We Don’t “Cook” Easily – Spirituality

There is a story about an old Zen monk who was dying, who had finished everything and was about to get off the wheel. He was just floating away, free and in his pure Buddha-mind, when a thought passed by of a beautiful deer he had once seen in a field. And he held on to that thought for just a second because of its beauty, and immediately he took birth again as a deer. It’s as subtle as that. It’s like when we begin to see the work that is to be done, and we go to an ashram or a monastery, or we hang out with satsang. We surround ourselves with a community of beings who think the way we think. And then none of the stuff, the really hairy stuff inside ourselves, comes up. It all gets pushed underground.
We can sit in a temple or a cave in India and get so holy, so clear and radiant, the light is pouring out of us. But when we come out of that cave, when we leave that supportive structure that worked with our strengths but seldom confronted us with our weaknesses, our old habit-patterns tend to reappear, and we come back into the same old games – the games we were sure we had finished with. Why? Because there were uncooked seeds, seeds of desires that sprout again the minute they are stimulated. We can stay in very holy places, and the seeds sit there dormant and uncooked. But there is fear in such individuals, because they know they’re still vulnerable.
Nothing goes under the rug. We can’t hide in our highness any more than we’ve hidden in our unworthiness. If we’ve finally decided we want God, we’ve got to give it all up. The process is one of keeping the ground as we go up, so we always have ground, so that we’re high and low at the same moment – that’s a tough game to learn, but it’s a very important one. So at the same moment that if I could, I would like to take us all up higher and higher, so we can see that the game isn’t to get high – the game is to get balanced and liberated.
– Ram Dass – excerpt from Grist for the Mill.

Holding On Forever – Inspirational Quotations

Cyclamen Painting….


“As we watch the blossom falling, we see ourselves in it, and we feel the gravity of the moment.”  ~|Zen Moments

There’s a great essay written by Sigmund Freud called: “On Transience.” In it, he cites a conversation that he had with the poet, Rilke, as they were walking along this beautiful garden. At one point, Rilke looked like he was about to tear up. Freud said, “What’s wrong? It’s a beautiful day. There’s beautiful plants around us. This is magnificent.” And then Rilke says, “Well, I can’t get over the fact that one day all of this is going to die. All these trees, all these plants, all this life is going to decay. Everything dissolves in meaninglessness when you think about the fact that impermanence is a really real thing.”

Perhaps the greatest existential bummer of all is entropy. And I was really struck by this, because perhaps that’s why, when we’re in love, we’re also kind of sad. There’s a sadness to the ecstasy. Beautiful things sometimes can make us a little sad. And it’s because what they hint at is the exception, a vision of something more, a vision of a hidden door, a rabbit hole to fall through, but a temporary one.

And I think, ultimately, that is the tragedy. That is why love simultaneously fills us with melancholy. That’s why sometimes I feel nostalgic over something I haven’t lost yet, because I see its transience. And so how does one respond to this? Do we love harder? Do we squeeze tighter? Or do we embrace the Buddhist creed of no attachment? Do we pretend not to care that everything and everyone we know is going to be taken away from us?

I don’t know if I can accept that. I think I tend to side more with the Dylan Thomas quote that says, “I will not go quietly into that good night, but instead rage against the dying of the light.” I think that we defy entropy and impermanence with our films and our poems. I think we hold onto each other a little harder and say, “I will not let go. I do not accept the ephemeral nature of this moment. I’m going to extend it forever.


Or at least I’m going to try.

-Jason SIlva

Full Transcript: I highly recommend both links



Lovelock’s apocalypse – Video

James-Lovelock“Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change from radically impacting our lives in the coming decades.” This is the stark conclusion of James Lovelock, the globally respected environmental thinker and independent scientist who developed the Gaia theory.



I am dipping my toe in to  uncharted waters again. It’s not my usual way to post anything quite so controversial as a radical statement about climate change. Articles such as this one can cause fear to some and are seriously side-stepped by others. Why? Because the subject is so fearful. We don’t want to be stirred up when life is giving us a great ride or even a good ride… or even a bum ride!  We leave apocalyptic horrors to fiction writers like Steven King. (The Stand) Don’t you just love a Steven King book? He can speak of death and horror in such a way, we all lap it up, always wanting more. But when a much respected scientist expresses the same apocalyptic thoughts as a good fiction writer, we often dismiss them as nonsense and scare-mongering. 

I enjoyed the article James wrote because he does not dance around the facts.  I not only found his claims noteworthy, I found them much along the lines of my own. Like him, I feel our planet functions as a single organism that cannot endure constant abuse like bombing mountain tops in Western Virginia for coal, or cutting down precious forests in most of Asia and South America, for Palm oil.


