While I’m being snarky…

I was just in a uni-sex bathroom.  Shouldn’t they be called bi-sex or multi-sex bathrooms?  Just sayin’.  Like some old comedian said (it may have been George Carlin, not sure): Why do they call them apartments when they’re all stuck together?  How come we park in the driveway and drive on the parkway?  Good questions.  Fuck if I know.

 

 

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The dangers of relying on computers for spellchecking

I’m revising my statement of purpose for graduate school.  Unfortunately, my latop’s keyboard has an issue where it often does not recognize that I pressed a key, resulting in one or more missing characters.  I rely on spellcheck to help me find these omissions, but that doesn’t work when the mistake results in an actual word.  I have found a number of instances where my statement contains the phrase “pubic policy” instead of “public policy” (read that again carefully if you didn’t see it the first time).  What does pubic policy and Christmas have in common?  No l.  (Geez I crack myself up).  Anyway, shouldn’t computers be smart enough at this point in time to catch this sort of thing?  Perhaps computer scientists could work on this issue rather than figuring out how to bombard me with advertisements for things that I’ve already purchased.  Just sayin’!

Keith

 

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Excited to begin Meditation Classes Tonight

I looked into the type of meditation that they teach and got goose bumps.  It is Dhammakaya meditation.  From what I’ve read, they teach you to rest your mind in the center of your body.  You can also imagine a small glowing sphere in the middle of your body, slightly above the navel.  As your practice improves and your mind calms, supposedly this sphere glows and you experience different stages of inner peace and happiness, ultimately (when combined with other aspects of the Buddhist path) leading to enlightenment. From what I understand, they believe that this process helps us to reveal Buddha-nature or the true-self, which is always within us but is obscured because of the defilements and karma caused by our unskillful thoughts, speech, and actions.   I have always liked this view of Buddha-nature, that it is our core nature but has simply been obscured, like a dirty lightbulb that needs to be polished.

The Buddha-nature and the sphere reminded me of an experience I wrote about in 2015 during the 49-day Buddha challenge:

My recent experience (the one that I’ve written about but haven’t decided on sharing or not) was sort-of a war between the instinct and the ego, between the biology and the intellect.  They reached a truce, decided to work together, and became very still, as if tired from battle.  The strange thing (to me) was that something other than emptiness emerged, or perhaps a better way to say is that something else was revealed – the spirit.  I can’t think of a better way to describe the, not feeling, not awareness, not presence, not thing, yet also not not any of these, than a term I’ve seen in Buddhist texts – “luminous”.  The image of a light calmly shining there as it always has been.  As if a storm subsided and when the clouds dissipated, one could see the light of a lighthouse that you didn’t know was there.  It feels like this is where “happy” comes from.  I can’t help but smile when I see Amy-Leigh having fun.  I can be completely distracted in thought, and then she will do something funny or have a great big smile on her face, and all of a sudden the thought ceases and I have an experience (feeling is not the right word) of happiness, of peace, of joy.  I have sometimes referred to this as “my heart smiled”.  This indicates that it was something within.  I have gotten that feeling while watching the various sunsets, oceans, snow falling, and I have always just attributed it to beauty and being calm.  But now I think it is something else.  It is not a result of external factors, it is that the external factors create a situation in which the instincts and mind relax so that the spirit is revealed.  It was the spirit all along.  This is why spiritual teachers throughout the ages have urged us to look within, not externally, for peace and happiness.  It is already there, just waiting to be accessed.

I am planning on starting a meditation practice this year, and I think that I may become a practicing Buddhist for reals this year.  The prospect of finding a group that teaches a way to access the experience that I felt above is so exciting.  Oh yeah, and their motto is “world peace through inner peace”.  Amen!  I will post about my experience.

May this be a year of positive transformation within ourselves.  I think we could all use some of that.  And may this be a year of positive transformation in the world.  The gods know we could all need that!

Metta to all beings,

Keith

P.S. I think that this may be my 200th post.  Cool!

 

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A little boost in inspiration this morning

I know it has been a long time since I’ve written something, but it has been a busy second half of the year and I’ve been doing well. However, like a lot of people, I tend to get a little down sometimes approaching Christmas, especially those years when I’m single. It is a time of year that is meant to spent with others, and it can be more special when there is a special someone in your life. I think it is also somewhat due to being atheist/agnostic; there is just something about the Christmas season that somewhat makes me sad I don’t feel a god the way that others do.

I’ve learned that inspiration, like a lot of positive feelings/emotions, is something that can be generated and cultivated as much as it is felt. One can draw on the Source of light that lies within rather than looking toward external sources. I’ve learned to take action against my melancholy rather than letting myself immerse in it, and I have taken a handful of steps toward creating inspiration:

–I’ve been on a strict diet for the past couple of weeks hoping to shed some pounds and get healthier before the beginning of the year. So far it is working! Down 15 pounds.

–I finally got around to putting up my Christmas trees last night, and that gave me a little boost and holiday spirit.

