The In-Between Time

There is a feeling one gets the day after Christmas (if you aren’t in the shopping mall) that allows one a bit of contemplative pause 2019imqge34before considering the possibilities of the new year only one week away.

Were this not the Age of Trump, this week might be full of joy and wonder and speculative potential for wondrous new things. But since it is the Age of Trump, we are filled with dread, uncertainty, and a pending sense of doom with thoughts of how dumbshitchristmascall.jpgmuch damage he can do in one short week with the government shut down and no one around to stop him.

I mean how stupid do you have to be to hold a Christmas Eve photo op of him talking to 7-year -olds about Santa Claus coming, and to say on national television: “Are you still a believer in Santa? Because at seven it’s marginal, right?”

Right.  It’s marginal Mr. President.

“Mommy, what does marginal mean?”

Well there goes a future prospective voter. Why on earth did the White House communications people think that putting a misogynistic, narcissist with no sense of empathy or humanity on national television speaking live to an impressionable female child about the plausibility of Santa Claus, was a good idea?presdienthomealomne5

Especially  Mr. “I’m HOME ALONE in the White House (poor me).”   Now there’s a Christmas message of hope and goodwill to all. (They rushed Melania back from Florida after that one.)

Don’t consider that the stock market took the biggest dive in December since the Great Depression, primarily because of Trump’s irrational behavior and tweeting—threatening to fire of all people, the Federal Reserve Chairman for raising interest rates.

MATTISflagsgenDon’t consider that firing the one buffer (Secretary Mattis—Defense Department) we had to keep Trump from starting a nuclear war or giving Vlad the keys to the White House, just scared the crap out of not only us but our allies around the globe.

Don’t consider that he makes national and foreign policy changes not on his Presidential Advisor’s opinions, but on the advice of FOX News consultants Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh (Is Hannity on the outs with him now?  I thought HE ran the Presidency.)

Don’t consider that Senate Republicans are likely soiling their drawers now wondering how they are going to actually handle the aftermath of all this Trump-created mayhem because it’s squarely in their laps for letting him do what all he’s done to date.

And the Democrats take over the House January 3rd.  Won’t that be a fun time for all!subpoena-forcongress.jpg

Watch those subpoenas fly—see those criminal investigations launching for the heavens like a new rocket to the moon.

Welcome to Washington—oh no, there will be no welcoming committee to Washington DC because the government is SHUT DOWN due to his latest temper tantrum!  Oh yes, that’s right.

So, during this time between your Christmas Cheer aftermath and your New Year ahead optimism, try to keep your head from exploding, stay away from the booze, and by all means, shut off the television. There’s nothing good for you on there now.

Trust me on this one.Washington DC Capitol Government Shutdown Text

The Return of Primordial Light

Holiday messages are nice, and many received reflect the overall appeal and optimism of the season, no matter the faith.rbuckminsterfuller67-2x.jpg

I am not religious. I do not follow or prescribe any particular recognized religion.  But I write about the many aspects of spirituality that personally appeal, because to me spirituality means our personal connection to the energies around us and from which we have emerged. And that is how I relate to all of those different religious philosophies.

buckyuniverse68.jpgYou can call those philosophical energies “Universe” as Buckminster Fuller did, or you can call them The Tao as ancient Chinese philosophers did, or you can call them God or Yahweh as Judeo-Christian traditions proclaim, or you can simply call them the Transcendent Still Point of All Being.

Whatever you wish to call them, many believers feel especially close to key tenets of those religious philosophies this time of year—sending peace, love and good wishes to all.

I would say that the philosophy of the Shamanic tradition is a very nature-based, direct connection to life and the cosmos we inhabit, and as I watched that beautiful full moon setting outside my window on this winter solstice, I gave thanks for the view and for my part in the whole of this present earth-based drama. A few days ago Alberto Villoldo of Four Winds Society, sent out his winter-solstice, holiday email to all who subscribe. I found it pretty appropriate to our current situation, so I’ll share it here.

“From the bottom of our hearts all of us at the Four Winds Society want to wish you a holy and joyous Solstice on December 21, 2018.

We invite you to light a candle or a small fire in your backyard and join medicine men and women around the world who are gathering on the evening of the Solstice to pray for the “return of the Light.”villoldoenergyquote

This is not the ordinary daylight we all wish we had more of in the Northern hemisphere (and a bit less of in the South), but the Primordial Light.

Primordial Light is the creative power of the Universe which is available to us to create beauty in the world, and to heal ourselves and others. But to work with Primordial Light we must remember the way of the luminous warrior. We must live and act fearlessly, know the answer to “Who am I?” and the ways beyond death into infinity.

