Monthly Archives: September 2008

New Recording,Old Song

Internet back on at my home so here’s this. It’s going on the new music page, too.

psomethingcoming908

-a song I wrote while receiving therapy for PTSD. I had a remarkable flash-back experience (good) during a session of Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). It’s a long story.

Here’s a bobcat meditating (click for full size):

A picture my son found- Donner Bunnies:

Undercover:

Lotus couple (click for big):

Miscellaneous animated gifs:

Super Villain:

Meow…

What does this mean?

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Filed under animated gif, animation, mp3, Music, silly

I’m Interwebbing from the Libarry

Didn’t pay my bill so the home internet is on vacation. Maybe later this week if there’s enough money to meet more essential needs in my unemployment check or maybe in 2 weeks when my wife gets paid. (BTW- using “wife” to represent life-partner because it wouldn’t be right to use her real name. It’s one thing broadcastibng my shit all over the interweb but it’s another to put her out in the Blogoshere”.)

Sucks to be poor, but not much really. We have food. The lights are on. The water hasn’t been turned off yet (later this week if not paid).

My wife works. Together between her pay and my unemployment we make about $3200 a month.

We can’t get foodstamps or other help because our major money eater is healthcare- I pay almost $00 a month for my insurance plus another $400 for co-pays (insulin, psych meds, other mostly diabetic supplies, doctor and shrink visits). Healthcare doesn’t count as a deduction from income for foodstamops or other public assistance. Can’t even get help with utilities.

So- let’s see how this comes out.

$3200 income

minus rent ($1000) = $2200, minus medical ($1200 including wifes meds and co-pays) = $1000, minus food and hygeine (about $500- still feeding a large 19 year old who is in school) = $500, minus car insurance ($200) = $300, minus gas for my job hunting ($100) = $200, minus electricity ($125- lowball) = $75, minus water ($75) = zero, minus gas/garbage/internet/ phone service/ clothing, birthdays/ etc. (oops! doesn’t matter how much those things cost because we don’t have the money).

So, every month is a matter of juggling what we can’t pay and getting deeper in the hole. Last month we had to park the cars because our insurance lapsed. Well, that should be okay, right? Nope- the bus fares just went up to $2.50 per ride. And wife’s job depends on car- she gets reimbursed for her mileage but with gas prices this high it doesn’t cover all costs so car has to be bailed out. And many of my job interviews are nowhere close that I can get to by bus. The bank account is in the red perpetually. We might as well just close it.

Whine, whine whine. Many folks have it worse. Hell, we had it much worse many times. Bankrupt twice. House repossessed. Home burned down last spring. Wife out of work for years.

No music or pictures today. The library computer won’t take my jumpdrive.

So, it’s a good thing I didn’t find any jobs because I wouldn’t be able to access/ attach my resume and other stuff.

Hey! Good things happen every day, if you know where to look.

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Filed under not doing well, personal story

Three Books by Rabindranath Tagore

Tagore has had a profound influence on my life.

I have provided excerpts before from works by Tagore. Today I would like to offer these 3 complete books for you to download, free. These are all in the public domain since 1992. They are:

Gitanjali,

Stray Birds and

The Hungry Stones

If you are new to his work, you are in for a treat, also I am providing the following excerpts with the download for the entire book at the end of each section. I think you will want to read all of these, from the first word to the last.

(Note: I have already provided a download of the e-book Sadhana- The Realization of Life here. Also, I have included a free audio book of Sadhana at the end of this post.)

Gitanjali- Song Offerings

If thou speakest not I will fill my heart with thy silence and endure it. I will keep still and wait like the night with starry vigil and its head bent low with patience.

The morning will surely come, the darkness will vanish, and thy voice pour down in golden streams breaking through the sky.

Then thy words will take wing in songs from every one of my birds’ nests, and thy melodies will break forth in flowers in all my forest groves.

On the day when the lotus bloomed, alas, my mind was straying, and I knew it not. My basket was empty and the flower remained unheeded.

Only now and again a sadness fell upon me, and I started up from my dream and felt a sweet trace of a strange fragrance in the south wind.

That vague sweetness made my heart ache with longing and it seemed to me that is was the eager breath of the summer seeking for its completion.

I knew not then that it was so near, that it was mine, and that this perfect sweetness had blossomed in the depth of my own heart.

I must launch out my boat. The languid hours pass by on the shore—Alas for me!

The spring has done its flowering and taken leave. And now with the burden of faded futile flowers I wait and linger.

The waves have become clamorous, and upon the bank in the shady lane the yellow leaves flutter and fall.

What emptiness do you gaze upon! Do you not feel a thrill passing through the air with the notes of the far-away song floating from the other shore?

In the deep shadows of the rainy July, with secret steps, thou walkest, silent as night, eluding all watchers.

Today the morning has closed its eyes, heedless of the insistent calls of the loud east wind, and a thick veil has been drawn over the ever-wakeful blue sky.

The woodlands have hushed their songs, and doors are all shut at every house. Thou art the solitary wayfarer in this deserted street. Oh my only friend, my best beloved, the gates are open in my house—do not pass by like a dream.

Art thou abroad on this stormy night on thy journey of love, my friend? The sky groans like one in despair.

I have no sleep tonight. Ever and again I open my door and look out on the darkness, my friend!

I can see nothing before me. I wonder where lies thy path!

By what dim shore of the ink-black river, by what far edge of the frowning forest, through what mazy depth of gloom art thou threading thy course to come to me, my friend?

If the day is done, if birds sing no more, if the wind has flagged tired, then draw the veil of darkness thick upon me, even as thou hast wrapt the earth with the coverlet of sleep and tenderly closed the petals of the drooping lotus at dusk.

From the traveller, whose sack of provisions is empty before the voyage is ended, whose garment is torn and dustladen, whose strength is exhausted, remove shame and poverty, and renew his life like a flower under the cover of thy kindly night.

In the night of weariness let me give myself up to sleep without struggle, resting my trust upon thee.

Let me not force my flagging spirit into a poor preparation for thy worship.

It is thou who drawest the veil of night upon the tired eyes of the day to renew its sight in a fresher gladness of awakening.

He came and sat by my side but I woke not. What a cursed sleep it was, O miserable me!

He came when the night was still; he had his harp in his hands, and my dreams became resonant with its melodies.

Download:

gitanjali-by-rabindranath-tagore

The verses in Stray Birds are short but full. Each one is a meditation. Read them slowly, savor their images and find the meaning they call out from your own heart.

Stray Birds

THE mist, like love, plays upon the heart of the hills and brings out surprises of beauty.

 

75

WE read the world wrong and say that it deceives us.

 

76

THE poet wind is out over the sea and the forest to seek his own voice.

 

77

EVERY child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.

 

78

THE grass seeks her crowd in the earth.

The tree seeks his solitude of the sky.

 

79

MAN barricades against himself.

 

80

YOUR voice, my friend, wanders in my heart, like the muffled sound of the sea among these listening pines.

 

81

WHAT is this unseen flame of darkness whose sparks are the stars?

 

82

LET life be beautiful like summer flowers and death like autumn leaves.

 

88

HE who wants to do good knocks at the gate; he who loves finds the gate open.

 

84

IN death the many becomes one; in life the one becomes many.

Download:

stray-birds-by-rabindranath-tagore

The Hungry Stones and other stories

this story is titled

THE DEVOTEE

I

AT a time, when my unpopularity with a part of my readers had reached the nadir of its glory, and my name had become the central orb of the journals, to be attended through space with a perpetual rotation of revilement, I felt the necessity to retire to some quiet place and endeavour to forget my own existence.

I have a house in the country some miles away from Calcutta, where I can remain unknown and unmolested. The villagers there have not, as yet, come to any conclusion about me. They know I am no mere holiday-maker or pleasure-seeker; for I never outrage the silence of the village nights with the riotous noises of the city. Nor do they regard me as an ascetic, because the little acquaintance they have of me carries the savour of comfort about it. I am not, to them, a traveller; for, though I am a vagabond by nature, my wandering through the village fields is aimless. They are hardly even quite certain whether I am married or single; for they have never seen me with my children. So, not being able to classify me in any animal or vegetable kingdom that they know, they have long since given me up and left me stolidly alone.

But quite lately I have come to know that there is one person in the village who is deeply interested in me. Our acquaintance began on a sultry afternoon in July. There had been rain all the morning, and the air was still wet and heavy with mist, like eyelids when weeping is over.

I sat lazily watching a dappled cow grazing on the high bank of the river. The afternoon sun was playing on her glossy hide. The simple beauty of this dress of light made me wonder idly at man’s deliberate waste of money in setting up tailors’ shops to deprive his own skin of its natural clothing.

While I was thus watching and lazily musing, a woman of middle age came and prostrated herself before me, touching the ground with her forehead. She carried in her robe some bunches of flowers, one of which she offered to me with folded hands. She said to me, as she offered it: “This is an offering to my God.”

She went away. I was so taken aback as she uttered these words, that I could hardly catch a glimpse of her before she was gone. The whole incident was entirely simple, but it left a deep impression on my mind; and as I turned back once more to look at the cattle in the field, the zest of life in the cow, who was munching the lush grass with deep breaths, while she whisked off the flies, appeared to me fraught with mystery. My readers may laugh at my foolishness, but my heart was full of adoration. I offered my worship to the pure joy of living, which is God’s own life. Then, plucking a tender shoot from the mango tree, I fed the cow with it from my own hand, and as I did this I had the satisfaction of having pleased my God.

The next year when I returned to the village it was February. The cold season still lingered on. The morning sun came into my room, and I was grateful for its warmth. I was writing, when the servant came to tell me that a devotee, of the Vishnu cult, wanted to see me. I told him, in an absent way, to bring her upstairs, and went on with my writing. The Devotee came in, and bowed to me, touching my feet. I found that she was the same woman whom I had met, for a brief moment, a year ago.

I was able now to examine her more closely. She was past that age when one asks the question whether a woman is beautiful or not. Her stature was above the ordinary height, and she was strongly built; but her body was slightly bent owing to her constant attitude of veneration. Her manner had nothing shrinking about it. The most remarkable of her features were her two eyes. They seemed to have a penetrating power which could make distance near.

With those two large eyes of hers, she seemed to push me as she entered.

“What is this?” she asked. “Why have you brought me here before your throne, my God? I used to see you among the trees; and that was much better. That was the true place to meet you.”

