This sounds very much like Dao philosophy. Taking the lower position like water, yet being stronger than all else.

Striving to display one’s own significance or greatness does not achieve the goal of the one seeking wisdom or enlightenment. Instead, it throws a veil over your true greatness–your Source.

Focus on simplifying being who you truly are,  but that also requires the lifelong work of discovering your true self. To me the true self is a river–always changing, yet identifiable.

Finally, gratitude emanates from living authentically with the capacity to truly see on a deeper level. Awareness may bring to light the bad in the world, but true appreciation comes from seeing and resting with things just as they are.

All of reality is embraced with appreciation the moment we say “yes” to what is.

So I bought a Jawbone Up24 on March  3rd and felt all pumped to start using this small device to gain some awareness about my health habits. I won’t do a full review now, but I will mention a couple issues.

One is a general problem with tech companies rushing products to market before they are ready. Companies seem reassured that they can promise firmware updates to their customers, but this is annoying if not very problematic for those needing to use the device they bought.

For years I’ve had a Garmin Forerunner 305, which is an amazing GPS exercise device! No problems whatsoever. It is, however, too large to wear around like a watch. So this brings me back to the Jawbone Up24.

As I mentioned, this won’t be a complete review, but there are a some problems that have come up in the first week of owning the Up24 worth mentioning.

One particularly bothersome one is that my Up24 doesn’t always gather my sleep data–one of the main reasons I bought it. I press the button to start the sleep monitor, sleep,  then wake up and press the button again. Sometimes Up shows my sleep data, other times it doesn’t. One trick I discovered, if the data isn’t entered automatically, is entering sleep data manually. This is no big trick, but the “trick” part is that the Up seems to have the data recorded inside it from your night’s sleep, so when you manually enter your sleep time it populates your phone with the proper data. For example, if you enter 10PM to 6AM, after syncing your Up it will show the time you were awake, in light sleep and deep sleep. This is a pretty handy workaround, but this doesn’t always work either! Sometimes, it will just show a big “block” of sleep without any sleep details.

One to the problems is that of being “Not Plugged In.” This morning, I woke up and my Up24 would not sync with my iPhone–the only brand that currently “works.” After pressing the button and a few times, I could see my Up was unresponsive, so I plugged it in just to see what would happen. After a couple minutes, it was responsive again! Lest you think I let my batter run dry, nay! nay! My Up was charged and ready to go for another seven days upon hitting my pillow for sleep, so I have no idea what happened or why. Up just froze.

I went ahead and manually entered my sleep time, but did this time I didn’t get any useful data…no deep sleep, light sleep or wake time calculated. Yesterday the sleep monitory worked fine, so I wasn’t horribly saddened, but it did make me want to give my Up a little more attention–to investigate.

For the first time, I plugged my Up24 into my computer as instructed in the little manual and downloaded the “Updater.” Please note the name “Updater.” After everything was installed on my Windows 7 laptop, I restarted my web browser, but the notification icon said that my Up was “Not Plugged In.” So, I restarted my laptop to try again. Same problem still! This time, I search the Jawbone forum to find out more. It turns out, unsurprisingly, I’m not the only one with this issue! The answer given on the forum, by an administrator, was that the Updater only charges the Up… What?? OK. So I hit the “Reply” button to ask the administrator the obvious, “Why is it called an ‘Updater’ if it cannot update nor even connect to the Up device?” When I hit reply, though, instead of allowing me to ask my question, the Jawbone forum forwarded me to a useless page with no opportunity to reply! So, this is why I decided to post this story–I couldn’t post on the Jawbone Up forum about it.

Here is a screenshot of the forum answer from the Admin about why the “Updater” doesn’t work:

Jawbone Up Reply

The hopeful statement at the end is, “…at this time.” So this brings me back full circle to the beginning of my post. Tech companies are rushing gadgets to market that aren’t ready.

To be fair, technology is difficult to develop and make to “just work” like a spoon or a hammer. As a computer professional, I get this, so at this point I’m hopeful that Jawbone will eventually get the Updater working and…um…updating the firmware on their Up24 devices. Until  then, guess I have an expensive pedometer.

Feel free to comment or ask any questions here! You won’t be forward to a useless page telling you to buy more useless gadgets!

I hope this helps someone.

Originally posted on Exopermaculture:

As I move through the Ringing Cedars series, the idea of living in the Siberian wilderness once again came up for review. I’ve always been magnetically drawn to this remote part of the world, probably because it is so remote. At lunch with my son Colin last week, I told him about the series, and he mentioned that he had watched a fascinating video of a Russian woman who was born in the taiga, and who was 70 years old when she was filmed there. My neighbor Rebecca (whose ancestors are Siberian!) and I decided to watch this 35-minute film. Result: it depressed us; both because the woman seemed so stuck mentally in the Russian Orthodox religion and because she kept her excitable dog on a short chain. He was there only to alert her to approaching bears. She never allowed him to run free. And she didn’t seem…

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Believing her positive propaganda megaphone, she smiles. Microphone broken, she knows she hears.

Pebble watch screen garbled

Purchased on December 1, 2013, this is my Pebble watch with the screen all garbled with lines, artifacts and static — just broken. This is the third time I’ve purchased this watch. This time is the worst. I like the watch concept and features when it works, but it appears a ways off for that.

I’m starting to get annoyed by tech companies sending to market half baked products. From the buggy Galaxy Notes 3 and Galaxy Gear watch to this Pebble, it’s clear the desire to sell is stronger than the desire to perfect their products. Sure, they’re concerned about sales for their survival, but they forget the importance of quality for continued sales.

