Seeing neither danger nor beauty

Excerpt from “The Vision” by Tom Brown Jr. –

A big doe slipped from the cover, drifting along a well-worn deer trail. I had seen this trail and many like it, worn deep into the earth, winding through the landscape, creating the labyrinth of roadways through the pines and scrub oaks. She walked with a determination, obviously heading back to her day bed. There was no uneasiness in her step or hesitation as would be normal for a deer.  Instead she paid no attention to her surroundings or to the light brushy area along the trail where we sat. I wondered for a moment if this deer had any senses at all, especially to have entered an area like this, where human scent was heavy and where there were now “stumps” that never had been there before. She walked past Rick, within a few feet of his shoulder, to stop momentarily to urinate, before going on.

She moved forward; there was a blur of motion that I caught out of the corner of my eye but no sound of brush, only the thud and crunch of Grandfather’s arrow hitting flesh. The deer took a few stumbling steps, half twisted  around as if to change direction, then collapsed in front of me. A sound rushed forward like a concentric ring from where she lay, emanating outward to the local crows sounding their warning as they flew off. The little deer took flight from a distant bush, other birds gave their alarm, then as suddenly as it began,  there was complete silence again. Grandfather slowly arose from his place and walked to the deer. Kneeling beside her and stroking her face, he fell into silent prayer. I could feel the sense of loss he felt, but I also knew and felt the necessity of the hunt, its place in the celebration of thanksgiving for life.

My mind was full of why’s. Questions of all sorts filled my head, and I wanted to burst out with them all at once. Most of all I could not understand why the kill and the hunt had been so easy, especially with all the elements of the hunt going against us. We had not made proper preparations, the air wafted our scent in all directions, and in my mind we had chosen a poor place to sit and wait. With all this going against us, we should not have even seen a deer, far less had one come so close to us as to almost rub against Rick and to allow Grandfather such a clean and quick kill. In my mind, I went through all the possible reasons why it worked so well, but none even seemed even close to logical. As Grandfather gutted the deer, I asked him why it had been such an easy hunt, and if the tracks told him that there was something wrong with the deer’s senses when he had found them the previous day.

Grandfather answered very slowly, taking care to choose the proper words. I knew that whenever Grandfather spoke in this manner the lessons were important for both our physical and spiritual development. Beyond his words, I could sense a deep emotion in his voice , a sense of sorrow and pity about which he spoke. “Animals, like humans, make in life the mistakes that will ultimately lead to their death, either physically or on a spiritual and emotional level, as with this deer. People and animals that stay on the same paths in life will eventually wear themselves into ruts – a complacency to life born of the false security, comfort, and monotony of that path. Soon the ruts become so deep that they can no longer see over the sides. They see neither danger nor beauty, only the path before them, nor do they abandon the path so often traveled, for fear of losing their security and entering the land of the unknown.”

I was stunned at what he said. The words cut like a knife deep into my world. I thought of all my friends at school, how they would take the same routes to school and how they follow the same  paths and routines in their everyday lives, how I knew  exactly where each friend would be by the time of day. I even saw in the adult world, only with more routines, some oppressive and overbearing, like taskmasters driving them blindly toward some elusive goal along the same over traveled pathways that everyone else was on. That is why it had been so easy for me to watch them unobserved, even though many times I had stood in the open. I realized that new people in town were harder to watch than the natives were because they had not yet established a routine. I saw how many things people really missed, things going on all about them, life itself, unobserved and unlived. I could understand the pity in Grandfather’s voice, and felt remorse for the people who would never really know the treasures of life because of their ruts.

I looked into my own life and found there too many patterns and ruts. I thought  myself through a typical day and discovered the many things I did in the same way at the same time so often as to become unconscious of them. I regretted all the lost time and everything I had failed to see or feel and knew that I had, in a very real sense, lost a bit of my life. I knew also that I had come to this loss lured by the security and comfort that such a routine offered. My quest had been driven by an impersonal goal dictated by society’s external shoulds – my path had become a rut worn in by the masses in their search for conformity. In keeping to the rut I had become numb to the possibilities of life; when I had wandered I was dead to the vitality around me. I saw with fear that such a mindless, unaware existence would only lead to the sensory and spiritual destruction of mankind. I vowed then to break every rut and routine in my life.  I was not going to end up like that deer, or for that matter anyone else. I wanted desperately  to savor every moment, every nuance, of life. I could not afford to give myself over, even for a moment, to the deadening routine.

