Monday, November 30, 2015

We are the light of the world

This weekend was all about light. There are some fundamental scientific truths about light that we all kind of know in elementary and high school but do not really fathom how monumental they are. We learn about plants and photosynthesis and that they create their energy and food from the light of the sun. They are green because that color absorbs the red and blue color light which has the most diverse wavelength selection to draw from while reflecting back the green colored light which sits in the middle of the spectrum. Animals then eat plants and get their energy there and are in turn eaten by other animals which get their energy from those animals that got their energy from the plants. All of the motivating energy of every living thing comes originally from the light of the sun.

We need to take a minute to let that sink in. We all, every living thing, ultimately are eating sunlight, solar energy, nuclear fusion reactions from over 92 million miles away. When we think about the implications of this it is kind of staggering. Every action on the earth by a living creature is ultimately solar energy made manifest in matter. The plant converts light into its energy and stores it in its leaves and body like a battery. It is there as potential. As an animal when i eat a plant my cells and mitochondria convert that into energy and action of my muscles. My typing on this keyboard is sunlight made matter in the world. Every time i hit a heavy bag or strike a chord on a guitar, it is an explosion of stored energy that originated in the sun.

I believe this is the same for thoughts. If thoughts are electrical energy in our brains and consciousness then they too started out in the the star that centers our solar system. I am not a dualist who believes that mind stuff and body stuff are somehow different. This is the topic for another blog, but my studies have led me to believe that everything is a type of energy moving at different speeds. Matter is energy slowed down to a lower vibration. If this is the case then that energy that becomes our thoughts and our consciousness originated in the sun too.

The planets in our solar system, the meat of my body, everything that is exploded out of stars, at least in this theory. We are made up of stardust people. That is pretty epic. And the sun originated out of the greater galaxy which arose from the greater universe. Whatever that source of the start of the universe was, this blog originated there too. That is where our sun came from. It all ultimately has the same source and has emerged and evolved and grown into this epic dance of the myriad things and creatures and planets and galaxies and photons and rivers and rocks that make up this amazing drama that we can not begin to completely fathom. We are all a part of something magnificent.

I have been looking at the Two-slit experiment again and i feel like in that scenario you are putting energy into a system and it is like a very primitive consciousness. Our brains and bodies are like a very complicated version of that experiment. The system takes that energy and goes to a myriad different places with it, but it all starts with light, with energy, with the Sun, the universe, with the Beginning of things.

Remember, we are all a part of something magnificent!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Way is in the Training

Once you get the ball rolling, you have to keep the ball rolling.

I have seen a lot of people who have a similar problem. They get really excited about something in their life, be it learning an instrument, working out, getting organized or improving their business. They stay in this state of excitement and inspiration for a few weeks usually, and then it is back to the old routines. This kind of motivation is not very helpful and is kind of counter productive to the whole theory of the rolling of the ball. We need to find ways to keep the ball rolling once we have found it.

I have been very lucky that i tend to stay pretty energized with my projects and training. It took practice though. We have to train ourselves to be the kind of person who will not quit on things. I read "Living the Martial Way" quite a few years back and the instruction to "Train as a warrior trains" sunk in with me. There are several things we can do to help this along, but it is really a matter of focusing your will. Here are some things that i think help to make us get past the excuses and effect positive change. These are laid out in terms of martial arts training or exercise but they can apply to other goals as well.

1. Start out reasonably. Do not think that after years of inactivity you are going to jump headlong into three hours of training a day. You are not going to stick with this. Start out with reasonable expectations.

2. Find an exercise or style that you enjoy doing. Whatever you want to commit too, you have to enjoy it or you are doomed to failure from the beginning. If you hate running that should not be the cornerstone of your new exercise regime. I train in martial arts because i love doing it and i am happy to do it everyday. I like doing that better than i like going on vacation. It is easy for me to stick to it because i found the training program that i like to do.

3. Get involved with a group that shares the same goals. Find a group of like minded people who want to train in what you do. A martial arts school can do this or a basketball team. Find a group on Facebook that will help keep you motivated or pick a fitness buddy to go to the gym with. This will also help with number 4.

4. Hold yourself accountable. Do not let yourself off the hook when you skip workouts or training sessions. Life happens but commit to doing what you have said you were going to do. If you find your new commitment important you should go at it with the zeal with which you go at showing up for work. When you don't go there are consequences. Find ways to make yourself accountable. Post your workouts on social media to a group so people can see what you are doing or start a blog. Keep a fitness journal. Donate to charity every time you miss a workout. Skip a favorite TV show if you miss something. Anything but find a meaningful way to reward yourself for staying on task. If you meet your workout or training goals maybe you go out to eat at the end of the week to a good restaurant, maybe you see a movie. Something. Be accountable.

These are some small things that i do. It is important to find ways for you to keep at your goals and not let them fall by the wayside. Life transformation is not easy and adjusting your will takes time and patience but it can be done. You can affect change.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Who are we?

