The mind is everywhere.
The Original Mind is like water
Which flows freely.
The deluded mind is like ice.
There is a passage in the Diamond Sutra that says,
“The mind should operate without abiding anywhere.” — Takuan
Quotes from Ken Wilber
I have been reading Ken Wilber for more than 10 years now. He is not an easy read but to me, he has the best explanation of practically everything. Here are some of his thoughts
”You triumph over death, not by living forever, but by living timelessly, by being present to the Present. You are not going to defeat death by identifying with the ego in the stream of time and then trying to make that ego go on forever in that temporal stream. You defeat death by finding that part of your own present awareness that never enters the stream of time in the first place and thus is truly Unborn and Undying.”
— 1999 introduction to ” Grace and Grit “
"There is more spirituality in reason’s denial of God than there is in myth’s affirmation of God, precisely because there is more depth… even an "atheist" acting from rational-universal compassion is more spiritual than a fundamentalist acting to convert the universe in the name of a mythic-membership god."
— Sex, Ecology, Spirituality , p. 250
"The great and rare mystics of the past (from Buddha to Christ, from al-Hallaj to Lady Tsogyal, from Hui-neng to Hildegard) were, in fact, ahead of their time, and are still ahead of ours. In other words, they are not figures of the past. They are figures of the future."
— Sex, Ecology, Spirituality , p. 253
"Ecological wisdom does not consist in understanding how to live in accord with nature; it consists in understanding how to get humans to agree on how to live in accord with nature".
— A Brief History of Everything , p.268
"Great art suspends the reverted eye, the lamented past, the anticipated future; we enter it with the timeless present; we are with God today, perfect in our manner and mode, open to the riches and the glories of a realm that time forgot, but that great art reminds us of: not by it’s content, but by what it does in us: suspends the desire to be elsewhere."
— The Eye of Spirit , p. 135-136
"That all-pervading Beauty is not an exercise in creative imagination. It is the actual structure of the universe. That all-pervading Beauty is in truth the very nature of the Kosmos right now. It is not something you have to imagine, because it is the actual structure of perception in all domains. If you remain in the eye of Spirit, every object is an object of radiant Beauty. If the doors of perception are cleansed, the entire Kosmos is your lost and found Beloved, the Original Face of primordial Beauty, forever,and forever, and endlessly forever."
— The Eye of Spirit , p. 138
"But, we ask, what will happen to our drive for progress if we see all opposites are one? Well, with any luck, it will stop—and with it that peculiar discontent that thrives on the illusion that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. But we should be clear about this. I do not mean that we will cease making advancements of a sort in medicine, agriculture, and technology. We will only cease to harbor the illusion that happiness depends on it. For when we see through the illusions of our boundaries, we will see, here and now, the universe as Adam saw it before the Fall: an organic unity, a harmony of opposites, a melody of positive and negative, delight with the play of our vibratory existence. When the opposites are realized to be one, discord melts into concord, battles become dances, and old enemies become lovers. We are then in a position to make friends with all of our universe, and not just one half of it."
— No Boundary , p. 29
Are you a potato, an egg or coffee?
Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.
Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.
He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.
After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.
He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup. Turning to her he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?”
“Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,” she hastily replied.
“Look closer,” he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.
“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.
He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity– the boiling water.
However, each one reacted differently.
The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak.
The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard.
However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.
“Which are you,” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean? “
Moral: In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is what happens within us.
Which one are you?
As I scour through all the chatter in cyberspace and everywhere, I remember this quote attributed by Joseph Campbell to Heinrich Zimmer.
“Via Joseph Campbell: My friend Heinrich Zimmer of years ago used to say, “The best things can’t be told,” because they transcend thought. “The second best are misunderstood,” because those are the thoughts that are supposed to refer to that which can’t be thought about, and one gets stuck in the thoughts.”The third best are what we talk about.”
― Heinrich Zimmer
Some things to consider about Holy books and religion
1) Religious writings like the Bible, Koran, Torah, Bhagavad Gita, etc.. are not scientific papers.
2) They are often historically incorrect
3) They are not factual many times
4) They were written from the worldview of their time and some contents may or may not apply to modern times
5) It is not helpful to accept them literally because historical, scientific research will readily dispute many of them and prove them wrong factually.
