Friday, October 31, 2014

1967 -- Year of the Sheep

According to Chinese New Year tradition, 1967 was the Year of the Sheep.

Looking back on it, it seems appropriate for my ordeal at the time.

In April of 1966, I was drafted into the U.S. Army, for compulsory two years of military service, during what was referred to as the Vietnam Conflict.

After basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri, I became a member of the Third U.S. Army Data Processing Company at Third Army Headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., where I had been issued a pencil, assigned to a desk, and analyzed classified documents, reducing information to codes for computer processing.

In 1967, as it is today, the world was in a bit of turmoil.

Jan 15 – The Green Bay Packers won the first Super Bowl, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.

Feb 28 – Seven men in Meridian, Miss., were convicted of the 1964 slaying of three civil rights workers.

Mar 7 – Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa began an 8-year prison term for fraud and jury tampering.

Apr 14 – U.S. planes bombed North Vietnam for the first time in the Vietnam War.

Apr 28 – Mohammad Ali, heavyweight boxing champion, refused to be inducted into the Army.

May 1 – Elvis Presley, 32, and Priscilla Beaulieu, 20, were married at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. They met when Elvis was stationed in West Germany during his military service. She was only 14 at the time.

Jun 1 – The Beatles released their classic album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

Jun 5 – The Six Day War broke out in the Middle East. Israel raided Egyptian military targets. Syria, Jordan and Iraq entered the conflict. Jordan lost the West Bank (2,270 sq. miles). Israel annexed Arab East Jerusalem.

Jun 8 – Israel mistakenly attacked the USS Liberty (in the Mediterranean), killing 34 U.S. servicemen.

Jun 11 – The Six Day War ended when the U.N. brokered a cease fire agreement. Israel had taken Gaza and Sinai from Egypt, Old Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria.

Jun 17 – China exploded its first hydrogen bomb, becoming the fourth country with nuclear capabilities.

Jul 12 – Four days of race riots erupted in Newark resulting in 27 dead, 1,500 injured and over 1,000 arrests.

Jul 17 – Race riots took place in Cairo, Ill.

Jul 19 – Race riots took place in Durham, NC.

Jul 20 – Race riots took place in Memphis, Tenn.

Jul 23 – One week of race riots in Detroit left 40 dead, 2,000 injured and 5,000 homeless.

Jul 24 – Race riots took place in Cambridge, Md.

Jul 30 – General Westmoreland declared we were winning in Vietnam but needed more troops.

Aug 3 – President Johnson announced plans to send 40,000 more troops to Vietnam.

Sep 22 – After 17 months of my 2-year military obligation, I was promoted to Specialist E5 -- apparently, the Army considered my MOS (military occupation specialty) to be vital and assumed I was worthy of re-enlistment.

Oct 9 – Che Guevara, Latin America guerrilla leader, was captured and executed in Bolivia.

Oct 26 – U.S. Navy pilot John McCain (U.S. Senator from Arizona) was shot down over North Vietnam. He would spend 5.5 years in prison, including two years in solitary confinement, where he was subjected to torture.

Nov 22 – The U.N. Security Council called for Israel to withdraw from territories it captured during the Six Day War and called on adversaries to recognize Israel's right to exist. The world is still waiting for compliance.

Nov 29 – Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara resigned to become president of the World Bank.

Nov 30 – Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota announced his intention to run for president in 1968.

Dec 3 – In Cape Town, South Africa, Dr. Christian Barnard performed the first human heart transplant.

Dec 20 – With the arrival of more troops, there were now some 474,300 servicemen stationed in Vietnam.

Dec 31 – At midnight, New Years Eve in the Year of the Sheep, 1967, my military obligation was down to 100 days remaining before I would be discharged from military service and return to the wonderful world of civilian life. It was a night for heavy celebration -- I awoke the following morning in the new year of 1968 with a hangover and 99 days to go.

