|Your Life Is Worth...|
Seriously, if I were worth that much I'd sell me and pay off my student loans, buy a nice house on the Oregon coast, and take Kira to Scotland. Or is selling myself a paradox of some kind? Screw it -- that's what I'd do.
|Your Life Is Worth...|
Humans are attracted to constructing of their lives mental maps of linear progression aimed at improvement. We draw false and unwarranted assurance from maintaining a ready file of such maps as evidence that we know where we’ve been and where we’re going. We like to think that what we’re doing and where we’re headed amounts to making “progress.” We don’t much like chance events, because they can’t be anticipated or planned for and constitute a kind of messy interference in an otherwise well-designed itinerary. We don’t like sickness, old age, and death at all because these stubborn realities can’t be adapted to our travel preferences.I sometimes feel that this is exactly how integral theory is at odds with my Buddhist practice, which is probably why I have been reading more Pema Chodron and other Buddhist teachers than I have integral theorists. Anyone else ever feel this way?
What the world needs more than anything is bodhisattvas, active servants of peace, “clothed,” as Longchenpa said, “in the armor of perseverance,” dedicated to their bodhisattva vision and to the spreading of wisdom into all reaches of our experience. We need bodhisattva lawyers, bodhisattva artists and politicians, bodhisattva doctors and economists, bodhisattva teachers and scientists, bodhisattva technicians and engineers, bodhisattvas everywhere, working consciously as channels of compassion and wisdom at every level and in every situation of society; working to transform their minds and actions and those of others, working tirelessly in the certain knowledge of the support of the buddhas and enlightened beings for the preservation of our world and for a more merciful future.~ Sogyal Rinpoche
she places the plum,
not yet ripe,
in a small music box
made of oak,
the box scented with a darkness
where meadowlarks come
to sing away death
she closes the lid
and seals herself
into a pact with loss
but the birds do not come, no rain,
no gentle fingers
wipe away the tears
she places the music box
in a drawer
beneath loose photos
of her lover
whose body came undone
three days pass,
a fist-size hole in her belly
whistles when the wind blows
her friends ignore the haunting
sounds, offer glasses of wine,
some bread, a hug,
but never say the words
today it rains,
a meadowlark returns
and she retrieves the box,
sits with it
in front of her on the floor,
powders incense from the sticks
and sprinkles a circle
of black dust
opens the lid
darkness sings when she
bites into flesh-colored
meat of the plum, juice
sticky on her lips,
savoring the body
teeth and tongue clean
the pit of its flesh
and she places the stone
inside the box,
aware only of the brief rustle
of a dress dropped to the floor
long ago, and a fullness
missing these last days
by Scott Ott
(2006-09-15) — Just a day after the Senate Armed Services committee rebuffed the Bush administration’s efforts to allow aggressive interrogation techniques on captured terror suspects, a spokesman for al Qaeda praised the committee’s 15-9 vote and said it would, in turn, make its prisoner treatment protocols more humane.
“We were inspired by the humanitarian infidels in the Senate to update our own procedures,” said the unnamed al Qaeda spokesman in an audiotape released through Al Jazeera’s CNN news division. “We have approved a three-step plan aimed at improving our humanitarian image around the world.”
According to the source, al Qaeda has already issued the following new guidelines to its terror cells worldwide via overnight donkey courier:
1) Avoid taking prisoners.
2) Use a sharp sword and a brisk side-to-side motion.
3) Grant a speedy trial after beheading.
Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona, John Warner of Virginia and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who spearheaded the effort to block the president’s proposal, welcomed the al Qaeda announcement as “a positive and hopeful step toward full moral equivalency between the warring superpowers.”
|You Are 36% Slacker|
You have a few slacker tendencies, but overall you tend not to slack.
You know how to relax when the time is right, but you aren't lazy!
Driving off the road: 254,419And I would add to that, cigarette smoking and obesity, at around 300,000 each year, times 10 years.
