Everything is Everything

Hola mi Gente,
Today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Hope you have an exciting, fun-filled summer!

Dependent origination is not exactly everyone’s cup of tea, I admit, but there’s something to it… or not. LOL

Dependent Origination

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The fear of letting go prevents you from letting go of the fear of letting go.

 

This is the doctrine at the heart Buddhism. You see, my dear reader, it goes this way: you are an unstable collection of coincidences held together by a desperate and irrational clinging. There is no center — no center at all. Everything depends on everything else, your body depends on the ecology, your thoughts depend on whatever conditioned debris floats in from the media, your emotions are mostly from the reptilian end of your DNA.

Your intellect, dear reader, is a chemical computer that can’t add up a zillionth as fast as a pocket calculator. Even your best side is a superficial piece of social conditioning that will fall apart as soon as your significant other leaves after emptying the money in the bank account, the economy fails and you get the sack, or you get conscripted into some village idiot’s war, or they give you the news about your brain tumor. To name this combination of self-pity, vanity, and despair “self” is not only the height of conceit, it is also proof that we’re a deluded species.

We are in a trance from birth to death. Burst the balloon and what are you left with? Emptiness.

It’s not only us — this radical principle applies to the whole sentient world. While dependent origination is somewhat hard to take (or grasp), it does have a compelling point: stop for a moment, still yourself, listen — in other words, pay attention just a little — and you will find yourself on a planet you no longer recognize. Those needs and fears you thought were the very foundation of your existence turn out to be no more than bugs in your software.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Sunday Sermon [Redemption Song]

Hola Everybody,
Today’s blog art is by the great Salvador Dali. There’s another Dali work that’s of importance here. Dalí once made a gift to the men’s jail in lieu of a personal appearance there. He was supposed to give an art class to the inmates in 1965 but canceled due to illness. He donated the then new gouache-ink-and-pencil sketch, specifically “For the dining room of the Prisoners Rikers Island,” as he inscribed it. And he sent some encouraging words for the men: “You are artists. Don’t think of your life as finished for you. With art, you have always to feel free.”

It was stolen by correction guards in 2003 and is believed to have been destroyed.

Here’s a photo of the work being presented to then commissioner Anne Kross (seems like she doesn’t  get it):

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Redemption Song

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Woman, why are you weeping?
— Jesus to Mary Magdalene (John 20:15)

 

For a long time I refused to go to funerals. I simply wouldn’t go. On one level, I didn’t want to see my loved ones garishly made up lying in some casket. I have seen many, many people leave this existence. Most of the people I was raised with are dead or dying. I grew up in a violent world and quite a few were taken in the prime of their lives — victims of violence, disease, or addiction. On another level, I didn’t want to come face-to-face with death. Especially death warmed over as I used to call funerals in mainstream US culture.

I didn’t like funerals. Didn’t like death… So I never went.

Then one day, I was shopping with a lover and she picked out a dress she loved so much she said, “This is the dress I want to be buried in!” We laughed about it. We, she, was young and beautiful, full of life. She was the Bonnie to my Clyde, committing crimes of life in that devil-may-care way only the foolish and young can justify. We didn’t last long together, less than two months, but we created so much drama in one another lives that we would become forever attached. Years later, after all had been done between us, she died in my presence.

People have a fucked up knack of dying around me.

When it came time to make preparations, her sister confided in me that she knew what dress to bury her in and when I saw it, it cut me deep because it was that very same dress we picked out that day so many years before. When I told her sister, she smiled because my former partner in crime had told her sister the same thing. I wasn’t planning on attending her funeral, but her sister insisted.

I am not a practicing Christian. I don’t accept Jesus, or anyone else, as my savior, nor do I believe in a literal translation of the Bible, Old or New. However, I do think that some of the teachings attributed to the person called Jesus of Nazareth are sublime. My personal belief, borne of personal experience, is that the core teachings of Jesus were corrupted for personal and political gain. Thomas Jefferson held similar views and he wrote a version of the Gospels, now known as the Jeffersonian Bible. In it, he excised the parts he felt were contradictory to the core message of hope and love of the Nazarene. And believe me, there’s lots of contradiction in the Gospels.

