Total Pageviews

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Need & Passion

I am about to achieve a goal. I am almost at 100 kg (~ 225 lbs). I haven't been this weight since just before Salmonella nearly killed me back in mid-2012. It has been a long, slow process.

I have patiently pursued my goal(s). I have removed refined sugars, carbohydrates and 99% of the salt from my diet. I have through meditation altered my perception of eating. I have a clear need. 

My need is fuelled by the two women  I love. I want to look my best for them. For one of these women, someone not yet in a sexual relationship with me, I want to make the case that she won't be able to control the need to touch me. I want to look stunning. I want to redefine what it means to be in my 50's. I want to complement these beautiful, intelligent and beautifully intelligent women by looking my absolute best.

My passion is making this happen. My passion is eating well and exercising daily. My passion is patience and discipline. My passion is choosing the clothes that complement me. My passion is looking at these women and knowing that 95 kg is an achievable goal. My passion is life.

Need and passion have antithesis. They are detachment and indifference. Detachment & indifference are the path to death. My brother died young because he was without passion. He had no need. He had nothing to get him out of bed in the morning, nothing to get him through the moments he wanted to quit.

What gets you out of bed in the morning? What are your need & passion?

Monday, 12 October 2015

Life as a vegetable Patch

I have recently restored a vegetable patch in the house I rent. When we arrived it was in a very poor state with Wandering Jew (Tradescantia albiflora literally blanketing everything and one sad lemon tree in the middle. Now there is garlic, chives, chickpea, potato, sweet corn and chilli. The veggie patch as a space has been transformed. Where once it was neglected and radiated sadness it is now open and fertile and radiates happiness

I have always viewed my life as being similar to a veggie patch and have wondered why people neglect their lives and then complain about how bad things are for them. People have lives like the way my now emphatically happy veggie patch used to be. Lives that are neglected with all sorts of damaging weeds thriving in them. People also have lives that are like the way my veggie patch is now.

The crucial difference between the two lives is that the latter person takes time to tend their lives. The Dhammically healthy take the time to maintain their lives. They seek out the weeds of anger and grudges. They deal with potential issues as they arise rather than allowing them to fester and eventually result in poisonous behaviour. The Dhammically healthy nourish their lives with acts of kindness towards themselves and other people.

Notice I've included acts of kindness towards themselves as Dhammic nourishment? The Dhammically healthy understand that unless your own house is in order, you can't help anyone else clear up their own mess. It's like a 200 kg junk food binging, chain smoking, beer guzzling horror advising on health, fitness and diet. The Dhammically healthy nourish their bodies properly, they also nourish their minds with meditation, solitude, yoga and Tantric sex. The meditation, solitude, yoga and Tantra all strengthen and focus the mind, they are, in and of themselves healthy behaviours.

I have noticed that behaviours cluster and reinforce each other. Someone who neglects their health will neglect all aspects of their health. They will smoke, eat junk and not exercise a lot, often there will be self esteem issues and their spiritual-religious life will be non-existent. A negative feedback loop kicks into action. The opposite is true of us who cultivate our health, who tend our emotional gardens. We refuse to poison our bodies with tobacco and junk, we exercise regularly and have a spiritual-religious practice that is the foundation of our lives, our self esteem is high.

In horticulture this is known as companion planting. My garden has two types of legumes growing in it. There is the peas that came with the pea straw I used as mulch during winter and there are Chickpea (Cicer arietum). Both fix nitrogen into the soil and both will provide organic material that will be dug in. I have planted my Chickpea in between my potato and maize. I am establishing a positive feedback between my plants. My need for health is nurtured and reinforced by my Dhamma practice. I have the same feedback loop operating in my Dhamma practice as I do in my garden.

My life is a place I consciously cultivate the wonderful in. What do you do with yours?

