Monday, March 25, 2013

Rake or Blower

What happened to the rake? You know, the thing people used in the past to gather up leaves and debris from their yards. My neighborhood is filled with people who may not be affluent, yet they do have gardeners. Mostly, my neighbors work so many hours at their jobs, there isn’t time to do the gardening themselves. And the gardeners, who cut the grass and go within fifteen minutes, all have blowers…not a rake to be seen on their trucks. The noise is horrid, since there are so many houses and so many gardeners all coming and going at different times of the day throughout the entire week. Honestly, some days I feel like going outside, ripping off their masks and noise canceling earphones to scream, “You can’t hear the noise you make, BUT I CAN!” If wouldn’t work. I’d be called a crazy woman…or worse. I’ve told my own gardener not to use a blower. The dirt and debris isn’t ever picked up. A lot of it ends up on the cushions of the swing in the courtyard that I get to clean-up myself. Even my one neighbor, who does have the time to do his own gardening, has a blower. I sigh deeply as I think, the rake is one of those items lost in the mist of time when people had the moments in their lives to actually cut, trim, and clean-up. So, I’m not really upset about the noise and dirt as much as the fact that everyone is on the fast track of life…heading towards…you tell me where.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


In the Between is about a woman who dies and travels through the Bardo. The book opens with an explanation of that term: she is going from one life to the next. The word Bardo comes from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, loosely translated as: The In Between. According to that book, souls travel through it for 49 days, during which time they are encouraged to accept any one of numerous heavens being offered. Unless, as in this case, there is some karma left over from past lives. But our soul, in the story, is not Buddhist, she is from the West. And being the kind of woman she has become through all the countless lives—she believes she has lived—she developed her own ideas about living and what happens after death. Based on her ideas she re-lives some of her past lives to help with the evolution of her soul. But before any of that happens—right from the start—when she first arrives at the Bardo, she is surprised to discover something odd about her soul that is confusing. She learns there are two parts to her soul—the animal and the spiritual. The two soul aspects disagree about what is supposed to be accomplished while in the between and the book spells out those differences of opinion through lively dialogue. After achieving some harmony, our soul agrees to re-live her past lives that took place in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Jerusalem, Istanbul, Spain, Brussels, France, England, the U.S., and India. After each experience the two soul aspects review what happened—why she made choices causing karma that must be balanced in her future—and the two parts of our soul begin to grow together. She learns everything is much more complicated than she ever thought, including all of her relationships, whether they seemed good or not so good. She also finds out how it is that thinking people develop their personal ideas about God, the universe, and spirit, but most importantly why souls are on planet earth—at all. The book allows for all of us to ask ourselves: What if it is true? What if we don’t go to Heaven…or Hell when we die? What if karma does exist? What if we do reincarnate into another life to try to learn about our past mistakes and get to balance out misdeeds?


About 18 months ago the CBS Sunday show did a survey and discovered that 1 in 5 Americans believe in reincarnation and 1 in 10 believe they can remember a past life they lived? Check out what famous people like Jesus of Nazareth, Rumi, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Benjamin Franklin, Carl Gustav Jung, and others said. Certainly food for thought. Jesus of Nazareth: “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” And the disciples answered: “Some say that thou art Elijah, and others Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist. And if you will receive it, this is Elijah who was destined to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 16:13-14; 11:11, 14-15 Hermes Trismegistus: The Soul passes from form to form; and the mansions of her pilgrimage are manifold. Thou puttest off the bodies as raiment; and as vesture doest thou fold them up. Thou are from old, O Soul of man, yea, thou art from everlasting. Egyptian Hermetic Fragments Rabbi Simeon Ben Jochai: All souls are subject to the trials of reincarnation. They know not how they are being at all times judged, both before coming into this world and when they leave it. They do not know how many transformations and mysterious trials they must undergo. The souls must re-enter the absolute substance whence they have emerged. But to accomplish this end they must develop all the perfections, the germ of which is planted in them; and if they have not fulfilled this condition during one life, they must commence another, a third, and so forth. The Zohar or Kabalistic Book of Light Rumi: There have been thousands of changes in form. Look always to the form in the present; for, if you think of the forms in the past, you will separate yourself from your true Self. These are all states of the permanent which you have seen by dying. Why then do you turn your face from death? Die happily and look forward to taking up a new and better form. Like the sun, only you set in the West can you rise again with brilliance in the East. Mathnawi Ralph Waldo Emerson: It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do no die, but only retire a little from sight and afterwards return again. Nothing is dead; men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals and mournful obituaries, and there they stand looking out of the window, sound and well, in some new strange disguise. Jesus in not dead; he is very well alive: nor John, nor Paul, nor Mahomet, nor Aristotle; at times we believe we have seen them all, and could easily tell the names under which they go. “Nominalist and Realist” Benjamin Franklin: Finding myself to exist in the world, I believe I shall in some shape or other always exist; and, with all the inconveniences human life is liable to, I shall not object to a new edition of mine, hoping, however, that the errata of the last may be corrected. Letters Thomas Huxley: In the doctrine of transmigration, whatever its origin, Brahmanical and Buddhist speculation found, ready to hand, the means of constructing a plausible vindication of the ways of the Cosmos to man. None but very hasty thinkers will reject it on the group of inherent absurdity. Like the doctrine of evolution itself, that of transmigration has its roots in the world of reality. “Evolution and Ethics” Carl Gustav Jung: My life as I lived it had often seems to me like a story that has no beginning and no end. I had the feeling that I was a historical fragment, an excerpt for which the preceding and succeeding test was missing. I encountered questions I was not yet able to answer; that I had to be born again because I had not fulfilled the task that was given to me. When I die, my deeds will follow along with me—that is how I imagine it. I will bring with me what I have done. In the meantime it is important to insure that I do not stand at the end with empty hands. “Memories, Dreams, Reflections”