A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Now

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A Dictionary of New Epigrams

Go to — the alphabetical list of epigrams.

Now

In previous conscious moments, I created what I am now.

Doing what appears to be the appropriate thing to do in the present moment is almost always the right thing to do, except when it isn’t.

“Don’t be stupid” is always good advice to oneself and it’s always about something you are about to do.

We must always tell the truth in the present moment.

You must be conscious in the present now when you are telling a lie.

It is a great lie now to promise someone a future you can’t deliver.

The present always feels good when you have the feeling, “I am choosing to do this.”

There are 1011 galaxies in our Universe, and  1011 stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way, and our Sun is 3.3 105  (333,000 times bigger than the Earth) and the Earth is 9.63548387 1022 times bigger than a human. Adding the raised powers give us a very rough estimate that the Universe is 1049 times bigger than one of us. Also, our life is a hundred years (102) out of our universe’s 13 billion years (1010). Let’s blend all those  digits together and get our influence on things to be very roughly 1 in 1059. That is one part us versus something with fifty-nine zeros after it.

What I am suggesting is that our influence in the Universe is rather small.

However, we do have great power over this HERE and this NOW, and we have the power to change our habits of how we are going to behave TOMORROW, and the Universe can’t choose to do any of those things.

Influence and enjoy those things you can participate in and just observe and enjoy those things you can’t participate in.

Doing what you can do now prepares you to do what you can do next.

To say you are always living in the present moment and ignoring the past and future is stating the obvious, but there is inertia and it is obvious too.

I can cope with my problems now, and those things I can’t cope with I can usually get someone to cope with them for me.

I expect tomorrow will be as much fun as today was. There were some moments of anxiety but it was fun working through them.

Chopping wood, carrying water, shoveling snow.

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Dudley’s writing group met at Aingeal and Ahonu’s – The prompt: 40 minutes.
“One way or another that gives poetry its musical qualities.”

It was a stormy morning here in Bend, Oregon. Most of the snow had melted away that was exposed in our open fields, but where the snow plows had shoved it, along the sides of the roads, there were still four-foot-high berms. I had driven to the Unitarian Church an hour early planning to attend a pre-church meditation group, but during the drive over it started snowing again and snowing heavily by the time I arrived for the meditation. By the time I parked, the snow was covering the ground an inch deep and accumulating fast.

The regular services weren’t scheduled to begin for an hour, so rather than go to the quiet fireside room and meditate I decided to shovel snow to clear the paths for the oncoming congregation. I had done this simple work several times at various places this week of record snowfall with the intent of developing more mature habits. My previously posted idea is that when one is feeling good and has some psychic energy they should look around and intentionally choose to do the most mature thing available at the time, that needs doing.

Shoveling snow may not sound like a mature activity, after all a child can do it, but when one of the great sages of ancient times was asked what he did now that he had achieved enlightenment, he replied, “I chop wood, and carry water.” His disciple asked him how that differed from before he became enlightened? How did it differ from when he was a youth being forced by his parents to chop wood and carry water?

“It’s no different. No different in the physical activity. The difference is in the mental and spiritual activity. As a child I felt rebellious and angry at having to do such stupid things as chop wood and carry water, but now, as what you call an enlightened sage, I feel a satisfying rush that permeates my whole being for the opportunity to be of service to my fellow human beings and to my animal friends and to my plant friends, too.”

Some lyrically inclined people would call this attitude toward those simple acts a form of poetry. It gives structure to an otherwise dumb physical reality. It gives meaning to the results that come from the uses of the water and from the uses of the chopped wood. This attitude generates the most beautiful music that exists in our world.

These simple physical acts that seem so lacking in spiritual meaning ultimately give everything the essentials of life and permit living beings – people, animals, and plants too – to thrive. What could be more poetic? What could be more musical? The rhythmic sound of chopping wood is poetry and it’s the finest music that can be made because it is the sound of life being brought into a higher state of being.

Chop – chop – chop – – carry – carry – carry – – shovel – shovel – shovel.

Pay attention when you can.

