Monday, October 15, 2012

Shoreline Driftwood – A Four-Year Anniversary and Thank You to Readers

On September 21, 2008, I typed in my first post for my blog, Shoreline Driftwood. Today, I am 6 days away from celebrating the 49 month anniversary for this blog, and just a little past its 4 year anniversary. In those 49 months, Shoreline Driftwood has received 18,856 page views on its 221 posts from readers all over the world. I know the counter on the blog does not read as having recorded that high of traffic to my blog. Unfortunately, the counter had to be restarted on multiple occasions because it failed to keep working from time to time. This explains why the counter only indicates 9716 visitors to my blog as of today's date. 

I am extremely grateful to all the readers who have stopped by my blog, either to give it an occasional read or to become regular readers. I wanted to take this anniversary and use it as an opportunity to share with readers not only my gratitude (which is deeper and more heartfelt than I can state) but also to include some of the highlights as culled from the stats on page viewings which reflect your interests in my writing.

Readers of my blog emanate from nations all over the world. The top 10 nations in terms of numbers of page views is as follows: 

1) United States – 8839, 
2) Germany – 1206, 
3) Russia –1156, 
4) United Kingdom – 781, 
5) Slovenia – 592, 
6) Netherlands – 348, 
7) France – 308, 
8) South Korea – 265, 
9) Canada – 244, 
10) Ukraine – 198. 

In addition to these nations, I know the blog has had readers from Indonesia, Philippines, Lebanon, Iraq, and India, in addition to many other nations.

For my writing to reach such a broad and diverse readership is very humbling at the same time as it is extremely gratifying. I am amazed and surprised by the reach of the blog given it was such a small venture 4 years ago. I had no idea I could, or even any ambition to, generate the large and diverse readership which I have garnered over the past 4 years. As I say, I feel humbled by the response.

Indeed, at some point in 2010, I realized my readership had grown to a point that I could reach more people per month from my blog than I could from many, if not most, of the online literary journals in operation. Consequently at that time, I ceased submitting my writing to other sources for possible publication. For the entire 4 year period, I have averaged 385 viewings per month and I found I was getting as many as 1100 to 1200 viewings in some months. I liked how I was able to garner so many viewings without contributing to advertising or feeling constrained by publishers and editors. I experienced a great deal of freedom in this way, not being limited by subject matter, style, voice, or genre (poetry, non-fiction, or fiction). As a consequence, I have grown as a writer, as a thinker, and as a person. I have to thank all of you as readers of Shoreline Driftwood for making this possible.

Next, I’d like to share with you a list of my top 25 most viewed blog posts. I’ll provide the title, a brief description of the blog entry, the date it was posted (month/day/year), and the number of viewings. If readers find they missed something and want to go back to view it, you can click on the link below or by going to the blog archive and looking in the month and year indicated for the title, and then merely clicking on the title will take you to the post.

     As you can see, only four of my poems are present on this list. By far, most of the posts on Shoreline Driftwood are original poems and most of them have received viewings in the 20s or 30s, though some of my earliest postings of poetry show only a handful of viewings. I assume most people don’t go back through the blog archive to look for older nuggets and because I had a small readership in the early days I have fewer viewings of those items.
     I’d like to remind readers that all of my essays have been rewritten and updated with the revised versions incorporated into my two books of essays. Likewise, all of my poems have been revised and those revisions have been included in the book of my complete poetry (with two exceptions, Unrestrained Perfect Love was written after the book was compiled and By a Stream was omitted from inclusion because of an oversight). My two books, "Love-ism Volume I" (poetry) and "Love-ism Volume II book I" (first book of essays), are available to be purchased online. You can find the links in 2 of the next 3 newer blog posts. 
     Thank you to everyone who has stopped by for a visit and to all of you who will do the same in the future. I am grateful for all of you. The purpose of my writing is to share my deepest thoughts, my most urgent feelings, my hopes and fears, and my unique perspective on our world. That sharing and communication has been accomplished is reflected by the viewing numbers I’ve posted. You give my life meaning and value by reading what I have written. I can never overstate how much that means to me.

