See more articles, reviews, fiction and poetry, including more of my writings, at group blog PLUTO'S REALM.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Another Dream

Although it may seem to some to be contrary to my Zen practice, I continue to become convinced that occasionally -- usually when after having had some disruption in my brain chemistry or sleep patterns -- I have dreams which are more than dreams. These dreams feel astonishingly real, just as real as the world I normally live in, sometimes more so. They are sometimes lucid dreams (I am quite aware that I am dreaming). I have, in very open moments of thought between these dreams and my resumption of my normal conciousness, had the perception that the dream state is in fact the integration of many minds, of why my normal rational consciousness is only one. One of these occurred maybe an hour ago.

At a certain very critical point of my life in Albuquerque, just after my Nichiren period ended but before things went to hell there, I had a brief affair with my court reporter. Her name was Pam; I won't use her last name because someone might Google and find her here, and our affair was illicit in that she was in the process of a divorce and was on her way to join her new boyfriend in Colorado. I was just a safe diversion for her I guess, but I fell madly in love with her, probably the last time I ever did that. We would both have been about 33 or 34 at the time. That was at the time when I was probably peaking out financially; I had my home and my motorcycle and my neighborhood bar, all elements that proved problematic later. Pam and I went out for a while but she remained true to her intended new husband. I helped her with her divorce in exchange for some free depositions. Then away she went; I've had sporadic fond memories of her, though I hadn't thought of her in quite a while. She was the epitome of the girl I'd wanted from high school on, but never quite had. I never quite had Pam either, I guess.

Until last night, when Pam and I met in the dream world. We met upstairs at some bar or private club, where it seems we've been meeting intermittently in this alternative reality. She seemed to know the proprieters quite well; they teased her that she was hung over from the night before. She asked, I wasn't drinking, was I? and I said just this, and ordered a double Scotch and soda, which came in a huge brandy snifer. We stayed there for a while, and we did what we did, and then it was over. But I could tell we'd been there before and would again, in this other world.

So I got into my search engines this morning when I got my coffee, and found her immediately; apparently she stayed in Colorado, and hopefully things went well for her. Her two children, who were tiny when I knew her, have gone to college and had restaurant jobs, and her daughter had a wild cougar break into her housing on campus. The daughter looks so much like Pam did, twenty-six or so years ago, that it's heartbreaking. All this through the magic of the internet.

So I won't bother Pam, in this world, but I look forward to seeing her again in that other one. And you can't tell me it's not real. Why would you want to?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mumbling Towards Babylon (Some Bull)

Physical tiredness seems to take the mental energy out of me for this blogging thing. Or maybe it's just that I'm doing a lot of yoga and a lot of zazen and I'm just a little less adamant about, well, everything, but it feels like I'm just more inclined to equivocate. The one firm commitment I have now is to go down to Atlanta to see the New Year in with Michael Elliston and the ASZC; it's been years since I've felt like going out and partying on New Year's Eve or any other Amateur Night, so normally I've just gone to bed before midnight. 2007 was a very good year but it's ending in a minor key so I feel the need to start 2008 with a major chord, 'cause I feel like things are gonna get worse before they get better.

As Hunter said, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." God, we need that guy now.

The layoffs at work seem inclined to spread; I'm not sure how much jeopardy my job is in (I think I'd be kept as long as anyone, but you never know), but my income may be primed for a big hit anyway, and it's not that impressive to start. The police state is oppressing my friend in ridiculous, Kafka-esque ways.

Since my fiftieth birthday in November, a few things I'd wrestled with seem to have become clear, or maybe just not worth wrestling with any more. Brain chemistry seems paramount and I see no need to disturb it any more than with my required dosages of caffeine and a little occasional aspirin. The health of the physical self also seems paramount. I am tired of seeing really fat people in my environment, and seeing my own self image in them; not so much for ego or style, but because I know we're being poisoned by the fake food they feed us for profit and I really resent being fucked up so they can make money off me.

Some things are good. I'm really bad at yoga, but I love it more and more. Over seven years of doing something badly, you'd think I'd have given up by now; more maturity? And step aerobics, a dying art, stuff I still love -- about the best moving meditation I've ever done. So what if most of the people who do it are assholes?

And more about the stuff we eat. I need to get over this sugar addiction we all have now, me less than others but still enough to annoy. And I've found my position with regard to the omnivore thing. We are natural omnivores, it's true. Man was a hunter-gatherer long before he invented agriculture, so vegetarians and vegans who claim that eating meat is some kind of an aberration are just historically and scientifically wrong. Our bodies are still designed for it. On the other hand, I am a being with the ability to make choices, and I really do empathize with mammals. They do feel pain, and I don't like to see it, or be the cause of it. Not so with birds (I kind of detest them) or fish (who were put there for me to eat, cause I love them so much). The problem with poultry is just that the way it's raised is so nasty. So in a perfect world, I'd eat no mammal flesh or poultry, with good seafood when I can get it.

