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Life Goes On

March 3, 2012

Spring is only three weeks away. I am looking forward to ending a winter season in New York with hardly a snowfall. While snow doesn’t bother me much, having a break from the cold slushy stuff is a welcomed alternative. Now New Yorkers are waiting for the day buds on the trees begin to open. The buds are already revealing themselfs as small fists at the ends of branches, and periodically throughout. There is a mid-sized tree looming its wild branches right outside my bedroom window. I watch the branches often to see what kind of progress it has made with its buds. Its olive-sized buds have made their appearance, though this tree doesn’t blossom until sometime in April. Maybe it will blossom early this year, since the weather has been so warm. I am hoping that the warm continues right into spring and summer.

I am chosing to remain calm and enjoy life as it is presented to me. There isn’t much I can do at this state about my financial situation. This writing is the only thing I can be doing, in the hopes that a career in writing will soon follow. Writing would be a great career, even if I only make a modest income. I practice the meditation regularly. It has provided me with the peace to be able to behave rationally even when the potential for being homeless and starving to death appears to me on the horizon. I have decided if that moment comes to openly accept it. I will not act like the clowns I see performing tricks on the subways or begging for change along the boulevards of Manhattan. Instead, I will sit out on a park bench or go somewhere I can hide from the world. Until that time, I will continue to think and write and job hunt and associate at the various MeetUp groups I am involved in. During these activities, I present my full attention to the moment at hand–remaining mindful of the present. This plan serves me well. I feel I am working toward something instead of feeling stranded and out-of-luck. As long as I believe there is a solution to my current situation, solutions will reveal themselves as continue on my path through life.

Now I’m contemplating what I want to do with the rest of my Saturday after I complete my blog post. I have some money to walk over to the Dunk’n’Donuts and enjoy a coffee and one of their chocolate chunk cookies. Those are really good. One of my favorite past-times is to sip a warm coffee at one of the zillion Dunk’n’Donuts in the Tri-State area. That will be the first thing I will miss if I should ever leave the New York Region. I think they have them in most of the eastern states, but I know they don’t have them on the West Coast. Starbuck’s and Panera Bread are ok, but it always seems like I need to make some kind of fashion statement when I’m in one of those places. At D&D I can just be myself. Relaxing and being ourselves is a good thing.

I spend much time thinking about “meanings” behind this life. Many people believe these thoughts are pointless and that we should get on with living. This life is such a unique experience, though. Life is such a mystery, but gets filled with so much stuff that we believe the stuff is what our lives are all about. I don’t think life is about the stuff, or even the peoples involved in our lives. These are part of our lives, and I think it is essential to manage these. These are just incidental, though, and not really what our lives are about. My life is about me–another thing we are dissuaded from spending much time contemplating. I am the person I need to get up in the morning with and whom I need to go to bed with. My thoughts are with me all day feeding me instructions of how to handle the situation that confronts me, and which could greatly affect me. I am accountable for every action I take. I can choose to act wisely or foolishly, and the reaction I receive (praise or censure) are the ones I earn. So, my goal is to establish a working relationship between my thoughts and my actions. I need to be able to clearly taking in information and to process what I have learned. Then I may need to act. The mental clarity from meditation helps me to perform these acts well.

I want to write more about my views about God, but that is a big subject that covers many different areas. I want to know what I’m writing about before I post anything. Though I don’t see the Christian way as the way God interacts with us, I have a strong desire to have God a part of my life. I accept my view of God as being close to the reality only because of specific things that have happened in my life, and continue to happen. Some things just seemed to materialize in my life at the right time. Things have come into my life directly in response to a demand I had made to God. This writing has been one of them. I have affirmed (I like to avoid the term prayer these days, since I don’t believe we need to ask for anything. What we want already exists, and we can affirm that they already exist) that I wanted to engage in more writing activities, and here it is. Even if I don’t consider myself a great writer, I am at least doing it. I now see God as a great source of creation and existance which we can call upon when we are in need. As I say, I will write more about it in the future.

