The Open Dimension

Commentary on social issues; politics; religion and spirituality

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Location: Laguna Hills, California, United States

I am a semi-retired psychotherapist/psychiatric social worker and certified hypnotherapist. Originally a practicing attorney, I changed careers during the 1980's. My interests include history, constitutional law, Hindustani classical music, yoga, meditation and spirituality.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Flower of Life


UKRAINIAN EASTER EGGS


Pysanky Ukranian Easter Eggs
Photograph by Luba Petrusha


A pysanka (plural: pysanky) is a Ukrainian Easter egg, decorated with traditional Ukrainian folk designs using a wax-resist (batik) method. The word pysanka comes from the verb pysaty, “to write”, as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax.

Many other eastern European ethnic groups decorate eggs using wax resist for Easter. These include the Belarusians, Bulgarians, Croats, Czechs, Hungarians, Lithuanians, Poles (pisanka), Romanians, Russians, Serbs, Slovaks, Slovenes and Serbs.

Pysanky are typically made to be given to family members and respected outsiders. To give a pysanka is to give a symbolic gift of life, which is why the egg must remain whole. Furthermore, each of the designs and colors on the pysanka is likely to have a deep, symbolic meaning. Traditionally, pysanky designs are chosen to match the character of the person to whom the pysanka is to be given. Typically, pysanky are displayed prominently in a public room of the house.

Ukrainian Icon of St. Nicholas

10 Principles About Life to Look at Every Day.

Via elephantjournal.com

Lanzada | Galicia - España

1. Bad situations in life are only temporary.

“If you are going through hell, keep going.” ~ Winston Churchill
Life is messy—bad things happen to good people. We all face hardships, but what makes us human is the ability to bounce back. We can become more resilient than we did before. Some things happen that we have no control over.
You can find strength in situations that you never thought possible if you just keep moving forward.

2. Be open and compassionate.

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ~ Albert Einstein
Sometime events occur in your life that cause you to close. You assume every situation is going to occur the same way: if you were hurt once, you will be hurt again. This is not true. It’s better to forgive than to hold a grudge.

 3. Things aren’t going to always workout the way you plan.

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few. ” ~ Shunryu Suzuki
Don’t approach life with expectations of how things should or shouldn’t be. So many conflicts in life occur because someone is attached to a plan on how things should or shouldn’t work.
It’s alright to have goals, aspirations and dreams, but you don’t have to be set on a particular outcome. Sometimes the worst tragedies in people’s life turn out to be the best.

 4. People’s opinions of you are not who you are.

 “If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” ~ Paulo Coelho
Some people might say terrible things to you—who cares!? They might make a comment on your work, or your blog post. There’s no reason you need internalize it. Some people aren’t conscious of the things they say to people. So just be compassionate towards them.

 5. You’re going to fail at things.

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Fail, fail and fail some more. Find inspiration in children, how many times does a child fail before they get something right, children are constantly trying new things and failing. Learn from them!
Go out and try new things! No one has ever been good at something without failing.

 6. Find a reason to laugh every day.

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” ~ Charlie Chaplin
I think there is no greater mood lifter than to find a way to laugh every day. Find people every day to have a good laugh with.

 7. Some days are good; some days are bad.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them—that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ~ Lao Tzu
I one time was in line at a bank, and I heard something that changed my life. The clerk said to a customer, “How’s business?” The customer responded, “Some days good, some days bad.” Then the customer smiled.
You’re not your car; you’re not your fear; you’re not your feelings. Some days you will have good feelings, some days you will have bad feelings.

8. Do what you love every day.

“Let yourself be drawn by the stronger pull of that which you truly love.” ~ Rumi
If you’re a writer, do it every day. If you’re a musician, do it every day. If you’re an actor, do it every day. If you’re a bobsledder, do it every day.
Whatever you like to do—just do it. But make sure you do it every day. Because if you do it every day you’ll become good at it, and when you’re good at something you can make a living out of it, if you decide to.
Who do you need permission from—your friends? This is not their life. This is your life. Do what you love to do.

