Thursday, June 13, 2013

The intrusive nature of Google Chrome Browser and its changes

When you launch your Google Chrome Browser, it launches a default tab-page. Depending on what people of Google decides to do with what they wish to show you on this startup page, they can change things on their whims.  You may be used to of seeing large application icons when you launch your browser, or you may be used to of seeing frequently used websites. Google can change anything behind-the-scenes making things aggravating for you.

Use Bookmarks Bar for frequently-used websites.

Here is what you can do to never worry about any change Google throws at you on your browser.

Start using Bookmarks Toolbar for your application icons. Add your frequently used websites to specific bookmarks folder and don't rely on Google's default icons.  

- Press Ctrl+Shift+b to show Bookmarks bar.
- Right-click on the grey area of the bookmarks bar and select Add folder.
- Go to your frequently used website and press Ctrl+d.
- From the drop-down folder menu, select the newly created folder. Click Done.

Here is how I have my folders defined.  My frequently used websites like Gmail, Twitter etc, are all in these folders. When I wish to launch any, I click on the folder, and I click on the site. Two-clicks solution.


Use Extension to get rid of Google's clutter

I use Blank New Tab Extension. It works well and helps get rid of the clutter Google adds to your browser tabs.  With this extension, your browser's new tab will always be blank.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A no-coding required Google Reader alternative

From what I have understood, Google Reader's strength was in its ability to save and search countless number of feeds over number of days/months/years. GR also provided worry-free server hosting and fetching of content, so we never needed to worry about doing anything on our end (besides finding great content to read). The RSS engine (protocol) just works and it fetches the latest content from any websites which has RSS mechanisms built-in.

Another useful feature of GR was its ability to sort/folder your feeds according to your preference. So I could have handful of feeds in a folder called Read, which I will place at the top, to read all of it on consistent basis. GR also provided a feature where you could scroll through a feed content and the feed-content will disappear from your view because you have read it already.

All in all, Google Reader is/was one powerful content reader (if you ever used it to your maximum advantage).

Sadly, it will be history soon.

I stumbled upon a solution which makes RSS fetching available to me in the simplest of manner.

Take a look at this Google Site for example. It is simple and it has almost all the US mainstream media/news feeds which you can view/browse for the latest content. The magic of RSS dictates that the content updates automatically.

https://sites.google.com/site/usmsmnews/

However, there are limitations.
  1. You cannot fetch more than 20 items per RSS link. 
  2. You cannot archive/save beyond 20 items. In fact you cannot save anything because the latest fetch overwrites the previous feeds. This means that the 20 items in front of you (at the moment of you reading) is what you have. 
  3. No search, social features or any other fancy tools etc.

Recipe

1. Create a new Spreadsheet in Google Docs.

2. In Colum A1, paste the RSS feed URL (for example, this is a RSS feed URL of NYTimes Wire (www.nytimes.com/timeswire/feeds/).

3. In Column A2, write or paste the following:
       

            =ImportFeed(A1,"Items Title", FALSE, 20)

       
 
** You will see that your Column A2 to A21 is now populated with the RSS content) **

4. Write or paste in Column B2 ...
       

            =ImportFeed(A1, "Items URL", FALSE, 20)

       
 
** You will see that your Column B2 to B21 is now populated with RSS links. **

3. Select empty Column C2 to C21 (drag select). Write or paste .....
       

            =HyperLink(B2, A2)

       
 
** You will see that your Column C2 to C21 are now populated with content of the RSS feed. This is a feed content with the links and the text combined. **

4. You can now Hide Column A and B, leaving Column C in visible view.

5. If you want, you can type a row heading in Column C with the name of the feed.

6. You can publish this Spreadsheet (File - Publish to the Web). Note that publishing is not as same as sharing. You are only publishing to the world and not sharing the sheet.


--- I like to integrate Google Sites now otherwise your Google Sheet is done already with the fetching of RSS. You can further populate your sheet with additional RSS feeds. One can imagine the possibilities here because you can fill it up with bunch of RSS feeds from different sources (at certain point Google will tell you that your spreadsheet has reached a limit of fetching of feeds, so you now create a new spreadsheet and continue).

Another advantage here is that you can format the columns size, fonts, color etc to your liking. Integrating Google Sites is not necessary but it behaves better with clicking of item URLs (compared to how it behaves in plain Spreadsheet).

7. Create a Google Sites or Add a Page to the already created Site

8. Insert - Spreadsheet and Select Published Spreadsheet option.

You are done.

In my example, I have two spreadsheets inserted into the main Home page of the Site. I can scroll through one of the spreadsheet and when it reaches the bottom, I can scroll through the second spreadsheet. Consequently, I can scroll through them separately as I have links to individual spreadsheets there as well.

