Contemplating Wisdom, Featuring Gus and Brutus, et al

Bruts head shot at beachIMG_0781

The Western mind draws a sharp boundary between humans and the rest of the world….for the Western mind, it is hard to recognize mind in animals, whereas for the Japanese mind, it is hard not to do so.~~Semiotician Yoshimi Kawade, written in 1998

That quote gets me to thinking…

Brutus, the lab mix that I often dog sit, sends me love with a look. He and I look directly, usually silently, into each other’s eyes each time we want to tell each other something. It’s simple. Direct. Clear. A type of mind reading. I’ve learned from dogs and cats how much can be said by the eyes.

With Brutus and Gus, the tiger-striped cat, words are seldom necessary even though I use them out of habit. Brutus and Gus hear me make sounds. Brutus looks at me patiently until I make myself clear.; Gus walks off unless I add a treat to the sounds.

I think, this is one of the reasons that people need dogs and cats—we get sick and tired of talking.

Or we can’t stop talking around people and can only be quiet with our pets. Words are hard to come by. The right ones. Words can be so difficult to find. Those we speak are often the ones we repeat out of habit; they aren’t the words available, or even appropriate often, in the present moment, if we took the time to notice those.

People don’t listen for the most part. Dogs listen. They learn the meaning of words.directed to them. When I say “car” or “beach”  or “cookies” to Brutus, he comes to a happy attention. Have we learned any language from other animals in the same way?

Our words come from minds filled with past and future, so how accurate are they? How wise? Meanwhile, my stock and trade is, ironically, words; I’m a writer and a teacher. However, I’ve been investigating the mind in the way of the as a Buddha and I am starting to see its limitations.

The book Intelligence in Nature, An Inquiry into Knowledge, by Jeremy Narby,  an anthropologist, is filled with words for 243 pages. Since they are written instead of spoken, they have been carefully chosen and re-thought many times; writing can be a more clearway to use words than speaking. Narby writes about the intelligence he and other scientists, have discovered in creatures great and minuscule, like nematodes. “A slime mold,” he writes,” in a maze has the capacity to apprehend its situation and act on its knowledge.”

He makes the point that there are more forms of intelligence than we ever dreamed of. A Western mind has to overcome hundreds of years of the myth of human intellectual superiority.

Recently I read in Narby’s book that “Information of one kind or another is consistently circulating in nature, in particular in the form of biochemical molecules. The world is streaming with signs. Not so long ago, some people considered the use of signs a specifically human trait.”

All this is to say, that I am searching as I write: what is nature telling me? What is it I am missing? Can I become better at reading the signs life is posting? We’ll see…

http://paypal.me/walkswithyogicom. Any donations/love offerings to this writing project will be gratefully apppreciated.

After Listening to Tiokasin Ghosthorse

Name yourself the Lakota way

see how

streams reflecting sunlight

run in your veins,

stars shine

on your brow.

Go to the forest the Lakota way.

hear roots

whisper wordless

under the the soft-handed canopy

holding you as you 

sleep.

Know this boulder the Lakota way

and you will understand 

something solid

Is not

but glows and glitters

with light

like your bones 

like boulders,

that by constant motion joined,

speak your name.

wonder

 Wonder

Pomegranate
Each sweet seed counted
Equally in its pod
Magically mathematical

Lotus 
blossoms arranged
In a circular dance
Rising from mud
Open in time
As if to music

Tiger cat
Stripes half inch by half inch
Up the tail
Gold and white 
Like wedding rings.

Motherhood


A tree birthed me.

I climbed into her arms

Protected fromHeat and harm.

Hidden by leafy tendrils

Birds and I sheltered

While she nourished earth

Swept the air clean.

With age

The skin on my limbs

Resembles tree bark

Years etched

Storms weathered.

I recall childhood

Her green canopy.

In autumnHer fiery, falling leaves

My joy.

Weedon Island #5, Neruda

You will ask why his poetrydoesn’t speak to us of dreams, of the leaves,of the great volcanoes of his native land?Come and see the blood in the streets,come and seethe blood in the streets,come and see the bloodin the streets! ~~~Pablo Neruda, “I Explain Some Things”

We have
Apple Fritters
apple slices, Jarlsberg cheese
Water, coffee.

So we taste the sweetness,
talk and laugh to keep from crying
Before we write.

The season is turning
dry now
but the ditches will be filled
by a flood of tears,
blood of those murdered in the streets.

Our President says our votes won’t count,
our voices will be silenced,
So he can win. He must win.
His dead father still punishes any loss.

He laughs
at the anguish
of a reporter shot with a rubber bullet in the knee.
Calls his pain a thing of beauty.
His followers laugh with him
Feel joy rise in their ranks
The certainty of violence,
o seductive, easy.
The simple answer
they long for.
He rallies them
To feel
the power of bullies.

“Dad, he made fun of me…”
Why the fuck you cryin’…
I’ll give you something to cry about.
Here, take this gun,
He’ll crap his pants..hahaha…
He’s a loser
Don’t be a loser
Show him who’s boss
Kick the shit out of him
Don’t be a pussy.
Suck it up.
Make your old man proud.

“Her? Fuck her, that bitch,”
she asked for it.

Long ago I heard Pablo Neruda
call out to his nation,

“When I got the chance I asked them a slew of questions. They offered to burn me; it was the only thing they knew.”—-Pablo Neruda

These words once seemed so distant from my home.

These words once seemed so distant from my home.

Photo by Malcolm Garret on Pexels.com

Inspired Writing: From Silly to Wise–A Four Week Workshop*, or “Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy.” ― Einstein

*Not only for experienced writers. Join in even if you don’t think you can write!. You may surprise yourself!

water-fire-abstract-black-backgroundphoto from Google photos

Dear People,
During these trying times, it can help to be inspired by wisdom, humor and profound observations. For those who do not know me: I am a published writer, and have been teaching writing at the college level for the past twenty years.  I’ve always found inspiration for my own writing from writers and thinkers, and so am offering a workshop to inspire your own writing.

In this four week workshop, we will read short inspiring selections from many wisdom traditions as well as by humorists, chefs, visual artists, philosophers, comedians, fiction and non-fiction writers and poets, then we’ll discuss one of these before we write. Some of the passages will be philosophical, some comforting, others just delightful, playful or funny.

Subjects will range from food to furniture from silly, to spiritual.

Our writing will be whatever we are inspired to say after our discussion. Sharing what we write will be optional, but encouraged. I will also offer writing guidance based on Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, and others.

Here is an example of the types of passages we could consider:

“As you unfold as an artist, just keep on, quietly and earnestly, growing through all that happens to you. You cannot disrupt this process more violently than by. looking outside yourself for answers that may only be found by attending to your innermost feeling.”~~~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Here’s another: “You have to stay in shape. My mother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She’s 97 now and we have no idea where she is.” ~~George Carlin, comedian

The first session will be free. If you choose to continue, the cost will be $60.00 for the four week workshop.

Begins once per week October 1st-November 5th (day and time be determined) via Zoom (instructions will follow)

If you are interested, please email me at andapeterson@yahoo.com, or leave a comment here.

 

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Inspired Writing: From Silly to Wise–A Four Week Workshop*, or “Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy.” ― Einstein

*Not only for experienced writers. Join in even if you don’t think you can write!. You may surprise yourself!

water-fire-abstract-black-backgroundphoto from Google photos

Dear People,
During these trying times, it can help to be inspired by wisdom, humor and profound observations. For those who do not know me: I am a published writer, and have been teaching writing at the college level for the past twenty years.  I’ve always found inspiration for my own writing from writers and thinkers, and so am offering a workshop to inspire your own writing.

In this four week workshop, we will read short inspiring selections from many wisdom traditions as well as by humorists, chefs, visual artists, philosophers, comedians, fiction and non-fiction writers and poets, then we’ll discuss one of these before we write. Some of the passages will be philosophical, some comforting, others just delightful, playful or funny.

Subjects will range from food to furniture from silly, to spiritual.

Our writing will be whatever we are inspired to say after our discussion. Sharing what we write will be optional, but encouraged. I will also offer writing guidance based on Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, and others.

Here is an example of the types of passages we could consider:

“As you unfold as an artist, just keep on, quietly and earnestly, growing through all that happens to you. You cannot disrupt this process more violently than by. looking outside yourself for answers that may only be found by attending to your innermost feeling.”~~~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Here’s another: “You have to stay in shape. My mother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She’s 97 now and we have no idea where she is.” ~~George Carlin, comedian

The first session will be free. If you choose to continue each one hour session will be $15.00. Each month will feature a new topic and writer.

Begins once per week October 1st-November 5th (day and time be determined) via Zoom (instructions will follow)

If you are interested, please email me at andapeterson@yahoo.com, or leave a comment here.

 

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What kind of courage do we need? We must accept reality in all its immensity…the only kind of courage that is required of us: the courage to meet the strangest, most awesome and most inexplicable of phenomena.~~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

The Courage We Need is

to stand alone
on the dance floor.

The courage we need is
to stay steady

as we feel the foundation cracking

to see clearly
through lies
thick as heavy blankets
as the sleepers
pretend wakefulness.

The courage we need is
to refuse
the safety
of the trance.

The courage we need is
to love with a broken heart,
shed fears like leaves,
bend, bow
and continue.

https://www.paypal.com/biz/fund?id=QTNFPBXT5AGDE