Saturday, December 10, 2005

Freedom

I've spent most of my conscious life believing that freedom was really some kind of joke. It has always seemed to me that we're so defined by governmental laws, and social structures and patterns, that we don't have much choice in how we lead our lives. This is what I see now as a partial truth. Although because of our definitions and values, all these things are true, nothing is ever that black and white. We are compelled, in our society, to follow the social structure. I think of it as social energy, perhaps akin to Confucius' idea of psychic debt. There are rewards for being "successful" and punishments for not (lack of assets for social advancement based on consumer standards which could ultimately lead to destitution)

But we aren't bound to that path. We can choose not to be successful.(or be chosen, perhaps?) There is a remarkable range in society, within which people can assert themselves. A person living in poverty can commonly become extremely rich and possibly even famous. Also, there is a pattern within modern society that I think bares mentioning. Commonly manifesting in men, we ascend the social hierarchy, become successful, and then in a fit of despair, or a functional crisis, we throw it all away. Plunging into depression, loosing our jobs, spouses, etc. Scary thought?

I guess this is to say, be wary. But really my point is I feel blessed. I've had a remarkable amount of freedom in my life, to my detriment, I think. But, never the less, I've lived a very leisurely life. No concern for having my needs met; always having enough to satisfy my consumer ego, on some level. I am blessed with a contemplative side. I feel like I've been guided through life. I can, at least, reconcile my losses and disappointments. I can acknowledge life, my life, with all it's tragedy and suffering as something holy, something sacred.

To conclude my thoughts. It's remarkable that I've had access to the information I have and the grace to understand it. It's a journey and a ever present obstacle, but I am filled with love and lust for life. I feel that life is a gift, and I'm fortunate to live in an age of such freedom of thought and activity. We are denied many things in our society. At least we can find meaning in our own lives. At least there are laws that preserve our basic humanity. At least progress is guided by Spirit enough to allow us to inform ourselves. We can finally transcend all of these social dilemmas and unnecessary tragedies. We can move past physical determination and define ourselves, if we have the courage. At least there is a bright future to embrace.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Entering Love

My heart burst forth into the heavens. Need draws me out, compels me beyond reason to find my source. Anticipation and longing, reaching for something that one can never quite grasp. There is nothing to be found. Emptiness, except for love. Love is the last truth, the only truth. Here, I find the garden.

My heart floats on the currents of love. My salvation found, love the redeemer. In pain, in strife, I cling to it. In the darkest depths of my soul I find it waiting for me. I rise. My strength born of love.

Strength born of compassion. I reach out and find myself, waiting there, looking through another's eyes. Waiting and hoping that love can find itself.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Finding Myself or "Where the hell did I get all this emotional baggage?"

I've been away for a while, doing some work in the shadows.

Something that has always been an issue for me is whatever correlation there is between day to day experience and experience of the Sacred. On a personal level, I have alot of "emotional baggage" left over from a traumatic childhood. And with this baggage fully in tow, I've often attempted my journey into Sacred Space. It doesn't work, at least not for me.

I believe there are as many methods of dealing with our baggage as their are people. I think alot of people have some religious conversion, or something along those lines, and they are alot better for it afterwards. Through Faith, or something akin to it, they grow past their insecurities and come to trust in a higher power. Well, not me. :( No matter how much I can come to terms with Life intellectually, I still have a fundamental pessimism and self criticism as the basis for my truth assertions.

I stopped posting here about the same time I started going to therapy sessions. I realized that there's so much my subconscious hides from my conscious mind; I have no idea how someone can deal with these things without an objective guide. Be that a therapist, priest, or guru, if you relate to what I'm saying: do yourself a favor and find someone to help. I bring up therapy, in order to elaborate on what I've learned there.

I started therapy to help myself deal with some minor problems. Such as nervousness, lack of energy and motivation, mood swings, etc. You could say that on a certain level I knew I have some issues concerning my parents, especially my father. I figured if that was important it would come up, and boy was I right!

At this point I could proceed to write twenty pages on what I've gathered from therapy, and it wouldn't mean much to anyone but me. So with that in mind, I'll be as concise as I can.

Basically, the emotional wounds that I speak of are, as far as I understand, created from a lack of acceptance from my father and lack of guidance from my mother. Because my father wasn't able to face up to his life, he wounded me in the same way he must be wounded. As children, we are indoctrinated into reality by our parents. In an ideal world, that would mean we were welcomed and shown the joy, beauty, and miraculous nature of reality. In actuality though, we are sometimes kept at arms length by aloof parents, who themselves are to wounded to show a child the love they need and deserve.

It's something of a complicated issue. I think essentially though, those who experience this type of treatment from their parents spend the rest of their lives yearning for acceptance. Acceptance is really an internal thing. We may perceive that we want others to accept us, and since we're defined relationally, that's a valid observation. Since, on an individual level, our choices and perspectives are always primary, we have to accept ourselves. No one else can do that for us. Our parent's job is to show us that it's ok to find self acceptance. No one is perfect, we all make huge mistakes, sometimes. The point being we have to forgive ourselves, and accept who we are, and where we are in terms of our expectations.

I have been reading about religion and spirituality very actively since nineteen years old, which is going on 6 years now. I've formulated alot of concepts about how people should act and be treated. I should love everyone, unconditionally. And it's true I should. I'm not there yet; however, that doesn't stop me from expecting myself to always forgive and understand. So I beat myself up over alot of stuff, that I need not. There's this whole cycle of aversion and association, that I won't get into here. Let me say, though, that this Self Critic that is always there judging every thought and action, affects every conceivable aspect of my life.

The reason my father is so important, he's my initial definition of masculinity, that thing by which I choose to define myself. Thus to accept what I am, I needed him to accept me into his world, the masculine realm. I never received this acceptance, and never will. The change for me now, is that I know I can never have that. How can I expect someone, who still at sixty years old can't accept themselves, to accept the ultimate symbol of their mortality, his son?

There's alot of resultant concerns such as initiation and understanding my need to wrestle my demons, so to speak. I'm left with the task of breaking the cycle and self initiation. My time to pass into manhood has come, and I must illuminate my shadows, embrace this all important wound, find my inner strength. This is all left for me to do. My individuality has been so accentuate by my lack of guidance and necessity for independence due to perceived isolation, that I'm left to my own devices to resolve this.

To conclude, there's a thought I want to discuss. I am proud to say, the primary origin of this is Star Wars. (nerd = me, yeah I know) As I've been going to counseling and these ideas are beginning to become coherent, and I'm learning to be honest with myself, I see many new perspectives on old things. It seems to me that my father was inundated into the new male paradigm of sensitivity and softness of the feminine liberation going on for the last half century or so, which will be a very prominent aspect of our history, was still rigidly held to an old world male paradigm. I think this is why he was never able to heal himself. He was forced to deal with the feminine, in a way all modern men are called on to do, but not given the freedom and perspective with which to do it. I can speak from experience, even being the extremely liberal and "liberated" male that I am. Being to much in touch with my feminine, to the point that certain aspects of masculinity make me uncomfortable, I know how difficult it is for me. Perhaps, my destiny is to redeem my father. Because I've been graced with the capacity to actually deal with this social dilemma, and apparently my father was not. Through my finding the strength to grow past my abandonment and forgive and accept him, he will find the strength and motivation to accept himself.

Anyway, really those are just strong words, from a scared little boy. But I'm facing up to it, and hopefully I have cosmic evolution on my side. I'll let you know how it turns out.

    "Father, I have to save you."
    "You already have, Luke... you already have"

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Remember The Heart

Ok so we've become totally liberated from our old paradigms. We no longer cling to superstitious nonsense or needless attachment, we've fully learned how to let go. Where does that leave us? This is a question i've asked over and over in one form or another, and i have yet another possible way to answer it.

Deconstructing ourselves in this way isn't liberation from anything. We're only making a confused mess of ourselves. We must find some way to orient ourselves between the inner and outer worlds. Once we see that there's something beyond normal tangible reality, we have to take that next step and determine what that is. Most people, including myself, get stuck in between these two points. How can we verify anything beyond what we can experience? You can't, but when we get stuck like this it's because we're unclear how to go about experiencing this inner world.

The Heart is our divine kernel, our gateway to the infinite. Our ability to reason is inconsequential next to the infinite nature of Spirit. So we have to have certain built in value structures and compulsions, in order to really embody the divine. It goes far beyond a "built in value structure" though. Since our very nature is divine, is infinite, we can never be totally isolated. All those aspects of existence that are beyond our comprehension are a part of us, we simply can't grasp them with our reasoning mind. The Heart is an intuitive sense. It is our perception of the quality of the universe. When we look inward we see that there is another type of reality. One that isn't substantial, but all the more important for that reason. Because we can't quantify the nature of Love or Hope... that doesn't mean they aren't real.

