Friday, December 14, 2007

Why I love Burnt Friedman

a quote from The Wire: Burnt Friedman, 2000 by Chris Sharp:

"Ever since the arrival of the sampler, the concept of "electronic music" as a separate genre hasn´t made much sense to me. A sample is not an imitation - played, interpreted, filtered through human consciousness - it is a simulation. It saves pieces of the world for purely aesthetic purposes - like special FX - and its very nature produces fragmentation. The crucial point is that the sampler faithfully extracts only what we asked it for - the result can never offer more than the answer to whatever question we posed."

read the whole article here

Thursday, December 06, 2007

bliss bunnies are really scaredy cats

“To the sinful and vicious, I may appear to be evil. But to the good – beneficent am I.” – Mirza Khan, Ansari

I’m troubled by ‘bliss bunnies’.
There are those out there that seek nothing but happiness, that shun the troubling times and challenges that come their way. They tend to not want to face the things that do not meet the criteria of what they believe their lives SHOULD be.
We seem to be moving into a culture in which this kind of mania is being fed wholeheartedly through movies and books such as “What the Bleep Do We Know?” and “The Secret.”
I’ve fallen for the ruse myself for brief periods, yet always in the back of my mind and in my heart I have questioned what these type of beliefs represent.
Mind you, I am not against these movies/books, but am very troubled by the overly simplistic understanding that many come to after watching or reading them.
Somehow, instead of coming to understanding the simple message of personal empowerment and awareness which can be gleamed from these things, many come away with a warped view of material reality and the natural balance which occurs within it.
There is a growing belief that HUMANS can create the world and universe in whichever way they choose. A belief that as long as one is “following their bliss” that they can do no harm to others and that all is good.

I would suggest that this is one of the most crass and idiotic notions of modern times.
It tends to completely ignore the balance that is inherent in all things. It is a strictly humanist and ‘divine right’ minded viewpoint. (one could even argue through the language of Christian simile and metaphor that this represents the religion of the AntiChrist, as it most definitely fits the description of being "the religion of man"- it puts the self before all else, just as Lucifer supposedly behaved and lost his positon of highest favor for doing - it takes more balls to be humble than it will ever take to be an arrogant self-serving narcissist. and if one wants to argue that it does NOT put the self first, then i ask you what it means to impose your version of reality on a shared world without regard to the visions of others, a rather subversively violent act.)


Many try to pretend that it is a loving and caring way of being, that it intends and imposes no harm on other human beings or the world, yet if we look all around us, we notice that we are continually eroding the equilibrium of the very foundation of our fleshly existence.

Sure, one can suppose that we are spirits inhabiting flesh, but it is wrong to ignore the flesh/material part of the equation.

So many pretend that their riches come at no expense to others. I must clarify at this point that I am decidedly NOT a humanist, as I believe it to be an arrogant, species centered way of viewing the cosmos. I do NOT believe that the entire world and cosmos exist solely for the spiritual growth and realization of the human alone.
We have let our minds and rationality turn us into egocentric fools, raping everything in sight, including the pillaging of religious systems and scientific thought with the intention of proving our righteousness.

To me, this is the ultimate violent act, as it cloaks itself as holiness while demeaning the great work of the ages and the expansive understanding to which all those who seek will find an open door.



It would be excessively time consuming and rather oversimplistic for me to give specific examples of how varying ways of ‘seeking bliss’ create suffering for others. The situation is further complicated by the fact that monetary issues have becme completely abstracted and a product of the human mind – where value of money, work, service, etc. have reached a point of total abstraction and are determined by a very few elite, supposedly educated individuals and organizations within the dominant cultures of our time.

The so called ‘free market’ is not really free when there is a pyramid hierarchy controlling it with non participating investors relying on their future livelihood (i.e. retirement) on the profits of a system which is built on the psychology of rape and exploitation.

Instead of details I am providing an exercise.

One which will hopefully help people be able to come to a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the whole cosmos. One which will help take our daily lives and all that we ingest – be it food, products, culture, religion, etc. – and bring these things out of abstraction and acceptance through ignorance and oversimplification and into the realm of connection and understanding the larger more integrated dynamic and true cost of how we live.

