Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Thoughts 34

Intention and Action

A few days ago I started looking through the November 2014 issue of Scientific American. There was an article entitled “Mind of the Meditator” by Matthieu Ricard, Antoine Lutz, and Richard J. Davidson that I decided to read. In it they briefly described the way the tests were performed and there results. They also stated that there was much more study to be done.

When I refer to the above article remember that it is filtered through my eyes; the standards that I have created to interpret the world I live in. If you want to make sure what I say in this post about the article is accurate read it. I may have misunderstood what they were trying to convey.

Their study involved three different types of meditation. One was focused attention. The person's attention was on their breathing. Another was open monitoring. The person was aware of all that was around him without becoming mentally involved with any one thing. The third was the practice of compassion and loving kindness.

As I understood it the practice of the first two developed what I would call humility. Humility is not a word that they used. Over the years I have come to some conclusions about humility. One is that humiliation has nothing to do with humility unless experiencing enough humiliation makes one receptive to learning about humility. The perfectly humble man (in other words no one) can never be humiliated. The perfectly humble man (again no one) never gets angry. The last two sentences disqualifies me. I can be humiliated and it is a rare day when I don't get at least a little angry about something. Those sentences describe a couple of the many manifestations of an ideal. To further describe humility (I cannot define it), I have heard people say that they were humbled by receiving some type of reward. I only have myself and my observation of others to go on, but it seems the person who received the reward is saying, “I am proud.” while trying not to seem that way. Another example is when a person says that they humbled themselves by doing something. To me they are saying that they felt a little humiliation. Here again is part of the ideal; the truly humble person does things because they need to be done. They take action without thinking about it. Pride and humility have nothing to do with their action. In summation, I can become less self-centered and thus do less harm and more good if I practice one or both of the first two meditations.

The article describes the physical changes in one's brain as they practice meditation over time. In Intentions and Actions I have been trying to deal with good and evil, so the physical changes will not be covered. But the “Scientific American” article shows what I would say is the first dichotomy in humans striving for understanding; material and non-material. The physical actions bring about changes in the brain and mind or it could be put, in the body and thoughts of an individual.

The third type of meditation, compassion and loving kindness, is where good comes from. That does not describe the only way to good, but some of the best. The article went on to describe the different results for people who tried to help others. The folks who empathized with the people who they tried to help would experience burn out after a time. The people who had compassion instead of empathy did not experience the burn out. Both were doing good. A friend of mine was reared in India. He told me that he was taught that if he could do nothing more, he could look at the person with kind eyes.

As suggested by the growing compendium of research, meditation may be effective in treating depression and chronic pain and in cultivating a sense of overall well-being. That sentence is copied directly from the article. It goes on to say that continued practice of meditation is required for results.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Thoughts 33

Intentions and Actions 4

Earlier I mentioned the conditions for experiencing the moment; when I was a child and experienced hot dusty days at my grandmother's. Since I have looked back and remembered that reality, thoughts have happened in a moment that seem to have relevance.
I have read that we humans look for patterns in what we experience and sometimes find them, even when they are not there. That may be what I have done in reference to an importance in a moment. If I am aware of the thought that seems to have importance, I act on it. Usually, I wait a few days to let it settle in so that I might be able to tell if it is just another of my crazy thoughts. Sometimes I will talk to someone about it whose opinion I respect, especially if I need to act quickly on the thought.

Two days ago I had one of those thoughts. It was what this post should be saying. Now that I have sat down to write, I believe it is a summation of what I have written in the “Thoughts and Actions” series, but in a personal way. I experienced the following.

Likely it started while I was in my teens, but I now know that by the time I reached majority I was trying to find who I was and what God was. I searched and examined; on and on. The older I got the more confused I was about both. The non-material pain became stronger and stronger. I was creating pain for others without thinking about it because of my egocentricity. If (a large if) everything is interconnected, while I was creating misery for others I was generating my own pain. Fortuitously, I was expose to a group of people who at first I definitely did not want to be around. After several months had elapsed, I sought out those same people. They reached out their hands to me. Through their words and more through their actions, they taught me what I believe today to be true love and tolerance. There maybe more to love and tolerance than what I understand. If that is so, I desire to find it. Now, who I am and what God is has no meaning.

