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Saturday, September 25, 2010

7:02 A.M. September 25th 2010: a one time event

Title picture at the end of the page. Click on the highlighted texts for explanations of persons or books referred to. Click on photograph to enlarge it.

While you read through this, links and all, here's a concert for you. Rolling Stones from 1972
courtesy of Sugarmegs. If you need longer to contemplate these things here's a live concert courtesy of the Grateful Dead and the Internet Archives with the Grateful Dead at Richfield Coliseum in Ohio near Cleveland on 1991-09-04 to smooth things out. I happened to be at this concert.

I can't find anything more important to do than engaging in the present moment. As a matter of fact I never could sing while I save. These days I find myself watching the ducks and migrating waterfowl to better understand the life I am part and parcel of.

I see they mainly need food and sometimes I feed them when it gets cold and food is hard to get. It's my 'widow's mite' of $12 dollars a month for cracked corn, my attempt to serve my companions within the source of my being.

If another creature grabs them and eats them, well is that reality or not? It is a reality that cannot be denied,it's how 'Being' has unraveled. I cannot see myself separate from this scheme of things. I'm just a player in the moment. A lot of people make a big deal out of it and they end up not enjoying it.

In many ways I see it the way Saint Paul stated it in these passages: Acts 17: 24 - 28 KJV.

"God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

Neither is worshiped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring."

It's hard to believe Saint Paul deliberately separated man from his environment making him supremely important while denigrating the rest of creation after the reading the following statement. "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead;" Romans 1:20 KJV.

The sentiments involved in uniting these relationships of the seen in the outside world with the eternal are convincing to me. Who can watch 60 seasons come and go without assimilating something from the flow of time that reveals the imprimatur of the source of 'Being', most call it God. I prefer not to. Each passing year brings a deeper realization that something really big is going on?

The various ecosystems explaining the unseen make more sense explaining life than the Seventh-Day Adventist description of a 6 day creation week of 144 straight uninterrupted hours from start to finish.

Today the black magic of language is used to obliterate the perception of the self evident unity that is apparent in the processes of nature. Contemplating nature enables a person to contemplate himself apart from any name or title he might be designated by. When the linguistic boundaries erected by convention do not influence him, man is able to understand that he and nature are not able to be separated. Proposing such a separation would immediately be understood as absurd. It follows then, that if we are out to conquer nature, we are at war with ourselves.

I see a strong connection to the Hindu thought and the Buddhist thought that we, everything, comprise a unity, all one. Paul specifically represents the 'Christ' figure in his gospel in this way as being a universal factor unifying everyone as 'One Blood'. One family. Saint Paul made special note of this unity of the human race and the meaning of the Christ event as "peace", and "good will toward men."

I recommend 2 books. "Love's Body" and "The Denial of Death". These two books influenced me decades ago. They gave me a way to appraise human history.

The book of Revelation in the new testament
suggests an economic totalitarianism to come. Economic systems are made by man. They tend, ultimately to nullify the spiritual nature of humankind's relationship with God through creation. Jesus referred to the processes of nature as the means by which his father provided for his children on earth. It is the divinely appointed means of knowing God. The understanding of the monetary system in the 1st century as an incipient and growing obstacle between humankind and his source of being is an idea that could only have been an immature plant in the soil of the human mind at the time it was written. We will very likely see the blossom shortly.

It takes a blind man not to see the ultimate conclusion of the capitalist experience. Humankind's decision to irrevocably conquer and separate itself from the source of life and replace it with a factory, is like a prisoner hanging himself in the prison whose construction he superintended.

In the bible God is represented as bringing seed time and harvest with the coming and going of the seasons, and rain. This is what God does, he,she,it, whatever the combination, is involved in sustaining the life process. That is how Jesus referred to his father and his kingdom. God is that which is responsible for life continuing. Compare that to the current debacle of the American food supply due to factory farming required by the monopolistic impulse of the free market.

I'm not religious. I've got no axe to grind. I don't care what you think is gonna transpire, you and I have no details we can rely on. We may have a foreboding, a premonition rising up within us, telling us something is about to happen. I think it's grand that we don't know what it is.

But ultimately, whatever happens, well it happens. I can tell you this with certainty; those that have, are not going to let go of it, they are not going to share it with the 'have nots' without killing a lot of 'have nots' first.

Everything I decide in a moral or ethical sense I attempt to do, first of all, in a Taoist / Zen influenced context. These influences ground me in the present.

After the existential confrontation with Taoist and Zen thought I place Jesus first because he was the first spiritual teacher that I was introduced to. I gained from Jesus the realization that we should look out for each others needs on the same ongoing basis that his Father sent the rain to grow the crops that fed everyone. This visible providence of the source of being is analogous to the 'way' that can be named. According to St. Paul we are capable of understanding the most profound aspects of God by contemplating the natural world.

Buddha is not second except in the linear way I have to express myself with language. The concepts of Impermanence and Emptiness are not out of harmony with the application of life experience or Jesus' teachings.

Krishna corresponds to a concept alluded to by the eternal quantum flux described by quantum theories and the present experience of impermanence that is called 'living'.

Krishna's dialogue with Arjuna reveals that life is eternal and that not to engage in it the way you feel you must is to suffer loss. Fight he says. Do what is required of you where you are.

I place the Taoist / Zen interpretation first because I am confronted head on with experience I have to deal with.

Paul Tillich, perhaps the last century's premiere theologian, redefined the concept of God, the source of our existence, as the 'ground of Being'. I am being led to recognize as myself. After that I have to react to this conception with the moral and ethical guidelines I impose on them. That I believe is the humans moral responsibility

Finally my stream of thought has wound down to a trickle. The pictures below are what I did today. I'm satisfied with my labor.

