The Ully-Verse

From quantum stuff to space stuff and lots of in between stuff.

Meditation, Understanding and Love

Meditation, Understanding and Love 

Not long ago I came across this very simple statement from the Buddha in a book by the great Vietnamese teacher Thich Nhat Hanh

Love is understanding.

I find this to be such a beautiful statement and I think it reveals a lot about how the practice of meditation can change the world and make us more loving. 

Here are a few reflections… 

I find it helpful to first think about this statement in reverse: 
no understanding=no love. 
This is so true. When we have no understanding of ourselves, others and the world around us, there can be no love, and no real happiness and joy. I think this is why the Buddha explained that the very root of suffering is ignorance and misunderstanding. 

Try out the following reflections: In what way does deeply understanding someone else affect your love and care for them? What effect does misunderstanding have on your relationships? 

Or think about it in another way: How does it feel when someone really understands you? How does it feel when you are misunderstood? 

Think about the world as a whole. How many conflicts and problems are rooted in a lack of understanding? How many solutions come from understanding? 

Along these same lines, many great spiritual teachers have expressed a simple but powerful message: Suffering, aggression, and mistrust all come from being out of touch with reality, while happiness, love and joy arise from understanding: being tuned-in to ourselves, others and the world around us. 

So how can we come to understand ourselves and others deeply? This is a question really worth pondering. Here are a few thoughts: 

Although we all have the natural capacity for understanding and love, there is a very stubborn obstacle in our way: 


I’m not sure how it is for you, but when I’m distracted, it’s actually very hard for me to understand anything with much clarity and depth. It’s a bit like trying to focus a camera while riding on the back of a wild bull. Whether it’s hope and fear about the future, stories of the past, addictive emotional soap operas or just Facebook, when I’m distracted, I’m not really tuned-in to what’s happening here and now; I’m out of touch with reality. 

Assuming that others are a bit like me (which is dangerous I know), then thanks to distraction, there is a whole lot of misunderstanding in the world, and not much understanding. Maybe this explains why there is a persistent shortage of love and care for ourselves and others? 

Instead of using our natural intelligence and awareness to see things clearly, when our mind is distracted, we make snap judgments, jump to conclusions, project all kinds of ideas onto others, and in general act impulsively, recklessly and selfishly. In fact there’s a very strong case to be made that thinking only of ourselves is really just a symptom of lacking awareness and understanding. It comes from not seeing ourselves and others clearly and understanding how deeply interconnected we are. 

Distraction and misunderstanding are the mother of all bad habits. The antidote to them is mindfulness and awareness, which is what we cultivate in the practice of meditation. As it is said: “meditation is making a complete break with how we normally operate.” 

Without mindfulness and awareness, we are helpless victims of distraction and we are ruled by the tyrant of misunderstanding. In such an environment, everything we do to try to bring ourselves or others happiness ends up being misguided, unskillful or even destructive. Why? Because we lack any understanding and discernment. It’s like trying to drive a car when you’re blind; it doesn’t work very well and it’s not a very good idea. 

This is why I find meditation to be such a profound and revolutionary practice. And why, the more I think about it, it seems necessary for the survival of the world. We all know how meditation can make us calmer, relaxed and less stressed, but these are like its bonus side-effects; they’re not what make meditation really great. The most precious quality of meditation is that it cuts through the blur of distraction that prevents us from seeing and understanding clearly and deeply. Meditation removes the obstacles to happiness and love. 

The more we can be present, mindful and aware through meditation, the more clearly we can see everything. The more clearly we can see, the more we understand ourselves, others and the world around us. The more we understand, the more appropriately we will act and the more we will naturally feel joy, love and care for others. 

A great meditation teacher once remarked that if everyone in the world were to suddenly gain a complete understanding of themselves and others, all of the world’s problems—such as war, hunger, and environmental destruction—would be solved in a matter of weeks. Now that’s a sobering thought! 

To put it simply, since meditation brings understanding, and understanding is what brings love and happiness, the simple act of meditation may well be the most powerful force for good that humanity has ever invented.

An All Out Rant Sunzabichez

An All Out Rant

Cover your eyes, ears, mouth, and any other orifice you want protected because I am going on a little rant here, some of this I have covered before, but bear with me, I need to get this off my chest.

He is a small sampling of my cherished beliefs regarding personal freedom.

1. Legalize gay marriage … not only should homosexuals have the same rights to make themselves miserable as straight people have, but even if the Christians are right, and gays are all going to hell, THAT’S THEIR RIGHT TOO! Fucking hell, according to the fucking BIBLE, God gave us free will, no? We all have the right to choose whether or not to sin in our lives, no? If ANYTHING is a God-given right, it fucking well IS the right to SIN in any way we fucking choose! It says so in YOUR fucking holy book, you hypocritical moralizing cunts! Now get your fucking nosy asses out of my fucking bedroom!

I think the ONLY sensible way for a government to deal with the issue of marriage is to wash its hands of it completely. Allow legal adults to write up and certify whatever legal contracts they like between one another, including civil partnerships. Settle inheritance, adoption and taxation issues that way. And then, if you want to get married in “the eyes of God” or who/what the fuck ever you think gives a shit about your personal life, settle the matter with your church.

And while you’re at it, get rid of ANY AND ALL laws regarding any kind of consensual sexual activity. All of them. Because it’s none of my fucking business what you do in your bedroom, it’s none of your fucking business what I do in mine, and it’s certainly none of the government’s business either way.

2. Legalize drugs. Seriously. Victimless crimes should not be crimes. If you can sell alcohol to an adult, you should also be able to sell them marijuana, cocaine, heroin or whatever the fuck else they want to pump into their bodies. The US government’s “War” on drugs (I do not know how you wage war against inanimate substances, but there you go) wastes over 20 BILLION dollars a YEAR “fighting”drug use. The individual states spend even more than that, combined. Then consider the cost of the trials and imprisonment of everyone caught up in the drug war juggernaut as well.

Tim Allen, spent 3 years in the slammer for allegedly with delivery of a controlled substance (coke)

Just imagine for a moment what the United States could do by way of a national drug education and treatment program with that much money … and probably have plenty left over to do something radical like … oh, I don’t know … actually provide health care to the general population or something. Hell, we might even be able to swing free tuition at state colleges and universities as well!

Of course, people will say that drug addiction breeds crime … which it does. But please re-read the preceding paragraphs. Treatment programs are more economical than legal punishment. Help people end addiction, and you reduce the “need” for crime. Legalize the sale and possession of drugs, and you take the industry out of the hands of street gangs. You end up with liquor stores that also dispense drugs from behind the counter in packets like cigarettes, perhaps. And a fucking health care system that is capable of handling the side effects. Think about it, people.

“Oh, but I don’t want my tax money going to coddle icky drug addicts!” You fucking selfish moron! You’d rather spend ten fucking times as much to arrest and imprison them, just because it’s meaner?! What in the fuck is your problem?! You’ve obviously got a catastrophic mutation in your “common fucking sense and logic” gene, you judgmental, petty, malicious twat.

3. Legalize suicide and consensual killing. Didn’t see that one coming, did you? But yes. I believe in the right to die as well. However you want to fucking die, it’s fine with me. So long as you are of the legal age of consent (and 18 strikes me as a happy medium with that one), it’s your life to do with as you see fit.

Armin Meiwes is munchy

When the Armin Meiwes story hit the news a few years ago, it seemed terribly obvious to me that he should be acquitted. He advertised online for someone who was willing to be killed, butchered and eaten. He replied to everyone who contacted him. He met with four other people before Bernd Jürgen Brandes, all of whom either changed their minds and were allowed to leave, or who didn’t suit his fancy for one reason or another (as I recall, one of the interviewees was too heavy … and hey, they always say to eat only lean meat, no?).

