Dec 25 2008
What we are experiencing here in America, and the world over for that matter, is the inevitable collapse of the consumerist culture. For years we have gorged ourselves on the upside of consumerism but now we all must suffer the downside of this system. The consumerism system relies on three things. The first is that the system must be in a constant state of economic expansion. The second is that the planet must have an infinite supply of resources to supply the ever expanding amount of goods needed to support the ever expanding economy. The third is that the people must be trained to live in a state of constant consumption. See the Story of Stuff to learn more about that and watch Money as Debt for an explanation of how the ever expanding wad of credit that fuels the consumerist economy has no real value.
Mar 15 2008
All signs point to the fact that we have entered a dark period in terms of human liberties and how people treat each other in general. Things have to either move forward or go backward as they can never just stay the same. It certainly appears now that humanity is choosing the option of going backwards. Some of this comes from the profit-seeking force of the powers that be. Some comes from the environmental consequences of our petroleum based system and rapacious use of resources. Finite nature of petroleum, water, top soil and other resources is catching up to us all. In many ways things look bleak for our children and grandchildren.
However I can report that after almost three years of homesteading based on solid spiritual principles, my family and I have felt a great sense of wellbeing coming from our collective efforts at leaving behind a dying system by returning to a more natural state of being. Our work has centered on learning some of the many skills required for homesteading and discovering through experience that a personal connection to one’s food brings deep benefits. We started our first homestead by converting our small 3.7 acre property in central VA into a small dairy. After completing that, we moved to a more rural mountain community where we have worked hard to rebuild an old farmhouse with just under four acres into a homestead that suits us.
Now finally emerging out of a rough homesteading winter, I came across some of our pictures from our old homestead and made a slideshow of homesteading pictures past and present with Joseph Arthur’s “In the Sun” providing the music. It has really given us a boost to see the best of our homesteading ventures strung together to music we really enjoy.
For anyone who is suffering from despair or depression due to the current state of our Union – and the current state of the earth for that matter – one remedy is to make some progress in freeing yourself of our dying system by taking steps towards a more sustainable system. In that spirit, then, please enjoy pictures of cows, dogs, cats, happy children and a view of the future.
Jan 18 2008
Natural, healthy environments radiate wellbeing in every possible way. When we leave the stress of our artificially loud, unnatural worlds and go out into the woods, or to a semi-secluded beach, or to a natural wonder like the Grand Canyon, we always breathe a huge sign relief. Modern societies and cities give off so many unpleasant, and in some cases, assaultive vibrations that wreak havoc on our human systems that escaping them even briefly shifts us toward health. Even just electricity gives off a powerful and often destabilizing vibration that negatively affects us all, never mind the rest of what we are confronted with. To cope with these daily challenges of modern life, we tend to become hard and desensitized.
I experienced a profound overall shift in health in myself and family since returning to the country a few years ago. There are many great sights, sounds and smells out here that have a positive effect on the human system. After some time of living with them, you find yourself softening and getting stronger all at the same time. Your energy level picks up. Your thought patterns clear.
The idea came to me a few weeks ago to share some of the sounds of winter on our homestead. You can hear them on the videos below.
Crossposted at Pockets of the Future
Jan 02 2008
African American athletes now openly speak their minds and express themselves somewhat freely on collegiate and professional athletic fields. We all know that this was not always the case. It took a special person who could smile graciously as white people spit at, threatened and abused him for participating in what they considered to be their sport being played in their country to open up athletics to people of color. That person was Jackie Robinson. There were many great black baseball players in Jackie Robinson’s day, and many great black athletes, but Jackie was special. He was neither hateful nor vindictive. He did not give his ‘haters’ anything to feed on. Jackie was a uniter.
My diaries and essays at dkos and Docudharma are generally about spirituality, homesteading and the in’s and out’s of abuse. I do not believe there is a political solution to the enormous challenges that humanity faces. My small hope from politics is that we get someone to stop the bleeding. I do not view the current candidates as saviors and, to some extent, I believe that most of them have to be corporate puppets to some extent or they wouldn’t even get a second look.
Cross posted at dkos
Jan 01 2008
My wife, Leslie, and I both read Buhdydharma’s essay yesterday on Circles and Cycles, Light vs. Dark and The Biggest Picture. We thought it would be appropriate to post an entry Leslie wrote for our blog about how we use faith and light and faith in the light as the focus of our family Christmas celebrations. The Sahaj Marg meditation practice my wife and I have both subscribed to for years uses Divine Light in the heart as the object of meditation. Interestingly one of the suggestions for deepening meditation is to meditate an hour or so before sunrise, i.e. at the night’s darkest and coldest point. The reason for this is that the strongest connection that someone can make to their internal light is when the heat is withdrawn from the external world and it is at its darkest and coldest. It is easier to see the light inside when it is as its darkest outside.
