A Sunday Chat with Myself — 11 February, 2018

“No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination; never put off until tomorrow what you can do today” — Lord Chesterfield

Life can have its boring moments if I don’t keep busy, but, to me, that raises  a question: is the idea of boredom a penalty for idleness, controlled by societal forces that have instilled in me the idea that I must always be busy? As the proverb says, “Idleness is the root of all evil.” Therefore, can I assume that idleness I sin, as many of our preachers try to convince us? .” We’re taught that “idle hands create mischief for the devil.” There are a whole bunch more sayings like this so, to me, it’s obvious, society has a serious concern that we citizens don’t fall into idleness, and furthermore, what is boredom? Is one the consequence of the other?

I have noticed mild forms of boredom in higher forms of animals, but not as intense as in humans. For example, my cat can lay on its soft blanket by the window all day long, stirring only when it’s hungry or needs the litter box, and not get bored at all. Life seems peaceful for my cat, but when I get bored, I become restless, and life is anything but peaceful! My mind, my fingers, are itching for something to do!

I also see yogas sitting cross-legged for hours on their mats and not be bored.  The only conclusion that I can come to that my boredom is conditioned; purely a state of mind. Boredom does not necessarily have to be a product of idleness.

In an article that I recently read by Jessica Leber, she claims that there are five types of boredom. I was especially interested in her first three categories of boredom. The first is Indifference. If I understand her correctly, indifference is when I watch the entire evening news hour while eating my sandwich, and come away feeling unmoved by all the negative events that took place in the world this day. In a sense, my mind was idle, but I wasn’t bored: my passive mind was being entertained to a point of indifference.

The next is calibrating. Calibrating is an unpleasant situation one might find himself in,”characterized by wandering thoughts unrelated to the present situation.” It’s like in my youthful days when I still went to school. The scene: an algebra lesson. My teacher would drone on in his monotone voice something about “a” plus “b” minus “c” equals”d” (unpleasant situation) while my mind was dreamily gazing out the window, preoccupied by imagining animal forms in the fluffy summer clouds above.

The third type of boredom Jessica Leber defines as Searching. Searching is like a “person might do to ease the discomfort of a situation one find himself in.” like, I remember once when I was still in the military standing guard in front of our Captain’s office where he was conducting an important training meeting. To relieve my boredom, I counted, then recounted, every one of the hundred plus (I forget the exact amount) of ceiling tiles that ran the entire length of the corridor! I was searching for something better to do, but military discipline demanded that my mind stay in the present moment of being ‘on  guard.’

Boredom: God’s way of telling me that what I’m doing is not interesting. I should occupy my mind with interesting, constructive “stuff.” 

During that military time I was condition not to think: just obey, that all my thinking will be done for me. “Hurry up and wait” was another common military conditioning, while not trying to be bored in the process–not having interesting, personal thoughts–was all part of that routine.

But all that was in the past; they were my life’s experiences. So, is that it? is idleness that causes boredom given to us as a gift that we inherit along with birthright, so that we’re guaranteed to move forward and have experiences?

The yogas have an interesting practice that addresses idleness. It’s sort of a yoga conundrum!  They ask you to try and make your mind blank and still so that you have no thought in in at all. It can’t be done, because, even if you should accomplish that impossible feat of not thinking, the very act of forcing your mind not to think, is a thought! Plainly stated, my God did not create me to have an idle mind, and boredom is the ‘kick in the pants’ for me to find something to do.

For all creation, thinking is mandatory! Contrary to the hum-drum experiences in the military, or what I didn’t learn in school, life forces one to think!

But, I do have a choice: I can fritter away my time in daydreaming, or tightly center my thoughts on a specific topic or action and accomplish something that I’m desirous of doing. Act positive, as work ethicist’s might call it.

