Mindfulness Revisited

This is a repeat, because it bears repeating–a dozen times a day.  I routinely forget, mindfulness is key to my mental health.  The quotes may not be exact; close enough for an antique memory.

Whatever happens I will create no more problems.
I will create no more pain for myself.
The Power of Now
Eckhart Tolle

If we don’t look into hope and fear, seeing a thought arise, seeing the chain reaction that follows, if we don’t train ourselves to sit with that energy without being snared by the drama, then we’re always going to be afraid.
When Things Fall Apart
Pema Chodron

Practicing mindfulness I can recognize what is happening in the present without grasping or aversion.  I can practice mere recognition of what is gong on within me and around me without judgment or reaction.  This helps me to keep stability and freedom alive within myself.
Touching the Earth
Thich Nhat Hanh

The though manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character;
So watch the thought and its ways with care,
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all beings.  .  .  .

As the shadow follows he body
as we think, so we become.
The Dhammapada
(Saying of the Buddha)

A new, more prosaic one:
It’s hard to remember your assigned to drain the swamp,
when you’re up to your ass in alligators!
(I picked this up many years back.)

Along the Way

Three cormorants,
lean, licorice decanters
balanced on the rusted roof of
a nineteen-thirteen Model T truck.

A nine-acre motorcar bone-yard,
seven thousand crumpled, crushed, corroded, carcasses
indecently exposed through toothless gaps
in a Lady-Bird-Johnson board fence.

A fat man
in bib-overalls and straw hat,
gripping the wheel of a squat, red, fifty-one Ford pickup
with gunny-sacks of wheat,
chased down a gravel road by a set-stream of dust.
On the grain sacks, a smiling merle mongrel,
her ears blow back like little banners.

Six young Mexican men
loitering around a sunburned, sixty-five Barracuda
on the side of the highway.
The hood is up.
Blue-green liquid streams down the asphalt.

A bearded kid
in a black, seventy-three Fury
with one brown door, open sun roof,
and dented fenders.

A gray-haired man,
with a pomegranate nose and Greek fisherman’s cap
driving a cream and tan, eighty-six Minnie Winnie.
A stern matron with chocolate poodle curls and pastel sweater
studies a road map.

In a Rest Area,
a powder-blue, eighty-nine Ranger
and matching over-size camper.
Through a window behind a sink,
a Lemon Joy detergent bottle, plastic orange scouring pad.
Buff wallpaper with brown wine jugs and baskets of bread.

A sixteen-year-old blond
sporting a ponytail
in a two-door, red, ninety-one Mustang with a white vinyl top.
At a stop light her lips move.

A sever young woman
with a slim nose, deep-set eyes, and straight raven-black hair,
controlling a gray and maroon, ninety-three Trans Sport,
a wailing baby in a mauve infant’s seat,
four, silent youngsters, anchored with black shoulder belts.

A lean, sun-tanned man
in a three-piece business suit,
aiming a forest-green Jaguar XJ12 with temporary tags
down the freeway twenty-five miles an hour over the speed limit,
talking on a cell-phone,

Justice Expedited

According to Wikipedia the Supreme Court of the United State “has ultimate (and largely discretionary) appellate jurisdiction over all federal court and state court cases that involve a point of constitutional or statutory law.” As “the supreme law of the land” the Constitution–carefully reasoned, written, and explicit–assures grievances and issues are decided in a fair, impartial, if you will “cut-and-dried,” fashion.  What does the Constitution or statute say?  That’s it.  Case closed.  No-brainer.  Right?

If Court decisions falls back on the Constitution, the law, why do Liberal and Conservative administrations spend every last ounce of energy, every available resource, every dollar getting their gal or guy onto the Highest Bench while the loyal opposition expends equal efforts blocking them?

It’s said, figures don’t lie but liars can figure.  The law’s the law, but  Justices, judges, and lawyers–who never of course lie–receive exorbitant retainers to figure.  “Ay, there’s the rub.”

Legal eagles read the law through lens of personal experience, belief, and political philosophy.  So, to get what you want load the Court with your gals and guys.
And they damn well better do the job!  That’s why we busted our ass putting them there.

Today’s Supreme Court has four Liberals: two Jewish females, one Latina female, and a son of Italian immigrants.  The Conservatives include four white and one black male.  With civil rights, gun rights, voter rights, immigrant rights, women’s rights, gender issues, abortion, public education, racial equality, or separation of church and state on the docket, care to guess which way the Majority will vote?

Parenthetically, regarding Justice Thomas, seen from my Liberal bias a Conservative Administration nominating a black for the High Court appeared out of character somehow.  In my view, with impeccable character and credentials assumed, Justice Thomas’s nomination reflected political expediency: replace a black (Liberal), Justice Thurgood Marshall, with a black (Conservative); the coattails of Civil Rights; and most intriguing, “moral licensing,” a realization emerging from Social Psychology.  In his podcast, “Revisionist History,” Malcom Gladwell describes moral licensing as “the ‘token’–the outsider whose success serves not to alleviate discrimination but perpetrate it.”  With Justice Thomas in place, Conservatives say, “See, we put a black on the Court.  We’re not prejudiced.  Case closed,” and continue to nominate and appoint the barest minimum number of females and non-Caucasians, business as usual.

So why waste time arguing? As things are now, hand the briefs to Chief Justice Roberts, have Justice Thomas or Justice Gorsuch write the majority opinion.  The same would be so with a Liberal majority.

Of course Justices don’t always walk the Party line, but as in a casino, load the dice, stack the deck, and hire the dealers.  The house, the Majority Party, rarely loses.