Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A Single Word Can Brighten the Face

From a collection of poems The Drop that Became the Sea by Yunus Emre.  First person to express  poems in Turkish, he died ~1320. I'm enjoying this volume.  There is much to think about and meditate here.  The poem below slugged me in the heart.

A single word can brighten the face
of one who knows the value of words.
Ripened in silence, a single word
acquires a great energy for work.

War is cut short by a word,
and a word heals the wounds,
and there's a word that changes
poison into butter and honey

Let a word mature inside yourself.
Withhold the unripened thought
Come and understand the word
that reduces the money and riches to dust

Know when to speak a word
and when not to speak at all
A single word turns a universe of hell
in eight paradises.

Follow the Way.  Don't be fooled
by what you already know.  Be watchful
Reflect before you speak.
A foolish mouth can brand your soul.

Yunus, say one last thing
about the power of words-
Only the word "I"
divides me from God.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Creation: Not Static but Dynamic

Here's a pithy thought lifted from my Kindle clippings.  Kindle makes it easy to go back to books I've read earlier and see what has jumped out at me that I've highlighted.  Without leaving my chair I can thumb through the hundred or so books that are on the device.  I keep coming back to Ilia Delio's books as they are easy to jump into at any location to pick up an interesting thought.  

Christ in Evolution (Ilia Delio)
- Your Highlight on Location 482-483 | Added on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 5:10:18 AM

Creation is not about a static world but a relationship between the dynamic being of God and a world in process of coming to be.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Quote regarding walking on the moon from Myths to Live By - Joseph Campbell

While browsing through a West Town Mall bookstore Thanksgiving weekend 1986, I made one of the most important discoveries of my thought-life.  My in-laws were in town visiting for the purpose of cheering us up.  A few days earlier our second attempt of the year to adopt a child had failed.   So it was fitting for our family to make a trip to the main shopping area in Knoxville of that time.  I don't recall what attracted and impelled me to reach for "Myths to Live By" by Joseph Campbell.  It was just what I needed.  From then up to the mid-nineties, I purchased and read several thousand pages of his works.  This includes his 4 volume "The Masks of God", "The Hero of a Thousand Faces" and other writings.  I recorded and listened to all his interviews with Bill Moyers.  I'll leave it to the reader to do their own internet search to learn more about him.  Where he connected with me was the way he constructed a grand story of how religion developed and evolved in human history.  He is both a modern person who accepts and affirms science and one who finds value not only in our Western Christian heritage but the views from the East also of which he was intimately, experientially knowledgeable.  He was a Jungian. 

He was able to explain to me the evolution of human religious expression.  In Primative Mythology he starts his account so deep in our history that homo habilis and homo erectus are included.  When I came to his work, I was very frustrated with my internal and external religious life.  He greatly relieved my internal pressures by showing me how things came to be the way they were. He gave me a direction for further research and hope. 

The quote below is from the the eleventh chapter of "Myths to Live By" titled Moon Walk: the Outward Journey.  The chapter gives his thoughts in response soon after the first two trips to the Moon in 1969 and 1970.  He was very excited about it and what it would mean.  He would live to 1987.  By then the Space Shuttle program had long ago supplanted the Apollo program.  The quote accents both aspects of his program, he is open both to modern technology and innovation of the outer world and exploration and explication of the inner world. 

It is my whole present thesis, consequently, that we are at this moment participating in one of the very greatest leaps of the human spirit to a knowledge not only of outside nature but also of our own deep inward mystery that has ever been taken, or that ever will or ever can be taken.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Recent Books Read

Mike and Maxine:  Whither Thou Goest..: Two Alzheimer's Journeys by Jan Fielder Ziegler

from Amazon's description:  First Mike. Then Maxine. The inspiring story of the heartrending descent of this husband and wife into the abyss of Alzheimer’s unfolds in a series of poignant interrelated essays. A moving personal story of their family recorded by their daughter Jan over a period of a quarter of century as they journeyed together on a struggle that is simultaneously universal but uniquely theirs.

Finding God in the Waves:  How I Lost My Faith And Found It Again Through Science by Mike McHargue

from Goodreads description:  From the host of the popular podcasts, The Liturgists Podcast and Ask Science Mike, a story of having faith, losing it, and finding it again through science—revealing how the latest in neuroscience, physics, and biology help us understand God, faith, and ourselves.

Stars Beneath Us:  Finding God in the Evolving Cosmos by Paul Wallace

From the blurb by Barnes and Noble:  Stars Beneath Us brilliantly shows God's presence in the ever-evolving cosmos. Relying on his upbringing as a Baptist, his doctoral work in experimental nuclear physics and gamma-ray astronomy, and his ordination to the gospel ministry, Paul Wallace weaves a book unlike any other in faith-and-science literature. 

