June 29th, 2006

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individuals -

I have been reading Patrick Leigh Fermor's books on his walk across Europe in 1933.   The different groups in Europe are very clear in this book.  I was raised in the good old American way to believe we all are equal, but I am starting to see that there are differences, and, so, how then, do we honor the equal rights of each person, while also celebrating the diversity that has arisen around the world.

And, of course, I see, that means celebrating the diversity in me, and allowing a little more movement in my own hips and stance.   So, today, my intention is to move a little differently, not unnaturally, just to honor the Bosnia in me, the gypsy, the Argentinian,  the bird, the fly, the flea.  
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When did we become afraid?

Elaine was ordering the book on Asian and Western Thought on Amazon, when she came across this article by Carolyn Myss.  It is important to read because it is what the people who lived when Hitler was taking over Germany know.  This is how it begins, in making it so we are afraid to speak and discuss politics, one of the most important things we could be doing.   Instead, we are caught up in how the flag is treated, rather than noticing what it stands for, and how what it stands for is no longer on solid ground.

Memorial Day Weekend
11:40 AM PDT, June 8, 2006
It’s been a long while since I’ve had the time to write a general newsletter to everyone.  I’ve been more than busy writing my new book, ENTERING THE CASTLE, for months now and between that and teaching, I haven’t had the time to do any extra writing, even though so many ideas and world events have crossed my mind that I would have loved to write about. Recently I attended a conference on Sacred Activism that was held in Seattle, sponsored by Wisdom University located in San Francisco, and the combination of that event, Memorial Day weekend, and my manuscript now in the hands of my editor getting chopped to bits for the re-write process, I have the time to write a newsletter again.
Memorial Day was a big deal for my family when I was growing up because my father served in World War II. He was a Marine who fought in the Pacific and he brought us up with strong, patriotic values and a deep love for this nation.  I could sing, “From the Halls of Montezuma” before I was three-years-old…no kidding.  Memorial Day meant something, as did all of the values that America stood for, not the least of which were all the First Amendment Rights.  I majored in journalism in college – those were the days of Watergate and investigative reporters. Remember those types of reporters?  I grew up in Chicago, home of the infamous Democratic National Convention. I can still see the riots in the street that took place as people stood on the streets proclaiming their political stands against a government that had gone to war immorally. They took on the government and put their lives on the line for what they believed in and for what they opposed, like the Vietnam War. They spoke out against a government that had lied to them about the so-called righteous reasons for going to war and they took on the system. I remember that….I remember that…I remember my country – then.  I remember them screaming, “No More War!”  And do you remember that we weren’t afraid to speak out? That’s what I remember the most – that we weren’t afraid to speak out - then.  We weren’t afraid to be Americans then.  People can tell me that we aren’t afraid to speak out now, but that’s simply not true. We are afraid to express our opinions about what our nation is doing. We absolutely are afraid. We are afraid of our government and we are afraid of each other. 
When did that happen? When did we stop talking politics? When did it become impolite, rude, inappropriate, “non-new age” to discuss the “unconscious” activities taking place in world governments???????  How shall consciousness ever be brought into the arenas of politics if we ourselves do not discuss politics among ourselves?  You can challenge me, of course, and tell me that this is not true – to which I would say, “This has been and this is my experience. People are afraid.”  And I am with far more people than most of you reading this newsletter. I am with thousands of people per month and I have asked audiences, “Are you afraid to express your political opinions in public now?” – and you know what? The vast majority says, “Yes”. They are afraid of each other and they are afraid of government repercussions. The Patriot Act? Phone tapping? Library card Watch List for the books you are taking out? They are afraid they are being “listened to” by someone and that they will be “reported”.  
I remember the anti-war songs of that era…and that they were so popular. Remember that? We loved those guys…they were our heroes – then.   These days if someone offers an opinion, his or her career is destroyed. Look at the Dixie Chicks…. I could care less about that group. I have never listened to their music and never will. I never listen to Country Western music.  But I am an observer of responses and it’s the public’s response that intrigues me.  This is a nation created on the right to express an opinion – look what happens to people who do that.  They are practically slaughtered and at the very least, they are banned from places as if they had Bird Flu.  What are we doing? Have we forgotten that if we respond to people expressing their opinions like that, they will do the same to us????  Will we be silenced next?  Are we among those doing the silencing? 
I marvel at the fact that in our contemporary spiritual culture, it is considered an absolute MUST to listen to a person carry on about their emotional past – their wounds and their painful history. You have to listen to that and not judge.  My God, if you judge a person recalling a forty-year-old history, why you are considered insensitive and horrible and “unconscious”. Unconscious???? Because you are nearly cross-eyed from boredom as you listen to a person carry-on yet again about an injury that goes back 40-YEARS!!!!!!  And yet, let someone bring up a current political issue that is worthy of discussion – REPEAT DICUSSION – and immediately fists get clenched and people chose sides and the “consciousness” crowd closes down. Hostilities rise and all hope of a discussion AMONG THE VERY GROUP THAT SHOULD BE CARRYING LIGHT AND INSIGHT AND HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS INTO THE CHALLENGES FACING OUR SOCIETY – WHICH ARE SO MANY AND SO DIFFICULT – turns to attacks. I’ve seen it happen more times than I can count.
Recently I was attacked via email for attending a conference on Sacred Activism sponsored by Wisdom University BEFORE I even went to the conference!!!!  A few people who noticed that peace activist Cindy Sheehan was scheduled to speak were motivated to send an email to my web site reading, “How could Caroline attend a conference with Cindy Sheehan?”  First of all, what’s Cindy Sheehan got to do with MY decisions and my work on this earth????  She doesn’t control or influence what I do any more than I influence her.  That is what FREE CHOICE is about.  Secondly, what on earth motivates someone to respond in such a hostile way to my attending a conference?  I was hardly going there to promote anti-American activities…What on earth were these people thinking?????? 

