"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."---J.R.R. Tolkien

I'm re-reading Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth. He talks about the ego, or our sense of self, of I, and our identification with certain roles, with our minds. And of course the effects of living unconsciously and not being Present. Here are a few gems:

  • Trying to become a good or better human being sounds like a commendable and high-minded thing to do, yet it is an endeavor you cannot ultimately succeed in unless there is a shift in consciousness.
  • How do you let go of attachment to things? Don't even try. It's impossible. Attachment to things drops away by itself when you no longer seek to find yourself in them.
  • No matter what you have or get, you won't be happy. You will always be looking for something else that promises greater fulfillment, that promises to make your incomplete sense of self complete and fill that sense of lack you feel within.
  • Nonreaction to the ego in others is one of the most effective ways not only of going beyond ego in yourself but also of dissolving the collective human ego. But you can only be in a state of nonreaction if you can recognize someone's behavior as coming from the ego, as being an expression of the collective human dysfunction. When you realize it's not personal, there is no longer a compulsion to react as if it were.
  • "If you think you are so enlightened, go spend a week with your parents", Ram Dass said. The relationship with your parents is a good test for your degree of Presence. The more shared past there is in a relationship, the more present you need to be; otherwise, you will be forced to relive the past again and again.
  • Suffering has a noble purpose; the evolution of consciousness and the burning up of the ego.
  • Give up defining yourself. If you can be absolutely comfortable with not knowing who you are, then what's left is who you are---the Being behind the human, a field of pure potentiality rather than something that is already defined.
  • "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."Shakespeare
  • Whenever you are in a negative state, there is something in you that wants the negativity, that perceives it as pleasurable, or that believes it will get you what you want. Otherwise, who would want to hang on to negativity, make themselves and others miserable, and create disease in the body?
  • The ego may be clever, but it is not intelligent. Let go of your unhappiness the moment you recognize it as unintelligent.
  • How to be at peace now? By making peace with the present moment. Be One with Life.Being one with life is being one with Now. You then realize that you don't live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer, and you are the dance.
  • The more unconscious individuals, groups or nations are, the more likely it is that egoic pathology will assume the form of physical violence. Violence is a primitive but still widespread way in which the ego attempts to assert itself, to prove itself right and another wrong. With very unconscious people, arguments can easily lead to physical violence.
  • In Zen they say:"Don't seek the truth. Just cease to cherish opinions." Let go of identification with your mind. Who you are beyond the mind then emerges by itself.
  • If peace is really what you want, then you will choose peace. If peace mattered to you more than anything else and if you truly knew yourself to be spirit rather than a little me, you would remain nonreactive and absolutely alert when confronted with challenging people or situations. You would immediately accept the situation and thus become one with it rather than separate yourself from it.
  • If the thought of lack – whether it be money, recognition, or love – has become part of who you think you are, you will always experience lack. Rather than acknowledge the good that is already in your life, all you see is lack.
  • Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment. It is part of the isness of the Now. You can't argue with what is. Well, you can, but if you do, you suffer.
  • Awareness is the greatest agent for change.
  • Unconscious people – and many remain unconscious, trapped in their egos throughout their lives – will quickly tell you who they are: their name, their occupation, their personal history, the shape or state of their body, and whatever else they identify with. Others may appear to be more evolved because they think of themselves as an immortal soul or living spirit. But do they really know themselves, or have they just added some spiritual sounding concepts to the content of their mind? Knowing yourself goes far deeper than the adoption of a set of ideas or beliefs. Spiritual ideas and beliefs may at best be helpful pointers, but in themselves they rarely have the power to dislodge the more firmly established core concepts of who you think you are, which are part of the conditioning of the human mind. Knowing yourself deeply has nothing to do with whatever ideas are floating around in your mind. Knowing yourself is to be rooted in Being, instead of lost in your mind.
  • Why does the ego play roles? Because of one unexamined assumption, one fundamental error, one unconscious thought: I am not enough. Other unconscious thoughts follow: I need to play a role to get what I need to be fully myself; I need to get more so that I can be more. But you cannot be more than you are because underneath your physical and psychological form, you are one with Life itself, one with Being. In form, you are and will always be inferior to some, superior to others. In essence, you are neither inferior nor superior to anyone. True self-esteem and humility arise out of that realization. In the eyes of the ego, self-esteem and humility are contradictory. In truth, they are one and the same.
  • Be aware that what you think, to a large extent, creates the emotions that you feel. Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them. Don't seek happiness. If you seek it, you won't find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness. Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is rather then making up stories about it.

Dobby is my Constant. You too, Hedwig. *sniffles*

J-Stew brilliantly skewers Charlie Rangel:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
You're a Bad Man, Charlie Rangel
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

God wants me to know...Letting go makes you wealthier. Wealth is never measured by what you have, but by what you can give away. You are rich with money when you can afford to donate. You are rich with love when you can give love freely. You are rich with God when you can behold your enemy with compassion.

I am still reeling from the events this past weekend. I was hoping to shed some light on the situation by writing my thoughts down to help process them. Here's my Post-game analysis: I take full responsibility for my part in the escalation. If only I was able to let go of past events and perceptions of how people ARE based on how they WERE, then I would have been more open to giving people second chances. In my mind, I was probably expecting another blow-out. And here, the self-fulfilling prophecy part comes in. Everything was just simmering, waiting to come out at the slightest provocation. And all because the two parties meant well, but didn't know how to show it. And both felt they got rebuffed.

I am not letting him off the hook. I cannot control his reactions, but I am deeply disturbed by his response. It chills me to the bone, and brings tears to my eyes just recalling the things he said. I may have deserved some of the anger and frustration, but to sit in my room, shaking, cowering in fear? I did not deserve that. It is one thing to be upset, and in the heat of the moment, say things you don't mean. But to come from such a place of rage that one could actually verbalize thoughts of killing one's own child? I know parents have a joke about how they brought their kids into this world, and they can take them out. But this was something else.

My friend D is divorced, and has two kids with her ex-husband. She had sole physical custody, with the father seeing them every other weekend and allowed one overnight stay a month. Until this weekend. She came home Friday to find that her oldest daughter had moved out to live with her father. What hurt even worse was that the planning started a while back. Long enough time to have her ready to go to her new school tomorrow. She had also told her younger sister but made her promise not to say anything. D has enough mental and physical problems, but to spring this on her devastated her. She was a wreck all weekend. She came to work crying. She felt awful knowing that today, her daughter would have to say goodbye to all her friends in the old school, and that she can't be there for her. And that tomorrow, she was starting at a new school, frightened and nervous about the change. It tore D apart that she couldn't be there for her. What broke MY heart was when she said she slept on her daughter's bed all weekend. Just to retain some semblance of closeness. I started weeping right along with her. This was a parent.

I don't know what lies ahead. Should I apologize? Will it even mean anything to him? Will I ever talk to him again? God knows he'll never admit to any wrongdoing. In the meantime, I wish him clarity and understanding. A little common sense, compassion and empathy can't be bad either.

I was at the Samuel Morse home today enjoying the lovely weather. There was also a fund-raising book sale, where I picked up a book about angels. You might think me weird, but I talk to my guardian angel. I think his name is Guido :) After the morning I've had, I was feeling an enormous sense of calm as I walked in the trails.

Around the same time, I got a text from Cecile that said: "We're sending love, light and positive energy your way." The moment I read it, a gentle breeze came.

I want to thank my human angels: Mommy, Cecile and Lynn. God bless us always.

After a horrendous morning, this was my message from God today: As you surrender to Divine Providence in your life, you will feel lifted, carried, and held. All is well. All is well. All is well.

Listening to my co-workers, friends and patients gripe about their families, I've come to the conclusion that my contentious living situation is about gender differences. The male brain is a mystery. I can't understand how men function in this world, and how there's actually still two genders. I resent it when my efforts go unappreciated. I get upset when my dad doesn't eat the food I prepare after I slaved away all night. I find myself nagging him about every little thing: his medications, for example, or for not wearing a coat when it's cold outside. I ask him a question, he doesn't answer. Sometimes he'll just look at me blankly. Did he not hear me? Do I need to get his ears checked? Or he's just not paying attention? Or he just doesn't care. I tell him to do something, like ask for the results of lab work when he sees the doctor, he doesn't. Oh he forgot. Even though I reminded him a couple of times. You give him one thing to do, he doesn't do it.

