Monday, July 26, 2010

The Beauty of Our World

There is ugliness in our world. Greed, war, deceit, all create the ugliness that fills many of us with deep despair. Occasionally this ugliness hits like a slap across the face and the sting is so bitter. But then something like this comes along and all the Beauty of the Universe is revealed to me in such Joy it is nearly unbearable.

Manose, the flute player, was born in Boudha, Nepal. His bansuri flute is one of the sweetest sounds on this planet, and he is a master at playing it.

Deva Premal was born in Nuremberg Germany where she grew up hearing her parents chanting the ancient traditional Mantras of Hinduism and Buddhism. Her voice is angelic and her modern interpretations of the Mantras make them more accessible to a contemporary audience. She is a beacon of Peace in a tumultuous world spinning even closer to self-destruction.

Miten was born Andy Desmond in London England. In his earlier life, his circle of friends included Fleetwood Mac, The Kinks, and Lou Reed. His arrangements lend themselves easily to Deva's style and voice. Together, Deva and Miten, along with Manose have travelled worldwide, playing to sold-out audiences at concerts and festivals including Earth Day celebrations in Brazil, as well as a private performance for His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.

Please enjoy.

~Still Wandering...

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Earlier today, I was reading a book by Jack Kornfield in which he quoted a phrase that is reputed to have originated in the time of The Buddha; “Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed.” On the next page, he mentioned the two former prisoners of war who met. One asked the other, “Have you forgiven your captors yet?” To which the second replied, “No, never!” “Well,” said the first, “they still have you in their prison then don’t they?”

As I read those passages which were part of a chapter on “Forgiveness Meditation,” I began thinking of all the people I would have to forgive in order to be released from the prison of my mind. Kornfield said people sometimes don’t even realize they have hurt or wronged us, so great is their own suffering of pain, confusion, and ignorance. That increased my list exponentially until I realized that in my own ignorance and confusion, I allowed things to happen to me that now must be forgiven. I have often put myself in situations where I could be hurt by others.

This has, I quickly saw, created a very unusual situation; I must also forgive myself! In fact, if I forgive others while overlooking myself, I have only achieved half my goal, and forgiveness is totally incomplete. Then, as I examined this dilemma further, I concluded that forgiving others is really not the issue at all but forgiving myself is everything! In many circumstances, I became hurt, damaged, by a situation that could possibly have been avoided if I’d only discussed what was bothering me with the other parties involved. Instead, I believed that discussion would either be futile or lead to further exacerbate the problem that probably didn’t even exist beyond my perceptions.

So often we see ourselves as victims of others whom we may perceive as stronger, more popular etc than ourselves, when in fact others may behave aggressively toward us because we intimidate them! Many times we become victims only of our own ideas about others and what we believe they think.

If we look closely, we will see that we are more alike than we are different.

~Still Wandering…

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Updates to "Share The Road... Please!"

On June 28, 2010 I posted a blog entry in reference to a letter I had sent to the Cape Breton Post that had yet to be printed. On July 3, the letter appeared in the Post and immediately drew some negative response in the online version. Rather than make you follow a link to the Post website, I will quote verbatim the conversations here. Since a link to the original letter is included here (or you could just scroll down for that matter) I will not include it here.

One note. I feel I may have caused some degree of danger for my fellow riders, since the outspoken opponent to my ideas might just target any cyclist he sees. I hope this is not the case.

But on with the update:

- July 3rd, 2010 at 15:06:22
I have no problem with people driving bikes, what ticks me off is how much I have to pay for insurance, license, registration, maintenance etc to keep my truck on the road, and your wanting me to yield to a bicycle! Sorry but NO! A little hard to stop a 5000lbs truck on a dime to wait till its safe to pass a "bicycle"! How much do these drivers contribute to the road? It costs me $200 to fill my truck, bike nothing! I say let them drive on the dirt, if not, heads up!!

- July 4th, 2010 at 17:39:29
John, besides being a cyclist, I also own a car and buy gas, pay for insurance etc. Your "heads up" comment alarms me. Are you threatening cyclists? Are you willing to commit murder to be "right?" If so, you should have your driving priveleges revoked.

- July 4th, 2010 at 17:40:08
I hope you're joking. This is not a cost comparison (and if you want to go down that road, we have to bring up the level of education of the average cyclist and their average income compared to people who drive enormous gas-guzzling trucks and the total amount of tax they each pay, and I am pretty sure the cyclist is contributing more to the economy, ok?). This is about being respectful and following the rules of the road. I think everyone can do that for 20 seconds while they pass a cyclist who is cycling properly on the side of the road.

- July 6th, 2010 at 10:51:41
Lonnie, do you have a licence plate on your bicycle? Do you have insurance on your bicycle in case you cut off a vehicle and cause an accident? Your missing Johns point, motorized vehicles have to pay for the right to be on the roads......bicycles should as well....especially on provincial and federal roads. We are taxed to have a should be no different for you.