These half baked tech products are fairly new and complicated to make, so it’s easy to understand the challenge. Nevertheless, I don’t feel like doing their testing and debugging job! A simple Timex for $20 will at least give the time and basic functions without a glitch and most importantly without sucking up hours of your time. Worse yet, trying to get through to Pebble tech support, which is abysmal.

want this company and product to succeed! But only at so much expense to me. Paying for it should be enough. Spending hours working with it is asking a lot.

My reason for returning to this product after several tries is that I really find the vibration alarm function useful. The functionality could be far better, but it has it. However, if I cannot even read the time, what’s the point?! I may simply opt for a high end Garmin Fenix that has vibration alarms and is more reliable for what I need. I will miss syncing notifications with my phone, but it’s not a must for me. Again, if I could read the time, that would make me keep it! Despite the other glitches this watch has.



Pebble Support Center
Pebble Watch Screen Broken (video of another watch like mine)
Pebble Display Failure (blog detailing many people having the same problem)

If our religion is based on salvation, our chief emotions will be fear and trembling. If our religion is based on wonder, our chief emotion will be gratitude. ―Carl Jung

This quote by Carl Jung and the following video clip of Carl Sagan are a perfect complement to one another. Sagan was pretty gentle with those who believed in gods and religion in comparison to the likes of Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. It’s almost as if he gathered the fallible human race in his arms to explain as gently as possible why belief in God(s) and religion was not rational. His humility and patience rivaled that of many religious faithful. What stood out about Sagan most, though, was his sense of awe and humility before the vastness of our cosmos. His awe and enthusiasm were almost like a peak religious experience! Through the perspective of ‘the pale blue dot,’ we are able to let our differences melt away and see we truly are all in this experience together.

The above quote by Jung highlights the contrast between salvation-based religion and religion based on the love of nature. While he leaves out the word Christianity, he’s clearly pointing that way in this statement. Why would a salvation-based religion be mingled with ‘fear and trembling’? It may be safe to suggest the fear and trembling in the face of an unpredictable world may have preceded it. Humans that face dangerous, unpredictable nature are often given to fear and reaching out to deities in the spirit realm. Lacking power, we wish for help and comfort. We want it so badly that we will even imagine it to set ourselves at ease.

It seems Jung may have been blaming salvation-based religion on the fear, but it seems humans have no trouble feeling fear at what we do not understand without the help of religion. Many, it could be argued, are comforted by the idea that God or and angel will be with them in times of need, fiction or not.

The last part of his quote is wonderful! Gratitude is arguably the most healing and pleasant emotion humans experience, and it is something attainable to anyone with the proper perspective. Nature certainly provides many opportunities for wonder and awe! Even without adding fairies and gnomes. The more we learn, the more profound our realization of ignorance is. Only the uneducated mind is so certain.

There may be no need to toss out our gods and spiritual helpers to gain a greater perspective on life that leads to wonder and gratitude. By broadening our perspective through education, time in nature, meditation or any number of ways, we may find the wonder and humility of the endearing scientist Carl Sagan.

In the following video, you may gain that warmth and appreciation simply by watching Sagan show us the ‘pale blue dot’ we call home along with millions of other life forms.

Please take the time to enjoy this short video clip by the astronomer and friend of the cosmos Carl Sagan.

“I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
– Thomas Jefferson in 1816

Already in the works in 1816, I’m afraid Jefferson’s worst nightmare has been surpassed by corporations in the USA. Behind this problem is one of the three primary causes of suffering according to Buddhism–greed.

The willingness to put the desire for gain above the well being of others is basically what greed does. Behind that action are states of mind–thoughts and feelings. What is lacking is empathy.

To be free of greed does not require one to deprive oneself for the well being of others. These two extremes lead to misery.

Does ignorance of true reality play a role in this? If one truly knew to full impact of their greedy actions, would they cease them? According to Buddhism, yes.

For those who are unconvinced, or non-religious, simple introspection may reveal the end result of greed in ones own life as well as society. Initially, greed may appear to be the correct state of mind to achieve greater gain. Yet, what is the purpose of this gain? It could be the notion that it will lead to power or safety, thereby leading to greater happiness. If we were completely separate beings, then another’s loss would not harm us at all. Even a small amount of contemplation reveals we are interrelated on many levels. It’s a bit like eating ones arm out of hunger.

Non-greed comes from the realization that all humans impact one another. If one part of humanity suffers, it harms the whole. Without this unifying view, the basis of morality vanishes.

One may agree to do good to their family, self or company because they see the immediate benefit. Competition appears to be unavoidable. However, even the predator and prey are a union. One strengthening the other. They are interdependent. They prey may appear to be on the losing side, but the whole of that species is strengthened by the actions of the predator when there is harmony. When the predator acts out of basic need, this is not the same as greed. Greed leads to amassing far more than one needs at the cost of others or earth itself.

By destroying a river for profit by dumping toxins, the future generations are impoverished. Those future humans are one with the one that currently exist.

Happiness is increased right away when actions come from empathy, unity and wisdom. The realization of the unity of oneself with all that is is a necessary step, however, to fully see this. Mere rules will not give insight into this.

Uprooting craving and aversion through awareness of the unity of all things leads to a more peaceful, happy life in this world now and for those who may come after us.

If one believes in karma, then they are convinced that harmful actions will lead to suffering–like a cosmic ‘payback’ machine. Those who believe in a supreme God, they may believe that wrong actions will be judged and their afterlife will be painful if their actions on this earth were sinful.

Even with no religion, the heart responds to what is good and kind. Greater health and happiness are the reward of good actions. While exceptions exist, this general rule is true. Not only that, but the existential suffering humans often face is pacified by skillful actions, thoughts and emotions.

Greed is a natural state for unawakened humans. Seek greater insight into the nature of any greed or craving, and you may find you have a more happy, peaceful life.


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