According to people who wrote the story hundreds of years after the fact, when Jesus finds Mary Magdalene crying at the door of the tomb, he says to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” As I see it, Jesus wasn’t asking a rhetorical question. He wanted to know why we worry and sob and fret when hope is always present, if we could just tap into it.

For me, Easter is about liberation, and it’s especially meaningful for a person like me who sometimes feels chained to moodiness and negativity too much of the time. The celebration of the resurrection is a chance for us to acknowledge Jesus’ message of hope and in so doing, grab the hope that is already there.

Anyone else notice that of all the people he showed himself to, it was the women first? In fact, of all the women, it wasn’t his mother, but Mary Magdalene to whom Jesus appeared first. I don’t take Jesus’ resurrection literally, but there is a message there that resonates with my own life. Jesus’ life, like mine, was a redemption song. And like Jesus, it was the women in my life who tended to me — tended to me through my own passage to a new life. Maybe this is saying something about the Feminine Principle and how far we have moved away from that healing force. For me, this was no accident of the Gospels. Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene because she, more than any other disciple, believed in him. All those other bums, betrayed and denied him, didn’t they? LOL

When I cried at my ex-lover’s funeral, it seems as if I cried for all the loved ones I had never said good-bye to — the one’s whose funerals I didn’t attend. It was as if all that loss I was holding on to came out like a river. It was at once one of the saddest and most liberating experiences in my life. I read somewhere the other day that the opposite of loss is finding. It’s a deceptively profound statement.

Grief is what we add on to loss. It is a learned behavior, specific only to some cultures. It is neither unavoidable nor universal. In some cultures, for example, you will never see someone cry at a cremation. Their cultural perspective on death is one of acceptance in a way foreign to Western theories of grief and loss.

Similarly, when Jesus appeared to the disciples he asked, “Why are you troubled?” Jesus says to the disciples in Luke’s gospel when he appears to them after his “resurrection.”

My Buddhist practice has slowly transformed my view of grief — has actually opened the door for me to see that there’s an alternative to grief. It’s not that grief is wrong, only that there’s another possibility. Loss of a loved one can be viewed in another way, a way that avoids the long days of aching, oftentimes crippling grief.

Over the years since my ex-lover’s death, I have attended many funerals and have had two others die in my arms. I sometimes cry at funerals but I understand death differently today. A teacher once explained it to me in simple terms. “Have you ever been to a concert and experience the shouts of ‘more!’ coming from the audience when it came time to end?” he asked. “Usually, the musicians will play one or two encores, but eventually they have to pack up their gear and leave. I’ve experienced this many times and when I’m going home, I usually reflect on how great the music was and how lucky I was to have been there. I never felt grief at the end of a concert.”

And that is exactly how I experience life and death today. I see it as if a magnificent concert had come to an end. I revel in the wonderful performance. I was there shouting loudly, “More!” when it came to end the performance. My loved ones struggled to stay alive a little longer, but eventually they had to let go — they had to pack up their instruments and “go home.” Today, I choose to see instead what magnificent lives my friends and loved ones led. What powerful inspirations they were in my life. Their shining power of example. I reflect mostly how fortunate I was to have been in their lives to witness their glorious and beautiful power. Today, I walk away from funerals feeling a lot like I do after watching a great performance: exhilaration. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Grief is seeing only what has been taken away from you. The celebration of a life is recognizing all that we were blessed with, and expressing that gratitude. When I die (and we all will die sooner or later) I hope this is what people will feel for my own performance and that people will celebrate life and not just mourn my death.

Whatever your belief, this has to be part of the message of the resurrection, whether you understand it as literal or not. That the concerts of our lives continue reverberating and in that way create more life. That our lives are never ended, but live in our deeds and actions… and our memories.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

The Freak

Hola mi gente,
Things are starting to get busy at work, but this is a good thing. LOL

The Freak and the Process

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When I talk about the work I do, you have to understand that the “I” I am referencing is a lot bigger than just me. I see my work as being a part of a process that’s larger and more powerful than I. In fact, I perceive who I am today to be the product of many people who have helped me along the way. In other words, who I am and what I do is the result of the work of too many people to count. Today, when I say “I” it is with the clear realization that I am connected on so many levels with so many people. Yeah, I’m freaky that way.

