Keep These In Your Pocket

Life can be tough to navigate and deal with sometimes.  For my money it’s a good idea to have some tools & tricks to deal with the bugger when it goes pear-shaped, or gets weird.

I once read that the reason why Buddhism is given in lists (4 noble truths, 8 fold path, 3 root poisons, etc) is because the Buddha taught before such things were written down, and it is easier to remember lists.  Being as I have a terrible memory, I can really get behind the idea of keeping it simple.

To that end I think there are a few things everyone could use to keep handy.

A way to keep fit that you enjoy. For me that’s Aikido and Tai Chi.  Those have the added bonus of keeping me a bit safer too.  Tai Chi is awesome for its portability.  I also collect odd body-weight exercises that I can always do should I need a quick workout.

Some level of knowledge of how to keep your system fueled. Here I am thinking about a modicum of knowledge about food and how to make healthy choices.  I also have a simple food-plan I picked up from my active time in OA – three meals a day, no snacks, no sweets, no peanut butter, no pizza.  That combined with a basic fear of fast food keeps me well fueled.

A philosophical model/modality that helps you get through life. I keep a few basic truisms close to hand – “The map is not the territory”, “Opinion is not fact”, “We all see through our own distinct reality-tunnels”, and my personal favorite, “All statements are true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense.”  I also like, “Don’t be that guy”, and (thanks to Diane) “Just be cool, dude.”  I also like Buddhism for compactness and a basic strong grounding in psychology, Taoism for simplicity, and the Integral Model for catch all applicability/orientation.

A way to connect to the truth. Atma Vichara and Meditation are my mainstays here. Atma Vichara you can find out about (my take on it) here.  For Meditation you can poke around my tagged posts here.  The vichara gets me zeroed in on the basic truth of what I am, and by extension since there really is not-two in this reality, the truth of everything.  That may be a bold statement, but luckily the truth cannot be spoken so i don’t have to bother to try.  😉  Meditation helps me develop equanimity and sharpens my awareness.  Two very useful skills for dealing with this wacky world.

What are some of your tools for getting along in life?  I would love to hear them!


When You are No Longer You

The Law of Identity, that is, cannot hold in  process-world ‘where,’ as the mathematical physicist says, ‘every electron has a date and is not identical to itself from one second to another.’ – RAW

I’ve been reading Email to the Universe, the last book Robert Anton Wilson wrote before he concluded his time as a living human being.  He is one of my favorite sources for exploring the inner workings of Taoist thought.  RAW uses the word Process as a translation of the word Tao, which he picked up from Ezra Pound.

One of the distinctions RAW works on in the book is the self-concept (and by extension other-self-concept) held by two basic camps of thought. There are the Western paradigm folks who nail things down into discrete packets of stuff in space. These we can call Spacers.  Spacers are also fond of pointing as the current location a thing holds.  Then there are the more Easter style paradigm peeps who note that a thing changes over time in a continuous process of existence.  This crowd we can call Timers.

Spacers hold that a thing is a self-contained component discrete from other things and stands on it’s own even while being part of larger organizations of things, and conversely composed of smaller discrete things.  A table is a specific thing that is composed of parts like legs, top, joints, etc.

Timers see that a particular thing, say a table, changes over time and is simply the state of the thing as it is now.  A table used to be a tree and will one day be termite food.

The funny and obvious thing is that both camps are right, just from a different view.  We are all nested and nesting in an infinitely complex web of interconnected things.  We also are subject to change over time.

For me this call into question the idea of names.  In the Spacer view it is sufficient for a person to have a specific label to track there place in the configuration of stuff that makes up reality.  This is not really sufficient for the Timers though as the Travis that is writing this is vastly different to the Travis who was watching TV while living at home twenty years ago having never even thought of being a writer.  So, it makes sense to attache a time stamp to the name-label to keep track of just who we are speaking to, or about, on any given occasion. Since the function of a thing is also affected by where in an arrangement of things it happens to be a locational stamp would be useful too.

This would allow for a much fuller conception of a person to deal with.

That’s what went through my head anyways.  What do you think?


Travis-(s)San Francisco, CA 94110, (t)1/9/2011 ~ 00:32