Friday, 4 September 2015

Cheat Meals

I use a Cheat Meal as part of my weight loss strategies. The idea is that once a week we indulge ourselves as a reward for the sacrifices we've been making all week.
Back in the early 2000's when I was at my heaviest....140 cheat meals was roast duck. Once a week I could go and eat an entire flock of ducks if I wanted to...the crispy skinned, fatty goodness was heaven and I lost a lot of weight.
This time around I have changed my thoughts on the cheat meal. I still have it, and it is still good, but rather than quantity I have quality. So instead of eating my own body weight in roast duck, I now enjoy an eye fillet steak. Rather than drinking a 6 pack of something from a major brewery I now drink one or 2 beers from a microbrewery. It is the quality of the ingredients in my meal that make it a cheat meal.
Now I take my time to enjoy the meal. Often I cook the meal and make this part of the enjoyment.
I don't eat enough to feed half of Africa, but my cheat meal is still worth the sacrifice of the other 6 days.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Toxic People

I buried one of the most toxic people I have ever met last Thursday. He was nasty, vindictive, racist, self entitled and brimming with self pity. He died in pain and afraid. He was my father.

The experience of having toxic people in your life doesn't have to be entirely negative. They can, and should be of great value to you. Once you exclude them and their poison from your life, toxic people have a great deal to teach us. The very first lesson is the one below by Robin Sharma.


Toxic people are invariably frustrated people who haven't had what they think is fair treatment in life. They feel that because their lives haven't been the stellar event they think they should be then no one else is going to have a great life. Toxic people undermine confidence and self esteem. Often they feel threatened by those who are more intelligent, better looking, have achieved more than they have and seek to destroy these people.
Daniell Koepke has it right.

My father who is dead in the photograph above taught me deeply valuable life lessons.

His racism taught me that we are all the same. That we as people, as members of the same species all share the same needs of love and meaning. That the differences between us are essentially cosmetic in nature. The mixing of genes and cultures is the biggest thing we as a culture and a species have going for us.

His violence, both physical and emotional taught me tenderness. The people who I love know I love them. With my boys Ariel, Orson and William I give them the tenderness, the love that they need to grow as people. Ariel knows that I love him deeply and am seriously proud of him as a person. My father never did this, never told me these things. With Selina I do my best to be a loving, patient, gentle husband. My father was violent and abusive. If he wasn't winning one of the frequent fights with my mother who wasn't reluctant to use a gun. Because of my father I have learned to control my anger and the violence within me. My father taught me not only the value of love, but the meaning of it.

Because he refused to travel and explore I have explored and wandered and wondered. Traveling has opened my mind and allowed it to grow. Because of my father I find things to explore in the physical, intellectual and emotional worlds. I seek the trails to walk, the books to read, the thoughts and goals to have and the bliss of Forgiveness in my meditation. Because my father had a closed mind, he taught me the beauty of an open one.

Because he was unhappy and fault finding I have learned the bliss of happiness, of embracing and abiding in the positive things in life. I have found happiness in encouraging the best in people, in seeing them achieve it. I see the rewards in encouraging my children, building their confidence and self esteem.

My father taught me how to die. We frequently die in character. Having led a violent, self indulgent life where we are the sole priority, we rarely suddenly become open, caring, gentle people just because we are dying. The momentum of a lifetime is too great, the surge into the next lifetime too strong for all that many of us to alter course in our final days and hours. My father died in great pain and deeply afraid. There seems to be justice in this. A man who had spent most of his 84 years giving pain of one sort or the other to people, as he began dying found himself in pain of the sort that no amount of morphine could dull. Karma was completing its orbit and returning to its originator.

Because he had lived a life where he destroyed the confidence, the self esteem and damaged the lives of the children that wanted regular contact with him, which I mercifully didn't, my father faced the fact that he had hurt himself in the end.

