Friday, October 19, 2007


07-10-18 22:54


In some way I have my bios and noos concerns more under control--at least compared to when I started making these entries.

So, I can consider my life, longer-term, from theos, from what would be most mindful, rather than least painful.

I use this writing to help my wandering mind track on this issue--mind really wants to avoid this for some reason.


I visited my friend and we walked. She said she'd like to have a house. I said I did not want one.

I might call this post "Economy". I was considering listing expenses. I don't, for example, pay for Internet access at the house--somone has an open WiFi point. I don't pay for utilities--my grandma does. I wanted to list here bills for the house. So we could see the dollars that go in.

[Here's a start:
Water bill 09-05 to 10-03--
actually the previous month's bill was estimated, not actual--so it is:
08-06 to 10-03.
58 days, 296 gallons per day.
Last year they say 120 gallons per day.
There was a leak in a soaker hose during this period, I believe.

For now I'll collect utility data--maybe later I'll comment more.

As a result of that water bill, I turned the soaker time from 2x/week to one--and cut second cycle to 45 min. from 90 min. First cycle is still 90 min.

The past water bill was $80.47. 09-05 to 10-03. One before that: $45.15

I'll either collect other bill info here (editing this post) or make a new one called Economy with this and that info, or do no more with this topic.


The main thing is, I say I don't want a house, but I am enjoying(?) benefits of having access to one.

I'm not getting anywhere--I came inside and got to internet messing. . .
probably forty-five minutes.

Mindlessness, mindfulness, insights from yesterday.

I covered a bit already.

I got up. Applied for a teambuilding assignment that would pay $225 (something like that)/half day. Rare. Did not get it. But was happy to write this bio, in part:

In my facilitation, I focus on transcending personal perspectives and on decision-making based on awareness of role in team, organization, and world. Recent influences include John P. Milton, Holacracy, Barry Oshry, Integral Leadership, and Theory U.

And to update resume for them.

Earlier I'd avoided responding. . . the job would involve travel from the negihborhood. I don't need the money. Those were the thoughts. What I'd be doing otherwise is more important. I need to run out of money. (in mornings I can get around those thoughts?)

Then swam, did weights. Sat on the cardboard in the iceplant. Then went to park. Read the _Varieties of Religious Experience_ chapter, "The Value of Saintliness." That took a long time--till 4pm probably. Walked, found some different figs, went home, read paper--it was interesting yesterday--I remember Van Jones. . ., gunshot wound to head (the bang I heard), that's all, offhand. Watered bushes a bit before that.

A main event was G. Ann's concern, expressed to me before I left, about a bush I had cut. It is an emotional issue for us. Causing suffering or at least mind turmoil. I don't want to take the time to detail it. But I know "It is It" - the heart of practice.


There's a great section on poverty as valuable asceticism in that chapter. I marked it to type it in, but I want to now focus on my main concern.

First though--nevermind.


With the space my practices have been providing from mindless eating, reading, etc. . . I can organize life more from a creative point than a reactive pain-reducing point.

Let's do that.

0703 some more distraction:

While pot cooling--went to visit friend. We walked. Sat in park silently.

I don't always know a good way to be with people--

We are both unsure, I think--

Came back here--shared a lima bean that was growing--

She left. I ate. Then got to this eventually after not sleeping.

For a moment though-- I just knew it was not a time to write, but rather for silent appreciation (from the James' chapter). [p276: ". . . lost in gratitude, and silent." -- from a criticism of how Teresa of Ávila was not.]

The mindlessness then--got to be corn popping in microwave. Till it was gone--not much. Mostly for something to do other than to think about this!!

That's all I'll do with mindlessness, mindfulness, insights from yesterday.


0714 Yesterday was crisp, clear.

Put God First. A message from _How to mess up your life before you are 40_ (something like that) in the new books section. Let's do that now.

The whole cycle I'm in--the daily routine--gets to feel mindless.

So I sabatoge it--or, more creatively, organize trips. Or consciously change it.

Here's that poverty section from William James. I may be here all day at this rate.

This is after explaining how "war is a school of strenuous life and heorism," retaining a psychological value in a life where we are otherwise slaves to our own comfort. Quotes throughout, such as, "If the soldier is to be good for anything as a soldier, he must be exactly the opposite of a reasoning and thinking man."

"But when we gravely ask ourselves whether this wholesale organization of irrationality and crime be our only bulwark against effeminacy, we stand aghast at the thought, and think more kindly of ascetic religion."

Read the whole chapter to understand his use of "effeminacy."

One hears of the mechanical equivalent of heat. What we now need to discover in the social realm is the moral equivalent of war: something heroic that will speak to men as universally as war does, and yet will be as compatible with their spiritual selves as war has proved itself to be incompatible. I have often thought that in the old monkish poverty-worship, in spite of the pedantry which infested it, there might be something like that moral equivalent of war which we are seeking. May not voluntarily accepted poverty be "the strenuous life," without the need of crushing weaker peoples?