9. Find some time to do some meditation.

“I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.” ~ Gandhi
I don’t care if you hate spirituality and you think meditation is for people that live on top of a mountain and eat plants. You might just feel better if you take some time throughout the day to close your eyes and check in with your breathing.
If you think meditation is weird—that’s your opinion—it doesn’t mean it’s right. There are over 3,000 studies on the effects of meditation and over 2,500 years of Eastern philosophy behind it. I don’t understand why everyone in the world doesn’t at least try meditation. I think the world would be a better place.

 10. Be a rebel—with a cause.

“I rebel; therefore I exist.” ~ Albert Camus
Break the rules. Who cares?! Don’t get arrested or doing anything illegal, but it’s alright to break the rules. Anyone who ever did anything worth doing was a trouble maker. Steve Jobs—trouble maker. Albert Einstein—trouble maker. Amelia Earhart—trouble maker. It’s alright to be a troublemaker and break free from the status quo.

Friday, July 11, 2014


Sunday, June 29, 2014



" We do not have to visit a madhouse to
find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution
of the universe."

-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe-

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Buddha Shakyamuni


Tuesday, June 03, 2014

View of The Alhambra, Sevilla, Spain


Noam Chomsky: A Surveillance State Beyond Imagination Is Being Created in One of the World's Freest Countries

 
A White House lawyer seems determined to demolish our civil liberties.
 
 
In the past several months, we have been provided with instructive lessons on the nature of state power and the forces that drive state policy. And on a closely related matter: the subtle, differentiated concept of transparency.

The source of the instruction, of course, is the trove of documents about the National Security Agency surveillance system released by the courageous fighter for freedom Edward J. Snowden, expertly summarized and analyzed by his collaborator Glenn Greenwald in his new book, "No Place to Hide."

The documents unveil a remarkable project to expose to state scrutiny vital information about every person who falls within the grasp of the colossus - in principle, every person linked to the modern electronic society.

Nothing so ambitious was imagined by the dystopian prophets of grim totalitarian worlds ahead.
It is of no slight import that the project is being executed in one of the freest countries in the world, and in radical violation of the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights, which protects citizens from "unreasonable searches and seizures," and guarantees the privacy of their "persons, houses, papers and effects."

Much as government lawyers may try, there is no way to reconcile these principles with the assault on the population revealed in the Snowden documents.

It is also well to remember that defense of the fundamental right to privacy helped to spark the American Revolution. In the 18th century, the tyrant was the British government, which claimed the right to intrude freely into the homes and personal lives of American colonists. Today it is American citizens' own government that abrogates to itself this authority.

Britain retains the stance that drove the colonists to rebellion, though on a more restricted scale, as power has shifted in world affairs. The British government has called on the NSA "to analyse and retain any British citizens' mobile phone and fax numbers, emails and IP addresses, swept up by its dragnet," The Guardian reports, working from documents provided by Snowden.

British citizens (like other international customers) will also doubtless be pleased to learn that the NSA routinely receives or intercepts routers, servers and other computer network devices exported from the United States so that it can implant surveillance tools, as Greenwald reports in his book.
As the colossus fulfills its visions, in principle every keystroke might be sent to President Obama's huge and expanding databases in Utah.

In other ways too, the constitutional lawyer in the White House seems determined to demolish the foundations of our civil liberties. The principle of the presumption of innocence, which dates back to Magna Carta 800 years ago, has long been dismissed to oblivion.

Recently The New York Times reported the "anguish" of a federal judge who had to decide whether to allow the force-feeding of a Syrian prisoner who is on a hunger strike to protest his imprisonment.
No "anguish" was expressed over the fact that he has been held without trial for 12 years in Guantanamo, one of many victims of the leader of the Free World, who claims the right to hold prisoners without charges and to subject them to torture.

