daily practice

If the soul is thought of as clay, it can be difficult to mould or to shape.  There is a certain resistance or inertia to change embedded in one’s human nature. If one can achieve constructive change in one’s self, there is always the possibility of reverting to an earlier form or going back to bad habits (relapsing, or backsliding so to speak).


blue butterfly 2


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Stunning scenery provides many opportunities for taking good photos in this national park.

The geologic processes evident in the park’s Needles District are uplift or upthrust of rock layers, sedimentation (layers of sedimentary rock), and erosion.




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ideological colonialism

We don’t know how to mind our own business
‘Cause the whole world’s got to be just like us

Lyrics from the song, Monster – by the rock band, Steppenwolf (1969)

Liberal elites in wealthy Western nations (US, the EU, and at the UN) demand conformity, uniformity throughout the world (in all nations) on some hot button issues.  So much for real diversity, national sovereignty and self-determination.




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the greatest conqueror

“The greatest conqueror is he who conquers himself.”

This is a saying or aphorism from eastern philosophy.  A possible meaning is: It is more difficult to gain mastery over one’s self than it is to impose one’s will upon others.  You might conquer a neighboring tribe, kingdom, or nation, but you would not be happy or content.

Another possible meaning is:  If a person has total control of himself, and does not give in to emotional impulses (reactive anger) that often can be self-defeating and harmful or destructive, then he can be free of much needless grief, regret, and frustration in life.

Think about that for a moment.


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The real causes of black rage?

Again we see violence in the streets of a US city.  This past weekend the scene was Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  The spark that lit the fuse appears to have been the slaying of an armed black man by a black police officer.

But, why do we hear, from audio of the mob in the streets, chants and screams for beating any and all white people who may be travelling down the city streets?

Let’s consider that there are other reasons (than police shootings) for this growing, or at least simmering, black rage in America’s cities.


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the nature of God

Do we really know about the nature of God?

Well, yes, we have the revealed religions to tell us of God’s nature.

But, some may wonder: do we humans impute our hangups, our biases, our character traits (or even character flaws) on to God, or at least on to our concept of God?




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sexual love within marriage: its giving nature

The sexual love the spouses share with each other is naturally giving.  Sadly, among married Christians there is much confusion on this subject of sexual love, with some spouses needlessly suffering from unhealthy inhibitions and even feeling shame in the marriage bed.  This is so unnecessary.  Letting go of, or shedding these inhibitions and shame will open you to a deeper, richer emotional intimacy with your spouse during your lovemaking.

Mutually fulfilling lovemaking is not the only necessary ingredient for a successful, lasting, happy marriage – but the reality is that it is one of the key ingredients!  And, God intended that both spouses enjoy sexual fulfillment within their loving marriage.  (If you doubt this, consider the sexual capacity (for arousal, desire and pleasure) in both the man and the woman all throughout each month.  Of course, the emotions are also intimately involved.)

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just because we can do something, does not mean that we ought to do it

Why do we humans do the things we do?

Why are we always tinkering?

Why do we show no self-restraint?

Why do we play act at being God?

We may not have very good answers, but it is important to raise the questions in these days.

The small placard on the wooden man says “tinkering”.  (All photos in this essay were taken at the Exploratorium in San Francisco this past Saturday, 20 September 2014.)




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You have 30 minutes to live. What do you do?

You have 30 minutes to live.  What do you do?

1,800 seconds.  No joke.  Try this mental exercise.

How will you spend these remaining 1,793 seconds?

Will you head to the liquor cabinet in your home and make yourself a strong drink, a double whiskey?  Will you entertain regrets of things you did, or did not do, over the course of your life?  Will you recall fond memories?  Will you at last turn to prayer and reflection?

1,768 seconds and counting.

If you are with your spouse, will you turn to him or her and thank him/her for being such an important part of your life?

Will you consider that perhaps you did not live life as it could have been lived? Ought to have been lived?

Time is the scarcest, most precious resource because it cannot be replaced.  When today is gone, it is gone forever.

Are you making the best use of your limited time in this life?  Or, are you clinging to activities that do not serve you?

1,725 seconds.

The lesson here is that now and then you take a little time to reflect on your priorities. Yes, we can only live in the present.  Yet, we can learn and grow over time.   I seem to recall it was Socrates that said that “the unexamined life is not worth living”.

True, this is not as easy as one might think.  First, we need to make the time for some honest reflection.  In the constant, ongoing competition and struggle to keep body and soul together, we sometimes forget that those around us are human beings who are struggling and face problems as we do.  (This is especially true in the constant crush, or “rat race” of an urban setting.)  But, let us not allow the daily challenges and frustrations to blind us to the larger picture.

