Category Archives: Prose

sage wilton ≈ treasure your treasures

.

SONY DSC

.

Treasure is that of the Treasurer

.

I have a tendency, or rather, an obsession with collecting rocks. For the longest time I never fully understood why, nor can I recall when it began, yet it remains a habit. Whenever I’m at a beach, a park, or travelling afar, I catch myself probing; sneaking a peak of the ground below, searching for the perfect few to add to the collection. This habit puzzled my family, and frankly, it puzzled me for a while too; you probably think it weird as well and I honestly don’t blame you. “What is that shirtless girl doing down by the shore?” Well, that was me when I was four. I hadn’t a bag so, improvising, I carefully carried my bundle of rocks in my blouse. My siblings looked upon in utter bewilderment, one even daring to disengage my grip from those treasures. My hands tightened. They dissed my rocks as dirt, not delighting in them as I did, not sharing the same desire. It was then that I realized why. Not everyone looked upon little pebbles and stones with the same eyes; with the same mind. To me they were not just little gatherings of dust, nor did I only appreciate their splash of colour as they lay beneath the waves; no, they meant much more. They signified the place and time from which they were found, the experience I so happened to enjoy and wanted to remember. They were tokens and little time-banks of my thoughts and feelings, my sights and senses of particular places and times in my life. I thought they were beautiful, those little stones, because of how I beheld them. Because beauty itself simply is subjective. It was now clear why, what in my eyes was regarded purely as treasure, could also be considered trash to another. Treasure is that of the treasurer.

The art lover in awe of a painting. She admires it from all angles, standing afar to appreciate the work as a whole, and then observing at arm’s length the skill and precision of each stroke. The deep hues of blue and crimson, layer upon layer of rich colour engulfing her. She can submerge herself in the abstractionism and lose herself entirely, forgetting about her prior place and the problems of that now distant person. This piece speaks to her, it brings her peace. It provokes a personal connection and relates her back to former memories, each with their own emotion. A flood of feelings wash over her and she is deluged, drenched by the sea of imagery. To her, a picture really is worth a thousand words. A thousand strokes, a thousand colours, a thousand thoughts. She observes these each as their own treasure, painting herself as an art treasurer.

The advocate for the preservation, restoration, and improvement of our natural world, the environmentalist. One of many whom share these same ideals, who has hopes for a cleaner, healthier, and more peaceful planet. She surrounds herself in the natural surroundings. The forest, lakes, and fields bring her the most joy, the sunsets a more spectacular sight than even the greatest CG film. The wilderness is where she is most content, most at home. Not only is she fascinated and in admiration by the sheer beauty of it all, but she feels somehow also spiritually connected; To and as a mighty oak, her soul branches out and takes flight in the sky, while the soles of her feet, rooted in the soil and to the heritage of the land, travel deep within the surface, interconnecting her with everything. It is her will, her self-connection and thus self motivation, her mission to protect these resources, these treasures.

Like the environmentalist and forest fanatic, another is also in awe of the shade of green; the businessman. He too views the forest as growth, not ecological, but as economical. Two people looking upon through different eyes. To him money, quite literally, does grow on trees. He loves the green for everything it gives him, everything it gets him. The fine dining, luxurious mansion, and fancy automobile make him strive for money. It forms his social ranking and provides for better standards of life, ultimately buying his happiness. He thrives in the materialistic world, the fast paced industrialized life, loving every moment of it. He is a pirate of the planet treasuring treasure.

The one to whom beauty is seen through everything but the eyes; the blind man. He has never physically looked upon the earth, the sun, or a pretty girl, though his treasure chest outweighs that of any other. His appreciation for life and view of beauty overflows and resonates in everything around him. It is in the morning sun, streaming through the tattered, moth eaten curtains, tickling his skin and warming his blood. It is in the sounds of summer, the bird`s melody and the buzzing bees. He sees beauty everywhere and in everything, eyelids closed, but mind wide awake. His senses tingle, treasuring the euphoria in the little things. From the vibrations of a beat to the scents of spring, the smell of violets blowing in the breeze. Water, cool to the touch and fresh to the taste, a rushing river and falling rain. These are the things he sees beauty in, what makes his mind flutter and his heart happy. The beauty of a woman, not measured by makeup or vanity, but by her inner qualities, by the sound of her voice and flow of her speech; the substance of a person outweighing their ever changing appearance. The blind man sees. He polishes the treasures we left covered in dust beneath our feet.

Beauty, by its very definition, is that which makes one happy; which gives pleasure to the senses and exalts euphoria of the mind or spirit. Since this varies from person to person, from an environmentalist to a businessman, from an art lover to a blind man absent to colour, and from me to you, beauty merely is in the eye of the beholder. It is simply subjective. What one may regard as dirt or trash, another may treasure as a sparkling stone. Treasure your treasures.

.

Advertisements

Doug Wilton ≈ the great uprising

.

SONY DSC

.

The concept of universal mind was inherited by Buddhists from Hinduism which divided reality between spirit and matter (as does much Western philosophy) 
and sees mind as the work of spirit within the physical body.

The problem with that dualism is explaining how spirit/mind manipulates matter/body since surgeons had never found anything but boring goo in the human skull. That problem was comically addressed by Descartes in the 1600’s but didn’t start to find a real solution until the brilliant anatomical dissections of his contemporary Thomas Willis. See SOUL MADE FLESH The Discovery of the Brain — and How It Changed the World. By Carl Zimmer.
Darwin takes care of the rest. Since mind is no more than an accident of evolution reality is no more a mind than it is a pumpkin.

