Harry Emerson Fosdick Tribute

March 1-7 Edition

Harry Emerson Fosdick
Dream Recall
Huggybear’s Weekends
The Hobbit

Harry Emerson Fosdick

My article on Harry Emerson Fosdick appeared in Philippine Panorama on (date).

This is the cover story

Harry Emerson Fosdick, one of the most influential theologians in the early twentieth century, had a deep understanding of the human condition. His ideas helped me develop a more sincere empathy with humanity's weaknesses, and a more genuine appreciation of its inherent greatness.

My new story, "Lessons From Harry Emerson Fosdick," is a timeless collection of some of his profound insights from his classic On Being A Real Person. The real-life characters in my story who illustrate those principles include the mystics Emanuel Swedenborg and Georgei Gurdijieff.

There are, as well, three men I admire most: the self-taught healer Lawrence LeShan, the telepath Wolf Messing and the exorcist Walther Franklin Prince.

"No realistic dealing with the problem of anxious fear," says Fosdick," can omit this central matter: an ethically satisfying life is indispensable."

As a religious leader, Fosdick, is a spiritual contemporary of the Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman. I first wrote about Newman in my equally timeless story "Student's Digest: A Guide For College Graduates," which appeared on March 5, 2009 in Philippine Panorama. Among the illustrious figures in that story are William James and some of the titans of Philippine academe: Professors Paz Latorena Vidal Tan and and George Bocobo. Newman’s The Gentleman, the essay that taught me to be the kind of person I am now, has a special place in that story. 

"The emotional drive that leads us to assert ourselves is, in the end, worth what we make of it," says Fosdick. "If we use it well, we become dynamic selves amounting to something, with dominant aims served with forceful self-commitment."

Dream Recall

December 25, 2013
Christmas Wednesday

A dream can be elusive as a unicorn, as ephemeral as the gossamer wings of a fairy.

As I was surfacing to consciousness, I knew I had three significant dreams. I was even reviewing the main highlights as I was heading to the surface of consciousness.

All of a sudden, they're gone as if a powerful telepath has erased them from my memory. All was left were fragments of scenes and fragile pieces of remembrance.

I was climbing down the wall of a building that was vanishing, like the battleship in the Philadelphia Experiment, but in slow motion. I sensed the building is being attacked by a demigod because he thought his son has been kidnapped there by a man I saw in a vision. My black diver's watch fell, getting stuck in a metal grill above an excavation pit on the street below me. I was worried that it might get dislodged and disappear.

Everything was changing. Below me was now a newly cemented sidewalk. My watch lay in the middle the rough concrete.

Two days ago, I dreamed about two Presidents of the Philippines.

 I just climbed up the stairs of a dark and narrow hall. I entered a room and came over to the  late President Ramon Magsaysay.

He was with a man I sensed as the Senate President. They have just been set free. It seemed the country had been invaded and the government was exiled.

The President and I hugged, one of us telling the other that he lost weight, but I can't remember who. I told him I missed him.

I jumped to another scene.

 I was standing beside the late President Manuel L. Quezon.

We were looking up at a red Japanese geisha costume on display. It's an heirloom, says a woman behind us. I turned. I recognized her as Fumiko, a yoga instructor whose videos I came across on YouTube while I was awake.

I jumped to another scene. I was a bodyguard of some dignitaries. I led them to a waiting helicopter on the rooftop. They flew away. I went down the door which directly led to the stadium where a conference of world leaders has just ended.

I sat down beside a boy about nine. He was crying because he wanted to be one of the escorts. I sensed that this was a big event, and he wanted to be able to regale his friends about his part in history. I sympathized, knowing he must have felt like the young Hardy Greaves in The Legend of Bagger Vance the book who got to be a caddie, much to his friends' envy, in the greatest golf event in the South.

The boy who was crying on my shoulder seemed to be the brother of a friend of mine. I'll call him Joshua. But Joshua is really young as we sat at the bleachers, unmindful of the crew below us dismantling the stage and the sound equipments. I met Joshua in my waking life when he was already 13. The last time I saw him was in 2007, during the funeral of my friend, his brother. Joshua was then 17. A year later, I would hear the news that Joshua had been stabbed to death.

Huggybear's Weekends

December 28, 2013
9:25 a.m., Saturday

This is my complete text message to one of my closest buddies. I'm sending this now but I'll send a copy to my e-mail first for my blog. This is a special time for me.

Since I don't have a new place yet near my beloved beach, during my rest-day weekends I just stay at home in my nearly sound-proof little room in the city, non-existent from the world, away from the madness of so-called civilization.

I just write, think, meditate, read, pray and listen to music. This is my time for myself and my spiritual life. I only eat fruits and vegetables, no rice and no meat; that's why I work out in the gym and do yoga the rest of the week.

When I get my new camera next month, I'll start giving time to the one other thing my soul needs: traveling. Then I'll start doing Living Asia-style short films again and you'll be my guide to Dumaguete.

But right now, I just let my body and soul find renewal. For breakfast I had chopsuey and pancit canton. I don't take liquids immediately before or after meals, so I'm waiting for half an hour before I drink fresh coconut juice which I've been taking everyday for over a week. I just bought large yellow mangoes and bananas in the market on the way home from the gym after shift.

I'm looking forward to finishing Siddharta by Herman Hesse. I can never forget the way it touched my life when I was a teenager. This is my wish list in our class' exchange gifts.

This morning, a friend just gave me Clarice Bryan's Expect Nothing: A Zen Guide. I seem to be more Buddhist than Christian though my personal relationship with Jesus Christ is stronger than ever.

But then again, like Siddharta, I'm the kind of person who would rather set off on his own journey for enlightenment than follow somebody else.

Right now I'm chillin', spinning the FM dial. The radio is playing A Perfect Christmas by Jose Mari Chan, the immortal classic from the soundtrack of my life.

A Perfect Christmas
Jose Mari Chan

"I can't think
of a better Christmas
than my wish coming true,
and my wish
is that you'd let me spend
my whole life with you..."

The Hobbit:
An Unexpected Adventure

“You thought you could escape me?" said the giant King of Goblins, menacingly. "What are going to do now, wizard?"

Gandalf and the Elves were able to get away . Then they saw that the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, was not with them.

The Elf King Thorin says that the hobbit probably got scared and went back to his little village.

I want to, admits Bilbo as he suddenly appeared before them. He had been there all along, cloacked by the invisibility powers of the Ring he took from Smigol.

"I miss my books," he declares, "my armchair, my garden.".

But he won't leave them.

         The Hobbit: An Unexpected Adventure

"You have no home, it was taken from you" he says to Thorin. "But I will help you get it back."


"I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it."

~Ernest Hemingway
Anonymous said…
Bob Proctor - The Subconscious Mind and How to Program it

Last Saturday morning after my graveyard shift where I'm currently working to save up for my next journey, I went to the office pantry to avoid the elevator crowds. I needed a moment of silence to focus my mind and gather strength for the things I planned to do over the weekend. The pantry TV was on StarMovies. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was just starting. So I watched it again.

I'm like Bilbo, a homebody who loves his garden and his books. But inside his heart lies the strength that takes you higher than what you have limited yourself, just like in mine. The little man with the big heart runs after the wizard and the elves: "I'm going off to an adventure!"
"Happiness, true happiness, is an inner quality. It is a state of mind. If your mind is at peace, you are happy. If your mind is at peace, but you have nothing else, you can be happy. If you have everything the world can give - pleasure, possessions, power - but lack peace of mind, you can never be happy." ~ Dada Vaswani