Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Comment from Elder Brother

I just got back from your web site.....Whew!! what a trip!! I really enjoy it.
The Tea Party was very good. (although you may want to switch to another brand of tea.) and your cast of characters.....!
And I also liked your reply to the Anonymous Road Rage Warrior.
You write very well and have so much to portray.
Your postings are like works of art on easels for all to see, for those who can see.
Images of thoughts, reflections, and actions flowing in the river bed over your spot, endlessly polishing your true colors.

Thanks Elder Brother, maybe Anonymous Road Rage Warrior will do more commenting.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Good and superior, Right View

Years ago I drove through a toll booth without paying my 50 cents--immediately pulling over, embarrassed, surprised I could do such a thing. The people were kind about it, not a big deal. I sat in the parking area at the toll booths, leaving long messages on a friend's cell phone,
trying to get out of this fog.

I had just driven 100 miles and dropped a friend off at a Peace Camp where I didn't feel welcome. I did it because she had no other way to get up there and I had said I would months earlier. Somebody has to do these things. Everyone can't say no. How Superior and Good I felt.

Invisible and Not-A-Consideration took over the whole car on the way home, snacking on Self-hate bars they picked up cheap, 10 for $1, leaving wrappers and sticky stuff on the seats and floor. Missing the toll booth was cause of them. Couldn't even see out the windows. They were all over the place, rowdy. Wouldn't shut up even for a minute. I had to call in the troops for help. Visible and Consideration talked so long on the phone that Invisible and Not-A-Consideration just wore themselve out, fell asleep a few hours later.

It's very difficult to be with what is, with these guys around, visible or invisible, superior or inferior, good or bad. Perceptions leave no space for what is; we end up driving through the toll booth without paying, oblivious to what's here and now.

Right View is being with what is. The first of the Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path for the end to suffering is Right View:

Resting in the river.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

952,000th job rejection

It isn't 952,00th job rejection, but it feels like too many. The interview committee people were logical. I would pick the 30ish one, not the one with gray dry hair, also. I would pick the one who already has a full time job, not the one with two low paying part time jobs, completely different fields. Choosing me would have been a jump in intuition, not a logical choice.

I interviewed my food pantry this morning and chose the wild smoked salmon and lemon pepper chevre for breakfast. Ginger, mace, cardamom, cinnamon and paprika, lemon garlic, and celery salt added to the flavor, contributing to its high score on the what-to-eat rating. It had more to say than a plain salmon might. The winning drink was a logical choice by anyone's standards: 1 liter of bottled Trinity water. The name sounds sacred. Plus it had a lot to offer the body for which we were doing the interview. Can you imagine a geothermal spring 2.2 miles down in the ground reaching temperatures of 300 degress F., crystal-lined faults, and 23,000 square miles of granite? That's where this water came from, offering unique qualities not seen everyday. Poor Poland Spring, been around too long, close to home didn't win this morning. Just don't feel close to Poland Spring right now. So forget Poland Spring. For bread, I chose the Organic San Francisco Sourdough because it isn't made with yeast, it's made with a sourdough starter which means more time and thought have been put into the bread. It's a little bit older and wiser than the bread machine, push a button breads. It's been through a higher status school. Grape-Nuts was the winning cereal. Gravel. It can be counted on to satisfy, doesn't surprise you with anything, doesn't have a lot of needs, not high maintenance. Speaks low. It will always be there on the shelf. No, new and improved for Grape-Nuts. Grape-Nuts won't rock the boat. With the Grape-Nuts, organic ricemilk was the logical companion, no flavor bursts or euphoric insights. RiceMilk says I can be counted on to stay the same, to be on time, to disturb no one. This was all followed by a hefty grapefruit which I judged necessary to balance out all the tastes. In the end, I was satisfied with my final choices because they were logical. I could back them up with an explanation and if needed, I could probably find statistics to explain my choices.

Moving on to the lunch interview to bring to work with me, I knew instinctively that the collard greens would have the toughness and greeness to be a logical winner. I pulled the leaves from their very logical thick stems that are too tough for anything interesting and chopped the leaves with a wonder of a large chopping sharp knife. The onions were already fragrancing the air in the extra virgin organic olive oil, waiting for the collards. All the elements in this interview went into action demonstrating what they had to offer. It was more of a portfolio interview. While everything was simmering together, the organic millet cooked in its vegetable broth. Each golden yellow grain found its place, distinct from every other grain. The colors of the hot lunch went well with the bowl of mango, pineapple, cherries, and peaches. Each piece of fruit related its abilities in a sophisticated impressive manner, colorful, tasteful, no nonsense approach to doing the job well.

