Snakes and Ladders

When I was a young child, one of the games I used to enjoy playing was a board game called Snakes and Ladders. It’s actually still available to this day. It consists of a board with horizontal squares numbered 1 to 100; beginning in the bottom left corner. The objective of the game is very simple: A player wins by being the first to land his/her gamepiece at the square marked 100. Players take turns rolling a die and advance their gamepiece accordingly. If players land on a ladder, they can scoot upward; conversely, if they land on a snake they must slither downward. So, what’s the point?

What I didn’t realize until recently is that this simple game is based on an ancient board game from India called Moksha Patam. Moksha, for those who may be unfamiliar with the term, means to be liberated from the cycle of birth and death. This occurs through enlightenment; a term which refers to the recognition of True Self (which is Spirit) and, thus, the falsity of the conceptual person. The game was originally intended to help teach basic lessons regarding morality and how to better live with one another. The ladder represents our noble qualities–such as love, compassion, kindness, generosity, and empathy. The snake represents our ignoble instincts–such as lust, greed, anger, selfishness, and hatred.

On a human–grown up–level, we can still learn many valuable lessons through analogy of our life and the game of Snakes and Ladders. It reminds us to be aware, especially with regard to our thoughts, speech, and actions; for these are building our character and, thus, creating our destiny. If we allow our life to be driven by our little egoic “i,” we are certain to lose; for a self-centered cannot help anyone win. Such will be a shallow life, to say the least; one lacking the depth and richness that ultimately makes life worth living. To truly win, we are wise to apply ourselves to helping others climb their way to success. In effect we, thereby, become the ladder for their ascension and let our life stand humbly in the background. Sweet idea, isn’t it? Even better lived.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,


Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

P.S. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020) please press here. Thanks for reading!

Dr. Phuphuey Makes a Diagnosis


Note: The names of the persons directly involved in the following account have been changed to protect their right to privacy, as guaranteed (okay, maybe not “guaranteed,” but “implied”) under the Medical Privacy Act of 1923, as first instituted squid pro quo somewhere in Liechtenstein; amended in 1927, somewhere in the Nether Parts; and later modified (see attached pamplet explaining “said” modifications) somewhere over the rainbow.


“Follow me, ” said Nurse Whatsthebigfuss. “The doctor will see you now.” She walked down the hall and opened a door to an examination room. Three words came out of her: “Sit. There. Now,” and she was gone.

Mr. Ihavenothingbettertodo did as he was told and sat up on the white examination table, sidesaddle. A moment later, Dr. Phuphuey made his grand entrance. As usual he was smoking one of his Export A cigarettes. “Before we begin,” he said, “please remove that mask.”

“But,” said Mr. Ihavenothingbettertodo, “I’m not wearing one.”

“Hmmm,” said Dr. Phuphuey, “how unfortunate. So…that’s your face?”

“Yes,” said Mr. Ihavenothingbettertodo, “I blame it on my mother’s side of the family.”

“She was ugly?” asked Dr. Phuphuey.

Mr. Ihavenothingbettertodo lowered his eyes and nodded. “Fell from the Ugly Tree,” he said, “and hit every branch on the way down.”

“No kidding,” said Dr. Phuphuey as he opened the chart. “So…what can I do for you today?”

“I’m here for my yearly physical. Gotta keep an eye on things, ‘specially given what’s going around these days.”

“What’s going around?”

“You know.”

Dr. Phuphuey took a deep drag from his cigarette and a saggy length of ash fell on his lab coat. “No, can’t say I do.”


“Come again?”

“VIRUS. It’s in all the media. I’m here to get swabbed–to get checked to see if I have it.”

“Ohhhh,” I see,” said Dr. Phuphuey. “Well, just for the record, I don’t swab. That’s a little high tech for me. I do things the old school way.” He approached the examination table and stood in front of Mr. Ihavenothingbettertodo. “Stick out your tongue,” he said.

Mr. Ihavenothingbettertodo made a pitiful attempt to do so.

“Farther,” said the doctor. “C’mon, put your back into it.”

With that, Mr. Ihavenothingbettertodo, leaned forward and extended his tongue as far as he could.

“And…hold,” said Dr. Phuphuey. With that, he fumbled into the pocket of his labcoat and pulled out a tape ruler and measured, mumbling ‘from lips to tip’  as he did so. “Ah, ha, ” he said, “Two and seven-eighths. No metric for this doc.”

“Is that good?”

