‘the lowest amongst all’

bennett writes, which i retrieved just in time for xmas shopping, ‘ “You shouldn’t write ‘Xmas’ as it takes the “Christ out of Christmas.” I often thought that people today have lost focus on what is important. They put all their attention on commercial things such as the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, Easter eggs and exchanging gifts [i’ve heard it called ‘giftmas’], loosing [sic] the real meaning of Christmas – Christ’s birth; and of Easter – his ultimate sacrifice – he died for YOU, then rose again – just as you will rise and have eternal life.–Slight problem I have just discovered, how can we put the “Christ back into Christmas”, if it wasn’t even there to begin with?–[is jesus really the reason for the season?] The bubble hurts as it bursts, but but just as children discover the truth about santa, as adults we do need to know the truth behind our traditions. The ‘real’ meaning of Christmas is not Christ. Christmas did not start out a Christian celebration. Christ wasn’t born on or even close to the 25th of December. This date was adopted by Christians in order to ease the conversion of Pagans. The ‘real’ meaning of these celebrations goes back far further than 2000 years – all the way back to Ancient Egypt. This date was the shortest date of the year, the winter solice, and since from this day, the sun would be in the sky for a longer time, it was considered the worship of the Sun god Ra.’

what is ‘upcycling’?–‘Upcycling is defined as using every aspect of waste as value. Typically a piece of waste can be seen as two things: the material it’s made from and the shape it is in. For example a chip bag is made from plastic and is in the form of a bag. If one were to upcycle a chip bag one would be leveraging both aspects and not destroying any part of it. While if one were to melt a chip bag into a plastic product it would be considered recycling vs. upcycling.’ in other words, upcycling uses the thing as is, and thus may use less energy. for example, ‘when we make a pencil case from juice pouches (upcycling), we can replace the cotton with juice pouches (a material which is waste and hence doesn’t require new raw materials). Or when we make a trash can from chip bags (recycling) we can replace virgin plastic with chip bags.’ and that’s just a chip bag!

Tips for setting up a drop zone

  • ‘Collect items in a convenient place until you can make a trip to a drop-off location to recycle or dispose of them safely…. If they can’t be reused or recycled, they’ll be disposed of in the most environmentally responsible way possible.
  • Always make sure any dangerous materials are put in sealed containers and are out of reach of children and away from sources of heat/light.
  • Store incompatible products separately. Keep corrosive products away from flammable ones.’
  • more tips…

why every battery counts….

the dalai lama writes, ‘training the mind in cultivating compassion in the Buddhist tradition first involves cultivating a thought of even-mindedness, or equanimity, toward all sentient beings…. The practice of developing or cultivating equanimity involves a form of detachment…. You lay the groundwork on which you can cultivate genuine compassion extending to all other sentient beings. The Buddhist teaching on detachment does not imply developing an attitude of disengagement from or indifference to the world or life.’

2012-10-14 su–‘hope it don’t rain all day.’

2012-10-13 sa–beauty day, rain at night; sue to tor; d’arcy came by for a chess fest.

what do you do with those old paper coffee cups? according to simcoe’s waste wizard, take the lid off and toss it into the green bin: ‘Any waxed paper coffee cups i.e. Tim Horton’s cups–place this item into your organics (green) bin. Paper only items with food residue go in the green bin; for example paper plates, paper napkins, paper towel etc. (ensure no plastic components in item).’ but where can you take nonrecyclables? depends what it is. the county waste transfer station helps you with hazardous materials like paint, building supplies, tires, old cars and car parts, computers, phones, TVs, and other electronic stuff, fridges, etc. there’s also freecycle, the restore, goodwill (2 in barrie), and the thrift store. for harder-to-recycle stuff, such as toothpaste tubes, try terracycle (Toronto, 1 800 758 2943–‘TerraCycle provides free waste collection programs for hard to recycle materials. We then turn the waste into affordable green products.’) btw, earth911.com has a slick interface. ‘Can I recycle my toothbrush and toothpaste tubes? Answer: Yes’, but it ain’t easy; details here.

unlike bennett or my friend (see below), i have never been to india. i have seen poverty in cairo, in refugee camps in honduras, in basements of churches in my hometowns, but not masses and masses of it, and i get to go home to relative wealth. in one sense, i think bennett’s right: like other animals we strive to ‘to live as long as we can, and create offspring to continue our work when we die’, for we too are subject to nature’s laws. but the universe is vast and time is long, with billions of years to go. as well, the future is unknown. as one philosopher says, the trend lines are discouraging, but the hope is strong; and mitch albom (the short, white guy, left) writes in the time keeper that by committing suicide (one of the novel’s characters tries to kill herself) one denies ‘the most important part of the future’, hope. so, like elizabeth may before cop 17 in durban, i ‘hope against hope’–whatever that means. i think it means you keep on hoping, even when all else is lost, maybe in ALL life, maybe even in creatures in a galaxy far, far away; maybe that’s what’s behind verse 1 of the mind training; maybe that’s what david suzuki’s dad was was on about: it’s not what you believe so much as what you do. ask any archaeologist or any recipient of someone’s kindness. it’s what you do.

vanier writes, ‘My research into the basis of Aristotelian ethics brought me a great deal of light and helped me to grasp the connection between ethics, psychology, and spirituality. Psychology helps us to understand human behaviours and grasp the fears and blockages that are in us, in order to help us free ourselves of them. Spirituality is like a breath of inspiration that strengthens our motivation. Ethics help to clarify what is a truly human act, what justice is, and what the best activities are–those that render us more human and happiest.’ inwards, outwards, upwards.

darlington

pickering

the green party of ontario writes, ‘the Liberals’ plan to spend billions refurbishing the Darlington nuclear plants will nuke our pocketbooks, pollute our water and kill green energy in Ontario…. The future of Lake Ontario’s ecosystem is at risk. Between 2006 and 2008, Darlington killed around twenty thousand fish as well as millions of eggs and larvae.’

bruce

you can say ‘no way’ here. by the way, here photos of pickering and bruce, too.

2012-10-12 fr–last week it was stories, this week it’s trips. trip to barrie to see dr m, and have coffee and muffin at casa cappucino. trip down memory lane to labx, where i used to work–we laughed like old times–the attraction is distraction, partly, community too. tripped into the past, watching the humourous The War of 1812: Been There, Won That online, which features artefacts, a bunch of historians, re-enactors (some in flippers), the truths(?) about laura secord and dolley madison, who won the war and who lost, timbits, and much more.

juliet bennett was a left-wing idealist, and then she went to india and encountered a ‘frickin big elephant’. now she’s kinda a right-wing protectionist in some ways, tho the left/right distinction doesn’t really matter when you’re searching for the truth. she writes, ‘As a result of the fear that comes from this lack of solutions [to the frickin big elephant, human over-population], the altruistic side that used to dominate my mind is becoming more self-centered: what future do I want for the future generations that spring from the people I love? My previous almost disdain for wealth, thinking all money was intrinsically connected to a corrupt system, is turning into an appreciation of it. Work hard, work smart, then share and enjoy your earnings with your family and friends… what’s so bad about that? Let’s face it, animal, plant, or human; black, white or in between; this is ultimately life’s instinctive purpose: to live as long as we can, and create offspring to continue our work when we die. That’s why we choose the partners we choose to mate with. That’s why we fight the wars we fight. That’s why we work so hard to buy a house and establish systems of governance, education and business. SELF-PRESERVATION and PROCREATION. India has given me a new appreciation for the work my ancestors – for their efforts to create a world so good for us, their children’. a friend went to india as a christian missionary. now she’s an atheist. what’s with the water in india?

reading about thomas berry‘s 4R’s: critical reflection, rethinking, readapting, and reevaluating our role in the universe. stephanie kaza, associate professor of environmental studies at the university of vermont, writes: ‘A new vision of human-Earth relations requires humans to begin thinking in the context of the whole planet…. Berry urges us to confront the “profound cultural disorientation” of the deep entrancement with industrial civilization. Rethinking ethics is a place to begin, but ultimately a deep cultural therapy is required, one which will overthrow the governing dream of the twentieth century. For Berry, the most powerful recipe for liberation is awakening to the grandeur and sacred quality of the Earth process…. Our generation, like others before, has the opportunity to take up the challenge of awakening from the paralysis…. Berry [who wrote the dream of the earth] sounds the call to awaken to our human role as creative, authentic beings in the pattern that contains and connects. His call is an offering, an invitation, a generous gift of inspiration. Who could not be moved by these words to take up their piece of The Great Work of healing human-Earth relations?’

apparently juliet bennett (see above), who writes: ‘I thought that the motivation to change our systems would come from a “new dream” that started with rediscovering the connection with our planet’, but instead of a dream she encounters this huge ‘frickin big elephant staring everyone in the face’ and has ‘NO IDEA’ what to do. do you?

2012-10-11 th–rain, wind. replaced a filling; went to gc; used squash for cookies and soup; listening to ‘Iran: An Unlikely Treasure Chest Of Funk‘ in the 70s

2012-10-10 we–lottsa rain, and hail too! d’arce came by for some chess and chats. brought sue a bird book. blended the squash. made ratatouille with some eggplant from karma. watched rmr and 22 online. laughed a lot. wrote a review of the time keeper. reading about the big bang [which was actually really tiny and soundless] on somebody’s blog while listening to the rain on the roof and the signal on my speakers. good thing it rained; otherwise, it would’ve been a busy day.

2012-10-09 tu–tth at chigamik with sue, jess, lj, julie, christine, luke, and bill. cooked butternut squash from julie.

Training the Mind: Verse 2

Whenever I interact with someone,
May I view myself as the lowest amongst all,
And, from the very depths of my heart,
Respectfully hold others as superior.

the first verse teaches compassion, this one humility. what’s that got to do with training the mind? maybe mind-training is not so much about technique, but about about approach. which leads me to think, there are 8 verses in mind-training, there are 8 spokes in the dharma wheel representing the 8-fold noble path. coincidence? if nirvana lies at the centre of the dharma wheel, what lies at the centre of mind-training?

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