Like the shamans of old, we are luminous warriors. We dare to speak the truth, uphold universal values that honor all life, and perform daily acts of courage.

This is so important in this age of cowardice where half-truths are readily embraced as real.

We wish you the strength and steadfastness to continue creating the sacred every day and dreaming a new and healthy world into being.

In Beauty,    Alberto, Marcela, and the Four Winds Society team.”

And to that I would simply add that during this holiday season and throughout the year ahead, be at peace no matter the circumstance, be love no matter the degree of hatred all around you, be as courageous as you were always meant to be, standing tall in the midst of such cowardice in our governing bodies—stand tall and speak your truth.

This is what we do—this is who we are. We, as Luminous Warriors of Divine Primordial Light, welcome the return of the Light—the return to TRUTH as a Universal Standard for governance.

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Blessings to you and yours, and may the year ahead be full of love and laughter for all of us.

Let’s make it a good year for everyone!

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Shoshin – The Beginner’s Mind

Sounds a bit paradoxical, but I can easily say that despite lessIknow45.pnghow much I’ve often thought that I knew throughout my life, or how hard-won that advanced knowledge came into being for me, the older I get the better I appreciate how little I actually DO know.

In truth it seems that with every passing day I feel this almost humorous certainty growing stronger within me: a certainty-of-my-own-ignorance—that jolting realization that what you once believed to be truth, actually wasn’t, and you may never know the REAL truth no matter how old or knowledgeable you become because that TRUTH exists in a realm that is incomprehensible to your present existence.

This body shock of awakening to our own innate ignorance can be scathingly honest and quite humbling.

It certainly was to my ego.

But to those who study Zen, this isn’t some new concept—some might simply call it ‘cultivating the Beginner’s Mind.’

What is Beginner’s Mind?  Here’s a good explanation first from Wikipedia, then from a Zen master himself.

Shoshin (初心) is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning ‘beginner’s mind.’ It refers to having shozinbeginnersmind.pngan attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would. The term is especially used in the study of Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts.”

Text source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin

Master Shunryu Suzuki can explain it far better than I can:

“People say that practicing Zen is difficult, but there is a misunderstanding as to why. It is not difficult because it is hard to sit in the cross‑legged position, or to attain enlightenment. It is difficult because it is hard to keep our mind pure and our practice pure in its fundamental sense.

In Japan we have the phrase shoshin, which means ‘beginner’s mind.’ The goal of practice is always to keep our beginner’s mind…

For Zen students the most important thing is not to be dualistic. Our ‘original mind’ includes everything within itself. It is always rich and sufficient within itself. You should not lose your self‑sufficient state of mind.

This does not mean a closed mind, but actually an empty mind and a ready mind. If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.

The most difficult thing is always to keep your beginner’s mind. There is no need to have a deep understanding of Zen. Even though you read much Zen literature, you must read each sentence with a fresh mind.

You should not say, ‘I know what Zen is,’ or ‘I have attained enlightenment.’ This is shoshinmaster.jpgalso the real secret of the arts: always be a beginner.

Be very, very careful about this point. If you start to practice zazen, you will begin to appreciate your beginner’s mind. It is the secret of Zen practice.”

Shunryu Suzuki
from Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

 

So I acknowledge that here I sit in my own ignorance while trying to make sense of our life existence.

These are the very things I often write about: What is reality?—What is consciousness?—What are we doing here? Why are we here? Who benefits and how do they benefit from our incarnating here during this time period or ANY time period?

All those unanswerable questions come down to the battle in our minds over the relevance between our DOING and our BEING.

Here is a basic truth as I presently know it:  I AM.  I EXIST.  I EXPERIENCE.  I OBSERVE.

And I try like the dickens NOT to judge the value of what I am observing because to do so implies a comparative knowledgebase that I do not have—at least not from my humble human perspective.

the-older-i-get-the-less-i-know-by-that-i-mean-the-less-i-am-sure-of-i-view-p-403x403-nkb3nfSo each day I open my eyes and wonder what this day will bring to me. I wonder what new realization will occur to my sensing abilities. I wonder what type of sense I can make of whatever is happening to me and around me, but knowing full well that ‘making sense’ is a judgment in itself.

However, I also know that only through shoshinbeginner’s mind—can I simply observe all and note those observances without judgment or expectation—knowing I must simply allow all occurrences (and not labeling them as ‘good’ or ‘bad’) to flow along with the river of life into the great sea of consciousness that connects us all and patiently awaits our return.

