Author: jrcowles

Ice Cream Koans And Enlightenment

Ice Cream Koans And Enlightenment

Uncategorized
After by-now-70-plus years of reflecting and meditating – at times even agonizing – about the issue, I have come to the conclusion in my “twilight years” that the vast, vast, vast, vast majority of the time we spend in religious observance / activity consists of an at-times-frantic, gut-busting effort to go where we already are. In fact, an effort to go, not only where we already are, but to go where we cannot not be, simply because there is nowhere – and no-when – else to be. We spin our wheels like a car mired in quicksand. At least, that is where I spent most of the last 55 years or so as a religious believer. Do I, like the Delphic oracle, make myself sufficiently obscure? If so, please allow me to clarify. If that first sentence of the first paragraph sounds nihilistic … well
Going Steady With Buddhism

Going Steady With Buddhism

"Life" Issues, affirmation/s, Atheism, autonomy, awareness, Buddhism, Challenge, Change, Christianity, contemplation, critical judgment, God, inner peace, liberation, meditation, Mystery, spiritual growth, spiritual practice, The Divine, Uncategorized, way of life
What follows is strictly and exclusively based on my experience and should in no way or to any extent whatsoever be interpreted as normative for others. I am speaking of and for myself here, no one else. Nor should anything I say be interpreted as a critique of Christianity, the tradition I was raised in and that I followed for about 55 of my 70 years. Whatever critique I have of Christianity is strictly and exclusively a critique of Christianity in relation to my thought, life, and experience, no one else’s. That said … I am pretty sure I am in the process – it is a process – of becoming a practicing Buddhist. I have been flirting around the edges of Buddhism for some time, studying Buddhist texts, reading books by, e.g., Alan Watts, D. T. Suzuki, Thich Nhat Hanh, et al. And all t
Mourning “Mad”

Mourning “Mad”

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Mad Magazine is no more … a moment of silence, please … I grew up with Mad during the days immediately preceding puberty and into early puberty. The magazine was wonderfully iconoclastic for a kid who was confined by the suffocating strictures of hyper-fundamentalist Christianity – the church I grew up in thought Billy Graham was a dangerous liberal because he talked with the Pope occasionally … seriously! – and parents with a grossly over-developed respect for sheer authority, especially church authority. Basically, my adolescence was eerily similar to what I imagine people go through who live in North Korea – constantly under surveillance, allowed almost no individual freedom, perpetually evaluated by the fundamentalist God (the Celestial Kim Jong Hoozis du jour), etc., etc.