Can it teach the rocks and the trees…

After almost three months of discomfort that encompassed mental and physical pain, fear, doubt and worry in an astounding array,; I think I am on a smoother road.

I have often referenced one of my favorite quotes as being true wisdom and as such, has many levels. “I’ve never been really lost, but I’ve been bewildered a few times.” Daniel Boone.

I was totally bewildered, yet knew I was not lost, but rather had to cover some rough terrain to get my bearings again. And, so it went. The details are not relevant to the bloggy form, nor are they relevant in the sense of beautiful scenery experienced or horrible things seen.  (One does tend to have a keener memory of horrible things seen than beautiful things, but that is essentially determined by the state of ones “being”, while experiencing beauty or ugliness). What happened was this.

I saw, unfolding over time, a series of blind spots and mistaken apprehensions and some very painful true things regarding myself that were almost unbearable when first encountered, but, early one morning I saw them for what I had always said they were but had never known. They were teachings given to me through the activity, the universal life, of Compassion. I could see I had been turned away, looking over my shoulder, as I was walking backwards in the right direction.

In other words; right direction wrong way. Simple, easier, when one just faces in the direction of travel.

Nothing solved, no flag planted. That way!

Something got less difficult, not easier. There is a difference.

In the times when Lewis & Clark undertook their expedition of exploration. It was customary for parties heading out on long, presumably difficult journeys, to start the journey at noon on the first day. That way when they made camp for the first time they would find out what they had forgotten, or not planned for and send someone back to get what was lacking. So, it was just a short trip back for a few hours of well-trod trail to get what was necessary for rest of longer journey. There’s something about that which is a great teaching in any number of situations.

I offer merit to all who are traveling, or on a journey that may leave them vulnerable.

Homage to Ksitigarbha! The Earth-Store Bodhisatva (Jizo in Japanese), protector of the vulnerable: Women, children captive animals, travelers, prisoners and reality-challenged beings.

Melting pots…

A good day for all the good folks in D.C. Met area. The District of Columbia and its suburbs in Virginia and Maryland are a living example of a global melting pot of ideologies, races, ethnicities and mental capabilities.

One of the best examples of this are the Washington Nationals baseball team, World Champions of a game basically only played in one hemisphere of the world. They come from a variety of backgrounds. To me the most interesting factoid (I think), that two of the players for the Nationals are named after two of the sons of Hamilcar Barca, the famous Carthagenian General of the 1st Punic War. His sons were named Hannibal and Hasdrubal (Mago, was the name of the 3rd) and they fought the Romans (Latins), for supremacy of the Mediterranean. They were descendants of the Phoenicians, who thousands of years before Rome ruled through trade and war, like US, a vast territory and introduced a method of assigning repeatable sounds to create meaning through various combinations to the objects and things of the world. In the ancient world a “Lingua Phonetica”, was used across many cultures for trade.

They originally had 28 sounds and later the Greeks took those up and dropped two of them, leaving most of Western culture with the Phonetic (Phoenecian) alphabet.

So, here are two modern Hispanic (Latin) baseball players with names from ancient Carthagenian Generals, whose language was Punic. Rome destroyed all of Carthage, plowed it under with salt so nothing could grow there and killed all who spoke the Punic language, so I find it interesting that those names have cropped up in the 21st century through mostly Latin/Native ancestral lines.

Asdrubal Cabrera and Anibal Sanchez, are world champion baseball players and their first names go back over 6,000 years to the once mighty traders of the Mediterranean, Eastern and Norther Atlantic and Indian Oceans who brought language to the Greeks and much of the Mediterranean while the dominant (ish), Europeans were still learning how to sew furs together for warmth, so they could spread out since the ice age was still slowly receding northward.

I love seeing these patterns of how humans spread and evolved and converted those sound making capabilities into forming the various minds that process the information of the senses in quite different ways.

Each one insisting that their way of processing is the best. I think somewhere along the line we sort of dropped the ball.

Speaking of which, there’s the Nationals who dropped fewer balls, but had more “…bals” than the Astros (another name to conjure with:)

 

Window thru Wendell…

IMG_20190315_085157.jpg

Its not as if I didn’t know this was all coming but now that its here I’m not sure what to make of it. No point in not liking it, nor seeing it as a challenge or wishing it were otherwise. There’s just no way to prepare for realizing that one is old and the mind is going quicker than I had hoped. It’s not so much going, as distilling into a more reduced and thickened version of the old self that seemed somewhat under control.

