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About Encephalon

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  1. USAF ends firing range near Buddhist Monastery

    The "unawareness" excuse gets regularly abused, but I could accept the explanation on face value from people who are truly incapable or merely unschooled in the practice of holding multiple viewpoints in mind, much less simultaneously. I'm reading "Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect" by David W. Orr and it's pretty clear that enlightened reasoning, particularly an ecological consciousness, is not only absent in the minds of some folks, but it's almost entirely missing from the American educational model, despite environmental science programs becoming more widespread. It's damned inconvenient too; as Aldo Leopold once wrote, "To live with an ecological education is to live in a world of wounds."
  2. https://religionnews.com/2021/03/19/us-air-force-pulls-firing-range-near-a-scottish-buddhist-monastery/ Seems like a reasonable idea. The Air Force said it was “unaware of concerns from the local community,” according to Capt. Kevyn Kaler, spokeswoman for the 352nd Special Operations Wing, in a news release on Wednesday (March 17). Ignorance is an often abused excuse for certain behaviors. One would think that assessing the local social environment with a focused measure of awareness would be naturally mandated. I'm almost embarrassed for the Air Force appearing so haplessly clueless in this regard.
  3. The arts of peace and the arts of war

    Some of the most mythical warriors populating the Olympus of martial arts have become famous not simply for their legendary feats as fighters, but also for the serenity of their spirits. The descriptions we have of them often coincide. Calm, relaxed, peaceful men with a genuine love for life. They walked along the Warrior’s path because it takes an indomitable spirit to be able to live beyond conflict, but once they have reached their goals, the fighter’s intensity was put to rest in order to make room for gentleness. As Nietzsche put it, “I have become one who blesses and says Yes; and I fought long for that and was a fighter that I might one day get my hands free to bless.” They keep the Warrior’s power handy in case of need, but they lack the rigidity of those who never remove their armor. Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, is perhaps a perfect example. As he himself declared, “The way of the warrior is the creatin of harmony.” Within him feminine and masculine were united in a way that granted him unlimited access to happiness’ kingdom. The Princess had drawn a smile on the Warrior’s face. Throughout the centuries, many martial artists, like Ueshiba, have been not just fighters, but also poets, healers, painters, artists: individuals full of joy and warmth, inspired by a deep sense of love for life. there is no contradiction between having a Warrior’s power and tender feelings. The heart of a Warrior is not made to be fenced in with barbed wire. His heart is sweet. This is the main reason to become warriors in the first place: in order to be strong enough to turn our sensitivity into a source of joy rather than of suffering. Daniele Bolelli – On the Warrior’s Path Chapter 4: The Princess and the Warrior, the Yin and Yang: the Feminine in Martial Arts. https://www.amazon.com/Warriors-Path-Philosophy-Fighting-Mythology/dp/1583940669/ref=sr_1_2?crid=2IKGFPH9H3LML&dchild=1&keywords=on+the+warrior's+path&qid=1615913392&sprefix=on+the+warrior%2Caps%2C207&sr=8-2 I find this resolution between opposite energies, in this case yin and yang, warrior and gentleman, to be profoundly instructive inasmuch as our culture at large, at least here in the US, is especially bifurcated between these two impulses. Liberalism is trying to adhere to its foundational belief that people are more similar than they are different and represent a community of interests, a Yin emphasis. The political right as it manifests today, with extreme divergence from classic conservatism, is focused on the superficial differences between human beings and the establishment of distinctions based on worthiness and moralism. It is toxic Yang, a virtual if not actual death cult. (The subject of what constitutes a healthy conservatism, and a healthy warrior ethos, should be a tasty subject for another time and place.)
  4. The arts of peace and the arts of war