She must have seen me walking in the garden without my seeing her. For the last few days, however, I had suffered from a cold, and had been prevented from going out. I had, perforce, to stay indoors and pay my homage to the evening sky from my terrace. After a silent pause the Devotee said to me: “O my God, give me some words of good.”

I was quite unprepared for this abrupt request, and answered her on the spur of the moment:

Good words I neither give nor receive. I simply open my eyes and keep silence, and then I can at once both hear and see, even when no sound is uttered. Now, while I am looking at you, it is as good as listening to your voice.

The Devotee became quite excited as I spoke, and exclaimed: “God speaks to me, not only with His mouth, but with His whole body.”

I said to her: “When I am silent I can listen with my whole body. I have come away from Calcutta here to listen to that sound.”

The Devotee said: “Yes, I know that, and therefore I have come here to sit by you.”

Before taking her leave, she again bowed to me, and touched my feet. I could see that she was distressed, because my feet were covered. She wished them to be bare.

Early next morning I came out, and sat on my terrace on the roof. Beyond the line of trees southward I could see the open country chill and desolate. I could watch the sun rising over the sugar-cane in the East, beyond the clump of trees at the side of the village. Out of the deep shadow of those dark trees the village road suddenly appeared. It stretched forward, winding its way to some distant villages on the horizon, till it was lost in the grey of the mist.

That morning it was difficult to say whether the sun had risen or not. A white fog was still clinging to the tops of the trees. I saw the Devotee walking through the blurred dawn, like a mist-wraith of the morning twilight. She was singing her chant to God, and sounding her cymbals.

The thick haze lifted at last; and the sun, like the kindly grandsire of the village, took his seat amid all the work that was going on in home and field.

When I had just settled down at my writing-table, to appease the hungry appetite of my editor in Calcutta, there came a sound of footsteps on the stair, and the Devotee, humming a tune to herself, entered. and bowed before me. I lifted my head from my papers.

She said to me: “My God, yesterday I took as sacred food what was left over from your meal.”

I was startled, and asked her how she could do that.

“Oh,” she said, “I waited at your door in the evening, while you were at dinner, and took some food from your plate when it was carried out.”

This was a surprise to me, for every one in the village knew that I had been to Europe, and had eaten with Europeans. I was a vegetarian, no doubt, but the sanctity of my cook would not bear investigation, and the orthodox regarded my food as polluted.

The Devotee, noticing my sign of surprise, said: “My God, why should I come to you at all, if I could not take your food?”

I asked her what her own caste people would say. She told me she had already spread the news far and wide all over the village. The caste people had shaken their heads, but agreed that she must go her own way.

I found out that the Devotee came from a good family in the country, and that her mother was well-to-do, and desired to keep her daughter. But she preferred to be a mendicant. I asked her how she made her living. She told me that her followers had given her a piece of land, and that she begged her food from door to door. She said to me: “The food which I get by begging is divine.”

After I had thought over what she said, I understood her meaning. When we get our food precariously as alms, we remember God the giver. But when we receive our food regularly at home, as a matter of course, we are apt to regard it as ours by right.

I had a great desire to ask her about her husband. But as she never mentioned him even indirectly, I did not question her.

I found out very soon that the Devotee had no respect at all for that part of the village where the people of the higher castes lived.

“They never give,” she said, “a single farthing to God’s service; and yet they have the largest share of God’s glebe. But the poor worship and starve.”

I asked her why she did not go and live among these godless people, and help them towards a better life. “That,” I said with some unction, “would be the highest form of divine worship.”

I had heard sermons of this kind from time to time, and I am rather fond of copying them myself for the public benefit, when the chance comes.

But the Devotee was not at all impressed. She raised her big round eyes, and looked straight into mine, and said:

“You mean to say that because God is with the sinners, therefore when you do them any service you do it to God? Is that so?”

“Yes,” I replied, “that is my meaning.”

“Of course,” she answered almost impatiently, “of course, God is with them: otherwise, how could they go on living at all? But what is that to me? My God is not there. My God cannot be worshipped among them; because I do not find Him there. I seek Him where I can find Him.”

As she spoke, she made obeisance to me. What she meant to say was really this. A mere doctrine of God’s omnipresence does not help us. That God is all-pervading,–this truth may be a mere intangible abstraction, and therefore unreal to ourselves. Where I can see Him, there is His reality in my soul.

I need not explain that all the while she showered her devotion on me she did it to me not as an individual. I was simply a vehicle of her divine worship. It was not for me either to receive it or to refuse it: for it was not mine, but God’s.

When the Devotee came again, she found me once more engaged with my books and papers.

“What have you been doing,” she said, with evident vexation, “that my God should make you undertake such drudgery? Whenever I come, I find you reading and writing.”

“God keeps his useless people busy,” I answered; “otherwise they would be bound to get into mischief. They have to do all the least necessary things in life. It keeps them out of trouble.”

The Devotee told me that she could not bear the encumbrances, with which, day by day, I was surrounded. If she wanted to see me, she was not allowed by the servants to come straight upstairs. If she wanted to touch my feet in worship, there were my socks always in the way. And when she wanted to have a simple talk with me, she found my mind lost in a wilderness of letters.

This time, before she left me, she folded her hands, and said: “My God! I felt your feet in my breast this morning. Oh, how cool! And they were bare, not covered. I held them upon my head for a long time in worship. That filled my very being. Then, after that, pray what was the use of my coming to you yourself? Why did I come? My Lord, tell me truly,–wasn’t it a mere infatuation?”

There were some flowers in my vase on the table. While she was there, the gardener brought some new flowers to put in their place. The Devotee saw him changing them.

“Is that all?” she exclaimed. “Have you done with the flowers? Then give them to me.”

She held the flowers tenderly in the cup of her hands, and began to gaze at them with bent head. After a few moments’ silence she raised her head again, and said to me: “You never look at these flowers; therefore they become stale to you. If you would only look into them, then your reading and writing would go to the winds.”

She tied the flowers together in the end of her robe, and placed them, in an attitude of worship, on the top of her head, saying reverently: “Let me carry my God with me.”

While she did this, I felt that flowers in our rooms do not receive their due meed of loving care at our hands. When we stick them in vases, they are more like a row of naughty schoolboys standing on a form to be punished.

The Devotee came again the same evening, and sat by my feet on the terrace of the roof.

“I gave away those flowers,” she said, “as I went from house to house this morning, singing God’s name. Beni, the head man of our village, laughed at me for my devotion, and said: ‘Why do you waste all this devotion on Him? Don’t you know He is reviled up and down the countryside?’ Is that true, my God? Is it true that they are hard upon you?”

For a moment I shrank into myself. It was a shock to find that the stains of printers’ ink could reach so far.

The Devotee went on: “Beni imagined that he could blow out the flame of my devotion at one breath! But this is no mere tiny flame: it is a burning fire. Why do they abuse you, my God?”

I said: “Because I deserved it. I suppose in my greed I was loitering about to steal people’s hearts in secret.”

The Devotee said: “Now you see for yourself how little their hearts are worth. They are full of poison, and this will cure you of your greed.”

“When a man,” I answered, “has greed in his heart, he is always on the verge of being beaten. The greed itself supplies his enemies with poison.”

“Our merciful God,” she replied, “beats us with His own hand, and drives away all the poison. He who endures God’s beating to the end is saved.”

II

That evening the Devotee told me the story of her life. The stars of evening rose and set behind the trees, as she went on to the end of her tale.

“My husband is very simple. Some people think that he is a simpleton; but I know that those who understand simply, understand truly. In business and household management he was able to hold his own. Because his needs were small, and his wants few, he could manage carefully on what we had. He would never meddle in other matters, nor try to understand them.

“Both my husband’s parents died before we had been married long, and we were left alone. But my husband always needed some one to be over him. I am ashamed to confess that he had a sort of reverence for me, and looked upon me as his superior. But I am sure that he could understand things better than I, though I had greater powers of talking.

“Of all the people in the world he held his Guru Thakur (spiritual master) in the highest veneration. Indeed it was not veneration merely but love; and such love as his is rare.

“Guru Thakur was younger than my husband. Oh! how beautiful he was!

“My husband had played games with him when he was a boy; and from that time forward he had dedicated his heart and soul to this friend of his early days. Thakur knew how simple my husband was, and used to tease him mercilessly.

“He and his comrades would play jokes upon him for their own amusement; but he would bear them all with long-suffering.

“When I married into this family, Guru Thakur was studying at Benares. My husband used to pay all his expenses. I was eighteen years old when he returned home to our village.

“At the age of fifteen I had my child. I was so young I did not know how to take care of him. I was fond of gossip, and liked to be with my village friends for hours together. I used to get quite cross with my boy when I was compelled to stay at home and nurse him. Alas! my child-God came into my life, but His playthings were not ready for Him. He came to the mother’s heart, but the mother’s heart lagged behind. He left me in anger; and ever since I have been searching for Him up and down the world.

“The boy was the joy of his father’s life. My careless neglect used to pain my husband. But his was a mute soul. He has never been able to give expression to his pain.

“The wonderful thing was this, that in spite of my neglect the child used to love me more than any one else. He seemed to have the dread that I would one day go away and leave him. So even when I was with him, he would watch me with a restless look in his eyes. He had me very little to himself, and therefore his desire to be with me was always painfully eager. When I went each day to the river, he used to fret and stretch out his little arms to be taken with me. But the bathing ghat was my place for meeting my friends, and I did not care to burden myself with the child.

“It was an early morning in August. Fold after fold of grey clouds had wrapped the mid-day round with a wet clinging robe. I asked the maid to take care of the boy, while I went down to the river. The child cried after me as I went away.

“There was no one there at the bathing ghat when I arrived. As a swimmer, I was the best among all the village women. The river was quite full with the rains. I swam out into the middle of the stream some distance from the shore.

“Then I heard a cry from the bank, ‘Mother!’ I turned my head and saw my boy coming down the steps, calling me as he came. I shouted to him to stop, but he went on, laughing and calling. My feet and hands became cramped with fear. I shut my eyes, afraid to see. When I opened them, there, at the slippery stairs, my boy’s ripple of laughter had disappeared for ever.

“I got back to the shore. I raised him from the water. I took him in my arms, my boy, my darling, who had begged so often in vain for me to take him. I took him now, but he no more looked in my eyes and called ‘Mother.’

