Monday, March 28, 2005

Thoughts fly

After the dream of life is gone, one must carry on without it. Tennessee Willaims wrote in "A cat on a Hot Tin Roof"

Joseph dreamed a dream and told it to his brothers, and they hated him even more. [Genesis 37:5]

Come and see: Joseph told the dream to his brothers, and they made the dream disappear; for twenty-two years it was delayed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Silicon Valley spirituality

At the end, both the innocent and the guilty are executed without distinction
 Franz Kafka in his diary in 1915.

When in Silicon Valley, take the exit San Antonio Road West in Palo Alto. You'll see the Sun's old headquarters on the right site, ready to be demolished on that prime real estate area, to accomodate a community center. Turn right on Charleston and then turn right again on Fabian Way. Every single almost-new office building has signs for lease. Fabian Way meets the highway 101 and makes a sharp left turn. An abandoned restaurant has a rotten "Available" sign dangling in the windy rain.

For the next mile, almost every prime single office park is empty and available. They are facing Highway 101, where motorists could have seen the huge signs of of the Valley legends of the past.

The Bay Area continues to suffer one of the worst regional downturns in the nation's history, having lost 400,000 -- or 13 percent -- of the jobs in its seven-county area since 2001, according to the quarterly UCLA Anderson Forecast.

Stanford University is only two miles away. There is this inscription on the Wall of the West Transept of Stanford's Memorial Church
Thoughts and words travel just as God's life travels, They do not travel like an individual, but you breathe your spiritual life into the atmosphere as you do your breath, and some one else breathes it in. Those not present still receive it, for it permeates space, and all live in it and receive from it according to their unfoldment.
There is hope, I think, I believe, I need to believe. The indifference of the natural Darwinian laws of survival is not absolute. Maybe Stanford's blows it's spiritual life, made out of thoughts and words beyond the Valley, touching the planet. But the strongest, the purest breathing of that spirit is still here, in Silicon Valley.


Monday, March 14, 2005

A Poem by Wally Keller

1ST NTRM RPORT ON TH CAUSS & MANIFESTATNS OF DVERGNT THINK
PROCEDUR CONCERNNG TH POLITICS OF SPRING

Th Peopls Rpublic of Poetry was nspird durng a short-livd lov
afair wth a dipoemat's butiful dawtr.

Delina, may your cheeks be trilliums and sanctioned by the
Provincial Government of Poetry.

[...]

If a poet were the premier of something, what might that something
be? Would it be a nation of obedient poetry lovers? Would the
national militia consist of mighty tulips armed with colour and
sunshine? Would the national anthem be a long joyful sigh after
love? Would the Union of Pollen Producers go on strike, demanding
higher rates of sunlight and more elaborate fringe benefits, such
as lighter showers and heavier dew? Would this cause an image-
national crisis? Would the Creative Intelligence Agency report
that the Insect Pollen Transportation Organization had been
infiltrated by dissident outside agitators, such as breezes? Then
what would our foreign policy be? Would we accept only immigrants
carrying passport dreams? Then what about the refugees from Grief
and defectors from Despair? Would we send out ambassadors to
collect the neglected? Would we establish dipoematic relations
with Pain, negotiate for a ceasefire, and settle for shorter
durations? Will we pick and choose our enemies (Banality,
Mediocrity) at the drop of a poem and come sharging, singing the
Battle Hymn of the Poetic?

Saturday, March 12, 2005

mystics-in-residence

We have identity facades. We have a name, a job title, a SSN, a Meyer-Briggs evaluation a status (divorced, remarried), a boss, a company, an university degree, a dentist, a car, a diary or scraps of papers, a lover (real or imaginary). Most facades are hidden in the huge underwater side of the Iceberg.

The job title is right at the top of the visible floating iceberg. In Silicon Valley we even have a put-on air of bohemian product managers. We are the ones who explore the collective soul of a mass of amorphous invisible people.