We have to move beyond our reasoning mind. Even more pertinent we have to move beyond our own deconstructed existence. Take a step outside the void. If you look inward you can sense those deeper more subtle layers of existence but they will never be laid bare for our intellect. We have to refine our ability to perceive with the heart. I think as we do this the overemphasis we place on external reality will fall away and be put into balance with the internal. The Heart is our bridge between these two worlds, just as we are that same bridge from a larger perspective. Humanity is juxtaposed between outer and inner. It is our Duty and our Destiny to bring these two worlds together. Our Gift is this capacity to become fully realized, to be a perfect expression of reality. We also stand at the pinnacle of Kosmic achievement(at least as far as we can tell) and the very reason we are at this precipice is this merger of two worlds lies within our domain.

This inevitable union has been placed in our hands. I believe that would fully explain the difficulty we all seem to experience in coming to terms with our reality. A reality made up of two distinct planes and the only contact they have is within us. This is not to say spirit does not come in contact with the physical world, on the contrary the two aren't separated enough to use the term contact. What i speak of as separated is a realized existence within these two worlds. That is our great task and great privilege

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

It's been a while...

This isn't a subject i would normally talk about but something that has really caught my attention recently is how much life changes as you make a transition from childhood to being an adult.

There's so many things you begin to be aware of, that you as a child would never have given a second thought. You know i've been reading a great blog here in the integral community called Freedom, Flexibility, and Flow. One post links to a blog entry giving a summary of the various how to be wealthy books out there.... In the bookstores i've never even glanced twice at them... but when is started browsing this post and realized there was some useful information to be gained, i became very fascinated. What i'm getting at is that i'd have never begun to imagine (even 2 years ago) that i would have any interest in reading about financial strategies. Yet there i was enraptured thinking "i could do that, i could do that" You know as a testament to how much positive thinking plays a role, once i realized from reading that article that it was alot easier to begin financial planning than i could have imagined, i have had minor success in starting the process, enough to notice a difference anyway.

That's only once example among many. Another major example would be my concern over "settling down" and having children. The idea is very attractive to me these days. I've always known i wanted children, but it seemed to far off to be an issue. Now i'm worried that if i wait to much longer, i'll be to old to enjoy them as adults. But also shouldn't i travel and focus on my career for a while? It's problems like this that seem to occupy my time these days, and i don't quite know what to make of it.

More than anything i worry about my level of self sufficiency. When i was 19 i thought nothing of my mother helping me financially, now when that happens i feel guilty about it. I used to hate going to work, but i've become so concerned with making sure that i maintain a stable life style that i wouldn't miss work if i had any choice at all.

So these are my growing pains. I thought i would share them with everyone. This for me is a major part of my "spiritual" development. I've realized in the last year or two that living my life as well as i can will be more fulfilling to me than any spiritual discipline i could adopt. So although i still pursue my spiritual goals in order to find peace of mind, make enough sense of the world to take action, and gain wisdom about the nature of reality, i realize this is only a means to and end... not the goal itself.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Dance With You

sittin' on the beach
the island king of love
deep in fijian seas
deep in some blissful dream
where the goddess finally sleeps
in the lap of her lover
subdued in all her rage
and I am aglow with the taste
of the demons driven out
and happily replaced
with the presence of real love
the only one who saves

I wanna dance with you
I see a world where people live and die with grace
the karmic ocean dried up and leave no trace
I wanna dance with you
I see a sky full of the stars that change our minds
and lead us back to a world we would not face

the stillness in your eyes
convinces me that I
I don't know a thing
and I been around the world and I've
tasted all the wines
a half a billion times
came sickened to your shores
you show me what this life is for

I wanna dance with you
I see a world where people live and die with grace
the karmic ocean dried up and leave no trace
I wanna dance with you
I see a sky full of the stars that change our minds
and lead us back to a world we would not face

in this altered state
full of so much pain and rage
you know we got to find a way to let it go

sittin' on the beach
the island king of love
deep in fijian seas
deep in the heart of it all
where the goddess finally sleeps
after eons of war and lifetimes
she smilin' and free, nothin' left
but a cracking voice and a song, oh lord

I wanna dance with you
i see a world where people live and die with grace
the karmic ocean dried up and leave no trace
I wanna dance with you
i see a sky full of the stars that change our minds
and lead us back to a world we would not face
we would not face
we would not face
we would not face
we would not face
we would not face

"Dance With You" -Live

Friday, June 03, 2005

The Answer

I think people spend to much time looking at the destructive aspect of reality. Everything is being born and burning out through infinity, each moment is blooming and withering everywhere forever. It's hard to express the nature of what seems to be going on in the universe. And that is the way we tend to look at it, it really has nothing to do with our lives at all. There's this vast cosmic cycle going on all around us, and then there's banal old us just watching, being doomed to die. When in reality we, like all the Kosmos, are born anew in each moment of existence.

One day this miracle that is "ourselves" will cease to be, but other "ourselves" shall replace this current form to bring fresh experience and love to the universe. To often we think about how we are mortal and will one day pass on. We look at all the destruction and suffering around us. We see our personal lives break down in one way or another through the years. We watch friends and lovers come and go. We try and hold on to something, to someone and we never can.

It's funny what kind of reality you can paint for yourself depending on how you look at the world. When we see the destruction in the universe all around us what we're not looking at is the love around us. Because of the tumultuous nature of existence, we must be propelled from creation to destruction via the laws of nature. It is in this monster's grip that we can descend and ascend and finally transcend all boundaries that are. But considering the amount of energy being poured forth by the Kosmos everyday to propel this universe onward, the infinite love expressed in the energy of one microsecond of a cosmic genesis. And here we stand at it's crest passionately pursuing our deaths everyday. When in reality death is only the backdrop against which all meaning we find is considered. Death is only an end, not a meaning or anything to be anticipated. Of course our anxiety is inevitable, but when we spend our entire lives cowering in fear and hesitating in anxiety, what will we have when that end does come?

We stand on this pinnacle of Kosmic achievement, we are poised at the dawn of Kosmic Consciousness. I say the Kingdom of Heaven awaits us! Yet we are so intent on the suffering that propels us to greatness that we never achieve it. I say wake up and embrace your divinity. Realize we are cradled in the arms of Infinite Love. By no evil of man, no matter how atrocious, can this love be undone. It binds us all inextricably together. Whether that intimate embrace allows our destruction or salvation, i believe is entirely up to us.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Masculine Nature

What defines a Man? I think it is a state of mind, it's an ability to harness the energies put at your disposal. To reach out, to create, to labor, to protect, to be strong, all those things are part of the description. Yet it's so much more and so much less. I think you can put as many layers on male motivation as you have time or care to, but you can also reduce it to not much more than a simple statement. I would like to establish that i'm not speaking from what i've been told by tradition or a father figure. My particular life afforded no such mediums through which to embrace my "Manhood". It is something which i have tried to understand on my own, for better or worse i've had to form my own opinions. The reason i choose to write about my values in this context is because i realize that myself, and most males, associate themselves very strongly with an ideal of manhood. Since that role has been defined slightly different in various cultures, that's all the more reason to reassess what that word means, if anything at all. On the most essential level masculinity is defined by it's opposite femininity. That definition is one of agency and assertive energy, a need...a lust for creation. As opposed to one of receptiveness, care, and connection.

Man at his greatest has united enemies and forged world empires and reigned over peaceful nations in benevolence. At his best man has carried the burden of family with grace and dignity and honor. He has labored to provide, he has died to protect, and gone into the unknown to discover. Man at his worst has committed genocide, started wars and taken lives for greed and personal power. At his worst man has no concern for others only a lust to become stronger. One thing that is consistent in all those situations is the vast potential at man's disposal.

We are the stronger less sensitive half of humanity, but it has been our duty and priviledged to protect our physically weaker, more sensitive, more caring companions. The feminine embraces and holds in communion all that humanity values, we are the force that brings human ambition to fruition. All feminist dogma aside, this is the simple way of things. As far as it seems observable. Those are the roles that we've been forged into, both biologically and socially. Of course it is also part of our existence to transcend such roles, but there is still value in tradition. Women typically were the caretakers and family bulwarks because they excel at it and i think typically enjoy doing it. (again all feminist dogma aside) Men on the other hand are developed more for physical labor and seem to have a temperament which facilitates action and makes them more resistant to some crueltys the world has to offer. Again, because i don't want anyone to feel excluded or offended, i want to stress that while that may be the typical roles we are no longer bound to them. There is no reason why men can't be excellent homemakers and women can't be assertive and endurant.

Ok now that i've defined the masculine role in respect to the feminine i would like to go back to what masculinity means on an individual level, not from a community perspective. I believe essentially it is honor and fortitude. To fulfill our potential we must have the will to follow the right path and the will to endure that which might seem unbearable. I believe that for man and women alike our divine connection can offer unlimited strength, but it can take different forms in each gender. Every example of a great man is recognized because of his willingness to go the farthest or work the hardest or endure the most.

