William James – Attend to the Present Moment in Time

There is no connection between this image and the quote. Unless you make one!

Let any one try, I will not say to arrest, but to notice or attend to, the present moment of time. One of the most baffling experiences occurs. Where is it, this present? It has melted in our grasp, fled ere we could touch it, gone in the instant of becoming.

William James in The Principles of Psychology Chapter 15 Perception of Time.

This past week I’ve had space, and time to read, William James has been my companion. Apart from anything else I enjoy his turn of phrase. I find it poetic.

Monty the Tortoise

Here is Monty the Tortoise, bless him. Here caught on camera blissfully chewing the rubber sole of my shoe!

Here below education on our ancient friends. Their shells are rather interesting, Here. if you are interested.

At some point — let’s just say around 260 million years ago — Earth got turtles. They look strange in these modern, mammalian times when lots of things are squishy and unarmored. But during the Late Permian Epoch, the early turtles were dressed in all the latest fashions: short, sturdy legs, bony plates and a stiff, splayed, crawling strut.

Here’s the thing. We do not judge a ‘creature by it’s covering’. That’s across the board, for all creatures. Merit for all those who are judged thus, do judge thus. And are suffering as a consequence. I guess that covers ‘all creatures’.

Living with Monty

When I feed a creature
I anticipate a joyful
gallop towards the food. (or at the very least, a shuffle.)

When it rains and
it’s windy outside
I worry about shelter (for them).

When I approach with food
I do not expect them
to chew my shoe. (Weird.)

When food goes uneaten
For over 24 hours
I worry. (especially if there’s not been a sighting.)

When I check the fencing
my heart
is in my mouth. (escape is the worst-case scenario)

When I call tenderly from
a 2nd-floor window
I do not expect a response. (especially if the window is closed).

When I call gently from
beside fresh lettuce leaves
I hope for a sighting. (a rustle in the undergrowth, perhaps)

When I persistently call, whisper,
plead, long for, hope for,
anticipate a sighting. (I’m on a road to nowhere.)

What creature is this?

This post is for all creatures everywhere – contrariously orientated, hairy, not hairy, constructed to defy nature (but functional never the less), and more. And all those attributes we know, love, lose our hearts to, lose our tempers with, and more. And all that finickiness around; food, shelter, being locked in, being locked out, food, free feeding, not free feeding, grooming, bedding, social difficulty with ‘others’ – and more.

And finally here is to us. those creatures who are SLEEP DEPRIVED due to; demands for food at 3.00 am (or whenever), who respond to the demanding cry to be let out. Constantly for most of ‘sleep time’, and more. Us who lay awake at night listening to the rain and worrying ourselves awake about ‘shelter’. All this and more has us framed as hapless, hopeless. SERVANTS.

And we serve them anyway!

Rest and Renewal

This post was originally published in July 2007. True then, true now. Going to bed for in the morning I’m off and away for a couple of weeks of rest and renewal. One week house sitting and then another week flat sitting.

At times like this
when it’s getting late and
I need to get to bed and
I’d like to write a post, yet
there are SO many possibilities and
I can’t make up my mind
what to write about
I usually just go to bed, instead.

Many thanks to Sangha friends in Vancouver for the use of the photograph.

The Throwaway Box

to-keepI’m showing solidarity with a couple close to me who are going through their life long ‘treasures’. ‘Downsizing doesn’t even begin to describe the process they are going through at the moment. In this article, A Beginner’s Guide To Swedish Death Cleaning, (It’s nowhere near as horrifying as it sounds) there is a compassionate and practical idea to help the process of letting go of ones ‘treasures’, by retaining some of them.  That is to create a Throwaway Box filled with a few carefully selected items that mean a lot to oneself, but nothing to anyone else. This is part of the article mentioned above.

This box could hold anything from “old love letters, programs, memories from travelling” to “a dried flower, a stone with a funny shape, or a little, beautiful shell”. The idea is that your friends or family may look through the box, but have permission (from you!) to get rid of anything inside. And of course, while you’re still around, you get to enjoy all your lovely little things.

I started my box this evening. It looks like I want to retain items that harbour fond memories of people, places and events, it might be my ‘gratitude’ box. The striped piece of fabric relates to my mother who kept it in her sewing box. The purse was given to me by a ‘Dharma Uncle’ when travelling in Japan in 2005. Symbolizing my dharma family, through Rev. Master Jiyu, to multiple ‘relatives’ in Japan. There is another item that will go into the box from relatives in Malasia and Taiwan.

It is proving quite easy to gather these items since they have been populating several draws I use for stationary. Already I can see I don’t need to have so many pens!

Let the Swedish death cleaning begin. You’ll have to read the article to understand what this is all about. No, I’m not about to die, as far as I know, just that I’d like to make the task a of dealing with my belongings a pleasant one when, I do.