You could argue that none of this disproves the existence of a Universal Mind. It just makes it unnecessary.
It’s also possible that there’s a giant pumpkin (named Alfred, tho believers will debate that) in the centre of the moon.

The notion of universal mind is a distraction from the essential point—that the suffering, confused and seeking mind is already an integral part of universal reality. Thus the most immediate gate to reality is the mind itself. To me that is the great discovery of the first Zen people but the insight needs to be slightly refined, by discarding the notion of a universal mind.

My scanty reading of Lao Tzu et al has left me with the impression that they, like all mentally wakeful people, were aware that they were part of an incomprehensibly large and mysterious reality and that the trouble with humans is our tendency to regard that as merely a painted backdrop for the little drama of egos we call career, politics, history. They understood that the fundamental work of meditation is to return to our original, organic and wakeful attunement with That. They also understood that any attempt to weave doctrine or dogma out of that flow of attunement would only distract from it.
Better to let the seeker feel the flow by living, working and sometimes gabbing with people who are already awake to it.

As some sage once bluntly said, the philosopher who has not embodied his philosophy is an ass bearing a load of books. Probably it was contact between bookish Buddhists and such fundamentally wakeful persons that led to the kind of zen that rises from the clutter of words and letters, like an old (or young) ass dumping the books from his back.

I look forward to any opportunity to be part of that uprising, whether in life or art.

I write for the fun of it of course, but also because I know that this great uprising could happen
at any moment
even in the writing or the hearing of these words.

.

Joel Guay ≈ I Miss My Dad

SONY DSC.

.

Roy and his mom are sleeping over tonight. There are no story books suitable for a four-year-old here where I am house sitting. And so, Roy asks me to tell him a story from my childhood, since he is studying ‘history’ these days.

And so, I tell the story of me at eight, going to work on a Saturday morning with my dad. Amazingly, I can remember every detail of that day fifty years ago.

I remember him saying the night before:
“You might want to get to bed early tonight, son. Morning comes early.”

And in my excitement I’m in bed right after dinner. It’s still light out and I’m already in bed, closing my eyes real tight and trying real hard to go to sleep. I’m trying so hard that I make myself need to go pee. And so, I have to get up and go and then I’m back in bed, trying even harder.

By this time, everyone has gone to bed and I’m lying there awake in the dark. And I can hear my dad’s regular breathing in the next room and I listen really hard to it and the next thing I know, it’s morning.

Well, I don’t really know it’s morning but I can feel my dad pulling gently on my big toe, like this. And when I open my eyes and look up he is smiling down at me, with a finger to his lips as a sign for me to be quiet so I don’t wake up my sisters.

And so, I hop out of bed silently and jump quickly into my clothes. My dad, by this time, has turned and headed for the kitchen. I’m so excited that I beat him there. And here we are, just the two of us.

Here we are in the half-lit kitchen. Everything is real quiet and kind of magical. We have breakfast—toast with peanut butter and bananas. Just the two of us. And I watch my father prepare lunch for two men, him and me.

I remember going outside and climbing into the front basket of his balloon- tire bike (my father never drove a car) and riding down the street in the almost-dark of 6 AM.

And so, I sit in the massive metal basket as he pedals us silently down the street past the homes of my sleeping friends. Not even the milkman is stirring yet. I remember the sound of the gravel on the tires and the cool morning breeze on my face. And the smell of my dad.

I remember working all morning, pulling nails out of used lumber, and lunching on fried port chop sandwiches, my dad eating slowly to make sure I had enough and me mostly leaving him only the bread as I devoured the meat.

I remember a big, husky man ambling by me and winking at me. I remember another walking by and ruffling my hair. All morning men are walking by me and smiling in my direction and making comments to my dad like:

“Are you sure that’s your son, Camil? He’s a good looking fellow…”

And my dad chuckling as I get more and more puffed up with pride. I remember his boss walking by and saying, loud enough for me to hear:

“That’s a hard working lad you got there, Camil.”

And my dad just smiling quietly, like me.

And I remember riding home in the basket at the end of the day, slumped over my dad’s shoulder, half asleep from exhaustion, as he walked the bike home so as not waken me. I remember the sound of the wheels on the gravel, the smell of him against my face, the feel of his hard and soft chest against my back. I remember the feel of his muscles moving under my face and his powerful arm around me, cradling me like a baby.

And I remember him carrying me into the house gently in his massive arms and slipping off my shoes and carrying me into bed because I was too tired to stay up and eat dinner. I remember him slipping me under the blankets and covering me up, stroking my hair and smiling down at me as I closed my eyes. I remember that day, the day I needed no food to feel full.

I remember all of this today, telling the story, a little chokingly, to Roy and his mom, enjoying Roy’s laughter at the little boy who could eat six pork chops for lunch.

And Roy, noticing my tears, explains to me that sometimes, the mist that separates us from those who have gone on is very thin. And anytime you want, you can see those who have left and they can see you.

“Now is the time for you to wave to Camil,” he screeches excitedly, “And he may even wave back at you if you smile.”