    The Pocket Samurai - Shambhala Press
  5. The arts of peace and the arts of war are like two wheels of a cart that, lacking one, will have difficulty in standing. Naturally, the arts of peace are used during times of tranquility, and those of war during times of confusion, but it is more essential neither to forget the military during peacefu8l times nor to disregard scholastics during times of war. When the master of a province feels that the world is in peace and forgets the arts of war, military tactics will fall into disuse, the warriors of his clan will naturally become effeminate and lose interest in martial ways, the martial arts will be neglected, the variety of weapons will be insufficient, weapons handed down through generations will become rusty and rot, and there will be nothing of use during times of emergency. If the Way of the Warrior is thus neglected, ordinary military tactics will not be established; if the military situation were suddenly to arise, there would be panic and confusion, consultation would be unprepared for, and the establishment of strategy would be difficult. When one has been born into the house of a military commander, he should not forget the arts of war even for a moment. Moreover, if scholastics are neglected during times of war, legislation will not be established, self-interest in government will abound, and, as there will be no real love for the members of the clan or the common folk either, there will be many people who carry grudges. Even on the battlefield, if one has only hot-blooded courage, he will not be in accordance with the Way; and thus being unmindful of his soldiers, acts of loyalty will be rare. Samurai Kuroda Nagamasa 1568-1623 I posted this as an example of the false dualities that often afflict human affairs. It seems that in the US the divide between the left and right consists of a failure to recognize complementarity - the right doesn't trust the left to take threats seriously and sees enemies at every corner. The left doesn't think the right can think anything through before acting in haste. The warrior-scholar is the fusion of these polarities, awareness being the state of the scholar, readiness the state of the warrior. In other words, conservatives, try on your neo-cortex for size. Liberals, hone your warrior skills and stop pretending that all enemies can be reasoned with. How else do you see this unfold in American life and politics?
  6. I have to agree with Lerner's points - keep it simple - but there's one concise source that helped me out a lot. A couple of years ago I was busy coming up with all the rotten things I was going to say about my mother at her funeral when I finally cued up the audiobook of "The Wisdom of Forgiveness" by the Dalai Lama and started listening to it while walking my dog in the hills behind my home. (Apparently, it's not possible to feel sorry for yourself while doing something positive for yourself simultaneously!) Once I got through the power of forgiving the Chinese for torturing and butchering thousands of his HH DL's countrymen, I gained some perspective on my own plights. But for those of us who took a giant dose of developmental trauma as children, it's important to remember, as Lerner said, that forgiveness is hard. And then comes the difficult work of mourning the loss of the life you could have had if things didn't unfold so wretchedly. I hear music or see some expression of human beauty and weep when I realize that my own creative potential was alla but assassinated before I was old enough to vote. Fortunately, I have the enormous gift of growing old and realizing a level of resolution I never thought possible. May you find the peace you're looking for and deserve.
  7. Just started up Tidal Wave Chi kung again -

    It seems that just about anything you could say about Clyman is true. My instructor recognizes his talent beneath the bravado; his chi kung is powerful. If you grab a copy of T'ai Chi Classics by Waysun Liao, Clyman's original teacher, you'll see where he got his ideas. My first round back in the late 2000s was successful, and I've had conversations here in TTB where it has been observed that once you open up your meridians and can direct chi with your mind, and then stop, the ability doesn't go away entirely; it sort of falls into a dormant state. So I'm happy with my progress in a week and a half. Millions of people admired Bruce Lee. He was an arrogant dragon but created something of value for the world. I guess I treat Clyman the same way.
  8. Practiced the 30 minute daily practice for a couple of years before my child was born - (then everything but parenthood stopped!). But after ten days I can feel the meridians opening up again. What can I say - it works for me. I still throw in Embrace Tree for 15 minutes beforehand. Works better if you're not a moron. I know from personal experience.
  9. I brought up the subject of group study of The Art of War last spring and got a lukewarm reception. Perhaps more of us have acquired an interest in investigating the role of strategy in our personal and professional lives. Below are my copies. I plunged in first with the Cleary translation and moved straight to The Art of War - Spirituality for Conflict. At the very least, I can derive from these two that egocentrism on any level, be it personal or on the field of battle, is THE recipe for failure. I welcome everyone with a sincere interest to join in. Regardless of expertise, I hope we can bring some small measure of scholarship to the endeavor, to be open to the insights of various interpretations without preconception. Regards, Scott
  10. Online Learning Courses- Big Discount going on

    I came in here for the first time in months and found this topic and VOILA! went to the website and found a MIDI music class for the music workstation I just bought. Incredibly fortuitous timing! Thank you!
  11. Request for feedback

    In the six hours since I posted this I've tried to understand and examine my reasons for doing so. I had second thoughts to begun with. I imagined other bums rightly asking themselves; WTF? He's 60 years old and he hasn't figured anything out yet? Good riddance. and of course I wanted to avoid the appearance of petitioning for sympathy. Those are really, really gross. After more mulling, I've concluded that some of this had to do with the nature of today's news cycle; when asked about the chances for an orderly transition of power, Trump dumped it in everyone's lap; He's really not into ballots, doesn't trust them, thinks there will be an orderly... wait for it... "continuation of power." Yep, that's a line that sends most people I know opening up the liquor cabinet or reaching for their stash. That's great advice and cheerful feedback. Thank you. My only regret is that I spent decades studying geography and communitarian movements throughout the world, and now that the US is on the verge of giving birth to 21st century fascism, I don't have the means to secure the very model of sane and sustainable lifestyle, in community, with other likeminded souls. I'm intensely disappointed by this failure to act on my heartfelt convictions, (but it's not if community life is cheap and readily available. It's actually really expensive to launch.) Selling three screenplays, or beaking into the Net industry would change things dramatically. I haven't thrown in the towel yet. I HAVE managed to paint myself into a corner and if I hold my aspirations dear, I have to comport myself like a zen master. Pursuing enlightenment at this point might just be the most practical choice for solving problems.
  12. Request for feedback