Why would anyone comment about my attending a conference because another speaker was going to be there?
Now let me just report – as a journalist – on this conference. About 350 officially registered. By the time the four-day conference was over, 1,000 had come to attend the various events. The idea of being “active” once again in America had become an inspiration to them. They were seeking a voice, a means to make their Robert Kennedy, Jr. spoke at this conference (no comments about his past, please. I am not here to DEFEND his past or to PROMOTE his politics!) He spoke about the environment and he spoke about this government. He was direct and he was blunt. People found it refreshing to listen to him as he revealed the backroom agreements that had been made among the media moguls who promised to reduce all investigative reporting and upgrade all entertainment journalism. No reports of returning coffins from the war would be allowed on air; no interviews with angry soldiers; minimum coverage of anti-war protests, should they begin; absolute minimal coverage of all the proof that the government has that going to war was planned before 9/11; maximum coverage of celebrity divorces and scandals, etc. etc. etc.  Keep America entertained – that was the goal. Americans would hardly notice that slowly but surely they were getting less and less foreign news reports and quality investigative reporting at home. No journalists challenged the White House at all. All questions were rehearsed.  Anything that challenged this was considered “anti-patriotic”, a card that would be conveniently played by this Republican political administration again and again and again and again until it finally silenced America entirely. 

Other speakers did presentations on various topics related to Sacred Activism or to their related fields. The topics were intriguing.  I, however, was more interested in speaking to the audience members. I wanted to find out what motivated them to attend the conference – to “come out” of the passivity that has gripped America for years and once again become active in the future of their nation. 
NOW LET ME BE VERY CLEAR ABOUT SOMETHING: By ACTIVE, I DO NOT MEAN BECOME A REVOLUTIONARY!!!!!!  Active means to become a person capable of discussing the future of this nation and the issues and problems facing this nation with the intention of finding ways of initiating positive change.  These gatherings are NOT about choosing sides – that is, Democrats versus Republicans versus Libertarians versus Independents versus Whatever’s. These gatherings are about DISCUSSING THE FUTURE OF THIS COUNTRY AGAIN!!!!!  They are open forums for the sharing of opinions and fears and options for change.   That I would even have to emphasize these points is sad to me, but I feel I have to lest an onslaught of letters arrive in my mailbox admonishing me for being part of an underground revolution instead of attending an open forum of discussions about the future of this – MY nation.
I have thought long and hard – more than I can even begin to tell you – I have anguished about the political atmosphere in this country. I have wanted to write about it for years now, but have hesitated and that in it and of itself has left me infuriated with myself.  This spiritual culture of which we are a part BEGAN during the era of the Democratic National Convention and the Hippie Days and the Free Love Days and the drug culture days and the Vietnam Era. That’s when Guru’s and meditation and mysticism and eastern religions and Vatican II and the mystical transition of the sacred ritual of the mass shifted into the language of those present. 
The roots of who we are and the desire to be spiritually liberated go back to a REVOLUTION, just as the roots of who we are as Americans go back to a revolution.  We took to the streets in the 1960’s because we wanted the right to express the “second wave” of power – the power of our soul to co-create our interior world.  We wanted the right to LOVE who we wanted to love, to PRAY to the God that called our soul, to PERCEIVE REALITY without social, ethnic, and religious parameters, and to CREATE A PEACEFUL WORLD because we believed that conscious people could accomplish such a task.  This was, after all, the Age of Aquarius…the age of light and we were the light bearers.  We would become a conscious generation, bringing consciousness into all walks of life, which meant at the time that we would bring consciousness INTO THE WORLD, not just into our own worlds. 
