Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Life Secret #3

You are the painter AND the painted,
The actor AND the playwright.

Wake up, forgetful thespian!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Life Secret #2

Decide who and what you are, and you will become that.

You've been doing so all along. You might as well do it on purpose.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Life Secret #1

There is no THEM.

They are all you.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


You must be wise to know wisdom when you hear it. Otherwise, it sounds like drivel. Or nothing at all.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Who's Arguing?

I have internal conversations all the time, throughout the day, and I find that I argue less and less as I become more aware. Less to prove, I suspect, but also the knowing that any stand I take in an argument is temporary at best and most certainly foolish in any case.

Don't ask me today to defend something I said yesterday. I will have changed a thousand times in a million different ways since then.

So I have no need to argue with a critic or defend a particular statement of mine. It was simply an expression of my understanding at that time, nothing more. Nothing to prove or dispute or refute.

If you choose to criticize or judge me, I know you are doing so as a result of YOUR beliefs, not mine.

Therefore, I have no need to argue with you. Nor, for that matter, do I have a need for you to agree with me.

Of course, it took me many years to realize that. And it will take many more to live my life that way.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

In Search Of The Enlightened Genius

Has there ever been an enlightened genius? One who woke up in mid-life, cleared out the debris, identified their passion, and hit it hard, firing on all cylinders?

Throughout my study of influential thinkers, artists, poets, etc., I have yet to come across many who appear to have been enlightened. Their genius, for the most part, seems to have been almost accidental.

I must compile a list of seemingly-enlightened geniuses, and go from there. I suppose the first thing to look for would be someone who didn't get all screwed up by success, fame, money or notoriety.

Virtually all the geniuses I've read about went through all sorts of chaos later in life. I see nothing of the joy-filled serenity or example-setting that I would expect from someone who had found and was able to sustain an aware perspective. They all seem to have ended up wallowing in misery of one kind or another.

So where is the enlightened genius?

There's got to be one around here somewhere...

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Great Ones

I recently read a book entitled Makers Of The Modern World, by Louis Untermeyer.

The book recounts the contributions of some of the most influential thinkers, writers, scientists and artists of the past two centuries.

One thing that struck me was that many of them came from broken families, endured early tragedies (which seemed to be the order of the day), and otherwise encountered emotional trauma while growing up. Not all of them did, but most.

Many of them didn't fit in well. Few were strong or attractive - most were neither.

And most were criticized or ridiculed for their expression.

A common thread is that they each had the courage, because of their passion, to express themselves boldly and to stand by their works and their ideas. The fact that almost all of them were harshly condemned for what they said or wrote or created attests to both the challenge each made to convention and their willingness to put their neck out there, to stand up and be heard.

It's easy to present visionary ideas in a covert or allegorical way. To do so is much less challenging to the status quo, and only the most intelligent people will understand it anyway.

But to come right out and state clearly and boldly what you have found to be truth is to charge the conservative lines, to light the torch that will chase a few more shadows from our understanding.

I find myself asking the following question:

Is it possible to present radically different ideas regarding who we are and why we are here in a way that does NOT cause large waves of controversy or offense? Can one create medium size waves instead, with perhaps lots of small ripples?

What good are the large waves, anyway? Do they do more harm than good?

And, perhaps more importantly, do those who put forth such volatile ideas knock themselves overboard with the large waves that they create?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Who Do You Love?

We live in a society in which love is not the status quo. It is not assumed.

When I pass a stranger, the assumption on both parts is that we do not know one another, are not connected to each other in any way, and most certainly do not love one another.

Loving others is something that we hold tightly to, sometimes secretly. We treat it as a rarity most of the time. We limit the intensity of the feelings we have or express.

Why? Why do we intentionally limit something that feels so good?

If we were to allow ourselves the full range of emotion in appreciating the people in our lives, our relationships would be quite different. As would life itself.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


If you make a conscious effort to guide/steer your attention toward thoughts and subjects that feel good, your default emotional setting rises.

We have an equilibrium that we consistently return to as our attention relaxes. This equilibrium is essentially an emotional state that constitutes our "average" mood.

One's average mood drifts up and down due to the accumulation of experience, as well as other factors. When our average mood is good, we might refer to ourselves as having a good stretch, and when our average mood is unpleasant, we would say that we are having a bad stretch, or a difficult or challenging time.

However, by monitoring one's emotional state, one can CHOOSE to entertain thoughts that feel good. You must take responsibility for your state of mind, and deliberately steer your thoughts and your attention in a direction that feels better.

I have noticed that by deliberately searching for better feeling thoughts, I am able to raise my equilibrium emotional setting - my average mood. When I do this, I can experience joy and happiness which is not being triggered by any particular event or circumstance or thought. It is a general peace and appreciation that comes through in waves.

One way of looking at this is that my average mood has gone up as a result of consciously and deliberately and consistently steering my attention toward good-feeling thoughts and ideas. And since my average mood is my default emotional setting (i.e. the one I return to when my attention is not on anything in particular), I am arriving at this peaceful state automatically, without trying.

And a little voice inside of me is saying, "Why have I never heard of this before???"

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Why So Miserable?

