Got Milk!

The marketing phrase to which my title refers is normally followed by a question mark.  I choose to emphasize by way of an exclamation mark that we all “got milk!”…

How often one reads of or observes first hand a good deed and refers to such as stemming from “the milk of human kindness”!  Such phraseology is a hyperbole of our innate goodness.  Indeed, every kind word and good deed are merely reflective of the genuine goodness of our actual inner nature.  When we act upon our basic impulses of kindness and generosity, we are living out our natural inclinations and our normal tendencies.

Active moral self cultivation comes from reflecting upon our true nature and remaining consistent in word and deed with such.  Although natural, such is not always easy.  Ego and desires are ever influenced by a society whose fundamental basis is founded upon encouraging and enticing these baser qualities which distract us from our natural selves.  When tempted to depart from your true and original nature of kindness and commiseration, just remember this reality:

We all “got milk”!!

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The Forgotten Mind

There is no more natural and noble experience than that of self cultivation…

Our land is in bondage to civilization. My own home town is a prime example. Where once were fields, meadows, creeks, and ponds now lie paved roads, houses, schools, and businesses. The land has been subjugated by civilization.

There is a note of interest to consider. If the roads were torn asunder, and the excess pavement removed; and if the edifices were leveled and the excess materials were removed; then the land would return to its original state, and would repeat its original function. The grass would grow and the water would flow. It would require effort and sacrifice, but in such a scenario the original state and exercise of the natural circumstances of the land would be restored and replenished.

And thus an observation. The land is still there. It is not to be seen for it is buried beneath the concrete and the pavement. Though buried and out of sight, the soil remains. Hence, at any point that we were so moved; the human rubble could be removed and the original terrain could be revealed. The key would the removal of the rubble; for far beneath such lies the terrain in its natural state, merely waiting to be revealed and hence restored to its original state.

And so it is with our very nature. Within the mind of the greedy executive and the selfish mugger whose desires drive them to take at the expense of others there is the forgotten original nature of the preconditioned person. Within the mind of the soldier who takes the life of another there is the forgotten original nature of the person who was before pledging allegiance to a cause. Within the mind of the crook and the killer there is the forgotten original nature of the preconditioned mind of kindness and compassion rather than covetousness and violence.

And thus an observation. The original nature of all humanity is still there. The natural inclination to be kind to even a stranger is that which moves us all to do right by our fellow man. The natural inclination of responsibility to act on behalf of another moves us to share with those who lack. And our natural sense of shame nags at our inner spirit when we speak unkindly to another or when we turn our back to one in need. Indeed, our original nature is still there. We have merely forgotten to be ourselves.

The key is to remove the rubbish. It would require effort and sacrifice, but the removal of the distractions which lead us astray from our original nature is the key to revealing the forgotten mind which still resides within us all. No one is naturally bad. We merely give in to undue influences which distract us from out original selves.

Let those who will, seek mammon as their source of happiness. Let those who will, seek self satisfaction by taking the life of another on behalf of an allegedly righteous cause. Yet by so doing, those who will, merely allow themselves to be distracted from their original nature by following the pathway of unnatural concepts and circumstances.

As for me. I choose to seek the forgotten mind with which I was born. Self cultivation is the most natural and noble of all human experiences.

On Smiling Korean

ON SMILING KOREAN
By Dave Henderson

Col Blake: (smiling; says to lady whose baby he is holding) “You sure have a beautiful baby boy here ma’am”

(The Korean lady proudly smiles and nods. No verbal response.)

Col Blake: (to Radar) “Does she understand English Radar?”

Radar: “No sir.”

(Blake’s face drops.)

Radar: (smiling) “Its a good thing you smile Korean sir”……

So ended one of my favorite episodes of my favoritie television show, M*A*S*H. Colonel Henry Blake is battling the inner turmoil of dealing with the joy of hearing the news of the birth of his son in Bloomington, Illinois; and the bitterness of missing the event due to the ongoing war in Korea. Radar; the sensitive soul that he is, arranges for Blake to have a chance to hold the baby boy of a local Korean lady. Blake is moved to tears in one of my favorite television scenes of all time (I am moved to tears even as I type).