But as the decades passed, we took the more cautious routes of consciousness. We took the internal healing path, the internal spiritual path (which for the most part is the same as the healing path), and we withdrew from creating too much commotion in the outside world. In fact, we started to have babies and families and, well, the rest is history.  Now I hear people say to me, “I don’t listen to the news or read the newspaper because the news is just ‘too negative’”.  What am I supposed to say to someone who tells me that? This type of comment comes from individuals who, at the same time, consider themselves “conscious”. How can you be “conscious” and not look at the world that feeds you? How can you not care about the world that you walk upon?  If you, who say you are dedicated to living a conscious life, are not devoted to walking directly into the center of the social and political activities of our world, then who should?  Is not the center of darkness exactly where the light should penetrate?  We MUST open ourselves up again not as critics, but as people who want to listen and share ideas and become active agents for change when they feel called to make a difference. No one should be allowed to get away with saying, “But what can I do?” any more – not when you realize that this world is being run by but a hand full of individuals.
Oh, at the conference, an announcement was made just prior to a guest speaker coming on stage that Karl Rove is up for indictment.  It was on the blogs and still unofficial, but even at that, the crowd exploded with cheers.  One woman said, “Finally, after five years, I can once again smell the sweet fragrance of justice in America once more.”
So – that’s my report and those are my thoughts on this Memorial Day.  As Americans, we have the RIGHT to express ourselves, the RIGHT to challenge the actions of our government. Our government serves US – that is the brilliance of the American system.  When corporations run the government, however, that should send an alarm off deep in our American fiber.  I remember hearing President Bush slip up (imagine that) in one of his talks – He referred to America as a “company” and not a country….I heard it myself.  Caught….
Happy Memorial Day, everyone.  God bless this nation.  May we return to the vision of our Founding Fathers and Mothers: the land of the free and the home of the brave.
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Clarification -

I spoke with Jane this morning about what it means to write an on-line journal.  It is in the moment.  That is the idea of it, which means I present myself in all ways, and some of those ways may not be so "pretty."  I may sound judgmental, and illogical.  Emotion is tossing me this way and that.  I have gone back in and looked at what I wrote about my meeting with Jan's parents.  I know I may not come off so well in it.  I know that their feelings and attitudes have nothing to do with me, nothing at all, and yet, I had a visceral response which is now dissipated, but it may now be dissipated because I spoke what I felt at the time.  I felt myself as the energetic focus of their projections, and I found that unsettling. 

If I were not to say what I felt, would it just dissipate?  I don't know, but I say it to you, and it goes.  You should be charging me for therapy.   What I do see is that when I think of going in to change what I have written so as not to offend, it doesn't feel true.  I can't hit link and edit.  I have tried, and what I wrote will stand, illogical or cruel as it may seem.  This is an on-line journal, not a journalistic, objective reporting of my world, and no reporter is truly objective anyway.  We see what we need to see.  We censor.  I was trying to interpret what I was feeling.  Perhaps, just feeling would have been better than adding thought process to it, but I do so want to understand her family, and have a true and open relationship with them.  I want this very much, and, as I have said, maybe it is ego on my part, but it feels more like a unifying way of being that can help eliminate wars.  It is about love.  I did a meditation on them, and I do love them.  They produced someone I love.  How could I not, and they are human, just like me.  I must love the human frailities we all embrace. 

So, I do understand, and I feel that all of this has opened me up to a whole new world of exploration.   I did not think I was prejudiced, because I had no experience of it, but maybe I need to experience it, to be the recipient of it, and know how it feels, to truly not have it.   Does that make sense?

