February 2009


 

Eastern Lowland Gorillas

Eastern Lowland Gorillas

 

 

 

 

In the November, 2001 National Geographic Magazine I read the following words:

 

How many cell phones is a gorilla worth? In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, eastern lowland gorillas are being killed for food by miners searching for coltan, a mineral in demand for making capacitors used in high-tech electronics. Each gorilla lost diminishes the country’s potential to attract ecotourists.

 

The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to 80% of the world’s coltan reserves.

 

Here’s whatHelen Vesperini reported for the BBC a few months earlier in 2001:

 

 

In the yard of the Shenimed sorting house, young men are busy sorting and cleaning colombo-tantalite ore, or coltan, as it is known in this part of the world.

Regional analysts say the international demand for coltan is one of the driving forces behind the war in the DRC, and the presence of rival militias in the country.

First the young men toss it up into the air as if they were winnowing rice.

Then they sort it with magnetic tweezers to eliminate any particles of iron ore.

It is then washed, crushed manually in a big pestle and mortar and tested again for iron ore before being fed into a photospectrometer to test its tantalum content.

The men concentrate calmly on their work or joke among themselves.

 

Blood tantalum

It is a far cry from the drama of the “No blood on my cell phone” campaign that a group of NGOs and religious communities have launched in Europe to lobby for an embargo on so called “blood tantalum”, the colombo-tantalite ore that comes from the war zones in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Tantalum is essential in the manufacture of electrical components known as pinhead capacitors. cell-phone

These regulate voltage and store energy in mobile phones, tens of millions of which have been sold in the past few years.

The European lobby groups, like the regional analysts, say that coltan production is fuelling the war in Congo.

 

 

I was so touched by this story, with its shades of ‘Blood Diamonds’ that I wrote a song questioning our relentless need for more and better high-tech goods like cell phones. Once again, it is worth being aware of the implications of every purchase we make. By the way, I still don’t own a cell phone and I don’t feel I’m missing a thing.

 

 

The song is called Lookin’ and if you click here you’ll get to a page where there’s a link to it.

 

John

 

 

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

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It has been a great pleasure for our family to get to know Russ and Gina Garcia in the last years. I wrote of them in a previous blog. This amazing couple have been married for 56 years. Out of respect for the love they have shared and obviously continue to share for each other, I decided to read out a poem at the end of the Voices from the North interview I did with them in 2007. The poem was the famous one of Khalil Gibran’s, On Marriage, from The Prophet.

 

Afterwards, Gina and Russ told me of how they had read two poems out loud at their wedding all those years before. The two poems were both from The Prophet, On Marriage and On Love. I was more than somewhat taken aback because those were the very two poems read out loud during the simple wedding ceremony Lucia and I had at our home in the hinterlands of New Mexico in 1990. (Can you hear the theme song from Close Encounters of the Third Kind?)

 

The Garcias went on to explain that they remarry each year by renewing their wedding vows with each other.

 

Today, February 25, 2009 is a new moon and it is Lucia’s and my 19th anniversary. For the second straight year we have honoured each other and our relationship by reading out loud just a few words from our wedding and the two poems from The Prophet that featured so prominently at our simple winter new moon wedding ceremony in New Mexico 19 years before.  The words are:

 

Marriage is an act of faith and a personal commitment, as well as a moral and physical union between two human beings. It involves the construction of the love and trust of those two individuals into a single growing energy of spiritual life. Marriage should be a life-long consecration to the ideal of loving kindness, backed with the will to make it last.

 

We read in The Prophet:

 

True love gives nothing but of itself

And takes nothing but from itself.

Love does not possess, nor would it be possessed

For love is sufficient unto love.

Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself,

To awake at dawn with a winged heart and

Give thanks for another day of loving.

To rest at noon and meditate love’s ecstasy;

To return home at eventide with gratitude,

And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart

And a song of praise upon your lips.

 

I’ve just checked and I can see that the friend who put the words of our ceremony together and who legally presided over the wedding had taken the liberty of altering Gibran’s original words to suit the occasion. I trust that you receive succour from their beauty nonetheless. I can honestly say that these words are more meaningful to Lucia and me with each turning of this beautiful planet around the sun.

 

Marriage remains a sacred commitment to us. For a previous blog I wrote on marriage which contains Gibran’s words on the same subject click here.

 

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We attended an intimate celebration of fifty years of marriage for two dear friends in December. They had chosen to redo their vows, have each participant take turns reading out various touching words related to marriage and play a few appropriate songs for the occasion. My little contribution was to read out Kahlil Gibran’s words on Marriage from The Prophet. Lucia and I had used these words as part of our marriage ceremony close to 19 years ago. Near the end of our circle of sharing another dear friend sprang up from his chair, approached his partner seated nearby, got down on one knee and proposed to her. Nearly speechless in shock, his partner nodded her consent. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place. I’m happy I always carry a handkerchief!