James Lovelock has made some pretty serious statements concerning Planet Earth over the decades, but now he’s telling the world that it is too late. He said,People might as well enjoy themselves now while they can. There is no future for the Earth. We humans are too stupid to even grasp what we are doing to our Earth.” 

Do you agree with him or is he coming from the stand-point of gloom and doom in his old age?

James Lovelock with Leo Hickman for the Guardian Online

Lovelock believes global warming is now irreversible, and nothing can prevent large parts of our planet becoming too hot to inhabit, or sinking underwater. This would result in mass migration, famine and epidemics. Britain, he believes is going to become a lifeboat for refugees from mainland Europe, so instead of wasting our time on wind turbines we need to start planning how to survive. To Lovelock, the logic is clear. The sustainability brigade are insane to think we can save ourselves by going back to nature. Our only chance of survival will come, not from less technology, but more.

Nuclear power, he argues, can solve our energy problem – the bigger challenge will be food. “Maybe they’ll synthesis food. I don’t know. Synthesiing food is not some mad visionary idea. You can buy it in Tesco’s, in the form of Quorn. It’s not that good, but people buy it. You can live on it.”

But he fears we won’t invent the necessary technologies in time, and expects “about 80%” of the world’s population to be wiped out by 2100. Prophets have been forecasting Armageddon since time began, he says. “But this is the real thing.”


Faced with two versions of the future – Kyoto’s prheventative action or Lovelock’s apocalypse – who are we to believe? Some critics have suggested Lovelock’s readiness to concede the fight against climate change owes more to old age than science: “People who say that about me haven’t reached my age,” he says laughing.

But when I ask if he attributes the conflicting predictions to differences in scientific understanding or personality, he says: “Personality.”

There’s more than a hint of the controversial in his work, and it seems an unlikely coincidence that Lovelock became convinced of the irreversibility of climate change in 2004, at the very point when the international consensus was coming round to the idea of the need for urgent action. Aren’t his theories at least partly driven by a fondness for heresy?

“Not a bit! Not a bit! All I want is a quiet life! But I can’t help noticing when things happen, when you go out and find something. People don’t like it because it upsets their ideas.”

But the suspicion seems confirmed when I ask if he’s found it rewarding to see many of his climate change warnings endorsed by the IPCC.

“Oh no! In fact, I’m writing another book now, I’m about a third of the way into it, to try and take the next steps ahead.”

 It’s going to happen!


Interviewers often remark about the discrepancy between Lovelock’s predictions of doom, and his good humour. “Well I’m cheerful!” he says, smiling. “I’m an optimist. It’s going to happen.

“Humanity is in a period exactly like 1938-9″, he explains, “when we all knew something terrible was going to happen, but didn’t know what to do about it”. But once the second world war was under way, “everyone got excited. They loved the things they could do, it was one long holiday … so when I think of the impending crisis now, I think in those terms. A sense of purpose – that’s what people want.”

At moments I wonder about Lovelock’s credentials as a prophet. Sometimes he seems less clear-eyed with scientific vision than disposed to see the version of the future his prejudices are looking for. A socialist as a young man, he now favors market forces, and it’s not clear whether his politics are the child or the father of his science. His hostility to renewable energy, for example, gets expressed in strikingly Eurosceptic terms of irritation with subsidies and bureaucrats. But then, when he talks about the Earth – or Gaia – it is in the purest scientific terms of all.

“There have been seven disasters since humans came on the earth, very similar to the one that’s just about to happen. I think these events keep separating the wheat from the chaff. And eventually we’ll have a human on the planet that really does understand it and can live with it properly. That’s the source of my optimism.”

What would Lovelock do now, I ask, if he were me? He smiles and says: “Enjoy life while you can. Because if you’re lucky it’s going to be 20 years before it hits the fan.”

Is James Lovelock a prophet of doom or has an exceptionally long life enabled him to draw conclusions about the state of the planet that most governments of today, fail to see? – Could he be entirely wrong?

Personally, I don’t think so. We only have to look at the oceans or the “plastic soup,” that now threatens us. 


I know this is a long read but do hope some of you bloggers want to leave your views on this controversial article.

As Simple As Pie – Inspirational Quotation


Many of you will have already heard  the sad news that beloved Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh,) is seriously ill in Plum Village in rural France, where he has lived for many years. Whether he will survive or not we do not know yet. He is 88 years old now and for most of  his life he has been  a simple Buddhist Monk; a humble and beautiful being who has been an inspirational to us all.  “Where were you before you were born?” is a beautiful talk from so many given over the years.  He takes this deeply philosophical question of life and death, turns it in to a homily providing us with an answer that is as simple as pie.


Today, we hear that Thay is now in hospital, sadly he is in the process of passing away.  It’s a great loss for the world. 


Where Were You Before You Were Born?

