Occasionally the Dalai Lama and I don’t agree. In the “Insight from the Dalai Lama” calendar, the Dalai Lama states: “It is ironic that the more serious problems emanate from the more industrially advanced societies. Science and technology have worked wonders in many fields, but the basic human problems remain.”
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It seems to me that more serious problems are ongoing in the third-world, non-industrialized societies. Extensive rape, murder and starvation are still happening in many African countries and other poor countries where ruthless dictators rule.
* It’s OK with me if the Dalai Lama is not perfect.
* Mary Ann Putnam sent me the following “Assorted Thoughts” quote: “If you haven’t grown up by age 50 you don’t have to.”
* I have a good friend who, by most middle class standards, has not grown up. He is predictably unpredictable. He does not allow outside sources, such as bosses, relatives, or even friends, to determine his inner peace and happiness. He says what he feels; and he is not seeking your approval for his feelings, his philosophy, or his actions.
* This man doesn’t understand the word pretense, because he is what he is 98 percent of the time — regardless of the consequences. His straightforward style makes a lot of people uncomfortable, and they are afraid of what he will say or do next. He is not capable of beating around the bush, which means he intimidates many people. I enjoy his candor and his unpredictable way of attacking life. Perhaps I envy his carefree, no-need-to-please-anyone dance with destiny.
* It’s very important to have some friends who are very different from you. A life without variety is boring and tedious. I have learned more from different people than I have from those who are like me.
* Hopefully he will never grow up, because he doesn’t have to. I like him just the way he is!
* How do you know when you really are becoming an old person? It begins when you realize that you are no longer an active person. Being active means you are avoiding oldness. If you spend more time in your Lazy Boy chair than you spend standing up, oldness is ruling your life.
* When your 5-year-old granddaughter asks you to do a somersault, you refuse because you are afraid of getting hurt — oldness is winning.
* When traveling or vacations become “too much trouble,” you are headed for the old folks’ home.
* Refusing to exercise or dance means your battle with oldness is about over. Oldness will win.
* Having more meals in your Lazy Boy chair than at the table is another habit you want to avoid.
* When is the last time you accompanied your spouse to a shopping center? How about the last time you went to a movie? Oldness mentality uses “I don’t like crowds” as an excuse to avoid being active.
* Oldness does not applaud being creative, because being creative usually means being active. When is the last time you tried a new hobby or new food or even a new, short vacation to somewhere you have never been before? People who have surrendered to oldness want sameness … nothing new.
* Can you pick up a dime in the parking lot without losing your balance? If not, it’s time for a new exercise or yoga class. If you can’t exit your Lazy Boy chair without using your hands, it may be time to get active before you can’t get out of the chair without someone pulling you out.
* The Buddha says, “Don’t allow an older person to enter your body.” When you decide to give up your active life, you invite the old person into your body, and the old person will be content to stay.
* On Sundays, however, during the professional football season, I allow an old person to enter my body. I hit the Lazy Boy chair and stay there for four to six hours. I have to use my hands to get out of the chair. It’s OK to be an old person six hours a week for four months of the year!
Bob Billingsley is a columnist at the Mountain Democrat. His column appears bi-weekly.