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The mind will wander and that is part of its normal functioning because it needs to check out various aspects of whatever is brought to its attention. When it is totally fixated on one thing there is no thinking going on and thus no possibility to solve the problems confronting it. Conversely, when the mind wanders endlessly without ever coming to some stable points to work with nothing can happen either.

What the mind needs to do is to filter out those things that will probably help with an actionable idea and keep them in a readily accessible reference area. A problem arises if the ideas are unique because they will have nothing to link to and will be easily forgotten. They will not be easily recoverable because there are no links to previous ideas and only by going through the previous chain of ideas may these newly created ones be recoverable.

The solution to this problem of recovering really new ideas is to have some ongoing record of thoughts, especially new ones. That record can be in the form of notes, or audio recordings, or of memory tricks like giving the idea a vibrant name.

About seven independent ideas are all a normally functioning brain can work with simultaneously and as many of the dozens of potentially useful ideas will seem not to pan out and be useful. It is essential to have some record of them so they can be returned to at a later time. Even Einstein’s theory of General Relativity was an idea that he had passed over as unworkable several years earlier, but luckily he had written notes and was later able to build it up into the most important idea of modern physics.

Many of humanity’s best ideas required putting together seemingly unrelated ideas and it is common for great creative thinkers to be expert in totally unrelated fields of thought.

Pay attention to new ideas and at the first moment – record them.

I made a grievous mistake a half-hour ago.

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What I am about to tell you will seem trivial in the extreme so it will be necessary to explain why a tiny moment of forgetfulness is important.

Dinner was served at seven-thirty, and after Debbie and I had finished our little ritual ending with – “Eat just the right amount!” which implies just the right amount to get us to our next meal in just the right state of nutrition – I took a bite of muffin. She had prepared some super special kind of muffins with all sorts of goodies blended in, and I had just added a tiny bit of butter and some Rothschild’s pineapple habanero sauce. I have had these before and they are fabulous, so I took a bite. Big mistake!!! Why the fuss?

I hadn’t drunk the half cup of water set right beside the dinner plate, and Debbie was looking at me. I had just broken our February diet plan. This is as easy as a diet plan can get, but I had failed. We had decided at the end of January that for the month of February we would drink a glass of water before eating our sit-down meals. It has been reported in the “diet-press” that drinking a glass of water before a meal will make it easier to stop eating when one nears the end of a meal. We have been doing this for the last two weeks and it does make me fuller near the end of the meal and thus I am willing to quit eating sooner. It makes it easy to eat a smaller dessert or skip it all together. So, why the fuss? Just drink the water and move on. But NO! … It’s more complicated.

I was chewing the muffin but hadn’t swallowed the bite when it became apparent that I was making a mistake because Debbie was staring at me. Then I realized … I forgot the water. So, instead of swallowing the bite of muffin I pushed it over into my cheeks and drank the water. Okay. I was in compliance with our diet plan but just barely, and worst of all I hadn’t remembered to do it myself and would have swallowed if she hadn’t looked at me.

I had come as close to failing as I could without having to suffer a punishment. In this case, the punishment would be that I couldn’t eat for ten minutes after our next normal eating time of twelve noon sharp. That wouldn’t be too harsh unless the meal was served promptly at noon and I had to sit there for ten minutes staring at my cooling hot lunch and watch Debbie eating. It was a close call, and that is a benefit of cultivating new habits with another person – you can remind one another just before a needed action. It takes a while to develop a new habit until it becomes automatic. The problem is –

How can you trust yourself, if you can’t keep a promise to yourself?

Spiritual and secular growth compared.

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The development of a sage may come about in many ways, but the method developed by the Seven Sages of Ancient Greece in the 147 Delphic maxims sets us on the path of a proper way to live. Lao Tzu in his Tao Teh Ching uses the power of the attractive void to pull all things into existence. Sun Tzu uses the natural traits of human behavior in his Art of War to create and sustain nations. Jesus has described human ascent in climbing the ladder of the Beatitudes using his version of the Golden Rule. Epictetus in his Enchiridion shows how an ordinary person can live a contented life. Probaway gives a multi-dimensional view of Paths to Maturity that relates various levels of development. Probaway also has 138 Western Philosophers Squared Off In Quotations – Chronological Index of Philosophers. Probaway is presently exploring ways of accelerating ordinary people through the levels of maturity from infancy through sage in Personal explorations of the levels of maturity.