That is good for today. I wish much joy and peace to everyone.

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Meditation

March 2, 2012

Meditation has become an indispensable entity in my adult life. It is a practice I have become fond of and has proved to be an invaluable shield to many negative elements life is capable of handing to frail individuals, such as myself. It is a concept and a practice that had quietly walked into my life during my mid-20s and had become something more tangible five years later.

I first learned about meditation while I was at a Catholic Young Adult group. A man by the name of Sebastian Temple came to give a talk about establishing a personal relationship with God. He said we could talk to God as though He were standing next to us and interacting with us. We only needed to believe and He would be as real as we wanted Him to be. Sebastian hung around after his talk where I purchased a book he had written called “How to Meditate”. From this book, I had learned the basics of achieving a constant peaceful state and a taste of how I can control my mind, which is responsible for my entire being. I learned these things within a few months of buying this book and had the desire to want to learn more about meditation and to go deeper into the peace and focus of mind. Unfortunately, I had seemed to reach an end to finding any more peace. I had seemed to be peaceful in many daily situations most would find stressful. My focus was better. My mom thought there was something wrong with me–I was under some kind of magic spell. I told her everything was fine and I was experiencing a true connection with God. I had still wanted to feel deeper concentration from the meditations, though, and began wanting to find a place where I could learn meditation, taught by a live person instead of a book.

For five years, I would find nothing. I would look through the local phonebook and various metaphysical newspapers for places I could learn meditation. During those five long years I’d start a failing career in real estate, two other jobs that resulted in quick terminations, I had taken a number of business courses, I worked another short-term job at Home Depot, and spent a second mediocre semester taking college courses. I finally began buying more books about meditation and the spiritual life, but without some specific lessons on how to sit quietly and focus my mind, they’d all be a bunch of words. Then, one evening in the spring of 1990,  as I was visiting my friend and leafing through the pages of the Sunday addition of the LA Times, I came across an advertisement for an Easter service at Self-Realization Fellowship, that famous picture of Paramahansa Yogananda looking directly at me and smiling mentally telling me to go there to learn to meditate. I learned there was a meditation center in Fullerton, California, not very far from where I lived. My life would drastically change after that time. I began attending Thursday Night services which I found very comforting. The practice of meditation was to begin just by sitting and focusing. The book by Sebastian Temple taught us a technique he called the Grand Relaxation Technique, where we spent up to a half hour relaxing our entire body. Self-Realization tells us to just meditate for 10 minutes at the beginning of a service and find the peace. The peace Is already there. We only need to let it into our lives.

Over the next 20 years, I would let the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda be my spiritual guide. Self-Realization offers a serious of lessons that people can subscribe to. Then the temples offer services of long meditations where we can find good company in our efforts. If we had specific questions on how to practice the several techniques that were taught in the lessons, we could write to the International Headquarters, located in Los Angeles, or ask one of the monks who were always at the weekly services. There were times I didn’t know how to proceed into deeper levels of meditation, when the intuited answer I would receive—probably from Yogananda himself—was to just keep sitting and focusing and I will eventually find my way. So, that was what I’d wind up doing. There was an advanced form of meditation, called Kriya Yoga, which all devotees work towards, though I would never reach that stage. I would be stuck in perfecting some of the earlier lessons, and felt it best to continue working on understanding those parts before moving on.

At the time, I would be happy just practicing the basic meditation technique of sitting and focusing, feeling peaceful. Over a number of years of practicing  just this, keeping my focus affixed to the Spiritual Eye (the point between the eye brows) I would experience my mind becoming increasingly clear and focused. I knew mentally I was headed in the right direction. It would be years later before I would experience the mental clarity of my desires. After suffering muddled thinking during my teens and 20s, the clear thinking was very nice as I reached my mid-30s. I had finally established a stronger sense of the person I was, I had better control over the things I said and the words I would use to express more complex thoughts, and I would appear to others as being more intelligent than I was. I felt to be more intelligent. Except for the tremendous limitations I was experiencing in my ability to find satisfactory work, I finally felt to be the whole person I always knew that I was.