– Excerpt from “The Vision” by Tom Brown Jr.

LOST TO THE GREAT RECESSION

I am a registered unaffiliated voter in Caroline County, Maryland and here is my story:

I worked hard and the last years of working I saved the maximum that I could in my 401K. I retired at 59 ½ and started withdrawing $1283 a month; with this amount I was not reducing my principal.

Then came the recession of 2008; and it became quickly apparent that I would have to reduce my monthly withdrawal or quickly kill my principal. My Agent recommended that I reduce my monthly withdrawal to $825 which has proven to be a good figure to maintain my principal.

SO I HAVE LOST $458 IN MONTHLY INCOME. I AM STUCK AT THIS POINT NOW; NO COST OF LIVING INCREASES HERE!

SCREW THE AVERAGE AMERICAN CITIZEN OUT OF PERSONAL WEALTH, JACK UP THE NATIONAL DEBT TO AN ALL-TIME HIGH, JACK UP BUSINESS DEBT TO AN ALL-TIME HIGH, ALLOW RECKLESS COMPUTER TRADING, AND GIVE MASSIVE TAX CUTS; THIS IS FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY?

DOES CONGRESS REGULATE COMMERCE OR DOES COMMERCE REGULATE CONGRESS?

FORBES   AUG 20, 2018, 07:33PM

THE GREAT RECESSION DIDN’T COST EVERYONE $70,000: THE WEALTHY MORE THAN RECOVERED

 Erik Sherman  Contributor   Personal Finance

A week ago, a Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco study made an obvious point: the Great Recession cost people a lot. What wasn’t so obvious was the tally:

A decade after the last financial crisis and recession, the U.S. economy remains significantly smaller than it should be based on its pre-crisis growth trend. One possible reason lies in the large losses in the economy’s productive capacity following the financial crisis. The size of those losses suggests that the level of output is unlikely to revert to its pre-crisis trend level. THIS REPRESENTS A LIFETIME PRESENT-VALUE INCOME LOSS OF ABOUT $70,000 FOR EVERY AMERICAN.

Congressional Budget Office revisions to actual GDP (GDP adjusted for inflation) — over the 10 years since the whole mess got so large that no one could ignore it — IMPLY THAT THE COUNTRY HAS LOST 12 PERCENTAGE POINTS OF GROWTH COMPARED TO WHAT THE PRE-CRISIS TREND SUGGESTED…

HOWEVER, REMEMBER THAT AN AVERAGE NUMBER IS SOMETHING SPREAD OUT ACROSS EVERYONE. IT ASSUMES AN EQUAL IMPACT ON EVERYONE AND DOESN’T CONSIDER DISTRIBUTION. After the economic collapse, there were some who ended up doing pretty well, according to Federal Reserve figures. THOSE IN IN THE TOP 10% SAW MEDIAN WEALTH JUMP BY 26.6% SINCE 2007. EVERYONE ELSE WAS AT BEST ALMOST BACK TO WHERE THEY WERE (80TH TO 89.9TH PERCENTILES) OR SIGNIFICANTLY WORSE OFF (ALL OTHERS).

That isn’t a $70,000 loss of income. IT’S A LARGE INCREASE FOR THE TOP 10%, because an increase of wealth returns on investments are up, which is income…

GOOGLE SEARCH “NATIONAL DEBT”:

The aggregate, gross amount that Treasury can borrow is limited by the United States debt ceiling. As of October 28, 2018, debt held by the public was $15.8 trillion and intragovernmental holdings were $5.8 trillion, for a total or “National Debt” of $21.6 trillion.

