Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Village of Joy solves homelessness and unemployment issues




Earlier posts in this blog and a companion one mentioned that with reducing manufacturing jobs in the developed world, many jobs could be created by a return back to the land. A postmodern concept was described so that farm lands are in narrow strips along a main road so that a farming rural area can enjoy the advantages of living in a town or city simultaneously. The configuration ends up with a town in front of the home and a rural farming area at the back. A village designed on this concept is described here


Another post in this blog has described a humane and economical shelter for the homeless called HISA that has semi dormitory style accommodation and a free kitchen. It is described here


A condition for getting accommodation in a HISA was suggested that all residents shall submit fifty percent of their incomes if any from part time work, pensions etc. to the center as long as they live in a HISA. Now if HISA centers are set next the post modern village, residents of a HISA would be able to find some work not just inside the center but on the farmlands that would look for part time seasonal labor from time to time.

Thus combining a HISA and a postmodern village is an excellent solution that kills two birds with one stone – unemployment and homelessness. It has been named the village of joy here (Villoj – VILL O  J) here for easy reference. The country most in need of creating a Villoj and most suitable for it is USA. If the costs and savings of creating a Villoj are calculated it will be found that it is a cost saving project not a costly one that will greatly aid the economy and quality of life in any country on earth that has farming land available for the project.

Schematic plan for a Villoj, Village of Joy


Monday, December 28, 2015

Design for a Cottage in the Countryside





If you live in a crowded city but love nature you probably dream of a cottage in the country side or a small quaint village surrounded by green forests or fields. The time to build one is when one is still young enough. One could visit that for holidays and perhaps later even retire in it. There are several designs for it in this blog earlier. Here is one that has essentially one large room plus a smaller entrance lobby.  The kitchen and bathroom have been made large so as to make life lovely and pleasant even in a one room cottage. The entrance lobby will however seat four comfortably when the couple next door drop in for tea or a chat and they do not have to be invited in the large bed cum living room. Alternatively the kitchen table is also a nice table for a chat and cup of tea or meal with a neighbor.  the cottage is comfortable enough to live permanently in if one wished to when children have grown up and a single person or a couple is left to complete the journey of life and if a son drops in for a few days the lobby seat can be stretched out into a cozy bed. This design, like earlier designs has been made without side windows so that two or more can be set side by side for two or more friends.

This cottage should face north so that there is winter sun in the back veranda and the beds have heads to the east. Inches have been approximated to the nearest foot for simplicity here and many details have not been mentioned. However the concept is clearly illustrated and any architect or home designer can easily specify those for someone who became interested in a cottage designed on this concept.

Design  for a Cottage
  
A somewhat more compact design is possible by removing the extension for a table in a kitchen and setting a smaller table on the opposite wall. However, the author has lived in a home with precisely such a table in Canada and it is a really comfortable extension where one can sit on one side, put feet up on the other and read a newspaper or even write notes or use the lap top with a cup of coffee. Therefore that extension is worth it.


A Complex for Senior Citizens

In the modern world when older persons face problems of loneliness, insecurity and lack of care, some older persons can group together in a society or trust to create this type of housing in a row along with a central shared facility with dining room and some housekeepers for care. A group of twelve is ideal because the two housekeepers can take care of six homes, an hour each, on six days a week and when one goes on a holiday, on alternate days. The housekeepers may be provided their own independent board and lodging on the first floor of the central facility along with a cook and helper for the dining hall. A weekly Friday dinner at the central facility would ensure that most all who wish to meet can do so at least once a week aside from those who may wish to dine more often at the dining hall. Making some units on first floor of the housing and putting them on rent could pay for these services with a one time expense when an older person or couple moves in to the complex.

The figure below shows the design of the complex with six units. An architect can easily modify layout to contain 12 units in the same area. Each unit has a small back yard that can be used for a herb, vegetable or flower garden, an ideal hobby to keep seniors happy in their retiring years and to hear the song of birds with a tree or two planted in it. twelve units can be made with six each facing each other. In this case the central road and individual units must be aligned so that beds in each units can have heads to south or east and that backyards catch sun for a part of the day at least. Head of beds on east or south appear to be the best by most suggestion, although this fact is not verified by science and many are comfortable in any direction.


A housing complex for senior citizens
Topmost Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Zdiar1.jpg , This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. (Some modifications have been to image made before use here)

Friday, December 25, 2015

Three things that decide life and destiny for all


Around seven billion humans inhabit the earth. Many others have come and gone in the past, each with a unique personality, life and destiny. Each has his or her own personal journey that can be appreciated fully by  that person alone. What appears as a good life to others may not really be so and vice versa. What decides the unique life of each human? All the causes that go in to determining this can be grouped into three:

1. Conditions we inherit at birth

2. Our choices, thoughts and actions through life

3. External causes outside of us that influence our lives


1. Conditions at Birth:

Genes that we inherit at birth decide how we look and to a large extent how we behave. We inherit many personality traits that determine how we shall act and behave through life. Besides this, we inherit a set of parents, country; place etc. All this has an intimate influence on how life turns out.

