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Avoiding ever crossing the A&P

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Avoiding ever crossing the A&P J C 12/17/18 12:30 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P ivory 12/17/18 1:16 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Andromeda 12/17/18 6:44 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 12/17/18 2:36 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Andromeda 12/18/18 9:24 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A& Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 12/17/18 2:32 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Nick O 12/17/18 6:29 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P J C 12/17/18 10:59 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Andromeda 12/18/18 9:25 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P dave m 12/19/18 7:36 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Andromeda 12/20/18 8:35 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 12/20/18 9:28 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Andromeda 12/20/18 9:57 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 12/20/18 11:34 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Chris Marti 12/20/18 11:51 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 12/20/18 1:33 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Andromeda 12/20/18 1:34 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 12/20/18 2:04 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P JohnM 12/20/18 6:07 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Andromeda 12/21/18 8:31 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 12/22/18 12:36 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 12/22/18 12:34 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P dave m 12/22/18 3:47 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Andromeda 12/23/18 6:16 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P J C 12/24/18 1:25 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P terry 12/24/18 9:07 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P J C 12/25/18 1:57 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Andromeda 12/25/18 9:46 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 12/25/18 1:37 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Andromeda 12/25/18 2:34 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 12/25/18 4:06 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/10/19 5:06 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Andromeda 1/10/19 6:00 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/10/19 6:24 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Andromeda 1/10/19 7:56 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Nick O 12/25/18 9:57 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P terry 3/18/19 1:53 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/19/19 5:37 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P terry 3/20/19 1:38 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/20/19 2:13 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P terry 3/21/19 1:29 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/21/19 5:42 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Chris Marti 3/20/19 2:22 PM
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RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Chris Marti 3/22/19 10:28 AM
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RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P terry 3/22/19 1:13 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Chris Marti 3/22/19 3:18 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P terry 3/23/19 2:13 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Chris Marti 3/23/19 2:53 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P terry 3/26/19 12:53 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Stickman2 3/28/19 7:14 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Chris Marti 3/28/19 7:23 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Stickman2 3/28/19 7:48 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/28/19 8:19 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P terry 3/29/19 6:15 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P terry 3/26/19 12:48 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Chris Marti 3/26/19 12:55 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P terry 3/26/19 2:16 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Chris Marti 3/26/19 3:06 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P terry 3/27/19 5:09 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Chris Marti 3/27/19 5:29 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P terry 3/29/19 5:08 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Chris Marti 3/29/19 5:34 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P terry 3/29/19 6:16 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P JP 3/21/19 2:51 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 12/18/18 12:54 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Nick O 12/18/18 8:41 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 12/19/18 3:27 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 12/19/18 3:33 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Nick O 12/19/18 6:57 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P JohnM 12/19/18 7:23 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 12/19/18 8:18 AM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P terry 12/24/18 8:23 PM
RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P Michael Graham 3/30/19 12:17 AM
Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/17/18 12:30 AM
Suppose someone who had not yet crossed the A&P wanted to avoid it, in keeping with the saying "Better not to begin; once begun, better to finish."

Clearly this person should stay away from intensive or lengthy practice, and probably from all insight meditation. Hell, just to be safe, they should avoid all meditation. And also any use of drugs, fasting, or sleep deprivation. And probably also any form of sensory deprivation.

But many people have crossed the A&P even without meditation. And in a sense, there isn't much of a distinction between on and off cushion; even casually noticing the way your feet alternate while taking a walk could be a form of walking meditation.

And what about therapy, which often has you paying attention to your thoughts? Prayer?

Should this person avoid awareness itself, as far as possible? How would one try not to be aware?

What advice would you give someone who really did not want to risk crossing the A&P?

And do you think such a life is worth living?

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/17/18 1:16 AM as a reply to J C.
Socrates said, "Know thyself." If you want to avoid the A&P, don't do that.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/17/18 6:44 AM as a reply to J C.
It would seem that, for better and for worse, simply being alive risks spontaneous insight. One could minimize the risk by taking all those precautions that you list, but it doesn't sound like a life I'd want. Even if I'd never made it through the dukkha nanas, I would happily take that over a life without any insight at all. It isn't for me to judge for other people, though.

This post reminds me of a lovely piece on grace by Frederick Beuchner. 

========

After centuries of handling and mishandling, most religious words become so shopworn nobody's much interested anymore. Not so with grace, for some reason. Mysteriously, even derivatives like gracious and graceful still have some of the bloom left.

Grace is something you can never get but can only be given. There's no way to earn it or deserve it or bring it about any more than you can deserve the taste of raspberries and cream or earn good looks or bring about your own birth. A good sleep is grace and so are good dreams. Most tears are grace. The smell of rain is grace. Have you ever tried to love somebody?

A crucial eccentricity in the Christian faith is the assertion that people are saved by grace. There's nothing you have to do. There's nothing you have to do. There's nothing you have to do.

The grace of God means something like: "Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are, because the party wouldn't have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid, I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It's for you I created the universe. I love you."

There's only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you'll reach out and take it.

Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&
Answer
12/17/18 2:32 PM as a reply to J C.
I avoided meditating* for two decades because I was worried about strange buzzes all over my body after only a few days of simple visualization practices as a teenager. It didn’t help, and I’m grateful for that.

In fact, the resistence is something that I definitely do NOT recommend. I developed exploding head syndrome. Kundalini yoga, meditation and embracing whatever happened, with gratitude and bliss, helped with that. I started with my practice because googling all my health symptoms kept directing me to web pages blaming yoga and meditation for Kundalini awakening. I thought, if there is such a thing and it had already happened, then there would be no point in avoiding it anymore. I turned towards it instead of away from it. When you welcome that force, which is probably piti, you get euphoria. That is SOOOO much more pleasant than exploding head syndrome.


*) At least I thought so, but the more I learn, the more I realize that I was at least periodically still meditating in daily life. I just didn’t know that it was meditation. I had actually been meditating all my life. As a child, I could concentrate on certain sensory experiences and/or objects for a long time and forget about anything else. That mindful walking thing, I did that in my first years of school. Nobody was patient enough to wait for me, though, so eventually I learned to hurry and thus lost skills to gain at least some conformity. As an adult in my thirties I started to remember what I had lost as I went through the process of searching for diagnoses. It turned out that I’m autistic, among other things. It’s such a pity that autistic people are often pressured to lose abilities that neurotypical people are willing to invest both time and money to develop. When we do it we are considered weird and emotionally inapt and having a disorder. When they do it, they are cool and emotionally competent and evolved. Such a waste! Anyway... by meditating I’m reconnecting with what I was before I thought I had to be normal and with what I can be if I’m allowed to just embrace it. It’s in my nature to meditate. Avoiding meditation is avoiding living life to its fullest. Never again. Never ever again.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/17/18 2:36 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
Andromeda, that’s a lovely piece indeed. First I thought you had written it, because you have that kind of carefulness with words too.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/17/18 6:29 PM as a reply to J C.
I've never been able to relate to the "Better not to begin; once begun, better to finish". The first A&P was so unspeakably liberating that my condition even during the most frightening or difficult meditation territory that came afterwards has been far easier to digest than the confusion, existential fear and nihilism of pre-A&P life.  

It is obvious and understandable, however, that this is not the case for everyone..

As an aside, I have been of witness lately to an old dying man stricken with fear, depression, anger and denial of his mortality. He numbs himself in bed with large amounts of whiskey and prescription drugs. This is a man whose lifelong arrogance and hedonism left him unprepared and vulnerable to the sufferings of old age.

Crossing the A&P could mean facing this stuff with the strength of youth before it's too late and directly upon you. If this is the case, would it still be better for hypthetical person in question to not begin?

But this doesn't answer the other question...How to avoid the A&P?

lots of TV, lots of internet use, daily alcohol use and daily light marijuana use would probably do it emoticon  

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/17/18 10:59 PM as a reply to Nick O.
Nick O:
I've never been able to relate to the "Better not to begin; once begun, better to finish". The first A&P was so unspeakably liberating that my condition even during the most frightening or difficult meditation territory that came afterwards has been far easier to digest than the confusion, existential fear and nihilism of pre-A&P life.  

It is obvious and understandable, however, that this is not the case for everyone..

As an aside, I have been of witness lately to an old dying man stricken with fear, depression, anger and denial of his mortality. He numbs himself in bed with large amounts of whiskey and prescription drugs. This is a man whose lifelong arrogance and hedonism left him unprepared and vulnerable to the sufferings of old age.

Crossing the A&P could mean facing this stuff with the strength of youth before it's too late and directly upon you. If this is the case, would it still be better for hypthetical person in question to not begin?

