Friday, November 21, 2008

Fear of Death? Good News!

Alphabet Skull
(image found at ELITALICE)

I like to think I have a pretty solid grasp on reality. Unfortunately, part of that, from a spiritual perspective, means having some level of acceptance - or at least understanding - of mortality, that we all, one day, will be dead.

What happens after is, for everyone, a level of subjective conjecture. Nobody "knows" and the best chance at peace comes with faith that your flavor of afterlife is the right one.

But I don't have a real firm hold of my own mortality, although it edges closer at times like my grandfather's recent death. And while I have what I would consider a level of a conviction of the afterlife, I don't think there is anything that I'm 100% about; I always have questions, doubts. My current condition stems from a mix of leaving the Catholic Church at 16, mind-expanding drugs, and that vampire fascination I had so many years ago (um, Anne Rice, not that Twilight tripe), along with not believing all things fiction are necessarily fiction (remember, not 100%).

So, basically, it's fear of the unknown, that over-encompassing catch-all that causes so many problems in the world. I kid myself that I may not have to worry about it, that by the time I get old enough to worry, technology will have created a cure for just about everything. And then this story comes out, basically saying that:
Researchers believe boosting the amount of a naturally forming enzyme in the body could prevent cells dying and so lead to extended, healthier, lifespans.

The protein telomerase helps maintain the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes which act like the ends of shoelaces and stop them unravelling.

As we age, and our cells divide, these caps become frayed and shorter and eventually are so damaged that the cell dies. Scientists believe boosting our natural levels of telomerase could rejuvenate them.

A team at the Spanish National Cancer Centre in Madrid tested the theory on mice and found that those genetically engineered to produce 10 times the normal levels of telomerase lived 50 per cent longer than normal.

And my middle finger cranks towards that big guy in the black cloak because if we can kick that average up to 120, by the time we get there, we'll have mastered 160, etc.

Don't get me wrong; my vision of what happens after we die is much more fun and liberating than everyday life. But what if it all just goes away? "Death is part of life" or "Renew! Renew!" Sometimes they sound the same to me. That's why Logan ran.

(Yes, this entire post was a buildup to a mid-70's sci-fi movie reference. Snap!)

Ricky's Wisdom Today - 11/21/08

If we live our lives continually motivated by anger and hatred, even our physical health deteriorates.

      - His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bush as Anathema

Think Progress had this vid up:

This is so sad, I don't know if I can even muster any schadenfreude. But it does show one thing: either every world leader is a douchebag who doesn't understand us or this lame duck POTUS has damaged the way the world looks at us and, specifically, him.

I have friends in different countries and have always heard that they love Americans and all things American - except our leadership. Our leadership sucks. I have to agree, and the past 8 years and this video bears that out.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Annual Turkey Cruelty

This is undercover footage of an enormous turkey breeding operation in West Virginia, Avigen. Their website says "The spirit of innovation lives on." And by innovation they mean stomping on turkey heads and slamming them into other objects to kill them.

No boobs or swearing or human suffering, so I guess it's safe for work. Not safe for your mental health or Thanksgiving plans.

I had to turn it off after about a minute.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Funny-Sad in Cincinnati

From the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Homearama seeks less-pricey site

The Greater Cincinnati Home Builders Association has called off plans to hold its 2009 Homearama home show in the upscale neighborhood of Long Cove in Deerfield Township.
Hendricks said the lingering credit crunch and sluggish economy made it difficult for some builders and would-be home buyers to get financing at higher prices.

I would also guess that looking at very large, absurdly expensive homes in this economy might prove depressing:

"Hey, honey, let's go look at these homes we can't afford."

"We can't afford our home."


Ricky's Wisdom Today - 11/18/08

I almost just typed "09" in the year. Oh, it's coming.

Subhuti said: "If I understand correctly, one who wishes to reach perfect wisdom should study the way things are in the world and should practice the perfections fully and in depth but should not believe them to be ultimately real, nor should he make concepts and doctrines out of them."

The Buddha replied: "Just so, Subhuti. The one who contemplates existence in this way knows the nature of the conditioned and of the unconditioned and makes himself an expert in pointing out the truth to others, both with words and without words."

Subhuti asked: "But is this just for the wise and the intelligent?"

"No, indeed," replied the Buddha. "This is open to all, even to the dull witted and to those who can't pay attention. The door is open to anyone who wants to tread this path--but not to the person who is lazy and indifferent."


Monday, November 17, 2008

Staying Sane

Times Online have something to be said about staying sane and becoming happy:
Steps to happiness

Developing relationships with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours will enrich your life and bring you support

Be active
Sports, hobbies such as gardening or dancing, or just a daily stroll will make you feel good and maintain mobility and fitness

Be curious
Noting the beauty of everyday moments as well as the unusual and reflecting on them helps you to appreciate what matters to you

Fixing a bike, learning an instrument, cooking – the challenge and satisfaction brings fun and confidence

Helping friends and strangers links your happiness to a wider community and is very rewarding

Do you have time to do each of these every day?

Personally and recently, I'm finding myself a mess. I have a theory that if I just meditate every morning, do some sort of exercising or weight training, and smoke a cigarette, I'd be a much happier person.

Daily regimens requested from my readers: how do you stay sane/alive/in-the-moment (am I reaching too far?)?