I Quit TV

Yesterday, I quit watching TV.

Officially.

I got this great “communications” package a few months back from one of our local magnanimous Communications Giants.  Phone, internet and TV all for a ridiculous price.  How kind of them.

It even includes a “Personal Video Recorder”, which hums incessantly in the background of my apartment.  Apparently, you can use this device to record the little gems you missed on the 500-channel universe, while you were too busy wasting your time with other distractions.

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Remembrance in the Naked Kingdom

This is Remembrance Day.

Sometimes called Armistice, this day commemorates the War Dead.

Through my progression of life, it has meant different things. As a child, it was simply a holiday from school; perhaps a day imbued with ritual dour parades and gatherings in the auditorium – something we all fidgeted and complained through, waiting impatiently for that half-day of freedom that followed.

Later in my adult life, it was a creative photo-op, a chance to watch human expression, a chance to take in the curious and fantastic actors in the Human Movie.

Now I watch it with different eyes. Now, that means – in a literal sense – that my body cells have been largely replaced over the past year, and indeed, these eyes are different eyes. But this also means that my perceptions, values, realities, neuronal network, has all transformed, evolved, shifted. I see and feel, not only the pulse, the longing, the full and empty cups inside of me, but the same in all the humans around me.

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A Journal from Jules: The Maestro of Peace

Palmero, Italy, July 2008

Hi Folks…

I am typing in the dark back of my hotel room in Palermo so as not to wake my room-mate. The computer will go with her today and I want to get this to you, so I am writing. I cannot read my notes in this light, so I will start again so I can share with you – and savor my own memories, while fresh – of this amazing event which unfolded as a tale of old.

Palmero, ItalyCorleone is not city like Palermo — indeed it is a small town. The bus ride took about 1 and 1/4 hours and way route was lined with grapevines and hay-fields, beautiful mountains and a picturesque countryside.

Grown men baling and stacking hay waived at our bus, the way children wave to train engineers in rural areas. The town square – named for two men who were shot because they stood up to the Mafia – was smaller than a football field.

Chairs had been brought in and some bleachers at the back. They said this important event could have been held indoors, but that they wanted it in the open air where all who wished to could come. Their sincerity and genuine affection for Mr. Prem Rawat was evident and very touching.

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I’m Moving to a Blog Cabin in the Woods

I see the future.

Everyone will have a blog. Every blogger’s pet will have a blog. Every blog will have a blog. Every blog’s blog will a have a blog. No one will be reading any of these blogs because everyone will be too busy writing blogs. Bloggers will occasionally visit other blogs, but only for the purpose of leaving comments that will direct readers back to their own blog. Letter writing will become popular once again, gaining a new lease on life after the internet crashes repeatedly because of the profusion of blogs and youtube videos created by 5-year olds and terrorist groups.

Why all the blogging?

Because people want to connect. And WHY do people want to connect? Because there is a fundamental need inside each of us to feel connected.

“Connected to WHAT?” is the question. Connected to ourselves.

Bottom line, for each of us to feel truly wired, we need to connect with ourselves. Then, and only then, does it make sense to connect with others.

Otherwise, all our efforts to connect will be fundamentally flawed — tinged with the slightly neurotic need for approval and completion — neither of which are really necessary once we master the fine art of tapping into who we really are in the first place.

And speaking of the future — high rises are out. Blog cabins are in.

(Excerpted from The Heart of the Matter)

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Begging for Peace

On my recent journey to Israel, one of the oddities of Tel Aviv was the sighting of the occasional beggar on the street. These seemed to take 3 forms: old women sitting beside lamp-posts, elderly hasidic pan-handlers with a bit of a crazy edge, and young penitents who situate themselves in a state of frozen prostration, on the leeward side of walkways.

This is an strange sight to see.

In North American cities, begging and pan-handling are synonymous – considered by the more cozy financially to be one of society’s major blights, sore spots.

The poor and the beggars have always been with us, in one form or another — at least in the so-called “civilized” societies of the post-tribal world. One imagines that in “tribal” times, all people had meaningful roles to play in societies where life wasn’t measured by accumulation and prestige.

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The Road to Tel Aviv

It is the end of another business day, school-day, peace-keeping day. Soldiers, school children, a handful of tourists, Hasidic Jews all pile on and empty off the bus in drips, droves, coughs and sputters, as the bus navigates the stew of the afternoon rush.

Soldiers are everywhere in Israel; more pronounced in Jerusalem, less visible in Tel Aviv. They are all young. College young. Just- out-of -high -school young. A period of military service is a mandatory part of the young Israelis’ journey into adulthood, for both men and women. This rite-of-passage speaks of the reality of a societal burden as old as the stones in the temple walls here.

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