discussing Buddhism, Tim said "If reincarnation is what really happens I'd like to come back as a bird." I'll always remember this because whenever I hear the Sparrows singing or the Big Crows cawing I imagine it's my old friend checking in on me.

   Everything we do outwardly is a manifestation of that which lies within us. Make the statement, "You can't love someone else if you don't love yourself" and you'll see a roomful of heads nodding in agreement as if they're all privy to some sage and ancient wisdom. Utter the same statement, substituting hate for love, and people are not so eager to agree. In my view our hatred of others is nothing more than this outward manifestation of our own unacknowledged self loathing.   

[08/25/2013: The first part of the  above statement is invalid in light of what I've learned concerning what some people consider "Love". The second part, about "manifestation of hatred", I still consider sound.]

   What you're reading in this blog is the manifestation of my own struggle to resolve my own inner conflicts. One of the main tenets of Taoism is acceptance. Accepting the fact that everything is exactly as it should be. In other words the World is in the condition that it's in as a direct result of our own actions, individually and collectively. The paradox of my personal situation is that in order for me to express my overwhelming concern for my fellow Humans I've had to withdraw from you. I've had to isolate myself, physically almost completely, and emotionally so thoroughly as to appear cold and utterly unconcerned.

   The battle between my mind and my spirit is what you're reading about. My spirit has felt the oneness, the infiniteness, of all creation and longs to share it with my fellow man. My mind looks at the fear, the hatred, the greed, the exploitation, and the selfish and often nationalistic disregard we have for our fellow Human inhabitants on this tiny blue orb floating through space, and I'm appalled. I'm outraged that our school kids are gunning each other down in the classrooms and no one seems willing to admit that it's an inevitable consequence of the way we're living, and the way we're teaching our children to live. We've turned life itself into a battle by insisting on a struggle of our own design.

   You cite human nature as the source of your need to kill. You're so far removed from your true Human nature that you wouldn't recognize it if it were kicking your ass on a bright, sunlit day. It appears to me that you'll use any excuse to spew hatred. A perfect example is what some of you folks call the illegal immigrant problem. The old us and them excuse. We created this so called problem when we created a border. Eliminate the border and the problem is gone. Stop this silly nonsense. There is no us and them. There is only us.

   We've been killing each other for countless centuries. Do any of you, honestly, believe we can achieve peace through war? Here's another question for our hypothetical room full of people. Who won world war two? Most will immediately reply, "The allies." I'm not the first to break the news, perhaps I can be the first to burst your bubble. Nobody wins in war. Stop. I'm asking you, I'm pleading with you, I'm begging you, please stop.

   If you're not willing to let go of this pathetic excuse for an existence then you're only going to get more of the same and worse.

   I've been taught this idea that there are three main features that comprise the Human mind. Picture the first two features as partially overlapping circles. The first circle represents what is referred to as the intellect mind. The second circle represents the emotion mind. The third feature, the area where these two circles overlap represents the wisdom mind. I started this blog, clearly in the intellect mind. My most recent rant flowed from my emotion mind. The place I seek to dwell is in this wisdom mind. I need your help to get there.

Meet the fucking beast. I just lost three fucking hours of of typing on this fucking blog because of a fucking wire coming loose. I'm ready to smash this mother fucking piece of Apple shit into a thousand fucking pieces. This is where my power lies. I can turn this fucking laptop to scrap. And I won't do it. 


April 22, 2012

   Man is a story teller. This is my story, I am the author.

  I was saved from the catholic church when I was about ten or eleven years old. I am one of those who was born old, as if I had lived a thousand lifetimes already. When the priests in the church tried to answer my questions they were trying to answer what they perceived as the questions of an eleven year old boy. They had no idea, and could never understand, they were dealing with this very old soul.

   I was afforded the opportunity to choose, on the day I was born, between two paths. One path I could take by myself. The other path I could take with everyone else. I chose to take the path by myself. Because I chose to take this path by myself I've never been alone.  I've never been alone since the beginning of time, and I'll never be alone until the end of time.


April 26, 2012

"Something built into our very nature lets us know that there is a deep fidelity to the ground of our being, and a spiritual constitution in which what is unknown in us is more real than what is known.

   This ground and constitution is not existence, because the deepest root of everyone is one being. My being and your being are the same. But my existence and your existence are different. There is one being for all of us which is not God but is held in being by God's mercy and love. There is such a thing as unity of being and this is also truth."

Thomas Merton: The Springs of Contemplation
 May 14, 2012

   I had a visit from my old friend, Tim Murphy, last night. He appeared in the form of an Owl and insisted all that was left of Tim is in our memories.

   He also told me this. "The moment Tim passed away I perceived myself as Ice, frozen high on a mountain. After several weeks had passed I began to melt and found myself as Water flowing down the mountainside. I joined together with other Waters and we mingled as a Stream. Soon many Streams had come together and we all became a River. So River flowed on and, eventually, we came to the Ocean. Ocean welcomed us like a long lost family member despite Ocean being salt Water and we being fresh Water. This was when I realized I still perceived myself as Ice, and Water, and Stream, and River, and now Ocean."

   "Then I began to evaporate and soon I became Cloud. The gentle Winds pushed us through the atmosphere until somewhere over what you call Iowa the Air became cold and We decided to leave the Sky and return to Earth as Rain. We came down in a Corn field and as I was absorbed into the rich Soil I nourished a Seed of Corn. Four months later I was a beautiful Cornstalk with many ears of Corn. When the Humans came and pulled off my ears of Corn they left my stalk in the field. My stalk returned to the Soil and my ears went on to feed some Pigs. The empty Corn cobs were ground, and the Pigs were butchered, and on and on it has gone for these thirty-two years since you last saw me as your old friend Tim Murphy. I am still Ice, and Water, and Stream, and River, and Ocean, and Vapor, and Cloud, and Rain, and Soil, and Seed, and Corn, and Pig, and countless many other things until now. We've decided it's time to pay you a visit."

   I said, "I don't understand. If you're still all of these things after thirty-two years why are you not still Tim Murphy?"

   And Owl replied, "Because Tim was like you, and all your brothers and sisters. You are Humans, and as Humans you decided, long ago, that you are unique and somehow exempt from the Oneness of all Creation. The memory of the Eternity of my true Nature is blocked by having existed as Human. Until Humans come back to the Oneness my memory will remain blocked."

   I asked Owl the first things that popped into my head. "So why have you come to see me? And why have you come now?

   And Owl replied, "We've been watching you for a long time and We agree that your decision to become a story teller is the right one if you are truly dedicated to your commitment to change the World." 

   Like a fool who had been paying no attention at all I asked, "Who is We?"

   Owl glared at me, raised one eyebrow and continued, "We are One. We are the Oneness of all creation."

   "So let me ask again," I said, "Why have you come to see me?"

   Owl replied, "We would like the Humans to return to the Oneness of all creation, but We need the Humans help and consent to make this a reality. Without the Humans help and consent We will lose you forever."

   "So you've come to me for this? But what can I do?"

   Owl said, "First you must conquer the beast. The beast is growing weary, He's tired of battling you after all these years. The beast is old, and worn, and ready to succumb to your true power."