In fact, if you’re reading this, you have probably helped make me the human being I am today. No shit.

So! The other day, I was headed to a meeting when a woman stopped me and said, “You probably don’t remember me, but… ” Now, in a past life if a woman, or anyone for the matter, approached me with that line, it usually wasn’t positive. I was about to tell her, “Hey, it’s not my baby,” or “If I owe you money… ” LOL But then I remembered that was the old Eddie.

In any case, she went on:

You changed my life. I remember that before I met you, the way I thought about incarcerated people was very narrow-minded, but working with you, and seeing the passion and intelligence you brought to the work and how people responded to you, changed the way I saw people. You changed the way I looked at the world in a very fundamental way and that’s why I’m here today. The funny thing is that when you first met me, you predicted you would change my life. Well, I never got the chance to tell you, but you did. You changed my life and I want to thank you.

Wow, she almost made me cry!

But here’s the thing: it wasn’t me, but the “process” that changed her. In fact, I’m constantly being changed by the process myself. What I try to do — on a daily basis — is to be a conduit for the process of change. Most of the time, that’s about me getting out of the way of the process and being able to channel something much more powerful than me.

So, I turned to her and told her:

“Thank you so much for saying this, it means a lot to me. But here’s the thing: now you have to become an agent for change and be part of that process.”

And the look in her eyes told me she understood everything I was saying. She was actually crying. My hairs are standing up as I write this. No, I’m no Jesus freak, but I know that all of us working together can bring about big change. We can make tremendous changes. This is why I get pissed off when I see people giving away their power to neoliberals. We are the change, not Her or Him. I know this because I have experienced it every day for the last 25 years.

This I know is true: You are more powerful than you give yourself credit for and together? Man, that story has yet to be told.

Who loves you?

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Engaged Spirituality

Hola! Everybody…
You have to stop blaming Trump. If you want an answer to your problems, a solution to your fears, look in the mirror. Trump isn’t possible without you. Remember that.

Engaged Spirituality

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How do I bear witness to the unbearable?
Why are people so deliberately cruel?
How do I not bring more rage into the world?

 

I tackle these questions as a way of life. For years now, I have bore witness to enduring cruelty. Over the years, I have learned to be present — listening. I have sat with a woman, for example, while she told of a gang rape — something she had never shared with anyone else, except for her mother whose response was to blame her for being a “slut.” I have heard grown men and women tell stories of childhood abuse of such horror that some nights, I was so troubled by these stories, I couldn’t sleep — forced to reconsider human nature. It got to the point where I didn’t want to hear any more stories. I couldn’t stand to hear one more horror. But when it got to that point, I would tell myself that if they had experienced it, then the least I could do was listen.

I have been to many conferences and speeches and have even delivered a few myself. Sometimes I feel I can’t listen to another summit or conference. We don’t need more sessions; we already know what we need to do: we have the solutions. Why can’t we use what we know already works? Where is the courage to stop doing what is destroying so many?

I committed to the path I walk to day partly as a way to stop from going insane in an insane world. I needed to be free from these cries of despair. I quickly realized I could never be free while the fate of the children of this country and of the world — the legions of child soldiers, the children leading lives indentured to industry, the millions orphaned by AIDS, nine-year-olds as head-of-households struggling to keep their siblings together — continues. We are not only silent, but also craven and brutal.

This is a world that does not care about its children…

People not so engaged often ask me how I am able to sustain myself in the face of such horror. Sometimes my answer is that it’s increasingly difficult to keep my own rage from eating away at me. Sometimes I silently wonder how long I can continue to do this work. I especially become discouraged when so many people show such absolute indifference and ignorance in the face of the horrors of the world. There is a Buddhist saying that goes: For those whose hearts are closed, the world’s suffering is like sticking a hair in their finger: it is hardly noticed. But for those whose hearts are open, it’s like a hair stuck in their eyeball: it is acutely painful.

