control

Returning from Alaska

Returning from an Alaskan retreat, I am different.

Nothing earth shattering and most likely not noticeable to most people I come into contact with.

Back home, the sky has not changed, the trees stand tall against the summer blue, and the grass is coarse from overdue rain.

Obligations, bills, demands, job – waited at the front door for the week to pass and my return.

Emails arrive in the overflowing inbox and the phone still rings.

Lines form at registers waiting for morning coffee.

But something is different.

I left here in a chaotic state, doubts of the pathway I built and have stayed on, despite the uncertainty. I was clinging to the next day or week, hoping that it will be different from today, that if I just hold-out, the answers and next direction will reveal themselves.  I had become complacent and stagnant.

How many years was I going to relinquish control of my path to outside forces with unknown names and unfamiliar faces?

Something is different now that my feet are on the ground here. What happened up there in the Alaskan wilderness?

I walk to the backyard and stand on the cement patio with coffee.  The morning sun rays begin to touch treetops and the golden glow is stark against the deep blue sky.  But I do not see this and I do not hear the ravens playing in the fields beyond the hill.

Lost in some thought I cannot place, my eyes close and I am back in Alaska with a river stretching to the base of distant mountains.  I am flying above glaciers and standing so close I can taste the cold.  I am riding an ATV through forest and open fields until I stand overlooking the river valley and and lose myself to the silence, the beauty, and the immense landscape.

That is what I see now that I am back home.  Now that I have returned from an Alaskan retreat, the burdens I left here with have been replaced with nature, tangible things I can see, touch, smell, taste.  Things that will my mind and push everything else out.  In return for this gift, I am more silent, thinking before I speak, and keeping more calm and control of myself as I attempt to cope with the present and push for a different future that I create.

 

Article – The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

Article from MIT Technology review.  It seems we will need to develop AI to control and understand AI.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/604087/the-dark-secret-at-the-heart-of-ai/

Intelligent Machines

The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

No one really knows how the most advanced algorithms do what they do. That could be a problem.

by Will Knight April 11, 2017

Time’s Plan

Another year on the calendar has passed and we celebrate. A celebration of accomplishments and of moving beyond events and moments we wish to forget and gain distance between.

But time has a plan for us. In the day-to-day scheme of life and the normal cycle, time is always moving forward. Ticking away at the same pace, always giving us 24 hours in each day to accomplish whatever we need to take care of. However, as a certain unit of time passes and in specific moments, we feel that time is going more slowly or more quickly. Does time change, or are we capable of controlling time, wrestling it back onto our path, the direction and plan we desire to follow?

I think at the end of each day, we and time set aside our differences, rest, and vow to continue the battle the next day. But what are we fighting for? What is our plan driving our actions, desiring some result, barreling toward some endgame? And what is left behind, what are the consequences, and who is impacted by our sphere of influence?

Regardless of time’s plan, and no matter what we do and the struggle we exert, time will visit each of us.

What we can do during the time we have, is to strive to become a better human than we were yesterday. To realize the sphere of influence we have on each other, and to make the most positive actions and results we can with the precious time we are given.

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Poem – Time

Every day is a battle
to find more or slow down or move faster.

Yet time is not aware of our desires
and continues in one steady direction.

The very definition of time is based on
processes and natural events occurring

millions of miles beyond the grasp
of worn and tired hands.

Yet we continue to pin our decisions,
our careers, our relationships, and our lives on time.

We lose focus on now as we reminisce of the past
and wish for the future.

We forget how precious time can be
if we choose to accept our loss of control.

We can only control the present, the people,
and the moments we hold close.

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Poem – The Physical Manifestation of the Mind, Part 3

In
a deep fog,
a wakeful sleep,
a field lit by ten-thousand lanterns
reflects the chaotic sky passing
through different sets of reality,
a physical manifestation of the
struggle, of the storm taking hold.

In
this clear moment,
a disconnected view of what is true
I let go of attachment and emotion
and take hold of my thoughts and actions.

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Poem – Mirror

The mirror is still and silent.
The mirror has no voice.

The mirror follows me
neither of us has a choice.

I watch myself
watching me.

The mirror reflects the sky
reflecting the sea.

Passing time has brought
changes and distance

the face grey with wrinkles
this person makes less sense.

How did I get here
where do I desire to go?

If the mirror is my reflection
what more must I show?

Poem – What I Create

When the silence falls,
Like a rock over the cliff
They come back to me
Thoughts I cannot control
Thoughts I cannot stop.

I fear silence
The absence of being
Exemplified by nothingness
Leaving me alone with my thoughts,
Nothing there to block
Nothing there to stop
They run wild
Filling my mind with worlds not yet seen
Or my past.

I fear the sound of deafness
The enclosed world
Surrounding your mind
Cradling your thoughts
Pulling strings

I spend time alone
Clear my thoughts, put them away
To rest
A soft sigh emerges from my lips
A silent sigh escapes my mind
And then they arrive.

A rolling tundra, not yet mapped
The wind blows fiercely from the West
I hear vividly the howling
I look around, no one else hears, what I hear.

Stumbling along an etched path
Littered to either side by carnage
One last grasp before the end
One last step before Heaven.

I pause
I inhale
I exhale
The sweet smell of apple pie
Not just any, mom’s apple pie.

My head spinning, wind from the West,
Signaling my way home
I run with one thought
Feet into miles, miles into a marathon.

On Paths

The following is the introduction I wrote for the Spring 2014 issue of Stone Path Review.


