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King Sized Heart


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Jack Russell and IA tiny dog with a kingly name and a king-sized heart passed away it was reported recently, and were he human, he would have been buried with a medal.

George the Jack Russell terrier died after saving five children from a mauling or worse by two pitbull terriers in the tiny Taranaki, New Zealand township of Manaia. A place name which might sound like something an angry dog might be frothing at the mouth from, but is in fact a Maori word for a spiritual guardian that protects one from evil, a being depicted with the head of a bird, body of a man and tail of a fish, often worn as a bone or jade talisman around the neck. With a heroic small dog warding off a very real canine evil, there appears to be a touch of synchronicity in the air.

Despite their diminutive size, Jack Russell terriers are as a breed absolutely fearless. Intelligent, devoted and loving yet also willful and determined, they are described as a big dog in a small dog’s body.

True to his breed, this little dog with the heart of a lion leapt to the defence of the five children as they were making their way to a dairy (corner store).

One of the children, Richard Roswarne, 11, said the pitbulls came at them from behind, and were going for his 4 year-old brother Darryl when the terrier intervened.

“George tried to protect us by barking and rushing at them, but they started to bite him—one on the head and the other on the back,” he told a local paper.

“We ran off crying and some people saw what was happening and rescued George.”

But the nine-year-old dog was so badly ripped apart he had to be put down—the local vet describing the injuries as the worst he had ever seen.

George’s owner, Alan Gay, 69, was firm in his opinion of the notoriously aggressive pitbull breed, imploring that they be banned.

“They’re killers and it comes from them being bred for fighting.”

The dogs disappeared after the attack, but several days later two were removed from a property in Manaia and impounded awaiting destruction, with the local council pursuing prosecution against their owners.

Side-stepping the non sequitur of whether dogs breed exclusively for fighting should be breed at all—this ex-postie (pictured, out of uniform, with a Jack Russell terrier) is a mail and card carrying member of the Aggressive Dogs and Their Owners are Evil Society—the heroism and sacrifice of this very small example of man’s very best friend is something to behold—even from afar.

I used to be a cat-lover once, perhaps because I never had a chance to own a dog, and perhaps because somewhat like the young children in this story the only encounters I had with dogs were getting chased or barked at by extremely large, angry examples of their kind.

Yet that preference and perhaps mistaken impression has long been formed anew. The sacrifice and selflessness of dogs as demonstrated so nobly by this single Jack Russell terrier moves my heart far more than feline poise and grace ever will—and don’t get me started on a cats all too common selfishness.

I am reminded by George the hero terrier of a talk Sri Chinmoy gave once on the spiritual qualities of dogs, whom he often refers to as a four-legged example of the spiritual qualities of devotion and faithfulness:

“…in many cases, animals, specially dogs, have given their lives for their masters. Many, many more animals have given their lives and will give their lives for human beings than human beings will give for animals. Pets can be so affectionate to their master, so fond of their master, that they can give their lives.

“Just recently I read a book about animals that have given their lives and how these animals suffered. Animals far surpass human beings when it comes to sacrifice. As human beings, sometimes we get a kind of unconscious, malicious pleasure when somebody suffers. I have come to realise that in human life there is no such thing as friendship; it is all rivalry. If your friend has achieved something, immediately your heart burns. Unless and until you have established divine friendship, rivalry always exists. If you establish divine friendship, you are safe. At that time you feel oneness. Otherwise, so-called human friendship is made of rivalry and jealousy. […] Animals do not have that kind of developed mind. True, animals can be jealous, but they are not directly entering into the world of jealousy and cursing the person who has achieved something.

“[…] If an animal is evolved and very close to its master, then that animal can do something very, very special to prevent a serious calamity from taking place either in the family or among the very dear ones. That kind of supreme sacrifice an animal can make.”

Excerpt from Sri Chinmoy Answers, Part 27 by Sri Chinmoy.

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Comment of the Week


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Larry Keiler of Mental Blog has just won my inaugural comment of the week competition. Apologies for the lack of warning but, seeing as this blog is dedicated to—and occasionally written in—the spirit of meditation, if you weren’t on the same wave length, well… better luck next time.

