The American’s Creed

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, Events & Holidays, Quotes
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In celebration of President’s Day I thought this would be an appropriate quote to reflect on.

Written by William Tyler Page and adopted by the House of Representatives on April 3, 1918.

The American’s Creed

I believe in the United States of America
as a government of the people, by the people, for the people;
whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed;
a democracy in a Republic,
a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States;
a perfect Union one and inseparable;
established upon those principles of freedom; equality,
justice and humanity for which American patriots
sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my Country to love it,
to support its Constitution,
to obey its laws,
to respect its flag,
and to defend if against all enemies.

“Referring to the Creed, Page said: It is the summary of the fundamental principles of the American political faith as set forth in its greatest documents, its worthiest traditions, and its greatest leaders. His wording of the Creed used passages and phrases from the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, Lincoln”s Gettysburg Address, and Daniel Webster”s reply to Robert Y. Hayne in the Senate in 1830.”

Meditation Point #109

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Articles of Interest, Quotes
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Edmund BurkeAll that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

– – Edmund Burke (Jan 12, 1729 – Jul 9, 1797)

This phrase seems increasingly relevant for me personally. For a number of years I have been silent mostly due to personal and medical problems but also because I had become complacent. Complacency I am finding is perhaps one of life’s biggest sins. There were reasons for my complacency but that doesn’t excuse my continued silence. I won’t detail the fights I am fighting here as it isn’t relevant, what is relevant is the need to stand up and be counted. Of course the above quote would leave many wondering at the term evil, for along with complacency comes acceptance. Our society has reached a critical point in its acceptance that I fear it has gone to far to repair. I fear this for the Nation but more importantly for the individuals I meet. We have been so socialized for so long that any stance other then one of acceptance is shunned.

Acceptance leads to ApathyDon’t believe me? The next time you are among friends try to bring up a socially unacceptable topic, but know your stuff so you can argue your point. You will quickly find your friends break into 4 distinct groups. The first group will argue with you against all logic and reason; these friends fight this way to preserve the world they have created around them. The second group will argue to a point and has two subgroups. One which upon seeing your logic will either shut down and ignore you (leave the room) or simply agree to disagree. The third group will within minutes of the discussion tune you out, they will enter a zone of non conflict where they can stay safe and unchallenged with their beliefs. The forth and last group will agree with you, some will do so silently for fear of becoming a target of the first group, others will agree openly even if they are not sure of their reasons.

This is increasingly hard in our world of personal morality since we each define our evil and good. Imagine the Chaos of a world where each of us define a good and evil based on our wants and desires! Now look around you and realize that Chaos is almost here. Look around you. Most people are like a ship without a rudder. This is the first step to the triumph of evil, Acceptance. Good men, silently moving on the wheels of the inevitability of their own inaction. The second step to the triumph of evil is Cowardice. In a state of acceptance good men fear retribution if they speak up and take a stance on counter to someone else’s actions or belief. Speaking up is only allowed in extreme cases where acceptance hasn’t been adopted yet. Acceptance and the following cowardice leads to change away from any social norms or structure. This leads to the third step to the triumph of evil, decadence. When we are all accepting and all resistance is removed because rampant cowardice stepping into a decadent lifestyle is easy, even comfortable.

People say that reality isn’t that simple. People believe there are shades of gray. Shades of gray makes the transition into Chaos almost comfortable, it just takes time.Liberty There is an increasingly short list of things that are unacceptable. Things that for centuries were taboo are suddenly vogue. We could learn much from Roman history but we will not, for those of us that read history, it tells us that much! Yes I believe in a much more black and white world, gray is either the exception or doesn’t exist, not the norm. This in itself is viewed as an extreme stance in today’s world. I’m comfortable with that. People that are comfortable with gray don’t think through the logic of their reasoning. Start with the extreme case and work your way back, the answer is usually very clear and never gray. You must train your mind to find the clear path of logic and reason. Basically continue to ask the question why until you fully understand the/your reasons. Our Pop culture mocks this type of thinking and will label you as the troublemaker.