      My wish for all of you is for peace, happiness, good health, warm relationships, and a fulfilling life. May we continue to grow together in the future. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Next Beatles' Movie - A Band on the Run

"A Band on the Run" is a treatment for a full length feature film of entertaining fiction in the musical/comedy genre. Paul remains in Lagos, Nigeria after completing the recordings for Wings’ “Band on the Run” album. Paul is abducted and taken hostage by the fiendish arch villain, Blowfish, and his accomplice, Richard Nixon, who demand a ransom of $50,000,000 which they intend to use to purchase a new, and highly secret, super weapon being developed which they then intend to use to usurp power from the nations of the world. Linda calls John Lennon to ask him for assistance in rescuing Paul. John enlists the aid of George Harrison and Ringo Starr in the operation. Ringo brings Alice Cooper and Derek Flint into the operation. What follows is a series of madcap scenes in their adventure to rescue Paul.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

On Death, Dying and Reintegration – The Transition from Life through Death into Reintegration with the All

While duality is a property of life and being alive, and while duality persists through stages of the dying process, duality does not exist once the dying process reaches the stage where consciousness realizes the body is relinquishing its hold on the mind, or electromagnetic force which controls all human thought processes. When consciousness acknowledges the end is near, the mind undergoes a transformative process in preparation for reintegration with Unity.

During the first stage of the purification process as the mind succumbs to the transition to death, duality is thwarted. Consciousness must be purified of all attachments to life, material objects, and corporeal relationships. In order to detach from the material realm, and as part of the purification process, consciousness must be purged of all personal desires. The manner in which consciousness separates from desire and material attachments arises from an initial period of complete immersion into suffering.

As the Buddha explained, suffering is the result of desire. During one’s lifetime, the symbiotic relationship between suffering and desire renders itself as most obvious occurs through one of two phenomena: either the individual’s expectations regarding their desire is unmet which results in suffering by the desirer through feelings of loss and disappointment, or the free will of some other individual is thwarted when the desirer’s wish is fulfilled which leads to suffering felt by the one whose will is thwarted, causing disharmony between the two individuals, ultimately yielding a commensurate level or degree of disharmony in the relationship between the two individuals. In the latter instance, the desirer will end up feeling some degree of suffering because of the disturbance in the relationship, a lack of trust will arise, enmity could intercede, a potential loss of opportunities in the future is likely to evolve, and the result still reveals itself as disappointment, loss, and consequent suffering, now by both people involved in the situation.

The dynamic just described constitutes the essence of how karma accumulates from our actions, deeds and desires, and affects our world through future situations, circumstances, and forces which take place as a result of our earlier actions. Karma is a natural process constantly at play in our lives because we are constantly acting and desiring in life. N science, we learn that every action causes an opposite and equal reaction. The same principle comes to play in the accumulation and working out of karma. The laws of cause and effect create a symbiotic relationship which must always be equilibrated. Karma need not always be balanced immediately. Indeed, it may take years or decades. In some instances, karma does not even become equilibrated during one’s lifetime.

When accumulated karma has not been equilibrated during one’s lifetime, it must be purified during the transition through death to reintegration. The purification of un-equilibrated karma is one of the forces coming into play causing the intercession of suffering during the process of transition through death to reintegration. Another factor leading to the mediation of suffering during the transition results from an individual’s remaining attachment to personal desire.

In both of the circumstances presented above, suffering reveals itself as being an efficacious cure for an individual’s persisting desires. Suffering leads the consciousness to dwell on its cause. During the transition from life through death to reintegration, the mind loses its connection to the body. When the mind-body connection is lost, a consequent disconnection with other individuals from one’s life occurs. When the individual consciousness is left as the sole being to whom one must justify one’s actions, the need to create excuses, blame others, or otherwise create rationalizations no longer exists. Hence, the individual is finally capable of acknowledging faults, mistakes, and undesirable qualities. In such a psychological environment, the ego recedes as a motivator and controller of the mind, an honest assessment of the self can occur, and attachments to desires reveal themselves to the consciousness readily.

When the ego recedes into the background of the personality during the transition, the super-conscious assumes the dominant role in the mind. The super-conscious lacks any attachment to fear as well as the need to overcompensate or create false self-images, an overblown sense of self-importance, or deny personal responsibility for one’s life conditions as a result of actions and desires. Consequently, the super-conscious is capable of arriving at fair and unbiased judgments. The super-conscious also has no attachments to anything, so it can shed all of the individual’s previous desires and left over karma.

