Saturday, February 27, 2010

Health Care Reform

I’m lucky, I have insurance. My employer actually offers me a choice of plans to choose from, and I’ve opted for the most comprehensive. We use it. It hasn’t always been this way.

I can count at least four of my friends off the top of my head that aren’t covered by health insurance. Even more that aren’t covered enough. Some of them have health problems that go untreated. They have no choice. They live in pain and suffering. They’re not as lucky. If I could lend them some of my coverage, I would. It’s a major source of financial hardship for them. They forgo things I take for granted. Things like vacation, dining out, food, clothing, medical prescriptions and treatment.

It shouldn’t be this way.

Why Reform Matters

Each year I watch my medical coverage eat away at my paycheck. Each year it takes a larger portion. Fewer employers are offering coverage. Others are scaling coverage back. Some are dropping coverage. This trend is going to continue.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Who Has the Right to Judge Another’s Religion?

I’ve been spending a lot of time keeping up with things I’m interested in like Haiti earthquake relief, New Orleans Hurricane Katrina relief (yes, it’s still going on) and others. I have friends in both of these places, so it’s a bit personal for me.

The news media is often silent, misinformed or disrespectful. The stories on Vodou are rare indeed, even though many people practice it. When they are published, naming the religion without capitol letters is not just disrespectful, but shows how uneducated some journalists and editors are. To make things worse, they sometimes are inconsistent with whatever standards they’re following. I have a hard time believing the AP stylebooks says to capitalize the name of a religion 25% of the time in your article, but not the other 75%. I understand the spelling is a difficult point without universal consensus. Some people of the faith like it spelled Vodou, while others have variations on how they spell it (Voodou, Vodun, Vodoun), but almost everyone who follows this religion does not call it Voodoo. Voodoo has generally been relegated to Hollywood mythology.

I can’t tell you how sick it makes me feel that people are being denied food by faith-based charities because their religion isn’t yours. Doesn’t seem very charitable. Further, people stoning priests and priestesses surely isn’t an act of compassion. And they have the gall to say that Vodou is evil. Some people need to look in the mirror.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Listening to the Spirits

What does it sound like to listen to spirits? Are you hearing voices in your head? Well for me the answer is no.

If I try and concentrate on it, or more specifically intellectualize it, it blurs from me. It slips away. If I put my ego and desires aside and just listen, then it comes. It’s new to me of course and I’m new to it. I’m learning to let it happen.

If there is a grosse possession, a full possession by spirit, I feel this is a petit possession, a small and limited one. It’s one I’m learning to live with.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Three Guys Talk About Meditation

Tonight we had our weekly appointment for healing, necessary to maintain our health and sanity. The Breathing Room in Wayzata is a wonderful spot for alternative healing practices. These practices are the only thing after 8 years of searching that seem to be doing the trick of maintaining our health.

While waiting for my wife’s appointment to finish up, I sat in the waiting room with two other men. One, a practitioner specializing in pranic healing, the other a customer. While the three of us sat there we started talking about meditation.

While the discussion of peace, experiences, purash charanas and mantras in general went between the three of us, it wasn’t until I was in the car talking that I realized I don’t really have these conversations with other men. I realized men don’t talk about meditation. If men do, it’s certainly not the men I hang out with.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

24 Hours On Top Of The World


Just of few days over a decade ago I found myself on top of the world. I was in India, in the Himalayas sitting in an old and ancient Shiva temple with the whole world spinning around me. It was January, 2000 and one day past the mark of the new millennium.

To say this place is magical would be an understatement. I obviously felt it, but I was not alone. The animals would run into the area, when being chased for their very lives in the hunt, and the predators would respect it’s sanctity. It is a sacred place. I place teaming with spiritual, and sexual, energy.

As darkness fell, I came to the temple, lohi wrapped around me, carrying a mat. The Himalayas are cold at night, as cold as my Minnesota home, and this was winter. You needed to prepare, put on layers, socks, something to keep the earth from stealing all of your warmth, something to wrap up with. I left my shoes behind at the temple threshold, set my objects around me, wrapped up, turned off the flashlight and began to meditate.