Only the very naïve or those steeped in a profound denial, believe that spirituality and politics don’t come together. One only has to look around in this country to see that we’ve become that runaway train in Emile Zola’s story — we’ve become a “runaway society” in which our leaders have abdicated their responsibilities while we worry about finding “the one,” or getting that new gadget, career, car, or whatever, while trapped in an out of control train. And you know what? We can’t blame our children for the current state of affairs, though our collective narcissism compels us to use our children as scapegoats.

Profoundly spiritual people have midwifed some of the greatest changes in history. In Latin America often the only voice speaking out against US-controlled violence were priests and nuns who practiced “liberation theology” and sacrificed their lives and sanity in the process. I have a good friend, who’s steeped in liberation theology and he was part of a criminal justice reform campaign he created that drew on the resources of regular men and women spanning several states.

I don’t need to mention, Gandhi, MLK, and the many unknown, untold others — all members of the “aristocracy of the considerate” — who gave their lives so that we could enjoy ours. These are a different kind of soldier. They are spiritual warriors and their lives aren’t remembered by merely raising a flag because they transcended the imaginary borders of nation and religion.

I know deep inside I have no choice: I have to be a part of a change process because that is what life consists of: energies, processes. You’re either a force for positive or negative change, but you have to choose. You can’t be neutral on a moving (or runaway) train, as the historian, Howard Zinn, once observed. Some of us do what we can: donate to a cause we believe in, or walk, run, ride for one thing or another and I won’t belittle that. You do what you can.

However, walking/ riding/ running for breast cancer for example, doesn’t absolve us from accountability. There is a difference between blame, responsibility, and accountability, you know. We like to say, “Well, I gave at the office…” and then go on our blissfully ignorant way as though we were separate from the runaway train. However, it’s not that simple, shit still happens — all the time. Right now, this very moment, some kid in some God-forsaken land just stepped on a landmine that was paid for by our tax dollars.

Blame is burnout and let’s get it right: pointing out that something is wrong and the causes of that wrong are not blame. Blame is rooted in ego, outrage, anger. Many of my ex-lovers liked to blame me, but here we are all these years removed from not being together and they’re probably still blaming somebody.

And you might say that you’re not responsible for the way the world is today and you’re probably right. I like to make the distinction between responsibility and accountability in this way: if you were diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, you were probably not responsible for getting that disease. However, having been informed of that disease and then being educated in how to arrest that disease, aren’t you then accountable for your disease?

Accountability… what are you accountable for? What will you stand up be counted for?

I have ceased to do things with the hope of having an effect. I have to because hoping for results is a sure-fire way to burnout. Expecting outcomes or results is hell. The fact is that my work may not make a difference.

I remember being part of a huge protest rally in DC and walking next to an elderly woman and I asked how she could still do all this without being discouraged. Her answer is one I’ll never forget. She reminded me that we all have ancestors who fought against slavery though they knew they would probably never be free themselves.

That was a powerful reminder for me…

The reality is that the work that I engage might turn out to be worthless and achieve no result at all. It might turn out that my energies will produce the opposite effect. Outcomes don’t matter. People do. The more I engage the work of my life, the more I realize that what matters are not so much the results, but the value, rightness, and truth of the work itself.

I had to give up trying to save the world. I had to give up hope and fear because once you hope, you bring fear into the process. Besides, hope is a piss-poor strategy. Beyond hope and fear — freed from the twin illusions of success or failure — I am learning to act skillfully. I still get angry, enraged, and frustrated, but now I go back to that space beyond expectations and fear, and try my best to act righteously — or as justly as I am able…

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it, please consider helping me out by sharing it, liking me on Facebook, following me on Twitter, or even throwing me some money on GoFundMe HERE or via PayPal HERE so I can keep calling it like I see it.

Redemption Song

Hola mi Gente,
I usually post this around this time of year… it’s a Thanksgiving tradition of sorts on this blog. Sometimes, when I think this too self-indulgent, or passé (I am a walking cliché, it seems), someone will send me a message usually beginning like so: “I read your blog and I never comment… ” (LOL!) And it never fails, someone will tell me that reading the following helped them, or they shared it with someone they thought it could help. So… here goes.

