Saturday, August 25, 2007

Amazing Sports Acrobatics

I think I'm pretty strong for an old man, but this makes it clear that I am not. Just watch.

Amazing Sports Acrobatics - Click here for more free videos

Ocean of Dharma Quote of the Week

From Ocean of Dharma Quotes of the Week: teachings by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.


Student: You said in Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism that vipashyana or awareness works more with the emotions. Could you explain that?

Chogyam Trungpa: The awareness of what's around you includes the emotions. You can't have emotions without being aware of something. If you hate somebody, if you dislike them intensely, you are not only disliking that person, but your dislike includes the environment, that black cloud that the person has created around you. So actually, a sense of openness is there. That's how the emotions work. You don't try to destroy, subjugate or suppress your emotions at this level of practice. You are in tune with the style of the emotions that are taking place. So you have the antidote. The emotions and your practice go hand in hand, side by side. Normally, we feel undermined by our emotions, and we feel bewildered by them. But once you have a sense of being in contact with the emotions, from that sense of familiarity, a sense of openness takes place....You might think that you have a problem with the emotions and I as a teacher will present you with a technique to control yourself. But instead we should give people some sense of experience and how awareness works with the general environment, which is what emotions are, basically.

From "Meditation: The Way of the Buddha," Talk Four, Naropa Institute, Boulder, Colorado, July 1 1974. Edited from an unpublished transcript.

Amazing Psychology Experiment

A guy puts a wallet full of money in the middle of the sidewalk and then draws a red circle around it. Surprisingly nobody even touched it.

Amazing Psychology Experiment - Watch the best video clips here

Friday, August 24, 2007

New Poem: No Self

No Self

let the image carry all / night
descends over the desert / clouds
obscure the moon

a cool breeze disentangles / mind
lost / everything falls away / self
fails to secure the moment

bats carve their random flight
through darkness / erratic
in ways nothing can imagine

what moment can predict the next /
colors laid down / a dream
of ravens devouring the sun

we pretend to know / but
nothing is the only truth / a
word / self dissolved

New Poem: No Object

No Object

staring at the water / rocks
abstracted by the flow
of light / watching the flow

how many days / nights
spent in misery / lost
amid the emotions of night

these dreams are more / colors
splattered over landscape / sunlight
diminishes the body / sensation

wallowing in the past / black
on red on blue / nothing says loss
as well as the moon

we walk into the sunset/ fallen
moments / forgetting flowers
the way death forgets everything

what more do we know / what
lines in the flesh / this dream
conjures more than the eyes can take

New Poem: No Subject

No Subject

moths to a flame / so many days
spent looking at the sun / but why
does the moon feel cold

undone / windows open
into a room with no doors

faces in the glass / smiles
turned inside out / abstractions
of reality / flames to a moth

no doors / windows open
to a life undone

so many suns / light frightens
the eyes / vision turned
inward / undone / revised

everything happens / then
nothing / forgotten

moths circle the light / burn
their lives in a blaze / undone
in a moment of instinct

but why / what force compels
the end / what magic conjures
more than meets the eye

Avilokiteshvara - Buddha of Compassion

The mantra of Buddha Avilokiteshvara (Buddha of Compassion), what the mantra means, some Tibetan throat chanting by Lama Tashi, along with a few visuals. Please enjoy!

Buddha Bar Nature Trailer

Nice music and nature images . . . relaxing.

Speedlinking 8/24/07

Quote of the day:

"Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so."
~ Bertrand Russell

Image of the day:

~ Exercise of the Week: The Serratus Crunch -- "You multitaskers out there will love this movement as it allows you to work the rectus abdominis, the obliques, and the serratus at the same time. Too bad the rest of your life isn't as efficient." One of my personal favorite ab exercises.
~ Low carb wins again... -- "What's really interesting is that the high protein, low carb group was superior for weight loss over high carb with exercise. And it was 75% superior when combined with exercise."
~ Estrogen's Secret Role In Obesity Revealed -- "New research on the effects of the female sex hormone estrogen in the brain lend credence to what many women have suspected about the hormonal changes that accompany aging: Menopause can make you fat. Scientists long have sought to understand how changes in hormones during menopause could account for the increase in appetite and accompanying weight gain that often occurs among aging women."
~ Broccoli Compound Could Boost Immune System, Fight Cancer -- "A compound found in broccoli and related vegetables may have more health-boosting tricks up its sleeves, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. Veggie fans can already point to some cancer-fighting properties of 3,3'-diindolylmethane (DIM), a chemical produced from the compound indole-3-carbinol when Brassica vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and kale are chewed and digested."
~ Vitamin E's Lack Of Heart Benefit Linked To Dosage -- "The reported failure of vitamin E to prevent heart attacks may be due to underdosing, according to a new study by investigators at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The findings, published early online in Free Radical Biology and Medicine, suggest that these earlier studies all had a fundamental flaw the doses used weren't high enough to have a significant antioxidant effect." Same is likely true for studies showing no benefit for vitamin C.
~ Picky Eater? It's in the Genes -- "Kids who don't want to eat their vegetables could say it's their parent's fault."
~ Exercise may restore some youth to blood vessels -- "Moderate exercise might help older adults' blood vessels relax, a study has found -- pointing to one reason why exercise lowers the risk of heart attacks and strokes."

