Tag Archives: Writing

The Sacramento River

The Sacramento River” by Harold Stearley at Earthwalking

And the mountain disappeared . . .

Sometimes I’m simply stuck in that urban jungle and today I was awaiting repairs to my car, the chariot to new adventures.

But not all in life is an adventure. Or is it?  Perhaps we can make it so . . .

Continue reading The Sacramento River

The Tide is Shifting

“The Tide is Shifting” By Harold Stearley at Earthwalking

So a couple of days ago I published a post about my last travel experience titled, “Exhaust.” It didn’t get much readership, but I’m really not surprised. I’ve been absent a lot this past year for a variety of reasons, but if you’re blogging you sort of owe it to your audience to actually be blogging 🙂

I also made that post at mid-day and I usually get more readership if I post in the early morning. But I picked up a few more folks with my post yesterday about Mt. Rainier. At any rate, I’m thrilled that I haven’t lost all of my readers and hope they will all return eventually.

I’ve been trying to decide what direction this blog should go. Clearly, not all posts can be about a metaphysical experience while hiking through the wilderness. So maybe I should broaden my view and start looking at some of the writing prompts and just bang something out everyday.

Who knows what I’ll come up with . . .

In Metta

Rabbit Hole: One of the factors interfering with my writing right now being is that I am actually having neurotoxic reactions from handling the laptop. It seems I’ve developed problems with many plastics or else it’s a chemical treatment applied to the plastics. Sad, but it sort of takes the fun out of using the keyboard.

Exhaust

“Exhaust” by Harold Stearley at Earthwalking

As I awake in the morning darkness, I see a hint of Grandfather Sun rising in the East.  A bit of a tease as I am shaking off my tent after forty-eight hours of continuous rain.

Inhaling, exhaling, I’m rebreathing my own exhaust in this confinement. Over and over again.  In – out, in-out, as the oxygen concentration decreases, and my carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise.

I can smell and feel the dark, dankness of mildewed canvass. Constricting around me like a massive snake. A death-grip of a hug that will take you to oblivion. If you don’t break free . . .

Not all days are good when you are on the road.

Continue reading Exhaust

Wuji – No Limits

Wuji – No Limits, by Harold Stearley at Earthwalking

I wasn’t far from the Firepit, sharing time at a primordial level.  A visit with the Ancestors.  A Community in the Void.  To find answers? 

Or perhaps just to realize which questions to ask?

The fire crackled as the Earthly aroma permeated the crisp night air.  Whorling upward, coiling with widening arms like that of our spiral galaxy, the Milky Way.  Norma-Cygnus, Sagittarius, Scutum-Crux, and Perseus all reaching outward, embracing you, inebriating you with the release of GrandFather Sun’s stored energy.  Burning as brightly as our Dantians within, our Seas of Qi.  A dynamism unmatched.  A gift from the Great Star Nation.   

Where would these forces of Nature take me? 

My intuition instructed me to focus on the flames, the smoke, the forming coals, the glowing embers. They took on their characteristic checkered pattern, those coals, the weaving of flames through wood.  A braiding down the length of each limb as they wrapped themselves in reverse spirals from the smoke. 

But then, something else.

I began seeing symbols etched into these glowing branches.  Hieroglyphics, pictographs, petroglyphs, but not carved or drawn in caves, or on stone walls, or in high temples.  No these were living, breathing messages from beyond.  Ever changing and vanishing with the smoke.

I made mental notes, my own snapshots in time, hoping to recall this mysterious language later.  And suddenly two words in English appeared, embedded in those coals.

“No Limits.”

And then they were gone.  Charred ash fallen to the ground.  Reduced to the same Stardust of their original carbon composition.  Of what we are all hewn from.

I took this as a literal meaning.  There are “no limits” to this lifetime.  Only limitations we place on ourselves. 

But as with all messages of this type, it takes time to solidify, to integrate, to release hidden meanings.  Or perhaps synchronous ones.

***

Present day.  I was running through a QiGong routine and one of the standing meditation poses is called Wuji, or the Bear Pose. 