And so, almost beside myself, I hold Roy in my arms and hug him, stroking his cheek and smiling at him, as my father would do to me.

I miss my dad.

.

doug wilton ≈ WEEPAGE

.

pippa eli creek 2000

.

(or Music For Tears)

.

I admit it:
I have always been a weeper.
My grandma used to say my eyes were too close to my bladder
(which is hard to picture).

She herself was rather weepy, and for good reason, being an epileptic with a scarred lip (thrown from a horse when a child). A lonely woman in a rooming house in Toronto, she would journey north to connect with her son and grandkids but end up fighting with Mom and leave, weeping, on the bus to Hogtown.

The reasons for my weepage varied. Once, when a child, I looked at a drop of pond water under a microscope and saw that it was full of life. When I subsequently saw the pond iced over I thought of all the lives frozen in that ice and teared up a bit.

And I wept when the old man strapped me in the woodshed with his double-stranded razor strap. I would stand with arms raised and he would whip my body until I started to sob. Then he would reassure me that it hurt him more than me.

Mom never showed her tears. When she was a girl, she and her sisters would switch each other with willow wands to teach themselves not to weep or cry out. So she kept her tears inside and focused on the care of others. At the end I found her working in her bible with a pen. She said she was underlining every instance she could find of the phrase ‘loving kindness’.
 
My father only wept when he laughed too hard. But his main mode of emotional expression was rage.
His pa abandoned him and his mom to live on welfare in Winnipeg, in the thirties. At age 15 he rode the rails to Ontario, slept in hobo camps and worked as a day labourer, a wandering tough guy in Ontario, where he lived until he met my mom.

When my first lover ditched me I begged her, weeping, to change her mind. For a long time after I would imagine that I saw her on the street only to realize that it was someone else. I dropped out of school and became a lonely pilgrim. Then the psychedelic wave washed me through a sequence of hippie scenes and left me destitute, weeping openly, indifferent to the passersby, on the streets of Vancouver.

I wept a lot after Mom died. One time, stoned, I found myself gazing at a photo of her. Suddenly her image began to shimmer and dance. I held my breath until I realized that her movement was caused by tear mist evaporating from my glasses.

The term ‘weepage’ was coined by a fellow tree planter. When I told him that I had spent most of the day on the rainy mountain singing, howling and weeping, he said ‘Ah weepage.‘ Listening to the wolves sing around our camp at night cheered me up a bit.

Up till ‘85 or so I had only wept for myself but that year I found myself sitting by a tub in which a sick friend was trying to comfort herself and I started to cry with her. She was annoyed, but I think touched. At that moment I realized that I needed to be a true friend to someone, to her in fact, if I was ever going to become something more than a cold, lonely observer.

Sometimes tears take me by surprise, like (as my sailor brother once said) a line squall. I often think about the day I left Korea, where I had lived for five months with a small Korean family as an English tutor. On the way to the airport with the father I realized that I would probably never see them again and (to my keen embarrassment) I wept helplessly the whole way.

In spite of the sorrows of my youth I never contemplated suicide. As my old man liked to say, it’s a long road that has no turning. I knew that if I lived long enough something good would come to me. And it did. They did. She did.

But now I have something else to cry about: the realization that the one I love will someday die and the even worse realization that I may die first and leave her to go on alone without me. Just writing this brings tears. But they feel very good because they tell me that I am truly alive.

At an early age I learned that boys don’t cry and in order to avoid tears I learned to shut down the feelings that would ignite them. I became watchful of my dangerous heart and learned to distract myself with critical thoughts toward my father which led to a critique of authority in general and a quest to discover why we human beings allow ourselves to be ruled by men who are themselves ruled by anger and fear. Eventually I became a kind of cool, philosophical zenist, scornful of those who allow themselves to be ruled by their savage hearts and failing to see that mind is what matters.

But writing in my solitary rooms I usually play music in the background and I discovered that music could often unlock a deep well of unacknowledged sadness and love, bringing a light that revealed the still living heart of a wounded child. Finally I learned to let my heart child weep and rise from the darkness and walk openly in the world. Finally I came to understand that he is the best part of me, as important to my wholeness as my rational, analytical mind. But there are still times when that mind, with its incessant judgement of myself and others, drags me away from my heart into a cold, dry place. Then I need music to bring me to my senses and wash my eyes clear.

At this moment I am listening to Schubert’s Quintet in C, the second, Adagio movement. Written in the last weeks of his life, this is possibly the most beautiful love poem in the language of music, a poem without words but to my ears a song of deep and delicate love and the deep sadness that attends it because of the understanding that love is always enmeshed in confusion and mortality. The adagio is accented by a series of string picks that feel like teardrops falling, drop by shining drop, upon my heart. The best recording I’ve yet found is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtZgIKZ_jrw    If you want to skip the talk by Joel Krosnick you have to move the cursor to about the eight minute mark and wait for it to load, but it’s well worth the wait.