ROLLING STONE  JULY 2, 2018 2:32PM ET

WE NEED A FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS TAX BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE

As the country sits atop a giant debt-bomb, measures are needed to rein in excess speculation

By MATT TAIBBI               

Sunday’s CNN Money headline was terrifying:

“The $6.3 trillion debt binge: American companies have never owed this much”

Thanks to low interest rates, Trump’s tax cuts and a financial unsafe-sex atmosphere where regulatory oversight is almost nonexistent, companies are borrowing massive amounts and encouraging waves of stock buybacks, sending an already insane market to worrisome new heights.

That $6.3 trillion debt bomb upon which corporate America is sitting is now bigger than any in history, eclipsing even pre-2008 levels. The national “economic miracle” Trump keeps lauding is – like his own financial empire – resting on a bed of borrowed cash…

ON JUNE 27TH, SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY) BECAME THE FIRST CO-SPONSOR TO S. 805, THE “INCLUSIVE PROSPERITY ACT OF 2017,” ORIGINALLY INTRODUCED BY BERNIE SANDERS.

The bill is the American version of a Financial Transactions Tax, a plan to raise revenue and curb speculation by attaching micro-taxes to financial transactions. The E.U. moved toward an FTT plan for 11 Eurozone countries in 2013.

The Sanders camp trumpets the plan as a money-raiser – a way to pay for big-ticket social programming like free college tuition. But it also has a huge safety component.

The Wall Street version of a sin tax, even the tiniest financial transactions surcharge could help rein in greed orgies just enough to keep the economy from exploding. In the past, these micro-taxes have been envisioned as a way to pay for the inevitable bailouts in our increasingly deregulated economy…

In a computer-dominated trading environment, the aim isn’t just to move the stock with your own purchase power. The idea is also to trick other algorithmic traders into mass-dumping or buying their holdings.

USING THIS TECHNIQUE, A SINGLE SLICK OPERATOR CAN GENERATE HUGE VOLUMES OF TRANSACTIONS OFTEN WITHOUT HAVING MUCH OR EVEN ANY SKIN IN THE GAME.

ALL OF THIS ACTIVITY HAS NO REAL ECONOMIC PURPOSE, OTHER THAN TO MOVE THE “TAPE” FOR AN INSTANT OR TWO AND MAKE SOME OVER-MOUSSED WALL STREET PARASITE A BUNCH OF UNEARNED MONEY…

High-frequency trades currently make up between 50 and 60 percent of all stock transactions in the U.S., which isn’t inherently bad, but it’s not necessarily a positive thing, either. For sure, there’s a ton of economically useless activity buried in that percentage.

A FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS TAX KILLS THREE BIRDS WITH ONE STONE. IT RAISES MONEY, PROVIDES A MAJOR DISINCENTIVE TO SOCIALLY USELESS VOLUME-BASED TRADING AND DECREASES DANGEROUS SPECULATIVE VOLATILITY…

A FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS TAX MIGHT HELP INCENTIVIZE WALL STREET TO ONCE AGAIN EMPHASIZE TRUE LONG-TERM INVESTMENT, AS OPPOSED TO SPENDING ALL DAY MOVING PILES OF MONEY AROUND…

STILL, A SENATOR FROM NEW YORK SIGNING ON TO AN IDEA SO UNIVERSALLY DESPISED BY WALL STREET IS WORTH RAISING AN EYEBROW OR TWO. HOPEFULLY IT LEADS TO SOMETHING MORE, PERHAPS EVEN BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.

THE NEW YORK TIMES

NEWS ANALYSIS

IT’S OFFICIAL: THE TRUMP TAX CUTS DIDN’T PAY FOR THEMSELVES IN YEAR ONE

FEDERAL TAX REVENUES DECLINED IN 2018 WHILE ECONOMIC GROWTH ACCELERATED, undercutting the Trump administration’s insistence that the $1.5 trillion tax package would pay for itself.

By Jim Tankersley   Jan. 11, 2019

IT’S TIME TO PUT TO REST ANY NOTION THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP’S SIGNATURE TAX CUTS ARE PAYING FOR THEMSELVES. ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE IS LYING WITH NUMBERS.