Just to reiterate. This solution is best suited for self-reading and only if you adjust your perspective of reading the latest content. It may not work well if you decide to share with your friends and family and expect them to follow your thinking in how they should read/consume content.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Death is the whole claiming the part back


The fear of death is so much, it haunts you your whole life.

The moment you drop the idea of separation, the fear of death disappears.

You die of your own accord and then you cannot die at all, because the whole never dies, only its parts are being replaced.

But if you become one with the whole, you will live forever: you will go beyond birth and death.

That's the search for nirvana, enlightenment, moksha, the kingdom of God -- the state of deathlessness.

But the condition that has to be fulfilled is very frightening. The condition is: first you have to die as a separate entity. That's what surrender is all about: dying as a separate entity, dying as an ego. And in fact it is nothing to be worried about, because you are not separate, it is only a belief. So only the belief dies, not you. It is only a notion, an idea.

-Osho

Friday, September 21, 2012

Life exists in the present, or nowhere at all

...life had no intrinsic meaning, any more than a piece of music had an intrinsic point.

...Life was, in zen parlance, yugen – a kind of elevated purposelessness.

...all life and existence is based on a kind of dynamic emptiness (a view now supported by modern science, which sees phenomena at a sub-atomic level popping in and out of existence in a quantum froth).

...In this view, there is no stuff, no difference between matter and energy. Look at anything closely enough – even a rock or a table – and you will see that it is an event, not a thing.

....Every thing is, in truth, happening.

...Zen tries to have you understand, without arguing the point, that there is no purpose in getting anywhere if, when you get there, all you do is think about getting to some other future moment.

....Life exists in the present, or nowhere at all, and if you cannot grasp that you are simply living a fantasy.

Neither Buddha nor his zen followers had time for any notion of an afterlife. The doctrine of reincarnation can be more accurately thought about as a constant rebirth, of death throughout life, and the continual coming and going of universal energy, of which we are all part, before and after death.

via http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2012/sep/21/zen-buddhism-lessons

Friday, September 14, 2012

Osho on Transcendental Meditation

The man may have been a good, beautiful dancer, and he is sitting in an office, piling up files. There is no possibility for dance. The man may have enjoyed dancing under the stars, but he is simply going on accumulating a bank-balance. And he says he is unhappy: Give me some meditation…. I can give him! ¯ but what is that meditation going to do? what is it supposed to do? He will remain the same man: accumulating money, competitive in the market. The meditation may help in this way: it may make him a little more relaxed to do this nonsense even better.

That’s what TM is doing to many people in the West ¯ and that is the appeal of transcendental meditation, because Maharishi Mahesh Yogi goes on saying, “It will make you more efficient in your work, it will make you more successful. If you are a salesman, you will become a more successful salesman. It will give you efficiency.” And American people are almost crazy about efficiency. You can lose everything just for being efficient. Hence, the appeal.

Yes, it can help you. It can relax you a little ¯ it is a tranquillizer. By constantly repeating a mantra, by continuously repeating a certain word, it changes your brain chemistry. It is a tranquillizer, a sound-tranquillizer. It helps you to lessen your stress so tomorrow in the marketplace you can be more efficient, more capable to compete ¯ but it doesn’t change you. It is not a transformation.

You can repeat a mantra, you can do a certain meditation; it can help you a little bit here and there ¯ but it can only help you to remain whatsoever you are.

http://oshotimes.blog.osho.com/2012/09/will-meditation-help-me-to-be-happy/

Friday, September 7, 2012

What Do sad people have in Common?

What
Do sad people have in
Common?

It seems

They have all built a shrine
To the past
And often go there
And do a strange wail and
Worship.

What is the beginning of

Happiness?

It is to stop being

So religious
Like That.

- Hafiz

Friday, August 31, 2012

Looking and Seeing

Looking is already prejudiced. If you are looking for godliness, you will never find it – because looking means you have a certain idea already of what godliness is. And your idea is bound to be either Christian or Judaic or Hindu or Mohammedan. Your idea is going to be your concept, and your concept can never be higher than you.

Seeing is just clarity – open eyes, open mind, open heart. Not looking for something in particular, just ready and receptive. Whatsoever happens, you will remain alert, receptive, understanding.

When you are looking, mind is active; when you are seeing, mind is passive – that is the difference.

When you are looking, mind is trying to manipulate. When you are seeing, mind is silent – just watching, available, open, with no idea in particular to enforce on reality.

- Osho

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Look how far the Indians have come in accepting their sexuality

So this '18 Again Ad' has all been a rage today on the Internet.  Well, if you are watching news feeds, you already know the story, otherwise, do a Google. Here is the video ...


I would just like to highlight what Osho said in the distant past, about India, Indians and their accepting (manipulation) of females and their bodies.