I stumbled on the words of Aldous Huxley from his mescalin experience.  It was taped.  Amazingly, it fit exactly the poems that Jane and I were discussing this morning from January.  I mean I was drugged, and it was, I see now, a real "trip."    I am going to do a bit of editing of what he wrote to get the pieces here that really speak to me.   Perhaps, it will help in explaining what I am trying to say.  I don't "hate" Jan's parents, and I know they don't "hate" me, but I do see there is an energetic difference between us, and I felt that.  I feel I have now neutralized it for myself.  My sense is that they are still stewing in it.  I think it is important to honor our boundaries, permeable and impermeable as they may be.  That study fascinates me.   So, here is Aldous Huxley, and his experience with mescalin.

You can google and find the web-site.  I give you the part that appealed to me. 

Aldous Huxley - I took my pill at eleven. An hour and a half later, I was sitting in my study, looking intently at a small glass vase. The vase contained only three flowers-a full-blown Belie of Portugal rose, shell pink with a hint at every petal's base of a hotter, flamier hue; a large magenta and cream-colored carnation; and, pale purple at the end of its broken stalk, the bold heraldic blossom of an iris. Fortuitous and provisional, the little nosegay broke all the rules of traditional good taste. At breakfast that morning I had been struck by the lively dissonance of its colors. But that was no longer the point. I was not looking now at an unusual flower arrangement. I was seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his creation-the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence.

"Is it agreeable?" somebody asked. (During this Part of the experiment, all conversations were recorded on a dictating machine, and it has been possible for me to refresh my memory of what was said.)

"Neither agreeable nor disagreeable," I answered. "it just is."

Istigkeit - wasn't that the word Meister Eckhart liked to use? "Is-ness." The Being of Platonic philosophy - except that Plato seems to have made the enormous, the grotesque mistake of separating Being from becoming and identifying it with the mathematical abstraction of the Idea. He could never, poor fellow, have seen a bunch of flowers shining with their own inner light and all but quivering under the pressure of the significance with which they were charged; could never have perceived that what rose and iris and carnation so intensely signified was nothing more, and nothing less, than what they were - a transience that was yet eternal life, a perpetual perishing that was at the same time pure Being, a bundle of minute, unique particulars in which, by some unspeakable and yet self-evident paradox, was to be seen the divine source of all existence.

I continued to look at the flowers, and in their living light I seemed to detect the qualitative equivalent of breathing -but of a breathing without returns to a starting point, with no recurrent ebbs but only a repeated flow from beauty to heightened beauty, from deeper to ever deeper meaning. Words like "grace" and "transfiguration" came to my mind, and this, of course, was what, among other things, they stood for. My eyes traveled from the rose to the carnation, and from that feathery incandescence to the smooth scrolls of sentient amethyst which were the iris. The Beatific Vision, Sat Chit Ananda, Being-Awareness-Bliss-for the first time I understood, not on the verbal level, not by inchoate hints or at a distance, but precisely and completely what those prodigious syllables referred to. And then I remembered a passage I had read in one of Suzuki's essays. "What is the Dharma-Body of the Buddha?" ('"the Dharma-Body of the Buddha" is another way of saying Mind, Suchness, the Void, the Godhead.) The question is asked in a Zen monastery by an earnest and bewildered novice. And with the prompt irrelevance of one of the Marx Brothers, the Master answers, "The hedge at the bottom of the garden." "And the man who realizes this truth," the novice dubiously inquires, '"what, may I ask, is he?" Groucho gives him a whack over the shoulders with his staff and answers, "A golden-haired lion."

It had been, when I read it, only a vaguely pregnant piece of nonsense. Now it was all as clear as day, as evident as Euclid. Of course the Dharma-Body of the Buddha was the hedge at the bottom of the garden. At the same time, and no less obviously, it was these flowers, it was anything that I - or rather the blessed Not-I, released for a moment from my throttling embrace - cared to look at. The books, for example, with which my study walls were lined. Like the flowers, they glowed, when I looked at them, with brighter colors, a profounder significance. Red books, like rubies; emerald books; books bound in white jade; books of agate; of aquamarine, of yellow topaz; lapis lazuli books whose color was so intense, so intrinsically meaningful, that they seemed to be on the point of leaving the shelves to thrust themselves more insistently on my attention.

"What about spatial relationships?" the investigator inquired, as I was looking at the books.