Although the presence of Paramahansa Yogananda was a much needed addition to my adult life—his many lessons about treating the material things in life as merely illusion, and not the reality by any means, I have found myself leaning more towards Buddhist meditation teachings as I pass the age of 50. This has come about recently in an effort to grasp dynamics to my mind which have been elusive during other meditation practices.  Despite years of meditating according to the instructions of Self-Realization Fellowship, I have yet to excel in the grasping of spirit as others following that path. This has suggested to me that I am starting from a position where I know little about my own mental (learning) abilities. The Buddha teaches that we start from where we are. Then we sit with the specific purpose of establish something called mindfulness. My need more than anything is to simply to think and remember. Memory in my adult life remains a challenge, which is why I have been slow progressing on the spiritual path. The speed by which one progresses is unimportant. Those in everyday life it is crucial. I needed to establish a better memory and Buddhist meditation seemed to be the better means to have that. We sit and count our breaths. When we lose count, we simply return to the beginning and count again. It is much easier to keep the mind on the breath count, than to practice other taught techniques.  After being on the Buddhist path for almost a year, I can state I am content with it. Buddhist and Yoga meditations seem very similar where I don’t feel I have strayed too far from the meditation I have practiced for many years. I express much gratitude to both Yogananda and the Buddha. I am part of an impenetrable team .

Positive Changes

February 28, 2012

Positive changes are headed my way. This is the season for feeling positive. We are well into the new year. Tomorrow it the 29th of February already. It’s our leap year day. The weather for this time of year is amazing. New York has had very little snow this winter. No blizzards; no snow banks or slushy curbside puddles for my feet to find, as they are accustomed to doing during the winter months. And, best of all, no icy sidewalks or tire tread marks in the middle of roads for me to slip upon. Today, as with yesterday and several days last week, is sun-filled cloudless blue skies, temperatures that will reach into the upper 50s. The weather this entire winter has been pristine. I am looking forward to the spring which is only 3 weeks away. Positive changes are happening and even though it is a process that may take this entire month to completely play out, it is the trend I am looking for that will help get me out of this money-deprived state I have been in over the last 4 years. It all begins with the right attitude. From various Buddhist readings and other spiritual insights, I am learning that the thoughts our minds harbor has much to do with the directions our lives travel. The Buddha said “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.” That says to me that we are always in charge, and in control of the lives we lead. For years I have been hearing from friends that their lives are a certain way and that they will always remain that certain way. They are bound by a job that they hate or in an environment they do not consider positive, but that is the life they’ve been given and there is nothing they can do about it. Unfortunitely, if that is their personal belief, then their chances of experiencing positive changes are extremely small. I still believe I am to see positive changes over the next decade. I just turned 50 last month and I have secretly told myself that my best years are yet to come. This life is an opportunity for all of us. As long as individuals believe the life they want is accessible, they they are bound to find success. I have just learned–though have heard in various forms in the past–that our brains will work to help us achieve what we desire. If we have specific thoughts, our brain cells will regroup and conform to those thoughts. We need to give a presentation, or I need to write something for my blog, or when someone else has a particular assignment to prepare for work: We need to see firmly in our minds eye what we want to achieve. We can visualize ourselves performing the tasks we need to do. We can replay it in our minds, from the very beginning of the project, to creating the project, to presenting it. Then we affirm what we are visualizine: I am presenting my presentation with confidence; I am confidently writing in my blog today/ I am visualizing the assignment I am to give. We can learn to use visualizing in everything that we do. Once our brains get our instructions to perform important tasks things should be performed effortlessly. This is how I am living my life now. I spend much time meditating. I sit quietly in the morning and evening reaching to find evermore inner peace. The important thing is to concentrate on the breath as I inhale and exhale. After doing this for at least 20 minutes or longer, I feel I have the mental control to direct my mind where I desire. This may take some time to acheive (I’ve been practicing various forms of meditation for over 20 years.) After finding acute focus, I can put my mind upon the idea of performing a task. “I see myself writing in my blog. My mind is focused. I generally know things I would like to say. I see myself sitting down at my laptop and pouring out my all my thoughts and feelings.” I can do this same thing after many meditation periods. The more I do this, the more confidence I will have about writing something. Then I just write. I may need to do this over long periods. That is when the brain will keep working to help me achieve the writing I desire, or to do anything. You may want to do this with easier tasks, and then work to perform more confident tasks. Only after 20 years of meditating am I getting to the point where I can direct my life of my desires. In this way, my life is becoming the source of positive changes I have envisioned over many years.

