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July/August 2000



Dear Friends,

The first thing to say is simply, "Thank you!"  Especially to many of you who so appreciatively responded to my mid-year query form (for mail subscribers only).  It really is so encouraging to hear from you!

Here are some things I've been pondering lately: the profound vulnerability of each and every one of us and how  here on this beautiful, living planet for such a brief little all-sufficient saving grace. And yet we consume ourselves as we seek to devour one another in useless games of speed of media and machinery.  "What shall it profit us if we gain the whole world and yet lose our own soul?" -- to paraphrase the New Testament.

No worry, no hurry. Stay as cool as you can, keep a goin! Someone wrote a piece called "The Abyss of Time," and ain't it the truth!  Receding and arriving with increasing rapidity as we "run for the shadows" of these golden years.  But it's all okay, because time is but a circle, bringing us round again to where we once were so soon ago.  Here's the main thing -- to keep faith with the moment, never regarding our present experience as useless.  It is all an opportunity to practice patience, courage and integrity.

I am once again, so glad to hear from Ram Dass via the article here excerpted from MODERN MATURITY. His practical wisdom is such a refreshing fountain, even from his own loss and suffering, he nourishes us all with abiding hope.  Yes, it is true, as the old song says, that "you've got to walk that lonesome valley all b yourself," but there are also wonderfully redeeming songs and deeds that we can create for one anther, such as the 23rd Psalm, such as the enduring theme of that first Ram Dass book, BE HERE NOW.  What else need be said or added.  It's all right there!

-- Bill Joyner


Ram Dass in MODERN MATURITY ~ July-August, 2000 ~ Amy Gross

How Do you Handle Pain?
I'm in pain now. I've had cataract surgery, and I've taken pain medication, but there's still pain,.  What you do is to ask yourself during pain: Is there a part of me that is not in pain at this moment? Or if in fear, Is there a part of me that's not in fear? That's enough, because the question will solve the problem.  You will find that there's some place inside you where there is no pain. It's not that the pain free place is higher or truer -- the pain is the truth, too, it is God too.  But you aren't fighting it anymore, and you're not afraid of it, and that releases you from its grip.

Most of us assume that aging is the end of growth - but you begin with the idea that it is an opportunity for growth.
It's the greatest learning we have. All our old desires are off our backs, finally.  We're quiet. We aren't dancing to the culture's drum. And we are silent inside.  That silence is there so that we can hear our intuitive wisdom: This culture sees life as collecting experiences.  But aging is an emptying out and beginning to experience the moment, what's happening right now. In our culture, we value old people who act young.  We don't value old people for acting old, for their wisdom,  For them to hear their own wisdom, they have to experience their own silence.  That's one of the ways the stroke was a blessing - it increased my silence.

But everyone advises the aging to keep busy, to fill up the hours. Are you saying that there's value in slowing down, that it may be enough to sit under a tree?
It is for me.  If people can find a really good situation with a fishing rod in hand, or stirring a pot, they'll tune in to such richness of the moment.  They will find that they can be here now. They will go into the fabric of the many levels of "I" in the moment, and that's ecstasy. You want more than ecstasy? [He laughs] Old people have a delightful chance for it.  There is, in each of us, everything; you've got it all on your hard drive.  All this keeping busy is killing an opportunity to engage the hard drive.

What about boredom, though? Isn't that a risk when you slow down?
A Quaker woman said to me, "Tam Dass, I'm just so terribly bored."  And I said, "Do you hear the kids? Do you hear the clock? Isn't there a nice light on your window sill? How are you bored?" We've got to treat the moment differently, turn it around.  Become an adventurer while studying your mind, including boredom.  I went to Burma for meditation and found myself in a little room, and there was nothing to do. I got so bored. I decided to study the boredom, very carefully.  That was where I first stared it down. What you do is merge with the moment.


If you give yourself to your task at once, you won't have to do it twice.

--David Seabury

This above all, to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.

--William Shakespeare

Labor to keep alive that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.

--George Washington

What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence.  The only consequence is what we do.

--John Ruskin



Global Cooling

So what can we do about global warming?

First, keep in mind the goal, which is to bring the potentially catastrophic warming under control by curtailing the release of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.

Ordinary people can help immediately by becoming more energy efficient. Stop using the familiar incandescent light bulbs and replace them with compact fluorescent bulbs, which last much longer and use only a quarter of the energy consumed by conventional bulbs.

Compact fluorescent bulbs are significantly more expensive, but because they last so long (up to 10 times the life of a standard bulb) and use so little electricity, they are substantially cheaper in the long run.

Next, when shopping for an appliance - a refrigerator, a dishwasher, an air-conditioner - select the one with the highest energy efficiency rating.  There will be a sticker on the appliance, telling you how much energy it uses. Pay attention. There can be a difference of 30 percent to 40 percent or more in the amount of energy consumed by appliances with comparable features.

Even more important is the choice you make in the car or truck you buy. Motor vehicles are responsible for about a third of the carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. The vehicles that are the most fuel efficient emit the least carbon dioxide. (Fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions are inversely proportional. If you double fuel economy, you cut carbon dioxide emissions in half.)

According to the research and advocacy group Environmental Defense, if you buy a new car that gets 10 more miles per gallon than your old car, the amount of carbon dioxide reduction realized in one year will be about 2,500 pounds.

