My name is Michael Howard and this is my personal, non-commercial blog. I’ve written extensively about religious tolerance, plus a few posts about Picasso, and a couple about Chinese vocalist Chyi Yu. Other folks who’ve turned up in my posts are Socrates, Sri Chinmoy, Charles Ives, Miranda Hart, and Elena Day. I like to tie together ideas from different sources in a way that makes you think, often including pics, videos, and music clips. I welcome your comments.
Note: I’m not an attorney, psychologist, or accredited religious scholar, so when I express opinions in those areas I’m speaking as a layperson. I write about a wide variety of topics, and try to make my appeals well-reasoned. Clearly, some of my posts take strong social advocacy positions on pre-existing issues, or serve as personal rebuttals to material found elsewhere on the Net.
As a latecomer to these issues, I inherit the level of discourse established by the original authors, who purposefully manufactured public controversies through denouncement messages, false sexual slurs, etc., thereby inviting commentary which corrects the record. I believe anyone who analyzes the nature of point/counterpoint discussion developing in different areas of the Net would conclude that I’ve tried to raise the level of discourse by taking a reasoned approach to the problem of hate material targeting spiritual minorities. To occasionally poke fun at ideological opponents is not inconsistent with this approach, and is part of the great American tradition of vigorous debate over politics and religion. Indeed, this is a tradition which the courts have always sought to uphold.
Criticism should thrust up. As a lone, non-commercial blogger with minority views and a small readership, I sometimes go after people who use demagoguery and sensationalism to attract a mass audience. Those people are appropriate targets for criticism. Calling them out on their unethical behaviour is one way to effect positive change.
Of course, not all my posts are conflictual. Some are just plain fun. For more info, see “Guide To The Posts,” which loads quickly and makes it easier to find posts on subjects that may interest you. See also “More About Me,” which is what it says on the tin.
I’m not a member of Sri Chinmoy Centre or a spokesperson for that group. I am a fan, admirer, or well-wisher of Sri Chinmoy, with whom I did study meditation many years ago. That was a very enlightening experience which I’m proud to stand up and “own.” I remember countless beautiful meditations and concerts with Sri Chinmoy, and often being moved to tears in his presence. I will always remain indebted to Sri Chinmoy for teaching me the most important life-skills which I lacked: love of God, and gratitude to God.
Sri Chinmoy saved countless lives, and one of them happens to be mine. He saved my life by reaching beyond my pain, doubt and confusion, and simply opening my heart — as easily as you or I would turn a key in a lock. He was a genuine spiritual Master who had the power to give spiritual experiences, to put seekers in direct contact with the Divine. He did not merely speak about Peace. When he meditated, he filled the hall with Peace so that all those who were seeking Peace were divinely satisfied.
As an ordinary human being, I may find it difficult to live this truth 24 hours a day. But I feel honour-bound to at least speak up for the truth, especially since I’ve noticed that some people speak falsely about Sri Chinmoy or try to discredit him. For me, to be true to my own experience is essential, or how could I ever hope to be true to myself? Conversely, I find that those who falsify their experience and portray Sri Chinmoy negatively tend to become increasingly troubled in their nature, being out-of-sync with their better angels.
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are my own, and do not represent any other person or organization.
Texts/media are quoted for purposes of education and criticism in keeping with principles of fair use in creating transformative works and addressing matters of public concern.
Quoted material does not imply agreement by the quoted sources with a particular post or with anything else found on my blog.
In general, each post is a work of independent research by the author, reflecting the author’s personal beliefs and opinions. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, no third party sources were personally consulted prior to publication. For further information, see “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Scholarly Research in Communication.”
In simple human terms, if you’re mad at me for some reason, please don’t take it out on people I’ve quoted. They are blameless.
It’s never my intention to offend, but I do sometimes write on controversial topics, or include elements of parody or satire. It’s hard to please all readers. If you find my blog gives offense, perhaps the best policy would be not to read it. Thank you to those readers who have been appreciative of my efforts and forgiving of my faults.
Though I’ve chosen to tackle certain issues, this choice would not be right for everybody. For many people, just leading their daily lives in peace and joy is the right way to go.
In that sense, reading too much on conflictual topics could be counterproductive for some people. After all, one of the benefits of a spiritual environment is that one doesn’t have to fight with hostile people all the time.
Still, whoever you may be, and whatever may come of it, I thank you for reading my blog. In the best of possible worlds, I would like to write more about art, music, and poetry, or find time to edit my video footage of sculptures in the snow.