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Posted By Luminous Jewel, Blake Walton

Fearless Puppy on American Road

 

"Actual horrors notwithstanding, life on Earth is a lot friendlier than we have been led to believe, and can be made friendlier still. Many of us regular folks have realized this and chosen to do something about it."

-- Doug "Ten" Rose (www.fearlesspuppy.org)

 

FP Cover

 

June 1, 2008

I serendipitously found this book in my local coffee shop the day before my dog and I headed out on our summer road trip. I felt it was an auspicious theme for our journey to adventures unknown in the wild blue yonder of New Mexico.

The actual "puppy" (my dog Shadow) is pretty fearless, the exception being loud noises like thunder.  I, despite my bravado and seeming love of "adventure", am the more chicken-hearted and prone to worrying type. I all too often allow my imagination to be influenced by the insidious negativity of the mass media that seeps in despite my best efforts. This coupled with my tendency to indulge in existential doubts (why? why me? what now?) can tip me over into the fear zone. And tip I did! What if my car breaks down? What if I have an accident and die? What am I-- nuts!-- to leave friends and a job for adventure? What if I lose my wallet? (This actually happened to me once on a road trip. The responding state trooper gave me $20 and my wallet was eventually found and returned intact!)

I was humbled by how much suffering my mind was creating!

Meanwhile, the beauty of the American landscape boldly but unassumingly unfurled itself outside my car windows. The scents of dew-laden earth, trumpeting honeysuckle and the bursting glory of spring green life flooded my senses. Beauty started winning out over fear. Pleasure and curiosity opened me to the moment. And the next. And the next. Five days and 2000 miles on the American road with no air "conditioning" to blunt the experience, no radio or music to distract the mind.  Mile after mile of mind looking at mind, moment after moment of restful alertness in the "what is-ness" instead of the "what next". I felt humbled AND overjoyed by the preciousness of this Earth and our innate ability to experience its beauty.

 

In Buddhist teachings, fear is foremost among the reactive emotions that produce the Three Poisons (aversion, attachment, ignorance) that are the root of our suffering. Fear can make us AVERSE to the "other" (people, experiences, emotions) and lead to separation and oppression. Fear of loss, of death, of what meaning our lives may have can lead to an addictive ATTACHMENT to material things and experiences to fill our emptiness. And fear can overwhelm us into head-in-the-sand IGNORANCE.

 

Meanwhile, the beauty of life on Earth unfolds moment after moment. Why not be a fearless puppy? YOU CAN CHOSE.


 
Posted By Luminous Jewel, Blake Walton

 

The Buddha said that all SUFFERING in this life as humans (as opposed to the inevitable and unavoidable PAIN of sickness, old age and death) is caused by The Three Poisons:

1)attachment (desire & greed);

2) aversion (hatred & fear);

3) and ignorance (delusion)

Speaking from my own vast experience of creating mountains out of molehills, I can heartily agree. If I had a nickel for every time I have reacted to an ostensibly benign situation with heart-pounding rage or fear, I’d be the proverbial millionaire!

Just recently, my friend Diana gave me an example of how the mind creates suffering. While on a writing retreat in tropical Yelapa, Mexico, she was terrified every night by the loud rustling/grunting sounds just outside her palapa (thatched roof hut with no doors or walls!), convinced that a huge and probably rapid javelina was poised to rip her to shreds. Night after night she suffered. Until one night out of sleep-deprived desperation, she faced her fears, shining a flashlight at the horrific demon on the other side of her mosquito net, wanting to see in her last gasping moments on this earth the monster that would bring about her demise.  But lo! and behold! that savage demon turned out to be a sweet little ole armadillo, known far and wide in Mexico & Texas as the peace-loving clown of the under brush! Poor Diana, Yankee that she is, had never hardly heard of an armadillo, much less petted one at the State Fair of Texas petting zoo like I had growing up. Moral being, for a good night's sleep: Never let fear morph an armadillo into a javelina!

 

armadillo

 

Here are some armadillo factoids I looked up in the internet:
* There is a Mayan legend that the Mayan Sun God sat two unruly gods down on a bench before all the other gods. The bench was suddenly altered into a pair of armadillos, which immediately jumped up in the air--tumbling the two disobedient gods onto their backsides in disgrace. I'm not familiar with Mayan legends, but I do know that armadillos are known for jumping vertically into the air.

* During the Great Depression, this species was known as "Hoover Hog" by down-on-their luck Americans who had to eat them instead of the "chicken in every pot" Herbert Hoover had promised as President.

* In 1995, the nine-banded Armadillo was made the State Small Mammal of Texas.
* According to ancient legend, the symbol of the armadillo means to "roll with the punches". (http://www.dilloscape.com/boa/index.html).

This last part is the one I know most about, having spent time in the late sixties at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Texas, where everyone rolled with the punches, and rednecks partied with hippies. The armadillo life lesson I learned in my, yes, mostly misspent youth--  for a good time, Tolerance Trumps Fear.
http://www.awhq.com/

 

Take Me to the Mountains

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiva's_Headband- regulars at the Armadillo World Headquarters