Apologia pro scientia sua

Were I, like Adam, choiced by evil snake
That fruit of knowledge I might free partake
Or, spurning insight, might forever be,
And dwell in vast, obscure eternity…

By two such options I’d be sorely torn—
’Twas not for blind submission I was born.
Infinity sans knowledge is no prize,
While light that fades to black before mine eyes
Is destiny no man would freely choose,
For what we have is all we have to lose.

Posed thus, ’tis plain: rebellion is my path—
I’ll risk the flaming ire of God’s own wrath,
His knowledge, freely giv’n is not so dear
As what by our own efforts we make clear.

With tools of science I’ll investigate
The logic of this world and mine own fate;
While passions I will equally devote
To quest for health, and death’s own antidote.

— Josh Mitteldorf

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Without Direction

There’s no merit in my practice and no shame.
Mental focus is worth nor of plaudit nor blame.
Meditation, more than virtue, is its own reward.
I live for life’s sake and my practice–the same.

“I contain multitudes” but do we accord?
Elusive, the places where dreams are explored
I would not my wild impulse extinguish or tame
And I’m grateful to never be bored.

A seeker of truth plays a dangerous game
My soul in pursuit of a wavering flame
A tortuous path leads ever onward toward
No virtue, no prize I might claim.

No achievement amassed, nothing to hoard,
May my pride be vanquished by its own sword.

— Josh Mitteldorf

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Sacral charka by Ron Nilson

A Modest Proposal

It’s so quiet this morning—hardly a car on the road.  Less noise and pollution, fewer people hastening to their destination, too single-minded to pay heed to those around them, to the parks, the architecture, the lingering yellow leaves and the geese overhead. People are catching up on their rest, connecting with family, taking time to appreciate all that they have been failing to notice while they were too busy with the daily grind.

We should do this every Thursday.  In French, jeudi is “playday”.  In English, let’s re-christen Thursdays as “Fulday”.

edge-gratitude-gardenRethink the myth that says American prosperity depends on hard work.  Embrace instead the reality that we are prosperous even with only 38% of us working, and many more of us want to work. The Fulday weekly holiday creates a standard 32-hour work week, leading naturally to 25% more full-time employment.  Reduce the personal competition that keeps people selling themselves and their products, without reducing the productive work on which our prosperity depends.

Less time acquiring—more time to enjoy what we have already acquired.  Less forward motion—more consideration of which direction represents “forward” to us.

 

Paid for by citizens’ committee to elect Josh king of the world.

Your life’s mission

core-passion

Ask first: where is the core of my passion?  When you have an answer in which you feel some confidence, cultivate the creation that evolves from your inspiration.  Put your all into realizing your vision, knowing all the while that it will not take shape as in the purity of your imagination, but will be transformed, in small ways or perhaps profoundly, by your own growth and by the world into which it seeks its place. 

This is as near as you might come to knowing your life’s mission. 

— Josh Mitteldorf

What anyone who wants to work deserves

30 million people out of work.
6 million unfilled jobs.
If you don’t find a job, you don’t deserve to live.

What kind of culture throws people away like this?  In the 21st Century, every year is 1929.

Where did we get the idea that if you’re not working it’s your own fault?  Maybe it’s what we have been taught since we were very young.

We don’t have to put up with this.   The politicians don’t get to decide what the issues are.  Demand a full employment economy.  Demand attractive, well-paying jobs, doing meaningful work in safe conditions.  This is not impossible or unrealistic or even difficult.  It’s no less than we deserve.

Direct Experience

We’ve forgotten how to pay attention to direct sense experience, to listen to our bodies, the tingling nerves and the patterns blazed upon our retinas.   We’ve substituted words for sensations, interpretations for raw feelings.  We’ve lost the inner attention that can channel our intuitions and innate knowledge concerning ourselves and our world that is our birthright.

We’ve learned a great number of survival skills, and we’ve learned to parse our sense experience, to slice and dice it, to communicate our needs to others in an empathic way, to extract useful information and to manipulate our world for our freely chosen purposes.

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Without losing any of this, can we choose at times to experience the world as we did in our naïve and perfect infancy?

— Josh Mitteldorf

My meditation

My meditation practice is to observe what is going on inside me, breath and heartbeats, physical sensations, and also thoughts and emotions. The practice is not to judge or to decide, but when I catch myself judging (or deciding), I just remove myself one step and watch the process of judging (or deciding).

In life as in meditation, I always have the option of adopting the vantage of the witness, watching my own responses. It is a practice that can carry me from beating myself up for what I should have done to being the impartial observer of a struggle within myself. Instead of being consumed in anger, I can watch my anger playing itself out. If I have a difficult decision, rather than try to figure out what I “should” do, I step back and adopt a stance of curiosity: I wonder what I will decide…

mirror-meditationWhat about experiences of fun or pleasure? Try abstracting yourself—watching yourself laugh—and see whether this destroys your fun or enhances it.
— Josh Mitteldorf