But this doesn't answer the other question...How to avoid the A&P?

lots of TV, lots of internet use, daily alcohol use and daily light marijuana use would probably do it emoticon  


Smoking weed seemed to trigger A&Ps for me but I'm very sensitive to it.

I'm reminded of CS Lewis on the subject: "A young man who wishes to remain an atheist cannot be too careful of his reading." There's a lot of philosophical stuff online that could push someone over.

As far as your confusion and existential fear, are you sure you hadn't crossed the A&P already? I see that kind of thing as the mark of a spiritual seeker and darknighter. I think of the pre-A&P state as a state of ignorance of all that. I've never been able to relate to that either.

As far as the "strength of youth," the strength required here is ego strength, not physical strength, and I'm not sure youth provides an advantage there. Facing death seems to help some people face reality. And some people can't handle the dark night - isn't it wiser to first develop the strength to face it before diving into territory you can't handle?

The problem is that any method of developing the strength to face it also risks tipping you over.

I don't think it's ethical to avoid the A&P. I agree with Socrates that the unexamined life is not worth living. But I'm not so sure how that applies when it comes to people who can't handle looking at reality - people with personality disorders, for instance, sometimes don't have the ego strength or sense of self required to practice.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/18/18 9:25 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:
I don't think it's ethical to avoid the A&P. I agree with Socrates that the unexamined life is not worth living. But I'm not so sure how that applies when it comes to people who can't handle looking at reality - people with personality disorders, for instance, sometimes don't have the ego strength or sense of self required to practice.

I also agree with Socrates for my own life, but wouldn't pass that judgment on others. People need to figure out what is ethical for themselves. As you say, not everyone can handle looking at reality. A senior teacher recently told me that those continuing to progress on a spiritual path of insight who don't have very strong character go mad. I can think of a number of examples where this seemed to be the case, unfortunately.  

I don't know a lot about Hinduism, but really like the idea of there being different paths for different types of people. For a lot of people, service seems to be a much better, saner, healthier way than meditation.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/18/18 9:24 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Andromeda, that’s a lovely piece indeed. First I thought you had written it, because you have that kind of carefulness with words too.

Thanks for the compliment! I'd be thrilled to write half as well as Buechner. He won a number of awards and was a finalist for the Pulitzer.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/18/18 12:54 PM as a reply to J C.
An experimental dance show took me to second jhana with hallucinated psychedelic light formations and the whole kit, so yeah, one would have to chose one’s entertainment carefully. If it’s meant to be, there is no escape.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/18/18 8:41 PM as a reply to J C.
J C

As far as the "strength of youth," the strength required here is ego strength, not physical strength, and I'm not sure youth provides an advantage there. Facing death seems to help some people face reality. And some people can't handle the dark night - isn't it wiser to first develop the strength to face it before diving into territory you can't handle?

Good point. But maybe instead of "strength" I could have chose "flexibility". Does it seem like people tend to become more stubborn and set in their ways as they grow older making the biggest "change" of all, acceptance of death, more difficult? Would a young person be more flexible to see the world in new yet potentially challenging and destabalizing ways?


As far as your confusion and existential fear, are you sure you hadn't crossed the A&P already? I see that kind of thing as the mark of a spiritual seeker and darknighter. 
You know that's a very interesting question. If I did, it would have been via phsychedelics (I did my fair share). There were some heavy, horribly dark times in my late twenties (triggered by a rough romantic failure and other big life changes) where I felt I had to tear down this naive clairvoyant paradigm of how I thought life was supposed to work. I had nothing to replace it with but hopelessness and nihilism. It was brutal. I was nearly suicidal at times. Could this have represented my own "dark night"? When I realized there must be "something beyond" anything I could do to fix my life, I turned to meditation and reading a book on Zen. And after just a few days, while reading teachings of impermanence, I had the sudden "A&P" thing. Most of my suffering and almost all fear of the unknown dissapeared forever in just a couple seconds.

Maybe you're right. Did the dark night stuff happen before I knew anything about meditation or the Dharma? If that was the dark night, I understand deeply now what people are going through. Thanks for the food for thought.     

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/19/18 3:27 AM as a reply to Nick O.
Nick O:
When I realized there must be "something beyond" anything I could do to fix my life, I turned to meditation and reading a book on Zen. And after just a few days, while reading teachings of impermanence, I had the sudden "A&P" thing. Most of my suffering and almost all fear of the unknown dissapeared forever in just a couple seconds. 

This warms my heart. There seems to be some kind of mercy in this world when we are ready to embrace it. I had a similar experience with Kundalini yoga, which I turned to when I had nowhere else to go.

I don’t know if I have understood it correctly, because all this terminology is new to me, but the phase of the three charachteristics preceeding the A&P seems to be one of potentially overwhelming pain. Not only the dark night has that quality.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/19/18 3:33 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
This video explains the challenges of the phases prior to equanimity thoroughly.

https://vimeo.com/69793499

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/19/18 6:57 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Nick O:
When I realized there must be "something beyond" anything I could do to fix my life, I turned to meditation and reading a book on Zen. And after just a few days, while reading teachings of impermanence, I had the sudden "A&P" thing. Most of my suffering and almost all fear of the unknown dissapeared forever in just a couple seconds. 

This warms my heart. There seems to be some kind of mercy in this world when we are ready to embrace it. I had a similar experience with Kundalini yoga, which I turned to when I had nowhere else to go.

I don’t know if I have understood it correctly, because all this terminology is new to me, but the phase of the three charachteristics preceeding the A&P seems to be one of potentially overwhelming pain. Not only the dark night has that quality.
Glad I could warm your heart! emoticon Yes, sounds about right since the A&P is often used synonymously with a kundalini awakening! 

And yes, the three characteristics nana has been very unpleasant for me, even more so than the dukkha nanas. I'm not sure what I was experiencing those days in my twenties or what the sudden experience (seemed like A&P) was 4 years back. All I know is that when I discovered MTCB and started insight meditation a little more than a year ago, I had to start at Mind and Body and go up through the A&P "again".   

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/19/18 7:23 AM as a reply to Nick O.
Since I first read it in Trungpa's book, I've never believed this quote to be anything more than a challenge and a statement of fact - that having read that statement, YOU HAVE ALREADY STARTED AND THERE IS NO GOING BACK.

How long it takes depends purely on how stubborn we are. Many of "the rest of us" are STUBBORN. But that doesn't make any difference when it comes to crossing the A&P. Good motivation to push on asap.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/19/18 8:18 AM as a reply to Nick O.
It seems to be fairly common to go through A&P more than once. I think I have, too, at least some junior league version of it. I may have done it several times.

And yes, Kundalini awakening is often described just like what I was going through, so it makes sense that it refers to the same thing. I prefer the map that Daniel Ingram uses, though, because it puts things in perspective and gives more context. I found Kundalini Yoga when I googled weird symptoms I had already had. Those were intense and scary. Now I believe that was because I had piti without sukkha, as Leigh Brasington explains it.
https://www.lionsroar.com/entering-the-jhanas/
Kundalini Yoga gave me the sukkha to my piti.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/19/18 7:36 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
Andromeda:

As you say, not everyone can handle looking at reality. A senior teacher recently told me that those continuing to progress on a spiritual path of insight who don't have very strong character go mad. I can think of a number of examples where this seemed to be the case, unfortunately.  


That is a very interesting statement.  Do you know what he meant by "very strong character?"  Any ideas on what traits or characteristics might help prevent madness and whether they can be cultivated or are just innate?

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/20/18 8:35 AM as a reply to dave m.
dave m:
Andromeda:

As you say, not everyone can handle looking at reality. A senior teacher recently told me that those continuing to progress on a spiritual path of insight who don't have very strong character go mad. I can think of a number of examples where this seemed to be the case, unfortunately.  


That is a very interesting statement.  Do you know what he meant by "very strong character?"  Any ideas on what traits or characteristics might help prevent madness and whether they can be cultivated or are just innate?

Good question. I didn't ask for clarification on that particular point but assumed he meant morality which is usually what "character" refers to and that made sense in the context of the conversation.

This is such a huge and important topic and one I've spent HUGE amounts of time on, so yeah I've got lots of ideas. Where to start? It's the classic nature vs. nurture debate: we have our genetics, our epigenetics, the learned behaviors we soaked up in early life from our caregivers/teachers/friends (for better and for worse), etc. That's what life gives us (our karma, if you will) and then there are the choices that we make. We can choose to cultivate good character traits (like honesty, patience, humility, generosity, etc.) or not. But it's a heck of a lot easier to cultivate good character if you're raised by people who are helping you do it from an early age. Nobody has perfect parents and we've all been screwed up in some way or another, but people who were abused early on or raised by extremely dysfunctional caregivers such as those with Cluster B personality disorders have heroic amounts to overcome, especially if they have strong features of Cluster B personality disorders themselves. 