1,683 seconds.

As well, we may need to question the priorities and values that society and our peers try to impress on us all throughout our lives.  We need to be aware of this conditioning and pressure and remain sufficiently detached to be objective in our reflections.  Society tells us that we have little value unless we have lots of money and lots of expensive toys (to prove that we have lots of money, or good credit standing to live beyond our means).  We are told through advertising, movies, television, etc. that physical beauty is very important and that unless we have it, we are not very valuable as people. (Srila Prabhupada (1896 – 1977) referred to this as “animal society”.  Society, as a whole, is at a low level of consciousness.  But, I digress, and time is precious.)

Moderation is a concept that can help us.  We need money to provide the necessities for our families and for ourselves.  We work in order to live. We do not live in order to work.  Let’s not make a false god of money and material possessions or career success.

How are we using our time?

1,643 seconds.

We ought to want to live our lives more fully.  No, I am not suggesting we be thrill seekers constantly in search of new daring activities to experience for an adrenaline rush.  But, consider, many adults spend a disproportionate amount of their free time watching television.  Now, we are not condemning a little TV viewing.  However, one wonders for those television addicts if they are not existing more than they are really living.  Instead of watching others in their make-believe lives, or carefully scripted lives on the screen, become more involved in life by getting out of the easy chair and actually doing some thing.

There is an opportunity cost here.  If you spend that extra hour each evening sitting and staring at the TV screen, you cannot spend that hour in another activity.  What other activities?  Consider your priorities!  Do you value or want to value family relationships? Then, why not spend an hour with your children?  Ask them about their school day.  (You may find that you as a parent need to counter balance the nonsense these children are fed in so many of our schools.)  Help them with their homework.  Are you recently married?  Is your marriage important to you?  Spend the time with your spouse.  Step outside and look at the stars together.  Hold hands and just talk with each other.  Is better health valuable to you?  If you work in an office and spend much of your day sitting, then use this extra hour to lightly exercise. Simply taking a 30 minute or longer walk is good for your health. Try it and see.

Other more “advanced” activities you might consider include doing a little charity work in your spare time, and praying, reflecting, and/or meditating.  If personal expression is important to you, try your hand at painting or working with clay, or even writing.  I bet you can think of many more worthwhile activities.

1,587 seconds remaining.

Eclectic philosophy, you say?  Actually, what I am recommending here is very pragmatic.

Use the balance of your time for reflecting on your priorities.  It may be one of the best investments of 1,575 seconds you ever make.  No one can do this for you!  What do you want to be able to recall as your achievements when your time on earth winds down? Would you like to be fondly remembered as having been a loving and generous person? Someone who made life a little brighter for those around you?

As well, you want a better, more fulfilling, meaningful life now.  Keep in mind that it is the journey, and not the destination, that we need to embrace and experience fully right now – even with all the ups and downs, the rough sailing, along the way.


zen bird


Thanks for reading.  Practice random and not so random acts of kindness.

How was your day?

This short post caught our attention today. We do need perspective in our lives. We also need to work to help others who are suffering.

Fat, Broke, but not Stupid!

There is a lot of unnecessary pain in the world. I’m not just talking about war and violence, but pain we cause others and ourselves as well.

We make meaningless things important. We hurt others and ourselves giving too much power to things that have no true value.

I think about this as I look at the boy in this picture. His house had been bombed in a civil war. While his parents and two siblings are still alive they are now homeless. What this boy and his family must face on a daily basis makes me ashamed of all I have and how much power I give to meaningless things.

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Where are the Heroes of Today?

Here is a blog post we came across today. Food for thought.

This Life & Beyond

Blog_NoGreaterLoveI’m struck silent as I consider statistics on child poverty, abuse, and injustice. 143 million orphans. 1 billion children worldwide living in poverty. Over 3 million children abused each year. 150 million children engaged in child labor. 400,000 children trafficked across the borders each year. Reading these facts, I lament: these children need a hero. Actually, they need heroes to rise up and become a voice in our world of injustice.

In light of the grave suffering our world’s children endure, it’s a farce that our culture would attempt to re-define heroism according to a person’s investment in their own sensual fulfillment. Really? Would we call a hero one who would spend millions in pursuit of self-gratification? Is courage now dependent on one’s commitment to self-indulgent personal happiness? Is bravery now equated to one’s ability to acquire millions for squandering on selfish fantasies?

There was a time when…

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