It was difficult to answer. True, the perspective looked rather odd, and the walls of the room no longer seemed to meet in right angles. But these were not the really important facts. The really important facts were that spatial relationships had ceased to matter very much and that my mind was perceiving the world in terms of other than spatial categories. At ordinary times the eye concerns itself with such problems as Where? - How far? How situated in relation to what? In the mescalin experience the implied questions to which the eye responds are of another order. Place and distance cease to be of much interest. The mind does its Perceiving in terms of intensity of existence, profundity of significance, relationships within a pattern. I saw the books, but was not at all concerned with their positions in space. What I noticed, what impressed itself upon my mind was the fact that all of them glowed with living light and that in some the glory was more manifest than in others. In this context position and the three dimensions were beside the point. Not, of course, that the category of space had been abolished. When I got up and walked about, I could do so quite normally, without misjudging the whereabouts of objects. Space was still there; but it had lost its predominance. The mind was primarily concerned, not with measures and locations, but with being and meaning.

And along with indifference to space there went an even more complete indifference to time. "There seems to be plenty of it," was all I would answer, when the investigator asked me to say what I felt about time. Plenty of it, but exactly how much was entirely irrelevant. I could, of course, have looked at my watch; but my watch, I knew, was in another universe. My actual experience had been, was still, of an indefinite duration or alternatively of a perpetual present made up of one continually changing apocalypse.

From the books the investigator directed my attention to the furniture. A small typing table stood in the center of the room; beyond it, from my point of view, was a wicker chair and beyond that a desk. The three pieces formed an intricate pattern of horizontals, uprights and diagonals - a pattern all the more interesting for not being interpreted in terms of spatial relationships. Table, chair and desk came together in a composition that was like something by Braque or Juan Gris, a still life recognizably related to the objective world, but rendered without depth, without any attempt at photographic realism. I was looking at my furniture, not as the utilitarian who has to sit on chairs, to write at desks and tables, and not as the cameraman or scientific recorder, but as the pure aesthete whose concern is only with forms and their relationships within the field of vision or the picture space. But as I looked, this purely aesthetic, Cubist's-eye view gave place to what I can only describe as the sacramental vision of reality. I was back where I had been when I was looking at the flowers-back in a world where everything shone with the Inner Light, and was infinite in its significance. The legs, for example, of that chair - how miraculous their tubularity, how supernatural their polished smoothness! I spent several minutes - or was it several centuries? - not merely gazing at those bamboo legs, but actually being them - or rather being myself in them; or, to be still more accurate (for "I" was not involved in the case, nor in a certain sense were "they") being my Not-self in the Not-self which was the chair.

Reflecting on my experience, I find myself agreeing with the eminent Cambridge philosopher, Dr. C. D. Broad, "that we should do well to consider much more seriously than we have hitherto been inclined to do the type of theory which Bergson put forward in connection with memory and sense perception. The suggestion is that the function of the brain and nervous system and sense organs is in the main eliminative and not productive. Each person is at each moment capable of remembering all that has ever happened to him and of perceiving everything that is happening everywhere in the universe. The function of the brain and nervous system is to protect us from being overwhelmed and confused by this mass of largely useless and irrelevant knowledge, by shutting out most of what we should otherwise perceive or remember at any moment, and leaving only that very small and special selection which is likely to be practically useful." According to such a theory, each one of us is potentially Mind at Large. But in so far as we are animals, our business is at all costs to survive. To make biological survival possible, Mind at Large has to be funneled through the reducing valve of the brain and nervous system. What comes out at the other end is a measly trickle of the kind of consciousness which will help us to stay alive on the surface of this Particular planet. To formulate and express the contents of this reduced awareness, man has invented and endlessly elaborated those symbol-systems and implicit philosophies which we call languages. Every individual is at once the beneficiary and the victim of the linguistic tradition into which he has been born - the beneficiary inasmuch as language gives access to the accumulated records of other people's experience, the victim in so far as it confirms him in the belief that reduced awareness is the only awareness and as it bedevils his sense of reality, so that he is all too apt to take his concepts for data, his words for actual things. That which, in the language of religion, is called "this world" is the universe of reduced awareness, expressed, and, as it were, petrified by language. The various "other worlds," with which human beings erratically make contact are so many elements in the totality of the awareness belonging to Mind at Large. Most people, most of the time, know only what comes through the reducing valve and is consecrated as genuinely real by the local language. Certain persons, however, seem to be born with a kind of by-pass that circumvents the reducing valve. In others temporary by-passes may be acquired either spontaneously, or as the result of deliberate "spiritual exercises," or through hypnosis, or by means of drugs. Through these permanent or temporary by-passes there flows, not indeed the perception "of everything that is happening everywhere in the universe" (for the by-pass does not abolish the reducing valve, which still excludes the total content of Mind at Large), but something more than, and above ah something different from, the carefully selected utilitarian material which our narrowed, individual minds regard as a complete, or at least sufficient, picture of reality.

