Monday, January 23, 2006


My wife and I are very different which is usually a good thing.  One of those differences is that I obsess over the news and surfing the net has become a default mode of being for me when I’m not clearly engaged in something else.  My wife doesn’t like that for reasons that are perfectly understandable.  In fact, she takes the view that it’s possible to overdose on bad news and thus purposely avoids the news of the war, the state of the earth, etc. not because she wants to ignore it, but because she’s keenly aware that it drags her down.  We do have this continuing conversation about if and when our golden years come, what do we want to be doing with them?

Being me, I sometimes lapse into some scenario where America is in chaos, there is no oil, there are no social support systems, famine and plague are everywhere, and all businesses are owned either by Walmart or McDonald’s.  My wife prefers to talk about making things possible, like finding a pleasant town, a little house to restore, having grandchildren, and maybe opening a small business to keep ourselves busy.  She says ocean and I think tsunami.  She talks about opening a business and I think about debtor’s prison.  I’ve turned into Malthus.

For a while, I went to this local meditation group that I labeled the Buddha Club.  There are actually two significant Buddhist groups in my town.  There’s an actual temple where most of the congregation appears to have been born Buddhist and has the higher concentration of Asian members.  They chant from something that looks like a hymnal, sit in pews, and there’s a sermon.  In fact, if you didn’t understand anything that was being said or looked closely at the symbols and decorations, you could easily be in any protestant service in America.  

The other group meets in a community room next to a bellydance class and an aerobics group.  This group is all middle-aged white people or older.  They meditate for thirty minutes, do a walking meditation, then listen to its leader’s thoughts for about half an hour.  I wound up choosing the latter and they spend a lot of time there talking about the Buddhist time frame which tends to be in thousands of years.  Good Buddhists appreciate how genuinely hard real change is in the world.  

I don’t know why I stopped going for the time being, but there’s been little to filter out my persistent pessimism about the fate of the world and me.  It actually stopped me from blogging for a few days.  I was asking myself if I was spiraling myself into depression by trying to write at least every other day, usually about some anomaly of the public/political world.  My friend Pogblog  tends to write every now and then about what is essentially imagining the future in a universe that allows for multiple threads of reality.  Alan Howard another blogger, I have on my links, seems to swear off politics from his site every now and then and then mysteriously pop back a few weeks later.  I’ve noticed that Benny writes a lot of obituaries to say how various individuals have positively influenced her life (I confess I wasn’t sure if Benny was male or female for several weeks). In the meantime, Jamie at Intoxination, manages to find a couple items a day with amazing dependability.

Even when I purposely turn away from the political, I find myself writing about shooting turkeys in my front yard or being rejected by my own cat.  I do frequently try to write funny, but often it’s really dark funny.  Now and then I too easily forget that I have so much to be thankful for even in the straight-line version of existence.  Part of that is having the good fortune to be married to someone who does remind me from time to time that the glass doesn’t have to be full for us to have enough water to drink.  In the meantime, I suspect that there is some zen of blogging that remains just beyond my intellectual grasp.  


At 1/23/2006 08:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm definitely an optimist in the longish term. I am convinced that the integration of DayLand & DreamLand, the cosmiNet, will re-orient our energies in a sustainable way. We'll have a 'place' where violence and aggrandizement don't kill & impoverish.

We'll be able to afford to be our brothers' keepers Earthside -- or more elegantly in these wiser times, the keepers of our kin -- bipeds, in other words.

Please, as you would ask your spouse, How was your day? -- in the morning, set your alarm 1/2 an hour early for a mutual muse and ask her/him How were your dreams last night? We are ineluctably involved in a larger, very multi-faceted consciousness & it's time for us learn all our capacities.

Similarly you can ask your child at breakfast, How was your night at school? They are learning every night from a fabulous reservoir of cosmic experience, and if you attend to their TV & Books & Music, why aren't you attending to their Dreaming? (Tho, of course, they are unlikely to be 'kids' in their dreams!!)

There is no skill and distilled joy and fascination that will serve your child or spouse or friend better than to encourage them in active or lucid dreaming to go along with their lucid waking.

I recommend giving folks of any age, Dreaming True by Robert Moss, a wonderfully readable master of multiple worlds, grounded, sane, funny. (I was particularly interested to find that Harriet Tubman used lucid dreaming as you might a folded paper map to guide her Underground Railroad folks safely past the hounds and ravening overseers. Not taught to us in our history books.)

At 1/24/2006 01:25:00 AM, Blogger Alan Howard said...

Great post! Maybe because you mention me... *grin*

But yeh, you're right. I do go back and forth between politics and not. I'm aware of it, but I don't know how to 'control' it. Maybe I shouldn't bother controlling it. My latest phase has me talking about stuff that annoys me, but I try not to get annoyed about. I'm always remembering, the world will be how it wants to be. All I'm doing is pointing out those things about it which I think are important.

As long as I maintain that emotional disassociation from the frustration of political and social impotence, I should be fine.

That's what I keep telling myself at least. :-)

At 1/24/2006 07:11:00 AM, Blogger Ron Franscell said...

Chance -- Yeah, I think it's possible to OD on information. Years ago, I read a book that probably has been re-edited (to be scarier) for the Internet Age: "Information Anxiety," about that very subject.

And, no, it wasn't your fault! I hope you'll keep visiting ... I'm linking right now to you!


At 1/24/2006 09:16:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

What a pleasant treat. I woke up to all these comments here.
Mr. Pogblog, I will try being more regular about sharing my "dreams" with Mrs. Chancelucky.
Alan, I've always liked the fact that you move from topic to topic as mood dictates. If there is a zen of blogging, I do think one's blog needs to be an extension of yourself, rather than an entity that demands or fits your blog into a given form or set of beliefs.

many thanks for linking me. I wrote a post last year about "information overload", Spin Exceeds the Speed of Enlightenment . I had a similar thought that someone just dusted off the old idea of "information anxiety" for the internet age.

At 2/01/2006 03:37:00 PM, Blogger benny06 said...

Part of that is having the good fortune to be married to someone who does remind me from time to time that the glass doesn’t have to be full for us to have enough water to drink.

I like that quote.

So you finally figured out my gender. I've enjoyed the mystery that I created with my blog name. On the OAC blog in 2004, some troll got on it and asked me, "Son, don't you have a job?" It was pretty comical.

The political atmosphere is full of strum und drung. And it's true that it seems like many I've enjoyed over the years are going away. But what keeps my optimism is someone like John Edwards, who has had plenty of disppointment and still chooses to be inspired. I guess I do too.

At 2/01/2006 03:59:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

I agree. We have a family member who was in a serious though not fatal car accident, so my wife and I have always felt that connection to the Edwards family. I know it seems Oprahesque, but I tend to believe that "hardship" does play a role in eventual leadership.
It was notably missing from W's resume (not that I'm wishing it on him) but seems to have been something our stronger leaders have had in common even Reagan (hardly my favorite).
It clearly played a role in FDR's presidency and his ability to relate to ordinary Americans.


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