Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fire of Space


When the spirit kindles its torches,
when man ignites his centers,
when the racial shifting and all
energies are propelled by
one and the same Fire of Space,
then is the Fiery Epoch asserted.

M. Morya, Infinity I, #173


Of Note: A new contributor sent this luminously alive photo of the northern lights taken not far from his home in Wisconsin. Thanks, Jack! Those moved by the words of Master Morya can access the full set of books free on-line at AgniYoga.org.

Today's Weather Report: OK, today the ice really went out on the lake. It's sunny and 45 degrees. Not exactly balmy but better than some colder alternatives.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Did You Say Past-Lives?

Why is humanity in such a frenzy?
The Universe shudders at the manifestations produced by man.

M. Morya


CEO God got my attention the other day when He said everyone of us had done one of everything--or will before we have completed the many cycles of life on Earth. That made me feel better about some of the less-then-stellar activities of my current lifetime, and even past lifetimes. Heck, let's throw future lifetimes in there as well.

It also brought to mind the time I went for a past-life reading fifteen years ago. Family scoffed, but I was hell-bent on getting answers to some of my most pressing questions about troublesome relationships during that time-period. I felt sure that past-lives would explain several of the current balled-up situations in which I was involved. Traveling to the Twin Cities, I waited expectantly for the session, frankly more than a bit nervous about the whole affair.

At that point in my life, I was a veteran of walking on coals; so, I had no idea why a past-life reading had my stomach in knots. Probably just the mystery of it all. At the appointed hour, the medium welcomed me into the unadorned room and asked why was I there. Hum, for some reason, I thought she'd know. After explaining my reasons, she proceeded to close her eyes and started talking in a slightly affected voice.

Cutting to the chase, I, of course, had been a queen and my current partner was my son. My troublesome daughter was his concubine. He had committed suicide because of her and that was causing all our collective problems. It didn't stop there. In another life, the husband who I had just divorced had taken me as a slave, and I had come to love him in the end. At the end of the hour, I left with a tape of the session and $100 less in my pocketbook, and I thought a little wiser. The mind does that after spending money, ask any psychologist.

Because of my experience, several people have shared their own past-life readings. Most are delightful tales of intrigue, lost-love, secrets revealed and unparalleled subterfuge. It goes without saying, everyone has been a king or queen. These imaginative stories could be the stuff of the greatest novels of all time. Thing is, I have never heard a past-life tale as an Indian beggar, a mundane blue-collar breadwinner or a sullied murderer. Let alone a leper or a tyrant.

But according to CEO God, we've had or will have one of each. Think about it. Lives have been or will be lived as each and every nationality, every race, every gender, every profession in every economic strata--yes, even kings and queens--all the way back to the beginning of mankind. It would take a life-time of readings to even assess a representative sample of these lives, leaving little time to do anything else. What's more, a Tibetan Master noted on the subject: "If We could reveal to humanity the records of human deeds, verily it would be horror-stricken!" Seems some things might be left buried. Literally.

But, mediums make livings accessing these many lives and would be out of business if they told their clients the truth: "Hey, what I do is part of a New Age illusion that past-life readings have meaning. What does have meaning is the connectivity of all mankind. Look out at a world of 6 billion people, and you can experience in the here and now each of your past lives, if you choose. The total diversity of lives is represented and are all you. But, alas, individual lives are of little accord because, frankly, many are horrific and the rest aren't that interesting. Given that, would you like me to continue?" Some may for their own reasons, but many would decide to spend their $100 elsewhere.

CEO God does have a promise for each of us concerning knowledge of past lives. At some point in our evolution, when we don't care, all past lives will be made known to us--the good, the bad and the ugly. And we will look on with dispassion not horror, understanding that the essence of each life added to the fiery stores of the Chalice sacrificed in the end for the ultimate good. Then we'll move on without looking back.

CEO God has also given us a new meaning to the concept of connectivity--and just when we were getting our hearts and brains around the old version. Now, He tells us that human connectivity covers past, present AND future lives in a multi-dimensional geometric whole. Some might call that revolutionary.

Next time He drops in, I'm going to ask Him if we have all really been murderers, prostitutes and tramps. Oh, heck, let's throw in an African dictator like Mugabe, though certainly there was only one Hitler. That gives a whole new meaning to humility, doesn't it? And we can throw "judgmental" out the window. Hum. Wonder if the Great One was talking incarnate AND discarnate lives. Shoot, then we'd be talking connections to multi-billions of lives.

It's making my head reel. Think I'll go take an aspirin and pet the cats. Here kitty-kitty----

Of Note: This tumbling structure reminded me of two things: the impermanence of form and the interconnectivity of man as represented by the mortared blocks. If one was to picture a whole room of these blocks, that would better represent the relationships each to each. Thanks you, Marie, for sharing your artful piece!

Today's Weather Report: It's a sunshiny, but chilly day. 28 degrees greeted me this morning. It's most likely in the high thirties, low forties now. I lied the other day; ice still encases most of the lake. I looked out and saw a patch of water, but it was not representative of the whole expanse.




Monday, April 28, 2008

Shadows and Light

BEHIND EVERY SHADOW OF LIFE
IS THE GREAT LIGHT OF GOD.

Paramahansa Yogananda


Of Note: We have a whole catelogue of photos from Marie's recent trip to Big Bend in Texas that will be flooding these pages in the coming months. Each is more lovely than the next. Thanks for sharing them, Marie! This quote is from www.gratefulness.org, Word For the Day, April 26th. It's easy to sign up to get your own delivered daily.

Today's Weather Report: A friend emailed today and said how weird our weather has been here lately. That's an understatement. The ice went out on the lake yesterday, finally, over two weeks late. It was 28 degrees this morning and cloudy. Even the daffodils, usually in bloom by now, are taking a pass until later.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

CEO God Speaks Out on Evolution

In Tibetan, the word for body is lu,
which means 'something you leave behind,' like baggage.
Each time we say 'lu,'
it reminds us that we are only travelers,
taking temporary refuge in this life and this body.

Sogyal Rinpoche


CEO God has been very busy tending to his extensive flock for the last couple of months. This morning, He put in a call for a short briefing about evolution. Apparently, it came to His attention that a University of Chicago professor named Neil Shubin recently authored a book Your Inner Fish, and the Almighty's got a few words about that. Though, because CEO God is inscrutable, you never know.

You have to understand, this appearance isn't like Obama's appearance on Chris Wallace's Fox News Sunday show today. CEO God just doesn't show up with his entourage, go to make-up, and then recite well-rehearsed lines. No, He shows up when the vibrations are tuned exactly to the right coordinates and leaves whenever He chooses. One thing Obama and CEO God do have in common is a sense of humor; though, Obama's seems to be waivering a bit now that he's being asked real questions by inquiring minds. It's reassuring that CEO God's humor will never wane because, after all, He invented it.

As I picture it, He must have been having an awfully good time with a real sense of humor when creating all the forms we see before us in every imaginable shape, variety, color and, if we could hear it, even sound. Dr. Shubin sees no Godly hand in evolution, however. He believes that "we owe much of our anatomy to our animal ancestors. Parts that evolved in one setting are now jury-rigged to work in another. When you look at the human body, you see layer after layer of history inside us."

According to this evolutionary biologist, these layers go from the primitive inner fish all the way to the more recent chimpanzee and explain such things as males nipples, wisdom teeth, hernias, flatulence and hiccups. Based on this line of thinking, man is not moving toward perfection, rather "evolution by natural selection is not moving toward anything--it just modifies existing creatures to better compete in ever-shifting environments."

