Posts in the “personal” category

Four notes to self (June 3, 2024)

As a personal “note to self,” here are a few thoughts I’ve had lately, both when I was awake and also while I was asleep (which happens quite often to me in lucid dreams):

FIRST:  While meditating on the sounds of birds chirping outside this morning, I was in a terrific state, and then each time I heard a bird chirp, my body shook or jerked in response to the sound. That was new, but I think it’s a good thing. (Shaking, jerking, or other involuntary movements during meditation are referred to as kriyas or energetic releases, and are believed to be due to energy release, a relaxation response, emotional release, and/or nervous system adjustments. Sometimes I also come out of deep meditation sessions to find my teeth chattering.)

“I love everybody, that’s what’s killing me”

“I love everybody, that’s what’s killing me.” Cloris Leachman was outstanding in the movie Spanglish, and this is one of my favorite lines. I’ve written about this line and loving everyone from a Buddhist perspective before, and if you’ve ever loved two people and seen them fighting with each other, or loved two people and had to disappoint one person because of something related to the other person, that’s what this reminds me of.

In 2024, it also reminds me of war, and what a waste of life it is when people who are in charge ruthlessly kill other people.

Mug from the Sundance Club, in College Station, Texas

If you’d like to see a blast from the past — like from about 40 years ago — here’s an old mug/tumbler from the Sundance Club in College Station, Texas, circa 1986 or so.

If you happened to go to school at Texas A&M back then, you may recall the Sundance Club, which was a nightclub in the Hilton Hotel. The last I heard, the hotel was converted into a dormitory, but I don’t know if that’s true or not.

Ezoic ads vs Google AdSense (2024, website advertising revenue/partner)

This is an ongoing blog post about “making the switch” from Google AdSense to Ezoic in 2024. If you’re just interested in updates over time, see the “Updates” section at the bottom of this article.

Switching from AdSense to Ezoic

For a long time I was afraid to switch to another company besides AdSense because I had not heard of Ezoic and others, but after several weeks on their platform, I’m happy to say that all is well.

I should also say that in my defense, I was also busy with other things in life, and I thought that “making the switch” might take a while, but if you have existing AdSense and Analytics accounts, it doesn’t seem to take too long. The actual time I spent on a computer to make the changes was probably about 4-8 hours overall, but in calendar time it took a few days because of the AdSense and Analytics integration (waiting), and a few other configuration things I had to wait for. (So, several days in calendar time, but 4-8 hours in actual time.)

It’s also important to note that Ezoic is an AdSense partner, which I discuss more below.

In dreams, light switches don’t work

I don’t know why they don’t work, but last night for about the 100th or 1,000th time I was reminded that light switches don’t work in dreams.

We were hoping to see the northern lights here last night, so I was intentionally sleeping lightly, waking up every half hour or so. In one dream I looked out my bedroom windows, saw the lights, went out of the room to tell others that we could see the northern lights, tried to turn on a light switch, and it didn’t work. So I tried turning on other light switches, they didn’t work, and then I thought, “Gosh darn it, I’m asleep,” and I woke myself up.

Being pulled up out of bed by your feet and into the air (lucid dreams)

On multiple occasions I have had a lucid dream where someone or something is pulling me by my feet, and they proceed to pull my feet up and into the air. On one occasion they had me hanging upside down like that, but on other occasions they have stopped, got stuck, or I have woken up.

The last time this happened was last week — mid-June, 2024 — and I think I now know what is happening. But I don’t want to share that until this happens again and I can confirm what I’m thinking.

(And if you’re interested in lucid dreams, another common one is where light switches don’t work in lucid dreams.)

What are Ram Dass’s best books, or book recommendations?

While many people know the famous Ram Dass book, Be Here Now — which is currently the #1 All-Time Best-Selling book in Spiritualism on Amazon — I’d argue that it’s not necessarily his best book.

