“You pass through life like early morning…”


Sakura Blossom

Dreaming, not waking 

Early morning breezes tickle,

Dandelions dance.


       Amidst many changes in my life I am called to write. There is a certain kind of feeling experienced when you leave everything behind for a completely new path. It’s a feeling like floating on a wave – not quite awake, not quite asleep, dreaming, not waking. Every moment is full of endless potential. But, then again, isn’t it anyway? It is in these times of transition that we find ourselves – our real, true, unbiased, no-illusions, self. We tend to find that the Self is completely unlimited. That, in fact, there isn’t a Self, definable as such, but a series of comings-and-goings. A kind of desperate plea for uncertainty. At first, it feels liberating. You have no responsibilities, nothing in your name, no job to get to, no school, or family, or friends calling for your attention. Everything is just space. Everything is limitless. Driving over the mountains, clearly endless blue skies above us, we felt as though we were on top of the world. We had 14 hours of homelessness, in one of the most beautiful parts of this country. The air is so much fresher all these miles above the busy cities and refineries. It’s almost too easy to forget all of this modern world.

       Forgetting is what our minds want to do. It is the easy way out of responsibility. Caring is difficult. Caring takes time and attention and energy, none of which are easily replenished as every action takes time to see the result. Caring can be overwhelming. Up here, on top of the world, there is nothing to care about. It is here where I experience true release, true happiness. You see children smiling for no reason at all, smiling at the smell of the flowers and the songs of the birds and the feel of the air against their skin. It is up here that I can truly say I understand what they are smiling for. The sun feels so close and so warm, and time slows down.

       It has been one full week since we experienced that. It didn’t take long for the 14 hours to pass and for us to take the seemingly short descent into the valley that we now call home. You see the city before you see the ocean, all lights and busy people. It is like waking from an existential dream of non-duality. The experience is much like taking that first step out of a retreat hall and onto a busy street. It’s a bit overwhelming, but you’re lucky, because you have all this stored up happy energy from the experience of release. This stored-up energy allows you to see the new landscape with fresh eyes, non-judging and compassionate. You make it through the busy city, as your new home lies on the far side, only blocks away from the vast, free ocean. You get here unscathed, still holding that happy, light energy close to your heart. This energy had permeated your whole body, and it lifted you to a lightness that was like you had become a cloud. The flowing and pulsing dance of wind and life-energy still coursed through you, with you, as you.

       As you enter your new home and proceed with all the formalities, you take a deep breath, and feel suddenly dizzy with realization. The search you have been on for your whole life, this search to be happy and free like you feel on top of the mountains, you feel it now too. It hasn’t left. The only thing that changed is your perception. Rather than seeing it for what it is, always present, you see it as something only attainable in certain environments. You close your eyes, letting your other senses experience the moment, and you feel this dreamlike happiness. Opening your eyes, it’s still there. You take a step, and still, it’s with you. A smile spreads on your soft lips and your eyes brim with tears. Regardless of what life calls on you for, you are there, completely present, and it is okay. Everything is okay. Everything is okay because inherently, you are free. You are expansive and huge, infinite. You are potential. Everything is potential.

       Cherry blossoms line the streets, mingling with flowers you don’t recognize. You can pick up probably a dozen different bird songs. You tell yourself that the steady thrum and vibration is the sound of the nearby ocean, though you’re probably kidding yourself. The tides pull at you as the pulse closer and further, grasping and releasing. Even the concrete buildings squished into city-blocks pulse and vibrate with life. Everything exists in meditation. Everything meditates.

       Abandoning your few possessions, the first stop is the bay, the soft sand squishing between your toes, the smell of salt-water and fish a welcome reminder that you are home, and you are safe.

Photo Copyright (c) April 2014, Chraeloos

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Loving-kindness, Metta, Vulnerability, Compassion, and Bravery.


Or, in other words, how to love yourself and others.

Any being who’s experienced emotions knows that, instead of you experiencing the emotions, sometime your emotions are experiencing you. Many religions and philosophies throughout history have taught that we should learn to be a witness, stepping back and not letting our emotions get in the way of rational thinking. Some even go so far as to say that we should become friendly with our emotions, get to know them, and therefore come to know when they are arising, recognize what it is, and stop yourself from feeling it. What I’m wondering, is what happens if you stop yourself from feeling emotions? Despite the fact that it must be extremely hard if not impossible to not feel any emotions, if we have evolved as the only beings that can recognize that we are feeling an emotion, should we embrace this? I’m not saying that we should let ourselves become overwhelmed with our emotions, but be able to step aside and let them coexist with us.

One of the most basic emotions I can think of is fear. For millennia fear has warned prey that there is a predator close by. These days, humans tend to be the predators more often then not, but in many cases fear has saved lives. It is a basic instinct. I’d go so far as to say that it is necessary to the survival of any living being. So, if a negative emotion such as fear can be such a good thing, what other emotions are necessary? I’d argue that love is necessary, as without love we couldn’t exist together peacefully. (Some would argue here that you can’t feel love without having felt hate, but I’d like to politely disagree. In my studies of metta meditation (loving-kindness), I’ve come to learn that even in hate there can exist a certain kind of love. I could go into this in detail, but that’s a whole other entry). But, there are three other emotions that I think are also necessary (among, likely, others) that I’d like to go into here: vulnerability, bravery, and compassion.

In my understanding of vulnerability, which differs greatly from the common definition of ‘weakness’, it seems that a vulnerability is a place for growth, connection, and individuality. I’d go so far as to argue that without vulnerabilities we would all be the same. Most people think of a vulnerability as a potential for harm, either physical or emotional. But, it’s only a potential for harm if there is something to be harmed by. Some would argue here that death is a vulnerability – but this is not so, as we all die. There cannot be life without death – and this does not make us weak. If anything, this should make us stronger as we realize that our time on this plane is limited and that we should spend the time we have with our loved ones with as happy an outlook that we can. We all have suffering in our life that can either be caused from, or create vulnerabilities. But, suffering is inevitable as we live in physical bodies that manifest physical emotions that don’t always coincide with the emotions of others. In my own experience, all suffering that I’ve endured has taught me more, and opened me up to more than I ever would have experienced had I avoided the suffering. Because we are never the same people from one moment to the next, let alone one lifetime to the next, we can’t possibly avoid suffering. Our cells are continuously dying and birthing, rewriting itself and changing in minuscule ways. Our bodies are always aging, our minds always growing. If we can look at this cycle of life and death, suffering and growth, as a positive life experience, we can fully embrace ourselves and each other for the way we are – our true beings – without shame. In doing this, we are actually eliminating much of our suffering.

Which leads us to compassion. If all beings have even a slice of compassion in them, then there is no need for a vulnerability to be a weakness. Instead of being shameful of your vulnerabilities, let them show so that people can get to know who you are, and love you for who you are. A vulnerability could be a broken heart, a broken bone, a bullied soul, amongst various other things not even a fraction of which I could name here. All of these things do heal when given the proper environment. Compassion is that environment. To give compassion shows humbleness, selflessness, and empathy. To be able to receive compassion shows even greater strength and trust, as you are letting the person see your soul. With this connection, we are able to communicate clearly, have stronger relationships, and end suffering all over the world. And, when I say compassion, I don’t mean in the form of money. I mean, opening your heart to the suffering of others; realizing that they suffer just as you do, and allowing them to experience it however they may without judgement. Compassion is so strong an emotion, and an action, that even if you open if up to one person a day you’d be doing yourself a huge favor, and helping those around you, even if just by setting an example. You never know what people are going through, or why they are acting the way they are. Don’t take their actions personally, as most of the time they aren’t reacting to something you did, but rather projecting their feelings from something that happened earlier onto you.

This brings us to bravery. In order to surrender yourself to someone – showing them your vulnerabilities, sending out your compassion, and trusting them to treat you with compassion – shows great bravery and courage (I use these two words simultaneously, as I think that backing down from a battle shows just as great, if not greater bravery and courage than running into it head-first). By opening yourself to them you are placing trust into their hands and hoping they won’t throw it back at you or drop it to the ground to stomp on it. I can guarantee you that they will recognize this, even if they don’t know they do, and they will treat you with respect and trust in return. Now, everyone’s capacity for respect and trust is different, so it may not seem so obvious to you that they are reciprocating, but every time they are given the opportunity to grow into that compassion, vulnerable environment, they are given an extra pull up the mountain, where at the top lays true trust, respect, and friendship. An exercise I would like you to try in order to practice bravery is to look into the eyes of all the strangers that pass you with acceptance. Don’t judge them. Don’t assume that you know what they are going through or why they are acting the way they are. Don’t assume that they are judging you. Let there be a complete exchange of introductions – how you really want people to know you, “Hi, my name is _____ and I see the good in you, and accept you for who you are.” See what happens in return – how many people’s faces will soften, aura’s will shift, and how many true connections you can make. Now, this isn’t a contest – the number doesn’t matter – but you will be surprised how many people are looking desperately for that kind of acknowledgement and kindness. Be brave – stick your foot out first, and see how many people catch you.

If we can give and receive these three things we would have very strong, trusting, and safe relationships – be them love, friendship, family, or connections with complete strangers. If we can accept ourselves enough to let our vulnerabilities shine through, show compassion even when all we want to do is lash out, and do this all with courage – imagine how much happier we would be. If we embrace the practice of separating our selves from our emotions and stopping them from happening, how can we exist as a co-dependent species? If we can accept our emotions, recognize when they are arising and why, and learn to scoot over and let them have a seat on the pillow beside us, then we can have a conversation with them, instead of trying to become them.

What do you think?

Steve Jobs, Lao Tzu, and Goethe


The following are some great quotes I’ve come across, thanks to a certain friend.

“Nothing is more revolting than the majority; for it consists of few vigorous predecessors, of knaves who accommodate themselves, of weak people who assimilate themselves, and the mass that toddles after them without knowing in the least what it wants”
– Goethe

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
– Steve Jobs

The other day, I was at a discussion about a passage from the Tao:
“In pursuit of knowledge, every day something is added. In the practice of the Tao, every day something is dropped.
Less and less do you need to force things, until finally you arrive at non-action. When nothing is done, nothing is left undone. True mastery can be gained by letting things go their own way.
It can’t be gained by interfering.”

In IM, my friend and I got talking about it and this was what he said. I have to say I agree completely, and it seems that many people forget this about Lao Tzu.

In response:
“Well, realize that Lao Tzu is discussing the Te. He’s not saying you shouldn’t do anything. He’s saying you should do everything as if it were nothing (not in a narcissistic sense, but in the sense that all things are easily done).”

Just wanted to share, thanks for reading!

Weekly Update – Feb 18 2012


Alright guys. I know I haven’t been posting reviews for the events. I apologize. I really haven’t had time, with the new job and all.

So – updates! The magazine is coming along nicely. Do let me know if you want your artwork or writing included – either through comments, in SL (Chraeloos), or email (laurajones@epithetandsynonym.biz). Otherwise, we are starting a new event, as I posted here, on Thursdays at 4pmSLT. Rhiannon and I are hosting, and it will be held at E&S.

This week held a metric-ton of awesome discussions. I can’t even list all the ones I went to, but there must have been over 15. A particularly awesome one was today at Edutopia, Geekspeak (noonSLT every Saturday). I’ve got the transcript below. We discussed alien life forms and ended up attempting to create a list of criteria for what we would look for on other planets. It was really interesting. Also, Tuesday’s discussion at E&S went really well. We discussed Hume and some of his ideas. I ended up talking as Hume, since his ideas are fairly abstract, and it was a lot of fun and everyone learned a lot. That’s where the idea for everyone taking on a different philosopher or scientist on the Thursday discussions came from.

Sedona Resident was kind enough to put her art up at E&S. There’s six photo’s total of hers, in the upstairs gallery. Please do tip, as she really deserves it, and they aren’t for sale.

I don’t think I wrote about Corona’s lecture last sunday either. Almost 10 people came, and surprisingly not all the same ones from the week before. It was Part 3 of the invention and evolution of religion and magic. Part 4 comes tomorrow at noonSLT, and I hope to see you there!

Upcoming events this week at E&S:

  • Sunday, Feb 19 2012, noonSLT – Corona Anatine Lecture, Part 4 Invention and Evolution of Religion/Magic
  • Tuesday, Feb 21 2012, 10amSLT – Philosophy and Literature, Avicenna on life-forms and the universe.
  • Thursday, Feb 23 2012, 4pmSLT – Philosophy Masquerade
  • Sunday, Feb 26 20120, noonSLT – Corona Anatine Lecture, Topic TBA

Transcript for Geekspeak Saturday Feb 18, 2012:

Continue reading

“Reality steps in, and she awakens from a deep slumber.”


Just so everyone is aware, I’ve got a job, which is why I haven’t been around much. The hours are wonky and I don’t know if they will ever be “set-in-stone”. Mostly, I’m hoping to stay around for the tuesday events (which are always excellent), but I can’t guarantee it. Also, I may have to move the events I hold (with notice, of course). I hoping, once I’ve finished being trained and can work alone, that I’ll have a rough idea of when I’ll be working regularly. Don’t count on it.

I’m pretty excited to have this job, though, so I can’t complain. Just hoping I will be able to balance the job and all the online activities. I’m missing everyone in SL, and all the great discussions that go on! I’m hoping to be around for Rhia’s discussion which was moved to Friday at 11:30amSLT (tomorrow). Otherwise, I have the weekend off so I’ll see people then.

Take care in the meantime, and keep your heads up high. I know there’s a lot going on in this world (both online and off), and it can be a little scary at times. Just remember that everyone else is going through it too.

A Few Updates


Russell Eponym played at the grand opening of Philadelphia, the “Brotherly Love City” in SL. It was beautiful, and his voice is always enchanting. I imagine there was around twenty people that showed up.

Today is the last day I’ll be on the internet until the twenty seventh. I’ll be on then for the E&S reading and philosophy discussion at 10amSLT/PST. I’ve not yet decided on a topic, so if you have any suggestions please feel free to comment.

Not much of an update today I’m afraid. I haven’t been going to many events in SL because of packing and the holidays. I did manage to make it to Extropia DaSilva’s Annual Christmas Lecture. It was called “Thinkers Lecture 2011: Pondscum, Scared Mice, and the Global Brain”. You can find the entire transcript over on her blog, here. It was excellent. Many, many people showed up. It’s probably the lecture that’s made me think the most. I have to say it was very well done. It presented the idea that technology may enable the human mind to connect to a “global brain”, a Facebook like feature in our brains that would allow our friends to feel what we feel, tune into our thoughts, sensations, emotions, etc. Communication on a grand scale. Definitely an interesting read, and I highly suggest you do if you weren’t able to make it to the online lecture.

I’m excited for the events to start up again in the new year. Hopefully I’ll be able to get around.