Sunday, April 29, 2012

The effects of anger

I've just finishing transcribing a talk for my teacher, Sayalay Susila. This was a talk given at Bhavana last summer, and it really struck a nerve each time I read through it this time during the editing process, just as it did when I first heard it last August. If you're prone to doubt the validity of what she's saying in the following excerpts, consider anger in your own life, first. I have personally observed countless times in the last 6 or 7 years when anger you have inside really does affect others -- friends or strangers -- even though you think you are keeping it inside yourself. And vice versa, I know from experience (for the last two years at my last job, for one example), where being in the presence of an angry person can have an adverse effect on me. I'm sure you can find similar instances.

There was a time in Eugene when I had lots of anger, and I observed that even people I'd encounter hiking the opposite direction from me on a popular trail up a small mountain in the area reacted to me negatively. I'd wonder why these people seemed so unfriendly, even though I'd said or done nothing to them. In time, I reflected on this a great deal as I hiked that trail (which I did quite often), and then I began to really see and hear the internal dialogue, such as 'damn, noisy kids coming', or 'a loose dog coming'. I heard judgments that affected the way I felt about those strangers, and thus it was easy to see that my own anger and judging might be influencing their obvious avoidance of me.

So, I began to experiment. When I'd see someone coming, I'd let go of whatever angry or judging thoughts I might have about them, and smile. Inevitably, every person or group of persons I treated with a smile (an inner smile as well as a physical smile) would respond in a more positive way.  Although I no longer have as much anger in my life, I struggled early last year and the previous year to stop my habit of anger, or annoyance mostly, with something or other when I was inside a store. Inevitably, my bad mood would affect the person who checked me out.

As I continued to find success with breaking the pattern, I also broke the pattern of unpleasant responses from others.  So, read what Sayalay has to say here, and give it some thought before discounting the sense behind her words. I haven't asked her if I could do this, but since her purpose is to teach, I hope she does not object! Please note that English is not her first language (she speaks six or seven!), and that when I transcribe and edit her words I try to leave as much of her personality and manner of speech as possible. I correct grammar, sometimes rearrange sentences to flow a bit better, but strive to leave her words as untouched as I can.

"According to Buddha’s teachings, and according to Chinese medicine, all emotions, all unwholesome mental states, affect the organs of our body. For example, anger affects the liver. Fear affects the kidneys. Every unwholesome thought hurts the organs, the internal organs. If a person gets angry very often, then if you go and see a Chinese physician, they know your liver is no good.  Because of the anger, our health becomes affected. When you get very angry, this energy travels from the internal up to the external, and if your good friend happens to come along, the friend will quickly turn away because the energy is so unbearable, even though you do not scold your good friend. But when you get angry, no one will come to approach you because the internal fire element has spread out to the external.
"This also has been shown by one of the Japanese scientists called the Immortal Masaru. I think you all have heard about this book, Messages of Water. He took one cup of water and uttered good words, he said ‘I’m grateful’ to this water. Then he put some of that water under a microscope and saw that the water had become very beautiful crystals. At another time he took water and said ‘you fool’, and other harsh speech to this water, then he put the sample under the microscope and this water had deformed crystals. Very angry crystals. So, even the water, which we think is inanimate being, still responds to our emotions.  How about a human being, a plant, the sea, the mountains, the moon, the sun, and everything on earth? 

 "Buddha said, indeed, when man becomes extremely corrupt in thoughts and deeds the energy rushes from this extensive earth up to the orbit of the moon, the suns and stars, reaching even the realm of space and the whole organic world. Our unwholesome thought is responsible for the destruction of the world, for all the destructive weather that we have now, the earthquakes, the tsunami, the hurricanes and so on. In fact our unwholesome thought, the energy from our unwholesome thought, travels far and affects the whole organic world. These are consequences."

Think about that, next time you're angry, or next time you listen to one of the many talking heads ranting and raving on TV and radio. All that anger really does affect us, and our world.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Those darned ancestors!

I've spent a fair amount of quality time today scrolling through the 1940 census that was just released, looking for my parents and grandparents and such. Found them all, too, plus a bunch more. It's just entertainment for me at the moment.

Last week I had lunch with a cousin on my father's side who I haven't seen for about 50 years! She was eleven then, I was 18.  She's run circles around me when it comes to the details of genealogy on these people, and she had some stories to tell. A second marriage for my grandfather (which I heard from another older relative a few years back, but had no details about), and a scandal all wrapped up in it. The woman, as far as we can tell, was someone who worked on the beauty parlor side of the barber shop. Susie doesn't know the exact details, but it seems that the woman called herself 'divorced' when she wasn't, and my grandfather had the marriage annulled when he found out. Or something like that.  My grandfather was listed on the census with my father, my aunt and her oldest daughter. No wife! Although, I found the supposed wife listed in town, still working in a beauty parlor.

Tomorrow, I plan to visit the county courthouse and go through the marriage books for the appropriate years and see if I can find a record of his second marriage. Not quite sure how to go about finding a record of any annulment, but we'll deal with that when we come to it.

Susie also heard from her mother (my father's sister) that our grandfather was in the KKK! Not shocking for the time, but shocking to me in that this is my PaPa we're talking about! He was the light of my young life, the kindest, sweetest, gentlest man a person could ever imagine. In the Klan????? Yep, I'm shocked.

I found my grandmother on my mother's side living in Cedartown as a lodger, along with her oldest daughter. The other kids, my mother included, lived with their dad in Esom Hill. I found all kinds of other folks that have to be relatives, even though I didn't recognize all their names offhand. My mom's family has been in Esom for a couple of hundred years, and since all the early families intermarried, all the offspring over the generations are related.

I also found the family I bought my house from, living in the house in 1940! That was kind of cool, for some odd reason. Continuity, I guess.

I could have found more, I'm sure, but the entertainment value has waned for now.

Monday, April 2, 2012


OK folks, here are the photos as promised. I know you've all been waiting with bated breath!

Appalachian Trail thru-hikers crossing the bridge at the Nantahala Outdoor Center to continue their journey north.

Nantahala Falls - from a much better perspective than last time. It still doesn't look all that bad, but it remains the only rapid I ever swam, so there's more going on there than there would appear The people were stringing wires across the river, presumably in preparation for the big races that were to happen a couple of days later.
A foggy, but still beautiful, scene from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

See what I mean about steps? Try going up these about 10 times per day, not counting the times it's necessary to do the same with the interior stairs in the main building. Still, it's beautiful!
I absolutely love this laughing Buddha!
The meadow, showing a few small kuti huts and outdoor bath facilities.
I took a lot more photos, of course, but these will give you the idea. As you may know, I tend to get carried away with flowers and such, things that don't interest others all that much.