Badges? What badges?

The main driving force behind these economic and military alliances is the United States, which has become the principal supporter of neo-colonialism throughout the world. Without the economic and military backing of the United States, the whole structure of neo-colonialism would collapse to the ground. At the same time, within this imperialist alliance itself, the United States moves all the time against the positions of its weaker allies, striving to become the inheritor of their former empires though without ruling these territories directly as colonial possessions. Thus, in the past twenty years, the United States has replaced Japan in South Korea, ousted the French in South Vietnam, ended British and Japanese influences in Thailand, and is pressing on British and French toes throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean.

~ Jack Woddis, Introduction to Neo-Colonialism: The New Imperialism in Asia, Africa & Latin America (1967), p70.


Too long have I lingered

in this land where

the people themselves

elected a fascist regime.


Hard enough to survive

a fascist police state.

More difficult still to digest

that a majority of my neighbors

voted for the take-over

by this evil idiot and his minions.

~ (my own napkin note, November, 2016)


Say poets take to the streets wearing green tshirts

reciting slant rhymes of sorrow and grace until riot police

train automatic weapons on the tyrant’s mouth.

~ Pamela Uschuk, from “Say What”, in Wild in the Plaza of Memory (2012)


We rode all day on a dirt road that follows the river. The river is very wide for about ten miles, as it leaves the lake and heads back for the high country, The huge yellow-leafed cottonwoods were giant flags of autumn, waving to us, silently, from the river’s edge. The road was dirt most of the way, an old wagon road, now used mostly by locals who live out in the grassy meadows along the end of the Pend Oreille River.

As we neared Priest River, great billows of white smoke rose from the mill across the river, and the sound of huge cranes, swinging, heavy with logs, squealed from the mountain tops. No longer were we in Cowboy country. This was chainsaw capital of the West. The whine of the saw as it zipped through the old growth is still etched upon my ear drums. This was the land of the checkered wool hat, the smell of oil and fuel, wood smoke and pine sap.

The woods were grand and mighty in the northern part of Idaho, and from the saddle, it looked to me like every tree would eventually be cut and made into plywood. Logging was the lifeblood of the Northcountry, as were the tourists that dotted the lake in the summer and the ski hill in the winter. The ones that came to see all the standing trees, glistening evergreen by the water’s edge.

~ Jody Foss. Mules Across the Great Wide Open: A True Western Adventure. 1995. P 214


I think that yesterday was a crisis in my life. I finished the first part of Renouvier’s second Essais and see no reason why his definition of free will — “the sustaining of a thought because I choose to when I might have other thoughts” — need be the definition of an illusion. At any rate, I will assume for the present — until next year — that it is no illusion. My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will.

~ William James, Diary entry (April 30, 1870) as quoted in Ralph Barton Perry, The Thought and Character of William James, vol. 1, p. 323; Letters of William James, vol. I, p. 147.


Johnny Worricker:  I’ve got a question. I mean, I don’t mind if you don’t answer.
Anna Hervé:  I don’t mind. I’ll answer anything.
Johnny:  When I said, “l only saw the file for the first time this week,” you said, “l know.”
Anna:  Oh, yeah, so?
Johnny:  How do you know? It’s important, Anna. How do you know? How do you know I hadn’t seen the file?
Anna:  I know because when I started sleeping with you, I made a decision.
Johnny:  What decision?
Anna:  I decided to trust you.
Johnny:  (smirks) It’s a bit arbitrary, isn’t it?
Anna:  Yes. But so far you’ve never let me down.
~ David Hare, Page Eight (2011)


I have a strange virus. I have not had such a fever since long before I met H. Now this ache in the limbs, the rise in temperature, the need to sleep, the muscle cramps last and last. I am tested for Lyme disease. I don’t have it. I get by jitney to my doctor in New York. My liver is inflamed. My potassium level has sunk to an unacceptable low. I give more blood for more tests. The unnamed virus remains with me. I am alternately hot or cold. I try to go to a party but my head swims. I leave the party. I try to read but the lines dance on the page. If H. were here I would be coddled, calmed. He would make carrot-ginger soup. Am I sick because he is not here? They say that the immune system responds to crisis by shrinking. Has my immune system turned from plum to prune in the season since H. died? I know that everything is not a matter of psychology. On the other hand the body is not separate from the mind and this mind feels as if an ax has cleaved it in two. No wonder I have a virus.

~ Anne Riophe. Epilogue: A Memoir. 2008. p.43-44


Have you ever loved someone so completely that your lives are totally entwined? A truly deep, intimate friendship, a companionship developed through years of growing closer to each other? I have. I was lucky to spend the best years of my life, and my whole life as an adult to that point, with my amazing husband Gareth.

And then my worst nightmare became a reality.

On the 22nd November 2011, while away on a year long trip of a lifetime, my husband, best friend, and constant companion of the last 9 years, died in America following a climbing accident.

Gareth and I had been away since August, having the time of our lives, living our dreams in some amazing places. We had never been so happy, carefree and content. Life couldn’t have been better. And then everything fell to pieces.

Death of a soul mate

When Gareth died, it felt like part of me died too. I was totally lost, lonely, and confused about how life could suddenly have gone from being so perfect, to so terrible.

It seemed completely impossible to think about getting through each day, never mind the whole of the rest of my life without the one person I had thought I couldn’t live without.

I felt so overwhelmed by sadness and grief, I felt like I didn’t know who I was without Gareth, or where I belonged, or what I was going to do with myself now all the plans and dreams we had for the future had gone. I lost my enthusiasm for everything and just didn’t want to exist.

Adventure-based coping strategy

There are no instructions or guidebooks for what to do when the most important person in your life dies, or how to pick up the pieces and try to build a new life for yourself when not a single part of the old one can ever be the same.

No-one tells you just how profoundly losing your husband will affect you. They can have no real idea. Grief is so much more than just immense sadness. It is laziness and lethargy, lack of motivation or caring about anything.

It is physical too, like something is squeezing your chest to the point where you can’t take a deep breath, spinning you round so you feel constantly dizzy. It is a pain so deep inside you that is worse than any broken bones.

~ Julia Hobson, from “How Cycling Helped Julia Hobson Cope with the Death of Her Husband” in Total Women’s Cycling (2015).


In writing of Guru Rinpoché, we must broach the subject of history, both Buddhist and secular, of Tibet long ago. Modern Buddhists could be forgiven a certain reluctance to study the history of their faith. On the one hand, most traditional Buddhist accounts of the past bear only faint traces of what we expect from histories — an objective, impartial presentation of verifiable facts. Secular histories of Buddhist Asia, on the other hand, read depressingly like histories of Europe. With churches and states in sordid alliances struggling for wealth, prestige, and power. If we suspect than an author of a “Buddhist” history wants us to take his/her book at the letter, we rightfully feel insulted, whereas most of us have long had our fill of catalogs of abusive rulers’ crimes against humanity or of venal clerics’ crimes against the spirit of their faith.

As a reader who enjoys contemplating Guru Rinpoché’s era, during which the Tibetan, Chinese, and Indian civilization collided, I believe it is possible for us to come to terms with and learn from that rich period. It is no easy task, however, as a truly balanced history that does justice to both the secular and religious facets of the story has yet to be written. I hope this work will be seen as a contribution to such a project.

~ Ngawang Zangpo (Hugh Leslie Thompson). Guru Rinpoché: His Life and Times. 2002


As Jane collected Ella stories, she marvelled at her friend’s lack of boundaries between the physical earth and other worlds. “To Ella Young the material world was no more real than the spirit world…the veil between them for her was very thin.” Jane also observed that Ella “was never lonely. She was never without happiness.” This thought seemed to echo Maud Gonne’s words in Dublin, more than thirty years before, as she lamented Ella’s emigration to America: “She was always extraordinarily happy.” At Cluan-Ard, this happiness commonly sprang from sessions around the fireplace, and often Ella invited Jane in for a sip of tea or brandy and to listen to recitations of poetry — sometimes Ella’s own, sometimes from other Irish poets. Ella also shared her Celtic mythology stories with Jane and told her that these were myths that were instructive, that represented such qualities as good and evil — just as the Bible did. Far from being musty, irrelevant tales from a hoary ancient past, Ella believed that the tales had meaning for modern people.

Sometimes Ella visited Jane’s nearby home and the eucalyptus grove in back of her house. There, Ella liked to stroll and converse with elves who, she said, appeared and walked along with her, creatures “two or three feet high”, as she described them. Jane envied these conversations; she herself sat in the grove occasionally and tried to see Ella’s elves, but “I never saw any”.

Ella’s readings and strolls with the fairies came only when she wasn’t busy writing at her desk. Jane recalled: “…when she was writing she simply locked up her house and you couldn’t get in, she wouldn’t come to the door, and you could hammer all you wanted.” Ella write as the mood dictated, Jane remembered: “…sometimes in the afternoon, sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes in the morning”. All around her, the floor was ankle deep in papers and letters, a seemingly orderless mass, but one that Ella understood. She also understood her creative rhythms and noted that: “Sometimes, when I feel in a good mood I work through all the hours of the day,” pausing occasionally for an “orange and a few biscuits”. Until her death in 1956, the Oceano years were productive; she completed two Celtic mythology books — her best-known one, The Tangle-Coated Horse, and her last, The Unicorn with the Silver Shoes — plus her autobiography and several volumes of poetry.