It is very simple, yet something that will take much practice and focus.
It may call upon research for those questions which cannot be answered, and I ask each and every one of you to not simply stop when those questions come, but to find the answers so that you can take the next step.

Many secularly minded people and those who are turned off by the idea of religion or something more than the physical will possibly have a problem with the semantics of this exercise, but I ask you to think of the words as exactly that –words – representations of archetypal ideals or ways of thought. Rationalists tend to not want to admit it, but not everything in existence fits within the realm of the rational. This MUST be accepted to come to any kind of meaningful experience of life. Anything less is limiting and turning oneself into a machine. So, left-brainers and right-brainers alike, open up that channel between the two hemispheres and start making your path towards balance.


I promise you that it is worth every pain and effort you will face.
It shall be infinitely more rewarding that abstract and oversimplified “bliss seeking”



The exercise:

Growing up as a Roman Catholic, we always said grace before eating our meals. It was simple and meaningless the way it was done. It did not really bring any type of understanding as to what we were doing or what we had actually been given. It was a surface phenomenon which was very much based in the feudal mindset of accepting the gift of the master with no questions asked. As if we were not worthy of the food and/or gifts before us. While I understand the dynamics of certain rituals being used in order to maintain a state of humility, in my actual experience, this ritual did not serve this function. Not one single time did I ever feel humble or part of a greater existence due to saying grace in this way. The technology simply did not serve its intended purpose in the way in which it was meant to.

It was nothing more than a reptilian brain pattern ritual which was said and experienced without any true meaning. Sure, there may have been the overly simplified thought of “God gave us this food”, but the concept was so abstracted and oversimplified as to be meaningless. What is God? This food was obviously not simply given to us magically, so where did it come from? These questions were nowhere even close to reaching the surface in my experience at that time.

A few years ago, I felt that I finally began to understand a bit about what was really being aimed for with this ritual, and how utterly the ritual which I had been given as a child had failed me and most likely many of the others who perpetuate it in this overly simplified form. I began to realize how I personally could make this ritual meaningful and through that action create an ever increasing understanding of my relationship with all of ‘God’s’ creation and the cosmos.

I began to start to go backwards, to follow the creative process in reverse and ask the questions which I had so obviously missed as a child.

In it’s most simple form the question can exist as “What did it take to bring this thing or experience that is before me to this point in which it currently exists?”

Where did the food come from? How did it grow? What was the situation and cultural setting of those who did all of the labor to create this? What was involved in getting it to my table in terms of transportation? Packaging? Fuel? Roads? Airplanes? Farmers? The tools and technologies of each stage of the process? How much energy was used? What was the relationship and attitude towards the bigger picture and the world and biosystem as a whole at each stage of this process? Was it a profane, exploitive relationship with the world or a sacred grateful attitude?

I picture the plants growing,the seeds being sown, the previous generation being fertilized (or the horror of genetically modified seeds which are patented in the egotistical mindset that corporations have the right to own life), etc.


This exercise can be practiced in regards to anything. Even to how you ended up reading these very words.

I just realized that there is a very similar exercise to this mentioned second (or third or fourth…) hand in Robert Anton Wilson’s wonderful book “Prometheus Rising” which I highly recommend for those wishing to understand how their own consciousness works.



The reason I feel that this exercise is so important is because it sews threads.
It helps us connect to the world around us and helps us to understand REAL COST.
Cost is not monetary. The money is always only a representation of something else.



I’d like to end this post by briefly returning to the topic of “What the Bleep…” and “The Secret”. The problem I have with these movies is that they pay no heed to the internal makeup of the viewer. Giving such technologies to people who are not yet developed enough, who have not done the HEART work which is required BEFORE the headwork, is just as likely to create demons as it is enlightened individuals.

It was a long path to get there, and very troubling, but I have come to understand why esoteric orders and certain mystical hierarchies do exist. It is not to control individuals as much as it is to guide them, to allow these technologies to be trickled down to newer seekers by those who have already EXPERIENCED. It is not about dogma, it is more like a matter of safety of the individual.

