Tag Archives | Buddhism

A Rush-Hour to the Bottom

cab hill

Tuesday

The fog horns were blowing all last night across the San Francisco Bay. I could hear the music from my attic flat all the way over here in the Western Addition. They came whooshing in, rolling over the hill with their volley, back and forth, back and forth, bridge to ship, ship to bridge, “BRR-AWWWW-NNN-PPP!” “MOOOAA-WWWNNN-PPP!”

They can keep you up a little at night. But it’s also kind of calming, and cool. Reminds you of where you are. But it must be a bit more of a deal for those living down in the Marina; with the caveat that fog and hence, the fog horns, are somewhat rare these days in drought-stricken California.

It’s 4:53am and I’m heading up Post in my van on a quiet ride to work. It is indeed thick grey out, misty, foggy, wet… and WINDY! I do very much see the need for the horns last night.… Read the rest

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You Can’t Really Dust For Vomit

SFO

Thursday

5am:
I slept in.

I’m just now shuffling up all zombie-like to the bullet-proof glass window to slide my five “tip” thru the metal tray to Sammy in exchange for 137’s key and medallion. I’m still feeling the generic brand nighttime cough syrup that I’ve been abusing to put myself down at my prescribed 8pm bedtime. My head is fuzzy still.

I passed 137, my regular Prius, en route to the window and noted that her windows are all down. Bad omen. Are we talking vomit?

5:05am:
I’m done with the window and cordial niceties with Sammy, the new-ish office worker that Citizen’s Cab poached from Arrow. Sammy and I have finally gotten a groove on it seems. But he’s a little out of it this morning, complaining about some serious bruising due to a boating accident over unspecified body parts that he promises I do not want to see.

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Mindfulness has lost its Buddhist roots, and it may not be doing you good

Harry Koopman (CC BY 2.0)

Harry Koopman (CC BY 2.0)

Miguel Farias, Coventry University and Catherine Wikholm, University of Surrey

Mindfulness as a psychological aid is very much in fashion. Recent reports on the latest finding suggested that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is as effective as anti-depressants in preventing the relapse of recurrent depression.

While the authors of the paper interpreted their results in a slightly less positive light, stating that (contrary to their hypothesis) mindfulness was no more effective than medication, the meaning inferred by many in the media was that mindfulness was superior to medication.

Mindfulness is a technique extracted from Buddhism where one tries to notice present thoughts, feeling and sensations without judgement. The aim is to create a state of “bare awareness”. What was once a tool for spiritual exploration has been turned into a panacea for the modern age — a cure-all for common human problems, from stress, to anxiety, to depression.… Read the rest

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No Quarter

Cal Hill

Thursday

4:15am
I awake to a drizzly San Francisco winter’s morning. Wait… It’s summer. And we’re in an historic drought.

Well, maybe the sprinkle will help… a little. On whatever rare occasion that the local news (incorrectly) predicts that we have rain coming, they inevitably go on to qualify how “it won’t be enough.” However, I did just catch on PBS’ The News Hour a show on Hetch Hetchy – the dam and reservoir system that brings San Francisco its water down from the Sierra Nevada. Hetch Hetchy is fed each spring by the melting snowpack from up around Tahoe, et al. Problem is this winter there was no snow.

But! The powers had been planning for several years now for a years-long drought. Consequently, they relayed that Hetch Hetchy is 70% full! Which said powers went on to qualify “is not enough”.

Well, we don’t have lawns and swimming pools here in San Francisco.

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Collective Transformation Through Deep Explorations of Mind with Christopher Bache – Free Radical Media

Also listen to Free Radical Media via Itunes.

In this episode, Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies Dr. Christopher Bache, PhD joins the Free Radical Crew to discuss the implications of healing the collective as well as the individual psyche through the use of transpersonal states of consciousness. Along the way, we converse on Buddhism, Hinduism, the religious experience, entheogens, and what the future holds for our environment and our species. We also focus heavily on Baches’ excellent and informative book, “Dark Night, Early Dawn,” a must have book for anyone studying consciousness.

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The Scent of a Cabbie

Bluury Streets of SF

Tuesday

5:05am:
The sun’s been coming up early. (Ok. And I’ve been “sleeping in.”) Regardless, I do feel the unrelenting compulsion to race in to work, to beat its rise, like a vampire trying to make his casket before turning to ash. Hopefully, mine will be full of coffee grounds. I need a buzz.

