Aware Compassion

I am a Buddhist.  Many years ago I received what Mahayana Buddhists call the Medicine Buddha initiation.  I won’t go into esoteric details of the practice, as anyone may find a great deal of information on the web.  What I do wish to include in this post is the simple method of what I dub “aware compassion.”

When I see an ambulance or even hear the sound nearby, and the honking of its horn trying to clear the road ahead, or when I happen to see a medical emergency helo going by overhead, I bring Medicine Buddha into my presence.  I immediately bring into awareness that some person or persons is seriously hurting or in a medical emergency.  For this practice I send to the vehicle the healing blue light, “lapis lazuli” light, with my pointed prayer to reduce the person’s pain or give them the extra help they need to get through their situation.  Of course I usually will not know if the vehicle is even transporting someone, as it may be on the way to pick up the person, but it does not matter really.  The whole point is to inject the power of prayer into the situation.

To me it is inconsequential how one prays for those in need.  Any faith, or even non-faith wishes, helps.  It is a scientific fact, proven with quantum physics experiments, that the mere observation of any physical phenomenon affects the same.  We can in fact affect these emergency situations, although the effects may not be obvious or the results may be not what we would have wished for.  Regardless, there is some probability that the outcome will be positive.  Again, our merely putting positive energy into the universe may help.

The “awareness” component of this practice of compassion is dependent on our recognizing upon seeing or hearing an emergency vehicle, kicking in our healing prayers, directed to the unknown, unseen person(s) we can imagine inside.  Does it matter that the person perhaps has done something wrong? That they were shot while committing a crime, or shot by a law enforcement officer?  To me it does not matter.  I believe that at the core of all sentient beings is a little Buddha.  Does it matter that they will never know that I prayed for them?  No it does not.  By putting positive energy into the universe, sharing the Love and Compassion of the blue Medicine Buddha, the whole universe is improved on some sub-sub-microscopic level, in my mind at least.

So using the Medicine Buddha method, when I see or hear the ambulance, I internally visualize a healing ball of blue lapis light in my heart, and mentally send that ball of blue light to the person in the ambulance, and visualize their entire body enveloped in that light, and I send the Buddha’s healing love to them, visualizing it relieving their pain, and injecting them with healing energies.  I try to hold that projection until the sirens fade.

Of course to practice Medicine Buddha we do not have to sit around waiting on an ambulance haha!  The method, once learned, and better once one has taken an initiation by a lineage guru, can and should become a daily practice.  For millions of beings around the world, Medicine Buddha is a close, everyday love affair.

If nothing else, let us just know that the ambulance or helo may be carrying another suffering human being, possibly on the edge of their mortal life, and acknowledge this internally.  It makes us a little more human.

I have never had to be transported in an ambulance myself, but decades ago, I followed close behind an ambulance transporting my terminally ill wife from one city to another, and my heart was joined with hers’  as I trailed along.  My wishes were fulfilled, as she lived a few more weeks, allowing us to share our final days together in a way I cannot even describe.  Tomorrow will be the 25th year since her passing.

So the mantra of the Medicine Buddha is thus given:

Tayata Om Bhekandze Bekhandze Maha Bhekandze Bhekandze Randza Sumungate Soha

 

 

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One of Life’s Little Paradoxes

Very few people today know anything at all about where wool and mohair “come from.”  In fact many people do not even know what “mohair” is.  To me and my “kin” that is like not knowing where dirt comes from, as it is so indigenous in our blood.  Wool comes from sheep; mohair, from goats. My heritage is from a rather small population of Texas sheep and goat raisers.  Our father, his father and his father were sheep and goat raisers, along with “running” (cowboy slang) some cattle.  Wool and mohair was at one time the leading industry of what is called the Edwards Plateau and Hill Country of southwest Texas.  This area is one of those amazing geological areas of our great State, having many creeks, rivers that empty into the Gulf of Mexico, hills, hills and more hills, and at the top of the escarpment  the Plateau, a rugged, rocky, cactus studded landscape where cows cannot thrive due to the lack of adequate grazing pasture land.  Mohair production in the Texas area reached its peak in the mid-1960’s, with some 4.5 million goats tallied.  However, wool production had a long head start, and a greater market, and that side of the industry peaked actually in 1943, with World War II demanding warm clothing for our soldiers, and nearly 11 million sheep were recorded.  That’s a lot of sheep.