As you settle into this position, you are elongating your spine, the Crown of your head is pulled up by an imaginary Golden Thread drawing it up towards the Heavens.  You tuck your chin but relax your jaw.  Legs are squared off shoulder-length apart, knees in line over feet that are parallel to each other.  You bend your knees slightly but don’t lock them. Relax your shoulders and your chest. Your hands are held down in front of you dropping to full arm’s-length, wrists bent at 90 degrees with the palms facing upward.  And you sit down [Barely or Bearly 😊],* rolling the end of your sacrum – imagining being connected to a Cord running deep within the Earth’s core – opening “The Gate of Life” or “Power” or the “Point of Origin” [the ‘Mingmen’ point].

You are weightless.

This is also called the “emptiness posture.” 

Later in the day, after finishing practicing some Tai Chi forms, I sit in front of my computer looking for a file about the same.  And what should I stumble upon, but a file outlining the meaning of Wuji or “Wu Chi.”**  I had saved it.  For this very day apparently.

***

Now I’m sure you’ve had days like mine where I start out with an idea of how the day will go, but I diverge from that path.  I mean, I already have a scattered thought pattern, and it is more so lately as I have multiple things on my plate.

But today was different.  Different in the sense of how I circled back to that moment before the Fire, and a message from six months ago, and how that message ties into absolutely everything. 

The file I had saved explained that Wuji or “Wu Chi” refers to the “Unmanifest Aspect of the Tao.”  But what is this “Aspect?”  It is the “state of non-distinction prior to the differentiation into the Yin and Yang,” which in turn, gave birth to “all of the phenomena of the manifest world.”

Wuji or Wu Chi is subject to several literal translations but, ultimately, they all lead to the words “no” or “none” and “limits” or “extreme boundaries.”  Thus, “No Limits.”  Emptiness in any movement or activity.  In this state of mind and body, “Nothing separates me from my surroundings.”

Or yet another way of looking at that would be nothing separates me from “All My Relations.”

There are many translations of Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching.  Turning to Johnathan Star’s translation of Chapter 28, we find this concept of “No Limits.”

Hold your male side with your female side

Hold your bright side with your dull side

Hold your high side with your low side

Then you will be able to hold the whole world.

When the opposing forces unite within

there comes a power abundant in its giving

and unerring in its effect.

Flowing through everything

It returns one to the First Breath.

Guiding everything

It returns one to No Limits.

Embracing everything

It returns one to the Uncarved Block.***

When the Block is divided

it becomes something useful

and leaders can rule with just a few pieces.

But the Sage holds the Block complete

Holding all things within himself

he preserves the Great Unity

which cannot be ruled or divided.

There is indeed a state of “No Limits,” but it’s not quite the message as I had originally surmised.  It is a return to that infinite, unlimited, boundless, timeless, undifferentiated state of existence. 

As I return to the Fire, now blazing in my household, I stare into those flames holding tight to what cannot be held, the limitless state of non-duality.  Looking to hold all things within myself, “which cannot be ruled or divided.”

In Metta

* Rabbit Hole # 1:  A note from my Ag School days, I had taken a class in Animal Sanitation and Disease Prevention that was taught by a Veterinarian.  This Doctor had served in the Air Force and had assisted with the development of the ejection seat for pilots.  Of course, they could not use skilled pilots to test this mechanism out, so they looked for an animal with the same hip structure that could sit down like us humans.  You guessed it, they used Bears.  They sedated them and sent them, seated in a jet-fueled contraption mimicking the cockpit of a plane, down a railroad track and, at the right moment, blew them up into the sky in their chair hoping the parachute would open.  The Vet did not report any Bears getting injured.  Just an interesting aside from the so-labeled “Bear Pose” or position, where you sit down, Bearly. 😊

** Rabbit Hole # 2: If you want further reading, you can find this article on the Web, titled, “The Meaning of Wuji (Wu Chi), the Un-manifest Aspect of the Tao.

*** Rabbit Hole #3: Various translations of the Tao refer to it as an Uncarved Block of Wood and use this in various descriptive manners.  I’ve seen it in Stephen Mitchell’s translation, but I don’t believe I saw it mentioned at all in Witter Bynner’s translation.  Mitchell’s is, perhaps, a bit more pragmatic, while Bynner’s is very poetic. Whatever translation of the Tao you may find, enjoy. 

An Accidental Transpersonal Experience

By Harold Stearley at Earthwalking

Warning: This post is about mystical stuff. If you don’t like that kind of stuff you can stop reading now. 🙂

***

Quite a few years back in my undergrad days, I had access to the biofeedback lab at the university.  The goal was using their machines to lower my heart rate and respirations.  To achieve a state of complete relaxation. 