Larry’s prize? A mention—in fact a word-for-word quotation—and a link back to his well worth the read and I’m not just saying that because he was nice to me blog.

I think the main flaw of all of our youthful writings is that it tends towards the purple. The fact that it’s self-absorbed and angst-ridden is just the way it is and probably always will be. It takes a special sort of genius to be a young genius. But it also takes a special sort of genius to even attempt writing (anything) in one’s youth. I wrote similar stuff to yours when I was young. And now I think I’m blessed that I had the courage to do it, and the outlet it provided. (Because I was angst-ridden and hormone-hyped and drug-addled and generally confused…) Many of my friends did not have this. They became 100 yard hurdlers and racewalkers.

We’re all writers, else we wouldn’t be blogging would we? But even now, most often I write ME. Even when I’m thinking through other characters, I’m still writing ME. And in a certain sense, I wouldn’t have it any other way. For a while I wrote Jack Kerouac. Or Kafka. Or any other writer whose name starts with K. Now I get to write Keiler, for better or worse.

…In my first year of university, I wrote a short story with a rather“Book of Revelations” ending involving snow. My professor said it reminded her of the themes raised in Margaret Atwood’s“Survival”, a particularly Canadian book. I’m not sure I still have a copy of that story, but looking back on it now, I remember it as being simply over-wrought.

Outstanding comment Larry. Which leads me on to, or more accurately, back to, my favourite topic of all. You guessed it—me.

Funnily enough, as Larry relates, I also wrote Jack Kerouac for a while, and am grateful to ‘Ti Jean’ for his“first thought best thought” approach to writing. Experimenting with just pouring the words out upon the page, never looking back like Lot of The Book of Genesis—just write, write, write and don’t worry what you write—all of this helped inestimably in the thousand-page journey to find my writer’s voice, and to my blessed relief, liberated me from the quagmire of over-analysis and hesitation.

About the time I was writing purple-hued, post-adolescent poetry, I landed a weekly column in a university newspaper—a particularly daring move considering I had all of two completed articles to my name. With twenty-six, due by 12pm Monday at the latest ahead of me, I was soon writing come agonising over-wrought, over-thought think-pieces on topics as diverse as Walt Whitman, Martin Luther King and myself. I think you can guess which topic was the odd one out.

The column—This Side of the (TV) Screen, collapsed after only twelve editions, crushed under weight of over-expectation and a nagging self-doubt. The task of six hundred worthy words a week seemed a mountain too high, and, despite knowing better, I couldn’t help but compare myself—unfavourably—to a fellow columnist, who wrote the most eloquent, lyrical pieces I had then ever seen. Despite my self-perceived flaws, the editor—son of a famous New Zealand poet and an emerging playwright—was more than encouraging, and looking back now—beyond the tears of frustration and sense of failure—it was a good learning experience—a commendable first start.

As an aside, I never met my columnist colleague that year—he was a secretive, mysterious scribe, and seldom ever seen. Several years later however I did, by which time I had graduated to Production Manager—he still a columnist. Would you believe it—despite his paper-eloquence and pen-in-hand wit he was in person nervous, neurotic and to the extreme meek, virtually apologising for his contributions before he even submitted them. Who would have thought…

No Failure
No failure, no failure.
Failure is the shadow
Of success.
No failure, no failure.
Failure is the changing body
Of success.
No failure, no failure.
Failure is the fast approaching train
Of the greatest success.

Sri Chinmoy, The Dance Of Life, Part 13, 1973

As someone once said, failure (upon failure) paves the road to success. And while I’m composing my victory speech, I should say that I couldn’t have done it without meditation.

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Writing lows


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HimalayasIt is said that the most common first sentence of a blog is“I haven’t posted anything in a while…” Seeing as I hate to be common, and have long given up avoiding the label“proud,” let me phrase a different introduction:

“It has been a couple of days…”

I should admit that keeping a diary was never one of my strong points. I tried several times as a child, and like every other sincerely made New Year’s resolution sincerely failed, running out of enthusiasm and inspiration within several pages, in all honesty lacking anything to say. Writing in a diary was no more cure for childhood boredom than the parental suggestion“Well you could tidy your room…”

Which makes this uncommon gap between posts better than it may read. Yes, I probably am my harshest critic, reality seldom intruding upon the setting of impossibly high standards, and by any other’s standards a five day gap between posts is really not so bad. I do have a life off-line—although friends may beg to differ—and building a website, delivering phone books (it’s a long story, but more than my fingers did the walking), instructing a webmaster friend on the finer points of DNS redirection and remote file synchronisation (at length, several times), working on a corporate video, and starting but not finishing several articles for publication takes no small amount of time, and perhaps more relevantly, not always unlimited creative energy.

