“I thought you were a trout stream.”

Excerpt from Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan, ©1967:

I remember mistaking an old woman for a trout stream in Vermont, and I had to beg her pardon.

“Excuse me,” I said, “I thought you were a trout stream.”

“I’m not, ” she said.

Almost all of Richard Brautigan’s poetry and novels are available for free download from The Brautigan Archives.

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Baggage

“I’m taking this trip from Mexico City to the Gulf of Mexico and back without any bag or person– only what I can carry in my pockets.  The need for baggage is a form of insecurity.”  ~Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Do you want it? Do you like it?

“Birth, aging, illness, and death: these things are normal. Birth is the normal way of things, aging’s the normal way of things, illness and death are the normal way of things. Get so that you can see clearly that this is the way things normally are. That’s when a sense of disenchantment can arise. You’ll be able to loosen the grip that these things have on you. You’ll be able to pull them out, root and all.

“We’ve suffered as the slaves of defilement and craving for how long now? Can you remember? Ask yourself. Can you remember all you’ve been through? And how much longer are you going to let it keep on happening — this holding and carrying and weighing yourself down? How many eons have you been doing this? Tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of eons. Can you count them all? Of course you can’t. And how much longer will you have to keep on suffering in this way? If you’re still stubborn, still unwilling to listen to the Buddha’s teachings, this is the kind of reward you’ll have to expect out of life. Do you want it? Do you like it? If you don’t want it, then you’ll have to develop the goodness of your mind so that you can see your way out of this, so that you can see your defilements, so that you can see the suffering and harm they cause.”

~Ajahn Fuang Jotiko (source)

To Be

“Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world. It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter. Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but ‘steal’ some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.”   ~Albert Camus (via Jules of Nature)

Living in the Maha-Mantra

They say there are no atheists in foxholes, but that hasn’t been my experience. My moments of loss and fear are the times I feel most alone.

I’ve read more religious texts than most, from all the major religions and quite a few of the minor ones, and they’ve helped make me a better person, but faith just isn’t the protective armor for me that it seems to be for others.

This has been a rather robotic existence since I lost my mother. I’m doing all the things I’ve always done– exercising, praying, eating nice meals, writing letters– but I’m not taking any joy in them. I just do them out of habit, and out of fear that if I stop moving I’ll never start again.

I’m trying very hard to live in the present. The past is gone, the future looks bleak, so if there’s any time to be happy, it’s right now. Still, I’m struggling.

There are people who depend upon me. I have responsibilities. I can’t let them down.

Hare was the creative force, Krishna was the enjoyer of the present, Rama was all about duty. I suppose I’m tilted heavily toward Rama at the moment.

“When you feel there is an unfair burden on your shoulders, that’s just the way it is sometimes.” ~Forrest Gump

That quote makes me smile. I wouldn’t say I have an unfair burden; people have helped me in the past, now I’m helping people in the present. That’s just the way it is.

Rama, Rama…