“My child-God had come. I had ever neglected Him. I had ever made Him cry. And now all that neglect began to beat against my own heart, blow upon blow, blow upon blow. When my boy was with me, I had left him alone. I had refused to take him with me. And now, when he is dead, his memory clings to me and never leaves me.

“God alone knows all that my husband suffered. If he had only punished me for my sin, it would have been better for us both. But he knew only how to endure in silence, not how to speak.

“When I was almost mad with grief, Guru Thakur came back. In earlier days, the relation between him and my husband had been that of boyish friendship. Now, my husband’s reverence for his sanctity and learning was unbounded. He could hardly speak in his presence, his awe of him was so great.

“My husband asked his Guru to try to give me some consolation. Guru Thakur began to read and explain to me the scriptures. But I do not think they had much effect on my mind. All their value for me lay in the voice that uttered them. God makes the draught of divine life deepest in the heart for man to drink, through the human voice. He has no better vessel in His hand than that; and He Himself drinks His divine draught out of the same vessel.

“My husband’s love and veneration for his Guru filled our house, as incense fills a temple shrine. I showed that veneration, and had peace. I saw my God in the form of that Guru. He used to come to take his meal at our house every morning. The first thought that would come to my mind on waking from sleep was that of his food as a sacred gift from God. When I prepared the things for his meal, my fingers would sing for joy.

“When my husband saw my devotion to his Guru, his respect for me greatly increased. He noticed his Guru’s eager desire to explain the scriptures to me. He used to think that he could never expect to earn any regard from his Guru himself, on account of his stupidity; but his wife had made up for it.

“Thus another five years went by happily, and my whole life would have passed like that; but beneath the surface some stealing was going on somewhere in secret. I could not detect it; but it was detected by the God of my heart. Then came a day when, in a moment our whole life was turned upside down.

“It was a morning in midsummer. I was returning home from bathing, my clothes all wet, down a shady lane. At the bend of the road, under the mango tree, I met my Guru Thakur. He had his towel on his shoulder and was repeating some Sanskrit verses as he was going to take his bath. With my wet clothes clinging all about me I was ashamed to meet him. I tried to pass by quickly, and avoid being seen. He called me by my name.

“I stopped, lowering my eyes, shrinking into myself. He fixed his gaze upon me, and said: ‘How beautiful is your body!’

“All the universe of birds seemed to break into song in the branches overhead. All the bushes in the lane seemed ablaze with flowers. It was as though the earth and sky and everything had become a riot of intoxicating joy.

“I cannot tell how I got home. I only remember that I rushed into the room where we worship God. But the room seemed empty. Only before my eyes those same gold spangles of light were dancing which had quivered in front of me in that shady lane on my way back from the river.

“Guru Thakur came to take his food that day, and asked my husband where I had gone. He searched for me, but could not find me anywhere.

“Ah! I have not the same earth now any longer. The same sunlight is not mine. I called on my God in my dismay, and He kept His face turned away from me.

“The day passed, I know not how. That night I had to meet my husband. But the night is dark and silent. It is the time when my husband’s mind comes out shining, like stars at twilight. I had heard him speak things in the dark, and I had been surprised to find how deeply he understood.

“Sometimes I am late in the evening in going to rest on account of household work. My husband waits for me, seated on the floor, without going to bed. Our talk at such times had often begun with something about our Guru.

“That night, when it was past midnight, I came to my room, and found my husband sleeping on the floor. Without disturbing him I lay down on the ground at his feet, my head towards him. Once he stretched his feet, while sleeping, and struck me on the breast. That was his last bequest.

“Next morning, when my husband woke up from his sleep, I was already sitting by him. Outside the window, over the thick foliage of the jack-fruit tree, appeared the first pale red of the dawn at the fringe of the night. It was so early that the crows had not yet begun to call.

“I bowed, and touched my husband’s feet with my forehead. He sat up, starting as if waking from a dream, and looked at my face in amazement. I said:

“‘I have made up my mind. I must leave the world. I cannot belong to you any longer. I must leave your home.’

“Perhaps my husband thought that he was still dreaming. He said not a word.

‘Ah! do hear me!’ I pleaded with infinite pain. ‘Do hear me and understand! You must marry another wife. I must take my leave.’

“My husband said: ‘What is all this wild, mad talk? Who advises you to leave the world?’

“I said: ‘My Guru Thakur.’

“My husband looked bewildered. ‘Guru Thakur!’ he cried. ‘When did he give you this advice?’

“‘In the morning,’ I answered, ‘yesterday, when I met him on my way back from the river.’

His voice trembled a little. He turned, and looked in my face, and asked me: ‘Why did he give you such a behest?’

“‘I do not know,’ I answered. ‘Ask him! He will tell you himself, if he can.’

“My husband said: ‘It is possible to leave the world, even when continuing to live in it. You need not leave my home. I will speak to my Guru about it.’

‘Your Guru,’ I said, ‘may accept your petition; but my heart will never give its consent. I must leave your home. From henceforth, the world is no more to me.’

“My husband remained silent, and we sat there on the floor in the dark. When it was light, he said to me: ‘Let us both come to him.’

“I folded my hands and said: ‘I shall never meet him again.’

“He looked into my face. I lowered my eyes. He said no more. I knew that, somehow, he had seen into my mind, and understood what was there. In this world of mine, there were only two who loved me best–my boy and my husband. That love was my God, and therefore it could brook no falsehood. One of these two left me, and I left the other. Now I must have truth, and truth alone.”

She touched the ground at my feet, rose and bowed to me, and departed.

Download:

the-hungry-stones-and-other-stories-by-rabindranath-tagore

More Tagore pictures (click small pictures for full size) –

Two pictures of Tagore with Gandhi

Tagore- Gandhi

Two pictures of Tagore with Albert Einstein

A letter Tagore wrote from the Netherlands

Tagore Portrait (click for full size)

Hand written page from Gitanjali

Extra Special Treat!

For your listening pleasure- Free Download of the Audio-Book of

sadhana-the-realization-of-life

 








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Wang Wei

One of my top 3 favorite classical Chinese poets, Wang Wei lived in the Tang Dynasty, 8th century (701–761). He is sometimes referred to as the “Poet Buddha”.

Born to the upper class, from along line of bureaucrats, he passed the civil service entrance examination in 721 and had a successful civil service career, rising to become Chancellor in 758. During the An Lushan Rebellion he avoided actively serving the insurgents during the capital’s occupation by pretending to be deaf.

He spent ten years studying with Chán master Daoguang. After his wife’s death in 730, he did not remarry and established a monastery on part of his estate.

He was also an accomplished artist and his original work was often published along with his paintings related to the poetry. Few if any of these illustrations has survived. A few of his poems are rendered below.

Study

Light cloud pavilion light rain
Dark yard day weary open
Sit look green moss colour
About to on person clothes come
There’s light cloud, and drizzle round the pavilion,
In the dark yard, I wearily open a gate.
I sit and look at the colour of green moss,
Ready for people’s clothing to pick up.

Farewell


Down horse drink gentleman alcohol
Ask gentleman what place go
Gentleman say not achieve wish
Return lie south mountain near
Still go nothing more ask
White cloud not exhaust time
Dismounting, I offer my friend a cup of wine,
I ask what place he is headed to.
He says he has not achieved his aims,
Is retiring to the southern hills.
Now go, and ask me nothing more,
White clouds will drift on for all time.

(The above poem is special to me- I used to practice drawing Chinese characters writing the poems of Wang Wei. This particular poem I spent a week on the Oregon Coast in October writing and re-writing on leaves I had found. When I was finally satisfied, I put it in a frame and gave it to a friend who was going to another city to live. I didn’t know if I would ever see him again. Fifteen years later he came to visit. He still had the poem in the frame I gave him.)

Replying to Subprefect Zhang

Old age think good quiet
Everything not concern heart
Self attend without great plan
Empty know return old forest
Pine wind blow undo belt
Hill moon light pluck qin
Gentleman ask end open reason
Fisherman song enter riverbank deep
Now in old age, I know the value of silence,
The world’s affairs no longer stir my heart.
Turning to myself, I have no greater plan,
All I can do is return to the forest of old.
Wind from the pine trees blows my sash undone,
The moon shines through the hills; I pluck the qin.
You ask me why the world must rise and fall,
Fishermen sing on the steep banks of the river.

Returning to Songshan Mountain

Clear river belt long thin
Cart horse go idle idle
Flow water like have desire
Dusk birds another with return
Desolate town face old ferry
Set sun whole autumn hills
Far successively Song high down
Return come for now close shut
The limpid river runs between the bushes,
The horse and cart are moving idly on.
The water flows as if with a mind of its own,
At dusk, the birds return to perch together.
The desolate town is faced by an ancient ferry,
The setting sun now fills the autumn hills.
And far below high Songshan’s tumbling ridges,
Returning home, I close the door for now.

Temple Tree Path

Narrow path sunless temple locust tree
Deep dark much green moss
Should gate except meet sweep
In case have hill monk come
A narrow, sunless path to the temple tree,
Deep and dark; abundant green moss.
Wait by the gate when finished sweeping the yard,
In case a monk should come down from the hill.

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Daisy Track

Whenever I go out walking with my bird, people come up and get in her face and say “Does he talk?”
I say, she doesn’t talk to strangers (which is generally true). Mostly she talks to get attention and so people who are real interested in her don’t rate a conversation.
Tonight I thought I would try to record her- she was not very cooperative. She made cat noises and squawked. Then I tried to get her to whistle the Andy of Mayberry theme song. She just whistled off-key (her usual thing). I stuck her on her perch and left her with the microphone still on and went to do other stuff. For a while she mumbled a little song to herself (this is one of her night-time things- she makes up songs that don’t make any sense and sings them to herself in a soothing but mumbly voice. I came back in the room and she made some other noises at me.
Overall, not a good sample of her talking. She has a lot of things she says but getting her to do it on cue is impossible. She talks when and if she wants, usually when you want her to shut up. Sometimes she says things that I just don’t know where it comes from. One time when the family was watching TV and Daisy was in the room and feeling left out she stood up on top of her cage, spread her wings and said “I can fly!” in a loud “robot” voice.
You just never know.

birddaisytrack

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Audio Visual Aids and other stuff, uncalled for

I’ll start with pictures that have caught my eye:

I love statistics-

Stool Joke:

Who doesn’t?

Bottom line: I want my socks back.

