Saturday, June 16, 2018

That's Saul Folks Grows

My dear friend Dennis Pultinas took one of my poems and greatly enlarged it with commentary for the occassion of his and his wife Allison's son Victor's marriage to Jenna in upstate N.Y. June 9. Dennis took it and put the poem into being a part of an active practice. Also, his brother Ray edited the poem - pointing out that no, Paul was not on his way to Antioch but was Damascus bound when his horse went down. - Jack


That's Saul Folks
To open our hearts to grace
as we develop the habit
on the road
to speak in prayer with creation every day
that we are given.

The horse breaks down
on the road to Damascus
looking for a new way of being
and living in the world
changing focus from world to being with the Lord
and hearing the voice of creation
he is no Houdini but
Creation wants us
to open our hearts to grace
Thats Saul folks

To open our hearts to grace
as we develop the habit
on the road
to speak in prayer with creation every day
That we are given -   Jack Vaughan


How do we open our hearts to grace to speak in prayer with creation? 

If we are on a horse look out because we have to stop and change focus from the world to the Lord.  So, stay on the horse.  It’s just a pause to breathe.

To be with the Lord we have to hear the voice of creation.  We touch the Lord through what comes from him – His creation.  Of course, creation includes us.  We are made up of body, mind, and breath.

“Yahweh God fashioned man of dust from the soil.  Then He breathed into his nostrils a breath of life, and thus man became a living being”. Genesis 2:7

The breath of God can be thought of as the Spirit, or Holy Spirit.  In Hebrew, breath of God is translated by the word ‘Ruach’.  Ruach is both ‘wind’, or ‘breath’, but neither is understood as essence; rather it is the power encountered in the breath and the wind, whose whence and wither remains mysterious.

Grace is the energy of the awareness of our life, as part of creation, in the present moment.  It is not intellectual knowing.  It is experiencing directly.

When are with the Lord we feel a sense of grace.  We are accepted just as we are.

So how do we open our hearts to grace to speak, and listen, in prayer with creation?
Perhaps the answer is to notice our breath. It is here.  It is now.
It comes from God to his creation and sustains our life

So, let us pray; let us breathe.

Lets start by coming fully into this moment.  Not in an imagined moment in the future or in thought or worry about the past.  To be in this moment we have to stop our doing-self, and just be present with our body as well as with our mind in this moment.
As we sit and stand here.  How do I get mind and body together to be 100% here?

The conscious breath brings body and mind together again.  One breath at a time.  Right here and now.

So now let’s do some breathing.    We are all pretty good at this.  At least good enough to get by.  Nothing special here.  The breath doesn’t have to be deep.  Doesn’t have to be smooth.  Please don’t judge your breath. 
It helps to have the eyes still, softly focused on some fixed point perhaps on the seat in front of you or the floor.  If you like you can close the eyes.
Where do you notice the breath?
Perhaps the nose, the chest, the belly. 

The instructions are simple and everyone can do this, even children:

Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in.

Breathing out, I know that I am breathing out. 
We can shorten this in our minds to:

In: as we breath in

Out: as we breathe out

So I invite you to notice your breath like this for three or four breaths.  We are focused on the sensations of breathing not the words.  The words are just gateways to direct experience of the breath.

In just a few breaths we become more concentrated on the breath.  Become one with the breath. You are your breath.  No doing just being.

Next instructions:
Breathing in I feel calm.

Breathing in, we give our attention to the breath. 
We feel the calmness for as long as we are breathing in. 
Just as when we drink a cool glass of water, our insides feel cool. 

Breathing out, I smile.
Breathing out we smile to relax all the 300 muscles in our face.  Perhaps just a mental smile…
The smile is the result of feeling calm from our breathing in, and the smile is also a cause that helps us to become relaxed. 
For three breaths I invite you to say in your mind:
Calm:  while inhaling
Smile:  while exhaling

Next instructions:
Breathing in, I dwell in the present moment.
This breath brings us back to the present moment and puts an end to all the attachments we have to the past and all the anxieties we have about the future. 
We are able to dwell peacefully here and now.  With the sense that we are accepted with all our imperfections and incompleteness.
Life is only present in the here and the now.  We have to return to the present moment to touch life. 

Breathing out, it is the most wonderful moment.
This breath helps us to realize the joy of being alive, and puts us in touch with the reality of life, and our connection to others.

For three breaths you may say silently
Present moment:  while inhaling
Wonderful moment:  while exhaling

The present moment can be the most beautiful and wonderful moment if we practice living in an awakened way with the help of our breathing.   We are being with the Lord and listening to and speaking with His creation.
While breathing in and making one step, we allow the light of mindfulness to be lit like a candle in our heart.  Breathing in and making one step, because sometimes it is difficult to take one step.
Victor and Jenna work with earthly apples and grapes.  May they also enjoy the fruits of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness and self-control.  Galatians 5:23

Let us open our hearts to grace
To speak in prayer with creation every day
that we are given.


Friday, June 15, 2018

Hamiltonian Mean Time

Hamilton came out of the West Indies. He was not a Negro. His story had a tinge of the Dickensonian. Reading Hamilton in the portion where he attended the Annapolis convention, the precursor to the constitutional convention. The specter arises of a population that can be aroused by despot.Hamilton so feared the likliness of the despot that he augured for the beneficient kind in terms that seemed monarchical. 

Now to Alexander Hamilton page 232. He goes to the constitutional convention - is very quiet for a long period of time. A discursive period where the two parties - states rightists and federalists - vie, and he, a federalist member of statist delegtion, almost seems to waffle. When he finally speaks, he speaks for six hours straight. His speech shows a yearning for government on par with that of the British. 

He suggests a popularly elected chamber but als one based on something akin to heredity thinly veiled.  It could be said he had some fear of the popular will. It might be surmised his origination as a mistreated outcast from the Caribbean clime caused him to dwell on the darker side of the human populace. 

The convention (but particularly Hamilton)  was perhaps anticipating the French Revolution. The argument he and the founders pursue is one from first principles where architecture is of checks and balances .

Writes Chernow: "Of all the founders, Hamilton probably had the gravest doubts about the wisdom of the masses and wanted elected leaders who would guide them."

"This was the great paradox of his career: his optimistic view of  America's potential coexisted with an essentially pessimistic view of human nature. "

Tho little noted at the time, his constitution convention speech marked him for future abuse. The speech, with its nods to monarchy and filial slavering to Britain, became for his opponents emblematic of a real or secret Hamilton that followed him for the rest of his life. We know the speech through the notes of some of those in attendance, writes Chernow. 

-Jack Vaughan

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Test Pilot

The F-111 was slow, but a death trap. A combination of narrow wings and bulbous body created high wing loading, good for some applications (dirigible interception, drone patrol) but overall lacking in vertical stability. It would stall and roll over and that's if you were lucky. A bottom firing ejector sent many a pilot to an unfortunate grounding. It thus gained such sobriquets as Lawn Dart, Death Tube and Worm Feeder.  The late test pilot Hap Hooligan is shown here. Ca. 1958.

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