Wednesday, September 28, 2005

To a man of wisdom: what is remembered, lives...

Darnit. We're going to have to turn the wheel for M. Scott Peck this Samhain. The world is less one wise man...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

No, I'm not having a breakdown now...

Quite the opposite, in fact: filled with faith and optimism, if just a little (ok, a lot) curious about where the ride is taking me THIS time. :) But I heard this song today and thought the lyrics were pretty wise, so I wanted to share them:

Jem - "Just A Ride"

Life, it's ever so strange
It's so full of change
Think that you've worked it out
Right out of the blue
Something happens to you
To throw you off course
And then you

Yeah you breakdown
Well don't you breakdown
Listen to me

It's just a ride, it's just a ride
No need to run, no need to hide
It'll take you round and round
Sometimes you're up
Sometimes you're down
It's just a ride, it's just a ride
Don't be scared
Don't hide your eyes
It may feel so real inside
But don't forget it's just a ride

Truth, we don't wanna hear
It's too much to take
Don't like to feel out of control
So we make our plans
Ten times a day
And when they don't go
Our way we

Yeah we breakdown
Well don't you breakdown
Listen to me

It's just a ride, it's just a ride
No need to run, no need to hide
It'll take you round and round
Sometimes you're up
Sometimes you're down
It's just a ride, it's just a ride
Don't be scared
Don't hide your eyes
It may feel so real inside
But don't forget it's just a ride

Slowly, oh so very slowly
Except that
There's no getting off
So live it, just gotta go with it
Coz this ride's, never gonna stop
Don't you breakdown
No need to breakdown
No need at all

It's just a ride, it's just a ride
No need to run, no need to hide
It'll take you all around
Sometimes you're up
Sometimes you're down
It's just a ride, it's just a ride
Don't be scared now
Dry your eyes
It may feel so real inside
But don't forget enjoy the ride

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Too tired to do anything but meme...

Went to Pagan Pride Day today, the first year I had nothing to do with either international, national, or local events. It was fun to get to just hang out. Of course, I also promoted the new personal growth seminar business a friend and I are putting together, so I guess that isn't just hanging out. (I'll post more about it as soon as I have actual data on the website, which is going to have to be soon as I gave out business cards today!) But I spent most of my time at the bardic circle singing and drumming, which was a blast. However, it was Very, VERY, VEEERRRYY humid. I mean, exceptionally humid even for Indiana. And therefore, having dressed in jeans because the morning was cold meant we were all dying of heat by mid-day. Which explains why I'm so very tired, I'm sure.

Therefore, I'll just post this personality test, which by-the-by is frighteningly accurate for a three-question test... (Ok, I must be tired. After I typed that, I started singing it to the tune of "Gilligan's Island"... "A three-question test! A three-question test!) :)

Your Personality Is

Idealist (NF)

You are a passionate, caring, and unique person.
You are good at expressing yourself and sharing your ideals.

You are the most compassionate of all types and connect with others easily.
Your heart tends to rule you. You can't make decisions without considering feelings.

You seek out other empathetic people to befriend.
Truth and authenticity matters in your friendships.

In love, you give everything you have to relationships. You fall in love easily.

At work, you crave personal expression and meaning in your career.

With others, you communicate well. You can spend all night talking with someone.

As far as your looks go, you've likely taken the time to develop your own personal style.

On weekends, you like to be with others. Charity work is also a favorite pastime of yours.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Looking forward to a lecture Thursday...

I will be hearing Joan Borysenko speak Thursday evening. I hadn't read anything of hers, but a friend recommended her. Even better, the lecture is free. :)

I went out to her website and found some fabulous wisdom. I was especially moved by her analysis of the story of Job. Frankly, I always hated the story of Job. It struck me as encompassing many of the worst points of traditional religion: that if things are going well, look out, because it's all going to come tumbling down; that the reason for evil is "The devil did it/made me do it;" that the answer to tragedy is to shut up and take it, because God is everything and you are less than nothing.

