Friday, July 14, 2023

Sharing a post on naturalistic religion

Image from Hardae on Pixabay

Hello there.

I just happened to pop on and see a post in the blog roll I assembled long ago that reminds of some of themes I discussed on message boards and that are covered in various ways here. Might have time to react or bounce off of it later. Or not.

Either way, if you are here reading this, then you probably also should at least take a look at this:

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Work Changes, Peace in Dreams

Some significant changes to my employment are coming.

I currently work in an office that uses multiple companies for different purposes but has a central staff common to all of them. However, one company belongs to a different owner and he is moving to another building nearby, so whether I end up working for one (set of companies), the one that is moving, or neither remains to be seen. This will be especially telling because of an issue of integrity and principle that has arisen that adds further complication.

Change isn't necessarily scary or bad, but it is constant, so we'll see where all of this goes.

I've also noticed that my dreams over the last many years continue to not be life-like and full of intensity or realism. They tend to be feeling and sensation with a thin winding narrative or just impulse that doesn't stand to focus. They, and often any memory of them, just vanish. Even so, I've noted that they also seem to be calm and peaceful, whatever the theme or direction.

I've observed much chaos, hatred, and fear going on and it is hurting many people but it is also preventing many helpful and good things as well as keeping people from noticing and being renewed and uplifted from the helpful and good things that remain. No wise sayings or pinning down how and why people think and act the way they do will change them from being hateful and hurtful. Speaking out and acting  responsibly to offer a better example and inspiration, even in small ways for small audiences, may reach some. Others may be forever lost in bitterness.

Yet when I sleep and recall my dreams, the anger and frustration I can feel during the day isn't there. It's an encouraging thought that below the turmoil that can arise in my waking thoughts and reactions, the poison hasn't taken hold. It may not seem like much, but it is a good place to start as I reflect on the present and the future.

Be well.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

My 19 1/2 year old dog's impending death

Poo, a rat terrier, was born on February 5th, 2003. He came to live with us a couple of months later. Now his death is near.

But not because his organs are giving out or some illness. Because he is old and we don't have the capacity to give him the level of care he will now required. My spouse or I would have to work from home, which isn't possible at this time. We would need a custom-made doggy wheelchair because the culprit here is degeneration of the muscles in his hind legs. And when would need him to accept he can't get up on his own anymore and adjust to that reality, which based on his personality is pretty much impossible.

That makes his impending loss harder. The fact that maybe, somehow, he might get a couple of more good years in some alternate version of reality.

Faith traditions and sacred teaching typically have quite a bit to say about death and loss, but I've never really found any of it useful when faced with situations like this. It just sucks.

I think that's a good lesson. Sometimes things just suck. Looking on the upside or to comforting mythology isn't always going to help or even be desirable. A lot gets tossed around about acceptance, but acceptance doesn't mean no pain, no grief, and so on. Acceptance in fact means having to face those things and the sadness they bring.

So, my dog is going to put to sleep, and I hate it, and it sucks. My best friend for two decades is going away and I can't do anything about it.

Monday, September 5, 2022

September and Labor Day

Labor Day Weekend was quiet and mostly spent at home except for some errands.

In the United States, Labor Day Weekend and the start of September are seen as the start of the transition to Fall, though it won't be the Equinox until the 22nd. Another Summer begins to fade. Halloween items have shown up already in some stores, online and physical, even though that holiday isn't until the end of next month.

I continue to wonder what moves I need to make. Not for wealth or fame, but to adjust to the environment and continue growing in healthy and meaningful ways. My health, while not terrible, has nonetheless been on an unplanned course of improvement thanks to a five hour ER visit in the middle of a Friday night a few weeks ago. However, work is as bad or worse than ever in all of its flaws - terrible management from the top, chaotic environment and agenda, overloading people far beyond capacity, inadequate compensation for the effort made, and so on.

There is much made over appreciating what we have, find the value (lessons, joys, meaning, wisdom, etc.) where we are, but that doesn't mean drifting or stagnating, let alone being take advantage of. There is room for seeing the value of each day and taking care of oneself. I hope you are on a course that allows for anticipation and fulfillment. If you are not, I hope a chance for change that brings such opportunities is in your future. Even small and simple routines that offer such things can make a world of difference.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Growth or transformation?

Ohhhhh, who or what should I be next?

Whether I attempt to continue with my current conditions in life or move on to something else, I wonder if I have been too lazy about self-maintenance. I don't mean eating or exercise, that's a separate issue. I mean - how to say? - allowing assumptions, attitudes, and self-perception.

People reinventing themselves is nothing new, but it doesn't always work out. Of course we have influence on guiding who we become and continue to change over time, but this must also allow for growth, which can come about through transformation, big and small. 

The absence of genuine introspection - of paying attention rather than only evaluating and judging - may have led me to a bit of a dead end. 

Monday, May 30, 2022

Holiday evening reflections (or, On being untethered in a mundane world)

The end of May draws near and in the United States it is unofficially now summer.

My job for the last nearly six years has been... uhh... well, to describe how unusual and stressful and frustrating it can be would require actual examples that no one would believe. It's not all bad, but the unbelievable and vexing parts are made worse by how unnecessary they are. So having a three day weekend is really valuable.

I would have posted something hear last week but my attention was grabbed by another mass shooting at a school in America. Once again the same well-funded political movement is blocking any meaningful changes to save lives by idolizing guns and gun violence. Once again there is a chance to put momentum into calls for reforms.

Whether heart-rending tragedies or the banal vagaries of every day life, many people have some form of reframing or re-contextualizing their experience of the world, either to try to make sense of or accept what transpires or generate and sustain motivation for change. While some will quibble over the use of spiritual as inadequate to label all such transformations in perspective, many such transformative experiences share common events such as being moved by natural beauty or music or other inspiring stimuli. Or by having one's mortality brought sharply into view for some reason.

In my last entry I referenced themes of health and wellness connected to our circumstances and how any type of spirituality, whatever its form, needs to be able to address everyday concerns as well as existential ones. The writing could use some revision but it was a quick lunchtime musing so it is a little untidy and lacking a bit in focus.

Nonetheless, it does lead to this: I never have been able to really get into or stick with any religion, sacred tradition, or anything more than an intellectual yet generic spiritual framework. As I've no doubt shared here before, I don't perceive the world around me as full of wonder and mystery and potential. It offers no sense of hidden truths or unseen depths. It's just flat. Mundane.

To use other language, no sense of the numinous. A super low score on the M-scale. A world without a soul. Neither empty nor full. Neither hot nor cold.

I like parts of Christian monasticism and a lot of the Westernized translations of Buddhism and so on, but commitment is hard when the mystique and newness wear off. I can appreciate the wisdom regarding the human condition but it's hard to not wander off and let whatever practice I had picked up lapse as there is little or no personal connection.

Some people may wonder what that means for dealing with everyday life or horrible catastrophes, but it's just like everyone else I guess only without turning to a liturgy or prayer or whatever. I guess we are all used to what we know? We all have our own ways of filtering and processing our experiences.

Sometimes I use spiritual language and gestures anyway because they are a form of expression even if you don't feel a deep belief or faith in the literal meaning of the gesture or expression, because why not? It's part of our shared human heritage. I don't mean any disrespect to those who idolize such religious forms, especially ones I have a personal connection to.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Late lunch break thoughts

   Original version of this photo from Pixabay

Opening sentence

Something of a late lunch break at work. Writing of any kind can help focus the mind so that gives me a chance to share something here with you as I work on an apple and a banana.

While philosophical, shared interpersonal experiences, and artistic themes are common for questions of meaning and existence, especially in any kind of religious or spiritual or closely related context, the baseline of physical, psychological, and social well-being shouldn't be overlooked. Our perceptions, thoughts, creativity, and so on vary in quality and intensity based on our health.

In addition to blogging I also keep a private journal that helps keep me honest. 

To distill some of that honesty while digesting another bite of fruit, my sublimation of and inattention to dissatisfaction with my job, financial stagnation, the state of the society I live in, and so on has helped bankroll bad fitness habits and drain the reserves of willpower needed to stay healthy physically, psychologically, and socially. 

On the surface level, my personal circumstances by broad socioeconomic metrics of human wellness on a worldwide scale is fairly high, which then compels me to an almost forced pseudo-gratitude and bypasses any helpful introspection. That simple leaves the vagaries of the day to test my ingrained inner structures of patience, releasing temporary agitation, and so on. Bobbing up and down on the daily currents of my external surroundings.

Fortunately my practiced temperance and ability to reframe many things in a way that lets me handle them better works well, but that only helps me stay afloat, not to get back to a healthier and more worthwhile state of existence.

 I mean, my job of the last several years could be the basis of a television show with no embellishment. Honestly, no one would believe me if I told them the unpolished and unexaggerated truth of it. It pays kind of OK, not great, for the workload and responsibility but has no benefits other than PTO. I do a wide variety of things I have no background for most of it other than general intelligence and strong reading and writing skills. It's very chaotic and often unreasonable or just bizarre but it looks at a glance like a normal office. It has its rewarding moments and also cascades of sudden deadlines and stress.

That is mixed with other issues outside of work, including my own variety of inner struggles. And hat would be fine if  I had extra motivational energy (and time, and other resources) to improve my health. 

So rather than just journaling where only my eyes can see, I am putting this up as an example of where the "theory" and speculation covered in places like this blog actually hits the road. Not in self-pitying fashion but to acknowledge that this, too -- no, especially this kind of thing, must be part of the talk and practice of spirituality or whatever term people are comfortable with.

This particular type of existential suffering or dissatisfaction is a (primarily, as far as we know?) human condition, formed by our individual and collective imaginations and the pocket realities we create in our philosopher's caves. If spirituality cannot aid us to a better place and state of being here and now, it must inevitably devolve into facile habit propelled by a mindless dogma.

Perhaps such an attempt at honest introspection will aid me in my own path. Or mayhap it will spark something for you, reader.

May your day be well, and your burdens no more than you can manage.


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