The physical process of dying can be instantaneous or drawn out. In either event, the physical process has pain and suffering attached to it. However, the physical process is only a detachment of consciousness from the body. Once consciousness separates from the body, there is a period of time while the electromagnetic field which comprises individual consciousness persists. Eventually that field will dissipate and join with the Earth’s electromagnetic field. During the slow period of dissipation, consciousness undergoes the purification process. As elements of the mind become purified of desire and karma is release, those portions of the electromagnetic field dissipate and become integrated into the Earth’s electromagnetic field – what scientists call the magnetosphere.

The planet is a living ecosystem and, consequently, has a consciousness which is the source of our awareness, the mother of our minds. The magnetosphere is the Earth’s consciousness. Ultimately, when the purification process has been completed, the rest of the individual’s consciousness reintegrates with the planetary consciousness, its source, and the entirety of the purified individual is subsumed by the planetary consciousness. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

As I explained earlier, the process of purification is the first stage in the transition from life through death into reintegration with the All. The second stage in this process is the conversion of the individual’s purified consciousness into a state of pure love. It is during this conversion when the individual gains an apprehension of meaning. An intense white light looms in front of the imagination – the mind’s eye which continues to populate thoughts with imagery, allowing the mind to continue to root transcendental experience in familiar forms, thus facilitating comprehension by the consciousness. The light radiates with the energy of pure love. This light washes over and through the consciousness of the individual infusing its essence back into the mind. An energy exchange takes place which the individual consciousness accept pure love into its while the totality of the individual’s purified life experiences are reintegrated with the planetary consciousness, enriching it with the totality of the super-conscious’ self.

As the individual’s mind becomes infused with the energy of pure love from the planetary consciousness, the mind sees the self walking into the light. The further into the light the mind walks, the more of this pure love energy bathes the “soul,” or super-conscious. Simultaneously, the further one walks into the light, the more of one’s totality of experience reunites with the planetary consciousness, reintegrating, becoming one.

Let me explain why I call this process “reintegration.”

Initially, when we are born, a small piece of the planetary consciousness attaches itself to the body of a fetus. This occurs at the moment the fetus gains self-awareness which is the moment individual consciousness and the ego are born. As an ego with an individual consciousness is born, a separation occurs from the planetary consciousness. This process occurs as the electromagnetic field of the fetus separates from the mother’s in the womb and a new identity comes to life. At the same moment, this new electromagnetic field acquires it’s uniqueness by chipping off a bit of the planetary electromagnetic field.

There is significance to the separation of the individual from the All. Prior to separation, the embryonic new consciousness lives in oneness with pure love and the planetary consciousness and does not self-identify. However, in the split, dissociation occurs. The ego comes into being with unique qualities. These unique qualities are the bits and pieces of the planetary consciousness which the newly forming individual consciousness brings with it. The bits are influences bequeathed to the new consciousness from the planetary consciousness’ storehouse of memory, experience, and essence from what it has gained when pervious individuals died and reintegrated.

Out of the stuff which consciousness brought with it as the new consciousness comes into being is what one might call, soul memories. Within these soul memories are contained apprehensions of what many people interpret as being memories from previous incarnations. It is out of this disintegration from the All which provides for the newly emerging consciousness the basic framework for the personality it will develop during the lifetime. This basic framework and its attendant soul memories are often accessible by individual’s whose consciousnesses are less dissociated than those who cannot access those memories. However, because of the dissociation which occurs in the process of being born, most people who can access these soul memories misinterpret them as being memories of actual previous lifetimes or incarnations they lived. This misinterpretation gave rise to the theory of reincarnation.

Really, what we are can be summed up as pieces of the all. In that sense, we are not really separate from each other. Rather, we are all made up of different pieces of the same single Earth consciousness in the same way that the different personalities within a person who suffers from multiple personality disorder are all really the same person. If I harm you or your harm me, we are actually harming ourselves at the same time. Because we are really all one, or perhaps more accurately, different pieces of the same One, and because we emanate from a source which is comprised of pure love, it is utterly contrary to our purpose for existence as well as contrary to our essential nature to be anything other than love or to express anything other than love in our lives. By understanding this concept, one can clearly see why wars, bigotry, hate, violence, anger, and anything else which causes separation and division among us is also contrary to our purpose for being alive as well as the meaning of life.

