Friday, August 22, 2008

Lyrics to Ripple by the Greatful Dead

Once in a while for seemly unknown reasons a bit of a lyric or a complete song comes to mind, when I follow the muse I see that what I am hearing in my head is just what I need to hear at that moment. "Ripple" just popped up out of nowhere, possibly because the boss is listening to late 50's and early 60's pop and I needed something more introspective than those simple songs of love and breakups, or i just needed to be reminded of the beauty of this song, not going to think anymore about and just go with the flow and enjoy it. So fellow travelers here are the lyrics to the awesome Greatful Dead song "Ripple"

Lyrics: Robert HunterMusic: Jerry Garcia

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung
Would you hear my voice come through the music?
Would you hold it near, as it were your own

It's a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken
Perhaps they're better left unsung
I don't know, don't really care
Let there be songs to fill the air

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty
If your cup is full may it be again
Let it be known there is a fountain
That was not made by the hands of man

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go, no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

You who choose to lead must follow
But if you fall, you fall alone
If you should stand, then who's to guide you?
If I knew the way, I would take you home

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thoughts on Suffering

Lately I have heard a lot of people express then own suffering due to the fact that they can’t relieve another persons suffering. Most of this is from recovering alcoholics and addicts who are witnessing others who have been exposed to the principles of living sober and clean go back out and continue to destroy their lives with alcohol and drugs. Another incidence was that of a co-workers 14 year old nephew who died suddenly from a brain aneurism. Because of this I have taken a look at my own perceptions of suffer in others. When the young man died my boss said something to this nature “God sure has a strange way of doing things, taking a young life like that” to which I had no response but in my mind I thought, God had nothing to do with the taking the young mans life, he was a part of the circle/cycle and moved on, that and physical death happens. Concerning the relapsing of and the dying of active alcoholics and addicts, my thinking is that there is nothing that can be done for them until they are ready to seek help and that a fact of life is alcoholics and addicts die all the time because they are trapped in their disease and aren’t willing to use the available tools to escape. In some ways all this sounds really cold hearted, here is where mediation comes in, but it isn’t meant in this way. All people suffer and all people have a change to learn how to live with suffering in a positive way, free of addictions and dogma, it is their choice. Life is what it is, good and bad, yin and yang. I have compassion for those who suffer; I can empathize with their struggle, especially the ones who are living in active alcoholism and addiction and even those who struggle with Spirituality because I have been there to a greater or lesser extent. My way of understanding suffer is that to suffer needlessly for something that is out of my control disrupts the inter peace and blocks awareness of what is present in this moment. I can feel another’s pain and offer compassion in the form of helping them but I can’t remove their suffering, only they can do that. I give freely of what little I know about dealing with suffering without going too far in-depth unless the other person is willing to go with me. I feel this is all I can do as an individual. I feel genuinely sorry for the person who is extremely upset over the suffering for another and reach out to them; or who is suffering for uncontrollable conditions in their own life. I wish I know an easy way to convey to them the essence of suffering and how to raise above it a little at a time but I don’t. I can hand them a book written by His Holiness the Dalai Lama or Thick Nhat Hanh but they wouldn’t read it unless they were ready to and most are not, they read the Bible but the only answer it gives is to believe that Jesus is the son of God and he died for their sins, pray to him and all will be well, oh and go out and convert others to this way of thinking.

I am I wrong in my understanding of suffering? Am I being selfish or egotistical?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Spiders Web

In the grass outside the overhead door at work is a vertical railroad tie, which sticks out of the ground about 3 feet. This morning I stepped out for a smoke and a bit of peace, yes I still smoke haven’t quite found the willingness to surrender yet, I rested my foot on the top tie and looked down and there was a very beautiful sight. A spider had spun a solid web from the tie to some grass growing next to the tie, during the night moisture had gathered on the web, my eyes where awaken to a very delicate glimmering work of nature. You see my morning started at 8:00am with the boss vomiting negativity, vulgarity and profanity right off the start, I was able to go inward and deflect most of it and not let it bother me but it still lingered in air of the office I share with him. It was 9:00am when I stepped out and noticed natures little bit of artwork and engineering wonder. Lately I have been practicing looking beyond the obvious so I mediated on everything that made the web and the effects it has as a whole. First there was the spider who made the web, the spider would catch insects in the web, eat them and then defecate which would in turn nourish the earth so the plants would grow providing food for the insects she would eat and support for the web she weaved that captured the insect. Then there was the moisture which provided life support for the plants, predator and prey. The sunshine had its special ingredient to the process and then there was me, the human. I depend on the earth, water and sun to live so these elements are a part of me and so I am a part of the vegetation, predator and prey, we are all one. It is amazing to start waking up and noticing such things as a spider web and how much more it is. I have also been practicing concentrating on the voices of the birds, focusing on them and blocking out the noise of construction, trains and even my co-workers. These few minutes taken in mediation are providing me with a great inter peace one that I take back with me into my office, a peace that helps me build an aura against the negative energy. For now I can’t change jobs but I can find the inter peace to make my time at work less stressful for myself and also others who experience the same feelings.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008



I haven’t thought about Aleksander Solzhenitsyn much for a few years, when I see an article with is name in it I will read it out of general interest, I can’t say I am greatly saddened by his passing or shocked, he was 89 years old which is amazing considering what he lived through. He had his quirks and I disagreed with him politically on occasion but deeply respected his opinions because of his background. I do owe a great deal of gratitude to him though! I read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich when I was a teenager. It was this short novel that spiked an interest in Stalinist USSR; later I read The Gulag Archipelago. As I read more about Russia and the years Stalin was in power I received an understanding for a culture vastly different than my own and the politics of Totalitarian govening. I read about J Edgar Hoover and the anti-Communist movement in the US and Westerrn countries and came to realize that they weren’t a whole lot different than Stalin. Yes they didn’t killed millions of people or bandish them to remote work camps that only gave people the bare minum of supplies to live on but I have a strong feeling they would have if they could have gotten away with it. Nixon would have used more of Stalin’s techniques if also, especially against the counter-culture. The whole extreme Right Wing movement, neo-con, that has risen up since Reagan is in idealogical lock step with Stalin, one party total control, dissents will be punished, dissents are to be silenced or imprisoned, they are getting away with more than their share of un-Constitutional deeds the way it is. If you spend any amount of time reading or listening to the most popular right wing pundits it doesn’t take long to figure this out, also people like Cheney, Perle, Norquist, Wolfowitz, follow this same philisophy, W Bush is just a puppet for these people. So it is because years ago I picked a book called One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich that I am aware of how my own government can imitate a Totalitarian regime. Thank the powers that be that we still live in a democratic society where there is freedom of speech and free elections, although both have been limited the last few years, because we still do have people in high office who question the motives of others, who will investigate coruption, who will speak up for the good of all our great citizens people like Feingold, Slaughter, Waxman, Conyers, Kennedy, Sanders; these Stalinist haven’t achieved their goal, I have a feeling they have also read Solzhenitsyn and owe him a bit of graditude too.
So RIP Mr. Solzhenitsyn, thank you for your writings, your bravery, your will to live under the harstest of conditions, thank you for my freedom, thank you for an inspiration you may have given to others living in political exile or prison, those who today who may not be able to freely speaker their mind but having read your books have gathered a little more strength to keep moving forward.