Archive for September, 2014

Moment of Truth

I can honestly say that I wouldn’t administer the truth serum to anyone…else. I generally assume that everyone around me is telling the truth as they see it. When they are not, they sort of betray themselves–we can figure agendas out from that point as well.

“To thine own self be true.”  I would administer that valuable dose to myself.  I don’t lie to myself.  But I also suspect that answers to key questions are locked in my being somewhere, just out of reach.  What the hell should I be doing?  What precisely is MY calling?  How am I an outlier?  What should I stop doing?  What risks are worth taking/what not?

But I believe the answers to even deeper questions are within our grasp, within our psyche, as well.  Are we the separate and distinct entities we appear to be, or are we actually connected…perhaps actually one entity of many parts?  Do we recreate ourselves as new individuals every few hours, with nothing of the original cells remaining?  Are we actually experiencing what we perceive, or are we in some cosmic end game program?  Can we access the other dimensions that surely exist?

What happens when we die?  Is what we experience a soul that continues in some form, or are we gone the moment our synapses stop firing?  Is our consciousness a chemical reaction, or a timeless force?

Also, these four sets of matching  bolts and washers in the top drawer….from what did I remove them “for safe keeping?”




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Dos Lados

I don’t always read.  But when I do, I reach for nonfiction.

I had a habit years ago that I need to revive.  Back in the day, whenever I despised someone in the news, I made it a point to read their biography–ideally, their autobiography.  It never failed:  in those pages I would find a redeeming value…a reason to actually like and admire that individual.

Try it for yourself…see if you don’t see someone in a new light!



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No mouth-watering recipes in this post, dear Foodies–you need read no further.  No near-nostalgic descriptions of a meal just enjoyed.  This post about food is nearly mathematical.

I cannot seem to eat something without also considering whether or not I could bring about the experience if left up to my own devices to make it happen.  If I cannot, I try to steer my own future appetite towards something that is more possible by my own hand…

I caught a ninety pound tuna fish once.  It happened very close to the opposite side of the world from my living room, off Indonesia.  It was a feat I shall never be able to duplicate.  This previous sentence is in the back of my head every time I eat a tuna fish sandwich.  So I tend to select pouches of salmon (when available in the smaller single serving size–at the right price) rather than tuna, for my lunch-at-work supplies.  While I used to prefer the taste of tuna, I now prefer by far the taste of salmon.  Is it a real taste preference however, or the knowledge that I can conceivably catch a salmon…that I have more of an expectation to be tasting this particular fish?

I feel the same way about bananas.  I love them; but there is the nagging notion that they were shipped a few thousand miles from where I might more expect to be eating them.  Not exactly a green economy.  On and on my choices go:  Coffee is closer at hand and more easily harvested than tea.  Grits versus rice.  Escargot?  Crayfish?  Rattlesnake?  Yes, yes, and most especially yes.  If it works in the post-apocalyptic scenario, I’m already eating it.  If it is grown locally, I’m all over it (the global mistake of “cattle” notwithstanding…).

Though the “aha moment” my dear, lovely wife sitting next to me is about to have upon reading this makes me sad…I somehow think I still need to share this bit of insanity with everyone on this fine Sunday morning.

Bon appetit!

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Holding Title

Today’s Daily Prompt concerning Excess leaves me mentally trembling.  Where to begin?  There are so many facets to this balancing act, that our very lives seem defined by it.  It is certainly at the core of many news stories and reality television shows.

But what is “excess,” really?  At what point have we crossed the invisible boundary?  I have become rather minimalist, both out of necessity (three kids in college at the same time are a never ending source of math problems in the text called “My Checkbook”), and because it has become a matter of personal choice to no longer have “a bunch of things.”

I used to hoard.  When I moved, my luggage would be filled not with clothing as much as with books I might need, or might read.  I never did, of course.  I have trimmed the herd down to a couple of milk crates full of books I might need.  I might need my carefully highlighted copy of “The Bank Director’s Handbook” if I am ever called to serve on the Board of Directors of a Bank, for instance.  I’m proud of getting my eclectic library of several floor-to-ceiling bookcases full down to fit into two milk crates.

So it is with all things.  I love the ancient Arabic expression “all that you own, actually owns you.”  If our house caught on fire this morning, we would grab the cats and our other laptops, a few family photos and the asthmatic checkbook.  I would honestly have a hard time remembering what all of this furniture and other paraphernalia actually looked like in a year or so.

I suspect that the way to have all things, to enjoy all things, is to be so uncluttered as to be open to the next thing, entirely unfettered.  You really give someone your undivided attention only when you have nothing in your hands to fiddle with.

In this journey, are we really travelling, or just shopping for souvenirs?

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Weak Link

The problem, in my mind at least, is that Autumn Leaves.  For as long as I can recall, fall fills me with dread.  As a student, I suppose this was a reasonable distress…although even then it should not have occupied my mind any longer than the first week or two.

As an adult, it is a less reasonable distress.  It is not the actual fall season, but the dread of winter that fills me with a sense I can only describe as “time-claustrophobia.”  We are on an irreversible spiral of shorter, colder days.  We may be entrapped by snow; we may be cut off for days!  Spring is so very distant, its start date uncertain…

For the Buddhist that I claim to be, my stress over the changing seasons is the very definition of “unenlightened.”  I try to find solace in the poetic quote:


“…In winter, snowflakes accompany you.

If useless things do not hang in your mind,

Every season is a good season.”

Zen Word, Zen Calligraphy 9


As an aside, I believe this to be the most accurate version this oft-quoted passage, since other versions are stated as mundanely as “…in the winter you have the snow…”

The individual snowflakes have a beauty that is unparalleled.  Together, they can still paint a pleasant scene.  At some point, some greater quantity, they become a disaster.  I live in dread of the third stage that may not occur at all during the upcoming season.

I still have so very far to go…


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