–I am taking my grandma to see the Nutcracker at the incredible Fox theater in Atlanta next Saturday, and we’re stopping to have dinner with my Dad and his Significant Other on the way. The Fox is an awesome venue and I love the Nutcracker. I saw it here in Athens last year, and while it was good, I wish they had live music (they had pre-recorded music). I’m really looking forward to a live orchestra performance, as the Nutcracker Suite is one of favorite pieces of classical music.

–I found a some new Buddhist organizations that I want to check out this year and the beginning of next. One meets regularly on Sunday evenings. One has a meditation series starting up next year that I’m planning on signing up for. And I even found a Buddhist retreat that involves camping at a nearby state park — how awesome is that!?

–Lastly and most importantly, I found a volunteer opportunity at a winter homeless shelter here in Athens. Their mission is to provide a warm place to stay during the cold months, provide hot meals and showers, and to spend time with folks. The job I will be doing is to hang out with folks after dinner and play card and board games with them, talk with them, and basically to interact with them like the fellow human beings that they are, helping them to get the confidence to get back on their feet. I’m excited but also a little nervous due to my introvert nature. But I have enough confidence (or dare I say faith?) that if I can just have the courage to open up, it will be as good for me as I hope it is for them. Another volunteer opportunity that I’m interested in is spending time with people in hospice care, allowing their family members to be able to leave and run errands and so forth. I know from personal experience how hard caretaking can be on family members. For whatever reason, I don’t get too emotionally drained being around the sick and dying, so I think I could be a good fit. They say that some people like to hear music, so I thought I could learn some hymns or songs to play. But that seems too scary for me at the moment. I’m hoping that this opportunity with at the homeless shelter will help me to get confidence to take on that challenge after the shelter closes once it warms up again.

The opening picture is one I took earlier this year, and it reflects the inspiration that I feel at the moment.

A Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! Please take some time to do something for others this season.

Metta,

Keith

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One days rest for the weary

Made it to athens late last night and am headed to florida tomorrow. I will spend the day preparing and getting some rest. Amy Leigh will no 

  doubt be snoring most of the day. She is a trooper on these long trips. 

I think she had a lot of fun getting to see everyone, but she seemed very happy to wake up and realize that we were home last night. 

It was a great trip so far. Looking forward to part 2. 

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Dont know why but

Blackberry smoke is awesome camping music. Something re their brand of countryfied southern rock goes well with a cold beer, warm fire, stars peeking through the clouds, and the sounds of crickets. 

One thing country folk have right that people in the cities dont often get is that some of the time, no most of the time, what makes life sweet is the little things. Country people work just as hard or harder than their city counterparts but, somehow, seem to find the time to slow down and enjoy life a little more…well if not on meth i suppose. 

Perhaps being more in tune with the outdoors makes you tune in more to the speed of the universe, perhaps its just the mezmorizing effect of the aforementioned beer and fire combo…

Perhaps its having a moment away to appreciate the fact that as much as life sucks sometimes, it is actually pretty damn good most of the time. Most places ive travelled to, it is sunny more than it rains. Life is like that too, if we pay attention and dont expect it to be sunny all the time. Expectations are everything. Expect the worst and be grateful when its anything else. Strive to be the best you can be but never be disappointed with what and who you are. 

 i wouldnt want to be anywhere or anybody else tonight.  Why should it ever be any different? 

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Koa campgrounds have nice facilities but…

If your neighbors have a fire, you probably dont need one. If i wanted to be a sardine i would pray for fins! 

But i do appreciate having a place to park the trailer on the way home tonight. 🙂 

Good night to all! Thinking of friends i got to see, ones that i havent met yet, and the road ahead. 

It will be some good and some bad, but no matter what happens there is only one road that is mine and dangnabbit, im determined to smile no matter which direction it heads. 

I wish you all the same.

 Metta,

Keith

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Since I’ve come across a couple of bears in the wild myself

The true story of two fatal grizzly bear attacks that changed our relationship with wildlife – The Washington Posthttps://apple.news/AxKHX_BwtQ66StfeuvucwQA

But I still know it’s more likely that I get hit by a falling tree or limb…and I’m okay with that. 

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My mountain

I’m a mountain person, not a beach person. To a mountain person, one soars above all others. In my wekly depression and anxiety group yesterday, we were asked to share our dream vacation. Mine was start in one of the “southern buddhist” nations, such as Thailand or SriLanka  or Burma, and make my way up thorugh India, Nepal, and Tibet, ultimately to the base of Mt Everest. And then wordpress reader serves me up the following this morning. Hmm…the mountains are calling. Enjoy! 

http://wallflowerwanderer.com/2015/10/11/my-mt-everest/

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To my homies

I have a few friends who are going through rough patches at the moment. Im thinking about you. I know its tough but i can say that rough patches do always seem to get  better somehow, often when you least expect it. Maybe the new season coming up will swirl the cosmic forces around and bring better times. In the mean time i will be sending all the positive juju that i can! 

Metta,

Keith 

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