Redemption Song

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My life is my message

 

The cliché that life is stranger than fiction is true enough. And believe me: my life has been pretty much “strange.” Thanksgiving Day has its own personal meaning for me, as I am certain it does for everyone. Actually, Thanksgiving Day has layers of meaning.

First, there is the glossing over the very real consequences of colonialism, the mythical version of Thanksgiving creates a fairy tale out of land theft, betrayal, brutality, and genocide, functioning to erase the very real and traumatic experiences of entire indigenous nations. This whitewashing and outright erasure of indigenous history is not only inhumane and oppressive to indigenous people, it is also unfair to all U.S. citizens who stand to learn from a rich and equally tragic history.

On another level, people of Puerto Rican descent have traditionally taken US holidays and used them as opportunities to express our own cultural identity. For example, Puerto Ricans will eschew the traditional holiday fare of turkey and potatoes and substitute lechon and pasteles, Puerto Rican culinary staples. If we do cook turkey, we cook it pavo-chon-style — a turkey prepared in a manner that makes it taste like lechon (pork suckling). Also, the holidays are always a chance to celebrate our music, our unique forms of dancing, and kinship ties. Therefore, Puerto Ricans subvert the mythical (actually genocidal) Thanksgiving and give it their own meaning. And as humans, that’s what we do best, we create meaning.

Thanksgiving Day is also now primarily identified as a secular all-inclusive day of expressing appreciation for life and having gratitude for the things we need to live a happy and healthy life. As a Latino, the cultural values of extended family ties and Thanksgiving evoke childhood memories of large (and often hilariously insane) family get-togethers.

However, for me Thanksgiving holds its most significant meaning on a very personal level. You see, it was on this day twenty-six years ago that I experienced the first of a series of “spiritual awakenings” that would drastically change my life. The exact date is November 26, 1990 and it often happens that it falls on or near Thanksgiving Day. A couple of weeks before that fateful day, on a cold, drizzly November day, I was so overcome with despair that I considered and attempted suicide. It is actually a little funny: As I climbed over the rail on the Brooklyn Bridge’s pedestrian walk (it’s not easy to jump off that damned bridge!), I was so skinny from malnutrition and years of substance abuse that a strong Nor’easter wind knocked me back on my ass to the pedestrian walkway. I saw this as the ultimate failure which gives you an idea of my state of mind at the time.

I walked away from that only to opt for a more torturous suicide: the daily act of chasing that White Lady, Heroin. Ensnared by my warped thinking, I had this fear that I would botch up my own suicide and merely succeed in paralyzing myself, condemning myself to chase drugs from the disadvantage of a wheelchair. In fact, I remember another addict who was in a wheelchair. I decided I would make someone else put myself out of my misery.

And though I speak lightly today of that time, I was so miserable. I do not believe in a God in the traditional Christian/ Judeo sense — an anthropomorphic omnipotent super being. Yet back then I would pray each night that some Higher Power would find it in its mercy to take my life me my sleep. Still, every day I awoke to my pain and despair. I would always wake up sick and broke, but somehow manage to spend $300 by the end of the day, feeding a merciless heroin habit.

If you are wondering, I fed my drug habit by ripping off drug-dealers, never a safe proposition. One day a victim of one of my swindles threatened me with a gun. I grabbed the gun by the barrel, put it to my forehead, and begged him to shoot. All I asked was that he made sure to kill me because, “You would be doing me a favor, motherfucker.” This occurred in broad daylight in the middle of a crowded New York City street. I remember a crowd forming and people screaming; but what I remember most was thinking that this was my way out. “Do it,” I yelled. He pulled the trigger and…

Nothing happened.

I don’t know if the gun jammed or if it wasn’t loaded, whatever the reason, the gun failed to discharge. My would-be “assistant suicider” freaked out, yanked the gun from my hands, and walked away. I called after him, letting him know he could get another chance. That’s how much I wanted to die. And, I thought, I could do nothing right.

That wasn’t the worst of it, my life continued to bottom out until November 26th, 1990 when I experienced an incident so traumatic it would change me and my world in an inexplicable way. Actually, most people would consider the events that transpired on that cold, dreary November day as a defeat. Very simply, after being released from New York City’s infamous jail, Rikers Island, for exactly fourteen days, I was re-arrested. It was also that last day of my active addiction — the last day I took a drug.

