Spirituality * Culture * Self-Expression

Month: July 2013

Burden of the Heart



Two monks set out on a journey to a far off monastery.  The older monk was very experienced and knowledgeable and had a good sense of humor. The younger monk, though not so experienced, had a sincere desire to learn and grow in his spiritual practice.

two-monks-and-a-woman (1)

The monks enjoyed each other’s company and had a pleasant time discussing all the new and wonderful things they saw as they walked to their destination.

After a few days, they came to a river. There was no bridge in sight, so the monks walked along the bank trying to figure out the best place to cross.


As they studied the river, they suddenly noticed a woman running towards them from out of the nearby forest. Her hair was disheveled, her make-up was smeared and her dress was torn. It was clear to both monks that she was in some difficulty. It was also clear to them that she was a woman with, what might be called, a shady past.

She rushed up to the monks and immediately started pleading with them.

“Please, venerable monks, help me. I must get across the river.”

The young monk turned away and pretended to ignore her. But the old monk, without a second thought, picked her up and carried her across the river. On the other side he put her down and she went on her way. The young man, though unburdened, took a bit more time to cross. When he got to the other side he would not make eye contact with his friend and became very sullen and quiet.


The old monk let the young man have his space and together they continued on the journey. But it was no longer a pleasant experience for either of them. There was no conversation and there was no more sense of camaraderie.

After a few days, they came in sight of their destination.

two monks

“I cannot keep silent anymore,” said the young monk. “I must tell you how I feel.”

“Do so,” said the old monk.

“You did something wrong.”

“Oh,” said the old monk. “Tell me what I did wrong so that I might correct it or at least apologize for the offence I caused.”

“That woman we met at the river – what you did with her was wrong.”

“Please explain,” said the old monk.

“We are monks. We have taken vows. We are not permitted to even think about women – especially women like her – and we are certainly not allowed to touch a woman. By picking her up and carrying her you did a great wrong.”

“I see,” said the old monk. “You are correct. By picking up that woman I broke my vows. However, I put her down on the other side of the river, a few minutes later, and released my burden. It seems you have been carrying that woman in your heart ALL THIS TIME.”



Faith and Foolishness



Once there was a very pious and faithful man.  He had absolute trust in God and always tried to be an upright and honorable person.

man in praise

One day he learned that a great storm was on its way and the town would be flooded. The people of the town all prepared to evacuate; but the man was unconcerned.


“I have always been a good and honorable man,” he said. “I live by faith in God. I have no need to fear because I know that God will save me. “

As the people left the town, the man watched and waited for the flood to come.

Soon the storm came and the streets began to fill up with water. The man watched the wind and rain with excitement, marveling at God’s wondrous power.storm3

A large truck full of refugees drove by, almost floating in the flooded streets. When the people saw the man standing calmly in his doorway, they stopped and called to him.


truck - flood

“Hurry and get into the truck. The storm is getting worse. Get into the truck and we’ll take you to safety.”

But the man only smiled and said, “Don’t worry about me. I have faith in God. I will be alright. God will save me.”


Because the flood waters were rising, the truck could not remain. It drove away leaving the man behind.

As the storm continued to rage, the waters forced the man up to his second floor balcony, where he continued to watch the storm.


The wind and rain sent debris floating past the house. A boat with a few more refugees in it came into sight. The people noticed the man and called out to him.

Germany Europe Floods

“Why are you still here? Hurry and get into the boat and we will take you to safety.”

But the man only smiled and said, “Don’t worry about me. I have faith in God. I will be alright. God will save me.”


The waves threatened to sink the boat and it could not remain. The boat moved away leaving the man behind.

As the storm continued to rage and the waters rose higher and higher, the man went up to his rooftop.


He stood with the water up to his chest and watched the storm.

In the air, pummeled by the wind and rain, a helicopter was making a final sweep of the town before it was completely covered in water. The people in the helicopter saw the man standing on the roof and flew over to him. It was difficult to control the aircraft in the storm, but the pilot tried to keep it steady while a ladder was lowered to the man.

helicopter - flood

“What are you still doing here?” the pilot shouted. “Grab the ladder and get into the helicopter. This is your last chance. Get up here and we’ll take you to safety.”

