Adonis Diaries

Archive for December 30th, 2015

Israel’s reaction as seen on Tom & Jerry!

With respected to the occupied Palestinians, occupied Syrians and the reactions of the world communities to Israel apartheid and racist policies

Many debates have risen on Hezbollah’s attack on an Israeli convoy in the Shebaa Farms which came in retaliation to Israel’s assassination of leaders of the resistant movement in the Golan heights a week earlier. (The response of Hezbollah was quick and swift within a day of the assassination and killing scores of Israeli officers)

(In December of this year, Israel assassinated another leader in the Syrian capital)

No matter what we think about the timing, the reason and the location of this revenge, one cannot but notice the similarity between Israel’s reaction to some scenes from everyone’s favorite cartoon series!

We’ll let the visuals do the talking.










A few mindful minutes: Is that all we need?

This power of doing absolutely Nothing

We live in an incredibly busy world. The pace of life is often frantic, our minds are always busy, and we’re always doing something.

With that in mind, I’d like you just to take a moment to think, when did you last take any time to do nothing?

Just 10 minutes, undisturbed? And when I say nothing, I do mean nothing.

So that’s no emailing, texting, no Internet, no TV, no chatting, no eating, no reading.

Not even sitting there reminiscing about the past or planning for the future. Simply doing nothing.

I see a lot of very blank faces.

Patsy Z shared this link TED

“We can’t change every little thing that happens to us in life, but we can change the way that we experience it.”|By Andy Puddicombe
You probably have to go a long way back.

00:51 And this is an extraordinary thing, right? We’re talking about our mind.

The mind, our most valuable and precious resource, through which we experience every single moment of our life.

The mind that we rely upon to be happy, content, emotionally stable as individuals, and at the same time, to be kind and thoughtful and considerate in our relationships with others.

This is the same mind that we depend upon to be focused, creative, spontaneous, and to perform at our very best in everything that we do.

And yet, we don’t take any time out to look after it. In fact, we spend more time looking after our cars, our clothes and our hair than we…but you see where I’m going.

The result, of course, is that we get stressed. You know, the mind whizzes away like a washing machine going round and round, lots of difficult, confusing emotions, and we don’t really know how to deal with that.

And the sad fact is that we are so distracted that we’re no longer present in the world in which we live. We miss out on the things that are most important to us, and the crazy thing is that everybody just assumes, that’s the way life is, so we’ve just kind of got to get on with it. That’s really not how it has to be.

I was about 11 when I went along to my first meditation class. And trust me, it had all the stereotypes that you can imagine, the sitting cross-legged on the floor, the incense, the herbal tea, the vegetarians, the whole deal, but my mom was going and I was intrigued, so I went along with her.

I’d also seen a few kung fu movies, and secretly I kind of thought I might be able to learn how to fly, but I was very young at the time.

Now as I was there, like a lot of people, I assumed that it was just an aspirin for the mind. You get stressed, you do some meditation.

I hadn’t really thought that it could be sort of preventative in nature, until I was about 20, when a number of things happened in my life in quite quick succession, really serious things which just flipped my life upside down and all of a sudden I was inundated with thoughts, inundated with difficult emotions that I didn’t know how to cope with.

Every time I sort of pushed one down, another one would pop back up again. It was a really very stressful time.

I guess we all deal with stress in different ways.

Some people will bury themselves in work, grateful for the distraction.

Others will turn to their friends, their family, looking for support.

Some people hit the bottle, start taking medication.

My own way of dealing with it was to become a monk. So I quit my degree, I headed off to the Himalayas, I became a monk, and I started studying meditation.

03:39 People often ask me what I learned from that time. Well, obviously it changed things.

Let’s face it, becoming a celibate monk is going to change a number of things. But it was more than that. It taught me — it gave me a greater appreciation, an understanding for the present moment.

By that I mean not being lost in thought, not being distracted, not being overwhelmed by difficult emotions, but instead learning how to be in the here and now, how to be mindful, how to be present.

I think the present moment is so underrated.

It sounds so ordinary, and yet we spend so little time in the present moment that it’s anything but ordinary. There was a research paper that came out of Harvard, just recently, that said on average, our minds are lost in thought almost 47% percent of the time.