And so, in something of a dry spell, I have done my best not to be alarmed, frustrated or anxious. Writers block is normal, even unavoidable for most and self, and not helped one single period by losing poise along with pen.

Going back to my roots, I meditated on occasion, a simple act whose positive benefits even a regular practitioner can overlook. It is human nature to seek greener grass; how often do I forget that the limitless fields of meditation are the greenest of all? Caught up at times in the energy, flow and excitement of writing, I am reminded again, and again, that silence is the most powerful source of words.

The miracle
is not to fly in the air,
or to walk on the water:
but to walk on the earth.

Chinese proverb

As a writer craves quality and brilliance, and always productivity, so people who practise meditation expect experiences, heights of bliss or vistas of consciousness, as in the satori or flashes of enlightenment of the Zen tradition. In meditation, as in writing, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that, like climbing a mountain, there are countless steps, highs and lows on the way to the summit or the end of the page. Meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy once compared enlightenment, the ultimate goal of meditation, as akin to climbing Mt. Everest—only a thousand times over. The final sentence in meditation, or writing, is that the journey is high, hard and long.

What am I saying exactly? Like writing, meditation is sheer hard work and sweet reward, and the transformation of human nature from less perfect to more perfect may seem near impossible at first; conquering jealousy, insecurity, fear and anger as difficult as straightening the proverbial tail of a dog.

Yet peak experiences in meditation are the result of lowly hard work. There is no short-cut or substitute for such, and as in the Chinese proverb, walking on the earth as a conscious human being is the true miracle.

It is the same in writing it seems. Great works come from dry spells and inspiration, and weathering them, even learning from them is a part of writing as well. Between high and low, the middle path of ordinary and unremarkable must be weathered and walked, one’s work, and art, furthered here on earth, not in heaven or hell.

As author William S. Burroughs once confessed,

“As a child, I had given up on writing, perhaps unable to face what every writer must: all the bad writing he will have to do before he does any good writing.”

Bear with me as I try to do some good writing…

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Synchronicity walk with me


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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWFYXex6LvU

Apologies to regular readers but I am going to return to a recurring theme come bottomless well of personal resonance, again. Coincidences, unsought parallels and junctures of meaning, events that hint at an unseen order and harmony to our universe and give life meaning—sometimes profoundly so; such things I take an avid, even obsessive interest in.

Being as I am committed to a regular practise of meditation, a student of meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy for the past eleven years, and a practitioner of meditation at least once a day for several more, it should come as no surprise that I make a habit of connecting dots, or to be precise, painting them in vivid colours not pencil-thin lines, more akin to the French pointillist Georges-Pierre Seurat than a statistician’s graph.

george_seurat.jpgLike the New Zealand poet James K. Baxter, who shrouded everyday events in a cloak of myth varying shades Jungian and Catholic, and whom believed people to be islands joined at a deeper level by the waters of the unconscious, I find that opening oneself to the deeper flow of life, which the act meditation does so profoundly, combined with a heightened awareness of life’s finer, smaller details—the meaning hidden between written lines—throws open a new, inner universe of meaning in almost everything that we do.

Which is why I was pleasantly surprised to discover recently that several of my favourite artists and musicians of yester-year practise meditation. Surprised, because my affinity for them wasn’t conscious in any sense—I liked them certainly, but had never given thought to the how and why.

Howard Jones, and yes I am going back, back, back in time to the 1980‘s, a British synth-pop star of the decade many would rather forget or regret, has been a Buddhist for almost twenty years now, and a re-examination of the lyrics from any of his chart-topping albums discover once overlooked references to the philosophy of India’s Vedas and China’s Tao Te Ching, in number more repetitive than a broken record. Perhaps not so surprising really—Jones from the beginning was a master of an uplifting message as well as a catchy tune—song titles like“Things can only get better” and“Everlasting love” should have been a clue that my then childhood self was wiser than I assumed.