Another piece that moves me is Samuel Barber’s Adagio For Strings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34mNg12vg6Q
Here is what one war veteran said online, about hearing it used in the film Platoon:

I wasn’t in Viet Nam, I have been elsewhere. Still I can share those feelings when I‘m watching that movie. Did You recognise how music became more loud and people talk less and less all the time. That’s how it goes. When time goes, You don’t talk to another… and You feel if someone is watching You. Couple of second staring and they turn their head.
The real fight starts when You come back. World has change forever… It feels like You watching it threw window. You are outsider. Every day work feels pointless. If You are lucky You don’t see dreams during night. If You see, they all nightmare. And no one can imagine how does it feel to wake when You hear someone breething to You ear, and You are alone. Or how does it feel when You hear scratches and see shadows.
Music like this give power to believe goodness of people. It tell there can grow beauty from endless suffer, total disaster and after un-human behaviour. Love will win allways.
To me music like this gives a peace. …give me my tears…

Another piece I use (sparingly) is Jesus’ Love Never Failed Me Yet, a duet by Tom Waits where he accompanies the recorded voice of a London street tramp who simply sings:

        Jesus’ love never failed me yet,
        Never failed me yet, never failed me yet.
        Just one thing I know that he loves me so,
        Jesus love never failed me yet.

The man sings in quavering voice of absolute childlike innocence. When Waits first played the tape for his studio sound technicians he saw that they were soon reduced to silence and tears. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMZVZ5NBkpw

Other songs that come to mind: Allison Krause singing As I Went Down In The River To Pray. That song was beautifully used in the film Oh Brother Where Art Thou in a scene that shows all the simple hearted baptists walking thru summer trees down to the river.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbgfQ48hWuY

and: Softly And Tenderly Jesus Is Calling, Cynthia Clawson, vocalist. Music from the beginning and closing of the movie Trip To Bountiful (1985)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EgJxPbS9ds

Winter Solstice can be a hard time for many of us, especially those who spend it alone. This is obviously why so many cultures bring on the light, feasting and general jolliness. I wish you all the joy and warmth the season may afford but if all else fails you might just try some of this musical medicine
and have a good cry.

Three of the above pieces are nominally Christian but I don’t identify with any named religion. There is a widespread religion of the heart, that has no name. It’s practised by people of all religions and none. Though it has no name it does have gods and goddesses: of love, wisdom, science, music, art and poetry. My personal favorite of those deities is the one I glimpse in the song Down In The River To Pray. The refrain goes

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
And who shall wear the starry crown
Good lord show me the way.

I have my thoughts about that good old way
which may well differ from yours but

my solstice wish in this dark time is
that you too will return
to the river and the child

who stands within your heart
robed in radiance and crowned with stars

and may that child indeed show you the way.

.

.

.

.

deanna reed ≈ the red shoes

.

SONY DSC

.

We were just children. I was four or five and my sister, Joan, was eleven or twelve years old when we were informed by our parents that we were lucky kids to be able to take an exciting ride on a train to visit our grandparents’ farm for the summer. Before we had a chance to determine this luck for ourselves, our one small, battered, family suitcase was packed and we were at the train station being quickly helped up onto the steps of one of the giant, smelly boxes that was spewing a fog of steam and black smoke. Standing on the top step, our hands tightly clamped together, we both turned around – Joan to say her goodbyes, and me to say that I was thinking of changing my mind about this trip. But we saw no familiar faces.

      I realized, sadly, that I had been abandoned by my mom and dad into the sole care of my big sister, the designated and reluctant caregiver. And the very, very long 100 miles of this “exciting” train ride sounded like, “Deanna sit down. Deanna be quiet. Deanna be still and stop doing that!”
     After many stops which raised and dashed my hopes, we finally reached the one stop that was ours. I was never so happy to see Grandma there to meet us. I grinned from ear to ear when I saw her petite figure standing alone with that familiar smile on her small face, framed in her usual kerchief where miniature pin curls peaked through. In her print cotton house dress, lisle stockings, and brown Oxford shoes, she was the epitome of primness. I could feel her strength, however, when we assailed her with our loving bear hugs. Grandma picked up our suitcase, and together, we walked through the fields to the farm, following rocks that Grandma had painted white, so that we wouldn’t get lost when we walked back to Brown’s General Store located near the train station, to buy our many Grandma treats.
     Our vacation at the farm was filled with lots of fun things to do. Grandpa and Grandma kept us busy and entertained by playing on Grandpa’s newly erected swings, a very big one hanging from the branch of the old maple tree for Joan, and a smaller one attached to a wooden frame for me. When we were inside the farm house, we often braided the fringes on Grandma’s settee or listened to conversations on the multi-party line telephone box which was located on the kitchen wall. In the evening when he was finished his farm chores, Grandpa, with his thick, white, wavy hair, bushy white mustache, and pale blue smiling eyes, would sit in his rocking chair smoking his pipe. I would climb up on his knee, curl up and be entertained with stories until I fell asleep.
But the biggest event for me each day was waiting at the mailbox by the road for the mailman with high expectations of getting a letter from my mom. On one of these occasions, I remember  jumping up and down with sheer delight. My mom had sent us gifts. It was extremely rare to get anything new back in 1943. I tore open my parcel to find the most beautiful pair of red sandals in the whole world. I wore them everywhere, always reluctant to take them off even at bedtime.
 The next best part of visiting the farm was playing in the hayloft in one of Grandpa’s two barns which stood side by side, separated by a laneway wide enough for the horse drawn hay wagon to pass through. It kept us entertained for hours jumping and dropping and rolling around in the loose hay. Grandma whose job it was to clean us up afterwards from head to toe, of pieces of hay and who knows what else,didn’t seem to mind at all.
     One day while we were enjoying ourselves in the hay at the top half of one of the barns, we saw something flickering, something other than sunlight, through the cracks in the wooden slatted walls. Flames! We quickly raced down the ladder and ran screaming to our Grandpa who was just below us milking a cow. Grandma came rushing through the door. She quickly pulled us out of the barn. To my young mind, it seemed everything took place in slow motion. Grandma grabbed one of my hands and Joan the other one. They were yelling at me to hurry, running, and dragging me up the hill towards the farm house, over rocks and weeds and through cow pies. Then, the worst thing happened. Sadly, one of the cow pies sucked off one of my new red shoes. When I turned my head around, I saw my sandal had disappeared. It was then, the trauma of it all hit me and the tears started and the bawling began. I’d lost one of my new red sandals. And my world was in flames. After we got into the house, Grandma wrapped me in a blanket and placed me in her rocker. She started the chair rocking and told me to rock and pray. “Pray, Deanna, and don’t stop.” I only knew one prayer and so I began,” Now I lay me down to sleep, Now I lay me down to sleep and (sneaking in a whispered), God please save my sandal,” over and over and over.
     Outside, the quiet farm yard exploded with the voices of neighbours who had come from miles around. They began carrying buckets of water and forming a long line from the well to the house. Somehow, I noticed this and my young mind thought that they were throwing the buckets of water on the wrong building. But Grandma explained that they were trying to save the house from catching fire. Well, that started the tears and howling again. Still in tears, my hand was grabbed again and now, wearing my old rubber boots, Joan and I were whisked out of the farm house. We were led into the field along the white painted rocks away from the burning barns and told to stay there until it was certain the house was safe from the flames. And keep praying, of course. After what seemed like a very long and frightening time, Grandma finally rescued us from the field, back to the safety of the still standing farm house. By then, many of the neighbours had gone back to their own homes. The farm was quiet again and the sight of the still smouldering barns brought the sadness of the realization that there was a good possibility that we would never play in Grandpa’s hayloft again.
     I cried myself into an exhausted sleep that night. The next thing I remember, is that Joan and I were soon following the same white stones back to the train station for our trip home. I was carrying with me only one of my beautiful, new, red sandals, and listening to the familiar, “Hurry up, Deanna, stop dragging your feet and stop whining, we’re going to miss our train,” which we did.
 And that’s another story.         