~ 99 Mind Mapping Resources, Tools, and Tips -- "So, there you are staring at that blank sheet of paper again. Or perhaps it's a blank Word document on your computer screen. Whichever it may be, it's obvious you're about to take notes for that big essay assignment or group project, and you're not too excited about getting started!" Ignore the typos, there are some good links here.
~ Root of Obsessive-Compulsions Found in Mice -- "There is still a debate about whether OCD has a genetic cause, but this finding, along with the earlier twin research by Rasmussen, may be enough to close the case."
~ Separate Areas Of Brain Responsible For 'Self-Control' And 'Taking Action' May Help Explain Why Some People Are Impulsive -- "The area of the brain responsible for self-control -- where the decision not to do something occurs after thinking about doing it -- is separate from the area associated with taking action, scientists say in The Journal of Neuroscience."
~ The Emotional Eater -- "Why do we eat junk food when we're stressed?"
~ Diet: Comfort Food -- "Is emotional eating ruining your diet?"
~ This Is Your Brain on Food -- "How just looking at food sends your brain into a tizzy."
~ My Five Favourite Personal Development Blogs at the Moment -- "Quite a few months back I listed The Personal Development Blogs I Really Like. Some of the blogs I listed back then are in my current top five. Some are new. My favourites at the moment are...."

~ The Great Iraq Swindle -- "How is it done? How do you screw the taxpayer for millions, get away with it and then ride off into the sunset with one middle finger extended, the other wrapped around a chilled martini? Ask Earnest O. Robbins -- he knows all about being a successful contractor in Iraq."
~ 15 Web Addresses for Wasting Time … View At Your Own Risk! -- "There’s a lot of articles around about how to make your time more productive. But some days I really don’t want to be productive, and while I should get off my chair and go outside instead I find myself killing time online."
~ A new Web site unmasks Wikipedia's vandals -- "Wikipedia seems benign and geeky, so eager to share its awkwardly written knowledge. Let us tell you about Atari 2600, Impressionism, and orcs! The nerd orientation, however, distracts from what the site has become: an information battleground. Type "Exxon" into Google and the first two hits are official Exxon sites; the third is the company's Wikipedia entry. Wikipedia is the fourth hit for "Philip Morris," the third for "Starbucks," the fifth for "New York Times." The Wikipedia page has become a public face for corporations, and they have an incentive to polish and scrub their entries."
~ Clift: Society’s Challenges as We Age -- "Having chronicled every stage of life, author Gail Sheehy now has insights on the final stages--from the view of a caregiver. One thing she's learned: Government doesn’t always help."
~ The Way We Live Now: Universal Faith -- "Religion can have a place in public school. It just can’t be for believers alone."
~ On Language: Warrior -- "The old combatant is on the march."
~ In The Groves of Academe: A Report from the English Department and Some Thoughts on Graduate School -- "Graduate school in the humanities, particularly a doctorate in literature, is not a life choice whose value and purpose are necessarily self-evident. Some people look confused when I tell them that I am getting a Ph.D. in eighteenth-century British literature. Most others respond with some version of, "What do you do with that?" What follows is a sustained answer to this question - the why and the 'to what end' of a life, or an interlude, in the groves of academe. If you're wondering what the grad life is like, or why anyone chooses such a life, read on."
~ Mother Teresa’s Dark Night -- "I just read an excellent article from TIME entitled urchinTracker ('/outbound/article/');">Mother Teresa’s Crisis of Faith. Based on a long series of letters that Mother Teresa sent to her spiritual mentors this book paints an extraordinarily different picture of the Saint of Calcutta."

