"St. Paul says we are fools for God's sake. I change it to say we are fools and clowns for God and humanity's sake," he said, explaining the clown get-up.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
We can’t change the world except insofar as we change the way we look at the world — and, in fact, any one of us can make that change, in any direction, at any moment.
You make your way to happiness not by fretting about it or trafficking in New Age affirmations, but simply by finding the cause of your suffering, and then attending to it, as any doctor (of mind or body) might do.
Think in terms of enemies, he suggests, and the only loser is yourself.
Happiness is not pleasure, they know, and unhappiness, as the Buddhists say, is not the same as suffering. Suffering — in the sense of old age, sickness and death — is the law of life; unhappiness is just the position we choose — or can not choose — to bring to it.
True happiness, in that sense, doesn’t mean trying to acquire things, so much as letting go of things (our illusions and attachments).
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
I am not accustomed to rejoicing in things that are small, hidden, and scarcely noticed by the people around me....
Somehow I have become accustomed to living with sadness, and so have lost the eyes to see the joy and the ears to hear the gladness that belongs to God and which is to be found in the hidden corners of the world....
[Seeing the small and beautiful] is a real discipline. It requires choosing for the light even when there is much darkness to frighten me, choosing for life even when the forces of death are so visible, and choosing for the truth even when I am surrounded by lies....The reward of choosing joy is joy itself....There is so much rejection, pain, and woundedness among us, but once you choose to claim the joy hidden in the midst of all suffering, life becomes celebration. Joy never denies the sadness, but transforms it to a fertile soil for more joy.
from The Return of the Prodigal Son, by Henri J. M. Nouwen
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
By making un-extraordinary acts and behaviors our ordinary practice, we entrap ourselves from knowing how precious life really is. We don’t use opportunities that come our way as a means of expressing how special we really are. Instead, we walk the walk with the rest of the herd and soon find ourselves in such a deep rut of limitations we lose sight of our own value. We become trapped in mediocrity.
I am guilty (more than I would like to admit) of making mediocrity my ordinary practice.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Each one is worthy of serious reflection, but due to the word limit of Clipmarks (and because David wrote these, not me --- you must visit Raptitude for the whole shebang), I've only been able to post a sample.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
From Julian Vigo, in Counterpunch:
I can only hope that Michael Jackson's death offers us all a moment of sobriety to reflect on how, what and why we believe the things we do as individuals and why our culture so often feeds off the fictions of negativity and violence produced by our media, rather than gravitate towards the dreams, the creativity and love that Jackson's music, dance, words and actions have given us all.
For Michael Jackson, and for the anonymous billions on this planet whose lives are twisted and warped by the satanic values of the global corporate capitalist culture, we must work to build a new culture in the shell of the old. May we turn from judging one another in order to avoid our own flaws and miseries, and instead gravitate toward dreams, creativity, love, forgiveness, and kindness.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
May I remember that life is about love, relationship, forgiveness, compassion, and community.
there are no pan asian supermarkets down in helland decided I wanted to hear the actual song, rather than just my mental reconstruction. A few Google searches later, and I'm still without the song (which is no real bother--I have the original Object Lessons:Songs about Products EP at home), but as a consolation I stumbled across this wonderful description of the song and its lyrics:
so you can't buy golden boy peanuts
there are no pan asian supermarkets down in hell
so you can't buy golden boy peanuts
The Golden Boy peanut becomes the main attraction on the flashy streets of heaven. It is the reason for life—that elusive thing everyone searches for and few find. Don’t squeeze life for meaning anymore. Take a jaunt to your local pan-Asian supermarket and it can be yours for a low, low price."There are no pan-Asian supermarkets down in hell."
The peanut seems like a good choice for ultimate meaning. Unassuming, nutritive, delicious. Why not? I’m not sure that life is best captured by the moments of high drama and intrigue. A huge percentage of it is occupied by thinking about food, staring at walls, and laughing senselessly. Why not valorize these small experiences over the scarce moments of capital-letter life (Bravery, Courage, Love, and the like)? Maybe we wouldn’t be in such a stressful hurry to do something Meaningful if we valued peanuts (literally and metaphorically).
