Friday, October 27, 2006

Whirled Species-St. Louis Cardinals

Whirled Species-that just isn't right, but I heard it enough this evening to kinda enjoy saying it.

Congratulations St. Louis, you’ve won the 2006 World Series.

And I discovered pitching.

The last time the Cards took the series, it was 1982 and I was a sophomore in high school. I've always been a fan, but in 2000, I discovered football and baseball took the backseat. Yes, I hear the sighs and see the heads shaking. But, I picked up in the post-season like a lot of folks.

While I was watching the game tonight, I started to notice pitches. I've never really understood pitching and I don't now. But, for the first time, my eyes were glued to the pitchers and barely noticing the batter.

It was like the first time you really understand how something works--when the light bulb goes on and you look beyond to see the mechanics. I have a new hero--Jeff Weaver. And Wainwright is right behind him. I saw Wainwright close the Mets and was so nervous for him that I kept bouncing from room to room.

Tonight, I stayed put. Something very unusual during a sports event. No furniture was turned over. No light fixtures taken out. I was mesmerized by Weaver’s intensity, speed, and accuracy. I even began to recognize strikes and balls without looking to the umpire or listening for the call.

Sports are not for everyone and sometimes they are just an excuse for fans to be stupid. But, when the artistry and refinement are revealed, well, sports can be captivating.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A picture can launch a thousand mantras

People have asked me, “How did you become interested in Tibetan Buddhism?”

It is and isn’t a difficult question. My exploration into Tibetan Buddhism has been long. Sometimes in great leaps, sometimes precariously slow.

I have had two opportunities to share the same ground with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. And I assure you that if you have ever read someone’s account of meeting him, his great compassion will touch you even in a crowd of 100,000. After experiencing HHDL presence, it is difficult to accept that this man is only a simple monk. He is only a simple monk, but he is also the Buddha of compassion.

But the answer to the question? I did have a trigger. There was a place in my life when I was apparently ready to be introduced and it was then that I happened to watch KUNDUN, the Martin Scorsese film about the life of HHDL and the invasion of Tibet.

At the end of that film, I felt like someone had reached in and touched my heart to its farthest depths. I was so deeply offended by the actions of the Chinese and saddened by our human capacity to harm, even in the presence of the greatest source of wisdom and compassion, that I immediately set out to research and discover Tibet and try to understand the position of the Tibetan people.

It appears by the reaction of some people that I have met, that they find this story difficult to accept. Sometimes, I sense an unspoken questioning of how could a movie launch such a fundamental shift in the way I live my life?

Why not? We are a culture obsessed with films, DVDs and the Internet. One of the most successful subjects to transfer to these mediums has been Buddhism. We often attribute negative and harmful behavior to music, movies and video games. Why are we reluctant to believe the opposite could be true?

With this in mind, do not think I am trite when you ask me about Tibetan Buddhism and my first response is a question.

“Have you ever seen KUNDUN?”

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Isn't he a bit like you and me?

Today I washed my car. It was covered in approximately 3.5 inches of dust and was giving me heavy guilt. It is after all a 2000 Celica--a car that several teenagers have assured me is incredibly cool.

After a wash, I like to take out my car for a nice air-dry race on the highway. Little beads of water zip up the windshield and off the roof, onto every car I pass. Just add a fitting tune at full volume and it's a 15-minute treat.

I was on the return leg when I noticed a person on the Big Bend bridge...

He's as blind as he can be
Just sees what he wants to see
Nowhere Man can you see me at all?

As I approached I recognized him. Not a man I know, but I man I have seen here before...

Nowhere Man, don't worry
Take your time, don't hurry
Leave it all till somebody else lends you a hand

An African-American man in a red tank shirt, stopped in the middle of the east bound lane, starring down at the oncoming traffic...

Doesn't have a point of view
Knows not where he's going to
Isn't he a bit like you and me?

He's alone on the bridge clutching the fence as though he's trapped...

Nowhere Man, please listen
You don't know what you're missing
Nowhere Man, the world is at your command

How many times have I seen him?? 2? 3 times? Does he see me watching him?

He's a real Nowhere Man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody

And in an instant he's in my review mirror... an image with his back to me.

Making all his nowhere plans for nobody