A Good Time to Practice the 3 Antidotes

As a Buddhist, often I need to kick myself in the butt to remind me that there are ways, even in these troubled times, to maintain equanimity of my spirit mind.  As any Buddhist will say, in her or his own words, there are three root poisons that work to impede our divine happiness, those being anger, greed and confusion.

Today, as throughout history, we easily can discern these 3 poisons infecting American society at large, regardless of one’s political persuasion, or apolitical posture.  So these poisons not only infect an individual, but spread like rotting fruit in a barrel,  pervading all society, ebbing and rising over time. This infection is always present, everywhere in the world, and has been since the proverbial Eve picked the apple (uuummm, that juicy, tasty apple!)

However, the antidotes to any or all 3 of the poisons must first be given to individuals, one at a time.  The antidotes are always present, in each of us, but have to be spiritually accepted.  And, only the individual can decide voluntarily to take the antidotes, as the curing effects will not be realized if forced upon she or he.

Everyday we witness all 3 poisons flowing and defiling our humanity.  From the highest political office in America, varieties of the 3 are pumped through channels of willing receptors, who often do not even recognize their sickness.  But every action has a reaction, so those who oppose the policies of the present Oval Office, likewise allow themselves to be infected with other strains of the 3 viruses.

So what are the antidotes?

  1.  To counteract anger:  Loving-kindness.  We must remind ourselves that each human being is just that, no more, no less, and strive to feel empathy and compassion for the challenges others are confronting that impede and block them from being the loving person they each have the potential to be, as we all do.  They are not responsible for our own feeling of anger, as no one can control how we feel if we are masters of our mind.  By cultivating a sense of forgiving, unconditional love for those who otherwise infuriate us, our internal anger will be restrained.  This does not mean we are not also responsible for externally working to arrest those in the grips of hatred from committing acts of violence or harm; by restraining them from such actions, we are actually helping them.
  2. To counteract greed:  Generosity.  We must overcome our own desire in the political realm to want everything to be the way we want it.  Our world view may have many good qualities, but it is just our world view, for none of us is omniscient. Generosity can also be expressed by reaching out to those whose views differ from us, offering a white feather of peace and a gentle request to explore together the root issues that separate us.  Lastly, generosity will not be sustained externally if we each do not strive to be more generous – consciously generous –  in all our social interactions, whether with a partner, a child, family or other close associations.
  3. To counteract confusion.  Wisdom.  With wisdom comes the faculties to negotiate this treacherous sea we live in daily.  All the great minds, philosophers and spiritual keepers knew this.  For instance, Proverbs 4:7 reminds us to get wisdom, get understanding.  Personally I like to use the term “overstanding,” to convey the higher quality that true wisdom exhibits.  One way of gathering wisdom is to practice critical analysis.  I have mentioned this a number of times in my posts.  I truly believe that if more and more younger students can be exposed to critical analytical discourse, then the fallacies, delusions, illusions and overall confusion we see today will diminish over time.  Most of those who have views supporting the Oval Office I believe are in a state of utter confusion and delusion, because they are not skilled in critical thinking, to search for the truth in any situation.  For instance, blaming immigrants for Americans being unemployed will fly in the face of logical cause and effect analysis.  Hating someone because of their skin color or customs also will be cooled when real exploration takes place.

Having spoken about these antidotes, I realize too that behind the anger, greed and confusion lurks what we can label just pure evil.  I truly believe that there is a negative higher force that is always present in the human mind, which will exist always (until we all attain enlightenment…..but that is another matter).  We see pure evil at work in the mass murders recently, but pure evil rears its supremely ugly face throughout all history, whether the genocide in Rwanda or Cambodia, or the Nazis, or the fire bombing of cities by the Allies.  When we allow evil to appear it always will.  Only the 3 antidotes keep it in check.

