The number of stars in the universe

is 300 sextillion, or 3 trillion times 100 billion.
Some starry, starry night: 300 sextillion

(Another researcher) "Conroy looked up how many cells are in the average human body-50 trillion or so-and multiplied that by the 6 billion people on Earth. And he came up with about 300 sextillion."


A different kind of gift

On TED.com I found this amazing piece. Stacey Kramer offers a moving, personal, 3-minute parable that shows how an unwanted experience can turn out to be a priceless gift.

It is just a matter of who you take this, gift!


Meaning of what we do, from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The meaning of things lies not in the things themselves, but in our attitude towards them.


A world

A World
A World
7AM in the morning.
In my living room.
A world within a world.


Temporal nature of desires

As we approach to the end of Ramadan, I think about what it really meant for me. It made me realize (once again) how I am chained to daily, simple, natural desires. But can live without them perfectly.
A glass of cold water on the table will give instant relief from the pain of thirst. But I won't die if I don't take it. The physical desires pushes me to my limits, but I don't even think about it. The desire passes (as clouds passes by, as they say.)
I am free.



From Different Ways of Laughing:

Guernica: Are there particular friendships in your life that you would point to?

Coleman Barks: I had a teacher who came to me in a dream, and then, I met him about a year after that. That was a pretty good conversation that we had. [Laughs] He said to me, when he first met me, “Will you meet with me on the inside or on the outside?” I didn't know what I was meeting. In kind of a tricky, intellectual way, I said, “Isn't it always both?” I should have said, “Inside, now.” I didn't know what he was offering me.

This man's name was Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, he was a Sri Lankan teacher, who came over here in the early '70s, and I met him in '78. I read him a few [ of my translations]. He said this work has to be done. I claim that he's helping with it, even though he died in 1986.


Save the lives of all mankind

I am speechless because people don't hesitate to kill in the name of religion, any religion, including my religion.

The new Taliban targets - women, children and foreigners

Qur'an 5:32
Because of this did We ordain unto the children of Israel that if anyone slays a human being unless it be [in punishment] for murder or for spreading corruption on earth - it shall be as though he had slain all mankind; whereas, if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind.


A daily dose of Unconditional Positive Regard (UPR)

I went to the Israel Restaurant near where I work today. The owner greeted me and looked surprised that, as a Turk, I was still going to his place.

I looked into his eyes, and I felt his emotions. We are so far away from our land, and yet due to the tags of our nationality, we were feeling awkward.

Yesterday my boss got angry with me because of some stupid remark I made. But I didn't get angry with him as he had a point. I still like him, as I would do the same, if I were in his position, age, up-bringing.

"We could be the same." Unconditional Positive Regard (UPR), as Carl Rogers defined, means unconditional love and empathy for the other party. "NO matter what they say!"

We Could Be The Same, Final version


We Could Be The Same

This year's Turkey's entry to Eurovision Song Contest came with a surprise. The lyrics are simple, and as mostly simple things in life, powerful:
We could be the same
You could be the one in my dreams
You could be much more than you seem
Anything I wanted in life
Do you understand what I mean?
I can see that this could be faith
I can love you more than they hate
Doesn’t matter who they will blame
We can beat them at their own game
I can see it in your eyes
It doesn’t count as a surprise
I see you dancing like a star
No matter how different we are
For all this time I’ve been loving you
Don’t even know your name
For just one night, we could be the same
No matter what they say
And I feel I’m turning the page
And I feel the world is a stage
I don’t think that drama will stop
I don’t think they’ll give up the rage
But i know the world could be great
I can love you more than they hate
Doesn’t matter who they will blame
We can beat them at their own game
I can see it in your eyes
It doesn’t count as a surprise
I see you dancing like a star
No matter how different we are
For all this time I’ve been loving you
Don’t even know your name
For just one night, we could be the same
No matter what they say
For all this time I’ve been loving you
Don’t even know your name
For just one night, we could be the same
No matter what they say
No matter what they say
No matter what they say
We could be the same
No matter what they say

maNga - We Could Be The Same-Video


Taste of life

St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, apparently said something about having a real feeling for the life: tasting and feeling the truth.

