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  • Karl Thunemann

Karl's Keyboard #9

Updated: Dec 29, 2020

Peering toward the future—and taking a lingering look back.

A notable challenge has been assailing my practice for the past several weeks. Looking back, I see I could do much more exploration of Loving-kindness. I have hardly even begun! Yet at the same time I feel the great allure of other practices. I have started exploring them, but I am not ready to name them. That will come over the next few months, no doubt delayed by preoccupations that have yet to occur to me.

This puts me in mind of Janus, the two-headed Roman god, the guardian of archways. Just look at this picture of Janus. Looking two ways at once, and sometimes four. Looking ahead and looking back. Do those skulls share a brain? Do they communicate? Janus was the lord of beginnings, and our society still pays him some credence, even if we regard him as oblivious. What? You are skeptical? That must mean you have freed yourself from thinking of January as the point of new beginnings. But old habits continue. Adopting new budgets, making New Year’s resolutions, quadrennially swearing in new presidents.

We do not have to wait for January to generate new beginnings—or to re-evaluate where we have been. Like it or not, we are forever opening the door to new chapters. Most of the time I feel like craggy old Janus, reluctantly looking ahead. But working on this blog makes me hark back to the 1970s, when I was a new journalist working first on a venerable weekly and then writing editorials for a new daily. Sometimes putting out this blog makes me feel as if I am back in those days. I am young again! No, I am more than a bit creaky!

I wonder if Ganesha and Jesus ever think about Janus. They might wonder if he really IS a god. (Or should that be was?) He’s lost his grip. He’s old hat. Where are his new temples and corner shrines? He seems never to have reached out to other cultures. Our superstars would probably let him join in their occasional practice of tai chi. But it would be so exasperating. Janus—Dude! Which way are you facing?

A few other notes:

I have more special projects on their way. Keyboard No. 10 (Sept. 17) will feature three epistles delving into my deep, nearly lifelong relationship with the saturnine—or sadness, to use a more common word. And for Keyboard No. 11 (Oct. 11) I am assembling a few epistles and reading lists concerning my interest in Taoism. The subject pervades my thinking, and it might help you to see where I’m coming from.

Dick Kite, one of our frequent contributors, turns 82 today, Sept. 3. Look below for the link to Dick’s latest post. Send him the birthday song, wrapped in loving-kindness.

Featured in this Keyboard:

And from our Frequent Contributors …

A Big Huzzah

One element this blog lacks so far is a frequent contributor whose primary interest is practicing yoga. Listen: Yoga is verifiably an important form of meditation. And it is so popular! This article from the Greater Good Center in Berkeley says that 36 million American practice yoga. The article recounts the benefits of yoga practice over a lifetime.

If you know someone who writes about and teaches yoga who might enjoy writing for this blog, please suggest that she or he contact me at

Let’s have more dialogue!

There are two ways to take part:

1. Post a comment on the blog! Some readers haven felt frustrated with this, but it is pretty simple: To comment on the blog: scroll down to the bottom of the post, where there is a comments box. You will have to leave a name in order to comment, but all other information is optional. It will give the option to leave your fb, Twitter, or Gmail but you don't have to.

2. Consider becoming a contributor. I will consider posts about meditation, broadly defined. I prefer stories over instruction, but I am flexible. I like posts shorter than 1,000 words. Send your proposed text—or a query—to me at

Til next time …

May you keep on meditating, and visualize the advance of social justice.


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