essay

A Dog Story (repost)

Copy of raventhedog

Everybody loves a dog story . . . right? Well here’s my latest one. It happened yesterday.


I arose from my reading and looked out the front window. The sun was beginning to brighten the hilltop across the narrow country lane and Raven, who was watching my every move, knew it was walk time. I knew she was about to go into her, ‘super dance for a walk,’ routine so I calmed her with a nose bump (pitbulls like that) and got things together for the walk outside to Max’s pen.

Every morning without fail, as soon as they see each other, both dogs break the silence by yelping and barking at one another when Raven attempts to play ‘attack’ with Max. It’s no big deal though, because there are no closeby neighbors. Anyways, once lined up and moving in a straight line things get quiet again and we are on our way down the middle of the lane for our daily trip to the head of the valley and back.

I generally spend my time daydreaming and looking for herbs alongside the road while the dogs try and see how many of those herbs they can pee on before I get to them. The lane itself winds gently through heavy woods and is always scattered with various animal scents, so along with herb hunting I spend my time cajoling, pleading, and pulling at the the dog’s leashes, one in each hand like a guy driving a mule team trying to keep the whole thing going in a straight line. One more big, strong dog and I will be skating on the soles of my boots.

All is fine until I get about a half mile from the cabin when I begin to see a blood trail on the road. ‘Wow, someone must have hit a deer’, I thought at first. Then I glanced over at Max and saw that he was the guy bleeding . . . not just beeding . . .  HE WAS GUSHING BLOOD! . . . Bright red blood that was squirting from his front pad in a long thin stream.

I quickly went to my knees in the middle of the road and grabbed the foot in order to apply enough pressure to stop the bleed. As I did, Raven, probably thinking it was play time dove on Max and would not stop no matter how hard I tried or how hard I yelled. . . she went totally nuts when she smelled the blood that by this time was pooling around us. I had to stop her!  I HAD TO STOP THE BLEED! . . . I only had minutes until my beloved old Max would be dead. It was imperative that I react quickly and take charge of the situation, but how? I had absolutely nothing to work with. No phone (it’s on the table back home). No med kit ( in my room back home) No help (as there are few folks in this valley and only about ten cars a day go up this roadway).

First things first . . . I jerked Raven free, pulled her across the road and tied her leash to a tree. Went back to where Max by now was laying quietly in the road and grabbed his foot and applied pressure with one hand while taking off my boot with the other . . . I ripped out the string, tore off my sock and made up a tourniquet by wrapping the sock around the leg at the point where I thought the artery was and tied it tight with the shoe string. The arterial bleeding slowed to a trickle. In my favor, (and his) Max was very good during all this.

Back across the street, I went for Raven who was by now totally wrapped around the tree and choking on her special choke collar. Seeing the uselessness of trying to get the leash free I pulled my knife and cut it leaving just enough for me to grab hold of. Once free I began running back to the cabin with Raven in tow. My goal was to run the half mile back get Raven in the pen, get the pickup and drive back to Max and get him to the vet.

Now I’m 75 years old, and believe it or not that is a huge liability when it comes to doing stuff like this. Regardless, heart attack be damned . . . I’M SAVING THIS DOG’S LIFE! So off I go trotting up the road when I heard a vehicle slam on it’s brakes and slide in the gravel behind me. . . SHIT!! . . . Someone just hit my dog!

Looking back, I saw the red pickup of my neighbor who lives up the street coming towards me. Mike stopped, “What the hell’s going on? You need help?”

Yes! . . .Go back and get Max! . . . I need to get this damn dog (Raven ) into a pen and Max to the vet . . . she’s bleeding out if I don’t!

“OK . . . . take it easy man, your gonna have a heart attack, slow down! I’ll get Max and be right back.

Zoom . . . off he goes . . . Zoom . . . off I go. Just as I got to the house Mike pulled in with Max sitting in the bed of his truck. I gave him a hero’s welcome and a thousand thank you’s as I dove into the house, awaken my wife to call the vet, grabbed my med kit, fixed Max up proper by exchanging the sock for a pressure bandage, got him into my truck blood and all, (something good can be said about old pickups) and headed to the vet’s office.

The vet got squirted in the face and arm, but found and stitched the cut artery in time to save Max. Now he has a custom pen on my front porch where I feed him and doctor him until he gets better.

Moral of the story . . . you never know when a disaster will hit. Carry a med kit! I have enough first aid stuff for a whole platoon and yet when I needed it, it was tucked away in my bedroom and I had to rely on a dirty sock and a shoelace. You don’t need a large cumbersome pack, either. I’d suggest making your own and putting stuff in it that actually come in handy, a lot of junk you’ll never use is sold off in the pre-packaged kits. Maybe later on I will post a good small kit for a day hike or a chain sawing accident, etc. . . . . . . JW

 

perception

I posted an essay on 911 I’d written about Scott Beamer. I believed the story about what went down was true, and that, like a John Wayne movie, the good guys jumped the bad guys and inadvertently caused the plane to crash. Since I am a bit of a romantic when it comes to these things, it was easy for me to perceive all that happening.