So what does honor mean? To an american that's a hard question to answer, our values are so lax. It's important to carefully contemplate and define the role honor plays. I think integrity has alot to do with honor. If a man takes pride in himself and his works then he treats the world around him with the same respect he affords himself. That is one kind of honor. There is also the will to help and defend those weaker than ourselves. I know we're not superheros, but we must always reach out to those in need, and since men don't usually take supportive roles our way of contributing is by offering our strength and integrity as a tool and weapon (if necessary) I believe honor on a larger scale is how our actions effect different levels of reality. Perhaps you could say honor is a larger framework within which to put right and wrong. This is because alot of times honor will outweigh the immediate rightness or wrongness of a given situation.

I believe though we are descended from greatness. Each of us has the blood of Kings in our veins. (Queen plays in the background) We have the courage and valiance to do what must be done, even when that is the last thing we want to do. That is what defines true manhood, and perhaps womanhood as well. I think this is a pale expression of the true grace of the divine gift of masculinity but as we strive we can continue toward purity and become something unequaled in it's magnificence. We are the Divine's highest expression in our world. Spirit flows through us and creates with our hands and minds. Just as easily all the potential we can tap into can be used for great evil, if one does not consciously rein in their desires. We must cling to ideas like honor and love and integrity if we wish to face the trials of a new era. Perhaps one could say that we need to evolve our mostly forgotten old world values into the modern age.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Tradition and The Individual

What is the possible necessity of having a tradition to follow as a spiritual path? Some people think it's almost unavoidable and then there's other's who scorn the idea. (i'm speaking of non literalists only) Then of those who think following a tradition is the best route i believe there is again a division. Some believe you should immerse yourself in one tradition in order to adopt the world view and thus be able to follow there forms into the deeper realms of spiritual practice. Then others believe that you can have a buffet style spirituality where one can rummage through philosophies and practices and make your own patchwork religion.

I have no idea where i stand on this issue, it's something that has been very hard for me to come to a conclusion on. I think as an american i have an overly emphasized ego and put alot more value on my personal self than other cultures may. This makes the idea of confining my way of thinking to one specific paradigm very unappealing. Why should i do something like that when i can remain aloof from such commitments and appreciate each one? I can see though that this does limit the possible depth of my experience. For example the Sufis (a group i have some first hand experience with) would never teach an outsider their deepest mystical practices, tradition simply doesn't work that way.

Islam in general would be a good example of this conflict of interest. The word itself means submission to god. A Muslim is One Who Submits to God. I think that is such a beautiful expression of the limits of the individual trying to commune with the infinite expressions of Spirit. Spirit is something so far beyond comprehension that the only way we can be a receptacle is by emptying ourselves of any pretensions and submitting ourselves to the will of the Kosmos. As expressed in the idea of Islam, the Buddhist concept no-self, and the idea of Tao (the way that is known is not the true Way). To me however this sounds like, a very anti-individual mentality. What american is willing to trust the religion of Islam enough to completely submit to Allah's will? Obviously the specific religion has nothing to do with Allah's will, at least no more than any other bulwark tradition. But if we're talking about submitting to a tradition's will, which i believe is the context an american would take that in, forget it. I don't mean to express things in black or white, not all americans would feel that way, and it would be much more complex of an issue. But i still think that is a hurdle any of us would need to cross on some level.

The idea of Buffet spirituality i find to be distasteful myself, at least put in those terms. I don't think any non literalist is going to claim anything along the lines of needing to exclusively practice one religion, period. However if you simply pick and choose among religions , the argument is, you're loosing the essence of the expression. I believe that religions are alive, evolving entities. Alive because the community is bound by Spirit and changes as the community does, with new generations comes new interpretations of that which is transmitted. This transmission is a vital aspect of the religion's living essence. I think when we divided the religions up into specific ideas and philosophies and cease to look at them unto themselves we are dissecting them. And while we may find empirical usefulness in the dissected parts of an animal, the living creature itself has much greater value. We are taking all the Spirit out of them and deflating their true value.

I'm sure they're are many other arguments for both possibilities, but that's my perspective on it. Where that leaves me, i dunno, and for right now i'm ok with that.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Revenge of The Sith

Ok, i'm a little late here, but i've gotta pay homage to my roots. Star Wars has always been a light in the dark for me. It has been everything from my favorite form of entertainment to my own mythology, which i think is the beauty of it, that it can encompass both of those.

This final chapter in the saga is the best of all. It brings the two trilogies together in ways i could have never guessed. It also adds quite alot of depth to the plot, and gives it a deeper metaphysical meaning. I'll save the explaining of that for someone who has done a better job than i would.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Unfolding of Spirit

As the universe grows in complexity it seems to become more self aware. There seems to be interactions on higher and higher levels of organization. We as the (assumedly) first self-aware beings in this Kosmos are the harbingers of a great change in the nature of spirit.

What came before can really only be interpreted as a mechanistic reality. Rules upon rules pushing the universe onward. A vast and intricate dance set in motion by a singular moment's end. It seems that the universe has an unlimited capacity for emergence and creation bound to an inexorable terminus or loss of momentum.

This has culminated in our human identity. Human identity which is essentially our ability to observe ourselves and create associations against a backdrop of seeming chaos and entropy. We are juxtaposed between the physical and mental realm. The only conceivable connection would be spirit. Thus we must discover spirit in order to understand ourselves. Once we understand the essence of the interpenetration of the physical and mental realms we will understand the essence of ourselves.

With humanity evolution has become conscious of itself. Now that we have the potential to control our reality and direct where it flows, we must make a choice. We can evolve and find greater and greater unity in the Kosmos or we can be left behind, because i believe Spirit will find an outlet. In order for the one to become aware of itself it must journey through the many and back again. We are hitting a punctuated level of development that requires us as individuals to become aware of our divine nature because that is the next step in the process. We are the many looking toward the one.

The Logos or Where does the manifest find form?

I was thinking about this today: Over the years after i was introduced to eastern philosophy i've integrated a level of non attachment. I'm not a consistent meditator, but because i've focused on the idea so much i've trained my mind to let go of objects more easily. I realized though that the energy to affect change like that originated at the level of belief. My assertion that non attachment is a positive thing created a drive to embody that value.

Is there some force that will see truth brought about? Once someone's consciousness has decided that an idea is important and true what would one call the energy born into such a conviction? I believe that the very force that binds and creates reality can be identified in our convictions. The important correlation here would be that our motivation and beliefs are intertwined with the very spirit of divine manifestation.

Should we view activity is a direct source of divine nature? Can our actions embody the very essence of Spirit? I say the answer is a very obvious yes. In the scheme of The One and The Many, the entire aspect of The Many is enfoldment and thus the nature of Spirit. I believe this begs the question: if Spirit or divine manifestation are interrelated to action arising from conviction what if any separation of the two ideas are there? It would be easy enough to say that although conviction is made up of manifest spirit, manifest spirit isn't simply conviction. I think that they are not so easily separated though.

When you look at what most of reality is made up of, it's simply perceived rules and truths within which we conduct our affairs. So this creates a need for that activity in order to bring about the defining truths. No separation and interaction, no truth or operational rules will ever be formed. What i'm trying to convey is that our beliefs, our impetus to carry on our lives is the very ground of being. Without that preexisting value without the motivation to live life, there is nothing, nothingness.

As i've talked about before most truth is subjective, created from our various stimuli. The important thing to consider though is the nature of our values and beliefs and actions. From those deep seated associations we form the structure of existence. I think that this realization that conviction is of divine origin is a call to arms. If we are the harbingers of spirit via our actions then how important does that make them? We must attempt to embody every moment in the purest Self. Our most mundane actions are in fact divine. With the eternal living moment we must commune.

Every moment is brought into existence from nothing, just one changing, flowing medium. There must be some logic or intellect behind it, some source of outflowing information or reality. If we are in touch with the moment then we can see that most things arise directly from any emphasis that is placed upon it by the mind. I believe that leaves us with two valid points. We must stay in touch with our present awareness in order to understand the ebb and flow of energy out of our personal wants and needs. And to be mindful of our actions and what kind of reality they would bring about. If we can strive to see god in each and every moment then we shall have a holy reality, a kingdom of God, where he is fully manifest and in communion with us. But until we can rise to the task of fulfilling that vast potential, we must strive to express ourselves as fully as possible in each and everything we do.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Nature of Change

Change is the fundamental aspect of existence. Life is composed of change, depends upon it. It is one organic evolving whole whose primary operation is coemergence. This is the metaphysical rule that every experience can ultimately be reduced to.

It's simple when you think about it. If the universe was only one coherent whole, with no moving, differentiated parts, then nothing would ever change. Time would not exist, no perception could ever arise. In order for us to apprehend the universe things must be in a constant state of movement or change.