Another in whom I once found an innate sense of meaning, at the time undefinable beyond a wordless affinity, was film director David Lynch. Of course I should admit that I studied film at university—it is the basis of my stuck somewhere at the bottom of a box Bachelor of Arts Degree—so it is not just an accident of fate that I am able to roll the titles of his filmography with ease and familiarity from my tongue, or write thousands of empty words about their symbolism or meaning.

In all of the odd, random and downright disturbing imagery of his work, there was a mystical, otherworldly symbolism which I unconsciously responded to—a depth of psyche so rare in contemporary film I forgave him 85 minutes of“difficulty” for a treasured single straw, wheat personally salvaged from field of chaff.

Such was my love for Lynch’s films, even if the meaning I found in them was mostly my own, it wasn’t really a surprise to discover that he has been practising meditation for over 30 years.“Of course he has!” I exclaimed at this after the fact vindication of my once upon a time obsession. It was almost predictable, such is the thick thread of synchronicity in the events that lead me to meditation.

I avidly followed Twin Peaks while in High School without quite knowing why. It was a breath of fresh air, certainly, something of a revelation in a time of personal spiritual and cultural aridness, and seemed to hint at something which, although I could not place a finger on it, I was so desperately seeking in all but name.

A quick re-viewing of just a fragment of the show reveals why: a not-so-hidden, mystical symbolism that had me laughing at the blatant synchronicity of it all—was there ever any doubt that meditation, the one thing that gives my present life a bedrock of meaning, would ever find me?

It seems if you take life to be a path towards something, a work in progress if you will, destination not always known, each forward step brings people and places into your life of like-hearted outlook. It’s that old but sagely saying,“birds of a feather flock together.”

Should it really be surprising that one who now views his life as a from beginning to end journey towards spirituality, which for me is a by-word to a life of profound inner meaning, as opposed to transplanted dogma or thin-lipped ideology, should have been unconsciously gravitating towards people on the very same journey he was about to begin?

In the journey of chance, attitude is all important, because it is in my opinion the positive or negative slant we put upon our experiences and the people we meet that determines what we gain from them, what meaning we take from them. And I didn’t just read that in a book—there are a number of years of my life that I would gladly live over again with a radical change of heart. From the always wiser perspective of hindsight, a life that once seemed barren and devoid of meaning was anything but—but the knowledge and experience that would give it meaning lay just around a corner.

Or even closer actually—already in my hands, playing on my walkman and on my TV.

Synchronicity, serendipity and coincidence happen all the time, but they require a receptiveness to the idea that life may not be quite as random as it seems…

In a another’s vein:

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The Optimism of Uncertainty


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Howard Zinn is one of the most prominent and respected historians in the world today, and among the pioneers of “People’s History”—the movement to document history from the perspective of the ordinary people who collectively make it—and lived it, rather than as broad, faceless trends.

Few historians or their work for that matter appear on prime time television or in blockbuster films, but Zinn has featured in both, cited in an argument about Columbus Day in The Sopranos, and mentioned in Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon’s character saying “If you want to read a real history book, read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.” It is perhaps a little known fact that Howard and Roslyn Zinn were neighbours to the Damon family in West Newton, Massachusetts, and baby-sat the future Hollywood star and his brothers.

howard_zinn-historian.pngIn his seminal, award winning A People’s History of the United States, Zinn was one of the first historians to write a comprehensive history of colonisation from the perspective of the colonised, and in rewriting the role of Columbus it is safe to say that that icon of Italian-American machismo, Tony Soprano, is not a fan.

