Luther Burbank

I use to live in Santa Rosa, the home town of Luther Burbank (1849-1926).  In fact, my class did Tai Chi in the park across from his house.  Luther Burbank was an amazing botanist and plant developer.  You might not know his name, but you know his plants.  I have a Shasta daisy, an Elberta Peach, and a Santa Rosa plum in my own garden.  During his lifetime he created over 800 new varieties of flower, fruits, cactus, grasses, and other plants!

Shasta Daisy in Phoenix

Shasta Daisy at TESLI in Phoenix

Luther Burbank’s methods and history are interesting.  I’ve visited both his house and gardens in Santa Rosa and his experimental farm in Sebastopol and am fascinated by what I learned.  Despite his productive career, his methods of plant creation were not conventional.  In fact, although he was successful in getting research grants, other scientists claimed that he was not scientific.  High praise indeed!

So, how did he do it?

Wikipedia tells us that Luther Burbank developed his first creation, the Burbank potato, when he was a young man using the inheritance from his father.  They make it sound so intentional.  And perhaps it was, but the story, as I understand it, was that he was passing by a potato plant when he noticed a rather large seed pod.  Thinking that large seed would lead to larger potatoes, he collected the seeds, germinated them and grew plants.  And they did produce the largest potatoes anyone had ever seen!

Now, up until that time, potatoes where the size of the gourmet fingerlings or the little round potatoes that can be purchased today.  Burbank created (discovered?) the first large potato.  The familiar large tuber we see at the grocery store today was non-existent until then.  How did he do it?  His methods were nonsensical.  Any botanist or horticulturist will tell you that characteristics of the seeds (large, small, etc.) have nothing to do with the final crop. Yet he did it just like that.

Later in life, Luther Burbank would produce other plants in similar nonsensical fashion – like a variety of cactus with out thorns.  Apparently, all he did was talk to it. Pretty impressive, eh.  He was able to convince a cactus that it didn’t need thorns by sending it love.    Luther Burbank claimed, “the secret of improved plant breeding, apart from scientific knowledge, is love”.

I don’t think any one person has yet exceeded Luther Burbank’s ability to produce useful crops that benefit humans.  He was an amazing person.  Indeed, Luther Burbank is  proclaimed, “an American Saint” by Swami Paramahansa Yoganada (author of Autobigraphy of a Yogi).

Reflection:  Conventional methods produce conventional results.  If we want amazing results then mix convention with a good dose of love, wisdom and inspiration.  Through connection with source energy all things are possible.

Luther Burbank Arbor day contest

Luther Burbank walks though the forest. Poster contest winner, Arbor Day 2001


Political Emails

Due to my political activism I’ve ended up on numerous political email lists.  It seems like everyone from the Democrats to the Republicans think I am their buddy.  I like to stay informed, but frankly I feel like I’m being bombarded.  The subject lines seem attacking and not very informative.  Here are some examples of emails I did not open:

  • Let’s hit them where it hurts
  • UN Shocker
  • U-N-B-E-L-I-E-V-A-B-L-E
  • Major Defeat
  • Somebody’s lawsuit (UPDATE)
  • Somebody’s lawsuit (OUTRAGEOUS)
  • Somebody =FUMING
  • Dorena: DO NOT DELETE
  • Did you see?
email subject lines

a day of deleted emails

Okay, you get my point.  It is almost funny to see them all listed here.  This is just a few top headlines that I’ve received in the last four days.

I’ve started “unsubscribing” while letting the senders know that I think their subject lines are offensive.  I think I will also set up an energy block – something to transmute the energy.  It feels like each one (especially the ones written in all caps) is charged with a penetrating energy that is unpleasant to me.  I imagine other people are receiving these as well and being affected by their resonance.

I wonder, is it ethical to download the computer servers that are sending out these messages with love and light?  I’d also like to create a loop that downloads each message (regardless of the text) with the vibration of peace.  Perhaps I’ll put it in as a optional so as not to mess with people’s free will.  Some people might prefer the negative rush of drama.