A year after the $1.5 trillion tax-cut package took effect; economic growth has accelerated, just as Republicans promised it would when pushing the law through Congress. Growth appears likely to hit 3 percent for 2018, after adjusting for inflation, which is a full percentage point higher than the Congressional Budget Office forecast for the year in 2017. Not all of that increase is attributable to the tax cuts, but some of it is.

That’s good news for Republicans’ longstanding claim that cutting taxes would provide such an economic bump that additional tax revenue would flow in to make up for what was lost through lower tax rates.

But the bad news is that hasn’t happened. The additional tax revenue has yet to show up, even with stronger growth.

Data released this week by the budget office provides the first complete picture of federal revenues for the 2018 calendar year, when the tax cuts were in full effect. (The government’s 2018 fiscal year included three months from the end of 2017, when most of the tax cuts were not in effect.)

IN THE INAUGURAL YEAR OF THE TAX CUTS — WITH ECONOMIC GROWTH ACCELERATING AND THE JOBLESS RATE FALLING TO AN 18-YEAR LOW — FEDERAL REVENUES FROM CORPORATE, PAYROLL AND PERSONAL INCOME TAXES ACTUALLY FELL.

THAT’S TRUE WHETHER YOU ADJUST REVENUES AND GROWTH FOR INFLATION — OR NOT.

AFTER ADJUSTING, IT LOOKS EVEN WORSE. REVENUES FELL BY 2.7 PERCENT — OR $83 BILLION — FROM 2017. CONTRAST THAT WITH THE LAST TIME ECONOMIC GROWTH APPROACHED 3 PERCENT, BACK IN 2015. THE ECONOMY GREW BY 2.9 PERCENT AFTER ADJUSTING FOR INFLATION THAT YEAR — AND TAX REVENUES GREW BY 7 PERCENT…

In the summer of 2017, for example, the budget office projected that the economy would grow by 2 percent in the 2018 fiscal year, and that personal, corporate and payroll taxes would add up to $3.24 trillion. Then the tax cuts passed, growth accelerated and, for the 2018 fiscal year, tax revenues fell $183 billion — or 5.6 percent — short of that projection…

The 2018 results are, oddly enough, what a lot of economists predicted would happen with Mr. Trump’s cuts, including ones who generally favor tax cuts. TOTAL FEDERAL REVENUES IN 2018 CAME IN ROUGHLY WHERE THE TAX FOUNDATION, A WASHINGTON THINK TANK THAT TYPICALLY PROJECTS LARGE GROWTH BOOSTS FROM TAX CUTS, HAD FORECAST — WHICH IS TO SAY, WELL BELOW THE BUDGET OFFICE’S BASELINE.

Just because the new law helped to increase economic growth, said Kyle Pomerleau, an economist with the Tax Foundation, “it doesn’t mean that it is going to pay for itself.” Mr. Pomerleau said additional growth from the law “will continue to be modest over the next couple of years.”

“That will offset some of the initial cost,” he continued, “but it will still be nowhere near enough to make the tax cut self-financing.”

IN DECEMBER 2017, AS REPUBLICANS SPED THE TAX CUTS THROUGH CONGRESS, THE TAX FOUNDATION RELEASED A PROJECTION THAT THE CUTS WOULD ADD ABOUT $450 BILLION TO FEDERAL DEFICITS OVER 10 YEARS, AFTER ACCOUNTING FOR THE ADDITIONAL ECONOMIC GROWTH IT WOULD SPUR. THE GROUP HAS SINCE REDONE THE ANALYSIS, WITH WHAT MR. POMERLEAU CALLED IMPROVEMENTS TO ITS METHODOLOGY. IT NOW PREDICTS DEFICITS WILL INCREASE BY $900 BILLION — DOUBLE ITS ORIGINAL FORECAST.

Pre-Sense the key to Presence

Quote-

Human embryogenesis  From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The heart is the first functional organ to develop and starts to beat and pump blood at around 21 or 22 days.

Late in the fourth week, the superior part of the neural tube flexes at the level of the future midbrain—the mesencephalon. Above the mesencephalon is the prosencephalon (future forebrain) and beneath it is the rhombencephalon (future hindbrain).