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it in the process that he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you." ~Nietzche

There is a lot of back and forth on the internet presently about Syrian refugees and them coming to our shores. I have seen a lot of vitriol and anger coming especially from the side that advocates closing the borders and protecting our own. I even saw one person say that he would gladly kill every one of them and not lose a minute of sleep over it to protect his family. Have we been gazing too long into an abyss? Are we not being wary while we wrestle with these monsters that we ourselves are not becoming monsters?

What is it about terrorists and those who would take innocent lives to make their point that we so loathe? Is it not that they do not lose a moment's sleep over trying to kill every one of us to prove a point? What is, or at least what should be better about America and what we stand for is that we do not do this. What exactly do we like about ourselves and teach our children to strive for if we become a people who can flippantly say we will not lose a moment's sleep after killing every last one of them? It is possible this person meant every last one of the terrorists who want to destroy us, but what was being talked about were the 1000's of refugees. There may well be, and probably are some vicious killers in the midst of that mass of humanity, but there are definitely some innocent victims, infants, hard working men and women who just happened to be born in a less fortunate circumstance than we were. I do not doubt that there are some among us who do believe they would willingly kill all of them for an ounce of safety. Those among us who believe that and feel that way are the same as the enemy we claim we are trying to defeat... in short, those who flew planes into our buildings, and killed masses of people in Beirut and Paris and elsewhere in the name of a cause... we are the same as them. We cannot hold the moral high ground anymore once we begin to feel that way. We are at that point also monsters.

We all want to keep our families and loved ones safe, but unfortunately becoming hard and heartless does not help that. It is actually counter productive. Our adventures around the world looking out only for our own interest helps to breed this hatred of us. We exploited Cuba for our own interests... and then came Fidel Castro. We used the Mojahideen in Afghanistan when it was a convenient tool against the USSR, and then abandoned them in the end... and then came Osama bin Laden. We instigated the creation of an anti-Syrian force that we knew would be extremist... and now we have ISIS. We keep doing the same things and expecting different results. We support monsters that destroy a society in our own self interest and then wonder why generations of children grow up to hate us. I am not saying that the actions of extremists are justified, just that we had a hand in creating them with actions that are also very unjustified and in the long run are detrimental to our security. We make stupid decisions on the world stage over and over and over again. It is not a partisan problem either. The Obama administration is raining death from the sky on people all over the world with our drone program... the Bush administration gave us the Iraq War... there is not a side of our political world which is free of these bad decisions.

Back to the refugees... I heard my first friend on the blocking refugee side say, "you want to accept these people without checking them, i am all for refugees but letting them in unchecked is suicide". OK, we can get somewhere. I am all for thoroughly vetting the people coming into this country. We have to do that in an efficient way however. We have translators who worked with our military who we have been left to die because of paperwork and we cannot do that here. I do not know exactly how we do this but we can think of something... we put a man on the moon. Maybe we make a safe zone in the Middle East where people are free from danger and can be checked as we need to. Maybe we team up with Egyptian billionaire guy who is buying Greek islands to relocate people who are in harm's way and they can wait there. Maybe that is even a final destination, who knows. The goal is to get people safe, to me that does not have to be here if we have a viable alternative.

We can be compassionate and smart... we can be strong but loving... we can protect ourselves without turning our backs on the world. With great power comes great responsibility. We need to be the ideals we claim to be standing up to protect. We cannot become monsters ourselves or else all of our service men who die in these wars we have created are dying for nothing and that is unacceptable. Shame on our politicians who take military action lightly and send our sons and daughters off to die without a strategy and a plan for political reasons. We cannot let this happen to these brave men and women who are flying our flag on foreign shores. What we are doing has to mean something of value. We are better than those who would wage war on innocent civilians to try and get us to hide under our bed sheets and give up our freedoms for a sense of safety. We went into Europe and Asia and lost millions of American lives because we were better than fascism. We won with most of our principles intact. We do not have to choose between taking care of our veterans and letting the huddled masses who need these shores come here. If we want to make America great again we have to remember what it is that makes this country a shining light on the hill. It is not money or economic security, it is not that we have bigger bombs then everybody else. This place is great because of the ideals that we stand for and what is written in our Constitution. If it is just our wealth and military might, then we are Rome all over again, and empires always fall. It is the people here and all of those people, regardless of the color of their skin or their religious affiliation or sexual orientation is what makes us strong. Are we truly something amazing that has happened to the world or are we just the next Roman Empire that has passed its zenith and is heading toward slow decline?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Get the Ball Rolling

The first part of the Adventurer's Code from the Lords of Adventure's Adventurer's Handbook, "Get the Ball Rolling." Super important concept and i find it to be a big part of the code that most adventurers have a hard time with.

