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snow

Tulasi — thanks.

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Throughout history, humankind has strung, counted and worn beads not only as a form of religious devotion, but as an act of meditation to focus the mind, help solve problems, and dispel fear. The use of prayer beads is not a practice recently invented or introduced, but is archetypal in nature, and common to every major faith tradition. This is the third reflection on our path towards self-realization and virtue, meditating on the role of sacred beads in our prayer and faith.
Jewish Tefillin
Judaic practice focuses not on counting rosary beads like other religions, but on wearing the tefillin. The Jewish tefillin is cuboid leather boxes containing prayer straps, upon which are written the Commandments of God. The Jews literally bind the Commandments to themselves when they wrap the straps around their arm and head. This act demonstrates humility in serving God by disciplining and sublimating the desires of the heart, body and mind. The tefillin helps the worshiper to focus within, enabling a humble and uninterrupted contemplation.
Numerology in Judaism is greatly significant. Within the tefillin, the five hollow compartments for parchment inscriptions – four in the leather head box, one in the arm box – represents the number of senses which must be subdued to become closer to God.
When we sit in contemplative prayer and become more aware of our True Self, we see what the Jewish mystical thought holds; that God’s presence lies hidden inside every part of the physical universe. Residing within, transcending the moment and individual desires, and looking at oneself objectively with a view to rectifying mistakes are part of this way of experiencing the connectedness and sanctity of all forms of life.
St. John of the Cross

I was leaving the main drag of Elm Grove and headed to an on ramp to get on 1-70 on my way to dialysis. It’s a 4 lane street and I was in the left lane to turn onto the on ramp. I was about a car length behind a pickup truck in the right lane when he signaled a turn and started slowing down bringing my front bumper about even with his rear bumper. I was going about 30-35 MPH (50-60 Kph).

Suddenly a car filled my lane. It was already there by the time I perceived it. If I had taken  a millisecond to process what was happening I would have plowed right into it but my instinct seized control and I cranked the wheel hard left then as I was now heading straight to the curb had to crank it hard  right to not crash into that.

It  all happened so fast I didn’t even get scared or excited until I was at dialysis 5 minutes later, then it sunk in what had happened.  I realized why the car pulled out. I was screened from the driver’s view by the truck so s/he never saw me. Since they saw him slowing down and signalling a turn s/he thought it was safe to pull out.

How did that instinct come to the surface and save me?  From soccer (futbol).

I took up soccer at age 45 and played until I was 54 and my liver failed hence no more stamina. I wasn’t the greatest  ball handler but I had quick accurate feet from decades of dancing so I could play passable defense. As a matter of fact at a pickup game once with high school and college players they started calling me The Wall because no one was getting by me

When I coached defense to my kids I emphasized the 4 Ps – Pressure,  Position , Posture, and Patience.

Pressure means to get on the ball handler quickly. Position means where you are in relation to the ball handler.  Turn 45 degrees to his shoulders so he can’t pass between your legs, you should know which is his strong foot so be on that side putting the ball on his weak foot,  and knowing his burst speed give him enough of a cushion so you can have time to pivot in the direction he moves  if he tries to get by you. Posture is  knees bent and 60% of your weight  on your rear leg so you can pivot on it to  follow the direction he moves.  Patience means don’t stab at the ball because as soon as you shift your weight he will be around you in the opposite direction. Wait for him to make a mistake and maintain your cushion

So as you wait for him ignore his foot movements they can be a feint, ignore his head movements and watch the hips, hip movement is a commitment to a direction.

This happens so fast you don’t have time to analyze and decide — you have to hone your reactions to react immediately without taking the time it takes for a sensory impression to travel to the brain and back to your muscles  — you basically connect from eyes  directly to the muscles.

I know that isn’t scientific but it is the mediation I  used to jack up my reaction time.

This happens many times in a game  so through repetition it starts to become ingrained. Which is why when the car pulled in front of me the reaction just kicked in  and saved me from a major car collision.

Thank you soccer.

When I was getting the YouTube address for Pete Seegar chanting Raghu[ati Raghava Rajarama I saw a lot of more traditional versions so I thought for my readers who weren’t familiar with it to post one of them.

Then I got obsessed with it and was playing it over and over again which was a pain because I had to keep hitting start. So I searched on “YouTube” ” loop” and found a lot of places you can do it.

Here is one of them.

You paste the 11 character YouTube video identifier  in the box on the right (everything after the = in the YouTube url) and you are off to the races, it endlessly loops it or maybe you can set how many times to loop it but I didn’t get that far.

cow made of wrenches

Here is a cow made out of wrenches from a guy who makes sculptures out of wrenches.

Check out some more here.

gosh with madhu manjari vraja circa 1982

This is me with my three oldest children around 1982. This was taken in the upstairs of the old barn at Bahulaban that we lived in until moving into the RVC temple in 1983.

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..”
― John Milton, Paradise Lost

So it is said to enjoy lasting happiness we need to give up hankering and lamenting.

“As long as we are in material existence, we lament for the losses in our life and hanker for that which we do not have. A self-realized person is joyful because he is free from material lamentation and hankering.”

NBS 1*

So easy to say so hard to do as it is the nature of the mind to do so. Here is an example.

There is a short cut I have taken through Moundsville more than a hundred times. It involves a jag on 4th Street then a left by a church. The other day that street was closed so I had to go to the next one to cut over. On the way back I turned down that same street and had the realization that if I had gone to the normal street there is a stop sign there then another at 4th Street while the new route only had the stop sign at 4th.

Which meant that every time thereafter I take that route I can miss a stop sign and I take it a lot. So it should have been a moment of joy but my mind turned it into a lamentation by thinking how many times I had taken the old route and made an unnecessary stop.

Nothing changed but my mind made a negative reaction to what should have been a happiness. Such is the power of consciousness.

“One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed toward every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.”

Bhagavad Gita 18.54

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