Dr. Phuphuey was charting. “Average,” he said. “Now, stick out your tongue again and say do re mi fa so and hold on laaaaa. Then swish your tongue back and forth like a basketball player going for the dunk.”

Mr. Ihavenothingbettertodo opened his mouth and began to follow the instructions, but Dr. Phuphuey backed away suddenly. “Egad,” he exclaimed, “you’ve got mutton breath!”

“Mutton breath?” said Mr. Ihavenothingbettertodo.


“What’s that?”

“Bacterial, a strain of sheepicus toocloseicum. Highly contagious. Comes from following the herd too much. Don’t worry, it’s not deadly–but it’ll ruin your life if you let it.”

“Will it go away?”

“Yes, as long as you stay away from sheep.”

“Do I need a prescription?”

“You mean drugs? Heavens, no–don’t believe in them. I recommend cutting any connection with the herd. Live it up. Do something for yourself. Put your noggin to good use and think for yourself.”

“Certainly. Will do.”

“Oh, and one more thing. For the next seven days, whenever your bladder’s full…”


“Go pee on your T.V. Unplug it first, and then soak it with urine. Pee like a sprinter arching for the tape. Drench it. Don’t leave a square inch of it dry.”


“Just ‘cause. Trust me, it’ll feel good.”

Mr. Ihavenothingbettertodo hopped down from the table and headed for the door. “Do I need a follow-up appointment?” he asked.

“Heck, no,” said Dr. Phuphuey, after lighting another cigarette. “Just go live.”


Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,


Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

Dr. Phuphuey’s Reverie

Dr. Phuphuey's Reverie

Note: The names of the persons directly involved in the following account have been changed to protect their right to privacy, as guaranteed (okay, maybe not “guaranteed,” but “implied”) under the Medical Privacy Act of 1923, as first instituted quid pro quo somewhere in Liechtenstein; amended in 1927, somewhere in the Nether Parts; and later modified (see attached pamplet explaining “said” modifications) somewhere over the rainbow.


“Ahhh, finished for the day,” thought Nurse Whatsthebigfuss as she watched the last patient leave. It had been a hectic day at the office; made all the more challenging by the recent protocols. She had a question to ask Dr. Phuphuey; but as she neared his office, she heard the familiar sound of his snoring. It built like a locomotive straining hard to climb a peak, and then–summit reached–clattered down the rails, coasted to a stop, and then began it’s accent again. Poor man; he worked so hard. She peeked into his office and saw that he was slumped back in his chair, long legs extended straight, with a Darkness is Sexy sleep mask covering his eyes. In his arms, he was loosely clutching his Teddy Bear, Snafu. She blew him a kiss, turned off the lights, and gently closed the door.

Unbeknownst to Nurse Whatsthebigfuss, Dr. Phuphuey’s eyelids soon began to flutter, indicating rapid eye movement. He was dreaming–not the waking dream that the majority of persons erroneously mistake for Reality; but dreamstate dreams. Behind his eyelids, Dr. Phuphuey was positively thrilled. He’d been granted a question and answer period with God, the Highest of the High.

“You’re looking good,” said God, in a voiceless voice that was both comforting and familiar.

“Thanks,” said Dr. Phuphuey, with a nonchalant toss of his hand in the air. “I do try. Mind if I smoke?”

“I’m neither for nor against,” said God. “Now, let’s get on with the questions. I have a golf game coming up. Aiming for a Whole in One. Get it? Hehe.”

“Can’t say that I dooo, said Dr. Phuphuey, “but…no matter.” He tapped a cigarette out of the package, lit it, then drew deeply. “Ahh,” he said, “now…I’ve been wondering why you’ve struck us with this virus thing. It’s got a lot of people quite bothered. Lives are in shambles.”

“I didn’t,” said God.

“But it’s here,” said Dr. Phuphuey, “and I dare say that’s it’s causing a lot of trouble.”

“Not my doing,” said God. ”

“So it just happened? By chance?”

“Of course, not,” said God. “There is no chance. Haven’t you noticed that there’s a certain regularity to the Universe? An ebb and a flow? The whole play of life is governed by spiritual laws.”

Dr. Phuphuey tapped some ash into his cupped hand. “You mean like the seasons–stuff like that? Fall following summer; spring following winter? A corn seed turns into a corn plant.”

