One of my New Year intentions is to blog for real, which means every day, not just every few months or years. Another is to let my words out into the public mind without being so damned picky about how they are arranged. I need to stop obsessing about syntax. So here’s today’s entry:
I lose things. Usually my phone, which I have already lost this morning, before doing anything but getting up, doing the morning toilet ritual, taking my vitamins, feeding the cat, sweeping the kitchen floor, doing my morning meditation, letting the cat out, making mate, and re-arranging my room, setting up a chair in the corner where I can work undisturbed instead of always being out in the kitchen, where people talk to me even when I’m working on the computer.
Well, that is not so few things, and I can see how somewhere in there my phone simply slipped out of this universe. But it does that too often, which says to me that I am usually not present in my body.
So here’s a new practice: to pay attention to my body and what I am doing. And when I wander, to simply come back to that.
Wishing myself and everyone else good luck!
She did it, and to her horror – “It kills me to say this,” she lamented – she got happier.
Floundering in my doldrums, I thought maybe that’s a good antidote. Negativity is really just complaining internally, so maybe I’ll just try repeating those words to myself whenever I have a negative thought…
She was right. It works! The problems are still there, of course, but the words let the light in, and the darkness is never quite so dark after that.
Song of Light
For Selma Baraz and her son James, who brought light into the darkness by reminding me that I am truly blessed
Blessed is the Light
Flower of life
that opens my heart with joy
from deep within
Generous is the Light
that does not scorn the shadows
though they scuttle before it
like discombobulated dreams
Friendly is the Light, and tranquil
holding me like a child
and filling me with peace
Do not ask me to explain
Words are themselves
made of Light
and so cannot define their substance
but can only sing.
When Winged Lion Press Cooperative disappeared six years ago, I imagine most people assumed she was dead. She wasn’t – although she wasn’t exactly thriving, since she had to subsist almost entirely on scraps from her internet hosts, to whom I faithfully paid $8 every month for her room and board.
Now, however, she is being reborn, along with a blog, with whom she kindly agreed to share this space. Rather than ramble on about all the details, I’ll just send you to the blog – that should explain everything .
After weeks of single-minded, brute-force doggedness, my hero, Walt, has at last unraveled all the preposterous, brain-numbing conundrums in Microsoft Word and achieved the impossible: On Wings of Intent – a biography of Silo – is now available as a Kindle e-book.
The e-book is where it’s at. At $10 on Amazon, it’s half the price of the print version, and twice the quality, especially the photos, about 100 in all. If you read it on your computer you can see many of them in color. And if you buy the print version of the book, you get the e-book for free (see “Matchbook Price”).
Dear Friends – We did it!!
On Wings of Intent – a biography of Silo, Mario Luis Rodriguez Cobo, “Sage of the Andes” – is finally FINISHED.
The English edition – nearly 500 pages – is now available on Amazon, in black and white (color will be available in the future, but at a much higher price). The kindle version will also be available in the near future.
The Spanish translation is also complete – mil gracias Puchi! – so editions for Spain and Latin America are in the works.
We hope to find a way to make the book available at the Parks of Study and Reflection, and also find ways to print locally in other parts of the world so that international shipping costs can be minimized.
Writing this book has been an amazing experience, and an enormous privilege -thanks to everybody for your ongoing enthusiasm, support, and encouragement.
Most of all, thanks to Silo for living such a life!
For everyone, Peace, Force, and Joy
Our employer, the behemoth publishing enterprise Winged Lion Press Cooperative, has sent us – the Royal We and associates – an ultimatum:
Get this book OUT already, or else!
Scared witless, we have been racing against the clock, slaving over our hot pits of seething electronic impulses, endangering life and limb and sanity – but at long long last, dripping with sweat and tears, we are nearing the finish line, bearing aloft a gorgeous tome of over 450 pages, containing more than 90 photographs of Silo and his friends.
I will say no more about dates, having been warned never to promise anything until it is absolutely certain. Gods willing, however, it will be before the Boss’s 69th birthday, which, gods willing, that individual will live to see.
Distribution – that’s the big issue for anyone wanting to reach a broader public, and not just preach to the choir. Distribution companies are the only ones that can place books in bookstores – and they won’t accept self-published books or books from a micro-press, only books from “real” publishers.
Well – what’s to prevent us, Winged Lion Press Cooperative, from becoming a “real” publisher?
I did some research. Apparently anyone can call themselves a publisher – but if you only publish books by one author, distributors will consider your books self-published, or at best micro-press-published.
However, if we can show that we publish more than one author – the more the merrier – it could increase our chances of having our works accepted by distributors.
That’s why we’re taking WLPC off the back burner, and embarking on a campaign to “get real” by publishing titles by different authors.
So – this is your golden opportunity. If you are thinking of publishing or reprinting, please consider using the WLPC imprint.
What does that entail?
It simply means listing Winged Lion Press Cooperative as the publisher on your title page, and publishing through one of the many print on demand services.
What’s in it for you?
At this point, mainly just the great satisfaction of increasing our distribution potential and making it easier to spread the word about Silo and his legacy.
Other than that, we are happy to share our own experience with print on demand publishing, and with promotion and marketing. For the future we’d also love to talk about trades – such as exchanging editing, translation, and desktop publishing services.
WLPC’s mission statement is below – if you feel like your work fits, and would like to support this effort, please send a copy of your book or other piece to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winged Lion Press Cooperative Mission Statement
Winged Lion Press Cooperative is a vehicle and a gift Inspired by the life and work of Silo, Argentine author and spiritual guide. We welcome a broad spectrum of participants in all fields of creative and intellectual endeavor:
- anyone who yearns to make contact with the Sacred and the Profound in daily life, in the arts, in dreams and meditation and visions;
- anyone who wishes to contribute to the study, investigation and development of human knowledge beyond what is accepted by convention;
- anyone who dreams of transforming this world nonviolently;
- anyone who hopes for transcendence beyond death.
Publishing categories include Word (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, screenplays, and other creative works; testimonials of experience; and scholarly and investigative productions); Image (photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.); Multimedia (film and video, comics, etc.); and Sound (music, spoken word, etc.), in both print and electronic formats.
For weeks some of my dearest loved ones have been going through hell – one from the stress of an unknown future, another with heartbreaking relationship agonies, another with oppressive health issues. These are the closest people to me in my life, and when they suffer, I suffer with them. Of course. I can’t help it, it’s what we do. Every parent and spouse I know does this.
Today, exhausted from all this self-flagellation, I go to hear Anam Thubten Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist, speak in Pt. Richmond. Hundreds of people come to hear him and talk with him whenever he is around, and it is as always joyful and calming to be there, in silent focus with all those people, meditating in search of the unnamable and the Profound.
In his talk after the meditation, Anam talks about compassion: how difficult life is, how we all suffer, how everyone has the same fears and doubts. How we all would like to find a “special friend” to help us in our difficult moments, and how hard it is to find one. The only way out, he said, is compassion. In the end, that is the only “special friend” you can rely on: the compassion in your own heart.
Afterwards I go up to greet him. My daughter went to hear him last time he was here, and I want to tell him how much his talk meant to her. When my turn comes I sit before him and I tell him that, and the whole time I am speaking he looks at me curiously, like he does when he knows you’re not saying what you came to say.
Finally I say, “Today you were talking about compassion… there are so many people in my life right now who are suffering…” and just telling him that, I get emotional and start to cry.
He cuts me off. “Oh! No. No co-suffering!”
His cheery forthrightness shocks me tearless. I feel like a dog being scolded by his master for doing something bad without knowing better…
“There are so many people suffering already in this world!” he says gently. “I don’t want to add to it by co-suffering with them.”
For a moment I am silent. Of course, it’s so simple! I see all at once, like a flash-forward of possibility, that all I have to do is not go to the place of suffering…
Then doubt comes to save me. All very good to say that, but I don’t know how to not go to the place of suffering.
I do know that suffering is not part of compassion. When I was listening to Bach not long ago, the music made me feel such joy and reverence that when my thoughts drifted to my son and his agonies, I found myself for one long, miraculous moment feeling compassion for him without suffering. It was as if the Sacred both amplified my ability to feel the fullness of his suffering, and made me immune to it. I could feel it completely, like never before – but without any fear or anxiety. Instead, all I felt was the most enormous love and compassion…
That was a precious and rare experience. A teaching.
But I did not learn from it. Since then, I’ve continued to wallow in suffering with my loved ones at every possible opportunity.
As if in answer to my doubt, Anam tells me, “My mantra is this: I want to be able to open my heart, so that I will be able to help people.”
He looks at me intently to make sure I got it, and then dismisses me with a bow.
And it hits me: compassion is something I have to do intentionally. Whether I know how to or not, I have to go in that direction, because that is the only direction that brings peace and happiness.
As the day unfolds, the dark opportunities whirl into orbit around me. There are so many possible disasters… At first, amazingly, it isn’t hard to ignore them. Anam’s admonishment, “No! No co-suffering!” are fresh in my mind, and when the opportunity to suffer arises, I just don’t go there.
What’s more, not-going-there is not something I have to do – it’s a not doing. Like making a void, turning a blind eye, to the option of suffering.
It’s not so hard – just a matter of choice. I only have to ignore the seductive gravity of suffering. When I am able to do that, I’m in a void – a strange, bounteous emptiness that good things like compassion and love can fill.
It may be easy, but as the day progresses it eludes me. I’m so out of shape – my not-suffering muscles have dwindled to nearly nothing from disuse. I have to get in training.
And I remember the Bodhisattva’s Vow:
Just as all the Buddhas of the past
have given rise to the awakened mind
and continually lived and trained
in the way of the Bodhisattvas,
likewise, for the sake of all,
I shall give rise to the awakened mind
and continuously train
in the way of the Bodhisattvas…
Doggedly, I keep trying. Again and again the shadows bombard me.
Sometimes I’m able to the plug on the darkness and face into the brilliant void, full of potential. When that happens all is well. Then, with gratitude and excitement and only a smidgen of guilt for not suffering, I put my life before me, flush with possibility, and sally forth with joy to give my all.
More and more, though, I fail. Then, floundering down into the murk, I pull the darkness over my head like a blanket.
Because that’s what I’ve always done. It’s what I know how to do, I believe it’s the right thing, and I hope it will somehow help.
By the end of the day I am exhausted. Not-suffering does not come naturally.
But I know it’s possible – I just have to persist.
To make it easier, I remind myself of what helps:
It helps to immerse myself in beauty – in Nature and Art and all Sacred Creation.
It helps to give thanks – for beauty, for Life, for Love, for all opportunities to learn.
It helps to remember that co-suffering just adds to the world’s already steaming mountain of woes.
It helps to go deep inside and ask for help: help me open my heart so that I can help others.