At the same time, this sort of constant mind-wandering is also a direct cause of unhappiness. Now we’re not here for that long anyway, but to spend almost half of our life lost in thought and potentially quite unhappy,

I don’t know, it just kind of seems tragic, actually, especially when there’s something we can do about it, when there’s a positive, practical, achievable, scientifically proven technique which allows our mind to be more healthy, to be more mindful and less distracted.

And the beauty of it is that even though it need only take about 10 minutes a day, it impacts our entire life.

But we need to know how to do it. We need an exercise. We need a framework to learn how to be more mindful. That’s essentially what meditation is.

It’s familiarizing ourselves with the present moment. But we also need to know how to approach it in the right way to get the best from it.

And that’s what these are for, in case you’ve been wondering, because most people assume that meditation is all about stopping thoughts, getting rid of emotions, somehow controlling the mind, but actually it’s quite different from that.

It’s more about stepping back, sort of seeing the thought clearly, witnessing it coming and going, emotions coming and going without judgment, but with a relaxed, focused mind.

So for example, right now, if I focus too much on the balls, then there’s no way I can relax and talk to you at the same time.

Equally, if I relax too much talking to you, there’s no way I can focus on the balls. I’m going to drop them.

Now in life, and in meditation, there’ll be times when the focus becomes a little bit too intense, and life starts to feel a bit like this. It’s a very uncomfortable way to live life, when you get this tight and stressed.

At other times, we might take our foot off the gas a little bit too much, and things just become a sort of little bit like this. Of course in meditation —

06:40 we’re going to end up falling asleep. So we’re looking for a balance, a focused relaxation where we can allow thoughts to come and go without all the usual involvement.

 What usually happens when we’re learning to be mindful is that we get distracted by a thought. Let’s say this is an anxious thought. Everything’s going fine, and we see the anxious thought. “Oh, I didn’t realize I was worried about that.” You go back to it, repeat it. “Oh, I am worried. I really am worried. Wow, there’s so much anxiety.” And before we know it, right, we’re anxious about feeling anxious.

You know, this is crazy. We do this all the time, even on an everyday level. If you think about the last time you had a wobbly tooth. You know it’s wobbly, and you know that it hurts. But what do you do every 20, 30 seconds?

07:33 It does hurt. And we reinforce the storyline, right?

And we just keep telling ourselves, and we do it all the time. And it’s only in learning to watch the mind in this way that we can start to let go of those storylines and patterns of mind.

But when you sit down and you watch the mind in this way, you might see many different patterns. You might find a mind that’s really restless and — the whole time.

Don’t be surprised if you feel a bit agitated in your body when you sit down to do nothing and your mind feels like that. You might find a mind that’s very dull and boring, and it’s just, almost mechanical, it just seems it’s as if you’re getting up, going to work, eat, sleep, get up, work. Or it might just be that one little nagging thought that just goes round and round your mind.

08:21 Well, whatever it is, meditation offers the opportunity, the potential to step back and to get a different perspective, to see that things aren’t always as they appear. We can’t change every little thing that happens to us in life, but we can change the way that we experience it.

That’s the potential of meditation, of mindfulness. You don’t have to burn any incense, and you definitely don’t have to sit on the floor.

All you need to do is to take 10 minutes out a day to step back, to familiarize yourself with the present moment so that you get to experience a greater sense of focus, calm and clarity in your life.

2015 in review

In summary: 190,000 views, and 850 articles posted.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 190,000 times in 2015. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 8 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


The Confused Person’s Guide to Understanding Yemen

Note: In the last 9 months, the US/Saudi let pre-emptive war on Yemen has totally demolished Yemen infrastructure, hospitals, schools, dams… Million are displaced and dying of famine and health degradation…

 ‘What the hell is exactly happening in Yemen?’

‘What the hell is exactly happening in Yemen?’ is now one of the most urgent geopolitical questions in the Middle East.

Few people are qualified or knowledgeable enough to answer this pressing question. Most experts agree that most experts can’t give you a straight answer.

The reality is Yemen is a complex place that is very hard to understand for outsiders, and even more so for insiders. Indeed most of the people asking what is happening in Yemen are Yemenis themselves.

Karl reMarks posted:

I am not an expert on Yemen but being Lebanese I am an expert at not knowing what is happening in my country, which gives me a valuable insight into the situation in Yemen.

Not one to shy away from difficult challenges, I have compiled this essential primer on Yemen that will help you understand its politics and prepare you for what will happen there next.

(Experts also agree that anything is possible there next, which narrows it down a bit.)

1. The first thing to understand is that Yemen is an ancient land, as the Yemenis themselves always remind you.

It is thought that Yemen existed when the Earth was first created, and there’s strong evidence to suggest that it was the location of the Garden of Eden because Eden and Aden sound a bit similar, especially in English. This helps explain why Yemenis think they are a cut above the rest.

2. Until 1990, Yemen used to be divided into two states, North Yemen and South Yemen, until leaders in both countries realised they could merge the two countries and save on stationery costs.

This however created deep resentments, much like when a couple move in together and have to consolidate their belongings and get used to sleeping in the same room with someone who insists on keeping the windows open even in winter.

Such unreasonable behaviour I have never seen before. But I digress.

This deep resentment continued to simmer and boil for the past 25 years, as deep resentments have a habit of doing. We can’t understand what is happening now in Yemen without understanding that this deep resentment has something to do with it, although most experts agree they’re not quite sure what exactly.

It is not inappropriate however to suggest that division is a possibility now, particularly if we caveat it with ambiguous references. For example, one can say: ‘the south might push for independence but not unless it has good reasons to do that’.

(Mind you that the south was Marxist before the unification: It is now a Qaeda base for the Saudis alliance)

3. To complicate matters further, Yemen is not religiously homogenous, which always spices things up in Middle Eastern countries, particularly for external observers looking for convenient categorisations.

About two-thirds of Yemenis are Sunni while the other third is Shia. They are however Zaidi Shias unlike the Shias of Iran who are Twelver, but it’s best to lump them all together because it simplifies things immensely (for the talking head of western experts).

Yemen is also host to a thriving al-Qaeda community, who are the Houthis’ biggest enemy in Yemen.

The Houthis are Zaidis which explains their hatred of al-Qaeda, as if anyone needed a reason to hate al-Qaeda. The two groups are so opposed to each other that the only thing they can agree on is that they both hate America and the Jews, but not necessarily in that order.

The Houthis’ slogan, incidentally, is “Death to America, death to Israel, curse on the Jews, victory to Islam”, which in the words of Tony Blair shows ‘a lack of commitment to the values of tolerance and diversity’, if Tony Blair were to comment on the slogan. It also shows that they are dickheads (you mean the Tony Blair kinds?), but this shouldn’t cloud our judgment of them.

4. As is generally known, Yemenis consume the stimulant drug Qat in huge quantities. What is less known is that Sunnis refer to it is as Qat, while Shias refer to it as Qit.

Children of mixed marriages call it Qit-Qat.

5. On a related note, Yemen is the birthplace of coffee, which we are all hugely grateful for, but it does suggest that Yemenis have a thing for stimulants. As one 19th century anthropologist put it ‘is it any wonder that these people are so jumpy?’

6. The traditional Yemeni dagger, the Janbiya is also an essential item to understand the political dynamics in Yemen. All Yemeni males wear this item, but here again Sunni Janbiyas curve to the left while Shia Janbiyas curve to the right. However, if you’re standing in front of a mirror it could be a bit confusing.

When the leader of the Houthis gave a speech on television this week, his Janbiya was held in the upright position, which experts agree was a sign of confrontation.

In Yemeni culture a dagger is seen as symbol of aggression because it is a phallic symbol. Had he worn it at an angle, or even horizontally, we could have expected his willingness to negotiate. As it stands, the situation looks very dangerous indeed.

So what is in store for Yemen now that the President, the Vice President, the Prime Minister, the Parliament and one third-grade teacher in the north of the country have all resigned?

The absence of any political authority in a Middle Eastern country can best be understood through metaphors about the dangers of political vacuums. One can say for example ‘Yemen is facing the abyss’ or ‘staring into the void’ or ‘on the precipice of disintegration’. These phrases, while they don’t actually tell you anything, do convey an appropriate sense of impending doom.

The one thing that we can be certain of now is that Yemen is at a crossroads.

7. In addition to these internal complications, Iran and Saudi Arabia have been both anxious to open another arena for their passive-aggressive regional contest, and Yemen appears to be their choice of venue.

To sound wise, suggest that the decline in the price of oil has something do with it, but say you’re not quite sure what. Be prepared for sightings of Iran’s notorious and shadowy General Qasem Soleimani, and don’t hesitate to say ‘Bandar’ at appropriate moments and nod your head knowingly.

And keep an eye on the Janbiyas.




December 2015

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