Chinese finger trap

It cannot be divided between you and me. I am all of it. You are all of it. I am the one. You are the one. We are not separate, not two.  Can you stay with your true identity? Can you see it every day, each moment of every day? See it whenever it occurs to you to look. That’s all you need to do. Become accustomed to seeing everyday. See your inner simplicity, and witness the dance of life. Look both ways! Look in at the simple awareness and out at the spontaneous rise and fall of events. You will see no separation. These are one, not separate, not two. You are whole and total!  8. The seer flows like water Lying low along the way Nourishing whatever comes To be held on display The seer keeps to simple ways And therefore is content When joy or sorrow manifests To give complete assent If you can clearly be yourself And never rise to interfere Everyone will cherish you And always hold you dear  Water symbolizes the Tao in many ways. Here Lao Tzu refers to its nourishing qualities. All life depends on water.

It has supreme power over all living things, yet it makes no claim on what it creates. It does not seek preeminence. Water seeks the lowest places, and, in so doing, nourishes all it comes across. Can you see that you do the same? It is your nature to give life to all things. You give by giving awareness, consciousness to all things. It is your very nature to give. Can you see yourself giving life to all around you? Can you be this simple and clear presence?  9. Don’t fill a bowl Till it’s more than full Or sharpen a blade Till it must go dull Don’t pile up treasure That comes at great cost Approval and riches Are easily lost Can you only do What’s really needed Then stop and withdraw When your task is completed?  Enough is enough! Do you want to spend your life protecting your fame and possessions? Lao Tzu’s natural way is to do only what is called for by the present moment.  Do you want to give your life away to the pursuit of wealth? Do those who have more really have more? Or do they have less? They have to devote time and life to getting and protecting. Do they have time to let go, to see the truth? Living simply means enough is enough. Be satisfied with having just enough, doing just enough. If you take just enough, everything else is left!  10. Can you see as a child sees And keep the simple vision? See the inner oneness With absolute precision Hold all things in your embrace The entire world is in your care Let things be just as they are Extend acceptance everywhere Let go all need to comprehend The truth is here where all behold Their infinite capacity To welcome and enfold  Children do not imagine a head on their shoulders. They see that they are empty, room for the colorful world. They are space for their friends. They are nothing but awareness.  Can you see as a child sees? Can you see that in the place you learned you had a head and a face, you really have a void?

You really are a void. But what a void! It embraces the world. It welcomes everything. Of course, to others, you have a head, a face. But others are not in a position to see what you see, to see that you are empty to contain all things. Can you see it? Can you look? Will you look?  The Tao Te Ching was written in ancient China over 2500 years ago. Legend has it that its author, Lao Tzu, left China when he was very old. A gatekeeper at a mountain pass sensed that Lao Tzu had more than ordinary knowledge. He persuaded him to record his vision and philosophy before leaving.  Lao Tzu stayed two days and wrote the Books of Tao and Te – much of it in verse. The message is addressed to the One in all of us, the only One, the Seer. May his classic of 5000 words inspire you the way it has millions of others since those far off days, the way it has inspired me.   11. The empty hub at center Allows a wheel to roll The vacancy within defines The function of a bowl The openness within a house Provides location to reside The open space that is my heart Is where ten thousand things abide  A wheel can roll because of the empty hub. A bowl can be filled because it is hollow. A house can be occupied because the rooms are spacious. The manifest world exists because of the emptiness at your center, in your heart. You are space, room, capacity for the ten thousand things. You are room for all things, events, thoughts, feelings. All things have a home in you.  12. Too much sound can make you deaf Too many colors leave you blind Can you let desire die down And not leave emptiness behind?

Wanting things can drive you mad And acquisition makes you poor See that you are everything And leave off wanting more  Too much indulgence can make you deaf to the silence, blind to the void. Living solely for excitement means overlooking the quiet root of existence. Living for acquisition leads you to embrace and value aggression, makes you a slave to getting and keeping. Can you slow down enough to see that you already are everything? Value living from the truth and enjoying the world as it’s given.  13. Fame and shame are equal And so are gain and loss It isn’t very difficult To get this point across Having fame you know that you Are terrified to lose it Making gain you always fear That others will abuse it Can you see that you’re not like Your image or reflection? Just see you are totality By looking in your own direction The one who is not limited Accepts whatever comes or goes And cares for everything around On opening and close  There is no security in fame or in gain. These are just parts of the ever changing functioning or manifestation of objects and events, qualities and opinions. Fame and gain don’t last. They don’t even last a lifetime, which is only a flash in eternity. And if you should acquire wealth and fame, you will be the subject of the envy of others. You will have to defend them, fight to keep them. What a way to live!  Lao Tzu prefers another way, the way of doing nothing, nothing but seeing your true nature. You are not like your image in the mirror. You are pure awareness. You originate and accept all creation, including the image in your mirror. You are made to accept and receive and care for all things. Seeing this is bound to make a difference in your life.   My interpretation of the Tao Te Ching is based on the vision of headlessness discovered and tirelessly shared by Douglas E Harding. Don’t miss the chance to read his classic work On Having No Head. You can also find extensive information about his vision on  The Headless Way website. There you will find many experiments in seeing. Douglas would certainly say that the experiments are the heart of the matter. He would agree with Lao Tzu that words alone are not enough. Seeing is required.

14. When you look, it isn’t there Listen and you cannot hear it It seems to be beyond your reach Because you are so near it This single source of everything Appears to be an empty image Though it cannot be understood You can see its naked visage Follow it to nothingness Approach it where you have no face From nowhere to infinity This vacant image leaves no trace From never to eternity This naked face is what you are An empty, vacant, open door Forevermore ajar  Tao is awareness, which appears as void or emptiness. Can you see the emptiness in the place where others see your face? This is the emptiness or void that is your no-face or no-head. It is wide open for the world, for the ten thousand things of creation.  Your only task is to see this emptiness whenever it occurs to you to look. See your empty face, the void in its infinity and eternity each moment. You will also see the ten thousand things that occur in time and space.  Your own body is one of these ten thousand things that are manifested in you, in your awareness, in the Tao. See the truth of who you are. To yourself, you are not the body topped off with a head. That is your image to other people.  15. Those of old who knew the way To origin and source within Have seen the place where wholeness And infinity begin Alert as one on a frozen stream Or one who watches for the foe Deferential as a guest And generous as melting snow Plain as an uncarved block of wood Expansive as a vale Transparent just like water Whose clarity will never fail Can you keep yourself so still That muddy water clears? And wait until right action Spontaneously appears?  Simple societies have existed until very recent times. People in these societies valued the simple joys of everyday living. They lived easily in friendliness and peace. No one posed a threat to anyone else.  The people were alert and plain, polite and generous.

Conyers GA September 2011 Zoning

City Proposes Zoning Change for Central Conyers Activity Center

In 2009, a comprehensive study was performed for the city of Conyers by professional planning consultants in conjunction with the city planning staff, which identified and studied the Central Conyers Activity Center, an area identified as one of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Livable Centers Initiatives (LCI).

The Central Conyers Activity Center (CCAC) is a swath of land south of Olde Town Conyers, adjacent to Interstate 20 between the West Avenue and Georgia Highway 138 interchanges.  The study area also borders Dogwood Drive and Green Street.

The Central Conyers Activity Center LCI Plan strives to encourage new development, connectivity and economic activity within the study area.  In order to address the recommendations for the area, the city of Conyers is proposing to amend the Comprehensive Land Use Plan and change the zoning district of the CCAC to MxD (Mixed-Use Development District).

If you are a resident or property owner in this area, stay tuned for more information on upcoming meetings and public hearings in the coming months that will further explain what this rezoning means to you.

Town hall meeitngs for those in the Central Conyers Activity Center will be held on Tuesday, September 27 from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. and Tuesday, October 11 from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.  Both meetings will be held in City Council Chambers, the second floor of the Conyers Police Department located at 1194 Scott Street.

COPS Grant moving forward for four deputies

On Salem Road, we are familiar with the crime and hear the sirens almost every night. The Credit Union on the Sigman end was robbed twice in six months, one robbery led to a shootout in the woods. There is a lot of pressure on the existing Rockdale County Sheriffs Office to cover not only the Salem Road Corridor Section of Rockdale County that includes Ingles, Food Depot, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, KFC, Gold’s Gym, AT&T, but a huge number of smaller businesses mixed with half of the Fieldstone subdivision and other residential on this side of Rockdale County.

From the Rockdale Citizen; (full story below in case link gets broken)

“CONYERS — The Rockdale County Board of Commissioners and Sheriff Jeff Wigington came to an agreement to apply for a federal grant to hire more deputies, but Thursday night the topic became more political and tensions more obvious between officials.”

Thanks to the video below of Tuesdays meeting, we clearly see two BOC officers decline to put the grant application on the agenda. The word on the corridor is the Janice Van Ness forced the item through in executive session.

Posted: May 28, 2011 1:57 a.m.

County Comissioners, Sheriff agree on COPS grant

Sheriff’s office budget hot topic at Coalition of Homeowners and Civic Associations

After butting heads for several weeks, Rockdale County Board of Commissioners and Rockdale County Sheriff Jeff Wigington reportedly came to an agreement earlier this week over the federal COPS grant application. However, the Sheriff’s Office budget became a hot topic again when it was brought up off the agenda at the Rockdale Coalition of Homeowners and Civic Associations meeting Thursday night, in the absence of representatives from the Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office applied on Wednesday for four deputy positions instead of the maximum seven positions under the COPS grant, which pays for salaries and benefits for the first three years while the county pays for the fourth year.The matter was reportedly discussed on Tuesday when the Sheriff was called to the executive session after the BOC meeting.

The cost of one year of salary and benefits for a deputy is about $42,200. The grant would provide about $506,000 for four positions over three years. The county would pay about $168,800 for the fourth year.

As part of the agreement, the cost of the equipment will come out of the RCSO budget. “We feel like we’ll be able to equip them with equipment we already have,” said Wigington.

In a released statement, Rockdale County CEO Richard Oden said “The Commissioners and I are doing our best to deliver options that will have the least amount of financial impact on the county. Under the terms of this agreement, the Sheriff will absorb the costs that my colleagues and I agree, would otherwise not be sustainable in 2012.”

Oden brought up the budget and funding of the RCSO at Thursday night’s quarterly meeting of the Rockdale Coalition of Homeonwers and Civic Associations. The topic was not on the agenda and no representatives from the RCSO were present at the meeting.

Towards the end of the meeting, after hearing from department heads for Rockdale Water Resources, Transportation, Board of Assessors, and a representative from the state’s emergency health agency, Oden reviewed figures reported in the 2010 Sheriff’s Office report. He pointed out the level of funding for the RCSO had increased and the crime levels had decreased, while other county departments had decreased their funding to 2008 levels.

“This has been the strongest level of commitment (to the Sheriff’s Office) in the history of Rockdale County,” said Oden. “Our justification for further conversation was that we looked at the funding provisions in the grant that says that we will potentially lose points and may not get that grant… .” He said the COPS grant application included provisions that the funding was for positions that were unfunded or would have been laid off.

Former sheriff’s candidate Donald Ferguson, who previously announced he would run again in 2012 and was reportedly wearing a campaign button, said at the meeting “I encourage the Board of Commissioners to have an audit done on the sheriff’s office using a company outside of the county to investigate not only the COPS program, which I perceive is a division. It’s supposed to be a program in the community policing concept…”

Audience members protested the comments. Gerald Barger, president of the Ga. Highway 20 Coalition, said “Mr Chairman, this is out of order. You’ve got a man who’s on a campaign against our sheriff standing here making a speech to get recognized.”