Which raises another interesting thought. Many companies have a special department, usually headed by their CEO, called a “Think Tank.” The purpose of the Think Tank is to come up with new or innovative ideas that the company can use in giving it an edge over its competitors. I’ve known people who had pleasure and honor of being part of a company’s Think Tank and one thing that’s decidedly absent during a session is concentrated thinking! Everyone seems just idly doodling and exploring all the possible “what-ifs” centered around the problem/topic of the day. It seems that our subconscious mind works best when our objective, conscious mind stays out of its way, and great ideas—solutions to vexing problems—often pop up seemingly out of nowhere when the mind is idle.

In conclusion, both an idle mind and an active mind are special attributes that we inherited  from our Creator. It is wise for me to know the difference of when to be idle, and when to be active!

“Focus on being productive, not busy.” — Tim Ferris

 

 

A Sunday Chat with Myself — 14 January, 2018

Health is not valued until sickness comes. 

For a good many years of my life I’ve had an interest in sound–body healing sound, that is. I believe that sound is what created our universe; sound is energy, and energy is sound. Our earth has a vibrational frequency–7.82 herz, our bodies each have their own unique vibration, and to complicate things even more, all our organs within our body each vibrate at their own frequency!

” You can look at disease as a form of disharmony. And there’s no organ system in the body that’s not affected by sound and music and vibration.” — Mitchell Gaynor, M.D., Sounds of Healing 

I have absolutely no issue with doctors, or visiting a doctor’s office when necessary, but I also believe that God gave me a body and part of my responsibility during my stay here on earth is to care and look after it. In other words, if I get sick, my first thought is to see if I can find a cure for what ails me. If the sickness, or injury, is beyond my capability, then will I seek professional medical help.

During my many years of searching for self-cures, I found that, by using proper frequencies of sound, coupled with a healthy diet, I’ve confirmed that I can do a pretty good job of healing most of my minor ailments.

“It is more Important to be of pure intention than of perfect action.”  ― Ilyas Kassam 

The problem with many MP3 soundtracks that I open, or download to use in my meditation and healing ceremonies is that, although they may be perfectly presented, they lack one major ingredient: Intent! Plainly stated, did the artist of that music intend to create a perfect piece of music, or was his intent to touch my soul with his musical creation? It may come as a surprise to many, but with music, as with any great work of art, you leave your signature–your soul–your meaning–your intent in your finished piece. You may have noticed this yourself when listening to music. The same song, played by two different artists: one falls flat, the other, you purchase the record. It is no different in the art world. Same scene, two different artists. One artist can’t give his work away, the other artist becomes famous for his work.

Intent plays an important role in how we present ourselves to the world.

I wonder. What was God’s intention when He created the world through sound?

If it hurts, learn from the experience!

Two days ago a scammer called me—I think he said he was from Microsoft, and said that he needed to get into my computer and clean out some corrupt files. It only took a minute’s conversation with him for me to realize that he was new at the game of scamming. In the scamming game, this guy was a “junior”–just learning the trade, the one who casts the bait by making a zillion random phone calls,  and as soon as he gets someone who will talk to him—a “sucker,” he would hand the phone over to the professional scammer to do the damage. I know the routine because I’ve had these guys call before, and I’ve come to understand their techniques. Now, most of the time I just hang up, or don’t even answer the phone,  but this time, decided to talk to him. Here’s roughly the conversation that we had:

Me: “You’re a scammer. Why would I let you into my computer?”

Scammer: “No, sir, you don’t understand. I’m from Microsoft and I need to get into your computer to clean out some bad files that are corrupting your hard drive and—”

Me, bluntly: “You’re a scammer. a parasite on society. Why don’t you get yourself a decent job and contribute to society, rather than scamming people out of their money?”

Scammer: “But, sir, I need to—”

Me, getting impatient: “You’re a scammer,” I repeated. “Get yourself a decent job!”

Scammer: “And how am I going to get a job, sir? Are you going to give me one?” (those were his exact words, and this is why I recognized him as a greenhorn at the scamming business). Professional scammers don’t ask dumb questions like that, so I admit, for the moment, his questions came as an unanticipated surprise.

Me, at this point, I completely lost my cool: “Now, why in hell am I responsible for  getting you a job?” Get your ass down to the employment office and see what’s available, like the rest of us have to do! Go back to school, if you have to! Get a trade . . .”

My  haranguing continued like that for a few more minutes. He listened in silence, then, finally, I hung up on him.

A bit later, after I calmed down to  a more human level of impiousness, I sort of felt sorry for the fellow. Life certainly had not been kind to him in order for him to have to resort to   scamming for a living, so I sent him a silent prayer, asking God to let someone come into his life and give him some proper guidance concerning the responsibilities of being human. Also, I needed him to forgive me for being so rude.

He obviously had some education—at least enough to know basic computer lingo, so,  at least to a point, he must have chosen, or easily been lead into the scammer’s way of life. Maybe, let’s assume he was raised in a good family that taught him right from wrong,  but he lacked moral principles.  Was his brain twisted enough to make him a sociopath, a person with an antisocial personality disorder who didn’t care whether he hurt another being? I’m not sure that he was a sociopath because, you will remember his question to me: “And how am I going to get a job, sir? Are you going to give me one?” A hard core sociopath—scammer, in this case, isn’t interested in your opinion nor how he can ‘improve’ himself.

On the other hand, if we—society are at least partially to blame for our “misfits,” where are we failing them? I’m a great fan of TVs Dr. Phil show. What I’ve observed so far by watching him is that, in many of his cases where people come to him for help, they’ve already been through at least one other professional source that failed them. Is there a factor in our attempted care to help the less fortunate that we’re leaving out of the equation? I think there is, and I’d like to turn our attention to our King James version of the Bible, Genesis 3:22, for a suggested answer: “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.” In other words,  Man can progress to eventual godhood, but, if he wants to continue his upward evolution, he had  best learn to benefit from the opposites in Creation!


The black nefarious agent and the white angel are both equally my teachers.


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Old Age

When an artist picks a tree as his subject to paint, he most likely will choose a gnarled and twisted one that has etched into its bark, trunk and branches, its years of weathering–patterns and memories of its winter, spring, summer fun and fall experiences.

An old tree.

The artist wants to capture  the ancient tree’s soul: its ruggedness, its determination to live in spite of adversity. There is a beauty in such a tree that younger trees do not yet possess.

The next time that you have a conversation with an old person–a senior, apply the same respect, thoughtfulness and reverence to him as an artist would in his appreciation of an old, weathered tree. See beauty and a hidden strength not common to the more flighty moments. Learn from it.

The Magic Door–or, How to Call Back Your Muse when it’s on Vacation.

Last Friday I was feeling–well, out of sorts. If you’re a creative person like I am, you’ve experienced a similar feeling: like a square trying to fit into a round hole. Nothing was going right for me. I had planned on doing some writing, but at the present moment,  felt like my muse had suddenly decided to take a vacation: gone on one of those famous Italian cruises, I guessed!

I paced back and forth in my office. I was desperate. Then I had an idea!

I went and stood just outside of my office area and, with my right index finger extended, drew an imaginary outline of a standard sized door in the space around me. I started out with just a plain outline of a basic door: about seven feet high and roughly thirty inches wide. Then I began to embellish it. I placed some large, yellow sunflowers with smiling faces about two feet off to the right, ensuring that some of their cheerful yellow heads bobbed happily into the door’s space to help break up the otherwise stark outline of the door, then added twin vines on each side,  letting them entwine as they grew upwards to end in a dense, leafy crown over the door header. Then, much like a magician would do, with the same index finger I drew imaginary bunches of tiny white snow flowers in my hand and, in dramatic fashion, sprinkled handfuls of them on the vine. They glittered and fell like fairy dust as they settled among the green, leafy vines. The whole scene looked quite pretty–and antiqued! I wanted to give the scene an old-fashioned, late seventeenth century look, and I was about to complete the scene by imagining an ornate, black metal bench just to the right of the door where I could stop to rest and drink in the tranquility of what I had created, should I choose to do so, but at the last moment, decided not to. I didn’t want to stop to rest: I wanted to open the door, and get in!

My next step was to mentally construct the door of deep brown walnut wood, well aged,  inlaid with garlands of floral designs in a lighter walnut. I hung the door on large, old rusting iron hinges that had been hammered  into their present  shape eons ago by an artisan who loved his craft. The door was heavy and, at present,  quite impossible for me to open unless I knew the right combination of magic words that would let me lift the iron latch that held the door firm in its place (I borrowed the design for the latch from a photo I had once seen in a magazine of a beautifully crafted latch on a door of an old castle). At first, I drew the door as being stubbornly immoveable because that was exactly how I felt–at least, creatively!

Then, another thought: what lay on the other side of that door?  To find out, I would have to think … think hard …  find the secret, magic password that would let me lift the heavy iron latch and open the door.

Abracadabra!” That was the best I could come up with at the moment. What the heck–I wasn’t creative today anyway.

To my surprise, that was it! That was the magic word: Abracadabra! Suddenly I was able to easily lift the heavy iron latch . The door objected irritably by creaking loudly as I pushed it open and walked through. In my mind, ahead of me, lay a long, narrow bench topped with plain, office quality, off-white Arborite and had several computers positioned strategically along its length. Men and women were sitting in front of these computers, each busy typing something … I dared to step closer to peek over the shoulder of a pretty young lady who was so busy typing she never even noticed my presence. She was creating a romance novel. She was dressed in a seventeenth century peasant-cloth grey dress, complete with white bonnet and apron. I named her, Annabel.  “I’ll bet she’s in love with the young prince that lives in the castle just down the road, and he most likely doesn’t even know that she exists.” I felt empathy with the young lady.

Next, I inched cautiously over to the lady–I placed her in her late 30s– short, blonde hair, very trim and efficient looking, dressed in a starched white shirt under a light grey business suite. But, unlike the previous young lady, I couldn’t go unnoticed here: she saw me, looked up from her computer and threw me a smile.

“Watcha workin’ on?” I thought I might as well ask since I had been discovered anyway.

“It’s a draft for a business plan my boss wants me to type up for him,” she offered in a tired voice. “As if I haven’t got enough other office work to contend with, now I have to  also type up his personal stuff.”

I left her to finish her draft and moved on to the next gentleman–well, surprise! I’ll go out on a limb and call him a gentleman, but he was anything but that: completely the opposite to the previous trim lady in a business suite:  he was unkempt, hadn’t shaved for a week, wore a dirty white Tee shirt stretched over an overstuffed beer belly  and was wearing  jeans that had seen better days. He even stunk a bit.

“What you want from me?” he growled as I approached. “You’re not getting any ideas from me!” He covered his monitor with an equally dirty grey hoody so that I couldn’t see what he had been typing. “I have a hard enough time coming up with ideas for my own stories.”

“Well, I wasn’t–I mean, I was just … browsing–”

“Well, don’t browse!” He yowled back that ended in an animalistic grunt. What an unpleasant person, I thought! “Go back to your own computer. You got more creativity than I’ve got.” He got up from his computer and came towards me in a threatening manor. I’m sure he meant to do me harm …

O.k., I decided that was enough! And, not a moment too soon, I ducked back to safety behind my side of my Magic Door.

Then, more magic! As I stood there, still holding fast to the latch on my Magic Door, now tightly closed  to bar that–ugh, gentleman–from grabbing me, I suddenly felt completely refreshed.

“Hey!” I fairly shouted, surprising even myself as a realized the  rush of creativity that now engulfed me. My Muse was back off its Italian holiday! With renewed confidence, I again took both hands and lifted the imaginary  iron door latch and again stepped through my Magic Door, only this time I didn’t create an imaginary scene. The scene was already there in real time!

The long  bench with its computers and people typing on ‘clickety’ keyboards were gone. I now  stood in the real world facing my own, real computer monitor. I sat down and started typing …  clickety, click-click … scenes and visions rushed into my head faster than I could type.

Thank you, Magic Door!