Monthly Archives: March 2007

Fighting and Debating the Wrong “War”

I find myself quite uncomfortable with the near consensus I see in America today (as reflected in the media and recent policy coming out of the House and Senate) on the belief that "the war" on terror is going poorly, and the answer to this problem is for America and the world to pull out and leave the Middle East to solve it’s own civil and societal issues.

My two main contentions/concerns are as follows:

1. I feel everyone is missing the forest (the real war), as they are focused on the trees (Iraq, and sometimes Afghanistan). The war, and I do believe, we are in the midst of "the third world war" is much broader than just the conflicts in these 2 countries….and I fear "pulling out" of Iraq, may reflect a broader pull back on any sustained attack or defence against the root cause of the war….which I believe is largely, if not fully, unaddressed today (more than 5 years after 9/11).

2. The real war we have is not a physical war at all. It is a virtual or mental war….a war of beliefs and values (largely Islamic beliefs and values on key issues, but broadly religious fundamentalism and the violation of basic human rights using religious beliefs/edicts as a justification).

This real war is the ultimate untraditional war. Yet, the world has largely responded to it with traditional tactics….i.e., physical attack and defence. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent already, on physical conflicts in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Imagine what this money could achieve if appropriately redirected into fighting the real war….the war of beliefs.

I think it’s time to take a step back, somehow firmly but fairly extricate ourselves out of Iraq over time (I know this in itself is a huge issue, but I’ll leave my thoughts on Iraq specifically for a separate discussion. I will say I think it’s key despite all the past mistakes….to leave Iraq a much better and more peaceful place than it was and is), redefine and understand the real war against terror, and get cracking using more "untraditional" means such as economic policy, incentives, education, TV and the internet, opportunity and basic common sense and logic….to help the muslim world adopt a more moderate version of their religion (as has happened with other religions, including Christianity over the past few hundred years).

It won’t be easy for people to ignore the actual words from the Quran that are used by some to justify killing, discrimination against women, and other inhumane and backward practises….but this is religion….and muslims must adopt moderating changes themselves after debate and discussion….if they are to retain their pride….which is paramount when you are talking about religion and culture.

Khichari

This week’s recipe is a simple Khichari or mung bean and basmati rice stew. This is also known as Sattva food. Sattvic foods are pure, wholesome and balancing for the body and the mind. They are also easily digested and assimilated. This is especially good to have during the transition of the seasons.

The great thing about Khichari is that you can add additional spices or vegetables to this recipe if so desired. Split mung beans (or dahl) can be found at most health food or Indian specialty markets.

½ cup split mung beans
½ cup basmati rice
½ teaspoon ghee
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Pinch red chili flakes
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
¼ teaspoon asafoetida powder (also known as hing)
¼ teaspoon turmeric
½ sea salt
3 ½ cups vegetable stock
1 leek, white part only, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, cleaned and chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Sort through the mung beans and remove any debris such as stems or rocks. Rinse the mung beans and rice in a fine mesh strainer and set aside. In a stock pot heat the ghee, cumin seeds, red chili flakes and ginger on medium high heat for 2 minutes. Add the mung beans, basmati rice, asafoetida powder, turmeric, sea salt, leeks, carrots and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low. Cook for about 30 to 40 minutes or until mung beans are soft and completely cooked. Stir in the spinach and fresh lemon juice. Enjoy


Atman and Robin

Ken Wilber’s in my yoga class again. He appears shiny headed, stocky and strong.
But I think I can take him. I am 6 feet tall in my stocking feet and I’ve been working out. My takedown fantasy includes spandex, a Mexican wrestling mask and really good boots.

Not on me silly…. That’s what he’s wearing!!

Okay. The guy in my yoga class is not really Ken Wilber. He’s a dead ringer for him however. I’ve fantasized about sparring with Mr. Ken Wilber since taking Dr. Christian de Quincey’s “MIND IN THE COSMOS” course at the University of Philosophical Research. De Quincey and Wilber had their share of polite philosophical barbs to one another, mostly over differing opinions of Integralism. I’ve also run into Wilberosophy in my “Physics of the Soul “ course w/ Dr. Amit Goswami, and as a fan of Sri Aurobindo, I often google and cross- reference these boys all the time.

The Atman, or impersonal absolute to Wilber is the realisation of Godhead in the transcendence of embodied existence in the final cycle of involution/evolution.

If I interpret my studies correctly, Sri Aurobindo supports a state of enlightenment/liberation as an end state, however the Divine absolute is in the involution/evolution process itself, and at ALL levels.
Where then, is the Supermind in all of this?

Probably wearing spandex as well. With a cape and a giant “S” on his chest. And really good boots.

As I find this east-meets-west forum to be a fountain of philosophical fun, I’m hoping some of you can share your criticisms and Wilberisms to sharpen my mind, wit and well-being.

By the way, I make a kickass, ass-kicking sidekick. But I am too tall and too old to be Atman’s Robin.

Any takers?

I was in the Zone

On my way home from Seduction of Spirit in Florida this week, I had an experience that is too funny not to share. As usual, I will be embarrassing myself for your entertainment. Enjoy.

After 5 straight days of teaching yoga and meditation, I was definitely a little out there. My plan was to head home on Thursday by flying Southwest from Florida to Nashville to San Diego. When I arrived at Nashville, I had about an hour layover to my connecting flight. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to get some writing done.

I sat down next to my gate and got in the zone. I came into this trance-like meditative state where creativity was flowing through me. I was writing like I had never written before and brilliant insights were pouring out of me. I felt so inspired.

All of a sudden, I was jolted out of my creative daze by an overweight southern girl who was asking to share my electrical plug. At that moment, the thought popped into my mind: "I wonder what time my flight leaves?"

Feeling very accomplished from the work I had just done, I moseyed over to the check in desk where I saw the Southwest attendant taking down the information for my San Diego flight.

Uh oh, not a good sign.

I asked: "what time does my flight leave to San Diego leave? She replied: "you mean what time did your flight leave?" Oh shit.

"Do you mean to tell me that I missed my flight while sitting directly next to the gate?"

"Boy that’s a first!" she said with a chuckle.

I was not amused.

The absurdity of the situation was too much and I couldn’t help but laugh too. Recognizing that there was nothing I could do to turn back time, I immediately went into teacher mode to try and soothe my troubles: "What’s done is done so just drop it. There’s no reason to loose your cool. Everything is going to be fine. Something good is going to come out of this. This is going to make a good story. Take a deep breath. Chill out."

Ok, I feel better….. so let the adventure begin.

There was no adventure.

I ended up flying to LA, renting a car for $100, stopping at McDonalds to eat on the way home (because it was the only restaurant open at 11 pm on a Thursday night), getting a terrible stomach ache from that greasy crap, and finally crashing into bed at around 1 am. Sheesh.

I woke up the next morning trying to think about what life lessons I could take away from my little travel excursion. Here’s what I came away with:

1. even smart people do stupid things sometimes.

2. don’t ever eat McDonalds again

3. next time you meditate for 5 days straight……fly home direct.

thank you. I hope this made you smile.

Chopra Granola

This week’s recipe is the Chopra Granola. One of the best things about this recipe is the smell of the fragrant spices being baked with the maple syrup. This is definitely a form or aromatherapy. Enjoy the granola for a snack or breakfast with milk, soymilk or on top of low-fat yogurt.

2 cups organic rolled oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup flaxseeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup almonds, sliced or pieces
2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
2 Tablespoons ghee or canola oil
2 Tablespoons organic apple juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup currants or raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a sheet pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, excluding the cranberries and currants (or raisins). In a separate small bowl combine all the wet ingredients. Add to the dry mixture and combine well. Evenly spread the granola over the baking sheet pan. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Stir often with a spatula. When done let cool. Add the dried cranberries and currants. Cool completely and store in an airtight container or plastic bag. Serve with low-fat milk or soymilk.

Sex and the Siddhi

Ooh, The Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali get me hot.

What?! I had to tie-in the title early, people. You blog people can be such pervs!

A tantric glossary defines “siddhi” as "a magickal or spiritual power for the control of self, others and the forces of nature".

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

These extraordinary human abilities are in actuality supernormal perceptual states available to all human beings. SIDDHI in Sanskrit means “ Accomplished One” . The word shares roots with The Buddha’s name Siddharta and means "he whose aim is accomplished,"

Siddhi phenomena, such as Telepathy, bilocality, OBE’s and remote viewing and the like pisses off the skeptics. My guess is that they probably aren’t “getting’ any”.

Back in 500 A.D., the siddhis were summarized in Patanjali’s “Yoga Sutras”. Jean Millay PhD., introduced me to Dr. Dean Brown’ s translation, included in his book “The Upanishads”. While there are many translations of the writing, several share the following verse one in chapter four:

"IV KAIVALYA PADA —
Verse 1: janma-osadhi-mantra-tapah-samadhi-jah siddayahsamadhi.

1- The siddhis are born of birth, drugs, mantras, tapas, or samadhis.. "

The verses continue, saying that the use of certain herbs it is possible for a partial or full Awakening can be achieved. In Sanskrit, the method of Awakening through herbs is called Aushadhi. Writing from Buddhist researcher Anna Jones contends:

“ Awakening thus achieved, can, under the right circumstances and conditions, albeit short term, replicate at least partially the level of a Chalabhinna, an Arhat of the third level of realization with the ability of Iddhavidha, the power of transformation.” (Jones, 2004)

Jones continues:
"The power of Siddhis can come because of previous Karma and genetics (janma), from herbs (Aushadhis), the use of Mantras, the kindling of the psychic fire (tapas), and/or from Samadhi."

She also cites translations from some sources as the following, reading the same:

"The attainments are not only the fruits of the Threefold Inner Discipline, but they are congenital in some, and in others they may follow the right and intelligent use of certain medicinal herbs or of certain mantras or they may follow the kindling of the psychic fire.

I believe all of us, fantasize about “Laghima Siddhi “- The ability to make one’s body lighter than air and fly at will. In the perfection of this siddhi, one is able to travel on the sun’s rays and enter into the sun. Imagine if you could get air miles for that trip!

Ladies, you will SO love the siddhis of LAGHIMA: " TO HAVE NO WEIGHT".
Laghima is the control of the effect of the gravity on the body by developing in each cell an opposite (centrifugal) tendency. And levitation is totally sexy when David Blaine does it.

And the ability to bring others under one’s control, or “Vashita Siddhi” sounds very hot in an SM, fetish kinda way-

As with any other natural human ability, certain people have stronger propensities towards developing and/or spontaneously displaying siddhis. Some folks are born with gifts that they exercise without being aware that their particular psychic gift is unusual.

In other cases, one can practice yoga and actively develop siddhis. Since increasing my yogic and meditation practice, some things have been “happening”. Another means to trigger off siddhis in an unexpected and uncontrolled manner is by the use of certain hallucinogens and entheogens such as LSD, mescaline, peyote and others.

I am curious what stories you intentbloggers have to share.

So, go ahead. You, first.

Press “star”, then “pound” and punch in your credit card number.

I’m waiting.

The New Definition of Self-Centered

As I have started to spread the word about the coolest new movement to hit the spirituality scene, well….ever, some people have had a knee jerk reaction to the name – Self Centered Tour.

Why would you want to be more self centered they say? Between the pretentious celebrities, the insatiable corporate business moguls, and the rigid political activists, many would argue that there are far too many people out there like that already.

But you’ve got it all wrong. You are thinking about it from an old school perspective and I believe you are ready to get with the times. So let me enlighten you to the new definition:

Self Centered (old): someone who is egocentrically engrossed in one’s own BS (belief systems, of course).

Common attributes: unfortunately bitchy, redundantly snobby, incredibly annoying, extraordinarily selfish, and perpetually frustrating to anyone (and everyone) in their general vicinity.

Self Centered (new): someone who is completely grounded and secure in one’s own awareness and ready to take on the world.

Common attributes: irresistibly attractive, tastefully confident, overflowing with creativity, magnetically passionate, genuinely caring, unexplainably inspiring, refreshingly open minded, and curiously explorative.

More to come about this exciting program in future posts. Until then, let me know your thoughts on this fun little play on words.