Many who practice magik already know this, and quite possibly have felt the horror of overwhelming oneself by moving forward too quickly.


HEART FIRST.
Then head.
Selflessness first, then vision.
Otherwise it is all too likely that one ends up behaving like a cancer cell.
We have enough world eaters already.

I do not disavow or feel that there is nothing of value in the two movies I mentioned, but rather, that it is extremely important to understand that these are merely shallow primers.

They lack the true depth that is needed for healthy and balanced integration of the technologies which they present.
We are still taking baby steps here in the west. Best we always remember that.
We have a lot of work to do. Especially inner work.
Otherwise, we’ll end up eating ourselves and all of our fellow plants and animals out of house and home while we seek nothing more than an escape.
If we cannot manage to be at peace and make the most within a balanced relationship in this material world we are in, how can we even begin to consider that we deserve something ‘higher’?


Be very careful, as your search for escape can all too readily become your Ultimate Entrapment.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

psychic masturbation

The following is an excerpt from an article written by Kabir Helminski of the Threshold Society (a Sufic Society) for the Winter 1993 issue of Gnosis Magazine -the complete article can be read HERE (highly recommended):

" Intoxication could be viewed as psychic masturbation. Masturbation could be defined as trying to do something when you don't have everything needed to do it. Contacting the subconscious realms of significance without our full equipment is like making love without a partner. Not only is it less physically satisfying, it bypasses the emotional and spiritual dimensions of relationship. One can understand the many reasons why people do it: loneliness, impatience, narcissism. Like intoxicants, masturbation creates a tension between the fantasy and the actuality. It leaves people askew and ultimately crippled.

Can psychoactive substances ever yield psychological or spiritual benefit? A qualities "yes" suggests itself here. An experience produced by external substances may give enough of a taste of higher being to motivate someone toward awakening that state on a more permanent and stable basis, especially if the person has not already been exposed to the mature spiritual guidance that certain traditions could offer.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that the shift of perspective offered by certain drugs can also be accomplished through various other means, one of which is contact with someone who has attained higher being. While such an experience may be a bit less dramatic than a drug experience, it is less likely to cause psychological imbalance. On the other hand, such imbalances can also be caused by teachers with limited knowledge who induce certain states in their students that may, if indulged in, make them less fit for ordinary life and less capable of reaching completion."

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Dullard Sage by Farrid-Udin Attar

Lost in myself
I reappeared
I know not where
a drop that rose
from the sea and fell
and dissolved again;
a shadow
that stretched itself out
at dawn,
when the sun
reached noon
I disappeared.
I have no news
of my coming
or passing away--
the whole thing
happened quicker
than a breath;
ask no questions
of the moth.
In the candle flame
of his face
I have forgotten
all the answers.
In the way of love
there must be knowledge
and ignorance
so I have become
both a dullard
and a sage;
one must be
an eye and yet
not see
so I am blind
and yet I still
perceive,
Dust
be on my head
if I can say
where I
in bewilderment
have wandered:
Attar
watched his heart
transcend both worlds
and under its shadow
now is gone mad
with love.

Friday, November 16, 2007

getting quiet - remembering important things

Things have been quieting down quite a bit over the last week, at least with visitation to the park - Quiet in the visitor’s center. Reading time – writing time.

We had an early thanksgiving dinner last night. Had a great philoso-spiritual talk with a new friend named Marshall. Friendly moments of heated argument mixed with amazing moments of clarity.
It was a night that reminded me why I came here.
Not to chase girls, or for simple socialization, but for inner and outer clarity.
I came to slough off the excess baggage and needs.

Writing time is coming. And I am recognizing the importance of my own Great Work.
I feel a bit more psychologically prepared for the coming months of solitude.
There will still be a few people around, though not many.

Something else happened last night that was a good positive slap to wake me up from my stupor. It showed me a lot of things:Where I am, the quality of those around me….
Interesting how a bit of alcohol in people can be so revealing.

On a different note, I’ve been getting out and hiking a bit more outside of the park.
Went to Corona Arch a few days ago. There was no one out there and only saw a few people on the hike back. Very nice.