Both interviews went well, leaving dried wilted lettuce out for the day as well as the two week old eggs, though beautiful in their bluish tinted shells. The container of frozen shrimp, smoked salmon, organic basil tahini hummous didn't make it in the final cut. Every thing can' t be chosen. Rolling in the river. Smoothing the sharp edges.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Vernal Equinox, Return of the Light

Vernal Equinox today marks a Return of the earth to light, green, warmth, creation.
Everyone and everything is asking to be loved. Everything is finding its space or attaching to us, or following us, from the vegetables wilting in our fridge, to the air filling with the products of our materialism, to the elderly cat with hyperthyroidism crying for attention, to the broken plate in the sink, to the emotions, concepts and perceptions of our conditioning, everything is asking to be loved. The buds on trees, the sprouting seeds in the garden, suggest birth, new life. No anesthesia, just birth, things as they are.

lyrics from Sarah Brightman's "Classics" CD:

Winter Light

Hearts call
Hearts fall
Swallowed in the rain
Who knows
Life grows
Hollow and so vain
Wandering in the winter light
The wicked and the sane
Bear witness to salvation
And life starts over again
Now the clear sky is all around you
Love's shadow will surround you
All through the night
Star glowing in the twilight
Tell me true

Hope whispers and I will follow
'Till you love me too
Now the clear sky is all around
Love's shadow will surround you
All through the night
Star glowing in the twilight
Tell me true
Hope whispers and I will follow
'Till you love me too

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Pushing the switch

Rehashing past painful experiences is like sitting next to a switch, a button to push on and off. Push button on. He did that, she did this, ohhhh, it was so awful. Here is something solid and rigid, plastic, hard. Sometimes just an elbow accidently hitting the switch can do it. Then pain seems to come out of the blue. What a sad way to show I exist, existence in projections and illusions, past hurt. Push the switch, I can be in pain. The mind and the emotions get enmeshed. The mind thinks shame, wrong, bad when it sees emotions. The mind panics, lets emotions run the place. Mr. Mind thinks there is a cure for these uncomfortable feelings, hurry, scream, run, water the seeds of the emotion, make it stronger. The Pebble knows, ask the Pebble, drop the stories, give the emotions space to be. They come with the territory. Hear them, smell them, taste them, touch them, see them. Out of them will come wisdom. Rest in the river.

"So our practice of meditation, if we follow the Buddha's way, is the practice of passionlessness or nonaggression. It is dealing with the possessiveness of aggression: 'This is my spiritual trip and I don't want you to interfere with it. Get out of my territory.' Spirituality, or the vipashyana perspective, is a panoramic situation in which you can come and go freely and your relationship with the world is open. It is the ultimate nonviolence." The Myth of Freedom, Chogyam Trungpa

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tea Party

Voiceless One has no mouth, sits slumped and defeated with closed eyes and arms crossed. Valueless is good friends with Voiceless. They sit together against the back wall of the room. Valueless is fat, likes fried dough, white bread and white sugar. Unwanted One shakes with cold. He can't focus on anything, he's preoccupied with keeping his body still, wants to be somewhere else anyway; he's restless. Passionate One sits on one knee, has a fevered look, her eyes burn with intensity and desperation. She is aggressive, ready to pounce, take over, alert, in a little toddler body. Rejected One has a head bigger than her body. She has to lie down with support behind her head to raise it enough to see the others. When she is upright, her hands need to support her head. If not her hands, she's always looking for someone to hold her head up for her. Rejected One lives in the past and she's been around at least 50 years, sometimes she goes to the Future. Invisible One is withdrawn, sallow, breathes shallow, sits in the shadows between the open closet doors. Excluded One is in terror, looks comatose, white, thin, withdrawn, tightness about the mouth. She sits by the open door.