Forget the "don't eat anything with a face" folks. Have you ever seen the "face" on a monkfish? Anyone who can't see the difference in a fish and a cow is a pure idealist. I want to keep this real. Of course there's the other side of the issue. Am I going to offend my 85-year-old dad by turning down a steak when he cooks it? Of course not. The beef is already dead. And yes, if you've been sick, meat is a good way to get a lot of nutrition in your system fast. The healthier I am, the less I need it, and the less of it I eat, the better I feel.

Of course, the driving force behind these decisions; the factory-farming system, like most of modern agriculture (and modern overpopulated "society") is evil, evil, evil. Occasionally I get all these new-agey things on the internet; I like some of them. But somewhere I saw that old Native American ritual where the people who are about to eat some meat thank the animal who died so they could live. It struck me as a really sick joke that someone would do that when the hamburgers came from Kroger. Now, you already know what I think about people who cringe from bearing the consequences of their actions by dissociating their McShit from living animals. No one should be allowed to eat meat if he can't hunt, kill, clean and cook the animal himself (not every particular animal, mind you).

But the Native American ritual makes sense if you're talking about a man with a spear or a bow out on a plain with a buffalo. Winter is coming. Only one of them can live. So the man, after some effort, kills the buffalo and supplies meat for his family for a while. I can respect that; I can respect the man and I can respect the buffalo. When the man in prayer before eating thanks the animal, I can respect that. The buffalo would respect it too, if a dead buffalo could respect things.

Butwhen a bunch of hippies sit down stoned or blissed out on "meditation", hold hands and thank their Big Macs for dying for them, I want to vomit. Because those cows were raised in pain, tortured and forcefed and imprisoned and treated in ways I'd like to treat Dick Cheney. You know what they'd say if they were thanked? Fuck you! Fuck you, Nazi! You and your endless hungry idiot children! I hope you get e. coli and die! And I'd agree with them. Death to McDonald's customers!

But enough of that. I think you get the point. If you don't, I'm wasting my caffeine rush.

Next up: Is the Nashville Buddhist Festival fast food for the spiritually retarded? Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Good Times, Bad Times

I just haven't found anything worth ranting about lately. Tanya wants me to write about politics, but I can't get interested -- maybe when the election gets even more unavoidable, perhaps in the New Year. Otherwise, I find I have very little to say on the subject. We're so far past politics now, the Titanic's deck chairs have floated out to sea. If you've been reading this blog, you know damn well what I think about the criminals in charge of the White House, and you should have sensed my disgust at their (ahem) opposition. I think the best thing we have to hope for is a Hillary Clinton Presidency, and I'm not all that big a fan. Her quisling support of the Oil War, or her lackluster opposition, or of her manifestation of inability to know the difference, is somewhat less than inspiring. The only reason I sincerely hope she can somehow pull this off, this election, is my dream of a return of Bill's staff. Would it be too much, as the Human Years near their end, that we have sane people in charge of this particular government? Don't answer that.

Too late, people, it's all too late. Al Gore's dedication to saving the Earth, still without stating the cause of the cause of his cause, of which he surely must be aware, makes me wistful. Maybe the theft of the 2000 elections by the Bush Cabal, the last significant event of the Twentieth Century, proves that the Doomsday profits of the Millenium were correct, because with the defeat and somewhat craven surrender of the Gore Presidential team, mankind may have put the last kiss to the seal of its fate. Not that we weren't already doomed by then, but we could have gone down swinging. Now we'll go down like extras in a George Romero movie, eating the flesh of our fellow men.

For surely man has overridden the earth, and it is in its death throes. Meanwhile the mindless masses fuck on like there's no tomorrow, throwing more of their demonspawn forth upon the land, where they will starve, die of horrible diseases, or murder each other for the last crust of bread. Welcome to the American dream; you're getting what you asked for and what you deserve.

And those of us who awake, awake too late. Time to open your eyes, if only to accept. Total acceptance is all that can justify your existence now. Time to meet your God and shake his hand, for he is the devil and he is you.

Meanwhile, life goes on. The company where I work laid off a third of its work force last Friday, ten days before Christmas. One of the people I love most in the world is in jail again, a victim of her own past, her present stupidity, and a greedy and malicious society which has no remnants of conscience. And there's not a damn thing I can do about any of it. On my last trip to Galveston, there was a sweatshirt I almost bought that said "Lifeguard off duty. Save yourself." That says it all about how I feel.

But there's still a Rufus in the Christmas tree, which always gives me hope in the face of disaster. And meanwhile, my friend Nat is vacationing from his post in the federal bureaucracy and has learned to play the drums. After two years of frustration on my part, there may be a place for a true Zen legacy in Nashville after all. Maybe we can go down with our eyes wide open, and not alone.

Surely the flesh-eaters and the threshers of War will follow me all the days of my life. Amen.