For example, I have met a few people in my travels who were struggling to read and understand it it because of all the art and 1960s “hippie style” stuff — which I personally like — and it was at that time I realized that while Be Here Now is his most famous book, it may not be his best book. (The problem with the hippie stuff is that it’s also distracting.)

Ram Dass’s best books

IMHO, I think the following books are his best, where I believe best will also depend on (a) a person’s experience with his writings and teachings, and also (b) their own progress on the spiritual path. And in this case, I think it’s also about book’s that are more straight to the point.

Maine Cabin Masters Black Pirate Flag (skull and crossbones)

If you’ve ever seen the “Maine Cabin Masters” tv show, you may have seen the black flag that they fly on their cabins while they’re working on them. If you ever wondered about their black flag, here’s what I can tell you from this deleted scene video:

  • In the video, which was posted on March 19, 2020, Ryan states that the flag is new.
  • The flag signifies the Maine Cabin Masters “are here” and “we’re kicking butt on this project, and it’s going to be the best this camp will ever be.”
  • It is the Maine Cabin Masters “skull and crossbones.”
  • The image is a Chase Morrill design.

Addiction and emergency words of support and encouragment

A friend of mine who was been battling addiction told me that the most important thing for them once they were “triggered” was to get away from the trigger and also ask someone for help.

Additionally, they said that when they couldn’t do those things for one reason or another, they had certain phrases that they would repeat to themself. They even kept cards with them that they’d carry around.

One of the phrases went like this: “You CAN keep doing the same thing today, tomorrow, and every day until you die, or, you CAN choose to make a change right now.”

Within You Without You (lyrics to the Beatles song)

Perhaps because of the sitar and the way they sing, I find it a little hard to understand the lyrics for the Beatles song, “Within You Without You”, so here are those lyrics:

We were talking about the space between us all
And the people who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion
Never glimpse the truth, then it’s far too late, when they pass away

We were talking about the love we all could share
When we find it, to try our best to hold it there with our love
With our love, we could save the world, if they only knew

Try to realize it’s all within yourself
No one else can make you change
And to see you’re really only very small
And life flows on within you and without you

We were talking about the love that’s gone so cold
And the people who gain the world and lose their soul
They don’t know, they can’t see, are you one of them?

When you’ve seen beyond yourself then you may find
Peace of mind is waiting there
And the time will come when you see we’re all one
And life flows on within you and without you

The Beatles: A Day in the Life

When I was younger I didn’t really like The Beatles, though I did like individual songs by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of McCartney and The Beatles, and this quote from the Wikipedia’s A Day in the Life discussion is good:

“Paul and I were definitely working together, especially on ‘A Day in the Life’ that was a real ... The way we wrote a lot of the time: you’d write the good bit, the part that was easy, ‘I read the news today’ or whatever it was, then when you got stuck or whenever it got hard, instead of carrying on, you just drop it; then we would meet each other, and I would sing half, and he would be inspired to write the next bit and vice versa. He was a bit shy about it because I think he thought it’s already a good song. Sometimes we wouldn’t let each other interfere with a song either, because you tend to be a bit lax with someone else’s stuff, you experiment a bit. So we were doing it in his room with the piano. He said ‘Should we do this?’; ‘Yeah, let’s do that.’”

(Here’s a link to A Day in the Life on YouTube.)

(Dear Jackie Waller: I’m sorry, you were right, I would have liked the Beatles if I took the time to listen to them.)

Lucid dream: Waking up as a bride in a hotel room

I woke up a few nights ago dressed in a wedding gown. I didn’t know that at first; all I knew was that some lights outside were waking me up. So I got up, looked out a large glass window, and saw a large city at night outside the window. Then I realized I was dressed as a bride in a wedding, and the room had rose petals scattered all over the bed and floor.

Of course I was asleep and this was some sort of very realistic dream, and with that thought I woke up in bed as usual, gasping for air.

