Sunday, February 24, 2013


A marvelous session, yesterday morning, at Phyllis Lutjeans' Art Crowd gathering in Irvine.  Phyllis has been inviting guests from the art world for years for these Saturday morning meetings, attracting a good number of enthusiasts to hear and discuss some of the ideas that are current in our culture.  This was my third time as an invited speaker, and it afforded me the opportunity to reflect at leisure about the origins of One Hour/One Painting and Slow Looking.  What struck me, again, was not only the level of cultural interest and awareness, but also the heart-felt quality of the dialogue in this group.  I came away with that very special feeling of having had the opportunity to make some real connection, to have touched and been touched by my fellow human beings.  There's nothing I know that's more gratifying than this feeling.  It puts everything I do into a perspective that leaves me feeling right about the work I choose to do.  And that includes The Buddha Diaries!

Speaking of heart connection...  and also yesterday: I had an urgent email from my sister, Flora, who lives across the pond, in England.  As TBD readers know from earlier entries, she is more optimistic than I about the future of our species, believing steadfastly that a powerful paradigm shift will change the way we humans live with each other and our fellow beings on the planet that our greed and folly risk destroying.  Flora's email told me of this "must-see" film, I Am, made by the comedian/director Tom Shadyac--so last night we rented it.  And I agree, it's a must-see.  I had not heard of it before, and I suspect that it has remained under the radar for too long.  It certainly ranks with Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth (no matter its hyperbole) as being an important and urgent message to those of us who yet remain oblivious to, or in denial of the effects of the hyperactive human species on the plant that we share.

Shadyac's movie came about as the result of an accident that nearly took his life and left him sdeeking the answers to two questions: What's wrong with the world, and what can we do about it?  In the course of interviews with leaders in scientific, philosophical and religious thought, he comes to believe that it's the notion of separation that is at the root of what ails us, and the spirit of aggressive competition that we take for granted as our nature through what many believe to be a misunderstanding of Darwinian thought.  Human "nature," the film argues, and the welfare of our species, are more about cooperation and mutual action than individual need and competition.  New science supports the theory that the universe is One, that each part of it--including ourselves--is interdependent.  Heart-knowledge, iT further suggests, is more powerful and central to our understanding of the world--and of each other--than brain-knowledge, and compassion is our birthright.  We thrive when we project love rather than mistrust and hatred.

As if we aspiring Buddhists didn't know that!  What's wrong with the world: "I Am."  And what's the way to fix what's wrong? "I Am."  This is a truly marvelous film, and one that opens the door to greater compassion and happiness for those who choose to seek share these qualities in their lives.  Please, if you haven't, see it.  If you have, you'll want to join me in helping to spread the word.

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