So having written this to share with you today, I commit to myself to do be better at taking my antidotes, and not push away the spoon like a sick boy who pushes away his mother’s hand with the spoonful of nasty medicine.

Peace and blessings be with you all.

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REPARATIONS in America: What WE WHITE folks can do now.

Seriously, WE do not have to wait on Congress to do anything about reparations.  There is much we WHITE peeps can do right now….I mean Right NOW!

Take a look at these links for example:

http://comingtothetable.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/CTTT-Reparations-Guide-June-19-2019.pdf

https://www.americamagazine.org/arts-culture/2018/11/28/my-ancestor-owned-41-slaves-what-do-i-owe-their-descendants

Step No. 1 is to open our fucking eyes and minds, ok!  Stop being defensive every time the subject of racism and/or reparations is brought up.  “Well, it’s not my problem, I didn’t live “back in those days,” or we immigrated from Europe long after the Civil War period, so my family is not accountable:  such typical feelings and responses.  All wrong.  Just like those “newcomer” IMMIGRANTS from Europe benefited and their progeny continue to benefit from A) the labor, sweat, blood and lives that African Americans gave to this land; B) having a leg up on most black people in this country who were told to bring yourselves up “by your bootstraps” when they had no fucking boots to start with, by virtue of capital accumulation, education, housing and you name it, we collectively – white people – not only carry the PRIVILEGE  that goes with our whiteness in this land, but carry the burden of DEBT that we have never begin to pay for that privilege!

I doubt seriously that there ever will be found an amount monetarily that would even come close to repaying black people in this country (or the rest of the African diaspora).  What is the price for the millions of deaths in the Middle Passage, the centuries of lynchings and beatings to death, the mothers dying in childbirth after being raped by their “owners,” deaths in the fields slaving in the heat and disease infested plantations, or all the black men and women treated like sub-humans through the last two centuries, even to this day, with cops being allowed to choke black men to death for selling single cigarettes.  Then there is the matter of blighted neighborhoods, guns run in by white nationalists to encourage desperate black youths to kill and shoot at will, the terrible inequities in income, savings, and hell, on and on.

But the issue must be addressed and STUDIED within Congress, and right now good ol’ boy Mitch is determined to block that Bill.  POX ON HIM.

But, we can begin to do SOMETHING, in spite of  Senator Mitch McConnell, who had a great-great-grandfather who owned 14 slaves. (I myself had a G-G-G who owned 50 slaves, and probably other distant kin who also were slavers.  Yes, I bear the guilt they should have carried, and am committed to doing all I can to be an advocate for reparations.)

So I urge all readers, especially whites, to get on board.  Read the documents I linked above.  The time is long, long overdue for action!  We all can do SOMETHING!

Jazz, America’s Classical Music

If you are not a student of jazz, nor even very familiar with its vastness, that’s ok, I just hope you will hear me out on this, and then think about how what I say applies to the music idiom you prefer or love even.  I assure you it will apply, you may just need to do some substitution.

I chose the photo above, two empty park benches, side by side.  Now imagine, on one bench is seated a single musician, playing jazz, all alone.  My vision is of a sax player, but maybe it’s a cat or a lady horn player blowing on the trumpet or coronet or …….you name it.  Now it could even be a guy on a trap drum kit, but I prefer to think in terms of a horn’s vibration.  An acoustic guitar will do well though, in this discussion.

Here you come, out for a leisurely walk before it gets too warm, and hearing the wafting notes of extemporaneous composition floating through the trees, you follow these, curious and perhaps bewitched.  Finding the player, who only acknowledges you with a quick glance, after standing a moment listening, you say to yourself, “I think I will just sit and listen for a while.”

