“... The danger has always been that the rituals, the static patterns are mistaken for what they merely represent and are allowed to destroy the Dynamic Quality they were originally intended to preserve ...”
Robert Pirsig

Lila

Nature Votes No on Housing

n

Reading about flooding in Europe and thinking (a) how grateful I am for the relatively moderate and safe climate I live in and (b) what if we’ve been constructing houses in all the wrong places? I don’t follow news frequently enough, nor thoroughly, nor do I have a good memory … but it seems to me that both frequency and intensity of such events are on the rise.

For the time being we (as in humanity) seem to be using two of our facilities to mitigate these events: religion (we pray to avoid such events or that they pass quickly) and force (we build barriers to further isolate us from nature). Isn’t it time that we tried to bring some intellect into it?

As Bill Mollison & Sepp Holzer would probably say: the valleys (lowest points) are for water, houses and roads should go further up on the hills.

The wackiest thing would be to hear in a couple of months complaints about a drought that is threatening the world’s food supply. There is more than enough water, we need to learn how to store and use it more wisely. Our indulgent living has destabilized our ecosystem (the signs really are everywhere) – we can no longer rely on a constant flow of anything (sunshine nor rain). It is rdicilously childish to expect regularity yet that it what we continue to do. This is all our doing … and fortunately we can also undo or redo or do much better.

We are in a kind of planetary boiling-frog paradox. We have trained ourselves to expect a singular global melt-down: a meteorite, global temperature rises, global sea-level rises, peak oil, etc. But it seems that nature operates in a more organic and gradual way. We are bombarded by events that are trying to wake us up … and we don’t seem to recognize them as the manifestation of the meltdown that is already taking place. We continue to consume and protest and vacation, ignorant in denial of a change taking place around us.

In the words of Sarah McLachlan singing about letting go:

“Hold on
hold on to yourself
for this is going to hurt like hell
What is it in me that refuses to believe
This isn’t easier than the real thing”

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Illegal, Unfair, Normal

n

Law as a social framework (including legislative, judicial, enforcement, punishment and public perception aspects) seems to be deteriorating … and I believe that’s a good thing. I believe the law, at its best (a rare combination of legislation & implementation) provides, at best, mediocre social norms. Typically it seems to describe the lowest level of tolerated behavior which will go unpunished by society. A far cry from being a motivating force for progress and growth.

Though I do feel there is potential for law to improve within its own domain I don’t expect much of it. It is too committed to upholding too many notions that need to be scrutinized. As with many things, progress will need to come from outside the box.

ILLEGAL: I believe change will come from conscious and aware members of society who are able to challenge norms and strive for better. Their efforts will be illegal in the sense that they go against the written laws but they may do so without causing any losses or damages to anyone or anything else. They will, for the most part, go unnoticed, working from the fringes of society mostly unknown to mainstream society. They need to be free to explore on behalf of society without the burdens of society holding them back. Since these people usually strive to uphold society they experience a tension and need to develop a certain capacity for illegality.

UNFAIR: Some of their discoveries will eventually (this is a process then can take decades) be noticed by mainstream society. They will cause debate. Some of these people, those whose discoveries are most digestable by mainstream society, will be invited in (maybe even tempted with celebrity). Others will be discovered and prosecuted and sometimes punishment. Their contribution will become a measure of how much unfairness they are able to accommodate peacefully.

NORMATIVE: Eventually wild and illegal discoveries will sink in and become normative. When they do their histories will be lined with social oucasts and unfair treatments … and eventually the once radical now normative patterns will also be challenged … over and over again in a never ending cycle of evolution.

I am tempted to say that a healthy society needs to cultivate such “research outposts” on its fringes … but I don’t think that is possible nor necessary. Fringe is a natural phenomenon. Society needs to be careful not to overrun it, to facilitate (create, nurture, protect) a space for the fringe to do its thing.