Others, a bit more skeptical when it comes to govt. under dealings informed me that the plane was shot down, and the wife made off with a couple million bucks of donated fund money . . . hugely different endings to the same story. . . . which one is true? Who the hell knows? We can argue till the cows come home and in the end, it’s all perception.

So, I’m wondering if there is anything such as ‘truth’ in this whole damn world . . . and wondering that, I’m also wondering why everybody is so adamant (and willing to kill) about shit that is usually unknowable to begin with.

Why would I even take offense as to the nonacceptance of my version? I could be wrong. Besides, I appreciate all opinions, because they are what a person thinks. On the flip side, people who argue using quotes from their favorite leaders all the time irritate me. I am not interested in someone else’s opinion, only theirs. To me, it’s like they feel weak and need a backup or something.

There are no photo’s of my favorite guru on my meditation alter, either

There is a small crystal ball, an acorn, and a bible . . .

In the ball I see my own image . . . in the acorn I see God’s image. . . and in the bible I see perception.

Our Awakening

Jesus said “You must be born again.” What does it mean to be born again? Does it mean to worship Jesus as savior of the world, get baptized, follow church doctrine, and do what the elders and self professed prophets tell you?

 Jesus may have been your teacher . . . or the Buddha . . . or Mohammad . . . or Moses . . . or the Hindu Veda . . . but isn’t the goal of any good teacher to teach? Doesn’t their greatest joy come from watching you activate what they taught you?

So what good does it do you to play the pawn in the game of religion, when you were born to be the King?

Awakened, is that moment when a person begins to realize, and to understand that this entire planet is a teaching tool for them, that they are NOT a person who has a soul . . . but they ARE a soul possessing a person. Their goal in life is to learn through experience, and to grow spiritually. . . and the only boundaries they have in this endeavor are the ones they have placed upon themselves.

So what is enlightenment? Is it something that comes upon a person suddenly and they morph into something wise and wonderful? No, I don’t think so. Enlightenment . . . born again . . . awakened . . . all mean pretty much the same thing.

Once awakened, a person begins to realize the potential and the power they possess. The trappings of the world begin to lose their flavor as they are replaced by the desire to learn, and to experience, and to grow in a spiritual way. They also realize this born again awakening is merely the beginning of a very long journey . . . that they are now excited to begin.

They realize that “salvation” is for children as it does not reveal the answer to any of life’s questions. Being saved (from what . . . for what?) is merely a self righteous “feel good” for the child. . . just the same as “going to hell” is a fear inspired “feel bad” for the child.

The pathway to enlightenment has no magic, nor any short cuts. It’s a tough and grueling climb, but the view from the top of the mountain will have been worth it once a person realizes the truth that they have only been an individual in the flesh. That in the spiritual reality, not only are they their brothers keeper, but they are Spirit one and the same.

 

 

 

The Beauty of Not Knowing

I used to think that I needed to know everything concerning spiritual matters. I had to know all about death. I had to know all about God. Who, What, Where, When, and Why? . . . am I?

 The reasons for this or that was pretty important to me and I spent a whole lot of years studying everything I could in order to KNOW. I knew the bible practically verbatim, I understood New Age, Spiritualism, Eastern, Western religions. In various degrees I either believed or disregarded all the input and ultimately came about creating my own Way of understanding.

 Great! I now had my own doctrine and could begin to teach my ultimate “truth” to the rest of the world. (or at least the people around me)

 Yeah, right. Just what everybody needed, another half-baked prophet entering the mix. As if it wasn’t already loaded with enough bullshit to sink an aircraft carrier.

 Then one day I began to wonder why I needed to know all this stuff anyways. I knew for certain that Cause and Effect . . . Karma . . . Law of Sowing and Reaping or whatever else you wanted to call it worked cause it proves itself daily in our lives.

 Karl Jung’s synchronisity certainly made sense. Who hasn’t experienced the double witness affect in their life or heard a still small voice just at the right time?

 The other stuff? I don’t know. Do I really NEED to know anyways? I began to wonder and decided, no. What is, is. What will be will be, regardless whether I believe in it or not.

 Does anybody really believe that just because a person does not profess to a certain magical equation or take part in ritual that he is certain to go to the reported Hell after he dies? I mean just because I didn’t particularly like my father did that make him NOT my father? Wouldn’t a loving father love his son regardless?

 Maybe this is why we fear so much while the rest of the animal kingdom lives their lives day to day in happy ignorance. As a human, it’s not all instinctual like it seems to be in the rest of the animal kingdom. Sure we move many times according to instinct, but we also have the ability to choose. This can be a huge advantage to us . . . or it can be a huge liability depending on how we use the gift.

 I have learned that choosing kindness creates a karmic reciprocity that is quite enjoyable in the long run, so I would be a fool to fall for short term gain when, with a little patience, I shall inherit the entire kingdom. I don’t really need to KNOW. I need to REMEMBER to be kind, and everything else will take take care of itself.

Know Your Enemy

It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle. . . . Sun Tzu

The above quote was taken from Sun Tzu’s treatise, The Art of War. This well proven book has, for the last 2500 years, been considered the fighting manual of choice by military men throughout the world. A list of it’s readers would contain the names of Patton, MacArthur, Stalin, Mao Zedong, so forth. Vo Nguyen Giap used it’s knowledge to defeat both the French and the Americans in Vietnam. It’s concepts are being taught even today at the American War College.

The Art of War contains the final answer to those caught in a David and Goliath moment where the enemy is far larger and far more powerful than their fledging resistance. It’s worked before, it will work again as we take on the gas industry and their minions in Congress and the State legislatures.

I am reminded at times like these, when the odds are so overwhelming, how those little brown men in Vietnam kept moving supplies along the Ho Chi Minh trail, in spite of the millions of tons of bombs the US threw at them. They trucked that trail carrying heavy loads on their backs, riding bikes, pulling carts, enduring heat, insects, hunger . . . anything to get the supplies to their soldiers fighting in the South.

No matter how hard the Americans tried, they could not stop them. No matter how many bombs the Americans dropped, they could not stop them. They NEVER quit coming . . . until finally the Americans gave up and went home defeated, not by a standing army in the field, but by the resolve of the people themselves who gave their lives by the hundreds of thousands in order to obtain freedom from those who sought to own her. They never quit!

So, for those of us who have chosen to oppose the gas companies in their quest to move quickly and destructively against our properties and our lives, it behooves us to take a bit of time to read Sun Tzu and understand some his tactics before diving into an action that will end only in futility and emotional stress. We need to get to know our enemy as well as ourselves.

So who is this giant in our land? What are his goals? His motivations? His fears? What kind of energy fuels his mind and causes him to function? All these things are important to know in order to defeat him.

Ask yourself the same set of questions. What are your goals, motivations, and fears? Sun Tzu said you must know yourself as well as the enemy if you have any hope of defeating him. Are you up to the task? Or are you just a “cause” groupy who enjoys going to demonstrations and stuff. If so, I can assure you there were no groupies along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

First of all, when it comes to an enemy, you must respect him. He is smart, maybe smarter than you. He can hurt you far less if you do not take the easy route by demonizing him, or belittling him. This only gives him an advantage.

In this instance the gas industry is the enemy, but this enemy is in reality made of individual people much the same as you and me. They are not devils, nor do they enjoy eating children. They may merely be blind men in need of a good sight adjustment.

Try to understand where he is coming from, and why he feels as he does. See him not so much an ignoramus, but someone who has been molded by our capitalistic society into a good soldier for the cause. A soldier who can see no further beyond himself than the feet of the soldier climbing the corporate ladder above him. Where is he going? Well, actually he doesn’t know, he just knows he needs to keep climbing.

What motivates him? Well, there are what I call the ‘three P’s’ that seemingly motivate all these type A personalities. The quest for Power . . . Position . . . and Possession. That’s it, that’s all they see… Me . . . Me . . . and Me.

If it were possible to sit these guys down and suck all that stuff out of their heads, they may see the reality and beauty of the ‘oneness’ in this ecosystem that we share with the rest of creation. We may be caretakers of it, but it does not belong to us. We did not create it and in spite of all our touted advances in technology, we have yet to learn how to even put out a good weather report.

If it were possible to prove to them how easily we can ruin the whole thing, they may take a second look and stop this mad dash for the most cash that’s ruining our water, and even the air we breathe. They may come up with a different answer to the question: ‘What’s the most important, water, air, or gas?”

So how do we go about fighting these dudes? What are their greatest strengths? Well, let’s see . . . they own the state legislature, they own the governor, they own most of the capitol, they own the courts. So wow, how dumb is it going to be fighting them on their own turf? If that’s the best we can come up with, we really ought to quit and sign the lease ourselves.

Now, this political avenue could be a side street, of course, because ultimately all this will have to be decided by the courts as they’re the guys who enforce the law, and isn’t that what we all want? Good, honest law that takes into account the needs of the landowner as well as the gas company?

Even though money has, for now, decidedly turned the political head, its been proven time and again that these Congressional hacks will duck and cover as soon as the light of day rests upon their sorry heads.