From the Book Title: The Rebel - Chapter: Something of the Wild


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sit Silently in the Full Moon Night

On a fullmoon night, if you sit silently by the side of Taj Mahal, not being bothered about the history of the Taj Mahal and who created it and why -- those are all nonsense, irrelevant facts, they don't matter: Shah Jahan and his beloved, and his memory of his beloved, he created it.... Don't be bothered by the guides; tip them before they start torturing you, and get rid of them!

Shah Jahan has nothing to do with the Taj Mahal, in fact. Yes, he created it, he created it as a memorial for his wife, but he is not the essential source of it. The essential source is in the Sufi way of life, it is in Sufism. Basically it was created by Sufi masters; Shah Jahan was just instrumental. The Sufi masters have created something of immense value.

If you silently sit in the full moon night just looking at the Taj Mahal, sometimes with open eyes and sometimes with closed eyes, slowly slowly you will feel something that you have never felt before. Sufis called it zikr, remembrance of God. The beauty of the Taj Mahal will remind you of those realms from where all beauty, all benediction comes. You will become attuned with the Sufi way of remembering God: beauty is God.

-The Book of Wisdom, Osho

Friday, August 17, 2012

Is RSS free?

You know you pay your ISP a monthly fee to use Internet. You also pay additionally to your electric company for the hardware you use to use Internet. You must have paid your electronic store to buy the PC.

You also know you pay your cable company to use TV programming.

You pay your telephone company to use telephone line.

What is that you get for what you paid?

This is an old question. Nothing new here.

You get advertisement on both TV and Internet and now your mobile phone. As a side, I always wonder, how come we weren't getting advertisement on the old land lines? Anyways....

You pay to get service and then you pay more to get some more service, products, whatever your heart and pocket desires and can afford.  But at the basic level, we have always paid for Telephone, TV, Internet (we never paid for Radio programming though but but in modern times people also pay for satellite radios).

Dave Winer said:

Users have to get rid of the mindset that someone else should pay their rent. Really, there is no such thing as free rent. It's a myth.

This is in context of what I wrote earlier.

Now the ultimate question is, was RSS supposed to be free, as in what comes with your ISP/TV/Telephone when you initially pay them for their service?

Looking at the plumbing of the Internet, one can see that there are standards and protocols in use behind the scenes. TCP/IP is a standard protocol which lets us connect to each other on the Internet. Am I suppose to pay for the TCP/IP protocol when I get the IP address from my ISP? Well, yes, I already pay them to get me the IP address so I can use the Internet. I pay them for this service.

MAC/Hardware Address is another standard which lets you connect your PC to the Internet. Am I suppose to pay for the MAC Address? Well, yes, I paid the PC maker for this service and their work.

Going further deep, there are number of other standards behind the scenes which glues the connectivity of an average Internet user, be that Dave Winer or Arif, it doesn't matter because IP and MAC address (and several other standards behind the scenes) are not in business to distinguish between the two users. You pay your ISP to get the Internet and Internet is what you get. Some get higher speed, some lower. The millions of Routers sitting in between users are humming along doing their work without asking for money directly. How Internet works is not your concern in general.

This all leads me back to the same question. Was RSS supposed to be a standard, a behind-the-scene mechanism like IP/MAC/UDP, etc, etc, which glues the inter-connectivity of the website and users, or is RSS supposed to be a server....a computer.....a domain name....extra cloud storage......a premium blog theme....a hosting account....a mobile app....?

Where does RSS stand?

Oh and by the way, you never paid for the browser you use to get on Internet.

The state of RSS

I am a big RSS fan for long time and I've been using RSS to get my site updates religiously on daily basis.

Context

For an average reader, RSS is supposedly an open standard protocol which every website suppose to implement for their users to use. When it comes to standards and protocols on the Internet, everyone suppose to agree and follow certain practice and RSS is that "technology" which the website owners must install behind the scene so an average visitor could get updates....but that's an ideal!

The reality is that ever since Twitter came to the scene, the website owners have not kept up with implementing this technology in the background. Another issue is that RSS never took off in adoption as far as average user is concerned. People didn't understand how to use that orange icon in the browser (Firefox ultimately removed it from visible display). People found following updates through Twitter much easier, or they'd rather visit individual websites daily. But Twitter is no standard protocol.....in any case, things are a mess and there have been dime-a-dozen blog posts calling the death of RSS.

I am not going there by any means because that discussion has been beaten to death already and I'm no expert.

Back to the present.

Dave Winer is generally known as the father of RSS. He recently promoted his Tabbed River site which provided RSS updates on Olympics through multiple sources. I became lazy and thought this was an easy and nice enough site to get my fix of Olympics updates. I liked it and added it to my daily list of site visits.

Dave then added few more tabs to the same website adding bunch of other Topics and Sources. At around the same time, the internet saw an increase in the noise of new and revolutionary "apps" coming to the scene (at the expense of issues created by Twitters of the world).  Somewhere out there I saw Dave's Tabbed River site tagged along with these new revolutionary sites and all this is supposed to be evolutionary and promising for the future.