Being a jazz aficionado of many years, you just close your eyes, and listen, non-judgmentally, as the player experiments, stuttering on this note, then hesitating, then repeating and repeating again, until satisfied with that stroke of the painting.  Each note you hear takes you somewhere in your soul, your memories, your very primordial essence, carrying you along the strands of your DNA to experiences and relationships of your countless ancestors, and even (in my way of thinking) your many reincarnations.  You sit listening, hearing but not analyzing, for it cannot really be analyzed, as it is “jazz,” a fully-constituted quantum wave/particle having only the smaller parts that make up your very body and all that you perceive around you and all that you do not yet perceive, the very web of the Potentiality that is what many call God, others just know no name may be assigned, for It is neither this nor that.  Of the infinite possibilities of each note you take in, your neurons fire collapsing at each moment the probability wave into that special note that you and only you can claim.  You own each note, just as much as the lady playing.  You become an Eulipion.

The thought may come to mind, does the player hear her notes and feel what you feel listening to his notes?  A little perhaps, but what she is laying down is a river, she is pouring in the sacred water, shaping the twists and turns and rapids and falls, which she navigates, but you are in your own boat, free to also navigate as you feel, or are drawn to do by inexorable forces that you have little control over.  It is her journey, her creation, but she gives openly for you to enjoy in your little “mind skiff.”

A large part of listening to jazz is just relaxing into what you hear, letting the mind and spirit, mind/spirit, synthesize the extension of the notes that are only yours alone to enjoy in the way that you do.  Each person will enjoy the same music differently, because what we hear is what each of us process as our personalized perception of those lyrical dimensions.  This is also true of what we touch and what we see, but that’s another story. All is Mind.

Of course, as I said above, please feel free to substitute your own idiom, your own instrument, and then just visualize mentally, let it be a brief meditation.  Your surely will “see” that of which I write this morning.

Enjoy your day.  Listen to some great music!

Just Being…

We had some hard rain yesterday, but after some hours it let up so I could take a short walk to the grocery nearby.  On the way back it occurred to me that a topic for today should be about “being in the present.”

As I walked along I traversed fallen twigs, leaves, and other unrecognizable “stuff,” much of it left by the force of the rain, knocked from bushes above, or blown from some other spot by the winds.  I allowed myself to become very thoughtful about this, and yet allowed my mind to just be open to blending with what I perceived, visually and mentally.  I thought about how each leaf stuck to the sidewalk had a history that was infinite.  The same for even the bird poop, and how leaves and poop were directly connected and essentially part of the whole.

Take one leaf for example. We can examine how it came to be a leaf, and we can examine how it came to be one of the leaves that was displaced by the rain water, and how the wind and the rain and gravity all conjoined to place the leaf in the exact position and orientation that I saw it in.  We can trace this history of the leave, from being a sprout on a twig, to being part of the bush or tree, to the seed that the tree came from, to what carried or placed the see where the tree grew, and if carred there, how and why, did a bird carry it, and what kind of bird and the full history of that one bird, such as its migration, the food it consumed…..and well, as one quickly sees there is no end to the investigation that one can do if one wishes.

The “bottom line,” (a favorite term in the West, since we are all about the almighty dollar) is that all things if explored thoroughly, are seen to be part of the web of life, and more so, the quantum web when we drill down to the ultimate state of perception.  This is what is called “sunyata” in Sanskrit.  It is the “emptiness” of all that we perceive, meaning empty of inherent existence.  The entire universe contains nothing that is not interdependent with everything else.  It’s really quite simple, yet so illusive to those never presented with such philosophy (and physics).  By just being in the present, observing each thing and phenomena and our own thoughts at the moment, we can be transported into the heart of this concept, and for at least a few seconds, or minutes, arrive in this suspended “place” that has no time nor space nor gravity.

That we can readily access this state of being anytime, anywhere, is really “pretty cool.”  If we do practice this, the least benefit we will attain is the realization that we as a person are fully connected with the ultimate creation.  No need to do much more than this, no need to prostrate, no need to cross the heart, no need to go to a formal place of worship (except for the social experience and support).  We each are given the full throttle power to simply, “Be.”

Enjoy Being today.