   "Your emotions are a part of your physical makeup; and just like your body you are only borrowing them while you inhabit this realm of existence. You can think of these emotions as a down filled mattress. When you are underneath them they can suffocate you; but when you're on top of them it's like floating on a cloud of marshmallows."

  "When you have conquered the beast you will be ready. Once you have subdued the beast no enemy will be able to touch you. Anything you choose to do will be within your power. When you have finally overcome the beast you will be able to accomplish anything you set your Heart to."

   With that being said the Great Bird lifted silently from the ground and began to fly away. He looked back at me from one hundred feet in the air and whispered under his outstretched wing, "I'll be back soon. We have many things to discuss."


May 17, 2012

      Dom Francis Decroix, abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Frattochie near Rome, received in 1967 a request from Paul VI for a "message of contemplatives to the world." The Pope suggested that Thomas Merton might be one of the monks asked to compose such a message. Accordingly, Dom Francis in a letter of August 14 requested a statement by the end of the month. Merton wrote his statement on August 21, the very day he received the abbot's letter. He mailed it the following day with an additional statement.

 August 21, 1967

   This morning I received your letter of August 14th and I realized I must answer it immediately in order to get the reply to you before the end of the month. This does not leave me time to plan and think, and hence I must write rapidly and spontaneously. I must also write directly and simply, saying precisely what I think, and not pretending to announce a magnificent message which is really not mine. I will say what I can. It is not much. I will leave the rest of you to frame a document of good theology and clearly inspiring hope which will be of help to modern man in his great trouble.
   On the other hand I must begin by saying that I was acutely embarrassed by the Holy Father's request. It puts us all in a difficult position. We are not experts in anything. There are few real contemplatives in our monasteries. We know nothing whatever of spiritual aviation and it would be the first duty of honesty to admit that fact frankly, and to add that we do not speak the language of modern man. There is considerable danger that in our haste to comply with the Holy Fathers generous request, based on an even more generous estimate of us, we may come out with one more solemn pronouncement which will end not by giving modern man hope but by driving him further into despair, simply by convincing him that we belong to an entirely different world, in which we have managed, by dint of strong will and dogged refusals, to remain in a past era. I plead with you: we must at all costs avoid this error and act of uncharity. We must, before all else, whatever else we do, speak to modern man as his brothers, as people who are in very much the same difficulties as he is, as people who suffer much of what he suffers, though we are immensely privileged to be exempt from so many, so very many, of his responsibilities and sufferings. And we must not arrogate to ourselves the right to talk down to modern man, to dictate to him from a position of supposed eminence, when perhaps he suspects that our cloister walls have not done anything except confirm us in unreality. I must say these things frankly. I have seen over a thousand young men of our time, or rather nearly two thousand, enter and leave this monastery, coming with a hunger for God and leaving in a state of confusion, disarray, incomprehending frustration and often deep bitterness: because they could not feel that our claims here could be real for them. The problem of the contemplative Orders at present, in the presence of modern man, is a problem of great ambiguity. People look at us, recognize we are sincere, recognize that we have indeed found a certain peace, and see that there may after all be some worth to it: but can we convince them that this means anything to them? I mean, can we convince them professionally and collectively, as "the contemplatives" in our walled institution, that what our institutional life represents has any meaning for them? If I were absolutely confident in answering yes to this, then it would be simple to draft the message we are asked to draw up. But to me, at least, it is not that simple. And for that reason I am perhaps disqualified from participating in this at all. In fact, this preface is in part a plea to be left out, to be exempted from a task to which I do not in the least recognize myself equal. However, as I said before, I will attempt to say in my own words what I personally, as an individual, have to say and usually do say to my brother who is in the world and who more and more often comes to me with his wounds which turn out to be also my own. The Holy Father, he can be a good Samaritan, but myself and my brothers in the world we are just two men who have fallen among thieves and we do our best to get each other out of the ditch.
   Hence what I write here I write only as a sinner to another sinner, and in no sense do I speak officially for "the monastic Order" with all its advantages and its prestige and its tradition.
   Let us suppose the message of a so-called contemplative to a so called man of the world to be something like this:
   My dear brother, first of all, I apologize for addressing you when you have not addressed me and have not really asked me anything. And I apologize for being behind a high wall which you do not understand. This high wall is to you a problem, and perhaps it is also a problem to me, O brother. Perhaps you ask me why I stay behind it out of obedience? Perhaps you are no longer satisfied with the reply that if I stay behind this wall I have quiet, recollection, tranquility of heart. Perhaps you ask me what right I have to all this peace and tranquility when some sociologists have estimated that within the lifetime of our younger generations a private room will become an unheard-of luxury. I do not have a satisfactory answer: it is true, as an Islamic proverb says, "The hen does not lay eggs in the market place." It is true that when I came to this monastery where I am, I came in revolt against the meaningless confusion of a life in which there was so much activity, so much movement, so much useless talk, so much superficial and needless stimulation, that I could not remember who I was. But the fact remains that my flight from the world is not a reproach to you who remain in the world, and I have no right to repudiate the world in a purely negative fashion, because if I do that my flight will have taken me not to truth and to God but to a private, though doubtless pious, illusion.
   Can I tell you that I have found answers to the questions that torment the man of our time? I do not know if I have found answers. When I first became a monk, yes, I was more sure of "answers." But as I grow old in the monastic life and advance further into solitude, I become aware that I have only begun to seek the questions. And what are the questions? Can man make sense out of his existence? Can man honestly give his life meaning merely by adopting a certain set of explanations that pretend to tell him why the world began and where it will end, why there is evil and what is necessary for a good life? My brother, perhaps in my solitude I have become as it were an explorer for you, a searcher in realms you are not able to visit--except perhaps in the company of your psychiatrist. I have been summoned to explore a desert area of man's heart in which explanations no longer suffice, and in which one learns that only experience counts. An arid, rocky, dark land of the soul, sometimes illuminated by strange fires which men fear and peopled by specters which men studiously avoid except in their nightmares. And in this area I have learned that one cannot truly know hope unless he has found out how like despair hope is. The language of Christianity has said this for centuries in other less naked terms. But the language of Christianity has been so used and misused that sometimes you distrust it: you do not know whether or not behind the word "Cross" there stands the experience of mercy and salvation, or only the threat of punishment. If my word means anything to you, I can say to you that I have experienced the Cross to mean mercy and not cruelty, truth and not deception: that the news of the truth and love of Jesus is indeed the good news, but in our time it speaks out in strange places. And perhaps it speaks out in you more than it does in me: perhaps Christ is nearer to you than He is to me: this I say without shame or guilt because I have learned to rejoice that Jesus is in the world in people that know Him not, that He is at work in them when they think themselves far from Him, and it is my job to tell you to hope though you think that for you of all men hope is impossible. Hope not because you think you can be good, but because God loves us irrespective of our merits and whatever is good in us comes from his love, not from our own doing. Hope because Jesus is with those who are poor and outcast and perhaps despised even by those who should seek them and care for them most lovingly because they act in God's name...No one on earth has reason to despair of Jesus because Jesus loves man, loves him in his sin, and we too must love man in his sin.
    God is not a "problem" and we who live the contemplative life have learned by experience that one cannot know God as long as one seeks to solve "the problem of God." To seek to solve the problem of God is to seek to see one's own eyes. One cannot see his own eyes because they are that with which he sees and God is the light by which we see--by which we see not a clearly defined "object" called God, but everything else in the invisible One. God is the the Seer and the Seeing, but on earth He is not seen. In heaven He is the Seer, the Seeing, and the Seen. God seeks Himself in us, and the aridity and sorrow in our heart is the sorrow of God who is not known in us, who cannot find Himself in us because we do not dare to believe or trust the incredible truth that He could live in us, and live there out of choice, out of preference. But indeed we exist solely for this, to be the place he has chosen for His presence, His manifestation in the world, His epiphany. But we make all this dark and inglorious because we fail to believe it, we refuse to believe it. It is not that we hate God, rather that we hate ourselves, despair of ourselves: if we once began to recognize , humbly but truly, the real value of our own self, we would see that this value was the sign of God in our being, the signature if God upon our being. Fortunately, the love of our fellow man is given as the way of realizing this. For the love of our brother, our sister, our beloved, our wife, our child, is there to see with the clarity of God Himself that we are good. It is the love of my lover, my brothers or my child that sees God in me, makes God credible to myself in me. And it is my love for my lover, my child, my brother, that enables me to show God to him or her in himself or herself. Love is the epiphany of God in our poverty. The contemplative life is then the search for peace not in an abstract exclusion of all outside reality, not in a barren and negative closing of the senses upon the world, but in the openness of love. It begins with the acceptance of my own self in my poverty and my nearness to despair in order to recognize that where God is there can be no despair, and God is in me even if I despair. That nothing can change God's love for me, since my very existence is the sign that God loves me and the presence of His love creates and sustains me. Nor is there any need to understand how this can be or to explain it or to solve the problems it seems to raise. For there is in our hearts and in the very ground of our being a natural certainty which is co-extensive with our very existence: a certainty that says insofar as we exist we are penetrated through and through with the sense and reality of God even though we may be utterly unable to believe or experience this in philosophic or even religious terms.
   O my brother, the contemplative is the man not who has fiery visions of the cherubim carrying God on their imagined chariot, but simply he who has risked his mind in the desert beyond language and beyond ideas where God is encountered in the nakedness of pure trust, that is to say in the surrender of our poverty and incompleteness in order no longer to clench our minds in a cramp upon themselves, as if thinking made us exist. The message of hope the contemplative offers you, then, brother, is not that you need to find your way through the jungle of language and problems that today surround God: but that whether you understand or not, God loves you, is present in you, lives in you, dwells in you, calls you, saves you, and offers you an understanding and light which are like nothing you ever found in books or heard in sermons. The contemplative has nothing to tell you except to reassure you and say that if you dare to penetrate your own silence and risk the sharing of that solitude with the lonely other who seeks God through you, then you will truly recover the light and the capacity to understand what is beyond words and beyond explanations because it is too close to be explained: it is the intimate union in the depths of your own heart, of God's spirit and your own secret inmost self, so that you and He are in all truth One Spirit. I love you, in Christ.