My issue with Dave Winer's Tabbed River

  • It is his RSS stream, not mine. He chooses what to add to his stream.
  • It is not Google Reader so I cannot insert, edit, remove, adjust the RSS stream as per my wish.
  • Dave's River requires server, finance, technical know-how, blah, blah.
  • I don't have none of the resources.
  • I equated Dave's Tabbed River to yesteryear's AOL which treated itself as an "Internet" even though it was not.
  • Dave thought my gripe is a joke. It is not.

You be the judge of your own thought-process.

https://twitter.com/arif02010/status/236465445614542848

Update: Another message by Dave led me to write more. Food for thought.

http://web-wanderings.blogspot.com/2012/08/is-rss-free.html

Thursday, August 16, 2012

An anecdote of Bengali poet Tagore and English poet Yeats: Poetry is not grammar

When Rabindranath for the first time translated his great book Gitanjali into English, he was a little worried as to whether the translation had come through or not. English was not his mother tongue, in the first place. And secondly, to translate prose is one thing, it is easy; to translate poetry is very difficult, and more so to translate poetry from a language like Bengali which is so poetic. The whole language is poetic, its flavor is of poetry.

He was worried: "Has the translation come true to the spirit of my original?" He showed it to one great Englishman, C.F. Andrews. Andrews went through it, and at just four points he said, "Four words have to be changed, grammatically they are wrong." Naturally, Rabindranath changed them.

Then when he read Gitanjali and his poems for the first time in a poets' gathering in London, he was surprised, he could not believe his ears. One English poet, Yeats, stood up and said, "Everything is perfectly right, but at just four points something is very mundane, something is not poetic. The whole poetry flows beautifully, but at four points the river comes across rocks."

With a trembling in his heart, Rabindranath asked, "What are those four points?" And they were exactly the same as those which C.F. Andrews had suggested. Rabindranath told him, "These are C.F. Andrews' words, he knows English better than me."

Yeats said, "That is right -- it is better English, but not better poetry. The grammar is right, but poetry is not grammar. The language is right, but poetry is not only language.

Poetry is something that hovers above language and grammar. Please go back to your old words!"

Rabindranath got his Nobel prize with this book, Gitanjali.

-From Book of Wisdoms, Osho.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

One Reality

I have again and again said that Creation is the Creator, that the world is God; that there is no separation; God is not proved objectively. What is proved objectively — the electron, neutron or proton? Nobody has yet seen electrons, neutrons, protons, but the scientists say they are. If nobody has seen them why do you say they are? Scientists say, “Because though we cannot see them, we can see their effect.” The mystics say the same thing: “God is not observed objectively, but we can see the effect.”

Can’t you see the universe running so intelligently? Can’t you see tremendous intelligence permeating the whole?

It is not only the mystics who say the universe is full of intelligence. Albert Einstein’ said, “The scientist’s religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at harmony of natural law which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.”

Listen, this is not Bohme, Ramakrishna, or Rajneesh. This is Einstein saying that it is not a dead universe, that it is not a “stupid” universe, that it is intelligent.

Physics has become metaphysics again. Physicists even talk about atoms having free will. Einstein said no event can be postulated without the presence of a witness, an observer.

Molecular biology has conclusively proved that the “matter” of organic life, our very flesh, really is mind-stuff. What is the purpose of this intelligent universe? Scientist David Foster says: “To become more intelligent.” I love this answer. This is what the mystics have always been propounding. From unawareness to awareness… from unintelligence to intelligence… there is the way and there is the goal. The Upanishads say: “tamsoma jyotingamay” — “O Master of the Universe, take me from darkness to light.”

What do we mean when we say “God is”? We only mean that the world is intelligent, nothing else. God cannot be proved objectively, that’s true. Nobody is trying to prove him objectively. In fact, if God is proved objectively, he will be no longer God. Then he will become a thing. Then you can dissect God in your lab, you can analyse; then it will not be God at all.

I have again and again said that Creation is the Creator, that the world is God; that there is no separation; that it is not like a painter and the painting — in fact it is like a dancer and the dance. God is existence. There is no separation. Not that God has created it; God has become it. You cannot find God anywhere else other than in his existence, and you cannot separate them.

Can you find the dance when the dancer has gone? Or can you call a person a “dancer” when he is not dancing? They are always together; the dance and the dancer are together. They are two aspects of One energy. Creation and Creator are together.

In fact, my own choice is that I don’t like calling God “Creator”. I call God “creativity”.  It is an ongoing process. Not that one day God created the world. Creation continues. It is moment to moment, moving, it is a process, it is dynamic, it is river-like. And God is not separate. Through meditation you come to your innermost core of intelligence. Through meditation you become so silent that your own intelligence is revealed to you. In that very revelation, God is revealed.

http://oshotimes.blog.osho.com/2012/07/looking-for-god-in-the-lab/

Thursday, August 2, 2012

THE DROWNED BOOK: BAHAUDDIN THE FATHER OF Rumi


THE DROWNED BOOK

BAHAUDDIN THE FATHER OF Rumi

Colman Barks & John Moyne


Bahauddin Valad (1152-1231)

Annemarie Schimmel refers to “the bizarre sensual imagery” of Bahauddin’s diary.  The Rumi scholar Franklin Lewis calls some of the entries “psychedelic.”  We would see this strangeness as a sign of Bahauddin’s radical health.  Rumi says that form itself is ecstatic, that just having a shape and sentience is a state of pure rapture.  Bahauddin says that being conscious in all the ways we have—in our transcendent mystical visions as well as in our fears of authority, in ecstatic prayer as well as in anger and annoyance, even in epileptic fits—every form of awareness gives a taste of God’s presence.  We would call Bahauddin a juicy mystic, by which we mean he loves the various intensities of a loving human awareness.  Bahauddin loves the juiciness of the body and through that, union with God.  He loves the flavor of human exchange, and the radiance of anything that happens.  He is up early one morning, and a dog’s barking interrupts his contemplation.  A dog barks in the thirteenth century, and we hear it (1:381—382).  The small tastes he gives of village life from seven hundred years back are exquisite and palpable.
For Bahauddin, having a clarity of being and strong desires is important because they make possible a richer manifestation of the divine.  The vibrancy of the life-force allows God’s presence to be more strikingly vivid inside form.  I was a hidden treasure and I desired to be known, says one Islamic hadith.  Bahauddin says that the desire of the divine for self-knowledge comes through the vitality of our desiring.
One of the most startling examples of this is in the Maarif, Bahauddin’s account of the morning he woke up wanting the daughter of Judge Sharaf.  She is one of Bahauddin’s wives, as is Bibi Alawi in a similar account, but nevertheless these are daringly libidinal notes for their time and perhaps even for ours.  Professor Furuzanfar, editing the Maarif in the 1950s, loves the boldness of the intimate revelations, their honesty and strength, but he also implies that these comments of the great mystic may have been irresponsible for his position.  “We must remember that Baha Valad [Bahauddin] was a prominent leader of the Muslims.  He was engaged in teaching and preaching, as well as being the chief jurist and arbiter of religious cases.  His responsibility was in the direction and refinement of the outward and moral behavior of numerous disciples.”  We hear in his sexual openness rather the force of sincerity before God that overcomes any conventional standards.  Bahauddin is naked in the expression of his faith, and in his living.  His authenticity is his magnificence.

1:381—382

            Early morning.  My thoughts are interrupted by a dog barking.  Then Bibi Alawi walks into my room, dazed, just up from her bed.  My desire for her kindles.  It occurs to be that all this is grace.  The barking interruption, and Bibi Alawi too.  Why be ashamed of feeling desire?
            A revelation comes:  My work is to elevate as well as humiliate.  One moment I make some dear to you; another, despised.  So when you feel anxiety, remember God, because the anxiety comes from there.  If you feel pain over what is happening to you, pray that it be taken away.  If you are delighted and those around you are prospering, ask that this keep happening.  However, if your soul is conscious enough to live as I have just said, you are the next prophet.
            I was standing next to Haji Seddiq in the prayer line with these mumblings in my head.  I continued, The soul’s understanding is that everything comes from the presence.  That’s how we know God, through the awareness that the soul has.  If everyone could know this all the time, everyone would be a prophet.  But that is not the case.  Prophets have been given the power to renounce tasty food and drink, to relinquish pleasure in order to dissolve their attention more completely in to the divine.  Very few can do this.  Most of us rejoice in desire, in sex.  We relish food, the savor of this world, and we also delight in the prophetic line and what comes to us through that.  We are blessed differently than the prophets.

THE YOUNG WOMAN ON THE STEPS                 1:383--384

I was trying to invent a new parable about a person in a difficult job that has only material results, some work with no soulgrowth involved.  I thought, an ironworker; a blacksmith pounding in a forge surely has no spiritual purpose.  Then I wondered what value to the soul this business is that I do.  None I know of.
            Someone said once that one who takes no pleasure in desire or in having secular power doesn’t really appreciate the gift of this world, where lust and dominion are staples.
            Yes, I replied, but there is an infinite variety of pleasures that you’re forgetting.  When God closes one door, many others open.  Angels take delight in ways we can’t know.  Demons do what pleases them.   Each animal has its own strange dance.
            One day, feeling lethargic and half-alive, I come upon this scene:  A young woman sitting outside on the steps of a building.  She is surrounded by young men and totally in command of the moment, teasing each in turn in a way that piques his peculiar personality.  Their mouths hang open at the spectacle of her attraction, and her vitality visibly brightens with their attention.
            It occurs to me then that the secret of feeling vibrant may lie in having an audience around that you can tease and flirt with and lead along the way of slowly falling in love with you.
            So I prayed, Dear God, you created me.  Some of your essence lives inside me.  Show yourself as a group of admirers.  I will tease you; you will accept my advances.  I will pause.  You will eagerly wait what comes next.  I will invent new stories, and you will listen, rapt with my charisma.

LUST ALONE DOES NOT CREATE                        1:419—420

            Men are deeply attracted to women, to stacks of gold and silver coins, to horses and the beauty of plowed fields.  These are the worldly pleasures of wanting and having.  God’s grace brings in through them another beauty.  The lesson is that we should look to the outcome and not be so occupied with the attraction.  You have noticed how a beautiful child can sometimes derive from a diseased, repulsive woman?  Lust alone did not create the child’s handsomeness.  God comes in through our pleasures and through our suffering.
            Without the divine enhancement that arrives in the urgency of human desiring, people might look like mud-colored camels lying on bare ground.  Basically people are donkeys concerned only with the straw and barley they’re eating, until the presence of grace makes them otherwise (32:5).  With faith a grandeur embellishes humanity, as when with a little work by you, God enters a dry seem and makes a fresh living plant.  Every action becomes part of this gift.  Look around at the sky and the earth.  Don’t be inert like a wooden bench.  Watch the sky moving, and see how every motion in creation connects with the creator.  Stars, these natural impulses, our very selves.
            Shams Amir Dad and other Persian students of mine often see Muhammad in their dreams.  I do not.  They have listened to me so attentively and with such open hearts that God rewards them with these dreams.
            Grief is better than happiness, because in grief a person draws close to God.  Your wings open.  A tent is set up in the desert where God can visit you.  Wealth that arrives in grief is what we spend in joy.  The soul is greater than anything you ever lost.

NAKEDNESS                                     2:141—142

            I am afraid for anyone to see my faults, my baldness, my privates, the body flaws I hide with clothes.  But bridge and bridge-groom see everything about one another.  They can be many ways with each other, tender and mocking, playfully rough, any way at all, because they have no fear with each other.
            Likewise, the mystery of God knows everything about me.  Here, out in the open in front of that, I say, Do whatever you want with this body.  Every part of me stands naked in front of you, like a new bride ready for whatever will happen—love, fear, service, difficulties, humiliation, delight.

THE PIVOT                                        2:23—24

The pivot of delight and praise is friendship.  Consider how when you are working in a garden or in an orchard, or singing a song, or just sitting beside swift-running water, how each of these improves immensely if you are with a friend.  In companionship pain begins to heal, and joy intensifies.
            Two enemies or two strangers will not recognize each other when they move into spirit.  From this point on in your life resolve to find more friends.  God is pleased when you are together with friends sharing something, anything.
            One person meets someone and sees a lover.  Another meets the same and turns away.  These differences in attraction do not come from your bodies or from your culture.  They live innate within creation as secret inclinations.  One person loves horses much more than pigs, but pigs have their admirers too.  Pigs have lovers.

THE KHOTAN CEREMONEY

            I have heard of an old ceremony in Khotan, a region of China where Turkic tribes settled.  Men and young unmarried women—their heads uncovered and wearing disreputable clothing—would walk through the marketplace hand in hand.  This is how the ritual started, with everyone drunk and dancing, passing cups of wine around.  The party would straggle and stagger in before the Khan under the great mosque dome, where the women would partly disrobe, showing their breasts to the men.  Lovemaking began there in the open.  They did things in public that we do only in private inside our homes.  It was part of the annual clitorectomy initiation for the women of those tribes.
            It makes me faint to imagine what came next, with the young women passed out drunk.  Is God part of everything human beings do, even this?  Qur’an 11:6 says, Every creatures….This world we watch is strange and disturbing.  Here, for instance, are my desires at the moment:  I want a beautiful woman.  I want wine, music, and laughter.  I want everyone to see the sacredness of life.  I want wide recognition for myself.  I want my wants intensified, and I want to feel the divine being pouring through me every moment.
            Answers come for this declaration.  Watch bees sipping juice from flowers.  Do that with the mystery of presence.  Let your body become honey made from that sipping.  We are the unlimited wine you dream of, the reviving light.  As you restore that in yourself, you will find fulfillment for every pleasure you puruse.
            Drink zikr.  The blessed cave-sleep of that will give you peace(18:9).

ONE HOUR                                        1:172—173

            Alif Lam Mim

            If God says We, meaning I AM, then any pronoun I use becomes superfluous.  Designations fall like petals.  Wisdom comes, and I feel such pleasure flooding me that I fear loosing my sense of it.  I tell myself, Inquire into how lover, beloved, and the other ways of loving exist as one thing.
            As it is with God’s qualities and human beings, so there is a unity with love.  In the heart there is no room for differentiation, only oneness and the beloved.  I would give away books, land, my virtues my reputation, everything, for one hour inside that presence.