I would have never seen how self-centered I truly was without their loving guidance. Before them, I did the “good” things; things that society said was good. The worthy things that I did were satisfying, but I was still manufacturing pain for others.

Today the balm that soothes my non-material pain and sometimes my material pain is reaching out to others and forgetting self. Love of this sort is its own reward. It can be done in many ways. Someone has to produce more than they consume so that others can produce non-consumable things; artists, scientist, etc. The producers also allow some to devote all their time trying to ease pain.

All my life I was told to do this and not do that. I was never shown the meaning of why.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Thoughts 32

Intentions and Actions 5

In earlier posts I put forth some different ideas about interconnectedness. Today my thoughts are just as far into the ozone, but in another area. When I reference everything I experience in relation to myself, I am being self-centered. If I built an extreme reality of egocentricity, then I maybe unable to empathize with or feel compassion for others. The actions that I take might be thought as being good, but I will have an ulterior motive for doing them. The pain that I intentionally create will be for my benefit and I will not care. For me my whole universe is me. Nothing but me and what I want matters. The above statements describe for me psychopathy and sociopathy.

I first got interested in psychopathy and sociopathy when in a story on television I was watching it was stated that one person was a psychopath and another was a sociopath. The statement sounded as if there was a difference and I wanted to know what that was. In my research I found they could be used interchangeably. Also, I found statements that said the population of the United States was one to three percent psychopaths. That probably could be extended to the whole world. If the Untied States population was three-hundred million, then three to nine-million psychopaths are here now. Only a very small portion of the psychopaths are violent.

Thinking about the others who weren't violent, I realized that some would be smart enough to make it into the higher echelons of business and politics. They would be adroit in those environs. The largest portion by far of the people with this reality would be in-between the ones that were leaders of our society and the ones who were sadists. The in-betweens would be the common man working, trying to get through life while not caring what he did, the grifter and a many others creating pain.

Later while perusing an issue of Scientific American, I read an article that was based on Kevin Dutton's book “The Wisdom of Psychopaths”; it may have been a book review. The article referred to tests that were given where the results showed stronger psychopathic traits in people who were not violent than the violent ones in prison. It went on to say that it was sometimes beneficial for corporate officials because they could create vast amounts of pain in the lives of thousands of people by firing them without feeling remorse. Another profession that the psychopathic reality could benefit would the cutting edge of medical surgery. The surgeon could view the patient as a job instead of a person.

After going through the thoughts about sociopaths and psychopaths I realized that the more egocentric I was, the more like them I was. Hopefully, I never came close to being a sociopath, but I have to admit that there have been times in my life that I was very self-centered.

All images from google images.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Thoughts 31

Intentions and Actions 4



Between twenty-five and thirty years ago I was in a conversation about non-material matters and realized that the standards ( start and stop ) I had set up to describe the way I interpreted the non-material was different from the ones he had set up. In the conversation I stated that I could not see how anyone could be selfless; even St. Francis was getting something out of what he did. In his reply, I received the concept that if I am thinking about someone else and not myself then I am selfless. What he said made sense to me. If I could remember his name, I would give him credit.



So another way to start changing an ego-centric reality is to find someone to help that I can truly feel compassion for. If I put myself in a position to be exposed to people who need help, then it is more likely that I will be around a person or persons I can care what is going on with them. When I am physically close to a person in need and am thinking that I am glad I am not in their place, then I am still more concerned about self; seeing how I am doing. I need ( notice that I use the word I a lot ) to be reaching out a hand of help to someone to where I can forget self. Personal experience has shown me that if I reach out freely instead of being paid for what I am doing then it is easier to forget self.

Two positions of employment that I have held gave me the opportunity to reach out to others and they both were fulfilling. Receiving pay for service to other people is okay as for as I am concerned.



