Sunday, April 17, 2011

PINNACLE OF POIGNANCY

Milan Kundera is one of the most insightful authors of the 21st century. Growing up in Czechoslovakia under communist rule, his works reflect the great struggles and triumphs under an irrational regime. I wanted to reproduce a selection from Kundera's seminal work: The Unbearable Lightness of Being:



“There’s no particular merit in being nice to one’s fellow man. Tereza had to treat all the other villagers decently because otherwise she couldn’t live there. Even with Tomas (her partner), she was obliged to behave lovingly because she needed him. We can never establish with certainty what part of our relations with others is the result of our emotion- love, antipathy, charity, or malice--- and what part is predetermined by the constant power play among individuals. 



 True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to form only when its recipient has no power. 



Mankind’s true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals… It is a completely selfish love: Tereza didn’t want anything out of her dog Karenin; she did not ever ask him to love her back. Nor had she ever asked herself the questions that plague human couples: Does he love me? Does he love anyone more than me? Does he love me more than I love him? Perhaps all the questions we ask of love, to measure, test, probe and save it, have the additional effect of cutting it short. Perhaps the reason we are unable to love is that we yearned to be loved, that is, we demand something (love) for our partner instead of delivering ourselves up to him demand-free and asking for nothing but his company. Furthermore, Tereza accepted Karenin for what she was; she did not try to make him over in her image. No one can give anyone the gift of the idyll; only an animal can do so, because only animals were not expelled from Paradise.

So maybe the answer lies in just treating everyone like dogs in the best possible way, to not be plagued by all these human questions and love unconditionally because it is done out of desire that does not ask for reciprocation.

Cheers

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The perfect Sheath for your Relationship Teeth


A clean refreshing relationship reminds me of brushing my teeth. There’s no better feeling than sliding your tongue over spotless pearly whites, bastions of trust, respect, responsibility and awesomeness. There’s many more teeth to be brushed in our relations but these are the foundations. Trust is an obvious one, and it can be demonstrated by non-threatening behavior and an authentic comfort with the other. Trust deeply relates to sharing vulnerabilities because knowing eachother’s weak points can make us softer and more considerate. Vulnerability derives from the latin “Vulnus” which means “to wound.” If you know what hurts her, then hopefully there’s greater compassion to avoid reopening the wound. Yet the underlying problem is when we rip the scab off anyway and use the sensitive issues of the other as ammunition to hit below the belt. This plaque only strip the enamel off our teeth. Respect- from listening non-judgmentally to being emotionally available and affirming is key. Responsibility for self and for the priorities of the other- acknowledging past wrongs and admitting when one is wrong are equally pertinent. Finally, awesomeness – what are those sparks that make your spine tingle and eyes alight with excitement? Seek the intriguing adventurous paths.



It cannot be underestimated how we must remember to make a persistent effort everyday keep our teeth healthy, to listen … to really listen to what our partner is saying and how they feel, just like we must remember to brush after every meal.

Sometimes we do a careless job of brushing only the front and bottom teeth, neglecting the hard to reach molars in the back. It takes more effort to reach these teeth but it is just as important to brush them and even more rewarding. These are the subtleties of romance, knowing just what to say and when to say it, the spontaneity of bringing home her favorite meal and especially being less clueless to her state of mind. Just as we must floss after a particularly big meal that leaves corn or beef in between our teeth, difficulties with respect or trust for example, its crucial to talk through them ASAP before the plaque eats through enamel, the outer coating of the tooth.  It really is the “little things,” those times we shirk brushing, that can tear a relationship apart.

 For example, a minor dispute such as a wife disliking the fact that her husband chews with his mouth open can fester if she does not tell him. Likewise, He might dislike that she gossips to him about her friends. An amalgam of miniature problems such as these go untalked about because they are considered minor-things each spouse thinks they can tolerate. But this plaque can lead to emotional gingivitis where the build up grows exponentially and becomes intolerable.

Some fights for example start over a stupid issue and then the little things get brought up in a hostile environment and exacerbate the situation. Communication and understanding are the toothpaste and floss that remove the plaque of problems from our teeth. The sooner the toothpaste is used, the sooner the couple talks about a particular problem and the relationship gets stronger, just as the tooth heals. The major fights destroy not only enamel but rot the pulp of the tooth. Getting false teeth is expensive and painful, just like divorce.

