Category Archives: Val’s View

Val’s View: The Angry Buddhist

by V.J. Leventhal

For the last 30 years (or maybe longer) I have been engaged in a concentrated effort toward self-awareness and mastery. I’ve studied most of the world’s religions, read philosophy, science, literature and poetry – all with the goal of understanding the true nature of reality. I’ve spent many entire days focused on a specific idea – measuring and applying a life lesson to see whether the wisdom holds true. After all this work, which I intend to continue throughout my life, I feel that I’ve arrived at a place of at least some knowledge of how things actually work, and an understanding that allows a glimpse of the bigger picture that may be unfolding in a given set of circumstances. This has enabled me to remain calm ‘while all around me’ are not, to not be swayed too much by the ups and downs of life, to rest easier in the knowledge that things are not always as they appear, and that the cyclical nature of existence leads back eventually to balance. I have come to a place where, generally speaking, anger is not an emotion that I nurture in myself, or others, preferring always to work from a position of peaceful and open awareness.

During the Obama campaign in 2008, I spent a lot of time talking to people and trying to energize them to vote and to believe that change was still possible — no, necessary — if we were to recover our control of our own government and move forward to fix all that’s gone wrong in the last 30 years. I was excited by Obama’s success for many reasons, not the least of which was the seeming awakening of sectors of the American public who hadn’t been engaged at all in their own political system. I knew that the reality of governing would be very different from the promise of the campaign, and that the mess we were in as a nation was daunting, but I also believed that the quality and integrity of the man we elected would mean that progress could finally be made, after 8 years of backsliding, toward a recovery of our American Dream for every citizen.

Then I watched in disbelief as many of those newly engaged voters almost immediately began to shift from elation to deflation, as the reality of trying to accomplish anything in the cesspool that is our Congress and our Courts started to play out. Within 6 months, those people who wept and jumped for joy at having elected Obama were ready to cast him off because they didn’t agree with something he said or someone he appointed or the priorities he was setting. With very little information, and apparently no interest in whether the information they did have was true or false, they were willing to throw him to the wolves of the corporately owned media and the big money interests without defending him, or even being willing to give him some time to try to unravel the tangled web in which he found himself. Instead of standing by him for at least a year or two, it was an almost immediate abandoning of the ship.

Well, now I’m PISSED OFF!

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Val’s View: Power Stations

by V.J. Leventhal

Power Stations

Power. Power bars, power yoga, power training, power elite, muscles, endurance, speed: we associate the word mostly with a sort of brute strength the big dog in the room, the most money and influence, the ability to have one’s way whenever one wishes. This kind of power has run the world for thousands of years. It is the inevitable result of a materialistic approach to life. If life is about stuff, then the one with the most stuff has the most power, and also has need of the most power in order to protect the stuff from others who would naturally crave it and the power it represents. In this model of existence, there is only one “pie” and power means having more of it then everyone else. Power means control over other people, over situations. So with enough power and control there should be no need to fear anything, ever again, right? Wrong. Fear remains just under the surface in people who need control over others to have power. Fear and anxiety are the natural results of the belief that there is only one “top,” one “best,” one “winner,” and everyone else is a loser, or lesser somehow. The brute force model of power works temporarily, but it is simply not sustainable to try to build a society where the largest number of people reap the fewest results of their effort. It requires more and more force to maintain control over this unpleasant situation.

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Pet Prose: Poi Dogs Pondering

by The Pet Pro

Poi Dogs Pondering

When I think back over my twenty years as a pet care professional, I am filled with a sense of gratitude for all the lessons my animal friends have taught me, and the desire to share their stories and their wisdom. I have personally witnessed such intelligence among our non-human companions, that to think of them as lesser beings than us has simply become impossible.

Consider, for example, the story I call “Poi Dogs Pondering.”

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