Look at the movie Gasland and what a giant headache it is causing for the gas industry. That’s just one movie. THAT is a point of FEAR for these guys. Make more movies.

It’s up to us to document and prove what is taking place upon our land. They will fight us tooth and nail using lies, innuendo, anything to divert the reality of the facts we bring forth. We MUST document . . . and a good ‘before and after’ video is in my opinion, a preferred weapon of choice.

I would even recommend recording the salesman when he makes the pitch and videotaping everything that takes place after that. It may save you a lot of grief later.

If your enemy owns the night, draw him into the day.

If he owns the jungle, meet him on the prairie.

When it comes to these gas corporations the only thing they don’t yet own is us. Our turf is what they want, so wouldn’t that be the place to fight them? On our own turf, bearing the weapons we choose, and following the gorilla tactics of our choosing also?

This is the point of contact. This is where the victory lies. This is the place where the haves meet the have nots. . . . AND the place we own.

In order to draw the gas out of the shale they need us to sign their contract, it’s that simple. No contract, no gas. The fight doesn’t begin after our water is ruined. The fight begins when that salesman sits down at our kitchen table and begins to unload his box of promises on us. How many of us already signed the company contract? How many have had it looked at by their lawyer? I know some who haven’t.

Why would anybody allow some clown to come into their house with a company sided contract, and sign it without a thorough going over by a lawyer is beyond me. I know honest people have this thing about them that says all other people are honest, especially if they have just received an offer they couldn’t refuse, but damn, man, these waters are FULL of sharks.

We need to teach our people that when they quickly sign the contract they are paying a steep price for their greed and ignorance. We need to have them watch some of these videos like Gasland and be informed and fully aware BEFORE they make the decision to give up the family farm.

We need to be able to prove what will happen to them by using one example after another, of something that has already happened. We need to convince our people that if it sounds too good to be true, the fact is it probably is.

We need to convince them that we are not advocating complete withdrawal of the gas companies and their armies of drill teams. We only need the industry to stand down long enough to answer these problems with pollution and straighten them out before they restart their drilling machine.

We need to convince the industry that we need gas for heat as much as they need to dig it up. We are not against drilling. We are against the crazy way they are going about it.

We want safety for our cattle, for our children and for ourselves, not just the pile of bullshit they are currently tossing on our kitchen tables. If they want to partner up with us, let’s do it fair and square. Put it all on the table and dispense with the rhetorical PR. It may be beneficial to all of us.

What they are doing now, in all their arrogance, is offering nothing more than a train wreck that will ultimately destroy them as well as us. Power, Position and Possession, is their common goal . . . BUT WE own the Power. We own the Position. We own the Possession. They don’t own any of it, they just want to take ours. We are not the beggars here, they are.

Bottom line is that we must slow down the gas rush and make it more eco friendly. If that is impossible to do, drop the whole thing until it is.

Jim Walters

Il bel far niente

In Italy they have a saying, “Il bel far niente,” it means “The beauty of doing nothing.”

What a lovely country that must be. I can quite easily see myself fitting into a society that sees beauty in doing nothing, as that has always been my goal . . . to get to the point where I can sit on my butt doing nothing more than just thinking and enjoying myself.

I used to tell my mom when she would call and ask, “what are you doing today?”

“Nothing mom, today’s a do-nothing day.”

“What? Jimmy I worry about you!”

She always got a good chuckle out of my do-nothing days because who in America can say with a straight face that they are having a do-nothing day? In America you must be busy. You must be doing something or you are deemed lazy and unimportant.

In America a slacker gets absolutely no respect, he might as well be a skid row bum. “Doing nothing? What are you crazy? Get busy doing something for Christ’s sake. Idle hands are the devils playground!” Well, I believe if a guy took the time to actually think about that statement he would see for himself how many holes there actually were in the ‘busy bucket’.

So, what is a do-nothing day anyways?

Well in Italy I’m not sure, but I’m willing to bet in every country on this planet, the meaning is pretty much the same. It is simply just doing nothing. No work. No travel. No outside entertainment. Nothing but simply ‘being’ in the moment. Maybe sleeping . . . eating . . . having sex . . . or something like that or maybe just sitting on a chair in the sun thinking beautiful thoughts. Actually I’ve done all these things on my do-nothing days. The only solid rule to a do-nothing day that I can think of, is to enjoy yourself doing what YOU want to do.

In Italy I can visualize a guy sitting along a boulevard somewhere at a table in front of a quaint restaurant enjoying a cup of cappuccino while watching the beautiful Italian women walking by.

In America it’s really hard to find a quaint cafe, let alone one that has a nice outside dining area lining the sidewalks like they do in Europe. In America it’s all cars and the stink of exhaust. Here we are in way too much of a hurry to take a leisure cup of coffee anywhere. Besides, coffee drinkers take up too much valuable eating space. “If you are not going to eat, drink up and get the hell out . . . MOVE dammit! We have paying customers in line waiting for your table!

So, in America, it’s probably a good idea to take your do-nothing day either at home or walking in the woods somewhere. If you go to the Mall you should at least be walking somewhere, because well, this country just isn’t set up for doing nothing. It’s considered sin to be idle. People take one look at you sitting there enjoying yourself, all by yourself, and immediately they think, what a lazy man he is, sitting there all alone doing nothing.

A professional do-nothinger knows this going in, so he either creates an attitude that tells the world to go pound nails or he pretends that he’s really quite busy and just on a break. He’ll do little things like glance at his watch with much flare or look around as if he is waiting for someone, or nosily drum his fingers upon the table top.

That’s another thing in America, you are really not supposed to be sitting at a table in a restaurant all alone, especially if you are a woman. You are supposed to be with others, laughing and telling jokes or having a power lunch of some sort. Just sitting there by yourself? Sad.

It’s pitiful as well for others to see a man sitting there all alone, especially if he gets caught eying the girls (something quite expected in Italy) Shame on you, you lazy, laggard pervert, no wonder you have no friends.

Regardless, since my new found knowledge, it’s now easier on my conscience to enjoy the beauty of the day doing nothing knowing there are a zillion Italians across the water doing the very same thing.

One Dimensional View In A Three Dimensional World

One huge problem we humans seem to have, especially in todays fast paced world is our tendency to view things in only one dimension. Maybe it’s because we are so frantic and hurried, but on practically any subject, especially when it comes to personalities and politics we tend to pass judgment much too quickly, many times based only on what we hear on TV or read in the media. Worse yet, what we take as the gospel truth is usually just the biased view of some media guru speaking his favorite spin of bullshit for ratings.

The subjects of these diatribes, these images plastered on our flat screen TV that we judge so quickly and are about to vote for, are not merely one dimensional (good or bad) automatons, they are complicated works of humanity that demand a bit more study if we are concerned at all about making the wise choice to benefit our particular position.

We see a nice looking women like Sarah Palin and that’s all it takes for half the jerky dudes in this country to vote for her. Same women less attractive and they would not give her the time of day.

We see someone at ease before the camera having enough intelligence to talk in an impressive manner, we buy his line whether it’s true or not because that’s as far as we look.

Bill Clinton was impressive, he makes it to the oval office. Ross Perot is not quite as handsome nor is he quite as connected, he goes back to his office in Texas in defeat.

Why? We normally choose to vote for or against a person on their party affiliation and emotion alone. We never move off the first dimensional view of this complicated human called ‘candidate’ to see what he/she is all about. . . . and we have suffered dearly for our laziness.

Thing is practically anybody can put up a good enough dog and pony show for a short period of time to impress someone. They can look good and say cool things and if you are a dope maybe they will even have you calling yourself a ditto head like the Limbaugh crowd does. While in reality all the guy’s doing is spreading before your limited view his own disjointed opinion. Then when this real life sociopath gets into office and does none of what he promised, you will sit in your lazy boy to bitch and complain about them for the next four years until the next con comes along.

Or you may just realize they are all crooks anyways so you vote Charlie Wrangell (a proven crook) back into office for no other reason than name recognition, or the fact he’s a vet, or some other inanity other than realizing you were just too damn lazy to use this wonderful gift the gods have given you called a brain and searched the roster for a better candidate.

Taking the three dimensional view takes work and it takes time. The three dimensional view has to check behind this candidate and his rhetorical stance. You can’t just take what anybody says as gospel because everybody I know thinks far more highly of themselves than they ought to, it’s a part of the human condition.

We need honest (and yes there are some!) politicians who are willing to take the blame when they screw up and not just hide behind their desk and point fingers. We need men and women who are real and who don’t spend their time behind their chosen persona, but actually get into the pit and fight for you.

This country is collapsing because of OUR short sightedness and lack of caring, not because of George Bush or Obama or whoever the next guy will be. The responsibility lies on us to check these guys out and to see that the Washington good old boys and girls club gets blasted to smithereens by fighting for term limits and financial reform. In order to make good choices you need to scrutinize these candidates in three dimension and flesh them out a bit by answering these few questions to yourself.

Who is this person? . . . Find out his history because a persons past most often will get repeated in their future. How has he dealt with finances? How has he dealt in personal business? Does he pay his bills or does he con people or just downright cheat them them out of what’s rightfully theirs. Does his handshake mean anything to him? Is he an arrogant, overblown, SOB to his help or is he kind and generous?