Poverty indeed is the strenuous life--without brass bands or uniforms or hysteric popular applause or lies or circumlocutions; and when one sees the way in which wealth-getting enters as an ideal into the very bone and marrow of our generation, one wonders whether a revival of the belief that poverty is a worthy religious vocation may not be "the transformaiton of military courage," and the spritual reform which our time stands most in need of.

Among us English-speaking peoples especially do the praises of poverty need once more to be boldly sung. We have grown literally afraid to be poor. We despise any one who elects to be poor in order to simplify and save his inner life. If he does not join the general scramble and pant with the money-making street, we deem him spiritless and lacking in ambition. We have lost the power even of imagining what the ancient idealization of poverty could have meant: the liberation from material attachments, the unbribed soul, the manlier indifference, the paying our way by what we are or do and not by what we have, the right to fling away our life at any moment irresponsibly--the more athletic trim, in short, the moral fighting shape.

. . .

It is true that so far as wealth gives time for ideal ends and exercise to ideal energies, wealth is better than poverty and ought to be chosen. But wealth does this in only a portion of the actual cases. Elsewhere the desire to gain wealth and the fear to lose it are our chief breeders of cowardice and propagators of corruption. There are thousands of conjunctures in which a wealth-bound man must be a slave, whilst a man for whom poverty has no terrors becomes a freeman. Think of the strength which peronal indifference to poverty would give us if we were devoted to unpopular causes. We need no longer hold our tongues or fear to vote the reolutionary or reformatory ticket. Our stocks might fall, our hopes of promotion vanish, our salaries stop, our club doors close in our faces; yet, while we lived, we would imperturbably bear witness to the spirit, and our example would help to set free our generation. The cause would need its funds, but we its servants would be potent in proportion as we personally were contented with our poverty.

I recommend this matter to your serious pondering, for it is certain that the prevalent fear of poverty among the educated classes is the worst moral disease from which our civilization suffers.
pp. 290-292. The Varieties of Religious Experience. William James.


0810 It's nothing others have not said--the same message in new and different ways from different voices helps it become lived.

0827 What should come of this time? A clear plan of action or at least a plan of how to get one?

My recent life change experiment has been successful: a synthesis or integration of the life I live when I have been traveling away (walking in the forest), with the life I live while here.

The changes I made will stick or evolve.

They came from the realization that I can incorporate forest-walking elements in this house-centered life: being outside almost all day, or at least out of the house; sleeping outside; cooking with fire; sitting outdoors; no excessive computer work or garden work; lots of sitting time or time to read texts written from connection with creative force.

Elements, positive, that are here that are not on the forest walk: my friend to visit. My grandma (in a certain way). Indoor space and libraries. A weight practice. Sometimes an opportunity to do interesting work on challenge course. A garden to harvest from and watch grow. Not a need to carry a pack with food, other gear.

Main lack: the organizing principle. devotion to some cause, some goal worth pursuing. Lack exists in both forest and suburbia environs.

Additional hypothesized lack: a community which shares more of my leanings and tendencies--at a monastery, permaculture farm, or anarchist gathering more of the people may be more similar to me, for example.


0913 Scenarios?

1. I stay here, do not think about change, practice meditating. Continue with this basic routine. Organizing principle is: keep time free, meditate, focus on present. That is it. Eventually change will occur whether I do anything or not. Grandma Ann might die, and different things might happen.

2. I go off on another trip somewhere, planning to return after a while.

I do not stand for . . . I stand for being content where you are, doing as little as possible.

I sit by as my friend, and maybe other friends, pay rent, taxes, get jobs.

My organizing principle is: stay where you are, doing as little as possible.

I am a Chinese Hermit. (_Encounters with Chinese Hermits_)

I am not a social activist, except by silent (or minimal Internet) example.

Pathways for continued development:

More mindfulness, less mindlessness (?)

Eat only so that I do not become lean and die (?)

Focus on whatever I'm doing at the moment, e.g., intense focus on weight lifting, very in body while swimming (?)

Look at Wilber et al.'s Integral Life Practice?

Not be concerned about helping directly those who have not had as much privilege (?)

Legacy: carfree life, peaceful time in midst of madness (?)

Garden, plant more food plants around this neighborhood (?)

Avoid talking about friends' housing issues (?)

I am not all that different than Grandma Ann's cat (?)

a pet kept for company to remind her she is alive, but with occasional additional usefulness (?)


I have no action plan. I'm not getting one this way. For now, default to scenario one. Peace.


Something I was trying to remember for a friend:


It seems I did not really focus on God here.

Still in avoid suffering mode. How to come from Theos?

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