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Tear Yes, Step No

n

Another talk about our current money system and its shortcoming. It’s a good talk, though not a great one. One thing I loved about it … at one point the presenter tears a 20 euro bill and drops it to the floor as a symbolic act … yet for the remainder of the talk he continued to move around the torn pieces but never dared to actually step on them … actually avoided them quite a few times.

Symbolism is not enough … a long age of superficial symbolism contributed to our current story and it will take powerful intentions to overcome the superficiality and move beyond it to a better story.

 

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Digitized Planet

n

digitized

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NG

n

Andreea woke up in the early dawn hours with abdominal pains.

I had a smooth morning, got to practice Yoga, got to write about wanting to practice Yoga and the obstacles on the way.

We went out, planned to go visit Ildi & Levente and to purchase some food from them, get some bread from the village. We get into the car, start it, Andreea’s phone rings (it’s Levente), I begin to back out of the driveway … we hear a yelp.

NG was about 6 weeks old and when we brought her home from Ildi & Levente and she was with us for just under 2 weeks. I am guessing I ran over her neck or chest … she was having trouble breathing. Andreea got to her first. There was a little hope for a very short time. I could feel her heart weakening. Within a few minutes NG was gone. She had 4 loving hands and Andreea’s tears falling on her (mine came a bit later when I placed her in the earth). She was not injured or maimed, she was not squished into a bloody pulp … she had no external injury … she struggled a bit … and then died with powerful clarity.

P1060237

She was our first un-messed-up puppy … no hiccups in her early life. The first time we went to see her, on the way there, her name appeared in my consciousness. Indy refused to interact with her, Ricky took her in like a mother. She was to grow up to be a big dog.

P1060233

We went to the village, sent some mail, got some bread. The old man who lives next to the post-office who we buy home-made wine from every year came to us and gifted us with a bottle of wine. We visited Ildy & Levente and came back with marvelous green food. Indy and Ricky were waiting for us at the edge of the driveway. NG was with the whole time.

… yet I am writing this post here because it doesn’t feel like NG had a chance to be with us at Bhudeva. She cried all night for two nights when we brought her home and began to settle in and wander further away from the house … but that was all.

I don’t know yet what message or gift she came to give us, but I can feel its presence. For now I am content living with it without knowing it.

Andreea’s abdominal pains disappeared immediately when NG died.

Dense, very dense.

Update from Andreea:

Angy  as a boy’s name (also used as girl’s name Angy), is a variant of Angel (Greek), and the meaning of Angy is “messenger; messenger of God”.

source

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Something of the Light

n

During the last 2 months I’ve been once again visiting the yoga mat for some much-needed practice and regeneration. I don’t (yet) practice regularly but I have practiced a few times.

I have written before about wanting to practice from a teacher’s perspective and I want to revisit it from a practitioner’s perspective.

I’ve been wanting, among other things, to practice for many months. It’s been the most dominant thing on my mind during the last two months. That is progress. I couldn’t find space for practice during the last 2 years of transition to Bhudeva. My intentions, actions and external circumstances have finally come together to create conditions that invite practice. There are still disturbances and distractions but much less and I am constantly working to get those out of the way.

So the wish for practice has grown … and translated into actual practices. I then found myself tying to revert to an old pattern that has served me well in the past … discipline. I tried to get myself regularly on to the mat. I should say that, in almost all other aspects of my life, I am trying to loosen my grip, to let go of discipline and to flow more naturally in, to and through life. Discipline failed to get me on the mat. Not only did I not get on the mat regularly but I also injured my wish to practice. I would have to wait a longer time for the wish to resurface and carry me on to the mat.

So I am now patiently practicing wanting to practice. I only get on the mat when I have a strong impulse to do so. I do not yet know exactly what are the circumstances that lead into practice. It is probably a combination of a rested body, emotional well-being, a quiet mind (lack of disturbances – both internal and external), a quiet place, relaxed and undisturbed breathing and a probably few other subtle things I may not be conscious of. It takes time for these conditions to build up and accumulate to the point where I am compelled to get on the mat. Currently it seems like at least 2 or 3 days of reasonable flow.

