How Everything Suddenly Becomes Clear

Meditation has significant health benefits, and in fact can reduce the needs of many medications, surgeries, and the like. HH the Dalai Lama has compiled a book with other authors about how the mind itself changes with meditation. In the book they study where and how the brain experiences various things, including severe depression. In some brains depression may appear like a normal brain, however they discuss how it is a fundamental change in how the brain works. 


Meditation is known to help with hypertension, anxiety, depression, blood pressure, and also fundamentally improves brain function. All mediators experience “ah ha” moments, but more than this long-term habits of meditation changes how the brain functions, and all for the better. It is more than simply insight or relaxation that we get, everything from the troubles of daily life, to a childhood of torment all become absolutely clear and bright as crystal. On a biological and chemical basis our minds are able to process information and our life experiences in a totally different way. 


It is a state of relaxation, and with that brings an open and flexible mind. In generations past, before the automobile, before cell phones, and before health insurance people had and could take time to think and do things. Life was non-mechanized in the past, and likewise people had the mental space that so many lack now. Meditation helps to bring back a little space, and in the space the mediator’s mind is free to make choice which are better, more free, and happier. 

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Posted by on May 13, 2016 in Uncategorized


The Social and Anti-social Spiritual Entrepreneur.


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Posted by on April 28, 2016 in Uncategorized


Trump It All

As the 2016 US presidential election continues it looks as if Donald Trump is doing much better than anyone had expected. It seems hard to believe for many. However, many Americans are wanting some kind of change, any kind of change. Trump does have some very old American values as demonstrated by the founding fathers, frontiersmen such as Daniel Boone, and the classic Western Cowboy as represented by John Wayne and others. Trump does not back down, is not afraid of a fight, and stands up for what be believes in. Whether or not he would be a good president or commander in chief would have to be determined.


For now, it seems America is continuing on, along the karmic path. Many are fed up, and new and bold things are happening. Like the raw and rough frontiersmen of old, we want and America for Americans, as prior to world war II the united states was fairly isolated and somewhat of a global backwater. The late twentieth century brought the united states into the forefront, but now it seems maybe we are going in Christmas Humpheries words “full circle.”

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Posted by on April 6, 2016 in Uncategorized


The End of The World…. It’s all Relative

I was quite intrigued by a piece on The Documentary Channel about the end of the world, the Mayan Calendar, and the age of the pyramids. It would seen that people certainly have thought that the end of the world was coming on a few different occasions throughout human history, including the bubonic Plagues, the Dark Ages before the Renaissance, Y2K, and other times.

More recently some have thought that the election of George W. Bush, Barrack Obama, the wall street crash of 2008, 2000, or other events meant the end of the world. What the Mayan Calendar, according to some scholars teaches us is that dark ages of low spiritual achievement among humans, or other lifeforms on the blue and green planet have come and gone and will continue to do so. 2012 may have brought on a new dark age. Some see it some don’t. After Obama’s election high end jewelry makers, Smith and Wesson, and others were doing absolutely splendid, while others were not. Economic downs and ups are part of the nature of life, but according to those who have their finger on the pulse of spiritual achievement know that ages of enlightenment also come and go. The Mayans, and other deep thinking people from times long gone seem to have known that at certain times great positive energy comes, and goes. It’s strange to think about enlightened dinosaurs but that seems to be what they were suggesting.

For the modern, practical spiritual seeker I think it is enough to realize that our forbearers such as the Egyptians, Mayans, and others saw degradation of spirituality in their own times, and saw the fall of greatness. Some have compared the sheer lack of morals that created the crash of 2008, and the decline of the USA after as the same as the fall of the Roman Empire. Is it a fair analogy? I don’t think it really matters. What matters is for those who feel the calling to “strive on endlessly” as the Buddha suggested in his dying moments. We can posit theories about dark ages, defunct public morals, the evil in Wall Street or on Capital Hill, or White Hall all we want, but what good does it do us? Theorists try to make sense of things, to use astrology as the Mayans and Egyptians and others did to see what logic the universe shows us as humans, but in fact humans are not always scientific, or logical. Striving on means we realize that the world is not perfect, what enlightenment means as that we find perfectness, and a golden age inside the darkness. We find refuge not in perfectness, but in calamity. As Lao Tzu said we find the Tao in the “shit and the piss.” or in other words. “If the Tao is not in your bowl movement, you have big trouble.”

While dark ages come and go, spirit seekers can not allow themselves to lose heart. Harmony is not in some ideal, but in the constant, and often unpleasant aspects of life.  There is plenty of reason to lose heart, but that IS the practice we all aspire to. It’s easy to meditate quietly when everything is going well, but we get to really practice when things are not. We learn more on the tough streets of Bombay or LA than we do at idyllic monasteries.