5:30am:
I’m finished greasing Tony’s palms back in the Citizen’s Cab office, and I head out to the lot.

Aside: Yeah, I chanced a $5 bribe on Tony for an airport this morning. I don’t actually expect to see one come my way from dispatch. But I gotta check-in now and then, if only to keep Tony on his toes.

5:31am:
I’m in new ‘ol 137 and I’m immediately overcome with a strong wave of fruity… Well, just strong, fruity. I look around hard, but I cannot find the offending Christmas Tree air freshener, however hard I try.

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Mind Your Own Business

Surian Soosay (CC BY 2.0)

Surian Soosay (CC BY 2.0)

Barbara Ehrenreich writes at the Baffler:

At about the beginning of this decade, mass-market mindfulness rolled out of the Bay Area like a brand new app. Very much like an app, in fact, or a whole swarm of apps. Previous self-improvement trends had been transmitted via books, inspirational speakers, and CDs; now, mindfulness could be carried around on a smartphone. There are hundreds of them, these mindfulness apps, bearing names like Smiling Mind and Buddhify. A typical example features timed stretches of meditation, as brief as one minute, accompanied by soothing voices, soporific music, and images of forests and waterfalls.

This is Buddhism sliced up and commodified, and, in case the connection to the tech industry is unclear, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist blurbed a seminal mindfulness manual by calling it “the instruction manual that should come with our iPhones and BlackBerries.” It’s enough to make you think that the actual Buddha devoted all his time under the Bodhi Tree to product testing.

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Ganny & the Stormtroopers

SFO CAbbie Underworld

Monday

4:05am:
I wake before my alarm today, relaxed.

OoOooMMmmMmm.

And this time, it’s a good “OM”! My last shift, I was way busy with a bunch of locals (in-town runs). But the real red meat was a ride I took to Redwood City. That’s meter and a half!

(If the ride takes you more than 15 miles from San Francisco’s City Hall, MTA rules sees the driver charging meter and a half. The logic being that the driver and passenger should split the gas and time down due to the return trip.)

Anyway, I walked away with $285! Tony Jr. was working check-out at the bullet-proof glass in the afternoon, and there’s a new deal where drivers can pay gate (cab rental) out of their day’s Cabulous take. Needless to say, Tony Jr. was pretty impressed after he saw that I still had around $210 set to hit my bank account (via direct deposit) AFTER paying gate!… Read the rest

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Nam’s Mission

137

Monday

4:15am:
I awake groggy from the weekend. And I want to call in sick. (ZzZzzzzzZZzzz.)

4:20am:
Ugh! I should work! (ZzzZZZzzz.)

4:25am:
Besides, the road might be a good distraction from my mental state. (ZZzzZZzzz.)

4:30am:
Okay! Okay! I’ll get up!

5:05am:
It’s a (now) rare foggy day in ‘ol San Francisco. I’m slogging up through the Citizen’s Cab lot and headed towards the office.

As I near, Sammy – the new office guy who’s taken over Kojak’s morning shift, passes me. He’s leaving the office with some new West African driver. They’re heading out to the lot … with a jump starter.

Note: Kojak has been moved to the afternoon office shift for some unknown reason. (Unknown to me, anyway.) This is how the cab biz works. Drivers, office workers; one day ya see ‘em. And the next, they’re gone.

Anyway, hmm.

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The Path to DMT: Psychedelic Drugs, Meditation, and the 
Pineal Gland

DmSoPr cover HR[disinfo ed.’s note: Excerpted from DMT and the Soul of Prophecy: A New Science of Spiritual Revelation in the Hebrew Bible by Rick Strassman, MD.]

The notion of Hebrew Bible prophecy as a model for the DMT experience, and for the Western psychedelic drug experience in general, started forming in my mind several years after completing my drug studies in the mid-1990s. That research project represented the culmination of a decades-long interest in the biology of spiritual experience that began during my undergraduate training in the late 1960s. In these next two chapters, I trace the impetus for my research; its intellectual, biological, personal, and spiritual backdrops; the data that the project generated; and how those data forced me to search outside my preexisting models for more adequate ones. That search ultimately led to the Hebrew Bible and its notion of prophecy.

Altered States of Consciousness: East Meets West

During the middle of the twentieth century, two powerful mind-­altering technologies burst upon the West.… Read the rest

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