We are here to accumulate experience and bring experience back with us to enrich the planetary consciousness. We are here to experience love and spread love to bring the love back with us to enhance the One consciousness. We are here to share, grow, learn, understand, and ultimately, through our love heighten and raise our consciousness to bring ourselves back to the All on a higher arc and life it to a higher vibratory level as a consequence. If we lived according to those principles, we’d find meaning, fulfillment, and purpose without diminishing anyone or anything else. We will, as a species, have to learn and accept these principles if we are ever to create a more utopian culture on the planet, reach our highest potential, live in peace, and accomplish our greatest achievements. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

By a Stream

As water undulates and flows
over and between rocks and pebbles,
winds breeze and billow
their frolicking oscillations,
and soil nurtures life, providing
the stage's platform, and moments
inscribe hallucinations upon mirage.

A bird flutters from a tree limb
and delicately perches upon a rock
to sip cool refreshment.

Trout linger in eddies,
their watchful eyes scanning
for unsuspecting insects
to buzz within leaping range.

I sit in an inarticulate hush,
shaded by the broad-leafed arms
of a walnut tree, thawing
in the summer morning,
reverie soaring among the clouds,
polished by simplicity.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

On Seeking Balance in the Contemporary World

The world in which we find ourselves during this period of history presents great challenges for anyone and everyone who seeks to tread the path of the middle way, avoid extremes, cultivate a balanced psyche, and pursue a life in harmony with the environment, with all life on the planet, with other people (both politically and economically), between and among cultures and nations, and within ourselves on a spiritual level. 

In the contemporary climate, people have been pushed into polarized political camps by politicians, commentators, pundits, and demogogues. Polarized opinions have widened the gap of disagreement and wrought vitriol in the public discourse. Pursuit of compromises which would reflect the best interests of the broadest segments of the population is no longer esteemed as worthwhile. Indeed, both sides exhibit such an unwillingness to bend that they prefer to block legislation which is drafted to promote the greatest common good. Polarized points of view, which are so common in the contemporary world, actually oppose the ideals expressed in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, which was created to, "provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure domestic tranquility." 

As wide as the political gulf has become, the disparities between the wealthy and the middle class and between the middle class and the poor have never been greater. The intensity and pervasiveness of individuals' focus on personal interests, accumulation of material objects, amassing of capital, and quest for social status has never been more pronounced and pervasive. This perverse fascination with personal gain to the detriment of the greatest common good inveigles contemporary culture with the notion that a competitive edge is the most valuable and desirable personal trait an individual can cultivate. Now, certainly, the individual nature can express itself in a very positive way when it's influence manifests itself as an individual's drive for personal excellence. However, when the sole motivation for competition reveals itself to be for personal gain at the expense of another (or others), then it's value diminishes commensurately with the reduction of others' opportunities and degradation of others' lifestyles. 

Humanity possesses a natural inclination for pursuing comfort, convenience, recreation, expression, and enjoyment. However, when those proclivities rise to the level of a desire for ostentation, an appetite for wealth, a devotion to notions of individual (as well as national and/or cultural) superiority, a hunger to accumulate possessions, an infatuation with status, and a yearning for power, then individuals debase themselves morally, ethically, and spiritually at the same time as they wreck havoc on the environment and consume the planet's resources without consideration for future generations' needs. 

As a consequence of the psychological and sociological divergences from a middle path of inclusiveness, cooperation, community, compromise, and the greatest common good, extremism dominates all aspects and all expressions in the contemporary world. We can no longer agree to be generous to the needy, merciful to the infirm, benevolent to our youth (who, as students, must receive adequate and affordable educations if they are to offer wise and sound leadership in the future), prudent in our stewardship of the environment, understanding toward one another, accepting of divergent viewpoints as being critical to cultural growth and making wise decisions after informed debate, and magnanimous to our spiritual natures by reducing our stress and increasing our dedication to humanity's highest ideals and the notion of the greatest common good. Instead, our vitriolic extremism advances enmity, undermines our climate, increases the likelihood for conflict, escalates war across the globe, engenders the continuing and increasing spread of extinction of planetary life, and devalues all notions of gratitude and respect commensurately with the exaltation of the cults of greed, wealth, power, entitlement, and superiority. 