The above letter says, in the Christian perspective, what I've always wanted to tell you from my Taoist perspective. If I lived for another thousand years I could never put it so beautifully as Father Merton. Thank you.
Morning:  May 24, 2012


   I've struggled with a segue since before I started this blog. I'll just jump in with both feet. It's time to seriously consider Socialism as an alternative to the Capitalist affliction that is currently consuming ourselves, our brothers and sisters, and the Planet we call home. From my perspective as an alcoholic who has been sober for twenty-two plus years it is painfully obvious that the Human race is addicted to money. It probably sounds delusional when I point out how fortunate I am to live as a homeless person on the streets of Grand Junction, Colorado. This is no delusion. In order to overcome an addiction you first have to be willing and able to admit you have a problem. How deeply ingrained is this addiction to money? You need look no further than your own science for the answer. Contemporary knowledge would have us believe that the agricultural revolution dates back ten to twelve thousand years. The so called research in similar fields of study will insist that the barter system dates from as much as one hundred thousand years ago. It's obvious, to me at least, that these researchers either lack, completely and totally, any imagination to conceive of a world in which these arbitrary values are exactly that. Arbitrary! Or they are so hopelessly addicted to their learned value system that their addiction affects their very judgment. Let me put this in terms that any marginally educated twelve year old should be able to understand. You can't eat money. Did you get that? You can't eat money. A loaf of bread used to cost a nickel. Today the same loaf of bread costs four dollars. If we keep going down this path, eventually, that same loaf of bread will take a whole shopping cart full of money to buy. You can eat that whole shopping cart full of money and not get the nutritional value in a single loaf of bread. Even if you eat the shopping cart for dessert. So, I suppose, you could in fact eat money but to what end?

   What does any of this have to do with Socialism? My understanding of Socialism in it's purest form is that everyone is entitled to an equal share and there is no ownership of private property. If everyone is entitled to an equal share and all of our basic needs for existence are easily met then what is the point of money? You need a loaf of bread? You go get a loaf of bread. You need a gallon of milk? You go get a gallon of milk. This goes back to my half hearted jab at science and their seeming lack of imagination. Am I the only one that can picture a world without money? As to no ownership of private property; everyone, by virtue of their birth, is entitled to a place to live. If this is not clear to anybody let me try and explain how Socialism can immediately address several pressing issues facing our species. Homelessness; if you can't own private property you can't charge me some arbitrary monetary sum simply for me to keep a roof over my head. Economics; your apparent helplessness in being at the mercy of some arbitrary monetary system that is, in reality, of your own creation. Yet you treat this system as if it has a life of it's own. Runaway inflation? This has got to be a joke. The population explosion; I told you we would come back to this. If you and I have a pie to share we each get half a pie. Introduce another person and now we all get a third of a pie. Introduce another person and we all get a quarter of a pie. In the spirit of co-operation that would be essential in a Socialist system the incentive to limit the population is built in. The less people there are the bigger your slice of pie. Capitalism on the other hand always insists on more. And more and more and more. More people, more cars, more money, more petroleum related products, more everything. Capitalism insists that life itself is a struggle for survival. This is a self perpetuating lie that is built into our current way of life. How many times, since the day you were born, have you heard the expression "competition is good"? Competition is only good for perpetuating Capitalism. Capitalism can't be sustained without it. Co-operation is better. When we can all understand that we all want the same things that everyone else wants we can stop competing and start co-operating. John Lennon asked you to imagine and you've turned him into a cult hero. Heed his advice and imagine a World in which everyone sees their fellow Humans as exactly that. Fellow Humans, our brothers and sisters all over the planet. The idea that co-operation is better for everyone than competition is incompatible with capitalism. For this reason alone it should be obvious to anyone who lives and breathes that the time has come to start seeking alternatives to the evils of capitalism.

