Friday, December 4, 2009

Selfish vs. Selflessness

I find myself coming back to the zen statement, "before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment: chop wood, carry water". Mindfulness does not change that you have identity (certainly communicating on these networks requires it); mindfulness allows one to perceive how identity or self-cherishing is suffering. What one does with it afterward may not change either, but you may find it easier to allow suffering to simply be and choose to act with compassion.

Avoiding suffering is as much an illusion as enjoying attachment; which is also suffering, but experienced differently and with less obvious consequences in the short term. When compared to the whole of life a passing enjoyment reveals itself as elusive and relative. I understand the point of meditation and mindfulness is perceiving reality as it is and releasing self, identity, attachment, suffering or any other illusion we hold, so our daily actions do not ripen as continual suffering and we may be enriched by living within compassion. By practicing meditation, one learns to observe the duality in all experience, which also allows one to act compassionately with mindfulness and with less prejudice or fear of retribution for our actions.

So, we view emotions that produce unpleasant experiences as negative, but the same emotions experienced with mindfulness can result in pleasant experiences if we act on them in a different way than we learned while growing up. Anger can be effective for positive change if we observe what triggers it within and learn to couple it with love as compassion before we act. Without contemplation we remain stuck between the emotion and the consequences of our actions; which leads to more challenging emotions like shame and embarrassment.  These compounded emotions seem to confirm the illusion that the original emotion is negative; when observed without judgment it is not.

Even actions remain relative and illusory, so when it comes to identity and self there is no single or correct way to be.  Judging is impossible because there is no measure or standard to judge against; there is only infinite variation. One might as well say you enjoy the variation of all human expression, as much as say you enjoy attachment, which observed with wisdom is suffering. Without action and as ideas in the mind, they are simply dual and opposing observations of the same notion of identity.

Friday, September 18, 2009

2010 Mayan Calendar

I haven't posted much about the Maya Calendar since I began this blog, but in case you are looking for a decent calendar which celebrates Maya imagery and the Tzolk'in this 2010 Mayan Calendar is the calendar to buy. The website also has plenty of authentic information about the Tzolk'in and other aspects of Maya calendar systems compiled by a Dr. Ed Barnhart, a researcher currently working in Mesoamerica on behalf of the Maya Exploration Center, a non-profit research and education center. I bought last year's calendar and thoroughly enjoyed its combination of Maya symbolism and clear, bright photography.

This is an excellent calendar to buy even if you are not interested in following the current Maya dates, because they leave plenty of room to write on the calendar should you need that. All the same, this calendar uses the commonly accepted correlation between the Maya Calendar to present time otherwise known as the "Goodman, Martinez, Thompson" correlation (GMT correlation). The images for each month focus mostly on Classic Maya architecture, but also include pottery images in high detail.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Saturn-Uranus Opposition

I've been anticipating this week with some trepidation in light of my visit to the Emergency room last January. My rational mind insists there is little to be concerned about. After all, the doctors have all shook their heads in wonder and attributed my experience to little more than unintentional overindulgence.

But I can't discount the astrology of the moment. Today marks the central opposition of Saturn with Uranus and the blogs across the astrology blogosphere are filled with meaning and wisdom about this unique configuration. All the same, this clamor for understanding leaves me feeling a little empty and world weary.

It has not been my intention to use this blog as a political soapbox, but my natal chart echos the United States Sibley chart which is often used for analyzing astrology for the US. So I'm not surprised my ambivalence is also echoed by a majority of people in this nation who simply want to weather this period of economic restriction with a modicum of dignity while preserving the structure of their lives in the midst of a health care revolution.

I have little faith in the leaders who emotionally shout and rail against those who call for consensus and compromise. While I have benefited from the current Status Quo and I am grateful I qualified, charity is not a safety net for our nation. It is only a stop-gap for the few lucky people without insurance who have the "good sense" to become sick at the beginning of the year. When the donations run out, the uninsured, including me, become the burden of a seemingly unsympathetic government.

I don't really have any empowering insight into this opposition. It is far too easy to look deeply for meaning and become lost in the potential for universal health care, while overlooking reality: a large percentage of our country's population have poor or no access to common health care. I have to remind myself that Uranus in Pisces is emotional and adjusting while Saturn in Virgo is physical and flexible. It is quite clear to me which will win out in the end, but as with all astrology, what remains important is what you are doing with your time now. I'm going to spend some "me" time in my garden.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mercury Rx Taurus and Gemini

Mercury stationed direct last Saturday evening after a nearly month-long retrograde period. The station is the point when a planet appears stopped in its forward movement and can last a day or so. While it is typical to discover electronic flukes during a Mercury retrograde (Rx), the station is often when Mercury Rx effects are felt most strongly. It is also a good time to review communications and monetary transactions.

Mercury entered the first degrees of this Rx period back on April 22nd when it passed through the twenty second degree of Taurus. Its forward movement carried it through the end of April to May 1st when it entered Gemini. It began its Rx station by appearing to slow down from our observation while earth's orbit coincided with its position in the sky.

Mercury stationed Rx in the beginning of Gemini, where Mercury is said to rule, but it moved back into Taurus for most of the Rx period, from May 7th through the 22nd, traveling between the first degree of Gemini all the way back to that twenty-second degree of Taurus. Emails not sent (or otherwise held onto) is a typical effect of Mercury Rx in Taurus as Taurus is fixed energy and tends to preserve the status quo. For the following two weeks while Mercury remains in Taurus one may encounter more communications that have been held onto or waylaid through the potential of this fixed energy.

Once Mercury enters Gemini again it will be easier to correct any complications that have surfaced as a result of mercurial blindness during this and previous retrograde periods. Gemini is the zodiac sign of mutable air, so has advantages over the fixed earth energy of Taurus when it comes to communication. We can all expect our lives to speed up as our communications become more effective and critical during Mercury's transit through its own kingdom.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Thought About Values

Quantum Mechanics suggests that we are made up of nothing more than tightly packed particles of energy and that reality is nothing more than the gradual expansion and transfer of that energy throughout our immediate universe. How do we turn that into meaningful truth? Through belief in self and understanding of how we effect and can help one another. This idea includes and encompasses all human systems of thought, so there is no hierarchy or dominance of one being over another. God is omnipresence and permeates all life and existence. Tao is the constant exchange of light energy and dark energy which life emerges from. Morality and ethics develop out of values developed through communication and recognition of mutual goals. Compassion for oneself and thus all humanity is the highest value one can achieve.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Two ideas I've learned from Astrology

A short time ago I jotted down several ideas that had been buzzing around my head about my interest in astrology. These aren't very concrete, so bear with me.

The world is as it's supposed to be.

This wouldn't be obvious to the casual observer. Too often if we are feeling unsatisfied with our lives or perceiving the world as full of suffering, it is difficult to see that this is no different than when our mood is happy and light. The potential for dissatisfaction and suffering is just as prevalent when we are unhappy as it is when we are happy. Astrology shows that there is always an overall general influence to any situation and the more specific you get, the more you realize that this influence is constantly changing. So there is never a point in time when dissatisfaction or suffering is the same, it is either getting better or getting worse. The best part is that you get to choose which.

Don't accept absolutes.

This follows the point of the previous paragraph so perhaps it doesn't need more explanation. Still, it is not an obvious conclusion when relating with astrology. One of the first practices of astrology is to look at a natal chart and compare the information contained within as if it was a moment cast in concrete. But the name "natal" tells you exactly what that point in time represents: nativity or a beginning point. Every moment from that point to the present represents your life, not simply what was percieved at the beginning. A natal chart is a tool for reflection on your present self and does not determine anything more than your potential at birth.

I think this principal is the most confusing aspect to grasp about astrology. The question that comes up almost immediately is how can a point in the past represent my whole life? The answer isn't a simple yes or no, because astrological information pivots on the interpretation of the moment, not the fact of the moment itself. This division between fact and interpretation is a conversation humans have been engaged for millenia and could even be said to be the essence of philosophy.