Tuesday in Santa Fe

02009-08-25 | Photos | 7 comments

Overcast with rain now and then. Dug a hole for the little three foot tree that was a gift from the school we did the benefit concert at the Lensic in June for. The soil around here is mostly sand and rocks and digging even one to two feet down takes a lot of effort. Well, it’s got a new home now and the drizzle-rain gave it the perfect welcome.

Went back to the Canyon Preserve and took a few photos. Colors looked incredible in the muted light of the overcast sky.

Minimal Mac
I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.
— Leonardo da Vinci

In the evening I made dinner for Roshi Joan Halifax, who I had not seen since we met in Soho, Manhattan, in May (((we were playing at the Blue Note, she was doing something at the U.N.))). Interestingly we knew that we were both in Manhattan via Twitter.

From the New Yorker. This is the article, but you need to subscribe to read all of it.

Molchanova uses a technique that she refers to as “attention deconcentration.” (“They get it from the military,” Ericson said.) Molchanova told me, “It means distribution to the whole field of attention – you try to feel everything simultaneously. This condition creates an empty consciousness, so the bad thoughts don’t exist.”
“Is it difficult to learn?”
“Yes, it is difficult. I teach it in my university. It’s a technique from ancient warriors-it was used by the samurai-but it was developed by a Russian scientist, Oleg Bakhtiyarov, as a psychological-state-management technique for people who do very monotonous jobs.”

That’s hardly a new technique or something invented by the Russian military. In Zen, this is called just sitting, or shikantaza. In fact, I think it was preceded by a hunting technique that may be thousands of years old, whereby hunters learned to sit still and use panoramic attention, that is, attention that is distributed all around the body instead of focused on one particular spot.

It is curious that I started practicing this technique on my own as a child. I would sit down somewhere and just de-focus. I would hear everything around me, I would see things that moved in the field of my vision, and my awareness was just like a spehere radiating from where I sat. It was just a game I played by myself.

What bored engineers can do with an automated console:


  1. Brenda

    Hope for the best for the little tree in late summer planting.
    Good Luck! :)

  2. Matt Callahan

    I somehow landed on the Minimal Mac website yesterday. A link from a link from a link adventure. Lots of good quotes and a few tricks worth trying.

  3. Victor

    way to funny

  4. steve

    just sitting, or shikantaza.

    I wonder if shikantaza is where Robert Fripp gets his idea of “before we can do something, we must first be able to do nothing” for his Guitar Craft classes. Anyone know?

  5. Brenda

    Steve: If I person would say, “we must first be able to do nothing”.. is a person filled with much wisdom of knowing. The wisdom of nothing is a wisdom of learning.

  6. Ottmar

    Steve: I understand that Fripp studied with John G. Bennett, who himself worked with Gurdjieff. Both of these men seem to have mixed together different practices from several spiritual traditions, and some form of Zazen may have been part of it. Of course it is also possible that Fripp studied Zen in some form, but I am not aware of him mentioning that.

  7. steve

    I was unaware that Fripp studied with Bennett… Interesting… I bet that’s his influence …


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