A post from 2014 on my work with fear

sunsetI have been working on fear for a long time now without adult supervision. I don’t know if that is the proper way to go about it.

The texts say to be mindful of everything that shows up in consciousness, and this includes fear. Chögyam Trungpa says specifically to smile at fear, in his book by that name. Krishnamurti said to move past what we fear and reckon with fear itself. Pema Chödrön wrote Taking The Leap on the subject of fear. The teachers say that on the far side of fear a friendship with one’s self occurs naturally, and that it is very sweet. I’m eager for that to happen.

Letting go is really an act of acceptance of your situation. It is not a surrender to your fears about it. It is a seeing of yourself as larger than your problems and your pain…—Jon Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living

I can speak from experience that when you extend an invitation to fear it will accept it. Fear has taken a seat at my table, as Rumi described in his poem.

Fear hardens in place when identities are shattered as they were in my family. We see an enormous number of shattered identities in the world today. We have convinced people that they are smaller than their problems. The work load ahead of us is huge.

It would be beneficial to share what we know about working with fear. We ought to consider it politically correct to bring it up for a dialog among friends in a proper setting. I invite you to share something of your experience here.

The new views on sex

ChantelCindy Gallop, in a TED talk, encourages her viewers to video their love-making sessions and post them online. In order to appreciate her logic we must back up a couple of steps.

I recently wondered how people who are in an intimate relationship share their partners with people who are creating pornography. The response I found is that pornography does not involve intimacy. It’s just plain sex. It does not, people say, compete with their primary relationship.

Ms. Gallop emphasizes the difference between porn and loving encounters. Porn is, by definition, a deception she tells us. I won’t argue with that. I’ve watched a fair amount of it, and almost all of it that I have seen offends me. It is totally one-sided in favor of the man, and there is no visible sincerity in my opinion.

She also points to advantages that arise from candor by enriching our experience of a fundamental human pleasure and providing us with an opportunity to learn. I agree with her on that. None of my friends discuss sex with me, nor do I with them. They would not welcome any discussion of it from me. But the times they are a changin’ for many people.

Jane Langton presented on TED Talks a description of her practice of masturbation. Nearly three million people have seen it. I consider her video remarkable. Nobody has ever shared with me their views on this subject.

The popular historian of sexual practices, in my view, is Nina Hartley, who has performed in many pornographic films. I like her candor and her cheerful attitude. I also think she is pretty. You can find her on YouTube and the porn sites.

Our collective uptight views on sex are giving way to something much more useful and informative. I’m glad to see that happen. The egotistic male dominance is showing fracture lines. I consider that good news.

The long era of male pomposity might be giving way to an appreciation of women. Our vows of silence may be losing their power.

The relevant news is that adults would do well to recognize this seismic shift in our prejudices against discussing sex in a helpful and informative way. I think it is very significant.

That’s not allowed

repentThe great challenge in our nation today, in my opinion, is coming to some agreement on what is allowed.

I have enjoyed the evolution in the pornography business. You can now tour YouTube and get candid expressions from the actors on the quality of experience they have when doing a shoot.

We have TED Talks where the behavior of teachers, and the school systems themselves, are examined in an enlightening way. These presentations would have been unthinkable when I was in grade school.

We have made real progress. There is much more to be done. There is still, in my opinion, an enormous excess of guilt and blame. We could take the emphasis off of repentance and guilt.

We would improve our experience, I believe, by simply taking a thoughtful interest in what other people have to say. Even porn stars and politicians.

Your thoughts?


Searching for our burning bush

By Melissa Hardiman

By Melissa Hardiman

In 1956 Cecil B. DeMille attempted on film to tell the story of Moses and his encounter with God. Moses was played by Charlton Heston. A heroic figure in those days.

Moses encountered God in the form of a burning bush.

A good choice, for the time, in my opinion. I was nine. What did I know?

To appreciate the significance of this story you must understand that Cecil and Charlton were considered heroes. Cecil could explain God to us, and we accepted his story. The Moses story in the bible is quite violent.

Times have changed. How do we explain God now? It is a critical question in this time of dismay and chaos.

I think now that God appears when we join forces with people of good intention. God is not, in my view, an isolated figure. God is the expression of shared intention. We reveal God when we share our good intentions and create a community to express them.

This takes a considerable expression of friendship and sharing.

Your thoughts?





On dealing with sorrow

preacherSorrow is the greatest challenge in the world today. I’ve had some experience with it. I would be comforted to know how you deal with it.

I discovered this insightful TED Talk by Timothy Ihrig on the subject. It is a worthy investment of thirteen minutes.

If we do not make sorrow our top priority I think all will be lost. It might all be lost already.

There are many counselors in this field. John Bradshaw. Pema Chödrön, J. Krishnamurti, Paramahansa Yogananda, and the mystic poet Rumi. But the material they present, in my view, is challenging.

And there are movies. Groundhog Day, Doc Hollywood, The Wizard of Oz, and It’s a Wonderful Life. And eight minutes of pure joy with the Beatles.

I welcome comments. How do you work with it?

On celebrating gender

img005I have devoted considerable time to browsing the photo galleries on Tumblr. There are thousands of photos of women celebrating who they are. Use your imagination, please. You will get the idea.

I have not had the experience, online or in person, of men celebrating their masculinity apart from raising a glass at a party. And, in my experience, we do not discuss or explore our reluctance to do that.

In such an environment a figure such as Donald Trump, or George W. Bush, can be accepted as a masculine role model. It shows how little we know about being male. We once had television shows about being male. Examples include Gun Smoke and Bonanza.

Consider this fact about Gunsmoke.

The television series ran for 20 seasons from 1955 to 1975, and stands as the United States’ longest-running prime time, live-action drama with 635 episodes.—Wikipedia

We have, in my opinion, lost our touch.

My biggest concern is that it is not a topic for discussion. We don’t meet for a beer and talk about being a guy. Or if that happens, I’m not invited.

I have published more than 800 posts on this blog, and the best I get from guys is a like. Point made? Talk to me, if it matters to you.

On the greatness of our nation

the endIt’s a grim presidential election coming up. There is no Abraham Lincoln, no Franklin Roosevelt.

Donald Trump says he wants to return this nation to greatness. I would like to know when that was. We “won” World War II at the price of great cruelty to others, and perhaps that was our moment of greatness.

The sweetness since then, in my view, comes from musicians and film makers. We are great in those limited areas of life. My previous post linked to a gorgeous rendition of Hey, Jude. Take a sad song, and make it better. That is our challenge today, as I understand it.

My friends forbid me to say I am old, but I will share with you that these are the saddest times I’ve ever seen. Hillary and Donald lack the qualifications to change that. They will only deepen our sadness.

The people who guide us in this area write and sing music, and they make films. I recently watched Doc Hollywood again. He learned to take a sad song and make it better. It shocked him, as it often shocks the rest of us. That is what we should all concentrate on if we want to save this nation and our planet.

I fear for our nation. I think we are sinking into greed, and that is followed by despair. Your comments?