Thursday, September 29, 2016

Life Imitates Art

This evening, the New York Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox.  But due to the outcome of the simultaneous Baltimore-Toronto series, the Red Sox still clinched the AL East during Game 2, and the Yankees were eliminated from the post-season during Game 3.

In the movie White Men Can't Jump, Rosie Perez says, "Sometimes when you win, you really lose and sometimes when you lose, you really win."  Life imitates art.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Dr. Allen's House

Doctor Allen's house, as seen in Tyler Perry's Too Close To Home, on TLC.  Filmed at Fort McPherson.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Dr. Allen's House

There was no clear-cut winner out of last night's first Presidential Debate, but there was one clear loser: civility in the public discourse.

I fear for our Republic.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Dr. Allen's House

This contest may be the defining moment in a long and great struggle, a showdown between competency and crassness, between the forces of good and those of the bad, between freedom and tyranny, between an era of hopeful promise and the end of the world as we know it.

Yes, tonight, the Atlanta Falcons take on the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football.

Just kidding, the stakes are far higher than the outcome of any mere football game: the Boston Red Sox can potentially clinch the AL East in the three-game series starting tomorrow at Yankee Stadium.

Ha, ha, ha. Enough.  As most of the civilized world knows, the First Presidential Debate between Secretary/Senator Hillary Clinton and short-fingered vulgarian Donald Trump is this evening. Although these debates never really change anything and if your mind is not yet made up between the two candidates, I sincerely doubt tonight's debate will convince you one way or the other, but an outstanding performance by either one of the candidates and a poor performance by the other might rally the winner's base enough to turn out and vote and win the election for their candidate.

I can still hope.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Walking Blues

Actually, not "blues" at all - more like "celebration," but "Walking Celebration" doesn't sound as good.  Yesterday, was the East Atlanta Strut; "strut" as in "walking," as in "parade." 

I was just an observer, not a participant, so I only logged 2.18 miles at the Strut yesterday.  Today was Streets Alive Atlanta, and they shut down Boulevard from North Avenue to Highland Ave., and they shut down Highland Ave. from Boulevard all the way up to Virginia Ave.  I walked the whole length, both ways, for a total of 6.74 miles.

Here's normally traffic-clogged Boulevard empty except for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Bicyclists, pedestrians, and rattatas.

The Bank of American Plaza building (55 floors) from North Ave. and Boulevard.

This is Atlanta, so of course there was music.

And of course there were Pokemons.

Some other features:

Streets Alive was inspired by the ciclovia in Bogotá, Colombia, where city streets are closed to car traffic to allow people to participate in all kinds of free health and community-oriented events. Thirty years after the first program, the concept has spread around the world from Tokyo to Kiev. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

At The Strut

That's the East Atlanta Strut, an annual autumn tradition 'round these parts, although today it felt more like a mid-summer event.  Still, it was Britney's first Strut, so that made it all the nicer.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Doctor Allen's House

"Slowly and gently one weaves one's seal into everything one does or is. It is an unceasing process which gives one's life and all one's actions one's own pattern. Even an unborn child is already shaping his life. The result of this process is a character and destination which can hardly be changed anymore, like the liquid metal which is very hard after cooling down. So be careful with the moments when you still can shape things." - Oracle from the 5th moving line of Sun, the 57th Hexagram.

We understand that our day-to-day experience is an illusion.  We get it, but that illusion is so persistent and compelling that it keeps us from attaining the peace and calmness we desire.  We want to break through the illusion and embrace all manners of different practices and intellectual reasoning to get there.  But it is not only the day-to-day experiences that are an illusion, it is also the concept that we are somehow separate from that peace and calmness which we desire.  In other words, it's the conceptualization of peace and calmness that prevents us from experiencing peace and calmness.

The oracle tells us to pause, take a backward step, and carefully consider our actions before engaging in them.  We can't get out of our own way by repeating the patterns of the past.  We can't get out of our own way by initiating new patterns.  In stillness, we can realize that the present moment and the destination are one and the same.  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

I maintain several blogs now, or to put it more accurately, several blogs now maintain me. A daily blog is a demanding mistress.

