Archive for the ‘books’ Category

Someone should have told the Borg

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Control is futile. Resistance, inevitable.


I’m reading Shunryu Suzuki’s ‘Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind’. It’s delightfully, intensely, simply rife with paradox.

I love his talk on control, this is my favorite excerpt:

‘You cannot do it. The best way to control people is to encourage them to be mischievous. Then they will be in control in it’s wider sense. To give your sheep or cow a large spacious meadow is the way to control him. So it is with people: First let them do what they want, and watch them. This is the best policy. To ignore them is not good; that is the worst policy. The second worst is trying to control them. The best is to watch them, just to watch them, without trying to control them.’

Works for me

Saturday, March 1st, 2008

‘She couldn’t understand it. Was she simply too shallow to suffer indefinately? or was she too wise to become attached to her suffering, too feisty to permit it to rule her life? She voted for wise and feisty, and walked on, kicking leaves.’

Tom Robbins, ‘Skinny legs and all’

Happiness in all the wrong places

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

The Root of Suffering

What keeps us unhappy and stuck in a limited view of reality is our tendency to seek pleasure and avoid pain, to seek security and avoid groundlessness, to seek comfort and avoid discomfort. This is how we keep ourselves enclosed in a cocoon. Out there are the planets and all the galaxies and vast space, but we are stuck here in this cocoon. Moment after moment, we’re deciding that we would rather stay in that cocoon than step out into that big space. Life in our cocoon is cozy and secure. We’ve gotten it all together. It’s safe, it’s predictable, it’s convenient and it’s trustworthy. If we feel ill at ease, we just fill in those gaps.
Our mind is always seeking zones of safety. We’re in this zone of safety and that’s what we consider life, getting it all together, security. Death is losing that. We fear losing our illusion of security-that’s what makes us anxious. We fear being confused and not knowing which way to turn. We want to know what’s happening. The mind is always seeking zones of safety, and these zones of safety are always falling apart. Then we scramble to get another zone of safety together again. We spend all our energy and creativity and waste our lives trying to recreate these zones of safety, which are always falling apart. That’s the essence of samsara-the cycle of suffering that comes from continuing to seek happiness in all the wrong places.

‘Comfortable with uncertainty’ Pema Chodron

Hell yeah

Monday, October 15th, 2007

I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.

Anais Nin

A spiritual identity is difficult to get rid of

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

‘Trungpa Rinpoche said that the ego wanting to experience enlightenment is like “wanting to witness your own funeral.” Yet try to convince the ego of this! The ego is not only present for the experience itself, but the moment this essential experience fades, ego is all that is left. The implicit realization and recognition of something Other and Beyond, which is true of the experience, is no longer present as a realization. The only thing left is ego, which proudly steps forth to take credit for the experience.’

Marianna Caplan, ‘Halfway up the Mountain. The error of premature claims to enlightenment.’

Falling dharma and sudden blueberry heaven

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

I came home today, laden with boxes of freshly-picked blueberries, to an unexpected disaster zone in my bedroom! My altar crushed beneath a small mountain of books, crystals and trinkets. The bookshelf nailed to the wall above had finally succumbed to the weighty wisdom of my collection of dharma books. Must’ve been some humonguous CRASH when that came down! Come to think of it though, if thirty-two dharma books fall on a shrine and no one is there to hear it…

I’d just been thinking recently that my shrine was looking dusty… I guess the dakinis thought so too! I must have had some merit amongst all that laziness though, ‘cuz they had mercy and only broke one small piece off of one of the many pretty glass, ceramic and crystal objects strewn helter skelter all over the floor.

So, today is all about blueberry delight and rearranging my room to make space for the sacred.


The blueberrification was entirely unexpected-this morning I took my car in to see Lope, my awesome new mechanic, a very friendly, articulate, expansive fellow. Sam was with me and we soon found ourselves gifted with a bag of blueberries and fresh blueberry watermelon smoothies as he told us all about this amazing U Pic blueberry farm he’d discovered out in Shohomish. Then it turned out, his wife wanted to go out there and load up again, so we joined forces and off we went!


It was so luscious-the plants were loaded with gorgeous, freshly rain-washed, immense berries and we bought a three dollar honey bear(from the hives overlooking the blueberry meadow) to go with. On the way home, I couldn’t resist popping by our local Javasti(crepe an’ coffee cafe) and having them crepe up some of our berries for lunch.


The nicely chatty farmer couple also gave us a stack o’ recipes for our eighteen pounds of fatties.

Blueberry crumble bar time!

Understanding is but the sum of our misunderstandings

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

I’m devouring Murakami books nowadays-amazing writer that he is.

Finally finished ‘Kafka by the Shore’ with all it’s amazing twists and turns, dangerous sexual liaisons and bizarre, magical wisdom. Plunged through ‘South of the Border, West of the Sun’, snacked on his short stories in ‘After the Quake’ and now ‘Sputnik Sweetheart’ is thrilling and chilling me through the moon-lapped night…

Such thoughtful, funny, poetic writing but at the same time disturbing as hell, raw, often horribly violent and even grotesque as it lurches about awkwardly, painfully, beautifully-just like life. Murakami has a tender way of making heroes out of stinky, ordinary people and always brings up way more questions than he ever, ever meanders and slithers his way around to answering.

‘What I’m getting at is that people have to come up with a clever strategy if they want what they know and what they don’t know to live together in peace. And that strategy-yep, you’ve got it-is thinking. We have to find a secure anchor. Otherwise, no mistake about it, we’re on an awful collision course.

and this, I love this one(such self-revealing words spilling from the floppy disk of his character, a young woman writer who has vanished mysteriously-as his women so often do):

Did you ever see someone shot by a gun without bleeding?
Which explains my own stance as a writer. I think-in a very ordinary way-and reach a point where, in a realm I cannot even give a name to, I conceive a dream, a sightless fetus called understanding, floating in the universal, overwhelming amniotic fluid of incomprehension. Which must be why my novels are absurdly long and, up until now at least, never reach a proper conclusion. The technical, and moral, skills needed to maintain a supply line on that scale are beyond me.’

Both excerpts are from ‘Sputnik Sweetheart’. I can’t wait to find out how it ends… May end up staying up all night reading.

Goddamn I wish I could discuss them with my own vanished sweetheart. He understands only too well the sum of our misunderstandings.

Brilliance, sheer brilliance. I’m so glad he’s a prolific writer-though I fear he’s outmatched by my voracious appetite.


Oh, if I had money to throw around…

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

I’d buy both of these beautiful books.


Stop running, sit!

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

“Sitting practice is a way to be kind to yourself and to have the courage to find out and be who you are. It is a way to stop running from your anxiety, running to catch up or keep up with your neighbors, running to fulfill your own and other’s expectations for you, running away from knowing your own mind and heart, running towards your death and rarely ever tasting the richness of your life.”

‘Sacred World’ Jeremy and Karen Hayward


Thursday, April 19th, 2007

“Mindfulness is not a tool for therapy, a spiritual exercise, or an educational technique. It is a natural function. It is, more than anything else, what makes us human. We all have the capability to be mindful of our body, feelings, perceptions, and thoughts as they happen, unless we are diseased or brain-damaged. But most of us use this ability only partially and intermittently, hardly realizing we are doing it. There is no training for mindfulness in our upbringing, and we therefore do not realize the fullness of living and the creative potential that it’s practice can unfold. We practice mindfulness-’bringing back the wandering attention over and over again’-simply so that we can be present in our lives as they happen. Only when we are present can we begin to see our cocoon, to feel the fear that keeps it going, and perhaps be refreshed by glimpses of the sacred world.”

Sacred World, Jeremy and Karen Hayward.