~ Rose Murphy. Ella Young: Irish Mystic and Rebel, From Literary Dublin to the American West. 2008. p118-119


I may talk non-duality to some of the people who come here. That is not for you and you should not pay any attention to what I am telling others. The book of my conversations [I Am That] should not be taken as the last word on my teachings. I had given some answers to questions of certain individuals. Those answers were intended for those people and not for all. Instruction can be on an individual basis only. The same medicine cannot be prescribed for all.
Nowadays people are full of intellectual conceit. They have no faith in the ancient traditional practices leading up to Self-Knowledge. They want everything served to them on a platter. The path of Knowledge makes sense to them and because of that they may want to practice it. They will then find that it requires more concentration than they can muster and, slowly becoming humble, they will finally take up easier practices like repetition of a mantra or worship of a form. Slowly the belief in a Power greater than themselves will dawn on them and a taste for devotion will sprout in their heart. Then only will it be possible for them to attain purity of mind and concentration.

~ Maruti Kambli, known late in life as Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897–1981)


The reply to our telegram came in five days, and it was a polite but uncompromising “No!” We canvassed every possibility as to the reason for refusal. Our passports visaed in New York stated, “Good for Rhodesia,” in addition to other parts of the country. It was not until I was on my third Africa tour that I found out the real reason. That “Soviet Colonel” title of mine, and our Mukden, Siberia, Harbin, Vladivostok, and Soviet army pictures, shown in all openness and good faith, had given us a fatal brand — communist propagandists. Why it did not worry any other part of the country, but only Southern Rhodesia, is still a mystery.

The Governor’s compliments accompanied his profound regrets at loss of our transient company, but I was so angry and disappointed that I went off by myself then returned to camp quickly for the maps we had, because a thought had come to me.

Come here, Cap,” I said, “Can’t we detour this Rhodesia? I bet there’s a way through Mozambique — Portuguese East, you know.”

No one of the party commented, for no one knew, but an hour or so later when we stood outside the terminal of the African Railroad, I watched a span of sixteen donkeys drawing to a stop to park a dusty, covered trek wagon in the person of an ancient Boer, weatherbeaten of feature and seasoned in his style. He laid aside his rawhide sjambok as I went over to him, and performed the necessary courtesy of getting rid of his tobacco stream.

Do you know if there’s a trail north by way of Portuguese East?” I asked.

~ Aloha Wanderwell. Aloha Wanderwell: Call to Adventure! True Tales of the Wanderwell Expedition. 2013 (originally published 1939). p206


All sentient beings without exception have buddha-nature — the inherent purity and perfection of the mind, untouched by changing mental states. Thus there is neither any reason for conceit in deeming oneself better than others nor any reason for self-contempt, thinking of oneself as inferior and unable to reach enlightenment. This seeing is obscured by veils which are removable and do not touch the inherent purity and perfection of the nature of the mind as such.

~ Jamgön Kongtrül Lodro Thaye (1813–1899), The Unassailable Lion’s Roar


All our scientific and philosophic ideals are altars to unknown gods.

~ William James, “Lecture at the Harvard Divinity School” (13 March 1884); published in the The Unitarian Review and Religious Magazine as The Dilemma of Determinism (September 1884)


The analyses in this treatise are not given
Out of an excessive fondness for debate.
It is not our fault if, in the course of this teaching,
Other philosophical systems come to be destroyed.

~ Candrakīrti, Introduction to the Middle Way, VI, 118


Judy in Disguise, well what you aiming for?
A circus of horrors, yeah yeah,

well that’s what you are.

You make me a life of ashes,

I guess I’ll just take your glasses

~ John Fred, Judy in Disguise (1967)


Just as a perfectly clear diamond or other precious gem is pure, so also sky and water are by nature pure, the entire natural world is pure, the universe itself is pure. Likewise, buddha-nature, the ground of ultimate Reality, is by nature always free from the defilement of mental poisons and thus utterly pure. This is the essence of being, of our own being, and that of all other sentient entities and all phenomena. This is the essentially pure nature of all space and time and all that exists within space and time.

The factors that cause complete purification of adventitious mental defilements are: 1) devotion to the teachings and practices that lead to liberation; 2) highest discriminative analytical wisdom realizing the relative nature of manifest reality of space and time, and the absolute nature of unmanifest transcendental Reality; 3) spontaneously self-arising perpetual samadhi consisting of boundless bliss-consciousness; and 4) unconditional universal compassion focusing on sentient beings as its point of reference. The realization arising from these purifying causes is to be known as enlightenment.

~ The Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra with Commentary by Maitreya


It is not because they run out of sky that birds turn back,
It is because they lack the strength to keep on flying.
Just so, practitioners and bodhisattvas,
Can not fully express the qualities of buddha-nature, infinite as space.

~ Candrakīrti, Introduction to the Middle Way, XI, 41


Le principal dans un tableau est de trouver la juste distance. La couleur avait à exprimer toutes les raptures dans la profondeur. C’est la qu’on reconnaît le talent d’un peintre.

(The main thing in a picture is to find the right distance. The color has to express all the raptures in the depth. This is the recognized talent of a painter.)

~ Cézanne


Quantum field theory is a very rich subject for mathematics as well as physics. But its development in the last seventy years has been mainly by physicists, and it is still largely out of reach as a rigorous mathematical theory despite important efforts in constructive field theory. So most of its impact on mathematics has not yet been felt. Yet in many active areas of mathematics, problems are studied that actually have their most natural setting in quantum field theory. Examples include Donaldson theory of four-manifolds, the Jones polynomial of knots and its generalizations, mirror symmetry of complex manifolds, elliptic cohomology, and many aspects of the study of affine Lie algebras.

To a certain extent these problems are studied piecemeal, with difficulty in understanding the relations among them, because their natural home in quantum field theory is not now part of the mathematical theory. To make a rough analogy, one has here a vast mountain range, most of which is still covered with fog. Only the loftiest peaks, which reach above the clouds, are seen in the mathematical theories of today, and these splendid peaks are studied in isolation, because above the clouds they are isolated from one another. Still lost in the mist is the body of the range, with its quantum field theory bedrock and the great bulk of the mathematical treasures.

~ Edward Witten, in Mathematics: Frontiers and Perspectives, edited by Vladimir Igorevich Arnold (2000).


Out of my experience, such as it is (and it is limited enough) one fixed conclusion dogmatically emerges, and that is this, that we with our lives are like islands in the sea, or like trees in the forest. The maple and the pine may whisper to each other with their leaves. … But the trees also commingle their roots in the darkness underground, and the islands also hang together through the ocean’s bottom. Just so there is a continuum of cosmic consciousness, against which our individuality builds but accidental fences, and into which our several minds plunge as into a mother-sea or reservoir.

~ William James, “Confidences of a ‘Psychical Researcher'”, in The American Magazine, Vol. 68 (1909), p. 589


Cosmic consciousness means that consciousness which includes the experience of the relative field together with the state of absolute Being. This state of cosmic consciousness is one where the mind lives in eternal freedom, remaining unbound by whatever it experiences during all activities in the relative world. This freedom from the bondage of experience gives the mind a status of cosmic consciousness, a condition of eternal freedom in all the relative states of life — waking, dreaming, and sleeping.

…A person who has not risen to cosmic consciousness, who is shrouded by his or her limited individuality and is only awake in the identity of his or her individual self, can have no clear or significant conception of love or devotion. Although people on all levels of consciousness feel love in their hearts and feel devotion to God and practise devotion, the charm of devotion in the state of cosmic consciousness is a charm beyond the limits of imagination.

Devotion and love belong in their full value only to the life of cosmic consciousness. Below that standard, devotion and love do not have much significance or value. The devotion of an unrealized individual is merely an attempt, an effort, a strain. At best it leads to imagination of the greater and more intensified states of love. But the love and devotion of a cosmically evolved person have a significant and substantial value which embraces eternity, and that love and devotion bind eternity into a single universal individuality. Such is the power of love, such is the power of devotion.

Below the level of cosmic consciousness the power of love and devotion is limited and insignificant. Therefore all who want to follow the path of devotion are invited to begin the practice of Transcendental Meditation, which enables the individual to rise to a state of cosmic consciousness without struggle or strife, without penance or austerity.

~ His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, The Science of Being and Art of Living (1963).


She was a woman of few words. Still, to complete my education, I suppose she wanted to make sure I knew what love is, before I went out into the world.

But of course I knew. I loved my brother, and home. And the sound of an engine turning over like a human heart and gunning smooth as song. And hot Hoosier summer mornings and the linger of firefly evenings. And the view over the hedgerows from the crown of the road.

On one of the days I’d been listening at high school, I heard about a young woman named Alice Ramsay who’d driven coast to coast across the American continent in an automobile, all on her own. And when there were roads, she used them, and when there was only open country, she lit out across it.

And it struck me that this was just exactly the way I wanted to live my whole live. So I went into the world, my brother’s goggles slung around my neck in case the track got muddy.

~ Richard Peck. Here Lies the Librarian (2006).


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