These exposures lead us to inquire into state policy more generally and the factors that drive it. The received standard version is that the primary goal of policy is security and defense against enemies.
The doctrine at once suggests a few questions: security for whom, and defense against which enemies? The answers are highlighted dramatically by the Snowden revelations.

Policy must assure the security of state authority and concentrations of domestic power, defending them from a frightening enemy: the domestic population, which can become a great danger if not controlled.

It has long been understood that information about the enemy makes a critical contribution to controlling it. In that regard, Obama has a series of distinguished predecessors, though his contributions have reached unprecedented levels, as we have learned from the work of Snowden, Greenwald and a few others.

To defend state power and private economic power from the domestic enemy, those two entities must be concealed - while in sharp contrast, the enemy must be fully exposed to state authority.
The principle was lucidly explained by the policy intellectual Samuel P. Huntington, who instructed us that "Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight it begins to evaporate."

Huntington added a crucial illustration. In his words, "you may have to sell [intervention or other military action] in such a way as to create the misimpression that it is the Soviet Union that you are fighting. That is what the United States has been doing ever since the Truman Doctrine" at the outset of the Cold War.

Huntington's insight into state power and policy was both accurate and prescient. As he wrote these words in 1981, the Reagan administration was launching its war on terror - which quickly became a murderous and brutal terrorist war, primarily in Central America, but extending well beyond to southern Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

From that day forward, in order to carry out violence and subversion abroad, or repression and violation of fundamental rights at home, state power has regularly sought to create the misimpression that it is terrorists that we are fighting, though there are other options: drug lords, mad mullahs seeking nuclear weapons, and other ogres said to be seeking to attack and destroy us.

Throughout, the basic principle remains: Power must not be exposed to the sunlight. Edward Snowden has become the most wanted criminal in the world for failing to comprehend this essential maxim.

In brief, there must be complete transparency for the population, but none for the powers that must defend themselves from this fearsome internal enemy.
 

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Golden Buddha Statue, Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya


Friday, May 30, 2014



May 30, 2014, OpEdNews.COM

Daniel Ellsberg: Snowden would not get a fair trial -- and Kerry is wrong
 
By Daniel Ellsberg

Nothing excuses Kerry's slanderous and despicable characterizations of a young man who, in my opinion, has done more than anyone in or out of government in this century to demonstrate his patriotism, moral courage and loyalty to the oath of office the three of us swore: to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.::::::::
Cross-posted from The Guardian

Edward Snowden is the greatest patriot whistleblower of our time, and he knows what I learned more than four decades ago: until the Espionage Act gets reformed, he can never come home safe and receive justice
snowden nbc interview

John Kerry was in my mind Wednesday morning, and not because he had called me a patriot on NBC News. I was reading the lead story in the New York Times -- "US Troops to Leave Afghanistan by End of 2016" -- with a photo of American soldiers looking for caves. I recalled not the Secretary of State but a 27-year-old Kerry, asking, as he testified to the Senate about the US troops who were still in Vietnam and were to remain for another two years: How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?
I wondered how a 70-year-old Kerry would relate to that question as he looked at that picture and that headline. And then there he was on MSNBC an hour later, thinking about me, too, during a round of interviews about Afghanistan that inevitably turned to Edward Snowden ahead of my fellow whistleblower's own primetime interview that night:
"There are many a patriot -- you can go back to the Pentagon Papers with Dan Ellsberg and others who stood and went to the court system of America and made their case. Edward Snowden is a coward, he is a traitor, and he has betrayed his country. And if he wants to come home tomorrow to face the music, he can do so."
On the Today show and CBS, Kerry complimented me again -- and said Snowden "should man up and come back to the United States" to face charges. But John Kerry is wrong, because that's not the measure of patriotism when it comes to whistleblowing, for me or Snowden, who is facing the same criminal charges I did for exposing the Pentagon Papers.
As Snowden told Brian Williams on NBC later that night and Snowden's lawyer told me the next morning, he would have no chance whatsoever to come home and make his case -- in public or in court.