My coworker's friend had a hysterectomy last week. Her husband asked for (and got) the week off. Wife had the major surgery. What does the husband do? Go to work anyway, leaving the wife barely able to get around. With 2 kids and a puppy at home. My friend's husband will wash his own clothes and not everybody else's. Or sort through the unfolded laundry to gather up his stuff, leaving everything else. I don't normally like leaving dirty dishes in the sink, but sometimes I will leave a few pieces to let them soak. He sees them. He'll wash his dishes, and leave the rest. He won't wipe down the kitchen counter or the stove, or the bathroom sink, even though it's obviously dirty. And of course there's the toilet seat. Don't even get me started. After many cardiac procedures and two major surgeries, you'd think he learned his lesson that he needs to take better care of himself. And yet he still wants to eat unhealthily and finds every excuse in the world to NOT exercise.

I don't know...I just don't know. *shakes head*

  • Don't strive to impress...make an impact instead.
  • White clothes are beautiful until soiled hands touch them. Be careful what you touch so you stay unsullied.
  • You cannot be good by trying to be good. You only have to find your inner goodness.

"And now I thought we might have a moment, however brief, for some sincerity. If that's okay - I know that there are boundaries for a comedian / pundit / talker guy, and I'm sure that I'll find out tomorrow how I have violated them.

So, uh, what exactly was this? I can't control what people think this was: I can only tell you my intentions.

This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith, or people of activism, or look down our noses at the heartland, or passionate argument, or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear--they are, and we do.

But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus, and not be enemies. But unfortunately, one of our main tools in delineating the two broke.

The country's 24-hour, political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems, bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen. Or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire, and then perhaps host a week of shows on the dangerous, unexpected flaming ants epidemic. If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.

There are terrorists, and racists, and Stalinists, and theocrats, but those are titles that must be earned! You must have the resume! Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Party-ers, or real bigots and Juan Williams or Rick Sanchez is an insult--not only to those people, but to the racists themselves, who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate. Just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe, not more.

The press is our immune system. If it overreacts to everything, we actually get sicker--and, perhaps, eczema. And yet... I feel good. Strangely, calmly, good. Because the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false. It is us, through a funhouse mirror--and not the good kind that makes you look slim in the waist, and maybe taller, but the kind where you have a giant forehead, and an ass shaped like a month-old pumpkin, and one eyeball.

So why would we work together? Why would you reach across the aisle, to a pumpkin-assed forehead eyeball monster? If the picture of us were true, of course our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable--why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution, and homophobes who see no one's humanity but their own?

We hear every damned day about how fragile our country is, on the brink of catastrophe, torn by polarizing hate, and how it's a shame that we can't work together to get things done. The truth is, we do! We work together to get things done every damned day! The only place we don't is here (in Washington) or on cable TV!

But Americans don't live here, or on cable TV. Where we live, our values and principles form the foundation that sustains us while we get things done--not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done.

Most Americans don't live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives. Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do. Often something they do not want to do! But they do it. Impossible things, every day, that are only made possible through the little, reasonable compromises we all make.

(Points to video screen, showing video of cars in traffic.) Look on the screen. This is where we are, this is who we are. These cars. That's a schoolteacher who probably think his taxes are too high, he's going to work. There's another car, a woman with two small kids, can't really think about anything else right now... A lady's in the NRA, loves Oprah. There's another car, an investment banker, gay, also likes Oprah. Another car's a Latino carpenter; another car, a fundamentalist vacuum salesman. Atheist obstetrician. Mormon Jay-Z fan.

But this is us. Every one of the cars that you see is filled with individuals of strong belief, and principles they hold dear--often principles and beliefs in direct opposition to their fellow travelers'. And yet, these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze, one by one, into a mile-long, 30-foot-wide tunnel, carved underneath a mighty river.

And they do it, concession by concession: you go, then I'll go. You go, then I'll go. You go, then I'll go. 'Oh my God--is that an NRA sticker on your car?' 'Is that an Obama sticker on your car?' It's okay--you go, then I go.

And sure, at some point, there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder, and cuts in at the last minute. But that individual is rare, and he is scorned, and he is not hired as an analyst!

Because we know, instinctively, as a people, that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light, we have to work together. And the truth is there will always be darkness, and sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn't the promised land.

Sometimes, it's just New Jersey."

I feel so lucky to have been there.


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