- July 6th, 2010 at 13:12:10
Ben, no bicycle licensing system exists in Nova Scotia, but I did have licenses on my bike when I lived in other provinces and would here too if possible. My insurance company doesn't know how to insure a bicycle, otherwise yes it would be insured. And you must have missed MY point when I said I have my car licensed and insured as do most of my cycling friends. As well, the roads we ride on are badly broken by heavy vehicles like John's 5000 lb truck. As for me cutting off a vehicle and causing an accident, that is completely absurd since I am moving much slower than the average motor vehicle. Finally, IT IS THE LAW of the province of Nova Scotia who are passing the laws that are for my protection, not me. Don't forget, there are police officers on bicycles too; are you going to threaten them as well?

(This appeared 4 times)

- July 6th, 2010 at 14:50:28
(There seems to have been a technical glitch there. I only posted that comment once but it showed up three times. Well, I guess it bears repeating.)

- July 7th, 2010 at 10:33:20
Actually lonnie, your comment merits no value! Even if you repeated it 4 times! Another example, my ATV is also licensed, insured, registered with a plate, but I can't cross a road without getting pulled over. But the fella driving down Reserve St. with a lawn mower motor in his mountain bike is perfectly fine! Where is the justice? Good luck with that law lonnie when I'm clipping by at 120km/hr! Hope it helps!

- July 7th, 2010 at 19:23:28
John, just so you know, your comments have been forwarded to the Police department. But let me ask you; do you wear a seatbelt? Why? Is it because the law says you must? Do you pay insurance out of choice or because it's the law? As for the fool who has the motor on his bike (Yes I know him and he IS a fool) those are being reviewed and I believe you'll find they are outlawed soon. And by the way, where in Cape Breton can you legally drive at 120km/h?

- July 9th, 2010 at 15:36:41
Lonnie, do you pay to insure your bike for liaibility in the case you are at fault in an accident and need to reimburse damages to others cars you may cause? Unless you do, then you fail to have the same responsibilities that those of us in cars are requiered to adhear to. One of the largest factors in most accidents is a mis-match in speed. This does NOT mean it is always the person going fasters fault. Those pushing for laws to allow bikes that simply CANNOT keep up with the flow of traffic to be allowed to play in the middle of it are endangering the lives of all the rest of us that use the roads. Until the law requires that you carry the same liaibility and identifying tags ON YOUR BIKE as any other vehicle on the road then your plight is really invalid and will be treated as such by those that do abide by responsible behaviour. Your insistance that you be allowed to intefer with traffic by grinding it to a halt while you personally save a few pennies is selfish beyond comprehension. You should be ashamed. I intend to follow the letter of the law exactly, so as you pointed out, you are required to carry the same responsibilities, so go do it and get insured, until then, in court, I have my loophole.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Religious Freedom?

At least once a week, sometimes once a day, I receive an e-mail from a well-meaning friend warning me of the imminent loss of freedom I will experience if we continue to allow immigration in Canada. I am constantly being told by Christians to hate the Muslims. In fact, I recently had to back off from an argument with an old friend over Islam because I felt that friendship was being threatened by his beliefs and my assertion that his beliefs were misguided.

All religions it seems have a history of being the only ones who are “right.” As a pre-schooler, I received the standard teachings of Christianity; the old testament, based on Judaism, made references to the Gentiles who we were led to believe were “wrong” and therefore evil while the Jews were “right.” Beyond that, nothing was said of the non-Jewish inhabitants of Mother Earth.

Once Jesus was born, the emphasis switched from Judaism to Christianity, but again there was little discussion of the non-Christians or the non-Jews; the Jews who were now also “wrong” because they held to their traditions that all through the old Testament had been “right.”

During the Crusades, Christians and Jews declared war on the “Mohammedans” who in turn waged war back. The killing of Jews and Christians by each other for the time being had been put on hold it seems in favour of wiping out the common enemy. In recent years, former U.S. President George W. Bush likened a war against “Islamic terrorists” to a modern-day Crusade.

Religion it seems has always found ways to justify killing others who believe something other than what that religion teaches, even though all religious texts clearly state that to kill another is a sin resulting in a direct one-way trip to the most abominable of hells.

The genocide of indigenous peoples around the world by the Priests and Ministers of various Christian churches is, to me, incomprehensible. The ten commandments clearly state “Thou Shalt not Kill...” And yet the killing continues.

A great strategy of the settlers to North America and various other continents was to turn peaceful nations... known in the vernacular as “tribes”... against one another. When the British and French were fighting for control of “The Americas,” they involved the Natives as well. During the early 1700s, a bounty was placed on Mi’Kmaq scalps by William Shirley of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The Mi’Kmaq were allied to the French and the easiest way to conquer the French was to eliminate their allies. It almost worked.

Today, with North America, Africa, India, and most of Asia stripped of their culture by European invaders, the target is now Islam. I am being repeatedly told to hate the Muslims, even though their religion is one of peace. When I remind people of this, I am asked to explain Osama Bin Laden’s Jihad to which I reply that he represents Islam about as well as Adolph Hitler represented Catholicism.

I refuse to believe that war and killing is the only solution. I cannot believe it when both the old and new testaments of the Christian Bible, the Koran, the Dammapada and so many other great books teach us of love and tolerance.

How can we refuse to see that we have so much more to gain from mutual respect and tolerance than from exclusion and hatred?

~Still Wandering…