My practice consists of basic S(K)LBS a href=”http://iamronen.com/category/yoga/asana/”>asana. I avoid calling on discipline to extend my practice. I practice while there is a clear momentum forward. Sometimes I complete my intended practice. Other times I do not. A peaceful and present savasana is a peak experience for me these days. When it arrives, my practice is usually over. On rare (for now) occasions I experience enough vitality to carry me through a complete asana sequence and into some pranayama and a short sitting.

These recent practices gift me a subtle and profound experience. On some levels I am in a lesser state then I have been in the past: less flexible, less strong, less breathing capacity. However I am also finding that there is something that hasn’t been diminished. I could probably think of a few ways to describe or intellectualize what it is … but those expressions (as they appear inside my mind) fall short of the experience. My flexibility, strength and breathing are temporary and fleeting features … I feel as if I am witnessing something of the light which is real and eternal. It is a comforting experience … and I am both surprised and grateful that is so readily available to me.

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The Romanian Working Class

n

An interesting read about the capitalist attack on Romania. I do not believe that unions, as the article suggests, are at the heart of the matter. Nor do I believe them to be a solution.

I believe Romania is, at its heart, a land of peasants (people of the earth) and for any social/economic/cultural development needs to take hold it has to build upon those foundations.

As for the ruling class (business and politics) I believe this is the direction to go Walking Away from the King.

The age of “jobs” is coming to an end. Moving into the future requires a rethinking of core ideas about social organization. In that sense Romanias under/slower development gives it a head start compared to many western countries … it has less “advanced baggage” to unload.

via @lifeinromania

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The Edge Seems To Love Me

n

Outside not much is going on, inside so much is going on

I am not inclined to do much writing … its actually not the writing that I am not inclined to do, but the thought organization required for writing

I do want to put down this bookmark for me to remember this point in time

Physical life is mostly peaceful

Emotional life is on the edge

I feel as if I’ve used myself up, there is very littlespace left before my emotional container overflows … that is where I am and have been for some months

I am taking care of myself and for now … that means I am giving less care to others

I do not have much space to contain others, I do not want to contain or compensate for anyone else

… and so some things that I kept together are now on shaky ground

it’s an honest life, not pleasant, definitely not easy … there is also relief

the more I continue on my path through life the more I am struck by what a lousy bag of ideas I was handed to make my way through life

not a criticism, but an observation … the ideas have been failing for a long time, and what few remain in-tact are also failing

society, despite all it’s superficial comfort achievements, has done a shit job

commonly-accepted views on life, nature, relationships, spirituality are superficial false promises used to cover up empty shells

my life has carried me through an unrelenting inquiry into these views, exposing their emptiness leaving me naked to finding my own way

it is a poweful journey, if I’ve been gifted with a purpose this must be it

though sometimes, like now, it would be nice if some ideas could be more resilient, giving me something to lean on for just a little longer …

but that isn’t the case, never has been …

right now I want to stay away from the edge

but the edge seems to love me

 

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Feather

n
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“Science” Goes After Bees

n

On the heels of Science declares wars on wombs I came across this article on “science” and bees:

“… Some signs of beemageddon: CCD has wiped out some 10 million bee hives … over the past six years. The death rate for colonies has hit 30% annually in recent years …

We are one poor weather event or high winter bee loss away from a pollination disaster …

But scientists increasingly believe several interacting factors—from disease-carrying parasites to poor nutrition to pesticides—are responsible for the mass die-off …”

So how about improving their nutrition, banning pesticides and refraining from practices (direct and indirect) that weaken the bees, making them more vulnerable to parasites? Sounds like a plan? No. “Science” has a better idea:

“So how to save the bees? One answer: Breed better bees. The report recommends stepping up efforts to identify genetic traits in particular bees that make them resistant to suspected causes of CCD. Some honey bees, it turns out, take “suicidal risks” when infected with disease to prevent spreading the contagion to the colony.”