Those who refute intelligent design point to these apparent anomalies as proof that "we look like we've been put together by someone who didn't read the manual, or at least did a somewhat sloppy job of things." Maybe that's what CEO God wants to talk about. Oh! Here He is now.

CEO God: "Good evening, Susan. It was kind of you to give Us a moment of your time today. Let Us dispel any hidden pride you may have, however, in Our appearances to you. Today you were open vibrationally to a short interview. Other days, not so much. In the future, Our contacts will be made in group form and only then will the world change for the better. This current type of contact is not the best, but it must suffice during this interim period. Do you understand?"

Susan: "Guess I can't hide anything from You, can I? And, yes, I understand. Thanks for reminding me in such a kind way."

CEO God: "Susan, don't beat up on yourself to much about the matter--at least you are open occasionally, even though a bit of pride obscures My passage. Most are not open at all. Although, happily, that will change in the very near future. We have been very busy contacting disciples like Oprah and Eckhart to inspire those deciding whether or not to step onto the Path. Actually, many of these aspirants are on the Path already and not aware of the fact. Why? Because they made the first steps in a previous lifetime. For these souls, working with Eckhart's material is merely a remembering, and they will progress quickly."

Susan: "That helps a lot, CEO God. You are always so clear. I wish it could always be so clear."

CEO God: "Susan, you have to understand that clarity WILL come when you are much further down the Path, but for now this lack of clarity propels you forward to a brighter future. Actually, it's one of the motivating force behind evolution."

Susan, getting excited: "Ah, and that's what You came to talk about today. Didn't You take some offense with the thoughts by some scientists that You did a sloppy job in creation? How about the comments that we are not heading toward perfection? We were taught in religion class that we were made in Your image and likeness, so that has to mean perfection."

CEO God: Silence.

Susan, sheepishly: "Doesn't it?"

CEO God: "My silence was meant as no disparagement to your questions, Sister. Even We must sometimes take a moment to answer in a way understandable to you. In that moment We consulted one of your previous incarnations. He was a German physician and scientist with an advanced mind but a retarded emotional side. Thus, it was a pity that he put a bullet in his head when shunned by his colleagues for an intuitive discovery made on Our behalf. Your current life includes some remnants of these problems. But, it also holds promise because of your previous background. That's why We come to you often to clarify inaccurate scientific viewpoints and to further the concept that science is spiritual."

Susan, taking a few deep breaths: "I had no idea! How embarrassing to have succumbed in such an un-Godly manner."

CEO God: "Now, don't get stuck on that life, Susan, it was a few incarnations ago, and you have definitely moved on. Oh My, if you think a mere suicide is the worst that you've done, think again. You have to remember that EVERYONE has done one of everything, including We Gods when we were Human. It's the way of evolution.
Take a few deep breaths, OK? You are starting to worry Me--you look very pale."

Susan, taking more deep breaths: "OK, OK, I'm calming down. It's not everyday you find out something like that. So, where were we?"

CEO God: "You were wondering if those evolutionary scientists have insulted Us. If truth be told, they are insulting you and the rest of Humanity for it is in YOUR image and likeness the physical form is built. And, frankly, sometimes it's been a disaster, and We've had to intervene to wash away the evidence. These scientists actually have it right, but not for the right reasons. We have used them as unconscious channels to get the basic word out,and it makes no difference that they didn't get it quite right. Why we are visiting you today is to say 'congratulations' for picking up on the thread of information coming from these workers. In this way, We know the information is moving down the chain into the masses. But don't let that go to your head."

Susan, humbly: "Wow, that's a new twist on the concept of evolution. Hard to accept after a lifetime of thinking another way. But, I think I understand a little. That would have to mean, though, that perfection can never come to the physical form because it is man-made. Like fake-suede or Naugahyde."

CEO God: "Well, something like that, though Humanity does a bit better with itself than Naugahyde, which is an abomination. Now, listen up. It gets harder. You are actually two, the physical--consisting of four layers--and consciousness. Each evolves. The consciousness represents your true Self, and it indeed reaches perfection, which is the immediate goal of evolution. At some point even consciousness is subsumed to reveal a mystery even more glorious, but that is getting way ahead for today."

Susan: "My brain is having a hard time getting around all this, Almighty. Can You give me a minute?"

CEO God: "No, actually, I've got to cover one additional concept and then move on. You'll just have to keep up as best you can. We know if you don't get it this time, you will the next. Infinity makes that inevitable. OK, the dear professor said that one animal is layered in the next. He is correct. That is how Humanity chose to create, one layer at a time, like a cake. It is not so everywhere. So, do not get too attached to Earthly forms, or you will not recognize other forms when they approach. And, with that, We are off. The fiery ring We've created around the Himalayas needs tending. Our Blessings to you and all Humanity!"

Susan, a little exhausted: "Thank you, CEO God! It's always enlightening. Though, I'll most likely be in bed shortly after Your infusion of energy."


Of Note: Marie emailed this colorful picture this morning from a walk she was taking with Mom. Isn't technology amazing? For me, it was the hope of Spring and showed me that Humanity gets it right now and then in creating uplifting beauty.

Today's Weather Report: It was in the upper twenties all day. Burrr! Felt like a November day, except the angle of the sun, which shone brightly all day, gave away that this was Spring not Fall.



Saturday, April 26, 2008

Spiritual Eyesight


The spiritual eyesight improves
as the physical eyesight declines.


Plato


Of Note: Test your eyesight on this photo taken Thursday. The pine needles provide a key to size.

Today's Weather Report: Sure enough, it's snowing. An hour ago, Jim announced it over, right before it really started to dump buckets of the spring fluffy stuff. It has the look of snow all day--maybe a few inches.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Chasing Women and Making Money


If you spent one-tenth
of the time you devoted
to distractions,
like chasing women
or making money,
to spiritual practice,
you would be enlightened
in a few years!

Ramakrishna


I'd take some exception with Ramakrishna's remark. At some point along the evolutionary path, chasing women and making money constitute spiritual practice. Only at a given point is it prudent to leave the ways of adolescence behind and walk with eyes wide open into the adult realm of the truly spiritual.

But let's say that we have arrived to spiritual adulthood, now what? It appears that part of that new practice will include sharing. Not just sharing with family and friends, but a new sense of heart-felt responsibility for the global condition and those on it. With these new eyes, responsibility for animals count as do plants and even minerals. Maybe even some kingdoms of which we aren't even consciously aware.

Along that line, a contributor this week sent a link to www.storyofstuff.com. That entertaining as well as educational Website chronicles the chain connecting resources to production to sales to the eventual tossing of everyday stuff--all that stuff we can't live without. The narrator explained that several steps in the old linkage were left out. Like, when we've used up our own resources, why do we think it's OK to go after those somewhere else? And, what about all that trash?

Mostly these invisible steps beg the question of responsibility up and down the line. I find myself saying: "Do I HAVE to think about this? Can I just tiptoe back into spiritual adolescence for just a minute? Chasing stuff with money is so much more fun."

Everyone seems to be getting onto the sharing bandwagon, including Oprah Winfrey with something called "Big Give." Even Heineken Beer is "tapping into drinker's altruism" with its new series of advertisements that includes double coasters with the jingle "Adopt a Stranger, Share in Good." This beer purveyor, of course, wants to sell more beer with its $40 - $50 million ad campaign, but the message of sharing is telling:
"One spot features various characters passing along cold ones--such as an Indian woman in traditional garb who walks into a cowboy bar and hands a Heineken Light to a man decked out in a Stetson hat. The headline: 'Be a Beer Samaritan' " (WSJ, 4-2-08, B8.)
Although the Heineken Company touts the new ads as a way to uplift the country in a bad mood, the idea of sharing may percolate into the brains of those drinking the tasty brew. Who knows, it may be a necessary step from chasing women and making money to other more global spiritual endeavors. Even for the company.

It may not come as a surprise, but corporations evolve as do people. Along that line, many companies have been giving to charity for a long time and felt no more should be asked of them. But that is not the case any longer. Adult responsibility is the next phase to which corporations are being asked to move along with their many customers.

On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal explained ways corporations are contributing to global well-being that are free to those willing to take a few moments to click. Two featured search engines contribute money every time a person clicks on a search. It's only pennies a time, but these pennies add up:
"Searchkindly.org allows users to raise money for charity simply by performing Google searches on the site. Advertisers on the site pay Searchkindly according to the number of users, and all advertising revenue goes to charity. Goodsearch.com is another search engine that funds donations with advertising revenue; for every search performed on the site, roughly one cent goes to charity."
TheHungerSite.org, featured on this blog, was also highlighted this week by the Journal. This mega-Website, which originated in 1999, addresses six different issues from hunger to breast cancer, literacy, rain forests, animals and child health. Each click provides free donations that can be made daily. It takes about one minute to get through the six and each page shows what you contributed and the total. Let me tell you, the clicks add up!
"Each click on one of these sites generates a few pennies at best, but with more than five million unique monthly visitors to the GreaterGood sites at last count, the pennies add up. Last year, these sites raised $1.5 million. There is now a forum for people all around the world to take action together to support an issue, and small actions can really add up to do a lot of good."
And finally, the article noted a way to give frequent flier miles to charity. Information about that is included on each airline's Website. Again, these miles add up. WSJ revealed that "American Airlines fliers have donated more than 43 million miles; US airways gave more than 300 million miles in 2007."

While we might not want to be dragged from adolescence into adulthood spiritually, the alternative of being left behind in the dust is dire. Responsible acts of sharing time, money, clicks and miles may be the first step to that brighter future for each one of us individually and the planet as a whole.

Of Note: This photo of two purple and white crocuses was shot yesterday during a lull in the rain. You can tell they are tiny by comparing the size of the surrounding mulch and pine needles. The yellow crocuses mentioned yesterday are already gone in the pounding rain. So, these two survivors are the only flowers presently gracing the extensive perennial garden.

Today's Weather Report: More rain, all day. At 40 degrees, it's cold as well. The lady meteorologist promises snow later with almost certainty.
Good day to curl up and read a book.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Contemplating Beauty

It is a wholesome and necessary thing
for us to turn again to the earth
and in the contemplation of her beauties
to know of wonder and humility.

Rachel Carson


Of Note: On April 11th, we had a blizzard, and these steps were covered in snow. Now ten days later, spring is back. The first crocus is up in the lowest flower bed to the right of the stairs. It is yellow and only 2 or 3 inches tall and such a welcome sight! This morning, I dragged the downed maple tree in the lower right off into the woods. It was cracked into little pieces so was not hard to do. My body appreciated being outside even if just for a few minutes before the rain began.

This little deer is one of the two residents, who relish eating my garden. He and I were viewing each other eye to eye through the large kitchen window. These foragers often find the perennials a fine dessert much to my chagrin. They can mow down to the ground a whole flower bed in one night. Argh.

Speaking of animals, one of the more unpleasant features of Spring is the dog poop that is all over the gravel around the house. It dots the landscape until after the first few big showers but we have to watch where we walk until that time. One year I bought "low-emission" dog food thinking that might help the situation. It backfired. There might have been less poop, but it did not disintegrate at all. I ended up collecting four 5-gallon buckets of the stuff with a pooper-scooper! I would have rather been hunting Easter eggs, let me tell you.

Today's Weather Report: Rain and 56 degrees. Enough said. We might get snow tomorrow. No big dump, just flurries. Did anyone tell the Heavenly Powers that Spring is here? Where is CEO God when we need Him? (Just kidding, He's got a lot going on these days, and our little weather situation is not at the top of His list, I'm sure.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Trees are the Earth's endless effort
to speak to the listening heaven.

R. Tagore



Of Note: This photo was taken out the back door of my house toward the still frozen lake two days ago. The birch trees show no budding at all. I will take this picture later in the summer, and you will see the difference leaves make.

Today's Weather Report: A glorious day in the seventies! I was out early picking up trash that a critter had strewn down by the dock. Amazingly, the ice is melted close to shore, and the lake is up about a foot! That is very good news. We are expecting more rain starting tomorrow. Maybe even some snow on Friday! But beggars cannot be choosers. Water is water, and we need it all.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Gifting


No act of kindness,
no matter how small,
is ever wasted.

Aesop


The best idea of 10 I've saved for the last because it deserves a page of its own. This one could literally change the world almost overnight, but might prove too controversial to implement with any real speed.

Gift-giving is a time-honored act from one person to another. These days, gift-giving days such as birthdays, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, etc. are exploited by the purveyors of goods to such an extant that one giving-day runs into the next, year in and year out.
News outlets provide blow-by-blow accounts of the bottom-lines of Wal-Mart, Macy's and Target at Christmas, spelling doom when enough "stuff" isn't purchased. One is made to feel she are not truly American if she does not contribute to capitalism in this way.

But something just doesn't feel right, does it?

What doesn't feel right may be the equating of love to a gift when we know that our love for another transcends a material object of little real value. In a sense, we've been brainwashed to believe this equation reflects reality. Deep in our hearts we recognize that's not the case.

OK, so gift-giving in this way bankrupts the heart, now what? How about ceasing traditional gifting and instead giving to someone or something in need? It's a pretty simple idea really. If truth be told, billions are spent each year on presents we neither need nor truly want--although we certainly appreciate the thought. Those same billions multiplied over years and years could transform the world and share the wealth of our families, communities and nations with those less fortunate.

The Internet has made this kind of giving particularly easy--and fun. Multiple Websites abound with giving opportunities. Sometimes, the recipients even share stories of what the gift has meant to them in a way that touches the heart and reinforces the threads of unity that binds all mankind.

The age-old traditional of gifting carries this one further. What is gifting? One version goes like this: when a kindness has been done to you, return a kindness not to that person but to someone else instead. In this way, acts of charity are spread exponentially like a woven tapestry of good will. Note the fact that gifting is often based on actions, thus money plays only a small role, if any.

Either of these new ideas in giving would substantially alter the external world, but maybe even more importantly, it would begin to alter the giver. How? Over time, the concept of "brotherhood among men" solidifies as a reality as the heart grows to encompass all beings. If carried out in concert as a group, this new way of sharing muscle and wealth could have a positive explosive effect to the seemingly intransigent world problems of hunger, poverty and disease.

I'm left with the thought that acts of kindness are contagious. But this kind of contagion would be positively transformative. Let's start this movement today. Will you join me? The Earth and all its inhabitants, both visible and invisible, would say "Thank You!"

Of Note: I have no idea who took this famous picture of the Earth, but THANK YOU whoever you are! Marie sent it so thanks to her as well.

Today's Weather Report: A thunderstorm, complete with lightening, descended last night around 11 pm. Thus, the snow has been eradicated like a weed in the wake of Round-up. But, cloudy it remains, just to remind us that more rain might be on the way. Bring it on! Our lake is still several feet down--or so it appears still under the ice.

Monday, April 21, 2008

10 Ideas You Can't Live Without


Bet you thought I'd forgotten about my continued list of 10 Ideas that may change the world. Sometimes in this blogging business, intervening forces create news that needs covering, such as occurred last week with the Dalai Lama and the Pope. But, alas, we are past that now. So, on to future thinking.

So far we've revealed that growing and eating bugs may be the next agriculture boom, and the Wesak Festival may take over Christmas as the year's biggest holiday. No surprisingly, neither of these concepts were highlighted at the Technology, Entertainment and Design conference held recently in Monterey, California, otherwise known affectionately as TED (www.ted.com.) For $6,000 a pop an eclectic audience of 1,200 listened attentively to futuristic, need I say cutting-edge, ideas. Some of these made my list because of their far-reaching and potentially Earth-changing nature. See if you agree.

TED attendees were enamored with Microsoft's new Worldwide Telescope that can be accessed at www.worldwidetelescope.org. So was I. This virtual telescope "combines feeds from satellites and the best space-and ground-based telescopes around the world" and can be downloaded as a free desktop. It will allow anyone with a computer to zoom in, pan across and otherwise participate in the universe in a way not possible before. Roy Gould, the science educator from Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics proclaimed unabashedly:
"It's going to change the way we do astronomy. It's going to change the way we teach astronomy. And most importantly, I think, it's going to change the way we see ourselves in the universe."
Few would disagree that to conceptualize the future requires a step into infinity. This virtual sky-looker may make that possible.

Another TED presenter, Tod Machover, helps physically and mentally disabled persons perform music. In my mind, that would include many of us who have always wanted to participate in music but were held back by their body and brains in one way or another. Machover, who leads MIT Media Lab's Hyperinstruments/Opera of the Future group,
intends to fix all of that through various technological means.

One of the groups creations was the Brain Opera. No it's not like surgery. Rather, "it lets the audience, live and via the internet, be involved in creating and performing a piece of music"--even for the previous unmusical. This is accomplished through the use of software developed by the group that "uses colors and lines to compose music that is then converted into musical notation." One of the composers highlighted at TED sufferers from severe cerebral palsy, yet created a beautiful score called "My Eagle Song."

Why does this make my list? Machover
believes that people get more from making music than just listening to it. Some have called music a direct connection between mind and heart. Thus, it might be that music-making by the masses could meld the collective mind and heart, creating a bearer to violence and war. Pope Benedict, a great music lover and pianist, said last week:
"Recognition of the transcendent value of every man and woman favors conversion of heart, which then leads to a commitment to resist violence, terrorism and war, and to promote peace and justice" (WSJ, 4-20-08.)
Maybe Machover and the Pope should get together to create a Peace Movement through music-making by the masses. After all, at some level, harmonic music-making is the definition of peace itself.

Moving from TED, another far-reaching concept was presented recently through the Cliburn YouTube Contest. Actually, it's a bit of a gimmick by the Cliburn Foundation to publicize its International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs in 2011, but has merit none-the-less. Listen to this. Amateur pianists over the age of 35 have been given the opportunity of a lifetime to shoot a 10-minute video of their piano playing, download it into YouTube by April 30, then wait for YouTube viewers to chose the winner by May 30.
The prize? $2,000 and an entry into the 2011 competition. Not a bad deal for a talented, middle-aged amateur pianist. Go to www.cliburn.org for more details (WSJ, 3-15/16-08.)

This idea was a first in the amateur music world and may foretell other innovative ways that YouTube and other video sites will be used for the good of mankind. As an example, already we can credit such videos with outing corrupt politicians by proving inconsistencies in their rhetoric. There are no secrets is a universal dictum, and YouTube has been influential in bringing that apparently little known principle to light, even if unintentionally. When this concept is more widely accepted, a new age of honesty will necessarily prevail.

Another great idea for the future are new limb prosthetics that are implanted in the bone and attached to the nerves. Consequently, the body grows around the stub and eventually, the amputee begins to think of the prosthetic as part and parcel of his own body. Germany is on the cutting edge of this technology, but infections of bone and tissue have prevented the concept from moving forward. Growing new limbs like a salamander may beat the prosthetics out, however. Researchers have recently discovered why salamanders do what they do. They say it is only a matter of time before humans will be able to do the same.

Then, there are the British scientists who are attempting to save the rare white rhino by an innovative technique that will "mix its skin cells with that of its close cousin, the southern white rhino, that is not so endangered. The resulting offspring will be 'chimeras' with a mixture of cells from both species, but it is hoped that some will grow up to have the sperm and eggs of the northern white rhino and so boost the animal's dwindling gene pool" (The Independent, London, 4-18-08.) One scientist went on to warn that the same technique, which may prove life-saving in conservation biology, could be used in human reproduction as well. In fact, it has proved to be an easy technique with few apparent side-effects.

Anyone see I am Legend? Ideas that can change the future can have negative consequences as well as positive. With the plethora of genetic engineering techniques making their way to practical usage, consideration of the ethics of such experiments have not kept pace, nor may it be possible in the current environment. However, in the future, ethical answers must be found to bring some order to what may be a bizarre genetic zoo, potentially including genetically altered humans.

On a more positive note comes a cure for cancer. Yes, that's what I said. CBS 60 Minutes recently interviewed the humble man whose innovation may have found the elusive cure for the often fatal disease. His name is John Kanzius, a retired former radio and television executive who holds no college degree. Six years ago he was diagnosed with terminal leukemia and underwent countless rounds of chemotherapy during which he was deeply moved by the dying children around him. Their pained eyes haunted him.

During one sleepless night, the light bulb went off.
Kanzius revealed to his interviewer that "when he was young, he was one of those kids who built radios from scratch, so he knew the power of radio waves. Sick from chemo, he got out of bed, went to the kitchen and started to build a radio wave machine." The elderly cancer victim started pulling things like pie pans out of the cabinets. When his wife saw this, she thought he'd lost his mind. In a way, maybe he had. Sometimes it might take that.

Fast forwarding, Kanzius indeed created his radio wave machine and got the attention of a MD Anderson Cancer Center doctor-researcher, who pronounced it the most exciting thing he'd every encountered in his 20-year career. The story did not stop there.

Serendipitously, the Nobel Prize winner for the discovery of carbon nanoparticles was being treated at MD Anderson by the self-same doctor-researcher. This innovative physician asked his patient for a vial of carbon nanoparticles to further the experiments he'd undertaken with Kanzius. Even though the Nobel prize winner was incredulous, he gave Kanzius a test tube of the stuff. To the amazement of the dying Nobel Laureate, the researchers found that when the prepared nanoparticles were injected into a tumor, heated and then exposed to the radio waves, the tumor started to disintegrate--without harming the surrounding tissue at all.

Human trials are at least four years away. But if he lives that long, Kanzius hopes to see the first patient being treated. He said that will make him smile. As a side note, it will definitely not be in time for the author of the phenomenal best seller The Last Lecture, based on an actual lecture about life's lessons given by a university professor who is dying of pancreatic cancer.

The insightful, but humble professor's daily activities can be followed on his Website for anyone brave enough to watch his life to the end. A video of the Last Lecture can be found there also. Be prepared to be touched:
www.cs.cmu.edu/~pausch.