– Quote

If two different human heart cells are removed and placed in two different petri dishes with a nutrient solution each heart cell will find its own individual beat rate.

If two different human heart cells are removed and placed in a single petri dish with a nutrient solution both heart cells will find a common beat rate.

How is this possible? The heart in a human embryo is formed before the brain and yet two different heart cells from two different humans placed in a single petri dish with a nutrient solution both heart cells will find a common beat rate. There must be an intelligence not associated with the brain with which the cells can communicate with each other and choose a common beat. I like to call this state PRE-SENSE.

Our five senses perceive physical things around us, send signals to the brain, and the brain identifies the physical things sensed. But what about non-physical signals that we are receiving that are like the energy field in which two different heart cells from two different humans placed in a single petri dish with a nutrient solution will find a common beat rate?

In fact the heart has its own pacemaker independent of the brain. As long as it has oxygen, it continues to beat. The heart could actually be removed from the body, placed in saline solution, given oxygen, and still continue to beat. This is why although the brain is dead, the heart continues to beat.

The brain gets to take a little break here because the heart will actually beat all by itself. There’s something in the heart called automaticity. That means that the heart, even if it’s disconnected from the brain, will continue to beat at a set rate – something called the intrinsic heart rate.

What is the spiritual meaning of heart?

The heart is the locus of physical and spiritual being, and represents the “central wisdom of feeling as opposed to the head-wisdom of reason” (Cooper, 82). It is compassion and understanding, life-giving and complex. It is a symbol for love. Often known as the seat of emotions, the heart is synonymous with affection.

This distinction is very important; THE HEART IS ALL ABOUT BEING and THE BRAIN IS ALL ABOUT THINKING. This is why we need to quiet the mind in order to Practice Presence in any moment. We need to return to the state before we had our brain which I call PRE-SENSE.

Concordant Literal Version

Gen 17:1 And coming is Abram to be ninety nine years of age. And appearing is Yahweh to Abram and is saying to him, “I am the El-Who-Suffices. Walk before Me and become flawless (some versions use perfect).

flawless (some versions use perfect)  תּמים   tâmîym   taw-meem’   entire (literally, figuratively or morally); also (as noun) integrity, truth: – without blemish, complete, full, perfect, sincerely (-ity), sound, without spot, undefiled, upright (-ly), whole.

Pro 4:23 More than any guard-post, preserve your heart, For from it spring the outflowings of life.”

There is a theme that I have discovered here and it is the state of WHOLEHEARTEDNESS.

Wholehearted    adjective   fully or completely sincere, enthusiastic, energetic, etc.; hearty; earnest:

Origin of wholehearted

An Americanism dating back to 1830–40; whole + hearted

Related forms

whole·heart·ed·ly , adverb

whole·heart·ed·ness , noun

Related Words for wholeheartedness: truthfulness, earnestness, candor, goodwill, probity, veracity, impartiality, seriousness, genuineness, reliability, truth, frankness, trustworthiness, sincerity, reciprocity, adherence, commitment, devotion, allegiance, piety

This state of WHOLEHEARTEDNESS has several qualifiers:

First you must quiet the mind in order to Practice BEING in any moment.

Second you must not feel superior to anyone or anything in creation.

Third you must desperately want to be an empty vessel for the CREATOR to work through; no analyzing, no comparing, or no defining. Your MIND must open up to your HEART.

Fourth you must find in your belief system your individual issues that block your openness to everything. We all block our flow to the infinite in personal ways. You must get into the “all things are possible to the one believing” attitude.

If you do these things then your life will be full of miracles. Things will happen that you could not have possibly expected and intuition will reveal things to you that you could not possibly have known with your logical mind (your memory that just resides just in your head).

Practicing Wholeheartedness

If your everyday practice is open to all your emotions, to all the people you meet, to all the situations you encounter, without closing down, trusting that you can do that – then that will take you are far as you can go. And then you’ll understand all the teachings that anyone has ever taught.  – Pema Chodron