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observations and important notes.

March 27, 2011

before I get into what I was planning to write about (I hope I don’t forget what I wanted to write about! Mind moves so fast..) I want to mention that a house I found online a month or so ago, my parents and aunt just finished signing the papers for today.

The house is a tri-level with a bedroom for me that is downstairs.. all the others are upstairs.. and there is the right amount of square feet for a house I’ll be sharing (at least until sometime in the future, when I hope to move out?) with my aunt, mom and dad. It’s roomy, but not too roomy.. perfect size really, with lovely and quite large backyard.

Escrow starts tmw… tmw. being Monday.. and will close on the 15th of next month.

So, we shall move out of this rental house, which I do rather like. So much light streams through the windows. And, my upstairs bedroom has a huge window and faces west, so I get to see the sunsets, watch the sky.. I love that.

The duplex I lived in back in CA was not so pleasant. Even if we didn’t have drug selling thug neighbors and crazy people walking the streets it still wasn’t pleasant in some ways. I had a room with no windows, just a sliding glass door to a covered patio. I got almost no light coming in that way, and kept the blinds shut almost all the time in any case. For 11 years I lived with mostly artificial light.. and I spent most of those 11 years in that room.

It is wonderful to see the sky.

I won’t be able to see near as much of it in the next house..the one we have just bought.

My bedroom will be on the lower level. Tri-level homes have one level somewhat below ground, but not entirely, like a basement. When I stand and look out the window of my next bedroom, the ground will be at just about waist level outside.. maybe a little higher. If I look up I will be able to see the sky.. but not at all like this!

I took that picture from my window! And many others too.

Ah well.. it’s more than important we settle into a home that my parents and aunt actually own. We will have much more room than this rental house, more areas where we can get away from each other if need be, a separate room for an office/guest bedroom, lots of amenities.

So, there it is… my report on the house I will be moving into next month. I hope I can feel settled there, even as I contemplate finding low income housing for myself.

_____________

I seem to be losing a taste for meat. I have been thinking about becoming a vegetarian for sometime now. Even tried it 5 years ago… only ate meat once a week. Ate a lot of unhealthy processed soy stuff though, and had a cheeseburger once a week. At that time.. for the 6 months I was a sort of vegetarian, I felt I was hungry after eating, much more so than when I ate meat.

I have not been feeling especially full lately, after eating meat. No different than non-meat meals. I still have been eating meat, but past few days have felt less and less pleased by this..

Meat, really, is gross..parts of mutilated animals which, mostly, have led horrible lives – either in massively over-crowded feed lots, or in pitch dark chicken coops, in unsanitary conditions, fed corn, which animals don’t naturally eat, and sometimes fed ground up bits of other animals. Awful.

The meat at fast food and other chain restaurants is of even lower quality than most, if not all cuts of meat to be found in grocery stores. It’s the worst of the worst. The hamburger meat served in fast food restaurants has been so processed (often with ammonia) that all flavor is processed out of it. My brother heard on NPR (National Public Radio) that there are all these chemical factories along the East Coast, especially in New Jersey, where food additives are made.. especially those engineered to provide the utterly processed worst bits of beef with “flavor.” McDonalds has the worst flavored “beef,” I think. But the others are bad too.

I try to avoid fast food. So much environmental waste.. just one meal equals a cardboard box and some type of wrapping inside it for the hamburger, cardboard drink container with plastic lid, cardboard box for the fries, plastic straw, and paper tray liner. And that is just one meal for one person on one day.. and so much food wasted!

Ok, Ok, there’s always been tons of reasons to go vegetarian.. but I’ve not been able to do it yet. Doesn’t help that I don’t have much skills in the kitchen, as yet, and also that I live with three meat eaters.

In the next house, once we get organized, it will be better.

Appliances, including a large fridge, are part of the deal. And we have our own fridge, so I can stock our smaller fridge with non-meat foods. I still have to learn to cook them, though.

I was going to get some advice about vegetarian cooking from a woman in the Buddhist group I went to a couple times, but I decided to not go to that group, and was still in the mood to eat a lot of meat, so I ended up saying to her ..no thanks.

I’ve been missing the Buddhist group a little.. and this is not just because of my circular fixations.. liking something, fixating on it, then disliking it, but because the sangha meets at such a nice place. It’s at a yoga center on a pleasant street. There is a little creek..ok, maybe it’s more like a drainage ditch? But still, nice, and vegetation and trees growing around it. The yoga studio is pleasant inside, and it’s a good, warm feeling place to meditate. I think more mediation would be helpful. Maybe I can just pop in once in awhile, and that won’t screw up my head? Then, I can ask vegetarian questions. There does seem to be a bit of peer pressure in the group to become vegetarian. Which is ironic, considering the Buddha ate meat. It was meat that killed him though.. according to the story..

The Buddha’s last meal included some pork that had gone bad. He was an old man by this time (a hugely fat old man or the thinner one in the other type of Buddha statue.. that is not known), and was staying in a peasant’s house. The Buddha somehow knew the meal he was being served had turned.. maybe he could smell it, or maybe somehow mystically knew.. In any case, so as not to offend his host, the Buddha ate the meal.. and later died.

Did the Buddha die in the house of the peasant? If so, I wonder if the peasant realized that his cooking was deadly, and killed the Buddha by mistake? I am doubting the peasant knew.. but if he did, I’m sure he would have felt mortified.. much much worse than if the Buddha had just said.. “No thank you, I’d rather not eat the pork today..messes with my digestion somewhat.. but thanks all the same..”

The Buddha’s last words, according to the story, are.. “Be a light unto yourselves.”

Quite a radical notion. He might just be the only founder of a religion to say that. Everyone else said differently … there being some deity to follow, or Christ claiming to be the light of the world.

And Buddha says we should be a light unto ourselves. An overwhelming burden perhaps? But Buddha had taught for a long time that every single living thing has a Buddha nature within it, including people, and that we all could become as enlightened as he was. As Buddhism spread and changed throughout the centuries after Buddha’s death, the prescription for how best to attain enlightenment changed and changed again…

How do we be a light unto ourselves? It takes courage, it takes really getting to know ourselves.. something many people are afraid of doing.. it takes effort.. something we want to avoid.. it takes faith in ourselves.. sometimes this can be terribly difficult.

It’s hard to be a light unto ourselves.. for so many people.. most of the people on this planet (there are relatively few Buddhists compared to Christians, for example) prefer the light to be someone else (Christ or a guru or …) or something else.. a holy book, set of teachings and rituals that the adherents are taught came directly from God.

Some of us are stuck without such a faith as most folks practice.. we are stuck being a light unto ourselves.

I’m learning.. I’m learning it’s a daily thing.. the light only shines a little ways..sometimes a very little ways indeed.

This past week, I put up a post on facebook, which read, “I may not have all the answers, but I have enough answers for today.”

Usually I am much too impatient for that to do, though.

______

Sometime after the sun set, but while there was still some light outside, I turned off the lamp in my room, stood by the window, and looked out. I pushed the window open to catch some occasional light breezes that drifted into my room. I could hear a few cars going by, the birds making their little birdie noises before settling down for the night.. smell various things on the breeze.. some cooking smells, perhaps slight odors from the road and the vehicles going by, a bit of chimney smoke.. from woodburning stoves and fireplaces.. and pine.. a hint of evergreen.. a little bit of a smell of the wild.

The air up here in Idaho is fresh. It is ok and even healthy to breathe deeply out here.

The air back in the city in CA where I lived.. some of the absolute worst air to breathe in the entire nation! Often as bad as Los Angeles.. on some days, probably even worse. Last year I saw a locally produced documentary on just how bad the air was in that area. After seeing that film, I found it even harder to take breaths as I was out and around.

Now, here in Idaho, I have to remind myself to breath deeply.

It’s a hard thing to remember, but very important.

______

That’s enough observations for tonight, I think. There might have been more I wanted to write about before sitting down at the computer, but I think I got most of it down..

Yes.. good enough for tonight.

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