This sounds like easy logic and a good way to look at the universe, which it is. But this simple rule creates a lot of strife for us mortals! In fact this is the essence of the buddha's 4 noble truths. The buddha says that: 1) Life is suffering and that 2) this suffering is caused by our clinging to impermanent objects which will eventually be wrenched away from us but 3) this suffering has a resolution which is 4) training ourselves to cease clinging to these objects. (by following the eightfold path)

Because we identify ourselves with something that will eventually pass away we experience pain and loss over the passing. If we can objectify this process and realize that those objects are not in fact part of our selves, then we can let them go without the pain of loss. This idea scares people deeply. What joy could one have from life without the intimate associations we create with our environment? A perfectly valid concern when one's only mode of knowing is through personal association.

Once we have let go of our association of object with self we have a much deeper and fuller access to reality. There is no need for the person-object dichotomy, because we experience both as a fluid exchange. We are in direct contact with the essence of reality not looking at it from a fractured, grasping perspective. When this fundamental barrier does come down we begin to realize that what we perceived as reality is actually nothing but what we lay on top of the "true reality", how we make it fit into our finite consciousness. True reality is not something to be divided up by labels but something experienced directly, pure apprehension without conscious intervention. This is what we must strive for if we wish to transcend suffering and simultaniously develop a greater connection to our reality.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Existential Dilemma or Why Live In The Moment?

All we have is this moment, nothing more. To extend ourselves beyond that is to live within an illusion. What do we know for sure? I know i have this moment, this singular, ongoing, ever present moment. At least until it passes away, that is i pass away. We can come to see certain perspectival truths through looking into the realm of ideas and by objectified time (projecting ourselves forward and back in memory and fantasy)

It's worth saying that there's plenty of ways to create meaning for ourselves, but that's just it, it's self created, not a priori(if i'm using that term properly) Most meanings and values exist only within the confines of our mental realm not as a pre-given part of reality. All we really have is this moment. We are sent into this world not knowing who we are, or what we're meant to be, or how we came to be. The only thing we are given is our ongoing moment to moment awareness.

I, personally, believe there is alot of meaning in the universe, and not just meaning but purpose. There is a reason we are here without the why and left to discover the how on our own. In order to truly appreciate life, we have to see the beauty of simply existing in the moment, in becoming one with that environment. That i believe is the key to it all. Though many realizations may follow that one, without that fundamental insight into the miraculous nature of existence we are left as subjects to the whims of our ego.

I think it all comes down to the ego, in alot of ways. We are here to realize gods existence, to be his instrument or his eyes. I think god needs us as much as we need him. Where we are confined to this perspective and bound to this world and feel as though we can't realize the infinite, to contact the unknowable. In that same way god, as an idea, is so ultimately transcendent that he can never know himself. Because the moment he breaks away from that unmanifest nature to become aware of himself, there's a new division and god no longer is whole and complete. That is where we come in, a part of god has to play the part of "not god". Only through this divine dance, can we both come to understand ourselves.

It's an interesting dilemma. We are here to realize our greater connection to the many, our existence as the many, and how we are foolish to ever think there is an I included in this reality. There is no I, only I-You. The only way to do this is by being a singular entity, by being confined to what we perceive as ourselves, we create a contrast that allows us the perception of our Oneness. This is where ego becomes very important.

Our life must seem very valuable, it's the only thing we know, it's all that there is to know. We are who we are, which obviously is fundamental to our values. We are so close to the miracle of existence, yet so far away. We can see it off in the distance, that ultimate meaning, but we can never touch it, never realize it, never truly know it with our minds. God is ultimately unknowable and empty from our perspective, the closer we get to god the less we can see him. So here we are holding on to our precious lives with all we can manage because that's all we've got. Yet no one tells us: You're going to be ok. You will abide in me after death... nada, nothing! No special magic books to tell us what god is like, just the pure, distilled truth of the unknown. Kinda scares the shit outta ya when you think about it like that.

Yet it is only in the face of this dilemma that we will ever transcend ourselves. As we look closer and closer for god or meaning we continually find nothing! How can this be? As much importance as i place on myself, and even others (sometimes), i can't seem to validate that in any ultimate way. So what are we left with? Well... I don't know if i'm going to be here tomorrow and i also don't know that if i'm not whether i'll be somewhere (or someone) else. I do however know that i have decided to place value on my experiences. This leads to only one conclusion as i see it: I must appreciate every miraculous moment as they come, not holding on and ruining them, and not holding back and missing them. I have no other choice for finding value!

But as we stare into the void (and the void stares back) We're poised on the brink of stark meaninglessness of loosing all hope of valuing our lives, that miraculous connotation becomes even more pronounced. "This moment really is all i have. And it's so beautiful so precious because i know it will slip away. There will be a time not long from now, when i will no longer be, my loves and likes, passions and dreads all gone with me." Nothing seems so sweet until you stand to loose it, this is a sad fact of life. But a necessary one, everything must be "real". We can't just have god telling us "ok you're really me in disguise and everything is fine because you are in fact eternal" If that happened how precious would life seem? "what does it matter if you do wrong or how much i care about others now that i know it's a game, something that doesn't actually have any substance" (as it's typically defined) If we were handed the answers, they would loose their experiential meaning, which is the whole point in the first place.

So as god's divine manifestations we must loose ourselves in the chaos of trying to maintain a self system in a very hostile world. And only through this struggle, this choice to strive, this hope in the face of hopelessness is life imbued with it's true meanings. We can stand back and appreciate the subtlety of each moment, and thus seeing the intricacies of it's interconnections, which points us toward god. Though we may have to face down tragedy (and we all will) We can do it knowing that god is in every moment and while we never see him or truly "know" him, he can never be away from us. Nothing can ever be taken from us, whether it be our life or our dreams, because those belong to god, our true selves, this moment will never die it will continue on into infinity. It may change subjects periodically, but never does it stop, and since each moment exists together, as a whole, we will always exist, even in this form, though it's in the mind of god not man that this becomes reality.

Friday, April 29, 2005

What is Truth?

You'll find many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view" -Obi-Wan Kenobi

Truth is something that every modern person has to come to terms with. We are brought into a world where truth is paramount. Everything around us is based on the truths of some nature. In fact that's all we ever have to base things on is "truth". Kinda silly when you think about it, how else would it work? If we didn't orient ourselves by making judgements, which are all on a fundamental level based on truths, then we could never have any meaning or context. That simply is the nature of reality. We make associations with our environment based on what we see as good and bad and important and irrelevant. All of those associations are thus supported by fundamental assumptions about what reality and/or truth is. The logical conclusion would be that who we are, the things that constitute our individuality, is based upon the truths we hold.

So we have established that truth, from a personal or internal perspective, has a relative nature. What we see to be good and bad, important and irrelevant is determined by what context we place it in. There are other aspects to truth such as observable facts, like natural/universal laws and provable theorem. Obviously those don't fit into the category of relative. A relativist would argue: but even those facts work within the paradigm of science and outside that paradigm have no meaning, without that knowledge science is irrelevant, is non existent and thus are still relative to that mode of understanding. Of course most of these phenomenon do still occur without knowledge of their workings. So, even if you insist that it is relative to our existence you're still establishing an ultimate boundary for relativity.

As you can see there's alot of ways to put truth into perspective (that's a funny turn of words) I believe what i've said up to this point to basically be fact, but where Truth really gets tricky is in the in-between. Between inside and outside, relative value and observable fact. There's many ways to resolve this seeming conflict, and that is where the conjecture comes in. I think the basic gist of them all would be to look at truth on a higher, more realized level. Effecting some kind of integration of the two, finding where they meet, that should be our objective.

As we attempt to combine these two facets of truth it's necessary to further define the distinction between internal and external. Internal truth isn't simply about putting your experience within a specific context. It's about speaking from your soul, about sincerity, and integrity. We have our moment to moment experience and that can contain as much or as little of reality as we allow it. We do have a ground to which to come back, and always ask ourselves on that fundamental level is this a valid experience. This potential can be traced back to the very nature of freewill, our ability to choose.

Again you can begin to reduce this to relativistic terms, but you have to question the utility of that. That is the problem with a "relativist" they see this as some ultimate truth (funny isn't it?) instead of simply a fundamental truth, so they always cast this ultimate doubt on everything, and in the process loose their grasp on what meanings things can possibly hold. For internal or subjective truth we can see that reality is very fluid from within the kernel of combined intersubjective experience having to conform to mental patterns and affected interpretation.

For external truth what implications does this relative perspective have? It's simple enough to understand the nature of observable facts and communal confirmation as truth but what about absolute truth? What about why we're here? Where is our concrete set of rules and truths to know which end is up? We can't really answer the most fundamental question about the very first observation a self aware being has to make-"I am" that question is of course how and why? We can see that there must be some kind of genesis, some starting point, because everything we've experienced and recorded as a race has had "purpose", a direction. Perhaps the universe doesn't have a beginning or end, but one thing is for sure, at some point things did start to move forward, we are definitely going somewhere...even if forward is only what it is because that's the direction we started in.