Joan points out where some scholars suggest that the story was mistranslated. I had previously heard that 'satan' actually meant 'adversary' and probably originally was not seen as an opposing force of evil, but more like the archetype of the Trickster - that which doesn't let you use a cloak of righteousness to hide your true self. However, I had never heard that "as a verb it means to 'persecute by hindering free forward movement.' " My personal definition is that there is no such thing as "evil" if by "evil" you mean "some external force tempting people away from good." I have always said that the core ethical dichotomy is of love/courage and fear, not 'evil'. (I prefer the term 'courage' over 'love' because love has such baggage, but that's a subject for another essay!) But what an eloquent definition of why fear disempowers us so (and more specifically, why fighting our fear endangers us): it hinders our free forward movement. If we focus on our fear, we can't be free, because we're constantly on guard to try to avoid the bad feelings evoked by what we fear; we can't go forward, because we're too busy looking back to see if fear is chasing us; and we don't move (or change or grow), because we want to stay in a location that we perceive as defensible. Courage comes, not in fighting fear or avoiding fear or being immobilized by fear, but by allowing ourselves to feel the fear and yet still move forward freely; trying new activities and new ideas to see if they fit us; being open to seeing people in new ways and connecting with them in new ways; viewing the unknown future not as a perilous journey but as an adventure of spirit; and in doing so giving ourselves the opportunity to learn and grow.

Joan also presents an alternative translation of the ending of the story, traditionally worded as, "I had heard of thee by hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee,therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes." She presents scholarly support that it may be more accurately translated, "I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee; therefore I take back everything I said, comforted that I am dust." "Comforted that I am dust" sounds strange at first, but after reading her commentary and thinking on it, I think I'd interpret that as "comforted that the here-and-now 'me' is caught up in the drama of my experience, but the deeper 'me' is limitless light and knows that difficult times are not torture chambers but ropes courses, designed to learn more about ourselves."

Even though I believe that we are co-creators of our lives with the Divine-in-whatever-form-you-are-most-comfy-with :) I've always been uneasy with people who say we are 100% responsible for our own reality. I was gratified to see that not only does she agree with me, she helped give me an explanation why I feel that way: "While we certainly participate in creating the events of our lives, the idea that we are 100 percent responsible for creating our own reality is a psychologically and spiritually impoverished notion. In my experience, when patients with this belief are unable to cure themselves, they often feel like failures or undergo a painful crisis of faith. While such crises can be important invitations to deeper healing when there is time to pursue the ramifications, they can be a serious blow for people coping with life-threatening illnesses that may afford neither the time nor the energy to pick up the pieces of a shattered faith." She also points out that if we are all interconnected, as I believe and as modern physics indicates, that the "...notion that we are 100 percent responsible for creating our own reality [is] too simpleminded. Who is the 'I' separate from the 'we' who has the hubris to think that it acts in isolation?" And at least to me that makes sense: if we live in community, we create in community. (Hmm. Perhaps I need to update my co-creator theory to include being co-creators of reality with one another? Come to think of it, since I believe that the shortest direction to Deity is within human beings, then the obvious correlary is that being a co-creator of reality with Deity by definition is being a co-creator of reality with other people. I see another essay topic, or perhaps a workshop...)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Hidden causality...

I read an interesting book review from the NYT about the Dali Lama's most recent book, The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality. At first I thought the reviewer was going to complain that it wasn't religious enough. Turns out, he was complaining that the Dali Lama started out sounding open-minded (which apparently, to this reviewer, meant "only reporting that which can be verified by tangible experimentation) but then snuck religion in there by saying that evolutionary random mutations might "turn out to be complexity in disguise - 'hidden causality,' the Buddha's smile." He dismisses this with the glib phrase, "There you have it, Eastern religion's version of intelligent design. " Funny - I read a book called Order Out of Chaos by Ilya Prigogine who received a Nobel Prize for discovering that there might indeed be large-scale order in randomness, so I'm not certain how speculating that complexity might arise from chaos is unscientific?