We segment the collective sub-consciousness and think of products as objects with ideas that feed the illusions other people deeply care for. We do not deliver, we bring deliverance to this world. Or do we?

The product managers in Silicon Valley are the mystics-in-residence who listen twenty four hours a day to hear God speaking to them.

Think Google. Think Solaris 10. Think Seti@Home. They are here.

Think Grid Computing. Its on its way.

The Invisible Angels -Updated

I went to an one-day workshop at the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment, in San Jose, California. It seeks what is divine in every person, independent of ethnicity and tribe and religion. The Reverend is a Lady named Ellen Grace O'Brian who signs the letters: "Reverence to the Divine within you."

The center is in a splendid colonial house on University Avenue with shady trees and old mansions in Rose Garden district of San Jose.
The meditation today was lead by Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro, who wrote many extraordinary books. He comes from the new movement of Renewal. He teaches a meditation course he calls "Shiviti: Living in the presence of God."

They were about 20 people. One lady with a tiny cross on her neck said she communicates with animals: squirrels, dogs, birds. Other lady was a Palo Alto social worker with wavy hair and intelligent eyes. Another woman with a beautiful voice assisted many terminal patients to feel better waiting for their death. They were few men. one was Pastor. Another was the husband of a lady who grew up Jewish in San Francisco, but forgot all about it.

As a mantra we sang:

Adonai. A-do-naiiii, elra-chum v'-cha-nun... erech a--payim

and then we walked meditating in the beautiful garden with old Spanish tiles and fountains with humming waters. Flowers were floating in tiny containers spread over the grass and lustful, yet restrained, wild-looking plants.

It was strange to see the Pastor and the Lady who spoke with squirrels, walking and saying Adonaiiii...

I thought what to ask God. I had a more direct conversation with my mother and father who are dead many years, yet, if I would not believe there a Divine, I could even try to utter a word. The feeling that they hear me, made me open.

I read in one of Rami's books that what we know for sure is that I will die and that I love my family and few other people. We are here temporarily part of an infinity. We have "nefesh" (which means "me" and has an ego). Nefesh means soul, but in Hebrew, there are 5 words for soul: nefesh, ruach, neshamah, Chayya and Yechidah, each one level higher than the other.

Talking with mother and father, I switched to God. I wanted to know what I really want. I want to know who really am I.

I went back to the room. We will repeat a few times the same: we go out, walk, try to say something, come back. In the second walk we walked slowly and said: HaRachaman, HaRachaman, HaRachaman, for twenty minutes. Again I see the Lady from San Francisco and a young woman with many earrings, saying HaRachaman HaRachaman.... HaRachaman .

Somebody asked what it means. It means the ONE who has pity. But we can say whatever we want: we can say Spaghetti, if we want and feel better. All we want is to change the low mood in spirited high mood.. We want to leave the "Mochin d'Katnut" (Katan means small in Hebrew) and reach the state of "Mochin d'Gadlut" (Gadol means great in Hebrew).

I went to eat in an Ethiopian Restaurant. , The Queen of Sheba on Alameda street on San Jose, one block away. Most people ate chip and fish, but the Ethiopian menu was on the last page. I ordered a vegetarian Atklit (curried vegetable stew made with carrots, potatoes, cabbage, peppers and onions) and Misir Key Tot (Lentils cooked in Berbere sauce (Spicy ....)

While eating, I started reading the last book of Rami Shapiro, named "Open Secrets" and it is dedicated to Father Thomas Keating.

In the foreword, Rami confesses that a few years ago , in spite of being the author of many books read all over the world, of being a successful Rabbi, of being invited by his peers to advise them, he "felt stale and listless." He talked to everyone (family, therapist, friends). They were sympathetic but could not help him.

So he turned to his Rabbi the Zalman Shachter Shalomi who knows Rami Shapiro for twenty years. Zalman said:

"Your teachings on the Internet, your books , your courses, all had a profound impact on the Jewish people, in America and South America and around the world.... You are a prophetic voice for the twenty-first century Judaism. ... When I am seeing you are not happy, I know why: enough with the Jews."

“Excuse me?”, said Rami

“Enough with the Jews”, repeated Rabbi Zalman who was sitting next to his wife, Eve. "now you must take your teachings beyond the walls of the synagogue."

"Am I supposed to become a missionary?"

"This is what I think: Shift your focus, no need to convert anyone. There is a need to enlighten people about what Judaism is and what it says. I suggest you offer Judaism for people who wish to learn from it as they do from Buddhism and Sufism. Create a Judaism for everyone, not just for Jews."

I clicked. There is an organization in Venice, CA, called One-River . They seek “spiritual literacy“ as an on-going quest for meaning and wisdom through the study of the world's spiritual literature: Baghavad Gita, Chuang Tzu, Dhammapada, Diamond Sutra, Gospel of Thomas, Hadith, Heart Sutra, Hebrew Bible, Koran, New Testament, and the Tao te Ching.

I left the restaurant, leaving part of the Misir Key Tot on the plate - it was really spicy. After lunch, all makes more sense.

Back in the classroom I hear the Pastor and beautiful ladies singing again Adonai mantra (mantra is plural, I learned).

Rami ended our day by saying we have two lives: Life 1 and Life 2.

In Life 1, stage 1, we accumulate: bicycles, cars, degrees, education, jobs, money, spouses and furniture and children.

Life 1 stage 2, is when we seek spirituality: we treat spirituality with the same desperation as we treat the accumulations from Stage 1: we buy CDs and tapes and books and attend retreats and seek answers, to the questions we have difficulty to ask, - or - hear replies that never quite make it.

The Life 2, we just exist (Hineni = I am ). No accumulations, just exist.

Life 2 is sad. It was the life of my mother in an old age home. I think Life 2, as Rami describes it, is a luxury. While he signed his book for me, I asked if he read "Values Prosperity and Talmud" by Larry Kahaner, It has a chapter of the spirituality of money. "Of Money?", he asked.  "Yes", of money.", I said.

I also wanted to remind him about the prayer for "parnasah" (a word that means the combination of a good livelihood without sacrificing the inner happiness). The prayer says something like that:

"God give us the food before we notice that we need it, make us have a bit more than enough to keep your obligations. Always you give my livelihood by opening your hand, and do not let us depend upon those made of flesh and blood..."

On Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year), we watch the letters of secret names of Gd that we are not allowed to say with loud voice and not even try to read them. Just look at them a few seconds, before going on...

The word of God we spell

' H I H - in Hebrew יהוה 

We say it Adonai, we do not pronounce the spelling  If we place it vertically, we see in Hebrew characters:
y

h

w

h
Every person we meet is accompanied by a an Angel from God. The angel is invisible, so we must look very intense at each person who walks on the street. We all have head, bodies, hands and legs. 'HIH sign resembles a head, a body, the hands and the legs human beings have.

Everyone has his or her Angel, almost invisible.

Joan Borysenko, Father Thomas Keating, Rabbi i Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Rabbi Rami Shapiro
"Seized by Faith" organized by tells the stories of 10 spiritual leaders who have pioneered new ways for their ancient faiths to be accessible and meaningful today and demonstrate how spiritual faith can be a unifying force to create peace. Participants include Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi; Seyedeh Nahid Angha and Shah Nazar Sayed Dr. Ali Kianfar, Muslim Sufi; Sylvia Boorstein, Buddhist, Jewish; Joan Borysenko, Spiritual Mentor; Reverend Matthew Fox, Episcopalian; Andrew Harvey, Spiritual Activist; Sister Mary Jose Hobday, Native American, Catholic; Father Thomas Keating, Catholic; Reverend Mother Sudha Puri, Vedanta Hindu; and host Rabbi Rami Shapiro.

The event was organized by  The Renewal Jewish  Congregation, Pardes Levavot in Boulder Colorado


References:
Center for Spiritual Enlightenment
One River foundation

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