Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Learning: 359th Idea

Learning is at the core of all things valuable in life, particularly in the moral and creative spheres.

Learning is watching those around you, and applying the needed leasons in cultivating social harmony. Learning is when, for the seemed one-hundreth time in our craft, we repeat the same mistake again and again but finally make the leap and have the key insight of 'Oh, that is how they do it!'

Learning at its best is not just academic or the edge gained in commerce or fixing a car, but in the deep lessons of life. So hard are they to attain, but so much the more valuable when realized!

The order of learning we are addressing here is, again, not learning such as used in imploying fine skills such as speaking difficult languages or in overcoming the uniquely posed challenges of life. We mean the higher learning of how to employ the higher order realizations used in the way of doing, way of being, way of seeing.

This does not relate to gross matter or common events but involves fine subtltey in things hard to distinquish or grasp but which once integrated become a permanent feature of consciousness.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Acceptance: 360th Idea

Acceptance is one of the things which definitely makes for greater life happyness. Most people want more, most of the time.

If we are midaged, we want more time; if athletic, more opportunity to train harder without injury; if overworked, more liberty from unrelenting job demands; if sluggish, more energy, if too stimulated, a better capacity to unplug and unwind; if poor, more money; if rich, better returns; if abundant, perhaps more security in an uncertain world thirsting to take the better portion of what we have.

In his classic tale, Geothe describes this so well: Mephestopheles offers Faust life eternal if only once he should say that he is satisfied, when the latter bargains his life away for eternity for one moments fulfillment.

Life is always changing. Things previously solutions to other perdicements no longer work quite the same. This can lead to perenial dissatisfaction. Understanding is very similar to acceptance: whereas understanding is much broader, such as involving the nuances of negotiating the legal minutae of a long and complicated contract between two seperate interests or the reconciliation between two marital partners in the inevitable differences of sharing intimacy or child reering, or resolving spending patterns, yet acceptance is more of a spiritual matter.

In time we come to see that more money, more study, more time, more travel, even more freedom cannot answer all that our heart wants. In time we come to see perhaps that we will not be young again or write the great American novel or make our first million by forty and must, *well*, come to terms with the fact that 'the life that we have, is the life that we will have'. Not particularly good or bad, but what is so. This acceptance cannot bring us more power or wealth but puts us more into harmoney with both the universe, those around us, and even our very own selves.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Cost: 361st Idea

Costs are everwhere. Mostly costs relate to industrialized economic life but can also pertain to natural systems such as ecologies, the dynamic tug of war on the chessboard or a daring attack on the soccor field, or the necessary triage in choosing one survivor or donor recipient over another.

Costs are paid by users, borne by taxholders, assumed by churchgoers, private business owners, or large public enterprises. Costs are always paid, for if someone is the cause of a cost, someone always pays. If a company dumps toxic waste into soil, even if the executives or shareholders are long since departed, where it no longer exists, if this land is to be used in a way needing restoration, then someone else must pay.

In a more positive light, a creative person might travel the world collecting rare Tibetan Tankas, only to give them all away latter to a refined religious foundation--not for profit or covetousness, but for love of beauty so that others can charitably enjoy them more. Nevermind the financial costs, but the many travels, trips to strange if not unforgiving and inhospitable mountain villages, or missed meals. These, too, are all costs!

Such a person would not only have taken great expense and trouble, but might have--as an example--forgone several opportunities to marry, or take advanced promotions for more pay or to assume far more physical and emotional comfort: all for one end.

Such things are all costs, and all things have them, all relationships have them, and may or may not confir an equal or greater benefit. Costs necessarily are exchanged for necessary things which may in fact give nothing. Costs are part of life and enter all events and organic systems.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Results: 362nd Idea

Results are about attaining a desired outcome, and whether they are salutary or harmfull wholey depends on what is being attained.

A corporate clean up CEO, or what is otherwise called a 'turn around artist', might persue almost any number of alternatives just to generate significant profits for investors and owners of capital. Often this is accomplished irrespective of regard for human dignity such as the needs of long term employees who often served for long years before this 'artist' invaded the environment for 'divide and conquest', sense of responsibility to communities or customers alike. Taken to extreme, this attainment can lead to great personal enrichment yet at the cost of multitudes of others for ultimately selfish ends or self aggrandizing ego.

On the other hand, if for example this involved a viable business enterprise with a good product and solid staff alike yet had fallen into disrepair from irresponsible managment, corrective measures could be painfull but--in the end--everyone might thank such a sterm task master for not only saving their jobs, but allowing many to keep their very own homes or buy shoes for their children. It is difficult, and all comes down to tone and moral unpinnings. Gain is not bad; yet 'gain for the few by using the many' in sharing none of the procedes does real harm.

Results can be a medical rehabilitation, a resolve to always be on time, or to keep ones solemn word, or not to drink. Results can be the supportive affirmation of a loving parent for a child only needing more encouragement to blossom. Results can be just a delectable garden or democratic peace wrested by vehement opposition to tyranny.