Well, this turned into a rather bleak discussion of mans progression to evil if he isn’t vigilant. But then I think of another Edmund Burke quote, “Never despair; but if you do, work on in despair“. Freedom is never given voluntarily by the oppressor any more then the oppressed knowingly have their freedom taken. And so I will continue to fight against acceptance, cowardice and decadence in the hopes of stopping the progression of evil in this world. Perhaps I will inspire other to speak up and say no more! Perhaps you will join me in this fight?

Which of the four groups do you fall into?! To put a little different perspective to all this…

I’m not concerned about all Hell breaking loose, but that a part of Hell will break loose. It’ll be much harder to detect.

– – George Carlin

Meditation Point #108

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes
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The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
Dorothy Nevill

To keep your mouth shut can be the hardest thing in the word for some people.  Everyone actually at one point or another seems to learn this lesson.  I don’t call this the art of conversation though I call it wisdom.  Often it isn’t even the threat of saying the wrong thing sometimes it is just that you can learn much more from listening then from speaking.  Silence can also speak louder then words in certain situations.  The spoken word is important too.   Wisdom comes from finding the perfect balance where your mouth is under the control of your brain!  Sometimes this is as simple as pausing before you speak, take a breath.  I think you will find that the words you do speak will carry more weight and have more meaning to others.  And never blurt out a wise crack or sarcastic comment unless it serves your purpose.

Meditation Point #103

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes
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The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past.
William Faulkner

Many people say there is no past or future only the present. I have said this myself. In some respects this is partially true, we only have the now in which to live. Then what can Faulkner possibly mean? There is no past in the sense that we can change things we have done or witnessed. We can effect the past no more then we can control the future. For us there is no past, but that does not mean it is dead. Hardly, in fact Faulkner says it best for it isn’t even the past, because you are the collection of your past ‘present’ moments. You are the collective of your time here on Earth which means that the past is always present in us, effecting our behavior and decisions in the present and path into the future. Thus without introspection and discipline we are doomed to repeat our mistakes and failures as we are largely creatures of habit, good or bad.

Only through introspection can we see the patterns of our past and with discipline change our path into the future. In many ways George Costanza on the television show Seinfeld was a genius when realizing that all of his past decisions were wrong made a conscious effort to “do the opposite”. In his genius he found that this approach did indeed work and in the genius of the show we saw the difficulty in maintaining this new approach to life. George lacked the discipline and in the lacking gave up to his nature the fruits of his introspection.

Meditation Point #102

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes
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If one could understand a flower as it has its being in God,
this would be a higher thing then the whole world!

-– Meister Eckhart (1260 – 1328 )

Born some 700 plus years before me… Why does it seem that most of wisdom today comes from so many in the distant past.  Is it the technology that distracts us from deep contemplations?  No it is our choices that lead us away from introspection and depth of thought.  When a society as a whole seeks the satisfaction of their materialistic desires it is hard for wisdom to emerge.  Like a beautiful rose growing in the center of a Mall parking lot, it is not impossible but highly improbable.  Even if we seek to live a life of deep introspection society seeps into our consciousness or being.  No wonder we cannot understand a flower as is has its being in God.

Remember what is important in life during the coming month.  We demonstrate our love and caring for others through our actions.  We demonstrate our self worldliness by camping in line over night at a store so we can get a limited toy!

Open Your Heart

ktadmin Posted in Quotes
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Take for granted

 To often we keep our feeling to ourselves.  To often we don’t share the gifts in our heart.  I have always been fairly open with my feeling but recent events in my life have reminded me of how short life can be and how quickly we can loose those we cherish but don’t always have time for.  Just thought I’d remind everyone of that today.  Since it is Sunday perhaps it is the perfect chance to let those you cherish know it.

Meditation Point #99

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes, Reviews
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“Like dogs, some folks will go with whoever feeds ’em. Makes you think.”

Robin Hood, Sherwood
Parke Godwin

I just finished reading the historical fiction Sherwood. In the book is the above quote which stuck with me, especially since it is true. It also struck me that points of reflection can come from anywhere. This entire book was truly a point of reflection dealing with friendship, loyalty, justice, struggle and the reality of life and the concessions we must sometimes make. This book is a perfect blend of historical accuracy and high adventure. Godwin’s characters are real people, caught up in extraordinary circumstances and set on paths they never dreamed of. Along the way, there’s courage, betrayal, blood, pain, romance, and glory.