Last fall, I read two books in succession: The Power Of Now(Tolle) and Ask And It Is Given(Hicks).

Upon finishing the second, I noted the following:

"The last two books I've read have left me in a different state. I am returning to the present consistently now, and I'm noticing my emotions all the time.

"I'm not allowing myself to remain in a bad mood or a low vibration. I find that in order to improve a bad mood I must return to the present moment, and let the present moment and surroundings flood my awareness.

"When I'm in a good mood, I can easily visualize things/events that I desire, enjoying the perspective that it brings.

"I acknowledge that my attention, my mood, has been more flexible. I am able to return to a peaceful state quickly most of the time. Perhaps I have steered myself up the emotional scale enough times to know the way.

"I noted recently that it is MUCH easier to slide down into a bad mood than it is to climb up to a good one. And I contemplated why that is, what that means, and how it relates to spiritual evolution and expanding awareness.

"Why are we so fascinated with negative emotions that we allow ourselves to dwell on thoughts which make us unhappy? Bad moods can go on for a LONG time. Good ones seem so short-lived.

"Maybe it's because so many of our choices are not what we want. Maybe we consistently put ourselves in places we don't really want to be.

"Since our circumstances often seem unavoidable (meaning we choose them because we think we have no other choice), we spend a lot of our time thinking about commitments and circumstances that we don't like or want."

In re-reading the above passage, I am reminded of the "one step forward, two steps back" aspect of widening our awareness. I periodically arrive at a stretch of time during which I am riding high, feeling like I have cleared a hurdle of some sort and can see things clearly. And then, inevitably, a day or a week later, I'm back in the thick of things and feeling sorry for myself because I lost that "loving feeling" and life seems more weeds than flowers.

So I have found it helpful to re-read thoughts such as these. It's reassuring to see, in retrospect, the up and down cycle that searching and examining entails. As I continue moving forward, I am attempting to integrate the ups and downs, to iron out some of the creases.

If so, perhaps I will succeed in tempering the "low" spots with the remembrance of the "high" spots just around the corner.

And oh, how I LOVE those high spots...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Words To Ponder

Once the feeling becomes more important than the thought,
you are free.


The human race needs a better method, a better strategy, a better WAY to give voice and attention to those with vision. If we understood and valued vision, then listening to those who express it would be of greatest importance to us.

So what is VISION?

I'll offer one possible definition, for the purpose of this discussion:

Vision is the ability to conceive of and convey a picture of reality that is more joyful, more peaceful, and more fulfilling than the one currently being experienced.

I realize that this is a very specific and narrow definition, but it serves my purpose here.

When one attempts to apply this definition of vision to our leaders today, one comes up empty. Most politicians are good at pointing out what is NOT working. But which of them are offering a joyful, peaceful, fulfilling vision of the future?

Visionaries are not often politically-minded. So to look to elected leaders for vision is almost fruitless. A politician with vision is extremely rare these days.

A casualty of democracy, perhaps?

I will return to this topic at a later time, but for now allow me to pose the following questions:

Did Democracy turn politics into a game of appearances and words and spin?

Did Democracy chase substance out of politics?

Is Democracy a SPORT?

(and if so, which team are YOU rooting for?)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Words To Ponder

What we experience and perceive are simply configurations of energy. What gives those configurations of energy meaning is belief.

There are no "bad" expressions. There are only configurations of energy that are deemed "bad" by certain beliefs.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Secret

There is a secret.

And when you finally hear it, it brings a joy to your heart that exceeds all other joys. Indeed, it is joy itself.

One may occasionally catch a glimpse of this secret. It is fleeting and not understood. It seems haphazard. And it quickly disappears.

When one pursues this secret in earnest, and when one is determined in that seeking, the secret reveals itself, bit by bit. It is like a fruit that must be peeled, layer by layer. A fruit sweeter than any we've ever tasted.

It requires genuine effort and persistence to peel this fruit. And you will not do so with your intellect.

The intellect is curious, but it is not hungry.

Only the heart hungers. And only the heart knows the way. The heart can feel the longing before the intellect asks the question. When one elevates the role of the heart in one's life, the real seeking begins.

The more joy one feels inside, the easier it is for answers, and all the other things you desire, to find their way to you.

Is that part of the secret? Maybe.

Start peeling, and perhaps you'll find out...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Haiku For A February Morning


Words To Ponder

I spent years trying to prove that I was not an idiot.

Then I spent years feeling sorry for myself because I was an idiot.

And now, at last, I am filled with joy because I am an idiot.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Religious Authority

It is a priority of mine to present ideas that are practical and informative. Ideas that stimulate and widen. Ideas that encourage exploration and examination.

The world's religions, in my opinion, don't do that. They tend to dictate truth, rather than encourage the individual to find his or her own truth. Religions start with the assumption that there is some truth out there that is above all others and that clarifies the facts behind our existence, and then they go about telling you what that truth is. They do NOT encourage the individual to explore and develop and evaluate their own ideas and understanding. They are not truly empowering. They encourage reliance on doctrine, on holy works or holy messengers.