~ Gaping hole found in universe -- "A giant hole in the Universe is devoid of galaxies, stars and even lacks dark matter, astronomers said on Thursday."
~ Where the Buzz Isn’t Hype -- "THE sight of a hummingbird zooming into a backyard, magically hovering midair, dipping into a flower for a sip of nectar and zipping away — all within 10 or 15 seconds — usually draws the same incredulous reaction: 'Did you see that?'"
~ Hackers claim to untie Apple's iPhone from AT&T (Reuters) -- "Hackers have found a way to use Apple Inc's iPhone on networks other than AT&T Inc's , opening up the coveted device to rival carriers and overseas customers, according to a Web report on Friday."
~ NOAA Vessel to Explore Undersea Unknown -- "Undersea explorer Robert Ballard leans back and smiles at the screens arrayed above his desk. One displays a view of a remote operating vessel, another scans along a seafloor never before viewed by humans."
~ Scientists Re-Trace Evolution Of Genes -- "Scientists have determined for the first time the atomic structure of an ancient protein, revealing in unprecedented detail how genes evolved their functions."
~ Giant panda can survive -- "The giant panda is not at an “evolutionary dead end” and could have a long term viable future, according to new research involving scientists from Cardiff University."
~ Rule four of offsets: No enhanced oil recovery -- "Capturing CO2 and injecting it into a well to squeeze more oil out of the ground is not real carbon sequestration. Why? When the recovered oil is burned, it releases at least as much CO2 as was stored (and possibly much more). Therefore, CO2 used for such enhanced oil recovery (EOR) does not reduce net carbon emissions and should not be sold to the public as a carbon offset."

~ The Matrix Reloaded: Deconstructing The One -- "OK. This is part three of my series on the much misunderstood and under-rated Matrix Trilogy."
~ Zizek’s critique of Buddhism -- "I’ve recently run across several interesting items in the blogosphere concerning Engaged Buddhism. Given my penchant for cutting-and-pasting large chunks of undigested text, it’s really too much material for a single post, so I’m going to split it up over several installments."
~ Wallace at Mind and Reality -- "First the interview with B. Alan Wallace on the Mind and Reality conference (only 1o minutes), and then the keynote itself (1 hour 9 minutes). Enjoy!"
~ Staying Power (4) -- "With the stage #4 called "close attention" we leave the domain of beginning meditative training and enter the more advanced phases of shamatha which involve the "acquired sign". There's broad agreement across Buddhist traditions that an acquired sign is necessary at this point, since further stages can only be achieved relying on a mental object, not a sensory impression, since now shamatha entails the cultivation of exceptional vividness of attention."
~ 10 Tips for a Fearless Life -- "Most of us grapple with fear every day. Buddhist author Susan Piver offers tips to overcome your fear and live a more fulfilled, joyous life."
~ God's (Christian) Warriors and The Clash of Worldviews -- "As for me, after watching the documentary, I've come to appreciate what Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris are doing. Yes, there are limits to their rational approach. Yes, they too are divisive. Yes, they don't address interior developments. Yes, they are less than "integral." But at least they are doing their part by putting themselves out there to remind everyone that rationality should never be ignored."
~ Breathwork session #4 -- "I had my fourth transformational breathwork session today, and each one is different as they say."

Daily Dharma: Boredom, Impatience, and Fear

Today's Daily Dharma from Tricycle. I see his point, but I'm not sure I totally agree.

Boredom, Impatience, and Fear

If we do a little of one kind of practice and a little of another, the work we have done in one often doesn't continue to build as we change to the next. It is as if we were to dig many shallow wells instead of one deep one. In continually moving from one approach to another, we are never forced to face our own boredom, impatience, and fears. We are never brought face to face with ourselves. So we need to choose a way of practice that is deep and ancient and connected with our hearts, and then make a commitment to follow it as long as it takes to transform ourselves.

~ Jack Kornfield in A Path with Heart; from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Time Traveller's Guide

Two explorers, Basil and Hoagie, travel through time to learn about ancient civilisations. But time travel is not an exact science and sometimes the location of the arrival is not the desired one...

Time Traveller's Guide - Watch the top videos of the week here

Daily Show: America to the Rescue

Jon Stewart having a good day:

The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Brains

From Sharp Brains:

The LA Times just completed a wonderful 4-part series on how learning and memory work. The NYT re-emphasized the importance of physical exercise for neurogenesis (the creation of new neurons). To put this news in better perspective, let's review some good lifestyle options we can follow to maintain, and improve, our vibrant brains.
  1. 1. Learn what is the "It" in "Use It or Lose It". A basic understanding will serve you well to appreciate your brain's beauty as a living and constantly-developing dense forest with billions of neurons and synapses.
  2. Take care of your nutrition. Did you know that the brain only weights 2% of body mass but consumes over 20% of the oxygen and nutrients we intake? As a general rule, you don't need expensive ultra-sophisticated nutritional supplements, just make sure you don't stuff yourself with the "bad stuff".
  3. Remember that the brain is part of the body. Things that exercise your body can also help sharpen your brain: physical exercise enhances neurogenesis.
  4. Practice positive, future-oriented thoughts until they become your default mindset and you look forward to every hansgrohe-downpour-air-royale-14in-shower.jpgnew day in a constructive way. Stress and anxiety, no matter whether induced by external events or by your own thoughts, actually kills neurons and prevent the creation of new ones. You can think of chronic stress as the opposite of exercise: it prevents the creation of new neurons.
  5. Thrive on Learning and Mental Challenges. The point of having a brain is precisely to learn and to adapt to challenging new environments. Once new neurons appear in your brain, where they stay in your brain and how long they survive depends on how you use them. "Use It or Lose It" does not mean "do crossword puzzle number 1,234,567". It means, "challenge your brain often with fundamentally new activities".
  6. We are (as far as we know) the only self-directed organisms in this planet. Aim high. Once you graduate from college, keep learning. The brain keeps developing, no matter your age, and it reflects what you do with it.
  7. Explore, travel. Adapting to new locations forces you to pay more attention to your environment. Make new decisions, use your brain.
  8. Don't Outsource Your Brain. Not to media personalities, not to politicians, not to your smart neighbour... Make your own decisions, and mistakes. And learn from them. That way, you are training your brain, not your neighbour's.
  9. Develop and maintain stimulating friendships. We are "social animals", and need social interaction. Which, by the way, is why 'Baby Einstein' has been shown not to be the panacea for children development.
  10. Laugh. Often. Especially to cognitively complex humor, full of twists and surprises. Better, try to become the next Jon Stewart (Note: I just corrected his name from "John"...which may call for a #11: Spellcheck!)

Now, remember that what counts is not reading this article-or any other-, but practicing a bit every day until small steps snowball into unstoppable, internalized, pick your next battle and try to start improving at least one of these 10 habits today! For more in-depth information on these topics, check our Brain Fitness Topics section.

Blog Action Day

What if thousands of bloggers all blog on the same topic on the same day? That's the premise of Blog Action Day, and the topic is the environment.

Satire: Poet Takes Extra 5 Minutes To Vague Up Poem

From The Onion:

Poet Takes Extra 5 Minutes To Vague Up Poem
August 24, 2007 | Issue 43•34

ANN ARBOR, MI—After completing a poem originally titled "Last Dawnbreak," local poet Keith Taylor spent five additional minutes removing verbs and punctuation in order to give the piece a level of vagueness more suitable for publication.

"Harshness your light fallen—Sporadic. Droppings." reads the now-untitled poem's opening line. "Juniper glass, my world of 19—. Orion! Orion!"

Though he has already replaced the names of his friends with largely unknown African deities, Taylor said the poem would not be totally ready for publication until his 5-year-old nephew completes work on the third stanza.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Gratitude 8/23/07

Some things I am grateful for today:

1) My new client, Rene, a 48-year-old woman with 22% bodyfat and a desire to bust her ass in the gym. Her diet is dialed in, she takes all the right supplements, and she looks great. As much as I enjoy helping people lose fat, it's a blast to train fit people who want to be even more fit.

2) Hummingbirds. I have a hummingbird feeder on my deck, and I love seeing the little birds, all of which are female, stop by for a sugary drink.

3) Brett Favre. At 38, he throws the ball as hard as any quarterback in the game. I thought that he should have retired last year, but when he can still throw like that, with his desire to compete, and his amazing durability, why retire?

What are you grateful for today?

Bach on a Double Neck Guitar

This kid is good, but you might want to turn off your monitor while you listen -- his facial expressions are distracting. He looks like he is in pain.

Via: VideoSift

Speedlinking 8/23/07

Quote of the day:

"Any American who is prepared to run for president should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so."
~ Gore Vidal

Image of the day:

~ 14 Foods that Lower Cholesterol -- "After reviewing my research on healthy foods and cholesterol from this year I came up with the top 14 Foods that Lower Cholesterol."
~ Boil The Frog -- "In this post I'm going to outline a training method that, more times than not, will allow you to re-establish your training without flaring up those injuries. I call it the "boil the frog" method."
~ The 25 Method -- "The number 25 is very important to Chad Waterbury. Not only was he 25 when he first experienced the pleasures of a woman, 25 is also the total number of reps he has his clients shoot for. Okay, we're kidding about the former, but not the latter."
~ 25 Reasons Why You Should Start Drinking Green Tea -- "The evidence for supplementing your diet with Green tea is now overwhelming and it joins fish oil as a staple supplement in our clients programs."
~ Are you older than your age? -- "Find out if you're body is aging faster than normal because of your lifestyle habits."
~ Cranberry Could Juice Up Ovarian Cancer Treatment -- "Gulping down a glass of cranberry juice might greatly boost an ovarian cancer patient's sensitivity to chemotherapy, a new study suggests."
~ The Portfolio Diet: The Solution to Heart Disease -- "What if there was a combination of foods that were as effective at lowering LDL cholesterol as prescription drugs? Would it be worth adding some new foods to what you eat each day to avoid medication?" This diet mostly looks again, but DON'T EAT SOY -- eat chicken, fish, or turkey, and use rice milk or almond milk instead of soy milk.
~ Coenzyme Q10 -- "CoQ10 is an essential nutrient that is decreased in many diseases. The lowest levels of all are seen in patients with hyperthyroidism and in patients on statins."
~ Soda warning? New study supports link between diabetes, high-fructose corn syrup -- "Researchers have found new evidence that soft drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may contribute to the development of diabetes, particularly in children. In a laboratory study of commonly consumed carbonated beverages, the scientists found that drinks containing the syrup had high levels of reactive compounds that have been shown by others to have the potential to trigger cell and tissue damage that could cause the disease, which is at epidemic levels."

~ Readers share secrets to happiness -- "If spending time with friends and family puts a big, cheesy grin on your face, you're not alone. A recent survey found that young people said they were happiest when they were with the people closest to them. And when we asked readers what made them feel cheerful, the answer was the same."
~ Studying The Distress Of Romantic Break-Ups -- "The devastation caused by a broken heart has been a dominant theme throughout the ages of great literature and pop culture alike. But a new Northwestern University study shows that lovers, especially those madly in love, do much better -- almost immediately -- following a breakup than they imagined they would."
~ Out-of-Body Experiences Tested in Lab -- "Scientists may have figured out how out-of-body experiences happen."
~ Optimists and Realists Seen In Better Light Than Pessimists -- "Being an optimist is supposed to be good for health, success and happiness. But does optimism have a downside in that other people think you're self-deluded, mindless and just plain annoying? And on the flipside, how do people view pessimists? In particular, do we tend to shy away from helping out pessimists when they are in trouble?"
~ Social Graces: All Apologies -- "Most people will accept an apology--forced or sincere."
~ How to Say I'm Sorry -- "Giving and receiving an apology--it's worth it."
~ What Are You So Depressed About? -- "Anyone who’s ever suffered from depression has probably heard this question at least once in their lives. It’s often spoken not by a mean-spirited stranger, but an honestly caring friend or family member who simply doesn’t understand your continued blue mood. Which makes it all the more harder a question to answer."
~ 21 Proven Motivation Tactics -- "If you want to make things happen the ability to motivate yourself and others is a crucial skill. At work, home, and everywhere in between, people use motivation to get results. Motivation requires a delicate balance of communication, structure, and incentives. These 21 tactics will help you maximize motivation in yourself and others."

~ AMA Promotes Plans for Uninsured -- "The nation's largest doctors' group on Thursday launched a multimillion-dollar media campaign to promote its proposals for helping uninsured Americans get health insurance...."
~ Hyphen Heaven -- "Early Time-style, compressed and hyphen-happy (and still enlivening the magazine’s pages), was the invention of Briton Hadden, who cofounded Time with Henry Luce, his Hotchkiss and Yale classmate. According to Isaiah Wilner, a recent Hadden biographer, Hadden read Homer in the original Greek and kept a copy of The Iliad (with its “wine-dark sea”) on his desk as he edited every word that went into the magazine. As editor-in-chief, he often penciled new epithets into copy, letting out a whoop when the right words could be joined by a hyphen."
~ Not Too Long Now, Says the Fred -- "Former actor and Sen. Fred Thompson says he's real close to announcing his candidacy."
~ Not the Right Time for a Third-Party Bid -- "Unity08 hopes to use the Web to spark interest in a third-party presidential candidate."
~ Behind Giuliani's Tough Talk -- "He has presented himself as the candidate who knows best how to fight terror. But a look at his record as New York City mayor shows gaping weaknesses."
~ Grace Paley, Writer and Activist, Dies -- "Grace Paley, who explored the struggles of ordinary women in precise, pungent stories, was 84."
~ Will Too Much Joy Division Love Tear You Apart? -- "Not one, but two Joy Division-themed films are set for release in the upcoming months."
~ Are civil unions a 600-year-old tradition? -- "A compelling new study from the September issue of the Journal of Modern History reviews historical evidence, including documents and gravesites, suggesting that homosexual civil unions may have existed six centuries ago in France. The article is the latest from the ongoing “Contemporary Issues in Historical Perspective” series, which explores the intersection between historical knowledge and current affairs."