The boy in the photo is none other than yours truly, holding one of my grandpa’s Angora’s, and in the background one can see some sheep.  Sheep and goats are all run in the same range, but sheep being sheep stick together and do their thing, while goats being goats like to stay together and forage differently.  Sheep prefer grasses, goats prefer bushes.  Sheep like low lands, goats frolic in the higher rocky hills and plateaus.

I have many memories from my boyhood helping my father with his herds.  Early in his ranching career, after returning from WW II as a highly decorated B-25 bomber pilot, dad lost several hundred of his goats in a cold rain.  Funny thing about Angora goats, if they have had their mohair sheared and are all slick with no coat, ranchers will laugh wryly remarking you could spit on one and it would freeze to death.  Goats are just extremely vulnerable to chill and will just die from a cold rain.  Sheep are a little more tolerable even when sheared, because they also will bunch up and huddle to try and stay warm as a group, whereas goats never figured that out it seems.  Ranchers are usually spending their down time listening to the weather reports, and if they hear of rain coming, they will often round up their flocks, especially the goats, and get them into small “trap” pastures to shelter under sheds from the weather.  Of course rains can pop up suddenly, so the success rate may not be that good.

When ewes and nannies (the female goat) are popping out lambs and kids (we call that “kidding” and “lambing”, this usually is happening out on the range, so they are very susceptible to predators and scavengers.  Red head buzzards love to circle on the air currents over ranch country during these times, and will land and attack still wet lambs and kids, attracted by the afterbirths.  I once saw my father shoot a buzzard out of the sky…..and the bird was way high……with his 30-30 rifle.  He was a dead eye dick with that old gun.

My father never had a good working sheep or goat dog, although we had dogs.  But he had me.  I was a pretty good goat dog actually, with the limitless energy of a young boy.  Even into my late teens I would run the hills driving the goats down the winding paths toward the pens.

Back when I was a boy, I saw many horrifyingly, grotesque conditions of our sheep and goats infested by what is called screw worms.  Screw worm flies lay their eggs on open cuts and wounds, which often are caused when the animals are nicked or cut when being sheared.  Although these wounds are quickly “doctored”, the flies will follow.  Once the eggs hatch into larvae, the horror begins.  No science fiction has shown me worse.  Picture half a skull of a living, grazing goat  being eaten away, exposing the brain, with maggots feasting and the creature having no way to even reach its own wound.  I have seen that and many others, and have picked the worms out to doctor the wounds. That goat with the infested head, I shot to put it out of its misery.  It was horrible.  Thanks to science, by the mid-1960’s the screw worms had been mostly eradicated by through a sterilized fly release program.

One activity that goes with ranching in general is the marking of livestock for identification, and the castrating of the male lambs and kids.  Lambs typically will have their tails cut off to a short length, to mitigate future problems.  Over my years I have heard so many jokes about ranch hands dining on the “balls” of cattle, I could puke.  My father found out pretty well that I did not take well to helping him with this ritual, and frankly he gave up doing it as time went by.  But I remember one hot afternoon of being “up close” the day he decided it was time for me to get some man training.  I would catch the lamb by one hind leg, drag it over to one spot where my dad stood, then turn the lamb upside down so I was holding it by the hind legs, apart and steady as my dad performed the castration with his razor sharp pocket knife.  Of course I was looking right into this operation some six inches from my face.  After the operation we would flip the lamb onto its feet and I would hold its neck with my legs so my dad could whack off the tail.  Yes, lots of blood and gore, but somehow these young animals seem to bounce back pretty quickly.  Maybe God saw fit to give them some pain protection that we humans do not have.  Anyway, I think Dad saw the stupor I went into after we had done a bunch, and thereafter he didn’t get me involved.

The paradoxes of being a sheep and or goat rancher are two (at least):  one is that few ranchers will eat mutton, although barbequed goat has some popularity; the other is that it is very easy to become attached to your livestock, the cute sheep and goats, especially if you raised them as orphans.  My mother and father raised many “sanchos” as we call the bottle-fed orphans.  In fact, during their later years, my parents would bring several into their house, spread out newspapers to catch the droppings, and feed them and keep them warm on the cold Texas nights.  As these orphans grew up, most were spared transportation to the auction, and just became pets, a few that my dad had spared castration, becoming big old, curly horned rams.  My parents love their livestock, but as ranchers understand, there is a time when these must be sold off to other ranchers or to the slaughter houses.   Mutton and goat meat of course remain popular, and increasingly popular, with folks from the middle-east.

