"Zen teaches nothing; it merely enables us to wake up and become aware. It does not teach, it points." ~D.T. Suzuki

Monday, December 15, 2014

Realizing True Wealth

True Wealth

Before he wrote the book
The Wealth of Nations,
Adam Smith
the father of capitalism,
wrote another,
as a framework for it,
The Theory of Moral Sentiment
Let your capital be simplicity and contentment.
Henry David Thoreau
Realizing True Wealth
by Americ Azevedo, Nov 24, 2014

We are born with true wealth, but constantly forget to realize the wealth we already have. Failing to acknowledge our true wealth we keep grasping for more, like hungry ghosts who are never satisfied while constantly eating! Thus, we go about despoiling the earth, corrupting relationships, and twisting societies into grotesque forms that promote needless suffering for ourselves, others, and the earth-at-large. Realizing true wealth leads to personal, interpersonal, and transpersonal fulfillment. Furthermore, the long term survival of life on earth depends upon true wealth realization.

We need deep psychological and spiritual healing of individuals, groups, communities, nations and the earth at large. The bedrock of this healing is a return to this present moment, not in a selfish, narrow way, but in a way that includes the totality of what is here-there as well as past-present-future. It is nothing less then the ancient ideal of enlightenment of all sentient beings.

is the greatest gift,
the greatest wealth, 
the best relationship.


Fear of death
increases in exact proportion
to increase in wealth.

Ernest Hemingway

In a country well governed,
poverty is something to be ashamed of.
In a country badly governed,
wealth is something to be ashamed of.


We can have democracy in this country,
or we can have great wealth
concentrated in the hands of a few,
but we can't have both.

Louis D. Brandeis

We may have money but little time. We may have time but no money. We may have love but neither time nor money. Coming to a point of balance between these factors is mastery of the art of living which is true wealth.

It’s been said, "He who dies with the most toys, wins!" This is both true and not-true. Some say, “money does not matter" -- but quietly and privately we fear poverty. Fear of homelessness, hunger, and a drop in social status drives many to insane focus on money at any cost. If you are poor with a positive state of mind, you may still suffer a sense of emotion degradation just from the social stigma of poverty. Such fears are well founded in societies that fail to attain true wealth, since the members of those societies know they can and do fall into poverty. A world based on fear cannot be wealthy in any real sense.

Our possessions can own us. Attach ourselves to our possessions and we immediately lose our sense of true wealth. The very desire for possessions not yet owned breeds greed and lust. We suffer endless rounds of grasping for the goods that will make us “happy and full”. We get “more”, but immediately need to get “more” again. There is no end in sight.

“Business as usual” means a life filled with urgency, running to keep up, and without time. “Oh! If only I had more money, I would do the work I love.” Or, “If I had that big new house on the hill, people would respect and love me. My wife would stay with me.” Such conceptions of wealth are very childish.

Many of the “richest” people in the world are always “hungry”. Much shopping is for useless trinkets which act as displacements for lack of meaning and love in life. Many a parent, for example, who has no time for talking with their children, will just buy toys. Most people identify with the stuff that they own as an extension of their personal ego. Consider automobiles and houses which function as symbols of wealth, but are also destructive to the natural capital of nature.

True wealth goes beyond the concerns of the skin encapsulated ego. True wealth includes the social, political, and transpersonal levels. What about a friend or relative who needs help? What about broader environmental concerns? True wealth goes beyond the individual, and even national, egos. What you spend your money on, changes, impacts society. Buy an SUV because you like personal leg room, but consume the air and warm the environment for everyone else as well as yourself.
Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.
Henry David Thoreau

Time, Love, and Money

An old man asked me, “With what do you buy your money?”

I said, “With your life.”

He said,“Right! I wish I had known that when I was young. I spent my life working for money instead of living.”

Time, love and money are the three legs of truth wealth’s stool. The time allotted to your life is utterly fundamental; a finite constantly depleting resource. Have you loved enough? Have you made money, invested money, and spent money in a way that sustains life on this earth for seven generations to come? Most don’t think we have time for these questions. We can be occupied working for money that we buy cars, drive to places, buy food from thousands of miles away, thus depleting earth’s natural capital without noticing it.