Material woes and miseries offer special opportunities for a person to progress spiritually. When darkness is encompassing the world as it is these days, this gives the collective human population a great opportunity to evolve spiritually. The darkness gives us an opportunity to go within, find the inner light and allow it to shine. The darkness creates a sense of urgency and a craving for light. In any life, it is the difficulties and how one responds to those difficulties that defines that life. An artist who can turn his or her suffering into art is considered a great artist. An athlete who mounts a four quarter comeback against all odds, snatching victory from defeat, defines their career in these challenging moments.
The world is now entering a very dark phase. There will be suffering but there will also be unique opportunities for our species to spiritually evolve so that in the end we may have a society of saints and Masters. My wife and I are working according to this belief to guide our children in many areas for this eventuality.
This past Christmas I posted an essay here about our Christmas in the Barn. My wife posted a companion essay on our blog called “Our Christmas Eve ‘Faith in the Light’ Celebration” that talks about how we incorporate discussing faith in the return of the light with our children during the dark winter holidays. The Christmas Eve we celebrated together was quiet, meaningful and bolstered us to face the rest of the winter (both in the microcosm and in the macrocosm) with calm strength.
Dec 31 2007
My horse-loving 8 year old daughter received the Horse-oply game for Christmas. Horse-oply is just Monopoly with a veneer of horses. The board and cards are changed to horsey things but it is basically the same soul-killing game of merciless capitalism. I had forgotten how soul-killing Monopoly is because I haven’t played it for 30 years or more. We, of course, could not deny my daughter playing it at least once before it was buried deep in a closet and marked for Goodwill and somebody else’s problem. So we set aside a few precious hours on Sunday afternoon to do the deed.
Cross posted at Pockets of the Future
Dec 25 2007
My wife, children and I aren’t practicing Christians but we do believe that Jesus was part of the divine hierarchy that has guided the overall evolution of the human being. We have celebrated a somewhat traditional Christmas as a family ever since Leslie and I got married years ago, but we gradually started making small alterations to the way we celebrated together that were consistent with our spiritual practice. For years Leslie has done an excellent job of working out how to mold our holiday celebrations into something more Sahaj or natural. One example of this she describes in her post about transforming Independence Day into Inner Dependence Day.
Dec 23 2007
One aspect of life that gives me hope is the strong effect places, events, animals and people can have on us human beings. I became particularly aware of this phenomenon 13 years ago when I started practicing a Raja Yogic meditation system simultaneously with beginning work as a counselor at a treatment center for children who had committed sexual offenses.
Crossposted at Pockets of the Future
Nov 30 2007
I have always been an animal person. In my youth I wanted to be a naturalist or a veterinarian. For years, I used our set of encyclopedias and the library to study one animal after another. One animal I had little interest in at that time was the cow. I guess I thought cows were boring and unimportant because it looked to me like all they did was stand around in pastures. However, my ideas about cows changed dramatically two years ago when our first family cow came to live with us. Now I understand that cows are one of the key animals supporting human civilization.
Cross posted at Pockets of the Future
Nov 09 2007
Contrary to popular opinion, the Democrats are not spineless. Spinelessness is inherent weakness and cowardice. It means that when a person is facing a malevolent force they are supposed to stand up to, they go completely limp and act as a doormat for the malevolent force to wipe their feet on. Although weakness is abhorred in our society, spinelessness can at least be forgiven. We have all felt weak at one time or another and crumpled under pressure. It is part of being a human being. However, spinelessness is not the cause of the Democratic leadership repeatedly caving in to the bullying ways of the Bush administration and the Republican Party.
Crossposted on dkos
Oct 27 2007
A few years ago, my wife and I needed assistance moving our homestead from the world of ideas to the material world. Neither of us grew up on a farm. Both of us had little homestead related hands-on experience. One could say that the first step had been taken years ago when my wife started researching this way of life. We had also gradually begun planning for our homestead, had written a family mission statement which included a homesteading way of life, had had children whose very natures demanded a farm life, and we had at last succeeded in moving to the country. Each of these actions got us moving in the direction of the homestead but we weren’t sure how to take the next concrete step. Shortly after moving to our own place in the country, one particular event put us past the point of no return and that was when our Border Collie, Lucy, came to live with us. She was our first farm animal. With each additional animal we became more and more like homesteaders but it all started with Lucy.
Oct 25 2007
Many people are expressing frustration and even outrage at what appears to be a complete collapse of our system. Everything from the erosion of all governmental checks and balances, to our mainstream media giving a free pass to our wayward administration, to a failed leadership are being paraded before us. Most believe that these conditions are new phenomenon but I believe that we are just seeing now what has been in existence for centuries.
Cross posted on dkos