Monday, November 22, 2010

Relaxed Reflection

     Do you have a place in your home or yard where you can go to ponder the imponderables? If not, you should.
     Mine happens to be a garden tub (it's in the house, not a garden, so why it's called that, I don't know. You tell me...). It has a few plants, lots of candles and oil lamps, plus things of beauty and interest  surrounding it. It has a triple gooseneck lamp and an AM/FM Radio/ CD/cassette player a safe distance away on the vanity shelf (out of shot in this picture). I keep pleasant smelling therapy bath stuff of many varieties handy.
     When chaos and order both demand too much of my attention,  I find it to be a wise idea to sink into aromatic bubbles and water hot enough to boil my weight in lobsters while I listen to some contemplative canyon drum medicine music, old Chinese folk music, Bach fugues, or even Ravi Shankar. I confess Paganini's caprices are kinda chaotic, but I use them to counteract a day that was too tediously regimented.
     Nag Champa, balsam pine incense or heated oils help immensely, if the aroma of the bath du jour is not enough. I even have a little book-supporter, in case I wish to read... but more often than not, I just spend the time in idle contemplation, letting the mind wander a bit where it will. It's important enough to let horses do that once in a while, so why not slacken the reins and enjoy the scenery when time allows. If time does not allow, then you must make the time.
     When you get so busy that you forego personal thinking time as a mere luxury, you risk losing your perspective. You can't help anyone else if you are in disrepair.
     Run a bath and think about that for an hour.

Marxist Philosophy (Groucho)

     Groucho Marx once said, "I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it."
     I really can't think of a better attitude toward life to be held in the forefront of ones mind... even though, I am reasonably certain, that not even Groucho was able to see things in that light every day of his life. In fact, everything that I've learned about the guy over the last four decades or so seems to bear out that he has lived through some very hard times and has suffered through periods of angst, worry and hand-wringing that would furrow the brows of the best of us. For details, get the book My Life With Groucho written by Arthur Marx, Groucho's son.
     So why, then, would he utter words of Zen tranquility that would more likely than not bring a smile to the face of The Dalai Lama himself?
     Heck, I can answer that. I tell everyone, starting with myself, that people, places, things and events have only a limited power over our emotional well-being... and, even then, that power is only the power that we give them, consciously or subconsciously.
     The truth (I'm sure) is that Groucho didn't always find that he could live that way. But he very much wanted to do so and he expressed this desire. I can identify with that.  Who wouldn't want to live in the serenity that is born of a calmness inside ones self that is maintained regardless of the interference of outside events?
     Okay, okay... I do read the news (mostly online, of course)... there are lots of people who don't seem to desire to live peacefully. But, I believe that there are not really too many people who actively wish to live in suffering and misery.
     The Dalai Lama has said, "Feelings of anger, bitterness, and hate are negative. If I kept those inside me they would spoil my body and my health. They are of no use." Me? I couldn't agree more.
     I think the trick is to recognize things that are likely to make us angry before they actually get around to a full-fledged dander raising. The next trick is to ameliorate ones mood preparatory to the storm by asking internally if this thing or another is worth the emotional energy of becoming angry... will it still be worth it tomorrow, or the next day, or a week from now?
     I'm pretty good not getting worked up over big things. Yet little teeny annoyances, especially several strung in a row (like the random mishaps that tend to plague me like the staccato burpings of an automatic weapon whenever I'm in a rush) tend to send my thermometer into the red zone just like that! (Didja hear me snap my fingers, just then?)
     The point is that most of us would want to live in such a way where we are able to keep ourselves reasonably calm and happy most of the time... or even all of the time. For those who do not wish this, they should. All it takes is a little more awareness and a little more effort.
     I think Groucho was sincere when he said that. He always made more people laugh than cry.
     Naturally, I welcome comments and/or questions.

The Blind Men and the Elephant

Five blind men, walking abreast of each other, had come upon an elephant.

Since they cannot see, each began to feel around to determine what it is that they had bumped into.

The first remarked, having gotten hold of the tail, "It is like a vine... or a short rope.".

The second had put his arms around a leg and said, "No... it is more like a tree.".

The third blind man had walked right into the side of the elephant. "It is much more like a wall, than a tree or a rope," he countered.

The fourth had ahold of the ear. "But, maybe it is a tree... for I feel a thing very like a broad leaf," he offered.

The fifth declared, having encountered the trunk "It is very clearly a large snake!"

Each one of the men was attempting to make sense of something far larger than themselves by examining a very small part of this very big thing with severely limited perceptions.

The mistake to avoid is reasoning that the part of which one has ahold is the only right part and that it is all there is.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

All You Need Is Love

Roughly forty-three-and-a-half years ago, this song was the one that The Beatles performed on the very first live global television link. It was broadcast in 26 different countries and viewed by about 350 million people. For the fascinating details surrounding that event and also how the lyrics got to be voted the greatest words of all time, go here.
While you're at it, check out the website supporting The Synchronized Global Orgasm For Peace. Recreate the Big Bang! Tell your friends.!