.

Doug Wilton ≈ the problem with i

.

October jpegs-05165

.

The Problem With i

or

Why i am not contained between my hat and boots.

.

Where exactly in my body am i?

I could lose my fingers, limbs and still have a sense of I.

I could have my brain transplanted into another body and still have a sense of I.

So many humans would say I am my brain.

But a brain without eyes, ears, a mouth, the ability to communicate and feel bodily sensation and emotion, is a brain without a complete sense of personhood.

If it does have a sense of I or self it is a very diminished one.

.

While we’re in the brain, consider memory.

People with extensive memory loss have a diminished sense of self.

If I don’t remember what I have been and done, it’s as if that person no longer exists.

Universally a person thinks of herself as a body with a story.

The story limits her but also tells her what she is.

Without it she has to let other people tell her what she is.

.

In the future perpetrators of serious crimes will have their memories erased and replaced with new memories of a more socially acceptable life they will then be released from hospital to a new social context in which they will lead acceptable lives. But someone within each of them will struggle to remember what he or she was and is. So dramatic conflict between the old and new self/life.

.

Our sense of what we were is integral to our sense of what we are.

Yet we often say the past is gone as if the I that am were not a living record of the I that was.

Someone observed that the past is not really past because it stands present in every cell of my body waiting for the next shipment of oxygen, protein or sugar.

It is when the past is not the focus of present attention but stands fully present behind it, focussed on the sheer fact of existence, that I am most consciously alive.

at the edge of the great divide between all that was and all that is coming to pass.

The fully present consciousness is focussed on the actual moment of change but that focus includes the changing counsel of memory. Is fully present consciousness the true self?

.

Am I the flame or the candle?

An unlit candle is like a body that is dead or unconscious.

But the flame by itself cannot be imagined

unless the candle were darkness itself,

an ocean of dead matter that

burst into flames of life in living things,

an ocean of sleep that bursts into consciousness.

Still the flame needs fuel.

It’s unreasonable and misleading to assert that the self is only the flame

and not the lamp of the body that supports it.

It’s only aesthetically and rationally valid to say that I am at least: consciousness, brain and body.

.

But if we are abolishing irrational exclusions within the body, we are also abolishing irrational exclusions from self in the space around the body. We must remember that the exclusions between selves in interbody space, tho they manifest as physical and social exclusions, are primarily in the minds of the excluders.

.

It’s easy to see that consciousness, brain and body are inseparable parts of the self because they are obviously an organic unity.

Human beings have universally manifested a need to feel that the individual self is also an organic part of a larger organism, a larger self.

Obvious examples are my family, especially my children.

In cultures who have not yet been divided into independent nuclear units, the sense of family as extended identity includes extended family, clan and tribe.

The tribe then reaches out into the space around itself seeking unity with an even larger entity.

