some stray thoughts…

Many viruses that are harmful to humans are carried by migratory birds that come into contact with pigs which were usually and historically kept in close contact with humans. All little villages in the world used to have pigs in daily contact with humans. Not so much anymore thanks to factory farming and the slaughter of our fellow beings on an incomprehensible scale…If we didn’t eat animals at the rate and the way that we do we would not have a corona virus, or most flu’s and all sorts of other consequences which we choose to not examine too closely.

If you eat animals on a daily basis you are in a rich, compared to poor, country or society where its difficult to eat meat regularly; although insects are a staple in many cultures and that is a type of necessity. Eating animals for protein is not necessary, its a habit. In order for anyone to be rich in this world a number of people have to do without.

If you eat foie Gras you are eating the liver of an animal that was tortured to death over its long painful life by having grain forced down its throat through a two foot long tube/funnel and its beak/bill wired shut so that it can’t regurgitate the overstuffing and consequently develops a fatty live for which it is then killed and the liver shipped off to fancy restaurants which cater to the rich…That’s life.

The have’s have their way with the world and and the don’t have’s; not so much. Is there anything new going on in this world where that hasn’t been the case since the strong ate better than the weak (i.e. forever) ? Nope!

Is this liable to change anytime soon? Nope!

Can I change how I see things and learn to behave differently? Yep!

Why does it feel like I can’t change and I need to accept the inevitable and nothing will ever change?

It’s how Things Are and, that feeling is just a feeling.

Feelings drive, pull and push us as if they had a power over us because we think feelings can make us do things that, at some level, we know aren’t right.

That’s not true. Any feeling can be examined, looked at calmly (maybe not right away but over time spent trying, as in practice…) and seen for what it is, and it usually is a demand for something to be different in the world so that I am not displeased or uncomfortable or offended.

So, I’m the big problem. Turns out I’m the only one who can help change me.

Who am I helping in this

changing of the me that I

hold so dear and am afraid of

loosing if I let go of it. Who?

Shadow go ‘Click’…

Photo taken at top-secret U.S. installation even as guards were looking on. Bwuaha-ha-aha-ha-aha-ha-ha!!! (US Post Office:)

Proof of America imprisoning and dis-appearing our rebels.

There is no justice for the Comfortable Many.

No wonder we riot to show our standing in-solidarity with the oppressed and then go home after ‘secret’ police hold us for a couple of hours and wring our hands. It can’t happen here they wailed throughout history.

We stand at the barricades and then, when its time for some other diversion, we go home; having done what we can, we insist.

We can skateboard on ramps with impunity. We are white Americans fed up with the status quo. Hear us grumble for Organic Chamomile Tea and coffee that is made from beans that have passed through the digestive system of Civets in Viet-Nam. Haven’t the Civets given enough of themselves to support Fine Perfumes? We are White America (or wanna-be-white america, ouch!) and we have a ‘Heart’! Look at this nice wooden one I bought at Target, it hangs over the couch next to the other wooden ones that say ‘Family’ and ‘Love’ Not that there is anything going wrong there, it’s just that the deep need to express love is the same for all of us.

And, the saddest part is that we do care, we have just never developed a language or system or cultural/social ways to show this in the more personal ways. We buy the expression of feelings from others so we can display them and wonder why we feel just a tad empty. It is what poetry, writing, art and music and such are used for, yet they are in a way an impediment to feeling the real thing when that is what is called for. Like now.

It takes time to feel and be still.

It takes great effort to be still and feel.