The brain is provided with a number of enzyme systems which serve to co-ordinate its workings. Some of these enzymes regulate the supply of glucose to the brain cells. Mescalin inhibits the production of these enzymes and thus lowers the amount of glucose available to an organ that is in constant need of sugar. When mescalin reduces the brain's normal ration of sugar what happens? Too few cases have been observed, and therefore a comprehensive answer cannot yet be given. But what happens to the majority of the few who have taken mescalin under supervision can be summarized as follows.

1.      The ability to remember and to "think straight" is little if at all reduced. (Listening to the recordings of my conversation under the influence of the drug, I cannot discover that I was then any stupider than I am at ordinary times.)

2.      Visual impressions are greatly intensified and the eye recovers some of the perceptual innocence of childhood, when the sensum was not immediately and automatically subordinated to the concept. Interest in space is diminished and interest in time falls almost to zero.

3.      Though the intellect remains unimpaired and though perception is enormously improved, the will suffers a profound change for the worse. The mescalin taker sees no reason for doing anything in particular and finds most of the causes for which, at ordinary times, he was prepared to act and suffer, profoundly uninteresting. He can't be bothered with them, for the good reason that he has better things to think about.

4.      These better things may be experienced (as I experienced them) "out there," or "in here," or in both worlds, the inner and the outer, simultaneously or successively. That they are better seems to be self-evident to all mescalin takers who come to the drug with a sound liver and an untroubled mind.

These effects of mescalin are the sort of effects you could expect to follow the administration of a drug having the power to impair the efficiency of the cerebral reducing valve. When the brain runs out of sugar, the undernourished ego grows weak, can't be bothered to undertake the necessary chores, and loses all interest in those spatial and temporal relationships which mean so much to an organism bent on getting on in the world. As Mind at Large seeps past the no longer watertight valve, all kinds of biologically useless things start to happen. In some cases there may be extra-sensory perceptions. Other persons discover a world of visionary beauty. To others again is revealed the glory, the infinite value and meaningfulness of naked existence, of the given, unconceptualized event. In the final stage of egolessness there is an "obscure knowledge" that All is in all - that All is actually each. This is as near, I take it, as a finite mind can ever come to "perceiving everything that is happening everywhere in the universe."

In this context, how significant is the enormous heightening, under mescalin, of the perception of color! For certain animals it is biologically very important to be able to distinguish certain hues. But beyond the limits of their utilitarian spectrum, most creatures are completely color blind. Bees, for example, spend most of their time "deflowering the fresh virgins of the spring"; but, as Von Frisch has shown, they can recognize only a very few colors. Man's highly developed color sense is a biological luxury - inestimably precious to him as an intellectual and spiritual being, but unnecessary to his survival as an animal. To judge by the adjectives which Homer puts into their mouths, the heroes of the Trojan War hardly excelled the bees in their capacity to distinguish colors. In this respect, at least, mankind's advance has been prodigious.

Mescalin raises all colors to a higher power and makes the percipient aware of innumerable fine shades of difference, to which, at ordinary times, he is completely blind. It would seem that, for Mind at Large, the so-called secondary characters of things are primary. Unlike Locke, it evidently feels that colors are more important, better worth attending to, than masses, positions and dimensions. Like mescalin takers, many mystics perceive supernaturally brilliant colors, not only with the inward eye, but even in the objective world around them. Similar reports are made by psychics and sensitives. There are certain mediums to whom the mescalin taker's brief revelation is a matter, during long periods, of daily and hourly experience.

From this long but indispensable excursion into the realm of theory, we may now return to the miraculous facts - four bamboo chair legs in the middle of a room. Like Wordsworth's daffodils, they brought all manner of wealth - the gift, beyond price, of a new direct insight into the very Nature of Things, together with a more modest treasure of understanding in the field, especially, of the arts. A rose is a rose is a rose. But these chair legs were chair legs were St. Michael and all angels. Four or five hours after the event, when the effects of a cerebral sugar shortage were wearing off, I was taken for a little tour of the city, which included a visit, towards sundown, to what is modestly claimed to be the World's Biggest Drug Store. At the back of the W.B.D.S., among the toys, the greeting cards and the comics, stood a row, surprisingly enough, of art books. I picked up the first volume that came to hand. It was on Van Gogh, and the picture at which the book opened was "The Chair" - that astounding portrait of a Ding an Sich, which the mad painter saw, with a kind of adoring terror, and tried to render on his canvas. But it was a task to which the power even of genius proved wholly inadequate. The chair Van Gogh had seen was obviously the same in essence as the chair I had seen. But, though incomparably more real than the chairs of ordinary perception, the chair in his picture remained no more than an unusually expressive symbol of the fact. The fact had been manifested Suchness; this was only an emblem. Such emblems are sources of true knowledge about the Nature of Things, and this true knowledge may serve to prepare the mind which accepts it for immediate insights on its own account. But that is all. However expressive, symbols can never be the things they stand for.