Afternoon: May 24, 2012

I love to hear the Song of the Wind
Singing through the leaves
Of a Cottonwood Trees
Always and instantly familiar
Yet each day it sings
A brand new Song

   Do I have to resign myself to the idea that this endeavor is pointless? I can't do that and still live with myself. April 16th, 2007 thirty-three people died and seventeen more were wounded at the University of Virginia. Last week a mother shot and killed her four children. September 11th, 2001 a group with death on their minds and hatred in their hearts hi-jack airplanes full of people and fly them into buildings full of people killing thousands. August 6th & 9th, 1945 the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were obliterated when two atomic weapons were dropped, one on each city. Within four months a quarter of a million people were dead. So called professional athletes turn down contracts for fifteen million dollars a year to play a child's game because they want more, and we look upon them as heroes? Someone is amassing enough loot for themselves to overpay these adult aged spoiled brats, and we look upon them as successful? I can't be the only one who sees this mess that is the current human condition as insanity. Emotionally wounded before they ever join the military, paid killers hired and financed by the rich, greedy, and powerful to do their bidding; not to spread democracy but their own strategic military agendas. And then these boys come home as guess what? That's right, more heroes. And so and so sells a million records and we have another hero. And the next michael jordan wins a ring and decides the best thing to do is come out with a new men's fragrance because his financial advisers suggested it. And another hero is born. May 4th. 1970 the Ohio National Guard; who's job it is to protect Americans; opens fire on unarmed students, killing four and wounding nine others. Last week in Miami, Florida a man chewed off the face of another man. The police had to kill him before he would stop.

   Damn it. Am I the only one that sees this insanity as insanity? Does anybody care, or are you all too busy chasing the all mighty dollar?
Tuesday May 29, 2012

    Friday was a wash. I was interrupted and got nothing done.

   I feel like I've figured out this lifelong fascination with the Dragon. Not the Komodo Dragon of Indonesia, but the Winged Dragon of myth. Again, I am Taoist in my views and beliefs. In Taoism it is called Yin/Yang. Abraham Maslow refers to it as a dichotomy. For Joseph Campbell it was duality. 

   This mythical Dragon is a synthesis of the Snake; Earthbound and representing the temporal aspect of our existence; and the Bird; able to free itself and soar among the Clouds represents our Spiritual side.

   The Wind blew hard for two days last week. It filled my balloon. I may have finally fixed the leak. My balloon is still full.


All quotes on this blog are used with tacit permission of the Authors.

Quotes from the Meaning of God in Human Experience

    "I have sometimes sat looking at a comrade, speculating on this mysterious isolation of self from self. Why are we so made that I gaze and see of thee only thy Wall, and never Thee? This Wall of thee is but a movable part of the Wall of my world; and I also am a Wall to thee: we look out at one another from behind masks. How would it seem if my mind could but once be within thine; and we could meet and without barrier be with each other? And then it has fallen upon me like a shock--as when one thinking himself alone has felt a presence--But I am in thy soul. These things around me are in thy experience. They are thy own; when I touch them and move them I change thee. When I look on them I see what thou seest; when I listen, I hear what thou hearest. I am the great Room of thy soul; and I experience thy very experience. For where art thou? Not there, behind those eyes, within that head, in darkness, fraternizing with chemical processes. Of these, in my own case, I know nothing, and will know nothing; for my existence is spent not behind my Wall, but in front of it I am there, where I have treasures. And there art thou, also. This world in which I live, is the world of thy soul: and being within that, I am within thee. I can imagine no contact more real and thrilling than this; that we should meet and share identity, not through ineffable inn depths (alone), but here through the foregrounds of common experience; and that thou shouldst be--not behind that mask--but here, pressing with all thy consciousness upon me, containing me, and these things of mine. This is reality: and having seen it thus, I can never again be frightened into monadism by reflections which have strayed from their guiding insight."

 by William Ernest Hocking

             Isomorphic Interrelationships Between Knower and Known* 
Abraham H. Maslow

"....This example is especially important for another reason, namely that it seems to me that reconciling this dichotomy may be the best place for educators to begin in the task of resolving all dichotomies. That is, it may be a good and practicable starting point for teaching humanity to stop thinking in a dichotomous way in favor of thinking in an integrative way...."   

  The Inner Law

He whose law is within himself walks in hiddenness.
His acts are not influenced by approval or disapproval.
He whose law is outside himself directs his will to what is
Beyond his control and seeks to extend his power over objects.

He who walks in hiddenness has light to guide him in all his acts.
He who seeks to extend his control is nothing but an operator.
While he thinks he is surpassing others,
Others see him merely straining, stretching, to stand on tiptoe.

When he tries to extend his power over objects, those objects gain control of him.
He who is controlled by objects loses possession of his inner self:
If he no longer values himself, how can he value others?
If he no longer values others, he is abandoned.
He has nothing left!

There is no deadlier weapon than the will!
The sharpest sword is not equal to it!
There is no robber so dangerous As Nature (Yang and Yin).
Yet it is not nature that does the damage:
It is man's own will!"
From The Way of Chuang Tzu: by Thomas Merton 

   Let's go back to the beginning of this blog and try to consolidate some of these ideas. The population crisis is upon us. I don't give a damn what any of the so called experts have to say about it. When some Texas billionaire can make even more money shipping water overseas to slake China's thirst we are in trouble! Seven billion people is too many. There are too many people because there is too much food. That's right, too much food. There has always been too much food. Ever since Man decided to become man, (and disregard the laws that govern all creation).
   This could not be simpler; for every increase in the food supply there is a corresponding increase in the population. Look anywhere and at any species on the Planet and you'll see this is so.
   The reason we have too many people is because we have too much food. And it's getting worse. Some brainwashed schoolboy who has been told since the day he was born that he has to do something with his life, has to make something of himself, has to be somebody, is working his life away trying to increase worldwide food production. And I am absolutely certain, one hundred percent positive, that this ill educated, overly indoctrinated, half wit will succeed. Then he can be just like Steve Martin's character in the film "The Jerk".

   "The new phone books are here, the new phone books are here...I'm somebody!!!"
June 7, 2012

   Apologies are in order. I surprise even myself sometimes at my callousness. I'll offer this, from a Master, as my way of saying I'm sorry.

When You Are Old   

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars. 

 By William Butler Yeats
       "The Civilization of the Dialogue is the only civilization worth having and the only civilization in which the whole world can unite. It is, therefore, the only civilization we can hope for, because the world must unite or be blown to bits. The Civilization of the Dialogue requires communication. It requires a common language and a common stock of ideas. It assumes that every man has reason and that every man can use it. It preserves to every man his independent judgment and, since it does so, it deprives any man or group of men of the privilege of forcing their judgment on any other man or group of men. The Civilization of the Dialogue is the negation of force. We have reached the point, in any event, when force cannot unite the world; it can merely destroy it.Through continuing and enriching the Great Conversation higher education not only does its duty by morals and religion, it not only performs its proper intellectual task: it also supports and symbolizes the highest hopes and the highest aspirations of mankind."

 Robert M. Hutchins

      Absolutely nothing I have to say is new or original. Every single thing I have to impart is a regurgitation of what I've learned over my brief fifty-five years. The consolidation of these things I've learned is what I'm trying to impart through this blog.