So what are they?
a) They are ‘holy books’ considered ‘sacred writings’ which have extremely powerful symbolic messages. And symbols often move people more than facts.
b) They are meant to lead you to ponder on mysteries which man will always be fascinated with. e.g.,meaning of life, What God is like, Sex, death and the afterlife, divine justice, the future, etc..
c) They are a guide to how we must conduct ourselves in the world and towards others.
d) Every religion reaches different conclusions about these mysteries resulting in different dogmas and moral codes although some of them may share some of the same insights.
e) Religion is but a subtopic of spirituality
f) The same mysteries and questions can be approached on a spiritual plain outside religion.
g) Not everyone will believe or be moved by religion and Holy books but at one point, everyone will engage and ask these same spiritual questions.
h) I take heed of what a religious man once told me. I quote,’Treat religion like salt. Use it in moderation.’ After all, religion and politics are among the top two main causes of war and enmity in the human history.
Typhoon Glenda’s manifesto
The media has not picked it up yet. I am talking about the manifesto Glenda left behind. It reads:
People of the Earth
I speak to you as a spokesperson for Mother Nature also known by some as Gaia, and other names.
You are on the whole a stupid species. I gave you everything beautiful and wonderfully life-giving.
But your greed is inexhaustible and your denial that All is One is remarkably ignorant, unenlightened and perverse.
Many of you consume too much, way more than you need.
You pollute everything you touch.
You want to own everything
You don’t give a shit about other people
Nothing is sacred to you except money.
You have forgotten the joys of simplicity
You refuse to think of tomorrow
You refuse to try solutions out there that will benefit everyone
Throughout the past centuries, I have been leaving messages but you ignore them.
Let me tell you this. More of my homies will be visiting. Sorry if they don’t have manners you expect nor any regard for you.
This is our world. You only live in it. So show some respect or we will keep coming back more ferociously until you wont want to live here anymore.
Blown away by Olympus
Olympus is a brand that has been around for years. Their relatively recent foray into the mirrorless 4/3rd cameras has put them solidly on the map as one of the leading camera manufacturers in this category. It is not surprising since they are the pioneers in this format and have come out with more generations than any other brand. In the process, they have fine-tuned their mirrorless cameras into fabulous photography instruments.
I first discovered the Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera some two years ago. Truth to tell, the day I held it, I immediately fell in love with it. It was small, light and could take really great photos. My big DSLR camera has remained unused since then.
The new Olympus OM-D E-M1, the latest in this series of cameras was released last year in Japan. I only got hold of a review copy now. Let me just say that I am blown away by it.
The camera is small compared to the regular DSLRs. That’s how mirrorless cameras are, and its size is a big deal if you are carrying a camera strapped on your neck for hours. But its smallness is packed with goodies that can surprise and delight even the pros.
The heart of every digital camera is its MOS. This is what captures the light. In this E-M1, it is a 16 megapixel live MOS and the TruPic II image processor that makes its pictures superior in image quality because of its hi-res and high sensitivity. The minimum ISO is 100 and the maximum is 25600.
Its metal body, size and ergonomic design makes it actually nice to hold. It feels solid. The viewfinder is even much improved compared to the E-M5 which actually was already quite good. Its response is much faster and is clearer and more accurate. Its cat’s eye control makes the viewfinder adjust brightness automatically depending on the situation. And yes, the viewfinder is customizable and there are three settings to choose from.
The image stabilization supports every lens you can use. It has an 81 point focus area, fast AF and can shoot 10 frames per second. And by the way, its fastest shutter speed is 1/8000 sec and claims to have ‘the shortest shooting time lag in its class’.
The monitor is a touchscreen, which is great for scrolling and enlarging. And I love the way you can angle it when holding the camera for almost every angle high and low.
As a habit, I shoot mostly on manual mode even if the E-M1 is great to shoot on any mode actually. It is a breeze to get the settings you want because they are almost all just a press, a click or a switch away. When it comes to ease of us, this camera is a real winner. The Zuico- made lens I am using, a 14-42 mm lens is sharp and captures the photos in beautiful stunning detail.
One difference between the old EM-5 and its new upgrade the EM-1, is that the latter is now WI-FI capable. You can now easily share photos online by way of your smart phone which can also serve as your camera monitor and remote control. This is a wonderful add on that makes shooting , say, selfies a walk in the park.
