Thursday, April 16, 2009Good Common Sense
God did not put you on this planet to be a beggar. God put you here and said: You are the prince of the throne and an heir to all powers, principalities, and kingdoms. I will give you the Light. I will sustain you forever, and all you have to do is come back to Me.
Please read this good common sense from the excellent Nassim Nicholas Taleb in a recent Financial Times article:
People who were driving a school bus blindfolded (and crashed it) should never be given a new bus. The economics establishment (universities, regulators, central bankers, government officials, various organisations staffed with economists) lost its legitimacy with the failure of the system. It is irresponsible and foolish to put our trust in the ability of such experts to get us out of this mess. Instead, find the smart people whose hands are clean.
Do not give an addict more drugs if he has withdrawal pains. Using leverage to cure the problems of too much leverage is not homeopathy, it is denial. The debt crisis is not a temporary problem, it is a structural one. We need rehab.
Finally, this crisis cannot be fixed with makeshift repairs, no more than a boat with a rotten hull can be fixed with ad-hoc patches. We need to rebuild the hull with new (stronger) materials; we will have to remake the system before it does so itself. Let us move voluntarily into Capitalism 2.0 by helping what needs to be broken break on its own, converting debt into equity, marginalising the economics and business school establishments, shutting down the "Nobel" in economics, banning leveraged buyouts, putting bankers where they belong, clawing back the bonuses of those who got us here, and teaching people to navigate a world with fewer certainties.
Then we will see an economic life closer to our biological environment: smaller companies, richer ecology, no leverage. A world in which entrepreneurs, not bankers, take the risks and companies are born and die every day without making the news.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009At Ease
Tithing is a way of saying, “God, pour forth whatever blessing You have for me.”
God is health, or lack of disease.
God is always at ease, always present, always now, and is constantly creating and expanding.
(From God Is Your Partner by John-Roger, DSS)
My favorite joke of all time is about three Jews boasting about their rabbis. One claims his rabbi is so devout and fearful of the Lord he trembles night and day, and has to be strapped to the bed so that he doesn't fall out.
The second claims his rabbi is so holy and close to God that God trembles and is afraid of displeasing the rabbi.
The third says his rabbi went through both those stages. First the rabbi used to tremble, then it got to the point where God trembled. But then the rabbi thought it over and said to God, "Look, why should we both tremble?"
I think of that joke when I read J-R's profound quote above. If "God is always at ease, always present, always now," why should I tremble? Why don't I jump on the bandwagon and be at ease?
In fact, I think I will. Now.
Here is one of the reasons I think that the economic recovery is going to take a long time. Financial Quote-of-the-Day from columnist and financial commentator Stephen Roach:
Put it together and it all smacks of a dangerous sense of déjà vu: promoting a false recovery by kick-starting overextended, saving-short American consumers to borrow once again by leveraging their major asset.
Fortunately, the American consumer is smarter than the quick-fix Washington mindset. Shell-shocked families -- especially some 77 million baby boomers for whom retirement planning is an urgent imperative -- know they have no choice other than to save.
Monday, February 23, 2009The Good, the Bad, and the Adorable
Here's the paradox:
Spirit has always been here.
And for the most part,
it seems like we've always been here.
So if we've always been here
and it's always been here,
why are we not knowing
that we're both here?
What is this thing inside of us
that stops us from knowing
what's going on?
(From The Tao of Spirit by John-Roger, DSS)
I am not a political person. I am not an activist and politics has not been an interest of mine. I do feel privileged to be able to vote. People have fought and died for that right and in a strange way I feel I am honoring them by voting. I don’t have an allegiance to any party. I don’t care about the parties or partisanship. What I do crave for is good, honest leadership. That last sentence, while true for me, is of course a set-up.
I voted for Arnold Schwartznegger for Governor of California because I thought he would be a refreshing change. He promised not to raise taxes. Last week he broke that promise and has to al large part broken his ties from the Republican Party as a result. When his term expires and he leaves office next year my guess is that he will joining Obama’s government in some capacity. Undoubtedly he will be continued to be rewarded for breaking promises and essentially doing nothing except what is in service to his rise to power.
This last year I have been left in a state of disillusionment. It’s a good thing. A reality check for me. I have been awed by the extent of the corruption lies, and insincerity at the heart of our public leaders. I am just fed up with the whole economic political thing. It’s enough to drive anyone to doing spiritual exercises.
At the end of the day we can only trust ourselves, which is why we must develop that trust within ourselves. And we can trust others if they have EARNED that trust and if they are trustWORTHY. In this time and age, may take on is that this trust will become increasingly important and define our relationships to a much greater extent than in the past fifty years.