2. Choices, thoughts and action

Every moment of our lives a human makes choices, is engaged in thought and actions. It is easily understood how all this determines how our lives will unfold and proceed

3. External causes

Outside of us is an entire universe and what happens in it at any time may have small or big influence in our lives. It could be something as minor as what you heard a stranger say on the street or a huge earthquake or even a war.

The road ahead

Having heard of the three causes we can appreciate that we have some control on the second cause but none over the other two. However mystics and spiritual persons believe otherwise. They believe that a soul is an essential part of every human and it survives death. It goes through many lives and the conditions one inherits at birth are a direct consequence of previous lives. They reject the idea that it is a random thing like the throw of a dice and believe that the universe is intelligent and everything happens for precise causes and reason. They go even further and conclude that even external things that influence humans are a consequence of past actions stretching into previous lives and that the Universe has a supremely intelligent mechanism to organize all this for us individually or in groups for a part of it.

Since our past lives and actions were in our control. the deduction from this mystic line of thought is that actually the conditions we inherit at birth and the external things we face through our lives are in our control, that our fate and destiny is of our own making from birth to death and beyond.

A human in his younger years puts in a lot of effort to acquire education and training so that he might have a good life. During mid-life humans think a lot of retirement and many plans for their two, three or four decades of retirement. But if mystics are right, would it not be wise to do the things that make our next life starting from birth onwards be a good one too? It certainly must become a major preoccupation of retired persons at least if not younger ones in the midst of their present lives.

We shall not be able to take anything material from this life with us when we die but we shall certainly take with us a record of our deeds and some of our desires, likes and aversions with us as and many of our habits and learning that shall unfold at various times during our subsequent lives, all this because they are non-material things and can be carried by the soul. It is because of this that some can begin to play a musical instrument right from childhood and others never learn to play one.

What can humans do to improve their future life? This is knowledge one would not find through science because it has to do with our spiritual content, our souls, but mystics offer much of this knowledge because it is their major preoccupation. This blog has many older articles on spirituality that suggests some of it.

But there are skeptics who say, what is the proof of what mystics say? It could all be nonsense? They could lose a lot in following all that. No, that can not happen, dear friend, either way, shortly in a matter of a few days, years or decades it shall all end in death.

Those who believe in the indestructible soul, regarding that as their essential being and the body just its clothing and vehicles, do the things that are necessary for good new lives. In the ultimate analysis these things are simple indeed. The Lord has made it extremely simple for all humans it created. It requires that we do some good to others - other humans, life forms and the planet, simply because we expect the same, whenever it is simple and easy to do, and when it is not, we do not trouble our souls by harming others. Those who have done so, lose the fear of death, viewing it merely as a final new journey to an exciting new destination, filled with the magic of new beginnings. One concern however, remains for them, would that journey to a new destination be a quick and easy one or a tiresome and painful one? A life filled with love, truth and simplicity and faith in the Almighty makes this last journey an easy one too. Those who have discovered this path enjoy a happy life here and now, an enjoyable journey in the company of angels at its end and a happy life after that.


Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moorland_cottage,_Mountain_West_-_geograph.org.uk_-_220527.jpg  This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.Attribution: ceridwen          

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year


Colors of Christmas white, red and green in the home of the author and a touch of yellow sunshine, a wish of happiness for all from it


Wishing all readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year

“And suddenly you know: It's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”
Meister Eckhart

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

It’s Official – Vegetarians lead a healthier life


A Vegetarian (lovegan style) dinner
Several earlier articles in this blog have reported that it seems a vegetarian diet is a healthier one provided it is well balanced and that it leads to lower incidence of diseases with age. It was also pointed out that some of the strongest and longest lived persons on the planet are those who are vegetarians or nearly so. However this claim was based merely on anecdotal and intuitive evidence and not on a scientific study. Now a detailed scientific study backs these claims. The study was conducted by Oxford University. To quote from a report online at:



“The study, conducted by the Oxford University and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is one of the largest analysis piloted on the subject and involved two prospective studies that covered 60,310 persons living in the United Kingdom.  Findings of the study suggested significant differences in health risk, mainly related to chronic diseases, among regular meat-eaters, low-meat eaters, fish-eaters and vegetarians. For specific causes of death, compared with regular meat-eaters, low meat-eaters had around 30-45% lower mortality from pancreatic cancer, respiratory diseases, and all other causes of death. Fish-eaters had almost 20% lower mortality from malignant cancer and around 20% higher circulatory disease mortality. Vegetarians and vegans had 50% lower mortality from pancreatic cancer and cancers of the lymphatic or hematopoietic tissue.

The findings remained unchanged on further adjustment for body mass index, sex and smoking habits, the report said. The study comprised 18,431 regular meat-eaters (who ate meat five times a week on an average), 13,039 low meat-eaters, 8516 fish-eaters (who ate fish but not meat), and 20,324 vegetarians (including 2228 vegans who did not eat anything sourced from animals).”
Vegetarians, Vegans and Lovegans

For someone new to the subject there are subtle differences in the food habits of those who do not meat. Vegans avoid all animal products whereas most vegetarians consume milk and milk products. Lovegans on the other hand consume eggs too on grounds that neither eggs nor milk cause any violence in their procurement from animals especially if they are well cared for as pets in small numbers.

