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.

Continue reading “Nevertheless, I Persist.”

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.

Continue reading “Twitter, it’s not me, it’s you.”

Book Review: The Stone Sky

The Stone Sky book Cover

Recommendation: Must Read 

The Stone Sky, the final book in the The Broken Earth trilogy is a satisfying conclusion to the series, but not a feel good one. The underlying feeling of despair and fatalism remains. While the ending was positive, it was still dark and bitter. All of the story threads are neatly wrapped up, this is far from a fairy tale ending. It has a feeling of, “We passed this hurdle, but the race isn’t over.”

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What’s Next – The Lock-box Debate – Part 4

Poker Chips

It’s been a very bad week for EA. If I had to pick a company whose greed was going to come back and dropkick them in the head — it would have been EA. That faith in EA’s greed and ineptitude was well placed. Last week, EA’s ham-handed attempt to turn millions of gamers into foaming gambling addicts whilst planning their own Scrooge McDuck-style tower full of gold backfired as gamers finally freaked out because EA pushed the buck too far with Star Wars Battlefront II and lock-boxes.

Continue reading “What’s Next – The Lock-box Debate – Part 4”