I was also able to try the OM-D E-M10 for a ride. It is an even smaller, more compact camera than the top of the line E-M1. It feels right and can do a lot of what the more expensive E-M1 and E-M5 cameras can do. It may have its limitations when it comes to its shutter speed (1/4000 at its fastest) , and a few other things. But for half the price of its big brother, it is a camera worth having.
But what you will miss though is it does not have the all weatherproofing that the EM-5 and the new E-M1 have where you can shoot under rainy and extremely dusty conditions.
If you are thinking of buying the new E-M10 versus the old E-M5, get the newer one since it has almost the features of the E-M5 plus a few more.
Some photographers out there still cannot take the 4/3 camera format seriously. They still look at it as inferior and like sticking to the traditional DSLRs that they have invested in. But more and more, with the giant strides in product development and marketing from companies like Olympus, it won’t be too long before this tinier, lighter camera becomes the standard.
The Samsung NX30: the new big boy has arrived
The NX30 camera, the latest from Samsung is a solid micro 4/3 camera worth looking at.
I have tried the NX300, its predecessor, and have used it extensively. I really enjoy using the NX300 camera. It is light, and the menu is so easy to navigate. It has everything I want in terms of picture quality, ease of use, portability, and a lot of other things. It is great for quick photos, and captures them quite well. It has enough power and capability to let you go wildly playful with it.
But what I sorely missed in the NX300 was a real viewfinder, not a back screen monitor to look at to see my subject.
A photographer really needs a viewfinder especially when it is super sunny outdoors. The light of an intense sun can black out the images on a video screen often no matter how vibrant the screen is and it can affect your framing and a host of other things. But a viewfinder makes shooting under the bright sun and practically under any condition possible.
This is where the NX30 completes the picture. It has a marvelous viewfinder that not only can extend towards the photographer but can also angle 90 degrees up. In short, you can look at your subject with eyes looking straight kike a regular viewfinder, or eyes down on the viewfinder, like the old classic cameras.
The features of the NX30 which you can mostly find also on the NX300, are great. The ISO start at 100 and goes as high as 25,600. You can only push or pull it down incrementally. I have only shot as high as 12000 ad let me say that in a dark setting like a bar or a night club, it takes very decent shots and you can hardly detect any noise. The shutter speed goes as fast as 1/6000 of a second. It has all the white balance settings you are used to. Throw in the photo wizard mode where you can choose to shoot in vivid, B & W, Sepia, and a host of other ways. It comes with a basic 18-55mm lens. And it is good to know that here are a host of excellent lenses available if you wish to build on this camera.
The back screen is sharp and is a touchscreen. You can scroll back and forth, and even make the picture bigger or smaller with the flick of thumb and forefinger. This is a major asset.
Unlike the NX300, the back monitor screen can be pulled to the left of the camera and positioned in many different angles. I initially found this variation from the previous NX unimpressive. I felt that Samsung gave up a great feature of the NX300 which was a screen monitor that could be angled for low or high perspective, just for the sake of being different. But the more I use it, it is actually more flexible than the old screen. I just have to get used to it some more.
With the new NX300, I can say with confidence that Samsung has now produced a camera that can competently stand up to the big boys of Canon and Nikon, at least in the starter to mid-range DSLR category. It can do whatever the big cameras can, and then some.
You can send your photos immediately to the net via NFC where you simply tap your smart phone on the camera and the image transfers to it. You can then post it straight to Facebook, twitter, or any social media.
The suggested retail price of the Samsung NX30 is 49,900Pesos. It is comparable to the Canon EOS Rebel T3i which goes for 44,000 Pesos. But considering that you get so much more ISO capability, way faster shutter speed, and a host of other advantages like lighter weight, and more versatile viewfinder, the extra 5K should not be an issue.
Next time you go to a store, ask to take a look. Chances are you will like it.
clawsfingerspaws asked: HI Sir Jim, would you know how (or where) can I reprint copies of old photographs? I intend to give them to my relatives & keep some for myself. (Most of these photos where taken in the early '60s & during the '70s.) Thank you very much.
If you are printing from negatives, you may have to go to a custom lab. Lok them up. There are some still around. Otherwise just take a digital pic of them