To the moralists out there who love to swallow camels and choke on gnats . . . . A good Christian ain’t always so good . . . . and just because a guy smoked pot when he was a kid don’t necessarily make him evil. (even if he did inhale) BUT being a habitual liar like Bill might.

What is his background? . . . . Who does he hang out with? Is he a good old boy at the City club or does he hand out food on week ends to the needy? His future may reflect his past. Do we need another stumbling block in Congress?

Where has he been? . . . . What is his experience? What has he done in life to make him believe he qualifies for office? Is he an armchair warrior? Or has he smelled the stench of death close up and personal. Does he know where Afghanistan is? (George”bring it on” Bush didn’t) before he sent our guys over there to get sniped at for eternity.

Why does he want the office? . . . Power, position and possession? Or does this guy really have a heart to serve and do what he believes is best for the people who voted him in.

These questions should be answered by you to your satisfaction before you ever step into a voting booth. Otherwise your just wasting your (and every bodies) time . . . it will just bring about more business as usual. CHANGE sounds so pretty, the promise of it even got Obama elected, but what has changed? Other than the national debt of course, since he took office?

Why should we spend our lives plunking out a simple melody when we could be directing a symphony…… shame on us.

Right Up The Middle part 2

Staying on this balance beam for one more time . . . We all know that eating a balanced meal is far better for us than one of junk food and if we neglect the fruits and veggies long enough and devour enough Big Mack’s we will end up either on a gurney or kicking our fat stomachs with our knees as we shuffle through the McDonald’s parking lot on the way to ‘super size me’ hell.

What we tend to forget is that to continually eat the greasy drippings from our favorite Right OR Left wing guru’s plate will clog our minds as quickly and as deadly as the hog’s fat clogs our arteries.

This balancing act takes place on many levels at the same time. Respect is the glue that holds it all together. It is a corner stone in the mind, body, balance equation.

Lao Tzu coined the phrase a very long time ago “Know your enemy.” Does that just mean to know his name? Or perhaps know what he’s up to? Or to know who he is? Yes all of those things count, but on a deeper level old Lao is saying in order to know your enemy you must also respect him. How much respect is there in the US today for people of other positions and circumstances?

Every since our resounding victory in ww2 the US has been riding this huge self righteous ego trip of invincibility. We have ridden this wave of belief in Manifest Destiny to the point of stupidity and are about to crash onto the shores of hell, flag/slogans and all.

In Korea our famed general Douglas Macarthur (who was much of the time an arrogant jerk) refused to believe the Chinese would ever oppose him as he sped towards the Yalu River . . . well they did. He sent entire divisions into a frozen meat grinder ill equipped in every thing from clothing to ammo and thousands of them died or were captured because of his arrogant buffoonery. He failed to respect or know his enemy.

In Vietnam we entered into that country on a six week military exercise to teach (the slopeheads) a lesson. Ten years later, after accumulating 50,000 KIA and a couple hundred thousand causalities, we left with our tails between our legs. Why? Because we had failed to respect our enemy.

In this last round of invasions (Iraq and Afghanistan) I’m afraid we are doing no better, We STILL fail to respect our enemy as we search frantically for a way out of his trap.

Now this is all military stuff, but we could just as well bring this attitude home to our government as well as ourselves. On a day to day level our enemy is not quite so obvious and it’s easy to get lulled to sleep by a good speech.

Rush spouts something on his radio show we like and we nod our heads in agreement, even get pissed off at the target of his angst. Does anybody bother to check it out to see if it’s even true?

Obama gives a long and lovely speech about how the recession is over . . . really? Well, Mr. President where’s the jobs? . . . Or “Where’s the beef?” like the little old lady asked in the Wendy’s add.

So to really know the enemy one needs to understand and RESPECT his thoughts, his motivation and just how bad or how far is he willing to go to get them. We must quit belittling him and stop taking our knives to a gun fight. Nobody has all the answers. Actually we will never be closer to wrong than when we are convinced without doubt we are right.

If we settle down enough to listen to his side of the story we may find we have a lot in common with him. Maybe we can even negotiate some sort of a compromise, not just TALK compromise either like the politicians do, but actually mean it. Actually find a middle of the road balance where everybody can, if need be, even suffer equally if that is what it will take.

We won’t always agree or find common ground with our opponent either. Some times we will just be too far apart, but we don’t have to agree in order to be civil. We can argue an issue till the cows come home and still maintain a certain decorum of respectability.

We don’t have to revert to back stabbing and name calling as we seek to shout down our opponent do we? This polarization and “get even attitude” in the long run is probably going to end up being far more dangerous than the problem was.

When it comes to our personal lives it’s merely a matter of choice. Do you want to or not. Either way you choose you can expect the law of sowing and reaping (or karma) to fall heavily upon your shoulders. It always does and we are the products of our thoughts, both individually and collectively.

