Change is inevitable…

Change is inevitable…

I’m in process of re-reading a novel that takes place in India and Afghanistan titled Shantaram. It’s an adventure sort of book, but for my uneducated apprehension it is “Litterchur” of a high order. I’m re-reading it because I finally got a copy of the author’s (Gregory David Roberts) 2nd book, which I was happy to see takes up the original story two years where the 1st book left off. The sequel is titled The Mountain Shadow.

Anyway, the story is of an escaped convict from an Australian prison who ends up in the underworld of Mumbai (Bombay), and becomes entangled in political issues during the time of Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Sort of a modern aspect of the Great Game in Kipling’s Kim, with U.S. in the role of England, but much more sympathetic to all the cultures that co-exist in that part of the world. (Although Kim was quite anomolous in Kipling’s body of work, it’s still a bit of an Empire artifact). I personally rank this with Kim, in terms of scope and depth of understanding and explicating the human conditions within the interstices of the meeting of the cultures of ‘East is East and and West is West’ (again, Kipling).

One of the many insights that suffuses the writing like flavor in the risotto, I found this little gem. I haven’t got permission from publisher for this quote, but I figure with over 2,000,000; or thereabouts (there may be 5 too many zeros), readers of this blog they won’t mind since world-wide sales will spike dramatically. Upward.

Oh, here’s the gem.

“Every door is a portal looking through time and space. The same doorway that leads us into and out of a room also leads us into the past of the room and its ceaselessly unfolding future (italics mine). People knew that once, deep within the ur-mind, the ur-imagination. You can still find those who decorate doorways, and reverently salute them, in every culture, from Ireland to Japan…”

A nice little aside; and here’s a couple of my own. Or are they inclusions?

That change in the photo above was in the compartment under the driver’s armrest in my truck and a tube of Chapstik melted. Change became stuck. Can’t be stuck in change. Coincidentally, I laid it out to dry on remnants of  OfficeMax box used in moving once twelve years ago, and four times in the last two years. That box has now changed into a coin-dryer and will become fire-starter. Soon, weather is changing.

We are always coming and going.

Stepping through doors of Time.

Stepping through doors of Space. 

Sometimes a room, a palace, a

Cave, a garden, a forest, ashore,

Afloat (in water or air), Yester

Day, Now, never, then, when, we

See the place, event or image a

Heaven or hovel. Two legged or

Four, feathers, fur or fins. Give

Me the courage to distinguish

Between the truth and reality,

It’s not a door. Its a curtain, one

Molecule thin, blowing and what?

Moving and susurating. What,

What is it saying? Come. Come.

Through this separation of you.

ranch1 - 1.jpg

A young middle-class elk family /herd came into the pasture next to the young geldings in the upper pasture. Much nervousness for a bit, but everyone settled in. Then a portion of the morning having a nice Cappuccino at Arrowhead Chocolate, the world-class Chocolatier in Joseph, OR with a conversation about the pleasures and difficulties of this whole Zen/Buddhist practice of merely overcoming some basic, deeply ingrained unhelpful habits ,that we are all subject to developing. Then, on to some wood-stacking for Winter at Wallowa Buddhist Temple. Later, a nap in the Autumn-sunny couch and finding a free way to listen to S.F. Giants broadcast on the radio via computer; turns out too be station in Redding, CA. They should start winning now and maybe make the wild-card playoffs just because I’m listening. They should also be sending me a small remittance every year or so (I think). If they win the pennant I’ll send them a copy of this so they’ll be aware of my influence. My listening is vital to their success. I think.

I fed the horses their evening portion of alfalfa, and the Breakfast Cats’ will get their snack in a few minutes after I ring the bell on my front porch and offer incense to all beings.Then I’ll turn off the game for a while and sit quietly during that while. Then, some light dessert and more ball-game radio. Life is good, if you don’t give up.

How many times did I try to throw away my life?

What a fool, but here I am. If it were not for the

Discarding attempts through selfish uncare, that

Elk family would not be seen by These eyes. Hommage

To the Buddha,

Homage to the Dharma,

Homage to the Sangha.

 

 

 

Wood, Time & Space…

I was up for a visit to the small town I used to live in and for a couple of days worked on building a portion of fencing. I drove up there with some lumber that had been milled by the owner of the ranch I’m living on;  beautiful wan 8-12 inch boards of Larch, which I’d trimmed to approx 8 foot lengths. I lashed on quite a load on my med-sized truck and headed north. I was bit bit worried going through Rattlesnake Canyon and up the Lewiston hill but everything stayed in place. On the way I encountered about a dozen or so empty log trucks heading South, presumably from the big Potlatch facility in Lewiston. I was carrying lumber too. In my mind I was part of the brotherhood of people who carry lumber in trucks.

That I was carrying about 40 boards compared to 50-70 whole trees was not the important thing, so I gave what I decided to make the “universal three-fingered wave” from the steering wheel hand to the bigger (20x), trucks passing by in the opposite direction. They were going too fast for me to see them wave back. I’m sure they did. After all, Brotherhood!

