gatineau river.

gatineau river.
christian ouellet.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

a functional truth.

"for those without faith there are no answers. for those with faith there are no questions." the chief rabbi lord immanuel jakobovitz

these days, i'm not really into faith. i'd rather write about what i know, like erectile dysfunction. but i'll focus on faith, and god, or faith in god. i could write with some authority about erectile dysfunction. in fact i come from a dysfunctional family. but god is an important topic, and nobody's interested in my family crap.

speaking of crap, i recently upgraded the plumbing at my cottage. there's a new septic system, new pump, all new pipes, hot water tank, toilet, toilet paper, everything's brand-spanking new. now you may well wonder what the heck that has to do with god. well, folks came to stay at my cottage and immediately the toilet wouldn't flush. no flushing. i was flush once, but no more. thousands upon thousands of bucks, roupees, dineros, and those folks had to crap in the old out-house! now, i ask you: is there a god? does he exist or is he dead? and, if he's dead, who's running the show? and, if he's alive why doesn't my toilet work? why does he create typhoons, or bafoons? and why should i capitalize the G? oh yeah, and why is he a he, or is she a she?

i watched a youtube video lecture by a swami ballanuts who was all about incessantly asking oneself: 'who am i?' he was good in pointing out all that we're not: not so good with the who we are part. i mean, we are the eternal self? what does that even mean? does he know something i don't? or was that a leap of faith? was he just parroting what he's read or heard? meditation, the ancient science of 'dhyan yog,' is supposed to be solely concerned with personal direct knowledge. i know that my 'little brother' is dysfunctional, but i have no personal direct knowledge of eternity.

in meditation one experiences a cessation of experiences, an absolutely blissful state of consciousness no doubt. i get that, directly, and it's profound, tremendous, not to be minimized. it's a fully functional tool. it's huge. i'm proud of it. but my truth is: i wonder how the hell 'they' all can talk of an eternal self, a heavan, a paradise with such authority. what is god (?) who was the first mother (?) how did anything, any of us, even come into existence in the first place and where do we go in the last place (?) in fact, who am i (?)

why can't we all just admit that we simply don't know, and that we're all in this together (?) we gotta keep looking, keep searching. but, meanwhile, i believe every swami, rabbi, mullah, lama, scientist, philosopher, priest, pundit, tom, dick and harriette should face the certainty of our deaths without the certainty of answers, and cut the crap.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

the buffalo.

re-posted from a few years ago.

On my third day in India, I saw a man beating a water buffalo mercilessly with a wooden cricket bat while a smaller man held it by its nose-ring and neck-rope.

The men were yelling while flogging the beast as it bellowed in pain. Nobody paid much attention until I grabbed the arm of the larger man and demanded that he stop. Then a crowd quickly formed around us and the two men screamed at me and at the crowd. There were a lot of histrionics I didn't understand until one willowy old man told me in English that the buffalo was very stubborn. I said that was no reason to beat i.

At that point, the two men did something I was not expecting. They handed me the rope and intimated that the buffalo was now mine. The two men stormed off, the crowd laughed, clapped, called out to each other while I stood frozen to the spot.

I was at a total loss, no idea what to do. Within three days of being in the country I found myself wandering through a market with a water buffalo that, by the way, was indeed incredibly stubborn. It seemed singularly ungrateful to a guy who had just saved it from a heck of a thrashing.

I hadn't gotten far when the willowy old man approached. Seeing me struggle, he smilingly said, "You can do with that buffalo the same as so many problems in the life. Before you lose your good sense, my son, you can simply let it go." And that's exactly what I did.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

dylan's speech.

j; dylan's nobel award acceptance speech, more performance art really, has made me even more of a devotee. it's incredible, eloquent beyond words, and completely puts to rest any possible argument against his receiving the nobel prize for literature. it puts that to rest by his reading, with the piano hypnotically playing in the background, and its content. you know what i specifically mean: the influence great literature has had on his lyrics. but more than that, this speech is a testament to his literary greatness in and of itself, a tremendous bit of literature that will almost certainly, like his songs, endure the test of time. he deserves the prize for this speech alone: absolutely brilliant! thanks for sending the link. i may post my review on my blog. n. ps; the fact that dylan waited to the last possible moment to submit his lecture, and then to perform THIS, was also a piece of high art... 