On the political scene it’s a bit more complicated. Our system has been compromised by special interests to the point that our elected officials are mere mouth pieces, puppets and panderers to these assholes who have infiltrated our Constitution and changed it to their benefit. Nothing happens good on that scene until we the people take back what’s ours.

Warfare is sometimes the only answer, but once begun all rational thought and compromise goes out the window. It’s blood, guts and bayonets. . . that’s what it may take to get our country back, but this stuff we’re doing now with the name calling and polarization is not doing any of us any good. We are just playing into the hands of the true enemy.

We must get to know HIM. We must respect his ability. We must find a weakness in his armor. It’s there, but only to those willing to deny this rush of emotion that seems to have taken over the American argument. We must reveal this enemy by passing laws and enforcing them until he has been drug out from under his rock and allowed to shrivel and dry in the sun.

Right Up the Middle

On the football field everyone who plays the game knows the hardest route to the goal post is right up the middle. It’s also the fastest way because it’s the shortest distance. Once you break free . . . zoom you’re on your way to a touch down.

Now if you were to take a good look at the game of politics these days and play football like we play politics no one would ever get the ball out of the backfield. The only touchdowns anyone would see would be the imaginary ones you get at the beginning of the game by the bookies and sport casters. The political backfield would look more like a continues ‘end around’ from one side to the other with no one ever even getting enough yardage to earn another set of downs. The stands would soon empty when the fans realized that it would be more exciting to go home and watch Dr. Phil that sit and watch these goons continue to run themselves ragged in circles.

If someone were to ask me to tell them in one word what this country needed the most in order to get something accomplished I would say “balance” because everything I see around me in every direction is out of balance and also out of focus. From the core family to the media to this very planet we live on, we are seemingly drowning in division and most of it is created by us, not God, not the Conservatives nor the Liberals or even the terrorists . . . us. How come? Why are we doing this to ourselves? What does balance actually mean when it comes to living it anyway?

Well, on the one side we have the Rush Limbaughs and his company of true believers, on the other side we have the Michael Moore’s and his company of true believers. In the middle between the two, we have a huge void of emptiness as seemingly there is no longer a middle of the road. These guys are both bright, intelligent individuals, but somewhere along the way and for various reasons, they have fallen out of balance and sadly have taken their large following of sheeple with them.

People who can think for themselves and make a decision based upon their needs and their desires are in short supply these days. Rather then think through the decision making process themselves, the vast majority of our citizens have boughten into the lies, deceptions and half truths of their chosen political guru and have subsequently been drawn into their vortex of negativity.

Officials will say anything these days to get into office, but once in, soon thereafter they say nothing that doesn’t pass muster with the lobbyists and special interest groups that sent them there. So in a very basic way the government of the US is no longer a government of the people, it is merely a front for a mob composed of special interests, the military/industrial complex and their minions. There will never be any hope for balance in Congress so long as our elected officials cater to these groups.

Everybody on the right fears Obama and his ‘socialistic ‘ tendencies. Everybody on the left fears the conservatives and their tea party that is growing amongst us in leaps and bounds. The left hates the right, sees them all as idiots. The right hates the left, sees them all as idiots. While in the center, at the balance point there is a strong, resounding silence. We’ve all been had by this diversion that keeps us at each others throats, until the ultimate changing of our form of government.

What I (and others) see coming down the pike is not a Socialist government, but a Fascist government being ushered in on the wings of acute nationalism.

Nationalism

An important part of belief in “manifest destiny” is “nationalism.” Nationalism holds that human civilization can be broken up into basic units called “nations,” which basically consist of people having a similar origin and unifying culture. Each nation, therefore, should have its own state: this is in fact the rule today. The United States is home to the American nation, Russia is home to the Russian nation, and so on. Theoretically, at least.

Nationalism claims particular virtues for a given nation, and particular responsibilities. Rome believed it had a mission to civilize the world, Russia believed it had a mission to civilize the world, as did the Soviet Union, and as does the United States, at least sometimes. I would say that nationalism is basically a neutral concept: nationalistic arguments have been used to start countless wars, but they have also held countries together.

Although in and of itself nationalism is seemingly impotent enough, once it becomes acute and is pushed to the forefront by an over the top emphasis on patriotism/military might/hero culture/ like that which seems today to be coming from the Right it could grow and ultimately turn Fascist as the Third Reich did.

We in this country have always felt that none of that stuff can happen here. Well of course it can. Was Germany in the thirties an ignorant third world country? No. Germany was a central European country every bit as intelligent and progressive as England and her neighbors. The Germans excelled in art, music, literature and were every bit as advanced scientifically as we ourselves. What drew her in was the very things that are drawing us in, nationalistic pride and the fact that they were broke. Hitler buoyed them up on the wings of rhetorical promise and the rest is history. And if we are foolish enough to follow her path we will also enjoy the fruits of her labors, ending up as she did in 1945.

