I have a fireplace, and sometimes burn wood, but unless a fireplace designed for heating a room is installed, it does not make much difference to the heating bill. In addition I have to buy wood. There are lots of trees around but they are either on other's property, in parks, or in open space set aside by conservation groups. Smog is not a problem where I live.
The disconnexion between the me and the world is always an interesting experience, sometimes like the Berlin Wall, but some day it should go. When it went for me, I did not realise what had happened for decades, I thought that I was basically back to square one when all experiences evaporated. My attention turned outward and for most of that period, my interest in reading and engaging in 'spiritual' things, etc., pretty much vanished. And then one day I realised that gap between inner and outer really was never there in the first place, and it took another five or so years to get comfortable with that understanding. The 'understanding' is just an overlay on experience that eventually lets the mind feel settled in what's going on. Because of my particular upbringing and entry in spirituality was very tangential to religion, my experiences tended to not be coloured with religious overtones. For example if you read what Buck is writing (or copying) these days, you can see his understanding is steeped in religious soup. But, in fact, spiritual experience is ultimately undefined, and so even as M said, you can see it in the light of anything, and ones' individual preferences and peccadilloes will shape the understanding that evolves. An understanding has to evolve to feel settled in this because whatever understanding one has prior to this is blown out of the water. Advice from others is helpful, but basically you are on your own in the end stages and it is up to you how you co-ordinate your experience and understanding, for now you have realised what the illusion you were operating under was, what the hoax was. Here (from Wikipedia) is the tale of the awakening of St. Thomas, the 'doctor' of the Catholic Church: In 1272 Thomas took leave from the University of Paris when the Dominicans from his home province called upon him to establish a studium generale wherever he liked and staff it as he pleased. He chose to establish the institution in Naples, and moved there to take his post as regent master. He took his time at Naples to work on the third part of the Summa while giving lectures on various religious topics. On 6 December 1273 at the Dominican convent of Naples in the Chapel of Saint Nicholas after Matins Thomas lingered and was seen by the sacristan Domenic of Caserta to be levitating in prayer with tears before an icon of the crucified Christ. Christ said to Thomas, "You have written well of me, Thomas. What reward would you have for your labor?" Thomas responded, "Nothing but you, Lord." After this exchange something happened, but Thomas never spoke of it or wrote it down. Because of what he saw, he abandoned his routine and refused to dictate to his socius Reginald of Piperno. When Reginald begged him to get back to work, Thomas replied: "Reginald, I cannot, because all that I have written seems like straw to me" (mihi videtur ut palea). What exactly triggered Thomas's change in behavior is believed by Catholics to have been some kind of supernatural experience of God. ---In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, <noozguru@...> wrote: Do you have "Spare the Air" days back there? We get them here in California and now they are irritating people because they can't burn in their fireplace to make up for the unusually cold weather. If they do burn then they are subject to a fine. A little wind usually calls it off though. Thing is I find it hard to tell people that my experiences these days is "the world is out there" and somehow disconnected from "me." This is not a dis-associative situation because when I need to engage with the world there is no problem. I call "localization on demand." Otherwise it is line on water and it would be so cool if everyone else at least experienced this. On 01/22/2014 02:50 PM, anartaxius@... mailto:anartaxius@... wrote: Bhairitu wrote: 'There's that old saw: "before enlightenment you chop wood and carry water and after enlightenment you copy wood and carry water."' 'I find it interesting to watch the world falling apart. Our old systems no longer work and the unenlightened materialistic elite are trying to hold on to these antiquated systems. Time for them to move over and get out of the way since they are a real drag on society. Certainly having a quiet platform of silence helps to observe these apocalyptic events and even laugh them off (or laugh at the perpetrators). I find that some of the political forums I'm on the posters really get hung up in the minutia missing the forest for the trees. Folks here, not so much. That in itself is a sign of evolution.' I am finding that I no longer seek spiritual experience, though I seek to find ways to understand what I am experiencing, and sometimes I have a desire for more information. Almost all my 'spiritual' experiences occured early on, in the years before I learned TM, and in a few years following that learning. Then things began to flatten out for long periods; in fact it often seemed like experience was sometimes going in reverse. But them the realisation came that it is not the experiences that were important in this seeking behaviour, it was the nature of experience itself and at that juncture, the seeking stopped. I just watched a science fiction movie on Netflix. Now I am in my office and there is a single lamp on a lampstand pointing at the ceiling. This is the only light source in my office that is on. Just light shining on the wall and ceiling, not very interesting as the plot of a movie, but it is just as fascinating as the movie. This seems to be simply because it is the nature of experience itself, it exists, it changes. It is a beautifully strange, unlocated silence that strings together these ordinary pearls of life. There is no longer any sense at all that there is something beyond this. In the beginning I imagined, based on what others told me, that spiritual life was transcendental, beyond the normal sphere of living. But as time has passed, that no longer holds. What I called transcendent in the beginning has become immanence, it is no longer something out of sight or mind. 'Transcendence' now sounds ludicrous and bizarre. It was, for a time a useful fiction, but it no longer means anything at all. If I am meditating or looking at the stack of fuel meter tickets on my desk (it has been uncommonly cold here this winter), it is pretty much the same thing. It was not the specific content that was going on that I was seeking all those years, it was just the plain fact that something was going on. It took decades to finally get this. All that intellectual filigree and nit picking about spiritual concepts and how this related to that was all a smoke screen for something much more obvious, that existence is, and that is that. End of question. Trying to describe this quality of experience is challenging because there is nothing extraordinary about it, and this is my second best shot at it. I wrote and hit enter, and the cursor was probably out of the box, and Neo trashed the whole thing I wrote. So this is an attempt to reclaim a previous inspiration, and it is like reheated food. A certain amount of caustion. I am going to cut and paste this into Neo from a text editor. I really do not have spiritual experiences any more. It's not boring, but for someone who is still looking for them, it might seem to be a rather austere way to experience life. If I feel tired, I am tired, sometimes I am blissful, and sometimes not. I am not looking to be happy or avoid happiness. I am not looking to be sad or avoid sadness. If it comes that way, that is what I experience. It is a peculiar quality to not anticipate things much at all. United States Federal and local state taxes are do, so I do have to think about future events, a certain amount of planning is required to get through a year, and then another year. But its not frantic, though I can imagine scenarios that could be frantic, such as economic collapse etc. As for chopping wood and carrying water, it's easier now. An electric pump brings water into the house, and there is some wood in the garage, but someone else chopped it (probably with a machine). So I just have to turn on the faucet, but I do have to carry wood into the house, but it is for ambience, the oil boiler does the real job of heating. Now it's time for me to sit quietly and do nothing, which I do from time to time. Formal quiet time, on my own schedule, not at someone else's urging. I am not coordinating with anyone (I am ignoring Buck, that is to say).