I like this song by Rush. It has a lot of meaning in this day and age regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine and regarding wars that are the result of perceiving via separation.
I see the Middle Kingdom between Heaven and Earth Like the Chinese call the country of their birth We all figure that our homes are set above Other people than the ones we know and love In every place with a name They play the same territorial game Hiding behind the lines Sending up warning signs
The whole wide world An endless universe Yet we keep looking through The eyeglass in reverse Don’t feed the people But we feed the machines Can’t really feel What international means In different circles We keep holding our ground Indifferent circles We keep spinning round and round
We see so many tribes — overrun and undermined While their invaders dream of lands they’ve left behind Better people — better food — and better beer Why move around the world when Eden was so near? The bosses get talking so tough And if that wasn’t evil enough We get the drunken and passionate pride Of the citizens along for the ride
They shoot without shame In the name of a piece of dirt For a change of accent Or the color of your shirt Better the pride that resides In a citizen of the world Than the pride that divides When a colorful rag is unfurled
[First, a few quick notes: 1. Albert Einstein, a vegetarian, and pacifist, had some of the best ideas about how to end all wars. For instance, he advocated countries systematically, in an intelligent and coordinated fashion, exchanging military personal on an equal basis, thereby making invasions into other countries (because of nefarious goals) rather impossible. But people don’t tend to listen to pacifists. 2. Most people just do not see the gravity of certain things, the seriousness of certain important things; they are oblivious, conform and fall in line, and life passes them by… and the many miracles never happen.] 3. This may not have much to do with anything, but here are what i hear as lyrics in the YouTube video of the Dharma for One song, as sung by Jethro Tull (live) at the Isle of Wright Festival. (This song, played in their first album, did not originally have any words/lyrics.)
Dharma, seek and you will find Truth within your mind, Dharma. Dharma, each to his own we say, Together we’ll end our stream, Dharma. Dharma, mad-time confusion burns, Seek-money never learns, Dharma. Truth is like freedom, it doesn’t fool me, Being true to yourself, never think that you’re free. Dharma will come eventually, Tao. Dharma, Dharma… Dharma, each to his own we sing, Together we’ll end our stream, Dharma. _________________________________________________________________________
Today is my birthday. I was born on November 4th, 1951. When i was the age to be eligible to be drafted (or not) concerning the Vietnam war, i was very concerned about what my draft number — according to the U.S.A. Draft Lottery — would be. I was (and still am) a pacifist and was not at all interested in going to war; i am a vegetarian; i don’t even care to contribute to the killing of animals. The lower the draft number that one is assigned, out of 365 (366), the higher the chances of you being drafted. Draft numbers were selected and assigned, via a Draft Lottery, according to your date of birth; the Draft Lottery, which was held to determine the draft status for my age-group, was held on December 1, 1970. So what was my draft number — assigned to my date of birth — after the Draft Lottery was completed? It was 39. I detested that number. I still detest it. It, being a very low number, meant that i definitely would be selected to go to the war. I was very disquieted about my “very draftable” draft number of 39. Circumstances being what they were, i went to college, where a student deferment was applicable. Later, when student deferments were terminated, i had to — because of my low 39 daft number — submit extensive paperwork requesting conscientious objector status.
So, while in college, around the time that i was becoming a vegetarian, i was visiting a friend of mine in his dormitory room. He and i were both avid fishermen; we would often go fishing together (on the weekends). On that particular day, my friend was not feeling well, so he could not go fishing with me (after i had invited him to). Right before i left his room, he gave me — following our brief discussion about music — a large Jethro Tull LP record album that i had never heard or seen before; it was the first album that the group had ever made. Since i liked the group, i thanked him for lending me the album; i left his dormitory room, and put the album on my bed, face up. (I did not look at the back of the album cover.) I went fishing.
I went fishing, alone, at the campus lake. As i fished, i began feeling immensely connected with the fish. One began seeing them as not being separate from what one was. I began seeing their pain as my pain… (or, rather, the “I” was absent and one was everything that was around). Around the same time at the lake, i began feeling like someone or something was watching the fishing; it was a very definite feeling, and i felt very embarrassed to be “seen” fishing (although no one was physically around).
