We Bless this Food

“Earth, water, fire, air and space combine to make this food.
Numberless beings gave their lives and labor that we may eat.
May we be nourished that we may nourish life.”
(learned at Upaya)

Dog Park Diary 120530

Dog Park Diary – 120529

Dog Park Diary 120528

We settle into a routine. To the dog park three times a day if we are home all day. Bitsy checks out all the smells, does her business, chases away any rabbits, and then comes to me (I’m trying to practice meditation), sits, gazes into my downcast eyes and whines for me to find another dog for her to play with. Perhaps it is a combination of my meditation and hers — this one was a doozy. She hadn’t been off the leash for two days, and when we got back to our cozy little home Bitsy required her first ever bath. Our cozy (etc) nevertheless smells vaguely of New Mexico dust whenever Bitsy sets foot inside.

We also paid off Two Bears for fixing all the plumbing in the trailer (except the toilet which was already pretty new and the hot water heater that I do not dare think about turning on). Now Two Bears has gone of to Silver City to fight the fires and I think every thing is AOK except my rear view mirrors.

And I got a little more serious about photographing cactus flowers.

Sunday evening realized that the two most important things I have written about are: levels of orgsnization and emergent properties, so I spent all morning reorganizing this blog so people can find them. I think you will now find these listed under the categories to the left,which will take you to all that I have written on the blog on that subject. It makes an interesting flow if you start in 2009 and work through. I printed them all out so I could maybe write a summary.

Dog Park Diary 130527 We Had FUN

But this morning we were met at the dog park by a little thing as big as Bitsy’s foot, She so wanted to play. It would be like you playing with an elephant. Risky if you don’t know each other.

And besides that, although Bitsy may not have fully appreciated sitting in the car, the meeting of the Upaya local Sangha was excellent and gave me one really core idea for future Bare Bones Biology spots and the new book. 🙂

Compassion is not Enough

Compassion is not enough.


Is this not the best imagery you have ever seen? Sent by a friend in Berkeley to whom this reality is a great tragedy, and rightly so, but I think the tragedy might not be exactly where we are looking, so i answered (below).

If people would (open their eyes) to understand how the ecosystem works and how much more magnificent it is than any human achievement, and how easy it would be to avoid what we are doing to it. But in fact, that’s not how evolution works, and we are an evolutionarily unfit species. So, all through the history of earth every one and every thing has died so that life may live. That’s only tragic if one doesn’t understand the magnificence of life itself — or if one thinks man kind should be in charge. I mean except for me and you; we worked hard to make something better so it seems tragic, but evolution didn’t think it WAS better — probably because we are not a species that uses our brain to work together for the common welfare. So to those of us who tried to do that, it seems tragic because we failed to get the rest of us to come along. But because we did fail and they didn’t come along, that suggests it’s not tragic that our species self-destructs. Better than destroying every last living thing. Whatever causes the least amount of suffering.

Dog Park Diary 120526

Yesterday I was too late for the noontime meditation at Upaya, so I sat in the sunny, breezy courtyard and more or less meditated until everyone came out about 1:00, when I discovered I was too early for the meditation lesson which was at three. So I got a great tour of the place, including a fine library, some home made cookies and the trail out back, where Bitsy and I explored with our plastic bag and picked up after several previous dogs. We are DEFINITELY going back there, and with camera. Maybe Monday we (I) will do the morning meditation and follow up with a little hike. My body without chemicals is very much better able to do things like that, even my knees and feet.

Also learned why my right shoulder blade muscle hurts when I meditate, and I tend to fall back. I think it’s the same reason I never could sit “properly” in dressage. My center of gravity is farther forward than it is supposed to be if I were normal, and the cushion is too low. But I can’t get my cushion higher because it pushes my feet out in front of me and then I can’t balance. And I think their chairs are too high to get my feet on the floor flat, which I assume means my legs are also abnormal — so that is my challenge for the weekend. Either I must learn to be normal or devise my own sort of cushion. It would be higher and U shaped, with the inside of the U for my feet and the arms (lower than the seat) for my knees. Then I could give back David’s cushion.

So then I got invited to lunch and had a really nice conversation about not being satisfied with the answers given by various religions.

“The real Dharma says: ‘If you can say – it’s like that,’ then you’re stuck. You’re hiding behind concepts, trying to get security, and you want it to be like that. That is one of the major habitual patterns. We WANT it to be like that – or like this – but not uncertain. But actually the more you contemplate and reflect on the Dharma, the more you are stepping into paradox. . . You have to find out for yourself. What is he relevance of these teachings? How can your life right now, with the job you have, and your history and experiences in the dog park (no she didn’t say that last bit), how can that become the path of awakening? How can that become a transformative experience? The very life you have, the very body and mind that you have right now.” Pema Chodron, Getting Unstuck

What else is there to do?

Excellent lunch. I really like their pre-lunch mantra, that I will get for us whenever I remember, and then they have silence for a time until a clapper sounds and everyone can talk.

Smoke from the fires in Silver City area continues to invade and is not pleasant but does not give me scary medical symptoms like the chemicals do, and is really quite beautiful. I remember the first day of the Bastrop fire I came over the hill (not knowing there was a fire) and saw the patterns in the sky. Slammed on the breaks and stopped to photograph. And I remember once in Montana. Awestruck.

Bitsy spends a lot of time on leash. She is attached to the trailer and can go in and out if she requests the privilege, but her rope does not reach all the way to the sleeping bag in the back of the trailer (because that is farther away than the neighbors’ territories, so when she comes in, she no longer tries to jump up there.

This morning it’s chilly. She climbed back in the door, came up to me, and cocked her head off to the side, looking at me out of the corner of her eye. Obviously wanted something, but what? Duuuhhhhh. She was exposing the snap that attaches the leash so I would take the thing off and she could curl up in the sleeping bag. I took it off, she scooted back there curled up, and pushed her nose into the warm bag.

I was attacked by a cactus yesterday, but got the picture. Not sure it was worth it; I can get better pix. I didn’t bring my heavy yellow cowboy slicker – would be perfect for dog park photography.


Shrinking economy. Will we choose to fight over the available resources or grow a new social structure that is sustainable?

Quality is not great, but a good discussion.

Bare Bones Biology 109 – Communication

In the past two Bare Bones Biologies, that’s 107 and 108, we tackled one of the most complex of human topics, communication. There are people who specialize in this area, and I probably should consult such an expert, because I confuses me. We so seldom use communication to communicate our reality, and then we have to translate, or guess, what people mean by what they say, and I’m not a good guesser. I finally did figure out the reason people don’t listen to what I say – that’s one of my biggest complaints – is because they’re listening instead to what they would have meant if they had said it.

This is not necessary by the way. If we did understand each other it would eliminate a lot of confusion, and it would only require asking a few questions. But now I find a generation or two of people who are offended by questions, because they equate questioning their meaning with – “dissing” them. (To diss = to disrespect.)

I can understand this, because so many people in our culture are addicted to – or afraid of – power. So we often use words as we would money, or expertise, or machismo or whatever we have at hand to reinforce our own sense of dominance or of defence. The result is not very useful.

I remember a time when expertise was envisioned as useful, not because it gave us an individual edge in a world of fearful competition, but because our individual expertise, whatever it is, can be used to contribute to the welfare of the community. There still exist communities, and some new ones growing, in which each person within the community supports the efforts of the other (even if by support we mean pointing out the flaws so together we can grow a better effort).

Every effort has value, and the values among the many can be discussed. They have worth. None is perfect and none is expected to be perfect. But all together, if the information is made available for solving problems, the community is in a position to deal with the real problems as a group, and so the community has more power than the individual to build a better future for the whole.

Generally, in our culture, we tend to view these communities a primitive, but let’s face it, primitive peoples lived sustainably for thousands of years until we came along with the so-called advanced cultures that are not sustainable within the factual reality of the earth ecosystem. Loving the ecosystem will not change this fact. Neither will technology. Until the spiritualists and the technologists are willing to learn about limiting factors, our advanced human cultures are on a fast track to destruction. Because we do have responsibilities to the earth itself, and unless we know what they are, and fulfill them, well, then our spiritual and technological good intentions are, and I quote St Bernard of Clairveux: “the road to hell, paved with good intentions.”

In a society of competition, where everyone is afraid of everyone else, we cannot use our expertise compassionately to benefit the whole, because the whole is composed of other people, most of whom are more concerned with their own physical or emotional survival.

The result is useless and fruitless power struggles rather than a compassionate intention to address real problems. And in a society where people are hooked on feeling good, or aspiring to feel good, there can be very little compassion, because in a crisis situation, compassion most often does not feel good. Doing what’s best to benefit the whole, often does not feel good. But that is what compassion is – doing what is best for the long-term interests of the other and the whole.

When a solution to a problem is well documented in fact, then it is the responsibility of compassion to study these facts and use them to promote the overall welfare, that is the least suffering, of the whole. For that, we must learn to listen and to discuss. Without listening and discussion of the impact of the facts on all the levels of life, from the individual through the ecosystem, there can be no deep, sustainable, compassion.

Bare Bones Biology 108 – Communication
KEOS 89.1 FM
This program can be downloaded here
Or at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Owl photo taken in New Mexico at TheWildlifeCenter.org
Discussion photo taken in California at the conference of: TheEconomicsofHappiness.org