Humans are genetically inclined to be moral beings but they do learn from experience, and thus it is necessary to help them gain the experience that will be of benefit to all humanity.

Human morality is based on carefully refined gossip entering our genetic code.

What can I say to those who doubt my view of Jesus?

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Currently living Christians and Muslims will doubt my assertions about how Jesus was showing us how to ascend the ladder of the Beatitudes to attain heaven. I have no desire to challenge a single person who has found a spiritual path that is satisfying to them. If it works for them and their friends that will get plenty of praise from me.

My view is based on my simple observation that the Beatitudes as translated in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible are a ladder from a miserable state to a heavenly one. That seems meaningful because the Sermon on the Mount begins with that ascending list of improving emotional states coupled with an improving set of rewards for reaching the higher states.

A second observation is that after the Beatitudes the sermon builds toward the Golden Rule with problems and solutions and after stating with great emphasis that it is important both before and after, he gives a warning to do it properly so you will get the benefits. If you don’t do the Golden Rule as he suggested you will not grow the good fruits and will deserve to be cast away into the fire.

When I read the Golden Rule with the word should replaced with the word would it appears to me to be going down a path that will not give the results that Jesus wanted you to acquire. The problem is that treating others as you wish to be treated means you are locked into the developmental state that you currently reside within. The way that will improve your chances for getting to the heavenly state is to treat others better than you would treat yourself. That is why the word should is so important and so powerful. People should treat you in a way that will help you grow toward heaven and if you consistently treat others better than you would want them to treat you, the result is that with every application of that better way you will become a better person yourself. If you only treat people at your own level of development you are locking yourself into that preexisting level of spiritual attainment. Therefore do those things to others that they should do to you to help you up the ladder of the Beatitudes.

“Everything others should do to you, do to them!”

Jesus’ Beatitudes reveal the way to heaven.

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According to the site The Life of Jesus in Chronological Order timeline, the Sermon on the Mount was given in April, 27 A.D.. Jesus had been preaching around Galilee since September, 25 A.D. and appears to have had his home base at Capernaum only a mile from the site of the Sermon on the Mount. In September, 27 A.D. he heads for Jerusalem about 120 miles south and is crucified in April 28 A.D..

If this timeline is correct Jesus’ ministry was only a year long after the Sermon, about six months while still near Capernaum and about seven months in transit and in Jerusalem. The time before the Sermon may be considered a preparatory period for his essential mission, and the events after it the development of the message. The Beatitudes are the steps on the ladder to heaven that he is explaining and illustrating during that short period.

By following the simplified version of his Golden Rule, “Everything others should do to you, do to them!”, and using the Beatitudes as the guide to things that should be done to others, we may ascend to Jesus’ heaven. By becoming skilled standing on each rung of the ladder of the Beatitudes to heaven we may reach for the next higher one. Because it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to simply tell our internal habitual selves to climb up this ladder, Jesus gives us an easier task. He recommends doing each of these beatitudes in order, from the bottom one to the top one, externally to others, where we can see them and do them intentionally. By doing each of these things externally to other people we develop the required habitual skills for doing them internally to ourselves.

Each of these actions is treating another person better than we treat ourselves. We are approaching a person that is mourning, from a state of our own desolation of spirit, and then mourning ourselves, and then from our state of mourning to comfort them. By doing that we learn to move from desolation to mourning and to give comfort. This is a skill that needs to be learned before you can successfully move up to the next rung on the ladder, that of being meek, and in that condition of giving the things that the earth is capable of providing. Going up these steps of the ladder may take some time and dedicated effort, but they are doable because they are individually easily done. Those things that people should do to you are to help you to attain your highest potential. You do that for other people by doing to them what they should do to you. Thus:

“Everything others should do to you, do to them!”