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Gratitude -

I am grateful for my teachers and all their different forms.  Life would be really dull if we were all alike, and all was just swimming along.  I appreciate this opportunity to rub up against something different than I am used to, and to sand my edges.  I see all of this, all of my life as a really good thing, and obviously, just what I need.  I give thanks for these days and nights.
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Thoughts on energy -

Elaine sent me an "exercise" or meditation to neutralize energy between two people.  Her version uses a golden vase.  I am familiar with one using a rose.  The point is to recognize that there are energetic ties between us, all of us, those we love, and those we fear, and to neutralize those ties, so we are meeting each other fresh.   I know there are studies now on the importance of managing our emotions, and I would again say of neutralizing them.   Today, I sit in an exhilarated place on a pad of lotus petals.  The lotus flower represents purity of body, speech and mind, as it floats above the muddy waters of attachment and desire.  I see lotus flowers as cleansing the pond as they sit in their float.   May we all feel that float as we sway.
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Jon Carroll today!!

Here is Jon Carroll's column today!!

Apparently President Bush, as titular leader of the Republican Party, has started campaigning in earnest now. His coattails are just a wee bit short this year, so he's had to pick his opponent carefully. He has chosen to campaign against the New York Times.

The Times is a good target. People who believe in the "left-wing media" believe that the New York Times is the leftiest of them all. The people who believe in the "mainstream media" believe that the Times is the mainest of them all. Hardly anyone has a good word to say about it, except that it's the best newspaper in the country. But really, how important is that?

Also, the name of the New York Times contains the word "New York." Many members of the president's base consider "New York" to be a nifty code word for "Jewish." It is very nice for the president to be able to campaign against the Jews without (a) actually saying the word "Jew" and (b) without irritating the Israelis. A number of prominent Zionist groups think the New York Times is insufficiently anti-Palestinian, so they think the New York Times isn't Jewish enough.

I have heard about how evangelical Christians really like ultra-Orthodox Jews because both groups are eagerly anticipating the end of the world. Since the Bible sets forth certain conditions for the end times, both groups are working hard to fulfill those conditions. We may assume that the New York Times is, implicitly at least, against the end of the world. It's a controversial position -- death of the human race: aye or nay? -- and is another good reason to make the Times a target.

(Of course, Christians and Jews differ about what will happen after the end of the world, but there will be plenty of time to sort that out while the battle on the plains of Armageddon roars on.)

The proximate cause of the president's ire was a story the New York Times published about the government using the records kept by a Belgian banking consortium to track money transfers that the government believed might be related to terrorism. What the government is doing is not illegal and was revealed to Congress; it is, however, part of a general pattern of privacy violations that the New York Times considered newsworthy.

The president called the New York Times story "disgraceful." He said that "if you want to figure out what terrorists are doing, you try to follow their money. And that's exactly what we're doing. And the fact that a newspaper disclosed it makes it harder to win the war on terror."

OK, let's parse this. The administration has been saying from the beginning that it's been doing everything it can to win the war on terror. It is not a secret that following the money is a useful law enforcement tool; it is not a secret that the terrorists have sought to evade the government by using the "hawala" system, an informal network of money brokers popular in the Middle East and North Africa.

Further, it is known that the government has used secret wiretaps, secret interrogation camps, secret agents and God knows what else -- an entire clandestine operation run with only the most notional relationship to the laws of the land. So the news that the government would subpoena the records of a Belgian banking consortium, while interesting, seems neither surprising nor significant.

Further, it is an article of faith among the terrorists that the United States and Israel control the international banking system. (And, look, we're making their paranoid fantasies a reality! Way to reinforce the crazy people!) Don't you think they've already been warned? Don't you think they've figured out this government strategy? Anyone who reads spy novels could have figured it out 10 years before Sept. 11 even happened.

