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I've been thinking about 'LIFE' for the past few years. A good bit
of reading (accompanied by less understanding than I would like),
many false starts in developing any true philosophy of life, and
more questions than answers.

Here are a few of the sources for my thoughts, and some of the
questions that they provoked. Suggestions and comments welcome.

Books (in no particular order)
Golf in the Kingdom - Michael Murphy
The game of golf is a microcosm of life. The form of the game, the
emotions produced during play, the variety of people who play
steadfastly and compellingly. Golf can provide an entree to our
spiritual reality.

The Legend of Bagger Vance - Steven Pressfield
Another 'zen golf' study. See above. A more enjoyable read.

Seat of the Soul - Gary Zukav
A somewhat simplistic view of secular life and spiritual possibilities

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
A slice of life in early 1800s England. Many well defined
characters, exhibiting most of the best and worst of humanity. A
study of two good people, slightly flawed, who through their
interaction remediate their shortcomings, fall in love and live happily
ever after. Austen's best, and one of my favorites.

The Dancing Wu-Li Masters - Gary Zukav
Modern physics vs. spirituality. Excellent.

The Celestine Prophecy - James Redfield
A spiritual journey.

The Power of Silence (and others) - Carlos Castenada
I don't really understand ( or resonate to) this. My psychologist
son's favorite author. Where did I go wrong?

Journey into Healing - Deepak Chopra
Helpful during a period of loss and grief. The message: things are
the way they are supposed to be.

A Brief History of Everything - Ken Wilber
A new language and a complex structure of secular vs. spiritual. I
think there's something here but don't have the background to
appreciate it.

Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment - Thaddeus Golas
Read years ago. I don't remember it. Short though.

Tao of Pooh - Hoff, Benjamin
Mostly fluff, appealing to our love of Pooh.

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind - Suzuki, Shunryu
I didn't understand this.

The Rubaiyat - Omar Khayyam
Random thoughts put to beautiful verse. Fate is king here and we
have little control over our lives. A few hopeful quatrains though.

There's No Such Place as Faraway (and others) - Bach, Richard
Thought provoking. Entertaining. Short.

Brief History of Time - Hawking, Stephen
The cosmos described in (mostly) layman's terms.

Chaos - Gleick, James
Excellent set of (easily understood) mathematical subjects
illustrating infinite progression and our misunderstanding of what is
deterministic and what is not.

Dune Series - Herbert, Frank
Foundation Trilogy - Asimov, Isaac
New worlds, new concepts of civilization. Class sci-fi.

Robert B. Parker (Spenser novels)
John D. MacDonald (Travis McGee novels)
Louis L'Amour (Sackett novels)
Zane Grey (Western novels)
Lonesome Dove - McMurtry, Larry
Interesting characterizations. Personal character is king here, and
the players have unique concepts of life and how it should be lived.

Greatest Generation - Brokaw, Tom
WW II in America. Case studies of personal growth and sacrifice.

Connections - Burke, James
Inventions and discoveries over the ages. A rationale for the order
in which they occurred. Interesting historical discussions.

Vital Lies, Simple Truths - Goleman, Daniel
Human psychology. Why we close our minds to certain realities.

Waking Up - Tart, Charles T.
Psychology. Overcoming our conditioning. This book and the one
above are must reading.

A few quotations that relate to LIFE and character
To be what we are, and to become what we are
capable of becoming, is the only end of life.
--Robert Louis Stevenson, "Of Men and Books," 1882

Wizard/master: Conan, what is best in life?
Conan: Crush your enemies. See them driven before you.
And to hear the lamentation of their women.

I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to
succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have.
-- Abraham Lincoln

My life goes on in endless song.
-- Eva Cassidy, 'Eva by Heart' audio album

Live as though you'll die tomorrow. Learn as though you'll live
-- Ghandi

Get busy living or get busy dying.
-- Andy Dufresne, from the movie 'Shawshank Redemption'

Courage is the price that life extracts for granting peace.
-- Amelia Earhart

The distinction between past, present, and future is only a
stubbornly persistent illusion.
-- Albert Einstein

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same
river and he's not the same man.
-- Heraclitus

Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another.
-- Juvenal

Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over
to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will
suddenly know everything there is to be known.
-- Winnie the Pooh

Come to the edge, He said.
They said, We are afraid.
Come to the edge, He said.
They came.
He pushed them...and they flew.
-- Guillaume Apollinaire

Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.
-- Thomas La Mance, John Lennon

Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes to us at
midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and puts itself in
our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday.
-- John Wayne

Life is the childhood of our immortality.
-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Napoleon: You have written this huge book on the system of the
world without once mentioning the author of the universe.
Laplace: Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis.
Lagrange (later, when told by Napoleon about the incident): Ah, but
that is a fine hypothesis. It explains so many things.
-- Pierre-Simon de Laplace (1749 - 1827)

Honor isn't about making the right choices. It's about dealing with
the consequences.
-- Midori Koto

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that's the stuff
life is made of.
-- Benjamin Franklin from 'Poor Richard's Almanac'

Between the wish and the thing, life lies waiting.
-- unknown

Life is not separate from death. It only looks that way.
Native American Proverb (Blackfoot)

Random Thoughts
1. Time seems to be central to our secular existence. Believing that
the past is gone and the future is a promise to no one, we are
counseled to live in the present. Work hard, have fun, and prepare
for the future, while at the same time giving due consideration to
history and circumstance (e.g. It does not do to leave a live dragon
out of your calculations, if you live near him. -- J. R. R. Tolkien).

But is time really so immutable? We've all experienced instances
where time seems to slow and there is increased clarity in our
surroundings. This happens frequently in sports. Athletes describe
it as being in the 'zone' (there are many variations of this). What if
we can slow, or even stop time? Do we move to another dimension, a
spiritual dimension? Does time disappear entirely when we enter our
'immortality' (von Goethe quotation above)? If sufficiently
enlightened can we experience this state on demand? Are we
surrounded by, but unaware of beings who have this ability? Are
these beings advanced forms of humanity or another race entirely?

2. Is our life (perhaps more than one since 80 or so years is a rather
short time within which to absorb the great truths) simply a learning
period? Is our universe a kind of 'matrix' provided for our
training? What is real? What is the meaning of life? ('The
universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to
grow sharper.' -- Eden Phillpots)


She don't seem to take an interest in anything, ma'am. She never
pretends company's coming, nor fixes up for it, nor nothing, ma'am.
It's only when you come she seems to CHIRK UP a bit.
-- Lucy Maud Montgomery, from 'Anne of Avonlea'

My glass is half full (my engineer son - always optimizing - suggests
using a smaller one)

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