Morans-

Found on a nameless website that doesn’t exist and isn’t at all interesting anyway click if it doesn’t animate right away):

Frogs, frogs and frogs:

Info Links:

Weird Frog Facts!

Wikipedia entry

Exploratorium Page on Frogs

That’s pictures for now and Fun Frog Factoids.

Links to which you ought to have a look- see:

Ionia– an intentional community supporting mental health recovery in Alaska. I’ve met some folks from there and it appears to be a very cool and responsible pro-active response to the Public Mental Hell System. Go to their website here.

Bi-Polar Blast– shedding it’s label. Now is called Beyond Meds. It’s a featured link on my sidebar but visit now for the fresh perspective. Click here.

Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights) is a non-profit, tax exempt 501(c)(3) public interest law firm whose mission is to mount a  strategic legal campaign against forced psychiatric drugging and electroshock in the United States akin to what Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP mounted in the 40’s and 50’s on behalf of African American civil rights.  The public mental health system is creating a huge class of chronic mental patients through forcing them to take ineffective, yet extremely harmful drugs. Go here.

Psychiatry Deconstruction Zone– Successful schizophrenia, go here.

Pendle Hill free downloads– Quaker info, not just for Friends anymore. Go here.

Protest Records! Great source for politically progressive music, all free. Includes many artists you know and some you should learn more about. Go here.

Miscellaneous Audio Downloads:

new-age-gin-and-juice

john-lennon-working-class-hero

steppenwolf-monster

tom-lehrer-proud-to-be-a-soldier

themaytals-pressure_drop

(huge file but worth it)

thisamericanlife-42907-habeous_schmabeous

pete-townsend-parvardigar

mississippi-john-hurt-nearer-my-god-to-thee

(one of my favorite “Broadway tunes”)

hair-the-flesh-failures

peter_gabriel_-_solsbury_hill

cat-stevens-trouble

jimi-hendrix-message-of-love

One more- this should be enough for today-

bob-dylan-shelter-from-the-storm-hard-rain

Bye for now- Don’t let the bastards get you down.

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Filed under animated gif, animation, CS/X movement, Frogs, Links: Recovery, Mental health recovery, mp3, Music, Spirituality

Link to on-line tour of Building J at OSH

FYI- Just got this from the Oregon Consumer-Survivor Coalition.

The Oregon State Hospital building where “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest” was filmed is now empty, ready to be torn down. Oregon Statesman Journal has a video tour and an artcle here.

This is what it looks like from the outside-

Thought I’d throw in a scene from the movie-

Link to a website that is working to save the building for historical reasons:

http://www.enterthenet.com/mishmash/call-to-action-save-the-oregon-state-hospital/admin/

Bye for now-

Rick

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Filed under CS/X movement, Links: Recovery, Mental health recovery, wellness and systems change

Mental Health Round-up

Unlike the Pendleton Roundup there will be no bull(s).

We’ve known this for a while- the evidence simply piles up:

Lilly, J&J Antipsychotics Don’t Top Old Drugs in Kids (Update1)

By Rob Waters and Tom Randall

Sept. 15 (Bloomberg) — Best-selling antipsychotic medicines by Eli Lilly & Co. and Johnson & Johnson caused more side effects and were less effective for children with schizophrenia than a little-used 30-year-old generic drug costing one-fourth as much.

For the study, published today in the American Journal of Psychiatry, 116 children ages 8 to 19 were given molindone, an older drug available as a generic, or a newer antipsychotic, either Lilly’s Zyprexa, which generated $4.8 billion in sales in 2007, or J&J’s Risperdal, with $4.7 billion in revenue.

Most children failed to improve on any of the drugs, and side effects were more common in those taking the newer ones. Zyprexa, in particular, caused weight gain and unwanted boosts in insulin, blood fat and signs of liver damage. The trial is the latest in a series of studies finding that the newer, pricier medicines don’t improve treatment for mentally ill patients, researchers said.

“This is yet one more study which has failed to find any significant area of advance or superiority of the second- generation medicines,” said Jeffrey Lieberman, senior author and a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University in New York, in a Sept. 12 telephone interview. The drugs sell because of “very aggressive marketing campaigns and a wish among patients there was something better out there,” he said.

Lilly, based in Indianapolis, fell 28 cents, or less than one percent, to $46.32 at 10:51 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Johnson & Johnson, of New Brunswick, N.J., dropped 1 cent to $70.58.

Pending Application

J&J’s Risperdal was cleared by U.S. regulators last year for treating adolescents with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Lilly has a pending application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market Zyprexa to adolescents ages 13 and older, spokesman Jamaison Schuler said in a telephone interview.

The study wasn’t long enough to compare side effects that have been associated with extended use in the older medicines, Schuler said. Those side effects include tardive dyskinesia, or involuntary muscle movements such as repetitive grimacing, blinking and movements of the arms and legs.

“It’s difficult to understand whether or not the findings of this study add any meaningful information based on the authors’ acknowledgement of the limitations of the study,” said Srikant Ramaswami, a spokesman for J&J, in an e-mailed statement today.

(Go here for the full article)

Who knew it could be worse than in Oregon??

N.C.’s mental health disgrace: Nowhere to go but up

var actBookmarkTitle = “N.C.’s mental health disgrace: Nowhere to go but up”;

• published September 14, 2008 12:15 am

There’s no way to comprehend how a patient in a psychiatric hospital that’s been warned for months about unsafe conditions could have been allowed to sit in a chair for 22 hours without food or help while staff members in the room played cards and watched television.

The patient’s experiences sound like something out of a horror movie. Doctors weren’t notified that he had fallen and hit his head while choking on medicine, nursing staff members failed to follow doctor’s orders to check his vital signs and give him fluid and hospital workers were caught falsifying his medical records, a report in the Raleigh News & Observer.

Steven Sabock, 50, died of a heart problem about 22 hours after being left in a chair in the dayroom at Cherry Hospital.

(Go here for the full article)

Of course, we already know what works

For many years, it has been assumed that people who experience severe and persistent mental health difficulties do not recover, leading to low expectations that have been seen to wear away hope and support chronicity (Harrison & Mason, 1993). In the introduction to Mental Illness and Recovery, Ralph and Corrigan (2005) stated that:

Prior to 1990, students of major mental health disciplines learned that the serious mental illnesses were defined as having poor prognoses with progressively downhill courses. Treatment was limited to custodial options. People with these diagnoses had to foster ideas of hope and recovery in a mental health system that viewed serious psychiatric disorders as harbingers of doom. According to the old school, people with serious mental illness needed to accept that normal life was impossible, that dreams of independence were unattainable, and that long-term institutionalization was inescapable. Recovery signaled a monumental revolution in the mental health paradigm. (p. 4)

Recovery is a common term that is generally equated with getting well or getting back to normal (Roberts & Wolfson, 2004). However, when this term is used with respect to mental illness, most people agree that it refers to a process rather than a steady state. Although a clear definition of recovery is elusive and seems to mean different things to different people, most people agree that a person “in recovery” is working to take back control of his or her life and is working toward achieving her or his own goals and dreams. It does not necessarily mean an absence of what might be considered “psychiatric symptoms”.  It does mean learning to relieve difficult feelings and behaviors, and to live well in spite of these difficulties (Ralph & Corrigan, 2005; Roberts & Wolfson, 2004). As people who have a lived experience of mental health difficulties have attempted to define recovery, various themes have emerged (Ralph & Corrigan, 2005). These themes include:

* Recovery is defined in terms of continual growth, increased control over one’s life, and either a redefining or reestablishing of a sense of self in the recovery process.
* Recovery is a highly individualized process rather than a universally defined end state, and requires methods of research than can capture or at least more accurately assess the dynamic and varied nature of the phenomenon.
* Recovery is a nonlinear, ongoing process—people do not move through the recovery process in a predetermined, orderly manner.
* People play an active role in their own recovery process.
* People are the experts on the topic of their own experiences, needs, and their own recovery.
* Hope is an essential ingredient.
* Meaning and purpose in life are necessary to recovery.
* Relapse is part of a process and not a failure. (Davidson & Strauss, 1992; Loveland, Randall, & Corrigan, 2005; Morse, 1997; Ralph, 2000; Strauss & Carpenter, 1981; Young & Ensing, 1999)

Ralph and Corrigan (2005) contend that recovery is concerned with a sense of meaning in life and personal comfort, and is focused on validation of personhood, recognition of common humanity, and tolerance for individual differences. Allott, Loganathan, and Fulford (2003) and (Ralph, Lambert, and Kidder, 2002, June)consider that the turning point in a person’s life, when they begin to focus away from illness and toward recovery, is marked by the individual’s active and responsible engagement with his or her distress and difficulties. Recovery is often described as having a defining moment or a turning point (Allott et al., 2003). Sometimes it is a low turning point before which the person had a hard time moving forward, feeling that they would never be well, and dealing with the grief and anxiety that is commonly associated with loss of health and hope for the future. It is sometimes claimed that recovery is often further delayed by a state of learned helplessness encouraged by the low expectations of mental health professionals. Several authors suggested that a beginning of working toward recovery can often be attributed to talking to peers about mutual experiences and self-help strategies. People begin to regain their sense of self, taking back control and responsibility for their lives (Faulkner & Layzell, 2000; Leibrich, 2001).

Coleman (1999), who has a lived experience of mental distress including institutionalization and who is an advocate for recovery, emphasized that recovery depends far more on self-help and collaboration than on being treated.

Recovery is not a gift from doctors but the responsibility of us all. …. We must become confident in our own abilities to change our lives, we must give up being reliant on others doing everything for us. We need to start doing these things for ourselves. We must have the confidence to give up being ill so that we can start becoming recovered. (Coleman, 1999, p. 7)

(See this for source)

The notion that recovery from severe psychiatric disorder is impossible is now contradicted by impressive and well-known longitudinal studies and the anecdotal experience of many, many people.

In the Japanese Long Term Study (Ralph & Corrigan, 2005), follow-up evaluations were conducted for 105 people with the diagnosis of schizophrenia who had been discharged from mental institutions between 1958 and 1962. Follow-up periods were from 21 to 27 years. Results indicated that 31% were recovered, 46% improved, and 23% were unimproved. Forty-seven percent were fully or partially self-supporting and 31% were again hospitalized. Early stages of the illness course were typically found to fluctuate with regard to social functioning, whereas later stages stabilized to either a stable self-supporting state or a chronic institutionalized state.

Roberts and Wolfson (2004) considered the International Study of Schizophrenia (Harrison et al., 2001) to be the most comprehensive long-term follow-up study of recovery. It included 1633 participants from 14 culturally diverse areas who were studied at 15 years and again at 25 years after diagnosis. The results were in line with previous studies. Outcomes at 15 years and 25 years were favorable for over half of the participants. However, the researchers in this study admit that their studies, like other similar studies, rely heavily on the presence or absence of symptoms and social disabilities, and on resource indicators as outcome indicators rather than indicators that might be defined by the study participants.

Of most relevance to this project is the Vermont Longitudinal Research study (Harding, Brooks, Ashikaga, Strauss, & Brier, 1987).  In this study, 269 people were followed for about 32 years. On average, the people in this study had been ill 16 years, totally disabled for 10 years, and hospitalized in the back wards of the Vermont State Hospital for 6 years. Patients participated in a model rehabilitation program organized around the goal of self-sufficiency, residential and vocational placements in the community, and long term continuity of care. They had been released from the hospital with community supports already in place. At follow up one-half to two-thirds were considered to have improved or recovered, depending on the criteria used. Sixty-eight percent did not display signs or symptoms of schizophrenia. Forty-five percent displayed no psychiatric symptoms at all. More than two-thirds were rated as having good functioning on tests that included both psychological and social criteria. This landmark study was hailed across the country and around the world as evidence that, given intensive education and support initiatives along with medical treatment, recovery from severe mental illness is possible. This finding had a great impact on the mental health field because it was in contrast to the longstanding view that people with mental health symptoms could not get better.

These findings were further supported by the Maine–Vermont Comparison Study (Desisto, Harding, McCormick, Ashikaga, & Brooks, 1995), which used a group-matching design. This study compared the outcomes of 269 people in Maine in similar circumstances with the 269 people in the Vermont Longitudinal Study. However, the Maine patients received standard inpatient treatment and aftercare. Vermont participants were found to be more productive and had fewer symptoms, better community adjustment, and better global functioning than Maine participants. Roughly one half of the Maine participants were rated as having good functioning. The researchers in these studies suggest that the model rehabilitation program utilized in the Vermont study (which will be discussed in the history section of this literature review) gave Vermont participants an earlier opportunity to adapt to life in the community and may explain the better outcomes for these participants.

Anecdotal evidence of recovery from severe mental health difficulties is growing at a rapid pace. Ralph and Corrigan (2005) state that as people have gained more voice around issues that impact their lives, a new understanding of recovery has emerged based on their lived experience (Deegan, 1988). This understanding of recovery was introduced in the 1970s with the rise of the consumer/survivor/expatient movement (Chamberlin, 2002) and is not based on a disease model framework. This view has emanated from individuals who were living with and trying to recover from mental illness and the effects of institutional and other medically based treatment interventions (Chamberlin, 2002). Walsh (1996) suggest that mental illness changes lives irrevocably. She says, “We can never go back to our ‘premorbid’ selves. The experience of disability and stigma attached to it changes us forever. People would not want to go back. Recovery involves growth and an expansion of capacities.” (p.  87) For many people who write about this process, recovery is a personally meaningful goal rather than an abstract construct that is studied academically.

Although Roberts and Wolfson (2004) feel that there is a need to gather and strengthen the evidence base for recovery, they suggest that this can and needs to be a major area for collaboration between people who experience mental health difficulties and care providers. They contend that meta-analyses or randomized, controlled trials provide little guidance on what might make a difference to a person who is working on their recovery.

How does the medical model fit into all of this? Roberts and Wolfson (2004), well-known British psychiatrists, claimed that the medical model is narrowly focused on disease, treatment, and biological reductionism, and contrast this with the broader person-centered focus of recovery models. Ralph et al. (2002), asserted the validity of an evidence base largely composed of personal narrative, and the views of “experts by experience.” At present there is significant tension between the medical model and recovery initiatives. Often their values and language stand in significant disjunction with one another. However, in this research project and in mental health recovery work around this country and around the world, this researcher has found that the medical community, while often unwilling to give up the notion that medical treatment is essential, is discovering that by supporting recovery initiatives and peer support, they experience more successful outcomes (Copeland, 2004c).

From:

Steven J. Onken, Ph.D., Jeanne M. Dumont, Ph.D.; Co-Principal Investigators
Priscilla Ridgway, M.S.W., A.B.D., Douglas H. Dornan, M.S.,
Ruth O. Ralph, Ph.D.; Co-Investigators
Prepared for:
National Technical Assistance Center for State Mental Health Planning,
National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors

Recovery is the reawakening of hope after despair.
Recovery is breaking through denial and achieving understanding and acceptance.
Recovery is moving from withdrawal to engagement and active participation in life.
Recovery is active coping rather than passive adjustment.
Recovery means no longer viewing oneself primarily as a mental patient and reclaiming a
positive sense of self.
Recovery is a journey from alienation to purpose.
Recovery is a complex journey.
Recovery is not accomplished alone—it involves support and partnership.

And we know about the horrible, advancing death rate of people with a mental health diagnosis:

In October 2006, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) released a report entitled Morbidity and Mortality in People with Serious Mental Illness[i]. Among the report’s findings were the following devastating outcomes for the population with serious mental illnesses:

* Persons with serious mental illnesses are now dying 25 years earlier than the general population.
* Sixty percent of premature deaths in persons with schizophrenia are due to medical conditions such as cardiovascular, pulmonary and infectious diseases.
* Increased morbidity and mortality are largely due to treatable medical conditions that are caused by modifiable risk factors such as smoking, obesity, substance abuse, and inadequate access to medical care.
* Antipsychotic medications have become more highly associated with weight gain, diabetes, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome.
* Access to adequate healthcare for individuals with serious mental illnesses is greatly impaired by numerous factors.

So- we know that the mental health treatment system/ public mental health system does not work, does not lead to recovery; we know that it in fact is part of the increasing death rate among persons who are “mentally divergent”. What is worth doing?

SAMHSA- Consensus Statement:
The 10 Fundamental Components of Recovery include:

• Self-Direction: Consumers lead, control, exercise choice over, and determine their own path of recovery by optimizing autonomy, independence, and control of resources to achieve a self-determined life. By definition, the recovery process must be self-directed by the individual, who defines his or her own life goals and designs a unique path towards those goals.

• Individualized and Person-Centered: There are multiple pathways to recovery based on an individual’s unique strengths and resiliencies as well as his or her needs, preferences, experiences (including past trauma), and cultural background in all of its diverse representations. Individuals also identify recovery as being an ongoing journey and an end result as well as an overall paradigm for achieving wellness and optimal mental health.

• Empowerment: Consumers have the authority to choose from a range of options and to participate in all decisions—including the allocation of resources—that will affect their lives, and are educated and supported in so doing. They have the ability to join with other consumers to collectively and effectively speak for themselves about their needs, wants, desires, and aspirations. Through empowerment, an individual gains control of his or her own destiny and influences the organizational and societal structures in his or her life.

• Holistic: Recovery encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. Recovery embraces all aspects of life, including housing, employment, education, mental health and healthcare treatment and services, complementary and naturalistic services (such as recreational services, libraries, museums, etc.), addictions treatment, spirituality, creativity, social networks, community participation, and family supports as determined by the person. Families, providers, organizations, systems, communities, and society play crucial roles in creating and maintaining meaningful opportunities for consumer access to these supports.

• Non-Linear: Recovery is not a step-by step process but one based on continual growth, occasional setbacks, and learning from experience. Recovery begins with an initial stage of awareness in which a person recognizes that positive change is possible. This awareness enables the consumer to move on to fully engage in the work of recovery.

• Strengths-Based: Recovery focuses on valuing and building on the multiple capacities, resiliencies, talents, coping abilities, and inherent worth of individuals. By building on these strengths, consumers leave stymied life roles behind and engage in new life roles (e.g., partner, caregiver, friend, student, employee). The process of recovery moves forward through interaction with others in supportive, trust-based relationships.

• Peer Support: Mutual support—including the sharing of experiential knowledge and skills and social learning—plays an invaluable role in recovery. Consumers encourage and engage other consumers in recovery and provide each other with a sense of belonging, supportive relationships, valued roles, and community.

• Respect: Community, systems, and societal acceptance and appreciation of consumers —including protecting their rights and eliminating discrimination and stigma—are crucial in achieving recovery. Self-acceptance and regaining belief in one’s self are particularly vital. Respect ensures the inclusion and full participation of consumers in all aspects of their lives.

• Responsibility: Consumers have a personal responsibility for their own self-care and journeys of recovery. Taking steps towards their goals may require great courage. Consumers must strive to understand and give meaning to their experiences and identify coping strategies and healing processes to promote their own wellness.

• Hope: Recovery provides the essential and motivating message of a better future— that people can and do overcome the barriers and obstacles that confront them. Hope is internalized; but can be fostered by peers, families, friends, providers, and others. Hope is the catalyst of the recovery process.

But the absence of these principles in practice is only a small part of the problem.

Other issues are directly in the way of an effective mental health supports system:

from:
http://mhtransformation.wa.gov/MHTG/articles/20080709.shtml

Trauma is among the most significant factors involved in mental illness, and it must be taken into account by caregivers and providers, four prominent speakers told the Trauma-Informed Care Symposium in Yakima on June 11.

The purpose of the symposium was to present information about the impact of trauma, take stock of trauma-related activities and programs already occurring in Washington, and develop priorities for promoting trauma-informed care in Washington.

Tonier Cain, a survivor of trauma, shared her story as one of the speakers. It begins with a severely neglectful mother, a long history of childhood and adult sexual abuse, alcohol addiction from age nine, marriage at age 14, and a drug addiction that led to 66 drug-related convictions.

After being incarcerated numerous times and losing several of her children to the foster-care system, Cain became pregnant again and found a program that helped drug-addicted pregnant women become drug-free and keep their children.

This was the turning point for Cain as for the first time, instead of asking, “What is wrong with you?” one trauma-informed clinician asked, “What happened to you?”

After entering the program, she began working on her trauma issues. In the four years since she completed the program, she has been drug- and alcohol-free, has become a national speaker on trauma issues, has become a board member on several boards of directors, and has become a homeowner and a nurturing mother to her young daughter.