This I also know:  Beginner’s Mind is not easily achieved nor sustained for long unless you willingly intend it.

T-Baby Tours the Pampas

Pretty exciting times right now for the world’s most illustrious leaders. The G20 is meeting in Buenos Aries today to discuss the fate of the entire planet, and our favorite inflated, orange blowhard is there to see how many nations he can insult, dismiss, or push out of the way as he fights for air time.

And air time he will have!  Lots of hot air there as T-Baby tours the pampas!

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We’re so proud!

Identifying Perimeters

leafcapillaries.jpgThis image fascinated me—the intricacies of the water dispersion system in the leaf itself.

Of course it wasn’t the first up-close view I’ve had of a leaf’s moisture-dispersal system, but it was the image that so clearly defined the leaf capillary perimeter that caught my eye.  Look closely at that perimeter.  What told the leaf to create that particular perimeter border and to stop spreading those veins outward into infinity?

Recognizing that leaf perimeter is so important because it actually defines the origin of the leaf— it represents the tree species that created the leaf.

See the next image to better understand that a leaf petreeidentifyshapes83.jpgrimeter is indicative of the plant’s DNA and the growing environment that produced it. 

And while there are many leaf shapes for all those multitudes of tree DNA, all have the same function on the tree.

“Function of leaves leafcotoosystem

 

The function of leaves is to help the plant produce food by converting the energy in sunlight into chemical energy that the plant can eat. Chlorophyll is the molecule in the structure of the leaves that takes the energy in sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide gas into sugar and oxygen gas. This conversion process is known as photosynthesis.  The structures within the leaf convert the energy and make it possible for the plant to get food. … The leaf also has veins that can help to support the leaf by transporting food, water and minerals to the leaf and to the plant.”

So while I am mid-research into leaf function and leaf shapes, I find the shape that most matches the original image above showing the elaborate capillary system appears to be a leaf from the Bodhi tree.bodhitreewithleaves.jpg

Okay. What is significant about that? Well, to Buddhists the Bodhi tree is extremely significant because it was the location chosen by Siddhartha Guatama to meditate under until he reached enlightenment. He sat there supposedly for 49 days and endured unimaginable difficulties during the process before he transcended earthly existence and experienced the purity of Source itself; and was forever changed by it.

“Bodhi Tree – Fig Tree

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The Bodhi Tree, also known as Bo, “peepal tree”, or “arasa maram, was a large and ancient sacred fig tree located in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India, under which Siddhartha Gautama, the spiritual teacher who became known as the Buddha, is said to have attained enlightenment or Bodhi. In religious iconography, the Bodhi Tree is recognizable by its heart-shaped leaves, which are usually prominently displayed.”  (Wikapedia)

So I’ve suddenly realized that my initial intention on writing about the intricate leaf structure and its defining perimeter has gone astray with educational sidebars.  Now I’m even into the tale of Buddha. Does this still pertain to my original intention of showing that a tree’s DNA defines the majesty of the tree’s stature/shape and the shape of its identifying leaves all while I miraculously segue into how our own DNA shapes the perimeter of our lives and defines us, only if we let it?

Well, maybe or maybe not.  It’s not the most direct route taken to a conclusion. But that’s part of the point here, I think.

We, as individual leaves growing outward from our Soul Source are defined to some extent by our DNA, by our ancestral history of nature and nurture, and by our karmic debts from all other lives. Our personal leaf perimeters are somewhat distinct and defined because of those factors mentioned. You even know which tree we grew from by our shapes and functional life success.

But at the same time, we have potential for unimaginable changefor breaking through our pre-defined perimeters.

Take the Buddha himself. He wanted to be enlightened so badly that he was willing to sit in meditation until he ceased to exist in this world or until he reached the Source of All Knowledge and Wisdom itself.  Fortunately for him and for the rest of us, he tapped into that Source and survived to share his experiences with the rest of us.

You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the enlightened mind or what it took/takes to reach that state of awareness. And some would argue that Buddhism isn’t actually a religion as much as it is simply a philosophical path toward enlightenment. That tangent is not my concern today.

It would appear that during this leaf examination I have spread my word capillaries far from original intentions and only reined them back with a fragile border of pertinence.

The only other thing I know for certain is that my Bodhi tree still awaits me.

foster_bodhi_leaves.jpg

 

Just Watching It All Play Out

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I would have commented on the midterm election results sooner, but I, like the rest of the country, am still awaiting the final tallies.

Clearly changes were made across the nation, with other changes still in the making.

And one thing remains the same for the time being: the insanity presently occupying the White House. The only difference is in how amped up it has lately become. Someone is definitely not happy there.