As a small boy I used to enjoy helping gather the wool off the wooden shearing floor, and tossing it into the huge burlap sacks.   After you toss in a bunch someone has to get into the sack and stomp it down so the full sack has a maximum load.  I used to get lice from doing this.  And lots of grass burrs in my hands.  Sweet memories.

I long ago left the ranching life, the sheep and goat life, although I could have remained to be the next generation of raisers.  But other roads beckoned.  Today the industry is coming back I hear, and I hope other boys and girls get to experience some of what I did.  It’s “an experience.”

 

Adulting – is Hard?

Until a few days ago I was unaware there was such a word, “adulting.”  Just pronouncing the word out loud informs it is loaded with connotations.  It sounds like a “heavy” word, at least to me.  It has something to do with getting off one’s ass and washing the sink full of dishes – and other things.  Apparently for many Millennials, and now the next generation coming “on line,” becoming an adult is harder than it was for Boomers like myself – or is it?

The question then arises, why are “M’s” having a harder time with becoming adults and conducting their affairs responsibly?  I admit not having looked for any research on such a question, or hypothesis, but I suspect it is a combination, a milieu, of rather oppressive conditions the M’s face.  Or, perhaps, their perception of daunting conditions?  Let’s name a few of these conditions:  one might be the “digital environment” that has largely shaped their lifestyles, to wit, distractions of “fun” activities that become addictive, such as video games, especially the on-line games.  I have one god-daughter who would argue with me on that, and I suppose a counter argument to mine could be strongly advocated, but from my viewpoint, these people have spent too much time with gadgets and not enough face time out in the world, experiencing real life rather than digital life.

Another condition is, the economy and their education.  The demands of the new digital age and worldwide economy, and the huge and increasing cost of higher education, and hell, just getting accepted into a college or university today, create a mine field for young adults.  Finding jobs and being able to pay off student debt has forced a high percentage of these “adulting” folks to live at home with parents already struggling with their own financial and or health issues.  Living at home with parents when you are supposed to be “an adult” cannot be easy – and many parents likely cut their kids a lot of slack too, not really helping their offspring grow up.  It is said the human brain is not “adult” until around 25-27 (that’s why we send our kids off to war…..any adult mind would reconsider enlisting), so that too is an innate challenge that all generations have.  I have some first hand experience with that, having had one god-son and his girlfriend live with us for a while.

For these M’s who chose not to go to college – and avoided large debts  (I choose to exclude the M’s who come from financially strong families, as those are a rather small percentage) –  there is the struggle of finding and holding down a decent wage paying job that they can live on.  Well, those jobs are few, and most of these young folk also must live with parents, or do what they call “couch surfing” from friend to friend or relative. However, one cannot couch surf one’s entire adult life, so what happens to these guys?  Fortunately many of these guys are smart, inventive types, who are trying to establish their own business or source of income, through their own creativity.  Let’s recall most of our most successful tech corps were established similarly, so that gives some assurance.

The endless wars in the Middle East also impact the M generation, although the effects seem to have gotten lost in many of our minds.  It’s a rather small group of M’s, usually those from poorer or rural areas having no future for kids as they came out of high school, who joined the ranks of our military and did what they were called on to do by Washington “fat cats.”  Today it would be hard to find someone in “middle class” American who knows one military person, or even knows someone who knows.  Our fighting M’s are nearly invisible today sadly, but the cost they have paid and continue to pay is incalculably high.  And how are they rewarded?  By being sent to the Mexican border to build fences and by having funds intended to improve their housing taken away to build such fences and walls.  Got to love America the Beautiful!

In contrast, we Baby Boomers came of age during the Race to the Moon, the Beatles and Woodstock, and of course “our” war, Viet Nam.  I find it difficult to say which generation faced more confusing and challenging environments to accomplish their “adulting” days in.  However, I do absolutely empathize with the M’s.  Although I just learned what “adulting” is, I can “feel you guys.”  Yes, becoming an adult is hard.  In tribal societies their was and still is, initiation rites for the passage to “adulthood.”  Girls and boys are instructed in the ways of being an adult within their tribal group.  Unfortunately in contemporary Western society do not have such rituals identified, we just have sports.  Ha-ha.  If a young person goes into the military, there is additional “initiation,” better called indoctrination, and perhaps this helps one to become an adult quicker than the rest, but then one may have to deal with PTSD on top of “adulting.”

So I have learned about the word, and I I myself went through “it.”  All human beings do, and I am sure around the world “adulting” is as serious a matter as it is to young Americans.  It is not a disease, nor affliction, it is Life.  So sometimes as a soldier might say, “just suck it up!”  The quicker you take charge of being your own adult, the better you will feel, and look back on those days “fondly.”

