Saturday, April 29, 2006



["landscape for a quiet sunday"]

Today was a busy day with a lot to get gone. So I am very grateful for quiet Sundays with Kira. It’s nice to know that there is always one of the week that I don’t have a million things to do or places to be.

I am also grateful today this last spring day before the temps get roasty next week.

And for organic nut butters of all flavors.

What are you grateful for?

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Prying Beneath the Mask (section II)

This is part II of a poem of which I posted the first part yesterday. Tommorow I will post part III.

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Prying Beneath the Mask (section II)

The muscle has shriveled,
rivers beneath my skin
reduced to mere thin streams.
Rocks exposed to sun,
a stiffening of bones.


Positing the reader
as anyone . . . .
Any person who has tossed
in cold hours after midnight,
tangled in sweat-stained sheets,
wanting only to stop
the inner voice,
or praying
for a tangible body
to share the bed—
a Beloved who is more than body,
another who touches
one’s soul,
who closes the window
when blowing snow
dampens the quilt,
whose warmth
can fend off the coldest night
and bury all fears
beneath a moss-shrouded oak.


The projection of emptiness:
things are loved
in folly,
a false praise
pushing the Other
toward the door. A need
thoroughly primitive,
unanswered in the eyes
of the Beloved.
Words become rain
falling to abstraction.
Only touch
reveals one’s self
in all its leafy decay,
seeking redemption
in the autobiographical stare.


The Beloved binds one’s tongue,
demands forgetting,
carries the body
back to the watery source
until breath
fills the margins
of belief
with the one true name,
the body knotted
in longing. Each cell
echoes the name
of the Beloved,
a pulse of wind
swaying willow limbs
in a rhythmic prayer.


This, being
the instant the eyes
open as door frames
allowing starlight
and the pale moon’s somnolent glow,
the chilly assimilation
of what is missing
into the skin-textured portrait
of identity.
Feeling as though one climbs
a ladder
leading ever higher,
each step leaving the soil
of one’s roots
further beneath the doubt
shaping each utterance,
wrought mouth
unable to taste the wine
such height entails.


The open eyes, fixed
on a point of departure:
a plywood box
rolling into the furnace,
face to face
with devouring flames.
with the final word.
Enveloped in the strong arms
of the Beloved,
a way out
or back within.

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Tarot as Mirror of the Psyche: The Chariot

[Please see the Introduction to this series for a brief synopsis of my approach to working with the major trumps of the Tarot. I am hoping to post a new meditation each Saturday. I use meditation here in the philosophical sense of the word, meant to denote an open-ended, free-form exploration of an idea.]

With The Chariot we come to the first card not named for the figure represented in the image. This should tell us a lot about the meaning of the card. Yet the meaning is often confused by the personal associations brought to the image of the chariot. This is very clearly a situation in which one's developmental level will have a strong influence on how the card is interpreted.

At IOC, we are always seeking the integral view. So while many people will see in the chariot a vehicle of war (pre-egoic), as we might remember from the movies Ben Hur or Alexander, or the vehicle of Apollo (egoic) in his daily journey across the sky, some will see the Biblical Elijah's mystic chariot (post-egoic). Then there is also the Sun Chariot of Buddhism, which is the Great Vehicle of Mahayana.

The reality is that all of these are valid, but in the Tarot we are watching the development of the Fool as s/he evolves along the spectrum of consciousness. What all of the various forms of the chariot described above have in common is that they represent levels of development within the human psyche.

So at this point in the Fool's journey, the Chariot represents the emergence of a unique psyche that can carry the ego on its journey toward infinite expansion/dissolution. However, the psyche is not static -- it is in constant motion. So the Chariot more aptly represents the power of the psyche to carry the ego, to move everything forward.
"Swing low, sweet chariot, comin' for to carry me home . . . ."
Sallie Nichols (Jung and Tarot) riffs on this image in relation to the Tarot Chariot:

[I]n a psychological sense a chariot is designed to "carry us home." The outer journey is not only a symbol of the inner one, it is also the vehicle for our self-discovery. We learn about ourselves through our involvement with others and through meeting the challenges of our environment.
Our young Fool has emerged from the pre-conscious energies of the Magician, the High Priestess, and the Empress, has had to orient within the social realities of the Emperor and the Hierophant, and then has to choose home or heart in the Lovers. Having navigated the pre-conscious realm of childhood, the young Fool is ready to strike out into the world of egoic consciousness.

The Chariot is both a literal vehicle and a symbol of the maturing psyche that will carry this growing ego toward its destiny with nondual reality. As such, the Chariot also represents a kind of initiation, a "break in plane" between the pre-egoic and the egoic. As a passenger in the Chariot (notice that few versions of this card show the figure holding the reins), s/he is literally betwixt and between.

When we are in liminal space -- that break in plane that separates childhood from adulthood, virginity from sexuality, pre-egoic from egoic, and on and on -- our sense of identity dissolves for a time. We are neither here nor there. We are no longer what we were but we have not yet become what we are to be. We are unfit to hold the reins.

But what grows out of that liminality is a new form of awareness. This is the meaning given to the seventh trump by the Osho Zen deck. It describes Awareness as dropping the veil of illusion. This may be thought of as dropping childhood innocence (a painful thing to lose), but the Osho Zen deck is more inclined to see it as a loss of ignorance.

The awareness that is growing in you now is not the result of any conscious "doing", nor do you need to struggle to make something happen. Any sense you might have had that you've been groping in the dark is dissolving now, or will be dissolving soon. Let yourself settle, and remember that deep inside you are just a witness, eternally silent, aware and unchanged.

A channel is now opening from the circumference of activity to that center of witnessing. It will help you to become detached, and a new awareness will lift the veil from your eyes.

The Chariot's number seven is a number of completion and wholeness: seven separate acts of creation in Genesis, seven stages of the alchemical process involving seven metals under the influence of the seven (then known) planets, the seven chakras, seven days in a week, and the list could go on.

The Chariot marks the completion of the first stage in the Fool's journey through the Tarot. And it signals the beginning of a new stage of growth and transformation.

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American Haiku

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The crooked arm of the
old oak-tree points
upwards to the moon.

~ Dorothy Wordsworth

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More on Al Gore and Global Warming

Eleanor Clift of Newsweek (web exclusive) has an interview with Al on the MSNBC site. I posted yesterday on David Corn’s review of the new Gore film, An Inconvenient Truth, and almost immediately found this interview from Newsweek (web exclusive) and a follow-up editorial by Clift about the possibility that Gore may run fro president.

This is from the interview:

You use the phrase “connect the dots” quite often. You delivered a speech on Jan. 15, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, that was critical of Bush for acting unlawfully in eavesdropping on Americans. Connect the dots from that speech to what you’re doing now.

This is different from that speech. I’m enjoying life, doing several different things that all fit together coherently for me. And one thing I do from time to time is when I can’t stand it anymore, I give a speech trying to contribute to the public dialogue about what we’re doing as a country. And the massive and almost certain illegal wiretapping of Americans outraged me and that’s why I gave that speech. That’s why I gave a speech on torture—several speeches on Iraq, et cetera, et cetera. But that is my contribution as a citizen to what Madison called an informed citizenry to take part in the political dialogue—but as a citizen. Now where the global-warming mission is concerned, I am a single-minded advocate to deliver a message that I think is crucial for our future. I don’t think that is a partisan message. I don’t think it should be a partisan message. I try to make it nonpartisan. And there are a few jabs that are just my authentic representations how I’ve evolved and come to the issue, but people who see this movie don’t see it as a political movie. And Republicans don’t find anything that they object to. Paramount has done these focus-group screenings, and they don’t see it like “Fahrenheit 9/11” at all. They see it as nonpolitical. So I don’t connect that to my periodic speeches on issues of the day. It is one of the issues of the day, but it’s one that I’m really devoting myself to, and I see it as different from the speeches I make.

Gore is pretty clear that he is all about the global warming issue now and sees this as his mission in life. He deflects any talk about possibly running for president in 2008 with the "been there, done that" approach. But people cannot stop talking him as a possible candidate. Clift followed up the interview with an editorial on Gore’s approach to being a candidate, assuming despite his claims to the contrary, that he will run in 2008.

Gore told NEWSWEEK that he’s in the middle of a campaign, but it’s not a campaign for a candidate. “Been there, done that,” he said.

Nobody believes him. By not playing the overt political game, Gore may be putting in place the first issue-driven campaign of the 21st century, one that is premised on a big moral challenge that is becoming more real with soaring gas prices and uncertain oil supplies. A senior Democrat who once ran for the White House himself but harbors no illusions the party will turn to him in 2008 looks at Gore and marvels, “This guy is running the best campaign I’ve seen for president.”

Whether he is or isn’t running almost doesn’t matter. Gore has the luxury of waiting until late in the political season to announce. He has universal name recognition, a proven ability to raise money, and he can tap into the machinery to launch a grass-roots campaign. Unlike front runner Hillary Clinton, there is no doubt about where Gore stands and what he believes in. He opposed the Iraq war, he was against the Patriot Act and he spoke out forcefully against President Bush’s torture policies and warrantless eavesdropping. Gore has become the darling of the left, yet global warming is not, or shouldn’t be, a partisan issue. The days when the first President Bush mocked Gore as “Ozone Man” are over, relegated to the dustbin of history. Conservative evangelical Christians see themselves as stewards of the earth.

Clift draws a parallel between Nixon’s loss to Kennedy and his resurgence in 1968 as the party’s best hope after Goldwater’s defeat in 1964. For many Democrats, the scenario is similar. After Kerry’s pathetic campaign in 2004, and with a lackluster field holding national name recognition (Feingold might be the exception here), Gore looks pretty good to a lot of Democratic strategists.

The question is not whether or not Gore could win in 2008 (many think the GOP has no one to offer aside from McCain, who is digging himself a deep credibility hole by sucking up to the radical right Christian groups), the question is whether or not Gore thinks being president is more important (or a better strategy) than working to solve the climate change crisis.

And make no mistake, this is a crisis. Gore talks about having ten years in which we can turn this thing around, assuming that everyone gets with the program. There’s no hope of that happening. Gore, as vice president, spoke in China (to their leaders) about climate change, but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. With their massive push to become a world economic power rivaling the US (they want their currency and their language to be as ubiquitous as the dollar and English), they have discarded all concerns for the damage to the environment being caused by their industrialization process. We have no power to persuade them to change course. They point to our history (on nearly every issue) and say, "This is exactly what you did to become a great nation." This is their response to the crimes against humanity in Tibet, and it is their response to industrialization.

Some people argue that we are already past the tipping point for global warming, and the money being wasted on slowing it could better be used to solve other more immediate crises. Here is a quote:

To be sure, global warming is real, and it is caused by CO2. The trouble is that today’s best climate models show that immediate action will do little good. The Kyoto Protocol will cut CO2 emissions from industrialized countries by 30 percent below what it would have been in 2010, and by 50 percent in 2050. Yet, even if everyone (including the United States) lived up to the protocol’s rules, and stuck to them throughout the century, the change would be almost immeasurable - postponing warming for just six years in 2100.

Likewise, the economic models tell us that the cost would be substantial-at least $150 billion a year. In comparison, the United Nations estimates that half that amount could permanently solve all of the world’s major problems: it could ensure clean drinking water, sanitation, basic health care and education for every single person in the world, now.

Bjorn Lomborg, author of this article, is very critical of the Kyoto Protocal. He advocates that every nation on the planet pledge 0.1 percent of their GDP on research and development of non-carbon-emitting energy technologies. This would fairly distribute the burden such that rich nations pay more and carry more of the research burden.

If this were done, would we find ways to slow or reverse the inevitable?

Lomborg claims that global warming will primarily effect developing nations who are too poor to respond, but he apparently hasn’t seen Gore’s film, with its maps showing more than half of Florida under water, or the simulations showing how much of Beijing, New York City, Holland, and San Francisco would be flooded by rising sea levels.

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Friday, April 28, 2006


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Yesterday, IOC logged 100+ visitors in a single day for the first time ever. I am incredibly grateful for all the people from all over the world who have visited and continue to visit this blog. It amazes me to know that there are readers in New Zealand, in Taiwan, in Spain, in Luxembourg, in Mexico, in Chile, and all over the United States who are visiting IOC. The internet has really made the world a smaller place.

I am grateful to be part of the global community.

What are you grateful for?

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Poem: Li Po

This is the source poem for "I Make My Home in the Mountains," which I posted a couple of days ago. It just came up on my Zen page-a-day calendar.

You ask why I live in the mountain forest,
and I smile and am silent,
And even my soul remains quiet:
It lives in the other world
Which no one owns.
The peach trees blossom.
The water flows.

~ Li Po

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Prying Beneath the Mask (section I)

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Prying Beneath the Mask (section I)

One cannot be angry without flesh:
the sheer weight of being
in gravity’s spell
makes possible the shadow
engendered in tissue,
its consent to time.
Wounds open in the image
one carries as the face
reflected in a puddle of water.
All distortions
root in the space
between a blink of the eye
and the slim memory
of that fleeting instant
of darkness,
recollection of how the wound
was inflicted.
All the retelling
one perceives is the narrative
of a series
of linked events,
snapshots grouped thematically
by the tenuous thread
of I.


Of course,
that tenuous thread
does keep flesh attached to bone,
allows the murky pretense
that where one stands
at this particular moment
can be traced
in a straight line
to the instant
of conception,
one sperm and one egg
manifesting a spark of light
which grew
moment by moment
to produce the person
who now stands
in the middle of an empty parking lot,
at 2:51 a.m.,
having no idea
what crooked line of god
has shifted the narrative,
the fragile glass cage
once believed to contain all the words
ever needed to define
one’s self—
left sitting beneath yellow lights
with nothing but a question,
and no voice
offering an answer.


Apparent doubt swims
in the undercurrent of language.
Predictable patterns
of ocean surface
offer only a vague glimpse
of what lurks
in the depths below:
silences between words,
dream images
rising from the reptilian brainstem,
roots of consciousness.


To walk without name
in the tremulous forests
of fear, each step
takes one closer
to a center where silence
ruptures the synaptic maps
of perception: the deafening hum
of molecular energy,
the tonal lucidity
experienced as a dagger
plunged between ribs,
ecstatic blood
falling to earth.
And a human voice
wails as though its feet
were slapped
for the very first time.

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Al Gore's Crusade

Back in January, when the new documentary featuring Al Gore’s crusade against global warming debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, everyone was amazed that Gore had charisma and charm -- and that audiences were treating him like a rock star.

David Corn (of The Nation) thinks that Gore is not as impressive in person as he was in the film, though he has gotten less stiff, and that none of that stuff matters. Gore’s message is bone chilling. The evidence for global warming is overwhelming, no matter Michael Crichton says.

Halfway into it, my gut was clenched, as I despaired about the future of our beautiful blue and white orb. Professor Gore presents a tutorial that overwhelms with facts and graphics, including graphs, satellite imagery of the Earth, video footage from Antarctica, and fancy computer stimulations (such as a harrowing one showing how much of Beijing, New York City, Holland, and San Francisco would be flooded by rising sea levels). Gore makes the point over and over--and it does bear repeating--that there is no longer any debate over the science: global warming is happening, its causes are predominantly human-linked, and the results will be awful. Take that, Michael Crichton. And while Gore’s spiffy presentation--which includes a cartoon from Matt Groening’s Futurama (an animated Fox show that one of his daughters worked on)--is full of bad news, he does list all the first-steps that could be taken to lower global warming emissions quickly, if there were the political will to do so.

That political will does not yet exist--particularly within the current administration and Congress, as Gore notes (with various jabs) in the film. And Gore is honest about the overall failure of the political system to deal with this issue--and his own failure.

Gore had the most influence while serving as vice president, but he failed to generate enough interest to make global warming a Congressional issue. Maybe if he had shown them the slides and graphs and simulations he uses in the film, he might have generated some interest in the future of our small planet. But then, Republicans tend to side with the head-in-the-sand approach Michael Crichton favors, so it would have been a hard sell.

