Tuesday, August 25, 2009

East versus West

That last entry is so awkward. Looking at it makes me shiver! But there it will stay, my ugly little baby of yesterday, reminding me not to pin too much hope on my native talent.

To learn to meditate, I suppose I will actually have to do it. But not till I finish listening to the
first of five Zencasts on meditation, so -- whew! -- not today.
This is a pic of Dwaine in a deep meditative state with Mimi, a few years ago, during the winter when it was cold. Will it ever be cold here again?

I prefer to attempt to practice mindfulness in daily living, which is lots of fun because of what my mind does. Isn't "mindfulness" an odd description if the goal is to free oneself from the mind? My mind hops, skips, runs off, wanders, dwells, ruminates in broken patches, and mostly ignores what is happening here and now. Just like my writing! No wonder my memory of actual places and events is so terrible. I wasn't really there, just my body.

In a way, I can sometimes watch my mind rather than being caught up in it. Mostly, I am skidding right along wherever it takes me.

The idea of being mindful at all times (Eastern) is, to me, the same as praying continually, which Paul (Western) exhorts us to do.

So I was sitting on the porch just now, feeling the drowsy warmth -- it's probably about 90, has been by noon most days in recent memory. Scout, our parakeet, is enjoying having his cage hung up outside. I put a dish of water in his cage, which he was eyeing suspiciously. It is supposed to be a birdbath, but we haven't offered him one in years, so it may take him time to acclimate. It's something to challenge his little birdy brain with. The hummingbirds were buzzing around, trying to figure out if they could get to their feeder before I attacked. One even hovered close above me, its single beady eye giving me a careful once-over.

I was being aware of every bite of lunch, and it suddenly seemed I had so much food to eat at this ordinary-sized meal. An abundance of food, because I was slowing down to chew and swallow it.

I think my habit of gulping food and guzzling vast quantities of coffee led to me having a raging case of acid reflux. That, and the way I would wind myself tight as a coil. I could literally feel my stomach (the organ, not my midsection) become a hard little ball at those times. It was not so much what I was eating, as how I was living. I can't say I am cured, but at least the meds are controlling it. I could not live comfortably without them, though. That might require severe lifestyle changes that I am not prepared to make.

I am trying to create space in my life and just let it all be, and that is hard enough!

Most Americans obviously pay no attention to what they eat. If they did, junk food would disappear because people would feel how sick it is making them. I actually can anticipate the leaden feeling a donut will bring me, and it does discourage me from eating one. Strangely, though, it doesn't work for cake.

So what does it say for our culture that junk food is proliferating? And so many people on radio and TV talk shows open their mouths to release streams of trash talk?

About food, I am working on cutting way down on eating beef that is not grass-fed. This is a challenge because beef is the meat of choice for all the men in my family. But Western cows are quite unholy in their negative impact on the environment. It's not just their flatulance, it is their exorbitant energy consumption in relation to the amount of dairy and meat they produce in return. They are very inefficient animals and require vast amounts of grazing pasture.

I don't understand what makes Eastern cows holy. I'll have to look into that.

Terry Gross from NPR had the founder of Beavis and Butthead on her "Fresh Air" show today. He released a movie (?) called "Idiocity" a few years back. The premise was reverse evolution: that people were becoming more and more stupid because all the people low on the intelligence scale were reproducing like crazy, whereas highly educated people were not, and of course, the only natural predators people have anymore are themselves. (Unless swine flu fulfills the advance hype and runs amok.)

I actually got concerned, listening. Reverse evolution (devolution?) could explain Wal-Mart, Glenn Beck, and a whole lot of other stuff. Luckily, no stupid people listen to her show, so there was no one out there listening who would get offended.


  1. I heard that Fresh Air segment, too! Oh, and did you know we have some grass-fed beef to sell? Or did you already buy some? Gosh - I can't remember. If you bought some I guess I wasn't fully "present" :). You're inspiring me to begin meditating, again.

  2. Carol, didn't that Fresh Air segment almost inspire you to have more babies?! To make up for people like me who only attain 0 population growth.


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