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Shards of Consciousness

Exploring Pathways to Freedom

Updated: 2009-12-10T15:58:45-05:00


Last PageTanka #13


shades of grey that pass
as days, light bound by shadow'd
edge. a magic moon
to hide the sun, binding joy
beneath fading memories


It's Lightning Bug Time!


I've been depressed this weekend.Friday night we ran the movie as usual at the theatre my wife and I run. During the second show the lamp sounded odd when I turned it on, so after the show, and after giving the lamp time to cool, I opened up it's housing to have a look.The bulb had a blue fog in it, a sure sign that air had infiltrated the envelope and that the bulb, even though only a month old, didn't have long to live, if it had any life left.Something like this has to have a cause, so I looked further and found that the board on which the lamphouse's power connections were made was destroyed, burned through, leaving connections loose and able to cause arcs, which was the root cause of the destruction of the bulb.My wife and I changed the announcement on the theatre's answering machine, posted a note saying we were closed in the ticket booth window, and we came home. I posted an announcement on the theatre's website, and determined to call our equipment supplier Monday in hopes we'd be able to get the needed parts this week.Then I got depressed. A dark screen means no ticket sales, no concession sales, no money coming in. No money coming in means no money to pay the bills. No money to pay the bills means dealing with creditors who are rightfully owed money. My mind started going into overload, envisioning having to shut down permanently, all because of the lack of a part that will likely cost only a few dollars.So there I sat Saturday and Sunday, worried about the consequences of two days' lost sales.Sunday my son and granddaughter came over. My other granddaughters live with us, so I played with the girls and my son, napped, and did what I do when I have unexpected free time when I am usually working on something, which is basically wishing I was working on what I usually do, and half-heartedly working on other projects I have.This is, though, Summer Solstice, the time of the year when the lightning bugs start to appear in numbers. I was sitting in the kitchen, my wife was outside by her pond with our granddaughter, Zoe, and the child's mother was sitting in the living room with her baby. Suddenly, Zoe bursts through the front door. Mommy! Mommy! It's lightning bug time!, she cries with the sound of complete and ecstatic joy, She runs into the kitchen to find a cup to put her prizes in, and as she does so she stops long enough to turn to me and say"Pappy! It's lightning bug time! Come play!How can I not follow her out?We go. I sit on the porch with my wife, watching her run toward a lightning bug as it's sudden glow lights the evening air, then back away again as it's glow resurges right in front of her. The whole time, a smile of joy lights her face as the intensity of her focus on what she is doing shines in her eyes. Watching, I feel the same smile come to rest on my face, and in my heart.Each day we get up in the morning to the sound of the alarm, ready to work on the business of the day. Hour by hour we think about making our customers happy, satisfying our boss, what comes next, how we'll use the money we make to pay the rent, buy dinner, fund our retirement. How often do we come back to what is right in front of us? The creativity involved in putting pen to paper, the joy of looking into the eye of our partner as our paths cross, the whiteness and grey hues of the cloud as it crosses the sky, casting a shadow on the grass upon which we walk? How often do we come back to ourselves to remember that each minute is unique unto itself; that, while connected to what came before and what will come next, is yet a timeless instant, sufficient unto itself? That it is, indeed, lightning bug time? [...]

How to Clean the Doors of Perception


Imagine you're in a submarine. How do you communicate with the world around you?

You have a periscope and sonar to see. Acoustical sensors to hear. You can feel things hitting your hull. You may have radar for when you're on the surface. All the data brought in by these sensors has to be interpreted to have meaning.

So you cruise along, surrounded by the sea, sensing things, interpreting them, reaching conclusions about their meaning, changing your direction based on what you experience.

Over time brine or other particles builds up on your sensors. They need cleaning and maintenance to operate at top efficiency again.

Over time you fall into habit, as the same incoming data leads to the same conclusions and boredom sets in. When something unusual does happen, you try to fit it in the pattern of the past. You are slow to respond, and may even miss the unusual signal, that something which is new. You need to get some retraining or learn to be alert again.

We have a similar situation in our bodies. All the data we gather about our environment comes in through our senses. As babies we learn to interpret it, As we grow we learn to give it meaning based on our experience. As we become older yet, when something happens, we try to understand it in terms of things that have come before. More, we may become lulled as we go through the round of wake, sleep, eat, work, talk, and listen. Our responses become habit. The robot takes over.

Deep inside we know this is a problem. Each year we spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours and dollars to find something new, something exciting to shake us from the round of habit we have built for ourselves. We go to movies and amusement parks. We read the new best seller, twitter, and blogs. We watch sporting events and the best reality shows, all to leave behind the mundanity we sense we have created for ourselves.