But the man only smiled and said, “Don’t worry about me. I have faith in God. I will be alright. God will save me.”


The helicopter, battered by wind and rain, was unable to stay. It flew away leaving the man behind.



Soon the flood completely engulfed the man and he drowned.

And he went up to Heaven because he was a good and pious man and God welcomed him.

The man stood before God and said, “Lord, I don’t understand. I have always been a good and pious man and have had faith in you my whole life. Lord, in my time of need why did you abandon me? Why did you not save me from the flood?”self-righteous

And God said, “My son, I don’t understand your attitude.cartoon-god



Did I not send a truck, a boat and a helicopter to save you?”

truck, boat, helicopter

Big Frog, Small Mind

frog in well


Once there was a big frog that lived in a large well.

smug frog

He was a happy frog, content with his home and proud of his role as master of the big well. He was always ready to boast and brag about the vastness of his domain.

The Well


Now, one day, his cousin from the sea shore came to visit.frog visitor

The big frog said, “What do you think of my well? Isn’t it magnificent?”

“Yes,” said the cousin frog, “It’s very nice.”

“Very nice?!” said the big frog. “Surely you’ve never seen a body of water as big as my well.”

“Oh,” said the cousin frog, “it is very large, indeed, but I come from the sea, you understand, so I have seen large bodies of water before.”

“What is this ‘sea’ you speak of? Is it very big?”

“Oh yes,” said the cousin frog, ‘it is very, very big.”

The big frog pondered this for a moment and then said, “This sea of yours, you say it is large – is it about a quarter the size of my big well?”

“Oh,” said the cousin frog, “it is much bigger than that.”

The big frog thought for a moment and then said, “Do you mean it is about half the size of my big well?”

“Oh,” said the cousin frog, “it is much, much bigger than that.”

“Now look here,” said the big frog, “do you mean this sea of yours is just as big as my big well?”

“Oh,” said the cousin frog, “it is much, much bigger than your well. It is the sea. It is vast.”

The big frog pondered this information in silence for a moment and then shook his head.


“This,” he said, “I cannot believe. Surely nothing is bigger than my well. I must look at this body of water for myself. Take me to your sea.”

And so the frogs set off for the sea shore, which was quite a distance away.two frogs

And when they got there, the big frog looked around and said, “Now, cousin frog, where is this ‘sea’ you spoke of? Where is this vast body of water larger than my well?”

The cousin frog smiled and pointed out past the sand. “There,” he said, “there is the sea. All of this is water as far as the eye can perceive – all the way to the edge of the world.”at the seashore

The big frog looked out at the water. He tried to focus and concentrate and make sense of what he was seeing, but his mind seemed to freeze and all he could do was look out at the vastness without any understanding of what was there.frog3

Then slowly his eyes began to bulge as he stared at the vastness of the water.

amazed frog

His body began to shake and, suddenly, without warning, his head just exploded.ka-pow

No Good War



With all the current so-called social uprisings in places like Egypt and Brazil getting media coverage, it is easy for many people to come to believe that militant action is justified and effective. There is a strong perception forming that good wars should be fought and will be successful and only bad wars need be avoided. This is a tragic fallacy. There are certainly good motives for action – however, wars and revolutions are only initiated for one reason – economic gain. No war, revolution, militant movement or uprising can be maintained without financial backing. War is an investment and no one with substantial resources is going to invest in something that has no potential for strong returns. You can be sure that the protests in Egypt were not started by the poor or down trodden masses, but by a segment of the influential elite who were looking for opportunities to promote their own interests. People will definitely benefit from a change in leadership and it will definitely NOT be the common people.COST PLUS

In the past, wars have been fought under the banner of liberation –but who was being liberated? And how long did the liberation last? Realistically, it makes little difference to the poor who they pay taxes to – only the well-off notice a difference in their life-style. Banners, slogans and ideology are used as tools to justify warfare. The common people, brainwashed by centuries of rhetoric, accept the idea that wars are sometimes fought for freedom or to liberate the people from tyranny – they site revolutionary wars and peasant uprisings or foreign wars to eliminate evil dictators as examples of this kind of “good war.”war stupid

If wars were actually fought for these reasons, there would be some validity to the suggestion that good wars are possible. However, no war has ever been fought for any reason other than economic gain. Peasants, serfs, slaves, the downtrodden masses – none of these ever make war. Wars are started by people who have an interest in expanding their own income base. They might indeed stir up the masses to join them and spout one ridiculous cause or another as their motive – but war is a rich man’s game. Perception of warfare has more to do with the level of dishonesty of the combatants. If warrior chiefs are honest, they are fighting for money and power, and not for justice, freedom, equality or religious ideals.  People start wars only for monetary gain. The current string of public protests around the world is no exception – such actions could not be maintained without support of at least a segment of the State. The world would barely have been aware of the Egyptian protests if not for the military backing. Is anyone naïve enough to believe that the Generals in this action have the best interests of the people at heart?war

In earlier times, there was more honesty about the true motives for war. Barbarous hordes, Vikings, and marauders of all races plundered the world for gold – It was simple.  In the history of open warfare – Egyptians vs. Hittites, Persians vs. Greeks, or Rome vs. the world – the motives were clear and all the same – nations fought for economic gain, to expand trade routes, to bring more resources to their countries, to increase the king’s coffers in plunder, taxes, and tribute.

Perhaps the policy of dissembling in warfare began with the Crusades and the actions leading up to them. The Crusades had little if anything to do with religion – the Crusades were fought on both sides to promote and protect mercantile interests. The movement of goods and services between East and West and the profits gained through the movement were the only real issues at stake. The wars were about trade routes. The Roman Catholic led forces were just as likely to raid and pillage Eastern Christian cities as they were Muslim strong holds.  Control of the roads and seaways and access to Asian markets was the only goal. The Muslims had this control and were not willing to trade fairly with Europe. Now few men would willingly die so that their king could wear silk and use pepper spice – but they would die for the glory of God. And thus the God card was played by both forces. But God had nothing to do with this long series of conflict.god is peace

Look at the history of the legendary Knights Templar. Their stated aim was to protect pilgrims as they journeyed to the Holy Land. But the Knights became fabulously wealthy providing safe passage for merchants and developing modern banking methods for transferring funds from country to country. This and not heavenly glory was their prize. And when the Knights became powerful enough to challenge the establishment, they were crushed and their wealth confiscated.

The Crusades were purely an economic enterprise but the Big Lie about Holy War and freeing sacred lands from the control of Infidels has persisted. Why? Because people want to believe it. They don’t want to believe that men are going off to die for the cause of making their leader wealthy. They want to believe that their deaths will somehow make the world a better place – Or at least that their sacrifice will make them famous and memorable.

Napoleon came to this realization in his own wars of conquest. He observed that “men will die for ribbons.” The chance to win a medal will inspire a man to all kinds of bravery bordering on the stupid. Convincing people that dying in war makes them important is a frightful deception. Religions and Nationalists use this deception all the time. It is an evil lie.ribbons

Thankfully, people are waking up to this deception. It is a slow process but people are starting to see that dying for some corporate expansion is not a good idea. And dying in a foreign war is the stupidest idea ever.war ridiculous


war seems stupid

I believe there are things worth dying for and I believe that people should struggle against their oppressors and seek to liberate themselves, and I support people who are willing to take a stand and march off to face some perceived evil and do battle with it – this is why when the media shows images of multitudes rising up in protest anywhere in the world there is a swelling of human pride at the sight, or when a statute of some hated dictator is toppled over a shout of joy rises to our lips.

Unfortunately, the reality is that the only so-called “successful’ uprisings are those that have the backing of equally ruthless and ambitious individuals and collectives.  No uprising can succeed without the backing of some faction of the State. Just as no massive evil, such as genocide, can be carried out without the backing of the State. And the STATE – politicians, bankers, corporations, religious organizations – must gain a substantial benefit from the investment of support in any action.war-profits-carson_n


war not the answer

People are waking up to this reality. Hopefully, the time will soon come when false altruism will be rejected and people will realize that violent upheavals do not produce real change. Trading one greedy dictator for another is not real change. You still end up with the same phoney leadership. Remember the words of the song “Won’t Get Fooled Again” – ‘meet the new boss; same as the old boss.” Wake up and make war no more.


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