This page will hold all the past journal entries that first appear on the home page of the Wracklineblog. Each will have the date on which they appeared on the blog, as well as the original date on which I made the entry in the journals.
Blog date: 11/16/2017 Journal Entry: 11/10/2017
I was waiting outside of the dressing room (while my wife was trying on clothes). The saleslady, who I would guess to
be in her 50s, passed by me, saying “I remember you two from other visits”. She touched my arm with two outstretched fingers -
just a simple little contact as she glided by - and I caught a glimpse of her slender fingers with tendons stretched under soft flesh.
Perhaps the background music playing was quiet for once, and I found myself deeply moved by this simple act, gently imagining how the bare bones of the hand would look after the passage of time and flesh. Old men do this, sometimes, being a bit more aware of mortality and time's passage.
My vision failed a bit as the force of the thoughts continued to move me. “You should take note of all those little touches, boy”, I sermonized to myself. “They should be acknowledged, if only in a small way, for this is how we give Life to each other during our days on Earth.” (Usually, if I have enough warning, I will clasp my hand over the hand which touches me – flesh upon flesh – but the saleslady crossed me up – she was too quick for me.)
The words continued: “This is how we support each other, one Compassion touching the other Compassion, and these are the things that somehow abide, drifting over the Earth and among the stars, beyond the time of the flesh on the bones.”
It is the spirit that quickens John 6:63
The "Teepee Dreams" tea and the music
Blog date: 11/20/2017 Journal Entry: 11/23/2008
(Author's Note: "Teepee Dreams" tea was available back
then, and contained chamomile, valerian, and other calming herbs. It was similiar to Celestial Seasonings "Sleepytime
Extra". Update, 4/2018: It's still available! You can order it from "Native American Herbal Tea Company".)
I am sitting in my chair listening to Deuter’s exquisite music just before going to bed. But there is a nagging desire for some “Teepee Dreams” tea, which put me in a trance the night before.
“Don’t want to become dependent on it”, I said to myself.
“I’m just about ready go to bed”.
But the cells are insistent. They demand the tea – “No” won’t do for an answer – for they apparently wish to float again, to have another waking dream.
So I go brew a mug of the tea and sit back down to take in the tea and the music. The music drips from the ceiling in little tinkling drops that are felt as well as heard. I am reminded of T.S. Eliot’s words, “You are the music while the music lasts”.
Surely I am sitting not in my chair but by the shore of a quiet winter lake and each note from the various instruments is as a wave lapping on the shore, each wave a word spoken by a vastly articulate existence. The cells float out over the waves and into the sky toward the stars, where they mingle with the Quiet One.
More floating (this time after a Michelob “Bourbon Cask” beer)
Blog date: 11/20/2017 Journal Entry: 12/13/2008
Time stops while the music is playing.
There was time before the music, with the passing of events – I heated dinner, ate the dinner, put up the dishes, got my beer and turned on the computer. All these events can only go in one direction – I can’t unwash the dishes or reconstitute the food in its original form (it is already becoming “me”), and it is this forward direction that is time. The quiet ticking of the bedroom clock only goes along for the ride.
But as I sit in the chair, and as the music drips from the ceiling and dissolves the day’s thoughts and concerns – time-related concerns about what was done and what will be done – the shoulders drop, the cells float again and I become the music, and the clock stops ticking.
So there was the time before the music and there was the time after the music, but while the music plays, time stops.
Wind over the Water and in the Trees
Blog date: 12/1/2017 Journal Entry: 1/5/1975
The wind wanders over the earth and meets the water and sifts itself through the trees in its travels. There are no
strangers to the wind - all are its friends.
The wind spins the water and weaves the leaves, and both the sea and the leaves reply to the wind in the same language, so that the wind over the waves and the wind in the trees is the same sound.
He who hears the wind know this. He who walks in the forest hears the sea, and he who stands on the shores of seas hears the leaves in the trees. For he is no stranger to either, having memories from earlier lives in the water and in the forests.