To be still within effort and feel that perhaps

Stillness is sufficient on too itself

And, there is more…

two way streets…

Quiet helpers in the world

Quiet helpers in the world

just sitting there apparently doing

nothing, the quiet helpers of our world

just rest and wait until called upon to

hold some thing, to shed light on another,

to unfold and to support out activities;

a little stool to sit on while sorting, or

to lay a book up on, so we can get on

with the day. Someone, somewhere,

helped to build and assemble, box and

ship, then deliver all these helpers to us,

for us. We don’t consider them often

enough, all the helpers. It’s easy to

believe we really matter and are all

alone. Gaze around and see,

don’t just look. Eyes are

Two-way streets

next rant (ish)…

American

American male

American anglo male

American anglo male heterosexual

American anglo male heterosexual boomer

American heterosexual ….lefty-anrcho-liberal, semi-conservative, vegetarian, Buddhist, autodidact, pro-socialist-anti-communist jazz-fan and movie-buff and reader of history and religion and art and fan of noir movies who thinks Woody Allen is an asshole who should by now have gotten over himself; and who thinks that John LeCarre and Phillip Kerr are great modern writers and who hates the Washington Post and Fox News with equal vigor because they get paid by the same ad agencies; so they can’t be really (I mean Really!) That Different and thinks that SNL is a poorly re-constructed hash of the original subversive and bright Show of Shows, and that SNL is racist and bigoted in its presumptions that its ok for Black comedians to make fun of Latinos and if Blacks portray themselves as stereotypes that only whites laugh at, its ok; because “we are all in on the joke”and we are hip…not so! Not even close.
American….blah blah blah, who in conversation with others that he feels kinship with, realizes they have some very strange takes on reality and can’t really be trusted.

American…blah etc; who thinks we should make like Woody Allen and get over Ourselves. Maybe examine our presumptions and ideas about what the real world is when all we’ve ever done is lived at the Height of Empire and guzzled and eaten the world while politely discussing that it is a shame how the world is not being treated right.

Oh, Mother Earth! Where are you going? I want to neglect you more! I promise to change tomorrow. Not just yet though, but tomorrow for sure! Right now I just need little time to myself. To, you know, gather in and reflect and see where I can really make a difference; maybe more than half-assed recycling and carrying my Trader Joe’s bag to Whole Foods (a whole other order of American schweinerei, I actually don’t shop there. One must have some standards, plus they are to expensive for me. My personal Class War is giving Whole Foods store’s The Finger when I drive by one; below the dashboard off course. Standards. Are they still in business? Anyway…

American…blah…ad nauseam. I want to explain to you how if you changed a few of your views we could all prosper and be comfortable. I want to explain to you that all people and all cultures and all thoughts and all behaviors and all actions are ultimately just an expression of our deep need and wish for Oneness. But, I gather it is best if I do as I say do rather than I do, do. so…

American blah…bull-shitter; who is so wrapped up in his explanation of himself (or her explanation of herself [Inclusiveness Double Paranthetical],), that he can’t see beyond his (like opinion) nose and when he does is, all he sees is you, which which happens to be a pair of ears that connect to a brain and now needs brand new information about the actual reality of life and what you need to know in order to change, if certain parties are ever going to have a chance at happiness. You know who I’m talking about!

I think a ventricle just cleared up a bit.

Wine of Delusion…

Through much of the Buddhist world, practitioners of its’ teachings take a series of guidelines for the conduct of their daily lives called “The Precepts”. They are not a big deal in an astounding amount of  Buddhism in the West (The Americas), because we don’t like ‘rules’. Several other teachings that are at the core of Buddhism are also ignored or hushed up because so much of Buddhist teaching has been ‘improved’ and ‘made more accessible’ to the western mind/psyche by our Base Religion of Therapy/Psychology. (Mandatory disclaimer coming up.)…Of course Therapy and Psychology help an astounding number of people with problems they (the number of people), can’t quite describe or put their finger on, so to speak.

Whoops, digression zone ends in several inches, with any luck………here.

So, the Precepts that are commonly taken by Buddhist lay practitioners (non-monastics), throughout much of the Buddhist World are typically called ‘The Five Precepts’.

  1. Refrain from the taking of life.
  2. Refrain from taking that which is not given.
  3. Refrain from saying that which is untrue.
  4. Refrain from indulging mere desires.
  5. Refrain from using, selling or causing others to use the Wine of Delusion.
    (The refraining concedes that we are human and will at least try.)