This author was a non-vegetarian in his younger days but with time gradually became almost completely a lovegan style vegetarian. A photo from his dinner tonight accompanies this note. It includes stir fried diced potatoes and peas, stir fried in an iron wok with cumin and other spices. (Stir frying in an iron wok imparts a dark, blackish color); an egg scrambled in clarified butter with onions and sweet green chilies; a small bowl of creamy yoghurt, grated carrots and unleavened bread. The dinner was a substantial one and this author just barely managed to go through it all and only because it was absolutely delicious, Praise the Lord. As any one may conclude the diet is rich in easy to digest health giving proteins. An iron wok has been described in an earlier note in this blog if you would care to search through.

Caution 

A word of caution is in order for anyone planning to switch to vegetarian food from the author's own experience. A sudden switch will lead to weakness because we are all prisoners of our habits. Spread the change over a few years bringing down the days you have meat in a week slowly as you figure your way around the alternatives that are best for you.

If you would like to read more about vegetarian food in this blog check out the following link:


Leaving Insurmountable Problems to the Lord




http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/
 “If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”
Meister Eckhart

While we need to thank the Almighty God for everything he grants without asking as often as we can, every now and then we run into problems in life for which there seems to be no easy solution even though we may do all the right things to overcome them. The problems could be huge ones as those in Syria now or little ones that are less serious but nevertheless serve to disrupt our peace of mind.

At such moments, those who believe in the Lord can do something. They can pray to God and tell Him about the problem, request his help, leaving it to Him to do what is best. He surely shall. It may not be the same solution that we had wished for but it would be the right thing, best for all concerned. One must have faith in that solution and abide by it and it shall lead to peace with the grace of the Lord. One does not have to deal with everything oneself. One has a loving Father up there, and one can always run to Him for help just as a child does to a loving father or mother on earth.

At the end of it all, it is important to remember that because our current life is temporary, all problems we encounter in life are temporary too as are the pleasures we enjoy. When we leave this life, all of it would come to an end. All we shall carry with us is our souls, the record of our deeds, our habits and knowledge that we gained in this episode of life; that is something in our hands for us to improve and increase while we are around. That is what shall make this life a precious gift for us, for as the saint Kabir said in a Hindi couplet,

Hindi

Raat Gavaii soy ke, Diwas gawayo khaye
Hira Janam anmol tha, kodi badle jay

Translation:

The night went in sleeping, the day in pursuit of pleasures and eating
It was a priceless diamond this life, but it is turning into a pebble of little value

Hindi:

Yeh  Ausar chetyo nahi, pasu jyon pali deh
Ram naam jaanyo nahi, ant pade mukh Kheh

Translation:

You did not appreciate this opportunity, regarding your body similar to animals
You did not get to know the Lord, and finally ended up with your face in mud

UPDATE NEXT MORNING:

I wrote this post after a prayer for a nuisance that had arisen in my neighborhood. A similar nuisance had arisen in the past and I had fretted over it for days and not prayed. This time I did and by morning the problem had disappeared. It required me to make a little effort too, that the Lord guided me in my heart to do and I did that as well.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Floral Tea - Tea of the gods



 
Still life by Ambrosius Bosschaert  (1573–1621)

While the common green and black tea is popular, it is by no means the only herb or flower that can prepare a good cup. Flowers not only add joy and beauty to fields and gardens but many are full of medicinal value too. A huge number of flowers are edible and many make an excellent tea from fresh or dried flowers. Very many have excellent health giving and tonic properties too and a few have been discussed in earlier articles of this blog. Prepared with a proper selection and process it may be regarded as the tea of the gods.

A floral tea may be prepared from a single flower or a mix of two or more. While a few floral teas are available in the market, it is a better idea to prepare your own from flowers you have grown and picked yourself and discover your own mix just as long as you know which flowers are edible and pleasant in tea. Try different flowers that grow in your area to see the ones you like best. You may search for its medicinal properties easily on google by using the key words 'medicinal uses' along with the name of flower. Following is a list of some flowers that have been regarded as edible in many parts and may be dried to make a tea. This list is not exhaustive but a good place to start for someone keen to explore floral teas.