The ancients of Egypt and the Mayan kingdoms seemed to know that before them there were high spiritual times where good vibes were the norm. They predicted a natural cycle of good and bad depending on their understanding of the rotation of the universe. I’m not sure if I believe that is the complete truth, that the alignment of the stars dictates spiritual conditions on Earth, but certainly we have had better times than these.

A business broker at World Wide Business Brokers  and I were talking about the overall condition of the economy a couple weeks back. He said that prior to the past ten years life was good, the ’70s were good, the ’80s and up untill the early 2000’s were good. I think you should ask those under apartheid in South Africa, or those in Tibet if all that time was good. But it’s true I think the average American after the most recent crashes and after government and big business have decided to ignore the average person that life has become more difficult for most people. Maybe we have entered the end of the world of sorts. Ask any older person if they think the younger generation is not half of what they were.

Whether or not it’s a new Dark Age, or if society is going down the tubes fast is a difficult one to say. According to the Egyptians and Mayans we are not in a position to know because our own judgement is clouded by the negativity and darkness of our age. What we have, for the few of us who have “just a little dust on our eyes”, as the Buddha said for those who were not completely diluted, is that this life is a precious gift and not to be wasted. We have an opportunity to practice our spiritual growth because the practice we must aspire to is in this life and in this second.


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Posted by on May 23, 2013 in Uncategorized


What Does The Lord Of The Rings Tell Us About Ethical Stories? Is Society Degrading, Or Do We Just Notice It More?

J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic book trilogy the Lord of the Rings has been debated for decades now. While some might consider it classic, most serious literary scholars would consider it only popular literature. Still, as spiritual seekers, whether or not Tolkien will stand among the giants of Falkner, Hemingway, or Dickens is not that relevant. The LOTR is a rich topic of introspection and reflection as we consider the genres, cultures, and time periods that it covers. We cannot say for certain if the LOTR is a work of a Christian meant to portray Christian values, a display of a mix of pagan and Christian values by a man deeply steeped in the traditional lore of Germany and Scandinavia, or if the author meant to tell any moral tales whatsoever. What we do know is that we can learn about our own spiritual leanings through a careful examination of the books.

Peter Jackson’s film renditions from the early 2000’s have made the material new again. Many You Tube videos using material from the films, and huge amounts of other incorporated material, references, etc. have been made. Everything from The Simpsons, to American Dad, and insurance commercials have made references to the LOTR after the Jackson films. We know that the material is a huge success as a money making venture for Jackson, and that it has been incorporated into mainstream culture, but do we know that because of its popularity, that the moral messages it is supposed to portray are accepted by the audiences that watch the films and read the books?

“The media”, in the form of news, movies, books, video games, and the like have on average, according to statistics have injected increasingly negative behaviour and ideas over the past few decades. The amounts of sex, violence, and depictions of other “bad” behaviour presented in various media have risen drastically in the past two generations, so where does the LOTR fit into this scenario? Does it offer a different position of media, or is it just another type of entertainment? I think the LOTR offers an alternative to the idea that all movies are about guns and girls, drugs and dummies. Humans must have some sort of basic morality, otherwise the material would not be as popular as it is. If we look at most film today, clearly there are baselines of what people perceive as good and bad.

So is Tolkien offering us some sort of new popular culture Bible to live by, a new path of righteousness or the like? Most likely not. The books clearly show the ancient conflict between good and evil that good concurs evil, and that throughout life we must face many ethical trials that test our true characters. The Lord of the Rings shows us in its popularity that people are for the most part, good, or at least if they are not fundamentally good, they know what “goodness” is and believe it makes for a great story, if not one of the best stories of the 20th century. The ethical dilemmas of Frodo, Golum, and others are real ones that face individuals, governments, and corporations today. The road of life, like the journey to destroy The One Ring is a complex one filled with trouble, friends, enemies, and constant ethical trials. There are many opportunities for the spirt-seeker to see what his or her own perception of duty to society, inner conflicts of good- and evil, and sacrifice are through the LOTR. While the LOTR has huge entertainment values, that have been exploited in the past decade, the spiritual core of a man who believed in good basic food, a nice pipe of tobacco, and more likely than not the importance of “doing the right thing” remains true to the core of the LOTR, and I believe all of us who seek the spiritual.

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Posted by on October 14, 2012 in Uncategorized



On the Deleting of 300 Emails

"A little statue of Buddha."