Since its original publication in 1980 A People’s History has sold over a million copies, and is required reading as a textbook in many high schools and colleges. It is considered to be one of the most widely known examples of critical pedagogy—the academic analogy to the age-old meditative discipline of discrimination, equally interested in arriving at truth:

Habits of thought, reading, writing, and speaking which go beneath surface meaning, first impressions, dominant myths, official pronouncements, traditional cliches, received wisdom, and mere opinions, to understand the deep meaning, root causes, social context, ideology, and personal consequences of any action, event, object, process, organization, experience, text, subject matter, policy, mass media, or discourse.
Ira Shor, Empowering Education

howard_zinn_bombardier_england_1945.jpgUnlike most academics, Zinn has actually made history as well as written about it, first as a part of “The Greatest Generation,” a bombardier who dropped bombs on Western Europe, including one of the tragic first uses of napalm near the war’s close; later as a tenured history professor in Atlanta, Georgia, who eventually lost his position due a very public involvement and fostering of the Civil Rights movement—Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker (The Color Purple) and Marian Wright Edelman (founder Children’s Defense Fund) were among his students.

Zinn’s wartime experiences saw him become a lifelong advocate of non-violence and an unequivocal opponent of war. He was one of the most outspoken critics of the Vietnam War in the 1960s, securing the release of American POWs from North Vietnam and assisting in the release of the Petagon Papers, an act which contributed to turning the tide of popular opinion against the war.

Noam Chomsky, pioneering linguist, social conscience and perhaps pre-eminent intellect of our time states of his personal friend, that he “changed the consciousness of a generation.”

In the following essay, The Optimism of Uncertainty, Howard Zinn makes a powerful case for continued optimism even in the worst of times, and like the poet, artist and meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy, sees the history of the world as one of slow but irresistible progress and improvement.

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Follow the rainbow


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rainbowman.jpgI’m having a great time at the moment following the site stats for A Sensitivity to Things. Which is not to say that I am statistically inclined, not particularly any way, not like one of my webmaster friends, who writes articles on economics in his part and full time; rather, I am enjoying discovering the where and how in the world people are beating a path to my door.

Near the very end of the visitor origin stats, and right at the bottom of the list of search key-phrases, were a handful of surfers who visited by following a rainbow, more literally than figuratively, their Google searches for the meaning of rainbows leading them to a recent posting of Sri Chinmoy’s beautiful explanation of their spiritual significance. I certainly hope they found their pot of gold.

One search key-phrase however stood out from the rest, like a multi-hued rainbow across a sky of dull grey if you will:

“Seeing a rainbow in your living room means what?”

Er, what?! I think a rainbow just appeared in my mind…

I told you I was having a great time—a seemingly simple phrase, a possible statistical anomaly and among all the visitors recorded a one in a thousand rarity had me more than intrigued. Rainbows are special, certainly, but a rainbow in your living room? Now that is something I would like to see!

And find too. Long since through the rabbit hole, I am compelled to follow this rainbow further…

A quick search of Google (0.22 seconds for the statistically minded) revealed 1,190,000 potential answers. Curious to see where an in-the-spirit-of-serendipity search would lead me, and mildly interested to know how high my only-several-weeks-old website was ranking, I followed a rainbow to the following sites, listed in rough order of search ranking and ability to catch my fickle eye:

Harmonic Concordance
“Creation began with a tone, and so it shall end as all is about harmonics.”

Forgetting for a moment my just created philosophy of colour-dazed search, I stopped for a moment to read, reminded of a conversation overheard in childhood about how you could destroy the entire world with the right harmonic frequency (!), although ‘wrong frequency’ it seems to me would be a more apt description. Several paragraphs in though I draw back the reins of my eyes—it is time to press on and follow the hand of serendipity rather than the heels of distraction.

Moving down the list and then to the next page, my eye is caught by the name of the following site, and upon further investigation, its writers’ disturbingly positive outlook:

A mommy going crazy
“I see the rainbow! This afternoon I am feeling much better, I still have my wrist in a splint, but that is my only obstacle I am faced with today, YEAH!”

I have often wondered how to live with psychic gifts. The next site tells you how:

Living with your Psychic Gifts
“As for your psychic abilities, it seems to me you are both a healer and an empath. Different abilities can combine like this, it isn’t uncommon. The heat you feel is the movement of the healing force through you. Let it happen! Set an intention that you will heal them, see positive white or rainbow energy flowing from you into them. Read Hands of Light and other healing books. The world needs more healers!”

rainbow_storm.jpgHmm, I read that book once. Kind of made me feel bad for not being able to enter into other dimensions as easily as described by its author. Luckily I discovered in time, and not without bruising my forehead somewhat from repeated trying, that there is more than enough in the right here and now to fascinate and amaze, let alone any other plane of existence. It just requires a certain attention to detail, an open heart, and the ability to see the world as a child once again.