Monday, May 29, 2017

the fire that burns in me.

you know how, when you finally decide to go see a doctor about a problem, the problem goes away?

ok, so i finally made an appointment and the problem didn't exactly go away, only kinda wasn't so obvious, kinda unnoticeable actually. i explained to the good doctor that the problem may not be particularly obvious at that precise moment, noticeable at that time, but it honestly does in fact become obvious and noticeable at other moments and times. so i was a little taken aback when her eyes flew open wide, she threw her arms up in the air and hollered: "holy crap that's friggin awful! like, mary mother of god! how did you even get here!? jeezes murphy i am friggin god-smacked!"

now, i may be slightly exaggerating her reaction and the problem. it's nothing compared to, say, leprosy. i have known a couple of folks with leprosy so i can say that with some authority. but, it is a problem none-the-less to me. i will not bore you with the details except to say that it is in fact a problem. well, it's essentially me having trouble facing the end of my illustrious, not, basketball career. and why have i been meditating if not for unending fantastic-ness.

i suppose my problem would appear to be of very little consequence, of no particular significance to someone other than me. simply finding it harder to keep up with the young bball studs that i've been, for some god-forsaken reason, trying to impress, may seem trivial. but i'm not pleased, and i'm important to me. i can still go to the gym, shoot around, lift some weights, take a steam-bath and blow-dry my genitals like the really old guys do. there's even a complimentary genital-dryer there that may be more traditionally meant as a hair-dryer. i don't know, but i digress. i just can't, you know, get it on the way i used to.  

if it weren't for my mornings, i'd swear this whole meditation thing is a hoax, a fraud. oh yeah, and i woulda been a singularly unpleasant sorta person. that's pretty clear. but, still, i've been meditating a long long time, i have a problem and does that seem fair (?)

"weapons cannot cut it nor can fire burn it; water cannot wet it nor can wind dry it. it has no beginning nor any end, and that thou art." bhagavad gita. chapter 2, verse 3.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

no me without you.

"there is no me. i do not exist. there used to be a me, but i had it surgically removed." peter sellers.

'if a tree falls in the forest with nobody around, does it make a sound?' the real question is, of course: 'can something exist without being perceived?' i think about that a lot as i skulk around my house like a spectre in the night. do i exist since, by and large, i'm not being perceived? if nobody reads this blog, has it even been written?

the desire, the natural compulsion to be noticed is basically and ultimately a futile attempt to avoid the question, that most existential of philisophical quandaries. it drives us in so many ways: to keep friends, partners, children, dogs, cats, keep anyone close, to reassure us of our very existence. it compels us to 'make our mark', be a great success, become well-known, famous. it all comes down to a rather understandable attempt to avoid facing the possibility that we aren't really real.

in my opinion, a better question would be: 'if a tree falls in the forest and nobody's there to hear it, where the heck are they?' are we ever completely continuously and conclusively alone? or are we, as great sages, philosophers and new-age pundits have stated, actually never alone? actually not alone!? as i check the locks on the doors and peer under my bed, i feel strangely reassured. after all, if i'm not actually alone i don't need a puppy. i guess i do exist, or not.

"as long as you think of your real self as this person you are, of course you'll be fearful of death. but, what is a person? a person is a pattern of behaviour, of a larger awareness. you know, the two-year old dies before the three-year-old shows up. the three-year-old dies before the teenager shows up." deepak chopra.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

quotes and misquotes.

"in a gentle way, you can shake the world." mahatma ghandi.

"until i met my guru i knew so many things. now i know nothing, for all knowledge is in dream only and not valid. i know myself and find no birth or death in me, only pure being, not being this or that, but just being." nisargadatta.
"until i met my guru i knew so many things. now i know many more things although nothing for sure. i know myself best of all and cannot entirely grasp the concept of death, just being, just life". nathan.

"meditation is very painful in the beginning but bestows immortal bliss and supreme joy in the end." swami sivananda.
"meditation is quite nice at the beginning but almost unbelievably blissful and deeply joyful by the end". nathan.

"god is all-full. he is self-contained. he is eternal satisfaction." swami sivananda.
"god is awful. he or she has caused eternal strife". nathan

"the man who has perceived god looks upon all types of men as dream motion-picture images, made of the relativities of the light of cosmic consciousness and the shadows of delusion" paramahansa yogananda.
"the man or woman who has perceived god looks upon all types of men and women, of all races and colors, as precious shimmering lights of a comic consciousness". nathan.

"give to everyone who begs from you, and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again. and as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them" jesus christ.
"give to everyone who begs from you according to your capacity. and of him or her who takes away your goods, ask them again. and, most importantly, as you wish that men or women would do to you, do so to them." nathan.

"the surest way to cheer yourself up is to cheer somebody else up." mark twain.

Friday, May 5, 2017

the teacher.

on youtube, baking penis-butter cookies looked so easy i decided to make some. i love penis-butter cookies, ok, ok, peanut-butter. ok? but i often feel there's not enough actual penis-butter in them, aahahaha, so i figgered it'd be great to try it myself.

my experienced baker friend gigi suggested i get the necessary ingredients from the 'bulk barn', only i couldn'th find the place. i pulled in at a 'qwicky mart' to qwickly enquire, but the lovely oriental lady there had no idea what i was asking. "bawk bahn? bok bawn?" and i ended up finding it purely by chance as i pulled into a shopping area soon after for a cup of coffee.

later that same day, i mixed all the ingredients exactly as the woman on youtube had, fired up my brand-spanking-new electric hand-mixer and proceeded to spray my entire kitchen with all sorts of stuff, mostly organic. that's when i decided to sit down and write about how i learned to make chapatis a hundred years ago.

during those early years in india, if you couldn't make chapatis you wouldn't have any chapatis. that's just the way it was. but i hadn't had much luck with that. one hot himalayan day, as i wandered through the village of mohal, i spotted a lamb tangled up in some fencing. i spent a while unwrapping the wires, while it kicked and cried, and while a couple of toothy kids laughed and clapped nearby. once the creature pulled its last leg free and jumped off into the field, one of the kids grabbed my hand and led me into the family kitchen, a smoke-filled stone room with no ceiling, only a rough roof made from old tin cans.

through the smoke, a smiling old lady crouched and squinted beside her 'chulha' fire making chapatis. her face was like a topographical map of the mountains. she wore the usual brightly coloured though faded woollen patoo, ornate brass earrings, rings on several fingers and even a few toes. there seemed to be a generation missing as the ancient woman barked something at the kids. matter-of-factly she handed me a chapati with some curried vegetable wrapped in it which i ate without hesitation and which was truly amazing. i thanked her and somehow, using my terrible hindi, asked if i could watch her make chapatis.

apparently appreciating having an audience she patiently showed me how to sift the flour, knead the dough and roll out each little ball of the stuff. she soon had a whole rhythm going again: rolling, throwing onto the tava pan, flipping, tossing into the fire where each chapati puffed perfectly before it was removed and another tossed in.

i spent the better part of that afternoon having a hands-on lesson, while the kids chattered and chuckled. by the end, that old lady had me sifting, kneading, rolling, flipping, tossing, and that was how i learned to make chapatis from scratch.

"there is no recipe to being a good teacher. that's what is so unique about them." robert sternberg.