Friday, August 2, 2013


... was my birthday.  Double sevens.  Equals fourteen, as my grandson Joe noted in a birthday email; and added "STUPENDOUS"!  Also "AMAZING" and "ASTOUNDING"!--all adjectives that seem appropriate to the number in question.  I had telephone wishes from all my grown up "children" in Harpenden, England, Coralville, Iowa, and Highland Park, Los Angeles, respectively; and emails from all my grandchildren.  I had a Skype conversation with my sister, at her home in Cirencester.  None of which, of course, would have been conceivable back in the day when I arrived in this world--on my mother's thirtieth birthday!--in 1936.  My mother would have been a hundred and seven yesterday, had she survived so long.

It IS astounding, what has happened in the course of my lifetime.  Ellie and I were counting, to our dismay, the wars...  There has been an unprecedented surge in the world's population, accompanied by a proportionate decline in the environmental well-being of the planet that we humans share--with an alarmingly declining number of other species.  Television--barely a fledgling at the time of my birth--is ubiquitous, along with the 24/7 news cycle.  Nuclear weapons.  Computers.  Music, at the touch of a finger, anywhere.  Cell phones.  (Pagers, beepers, walkmans, vinyl records, stereo record players, CD players and countless other once essential devices have come and gone.)   We have been to the moon, have landed space vehicles on Mars.  Our knowledge of the universe and our place in it continues to expand.  Polio is vanquished, along with other once prevalent diseases.  We can replace damaged hearts and other limbs.

What we have not learned, as a species, in all our "progress" in these decades, is how to find ways to put our ingenuity to our mutual service; and to avoid those ways that bring only harm upon ourselves and others.  We are a clever species, but alas not yet a wise or benevolent one.  I am reading a book, at this moment, that takes an optimistic view of our ability to change in time to save us from ourselves.  It is called The Global Heart Awakens, and it is written by Anodea Judith, a long time student and practitioner of the chakra system.  Her subtitle is "Humanity's Rite of Passage from the Love of Power to the Power of Love," and she argues for a world-wide growth from our current adolescent state of being, through the heart chakra, to the kind of adult consciousness that will allow us to turn our remarkably evolved brains to mutual benefit rather than destruction.

It's a seductive argument, and Judith presents it with an impressive command of the facts surrounding our current self-induced predicament and a persuasive view of our potential for growth and change.  As I say, I'm currently reading her book, and find myself caught between my rational pessimism and the aspirations of my own heart and consciousness.  I hope that Judith will manage to move me over into her corner of belief.  It's one--and I have noted this in The Buddha Diaries before now--that she shares with my sister, and indeed with many others more advanced along this path than I: that our capacity for compassion and consciousness as a species will in time win out over our greed, desire, and delusion.  For myself, this remains more of a hope than a conviction.

Anyway, 77 is an auspicious number, no?  Two sevens, adjacent to each other, what could be better?  (My telephone number, though, ends with a rather less auspicious 666: the devil's number, I've been told.  Don't call me up!)  I googled "numerology 7" on the Internet and found the following:
The number 7 is the seeker, the thinker, the searcher of Truth (notice the capital "T"). The 7 doesn't take anything at face value -- it is always trying to understand the underlying, hidden truths. The 7 knows that nothing is exactly as it seems and that reality is often hidden behind illusions.
Okay, sounds good.   Sounds like who I like to think myself to be.  I also discovered that "The essence of the 7 symbolizes our struggle, as humans, to know and understand."  Which is pretty much what I've been talking about.

Metta to all!  May it be a propitious year for all of us!

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