(Note: I am such a M*A*S*H-oholic; that even 5 years after the fact, instead of being caught up with the question of “Who Shot J.R.?”; I was still bitterly struggling with the question of “how could they let Blake get shot down before he got to go home and see his baby boy!”. If you dont get it, dont worry. You would have to be a M*A*S*H-oholic. But I digress…)

A couple of years ago I sat in a terminal at the DFW airport awaiting an incoming flight. Most everyone has done such. Typical to all such scenarios were the surroundings: A coffee shop; newspaper stands; people seated throughout a large room anxiously awaiting the arrival of their loved ones; an overhead board updating the status of the various flights. Typical to all such scenarios were the activities: People constantly shifting to regain circulation due to the uncomfortable chairs; standing; stretching; yawning; looking at watches every minute; looking at the overhead board every minute. Typical airport terminal. There was something; however, that was unique about this particular airport experience. Unique at least for me. This was my first ever experience at awaiting an International flight.

Aside from the obvious matters of intensified security concerns by airport personnel, I found awaiting an International flight to be a most refreshing experience. Perspective is to be gained from feeling like a grain of sand on the beach. And so I did that very day. Most noticeable was the small talk. I could not understand anything I was hearing! Here I sat in an airport just a few miles from Fort Worth (the city of my birth) and from Dallas (the city of my rearing); yet I could not understand a thing that I was hearing. I heard dialects that ranged from Eastern European to Middle Eastern. The words just fell on and off my ears like a rubber ball bouncing off a hardwood floor. The small talk around me were mere sounds with no meaning. Yet, that is not to say that I did not understand what was going on around me…

An elderly lady, whose forehead bore a bright red dot, and who was wearing a long, colorful gown; bounced a dark haired and dark eyed toddler on her lap. She spoke, but I did not understand. But the smile on her face and the laughter from the toddler; these I understood quite well. The fair skinned, blue eyed couple that sat nearby spoke some harsh sounding dialect of a language of which I have no knowledge. Yet, when the fair skinned, blue eyed lady sprinted to embrace an elderly fair skinned, blue eyed couple who came through the doors; and broke down in tears as she embraced them, then the language of love and family ties spoke volumes of highly intelligible concepts that were easily understood and clearly perceived. Such were the scenes I witnessed over the course of an hour or so before my own party arrived (who thankfully, speaks English!). I saw children embracing grandparents, couples kissing, and the elderly being tended to by their own. In each case, I had no clue what these folk were saying to one another. However, the universal language of love in these and other such scenarious I witnessed that day spoke words which proved to be music to my ear….

As I sat in the airport that day, I was witnessing the basic reality of life: People are all the same. There are no exceptions. So far as concerns the basics of life; in other words the concepts that truly matter, ALL PEOPLE are the same. All people love their own. All people want what is best for their loved ones. All people understand the need to tend to the young and the elderly. All people love their families. In the light of such, oh how petty are the issues which are a source of division among the general family of humanity. The term “national interests” is but code for money, land, power, gold, oil, etc, etc. Not a single such commodity is worth the shedding of a single drop of blood, yet the world is ever caught up in a state of collective violence and methodical murder to protect such “interests”. And who is affected by the actions of such? Elderly ladies who wear long gowns and have red dots on their foreheads; dark haired, dark eyed toddlers who sit on their grandmother’s lap, laughing and playing; and all such. Do not be mislead by those who dress different than we; who talk different than we; and who worship different than we: ALL PEOPLE ARE THE SAME!! And all people, ALL PEOPLE; who lose loved ones to acts of violence, be those acts of violence individual or collective, suffer just as you or I would, if we so lost our loved ones…

Perhaps we should consider shooting Korean smiles, instead of guided missiles, at those who SEEM to be different than us…

Lessons from the Playground

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LESSONS FROM THE PLAYGROUND
By Dave Henderson

My daughter is a teacher at a Daycare Center. Her class is composed primarily of children aged 18 months to less than 3 years. She loves her job and is quite enthusiastic in her efforts to maintain a balanced atmosphere of structure and sanity, all the while offering an education to such a challenging element of humanity. She and I have an opportunity once or twice per week to “catch up” by phone, and when we do she oftentimes entertains me with stories of “oh, Dad, I have to tell you what one of my kids did today” or “Dad, you would not believe what one of my kids said today”; so forth and so on. It always amuses me to hear such accounts of the doings of the toddlers of today, and of course, at the same time these conversations allow me the opportunity to reminisce in my mind about the doings of and sayings of my daughter and her brothers; back when they were toddlers themselves. Ever amusing are the philosophies of preschoolers, and equally amazing are their actions in the pursuit thereof!! Having spent several years of my own youth in the care and oversight of a Day Care facility, I am able to relate on so many levels to these conversations I have with my daughter. And, oftentimes as I reflect upon some of the amusing phone conversations that she and I have, I find myself theorizing that perhaps humanity would do well to revisit the days of our youth, by contemplating the lessons of life one learns on the playground…