For the emerging hippie generation, 1967 was a psychedelic trip into the mystic. The number one song that year was "White Rabbit" by the Jefferson Airplane.

 "One pill makes you larger...
And one pill makes you small...
And the ones that mother gives you…
Don't do anything at all...
Go ask Alice, when she's ten feet tall."

For me, the Year of the Sheep was a tedious year of pushing pencils and saluting brass -- I do not nostalgically yearn to repeat it.

Quote for the Day -- "In order to be an immaculate member of a flock of sheep, one must above all be a sheep oneself." Albert Einstein

Bret Burquest is the author of 10 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a couple of dogs and where civilian life often consists of trying to figure out what to do next.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dogs Among Us

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.” Johnny Depp

In July of 2014, a friend of mine in Canada sent me some information on an animal shelter in Roswell, New Mexico, where "the police have now taken over the animal shelter and every day at 8 am, they are randomly selecting 6 or 8 dogs to kill, Because they can. Not because they are sick, or old,, or criteria, puppies,"

In October of 2014, a friend of mine in southern California posted some photos on my Facebook timeline of dogs in incredibly poor, starving, sickly conditions being held in an animal shelter in Brinkley, Arkansas, where "the Conditions in the Shelter are downright disgusting and inhumane and every animal there is in danger…All of the animal are in dark damp cages and some don't see the light of day."

In both cases and many others, these situations are deplorable and unacceptable.

“Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made. ” Roger Caras

According to the APPA, there are about 80 million dogs owned in the United States, with somewhere between 37% and 47% of all households with a dog.

“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.” Andy Rooney

There are some 13,000 independent animal shelters nationwide with no national organization monitoring them.

Approximately 4 million dogs are interned into animal shelters nationwide every year. Only about 10% of those received by shelters have been spayed or neutered. About 26% of those turned in are returned to their owner -- 35% are adopted and 31% are euthanized,

“If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” Woodrow Wilson

I have had many dogs in my life -- Shadow, BlueJean, Clipper, Blackjack, Bummer, Scout, Poco Loco, Gypsy, Hobo.

“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.” Dean Koontz

My current dogs are Buddy Lee and Donner. I rescued Buddy Lee from the animal shelter in Horseshoe Bend in 2005 when he was 4 years old. He likes to sit on my front stoop and eyeball the driveway for incoming vehicles. Donner was rescued by my Nephew a couple of years ago but he was unable to keep him when he moved back to Colorado, so I took Donner in and have zero plans to part with him. Donner likes to wander off on his own and explore, and take long naps when he returns back to home base.

Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear." Dave Barry

It breaks my heart when dogs, or any animals, are neglected or mistreated. A dog's mission in life is to please their human companion. They give unconditional love and deserve our devoted care in return.

“For people with patience, time with a dog is a little slice of heaven.” J.J. Brown

I salute all of those who give of their time and energy rescuing animals -- you help to make this world a better place.

“If I could be half the person my dog is, I'd be twice the human I am.” Charles Yu

Always remember -- dogs are people too.

Quote for the Day -- "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Mahatma Gandhi

Bret Burquest is the author of 10 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a couple of dogs and sweet memories of dogs gone by.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Soul's Journey Between Lives

Dr. Michael Newton has a PhD in Counseling Psychology and is a certified Master Hypnotherapist. He is a pioneer in examining the mystery of our existence in the spirit world after our life on Earth and has developed his own age-regression techniques in order to take his subjects beyond past life memories into their experience in the spiritual realm between lives.

According to Dr. Newton, people under hypnosis are not dreaming or hallucinating -- in this state, they are incapable of lying.

Initially, he was a skeptic who did not believe in reincarnation or a spiritual afterlife. His purpose was to treat various psychological disorders through hypnotic suggestion, such as quitting smoking or losing weight.

However, occasionally a subject would ask him to bring them back to a past life. Over time, Dr, Newton gradually became aware of a pattern of experiences everyone encountered.