LOVEMAKING                      2:117

            Sex is a fire kindling at two points:  in the tree-green sap-wet semen of a man and in the smoldering womb of a woman.  If love for the man is not deep inside her there, no lovemaking flame will rise.

GRACE AND THE CURVE OF A HIP                      2:35—36

I heard someone talking about the beauty of saints and those who live in seclusion, tending the inner life.  I said, This love of yours for those beings enriches the soil of your soul.  It is a fertilizer that improves the vitality of what grows there.
            Likewise, as we look at women, the curve of a hip and beautiful legs are sure signs of grace.  As you grow more absorbed with that, you start to see the nymphs of paradise.  Drink the wine of women until eventually you pass out.  That’s a good time to begin your prayers.
            In the afternoon human beings feel lost, and they are, except for those who are discussing with each other the nature of truth and good action.

FEELING RAINED ON WITH BLESSINGS             2:21—22

            When I was sick, my body chilled and feverish in intimate conversation with the one who brings well-being, I felt dazzled like a virgin girl in her first sexual trembling, breathing like a bridge.  No one will hear our whispering.
            In the ocean of elements—wind, water, fire, and earth—we have planted a garden for you to walk.  We will tend this world as you search for what you love.  We will keep the vigor of desire strong in you.  As summer heat ripens fruit, we expand your heart to perfection and burn clean whatever needs emptying.  This generosity and compassion come into me like the glow I saw in the convent.  I feel rained on with blessings like a handsome king with his new brides, one biting his shoulder, one kissing his neck, another pressing close as though her body were becoming his, or like a young father playing with his children crawling and rolling over him like pigeons and sparrows and squirrels chirping and jumping around the one feeding them seed.

A WILD MADMAN-LOVER
"As I was saying Allahu Akbar, God is great, a truth came. The continents and the oceans, and whatever lives and happens in or on them, all are held inside that presence. If those beings and events should disappear, God will be visible.
"My prayer is: Give me such craving for pastures, for the greenery beside a fast-moving creek, that straw and piles of rubbish will look like fresh vegetables. Fill me so with bright enthusiasm that any street person will seem like an angel coming toward me.
"Make me hungry enough so a crust of millet bread will taste like fine pastry. This is all one prayer: Give me the same longing that drives a wild-madman-lover out to look for what cannot be found.
"That naked need lives in me as a certainty where I know that whatever I've done wrong is covered by the larger compassion we move inside. That is the meaning of Allahu Akbar.”

THE CALL TO PLEASURE

            From the minaret the call to prayer comes to us from the outside in.  Other callings come from inside us, the animal energies, the various wantings, even our attraction to the purity of angels.  I notice that every part of my body and my awareness is ready to receive each of these cravings.  I have more of them than most because I ask for more.  They come as gifts.  When my sexual desire gets satisfied, my entire body feels pleased and peaceful.  And looking at beautiful women delights me greatly.  Why are people so agitated about these things, when all they have ot do is live in the love of the presence?  I am faithful to that, and the way of pleasure and satisfaction has been opened ot me.  There are many different ways.  Some have nothing in common with others.  Mine is unique to me, and I enjoy it tremendously.  The world I see is even more beautiful and pleasurable than the one we accept in common.  Many people want to be like me, but I have no desire to be like them.  Which proves that I have been given more delicious life than the one they live.  God knows best.


Secret: DEATH MAKES LIFE POSSIBLE


Secret # 10

DEATH MAKES LIFE POSSIBLE



I IMAGINE THAT IF SPIRITUALITY sought sales advice from Madison Avenue, it would be, “Scare people about dying.”  This tactic has been working for thousands of years.   Because all we can see of death is that once you die you aren’t here anymore, this creates deep fear.  There has never been a time when people weren’t desperate to know what lies “on the other side of life”.

      But what if there is no “other side”?  Perhaps death is only relative, not a total change.  After all, each of us is dying every day, and the moment known as death is really just an extension of this process. St. Paul spoke of dying unto death, by which he meant having such strong faith in the afterlife and the salvation promised by Christ that death lost its power to generate fear.  Yet dying unto death is also natural process that has been going on in cells for billions of years.  Life is intimately entwined with death, as you can observe every time a skin cell is sloughed off.  This process of exfoliation is the same as a tree dropping its leaves (the Latin word for “leaf” is folio), and biologists tend to think of death as a means for life to regenerate.

      This view brings little comfort, however, when you face being the leaf falling off the tree to make room for next spring’s growth.  Rather than discussing death in impersonal terms, I’d like to focus on your death, the supposed end of the  you  who is alive at this moment and wants to remain so.  The personal prospect of death is the issue no one likes to confront, yet if I can show you what the reality of your death is, all this aversion and fear can be conquered, after which you can pay more attention to both life and death.