Snowden would come back home to a jail cell -- and not just an ordinary cell-block but isolation in solitary confinement, not just for months like Chelsea Manning but for the rest of his sentence, and probably the rest of his life. His legal adviser, Ben Wizner, told me that he estimates Snowden's chance of being allowed out on bail as zero. (I was out on bond, speaking against the Vietnam war, the whole 23 months I was under indictment).

More importantly, the current state of whistleblowing prosecutions under the Espionage Act makes a truly fair trial wholly unavailable to an American who has exposed classified wrongdoing. Legal scholars have strongly argued that the US supreme court -- which has never yet addressed the constitutionality of applying the Espionage Act to leaks to the American public -- should find the use of it overbroad and unconstitutional in the absence of a public interest defense. The Espionage Act, as applied to whistleblowers, violates the First Amendment, is what they're saying.

As I know from my own case, even Snowden's own testimony on the stand would be gagged by government objections and the (arguably unconstitutional) nature of his charges. That was my own experience in court, as the first American to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act -- or any other statute -- for giving information to the American people.

I had looked forward to offering a fuller account in my trial than I had given previously to any journalist -- any Glenn Greenwald or Brian Williams of my time -- as to the considerations that led me to copy and distribute thousands of pages of top-secret documents. I had saved many details until I could present them on the stand, under oath, just as a young John Kerry had delivered his strongest lines in sworn testimony.

But when I finally heard my lawyer ask the prearranged question in direct examination -- Why did you copy the Pentagon Papers? -- I was silenced before I could begin to answer. The government prosecutor objected --irrelevant -- and the judge sustained. My lawyer, exasperated, said he "had never heard of a case where a defendant was not permitted to tell the jury why he did what he did." The judge responded: "well, you're hearing one now."

And so it has been with every subsequent whistleblower under indictment, and so it would be if Edward Snowden was on trial in an American courtroom now.

Indeed, in recent years, the silencing effect of the Espionage Act has only become worse. The other NSA whistleblower prosecuted, Thomas Drake, was barred from uttering the words "whistleblowing" and "overclassification" in his trial. (Thankfully, the Justice Department's case fell apart one day before it was to begin). In the recent case of the State Department contractor Stephen Kim, the presiding judge ruled the prosecution "need not show that the information he allegedly leaked could damage US national security or benefit a foreign power, even potentially."

We saw this entire scenario play out last summer in the trial of Chelsea Manning. The military judge in that case did not let Manning or her lawyer argue her intent, the lack of damage to the US, overclassification of the cables or the benefits of the leaks ... until she was already found guilty.
Without reform to the Espionage Act that lets a court hear a public interest defense -- or a challenge to the appropriateness of government secrecy in each particular case -- Snowden and future Snowdens can and will only be able to "make their case" from outside the United States.

As I know from direct chat-log conversations with him over the past year, Snowden acted in full knowledge of the constitutionally questionable efforts of the Obama administration, in particular, to use the Espionage Act in a way it was never intended by Congress: as the equivalent of a British-type Official Secrets Act criminalizing any and all unauthorized release of classified information. (Congress has repeatedly rejected proposals for such an act as violating the First Amendment protections of free speech and a free press; the one exception to that was vetoed by President Clinton in November 2000, on constitutional grounds.)

John Kerry's challenge to Snowden to return and face trial is either disingenuous or simply ignorant that current prosecutions under the Espionage Act allow no distinction whatever between a patriotic whistleblower and a spy. Either way, nothing excuses Kerry's slanderous and despicable characterizations of a young man who, in my opinion, has done more than anyone in or out of government in this century to demonstrate his patriotism, moral courage and loyalty to the oath of office the three of us swore: to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.