Potato Cauliflower

This week’s recipe is similar to an aloo matar dish. This recipe calls for one of the Chopra Center Surya Spice Blends. I have been enjoying using these wonderful, balancing spice blends in many dishes and have started to incorporate them into current recipes. You can substitute the Pitta or Kapha spice if desired. These is an easy way to have all the six tastes in one meal.

1 Tablespoons ghee or olive oil
1 teaspoons mustard seeds, black or brown
Pinch red chili flakes
1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon, Vata Surya Spice blend
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 small Yukon gold potatoes, washed and cut into very small cubes
1 large cauliflower (1 pound), cut into in medium florets
1 small tomato, seeded and cut into small dice
2 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Fresh cilantro

In a large sauté pan, heat the oil on medium-high heat and add the mustard seeds, cover the pan with a lid for about 1 minute and let the seeds pop. Remove the lid and add the red chili flakes, fresh ginger root, sea salt and Vata Surya Spice blend and let cook for about 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, cauliflower, tomatoes and vegetable stock. Stir the mixture and cover for about 15 minutes until the potatoes and cauliflower are tender. When done, stir in the lemon juice and fresh cilantro.

Enjoy.

To the White B—- who Stole My Shorts

Dear WB,

As you are well aware, at this time each year, I check out of my apartment in the city and check into a cottage on the secluded beach you live on. For the next few weeks, this remote stretch of coastline becomes my base and the languid days filled with swimming, reading and feasting on fresh seafood and wild rice revitalize and rejuvenate both my body and soul.

This year, however, I find myself uneasy, perplexed and, dare I say it, stressed out.

And you’re to blame.

I’ve seen you off and on over the last few years and, although you’ve kept to yourself, I’ve always acknowledged you with a polite smile or wave when our paths cross. This time it’s different.

For one, I notice you now have a young son but no mate in sight. So, I presume, there’s a broken relationship there.

But, other than the apparent, I sense a new vibe between us. Every time I walk onto the beach, you sit up and take notice but you never come over to say hello. You timidly approach my towel while I’m body-surfing in the ocean but you immediately scurry away when you see me emerging.

Hey, you’re beautiful and I’d like to get to know you better. And, although, calling you over with a loud whistle may not have been the best move, even gently motioning you over sends you skipping off in the opposite direction.

I would have left it at that but you are clearly vibing me. I see you shyly checking me out from your sand dune as I watch the dolphins frolic on the horizon every morning. And we both love watching the indigenous white-breasted Brahminy kites glide through the sky (although I see you glare disapprovingly at me when my eyes wander to the migratory pale-breasted Europeans sashaying down the beach.)

A couple of times, when I’ve been out for my sunset run, you grabbed one of my flip-flops that I’d left on the dune and ran off. Initially, I thought it was your playful way of breaking the ice so I cheerfully ran after you in the hope of finally making contact but, after an exhausting chase, you just dropped the slipper and ran away leaving me panting and bemused.

But now you’ve gone too far. When I woke up this morning, my swim shorts that were drying on the clothes rack outside my cottage were gone. Don’t try and deny it, I know it was you. The prints on the sand are distinctly yours. I really don’t know what to make of this. I’m getting such mixed signals. On one hand you’re constantly making eye contact and checking me out but you never want to meet. Then you run off with my slippers and now my shorts.

Are you into me and just really bad at expressing your feelings? Or are you peeved at all males because you were knocked up and abandoned and I’m the most convenient one to take all your frustrations out on? Or, is it a racist thing considering you’re so pure white and, after 2 weeks in the sun, I’m the colour of coal.

Like all men, I’ve never really been able to completely understand females; but you, in particular, have got me completely befuddled. Why are you playing these games?

We could be having such a good time together. I’m a lot of fun. I love to play throw and fetch the stick, I’m not afraid to get down and dirty — I can roughhouse with the best of them and no one gives belly rubs like I do. Just ask your other friends on the beach who, no matter how late I’m running for my morning yoga class, won’t let me pass until I put in some quality throwing and rubbing.

Please stop messing with my head. We could really have something special.

Yours,

The bare-assed guy in the blue cottage

White Bitch.jpg

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