Keep Your Peace

I learned a good lesson today, while I was sick and staying home from work.

I take public transportation every day, and I have noticed horrible behavior from many people. One group of young boys riding next to me brought out a huge marker and began scribbling their “names” all over the windows and ceiling. One large angry woman about my age or a little younger kept talking loud enough for the whole bus to hear about how someone deserved to get her a** kicked and was calling her all kinds of names. Another man was sick with a wicked cough and was spitting on the floor. Another young boy was throwing food over my shoulder to try to hit his friend on the other side of the bus, and ended up hitting me.

These are just some examples of what I see daily that start to drive me nuts. I always think to myself, what can I do to stop them? How can I make them change their behavior?

Then I was watching an episode of “Secret Millionaire” this week on It featured a wealthy “self-made,” first-generation millionaire who said, “If this dumb guy from East LA that has no formal education could be successful and be a millionaire, then you know what, what’s everybody else’s excuse?”

Then a story from Swami Satchidananda’s youth summed it all up for me:

“I still remember a small story from the Pancha Tantra which I was told as a small child. One rainy day, a monkey was sitting on a tree branch getting completely drenched. Right opposite on another branch of the same tree there was a small sparrow sitting in its hanging nest. Normally a sparrow builds its nest on the edge of a branch so it can hang down and swing around gently in the breeze. It has a nice cabin inside with an upper chamber, a reception room, a bedroom down below and even a delivery room if it is going to give birth to little ones. Oh yes, you should see and admire a sparrow’s nest sometime.

So, it was warm and cozy inside its nest and the sparrow just peeped out and, seeing the poor monkey, said, ‘Oh, my dear friend, I am so small; I don’t even have hands like you, only a small beak. But with only that I built a nice house, expecting this rainy day. Even if the rain continues for days and days, I will be warm inside. I heard Darwin saying that you are the forefather of the human beings, so why don’t you use your brain? Build a nice, small hut somewhere to protect yourself during the rain.’

You should have seen the face of that monkey. It was terrible! ‘Oh, you little devil! How dare you try to advise me? Because you are warm and cozy in your nest you are teasing me. Wait, you will see where you are!’ The monkey proceeded to tear the nest to pieces, and the poor bird had to fly out and get drenched like the monkey.”

Satchidananda says:

“We come across wicked people sometimes. We can’t deny that. So what should be our attitude? Indifference. ‘Well, some people are like tht. Probably I was like that yesterday. Am I not a better person now? She will probably be all right tomorrow.’ Don’t try to advise such people because wicked people seldom take advice. If you try to advise them you will lose your peace.”

And at the end of the “Secret Millionaire” episode where the proud millionaire had to live among the very poor for a week, he had this to say: I thought that success was money; but it’s not about the money, it’s about the love.

But no one told him that. He had to learn from experience.

The America you see now is a shaky house built on a strong foundation.

We wanted to be free. We wanted to be fair. We wanted a small government.

Then we were blessed with resources beyond our imaginations. Fertile soils, rushing rivers, gold, oil, coal, and hard-working, adventurous people.

We were offered the apple, and the traitor robber barons with green-lensed glasses put a fence around the tree. Conservation be damned; today’s dollars are worth more than tomorrow’s.

We didn’t have the laws to prevent it, so we added them, and grew the government a little larger to enforce them. And the larger it got, the easier it was to buy a slice here or there.

So how do we get back on track?

How far do we tear down the walls and with what do we re-build?

Must we always fight the "me" versus "we"? What is the right size of government needed to protect freedom? To protect us from ourselves?

We recognize now we are not free. We must now fight the enemy among us. The enemy that plays by our rules. We gave up our freedoms long before the Patriot Act. We permitted their greed hoping we’d get a slice at the end of the day.

But the rich got richer, and greed bred greed. I’ll be happy when…I make enough money to live off the interest.

How can you be happy while your neighbor suffers?

What You Thought Was Real

"What you thought was real in life
Somehow steered you wrong,
Now you just keep drivin’ tryin’
To find out where you belong.

I know you feel helpless now
and I know you feel alone
That’s the same road,
The same road that I am on."

-3 Doors Down, The Road I’m On lyrics

Bodies of Light

Devouring tasty light
Savouring every molecule
I lick the light off my lips

Expert wall builders
A word hits us sideways
And we throw up a steel wall

I’m practicing to
Tear down that wall!
Right after I throw one up.

I don’t want to live in
Those lonely, dark shadows
Of my own walls anymore

Forgetting is easy
When words hit you like light
Just keep your rose-colored lenses on

People’s fears reek like death
You are punished for your fear
By those that love you

They will hold up mirrors
Until you take off
Your ugly mask

The most feared among us
Just wants to bask
In love’s sunshine

Next to the rest of us
On the shores
Of heaven’s ocean

Some get fed by people
Some get fed by nature
But all can taste the silvery liquid
Of love’s grace.

Make Love With Me

Why can’t we make love all day long?
A wordless exchange
The perfect give and take
A common purpose
A shared goal

Why can’t we speak the same language
When we are talking?
We push all the wrong buttons
And say things we don’t mean.
We are lovers in the bedroom
And strangers on the street.

After all these years
You’d think we’d tire of
Making each other suffer
Why can’t we just make love
All day long?

Not Worried

I did an experiment yesterday that turned out very well! I found myself in a position where I was starting to worry about what someone was going to say to me. They had called a few times and I always expect the worst.

Usually in this scenario, my mind starts racing forward and backward, like "what did i do wrong?" or "what’s going to happen next?" I found myself tense, clenching my teeth, breathing very shallow, and realized I had just walked a block and didn’t remember walking past anything.

So I just started looking around at stuff while I walked. I intentionally started to notice things I wouldn’t have noticed before. And all my stress went away! I realized that for all my worrying and planning what I should do next, or what they might say, I had no control over it in the moment ,so I was better off just forgetting about it and live in the moment.

And, don’t you know, it ended up not being a big deal at all. When the person called, I was genuinely in a good mood, not defensive, not reactive. I believe that by changing MY state of mind, that it actually altered the resulting situation in my favor. Of course, I’d have to repeat this feat to prove that hypothesis, but from observational experience, I believe it will work.

Worrying is simply your brain over-working. It gains you nothing and clouds your rational thought and paralyzes the intuitive abilities. You must force the brain to concentrate on the here and now.

I believe this tendency of the brain to overwork fearful stimuli is a big factor in self-destructive behaviors like cutting, drinking, and smoking. People that intentionally cause themselves pain are totally present-minded for that brief period. Others drink to slow the brain down, or smoke to focus the brain. All are trying to overcome the same tsunami of negative thoughts that can wash over a person.