One of the central and reoccurring themes is how people react in a given situation and why. This sets this book apart from other historical novels. The above quote is an unfortunate truth we see daily whether at the office or at a sporting event or in our friends date (never our own!). We see the above quote most clearly in our histories. Perhaps I will add my thought later on but at the moment I remain silent. Today I leave it to you the reader to decide if the above sentiment should be insult or compliment? How do you react to this statement?

Meditation Point #98

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes
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The turnip farmer points the way with a turnip.Issa

Perspective, one of the most important things to gain in life. Our perspectives are derived from our experiences. In life we have ourselves and our experiences. Our Self emerges from our experiences and our reactions to those experiences. The problem is that the world is a large place filled with a multitude of different people with different experiences. What is interesting though is that there seems to be a finite number of ways the Self can emerge. We either seem to devolve into “sin” or self-indulgence or we evolve toward selflessness. Often this path a conscious choice similar to the different paths chosen by Siddhartha. For people who are not introspective life develops more like a ship without a rudder finds its course.

Perspective and introspection are important counterparts vital to our development. Introspection aids us in finding ways to better understand ourselves and gain perspective from our experiences. Thus introspection is crucial for our perspectives to become more diverse.  Perspectives increase our understanding not only of our own life but of the lives of others.  Understanding breeds empathy.  In a heightened state of understanding or empathy  we can communicate with people in terms which they can relate.  So no longer would the turnip farmer only be able to point the way with the turnip.  He would speak to each person in terms they understood seeing the world through their eyes.

That may seem like a strange reflection to many of you, but it is my perspective.  Think on it while you train and perhaps the next time you are in a conflict you will see the world through the eyes of your adversary.  And in that moment of clarity perhaps you will see a way to communicate and avoid the conflict.  But in case that doesn’t work… Train hard and kick their butt!!

Autumn Leaves

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, OffTopic, Quotes
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Wind blows
and fills the skies
with gold and yellow
butterflies

 

which flit to earth
with skips and hops
to dance and twirl
like spinning tops.

 

The last one dips
in a puddle to float
like a single scarlet
sailing boat.

By Marilyn Helmer

Rocky Knows

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes, Training notes
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Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place. And I don’t care how tough you are. It will beat you to your knees and keep you permanently there if you let it”
“You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life, but it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done”
“Now if you know what you are worth, go out and get what you are worth, but you gotta be willing to take the hits and not pointing fingers, saying you ain’t where you want to be because of him or her or anybody. Cowards do that, and that ain’t you. You’re better than that

–Rocky Balboa

Rocky is everyone’s favorite movie to poke fun at, but the movies really do have a great message, an American message, never quit. Perhaps Winston Churchill said it best in one of his last speeches, spoke before a graduating class. “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

Rocky offers us a more contemporary presentation but it is still the same message and one worth learning. It pains me to increasingly see people shy away from this ideal, to turn their backs on their convictions of honor and good sense. Most people have become subjects of fear, for often fear is the enemy we face. The best explanation I ever heard for courage was from John Wayne, he said “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.

Of all the combat veteran’s and violence survivors I have known and interviewed this sentiment shines through. Never give up. These are lessons our politically correct world is quickly erasing, they are becoming the things of fiction reserved for the movies and hopefully the military. The mantra our children are being sung is “Never go it alone. Never get involved. Never ever tell anyone they are wrong. Call for help that is someone else’s job. Never use force. Yield for fighting doesn’t accomplish anything.” I hope that our youth listen to the words of Rocky Balboa because I am sure they don’t know who Winston Churchill is or why he spoke those words. If you are a parent, don’t just speak the words, live them. Life is hard and as long as we go with the flow the tide grows stronger and makes life harder.

We would also urge people to buy the book: Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope, And Happiness at America’s Most Famous Steps as it is filled with great stories of real people fulfilling their dreams by following in Rocky Balboa’s footsteps.