June 8, 2012

      Joseph Campbell
of Myth
With Bill Moyers 

Moyers: Who speaks in metaphors today?
Campbell: All poets. Poetry is a metaphorical language.
Moyers: A metaphor suggests potential.
Campbell: Yes, but it also suggests the actuality that hides behind the visible aspect. The metaphor is the mask of God through which eternity is to be experienced.
Moyers: You speak of poets and artists. What about the clergy?
Campbell: I think our clergy is really not doing its proper work. It does not speak about the connotations of the metaphors but is stuck with the ethics of good and evil.
Moyers: Why haven't the priests become the shamans of American society?
Campbell: ....The person who has had a mystical experience knows that all the symbolic expressions of it are faulty. The symbols don't render the experience, they suggest it. If you haven't had the experience, how can you know what it is? Try to explain skiing to somebody living in the tropics who has never even seen snow. There has to be an experience to catch the message, some clue--otherwise you're not hearing what is being said.
Moyers: The person who has the experience has to project it in the best way he can with images. It seems to me that we have lost the art in our society of thinking in images.
Campbell: Oh, we definitely have. Our thinking is largely discursive, verbal, linear. There is more reality in an image than in a word.
Moyers: Do you ever think that it is the absence of the religious experience of ecstasy, of joy, this denial of transcendence in our society, that has turned so many young people to the use of drugs?
Campbell: Absolutely. That is the way in.
Moyers: The way in?
Campbell: To an experience.
Moyers: And religion can't do that for you, or art can't do it?
Campbell: It could, but it's not doing it now. Religions are addressing social problems and ethics instead of the mystical experience.
Moyers: So you think religions great calling is the experience?
Campbell: One of the wonderful things in the Catholic ritual is communion. There you are taught that this is the body and blood of the Savior. And you take it to you, and you turn inward, and there Christ is working within you. This is a way of inspiring a meditation on experiencing the spirit within you. You see people coming back from communion, and they are inward-turned, they really are.
      In India, I have seen a red ring put around a stone, and the the stone becomes regarded as an incarnation of the mystery. Usually you think of things in practical terms, but you could think of anything in terms of its mystery. For example, this is a watch, but it is also a thing in being. You could put it down, draw a ring around it, and regard it in that dimension. That is the point of what is called consecration.
Moyers: What do you mean? What can you make of the watch you are wearing? What kind of mystery does it reveal?
Campbell: Do you really know what a thing is? What supports it? It is something in time and space. Think how mysterious it is that anything should be. The watch becomes the center for a meditation, the center of the intelligible mystery of being, which is everywhere. This watch is now the center of the universe. It is the still point in the turning world.
Moyers: Where does the meditation take you?
Campbell: Oh, it depends on how talented you are.
Moyers: You talk about the "transcendent." What is the transcendent? What happens to someone in the transcendent?

Campbell: "Transcendent" is a technical, philosophical term, translated in two different ways. In Christian theology, it refers to God as being beyond or outside the field of nature. That is a materialistic way of talking about the transcendent, because God is thought of as a kind of spiritual fact existing somewhere out there. It was Hegel who spoke of our anthropomorphic god as the gaseous vertebrate--such an idea of God as many Christians hold. Or he is thought of as a bearded old man with a not very pleasant temperament. But "transcendent" properly means that which is beyond all concepts. Kant tells us that all our experiences are bound by time and space. They take place within space, and they take place in the course of time. 
       Time and space form the sensibilities that bound our experiences. Our senses are enclosed in the field of time and space, and our minds are enclosed in a frame of the categories of thought. But the ultimate thing (which is no thing) that we are trying to get in touch with is not so enclosed. We enclose it when we try to think of it.
       The transcendent transcends all of these categories of thinking. Being and nonbeing--those are categories. The word "God" properly refers to what transcends all thinking, but the word "God" itself is something thought about.
       Now you can personify God in many many ways. Is there one god? Are there many gods? Those are merely categories of thought. What you are talking and trying to think about transcends all that.
       One problem with Yahweh, as they used to say in the old Christian Gnostic texts, is that he forgot he was a metaphor. He thought he was a fact. And when he said, "I am God," a voice was heard to say, "You are mistaken, Samael." "Samael" means "blind god": blind to the infinite Light of which he is a local historical manifestation. This is known as the blasphemy of Jehovah--that he thought he was God.
Moyers: You are saying that God can't be known.

Campbell: I mean that whatever is ultimate is beyond the categories of being and nonbeing. Is it or is it not? As the Buddha is reported to have said: "It both is and is not; neither is nor is not." God as the ultimate mystery of being is beyond thinking....
Autumn Floods

   The autumn floods had come. Thousands of wild torrents poured furiously into Yellow River. It surged and flooded its banks until, looking across, you could not tell an ox from a horse on the other side. Then the River God laughed, delighted to think that all the beauty in the world had fallen into his keeping. So downstream he swung, until he came to the Ocean. There he looked out over the waves, toward the empty horizon in the east and his face fell. Gazing out at the far horizon he came to his senses and murmured to the Ocean God: "Well, the proverb is right. He who has got himself a hundred ideas thinks he knows more than anybody else. Such a one am I. Only now do I see what they mean by EXPANSE!"
The Ocean God replied:
"Can you talk about the sea
To a frog in a well?
Can you talk about ice
To Dragonflies?
Can you talk about the way of Life
To a doctor of philosophy?
"Of all the waters in the world
The Ocean is the greatest.
All the rivers pour into it
Day and night;
It is never filled.
It gives back its waters
Day and night;
It is never emptied.
In dry seasons 
It is not lowered
In flood time 
It does not rise.
Greater than all other waters!
There is no measure to tell
How much greater.
But am I proud of it?
What am I under heaven?
What am I without yang and yin?
Compared with the sky
I am a little rock,
A scrub oak
On the mountain side:
Shall I act
As if I were something?"
      Of all the things that exist (and there are millions), man is only one. Among all the millions of men that live on earth, the civilized people that live by farming are only a small proportion. Smaller still the number of those who having office or fortune, travel by carriage or by boat. And of all these, one man in his carriage is nothing more than the tip of a hair on a horses flank. Why, then, all the fuss about great men and great offices? Why all the disputations of scholars? Why all the wrangling of politicians?
There are no fixed limits
Time does not stand still.
Nothing endures,
Nothing is final.
You cannot lay hold 
Of the end or the beginning .
He who is wise sees near and far
As the same,
Does not despise the small
Or value the great:
Where all standards differ
How can you compare?
With one glance
He takes in past and present,
Without sorrow for the past
Or impatience with the present.
All is in movement.
He has experience
Of fullness and emptiness.
He does not rejoice in success
Or lament in failure
The game is never over
Birth and death are even
The terms are not final.
June 11, 2012

      Let's talk about peace. Am I reading something that is not written? Am I seeing something that is not there? Is it an illusion, a pipe dream, a fantasy to believe that peace is what we all seek in this world? Peace is within us. Peace is not to be found in a material possession or a new town to live in. Peace will never be found by killing what you perceive as your enemy. When the ancient sages tell you to love your enemy; if you can begin to understand this what you will find is they are not your enemy. What is often expected of me, being without money and living on the streets of Grand Junction, is to hate the rich and wealthy; those who seem to have so much. It appears to me that these are the people that need and deserve my compassion and understanding as much as anyone in this world. Maybe more so than any others. Caught, trapped in the prison of a machine that most have no awareness of. Slaves to a material existence that was bought and paid for with money; which is nothing more than another man made veil that helps to hide the, seemingly terrifying, depth of our true selves. Money that says "I'm a doctor, a lawyer, a this or a that. I drive a BMW or a Cadillac." Money that reinforces the lie: This is what I am. 

      My plea is for peace. Peace in ourselves, and peace in the world. When we can find peace within ourselves we can begin to bring peace to the world. If you can give yourself five minutes a day to do absolutely nothing you will have begun. Sit quietly and let your mind come to rest. Stop the incessant chatter and simply be. If you can begin to glimpse the peace within you perhaps you can take another step and give yourself seven minutes a day. And then ten, then maybe fifteen or twenty minutes?

      I'm not feeling the flow this morning. What I've written so far feels contrived, and forced. I'll try later. 
June 12, 2012
Here is part of an email from my friend Joan:

 I really enjoyed your blog. What you say is so basic; why is it so damned hard for humans to get it? People just won't learn that there is no peace or satisfaction in chasing after material things. Any satisfaction at all is brief and then it's on to more, bigger, newer. I don't know how you have the patience to even try to do something; it's too overwhelming for me to grasp....The quote I have on my desk top right now is:  Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day that says "I will try again tomorrow".
Be safe out there, Rick. You are not forgotten...
Thank You, J  ; ^)
June 14, 2012

Restarting again at the beginning once more 

      What is a million? Can you give me an easily comprehensible example of what a million of anything looks like? A United States one cent currency piece, commonly called a penny, is three quarters of an inch in diameter. One thousand pennies side by side would be seven hundred fifty inches or sixty two and one half feet, (62.5'), the height of a four story building. One million pennies would form a square 62.5' on a side. How big is that? One million pennies, side by side and top to bottom, would cover the floor of a thirty nine hundred square foot home.
      Why, you might ask, do I find this worth mentioning? Because we quite often assume we know things which we haven't the slightest clue about, such as what is a million. A million is one thousand thousand. A billion is one thousand million.
      So, a penny is 3/4" in diameter. One thousand pennies would be just under four square feet, a million slightly over 3,900 square feet. A billion? A square of pennies 1,976 feet on a side. Nineteen hundred seventy six feet is over six and one half football fields.
      In 2007, the average mid-sized sedan was 190 inches long and 71.4 inches wide. Ninety four square feet. One million cars, bumper to bumper and side by side, would cover an area over THREE SQUARE MILES. North American car production is back up to around 15 million units per year. Fifteen million cars will cover FORTY FIVE SQUARE MILES. Every year. Year after year. And you buy into the idea that Ford Motor Co. has built an environmentally friendly auto plant because they put a fucking garden on the roof??? This is so absolutely ridiculous that it's almost beyond belief.

       But I believe it. What I see, especially in America, is a country full of people in denial. You're so pathetically addicted to this sorry excuse of a life style that you can't and won't admit to the unspeakable damage we're inflicting on future generations. Phony people hiding behind phony smiles and phony laughs. Anything to avoid facing the reality of what we're really doing. Destroying the environment, running out of fresh water, perpetuating hatred in order to keep the machine running. Can't sleep at night because of the unrelenting nightmare we create every day? Take a fucking pill. Can't get it up anymore because of the overwhelming anxiety, the result of living a lie? Take a fucking pill. You want to drink yourself to death like dozens of school kids do every year? Go ahead, Uncle Sam is making a bundle off your drunken ass, but don't let us catch you smoking that fucking weed. Hypocrites! But don't worry. Everything is fine, just keep shopping.

      When the fucking president takes eight hundred billion dollars of tax payers money and doles it out to his fucking buddies who are the captains of the sinking ships called big business in this country and you pretend to possess the ability to even begin to understand
   the magnitude of this twisted, psychotic, legitimized ongoing criminal activity that passes for leadership I've got to say you're either part of the conspiracy or you're so petrified in fear as to appear completely helpless.
      Who cares about all this shit you keep insisting there is nothing we can do about? I care. That's why I'm writing this blog. And that's why I'm going to change the world. 

      Think I'll take a little break and cool down a bit.
June 20, 2012

      Wow. I do tend to get a little wound up, yes?
Yes. Where to begin today? People have bought into the lies of capitalism so often and for so long that it appears they are completely incapable of considering any and all alternatives. Mention Socialism and it will be dismissed in spite of the fact that most people I've spoken to about the subject don't have the slightest clue regarding what it is they're rejecting. Socialism is not Communism.
July 10, 2012

      A twelve step program is not supposed to work when the addict is using so how am I going to help capitalists who can't stop using?

      It's your capitalism that has to be changed if we're even going to begin to clear the debris from the train wreck that is the current human condition. Look at the homeless situation here in Grand Junction. The addicts are trying to help the addicted by throwing money at a problem that was created because of money. This only serves to aggravate the situation. For instance; the board of misdirectors at the Homeward Bound homeless shelter have found an easy way to exploit the homeless by misusing grant moneys, intended to help the homeless, to further their own agendas and fatten their own coffers. How pathetic that these self serving, money grubbing losers at the game of capitalism have to stoop to lies and deceptions in order to further their self delusional sense of power and control.

      Fuck this bullshit for today. You assholes couldn't care less about anything I've mentioned so far. The way I feel right now is "YOU DESERVE THIS SORRY EXCUSE OF AN EXISTENCE". You deserve the crime, the degradation of the environment, the hatred, the killing, the greed.


July 19, 2012

Wow! The beast was raging last week.

A Native American grandfather talking to his young grandson tells the boy he has two wolves inside of him struggling with each other. The first is the wolf of peace, love and kindness. The other wolf is fear, greed and hatred. "Which wolf will win, grandfather?" asks the young boy. "Whichever one I feed," is the reply.

      This should be easy, right? All I have to do is quit feeding the beast. Old habits are hard to break. I've been feeding this fucking beast for fifty-five years, it's what I was taught to do. It's not just me, I see it everywhere. How often have you heard the expression "That pisses me off"? It's not "that", or "him", or "her", it's us. Most of us are slaves to our emotions, pretending all these outside influences control our dispositions. This is just another part of the lie that has been sold to us. It's not a bold, outright, in your face lie. It's a lie that's built into the fabric of capitalism. It's a part of the lie that is reinforced every time someone gets away with saying, "That pisses me off".
Friday, March 22, 2013


         THE GREAT OWL RETURNED LAST NIGHT. HE  HAD THIS TO SAY. "Your curse is your blessing and your blessing is your curse. You can stand for what you believe in and not be dissuaded by popular opinion and petty and pathetic swipes at you character. You can continue in your efforts to change the World or you can cave into the pressures of the frightened and terrified capitalists. You may think at times these decisions are yours to make. You know better. You have no reason for uncertainty nor doubt. Why are you hesitating?"
        "This is why I hesitate." I replied. "I've always been an outsider, doing what I do best by alienating people. I'm about fucking fed up with being misunderstood and feeling more alone every day. These soft, weak, ignorant, self loathing sons of bitches could not care less about anything I might be able to impart to them if they were cold and stiff and six feet under the fucking ground. They just don't care. They don't care about themselves or each other or any of the rest of the Whole of Creation. Why the fuck should I care? Love a bunch of hate filled motherfuckers so I can be the bad guy? NO! Fuck this. Fuck being treated like shit by a bunch of slack jawed mouth breathing short bus inbred four time fifth place finishers in the special Olympics motherfuckers. They treat each other like shit, day in and day out, and expect me to let them treat me the same way? When I refuse to let them treat me in their completely unacceptable manner they start making up, and spreading, lies about me? Fuck this Bullshit!"
         Owl asked, "Are you finished?"
         "Fuck no, now that you ask, I'm not finished. Fifty-six years of this shit and it just keeps getting worse. These fucking cowards are frozen in fear and addicted to it..."