Accidental poisoning: 140,327
Learn And Let Flow
We Don't Need To Suffer
The idea that we have to suffer or live in poverty in order to be spiritual is an old one and can be found in the belief systems of many philosophies. Most of us carry this idea around subconsciously, and we may be holding ourselves back from financial or emotional well-being, believing that this is what we must do in order to be virtuous, spiritually awake, or feel less guilty for the suffering of others.
While it's true that there can be a spiritual purpose to experiencing a lack of material well-being, it is rarely intended to be a permanent or lifelong experience. What we are meant to find when material or emotional resources are in short supply is that there is more to our lives than the physical realm. Intense relationships and material abundance can distract us from the subtler realm of the spirit, so a time of deficiency can be spiritually awakening. However, once we recognize the realm of spirit, and remember to hold it at the center of our lives, there is no reason to dwell in poverty or emotional isolation. In fact, once our connection to spirit is fully intact, we feel so compelled to share our abundance that lack becomes a thing of the past.
If you find that you are experiencing suffering in some area of your physical life, perhaps your spirit is asking you to look deeper in your search for what you want. For example, if you want money so that you can experience the feeling of security but money keeps eluding you, your spirit may be asking you to understand that security is not to be found through money. Security comes from an unshakable connection to your soul. Once you make that connection, money will probably flow more easily into your life. If relationships elude you, your spirit may be calling you to recognize that the love you seek is not to be found in another person. And yet, ironically, once you find the love, your true love may very well appear. If you feel stuck in suffering to live a spiritual life, try to spend some time writing about it. The root of the problem will appear and it may not be what you expected. Remember, the Universe wants you to be happy.
When I was struggling with issues around money a few years ago, someone told me that the issue was holding onto money too tightly -- in a figurative sense. He wasn't Buddhist, but he was talking about clinging and attachment.
I had poverty mentality, a sense that I wasn't getting enough of anything: money, "things," security, or whatever. The stupid thing is that I had spent several years of my life right out of college cultivating this "starving artist" mentality.I thought that to be a good poet, I had to be living close to the edge. It wasn't enough that I was drinking and smoking myself to an early grave, or living in an emotionally abusive relationship. I had to be financially on edge as well, so I worked in a low wage, romantic job -- a bookstore. And yep, I was poor.
Canto XII from The Heights of Macchu Picchu
Arise to birth with me, my brother.
Give me your hand out of the depths
sown by your sorrows.
You will not return from these stone fastnesses.
You will not emerge from subterranean time.
Your rasping voice will not come back,
nor your pierced eyes rise from their sockets.
Look at me from the depths of the earth,
tiller of fields, weaver, reticent shepherd,
groom of totemic guanacos,
mason high on your treacherous scaffolding,
iceman of Andean tears,
jeweler with crushed fingers,
farmer anxious among his seedlings,
potter wasted among his clays--
bring to the cup of this new life
your ancient buried sorrows.
Show me your blood and your furrow;
say to me: here I was scourged
because a gem was dull or because the earth
failed to give up in time its tithe of corn or stone.
Point out to me the rock on which you stumbled,
the wood they used to crucify your body.
Strike the old flints
to kindle ancient lamps, light up the whips
glued to your wounds throughout the centuries
and light the axes gleaming with your blood.
I come to speak for your dead mouths.
Throughout the earth
let dead lips congregate,
out of the depths spin this long night to me
as if I rode at anchor here with you.
And tell me everything, tell chain by chain,
and link by link, and step by step;
sharpen the knives you kept hidden away,
thrust them into my breast, into my hands,
like a torrent of sunbursts,
an Amazon of buried jaguars,
and leave me cry: hours, days and years,
blind ages, stellar centuries.
And give me silence, give me water, hope.
Give me the struggle, the iron, the volcanoes.
Let bodies cling like magnets to my body.
Come quickly to my veins and to my mouth.
Speak through my speech, and through my blood.