Welcome to the Spring 2014 issue of Stone Path Review. Our primary mission is to present art that delves into life and path in life, the route and direction we take, and the struggle and triumph we all endure. The path is often dark before the full light emerges.

Where we are going and what tomorrow will look like is rarely known today. Sometimes tomorrow arrives, and we wonder how did I get here. There are many variables and external influences pushing and pulling against you. These directly affect what constitutes that path, and what tomorrow will contain.

That path, that thread, is often dark. Comprised of a myriad of emotions it saturates the mind, filling the soul, and pushes us to breaking points that we are unaware of. When we get through the experience, what happens next is essential in determining where this leads, as the path we are on is never static. It is constantly changing in response to our state of being, the environment we are within, and how we respond to that environment.

Across the distance, from where I sit in a rocking chair, the space is full with trees, hills, small valleys, and marshland. I tell myself I can touch the sun. I convince myself there is no distance and there is no time. Such is the path I attempt to define while mired in the daily chaos I struggle to avoid.

The path we travel is toward something. It can be anything we seek to attain or obtain from this limited time we have chosen. Here I call this the source, or a bright light. Some schools of thought call this enlightenment or salvation. The end goal seeks to be the culmination of our experiences and a reason for what we have endured. It is a light in the distance, where no straight path or direct route exists, but it shines regardless.

Each day filled with doubt, loneliness, or a sense of loss or purpose. The path is stormy and there never seems to be enough time to reach the source before the sun disappears and the day is over. And this begins again the next day as we continue to navigate that path – sometimes not realizing the answers we are looking for have quietly entered our mind and our being.

Even when we see the light and feel good about the direction there are storms building. Perhaps we do not believe the goodness, even in small doses, a lotus growing in middle of a burned field. There seems to be something hiding and lurking in the background. While it is simple to look the other way and ignore what is still an opportunity, these challenges further the growing experience building the person you are now and will become shortly, as each second passes.

What is most important is how we respond and react to each moment and what we want from this limited time – this determines the shape and direction of our path.

There is goodness and light beyond the dark. There is something more beyond what we see now and we can make it through knowing this. The more we experience gives more options as we choose pieces to keep in building the person within and the path to follow. The more positive the path becomes, the more positive the impact on people and nature around us.

Essay – Paths and Questions

How do we know if the path we are following is meant for us, and is not someone else playing tricks on our consciousness? Can our awareness be tricked, and an outside system is leading us elsewhere? How is awareness bred to be on our own best interest, and work for us, and not be allowed to work against us?

Perhaps awareness is the first layer that takes in the environment, filters what is happening, and hands off the information to your instincts. Instincts are ingrained in the mind and follow moral and ethical rules of right versus wrong. And herein differentiates the users of good versus bad.

What is to believe within science? Is science just another belief system handed down from other purported experts? Is there still only one truth? What happens when/if we discover the God Particle, and the unified/single theory of everything? Is our search over, and there still mysteries out there to pursue? What if we become bored?

What are the rules of existence? What governs them? Is it purely based on atoms, the sub-atomic, and by extension, quantum mechanics?

Assuming land masses were connected at some point, and then diverged, what process started it, or put another way, what did they become aware of?

What is reality? Is one reality different from another event with the same exact variables? Are there two systems in play – the observer and the observed, and they operate independently of one another? The mere fact that you are observing, influences the experience. How much and to what degree cannot be predicted, but is within a probability?

By being there in that space, you bring with you energy and mass, that will then push the space in all directions. This field exerts force upon what is being observed, at the atomic level, and changes what is being observed. By the time you observe something it has already changed.


Of Religion, Spirituality, and Nothing

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Whatever your belief or non-belief (to say you believe in nothing is still a belief system); whatever deity or non-deity you look toward for guidance, comfort, or even out of a sense of obligation, is a personal choice. It is a choice that no other person, group, or government should take from you.

Religion or spirituality should consist of what works for you. What helps you get through each day; what guides you with a strong moral code.

During this time spent with family, friends, strangers, a snow angel, or a cup of coffee, the message of peace, tolerance, and respect becomes loud. Thundering through valleys, from mountaintops, the message is everywhere. But what happens when the celebration comes to an end? What happens when family depart from one another, heading to respective homes before another year passes? Does the message become lost amidst the daily struggle, stress, and other outside influences and obligations? Do we lose our sense of community and connection to others? Do we lose a connection with ourselves?

The questions that should be asked: what brings you peace, what can I do for you, how can I be respectful, how can I show you compassion, how can I understand your beliefs, your point of view, beyond being tolerant.

We should not be asking: how can you believe in that, what good does that belief bring to you. We should not be condemning people who have belief, who believe differently than ourselves, who hold to that belief with conviction.

Wars have consumed our history, plague our present, and muddy the future. And over what? A difference of opinion or belief? An eye and prayer to a different god or deity, or to none at all? Why are we so threatened with what is different, foreign , or unknown? With 10-minutes of respectful listening, we could gain an important and vital understanding of what that belief system means to someone, why they hold dear to those convictions.

Some beliefs are to believe in nothing, that this is all a veil, a system, a programming that consumes the mind and robs the soul of a true existence. To this I say, that veil was created by a lack of respect, a lack of understanding, a lack of self-awareness, of our sphere of influence. The veil further darkened by clinging to suffering and things, becoming lost along a path when the path already exists.

And the way to that path is already known to each person. They just need a way to uncover and bring to the surface its knowledge. Some do this through believing in nothing, others through the religion of their choice, because that is what works for them.