So cultivating basic sanity and decency is obviously the way to go, but some people have more obstacles than others. Again, this is a huge and hugely important topic on which many volumes have been and will continue to be written. It's no wonder Daniel calls morality the first and the last training--morality is difficult, but also critically important. Shargrol who posts on the DhO and Awakenetwork writes a lot of great and very accessible stuff on morality in the context of insight practice.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/20/18 9:28 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
I was also assuming that he meant morality, because insight is probably hellish to go through if you have to face your own defence mechanisms and cognitive dissonanses and find out that they are intertwined with ill will and pretty much in control of your life. Also, there are a lot of temptations along the road.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/20/18 9:57 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I was also assuming that he meant morality, because insight is probably hellish to go through if you have to face your own defence mechanisms and cognitive dissonanses and find out that they are intertwined with ill will and pretty much in control of your life. Also, there are a lot of temptations along the road.

Yep, and those temptations just increase with more power and influence--everything gets magnified. Insight allows us to see all kinds of things, and then there is the increased energy available during A&Ps (people can be quite charistmatic) and the ability to recharge with jhana. Powerful stuff. And then increased influence if people take on teaching/mentorship/leadership roles. Even very sane, ethically grounded people can be seduced by temptation and make mistakes. People who are less sane and ethically grounded can turn into real train wrecks.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/20/18 11:34 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
Yup. I have realized that. I have only seen very small glimpses, but that is enough to convince me that I need to watch my steps carefully. I would rather keep cycling and going through dark night over and over than gaining powers that I’m not mature enough to handle, and I hope to keep that attitude.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/20/18 11:51 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
I think "character" does indeed refer to morality but it also includes our innate willingness to look at ourselves in an objective manner. This is something that's required of progressing along the path of insight. I think we could also call this "self-awareness" and it's a huge part of being able to awaken. Bringing our consciousness to this ability is in part responsible for what's called the "dark night" as we realize how we actually are as opposed to how we've always projected ourselves to be. Developing character is difficult, often depressing, angering and frustrating, and we all come to it from a different place along the spectrum self-awareness, making it harder or easier to do as we go along. 

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/20/18 1:33 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I think "character" does indeed refer to morality but it also includes our innate willingness to look at ourselves in an objective manner. This is something that's required of progressing along the path of insight. I think we could also call this "self-awareness" and it's a huge part of being able to awaken. Bringing our consciousness to this ability is in part responsible for what's called the "dark night" as we realize how we actually are as opposed to how we've always projected ourselves to be. Developing character is difficult, often depressing, angering and frustrating, and we all come to it from a different place along the spectrum self-awareness, making it harder or easier to do as we go along. 


If that is what dark night is about, I have definitely been there. For many reasons I have had to work with myself to be able to forgive myself for my weaknesses and be able to move forward, because I used to dwell in guilt and shame rather obsessively. The last years I have devoted to seeing my so called blind spots with regard to both privilege and internalized oppression. I have learned to welcome whatever new insights I can come by with regard to this, no matter how uncomfortable they are, and embrace them as opportunities for learning and growing and nurturing more responsible and compassionate behavior, without exhausting myself in a way that helps nobody. This is a neverending process. There is always room for growing.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/20/18 1:34 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I think "character" does indeed refer to morality but it also includes our innate willingness to look at ourselves in an objective manner. This is something that's required of progressing along the path of insight. I think we could also call this "self-awareness" and it's a huge part of being able to awaken. Bringing our consciousness to this ability is in part responsible for what's called the "dark night" as we realize how we actually are as opposed to how we've always projected ourselves to be. Developing character is difficult, often depressing, angering and frustrating, and we all come to it from a different place along the spectrum self-awareness, making it harder or easier to do as we go along. 

Oh heck yeah, self awareness is huge. And I think a big part of it is actively seeking out feedback from sane, mature others with strong ethics because we all have blind spots. The older I get, the more I cherish friends like this. For better and for worse, the behavior of the people we keep close tends to rub off on us.

And developing character IS painful and difficult. I am reminded of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, where Calvin's dad is always telling him that whatever is making him miserable builds character.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/20/18 2:04 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
I cherish friends like that, too, for the same reason, and because I need to be around them in order to retain my faith in humanity.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/20/18 6:07 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
What a beautiful and inspiring thread. I take deep comfort from the hard-won knowledge you are all sharing, because it is helping me answer the question that has been burning in me these past years: how can people (myself and others) be devoted to the path of awakening and still be so cruelly and willfully lacking in self-awareness? The myths of omniscience and perfection perpetuated by adolescent spirituality have caused so much confusion and misery to all concerned. Choosing to swim in ethical circles not only protects us but also makes these kinds of insights easier to access and to grasp. Thank you each for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/21/18 8:31 AM as a reply to JohnM.
JohnM:
What a beautiful and inspiring thread. I take deep comfort from the hard-won knowledge you are all sharing, because it is helping me answer the question that has been burning in me these past years: how can people (myself and others) be devoted to the path of awakening and still be so cruelly and willfully lacking in self-awareness? The myths of omniscience and perfection perpetuated by adolescent spirituality have caused so much confusion and misery to all concerned. Choosing to swim in ethical circles not only protects us but also makes these kinds of insights easier to access and to grasp. Thank you each for sharing your thoughts and experiences.
I think it was in Michael Taft's most recent Deconstructing Yourself interview with Shinzen Young "Why Good Teachers Go Bad" where they talked about how a lack of feedback controls lead to teacher misbehavior. If I remember correctly, Michael pointed out a similar thing with dictators whose wardrobes get progressively more bizarre and then everyone around them starts to wear the same ridiculous things. So not only is there a lack of self awareness, but a lack of others who have the guts to say outright "That hairstyle looks really dumb." If you surround yourself with yes-men, you'll never hear the uncomfortable stuff you need to grow.

Shinzen also talks about his own disastrous experience where things went wrong in his sangha because he'd ended up in a codependent relationship with the wrong person. Clearly, being awake doesn't mean you can't make some pretty bad decisions that can lead to suffering all around. Even the best, most ethical teachers surrounded by ethical people can and do make mistakes. Such is the painful reality of the human condition.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/22/18 12:34 PM as a reply to JohnM.
JohnM:
What a beautiful and inspiring thread. I take deep comfort from the hard-won knowledge you are all sharing, because it is helping me answer the question that has been burning in me these past years: how can people (myself and others) be devoted to the path of awakening and still be so cruelly and willfully lacking in self-awareness? The myths of omniscience and perfection perpetuated by adolescent spirituality have caused so much confusion and misery to all concerned. Choosing to swim in ethical circles not only protects us but also makes these kinds of insights easier to access and to grasp. Thank you each for sharing your thoughts and experiences.


And thank you! It’s nice to see that there are more people taking this issue seriously. I see a lot of people falling into the trap of privilege unawareness and disregard for people who do suffer. The world is not perfect the way it is, and oppression is not caused by the oppressed persons not loving themselves enough or not sending out the right vibes. If those who make such claims had more self awareness, they would probably choke on their fake glorias.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/22/18 12:36 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
I was thinking of that very episode as well. It’s a good one.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/22/18 3:47 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
Thanks for your response.  I recall being slightly annoyed by one of Shinzen Young's talks where he spent much more time meticulously defining his terms than he did actually using them.  But I can see his point and should have also asked what was meant by "madness."

It sounds like you're not talking about the type of psychosis that would get you diagnosed and medicated/hospitalized, and are not suggesting that morality improvement would help to mitigate that.  Thus far, I've found that insight keeps those episodes from being traumatic, but they still happen.  It would be nice if there were a way to prevent them altogether.

And yes, Shargrol's advice is fantastic!

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/23/18 6:16 AM as a reply to dave m.
dave m:
Thanks for your response.  I recall being slightly annoyed by one of Shinzen Young's talks where he spent much more time meticulously defining his terms than he did actually using them.  But I can see his point and should have also asked what was meant by "madness."

It sounds like you're not talking about the type of psychosis that would get you diagnosed and medicated/hospitalized, and are not suggesting that morality improvement would help to mitigate that.  Thus far, I've found that insight keeps those episodes from being traumatic, but they still happen.  It would be nice if there were a way to prevent them altogether.

And yes, Shargrol's advice is fantastic!

Yeah, I probably should have been more explicit. "Madness" comes in many flavors. What I discussed with this particular teacher in that conversation was megalomania and nihilism.

