Fear and Practice in 2018

I’ve attempted to write a blog post about the slaughter that happened over the weekend in Pittsburgh and how much it really shook me the core. The words to describe what I was feeling didn’t really resonate with me. Something about what I was trying to say just felt … off.

Not being a Jew, to a certain extend my emotional reaction felt borrowed, like it wasn’t my place to feel that. To a certain extent I still feel like that, as if my grief isn’t real, just borrowed. Along side my feeling of being a pretender, I felt something else — fear. How long before someone whom I’ve never met decides that gays need to die because of some percieved slight? It’s already happened once in a night club, but there was something about the sanctity of a house of worship the reflected on the deep dark depravity of the shooter.

I should be clear – I’m still afraid. The nation we’ve shown ourselves to be is not a place I’m sure I’ll be welcome in a few years time. I fear losing the wonderful life I have with my family. I fear that my life won’t be what it is now, and could in fact be far worse. The fear was growing in no small part because I could take no real action to soothe it and so I sat down for my practice. And in the stillness and quiet of my meditation, I remembered a phrase that has givem me perspective in the past.

The Litany against Fear
Dune, by  Frank Herbert

I must not fear

Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.

Only I will remain.

Fear with perspective, left unchecked leads to the domination of the little self, the emotional monkey on the inside that doesn’t understand anything beyond pleasure and flight or fight.

I am still afraid. But I will wake up every day and face my fear. I will let it pass through me until only I remain. Its an exercise I might have to do everyday, or multiple times a day for the foreseeable future. But I remind myself that this is the practice–the challenging parts are the journey and the moments of stillness and presence are the destination.

To borrow from another favorite author of mine,

Journey before Destination
Stormlight Archive, Brandon Sanderson.



Nevertheless, I Persist.

Social media is drowning in misinformation and ideological war that many don’t even know we are fighting, even as they wade into ideological battle after ideological battle. Groups manipulate and subvert systems on social media to amplify their ideas, giving them a credibility they haven’t earned and don’t actually represent the will of the people. Death threats are common. Say the wrong thing, or say the right thing and the wrong person sees it and suddenly you are the target what can only be described as terrorist attack to silence you.

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Twitter, it’s not me, it’s you.

After months of toxicity, complacence and what amounts to the implementation of “there are good people on both sides,” I quit Twitter. While there was a straw that broke the camel’s back, it’s something thats been building since about 2014. Twitter has been a corrupt, hateful, toxic place that generates Jack Dorsey money, and destroys our national dialog — not because of the format of Twitter, but the greed of the company.

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Why I left the Church

Recently I was watching Season 2 of Queer Eye on Netflix, and it hit me with all the feels, and made me reflect on my own experiences with the Church. The episode, titled “God Bless Gay” follows the Fab 5 as remake Miss Tammy, a woman who’s given her whole life to her community and her Church. At the end of the episode, Miss Tammy launches into a sermon about love and acceptance and all the guys were sobbing, and I lost it. She is absolutely the best that Christianity has to offer.

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An Explanation of ‘Video Games are Better without Stories’

Monday, I took my normal jaunt over to MassivelyOverpowered in the morning and picked up The Daily Grind, which is a daily a prompt about something in the news or video games or just something that came up in discussion elsewhere on the website. Monday’s prompt was about whether games, MMOs in specific, need story.

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Does Skinny Mei Matter?

Blizzard recently made a bit of an embarrassing mistake– Mei, a curvaceous Overwatch character was significantly skinnier in her new skins than she had been in previous iterations.  Blizzard has already come out and said that that it was a bug and unintended and would be fixed in an upcoming patch. But of course that hasn’t stopped people from both sides of the proverbial fence from jumping up and down from how could Blizzard do this, to Blizzard is caving to the special snowflakes.

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The Media is the Bias

The medium is the message.

-Marshall McLuhan

Towards the end of the 2016 election cycle, people started chattering about the bias of mass media. It didn’t really seem to matter which candidate–networks were accused of having a bias both for and against both candidates. A quick Google search returns hundreds of results, all posted in the weeks leading up to the election and beyond. This is something that, for whatever reason, rocketed into the American Consciousness in October.

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An Open Letter to Us on the Orlando Massacre

“What I mean is… maybe it’s only us…” – Lord of the Flies

Normally I’m a really talkative guy.  Today, I’m quiet.  I’m out of things to say.

50 people dead for … no reason. Of course, the blame started immediately, along with the equally useful promises of prayers and “standing with Orlando”  (really, what the hell does that even mean?).  The politicizing was instantaneous and vicious from both sides.

Rationally speaking, it’s only a small percentage of all Muslims worldwide are extremist.  Yet they get the most attention, they are the ones entering an international dialogue.  Rationally speaking, if people were healthy and well-adjusted, gun control wouldn’t matter. The crux of the issue is that if we, as people, knew ourselves we could come to grips with the fact that it’s not Islam or about guns – it’s now and has always been all about us.

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