The little tones beeping from the machine you wired yourself up to weren’t a distraction but were an adjunct to assist you with hitting the set goals.  The rate of the beeping reflected the rate of your heart rate and respirations until you were able to lower them to the desired parameters. Thus, heart rate lowered, respirations decreased, no more beeping. 

I would be laying on a mat on the floor. My head on a pillow.  The temperature of the room was warm and comfortable. 

But while I was relaxing in the lab one day, I experienced a “side effect.”  I guess you could call it that.  I had a spontaneous vision, or experience, or a visualization; whatever you wish to call it.  I discovered, just recently, a term for these experiences – transpersonal.

Continue reading An Accidental Transpersonal Experience

The Cape

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

I really wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I pulled into this Washington State Park.  I wanted to spend a couple of relaxing days on the Ocean.  Rejuvenate my body.  It’s not that my Mind or Spirit needed rest.  My senses had been flooded this trip with such a continual string of breathtaking sights that I was on a natural high.  But I had been punishing my Body.  Pushing myself to my physical limits and beyond.  On the road an average of every six to seven days, without pause, and hiking continuously.  I even needed to do some sewing before hiking again, repair my daypack, as I had managed to tear a few holes in it.

Yeah, a few days on a Pacific beach sounded wonderful.  And besides, I’d have a new experience of staying in a Yurt. 

Continue reading The Cape

A Book Review . . .

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

Disclaimer:  The views expressed below are entirely my own.  Other people reading this work of non-fiction may have a completely different take on it and find my conclusions to be erroneous.  But they can write their own blogs, this one relays my experience and my interpretations.  Also, the book is 484 pages long, so in my attempt to condense and summarize, I may have to leave out specific details out of necessity.  This does not mean that I did not read this book thoroughly, I did. I felt compelled to write this review . . .

The book is: “Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West,” written by Stephen E. Ambrose.

I give Ambrose credit for his research and thoroughness with telling this story, however, at first blush, I must point out the obvious bias the author demonstrates towards Meriwether Lewis.  All throughout the book, the author describes Lewis’s effort to get William Clark recognized and share equal stature with himself.  For example, the War Department turned down the request to give Clark an equal rank with Lewis and only approved a Lieutenant’s rank for Clark as opposed to a Captain’s rank.  Yet Lewis and Clark decided not to tell their men this and addressed each other equally as Captains.  They served as co-equal partners commanding the expedition.  This was emphasized over and over again.

Yet despite the constant dialog throughout of Clark’s equal status, the author noticeably leaves Clark’s name out of the title of the book.  It is, however, the author’s book and he is obviously free to choose the title, I just picked up on this smack-you-the-face contradiction between the title and what’s conveyed in the text between the covers.  Hard to miss that one.

But before I venture too far with my criticisms, I do want to point out what I consider to be remarkable about the book and the personalities described therein.

There is no doubt that the trek across the American West by these individuals is remarkable.  Round trip, it was some 8000 miles.  These guys were tough.  Lewis frequently walked the banks of the Missouri River while his men navigated via keelboat, canoes, and pirogues, using paddle, pole and wind, and the expedition averaged some 20 miles per day going up-river.  Lewis kept pace with the vessels by simply walking, and I remember at least one mention of hiking some 35 miles in a day. 

That’s tough by my standards.

The men endured various illnesses and treatments with the completely wrong medicines, and all survived except one man.  They also endured times of food shortages and serve weather.  Lewis even survived being shot in the ass by one of his own men with a .54 caliber Army issue bullet.  Whether this was accidental or on purpose no one knows as the shooter denied having shot his Captain.

Sacagawea, a Shoshone, joins the group as the 15-year-old wife of a French-Canadian named Toussaint Charbonneau, who had won her in a bet from the Hidatsa, who had, in turn, captured her in a raid on Shoshone encampment. She was six months pregnant at the time and would give birth to her son during the expedition.  She would also provide her knowledge on food sources and serve as a translator to the Shoshones and assist the bargaining for Shoshone horses to cross the Continental Divide and the Bitterroot Mountains.  Clearly, she endured more than the men, yet little credit is given to her, and the author notes that she received no payment for her services as did the men.  (The party procured horses from the Nez Perce on their return trip as well as collecting some of their previous ones).