Once of the things I am discovering that feels so strange out here is being surrounded by white people. It makes for a totally different aesthetic.
If my tastes were somewhat obscure in a city like Chicago, you can imagine how obscure they are here!

I need to be making more music, more art, etc.
Socializing so much here – more than I was in Chicago actually, has been taking me a bit away from it.

I did get some great ideas and a sense of direction with where I want to take my art though while looking at some desert varnish across from Corona Arch.
It gave me an even newer concept of east meets west. Alchemy meets Anasazi.
Creating a new symbolic language that is inspired by both while trying not to mimic either too greatly.
In places such as this, art all too easily becomes a reflection of what already is or was rather than a visionary experience.
That is such a strange thing to me considering how inspiring this landscape is.
I guess it is part of earning a living from selling to tourists.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

new home

so, I know i have not been posting, but now, even though my internet access is limited to trips into Moab.
My new home is amazing, as are my co-workers.
I've been slowly posting pics to my flickr page so you should check them out sometime.

last night i finally had a good chance to go out into the park on a clear moonless night and do some stargazing. went out to Balanced Rock and had the whole park to myself.
I'll tell ya, it sure is a bit spooky to be the only human in land that is so obviously belonging to the creatures once night falls.
As i lay there on the hood of my car (to keep warm!)staring up at the Milky Way webbing its way across the sky, weaving Indra's web so delicately,hanging there as if i could reach up and tangle my fingers in it, I heard coyotes barking off in the distance.
Primal circuits were triggered as I was surrounded by the deepest shadows of the huge rock formations and brush.
Too many years in the city in the lights surrounded by millions of people really makes one feel that much more alone when in such a place as this.
I had wanted to walk out just past Balanced Rock to a great little area of slickrock that is perfect to lay out on, but without a headlamp and that primal fear hitting my gut a little bit, i couldn't quite get myself to do it.
Maybe partially because of the sighting of a Mountain Lion a ways further back in the park a few days previously. I'm sure that the big cat was nowhere near my location, yet that fear was still there!
so, ever so slowly, I reprogram my circuits, overcoming those primal fears and becoming more in tune with the park.

Many nights have been spent with my roomie Jae (jason) - who works backcountry and LE support- and Kiersa - and SEA who does kids programs -watching movies on the LCD monitor or playing cards. a few nights over the last week have been spent with some cool ass peeps from over at Canyonlands ISky (Island In the Sky - the northern section of that park) doing the same.
I'm quite enjoying hte socializing, knowing full well that in a month it will be just me, as all of them will be off on their own journeys for winter as their terms at the Parks will be over for this season.
That is when my novel writing really begins.

until then, i will try to be better about posting here as it may help get me back into the writing groove.
one can only hope!

Arches National Park and Moab are being so good to me.
The silence, the simplicity, the lighter attitude and lack of cynicism are amazing.
too bad that Ed Abbey is so infused into this place. both good and bad, and i have a feeling that my opinions and writings in regard to him and his attitude, as well as the museum attitude of the parks and the "leave no trace" mentality will piss a lot of people off. (I'l leave that 'leave no trace' bit for a later more in depth post.)

time to leave the cafe and get back to the trails.

stay tuned...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Movement

Red hawk told me to keep an eye out for signs.
In my daily tarot I’ve been getting quite telling draws:
Multiples within the last week of The World, the Tower, Ten of Wands,
Knight of Swords, Queen of Pentacles, Knave of Wands.

I’ve shed, I’ve bartered, I’ve let go, and am in Limbo…
…but just til the 15th. Then on the road.
The journey west begins.
Beyond the mountains.
To the land of Arches.
The mixture of daytime interaction with an everchanging flow of people and the nighttime solitude should be interesting and inspiring.

A book to write, art to create,
Visions to explore.

18 years in Chicago was plenty enough.
I had to go. Felt I could not stay another winter.
I’ll miss so many and so much.

I am sure there will be a lot more writing.
Though since I will not have internet at home, the posting will most likely be weekly.

Thank you to all of you who have been so generous.

Monday, August 13, 2007

DUNCAN!