I've had a number of close calls with overt psychosis and mania over the years and fortunately have been able to self-regulate so as not to go over the edge, but it has sometimes been quite frightening. Hard to see how morality played any role--it has seemed more of a brain chemistry/practice intensity/cycle of insight thing. I think at this point I've just accepted it and gotten used to it and it just doesn't freak me out anymore. It definitely helps to have sane friends with deep practice and experience with altered states to check in with when things start to get super weird.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/24/18 1:25 PM as a reply to dave m.
dave m:


It sounds like you're not talking about the type of psychosis that would get you diagnosed and medicated/hospitalized, and are not suggesting that morality improvement would help to mitigate that.  Thus far, I've found that insight keeps those episodes from being traumatic, but they still happen.  It would be nice if there were a way to prevent them altogether.

Even not meditating can't prevent them altogether - they sometimes seem to hit people for no reason and no warning.

Morality can definitely help to mitigate them and make them less likely: for instance, as Andromeda points out, practice intensity can play a role, as can taking care of your body's needs. Here are my suggestions for avoiding psychosis, which also unfortunately conflict with many practice center rules and schedules, and which may also reduce practice intensity:

 * take care of your sleep needs: try to sleep 8-9 hours a day, even during retreat.
 * take care of your need for food: try to eat 3 meals a day, including meat and lots of carbs. (Restricted or intermittent fasting diets can cause people problems, especially women. For instance, not eating after noon is a form of intermittent fasting common at many retreat centers. Eating meat and lots of carbs can be very grounding and helpful to your body and I highly recommend it in general.)
 * take care of your need for exercise: get some walking, cardio, and weight lifting in every day or two.
 * take care of your need for sexual release: try to masturbate or have sex daily, or however often your body needs it.
 * take care of your need for rest: take frequent breaks in between meditation sessions.
 * take time to stay grounded: take a few minutes to talk to a close friend, read a book, go for a walk in the woods and hug a tree, play with a kid or animal, or whatever non-meditative activity helps refresh you and reconnect you with the real world.
 * avoid any kind of drugs, including caffeine in particular.

These all fall under morality.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/24/18 8:23 PM as a reply to Nick O.
Nick O:
J C

As far as the "strength of youth," the strength required here is ego strength, not physical strength, and I'm not sure youth provides an advantage there. Facing death seems to help some people face reality. And some people can't handle the dark night - isn't it wiser to first develop the strength to face it before diving into territory you can't handle?

Good point. But maybe instead of "strength" I could have chose "flexibility". Does it seem like people tend to become more stubborn and set in their ways as they grow older making the biggest "change" of all, acceptance of death, more difficult? Would a young person be more flexible to see the world in new yet potentially challenging and destabalizing ways?



aloha nick, jc,

   I must object to the idea that older folk are less flexible, or are stubborn and set in their ways. Besides, retired people are freer to try new things and have more time to meditate than your average wage slave caught up in sensual desire. They often have more money and goods, too, which increases flexibility.

   Accepting death comes more readily to older folk as they have less to lose. When I talk to young folks about buddhism, starting with the first noble truth that life involves suffering birth, sickness, old age and death, they typically tell me, yeah, but I won't have to worry about that for a long time. To older folks, sickness, old age and death are far more tangible. As bodies decline and social contacts fade, attachment to this body lessens for many, and death may even be welcomed. Older folk are challenged and destabilized as often as young folk and are forced to cope like anyone else, often with unique challenges. 

   Like any group, seniors run the gamut of individual capacities. Spirit has no age. 


terry



SAILING TO BYZANTIUM

BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS


I

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees,
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.


II

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.


III

O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.


IV

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/24/18 9:07 PM as a reply to J C.
[quote=J C

* take care of your need for food: try to eat 3 meals a day, including meat and lots of carbs. (Restricted or intermittent fasting diets can cause people problems, especially women. For instance, not eating after noon is a form of intermittent fasting common at many retreat centers. Eating meat and lots of carbs can be very grounding and helpful to your body and I highly recommend it in general.)] * take care of your need for exercise: get some walking, cardio, and weight lifting in every day or two.
 * take care of your need for sexual release: try to masturbate or have sex daily, or however often your body needs it.
 * take care of your need for rest: take frequent breaks in between meditation sessions.
 * take time to stay grounded: take a few minutes to talk to a close friend, read a book, go for a walk in the woods and hug a tree, play with a kid or animal, or whatever non-meditative activity helps refresh you and reconnect you with the real world.
 * avoid any kind of drugs, including caffeine in particular.

These all fall under morality.





aloha jc,

   You are serious, right? Maturbating regularly falls under morality, as does eating meat... and avoid all drugs, especially that terrible caffeine. The new precepts.

   LOL


terry

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/25/18 1:57 AM as a reply to terry.
Yes, terry, I am serious. The precepts and the realm of morality include the skillful use of sex, drugs, and food. These are my suggestions for how to skillfully deal with these areas of life to stay grounded on retreat to reduce the chance of psychosis.

I'm not sure what you find funny about it.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/25/18 9:46 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:
Yes, terry, I am serious. The precepts and the realm of morality include the skillful use of sex, drugs, and food. These are my suggestions for how to skillfully deal with these areas of life to stay grounded on retreat to reduce the chance of psychosis.

I'm not sure what you find funny about it.
And good suggestions they are. Not what I was thinking about in the context of the above discussion on character, but "care of the mammal" stuff like that absolutely counts as training in morality in the Theravada system.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/25/18 9:57 AM as a reply to J C.
I appreciate the promotion of healthy sexual release.

In my experience, repression of sexual urges has had no positive effect on insight or concentration. It typically only leads to unnecessary frustration. 

And on the morality side, acting on sensual desires that cause suffering to oneself or others is one thing. Regulating biology is another.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/25/18 1:37 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
For me, caring about the mammal in different ways has certainly been one important part of my morality training. I used to neglect it quite a lot, and that didn’t go well with regard to my moral aims. I was trying to be a better parent in ways that only made me unstable and irritable because I neglected my own needs for rest and routines that allowed me to eat properly, and so on. I went to a children’s psychologist to learn how to be more tuned into my son’s needs and learned that I needed to tune into my own needs much more than I had done. This was revolutionary to me and has benefitted all my relations for a decade now. If I take care of my own needs, I can be authentic in my interaction with others and meet their needs whole-heartedly with no resentment or other kinds of backlash, and I have enough energy to be there for them and to contribute to the world in general. I know so many people who struggle with this.

The balance is important, though. Taking care of oneself is not sufficient, of course. Compassion for all living things is essential, and that is a neverending quest. Understanding the mechanisms of oppression and privilege is something that I would put high on the curriculum, along with other aspects of power dynamics.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/25/18 2:34 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Understanding the mechanisms of oppression and privilege is something that I would put high on the curriculum, along with other aspects of power dynamics.

Now that would be a fascinating topic for a thread, especially as a discussion in the context of spiritual teachings.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
12/25/18 4:06 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
Andromeda:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Understanding the mechanisms of oppression and privilege is something that I would put high on the curriculum, along with other aspects of power dynamics.

Now that would be a fascinating topic for a thread, especially as a discussion in the context of spiritual teachings.



Indeed. During what I interpret as my dark night I struggled a lot with integrating the compassion I felt for everyone during A&P, including oppressors and abusers, with my compassion for the victims’ strongly felt need for validation of their experiences. I felt that I had let down vulnerable persons and groups in my ambition to include everybody in my compassion and love. It is important, I came to realize, not to contribute further to the belittling, normalizing and legitimizing of their suffering that is already occurring. Turning my focus to their perspective (or our perspective, depending on the issue) tipped over the balance to the other end of the spectrum, though. I came back to overidentifying with my emotions, resulting in bitterness and disgust with humanity’s dark sides, and anger morphing into ill-will. I felt that I had lost my direction and struggled to find a balance. These are complex issues. At the moment I think formulating the topic would be overwhelming,

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
1/10/19 5:06 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
On second thought, maybe I did avoid crossing the A&P as a teenager. I don’t know. Maybe the buzzing in my hands and other parts of by body making them feel numb was the beginning of A&P, and by quickly quitting meditation practice I avoided crossing it. In that case, it was probably for the best. I wouldn’t have been able to handle it back then. There were too many traumas to deal with. The typical Kundalini awakening happened about two decades later, culminating in a power blast upwards through my spine and exploding in my head, so avoiding it completely didn’t work. I didn’t meditate or practice yoga or anything back then. It was probably triggered by suffering. I did take up Kundalini yoga a few years after that, though, because the opportunity arose and I had googled what happened to me. Then I had another A&P, this time enjoying it (the first time was traumatic). The afterglow of it stuck for some time, which was wonderful. After that I have probably been stuck cycling the dark night territory most of the time until I got here and seemingly had a third A&P. Now I seem to be in dark night territory again, but being aware of it makes it so much easier.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
1/10/19 6:00 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

 Now I seem to be in dark night territory again, but being aware of it makes it so much easier.

