“That’s your doing. Now in order to affect that doing I am going to recommend that you learn another doing… It may hook you to another doing and then you may realize that both doings are lies, unreal, and that to hinge yourself to either one is a waste of time, because the only thing that is real is the being in you that is going to die. To arrive at that being is the note-doing of the self.”
Carlos Castaneda

Journey to Ixtlan

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-11-28

  • samkhya this morning: the "cup" I'm holding is an illusion, the subtle elements that uphold it (earth, air, fire) are real objects #
  • being an outsider of Israeli society and away from Israel illuminates even more clearly the raw-calousness of it's social norms #
  • @MettaYogaIL thank you for taking the time to read it 🙂 re: Degeneracy & Yoga: http://bit.ly/cEQr3n #
  • a charming coffee shop and cheese makers in Romania: http://bit.ly/9zfpuA #
  • ~1$ worth of vegetables from the Romanian market have transformed into a mouth watering soup! cc: @lifeinromania #
  • @zenpeacekeeper @spiver I believe "goodness" of a teacher is an experience reserved for a student, it's an intimate & personal experience #
  • 2 beautiful 1sts in Romania – home-baked bread from a couple of days ago & a first blanket of fresh snow this morning: http://bit.ly/f9YnLi #
  • stunning contrast between darg gray skies and bright & warm rays of sun light #
  • surprised to find myself thinking & writing about nationality & Israel – there's no such thing as "a right to land" http://bit.ly/gpOdsD #
  • sitting down to a short meditation playing Shakuhachi #omcru #
  • @iandstewart what would you use on a self-hosted domain instead of facebook? #
  • first time home alone in Romania 🙂 Andreea has gone to visit her family #
  • @iandstewart sadly I feel WordPress isn't ready to replace Facebook ( it should) but it will b a gr8 day when it is!! http://bit.ly/hq9vCu #

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My thoughts have been moving towards a post I intend to publish on oDharma about blogging. Those thoughts have not yet consolidated but this morning they led me in a surprising direction – to thoughts about nationality. If you speak Hebrew then I invite you to view this talk by Yeshayahu Leibovitz (a prominent Israeli philosopher) from 1982 in which he tackles a volatile political question “To whom does Israel belong?”:

The dialogue begins when an Israeli farmer describes a conversation he had with his arab (Palestanian!?) neighbor who said to him that the land he is working belonged to him 30 years ago and was taken from him. The Israeli farmer also admits that he sometimes hires his arab neighbor  to work the land (the very land that was taken from  him) for him. The Israeli farmer asks how to face that question – what can he say so that they (he and his arab neighbor) can live in peace.

Prof. Leibovitz answers that “no people have any right to any land” that even “the Swedish people do not have a right to Sweden” – there is no such “right”. He explains that the existence of a country is a result of a large group of people (a majority?) who share a common relationship to a land – it is what  is in their hearts that associates a people to land and makes it into a country. Israel is (and this he said almost 30 years ago) in a difficult position – because there are two people’s claiming an association of ownership with the same physical land. This is not a legal matter and therefore cannot be debated as such and pretending otherwise is just plain stupid. It is a matter of heart(s) – and hearts don’t reason. Prof. Leibovitz then goes on to say that there are only two possible solutions to this situation (emphasizing that there isn’t a 3rd) – either a fight to the death (nothing less) or the reknown solution of separation – two countries for two people’s.

These two solutions used to delineate a clear structure in  Israeli politics – the right embracing all out war  and the left embracing peace through separation. Over the last 30 years two processes of evolution have occured. (1) There are no clear mainstream political delineations anymore (though there are small extremist groups on both sides) –  the idea of separation-as-a-solution engulfs both right and left – leaving a mediocre and stale political system. (2) The realities of life have created a friction-filled but single living entity. On the national level Palestinian territories rely on Israel for basic sustenance – things like electricity and food (I’m sure there is much more and two way business – I simply do not have more information on it) are sold from Israel to Palestinian territories. On a local level, having lived for 18 month with arab neighbors (within as-yet uncontroversial Israeli borders) – lives are completely intermingled on a day-today basis.

I wonder if time has revealed a refined perspective – I am offering myself as an example – my Judaism is just an inherited title, my Israeli nationality is also a reality into which I was born (yet, especially now that I’ve left Israel, I can say there is a sense of belonging and connection though no longing to the place). I have come to believe that most people share common interests, things like a house, food, a sense of security, kids, education. It’s really not very complicated – yet somehow (and today my finger is pointed more in the direction of industrialization and capitalism than it is at politics and religion) leaderships and societies seem to lose sight of that. I’m sure that even right-wing extremists enjoy a warm embrace, a nice dinner and seeing their kids grow and mature.