It may turn out that Al Gore does more to save the world as a private citizen than he could have achieved as a politician. That says a lot about the sorry state of our political system.

An Inconvenient Truth opens in select theaters May 24 (click the link for info and to view the trailer).

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~C4Chaos on the Ken Wilber Blog

For those who are interested, ~C4Chaos has posted about how he envisions the Ken Wilber blog unfolding, and why this Kosmic Blogger is uniquely qualified to lead the II blogging team into the blogosphere.

Check it out.

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Works in Progress

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I think it’s fair to assume that we are all works in progress. So what are you working on? What part of your life or practice is at the center of your attention? Are you working on patience, compassion, integrity, humor, vulnerability, or something more or less important? How does that work manifest? What does it look like in your life on a daily basis?

I stole this idea from Peggy at Zaadz because it seems like a fertile topic for discussion -- and maybe a way to learn new practices from each other.

So here’s mine, as posted at Zaadz:
I’m working on two things right now.

1) Gratitude, with a daily post at Integral Options Cafe. Learning to be grateful for the good things, big and small, is starting to change my outlook. I am no longer obsessed with the pain and injustice I see around me (though I’m not ignoring it), but I’m beginning to find the beauty and goodness in life. This is a huge shift for me.

2) Vulnerability, with my partner Kira and through my Buddhist practice. Like many men, I was taught not to be vulnerable or feel vulnerable emotions. This is such a horrible thing to do to our boys. To have and maintain a healthy relationship, men must have access to those soft, tender places within them. This is also what Chogyam Trungpa taught is important to one’s Buddhist practice in Shambhala: The Sacred path of the Warrior.

The combination of these two practices, among my other integral practices, is the focus of my work right now. The process can be painful, but the results are nothing short of amazing.

Please share what you’re up to in the comments.

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Gratitude (Sam Harris on Colbert Report)


Tonight, I am grateful for Stephen Colbert. Click the link to watch Colbert interview Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith. Who knows what Colbert really believes, but the interview comes off as a classic Orange v. Blue battle of wits (or half-wits, in this case). Harris looks a little unprepared for Colbert’s fanatic stance. It’s great. You can read the transcript here.

I’m also grateful for sugar-free chocolate instant pudding made with a scoop of chocolate protein powder and lowfat milk. Mmmmm . . . pudding.

What are you grateful for?

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Bonding Patterns In Relationships

This is yet another post on Embracing Each Other, the book by Hal and Sidra Stone that Kira and I are reading. Previously, I wrote about the primary selves and the disowned selves and how they play out in our relationship.

The authors look at relationships through what seems, at first glance, to be a very limited and limiting filter. They believe that all relationships -- romantic, sibling, parent/child, friendship, and so on -- can be reduced to a simple diagram. I tried to find it on the web to include it here, but was unsuccessful. So I will just recreate it as best I can and quote their brief introduction to the topic.

Mother . . . . .[the woman]. . . . Daughter

Son . . . . . [the man] . . . . . . . . Father

This is their diagram, sort of. Here is their explanation:

In this diagram we see the basic male-female bonding pattern. The mother side of the woman is bonded to the son side of the man (the M-S axis), and the father side of the man is bonded to the daughter side of the woman (the F-D axis). This diagram illustrates the basic bonding pattern that exists in all male and female relationships before the development of any kind of awareness. It is a normal and natural process. It cannot be eliminated, nor would eliminating it be desirable; these bonding patterns contain much life and vitality. They often provide warmth and nurturing. The problem is that without awareness they are very likely to turn negative. In addition, the two people miss what is possible in the interaction of two aware egos.

So, let me give an example that just happened the other day.

Kira and I were talking on the phone, and because we have been working with this material it suddenly became clear to me that we had locked into one of these bonding patterns that we are prone to, and one that doesn’t serve us anymore. Every couple has dozens of bonding patterns that are related to how their primary selves (usually fathers and mothers) and disowned selves (often sons and daughters) interact. As I discussed in the last post, conflict is often a clash of primary selves that become entrenched after the bonding patterns break down.

