Archive for the ‘spiritual’ Category

Why me?

I’ve been thinking about this one for a long time now, and finally decided that today is the day to write it down.

I’ve seen it said, in various places, that people only ask “Why me?” when bad things happen.  I stand as living proof that that is not true*.   (more…)

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Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. —Buddha

This is often-seen advice and generally considered to be wisdom.  And I agree there is something to it, in the sense at least that one can fritter one’s life away dreaming of past or future, and that seems a waste.  But it’s one of those half-truths that are only complete when put together with their opposites.  Like “out of sight, out of mind” and “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”  In this case we’d need at least two other aphorisms, one about the blessing of memory, and one along the lines of “anticipation is half the fun” to express a complete truth.

But right now I want to talk about the effect of pre-retirement (and contemplating packing and moving).   (more…)

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The problem of evil—how could an omnipotent-omniscient-omnipresent-all-good god create or allow to exist a universe containing evil and arbitrary suffering—has always been a, if not the, major barrier for me to believing in any approximation of God. The following represents a way of tackling the question in non-didactic terms. The question at the end is not merely rhetorical—I’d really like to know what people think.


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I’ve been poking around on BlogHer recently, and ran across this post, which got me musing about Christianity. Most of these ponderings occurred to me many years ago, back in the day when I hadn’t yet rejected Christianity for myself. I was raised Methodist, in a small town, and around this time of year often get nostalgic for when the religious side of Christmas meant more to me. But–well, whatever. On to the ponderings. Which I decided to post here instead of in a comment on SandyHov’s blog because they will seem blasphemous, and possibly offensive, to many Christians, and I have no desire to offend her. (more…)

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(I started this one a long time ago, and browsing through old drafts decided it’s close enough to being coherent to publish. At one point I probably thought I had more to say about it–but thanks to memory loss, I no longer know what that might have been.)

People, particularly religious conservatives, often assert that truth, to be true in any meaningful sense, must be absolutely true. In keeping with my tenet that

We learn most from those who are different from us; they help us walk around our piece of reality and see it in new ways,

my discomfort with that assertion inspires me to write the following. (more…)

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(I’ve had this experience, and these thoughts, many times, but let me tell it as one, not many.)

I stop, halfway up the mountain, in a pullout made for this purpose. A ponderosa pine has inspired me to stop: the desire to say hello, to smell the sun-warmed vanilla smell of it. I turn off the engine and step out into the warm summer day.

Listening to the summer silence, the pings of the cooling engine, bird calls, hum of insects, light wind in my ears, I walk over to the tree, put my hands on it, lean close, and sniff deeply. (more…)

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I could also have headed this as “The virtues of one’s vices.”

I just finished installing a new garbage disposal. My old one conked out some time last year (I don’t even remember when), and I decided last week I’d had enough of living without one. First, I had to decide what to replace it with, which took several days and trips to different hardware stores. I finally settled on a .75 horsepower Kenmore–the old one was a one-third HP Kenmore, so it’s a bit of an upgrade. The Kenmore was a good price, and by sticking with the same brand the installation promised to be simpler. So far so good. I even got it on sale by dithering around so long. (more…)

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I’ve been following, sort of, a conversation here that started out to be about meaning, delved into questions having to do with “is there anything more/other than the physical universe?”, and recently turned to the basis of morality and our sense of morality. This led me to this post, which discusses the matter of consciousness and feelings (qualia of consciousness).

I’ve posted a few comments in these other conversations, but decided to save my snippier comments for my own blog, so here goes: (more…)

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I wrote the folowing in a comment I made on another blog, and I’ve been turning it over in my mind ever since:

We often hear that it’s the journey that’s the point, and maybe that’s true. I know my own persistent underlying agnosticism is oddly comforting to me at times. It’s as though I’m searching for something, I know not what, but something in me is sure it’s there and that I’ll recognize it if/when I find it. Which, if you think about it, is faith of a kind.

The reason is stuck in my head is because of the combination of facts that (more…)

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I’ve run across a couple of sites I strongly encourage everyone to go check out. Each is beautiful, in a different way.

This one has some amazing photography set to music. My excuse for tagging this with “spiritual”.

This is the site of an artist, Peter Callesen. I recommend clicking on “A4 papercut” and browsing slowly. Not only is his stuff amazing and incredible and beautiful, I can’t even imagine how he does it. I mean, what kind of fine-motor skills would it take? Superhuman, if you ask me.

Go! Go! Click away from here!

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(For the full effect–do not click on the thumbnail yet.)

Yesterday the dogs and I took a nice long Christmas walk, and I captured this picture, thinking perhaps I’d write a post on shadows. Gradually, the way memories do these days, the memory of this post seeped back into my forebrain–so I won’t repeat myself.

But I will comment on that blue whatever-it-is in the upper left corner. I was totally unaware of it until I looked at the picture in my camera back home. (more…)

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Today (7/18) is the first time I’ve had access to the internet in a week and a half. I wrote some “posts” while in camps, and I could post them separately, but I’m going to be lazy and do them all here. (more…)

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I am not like other people. Oh, not completely, of course; in fact, I have the firm belief that given any two people in the world, they’ll have something in common, though they may have to dig to find it. But all my life, I’ve perceived myself to be outside the mainstream, regardless of the nature of the mainstream I happen to be amidst at any given time. (more…)

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there are those who like
to get up and do things
coffee in the morning
beer after work (more…)

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I was rummaging around in my bookcases this morning, and (as I often do these days) ran across a book I couldn’t remember reading. Pulling it off the shelf, I found something I had highlighted (apparently I have read the book) that I rather like and wanted to share. But first I need to set it up a bit.

Various paradoxes have been much discussed over the past 100 years or so in philosophy and in mathematics. I won’t attempt a full exegisis here, but just to give you a taste, here are a couple of the best-known: (more…)

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Somehow, I was wiped out after a mere two days of contemplating materials submitted by teachers for evaluation of their readiness for a credential. California has recently mandated that every new teacher in the state must (wait for it)–pass a test. Or I should say, pass another test. (more…)

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I’m off for a few days of professional development. Still lacking in both time and functioning brain cells, I thought I might leave you with one of my favorite Celtic blessings. (more…)

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Red flower

I found this beautiful red flower and decided to see what my camera would do with it. Here it is in context: (more…)

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I haven’t gotten into it very far yet–I’m on page xii of the Preface–but for anyone interested in grappling with questions such as, What is consciousness? What is mind? What is/am “I”? How are these related to the brain? What about “soul”? or esoterica of language, the book

I Am Strange Loop

by Douglas Hofstadter*

will be of interest.

I know, I’m only on page xii. So if you don’t believe me–here’s a review. Or click on the title link and dip into it on Amazon.

* For those who might remember it, he wrote “Godel, Escher, Bach” back in 1979

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Belief can be shared, but certainty is private.

What do I mean by that? And why do I think it’s worth saying? (more…)

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