The Seasons, Earth, Air, and the Tree
Blog date: 12/1/2017 Journal Entry: 3/1975
There are not 4 seasons. There are only 2: the season of the Earth and the season of the Air.
The season of Earth is Spring and Summer. During this time the Earth is predominant. It is alive and you can hear its riotous life out in the fields - the raucous insect party buzz.
During the season of Air, the air is alive, blowing cold over the land, sometimes covering it with a soft white blanket - as if in apology. Air is the quiet season.
Air, during its season, removes the leaves from the trees and gently gives them to Earth, later to become its food. During the season of Earth, the leaves on the trees give the air the gases it needs.
So the mediator between Earth and Air, then, is the Tree.
And in the Winter you can see the trees for what they are - blood vessels of the air.
We are of Earth and Air. The part of us that is of the air thinks, dreams, and occasionally soars. But the part of us that is of the earth understands...
Rain, Air, Clouds, and Words
Blog date: 12/6/2017 Journal Entry: 9/1980
It has just rained heavily, and the air is opulent with rich moisture and the heady fragrance of damp grass. The air seems
renewed - having caressed the Earth and the trees with its gift of life-giving water - and now is free to clear off after several days
But did the rain come only because of the air - or was it because the earth demanded the rain; all the plants and trees and insects and animals, and we who live in parched climates, desired the rain - insisting that the air bring the water. Are not the earth and the air one?
Or is the air perhaps part of the ocean? Go down to the seashore and hear the roar of the waves and then go up into the mountains and hear the roar of the wind - they are the same sound. The air brings the water up to the landlocked land and all its inhabitants who have moved too far away from the sea.
So the air is alive then, and the clouds are the air’s breath.
What are the clouds if they are not the air breathing into the sky?
Do we who sense the Life speak these words, or are they demanded of us, like the earth demands the rain? Existence is alive, and it draws the words out and demands that they be said...
Blog date: 12/18/2017 Journal Entry: 12/25/2008
Thank You, Spirit, for your visit - and how did You experience time while you were here?
Thank You for having visited us and having participated in our time and space on this bright green planet you created, and thank you for your incarnation at the time you visited us.
And yet if we say You are the Timeless Formless One, then perhaps our words should not be 'You experienced time in the past', but that 'You are experiencing time right now',
We should not say 'this is planet you created', but that 'this is the planet you are creating',
And not that 'You experienced incarnation at the time You visited us' but instead that 'we are the incarnation'.
Each of us, then, is Christmas.
Believing in the Visit
Blog date: 1/4/2018 Journal Entry: 12/12/2009
A recent (2009) National Geographic article “Are We Alone” describes the increasing possibility of other Earths –
other planets that could sustain life. “More than 370 planets outside our solar system have already been discovered….
our Milky Way gleams with more than 100 billion stars – and billions of those are likely to possess planetary systems of their own.”
So the first – and logical – reaction is to wonder “Was there a Christmas on each of these? Did Spirit become incarnate at some time on these countless planets during some period of their evolution? How can this be?”
Reason prompts us to disbelieve.
But then we get a prod from the Other Side, saying “Well but this is, after all, Spirit – the Timeless and Spaceless One. This is the same Spirit whose consciousness dreams about all those stars and created, no – is creating – them. So maybe all those other bright green rocks with their sensuous waters have – in their time – evolved to the point where they needed a Sign, and were blessed with a symbolic Incarnation.
It’s sort of like the Santa Claus business.
“Do you believe in Santa Claus?”
“No. Of course not, silly. I mean get real. How can one being bring gifts to 1 billion children in 24 hours? That’s 1 microsecond or less per house.”
And yet each of us did believe in Santa Claus before we learned how to reason.
Driving to Beaver's Bend
Blog date: 1/11/2018 Journal Entry: 1994 and 1997
(While living in Dallas, Texas, our family took many memorable trips to an Oklahome State Park called
"Beaver's Bend". Here are some reveries that came to mind while driving along the country roads to the park.)