Everything others should do to you, do to them!

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I feel the last couple of blog posts are so important that they may be the most important things I ever say. It is a simple statement and it is what I think Jesus meant when he said his Golden Rule. There are many Golden Rules on Wikipedia’s page. Essentially every culture has some statement of reciprocity claiming that if you treat your fellow creatures well they will treat you well in return. I say creature to include all animals, not just humans, because you will discover quickly that if you treat a dog well it will treat you well. This rule will not apply well to hungry meat-eating animals, but they aren’t treating you badly when they eat you, it’s just their way of living.

Wikipedia lists eight kinds of reciprocity – (this is a direct copy of their links)



A close reading of those concepts will show you that the Golden Rule as I have stated it, which is identical to the King James Version, isn’t about helping other people, nor is it about those others intentionally treating you better. The Golden Rule is about getting into a heavenly state, and when you know how to do that it’s about helping other people get into heaven. It is a vastly greater goal than merely getting people to treat you well by stimulating their mirror neurons to copy behavior they encounter. Jesus was saying what he intended was for his followers to ascend into heaven. This is obvious because he begins the Sermon on the Mount with a ladder to his heaven. It’s called the Beatitudes, and on the eighth step, he says you are in heaven. The first few steps are for people living in misery and the last ones are nearing heaven. Thus one ascends a ladder from misery through more desirable states and ends the ascent in heaven.
Treating your acquaintances as you would like them to treat you is going to create friendly relationships. It is a very good thing to treat people well, to treat animals well, to treat plants well, and even to treat the inanimate Earth well. However, that isn’t going to get you into heaven. Following his instructions, as stated in the King James Version of the Golden Rule, will get you into Jesus’ heaven, and following the instructions as translated in the other versions that replace should with would will only create pleasant relationships with your friends and environment.

Others can help you ascend to heaven if you treat them as they should treat you. They should help you ascend the ladder provided in the Beatitudes.

Everything others should do to you, do to them!

Visiting the site of The Sermon on the Mount

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Even two thousand years after Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount near the Sea of Galilee, there isn’t much to see.

Sea of Galilee.

The Sermon on the Mount was spoken by Jesus just above the Sea of Galilee seen on the map under the yellow pushpin.

If it wasn’t for a few religious buildings built on the site to commemorate the most important speech ever given, it would be a few unknown farms on a beautiful hillside overlooking a large freshwater lake. The Church of the Beatitudes is on the site at lat/lon 32.8806 35.5559

Site of the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus

Site of the Sermon on the Mount looking south-west across the Sea of Galilee

Photos from Tourists in Israel

Church of the Beatitudes

Looking east at the Church of the Beatitudes on a hillside above the Sea of Galilee with a view to the river Jordan where Jesus was baptized.

Capernaum is on the beach directly behind the church but the view of it is blocked by the hillside.

View east of Sermon on the Mount site.

This Google Earth oblique view shows the site in the foreground, Capernaum where Jesus lived is on the beach and the upper river Jordan floodplain 3 miles in the distance.

The Sermon on the Mount by Jesus

A Google Earth image with the site of The Sermon on the Mount at 32.8806 35.5559. Click for bigger.

It is three miles from the yellow pushpin over to the river Jordan outlet into the Sea of Galilee and one mile to Capernaum along the same line. Even today the population is sparse and the fishermen few. Where would the multitudes walk from to hear a short sermon on an open hillside? The trees around the church are eucalyptus and palms introduced about a hundred years ago.

The hillside where the Sermon on the Mount was delivered.

The Sermon on the Mount site as seen from the Sea of Galilee.

Most of these buildings are probably modern but there are some remarkable stone ruins at Capernaum about a mile to the right of this photo.

Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee

Town of Capernaum on the beach in foreground and the site of the Sermon on the Mount on the hill behind it.

