Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Saturday, November 26, 2011
This video appears on wired.com where you'll find an explanation of it.
It is pretty impressive.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
I’m going to guess that many Mindful Heart readers have yet to see this second clip of an assembly of students as the UC Davis Chancellor walks to her car. You see a stunning instance of the deafening power of non-violence.
Two further notes:
I understand that students pay approximately $12,000 each year in tuition. It’s now time to review and reduce the pay of police. According to the Sacramento Bee, last year Police lieutenant, John Pike, was paid—I cannot say he earned—a salary of about $110,000. His salary is a lot higher than those offered to instructors at UC Davis. This in unconscionable. His salary is, in my opinion, well out of proportion to his contribution to the education of the students who pay his salary.
Under California law, the use of pepper spray in California is illegal unless used in self defense. There is NO exception in the law for police. This officer needs to face trial for this crime, along with the others who conspired to commit this assault against the protesters. The District Attorney should do jail time if he refuses to prosecute. California Penal Code Section 12403.7 (a) (8) (g) Any person who uses tear gas or tear gas weapons except in self-defense is guilty of a public offense and is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months, or two or three years or in a county jail not to exceed one year or by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment, except that, if the use is against a peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2, engaged in the performance of his or her official duties and the person
Monday, November 14, 2011
I think many others feel—as I do—keen frustration that the "leaders" of our country seem to serve so faithfully the interests of the already rich and powerful instead of the commoners like everyone I know.
Watch this TED talk and see what you think.
Do you agree we can do better than building more nuclear power plants?
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Saturday, November 5, 2011
|Image credit: http://modaainc.blogspot.com|
You are mostly not you.That is to say that 90 percent of the cells residing in your body are not human cells, they are microbes. Viewed from the perspective of most of its inhabitants, your body is not so much the temple and vessel of the human soul as it is a complex and ambulatory feeding mechanism for a methane reactor in your small intestine.This is the kind of information microbiologists like to share at dinner parties....
Monday, October 31, 2011
Recently I found a ready-to-go media source to fill the "silence" when my mind has bad breath and needs to freshen up. It's an archive of podcasts on The Secular Buddhist. There’s a timely interview for Halloween featuring David Chapman.
Addendum: Since posting this I've listened to several more podcasts and I find these podcasts quite worthwhile.
I am very glad to have discovered this archive of interviews on Atheism and Buddhism. I find the host, Ted Meissner, to be remarkably warm and open-hearted while also exhibiting his discerning intellect.
I find that his overall approach to Buddhism—and the path he's travelled from Zen to Theravadin practice combined with scholarly study and a healthy degree of skepticism—to be similar to and resonant with my own.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart…
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
...I am not part of the yacht and private jet set, which represents an even smaller subset of incomes than mine. The threshold for inclusion in the top 1% of income earners in 2008, the most recent year for which published data is available from the IRS, was $380,354, enough for an extraordinary life but nowhere near enough for a harbor berth in St. Moritz. Nevertheless, I am - for now - comfortably ensconced in that demographic. Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan would save me roughly $400,000 a year in taxes, and President Obama's tax proposals would cost me more than $100,000, yet I support the latter and consider the former laughable.
Thus you can imagine my amazement this summer when I watched the Republicans in Congress push the United States to the brink of default - and the world to the brink of ruin - over whether to repeal a portion of the Bush tax cuts and raise my taxes by 3.5%. I know a lot of people with high incomes and even the conservatives among them were confused by that sequence of events. Here is a secret about rich people: we wouldn't have noticed a 3.5% tax increase. That is not only because there isn't a material difference between having $1 million and $965,000, which is obvious, but also because most of us don't actually know how much money we are going to make in a given year. Most income at that level is the result of profits rather than salary, whether it comes in the form of bonuses, stock options, partnership distributions, dividends or capital gains. Profits are unpredictable and they tend to vary wildly. At my own firm, the general rule of thumb is that if we are within 5% of our budget for the year, everyone is happy and no one complains. A variation of 3.5% is merely a random blip.
I was not amazed but disgusted when John Boehner and his crew tried to justify the extremity of their position by rebranding the wealthy as "job creators." While true in a very basic sense, it obscures the fact that jobs are a cost that is voluntarily incurred only as a result of demand. Hiring has no correlation at all to profits or to income - none. Let me keep more of my money without increasing customer demand and I will do just that - keep it. Perhaps I will spend a little more of it, though probably not, but even if I do it won't help the economy very much. Here is another secret of the well-to-do: we don't really buy much more stuff than everyone else. It may be more expensive stuff, sure, but I don't buy cars, or appliances, or furniture, or anything else more frequently than the average consumer. The things I do spend more money on are services such as travel, entertainment, restaurants and landscaping, none of which generate well-paying middle class jobs. There, in a nutshell, is the sad explanation of what has happened to the American economy over the last 25 years of "trickle down" economics.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
|Getting ready to paddle|
|Heading south towards Inverness|
|Sarah looking into the pellucid waters|
|Dick, Joe, Tom, and Ray at the railroad grade|
|An Amiot sculpture in Sebastopol|
I just ran across this New York Times travel feature about a cool-sounding town in Northern California. A little town in California Wine Country where the vineyards meet the forested hills along the Pacific. A place that feels a little Berkeley, maybe because so many Berkeley grads live here.
I went to Berkeley. I dream of living there.
Check it out: SEBASTOPOL
Wait a minute! Wake up! I do live there, I mean here—and have for 32 years.