I didn’t know it then but it was the beginning of a new life: a life that today is far from perfect, that has suffering, illness, death, and many challenges, but also contains an invincible of joy at its core. This is part of the reason I do the work that I do. I know even the worst of us have the potential to liberate ourselves from socially constructed or self-made prisons. And let me be clear: we’re all “doing time” in some way, we all wear shackles. To a degree, we all enact patterns of behavior or carry the proverbial baggage.

No, I am not a religious person. My personal view is that religion is for people who are afraid of hell and spirituality is for those who have already been there. I simply try to be the best person I can be on a daily basis and oftentimes I fall short of the mark. However, my intentions are usually good and my direction somewhat orderly. I try to live a life centered on compassion for others, personal growth, self-actualization, and passion for social change.

On that day, twenty-six ago, I had no way of knowing of the possibility of life as it has manifested itself for me today. The past year has been one of the most challenging for me in a long time. A lot of that has to do with being unemployed. Today, I will most likely lose all my property in storage, my cell has been cut off, and I’m living in… well, you get the idea. Yet, I am for the most part happy today. It’s a happiness independent of any person, place, or thing. On the surface I can be sad, happy, angry, disappointed, disgusted — I can be experiencing any number of attachments — but at the center, at the very core of me, there is an invincible joy greater than any drug-induced high I have ever experienced. And believe me, coming from me, that’s saying a lot.

On that day, sitting there in the midst of total failure and utter humiliation, I came undone. And that was a good thing, because in experiencing complete obliteration I became open to something more than my small self. In emptying myself, I came to see that what I perceived as the void was in reality my innate and boundless potential as a human being.

I am genuinely grateful. As I said before, this past year, as with all years, has been a challenging. I have experienced sadness, frustration, happiness, love, rejection (the full catastrophe!). I could easily surmise, if I were so disposed, that my life, that life itself, sucks. But that’s a coward’s lie. Life is a gift — probably the most precious of gifts. My life today is like a redemption song — a song of freedom. And at the very least there is nothing worse (or better) than that fateful day twenty-five years ago. Today I woke up and I am… here… and for that I am most grateful.

May you all have as much to be thankful for.

My name is Eddie and I am in recovery from civilization…

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Nintendo and Meditation

Hola Everybody,
I’m selling a Trek bike — hardly used — at a bargain. Email me or comment for more information/ details. I’m off to a job interview… wish me luck.

Many people ask me to post on meditation. I’ve run into so many people who say, “I tried it, but I can’t do it.” But this is like saying you tried seeing… if your vision works, then it follows that you should be able to see, no?

Below, you’ll find a short article by a former teacher who explains in clear and elegant language, the notion of concentration and the development of mindfulness. Enjoy.

Nintendo Dharma

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Goldstein, J. (1993). Insight meditation: The practice of freedom. Boston: Shambhala.

 

You may have noticed how easy it is to stay present when you engage in an activity you enjoy, like playing some sport, watching a movie, reading a book, or even playing Nintendo. Why can we be so concentrated in these activities, and yet find ourselves distracted and restless when we meditate? Surprisingly, this simple question can lead us to a profound understanding of suffering and freedom.

What we call mind is the naturally pure knowing faculty — invisible, clear, and lucid. In some Tibetan texts it is called “the cognizing power of emptiness.” But mind includes more than just knowing, because in each moment of experience different qualities, or mental factors, arise with it and color the knowing in various ways. For example, greed, hatred, love, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom, among many others, are all mental factors arising and passing in different moments, each functioning in its own way.

When we engage in various activities, different mental factors are at work. In Nintendo, we need to be right there with the game or we lose. The mind needs to be steady and one-pointed, with the factor of concentration quite strong. In addition to concentration, another quality of mind plays a critical role — the mental factor of perception. Perception recognizes, names, and remembers appearances by picking out their distinguishing marks. Through the power of perception we recognize each appearing object of experience: woman, man, pine tree, Abraham Lincoln, computer, car, and innumerable others. Concentration and perception keep us present and absorbed in whatever life-game is happening.

