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Water Nature, Human Nature

Apr 11, 2017, 2 comments, 5 smiles Water Nature, Human Nature A recent Wednesdays at Mehta’s included a reading and discussion based on an article by fiction writer Ursula LeGuin (1). In the article, LeGuin considers the current political climate in light of some observations about “The Way of Water” by Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. In particular, she contrasts the current preoccupation with strength, force, and military might as over against the humble nature of water (quoting): ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "The weakest, most yielding thing in the world, as [Lao Tzu] calls it, water chooses the lowest path, not the high road. It gives way to anything harder than itself, offers no resistance, flows around obstacles, accepts whatever comes to it, lets itself be used and divided and defiled, yet continues to be itself and to go always in the direction it must go. The tides of the oceans obey the Moon while the great currents of the open sea keep on ... Read Full Story

More Rumi On Kindness ... ...

Mar 04, 2017, 8 smiles More Rumi on kindness ...

Meditation, Stillness, Time, Eternity

Feb 18, 2017, 1 comments, 6 smiles Meditation, Stillness, Time, Eternity If you’ve been at all involved in the meditation community, you have likely noticed how often the concept of “stillness” comes up in the philosophy of the practice. Many common meditation-related memes (stillness, emptiness, search within, inner work) can be a little vexing because they are hard to pin down objectively. What is stillness about for example? … and why would it be so essential? An intriguing, speculative explanation emerged from a different domain while considering the dimension of ‘time’ in the physics of cosmology. Nineteenth Century physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach once observed that ‘time’ is not a phenomenon in itself but rather is a conceptual abstraction derived from observing the “changes in things” (i.e. movement of matter or energy). In other words, without motion and change, time becomes ambiguous. This further implies that, in the absence of matter and energy, the concept of time itself becomes meaningless. On ... Read Full Story

Is Greed A Natural, Fundamental Human Trait?

Sep 04, 2016, 3 smiles Is Greed a Natural, Fundamental Human Trait? We so often hear the darker side of human behavior - atrocities like war, terrorism, violence, and corruption explained (or perhaps explained away) as simply due to some primal aspect of human nature. If we evolved from savage beasts into civilized beings, or so the rationale goes, those darker impulses are always bubbling beneath the surface. It is as though, if left to our own devices, our natural tendency would be to take, to compete, to kill -- therefore we must restrain ourselves as a society with religion, civil laws, and punishments. In this political election season, with all of the focus on economic inequality, one of these impulses, one of the "Seven Deadly Sins" that is getting much attention is "greed". We hear much about inequality, the greedy billionaire class, the "1%", the disparity between CEO pay and that of the average employee, golden ... Read Full Story

"Waking Life", Reality, Cause-and-Effect, And Other

Jun 01, 2016, 2 comments, 4 smiles At the Wednesdays Awakin Circle last week, the reading topic contrasted the reality of immediate experience versus the mental constructions about the same, past and future, that can get us into trouble. During the share, Nipun mentioned a 2001 film "Waking Life" - a collection of many brief vignettes that offer a range of philosophical observations about life, consciousness, and existence. Nipun referred to one segment which suggested that our experience of "waking life", were it to be an internally-consistent dream, might leave us unable to tell whether or not we were actually awake. Afterward, I recalled that there actually *was* a test for this suggested in the film: if you are in a room and attempt to turn the lights off using the light-switch, but the lights stay on, then you are in a dream. (I think I've actually had that dream!) After seeing the film years ago, I'd kind of ... Read Full Story

Money Doesn't Exist In 24th Century

May 29, 2016, 3 smiles Just read this article, about a new book that articulates Star Trek's money-free society -- the idea of a post-scarcity society where material wealth has become so abundant that people and society at large are guided by other motivations. While the article is still occasionally mired in conventional views of human motivation (competition), it did remind me of a Star Trek video clip I once posted on this very theme... (I also posted an extended clip later, if you're interested in the storyline.)  BTW - I disavow the ads Google occasionally places on these videos - it's not my doing.

Ego As Map To The Soul

May 05, 2016, 2 smiles It seems currently popular within pop-psychological, spiritual, and New Age philosophical circles to bash on the "ego". The ego is often characterized as a false self, sometimes even portrayed as a hostile force - an other - that attempts to trick or trap one into self-limiting, self-defeating patterns of thought and behavior. We are variously urged to move beyond, disbelieve, dissolve - even work for the "death" of the ego. One might wonder why such a malevolent force would have evolved or emerged in the first place. Much of the confusion likely arises from the same source as most philosophical disputes: people defining a word differently but assuming they are talking about the same thing. Accordingly, "soul", "self", "ego" - what do these mean? As popularly used, "soul", having many ancient religious and mystical connotations, is perhaps the most controversial. In its simplest form, I think of the soul as one's ... Read Full Story

On Abundance, Sufficiency, Ownership, And Generosity

Feb 08, 2016, 1 comments, 9 smiles At a recent Awakin Circle, we had a lively round of sharing over a reading "Sufficiency versus Abundance" by Lynne Twist (who does fundraising for social causes). "Abundance" and "prosperity" are often touted in the New Age community as an aspiration more noble than the mere desire to "get rich". Lynne however, suggests these goals too may be suspect, as they imply an excess to one's actual needs. She suggests that "sufficiency" may be a better operating principle. Several members of our circle seemed conflicted regarding the above. In listening to the various comments, a possible insight began to emerge, and I'd like to offer it for your consideration: Aside from the personal moral and ethical challenges that surround it, what actually is the social problem with great wealth? It is not inequality per se (we are all different people, in different circumstances) but inequality to the extent that more wealth for some ... Read Full Story

"Ultra-Spiritual" -- In Case Anyone Is ...

May 31, 2015, 1 comments, 1 smiles "Ultra-Spiritual" -- In case anyone is looking for a shortcut to enlightenment ...

Mindfulness In Business

Apr 25, 2015, 3 comments, 7 smiles On the ServiceSpace "ideas" list, we had an insightful exchange around a recent article in The New Yorker -- Long Marriage of Money and Mindfulness.  It centered around the expropriation of Eastern concepts of mindfulness and meditation for use in supporting Western notions of "success" -- particularly in a business context.  The essence of the article is pretty much captured in the closing paragraph:   With business meditation, we have a practice that is extrapolated from Buddhism and secularized so that all of the theological underpinnings are swept away,” Catherine Albanese, the author of “A Republic of Mind and Spirit: A Cultural History of American Metaphysical Religion,” says. “So we have Buddhism stood on its head. Mindfulness meditation has been brought into the service of a totally different perspective and world view.” By now, that’s part of a venerable American tradition. This led to a lengthy round of response from the community, and we thought ... Read Full Story