Spiritual audit

Sitting in my house today, the temperature outside in the forties, the sounds of dripping water everywhere, I imagine myself on a leaky, sinking ship, constantly scanning for the next leak.

I return home from driving M. to work and then myself hanging out at the coffee shop, tea and lemon poppy seed bread and laptop. Wandering through a series of distractions.

Reading New Yorker article about that religion thingy that all the Hollywood types belong to that was started by a science fiction writer. Know what I mean? And I continue to be in awe of how universal the themes are among these systems. In this case, the objective is definitely control—self-control and well as group cohesion. Mind control. Self mind control.

Sitting at Caribou after dropping Madeline off. It is forty-three degrees Fahrenheit outside and, given that we just had a two-week stretch of sub-zero weather, this is definitely no-jacket quality, even shorts quality weather (if you are a young male college student, judging from what we saw as we drove by Saint Thomas.)

Just got up and got my tea and a piece of lemon poppy seed bread. The spiritual universality thing—listening to a Catholic priest’s sermon; reading about Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong; reading Ajahn Chan: commonalities.

The thought/question occurred to me—how many people died in the almost ninety-seven years of my mother’s life, from 1914 to 2011? Doesn’t matter. But Wikipedia “Death” led me to the David Chalmers paper, Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness (1995). And that led me to “interactioinism”—”matter and mind being distinct and independent, that they exert causal effects on one another.” Sounds a bit Buddhist. Philosophy of mind—dualism or monism—Plato/Aristotle/Descartes—Parmenides/Spinoza. Physicalists/idealists/neutral monists. It goes on and on. So far my favorite is “idealism”—and off I spin to BUDDHISM THEORY AND PRACTICE by U Maung Nu, former Prime Minister of Burma. (Again: How about that?)


So, grabbing—”the house (Hadaya Vatthu) in which the mind lives is somewhere in the heart”—a person doesn’t have just one mind from birth to death, but rather, “as soon as a mind is born, it gives birth to another mind and dies.”—physical death of the body is not the end of the mind giving birth to mind—

So long as the Mind has defilements such as greed, anger, ignorance, this process of one mind giving birth to another will go on eternally giving use to endless rebirths and deaths. Only when the defilements are uprooted, this process will cease after death and as a result there will be no rebirth and its attendant evils such as old age, disease, death separation from beloved ones etc.

I like that—

Number 3 – the mind “rest[s] on” Arammana—the six senses. “The thing that makes the eyes see, the ears hear, the nose smell, the tongue taste and the body feet, is called in Pali, “Pasada.” (Que pasa.)

Point four

  1. Vinnana pushes the mind to the arammanas.
  2. Sanna is the memory that tells the mind what it is; vinnana does not.
  3. Vedana
  • Pleasant feeling
  • Unpleasant feeling
  • Feeling of indifference
  1. Sankhara – decides, commands, urges

The fifth point–

..the mind rests on an Arammana in the Hadaya Vatthu, which lies somewhere in the heart. This Arammana is not one of the six Arammana which one gets during one’s present lifetime. It is an Arammana which one had got from one’s previous lifetime. In order to distinguish it from the six Arammana which one gets during one’s present lifetime, it will be called as “old Arammana”

Neat-o, huh?

And then he goes off into some real minutiae. I lost it.

(“Facing up to the problem of consciousness,” a paper by a philosophy professor from Australia. Trying to get that url off the iphone onto the laptop using igoogle notes. Didn’t work, trying again. Thinking I have to wait for them to synchronize. Still not. This time though I didn’t close the page on the phone. This activity might be for not simply because of too long fingernails. Dukka of existence.)

February thaw, ice dams

Yikes. I suppose that the ice dam problem has always been there, eternal. And the solution of scraping off the snow from the edge of the roof with a roof rake—maybe that is all there is to it. But I don’t know. I have no interest in climbing up on the roof. My brother-in-law had a ladder accident last week, in fact, trying to get snow off his roof. The ice and water thing on the roof is quite insidious. Pervasive. Universal. Eternal. Okay, I am looping.

Later, I should put on my rubber dairy boots, assemble the roof rake which is in the front porch and partially held together with duct tape, trudge to the back yard, and, avoiding the power lines, telephone lines, and cable lines coming across the backyard diagonally from the utility pole to the house, scrape off what I can. I called Z2A Roofing yesterday. They answered the phone—good thing. But they are busy, asked if I had water coming into the house now (triage), and told me to call back on Tuesday. Their guy, The Roof Whisperer, was here in December, after the snow that collapsed the Metrodome, leaving us with calcium chloride in our gutters.

Sitting in the spare bedroom upstairs. It is “spare” right now because for the first time in years, we are not hosting a foreign student. It is also this room that should be my home office. And it is setup as such. We got rid of the double bed that was in here, replacing it with a single. Also we nationalized the IKEA computer desk from my son’s room. He’d never had a computer in his room anyway. We bought a $150 chair from Office Max. (Pre-assembly, $20—well worth it.) My work laptop, wireless, and voila! Except that the VPN connection over wireless, especially if I was remoting into a server and running a WebEx—poop out. So the reality seems to be that to really do the home office thing up here, I will need to get some Ethernet cabling setup. I googled video of Ethernet cabling house and the first thing the guy said was get someone else to do it. I have to agree.

I am listening to Kate Wolf Radio on last.fm. One Kate Wolf song and now onto Priscilla Herdman. Oh well. But does sound nice.

Liam is off to his Iron Chef class with his school buddy Ryan at the Saint Paul College. Those logistics were managed by Dorothea. She is in Bemidji with sister and assorted women friends. Madeline has the Snow Ball last night, and right now there is an undetermined number of young women sleeping in her room. There was the option of staying at the hotel last night where the dance was held, but apparently that turned out to be not so appealing.

This morning, I got up and did my thing, went to Dunn Brothers on Lake at the West River Road intersection, and a granola and yogurt and coffee, and then went to Common Ground and sat for an hour before returning home to make sure that Liam got off to his class.

Now I am thinking of sitting as much as possible today. Will let you know how that goes.

What made me do it, to go downstairs to the iPod clock/radio charger on the kitchen counter, remove my iPhone, return upstairs, take the picture, email it, come back up here, and insert into this post? What the hell is this? Ain’t interesting or unique. But I am leaving it in. My internal editor says “yes.”

Facebook privacy and apps

Was trying to find a way to connect my blog www.davidschons.com/somekindapossible, which is now running on WordPress, with my Facebook account, and found the WordPress plug-in, wpbook. It works really well, except, as was pointed out by Tony, (thank you Tony)—Facebook asks for the right to access your personal information. Yuck.

If you don’t want to tell me, I don’t want to know. In researching, I found out that apps like Farmville—they are harvesting people’s personal information and the game users don’t really even know it. Again, yuck. By the way, here is the screen is question (the “request permission” dialog box):

What I just discovered is that you can control what information this permission request accesses. Here is the screen I found with its default settings:

The path to this dialog box is: Facebook > Account > Account Settings > Privacy > manage > Apps and Websites > Edit your settings > Info Available > Edit Settings. (Kind of not easy to stumble across.)

This seems to be specific to Facebook applications. (Not totally sure.) But my hope is that by unchecking the boxes, people (me included) won’t be unnecessarily sharing personal information with Facebook apps.



Seeing my hands and seeing my feet, I see my mother’s hands

Seeing my hands and seeing my feet, I see my mother’s hands and feet. Putting my hand to my forehead, I imagine my mother’s, as she lay in bed sleeping in her room in the nursing home.?

What is it about the French and ham? Le jambon? At Nina’s, a menu item is Zander Quiche–chevre, artichoke, broccoli, and sun dried tomatoes. Very French, and sounds yummy. Or you could have a quiche of ham, mushroom, broccoli, and swiss– also, very, French, but not so yummy sounding.

Off next to a massage.


Sitting in the sun at Caribou, Grand and Lexington, cup of tea steaming, after acupuncture appointment. Susan had this: Hold your hands together in front of you, as in prayer. Note if one finger on one hand appears longer than on the other hand. Shake the short hand, saying “longer, longer, get longer.” Now put your hands back together. Which finger is longer now?

Sally passes

My mom, Sally, who was in an assisted living apartment and then a nursing home in White Bear Lake, died early Tuesday morning. She was ninety-six years old and passed in her sleep. She had only been in the nursing home a couple of weeks–thankfully, because she hated it there. But at the beginning of January, she had started falling regularly, and could no longer stay in her apartment. As of last Sunday, she had not eaten anything, drank anything, or taken her medications. 

She was born in the spring of 1914, before the beginning of World War I, in Lime Township, Blue Earth County, in a farmhouse built in the nineteenth century. I imagine she spoke German at home until she started school. There was likely no indoor plumbing, no electricity, and no telephone. Cars were a rarity. Youngest of six, she is survived by her sister Marie, 101, who is a nun. 

Her funeral will be Saturday noon at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Mankato. Members of her family, her ancestors, had been active in that parish since before the Dakota War of 1862. Her parents were baptized and married there, as was she; her children got married there, too. 

This will likely be the last gathering there of her descendants. Now, we are busy and scatter across a world of technology–cars, phones, electricity–and more. With her passing, the connections she maintained will disperse like the grains of sand of a mandala caught in a swirling wind.