One of the most noticeable curiosities of the playground experience, is that of the issues at stake in the conflicts of the children. And, conflicts there are, and arguments there will be! Yet, at least the issues that move children to argue or fight, make a certain level of sense, albeit their actions are oftentimes misguided. For example, say a dominant child knocks a passive child off a swing, and then occupies that swing himself (or herself whichever the case may be). I suggest that the younger the dominant bully in such a scenario, that the chances are that the reason for such actions were as basic as being that he experienced an overwhelming desire to occupy the swing where the passive child sat, and that he/she acted upon such a desire by exercising dominance over the more passive child; thereby stealing the experience and the enjoyment of swinging for himself/herself. Now, although I am not justifying the actions of the dominant bully in this scenario, I do maintain that the rationale which compelled such actions were not personal feelings towards the passive child, but rather were selfishness and insensitivity. In other words, the dominant bully did not push the passive child off the swing due to the passive child’s skin color, religion, sexual persuasion, or other such trivial matters. The bully aggressively occupied  the swing because: 1) he/she wanted the swing, and 2) because he/she could take the swing. Thus, in dealing with such a situation, the caretakers/overseers would need to address these two basic issues in order to prevent such from happening again.

Although desires are natural, and the exercise of dominance over a weaker being is a temptation; at least each such aspect makes a certain level of misguided sense. The desire to have or to do something enjoyable is a basic human trait. The recognition of the ability of one party, and the limitations of another might compel a misguided mindset to rationalize that “since I can, then I may”. Therefore, a dominant bully merely needs to learn to control personal desires and to recognize the rights of other parties, regardless of his/her abilities or the limitations of the other. Once the strong learn self control and sensitivity to the desires of others, then the logical outcome is that although the dominant have the ability to invade the rights of the weak, then they will not act upon that ability; realizing that such would be wrong. These may be difficult concepts for a mere child to learn, but it is a process that is possible, practical, and feasible. Thus, the role that folk like my daughter exercise, although not a position to envy, nonetheless are necessary works to desirable ends: “To teach the children well” so to speak…

Teaching children to control their desires and to suppress their abilities in lieu of the rights of others is no doubt a struggle to itself. But consider if you will, the adult world, where a diversity of factors are involved beyond those of our playground years. Firstly, the “might makes right” scenario still does exist and is all too often exercised on a daily basis. In fact, our economic system of free markets are undeniably based upon such. Thus, we adults would do well to consider the lessons of playground etiquette with regards to our own actions, individually and collectively, towards each other. Secondly, consider the acquired traits which muddy our mental waters when it comes to self control and sensitivity. Prejudices and bigotry; sinful traits which are acquired by external influences in our lives, rather than inherited as a matter of human nature, are all too often the basis for the conflicts between adults.

Whereas the conflicts between children might seem petty and foolish; the truth is that we adults are the ones who truly have the market cornered for frivolous foolishness. Perhaps instead of we teaching the children well, we are in need that the children teach us well. Lessons from life on the playground just might go a long way towards stabilizing the social chaos of our contemporary world.

Make Believe

MAKE BELIEVE
By Dave Henderson

When I was a child, I used to love to play “Make Believe”. No game is more universal to children of all cultures. What could be more fun than to put the mind into neutral, and to play out scenes from movies, or just be whatever one’s inner imagination can conjure up for the entertainment of the young. In the midst of such contexts I hit many a World Series Game 7 walkoff homer, saved many a damsel in distress from a fate too horrible to imagine against odds equally unimaginable, and demonstrated superior skills and strength which defied all laws of physics and common sense. And the amazing thing is, that I was so involved in the game of “Make Believe” that even though I knew deep down inside that such feats were not real, in my mind.. IT ALL SEEMED SO VERY, VERY REAL!!! Good times! I am sure we all remember such very well, and relish in the memories of such imaginative entertainment from years gone by. When I grew to adulthood, I faced the grim reality that such games of make believe are strictly for children. Or are they???…..