Both of these men could benefit from the last good idea for the future, home funerals. With recent exposure to hospice services and the hefty price of regular funerals, many folks nationwide have turned to this new concept. This innovative service provided by a former hospice chaplain is now available in northern Wisconsin and includes "completing and filing all legal documents, transporting the body home, washing and clothing the body, holding a wake and transporting the body to a cemetery or crematorium." Also thrown in are complementary plans for a home-made casket, if requested. While not for everyone, home funerals open a new avenue for those interested in a more natural progression from life to death.

Needless to say, funeral homes will not be happy to relinquish their monopoly. But, in the future, Americans will most likely join the global multitudes, who know that death is a part of life. For centuries worldwide mourners have prepared the dead body in an accepting, natural way and in the process provided the outgoing soul with a more appropriate, exiting atmosphere. This innovative concept may take decades to catch on, but home funerals have arrived and have paradigm-shifting potential.
For more information go to www.northwoodshomefunerals.com.

And finally, this photo of my Dad was snapped almost thirty years ago as he read to his two grandsons. My son on the left just turned 31, and my nephew Daniel is on the right. Reading was Dad's most beloved past-time but he lost that ability when he got Alzheimer's Disease, which took his life 8 years later. Someday, I'd like to be able to report in my 10 Best Ideas for the year that a cure for this mind-altering disease has been uncovered. Maybe we should get John Kanzius on it. Radio waves, anyone?

Today's Weather Report: Haven't been out so don't know truthfully what temp it is today. The sunshine has been keeping the room warm without additional heat, though, so I'd guess it's in the fifties. Only a few, small patches of snow remain, and Jim is grilling chicken outside.







Sunday, April 20, 2008

Highest Aspirations in the Sunshine


Far away there in the sunshine
are my highest aspirations.
I may not reach them,
but I can look up and
see their beauty,
believe in them, and try to follow
where they lead.


Louisa May Alcott

Of Note: This ethereal sunset was taken by my talented Mom when she visited Hawaii last year. Thanks, Mom!

Today's Weather Report: Partly cloudy but cool in the low forties. Not much snow left after yesterday's showers.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Wesak Festival

Today is the high, holy Wesak Festival of the Buddhists and all mankind. The Wesak Legend is a beautiful tale of hope, love and compassion. Whether one considers it a dream, legend or fact makes no difference. All that is required to participate is to open the Heart and Mind to whatever flows through. The legend goes like this--

There is a valley, lying at a rather high altitude in the foothills of the Himalayan-Tibet ranges. It is surrounded by high mountains on all sides except toward the northeast, where there is a narrow opening in the mountain ranges. The valley is, therefore, bottle shaped in contour, with the neck of the bottle to the northwest, and it widens very considerably toward the south. Up toward the north end, close to the neck of the bottle there is to be found a huge flat rock. There are no trees or shrubs in the valley, which is covered with a kind of course grass, but the sides of the mountain are covered with trees.

At the time of the full moon of Taurus, pilgrims from all the surrounding districts begin to gather; the holy men and lamas find their way into the valley and fill the southern and the middle parts, leaving the northeastern part relatively free. There, so the legend runs, gathers a group of those great Beings Who are the Custodians on Earth of God's Plan for our planet and humanity. By what name we call those Beings does not greatly matter.

The Christian may prefer to speak of Christ and His church. The esotericists may call Them the Masters of the Wisdom, the planetary Hierarchy, Who in Their varied grades are ruled and taught by the Christ, the Master of all Masters, and the Teacher alike of angels and men. Or we can call Them the Rishis of the Hindu scripture, or the Society of Illumined Minds as in the Tibetan teaching.

They are the Great Intuitives and the Great Companions of our more modern presentation, and are the aggregate of perfected humanity who have followed in Christ's steps and have entered for us within the veil, leaving us an example that we should do as they have done. They, with their wisdom, love and knowledge, stand as a protective wall around our race, and seek to lead us on, step by step (as They Themselves were led in Their time) from darkness to light, from the unreal to the real, and from death to immortality.

This group of Knowers of divinity are the main participants in the Wesak Festival. They range themselves in the northeastern end of the valley, and in concentric circles prepare Themselves for a great act of service. In front of the rock, looking toward the northeast, stands Those Beings Who are called by Their disciples "the Three Great Lords." These are the Christ, Who stands in the center; the Lord of living forms, the Manu, Who stands on His right; and the Lord of Civilization, Who stands on His left. These three face the rock, upon which there rests a great crystal bowl, full of water.

As the hour of the full moon approaches, a stillness settles down upon the crowd, and all look toward the northeast. The expectancy in the waiting, onlooking crowds becomes very great, and the tension is real and increasing. Through the entire body of people there seems to be felt a stimulation or potent vibration which has the effect of awakening the souls of those present, fusing and blending the group into one united whole, and lifting all into a great act of spiritual demand, readiness and expectancy. It is the climax of the world's aspiration, focussed in this waiting group. These three words--demand, readiness and expectancy--best describe the atmosphere surrounding those present in this secret valley.

The chanting and rhythmic weaving grows stronger, and all participants and the watching crowd raise their eyes toward the sky in the direction of the narrow part of the valley. Just a few minutes before the exact time of the full moon, in the far distance, a tiny speck can be seen in the sky. It comes nearer and nearer, and grows with clarity and definiteness of outline, until the form of the Buddha can be seen, seated in the cross-legged Buddha position, clad in His saffron-colored robe, bathed in light and color, and with His hands extended in blessing.

When He arrives at a point exactly over the great rock, hovering there in the air over the heads of the three Great Lords, a great mantram, used only once a year, at the Festival, is intoned by the Christ, and the entire group of people in the valley fall upon their faces.

This Invocation sets up a great vibration or thought current which is of such potency that it reaches up from the group of aspirants, disciples and initiates who employ it, to God Himself. It marks the supreme moment of intensive spiritual effort throughout the entire year, and the spiritual vitalization of humanity and the spiritual effects last throughout the succeeding months. The effect of this Great Invocation is universal and cosmic, and serves to link us up with that cosmic center of spiritual force from which all created beings have come. The blessing if poured forth, and the Christ--as the Representative of Humanity--receives it in trust for distribution.

Thus, so the legend runs, the Buddha returns once a year to bless the world, transmitting through the Christ, renewed spiritual life. Slowly then the Buddha recedes into the distance, until again a faint speck can be seen in the sky, and this eventually disappears. The whole ceremonial blessing, from the time of the first appearance in the distance until the moment Buddha fades out of view, takes just eight minutes.

The Buddha's annual sacrifice for humanity (for He comes back only at great cost) is over, and he returns again to that high place where He works and waits. Year after year, He comes back in blessing; year after year the same ceremony takes place. Year after year He and His great Brother, the Christ, work in the closest cooperation for the spiritual benefit of humanity. In these two great Sons of God have been focussed two aspects of divine life, and They act together as Custodians of the highest type of spiritual force to which humanity can respond.

Through the Buddha, the wisdom of God is poured forth. Through the Christ, the love of God is manifested to humanity; and it is this wisdom and love which pour forth upon mankind each May full moon.

When the Buddha has again disappeared the crown rise to their feet; the water in the bowl is distributed in tiny portions to the masters, initiates, and disciples, and They they go Their way to the place of service. The crowd, who have all brought their little cups and vessels of water, drink of them, and share iwth others. In this beautiful "water ceremony of communion" we have presented for us, in symbol, an indication of the New Age.