“We would do well to assume that every person who comes to us seeking services is a trauma survivor,” said Dr. Roger Fallot, who opened the symposium with an overview of trauma-informed services.

Dr. Fallot discussed the difference between trauma-informed systems and trauma-specific services. As he explained, human service systems become trauma-informed by thoroughly incorporating an understanding of the prevalence and impact of trauma and the complex paths to healing and recovery into every component of service delivery. Trauma-specific services, on the other hand, refer to specific interventions that directly address trauma and its impact and help individuals heal and move forward in their recovery.

Local trauma champion Laura Merchant gave an overview of a trauma initiative currently taking place in Washington State. Merchant is the Assistant Director at the Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress and is involved in a collaborative project with the Mental Health Division that trains clinicians throughout the state in trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT), a psychotherapeutic intervention designed to help children, youth, and their parents overcome the negative effects of traumatic life events.

Merchant discussed the difference between regular cognitive behavior therapy and TF-CBT. TF-CBT emphasizes routine trauma screening for all new clients instead of assuming that, if a client has a trauma background, the client will raise the issue.

Finally, Dr. Brian Sims discussed how to create trauma-informed systems of care. Dr. Sims explained that it makes sense to ask people who have serious mental illness about a trauma history; up to 98% of people who have serious mental illness have a trauma history. Dr. Sims also discussed strategies that mental-health providers can use to facilitate trauma-informed treatment, such as giving consumers choices and treating consumers with respect.

At the end, participants filled out a worksheet in which they identified the three items that they felt were most important in implementing trauma-informed care in Washington State. On the same worksheet, participants could sign up to become “Trauma Champions,” therefore becoming members of the newly-formed Trauma Advisory Group.

The Mental Health Transformation Project (MHTP) sponsored this event, and Jill SanJule, Consumer Liaison for the MHTP, organized the symposium with assistance from Mary Blake, the SAMHSA Project Officer for the Washington State Mental Health Transformation Grant, Susan Salasin, the Project Officer for the National Center for Trauma-Informed Care, and Joan Gillece of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.

SanJule also received input and assistance from a statewide taskforce consisting of Tom Schumacher of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Cheryl Sullivan-Colglazier of the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration, Ann Christian of the Washington Community Mental Health Council, Peg Evans-Brown of the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Robin McIlvaine of the Mental Health Division. In addition to assisting with planning the event, the taskforce members have also committed to assisting with the next steps in implementing trauma-informed care in Washington.

I would say these things must be a first step to systems change:

  • There should be immediate action to train current professionals and peer providers in mental health / trauma treatment strategies (e.g. EFT or EMDR or other evidence based therapies);
  • The principles of self-determination must be assertively promoted throughout the provider community, adopted as “best practice” and made part of both administrative rules and contracting for mental health services and supports;
  • The “brain disease/ chemical/ medical model of mental health must be discarded and debunked using the existing mountain of research that contradicts this approach (the pharmaceutical industry, while it has a place in treatment for some people, must be taken out of the driver’s seat of medical/ psychiatric education);
  • The training for mental health professionals from the doctorate level to the bachelor’s level must include significant education regarding the fact and circumstances of mental health recovery and the importance of addressing trauma and incorporating self-direction in services.

With these actions, we can begin to implement the recovery principles and National Consensus Statement. Without these fundamental and vital steps, systems change will be a joke at the expense of both the tax payers and the people who are trapped in the Public Mental Hell System.

I will leave you with this story I found on Ron Unger’s blog:

By Sonia Novinsky
Jacqueline came to me about one year ago. She was a beautiful woman, in
her forties and had been diagnosed as a schizophrenic with auditory
hallucinations, depression and an inability to operate in social
environments. Now, after a year, the hallucinations are gone and she is
well adapted to society. Along the way many other benefits
occurred…including relief from anorexia and the cessation of smoking.
Here’s the story.
She arrived in a very depressive state, saying to me: “This is my last
chance. And all I can pay is 10 dollars per session.” It was impossible
to refuse her desperate appeal for help. She said…
“For 9 years now, since my daughter was born, I am taking Haldol, Prozac
and other medications because Psychiatrists considered me an incurable
schizophrenic patient. I’ve been sleeping most of my daytime during all
these years.
After a traumatic event when my daughter was born I fell into a
depression. I started listening to Mary’s voice (Jesus’s mother)
GC COMMENT: her former psychiatrist diagnosed this an auditory
hallucination.
and I had some inappropriate behaviors, including a kind of anorexia,
with hospitalization. I heard about your work with Energy and I want to
try it. I believe that this could help me to get rid of medication and
my disease. The only reason I don’t kill myself today is because my
religion forbids me to do it.”
My first thought was: should I do EFT for a psychotic client? But the
despair I saw in her eyes touched me and I decided to try. She said she
would do anything to be free from Haldol. In fact, she threw away her
drugs and cut off communications with her psychiatrist. She refused to
take drugs because of the negative effects on her and made it a
requirement that I work with her on that condition.
At the first moment she told me that she had a supportive husband and
parents, and also wonderful children and that made her feel more guilty
for being a mentally ill person. She complained of smoking too much, of
having difficulties to rest and sleep. She said she was also 30 kg more
than her ideal weight, partly because of the antipsychotic medication.
During the last 9 years she was afraid to drive a car, which was normal
to her before her crisis.
The last psychiatrist she saw was very oppressive, telling her she had
an incurable mental illness and was obliged to take Haldol for the rest
of her life. When she arrived at my office she was very angry with all
psychiatrists and therapists who took care of her during all these
years. They gave her no hope: just labels and drugs.
Before investigating core issues, I worked for some weeks on our
rapport, trying to help her on her self esteem and trying to develop
some trust in our connection. She was very upset with the kind of
relationship she had with her psychiatrists and therapists. A hierarchy
was always present, and she was the inferior part of it, all the time.
Her objections about the treatment were never validated by them.
I agreed to try to work with her without medication (her choice) only if
we could see each other almost everyday and talk on the phone whenever
necessary. She agreed to tap with me on the phone whenever I asked her.
In this case it is very important to stress how strong was her intention
to get rid of any medication because they condemned her to be out of a
normal life.
In this case, besides EFT, praying was used almost everyday. She bought
“A Course in Miracles” and did her lessons everyday. The first result,
from the combination these items, was that hallucinations started fading
down and disappeared completely.
I will make a summary of the main topics we worked with EFT. We did EFT
hundreds of times. I learned a lot with Gary, so I do a free talk while
tapping, in a way that I can’t reproduce here, introducing humor and
installing new meanings and possibilities. She was entirely open to work
with EFT.
We started working with the most apparent sensation she was having at
the moment she arrived. In my experience you can start with this state,
even if it is not a core issue. When this layer is reached, even if you
don’t clear it completely, it gives room for the traumatic memories to
show up. Meanwhile you get the basic trust needed to work deeply.
Defenses hold back slowly while the person calms down. At the same time
inner positive resources become more available for working with more
delicate issues. So we started working on her self image and self
esteem, while tapping:
Even though I was shocked by the label of “incurable schizophrenic” Dr.
X put on me, at his office, that makes me feel completely hopeless, I am
not this label, I am more than what people think about me and I deeply
and completely love and accept myself.
While we were tapping I installed some reframing about how I was one
with her, no hierarchy between us, how we were together and no label
separating us.
The result was important for the rest of the treatment: she trusted that
she was not alone and that I was assuming a strong, deep, and personal
commitment with her. Differently from other professionals she had seen
before, I was not just using a technique or medications or my
professional skills. Sometimes when there is a lack of this commitment,
then technique, titles or medications become tools that are responsible
for the client’s feelings of isolation, inferiority and separation. When
this happens, these tools become inefficient.
She disclosed that when her daughter was born she was very upset with
some events and we tapped on them. The worst one (which launched her
first psychotic episode) was her husband’s imposition that his mother
should be the godmother of her daughter. Since they started dating, his
mother and his sisters disapproved of Jacqueline and were mean to her.
Jacqueline’s husband, Leo, didn’t allow any choice to Jacqueline. He
almost begged for this, crying and screaming. When Jacqueline went to
see her mother in law to invite her, her reaction was very negative. She
said: “I accept to be the godmother but I will not receive your family
in my house.” This was a traumatic event for Jacqueline.
She felt very unhappy, with no way out, and thus she had her first
psychotic attack. She undressed completely at a soccer stadium full of
people.
We tapped for this event, and many aspects showed up. We tapped for the
shame and guilt of not having control of her behavior. While she was
narrating the event I tapped on her. This is my preferred way of tapping
specific events. This one was a very traumatic event but finally her
husband agreed on her demand that his mother would not do the baptism of
their daughter.
Thus she was victorious in some way, but she paid a high price for this
“victory”: from this day on she carried the label of a sick person.
After two months her mother in law died suddenly and that gave
Jacqueline the illusion of having a mean power inside her, and that made
her still more guilty. In some way Jacqueline felt she had no control
over herself but from another point of view she was afraid of having
some extraordinary power.
While doing EFT….
Even though I lost control about my behavior that day in the stadium and
I am ashamed about it, I completely forgive myself. This was they way I
found at that time to validate my protest against my mother in law and
my husband demands.
Even though I did what I did at the stadium and she died two months
later, it is only a belief that I can control someone else’s time to
die. This is God’s power, not mine so I can be free of any
responsibility for other people’s life or death.
Jacqueline wanted to drive a car again. She felt ready to try it, after
clearing her psychotic attack and its consequences. So we tapped for the
fear of driving, first at my office, then in her car.
Even if I have fear of driving a car because I went out of control that
day at the stadium, and my mother in law died just after it, and my
husband said that I was not trustable anymore, I deeply and completely
accept myself.
Some aspects of her fear were: fear of losing control, fear of hitting
the car, fear of hitting some one on the streets, fear of hurting her
children if she hits the car, fear of killing someone.
We made a test. We went inside her car and tapped in the car for any
aspect, like “heart jumping too fast”, “I am not able to drive anymore”,
etc With me at her side, in the car, she drove the car by herself. After
a couple of minutes she was very calm, driving the car. Since that day
she is driving the car with no problem, with her children. Sco Paulo (my
home) has very dangerous and wild traffic. Many normal people don’t
drive cars here. But she does it now.
Schizophrenia is caused sometimes by double messages received mainly
during childhood. Since her birth we could find many situations where
double messages were received. Clearing all these double messages along
Jacqueline’s life, since her birth until now, it was essential to allow
her to see everything in a different way and to create a more integrated
identity.
Jacqueline was the first child. Her father (Italian origin) wanted only
a male child. When Jacqueline was born her mother felt in some way not
comfortable with the fact that she couldn’t give her husband a boy. At
the beginning of her life Jacqueline felt no holding, no sensation of
being desired. Eleven months after her birth her mother gave birth to a
boy who received all the attention of the parents. Jacqueline was most
of the time with a single aunt that had a strong passion for a catholic
priest at that time.
We tapped for all events and sensations Jacqueline could remember that
were related to this belief of not being wanted, of not deserving love,
of being guilty for not being the boy her parents were waiting for. The
strategy Jacqueline found was trying to persuade her father that she was
good enough like a boy would be, and to do so she became too close to
him and that made her mother very jealous and ambivalent towards her.
Even though I felt the cold eyes of my cold and felt alone in my little
bed, feeling I didn’t deserve love for not being a boy,….
Even if I still feel guilty for not filling my parents expectations,
when they said to me how important it was for them to have a boy as
their first child…
Even if I felt an ambivalence in my mother’s way of looking at me
because she wanted a boy instead of me and she was jealous of my love
for my father…
Investigating it more, I discovered that when Jacqueline had her crisis,
after the birth of her daughter, she was feeling guilty and not
deserving to have two healthy children, a boy and a girl. This was
connected with a specific and important event that we addressed in each
detail.
When she was 18 years old she was dating her future husband and she got
pregnant. As she was very religious and she wanted to become a mother
she didn’t want to make an abortion. But her husband, Leo, said that he
would stay with her only if she made the abortion.
She postponed it as much as she could. She felt under a big pressure.
She didn’t want to lose Leo and didn’t want to lose her child. She
talked with her parents and they agreed with the abortion. So she did
it. It was a very traumatic event for her. She felt guilty for the
abortion, felt enraged with Leo, who didn’t go with her to the clinic,
and felt very uncomfortable with her father. After the abortion he was
very critical to her. Their parents were supportive on one side, but on
the other they were very severe and full of deception.
We tapped for each aspect of this event: the blood she saw, the place
where she laid down, the light of the room, the questions the doctor
asked her, the ambivalent sight of her mother, the feeling of
abandonment because Leo was not there, the guilt of killing a 4 months
old fetus.
We discovered that her anorexia was connected with the blood she saw at
the abortion.
Even if the medication had controlled the anorexia, it was a good
release to understand and clear this event and the compulsion that it
triggered. From that day she started feeding herself on a more balanced
way and started losing the extra weight she had at the beginning of the
treatment.
She cried a lot when we were tapping for this event. Anger at herself,
anger at Leo, anger at her parents that could have said to her: “You may
have the child and we will help you”, anger at her father, who called
Leo to drink a whisky to calm down, sensation of having committed a
murder, etc
After some sessions working on this issue we tapped for forgiveness,
reframing that she was not alone on what she had done, she was just a
girl in love with Leo and in some way she did the abortion to save her
relationship with him.
Sometimes Jacqueline called me during the evening, crying, hopeless,
feeling that something was wrong with her, feeling that her husband
didn’t love her, although he always said the opposite. She never had an
abreaction, we just tapped on the phone and she calmed down.
We could see at that moment how the mother in law event triggered the
abortion trauma, guilt and anger. When her husband made this second
imposition to her: “My mother will baptise my daughter”, she fell apart
and collapsed. Since that day she started hallucinating and having
inappropriate behaviors. One manifestation of this behavior was a
passion for a catholic priest (like her dear aunt in the past), who held
her in a compassioned way at the church.
In my point of view, the main issue for Jacqueline was not being held
since the beginning of her life, and this fact was repeated many times,
maybe because the writings on her walls were like these: “I don’t worth
to be loved, I don’t deserve to be hold, there is something wrong with
me, I should be different to be accepted, I am inappropriate, I have
some strange powers that can harm people, etc”
I was suspecting, from some facts Jacqueline told me about, that her
husband was also sending double messages to her. On one side he said he
loved her, on the other side he was indifferent, quiet, isolated,
absent.
I worked with the couple for three sessions and my impression was
confirmed. Leo was very polite but was always concerned with Jacqueline
in a very distant and professional way, asking me if she shouldn’t start
with the medication again.
During the year we worked together Jacqueline had some more depressive
moments. Sometimes she was very accelerated, talking and talking,
reading the Bible compulsively, going to the church and speaking in a
non-spontaneous and hearty way. I supported her not taking the
medication in all these moments.
Beyond EFT we did some yoga therapy, grounding and breathing exercises
to calm her and connected with the here and now, feeling her body
sensations and trusting them. Being touched by me in a very tender way
very important for her to feel grounded and accepted, bringing hope back
to her life. These procedures were enough to stop any process of losing
control or wish to die.
What was interesting is that when we cleared all aspects of the guilt of
the abortion, including the guilt of having healthy children and the
guilt of being alive (she used to talk of suicide as a self punishment),
on the same week her anxiety stopped and her voice became more calm and
she stopped smoking.
As she was more awake and present to her family she started trying to be
closer to her husband but he was always very distant, even repeating
mechanically that he loved her.
We tapped: “Even though I feel like I am crazy with the double messages
he sent to me yesterday, and maybe since I was 18 years old, I hold
myself, I deeply accept myself, and I choose not to believe that I am
crazy. Maybe there is something wrong with him..”
She asked him to go to therapy but he didn’t go.
After some time, as she was more centered and not feeling crazy, she
started realizing how strange was her husband’s behavior. It was not
difficult for her to find out that he was having an affair. Coldly, he
agreed and told her he didn’t love her anymore.
Now they are in a divorce process. As a catholic this is very
complicated to her. But she has the serenity to face this fate. She
brought her children to therapy, she went to a lawyer and asked for the
rights of her children. Leo came to me and confessed that since she was
18 he didn’t love her. He only married her because she made the abortion
and he felt committed with her and grateful to her. So maybe he has been
sending double messages for twenty years.
Jacqueline became very angry with him and with herself. We are now
tapping for her to accept reality as it showed up and finally be free of
these double messages that made her schizophrenic for 20 years. The good
part of it is the two wonderful children who are really special and are
doing the best they can to facilitate this difficult moment for
Jacqueline and Leo.
We have more work to do. The important thing is that Jacqueline is
working again in her profession. She could finally see that her husband
was away for many years, although physically present.
I think the most important piece of this therapy was the possibility she
opened for me to have a deep rapport with her, while tapping. She
started believing that she was a person, not a sickness, and as far as
this occurred, her own family started to legitimate her like a mother, a
professional and a complete human being. She felt self confidence to
re-start her professional life again. For 10 years her family and Leo’s
family considered Leo like the best husband, almost an angel, and
Jacqueline was the crazy one, the problem.
The whole system around her changed when she changed. The truth showed
up and she could see how she felt crazy also because her husband was
sending double messages since a long time, maybe during all their
marriage.
She is now living alone with her children. Leo left the house, and
Jacqueline is very grounded, determined, not even feeling a victim. She
said to me, “It’s time to turn the page: the page of my marriage, of my
labels, of my poor self esteem. I am ready to take care of me and my
children, and all I want is Leo to be happy, as far from me as
possible.”
Some months ago she gave me a long written testimony ( in Portuguese),
about her issues and her treatment, confirming some results I wrote
above. Her intention was to help other people who could profit from her
experience. One of these last days she completed the testimony verbally.
I quote this her words :
“For the first time in my life I feel peace in my heart. I have
difficulties with my son and with my husband but they don’t disturb my
peace. I want to live like a normal woman and like a helper, for this I
am praying and serving as a volunteer in a hospital.

For the first time people trust me again. I was elected for the
directory board of my club, and possibly I will be a candidate for a
public position in the near future. I am free from the obsession toward
the priest, I know it because I went to see him in the church and could
see him only like the priest he is. I don’t need smoking nor the voices
I used to listen to. I can remember the abortion without guilt. I
couldn’t have a child for myself at that moment. I feel free from the
double messages my husband used to send to me all the time, saying he
loved me but excluding me from his life and problems and pleasures. I
feel ready to take care of myself, and to take care of my children. I am
living each day, not anticipating the worse like I used to. The pressure
I felt in my heart is gone. I think I tried to protecte my husband by
accepting the double message without any protest, putting the guilt on
myself. I feel healthy as anyone in this life even if I need therapy for
some more time.”

I wrote in the computer while she was speaking. Her voice was soft.
During her worse days her voice was too acute and full of irony and
arrogance. This day her eyes were tender, her voice was tender, her
posture was elegant, her energy was kind and balanced.

Concluding I think that what was decisive was EFT plus the holding she
felt because I could accept, without any judgment, her passion and
fantasies toward the priest, her wish to die, and her fear of getting
crazy, and her deep pain, out of any category or classification that
could separate us.
Sonia Novinsky

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Filed under CS/X movement, Links: Recovery, Mental health recovery, personal story, pictures, wellness and systems change

Centering (from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones/ Paul Reps)

I said I’d find it! I love this. It was my favorite part of the Paul Reps book, ZF,ZB. I started studying and practicing it when I was 9 years old. I had many wonderful experiences. Plus I became an even weirder kid than before.

(I did not find the section “10 Bulls”…maybe next time.)

here is the first part, followed by download for the whole thing.

(for the rest of this book see https://rickpdx.wordpress.com/2008/09/11/zen-flesh-zen-bones-101-zen-stories/)

Centering Practices:

112 ways to open the invisible door of consciousness.

Transcribed by Paul Reps.
From Zen Flesh, Zen Bones*


Zen is nothing new, neither is it anything old. Long before Buddha was born the search was on in India, as the present work shows.

Long after man has forgotten such words as Zen and Buddha, satori and koan, China and Japan and America – still the search will go on, still Zen will be seen even in flower, and grass-blade, before the sun.

The following is adapted from the preface to the first version in English of this ancient work.

Wandering in the ineffable beauty of Kashmir, above Srinagar I come upon the hermitage of Lakshmanjoo.

It overlooks green rice fields, the garden, of Shalimar and Nishat Bagh, lakes fringed with lotus. Water streams down from a mountaintop.