The potion of fence I built won’t, probably, show up on any builder sites as a how-to example, but it should stand up for about 8-10 years, barring someone leaning on it. So, a useful thing to do and I learned a lot. It’s good to have a plan. Write it out. Follow it. Step by step.

Next time, I will. For sure.

Today, I was back home and went to our little temple for meditation and a Dharma talk/discussion, and something occurred to me during the discussion. It was this.

The power and force that is generated by a half-dozen or so good hearted people, coming together to seek, ask, discuss and ponder issues and meanings concerning the daily living of this life we a part of, is quite remarkable and it is not an unusual event. Every day throughout the world people gather in various ways and try to approach the bigger questions. We move wood in opposite directions by a variety of conveyance for a variety of purposes. Those logs that went to the mill will provide a living and sustenance for lots of people in lots of ways. My little load kept me active for a couple of days.

Every body has to be somewhere, and everybody has to be doing something.

That can also mean doing nothing, leaving things be.

Everything appears to move through time and space.

As a human being what can I bring to this,

This moving of my body and mind through time and space?

 

In the discussion today it came to me that all

I can bring is an old coot and his body and

Remaining portion of mind to the intention of

Leaving less of a mess behind. 

That’s not noble, only practical. The

Question of how, is where serious discussion

Begins. I’ll start fresh tomorrow. I have a plan.

I’ll write it out. Follow it. Step by step. As best

I can.

A speck of time in the Sun…

Soft September sun, early morning

Six horses in descending rank arrayed

In wait for morning alfalfa. Three cats about, one

A visitor, sleeps in the canoe while hatching

Insects drift up and around from the grassy

Pond because just one degree of Fahrenheit has

Advised them to hatch and rise and be. Just for

Today. The hay dust and insect swirl rise to

Meet their Sun and shortly, very, when the

Evening cools they will all settle back

On to the earth and do their other real work

Of nourishing That from which they arose.

As will we all in This the only day that has ever been.

 

For why the Bells toll?

Settling in to myself. I find that there are times during the day when I have no particular place to go or anything particular to do and then I just look around and do that which needs doing. It’s a new experience for me. All these years, and I never relaxed. Thirty plus years clean and sober, as many years practicing Zen Buddhism; eleven years retired and I never relaxed. Fuck!

But, I’m not at all dismayed.

It takes what it takes.

Everyone has to be somewhere and, everyone has to be doing something.

Even if it appears to be nothing. I was caught up in the something and not noticing where I was. Well, I’m right here, and its just fine. Still sober. Still going to do my practice and keep learning without the focus on the doing part of learning. Learning appears to take place in a passive moment, after the doing.

Passive as in still.

Not doing. Not wishing. Not dreaming. Not telling tired old stories about me, to myself, from myself with a running commentary on my most recent awareness about all that.

Sort of like this.

Yawn. Time to go ring the bell on the porch.

Its big one, but I strike it softly.

Seven measured sounds, then an increasing tempo ring down.

Then Five. Then Three. Finally, three more.

One medium. One soft. One hard(ish).

The Breakfast Cats ( Waffle, Flapjack and Pancake), join me in this evening ceremony of my devising, but not out of some Buddhist leanings (then again, what do I know), but because they get a little treat before they retire for the night.

As will I.

Peace upon the pillow

Makurah Ohm

Makurah Ohm

(Ting. Ting.)

All is hurt all is healed…

Spent a little time today just doing some small chores at our local temple. The simple joy of moving small pieces of wood from one place to another in preparation for Winter, Staging some of the wood for next Winter and moving some of it further away from other wood in case of fire before the rainy season starts. Simple basic things that are as old as humans gathering together for their common good. Then a rest and a snack and conversation with no great subject or intention, but touching on the the things that in fact do form and inform us in regard to our common good, common experience, common goals, common dreams and common hopes and the wonder at all that it is to be human.

Later, coming back to my space of living and having other discussions with neighbor- friends while watching a group of chickens scratching around in the garden and a couple of horse corrals, knowing that some of these lovely little beings will soon be given the axe for a number of reasons/necessities that create great conflict within their owner. A painful and very uneasy choice, a difficult decision that will have to be integrated into the owners life as it continues for another day (or 50 years), who knows? Thus an uncomfortable question comes in and may not go, and we wonder why we have discomfort and varying levels of anxiety that we can’t identify as to source or sometimes are even aware of.

The pain of life is real. The joy of life is real,

To the degree we let them control our next decision(s).

All the billions of difficult decisions made every day;

Day in. Day out. For as many days as there are or ever

Have been and lives that lived them. We act, react and err,

Then reach out to each other in an attempt to comprehend,

Through our words, feelings, stumbling, and unknowing; How

To grow this pain of life into love and understanding of our

Selves. This is the great quest.

The condition of human

Kindness.  All  ways  there.