There we were this morning, all of us, having a cup of tea. Crowded together, I thought my friend Sam, if he only knew, he could help. When I saw him downstairs, he said no without me asking, his eyes glazed over. I went back upstairs. We moved outside. After a while, Valueless ate and ate, relaxed and fell asleep. Voiceless enjoyed the wind and walked, no longer slumped. Unwanted One walked barefoot and felt connected to the earth. Everyone found his/her place. No one left early. Things as they are.

"...meditation should reflect a mentality of richness in the sense of using everything that occurs in the state of mind. Thus, if we provide enough room for restlessness so that it might function within the space, then the energy ceases to be restless because it can trust itself fundamentally. Meditation is giving a huge, luscious meadow to a restless cow. The cow might be restless for a while in its huge meadow, but at some stage, because there is so much space, the restlessness becomes irrelevant. So the cow eats and eats and eats and relaxes and falls asleep.

Acknowledging restlessness, identifying with it, requires mindfulness, whereas providing a luscious meadow, a big space for the restless cow requires awareness."
From the Myth of Freedom by Chogyam Trungpa.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

3 pains

All-pervading---takes many forms, thinking we're not doing enough, thinking we're doing too much, the pain of needing more, the pain of loss, the pain of too much, the pain of relationships.
Pain of alternation---first you feel pain, then you don't, then you do, you feel sane and things are going well, you feel insane, nothing is right. Getting in the cold car, it warms up, getting out of the car, car is cold when you get back.
Pain of pain--one bad thing happening after another.

You research for years a place to vacation, save the money, make the reservations. Your car breaks down on the way to the airport. You leave the car at a garage and get a taxi to the airport. The flight has been delayed 4 hours. You haven't eaten anything and you realize in the stress of car problems, you left your wallet in the trunk of the car 20 miles away. You get to your destination and find your friend misunderstood what you were doing, is too busy to talk and you have no place to stay. Trying to outrun pain. Looking for happiness.

Reworded from words by Chogyam Trungpa.

The thing to do is stop, be with what is, rest in the river.

More beeping horns

Many years ago, way past the time most people remember things, when I was a busy bee single mom, I turned left into a mall on a green light and got beeped at. Later, I found a note on the windshield, "B----, next time you cut someone off I hope you get_____. " Angry One took the time and effort to follow me, and write a note. I would go by that spot, in the same direction, and wonder what it was I did to Angry One. The light was green. There were two lanes to turn into on that left turn. Yesterday, I was at that light in the direction of Angry One, Angry Person's place. Oncoming Left Turn Person could cut me off.

When I literally put myself in the Angry One's place, I understood what had happened. Resting in the river.

What do you think about that, Anonymous Road Rage Warrior?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


I am up in my head thinking. Ranting in my head about more, Why do we depend on everything growing? Why is the goal more? Birth and death create life. It's all valuable. Every moment is an expression of birth and death. The moment is here, then gone. Breathing in. Breathing out. We do not walk around only inhaling.

Sun rises at the back of my home. Birds start to sing. Woodpecker calls. The trees in front of the bedroom window are the first things I see in the dawn. Then the sun's yellow light touches them. Colors appear. Everything becomes clearer with more definition. A new day. The time between night and day is a birth, a new beginning. I leave work and the sun is red on the horizon about to disappear. A day is born. A day dies. The process repeats endlessly throughout our lives, and after.

We would like to keep the sun from rising higher, to live in the youth of the day, the promises. But we cannot hold on to anything. The sunset and the night have their place. If the sun kept going higher, never descended, if it kept getting bigger, we could not survive.

All we can do is experience directly what is happening now in this moment, and let it go. Get out of the theories, the ranting mind to witness the countless opportunities for seeing what is here and now. The sun rising, the colors, the sun setting, the darkness. Peace in every step, here and now. Resting in the river.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


There seems to be an essence of who we are at birth not connected to our physical bodies or our minds. Despite our planning, our growing, our changing, and our strong identification of ourselves with these things, there is an essence that is us that goes beyond the mind and the body. A dead body is empty. Our minds, our conditioning, our habit energies can't always be trusted. "Iris" was a beautiful movie, about author Iris Murdoch who lost her academic gifts, her ability to write with the onset of Alzheimer's disease. There was someone there in her however that connected with her husband John Bayley. That's the Real part in us. Maybe when we shed our attachments to our minds and bodies, we find what is Real.

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." "Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit. "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?" "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."-- by Margery Williams, from The Velveteen Rabbit --