So there is some plan or purpose to be grasped, some seemingly otherworldly conductor, some being or state of being that is calling us ever forward. In order to understand our capacity to transcend ourselves and yet maintain our own identity we have to see the absolute meanings in the Kosmos, as it applies to our scale of value. Instead of dismissing it out of hand as relative and meaningless. To understand the context of some thing's truth value doesn't imply invalidation. I think the conclusion to all this is that we must acknowledge the existence of both relative and absolute truth in the universe in order to get a clear, more inclusive picture.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Politics dubya style... or we're shootin' from the hip now

Imperialist America is bad right? That's what most sensible people would conclude, but we're americans, who says we have to be sensible? Really though, hear me out.

You look at the political situation of today, it's pretty grim. Our economy is rapidly changing, growing and shrinking, constantly developing into new markets. We can barely keep up with our own progress. The lust for profit drives the worlds nation's ever onward. Of course there is the political games to be considered. The constant struggle for power and the upper hand. America sits squarely on top of it all, in all it's imperial glory. We are a nation in decline however, which greatly complicates things. We don't excel at anything but excelling it seems, we're still on top, mainly due to sheer ruthlessness and momentum. We have control of the world economy, our national budget is actually fluid so that it can account for all the trading, done with our money, in the world. There seems to be so many elements to the situation, that i couldn't even begin to weave them all together. I do however see the american agenda.

When dubya began to push his war, it would eventually become apparent as our struggle to stay on top of the world economy. By securing various elements in the middle east, and making sure that western culture is integrated, we have a strong foothold. It would be my guess that as dubya pursues this imperialist agenda, he will make sure that we play a fundamental part in world "policing" thus ensuring our nation's survival and continued importance in world politics. Of course there's alot i'm not covering like dubya's personal obligations (cold war buddies and all) And concerns over OPEC and loosing Oil Money. Basically we're stuck in a cycle of wrong choices for the wrong reasons.

Everyone is either thinking i'm an idiot or that's a horrible scenario (or both, being the correct answer) How can something like this happen? How can a people so close to transcending all their pettiness get stuck on such a low level of world-development? After all we've learned and experienced, after 2 world wars, after a Holocaust can we still be simply struggling for more personal power? The answer is yes. Definitely, we're still in the finishing stages of imperial domination. America should be the last great empire, if we could get over being stuck between a democracy and what we're truly meant to be.

What i'm implying, as abhorrent as the idea may be, is perhaps ole dubya is a harbinger for something far beyond his simple and chaney's narrow minded perception. Although, we're doing something completely wrong. Pursuing our greed and lust for power with no concern for others (no really, we DO know it's not to help) Perhaps in the end, something good will come out of it. Just like our alienation of internal wisdom for external knowledge, though bad, was still necessary in order to bring our world under control. We need to tame the world, before we can really tame ourselves, i think. Once all the lower level injustices are brought to light, in our modern perspective, and hopefully dealt with on that level, we can deal with the problems of modernity more readily.

What i mean is that while there are starving children and genocide and gender subjugation it's hard to completely merge with the unfolding of spirit in divine love. Perhaps what we have to realize is that there are still events in motion that need to be brought to a head, before we, as a race, can continue our development. Although our beautiful nation is committing some of the same atrocities we all know we need to grow past, perhaps we need to look beyond that. To see what this will bring to fruition farther into the future. Even though we are imposing our ideas on the rest of the world, that does include bringing them up to a higher standard of existence, and thus giving them the possibilities and freedom we should cherish so much. When we subjugate these middle eastern tribes we may be destroying their unique expression of government, but the ideas still remain to be cherished, and the culture itself lives on. It only changes, as all living things must. We are all in this together, we are all changing each other, and we MUST become aware of that.

Perhaps though dubya's policies will allow enough momentum for the rest of the world to be brought up to world-centric human rights, and given a place among the rest of the modern world. Once his "Reign of Evil" has ended, we may actually be able to pick up the pieces more readily.

The Real

Disclaimer: This, as always, is for my own education. If you have any input please feel free to share... As we both know, i have no clue what i'm talking about :)

The Real is an idea that was first conceived of by Immanuel Kant... as far as i can tell :) Basically this is the first clear presentation of the fact that internal reality and external reality are irrevocably separated. The concept states that there is a "kernel" of reality that is impenetrable to our senses. An aspect of existence that we are cut off from. When we experience an object outside of ourselves, we do it through our perceptions. Thus we are at the mercy of any falsity that might arise in our apprehension of the data. Space and time are both concepts created by our arrangement of reality into a presupposition that allows operation. They are not external to our perceptions, we create them through differentiation. The conclusion of these assertions is that we are seeing reality through a veil. There is certain things about the "outside" world we are completely denied knowledge of. This, as usual, is a subject i am still educating myself on. The implications and applications of the concept are wide spread i know. Ranging from the nature of metaphysics to our capacity to make a value assertion.(which to me is much the same thing)

It seems that most proceeding philosophy is a reaction to this seemingly undeniable assertion. It is a problem in that we can find no place for truth in an environment like that. No matter how me look for it, if there is something unapproachable/inconceivable to reality how can we establish ultimate truth? If God is unknowable how can we gauge value? Many approaches have been attempted varying from trying to find meaning from within this seeming meaninglessness(without trying to look beyond what we can know), to ignoring the question altogether.

I think it is a question that plagues modernity in general, and is an epidemic for the thoughtful. How can we find self identity, if we can't identify an ultimate truth? The sad fact is there's no good answer to this. There's an infinitude of ways we can approach (and possibly solve) this problem, so the question becomes which way is best for ME? This is something i find myself coming back to again and again. so instead of restating what i always say, perhaps we can look past my typical point of learning to validate personal experience. Instead to realize that perceived validation or lack there of, has no impact on the value or our experience. they are what they are, no matter how we label them. That unknowable kernel operates outside our perceptions and thus any concept we could place on it would simply fall short. Whatever intrinsic value experience seems to have, by nature of it's existence outside our comprehension, perhaps we can learn to intuit and appreciate it, instead of trying to impose mental boundaries upon it.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Rumi

In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest, where no one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.

QUIETNESS Inside this new love, die. Your way begins on the other side. Become the sky. Take an axe to the prison wall. Escape. Walk out like someone suddenly born into color. Do it now. You're covered with thick cloud. Slide out the side. Die, and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign that you've died. Your old life was a frantic running from silence. The speechless full moon comes out now.

THE MUSIC For sixty years I have been forgetful, every minute, but not for a second has this flowing toward me stopped or slowed. I deserve nothing. Today i recognize that I am the guest that mystics talk about. I play this living music for my host. Everything today is for my host.

WEAN YOURSELF Little by little, wean yourself. This is the gist of what I have to say. From an embryo, whose nourishment comes in the blood, move to an infant drinking milk, to a child on solid food, to a searcher after wisdom, to a hunter of more invisible game. Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo. You might say, "The world outside is vast and intricate. There are wheatfields and mountain passes, and orchards in bloom. At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding." You aks the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up in the dark with eyes closed. Listen to the answer. There is no "other world" I only know what I've experienced. You must be hallucinating.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Blogging as Meditation

I'm having some trouble maintaining my momentum on this blog. I don't think it's a permanent thing, but i've just poured so many ideas out all at once, basically. I believe now that i've integrated this blog into my personality and began to learn from it and grow with it. Once i've read more and thought more, then i'll have more to say.

The process of forming ideas and patterns is still very internal for me, and mostly hidden at that. But i can see how Blogging has augmented that significantly, however, my ego wants retreat to regroup and understand it's new self and go through the solely internal process of forming new structures around that experience and then re approaching reality.

I would propose instead to teach myself a new way to explore my depths. I think that communal confirmation is an important, if not the singular, concept to truth. When we blog we are presenting ourselves to the public. Even if that's not our intent, we are still opening ourselves to that possibility. No matter how much you may intend for that not to be an object, on a fundamental level, it still is. So integration of internal unfolding with blogging as the medium, would dictate as certain honesty with ones self. "Ok this is what i believe, now that i've written it down, are other people going to see my logic?" If we can maintain an honest dialogue with ourselves as we do this, then we will bring to light many problems with our confined perspective, and hopefully transcend them

Also Blogging as an art form has great potential for expression. As we report on something, pull an idea together, or simply line up our day to day events we are engaging in the process of creation. Thus far i've put that into two categories for myself: Creating the blog as an independant entity, with self contained ideas and narration, to be taken without consideration of the individual creating it. This i believe focuses us on clarifying our ideas away from our egos, letting them develop within their own space.Also we can fully attach our egos to blogging and project our experiences and emotions and opinions into it. I believe this route also leads to higher level of personal development because as we examine our interaction, on a personal level, with the Blogosphere we begin to objectify that as well. For those inclined to blog, we are given a strong impetus to be creative and present something of substance. As we do this i believe, of course, we are tapping into the divine. Allowing it to manifest through us, in much the same way as an artist. We are acting on a higher energy plane and this will give us the momentum to continue our personal and communal evolution to it's ultimate fulfillment.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Benedict XVI

Today i shall talk about what everyone else seems to be.