Sometimes people ask you: “When is your birthday?” But you might ask yourself a more interesting question: “Before that day which is called my birthday, where was I?” Ask a cloud: “What is your date of birth?” Before you were born, where were you?”

If you ask the cloud, “How old are you? Can you give me your date of birth?” you can listen deeply and you may hear a reply. You can imagine the cloud being born. Before being born it was the water on the ocean’s surface. Or it was in the river and then it became vapor. It was also the sun because the sun makes the vapor. The wind is there too, helping the water to become a cloud. The cloud does not come from nothing; there has been only a change in form. It is not a birth of something out of nothing.

Sooner or later the cloud will change into rain or snow or ice. If you look deeply into the rain, you can see the cloud. The cloud is not lost; it is transformed into rain, and the rain is transformed into healthy soil and the soil into cherry trees and the cherry trees into blossoms, the blossoms into cherries and then into the cherry pie you eat. Today if you eat a piece of cherry pie, give yourself time to look at the pie and say:

“Hello, cloud! I recognize you.”

By doing that, you have insight and understanding into the real nature of the pie and the cloud. You can also see the ocean, the river, the heat, the sun, the soil and the trees in the pie. Looking deeply, you do not see a real date of death for the cloud. All that happens is that the cloud transforms into rain or snow. There is no real death because there is always a continuation. A cloud continues the ocean, the river and the heat of the sun, and the rain continues the cloud.

9782071Before it was born, the cloud was already there, so today, when you eat a piece of cherry pie, please follow your breathing. Look into the cherry pie and say hello to the cloud.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh


Monbiot: The age of loneliness is killing us

Originally posted on Engage!:

For the most social of creatures, the mammalian bee, there’s no such thing now as society. This will be our downfall.

George Monbiot

Man sitting on a bench under a tree
‘Social isolation is as potent a cause of early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Loneliness is twice as deadly as obesity.’ Photograph: Feri Lukas/Rex

What do we call this time? It’s not the information age: the collapse of popular education movements left a void filled by marketing and conspiracy theories. Like the stone age, iron age and space age, the digital age says plenty about our artefacts but little about society. The anthropocene, in which humans exert a major impact on the biosphere, fails to distinguish this century from the previous 20. What clear social change marks out our time from those that precede it? To me it’s obvious. This is the Age of Loneliness.


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Away From The Madding Crowd, More Sathya Sai Memories

10548793_927171090642088_6914054434774309398_oPerhaps the most well-known song George Harrison sang was “All Things Must Pass” – the ever changing nature of the material world being the theme of this song. And so it is.

The last years with Sathya Sai Baba were hard. He was unwell and often missed the call to give darshan in the Mandir area. When he did ride out in his wheelchair, people surrounded him, some even clung to him almost like they were afraid to let go. The truth was ‘they were afraid’. No one spoke of Swami’s demise. Yet, clearly things were not the same. The ashram became a frenzied place to be. The best and most restful place was outside and away from the crowds.

I chose often to sit in Pat and Rosco’s ‘Wild Flowers’ cafe adjacent to the Ashram. I could look in over the Ashram entrance to where I could just make out the front of the verandah and Mandir. Often, at darshan times, I could see Swami’s bright orange robe while he was seated on his chair near the front of the Verandah. I didn’t know it then but I understand now, that even at that far distance, the vibrations from his aura were able to permeate the café and provide a wonderful peaceful feeling. Those were good times and with old friends from years gone by, we made up a community of people who had a common purpose. That purpose was to stay close to Swami as we could.

The small cafe closed years ago. Pat and Rosco are back in America. I heard the other day that Rosco is seriously ill. I wish I had their email to contact them, but sadly I don’t. They were ardent followers of Swami and for the 15 years they lived in India, they lived quietly and simply, according to the ideals that Swami had given us. There were others who gathered in the cafe, most of whom were the seasonal crowd. It was always good to meet old acquaintances again and exchange news.



Most noted among those who visited their cafe was Isaac Tigrett. He was a firm visitor in 2007. Isaac always had ‘his’ table reserved for him. We were told this was due to people constantly disturbing him. I saw him in the cafe a few times, but he remained alone. I don’t remember anyone venturing near his table. Rosco had laid down the rules where Isaac was concerned. “We were not allowed to go near him.” I had to smile when Rosco told me this as most of us were disturbed by someone or other in the confines of their small cafe. There were simply too few tables for any of us to have the luxury of private dining.


Isaac with Swami -2009

Isaac with Swami -2009

I don’t know what happened to Isaac after his arrival at the Puttparthi Ashram. He didn’t seem to fit in too well with the ordinary folk there. Of course, this might have been due to the fact that he had a famous past. He had founded two dining empires and had been, at one time, at the top of his game. He’d married Maureen Starkey, ex-wife of Ringo Starr, although in herself, she was not famous for anything but her marriages, giving her a cache that none of us had.

