Almost Composed

Meditation and curiosity

Dream selves

October 6, 2015

Interesting that in dreams we seem to have a self – whether that be a butterfly or a WWII soldier – though we have no physical body, and the world around us is a tottering, malleable palace. It’s as though the mental machinery that constructs our everyday perception of self and other can at last be seen […]

categories: philosophy, reflections

“My God, it’s full of stars”

August 16, 2015

As far as I know, none of history’s greatest philosopher-poets had their best insights while holding a soiled cat litter tray. But there I was, in the garden after midnight, seeking truth and a clean gravel-filled receptacle for Mr. Biggington. The valley was cool and quiet. I looked up from the decking to see a […]

categories: philosophy, reflections

Thinking about nothing in particular

June 7, 2015

I’ve always been interested in the question, ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’ I remember walking to school trying to imagine nothing: no planets, stars, or galaxies. (I’d seen these in an astronomy book and was inconsolable when the same book told me that the sun would one day engulf Earth). All I could think of […]

categories: philosophy, reflections

Anatta, or ‘no self’

May 18, 2015

Here’s an exploration of the Buddhist view of anatta, commonly translated as ‘no self’ or ‘not self’. Although I’m not an authority on this, I’ve been thinking about what anatta might mean in comparison to our normal, conditioned view. Let’s suppose that View A is commonly held: View A: there is a conscious self, an “I”, who possesses a […]

categories: philosophy

Of the combustible and useless varieties of trees

March 3, 2015

Reading Fire Season, Philip Connors’ account of his experiences watching for forest fires in the Gila mountain range, I was struck by the following passage: “My own insights are fragmentary, fleeting. I write something in my notebook and forget it an hour later. I do not so much seek anything as allow the world to come to […]

categories: essays, philosophy, reflections