This is why I can't be angry at my father. His entire life was an act of self harm. As I stood beside his grave the night after he was buried I kept asking his ghost:
"Was it worth it for you?
Did you get the results you wanted from your behaviour?"
I could only see where he had hurt himself.
With this in mind I will end with a simple: Raymond Bowater, where ever you may be, thank-you for being my Teacher.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Metta and The Body

I got falling down drunk the other night. As shissed as a fraggit.
Yesterday I woke to a Hell Realm.
Getting falling down drunk was an act of violence against my body. It was a clear absence of Metta. I felt so shitful because I had poisoned my body on Friday night. I had intoxicated my body. Because I had intoxicated myself, the body responded to the poison by hurting, by telling me I had committed an act of violence upon it. In intoxicating myself I was getting things wrong.
 This morning as I practised Metta I took the time to examine where else I have been going wrong.
I tend to binge on things. There is the binging on alcohol with the associated pain. I also binge on fats and sugars. The other day I binged on Tim Tams...and then found that in this new 3 Bean flavoured Tim Tam there was a flavouring or colouring that my body didn't like...and then spent the next 2 hours feeling completely shitful. My binging behavior attracted an unforeseen price.
 This morning I was able to identify that I undermine and self harm when it comes to achieving my own goals. There seems to be an unwillingness to accept that I am entitled to looking as fabulous as Mr Reynolds looks. The result is I periodically binge. It's a nasty feedback loop: I'm not achieving what I want to, I binge. Because I binge, I don't achieve what I want to.  It is also the complete absence of wisdom and Metta.
Having Metta for my body means I don't binge. It means that I recognize poisons when I see them and refuse to have them in my body. The simple fact of the matter is that highly processed "food" isn't food at all. As I write in Metta doesn't require a degree in Chemistry, food has an identifiable origin. If you look at a packet of Tim Tams, they aren't food. They have a very long list of ingredients. Raw fruit and vegetables, a steak are food. Hydrologised carbohydrate isn't.
Having identified where I have been self harming for years, this morning I turned my mind to my brother Mark. Yep, the one who suicided by lifestyle.
I asked myself: Is my behavior all that different from his? We both consume things we know are not good for us and in doing this do we not both self harm?
I had to answer: No, my behavior isn't that different from Marks. I do consciously consume poisons and engage in self harming behavior.
In common with my brother and everyone else on the planet my biological clock has an unknown countdown in action. We never know when we will die.
I thought was there a meditation that could be used to recognize and combat the mental habits that have denied me my goals for so long. Here is my attempt at formulating a meditation. A combination of Metta and Maranasati.

I accept full responsibility for how my body is. Our bodies are incredibly and undeniably fragile. Death is normal and natural. My own Death is certain. There is no possible way for me to escape, bribe or out run my Death. My lifetime has an absolute limit and every breath brings me closer to the ending of my life. Every moment brings me closer to my Death. Death can and does come without warning. Death often arrives unannounced. I will die on a perfectly ordinary day, a day just like today.  My body requires Metta in order to function at its best and to postpone death. This body requires balance in nutrition and exercise to function at its highest.

I can be alive one moment and planning my days and the next moment I can be dead. Eating the wrong foods can and will bring this about sooner than I am prepared to accept and before my goals are achieved. The world is utterly unpredictable and random. Accidents can and do happen all the time. Also people can and do simply drop dead. And I am not excluded from the fact that this can happen to me. This body requires constant maintenance in the form of regular exercise, fresh fruit, vegetables and protein in order to be healthy. I can eat my fill of fresh fruit and vegetables. These foods heal and nourish the body. 
Binging on alcohol, refined carbohydrates, fats and sugars is harming this body, for these things are poisons. Alcohol and refined products will kill this body if consumed in large amounts on a regular basis.It is only the practice of Dhamma that will help me deal with and accept my Death. The clutter of possessions, relationships, careers will not help me when I am dying. Often these things make it harder to die with many things left undone and unsaid. I must have my lifetime in such a place that should I die today, that nothing truly meaningful to me will be left unsaid or undone, especially acts and words of love towards my body. I must be ready to leave this lifetime immediately.

I must live with great gentleness and kindness, for how I live will determine in a very large degree the state of my mind when I die. I can choose now to live and die without great mental suffering in both myself and those I love. My friends and relatives cannot do my dying for me.I can however lessen their pain at my Death by living and dying well.

 I know that I engage in self harming behavior that if left uncontrolled will result in my death. I know that I can resist the urge to binge on poisons. I know that I can take control of my health away from my behaviours and I will succeed in having a beautiful body.  As surely as I came into this lifetime naked and bereft of possessions, I will have to leave it the same way. This body if not treated with proper care will  be the cause of death.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

He would have been 61

Today would have been my brother Marks 61st birthday. 61 is hardly old these days. If anything it is considered Middle Aged.
Mark has been dead now for almost 7 months. He died as much from despair as he did from smoking. Mark gave up. He let the opinions of others define him. He let his fears limit him. Mark was afraid of a lot of things.
Mark was afraid of not being liked or accepted. He was afraid that he wouldn't have the approval of his father. He was afraid of risks and challenges.
You may get the impression that I didn't much like my brother. Quite the contrary is true. I adored him and miss him deeply. I, however have no illusions as to his character and the lifetime he lived. Loving Mark does not mean living in denial. Honouring him and growing from his death means that the truth of him needs to be known.
Mark needed to be liked. He didn't much like himself. He had no Metta for himself. When we have Metta for ourselves we are self contained. When we are the sort of people we want to be, the acceptance of other people is nice, but it isn't essential to our happiness. Having Metta for ourselves means that we actively exclude toxic people from our lives. We see the agenda of the toxic and their subtle, insidious undermining of our potential and then because we know that their opinions are baseless, we exclude them. Mark never did this.
Mark never pursued Metta towards his body by reading and then using the literature that told him point blank that his diet and addictions would kill him. The result was Mark suicided in the rather novel way using diet. A diet that ignores every nutritional guideline is one that is a weapon. Mark when he died had returned to eating only refined carbohydrates, sugars and red meat. Having had 3 heart attacks in the space of 6 months, Mark knew that this behaviour would kill him. He knew the opposite behaviour would keep him alive. He had seen me recover from Salmonella using a clean, green diet.
Mark let death limit him. He was afraid of it. This meant that he was a risk free zone. He dared rarely and achieved little.
Death can either limit or liberate us. Had Mark embraced death he would have cleansed his life of the toxic people in it and been liberated from their influence. Had Mark embraced death he would have cultivated Metta towards himself and engaged in healthy practices.


Instead Mark feared death and whilst he suicided, he found his mortality worthless. It taught and gave him nothing. And this is the lesson I take from my brothers death. Death gives me things. Because of the way Mark lived and died I am increasingly determined to go out with a bang rather than the whimper Mark died with.
Because of Mark's death I am pushing the boundaries of my intellect, the need to become Doctor Russell Dunne has grown almost into an obsession. I am being the father and husband that my wife and children need me to be. I am pursuing the healthiest, most active lifestyle that I can. The body beautiful is very much on the way.
Because of Mark's death, when it comes my turn to become bones in the ground like he is now, and because we never know if today will be that day. I am seizing every challenge and living in a way that means my death will be regret free...both for myself and those I leave behind.

Saturday, 6 June 2015


This is an exhausted me with one of my Guru. Yes, I know he is rather young and small to be a Guru. He has a smaller brother.
On March 27 I became the tired father of twin fraternal boys. They are the greatest Dhamma teachers I have ever had. 
In the last 10 weeks I have been thrown out of anything resembling my comfort zone. I have been tired to the point of collapse and functioned on 3.5 hours sleep a night whilst writing my Honours thesis. I have endured 10 hours of babies alternating crying...when one cried the othe slept and when the crier had cried himself to exhaustion the other was refreshed and commenced crying. I have for the time being given up on being sexually active.
I have been taught patience on a level I never thought existed. Equanimity has become the order of the day.
I have also known Love, Metta with a depth I have never experienced before. For all the needing to be alone, the need for sleep, the need for something other than chaos to reign, I have been able/obliged to transcend myself and be the best I can be.
For this I thank my 10 week old Guru.