Having just finished Sandworms of Dune, I have to say that it is good to see Duncan Idaho, who I have always felt to be the main character of the Dune books, finally gets his due! No spoilers beyond that, my friends.....
I have to say that Brian Herbert and kevin Anderson did an excellent job tying together the different eras and storylines of the Dune universe.
Bravo guys. Can hardly wait for Paul of Dune.

returning...

I’ve been a bit remiss on keeping up with my blog for quite awhile now, so I figured it is probably time for me to get with it a bit more again.
Maybe it is sparked by a recent blog comment asking what books I have read that have helped me along the way.

I’ve personally found that there have been certain books that have been “keys of understanding” and opened up my ability to think and understand in a more multi-dimensional and critical way.

One of the most important and core things to understand and get the most out of even the trashiest media is the use of language, image, and metaphor.
When one begins to also look at the underlying psychologies behind differing perspectives one soon begins to see that there is a basic SAMENESS to the core of many opposing views.
the same tactics and mental gymnastics and need to control present themselves over and over and we keep hearing terms such as “civilization” as if there is just one version and one way in which that concept and form of human organization can exist.
We live in a time where scientists do not usually speak in scientific terms, but rather use religious language and the attitude of zealotry in order to coerce the populace to see the world in their terms.
We are seeing priestly casts on all levels of understanding – we still have not escaped that kind of psychological slavery.
on the most simple level, it is easy to observe how in almost any argument, the participants will almost immediately fall into arguing within the framework of a “this or that” mentality, as if there are always only 2 options.
This rampant manifestation of Dualism is both regressive and a roadblock to truth and deep dialogue.

So, before I go off on that tangent, I’d rather start this new series of posts by starting to present the books that have helped me wipe the blur from my eyes.

Over time I will share and explain a bit of the understanding that I gained from some of the books, the basic ideas, and some of the unexpected ideas which struck me most and have stayed with me.

I’ll first go back to the mid nineties to the first time I really found myself CONSCIOUSLY choosing books which were of a more esoteric or new idea/new science focus.
If there is a particular author I have found to have multiple books to be interesting I will try to cover them all in one post when possible and explain what I have come to personally feel about the authors.

Stay tuned…

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

surrender!

This Love
Unstoppable
Unshakable
Expanding
With each moment
With every word
Shared.

I have
Surrendered
And by making a choice
Set myself
Free.

The Choiceless
Kept me
In misery
As the inner battle
Raged

As I struggled
Fighting with
A desire
Who’s seed was
Planted long ago.

Recognition has come.
Seeing what blooms there
And that it is beautiful
In its unpredictability
And richness.

It is
Eternal
Connection
Family
Support
My tribe
Flourishing.

My heart flies
To new worlds
New possibilities
A new flower
Vital
Lifegiving
Inspiring

Her pistil open
To my pollen
Accepting
Hungry
Anxious to fertilize
The seeds of tomorrow

My potency rises
I feel spring dawning
In my heart
There is no question
Of how it pains to be
Apart.

I feel home calling
From the center of
Her heart.
And I call in return
To let her know
We are on our way
To finding
Truth
Together.

Nothing
Can stop this now.
The path is set.
Call it fate
Or destiny
It matters not.

For we will know
Soon enough
The taste and flavor
Of our
Love.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

flower of transformation

The dance of the flower in the wind, in the sun, in the rain, cannot be understood by the head; the heart has to be open for it.- Osho


It is such a subtle and dangerous thing, this dance of the flower.
For in it, there must also be the realization of the temporary nature of the flower.
Its life is limited.
For a moment it blooms, attracting love, connection and the creation of new life in the form of the seed which is to come and be the flower which follows.
But it will not be just one new flower, it will be many, as the seed takes root and grows into an entire new plant and system which will yield its own expression of individual flowers.
The head can get too caught up in the life of the one flower, and not see this connection, this flow that is life.
It is the dance of all things, but the head of the civilized human seems to be obsessed with denying this flow – with attempting to control it and be the god, the master of it.