Many people will say that they are making good money, but have no sense of free time. They hope that someday in the future they will have time for the things they really enjoy like family and nature. Often that day never comes. I once worked at the headquarters of Standard Oil. My life had become the company. When I went home, my mind was preoccupied with Standard Oil. One day I awoke to realize that I worked in an environment that was loveless. I had money, but love and time where in short supply.

What is money? It’s a symbol for value, it is information; it is abstract. Humans are driven by symbols to go to war and fight for abstract causes. Money, being utterly abstract, is often valued more for itself than for what it actually buys – it is the ultimate “field of dreams”. Individuals and societies measure self-worth by financial net-worth, but this devalues the deeper qualities of awareness and soul that are the true source of all value.

Walking by a beautiful garden filled with iris flowers, someone might think: “I don’t own it, how unfortunate!” So they miss the simple of joy of the experience. You don’t need to own things in order to enjoy them. To really “have” something we must be present to it. Taking time to appreciate the existence of an object, a friend, or a place is really having that object before us.

Wealth is transpersonal because it is “beyond the personal”. Everything that we do to accumulate wealth depends on past human efforts; as well as the Earth, the solar system, and the cosmos at large. You are not your own source of supply. Companies create private wealth by extracting resources from nature as if nature is "free" and unlimited. Water, for example, was always free. Industrial pollution turns water into another commodity with price barriers for the poor and helpless. This situation creates transpersonal poverty.

There can be a wealth of time. Societies can make time for living, for singing, for family, for just sitting and watching. This wealth is greater than the focus on consuming goods and working to pump up the "gross domestic product".

A man can become homeless and starve to death in a big city filled with apartments, hotels, and food. It is not just lack of money that brings us to the homeless state. Depression, lack of faith in life, lack of friends, and lack of family ties can bring one to this place. Call it lack of love.

We cannot be truly wealthy in such societies with extremes of poverty and riches. The expansive homes of the few wealthy are beautiful, but the society is really poor and ugly. So many become restless and debased is such a society. I cannot relax in a mansion without security systems and insensitivity to the disparity around me. Just like the Buddhists who say they cannot become enlightened until everyone is enlightened, you and I cannot be truly wealthy until all are “wealthy”. Clearly, a new meaning of wealth needs to emerge for the culture at large.

Balanced Wealth Portfolio

An investor will diversify her assets into different categories of assets so as to balance out risk with the changing tides of market fortunes. The seeker of true wealth balances the assets of time, love and money across the dimensions of personal, interpersonal and transpersonal – thus optimizing abundant life for themselves, neighbors, future generations, and Earth.

A balanced wealth portfolio can be attained by disciplining the ego and personal pride. This spiritual practice has ramifications for self, society, and life on earth. Portfolios are lists of assets by categories. We could begin by playing with lists of “assets”. One simple list of categories for grouping our assets would look like this:

1. Personal-money
2. Personal-time
3. Personal-love
4. Interpersonal-money
5. Interpersonal-time
6. Interpersonal-love
7. Transpersonal-money
8. Transpersonal-time
9. Transpersonal-love

These categories are not absolute; they are starting points to help us on the road to true wealth realization. Make up your own categories and lists. Begin from where you are, and expand to include larger dimensions of wealth.
True Wealth Realization Practice

Wealth is usually defined by external measures: affluence, millionaire money levels, ownership and control of companies, and influence over people. Look deeper; and, there is the feeling of being wealthy or poor more or less independent of external wealth measures. Work with that feeling so as to become more independent of the strictly personal illusions of money-wealth and poverty.
Remember who you really are. This means giving yourself the time to contact your own ultimate wealth: the soul. Your own soul is your own ultimate wealth. As you begin to be wealthy in yourself, you will be able to extend your sense of wealth to include others and reality at large. Every soul is the same soul – only covered by different personality, history and circumstances. I could have been any one of the other people that I see everyday.

To awaken to this very moment is truth wealth.
This moment is in truth all we really have and own. Everything else is just on loan;
we must give it all back in the end.
This article, written by Americ Azevedo,
was originally published in What is True Wealth & How Do We Create it?
Edited by Verna Allee & Dinesh Chandra. Indigo Press, New Delhi, India. 2004. Pages 124-130.
One day a father and his rich family took his young son
on a trip to the country with the firm purpose
of showing him how poor people can be.
They spent a day and a night in the farm of a very poor family.

