16 July 2006

How many times have I resolved to live in the present moment, only to find myself formulating a personal growth plan, so that I may learn to experience the present moment, someday?

When I was three, I was first asked to trade in sensory pleasure for a promise.  I learned to delay gratification, to harness mind and muscle for later benefit, to forgo present comfort for future wellbeing. 

As a practical matter, we all must learn to curb our impulses, and develop judgment about the consequences of our actions.  But though our primitive sentiments cannot be permitted to govern our behavior, they have a primary claim to be acknowledged and recognized and experienced from moment to moment.

I have traded away the bracing immediacy of experience, the fullness – the possibility of rapture – that can only be found now in this moment, all in exchange for hope. Giving up hope may be the most difficult thing I have ever asked of myself.

– Josh Mitteldorf

15 July 2006

Happy Birthday Rembrandt van Rijn, 400 years old today.

14 July 2006

“Positively, my social philosophy may be said to be enshrined in three words: liberty, equality and fraternity.  Let no one however say that I have borrowed my philosophy from the French Revolution.  I have not... I have derived them from the teachings of my master, the Buddha.”

~Before Gandhi, Babasaheb Ambedkar's voice rose for the annihilation of caste in India, and an equal dignity for all.

13 July 2006

Two Bears

Once, after a hard day's forage, two bears sat together in silence on a beautiful vista, watching the sun go down and feeling deeply grateful for life.

After a while, a thought-provoking conversation began which turned to the topic of Fame.

The one bear said, “Did you hear about Rustam?  He has become famous and travels from city to city in a golden cage.  He performs to hundreds of people who laugh and applaud his carnival stunts.”

The other bear thought for a few seconds, then started weeping.

Mevlana Jalal-e-Din Mevlavi Rumi was a Sufi poet of 13th Century Persia, whose thought sounds so modern that we suspect that the translator is taking liberties.  The only way to resolve this question is to learn Farsi.

12 July 2006

“Faith is much better than belief. Belief is when someone else does the thinking.”

~ R. Buckminster Fuller, born this day in 1895, was probably one of the first futurists and global thinkers. He is the one who coined the term “Spaceship Earth”, and his work has inspired and paved the way for many who came after him.

For the first time in history it is now possible to take care of everybody at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. Only ten years ago the 'more with less' technology reached the point where this could be done. All humanity now has the option of becoming enduringly successful.” ~ Buckminster Fuller, 1980.

11 July 2006

The poets speak in obscure terms pointing madly at the unsayable.
The sages say nothing, but walk ahead patting their thighs, calling for us to follow.
The monk sits pen in hand poised to explain the cloud of unknowing.
The seeker seeks, just around the corner from the truth.
If she stands still it will catch up with her.

Pause with us here a while.
Put your ear to the wall of your heart.
Listen for the whisper of knowing there...

If I say the word God, people run away.

~ from What's In The Temple, by Tom Barrett

10 July 2006

“Delight is to him – a far, far upward, and inward delight – who against the proud gods and commodores of this earth, ever stands forth his own inexorable self. Delight is to him whose strong arms yet support him, when the ship of this base treacherous world has gone down beneath him. Delight is to him, who gives no quarter in the truth...”

Herman Melville (fr Father Mapple's Sermon, Moby Dick)