Image via Wikipedia

There are several sections in the Buddha’s Vinaya in regards to leaving the past behind. This week I took on the task of deleting more than 300 emails dating back 5 years. As I was deleting them I thought of all the friends and aquantances I once had that I wish I was still in touch with and all the ones I am glad to leave behind. All the work collegues I don’t have to deal with anyone, all the people who lied to me, used me, and abused me. All the  ones I remember fondly and for some reason just sort of fell out of touch with. All the ones I wish I still was in contact with but they decided I was a waste of their time, and some recent emails from people I would rather not have contact me.

The Buddha said in one discourse, that I can’t recall the name of now that says when dealing with people we might not like there are, as I recall four steps. We should try to address our problems with them, try to come to some understanding, and try to make lemonade from the lemons of life. If all else fails we can forget and ignore those who we think wronged us, those who spat in our faces, or for some reason or other we just don’t get along with.

I recall earlier in life that ignoring and forgetting were important. Now that I think I’ve grown a bit in the practice I use some of the earlier techniques a bit more. We should always try to be present in the moment, but this particular week I did recall the past as I deleted those emails. Feelings of joy arose in me at times, thinking, thank goodness I never have to work with ….. such and such again, thank God I am no longer getting those spams…… and thoughts like that. What a strange such and such mr. bla bla is, she was an absolute luantic.

Yes indeed . We all have the practice as our refuge.

When someone asked the Buddha why the monks are so blissful and happy he said they neither grasp at the future, nor pine after the past. This week I enjoyed a little bliss over forgeting the past.

Please buy my book. A Collection of Tales at Amazon’s create space.

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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Tolkien: fantasy, or getting down to what really matters.

Santa Claus with a little girl

Image via Wikipedia

The past few months I have been unable to do much with this blog, having traveled a bit. I have traveled half way around the world to spend some time in Rovaniemi, the home of Santa Claus. Reflecting about 9/11 and what I expected to be doing ten years down the road I would have never have expected to be here. But, here I am .  I have had a few spare hours though and have rekindled my interest in English literature, especially Tolkien. For me I was introduced to it though my older brothers back in the ’80s when I suppose it was still fairly new.

For me as a realist, and  a Buddhist I can’t help but wonder if the Buddha would approve of interest in dwarfs, hobbits, dragons and the like. Certainly his culture was rich in all sorts of mythic traditions. As I make refrence to in A Collection of Tales The historical Buddha’s teachings were taught in a tradition of myth and legend.

So what about Harry Potter, Hobbits, and the like? Should a Buddhist scholar, or someone claiming to take up the Path be interested in such stuff? On one hand a Buddhist should not really engage in fantasy, or the like. He should concentrate himself on the Truth and finding what’s real. However myth, culture, and all the trappings of human society are in their own ways real. I was reading about Tolkien today at as well as other places about how today’s emphasis on realism, and technology brings about new need for writers such as Tolkien. I’ll let you mull that over for yourself. There is plenty of fantasy in the world today, but it seems we may have lost our abilities to imagine, play, and simply be. Potter takes a fanciful approach to the real world, suggesting that anyone can be a wizard, while The Ring was a totally new world in and of itself. Tolkien himself was opposed to modernization in many ways. A fact that may not necessarily be obvious. He described himself as one interest in his pipe, simple good food, and the like.

On one hand JRR escaped into a self-made world, but at the same time was a simple academic who wanted to write good books. Today, as one writer said we don’t have heros so much. In comparison with Harry Potter The Ring is more moralistic in nature and tends to deal with issues of the nature of evil. There are real heros, each of the Fellows in the Fellowship, while in Potter it is one young man’s struggle with his identity. I think this reflects the feelings of isolation that modern society brings. In The Ring there are real heros who strive to make the world better, and each deals with the powers of evil in his own way.

 The Buddha if you’re Buddhist is certainly the greatest hero of them all. While today’s media do have villians and heros, it’s not to the same extent as in the myth and legend of times gone by. In the days of Scandinavian myth people really believed in good and evil. Heros were ever-present and offered real answers to what is right and wrong.

As a Buddhist we have the Middle Path, and as human beings a little fantasy or imagination can help us. We must use our imaginations to see the lifetime of the Buddha, to imagine him along his journeys. We must in someway gain a true adoration of the Buddha and appriciation of what he has done for us as a fellow human. This is all too often ignored by many teachers. So as the Buddha struggled against Mara, not to mention his own human limitations, the Fellowship of the Ring struggled against evil. I don’t think it wrong to read Tolkien as a Buddhist, nor to believe in the struggle of good and evil. However again thinking of the Middle Path, we must not mistake Tolkien for reality. It, like the stories of Beowolf, Thor, and the Jataka Tales are all there to help us in our lives, not for us to live inside of them.

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Posted by on September 11, 2011 in Uncategorized