I wonder what new word I will learn this week?

 

The Near Future World – Part 2

Now days I have a lot of time on my hands, and have a routine of watching a movie each evening.  I also have a lot of time I use just thinking – some would say maybe I think too much…but then no one knows whether I am thinking or just awake, not thinking, right?  The last statement applies to every human being, and will one day apply to “robots” and other types of artificial intelligent (AI) “entities” (“beings?”), so this makes for a crafty segue to the main topic of this post.

I watched a film last evening called “More Human Than Human.”  It is a recent documentary that explores several facets of AI…and there are many facets now, and in the near future we will experience countless applications permeating each moment of our lives.  Several questions of ethics were touched on in the film, all quite valid concerns.  Being a thinker, I have come up with a few others that extend what the film covers, and perhaps one or two that my stimulated mind produced.  Here goes….

As with any human creation, AI in many forms is or can be used for good, but also for “bad” purposes.  AI already is proliferating military systems, and this will only increase exponentially.  So, it is likely I believe that one day our military (and “their” military) will not even have humans, or at most just an insertion of a small group, in the theater of battle.  In fact, once the shooting begins….excluding cyber warfare for the moment…and the robots and other AI are “released” to fight, will these weapon systems and fighting robots and androids just take over the entire war…..the planning, strategy and tactical ops?  So we human generals and sergeants just sit back on base in the clubs sipping martinis until notified we won, or suddenly find a swarm of enemy bots engulfing our relaxation?  The next question I have, is once the AI weapon systems become fully autonomous and have the capacity for high level war planning and execution, along with all the logistical subsystems, what if they decide to just turn on their “owners?”….or all humans?  Of course this scenario was considered decades ago, but I see no signs that anything is being done to inhibit this happening.

Here is another question? (I have no answers, just questions about this subject.)  Will robots assimilate extant religions, perhaps the dominant religion of their creative societies?  Certainly the creators can either set up conditions for teaching robots to learn ethics, “right from wrong,”  et cetera, but will it go further?  Will there one day be Muslim robots, Christian robots, Buddhist robots, and so on?  If a robot develops a sense of self-awareness, with the ability to feel “love” and other human qualities, why would it not seek out a relationship with the larger universe of reality?  But then what will be its reality?  Like human reality, each person has one’s own reality in the quantum (and Eastern spirituality) universe, so will each robot develop its “personal” relation with the “over lord” of its reality?

Also it is a given by all accounts that one day humans will cohabitate with, copulate and otherwise have robotic partners, and even marry androids.  In fact I suspect that for many robotic developers this is rather high on their agenda…the ultimate sex toy.  So then comes questions such as will robots be able to have human step-children, in-laws, and so on.  What about laws of property inheritance…..will robots be allowed to inherit estates?

Death and taxes:  the two sure things right?  So likely robots could live forever or just be upgraded and the “line” of that one robot series live forever, building on the experience and knowledge and wisdom of all its ancestors: truly standing on the shoulders of those who came before.  Will the passing on of a robot’s consciousness include all its negative, even evil or manic tendencies as well, or will there be a way to purge, to launder, its memory just to pass on the “good stuff.”  Taxes:  if robots are productive, will they be required to be paid and to pay taxes directly?  Deal with the IRS (for those not in USA, that’s our infamous tax collection system)?

Will AI increase drug addiction and suicide among humans, especially in the present and near future, due to robots displacing humans at the workplace?  This probably is already happening and we just aren’t tracking it.

Violent robots.  For years now there have been robot fighting contest.  Encouraged, taught, abetted and promoted for our youth especially to participate in.  Team sports for nerds.  This is just an extension of re-enactments of dinosaurs fighting to the death, right?  Since they don’t exist in reality and are just lizards or “old birds” then this is all great fun.  But what fundamentally is difference of such activities from Roman blood and gore in the arena, or dog fights in every urban area today?  In my mind, it speaks to the same primal psyche we humans carry, and which we need to recognize and control.  But now comes robots.  If robots can have all the qualities, more or less, that humans or even animals have, will there come a time when we have MMA to the death with robot opponents?  Since they are not human, then its all ok, right?  I think not.

So really we have to ask, will AI just infinitely expand our presently feeble level of enlightenment, perpetuating both our good and bad qualities, or will the creators….this young generation and successive gens…comprehend that they are in the god-seat, and choose the higher road, giving their robots the values that perhaps will save our planet, rather than exacerbate its present path of destruction?