Okay, time for a complete break. You’ve got to check this website out.
And here is a contemporary bedtime story for you:
Once upon a time....
Young Chuck moved to Texas and bought a donkey from a farmer for $100.
The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day.
The next day the farmer drove up and said, 'Sorry Chuck, but I have some bad news, the donkey died.'
Chuck replied, 'Well, then just give me my money back.'
The farmer said, 'Can't do that. I went and spent it already.'
Chuck said, 'OK, then, just bring me the dead donkey.'
The farmer asked, 'What ya gonna do with a dead donkey?
Chuck said, 'I'm going to raffle him off.'
The farmer said 'You can't raffle off a dead donkey!'
Chuck said, 'Sure I can. Watch me. I just won't tell anybody he's dead.'
A month later, the farmer met up with Chuck and asked, 'What happened with that dead donkey?'
Chuck said, 'I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars apiece and made a profit of $898.00.'
The farmer said, 'Didn't anyone complain?'
Chuck said, 'Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back.'
Postscript: Chuck went on to become president of a large Wall St. investment banking company and although he drove the company to bankruptcy and was fired, he now lives comfortably on his own island, with his wife, two dogs, and several hundred million dollars, and lived happily ever after.
Sunday, February 1, 2009Always at Ease
Tithing is a way of saying, “God, pour forth whatever blessing You have for me.” God is health, or lack of disease. God is always at ease, always present, always now, and is constantly creating and expanding.
(From God Is Your Partner by John-Roger, DSS)
I love the above quote and have used it before but I don't get tired of reading it. For me it is a kind of road map. If I want to be with God, and I do, then a contracted, tense state doesn't get me there.
The map shows me that being present, and being at ease with whatever is going on, starts to get me in attunement with the Divine, along with a creative and expansive approach to my inner and outer life.
It's very comforting as it is always available to me. No need for me to be a victim, I can choose into it at any moment.
Monday, January 19, 2009The Joy of Assumption
I don't have much to say today. I have been busy working on J-R and my new book, Serving and Giving: Gateways to Higher Consciousness. I need to complete it by the end of the month. I can't say I like deadlines, they make me nervous, but they do have a way of getting things done. And as Bob Engel, my Tai Chi Chuan teacher often reminds me:
"There is a simple next step to everything, and that simple step can always be taken in a relaxed way."
He is actually quoting me, which at times is either a tremendous compliment or extremely irritating. Nevertheless, it is helpful for me to keep it in mind. It is a great antidote for overwhelm.
I also tell myself that time is malleable. I actually don't know whether it is or not. But it seems to work to say that it is.
Anyway, I thought this John-Roger quote from What's It Like Being You was worthy of your contemplation today:
But before we dismiss assumption altogether, we should look at its positive side, its spiritual counterpart. When your consciousness is crystal clear, you can assume things and know that they are so. This is an entirely different process from ordinary assumption. In the spiritual realm, first you know something, then you assume; you claim your knowing.
Use the Law of Assumption for your upliftment and spiritual growth. Assume that you are healthy, assume that you are awake, assume that you are divine, assume that you have abundance. God didn’t put us on Earth and say, “Beg.” He said, “All I’ve got is yours.”
When you live by the Law of Assumption, you cannot second-guess or doubt yourself. There must be crystal clarity inside you, a deep, certain knowing, not merely belief.
Sunday, January 4, 2009The Key
Societies will fall many, many times in the evolution of the planet, and governments will come and go; that is the nature of this planet. But the Spirit stays forever. The key is this: reach always into the Spirit for the highest good of all and perceive all situations from that point.
(From: Timeless Wisdoms by John-Roger, DSS)
Yes, this was in Loving Each Day today, but it was too good not to be read again as it is germane to this site.
Here are my thoughts for the new year:
1) The spiritual principles of abundance and prosperity will outlive the financial system.
2) Last year proved the fraud was endemic to the system.
3) That will not change this year.
4) Government intervention was necessary to save the world financial system from collapse.
5) This intervention will undoubtedly lead to more fraud and future financial collapse.
6) Printing trillions of dollars out of thin air will have long term negative consequences.
7) Thus prepare yourself inwardly and outwardly.
8) You have time, as it will probably not happen this year.
9) None of this is new. It is just history repeating itself. For us old souls it is just watching the same movie we’ve seen many times before, just with different clothes.
10) The spiritual principles of abundance and prosperity will outlive the financial system.
I will be commenting on each of these points throughout the year.
Saturday, January 3, 2009Let's Not Forget That We Are Divine
A lot of people say, “There has to be something better than this. There has to be a lot more than this.”
There is a lot more than this, but not necessarily on the physical level. Wherever you are, no matter what you are doing or what you have with you, you can have the greatest experience possible: the awareness that you are a child of God and are divine. The one you have been waiting for is already here—and has been here for a long time. You are the spiritual being you’ve been searching to find.
At some time, within your inner consciousness, you vowed to become aware of your divinity. Eternally, that awareness is yours. You are the one you seek. You are the divine one, the promised one, the Beloved, and indeed you are the Light, you are divine, and you are in a state of becoming aware of what you already are.
You may shut down your awareness of God by putting your faith in the world, professing God’s greatness out there. But God’s greatness isn’t out there. It’s inside you. If you cannot find God within yourself, I will guarantee you, you cannot find God anywhere else. And when you start to find God in yourself, then you can find God anywhere. When you totally find God in yourself, then you will find that God is everywhere.
(From Timeless Wisdoms by John-Roger, DSS)
Lots going on in the world and I have lots to say, but let’s relax for the weekend.
I enjoyed this fun thought provoking post from Paul Kedrosky on What Have You Changed Your Mind About?
What Have You Changed Your Mind About?
So, what have I changed my mind about? It is a question that has been gnawing at me a great deal lately, with a general sense that changing my mind on things is more important than ever, and that I’m not doing it often enough. Not, of course, in some whimsical sense -- today I like blue, tomorrow I like red -- but in the sense that the world is saying on many levels that so much of what I thought I knew is wrong. I can hardly keep up with the long list of things that I’ve changed my mind about recently.
Some examples of things I’ve changed my mind about in the last year:
Whether there are institutions that are too big to fail (No)
Whether phones need keyboards (No)
Why TV exists (I don’t know anymore)
Whether blogs matter (More than I thought they did)
Whether Twitter is any use (Yes)
Whether AM radio is a wasteland (Yes, but still matters)
Reading books on screen (Totally doable)
Venture capital (Much closer to unnecessary)
Hedge funds (I’ve gone from it being mostly about chance to it being almost entirely about chance)
Professional sports (Gone from being a waste of time to a complete waste of time with looming bankruptcies)
This time it’s different (Sometimes it really is different)
Whether oil can get to $200/$20 again in 12 months (Yes and yes)
Sunday, December 7, 2008The Golden Age Cometh?
Anne commented: “Could we now be birthing the Golden Age that JR has talked about? The preparation, the incubation, has been done and the glory of God is present amongst us. As we awaken to our greater awareness, the miracles are taking place and we celebrate. How very blessed we are.”
That’s a very nice thought and I had understood J-R to say that we are the bridge to the Golden Age. A bridge can be a connection. It can also be a structure that goes over something—a bridge over troubled waters.
Inwardly we can be there now. Outwardly, it appears we have a ways to go. Here’s J-R on the subject:
...as we place our consciousness into the Golden Age, we can be there right now. We are the bridge in consciousness, and this means that we may sometimes have to get down in the dirt and work to get this world back into the consciousness of glory.
Will everyone be able to see the glory when it comes? Spiritually you can perceive anything into which you place your consciousness.
(From The Way Out Book by John-Roger, DSS)
What has always been important to me is to live a life of integrity regardless of circumstances. With God as our Partner we can relax and behold the glory of God now. Why wait?
Thursday, November 13, 2008Oy!
Spirit itself lives in the inner consciousness.
Its voice rings in the stillness of your heart.
Its movement is in the perfect stillness within.
Its greatest expression is in the peace and loving
that reside at the core of your beingness.
When you are attuned to Spirit,
there is nothing in the outer world that matters.
Even your negative thoughts and emotions don't matter.
They have no power at all in the presence of Spirit.
The negativity of others does not matter.
There is love and forgiveness –
for everything and everyone.
The more you are loving,
the more you free yourself
to experience the Soul.
(From the Tao of Spirit by John-Roger, DSS)
So how did all this consumerism start?
Marjorie located this for us (from: www.answers.com/topic/consumerism):
"Economic historian Don Slater has said that the 1920s marked an ideological milestone in the progression of consumerism. Mass advertising of new products heralded them as the key to modernity, and consumers embraced the idea. Advertising implied that "consumerism itself [was] the shining path to modernity: [it] incited [the] public to modernize themselves, modernize their homes, their means of transport." Indeed, Slater sees in the consumerism of the 1920s a "double face," one which shows mainstream middle America embracing consumerism as a path toward security and contentment and a radical youth/flapper culture embracing it as a license for pleasure. For whatever sector, sociologists would argue that 1920s consumerism pointed both groups away from the carnage of World War I.”
So there you go. It certainly wasn’t part of the Founding Fathers’ culture. One thing is for sure with 70% of the U.S. economy driven by consumers it isn’t going away. Not that it is all bad, far from it, but I think we can all agree that it has been overdone.
Joe Surowiecki in his New Yorker blog suggests that the U.S. government is going to subsidize credit-card lending. Great, that’s all we need.
Given the magnitude of the crisis, I’ve been a firm supporter of more government intervention, not less. But what, exactly, is the harm that we’re trying to remedy by making it easier for people to use credit cards? That people aren’t shelling out enough of their money to cover exorbitant interest payments? Are we really saying that the wellbeing of the U.S. economy depends so much on people borrowing money at fifteen to nineteen per cent that we’re willing to spend taxpayer money subsidizing that market? I’m sorry, but there’s no way that’s true.
There’s no doubt that the ability to buy on credit is a great boon to an economy, allowing people to leverage future income streams, smooth their consumption, etc. And the availability of credit undoubtedly encourages consumption more generally, which is a good thing right now. But there is no evidence that the credit-card market as a whole has ground to a halt. (I got four offers for new credit cards in the mail today.) And if it has become more difficult for risky borrowers to get or use credit cards, that’s not in the long run a bad thing, either for them or for the economy as a whole: one of the things the economy needs is for risk to be more accurately priced. There are lots of things the government can and should be spending its money on to get the economy moving again. But on any list of those things, subsidizing credit-card issuance has to be right near the bottom.
And apologies to General Motors, I read that they are, in fact, developing an electric car. I guess what I was trying to say in yesterday’s post is that the company will start to do a lot better when they begin to make consistently good cars.
The Light on This Please Dept
From the New York Times today:
BEIJING — A noxious cocktail of soot, smog and toxic chemicals is blotting out the sun, fouling the lungs of millions of people and altering weather patterns in large parts of Asia, according to a report released Thursday by the United Nations.
The byproduct of automobiles, slash-and-burn agriculture, cooking on dung or wood fires and coal-fired power plants, these plumes rise over southern Africa, the Amazon basin and North America. But they are most pronounced in Asia, where so-called atmospheric brown clouds are dramatically reducing sunlight in many Chinese cities and leading to decreased crop yields in swaths of rural India, say a team of more than a dozen scientists who have been studying the problem since 2002.
Regardless of the arguments for and against Global Warming, empirically the environment really is a priority.
Zen Moment of the Day
Things don't change. You change your way of looking, that's all.
Sunday, October 19, 2008“The Readiness is all”
“If it be now, ‘tis not to come;
if it be not to come, it will be now;
if it be not now, yet it will come.
The readiness is all.”
(Hamlet, V ii, 234-237)
I quoted Hamlet’s “the readiness is all” in an earlier post. It obviously has resonated with many readers since it was written. Somehow, I think we all want to be “ready.” Perhaps that is why we are in MSIA, and why we do spiritual exercises.
I excerpted the below from this post. I found it deep and revealing and a nice way to get ready for the coming week through our gratitude and appreciation for God's presence in our lives.
After constantly debating the meaning of life itself throughout the play, Hamlet has come to the belief that God has a hand in every detail of life. Furthermore Hamlet claims that whatever is destined to happen will happen soon enough, and that for those on Earth, “the readiness is all”.
These lines carry several important meanings to all its readers beyond the play, though obviously not in the same context as they do within Hamlet. In a general sense, the lines serve as a good reminder to any reader to always be ready for anything. Every person is bound to find themselves in difficult or desperate circumstances often throughout their lives. As Hamlet mentions, in these situations, being prepared can make a significant difference.
If you interpret these lines from Hamlet in a broader context however, they take on a deeper meaning for Hamlet and for the reader. Given the circumstances, it is clear Hamlet’s primary subject is death itself. If you wait for it, it may never come, but at the same time, if you expect it to be far off, it may come more suddenly than you expect. Thus all you can do is always be ready to accept it when it comes. Though it is an incredibly depressing truth (and a much more pressing one in Hamlet’s situation within the play than for any reader), it is one Hamlet recognizes. Thus he is also aware that he must be ready for it by accomplishing what he needs to before it comes. Though no reader will ever take the lines in such a desperate light, it is still a sullen reminder of death’s constant presence.