And that is why the maps can be helpful--it's good to keep things in perspective. Nothing wrong with dark night territory; it's just a natural part of the human experience.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
1/10/19 6:24 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
Yup. And each phase of it is actually very transient, for good and for bad.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
1/10/19 7:56 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Yup. And each phase of it is actually very transient, for good and for bad.

Exactly. And every moment presents the opportunity to practice just resting in our experience, without trying to cling/push away/ignore. It might not be easy, but in some ways at least it's pretty simple!

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/18/19 1:53 PM as a reply to J C.
J C:
Yes, terry, I am serious. The precepts and the realm of morality include the skillful use of sex, drugs, and food. These are my suggestions for how to skillfully deal with these areas of life to stay grounded on retreat to reduce the chance of psychosis.

I'm not sure what you find funny about it.

aloha jc,

    You recommend, as moral, eating meat, masturbating, and avoiding caffeine. The first I would say is plain wrong, the second at best has nothing to do with morality, and the third is trivial.

   Morality, in buddhism, has nothing to do with christian/jewish guilt. The precepts were not designed for a healthy secular life, but for monks seriously interested in liberation. Taking the precepts was a special commitment by those who wished to "leave home" in all respects and dedicate themselves to the way. In the zen monastery, one master said, one may be silent for ten years and not be thought dumb. As lay practicioners, we integrate what we can of the precepts in our own lives.

   Eating meat is unhealthy, cruel, and bad for the environment. Any of these three considerations should be enough to put anyone off of eating flesh. I could elaborate at any length you like on these three contentions, but I can probably assume everyone is familiar with the arguments. And simply ignores them in pursuit of normative behavior; does the name pavlov ring a bell?

   Sex is always a big topic because christian morality has so influenced social mores. People feel so much guilt that it poisons sexual relationships. Masturbation can be a relief from pursuing or engaging in a healthy sexual relationship. People may get very defensive about it, not wanting to feel guilty over what is, after all, regular practice. And when they do form a sexual relationship, the regular practice of that sexuality easily becomes attachment. A stable sexual practice is self-calming and thus may seem to serve the ends we may seek in meditation of tranqulillity and relaxation. It might be good to keep in mind that the true end of practice is prajna, translated as "wisdom" but better thought of as ultimate insight. The buddha was awake. Sensuality, for the buddha, was like grasping a hot coal - one lets go immediately. Sex with another person transcends sexuality, it is a social act, and binding. For better or for worse. Masturbation has little redeeming social value and arguably degrades women through making a fantasy of femininity. One pays the penalty and doesn't get to commit the sin. I've been reading baudrillard's 'simulations and simulacra' which points out that even what we regard as "real life" is primarily simulated and unreal ('hyperreal' in baudrillard's terms). Masturbation puts even simulated sex at one remove. Paul simon's 'kodachrome': even the best of girls can't match our 'sweet imagination.' Such practices dull the appetite for sex - which I imagine is the point - and make it less likely that our urges will find their true outlet.

   As for caffeine... hawaii is the only state in the u.s. which actually grows coffee, and I have lived around the plant for several decades. My one main indulgence is getting my wholesale kona coffee ($20/lb, dr paulo's) and consuming a pot of it a day. That doesn't make it moral, of course, any more than your meat eating and masturbation are moral, it is just what I do. I like to think it helps me stay awake.


terry




love calls you by your name
(leonard cohen)

You thought that it could never happen
To all the people that you became,
Your body lost in legend, the beast so very tame.
But here, right here,
Between the birthmark and the stain,
Between the ocean and your open vein,
Between the snowman and the rain,
Once again, once again,
Love calls you by your name.

The women in your scrapbook
Whom you still praise and blame,
You say they chained you to your fingernails
And you climb the halls of fame.
Oh but here, right here,
Between the peanuts and the cage,
Between the darkness and the stage,
Between the hour and the age,
Once again, once again,
Love calls you by your name.

Shouldering your loneliness
Like a gun that you will not learn to aim,
You stumble into this movie house,
Then you climb, you climb into the frame.
Yes, and here, right here
Between the moonlight and the lane,
Between the tunnel and the train,
Between the victim and his stain,
Once again, once again,
Love calls you by your name.

I leave the lady meditating
On the very love which I, I do not wish to claim,
I journey down the hundred steps,
But the street is still the very same.
And here, right here,
Between the dancer and his cane,
Between the sailboat and the drain,
Between the newsreel and your tiny pain,
Once again, once again,
Love calls you by your name.

Where are you, Judy, where are you, Anne? 
Where are the paths your heroes came? 
Wondering out loud as the bandage pulls away,
Was I, was I only limping, was I really lame? 
Oh here, come over here,
Between the windmill and the grain,
Between the sundial and the chain,
Between the traitor and her pain,
Once again, once again,
Love calls you by your name.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/19/19 5:37 AM as a reply to terry.
For some health issues meat may be necessary for survival, which is of course very unfortunate. I stayed away from meat for 13 years but then encountered complicated food allergies and intolerances. I look forward to the development of alternatives that my body tolerates. If it were just me, I would perhaps not be as bothered by poor health, but I have a child.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/20/19 1:38 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
aloha polly,

   There are, of course, myriad social pressures involved in consuming the national diet. Advertising particularly targets children. A recent study of five year olds determined that fried potatoes in a macdonald's wrapper "tasted better" to the keikis than the same product in a neutral but similarly colored package. Thus the pavlov reference.

   Of course we tell ourselves whatever justifies our behavior.

   Eating healthy is not a matter of dieting. Fresh food and vegetables don't cause indigestion. One can hardly eat healthy food prepared in a restaurant. It takes little time to nuke a fresh vegetable at home. Plain food becomes very palatable when you allow yourself to be a little hungry.

   I raised children and they ate what they liked, but they didn't eat or keep meat in my home. I sympathize with raising a child in an environment that sees meat eating as normal and tasty. I know we all do the best we can. Many of us have too many other pressing problems to be overnice about what we eat. That's fine.

   But think of the poor sentient beings who are frightened, tortured and killed; if you can. Think of the children you raise as perpetuating this horror. Try think of a world in which animals are respected, loved, cared for. Animal shelters, animal hospitals, nature reserves where all the animals are "tame." Including us.


terry




POOR COW
(Tanita Tikaram)


Today is my birthday
I stay outside the hall
Inside sit the butterflies
For the butterfly ball

All the boys are graded now
They come in their white socks, flat tops
And somehow they find a place
All the boys are winning now
They play all the tricks with smiles
And a sorry past
For poor cow

Their own room
And winter tales
Never touched these girls before
They hear the car stereo
And know what life is for

All the boys are weary now
listening to the family sing song
Family say so
Must carve, must carve poor cow
Slice her, slice her up, poor cow
Slice her, slice her up, poor cow
Slice her, slice her up, poor cow

Today is my birthday
I stay outside the hall
Inside sit the butterflies
For the butterfly ball

Songwriters: Tanita Tikaram


   

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/20/19 2:13 PM as a reply to terry.
I can’t eat in restaurants, ever. I get zonked out even by half a cup of green tea. There are very few foods that I can eat without getting zonked out.

Don’t you think I think of the poor animals getting slaughtered (or rather hunted)? Of course I do that. Do you think of all the poor animals that suffer because of the computor/phone you use? I do that too. We are all doing harm regardless of our intentions. Meat is no luxury for me. I would rather not need it, but it allows me to survive and be a parent to my child. You can try to make me feel guilty as much as you like, but I suggest you focus on your own life instead. Judging is not good for your heart.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/20/19 2:22 PM as a reply to terry.
 Animal shelters, animal hospitals, nature reserves where all the animals are "tame." Including us.

This view of the natural world seems quite romanticized to me. Animals kill and eat each other often. 

Just sayin'

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/21/19 1:29 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I can’t eat in restaurants, ever. I get zonked out even by half a cup of green tea. There are very few foods that I can eat without getting zonked out.

Don’t you think I think of the poor animals getting slaughtered (or rather hunted)? Of course I do that. Do you think of all the poor animals that suffer because of the computor/phone you use? I do that too. We are all doing harm regardless of our intentions. Meat is no luxury for me. I would rather not need it, but it allows me to survive and be a parent to my child. You can try to make me feel guilty as much as you like, but I suggest you focus on your own life instead. Judging is not good for your heart.

aloha linda,

   If I said anything that you took personally, I am sorry. I'll try not to let it happen again.

terry

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/21/19 1:58 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
 Animal shelters, animal hospitals, nature reserves where all the animals are "tame." Including us.

This view of the natural world seems quite romanticized to me. Animals kill and eat each other often. 