In such a world, humanity, both collectively and as individuals, finds itself so attached to the illusion of material value, phenomenal accomplishment, and corporeal eminence that the balance required by any truly spiritual foundation has been forsaken. If humanity is ever to even aspire to, let alone actually achieve, universal peace, an all-inclusive affluence that honors the environment, value for the need for diversity of all life forms, and respect the rights of future generations to an equally harmonious and bountiful existence, then our individual, national, and cultural values must change: compassion must replace victory, altruism must supercede personal desire, cooperation must redeem competition, understanding must supplant antagonism, acceptance must displace intolerance, equality must overcome notions of superiority, and moderation must reconstitute entitlement. 

There is only one path to such a world. That path incorporates spiritual balance and a ubiquitous education concerning humanity's highest values. Such a redirection of human focus will take time, certainly multiple generations, but it is both a worthwhile and possible endeavor to pursue. 

Between the paths of extremes lies a middle way, the way of balance, harmony, and wisdom. Too great of a devotion to self will deny humanity the fulfillment of its greatest collective potential. Too small of a consideration for individual needs and opportunities will rob us of our liberties and all sense of meaning in life and personal value to the community and the world. Only by seeking a balance between the two can we eradicate the destructive forces inherent in either extreme. Only by understanding the true spiritual value that resides in balance and moderation will humanity begin to aspire to a more perfect, more harmonious, more bountiful, and more meaningful world. 

This balance is the expression of universal, altruistic love. By keeping the notion of love in mind as we pursue all our endeavors, we redeem ourselves moment to moment, fulfill our true destinies, and realize the value and meaning of life. It we operate out of love, we cannot inculcate divisiveness or engage ourselves in the destructive forces of extremism. 

We are born out of love to discover each of our own balanced pathways of love and, ultimately, to live our lives predicated on spreading as much love as possible during our lifetimes. In so doing, we fulfill and redeem ourselves with and through love's moral imperative.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Abandon to the Mission

A clarion call rang out through the still ocean;
Octaves resonated harmonically in waves,
Rippling out in every direction, singing a melody
Whose harmonies stretched beyond the audible,
Ringing tones through light, calming the constant,
Frenetic action, condensing dew drops of form
Out of pure potential’s cosmic continuum.

The taut fabric which stretched throughout the whereless
Gave way to indentations and the sudden weight
Manifested by illusion snared companions in attraction’s
Web; together, they danced across the eternal sea.

Wings of doves whistled as they fluttered,
And they whipped up motion out of contentment;
Great orbs sang their harmonies to the celestial
Melody weaving colorful thread trails,
Implying order in the splendor of illusion’s fabric.

The melody of the primal song urged the inert
Into spontaneous activity, and illusion came
To life, electric magnetism generated awareness
Within every thread of color, and the rainbow
Wrote upon the face of the waters with infinite
Voices, each singing a harmonic counterpoint
To the ageless yet haunting melody: an unending
Choral mass fizzed through the cosmos effervescently.

The sacred rite of universal love uttered
Its call into every corner of illusion:
The mission of every consciousness;
The undeniable motif sprang forth –
Forsake personal entitlements,
Yield to cooperative inclusion;
Fulfillment requires we abandon to the mission. 

The Existential Moment

Streaks bend perspective
into spiraled staircase clusters
of stagnant, static, stiletto-
bladed magnets that revolve
in undetermined orbits,
while gravity improvises
unceasingly with matter
to a variable time signature.

The effort to endure
strings together
happenstance beyond
probability’s grave and
out of limitation’s reach,
while infinite possibility
plays jacks with
the existential moment.

A rungless ladder slips
on horizon’s shoreline
beneath a B-flat chart bearing
Miles Davis’ signature,
while Dizzy cheeks balloon
to breathless intervals,
re-imprinting jazz’s jagged
edges upon a smooth delusion.

The master sculptor’s
marbled impressions incubate
upon a Kaifeng Jew’s silent stele’s
hieroglyphic history, while a frozen
instant’s cubed, crystalline equations
compensated for incapacity
with certain death, awaiting
the existential moment.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

On Suffering

Life is a pastiche, a process, a melting pot. Life is love and anger, hope and despair, understanding and intolerance, charity and greed, joy and pain, peace and suffering. Still, it remains always dominated by a suffocating atmospheric mixture of fear and desire which play together in a swirling vortex, each constantly influencing and reinforcing the other in the unconscious' mental realms.