I recognize and admit that this blog has lately devolved into nothing more than daily postings of random photographs (pic related), a few cryptic statements, some cut-and-paste Zen gibberish, and the occasional travelogue.  

Most of my energy as of late has been going into the music blog, Music Dissolves Water, which lately has included more than just videos I like and reviews of shows, although there's still lots of both of those. But I've also been subversively sneaking some dharma between the beats, as well as some philosophy, I Ching, and, of course, autobiography, because it's all about me, right?  What's a blog, anyway, if not a celebration of the ego?

The energy ebbs and flows.  At other times, MDW is an embarrassing collection of trendy, flavor-of-the-week, P4k hype, and my energy is back over here at WDW.  Then it's the other way again, and on many days there's no energy that goes into either, nothing posted but a couple of thudding turds on both sites, and on some rare days, very rare days, I simultaneously knock it out of the park on both sites, if I should say so myself.  

Anyway, I'm just saying "Hi" (Hi!).  If you're bored of what's here, stop by there, and if that's not to your taste, then stay here or better yet, start your own blog.  I'm sure you can do this better than I do. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sickness and medicine heal each other.  The whole earth is medicine.  Where do you find yourself?
You and the whole earth are not separate.  Approximately 1,000 pounds of the whole earth passes through you each year, and there's not a molecule in your body that hasn't already been part of countless other forms, including distant exploding supernovas. 

You are the whole earth and the whole earth is medicine.  You are the medicine that heals sickness and you are the sickness that heals the medicine.  So, at that moment, who are you?

As John Daido Loori once said, "Forget about all the Buddhist sutras, forget about all the koans.  Just find out who you are, what the self is.  To save all sentient beings begins with saving yourself.  Once you save yourself, there's no distinction between you and all sentient beings."

Monday, September 19, 2016

Zen Master Dogen once said something like, "We want to know the meaning of autumn's approaching, but even the pumpkins don't know."

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Friday Night Video

This Little Tybee transistor radio has appeared in video clips and photographs on Facebook and Instagram for a year before this video was finally completed, and was the inspiration for me starting the Lambchop series on this blog. I had looked around the house for something to use and while I saw nothing similar to Little Tybee's radio, I finally selected an old stuffed toy that I had bought decades ago for an old girlfriend ("Lambchop" was my nickname for her).  She left it behind when she moved out of my apartment and out of my life, so the emotional context for the toy to me is a mixture of cuteness and heartbreak.

My inspiration for continuing the Lambchop series is Walt Disney's quote "Get a good idea and stay with it, and work it until it's done and done right."  I don't know where the series is going to go or take me, but I'll keep working it until we get there.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Let's Read The Bible Together!

The Flood. . . .

But before we get there, the book reads, "In the beginning," and I've already confessed to my confusion there.  But, continuing, "In the beginning, God . . ."

Who?  The book just assumes you know who it is talking about.  In my experience, many different people mean many different things by the G-word, and in my experience, even more people don't really know what they themselves mean by the G-word. And those latter people get the most upset when you ask them what they mean by that term.

If God is somehow differentiable from her creation, it must mean that her creation is somehow different from her.  Which means that her creation has attributes that she herself does not have. Which means that she has some limitations and is not as absolute and complete as some of her admirers would like to believe.

But I'm getting ahead of myself again. Surely, this big, long book will eventually tell us who this creator is, and explain how those shortcomings don't make her somehow less than what she allegedly created.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Let's Read The Bible Together!

"In the beginning . . ." Okay, let's stop right there.  In the beginning of what?  Humankind's brief existence?  Well, there were millions, billions of years of stellar, planetary, and biological evolution before that.  The beginning of all that evolution and development?  Well, the creator was apparently hanging around waiting to create the heavens and the earth before that, so when really is the very beginning?  I'd like to read a book someday about the creator's origin story.