    Greetings Bums - In terms of my own self-assessment, acknowledgment of epic personal failures, disastrous examples of poor judgment, and a general pattern of being subject to the limits of trauma and negative unconscious conditioning, I'd be mighty curious to know of any insights that may have eluded me. Despite a hapless journey that closely approximates that of the Fool, I have two success stories; I've maintained exceptional health, and I managed to squeeze in a pretty good education. Now that I've got a handle on the corrosive effects of childhood trauma, I've been able to transmute a lot of learned pessimism into learned optimism and positive expectation (huge lesson/huge victory). And, combined with ten years of brain entrainment, my imagination is exploding. In combination with fitness training, nei kung, and the resuscitation of imagination, I feel the best years of my life are ahead of me. There is only one issue that's giving me pause; my imagination, my original superpower, is truly exploding. My assessment of what is possible continues to change every week. I feel like I'm sprinting before I've even pulled up my pants and tied my shoes. Any original insights? High levels of fitness, extremely low levels of stress, good education, brain entrainment rewiring the neo-cortex like a brand new hard drive, and the knowldege and experience of gathered from 60 years of being dragged around the surface of the earth by the power of my own curiosity. Something's gotta give, right?
  13. What makes a good day for you?

    I use the acronym DREW to organize my day - D - domestics; all chores pertaining to being the househusband. All shopping, cleaning, cooking, assisting my child while she's in cyberschool, all errands and appointments. When time management meets energy management, all domestic conditions get met AND I get my own life. R - reading; I'm focused on one book a week, a four-year reading plan designed to create a second BA by filling in the gaps of my formal education. Right now the focus is on Russian history and the Russian future, Buddhism, select biographies, and some hard science. Reading scores very high on the list of activities that can foster the FLOW state, and I'm deleriously happy when I'm so engrossed. E - exercise; not nearly as ambitious as I used to be, having just turned 60, but I absolutely do NOT allow myself to skip a workout. Strength training, rebounding, dog-walking up the hills, elliptical training for cardio. This is critical stress management, absolutely essential. W - writing; 4,000 words a day. I'm trying to stay on the same pace as my daughter's cyber-class, which gives me 3.5 hours of writing, broken up by ten minute breaks and lunch. When this word count is accomplished, I rejoice. One or two 20-min brain entrainment sessions now replace formal meditation practice. It's not a perfect act of replacement, but for now, it's the healthiest thing I do for brain-mind health. I also try to maintain a short daily piano practice, mostly scales and agility exercises, but this opportunity often eludes me. I don't yet have an acronym that includes music. Maybe I'll need another one some day. When these elements fall into place I go to bed with the contentment that comes from a productive day.
  14. Thanks for posting this. It's triggered all sorts of ideas. The subject is immense; there's no shortage of resources and advice. "Becoming a Writer" by Dorothea Brande is a classic and the closest thing you can get to a seasoned professional guiding you along the way. The process is spiritual and psychological and there's nothing more gratifying than sticking with the practice long enough to see your improvements, to see your own confidence growing, to go from self-doubt to a firm faith that this process can be learned. "Letters to a Young Poet" by R.M. Rilke is a treasure for writers of all abilities but for beginners there's nothing more inspiring and instructive than the first one. Doing the "Morning Pages" as described in "The Artist's Way" by Julie Cameron works for a lot of people. 15 minutes of free-writing first thing upon waking, every day. I've been doing them for over two decades now. This lights a fuse for greater creativity throughout the day. "Writing as a Way of Healing" by Louise DeSalvo is extremely helpful for personal growth as well as writing. Apparently, dedicated writing practice can be just as therapeutic as psychoanalysis, and a hell of a lot cheaper. If you can make use of audiobooks I would highly recommend "On Writing" by Stephen King. I have this on my iphone and listen to it regularly. You'll save time by internalizing his wisdom. "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield is The Hot Item for writers and artists of all stripes. It is freakishly insightful and seems to become more so the more you read it. I also have the audiobook version and never tire of listening to it when I'm in the car or walking my dog. Christ, I could go on forever with this...
  15. Which books sit on your nightstand?

    Just finished - https://www.amazon.com/Murderers-Mausoleums-Riding-Between-Beijing/dp/0618799915 Just started - https://www.amazon.com/Hope-Circuit-Psychologists-Helplessness-Optimism/dp/1610398734/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+hope+circuit&qid=1598160732&sr=8-1