We’ve learned from experience, from having a surfeit of dirty thoughts. Voluntarily removing more than 3,000 pieces of litter from Hollywood’s Runyon Canyon (and the streets around it), has taught us several abiding lessons that the City of Los Angeles should consider in the ongoing battle against trash blight. + Getting folks not to litter in the first place — and to pick up any litter they see — is a tough ask when our entire lifestyle is based on “acceptable” fouling of our environment. We accept poisoned water in exchange for newly fracked fuel sources. We accept polluted air (acknowledged by the WHO as a carcinogen) in exchange for the convenience of one-person commutes. We accept an entire economy based on consume-and-dispose. Accepting a litter-speckled “nature area” isn’t hard to do when many of us arrive at the park in an SUV . . . → Read More: Dirty Thoughts
Yoga People come from all walks of life, with a million different back stories and life journeys. Nonetheless, Yoga People generally share certain admirable and desirable traits: physical flexibility, mental mindfulness, and a spirit of focused discipline. They tend to possess a figurative openness of heart that mirrors the literal openness of their limbs spread wide in an asana.
They look good, too!
Yoga People, the conventional thinking goes, are slightly more conscious of the universe than the average person, more awake to reality and possibility, thanks to the power of inward-looking meditation.
This may be true in many cases, maybe even most cases. But practical visual evidence, the kind with measurable parameters, suggests that for all their advanced inquiry into the nature of being, Yoga People are actually pretty much like non-Yoga People.
To be oblivious to the world around us and . . . → Read More: Very Special Yoga People
Expressed in portentous Bible-speak, the Golden Rule means “Do unto others as ye shall have them do unto you.” Put plainly: Treat others how you would like to be treated.
Progressive yoga types enhance and sharpen the meaning: “Be the change you wish to see.” They also believe the Golden Rule involves love moving in all directions, spreading goodness to all living creatures.
Western or Eastern – the concept of conducting one’s life consciously, weighing behavior decisions based on the Golden Rule instead of the monkey brain (eat, fuck, fight), is a template for being that most of humanity embraces, at least in theory. It sounds good and it works!
When we look at our collective behavior as a nation, as a community called the United States of America, we wonder if our national decisions are based on Treating Others the Way We Would . . . → Read More: The Golden Rule
Vikram Gandhi is a handsome and charismatic filmmaker; Kumare is an Indian guru who espouses a nice-sounding mélange of yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, and chanting — all standard stuff for seekers of Wisdom. Gandhi’s documentary shows how Kumare, with the help of two fetching female assistants, builds a fabulous reputation and a community of followers. The catch? Kumare is Gandhi in disguise, abetted by a terrific Hindi accent. Is he a false prophet, a powerful teacher, or both? The answers are surprising and enlightening — exactly the kind of revelations we expect from our gurus.
Thanks to our good looks, superior intelligence, and unimaginable privilege, we’re rich! Do you know how much calla lilies cost at a reputable flower purveyor? We’ve got hundreds of them in our garden. Blood oranges? Also hundreds.
We can’t eat them all, so we give them away. Same thing with our money. Since we’re into sharing, spreading the goodness around, we’ve decided this year to take a portion of our vast wealth and endow a nonprofit foundation – a charitable foundation – to serve our brothers and sisters, to lessen the suffering of every living creature, to leave the world a slightly better place than we found it.
So many issues. So many problems. So many broken people needing to be fixed. If we were Bill Gates or Carlos Slim, we’d have the kind of money to back an infinite number of projects. Alas, we’re not that . . . → Read More: Sharing, Caring, Giving
Certain amorphous concepts exist only in the theoretical realm: truth, justice, beauty. Time. Yet we “know” (or think we know) they’re there. Indeed, we’re the ones who manifest them. By observing, say, a ravishing Southern California sunset, or the blossoms of a cherry tree, or our lover’s face, we feel quite sure that Beauty is not merely an amorphous concept but something tangible and present. And in those moments it surely is.
Quantum physics suggests that this thing we call consciousness exists only in our Mind Reality, where we observe – and categorize and quantify – what seems to be the passage of time, our hurtling journey through space. In the Cosmic Reality, time does not trudge forward (or slip backwards). It just is.
Stress is one of these strange phenomena. It doesn’t really exist in any measurable form. We only know it’s there when someone tells . . . → Read More: Stress
If you wish to align yourself with a mindset that no one will dispute and most will acclaim, proclaim yourself a paragon of “family values.” Earn a reputation as a “family man.” Put “family” before self. Found a right-wing Christian political bribery machine and call it “Focus on the Family.” Do whatever it is you want to do with your life, but remind everyone that whatever it is you do with your life it’s all about the family.
Repeat the word. Family. Say it clearly and often. Family.
Is there anything better? Is there any concept more sacrosanct? Ah, how we love our children and how we love our parents. They’re more important than anyone or anything in the universe.
Family: the folks we can trust and love, celebrate and forgive, rescue and remember, support and adore and abide. Family is the . . . → Read More: A New Definition of Family
I helped an old man load his groceries into the trunk of his car, which was parked curbside near the entrance to a 99-Cent store. He walked with a cane and seemed to have trouble handling his bags. A watermelon had fallen to the sidewalk, somehow escaping unblemished. But things didn’t look as though they would end well.
Do they ever? According to the old man, they do not. He thanked me profusely for assisting, and then he seemed to want to explain why he needed help, and then he sensed that this was already understood by both of us. He shook his bald head, covered by a baseball cap. Then he said, “Don’t ever get old. Stay the way you are now. Getting old. It’s no good.”
At a birthday party for an elegant lady turning 100, the centarian’s daughter . . . → Read More: Bad Endings
He had a name that you might call Dickensian, except Barry Commoner, who died this week at 95, was anything but his nomenclature. A man of the people, yes. Common, no.
Barry Commoner was uncommon.
Today, millions of Earth’s inhabitants believe that overpopulation, increased affluence, and advanced technology are the root causes of environmental degradation. Back in 1971, when Commoner published his catalytic book, “The Closing Circle: Man, Nature, and Technology,” his ideas were considered radical, annoying, and revolutionary. Gasoline at the time cost 36-cents per gallon. Automobiles cost around $2,500. The phrases “peak oil” and “Middle Eastern jihadi” had not entered the lexicon. Many conservatives – those who liked things just the way they were – couldn’t understand why anyone would want to disrupt a fossil fuel energy model that seemed to provide human beings with a “better” . . . → Read More: In Praise of Barry Commoner