We drive at sunset through the countryside. The trees and the grasses are brilliantly lit by the setting sun. The plants and trees grow quietly and slowly. They await the change of seasons just as other plants and trees have here for thousands of years. Existence shows the infinite patience of its Creator.
For one who is out of Time, the whole thing is just a blink, I suppose.
Our passage through the fields is not noticed. We are just noise in the quiet modulation and rhythms of existence.
Are our lives that way too?
The loveliest time of the day is at its beginning and its end. Why is that? Are we that way as well?
It is said that the prettiest fall colors occur when it has been dry. When the trees are satiated with plenty of water through the summer, they do not produce the best colors of the fall. Also, it is said that pine trees produce more pine cones when they are stressed. Is it true that some of the brightest and most lively of things are produced when life is under stress?
And yet the quartz is produced by quiet, patient sifting...
The mist rises out of the ground, as if the Spirit of Earth was sifting itself through the grains of the soil, to be seen perhaps only by those whose eyes see magic. The Earth and the Spirit of Earth have been doing these kind of things for time utterly beyond our comprehension of time. Earth presents itself for us to view during our brief blink of existence.
We see these things and take them in; we internalize them, and in so doing become Earth.
Of Fires and Time
Blog date: 1/16/2018 Journal Entry: 2/25/2011
(This came to me during our last trip to Beaver's Bend, the Oklahome state park. We were about to leave
the Dallas, Texas area and move to Oregon.)
I had been warming myself by my small campfire for some time that morning, fiddling with twigs, breaking small branches on my knee, scrounging around for some more small tinder, fanning the fire to keep it from checking out on me.
It occurred to me to reflect that fires are not automatic – they are not like a thermostatically controlled heater that can be set with the twirl of a knob and then forgotten. Thermostats are a modern contrivance, one of many that allow us to easily adjust our environment so that we can pursue our other tasks.
No, fires prompt us to sit down and simply observe time itself, rather than have time be a forgotten background process while we are busy with our projects.
Observe time itself? How so?
I am talking about the time that is nothing but the forward progression of events.
The logs slowly melt to soft white ashes.
The fish breaks the surface of the water in the distance, seeking its meal for the day.
The clouds slide past, marking the end of an atmospheric system and the beginning of the next.
The plane droning in the distance makes its way from its departure to its destination.
We never get to savor time as simply the forward movement of events because we are always trying to stuff events into an arbitrary slice of time.
No Big Signs
Blog date: 2/2/2018 Journal Entry: 2/12/2011
We keep looking for "big" signs from the Great Spirit, the Sovereign of the Universe.
In an earlier journal entry, I describe what I call the "return to life" after a period of profound absence of feeling.
There is no experience - no experience - more wild than to participate in the life of the world around you with all of the
feeling that you see others participate in it. If you feel something and say what you feel, and say all the words that you feel and
omit not one, then you are alive. Where life is there is speech, and the words are one with the life.
There is no more absurdity if you have lived the deepest absurdity - if you have died - for every event thereafter, every event, has meaning.
The whole business is a gift, and if it is, there must be a Giver of gifts.
So we do have some signs of the existence of some sort of Formless One, some Spirit who created and is creating Life.
There just aren’t any “big” signs.
Sometimes we imagine ourselves wanting to say “Could you give us just one ‘proof’? Throw us a Belief Bone, Spirit Guy. Take a cue from Hollywood. Watch some of our movies. You’ll get the idea.
OK. so You have already gotten the Idea, but You know what I mean.”
And the imagined answer might be:
“Now you know that’s not going to happen. That’s what Life is all about. Hello. That’s why it’s called ‘Belief’”
In a subsequent journal entry (2/23/2011):
Maybe it's because Spirit - the Great Oneness - can't Communicate.
From the Brihad Upanishad: “He who is One speaks without speaking, for there is nothing separate from him, hears without hearing, for there is nothing separate from him, sees without seeing, for there is nothing separate from him. . .
. . .Where there is separateness, one speaks to another, hears another, sees another. . .”
So is this the reason there are no “obvious” signs?