Just sayin'

aloha chris,

   These things currently exist and are necessarily being expanded. We have such institutions in hawaii, particularly for marine mammals. Consider that there are 7.5 billion people in the world, and only a few hundred thousand elephants. Do the math.

terry



The Elephant - Poem by Gautama Buddha


Silently shall I endure abuse as the elephant in battle endures
the arrow sent from the bow: for the world is ill-natured.
They lead a tamed elephant to battle, the king mounts a tamed
elephant; the tamed is the best among men, he who silently endures abuse.

Mules are good, if tamed, and noble Sindhu horses, and elephants
with large tusks; but he who tames himself is better still.

For with these animals does no man reach the untrodden country
(Nirvana), where a tamed man goes on a tamed animal, viz. on his own well-tamed self.

The elephant called Dhanapalaka, his temples running with sap,
and difficult to hold, does not eat a morsel when bound; the elephant
longs for the elephant grove.

If a man becomes fat and a great eater, if he is sleepy and rolls
himself about, that fool, like a hog fed on wash, is born again and again.

This mind of mine went formerly wandering about as it liked, as
it listed, as it pleased; but I shall now hold it in thoroughly, as
the rider who holds the hook holds in the furious elephant.

Be not thoughtless, watch your thoughts! Draw yourself out of
the evil way, like an elephant sunk in mud.

If a man find a prudent companion who walks with him, is wise,
and lives soberly, he may walk with him, overcoming all dangers,
happy, but considerate.

If a man find no prudent companion who walks with him, is wise,
and lives soberly, let him walk alone, like a king who has left his
conquered country behind,-like an elephant in the forest.

It is better to live alone, there is no companionship with a
fool; let a man walk alone, let him commit no sin, with few wishes,
like an elephant in the forest.

If an occasion arises, friends are pleasant; enjoyment is
pleasant, whatever be the cause; a good work is pleasant in the hour
of death; the giving up of all grief is pleasant.

Pleasant in the world is the state of a mother, pleasant the
state of a father, pleasant the state of a Samana, pleasant the state of a Brahmana.

Pleasant is virtue lasting to old age, pleasant is a faith firmly
rooted; pleasant is attainment of intelligence, pleasant is avoiding of sins. 

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/21/19 2:51 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Animals kill and eat each other often. 

In fact, there are even animal suffering researchers who've come to the conclusion that wild animals suffer much more than domesticated ones: https://www.wildanimalinitiative.org/ 

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/21/19 5:42 PM as a reply to terry.
terry:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I can’t eat in restaurants, ever. I get zonked out even by half a cup of green tea. There are very few foods that I can eat without getting zonked out.

Don’t you think I think of the poor animals getting slaughtered (or rather hunted)? Of course I do that. Do you think of all the poor animals that suffer because of the computor/phone you use? I do that too. We are all doing harm regardless of our intentions. Meat is no luxury for me. I would rather not need it, but it allows me to survive and be a parent to my child. You can try to make me feel guilty as much as you like, but I suggest you focus on your own life instead. Judging is not good for your heart.

aloha linda,

   If I said anything that you took personally, I am sorry. I'll try not to let it happen again.

terry


No worries. I haven’t been susceptible to guilt tripping - intentional or unintentional - for a very long time. I know that I avoid doing harm to the best of my ability. I just wanted to add the nuances, because I know I’m not the only one who is bounded by serious health issues. The world isn’t black and white. Assuming ignorance or egotism as soon as somebody fails to live up to an ideal or a moral code is overly simplistic. This is meant as a general caveat to a common problem, nothing personal. I think this is actually what that dharma passage on rites and rituals refers to.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/22/19 10:28 AM as a reply to terry.
aloha chris,

   These things currently exist and are necessarily being expanded. We have such institutions in hawaii, particularly for marine mammals. Consider that there are 7.5 billion people in the world, and only a few hundred thousand elephants. Do the math.

I'm hoping we can preserve the wild, not capture and curate it.

emoticon




RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/22/19 1:08 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
aloha chris,

   These things currently exist and are necessarily being expanded. We have such institutions in hawaii, particularly for marine mammals. Consider that there are 7.5 billion people in the world, and only a few hundred thousand elephants. Do the math.

I'm hoping we can preserve the wild, not capture and curate it.

emoticon




RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/22/19 1:13 PM as a reply to terry.
terry:
Chris Marti:
aloha chris,

   These things currently exist and are necessarily being expanded. We have such institutions in hawaii, particularly for marine mammals. Consider that there are 7.5 billion people in the world, and only a few hundred thousand elephants. Do the math.

I'm hoping we can preserve the wild, not capture and curate it.

emoticon




aloha chris,

   Now there is a romantic notion...

terry


(one of hawaii's all time favorite songs)

Big Yellow Taxi
(joni mitchell)

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
'Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
And they charged all the people
A dollar and a half to see 'em
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
'Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And they put up a parking lot
Hey farmer farmer
Put away that D.D.T. now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees
Please
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
'Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi
Took away my old man
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
'Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
'Till it's gone
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/22/19 3:18 PM as a reply to terry.
Hell yes it is! Hope itself is a romantic notion.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/23/19 2:13 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Hell yes it is! Hope itself is a romantic notion.

aloha chris,

   Hope is essentially erotic, yes. One has hope when one has no reasonable expectation: after all, you might get lucky.

   There is no wilderness left, no wild places. One time I lived in wallowa county, in the northeast corner of oregon, next to the snake river and idaho's hell's canyon and its imposing seven devils. We used to range across idaho nearly to montana through one "wilderness" after another, in an area known as the river of no return, the salmon, and up bargamin creek. We ate fish out of season and scavenged oats from horse camps, spending weeks wandering the trails. Everywhere we went the hand of man had set foot.

   In wallowa county there are large herds of wapiti, the truly great elk of the northwest, often the size of camels, though timid (unlike the dangerous bull moose). The county is roughly square, sixty miles on a side, with mountains, valleys and rivers. Beautiful, beautiful country. Home to around seven thousand people. We lived in a cabin 15 miles out of the county seat of enterprise, oregon, along whisky creek, and were locally known as the whisky creek gang. Carol worked as waitress/hostess at the circle t ranch cafe and fireplace lounge, where a shootout did not necessarily lead to arrests if nothing significant was hit. I planted trees for the forest circus. Carol would get up at 2 am to fire up the wood stove to make me coffee and breakfast and I would be out shortly after 3 am for the long trudge to the county road so as to be at work by dawn. The rest of the gang collected unemployment.

   Every year in the fall, the population would swell dramatically, as 35,000 'portland hunters' - we called them all 'portland hunters' - would descend on the county in their campers to "hunt" elk. The fish and game guys took a break from harassing the local farmers all year and officiated the "hunt." Tickets were sold - there was a lottery, as more hunters wanted elk than were elk - and 35k lucky winners showed up for the harvest. Only 17% actually bagged an elk; they were the ones who hired a local guide. The local guides used salt licks and selective feeding to concentrate the elk precisely where they wanted them, though it was amazing how few cows you saw during cow season and how few bulls during bull season. The animals aren't stupid. Can't say as much for the hunters: local farmers would spray paint c - o - w on the sides of their cows but still lost a few every year to over eager shooters. Living in the woods, we found the worst thing was that hunters don't use binoculars to locate game, they peer down their rifle scopes. This is very disconcerting and makes you want to peer down your rifle back at them, in self defense. Or spray paint h - u - m - a - n on our bodies. The hunters generally shot a couple of their own number every season. We thought that only fair.

   I used to know some folks who lived in the yaak river valley in northwest montana, super rugged and beautiful. Between fighting the local mining interests who were doing truly horrible things to the land, they struggled with "bad bears." The powers that be at jellystone park had decided that the yaak river valley would be a good place to "relocate" (that is, "dump") so-called "bad" grizzly bears from the national park, bears who had learned to raid camps and steal food from careless humans. The yaak valley was deemed "wild" enough to absorb "a few" bears into the "natural ecosystem." This then become the local residents problem, as no such ecosystem exists. 

   The trimates, leakey's angels birute galdikas, dian fossey and jane goodall each wrote wonderful books about the most remote areas of the world, heart-breaking in their revelation of the ongoing brutality and destruction taking place in the few remaining enclaves where rare animals still exist in their vulnerable fragility. 

   Even the oceans no longer have natural ecosystems: they are being systematically strip-mined of their protein by voracious long-liners. Governments still - in the guise of "management" - compete to see who can haul out the most fish. Many fish stocks are over 90% depleted. 

   "Benign neglect" is not only inadequate, it is a joke: environments are still being exploited hand over fist. The designation "wilderness" actually means "park" as in westworld style exploitation.