Anyway, I had slipped into a son role, a manifestation of my Disowned Child that just wants to be taken care of. Normally in our relationship, Kira would have assumed the mother role and been caretaker to my neediness. In the past, she would have become the Good Mother, but would have instantly wanted out of that role and would become the Distant Mother, withdrawing as a way to get out of the responsibility of being caretaker. I would have then switched instantly into the Distant Father as a way to avoid my hurt feelings, which would possibly trigger Kira’s Wounded Daughter. Normally this would have occurred unconsciously, in a space of less than a minute. Not this time.

Kira didn’t buy into the pattern, which triggered a Rebellious Son in me. I saw him trying to take over [all of this occurred in about 15 seconds], and I told Kira we were slipping into a bonding pattern. We talked about it and identified it, which immediately unplugged both of us from the dynamic and allowed us to avoid the unconsciousness of this particular pattern. We also talked about ways to avoid this pattern in the future. It might come up again, but now we know what it looks like, how it feels, and how to diffuse it.

When our relationship began, this was a positive bonding pattern between us. I liked to have someone take care of me sometimes, and Kira liked to do things for me. We (and all couples) had a similar pattern in which I was the caretaker and Kira was the one being taken care of. These are normal patterns that often feel good to us. This particular pattern would be a positive bonding pattern -- all relationships are built on them.

What I described above -- what happened in the phone conversation -- is a negative bonding pattern. These produce bad feelings in one or both partners. Many positive bonding patterns become negative over the years when they become stagnant and routine -- or when one or both members of the couple outgrow the pattern. And bonding patterns, or combination of bonding patterns, that become routine will eventually suck all the vitality out of a relationship and kill it. Yet some couples can live their entire lives within a small collection of bonding patterns and be quite happy. Those of us who are intent on growth will eventually outgrow most patterns.

The issues that Kira and I have been working through the last month or so are related to bonding patterns that no longer serve us. We had a choice to either identify them and eradicate them, or stay stuck where we were and let them destroy the relationship. We didn’t know at the time that this was what was happening. I happened to start reading this book, hoping to find some tools, and suggested to Kira that it might help us. It has.

Here is a little more from the first chapter of the book:

To summarize what we have so far discussed, we refer to this way of being locked into each other in a relationship as a negative bonding pattern. The term "bonding patterns" in relationship refers specifically to the activation of parent/child patterns of interaction between two people. These are normal and natural configurations that exist in all relationships. This bonding can develop between any two people, whether they be male/female, male/male, or female/female. The catalyst for all negative bonding patterns is the activation of the disowned vulnerability in the two people. In this case, the arrival of the children made both Larry and Janice feel a bit overwhelmed and, therefore, vulnerable. The fuel for these bonding patterns can generally be found in the mutuality of the disowned selves that exists between two people. This keeps the bonding pattern burning bright and strong.

To analyze a negative bonding pattern in a relationship, one looks for the following:

1. What was the ignition point or catalyst? How was the vulnerability of the two people activated? Where are they feeling insecure, overwhelmed, or otherwise vulnerable?

2. What are the disowned selves that each carries for the other? What is the fuel that keeps the fires burning?

3. What are the actual selves that are involved in the bonding, i.e., the mother daughter selves in the woman, and the father and son selves in the man?

The solution to these patterns, the way out, is to identify our various subpersonalities and how they interact. To do this, we need to develop what the Stones call an "aware ego" or what psychosynthesis calls a "conscious self" or "unifying center." If we are stuck in one of our subpersonalities or primary selves and have no experience with meditation or an observer self, psychosynthesis offers a "disidentification" exercise that can be very useful for unplugging from a sub and centering in the conscious self.

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Ken Wilber Goes Cyber

Ken Wilber has launched his web portal, an interactive combination of everything Wilberian already on the web.

There is even a blog, and the tease that Wilber may actually blog from time to time. Otherwise, the blog is maintained by a small team of integral folk, including the man formerly known as coolmel.