Back to the successes of the adventure. 

While no continuous water route was found to the Pacific coast as was sought, the party encountered many First Nations Peoples, promoted peace between the tribes (albeit arrogantly and with no understanding of the cultures and customs), and they did “find” the overland route to connect the Missouri breaks with the Columbia River and mapped out the territory.  I’ll get back to that word “find” in a little bit.

Lewis is credited as being a planter, soldier, ethnographer, botanist, zoologist, geographer, astronomer, cartographer (that was really Clark), linguist, woodsman, and explorer.  Basically, he is portrayed as a God-like figure who most probably carved out the entire basin for the Pacific Ocean with his bare hands after swallowing a dozen buffalo in one bite for lunch.  Oh, please excuse my sarcasm.  On page 482, the author finally backpedals and states: “His talents and skills ran wider than they did deep.” And he points out that his best quality was actually leadership. (Footnote 1) .

In a footnote on page 404, the author credits Lewis by stating: “He had discovered and described 178 new plants, more than two-thirds of them from west of the Continental Divide, and 122 species and subspecies of animals.”  I take strong issue with the word “discovered.”

And now for my real criticismsWhat I said above was just a warm-up. 😊

Ok, so let’s go back to the beginning.  On the very first page of text, in the introduction on page 13, the author states that Lewis was the “first” American to cross the Continental Divide.  Ok, this is a joke right?  The author totally ignores some 14,800 years of history that has been extensively documented of the First Nations Peoples’ occupation and travel across the Americas.  In fact, the expedition had to rely on Indian guides to take them through the mountains on established Native trails.  Had the guides not crossed these mountains first, they obviously could not have served as guides. (Footnote 2).

I will have to say, that I have never read the words “first” and “discovered” so many times in a single book attributing credit to a single individual, while completely ignoring the actual people who encountered these plants and animals and made the journey through these mountains and up and down these rivers for centuries prior to the colonists’ arrival on the East Coast. 

The proper term for Lewis, in these contexts, should be the “first white, European, colonist,” or perhaps “imperialist,” of English descent, who did whatever it was Lewis did after so many others had before him – including, perhaps, French trappers and Spanish explorers. 

Lewis and Clark’s travels were also probably preceded by the British traders based up in Canada that were frequently mentioned because of the desire to shut the North West Company out of business.  But I get it, first “American.” Right. There are only three times that I remember the author saying the “first white man” to have done or experienced something.

I will give credit to the fact that Lewis drafted lengthy descriptions of the animals and plants encountered and putting that into writing in the English language may have been a first.   The First Nations’ Peoples largely relied on storytelling and hieroglyphics but were probably more insightful as to the beneficial relationships and usefulness of the natural resources.  The Native populations also practiced conservation, while the Europeans preferred mass slaughter and harvested resources into extinction, but I suppose that’s another story for another day. (Footnote 3).

Included with Ambrose’s litany of Lewis’s “firsts,” is claiming that he is the first American to kill a Grizzly Bear (p. 247).  Lewis, with his superiority complex, pays no attention to the warnings from the First Nations Peoples about showing this Spirit some respect and how difficult it is to kill one.  Instead, Lewis assumes that if these individuals had trouble killing a grizzly, it must be because of their primitive and inferior skills and weapons.  He soon learns just how wrong he is about engaging in such combat as the Bears show no fear and go on the offensive even when shot multiple times.  His men are seen running away from the Grizzly on more than one occasion.  (Footnote 4).

There is nothing short of continuous denigration of the First Nations Peoples by Lewis with the constant over-lording references to their new “Father” or “White Father” referring to Jefferson (a prominent slaveholder).  Lewis is plagued with an extreme inflation of his own self-importance as he talks down to the tribes and believes he can command them with his pronouncements.  He also never misses a chance, as “ethnographer” to insult the Native populations, even those Nations who provided him with food and assistance.  Never. Even if he has extended a compliment, it is followed by an insult.

