Monday, July 14, 2008

The Never-ending Quest For Beauty & Truth

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," - that is all 
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Who said this?  
    Madonna, during her English accent phase?
    Ross Perot, explaining why people didn't vote for him for president?
    John Keats in "Ode to a Grecian Urn?"

Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  Yes, Keats fans, you are correct.
Two of my favorite words in the English language:
Beauty launched a thousand ships to start the Trojan War.
Truth, as we all know, is the first casualty of war.
What is beauty and what is truth?
Throughout history the answer to both is subjective.
And yet somehow Keats finds them interchangeable.

At first I thought this was quite a stretch, until I looked at it 
from a metaphysical point of view.  Years ago, I was incredibly
fortunate to study under the Breslover Hasidic Rabbi, 
Reb Dovid Din.  It was during the mid-70's and Reb Dovid had
decided it was time to teach Kabbalah to men and women, 
Jews and non-Jews, anyone who was truly interested and 
open-minded.  This was not your celebrity-dabbling cult-like stuff
that has become "in vogue" today.  To quote Larry David, "Not
that there's anything wrong with that."

Reb Dovid would give a teaching that would start off with an
everyday point of view, then he would spin off on an intellectual 
thread, then a spiritual thread, then a biblical thread, then a
psychological thread, then an emotional thread, and then somehow
he would weave these diverse threads together into a brilliant 
conceptual tapestry of beauty and truth.

I learned from Reb Dovid, that we have energy centers in different
parts of the body that have different colors, vibrations and attributes.
In a later post I will go into more detail about the 10 Spheres of the
Tree of Life, but for our purposes, we will focus on the energy
center in the center of the chest that some of you may already know
as the "heart chakra."

In Kabbalah, this center is called by the Hebrew word, "Tiferet," which
means "Beauty."  It's attributes are Love, Balance, Harmony, 
Connection.  This is where your essence of self resides, your  
authenticity of self.  Your own personal truth.  Think for a minute about 
what you physically do when someone asks you how you TRULY feel.  
We all instinctively pat our chest area, our heart center, our Tiferet, our 
BEAUTY sphere.

This energy portal where Beauty and Truth flow in and flow out is the
connecting point between Spirit and Matter, Heaven and Earth, The 
Highest Form of Consciousness and the Most Common Everyday Reality.

It is also the midpoint between the spheres of Compassion and 
Judgement.   When you have an equal amount of compassion and 
judgement you will find  Beauty and Truth.  Loving Compassion for 
others and yourself.  Fair Judgement concerning others and yourself.  
In balance.  Shining your beauty.  Your truth.

This is a physical, spiritual and intellectual reality.  We don't need 
liposuction.  We don't need drastic diets.  We don't need to look or 
feel like some plasticized cynical ideal cobbled together by a twisted 
corporatocracy dedicated to the proposition of convincing you that 
you aren't good enough unless you purchase things that you 
instinctively know are not good for you.   We don't need to search 
for greatness or that "Higher Power" out there!  
     It's inside you.  In your heart center.  In your Tiferet.  
Your Beauty.  Your Truth.  

Thursday, July 3, 2008

'Cuz There Is A Cure For The Summertime Blues’

2009 Volkswagen
Jetta TDi
Clean Diesel’s 50 MPG

Usually, I love the summer. Even though many moons have passed since I’ve experienced the mad dash out of school and into the carefree contemplation of sunshine and freedom, summer has always been tinged with the aura of “play-time.”

Not this summer. Without naming names to protect the innocent, this has started out as one of the weirdest summers I’ve ever experienced. Death, injury, the cost of gas, the breathlessness of fear, the cost of gas, unforeseen developments, the cost of gas, and before I forget, the cost of gas.

I will try to discipline myself and not get too political. Two people can love each other and then want to kill each other over political disparities. I want to draw people in, not push them away with ‘surface’ wedge differences. So when I find myself obsessing about the cost of gas, rather than point and howl, I’ve decided to go clean diesel.

I experimented last year by renting a 100% Bio-diesel filled VW to see if the dang thing would run on veggie-squeeze. It performed beautifully and I was bound and determined to tell the Oil Companies to stick it, until I found out that if you lease a car, the warranty won’t be honored if you run it on 100% Bio-diesel.

So I waited. I know what you’re thinking. “Dude, just get a Prius!” Hey, I tried, my friendly neighborhood Toyota dealer insisted on tacking on a hefty fee for “Lo-Jack & Undercoating.” I responded by saying, “I’ve seen ‘Fargo’ and I’m not putting that fee in your pocket.”

So I waited. My friendly neighborhood VW dealer had been bragging for months about the new “Clean Diesel Jetta TDI.” It was rumored to get up to 50 mpg and with exceptionally low emissions. The concept car model finally came in. I test drove it and I ordered one with dreams of getting 600-700 miles on a single tank of gas dancing in my febrile brain like the agile Hippopotamus in “Fantasia.”

So I continue to wait… for my order to come through. And when my lean “green” mean piece of machinery arrives, I will update you all.