   So..."hope"? I think hope is an endangered species, just about hunted out.


terry

   


Hope - Poem by Friedrich Schiller


We speak with the lip, and we dream in the soul,
Of some better and fairer day;
And our days, the meanwhile, to that golden goal
Are gliding and sliding away.
Now the world becomes old, now again it is young,
But "The better" 's forever the word on the tongue.

At the threshold of life hope leads us in--
Hope plays round the mirthful boy;
Though the best of its charms may with youth begin,
Yet for age it reserves its toy. 


   

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/23/19 2:53 PM as a reply to terry.
 There is no wilderness left, no wild places.

Maybe this depends on how you think about "wilderness."

When I leave for work in the morning it's still dark. As I drive through my neighborhood (in a suburban area) I have to be careful to avoid the deer as they forage for greens among the houses and parks. The deer have to be careful to avoid the coyotes roaming around, looking for a fawn or lame deer to take down, maybe even a cat or a small dog. My neighbor's dog, a small white terrier, was nabbed one day a few years ago by a hawk circling over our neighborhood. There are more skunks, raccoons, and opossums in this area than there are family pets. I know because I see can observe them in the security camera behind my garage, in the alley.

That said, have you ever been to Alaska? To the Steppes of Asia? To the Brazilian jungle? There are humans just about everywhere, but that's been the case for many thousands of years. A small human presence doesn't mean a place isn't still a wilderness. On the flip side, we've managed to screw up a lot of places so much that the native non-human species have been pushed out, even sent into extinction. That makes me very, very sad.

Peace, buddy.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/26/19 12:53 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
 There is no wilderness left, no wild places.

Maybe this depends on how you think about "wilderness."

When I leave for work in the morning it's still dark. As I drive through my neighborhood (in a suburban area) I have to be careful to avoid the deer as they forage for greens among the houses and parks. The deer have to be careful to avoid the coyotes roaming around, looking for a fawn or lame deer to take down, maybe even a cat or a small dog. My neighbor's dog, a small white terrier, was nabbed one day a few years ago by a hawk circling over our neighborhood. There are more skunks, raccoons, and opossums in this area than there are family pets. I know because I see can observe them in the security camera behind my garage, in the alley.

That said, have you ever been to Alaska? To the Steppes of Asia? To the Brazilian jungle? There are humans just about everywhere, but that's been the case for many thousands of years. A small human presence doesn't mean a place isn't still a wilderness. On the flip side, we've managed to screw up a lot of places so much that the native non-human species have been pushed out, even sent into extinction. That makes me very, very sad.

Peace, buddy.


   Wa aleikum salaam, my friend.

   If it is a matter of perspective, then it depends on whether humans are considered a part of "wild" nature. Thre is no known ecosystem on this planet in which humans are not implicated. The icecaps are melting. In fifty years there will be no beaches, no reefs. The more you look into it, the more bleak the picture gets. Our "progress" in domesticating the earth has led to a huge population surge which is ongoing and obviously unsustainable. At some point enough people will become convinced that the situation amounts to a crisis and steps will be taken to secure a future for life (as we know it) on our planet. It may be that the transition to a sustainable future will be somewhat traumatic. If we are concerned about human sufering, and that of all sentient beings, it might be wise to confront this situation sooner rather than later. The alternatives being mindless materialism and heedless consumption.

   Don't be sad, bra. Be awake. We are pushing life itself to extinction, in our greed for life. Other species have gone extinct often enough, it could happen to us. Call it karma. When all the protein has been consumed but us, it will be soylent green time. Or back to "nature, red in tooth and claw." Unless we as a species develop the collective political will to secure a future for ourselves. And some semblance of humanity.

terry




if dogs run free
(bob dylan)

If dogs run free, then why not we
Across the swooping plain?
My ears hear a symphony
Of two mules, trains and rain
The best is always yet to come
That's what they explain to me
Just do your thing, you'll be king
If dogs run free
If dogs run free, why not me
Across the swamp of time?
My mind weaves a symphony
And tapestry of rhyme
Oh, winds which rush my tale to thee
So it may flow and be
To each his own, it's all unknown
If dogs run free
If dogs run free, then what must be
Must be, and that is all
True love can make a blade of grass
Stand up straight and tall
In harmony with the cosmic sea
True love needs no company
It can cure the soul, it can make it whole
If dogs run free




I started Early - Took my Dog -
(emily dickinson)

I started Early - Took my Dog -
And visited the Sea –
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me –

And Frigates – in the Upper Floor
Extended Hempen Hands –
Presuming Me to be a Mouse –
Aground – upon the Sands –

But no Man moved Me – till the Tide
Went past my simple Shoe –
And past my Apron – and my Belt
And past my Boddice – too –

And made as He would eat me up –
As wholly as a Dew
Upon a Dandelion's Sleeve –
And then – I started – too –

And He – He followed – close behind –
I felt His Silver Heel
Upon my Ancle – Then My Shoes
Would overflow with Pearl –

Until We met the Solid Town –
No One He seemed to know –
And bowing – with a Mighty look –
At me – The Sea withdrew –

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/26/19 12:48 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
 There is no wilderness left, no wild places.

Maybe this depends on how you think about "wilderness." 


darkest suburbia is a wilderness of sorts...

t

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/26/19 12:55 PM as a reply to terry.
What is "darkest suburbia?" Or is that just where I live?  emoticon

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/26/19 2:16 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
What is "darkest suburbia?" Or is that just where I live?  emoticon

aloha chris,

   I wouldn't say anything about where you live; you might take it personally. And get mad. Which would ruin our fine conversations. Plus, I don't know where you live. I'm sure it is very nice, if you say so.

  What I meant regarding "darkest suburbia" referred to what one may perceive as a "wilderness." Urban environments set my teeth on edge and I spend little time in those. I find most sub-urban environments depressingly similar in america, your choice of burgers and an infinite variety of cereals, as long as they are oats, corn, rice and wheat. The illusion of choice, everything locked down to ensure the maximum profit of the giant corporation. Virtually nothing resembling creativity or natural exuberance, nothing actually spontaneously human but all simulated; fake people doing fake things in a fake way.  Take the freeway of your choice to the mall of your choice. Food made in laboratories, scented and colored and flavored to make you fat and unhealthy and stupid. Cars all look the same, ditto the people. Deer in the headlights and raccoons in the garbage notwithstanding. "Darkest suburbia" refers to no light anywhere, just depressed people harming themselves and their environment. Neighbors despising neighbors and burrowing deeper into their cocoons. Poor people and wealthy people may be idiosyncratic individuals, but the middle class in north america are depressingly depressed, all miserably the same, and this is reflected in the way they live. Of course I am generalizing: I am sure you, your friends, neighbors and fellow citizens are all happy and successful, or nearly so. Life is good, right; so we tell ourselves. At least for the bourgeoisie. 

   Note that we don't have anything like suburbia on the big island, where I live. Just towns and country. And I live in the country; cows and chickens and fruit trees and such. Suburban "wildlife" may remind you of the natural world but they remind me of how marginalized the natural world has become. How degraded and unnatural; sick and dying. The poor and the animals - the marginalized -  living on garbage and browsing poisoned and polluted roadside foliage.

   If the woods is home to animals (and people like me), suburbia is their/our  wilderness. A place where nature meets nightmare. If an animal intrudes, call an exterminator.

   I'm a part of this society too. I'm not talking about guilt or blame. Just clear vision, mindfulness; being awake. Morality involves doing good, and doing good involves having a sense of what is good for all. I think people could live harmoniously with animals. Rather than domesticate the few remaining species, we could become somewhat more naturally human; "wilder" so to speak. Animals are actually better at interspecies cooperation than we are, they don't try to enslave each other. Animals live "off the grid." It used to amaze me living in the woods how humans tend to congregate in towns, in the midst of noise, stink and effluvia. All the available natural beauty around them and they live cheek by jowl, in rows and boxes, shut off from sunshine and air. Why not live out with the deer and the coyotes, it wouldn't be too far. If I lived in your neighborhood, I would be outside peering in, like the animals. Uncomfortable and often terrified.

   Darkest suburbia.

   Lastly, even when people develop good intentions, they generally do the wrong thing. We have a group here on the island called 'the advocats,' whose kuleana is to feed and water the feral cats which plague some of our parks. Cats are lazy and if you feed them they don't bother the other animals. I have seen juvenile mongooses run right over cats paws to get at the cat food first, and the cats are perfectly content to wait their turns, knowing they will get theirs. Even though the little creatures are just the size of the cats' "natural" prey. While this cooperation indicates that perhaps someday the lion may be made to lay down with the lamb, feeding these creatures leads to a huge bloom in population which the advocats seem to believe can be dealt with by trapping and neutering but that isn't working and won't work. It will take a lot of akamai thinking to really manage animal populations soundly, but there are people thinking about it and working on it here; a few but vocal. The island is a laboratory of sorts, where many variables may be controlled that cannot be on the mainland.


and again peace,
terry

   

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/26/19 3:06 PM as a reply to terry.
Of course I am generalizing: I am sure you, your friends, neighbors and fellow citizens are all happy and successful, or nearly so. Life is good, right; so we tell ourselves. At least for the bourgeoisie. 