Wait!  What am I thinking?  I am the one affected by those words.  They are just markings on the screen – they have no reality except what I attribute to them.  If I am finding them charged negatively then there is something within me that is creating that.  It is insanity for my to try to change the outside world in order to feel better.  My happiness does not ultimately come from external people, places or things. (Wasn’t I just blogging about that yesterday in the “Creation Myth“?)

What is right action then?  Well, for me that would be to look inside of me for the “sore spot” that is rubbed wrong.  Exposing that to the light (to my awareness) often results in a dissolution of the discomfort.  Remember, all mental afflictions are due to a misbelief or wrong view.  If I clear up the wrong view, I can resolve the unpleasant state of mind and body.

Buddhist “Creation” Myth

Once upon a time we all lived in the flow.  Life expectancy was a minimum of 50,000 years.  Trees produced an abundance of fruit.  Whenever we were hungry or thirsty there was food or water nearby.  Beauty surrounded us.  The temperature and humidity conditions were perfect.  We lived in the present moment and all of our needs were satisfied.  It was a true Garden of Eden and we were one with all.

Then someone got an idea.  They came up with a plan.  They decided that they liked a particular fruit and thought they would harvest extra and keep it.  This was the beginning of the “fall” of humankind.  For the first time someone “owned” something.

Instead of trusting that all our needs would be met in each moment we began to plan for the future.  We quickly learned we couldn’t control the future.  Sometimes other people or animals would find our fruit and eat it.  Sometimes the fruit would just go bad.

Did we see the folly in our actions?  No.  We redoubled our efforts.  We built shelters and then made them intruder proof.  We put a fence or wall around our favorite fruit trees and chased others away.  We found ways to stock pile our fruit and when others wanted some we would make them give us something for it.

From our first thought to collect extra fruit we created fear, scarcity, hoarding, lying, stealing, and negativity of all kinds. Our life expectancy dropped (a long life is dependent on protecting the lives of others).  Our unhappiness increased.  We were scared.  Subtly at first, but after many generations fear was a major driving force.

All of these changes was based on a simple misbelief about how to ensure plenty of tasty fruit.  We thought the fruit was somehow outside of ourselves and that we could control it by external means.  Further, we thought that we had to control it in order to be happy.  We didn’t realize that the fruit was part of all and that we are part of all.  In that realized state, it is impossible to be separate from tasty fruit.

This morning, while out in my garden doing chi gung, I realized how we are reversing this process.  I was thinking of a friend I just met who headed back to his home and business in central Mexico a few weeks ago.  When I emailed him a couple days ago he said he was side tracked by beautiful beaches on the way back down and was still on the road.  Wow, no hurry to get back to work!  He was finding that he had enough work just where he was.

Next, another friend visited me.  She had just changed careers and was doing what she really loved.  She was raving about her schedule and how good life was.

And there is me.  I’m beginning to “flow” more too.  I have enough to pay my bills and am free of the focus on producing more than what I need.  I’m committed to simple living and giving to others.  I’m letting go of the idea that I need more or that I have to save for the future.

When I was nineteen, I started my first Individual Retirement Account (IRA).  Last year I officially spent the last of it.  My retirement policy now is to give as much as I can away.  The law of cause and effect (karma) suggests that giving creates receiving.  The law of attraction says that if I act from a place of abundance, if I believe in abundance then more will flow to me.  Indeed, I won’t be able to stop the flow.

This is a maturation of a process I began close to 20 years ago.  At that time, I decided to try an experiment.  I’d heard said, “Do what you love and the money will follow”, and figured I try it out.  I decided to not do anything I didn’t feel moved to do, especially if my only motivation was money, and see what would happen.  I’ve had amazing results!

At the beginning I didn’t believe it would work.  I figured I’d end up homeless if I continued.  I’d get up, not feel like going to work, and quit the job.  Radical and extreme action.  Over the years, it was proved to me time and time again that letting go of financial insecurity was right action.  Today, I continue to be debt free and I feel like I’m vacation most of the time!