Monthly Archives: October 2016

Regrets on a fine Autumn day

Perfect Autumn day in Eastern Oregon, almost sixty degrees, intermittent rains Off for the day, a few small chores, a nice long yack with a great friend, short nap, a few more chores and then a bowl of hot soup (homemade, thank you very much) with croutons AND potato chips floating in it (deeply decadent, thank you) and then a fire in the stove and the 3rd game of the World Series on the radio via computer. What could be better? Nothing, that’s what.

As conversations with good friends often do, we roamed afield and at one point a mention was made about feeling guilty about the past, or shame, or deep irreconcilable regret. My sense is that they are good functional feelings and point something out to us, usually that something needs to change, something needs to be looked at and acted upon.

Merely seeing and acknowledging a shameful, guilt producing or regretful, even deplorable act, is usually not sufficient. One needs to look with compassion and often, in my case, seek advice and take refuge with people whom I trust to listen carefully and give good, if painful and sometimes difficult, insight and advice.

My experience is that being at peace with the past does not mean that those uncomfortable memories or feelings don’t arise, and when they do, I should feel something. I should feel that there is more to learn about myself and then, most importantly, I have to be willing to learn more. That process is very personal. It does generally partake of compassion and being still within those feelings. Perhaps seeing that the beginning of acceptance is our pain, remorse, regret, etc; which then opens the door to sadness. Recurring, and at times wrenching sadness. Weeping snot-running sadness. Howling whimpering sadness. The kind of sadness that makes The Blues lighten things up a bit.

Over time sadness seems to convert into a feeling of sensing that everyone experiences it and there is nothing going wrong. It keeps coming but can change into an understanding of the deeper grief that is a major aspect of human life. This is where acceptance blossoms for me. I am experiencing nothing unique, yet within there is a feeling of unique-ness to it, but the general feeling or experience is basically universal.

All of that is neither good, nor bad. It is the experience of everyone. Nothing to discard, get rid of or tinker with and fix. It may need help though.

Certainly there are often things associated with past mistakes we have to address in a practical way, but there is usually nothing we can Fix in any real fashion. To see that and perceive the mystery of it is a big part of acceptance, and an on-going teaching for our own good, for the rest of our lives.  What is being accepted is not a sense of futility, but rather the deeper sense that one must go very carefully in responding to the big mistakes we make; or others make.

We will reap consequence and we can be grateful when that time comes, perhaps even see the connection.

Big picture complexity

Takes forever to work

Its way out, and we have

A part to play, or not. The

Choice is always in front of

Us. No need to cringe at, or

Fear, non-movement, at all. 

The being-ness of staying still is

The answer when the past tracks

Mud through our pristine dream. 


commas & propellers

Listening to the World Series on my computer, no regular radio that would carry it in this neck of the woods so I’m grateful for modern technology. Also grateful for ancient technology like writing and reading. We never know how something will evolve over time after being set in motion for one purpose or reason, it can change into something entirely different. Many modern objects were the result of modifying an invention that initially had a much different purpose than the usefulness we find in it now.
Humanities greatest asset might be the drive to look at something and then try and improve it.
We all do it throughout our lives. A better way to mechanize an activity, improve a process, refine a standard way of operation, improve that other person who we have an interest in, but is a little lacking in some areas; or more commonly, to improve ourselves (the circumstance of our daily lives), or Our Selves (that inner sense of lack when compared to the outward appearance of others). And, like so many assets, at some point, over time, they can become liabilities.

I’m guessing, that the reason most airplanes have propulsion units on their wings is because after a certain size that’s the only way they can get off the ground and the reason they don’t have a 5th propeller on the nose like a smaller plane is because it is not necessary; but, I’ll bet donuts to dollars (yes), that somewhere there are lots of airplane designs, mostly (I presume) unbuilt, that called for extra propellers; and naturally, one of them then became the helicopter.

