Saturday, April 16, 2011

"Do you believe in Magic?" Loving Spoonfulls and The Eye of Mordor? J. R. Tolkein

After another week of "sitting" meditation, work, rain at night, soft rain in the morning, tending plant starts, healing sunwarmth and exposure to ideas and opportunities, I'm compelled to share; to plant more seeds in perhaps more fertile soil?!  Do you feel overwhelmed at times by what you hear, see?  Are you sometimes confused as to whether the evil you sense to exist comes from inside you or outside of you?  Do the boundaries of your mind blur?  Does this blur create a unique space that at times feels painful, yet at other times feels exhilirating?  Where's your energy level?  How does your energy level correspond with how you feel?  Do you at times feel powerless and unable to make a difference vis-a-vis the larger and entrenched powers that be and that constantly bombard us with messages of conformity, fear and subservience?  Do you let yourself play?

I was working the soil recently.  It was a calm and sunny morning.  No wind.  As I turned over quack grass sod and exposed earthworms and insects, Henny Penny II and the more cautious hens ate them.  Chickens will eat only so many earthworms, then stop.  Interesting?  I clucked occasionally to assure the hens I meant no harm.  They seemed to need the assurance.  If I didn't cluck; they would drift away.  As I said there was no wind and the sun warmed my back and other exposed body parts.  (smile)  We're enlarging the garden by turning over sod to the east of the existing garden spot.  The ground grows knee high grass in summer and the snow-flattened grass covering the spot rustles in the wind.  My head down, on all fours, I was patiently pounding all the dirt from a piece of sod when I heard the grass move.  I looked up and some twenty feet away a mini tornadoe of wind spun in a vortex.  I decided to move with it.  I stood up and spun in the same direction it was turning.  It approached and for a moment we spun together, then it drifted off across the garden whistling through the deer netting.

There's a place in Virginia where you can attend workshops on how to connect with garden devas.  I suppose there are all kinds of places you can go to learn "how to".  A garden deva; what the hell is that?  I suppose if you wanted to you could see them as gnomes or faires?  Trolls even.  I like to think of them as forces.  I'm tired of thinking in ways I was taught to think.  Maybe too I've always been mistrustful of the ideas of how things work?  I see a connection between ideas and the products of those ideas.  I'm mistrustful of simplified ideas and what they produce.  Most people wouldn't think that modern science is simple, yet the avant-guard ideas of science, the best science available, is telling us quite a different story from what "mainstream" science is telling us and producing.  Advanced science is telling us that we live in a conscious and creative universe and that we, as one of Earth's most highly developed conscious species is co-creative.  Are you even more ready to play now?

I woke up to a misty, Flathead morning.  We're being blessed with rain at night and partial to full sun during the days.  Plants like that and so do I.  My eyes feel moist.  My skin soaks up the wet like a sponge.  It misted as I stretched on the deck facing east this morning.  A flock of red-winged blackbirds shrieked and warbled.  It was difficult to sit and be silent.  I had an abundance of energy.  Rosie curled up at my feet.  I could see a chambered nautilus, then his supple spine coiled.  His tail wrapped snuggly around his nose, then the mathematically imprecise series of Fibonacci numbers.  Squares of different sizes, numbers of apparent relationship?

Kinesiology.  As you pick out a garden spot and you wonder where to put the compost pile, where to plant the garlic, chives, corn...etc.  Where should I put the water feature?  What plants should I put in the garden just for the benefit of wasps, bees, and other insects...and where should I put them.

If you are right-handed:  Place your left hand palm up.  Connect the tip of your left thumb with the tip of your left little finger (not your index finger).  By connecting your thumb and little finger, you have just closed an electrical circuit in your hand, and you will use this circuit for testing.  If you are left it with that hand as I just explained.  To test the circuit (the means by which you will apply pressure to yourself) place the thumb and index finger of your other hand inside the circle you have created by connecting thumb and little finger.  The thumb-index finger should be right under the thumb-little finger, touching them.  It will look as if the thumb-little finger are resting on the thumb-index finger.  This is the testing position.  Ask yourself questions you already know the answers to and observe how it's more difficult to separate your thumb and little finger than it is to separate them when you tell an untruth.  Use this technique while in the "garden" before you undertake to make a change.  Perhaps nature spirits will help you along the way?

It's time now for me to construct a fence.  Have a great day and remember...keep your fingers together!!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Formal Operational Thinking & Recognizing a Transformative "Truth"

I miss the Challis "Read Alouds".  This post is in response to my not being able to attend and share something I'm reading and, in part, also a response to the current state of human affairs.  So for what it's worth; here goes.  I've taken the text from Ken Wilber's Up From Eden .

