Wednesday, September 10, 2014

TH Ice Bucket Challenge 1

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Heaven is imagined as a place free from the bonds of earthly life where gravity no longer holds down the body. In heaven there are no cares or attachments. Eternal joy is the soul’s constant state. Without having to imagine them, all these qualities can be traced back to the experience of waking up. The great difference between this experience and heaven is that the virtual domain isn’t outside us; one doesn’t “go” there either in body or soul.

A famous anecdote in India tells of the ascetic who goes to the mountaintop to become enlightened. He fasts and prays constantly; he gives up all worldly desires in favor of meditation. His renunciation goes on for many years until the day when he realizes he has finally arrived.

No matter where he looks, he senses only the unbounded bliss of pure awareness, without attachment of any kind. Overjoyed, he rushes down into the village below to tell everyone, and as he is going along, he runs into a crowd of drunken revelers. Quietly he tries to thread his way through, but one drunk after another bumps him and makes a crude remark. Finally the ascetic can’t stand it and cries, “Get out of my way!” At that instant he stops, turns around, and goes back to the mountain.

This anecdote is about how easily we are fooled into thinking that we can escape our own anger and frailty, but the larger point is that using the personality to get to the absolute is a contradiction. Certain parts of ourselves are designed to live in this world of time.

It takes resolve and purpose to succeed in loosening our bonds enough so that pure awareness feels totally comfortable, and in the face of conflicts we instinctively fall back on anger, as we fall back on stubbornness, self-centeredness, righteous certainty, and so forth.

Yet at another level we do not even possess these qualities, much less feel tied to them. Religious seeking, whatever form it takes, tries to regain that unattached level.

Adapted from How To Know God, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2000)

Monday, February 21, 2011


Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them. But, ready or not, here they come.

1. The Post Office. Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.

2. The Check. Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with checks by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the check. This plays right into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.

3. The Newspaper. The younger generation simply doesn't read the newspaper. They certainly don't subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services. (We already do not have a daily newspaper � only local news 1x per wk.)

4. The Book. You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music fromiTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can't wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you're holding a gadget instead of a book.

5. The Land Line Telephone. Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don't need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they've always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes. (We need phone for cable and internet.)

6. Music. This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It's the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is "catalog items," meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, "Appetite for Self-Destruction" by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, "Before the Music Dies."

7. Television. Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they're playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it. It's time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.

8. The "Things" That You Own. Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in "the cloud." Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest "cloud services." That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider. In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That's the good news. But, will you actually own any of this "stuff" or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big "Poof?" Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.

9. Privacy. If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That's gone. It's been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, "They" know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. And "They" will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Why Some Men Don't Want to Get Married
By Hugo Schwyzer, The Good Men Project
Posted on February 17, 2011, Printed on February 17, 2011

Last week, Jennifer Doll offered a familiar lament in the pages of the Village Voice: “Dear Single Women of NYC: It’s Not Them, It’s You.” Though her focus is on New York, Doll could have been describing almost any large American city in which the number of single, straight, employed, and emotionally competent men is apparently dwarfed by the number of women who want to meet them.

The “man shortage” is a perennial go-to for articles aimed at women readers; these pieces differ mainly in the degree to which they blame the crisis on women’s ambition, pickiness, or sexual aggressiveness.

Refreshingly, Doll gets that men also desire relationships. She interviews one guy who claims to be looking for marriage:

“I don’t want to be 34 and doing that thing that sketchy New York guys do where they go out and act as though they’re 24. I’ve seen too much of it … It’s a real cautionary tale.” When I told him that was refreshing, he said, “I think most guys feel that way.”

I think we can all agree that guys in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s who behave like overgrown teenagers is not a phenomenon limited to the 212 area code. Middle-class male adolescence is a countrywide phenomenon that can last a quarter-century or more.

Women’s sexual availability often takes the rap for men’s increasingly famous ambivalence about marriage. Pundits offer endless variations on the why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free aphorism. If women would commit to being less sexually available, the argument goes, men would be more willing to commit to marriage.