Extra propellers are, well, like, extra commas. Somebody, somewhere, thought they were a good idea; ya know?
Same goes for semi-colons; so, the problem often ends up with people who have more propellers, or more commas than they can effectively use, and are no better than they were before they started to improve, either themselves, or the other person; but, they look different, and that has to count for something, right?
There it went, one of my current pet peeves and something that needs to change. In way too many conversational exchanges one person says something that seems a pertinent or a true observation and the other person responds with. “Yeah, Right?”
That phrase (I’m guessing here), is called a sub-conjunctivitic confabulumn. Yeah, Right?

Oh, well.

We are,
      none of us,
Nor imperfect.
We can
Work with
What we
Self improves
Blind eye
seeks its
Self.  One,                                        

Need not


Leaves, trees, furniture and fire…

I’m splitting wood today for the stock on hand for this Winter. At first I thought that frugally I would need about a cord (4′ x  8′ x  4′) of wood, but now I think double that would be more prudent.
The Office of the Washington State Climatologist (OWSC) predicted that there are three probable outcomes for this Winter,  33% average;  33% colder than average;  33% warmer than average. I’m going with the unaccounted for 1%.

So, more wood than I thought I needed, twice as much in fact because conservatively speaking, whenever I have estimated anything that counts on my abilities, wiles, knowledge and time estimations, I’m off at least by 50%. So, taking the 50% and the 1%, just as random numbers, I determined I actually need twice as much wood as previously estimated. Within a 1% margin of error of course.

I’m not so crazy that I think I know how to completely accurately guesstimate anything, so I’ve always allowed myself the yawning margin of 1% possibility that I may be wrong. I think we all need these little buffers to keep reality in persepctive. I’ve heard people laugh when I mention that system and theory, and they’re probably thinking “Whoaa, Helmut. Don’t be so judgemental, a guy like you could probably operate on a .01% margin for error.”, but…

Anyway, I was looking at the trees in the distance as I was chopping and at the leaves fallen from the nearby trees; and when I put some kindling in a wooden box and walked into the cabin (90% wood) and sat in a wooden (98.3%) chair I marveled at the complex world we live in.

I use the flesh of the former living trees that have provided me with poetic beauty from a distance, to build and heat my environment. I love the color of the trees in Autumn, but in my yard, they make a mess. The leaves give me Nostalgia in the Fall and Hope in the Spring and Shade in the Summer; now I have to stop and think about all this and its implications as to my right place in the world. How I depend on the world around me to feed, clothe, move, inspire, calm and protect me. So, I stop chopping. I stop. I look. And…

I reflect on this conflicted being that depends on, and uses other life, sentient and non-sentient; to create comfort and security and art and philosophy and religion, in order to deal with the conflict that is caused by my use of fellow beings. Heady (sophmoric, more than one garden-variety intellectual has told me), stuff for this nattering soon-to-be-senescent old coot to be arrested by. Curiously worried, momentarily, until I remember I have also been given the gift of awareness and the marvel of resting in place for a moment and looking and seeing, and thanking and muttering and enjoying and knowing we are creatures of conflict; within whom, a great peace is possible.

Conflict always comes to rest within peace.

Just for today,

I undertake to

Refrain from evil,

Do only good, and

Purify my heart.

I’m hip, but I ain’t cool…

The morning after. Oh, boy. My head doesn’t hurt. I’m awake and functioning and my body doesn’t ache more than is normal for someone 69 years and, soon, one day older. The only thing I overdid yesterday was the sugar intake and some conversational outflow. Nothing too startling there. I must say it was nice to get birthday wishes from the people I have Facebook connections with. It was cheerful. There are so many ways we connect and interact through these new technologies ( I have to remind myself when I get on a grump about the newfangledness of it all, that books, just 500 years ago, were the new technology.), that are quite positive. Naturally, they have the negative potentials contained as well, but…

I spent the day eating, yacking, napping, lounging, visiting with the animals and after a partial morning at the temple I just stayed home revelling in the fact that, because I’m not dead; I have a full life. Sounds simplistic, but…

There’s some strong cases to be made for my being dead several times over by the time I was 35 years old, for real. But because of circumstances that caused me to look up, and ask for help, everything started to change.  Change came about in direct proportion to my willingness to accept all the various helps that were offered and, to involve myself willingly in their beneficence. That was harder than common sense might suggest. I was very obdurate in my singleness of ignorance and mis-purpose. The good news was that once we open up, just the least little bit; something starts to flow. Whether we adapt ourselves to that change of reality is where the rubber meets the road and ultimately determines if we come to a skidding stop, or regain control of the vehicle and adjust ourselves to the condition within, and outside, the vehicle.

This vehicle has my name and even though I am of the mind, at times, that I’m the one who built this vehicle and know a lot about it; all it takes is a few minutes of sitting still, by myself, looking at a wall and seeing the swirl of conflict within this Self, that I’ll realize…Not only is there a lot going on that I don’t comprehend, I don’t need to. I can just sit still  within this swirl.   Not a problem.   Difficult, yet…

Continued awareness will bring about

Understanding, and that is a few

Steps past comprehension.

Yesterday’s understanding was,

Again, that the natural goodness and

Kind-ness of Us is one god particle

Reaching back to touch, in a small

Reassuring way, the forces that impell

Us to become Us in This life, which we

Can understand, but may never comprehend.

And that’s OK, by me. For you. Thanks.

Oh, its election time?

I am put off by this election cycle we’re in. Not so much by the candidates, they are politicians, I don’t expect much from people who are willing to lick the asses (metaphorically, mostly, I hope), of the multitude and will sell their honor, dignity, souls and self-respect for a chance to “serve”. That they are choosing to serve a power structure is sad of course, but that so many of us believe them when they say that they want to serve the people, is equally sad.

(Feeling a little pessimistic tonight, Giants and Mets tied in 8th)

No, the politics of it all hasn’t changed in thousands of years. Read Thucydide’s History of the Peloponnesian Wars (circa 430 BC), and read the orations of the leaders of the time. Same words, same manipulation, same fear mongering; ad nauseam.Nothing new. That was old Then.

So, whats my gripe?  None really, because there is nothing new under the Sun, except perhaps that everyone’s opinion today can be accessed by millions should they choose too. So we also get the opinions of people who normally only reach their families, co-workers or the guys on the other bar stools, or the six or seven readers of their personal blog (Gulp), and what amazes me is the vituperative, venomous opinions that are flashed about and proffered as insights. Everybody’s opinion is equal. Like a vote.

So, some might think that I’m referring to the Super Right Wing Conservative Ultra Nationalist Warmongering Haters of Everything. Nope I’m talking about all those Mellow Nice Educated Left Leaning Types who spend their time being surprised and stupefied by the blindness and mean spirits of the opposition, but they use basically the same tone, inflection and rhetoric of the Other Side, which they are upset with.

The old saying that, if you point a finger at others there are three fingers pointing back at you, is true. We ALWAYS point out faults in others that we ourselves have, and are aware of, but don’t want to face.

Facing ourselves and seeing that we are the enemy, like that old cartoon character used to point out in the “Pogo” comic strip by Walt Kelly. I think the line was “We have met the enemy and he is us”. (A humorous take on Admiral Perry’s message regarding a Naval battle: “We have met the enemy, and he is ours!”)

Facing the observable phenomena that we become the thing that we hate is very difficult when we are using emotion to process thinking. In other words, always saying  what we feel, instead of saying what we know and stating the context for that knowledge; which strikes me as the vital key to actual discourse, i.e. speaking authoritatively.

We are meeting the “enemy”, and it is us. There are no innocent bystanders in this national drive-by.

The faults of others are easily perceived, but those of oneself are difficult to perceive; a man winnows his neighbour’s faults like chaff, but his own faults he hides as a cheat hides the false dice from the gamester.”  

Attributed to the Dhammapada; sayings of the Buddha