We keep wanting the Great Spirit to give us signs. “Show us some proof, Spirit. Throw us a Belief bone or something.” (We overlook all the miracles that happen all around us – the plant arising out of a tiny pot of soil which could not possibly hold all that raw material, the leaves of a fern unfolding out of a circular coil that can’t possibly hold all that mass.)
We want a “Hollywood sign”. “Come on, Spirit, if Industrial Light and Magic can do it, You certainly could."
But perhaps Spirit is stuck with that Oneness problem. The Great Oneness can’t communicate to others, because there are no “others” to communicate with – no separateness.
Perhaps the reason Spirit can’t give us a sign is that we ourselves are the sign.
Prayer, Time, and Spirit
Blog date: 2/6/2018 Journal Entry: 3/28/1997 and 3/9/2001
It occurred to me (during meditation) that I was experiencing a morning of calm. My back soreness was gone,
and I was in a state of peace. I had asked for calm and received it. This is the usual protocol of our dealings
with Spirit. We ask for something and then there is the expectation of receiving it at some future time.
So it's the time business. We are Beings-in-Time. We arise, have breakfast, go to work, call someone and make a request, and then later the person responds. All of these things take time.
Yet in prayer we are dealing with a Being-Not-in-Time. We recall the saying "Put yourself in another person’s shoes”. Spirit is not in time. There is no before and after for the Timeless One. We often thank Spirit for something we received in the past, and yet in a sense it seems just as appropriate to thank Spirit for something in the future.
So we thank the Universe instead of making requests to It. Why? Because we have been given all the things we were given from time immemorial. We have a disease and then we have remission from the disease.
But the remission was granted billions of years ago...
(During meditation) What are the Real Questions?
Blog date: 2/21/2018 Journal Entry: 12/4/1998
What are the real Questions?
One is “Who is the Spirit of Existence?” That’s a tough one, and always has been. And the I AM WHO AM business doesn’t really do much for the human imagination.
So how about “Where is the Spirit of Existence?” In Earth? In Air? Everywhere? Well the answer to that one is a place, and we all know that Spirit is placeless.
So if life is too mysterious for answers, then perhaps our search should be for something other than questions. . .
Maybe we should pay attention to the Buddha.
The Birds and I
Blog date: 7/12/2004 Journal Entry: 3/9/2018
I am standing in my neighborhood listening to the usual noise, barking dogs, distant lawn mowers, and the
occasional under-muffled truck. Up in the trees was a bird chirping.
I looked at the bird and said “Stupid bird. You can fly. Why are you here in this noisy neighborhood? If I were you, I would have long since flown to the countryside. Maybe that park in Southeastern Oklahoma. No, maybe even to the Washington coast.”
On the other hand, there I was, dissatisfied with the place where I was living and wanting so much to be able to move to a quiet place by a stream or by the ocean, and there was that bird, up in the tree singing in pure delight.
So who’s the stupid one? Me or the bird up in the tree singing?
Imagined Conversation: "Well, why are we here?"
Blog date: 3/15//2018 Journal Entry: 3/8/2005
My imagined response:
“I suppose that the older I get, the less an answer I have for that one. There is no theory that can supply a satisfactory explanation of life.
Behaviorism is not it.
How about Freud or Jung’s ideas? Nope.
Any philosophy? Not found here either.
Maybe the closest anybody has come to an “answer” is the Budda, who said “I don't have any answers. You do. Don’t be listening to any authority or religion, including me.”
My own journal entry, written after some years of searching for the "cure" for "mental problems" was: There are no answers and it is asking questions that is the problem.
Perhaps it would be well to go out by the lake in the morning with the mist floating over the stainless steel waters and the clouds airbrushed to a bright orange iridescence, and just listen to the great universal ‘DUH’.”
Blog date: 3/27/2018 Journal Entry: 9/17/2004
When I arrived to the company parking lot in the early morning darkness, I turned off the engine and rolled
down my window. Although I was vaguely aware of the sounds in the past, this morning the insect noises impressed
themselves on my consciousness.
Chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp.
It was the steady beat of the crickets (or cicadas), quite loud despite the equipment humming and groaning, and the car tires fanning the pavement on the nearby highway. I found myself wondering how the insects managed to make this sound in unison, apparently all night long. I imagined asking some scientist how this could be. “How do they do this, as if they were synchronized?" But immediately I wanted to retract my question. “No. maybe I don’t want the scientific explanation, compelling though it may be. I’ll settle for another type of understanding.”
“Life, in its simplest organisms just wants to sing. It’s just part of life’s natural exuberance. It’s the same with the birds; they’re always singing (I suppose I would be singing too if I could fly). And on a windy day Life wants to dance too; watch the trees sway in the moving air, their arms outstretched and embracing the flow. The grasses join in too, forming liquid, undulating seas.
We, on the other hand, inured of all our activities and strivings, have forgotten how.”
The Toll Tag Experience
Blog date: 4/7/2018 Journal Entry: 2/16/2005
After years of fumbling for change to toss in the toll booth, I finally decided to make the move from the Rotary
Phone of tollway driving to the Touchtone Phone – I ordered an RFID tolltag.
So there I was, the first morning, approaching the toll booth with my new beacon freshly installed on my windshield. I had just noticed that the classical music station was playing a lively piece of music – Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring I believe.
I coasted toward the funneled opening with the music stirring to its climax, feeling distinctly odd because I had no money ready to satisfy the official requirement. There was even a slight panic in the pit of my stomach because I was about to pass right by the coin basket with my window closed, the red light glaring right at me, the radio cranked up with Stravinsky’s music at its peak.
I looked over at the attendent watching me from the adjacent booth. Was I not going to stop and pay? Was this really going to work?
Bink. The light turns green.
Blat. The trumphets and kettle drums are at their finest.
In slo-mo, I slide past the empty coin basket and brightly-lit passageway, into the early morning darkness beyond.
The Oregon Move
Blog date: 4/11/2018 Journal Entry: 3/5/2011
We invited our kids over today for lunch and dinner, so that we could tell them since the events are now more “firmed up” (i.e. more
believable to us of incomplete faith).
I pulled out our four big DeLorme state maps.
“You can always tell where we are wanting to go by the collection of DeLorma topo maps. Here’s Arkansas. Here’s Washington. And here’s Maine. Remember Maine, an early heartthrob.
And here’s Oregon.” I held the map up for them to see.
“So now it’s Oregon, eh, dad.”
I felt a shiver go through me as I replied:
“Well, this time it’s different.”
After some jaws dropped for a bit, my oldest daughter said “I knew there was some reason you invited us over!” A bit later I was talking about our recent trip to the Sacred Place (a state park in Oklahoma). “What a memorable and emotional trip this was.There were no people – we had it to ourselves. You remember that place we drove to over the rough road, hoping each time that when we reached the peninsula, there would be no cars already there. That's where we were, by ourselves.
Suzie asked me if I wanted to say a prayer. For a while I couldn’t do it…"
That’s about all I got out with a normal voice.
At that point I had to leave the room and walk into the kitchen, ostensibly to fiddle with some dishes.
Well, that tipped my two daughters over the edge. As I left the room I could see that their vision failed, too.
On a humorous note, I made note of some things that went on while prepping our house for show:
Cleaning the bathroom walls: How do all those white spots get on the wall? I imagined myself asking my wife in mock irritation, “Whaddya brush your teeth facing the door or something?”
I think “Wait. I’ve got an idea.
You could get it in colors to match your walls.
I can retire on this one.”
My wife said that she had read somewhere that you should “Make it look fun”, referring to staging the house.
“Make it look fun”, I thought. Well that’s easy. We’ll just put a box of condoms in each bedroom.
My wife and daughter shopped most of the day looking for staging props for the two bathrooms. We had put up the shower curtain and towel in one bathroom. “You like my towel?” she asked.
“It cost $50”
“$50?!? For $50 you can stage your ass right on out of here”
That brought a laugh.