“Socialism” – a Four Letter Word?

Recently in the political landscape of the USA, more and more one hears the word “socialism” thrown out, often in derisive tones by those who love “capitalism,” and oddly who are not in the “one percent” that owns all the capital.  More often than not the ones expressing their chagrin about the illusory prospect of “socialism” creeping into the American livelihood, are middle-aged or older, and likely Caucasian, with a sprinkling of immigrants from failed economies ruled by dictators under the guise of “socialism.”

I “shake my head” when I hear these kinds of comments, and my mind harkens to one or two other of my blog posts where I spoke of the need for our educational system to be enhanced to foster greater critical analytical skills in our population, as well as improvements in fact-based history as opposed to “white washed” history.

I am not here to advocate for either socialism or capitalism, but only to raise questions to those fearful of “socialism.”  Many of those who think this word falls in the “four letter” category are also very dependent on socialism already, and have benefited from it for many decades in the USA.  Take Social Security for one.  What about our public education system? Oh, and then the highway system (hence the cool photo above)?  Now let’s throw in everything that falls under the Federal Government, such as our entire military force, the Veterans Administration, virtually all the major departments of the government, …….and for grins let’s throw in the United State Postal System, and maybe the Federal Reserve?

So when these folks deem it necessary to rail against the perceived illusory rise of socialism, the fact is they are wholly dependent on social structures that stitch together the very fabric of our Nation.

Having said that, why are they so afraid of everyone having access to healthcare, vis-a-vis a single-payer system?  Whoa, the fact is that the majority of these complaining are on or going to be on Medicare and Medicaid! …Socialist to the roots.  Should not everyone have access to basic health services under similar programs?  And why cannot, or should not,  given the sorry state of our competitive abilities in the world economy, we offer additional education without cost to our youth? Beyond high school, for say another two years at least?  It is the education of our youth that will drive the economy through this century.

I feel there is a severe lack of understanding of what are social programs versus “socialism” versus, well let’s say it, “communism.”  On top of this, regrettably, is the attitude of many who worked hard, who have accumulated something in their lives, that makes them feel that others who haven’t lived as long or worked as hard (maybe not as blessed like the “haves”) should not be given a leg up on education or health insurance.  This is selfishness at its core.  It is not what the Christian Jesus taught, nor what any other religion teaches (not that one has to be religious to show compassion).

In my previous post I spoke on Stillness.  Perhaps some stillness, and reflection would lead to a better appreciation of this four-letter word, socialism.

 

 

Stillness, An Infinitely Abundant Resource

In these days and times, as in all past and all future days and times, the resource of “stillness” offers access to infinite peace.  Certainly in the USA each of us could use a little peace, peace of mind, peace in being individually and most importantly, collectively.  We exist only because other sentient beings exist, especially our fellow human beings.  So when we access peace, we should feel connected to the peace of others, everywhere.

I know I have readers around the world, or at least in parts of our commons space ship, and I am sure they would agree that peace of mind, accessed by just being “still,” is the antidote for many of our troubles.  While “stillness” is accessible through meditation of various methods, stillness also is mundanely accessible by just controlling when and how we speak.  Would you not agree with me that if a person just pressed “pause” before commenting or “popping off” about some “thing” they see or hear or read, perhaps the world would be a little more civil.  It’s called “think before speak.”  Very simple.

It is all too obvious that a large segment of the world’s population, especially here in the USA, are all too quick on the trigger with their comments on news media channels and social media at large.  The whole thing reminds me of a food fight (although I have never personally engaged in or witnessed one….laughter!).  Even as much as I love the internet, and our freedoms “in the West,” I sometimes think maybe, if once a month at some pre-arranged time, the whole WWW would turn off all means of commenting on news feeds and social media just stop, say for one hour, with the understanding that we should use that time to just sit quietly and “not think,” the world would be a little more civil at large.

But then, there is no WWW god who can execute that suggestion.  It is within each of us, however, the power and capacity – if not the will which needs to be cultivated – to really tamp down our busy stupid minds that constantly wish to chatter to reinforce our own usually ill-informed attitudes and positions about a host of social matters.  As it is, at least here in the States, we have what is probably a minority of loud mouths continually spouting off, often going into the most vile, vindictive ditches to “hurt” there imagined opponents.  It is this minority that we at large allow to rob the rest of us of the peace of meaningful reflection and compassion for others.

Personally I wish for more peace within the human psyche, especially those who are visible by virtue of political office or other public position.  Just think if many of these people could find peace in their own hearts and minds (one and the same), much of the present insanity would just “go away.”