“Yes, that stuff,” said God. “I set your original dream environment in motion, and then you–good human beings that you are (being made from Me)–get to live your apparently personal dream within my dream. Simple, really; only the bulk of you don’t realize that through your thoughts imbued with feelings, you either bless or curse yourselves. If you think positively, I weave you a wonderful life through the power of Maya, meaning illusion. If you focus upon fear, however, you collectively create a living hell. The media and whatever other supposed big shots have got you wound up like a top. The situation won’t stop spinning until you remove your focus from it.”

“I knew that!” exclaimed Dr. Phuphuey.

“Are you certain of that?” said God. There was a subtle tone of doubt from the Omniscient Voice.

“Well,” said Dr. Phuphuey, “let’s just say that I was this (pinching thumb to index finger) close.”

“It’s okay,” said God. “Liars don’t go to hell. There is no hell, except on Earth when the human race attempts to run the show through your collective egoes. That’s the true devil, you know. There is no opposite to Me, as many proclaim; for I Am Life itself–the Alpha and the Omega. Your lives would improve dramatically if you learned how to truly live in the trancendent beauty of the moment; instead of the torture of your minds.”

“Would you mind writing that down?” asked Dr. Phuphuey. “I’d like to remember that–perhaps share it with some of my colleagues and patients.”

“Consider it done,” said God. “When you awaken, it’ll be in your email folder under ‘The Way Life Works.’ Anything else you’d like to ask?”

Dr. Phuphuey ground his cigarette out with his heel. “Well, I wondering when this current situation is going to get better.”

“It can happen very soon,” replied God, “but there’s one thing that has to occur before the situation will improve.”

“What?” said Dr. Phuphuey. “I’d like to help.”

“Humankind–collectively–has got to stop relying on human knowledge (with its solution of masks and sanitizer) and turn toward Me, the One who heals your cuts and beats your hearts. None of you do that–nor can you. I do.”

An abrupt snort escaped Dr. Phuphuey’s mouth, and he wakened to find himself lying back in his chair in his darkened office. His Teddy, Snafu, was lying across his abdomen. “Well, Snaffy,” he said, “time to get some grub?” With a little help from Dr. Phuphuey, Snafu turned to face him and gave him a high five. Before leaving, however, an intuitive feeling caused Dr. Phuphuey to turn on his computer. In his email, he found a message with a subject heading entitled “The Way Life Works.” The return address was marked “Everywhere.”


Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,


Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

Dr. Phuphuey: The Matrix

Dr. Phuphuey (The Matrix)

Note: The names of the persons directly involved in the following account have been changed to protect their right to privacy, as guaranteed (okay, maybe not “guaranteed,” but “implied”) under the Medical Privacy Act of 1923, as first instituted quid pro quo somewhere in Liechtenstein; amended in 1927, somewhere in the Nether Parts; and later modified (see attached pamplet explaining “said” modifications) somewhere over the rainbow.


Another work day at the office was over. Patients had been assessed; charts updated; phone calls made; follow-up appointments scheduled. The door to Dr. Phuphuey”s office was slightly ajar; for that reason, Nurse Whatsthebigfuss felt comfortable with rapping softly a couple of times and entering. Dr. Phuphuey was seated in his chair, which was turned toward the wall. When she entered, he slowly turned the chair to face her. His face looked long and drawn.

“Have you been crying?” she asked.

“Nopppe,” he said, with a weak shake of his head, “big boys don’t cry.”

Nurse Whatsthebigfuss gently closed the door. “Sure looks like you have. Red eyes; bags beneathe them.” She plunked herself down in the chair across from him. “Fess up,” she said, crossing her legs. “I’m not leaving until you do.”

“All right, you got me. It’s true. You know me; I try to make light of things–to help keep my cheese from sliding off it’s cracker.” His mouth froze momentarily in an expression of utter anguish. “But this afternoon, after the last patient, the weight of all this came crashing down on me.”

“The world right now?”

“Yes, that…but much more.” Dr. Phuphuey sighed heavily and leaned forward on the desk. “When I took the hyppocratic oath, I swore that ‘I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being.’ I feel that the system won’t let me do that anymore! It’s all masks and one-way arrows and distancing–there’s nothing human about it. Most patients don’t have a clue about their beingness. It’s as though they think they’re a car, and that I’m a mechanic. And worse–I see the absolute fear in their eyes–for they believe that when the car dies, or runs off a cliff, that they die! Kaput. Modern culture teaches us that all we are is a bunch of nuts and bolts. What’s worse, I’m part of the problem.”

Nurse Whatsthebigfuss rose and walked around the desk and gave Dr. Phuphuey a hug. “No, you’re not,” she said. “You’re one of the good ones.”

Tears rolled down Dr. Phuphuey’s cheeks, and she snapped a couple of tissues from a box and handed them to him. “Damn,” he said. “Double damn.”

“We’ll have no f#$%@ swearing in this office,” she said.

A weak smile brightened Dr. Phuphuey’s face. “I think we both know it’s too late for that.” He reached into his lab coat and retrieved his pack of smokes. “Cigarette?” he asked.

“No,” she said politely, “but I know you’ve got some licorice in your desk. Red, please.”

“The majority of my patients are unaware of their true nature. They know the known; but they have little clue about the Knower. They don’t know that this–right here, right now–is a dream.”

“A dream?” said Nurse Whatsthebigfuss, with a puzzled look on her face.

Dr. Phuphuey looked surprised. “I thought you knew,” he said.

“Share,” said Nurse Whatsthebigfuss.

“So,” he said, “our true nature is Awareness. That’s our foundation–not the body and mind. Awareness doesn’t arise from body-mind functions, as materialists assume; it is prior to both. They’ve got it backwards–the body and mind arise in Consciousness, in and through Consciousness Itself. All that’s real of all of this,” he said, patting the arms of his chair, “is the knowing of it through our perceptions. It’s called the waking state, but most people assume it to be reality.”

“Another licorice, please,” said Nurse Whatsthebigfuss. “I think I’m getting it.”

“The catch,” said Dr. Phuphuey, “is that you can’t understand it with the mind. That will only drive you ’round in circles. Awareness is prior to the mind. You have to get still to feel it.”



“You ever watch The Matrix?”

“Yes,” she said. “Great science fiction movie.”

“It would be more appropriate to call it a documentary,” said Dr. Phuphuey. “It’s really about idealism. You ever wonder why Keanu Reeves’ character had such a strange name? Neo…an anagram for the One. We all descend from One. We are That. It’s why there are questions in the movie such as ‘What is real?‘ What we see, hear, taste, touch, and small are electrical signals interpretted by the brain. Modern society has got it so backward–they believe that the person, which is a product of consciousness, is the cause; but it’s an effect of mind. That’s why this fufu about the masks…they’re protecting an illusion. Mind is the creator of everything.”

“Wowsers,” said Nurse Whatsthebigfuss. “Heavvvy. I begged you to take up golf, like the rest of the doctors.”

“I’d be bored silly,” said Dr. Phuphuey.

During the next few minutes, they spoke about the nature of life. Dr. Phuphuey shared how the books by spiritual masters had led him to recognition of his true Self–Spirit. He directed her to take a look at a presentation if she wanted to learn more.

“Before I go, do you mind if I ask you a personal question?” she asked.

“Hasn’t stopped you before,” he said. “Shoot.”

“Is ‘Phuphuey your real name?”

“Uh-huh,” he said, “sure is. “My mother’s clan were Phus–upper region of Quong. My father’s bunch hailed from north of Norland–the Phuey’s. Marriage and hyphenation made the whole thing happen.”

“I always wondered,” she said, “…and now I know.”

“What about your name?” he asked as she rose from her chair. “How did it come about?”

“Oh, that? Some writer guy made it up. Thought it might be funny. He should try being stuck with it!” And with that, she gave Dr. Phuphuey a hug and headed to the door. “We’ll show up again tomorrow and give it our best shot,” she said. “That’s all any of us can do.”

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,


Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

Dr. Phuphuey’s Wisdom Lesson

Dr. Phuphuey's Wise Counsel

Note: The names of the persons directly involved in the following account have been changed to protect their right to privacy, as guaranteed (okay, maybe not “guaranteed,” but “implied”) under the Medical Privacy Act of 1923, as first instituted quid pro quo somewhere in Liechtenstein; amended in 1927, somewhere in the Nether Parts; and later modified (see attached pamplet explaining “said” modifications) somewhere over the rainbow.


Nurse Whatsthebigfuss knocked gently on Dr. Phuphuey’s door and poked her head inside. Dr. Phuphuey was doubled forward in his chair, head toward his feet. She heard him gleefully say, “and this little piggy cried wee wee all the way home.”

“Ahem,” she said, “sorry to interrupt you, Dr. Phuphuey.”

Dr. Phuphuey straightened and spun around in his chair. He was holding nail clippers. “It’s all good,” he said, as he flopped his right leg onto the desk, “I was just giving these little pigglies a little tune up.” With that, he then wiggled his toes as though saying “What can I do you for?”