Lord make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, union;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Francis of Assisi

*  All images from google images

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Thoughts 30

Intentions and Actions 3



In the last post I mentioned anger being painful. I have heard it said that anger comes from fear and it seems to be true to me. If someone pulls a gun on me, I get angry; fight or flight. That is very simple. What about the times I get angry when there is no physical danger to me. Here again I find that the ego-centric reality that I have created for myself is usually if not always the basis for the fear that I have turned into anger.


There are many ways of expressing anger. Of course getting mad and verbally or physically fighting is one way. Another is to sulk or pout. I have seen people cry when angered. Mentally plotting revenge is a way of hiding the anger while trying to pacify it. There are people who have so much anger and resentment from personal hurt stored inside that trying to feel good about themselves they try to destroy others self worth. I have dubbed them vampire egos; they suck the life vitality from someone close to them. Being hurt is actually a form of being angry. Surely there are many other ways of expressing anger.




Here, again, I am not an expert, but it seems to me that we have three basic instincts. They are to pass on our genes (reproduce), survival, and gregariousness. Gregariousness may be part of the reproductive instinct and survival. All my actions in life are stimulated from my instincts. If I put too much emphasis on any aspect of my instincts then I am always guarding myself from the possibility of losing something I have, think I have, think I deserve, etc. Included in that would be my social position. Any group of humans has a pecking order. I can feel my social position threatened through material things including the possibility of reproducing, or just words; gossip etc. By way of “too much emphasis” I will be constantly looking at how other people and there acts make me look, feel, what they are doing for me. In other words I am self-centered, ego-centric, so I miss what is really going on around me. I have no humility. I will naturally cause pain without realizing ( noticing) what I am doing. Without consciously realizing it I am doing evil things, because I will not or am incapable of seeing my egocentricity. Deep inside my mind I may know that some of what I am doing is not right; then I live with my pain and will be more likely hurt some else. The reality I have created and live in, is that of a small child before being taught.




*   images from google images

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Thoughts 29

Intentions and Actions


Where interpersonal relations are concerned I have always been a little slow to understand what is happening; probably because I am caught up with things about myself. What I am saying is that I have trouble seeing the whole event because I am too self-centered. Without conscious awareness of everything that could be involved I make bad mistakes in judgment. Sometimes there are incidents contributing to the situation that cannot be known to me, but more often than not I am taking a view of the situation to see how it affects me. By taking that type of view (ego-centric) of the situation, I am missing the whole picture. I am lacking in humility. When I am slow and ego-centric in social life, I can get angry at what happened long after the event and take it out on someone else. Too often that someone else is family. Because I am too ego-eccentric, I may misunderstand what really happened; think I was wronged when that is not the case.

Just because someone else is an ass does not make it alright for me to be one also. A simple example is when I am driving and someone cuts me off. They have been an ass. If I start letting them know how big an ass I think they are, then I am an doing the same thing as them; being an ass.

The attitudinal situation of the first paragraph was hard for me put into words. It is extremely hard to see it in myself. It is even harder for me to bring about change from the reality that I have lived in so long. The beginning of change would be to start to try. That is quite simple, but not fast. Finding ways to deal with the anger that has cropped up in me without passing it on to someone else is the first step and quickest way of trying. The second, which takes longer and is better, is to develop humility; the ability to look at the situation in a less self-centered way and let them be who they are, an ass or whatever.


In the instances that I do not pass on that aggressiveness, anger, or any foul mood, then I am creating good. There is one big problem; I am human. There are times when I am not capable of not passing it on. If I get angry with myself when I pass it on then there is more angry pain inside of me. Anger is very painful for me. Resentment is anger revisited, so it is very painful for me. I do not like pain. Many times when I was younger I would be relating to my parents my anger over what someone had done to me. My mother would say that you have feel sorry for the person that acted the way they did. I would never tell her, but I would think, “Feel sorry for them after they did that to me? Maybe you can but I can't.” Today I understand that to do what they did, they had to be in pain. The reason I understand is that the times I have done things that would cause pain to another, I was in pain. If I had not been in pain I would not have been capable of the actions I took.


If I just start by trying not to pass on pain and then search for ways to grow in that ability then I am doing good.

*  http://obstacol.com/crazy-people/being-an-asshole/

**  google images

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Thoughts 28

Intention and Action 1

In an earlier post I posited that evil was the creation of pain, both intentionally and unintentionally. Unintentionally was minor and intentionally very major. Also, that good was the easing of pain or the absorption of pain without passing it on. From that hypothesis of good and evil being based on pain, I will try to explore areas of life experience. Life has a unlimited potential for action, so it will be impossible for me cover everything. Maybe, I can put forth enough to allow a better interpretation.

There are times when I think that I am the exception. Rules and laws to not apply to me. It could take place in parking my vehicle. Thinking along the lines that even though I can walk just fine, I am getting older, am very tired and have bad knees. Maybe it will be alright for me to park in a handicapped parking spot or a place that is a no parking area. Parking like that seems innocent enough until someone who really needs the handicapped parking shows up and there are no special places for them to park. The no parking area has a reason for that classification. It could be for fire fighters in case of a fire. There's not going to be a fire, which is probably correct until it isn't. I am special so while I am in the store I see something I want and do not have the money to buy. I will put it in my pocket when no one is looking. My money is low. I will take some from the store. I have a gun with me.

It may seem that there is no comparison between parking where I am not supposed to and armed robbery, but both are saying that I am special. I do not have to live by the rules.

I ask myself, “Could I be creating pain for anyone.” In both parking situations I may not be causing pain for people, but I don't know for sure. In shop lifting I may not, but I don't know what the situations are with the employees of the store. I could be causing trouble for one or more of them. If I get caught I have caused pain for the people who care about me. Armed robbery is obvious. The very least I have scared the hell out of some one and I don't know what is going to happen. A person could be shot.

All of the above situations can or will create pain. By doing any of them, I am saying that I am the exception; very special.

All images from google images

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Thoughts 27

Thoughts 27

It seems as if I could be through rambling about the limits of humans ability to learn. Ramble I did, because I got of on several sidetracks. Even with the sidetracks there are many things that are implied in all the Thoughts posts that can yet be uncovered. I hope someone will delve into the things I left unsaid.

Everything in the universe is interconnected. The interdependency of all things has not been proven by anyone that I am aware, but for me what we do know puts forth that conclusion. We are one together with all other things.

To try to learn, comprehend our environment the human intellect has to set up boundaries, standards, parameters or whatever sound one decides to use to represent them. By breaking the whole into parts we can never see the totality of what we are studying. The more we learn the more we move away for the full picture of what we are studying.

As I wrote the Thoughts posts, I used examples. So far in this post, I have summed up what I said without the examples. In my next section the emphasis will be on using some of the basics stated in previous posts in life situations. 

  • And truly, I reiterate, . . nothing's small!No lily-muffled hum of a summer-bee,But finds some coupling with the spinning stars;No pebble at your foot, but proves a sphere;No chaffinch, but implies the cherubim:And,–glancing on my own thin, veined wrist,–In such a little tremour of the bloodThe whole strong clamour of a vehement soulDoth utter itself distinct. Earth's crammed with heaven,And every common bush afire with God:But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries,And daub their natural faces unawareMore and more, from the first similitude.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Thoughts 26

Thoughts 26

Since the last post I was reading and came upon learning concepts that I should have covered earlier. Once, twenty to twenty-five years ago I encountered the theory of implicit and explicit learning. They did not interest me at the time and no thought of them had entered my mind until this past week.

As I understand it (remember that I am not an expert in anything), explicit learning is when we consciously learn. It is there for us and we try, study, observe or whatever it takes for us to grasp.