The following 10 sequential stages of experiences we will all encounter in the afterlife are from Dr. Newton's first book, JOURNEY OF SOULS.

1) Death and Departure

Upon death, you float out of your body. You observe people around you, grieving about your death. You then feel a sensation where you are drawn away from your body. You feel euphoric and free. There is a brilliant light beckoning you -- some see the light in the distance while others feel this light all around them.

There is a strong attraction toward the afterlife. Some people go with the flow toward the light, while others may linger around Earth for a few days of our time (there is an accelerated sense of time in the afterlife).

2) Gateway into the Spirit World

Not everyone experiences this sequence of events.

You observe a dark tunnel. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. You enter the tunnel and approach the light. For some, the tunnel appears right after they float out of their bodies, while others soar high above the Earth before they encounter and enter the tunnel.

3) Homecoming

You are greeted in the afterlife by your spirit guide and others. These people in the spirit world may appear as masses of luminous energy, but they also project faces you are familiar with. They are there to greet us and help us peacefully transcend into the spirit world.

Some of these people may still be physically alive in the Earth world. When a person incarnates into a carnal world, such as Earth, the true soul remains in the spirit world. The physical human body on Earth is a projection of the true spirit (soul) in a higher realm.

4) Orientation

Your spirit guide assists you through a process of healing whereby you are cleansed of the traumas you may have brought with you into the afterlife. You enter a room of light where you are bathed in a stream of liquid healing energy that appears like a beam of light coming toward you and moving through you.

The second phase of orientation is a counseling process through your spirit guide. This is a private initial session to prepare you for your later appearance before the Council of Elders. You will discuss your life on Earth and whether you lived up to the expectations that you chose to experience and master before birth into Earth.

5) Transition

You enter a large area where you observe souls coming and going, floating within an interconnecting web of tunnels to their next destinations. Once you move through these tunnels, you begin a group counseling session.

You are joined by those you love and who are on the same general level of soul evolution as you. You discuss your experiences and compare notes with these familiar souls. You are connecting with family and friends, and are aware which ones are between lifetimes and which ones are also in a physical body in a carnal dimension.

You appear before a Council of Elders to discuss your soul evolution and goals for your next incarnation. The members of the Council of Elders are highly evolved spirits, who reside in the higher spiritual realm, with a strong sense of divinity and are bathed in a light of energetic positive power. The Elders encourage patience and to hold true to your values.

6) Placement

You now find yourself in a school classroom type of environment with your own soul group (your closest friends who are on the same general soul evolution level). The soul groups can be between 3 and 25 souls, with the typical group at about 15 souls -- referred to as your Inner Circle, which remains consistent from lifetime to lifetime. You also come in contact with a much larger secondary group, which consists of a thousand or many more souls who move together in clusters through different eras and locations.

In this school setting, you are sitting down examining your "life book" whereby each page of this large leather-bound book contains a given period of time in your earthly life in the form of a virtual-reality holographic projection. As you go through the book, you review your life experiences, with emphasis on the minds of those with whom you interacted.

There are 7 levels that souls move through in the afterlife. Souls do not gain the opportunity to stop reincarnating into physical bodies until they have reached Level 5. At the Placement stage of soul evolution, the following reflects the percentage of souls along the evolutionary process.

Level 1 -- 42%
Level 2 -- 31%
Level 3 -- 17%
Level 4 -- 9 %
Level 5 -- 1 %

7) Life Selection

Many souls do not want to leave the spiritual realm -- a dimension of peace, love, wisdom and bliss -- back into a reincarnation within an earthly dimension of pain, suffering and injustice, such as Planet Earth or other third-density planets.

However, you must choose your next incarnation based on your evolutionary needs to aid in your soul growth. You will only chose incarnations you are capable of handling, but things don't always go as planned.

8) Choosing a New Body

During the Life Selection process, you will also choose a new body. Each body has difficulties associated with it, thus you will discuss your choices with your spirit guide. Most major injuries you will experience in your physical life are also chosen at this point.

