Guest Houses work 3: foundations

This gallery contains 21 photos.

Sid’s Concrete framed and poured the footers for the foundations last week. Down pours intervened and required a sunny Sunday for drying out. Here are pictures of that work, which nicely outlines the foot prints of the two buildings … … Continue reading

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letter to local editors

In a conversation with Chris Maya last year, I distinguished three main approaches to mindfulness:

  • liberating: application of mindfulness within a genuine spiritual tradition leading to freedom from egoism, suffering, and distress (as in Buddha-Dhamma)
  • therapeutic: application of mindfulness to psycho-emotional issues, chronic pain and stress, and other situations where it is helpful for improved well-being (as in MBSR)
  • unethical: perversions of mindfulness lacking appropriate spiritual and ethical context, including manipulative control of workers for the sake of productivity, named by some as “McMindfulness”

This letter to editors of local papers concerns the abuse of mindfulness in work situations, which fits the third approach.

The letter’s perspective also applies to overly individualized framing of ‘mindfulness’ as a way for women, people of color, and other targets of bias, discrimination, micro-aggressions, and dog whistles to ‘get over it.’ Such pseudo-mindfulness tends to blame the individual when a social system is more likely to be the culprit.

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Guest House work 2: digging

This gallery contains 11 photos.

The serious work has begun. Bill was here with his digger to dig out space for the foundations and ‘frost walls’ beneath outer walls. There’s now a big hole in the ground for the Guest House and a smaller one … Continue reading

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Guest House progress 1: staking the site

From dreaming and planning, through fund raising and preparations, we now move into actual construction (though on-going fund raising is still needed, and preparations for later stages continues). Yesterday, Ross the main contractor, and Sid, the foundations contractor, were out laying out the site. Sid had pretty nifty equipment for doing so.

Sid laying out the main building

Sid laying out the main building

As is usual, Jo Marie and I had to make a few tweaks as actual realities on and below ground were fully assessed.

Ross & Jo Marie laying out the guest cottage

Ross & Jo Marie laying out the guest cottage

The excavator is expected to start next week. Rerouting water lines will be needed, too.

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Lack of imagination: how dangerous it can be

The lines below are explicitly about politics, yet make a vital point touching on many areas of life in which we “cannot imagine” reality — think catastrophic climate change or how badly racism lurks within our society — because of bias, believing what is comfortable or convenient, preexisting preferences, hopes & wants, and the like. As Gessen observes, such lack of imagination limits us dangerously. This is equally the case with spiritual life and our capacity to imagine life without all this suffering.

“Lack of imagination is one of our greatest handicaps as humans and as citizens. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, one of the richest men in the world, could not imagine that Putin would put him in jail, and this was one of the reasons he ignored repeated warnings and stayed in Russia. Then he spent ten years in a Russian prison. David Cameron could not imagine that his fellow citizens would vote to secede from the European Union, so he called for a referendum. Soon after the vote last month, pundits in both the UK and the US regrouped and started reassuring themselves and their audiences that the UK will not really leave the EU—because they can’t imagine it. I have spent much of this year arguing with my American friends about Donald Trump. Even after Trump had won enough delegates to lock up the Republican nomination, reasonable, well-informed people insisted that some Republican savior would swoop in and reclaim that party. There was little, if any, evidence in favor of that kind of outcome, but for a brief moment many Americans seemed to believe in the unlikely rather than the obvious. Why?

“I just can’t imagine Trump becoming the nominee,” many said at the time. But a lack of imagination is not an argument: it’s a limitation. It is essential to recognize this limitation and try to overcome it. That is a difficult and often painful thing to do.

Now that Trump has become the Republican nominee—and has pulled even or even slightly ahead of Clinton in the most recent polls—it is time to force ourselves to imagine the unimaginable. Forget Putin. Let us try to imagine Donald Trump being elected president of the United States.”

From article by Masha Gessen, “The Trump-Putin Fallacy” in New York Review Daily (July 26, 2016).

Posted in Confronting Racism, Dhamma, General, Social Observations & Commentary | Leave a comment