Inevitably some tribes will find that passion for unity with (and the protection of) a larger entity will lead them to believe that they are the children of a celestial mother/father with a pantheon of celestial cousins like Norse gods or Celtic fairies or the hierarchy of saints and angels who administer the limited celestial and earthly kingdom of a tribal god (like that of many Christians, whose domain excludes Hell and its miserable inhabitants). The Jews have a god whose domain includes Hell and a Satan who is not the exiled Anti-God but only a rather busy servant of the One whose domain is all of Creation.

.

I feel no need to discuss the provenance of religious documents or fairytales or to doubt the intensity and certainty of people who convinced by the hunger of their need to set their feet solidly on a sure path to a heaven, however vague or specifically imagined. Perfumed palaces, magical gardens, 72 virgins, 9 muses, 8 gods of the week (1 spare for weeks with hidden days), god of each hour, goddess of hearth kitchen garden love, playful maiden, mother and lover of all desire, warrior Queen and wise crone.

People feel a natural need to communicate with their gods, for some it’s a daily practice, for others a less frequent summons. For some the god is only a muffled voice, for some a small and quiet voice,

for some its not a voice at all but only the sound of wind, a stranger music that sometimes passes by.

For some the gods appear like chimerical beasts for others they are more like aliens or natural human beings who are also charged with mental and physical energy, luminous robes, volcanic heat.

.

Whether the gods are made of atoms or dreams or brown sugar is not my concern. Tho i think they are all of the above, since the food or medicine we eat affects our thoughts and perceptions. If perception on the other hand could shape matter we could turn a rock into a peanut butter sandwich just by looking at it.

Perception does change rock into bridges and walls. It conceives a transformation of ore into a golden ring or wood into a house, of dream into words, words into minds that dream their mutations of the dream that dreamed these words.

So we could abolish the imagined exclusion of perception from the realm of shaping matter. Perception and thought /words move muscle on the bones of an exquisitely organized embodiment of myriad metabolisms. And sometimes that city within feels entirely separate from the external city of which the thinker is a tiny inner organ.

.

Identification: writer as a specialized cohort of areas in the brain that mediate reason, thought and speech and the small cohort of technical skill need to type or ride a pen.

What is it about writing that enables it to magically, arouse a world of recognizable characters whom we naturally love or hate (or both)?

Writing can allow us to perceive other worlds and lives so engagingly that we may be moved to help, to visit or to shun them. We may be encouraged in our ignorance about others or have it diminished by the truth of fiction, the voice of Things As It Is.

Words lie at the very heart of the problem with people, which is the problem of identity,

because words can poison relations between us or heal them.

Poisonous words and thoughts limit the extension of identity, causing the collective milk to curdle into separate individuals and groups.

Healing words replace the poison and, in time, the perceptions they encode will enlighten and enliven society as a whole.

.

Healing will mean a complete dissolving of unnecessary barriers between persons. No one else can eat my breakfast, sleep in my bed or think my thoughts but these very words are clear evidence that minds can overlap, in a small space and for a little time, and be two parts of a larger mind. Writing can enlarge the sense of I to include all who read and understand it and more tenuously, tho still solemnly, I include all who may independently come into the good harbour of this understanding.

This good harbour is also the bosom of Compassionate Wisdom, in its multifarious bearers.

The joyful throng around the throne on which nothing sits but the weight and light

and darkness of pure and undivided,

nameless, faceless

bodiless and mindless,

all accepting,

all inclusive

attention.

The flame of consciousness as pure attention is

wonderful but, again,

self is both flame and candle.

.

So words can abolish all inner exclusions, expanding the self to include present or potential readers

and all who participate anonymously by independently arriving at the covenant of the cosmic vision that gave rise to the words.

The outer limits of attention and self are found at the interface between the orb of attention and the forms which impinge and are received as smells, shapes, colours, sounds, tastes, impressions of weight and texture, of heat, cold, humidity or dryness.

Attention also receives images from memory and imagination and attends

to the feelings which memories, thoughts and words arouse.

‘Tis in that caldron of feeling, memory and thought that the next thought, word or action will draw attention to itself and begin to move our innocent mouths and limbs.

To speak and act in the world like honey or vinegar, to help identity to continue to flow, to be received by all willing hearts and minds.

Until, perhaps, a collective self evolves that is intelligent and powerful enough to draw a dying universe back and down thru an infinitessimal point where it turns itself inside out and is reborn as an the next universe, a finite/infinite infant, all shiny and new.

.

But an oak tree is just an acorn’s way of making more acorns and such a god would be just another way that both small and unlimited selves make more small or limitless selves, universe after universe, acorn after acorn, god after god.

.

Infinite Child

.

When i was a child i heard that parallel lines meet at infinity.

Poetry and philosophy also meet here.

The only question that must be asked is how

to wake from the illusion

that i am only finite

how to wake to the perception

that i am each and every interim, interstice

emanation, inference and apprehension

eyelash and wrinkle, roar and tinkle

how to wake to things as you are

and where in all of that is the sense of self

how to wake to the paradox

that sense of self is usually the sense of a limited self

but sense of infinite self is no sense of separate self

but often a sense of an absence

.

is that a key?

My sense of an absence can make me a hungry ghost

constantly trying to fill the hole somewhere inside

or to at least temporarily soothe the ache of emptiness

.

a writer has two options

he can paper that emptiness over with wonderful words

building a thick carapace of speculation, argument, lies

and useless information about everything under the sun

but the means to free himself from his fear of the sun

and everything underneath it

.

the body’s natural wariness is the seed of separate self

but wariness can become awareness

and awareness can become aware of infinite self

which is no separate self

which is felt as a sense of perpetual absence

think of it as a fading scar

in the skin of heaven

.