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Coyote Seeks His Power (Part One)

This is the first in an on-going series of Coyote stories I am writing. Coyote is nearly always getting himself in trouble, but in this series he sets out to become less foolish. I hope to post one every once in while, just for fun.

Pictures 1935

Coyote Goes Fishing

In the time before time, the people had not yet been born. Animals were the first beings on the Earth. Among the animals, not one was more powerful, or more foolish, than Coyote. You see, Coyote possessed great magic. He could even change shapes.

One day Coyote was fishing along a small stream. He saw Eagle flying far up in the sky. Eagle was a great fisherman. He was much better than Coyote. Coyote watched Eagle fly straight down from the clouds. Eagle flew down to the water and pulled a trout from the stream with his powerful talons.

Coyote had been fishing all morning and had not caught a thing. He was jealous of Eagle’s great skill. He thought that if he could fly, he too could see where the fish are and catch one.

Once, a long time ago, he had tried to fly by sticking duck feathers to his legs with honey. He climbed to the edge of a cliff and jumped. He flapped his legs wildly. One by one, the feathers came loose. Coyote fell to the ground with a thud. He decided he would not try that again.

Coyote looked around and saw a giant cedar tree beside the creek. “I can climb to the top of the tree and see where the fish are,” he thought. He smiled a sly dog smile. He was pleased with his plan.

Now, dogs were not meant to climb trees. Coyote looked very silly as he climbed from limb to limb. He had to stop several times to pant for a breath. Finally, he made it to the top of the tree.

From the top of the tall tree, Coyote could see the fish swimming in the creek. Coyote stretched to get a better look. Just as he got the best view, a gust of wind shook the top of the tree. Coyote lost his hold and fell. Bump, whap, thump. From branch to branch he fell, howling the whole way down.

When Coyote hit the ground, he whimpered a little. Squirrel watched the whole thing and laughed at the foolish dog. He went to see if Coyote was okay. “Yes,” Coyote scowled, “I am okay.” His pride was the only thing that was hurt.

“Why not just turn yourself into a bird?” Squirrel asked.

Coyote felt very foolish. “Because I forgot that I can do that,” Coyote replied. Coyote often forgot to think before doing things, especially when he was hungry.

Squirrel laughed. "You have great magic, Song Dog," said squirrel, "but you just don’t know how to use it." Squirrel scampered away before Coyote could get angry.

Coyote sat for a minute, licking his wounds. "Yes, Squirrel is right," thought Coyote. "I must learn to use my power." Coyote dusted himself off and went to find Bear.

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Poem: Chih Yuan


[image source]

Lost Cranes

The pair
Of cranes suddenly
Flew off, their pure notes
Heard no more.

They’re far away,
Obliged to seek immortal
Company, or close by, idly anxious
To avoid the chicken-flock. The lakebank
Quiet, water-watching’s over, the courtyard
Empty, they’ve finished
The Cloud Dance.

All that’s left
Are some old tracks
Like ancient writing, pressed
In the patterns
Of moss.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Embracing Each Other: How to Make All Your Relationships Work for You

Kira and I have been reading Embracing Each Other by Hal and Sidra Stone. In the book, the authors talk about various relationship patterns that couples get into. Until we become conscious of them, and the subpersonalities that get activated, the conflicts are unavoidable.

Today we caught ourselves getting into one of the patterns and were able to recognize it, talk about it, and avoid letting it play out into an actual conflict.

I am incredibly grateful that each of us has sufficient self-awareness to use the tools we are learning about.

What are you grateful for?

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I Make My Home in the Mountains

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I make my home in the mountains
~ after Li Po

I wonder why the mountain
is a reflection I must seek,

and I smile, noting the stars
which are so quiet above me.

There is an Other world,
where landscape is a mirror.

Acorns fall in autumn winds.
The river is never silent.

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The Failure of Capitalism

Genkaku has a new post on wealth and its unfair distribution. There is a fair amount of righteous anger and frustration being expressed -- and understandably so when one stops for a moment to look at the world. But anger is not the energy we need to bring to this problem. Anger is unfocused and undirected. We need focused rebellion. We need some healthy Red meme energy behind some healthy Green meme values.