Photography Copyright 2010 by David H. Roche

Friday, September 24, 2010

As The Geese Fly: Discussions of Mortality

(click on highlighted text and photograph.)

The title is from a poem I began as many as 5 years ago, maybe even more. The poem has changed over the years. However the idea or concept that made it appear did not change, it was refined to this point. It is representative of a theme I contemplate.

I tried to put all the images that affected me into the composition. The geese I understood to be a symbol of eternal return. I recognized an association with the 'Tao'.

Time is the medium in which we experience things in the face of certain mortality. This adds a Zen / Taoist capricious melancholy when it has wine added to it. Li Po 701-762 AD Tang Dynasty. At the link is a brief look at his life and delightful poetry.

I chose some rock songs that describe the human condition in a way that reflected reality and yet find hope.

As much as I like the Doors for their celebration of the human condition. Representing a unique way of thinking that appeared briefly and blossomed in the late 1960's and early 70's. The Doors expressed an irrepressible, lustful out of control way of engaging life in the moment through their music that was representative of the life around them . Many others at the time were baptized with the same spirit expressing it in their own particular way.

But 40 years hence my priority is to be left the fuck alone. The power is there, avoid the power. You are either free or not free. Because this is what we're dealing with. A great song by Robin Trower on this horrid condition of life

A wise man in the bible had these words of advice:

"saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity."
"Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity."

The Preacher comes to terms with his existence in the book of Ecclesiastes. This is similar to the literature in the book of Job.

Both men, the Preacher and the writer of Job attempted to take on some way of understanding life. While completely different in content and approach, both old testament books speak directly to the topic of how to relate to being alive without delving in a unrealistic supernatural state of relating to what is in front of his eyes. That way of thinking just complicates the process of dying. Ain't that right Ma?

it's inevitable. All you can do is play the game the best you can and try not to worry about it.

In Krishna's well known dialogue with Arjuna in the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita the heart of the human condition is explained. "The soul that with a strong and constant calm Takes sorrow and takes joy indifferently, Lives in the life undying! That which is Can never cease to be; that which is not Will not exist. To see this truth of both Is theirs who part essence from accident, Substance from shadow. Indestructible, Learn thou! the Life is, spreading life through all; It cannot anywhere, by any means, Be anywise diminished, stayed, or changed. But for these fleeting frames which it informs With spirit deathless, endless, infinite, They perish. Let them perish, Prince! and fight!" Krishna speaking to Arjuna who is questioning the value of fighting if it results in killing members of his own family. Krishna's response is not the usual response a westerner hears to such a situation.

When you take it all into account, all human experience we are victim of the fury who are always trying to break on through to the other side.

This goes to underscore the underlying human predicament: "What do you do about dying while you're alive?"

Photography and poem by David H. Roche Copyright 2010

The only image that is mine is the initial photograph.

Monday, September 20, 2010


(Right click on highlighted texts. Open youtube videos by right clicking and choose watch in youtube or they will not appear as they were made.)

I find it strange that people in so called democratic societies want self determination and then get together in groups and decide who will make the most fundamental life affecting choices for them. In my understanding a 'democracy' is a state of affairs where people decide for themselves and if it is a personal decision no one can interfere without committing a crime against them. The decisions others make for them include sending the voters children off to wars they had no idea needed to be fought, or placing their own bodies off limits to them via drug prohibition, or prostitution laws etc.

I suppose this phenomenon could be considered a mental illness if some outside observer were to analyze their behavior. The observer might also conclude that the people had come to the conclusion that they were completely incompetent and needed a 'great white father' in Washington to decide things for them.

The way it is now with the congress of the U.S. leaving it's voters hanging out to dry it seems reasonable that some of them might get the idea they can do a better job.

I'm sure not many people along the Gulf Coast would be willing to kiss the ass of the people that destroyed their way of life. There is some talk that the behavior of those causing the catastrophe was reckless. The elected governments in the area however seem content not to raise a fuss about it. The people gave their power to those officials. I hope they take it back and find justice.

Most people do not rationally make that decision. In fact if they do they should be understood to not be rational, intelligent beings capable of running their own lives. So you get what's coming to you. Keep choosing others to make decisions for you. See if it goes the same way it has so far.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


(Right click on images and highlighted text)

The ocean, rivers and mountains of Oregon speak to me at a spiritual level. Sometimes right out of the blue when I least expect it something subtly, quietly, spectacular appears that takes my breath away and makes me say, "Oh".

When photographing nature lighting is important to the goal and idea behind the impetus to take the picture,'coming back later' to the same place will not work. A few hours later on the way back the incandescent blanket of fog was gone and the scene did not resemble what had made me stop in the morning.

Thoughts like that speak to me of the impermanence of life. Impermanence is what keeps everything going. It is good news if understood correctly. When we see change we are seeing the processes which guarantee that the process will continue. It's good to feel a part of the process as if I belonged. Perceiving change in nature has immense possibilities for contemplation. I try to examine change with my photographs.

I was on the way to Portland on U.S. Route 26 about 8:30 in the morning and a valley expanse opened. I pulled over.

The valley was almost filled with a frosty white fog illuminated by the sun. In the distance the peaks of the Coastal Range stick up over the tops of the cloud of white fog contained in their hollow.

I tried to arrange the images in the video to give a sense of looking out over the fog covered valley in one direction and then the other. Allen Ginsberg's poem "Wales Visitation" came to mind. You'll see why when you read the poem at the highlighted text. I had heard him read that poem at Hobart College some time around 1968. He had written it a short time before and it had not been published yet. You can see him read it for William Buckley on national television here.

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A practitioner of the art of living with the intent of learning how to die without fear.