Life is filled with all kinds of plans but in the end, talk and thinking have expressed limits. All the procedures, processes, plans, diagrams, and structural-functional rigor only so far, and the naked truth of result is left to stand, not matter what anyone says or does. As The Course In Miracles says: 'Nothing that is real can be threatened', and the very idea of results reminds us of the concreteness of what is so, what happens, and who is who. Results are real and unequivocal.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Exploration: 363rd Idea

Exploration is a feature of physical life on earth, attempts at intimacy in the heart and in the body, study, learning, commerce, media, globalisation, cuisine, and travel.

Exploration can also be not such concrete things, but can be the edges of character where those of us already outspoken learn to observe others before diving in, forgive things wrong when previously quick to form a grudge, or to adopt a supportive management style where once had been the micomanaging boss who sufforcated others.

These entries into the depths of our own character might alternately force a shy person to become a public speaker, or taken to be repeatedly be walked on, ardently take up Karate or undertake almost violently discomforting rounds of Gestalt therapy, adopting a ruthless boldness of candor where all masks must be ripped off to find the authentic self and relations.

The earth is vast--so many cultures, languages, climates, historic epocs, array of sciences and health practices, gender preferences, music, social and peer groups, and the endless territory of memory.

In time the opposite of the exhaustion of exploration can bring genuine understanding where it is seen that 'Truly, all roads lead to Rome'.

As a 'Guru once said: "There is nowhere to go, and nothing to do"' brings acceptance where perhaps then wisdom can grow in place of a habitual effort for all circumstances.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Grace: 364th Idea

By the grace of god do we all live. By the grace of creation does nature pour forth in all its ploxity and endless growth and regeneration. The inexplicable vastness of the cosmos that holds us in its boundless vastness is a riddle and a mystery. Unknown and unknowablem, uncanny and deep.

Grace can also be the mercy of the gods to deliver us from some calamedy or irresolvabe and intractible hardship. Grace can be the toss of a womans hair, the twinkly blue eyes of an old man with a cane, holding hands with his wife, gingerly tip toeing along, with a smile and please asking for directions.

Grace can be a rythmic dance, or wealthy person out to dinner, with a harried server who horribly spills an entire dinner onto the lap of the host of a thirty person banquet and smiles saying: "Thats ok, I didn' really need to eat all that anyway. Kindly give me a wet towel and I will be fine..." "So sorry sir, SO, SO VERY SORRY" said with a tremble". "Young man, if this is the worst that happens to me this month, this will be a fine day indeed :)"

Grace reminds us that we are not alone in the universe, and aside boundless suffering and sorrow gives life charm and beauty and goodness. Grace is always right on time, somehow the right thing as needed, always.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Risk: 365 Ideas

Having been away for far too long from the generalized posting I need to continue doing more of, after finally getting some more rest, last night I realized what I needed to be doing here. It was very vivid for me, very, very strong: simple but frequent epigramic writing, on the 'big ideas' such as risk, love, energy, reward, history, etc:

Risk is life. Take for instance a young man who finally musters the courage to approach the beautiful woman who he not only knows is quite possibly out of his reach and beyond his pedigree, and is likely to be turned down, yet has a strong desire to know her. While he is indeed taking an emotional risk in approaching her for a date and risk assuming more rejection if this has been his history, yet if he is aware as he greatly ages he will sooner rather than latter come to see that NOT approaching her is an even bigger risk: "If I hide in this corner, no one will ever find me, and the longed for love will never come! How many more chances like this will come?!"

Or take a conservative or as we say 'risk averse' investor who feels that they cannot afford the possibility of significant loss of capital by buying a stock which would also create the chance of increasing it. Nor do the safer bet of bonds afford them comfort, for if interest rates were to go up, and if for some unforeseen reason they were to needed to liquidate sooner rather than latter, their principle would decrease, offsetting the benefits of safe payout of fixed income or coupon. The real fact of credit risk has been amply evidenced by the recent sub-prime repurcussions seen widely in financial markets.

So if our would be investor were to sit in cash, they would see it eroded by not only the corrosion of inflation which makes their money worth less and less each year, but the pernicious decline in the American dollar where overseas the true value of their 'safe money' is worth less and less with no end in sight.

To avoid risk in so called 'safe cash', even that is a decision. No decision IS also a decision. Sitting in cash means that they have elected NOT to denominat in Euros or Yen or Reals or Pounds or Peso's, and given steep dollar decline, loss of value has come to roost, amidst fiscal profligate ways, concurrent wars, and mispending, all during tax cuts for the rich.

To stay at a job as a stable employee can seem to avert risk but it can be a far greater risk not to expand yourself in the job market.

To undergo a difficult if not risky surgery may mean loss of capacity, but in some instances not to undergo treatment might mean a far worse event: loss of limb, or capacity, or even life. Life is risk.

To convert our systems to a more sustainable energy system involves great cost to consumers and companies and economies, but not to adapt involves far worse: certain failure and decay under outmoded and harmful petrocarbon utilization.

Risk is life itself. Assuredly not all of life is risk, but risk, or the law of hazard is eveywhere.