After a root canal, one’s mouth never feels the same. The wife who didn’t like her husband chewing with his mouth open might bring this to his attention during an argument on an unrelated subject such as not having enough money for the electric bill, causing the dam to burst and both partners to unleash a slew of insults at each other. He goes down stairs to sleep on the couch and they both begin to think why they thought they loved each other in the first place.  Fights that never get resolved cause many facets (teeth) of a relationship to fall apart (fall out) from root canals. Before you know it. Love is a great mouthwash to cover all the nooks and crannies your toothbrush missed. Affection and compassion can always forgive miscommunication here and there.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains: MAITRI and HOW TO BE

You may have heard the word "Maitri" bandied about with concepts like loving friendship or even love itself but it's also India's second permanent research station in Antartica! Seriously though, its the first of the "Four Immeasurable Minds' of Buddhist thought  that I will be discussing. They include Maitri, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity. The idea is that these four general lumps of ideas will foster a spirit in us to embrace the whole world, discover "real" happiness and make everyone around you happier too. The big 4 won't magically make you happy, but as Carlos Castenada would say, these paths have heart.


Pictured: Laughing out loud the meaning of life!






So to begin discussing Maitri as simply love, we must acknowledge how dangerous this overloaded ambiguous concept is, and that its true meaning needs to be healed, the word needs to be recovered. We've been using love in an all too general sense in as I love chocolate but we may need more caution. Etymologically, maitri is derived from mitra, meaning friend  and the Buddhist worldview places the meaning of love on establishing friendships artfully and authentically with the time we have. Thich Nhat Hanh waxes poetically about the blossoming beautiful seeds of love that are already within us. It's apt.
 We water some seeds more than other depending on the circumstances or group of people we find ourselves around, erecting invisible barriers as to who deserves our intentional warmness when really everyone deserves our love. 




Trungpa Rinpoche says, "the most powerful mantra is Om Grow Up Svaha.  But this issue of growing up, it's not all that easy because it requires a lot of courage. Particularly it takes a lot of courage to relate directly with your experience. By this I mean whatever is occurring in you, you use it,. You seize the moment? moment after moment? you seize those moments and instead of letting life shut you down and make you more afraid, you use those very same moments of time to soften and to open and to become more kind. More kind to yourself for starters as the basis for becoming more kind to others"

A flower being a flower. Maybe one day we could be humans just being humans.


This is the route of maitri for me. Will I have the courage to treat myself and others in ways that will develop the source; the bountiful, expansive, nurturing energy that does not expect anything in return. Lets make this tangible: picture your 'average' freshman walking into the dining hall, her or she sees groups sitting together and is not sure where to sit. Lets say they finally do find a seat next to a friend in one of their classes, will they be intimidated or too shy to talk to their friend's friends join them at the table. Will they be hesitant to ask questions. or overthink what they are saying for fear of feeling out of place? Maitri is needed here in both situations- our freshman should have more confidence but the others might as well offer a friendly vibe, to lower the barriers to conversation at the start. This means smiles and genuineness, not detachment and apathy. The basics aside, when it comes down to the great love, those people who we really spend a time with that may test our patience at times, we cannot resist forgiving them when we know their intentions and character deeply.


The Eagles say  "We don't know that we have the key." Maybe we do and we're just looking for the right doors to open. Now our self-imposed difficulty is that we see doors where there's only illusion and the miss the authentic ones right under our noses. 



                                              Maitri , maitri , maitri open your "self" to the kind ones!







John Lennon on love and sex


"Well I don’t know who made the golden rule that sex and love had to go together, Because I’ve enjoyed love without sex and sex without love. And they quite often come together but quite often they don’t.
So what is love then? I really think love has something to do with relaxation. When you’re guarded with somebody, you’re not relaxed. And when you’re guarded with somebody you can’t love that person. Love is when you understand someone so well you can relax with them."

If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliche that must have been left behind in the Sixties, that's his problem. Love and peace are eternal.
 John's notion is taboo to our western folkways, influenced by victorian era prim and properness. Often times, there are multiple scratches on our western lens to view acceptable norms on sex. Liberated women in particular have had to combat labels like trollop, wench, hussy, harlot, ho, women of ill repute just because they do not conform to the double gender standard. Men on the other hand are given a free-pass to be a cassanova and have none of the negative connotations surrounding promiscuity. Not only is this unfair but it limits everyone in a caustic dialogue to cyclically repeat stereotypes and misinformed views of the 'other'. Why is it a "sin" to have sex before marriage? Who are "they" to determine how we should be able to use our bodies? Granted their are countless people that take advantage of other people but this does not conscript consenting healthy adults from exploring the dimensions of their sex life in whatever form that may take. Whatever form love takes, hopefully it does not proscribe your spirit.