Procrastination is so easy. Things that we are going to do later, we do not have to do right now. I have friends who have stated that they were going to do something, definitively, years ago and those things are never done, will never be done. The reason is because a lot of people have no actual capacity to get the ball rolling. It is easy to have ideas, but to take those ideas and make them actual in the world requires action and it requires the will power to actually create and perform.

I had a friend once who told me, "Man i wish i was as good at martial arts as you are." My response, "Well, start training now and then in ten years you are going to be pretty awesome... or, don't and then ten years from now you know what you will say? 'Man i wish i was as good at martial arts as you.'" He did not begin training and ten years and more have gone by. I buy into this and i might take it to the opposite end because i am always trying to work on things. I might actually need to learn how to relax and just sit sometimes, but that is another blog. This blog is about getting the ball rolling and making something awesome out of your life while you have it.

I have seen it over and over again. I have wanted to do things with people and try to get us working, next thing you know over a year has gone by and we still have done nothing. We only have a limited amount of life that we get and there is SO much amazing creation that we have the potential for. Do not waste your life away thinking about what you are going to do later. Start it. That is what the code means. Get the ball rolling now. If you want to learn a martial art, a musical instrument, if you want to make a sign for your business or ask somebody out on a date... do it now. Right now. Get the ball rolling. When you stop reading this do the thing. Not kidding. You don't have time to wait around or years are going to pass you by.

Rocky - "I'll do it tomorrow."
Apollo Creed - "There is no tomorrow! There is no tomorrow!"

If you would like a copy of the Adventurer's Handbook, get it online: Adventurer's Handbook Online

Monday, November 16, 2015

True Faith

"I feel so extraordinary, something's got a hold on me, i get this feeling i'm in motion, a certain sense of liberty..." ~New Order song, True Faith

The name of that song inspired some philosophy in me back in the day. What exactly is True Faith? What i came to back in college when i was wrestling with the concept is that True Faith is to Know. That is a lot deeper than the things we believe. Even deeper than some things we think we know in that mundane day to day kind of way. We feel that we know that the earth is solid, it is fundamental to our world view and when someone lives through an earthquake to witness the earth churn and pulse like liquid, if frequently leads to therapy. Fundamental beliefs, things we thought we knew shake and are not as firm as we thought. I don't know that this chair i am sitting on will not collapse beneath me but i act as if i do know it. Can we acquire True Faith? Is it possible to know anything in that enlightenment type of level?

Most religions offer us things to believe in that it takes faith to believe. There are those who are reading this i am sure who will claim that i am wrong and that they know for a fact that their religion, relationship with the gods, their personal salvation, etc. is a fact that they know to the core of their being. That does not work to prove anything to the person who has not had the experience and frankly, there are lots of people out there claiming that they know religious truths that contradict a lot of other ones. There is a faith there, sometimes a faith that will lead individuals to do heinous things in the name of what they believe.

I have sought out this True Faith for a long time, i have thought it was a call from somewhere just beyond the borders of my conscious world that beckons me to come and find it. I do not have True Faith in that and i only believe it sometimes.

I am not going to get to True Faith in this blog and if you think you have it bless your heart and i hope you are right. But, i would like to look at a couple of things that suggest to me there is more going on in the universe than we can just observe and that we can actually look at with a scientific eye and observe. These things are just really, kind of cool. They suggest to me at least that we are all connected and a part of the universe in a deep and fundamental way.

The first is sacred geometry. There are sequences in the universe that repeat everywhere. They are ratios that exist in our bodies, in seashells, in hurricanes, in the arms of galaxies, on the coast of New Jersey, in the spin vectors of particles... everywhere. They repeat everywhere. Same ratios. Like a fingerprint of something. I can make assumptions poast that if i am inclined, but we can observe the ratios and look at them. An awesome stone carver friend of mine has a metal caliper that finds the Golden Mean on your body, in a leaf, in anything because it is everywhere. That is really awesome. I cannot say anything about it past that with certainty, but i can say and look at it in the world. I don't have to blindly accept it because it is there and can be measured and seen, over and over again.

The next for me is light. We are made up of stars. What we ultimately eat is light. It is what fuels are bodies and is what we are. Eating a lot of colors tends to be pretty healthy diet and i think that is because you are eating the spectrum of color and various kinds of light energy. Think about that. We are children of the stars. I can't say anything else past that without it being assumptions and theory, but we can look at the action of photosynthesis and see how plants eat. It is that energy of the sun that fuels the plants that ultimately fuels everything. Beautiful.

Is it True Faith? Nope. But, it is rational faith. We can look at those two things and observe them. It is not the enemy of faith to be smart and to deeply question everything. I like proof. There are a lot of things that i believe that i cannot really observe or give you definite observations of, but with these two, you can look at them. Don't take my word for it. Look up the study of light, check out the Golden Mean. Really cool stuff. I cannot prove this objectively, but to me it suggest that the universe we live in is beautiful and amazing. I am happy to be a part of it.