Monday, September 29, 2008


Lin Jensen at Tricycle Blog writes:

From my viewpoint, Buddhism is not about getting enlightened—it’s about being kind. If I have a chance at the time of my death to take an accounting of what I’ve done, I won’t be asking how enlightened I’ve become, I’ll be asking how much kindness I’ve shown to others.

This is how the Buddha began, who set out walking the earth not in quest of enlightenment but in search of a means to end the suffering he saw all about him. If I ever hope to realize a generous, loving, merciful, nonviolent human society, I too must carry on the daily practice of generosity, love, mercy and nonviolence that the Buddha set in motion. This is the practical and ordinary work of the bodhisattva.

The rest is very well written and inspires me to reach all at once deeper into myself, and out into the 'verse around me with loving kindness. A smile of peace and love for every person I meet on the path. Tenderness and compassion, leaving the randomness of it all behind and accepting, embracing and integrating it into my soul. Individuation only helps me see and understand the depth and breadth of the souls around me. All the same, all different, all precious. Seems I have a new blog to keep track of! I love the way Lin writes!

While I so dig the bumper sticker "Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty" I'm trying to make mine a bit less random! I just like to practice kindness whenever and where ever I can. Frankly, it's become somewhat, well, addictive. Being myself allows me to smile, deeply and truly and this never fails to bring a smile to someone else. If anything, it's my no so secret super power, and I love using it on everyone I meet! Mwahhhh! I'm going to smile my way to ascension this time, instead of sitting in meditation until moss grows on me like the last time! "Run for your lives folks, she's armed with a smile in her eyes, and laughter in her heart and she's not afraid to use them!"

Thanks to Monica at a Buddhist in Nebraska for bringing this to my attention!

Friday, September 26, 2008


I'm not one to rest on my laurels so to speak. I'm always looking for something new to learn, a different view, a new technique, whatever. As such I've signed up for a regular e-mail based meditation course. Mind you I've been meditating my whole life, even before I knew what it was. I often use it as a refuge from boredom if you can imagine that... Have to sit in the doctor's office waiting to be seen? Read a magazine or meditate? Oh, such a hard choice. For me it's a no brainer, I meditate.

So I'm reading the newest tip from this course and just kind of chuckling. It's aimed obviously at someone who is brand new to meditation. So the topic is counting to 21 and back. They are talking about how hard it might seem at first. Me, I'm just having a good chuckle because sometimes I'll go to 100 and back, 200, even 500 now and again. It's great. It's so easy to do for me because I've been doing it my whole life. I mean since I was a kid.

As I was pondering it, I realized that it's so easy for me because I once spent most of a lifetime meditating. I lived in a monistary (I was a monk then) and would routinely spend entire days meditating. It was what I did. Wake up, meditate, have breakfast, meditate right through till afternoon meal, meditate more, evening meal, meditate and then sleep. Often I'd miss afternoon meal cause I lost track of time. There where chores and things like that, work around the place, teaching, what have you, but always mediation. That was Monastic life. One day I just meditated right out of physical existence. I was working on acension then, so that was the point. Now I'm working on individuation, but I still meditate regularly, daily, because it's helping me not get caught up in the world. For me, meditation is a refuge. A quiet place of stillness and beauty no matter where I am or what's going on around me. It allows me to partake of the world without being worldly, it is the reminder that while this is all very real, it's very short term.

Why do I mention this? Not to brag about how good I am at meditating, not hardly. Frankly sometimes I wonder if it isn't a crutch for me sometimes, a way of intentionally not dealing with life. Away to avoid being bored. I kid you not, it's a way not to be bored for me.

But. I know how hard it can seem for some people. Oh God's count to 21 and back? I'll never be able to do that. 100? 500? Even a thousand! As with anything, the more you practice, the easier it gets, the easier it gets, the more you practice... It becomes part of who you are, you find yourself doing it instead of say humming even... Okay, bad example. Frankly I can't think of anything it compares to... Wait! I've got it! Breathing! It becomes as easy as breathing! Best part is, it makes breathing better. You slow down some, you breath deeper, more fully, you become more present in your own life. It's so damn cool!

Tired, run down some? Meditate, it'll bring you up! All wound up, angry, restless, not feeling too good, can't get to sleep? Meditate, it'll bring you down some and let you ease into sleep when you are ready! I know, it sounds crazy, but it's true. Does all this and more! High blood pressure? Don't want to take pills? Mediation can, and when you get good at it often does, a better job than medication! Okay, quick disclaimer here: DO NOT STOP TAKING MEDS if you are on them unless, or until a Doctor says so, or you start having low blood pressure drops.

Okay, so, for those who would like to know more about meditation? How about a totally free course, that mails a lesson to you once a week for a while. Yup, perfectly free, and by someone who really knows what they are talking about. Easy as pie...


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lost and Found...

It's been said that be it for a day, month, season or life, friends are important to us. This week has been utterly amazing on so many levels I don't know if I can do then justice here now. I will however endeavor to share them with you.

