Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Today we had to put down our cat Dixie Darlin’Jill that has been our constant companion for the last eighteen years.  We carry the loss and good memories of the life we shared.

To be truthful, I must say that I am an inconsistent Buddhist.   I am also inconsistent about trying to learn to play the guitar I received for Solstice two years ago.  I am an inconsistent gardener and carpenter and in general I don’t stick to any one thing consistently: beginning – stopping – continuing – forgetting – continuing…..

I recently posted about aging and being constantly accompanied by the Grim Reaper.  His presence isn’t something that particularly concerns me; it is just a fact - and I am ok with it. 

I am more fortunate than many, my wife and I are comparatively healthy, I am retired and we are able to keep the wolf away from the door – though just barely.   Therefore it is presumptuous of me to give advice to those carrying more burdens.   I can only state my own philosophy along with my inconsistent attempt to remain a cognitive, sentient being.

It is imperfect logic to believe that we are here, populating this earth, living our lives by any other design than chance.   If we were capable of going back into time and starting this world over with the original beginnings of cellular life there is no reason to believe that the outcome would result the same. 

Chaos Theory states that a small, unexpected change in an initial condition can result in a major change in an outcome; therefore we can not make accurate predictions on a long term basis – there are always too many small variables that can change the outcome.

Chaos infers that we do not have control.


1.    Had my mother given a blow job instead of having sex with whoever my father was: she would be a cannibal, and I would not be here.
2.    Had I been put up for adoption – I would not be the person I am today.
3.    Had my grandmother not adopted me ……
4.    Had I not been raised in the south ...
5.    Had I known different friends and influences as a child …
6.    Had I not made the thousands of choices as an adult that resulted in my being here in Maine married to the woman that is my wife ….

At a thousand points along my life time, had I made a different change or choice I would be a different person today. 

Last week a pregnant forty year old woman was killed in a head-on collision about five miles from my house.   We had had a snow storm and she was coming from a small village just to the north.   A twenty year old was driving in the opposite direction; he took a curve too wide and dropped his wheels into snow on the road margin; he over corrected and swerved into the oncoming land smashing into the woman’s car.   She was killed - he was injured.
1.    Had she driven one mile an hour slower or faster she would be alive today.
2.    Had she lived her husband’s and children’s lives would have a different future.

Our future is often determined by making moment to moment choices from the chaotic circumstances within which we live.

Almost all of our pressures in life exist from circumstances out of our control – with reality.    Though we are creatures of chance, we have this need to be in constant control, and when can’t we are miserable.  The ability to accept reality is the ability to deal with things as they are.

Reality is direct seeing the world as it is.  It is not found in thoughts, phrases or explanations.  Reality can not be transmitted from a religious teacher. 

I have found help through Buddhist teachings and meditation.  Meditation can free your mind of confusion and aid you in seeing and accepting reality. 

Many Buddhist teachings verge on being a religion.   Most declare the necessity of receiving understanding through a teacher.  I disagree (and so did the Buddha.) 

To me, achieving mindfulness and acceptance of reality is a personal journey; and if belonging to a group and receiving instruction from a teacher is your thing – then it is probably right for you.   But, there are many writings on Buddhist perspectives, and those inclined might find a better fit from their own research. 

I recommend Buddhism Plain and Simple, by Steve Hagen.  It is Buddhism without religion – a recipe for living a conscious existence. 

An abstract from Amazon:

Buddhism Plain and Simple

It is a classic, because it teaches the essence of Buddhism - by ignoring all the miracles and Buddhist beliefs in the Buddhism that is practiced in Asia.  

143 five star ratings, this book is one of Amazon's Buddhist best sellers.

The Buddha-dharma does not invite us to dabble in abstract notions. Rather, the task it presents us with is to attend to what we actually experience, right in this moment. You don't have to look "over there." You don't have to figure anything out. You don't have to acquire anything. And you don't have to run off to Tibet, or Japan, or anywhere else. You wake up right here. In fact, you can only wake up right here.

So you don't have to do the long search, the frantic chase, the painful quest. You're already right where you need to be.

On my next post I will outline the simple steps in meditation that I use…inconsistently.

The Ol’Buzzard


  1. I don't really find inconsistency to be a flaw or consistency to be a virtue. Not to say, it is what it is but more the idea of what may be lost if one is too consistent or disciplined. One thing leads to another and to follow the various things in life is what it's all about in my mind. I agree with you about teachers. Anyway, I've never found one who is actively teaching that I've learned anything from, but rather I have found lessons through books written by authors who share themselves openly. Interesting stuff.

  2. You know what? That was one of the most inspiring posts I've read in a long time. I've never had any desire to study Buddhism (other than what I learned in a high school World Religion class) but your post, and the book you mentioned, interest me a great deal. Thanks Buzz. Appreciate it.

    And I'm mightily sorry about your cat. She was a real beauty and I know she'll be missed.

  3. Just bought the Kindle version of the book. Looking forward to reading it.

  4. Sorry to hear about your cat. What a beautiful chocolate point Siamese! Condolences to you and your wife.

    Playing the "what if" game only makes us mental. No point to it.

  5. OB,
    Debra is right - hindsight is never 20/20 - Only if? The past is the past and we are powerless to change it; tomorrow is only a vague promise that may be denied us on some snowy road in Maine - today is of the essence.
    I was introduced to the Buddhist culture in Thailand and found them to be gentle and carrying people and I always carried Baht coins with me for the young Buddist monks begging at the main gate - a Baht was equal to five cents - You could eat shrimp fried rice for 10 Baht. I used to give Jett $20 a week - nobody went hungry around our place....

    That cat was beautiful - Go get you another one.

    Visit my new blog -


  6. Dixie has become one with the universe and is in a far better place than we. That doesn't make your hearts any lighter, I'm sure. Like Cathy I just left Amazon and have ordered a hard copy. Thanks for the tip and I look forward to reading your meditation steps ... as consistently as I read your other posts.

  7. Random events produce random results.

  8. I hope there's a chapter in that book about passing enlightenment along to those who lack the funds to invest in new books, 'cause I'm going to hit BJ up for his copy when he's done with it.

    Good posts, Buzz.

  9. boy,I can't tell you how much your posts mean to me. Sometimes it is like you are reading my mind and know just what to say. I guess if the truth be known, I am a back sliding Buddhist! ha ha ha ha My mind is constantly trying to make me miserable and more often than not, I let it! another great post my friend!!!!

  10. So sorry for the loss of your furry friend. They are like family, aren't they?

    I think there is something to be said for being consistently inconsistent. I've dabbled in Buddhism, too, since it is the only "thing" resembling a spiritual practice that rings true to me. Especially when it comes to dealing with the here and now and not dreamin' of some pie in the sky holy hereafter that only the good and pure deserve.



COMMENT: Ben Franklin said, "I imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who believes, and a good deal of boldness who affirms, that all doctrines he holds are true, and all he rejects are false."