A Vote for Sanity

On November 3, 2020, a supposedly democratic election will take place in the United States to determine who will become the next president. Not being a U.S. citizen, and deliberately choosing not to be plugged into mainstream media, I can only imagine the issues that will have been discussed. No doubt, there has been rhetoric galore–about taxation, health care, border safety, international trade, unemployement numbers, job creation, business incentives, and a whole lot of blah, blah, blah. Personally, I believe that there’s a much bigger issue to which the world and every last one of us should direct our attention: SANITY.

The main point of this article relates to the following question: Have all of us walked close enough to the edge of the flat earth yet? Watch out, ’cause if we continue on the path we’re walking, we’re gonna fall off! Edit alert: I take that back: “We’ve already stepped off, clutching our favourite designer masks, and we’re tumbling toward oblivion. As proven by our actions–think masks, plexiglass, sanitizer stations, six-foot rule (not 5’6″), one-way arrows, lockdowns, curfews, and more–we have demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that humanity has gone STARK RAVING MAD. Think looney tunes, fruit loops, index finger moving up and down against pursed lips, hee-haw donkey waves with thumbs in ears. Press here to listen to what the human race currently sounds like (the first few seconds only). A green one-eyed alien sucking its thumb would look at our human behaviour and say, “You’re kidding, right?”

The current actions that are occurring in the world do not come close to approximately sanity. Think the following is a joke–nope: Truly, signs in place that indicate that a beach has not been sanitized? For real? “YUP!” Or people actually enraged because you have stepped a couple of feet into a grocery aisle against a one-way arrow? Again, “YUP!” Or, better yet, virtual kindergarten school? Yup!” This insanity is like watching persons place horseshit patties between two buns and then munching down every last morsel–while claiming that they’re good for you. They’re not. Such burgers are eaten by the insane.

This article may sound harsh, but sometimes the truth is harsh. Enough of this insanity! Think: What are we teaching our children? What kind of future do we wish them to inherit? Do we wish them to look back at us with any sense of pride or fondness–or hang their heads in shame and admit, “Yes, that’s how they taught us to live.” Tap, tap, tap, folks–time to awaken.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

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!

“Fooled by Your Name”

Fooled by Your Name

The title of this article is borrowed from a line in The Book by Alan Watts, who was a noted British writer and speaker on Buddhism, Taoism, and theology. The subtitle of his book is entitled On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are. What, though, does this mean? Be forewarned: The answer will not be remotely interesting for those who are content with living a lie.

The point that Alan Watts so eloquently expressed is this: Deep beneath the ordinary world of name and form (the world in which we refer to things by words) there lies the most mysterious of mysteries. It is beyond the mind; therefore, beyond comparison because it is singular. How, logically, can One be compared to anything? Of course, it can’t be. The key that unlocks the door to this dimension can be summed up in one word: Stillness. When we turn away from sense objects and become still (through the practice of meditation), we “re-cognze” (to see again) the very nature of our Being. We discover that we are not our thoughts; nor are we our sensations, feelings, or perceptions. All of these, however, are known by the real You–Awareness.

Even a little investigation can yield tremendous insights. Think: For objects to be known, they must be known by something. How else could they be known? In our case, our true Self is not a thing in the common sense of the word; nevertheless, it is present. Wherever we are, Consciousness is. We cannot think “I do not exist” for the very thought is ludicrous because it requires Consciousness to think it. Our true Self is That which registers impressions from an apparently external world. It is also Consciousness which registers the name and form which we erronesouly believed to be our personal identity.

Why, though, should we care? Especially when life seems to be ticking along just fine. For that very reason: The clock of our body’s life span is ticking; but we need not wait for the “alarm” called death of the body to discover our true nature. A multitude of benefits may be realized now, not the least of which is that we are immortal Beings; therefore, beyond death. Our true Self is also beyond human drama;  therefore, immune to suffering and fear. Nothing–no event, circumstance, or situation–can harm it. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare summarized this truth succinctly through the following words: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” The true You is That Sweetnessnot the name and form through which It is expressed.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

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 Housecall

Dr. Phuphuey Makes a Housecall

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 softly on the door to Dr. Phuphuey’s office and gently nudged it open. He was seated behind his desk, surround by a dense cloud of smoke. “What’s up?” he asked.

