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10-25-2012 - 1_bibliophiliac
Personal Journal Entry at 11:58pm on 10-25-2012

I am grateful for this day and for all those with whom I shared it.


Today I moved logs. It sounds mundane, but it exercised my body and got my head to a good place
(these things are relative and entirely subject to interpretation). For me, manual labor is a form of meditation, as is hiking, cycling and gardening. Sitting still is good for contemplating, for planning,for applying reason and logic, for thinking about persons places or things; contemplation and meditationare not the same, and, in fact, are mutually exclusive. If one is contemplating one is cogitating, and when one is cogitating the mind is active. One of the main objects of meditation is to quiet the mind, to rid oneself of thought. Typically one focuses on some aspect of the body as a distraction for the mind, then gradually eliminates that. Then, for as long as one can maintain it, one simply IS.
Meditation is the pause that refreshes.

For me chi gong is like a mental and physical recharge: it raises my energy level, makes me more aware of sensations, and after I'm finished with a session I feel really good. It isn't yet a form of meditation for me, but I can see how it could be, because it also starts with a focus on the body and moves to something else.
If one is using meditative forms for focused thinking on a particular subject or range of related subjects, one is contemplating, not meditating. If one isn't thinking about anything but is merely experiencing the moment, then one is meditating, regardless of the form that takes. Meditation is floating on the stream of flow.

During a short break after moving logs I got some ideas for potential sites for raised gardens, pondered the contours of the land and made a mental note to survey along one prominent contour where the land declines somewhat sharply from being near level, where the plain turns into a hill. I think that particular contour line would be make an excellent swale/berm line, with deep taproot plants at the bottom of the swale. It would allow rainwater to permeate the porous limestone that passes for subsoil here, storing some water and allowing
more to slowly percolate out to the roots of plants and trees. Along this very same contour line we lost nearly half our trees in the drought of 2011. With more water available over a longer period that might not have happened.

I also looked for this one vital notebook that contains extensive notes from the permaculture design course I took at the end of August, and business plans for two friends. I've been looking for the notebook for two months. I gave up looking, and will be going over to my friend Sam's place on saturday afternoon to re-interview him. I kind
of needed to do that anyway, because he's been working on some things and has detailed notes on a white board in his living room that I would like to read. I'll be keeping all of the interview materials and everything pertaining to his business plan in my black messenger bag, which I've owned for fifteen years and have never lost.
That should solve that problem.


I attended two meetings this evening: one in Bastrop with a natural builder and alternative energy contractor, and the service/fundraiser at Creation Flame in Cedar Creek. The natural builder runs Biotechture Training, a builder of earthships, alternatively fueled vehicles and aquaponics systems. They not only build these things, they also train others to do so in the process. Their earthships are of the monolithic dome type and they use styrocrete as
the main material. They also convert machines to use biogas, and have a method for obtaining biogases from wood chips. Mark, the guy from Biotechture, also mentioned harvesting methane from septic systems, using multiple filters to turn rainwater and grey water into drinking water, and using radiation-resistant basalt fiber. I'll have to check into basalt to understand its properties, which forms of radiation it blocks, how it is processed worked and used and where to obtain it in this area. Basalt is typically found in the vicinity of active or dormant volcanoes, and we don't have any of those around here. Biotechture is currently seeking funding to purchase heavy equipment including: a backhoe, tractor, concrete sprayer and concrete mixer. It was an interesting meeting. While I've been aware of earthships for some time, I was previously unaware of what it took to build one.

I'll be visiting an earthship build and participating in its construction on saturday.

The service at Creation Flame was simultaneously amazing and confusing, as usual. We came late, having just finished attending our previous meeting, and arrived during a point where everyone was speculating on what the next couple of months would hold, both for themselves and for the world. I've learned not to expect or anticipate anything, because what happens happens, and the universe seems wonderfully capricious in its unpredictable variety of manifestations.

If you expect an occurrence and something else transpires, then you have to abruptly change your plans or mentally shift gears, having to swim across the current in the stream of happening. If one has no expectations one flows with the moment, surfing the standing wave of time. Expectations are a major source of psychological dissatisfaction and living with a lot of expectations can be a frustrating experience. Anticipation of future events shifts one's focus from the present, which is where a person lives all of the time, and it is the only moment that really counts anyway.

So I was asked to do something that I've trained myself not to do: speculate about the future. I plan today, I look forward a week or two and try to allocate enough time and resources to do what I must and to do those things which I feel will accomplish my life goals. If it isn't happening in the next couple of weeks, I'm probably not thinking about it.

Others were speculating about what might happen in the world; the world is too big for me. I'm a trees person, not a forest person when it comes to people, objects, events and the physical world. I'm only a forest person when it comes to ideas, and possibly in my nascent spiritual development. Several of the speakers spoke of "good" and "bad" possibilities. The main speaker spoke of the popular cultural obsession with zombies as being an outward projection of inner darkness. Good and bad are relative values which we assess subjectively. Nothing is objectively good or bad in itself. Shit happens; it is how we perceive that shit, how we deal with it, what we learn from it, and what we make of it that determines whether, for us, it becomes good or bad.

This particular group of people has more serious issues with dualism than I do, but I think we mean different things by the term. Three of the speakers bashed dualism. Apparently among this group Rene DesCartes stock is WAY down. I was shocked by this bashing: generally folks in this community are relentlessly positive with a "can do" attitude. It is one of the things I like the most about them. So this bashing and negativity, particularly during a meditation meeting, was kind of jarring. It made me realize just how positive most of these folks are the rest
of the time.

There is a large and interconnected collection of different circles of association in Central Texas that makes monist statements, but seems completely unaware of the ancient Greek monists. I'm guessing that there is a philosopher in that greater community, but I have yet to meet him or her. Since I'm consciously circulating and socializing more frequently, perhaps I will meet this philosopher.

Thanks to one and all and the One in all; blessings.

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