# Five, at its most coarse level reminds us that alcohol and drugs distract us from our natural minds and we can’t think clearly when under their influence. At a bit more subtle level we also can’t think clearly when we have strong opinions, or strong beliefs, or varying degrees of certainty about any personal mixture of ideas regarding life, society, science, politics, religion, morals, behaviors, etc. And, when we want to talk to other people about our ideas etc; and convince them they are missing something in their views and ideas; And we can help point out those shortcomings etc. AND, Yes you are welcome.

Most standard conversations whether in a bar, at an event, in church, over family dinner being consumed on the ride home from a long day of family stuff, are variations of consuming, selling, encouraging others to imbibe our own delusive ideas about reality and join us; as we join others in their views of Life and its little Realities.

All news, all TV, all reporting, all discussion in public spheres, all opining, all insights and for sure all Expert Views are absolutely wines of delusion; Because they decrease clarity and fix our minds and hearts into a Certainty, of some sort And, then we are off to the races.This is the condition that makes us human and worrisome and wonderful as a life form.

So, there’s no way any of this is going to change measurably for quite some time is my guess. But, and this is a But and an AND, we can, each of us, cut back just a little from the habits/addictions to using of the wine of delusion, and maybe refraining just a tad when we want to convince others, or ourselves, about some insistence regarding some thing that we believe to be true. Just cut back a little.

Ease on up.

Relax once or twice a day and not indulge ourselves in the stuff that we know to be True. Let’s just keep it to ourselves, once in a while on most days. Gotta start somewhere.

I’m going to start my little effort at the end of this sentence. I am too!

A telephone call…

Not zoom, not skype, neither e-mail nor messenger, no text or instagram. One voice to another.

A friend who is having some personal difficulties, many centered around Communication and Housing and Money, the Big Three, which can get out of ‘hand’ in our minds rather quickly; especially for those of us who have had the experience of coming back to life from a seemingly hopeless condition. We can quite easily go from a smallish array of conventional problems to full-blown CatAstROpHiC tHinKinG!!! in literally, a heart-beat. Never fun.

So, I called and we spoke for a few minutes and all I said was essentially the kind of thing we can say when we are not in a situation and have a small clarity about it, i.e. at a bit of a remove…As we closed the shortish conversation with arrangement for Pizza and a Coke (Ancient Universal Remedy) tomorrow, I was quite elated as I hung up. And then…

I realized, that all the things I said were exactly what I personally needed to hear for the enclosed and troubled feeling I had been having on and off for the past period of time, you know The Situations, and couldn’t find perspective for.

Voice to voice conversation is the Chamomile Tea of modern human communication, because its real, nuance and voice reveal more than face and waving of arms (I learned to speak American in NYC as a young boy of nine), when words are the important thing.

So, once again I re-find a small truth. I wanted to say something helpful and perhaps reassuring to a friend in discomfort, not crisis, and that intention had an effect on me too, because it was based on the sense of trying to be compassionate (which we all do, so very naturally) outwardly and seeing that compassion flows to where it is useful.

In other words, it flows in all directions. We can’t aim it. Not if it’s real. There is no exclusion, all we can do is offer; and then be surprised at times when we get ‘splashed’ too.

 

I watered in the garden today

The weeds were happy too, so

Why not, also me and you?

HWMPOK…

Half-Way on Middle-Path is O.K.

I look back and think my, my, my;

Look at you, came that long way.

But, but I didn’t act quite right

Today. No problem look ahead

Not away, you’re gone, just not

There. Stepping through the gate

Of a one-thin-little-string fence that

Circles this World is not really

That great an accomplishment.

Just go and keep on keepin’ on.

A glance back and a look up and,

Here I am all over again. Bird

Whistle lost in the wind. 

three o’clock blues…

I’ve heard a lot about the value and power of self-examination. Of looking at one’s self (atonement) and one’s actions, motives and results thereof. Sometimes that happens at 3:00 a.m. in the wee, small hours of the morning (Good song title in there somewhere, eh?). What occurred to me this morning was the wonder and power of realizing that one comes into this world alone, and leaves it alone.