This is interesting and yes, you're generalizing. One can not prefer, even wish to avoid, a style of living and yet not go out of their way to criticize it, mischaracterize it and generalize about the human beings who live there. On the other hand, one can not prefer a style of living and do the opposite. Of course, I actually do get where you're coming from. I grew up in a very rural place, with just woods, fields, mountains, and some small towns. I've lived in many places since then; urban, suburban, country. I think they all have their draws and drawbacks. I wouldn't assume that people in any of those environments were happy or unhappy, successful or unsuccessful, bourgeois or not bourgeois. I think people generally make choices about where to live based on a number of factors, but they are usually making choices.

Why would I get mad? These are your opinions and you are entitled to hold them.

Best of luck, terry.

emoticon

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/27/19 5:09 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Of course I am generalizing: I am sure you, your friends, neighbors and fellow citizens are all happy and successful, or nearly so. Life is good, right; so we tell ourselves. At least for the bourgeoisie. 

This is interesting and yes, you're generalizing. One can not prefer, even wish to avoid, a style of living and yet not go out of their way to criticize it, mischaracterize it and generalize about the human beings who live there. On the other hand, one can not prefer a style of living and do the opposite. Of course, I actually do get where you're coming from. I grew up in a very rural place, with just woods, fields, mountains, and some small towns. I've lived in many places since then; urban, suburban, country. I think they all have their draws and drawbacks. I wouldn't assume that people in any of those environments were happy or unhappy, successful or unsuccessful, bourgeois or not bourgeois. I think people generally make choices about where to live based on a number of factors, but they are usually making choices.

Why would I get mad? These are your opinions and you are entitled to hold them.

Best of luck, terry.

emoticon

aloha chris,

   Why indeed; but thanks for not getting mad anyway. I try to avoid expressing opinions but sometimes they get away from me. I wasn't going out of my way to mischaracterize and criticize, as you personalize it. You asked and I responded. You are certainly entitled to disagree, if not to mischaracterize and criticize.

   I perhaps should have said, "conventional people doing conventional things in a conventional way" rather than saying "fake," but the sense is the same. That they are miserable and depressed only follows from the 4 NTs. The homogeneity of suburban life is hard to refute, as I see it.

   I am open minded as to whether humans can be considered a part of "wild" nature, or not. If dogs run free, so do we. You seem to disagree with whatever I say. Perhaps that is the real point.

terry

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/27/19 5:29 PM as a reply to terry.
I wasn't going out of my way to mischaracterize and criticize, as you personalize it.

I just described it, terry. The words were yours. Anyway, it's the past - impermanence has struck again.

emoticon


RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/28/19 7:14 AM as a reply to terry.
terry:
Chris Marti:
 There is no wilderness left, no wild places.

Maybe this depends on how you think about "wilderness."

When I leave for work in the morning it's still dark. As I drive through my neighborhood (in a suburban area) I have to be careful to avoid the deer as they forage for greens among the houses and parks. The deer have to be careful to avoid the coyotes roaming around, looking for a fawn or lame deer to take down, maybe even a cat or a small dog. My neighbor's dog, a small white terrier, was nabbed one day a few years ago by a hawk circling over our neighborhood. There are more skunks, raccoons, and opossums in this area than there are family pets. I know because I see can observe them in the security camera behind my garage, in the alley.

That said, have you ever been to Alaska? To the Steppes of Asia? To the Brazilian jungle? There are humans just about everywhere, but that's been the case for many thousands of years. A small human presence doesn't mean a place isn't still a wilderness. On the flip side, we've managed to screw up a lot of places so much that the native non-human species have been pushed out, even sent into extinction. That makes me very, very sad.

Peace, buddy.


   Wa aleikum salaam, my friend.

   If it is a matter of perspective, then it depends on whether humans are considered a part of "wild" nature. Thre is no known ecosystem on this planet in which humans are not implicated.

Absolutely. Anthropogenic CO2 is integrated into the entire life cycle of all organisms, and some of the geology of the planet. You would be hard pressed to find something unaffected since the birth of agriculture.

Also, to categorise humanity as seperate from the "wild" you would have to point to whatever distinguishes human civilized from wild organism behaviour, which is impossible without a large amount of fudging.

Finally, for those with no self-boundaries any more - differences between anything are something of a moot point.

The only candidate for untouched wilderness I can think of is the deep biosphere, microrgansims living deep in the earth's crust. They might not have got the message yet.

Which doesn't mean the Great Outdoors isn't fabulous, inspiring and health supporting. It is.

But I think preserving the (so called) wilderness is actually a civilised pursuit, and the process of destroying it is often wild and lawless.

Look at all the planning, bureaucracy and control that goes into preserving wilderness, and do a web search for "oil company, rainforest, lawless".

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/28/19 7:23 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
But I think preserving the (so called) wilderness is actually a civilised pursuit, and the process of destroying it is often wild and lawless. 

I'm certainly in full agreement with this.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/28/19 7:48 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
But I think preserving the (so called) wilderness is actually a civilised pursuit, and the process of destroying it is often wild and lawless. 

I'm certainly in full agreement with this.
The conversation around conservation seems to be built on dubious categories, in the general public sphere anyway. Academia has plenty of debate about social constructivist ideas of wilderness and other such scepticisms, but that's not what people generally talk about.
In either case, what people call wilderness is generally worth preserving.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/28/19 8:19 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Stickman2:
Chris Marti:
But I think preserving the (so called) wilderness is actually a civilised pursuit, and the process of destroying it is often wild and lawless. 

I'm certainly in full agreement with this.
The conversation around conservation seems to be built on dubious categories, in the general public sphere anyway. Academia has plenty of debate about social constructivist ideas of wilderness and other such scepticisms, but that's not what people generally talk about.
In either case, what people call wilderness is generally worth preserving.



I believe Berger and Luckmann who invented the concept of social constructions in the sixties would agree with you, Stickman2. I have personally heard Thomas Luckmann detest what has become of the concept in many debates. I agree too. The concept was never intended for making matters of life and death for so many species an intellectual playground.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/29/19 5:08 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I wasn't going out of my way to mischaracterize and criticize, as you personalize it.

I just described it, terry. The words were yours. Anyway, it's the past - impermanence has struck again.

emoticon


aloha chris,


   Actually, I was just describing, and you were mischaracterizing and criticizing. 

   There is a difference between opinion and description. I described my feelings, not judgments about people (and you kept asking). It is like the difference between "I feel bullied" and "you are a bully" - the first is description and the second is opinion. You did not address my contentions, only what you took as my aggression, particularly as it was "out of my way." Ad hominem.

   Just saying. 

   When in rome...quis custodiet ipsos custodes?


equal rights, and justice, (laughs),
and moderation...
terry

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/29/19 5:34 PM as a reply to terry.
Condemnant quo nonintellegunt   emoticon

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/29/19 6:15 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
[quote=Stickman2

]Finally, for those with no self-boundaries any more - differences between anything are something of a moot point.


aloha stick man,

   For those with no self boundaries, there is no difference between being an ordinary person and being a zen master.

   Rinzai often described himself as an ordinary person, "a true man of no status." Un homme sans affaires. When speaking of the dharma with others he would speak of "this lone brightness here listening to the dharma." Buddha nature, perhaps.

   Does buddha nature have self boundaries? Do you know? Can you hazard a guess?

terry
   

tao te ching, trans feng


13.

Accept disgrace willingly. 
Accept misfortune as the human condition.

What do you mean by "Accept disgrace willingly"? 
Accept being unimportant. 
Do not be concerned with loss or gain. 
This is called "accepting disgrace willingly."

What do you mean by "Accept misfortune as the human condition"? 
Misfortune comes from having a body. 
Without a body, how could there be misfortune?

Surrender yourself humbly; then you can be trusted to care for all things. 
Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things.

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/29/19 6:16 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Condemnant quo nonintellegunt   emoticon


illegitimati non carborundum...

(wink)

RE: Avoiding ever crossing the A&P
Answer
3/30/19 12:17 AM as a reply to J C.
I regarded the "better never to have begun" business as just an additional signpost warning the reader of the seriousness of the matter. It's hard sometimes, don't say I didn't warn ya, etc. Maybe that's not how it is intended, but that's how it struck me.