Then again, this reviewer doesn't seem to have anything more than an intellectual handle on the idea that Buddhism doesn't begin from the same rigid paradigm as Western religions. Given that he talks about "how someone so open-minded became the Tibetan Buddhist equivalent of the pope"... Why is it so difficult for westerners to understand that in a philosophy like Buddhism there is no paradigm equivalent to a pope? The pope is the voice of God on earth, able to proclaim infallible, "God-said-it-that-settles-it" decrees of faith. As I understand it, the Dali Lama provides spiritual leadership, not spiritual dictatorship; guiding, not commanding. And as the Buddha is not perceived as God in the way most westerners perceive God, saying that large-scale order could be "the Buddha's smile" does not have the same deterministic connotations as a westerner saying that something "is God's will." I guess the only way I can put it is that it's more metaphorical in Eastern religions; that in a paradigm that doesn't try to rationalize away uncertainty, it is possible to hold seemingly contradictory beliefs simultaneously and be neither inconsistent nor delusional; that I can both believe scientifically that chaos theory says that a system is unpredictable, and at the same time philosophize that the unpredictability itself can be part of a larger pattern or unity, and be neither holding an irrational spiritual view nor rejecting scientific evidence.

The reviewer closes by saying, "All religion is rooted in a belief in the supernatural. Inviting a holy man to address a scientific conference may be leaving the back door ajar for ghosts." Yet is not this strong a rejection of the possibility of the unseen as narrow-minded a view as the church leaders who condemned Copernicus and Galileo for daring to take the Earth out of the center of the universe? To my mind, true scientific inquiry leaves open the possibility of anything unproven, no matter how irrational it might seem. Because after all, how rational does the theory of relativity sound? To do otherwise is to simply replace the deterministic religion of Western Judeo-Christianity with the deterministic religion of Western science.

But then again, I'm a philosopher, so anything I say is suspect anyway, right? :)

P.S. If you want to read more about chaos theory, here's a scientific link from the University of Texas, and a less-scientific link that connects some of the science with the "supernatural". (Interesting that the term "supernatural" is a judgement inherent in the word, isn't it? I think I see the subject of another blog post there...)

Friday, September 09, 2005

Nothin' but memes today...

So I'm lazy. So shoot me. :)

Your Personality Profile

You are dependable, popular, and observant.
Deep and thoughtful, you are prone to moodiness.
In fact, your emotions tend to influence everything you do.

You are unique, creative, and expressive.
You don't mind waving your freak flag every once and a while.
And lucky for you, most people find your weird ways charming!

And this means that perhaps the business I'm helping start is a good idea? (I'll say more later, when I actually have the website up and everything...)

Your Career Type: Social

You are helpful, friendly, and trustworthy.
Your talents lie in teaching, nursing, giving information, and solving social problems.

You would make an excellent:

Counselor - Dental Hygienist - Librarian
Nurse - Parole Officer - Personal Trainer
Physical Therapist - Social Worker - Teacher

The worst career options for your are realistic careers, like truck driver or farmer.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Despair and hope...

Just when you think it's hard to stay hopeful when watching the violence in New Orleans, you see things like Sri Lanka offering aid to the Red Cross, and you have hope that there is good in people somewhere after all...

There are also spots like ,,,,and where people all over the country are offering space, free of charge, to people and families left homeless by Katrina. It's good to see such generosity. But apparently the big relief organizations aren't allowed for some reason to officially support small efforts like these, so they're asking for help publicizing the websites. Not like thousands of people read my blog, but here's my small contribution...

And if you haven't seen the blogs telling what's really going on there, like the Interdictor or Metroblogging, you should.

Meanwhile, my ex may actually try to coordinate the idea I had for Mardi Gras parties to raise funds for relief. I would if I had more time. If he does, I'll post details here...