Some people inflict stress onto themself because of their own expectations

An important life lesson I learned somewhere along the line is that other people don’t think the way I do (and what a boring world it would be if they did).

As one example, when I started my business, I thought everyone else would want to be a co-owner, so I wanted to create it as an ESOP. But then I learned that a lot of good, talented co-workers didn’t want to be a co-owner, they just wanted to do their work and go home. (They had what you might call “a life outside of work.” 😁 )

I’m reminded of this because a friend keeps encountering a problem related to this: because they expect others to think and act the way they do, they inflict a lot of stress onto themself.

Meditation: There is stuff propelling us from when we were ten years old

I don’t remember where the video was, but I saw a video with Shinzen Young where he mentioned that as we meditate, things come up from our subconscious, and even when we get old, we’ll eventually be able to remember things from when we were like ten years old. My specific note from the video is that “there is stuff propelling us from when we were ten years old.”

What are bed bugs?

In a 2023 trip to New Mexico, I found out that The Sage Hotel in Santa Fe has bed bugs, and since then I’ve been trying to learn more about them. I asked ChatGPT, “What are bed bugs,” and got this answer (which I edited slightly for brevity and clarity):

Bed bugs are small, parasitic insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, and the tropical bed bug, Cimex hemipterus, are the two main species that feed on humans. Bed bugs belong to the family Cimicidae and the order Hemiptera.

Key characteristics of bed bugs include:

  • Size and appearance
  • Feeding behavior
  • Habitat
  • Reproduction
  • Resilience

Signs of a bed bug infestation include itchy welts or bites on the skin, small reddish-brown bugs on bedding or furniture, and dark spots (fecal matter) on surfaces.

See my Santa Fe bed bug report for images of actual bed bugs, courtesy of the Sage Inn in 2024.

Sage Hotel, Santa Fe: Bed bug report

In a personal note, I found out the hard way that the Sage Hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico had bed bugs when I stayed there in late 2023. The photos below show the bed bugs that I discovered on the bed at 1:15 a.m. one morning, along with the resulting invoice/receipt from the Sage Hotel (formerly named Sage Inn Hotel).

2024 Update #1: I wrote the Sage Hotel in 2024 about my experience, and how disappointed I was — both with the hotel having bed bugs and with their service — and never received any sort of reply.

2024 Update #2: I talked to a person when I later stayed at another hotel, and they said (a) their hotel never had bed bugs, and (b) if they ever did, they would give customers a full refund. (The Sage Hotel would not give me a full refund.)

Sage Hotel bed bug images

This first photo is from the bed bug I killed. I woke up, saw something moving in the bed, pressed it with my finger, it popped, and left this blood stain:

Ram Dass book on Maharaji (Neem Karoli Baba)

Ram Dass FAQ: What is the best Ram Dass book about the Maharaji, aka, Neem Karoli Baba?

The best Ram Dass book about Maharaj-ji (Neem Karoli Baba)

I believe the best Ram Dass book about Maharaj-ji (Neem Karoli Baba) is the 1979 Ram Dass book Miracle of Love. It’s over 400 pages in length, with story after story about the “miracles” Maharaj-ji performed. Some of the stories are told by Ram Dass, but most of them are told by other people. Almost all of the stories are less than one page in length, so it’s easy to read a few stories every night, if you like.

If you’re interested in what the Maharaji was described as being able to do, along with his quotes about Maya/illusion/delusion, service, loving everyone, etc., this is a great book.

A second great book ...

Another great Ram Dass book about Neem Karoli Baba is Polishing The Mirror.

A great thing about this book is that I think it’s the best summary of all his work. It’s a relatively short book, and summarizes much of what you’ll read in his other books. I really like to underline and highlight words, and I found that I could highlight most of this book. :)

As you can see from the tabs I attached my book, the book covers love, karma, the ego, Bhakti yoga, service, Maya/illusion, The Witness, Hanuman, and much more: