Monthly Archives: May 2014



Excerpt from Pancho Durango and the Zen of Fishing:

Wilson studied a couple of sea gulls fighting over a shred of dead shrimp on the surface of the bay. When the battle no longer held his interest, he turned and asked the old man, “Pancho, how old are you?”

“I am not sure.” Pancho continued to slowly reel and jerk his line, his attention thirty yards out and ten feet deep.

“How can that be?”

“I was born deep in the Copper Canyon. We did not keep records of anything, including birth.”

“Well, we know you are at least in your seventies and perhaps in your eighties.”

“Perhaps.” The conversation held less interest for Pancho than the three dimensional chess match he silently waged with fish that apparently only he could see.

“And you are strong of mind and body. “

“Some apparently believe so.”

“What is the key to longevity?”

Pancho said with no hesitation, and with as much emphasis as you’d expect from a request for another live shrimp to hook for bait, “You live as long as you have something worthwhile to give”.

“And who is the judge of that.”

“Only you of course.”

Wilson frowned as he squinted at the horizon. “So, goodness and righteousness have nothing to do with it?”

“It all depends on what you consider is good and right.”

Wilson sunk his head and smirked apathetically at the ripples beneath his feet. Once again Pancho had blithely turned a simple question into a deep philosophical riddle. Time to rebait the hook and make another cast. Always the right thing to do when you know your next question will be hit out of the park by the old man like a twenty year old on steroids.

Myth, Mysticism and Insight


In The Tao Of Physics, Fritjof Capra makes some interesting observations on the subject of myth in mysticism and what those of insight come to understand about such.   I had as much in mind when I wrote of constructs in the book ‘What Is Wrong With Scientology?’,  but clearly did not articulate it nearly as well.

“Indian mysticism, and Hinduism in particular, clothes its statements in the form of myths, using metaphors and symbols, poetic images, similes and allegories.  Mythical language is much less restricted by logic and common sense. It is full of magic and paradoxical situations, rich in suggestive images and never precise, and can thus convey the way in which mystics experience reality much better than factual language.  According to Ananda Coomaraswamy, ‘myth embodies the nearest approach to absolute truth that can be stated in words.’

“The rich Indian imagination has created a vast number of gods and goddesses whose incarnations and exploits are the subject of fantastic tales, collected in epics of huge dimensions.  The Hindu with deep insight knows that all these gods are creations of the mind, mythical images representing the many faces of reality. On the other hand, he or she also knows that they were not merely created to make the stories more attractive, but are essential vehicles to convey the doctrines of a philosophy rooted in mystical experience.”

If there is truth to this, what does one make of the understandings or motivations of those who insist upon literal conceptualizations of imaginative religious mythology?   Are they of deep insight themselves?  Are they actively preventing others from developing or attaining deep insight?   You might have experienced some of the cognitive dissonance (or analytical and/or intuitive enturbulance) that is concomitant with inculcation of fantastic mythologies, not as part of an acknowledged ‘mystical experience’ but instead as cold, hard, unquestionable fact.  Or perhaps you are comfortable with the security that comes with faith and belief in mythology.

Name Calling and Labeling



One thing that I have observed over the years is that name-calling and affixing derogatory labels to people usually exacerbates any perceived shortcomings in the target.  It is in the nature of people to defend themselves when under personal attack.  When it comes to using labels and name-calling to make nothing of the target, oft times the target reinforces the behavior labeled in an effort to somehow vindicate himself.

Name-calling seems to be an ingrained habit with some.  Folks might take some form of temporary satisfaction by considering themselves greater than those whom they condemn by shouting condemnatory labels. But, in the long run they are not really lessening the target nor are they increasing their own stature by doing so.  To the contrary, they wind up lessening their own integrity by defining themselves in the context of their chosen nemesis.  That fact alone makes them the effect of and thus less than their perceived enemies.

A valued teacher of mine once said ‘when you point your finger at someone, look to where your other three fingers are pointing.’