I've married to the former Mayor and current City Council member of Sebastopol.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Bald Eagle (click to embiggen)
|Live music at lunch|
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
|Waiting for the moon to rise.|
|Photos just don't do it justice....|
Near sunset on the eve of my sixtieth birthday, Sarah, Joe, Dawn, and I paddled north along the western shore of Tomales Bay. From our boats we watched the full moon appear on the eastern horizon and sail silently into the night sky.
The thinnest whisper of wind sighed across almost calm waters and enhanced our feelings of serenity. The moon lit up the sky so brightly that, try as best we could, we were unable to see any bioluminescence in the water.
We paddled about two hours from Chicken Ranch Beach almost to Hearts' Desire Beach and back. Most pleasant!
Monday, October 10, 2011
|Conditions were calm as we set off from the oyster farm.|
|We headed towards Drake's Bay|
|Ray at the entrance to Berrie's Bay|
|Yours truly on his "new" kayak|
|My second outing on this boat|
|Inside Berries Bay|
|Joe and Ray|
|Near the mouth of Drakes Estero, about 5 miles from our launch|
|Here comes the rest of the group|
|A memorial to the privateer, Drake.|
|Yakkin' on the beach|
|Heading towards Home Bay|
|Laura in her new boat.|
|Phil and Marilyn|
|Potluck lunch spread. Good food.|
|We celebrated Ellen's 50th birthday.|
|A tiramisu cake!|
|Life is good|
|On her birthday paddle, Ellen's mom, her dog, and husband Larry|
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
I've found no way to adequately convey the miracle of paddling in dark waters that light up. My photography skills are not up to the task.
I just ran across this video on Boing Boing that shows surfing in bioluminescent waters south of where I live. If you watch it, you'll have some idea of what's been keeping me away from blogging this summer.
Red Tide Surfing San Diego 2011 Bioluminescence from Loghan Call on Vimeo.
More on biolume from Maggie Koerth-Baker's Boing Boing post:
Thursday, September 22, 2011
For example, if you begin to pay close attention to one baseball team, sooner or later you will become a fan of that team. (Years ago, my son did this with the Detroit Tigers when they were the worst team in baseball.)
But this heart-warming effect of clear-eyed attention works with even the most mundane object. A crumpled piece of paper will do.
One way to really pay attention to something is to draw a good picture of it.
Watch this video, and see how paying attention warms the heart, even to a crumpled up scrap of paper.
Now, imagine how you might benefit from paying attention to someone you love.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Here they are Yellow Bird, the song, and a little white whale together. And join me in wishing whales well today.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Saturday, July 23, 2011
This afternoon I discovered a young woman who goes by the name Miss Sophie Madeleine. She has undertaken the task of recording 30 songs in 30 days and posting them on YouTube. As of today, July 23, she's nearing the end of her project.
She's got good pipes. Her ukulele skills are up to the task, nothing extraordinary, but ordinariness adds to her charm. I get that feeling, "If she can do it, so can I."
Here are two of the YouTube videos she put up, "Dream a Little Dream of Me."
Here is the first, "One Fine Day." Through the magic of technology, she plays ukulele, a kid's xylophone, tambourine, kazoo, not to mention singing two harmonies behind the melody. A production like that would take some time, believe me. Very impressive, Sophie Madeleine.
I must say it's a whole lot of fun to make music with friends. And a whole lot easier, too.
This link will take you to her page where you can see more videos in this series:
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Thoughts WILL come by, like traffic on a busy street. They seem to demand our attention, but we don't need to do anything more than to note them and let them go by.
If our intention is to stay mindful of the present moment, we need only be aware of the passing thoughts and proceed across the street without being taken away.
This guy crossing a boulevard in Vietnam gives a graphic lesson in this metaphor for mindfulness:
Thursday, July 14, 2011
This one may be it. It's got natural drama and some suspense, too.
Maybe it will fill you with some hope.
This movie, less than 9 minutes long, ought to do the trick. It did more for me than lots of feature length films.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
|Bill Tapia is 103 years young, and still plays the ukulele.|
Monday, July 11, 2011
Even the most solid things
we think we know
are almost pure space,
not there except in imagination.
Hard headed me—
I am fooled
by my skull bones,
not yet dust.
I will not see how my skull
resembles a fist,
or a penis, only
hard a few moments.
Black holes, even,
are delicate, changeable.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Sabio: Naughty Dan, you are not supposed to talk about the *benefits* of meditation.
Sabio: BTW, what type is yours again?
Sabio: But on a serious note, isn't one of the benefits of focused sitting time that you can more often practice different awareness states more readily during everyday life? [By the way, I know the religiously-correct way to say that, but I refuse].
Sabio: Maybe you have a compulsive side that is indeed calmed for that day by a hit of neurotransmitters with a half-life of 24 hours after meditating -- not that this is the most meditation offers, but what the hell? We drink coffee and exercise (paddle) for similar hits of happiness.
Sabio: But let me risk wandering into a more personal zone -- I hope you realize it is coming from someone who likes you and who feels not an ounce of self-righteousness. And forgive me if I don't cushion it too much -- I don't have much time to polish (and lord knows polishing is something I always need to do). But here goes:
My problem is that I have too many possessions! To release my belongings, to pare down, down and down some more—this is the way to approach fulfillment.
Sabio: You get a new toy, feel appropriately guilty for a while, meditate more, talk to nature more until you get enough relief. After building up enough comfort, you move on to the next acquisition and worry about not helping the poor while you live the good life in California once again.