Apple Blossoms
Almond Blossoms
Balsam
Busy Lizzie
Cape jasmine
Dianthus
Danedelion
Carnation
Citrus Tree Blossoms
Cornflower
Evening Primrose
Feijoa sellowiana
Filipendula ulmaria
Fuchsia
Garland Chrysanthemums
Hibiscus
Hollyhock
Hyssop
Lemon Balm
Lilac
Monarda
Nasturtium
Palash
Pansy
Polyanthus,
Primrose
Primula
Pot Marigold
Rose
Rosemary
Salsify
Sunflower
Sweet Cicely
Viola
Yucca

If you have access to wild flowers from forest or fields that is even better because such flowers are healthier than garden grown ones just as long as you ensure that it is an edible flower. Garden soils tend to get depleted of some essential nutrients over time. To dry your own flowers, pick fresh blooms when the sun is up, wash and leave to dry for a few hours on a clean sheet in a shaded place. Check that they are fully dry by crushing some to ensure they are crisp to the core. The process may take up to four weeks depending on the flower. When the flowers have become crisp to the touch, turn them around while crushing lightly with your fingers. Leave for a few more days to ensure complete drying. Once dry, store in a container with a tight lid. However, if you have access to a food dehydrator then the drying can be done in a matter of hours. Use a temperature setting as for vegetables.

To prepare the tea, bring water to boil in a pot. You may add a stick of cinnamon to the water while boiling. Now place a heaping table spoon (for two cups) of the dried flowers in a tea pot and pour on it the boiling water. Leave it to infuse for at least five minutes and pour out cups of tea to serve. One may add sugar to sweeten but it is a shame to add a chemical thing to such a lovely tea. For it to be truly the tea of the gods, use honey instead. If it is cold winter evening and you are not averse to drinking alcohol then consider adding a couple of tablespoons of whiskey to the tea just as Queen Victoria used to.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Chrysanthemums in the Garden and Kitchen






Chrysanthemums are blooming in the garden and I took a picture of some white ones just a little while ago. They are delightful flowers to have around the garden because they come in so many shapes and colors and bloom profusely. After the season is over, one can cut them down and they will come up again the following year.

Chrysanthemums sometimes called mums belong to the family Asteraceae, the most widely prevalent flower family on the planet. In many parts of the world these flowers are connected to peace for the soul after departure from this life and are therefore an ideal gift for funerals and caskets of the departed. Therefore it is not recommended that these be gifted to anyone on other occasions unless one wishes to rush them to their graves. In some countries they gift this to mothers but it would be wiser to gift pink roses or carnations in any color to a mother.

The flower petals may be used as a garnish in various recipes and in China they eat both the leaves and flowers but perhaps that is not advisable seeing that the flowers is also used as an organic insecticide. However moderate use as a garnish should be just fine. Another way to use these is as a tea of the dried petal either by themselves or mixed with dried petals of other edible flowers you have access too.

Chrysanthemum Tea 

According to traditional Chinese medicine this tea has many claimed medicinal uses, including an aid in recovery from influenza and acne as also for as varicose veins, atherosclerosis. It also seems to help for blood pressure and angina.  In Korea, it is known well for its medicinal use for making people more alert and is often used as a pick-me-up to render the drinker more awake. In traditional Chinese medicine, chrysanthemum tea is also said to clear the liver and the eyes. It is also used to treat blurring, spots in front of the eyes, diminished vision, and dizziness. However scientific studies are awaited to verify these claims.

To prepare the tea, chrysanthemum flowers (usually dried) are steeped in hot water after just removing it from a boil. Adding a cinnamon stick to the water while it is boiling improves the tea and aroma. You may pour the hot water over the flowers in teapot, cup, or mug. Let infuse for between five and fifteen minutes. Add sugar or honey to it  according to taste The resulting drink may be transparent or colored depending upon the color of flower. Chrysanthemum tea seems to have been first drunk during the Song dynasty (960–1279) in China

To dry your own chrysanthemum flowers, pick in sunlight hours only, never after sun down (they release undesirable hormones at that time as do all other plants). Wash, Pluck petals and leave in a shaded spot to dry over a few days. When fully dry, sun for a few hours and pack in a sealed container.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Why some war veterans suffer from PTSD



War and Veterans

This author is from a largely military family and knows that some of the happiest and jolliest of humans in society are war veterans. That has been the experience of many other persons in many countries of the world and even now India and Europe has many happily retired war veterans who live on a comfortable pension and are invited by the Queen for a luncheon and a jolly get together every now and then.

But what is this we are hearing now? War Veterans of America suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? They say the bombs and gore of war did it. But why did it not happen elsewhere and before?

There is a simple explanation; many of earlier wars were fought for self defense and a righteous cause. Such wars fill the heart of war veterans with pride and replace the sound of bombs with that of a celebration with loud fire crackers. The blood of the war fields transforms in the mind to that of evil vanquished. However when the cause of war is for profit or self justifications, the cries of innocent orphaned, maimed and dead children fill the sub conscious with a horrible trauma. It is true that leaders give fine sounding justifications for any war but while lies may reach the mind, truth reaches the sub-conscious and the heart and that is the source from which PTSD arises. The profits of blood can never bring peace over the long term either to the war mongers or those who assisted in the task but while the bottomless pit awaits those feasting on the profits of blood those pushed into it with lies or force may escape the pit with right effort.

Buddhism spread in the world because of the efforts of the ancient Emperor Ashoka. He too was once deeply troubled by such a trauma after a war fought to expand his kingdom. He was so troubled thereafter that he renounced violence and became an ardent disciple of Buddha. He went on to become the greatest of Emperor of Asia and was responsible for spreading the message of Buddha throughout the then civilized world of some 2500 years ago. Thus he found much peace and escape from any trauma that his earlier wars had caused him.