His friends had been among the rich and powerful, heads-of-state, other tycoons and millionaires. I guess with a past like that, it was not always easy for him to sit in a run-down Puttaparthi cafe, eating a “protein wrap” with a lot of back-packers, hitch-hikers, and other ordinary people, even though, his reasons for being there, were no different from ours.

It’s difficult to understand, apart from reasons already stated, why Isaac always kept his distance. His few conversations with other VIPS in Puttaparthi were generally along the same lines. He had left America because he was broke and fed-up with life back home. He only wanted to retire and remain close to Swami.

That was easy for him, as he had the best chair in the ashram, though he was reported to have said, “everyone is staring at me.” Maybe due to his huge personality, Isaac did not enjoy his veranda chair. (I wonder if that chair is still there?) To be fair he was not a well man at the time, and that probably did little to improve his mood.

I don’t know where Isaac is now. Whether he is still residing in India or departed for America, I cannot guess. He seems to have disappeared more or less completely from the Sai Baba Scene after the Kodaikanal adventures earlier this year. I hope he is safe and well, he deserves to be.



Isaac speaking from his flat in the Puttparthi Ashram, 2012.Isaac is the co/founder of The Hard Rock Cafe and The founder of The House Of Blues

His donations to Sathya Sai Baba have been considerable.

Humanity – Inspirational Quotations

angelsnIt’s been a sad week with the disastrous results of the mid-term elections in the USA.  I do wonder what future, if any, there is for the USA, indeed for us all. We are living in a world on the brink of war, on the brink of financial collapse, on the brink of hopelessness and fear.  We feel overwhelmed by the pressures of life. Everything seems to be going wrong in our lives, and we don’t know what to do. We feel too small compared to the immensity of life, and we want to be rescued from our problems. Our emotional reaction might be helplessness mixed with sadness and fear. 

Yet, even while we’re bogged down with the difficulties, we  understand that life is precious. Life carries the message of hope, even when it is hard to hold on.  Even with the problems facing us we hope life will get better. We still  long for the dawning of a new era, and eagerly await a time of abundance for all. After all, it is our birthright! We hope for the time when a new consciousness will be ushered in. To trust that the ultimate good that is deep within all of us,  reaches those who can appreciate it, work with it, and gain from it. We are humanity.  We are messengers. Here is the message. It is delivered by Don Miguel Ruiz: enjoy!



I believe in angels. The word ‘angel’ means messenger. Everything that exists is a manifestation of one being, and it manifests through messengers. Messengers deliver the will of the one being, and the supreme messenger is light.

Light is alive, and it carries the message of life all around the universe. Light, the divine messenger, has billions of different frequencies. Though it is only one being, it divides itself for the creation of life into our beautiful Mother, the planet Earth. Every vibration of light has a specific message for every kind of life that exists in this beautiful world. There is a specific frequency of light that carries information for the creation of humans. That ray of light manifests as DNA and only creates humans – you and me. We are beings of light because we are beings of energy. The force of life that manifests as humans recognizes its own kind. It is the soul of humanity, and it is a major angel. The soul of humanity is a messenger; you are a messenger, and your message is your life.

In your heart is the real message that humans have been trying to deliver. For so many years we have delivered the wrong message: a message of fear, a message of selfishness, a message of anger, violence, and injustice. This message is not ours. Humans were made for love: our function is to love. Sharing love is human nature  because we come from love, we come from light, we come from our Creator. Our nature is to love and to play, to enjoy life, and to be happy.

- Don Miguel Ruiz from Prayers, A communion with our Creator


A remarkable take on vegetarianism


Bishnoi the compassionate people.




Bishnoi_women_waiting_for_bus_jaisalmer_india_rajasthan (2)-X2

Originally posted on Meet the Bishnoi:

Sangri (fruits from Khejri tree), red chilli and lentils

A typical meal in the Bishnoi village: Sangri (fruits from Khejri tree), red chilli and lentils

Bishnois are avid vegetarians.  It is prescribed within their 29 principles and practiced without compromise in all of the families I’ve encountered.  Close affinity with wildlife protection and the welfare of all animals means that Bishnois simply don’t contemplate the possibility of eating meat.  All of the community is vegetarian from birth, so the very idea of eating meat is unthinkable. In day-to-day conversation, I’ve found many a belligerent standpoint, especially within the Bishnoi youth, imploring all of humankind convert to vegetarianism. 

Back home in England, the vast proportion of society is meat eating stock, but intermingled with a significant, and ever-increasing, number of vegetarians and vegans.  The vegetarian versus meat eating debate began for me in school and never reached an absolute conclusion.  Over the course of many years, I have engaged in tête-à-têtes with carnivores, omnivores, pure vegetarians, eggetarians, pescetarians and vegans from many cultures and backgrounds.  In this time I have…

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