On page 357, after describing an instance where Lewis nearly let his anger override his judgment regarding the “Chinookans,” where Lewis may have torched a village if a few goods that had been pilfered had not been recovered, Ambrose states:

To modern eyes, this looks suspiciously like racism, just as Lewis’s resolve to burn down the village raises images of the U.S. Army in the Indian wars and in Vietnam. But if one means by racism a blind prejudice toward native Americans, based upon false but fully believed stereotypes, Lewis was no racist. When he talked about Indian ‘nations’ he meant the word just as he applied it to European peoples. He was keenly aware of the differences between tribes, a subject he wrote about at length and with insight. He liked some Indians, admired others extravagantly, pitied some, despised a few.

His response to native Americans was based on what he saw and was completely different from his response to African Americans.  With regard to blacks, he made no distinctions between them, made no study of them, had no thought that they could be of benefit to America in any capacity other than slave labor.

But, despite his cold-blooded words and resolutions, and his hatred of the Chinooks, what stands out about his journey up the lower Columbia in the spring of 1806 is that he got through it without ever once ordering a man to put a torch to an Indian home, and no man ever fired a rifle at a native. “

I could easily point out the poor choice of words Ambrose uses in this last sentence distinguishing “man” from “native,” but I’ll laugh that one off.  Despite Ambrose’s attempt to paint this white European arrogance as anything but racist, on pages 370-372, for a second time, Ambrose refers to Lewis’s statement made at Lemhi Pass in 1805, “that anything the Indians could do, he and his men could do.”  “Even after seeing the Clastsops and Chinooks in their canoes, after seeing the Nez Perce ride their horses, he retained the notion of white superiority.”  (Both tribes demonstrated vast superiority with their skills over the white imperialists.)

To further cement this notion, if there were any doubt, when Lewis is describing his Indian plan regarding improving the American fur trade, Lewis states that it was “a scheme . . . the most expedient that I can devise for the successful consummation of [our] philanthropic views towards those wretched people of America.” (p.442) Lewis’s scheme was to run the British out and create trade-dependence with the Indians – subjugating them through capitalism in modernity’s tongue. (Footnote 5).

He even thought that to boycott the Sioux, the least susceptible to his pronouncements, would bring them begging to the great “white father.”  Of course, this simple mindedness completely ignores the First Nations Peoples’ ability to survive the harshest of circumstances – those which the white Europeans on this very expedition would not have survived, except for the help of the native populations.

But before I stray too far from my original point, Ambrose’s attempt to paint Lewis’s racism as nothing more than white supremacy is what I believe is facepalm worthy.  Seriously, Ambrose has such a man-crush on Meriwether Lewis that he tries to gloss over what he has painstakingly proven throughout his book. Lewis may have seen and written about differences between tribes, but he believed blindly that whites were superior to them all – that, my friend, is racist.

In perhaps another wave of ironies, Lewis’s and Jefferson’s Indian plan required a full-scale change of all First Nations Peoples’ cultures and lifestyles.  It was predicated on “inducing the Missouri River and Rocky Mountain Indians to become trappers and traders” and to abandon a nomadic hunting and sustenance culture that included inter-tribal raids and conflict.  In fact, a Hidatsa warrior drove this point home when asking Lewis what their nations would do for chiefs should peace be attained, because chiefs were selected based upon their heroic acts in battle.  Bravery was the prime virtue in the structure of Indian politics.

Ambrose continues: “They would have to be conquered and cowed before they could be made to abandon war. Jefferson’s dream of establishing through persuasion and trade a peaceable kingdom among the western Indians was as much an illusion as his dream of an all-water route to the Pacific.” (p. 288)

Ambrose calls this a “great disappointment” that the “men of the Enlightenment” would accept because these men accepted facts, and Lewis, the great ethnographer, through his documentation helped to establish these facts. 

Ok, so I found myself laughing at the concept of these men being “enlightened” in any fashion, and I backtracked to refresh my memory of what defined the so-called “Age of Enlightenment.”  This “age” was defined as a European intellectual moment during the 17th and 18th centuries in which the use of “reason” was the predominant focus for humans understanding their universe to improve their condition; the goals of which included gaining knowledge, freedom, and happiness.  

Another summation, pulled from the online version of Encyclopedia Britannica stated: “The great geniuses of the 17th century confirmed and amplified the concept of a world of calculable regularity, but, more importantly, they seemingly proved that rigorous mathematical reasoning offered the means, independent of God’s revelation, of establishing truth.” (Footnote 6).