Modern war veterans too can find similar peace with the right effort but most likely not with a prescription medicine that might give some fitful sleep or hasten one to the grave.

PS: Check out the follwing free of cost method for quick relief from PTSD
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2015/07/five-weeks-to-freedom-form-ptsd-5-x-5.html 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The God Matrix




The God Matrix
Some believe ardently in God, others do not believe and there are those who are unsure or too busy at the moment to bother about the question just now.

Each human has his or her own understanding of what God means and therefore a detailed discussion must begin with clarifying what one means by God, nevertheless when speaking of God all understand it as a higher Almighty power that has huge, even infinite powers to influence our lives, those of others as well as all large or small events in the universe.

Without discussing the question of existence of God, without agreeing or disagreeing with those who believe or do not believe, let us consider where our position lands us. It is simple logic that even a child can understand and it is summarized in the table. The point the table illustrates is that even if one does not know yet if God exists or not and one has no sure proof of it either way, it is a beneficial position to believe in God because then one would only gain if He exist (He used for convenience of language) and nothing to lose. On the other hand not believing in Him would lead to loss if He exists while one shall gain nothing if he does not exist.

Those who have accepted God and come to know of Him through their heart find Him to be an ocean of love, peace and security and find that it is He who cares for them and protects them at all times through their life journey fraught with numerous dangers and risks at every turn.

On Religion

Whenever talking of God, the mind of humans jumps to religion. It is natural because God is the central subject of most religions, not all though. Buddhists do without that subject.

No particular religion has ownership or monopoly on God. Different religions are something humans have made and as anything human, will have small or huge defects and approximations. Even language is an approximate thing, too limited with its finite words to explain infinity. He has to be understood from the Heart, words at best being hints to this understanding.

God that we are talking of pertains to the Universe as a whole and is much bigger than any one religion on Earth. Therefore, let us keep out of religious debates and beliefs when choosing whether to believe in God or not. It is a different matter that some may choose or reject a religion for any numbers of reasons. For most humans the choice is simply what the religion of their dad, and his of his dad before that and so on and only few humans get around to choosing or rejecting a religion.

Many say this or that religion or all religion is bull shit, it has exploited humans, spread evil and wars and some of the worst humans are those who claim to be religious. I do agree with some of what such people say as regards religion and some of its followers but the topic here is God and not religion. That is a different much larger topic. Here we are dealing with a much simpler briefer one.

About God

Those who believe in God would naturally like to know more about him. Some think of him as a kindly old gentleman with a long white beard who sits on a throne, surrounded by angels singing a pretty song, in a place called heaven. Others think of Him as an Infinite formless power that runs through the Universe. Yet there are also some who have come to an understanding that every thing including the entire universe, everything within it, every star, mountain and lake, every living thing is a part of God. They say,
There is nothing but God

God is everywhere

We are all part of God

I am inside God

God is inside me
All of these statements are true when one regards all of the Universe and everything beyond if any, seen and unseen, as God

Powers of God

God as the Supreme Almighty has power over everything in the universe from the smallest things like atoms, parts of an atom, viruses to the largest stars, galaxies, clusters of galaxies and even the universe as a whole, to create more or destroy all of it even. He has the ultimate power to interact with the universe as a whole as well as the power to interact and influence each animate and inanimate object within it, even the tiniest virus or the largest of life forms.

On the fear of evil deeds

A few avoid God even though they think He exists because they think He punishes for many thing he regards as evil such as greed, lusting around etc. However that is being childish because if He does exist it is not that He would not know about it and if he deems fit to punish for those things he is more likely to punish those who deny him while being gentler on his followers and giving them a chance to reform through their experiences and His help. On the other hand, believers do not fear him for they regard him as all Love. They ask for forgiveness when they get tempted to stray from what they feel He would regard as a poor thing, as all humans do from time to time, even saints and gods,  while seeking His help to stay on paths leading to peace, joy and happiness.

On gods, angels, saints and other sacred things

What about the many gods, saints and sacred things that people worship? If God is everything they are all parts of him. A Human unable to understand God directly may learn about Him through any of them, indeed even through trees and leaves, sacred mountains and lakes, for they are all parts of Him. It is a perfectly good thing to do provided one has not been interrupted by a fraud out to suck blood, wealth and freedom of the gullible and as long as one realizes that they are all a part of the Supreme Infinite Lord much bigger than any of His parts.

When one finds a god, angel or saint who is worthy in God’s eye, it is good to love, respect and worship him or her, one may even develop an especially loving relationship with some,  but not in way that give them precedence over the Almighty, for they are only a means of divine assistance and companionship through life, a means to communicate, focus or relate to God but not God. They are all children and creations of God just as you or this author is, only closer to him because of their devotion, knowledge or position in our Infinite universe of which we all are a part..

Friday, December 11, 2015

Gaia Consciousness Cares for You



A Photo snapped this morning in the garden
Just as our bodies are made up of bits of matter from the Universe or in particular from bits of Mother Earth, Our consciousness too is made up of a bit of the infinite consciousness of the Universe. Mystics believe that we are not so special that it is just we humans that have a body, consciousness and intelligence but the Universe as a whole has an one too, an infinite one, ours just being a very tiny part of it.

The consciousness of Mother Earth, a part of Universal consciousness, is known as Gaia Consciousness because the Greeks personified her as the Goddess Gaia whereas in other parts of the world others personified her in numerous other diverse forms. All recognized her as a Mother for Earth is the mother of all life that dwells upon it. She prepares food for all her children and also the air they breathe every moment of their lives with the help of Sunshine and other things Father Universe brings from afar.

Mother Earth loves her children dearly and although we rarely sense her except those who commune with Nature from time to time or the mystics who commune with the Universe as a whole, she keeps a watch on all her off-springs. Humans, with their enhanced intelligence as compared to other life on the planet, have the capacity to come to a closer understanding of Mother Earth than lower animals or conversely, grow further away from her and deny her even if they so choose. Animals on the other hand remain close to her and depend more on her. They do not have the capacity or intelligence to grow their food, build their own homes or prepare their own medicines etc. and hence have to depend more on Mother Earth. Humans, on the other hand, have the intelligence and abilities to grow food, build fine dwellings filled with all manner of comforts but they also have the capacity to destroy them. Thus, when greed and selfishness increases among humans, many are driven out of their homes as homeless persons or across the world as refugees. At such times, the life and times of animals, birds and insects becomes better off than humans. Indeed the present times are one such for large cross sections of humanity.

This author loves nature and in his home is a crowded garden where all manners of herbs, trees, flowers and weeds come up. Many of the trees have come up on their own at the exact same spot this author wished because mother Earth with the help of some birds planted them. Some years ago, a weed began to come up profusely in the garden but not knowing what it was I pulled it out often. At the back of my mind was the belief that Mother Earth is planting this for a purpose and it was not without sadness that I pulled them out. Some months ago I began to search the internet for pictures of garden weeds and lo and behold, I discovered that this weed was called Phyllanthus and it is a highly useful medicinal plant. There is a whole post on it here therefore we shall not go into that again but rather what happened after that.

Some years ago I had noticed that my urine does not flow with the same force and as freely as it used to but rather it seemed there was some blockage. I worried that it might not be an enlarged prostate or any number of other things that can cause this but had let it go for years but it was getting worse with time. However, after I learned about Phyllanthus and that it can help, a couple of months ago, I began consuming a tea made from it and within days that condition cleared and there is the same loud buzz in the toilet again that I had almost forgotten about and once more I can piss away to glory when the need arises: - ). I would have continued its use but then discovered that it has begun disappearing from the garden on its own. I took this as a sign that the need for the medicine has expired and there is no more need for it anymore, at least presently. While all this would sound magical and a fairy tale to most, such experiences are common when one steps out of the mold and embraces the love of nature and Universe that is all around us.

Hail Mother Earth, Praise Father Universe. For they are one even as we are one with them once we come out of the prison of our thoughts and desires, and do express your love for Mother Earth that cared for you every instant of your life by bringing her a gift today, perhaps planting a tree, she loves them, they are her adornments and a lot more trees and forests will help her improve it for all life not COP21 of Paris. Trees and the green side of life is where all the carbon in the atmosphere came from and Mother Earth shall not rest until it returns to them, even if she has to harden her heart, and remove some of her children from her bosom for a while if that becomes unavoidable, those who do not assist in the task, those who cut down trees for their needs and do not plant more to replace them despite the fact that Father Universe and Mother Earth gave them the hands and strength for it. Humans do not own the planet in Her eyes, trees have as much right to it, and they proliferate when the earth is packed with much more carbon in the air than now. In fact their right precedes because they preceded all life on land so as to be able to prepare the food for them in their kitchen before animals and humans arrived.

Thus spoke the mystic, now hear the same from the mouth of a scientist:
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2014/04/a-new-perspective-on-climate-change.html



Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A home for the Hobbit



While in graduate school in Canada, a close friend of mine, Brad, recommended several nice books to read including the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit (we are still friends). Ever since, I have been fascinated by Hobbits. Recently I found a lovely picture of a lovely Hobbit home on twitter that is shared with this note. If a human wished to make a similar home it is recommended they choose rectangular doors and windows rather than round ones unless you would like to hop into your home rather than walk in, and keep in mind the following points:

1. Choose a house or cottage plan that has doors and windows in front and back only and none on the sides. This blog has several such plans if one cared to search through older posts.

2. Sink in the home about three feet in the ground and have it six feet above ground to give room height of nine feet in the middle sloping down to seven feet to the sides.. The door would be on ground level and as you enter one would have three one foot wide steps to climb down into a passage or the living room

3. Keep windows at four feet height (a foot from the ground on the outside) all the way to the roof.

4. Build a strong six inch thick RCC roof and water proof it. Cover it with a thick plastic sheet for additional safety if you like. One may then lay on the soil from the sides in a slope and have a home covered with a lawn and garden.