I think it's time that we as a race come to terms with what religion really is and what purpose it serves. I grew up as a church-going Christian, and I feel I am well qualified to speak about Christianity as it is often approached in modern times. I have studied Islam, read some of the Quran, learned the history of Islam, and heard and read enough quotes from Muslims past and present to have a solid understanding of many of the influences that Islam has on the majority of its adherents.

Buddhism is not so much a religion as it is a path, a strategy for reducing personal suffering and cultivating compassion. And as such, I will not include Buddhism in the current discussion. Nor will I include Taoism, for much the same reason.

I am driven to articulate the limitations that religions - particularly Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - foster and perpetuate.

First and foremost is the belief structure of Authority. Without crunching any numbers, I'm going to posit that 80% of the faithful members of these three religions consider the leaders within their faith to be spiritual authorities. In other words, the typical adherent to one of these religions believes that their pastor/priest/rabbi/cleric knows more about God and the Truth than they themselves do. These leaders are, more often than not, looked upon as experts.

Western society and most large societies around the world incorporate authority figures everywhere - family, school, work, politics, medicine, etc. We are surrounded by authority figures as well as laws and rules supporting such authority. And so we are very familiar with looking to sources of authority for approval and direction.

Such tendencies serve many useful purposes in our society. Having people respect the authority of police officers helps maintain peace, at least somewhat. It provides structure, order, etc. And other types of authority serve similar purposes.

But spiritual matters are different. Unlike human laws , which we acknowledge are man-made, religious laws and doctrine are touted as superceding human ones. And people, in general, do not engage in an objective examination of religious doctrine. Religion is seen by the faithful to be beyond discussion, beyond individual assessment. To look critically at the words or ideas expressed in the Bible or the Quran is blasphemous.

When the Christian Church had its stranglehold on Europe many centuries ago, man-made laws were weaved into religious doctrine, and vice-versa. Thus the rules regarding society were attributed to the same authority that purely religious rules were - God. This is still the case in some areas and sects of Christianity and Judaism, and it is quite prevelant in many Muslims societies as well.

Today in the West, laws regarding society have been, to varying degrees, wrestled from religion and are often freely debated without drawing charges of blesphemy, treason, etc. But, importantly, religious laws have not. The divinity and infallibility of our holy books and revered religious figures is still, for the most part, beyond debate. We have not begun, on any sizable scale, to critically assess our religious sources of authority - the Bible, the Torah, the Quran, and the words and acts of prophets, messengers, saints, and messiahs.

Those beliefs in our society which value authority figures and firm guidelines for thoughts, words, and behavior are, in most cases, strongly expressed in the context of religion. When people who value authority practice their religion, they do so from a conservative perspective. Authority figures provide structure and uniformity. They provide sources of beliefs regarding right and wrong, good and bad. The existence of religious authority figures - Imams, Rabbis, Priests - and sources - Torah, Bible, Quran - give those who value homogeneity of thought and action an anchor, a template with which to evaluate right/wrong and good/bad. For those who need to have others agree with them, a common source of authority is a must.

Only a source of authority can allow one to know he is "right" or "good". Being right and good is important to one who is trying to prove himself, to justify his existence, to look good in his own eyes or in the eyes of others. Religious authority, religious rules and doctrine allow such a person to prove he or she is good, right, acceptable, worthy of being loved. Islam provides that opportunity for Muslims, Judaism provides it for Jews, and Christianity provides it for Christians. At the heart of their faith is the desire to be good, to be right. To be on God's good side. And to appear good in the eyes of others.

The majority of these people are not going to the Church or the Synagogue or the Mosque to find or understand God or themselves. They are going to SHOW their faith, to prove that they are good Christians or Jews or Muslims. Because that is what faithful people do.

And being faithful is GOOD.


The more of your ducks you have in a row, the more uptight you are about the ones that aren't in a row.

Why so many ducks?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Being Human

Being human is hard. The hardest thing in the world.

Harder than being a rock. Or a frog. Or a llama.

Being human is hard because we don't know what we are supposed to be. So we have to choose. And choosing is hard. The hardest thing in the world.

Mankind has been attempting, for many years, to figure out what we are - who we are. No other species on Earth, no other conscious manifestation in our world that we know of, wonders who or what it is, or why it exists. Only humans.

And only humans judge themselves and each other for not being what they are SUPPOSED to be. Whatever that is.

And here's the rub: we are not SUPPOSED to be anything. We can only be what we choose to be. This, unfortunately, is something we have yet to understand.

Ours is a world with limitless opportunities to choose. We are immersed in expressions of joy and sorrow, gain and loss, love and hate, victory and defeat. And from among these things, we choose. We choose which, of all these things, are us, are part of us, and which are not.

Here's something to consider: what if it is ALL part of us? What if everything we perceive - within us and around us - is, indeed, part of us? What then?

In a field of flowers and weeds, do the weeds ruin the field? If you focus only on the weeds, and you don't like weeds, then perhaps they do. But if you focus on the flowers, then the weeds fade from your awareness. But you must CHOOSE to focus on the flowers.

Our world is like a field of flowers and weeds. And we are here to choose which to focus upon. Nobody said it would be easy. And it's not easy. It's hard.

The hardest thing in the world.