 

He and his lovely partner have been together for years and have two wonderful young boys. This is not this friend’s first long term relationship and he admitted to us all that he had never been married and half jokingly thought he would like to before he turned 60 next year. All of us were touched by the richness of this simple ceremony and the consequences it had for two (four including the boys) of us. The spontaneous proposition in no way detracted from the spirit of the occasion and only temporarily removed the focus from the people whose landmark anniversary was being honoured.

 

I believe the institution of marriage has tremendous value. It is a commitment to go through the fires of life together, through the ups and downs of finances, health, and relationship challenges and to come out the other side stronger and providing a valuable model for the couples that follow. Two of the pieces of music that were played were Amanda McBroom’s The Rose and John Denver with Placido Domingo singing Perhaps Love together.

 

 

The Prophet on Marriage
by Kahlil Gibran

Then Almitra spoke again and said…
“And what of Marriage, master?”
And he answered saying:

You were born together,
and together you shall be forevermore.

You shall be together when the white wings
of death scatter your days.

Aye, you shall be together even in the
silent memory of God.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between
the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous,
but let each of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone
though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together, yet not too near together.
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress
grow not in each other’s shadow.

Love,

John

In Search of Simplicity is a startlingly poignant real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life. John Haines hosts a popular weekly interview program, Voices from the North, from his place in paradise in New Zealand’s subtropical far north, and leads what he calls ‘playshops’ in voice, sound and communication. Visit his website at:

http://www.insearchofsimplicity.com

 

 

water-for-living-with-less-blog

 

My earlier ambitions of wanting to become a vice president with Bell Canada and becoming a millionaire by the time I turned thirty melted away in the three year backpacking life of freedom and few possessions I describe in my book, In Search of Simplicity.

 

A man’s wealth is determined not by what he possesses, but by what does not possess him. Another way of putting it is, ‘A person’s true wealth is determined not by what she has, but by what she can happily live without.’

 

I’d like to share with you an affirmation I made for myself a few years ago. It was inspired by Peace Pilgrim, who was a penniless wanderer for 28 years and who walked across America six times. She said, ‘I refuse to live with more than enough when there are others in this world with less than enough.’ Remember what the Buddha said? ‘The root of all suffering is desire.’ Or the words that deeply influenced me in Chapter 34 of my book, ‘All desire comes from a sense of lack.’

 

Here is the affirmation:

 

I release the need for greed when there are others in this world who don’t have enough. I know when to stop eating, I know when to stop buying. I know when to stop wanting. I know when to stop.

 

Repeat that every morning, preferably while looking in the mirror. I guarantee it will change you and your actions.

 

Amira (our eldest) leaves the house next week. Asha will follow her in a few years. Lucia’s and my ambition is to have a little house and a little garden. If we have more than enough, it’s more that we have to look after. Peace Pilgrim told a story of the lady on her own who was working so hard to support her bigger-than-necessary apartment. When Peace Pilgrim suggested she could do with less she said something like, “But you see, I couldn’t do that. I have furniture for a three bedroom house.” She was overworking to support her furniture!

 

In a world where a few privileged individuals are prepared to pay up to $80 for a bottle of water and others don’t have enough to drink, we need to dramatically alter the balance of wealth. I heard in an interview recently that a consortium, including a well known movie star, was buying up underground water rights around the world. Will the starving underclass in the Third World now turn into the thirsting underclass, so a few rich people can get richer?

 

I have less ‘stuff’ than I once had; but my smile gets bigger every day.

 

You never know the value of water until the well is dry.

 

Ben Franklin

 

 

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I just found out about this film: “Flow: For Love of Water”. http://www.flowthefilm.com/ It details the world water supply and what is happening to it. All this while GE is quietly buying up water rights all over the world.

the-invitation1

Canadian poet Oriah Mountain Dreamer wrote ‘The Invitation’ late one night after returning from a party. She was unsettled and disappointed with an evening that had been full of the usual social conversation. Her words from the book, The Invitation, describe the experience she had: “Restless, I sat down at my desk in the darkness and listened to the sounds around me diminish as the city settled into sleep. There in the quiet, with a street lamp casting a pale light into the room, I picked up my pen and wrote what I really wanted to say to the people I had met that evening, patterned on a writing exercise I had learned on a David Whyte workshop.”

 

These words have touched and inspired countless people around the world to look at their lives and see if they are truly living from the source. I encourage you to do the same.

 

With love and respect,

John

John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives.