So buying a  car or truck that suits your needs and fuel efficient is a big help.

Honda and Toyota are bringing so-called hybrid vehicles onto the marketing the U.S.  Hybrids are cars that combine an internal combustion engine and a a battery-powered electric motor.  They are mid-sized cars that are achieving twice the fuel economy of conventional cars.

Dr. Paul Epstein, associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, summed the matter up as follow: "The issue is not so much what we are doing, but how we power what we are doing.  That's the first step."

Over the long term, the requirements are far more ambitious,  Ideally, over the course of the next 100 or so years, a transformation will take place and most energy will end up coming not from fossil fuels like coal and oil, but from clean energy sources - the sun, the wind, hydrogen and non-polluting fuel cells.

"To get there at a cost that's affordable will require substantial technological development," said Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, the chief scientist of Environmental Defense.

To move from our pollution-choked present to a future in which climate change is not a mortal threat will take more than that all-important first step of an enlightened citizenry buying cleaner cars and more efficient appliances. Tough action by Congress and the president is needed, and soon.  And international cooperation, with enforceable agreements covering both industrialized and ultimately developing nations, will be crucial.

Among other things, the federal government can offer subsidies and other incentives to reduce the cost and foster the use of existing clean energy technology, and to encourage the development of ever more efficient new technologies.  And the government can - and should- develop more sophisticated strategies like emissions trading and more stringent requirements for reducing carbon dioxide emissions everywhere.

Global warming is the most serious problem we face in the 21st century. Last week an intensive analysis by a respected geologist at Texas A&M University, suggested- as most scientists have been saying for some time now - that human activity, not natural factors, is the primary cause of the warming.

We caused the problem and we have within our grasp a variety of potential solutions. To ignore those solutions, to be aware of them but not make use of them, is not just profoundly destructive, it's suicidal.

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The Terrorist, a film made in India by Santosh Sivan, is easily the most amazingly realistic and engaging cinema vision that I have seen in a long time.  I went with very high expectations, based upon an enthusiastic review of it in THE NEW YORK TIMES by John Malkovitch.  And let me tell you, folks, this is the real deal! Yes, it has sub-titles, it is a bit long, and lacks some high gloss production values of a Hollywood movie but the solid sense of reality and the psychological intensity of this portrayal is nothing less than stunning.  Not easy, but essential.

Here goes my synopsis: Malli is a guerilla fighter in unspecified jungle areas of south India, or perhaps Sri Lanka. At 19, having suffered the violent loss of many of her family and friends, Malli is not mellow. She will gladly and without hesitation kill soldiers of the state, she will even blow herself up as a suicide bomber to advance her people's cause. And so, she volunteers to strap plastic explosives around her waist and, at the pre-arranged time, push a little concealed red button, assassinating a VIP who is opposing the guerilla movement, eliminating herself and God-only-knows who else at the same time.

In the few days prior to this glorious event, however, certain internal realizations unexpectedly occur as Malli interacts with some particularly intuitive and prescient people, particularly an older gentleman of great spiritual and human sensitivity. It is a wrenching experience to share vicariously the profound changes Malli struggles with as she moves inexorably toward her ultra horrendous, but completely self-chosen, rendezvous.

Here is the story of humongous turmoil, external and internal, and it is totally relevant to our world, where self-obliterating deeds of violence are even now being fabricated by real people very much like the girl in this film.  What we are able to glimpse as we watch her struggle is the fragile possibility of new awareness, of new life intervening at the very moment when death seems to be fully in command.  The Terrorist is probably not going to appear in the big multi-screen theatres, but it is making the art-house-cinema rounds now and will eventually be out on video.  For the good of your soul, check it out.

-- Bill Joyner


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Once upon a time, I envisioned starting my own church, The Cinema Circus Earth Church. My first announcement included the following: "It's about spontaneity! It's about being real, like Madonna and her great gum-chewing, pre-show, kick-ass huggy prayers with her family of dancers and singers in TRUTH OR DARE.  It's about making up our own show as we go.  It would look like a merry-go-round, with lots of color and motion and music, but no head-honcho lead horses, because we all are."

Anyway, although a few meetings, with the very best of a few friends, did occur, I soon decided that my interest and ability were not up to the organizational task -- plus, in reality, there are already more than enough churches around, and the word itself is overloaded with misleading connotations. So, as "the play is the thing," after all, I have called my occasional multi-media efforts by the title of CINEMA CIRCUS EARTH SHOWS.  Madonna's film is certainly one that I would use in such a show, it breathes with life! It would be great on a double-bill with something heavy, like THE TERRORIST, where an exuberant lift is much to be desired.

--Bill Joyner


"Every occasion when a mask was torn off, an ideal broken, was preceded by this hateful vacancy and stillness, this deathly constriction and loneliness and unrelatedness, this waste and empty hell of lovelesness and despair."

--Hermann Hesse

"If we knew what it is we would discover, it just wouldn't be research, would it?"

--Corita Kent

"Two things stand strongest in this life: Kindness in regard to others troubles, and courage in regard to your own."

-- Princess Diana, 1966



The Seed Catalog
William T. Joyner, Editor
THE SEED CATALOG is available by mail for an annual suggested donation of $5.00
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--Bill Joyner / P.O. Box 3411 / Sarasota, FL 34230

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