So there you have it, these “men of Enlightenment” supposedly fully comprehended the social, cultural, and political structures of the First Nations Peoples and decided the inferior race needed to be conquered to promote commerce. And conquering meant destroying. “While Lewis and Clark had a great interest in documenting Indian cultures, they represented a government whose policies can now be seen to have fostered dispossession and cultural genocide.” (Footnote 7).

To sum up:

The expedition lasted from May 14, 1804, through September 23, 1806.  Jefferson requested $2500 to fund the expedition but he granted Lewis authority to write unlimited “draws” so the total cost ended up being $38,722.25.  That would represent a tremendous sum in today’s dollars.

For inexplicable reasons, Lewis hung onto his journals preventing their publication, and it wasn’t until 1814, five years after his death in 1809, that his journals were published having lost most of their relevancy as the frontier was no longer new and unexplored.

Lewis died on October 10, 1809, at the age of 35 from a horrendous suicide involving him shooting himself twice and cutting himself “from head to foot” with a razor. (p. 475).  At the time of his death, he was suffering from alcoholism, opium and morphine addiction, syphilis, malaria, and quite apparently depression.  

Now there are some facts that were never conveyed in any history class I have ever sat in.

In Metta

Feature Photo: It seemed appropriate to include a pic of the Pacific Coastline in light of the subject matter, an expedition to the Ocean and back. And even more appropriate to include one of Cape Disappointment – right around the bend from where the Columbia River greets the Ocean – the ultimate objective of the expedition. I had a hard time deciding which pic to post because this area is so beautiful. Wish I could have seen it in 1806.

Footnote 1: Indeed, Lewis had received training in these fields through President Jefferson and Jefferson’s associates, but his weaknesses are revealed when he must hire experts to prepare his journal for publication.  Something he delays and that doesn’t occur until after his death.  BTW, he never hired an editor, which would have been the wisest thing he could have done given his and Clark’s own limited proper grammar, usage, and spelling of the English language.

Footnote 2: In fact, there is other evidence of ancient tools being found in Meadowcroft Rockshelter Pennsylvania dating back to 19,000 years old, which could support a theory of early European migration.

Footnote 3: I will use, for the most part, the terms “First Nations People” in place of “American Indians” when describing those living in the Americas prior to the mass European invasion, because there are those who like to contest the terms “indigenous” and “native” because the first people here migrated from Asia on the West Coast, and possibly, although not confirmed, from Europe on the East Coast.  DNA evidence confirms the migration from Asia all the way down through North America to Argentina in South America.  And the well-preserved remains found in Monte Verde, Chili date back to 14,800 years. 

Footnote 4: To put some of my remarks in context, Ambrose is frequently quoting from Lewis’s or Clark’s journals, so they are speaking in the first person.  So when I refer to certain remarks, it is not from an inference by Ambrose, it is because Lewis and/or Clark are directly speaking through their writings.

Footnote 5: We see how well this political plan worked between the US and China., where the US thought the introduction of capitalism to China would destroy Chinese Communism and make China dependent on the US.

Footnote 6: Enlightenment: European History: Age of Reason Aufklärung, siècle de Lumières

Footnote 7: Lewis and Clark Expedition: Pacific Ocean and Return

Rabbit Hole1:

I point out a basic defect with “American History” as taught in this country, which is plagued with bias and inaccuracy. I use for example the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War. Do you think most people in this country actually know the history of this war? When did it start and when did it end? (April 19, 1775 through September 3, 1783.) Most people I talked to seem to think the war either started or was over when the Declaration of Independence was issued on July 4, 1776, and they know absolutely nothing, correctly, about the events leading up to the war.

They also don’t know the history behind who became the country’s first president. George Washington was the first president under the US Constitution, which was adopted on June 21, 1788 and which created the executive branch of government. Washington was elected February 4, 1789. Technically, the first “President” following the Revolution was John Hanson. He was the first President of the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation and he served from November 5, 1781 until November 3, 1782. He’s even the guy who established Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday in November, although we know the history behind that has been blurred considerably. Hanson was one of eight men appointed to serve one-year terms under the Articles of Confederation before the Constitution was ratified. See The John Hanson Story.

