Archive for the 'Other good stuff' Category

The Way

May.7. 2018

Many years ago, a wise man said, ‘I am the Way, the truth, and the life.’

Echoing the words from another wise man who referred to the Way as ‘the mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonder.’

My mother, a wise woman in her own right, used to tell me, ‘You have to catch the Way,’ a principle I have applied to everything in life.

The Way is truly the door to all wisdom.

I see it as the key that unlocks life’s mysteries.

And the world’s luckiest people are those who have found the Way (or Ways, because there are myriad Ways.)

As I mentioned, I have spent most of my adult life trying to find the Way.

Especially in my pursuits to soothe the demons in my soul—like trying to develop the most perfect guitar technique.

Or searching for that perfect expressive touch.

But like most things, sometimes the Way could be right at your fingertips, literally and figuratively, and you’re still unable to see it.

Until the day you lose it.

And then you realize what a treasure you had.

Some may see it as a negative thing, but I see losing the Way as a positive thing. It makes you appreciate how precious the Way is.

And of course, if you put your mind to it, you will always find it again.

As one of my friends said, ‘Never say die.’

I prefer to think of it as ‘Never give up.’

I have over twenty translations in my library on what the Way means. All academic exercises in pomposity.

You don’t need tomes of philosophical tracts to understand the Way.

The Way is simply the Way.

Like the Way to cook a half boiled egg.

Or the Way to play a perfect tremolo on the guitar.

Or the Way to build a life of your dreams.

Or the Way to repair a broken toilet.

Or the Way to San Jose.

And of course, there is no one Way to do all these things.

Which is why the Old Master said, ‘The Way that can be spoken is not the Way.’

As one of my current heroes, Mr Avenatti, would say, ‘It’s uncomplicated.’

 

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King of the swamp

April.10. 2018

Who knew!

The guy who was going to drain the swamp is actually the King of the swamp.

Some might call it buyer’s remorse.

I call it stuck between a known quantity and an unknown quantity.

What are you supposed to do if you knew the contest was between a known Queen of the swamp and someone who might actually drain it.

That it turned out otherwise is perhaps not surprising.

Politics is about who is sleazier. And the sleazier guy usually wins.

Who was it who coined that phrase “the engineer hoist with his own petard?”

In any case, the gremlins are all out of the bag with the raid yesterday.

No amount of firing this or that guy will put them back into the bag.

The PR man aka the buffoon aka the King of the swamp is probably regretting his decision to star in the greatest reality show on earth.

Just karma for someone who likes winning all the time.

As I wrote a while back, all winners are losers in the end.

A chess game

February.27. 2018

I’ve been watching the chess game currently unfolding in Washington.

A week ago, I thought Mueller was going to be checkmated. But looks like no one can underestimate the skill of this seasoned pro.

Thirteen indictments and a plea deal and the big hoo-hah about the memos is all but forgotten.

If I remember correctly, there was a similar case of a law enforcement officer who was investigating a high government official in another country.

The law enforcement guy ended up in an oil drum.

Fortunately, in this great country of ours, where law and order reign supreme, that outcome is unlikely to happen any time soon.

(Besides, and this is just a hypothetical, where can you find an oil drum big enough for Mueller?)

Which is just as well. Especially when the game is just now getting nail biting exciting to watch.

The curse of too much happiness

February.5. 2018

Happiness is way overrated. What we think of as happiness is really an illusion.

Because as soon as you think you’ve found happiness, it’s gone and all you have is a need to find more happiness.

To understand how this works, think of our existence as basically being in one of three states at any one time.

Let’s call the first state ‘normal.’

Everyone knows what normal is.

It’s a state where nothing much is happening. And life just plods along in its boring mundane way. It’s a state where everything seems right and yet something is vaguely missing.

And so people in this state hunger for a little more excitement, for a little ‘happiness.’

Next, on one side of ‘normal,’ is a state which we might call the ‘negative’ state.

This is the state commonly experienced as unhappiness, sadness, misery, despair, or whatever you want to call it.

In this state, things are out of sync, out of alignment.

In its mildest form, you feel as if something is not right and in its most extreme manifestation, it’s a state of complete dysfunction, where nothing is right.

Then on the other side of ‘normal’ is the ‘positive’ state of mind.

This is what you might call the ‘happy’ state.

You feel uplifted, blissful and even euphoric.

And the main reason you feel this way is because you’ve not in the normal or negative states.

But this state is fleeting.

It exists only because of the existence of the other two states. Take away the ‘normal’ and ‘negative’ states and this ‘happy’ state has no meaning.

Why?

Because when you take away the other two states, the ‘happy’ state becomes the new ‘normal.’

And when it becomes the new ‘normal,’ it’s no longer a happy state anymore. It’s just the same boring mundane state of ‘normal.’

That’s why happiness is an illusion.

Because once you think you’ve found it, it loses its meaning, becomes a new ‘normal’ and then you’ll have to find yourself another new ‘happy’ state.

And therein lies the problem.

Especially in this great country where the ‘pursuit of happiness’ is enshrined as one of the basic tenets of our great civilization.

Judging from the endless pursuits to find happiness (or what some might call the latest thrills or highs), it looks like we’ve failed miserably.

But this perfectly underscores the point.

The pursuit of happiness is an exercise in futility.

The more you pursue it, the more elusive it becomes. And when you think you’ve found it, you realize you’re just looking at some fool’s gold.

And gold (real gold, not fool’s gold) is indeed a good metaphor for happiness.

Gold is precious because it’s rare.

If we find ourselves surrounded by gold one day, we’d quickly find that it’s lost its value and shine. (A mythical guy called Midas can attest to that fact.)

So what’s the point here?

There’s no such thing as happiness. In fact the more you have of it, the less you treasure it and the less it feels like happiness.

So too much happiness is a curse (like too much gold, as old Midas will also attest to.)

Instead of trying to find that magical place where all we have is ‘happiness,’ we should just enjoy it when it occurs and be thankful that it’s so rare.

Because a state of boundless ‘happiness’ is a frightening place to be.

It’s like living in a place where the sun is shining 365 days a year.

If you live in a place where you don’t get a lot of sunshine, that might sound like paradise to you, but for those who live in sunny climes, (like some places in Texas), rain is a precious commodity.

And people actually pray for rain.

So be thankful that the sun is not shining on you endlessly.

And that you’re not living in a state of perpetual ‘happiness.’ That would be a living hell.

Banana republic

January.11. 2018

Imagine this frightening prospect. You’re in a strange country and someone has accused you of a crime.

This is not so bad except that in this country, they have a weird system of justice.

In this country, the only thing they need is an accuser and the crime is proven beyond doubt.

No need for a court, no need for a jury, no need for evidence. Just someone’s word and the accused’s goose is cooked.

You may think, only in some blighted third world banana republic, but you may be wrong.

Pursuing shared feelings

November.22. 2017

“I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken.”

—Charlie Rose

Human nature is indeed fickle.

In this day and age, when it’s every man and woman for himself/herself, you can trust no one.

Pursuing shared feelings is fraught with peril. You never know when the other sharer can suddenly change and to what degree.

One minute, it’s all sweetness and warmth, the next, it’s bared fangs and loud hissing and cussing.

I’m describing, of course, what happens when you rent out a property to some tenants.

Before the lease is signed, when they’re really anxious to get into the property (translation: when they want something from you), the love is palpable. It’s all smiles and yes this and yes that.

But before your signature is barely dry on the page, the smiles have turned into frowns. And it’s ugly looks and telling you to kiss where the sun don’t shine.

If you really want to understand human nature, I highly recommend renting out your old home. And you will begin to see sides of human nature which you never thought existed.

I don’t think Mr. Rose was referring to some fickle-minded tenant when he said the above, but I’m sure the context isn’t that much different.

(And for sure, I’m going to miss his interviews.)

Potiphar’s wife

November.13. 2017

Looks like the feeding frenzy is on.

And much of it well deserved, I’m sure. People placed in high positions always too eager to take full advantage of the situation.

But what about Potiphar’s wife?

How many Potiphar’s wife’s are in the melee?

Probably not that many, but even one among them is one too many.

A thought

November.1. 2017

As I ponder the laws of energy, it seems so easy.

Just make sure you observe these laws and the kingdom of heaven is yours.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t take into account the vagaries of life and nature.

Consider this:

Why would some holy men from the East take a broom and sweep the ground before them to make sure no innocent creatures of God get trampled underfoot as they go about their business?

And so the answer came to me.

The very nature of energy means that any expenditure of it will produce ripples of impacts, intended or unintended.

Which means that unless you want to curl up somewhere and refuse to expend any more energy, your very existence will ensure that the universe will continue to be affected by your presence whether you like it or not.

And despite your best efforts, these impacts will produce positive or negative effects, depending on who is on the receiving end.

So what’s the moral here?

Do the best you can and understand that the final outcome of your energy is beyond your control.

A new epidemic

October.24. 2017

I just heard about a new epidemic sweeping the country.

It’s the loneliness epidemic.

And none other than the esteemed former surgeon general touting it on national tv.

Interesting diagnostic.

Which makes me wonder. Does this new epidemic have anything to do with the other epidemic?

The selfishness epidemic.

Otherwise known as the looking-out-for-number-one epidemic.

Champions for change

June.15. 2017

I’ve been practicing a lot lately, and as usual, to distract my mind, I watch the news. And there’s been a lot of news lately.

Two news items caught my eye this morning.

First, Senator Sander’s pushback.

Apparently the crazed gunman was one of his supporters.

And he did the right thing, which was to come out immediately and condemn the despicable action in the strongest terms.

As opposed to some other people, who, when crazy people do bad things in their name, dance in the streets in celebration.

And then they wonder why people don’t like them.

Then there was this “Champions for change” self promo on one of those fake news channels.

Very heart warming indeed, to see these beautiful ladies do their community service and get some PR at the same time.

This is the right thing to do, of course, when you go out and do good deeds for your less fortunate neighbors, make sure there’re plenty of cameras following you.

The point of the promo is about hungry people in America.

And in this regard, America shows itself to be one unique country.

It’s the only place on earth where hungry people are overweight.

So an advice to the people at CNN. Next time if you want to do a story on hunger, hire some skinny extras to make the program more believable.