In this ceremony is perpetrated for us the story of the universality of God's love, the need for individual purification, and the opportunity to share with each other that which belongs to us all. The water which has been magnetized by the presence of the Buddha and the Christ, carries certain properties and virtues of healing and helpful nature. Thus blessed, the crowd silently disperses; the Masters and the disciples return with renewed strength to undertake another year of world service.

And so ends the moving legend. For years the Wesak Festival has been celebrated in Tibet and surrounding areas; it is a new concept to the west.
Because the holy observance combines eastern and western spiritual philosophies into one, some predict that one day it will stand as the main global spiritual holiday. When that happens, you can say you saw it here first.

Of Note: Marie did not know that when she took this soul-filled picture of the Rockies years ago, it would be used in place of the mighty Himalayas in 2008. I'm sure mountains have aspirations, too! In this case, the Rockies represent the elder statesman and the Himalayas the new kid on the block. This legend is quoted verbatim from a pamphlet The Wesak Festival: A Technique of Spiritual Contact, by A. A. Bailey. It can be obtained from www.lucistrust.org.

Today's Weather Report: Yesterday I misspoke. It was only in the chilly forties not the sixties. That's a big difference. Today it's doing one better and hasn't risen above the upper thirties. So the rain coming down is sometimes arriving as ice pellets. Did anyone tell the great weather-maker that it is heading into the third week of April? Heck, the lake is still frozen. Global warming seems like a myth in these parts.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Symbolic Earthquake


When the spirit develops in the direction of Infinity, then the feeling of
responsibility acquires the power manifested by the Creators of the Cosmos.
Begin to realize personal responsibility and strive toward cosmic responsibility.


There is the step of personal responsibility, the step of responsibility for human thought,
the step of responsibility for human evolution, the step of responsibility for a better future.


When thinking will be perfected, it will be possible to say
that the time of construction of a better future is near.


M. Morya, Infinity I, #73



A month ago I wondered why the Pope was coming to the United States; now, I wonder what took him so long. In the intervening month, the clear vision of the Pope as a bearer of healing energy to the United States, particularly in conjunction with that of the Dalai Lama, completely transformed my view.

The Washington Post highlighted the Pope's uplifting message the the United States people by saying:
"With a moving message of hope and healing during his historic visit to this city, Pope Benedict XVI opted to speak not only to the Catholics who claim him as their spiritual leader. He spoke to all Americans. His words were a positive reminder of our national character and its potential to do great good; they should serve as a challenge that we hope will outlast the memories of his visit."
And that remark only climaxed the second full day of his visit when making the rounds in Washington DC where thousands lined the streets and 45,000 filled the new Nationals Park.

Between engagements yesterday, a most extraordinary event occurred. The fearless Pope met with a group of tearful victims of the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Church in the United States since 2000, costing it upward of $2 billion dollars in settlements. First, the small group talked and prayed together then Pope Benedict met with each individually. Most went away from the meeting weeping.

Although we do not know what was said to those aggrieved victims, just this week for the first time, the Pope had publicly revealed his deep personal shame over the sexual abuse itself and how it was subsequently handled. As a matter of fact, at a meeting with his bishops the day before, His Holiness chided them for poorly handling the situation. He didn't leave it at that but went on to say that it was their "God-given duty to heal the wounds of the abused."

A monsignor this morning on Fox News sniffed that the bishops needed no papal advise; they had already been on this since 1992 and had apologized to many of the victims. It would have been better if this cleric hadn't added that little piece of information because it only highlighted the bishop's abysmal failure to contain the mess that has now bankrupted at least four diocese and left thousands, yes thousands, of victims in its wake. I'm sure it was that very failure to which the Pope was addressing.

By the time Pope Benedict got the New York, his energetic effect was unmistakable. Just this morning he addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations, only the third time for a pope, and said that respect for human rights was the key to solving many of the world's problem: "The promotion of human rights remains the most effective strategy for eliminating inequalities between countries and social groups, and increasing security."

Could this be a push by His Holiness to ask members of the UN to return to the roots of its august charter, which may have been all but forgotten since its inception 60 years ago? Such a move by this esteemed assemblage would require a solid and quite literal acceptance of responsibility for all humanity--one by one, group by group, nation by nation--an apparently foreign concept at this time. The Pope obviously envisions a future of such harmonious unity and his very presence in that multinational hall may herald an unexpected change in that direction.

Remember my speculation earlier in the week about the vortex of energy created by the Pope and Dalai Lama compressing and utilizing the energy of the Oprah/Tolle groups in between? Was it surprising then that a 5.2 earthquake hit the Midwest today at 4:37 am?

It happened in southern Illinois near the Indiana border on the New Madrid fault line which has been quiescent for quite sometime, although it reminds residents of its presence every few years. The Associated Press explained that the shock was felt from Milwaukee to Atlanta, nearly 400 miles to the southeast. Although the tremors did not match the great New Madrid earthquake of 1811 and 1812, it still got people's attention and caused a small measure of damage to buildings. Some speculate that the Earth is awaking to the potent energy of humanity, and this may be an example of that fact.

And finally, with this kind of explosive power possible, Jimmy Carter might be careful how he deploys his enormous energy in the Middle East. Sometimes, unexpected consequences materialize from seemingly innocuous acts of good will. Could be that his open, loving heart will help neutralize some of the hatred directed at the Israelis by the Palestinians. This is certainly not the vision of Carter's visit by the United States or Israeli governments. But, given that nothing else has worked to date,
only time will tell if the former President's meetings will bear the fruit of good will, or simply energize the destructive forces that lurk in that historically significant locale.

There is hope for the region. How do I know that? Just this week a new Lakota Executive Director was hired for the Lac Courte Oreilles Chippewa Tribal clinic here in Hayward, which might not be of interest to most. But, it caught my eye because the history of northern Wisconsin is predominated early on by continuous battles between the Sioux/Lakota and the Chippewa Indians over territory.

For over 200 years, these two tribes fought some of the most vicious warfare imaginable, including ritual torture and scalping of live victims. The Chippewa finally drove the Sioux into Minnesota but skirmishes did not end until the mid-1800's, and a symbolic peace treaty was signed in 1898. Not too long ago really.

Now in 2008, with little fanfare, a Lakota was hired by the Chippewa to oversee the health care of the community. What many thought only a hundred years ago
would be impossible has become reality in the 21st century, an amazing transformation in a short time.

A similar reconciliation might be possible for tribal cousins of the Middle East with intervention appropriate to the region.
Miracles are possible and even probable given sound leadership taking responsibility. Maybe the Pope and the Dalai Lama should visit and create a symbolic earthquake. The whole world would rejoice.


Of Note: Because no earthquake pictures were available, I put in the next best thing, that of glorious mountains created by the Earth's heavings long ago. Thanks, Marie!

Today's Weather Report: Although it looked like rain all day, not a drop dropped. A little sun would be appreciated to get rid of the remaining snow. But the sixty degree temps were welcomed with a sigh of relief. It's been a LONG winter.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Thousand Fibers


We cannot live only for ourselves.
A thousand fibers connect us to our fellow men.

Herman Melville



Of Note: This lovely photo was brought to us by my talented sibling, Marie!

Today's Weather Report: It was in the lower sixties today and just beautiful. The snow is retreating chop-chop.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Make Love Not War



The flames in the Himalayas have died down a bit over the past week. How could it not with troops assuring that "calm" return to Tibet and the adjacent areas in China proper. The Chinese Muslim Uighurs are no longer in the news. Nepal's election experienced a hiccup but is proceeding with its former Maoist rebels taking the lead. And humble Bhutan had its election with no antacid required.