While some might believe such details are unimportant or irrelevant, I believe knowing the true history, and the surrounding circumstances is essential to understanding how this county’s government functions. Or if it’s in a state of dysfunction. Just like it’s important to know this country was born out of slavery and genocide. It’s convenient to ignore those facts, like the men of the “Enlightenment.”

Rabbit Hole 2:

I have a couple of pet peeves regarding The Declaration of Independence that are appropriate to address in this rabbit hole.  In the list of grievances the colonists delineated begins with the statement:

“The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”

It then lists 27 grievances, the last of which reads:

“He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”

Chew on that uninformed bias for a while.  Why would the First Nations Peoples feel their independence was declared in this document? And who perpetrated genocide on who?

My next peeve is that people simply do not actually study their own county’s history or read and understand the country’s significant documents.  I don’t know how many times I hear people saying that the United States Constitution guarantees us the rights to pursue “life, liberty and happiness.”  In fact, the Constitution says no such thing.  The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution state that governments cannot deprive any person of “life, liberty, or property” without due process of law.  This is by no means a guarantee, and “happiness” is no where to be found in the document that sets out the supreme law of the land.

“Happiness” is included in the Declaration of Independence in the sentence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  The Declaration does not set out enforceable law.  Sorry folks.  You’re responsible for your own happiness.  It is not law and is not the government’s responsibility.  😊

Milestones . . .

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

While I’m not addicted to the stats on our blogs, I do find them interesting at times.  I recently passed my 4-year mark of being on WordPress and I was notified that the blog had received over 50,000 all-times views.  While I’m sure that those who blog more regularly than me have far exceed that number, it does have a nice ring to it.  And viewers came from 135 different countries.

I currently have 306 “published” posts, and I’ve taken down some 200 or so.  All-in-all, not bad for four years, but not particularly excellent in terms of numbers comparing that total to those who blog more consistently. 

I’ve generally written about the things that inspire me, where the writing feels more like channeling, and there are definite periods where the well has run dry.  Particularly in 2021, when I got a bit ticked off at social media plundering, and I found myself residing more in my COVID cave rather than being out in my usual mode of exploration.  

Like I say, I’m sure many of you have long passed these milestones but for me, it’s new.  And I plan on kicking off this new year with something I don’t usually do at all – a book review.  I’m not quite finished reading it so I can’t give you an exact date when I will post, but it will be coming soon. 

I feel compelled to write about this book, not because of its wonderful quality, but because of its profound racism and the author’s apparent inability to see it as such.  A story of epic proportions for sure, but I don’t believe I’ve seen an author so oblivious to this undercurrent.  In fact, at one point he tries to explain it away in a manner that can only be described as face-palm worthy. 

So onward into the new year . . .

In Metta

Feature Photo: This is a pic of a Marina I came upon in Blaine, Washington, right on the border with Canada.  The year I arrived, I had intended to cross the border to visit Vancouver Island, but alas, the border was closed, COVID and all.  I ran the photo through the editor and enameled it to make it appear more as an oil painting.  And I guess I chose this one for this post because, well, I liked it, but also because it can represent that nebulous line between true art, say a painting by a renowned artist, and myself playing about on a computer.  It is pleasing to the eye no doubt, but it does lack the painstaking work that a painter must engage in to produce a masterpiece.  It serves as the contrast I’ll be exploring in the upcoming book review.

I had to cut the pic way down to get it to fit somewhat with WordPress’s formatting, so here is the full image.

Rabbit-hole: You may have noticed that I put the term “published” in quotes, like I just did now.  That is because I find this term very loosely used throughout social media.  When I think of being published, I think of a publishing entity, not of our own design and ownership, finding something we have written worthy of being included in said entity’s publication.  I don’t think of self-publishing as being the same as being “published.”  I see many folks out here identifying with the term “author” and they use this term in conjunction with that word “published,” whereas I would choose the word “writer.”  Although I do recognize that the definition of “author” is loose enough to cover virtually anything we pen, thus: “a person who writes a novel, poem, essay, etc.; the composer of a literary work, as distinguished from a compiler, translator, editor, or copyist.”  Using these terms loosely means we are all distinguished “published authors,” even if our work is but one line scribbled on a piece of toilet paper.  😊 I guess I’m in my critical judge mode today so I will have a nice belly laugh at myself, pet-peeves and all, while it’s time to hit the “publish” button😊

The Wrong Lens

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

Radiance Sutras

There is a Place in the Heart where Everything meets.
Go there if you want to find me.
Mind, Senses, Soul, Eternity – All are there.