It is only by first being in the heart that the connections can be made and the flowers can continue to bloom.
To allow the mind alone to attempt to control this flowering will so easily stunt this growth.
To be the master of the mind and use it as a tool of contemplation as well as to move beyond it into the silence – the sky in which the clouds of thought traverse – allows one to see the truth and flow with existence. The heart must be gone through first, otherwise, the mind cannot see anything but illusion and separation and it will tear the world apart into tiny bits to be measured and known in their dead state rather than in their living being.

All is needed for the growth of the flower.
Death to feed the soil, sun to feed the transmutation of base elements into the shell of life form, rain – storms – to give the tears of life which fill the body, the shell, and gives form to the body. Air, the freedom of the currents of invisible elements and energies brings the breath of life, the very fuel which feeds the transmutaion.
Without any of these things, the flower will not reach it’s full beauty and its dance will not reach the higher levels of ecstasy, of gnosis, of experiencing the all that is.

Too much of any of these things will also harm the growth of the flower.
Too many tears, too much heat from the sun, air that is too cold or hot…
All of these things can take away life from the flower.

We can fashion our surroundings, the “garden” – which can be defined as any human influenced and controlled environment, an environment not exclusively ruled by natural chance – but it must be done in tune, in resonance with nature’s ebb and flow.
To do otherwise does not only create more work and less sustenance in the long run (and a negative equation in terms of energy spent for energy gained), but is in itself an act of war against nature and the very cycles and flow of life which has given rise to our ability to contemplate and witness it.

The gift of this ability to contemplate has been given to us by this nature – call it god, call it existence, call it life, call it evolution, it does not matter.
Whatever its name, it is all the same. We have been given our very existence by it.
We did not create ourselves by choice.

It is in accepting the gift we have been given that we can begin to bloom and dance.
If we have resentment for the gift, if we see it as a curse, we cannot see the beauty that is around us. Our eyes become clouded with our anger and distrust.

Considering that civilized human has created the framework in which we live in a way which is at odds with this natural flow, it is only to be expected that there will be great pains in finding this flow and manifesting it on our lives.

At many junctures we have to go against it in order to provide food and shelter for ourselves and to seek the very nourishment we need to get back into the flow.
This is where the technology and mindset of transmutation, the art and science of the alchemist can become a very wise and useful tool.
To simply refuse to use the raw materials, the base matter that is provided by civilization, by the society, is to cut off ones roots prematurely.
It is understandable once one sees the flow that this desire for disconnection from the illness occurs.

I myself have done this - cutting roots in the name of ideas, of philosophies, and it has left me without some of the raw materials which would now provide the base elements for the seeds I have been germinating to grow.
So the roots seek out wider, farther.
Yet the soil I am in has as much richness as any, if I only know how to transmute, to transform it. I could have made the situation easier if I had not cut roots before, but the potential for the growth is still there, it is just a more difficult process.
The lead can be turned to gold once one finds the proper technique, and each flower has its own way of finding this transformation.

There is no one way which is right and proper for all.
This is why we cannot teach each other truth, we can only hint at it and share our own experiences of it.
We are all created and maintained by our own paths and ways of transmuting the world into the place we want to put our roots, the place we wish to flower and dance.

So let us shed out pollen as we dance and sway in the wind, and make the most of what we have, creating beauty out of all that we find ourselves rooted in.
It is our nature.
We are all flowers, artists, creating our lives and our shared world as we transform what we are given into what we want to be.
So why not make it all beautiful?
Why not celebrate life in all of its manifestations?
This is the only way to be whole.
One must accept it all.
It is the only way.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Raw Power Elixir





See her
Rolling in
With thunderous might?

She shakes my branches

Dangerous delight!

Her eyes,
Thunderbolts
Pierce my skies
Cracked open wide

Filling me with light.

Riding the currents
of
sea & sky
Across great waters
O'er old Atlantis
Hearts fly.

Heads roaring
Souls growing

A virtual arrival.
I'd been waiting
To see you rising
O'er eastern skies

Revealed through
Electric lines
Phantom & Feline

Intertwine

The Feline

Sees
Hidden things

Like Phantoms

With clear wide eyes

Recognizing the art
Which the Phantom possesses:

To

Enter

Into

The deepest part

of

His

Being,

He greets her

With

His

Luxurious

Warm

Smile.



Welcome home.