But what about rainbows? Aren’t we supposed to be following a rainbow? Back to the search…

Living the dream—A Rainbow Start
“Saw this rainbow while I was preparing to bathe, really happy to see it on a New Year’s Day (: Not being auspcious or superstitous here but it just bores well for a New Year.”

A rainbow on New Year’s Day? A fellow fan of syncronicity it seems. Glad to have made their acquaintance.

I suppose I’d better stop ignoring all of the ‘New Age’ search results. Yes, nobody has a monopoly on wisdom and insight (especially not myself), so I really shouldn’t be so dismissive of crystal gazing, well-meaning wearers of rainbow coloured sweat-pants…

the meditation room, your window to the world of life after death
“The Fifth Chakra: This is the throat chakra and deals with communication, expression and judgment. It has the color of blue, the crystal stone is blue lace agate and it has the musical note of “G”. The blue lace agate crystal stone will help with expressing how you feel. In other words to help clear and clarify the way you wish to communicate. This chakra controls the vocal chords, the thyroid gland and the bronchial system. This chakra can sometimes be the most important of all the chakras. Because it controls the thyroid gland, and it is this particular gland that has complete jurisdiction over the entire body. If the gland is not operating properly then it can create all sorts of very bad sickness. When in an activating mode, this particular chakra, through your meditations, will then be dealing with the frustration’s within your communications that you will have to resolve. It is with this chakra that you will question the wisdom of your self expression when it is concerned with your judgment of others. When you meditate on this chakra, your throat chakra, you will find that your voice will become a lot clearer and more fuller in depth, with the sincerity of life itself..”

Interesting stuff. And there is more. Much, much more…

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Life is but a dream…


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A circumzenithal arc (upside down rainbow) by Andrew G. Saffas

Serendipity: Thanks, Horace Walpole by Sumangali Morhall has left me reaching for superlatives and floundering in imitation. A total of two mentions to this web diary? Flattered beyond due, how could I not be effusive in my praise!

On the topic of serendipity, still, I am reminded of a friend from very long ago, an art student and later fellow practitioner of meditation who introduced me to the concept that life itself could be art. My ears picked up at this point; being something of a frustrated artist—one who could and should be doing creative things, had always planned to do them but convinced self that he was not “good” enough to—I knew intuitively as soon as he spoke that here was a better way to live; a chord was struck within.

In following this outlook, my friend and his art school acquaintances admittedly went to very unusual extremes. A flatmate of his, a particularly shy, awkward young man, took to roaming the streets in a reflective, silver spacesuit; several years later child-like quirkiness became full-blown strangeness, live art gallery performances and national magazine writeups of the very unusual party trick—sewing his own lips shut.

Borderline psychosis of fleeting acquaintances aside, I very much admired my friend’s philosophy of allowing life to surprise him, the way he sought joy in the random, the unusual and completely unplanned. Like leaving small amounts of money “forgetfully” in pockets; in a week or a month when next worn—a pleasant surprise!

To one used to planning and practicality but not terribly enamored of the consequences, seeing a person living thus opened my eyes, and ever since I have made a practise of always allowing life to surprise me. Like turning one’s eye skywards to glimpse a rainbow, serendipity and chance are there when looked for; accept them upon their own terms, graciously and un-demanded, their workings far more beautiful than explanation.

There is belief common to many religions and philosophies that maintains our world is an illusion. A more positive way of stating this, a way which doesn’t negate the meaning of our fleeting human experience and reality, is to see life as a game. This is Sri Chinmoy’s approach to living, and he describes it as God’s as well—a being whom he often refers to as an eternal child. If you take God to be omnipotent, omniscient and omni-present, and all the major philosophies do, then what could give such a being more joy than the unknown—a game of surprise?