        "Now you're finished."

         "No I'm not."

          "Either you're done or I'm gone." insisted Owl.

         "O.K. I'm done."

           Owl continued, "You know about addiction and you know about hatred. This is all the help I can give you here."
          "As to your focus, this has become misdirected. Your friend Bob wants and needs your help, the neighbor Carl is beyond helping at this point. The younger generation also are mostly a waste of your time and energy, they are so completely and inextricably indoctrinated into their culture of greed, consumption, inebriation, self loathing, and hatred that you would have to concentrate all your effort to even find a worthy candidate. I will tell you this much; you have not yet met anyone under the age of thirty that would not be a waste of your time. Do not give up on all the younger people, just find some new ones to try and help. They are out there and looking for an alternative."
         "I came back today because you finally let the Beast out of the cage. It has been several months now and we hope you've learned he needs to be let out once in a while so you can get in there and clean his cage."
        "The thought was odd crossing my mind and more so my beak but it was nice speaking with you again." 
   With that being said the Great Bird lifted silently from the ground and began to fly away. He looked back at me from one hundred feet in the air and whispered under his outstretched wing, "I'll be back soon. We have many things to discuss."

Monday, April 22, 2013

"There is no Us and Them. There is only Us."


Thursday, June 20, 2013

     "The earth is our only home. As far as current scientific knowledge is concerned, this may be the only planet that can support life. One of the most powerful visions I have experienced was the first photograph of the earth from outer space. The image of a blue planet floating in deep space, glowing like the full moon on a clear night, brought home powerfully to me the recognition that we are indeed one family sharing one little house. I was flooded with the feeling of how ridiculous are the various dis-agreements and squabbles within the human family. I saw how futile it is to cling so tenaciously to the differences that divide us. From this perspective one feels the fragility, the vulnerability of our planet and it's limited occupation of a small orbit sandwiched between Venus and Mars in the vast infinity of space. If we do not look after this home, what else are we charged to do on this earth?"

TENZIN GYATSO, Fourteenth Dalai Lama: The Universe In A Single Atom

An Analogy  

Eco system / Electrical system
Watts/Volts = Amps
        A 55 watt light bulb on a 110 volt line will draw 0.5 amps.

     ...."and as it is impossible to separate the improvement made by cultivation, from the Earth itself, upon which that improvement is made,"....     T. Paine: Agrarian Justice
        Thomas Paine's common error in: Agrarian Justice. He attributes a rightful divinity to the whole of creation and then insists that "civilized man" has somehow "improved" on this creation. Paine dismisses the first lesson in the bible and deceives himself into believing he has eaten at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil by pronouncing improvements on Mother Nature.
       The Whole Of Creation is the garden of eden. Man, in our current consciousness, can not improve upon it. Having eaten at the tree we deceive ourselves into the erroneous notion that we can improve on the very creation from which we have risen.
         Another Thomas, Mr. Malthus, warned of trying to pull seven billion amps from a system designed, and indefinitely capable, of delivering perhaps five hundred million amps.
          If we insist on clinging to our arrogant ignorance we're in danger of tripping that five hundred million amp breaker. We're rewiring the system to a progressively inferior code and, all these centuries, expecting/demanding progressively superior performance.  

       The language of the mind hears self and other and acknowledges the duality. The language of the heart hears self and other and acknowledges the One.
        The language of the mind has proven inadequate in describing the full depth, breadth, and scope of our human experience. The voice in the heart still recognizes the language of the voice in the mind. But the language of the voice in the heart has become foreign to the voice in the mind. This alienation between heart and mind has created a chasm in the landscape of mankind that will continue to grow as long as the issue remains unaddressed.
        To reteach the voice in the mind the language of the voice in the heart is a first step in healing the damage created by reliance on a language inadequate to human potential.
Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

       "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution."

                                        Bertrand Russell


       ...."Man is born without phantasms or inferiority complexes and with a capacity for observing and garnering thought fostering images. Life, including such-apparently-helpful influences as education and literature, destroys this tendency, as an April frost kills blossoms, and imitation, ignoble conformism, takes the place of originality. Mankind is like Herculaneum - covered with a hard crust under which the remains of real life lie forgotten. Poets and Philosophers never lose their way to some of the subterranean chambers in which childhood once lived happy without knowing it. But the millions know nothing except the thick lava of habit and repetition. A small section of people tells them what they are to think and they think it."

Ernest Dimnet: The Art Of Thinking

Tuesday  June 25th, 2013
  ...."In Buddhism the highest spiritual ideal is to cultivate compassion for all sentient beings and to work for their welfare to the greatest possible extent. From my earliest childhood I have been conditioned to cherish this ideal and attempt to fulfill it in my every action...."

      "Crush Humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms. Sow the same seed of rapacious license and oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit according to it's kind."
Charles Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities

       The change I envision for the world can only come through peaceful means.

       We have to stop hating ourselves, each other, and this planet we call home. We can begin by loving ourselves and teaching our children to love themselves, each other, and the rest of the whole of creation. (see the quote from June 25th above.) This change will be far more difficult than it might appear at first glance, but might be helped along if we can understand we are not to blame for our own self loathing. We have been indoctrinated into a culture of hatred; it is imperative that we learn to hate, (self, other planet), in order to be accepted into a culture of hate.

       If we are to have any chance of creating a new educational paradigm based on love, compassion, understanding, co-operation, and brotherhood, (as opposed to the current hate at any cost, us and them, competition is good, struggle for survival, brother against brother, nationalistic, theistic hate filled bullshit that got crammed down our throats), we have to be willing to exclude and prevent government meddling. The last thing any standing government is interested in is a paradigm shift, (educational or otherwise), until the shift begins.

       The current regimes posing as leaders haven't the slightest clue that these paradigm shifts are already begun. In fact governments, having proven repeatedly and thoroughly their incompetence and inability to lead, will merit no consideration in decisions regarding what we teach the coming generations.
Wednesday, July 24th, 2013


       THE GREAT OWL RETURNED LAST NIGHT. HE  HAD THIS TO SAY. "Your culture insisted that you take the shovel from your father, the one you received the day of your birth. It's the same shovel your grandfather gave to your father the day he was born; and your great grandfather to your grandfather before that. This shovel has been handed down, and used most effectively, for countless generations by the Humans, (ever since Humans decided to exempt themselves for the Oneness of the Whole of Creation), to dig yourselves into the hellish pit that is the current human condition. There are many among your seven-billion over population that understand the need to escape the hellish pit as a step on the road to reconnecting with the Oneness. However, their insistence on using the shovel to remedy the situation will only and always deepen their alienation."
       "The difficulty you face is, having crawled out of the pit, to bring some new tool back to the pit as an enticement to your fellow Humans to abandon the old, outdated, ineffective, and destructive shovels of past cultures and to adopt a new, effective, beneficial cultural tool and to use it to crawl out of the pit."
       "The reason for today's visit was simply to confirm your intent and direction. Forget about no one responding to any and all of your posts. For someone like you it is beyond your imagination how much fear, and hatred, and self loathing you provoke in your fellow Humans. You already know there is no amount of Money in the World, Wisdom in the Sages, or Salt in the Sea that can allow these poor souls to respect you. Your solace is their Terror."