In all these situations, the actions of the Bhutanese King certainly stands out as enlightened self-less service to his adoring subjects. His unwaivering selflessness constitutes real leadership in a world that seldom produces such. Yesterday, I prepared a list of global conflicts taking place right now or within recent history that was not all inclusive to be sure.

Are you ready? Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Darfur, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar, China, Tibet, Haiti, Nepal, Kosovo, Georgia, and Argentina.


What's more, this lengthy tally does not count the citizenry of other countries who are generally unhappy with government policies or direction but choose not to riot or otherwise act out violently. If one added those countries, even the United States could be counted along with many others experiencing general discontent. You only have to look as far as the unfolding Presidential elections to know a deep malaise engulfs our nation.

Taken as a whole, what are we seeing in these crises? Could it be that statesmen-like leadership evidenced by selflessness, harmlessness and the will-to-good is pervasively lacking?

In all fairness, the current crop of elected officials or dictators, benevolent or not, have few real leaders from which to learn the rudiments of a new
lighted way that would include "education and exposure to spiritual values to live by, including the rule of law, right human relations and a sense of personal responsibility" (Beacon, Roy, p. 18.) But no one would argue that almost without exception our expectant world lacks enlightened political leaders. Pure and simple.

Thus, when we see such a selfless person or persons, it stands out. The Dalai Lama and the Pope, who were highlighted in this blog two days ago, are certainly examples of enlightened political leaders, but three others have shone forth.

Tusumba is his name and saving wildlife his mission. As the deputy governor of Kasai province in the Democratic Republic of Congo, he was given a baby bonobo by villagers who had apparently killed the rest of the chimp's family to obtain the prized gift. Tusumba made the unusual decision to raise the animal with his family rather than treat it like a pet, and it had a profound impact on the man.

After leaving office in 2004, this nascent environmentalist experienced one of those ah-ha moments--instead of corralling animals into preserves that were in essence "live meat lockers" for poachers, why not have the animals live among the people in their natural setting? After all, the usual game reserves were only necessary because of the intrusion of people in the first place.

Thus began a peaceful but potent revolution based on Tusumba's quiet, but motivated leadership. In the ensuing years, he with others showed the natives how saving the animals could bring needed development to the area, including schools, roads and medical clinics. The top-down government model was thrown out and in its place "conservation groups asked the villagers what they wanted, delivered it themselves and made conservation a condition of delivery."

What emerged is an area that now covers over 10% of the country where the villagers run their own reserves. The bonobo and other animals have free reign in these uncommon sanctuaries. If work needs to be done, the locals do it, from portering, to building, to tracking. The result? Villages are empowered and thriving. Children are attending school. The animals no longer face the end of a gun barrel.

And Tusumba is not done yet, after all he is only 45. But this story is not about one man's legacy. Rather, it is about one man's energy igniting the populace.
Ironically, in a country with so little peace at a national level, the former politician's inspiration came from a chimp species known for its sexual cavorting in order to make peace between and among packs. TIME magazine, which highlighted these animals on April 21, 2008, revealed:
"Bonobos were recognized as a separate species only in 1933, less because of their physical distinctions than because of their peaceable, highly sexual ways. The bonobos are now cultural and commercial darlings. A raw vegetable restaurant in New York City calls itself Bonobo's. California sex therapist Susan Block has developed a conflict resolution protocol dubbed the Bonobo Way: 'You can't very well fight a war while you're having an orgasm.' "
That these frisky primates started all this is not a bad thing. The peaceful bonobo chimps may be contributing their energy to the cause. Hey, we'll take whatever help is offered. Any being who knows to make love not war, must be on to something big. The Dalai Lama may have competition.

Enlightened leadership has led the way in two other unexpected places, Iraq and Afghanistan. The peoples of these two war-torn countries are benefiting from the evocative response of indigenous politicians to their invocative appeal for peace and liberation after years of violence. The ultimate response is not yet known, though the immediate reaction is promising.

Former Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalabi has been a controversial figure ever since he encouraged the United States to depose Saddam Hussein. But, lately he has begun to redeem himself by leading the Popular Mobilization Committee and the Baghdad Services Committee at the request of the Prime Minister. Under his leadership, 3,000 volunteers were recruited in Baghdad to operate 120 neighborhood watch committees, which "provide intelligence, report trouble, help settle returnees to their homes and the like. They have been crucial in stabilizing the city neighborhood by neighborhood' " (WSJ, 4-12/13-08, p. A9.)

While settlement issues demand much time, more importantly Chalabi himself takes Shiite leaders into Sunni areas and vice-versa. He proudly pronounced: "We just did two reconciliation meetings where hostile tribal chieftains invited each other just because they heard we were coming." What's more, mosques are being returned to their rightful owners and inter-sectarian prayers are held. Though some Americans may question Chalabi's motives, his advocacy for the people and his local moral authority are making a significant difference in Iraq. This just proves that enlightened leaders need not be saints.

And finally, we hear of little progress in Afghanistan. But amazingly information has been emerging that villagers there might be taking matters into their own hands to bring peace. How? Local leaders are forsaking NATO's military model that initially "freed" their country and are surprising us by utilizing indigenous peacemaking methods. This is undoubtedly a culturally sensitive process
with the added benefit of leadership by a group which inarguably increases its potency. What a novel idea.

Roger Roy, an esotericist who studies energy patterns, spoke of these efforts:
"One example has been the use of the peace jirg concept, a village method of dealing with disputes whereby the party that is guilty sends a delegation to make restitution. A tribal assembly of Afghan and Pakistani elders, as well as teachers, businesspeople and politicians, are being brought together to begin to deal with the border insurgency surrounding Kandahar through dialogue using the jirg model. This may be the first step of bringing light into the consciousness of peoples living in the [mountain areas]" (Beacon, p. 18.)
Thus globally, light is making its way into the minds and hearts of some selfless leaders who are pouring it upon those with whom they come in contact. This is hopefully just the beginning of a long-awaited redemptive process to bring light into the consciousness of ALL people through awakened spiritual leadership.


Of Note: No, this is not the Himalayas. Rather it is West Texas where Marie recently vacationed. Stay tuned, you will be entertained as I was with her pictures from this trip for months to come. Thanks, Sis!

Today's Weather Report: The upper sixties temps made me jump for joy. The clouds did little to temper my enthusiasm. Hey, a little rain would be welcomed to get rid of the remaining snow and add a wee bit of moisture to the soil. With the lake down several feet last year, we can use it all. Every drop.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Inextricably Interrelated



Everything is inexplicably interrelated:
We come to realize we are responsible
for everything we do, say, or think,
responsible in fact for ourselves,
everyone and everything else,
and the entire universe


Sogyal Rinpoche


Of Note: These are my two adorable grandsons inextricably interrelating and sharing a quiet moment together. The photo was taken by their parents and emailed. How email has revolutionized picture sharing over vast distances.

Today's Weather Report: It's going to be in the mid to upper fifties on this bright and sunny Tuesday. Now we're talking!

Monday, April 14, 2008

New Earth in a New Age


Manifest the desire for new things.
Manifest the desire for new paths.
Having awakened the desire toward
beauty of Infinity in everything,
humanity will walk forward
without glancing back.

Only the grandeur of the Cosmos
will impel the spirit toward
the inaccessible Heights.