“If you’re not going to have our sheriff here, this should not be discussed.”

Brian Jenkins, who previously announced he was running for the CEO seat in 2012, said “What just transpired here was our sheriff being hoodwinked. Perhaps if he had known, he would have been here, he would have sat on that wall like (the other department heads).”

Elaine Nash, a member of the previous and current SPLOST oversight committee, pointed out the jail expansion increased the RCSO’s manpower needs and cost significantly by about 60 positions.

Ed Conway of the Lakeview Action Committee said the original intent of the Coalition was to facilitate exchange of information between the county and Homeowners Associations and civic groups.

“There is going to be politicing,” he said. “But we need to keep this under control.”

Wigington said he heard about the meeting but had not had a chance to review recordings and declined to comment.

RCSO grant application approved

Posted: 10:51 PM May 27, 2011
Reporter: By Jay Jones

CONYERS — The Rockdale County Board of Commissioners and Sheriff Jeff Wigington came to an agreement to apply for a federal grant to hire more deputies, but Thursday night the topic became more political and tensions more obvious between officials.

Rockdale County Commission Chairman Richard Oden announced the agreement at Thursday’s Rockdale Homeowners and Civic Groups Coalition meeting. The agreement, in the form of a letter from Wigington, states that the application for the federal COPS hiring grant will ask for funding of four deputy positions instead of seven. Wigington also agreed the cost of uniforms and patrol cars would be absorbed in his 2012 budget.

In the letter, Wigington says he believes he can cover the costs through savings recouped from vacant positions that come up through the year “assuming the Sheriff’s Office is funded for 2012 at the present level of $18.7 million.”

However, at Thursday’s meeting, Oden laid out his opposition to the grant by noting the Sheriff’s Office budget has grown from $14 million in 2008 to $17.3 million this year, while incidents of crime dropped over the same period. (Editor’s Note: There apparently is a discrepancy of more than $1 million between Oden’s sheriff’s office budget figures and Wigington’s.)

The grant authorization was a complete turnaround by the BOC. The BOC declined to place the application on its regular meeting agenda Tuesday with the deadline to file looming Wednesday. Oden said the agreement came during an executive session after Tuesday’s meeting and was finalized Wednesday.

During Thursday night’s Rockdale Homeowners and Civic Groups Coalition meeting, Oden said he was attempting to be fiscally responsible in not allowing the grant application to be heard because of matching funds which would obligate the county. The COPS grant would cover salaries, benefits, vehicles and equipment of the positions for three years while the county would be responsible for all costs in the fourth year.

Oden then asked for questions and Donald Ferguson, an announced candidate for sheriff who ran against Wigington during the last election cycle, was called on. Ferguson “challenged the Board of Commissioners” to perform an audit on the Sheriff’s Office’s community outreach policing program. He said the program was not performing its role.

People attending the meeting interrupted Ferguson and charged that he was using the meeting for political means.

Gerald Burger, president of the Ga. Highway 20 Coalition of Homeowners Association, protested the loudest. He felt the meeting was “unprofessional” because discussion on the Sheriff’s Office was not on the agenda.

“I guess the straw that broke the camel’s back was when Ferguson started talking,” Burger said Friday. “That’s when I interrupted and said this is just not right. He’s just up there campaigning. It was obvious it was planned. Ferguson has never been to one of these meetings before.”

Wigington said Friday he, too, was unaware that his department would be discussed at the Thursday meeting. The Homeowners Coalition is an information session held once a quarter. County officials provide an update of projects and their departments and residents have the opportunity to ask questions.

Wigington said his budget has grown because of the expansion of the jail that was completed in 2009 and added 400 beds.

“The jail doubled in size and that added to the cost in operations and hiring personnel to run it,” Wigington said Friday. “It’s 100,000 square feet of heated space added while very little has been added to law enforcement. If I had known I was going to be the topic of discussion, I would have been there to defend myself.”