Much of your personality will carry over from one life to the next, but there will also be personality influences based on the body you choose, such as heredity and experiences.

9) Preparation and Embarkation

Numerous synchronicities will be planned to insure you take certain steps in human life at certain times. For example, if you choose to be in a relationship with someone, you may plan a symbol (an object or something being said or a specific piece of music or whatever) that will appear when we first encounter this person. High-level guides will assist you in this planning process.

After the planning, you may have another meeting with the Council of Elders to remind you of your intention and goals.

10) Rebirth

Once you finally depart the spiritual realm, you'll have a sense of dropping downward through areas of luminous energy. You may also observe another dark tunnel and return to Earth within it. As you exit the tunnel, you are now in the body of a baby within your new mother's womb.

After birth, you'll strive to integrate your soul energies with the brain of your new physical body.

May the Force be with you.

* * *

Dr. Newton's second book, DESTINY OF SOULS (New Case Studies of Life between Lives), was published in 2013.

Quote for the Day -- “Since you came to birth in this world at this time, in this place, and with this particular destiny, it was this indeed that you wanted and required for your own ultimate illumination." Joseph Campbell

Bret Burquest is the author of 10 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a couple of dogs and where sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a train.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Being the Walrus

Poetry is ingenious, preposterous, whimsical and profound. It doesn't even have to make sense to be good because somewhere, someone will comprehend it. Clearly, songwriters are the poets of our time.
* * *
A WHITER SHADE OF PALE by Gary Brooker and Keith Reid
"We skipped the light fandango and turned cartwheels across the floor.
I was feeling kind of seasick, the crowd called out for more.
The room was humming harder and the ceiling flew away.
When we called out for another drink, the waiter brought a tray.
And so it was that later, as the miller told his tale,
That her face at first so ghostly, turned a whiter shade of pale."
* * *
"If I were a carpenter and you were a lady,
Would you marry me anyway, would you have my baby.
If a tinker were my trade, would you still find me,
Carrying the pots I'd made, following behind me.
Save my love through loneliness, save my love for sorrow.
I've given you my only-ness, come give me your tomorrow." 
* * *
EVERYBODY KNOWS by Leonard Cohen
"Everybody knows that the dice are loaded; everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
Everybody knows that the war is over; everybody knows the good guys lost.
Everybody knows the fight was fixed, the poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
That's how it goes, everybody knows.
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking; everybody knows that the captain lied.
Everybody's got this broken feeling, like their father or their dog just died."
* * *
"When I was just a baby, my mama told me, 'Son,
Always be a good boy; don't ever play with guns.'
But I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
When I hear that whistle blowing, I hang my head and cry."
* * *
I AM A ROCK by Paul Simon
"I have my books and my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor, hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock;
I am an island.
And a rock feels no pain.
And an island never cries."
* * *
I AM THE WALRUS by John Lennon & Paul McCartney
"Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come;
Corporation tee-shirts, stupid bloody Tuesday,
Man, you've been a naughty boy; you let your face grow long.
I am the egg man.
They are the egg men.
I am the walrus.
Koo koo Kachoo."
* * *
Everyone is a poet; they just don't know it.
One man's senseless gibberish is another man's poetic genius.
As a carnal being, I am a container of protoplasm.
As a person of interest, I am beyond recognition.
As one among many, I am a means to an end.
As an immortal soul, I am one with the infinite.
I am a figment of imagination in a sea of circumstance.
I am a great mystery within a greater mystery.
I am the rock of ages.
I am an island unto myself.
I am eternity.
I am the walrus.
Koo koo kachoo.
Now, that's poetry.

Quote for the Day -- “Music is forever -- music should grow and mature with you, following you right on up until you die.” Paul Simon

Bret Burquest is the author of 10 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a couple of dogs and an imaginary girlfriend named Tequila Mockingbird.