Today I had the privilege to speak with 40 high school and community college librarians about building a social library. The event took place at the Powell Library at UCLA at the invitation of Esther Grassian.
Though I created a Keynote Presentation (below) and demonstrated how one could use drop.io with groups, the majority of the presentation just came from the 75-minute conversation. All the relevant links are at the bottom of the post.
What a rare experience, to see Brian Eno live in this day and age. From a musical perspective he is relatively reclusive and so when the opportunity arose to see him give a lecture at the Carpenter Performance Center at CSU Long Beach, I jumped at the opportunity. They no music was performed, he spoke eloquently for just under 2-hours to a sold out crowd of just over 1000 people.
In a simple black suit, he was calm and comfortable on the stage. He spoke with a simple projection system in which he shared images, screwdrivers, and interactive drawings. No PowerPoint here. He told some jokes and primarily shared his philosophy of being an artist in this day and age. He mentioned Jon Hassell three times and harangued the Los Angeles Times art critic David Pagel at the same time as recognizing how the criticism helped him to look more deeply at his art.
I have been using the book Touching the Earth by Thich Nhat Hanh for several years as part of my morning meditation practice. It is a wonderful book that provides a framework to have a “conversation” with the Buddha and look deeply at our relationship with the Earth, others, ourselves, and the Ultimate Dimension. The monastic practice with this book is to listen to a chapter read while touching the earth. This can prove difficult if you practice alone, so that is the purpose of this blog series. I am recording the chapters to listening to them at a later time and want others to benefit from this effort.
Over the coming weeks/months, I will record chapters from the book and then post them here to share. You may download from this site or use iTunes to receive the podcast [iTunes Podcast].
If you want to use this material in your meditation practice, my recommendation is to start the recording and then touch the earth with you head, elbows, and knees in prostration. After the primary reading is complete, you will hear the full sound of the bell. Upon hearing a small tap on the bell, then stand up and prostrate again on the next sound of the full bell. This will happen one more time to end the meditation.
As the introduction of the book states,
When we touch the Earth, we take refuge in it. We receive its solid and inclusive energy. The Earth embraces us and helps us transform our ignorance, suffering, and despair. Wherever we are, we can be in touch with the Earth. Wherever we are, we can bow down to receive its energy of stability and fearlessness. As we touch the Earth, we can follow our breathing. We release all our instability, fear, anxiety, disease, and anger. We know the Earth can absorb our negativity without reacting to us or judging us. In this way, we are able to transform what is painful and difficult to accept within us. We are able to strengthen our capacity to look, speak, and act with understanding and compassion towards ourselves, our loved ones, and all members of society. Touching the Earth communicates our gratitude, joy, and acceptance to our Mother Earth. With this practice, we cultivate a relationship with the Earth and, in doing so, we restore our balance, our wholeness, and our peace.
What I found most fascinating was watching the tool develop the profile by searching the web based simply on entering my first and last name. This process may not work very well for someone with a common name, but for me it seemed to work pretty well.
The second surprising element is the sports piece; what's that all about?
It’s risky business…talking about limited money/funding when you still have some money/funding. Some might suggest, based on this exploration, that if you can do without the money then we’ll take away what you have already. This discussion is more of an exploration in planning. Planning is important for leaders to consider, especially with the potential for limited funding and possible obsolescence.
Over the past week, I’ve been reading the latest issue of Adbusters (#85); the entire issue is a “book” on economics. The economics of moving beyond our current established paradigm of economic thinking and theory. The premise is to kick over the neoclassical economics bucket because it is not sustainable in our global system.
It has been eight years since the last time I fasted – it was in late 2001 – and for that fast I practiced in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters by fasting from sunrise to sunset for a couple of weeks.
Recently I was sharing about a personal relationship issue with a monastic friend and teacher and he suggested I start with a period of fasting. I was not completely clear on how this could help or be related, but I trust my friend and know that fasting is a common practice in the monastery. The intention here is not a detox fast, but one of a more spiritual nature. I started practicing with the fast for a 1-2 weeks by fasting for dinner. It wasn’t too difficult to eat two meals a day, the most difficult time being late afternoon. This did raise my confidence and understanding in fasting.