We are nothing special, we have no contract or unction from God. We are not the chosen people like we seem to think. This manifest destiny stuff is pure elitist bullshit. We have only been around a couple hundred years for Christs sake. We’re just babies on the world scene. Babies whose leaders are selling out to the highest international bidder. They may as well put the U.S. up on E-Bay . . . ‘For sale The United States of America. . . . make us an off we can’t refuse.’

Shame on us for having argued and fought and laid about while this country has been cunningly whisked out from under our feet. And a lot of people don’t even know it yet. They are the new German Jew sitting in their houses waiting for things to get better. Praying for things to get better, while all the while on the other side of their drawn drapes the noose tightens.

If we are not already out of time we need to get back in shape. We need to find our balance . . . we need to drop the sound bites, fill the middle and become true patriots. Then we can use that new found balance to carry the ball without fumbling while we dodge and weave our way right up the middle, not stopping until we reach the goal line.

Can we do it? Of course we can. Will we do it? Not this way, not sitting around calling each other idiots and dopes while throwing stones across the great divide where the balance point once lived……. neba hachi GI.

Follow Your Bliss

Joseph Campbell was being interviewed by Bill Moyers on the PBS “Power of Myth“ series when I first heard his phrase “follow your bliss”. In his viewpoint this undertaking must happen if a man were to experience fulfillment in his lifetime.

Joseph Campbell was a very wise man, but just what does it mean to follow one’s bliss? Well, in my opinion it means merely to be balanced enough to know your gift and be willing enough to work towards bringing it to fruition.

An artist creating a work.

A business man creating a new business.

A teacher creating wonder and hope in young minds.

A philanthropist in the creative stage of giving.

On an on it goes, different for each individual yet having the same affect on all of them by bringing purpose into their lives. Did you catch the major theme through all this dream following?

Creativity. Being a creative human being is what it’s all about. After all what are we if not creators? Followers.

Now, following is not bad nor necessarily wrong. Without leadership we would be living extremely chaotic lives on this planet, and in all reality would probably have gone extinct some time ago. But there is a balance that must be maintained while following or else you may just deny your gift and ultimately lose yourself in another’s cause.

What’s your dream? (it is normally tied into your gift) Everybody who has not been beaten down or brainwashed by the society he lives in has one. What do you need to do in order to fulfill it?

I would say also that in order to follow your dream you must be realistic in your goals. Otherwise a man will spend his valuable youth chasing after someone else’s dream, be he/she a scholar, a movie star, a musician or a magician, it doesn’t matter.

He will merely be living as a copy cat who will never be as good as what he copies. Why? It’s not his. He is just fantasizing it is. Has anybody ever made Mozart’s music as good as Mozart himself? No, of course not. He may be good enough to copy and be almost equal to Mozart, but never will he surpass him. It’s impossible.

My gift is not in the music field and I know it, yet I still enjoy playing an instrument. Nor am I a painter, yet I enjoy painting a picture. We can do a lot of really cool stuff without activating our gift. Those who excel, the gifted ones who seemingly are heads above the rest of us, these guys are the ones I’m talking about.

I know my gift and when it’s working I am in another place. A place where nothing can touch me, nor harm me, spiritually speaking anyways. When I am in my gift, I am at one with the earth. That’s the best I can explain it. I’m sure Joseph could do better.

I fundamentally believe that each person born into this world has a gift of some sort programmed into his DNA and his goal, in order to be happy, is to find that gift and use it to the betterment of himself as well as his fellows.

The problem I see, at least in this country, is that in order to create anything of value you first must follow a learning curve of dedication, commitment, discipline and practice. All the things that seem to be out of vogue in this “hurry up I want it now!” society we live in.

As a practical matter we need to have a place of quiet solitude where we can meditate upon these questions and resolve them in our own minds before we even begin. Then we need to move forward to practice them.

Thich Nhat Hanh (a Vietnamese Buddhist monk) is a great example of a man following his bliss.

In the midst of the Vietnam War while the Americans were bombing the hell out of his country, he and his organization were busily rebuilding bombed villages, setting up schools and medical clinics, and helping through non violent means all he could to alleviate the plight of the citizens of his country.

For doing that he was ultimately forced out of his country and banned from ever returning. Nothing stopped him however and he remains practicing peace to this day in Plum Village somewhere in France.

Hopefully as/if things get worse for you in this country nothing will stop you either because what takes place on the outside is nothing to be compared to the power within once you find and follow your bliss. . . . Go for it! You’ll be glad that you did.