Are you there?

Enter the Bowl of Vastness that is the Heart.
Give yourself to it with Total Abandon
Quiet Ecstasy is there,
And a steady, regal Sense
Of Resting in a Perfect Spot.

Once you know the Way,
The Nature of Attention will call you to Return.
Again and Again,
And be saturated with Knowing,

I belong here, I am at Home here. 

***

As I attempt to understand the Nature of our Existence, Our Essence, I naturally try to define it with terminology.  And I then end up chasing other terminology to define that terminology.  This process repeats and stretches on into infinity . . .

At least it does for me. 

So, do we really get an answer to those time-worn phrases?  Terminology dissects and divides, which is one of the basic problems with understanding just who and what we are. 

Continue reading The Wrong Lens

Gray Days – Again and Again

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

I began a tradition a couple of years back. A tradition of repeating words. Words that I had written to describe the day and the season we were entering into. I’m a bit late this year as November slipped by, and that’s when I usually re-post this. This November wasn’t as Gray as last, but December is pulling that cloak over this Northern Hemisphere.

While Winter is not officially upon us yet, the days of Autumn have definitely past. Grandfather Sun is still moving South. And the atmosphere is shifting into Gray.

I wrote about this “Gray.” It’s “color.” It’s feel. It’s taste. It’s sounds. It’s moods. And eventually, it’s brightness and it’s “Inner Fire.”

So as we enter this season of hibernation, before the awakening and emerging from the Dream Lodge into the new life of Spring, I share these words again.

I hope you will enjoy them.

Continue reading Gray Days – Again and Again

A Walk About In My Mind

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

Who, then, is “animate” and who “inanimate”? Within the assembly of the Lotus, all are present without division. In the case of grass, trees and the soil . . . whether they merely lift their feet or energetically traverse the long path, they will all reach Nirvana.

— Zhanran the Sixth Patriarch of Tendai Buddhism (1711-82)

*****

As I was walking along the creek’s bank, my head was in a swirl.  So much internal noise, while the outside world remained placid.  Utterly calm and quiet.  The only noises came from the trickling, crystal-clear, emerald water.  The hum of seventeen-year cicadas.  The occasional bee, wearing a cloak of pollen and having a belly full of sweet nectar, barely able to carry its own weight on its flight path back to the hive.  And from the trees swaying, or rather dancing, in time with the Chief Western Wind. 

A Black Swallowtail fritters past, in complete silence.  Not a care in the world.

But, oh so much internal clatter.  An orchestra of out-of-tune instruments each playing a different symphony.  Does this tumult of turbulence comprise what we’ve come to call our Consciousness?  Does all of this internal noise make us “Aware?”  And “Aware” of what exactly?

>>>>><<<<< 

Continue reading A Walk About In My Mind

Reconfiguring My Blog . . . And My Reality?

Reconfiguring My Blog . . . And My Reality?

By Harold Stearley at Earthwalking

So, I took a short break from writing after my most recent experience in having my words ripped off.  That sounds funny, almost literal, as though the page I had written upon had been torn from my journal and pasted into another’s.  I suppose that’s as literal a vision as it gets here in this digital world.  One of mysterious computer languages.  Encrypted hieroglyphics.  Translated.  Captured.

And Manipulated.

As of the day of this writing, I had actually begun working on another travel story but my mind was pulled in multiple different directions. 

Continue reading Reconfiguring My Blog . . . And My Reality?

A Jumble of Ideas

By Harold Stearley

Wow!  Lately things have been a bit crazy for my mind.  Or maybe it’s like this all the time. 😊

All the cylinders are firing at once as I’ve been working on multiple things. 

New residence Ideas.  New ways to combat health issues.  New ideas for travel destinations.  A “Castle of Memories” and sorting through many of those memories in picture form.  Deep Introspection. 

So many things I want to write about.  It’s left me in a state of confusion, and a sort of passive paralysis. 

In the background of all this mental masturbation are the insane politics the US is going through, and the needless, self-generated, social unrest. 

You can empathically feel the tension.  The anger.  And it is all so unnecessary.  

And draining.

It’s just a little hard to concentrate right now.

Continue reading A Jumble of Ideas