“Science” will produce better bees. The arrogance shines through again and again … it is the very controlling and manipulating “scientific” approach which created the problem … but “science” is so addicted to and full of itself that it can’t see that it is the cause of the breakdown. So it will push back harder, stronger … deluding itself once again that this time it will assert its control … only to find its going to make things even worse.

No respect for nature, only a destructive, elitist, machine-like attitude towards nature.

I’ve been following Chris Hadfield for the past few months as he shares his experiences aboard the international space station. I’ve also watched our first brooding hen of the season as 12 chicks hatched from the eggs under her. I am amazed by both achievements – the machine in space and life in the barn. But I am in awe (again and again) that the same egg which makes an omlet, if kept warm for 4 weeks, turns into a living creature. Nature is way ahead of science and science would be better off respecting its place in nature.

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Sacred Economics

n

I first learned about Charles Eisenstein when Andreea sent me a link to an article he wrote about Permaculture. It was kind of like my first date with Andreea in the sense that it took me a while to get back for a second date (not very romantic but that’s how it happened).

Since then I have taken in quite a bit of what Charles publishes including his book Sacred Economics. In the spirit of its contents the book is offered freely online for reading and or downloading. It is also available in print:

It has inspired me and I continually reference the book, Charles and his ideas. I started thinking on a similar path (to the book)  3 or 4 years ago (while still living in Israel) and began a kind of research path that I never completed. When I read this book I was thankful that Charles walked this path with breadth and depth and did so elaborately and with much care.

I would highlight three major themes in this book:

  1. Story: the world we perceive in is based on a (collaborative) story (we create and we can change)
  2. Money – Where we are
  3. Money – A possible future

though I was already fairly aware of the story aspect, living at Bhudeva has hammered this in to me beyond doubt. So many (seems like most) of my preconceptions about life have been challenged, dis-integrated and redirected. Beyond whatever temporary residues of knowledge or wisdom recent and new experiences may have gifted me they have left me with a sense of disillusionment. They have exposed my stories by placing them alongside a reality in which they (at best) don’t quite fit.

The story of money is a special one because it hasn’t fit for a long time … pretty much all of my conscious adult life. The more life experiences I accumulated the more I got the feeling that something about money isn’t right. Charles unveils this story quite clearly. At around the time I was reading the book, my teacher published this quote from his teacher:

“Whether or not I like it, I should know where I am. Otherwise we try to draw the line from where we are not to where we want to be. Therefore the first point must be understood and then we can go to the next point.”

TKV Desikachar France August 1983

Money is deeply embedded into our modern-day lives. We all use it, live with it, contribute to it, depend on it. Yet it seems that we don’t take the time to stop and consider what it actually is and how it relates to our lives. When and how does it help us or does it get in our way? We navigate throught life using money but doing so without understanding its nature can be counter-productive to our efforts. If you care about money then you owe it to yourself to know what it is and what is your relationship with it. Charle’s offers a clear, encompassing and fascinating perspective. I believe his perspective would stand up proudly to any intellectual scrutiny or (much needed) challenges that may be applied to it.

As for the possible future of money – here things are less clear, still fascinating but arguably speculative. It introduces a handful of ideas that offer creative solutions – some of which have been around for quite some time (though at the fringe of economic thought), others have actually been applied with success. It also offers well placed skepticism in regard to superficial alternatives that have been tried (and for the most part failed). The book did not leave me with a clear vision of a better future but with resilient hopes that such a future is possible (and in some ways already here) and with a renewed motivation to continue moving towards it.

I can say that after reading the book, almost any mainstream article I’ve read on economics since then seemed stupid. Social, finacial and political events around the world are met with futile efforts of reconciliation – a futility rooted in a misunderstanding of where we are. Their coverage in the media also seems futile, juvenile and lost.

It is becoming more and more obvious (to more and more people) that we can no longer change reality to confirm to our story of money. It is now time to admit that that story has run its course and its time to get ready for a period of unknown trasition that will inevitably (seeing as the world did not end on Dec 21, 2012) lead into a new and better story. Clinging to the existing story creates a view of gloom-and-doom. Charles shows that by relinquishing it and embracing what is actually out there (rather then what we want it to be) creates a view of hope and abundance.

I also loved the style of writing and expression in the book. It strikes a balance between mind (a scientific/academic voice) and heart (a yearning for something that the mind may choose to deny simply because it cannot yet assimilate it). The book is filled with references to sources which I spent quite a bit of time following and taking in. The book is also filled with spiritual yearning. It is well thought out and full of care. It is responsible and it is daring. Beyond its contents, it demonstrates a mode of exploration and discourse I would love to see more of in the future. It is a wonderful example of good application of intellect (as opposed to so many run-amok applications out there).

There is also this short movie which offers a glimpse into the book:

I don’t have a bible or a torah or a koran or what not in my life. There are a (very) few books which seem to transcend life, that strike a reasonable balance between what is and what may be. They bring me peace and inspiration. This is one of those books.

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Should

n

To me the word “should” implies a need and opportunity for making a moral choice.

This article about the American IRS trying to penetrate the (completely irregulated – by design!) Bitcoin economy (if you can call what is happening around Bitcoin an economy). The last paragraph in the article uses the word “should”:

“The FinCEN [Financial Crimes Enforcement Network] rules say Bitcoin exchanges and Bitcoin miners should register as Money Services Businesses”

The nature and purpose of Bitcoin was to create an ungoverned (and maybe an even ungovernable!) currency. Its current “Boom & (ultimately) Bust” cycle was  fueled by a systemic failure of existing economic systems  – specifically the recent financial events in Cyprus in which money was essentially confiscated from private bank accounts.  The IRS is a part of this failing economic system.

Therefore the IRS has no moral ground to stand on. So I am assuming that when it says “should” it is reaching for legal ground. But we’ve drifted very far from that island to. Which means that the word “should” has become an empty shell … and the IRS is in no position to fill it.

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Bitcoin: More Tech Masturbation?

n

This post is infected by the post that came shortly before it.

Though the bitcoin experiment has some interesting core ideas I do not believe it has a substantial role as an alternative currencies. It is drawing a wrong kind of attention and people to it.

Update: May 4th 2013

Bitcoins is an excellent demonstration of a disconnect between technology and life. It is an awesome example of a secure way to print money – security that is derived from the fact that everyone in the network participates in it in such a way that no single individual can match the community effort. It exemplifies freedom and empowerment that can be derived from technology.

Yet, when it comes to it being a currency, it is completely devoid of value. It has no real-world backing. Its current popularity is not derived from it’s own characteristics but from the shortcomings of existing currency systems.

In this sense it reminds of organics gardening – another negatively defined concept: not using poisonous chemicals to grow food. Yet organic farming can be as destructive to soils (in its own way) as industrialized agriculture, and consequently as nutritionally poor (remember it didn’t set out to make good food, it set out to make food without poisonous chemicals).

In a similar way Bitcoin has a value vacuum. It’s an algorithm that squirts out data. The story being attached to it is an empty one … it is infested with malcontent rather then with an alternative vision. Another example of intellect run amok.

I should probably correct myself and say that Bitcoin HAD a value vacuum. Vacuums tend to fill … and this one is quickly drawing in another story and another crowd: capitalism. The gift that bitcoin was is being twisted into another taking machine.

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Tech Masturbation

n

“Google Glass … is what happens when Silicon Valley spends too much time talking to itself.”

From here

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Inner Specifity

n

Focusing on what you wear, where you are in the room, what your posture looks like … outer specifity enslaves.

Focusing on how you breathe, bhavana, the relationship between breath & movement & intentions … inner specifity frees.

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Massive Legal Failure

n

Fascinating to hear someone like Jeff Sachs point out and speak out about criminality and Wall Street. It may be comforting to place blame on Wall Street bankers … but this is all a collaborative effort between a democractically elected government, regulatory bodies AND criminals. What does all this say about the future of legality itself?

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Arrogance Burning

n

oiltowerfire

You are an arrogant people living in an arrogant society

You live in a desert

You live in a society where power equals respect

You make boatloads of money from barrel-loads of oil (taking from nature)

You build extravagant and tall buildings … just because you can

You cover those buidings with flammable “combustible thermo-plastic core held between two sheets of aluminium”

You put that building in the hot desert sun

You find out that those tall shiny buildings are not solar collectors … but actually flammable solar collectors

You watch those buildings go up in flames (nature taking back)

You user precious water (remember – desert!) to put those fires out

Why go to all the trouble … you could have just burned the oil directly

Brilliant. Literally brilliant. Only literally.

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“Science” Declares War on Wombs

n

I found nothing of interest in this article about childbirth. I found a bright shining light on deeply entrenched and twisted views of what “science” has become:

Why do some women have easy births while others have long, traumatic labours that end with an emergency delivery?

Scientists don’t know the answer – but they are working on it.

Investigating how the womb works is the priority at a new research centre dedicated to understanding the problems experienced in childbirth and labour.

If birth is difficult then the problem must be in the womb … after all that’s where the baby is born from – duh! No mention of the woman who is giving birth, her physical, mental, emotional, energetic or spiriual health. No mention of her relationship with her partner (if there is one). No mention of her relationship with the society in which she lives. Those are simply too complicated for “science” to approach … so instead “science” will look into the womb:

“If we were talking about another organ [apart from the womb], we wouldn’t put up with it,” she says.

According to “science” we “put up” with our internal organs. If one misbehaves, like this pesky womb organ, then:

A team of 20 scientists, postgraduates and doctors are looking at how contractions of the womb are regulated and controlled.

Armed with this knowledge, medics could find new ways of helping women whose labour is not progressing as it should.

This could eventually lead to new drugs …

We will organize an “army” of people go study this enemy and learn how to defeat it … with legalized drugs! “Science” has declared war on the womb.

“Haven’t enough women and families suffered to say this isn’t working?”

After all you need a good reason to to to war.

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Flight nor Fight

n

I came across this PDF titled Jesus’ Third Way and in it a text quoted from a similary titled book by Walter Wink. Despite the apparent religious setting I enjoyed reading it – interesting and practical (at their time) explanations of otherwise lamely interpreted religious teachings on non-violence.

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Conspiracy Theories

n

Since I have become attentive to “caring about the earth” I have encountered numerous conspiracy theories that explain what is by describing a secretive elite that is manipulating the workings of the planet. I meet them with a mix of curiosity, anxiety and doubt. They have an appeal and, at the same time, they feel not quite right.

Today, as I was chopping wood, it occurred to me that conspiracy theories (regardless of their truthfulness) are a manifestation of an us-and-them mentality. They exemplify the story of separation (that we are separate individual beings)  which has been dominant and insinuating itself deep into human consciousness for a few thousand years.

To me the story of separation has lots relevancy. It is an obsolete view to me … I tried living by it … and the results were disappointing.

So here is my conspiracy theory on conspiracy theories. The story of separation we have been telling ourselves isn’t working out. However a big part of that story is control … me as a separate being and how I control the other beings around me. In that story, when something doesn’t work out more pressure is applied to assert more control. It is this pressure to understand separation, from within separation that creates these extreme images of separation – conspiracy theories. It is a delusional sollution for a real problem.

The funny thing is that in the larger scheme of things I can see an overall improvement. It seems to me that civilizations are, for the most part, morphing away from centralistic power (think devoutly religious kings) towards … other things. Even in the “us and them” of conspiracy theories a core truth is emerging … the “us” part is growing … and will continue to grow until we rid ourselves of the notion of “them”.

 

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