"The egoic structure, as a true evolution of consciousness, brought new and expanded potentials.  It brought a new level of exchange, that of mutual self-recognition and esteem.  It brought a higher mentality; the possibility of rational comprehension; self-reflexiveness; a grasp of historical time; a final transcendence of nature and the body; formal operational thinking; a capacity for introspection; a new form of, and potential respect for, morality; legally recognized self-consciousness; and the beginning of the sanctity of personhood.  These might not have been universally implemented and respected, but the  potential for such exchanges was/is clearly present.

     The new egoic structure also brought, necessarily, new terrors.  The self-conscious ego was more vulnerable; more aware of its mortality; more guilty in its emergence; more open to anxiety.

     And the new terrors inherent in the ego, when coupled with the new powers of the ego, resulted in the possibility (not necessity) of even more brutal terrors exercised by the ego:  new substitute sacrifices, mass homicide, oppressive exploitation, massive slavery, class alienation, violent inequality, hedonistic overindulgence, and wildly exaggerated substitute gratifications-all of which could cripple the levels of exchange both in oneself and in the others who happened to fall under one's influence or power.

     This can all be summarized very succinctly; just as the ego is (to date) the highest or "capping" level of the average human compound individual, with the power to distort, oppress, and repress not only its own level but all lower levels as well, so the egoic Atman project could exploit not just its own level but all the lower levels of being in an attempt at substitute gratification, token transcendence, and symbolic immortality."

Wilber goes on to suggest that..."the essential and unifying idea: namely, the egoic Atman project could exploit ( and thus distort):

1)  Material exchanges:  attempting to possess unlimited wealth and property, money and gold, goods and capital, as immortality symbols.

2) Emotional-sexual exchanges:  attempting to squeeze transcendent satisfaction out of orgasmic release and hedonistic overindulgence, or emotional excess in general.

3)  Verbal-membership exchanges:  attempting to verbally propagandize for one's own ideology and one's own version of symbolic immortatlity; attempting to distort ideally free communicative exchange in order to control membership consciousness and gain symbolic omnipotence; communicative distortion through defensive and substitutive maneuvers.

4)  Egoic self-esteem eschanges:  attempting to rob others of equal recognition and esteem by forcing one's own ego to be "number one", recognized above all others, cosmocentric and all glorified.

     There can be no doubt that the primary and immediate aim of any sane and humane social theory would be the relaxation and relief of oppression and repression, at every level of exchange in the compound individual.  Without in any way detracting from that aim, let us nevertheless conclude with the reminder that, although some of these evils (of oppression and repression) are only potential and not mandatory to the egoic level, nonetheless they are all tendencies possible to the egoic level-in anybody.  Granted they can be lessened and humanized; but the final point is that wherever there is exclusive ego, there is the egoic Atman project- and just that is the ultimate problem.

     As long as the egoic forms of the Atman project are present, just those types of exchange distortions, oppressions, repressions, inequalities, and injustices are guaranteed-both master and slave need them.  No wonder-to give only one short example-that Otto Rank said that economic equality is "beyond the endurance of the democratic type" of person.  And, I would add, the socialist type as well.  The democratic ego and the socialist ego are still egos, and egos by structure house the tendency and the power for exploitation, repression, and oppression.  As a frightening Czechoslovakian saying has it, "In democracy, man exploits man; in communism, it's the other way around."

     The reason equality is "beyond the ego" is that if everybody has the same amount and type of visible immortality symbols, then those symbols miserably fail their consoling purpose-we are all then equally immortal, which is to say, none of us is immortal.  Because we cannot find true and real transcendence and timelessness, we are reduced to stealing what immortality symbols and tokens of transcendence as we may from our fellow human beings.  This is one of the factors that lead to exploitation (the king and state can always grab faster than a citizen alone can), and social inequality (some citizens can, however, grab faster than others), and radical class stratification (quick grabbers on top, slow ones on bottom).  "Modern man cannot endure economic equality, because he has no faith in self-transcendent...symbols [that is, in real transcendence]; visible physical worth is the only thing he has to give him [substitutive or symbolic] eternal life."  And that type of analysis is true on all levels of exchange, material to emotional to verbal to egoic-we will find true Atman, or we will deliver exchanges of all levels into the hands of the Atman project.

     I suppose the Buddha, with his own penetrating insight into the necessary relationship between attachment, fear, and hatred, could probably have put it all very simply.  For according to the Buddha, hatred and aggression arise wherever there is attachment (clinging and grasping), for one mobilizes to defend one's attachments.  Aggression, in this sense, is property defense.   Even in the animal world, aggression almost always occurs as a simple defense of territorial property.  But man alone of all the animals has a property in his person, and thus a new form of aggression:  man alone will lash out blindly to defend his egoic immortality status and "save face" (save the mask).  Each attachment, each property, whether internal as self or external as possessions, acts as a stick point or lesion in choiceless awareness that will fester with the stench of hostility.  This lesion, this person/property defense, this new twist in the Atman project, can fuel both oppression and repression, for one aggresses internally and externally to protect the person/property.

     And mankind will never, but never, give up this type of murderous aggression, war, oppression and repression, attachment and exploitation, until men and women give up that property called personality.  Until, that is, they awaken to the transpersonal.  Until that time, guilt, murder, property, and persons will always remain synonymous."

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Starts & Scrubs

I've found gainful employment and seeds are ordered and some of last year's seeds have been sprouted and are germinating.  Neighbors have graciously allowed us to make use of one of their outbuildings for germinating our seeds.  It's close and very spacious...good light!  I'm working in housekeeping at a local surgical center.  I work a swing shift 3 times one week and 2 the next.  I am by no means getting rich, but the income keeps me from dipping into my savings.  The facility is state of the art.  The machines, my co-workers and the swing shift I work are interesting, challenging and doable.  My job allows me time to garden and devote time to personal development.  I have purchased biodynamic preparations from the Josephine Porter Institute and I can hardly wait to dig into our compost piles, consolidating the several piles we have and adding the prep's.  I've been reading several very interesting books on the spiritual aspects of gardening.  You probably didn't realize there were spiritual aspects of gardening, neither did I, at first, but the more I read about what we don't know, what we do know about sub atomic physics, the power of intention, etc...the more I realize that magic does exist.  I am still meditating.  I look forward to it every morning and to the stretching that keeps me limber and quick.  The snow is melting.  Winter seems to be departing.  I have started "sitting" outside on the deck facing east.  I listen to all kinds of birds:  robins, starlings, chickadees, pheasants, flickers, swans, geese, seagulls, magpies, song sparrows, waxwings, doves, chickens, ravens, woodpeckers, nuthatches, etc.  The earth is active and alive.  I wish you all the best this spring and encourage you to go outside as much as possible.  I'll keep you posted on the garden as it grows.  

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sitting by the Fire

I've settled into a healthy routine.  Each morning I rise before the sun, drink a press of mate, read holy writ and sit in front of the fire.  I'm reluctant to say that I pray.  Prayer conjures images of the unaware asking for the unforgivable and now that it seems the unaware are in the majority I choose to say I sit.  I sit and quiet my mind, the mind, whose mind?  By the time I've given thought to that, then it's time again to be.  My knees and back tell me when an hour's passed and when they do I rise...slowly and stretch.  An exercise ball and trampoline round out the morning.  I've pulled out the Anti-Aging Manual  and other info on nutrition and reacquainted myself  with the diet that seems to provide the most energy and allows a modicum of magic.  My smoothies tend to be more medicinal than tasty, but as long as I know they're good for me, then I drink them.   When it's Westley's turn to make the smoothie, then we enjoy a taste sensation.  He adds many of the same powerful powders, spices, supplements and vitamin-packed veggies and fruits as I do, yet somehow he manages to make his smoothies palatable?   The chickens require attention.  They get clean water, some scratch and crumbles.  Tucker, the cat, she gets her attention, lap naps, food and grooming, (she's a long-haired cat).  Bill and Westley, Sarah, Allen, Joanie, Rosie and Sam get theirs as well, as do the ravens, pileated wookpeckers, pheasants, horses, facebook friends.  Attention?   We all have it.  We're told to pay it and as a kid I think they told me I had a short one?  Practice makes perfect and it seems my attention span is getting longer.  I seem better able to be aware and react less to what I experience.  Perhaps wisdom is knowing we must learn to accept the things we cannot change and change what we can and knowing the difference.  I'm still self-employed.  I have enJoyed my time off.  I'm reading, the Artist's Way, a Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.  I don't really aspire to being an artist in the more commonly understood way-as a writer, painter, etc.  I aspire rather to living/being creative in an every day sort of way.  Maybe it's the same thing?  We're starting to pay attention to this summer's garden.  The seed catalogues are arriving.  We dug up the last parsnips last week.  There's still one bed of sweet carrots in the ground.  I'm starting to look for outside work.  There are opportunities and as long as I adhere to voluntary simplicity, then everything will be fine.  That's my mantra and I'm sticking by it.  It probably won't work out quite like I think it will, but it'll be approximate.  I'm trying to be as happy as I can be and I wish the same to YOU!