But that reasoning misses the mark on two counts. First, plenty of women like sex, and not just because it’s so irresistible to men. Second, it doesn’t take into account just how hungry many men are for an enduring relationship. Like the guy whom Doll found so “refreshing,” a lot of men -- far more than the stories like hers let on -- want more than an endless supply of free milk from new cows.


Doll’s interviewee is right: most guys do want to grow up. Most of us have winced as we’ve watched men humiliate themselves chasing women who are too young and not interested. What seems cool at 25 is embarrassing at 50. But how do we figure out when the moment is right to “settle down”? Do it too early, and we might be tortured by regret about all the new skin we’re missing. Wait too long, and we’re in danger of becoming the creepy bachelor uncle, the one about whom a niece warns all her girlfriends.

Of course, marriage isn’t for everyone, nor should it be. And being married -- or being willing to be married -- shouldn’t be the only benchmark for growing up. The marriage rate is falling, and one reason is that more people are finding alternatives that work better for them. But another reason is that too many young people -- men especially -- have such lofty expectations for marriage (and such fears of divorce) that they set themselves up to never be “ready.”

My dad once told me that the biggest mistake men make is “waiting to be struck by certainty.” Men expect signs. They want a “burning bush” or a billboard on the interstate; they want to hear the voice of God booming, “Marry her!”

Most guys see certainty as the total absence of doubt, and so they keep imagining that settling down is what you do when you’re 100 percent sure about someone. Problem is, it’s damn near impossible to be 100 percent sure about anything. In most ventures in life, we’re 70 percent sure at best. But then again, we don’t expect most ventures to last forever. And so we hedge our bets, we play the field, we wait for the one to come along who will strike us with certainty. And with no biological clock ticking (just the fear of turning into an aging “creeper”), we can spin out that waiting for a very long time.

A friend once told me, “I’ll know I’ve met the one when I don’t want to screw any of her friends, no matter how hot they are.” He would know he’d met his future wife when monogamy would seem effortless. For him, being “struck by certainty” would mean the complete absence of interest in ever having sex with anyone other than his “one.”


Growing up means letting go of the need for a “burning bush” moment. It means not holding other people hostage to your own indecisiveness and understanding that certainty comes after you make a commitment to something. It’s the result of an action taken, not a prerequisite for taking it.

Again, marriage isn’t for everyone. The willingness to make a commitment is hardly the only proof of maturity. But I’m not concerned here with the men who are certain they never want to marry. The problem is with the ones who very much want to get married but are waiting to be struck by (and keeping everybody else waiting for) that thunderbolt of certainty.

As men grow older, the poet David Justice wrote, men should “learn to close softly the doors to rooms they will not be coming back to.” What’s left behind in those rooms? The unlimited options and possibilities we love to contemplate.

The certainty you’re looking for comes only after that door is shut.

Hugo Schwyzer has taught history and gender studies at Pasadena City College since 1993, where he developed the college's first courses on Men and Masculinity and Beauty and Body Image.

© 2011 The Good Men Project All rights reserved.
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Sunday, February 13, 2011


Whenever you feel yourself having a reaction of judgment, rejection, or resistance, imagine the opposite. Instead of seeing an adversary, view your partner as totally on your side. Don’t focus on what he or she has done to irritate you; reframe it as an act of pure love, brought into being to teach you the perfect lesson you need to learn at just that moment. This isn’t a mind game or a trick: at the level of spirit your beloved acts only from love, holding your highest good at heart.

Resistance is like a wall, holding back the flow of love. Love is the wave that brings forgiveness, kindness, and trust from the level of spirit. You can’t create these things. You can only tune in to them, which is why you need to remake your daily battles into opportunities for spirit. Every sliver of time opens onto the timeless. Can you allow yourself to slip through?

First and foremost, this is about seeing each other in a new light. Needs don’t just go away. On the other hand, projections of blame should go away; there isn’t any reason, except in your perception, to make each other feel wrong.

You must stop feeding the monster. This inner being who keeps screaming, ‘What about me?’ is a kind of monster, a distorted outgrowth of your ego.

