Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"Baby Drugs!" by Tristen (w/Larissa Maestro) at Toad, Cambridge 6/18/09

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Fourteenth Dalai Lama
His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso
In one way - in material terms - this present generation has reached a high level of development. Yet at the same time, we human beings are facing many problems. Some are due to external events or causes, such as natural disasters. These we cannot avoid.
However, many problems are created by our own mental defects; we suffer due to an internal lack. I call these problems unnecessary ones, for if we adopt a right mental attitude, these man-made problems need not arise.
Often they are due to differences in ideology, and unfortunately different religious faiths are also sometimes involved. Hence it is very important that we have a right attitude. There are many different philosophies, but what is of basic importance is compassion, love for others, concern for others' suffering, and reduction of selfishness. I feel that compassionate thought is the most precious thing there is. It is something that only we human beings can develop. And if we have a good heart, a warm heart, warm feelings, we will be happy and satisfied ourselves, and our friends will experience a friendly and peaceful atmosphere as well. This can be experienced nation to nation, country to country, continent to continent.
The basic principle is compassion, love for others. Underlying all is the valid feeling of 'I', and on a conventional level, there is an I- "I want this," "I do not want that." We experience this feeling naturally, and naturally we want happiness- "I want happiness," "I do not want suffering." Not only is it natural, it is right. It needs no further justification; it is a natural feeling validated simply by the fact that we naturally and correctly want happiness and do not want suffering.
Based on that feeling, we have the right to obtain happiness and the right to get rid of suffering. Further, just as I myself have this feeling and this right, so others equally have the same feeling and the same right. The difference is that when you say 'I', you are speaking of just one single person, one soul. Others are limitless. Thus, one should visualize the following: On one side imagine your own I which so far has just concentrated on selfish aims. On the other side imagine others - limitless, infinite beings. You yourself are a third person, in the middle, looking at those on either side. As far as the feeling of wanting happiness and not wanting suffering, the two sides are equal, absolutely the same. Also with regard to the right to obtain happiness they are exactly the same. However, no matter how important the selfishly motivated person is, he or she is only one single person; no matter how poor the others are, they are limitless, infinite. The unbiased third person naturally can see that the many are more important than the one. Through this, we can experience, can feel, that the majority-the other limitless beings-are more important than the single person 'I'.
Thus, the question is: Should everyone be used for my attainment of happiness, or should I be used to gain happiness for others?
If I am used for these infinite beings, it is right. If others are used for this single I, it is absolutely wrong. Even if you can use these others, you will not be happy, whereas if this one single one contributes, serves as much as he or she can, that is a source of great joy. It is in terms of this attitude that real compassion and love for others can be developed.
Compassion which is based on such reasoning and feelings can be extended even to one's enemies. Our ordinary sense of love and compassion is actually very much involved with attachment. For your own wife or husband, your parents, your children, you have a feeling of compassion and love. But because it is in fact related with attachment, it cannot include your enemies. Again it is centered on a selfish motivation - because these are my mother, my father, my children, I love them. In contrast to this is a clear recognition of the importance and rights of others. If compassion is developed from that viewpoint, it will reach even to enemies.
In order to develop such a motivation of compassion, we must have tolerance, patience. In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher. Your enemy can teach you tolerance whereas your teacher or parents cannot. Thus from this viewpoint, an enemy is actually very helpful - the best of friends, the best of teachers.
In my own experience, the period of greatest gain in knowledge and experience is the most difficult period in one's life. If you go along in an easy way, with everything okay, you feel everything is just fine. Then one day when you encounter problems, you feel depressed and hopeless. Through a difficult period you can learn, you can develop inner strength, determination, and courage to face the problem. Who gives you this chance? Your enemy.
This does not mean that you obey or bow down to your enemy. In fact, sometimes, according to the enemy's attitude, you may have to react strongly - but, deep down, calmness and compassion must not be lost. This is possible. Some people may think, "Now the Dalai Lama is talking nonsense," but I am not. If you practice this, if you test it in your own experience, you can feel it yourself.
The development of love and compassion is basic, and I usually say that this is a main message of religion. When we speak of religion, we need not refer to deeper philosophical issues. Compassion is the real essence of religion.