What Now?

January 31, 2012

My apologies for neglecting to write more often. If I have a fan base out there by now, I’m sure they think something terrible has happened to me. I’m happy to say I am doing ok. Sometimes I stare at a blank notebook page (I usually begin by writing in my journal and then use those themes to write something here) while I’m sipping a hot Americana coffee at Starbuck’s and have nothing of interest to write. That’s because my life usually isn’t very interesting.

I need to find work. I have been unemployed since October and have been dragging my feet about looking for something new. Not really sure what I want. Because the economy is so slow now, people are telling me to get anything I can. Even with that assumption, the likelihood of finding just anything at this time is slim. I do want to be working, however, and I’d like to be making an income over $11.00 an hour. At my age of 50, I should be preparing for retirement by now. I should have a wife and a few kids. They tell me not to compare myself to others or make assumptions of how I should be living according to the norms. The deal is that I don’t have much of much. I rent a room in the basement of my friend’s house. Between food stamps and unemployment benefits I get about $300.00 for food. There is little money left over for anything else. Even though I live in poverty-like conditions I’m ok with it. I’m ok being in my situation because others who are working and who have kids may be wishing to have what I have: a nice quiet life of a single male with little worries other than making some extra money so that I can have a decent meal.

My plan is to start using the networking websites more and to network friends. I’m told this is the best way to go. I’ll still send out resumes online, but I am not depending on that method alone. There are too few jobs out there and too many available job seekers. I’m going to a couple of job seeking workshops this week. I was going to a third workshop tomorrow, but they cancelled on me. Now they are going to make me wait until next week. Such is my life. I’m always proactive about doing things, and the people who are supposed to be helping me bail. They have their cushy jobs. If I need to wait a little longer to find work to support myself it won’t affect them none. There is another workshop I am going to on Wednesday—all about networking. Not sure if networking will help me find work any faster, but it’s just another option.

This is a much shorter post than previous. I just had a lot to say when I started this blog. I still have much to say, but maybe those were a little long. They were long. I need to be more concise when I write. I have a habit of writing without brakes. My dream of writing for a living will need to wait. I have it to be a professional writer. It would be a dream: writing all day and then submitting samples of my work for publication. Right now, I’m happy just to share my private thoughts. I will make a great effort to write something else before the end of the week. Please stay tuned.