In “Golden Boy,” The Mountain Goats cordially invite us to remember these wonderful little details of a day, to exalt and worship them. Do so and your heart will fill with lovely minutia until it overflows and spills red confetti on the dirty back of a winter street.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Nothing has made me appreciate these often challenging blessings more than being a father myself. (Being a dad also revealed the constantly changing perspectives that growing and maturing afford you, particularly if you're willing to pay attention. Suddenly I was far more compassionate for my parents than I'd ever been in my pre-parent days.) I never really understood what my Mom and Dad meant when they said "I love you" until I said it to my daughter. It's like having a supernova right below my sternum, an explosion of bittersweet wonder and joy. Coming full circle, round 1.
The puzzle of our identities is indeed more complex than we want to admit, and how much of it is attributable to our folks, to their strengths and failings, we'll probably never know. So here's to you, Mom and Dad!
You can listen to the sermon here.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
"I don't feel frightened not knowing."
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Cooperation is a form of goodness, but how prevalent is it in nature? Well, we see cooperation between molecules, between cells, between organs, between organisms, between groups, and between groups of groups. How much cooperation do we need to see before conceding its significance? How blind do you have to be to ignore cooperation as a factor in evolution?
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
To reverse what is happening, we must create strong alternative ideas and hardy alternative institutions and communities, a counter culture that rejects the myths of Washington and Wall Street just as, in the 1960s, a generation put the establishment on the defensive or in the closet.
In any case, we need to act, but independent of those responsible for the mess, those exculpating them, those offering remedies that are mere manipulated shadows of the failure, and those engaged in misleading or misguided organizing on their behalf even if with purportedly noble intent.
The collapse of American culture was an inside job. Its cure is to be found on the outside, in a counter culture that is clear and worthy in its goals, eclectic in its alliances, and which builds community, recovers integrity and helps us to sing again. If we can't save our culture, we can at least create a new one.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Happy Easter, whatever you may believe!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
"If you have ice cream, I will give it to you. If you have no ice cream, I will take it from you."- Rishi Suzuki
Leo (July 23-August 22)
This horoscope presents three clues for you to work with. Here's the first: I know a psychotherapist's son who, while growing up, rarely received the benefits of his father's psychological expertise. "The shoemaker's child has no shoes," my friend says. Here's your second clue: In the Bible's book of Mark, Jesus declares, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own relatives, and in his own house." The third clue: A neurologist of my acquaintance suffers from migraine headaches that he has been unable to cure. Now, Leo, I invite you to meditate on how these alienations may reflect situations that you're experiencing. If they sound familiar, take action. It's prime time to heal them.
Virgo (August 23-September 22)The original source.
One reason I've been put on this earth is to expose you to a kind of astrology that doesn't crush your free will, but instead clarifies your choices. In this horoscope, for instance, I'll crisply delineate your options so that you may decide upon a bold course of action that's most in tune with your highest values. Study the following multiple-choice query, then briskly flex your freedom of choice. Would you rather have love: 1. knock the wind out of one of your illusions, thereby exposing the truth about what you really want; 2. not exactly kick you in the butt, but more like pinch and spank you there, inspiring you to revise your ideas about what it means to be close to someone; 3. spin you around in dizzying yet oddly pleasurable circles, shaking up your notions about how to keep intimacy both interestingly unpredictable and soothingly stable.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Here is what varied teachers of the Buddhadharma have to say about the meaning of this seemingly self-evident slogan:
You would like to put people in the wrong by saying disparaging things. However pleasantly coated with sugar and ice cream, underneath you are trying to put people down, trying to get revenge... You think that your virtues can only show because other people's are lessened, because they are less virtuous than you are. - Chogyam Trungpa
The next one is very easy to understand: "Don't malign others." We put a lot of energy and time into gossiping about others. Perhaps there's somebody, maybe it's just one person, that you have a problem with. Maybe it's Pearl, who is so pitiful. She is always feeling left out, and you find yourself reminded of your mother, who's also like that. Somehow Pearl and your mother become all mixed up together, and you find yourself continually irritated and disgusted by the pitifulness of Pearl, and it keeps triggering a lot of stuff in you. Yet you don't have the slightest interest in actually getting to know Pearl and finding out what's going on there. You have no desire to communicate with Pearl and find out who she is. Instead there's some kind of satisfaction that you get from not liking her, and you spend a lot of time and energy talking to yourself about Pitiful Pearl, or whoever it might be - Horrible Horatio or Miserable Mortimer. - Pema Chodron
Here the slogan is translated as "Don't Be Excited by Cutting Remarks":
In general, don't take joy in disparaging others. In particular, when another person says something bad about you, don't respond by talking maliciously about him to others. In fact, even if some injury has resulted, strive always to praise the good qualities of others without blaming this or that person. - Jamgon Kongtrul
Translated as "Do Not Laugh at Malicious Jokes":
The commentary here says more than the verse itself. Do not make bad jokes. The author is not advising us to avoid bad puns, but is referring to malicious sarcasm. Don't make fun of other people in ways that would bring pain to their hearts. The temptation is especially strong when it entails the double satisfaction of disparaging another person and exalting ourselves at the same time by showing off our cleverness. Those of us prone to this type of humor need to address this by changing the conditioning of our speech. All types of harsh speech should be abandoned to avoid harming ourselves and others as well. - Allan Wallace
Translated as "Do Not Meet Abuse with Abuse":
If people say to us, 'You are not a good practitioner. You vows are useless,' we should not respond, by pointing out their defects, for instance telling a blind man that he is blind, or a lame man that he is a cripple. If we act like this, then both parties will be angry. Therefore, let us not utter a word that will harm or make others unhappy. When things are not going well, we should not blame anyone else. - Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Simple and self-evident but oh so hard to put into practice.
The original sources for these commentaries may be found here.
Or is that the brink?
An American residing in Berlin had leukemia as well as AIDS. Doctors did a bone marrow transplant to cure the leukemia, obtaining stem cells from a healthy donor. The operation was a success -- the leukemia disappeared. As an added and surprising bonus, the HIV also left the patient's body. He has been free of both diseases for two years. I predict a psychological version of this double cure for you in the coming weeks, Leo. The healing you receive for one type of suffering will unexpectedly heal another kind, too.
There's a rung missing on your ladder of success. I suppose you could see that as a problem. It means you won't be able to climb higher by taking two manageable steps, but will be compelled to attempt a giant upward stride. I see this as potentially a good thing, though. The missing rung is exactly the kind of glitch that could activate your dormant reserves of ingenuity. It might even force you to become so smart and resourceful that you'll ultimately rise to a point you wouldn't have been able to if your ascent had come more easily.
Dual healing, dormant reserves of ingenuity, and difficult ascents. Sounds like just what the doctor ordered for these disturbing times.
Check out more from the original source.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
In this minute and a half of footage, we can see why LSD scared the living bejeezus out of the powers that be and why it had to be completely demonized. After all, you can't blow people up when you're laughing your head off pondering the living, breathing mystery that is the cosmos all around you.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
There is an Oglalla aquifer of guilt sitting a few inches below the surface of the American psyche, and it is sapping us of our power. Is there a solution? We are a positive-thinking and results-oriented nation, we tell ourselves, so if I were really going to play the American game, I would spell out some E-Z tips for managing this anxiety and present them in handy numbered form. You might even try to follow them, only to discover a week later that you have done nothing of the kind. So I will forbear with solutions. After all, I don't want to make you feel guilty about continuing to feel guilt.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
"People are not afraid of their joint kinships with animals and machines, not afraid of permanently partial identities and contradictory standpoints. The political struggle is to see from both perspectives at once because each reveals both dominations and possibilities unimaginable from the other vantage point."