Imagine the monster. The name of this beast is resistance. Now think of a situation where you absolutely didn’t want to go along with your spouse’s will. See this monster coming forward to defend you by putting up a wall of denial, a thousand reasons why you are right and your partner wrong, a ferocious display of withering disapproval.

How do you feel when this happens? Hard. Angry. Furious. Insecure. Empty. Alone. All are layers of the same response. On the surface the monster of resistance expresses anger and hardness, but this is only to protect the insecurity and loneliness lurking underneath. If you peel away the layers, you find that resistance is actually born of fear, and fear comes from having been deeply hurt in the past.

Adapted from The Path to Love, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press, 1997).

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Marianne Williamson
Posted: January 16, 2011 12:06 AM
Arizona Shooting: Words Have Meaning

According to "A Course in Miracles," all minds are joined. While it appears to the physical eye that I am here and you are over there, on the level of mind there is no place where you stop and I start. We are all affected by everyone else's thoughts, just as a butterfly flapping its wings near the South Pole affects the wind currents at the North Pole. When any wave moves, the entire ocean shifts.

So it's basically irrelevant whether Jared Loughner specifically related to the hate speech around him in some linear, causal way. Thoughts can go viral, as we have seen throughout history when group pathologies overcame the better angels of a people (Hitler's Germany was an example). And as it is written in The Course, "all thought creates form on some level." If enough hate-thought and hate-speech is present, it's almost inevitable that some hate-filled manifestation will emerge somewhere within that field of consciousness. Jared Loughner was swimming in the thought-forms and images of hate, as almost all of us are these days. And to an obviously deranged mind, violent thought forms are like gasoline to an already smoldering fire.

I heard a not-yet-declared 2012 Presidential candidate on television, refusing to condemn the use of gun imagery in political dialogue. "After all," he said, "we have free speech." Darn right, Sir. And something else we should have is a dose of healthy shame. Maybe it shouldn't be illegal to talk about one's political opponents as though they're enemy combatants. But it should be unthinkable.

Hopefully after the events in Tucson, things will quiet down and our political dialogue will become more civilized and respectful. One can only hope. We had two days of a sober, silent and tender collective heartbeat, and even in its sadness it was inspiring. The Tucson memorial had some stunning moments. As it was after 9/11, Americans got quiet for a moment of group sanity....we felt the authenticity of our humanness...we actually remembered we were a nation. But it didn't last then, and we will see whether it lasts now.

In Alcoholics Anonymous, it is often said that "every problem comes bearing its own solution." Tragedy takes us to the very state of consciousness which, were we to hold to it, would go far toward preventing further tragedies. Whether pundits, politicians and media personalities choose to use this tragedy to grow spiritually, to increase their compassion, to commit more deeply to love, is under no one's control but their own. But each of us can decide for ourselves what we will personally do with this latest national tragedy. We can remember that just as hate thought and hate speech does indeed affect the entire world, so do loving thought and loving speech. The only thing greater than a forcefield of hate is a forcefield of love. And each and every one of us -- with the thoughts we think, the words we use and the things we do -- contribute, or fail to contribute, to the field of consciousness that will save us all.

Warrior of Light

What is a warrior of light?

Warriors of light keep the spark in their eyes.

They are in the world, are part of other people’s lives, and began their journey without a rucksack and sandals. They are often cowards. They don’t always act right.

Warriors of light suffer over useless things, have some petty attitudes, and at times feel they are incapable of growing. They frequently believe they are unworthy of any blessing or miracle.

Warriors of light are not always sure what they are doing here. Often they stay up all night thinking that their lives have no meaning.

Every warrior of light has felt the fear of joining in battle. Every warrior of light has once lost faith in the future.

Every warrior of light has once trodden a path that was not his/her. Every warrior of light has once felt that he/she was not a warrior of light. Every warrior of light has once failed in his/her spiritual obligations.

That is what makes them warriors of light; because they have has been through all this and have not lost the hope of becoming better.

That is why they are warriors of light.
Because they make mistakes.
Because they wonder.
Because they look for a reason – and they will certainly find one.