Even after passing this rather extensive interview process, Mr. Brandes was repeatedly offered medical help during the evening of his death, and repeatedly refused it … on videotape! If anyone has ever committed a conscientious and consensual killing, it was Armin. And his first trial even very sensibly let him off with a manslaughter conviction and a light 5 year sentence. But the moralizers weren’t happy with that. No, he had to be retried, under new laws, and convicted of murder.

Ultimately, I think these and most other personal liberty issues boil down to the same core issue: People don’t like it when other people do strange and incomprehensible things. Heaven forbid someone does something you don’t understand … my god, NO! Fucking HELL … if that guy likes having a dick up his ass, does that mean it’s physically possible that I might as well?! NO THAT’S JUST WRONG!!! AAAHHHH … *covers ears* … LALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!

People are social animals at heart … wolves slinking around looking up to the pack leader to see if we’re behaving properly … desperate for approval from our pack mates. Social taboos and the laws that enforce them are society’s way of reinforcing our sense of belonging and community, without which early man would surely have perished, as physically unfit as we are for solo survival in the wild. But I have a newsflash for you, people: THIS IS THE YEAR 2012.

If your female neighbor marries her girlfriend, it will NOT result in the disintegration of the clan, and your inevitable demise at the claws of a toothy predator.

If some guy in Germany really wants to kill and eat someone, and he finds someone who really wants to be killed and eaten, it does not mean that your entire neighborhood will be infested with rampant cannibalism, forcing you to flee the tribe and hole up with your children in a cave somewhere cold and dangerous.

We have reached a level of entrenched civilization where you can actually keep to your own kind, if you like, within a larger society, with different moral standards than your own, and it does not in any way endanger your survival within your social group! It’s a miracle!

So, if you don’t like what one or more consenting adults may doing with or to one another, kindly fuck right off, go back to your church group meeting, tut-tut about their shocking behavior if you like, and KEEP YOUR FUCKING JUDGMENTAL BULLSHIT OUT OF MY LEGAL SYSTEM. That’s right. MY legal system. Because it’s mine as much as it is yours, and you don’t see me trying to legislate your ridiculous religions out of existence, do you? I’m not trying to mandate recreational drug use, ban marriage, or legislate a mandatory abortion for every adult female in the nation, am I? No, I’m fucking NOT.

Possibly because I’m a mature and stable enough human being that my sense of self is not threatened by other people’s behavior… Possibly because I actually believe in the Christian concept of “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” more than most so-called Christians seem to, and I don’t want other people telling me how to live my life… Possibly because I don’t think so highly of myself as to think my life choices are necessarily the penultimate ideal of human behavior, so I wouldn’t presume to force my way of life down everyone else’s throats “for their own good”.

Whatever the reason, stop being such judgmental fucking meddlesome cunts, and go live your own lives instead of trying to live everyone else’s for them.

Who Are You... Ullyses?

I am a polymath, universalist, critical thinker, and self declared anarcho-pacifist. I do my best as a teacher and I'm kind of a clumsy farmer.

What do you enjoy doing, Ullyses?

I really enjoy writing, even though it is most difficult for me, similar to how I feel about being an artist.

What are you doing for work these days?

I am trying to find a name for what I am doing, its an amalgam of social networking, storytelling, and exploiting technology for the purpose of inspiring others to fall in love with an idea and or product. Like a digital cupid with techno-ninja tendencies.

You seem like you have had an interesting life, Ullyses, tell me more about that.

I have had some the most epic journeys one could imagine. I lived in Africa helping train doctors how to treat AIDS, managed a Chinese karaoke bar, backpacked for a year all over Afica, wandered India, was a Buddhist Monk, starting businesses all over the globe, fell in love, lost everything, gained everything and lost it again, have been loved and hated and admired and despised. I have experienced what it means to be human.

You seem awesome.

I am.

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