Meditation practice is different. In order to develop insight and wisdom, we need to add the factor of mindfulness to the mental equation of concentration and perception. Mindfulness goes beyond the simple recognition of what is happening. It goes beyond keeping the mind steady. Through its strong power of observation, mindfulness uncovers the characteristic nature of experience itself.

Absorption in a movie or in Nintendo does not reveal the momentariness of phenomena. We do not see the impermanence and insubstantiality of all things and events, nor do we notice the empty nature of awareness itself. Perception and concentration arise in every moment; even when the mind gets lost in thought, we still recognize what it is we are thinking. But only mindfulness reveals that we are thinking. This is a critical difference. Perception by itself does not lead to insight into impermanence and selflessness, because it engages us in the content and story of what appears. Mindfulness emerges from the story and notices the moment-to-moment arising and passing of sense impressions, thoughts, and consciousness itself.

If we understand these three important factors of mind clearly — concentration, perception, and mindfulness — then their coming into balance becomes the field of freedom.

* * *

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Sunday Sermon [Moral Inventory]

Hola Everybody,
Today… Three for the price of one…

News Watch

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If God lived on Earth, people would break his windows.
— Yiddish saying

 

Hillary Clinton has had to have one of the greatest Fridays evah. On the day that WikiLeaks dumped thousands of emails, many highlighting her servile speeches to her corporate backers, the biggest story has been that Donald trump managed to say “pussy” about ten years. BTW, major news media has not reported on the WikiLeaks dump. Only conservative outlets, desperately grabbing for anything in light of Trump’s incompetence, have given any ink or airtime to the WikiLeaks revelations. Still, there’s one item that bears repeating.

Apparently, Hillary Clinton believes that black people are “professional never-do-wells” incapable of success “irrespective” (sic) of the opportunities they’re given. Partial transcripts show that she made this racist and shameful statement to a group of Wall Street elitists who all share the same views, and she was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to make it. There’s more, a lot more within the WikiLeaks dump. Read about it HERE and HERE.

That’s one…

File this under the “First as tragedy, then as comedy” files: The MSM, which has missed everything of any importance from the lead-up to Iraq war, to the disclosure of government files that shows we’re actually run by a shadow government, is treating anything that Trump says as if it were the modern-day equivalent of Watergate. Considering we’re a surveillance state, drone bombing innocent women and children is the norm, and we’re completely under the thumb of the financial elites, this is utter madness.

That’s two…

 Recapitulation

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The secret of a warrior is that he believes without believing… to just believe would just exonerate him from examining his situation. A warrior, whenever he has to involve himself with believing, does it as a choice.
— Don Juan Matus (Carlos Castaneda)

 

I’m almost afraid to post this one, but I think some people will benefit. Others might use it to torture themselves, so caveat emptor (“buyer beware”).

Carlos Castaneda’s Yaqui teacher Don Juan illustrated an exercise that he called recapitulation. I’d read about it a long time ago, and had forgotten it. However, as part of my own inner work, I do a similar exercise at the end of my day.

At the end of your day, place your chin on your right shoulder. Very slowly swing it until it’s resting on your left shoulder. As you do this, review the significant events of the day in chronological order. Don’t do this as a way to relive blame or justify your actions of the day. Perhaps before attempting to do this, you might some work in the area of self-acceptance.

If you do this consistently with an open mind and heart, resisting the impulse to judge, eventually you will uncover habitual patterns, perhaps even see future developments, and confront your rigid belief systems (i.e., I’m always right, I am worthless). This exercise is meant as a conscious effort to transcend your defense mechanisms and perhaps obtain a glimpse of your genuine or higher self.

I would add that when you find you have acted wrongly or unwisely just admit it; don’t waste time defending it, or compounding it, simply admit it. Conversely, especially if you desire to stop the cycle of dysfunctional patterns, don’t beat yourself up about your transgressions. Punishing yourself will only embed the habitual patterns more deeply.

Alternatively, you can ignore all this until you grow old and realize it’s all been an elaborate sham — this persona you mindlessly create and defend.

Either way, you’re gonna haveta confront this ma’fucca sooner or later.

That’s three…

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…