The pope, great! It really surprise me to hear so much negativity about something that's potentially such a good thing. I don't know or care to know about the pope and who he is. Just not my interest, i am interested in the outcome though. Seems to me that everyone is already casting stones and the fellow has barely got that huge ridiculous hat on. Can we at least let him make his first immaculate mistake before we decide he's actually the anti-christ. CNN has been running a story basically refuting claims that he is a Nazi sympathizer. This is because being german, and old, the pope was in the Hitler Youth and also served the German army in WW2. I have to tell you this, neither of those things makes him a Nazi.

The world is going through so much change right now, obviously this is going to have major ramifications on Tradition. As people evolve and develop into higher states of mind we let go of our past prejudices and ignorance and embrace a new more holistic paradigm. An entity such as the Church will not long survive (in any real sense) if it doesn't grow and change with the world. You can't have a church still refusing to admit the world is round. Obviously that particular example is something our previous friendly neighborhood pope took care of "hey world...yeah we're um, coming outta the middle ages now...yeah for real"

But simple apologies aren't enough. With a growing percent of believers no longer being properly described by that term, something is in obvious need of change. The church hopefully will begin to express some more advanced ideas about divine union and the like, of course that's a long hard road, even today, but one they're going to have to go down. Basically more than anything they need to admit the nature of reality and stake a place for themselves within that context. "Sure Jesus' wasn't actually THE savior, really more like one among thousands, in fact we're not even sure if he meant to be anything more than a cult leader. But hey, he was a nice guy and we've got a bunch of really old pretty buildings, so come see our funny hats"

That kind of stance of course isn't going to happen, but what i'm saying is that you can acknowledge the nature of truth and still find meaning within the context of a dogma. I believe if the church could simply take that stand, and deal with all the difficult changes that would bring, then something unparalleled in beauty could grow out of a religion like christianity. With it's selfless love, and personal communion with god and membership within the godhead through christ's sacrifice, imagine if christians grew to see that we are ALL brothers and sisters. What kind of heavenly kingdom might dawn then?

What i'm trying to convey is that just because the church is a huge cumbersome organization that is very outdated and steeped in mythic imagery doesn't mean it can't catch up. As far as the pope goes, he's only one man, let's give him a chance, and hope for the best. If everyone is negative from the outset, how is that going to set the stage for him? If everyone is positive and receptive, what might he be inspired to do seeing a world ripe for change?

Monday, April 18, 2005

Thoughts on Jung & Wilber

Still slowly working my way through "Sex, Ecology, and Spirituality" by Wilber (of course), so as to feel truly learned on the subject.

Before he starts into part 2 of the book, at one point he goes over the ideas of Archetypes associated with people like Jung and Joseph Campbell. Before i discovered Wilber both of these individuals were very informative for me. I appreciate there idea of the deep layers of subconscious where archetypes arise, and the ways in which we are constituted by/interact with and how those are a gateway to the divine.

As per normal, i'm not incredibly educated on the subject, but no worries i fully intend to talk about it anyway, in the true american style. :)

Wilber says that our connection with the archetypal figures is something that occurs on the mythic stage of development, and while at that point it was the collective vision of the divine, is not actually connected to the transpersonal. I can see what Wilber is saying here, but this is one point i don't completely agree with. Of course, one tends to feel kinda foolish even debating a point of Wilbers, just because of his extreme erudition, so if anyone understands why i'm wrong please let me know.

It think perhaps the structure of the tibetan pantheon integrated into their tantric practices would serve as a good example of why i disagree. It seems to me that while Wilbur is correct in his assessment that those archetypes exist down on mythic level, they are a form, however deluded, of the transpersonal and thus can serve as a gateway into the transpersonal. Perhaps this is analogous to the way that dancing can induce ecstatic states.

In tantric practice one takes the ideal form of a diety and projects that into existence and then attempts to embody those ideals. Of course alot of those monks have the literal belief in the deities mythic existence as well. So via there belief in the ideal they are able to transcend themselves.

Wilber may very well account for that, and he's simply stating that connecting to these archetypes is not THE way to transpersonal, but after reading it over, i couldn't get past what seemed like a dismissal of this ideas importance.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The "Root" of Sound

I've been talking about music recently and it's caused me to start turning certain ideas over in my mind, shall we discuss them? Good, i'm glad we're in agreement.

In Tantra and more specific to my point in Mantra the idea of Root syllables or Root sounds are central. This is not something i've explored in great depth, but the idea seems to have a good bit of credence to it.

The idea states that all sound or thought (all of the All) come from more fundamental aspects or roots. Think of it like this as the universe unfolds from it's allness into the manyness it has to add on more and more layers to continue the process of differentiation. The implications of this being that these root forms are closer to the source and thus contain a certain amount of power, if you will.

In meditative practices such as tantra visualization or mantra one utilizes these roots to bring about an effect, primarily being transpersonal experience. I think this connection between reality and root forms might point to some more subtle implications. The sufis believe music to be of the most divine origins, for this very reason. The vibrations of the universe are embodied in the symbolic vibrations we create in music, and thus invoke to some extent the divine "presence".

Obviously a philosophy like this is esoteric, and probably not of much use in day to day life, but i do think it has implications that extend that far. It's safe to say that 99% of everyone listens to music, and the music has an impact on their moods and thoughts. Perhaps a musician who understands the nature of these root forms can bring that to the forefront in their presentation, and thus engineer a deeper experience for the listener.

I think one of the more valuable implications of this idea is the nature of the sacred. According to this both root thoughts (syllables) and root sounds are very close to the Source, and thus contain a large aspect of the divine. To an individual our thoughts don't really have a specific connotation overall. Meaning they are what they are, which ranges from sacred and deep to profane and trite. What we don't realize is that range of connotation is imposed by us, as our thoughts become more confined to the ego they become more convoluted and more confining. When we have a bad thought, it's bad because we make it so. Our thoughts are inherently sacred. Think about the first word, in that one, first, meaningful utterance the entire universe was crossed. We go from isolated to connected in the span of to be.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The freeing of the mind in Cyberspace

It seems to me that as technology develops into cyberspace and our interactions with it quickly evolve and deepen we free our thoughts/values/symbols of our "real world" interactions. What i think this means is not totally clear :) The essence of it though revolves around our capacity to transcend the traditions and behavior/thought patterns we have developed.

Perhaps as we grow to identify our ego with the blogosphere it will bloom into something much richer and deeper. A gateway to the divine, a tool for self/communal exploration, a new unique dimension of being, alive it it's own right. A free sharing of information and a exponential increase in medium by which to transmit information and experience.

Now in the more immediate perspective... Perhaps as we all begin to share ideas via blog we can purify or distill our symbols, leaving our defenses and prejudices in the "real world" I believe if all of us thought about that for a year as we poked our noses around the internet something truly wonderful would emerge...What am i talking about? That's already happening.

More erudite than i...

This person posted something along the lines of my "Is Consciousness The New Evolutionary Drive?" and expressed the idea much better :)

Finding Cultural Value in Modern America

America can seem like a pretty shallow place, and in a lot of ways it is. However, I think that if properly oriented there is much value to be found.

On the surface you see Capitalism and Consumerism have run rampant, infecting the lives of all americans. When was the last time you had a meal that wasn't sealed in plastic first? (counting restaurants?, then you haven't worked in one) One might think that's an arbitrary thing to complain about. Who says wrapping food in plastic is bad? Well it's good if you need to stockpile, and it's convenient. There are many more drawbacks though. If you freeze food it looses much of it's nutritional value. Anything coming from a corporation has been altered and augmented either chemically or genetically for higher production and sales (not health)

Take a look at the american people *cringe* what does one see? I see well meaning people who are really fucked in the head, to make a broad generalization. We are so cramped for time and personal space that most of us are on the verge of snapping (or maybe that's just me) We are bombarded with stimuli whether it be radio commercials, billboards, tv commercials, movie commercials (my personal favorite, I stopped watching tv because of the damned things, do I have to stop going to the movies too?) Internet commercials or just plain ole commercials... how about those jingles you get stuck in your head? "my bologna has a first name it's S-A-T-A-N"

Most americans are overweight, a lot of them have high blood pressure, and alchoholism is worse here than anywhere else. It seems like more people in america are on anti-depressants than are not. A lot of people, especially gen x and beyond, come from broken families. Which I guess stems from our lack of personal commitment and values, not to mention how much sex is sold here. Why look at my wife, who by the way has put on a few pounds, when I can look at Jennifer Lopez? (everyone wants a slut (just to lay my opinion of "j-lo" on the table))

Ok, enough america bashing, let's get to the positive stuff. Obviously there is a reason things are like this, and there's a solution (if we're willing to find it) The primary reason would be that modern culture is still in shock over the worldcentric shift in values. Now that we have so much we're exposed to, so much information, so many paradigms, so many distractions, where does one orient themselves? Within what context? That seems negative, but perhaps a more accurate assessment of that fact would be twofold: it's a challenge for us to develop as individuals, and it gives us a tabula rasa.

While americans have plenty of their own trappings, most of them are shallow enough to be easily shed given some determination. What better way to reorient oneself within a new worldview than by having no other option? One who doesn't have the benefit of a solid foundation laid down by their culture. Is it coincidence that Ken Wilber, one of the first to identify our need for integration and reevaluation, is an american?

The other main thing americans have going for them in the integration race is our common diversity, our extreme multiplicity. We ARE the melting pot... we don't just have to come to terms with it, we have to BE it. Also because of this diversity along with our priveledged status and ease of lifestyle there has been a great expansion of possible relationships and associations, along with possible interests and values. Basically we have everything at our fingertips, all the possibility in the world. I spoke in my last post about infinite diversity and infinite possibilities being the goal of evolution/spirit. That's us.

So to conclude I would say that while we have a rough time ahead of us, we're well equipped to handle it (if we so choose) In my previous years i've felt very alienated from the american people, like I don't belong here... then I realized for that exact reason I do belong :) We may be a disfunctional family, with an abusive father even, but we still need to love each other just the same. Love heals all wounds, I say.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Is Consciousness The New Evolutionary Drive?

A major point of interest for me is the idea of the evolution of the Kosmos. We can clearly see that reality is always moving forward. Each new emergent bringing something unique into existence and is always becoming more complex or developing more depth. What really puts evolution in perspective for me is considering the fact that we are at it's peak. Which means, whatever may come after, right now we're the best thing since sliced bread.

A few complications come into the picture with the emergence of self-awareness. Mainly once we can alter our environment on a greater scale, evolution doesn't really have it's basis in biological determinants. For a lot of individuals, operating on the rational level, that's where evolution stops. I think this is a pretty uninformed perspective to take, based on an assumption that evolution is confined the the mechanistic aspect of reality.

I believe that the Kosmos will continue to refine and deepen it's own capacity for existence. We, conscious beings, are really the first major step toward a realized self existence for the Kosmos. Assuming diversity is the goal, we are just now getting to a point in history where each individual can potentially act in a unique, self realized fashion.

Now that the Kosmos has achieved self awareness via our confined perceptions, the next step assumedly would be our complete integration into the Kosmos through transcendence of the ego. It's interesting that Self awareness has come about through the deepening of the individual. Now that each of us are individuated to the point that we can perceive ourselves against the gestalt of the rest of the universe; we can go on to include those things within our identity. Which of course would allow a greater depth of consciousness for the Kosmos. Eventually as we include more and more as a part of "ourselves" we will reach a point of infinite diversity and infinite potential, and that would be the ultimate goal of evolution.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

AQAL Model of Reality

I posted this on another blog, but i'm not pursuing that idea now.

I would like to start out by saying that this is simply for my own referance if you want to really understand this then go to the source don't trust my information. But if you're someone out there just trying to get it all straight and you've read wilber yourself i hope this helps

The primary basis of Wilber's integral philosophy is his AQAL map of reality All Quandrant, All Level.

The Basic idea is that reality is constitued of 4 irreducable aspects. first you can devide the map in half left and right. The left representing the internal aspects of a given system or holon as wilber referrs to them. The right representing the outside or empircal aspect of a system. Once that distinction is made you again devide those halves into upper and lower quadrants. Upper represents the individual both internally and externally. Lower represents the collective internally and externally.

The reason that it is important to devide any given system up like this is because to represent it in it's entirety then you must account for all these aspects of it's existance. This system allows for one to account for these different aspects of existance without getting the speciifics tangled into each other. According to this model that is something one must not do, no aspect of a holon is reducible to another, that is essential.

It is important to address the meaning of all quadrant and all level. By all quadrant as i've explained we are referring to the irreducibility of each aspect of reality. You cannot use empirical observation to explain the internal components of a system eg. a human experiencing emotions or the meaning of the hoppi rain dance (to use a Wilber example) for the upper left and lower left respectively. One very interesting fact that turns up when you outline things in this way is the corresponding levels of each quadrant. For each level, if you look at the comparable level in the other quadrants you will see a very simaler development within it's own context. there is a part of the brain (UR) that correlates to each level of conscious development(UL) and there is a world view (LL) corresponding to each phase of techno-economic growth (LR)

To explain the all level aspect you must understand that all systems progress through development in a linear fashion overall. Not to say that there's not fluid movement up and down the scale depending the the various stimuli and the specifics of that system. Each level transcends and includes all the previous levels. Which means that anyone at the rational level of conscious development must have transcended all the previous levels such as magical and mythic levels. So someone at the rational level of consciousness would be able to incorporate and understand all the information revealed from the lower states of understanding into a more comprehensive model at the rational level. But it transcends in that you are given a new system within which to operate, so it has a creative emergence at each stage of transcendece. Stated more simply as the progression from level to level occurs something new is always added to the whole.

So that is my best attempt at a summary of this AQAL model. Refer to the title link for an image of the AQAL map and a much better summary

Saturday, April 09, 2005

E-Brain

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence is a thought provoking movie. I'm not a big anime fan so i've not totally explored the universe, there's manga and a series for this universe, and i'm told the author is quite brilliant. So, this idea may not be singular to the movie, but in my opinion is central to it. The movies spends alot of time exploring the nature and possibilites revolving around this concept.

The basic idea is that all humans are hard wired to thier own personal electronic domain or e-brain. It contains a library of information, the movie implies that people keep quotes or words and various text or files booted into thier active memory to suppliment thier own vocabulary and information available. It goes on to show you that most people's perception of the "outside world" is determined not only by our natural means but also the data being loaded into our e-brains. When one enters a particular domain in the real world you're active memory loads up any associated programs with it. Many complications ensue of course involving viruses and hackers. I highly recommend this movie

Now I would like to explore some real life parralels and possibilities. First and foremost i would point to the "blogosphere" as having major simalarities. It seems that people are using the blogosphere as a way to express and reflect upon personal experience and relivent information through posting, and as a major point of referance by viewing, and relation, communion, peer to peer evaluation by commenting/posting. So, in alot of ways it's like this huge mental extension of yourself that overlaps with the same kind of projection everyone else who is doing this has. Although i'm trying to make a serious effort to actually create information or at least referances; my main interest in the blogosphere, or the digital domain in general is for referance/informative purposes.

Which brings me to a few other points to make. The internet in general i think really falls into the category of "e-brain" but the internet itself is almost it's own entity, because of marketing and various uses and neccessities it creates. While the blogosphere is much more personal and almost "tangible" in alot of ways. One thing i'm finding very valuable is google's G-mail. This program seems to revolutionize email potential and because of it's very good labeling/archiving system offered as an alternative to folders i've been inclined to use it as my own referance library. Typically any post i put up i send a copy of it to myself and label it post, archive it, and there they are under one heading. I've made a documents for myself where i send any lists i wanna keep any interviews or articles i read that i want a copy of. I've got several other things going like a link library that i keep adding to.

A last point i would like to make is that to me this seems to be a very logical progression for what's to come. I say that because it seems to me that has always been the nature of Man's reality. There's a long list of associations that we cling to and identify with as an aspect of ourselves. I don't think that's exactly a bad thing, although i do think it's neccessary to reach a level above that and be able to act upon that fact from a removed perspective. This idea of e-brain though i think is very simaler to what man experiences if he owns a personal library or keeps a journal and then on the next level has a PC or a laptop or some of the newer cell phones or a palm pilot etc. I, for one, can see it happening...sounds like fun even!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Value of Visualization for Modern Society

I wanted to just make a point here briefly that was brought to my attention by a friend and mentor.

In the realm of spiritual discipline one has to weigh the benefits of your chosen practice against the effort exerted to go through the process. I think that this should be a real concern for people in today's reality. We don't have to much time on our hands, or simply don't know how to make the extra time we need.

When I sit down to meditate my mind is always racing with dozens of thoughts every few seconds. So considering all the stuff up there that doesn't so easily subside, it's necessary for me to invest some time in getting my mind to quiet. In all honesty, if I sit down for 30 min, then i'm most of the way through my allotted time before I can actually rest in the moment.

Now I know that with time it would become easier, but when I don't make enough time for myself to meditate anyway, and I spend most of that time struggling against my own barriers, it's discouraging. So my next question should be: what can I do to make it easier on myself?

And this is the best answer i've come across. If a person has a slow pace of life, say they live in the country and spend most of their free time on the porch listening to cicadas then they obviously don't have quite as busy a mind as someone who spends all day reading, and talking, and receiving vast amounts of unwanted stimuli from the people around them and running to and fro trying to get all their s**t done in a timely fashion.

So naturally it's going to be easier for the person in the country to slow down there mind, and they probably would take quite well to mindfulness meditations where one sits and watches moment to moment experience come and go. Now someone who is used to putting their mind to use constantly would take quite naturally to a mental task. I think that would be because it gives the mind something more "tangible" to grab hold of. Of course you're thinking that defeats the purpose, but that's not entirely true. One can bring about many states of consciousness through visualization.

So perhaps if you're like me and have trouble slowing down your mind then you can put it to good use instead. Though i'm not experienced enough to really judge for myself the value and difference of those variant approaches, it is something that has thus far seemed beneficial.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

It's Just a Ride

The world is like a ride at an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it, you think that it's real because that's how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills, and it's very brightly coloured, and it's very loud and it's fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question - is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us. They say 'Hey! Don't worry, don't be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride.' And we...kill those people. Ha ha ha. 'Shut him up! We have a lot invested in this ride. SHUT HIM UP! Look at my furrows of worry. Look at my big bank account and family. This just has to be real.'

It's just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok. But it doesn't matter because: it's just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want. It's only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings, and money. A choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourselves off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one. Here's what you can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defence each year, and instead spend it feeding, clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, for ever, in peace.

    -Bill Hicks

Monday, April 04, 2005

Buddhist Quote

If the seeker himself, when sought, cannot be found, thereupon is attained the goal of seeking and also the end of the search itself -Phadmasambhava

Thursday, March 31, 2005

What is Love?

I would like to pose this question to everyone, myself included. It has so many meanings doesn't it? It's hard to begin... On the most basic level i'd say love stands for connection or communion. Biology would explain it as horomones produced to create certain helpful urges for reproduction. Of course that's a very shallow definition only taking into account one aspect of our nature. If that is the bottom end of the meaning the organic component that anchors us in this reality, then what would be the opposite of that?

I believe Eros and Agape come into use at this point. Eros being gods love eminating out into the subjective realm, all encompassing all giving love. Agape is our ascending love for the divine. Perhaps our wonder at the miracle of existance would fit into the category of agape (correct me if i'm wrong, i'm far from scholarly)

I think that is a good aspect of love to consider: exstacy or awe, wonder etc. When we look at just how intricate and dynamic and full of meaning life around us is we sometimes can feel the almost tangible web of love binding it all together. I'm not much more than an armchair philosopher but i think that love is the power that binds our reality together, much like the Force :) If everything is ultimately interconnected subjectivity arising through coemergence(is that redudant i think those all add something)then whatever compulsion that drives our interactions. That intersubjective glue that creates our need our dependance on each other for our very identity and means of proliferating ourselves would be love, i think.

Of course there are many other forms of love. Love for our parents, love for our friends, love animals and nature, love/empathy for strangers...such a list could get pretty long. I think though that in our modern society one primary aspect of love we are concerned with is Romantic love. Falling in love is the stuff dreams are made of :) Girl and guy alike always hold fantasies about finding that perfect mate, that person that makes them feel complete. Someone who doesn't exist, really :( But that's a good thing! To grow in love we must move past such Ideals into the real world and find a radical acceptance for those in our lives instead of trying to match them to a preconfigured template. If we can realize that anyone who would choose to really love us and accept us for who we are must have all those Ideals within them. If we can learn to see the Divine in our Life Mate then we will help realize that potential in them and they will reciprocate and thus we can ascend.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Post on GenSit

I posted this today and i thought it would be good content for this site since it's relatively self contained

For me moment to moment experience is like standing on the edge of a beach at high tide. Waves of experience rush at me and crash over and through my being, whether they be human interaction or introspection, emotions, mental objects, or physical stimuli. I’m subjected to all these various forms most generated by my interior while i sit alone in a room :) I can encompass these forms but i’m also exposed to them in a way that’s beyond my control. Of course i can exercise control over my responses to them.

When i step back and observe my moment to moment awareness the first thing that stands out is a feeling of longing. I want something, what is it? And i can’t answer that question. I have a deep need it seems to come from the very center of my soul. I would interpret that as i feel like i’ve lost myself…where am i, where did i go? There’s something about myself i used to know :) I think some people would interpret this same feeling as existential angst. The Loss of Meaning. Of course i think it’s ultimately a choice you have to make do i choose to have faith in the meaning of life or get lost in it’s web?

But that feeling can be so intense sometimes it generates many different emotions and contexts for my life. Sometimes i feel so held down by my own boundaries that i become totally isolated, alone in the universe. Then other times i’m taken aback by the majesty and immensity of the universe and i feel very transcendent, very connected to the “ultimate meanings” of the universe, very connected to life in all it’s manifestations. Sometimes i’m shaken to my very core with a need, an intensification of this longing, a need to transcend myself to find some kind of tangible value beyond my day to day existence. I’m so moved by this that i feel like my soul could take flight into the heavens never to return.

I interpret this as my longing for Ultimate Union. The juxtaposition between life and death. We are thrown into this world that is seemingly completely out of control and definitely out of our control, we don’t know what’s going on, where did i come from? who am i? on what basis do i form my values? within what context do i interpret my experiences? The essential question i think. We are a part of this Divine Comedy, do we choose to find meaning or loose our souls to the outer forms? We have to create our own meaning. Can we manage to go out with our head held high and a lifetime of baggage neatly tucked away?

I feel so drawn toward this ultimate union though i am forced to find meaning within the context of that inevitable fact. I’m also equally drawn into my life, so moved by the miraculous nature of existence. I want a front row seat! Yet, i’m drawn toward my inevitable end because i know that’s where i’ll find my final meaning, but i’m juxtaposed between that need and my love of life. Which creates this state of tension a duality to the context of my life.

I think what ebuddha was saying about deep structures and inherent forms is quite important. We couldn’t be having this conversation at all if everyone hadn’t at least read about the Witness state. So obviously the more you refine your language your metaphysical framework the more context you will have within which to interpret your experiences and thus give them more meaning, finding more fulfillment within the experience itself. But it is also important to consider what the goal of these traditions, properly interpreted that is, would be.

The answer is to find yourself. To realize that everything you were ever looking for is right in front of you now. In order to find yourself… you not me… and then find Yourself… you and me… you have to have a radical dynamic acceptance of who and what you are; the experiences you have, the time frame within which you live, your own personal completely culturally/contextually driven interpretations have to be validated from within. And i think the way to do that is exactly what Sal is getting at with this post. We have to interpret this for ourselves we can’t let anyone who came before us do it.

Spiral Out, Keep Going

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Meditative Types Included In Each Major Tradition

Update: This post seems to be getting attention, so i wanted to let everyone who looks at it know that the types of meditation i took from Journey of Awakening by Ram Dass. listing it by religion, that was my idea, i think i covered most things. I can see alot of ways to improve this list and people have been making suggestions, please keep doing so, and once i get something concrete in mind i'll publish an updated version of it. Thanks!

*In no way do i intend this list to be comprehensive if anyone feels that i should add something for the sake of completeness or feels that i have misrepresented any information please let me know

Buddhist

  • mindfulness
  • mantra
  • visualization
  • formless awareness
  • movement
Note: Buddhism was influenced from the very beginning by deep meditative traditions so it has very complex systems of labeling states of consciousness in schools such as Yogacara and very simple austere practices such as vipassana in the Theravada school. It also encompasses many more variant forms of meditation such as tantra within Tibetan Buddhism

Yoga

  • mindfulness
  • movement
  • devotional
  • visualization
  • mantra
  • contemplation
  • concentration
  • formless
Note: Yoga seems to be the oldest richest form of mediation. In reference to Yoga i'm reluctant to lump it into such a category it encompasses so many ideas and concepts about union with the Divine.

Taoist

  • movement
  • mindfulness
  • visualization
  • devotional
Note: This tradition emphasized heavily movement based discipline and also visualization and manipulation of energy currents within the psychic body.

Christian

  • devotional
  • contemplation
  • mindfulness
  • mantra
Note: Although Christianity in it's modern form does not encompass meditation in general; throughout history Christian followers have had very rich mystical/meditative traditions.

Sufism

  • movement
  • mantra
  • devotional
  • visualization
Note: Sufism is commonly known for it's whirling dervishes, which is a mediative practice to induce ecstatic union with the Divine. Of course the practice is much richer and deeper than this one association. The bulwark of Sufi practice is the dhikr (Zhikr) which is chanting the divine names in "remembrance" of God's true self (You) There is no God but god

Kabbalah

  • visualization
  • contemplation
Note: This practice involves visualization of various divine ideals such as the throne of god and the tree of life

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Meditation

Over the last few days i've been attempting to track down a good overview on meditation, and haven't had much luck. Which has brought me to the conclusion that i will formulate one myself. I don't wish to do anything comprehensive, but simply to create a straightforward breakdown of meditation. I"m sure I'll leave out tons of stuff, but i'm going to cover at least the most popular aspects of practice. To begin with i'm going to break it down into two categories and then hopefully ellaborate further from that point. Types of Meditation:
  • Concentration
  • Mantra
  • Contemplation (Reflection)
  • Devotion
  • Visualization
  • Movement
  • Mindfullness
  • Formless Awareness
Major Meditative Traditions:
  • Buddhist
  • Yoga
  • Taoist
  • Christian
  • Sufi
  • Kabbalah
In the next post i will at least give types of meditation within the various traditions.