“It’s about Mr. Allbutgone. His wife just called; she was frantic. It seems he’s close to…hmmm.”

“To what?” asked Dr. Phuphuey. “Spill the proverbial beans.

“Ending it.” Her soft eyes showed genuine concern.

“You mean finding another doctor? Can’t say that I’d blame him. You and I both know I’m highly incompetent. Last in the class–our little secret, right?”

“No, not that,” she said; “although I agree you’re incompetent.”

“A spade a spade,” Dr. Phuphuey said, shrugging. “What then?”

“His wife thinks he’s going to commit suicide. He hasn’t left the house in months.”

A grave expression came over Dr. Phuphuey’s face, and he ground out his cigarette in the pedestal ashtray at the end of his desk. “What can we do?”

“I don’t know,” said Nurse Whatsthebigfuss. “His wife has tried to arrange for him to see someone, but he’s afraid of going to hospital for fear of catching something.”

Dr. Phuphuey had heard similar concerns from his colleagues; and the ones who had attempted to repute the validity of the current world story had been threatened with loss of their licence to practice. Any dissenting content was routinely deleted from social media (to see an incident of that, press here). A figurative lightbulb became luminous above Dr. Phuphuey’s head. “Cancel the rest of the appointments,” he said authoritatively as he stood. “I’m paying Mr. Allbutgone a visit. Give me his address”

Half an hour later, Dr. Phuphuey was rapping softly on the front door of the Allbutgone’s residence. His wife, looking worn beyond words, greeted him. “Thank you, Doctor,” she said. “I’m Helen.” She led him into the entrance and then pointed to the livingroom. There on couch, with his two children on either side of him, was Mr. Allbutgone. He was gaunt, pale, and visibly shaking–staring at a seventy-five inch T.V. on the opposite wall. Despite being in their own home, all three were were wearing masks.

“He’s barely left that position in the last three months,” said Helen. “Ever since we were forced to shut down our business.”

“Can you sneak the children into another room?” Dr. Phuphuey whispered.

“I can try,” Helen said. “C’mon, kids,” she said, entering the livingroom, “let’s go read a book and give your father a little time alone.” The children responded and followed their mother to another part of the house.

“John…” Dr. Phuphuey said softly as he stepped into the living room. “It’s Dr. Phuphuey. You can call me Phil.”

John turned toward him. His eyes were hollow; bare orbits devoid of life or spark.

“Can I turn off the TV, so that we can hear each other?”

John rallied, as though defending the rights of a dear friend. “I’d prefer that you didn’t,” he said. “I HAVE TO KNOW what’s going on–to know when it’s safe again.” His shrunken chest wracked as a stifled sob pulsed through him.

“At least turn it down, so we can chat?”

John nodded, and Dr. Phuphuey gently turned the volume all but off. He sat on the end of the couch and looked John in the eyes. “I’d like to help,” he said.

“I don’t know…how…you can,” said John. His lips were quivering, and his hand was nervously brushing his forehead. “The world has gone to hell, and I don’t know what to do. They tell me there’s this bug…and now there’s riots…and masks, and I can’t even visit my friends anymore, or my parents in the nursing home. My business–of twenty-two years–was a great success until they forced me to close my doors.”

“Who is they?” asked Dr. Phuphuey.

“You know,” said John, pointing to the T.V.–“them.”

Dr. Phuphuey nodded solemnly. “Yes,” he said, “they tell us all sorts of stuff; but at some point, maybe we have to question what they are telling us.”

“How?” asked John, his gaunt face reflecting perplexity. “How…when it’s the facts–they report.”