Who knew, in 2000, that “compassionate conservatism” meant bigger government, unrestricted government spending, government intrusion in personal matters, government ineptitude, and cronyism in disaster relief? Who knew, in 2000, that the only bill the president would veto, six years later, would be one on funding stem-cell research?~ Dan Froomkin at the Washington Post muses on Bush's declaration of a third awakening in American religion, which Bush claims has been spurred by the good vs. evil "war on terror."
A more accurate term for Mr. Bush’s political philosophy might be incontinent conservatism.
~ David Jon at Zaadz adds part tres of his series on the sensitive man. He's arguing that men have been unfairly made to think (for the last 100 years or so) that they are the cause of all evil in the world. Here are links to parts one and two.
http://www.irrepressible.info/ is a campaign by Amnesty International to stop internet repression in countries like China, Vietnam, Tunisia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria, where people are persecuted and imprisoned for self-expression. Irrepressible gives three suggested outlets for participation:
1. Sign our pledge on Internet freedom to call on all governments and companies to ensure the Internet is a force for political freedom, not repression.
2. Undermine censorship by publishing irrepressible fragments of censored material on your own site. The more people take part, the more we can defeat unwarranted censorship and create an unstoppable network of protest.
3.Put pressure on companies to protect freedom of information and expression. In China, Microsoft, Google and Yahoo are supporting the government’s denial of fundamental freedoms. Act now.
THOMAS KOSTIGEN'S ETHICS MONITORTen big news stories you aren't hearingTraditional media ignore or downplay significant eventsSANTA MONICA, Calif. (MarketWatch) -- The San Francisco Bay Guardian newspaper has printed a list of stories we in the media seem to have largely ignored over the past year. The story is gleaned from an annual list developed by Project Censored, a media research group out of Sonoma State University that tracks the news published in independent journals and newsletters.It's a provocative and eye-opening list that warrants attention, especially from the media. And each year it usually gets it, as Salon comments, out of "guilt."
In a great example of how certain stories play out, San Francisco Bay Guardian reporter Sarah Phelan opens her article by citing the play two news items recently received on the same day they broke: In Detroit, U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled that the Bush administration's warrantless National Security Agency surveillance program was unconstitutional and must end. Meanwhile, somewhere in Thailand, a weirdo named John Mark Karr claimed he was with six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey when she died in 1996.
We all know which story received the most attention.
Here are the Top 10 most ignored stories. I've had to condense them for space considerations, but their headlines should tell enough of a story:
1. The Feds and the media muddy the debate over Internet freedomThe Supreme Court ruled that giant cable companies aren't required to share their wires with other Internet service providers. The issue was misleadingly framed as an argument over regulation, when it's really a case of the Federal Communications Commission and Congress talking about giving cable and telephone companies the freedom to control supply and content -- a decision that could have them playing favorites and forcing consumers to pay to get information and services that currently are free.
Source: "Web of Deceit: How Internet Freedom Got the Federal Ax, and Why Corporate News Censored the Story," Elliot D. Cohen, BuzzFlash.com, July 18, 2005.
2. Halliburton charged with selling nuclear technology to IranHalliburton, the notorious U.S. energy company, sold key nuclear-reactor components to a private Iranian oil company called Oriental Oil Kish as recently as 2005, using offshore subsidiaries to circumvent U.S. sanctions. The story is particularly juicy because Vice President Dick Cheney, who now claims to want to stop Iran from getting nukes, was president of Halliburton in the mid-1990s, at which time he may have advocated business dealings with Iran, in violation of U.S. law.Source: "Halliburton Secretly Doing Business with Key Member of Iran's Nuclear Team," Jason Leopold, GlobalResearch.ca, Aug. 5, 2005.3. World oceans in extreme dangerGovernments deny global warming is happening as they rush to map the ocean floor in the hopes of claiming rights to oil, gas, gold, diamonds, copper, zinc and the planet's last pristine fishing grounds. Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2005 found "the first clear evidence that the world ocean is growing warmer," including the discovery "that the top half-mile of the ocean has warmed dramatically in the past 40 years as the result of human-induced greenhouse gases."Source: "The Fate of the Ocean," Julia Whitty, Mother Jones, March-April 2006.