      Only by facing death can you develop real passion for being alive.   Passion isn’t frantic; it isn’t driven by fear.  Yet right now, at an unconscious level, most people feel they are snatching life from the jaws of death, frantic with the knowledge that their time on earth is so brief.  When you see yourself as part of eternity, however, this fearful snatching of crumbs from the table vanishes, and in its place you receive the abundance of life that we hear so much talk about but that so few people seem to possess.

      Here’s a simple question:  When you are a grandparent, you will no longer be a baby, a teenager, or a young adult.  So when it comes time to go to heaven, which of these people is going to show up?  Most people look totally baffled when they’re asked this question.  It’s not a frivolous one.  The person you are today isn’t the same person you were when you were ten years old.  Certainly your body has changed completely from that of the ten-year-old.  None of the molecules in your cells is the same, and neither is your mind.  You certainly don’t think like a child.

      In essence, the ten-year-old you once were is dead.  From a ten-year-old’s perspective, the two-year-old you once were is also dead.  The reason that life seems continuous is that you have memories and desires that tie you to the past, but these too are ever shifting.  Just as your body comes and goes, so does the mind with its fleeting thoughts and emotions.  When you are aware of being yourself without being attached to any particular age, you’ve found the mysterious observer within who doesn’t come and go.

      Only witnessing awareness qualifies as that observer—it remains the same while everything else changes.  The witness or observer of experience is the self to whom all experiences are happening.  It would be futile to hold on to who you are at this moment in terms of body and mind.  (People are baffled by which self they are going to take to heaven because either they imagine an ideal self going there or a self they have attached to their imaginations.  At some level we all know that there was never an age that felt ideal, however.)  Life needs to be fresh.  It needs to renew itself.  If you could beat death and remain just who you are—or who you were at the time of life you consider the best—you’d succeed only in mummifying yourself.

      You are dying at every moment so that you can keep creating yourself.

13 Principles of Belief - Maimonides


  1. I believe with complete faith that the Creator, Blessed is His Name, creates and guides all creatures, and that He alone made, makes, and will make everything.
  2. I believe with complete faith that the Creator, Blessed is His Name, is unique, and there is no uniqueness like His in any way, and that He alone is our God, Who was, Who is, and Who always will be.
  3. I believe with complete faith that the Creator, Blessed is His Name, is not physical and is not affected by physical phenomena, and that there is no comparison whatsoever to Him.
  4. I believe with complete faith that the Creator, Blessed is His Name, is the very first and the very last.
  5. I believe with complete faith that the Creator, Blessed is His Name—to Him alone is it proper to pray, and it is not proper to pray to any other.
  6. I believe with complete faith that all the words of the prophets are true.
  7. I believe with complete faith that all the words of the prophecy of Moses our teacher, peace upon him, was true, and that he was the father of the prophets—both those who preceded him and those who followed him.
  8. I believe with complete faith that the entire Torah now in our hands is the same one that was given to Moses, out teacher, peace be upon him.
  9. I believe with complete faith that this Torah will not be exchanged nor will there be another Torah from the Creator, Blessed is His Name.
  10. I believe with complete faith that the Created, Blessed is His Name, knows all the deeds of human beings and their thoughts, as it is said, “He fashions their hearts all together, He comprehends all their deeds.”
  11. I believe with complete faith that the Creator, Blessed is His Name, rewards with good those who observe His commandments, and punishes those who violate His commandments.
  12. I believe with complete faith in the coming of the Messiah, and even though he may delay, nevertheless I anticipate every day that he will come.
  13. I believe with complete faith that there will be resuscitation of the dead whenever the wish emanates from the Creator, Blessed is His Name and exalted is His mention, forever and for all eternity.

Yigdal, Maimonides, 13 Principles of Belief.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Could one of the world's ancient cities be lost forever?

It is awe-inspiring to walk through a home built 4,500 years ago.

Especially one still very much recognisable as a house today, with front and back entrances, interconnecting rooms, neat fired brick walls - even a basic toilet and sewage outlet.

Astonishingly, given its age, the home in question was also built on two storeys.

But it is even more impressive to walk outside into a real Bronze Age street, and see all of the other homes lining it. BBC News - Could one of the world's ancient cities be lost forever?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Osho on Gurdjieff

Osho on Gurdjieff System and Gurdjieff Car Accident: Osho - The system of George Gurdjieff is a little bit strange, and it is certainly different from all other, old approaches. His whole work was concentrated on creating an absolute feeling of distinction between the body and consciousness -- not just as a philosophical idea but as an actual experience.

It happens to everybody in death, but most people die unconsciously.

More: messagefrommasters.com