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Photo of the Day: Milan’s Duomo

Photo of the Day: Milan’s Duomo

The Airy Doom of the Duomo | Originally uploaded by Stuck in Customs.

Father, forgive me for I have sinned. I once passed up the chance to go to Milan, all expenses paid except airfare, so I could work.

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Fidel Castro: Spiritual but not religious?

Fidel Castro: Spiritual but not religious?

Fidel Castro | Originally uploaded by Melissa in TN.

BY BRIAN CAULFIELD — Yo, ho-ho. Any dude who bans Christmas for 29 years straight is probably just stone-cold crazy. But Cuba’s dictator’s early letters, now published in English, provide a few surprises, including a spiritual side and what appears to be a concern for human rights.

Taking Castro’s early words at face value provides few clues about his authoritarian streak, or the degree to which he’s become a caricature of the Latin strongman. Check out the outdated military uniform, long-winded speeches that would make Clinton wilt with shame, the jailing of dissidents, Castro’s refusal to let anyone run against him in an election, his self-righteousness —  and to boot, a persecution complex (well, okay, that one may have some foundation in reality). But in sum, he displays more telltale signs of clinical narcissism than an L.A. celebutante.

The telltale clue:

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Love triangles with mystical angles

Love triangles have been a hot-button with editors, producers and the public these days yet one of the most provocative stories has remained MIA from national headlines. San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom’s or the NASA space-shuttle captain Lisa Nowak’s affairs have nothing in the “Jesus-H” department compared to this one.

Toni Roberson, who adopted the name Gangaji, is an American mystic based in Ashland, Oregon. She’s not a self-taught guru like Byron Katie, but she has a lofty pedigree as a protege of an Indian teacher who was the star pupil of Ramana Maharshi, perhaps the greatest sage of the last century. Hence, Gangaji’s/Roberson’s adopted name.

What we see in this video of her is 98 % hardcore teaching. Roberson has seen for miles and miles, viz. her searing epiphany: “Who you are really can never be taught. If it could be taught it would be a thing that could be extracted, objectified and learned. And by this time we would have all learned it . . . If you’re of a particular sub-group you’ve heard that ‘you’re radiant light,’ ‘you’re God’s child,’ ‘you’re free,’ ‘you’re safe.’ But to hear it . . . to memorize it, to hope it’s true, is not enough. It has to be discovered directly.”

But what her recent back-story illuminates is that while mystics may live in an elevated psychological state, they do not live in elevated circumstances. When it comes to problems in relationships, they’re like the rest of us. Whew, what a relief that is. Juxtapose the video above with this newspaper story and this thread on the blog Guruphiliac about the affair 3 year-long affair Roberson/Gangaji’s husband Eli Jaxon-Bear – a spiritual teacher in his own right — had with a disciple in their jointly-administered spiritual commune.

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Decoding Codependency

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Ask a Guru: You say you’re with an addict?

After hearing my friend K talk about her marriage this week, I had this thought that psychological pain is a master of disguises.

And another thought: Isn’t the path of pain like water damage in a house or apartment? Water can seep into the building from wherever, lurk in the joists and studs for a while – and then blister the basement wall or crater the kitchen ceiling.

This thing we call pain plays with the same energies. It hides out because it’s not wanted. Yet it’s a living thing. It finds a back door. Or broken pipe.

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LOVE SCROLL: The Best Thing

What’s the best thing anybody has ever told you about yourself?

BY ANONYMOUS — I’ll start it off with a letter I got from my girlfriend today:

“Darling, I want to thank you for something: to thank you for being with me. Because if I would have never met you, I would never do a third of what I have done. You are my biggest inspiration and motivation. You are my star and I love you so much.”

Sometimes somebody tells you something like that and it fills you with joy. Those special words can turn your day or your life around. It can be the perfect antidote to the Pain Body Index, a mantra of worth and wellness. Try it out. Just typing it will make you feel better, guaranteed.

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