We are taught to want from an early age in our infancy as needs are not immediately met. We are not taught to examine the reasons for our unrelenting wanting. Instead we merely accept it as the natural state of the human psyche. We want because we are afraid of not having, of lacking, of feeling the pit of emptiness within and the scrutiny of others who possess that which we seek. We fear these conditions because the ego demands to reign supreme, not just over the self, but over everyone. We seek supremacy because we fear that autonomy will be encroached by others. In the ego's wish for a place in eternity, it seeks to fill up the empty spaces where inadequacy finds footholds with the acquisition and attainment of personal desires.

It is this manifestation of personal desire, setting personal motivations and accomplishments ahead of everything else in the one's world (or cultural motivations and accomplishments when cultures express desire - whether militarily, economically, or religiously) which the Buddha warned as being the root of all suffering. The Buddha taught a lesson which is hard-learned - when our actions, thoughts, feelings, and/or intentions come from personal motives - we are in a place of greed, desire, and selfishness. Personally motivated desire will always lead to suffering.

However, to act altruistically, without considering what personal benefits or harms may arise due to a course of action, is the highest expression of love. This is everyone's highest calling in life, the lesson each of us is here to learn, and the underlying struggle in all our interpersonal relationships and life choices. Giving in to altruism negates personal desire, liberates one from the domination of the ego, and opens one up to a much larger world with the potential to engage in and with universal principles and universal purpose. To the degree one integrates ones personality in greater degrees with altruism in every moment and every individual choice, one negates desire, increases peace and harmony in life and eases the causes for suffering (not only in one's own life, but in the lives of others, too). Stress (which is a symptom of the ego when dominated by fear and desire) does not arise from living out the highest expression of love since stress is only a personal reaction to one's focus on one's own desires. Stress never attaches to altruistic actions or motivations.

It is often true that individuals delude themselves regarding their motives. We all create useful excuses in certain circumstances to allow us to remain in denial as we pursue individually motivated agendas: "I know best," "I only want what is best for (fill in the blank)," "It's God's will (or any other term which denotes some individual's term for 'higher power')," "I want to save you, or protect you, from making the same mistakes I've made." This list can go on and on, but you can see the manifestation of the personally motivated rationale by now. The real question one can ask oneself in any and every instance remains, "Am I doing this on even the remotest possibility that I will gain something I desire as a result (or avoid something I wish to avoid)?" If the honest answer is yes, then the contemplated course of action is personally motivated, and the result can only bring personal suffering along with it.

Life cannot exist without some degree of suffering. Life is a process of becoming. As one engages in the process of becoming, one will, being human, make mistakes in life. The quality of human frailty and tendency for individuals to err underlies the process of learning and growth. These mistakes will, naturally, lead to suffering. What do I mean by mistakes? I am alluding to actions based on and colored by personal desires.

Another facet of personal desire is that it rarely stops to consider the free expression of the personal will and choice which divests itself in others just as surely as it invests in oneself. The interplay between exalting one's own ego driven needs while also negating the free will of others is the ethical principle, and fundamental esoteric basis, underlying the interrelationship of personal desires with suffering. Actions based on personal desire will cause someone to suffer: either the person undertaking the action if/when their expectations for the outcome are not met, or the person being manipulated or affected by the action which negates their free opportunity to choose the events and circumstances affecting them from and in their environment. In either case, it is also part of the nature of suffering that it festers, causing enmity between both parties, leading to suffering in both, as well.

Life, as a process, flows through a constant series of yin/yang experiences - experiences that reveal the effects and influences of both extremes of the polar opposites in every duality - whether that yin/yang might be expressed and experienced through emotions, careers, beliefs, relationships, economic/political systems, cultural ethos/pathos, or sociologically influenced dreams for the future. One cannot know happiness without also knowing sadness. If only one of the states existed, that state would not be distinguishable, and hence would only be experienced as part of a bland, unperceived ennui.

However, the law of existence which demands that the poles of opposites must be intertwined and present as the duality of reality (whether in individuals or cultures and nations) should not denote that it is not possible to improve the conditions of existence for the better. We can do a lot to ease suffering by reducing our individual, natural, and cultural orientations to desire. Humanity will never fully eliminate suffering, but the degree and suffering felt as well as its pervasiveness throughout the world can always be alleviated by varying amounts. The only path to reducing suffering arises by commensurately reducing individual, national, and cultural desire.

The contemporary world is rooted in stress. Those most successful in accumulating wealth, position, and power require a willing workforce to perpetuate the division into classes and widen the gaps between classes. So, the worker is placed under the constant stress if not only having to produce on the job, but having to protect and maintain their income in order to continue paying for: rent, house payments, car payments, insurance payments, repair bills, food, clothing, and, of course, the purchase of all those objects which are accumulated out of desire - for status, for the acceptance of others, to create envy in others, to make one feel good, and to create a sense of personal self-worth. Stress keeps people "in their place," sociologically, as it also reveals the people who cannot cope - those who societies ultimately cast aside.

Humanity has re-created (or perhaps redesigned is a better word) the planet. Humanity has done this out of the personal and collective desires for an unending and unfathomable "more." Yet, while the quest for all this "more" makes the already wealthy exponentially wealthier, and the affluent more comfortable and more estimable in others' eyes but generally lazier to a commensurate degree, this "more" also leads to greater doses of suffering on a planetary scale as the divide between affluence and poverty widens, as extreme poverty spreads, as famine becomes endemic, as species are rendered extinct, as the quality of the environment deteriorates, and as we use up the planet's natural resources at an alarming rate without ever stopping to consider the needs of future generations who are, after all, our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

This culture will, ultimately, consume itself into oblivion. People will survive, no doubt. But the structure of the culture, the economic, political and sociological models upon which the contemporary social order are based will all perish as the culture consumes itself into oblivion. The people of the future will have to develop a more sustainable mindset and more sustainable method of integrating humanity with the natural world as they seek to integrate necessary comfort while maintaining a viable and naturally abundant ecosystem (which the planets is capable of providing for us if we allow it to) while overcoming the desire for luxury and predominance.

Humanity will have to reduce its numbers dramatically. Human sprawl must cease to usurp nearly all the habitable land and wisely understand that if we so reduce the planet's diversity, we ultimately doom it to evolve into a lifeless waste heap incapable of functioning as an living, interconnected, and vital ecosystem. Thus, humanity must find a way to teach, individually and collectively, the personal responsibility that accrues with existence and the need for balance between ego driven personal and collective expressions of desire with the moral and ethical imperative of honoring and respecting all other lifeforms.

In the process if dying, one discovers that the implications and influences of duality are slowly stripped away. The ego (and nearly always the body, too) is immersed in pain and suffering. The process of dying may seem instantaneous or drawn out over a long period. However, in both cases, the process of dying demands the ego focus on the pain and suffering which is insuperably connected with the encroachment of necrosis (mentally, emotionally, and physically). This dynamic is another law of existence because the process is meant to purge the individual of personal desire before they enter the light, feel the sensation of perfect love awaiting at the end, and reunite with the "All."

What comes after death?

No one who has not been there can answer that with any degree of certainty. Those who have encountered Near Death or Out-of-Body states are also incapable of answer with any degree of objective certainty that question, too, because they did not cross the threshold, and therefore, have not actually experienced the afterlife (if one exists). No, those folks have gone up to the door, but they have not walked through it. Thus, no living being can offer anything objectively or definitively true about the post-death experience.

All living things possess consciousness. Even coral reefs know the exact right time of the full moon, and the one full moon of the year, during which to coordinate their reproductive discharges to effectively propagate new life. The timing of coral reproduction, the hive mentalities of ants and bees, the way packs, herds, pods, coveys, schools, and all other collectives of species of life on this planet (including colonies of single celled organisms) work together to enhance their chances of survival, all prove to me that there are hierarchies of collective consciousness.

The Earth, our planet, is also an ecosystem, utterly interconnected and interdependent. This planet has created, nurtured, and propagated unfathomably countless variations of lifeforms over the eons of the planet's presence in the cosmos. Until redesigned by human inventions' intervention, the bounty the planet offered seemed limitless. Consequently, it seems obvious to me that there has to exist a planetary consciousness which exists in conjunction with the ecosystem.