A major difference between looking and seeing is this. Looking has a seeking aspect to it, hence a hint of desperation. Seeing is the state of mind after the hunt and the meal. Self-examination partakes of becoming aware of the transitions between seeking and satiety, wanting and sufficiency; and the inevitable recurrence of that cycle. My observation is that in the sufficiency there is time to reflect and weigh what the examination has revealed.

Three o’clock in the a.m. seems to be an optimal time to get a reasonable perspective on ones life as it has been lived, not dreamt about or explained away. This morning’s conclusion is that this little being came into the world to do its best with what it had and the power to care, or not; to create or to destroy; to help or to distain. To look up or to look down. To give or take.

It turns out that it will always be a mix of some sort, but the main part is the give and the take. To offer and to accept. To breathe in and breathe out.

We have a sense that breathing is something we control and to a degree we do; but all those breaths all those heartbeats are accomplished because the mechanism, within which we seemingly dwell, does them following  laws of physics, air pressure, chemistry, hydraulics etc: However there is a part that follows no measurable law of the Universe and that is our choice, our volitional decision. Our choice in how we spend our time and expend our energy which is after all, finite.
Looking is practical. Seeing is a choice.

I choose to see that yes, I am alone but since this aloneness has choices, I can breathe deeply, I can be still and my heart rate drops and I can be All One.                                      The choice of no choice, it is how things are…

At Three-fifteen the birds

Start up expressing their

Heart’s desire to be alive

Alone and at One.

When you’re coasting…

I’m not sure what the exact physics behind coasting is but I can observe that a skateboard is essentially based on coasting.

Effort is made to move and then build up speed and then at some point one can coast, and if it’s a steep downhill the coast is pretty exiting and a paved drop of a few feet over a mile distance can be nice glide. One has to be going downhill to coast.

All of the latest out-pourings of discontent is a natural result of deeply rooted problems that have never been squarely faced, we all seem to agree on that. There is also general agreement that this is a time to face those problems because, Now is The Time.              That Now, was a ‘Now’ not too long ago.                                                                                          Not too long before that was another ‘Now’ and here we Are. And it’s now-time, again.

My reading of history and my observation of the world, people, politics, economy, religion and, most importantly, myself; leads to the conclusion there will be a variety of good ideas that will fall apart because there will be the inevitable clash for primacy between Good Ideas and it will all shrivel up and wither away. I know that sounds kind of negative but that’s my observation of how things often play out.                                  Right now people are fired up, and any fire that’s ever started cannot be guaranteed to stay controlled. How many house burn down every year because the fireplace and the stove didn’t contain the fire? More than a few. Back-fires anyone?

The Truth always holds negatives and positives and they shift before our very eyes because as our eyes that do the seeing, our brains and opinions do the interpreting.   “And. They’re off!” As they say at the start of a horse race.                                                              That’s one description of karma and how it runs our lives and informs our futures. We act on opinions and ideas and habits and we become passionate about them because we assign positive and negative through our personal judgments.

We are the problem. We All are the problem. We, as individuals, are the problem. I am the problem. You are the problem. Which of those problems do I have the best chance of actually correcting or improving?

I am the only person I can change and because that’s difficult and takes time and effort,   I will join up with one or two, or a million, others and try to change you, and if you are resistant to me/us changing all of you Others, the difficulty is exacerbated.

There is no way around this, we are the solution to our main problem, individually.    And yes, we can help each other and we must; in order to progress. At some point we have to get off the streets and off our strongly held views and come home sit down examine how we can be kinder, minute by minute, coming and going, in and out of our ‘doors’.

We have, as a culture, as a set of societal, political, economic, educational, ecological and spiritual systems been coasting for a long time.

Maybe we can get off the skateboard and walk a while and see what we can see. Life is not about the ride. There’s more going on than speed, exhilaration and long coasting.

If its easy to do, it can be a joy

When its hard to do, it

Probably needs to be done.