Tag Archives: tools for living

Save the Planet

Dinosaur Musing

Dinosaur Musing

It doesn’t need saving. Earth will be here long after Homo Sapiens Sapiens has departed. Most likely it will teem with life for sometime–as in billions of years–after it no longer teems with us. This will be the case not matter what our last chapter is about.

…just my opinion, but all efforts to transform and develop the human situation in the biosphere, might better be oriented by a much more refined and grounded regard of what actually may come to be saved and needs to be saved.

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Heather Mundell writes a blog on career development. Via her life@work I came upon a new blog by veteran bizblogger Curt Rosengren, M.A.P. Creating Meaning, Abundance, and Passion, and read:

A no-brainer part of any system designed to help you maintain your momentum is the simple question, “What motivates me?”

Ahh…motivation…a subject of interest for me recently. This is obviously a great question to pose to one’s self. More to the point of my own interest, this question also underlies the crucial question any motivator needs to ask if they wish to motivate somebody else, “What motivates you?” This too is obvious enough, yet my recent literature review quickly discovered that a lot of cookie-cutter writing on motivation misses this clear starting point completely. In my research it got to the point where I wondered if the various ‘top-down’ advisories really wished to suggest that the motivator simply doesn’t need to know what are the subject’s motivating factors.

It strikes me as useless to speak of wanting to reinforce intrinsic motivation if one doesn’t also take the trouble to learn what motivates the ‘motivatee’ internally.

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Shaikh Abul Janaab Najmuddin al-Kubra (may Allah favor him,) in his book Fawatih ul-Jamaal, wrote “Dhikr is flowing in the body of creatures by the necessity of their breath, because through their breathing, the letter ‘Ha’ of the Divine Name ‘Allah,’ is the very sound made with every exhalation and inhalation and it is a sign of the Unseen Essence serving to emphasize the Uniqueness of God. Therefore it is necessary to be present with that breathing, in order to realize the Essence of the Creator. God’s name ‘Allah’ encompasses God’s ninety-nine Names and Attributes and consists of four letters, ‘Alif,’ ‘Lam,’ ‘Lam’ and ‘Hah’ (ALLAH). The absolute unseen Essence of God, Glorious and Exalted, is expressed by the letter ‘Hah’ which represents the Absolute Unseen which is the same letter ‘Hah’ which is used in the name ‘Allah’ which encompasses the ninety-nine Names and Attributes. That name, as we said, consists of four letters: the letter ‘Ha’ which is ‘Ha’ and ‘Alif’, and it represents the Absolute Unseen of Allah. The first ‘Lam’ is for the sake of identification and the second ‘Lam’ is for the sake of emphasis.

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The Mahayana Ideal
By constant use the idea of an “I” attaches itself to foreign drops of seed and blood, although the thing exists not. then why should I not conceive my fellow’s body as my own self? That my body is foreign to me is not hard to see. I will think of myself as a sinner, of others as oceans of virtue; I will cease to live as self, and will take as my self my fellow-creatures. We love our hands and other limbs, as members of the body; then why not love other living beings, as members of the universe? By constant use man comes to imagine that his body, which has no self-being, is a “self;” why then should he not conceive his “self” to lie in his fellows also? Thus in doing service to others pride, admiration, and desire of reward find no place, for thereby we satisfy the wants of our own self. Then, as thou wouldst guard thyself against suffering and sorrow, so exercise that spirit of helpfulness and tenderness towards the world….

Make thyself a spy for the service others, and whatsoever thou seest in thy body’s work that is good for thy fellows, perform it so
that it may be conveyed to them. be thou jealous of thine own self when thou seest that it is at ease and thy fellow in distress, that it is in high estate and he is brought low, that it is at rest and he is at labour….

Edwin A. Burtt. The Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha. p.140.

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A friend of mine recently afforded me the opportunity to do a project. He loaned me the compact disc set of Thelonious Monk’s London Sessions, (that I’ve long owned on LP,) and I compiled two CDs from the three discs. The first consists of the various master and alternate takes and ends with the musing riff, Chordially. The second disc contains the extant single takes. There are many masterpieces made during these close-to-the-end (1971) sessions recorded for Alan Bates and Black Lion Records. Most famous is the rending solo version of Loverman.

For the trio sides Bates joined Monk with bassist Al McKibbon and drummer Art Blakey. McKibbon is especially valued here as he shadows Monk’s late stage temporal (as in: tempo) flow. Blakey plays with uncharacteristic restraint. His work here is distinctive for this reason. Of course, those that know the complete sessions already understand on the first set I’ve compiled, I’ve brought together trio and solo versions of the same compositions.

My goal was to assemble a listener’s version for study and contemplation. Having previously posted on religious matters I’m tempted to elevate my deep love for Monk and his music to something on the order of a religious devotion and, perhaps, to a religion. In one personal sense, why the heck not? After all, with Monk at the head of my pagan musical pantheon, this idiosyncratic religion would be about beauty and goodness as well as truth.

I heard Monk on record for the first time when I was 19. Monk Underground. It sounded weird and like nothing else I had heard, like no other jazz I had heard up to then, (this was the second year of my being turned to jazz.) Harvey Pekar hipped me to reissues just released (1973-74) and so my first Monk record was the Prestige two-fer, Thelonious Monk, containing sessions recorded between 1952 and 1954. The last trio session was recorded 20 days after my date of birth.

My tattered copy of this double set has some of its liner noted highlighted in green. As I open it up today for the first time in many years, (an essential box set on CD replaced it for listening purposes,) I see highlighted:

Once a sax player complained to Monk hat he’d written something outside the range of his horn, “impossible” to execute.

