Winter Solstice

winter solsticeWhat better time to start the year than on the day that the light overcomes the dark and the days get longer? The Winter Solstice in its majesty teaches us 1) that astronomy is fun and that 2) that the light does overcome the dark. That the light will arise in us and awaken our inner eye and we will see in a way we have not seen before. What a perfect time to start the new year!

Life goes On…

Mayan CalendarWe will look back at all the craziness surrounding the Mayan calendars one day and laugh. You see, recently they have discovered other Mayan calendars that continue on where the last ones left off. On top of this many Mayan ancestors to this day in Guatemala have been telling everyone who would listen that the new-age crazy people who want so much for the world to end to corruption, violence, hate etc, and open up into a new world with fluffy cats pouring in from another dimension to take place, are wrong! Sorry folks, this just is not what will happen. Sure you can have some fun with an ancient calendar ending and a new one beginning, but do not use it as an opportunity to con other people out of money. The only realization is that the world will get better if people actively participate in making it a better place. If you want to make the world a better place why not donate to a charity who could use the money like the Compassionate Action Network. May your new year be full of Joy and Wonder!

To Dream Again …

“Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices,
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again.”

― William Shakespeare, The Tempest

Don’t Leave home without your Towel!

Kitten Curled up in a TowelDon’t Leave home without your towel. While this advice may sound corney, it is not. This is to show how sometimes in life humour is needed to lighten a path that otherwise may seem gloomy.

Towels are always useful, if you are out driving and get caught in a rainstorm walking to your car, and rain gets in your car you have something to dry off with. If you need a handy pillow, then roll up your towel, and viola instant pillow. Or maybe you are taking a nap outside and do not want the sun in your eyes, then you can use your towel to cover up your eyes. Say a meteorite falls to the ground and is very hot, then you have something you can pick it up with. If you have a cat, then you have an instant cat bed.

Hopefully now you can appreciate the practicality and humor a simple object can afford. How it can bring a smile to your face, and improve your mood if you are feeling depressed.

Fear is the Mind Killer

Aït BenhaddouLately while reading Frank Herbert’s book Dune, I was struck once again by the Litany against Fear, and how powerful words can be in manifesting a state of calm in our minds. Here is the Litany against Fear for those not aware of it:

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

 

This is one of the many inspiring things I have come across lately. It has the ability to free the mind and carry it to a point where all things are possible.

The Joys of Science Fiction

Sunrise over EarthLately I have taken up reading again; well, reading science fiction novels. When I was younger I enjoyed reading science fiction books, spending many a summer day out of the heat reading away. These novels influenced me in subtle ways that still flow through me today. Often when talking to people about what books they read, they will say that they only read non-fiction, that they do not like the “unreality” of fictional novels. In my opinion we need a balance in life, not to hot, not to cold. Reading only one type of book leaves our minds in an unbalance, seeking, craving the “unrealities” that make it thrive for new possibilities.

To start things back on the sci-fi reading track I chose Frank Herbert’s Dune, In my younger years of working in bookstores I remember hearing Dune mentioned frequently as a excellent work of science fiction. So I am finally reading it after watching the Sci-Fi mini-series Dune and Children of Dune. For me this is more of a coming back to my roots of my joy of reading that through the years has gone down the meandering road from fervent reading to laxidasical reading. I hope by reading this you are inspired to pick up a book (you know those paper things) and sit down and enjoy a good mental journey into the unknown.

Joseph Campbell – Myths and Us

Chinese Imperial LionJoseph Campbell was one of those rare minds that history brings forth to open peoples eyes and minds to a new way of seeing the world. His ideas on the Hero with a Thousand Faces, and also the Mythology of the world are thought provoking and enlightening. Lately I’ve been watching the Power of Myth Series, Sukhaviti, and also the Mythos Series. It is very hard to stop watching. Call it a compulsion to learn and grow; a spiritual purification for the mind to wash out all the bogus junk that is thrown at us daily in the way of “spiritual” ideas.

What is Friendship?

AristotleFriendships as Aristotle saw them came in three varieties, friendships for pleasure, utility and virtue. He describes them in this manor. The cause of friendship between young people seems to be pleasure. For their lives are guided by their feelings, and they pursue above all what is pleasant for themselves and what is near at hand. But as they grow up, what they find pleasant changes too. Hence they are quick to become friends, and quick to stop; pleasure friendships are a thing of youth. Friendships based on utility seem to arise especially among older people, since at that age they pursue what is advantageous, not what is pleasant, and also among those int heir prime or youth who pursue what is expedient. Nor do such people live together very much. For sometimes they do not even find each other pleasant. Hence they have no further need to meet this way if they are not advantageous to each other. Complete friendship is friendship of good people similar in virtue; for they wish goods in the same way for each other in so far as they are good, and they are good in themselves. Now those who wish goods to the friend for the friend’s sake are friends most of all; for they have this attitude because of the friend himself, not coincidentally. Hence these people’s friendship last as long as they are good and virtue is enduring.

Aristotle commented that friendships based on virtue are rare in the world. For people need time to grow accustomed to each other; for, as the proverb says, they cannot know each other before they have shared the traditional peck of salt. The main thing to think about when thinking of friendship is; are you seeking pleasure, utility, or virtue? For we need all three in our lives at one time or another for growth to occur.

Incense

Incense in Buddhist TempleIncense has been around since man first learned of fire. Some people have an aversion towards all things incense. Usually this aversion stems from a bad experience in childhood, or maybe they were burnt at the stake in a previous lifetime; for the rest of who enjoy incense it can bring a wonderful aroma to our noses and bring back memories and experiences past, and relax the mind and body. I remember incense from days in churches around the holy times of the year where the priests would fumigate the church to purify it. The time I went to a local hindu temple and smelled the aroma of the incense in the air. Going to other sacred spaces and smelling the incense there. Incense always reminds me of healing and purification.

Here are a few of my favorite brands of incense are Shoyeido, Nippon Kodo, and the Friends of Nub Gon Monestary. Of course there are other brands that I enjoy but I am primarily fond of the Japanese and Tibetan/Nepali/Himalayan incenses. If you have another favorite, leave a comment below. I am always looking for new aromas to try!