5. Keep in mind that the drainage from kitchen and bathrooms would have to be led to deep pits to create the flow gradient.

The advantage of such homes will be that it will be well insulated, cool in summers and warm in winters. However such homes are really more convenient for Hobbits or Irish Leprechauns rather than humans, unless they are made as novelty in a children’s nursery school or a children’s park, because then they need to keep it only around four feet outside the ground. However, humans would do well to take advantage of the green side to insulate their homes. This is achieved by covering walls with grape vines and growing trees that shed leaves in winter around the home. Then after the grape vine and trees have shed leaves in winter they will help warm the home. When the grapes are ripe and sweet, just open the windows to grab a bunch :). In summer new leaves shall come up and cool the home instead and birds shall come to build nests on them or play on the branches while they sing a pretty song for you all day.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Some Commonsense about the LGBT Debate



 


While the middle road is the best in many things for humans, they often tend to go to extremes, not just in their private habits but also in public policy. Thus when economic inequalities become extreme in capitalistic societies they cry out for communism whereas the best course is perhaps somewhere in the middle where neither an unnatural equality is enforced nor is unfettered greed allowed to flourish. However, the present note is on human sexuality and presently let us confine our attention to this topic. Here too, it seems, human beings are swinging from one extreme to the other. Whereas homosexuality was prosecuted and criminalized in most of the world a century ago, now we find that it is being glorified in some parts while gay marriages are being legalized. While the debate continues as to what the best approach is in much of the world, there is a need to add some commonsense to it and that is what this note is about

Is homosexuality natural or a choice?

Often in debates on the topic this author has noted that there is a group of humans that says it is a matter of choice and that it is the wrong choice while another group says that it is something inherent from birth and not a matter of choice. What exactly is the truth?

Referring to data from various sources, it seems that human sexuality does not exist in clear shades of black and white but sexual preferences vary widely. As regards sexual preferences perhaps approximately human population is divided as follows

Gays 10%
Bisexuals 50%
Heterosexuals 40%

This is only a rough estimate and errors may be as large as +/- 5% at the lower end and +/- 10 %  or more at the upper end. Nevertheless even this approximate data is enough to answer our question. While there is no choice in the matter for some of the population, they being so inclined by birth, there is a choice for the majority. Therefore when some say that gays have no choice in the matter and some say they do, they are both correct but speaking like blind men and the elephant, each correct in his description.

As regard the 50% in the middle, it is likely that the majority i.e. as many or 40% prefer heterosexual interaction whereas a minority of 10% prefers homosexual ones. The reason for homosexual interaction being so common in prisons or military camps where the opposite sex is not available is this bisexuality among humans. This data also suggests that bisexuality may be more normal amongst humans than pure homosexuality or pure heterosexuality while social training and customs likely tends to reinforce their heterosexual leaning and when it does not they at least compel most to hide their homosexual side. Historically, it was natural for society to encourage heterosexual love and union because it is only through that the human race could be perpetuated.

Is criminalizing homosexuality same as criminalizing love?

In countries where homosexuality is still criminal, the argument is often advanced by gay groups or their sympathizers that criminalizing homosexuality is criminalizing love that is natural and inherent to their makeup. Is this true? NO, it is a blatant lie. No human society anywhere on the planet criminalizes love unless love is euphemism here for love-making i.e sexual acts. 

Even when it comes to a sexual interaction in private between persons of the same sex it is not criminal anywhere in law although some societies frown upon it if discovered. What instead is criminal is anal intercourse and that is far from criminalizing love. To say that love is being criminalized is to demean it to the level of an anal intercourse.

But what about anal intercourse? If we set aside any moral, social or religious stance on it because these vary with time and place on the planet, just commonsense as well as medical data reveals that not only is the practice unhygienic, it is also physically harmful. Depending upon the situation, the harm could vary from perhaps mild to severe. Therefore, if it is looked down upon, that does seem to be the right attitude. In the Greek Athenian society where homosexuality was openly discussed and even glorified, anal intercourse was regarded as something that should be avoided. However, the practice must not be uncommon among gay men seeing a joke about it this author encountered, it defined a homosexual as a person that widens the circle of his friends.

However, the homosexuals may have a point if they say that what might be bad but is in private between consenting adults should not be criminalized. Consenting adults indulge in a lot of other activities like wrestling, boxing etc that too can lead to grave physical harm but are not criminal and as regards an act in public there are other obscenity laws that apply to both heterosexuals and homosexuals. The homosexuals have a point in this and it does seem that there is a need for the state to get out of such matters and focus on crime that affect society at large.

Gay Marriage

As regards two persons of the same sex marrying, it does seem extreme. It is strange that they should want to do so when even many heterosexuals would prefer common law living in order to escape the force of law. Society has designed and sanctified marriage to provide a secure home for children and no such need exists for persons of the same sex. It would be far better for two persons of the same sex not to copy the concept, while seeking any legal protections their union requires in other ways. If they wish to have a shared life partnership, a way can be found for two adults of same sex to create a legal life partnership in the same way as business partnerships so that all their personal assets can be split equally with help of law if the need arises.