Less helmut, but more Helmut. Ouch! (Wheezed the world.)

That’s my view from my kitchen window. Doesn’t look like much but when I step out and from under the portico, its a nice view. I lived in a couple of small cabins in the middle of mountain ranges, in a few places, and was always content to have just one window. If I wanted to see a view, I stepped out into it. It’s like people always talking about getting out into nature and spend a lot of time and effort to get there, whereas going and exploring self-nature is basically free and always nearby but the price seems hight. It costs us our distractions and they were hard to come by and even though tarnished or worn out we still can’t let them go.

Anyway that is the context for my views; a kitchen sink with cleaning materials, a glass cucumber, a cup made by a young niece some years ago with my name on it and a small plastic hand in it waving hello, a glass elephant blown by a friend a couple of years ago and the fruit waiting its turn. A simple life with new-forgotten old-regrets surfacing to bring tears or-remorse or-smile and joy.

Life is good and I wish I were better. A dear close spiritual friend sent me this quote today as part of a thank you note for a note I sent in the Spring, I really should make a copy of things I write people ’cause I have no way of knowing what I wrote, but she sent this in response and as a part of a thank you. Its beautiful, I wept as I seem to do more readily and always joy, shot through with regret; for all the things I didn’t do right.

Here’s quote from Wendell Berry, 1983©

 

It may be that when we no longer know what to do

we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go

we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is one that sings.

 

Ain’t Quo no mo’…

It’s been an interesting week. Aging, personal history, karmic history, present and future all swirling about in an almost visible way, and there was nothing I could do except try to get still, within it. Some success sufficient to not only ease negative feelings but also tamp down hopeful future-casts. Another week in the life of one who cares deeply and can be thoughtless and careless.

I know that the diminuendo in memory, which has never been top-notch, is getting some compensation in a small, but noticeable, decrease in worry.

I forgot, until yesterday, that nothing exists in a given state by itself for very long. It changes or there are side effects, or compensations within whatever the situation is. So, my mind is more at leisure.

However, I also realize I can’t just sit back. I need to make efforts, neither grand nor petty, yet sufficient to see if they will produce accommodation with the world as it presents itself, or are merely a fear based scramble for a status quo that ain’t quo no mo’.

I think I may be in a reasonable position to settle into a period of life where I actually can allow a vast decrease in expectation and reap a bumper crop of sufficiency.

I once wrote a Blues song titled

“Don’t Share Your Dreams With A Fool”,

After I had that deep title, I couldn’t

Go any deeper, so I cannot find words.

But, I know the music because it

Changes when I do get the Blues and

I can hum it and whistle and feel it.

Walking in the…

I was walking in the rain, in the cemetery and weeping. I had a couple of very vivid days wrapped in confusion, a lot of my past life had suddenly arisen in a new context and it threw me for a loop. Uncomfortable, a part of aging and of training in Buddhism. Partly drifting from daily training and having old karma show up more unrestrained/unfiltered. Nothing going wrong. Process.

I was walking and talking into my little voice recorder, a daily way of sort of journaling, and I realized this was an ideal situation. If there should be anyone else walking in the cemetery and they saw me it wouldn’t be some old coot walking in the cemetery and weeping (sad story), but just some old coot walking in the rain and getting wet, not so strange, after all.

My telephone rang and I wrestled it out of my inner pocket and it was my monk friend from Idaho. I told him I was walking in cemetery etc:, and we both had a good laugh about fortuitous circumstance of rain and weeping in public space. I had a hard time hearing him and assumed it was a bad connection on his end. We chatted a bit and I told him I was going through some things but they were still raw and I needed to process them a bit and then I would talk to him and my teacher, a monk in Berkeley and I didn’t want to talk it away by talking to soon. Some things we have to go through by ourselves and waitand abide, for a while.

I hung up and then continued my walk, refreshed. I saw that the reason I couldn’t hear him well was the fact that I had left my ear buds from recording device in, and they blocked my ability to her the phone clearly. Forgetfulness is not encroaching anymore, it’s here, along with a clarity about the past that had been mis-remembered ’til time was ripe.

Life does go on and on, and

One day it will stop but the

Past will still need to be

Reckoned with, somewhere.

If not now, when; is too

Late to ask, but the need 

Will still arise in asking

How can I be at One (atone)

With this, the big mistake?