Here Lakshmanjoo – tall, full bodied, shining – welcomes me. He shares with me this ancient teaching from the Vigyan Bhairava and Sochanda Tantra, both written about four thousand years ago, and from Malini Vijaya Tantra, probably another thousand years older yet. It is an ancient teaching, copied and recopied countless times, and from it Lakshmanjoo has made the beginning of an English version. I transcribe it eleven more times to get it into the form given here.

Shiva first chanted it to his consort Devi in a language of love we have yet to learn. It is about the Immanent experience. It presents 112 ways to open the invisible door of consciousness. I see Lakshmanjoo gives his life to its practicing.

Some of the ways may appear redundant, yet each differs from any other. Some may seem simple, yet any one requires constant dedication even to test it.

Machines, ledgers, dancers, athletes balance. Just as centering or balance augments various skills, so it may awareness. As an experiment, try standing equally on both feet; then imagine you are shifting your balance slightly from foot to foot: just as balance centers, do you.

If we are conscious in part, this implies more inclusive consciousness. Have you a hand? Yes. That you know without doubt. But until asked the question were you cognizant of the hand apart?

Surely men as inspiritors, known and unknown to the world, have shared a common uncommon discovery. The Tao of Lao-tse, Nirvana of Buddha, Jehovah of Moses, the Father of Jesus, the Allah of Mohammed — all point to the experience.

No-thing-ness, spirit – once touched, the whole life clears.


DEVI SAYS:

O Shiva, what is your reality?
What is this wonder-filled universe?
What constitutes seed?
Who centers the universal wheel?
What is tbis life beyond form pervading forms?
How may we enter it fully, above space and
time, names and descriptions?
Let my doubts be cleared!

SHIVA REPLIES

[Devi, though already enlightened, has asked the foregoing questions so others through the universe might receive Shiva’s instructions. Now follow Shiva’s reply, giving the 112 ways.]

1. Radiant one, this experience may dawn between two breaths. After breath comes in (down) and just before turning up (out) — the beneficence.

2. As breath turns from down to up, and again as breath curves from up to down—through both these turns, realize.

3. Or, whenever inbreath and outbreath fuse, at this instant touch the energyless energy-filled center.

4. Or, when breath is all out (up) and stopped of itself, or all in (down) and stopped—in such universal pause, one’s small self vanishes. This is difficult only for the impure.

5. Consider your essence as light rays rising from center to center up the vertebrae, and so rises livingness in you.

6. Or in the spaces between, feel this as lightning.

7. Devi, imagine the Sanskrit letters in these honey-filled foci of awareness, first as letters, then more subtly as sounds, then as most subtle feeling. Then, leaving them aside, be free.

8. Attention between eyebrows, let mind be before thought. Let form fill with breath-essence to the top of the head, and there shower as light.

9. Or, imagine the five-colored circles of the peacock tail to be your five senses in illimitable space. Now let their beauty melt within. Similarly, at any point in space or on a wall — until the point dissolves. Then your wish for another comes true.

10. Eyes closed, see your inner being in detail. Thus see your true nature.

Here’s the download file:

centering-practices-paulreps

For the sake of dragging in a few more folks, here is some other stuff-

Poetry by Du Fu

a famous 4 part work with literal and literate translations.

Wikipedia has this to say in introduction to Du Fu:

This is a Chinese name; the family name is 杜 (Dù).
Du Fu (杜甫)

There are no contemporaneous portraits of Du Fu; this is a later artist’s impression
Born 712
Died 770
Occupation Poet

Du Fu (Chinese: 杜甫; pinyin: Dù Fǔ; Wade-Giles: Tu Fu, 712770) was a prominent Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty. Along with Li Bai (Li Po), he is frequently called the greatest of the Chinese poets.[1] His own greatest ambition was to help his country by becoming a successful civil servant, but he proved unable to make the necessary accommodations. His life, like the whole country, was devastated by the An Lushan Rebellion of 755, and the last 15 years of his life were a time of almost constant unrest.

Initially little known, his works came to be hugely influential in both Chinese and Japanese culture. Of his poetic writing, nearly fifteen hundred poems written by Du Fu have been handed down over the ages. He has been called Poet-Historian and the Poet-Sage by Chinese critics, while the range of his work has allowed him to be introduced to Western readers as “the Chinese Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Shakespeare, Milton, Burns, Wordsworth, Béranger, Hugo or Baudelaire“.

In Abbot Zan’s Room at Dayun Temple: Four Poems (1)
Du Fu

Heart at water essence land
Clothes wet spring rain time
Penetrate gate utmost beyond step
Deep court really tranquil appointment
Reach door open again close
Hit bell vegetarian meal at here
Cream enhance develop nature
Diet give support decline
Hold arm be many days
Open heart without shame evasion
Golden oriole pass structure
Purple dove descend lattice screen
Humble think reach place suit
Flower beside go self slow
Tangxiu raise me sickness
Smile ask write poem
My heart is in a world of water and crystal,
My clothes are damp in this time of spring rains.
Through the gates I walk on to the end,
The inner court the appointed tranquil space.
I reach the doors- they open and shut again,
Now strikes the bell- the meal time has arrived.
This cream will help one’s nature strengthen and grow,
The diet gives support in my decline.
We’ve grasped each other’s arms so many days,
And opened our hearts without shame or evasion.
Golden orioles flit across the beams,
Purple doves descend from lattice screens.
Myself, I think I’ve found a place that suits,
I walk by flowers at my own slow pace.
Tangxiu lifts me from my sickly state,
And smiling, asks me to write a poem.

In Abbot Zan’s Room at Dayun Temple: Four Poems (2)

Thin soft green silk shoe
Shine bright white cotton scarf
Deep store for old elder
Fetch use for my body
Self look change without interest
Friendship how still new
Daolin talent not age
Huiyuan virtue surpass man
Rain pour dusk eaves bamboo
Wind blow green well celery
Heaven dark face picture
Most feel moist dragon scale
Fine green silk shoes,
Bright white cotton scarves,
Deep in storage for the elders,
Fetched to wear upon my body.
I see myself as old and dull,
How can our friendship stay so fresh?
Daolin’s talents exceed the age,
Huiyuan’s virtue’s superhuman.
Rain-drenched bamboo by the eaves at dusk;
Wind in green celery at the well;
The sky dark, I face a mural,
Most feeling the damp of the dragon’s scales.

In Abbot Zan’s Room at Dayun Temple: Four Poems (3)

Lamplight shine without sleep
Heart clear smell wonderful incense
Night deep hall sudden lofty
Wind move gold clank clank
Sky black obstruct spring court
Earth clear dwell secret fragrance
Jade rope revolve cut sever
Iron phoenix dark soar
Sanskrit release sometimes out temple
Bell remnant remain thunder bed
Tomorrow at fertile field
Bitter see dirt sand yellow
The lamplight shines on my sleeplessness,
My mind clear, I smell the splendid incense.
Deep in the night, the hall rears up high,
The wind stirs, and gold is heard to clank.
The black sky masks the springtime court,
To the pure earth clings a hidden fragrance.
The Jade Rope wheels round and is cut,
The iron phoenix seems about to soar.
Sanskrit sometimes flows out from the temple,
The lingering bells still thunder round my bed.
Tomorrow morning in the fertile field,
I’ll bitterly behold the yellow dirt.

In Abbot Zan’s Room at Dayun Temple: Four Poems (4)

Boy draw water well shining
Agile container rise hand
Wet sprinkle not soak earth
Sweep surpass like without broom
Bright rosy clouds shining again pavilion
Clear mist lift high window
Lean fill cover path flower
Sheet shake end steps willow
Difficulty world affair compel
Hide away right time after
Meet talk agree deep heart
How can all restrain mouth
Offer goodbye return cane riding crop
Temporary part end turn head
Vast expanse mud defile person
Listen country many dogs
Although not free yoke
Sometimes come rest rush about
Near you like white snow
Grasp hot upset how be
The boy draws shining water from the well,
He nimbly lifts the bucket to his hand.
He sprinkles water without soaking the earth,
And sweeps so well as if without a broom.
The rosy dawn again lights the pagoda,
The clearing mist lifts from the higher windows.
Leaning blossoms cover over the path,
Swaying willow leaves reach down to the steps.
I’m driven by these troublesome affairs,
Retirement from the world must be put off.
We’ve met and talked, our deepest hearts agreeing,
How can our mouths be forced completely shut?
I say goodbye and fetch my riding crop,
Parting for now, I turn my head at the last.
There’s so much mud that can defile a man,
Just listen to all the dogs throughout the land.
Although I cannot get free from this yoke,
I’ll sometimes come to rest from all the bustle.
Your presence, Abbot, acts just like white snow,
How can I be upset to grasp what’s hot?

Not enough? Wait! There’s more!

Silly pictures:

and this-

(click for full size)

or maybe…

Halloween costume for your baby:

Ah, but that’s not all! Newly recorded song I’ve posted before but hopefully this is better- it will also go on to the new music page (soon). The song- On the Wind, was conceived as God’s part of a dialogue with me regarding prayer/ meditation.

Lyrics? Chords?

Here-

On the Wind

D       Em—7   A
Reach up,       open your eyes,
Em–7                      A
feel the sky as a wheel that is turning
Em—-7               A                              Em—7                  A
Look out, see the world you have made before your eyes is burning
G                               D                            Em—7
Breathe it in slowly and breathe it out slowly again
D                              G                   A                   D
Sometimes all you can do is cast your heart upon the wind

You can cover your tracks as fine as you please
Throw out all of the things that remind you
Turn away from the heartache you fear; In the blink of an eye it will find you
Or unlock your door and just walk to the light streaming in
Release your song and let it dance upon the wind

***
G                    A                      D
You don’t even know who cares about you
G                           A                            D
The one who stands beside you night and day
G      A         D
It’s so easy to love you
G                       A                          D
and it’s so hard to watch you live this way

***

You can sit down by me; I have always been here
I have waited like the starry night
I know you aren’t ready to stay but I will hold you in the light
And I won’t hold you back, I know that’s just the place you are in
Before you go just button up your coat against the wind

The song download:

p-onthewind91208

That should cover most bases for today.

See you Sunday(or First Day, as the Friends say).

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Filed under buddhism, Chinese poetry, comedy relief, Free Music, mp3, Music, Mystic Poetry, new music, pictures, poetry, silly, Spirituality

Change-

Let’s see… Moron oil industry puppet and bald warmonger-

Yep! The GOP knows about change!

As long as I’m on the offensive:

More for fun:

Fun with dog:

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