Maybe it means before the beginning of time.  Physicists have tried to explain to me that a statement like "one second before the Big Bang" doesn't really make any sense, because before there was matter, there was no time.  They've tried to explain it to me mathematically, but the best that I can make of it goes back to Einstein's classic E = mc2.

Since "c" is the speed of light, and speed is time over distance (i.e., miles/hour), the equation can be rewritten as E = m(d/t)2, where d is distance and t is time, although in Einstein's formula a very specific distance and a very specific time.  

Now, if matter is not yet existent, then m (mass) = 0, and anything multiplied by zero is itself zero. Mathematically, zero is the ice nine of values, as anything it contacts becomes zero as well.  But anyway, if m = 0, then mc2, or m(d/t)2, is also zero.  And since E = mc2, then E = 0 and everything else in the equation, including d and t substituting for c, is also zero.

I can already hear the physicists and mathematicians groaning, anxious to point out all my errors, but I'm on a roll here so don't stop me.  My point is that if there is no matter (m = 0) there is no time (t = 0), so the statement "one second before the Big Bang," or "one year before the Big Bang" or "one million years before the Big Bang," doesn't make any sense.  Time is relative, and if there's nothing to relate to and no one to do the relating, time does not exist.

So, back to our reading, "In the beginning," may mean at the beginning of time, but since there was a creator actively going about the business of creation, then there was, in fact, time, even if it was eternal creator time.  So this isn't making any sense to me - it's too vague.  "In the beginning of WHAT?"  And why not "At the beginning," as that would make more grammatical sense?

Oh dear.  This isn't a very auspicious start, and we're got a really big book to read in front of us.      

Monday, September 05, 2016

Medicine and sickness heal each other.  If there was no sickness, nothing would be considered medicine.  If there were no medicine, sickness could not be cured and would just be considered the way things were, like old age, death, and taxes. 

Many medicines (antivenom, antibiotics) are made from the very poisons they seek to cure (medicine arising from sickness).  Too much medicine leads to drug dependency and/or chemical toxicity (sickness arising from medicine).

These are interesting observations (at least to me) but lead us no closer to solving the koan.  How can they not be the same thing and not not the same thing?

To answer the question, find a place to sit still for a while.   Pay close attention to the breath and let go of your thoughts - don't try to stop them, but don't engage in them either.  Be still.  Be quiet.  As your thoughts dissolve into the background, you might find yourself in a realm beyond thought and judgement, beyond naming and identifying things.  When conscious thought disappears - ta-da! - there's the answer to your koan.        

Sunday, September 04, 2016

So, the riddle as it were is how can medicine and sickness not be two aspects of the same thing, and also not not be two aspects of the same thing?  In Zen, we call this a koan.

I'll give you a hint:  if you say they are not two aspects of the same thing, you're essentially calling them two separate things, and a true understanding of the universe is to see that all things are an interconnected and seamless whole, with no differentiation between this and that, including medicine and sickness.

To say that, yes, they are two aspects of something else is to still conceive of a "something else" and to fall into the trap of distinguishing self and other, even if that other is an interconnected and seamless whole.

You take it from there:  if medicine and sickness heal each other, where do you find yourself?

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Medicine and sickness heal each other.  However, it's said that if you understand this as meaning that medicine and sickness are two aspects of one thing, you're light years away from the truth.  If you understand this as medicine and sickness not being two aspects of one thing, you can't even heal yourself.

Friday, September 02, 2016

One time, Manjushri told a student to go outside and bring something back that was medicine.  The student brought back a blade of grass and handed it to Manjushri.  Manjushri held it up and said to those around him, "This single blade of grass can kill or give life."

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Right now, the whole great universe in its profusion of myriad forms, up to and including each and every one of us, is at once medicine.

In ancient India, Manjushri once told a student to go outside and if he could find something that was not medicine, to bring it to him.  The student went outside and searched all over the ground but there was nothing that was not medicine.  Coming back in to Manjushri, the student said, "All over the ground, there was nothing that is not medicine."