Of course the government can look at your bank account, at any bank account. What's the point of being the government if you can't pry? This administration has said over and over again that it sees nothing wrong with prying. So where's the treason? Where's the disgrace? Do we really believe that the terrorists are reading the New York Times for clues on what to do, or not do, next?

The administration is desperate to look as if it knows what it's doing. Last week it arrested seven guys in Florida who swore allegiance to al Qaeda to a guy who turned out to be an FBI informant. They told the informant they wanted materials to build an army to attack the Sears Tower in Chicago. They wanted boots, vehicles, machine guns, uniforms -- wait, uniforms? These are supposed to be serious terrorists, and they wanted uniforms? Look, they may be dangerous people, but al Qaeda operatives they ain't.

Ah, but there's always the New York Times. It already has vehicles and footwear; maybe it needs uniforms too. But let's arrest a bunch of editors first, to keep America safe.

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The World's Fastest Indian!!

Steve and I love the movie, "The World's Fastest Indian," and I highly recommend it.  It reminded me of  "The Straight Story" which we also loved.

The movie is a true story, about a guy who navigates through the complicated world of America when he comes here from New Zealand to set a land-speed record for the Indian motorcycle.  He is a man of openness, and so, all opens to him.  He has a dream, and, as he believes, other people, believe, and so, his dream unfolds.  I found it masterful.

Jan's parents are concerned that their daughter will experience prejudice in an inter-racial marriage, and they are right.  They are experiencing it right from the get-go,  from them.  Their fears are realized.  Perhaps we can't control everything with our thoughts, but I do think they go a long way toward creating our response.

I am working with that today, even as it occurred to me that I am a little more volatile because of the Arimidex.  That is a side-effect, so I have to work triply hard to deal with my emotions right now.  I love a task, and so, I have one.  Peace and Calm, Ho!!
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more thoughts -

Perhaps, I am now also able to see that other people have a perfect right to ignore me, and not want to interact with me.  Why would I think it should be any different?  And then it is up to me to know where I stand and what I need.  Again, I am grateful for a chance to explore all of this, and realize the world is not all about Me, Me, Me!   Who would have thought?   : )
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Breaking news - may impeachment pick up the pieces.

  In Loss for Bush, Supreme Court Blocks War-Crimes Trials at Guantanamo
    The Associated Press

    Thursday 29 June 2006

    Washington - The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees.

    The ruling, a rebuke to the administration and its aggressive anti-terror policies, was written by Justice John Paul Stevens, who said the proposed trials were illegal under U.S. law and Geneva conventions.

    The case focused on Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni who worked as a bodyguard and driver for Osama bin Laden. Hamdan, 36, has spent four years in the U.S. prison in Cuba. He faces a single count of conspiring against U.S. citizens from 1996 to November 2001.

    Two years ago, the court rejected Bush's claim to have the authority to seize and detain terrorism suspects and indefinitely deny them access to courts or lawyers. In this followup case, the justices focused solely on the issue of trials for some of the men.

    The vote was split 5-3, with moderate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy joining the court's liberal members in ruling against the Bush administration. Chief Justice John Roberts, named to the lead the court last September by Bush, was sidelined in the case because as an appeals court judge he had backed the government over Hamdan.

    Thursday's ruling overturned that decision.

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and I am calm -

And I am calm, sort of.  I am trying not to gloat over the victory over Bush, as I sit here, like water, calm and smooth, ruffled only by a breeze.

THE HIGHEST MOTIVE in life is to be like water. It fights nothing or no one. It flows from and back to its source and in the flowing smooths and wears away all resistance.

Taoist Proverb

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This is from David Boyle: Authenticity: Brands, Fakes, Spin and the Lust for Real Life.

    "Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan was notorious for his almost-total dependence on teleprompter scripts when speaking in public. He was roundly criticized for not knowing what he thought about an issue unless his aides spelled it out for him.  But current American president George W. Bush surpasses that.  It was discovered his teleprompter script includes words like "wow!" - fueling speculation he doesn't even know what he feels without advice from Karl Rove and other handlers."

Sad, isn't it?   It is hard not to once again compare him to Abraham Lincoln, and how much has been lost of authenticity with this administration.
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Evening -

I am peaceful this evening after a lovely day.  I am learning to accept my need for rest and I appreciate all the love, joy, and care that fills and enriches my life.  Thank you!!

"Everything we have and everything we enjoy, including our very life, is due to the kindness of others. In fact, every happiness there is in the world arises as a result of others' kindness."

Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
Buddhist Monk and Meditation Master