When they returned from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"
"Very good, Dad!"
"Did you see how poor some people are?  the father asked.
"And what did you learn?"

The son answered:
"I saw that we have a dog at home, and they have four.
We have a pool that reaches to the middle
of the garden, 
while they have a creek that has no end.
We have imported lamps in the garden,
and they have the stars. 
Our patio reaches to the front yard,
they have a whole horizon."

When the little boy finished, his father was speechless.

His son added,
"Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are!"

The reason we have poverty
is that we have no imagination.
There are a great many people accumulating what they think
is vast wealth, but it's only money... 
they don't know how to enjoy it,
because they have no imagination.

Alan Watts
Pink Floyd
© 2014 MU-Peter Shimon

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Human Desire


All You Need Is Love
When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions
may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height
and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots
and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire,
that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you
that you may know the secrets of your heart,
and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace
and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness
and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh,
but not all of your laughter, and weep,
but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself
and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart,"
but rather, "I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love,
for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires,
let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook
that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart
and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then sleep with a prayer
for the beloved in your heart
and a song of praise upon your lips.

The Prophet
Khalil Gibran
Paintings by Khalil Gibran - Music by John Lennon (Oct. 9 is Lennon's Birthday)
Enjoy © 2014 MU-Peter Shimon

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Message to Voyager

A Message to Voyager

Welcome to Interstellar Space
A Message to Voyager including someone I have the privilege to know...
Dr. Janet Sternberg, a voice on The Golden Record
The twin Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft are exploring where nothing from Earth has flown before. Continuing on their more-than-35-year journey since their 1977 launches, they each are much farther away from Earth and the sun than Pluto. In August 2012, Voyager 1 made the historic entry into interstellar space, the region between stars, filled with material ejected by the death of nearby stars millions of years ago. Scientists hope to learn more about this region when Voyager 2, in the “heliosheath" -- the outermost layer of the heliosphere where the solar wind is slowed by the pressure of interstellar medium -- also reaches interstellar space. Both spacecraft are still sending scientific information about their surroundings through the Deep Space Network, or DSN.

The primary mission was the exploration of Jupiter and Saturn. After making a string of discoveries there -- such as active volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io and intricacies of Saturn's rings -- the mission was extended. Voyager 2 went on to explore Uranus and Neptune, and is still the only spacecraft to have visited those outer planets. The adventurers' current mission, the Voyager Interstellar Mission (VIM), will explore the outermost edge of the Sun's domain.
And beyond.
( All text from NASA JPL)
On September 5, 1977 Voyager 1 launched

from Cape Canaveral
aboard a Titan-Centaur rocket.

Voyager and it's components

Interstellar Mission
The mission objective of the Voyager Interstellar Mission (VIM) is to extend the NASA exploration of the solar system beyond the neighborhood of the outer planets to the outer limits of the Sun's sphere of influence, and possibly beyond. This extended mission is continuing to characterize the outer solar system environment and search for the heliopause boundary, the outer limits of the Sun's magnetic field and outward flow of the solar wind. Penetration of the heliopause boundary between the solar wind and the interstellar medium will allow measurements to be made of the interstellar fields, particles and waves unaffected by the solar wind. 
Voyager 1 is escaping the solar system at a speed of about 3.6 AU per year, 35 degrees out of the ecliptic plane to the north, in the general direction of the Solar Apex (the direction of the Sun's motion relative to nearby stars). Voyager 2 is also escaping the solar system at a speed of about 3.3 AU per year, 48 degrees out of the ecliptic plane to the south.

Passage through the termination shock ended the termination shock phase and began the heliosheath exploration phase. Voyager 1 crossed the termination shock at 94 AU in December 2004 and Voyager 2 crossed at 84 AU in August 2007. Since passage through the termination shock, the spacecraft has been operating in the heliosheath environment which is still dominated by the Sun's magnetic field and particles contained in the solar wind. The heliosheath exploration phase ends with passage through the heliopause which is the outer extent of the Sun's magnetic field and solar wind. The thickness of the heliosheath is uncertain and could be tens of AU thick taking several years to traverse. Passage through the heliopause begins the interstellar exploration phase with the spacecraft operating in an interstellar wind dominated environment. This interstellar exploration is the ultimate goal of the Voyager Interstellar Mission.
Voyager Reaches Interstellar Space