But some homosexuals say that why should they be deprived of religious sanction and blessings since it is God that made them that way. No doubt they have a right to the same but it would be much better if they invented a new name for it such as Blessed Brotherhood or Blessed Sisterhood rather than marriage.

It is for the majority community to respect the differences of a minority community, differences that are as natural as the differences between various kinds of flowers that grow on the planet, and for each group to show compassion and understanding for other groups in order to become humans that are worthy in the eyes of Nature and the Lord.

A Spiritual interpretation

This blog has many a topic on spirituality and for those who might be interested in the spiritual or mystic interpretation of the topic, the following has been added. Those who have no belief or interest in the mystic side may skip the section.  According to eastern mysticism a soul goes through many births and the soul arising from God has inherently no sex of its own just as God does not. It is neither He nor She but an individual soul takes on the colors of the psyche of the body it occupies.

The male and female body and union are created from a necessity of maintaining genetic purity. At birth, a new life has to choose between the two X or Y chromosomes that decide if the new born shall be a male or female and that is what most humans become (aside for some rare exceptions) either male or female in their physical make up. The genetic code from two different beings has to be compared and set side by side to weed out errors before a new life is created while also creating variety so necessary for development of a species and society. A sexual union attended by procreation is nothing more than bringing together these two copies of the genetic code. Once created a new life that starts as a single cell has to grow inside a womb before it develops enough to live independently and one of the two parties has to be chosen for it hence a distinct male and female biology.  However the soul itself has no essential necessity to choose so quickly between male or female and takes it own time to gradually transform from male to female and female to male through its many births leading to an entire range of inner leaning and resulting sexual preferences. 
In the ultimate analysis, everything that happens in the universe is because the universe has permitted it so as its Ultimate Creator. While it is easily understood why sexual attraction between opposite sexes is required, one wonders what the divine deliberations may have been behind permitting such attractions between the same sexes too. It serves no purpose of procreation. Perhaps the only purpose one can deduce is that the intention was to promote brotherly love amongst men who are not brothers in blood and sisterly love amongst women aside from the natural love each has for the opposite sex., for while sexual reproduction is necessary to perpetuate a race, co-operation amongst its members is necessary to protect it and necessary for progress of a species as a whole.  While the love conceived must have been of a non-sexual nature the universal intelligence may have realized that few humans come up to standards to promote such love exclusively but require more basic things like sexual attraction as catalysts for it. If this be so, societies that try to victimize love between the same sexes are transgressors in the sight of this divine will.
However spiritual traditions do assert that any sexual interaction that is not for procreation even between married couples is merely lust which like physical violence is after all only an animal thing and a weakness worth conquering amongst humans, that without conquering it, substantial spiritual growth is not possible. The wise Saint Kabir has said - Where there is love, there is no lust; where there is lust, there is no love.


Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Giovanni_Paolo_Panini_%28Italian,_Piacenza_1691%E2%80%931765_Rome%29_-_Ancient_Rome_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg



Friday, December 4, 2015

An Iron Wok




An iron wok
When one has lived in a home for near twenty five years as I have in mine, and when the home has store rooms, attic, closets etc. one ends up collecting a lot of stuff that one does not need every day or even for years. Over the last several years it became so that if we needed something for an odd purpose suddenly, it was found somewhere in the home itself. As a result I had begun avoiding going to the market to collect more.

Nevertheless, when one visits a market for a stroll, one spots something aside from daily necessities that would make one’s living more comfortable or healthier. Today I chanced upon a small iron wok from a traditional gypsy iron worker by the road side and snapped it up. The woman wanted five dollars for it but with a bit of bargaining brought it down to three. We have a large one at home used on rare occasions but not a small one that is useful for regular cooking. There are smaller aluminum ones in the kitchen but fearing that they may not be very healthy, I avoid using those most times.

A well dressed man stopped by as I was purchasing the wok and we discussed the usefulness of cooking at times in an iron vessel. Modern stores rarely carry these now. Instead they carry utensils made mostly of stainless steel or Aluminum. The first is safe and it seems the second may not be healthy whereas cooking in iron, at least at times appears to be good for health. Earthenware is great too, perhaps the best for health, but this last is not convenient to use and their use has now more or less disappeared except in rural areas where they still cook on wood fires,

Now, we have filled it water and set it to boil on the stove in order to disinfect it and remove anything unwanted that it may have picked up from the street or manufacturing, as shown in the picture. We shall leave it then for a day to see what kind of iron it is from the amount of rust it gathers. Those that gather a lot have to be heated and oiled for storage. It is true that when one purchases a vessel from a street vendor one can not be fully sure of the composition but then one has to take a calculated chance in such things as in much else in life. Moreover this community has been preparing utensils by essentially the same process as used for hundreds of years and there is safety in a long tradition.