~ Astronomers get first look at Uranus's rings as they swing edge-on to Earth -- "As the rings of Uranus swing edge-on to Earth - a short-lived view we get only once every 42 years - astronomers observing the event are getting an unprecedented, glare-free view of the rings and the fine dust that permeates them."
~ Condition of bluefin tuna in gulf of maine is declining -- "The quality of giant bluefin tuna caught in the Gulf of Maine has declined significantly since the early 1990s, researchers at the University of New Hampshire have found by analyzing detailed logbooks from a commercial tuna grader at the Yankee Fisherman`s Co-op. The findings, published this week in Fishery Bulletin, indicate potential changes in food sources, shifts in reproductive or migratory patterns, or the impact of fishing may be the cause of this decline."
~ 'Thin-layer' solar cells may bring cheaper 'green' power -- "Scientists are researching new ways of harnessing the sun`s rays which could eventually make it cheaper for people to use solar energy to power their homes. The experts at Durham University are developing light-absorbing materials for use in the production of thin-layer solar photovoltaic (PV) cells which are used to convert light energy into electricity."
~ Pigeon Dung: Menace to Bridges -- "Buildup of the acidic waste can contribute to eventual bridge failure."
~ World's oldest diamonds found in Australia -- "Scientists have discovered what they believe are the world's oldest diamonds beneath the Australian outback in a surprise find that could force a rethink about how the Earth formed."
~ Six Western states, two Canadian provinces agree to regional climate pact -- "Yesterday, the leaders of six Western states and two Canadian provinces agreed to their own regional climate pact, aiming to cut greenhouse-gas emissions to 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020."
~ Chemists Find What Makes Coffee Bitter -- "Chemists discover compounds that make coffee bitter."
~ Cave Clue Reveals Ancient Bohemian Life -- "Bones in a Spanish cave suggest the shelter once housed transient artistic types."

~ Integral Warriors: Embodying the New Masculine -- "Why would I start an Integral Men's Group when there are plenty of men's groups already around (Sex, Passion, and Enlightenment - The Mankind Project)? Because they don't take specifically take a 4-quadrant/AQAL approach. We'll approach this group apllying Ken Wilber and David Deida's model."
~ Mark Lilla, William T. Cavanaugh on religious violence -- "This week's New York Times Magazine gives religion bloggers the sort of story that almost defies blogging. Mark Lilla's 7,680-word essay, "The Politics of God" (excerpted from his new book, The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West), tells the story of how Western societies came to embrace the "Great Separation" of politics from questions about God's will."
~ Balancing Process and Goal -- "I am a Buddhist cross-trainer. My practice is informed by both Soto Zen and Theravada Buddhism and I work with teachers representing both traditions. In theory this shouldn’t be a problem—I mean, they’re both Buddhism, right? Actually, it turns out to be a bit more tricky than one might expect." This is why I don't have a formal teacher.
~ God's (Muslim) Warriors and the Rise of Islam -- "I just finished watching part 2 of God's Warriors, God's Muslim Warriors. In this documentary Christiane Amanpour covered the fastest growing religion: Islam."
~ Inclusive Nature Of Buddhist Philosophy -- "When you understand the spirit of Buddhism correctly, you can follow and practise it while living in this workaday world. In Buddhism, true renunciation doesn’t mean running away from worldly affairs, leaving your family or taking to ochre clothes."
~ Rev. Eko Little: The Most Excellent Mirror Samadhi Retreat Dharma Talks -- A series of dharma talks now available, with links.

Bhikshu Tenzin Sherab on Death and Dying

Tenzin Sherab is a Buddhist monk involved in hospice care. Thanks to Renegade Buddha for originally posting the video.

Daily Om: Translating Our Feelings

A good Daily Om today, especially for those of us who have had difficulty in the emotional realm.

Translating Our Feelings
Are You Excited Or Scared?

When new challenges and opportunities show up in our lives, we may diagnose ourselves as feeling scared when what we really feel is excited. Often we have not been taught how to welcome the thrill of a new opportunity, and so we opt to back off, indulging our anxiety instead of awakening our courage. One way to inspire ourselves to embrace the opportunities that come our way is to look more deeply into our feelings and see that butterflies in our stomach or a rapidly beating heart are not necessarily a sign that we are afraid. Those very same feelings can be translated as excitement, curiosity, passion, and even love.

There is nothing wrong with being afraid as long as we do not let it stop us from doing the things that excite us. Most of us assume that brave people are fearless, but the truth is that they are simply more comfortable with fear because they face it on a regular basis. The more we do this, the more we feel excitement in the face of challenges rather than anxiety. The more we cultivate our ability to move forward instead of backing off, the more we trust ourselves to be able to handle the new opportunity, whether it’s a new job, an exciting move, or a relationship. When we feel our fear, we can remind ourselves that maybe we are actually just excited. We can assure ourselves that this opportunity has come our way because we are meant to take it.

Framing things just a little differently can dramatically shift our mental state from one of resistance to one of openness. We can practice this new way of seeing things by saying aloud: I am really excited about this job interview. I am really looking forward to going on a date with this amazing person. I am excited to have the opportunity to do something I have never done before. As we do this, we will feel our energy shift from fear, which paralyzes, to excitement, which empowers us to direct all that energy in the service of moving forward, growing, and learning.

CGI - 458nm

A strange but cool CGI about two bio-mechanical snails in love. Winner of the jury price at the Electronic Theater - Siggraph 2006.

Satire: Peyton Manning Shows His Backup Proper Way To Hold Clipboard

From The Onion:

Peyton Manning Shows His Backup Proper Way To Hold Clipboard

August 23, 2007 | Onion Sports

TERRE HAUTE, IN—Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning interrupted an intrasquad scrimmage Tuesday for approximately 45 minutes in order to show backup quarterback Jim Sorgi how to properly hold his clipboard.

Enlarge Image Peyton Manning

Manning demonstrates the proper form to use while holding the clipboard with one hand and using the headset during third-quarter second-and-long situations.

"He's got to learn consistency if he's going to be the backup on this team, and that starts with the little things, like holding the clipboard with two hands," Manning told reporters following the practice. "When I see my backup holding the clipboard with the top portion clenched in his one hand and the bottom portion digging into his bicep, I see a quarterback taking a 'me-first' approach. That's unacceptable."

"Holding the clipboard isn't about individual performance. It's about winning," added Manning, who later stated he was disappointed in Sorgi and that he thought the two were on the same page following a two-hour clipboard conversation he had with Sorgi during the Colts' voluntary spring practice. "I once thought that if Jim wanted to set himself apart, maybe he could wear his hat with a little extra curvature in the brim. But for now, I'd have to say he doesn't deserve that privilege."

Manning claimed to have mentioned several previous clipboard-mishandling incidents to Sorgi prior to the on-field confrontation, including times when Sorgi held only the bottom-left corner of the clipboard "as if he didn't care if he dropped it"; when he caught Sorgi gripping the clipboard with two hands, but loosely and "as if he was just going through the motions"; and when he saw Sorgi standing on the sidelines trying to spin the clipboard on his index finger, an action Manning called disrespectful to both the team and the game of football.

"I even caught him out of the corner of my eye letting the clipboard hang carelessly down by his thigh during our preseason game against the [Chicago] Bears," said Manning, adding that he had not said anything to Sorgi at the time because he wanted to give him a chance to rectify the problem on his own. "I almost burned a time-out, but that was on the same day he took my advice to affix an 18-inch length of clean white cord to the clipboard in order to keep better track of his writing utensil, so I let it slide. Baby steps, after all."

Manning said he began to suspect that Sorgi had reverted to a careless and lackadaisical state of mind upon seeing Sorgi gripping the clipboard at the top part of its clamping mechanism, which Manning said could have ultimately led to the application of enough pressure to allow the documents held by the clipboard to escape, and possibly even be blown towards the opposing sideline.

"Look—if he messes up like that and the other team has all of our offensive schemes, then we don't repeat as [Super Bowl] champions," Manning said. "It's that simple. True, I've never had to hold that clipboard, and I never plan to. Jim Sorgi is going to be holding that clipboard for the rest of my career, so it's essential he becomes a pro at it."

"We're only as strong as our weakest link," Manning added. "Jim Sorgi had best remember that."

Though Sorgi admitted to violating Manning's clipboard-holding policy, he said a lack of communication, not a lack of commitment, was really to blame.

"Sometimes Peyton and I just aren't always on the same wavelength," Sorgi told reporters after Manning left the facility. "It gets really confusing. Basically, Peyton likes to give me three different clipboard-holding options during specific game situations, signaling them to me before the snap. At any given time during a game, he could scream at me to change my grip to, say, ten-and-two instead of six-and-four, and naturally, there will be times I don't hear him completely."

"I just wish he would stick to his initial clipboard-holding plan—two hands at three and nine," Sorgi said. "It would make things easier on all of us."

Upon being told of Sorgi's comments, Manning commented that Sorgi's "prima donna attitude is the reason he's not allowed to run kneel-downs during the regular season."

Colts head coach Tony Dungy claimed he was unaware of any problem with his quarterbacks and said he would be taking more of a hands-off approach this season, allowing Manning to do the majority, if not all, of the coaching.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Graatitude 8/22/07

Some things I am grateful for today:

1) I have been doing some work to reclaim a disowned self (here and here), and it feels like I am getting closer to integrating that child into who I am now. This is hard but rewarding work.

2) My friend Susan and her husband are in the process of moving from lives focused on children and careers to lives focused on their inner growth and relationship. It's a miracle to witness their process. It gives me hope.

3) I had a minor health issue today (some bad broccoli I ate last night) that makes me appreciate all the good days I take for granted.

What are you grateful for today?

Collage: Blurring the Line Between Memory and Nightmare, II

[Please see the first installment in this series.]

All this pain is an illusion . . . .

Rather than eat watermelon, which for some reason I didn't want to do, I once set fire to the palm tree on our patio. I was maybe six or so, and I blamed the wind for the conflagration, said some embers from the bar-b-q must have set the tree on fire. I didn't have to eat the watermelon.

Ashes, ashes, they all fall down.

Many years later, I set our field on fire just to see what would happen. Two acres of grasses burned that day. What happened was that I had to cut a willow branch that my father used to whip me. That was the last fire I ever set.

We barely remember who or what came before this precious moment,
We are choosing to be here right now. Hold on, stay inside...
This holy reality, this holy experience. Choosing to be here in...

This body.

Looking out a world beyond my ability to comprehend. My child-mind grasps at meaning, pushes boundaries, wants to build a tree house by the creek behind the land I grew up on, wants to stack rocks in the creek to slow the water, create a pool.

This Body / This Heart / This Mind / This Soul

Have I really chosen to be here?

Maybe, the one time I held the knife, made exploratory cuts . . . . Maybe that day I chose to be here by placing the knife on the table, walking away . . . .

Yes, son
I want to kill you

It was always him, the introjection of him, that I wanted to be rid of. I feared being my father's son. Not that he was evil, but that he got inside my head, made me doubt myself, made me feel unworthy.

* * * * *

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a boy who believed he could do anything he set his mind to, could fly in his dreams, could climb the tallest trees without fear. But one day, when he wasn't looking, he grew up . . . way before his time.

Before that day, when everything changed, he walked deep into the forest all by himself. No one walked in the forest alone because of the wolves and cougars that some people feared. But this little boy didn't fear animals, only people.

The forest floor, wherever the sun shone down, was green with grass and new life. Spring is the season of birth.

As the boy walked into the forest, he noticed a large black bird following him, so he stopped. And the bird stopped, too. The boy walked a few more steps. The bird flew to the next tree.

"Hey, bird," the boy shouted, "Why are you following me?"

The bird was silent.

"I know you're there," said the boy, not sure if this was a good idea.

Caw, said the bird, Caw, Caw.

The boy knew at once it was a Raven. The big black birds were reported to be omens of death, but he didn't believe the stories. Adults always lie.

"Raven, why are you following me?"

I am your shadow. As long as you acknowledge me you will never be lead astray.

* * * * *

Where was I?

All this pain is an illusion . . . .

It's coming closer . . . . The child I once was. Somewhere in the darkness, beyond the futility of stairs, there is a path that can lead me to that innocence, that vulnerability. Someplace in the darkness there is a flame of hope burning as a guiding light.

Fire / Flame / Ashes / The body of my father rolling into the furnace.

I was the witness, still a boy, doing an adult's job. Why me? Why not me?

I hated him and wanted him dead -- until he died. When his heart exploded in his chest, I knew (against all reason) that it was my wish that made it so. At that moment, I loved him and wanted nothing more than to hear his voice yelling at me.

All these years later, I have gotten what I wanted -- his voice in my head.

Please understand, I do not blame him for my life. I don't blame him for the things he did -- he was doing the best he could. I own who I am.

Once, after a lot of wine, I had a dream:

and my father stands over me,
offering his hand for me to rise
but i pull him down to me,
embrace his wide body, roll frantic
with him in dry fallen leaves

How to connect the dots . . . . Make sense of all these words?

I seek the child that I once was, the center of who I am now. There is a thin line between memory and nightmare, and I seek to blur that line as much as possible.

To be continued.

* * * * *

Credits, in order of appearance:
1. "Parabola," Tool
2. Fire
3. Parabola lyrics, previously cited
4. Suicide image
5. "The End," The Doors
6. Trees
7. Raven
8. Pain is an illusion
9. "liturgy for twelve years," Harryman, New Spirit Press