I went back to my dormitory room, without any fish. After a short while, after relaxing a bit, i went over to the record album, that was on my bed, that my friend had given to me, looked at it and (when about to play it) turned it around to look at the back cover. The following is a picture of the album’s back cover. The album, released in the U.S. in February of 1969, is titled “This Was.”
Jumping Spiders, those very alert arachnids, you know, have many eyes. Some of the eyes are at the back of the head. Some even have extra eyes on the abdomen (i.e., their rear section). One of the reasons that they have eyes in such places is so that they can more efficiently see moving prey (that they can capture to eat). Another reason for having eyes in such places is that other Jumping Spiders (or other spider species or insect enemies) may try to sneak up on them (to devour them). Seeing such “attackers” affords quick reaction involving countermeasures.
We might think, “Oh, how very primitive these spiders are, to be attacking and killing each other with such violence.” Our species, it can be seen, however, still often kill each other on the so-called battlefield. “Battlefield,” by the way, is just a word or accepted term for where humans go to react ultra-violently (i.e., primitive-ass crazy). Many of us periodically celebrate those who were the most violent, calling them “great heroes.” We seldom celebrate — we rarely celebrate — those who were opposed to war. (We, instead of observing through separative countries, religions, and tribes, need to observe holistically and globally — which would help to end all wars — but most of us won’t do that, because of being firmly and stagnantly stuck in separative ruts. So the unending nonsense will continue.) To really go beyond being primitive and violent, we must observe without all of the separations that were poured into us.
Jumping Spider Observing … Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2019
One finger said to the other finger, “I want to be close to you!” The other finger said, “I feel that we two are very close.” Then they passionately wrapped around each other intertwining. A somewhat distant finger (away from the other two) pointedly said, “You two seem as if you were made for each other!”
Then, after a considerable time, fingers of a supposedly separate hand jealously came attacking, and total war broke out.
A real fact is that, in war, the winners are the losers.
Illinois Meadow Wildflower … Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2018
If we sincerely wish to be truly peaceful and help the world go beyond the conflict that tears people apart, then it would be prudent to exist as that which does not contribute to much of the separation and conflict. It would be wise to be a global citizen, not a mere adherent to a particular political party, country, or race. This isn’t anarchy here; it is intelligently working together as one, beyond all of the insane, disconnected nonsense. It would also be foresighted and very thoughtful to not belong to an organized religious structure, with its own separate set of dogmas, beliefs, and hierarchical systems. It is separative countries, traditions, organized religions, and beliefs that have largely contributed to wars and friction between people. This is no small matter; people die over this stuff; young people die. If we could come together, just as friends, putting away the absorbed patterns that cause so much of the friction, maybe that would be the start of truly being spiritual. However, so many refuse to let go of the inherited patterns and traditions that they cling to. If that would change, and if they would perceive and care instead of repeat and belong… we would have a planet with much less bloodshed. So many of us were brainwashed into thinking that belonging to things gives us security; however, real global security, ironically, comes when man transcends belonging to systems that separate and cause friction.
White-breasted Nuthatch. Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2016
Peace is everyone’s responsibility. We must all go beyond violence and care for one another. One is different from, but not separate from, whom one perceives.
I’m 63 years old and I’ve kept tropical fish ever since I was in the 5th grade. I even had an aquarium in my college dorms when I went to college. For a long time now, I’ve been keeping, raising, and breeding, various forms of miniature catfish called Corydoras (“Cory” catfish). In terms of peace, all of the species of the genus Corydoras are totally peaceful and non-belligerent; I have never, in all the years that I’ve had them, ever observed them acting aggressively or being hostile to one another, or toward other fish. I was taking photographs of my miniature Corydoras Reticulated Julii Catfish when I noticed them laying eggs. In the bottom photograph, the female is with a male (doing their thing); look closely at her bottom ventral fins; she is holding two eggs in those fins (as the fins are held together in a prayer-like fashion). Later (after they are fertilized) she will (carry them around for quite some time) and then secure them to plant leaves or upon the aquarium glass. (These catfish are definitely good for going green while keeping aquarium fish. They do not require aquarium heaters, and two separate aquariums can be maintained with a 4 watt air pump.) Corydoras are, like I mentioned, extremely peaceful… (plus they are beautiful and are always comical in their actions).
Trio of Corydoras trilineatus. Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2015
Corydoras trilineatus mating with eggs below clasped in female’s bottom fins. Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2015
Peace never comes by mindlessly clinging to separative groups or leaders.
[This is a Sheepshead Mushroom with a Midge Fly resting on it (to the left). The Sheepshead Mushroom is edible and is considered to be one of the best tasting mushrooms. They tend to grow at the base of Oak Trees.]
Resting on a Sheepshead. Photo by Thomas Peace 2014
The divisive notion of “us” and “them” causes wars.
[This photo is of a Lady Bug feeding upon berries of Pokeweed… (also called Poke Salad, Poke Sallet, or Polk Weed). All parts of Pokeweed are poisonous, but (especially in the South) a lot of people boil and reboil the plant many times to leach out the toxins; then it is eaten. The berries are the least toxic part of the plant, though children have gotten sick from eating them. Pokeweed is being looked into as a possible cure for cancer and other diseases. Research has shown that pokeweed contains a compound that appears to enhance the immune system and has some anti-cancer effects in animals. Elvis Presley sang a song about this plant… “Polk Salad Annie” (‘gators got your granny).]
Sock a little Polk Salad to him. Photo by Thomas Peace 2014
True meditation is not something that one can know that one is engaged in. Like humility, true meditation occurs to the mind unawares; it is not something that can be recognized. One can not “know” that one is humble. Likewise, one cannot “know” that one is meditating. True meditation and true humility are both beyond the field of “the known.” Therefore, both are beyond the realm of recognition by the self; for recognizing is in the field of “the known,” whereas humility and meditation are of “understanding” and not “knowing.”
To practice meditation is folly. For one cannot practice what is beyond causality. One can practice what is within a cause and effect continuum — such as learning to play a man-made instrument — but true meditation is an all-encompassing, non-conditioned, non-fragmentary thing. Therefore, it is beyond the realm methodology within phenomena involving common causality. Interestingly, a lot of people claim that they practice a form of meditation. However, true meditation, being beyond what can be mechanically “practiced” within causality, does not exist for such erroneous individuals. You can practice something rather dead and mechanical… but you can’t practice “aliveness,” “awareness,” “insightful compassion,” and “holistic understanding”… and that (despite what many so-called experts say) is what meditation may really involve.
A wise, sagacious mind is (in itself) meditation. However, such meditation is not something that it practices as part of some methodology. A wise, sapient mind goes beyond the clutches of practice and methods… because such a mind intelligently goes beyond the field of the “known.” Such a mind goes beyond the realm of mere symbols and representations that words and labels are a part of. Such a mind goes beyond mere symbols… but not by any process of practice or methodology. True insight is instantaneous: no time is involved for it to (finally) come about. All methods and forms of practice take time. A wise mind (of true meditation) exists beyond what takes time in order to manifest. Interestingly, true meditation, being beyond mere practice and being beyond mere methods… is, in a significant way, beyond the causality of time.
Beware of those charlatans who offer a concrete form of meditation to you (for you to practice). What they give you may make you feel happy or comfortable for a limited time. However, what is not true meditation is merely a crutch. It is not the indelible gem of many indescribable facets. So, regarding those that offer you some form of methodology or prayer to attain enlightenment: run from them and do not fall into their clutches. Meditation is only what can occur for the individual of (and by) his (or her) own accord. It is a harmony that others cannot bestow upon you. Read my book (about self-awareness) at http://www.eternalfountainofyouth.com. The book will not provide you with mechanical methods to practice (like some kind of robot); it will not give you methodologies to follow like some kind of lemming. It will, however, encourage you to wake up and realize that what you do in infinitely important. However, if you are merely a “follower” and a lemming, then what you do will always be limited and confined. True meditation never blossoms forth from what is always merely limited and confined. True meditation is an explosion of infinite awareness and understanding… an awareness and understanding that no one can merely regulate out to you.