A while back I blogged about a piece in The Nation that mentioned how "a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $10,500 annually, while last year the CEO of Wal-Mart earned $3,500 an hour. The CEO of Halliburton earned about $8,300 an hour. And the CEO of ExxonMobil earned about $13,700 an hour." The CEO of Exxon is only paying Social Security taxes on one day’s income (assuming an 8-hour day) with the current $96K limit.

Congress will cut SS benefits before it will make the uber-wealthy pay more in social taxes of any kind. Is that what we want to be as a nation?

And we are the wealthiest nation on the planet. The genkaku post wonders why we can have so much while a child in Darfur is too dehydrated to even shed any more tears. We are wealthy beyond the imagination of many millions of people in the world, and yet our poor live on the streets, scavenging for food and shelter on a daily basis. And we do very little, compared to what we could do, to ease the suffering of the world’s poor and starving. We should be ashamed, yet many feel we do too much.

This U.S. disparity in wealth has only gotten worse during the Bush administration. There are more millionaires than ever before (7.5 million households in 2004 and 8.9 million households in 2005), but there are many more millions of people who have fallen below the poverty line (37 million people lived in poverty in 2004, with an increase during each year of the Bush presidency, despite reported jobs growth). The numbers on poverty aren’t even accurate -- they are based on a 1960’s model that calculates the poverty line by how much it costs to feed a family of four, not on real world costs such as rent, gasoline, car insurance, utilities, daycare, and so on. There are tens of millions who live in poverty in America who are not considered by the current measurements.

Unemployment numbers appear to be encouraging, until you understand that tens of thousands of people have given up on finding work and fallen out of the statistics. Overall, incomes in the U.S. are up, but when you remove the incomes of the wealthy from the equation, the rest of us are actually making less -- much less. And what we make buys us less than it did five years ago.

Capitalism has served its purpose and is now obsolete. It is an Orange meme economic system, but it lacks a compassion element. Capitalism does not care for the losers in its winner-takes-all system. It cannot be made into a second tier system, and that is what we need now -- a second tier approach to the economy.

I have no idea what that might look like.

How do we reframe our entire economic system to reflect a concern for the weak and disadvantaged? How do we create a system that allows -- in fact, encourages -- those who have less to increase their chances of making more? How do we build an economic system that honors the Spiral of human values? How do we build an economic system that has compassion at its core?

I don’t have any answers to the questions. But I think it’s time that we begin asking the questions.

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Check this Out

Here is a good reason to join Zaadz. Just do it -- you won’t regret it.

Besides, all the cool kids are doing it.

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Dark Side of the Moon

Former Pink Floyd front man Rogers Waters is bringing Dark Side of the Moon to America this summer. He will perform the album live in its entirety for the first time since leaving the band. Pink Floyd, without Waters, did it in their 1994 The Division Bell tour. Waters’ touring band will include longtime sidemen Andy Fairweather Low and Snowy White on guitar, drummer Graham Broad and Waters’ son Harry on Hammond organ.

I’m not sure why I’m blogging this other than the fact that I think Roger Waters was once one of the most important musicians alive. Dark Side of the Moon was a masterpiece of an album, with an integral theme running throughout. If you have only heard it on CD, I highly recommend listening to it on vinyl with a good turntable -- the aural depth is amazing.

Egos and money destroyed Pink Floyd in the end, but not before they made some amazing albums. Floyd drummer Nick Mason will join the show for some dates in Europe.


Click the link at the top for tour dates.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006


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I’m not used to getting what I need. I have little trust that the Kosmos will provide for me what I need when I need it. But it recently has been doing so. For that I am grateful beyond measure. The field of sunflowers reminds me of abundance, and that is how my life feels when I make an effort to align myself with the path my life seems to be following. When I try to push the river up hill, I drown.

So I am grateful that I am getting what I need, and I am grateful that I am learning how to align with that energy that will provide me with I need (as the Rolling Stones warned, it won’t always be what I want).

What are you grateful for?

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