Is our sexually repressed culture ready for another foot in the bed?







Fixed abilities or the chance to boundlessly soar through pure potentiality?





                                        How high to you dare to fly?



"Experts" called Entity theorists call for us to believe that  human abilities exist within us in  a finite supply that we cannot increase. Only so much toothpaste in the tube to squeeze. While certain barriers will determine physical abilities, that can be bettered by practice, this theory falls into a group think about scientists having a very limited view on human potential and only derived value in the first place because most of recorded history has been fueled by racist, agist, sexist, religionist, androcentric, ethnocentric ... etc. barriers to potential which have naturally kept people down and less-focused on other areas of 'self' development. 


     "I won't remember this in five seconds"
              

The more correct view on this question regards incremental theory, suggesting that while  while particular abilities vary from person to person, we can also improve upon them, as long as we are prepared to put in the necessary effort. But the droopy dogs and dream-defeaters hold fast and revel in the safety the platudinous warm comfort of their misplace assumptions. Now I'm no polemicist, but the idea that we have a fixed quantity of abilities that cannot be changed -- Doesn't every attempt to complete a goal or project becomes a measure of how resourceful or charismatic etc., you are?




If you teach a goof to fish...


How far will this take your self-efficacy to fashion your own space-time, sailing at the helm of your ship, navigating between the Scylla and Charybdis to attain the port prize? Do you even know what ports your drifting towards?




Beware the Scylla's tentacles!  This juxtapose is the origin of the phrase "In between a rock and a hard place"


Self-Actualization is a place to start! You are capable to redefine your self-construct! Self-actualization is the big “Why” question, it answers why you are here and why you are doing what you do.



All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea.   Napoleon Hill
              



Fixed abilities or the chance to boundlessly soar through pure potentiality?





                                        How high to you dare to fly?


"Experts" called Entity theorists call for us to believe that  human abilities exist within us in  a finite supply that we cannot increase. Only so much toothpaste in the tube to squeeze. While certain barriers will determine physical abilities, that can be bettered by practice, this theory falls into a group think about scientists having a very limited view on human potential and only derived value in the first place because most of recorded history has been fueled by racist, agist, sexist, religionist, androcentric, ethnocentric ... etc. barriers to potential which have naturally kept people down and less-focused on other areas of 'self' development. 


     "I won't remember this in five seconds"
              

The more correct view on this question regards incremental theory, suggesting that while  while particular abilities vary from person to person, we can also improve upon them, as long as we are prepared to put in the necessary effort. But the droopy dogs and dream-defeaters hold fast and revel in the safety the platudinous warm comfort of their misplace assumptions. Now I'm no polemicist, but the idea that we have a fixed quantity of abilities that cannot be changed -- Doesn't every attempt to complete a goal or project becomes a measure of how resourceful or charismatic etc., you are?



If you teach a goof to fish...


How far will this take your self-efficacy to fashion your own space-time, sailing at the helm of your ship, navigating between the Scylla and Charybdis to attain the port prize? Do you even know what ports your drifting towards?



Beware the Scylla's tentacles!  This juxtapose is the origin of the phrase "In between a rock and a hard place"


Self-Actualization is a place to start! You are capable to redefine your self-construct! Self-actualization is the big “Why” question, it answers why you are here and why you are doing what you do.


All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea.   Napoleon Hill
              



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Follow Tragedy Then Farce.

No higher recommendation for a solid use of minutes an deep-diving exploration of what it means to be a human on this pale blue dot that tragedythenfarce@blogspot.com. Jack Harris' ways to see evoke an exhilarating whirlwind of philosophical gems with palpable injections of wisdom and merriment. Check out the mindcraft that is Jack Harris, or not... deny yourself the pure existential thrill and whimsy- the choice is yours. But I know what I'll be reading tonight!

Hulking, slinking or crawling: Moves on the Path

What defines your crazy train?  Which neuroplastical tracks do our perceptual frenetic locomotives take? Dashing from one thrill or "obligation" stop to the next,  will we run out of fuel because the conductor pushes us too far, or not enough?"




In this multiverse, lets split ourselves first into being both the conductor and the train itself. The spiral spiral track we ride determined by environment and hereditary weather on the chronological tracks of existence can be daunting. But seeking knowledge and fun organically sees the ride smoothly and swims through the severest of sensations. There have been certain "rules" "norms" and "values" instilled and imposed on us by other conductors, some of them in groups which have caressed our paths in different directions. Without their basic imposed culture, we would have flown off the tracks long ago and never again touch the rails.




