Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Month: December 2008

Changes for the new year…

Hello… I hope that your Christmas, Channukah or Kwaanza was enjoyable.  I wanted to share some changes that I am going to be working on in the coming year.

  • Do to the lack of popularity or contribution, I am eliminating the “Guest Writer” program.  I just do not see a future in it.  I do thank the two people whom I tapped on the shoulder for it, but it appears that the interest is just not there.
  • I will be investigating the option of starting a Monthly Podcast for my site.  This will be a summary of everything that I have discussed through the month and maybe a little more.
  • I promise I will complete the gallery and get it online by March.
  • I plan on starting a little campaign to increase my traffic to this site; this may and may not require me to advertise a bit, but I will not resort to pop-ups… I hate those.

Thanks for your readership… those that have stayed on.  There are not many of you, but I thank you anyway.

Good Night.

Chasing the spark.

I am not sure where I first heard that term, Chasing the Spark, but I have always liked it.  It can have so many meaning that can cover everything from the philosophical to the physical.

The way that I like to use it, in the rare times you will actually hear me use it aloud, is to refer to following a dream or a train of thought that may lead you somewhere positive.  It does not appear to me to be a reference that you could use for following anything tangible or anything that you can hold in your hand.  It seems to be more about going after that thing you want most or that idea that you feel most dedicated to.

I could also see how this can be used in the scientific sense.  To say that “he was chasing the spark”, could be applied to the quest for that missing element.  That something that you need to complete a project or that “Eureka!” moment that all scientists hope for.

This is also something that you could use to refer the search for the person of your dreams.  Finding that perfect mate that will be with you through all of life’s ups and downs.

No mater how you use it, if you use it, or what you take from it.  I have always liked the phrase.

Sorry for the short post, just a thought I wanted to share.

Ten Questions…

I have just watched a program called “Ten Questions for the Dalai Lama” and all I can say is that you must watch this program.

I have, for the last nine years now, studied Buddhism.  Not for the sake of becoming a Buddhist, but because of all the religions and beliefs that I have encountered and studied, Buddhism has struck me as one of the most interesting, for reasons that I will go over later.

To listen to the Dalai Lama and to watch him speak and interact with others is truly a delight.  The film warns you in the beginning that he has a infectious laugh and smile, and that turns out to be no lie.  If you sit any watch this program, I dare you to NOT smile almost every time you see him smile, laugh or play to the camera.  He is most certainly a little bit of a ham when it comes the the camera.

In the face of all that has happened to his culture and his people, the tremendous loss of the histories and artifacts of his past and the past of Buddhism, he smiles.  He smiles and he dismisses it as so much water under the bridge.  Then, as if you do not think that he could do one better… he forgives the Chinese for their actions and destruction.

This is something that I, at this time, would not be able to bring myself to do, yet deep inside, I understand what his reasons were and why he, and most other monks, feel this way.  While I understand that carrying a hatred for a person or people is unhealthy and causes us more pain than it helps us, I am not able to follow in those steps… yet.

I also admire his, the Dalai Lama’s, ability to interact.  You can see in his eyes and his actions that he genuinely loves everyone.  He does not care what color you are, what you look like, what religion you are or how you dress.  His love is not swayed by what he can get from you or how much you can donate to his cause.  If you can help the Tibetan cause, then he will accept that help, but you can tell that he will only accept that help if it is offered freely and is not contingent on something in return, short of the love that he and his people offer to all.

Most surprising to me is that the Dalai Lama, in spite of what the Chinese have done, encourages us (meaning the world) to engage in favorable relations with them.  This is another thing that I find hard to talk myself into actively doing.  I know that it is impossible, as an American, to stop buying Chinese products.  Look at how much of what you and I buy, on a daily basis, that is made in China.  I bought a “Proud to be an American” t-shirt a couple weeks ago, and it has a “Made in China” label in it.  This in and of itself is enough to make a person question the direction that their country is going.

But he, and they, look above that.  They, somehow, are able to see beyond their own loss and need to understand the need for peace in the world.

This brings me to my final point.  I think that all the religions of the world could stand to benefit by studying Buddhism.  If even the “Big Three” (Judaism, Christendom and Islam), could incorporate the basics principles of Buddhism towards one another.  Accept the differences and embrace them for what they make us, not use them as dividing points and wedges to further separate us and make us fear one another.  Teach us to look at one another an laugh at the little things we bicker over.  After all… as Buddhism teaches us… everything is tranistory, nothing last forever.

What would my ten questions be?

They have all, already been asked, and the answers are there, but we, as a world, are not mature enough to understand them yet.  Hopefully we will mature enough to do so, before we destroy ourselves and the world that we are borrowing from our children.

While the term has become somewhat cliche these days and more a joke to those that do not understand, I do agree with the “Free Tibet” movement.  I do side with the Dalai Lama on the point that this should be done through peace, not through conflict.  People who are used to conflict and war are not intimidated by it.

Get out there!!!

I was speaking to a fellow employee last week and the topic of travel came up.  We talked about the cruises that my wife and I had been on and the issue of how travel has changed over the last ten years.  She then said something that kind of got to me.  She said that she will never go out the of the country… not even to Canada or Mexico.

I really do understand the fear that has grown from the threat of terrorism and the possibility of being targeted because you are an American.  This is even more apparent with the recent events in Mumbai and the fact that Americans were targeted.  There is a lot going on out there and there are a lot of people out there that do not care for us as Americans, but is that really a reason to become introverted?

If we turn in on ourselves, then yes, we will lower the possibility that anything will happen to us.  Our families will be safer, our homes will be more secure and there is little chance that anything will happen to us… if we all stay in our comfort zones.

A good friend of mine used to wave this little piece of paper around that talked about how by not taking chances, you do not fully grow and learn.  Traveling to other places, especially those places outside the US, is another way to take chances… not because it is dangerous, because I still believe that international travel is predominantly safe, but because traveling to someplace that is outside your comfort area is a way to learn not just about who you are, but also about the world.

I think that deep inside that there is part of us that is still nomadic… yearning to roam and see what all there is out there.

My advice, for what little it is worth…  Do travel… if you have fears of going to other countries, learn to deal with them and give it a chance.  The point is that you will not know what you are missing by sitting at home and watching the Discovery channel and looking at these places through the lens of someone else’s camera.  You will never get to taste the tastes or smell the smells if you do not get to go to the places yourself.

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