“A raise would be nice,” said Nurse Whatsthebigfuss.

“No can dooo,” replied his wiggly toes. “Perhaps when the world is back to normal. Now, seriously.”

“I Just wanted to give you a little headsup about your next patient. It’s Mrs. Verydistraught–she’s quite upset. She’s a retired nurse. I think she’s going to require a longer visit.”

“Well, I trust your judgement,” Nurse Whatsthebigfuss. “Send her in.”

Two minutes later, Mrs. Verydistraught was seated in the chair across from Dr. Phuphuey. What he could see of her face looked flushed; her hair a mess. “Please take your mask off,” said Dr. Phuphuey.”

“But won’t you get in trouble with the medical board?” she said, as she raised a hand to do so. “I’ve heard of doctors who disagree with what’s going on being threatened with losing their licence.”

“Fufuey, the rules,” exclaimed Dr. Phuphuey. “It might matter if I was a real doctor, but I’m not. I’m just a figment of some writer’s imagination, so I can say what I want. So, my office, my rules.”

Mrs. Verydistraught set the mask in her lap and nervously brushed her hair with her hand. “I’ve been so upset lately,” she said. “I feel like I’m at the end of my rope.”

“Cigarette?” asked Dr. Phuphuey, extending the pack.

“No, but, thank you.”

Dr. Phuphuey lit his cigarette, drew deeply, and then opened the drawer to his right. Licorice?”

“No, thank you, though.”

A moment later: “Jelly beans?”

“Uh uh, but thanks.”

From the left drawer: “Jub jubs?”

A scowl–barely contained–was hinting to boil over on Mrs. Verydistraught’s face. “No…thank you.”

“Lollipop? Gummy Bears? Chocolate bar?”

“Can I just tell you my f#$%ing story!” she exclaimed.

“Ohh, sorry,” said Dr. Phuphuey, flinching, “just trying to sweeten up your life a little. What’s up?”

Mrs. Verydistraught settled in her chair, then began.”It’s this!” she said stabbing the mask into the air. “I can’t stand the damn thing, and I don’t want to wear the damn thing, and there’s no science to support that the damn thing is needed or helping anyone.”

Cigarette clenched firmly between his lips, Dr. Phuphuey sprang to his feet and applauded. Loud. “Hear, hear!” he exclaimed. “You’ve got my vote!”

Mrs. Verydistraught smiled, perhaps for the first time in weeks. “I’m not trying to be difficult, or uncaring.”

“I know,” said Dr. Phuphuey. “I’ve always known you to be a caring soul. You’d probably just like to have some rights–not to tell anyone else to do; but to have some say over your own body.”

“Yesss,” said Mrs. Verydistraught. “But I also care about others. Nurses I know who still work in the field tell me they’re being forced to tag any death as ‘virus,’‘ even when test results come back negative. This whole story smells.”

Dr. Phuphuey nodded. “I’m hearing the same reports from my colleagues.” He leaned forward. “May I call you Agnes?”

“Well, you can…but it’s not my name. It’s Yolanda.”

“Hmm,” said Dr. Phuphuey, “a bit of a goof. Close, though. May I share a wisdom story that might help?”

“Please do,” said Yolanda.

“Years ago, there was an ancient Chinese carpenter–14th century, I believe. Ohhh, how he loved to hammer, all day, every day. One day, he was swinging that big hammer of his and he whacked his thumb really bad. It swelled up to the size of watermellon.”

“What happened?” asked Yolanda.

“Well, the neighbouring people all came and said, ‘this is bad, this is bad.’ But he wisely said, ‘we will see, we will see.’ While his thumb was healing during the next two weeks, he made use of the opportunity to take up dancing, just for something to do. It turned out that he was a natural–pirouettes, the splits, that kind of stuff. He became so good that news spread of his dancing abilities.”

“Wonderful,” said Yolanda.

“Uh, huh,” said Dr. Phuphuey. “Well, one day, the king’s men visited and said the king was looking for a dancing carpenter who could build him a Grand Pagada. Of course, our man was a perfect fit for the job. The neighbors came again and this time said, ‘this is good, this is good.” The carpenter said, ‘we will see, we will see.”

“Amazing,” said Yolanda. “Was it a big pagoda?”

“Yes,” said Dr. Phuphuey, “a big pagoda.”

“How big was it?”

Really really big,” said Dr. Phuphuey with a roll of his eyes. “Anyhooo, one day he was working on the roof of the pagoda and fell onto some rocks. He broke both of his legs. When he was back home, the neighbors came to visit and said, ‘this is bad, this is bad.’ He, although in great agony, said, ‘we will see, we will see.'”

“And…” said Yolanda, leaning forward, “what happened?”

“As I recall, his legs healed quite nicely, and he became a stock trader–made a ton of yen! Of course, the neighbours all came by and said, ‘this is good, this is good.'”

“And the point is…?” asked Yolanda.

Dr. Phuphuey ground out his cigarette. “The point,” he said, “is that even though we pretend to know where life is heading, we don’t really know. The best thing we can do is stay positive. Who can say what is good or what is bad, because nothing lasts? If you can have the wisdom of our friend the carpenter slash dancer slash stock trader, we can all ride this virus story out to the end. Then another story will takes its place.”

“I see,” said Yolanda with a nod.

“Jub jub?” Dr. Phuphuey said, reaching into the drawer. “Nah,” said Yolanda, “but a chocolate bar might be nice.”


Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,


Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell


Herbie Visits a Boxstore

A Visit to a Boxstore

The morning was bright and shining–a new and glorious day had dawned. Despite what was apparently going on in the world, I was grateful–so very grateful. Life was good. I enjoyed my first cup of coffee (a tri-blend of Guatamalean Dark Roast, Ethiopian Light Roast,  and North-American Discards); but soon it was time to get on with my day. I had a few errands to run, which included making some purchases. I would have preferred to buy from my local store, but the owner had been forced to close his doors. “Well, you coming?” I asked my good friend Herbie. “Youuu, bettt!” he replied enthusiastically. Both of us headed to the garage, and I backed my car out and headed to the local boxstore.

After selecting a parking space, I turned to Herbie. “Well, coming in?”

“Youuu betttt,” he replied. I unbuckled his seatbelt, and helped him out of the car. We had been friends for so long; we didn’t like to go anywhere without each other.

As I neared the entrance to the boxstore, I dutifully applied a mask to my face–not that I believed that doing so was wise or necessary; but I knew it was the current world story. Choice to wear or not to wear, would have been nice; but such choice had been stripped away. When we stepped through the sliding glass doors, we were immediately approached by one of the masked greeters. “Hello, Sir,” she said.

“Good morningggg,” Herbie gleefully replied. His eyes had opened wide, and he was staring brightly at the greeter.

The greeter rolled her eyes, and turned to me. “I’m sorry, sir, but you’ll have to put a mask on your dummie.”

“Pardon?” I said, in disbelief. Herbie had slowly recoiled and turned his head to face me; albeit with the help of my hand.

The greeter, whose stance had widened, folded her arms across her chest. “Sir, I must insist. You’ll have to put a mask on your friend.”

“But he’s made of wood,” I said, tapping his head. He doesn’t breathe.” Herbie’s head shuddered; and his eyebrows rose to his hairline. “I don’t b r e a t h e?” he whispered.

“Uh, uh,” I said. “Shhh.”

“Sorry, sir; but it’s Policy. By-law: dash, blank, #7789243601, subsection ‘Virus, As It Pertains to Ventriloquists’ Dummies.'”

Quick thinking saved us. “Herbie has an M.E.–Medical Exemption,” I blurted. I felt a shiver pulse through Herbie as he turned to look me directly in the eys. “I have a medical exemption?” he said, his eyes beseeching me to tell it to him straight.

“Well, okay,” said the greeter. “This time. But use some santizer”

“Sure,” I said, “and with that, Herbie (with a little help from me) lifted the bottle and squirted a stream into his mouth. When he was done choking, he said, “Be darned the data that says sanitizer suppreses our immune systems! Onward, Stewie, we have a store to conquer!”

Up one aisle and down the other Herbie and I strolled. “Ahh, shopping,” he said. “Nothing like it.” He reminded me that we were out of toilet paper, and I thanked him. We were enjoying ourselves immensely until this:

“How did he get in here without a mask?” demanded a robust older man wearing a menacing black mask. He was pointing at Herbie.

“Medical Exemption,” Herbie replied feebly, with a pat of his chest. “I’ve got wooden lungs.” He looked directly at the man and coughed, as though to sell the story.”

“Well… okay,” the man said hesitantly. “Just being careful.”

“Totally understandable,” I said. “Thanks for caring enough to protect all of us. We can beat this thing.”

“I agree,” I said, as the man turned to leave. It was not a virus  that gave rise to mild to moderate symptoms in 99% of the population that frightened me.

Herbie and I continued to shop. We selected our items, and Herbie handed the checkout lady behind plexi-glass the money. One thing was certain: Intelligence and truth had to rise, if all of us were ever going to reclaim our lives. Opposing views were deliberately being suppressed. Scientists and doctors with legitimate expertise in the field of immunology had to be given opportunity to be heard.

“Can I drive home?” asked Herbie, when we got back to the car.

“Maybe next time,” I said, as I stuffed the mask in the side pocket of my door. Herbie seemed happy and hopeful.


This tongue-in-cheek article is not intended to offend or ridicule anyone. All of us–the human race–are meant to work together for the common good. Perhaps while this is being accomplished, we could honor one anothers’ rights to freedom of choice. If not about the current situation, this freedom with regard to the next issue might seem important enough to share your voice. God bless.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,


Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

Dream Within A Dream

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Alan Watts (1915 – 1973) was no lightweight when it came to philosophy and a deeper understanding of our true nature. From The Book, On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, Alan states the following: “Apart from you brain, or some brain, the world is devoid of light, heat, weight, solidity, motion, space, time or any other imaginable feature. All these phenomena are interactions, or transactions, of neurons with a certain frequency of vibration. Thus vibrations of light and heat from the sun do not actually become light or heat until they interact with a living organism, just as no light-beams are visible in space unless reflected by particles of atmosphere or dust.” In short, he’s stating–as Paramhansa Yogananda did so concisely–that “mind is the creator of everything.” 

What is the use of such knowledge? Basically, it can help us know What we truly are (not who), and gain a deeper understanding of the nature of the universe in which we apparently find ourselves. Understanding of our essential nature–which most persons shun in favour of the conceptual version fed to us by society–can help alleviate suffering related to all sorts of issues; including the current story related to a certain virus.

For the majority of individuals, this world seems to be filled with a multiplicity of subjects and an even greater number of objects. This error is called duality–the world of subject and object; in contrast to the Truth, which is Oneness. For persons, we have personal names such as Bob or Carol and Ted or Alice. For the impersonal objects, we have words such as tree, rock, school, and house. Duality can basically be summed up as follows: “I (insert your name) see (an object) the tree. However, what’s going on behind the curtain of reality is much more mysterious. If we refer to the quotation from Alan Watts, we can understand that the tree is actually viewed within the dark space of your brain. The same holds true for our body–and all other objects. The person and the thing are actually comprised of streaming energy that is translated into shapes. The mind puts both in motion; even though we feel–with absolute certainty–that we move ourselves. There is only one doer; and that doer is Infinite Living Mind. Our body appears to move due to the power of Maya, which is a Sanskrit word that basically translates as illusion. What most people assume to be Reality is actually the waking state; which is merely a longer, more highly defined dream that engages all of our senses to cast its spell. The word dream, dream, dream echoes throughout every spiritual book about our true Self. Everyone who is not yet awakened is, in fact, still asleep in the dream that we call “our life.”

“Okay, so you may think, “but there’s a real world of trees and rocks and schools and houses, right?” The short answer is “No, there is not.” It will be very natural to argue that this cannot possibly be the case; for we’ve been conditioned to think of ourselves as a body and a mind in a very real world. However, the world that we experience is made from our perceptions. That’s it. Quantum Physics has known this for many long years; since the search for the tiniest bits of what we term matter first began. Atoms, which were once believed to be the building blocks of a solid universe, are, in fact, 99.999% empty space. Yes, there are forces that are very real, but they are not translated into things called matter until our mind renders them as things.

What we experience enters our field of consciousness via the Law of Attraction; a law that decrees: that which is in harmonious vibration will be drawn together; in much the same way that two tuning forks of the same key will both resonate if only one is struck. That’s how reality streams to us–as vibration, which is interpreted by Awareness. Our habitual thoughts and words–especially those imbued with feeling–cause our true nature (Awareness, Consciousness) to vibrate at certain frequencies and, thereby, attract to us that to which we’re attuned. That’s why the rich get richer; and the poor get poorer. The rich (via thinking and feeling properous) attune themselves to prosperity; while the poor (via thinking and feeling impoverished) enslave themselves to poverty. This of great import these days (given the current world story), for the same applies to our health. Our habitual attitude–whether we are grateful for health, or fearful of disease–plays a huge role in what we apparently experience.

Nichola Tesla, who was one of the greatest inventors the world has ever known, stated the following: “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.” Perhaps the subject is worth a little investigation; especially if doing so can lead us to awarness of our true Self–not the costume comprised of name and form–and protect our health at the same time. We can deliberately create our well being. Such doesn’t occur by chance.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,


Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

A Tyrant in our Midst

A Tyrant in our MidstMost of us have run into persons who pretended to know what was in our best interest. They might have even professed to be experts in their fields of knowledge; you know, the way flat-earth persons professed to be experts in theirs. When we were younger, it might have been a seeming friend, whose initial suggestions began to increasingly feel like commands; so much so that we invented plausible excuses not to visit as often. “I’m sorry, Johnny, I’d like to get together, but I’m washing my hair every night next week,” –or–“Gee, Carol, I’d like to come over, but I’ve got to overhaul that engine on the backhoe.” At the heart was one reason: We desired to pry ourselves from the clutches of tyrranical behaviour.

Wannabe tyrants who desire to implement change that suits their motives are smart enough to do so subtly; for to do so overtly silently screams–to most listeners–that a violation of our rights is occurring. This signal, which alerts us to the raping of our rights, is avoided at all costs; often through lubrication in the form of “We’re doing this for the good of humanity,” or guilt in the form of “If you really cared about others, you would do as you were told.” Such makes the act of tyranny seem tolerable…at least at first. Persons who really care for us, such as therapists or psychiatrists, are wise enough to help us arrive at our own conclusions. They respect our rights; as we do theirs. They ask questions such as “How do you feel about this? or “What do you feel is the best solution?” Why? Because they realize that only the patient/client has lived his or her particular life situation. To make blanket decisions enforced by bylaws or jail time or worse is to deprive beings of their lives. We might ask ourselves if life without freedom truly is life, or whether such makes us Pinnochio being pulled by strings.

Tyranny is most effectively implemented very subtly, indeed; so that those who are tyrannized (the birds) are unaware that a cage has been placed around them until they realize they’re no longer free to fly. Governments, which at least on the surface, proclaim to be for the people, have behaved in such ignorant ways many times in the past. History is replete with such instances; and given time, the people–having tired of living as blind slaves of those who would control them, have listened to the call of their spirits and risen up and finally demonstrated “enough is enough.”

Am I pretending to know what’s best for you or anyone else? Of course, not; for in doing so, I, too, would become a tyrant. This article is only intended to help facilitate our innate ability to think for ourselves…while remaining caring and compassionate to the needs of others. Perhaps we could be open to a forum that includes opinions from experts who are currently being silenced. It might make for a balanced approach; one that favors sensible action over dictatorship.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,


Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

The Court of Humankind

GavelIn our courts of law, a witness who is about to testify is approached by the baliff and asked the following:  “Do you solemnly (swear/affirm) that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, (so help you God/under the penalties of perjury)? The answer is considered very important, for one simple reason: Honesty is imperative to ensure that justice is being served. The courtroom proceedings would be pointless without the T R U T H.

However, in what is considered our everyday reality, we’ve been conditioned to believe and accept that whatever is broadcast is truth; without ever questioning the source–or honesty–of the news. In the end, no matter how well-intentioned the news source, we will always–not sometimes–be listening or watching to someone’s opinions about what may or may not have occurred. It’s just a fact of the human condition. The minute we begin to use words (which of course must be filtered through a human perspective), we have moved further from the truth. More often than not, remotely so.

The real issue is much deeper, but few will question what streams forth in dizzying regularity from the black box in their living room. The black box gets to testify without ever taking the oath. Inform us that the sky is falling over Kansas and–“Well, Dorothy, you better put on your hardhat because you’re going to need it.” And you might want to run out to your local hardware store or mall and buy your own hardhat; just don’t be surprised if the merchants are out of stock. The spread of that falling sky might even cross the country and jump clear across the ponds to other nations.

Today, perhaps as always, the bully gets to tell the story of what happened in the school yard, aka “world.” The one with the loudest voice usually does. Only in this case, the bully doesn’t scream at us; the bully uses billions of dollars to snuggle up close and tell us what’s needed for our own good. We should trust it. Those individuals–such as scientists, specialists, and noted authorities–with varying opinions aren’t granted the opportunity to testify…because they don’t own the schoolyard megaphone. Perhaps the only answer is to turn away from the living room court–you know, the one that doesn’t have to swear to: tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth–and think for ourselves.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,


Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell