Saturday, May 5, 2018

Sadomasochistic Seekers

I've spent most of my life seeking and consequently most of my life rather unhappy. Seeking is proportional to madness because it is predicated on a lie - there is something I'm lacking. "Enlightenment" is seen by many as the righteous opposite to seeking the external aka materialism and is therefore a "better way". However, from my experience (key word "my"), most people seeking internally are as miserable as those seeking fulfillment externally but they boost their ego by thinking "at least I'm trying to do the right thing". When I say "they" I include myself in that because I have had those thoughts.


I was fed up with my career and society as a whole so the end of last year I told everyone I was done with the film business. I wanted to do something that "mattered". This February  I found myself back in the Peruvian jungle. My intention was to get involved with permaculture work in the jungle and hopefully that would somehow open some doors. "At least I'll be helping the planet" I thought self righteously. Sitting chatting on the day I arrived with the friends I would be helping out, I felt a very strong impression from Pacha Mama. We had been talking about the eco-crisis in the jungle and world at large when I thought "this is why I'm here, what can I do to stop this?" I began to feel powerless and a little angry when suddenly I heard "I don't need your help. I could shake you off any time I want to but there is always a bigger system than the one you see. Most of those obsessed with protecting me are doing so because they need to have a righteous cause to identify with. You're job is to live as responsibly as you can and not concern yourself with trying to save me." I was thrown for a huge loop. Why was I here then???




My friends were building a small, simple jungle house a few hundred meters down the road from their agriculture eco project and beliving I had construction experience I offered to help. I ended up building a concrete countertop which took the better part of the month due to most everything having to be cut by hand and using an assortment of reclaimed lumber for the form. The building site was 4km from the edge of town (about 6.5km to the center) so it was sufficiently in the jungle to provide much time alone. Sometimes I would walk (or eventually ride my bike) to town in the evening but even being around people, I was alone. My Spanish was having a hard time improving due to not interacting with many people and for the first couple weeks I felt like I had suddenly become stupid. I knew I wasn't but it still was humbling and made the wall of my own thoughts much more apparent. So many things went through my mind as I worked on the form but the main points are as follows: The universe is much bigger than you and doesn't care how you expect it to act. There's nothing to figure out, just be. The only thing you control is your attention.





Before I arrived in Peru this second time, I thought I knew things. I had come to understand that I don't know much in the scope of life but I still thought I knew how to pour concrete for instance. The mix and drying time in the jungle are significantly different than I was used to. Everything truly is relative and knowledge is specific to certain parameters. I thought I was a hard worker but discovered really it's largely due to the fact that I grew up where the temperature and humidity weren't oppressive most of the year. All the things we consider as us and hold with pride or shame are all bullshit. They're a bunch of environmental conditions that we have chosen to hold on to. Sometimes the universe says "I know you don't mean to be, but you're kind of an asshole", or it did to me. Our technology and machinery have separated us from the earth to where we feel an illusory mastery over her. However, when you step back from all that we've created and experience yourself against the backdrop of nature - you realize how insignificant each of us and our problems are. Does human civilization matter to anyone but humans? I highly doubt any portion of the animal kingdom would miss us but yet we continue to seek and destroy. It might sound odd but feeling my place in things was rather comforting. I didn’t have to take all the pressures of figuring it, whatever "it" is, out. 






Upon returning home I still felt a lot of peace and contentment but as things from the frantic society of the United States have begun to press in, I've found myself seeking once again and proportionally unhappy. The "civilized" world is so out of touch due to it's own detached arrogance that we heap piles of should onto others and ourselves as if we are in control. We hope to change the future and therefore ameliorate the past all the while living in a vortex of hellish judgement. 

The lie / mantra of seekers says: you are separated from xyz and you won't be whole without it. That could be "god" due to some kind of sin (sin only means without) or maybe it's a feeling like being loved; regardless of the situation, something is wrong and the I feels the need to fix it. The unhappiness that drives seeking is based purely in a belief system, not something real. I, the Ego, self - all are constructs of a string of memories that you have chosen to accept as truth. It’s a closed loop that is incapable of growth because growth naturally sheds.  Let me prove to you that for separation to have power, it requires a closed system. The greater your separation, the larger / more desperate the need. Three illustrations follow:

1. Raise a bowling ball 10 meters off the ground and it will leave a dent in the earth. Drop the same bowling ball from two miles and it will go right through a house. Now, break free of the earths gravity and the same ball floats around rather innocuously.

2. Charge a capacitor and then separate the plates, the voltage rises proportional to the distance. This is voltage (also called potential) could theoretically be increased infinitely however at some point the charge would bleed off because just like the bowling ball, eventually one of the parties leaves the system and breaks the bond dissipating the charge. 

You travel abroad and meet a lover whom you pine for upon your return home. Quite out of nowhere you now follow the news about their home country, a place perhaps you never cared about before - watch and cheer for their sports etc. Six months, a year goes by and suddenly you meet someone locally - the charge is sapped off so to speak. All energy takes the path of least resistance and is always looking for a ground / balanced state. 

Conditioning feels true until you are outside the insulation of the system where the built up charge can suddenly dissipate upon coming in contact with the proper grounding incident. That could be a person, an event or simply just a thought that happens to float through your head one day but what triggers it is unimportant. The key is that it's all just a matter of being stuck in a belief system that is a feedback loop. It screeches so loudly that everything contradictory is drowned out. Unplugging the speakers and listening to the silence for a bit is a good metaphorical way to start. 

Many people will say that they "believe in the impossible" meaning "supernatural" or "paranormal" events but the language betrays an unwitting condescension and statement of the actual state of their belief system. Many of the English words used in to describe are based in what I would call "disempowering beliefs". Take "limitless" - to be without limit. That is predicated on the idea of what a limit is. Saying "whole" is different than using the word "unbroken", sure it's a nuance but it still means something. If you didn't have any words, you would have very few thoughts so the words you use have a lot to do with the way you think and perceive life. Do you believe in the impossible or that all things are equally as possible? It's not that you can have the concept of whole without the concept of broken, the point is where is your focus.

I realized that if I say "I feel lost" that implies there is somewhere I think I should be other than where I am. It's not about going on a witch hunt but more about being conscious of the program you are running, deleting it one line at a time with your actual truth, not the bullshit that you were told was the truth for everyone. There is no seeking, all things are accessible right now because all of time and space are connected and non-linear. What we seek (or run from) never is a thing but only an idea that persists for as long as we give it our attention.

At some point in the writing history of this website, I believe I wrote a post extolling the benefits of asking the simple question "why?". I can’t be bothered to search through them all to be certain, but regardless of whether I wrote about it or not, I believed it and now it’s time to recant. I thought that it was the key to figuring out life and personal growth because with sufficient repetition you could unravel any problem. What I would like to submit now is that end of childhood begins with the asking of "why?" They don’t come programmed with words so it’s something that they learn, most likely because they are asked "why did you do that?" usually before being punished. This teaches them to begin defining reality in causal constructs which most people view as a good thing. However, the learned cause and effect is only relevant in a specific system so questioning the "why" of anything is ultimately only fencing you more inside your mind. About the only real answer to the question "why?" is "because you believe it to be". Yesterday I felt like doing something but then the mind jumped in and asked "why? Why do you want to do that?" It wasn’t like the morality was really questionable on anyone’s standards but more of a "what’s the point?" That’s when this change of perspective regarding "why" happened. I’ve seen a lot of things in life both "spiritual" and "material" that didn’t seem to be what they claimed and consequently developed a rather ridged control over "what I believed". I thought being a non-aggressive skeptic was smart, wise, perhaps even good but now I’ve found it to be arrogance and condescension based in fear. Ego, science, religion, history - all are the past intruding on the present, creating the "future": a set of possibilities limited only by your beliefs. 

Inside a LCD (liquid crystal display, what you are probably reading this on now) are several layers of material that convert a stream of information into an image. An over simplification of the device follows: back light, polarizer (5), lcd element (2), polarizer (1. 90° relative to first). The two polarizers block all the light from the back light due to the interference pattern (like pickets in a fence).
When electricity is applied to segments of the liquid crystals, they change their angle of orientation creating a conduit allowing light to pass. (If you want to dig into light polarization further check out this video on Bells Theorem). Essentially, the angle of the crystal defines the possibilities coming out the other side. Screen savers were developed because old CRTs would get "screen burn" where the phosphorus coating would be permanently etched if one image remained for too long. LCD's have a similar issue called "image persistence" where the crystals have a predilection towards the persistent alignment.  Image persistence is generally correctable through a couple simple methods: 1. Power down the monitor for an extended period of time. 2. Use a screen saver that is essentially a pixel wipe. 3. Set the entire screen to one color to reset all the crystals. Why am I still talking about imaging technology? It’s all an analogy. We are made of fluididity, vibration, change - our only definition comes from who we believe ourselves to be. The mind is the liquid crystal with the polarizers of society only passing through what our conditioned beliefs permit. 

Imagine the entirety of the universe being a single conscious photon. The only way for it to experience anything would be through reflection. No two beings have the same experience of you as you. We are all mutually reflective of god experiencing itself infinite ways through these forms. As perfect and whole as we believe it to be. 

Only a heart and mind that do not wish: to define, confine, unravel the divine - simply accepting it is all around, will find the end of seeking intersects with infinity.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Cutting Edge

If I asked you to describe “what the function of a knife is”, what would you say? There are a number of actions that could be accomplished with an edged implement depending on your utility - weapon or tool; however, it all can be distilled in the following description: a blade divides or separates things. Amputations, slicing a pie, life from a body - all are separating something whole.

When most people learn math they are told “subtraction is the opposite of addition and division is the opposite of multiplication”. This however is false. Subtraction is opposite to addition but it is also the conceptual doorway to imaginary numbers and debt. Division differs from multiplication because if you multiply whole numbers together, you will always get a whole number as the product; this is not always the case with division ergo they are not the same. Multiplying is adding in sets and the Japanese have a very ingenious way of demonstrating this visually with intersecting lines which stand for different powers of ten (here is a link Japanese Line Multiplication if you would like to see a video). When you divide something you are saying “how many pieces can I separate this thing into?”. Before we go too far down the mathematical philosophy rabbit hole, let’s get back to knives.

In any primitive society the ability to create a sharp edge would be one of the first and possibly the main tool to springboard significant advancements in many fields. Which is curious because if you look at many “eastern philosophies” they are based on the idea that division is not only illusory but is the cause of the illusion. It seems as if you could parallel “societal evolution” with the expansion of the illusion commensurate to the technology of the time which serves to separate us further and further from everything natural. That may seem like a paradoxical statement due to the wireless age “bringing the world closer together” but the old axiom “believe half of what you see and less of what you hear (or read)” seems to have been lost on most internet users as they assume that what they ingest on a daily basis is an accurate representation of reality.

Particularly now with our ubiquitous electronic gadgets, we have created a cacophony of electromagnetic noise that our bodies are effected by at a molecular level. MRI, EEGs and the like have shown that our brains operate on, radiate and are effected by electromagnetic radiation. Up until a hundred years or so ago, there was essentially no EM (electromagnetic) pollution and the further we have pushed ahead into our digital age, the further disconnected from nature and ourselves we have become as well as experiencing an explosion in “diseases” and “conditions”. All of this pollution very likely serves as a jamming signal blocking out the natural field from the earth and cosmos. This could account for why you physically and mentally feel different after spending some time in remote places far away from any “modern technology”. Your biological rhythms synchronize back up to the earths field which promotes health and well being.

I still haven’t come back to the knives. In the Christian Bible it says “The word of god is quick and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword. Piercing even to the dividing asunder of souls and spirit, joints and marrow...” Hebrews 4:12. There’s the dividing again and in Ephesians 6:17 it calls the “Word of God” the “Sword of the Spirit”. There is also a “belt of truth” perk in that armor package which is interesting because the “word of god” is also referred to simply as “truth” other places in the book which kind of makes the belt and sword the same thing but I digress.

To one way of thinking (or non-thinking) truth and falsehood are illusory. Adherence to a belief in distinctions is the cause of “samsara” “being stuck in the same pointless cycle”. As soon as you define something as “immutable truth” you have taken an invisible sword “dividing asunder” what heretofore was whole. In Genesis when it talks about the forbidden fruit in Eden, it says in was from "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil". This implies that the condition of "good and evil" pre-existed however, what if this were not entirely the case? The act of accepting good and evil as a concept and consequently the act of "disobedience" creating a separation from "god" could be the partial "genesis" of why the world is how it is today.  Kat Williams does a great bit about insurgents that conveys this point. “They use words you cannot identify on the news to confused you. ‘today five insurgents were killed...’ Whatever, I ain’t got one insurgent friend, kill em all”. This is a paraphrase but illustrates the point of how separation through distinctions held as true has brought human civilization to where it is now - the epic struggle over various peoples views of what is good and evil and how they are different. Clearly this is something that is learned because "animals" can be taught what they "should" and "shouldn't" do even expressing guilt and shame, joy and gratitude. A pet's culture is usually limited to their "owner" so the canine community seems to have a huge range of perceived intelligence and social capabilities. Humans however, have the vantage of a much larger pack system and our expectations of each other are much more standardized.

Shamans believe that all time is now which makes sense according to some theories in physics. This means that the Heaven and Hell people talk about aren't destinations like Fiji or Siberia - it is a state of being which is why Christ said to be like a child if you wanted to enter heaven. A child hasn't been programmed yet. You know they are when people comment on how adult they are acting - meaning you do what is expected of you. That doesn't mean you cannot be mature and still be innocent but innocence is generally coupled with being unfettered. This offends people who are locked into a particular mindset due to holding onto past experiences. Every mental / emotional state is available now it's just a matter of how you let your perception direct your attention. Of course this may additionally upset people because you aren't "reacting to things like a normal person" but isn't that the point?

I don’t think technology is bad necessarily but I do think the level of integration and use is grossly exceeding healthy limits. Technology is mostly a synthetic for what we are all capable of but have lost the knowledge of its possibilities. Perhaps it’s not just the knowledge but lack of belief uncoupled from attachment to a result. The first time, or first week of sitting in meditation "trying to have an open mind" without having had a “mystical experience” or at least gained some peace many give up. Humans have a terrible habit of expecting skills that take time to develop be innate. For example most parents and teachers will tell children to “concentrate” without ever teaching them how. This leads to the child accepting the belief that “I cannot concentrate. I’m just not good at it. I have AD.. (you fill in the blanks)”. Very few people are competent on their first experience with something new but because things move at such a fast pace in most of the world today we forge ahead covering up our panic and “insufficiencies” with distractions and escapism.

Ready Player One is a vision of the not too distant future that seems unnervingly accurate. People are absorbed with the virtual world because the real world is such shit. With everything going on in the world now available to consume digitally, the 24/7 fear mongering, there is a lot to want to escape from but that’s slapping a bandaid on a sliced jugular. With all the school shootings, many folks bandy about gun control, others scream about it but I’ve not heard a single person say “our society is sick and this is a symptom”. There seems to be a lot of truth in the Celestine Prophecy specifically where it says, in our disillusionment with monarchs and religion we turned to science to give us an answer. Since no answer has been returned, we have settled for pursuing technological advancement for the purposes of our own comfort but also as something to do to maintain an illusion of control over our fate or at least distract us from it.

Is division of things wrong? Should knives be banned from the next time civilization reboots? Is truth a fallacy? Those are questions I will leave for you to ponder because my belief system is that people need to learn to hear themselves and connect to whatever it is that has heart for them. The only recommendation I could have is get to know yourself. Who are you if you stripped everything away? Is what you perceive yourself to be simply the compilation of your memories, "achievements" and experiences or is there something more? The modernized world operates with a majority of the population running down a road of debt and hard work chasing the carrot of retirement only to have no teeth left to chew it with when they finally get it. Retirement is about the idea of being free to do what ever it is that you want but in addition to many having little physical stamina, they also have no clue who they are or what they want and simply waste away filling their time with TV, food, alcohol, whatever. All those wanting freedom but "working for the weekend" to escape the week and feel temporarily free, valuable energy (time, money etc) are frittered away. What are we ultimately trying to escape? Personal honesty is a knife I think I can endorse.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Be Water My Friend

This statement by Bruce Lee, "be water my friend", came across my path about a month ago as a clip in some sort of inspirational montage. I had been puzzling about what the statement meant (as foolish as that might sound to some) at the moment I looked up and saw the photo of Mr. Lee with the quote in the kitchen of our rented flat in Berlin two weeks ago. Freaked me out for a second but water keeps flowing - so I let life move on, meaning I went back to thinking "whoa! That's crazy! What does this mean?" In the midst of my mental analysis I was impressed by the a different type of thought the same way you hear the bass come in on a song, and it was this - being does not involve thinking.

Back stateside work resumed thrusting me into a situation that would challenge me and the concept of being like water. I have been worked by the production / entertainment industry for over seven years and it has illuminated many things. I say "I've been worked by..." because that's what work is - transformation. When you are playing you are creating with the flow of life. Work on the other hand says "this isn't the way I want it to be so I'm making some modifications". We "work a material, the soil, etc" but we "play" a musical instrument. Film production is an amalgamation of many strange, socially awkward people who's daily interactions are like gargling with hydrochloric acid. I'm about as normal as I can get in my reality which means I'm one of those many weirdos trudging around a film set. A saving grace of the industry (for many people) is that every project has an end date giving you the pressure relief valve of "I only have to put up with #jackass for x more days". The second saving grace of the film business and life in general is that every day ends eventually as well. When you are stuck "on set" for a number of hours to be determined by whoever is running the asylum (ultimately the UPM - the individual with a tight grip on the money supply) it can feel a bit like being a well paid prisoner. 
Years ago when I told a sound mixer that I wanted to get into the film business he said I should buy a short book he wrote on the topic. It was called something like "So You Want to Work in the Film Business???" and told me all the things I could understand but not comprehend until I actually experienced it myself. Thinking back on the book during this week of work I had a good laugh at my self - I had been informed but I couldn't grasp what it meant because I had an agenda which skews everything. What was so stressful about this week of work? For starters, I worked for a new department head - one with a resume that includes some of the biggest movies of all time. He's actually a very nice, chill man but the dynamics on the production were rattling everyone and I came in on what was described by one of the core guys as "the most I've ever seen our boss upset". Thankfully there has been no screaming in my department but the air is filled with tension (and atmospheric smoke) so thick you could cut it with a 4 x 4 solid (film joke). Nothing is ever right or fast enough for someone. You are constantly being shushed all day by the PAs (little minions of the AD department) and last but certainly not least, our set was mostly on the top floor of an old house pumped to the gills with so much smoke it looked like a Cypress Hill concert along with about 25 bodies and equipment shoved in whatever nook and cranny we could find. You're tripping over each other all day, going from sweating as all the bodies and lights heat up the space while the AC is off for sound and then back to freezing when they crank it back up during the scene changes / setups. 
Three days in I was ready to quit but had promised my buddy that I would be there for two weeks and didn't want to leave him hanging. Gritting my teeth and reaching for the "only two weeks of this" lever, I was again impressed upon by a different tone of thought reminding that this was how you learn to be water. Serendipitously, on Thursday, youtube suggested a documentary of sorts about water with research into a slew of facts that were mind blowing. For the sake of brevity I'll only touch on one: the ability to concentrate flow velocity in the center of a body (river, stream, creek, etc) by working with the water instead of trying to block it completely with a damn, a sluice, what have you. By creating a path of less resistance you tap the energy of what is already there by strategic placement of your own. Several martial arts disciplines are primarily defensive, that is to say non-aggressive. They teach how you use the energy of what is coming at you to your own advantage. Perhaps this is why Bruce Lee understood water. 
We are born a block of code. A story of who and what we are supposed to be. Life comes rushing along and begins to remove bits of that granite block we consider to be "I" and "Other" mixing them together and carrying it off to be used elsewhere. Flow constantly shapes it's environment - it is the natural impermanence of eternity. An hour before watching the youtube video I had a mental picture of the abrasiveness of life's situations shaping me like the blows from a chisel on a hunk of marble liberating the figure inside. We suffer because we try to hold onto a shape slapping concrete over the chunks being taken off, adding a little barbed wire into it so no one might be foolish enough to try and liberate that part of you again. Time flows through us and our perception of time is a completely relative experience. It only appears to be synchronized because there is a greater system outside of ours which can be referenced and compared. 
You are your awareness not what you are aware of. All the data that enters your sensory organs aka your entire body, is just that data - information. The universe is purely information. Information which is then perceived and judged a certain way by each individual observer. Constant judgement requires an exhausting amount of energy so our brains compress the informational flow in a very binary sense. When something new enters our awareness we devote more focus on it (which equates to perception of time) until a determination is made of safe / unsafe. Once the status quo has been rectified as nothing to worry about the brain powers down a bit and says "same, same, same" to all the information coming in until there is something new. It's very similar to how computers compress information. The proportion to which you are trying to define and control things will determine the latitude of your experience. Think of it like trying to stream video. Decreasing bandwidth begins making the image blotchy because less information can be fit in the pipe per second. Judgement of the present moment is akin to throttling the flow. It causes life to appear to both whiz by retrospectively while you presently feel stuck in never ending misery. 
"Radical Acceptance" of the present moment where you cease to judge things as good or bad can seem counter intuitive. Probably because it is counter intuitive to a majority of the world views. Many people perceive this state of mind as callous, uncaring, insane or potentially frighteningly unexciting. "If you don't have opinions then what's the point of life?" Cats like catnip, dogs fall asleep from it - but I have a feeling that neither of them stay up nights obsessing about it (unless you have an insomniac canine). The only reason we choke the flow of awareness is because we are trying to convince ourselves that we have control. Control is an illusion. We think that because we decide to do something, go to the convenience store for example, our feet carry us there and back with "no event" some how that "I am in control". Obviously this has varying perceived levels with those with the most resources as the ones most in control. I'm laying on my bed typing this as hurricane powered winds threaten to drop limbs on the roof. Nature is a constant reminder that we have no control but we continue to try and defy her to our own perpetual chagrin. 
Instead of fighting what is flowing my motto has become "be as comfortable as possible". Instead of saying "this is a good moment" and "this is a bad moment" you appreciate them all like the notes in a song. No note lasts forever unless you continually replay it in your memory. I've found that when I say "I don't like people" I really mean "I don't like being around people because I don't think I can be myself". Our judgements add weight to either side of our existential teeter totter which we constantly strive to tip at least slightly in the "pleasure" direction. It's the attachment to these weighing stations that is part of the issue but also the placement of your fulcrum. What use is a seesaw that is out of balance? Balance is what allows play to be had. Those people who have understood how to be water are the ones who say that they don't "go to work", they feel like they are playing on a daily basis. 
Be Water My Friends.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Size 12 Intentions

I just returned from a walk with my four legged fur friend. A walk for both exercise and training. She's two years old and smart as a five year old human (at minimum). I taught her how to catch by saying "catch" and throwing a toy to her which she watched approach and bounce off her nose. I picked it up and said "watch me....this is catching....catch" throwing the toy up in the air while saying "catch" and then grabbing it in my mouth. "I sure hope you got that because this toy is dirty! Catch!" I tossed it over and she snatched it out of the air like a pro. Point being is that she's highly capable of learning and seems to enjoy it. What she also enjoys is thinking she's top dog or can at least run with them. This returns us to the walk.

Every topic has a potentially overwhelming number of points of view (especially when you get online) so I in no means claim to know how to best work with canines. One of the first methods I heard for training animals was by some famous Hollywood animal wrangler whose name I cannot remember. His method however, made sense so I have worked in that system. The short version (that I recall) was this: Get the animal to learn to pay attention to you. This requires no strict protocols or complicated routines. Procure a long lead (several meters in length) attach it to a collar that constricts in some way (his belief was that the pinch collar was actually more humane than the choker collar but I digress). Wander around a space large enough that the dog can run well beyond the limits of the lead if detached. Set the pup loose and do your thing. As you both move in varying directions the student begins to learn that it has a limit and then that it is defined by the position of the teacher. Of course this isn't likely completely apparent at first but over a length of time you shorten the lead till it's no longer necessary and they trot along at your heel. This is what my little friend is in the process of learning.

Still being a bright and perky little fur ball, Tesla (that's her name), it's natural for her to be wanting to inspect everything along the way or run off when she see's a cat. That's why we take walks with the lead; so she see what life is all about before taking the restrictions off. It's what childhood is for us - a perspective we then operate on subconsciously. I still haven't talked about the walk really have I? Due to walking with the limits of visibility and unpredictability of drivers on the streets around my home, I opted for a shorter lead. This inclines Tesla to pull ahead right to where it's uncomfortable which is obviously counter productive. I began walking a bit more slowly while making random movements on occasion which seemed to make sense for her since she began hanging back just a bit so she could see what I was doing. There is no need for this to be a vicious process, though it may induce a bit of pain, but pain and pleasure are the programming matrices of life.

[side bar]
Camera dollies are used on a daily basis in the film business to adjust camera height on the fly, create movement - a lot of reasons. Many dolly grips have a monitor which allows them to see exactly what the camera sees but it's amateur hour to rely on one. As my buddy Paul told me when I first pushed a  dolly (not to be confused with A dolly) "if you are making a move with the actor, look at their feet not the monitor. The monitor will fuck you every time". This of course all while smoking a Camel unfiltered cigarette next to the no smoking sign. *hyperbole level 50%.*
Turns out that you don't spend 17 years doing something and not know a thing or two about it: the monitor will, to be blunt, fuck you every time. Even if you look at another part of the actor's body, say the shoulders, you will still be late because their feet have already begun a motion that the rest of the body is catching up with. It would take a frame jarring dose of acceleration at this point to achieve what was intended in the camera rehearsal.
[end ]

What's all this mumbo jumo about dogs, camera dollies and feet? It's simple: whichever way your feet go, you go. In general we would say that is the direction in which we are looking however, this is not always the case. How about when you are startled and your body seems to want to jump in opposing directions and you get tangled up. You can walk or run whilst not looking in front of you but a collision is highly probable. Your feet go where you intend but not necessarily where you are attentive. Vision or "looking" are under the heading called "our attention". I can look at something with my eyes while intently focusing on listening but the image is relatively ignored by my attention because it is on the auditory reception. Until today I haven't thought about my feet a considerable amount because well, I haven't thought about much of my body. Recently, It's started piping up and asking that I treat it with more kindness. The chiropractor told me that I'm a bit of an oxymoron - super flexible but with muscles that seem to be overcompensating for that flexibility by stringing themselves taut like a guitar. A fitting analogy for how I've felt psychically (this is meant as every form of "non-physical" experience).

I've read of a practice that some indigenous tribes perform where a group of people all walk single file attempting to synchronize not only their footsteps but also their breathing. Following someone's footsteps requires a good bit of attention not to mention adding the breathing synchronization. The attention however is set by the intention: to move as one. Purely due to our form, our feet are the first thing to move, short of physical anomaly, so the matter of feet is purely academic. Where is your intention? That's the important question. If your attention and intention are misaligned, you're bound for a run in either with an object or the end of the lead. As I made the random changes in direction on the walk today, weaving around imaginary obstacles, I thought "is this why life takes us on so many whacky journeys? So that we learn to hang back a bit and trot along trusting that the direction the feet are going is cool?" At that point whether a lead was attached or not becomes irrelevant. Trust and control are opposing concepts yet you could say that "constantly being controlled by the universe leads to trusting it".

"Welcome to life! Where are you headed and for how long will you be here? Somewhere and Forever? Fantastic choices. Please step over here to be controlled by immigration. Have wonderful day - and night of course."

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Symbiotic Contradictions

Friday, seven a.m. We are on the train
to Poland and I'm hoping to get some rest. I've been awake since the
morning before – sleep just wouldn't come last night so I lay there
until in the immense silence that is night time in Berlin until the
alarm went off at 5. Sometimes my mind feels like it's connected to
one of those fiber optic lights with all the little strands; however,
imagine that each of these strands is connected to a diversity of
data streams. It makes describing how I arrived at certain points of
pondering rather laborious not to mention potentially taxing to the
patience of any readers. Each stream contributes something to the
synthesis of a vague form, the skeleton if you will, upon which the
rest of the thoughts are fleshed out. The bones of this beast are
control.

So much of what we do in life is in an
attempt to control outcomes, using our intellect to create what we
perceive as the “best case scenario” (BCS). When things aren't in
that “best case” most people look for something or someone to
blame. It's a special sense of pride, subterfuge really, that
constantly blames itself instead of someone else because “at least
I'm not being an asshole to people that don't deserve it.” Of
course turning the venom inward as opposed to outward is only better
for those who perceive an advantage in it. i.e. righteousness, like
everything else is a matter of perception. No matter what the
percentages of blame are that each individual dishes out, some amount
of personal control is perceived to be in their power. How many times
have you been told what you “should do”? Usually it's because
someone has been inconvenienced by your BCS clashing with their BCS.

Without going into the myriad details,
I've felt rather out of control over many things in my environment
recently. The message I was getting through the early morning hours
was this:
Control is an illusion.
There is only what happens and how we
perceive it.
Trying to change what is, is insanity.
You can ride a wave or be swallowed by
it;
Eventually all waves diminish to a
ripple -
until reconstituting into the next
one.

Purchasing tickets to Poland had been a
bit of a magilla (availability of coordinating trips, printer issues
etc) and I questioned whether it was wise to push forward with the
trip. No matter, if it wasn't meant to be, then it wouldn't happen.
The first big variable was making the tram to the train station which
went without a hitch. As we were walking toward Hauptbahnhof (Main
Train Station) my partner, who had been nervous about the moving
pieces, smiled and gave a sigh of relief commenting “everything is
going so well.” “Please” I remarked wryly “I don't need a
running commentary on how the day is going.” “Hey you have your
passport right?” I added as it popped into my mind. She stopped
dead in her tracks “shit! No, I don't” she replied her face
falling. “Well it's too late to go back so we'll just see what
happens” I encouraged and kept walking toward the Bahnhof. There is
no point in being angry, or feeling anything significant emotion in
many situations if you aren't attempting to control.

After checking the platform display, we
proceeded to our train, found our seats and sat down all without
event – the nervousness a complete waste of energy. Right on cue,
the train pulled out of the station and I thought “well, maybe we
will make it after all” and tried to lay my head back for a rest.
Whoever designs headrests for airplanes and trains does not do it
with people of my stature in mind. As I attempted to get somewhat
comfortable without disturbing the apparently very particular older
Polish woman sharing the same booth with us, but finally gave up and
stared out the window. The stream of thoughts from the early hours
continued but now on a different track. My blog popped up and all the
things I tried to puzzle through in the writing of my musings. After
the last four years of slogging through an often circuitous route, I
was struck by the immenseness of how foolish I was. GoT flashed into
my mind and I saw Ygritte admonishing everyone's hero “you know
nothing Jon Snow”. I sure as shit know nothing.

Thirty minutes into the trip the hammer
fell and smashed the plans as my partner is asked for her ticket and
passport by a very polite yet serious German train official. We have
to get off at the border town – Frankfurt (Oder). Ride the wave
I think to myself. The woman sharing our compartment left shortly
after and my partner began to cry blaming herself. We talked through
it and decided that we would just get off and check out Frankfurt
(Oder) and make whatever we could out of it. Poland wasn't going
anywhere. I'll skip ahead and spare you the details but we ended up
being able to visit the Polish border town Slubice by completely
legal means. The rest of the day ended up being a wonderful
experience as we just took one moment at a time and let it assemble
into the uniqueness that was the day called August 25, 2017 on a
planet called Earth (quite possibly only by those living on it,
highly unlikely that's what she calls herself).

Maybe
it was walking 25km, or maybe it's Maybeline, but I slept last night
quite well. Over a late breakfast of whatever we had rummaging around
in the fridge, I and my female counterpart discussed the illusion of
causality. I brought up how in Vasisthas Yoga it repeatedly talked
about “how the crow alighting on the palm branch and the coconut
falling are not cause and effect”. It seemed like the words of a
madman the first few dozen times I read it but at some point down the
line it began to make sense. We can choose to call things related and
therefore they appear to be so to us but it is just that – an
appearance. She balked at the concept of an unfixed and fluid
reality. We talked about Shaolin monks, Wim Hof and many other things
till I finally stopped and quoted Vasisthas Yoga again “this
appearance is both real and unreal”.

Suddenly
something struck me –
time. Time isn't a real thing
therefore none of this is.
I
stood up and began pacing. “What is time, but a measurement of
empty space?” “It's a rate of growth” she offered. “True, but
growth in what? Empty space. Without empty space nothing would exist.
(this is well known and cited in many eastern philosophies “the pot
is a lump of clay but for the empty space”) What is empty space?”
She thought about it for a second “nothing.” “Exactly,” I
continued “but nothing is necessary to have something so therefore
it is something in it's nothingness. And this is why there is no
point to figuring out the Universe. It's a contradiction that isn't.
1 without 0 is meaningless, nay non existent - mutually defining
each other.” We stopped and thought about all this for a minute.

You
know, if the universe is infinite, and the speed of light (or
causality) is relative, that means that infinite variations of speed
are possible allowing for innumerable nested realities. This means
that time is an inescapable phenomenon of consciousness. Any point in
infinity has an infinite latitude on either side of whatever you call
center. It's why some people say that each of us it the center of the
universe. You cannot escape time because without it consciousness
would cease. Time provides a reference frame segmenting empty space
meaningfully.” Satisfied with this, I sat down and finished my
coffee. “That makes sense when you put it that way” my other half
mused. “Ha!” I laughed out loud “you know, this disproves
christianity as a the ultimate truth. A direct quote from the bible
is 'I the Lord never change' and christians are taught that god is
outside of time. Change is an inescapable part of perception, life
and consciousness but most importantly of all – eternity. As life
is meaningless without death, eternity is meaningless without time.
The universe, God if you prefer, doesn't change – in the aspect of
always changing.”


I've
learned many things, but they are only meaningful in the context of
my own personal experience just as paper currency is only meaningful
to those who choose to ascribe it value. I'll leave you with this: W
e're
all the same yet we're different. It's in the sense that we're all
different, that we are the same. Infinite facets of a conscious gem
that can only know itself completely, by interacting with itself for
all eternity. 
...the only control you can have is to stop controlling.....


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Paroxysms of Prayer

...The Paradox

Faith: the complete trust or confidence in something. This is how the dictionary defines the thing that makes the world go round. Everything not directly experienced but that is accepted as true is based on faith. Even the act of doing something repetitively such as sitting down in a chair requires faith. Unless it's a really shabby chair, you will not inspect it for structural integrity. All your past experiences with chairs conglomerate and save you the trouble of checking everything all the time. Imagine how taxing life would be without faith?

Religion (and spirituality in general) recognize the unknowableness of the universe but still try to box it up into a structure of some abstruse god(s). A lot of religion embittered people will vehemently state that religion is just a means of controlling people and making money but it's giving something to the parishioners just like drugs do to an addict. Any attempt to control your senses, environment, inner state etc is just that - control. I think that's possibly what leaves that anger towards religion in people who walk away. The drug quit working for them and they are left with a bleak view of life unless they begin to look inside. 

I've never understood the concept of prayer. If god is all knowing then what is the point of verbalizing your thoughts. In my young mind it seemed akin to pestering an adult about something you had already discussed. Generally consensus, or what was established in my "faith", was that once something was addressed, you left it alone, or didn't bring it up again unless you thought for certain they must have forgotten. God wasn't supposed to have that problem though, forgetfulness, or many other inhibitions that seemed to get in the way of people understanding me so what was the point? 