For the country and democracy in general, I think major progress was pushed forward, or let me rephrase that, major progress was retrieved from the garbage heap where it had been so flagrantly tossed 2 years ago when Obama left.

While we are nowhere near being out of the constitutional danger zone as a nation yet, I do think that some folks who were banking on voter apathy and inciting racial fears, were a bit disappointed in the election results. I also think those same folks will be even more disappointed when Mueller indictments start falling in the near future.furorpres18.jpg

You don’t have to like the guy in charge. You don’t even have to tolerate his tantrums and embarrassing displays of juvenile behavior around the globe. You only have to expect him to do his job in a conscientious and lawful manner. He is the President, after all.

And that is an expectation that is backed by the laws of the United States Constitution.

This isn’t a personality/popularity issue.  It isn’t a political hit job. It is simply a question of legalities that were violated and obliterated in some instances.

It isn’t even a morality issue because if that had ever been in play, he’d have been gone before he even started.

This is about violating laws. This is about trading influence for future rewards. This is about greed and corruption in the highest offices of the land.

meachumbooksoul.jpgThis is about taking back the soul of America—what we stand for—who we are.

This is about you and your family, and the kind of world you want your children to inherit.

This is about looking in the mirror across the entirety of the nation and liking what you see again—a diverse populace.

This is about getting real and serious on social change and helping others to make the best of their own lives. They don’t need handouts–they need hand ups. They need respect and acknowledgement of their basic right to personal dignity as human beings. This is who we are–this is what we do. We respect each other as human beings with shared goals for a better life for ourselves and for those we love.

This is the NEW America, we hope.

And this is our new agenda for moving forward with our lives.

For Christmas, get your new ballcap with the letters on it for “MAAA!”

Make America “AMERICA” again!capwithamericabeing.jpg

That’s what this midterm election just tried to do.

 

 

 

On the “Nature of Reality” Per Alberto V.

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Saw an interesting blog post from Alberto Villoldo this morning with his take on Peruvian lessons in humanity and how we often view each other:  https://thefourwinds.com/blog/shamanism/the-nature-of-reality/

… “An Earthkeeper realizes that while you have to change everything within, you still have a responsibility to others and to the planet. The way to modify the dream is to own everything that you perceive is amiss with the world: the ugly, the violent, the beautiful, and the powerful. Perceive every hungry child, violent criminal, rich celebrity, polluted river, and tropical island just as if they were a dream and you were seeing every character, setting, and plot twist.

The mythologist Joseph Campbell once said that what we call reality comprises only those myths and stories we haven’t quite seen through yet. Once we do so, we understand that they’re just fairy tales. We come to this realization by seeing through the eyes of hummingbird. This is why I found it so easy to be an anthropologist—I could arrive at a village in the upper reaches of the Amazon and be the only one who saw that the emperor has no clothes (in some of the villages I visited, that was literally the case).

We’re able to see the dream or nightmare that others are trapped in so much more easily than our own. We quickly perceive that our friend is creating his own misery, but we still facepaintwall98.jpgthink that our own grief is the result of some tragedy that befell us. But when we discover that reality is really a dream, we can wake up from the collective nightmare, and what was hidden before becomes ridiculously apparent…”

On November 6th I do hope that we wake up from this collective nightmare by going to the voting booths and intentionally changing the direction that this country is presently headed.

I hope we finally wake up to the deceptions and distractions so carefully created to fool the masses—but also knowing full well that those masses are fooled only if they wish to be so.

Our life’s direction is an intentional creation by each of us. We choose to believe what we do.

We choose to agree and to support those who spew rhetorical hatred and bigotry used against our neighbors and against those who might differ from us in some way, even though we all simply want a safe and promising life for ourselves and for our families.

democracy voting people.jpgOn November 6th I truly hope that we create a better reality that finally clears away the crumbling façade from “the myths and stories we haven’t quite seen through yet.”

I also hope that November 7th is the start of a new day and a new direction for our nation.

Please vote November 6th to save our democracy while we still can save it; and please vote to save ourselves from this constant, flagrant hatred and bigotry demonstrated daily by those in the highest positions of government who are shirking their duties to all of us as American citizens by remaining silent and allowing the racism and hate speech to continue.

Please see through the lies and distractions, and stand strongly for fairness and equality again. Stand up again for the nation that we once were, where citizens believed that everyone should have the right to liberty and to basic human dignity.

Grab your family and friends and VOTE November 6th—and please help to save us from our lesser natures.voteisvoice5.jpg