Thursday, August 18, 2016

Hymn of praise

El Shaddei
Great defender
All sufficient
Eternal creator
Great God on high
My eyes cannot perceive
The glory you should receive
But I am able to believe
Without seeing a thing
You are mercifulGenerous
Great is your name
El Shaddei
Lord of this universe
Almighty and great
You are worthy
Of praise
And sacrifice
I am unashamed
El Shaddei
I am yours
Unworthy of you
But you called me
To be
Your child
And I am
Filled with your flame
Inside
Burning so bright
I burn for you
To know your truth
In my heart and mind
My spirit and flesh
You are my creator
My God
And my king
You are life
And I am blessed
Because you are
El Shaddei


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Where my book Samurai comes from


INSPIRATIONS

It isn't really anything mind blowing here, but every written work has a source of inspiration.

INSPIRE,
Origin of inspire
Middle English inspiren ; from Old French inspirer ; from Classical Latin inspirare ; from in-, in, on + spirare, to breathe: see spirit
  1. to inhale
  2. to give inspiration
That is, to be inspired, is to have a spirit breathed into you.  And that is absolutely true for me, because since being a child I've been fascinated by the warrior culture of Japan.

Samurai, the term in Japanese means "to serve".  For me their example has served to provide for me a means to deal with the vagaries of existence.  I was constantly told to believe in things I did not, to do things I did not agree with, and that the world was a certain way, that I knew that it was not.  There is no one to blame, generations and culture always conflict, and there isn't, truly, a single right way to exist.

According to my favorite author Albert Camus the world we live in is absurd.  "The realization that life is absurd cannot be an end, but only a beginning. This is a truth nearly all great minds have taken as their starting point. It is not this discovery that is interesting, but the consequences and rules of action drawn from it."  And I agree, life is absurd. 

The world around me is absurd, but escaping into the lessons of the past were very helpful.  So I have read, watched and studied the Samurai.  In my life there were additional areas of chaos and absurdity.  I was born of dark circumstance, I suffered from brain disorders, I had cruel life experiences that caused PTSD.  The end result of these absurdities made my life different than many other people's life.  I tried to organize my mind by living more ordered and aware by the things I've learned via studies of the Samurai.  I am also a Christian, so my pursuit of God and morality was guided by those principles as well.

One last area of inspiration came from a nearby and recent source.  My friendship with Josh Brown made me want to write about our shared interests. 


“If you are unaware that the world is teeming with ineptitude from the beginning, you will develop a bitter countenance, and in turn others will eschew you.” Tsunetomo Yamamoto


“Perfect purity is possible if you turn your life into a line of poetry written with a splash of blood.”  Yukio Mishima, Runaway Horses


"What do you think of farmers? You think they're saints? Hah! They're foxy beasts! They say, "We've got no rice, we've no wheat. We've got nothing!" But they have! They have everything! Dig under the floors! Or search the barns! You'll find plenty! Beans, salt, rice, sake! Look in the valleys, they've got hidden warehouses! They pose as saints but are full of lies! If they smell a battle, they hunt the defeated! They're nothing but stingy, greedy, blubbering, foxy, and mean! God damn it all! But then . . . who made them such beasts? You did! You samurai did it! You burn their villages! Destroy their farms! Steal their food! Force them to labour! Take their women! And kill them if they resist! So what should farmers do? Damn... damn... damn..."  Kikuchiyo

Seven Samurai


Stephen Turnbull


TUTTLE PUBLISHING

Shambhala Publications



"The Way of the Samurai is found in death. When it comes to either/or, there is only the quick choice of death. It is not particularly difficult. Be determined and advance. To say that dying without reaching one's aim is to die a dog's death is the frivolous way of sophisticates. When pressed with the choice of life or death, it is not necessary to gain one's aim."   Yamamoto Tsunetomo



Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I love Japan



As a historian I've read, studied, and researched Japan.  The culture, the military history, the people and the mythic beliefs are sources of constant interest for me.  I've been a believer in a religion from the western civilization, but I practice it as one who uses the mental and spiritual learning I found in Japan, and primarily, the Samurai warrior.  I am not a person who transcends culture, I have a separation due to language, a haze across my eyes due to time, and more.  But I do love Japan.  I love Japan very much.





I am not a person who watches a ton of movies.  But I moved deeply by many aspects of Japanese culture, including the cinema of Japan.  From the children's entertainment to adult concepts, the cinema from Japan is my world of comfort and interest.

In DVDs







I read about Japan nearly every day.  Sometimes in fiction, sometimes in non-fiction, often I read about the military history.

Literature:







There are a great variety of comics from and about Japan that I am a fan of.

Comic Books aka Manga and Anime









Thursday, July 14, 2016

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Depression

One man's catacomb is another man's beneath the freeway sleeping place for the homeless guy.  Or maybe, it is a black dark place where the light rarely reaches you, and you avoid contact.  I might be there at the moment.  A good friend and comrade in work died, of a terrible disease. For a number of reasons I am feeling nostalgia for my mother, who has passed in 2012.  I miss her with every breath I take.  And I regret that in my depression I took issue with some people and it led to my having enemies.  I don't regret much in life, since life is a learning curve, and we don't come with a learning manual.  But being in the darkness, is not good.


Although the large depression I was in, from 2011 to 2015 is over, I do occasionally fall into the black holes of grief.  It isn't, as those who have no idea sometimes suggest, that I love my darkness.  It isn't, as others suggest, that I enjoy the attention for being depressed.  My mind, spirit, and body just get hit with extra hard unhappy motions, and it is an unpleasant place to be. 

This kanji says, I am told, I am my own demon.
So, since I've entered one, and I know it will be temporary, I thought I'd share with the few and proud readers here what I do when in a place like this, and what brings me to life.


I have two very amazing cats.  I love them dearly, and would not have made it through cancer treatments without them.  I am not suggesting my wife, son or friends and family weren't necessary, just that, after chemo, nothing comforted me like kisses with cat whiskers, purrs and cuddles.  My Katya especially made sure I was loved.  She is my darling.  My cat Sophie is a dear, but she is more about look at me I am pretty than she is about loving or giving affection.  Still, I love her.


I love art by many people, and some great works by Tim White from the UK grace the covers of some books I love to read, those about the Cthulhu Mythos.  I love these books, the design, the contents, the way they were compiled and how they look together.


And I read the absurdist and magnificent Albert Camus.  His works allowed me to escape my feeling of being without purpose.  I'd often fallen into fits of depression when I'd worked myself into exhaustion, for almost no reward, thinking, how can I go on?  And it would wound me, how I'd work myself trying to serve the deity I believe in, and have no reward or feeling of acceptance from those who are similar in belief.  And then I read Albert Camus, and he explained that the world itself is absurd, and that the way in which a moral, bright person fights the absurdity is to create meaning by their life and manner of living.  He was one who questioned the existence of God, but he was not an atheist.  He suggested that the reasonable mind does the best it can, and hopes.  And that is what I do.  I believe, I do my best, and I hope.


I have hope for you, and offer you these closing quotes about eternity.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Other minds



The search for intelligent life by humans
Is a joke, to begin with, for the folly
That we have ignored our companions
Upon this earth
For how we perceive them
By how we are limited and are able to imagine
Rather than how intelligent they are
We will gladly leave this planet
Abandon it
Thinking we've found another Eden
When instead they've been with us
As we have ignored the garden
The entire time
Unseeing eyes
Unimagining minds

The Bible 

“Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?

And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? 

If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?

Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”