Friday, January 30, 2009

Shriner Children's Hospital

A very nice lady of the Daughters of the Nile Organization discovered Here You Are on the Internet and is delivering boxes of Here You Are to all 22 Shriner Children's Hospitals in the US next week. Shriner Children's Hospitals provide free care to children. The faithful US Postal Service was processing all the boxes this afternoon without complaint. This has been my dream all along to get the books to children in hospitals.

Before Here You Are was published, two doctor's wives and a nurse told me that Here You Are would be perfect for children in hospitals, which surprised me at the time but made sense. Especially, since my greatest suffering in life that has formed my own character and insights, has come from long separations from my parents during hospital stays as a very young child. No wonder my book would speak to that part within us that may wonder about loneliness and alone-ness only to discover the wholeness that doesn't know anything of separation.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sound On Water

Over 3.000.000 hits on YouTube for this video. The demonstration is somewhat mundane, yet fascinating due to the fact that this may just be quite important in-formation and we subconsciously recognize that this is something to pay attention to. After all we are 50% - 70% water ourselves, including our brain which can be up to 90% water depending on age. What happens to water happens to us and our children.

The vibration we subject ourselves to will match and invite similar vibrations - be that viruses or people. Since we cannot control all influences on us in our environment we need to know that we have an always available antidote to incoming vibrations which is our own thoughts, and even better, our stillness. That is how so-called miracle healing happens around the enlightened ones - they are masters of thought and no-thought and can meet and neutralize any discordant thought pattern they encounter.

One of the most powerful thoughts we can have is "Thank You" and it is important to learn to get into a habit of not only thinking it often, but also for no reason and against all reason. If someone hurts us physically or emotionally meeting it with "Thank You" in our mind neutralizes all long term harm. Not "Thank You" to them for what they are doing, but simply as an independent, powerful thought to replace all other thoughts that want to come in that always prove to be more destructive in the long run than the original pain inflicted on us.

The Internet's First Braincells

The Internet will double every 5.32 years according to Chinese researchers...

Bell Labs/Lumeta Corporation- Click image to link to article

And so will our children...

Entanglement And Pointlessness

When scientists are lost for words like the enlightened ones because their discoveries are close to impossible to describe - we are on to something - even if it is ancient news. The outer reflects the inner. Ancient texts and sages describe all of these things in detail, and it is exciting to see Western scientists catching up.

Entanglement is still an idea suggesting time and space, even though the idea of instant information over significant distances starts to hint at the truth of stillness and oneness where time and space only exist as potential. When a meditation student gets to this point he usually exclaims. "Well, now what?!" - which always gives the master a good belly laugh. Or, as a Berkeley Physics Professor friend asked me a bit annoyed once: "Well, what would be the point?"

There is no point to the truth. That is why it eludes us for so long, because we like there to be a point. The truth that sets us free from all questions is pointless, or it would not be the final truth.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday's MeditationMom Moments- 01/19/09 - Purity

Q: Why do so many religious teachings see sex as "dirty" and talk so much about purity etc.?

MM: If you were to go camping for a few months - and were to experience life closer to the way most people lived thousands of years ago or in difficult circumstances today - the answer to this question would reveal itself. When there is scarcity of water for washing - oneself or one's clothing - all things sexual, be that intercourse, a woman's period, birth, etc, end up simply a dirty matter of unpleasant odors and sticky feelings. Before science there was religion, and much of religious advice about purity regarding people, food, etc., happens to simply be good science, but then gets confused with spirituality.

With plenty of water and soap available to most of us today - sex is not an issue of impurity - unless too many partners are involved. Then once again a religious no-no like promiscuity proves to be good advice scientifically because promiscuity can affect ones health and emotions quite negatively. None of these unhealthy, "dirty" behaviors in and of themselves affect one's soul and eternal life, though. It is not about the sex as so many religious people misunderstand. Spiritually what matters is whether there is abuse, greed, fear, or insincerity involved - be that sex, money, power, or any other area of life.

Even with lots of water and soap - a woman, man, or child who has been raped, for example, feels dirty and often continues to try to wash this feeling away. This is a physical/psychological phenomenon that also is real. The body and the mind can become polluted like water and air can , but we are neither the body nor the mind. Therefore - the eternal, infinite soul is always untouched. We are inherently pure, even if we fall face first into the mud.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Flexibility Without Destroying Structure

(Click on Image)

Hypnotic math anyone? (By Jason Hise) A nice illustration about how with flexibility structures themselves are not necessarily threatened at all. Not just interesting mathematically, but also socially, psychologically and spiritually.

True Wealth

Our nine-year-old has the January blues. With the weather what it is this time of year and the excitement of soccer season and Christmas behind us "there is nothing to do".

Last night at bedtime, as the rain was gently tapping on our roof, he said:"I guess it is good when life is so unexciting. That's when you notice the really amazing and interesting things, like the sound of rain on the roof, and the two birds I saw this morning on the way to school." We talked about the simple joys of life, meditation and excitement versus true happiness.

The next morning as we grabbed the backpack to drive off to school he said:"Last night was so great." When I inquired about what he meant - a phone call with his friend who had moved to Los Angeles two years ago, a TV show from the night before or some breakthrough on a video game...he said: "No, Mom, listening to the rain on the roof."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Oath

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Chief Justice Roberts forgot the "faithfully" before the "execute" but put it at the end of the sentence, which made President Obama pause politely to give him a chance to repeat the phrase...which all ended up confusing both of them further as they both started to talk at once. Justice Roberts then added "of America" after "the United States" which President Obama correctly skipped. And - it was freezing cold! Brain freeze, lack of practice, or just way too big a historical moment to think clearly - who knows? At the time it made the President look like he was stumbling, even though it was Chief Justice Roberts who was making all the mistakes. Sadly unfair and a humbling pre-taste of what it means to be President.

Just ask President Bush, who didn't fly airplanes into the World Trade Center, didn't send a Hurricane to the South, and didn't bundle high risk mortgages, but leaves office with very low approval rates due to the way he handled these situations.

Did President Obama handle it well? In hindsight he could have simply repeated what the judge was saying or further down the line of mishaps have said: "No offense judge, but I think we need to do this again" as they apparently might have to - to make sure it is all legal. Or, it was actually handled quite well. I am sure someone is already drafting up new rules for future mishaps - about what a President should say or do if a Chief Judge messes up.

Even the greatest among us remain wonderfully human and prone to making mistakes. It is after all, how we learn and improve things. And, best of all - it keeps us humble.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What A Country

Congratulations!!! President Obama and family, and US of A!

This video captures both the spirit of the US as well as the historical swearing-in moment of President Obama's inauguration today. This is the moment I will remember that had all the elements.

As former President George Bush takes his leave in a Government Helicopter shortly after compassionate good luck hugs between the Bushes and the Obamas, Juan Williams, a conservative African American news analyst on Fox News who often criticized Senator Obama during the election campaign, defines the moment by commenting with deep emotion on Martin Luther King's friend, 87-year-old Rev. Joseph Lowery who delivered the benediction speech during the inauguration. With even Republicans on Fox News in tears and overjoyed...

Here You Are...wondering...about friends and enemies...

until suddenly...
you remember...

Today we all remember the deepest, the highest, and the most profound and precious in all of us. May we continue to do so with the help of our new, inspiring, young President as we embark anew on solving the problems in the world.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday's MeditationMom Moments- 01/19/09 - Suffering

Q: Why is there so much suffering in the world?

MM: Is there more suffering than there is joy? And why do we not ask:"Why is there so much joy in the world?" Does not the joy of one man make the suffering of another that much more unbearable?

There is as much suffering, and as much joy in the world as we see. Joy and suffering are the front and the back of the same thing. Joy turns into suffering and suffering into joy the way day and night turn into each other.

Wisdom, enlightenment, and the end of suffering - is when joy and suffering are experienced simultaneously and understood as one phenomenon, which translates into a profound peace and an intense level of awareness. For example, if one were to hold ones dead child in ones arms with both the devastation of this loss and the overwhelming gratitude for every precious moment one had had with that child, in such a moment suffering and joy become so interwoven that one can become free. This peace is beyond both joy or suffering. It expands endlessly, is experienced as if one had awakened from a never-ending nightmare. This freedom that is serenity should not be confused with the false freedom that comes from denial, detachment or numbness.

Some people achieve this over a lifetime as the pain of loss, the hatred towards injustice, and the gradual descent into despair, is transformed into deep love, compassion, and gratitude - through an inner alchemy. Calling it forgiveness is wrong. For forgiveness there still needs to be blame. Calling it acceptance is also wrong. Acceptance is not yet deep, overall gratitude. This gratitude is not for something, but in spite of everything.

One has to go beyond logic and reason for this kind of inner alchemy that turns lead into gold to come about. One has to go beyond oneself. This is by no means easy when there is great pain and trauma. But with love, humility and self-knowledge it is available to everyone no matter their circumstances. That is why the sages tell us to wake up. Joy and suffering come from the same source.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Iraqi Kids And Soldiers

There are plenty of horrifying videos of war on YouTube. The worst of them are of children suffering. All the footage is real, terrifying, and utterly heart-breaking.

Videos of soldiers firing guns and missiles, as well as behaving badly or stupidly are plentiful. And then, there are these kinds of videos that give hope and are full of light. Even in war - person to person - on the ground - there are many random acts of love, compassion and kindness even between "enemies".

The nobility and compassion of civilized soldiers does deserve mention. When German towns and villages where taken during WWII, women always hoped for British and American soldiers. It meant they were not going to get raped and tortured. The greatest relief to a German woman - as told to me by my grandmother - was the sight of African American soldiers. As soon as my grandmother spotted a black face in the distance, she would leave the caves she and the villagers were hiding in and waive her white flag to let them know the village was surrendering. She was often the only one who spoke English who could explain how much food there was, how many women were in labor, and whatever else seemed important.

This video represents the images in my mind I grew up with from my grandmother's stories of American soldiers - their kindness and compassion, their humor, their professional conduct without rage and insane violence. Men you could count on and trust - even when they were "officially" your enemies. Their mission then, as in Iraq today, was freedom and a better life for the German people which they achieved. Without whitewashing all the other reasons countries go to war for, or the atrocities that happen during all wars by soldiers from all countries, the way the soldiers are behaving in this video is heartwarming. When there is war - it matters a great deal how a soldier conducts himself. Women and children are watching, and the stories live on long after the wars are done.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Isha On The Meaning Of Life

This is a wonderful response to a question about the meaning of life.

Isha Foundation

Peace Pilgrim

Peace Pilgrim (1908-1981) was a woman who walked from coast to coast for several years in the US during the sixties and seventies, promoting peace. She only ate, or slept in a bed for the night - if it was offered to her. Otherwise she did without and never asked.

Her message to all the people she met, was:

"This is the way of peace:
Overcome evil with good,
and falsehood with truth,
and hatred with love."

Even though this is a one hour documentary it is well worth watching. Many well known people like the Dalai Lama, Mary Angelou, and famous authors comment on Peace Pilgrim's life and teaching, and there are great clips of JFK and other old TV moments.

She said that the world is divided into two kinds of people. Those who feel that evil needs to be overcome with evil, and those who feel evil needs to be overcome with love and compassion. In other words - even if we ourselves already live peacefully - when threatened or attacked, instead of just wondering whether "to fight back or not to fight back", we should not only consider not to fight back, but go even another step further and respond with kindness.

Her message is a strong one, especially since she - literally - walked her talk. Her teachings have survived her and are available on the Peace Pilgrim Center website.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

All Wars End Like This, Too

The lamp is empty; the oil is used up.
The Tambourine is dead, the dancer lies down,
The fire is out, and no smoke rises from it.
The soul is absorbed in the Unique, and there is no longer a duality. (Kabir)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Monday's MeditationMom Moments- 01/12/09 - Eating Meat And Buddhism

Q: Can you call yourself a Buddhist if you eat meat?

MM: You can if you like. Over time, though, as awareness, sensitivity, compassion and intuition grows as a result of meditation, eating meat becomes more and more difficult. Meditation, with its long periods of sitting in silence is made easier by simple, vegetarian food, but if you have a physically demanding job, for example, some meat is OK. Always - no matter what you eat - the most important thing is to eat with gratitude.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

BBC Documentary On Physics

The Scientists are catching up with the mystics - with M-Theory. The past resistance amongst physicists to infinite parallel universes surprised me. It would seem obvious. Thinking we are the only universe seems childish - equal to our past, in which we thought we were the only "world", and flat at that.

If truly in touch with infinity, eternity and stillness - as possible through meditation - the idea of constants for example, like the speed of light, the magnetic force, the nuclear force etc., are a dead give-away that this can only be one version of an infinite variety of universes.

As recommended - when one does not understand something - as in how could scientists be so blind for so long - one needs to follow the money trail. Physics is subject to fads and fashions, and funding that follows them, determined by "gurus who dictate the direction in which new ideas grow" quoting super gravity theorist and defender of the 11th dimension and infinite parallel universes, Micheal Duff of the University of Michigan.

The following clips are a nice summary of physics so far. But - even after all this work, we are thrown back into cause and effect thinking - as now we have a cause for the Big Bang. Now we need to find out how membranes are created - when and out of what. Even if we create universes in our basements in the future, as suggested by one of the scientists whose name is not given in the videos, it still does not explain much, except maybe who we think God might be from then on - just a kid in a basement feeling creative. No question this could make us feel a bit more significant in our infinite insignificance.

Mystics are hard to impress. A mystic does not try to describe the physical universe or explain its cause with logical math equations, which is what physicists and cosmologists try to do. A mystic may resort to poetry, but mostly only tries to remind people to be still long enough to remember for themselves. This is another law of existence - that this knowledge is available to anyone regardless of material resources for discovery.

The nature of existence - all of existence including infinite universes - is stillness. We can unite with this stillness and know! One tiny step out of that stillness, in other words, the tiniest movement imaginable, creates time and space in which all universes and all infinite variety grows, and from which everything eventually again returns home. This home is beyond cause and effect, time, space or movement. It is nothing but infinite potential. The empty moment before creation is not the cause of creation but its origin and its destination, much like the emptiness in a teacup is not the cause of the tea one drinks from it.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Environment And Religion

Maybe it is high time to adopt a more peaceful way of eating.

It would be hard to call oneself an environmentalist without a good dose of humility at least, if one were still eating meat considering the facts in the following video.

Or call oneself truly religious, or spiritual, considering the quoted scriptures in this video.

Or even feel too good if one were still "just" eating fish.

But, we need to know that it is also quite encouraging how much one can influence things for the better, including ones own health, by just adopting a vegetarian diet, or at least by drastically reducing ones meat intake.

Something tells me, though, I wouldn't be allowed to show these videos at assembly in my son's school. These simple, measurable facts that demand immediate attention hit at the core of what people can't face. The urgent need for very fundamental and "painful" change while there is still hope.

Every child I know, who has ever witnessed a slaughter has stopped eating meat or even fish, naturally, until getting "talked out of it" by adults, or not being offered alternatives. The same happens to adults. Part of the problem is that we have lost traditional knowledge of how to cook and eat properly as vegetarians. Much education is needed. Most adults are also frighteningly brainwashed regarding the necessity of meat consumption even though most scientific facts point in the opposite direction.

As we go against nature in our practices at these alarming levels, nature will make balance on its own if the YouTube informed consumer doesn't do it beforehand. Antibiotics will become useless and new diseases will be bread in the food we produce in such unwise, cruel and inhumane ways. A more peaceful way of eating may no longer be just a spiritual or health conscious choice. It may become the only choice. According to the above clips - there is a definite urgency to figure this out within the next few decades or we will have to face the natural consequences of our actions. When all the suffering we have caused these animals returns to us there will be much suffering for all of us indeed. There already is, but few see the connection of the food we eat with the increased levels of depression, anxiety and violence in our societies.

If You Were A Cow...

... you would definitely want to live in India...

... and not in the US or any other country with meat and animal product manufacturing plants. (This links to a factual, but brutal video - my apologies - "viewer discretion advised". It is the kind of video I used to send my kids off to friends' (and their Moms) with, and only if they were teasing my children or trying to scare them about being vegetarians. Our video was even worse - it included the pig rape rack where sows were being impregnated.)

YouTube's existence, and therefor getting this information out - in pictures! - to the unsuspecting consumer who doesn't equate his juicy hamburger or scrambled eggs with these levels of insanity and brutality, is like Gutenberg finally printing the Bible in terms of social impact.

Even if only reducing our animal product consumption, to get our food from places like Whole Foods and farmer's markets where they can guarantee humane treatment of the animals we eat and their gifts to us like eggs and milk, is highly advisable.

If you were a cow in India you could even become enlightened...

Ramana Maharshi's Love of all Beings (Title links to where I found this article)

The following is from the page Ramana Maharshi - Sage of Arunachala Hill It gives some examples that show how Ramana Maharshi, a true enlightened sage, indeed one of the greatest of our time, had a deep love and compassion not just for humans but for animals as well. For that matter, there was no difference in the way that Sri Ramana treated people, animals, or plants. And even stones, he said, had consciousness. I have always felt that the true test of a realised sage is how they treat not just human, but even more so non-human life. Because you can treat other people well because of moral conditioning and human laws, or fear that they will be angry if insulted. The same doesn't apply to animals, plants, and rocks. So if you treat these well, it is a sign of a deep and profound sensitivity, love and compassion for all beings and for the entire cosmos. Ramana was one of those few great Spiritual Masters who were like that.

Origin of Lakshmi the Ashram Cow

A villager had a dream in which he was told to offer his next calf to Ramanasramam. He brought his cow and the calf to Bhagavan. The jungle around the Ashram was thick at that time and there were cheetahs. The Ashram people were perplexed and refused the offer, but the villager was taking his dream seriously and would not take the calf away. The mother cow had to remain with the calf to feed her. Finally, the cow and the calf were entrusted to a devotee in the town. The calf became the famous cow Lakshmi. She grew up and had three calves within a few years. She would come daily to the Ashram to have her meals, graze on the Ashram land, enter the Hall and sit contentedly near Bhagavan. In the evening, she would go back to the town as other women did.

Once Lakshmi came into the Hall. She was pregnant at that time. It was after lunch time when Bhagavan was reading the newspapers. Lakshmi came near and started licking the papers. Bhagavan looked up and said: "Wait a little, Lakshmi." But Lakshmi went on licking. Bhagavan laid his paper aside, put his hands behind Lakshmi's horns and his head against hers. Like this they stayed for quite a long time. I stood nearby looking at the wonderful scene. After some ten minutes or so, Bhagavan turned to me and said: "Do you know what Lakshmi is doing? She is in Samadhi."

I looked at her and tears were flowing in streams down her broad cheeks. Her breathing had stopped and her eyes were fixed on Bhagavan. After some time Bhagavan changed his position and asked: "Lakshmi, how do you feel now?" Lakshmi moved backward, as if reluctant to turn her tail towards Bhagavan, walked round the Hall and went out.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

"There's Probably No God -

...Now Stop Worrying And Enjoy Your Life."

Very funny London Bus advertising by atheists to "counter" religious ads. It's entertaining living in free countries. Rich countries - who have money for such silly ad wars among the various proselytisers. Richard Dawkins - our most popular proselytiser for atheism, says he would have liked to have them drop the word "probably" even though during his satellite appearance on the Bill Maher Show he admitted a scientist always has to build in some iota of improbability, and therefor he could not say with 100% certainty that there is no God.

"Converting" to Atheism is mentioned in this video as well. How can one convert to a non-belief? You can only convert to a different belief as in "I believe there is no God". This takes as much faith as believing in God. Atheism is in fact trying to be a belief system like Creationism. Just the other extreme on the same continuum of ignorance or faith. Like Creationism pretends to be scientific, science professors like Richard Dawkins pretend to be experts on spiritual matters without ever having meditated to any degree that would make them anywhere near expert on the matter. The blind, being led by the blind with PhDs - who, of course, collect the money from their followers.

If it indeed said "There is no God..." on those buses, many Muslims would have been pleased in London, as this they could consider a truthful - if incomplete statement. Maybe not a bad start for the West. Just like any religiously raised teenager moves from childhood trust and belief through a predictable atheist phase before searching for the truth himself, maybe the Western population is ready for that stage of spiritual development. According to the Gospel of Judas, even Jesus laughed in dismay at the apostles' simplistic belief in a creator God that was not grounded in any of their own meditation experience, nor in any understanding of his teachings and the higher mysteries.

The search for what is, for a lack of a better word called "God", requires no less commitment, suffering, headaches, confusion, frustration, and work than the search for the Unified Theory in Physics. We keep looking - either until we find it, or as long as we're having fun searching. How silly would be an ad banner on a London bus trying to convince Physicists to go out and get some exercise instead of hovering over their desks 24/7 because "There probably is no Unifying Theory" and tell them to "stop worrying and enjoy their lives"?

Atheists assuming agnostics or the faithful don't enjoy their lives is a bit presumptuous and unscientific. In the advanced, religious ecstasy is far more pleasurable than any drug one could take. Atheist "ecstasy" always stays in the realm of the physical, material - sex, drugs, food, fame, power, math, music, architecture, etc. The hobbies of kings, not buddhas or prophets.

Considering the present worldwide crisis of having overspent on all of our enjoyments way beyond our means out of some sort of desperation for enjoyment (fueled by advertising) - maybe "enjoying ourselves" a little less is where the bliss is actually going to come from. Living like Kings pales in comparison to living like Buddhas, Christs, Prophets, Saints...But - it does not hurt to be king for a while - guilt-free - to figure that out before moving on. So Atheism has its purpose. There is no question that the religions' preachings against natural and simple pleasures has pushed people into the insane seeking of extreme and perverted pleasures.

As I mentioned in an earlier post - "the infinitely small iota of probability" is where Atheists and Believers need to meet. The word "probably" is the most important word in this ad campaign and makes a great mantra for meditation. A very enjoyable word which creates humility in both science and religion. Let's all indeed enjoy our short and precious lives, and allow others to do the same. It does not take belief in or against God to do so.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Heartwarming Ice

Something cold to warm our hearts today. Human beings are such amazing creatures.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Monday's MeditationMom Moments- 01/05/09 - A Leg To Stand On

Q: What evidence is religion based on? In comparison to science it doesn't seem to have a leg to stand on. Even Buddhism, which promises the end of suffering - I don't know any Buddhists who have gone beyond suffering.

MM: Religions are started by followers after their teachers are gone. Therefore they immediately splinter into many branches representing the various interpretations of the teacher's teachings and all end up partially wrong. This happens in science also. Science explores the outer world, and religion explores the inner world. There is a small area of overlap and in the end they will merge. The most profound religious statements and the final "unifying" formula of Physics will mean the same. One will be poetry and the other will be a math equation. They will be recognizable as equivalent to those who are familiar with both science and meditation.

Neither Physics, nor Religion, in the end, will have a leg to stand on. Legs are not needed. What use are legs when we finally have wings? The final truth sets us free. It is hard to explain and much trouble results if one tries. Just like in science - truth about nuclear forces and biology, for example - has resulted in terrible mayhem - from atom bombs to killing people in order to steal their kidneys for organ transplants. Truth from "inner scientists" like Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tsu, Mohammad...has caused similar mayhem. The truth is hidden for a reason.

Orchestra Of Peace

In spite of all the bombs flying, peace is always underneath the surface. The sound of guns and explosions will never replace music. Religious dogma will never replace compassion, and empty words yelled in anger and hatred will never have the power of poetry. All will be well. We've known this for a long time. With infinite patience all good will come to pass and all evil will run out of steam. Love and life is stronger than hate and suffering, and even death.

This is the small but inspiring effort of a creative guy traveling around the world making people separated by thousands of miles, sing and play in harmony. Extraordinary people - those mystics of the street. Music is one of the greatest stepping stones into people's hearts, and into meditation. That is why mothers sing to their children, lovers to their sweethearts, devotees to their Gods, and street musicians to their fellow human beings.

Thursday, January 1, 2009