I don't care about my worries, deep fears that tie a knot in my stomach. I walk in the rain, feel the cold wind on my bare chest. I enjoy the taste.


Long narrow road

Asik Veysel, a Turkish minstrel and poet describes our life journey, which is a long and narrow road, although it may seem going in rounds or cut by obstacles:

I'm on a long and narrow road,
I walk all day, I walk all night,
I cannot tell what is my plight,
I walk all day, I walk all night.

Soon as I came into the world,
That moment I began my fight,
I'm in an inn with double gates,
I walk all day, I walk all night.

I walk in sleep - I find no cause,
To linger, whether dark or light,
I see the travellers on the road,
I walk all day, I walk all night.

Forty-nine years upon these roads,
On desert plain, on mountain height,
In foreign lands I make my way,
I walk all day, I walk all night.

Veysel does wonder at this state,
Lament or laughter, which is right?
Still to attain that distant goal,
I walk all day, I walk all night.


A new site on Wisdom

I came across a new site, WisdomPortal, An Illumined Gateway to the Internet. I am slowly browsing through. One great story is A Cook Initiates a Prince on the Way of Life from Chuang Tzu.


Does't matter

The Ecsatatic Faith of Rumi has great quotes of Rumi's work.

Many of them has a Zen's koan kind of feeling:

Come to the orchard in Spring.
There is light and wine, and sweethearts
in the pomegranate flowers.

If you do not come, these do not matter.
If you do come, these do not matter.


Unconditional Positive Regard

These are from Rumi:
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.

For days I have been working on Unconditional Positive Regard by Carl Rogers. Just think about it for a while. Treating everybody with unconditional regard, which can only be done by by empathy and love. Unconditional. No matter whom that person is, what he/she did or does. Not judging, not imposing our own values or beliefs.

Don't we almost ever do it? We like or dislike a person, we treat that person accordingly. Our care and regard is conditional, we don't know how to just "give."


Beyond mundane

Recenly I realized that there are parallels between these two totally seemingly unrelated texts:

One is from Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder, Chapter 2, "Top Hat":

All mortals are born at the very tip of the rabbit's fine hairs, where they are in a position to wonder at the impossibility of the trick. But as they grow older they work themselves ever deeper into the fur. And there they stay. They become so comfortable they never risk crawling back up the fragile hairs again. Only philosophers embark on this perilous expedition to the outermost reaches of language and existence. Some of them fall off, but others cling on desperately and yell at the people nestling deep in the snug softness, stuffing themselves with delicious food and drink.
"Ladies and gentlemen," they yell, "we are floating in space!" But none of the people down there care.
"What a bunch of troublemakers!" they say. And they keep on chatting: Would you pass the butter, please? How much have our stocks risen today? What is the price of

The other one is from Holy Quran, , by Muhammad Asad (Muhammed Esed in Turkish), 67 - AL-MULK, 22:

But then, is he that goes along with his face close to the ground (19) better guided than he that walks upright on a straight way?

19 - Lit., "prone upon his face" - i.e., seeing only what is immediately beneath his feet, and utterly unaware of the direction into which his path is taking him: a metaphor of the spiritual obtuseness which prevents a person from caring for anything beyond his immediate, worldly concerns, and thus makes him resemble an earthworm that "goes along prone upon its face".

To me both texts refer to our possible loss of direction in daily worries, mundane and transient affairs. The person who does it otherwise is described differently, but I feel that that isn't the point.


Painted On Water-Bravo Sertab and Demir

I am currently listenining Sertab and Demir Demirkan's new album Painted on Water. Amazing. I am speechless. A very good mix of styles and genres. Sertab's voice is at its best.


Happy New Year

This is 2nd morning, along the river I live near by.


No words are necessary, right?

Who is poor?

Many years ago Rudyard Kipling gave an address at McGill University in Montreal. He said one striking thing which deserves to be remembered. Warning the students against an over-concern for money, or position, or glory, he said: "Some day you will meet a man who cares for none of these things. Then you will know how poor you are."

A quote from Rev. Halford E. Luccock, which is on the first page of The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki