Thursday, May 31, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
"From the earliest times, as Mircea Eliade points out, blood sacrifice had been a ritual accompaniment of metallurgy. The curse of war and the curse of mining are almost interchangeable: united in death."
Yesterday, on the mail route, I thought of this quote and realized that Martin Prechtel might have some answers in how to lift that curse:
So, just to get the iron, the shaman has to pay for the ore, the fire, the wind, and so on — not in dollars and cents, but in ritual activity equal to what’s been given. Then that iron must be made into steel, and the steel has to be hammered into the shape of a knife, sharpened, and tempered, and a handle must be put on it. There is a deity to be fed for each part of the procedure. When the knife is finished, it is called the “tooth of earth.” It will cut wood, meat, and plants. But if the necessary sacrifices have been ignored in the name of rationalism, literalism, and human superiority, it will cut humans instead.
All of those ritual gifts make the knife enormously “expensive,” and make the process quite involved and time-consuming. The need for ritual makes some things too spiritually expensive to bother with. That’s why the Mayans didn’t invent space shuttles or shopping malls or backhoes. They live as they do not because it’s a romantic way to live — it’s not; it’s enormously hard — but because it works.--Martin Prechtel
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Monday, May 28, 2012
Sunday, May 27, 2012
"We're definitely living in a way that's going to put an end to creation. If we go on, there will be no successor to man, no successor to chimpanzees, no successor to orangutans, no successor to gorillas—no successor to anything alive now. The whole thing is going to come to an end with us. In order to make their story come true, the Takers have to put an end to creation itself—and they're doing a damned good job of it.”--Daniel Quinn
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Friday, May 25, 2012
Thursday, May 24, 2012
While walking through the museum, Berra did not even seem to notice the picture. He was talking about how he loves Little League baseball but wishes kids would organize more of their own games. When his own sons were young and they asked him to play catch, he would say, "Go ask your brothers." Adults, he thinks, should stay out of the way when it comes to baseball.--Yogi Berra
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
This morning I was paging through my notes that I've written down from books I've read in the past and I ran across this:
"The majority of sexual fantasy and desire points to the erotic dynamic in life and not to actual sex."--Thomas Moore, Pg. 176, The Soul of Sex
Perhaps the less pleasurable and erotic our day to day lives become the more the porn industry grows. I don't know, it's just a thought. I like entertaining ideas.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
I don't know if I've mentioned this before but as a kid I used to think I could die on the baseball diamond and I wouldn't mind.
I'm going back through my notebooks and reading quotes I've written down from baseball books I've read. This quote by Chad Harbach in The Art of Fielding lays out nicely one of the reasons why I love the game so much.
"But baseball was different. Schwartz thought of it as Homeric--not a scrum but a series of isolated contests. Batter versus pitcher, fielder versus ball. You couldn't storm around, snorting and slapping people, the way Schwartz did while playing football. You stood and waited and tried to still you mind. When your moment came, you had to be ready, because if you fucked up, everyone would know whose fault it was. What other sport not only kept a stat as cruel as the error but posted it on the scoreboard for everyone to see?"--Pg.259, The Art of Fielding
Monday, May 21, 2012
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Their response to my newly gained insights was: You can't believe everything you read in a book!
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Friday, May 18, 2012
Oprah: Are you just not interested in material [things]?
Cormac McCarthy: I'm really not. I mean, it's not that I don't like things. Some things are really nice, but they certainly take a distant second place to being able to live your life and do what you want to do. And I always knew that I didn't want to work.
Oprah: How did you manage that? Most people want to know how to do that.
McCarthy: Well, you have to be dedicated. But it was my Number One priority.
Oprah: That you didn't want to have a nine-to-five job?
McCarthy: Yeah. I thought, 'You're just here once, life is brief, and to have to spend every day of it doing what somebody else wants you to do is not the way to live it.' And I don't have any advice for anybody on how to go about that, except that if you're really dedicated you can probably do it.
Oprah: So you worked at not working.
McCarthy: Absolutely. Yeah, it was the Number One priority.
There isn't a day that goes by where I don't feel fortunate that I don't have to go to a 9 to 5 job. One of my biggest fears is to be systematically coerced back into doing it again. And I work hard at not having to do it again. I also have never really been interested in material things. Eric Hoffer was right when he said it takes leisure to mature.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
"When people look into the future and give up hope, it's because they don't know
what to DO about the bad things they see."--Daniel Quinn, from his essay on Hope
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
We lost our game yesterday. We got ten run ruled. What this means is that if a team is losing by ten runs or more after four innings they call the game. I've also heard it referred to as the mercy rule.
Before our game, I opened up my copy of Sacred Hoops to any page and started reading. Here is what I came across:
"Little by little, with regular practice, you start to discriminate raw sensory events from your reactions to them. Eventually, you begin to experience a point of stillness within. As the stillness becomes more stable, you tend to identify less with fleeing thoughts and feelings, such as fear, anger or pain, and experience a state of inner harmony, regardless of changing circumstances. For me, meditation is a tool that allows me to stay calm and centered (well, most of the time) during the stressful highs and lows of basketball and life outside the arena. During games I often get agitated by bad calls, but years of meditation practice have taught me how to find that still point within so that I can argue passionately with the refs without being overwhelmed by anger."[Pg. 119, Sacred Hoops]
I think I understand the anger he's talking about. When things aren't going well in our games (Which is a good majority of the time) it's tough not to get down on players, umpires, and mostly myself.
I continue to sit zazen every morning.
Monday, May 14, 2012
"If we are not aware of the effects of time pressures on the family, we run the risk of living lives of continual acceleration, non-stop doing, and passing that on to our children."--Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn
I'm aware of "time pressures on the family." And the pressures don't go away, especially this time of year. And, of course, coaching Little League baseball increases it.
I usually catch myself thinking there has to be more indicators that things are going to slow down from the culture at large for the time pressures to atleast fade a bit. No amount of attention or awareness will stop it. We'll see. Right now, I'm out of time. The family is waking up.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Saturday, May 12, 2012
"What do you call a system that will only work if the people in it are better than people have ever been? ... What do you call a system that's built on the presumption that people in this system will be better than people have ever been before? Everyone in this system is going to be kind and generous and considerate and selfless and obedient and compassionate and peaceable. What kind of system is that?"
"Utopian is right, Julie. Every one of your systems is a utopian system. Democracy would be heaven-- if people would just be better than people have ever been. Of course, Soviet communism was supposed to have been heaven too ... Your justice system would work perfectly if people would just be better than people have ever been. And of course your schools would work perfectly under the same conditions."--Daniel Quinn, My Ishmael
Friday, May 11, 2012
Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!
Think... and think... while you are alive.
What you call "salvation" belongs to the time before death.
If you don't break your ropes while you're alive,
do you think
ghosts will do it after?
The idea that the soul will rejoin with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten--
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the City of
If you make love with the divine now, in the next life you will
have the face of satisfied desire.
So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is. Believe in
the Great Sound!
Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for, it is the
intensity of the longing for the Guest that does all the work.
Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.--Kabir
For some odd reason this line really resonated with me: "What you call "salvation" belongs to the time before death."
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
I think Lewis Mumford was onto something when he said this about Karl Marx: "He realized that the French revolution had divided society artificially into two spheres, the political, in which man functioned as a tolerant, liberal, egalitarian citizen, and the economic, in which he was either a grasping capitalist or an exploited worker." [Pg. 203, Interpretations and Forecasts.]
I'm an exploited worker that is becoming more and more intolerant of grasping capitalists therefore as a "tolerant, liberal, egalitarian citizen" I'm going to fight the grasping capitalists.
I love to entertain ideas
Well, it was getting close to dinner time and we were looking at the house my Dad was born and raised in. There wasn't much else we wanted to do, so we were getting ready to head back home. But just than we'd noticed just two blocks down from his old house was the mill where the slugger's bats are made. So we decided to stop in at the office and see if they actually sold the bats right there. The secretary confirmned they did and went it got someone from that part of the mill that could show me the bats.
Twenty minutes and One Hundred and Twenty Dollars later I walked out of their with two fungo RockBats, one 33" and the other 35." I don't really regret buying them. With my families' interest in baseball I think I'll be hitting fungos for quite some time. One thing I will say, though, is that I don't like to see sugar maples cut. I never liked cutting them when I was a logger and I hate seeing others cut them now. I'd rather see the trees being tapped for maple syrup than being killed for lumber. So thank you to the sugar maple trees who gave up their lives to make my fungo bats.
They'll be put to good use.
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
We had our second Little League game last night and won. I'm proud of the kids. In the three years that I've been their coach this is probably some of the best baseball I've seen them play.
I still feel like I could be a much better coach though. Part of the problem is that I don't think I understand 9-12 year olds well enough yet. I'm turning to the notebooks for more inspiration.
I often think of this zen teaching that Phil Jackson had in Sacred Hoops: "See beyond what is seen. Never forget that a wheel is made not only of spokes but also of the space between the spokes. Sturdy spokes poorly placed make a weak wheel. Whether their full potential is realized depends on the harmony between. The essence of wheelmaking lies in the craftsman's ability to conceive and create the space that holds and balances the spokes within the wheel. Think now, who is the craftsman here?" [Pg. 150, Sacred Hoops]
Monday, May 07, 2012
Looking forward to voting in the Wisconsin primary tomorrow. Just think, by this time next month Wisconsin could have a new governor.
Yesterday, a friend posted this excerpt out of Daniel Quinn's Providence:
"Kindler and rekindler of universes, the fire burns forever. It is the flame of life that courses through all generations from first to last, that burns without consuming, that is itself consumed and renewed inexhaustibly, life after life, generation after generation, species after species, galaxy after galaxy, universe after universe, each sharing in the blaze for its season and going down to death while the fire burns on undiminished. The fire is life itself, the life of this universe, of this galaxy, of this planet, of this place and every place: the place by the rock and the place under the hill and the place by the river and the place in the forest, no two alike anywhere. And the life of every place is god, who is the fire: the life of the pond, god; the life of the tundra, god; the life of the sea, god; the life of the land, god; the life of the earth, god; the life of the universe, god: in every place unique, as the life of every place is unique, and in every place burns the same, as the fire that burns is everywhere the fire of life." - Written by Daniel Quinn about 30 years ago, but not published until it appeared in 1994 at the end of his semi-autobiography Providence: The Story of a Fifty-Year Vision Quest.
Sunday, May 06, 2012
The Wild Man isn't like an Eastern Mystic: "When it comes time for a young male to talk with the Wild Man he will find the conversation quite distinct from a talk with a minister, a rabbi, or a guru. Conversing with the Wild Man is not talking about bliss or mind or spirit, or 'higher consciousness,' but about something wet, dark, and low--what James Hillman would call 'soul'." [Robert Bly, Iron John]
I've mentioned a couple of times that I sit zazen(meditate)for a half-n-hour every morning. There are times when I wonder why I'm doing it. Robert Bly once said this about enlightenment and the soul: "Mythology is more helpful than enlightenment or to put it chronologically, years of mythology need to come, accustoming the soul to darkness, before the soul is ready for enlightenment."
Part of the reason I do it is to relax and slow my thoughts. But than this excerpt from an interview with psychologist James Hillman comes to mind:
Safransky: What if the goal is merely a few minutes of calm?
Hillman: If that’s the goal, what’s the difference between meditation and having a nice drink? Or going to the hairdresser and sitting for an hour and flipping through a magazine? Or writing a long letter, a love letter? Do you realize what we’re not doing in this culture? Having an evening’s conversation with people; that can be so relaxing. Moving one’s images, moving one’s soul; I think we’ve locked on to meditation as the main method for settling down.
It’s better to go into the world half-cocked than not to go into the world at all. I know when something’s wrong. And I can say, “This is outrageous. This is insulting. This is a violation. And it’s wrong.” I don’t know what we should do about it; my protest is absolutely empty. But I believe in that empty protest.
You see, one of the ways you get trapped into not going into the world is when people — usually in positions of power — say, “Oh, yeah, wise guy, what would you do about it? What would you do about the Persian Gulf crisis?” I don’t know what I’d do. I don’t know. But I know when I feel something is wrong, and I trust that sense of outrage, that sense of insult. And so, empty protest is a valid way of expressing feeling, politically. Remember, that’s where we began: how do you connect feeling with politics? Well, one of the ways is through that empty protest. You don’t know what’s right, but you know what’s wrong.
Saturday, May 05, 2012
"Wherever life moves, the hand of god is under it, so no step can be off the path. When you stumble on the mountainside, that is part of your path. When your child is sick and you turn aside from the hunt, that is part of your path. When you wander hungry in the desert and cannot find your way, you're not lost, you're on your path. When cunning fails and your prey eludes you, don't curse your luck; this fruitless hunt is part of your path."--Daniel Quinn, Pg.74, The Tales of Adam
Friday, May 04, 2012
Baseball practice scheduled for tonight. It's going to be a busy day. I often have to remind myself that most families have to do this everyday.
Thursday, May 03, 2012
"[Players] live for the moments when they can lose themselves completely in the action and experience the pure joy of competition."--Phil Jackson, Pg. 180, Sacred Hoops
Right now I'd say that it happens not only to players but coaches too.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
This all, of course, ties into Daniel Quinn's work. Ever since running across the sentence below it felt like there was a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. Someone had finally recognized my suffering and showed that others were going through the same thing. It also meant that I wasn't a defective product but the system that I was trying to conform to is.
"It's estimated that, since the days of my youth, depression among children has increased by 1000% and teen suicide by 300%."--Daniel Quinn, Pg. 180, Beyond Civilization
Looking back on my childhood it was pretty pathetic I understood what depression and anxiety were well before I was 12 years old. And from my perspective 25 years later I simply should not have been thinking about that at that age.
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
"This ancient Zen teaching holds great wisdom for anyone envisioning how to get the most out of a group. Just as fish don't fly and elephants don't play rock and roll, you can't expect a team to perform in a way that's out of tune with it's basic abilities. Though the eagle may soar and fly close to the heavens, it's view of the earth is broad and unclouded. In other words, you can dream all you want, but, bottom line, you've got to work with what you've got. Otherwise, you're wasting your time. The team won't buy your plan and everyone--most of all you--will end up frustrated and disappointed. But when your vision is based on clear-sighted, realistic assessment of your resources, alchemy of the ten mysteriously occurs and a team transforms into a force greater than the sum of its individual talents. Inevitably, pardadoxically, the acceptance of boundaries and limits is the gateway to freedom.
"But visions are never the sole property of one man or one woman. Before a vision can become reality, it must owned by every single member of the group."--Phil Jackson, Pg. 100, Sacred Hoops
I think I have somewhat of a better understanding where my occasional frustration and dissapointment come from. And I'll be learning more about the alchemy of the ten.