That’s how I live my life and how I meet and experience others. I prefer an experience of connection over an experience of separation – as seems to be the case with actual life in Israel (not political life or the life-image depicted in mass media). I am constantly discovering that if I let my guard down my mind draws a picture that distorts or even goes against what is in my heart. One way I can tell which is dominant is through a simple rule of thumb – if I experience connection it’s coming from my heart, it I experience separation it’s coming from my mind. What is in the hearts of Israelis & Palestinians is, whether they admit it or not, a shared experience – there is connection. What is in their minds masks that and contorts it into separation. Even if the two leaderships eventually find a “solution of separation” they will quickly need to create “mechanisms of connection” because hearts and life will demand it.

Ironically – there is something else shared by Israeli and Palestinian societies – they are both filling their minds and the minds of their young with wrong perception, perception that creates a sense of enmity, separation, insecurity and eventually violence. That can be changed – though I am not sure it will be (sometimes death arrives before enlightenment). Minds can be changed – it happens all the time 🙂 Separation is not sustainable in the long term – it’s against nature. My contribution to Israeli society was changing my own mind and allowing that change to echo within my life circles. It doesn’t really matter if I am right or wrong – what does matter – and this is something that largely escapes Israeli society – is that I am a product of Israeli society and I am not the only one.

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Two Firsts – Bread & Snow


We are here in Romania to create a sustainable home (more on that soon). We are always looking for small steps we can take on this long journey. A couple of days ago we took another smal step by baking our first bread. This is Andreea’s handy-work – pretty amazing result for the first time around:

This morning I woke up to another beautiful first. I’ve seen snow before – but usually as a tourist. I now live here. We’ve been here for over  2 weeks and we’ve had great weather – sunny days and pleasant temperatures. We’ve felt the temperatures drop over recent days and then this morning I wake up to a world covered by a delicate blanket of snow. It’s a big weather shift and yet it happened with such delicacy and grace. I am looking forward to seeing the city covered with snow 🙂  For now, this is the view out the window:

Update Nnovember 30, 2010: another image through the window and two of snow left-overs later that day.

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Two Surreal and Surprising and Hillarious Movies


The first movie we saw months ago, had a great time watching but I never got to writing about it. Then yesterday we saw another movie – hillariously well done. They seemed to belong to a new genre – a class of their own. Great fun and surprising movies both – “Kick Ass” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” – enjoy 🙂

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Romania – Cheese Makers


Sometime before noon today we had a power-out, so we go dressed and went out for another walk through town. Our primary objective was coffee and tea cups. Coffee cups is a very personal thing – I can’t tell you quite what it is that makes a coffee cup good for me – it has a little to do with size (many cups are just to small – no room for the milk froth) – but I know one when I see one – and ascetics have a lot to do with it. Tea cups are a different story – there is where size (and an accordingly good handle) really counts – big is good. Today, finally, we found both.

We also stopped and visited two natural foods shops. One was unimpressive – though we did find a nice Indian tea-blend (which will work wonders in the new cups tonight) – we were as happy leaving it as we were entering it. The second one was a hugely pleasant surprise. The King of RLomania told us about this shop and that they carried fair-trade coffee. Not only do they carry it, they also serve it in a lovely coffee shop on the second floor – complete with bio-milk if you order a capuccino and all-organic sweet-cakes to go along with it.

The place had two employees – one working the shop and the other the coffee shop – both with a pleasant and welcoming air about them – the place had a great vibe. After sampling the coffee (which was a bit strong and sour to our taste) we went back down and took off the shelves another brand of coffee to try at home and some sesame seeds. Andreea begins to interact with the store-clerk and I soon realize that the conversation has stretched out a bit longer then I expected it to (definitely beyond just paying for the products) – apparently Andreea found a welcoming ear and was sharing her work.

She learned that the store is relatively new and that the coffee shop has just opened. That it is owned by a young couple who have a vision. There was great resonance and mutual interest – they exchanged contact information and the store-clerk promised to share what she had just learned with the store owners. It felt great. A quality connection was made. We now have a charming place, 15 minutes from our home, that serves great organic coffee and may be a great place to hold workshops and courses! How about that?

As Andreea was having her conversation I continued browsing the store and I revisited the cheese section – where there was a variety of cheeses – organic and made by locals. As I was looking at them I realized that they all had labels on them with contact information on them. Suddenly I saw not just cheese but also people who know how to make it – people who may be willing to share their knowledge and experience so that we too will be able to make our own cheese!

We feel so good where we are and in the direction we are heading – it promises to be filled with new unprecedented richness.

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