“Is it always the truth that they’re reporting?”

“Yes, it is! I’ve trusted them to tell me about life since I was a young boy.”

“Dr. Phuphuey’s eyes brimmed with compassion. “Yes,” he said. “A lot of people do; but maybe that’s not the case. Let me ask you this, John: If one of your dear friends was threatening to harm himself with a knife, what would you want to do to help protect him?”

John lowered his head, lost in deep thought. “Well, he said softly, “I know that I’d try to take the knife away from him; and hide any other sharp objects. Till he could get better.”

“Makes perfect sense,” said Dr. Phuphuey. “Now,” he said, pointing at the T.V., we might think of that as the knife. Think….just for a moment….and ask yourself what good news it has told you during the last years. Any?”

John was silent, but Dr. Phuphuey could tell that a covert search of memory was occuring. “No…come to think of it,” said John. He seemed surprised. “That’s true.”

With gentle coaxing over the next hour, Dr. Phuphuey was able to reach beyond the veneer of humanhood and touch John’s soul. He spoke lovingly and compassionately, attempting to help lift his spiritual brother. When John was finally resting in the bedroom, Dr. Phuphuey asked Helen if he could remove the offending knife from the wall. She readily agreed, and even helped him take it out to his car. After hugging Helen, Dr. Phuphuey shoved the T.V. into the back of his station wagaon, and got behind the wheel. He was shaking; too upset to smoke. He knew he had one more stop to make before returning to the office.

At the dump, Dr. Phuphuey unloaded the television and slid it into a metal container. He was about to turn, when he noticed a mother bear with a cub at the perimeter. The mother was tending to the little one. Funny, thought Dr. Phuphuey, not a mask in sight. Before starting his car, he said a silent prayer that the mother bear wouldn’t find a way of turning on the T.V.

***

Dear Readers: Please allow the spirit of kindness contained within this article to enter your hearts. We’ll get through this together; in spite of forces that are attempting to tell us the human race is doomed. N O T H I N G can deprive us of the love that we are intended to express. An hour spent helping our neighbours, as oppossed to staring at the knife attempting to cut us, will elevate our world.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

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!

Bhagavad Gita: Song of The Lord

Bhagavad Gita (Song of the Lord)

The Bhagavad Gita, which is often translated to mean Song of the Lord, is a Hindu scripture that contains 700 verses and dates back to the second century BCE. It is part of the Mahabharata. It is a narrative tale that is designed to help us discern between the false self (the ego) and our essential nature which is beyond death. The following short passage describes the nature of our authetic Self: Weapons cannot cut it, nor can fire burn it; water cannot wet it, nor can wind dry it.”

The True Self that is described in that short passage is Spirit, or Consciousness. It is the very foundation of our being. The majority of the masses assume that consciousness is highly personal; for it certainly feels as though there is a personal self confined within the boundaries of our body and mind. Where, though, is that little self? Without any scientific proof to support this claim, most people believe that the brain magically gives rise to the subjective knower of their experience. They believe that this little “i” (referred to by name) somehow came into being with the arrival of the body and, thus, must end with the death of the body. This, however, is a huge assumption; one that can lead to tremendous fear–such as that which we are witnessing with regard to a certain virus.

Could it be that the masses have it backward; and that sages, saints, and rishis from time immemorial are correct? Could it be that your body (which we can only know through consciousness) is actually a product of mind (the creator of everything) and that any concern for the demise of the body-mind is actually fear related to death of an illusion. This–right now–is the illusion. It is, indeed, a dream within a dream. Consciousness (some would call it God) creates objects and worlds and persons through the power of Maya, which is loosely translated as illusion. Human forms are part and parcel of that illusion. What’s Real is the eternal Awareness through which we know our seemingly personal body-mind. There is nothing to fear. If you’d like to learn more about this subject, you might enjoy this presentation by Leo from Actualized.org.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

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,

Art

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,

Art

Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell