The Intergenerational Tipping Point.

As I see our American society today we are at the tipping point, the fulcrum being the foundation of what America will look like the next 100 years.  On one side of the lever are those who “want to make America great again,” and on the other end of the board is a conglomerate of Millennials and Gen Z, of all colors and persuasions, who have little knowledge of the “before,” but are grounded in what they daily see around them.

It is clear that the advantage is with the newer generations.  They will win.  The only question is how much damage, direct and collateral, to our society and our environment during this civil war.  It appears those now in control continue accelerating their “rape and pillage” mentality, rolling back environmental laws put in place over the last 100 years by those who understood at least some of the values needed to preserve our natural resources, and attempting to change laws protecting women, infants, poor and elderly people, all in the name of their “God.”

So the next few years will tell the final tale, as some factors such as global warming may go beyond any retrievable dynamic, setting the conditions for Earth’s ultimate demise as a habitable, heavenly creation.  Moreover, if certain measures being implemented by the current “old school” reach full criticality, such as rolling back Roe vs. Wade, killing Medicaid and reducing Medicare, messing with Social Security, inflicting untold misery on those seeking asylum at the foot of Lady Liberty, and continuing to start wars that they themselves never personally have to fight, then the next 100 years of potential will be sucked into cleaning up the muck they are spreading.

I remain positive however, and know the energy of the younger generation to effect the needed changes is limitless.  They are “woke,” and “overstand” clearly what they must do.

 

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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.

Happy Earth Day?

While home on leave in 1971, my future wife and I attended the second Earth Day celebration in Austin, Texas.  I don’t remember much about it, except it was a beautiful day, and I was with the beautiful woman that I would spend 25 years with on this beautiful Earth.

Today I am not sure it is appropriate to wish someone “happy Earth day.” Is it?  As a Buddhist I strive to keep a happy mind, which I do believe allows clear insight and comes by negating ignorance, anger and confusion about the things we all deal with on a daily basis.  However, a happy mind requires equanimity, a challenging matter given what we observe humanity doing to – committing against – our Mother Earth.

AI, artificial intelligence, is one of my favorite topics, which I have written about previously.  Being a positive soul, coupled with faith in what I observe in the young generation – their concern about climate change, to the point of global walk-outs by school children –  I do feel somewhat better that AI will be shaped by our progeny toward arresting the slow decay of our space-ship/biosphere.  On the other hand, there is the very real threat of high-tech gurus attitude of never looking back, and only concerning themselves with accomplishing technological steps that really remove humanity even further from our Mother.  Without heavy ethical push-back, there is extreme risk of technology being grasped by near fascist political regimes that will push the curve downward, continuing the decrement of the life-force that sustains all life.

In democratic nations, people can push back by voting for those who do cherish the Earth, who do work in evidence-based policy formation and who do what must be done.  Democracies that follow an environmental friendly state policy-making can also greatly influence the  non-democratic and developing nations.

So, let me end on a positive note, and do wish everyone, all my fellow humans, orangutans, and all Mother’s “creatures”, Happy Earth Day!