New Thoughts for a New Year

January 4, 2012

I’m back writing again. I’ve been away for a couple of weeks because I was doing some freelance work for a friend. I’m still waiting to get paid. She had me type information of contact information of various companies on an Excel spreadsheet from which she hopes to generate business. Good luck to her and as she makes money, I will make some money. Making money has never been easy for me. Interestingly, the only time making money came easy for me was back when I was 15. It was then I began cutting lawns for people in my neighborhood. I wound up cutting lawns for 3 or 4 homes in addition to cutting the grass at my uncle’s lumberyard. I didn’t have much of a concept of business back then. I would simply use dad’s lawnmower without paying for the gas or paying dad for the use of the lawnmower. That would have been a real business. I guess dad thought it was a good way for me to get out and to learn the concept of work. I took the job seriously, though. I kept my appointment for the various homes I was to cut grass each week. I took care that the yards were well manicured making sure I used an edger for the sides. I had thought at that time that I would become an entrepreneur. That was a concept that entertained my mind during my mid-teens, with the family being involved in a family business started by my uncle. The concept of building something from scratch and then feeding it with dedication and hard work was attractive to me. It was something I would have wanted to see materialize. Dad wasn’t a businessman, though. He was an artist and a creator. He did some impressive things in his adult life. He turned the basement of our first house into liveable rooms, one of which became my bedroom. He had also landscaped the entire yard. He was always maticulous in how he approached a project. He would plan out everything, learn everything he needed to know before hand, and he would see the project to a timely completion. It was always clear to me he knew exactly what he was doing. But we had gotten involved with the family business for all the wrong reasons and without having much control over its daily management. After only a couple of years, the business was on the decline.

To me, life is fastinating beyond limit. The world is a beautiful oasis, and we are given unique opportunities to share in its riches, to make of our lives what we can imagin. I have always believed this and I believe this now. I see lots of people taking advantage of these opportunities–young adults pursuing college educations, people traveling to distant lands for business or pleasure, young couple being together and starting a family, and others involved in personal hobbies. Then there are the other half that see life as a negative experience. They complain about how the system is failing us, or how the “rich” are getting everything they want and leaving nothing for the rest. They complain about the big corporations sucking the lifeblood out of the economy. Though my life has become a disappointment based on the many learning problems I’ve been given, I am still positive about life’s potentialities. The opportunities are always there. There may be some who want to rob us of our abilities to live our lives to the fullest, but I won’t let them control me yet. I will continue to follow my pursuits as I see fit.

There has been much I have wanted to pursue in my adult life. More than anything, I wanted to travel and to learn about different cultures. I never wanted to be rich, but I wanted to be able to do various things, like publish books or start a business or create something. These were all values that were influenced by my environment growing up. Then I reached my early adulthood, but I just couldn’t do anything. My family and I had moved to Southern California at that time. I still wanted to travel or to start a business or to do something constructive and creative. I was bearly able to finish high school. I still was unable to read very well. I didn’t have many friends, nor a relationship. I wound up seeking help at a nearby junior college. I took classes and got involved with programs that would help me to learn better. Nothing seemed to work. I kept failing classes and needed to retake them just to get a passing grade. The reading programs weren’t getting to the basis to my illiteracy. I knew it was there in my mind somewhere, but I wasn’t able to bring it to the surface. If I didn’t care about succeeding I would have been ok with everything. I did care, though. I wanted to live a health adult life, with a companion and a family. It was like these things were denied me. “This Jay guy is hearby denied any form of success!”

Now I am close to being 50, and I’m wondering what is left for me. I never was able to begin a career I’ve always wanted. I am very poor of financial means. I rent a bedroom and have the minimum to keep me stable I am able to collect unemployment and get some food stamps, though I’m not sure if they are going to replenish those this month. I need to fast for a couple of days because I only have very little to get food. I want to get used to going without food. The more I practice, the easier it gets. If I don’t fill my stomach in the morning, I don’t feel hungry for most of the day. I need to cut back on food anyway, so going without for a while is ok. I should have some money by the weekend. I really don’t know what I’m going to do about work. Even if I do work, I don’t make much money. I may as well write! This is when I feel the happiest. I wrote in my journal yesterday for the first time this year. I hadn’t written for a couple of weeks and it felt very nice. I love casually sitting in a coffee shop and pouring over my notepad. Writing with a notepad and a good pen is all I need to feel successful.