It is my contention and belief that when individual lifeforms die, each individual consciousness reunites with the planetary consciousness, and that is what I call, "Reuniting with the 'All.'"

I can only suggest that, from any logical perspective, the "self," or individual consciousness, would be a puny thing compared with the "All." The only way the "All" can be enriched is by and through the love we bring with ourselves into it at the moment we "step into the light" and reunite with our source, the fountain of life. As the individual consciousness joins with the planetary consciousness, there is no more need for the individual self-awareness to persist. However, all the was the self integrates into the "All," and so it (and each of us with it) lives on in the planetary consciousness. This is why all aspects of personal desire and ego must be purged through the stripping away process contained in pain and suffering as expressed through the process of dying. What is left is the pure love accumulated and expressed in one's lifetime, which then joins with the planetary consciousness, the expression of altruism and love which nurtures physical reality. In this process, the planetary consciousness can be understood as the ever-increasing, ever-intensifying, ever-expanding, ever-diversifying, and infinite expression of the planet's accumulation and apprehension of love.

In the same way, our solar system is also an ecosystem, as is the galaxy, the local cluster of galaxies in which our galaxy drifts through space, and on to our universe, indeed, leading all the way to the Multiverse. So, our consciousnesses never die, even though they cease being self-aware. As part of the planetary consciousness, they merge with the solar consciousness when the Sun goes supernova. This accumulation of pure love and eons of nearly infinite expressions of diverse experience will seed the new solar system that arises out of the (quite literal) ashes of the supernova of the previous one. Eventually, when all the available energy in this area has been used, the collective consciousnesses of the many solar systems will join with the galactic consciousness, which will join with the collective consciousness of local cluster of galactic consciousness when our galaxy burns all its energy, and so on, through the merger with the Universal Consciousness, and ultimately, the Multiversal Consciousness.

Rather than mourn the passing of those who die in our lives, we should rejoice. Our mourning is an expression of our own losses. But in reality, death purges and perfects the soul, making it ready to reunite with the "All." The soul becomes an instrument of pure and perfect love which then enriches the planetary consciousness, and through it, all of humanity, as well. Suffering ends. The ego is overcome, and the individual expands into the "All" in the merger of reuniting. This is an event to rejoice because love is served. This is the esoteric meaning of "Love-ism."

The Last Door

Peering into night's deepest ebony wash;
Barely witnessing the last, tiny sliver
Of the moon wane into invisibility;
Palpitating with anticipation as Segovia
Demands absolute silence before plucking a note;
Trudging on, step after step, after exhaustion
Depletes the last ion of energy;
Driving at 3 a.m., still up from the previous 6 a.m.,
Yet unable to find a motel with a vacancy;
Fingers barely gripping handholds near the summit;
Sustaining the last note without taking a breath;
Weeping through dry eyes;
Sucking the last drop from a glass through a straw;
Anticipating the last wave's was upon the shore;
Deafened by light passing through the edges of the last door. 

Imperceptibly Etching

Red dirt surrounds
cedar trunks whose roots
ache from thirst
but the leaves
flutter on branch fingers
as a slow breeze
inherits moisture
from an electric cloud

A red ant crawls
toward noon's tolling
boil weaving a sticky
trail to a rabbit
carcass already
picked clean by coyote
pups still shrilly howling
triumphantly charged glee

The first drops of blood
seep from the spreading
doe mule deer's vagina
bearing her first calf

The sun moves
imperceptibly etching
a golden arc on an azure arch

Tired hands roll
tortillas by a fire
where carne asada spits
and sizzles in a pan

Children's voltage squeals
escape from naked bodies
as they slither through
shaded stream banks
under the watchful
gaze of tomorrow's
red-tailed hawk
demanding from its nest

In the night where
no moon reigns Grandma
threads smokey fingers
through an old man's
dreams making tacos
for the little boy she
once knew and now sees
bouncing up the porch steps

Haiku-Koan Variations Study

The four winds begin
and meet in the nebula's
sacred space moment

Unquenched offerings
set sail on rudderless ships'
eternal return

Nothing lies hidden
in ceaseless activity
but nothing appears

Ripe fruit to the taste
snuggles under the covers
with yesterday's seed

Slithering pictures
gurgle newborn contentment
on ancient cave walls

Black rolling caisson
through the muddy streets of tears
reveals the infant