An example of implicit learning would be when we consciously learn something and at the same time absorb knowledge unconsciously. Implicit learning is typically defined as the acquisition of knowledge that is independent of conscious attempts to learn, and in the absence of explicit awareness of the knowledge that is acquired.* Implicit learning is accepted in locations of academia and thought to be unproven in others.

I haven't been able to give substantial thought to the idea of implicit and explicit learning in one week, but explicit learning definitely comes under the what is fact for me; forced duality for the human intellect to comprehend. It seems reasonable that implicit learning is also from standards we have previously learned. I will give it more thought.

In observing my family and myself plus others, we definitely learn from our parents very basic approaches to life areas by their actions and not their words. Some are so deep and ingrained that if no event happens in our life to stimulate a look at that part of ourselves, we pass it on for generations.

What I described in the previous paragraph could be implicit learning, but to become aware of those traits, dualities have to be setup in our minds to comprehend them. In other words a new set of parameters has to be forged. The parameters for understanding could already be setup in our unconscious through the implicit learning. The event that brings the trait into our consciousness would test those standards (parameters).

The stranger or person who is different from us can be a great asset because they can test the standards we have setup to function in life. In my opinion, it takes a brave person to take an open-minded look and not just automatically reject the new parameters. As I said earlier, “It can be scary to have the framework that we use to function in life challenged or worse taken away.” It seems that most people are like me. Without a thought reject the different, because it is safer. The problem is that if and when I do that, I reject the person or persons that challenge me also.

Part of the reason that I would dismiss the new standards is that if I adopt them, I may not be accepted in the social group I am a part of.

This week I opened a door and left a large area unexplored. Again, I am tired so I will end this post.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Thoughts 25

Thoughts 25


Last week I went off course. This week I will try to pick up from before I veered. From the sub-atomic particles to the great galaxy clusters the cosmos is connected by the four forces. We know that the energy that sustains life on earth comes from the sun. Also, that the material of life on earth comes from the earth and that the material of the earth originated in the cores of stars. Is there an interconnectedness of life on earth.


Around forty years ago, each summer there was a fish kill in the Pearl River south of Jackson, Mississippi. After a scientific investigation, it was found that chemicals being dumped into the river at Jackson were causing a depletion of oxygen when the river was low in late summer. The fish were dying from lack of oxygen for many river miles. After a few years the problem of dying fish was fixed. I don't know if the over all problem of harming the water was eliminated. What the chemicals were I don't know. All or part of the problem could have been the dumping of human waste into the river. There definitely was an interaction (connection) between humans, a river and the fish in that river.



Biologist tell us that when the prey of a predator is decimated, the predator population goes down if it cannot adapt to the new circumstances. The reverse is also true. When I was young, it was considered exciting when someone killed an alligator, so people went on the river to kill as many as possible. Within a few years of the correction that stopped the fish kills on the Pearl River, it was stated that the alligator on the Pearl was extinct. I was on the Pearl a lot at that time and know that there were two 'gators within several river miles or one that traveled a long way. Without the large number of 'gators the beaver population exploded. The woodlands around the Pearl and other connected waterways were being damaged by the beaver to the extent that the state put a bounty on beaver. Finally, the state started to repopulate the river with 'gators from other states and make it illegal to kill them. The beaver are no longer a problem. In this instance there was at least an interaction between humans, alligators, beavers and the woodlands.




People who have studied the relation between living entities on earth, tell us that to one degree or another all life on earth depends on each other. We can also see how life on this planet can affect the inanimate. One example is the beavers in the paragraph above. If there had not been something done to control their population, the woodlands along the river would have been cleared and the river banks would have eroded. Other examples are strip mining, clear cutting forest to make farmland, damming rivers, making roads and then covering them with concrete. The list can go on and on. Humans seem to make the greatest changes (for good or evil) to the planet.



Interconnectedness within the planet (remember that we live inside the planet) and the planet connected with the solar system; the solar system connected to the Milky Way galaxy; the galaxy connected to galaxy clusters. Everything is connected within the cosmos. When we act does it in some extremely small way affect the cosmos?

* Images from Google images