By being fully and completely.

Mistakes don’t go, they become.

This life, my choice. Questions?

 

 

If not now…

The end of the Summer. I tune in about once a week to national “news’ just to see if anything has changed. Nope. Name of current outrage changes and noise level of outrage comes and goes but the feeling stays permanently in the air.

Those feelings are a cover-up. Like a tantrum is a cover=up.

Tantrums aren’t the “feeling”; tantrums are the “feeling” asking for help.

The language for asking is not available to the person “throwing” the tantrum or so it seems to observers who also don’t have a language to deeply understand what is going on. Inchoate fear and anxiety express themselves simultaneously as some means of communicating this to someone, anyone. Asking for help.

This is happening to us as a culture, society and nation. If we can look closely and observe without too much judgement we may be able to see a phenomena that is very human historically, but can’t be faced squarely in modern times because we have too much fresh baggage on our train of intellectual-consumer culture, to state the problem succinctly.

Suffering exists!

After WWII, the complete befuddlement of the intelligentsia, psychology and philosophy was on display and is still responsible for most of published material and 93.83% of all social/political punditry. They acted befuddled by Nazi Germany’s arising. “The nation of Schiller and Goethe”, as if that actually has any relevance or meaning. Trying to figure out the horrors that Japan was capable off; (all that Sword & Chrysanthemum cultural bifurcation folderol.), “They seem so gentle and polite?”. 

We are human. Deluded. In-dividually, in-family, nationality, ethnically, racially, linguistically, gender I.D-lly. Blah, blah, blah… All of us.

Today we have at hand, I mean right in front of us especially if we look into a mirror; an opportunity to examine and look at thoroughly, investigate and most importantly, begin a reasonable-national discussion about the basic problem. It’s time we stopped rationalizing and try to become Reason Able.

We can examine it! We have the tools and the ability and we could move forward. I’m guessing we may not, but we could.

Everybody feels they not only have a right but a duty, even a responsibility, to be offended by just about anything and also get angry about it, so opportunities and chances are shrinking.

Poor little U.N. They actually made difference and they still do, but can’t much longer, because the Bullies, the Wienies, the Punks and Third-class Mopes seem to be in the ascendant in many nations.

I saw on the Evening News, that Science says, in next Century there will be as many forty days each year over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Baloney! That’s going to happen by 2030!

The next Century is inconceivable from any human experience of the past. We can’t picture or model it because we haven’t had this experience as humans as to what will actually happen to the planet.

Anywhooo, to my point. It seems that a bunch of the elite actually think there will a future in space, or Mars, or wherever-the-f….

What they don’t seem to know and can’t do anything about when they plan that stuff, is the simple fact that they’ll need people to be complicit with them to make sure they get out un-scathed, (but with their favorite things (presumably money:) and get to wherever they are going; and then those same people will set up a bunch of infrastructure for everybody to live in the same basic order and social strata they left smoldering behind.

That’s not gonna happen, because historically the people with the sword and spears will figure out they are the ones with a real power.* A rule that seems to be sort of true is that the person with the least invested in any relationship has the most power. Time for a movie about that! So the “left-behinds” can at least vicariously enjoy their descendants triumph. Where’s Dr. Strangelove? He’s back in style.

Dreams, delusions, hopes and wishes;

All the same cloth, dyed differently to

Please the dreamer, deluded, hoper and

Wisher. Which are we, who are us; All

Those too busy with distraction too Stop,

Look and See, Hear and Listen or just Be.

 

*See: Praetorian Guard

Whither the whisssper….

My plate is full. It’s a paper plate and loaded with soggy stuff and I lost my spork.

Waste not want not. I waste myself in fruitless wanting and wishing, even though I tell myself my wants and wishes are more refined than they used to be. You know, mostly spiritual; but they are not spiritual, because they are still wants and wishes disguised as needs.

At some level I’m quite content, at some others I squirm with neediness and wanting.

I want to be content being alone, but I want the contentment to feel good. A notch above regular old contentment. Whatever that is. I do know it’s available, at various times I’ve been that way. But now I’m not.

And, when I’m not content I think it is not available. I do notice that if I sit down facing a wall and allow myself to just be in this world for a few minutes, my discontent goes away and then then I’m content? Vexing. More will be revealed. No doubt.

I sit and look 

At myself, and

When I see no

Thing, there is a

Peace and quiet that

Tells me all is well.

In lessss than a whisper.