“You’ve got an instrument,” counseled Monk: “either play it, or throw it away.” He played it.

Hmmm. You could start a zen-like religion on the basis of this counsel, alone.

I could go on and on. As for studying Monk, countless hours have been spent in his sound world. I hold his art as being transformative. This begs interesting questions about the nature of music. But, since I could go on and on and try to articulate a somewhat ineffable sense, I’ll lead the interested reader to one way i articulated this over ten years ago. A Monk section was the very first piece of creative work I loosed on the web, God, One Note!.

I have no favorite Monk record because when I think of one I thing of all. If you’ve never heard much of Monk, I (guess) I’d point to Brilliant Corners, recorded for Riverside. This was his first combo session for Riverside (1956) and there’s not much one can say except that Monk and his bandmates, Ernie Henry, Sonny Rollins, Clark Terry, Oscar Pettiford, and Max Roach went to work and came out with something for the ages.

But, darn, when I heard the Blue Notes for the first time in 1976, (another two-fer,) I held their miniaturization to be diamond hard and explosive at the same time. Monk’s Riverside solos became available in excellent reissues from Japan and I promptly wore them out. I got a scratchy copy of the second big band record, (the collaboration with Hall Overton from 1963, this time for Columbia,) and thought I had gone to heaven.

Nowadays, the gateways to Monk paradise pop up every now and then. For example, in the past year, Blue Note has uncovered a Carnegie Hall live set featuring John Coltrane, while Concord/Fantasy has gifted the believer with the remastered Riverside studio dates with Coltrane.

But, where to begin? Here are the covers of eight starting points; the great eight. Change your musical life: go for it, for the bright moments.

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Curt Rosengren over at The Occupational Adventure has clipped part of an article (original) and the tag he provides reminds me of a basic tool I’ve been researching with my colleague Linda over the past few years. The tool, called Control Panel is a fairly straightforward exercise in REBT. It’s used at trigger points. It will be fully revealed in the up-and-coming squareONE web site reconfiguration. For now I affirm the general concept: take control of your dials!

Good worry is: an exercise in constantly looking for and anticipating possible problems, thus enabling us to take quick action to minimize the problem or eliminate it before it happens. And in the event it happens anyway, the right kind of worry can give us ready-made solutions that can be implemented quickly…

The other kind of worry is TOXIC worry. This is not good. Toxic worry produces negative feelings like vulnerability and powerlessness. These feelings tend to immobilize us. Or it’s ruminative…worry that keeps on going in circles, over and over the same problem ground, producing only frustration without any forward progress or toward actions to solve the source or cause of the worry.

The article goes on to suggest ways to both turn down the volume on your toxic worry once it starts, and avoid it altogether. read more: Good Worry vs. Toxic Worry

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Jon Strand writes:At nearly 40 years of age I have a couple of basic understandings of life. Pretty simple stuff really. They are as follows:

  • Perception is reality, and people don’t always share the same perception
  • Each of us has a distinct world view (or mental model) of how the world works that is built up, elaborated and refined over time. This is all based on our own experience of the world – it is rare that any two people share the exact same model
  • He who thinks he knows, doesn’t know. He who knows he does not know, knows. (~ Lao Tsu)
  • Most of us are blissfully unaware of why we do the things we do… we like to think were in charge, however, our subconscious is really running the show (and we don’t really have access to that – which is why I really like something Fouro shared with me a few years ago: “Self knowledge brings happiness”)

Although it could not be my own perspective that “perception is reality,” my informal co-counseled research over the past two years is partly centered on the construct “each of us has a distinct world view”.

As always, this posit is much more interesting for its ramifications and especially the counter-intuitive ones. Prominent among those would be the world view that supposes each of us is not distinctly different from each other. …the opposite of Jon’s insight. This second world view co-exists with the ‘other one’.
Think about whether you run into people with this second world view, ‘people are pretty much the same’. Do such people tend to understand everybody is a slightly different variation on the same basic model, and, as it sometimes happens, the person with this world view self-reports, remarkably, that they happen to be one of the more superior variations on the purportedly singular motif! You can sample and test this hypothesis out.

Continue reading

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Carl Rogers is well served by his acolyte Peter Schmid at The Person-Centered Web Site. Still, the best introductory material is Jerold Bozarth’s collection @personcentered.com. Here’s a prime downloadable piece by Schmid. “In the beginning there is community” Implications and challenges of the belief in a triune God and a person-centred approach. Schmid is, in my estimation, the paragon of a growing presence following in the giant foot steps of the original innovator. In any case, a motherload in the vast web of Rogerian resources on the net, all of it tangled up in Schmid’s core web site.


Filed under psychology


I’m presenting an ambitious series at The Lakewood Public Library,

EXPERIENCE & THE LIBRARY Personal Development & Transformative Learning in the Library


Lakewood Public Library
15425 Detroit Rd.
Lakewood, Ohio 44107

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Albert Ellis figures prominently in my own take. It always is interesting to learn people haven’t thought about the difference between experiencing the objective problem and experiencing the rationales and interpretations and emotions that comprise the subjective problem.

Albert Ellis. “When I started to get disillusioned with psychoanalysis I reread philosophy and was reminded of the constructivist notion that Epictetus had proposed 2,000 years ago: ‘People are disturbed not by events that happen to them, but by their view of them.'”

Psychology Today

interview two w. Aaron Beck

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Whereas my evil twin the philosopher likes it complex and confusing, his counterpart, well, she comes from the Keep It Simple Stupid school of spiritual development. The following article reminds me of letting loose students in a bookstore, or library, on a treasure hunt for one galvanizing sentence.

Ken Kassman gets this truism about basics. A Few Eternal Truths for a Better Life

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