The image is from Crystal Links. This beautiful site must have been trodden upon by Neanderthals a half a million years ago, and by modern humans about fifty thousand years ago and by Jesus two thousand years ago. Those things are remarkable and yet the place is almost desolate now except for the commemorative buildings.

Important things can happen in desolate places.

Jesus wanted you to live and live more abundantly.

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In the 1611 King James Version of Matthew Chapters 5-7 Jesus presented to his disciples the Sermon on the Mount. He wanted these people who understood him to live their lives fully and abundantly and to ascend into a heavenly state. He gave a specific method for his followers to maintain their life, and once they had that to live it more abundantly. That method is known as the Golden Rule, and to make sure they knew exactly what he meant with his new and special Golden Rule he underlined his method four times; two times before he said the rule and two times after he said it. In the first emphasis he said, “all things” and then to emphasize that he said “whatsoever,” and that should tell you that what is coming he considers as being very important. After those emphases, he makes a simple statement that any normal adult can understand, and after that statement, he emphasizes it two times more by saying, “this is the law,” and underlines that statement with a second emphasis, “and the Prophets.” Thus we have, (KJV) Matt 7.12 “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so unto them: for this is the law and the prophets.” In simple modern English, it would be, “Everything others should do to you, do to them!” Is that clear enough?

Apparently not, because most of the modern translations of that simple statement have changed the sh in should to w in would, and because of that the majority of our modern world’s people are crippled developmentally by those translations. I challenge that single letter substitution because changing the word should to the word would totally degrades the meaning of the Golden Rule, it degrades the entire Sermon on the Mount, it degrades the whole meaning of Jesus’ ministry, and it degrades the original goal of Christianity and of Islam that are based upon His teaching. Changing that single letter degrades people’s goal and thus their life’s purpose. Half of all the people alive today believe they are following Jesus’ message but the translations that change the word should to would degrade the power of Jesus’ original teaching.

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount at Tabgha (lat/lon 32.8815 35.5557) was proposing a method for raising a person’s daily life and their spirit life also to a much higher level. The levels of his ladder of attainment are known as the Beatitudes: Those beatitudes aren’t just a random set of good wishes to different categories of people as is commonly suggested. They are a ladder for growing away from a miserable human condition through better conditions all the way up to the very best state human beings can achieve. People can learn to live in a spiritual heaven and here is that ladder to heaven.


Matthew 5, King James Version (KJV)

1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God.

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.


The highest states are seen in line 8 where the reward is to see God, and even better is line 9 to be called a child of God and even better is line 10 where the reward is to live in heaven. Some will quibble that line 3 is in heaven also, but that person is dead because they lack a spirit. The ultimate goal is to live in heaven while full of a living spirit as in line 10. There is no joy to be had without a living spirit when in heaven because when one is dead they don’t get the benefits of experiencing what heaven has to offer.

The importance of applying the Golden Rule as a should statement is because treating others as they should treat you means you are treating them at a higher level than you are presently achieving yourself. When you treat others slightly better than you would treat yourself, you cultivate the habits for treating yourself in that better way too. As you practice that and become skilled at your new level it becomes easier for you to practice the next higher step up. Thus, as you practice these teachings of doing to others as they should do to you, you yourself become a more fully realized person and you are on your way to heaven.

When the translators replace the word should with would they inadvertently condemned their readers to being stuck in the developmental stage where they were already residing. By giving to others what you value at your present condition, you create the habits for maintaining yourself in your current state of being. That might feel natural to you, but it prevents you from moving up the scale of the Beatitudes. If you cultivate (line 4) mourning for others you are simultaneously cultivating the state of mourning in yourself and the best you can expect for a reward is to be comforted. If you move up the ladder to being able to see and bless the pure of heart (line 8) it will grow in you a habit of being pure in heart and your reward for that level of habit is to see God. To replace the currently popular Golden Rule’s word would with the original word should and to practice those habits diligently will release you from your present condition and help you to grow to a much better one. Practice the Golden Rule as you should and your habits of treating others higher on the scale of the Beatitudes will pull you into heaven.

“Everything others should do to you, do to them!”