An uplifting news item, poem, thought or quotation each day.
Archive of past entries

1 May 2005

How to make a decision

The one who is deciding is you, but it is not your conscious, analytic self.

Trust your internal process.  Observe it.  Write down your thoughts, your dreams, your fantasies.  Don't take sides.  Have patience with the process, and protect it from pressure to produce a result.  Allow yourself to be fascinated with all that you notice and record, while strictly avoiding judgment.

Have patience with your process.

-Josh Mitteldorf

30 April 2005

Japan is showing us the way into a future when population will be higher and resources scarcer. Recycling is part of everyone’s way of life. Household garbage is collected 7 days a week in different bins for burnables, compostables, aluminum, steel, plastic, glass, and paper. Energy taxes keep gas prices over $4/gallon, and consumption low. There are workable public transportation systems in cities and high-speed rail between cities. In 2001, a national law mandated recycling of household appliances, and in 2003 a similar law for computers and monitors went into effect. A fee is added when each unit is sold that supports the manufacturer to take back the unit when it becomes broken or obsolete, extract reusable parts, and separate the remaining chasis into recyclable materials.

29 April 2005


Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden.
Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.
There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.
I knew no one worth my envying him.
What ever evil I had suffered, I forgot.
To think that I was once the same man did not embarrass me.
In my body I felt no pain.
When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.

-Czeslaw Milosz, Berkeley, 1971

28 April 2005

"Real courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."

'Scout' Finch, narrator of To Kill A Mockingbird, reminds us that the world is too complex for us to know the full consequence of what we do, so we do the right thing out of faith, and not just to achieve the right result.

-Harper Lee, born this day in 1926, wrote one novel which became an instant classic, and returned to private life. "Most of what has been published on the doings of Miss Lee in the last many years is speculation."


27 April 2005

"This is your life, and nobody is going to teach you, no book, no guru. You have to learn from yourself, not from books. It is an endless thing, it is a fascinating thing, and when you learn about yourself from yourself, out of that learning wisdom comes."
-J. Krishnamurti

"Cancer makes the fog lift. If you want to beat it, you have to step up to the brink of your life and demand to be heard."
-Robert Koehler

26 April 2005

Work should feel right.  Our careers should nourish our souls.  Each of us deserves a way to make enough money to live on while doing work that is satisfying and promotes our growth and learning through a lifetime.  

Charles Barber talks about his choice to work in homeless shelters, helping people who are crippled by severe mental illness.  "I didn't know it at the time, but I could not have picked a more helpful activity, for myself and for my clients. In working with them, I was exposed to problems entirely different from my own but they gave me a much needed perspective on my own troublesome mental landscape.

"I also found that I was good at the work, and that providing help to others was deeply satisfying, exhilarating - and therapeutic."

Barber reminds us to shift our focus from making ends meet to self-realization...even with the full knowledge that economic realities and government policies often seem perversely designed to thwart such choices.  We must settle for nothing less.

Songs from the Black Chair, by Charles Barber

25 April 2005

anoetic sentience

Sometimes a word or a phrase implies the existence of an entire world-view.  A few days ago, I first came across this phrase, anoetic sentience, attributed to a psychologist of that era when psychology was both a science and a branch of philosophy, George Fredrick Stout (1860-1944). 

In the spare prose of the 21st century, the phrase might come out as "consciousness without content", or "pre-cognitive awareness".

20th century psychology built an understanding of just how subjective are our perceptions.  That idealized state, the tabula rasa on which our vision of the world is painted, simply doesn't exist.  There is no such thing as anoetic sentience.

To a scientist, anoetic sentience might describes the ideal of empirical objectivity.  Science must observe the world with dispassionate precision, without any pre-existing theoretical framework.

To a Buddhist, anoetic sentience could well be the endpoint of meditation, the attainment of Zen mind, emptiness=bliss.