We are indeed indebted to those who keep us on the fresh, untrammeled paths of living. Yet when other have affected us to "be" in certain ways, or forcefully impose their will on the liberty of our actions.





Whatever the cause, continually traveling paths that evoke the rusting-rain of anger, delusion and greed - frequently grinding our wheels over the same behaviors- make some habit stations incredibly harder to alter. Yet the opposite is also true when we mindfully guide our mass of grey matter in accordance to the multiple possible intelligences we have (body, linguistic, existential, naturalistic, inter and intra personal, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic and spatial. Why don't our conductors practice riding routes more skillfully, is it that they've been trick by their "self" and society or simply not taught the 'right' things to master their elements? Slinking, wide slippery graceful, samurai steps, with couthe cowboy confidence and charisma, thats the smooth criminal course I care to cavort.




Meditation or yoga which is one of those 'right' activities to mastering the mind-body dualities, attaining peace of mind, etc. can make the ride pass more smoothly. Considering that a number of studies have linked meditation practice to functionally changing the physical structures of the brain in areas of attention, anxiety, depression and fear, we are given pause to think. Or not thinking, depending on whether or not the thought will release dopamine, seratonin or the stress-induced cortisol. 






                                              If this is your conductor, find a new conductor immediately!


What is your conductor shoveling into your train's furnace? What emotions are you allowing to drive you? Has your conductor been duped into filling the furnace with poisonous mental fuels that will only drive your mind crazy?  Most of the time our conductor is blinded by a number of silly chemicals that makes our train swerve erratically. His or her  spectacles are two fingers wide, far-sided and near-sided, and he loses his temper  when he doesn't think the train is going fast enough or that the people are not 'happy' or any number of things go 'wrong.' These thoughts of course are often very short-sighted or pegged for illusory long-term goals. These passengers on your mind train that are constantly after desires or any sandtraps of suffering cannot be missed, they stick out like swore thumbs on the train, complaining that their seat is uncomfortable or the landscapes are too bland. Other people, the sunshiners are enjoying the scenery, relishing in the curves of the mountain passes and the sway of buffalo grass in the flatlands. There is no duality between "good" or "bad" thoughts yet know which thoughts guide you on your path and which roll you off a cliff of false consciousness.




What is masculine, what is feminine? What is gay or straight?, what is the right way to 'behave' ? Which taboos should be heeded? Question everything you emphasize with respect to your conductor's time. The ride won't last forever, so make each twist and bend unforgettable.




"The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same." - Carlos Castenada


Stay thirsty my friends



Monday, April 11, 2011

The anthill and the masters

I shot a hot silver slug of mental perspicacity at a silo and was surprised to see grain pour out the side like magma flow at pompeii. All the tiny ant citizenry on the ground were covered in an instant. Those not crushed to death by the tyranny of golden edibles realigned with valor to rebuild the colony. Atom the ant, a young adult by ant standards was not too keen on the way things had been run by his predecessors. He thought they were rather daft when it came to the myths the 'master' ants relayed to the population about the meaning of life, purpose and pursuit of happiness. The "expert" ants worked with the master ants to justify their rule of the magistracy on the basis of superior acumen over the less mentally observant ants. They concentrated all the power and comfortable living at the top of ant-society and relegated the rest to the bidding of the colony which they overworked for greater riches. Atom was being groomed for this society, of which he wanted no part of but the recent natural disasters gave him the chance to change everything. In the old times the ant experts advised invading neighboring hills to expand their resources. This seemed to get the ants embroiled in more trouble than ever. When Atom crawled out of the grain that day he had a blurry hazy amalgamation of ideas as new waves of sunlight washed over his abdomen. He knew he had to move in the direction of his dreams. The other survivor ants regurgitated the platitudes and maxims of the old regime. Yet Atom remained calm and his silence reverberated, speaking volumes over the cacophony of vapid ants with their bold illusions and false consciousness. He proclaimed to them humbly, "Our armies whether they be of ants fighting other ants or masses attached to ideas about what the "experts" tell them is true, have been misled. Wake up my fellow ants! The master ants were greedy to their own ends and did not pus us foremost in their self-centered plans for glory.

Our allegiance to them, our armies can be reduced and abolished only in opposition to the will, but never by the will of the ant magistracy. If we're gonna start an antopia we might as well make the cornerstone inquisitiveness. We should have listened to the experts sure, but we should not have always been so dependent on them to tell us the answer to everything because we've stopped listening to our own hearts and common sense. The egoism of individual ants have blinded us all into living lives that are stressful and unproductive to the caring of our own hill by attacking other hills that are not directly concerned with us. By neglecting the livelihood of our own hill, it has never reached its full potential. We are the power to change our circumstances first we must alter our egos to forge the highest hill" There was much consensus amongst the workers who cheered. I would like to say this tale has a happy ending, but months into Atom's administration, the old greedy egoic forces marshaled against him, with slander and pincers, they crushed his most loyal supporters and were able to remold the minds of the ants, devolving them back to the ways of the old regime. But the embers have been lit of this fire and those treasured ants who remember Atom's benevolence shall strive to re-attain what has been lost. They know the masters are but ants and subject to folly, a folly only they can prevent from manifesting into tyranny.

The fire can only grow brighter.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cosmotrippin to the beat of the apocalypse





             Lets take a page out of the Lankavatara Sutra for a moment- "Since beginingless time the mind-system has perceived multiplicities of forms, conditions, and ideas which the thinking mind has discriminated and the empirical mind has experienced, grasped, and clung to.  From this perceiving, experiencing, etc., habit-energy has risen that, by its accumulation, has in turn conditioned the illusions of existence and non-existence, and individuality and generality, and has thus perpetuated the dream-state of false-imagination." So lets begin at a beginning- a relatively clean slate!


Here is the freedom and spontaneity of potentiality that comes with the attainment and patient acceptance of the truths of egolessness and imagelessness.



 Here is perfect solitude, undisturbed by any gradation or continuous succession, radiant with the potency and freedom of its self-nature which is the self-nature of Noble Wisdom — blissfully peaceful, with the serenity of Perfect Love
                                                                   

There is an inconceivable transformation-death (acintya-parinama-cyuti) — a realization of Oneness with the universalized mind of Tathagatahood by which the false-imagination of the particularized individual personality is transcended.

                                                                                                      

 There is no recession from this realization.
        
                                                          
    Just as the earth supports all beings in the world, so do the Tathagatas support all beings in the Transcendental World of No-form 

Consciousness on Angelic Steroids



               So what does it mean when men with long beards, living thousands of years ago, sitting still in Himalyan caves happen upon a notion of enlightenment. Is it to archaic for our pluralistic western scientism, or were they on to some deep inner-transformation, perhaps the key to mind evolution itself that revealed more truly the nature of reality? we'll have to "get there" to find out I suppose. Then again, the notion that we have to get there in the first place is inherently inimical to Zen, as we already are here and perfect now. We already have this inner-Buddha nature or Christ consciousness, we just need to uncover it from the dirt of attachment, hatred, delusion and false-imagining that have enveloped us. The cessation of the self, a regaining of that childlike innocence, abiding in a natural brightly shining womb of original pureness is open to us now. 

            It's deceptively simple yet gradually attainable, as Ken Wilber says, the task is to transform "higher states into permanent traits." Jim Carey discusses this higher-state as "being thrown into this expansive amazing feeling of freedom from myself and my problems. I saw I was bigger than what I do, I was everything and everyone. I was no longer a fragment of the universe, I was the universe. and ever since that day, I've been trying to get back there. It comes and it goes, its like riding a wave, sometimes I'm on, sometimes I'm off, but at least I know where I want to go, and I want to take as many people with me as I possibly can because the feeling is amazing!"

Once we swim in these streams, we understand what transpersonal psychologist Stanislav Grof meant when he said, "Spiritual intelligence acquired in the process of experiential self-exploration has the power to override the scientistic worldview of materialistic science while effectively acting as a remedy to counteract the dogmas of organized religions." Only then, is Our intrinsic, effulgent  indwelling potency for becoming a Buddha, A Christ, a Wayshower realized.

Jim Carey Vid:






Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Butterfly Roundup Faceshark!

 How many butterflys and best friends does it take for your 17 muscles to flex into a  half-moon of pink gums and pearly whites?
 to throw your arms up in the air without a care, or cross your arms and your heart.
 Or let the wind take your color, flapping and swooning in the wind's caress on forty feet of wooden board

 jutting out into the azure waters of people and possibility, the flashes of silver fins and pearly whites are nothing what they seem
On this dazzling roundup of swimming smiles, whirring in the frenetic light of just another night.