"I've also come today because you need to post. Period. Fifteen Hundred people from ten different countries all around the World, despite offering no response, are interested in how you are going to change the World. You simply scare the shit out of your fellow Humans. The possibilities are terrifying."

"Again, the thought was odd crossing my mind and more so my beak but it was nice speaking with you again."

With that being said the Great Bird lifted silently from the ground and began to fly away. He looked back at me from one hundred feet in the air and whispered under his outstretched wing, "I'll be back soon. We have many things to discuss."
Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Awaiting Return  

        I wish Owl would come back. I want to tell him about the young people he claimed I should dismiss. I've met young people in the Grand Valley who have withstood the full "Cultural onslaught" for the whole of their twenty-some years and managed to come through the ordeal with firm convictions about who they are, and want to be. They've come through the ordeal of this cultural indoctrination with the ability to think for themselves relatively intact despite their heavy burdens of cultural baggage. Baggage that is not restricted to young people but is rampant in the whole of our capitalist society; and any society contaminated by a capitalist system. We pack this baggage with the lies that a capitalist system is so insistent
 upon shoving down our throats from the very moment we're born.

        You have to make something of yourself. You have to do something with your life. You have to be somebody. Life itself is a struggle for survival. Man's "nature" is to kill because our history "proves it".  Competition is good. More, (insert bigger, faster, stronger, more expensive), is better. The military mindset is the proper model for society, business, education, healthcare....etc., etc., etc. Might makes right. It costs money to live. It costs money to die. All of these are the lies of a capitalist culture straining to perpetuate itself.
Saturday, August 10th, 2013

"If you persist in trying
To attain what is never attained
(It is Tao's gift!)
If you persist in making effort
To obtain what effort cannot get;
If you persist in reasoning
About what cannot be understood, 
You will be destroyed
By the very thing you seek."
"To know when to stop
To know when you can get no further
By your own action,
This is the right beginning!"

From: The Way Of Chuang Tzu - by Thomas Merton
Friday,  August 30th, 2013

All The Money

In The World

To a dead man?
What use
Of all the money
In the world?
On the day we die
We cannot live again
By all the money
In the world.
I can never give
A single day of my life 
For all the money
In the world.

 Monday, September 2nd, 2013 

"To know when to stop
To know when you can get no further
By your own action,
This is the right beginning!"

It is time to stop. I have deceived myself into believing that I am very clever. I will refocus upon The Great Stream and, returning to the flow, shatter yet another layer of my own deception. These layers, or veils, obscure the calling of my Heart. It is time to stop.......and listen.



   With a simple nod of his head; not a word having been spoken, the Great Bird lifted silently from the ground and began to fly away. He looked back at me from one hundred feet in the air and whispered under his outstretched wing, "I'll be back soon. We have very few things left to discuss."


When Life Was Full There Was No History

      "In the age when life on earth was full, no one paid any special attention to worthy men, nor did they single out the man of ability. Rulers were simply the highest branches on the tree, and the people were like deer in the woods. They were honest and righteous without realizing that they were "doing their duty". They loved each other and did not know that this was "love of neighbor". They decieved no one yet they did not know that they were "men to be trusted". They were reliable and did not know that this was "good faith". They lived freely together giving and taking, and did not know that they were generous. For this reason their deeds have not been narrated. They made no history."

Chuang Tzu


The great Owl returned last night. We spent the next three hours in the company of each others silence. Then he asked me, "You and I, are we finished?"

I answered the great Owl, "You and I are finished. We have just begun."

"Very well then, will you finish your story now?" replied Owl.

"If you can stay and listen I would be happy to."

"Then I will be happy to stay and listen" smiled the great Bird.

Every moment that we exist we are creating the past for the next moment. Your past and my past, individually and collectively, has brought us inexorably together in this present moment. The past is what steers the future just as a rudder steers a ship. As we create the past so we set the rudder position on the ship of the future.

We inhabit a World subject to cause and effect, this is inescapable. This is also why everything we do, and everything we say, and even what we think and feel, is so critical to creating our past because the tiniest change in the rudder of the past is going to change the course of the entire ship of humanities future. If we are willing to accept the responsibility for our own future then I am willing to continue. If no one cares, if no one is willing to chime in, if no one even lifts a finger to type "I care", then I see absolutely no point in continuing.

To this the great bird replied, "Would it help, or even matter to you if I told you I care and that's why I'm here?"

"Of course. Shall I go on?"

"Please do" answered the Owl.........................

My impression is that people are unwilling, unable, or both, to accept the full responsibility implied by sitting at the pivot of the present moment. That the pivot of now is steering, directing the course of, and guiding the future is simply more responsibility than most capitalists are willing to accept.

What issues are we facing today, that will persist whether addressed or not? Capitalism sells the bald faced lie that everyone can have "THE AMERICAN DREAM". All seven billion of us? Did you get that? Seven Billion: 7,000,000,000. (Anybody got an easily comprehensible example of seven billion, (7,000,000,000) anythings???)

When we talk about a billion people, (again, in practical terms an inconceivable number for the human mind to grasp in anything but the most abstract distortion), not having access to fresh water every day not only are we not getting a remote clue as to the magnitude of this disgrace, we haven't even considered yet where they urinate and defecate.
It's time for some American Capitalist to explain to me; "From which five acres did you get all your possessions?"
 Monday, July 27, 2015

I'm an alcoholic. I've been sober twenty-five years. Getting sober is easy, all you have to do is quit drinking. Staying sober is another matter. You have to be willing to make changes in the fundamental make up of your character. You have to learn a new language.

That initial change was almost a year in coming and despite all the effort involved was quite unexpected and sudden. I broke down in tears in a roomful of strangers, I had begun learning about acceptance.This change lead to my feeling better about myself and the World around me. This lead to the idea that if I could improve my outlook by changing one aspect of my behavior and thoughts I should be able to realize further improvements in my well-being by pursuing other changes.



   I've recently come to understand from studying Taoism for Twenty-Four years that there are subtleties that prove elusive to the novice and those uninitiated in the discipline. The same may also apply to the lack off response when I pose observations about our current Human condition that I've spent at least as much time analyzing.

   What I find most disturbing, as to the future of our children and grandchildren, is the seeming indifference to our cultural failure and the impact it will have on them. 


  Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Eight hundred eighteen views from United States, Romania, France, Mexico, Belarus, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Poland, and Ukraine and not a peep from anyone? Maybe I should change the name of the blog to "The Definition of Apathy"?