M. Morya, Infinity, #46.

Seems to me, we've been at this manifesting a long time and have yet to get it right. Myself and others have flitted hither and thither searching for the spiritual truth. Sometimes we discern what we believe to be the right door from a distance, only to have it slam in our face as we approach to peer through. It's excruciating, really, because the search, apparently encoded in our DNA, must then begin anew.

Could it be that help has arrived? As I look at what's happening in the past month or so, it appears that new spiritual energy may be wafting through the United States at a time when it is sorely needed. Three events lead my thoughts in that direction.

It cannot be a coincidence that the visit of the Dalai Lama and the Pope are occurring in two consecutive weeks, one on each coast. These men are undoubtedly two of the most revered men in the world and are visiting not only to influence but to learn. Their offices carry unprecedented moral authority and, thus, unparalleled energy to bring enlightened change should they choose to use it.

The Dalai Lama has for a lifetime committed himself to spreading compassion and that was his message on the west coast to 65,000 people. He advocates loving one's enemy, even in the face of continuous animosity.

While advocating compassion and non-violence as well, Pope Benedict XVI has also reached out to Islam and other religions in his three short years in office. The Muslims masses have taken offense with his speeches and writings regarding their faith, but the Muslim clerics and the Pope have experienced an opening in dialogue.

While each coast entertained these prelates, in between has been the ascension of a book, New Earth, that has taken the states by storm. Even though its author, Eckhart Tolle, was well known in some circles, his recent collaboration with Oprah Winfrey took his message to new heights.

From what I've heard, weekly study sessions for groups or individuals are being streamed on the Web. The numbers participating has been astronomical and the first week, the Website crashed because it could not handle the load. Tolle's message of unity, compassion, responsibility and spiritual awakening is clear, concise and well-written, but not new. So, what is happening?

Could it be that Oprah and Eckhart set the stage for the later arrival of the two religious leaders? These holy men might be serving as the two poles--one on each coast--sandwiching all the
New Earth energy between them so that it is directed only for the good of mankind.

In my mind's eye, I then envision a gorgeous energy vortex of fiery colors that first envelops the United States and with swirling fingers moves out to embrace the entire globe. In its wake is left an atmosphere cleansed of the heavy, brooding forces currently veiling the planet.

Consider this--without direction, that potent energy could simply dissipate, or worse, be utilized by forces with less than good in mind. The services of these two men may be assuring only good will come from the dynamic, heart-felt energy created by the earnest New Earth students.

What we are seeing could be the beginning of many such healing pulsations that will eventually propel our New Earth into a Golden New Age. It will undoubtedly be a time of such grace that humanity will not even glance back at that inauspicious beginning of three forces in 2008.

Of Note: Marie's flaming sky photo is the closest I could come to a fiery vortex. I invite you to use your imaginations for that is the first step in creativity.

Today's Weather Report: Well, we are back to temps in the 50's and melting snow. Ah. Now I feel normal again, if that's possible.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Awestruck


Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.

Rachel Carson



Of Note: These are unusual daisies, are they not, and grace my sister's garden. That's in Texas where there is no snow, and it is actually spring. Intricate flowers such as these leave me awestruck--I can not stop staring.

Today's Weather Report: It's sunny today for the first time in many days and in the thirties. The foot of snow is melting and should retreat in short order from the sixty degree temps later in the week.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bugs Anyone?


As you know, TIME magazine's 10 best ideas for the future fell flat with me. Nothing earth-shaking there except Dr. Jeffrey Sach's contribution regarding the concept of connectivity as the only rational choice for sustaining humanity. After yawning through the magazine's choices, I perused my files and came up with my own candidates. Mind you, these were what I had and certainly do not contain the whole universe of great ideas. But, none-the-less, they suggest to me what the future might hold in 20 years and beyond.

If the population estimates are correct that we will reach many more billions of people by 2050, it is possible that other food sources will have to be discovered--or as I would say uncovered. So, will insects fill the void? David Gracer hopes so.

This American has spent his life exploring the possibility and even hosts bug eating events such as that presented to the New York Gastronauts, which is touted as a club for adventurous eaters. That evening, Mr. Gracer presented a savory dish of giant water bugs that bore a striking resemblance to cock roaches. When he flicked the insect's head off, the connoisseur asked the small audience to "smell the meat." Hmmmm.

Gracer is on a mission and his crusade was highlighted in this month's DISCOVER magazine. As you may or may not know, selected insects are an excellent source of protein and contain little fat. Many are consumed word-wide, particularly in Africa, where it is considered a valuable food source. But, here in the United States, bugs are generally considered a non-starter. Gracer wonders if that attitude can be changed. He has hopes.

Cows, pigs, chickens and even farm-raised fish create a large negative environmental footprint, potentially outweighing their combined contribution. According to the United Nations,
"Livestock production is responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions. (That's more than what is produced by transportation world-wide.) And the problem is only going to grow with global production of meat reaching 465 million tons by 2050, double the amount produced in 2000."
Because of this worrisome trend, the UN recently hosted a futuristic conference on entomophagy, the eating of insects. Gracer, who attended in anticipation of a bright future for his educational company, revealed:
"Americans have no idea how wasteful large mammals are. If you want to feed lots of people, insects are the best choice in terms of getting the biggest bang for your buck. Insects are nutritious. Although they contain less protein by weight than beef or chicken--100 grams of water bugs or small grasshoppers have about 20 grams of protein, compared with 27 grams in the same amount of lean ground beef--they do have other benefits. For instance, grasshoppers contain just one-third of the fat found in beef, and water bugs offer almost four times as much iron."
This man may be onto something, but so far it's been slow going. My suggestions to accelerate the process? Make it fashionable to eat one of the 1400 insect species consumed globally. Show the stars downing the critters. Their influence has been shown to change many minds, sometimes quickly.

This could be Angelina Jolie's next mission. As a matter of fact, insects could become a bountiful African export where insect commercialization is already a happening thing.
This is particularly profitable when obnoxious bugs are harvested from the landscape and sold. What's more, the future may hold promise for insect farming, which is cheap, requires little space, and creates only a small environmental footprint.

Other ideas? Sell Weight Watchers on the low-fat possibilities. With their clout and large advertising fund, they should be able to figure out a way to get past the "ick factor." How about growing the beasts then drying and powdering them as a protein supplement? After all, we get some of that already in our grain supplies with no ill effects. It's a little known fact that the USDA has a standard for insect parts per pound, although they don't advertise the fact for obvious reasons. Put the flour from your cupboard under a microscope, and you'd be astonished at the little black bug parts that peek out. Hmmmm.

David Gracer has been having some success in his far-reaching endeavors. His company Sunrise Land Shrimp, referring to crickets, has raised the awareness of scores of Americans who would not have considered bugs an acceptable food source. We may have to get over our squirminess. The UN reported that 854 million people went hungry in 2003. Based on this fact, it might behoove us to broaden our food choices beyond the current fare into insects--who knows, we might acquire a taste for the little beasties like David Gracer has done.

Bugs anyone? Sure, why not, can I have a little ketchup on mine?



TO BE CONTINUED with my other top 10 ideas for the future--

Of Note: Don't know if bees would be on the menu, probably not. After all, they are responsible for a third of all food consumed in one way or another and are being wiped out by a mysterious virus. But, Marie's lovely photo of spring bees was the only insect picture available. So, we'll have to close our eyes and just pretend. Hmmm.

Today's Weather Report: The sun peeked out about 4:00 pm. What a glorious sight! At least 12 inches of snow blankets the once-warming ground, but at 60 degrees later in the week, it's life expectancy is short.