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemigway

A classic I finally read

How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with you Mind  Pema Chodron 

Been meditating for a year and a half now.  While I don't do it everyday, it is now a habit.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The 2nd Axial Period

Have been thinking lately about the cycles and periods of history.  Karl Jaspers, in the middle of the last century and around the time I was born, put forth the idea that a critical time in human history was the middle of the millenium before Jesus.  Across the world from Greece to the Far East, there was a change from emphasis on group identity towards the individual person.  Below is a clear description that I'm studying.  

The article is from Ilia Delio's web site, The Omega Center. It is by Matthew Wright, an Episcopal Priest.  The second paragraph of the article is included here.

The Second Axial Emergence

The religious landscape is shifting—no one will argue with that. People are leaving traditional religious frameworks in droves, while the number of those identifying as “spiritual but not religious” (SBNR) is on the rise. While some of the religious faithful decry this shift as inherently negative, I believe there’s a framing in which we can see it not only as a hopeful sign for the human family, but for our religious traditions as well.
The twentieth-century philosopher Karl Jaspers coined the notion of the “Axial Age”—a window of time that fell roughly between 800 and 200 BCE.1 It’s the period of human history during which the headwaters of all our great religious traditions began to form, seemingly independently around the globe: Lao Tzu taught the way of the Tao in China; the seers of the Upanishads were busy realizing the Self in India; the Hebrew prophets preached social justice and monotheism in Israel; the early Greek philosophers emerged; the Buddha had his great awakening. A planetary shift in spiritual understanding was underway.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Rudolf Steiner and how to Win an Argument

Thought for today.  Re-discovered this when reviewing Clippings in my Kindle.  I've still not finished it.  Can't say that I understand this book very well.  The book is How to Know Higher Worlds  by Rudolf Steiner.  I don't recall the context but it speaks for itself a truth that needs to be communicated.  The title to this post is tongue-in-cheek.  The goal should not be to win the argument.

This thought is: “It does not matter if what I think differs from what the other person thinks. What matters is that, as a result of what I can contribute to the conversation, the other discovers what is right out of themselves.” Permeating ourselves with thoughts of this kind seals our character and conduct with the mark of gentleness. Such gentleness is one of the main methods of esoteric schooling. Gentleness removes obstacles, opening our soul and spirit organs. But harshness—callousness—frightens away the soul forms that should awaken the eyes of the soul.

How to Know Higher Worlds (Rudolf Steiner)
- Highlight Loc. 1187-91 | Added on Tuesday, October 20, 2015, 04:37 AM

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Monday, January 30, 2017

Designing Your Mind - an essay from This Will Make You Smarter

For Christmas I received the book This Will Make You Smarter.  Published in 2012, it consists of about 150 responses to the question “What Scientific Concept Would Improve Everybody’s Cognitive Toolkit?”  The responders are scientists, doctors, journalists and other interesting people with a connection to science.  The essays are short, three or four pages on average.  All of them had a valuable point.  Several jumped out at me, particularly this one.

Designing Your Mind – Donald Tapscott

I only discovered this person in the past year.  Donald Tapscott is a Canadian business person, about my age, who has followed, examined, and written about how the digital world is changing us, affecting how we do business and what will come about in our world because of it.  He and his son are now exploring and publicizing about the blockchain and alternative digital currencies.  In my opinion, 2017 will be the year that everyone becomes aware that this will revolutionize our financial transactions and in addition that it will affect our lives in ways not yet  conceived.  I’ve enjoyed several YouTube Videos by him.

His short essay is titled “Designing Your Mind”.  He states that

“Given recent research about brain plasticity and the dangers of cognitive load, the most powerful tool in our cognitive arsenal may well be design.  Specifically, we can use design principles and discipline to shape our minds.”

In brief, he provides evidence that our brains are sufficiently plastic that we can, by how we use our brains, effect physiological changes for our benefit.  We can re-wire our brains. 

“Results from studies like these support the notion that even among adults the persistent, concentrated use of one neighborhood of the brain really can increase its size and presumably its capacity.”

He cites Stan Kutcher that

“There is emerging evidence suggesting that exposure to new technologies may push the Net Generation [teenagers and young adults] brain past conventional capacity limitations.”

But not just the young can do this, even an oldster like myself can do it too.  Ways to accomplish this include mental rehearsal, memorizing, and practice.  By doing these things, we are taking an active role in designing our minds.  This is especially pertinent to me because at 66 I recognize my mind is not as sharp and quick as it used to be. This gives me hope that there is still a chance for improvement in certain ways and that I can remain useful to my loved ones and society.  

This Will Make You Smarter, J. Brockman ed;     ISBN-13:  9780062109392

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