It is said that God deliberately limits himself, hides from himself and his full capacity, just to be able to enjoy Himself and his creation more fully. This the real meaning of life; our lives an experience of God-becoming in the midst of limitation, God enjoying himself and his creation here on earth in ever-new ways, through our eyes and our human form. Life, it is said, is the ultimate game of hide and seek…

Hide and Seek
Every minute inspires me
To attempt.
Every hour perfects me
To ascend.
Every day illumines me
To reach.
In my attempt,
I have come to learn what I can be.
In my ascension,
I have come to learn who I eternally Am.
On my arrival,
God and I shall stop playing our age-long
Game,
Hide-and-Seek.
—Sri Chinmoy

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Your mind has been transported back in time… and to Mars


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After ranting about the lack intelligence, thought or anything else vaguely resembling human consciousness in the comments posted at youtube recently, I have to admit an exception to the rule of my thumb. The following are a selection of comments posted about a cartoon called Adventure Time, and in the absence of an already written soliloquy about childhood as the true state of being, including references to Sri Chinmoy and the poet Wordsworth, their quotes will just have to do.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNVYWJOEy9A

auracom1: Sadly some people need drugs to be imaginative. This is such a sophisticated animation for today’s standards. It embodies pure ingenuous imagination, fun to watch, and appeals to varied audience. I don’t think this should be on Adult Swim, it’s too good for that.
blakeyblakes: nick toons meet crack cocaine. WHOA!!! ALGRBRAIC!
lollermachine: You don’t have to be on drugs to be imaginative.
bonza
: I’ve never seen anything more amazing in my life. Nothing will ever, EVER be worthwhile watching compared to this!! X3
FLIMFLAMBOB: That was MATHEMATICAL!
Soaprman
:“Your mind has been transported back in time… and to Mars.” —best thing on Youtube ever.

Rumour has it that Viacom is taking this video down from youtube shortly, so get in quickly to see possibly the most amazing cartoon ever!

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Serendipity


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Sri Chinmoy

I discovered a new website today; new to me and to the rest of the world, for much like this site it has only just started. Sumangali.org, named after its owner, is dedicated to and I quote:

“…to the spirit of serendipity: finding good-fortune from unexpected sources; discovering the extraordinary in the ordinary, and the new in the familiar, fueled by the sense that all we need is already within us—we only need learn how to look…”

I’m definitely in favour of these sentiments; in fact I think my last post was about them. Now that’s serendipitous!

In the spirit of serendipity I am now going to post a comment by Sri Chinmoy on rainbows, found by myself in exactly this spirit:

“A rainbow is composed of seven colours and seven rays. A rainbow always means success and progress at the same time, even if that success and progress are not in the outer world. A rainbow signifies success, progress, divine victory—everything positive. When you see a rainbow, in the outer world you may not observe your success, but in the inner world, progress has taken place or is about to take place. Again, if it is not destined for you to have success or progress, then you are not going to see a rainbow. Even if the rainbow is there, you will be looking somewhere else. When you are walking, you will be looking at your feet to keep your balance. The rainbow will be there in the sky, but you will miss it. Then for you there will be no success, no progress. If you are meant to have success or progress, then even while driving the car, you will turn your gaze and you will see it. But if you are not going to make progress, you will be looking somewhere else. So always look at the sky. Do not look at the ground all the time.”

From Sri Chinmoy Answers, pt9.

Now that I think of it, I haven’t seen a rainbow in a while…

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The machine is using us


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Imagine the internet as an enormous machine. Do we use the machine, or is the machine using us?

This is the premise behind a brilliant video posted on YouTube recently, an imaginative exploration of the ideas behind “Web 2.0” by an associate professor of Digital Ethnology at Kansas State University. At the time of writing it has been viewed by well over a million people, speaking much of the power of internet to connect and inform us. Reading the comments left by viewers of video however speaks something of the opposite.

I was fascinated by the idea of the internet once: the convergence of media and content which captivated almost everybody in the late 90’s—time of boom before bust for what is now called Web 1.0, and birthplace for champions of an interconnected, permanently connected available-on-demand future is now—a Brave New World. How soon the imaginary becomes the ordinary…

The idea behind the video is intriguing—that the internet is slowly evolving into a living, breathing, mindful entity through our use of it; the pathways we take, the content we create, the way we label things all teaching the“machine” to“think.” Is the machine serving us, or are we serving the machine?

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