Faith implies implicit trust, trust requires surrender - it's like a handshake of letting go. People are so stressed out because there's a lot of Mr. Jones' friends out there just looking for something to believe in. Prayer seems like it gives them that but perhaps prayer is the antithesis of faith. It's verbal regurgitation of a codified expression of their faith which is saying - "I believe I know what's best for myself or someone else but lack the power to make it happen. You (insert diety, power, etc) see my heart and if you will for xyz also, please let it be so". That's the gist of it, what I hear anyway.

I've heard for prayer request around disease particularly cancer as long as I can remember but it seems to me that prayer is like a manifestation of mental cancer. Cancerous cells don't want to die and continue to grow when they shouldn't (among other things), but death is a part of life as much as light is meaningless without the dark. Everything has cycles which isn't to say that you give in to cancer or any form of disease, but we all must grow and leave things behind like a tree sprouting from the earth. If prayer isn't an attempt to control then what is it? The only real control you can have is to be as present in this moment as possible. If you really trust in a god that has your best interest at heart, then all you should have to do is live as you and accept what comes. We, in our own minds, select whether something is good or bad. Sure it's based on a list of reasoning so long and probably convoluted to ensure our own self righteous position, but the fact still remains, whether through prayer or in our thoughts, we are in the drivers seat making the judgements - being our own gods. 

I quit praying a long time ago and have come to enjoy listening. Even in the biggest racket a quiet can be found while conversely, immense silence can let you hear subtleties like your own heart beat. We are so full of contradictions in our culture and too proud or afraid to admit it because then what are you left with? Where does the power to make change come from without some supernatural god? There's no such thing as supernatural, only what you believe to be and what you may experience that contradicts your previous beliefs. What is, is what is - meaning if it exists then it is just part of nature we do not understand. One man's science is to another man magic. The only thing separating the illusionist from the audience member is knowledge and position relative to each other. 

If you feel the need to pray - I highly recommend trying this out instead Vice - Wim Hof, the Ice Man. The moment to take control is now and that requires letting go. You can't take more air in if you try to hold on to what you have but it's always going to dissipate so why try to hold on? You don't need to smoke something to give yourself a reason to consciously control resperation for your well being. Happy breathing. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

On The Hill

A few days "on the hill" without food and in some cases, water, doing nothing but sitting there appears to be a common practice among many indigenous peoples. Reasons why I decide to give it a shot are unimportant, it's what I experienced that was fascinating. 

Dietas done in South America (to the best of my knowledge) provide some food for the seven days (or however long you do) but they are unseasoned items like boiled potatoes, rice, boiled green plantains etc. Not appetizing even when you're stomach is growling. You are instructed to read, if you would like, for no more than an hour a day, write as much as you want -- otherwise, you are to just sit there. 

My camp was the last stop on a dirt road, five miles in, running through a national forest. It had a creek running by it and seemed to be a long way from anyone else - pretty much all I wanted. After the brief setting up of the hammock tent there wasn't much else to do so I created something to do - build a fire using the flint stick I purchased at REI a few days before. I quickly learned that making a fire with just about anything is easier than shooting a spray of sparks onto what you thought was dry tinder only to have it smoke languidly. Eventually I went to the Bic lighter and had a roaring fire going which I proceeded to sit by for most of the rest of that day and tend. 

Through the following two days and three nights, I realized why you are supposed to eat nothing and do nothing in these rituals. Eating generally requires you doing something to prepare or in exchange for the vittles which is probably why they bring the food to your tambo during dietas. A fire provides warmth, comfort and in a way it's another presence that helps you not feel alone because it requires your assistance to remain alive. All the things I found myself doing were subconscious ways of trying to distract me, to keep me from stillness.

On the last full day I decided to not build a fire, read at all or contemplate anything too much - simply just be there. Granted I wasn't in any sort of extreme weather requiring excessive thermal protection, but what struck me was how little it really takes to survive. Not eating for three days wasn't pleasant but it really wasn't that bad. Periodically food would pop into my mind I began to see how much of our time is spent either consuming or preparing to consuming (cooking, shopping, driving -- and of course working to pay for it all). Doing nothing was the hardest part or the experience. Relaxing should be easy but why couldn't I? We are continually looking away from our own reflection, unwilling to look it in the eye because it in essence is asking "why? Why are you continuing to lie to yourself, to be miserable?" Deep down I think everyone knows they are responsible for their own fate yet many feel impotent seeing no way out of "hell" and consequently consume while pointing fingers at something or someone. 

Food is comforting because it generally is associated with safety but have you ever seen a fearful person who feels safe enough? When do you have enough guns, money, sex? It's never enough because enough is a state of mind that cannot be conquered through greater and greater quantities of anything. There only is what is and how we each choose to interpret it. We've bought a lie that there is one right way to be and someone else can tell us what that is. Who is it that is choosing to follow that someone else? Most people want to be told what to do and be kept comfortable instead of facing the reflection in the mirror because the real question behind all the other bullshit is "who are you?" or "what do you want?" It seems like an easy question to answer but how much of what you would list is situational based? If the world ceased to be as it is now then what would be the point of your life, your desires? What would you do? Who would you be? It's a question that can never be completely answered but instead is discovered moment by moment as you experience it by allowing false beliefs to perish and the unknown to blossom.