(First section of an essay, for the full essay follow this link)  

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Beautiful Nature

It's been a long couple of days with the Moon square Chiron yesterday and then into Aquarius today.... how much do I love understanding nature? THIS MUCH! But finally after a nighttime walk with my dogs and laying on my new rug that looks like a giant version of one of them, the ick is starting to flake off my mood and the old me is literally unfurling (I swear I can feel it like petals popping gently away from the center of a blooming flower bud). And what a relief because I spent all day trying to get back to feeling like this. Like me.
I just heard this evening that in 2011 Uranus squares Pluto and half of me is absolutely dreading it and the other half can't freakin' wait. Who will I be next!

‎"My soul can find no staircase to heaven unless it be through Earth's loveliness." - Michaelangelo

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I had a dream the other night that I was driving on the freeway. I wanted to take the lane to the right that was an interchange to another freeway but for some reason my car was pulling so strongly to the left that it was all I could do to hold it in the lane. It was trying to go down a different interchange or maybe just stay on the road it was on. But I knew I had to go the other way and so even though I missed my ramp I pulled over onto the shoulder to get things straightened out. I'd put a back pillow in my seat and seemed to think that this had thrown me off balance and made me drive crooked for some reason so I took it away and felt that I had too much space around me, couldn't lean back comfortably to drive. I needed to readjust everything and then I would get off the freeway and get back on the freeway I wanted.
Driving a car in a dream is all about how much control you feel you have over your life. I've had driving dreams my entire life. This is one of the few in which I was completely in control and able to stop and turn things around when I felt the car trying to take control, or the road -whatever it was.
When I woke up that morning I felt a little weird about the dream. I thought, is this a message that I'm not doing as well as I thought I was? But I decided to believe that it was a message that I am doing an amazing job at transforming my life to be more the way I want it to be. And at the end of this week, this now seems very true.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Saturday Love

I was just wondering if it's a huge act of faith to not have tags on my dogs. One because I keep forgetting to have one made, the other because I took off her collar a few weeks ago for a bath and for some reason don't want to put it back on. Like I know she's not going anywhere. And I kind of do. But I just went and put it on her again anyway. 
I've cats all my life and I don't think even one ever wore a collar. And I never lost one. But cats are different, more independent and smart and calm -they don't get overly excited when they've realized they're outside their comfort zone. Actually, sometimes they do but in such a more knowing way. They simply don't get lost. Some dogs are like this, too. Dogs who have freedom. When they know that you'll let them go they always come back. People are like that, too. But we underestimate them the same way we underestimate our dogs. Ok, there are cars, too. It's all this dangerous man made crap that screws up freedom, isn't it?

So I'm trying like crazy to figure out what color and style couch to buy. What says "me" better than a thoroughly puppy chewed ugly yellow leather with funny feet couch? And I honestly don't know. It turns into what do I want the whole living room to look like if I can have it perfectly my way someday. But right now I'm just trying to get started. What freaking color couch. I can only buy one thing and everything else can be decided later. The possibilities are infinite. But I think I'm getting it narrowed down.

I must be the slowest decorator ever. Last Christmas I wanted to paint the living room but I didn't know what color I wanted. I painted it in June when I didn't have a car. I've been looking for a couch at least as long. 
A minute ago I was up on a chair slightly toasted, changing a light bulb thinking, someone should really stop me.

I'm feeling kind of like this today.

...and a lot like this.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I Love

I love my puppies and my kitty and my few good friends.
Life is about triumphing over challenges. Once you've overcome them a new opportunity will appear. And a new challenge.
Love is challenging. Once you've overcome it, a new love will appear. And it will challenge you.
I love to grow and learn. Every. Day.