I suppose I will find some kind of work this year. I’m still waiting to make some money from some work I did for my friend. The idea is to remain hopeful that something good will find me. I put out a little activity and I wait to see what comes back. If nothing comes back, I just try something different. The meditation practice has helped ease the worry factor. I could be sitting here frantic as to what could happen. I could very well starve to death. That is a real possibity. If it happens, I will be ok with it. I know I would have done my best with the situation I’ve been given. I have Inattentive ADD which has made my life very difficult. I’ve learned not to worry about things I have little control over. If I am going to die no matter what I do, then that is the hand I’ve been given. I can’t say “No I don’t want to die. I want to live and travel and do lots of fun things.” Life tells me “You are going to die. Period.” If that is the final decision, I must accept it. I am not dying, though. I am very healthy and still have lots of energy in me. I have made it past my 50th year. God definitely wants me to hang around. I will continue to put my best foot forward.

God is All Around Me

December 20, 2011

God is a very important concept to me. From my eariest memories, there seemed to be an other-ness to everything. What was this life I had recently entered not so long ago, I would secretly ask myself? The blue sky and the colorful flowers everywhere and the bright yellow sun in the sky. They were all a marvel to me. Life was a good experience. It was something to be embrassed. As I grew, I came to know more about the Catholic faith my family was a part of. Though the cathedral we occasionally sat in during mass was interesting, I found the organization itself to be lost in its endeavor to understand God. The central church figures of Jesus and Mary didn’t completely help me to understand God any easier. God, the Father, was supposed to be sitting in Heaven somewhere and looking down upon us, while we give thanks to Jesus (God) for dying on the Cross for us. That was all nice, but it really didn’t explain my own existence very well, nor all the things that were already in the world when I was born. Why was I given life at this time in history, with my current family, in a quiet suburbe of New York City, living in my particular house. While I am wanting to understand me more, the church is saying all that doesn’t matter as long as you are “saved”. Jesus loves me and that is all I need to concern myself with. That, in addition to all the things they want me to know at school. My learning abilities were hampered at an early age, where my understanding of the world was scattered. What was my future to be? How long would it be before I’m an adult, able to live on my own, and required to work for my living? We have so many questions entertaining us as kids. They weren’t just annoying questions. I truly wanted to know how I was to live my life.

As I grew older, answers to my questions would slowly be answered. My ongoing learning disabilities forced me to live isolated from people. I had some friends as a teenager, but with a relocation to the Midwestern part of the United States, I found starting over again to be a challenge. We moved to a developing area surrounded by cornfields, chicken farms, and unfinished subdivisions. I didn’t understand the vernacular of the Midwestern middleschoolers with runaway hormones. The concept of school popularity was new and something I would learn quickly. I wasn’t considered ‘cool’ enough for girls to hang around me, but I didn’t care since only a year earlier boys wanted to keep as far from girls as possible. It just wasn’t in our vernacular to want to be affectionate with girls, put your arms around them and act as though we were married. Back when I was living on Long Island, we knew girls in our neighborhood we were friend with, but our primary association with them was getting rides to school. Sometimes, boys would get flack from other boys just for that. So, within a few short years of my middleschool years, I’d be forced to play the game of life by a new set of rules. Life became harder for me, just by the act of a relocation to a different part of the country. Where was this God now? I wanted to believe. The priests seemed sincere during their homilies about the need to follow Christ, to make Christ an intricate part of life. Religion wasn’t so much in the business about learning about the physical world around us as it was the chance to live a meaningful and positive life within this universe of splender.

As an adult, that thirst for knowing God was still with me. The need for God is more prevalent when humans are faced with uncertainies. When life is good and we feel secure, the need to understand God is less important. We have a good job, we’re making adequate income, we have people that we love and who loves us in our lives. Things are good. Life is good. When there is uncertainty in our lives are the times we search for deeper meanings. Who am I? Why was I given this life–to experience unending problems? What does the future hold for me?

I have faced uncertainies about my future ever since I was in high school. My grades were poor (despite me working very hard to do well), I had few friends, I had become withdrawn and hopelessly introverted, and I felt all alone in the world. My future seemed very uncertain. I wanted to go to college. Would I be going to college and getting a degree? The idea seemed doubtful at the time. There was much in this life I wanted to experience. I wanted to travel around the country and abroad. There were a bunch of things, like art and writing I wanted to do. Would I (the person who couldn’t even carry out the simplest of conversations with others) do any of these? It seemed doubtful at that point. My family and I were still going to church every week. I kept praying for something of meaning to come into my life. We still believed in some kind of God. Where was this God we kept praying to? Was he really there? I was starting to have doubts. There were kids at school who probably didn’t go to churc(h or believed in God at all–or who hardly gave it a thought) who were doing better than I was with grades, direction, and with friends. I didn’t have any of these, even though I was a believer.

Over the last 20 years, God has been an important entity in my life. I no long think about God in terms of how the church believes. I think of God in terms of “Divine Intelligence” rather than there is a person sitting “up there” somewhere looking down upon us. I believe that is an image created by humanity to give God a “face”. Most people didn’t understand the nature of the universe over 2000 years ago. They just thought all space beyond this planet was simply an extension of the sky. The stars didn’t exist millions of miles away, but were simply pinwholes with light shining through the holes (from Heaven). So, God was up there and watching us. Now we know that the universe is vast with billions of stars and galaxies, with celestial bodies moving around each other. We know that the light that shines from distant stars takes millions of years to reach us. The universe operates in a perfect harmony though. It’s like a beautiful symphony of physics, with light rays dancing about and atoms and molecules doing their things. To me, there is still room for an invisible hand of intelligence guiding everything. The question of where everything comes from still baffle physicists. Many are forced to admit that there is no rational answer to that question. God is not a rational concept though. I believe it is the link between science and religion. Divine Intelligence is how everything came to be and how everything continues to function.

And what about us? What does this mean for us humans? We are spiritual beings that happen to be trapped in these fleshy mechanisms. These bodies are slaves to the physical universe. They are made up of billions of atoms, molecules, and cells. We live for a time, we age, and then they cease to live. We need food to live. The body goes thought a number of physical behaviors. They are made from the stuff of the universe. The mind, though, is another matter. We are minds that harbors a number of behaviors that include thoughts, feelings, emotions, and a variety of reactions to the outside world. There is a question, though, if the mind (the soul) is something the same or different from the body. We feel happiness or anger do to a variety of chemical reactions, as is taught by some scientists, but where did the need to express a particular emotion orginate? When we learn to quiet the body and the mind, through practices like meditation, we can better know ourselve, why we react in certain ways. It is believed that our individual minds are connected to the Divine Intelligence. We are a reaction to the creative forces of the universe, and like the forces that control the universe, we can learn to bring creative forces into our little lives. It takes dedication and a lot of work, but the person who meditates can find these truths out for themselve.

I will write more about this in the future.

My Life As I Approach 50, pt. 2

December 11, 2011

As of this writing, I can’t say where my life is headed. There are too many uncertainties. I am at an age where I should have something going for me: a career, a marriage, a home of some type. The home that I now live in is the basement room of a friend who goes to the Self-Realization Fellowship meditation center. My other female friend, who also goes to the meditation center, helped me get this room. She paid the first months rent for me. I rent the bedroom and a common area that is shared by my roommate, Marty, who is a retired drunk guy, who spends almost all his time by himself. To save himself from being bored he talks to himself about things that anger him about society. He’ll talk and talk and then make some off-handed comment about how deceitful some people are, and then he will mock them, and then laugh at himself. He can’t seem to bring himself to discuss these issues with another person. It’s like he doesn’t trust anyone enough to just spend some time at the Dunk’n’Donuts down the street and talk with the other retired people I often see there nursing a coffee and enjoying a daily chocolate frosted donut. That Dunk’n’Donuts is one of my favorite places to read a book or write in my notepad. Marty could easily spend some time there or go down another mile to the senior center via a cab. He seems just as happy being alone, except for the fact he needs to get himself drunk with a dozen beers. Then, he gets so drunk he can’t even walk straight. He simply falls asleep on his bed until he wakes up the next morning.

I wish at this time I could be making income. I haven’t worked for over 2 months. The job I had at the Hearst Building ended and I haven’t been back to work since. At first, I thought I could just find something, but I normally would do that and wind up with some deadend job again. I am tired of deadend jobs. I know good jobs are hard to come by, but it just seems like I am in the right state-of-mind to start writing again. Starting this blog is the best thing I’ve done since moving to New York, two years ago. Making a living doing some writing would be a dream-come-true.  Right now, I’m only getting a couple of hundred dollars a week for unemployment benefits and $99 for foodstamps. The foodstamp amount comes out to about $3.00 a day for food. That is good for a sandwich, one of those salt-filled romin soups in a cup, and a piece of fruit. I think the foodstamp office got my information wrong. The lady I spoke to made that estimate based that amount on the assumption I was still working. I later told her that I was not working, but then she didn’t change the amount of foodstamps I was getting. A couple of years ago when I needed foodstamps, my monthly balance would be over $200.00 a month. That was more than enough to keep me fed for a month. Keeping me fed is not an easy task.

I am tempted to go down to the foodstamp office tomorrow, but I hate going to those places. I’ve been down to the public assistance office in Manhattan multiple times, and each time I go, I hate them more. They give me a number, which means I need to sit in a waiting area and wait for my name to be called. That means I need to wait a minimum of two hours as I am forced to watch tv monitors of CNN News. They can’t have on that “biased” Fox News on. It’s CNN all the time. I was just mailed a notification telling me they had sent all my information regarding foodstamps to a new office in Queens. So, I need to find the office in Queens. Will this place be any more efficient? I want to see if they can give me more foodstamps, so that I won’t need to be eating bolony sandwiches and salt-laden Romin soups anymore, or as often. I may be getting more foodstamps tomorrow, from after my last visit to the public assistance office, but I won’t know, and now I can’t view my balance online. I signed up to use a service where I can look up the balance online, but now the system won’t accept the log on information. All this stuff is a pain. I try to get information, I try to get assistance, but the more I try the more trouble I find. It’s like whatever someone tells me won’t be the case, and then someone else will tell me something else I need to do. Then, when I try to explain things to one of these government workers, it’s like they don’t hear me, or don’t want to hear me.

I’m doing my best to dig myself out of this hole, but the more I dig, the worse the outcome seems to be. Will I survive all this? I have no idea. The entire country seems to be in a bind. We just want to work, to have some kind of livelihood. It’s like we can have that. I can’t just have a basic functioning life. I just want to work, be able to feed myself, and have my own place. I don’t care about making lots of money, or having a lot of things. I probably wouldn’t own an iPad unless I specifically need one for work. They are nice toys to play with, but the idea of needing one is far from the truth. Give me books, give me some music–maybe I could have one of those small iPods to play my music, since cds are getting harder to find. Life is just extra difficult during these times. I need to keep reminding myself about this. I always seem to be among the people hit hardest when tough economic times strike. It happened back in the early 90, when the U. S. experienced a recession. I had wanted to get into drafting at the time. I had just finished a 6 month computer aided drafting program and ready to get working. The school promised a high employment rate for people who finished the school I went to. There wasn’t a job to be had anywhere. I had spent $4000 for nothing. There were no jobs in California, where I lived at the time. That was the story of my life.

My prospect can be worse this time. We may never see jobs come back for many years. So many other people and families need jobs. How will I compete? I just think people need to look at the situation differently than in times past. The economy still seems strong. The economy for the people who are working is still stable. I think people need to start rethinking the economy. They need to think in terms of entrepreneurship. There are many different niches for people to specialize in. New technologies are opening up new ways for people to make income. It won’t be easy. It will require people to develop new sets of skills. But the opportunities are there waiting for individuals to utilize their best efforts. I’m remaining hopeful.