Mary Ann Carlton ≈ the problem with people

.

October jpegs-05180

.

I write to express my inner visions that usually come from a place outside myself. We write to be free from all the social, economical and political structures that keep us conquered and divided; yet writing brings us together in another form. The problem with people is quite simple we have to many of preaching the latest new age ga ga when we all need to sit down shut up and listen to the inner voice. We all want answers while most lay within; but we do have a global system that projects fear and anger into the pit of our soul. We want to change it, we all have the answers do we not. The revolution is inside us not out there, it is when we are of right thinking and doing when change occurs. There is a generation genus in the making lets hope they will overcome the barriers and b.s. There are one billion fractals of human’s on this planet each one stuck in their story or self identity; believing that we are special. When we scale all manifestations down to a lowest common denominator of love we will then have a new frequency. Keeping in mind we are programed conditioned and conformed by design, this will take time to change if at all.

There is nothing more tantalizing than a good read, walk in nature, one or two great friends and a warm community. Community is something that has been replaced by television, computer games and cheap gossip. What is wrong with people; nothing when we see the larger picture because it us who are the cause of our own suffering, and if we believe that we are the ones we have been searching for all along then it is time to shine. Collective consciousness is nothing more than a new group, a new fad, a passing moment in time. Masses of frustrated confused people, what did we expect? Clean good laughter is so important for the mind body and soul, yet is rarely expressed because we have become the puppets to a never ending abyss of elitists agenda.

Self proclaimed healers, medicine prophets, contaminating the whole as most are intoxicated in self importance, missing the mark. The biggest problem with people is they do not know how to share, really, truly share, let me tell you we better either jump on board or jump off to save the precious resources that do exist for what is here, now, and for the future.

No time to waste or hesitate, live life to the fullest, be true to your self, celebrate each moment as if it were the last!

MAC

.

daen davidson ≈ the big heart

October jpegs-05224

.

i am amazed that the heart and mind, come together in the process of writing poetry..sorta like the Buddhist monks and Chinese brush painter, i am revealed to myself, and my curiosity and sense

of harmony, play, joy, love connects with the big heart called social communication…and i make

such deep and long lasting friends thru it…and i make friends with myself…which to me,

it is all mystery… unraveling, and esoteric; i think having been a student of gurdjieff work for many years, all about feeding different part of yourself…and not getting to obsessed with one center..

poetry the emotional center, to me the essence of surrealism…allows those impressions that

don’t let go, to be introduced again again…because we just don’t know as humans, what is

talking to us, in the spirit….the future seems to call thru poetry; and paradoxes are understood…

and like a crow, or a hummingbird, humans make sounds; to express how life is touching them…

i loved it since, i memorized the children hour by longfellow, and tagores work….

mybe i accumulate poems like a possession…but damn alot of people, have glint something of

worth in my work…and like my paintings that hang everywhere…it is a pleasure to make other

people happy; in honesty i am not much of a plumber, though i want to be…nor a super cook…

like master chefs….so i do what comes natural…put it on the table…and as they say, it is all crow

droppings…and i fine with that…

as long as whales and horses exist…those kind of wonders, i am aware of my humaness…

and what can you do…..but work with ya got.

tks doug for asking, and running my work….i love elephants almost the most.

.


Doug Wilton ≈ drinking with dorje bo 3

.

untitled-04602

.

What Cats and Dandelions Know

.

Sunday morning cloudy wet

dandelions only know

when it’s time to grow

.

kitty licks her luxuriant fur

then goes back to sleep

on a folded rainbow rug

she knows

 .

that any soft thing’s only purpose is

to be her bed

.

her forepaws twitch and tremble

dreaming of the hunt

.

.

Drinking with Dorje Bo 3

.

Dorje Bo usually served Korean sake. He admitted that it was not as delicate as the Japanese brands but it was usually all they had at the corner store near his flat. So he was delighted when I showed up next Sunday with a bottle of Harushika and we proceeded to plunge into the Great Matter. Of course he never talked about That. Any ordinary passerby would have thought we were talking about the mechanical condition of his cab or his preferred method of cooking a pig’s head. He laughed at my suggestion that he was a master, insisting that he was just an ordinary taxi driver who, like many other Koreans, occasionally practiced zen. Indeed there were times when I thought that must be the case, as for example when I came by to find him in his birthday suit carousing with a mother and daughter duo who were into rainbow hair and vinyl. I suppose I had always thought of masters as austere gents who wore black and kept the sleepy monks awake with an angry stick.

But the proof, as they say, is not in the decorum of the cook but in the pudding.

For the first half hour we ate and drank in silence then I said this combination of sake and pig meat was truly perfection. Then he brought out a small dish of fermented persimmon and said, “When we add kimchi we have perfection, without kimchi it’s only near-perfection.”

Near-perfection’s a curious term,” I said, “how do I know when I’m experiencing near-perfection?”

When you taste the kimchi,” he said, “you know that you were in near-perfection. Before you taste the kimchi you only think you are experiencing perfection.”

I swallowed the sake in my mouth and said: So a good sign that I’m experiencing near-perfection is that I think I’m experiencing perfection.”

When you experience perfection you can’t say anything meaningful about it so you just let it roll and talk about the weather.”

We ate in silence for a bit then he said:According to zen logic there are only two conditions of mind, perfection and near-perfection. Near-perfection is like being fascinated by the mind mirror of reality instead of ‘things as it is’.”

Things as they are,” I corrected.

No, things as it is,” he said. Then he went to his bookcase and returned to hand me a white paperback with a picture of a monk on the cover and the red title: BRANCHING STREAMS FLOW IN THE DARKNESS. I examined the cover photo and recognized the monk as the famed master Shunryu Suzuki.

I learned that phrase from him,” he said. “Not from this book but when i talked with him in Japan, after he returned from America.”

So in near-perfection we are still trying to capture the Great Matter in our mind mirror, so we can be the masters of reality, we can say ‘See how brilliant I am. I can describe it, I can paint its portrait.’”

“As long as you only look at the image in the mirror, you can say many things,” he said, with a sad smile, “but when you look truth in the face your tongue can only say what clear understanding can put into words, a verse, a song, a howl of joy and sorrow.” He raised his head in the dimness of the room then lowered it to face me.

 Wordlessly I nodded, seeing the tears that flowed toward his smiling mouth.

 .

Phil Mader ≈ Story

.

butterfly-04491

.

Dahlia Marie

 

How d’ya put into action the rehabilitation you refer to? How did you change him?

“I hit him in the mouth.” Such was Nancy, sometimes brutish, mouthy, sassy, stubborn, witty, provocative, other times menacing, but eternally beautiful. As a rule, it was always that beauty that pulled him in, like what happens to fish, swiveling up to the surface of water to be twinkled on by some brassy brilliant tackle. Throw in a dash of mystery and a fistful of danger. And always he lived to regret it. They’d warned him to chill out before taking on a new woman. Even Nancy noticed how he had Dahlia Marie on the brain. Dahlia Marie was that exception to the hurtful rule.

The road through the California desert was, well, hot, burning hot, the kind of heat that turned people into impatient, nasty grumps.

“That rat bastard!” While driving at madwoman’s speed, Nancy repeated that simple iteration, along with the acid grievance, “throwing me to the wolves like that”.

That was her interpretation of what had happened, who knows, but Nancy had a way with the truth, of molding it like Playdoh into any shape or colour she wanted it to be, of giving it an elasticity and flexibility that it didn’t of itself possess. Besides, who but someone faithfully manic could possibly put their trust in someone like Fast Eddie, an Afro Dominican dwarf with gold teeth and a passion for jazz piano, who made a living scaling the walls of island resorts and breaking into rooms at night.

When we arrived in New Orleans, she went searching for him. I trailed after. I was sure I could see Fast Eddie ducking behind pillars when he saw us coming. Fast Eddie would do everything to avoid her, or make a deal. A childhood of living in shacks made of plastic sheeting, wood, reeds and even blanketsgave him the impetus to steal but not to rot in a crumbling sweaty unsanitary grey cement prison cell seriously overpopulated with others of the same underclass.

 

At night we checked into a hotel, where a moth-eaten clerk explained to us, as though it needed explaining in this town, that there was such a thing as a night person as opposed to a day person. The night person was the one who short-changed you or drove you in a taxi all over the place when your destination was close at hand.

Fast Eddie was a night person, and she wanted her money now.

I had my own troubles. Unbeknownst to Nancy I too was searching…searching for a way to reconcile with Dalhlia Marie, aka as Noketta, aka Little Miss Dynamo aka Ondine Paris, who’d fled here after our break-up.

She’d returned to live with her ex, and on the phone I was begging her to come back to me.

Why, I asked her, about her ex, why the devil would you continue living with someone who would continuously and violently throw you out of bed for not having sex?

He became part of her, of her blood and sinew, of her identity, she replied. And though she was not always sure if she really loved him, she concluded she could not possibly let him go, in spite of several previous attempts. Unfathomable and erratic he was and she was never sure when he would come home. He had a hold on her. Sometimes he would throw such a beam of light, like a warm blanket in the dead of winter, and ask her things about herself that meant a lot. And sometimes surprise her with his self-avowed vulnerability, the way he laid himself bare, like no one else she’d ever known. She loved him for that, and other ways of expressing sweetness and sexiness when he wasn’t an ass. His sister had told her he was to a certain degree autistic; that sometimes he could get himself out to the world, sometimes feel with it, other times positively not, and so what did she expect.

What’ll happen to you if you decide once again to leave, I argued. You have no skills, no trades to fall back on, and you refuse to do menial work for money. What then? She didn’t want to talk about it.

Nightfall groped at him as he made his way back to the hotel room, the sky was violet, and people jostled others on the busy sidewalk, some gyrating in that strange iconic Carnival boogie.

When he opened the door Nancy was lying in bed as naked as the day is long, and the dwarf was seated next to her. For a time, he’d forgotten he was walking on gilded splinters, now undeniable. Naked as she was, there was a core of steel beneath the exterior as she and Fast Eddie fixed their eyes on him.

Eddie broke the spell. “She’s with me now. We made a deal”.

On his way back from New Orleans, the desert sand had spilled onto the road after an exacting wind storm. In the distance, hitchhiking, sitting on a suitcase on the side of the road was a woman.

It was Dahlia Marie.

.