The Sounds of Space

The Voyager Mission

With a Message from Earth
Both Voyagers are headed towards the outer boundary of the solar system in search of the heliopause, the region where the Sun's influence wanes and the beginning of interstellar space can be sensed. The heliopause has never been reached by any spacecraft; the Voyagers may be the first to pass through this region, which is thought to exist somewhere from 8 to 14 billion miles from the Sun. This is where the million-mile-per-hour solar winds slows to about 250,000 miles per hour—the first indication that the wind is nearing the heliopause. The Voyagers should cross the heliopause 10 to 20 years after reaching the termination shock. The Voyagers have enough electrical power and thruster fuel to operate at least until 2020. By that time, Voyager 1 will be 12.4 billion miles (19.9 billion KM) from the Sun and Voyager 2 will be 10.5 billion miles (16.9 billion KM) away. Eventually, the Voyagers will pass other stars. In about 40,000 years, Voyager 1 will drift within 1.6 light-years (9.3 trillion miles) of AC+79 3888, a star in the constellation of Camelopardalis which is heading toward the constellation Ophiuchus.  In about 40,000 years, Voyager 2 will pass 1.7 light-years (9.7 trillion miles) from the star Ross 248 and in about 296,000 years, it will pass 4.3 light-years (25 trillion miles) from Sirius, the brightest star in the sky . The Voyagers are destined—perhaps eternally—to wander the Milky Way.
So Lonely, Message In a Bottle (Sting Tribute) 
Bruno Mars - 2014 Kennedy Center Honors
You may also be interested in: / Oh Look...We're Here! / Desiderata / The Red Letter /
© 2014 MU-Peter Shimon

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Robin Goes Bobin' Along

The Robin
Goes Bobin' Along
I followed Robin Williams since the 1970s
and loved everything he did.

Unfortunately, he passed away on August 11. 

I'm very sad about that,
but I prefer to celebrate his life.

To say he had a gift would be an understatement.
He was a supernova comedian.
And a deep, thoughtful actor.

Robin Williams was also a father and a husband.

My heartfelt condolences go to his family.

Robin McLaurin Williams
(July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014) 
was an American actor and comedian. Starting as a stand-up comedian in San Francisco and Los Angeles, he soon rose to fame as Mork in the TV series Mork & Mindy (1978–82). Williams went on to establish a career in stand-up comedy
and feature film acting.
Williams's film career included such films as Popeye (1980), The World According to Garp (1982), Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989), Awakenings (1990), The Fisher King (1991),
and Good Will Hunting (1997),
as well as financial successes such as Hook (1991),
Aladdin (1992), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Jumanji (1995),
The Birdcage (1996), Night at the Museum (2006),
and Happy Feet (2006). He appeared in the video
 "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin.
Williams was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor three times and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Good Will Hunting. He received two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and five Grammy Awards. TV producer George Schlatter, who first saw Williams doing stand-up comedy in 1977 and gave him his first TV spot in Laugh-In, recognized Williams's talent immediately,
telling associates that Williams would be an important person in show business. Terry Gilliam, who directed Williams in two films,was impressed by his ability to "go from manic to mad to tender and vulnerable," stating that Williams was unique.
Williams had chronic substance abuse throughout his career.
He had been diagnosed with depression and, shortly before his death, early stage Parkinson's disease. On August 11, 2014, his body was found after committing suicide by hanging at his home in Paradise Cay, near Tiburon, California.

He was amazing in all that he did.
Whether it was stand-up, Mork and Mindy on tv,
or the dozens of films he was in,
where his range and depth of acting
was breath taking to watch.

Laughing or crying, I was moved,
and the humanity of his work is something
that will always stay with me.

© 2014 MU-Peter Shimon

Sunday, July 27, 2014



At the beach,
time you enjoyed wasting,
is not time wasted.

T.S. Eliot
In the depths of winter
I finally learned
that there was in me
an invincible summer.

Dans les profondeurs de l'hiver,
j'ai finalement appris
qu'il y avait en moi
un invincible été.

Albert Camus

Someone, Somewhere, In Summertime

Simple Minds
natsukusa ya
tsuwamonodomo ga
yume no ato

Ah, summer grasses! 
All that remains 
Of the warriors dreams

Matsuo Basho
© 2014 MU-Peter Shimon