Meditation is a cheaper, more effective way to re-awaken the excitement we felt when we were young. In the words of Aldous Huxley, meditation can cleanse the doors of perception so that what was old, becomes new again. Try it. Fifteen minutes a day for a new life? It's a small investment.


Tanka #12


shattered light from an
azure sky, old snow glistens.
tears trap memories
while spade by muffled spade a
mother's dream is laid to rest


Tanka #11


new snow crunches as
i walk the road. doves coo and
fish flash in the pond.
the morning sunlight shatters.
night carries dreams of summer.


I'm Not a Diagnosis


This morning's StoryCorp broadcast involved a lady who was involved in a severe car accident that left her paralyzed and most bones in her body broken. While in the hospital a young doctor began telling her everything she may not ever be able to do again. These included things like talking, smelling, and tasting.

At the time, the woman was using an alphabet board to communicate. She would point at letters on the board with chopsticks to spell out what she wanted to say. To the young physician she says

Life is not worth living if you can't eat cannolis.

and followed it up with

Now put down the chart and give me a hug.

The physician did so, allowing the healing process to begin.

A human touch. Treatment as a person, not an illness, a relationship between two people is the key to health and happiness. How often do we remember this in our daily lives?

Human resources is next door to material resources. Hospital beds are home to pneumonia, broken arms, colon cancer. We have a laundry service. Table six is the burger, salad, and steak sandwich. Register five is slow. Use register six.

We tag people with the role they play in our lives, mechanizing relationships out of consciousness and out of existences. Labels are necessary for our functioning, but neither you, nor I, nor the person laying in the hospital bed is a label. We are each people. We are each the other half of a relationship.

All coins have a heads and a tails, but they are two halves of the same coin. The person on the other side of the counter is connected to us by more than space, by more than labels. They are a part of us, as we are a part of them. To treat one another as the labels we attach to each other is the birth of disappointment and disease. To forget the relationships that bind us is to lose our chance at health and happiness. To remember the relationships that bind us is to once again become human.


Tanka #10


the same old, same old.
been there, done that, a new year
finds me still the same.
do i change my soul, my self
as i change the calender?


Podcast 60 - The Victorious Breath


In Podcast 55 - Meditation Breathing Exercises, I discussed two breathing exercises from yoga that are useful in improving your emotional and physical state and preparing for meditation, alternate nostril breathing and the skull shine breath. There is a third breathing exercise that falls into this category, the victorious breath.

The victorious breath is easy to learn, has immediate effects due to the oxygenation that it performs, and can be practiced in any posture. I've found it a useful technique to use when walking or waking up in the morning.


This episode of the Shards of Consciousness podcast is based on a post I wrote in October, 2007 called The Victorious Breath.

If what you hear is useful to you, subscribe to the Shards of Consciousness podcast through iTunes or the feed. Tell your friends about us. Let me know what you think.

Music Featured

Corey&Cosmo - We're All Stars - Transcontinental Experiment Remix

Music provided by the PodShow Podsafe Music Network


Did You Know?


Did you know mirrors
live and breathe, run and shout, work
and play all around?

Did you know mirrors
are not glass. They are flesh and
dreams, world without end?

Did you know mirrors
laugh and cry, eat and sleep, suck
at their mothers' breast?

Did you know mirrors
shine in your little boy's eye,
your little girl's laugh,
your baby's dreams, that their lives
are the mirror of your thoughts?

Did you know?


Podcast 59 - What Is Personal Development?


Personal development means different things to different people. We may relate it to becoming more productive, attaining success in whatever field interests us, spiritual growth, or education. Personal development can relate to all these things, and more, but most of the definitions embody adding to, or taking away from, what we already are or have. I suppose this is inevitable. Much of the western world view is mechanistic. Personal development becomes an exercise in engineering wherein traits are added or subtracted from the personality according to plan.

In the eastern view embodied in yoga, evolution is seen in terms of removing obstacles to expression, much as a sculptor removes stone to expose the piece of art that lies within. From this procedes an organic view of personal development, whereby that which already exists is allowed expression by the removal of barriers.

In this podcast I emphasize the latter.

What Personal Development Is To Me

This episode of the Shards of Consciousness podcast is based on a post I wrote in October, 2007 called What Personal Development is to Me

If what you hear is useful to you, subscribe to the Shards of Consciousness podcast through iTunes or the feed. Tell your friends about us. Let me know what you think.

Music Featured

Corey&Cosmo - We?re All Stars - Transcontinental Experiment Remix

Music provided by the PodShow Podsafe Music Network