4. Hunger and homelessness increasing in the United StatesAs hunger and homelessness rise in the United States, the Bush administration plans to get rid of a data source that supports this embarrassing reality, a survey that's been used to improve state and federal programs for retired and low-income Americans.In 2003, the Bush Administration tried to whack the Bureau of Labor Statistics report on mass layoffs and in 2004 and 2005 attempted to drop the bureau's questions on the hiring and firing of women from its employment data.Sources: "New Report Shows Increase in Urban Hunger, Homelessness," Brendan Coyne, New Standard, December 2005; "U.S. Plan to Eliminate Survey of Needy Families Draws Fire," Abid Aslam, OneWorld.net, March 2006.5. High-tech genocide in CongoIf you believe the corporate media, then the ongoing genocide in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is all just a case of ugly tribal warfare. But that is a superficial, simplistic explanation that fails to connect this terrible suffering with the immense fortunes that stand to be made from manufacturing cell phones, laptop computers and other high-tech equipment.What's really at stake in this bloodbath is control of natural resources such as diamonds, tin, and copper, as well as cobalt -- which is essential for the nuclear, chemical, aerospace, and defense industries -- and coltan and niobium, which is most important for the high-tech industries.Sources: "The World's Most Neglected Emergency: Phil Taylor talks to Keith Harmon Snow," The Taylor Report, March 28, 2005; "High-Tech Genocide," Sprocket, Earth First! Journal, August 2005; "Behind the Numbers: Untold Suffering in the Congo," Keith Harmon Snow and David Barouski, Z Magazine, March 1, 2006.6. Federal whistleblower protection in jeopardyThough record numbers of federal workers have been sounding the alarm on waste, fraud, and other financial abuse since George W. Bush became president, the agency charged with defending government whistleblowers has reportedly been throwing out hundreds of cases -- and advancing almost none. Statistics released at the end of 2005 by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility led to claims that special counsel Scott Bloch, who was appointed by Bush in 2004, is overseeing the systematic elimination of whistleblower rights.Sources: "Whistleblowers Get Help from Bush Administration," Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) Web site, Dec. 5, 2005; "Long-Delayed Investigation of Special Counsel Finally Begins," PEER Web site, Oct. 18, 2005; "Back Door Rollback of Federal Whistleblower Protections," PEER Web site, Sept. 22, 2005.7. U.S. operatives torture detainees to death in Afghanistan and IraqWhile reports of torture aren't new, the documents are evidence of using torture as a policy, raising a whole bunch of uncomfortable questions, such as: Who authorized such techniques? And why have the resulting deaths been covered up?Of the 44 death reports released under ACLU's FOIA request, 21 were homicides and eight appear to have been the result of these abusive torture techniques.Sources: "U.S. Operatives Killed Detainees During Interrogations in Afghanistan and Iraq," American Civil Liberties Union Web site, Oct. 24, 2005; "Tracing the Trail of Torture: Embedding Torture as Policy from Guantanamo to Iraq," Dahr Jamail, TomDispatch.com, March 5, 2006.8. Pentagon exempt from Freedom of Information ActIn 2005, the Department of Defense pushed for and was granted exemption from Freedom of Information Act requests, a crucial law that allows journalists and watchdogs access to federal documents. The ruling could hamper the efforts of groups like the ACLU, which relied on FOIA to uncover more than 30,000 documents on the US military's torture of detainees in Afghanistan Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay, including the Abu Ghraib torture scandal.Sources: "Pentagon Seeks Greater Immunity from Freedom of Information," Michelle Chen, New Standard, May 6, 2005; "FOIA Exemption Granted to Federal Agency," Newspaper Association of America Web site, posted December 2005.