The game of “Make Believe” that we adults engage in is nothing like unto those imaginative quests of our childhood, but be not deceived folks; we adults engage in a world of “Make Believe” every day of our lives. And like we did when we were mere children, we adults are so caught up in our own version of “Make Believe” that the imaginary concepts that we conjure up in our collective minds are so accepted, that it is as though it is all.. SO VERY VERY REAL!! Yet, reality looms ever present people; we are merely caught up in a game of global “Make Believe”.

We live in a world where we are taught to believe in imaginary lines called borders which represent make believe social teams called nations. Neither the make believe lines nor the social teams are real; they are all merely fictitious concepts of immature minds. So caught up are we in our adult game of “Make Believe”, that most of us actually accept these imaginary concepts as being real. Yet people; the truth be told, there are no borders, and there are no such things as nations! These concepts are so only because we adults agree to accept such as reality, even though we know deep down inside that such are mere imaginary concepts which actually do not exist!!  All too real though are the ramifications of the immature games of global quests and actual world wars that our imaginary world of make believe has created. The concept of social teams are fictitious, the national anthems and flags represent imaginary entities, yet the bloodshed and hardships of this nightmarish game of make believe are unfortunately ALL TOO REAL!!

People… Simon can say whatever he wants to.. I AM NOT PLAYING ANYMORE!!!

Thoughts on “Sacred Scriptures”

The value in studying any literature depends many factors.  So far as interpreting such in the light of the author’s original intent, there lies the basic challenge of translation (if written in a language foreign to the reader).  Then again, cultural differences must be accounted for and taken into consideration.  The style of writing is key and important, for figurative and mythical literature, which may be of great value if read with that understanding, may prove detrimental to reality and reason if ascertained from a perspective of literal interpretation.  Indeed there are several factors to consider when reading any literature which may affect or even hinder the value of such writings.
A key danger in reading any literature is to attach an assumed supernatural origin to its production.  Although such may offer followers of a certain faith a feeling of security and consolation, the fact is that to elevate any given literature to a position of authority is a detriment to reason and worse yet has proven historically to obstruct reasonable behavior.  Basic human values, so lacking in our ever confused world, are oftentimes denied due to a reliance upon the writings of humanity as being authoritative revelations from an alleged deity.  Frankly, the danger lies not so much in the writings, as in the reliance upon such as a product of a supernatural source.
A departure from reason and rational behavior are all too often the effects of a reliance upon any set scriptures as genuinely supernatural.  Even worse, and all too commonplace, are entire cultures based upon such thinking.  When people depend upon what they perceive to be sacred scriptures for their beliefs and their values, they may very well depart from their own original nature which equipped them with an innate understanding of values and reason.  In fact, the actual value of philosophical literature is whether such inspires the reader to return to and to live by their original, preconditioned values with which each person is born.
These are my thoughts on sacred scriptures.
Dave Henderson

The First Day of Your Life

There is an adage which says that we should “live each day as though it were our last”.  Within the context of not wanting my last words or final actions to be harmful to another, then I agree with the general premise.  Yet I suggust an alternative adage sufficient to achieve that desired end, and which furthermore would lead to a wholesome and happy life.  In my judgment, we should “live each day as though it were our first”.

SOCIALLY NEUTRAL

On the first day of our lives, we were all SOCIALLY NEUTRAL.  No infant ever cared one way or the other as to the color of the hands that rocked the crib, just so long as the crib got rocked.  No infant ever concerned herself as to the race of the person who changed her diaper, just so long as the diaper got changed.  No infant ever concerned himself as to political inclinations of the person who gave him his bottle, just so long as he was fed from the bottle.  Trivialities such as race, religion, political and social views are matters which never concernced even a single person…. on the first day of our lives.

NON-ATTACHMENT

On the first day of our lives, we were all in a mental state of NON-ATTACHMENT.  No infant ever cared one way or the other as to financial status, physical stature, or any other senseless triviality.  No infant ever lay in the crib in a state of preoccupation as to her cosmetic appearance, or as to what the infant lieing next to her thought about how her hair looked that day.  No infant ever lay in the crib preoccupied with whether he was strong enough to beat up the infant lieing next to him.  Silly preoccupations such as financial status, social standing, nor any other such senseless trivialities  ever burdened the mind of even a single person… on the first day of our lives.

Choose for yourself the adage by which you choose to live.  As for me, I choose to live each day as though it were the first day of my life.

Thoughts on Tao Te Ching 1 (Mitchell Version)

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao The name that can be named is not the eternal Name. The unnameable is the eternally real. Naming is the origin of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery. Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations arise from the same source.This source is called darkness. Darkness within darkness.

The gateway to all understanding.

MY THOUGHTS:

Most every person contemplates regarding the unknown.  Many people are conditioned to believe in a certain “personal” deity as a viable explanation for it all.  The Tao is not so.  The Tao is a process, not so much a personality.  The process encompasses all that is and ever was or ever will be.  Hence, the process is eternal.

Attaching a personality to the process creates confusion.  Many people believe in a god created after the image of human manifestation.  Hence, some ancients attributed a powerful masculine gender to their god, one who dominates, controls, and defeats.  Others believe in a god of the feminine gender, one who is the maternal source of life.  Such ideals are theories based upon that which is manifest already, in other words the traditional views of male and female humans.  Theories arise from assuming attributes based upon that which is manifest, yet no such revelation has actually been manifested.  The unknown is a mystery, hence it is the unknown.

This is not to say that there is not a source to all that is.  This is to say that such is unknown.  Veiled in darkness if you will.

Acknowledging the veiled nature of the unknown is a step towards understanding.  Better yet, acknowledging the veiled nature of the unknown is understanding in and of itself.

Perhaps we know all that we will ever know.  No matter, for we are a part of the process of existence.  Perhaps the gateway is acknowledgement that the unknown is the unknown, and acceptance that what is.. merely is.

These are my thoughts on Tao Te Ching 1.

Dave Henderson

Thoughts on Tao Te Ching 2 (Mitchell Version)

When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly. When people see some things as good, other things become bad. Being and non-being create each other. Difficult and easy support each other. Long and short define each other. High and low depend on each other. Before and after follow each other. Therefore the Master acts without doing anything and teaches without saying anything. Things arise and she lets them come; things disappear and she lets them go. She has but doesn’t possess, acts but doesn’t expect. When her work is done, she forgets it.

That is why it lasts forever.

MY THOUGHTS:

There is a balance to all existence.  Furthermore, classifications are dependendent upon an alternative.  An acceptance of the seeming opposites as the whole and the norm, aids in maintaining a balanced perspective on the natural ebb and flow of all this is and all that occurs…

There is no tall.  There is no ugly.  There are no classifications, but rather mere references which are interdependent.  There is no conception of north without south.  There is no conception of loud without silence.  Our attempts to describe and classify are feeble efforts to refer based upon perceived contrasts.

Acceptance of all that is as being.  That is all.

Compications and conflicts arise by clinging to one extreme without accepting the other.  The very seasons teach us the natural rhythm of all that is.  Nature does not cling.  Nature merely exists.

We are an aspect of the natural ebb, flow, and rhythm of existence.  We exist.  Therefore we are.  We are, therefore we exist.

We own nothing.  We are something.

So it is.

These are my thoughts on Tao Te Ching 2

Thoughts on Tao Te Ching 3 (Cleary Version)

Not exalting cleverness causes the people not to contend. Not putting high prices on hard-to-get goods causes the people not to steal. Not seeing anything to want causes the mind not to be confused. Therefore the government of sages empties the mind and fills the middle, weakens the ambition and strengthens the bones, always keeping the people innocent and passionless.

It makes the sophisticated not dare to contrive; action being without contrivance, nothing is disordered

MY THOUGHTS:

Forcing one’s so called knowledge on another forces a reaction.  People tend to contend when confronted with the supposed knowledge of another.  Perhaps feigning ignorance instead of faking knowledge would go along way towards forging peaceful social relations on all levels…

Restricting is a form of hostile invitation.  By denying some, and supplying others, the “have nots” are invited to steal.  Perhaps supplying to all would go along way to forging peaceful social relations on all levels…

By never denying anyone their dignity, in both the realms of knowledge and commodities, there is never confusion as to what to say or what to do.  Not forcing another into the postion of defending a position or stealing a possession would go along way towards forging a society not confused by issues or intentions…

Wise leaders remove ambition towards wrong thinking and wrong doing by supplying substances over which people are proned to contend.

Perhaps “I dont know” and “yes you may” are the two most practical of phrases to state and the wisest of philosophies to adopt.

Then again, perhaps not.  For, frankly “I dont know”, and if you wish to think otherwise, then “yes you may”.

These are my thoughts on Tao Te Ching 3

Dave