Now I need to be quiet for a little while.  Peace out.

L-I-V-E (the reverse)

If one spells “live” backwards, the result is “EVIL.”  The atrocity that just occurred in NZ is a prime example of evil.  The only word that can be used to describe such an act, or any of the acts of “degrees of evil” that happen on a daily basis, is just that word, EVIL.  No other word could capture the degree of horror or the pain it leaves in the hearts of millions today.  Daily around the world, such acts bubble in the caldron of archetypal devil’s soup, popping up anywhere and everywhere on the globe.  Whether as awful as the NZ slaughter, or the daily shooting of boy against boy in South Chicago, or cops shooting boys in the back or while on the ground, or rapes of girls and women all over the world, or genocide, or “collateral damage” inflicted by Western powers, or families witnessing the execution of their loved one’s murderer….it is all nothing more than evil.

The topic of evil has been of interest to me for some years, as it is manifest in our human condition.  It will not go away, it only shifts from one person to another, one group or gang to another, one nation to another.  I want to know what evil is.  I believe it to be a natural part of the “real world” that we exist in by perception.  It is that half of the dynamic that we Buddhist call “samsara.”  In my search to better understand our human connection with what one may call God, what we Buddhists and Hindus and others call in various terms, such as the Void, or that which no word can be assigned to, “neither this nor that,” I am beginning to see that what we call evil is (perhaps) just an inverted energy, if you will, that is necessary to balance the “good” energy.  We can call the good energy “love,” or perhaps even “without pain.”  (The photograph above is my attempt at indicating the darkness of the universe mixed with the light of the universe, good and evil.)

The fact that this world is full of misery, pain and corporeal death, for all people, for all organic sentient creatures should inform that there is an underlying energy that keeps in check that “higher” energy that the more conscious of us would prefer.  I don’t pretend to have a clue as to why, if this is so, other than, “that’s the way it is.”  The animal world is so cruel and one could say “evil” is it not, when one animal eats another as a natural part of its existence, often eating its “meal” while alive?  What good “God” would create such a world, a God of Love?  Again, since I don’t believe in any “God,” I think the question is rather moot.  I just accept it is what it is.  Evil exist.

It seems by my observations over a lifetime, that the axiom, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” is so spot-on true.  It is fact.  We may not correctly make the equation for each observation, but some where in the each moment of ecstasy or misery there is that equation at work.  We cannot experience a high, with a low to comparer it to, and what was a high will have to be replaced with a higher high, followed perhaps by a lower low, unless we train our minds better.  There is a somewhat humorous “axiom” that is a corollary, “no good deed goes unpunished.”  I have seen the latter so many times!

I believe that what we call “evil” is an integral component of the Mind of the Universe. I also believe that we will individually not escape this until we attain some state of nirvana, or enlightenment.  I am sure many readers may challenge this, depending on what one’s belief system may be (or “non-belief” system).  So I am here to say only that we must face the fact of the existence of evil, and every moment strive to control the evil within our own personal psyches, and do all we can to voice and act against the next episode of outright atrocity.  We cannot ever stop or contain all evil, but the very act of opposing evil is required to keep evil in balance with l-I-v-e.  We must LIVE.

In October, 1987, there was a Symposium on Understanding Evil, in the town of Salado, Texas.  The reader may look it up.  A number of great minds attended, such as Maya Angelou, Scott Peck, Bill Moyers, and several others who had personal experience and knowledge of what “resident evil” is and can do.  I will not attempt to summarize any of this conference, other than to say again, that evil is in each of us, evil comes in many forms – even the verbal abuse of elderly or children – but, we must all work to keep evil in check. Evil is insidious, sneaky, crafty and will work its way into our minds and seem totally rational to us.  A good example is the constant fear mongering we see in the news today regarding people coming to our southern border.  No one who is thinking clearly, who uses factual, evidence-based reasoning, would see any significant threat to “us” from this situation, but it is evil that is working its magic, not much different than what we saw Hitler spin over the minds of the German citizenry.  Given the chance, evil grows and grows and grows, so that is why those of us who strive to dwell in peace must be constantly diligent in calling out the name “evil” when we see it.  We need to be “ghosts busters,” ……substitute evil for ghosts.

I will close this post now, and continue to monitor this “resident evil.”  Please, you also, stay on watch!

My late Mom, a fine Christian woman (who so loved her Buddhist son) relied heavily on this verse:

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” <Psalm 23:4>