Summer 2006"Love and do what you will.” - St. Augustine
“The finger pointing to the Moon, is not the Moon.” -Buddhist proverb
This Summer brings major life changes. I have moved west of Seattle to a beautiful island in Puget Sound. In the mornings, Mt. Rainer rises above the mist like a scene from an Asian print. There is a stillness which reminds me of my childhood. The morning birds; the sunlight on the trees. It feels like I am reawakening. I’m beginning to acknowledge the movement of time again. The years that we spend together with someone are never lost or negated. We live and we grow and change. Hopefully, in time, old wounds heal and there is forgiveness. In his latest book, A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle writes, “Ego takes everything personally... Every ego confuses opinions and viewpoints with facts. Ego cannot tell the difference between an event and its reaction to that event. Every ego is a master of selective perception and distorted interpretation... Beyond the realm of simple and verifiable facts, the certainty that “I am right and you are wrong” is a dangerous thing in personal relationships as well as in interactions between nations, tribes, and religions... But, if the belief “I am right and you are wrong” is one of the ways in which the ego strengthens itself, if making yourself right and others wrong is a mental dysfunction that perpetuates separation and conflict between human beings, does that mean that there is no such thing as a right or wrong behavior, action, or belief ?...All religions are equally false and equally true depending on how you use them. You can use them in the service of the ego or you can use them in the service of the Truth. There is only one absolute Truth, and all other truths emanate from it...Can the Truth be put into words? Yes, but the words are not it. They only point to it. The Truth is inseparable from who you are. Yes, you are the Truth. The very being that you are is the Truth. Christian mystics have called it the Christ within; Buddhists call it your Buddha nature; for Hindus, it is Atman, the indwelling God. When you are in touch with that dimension within yourself (and being in touch with it is your natural state, not some miraculous achievement) all your actions and relationships will reflect the oneness with all life that you sense deep inside. This is Love.” (pages 68-72)
We must trust ourselves wholeheartedly if we are to move forward in life without constant re-analysis. We have to be in touch with a “true” core self and move and make decisions with confidence and self assurance. But what if we are wrong or have false “beliefs” or are proven later to be “on the wrong side”? The otherday I was reminded of the time in my childhood when I learned to ride a bike. I was four or five. My Dad reassuringly held the bike from behind and slowly started running and pushing. I remember the feeling of wonder and amazement when I turned around to look at him pushing, He stood thirty feet behind me watching me ride on my own. As I recall, I promptly fell over. To continue riding, one must continue peddling. One must continue with forward momentum. After my midcareer retrospective, after my divorce, I am beginning to realize again the need for forward momentum to stay upright, to stay balanced, to continue moving on.
Speaking of moving on... I saw “An Inconvenient Truth” the other night. Al Gore is the man. See this movie.! At the end of the film we are asked, “Want to do something to help stop global warming?” Here are 10 simple things we can do...
1. Change a light (replacing one regular bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb saves 150 lbs of carbon dioxide a year.)
2. Drive less
4. Check your tires (properly inflated tires improve gas mileage by 3%)
5. Use less hot water
6. Avoid products with a lot of packaging
7. Adjust your thermostat a( a 2 degree adjustment summer and winter could save 2000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year)
8. Plant a tree ( a single tree absorbs One ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime)
9. Learn more about global warming (www.ClimateCrisis.net)
10. Take a friend to see An Inconvenient Truth.
I’ve recently seen a few other documentaries on DVD which are “must-sees”. They include...
1. OutFoxed (about the “joke” which is Fox “News”)
2. The Big Buy (how Tom Delay stole congress)
3. The Corporation (who owns whom) www.thecorporation.com. also of note, the beautifully crafted documentary
4. How to Draw a Bunny (the life and work of artist Ray Johnson)
And a selected Summer Reading list...
1. Eckhart Tolle -A New Earth
2. Pema Chodrin - No Time To Lose
3. The Essential Rumi translated by Coleman Barks
4. Vincent Desiderio - Paintings 1975- 2005
5. Kathryn Davis - A Thin Place
6. Liz Gilbert- Eat Pray Love
7. Andrew Wyeth Memory and Magic - High/PMA Exhibition catalogue
8. Trevor Fairbrother - Painting Summer in New England
Enjoy your Summer. Be careful. Love.