Over 20 years ago my relationship with one of my sisters strained past the breaking point. She was up till then one of my closest friends. Something like 8 years ago we lost all touch whatsoever. I've been actively trying to fide her since then. She had intractable mental health issues that drove both this split between us, and my in-ability to find her. This week, I found her... in the Social Security Death Index. I'm torn, yes, I hurt some from the loss, but on the otherhand I know now she's not in pain, at least not like she was. So, my loss is really her gain. I found that I truely have embraced Buddhism and it has given me comfort and eased my pain of loss. I can clearly see the benefit to her, and me, and my path is clear. Impermanace at work.

By the same token, while I am quitely rejoicing in the clear end of her suffering, I have found someone else I lost about 16 or so years ago. A very close very dear friend and I drifted apart. Not because of her problems, but my own. I've been trying very hard to find her in the last few years. Turns out, she's been wondering about me too... Nearly two decades between us, and we picked up mostly where we left off. In one of the e-mails we swapped tonight, she said: "Do you remember being the best friend a girl could have?" Wow! I told her the feeling was mutual, and it was.

So, as I say "Till we meet again" to my sister, I welcome a long lost friend back into my life. I've gotta tell you, it's a wonderful thing! So much I've got to say, but it's 06:00 and I need sleep... More to follow soon I promise!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What 100 million dollars (or more) damage looks like...

...I've spent years in public service. I've been involved in handling emergency communications traffic into and out of disaster areas, done the whole "Twister" chasing tornadoes across Colorado thing, worked search and rescue details looking for missing hikers, been a first responder at traffic accidents involving fatalities and a whole bunch more before. Nothing I've even seen or experienced has made the claims of "billions lost" in natural disasters all that real to me. Not until Ike came roaring through the Tristate area a week ago tomorrow.

Sunday morning last I awoke to the sound of roaring like a jet engine from outside my bedroom window. The tree outside my living room window was pounding on the window so hard I was afraid it was going to break. The sky was dark and foreboding, but that was it, wind and grey sky. I turned on my two-way radio (I'm still a Ham Radio Operator with a valid license) and switched over to the National Weather Service local frequency. "...with winds in excess of 75 miles per hour... ...Hurricane Ike..."


I didn't realize at that moment that the power for the building was out, in fact it wasn't until I walked into the kitchen to made some breakfast and the light wouldn't go on I began to suspect a problem. That was Sunday morning. Sunday night at 21:46 the power came back on for my block, and the various local stations were reporting during the day that nearly three quarters of a million people were without power. The entire City of Cincinnati was blacked out as well as MOST of the tristate (Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana) metro area. Folks were being advised to remain indoors and under cover, and not to travel unless absolutely necessary. Like I say, I was lucky, power came back on for me at 21:46. Today I drove around the metro area and as of 16:30 today, there are still entire sections of the metro area shutdown, blacked out and locked up.

I made it into the local 24 grocery store I prefer on Thursday morning at 01:22 and they had only just had the power restored right around midnight. This place is huge, like one of those super Walmart's, except it is all groceries. I can't even guess the square footage, but it's big. ALL of the refrigerated and freezer sections were utterly empty. Nothing. 15 isles of freezers normally packed with frozen food galore, empty. Diary, Produce, Meats, Fish and so on equally empty. Being a regular shopper there I knew where things normally were, and started a running total in my head of what was lost...

I stopped counting at around 100 million dollars of food destroyed.

It was a whole new experience for me. This was one of a dozen such stores in the greater tristate metro area impacted. Businesses, offices, gas stations, restaurants, everything shut down for the better part of a week. Nearly a million people who didn't get paid for a lost weeks work, all the food in their fridge and freezer gone bad, the downed trees, power lines, light poles on the highway, exit signs, outdoor signs, driving around the area the last couple of days was astounding.

Utterly astounding. All this from wind, not a drop of rain. Last count I heard was a total of two million people without power, some as long as a week. So let's just say it was (three days at eight hours) 24 hours. One day of work lost. Let's also say all 2 million people where making 4 dollars an hour. So that would be 24X4 which only 96 dollars for three days of lost work. But, it's 2 million people that lost 96 dollars each. That's 192 million dollars of lost income... Realistically, it was way, way worse than that, but you can see how the money adds up fast...

Monday, September 01, 2008

Thank you!

I'm very, very pleased to report that when Gustav made landfall this morning in the southern gulf coast it was only a Category, or Force, 2 event. Nothing like Katrina! We did it folks! Prayer and visualizations sucked the punch out of Gustave. NWS has, as of 22:00 today, officially downgraded Gustave to a Tropical Storm! NOLA was spared a horrific punishing blow, storm surge was well below the predicated (and possibly devastating) levels New Orleans is wet, and there has been, as the case is with any hurricane, damage but so far no reported deaths!!! This is a major victory for all of us, so for everyone that joined in my prayers and visualizations, you can pat yourself on the back. You all had a hand in preventing a Katrina sized disaster almost 3 years to the day later! Way to go!!!

Associate Press report:

Again, thank you all!