“You want to know what moving is? it’s fixing all the s_ _ _ that you have put up with all these years so the house will look good, and so that someone else won't have to put up with it.
The crack between the front sidewalk and the garage.
The scratched bathtub.
The shower faucet that is hard to pull.
The mildew in the corner below the washer water outlets where they leaked a long time ago.
The Six Powers
Blog date: 5/15/2018 Journal Entry: 4/1/2005
At the time I had just been listening to "Black Elk's Vision"- an audiotape. The narrator is describing the "6 Powers"
in the Lakota Indian Tribe tradition. I have always found it relaxing to hear someone talk about simple beliefs like this,
on the the part of people who used to see more magic in the earth than we ever will in our modern society.
So may the Six Powers guide you.
Father Sky (mak-pia-ha-te)
Mother Earth (e-na-ma-ka)
And the Four Directions (ta-te-to-pa):
The West Power (we-ok-pay-ata) – The source of rain but also storms. Source of the Spirits (from the darkness when the sun goes down). The color black.
The East Power (we-ok-hay-ya-pa-ta) – The source of peace, knowledge from the red dawn. The color red.
The North Power (wa-zay-ya-ta) – The source of cleanliness, truth, strength, and rest. The color white.
The South Power (ato-ka-ga). – The source of medicine from roots, stems, herbs, and fruits. Father sky and mother earth come into communion and the plants grow. The color green.
This is the way the Great Spirit (Wo-ka-ta-ka) intended it to be.
(It might be noted that other references give different colors for these directions.)
Blog date: 5/21/2018 Journal Entry: 5/6/2005
For reasons that I may never understand, my college studies were cut short by "mental issues". So I missed
out on the succesful career in science or engineering.
So for a long time now I have been trying to create something, some body of work, that is valued.
But what is this “value”? I am finally coming to believe that a person’s value is not dependent on whether or not they have been a success. I have value even if I am a “failure”, or a “loser”.
And I would even ask further, “value to whom”?
Am I of value to the Spirit of Existence? I have long since come to believe that we are all of infinite value to Spirit. Why? Because the Spirit creates this warm bright moist green planet out of the eternal cold and wishes to participate in its richness – and the only way It can do so is to give Itself form as us. So Spirit creates each one of us so that It can interpret the Earth, so that It can experience Time.
Am I of value to others? This is the one that I have been most concerned about, and lately the one that I am beginning to care the least about.
So there is only one person whose approval I have really been seeking all my life.
Maybe, sometime before I die, I will finally believe that I am valueable to myself.
Words, body, and mind
Blog date: 5/26/2018 Journal Entry: 5/4/2006
Our language really should be watched, for our words hold us in thrall. Words, after all, have great power.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God…”
So we might find ourselves saying something like “My shoulders really hurt, and I’m anxious about this.”
In other words, “something is wrong with my body, and I’m anxious.”
There are significant problems with that statement.
“Something is wrong.” That makes the problem a physical “thing” over which I have no control.
“Something is wrong with my body.” That now casts both the problem and my body as physical things. My body is a separate, biological entity, and “I” am stuck inside, subject to anything that might happen to this physical object.
“I’m anxious.” Even that is wrong. Does that mean “my mind is anxious?” Or, should I associate the mind with the brain? Is my brain anxious?
“Anxious” is a scrunching up of the muscles in the gut. “Anxious” is a needle-like sensation over all my skin. “Anxious” is sweating when it is not hot or shivering when it is not cold – an inability to control the temperature of my existence.
In other words, if “my body” is anxious, “I” am anxious.
There is no separation between body and mind, or body and soul. I am Body-Soul. I am Spirit interpreting form as me.
What this means is that the part of me that is conscious, the part of me that is Spirit, can understand “things that are wrong” in a different way. “I am the thing that is wrong, and I can change that lack of order in my existence.”
So the words that I say to myself about these thoughts are:
“You will not explain.
Instead you will understand.
Medical Science explains.”
Copyright © 2018 J.A.