In Search of Simplicity is a startlingly poignant real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life. John Haines hosts a popular weekly interview program, Voices from the North, from his place in paradise in New Zealand’s subtropical far north, and leads what he calls ‘playshops’ in voice, sound and communication. Visit his website at:

http://www.insearchofsimplicity.com

 

 

 

 

The Invitation

 

“IT DOESN’T INTEREST ME WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

 

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow; if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from the fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

 

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself, if you can bear the accusations of betrayal and not betray your own soul; I want to know if you can be faithless and therefore be trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it’s not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.

 I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “YES”.

 

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

 

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

 

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.”

 

 

Oriah Mountain Dreamer

 

Sue Bradford, Green Party Member of Parliament in New Zealand, has twice been named backbencher of the year. She is ranked number three on the Green Party List voted on by all Green Party members, coming in behind the co-leaders Russel Norman and Jeanette Fitzsimons. Sue had three private member bills passed into law in the last 2008 parliamentary session, more than anyone ever has. Listen to the complete interview below:

 

She speaks with passion of the role of the Green Party being a voice for the environment and for the voiceless members of society. She eloquently elaborates on how the Greens look to the long term—50 to 100 years—rather than the superficial perspective the big parties tend to have.

 

Sue explains how the Vietnam War influenced her as a teenager during a year her family spent in Wisconsin. Her lifelong passion for standing up to injustice was initiated during that North Amercian sojourn. Her comments on the upcoming US elections (this Voices from the North Interview was recorded in October, 2008) are insightful. She describes America as an empire in collapse. She calls tax cuts superficial and ‘like fiddling while Rome burns.’

 

She speaks of the damage in low income communities of ‘pokies’ (slot machines) and how the main parties seem to have a ‘conspiracy of silence’ with issues like this. Sue, herself a mother of five children, elaborates on the importance of early childhood education for all socio-economic classes. This was a timely interview as the New Zealand elections were November 8th, 2008.

 

 

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Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

woman-in-desert-for-triangle-meditation

 

I wrote in a recent blog of the possibility of creating Triangles and using the Great Invocation to stimulate and heal the consciousness of humanity. The following words, extracted from the pamphlet, Triangles, of Lucis Trust, explain how to go about setting up Triangles and how to use just a few minutes each day to benefit yourself and the world.

 

Enjoy,

John

 

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

 

 

The Work of Triangles

 

     The service of Triangles is aiding the development of right human relations throughout the world. A knowledge and understanding of the relationship between energy and thought is of definite value in this work. The work of Triangles is directing energy by the power of thought. In Triangles we use the focused power of thought to invoke and direct into humanity the energies of light and goodwill—energies desperately needed in our world today. It is a deeply scientific work, but fundamentally simple. Invocation, prayer or aspiration, meditation—it matters not which word you use—by means of these three methods, spiritual energies are tapped and brought into activity.

 

     The steady impact of right thought, thought qualified by the energy of goodwill, is having a definite stimulating and healing effect upon the consciousness of humanity. In addition a vast reservoir or pool of goodwill energy is being created which is drawn upon by workers for humanity all over the planet.

 

     Any individual can join with two others who believe in the power of creative thought to form a triangle. This triangle, when linked in with the worldwide Network of Light and Goodwill, can be a practical expression of the potency of thought and a contribution to the effort to develop right relations among all humanity.

 

 

How to Create a Triangle

 

     Find two other people to link with you each day in thought, for a few moments of creative meditation. There is a unique potency in this triple relationship. According to all the World Scriptures, God works as a Trinity, and you can do the same in your own sphere, finding two other people of like mind to form a triangle of light and spiritual interplay. Each of the two can also, in their turn, do the same and thus a great network of light and spiritual power can spread over the world. Through it the Forces of Light will be able to work and you, in your own place, will have aided and helped.

 

 

How to do the Work

 

     The Triangles work is simple. It need take only a few minutes to perform and can be fitted into the most crowded program. Each day members sit quietly for a few moments, in whatever part of the world they each may be, and link mentally with the other members of their triangle, or triangles. They invoke the energies of light and goodwill, visualize these energies as circulating through the three focal points and pouring outward through the network of triangles that envelops the world. At the same time they undertake to repeat the Great Invocation, thus helping to form a channel for the down pouring of light and love into the body of humanity. It is not necessary to synchronize the time at which the work is done, for once triangles are built in mental substance, they can be ‘brought alive’ when any one member does the work.

 

For more information on Triangles work:

 

*Triangles, pamphlet available from:
Lucis Trust
113 University Place
11th Floor
New York, NY
10003
or through Lucis Trust

*Books by the Master Djwhal Khul through Alice A. Bailey, Lucis Trust.
Lucis Trust

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