Archive for November 16th, 2011

I saw a story over on openbuddha.com about the Occupy protests that have been taking place in Oakland. Obviously, the protests in Oakland have been some of the more eventful ones and there have been things done on both sides of the events there that are inappropriate. Since I’m on the other side of the country from Oakland, I’m not going to attempt to add a lot of commentary about it. My only awareness of what has been going on has been what’s been covered on the national media and I’m sure that means I’m too uninformed to be able to make any type of valuable contribution to the discussion. However, I did see some pictures from the events in Oakland that I found to be very moving and wanted to share them here. These are all available to be seen on Flickr

I found these images to be very moving. There have been a number of times when I have heard Buddhists being accused of not being active in addressing social problems. While I do not necessarily agree with that accusation, I do understand how it can sometimes appear that this is the case. After all, when you see someone meditating, it’s not all that exciting. If you have not meditated, you could ask quite reasonably what is the point of it. However, if you have or have ever had, a regular meditation practice you understand that meditation is a powerful tool for transformation. Through the act of meditation, you are forced to confront your own mind and you begin to cut through the illusions that our minds construct to define the world. The important part is that, when you leave the meditation cushion, you take that clarity and insight with you. An active meditation practice means that you have an active interest in transforming the entire world. When I am more aware of the way my mind works, I am more prepared to deal with others in a way that is less self-serving. I see others in a more positive light and am more concerned for their well being. The clarity that one gets from meditation can and does put you in a place where you want to help everyone possible.

Meditation is powerful action that we can take to bring about change. As you view the pictures above, consider the emotional impact that they have. These two men (there were others meditating also) are making a powerful statement without saying a thing or raising a hand against anyone. I look at this picture and wonder if I would be able to sit in meditation while the person sitting next to me was being arrested, all the while knowing I was next. Probably not.

If you have never meditated, I highly recommend giving it a chance. Find a quiet place and sit in whatever way you are most comfortable. Allow yourself to relax and focus on your breathing. Allow your mind to do what it will. Eventually it will quiet down (a bit). Keep focused on your breathing and clear your mind. Even 5 minutes is enough to get started. Eventually, you will start to see small, positive changes taking place in your understanding and your outlook. Then, you’ll understand just how important an activity meditation can be.

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This has always been my favorite vegetable. Seriously, when I see this veggie being served, I’m always sure to go up and get seconds and, if I’m lucky, thirds. If you want to be a vegetarian, all you need to do is eat this every single day. Check it out.

This is a vegetable?

Personally, I’ve always wondered why I don’t see it on the salad bar more often. Before you start posting angry comments in response to this story, I’m just going by the guidelines coming out of congress. The reasoning is that pizza has tomato paste in it. And what is tomato paste? It’s a veggie of course! We need to make sure our kids are getting a healthy serving of vegetables each day and, thank you GOP,  what better way to get those veggies into the kids than tomato paste?

This is a vegetable.

Another great vegetable is the potato. After all, it’s packed full of carbs and starch that the body converts to sugar and stores as fat. It’s also got those vitamin things that those nutrition people keep going on about. The great thing about potatoes is their versatility. They can be served in fries or tot form.  On special occasions they can be boiled, mashed and served with a generous covering of butter and gravy. What more could you want?

I've got tots

A tot expert

Let’s not forget salt! Oh, dear Lord, what would we do without a generous amount of that beautiful rock to add flavor and zing to our meals? Cutting salt content in the foods our children eat robs then of developing a false impression of what food is supposed to taste like. That’s just un-American. If we cut the amount of sodium in foods via federal regulation, we rob parents, schools and communities of the ability to voluntarily choose to reduce kid’s future chances of stroke, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, edema, enlarged hearts and stomach cancer.

It’s simply too much to ask for some sort of centralized standard that ensures some form of regularity and unity across the entire country when it comes to food content and quality. With obesity related health care costs sitting at a healthy $147 billion this year it makes no sense at all that children be taught early that a vegetable is a plant that comes out of the ground and is usually pleasing to the eye and to the tongue. Why would we want kids exposed to food that helps their bodies?

When will we stop thinking of the children and start to think about the processed food manufactures?! After all, they’re the ones who are really suffering. If we start to feed our children whole vegetables and fruits and prepare them for a lifetime of making healthy choices, what will happen to their profit margins? I shudder to think of the corporate executives who may not be able to afford bigger yachts if this were to become the way of the future.

When will we learn that it’s not the job of the government to dictate what our children eat? That job belongs to huge corporations that make processed foods and snacks. Why else do they have those massive marketing budgets?

For future reference, this is what vegetables look like.

I am proud to say that I kept the promise I made to someone when I told them I was going to be writing about this. I did not refer to the Senators and Representatives responsible for this proposal as fucktartds. Nor did I compare them to prostitutes who eagerly perform for their corporate johns who toss money at them for “favors”.  I also didn’t question their sanity, their humanity, their parentage or their ability to sleep at night. As I promised, I did not call them a bunch of brain-damaged idiots for whom the burden of thinking counts as strenuous exercise. Remember, my dear readers, it’s important to keep promises.

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