Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Ubiquity of Seeming Nothingness


Deaf dumb and blind boy
He's in a quiet vibration land
Strange as it seems his musical dreams
Ain't quite so bad. ...
Come on the amazing journey
And learn all you should know.
Nothing to say and nothing to hear
And nothing to see.
Each sensation makes a note in my symphony. ...

("Amazing Journey" The Who)

I was scrolling through the timeline on one of my social media, and came across the following: 
We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel; But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the wheel depends.
We turn clay to make a vessel; But it is in the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the vessel depends.
We pierce doors and windows to make a house: But it is in these spaces where there is nothing that the usefulness of the house depends.
Therefore just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognize the usefulness of what is not. (chap. 11 tr. Waley)
The above quotation was shared by one of our admins. It spoke to me in its paradoxically silent way.

I’ve been contemplating the recent lull and silence, not just here in our blog, but there is subtle and pervasive uneventfulness in the air. This is the domain of the Black Swan principle (N. N. Taleb), and in my personal world, though it took 34 years (since 1978) to happen, in September 2012, a sublimation and concrescence occurred, based on the very principle of the Black Swan. Nothing needs to be explained (it is impossible to explain anyway, which is apropos), because that very non-explanation is the world of the Lost Horizon, the world of uneventfulness, the world in which the unsaid and unseen broach the forefront into pure Presence. 

As an aside, Dark Energy and Dark Matter from cosmology are non-dual. The former pulls apart (perhaps the very hypostasis of entropy), the latter glues together, simply put, but these two things are not in conflict, as nothing conflicts in the Cosmos, they’re aspects of the Cosmic dance of perfect harmony. Both are dynamic aspects of Cosmic elements and consciousness. And even if in some future date the twofold dynamic are shown to be as insubstantial as the hypothetical, luminiferous aether of the 19th century, it does not matter (so to speak), because it would be most apropos that skillful placeholders provisionally manifested as signposts, and vanished to the recesses of universal Mind, thereby in sheer silence having spoken but still speaking aloud of the paradoxical persistence of uneventfulness, and the infinitude of non-events that make reality to unfold. 

Here was another quotation, immediately under it on my timeline, from another PB contributor: 
“My Creator, if I get into a situation today that needs me to respond with silence, help me to use my silence in a good and sacred way. In my silence, let me be talking to You and You talking to me. Silence is the way of the warrior." (Charles Alexander Eastman, Ohiyesa Santee Sioux)
While the idea of ‘Creator’ is provisional also, the above prayer is perfectly in tune with the quotation which preceded it. The vanishing of the Event Horizon when the shore is reached, the revelation of Totality of nondual Being and Becoming in singularity and infinitude, unfold in the all-embracing repository of the conscious Womb. It is dark in there, but imbued with the paradoxical light of the Life Force.

Maria Jacobs as Odile, the Black Swan, in Ballet San Jose's SWAN LAKE. Photo by RJ Muna. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Living Seed


Have a glance at this Hubble ultra-deep field photography, and let your mind imagine the ineffable gargantuan-ness of the Cosmos.  The earth is not even a microdot, not even a quark, in comparison to its enormity.  Why, the word 'enormity' and 'gargantuan' and 'colossal' and so on don't cut the muster, there's simply no word to describe the scope of the Cosmos, except to say that it is, rather tautologically, Cosmic.

People have been exalted in their own self-importance,  they take pride in their race, they are imbued in the hubris of human achievements and civilization, in the nobility of their ideologies. They speak of religions, and fight over which one is the true religion, or they embrace ideologies for the control of facets of human collectivity.  They speak of this and that, and then they pit themselves against each other, go to war, kill, lynch, torture, and forfeit their humanity, and fall to destinations of reptiles, viruses, powerless hordes of confused fields of mindstreams, and psychotic hell beings.  They speak of the godlessness of homosexuality and they speak of colors of skin, they speak of legitimacy of denizenship, and label fellow human beings as aliens and illegals.

But look upward.  Look at that vastness.  What does anything matter?  What does any of that matter? It's not even worth a thought.  Not even worth a wisp of a thought of a thought ad infinitum.  Nothing is important, whatsoever.

So what, then?  What do we do?  Is Nihilism correct, after all?  Is life just a random, meaningless YOLO interim between nothingness and nothingness?  In the scope of light years, the span of human existence is equivalent to a Planck instant.  Every span of existence conceivable coalesces into that fundamental unit, and does not go beyond it, because there is infinity before, and infinity after.  And in the light of infinity, even a span of googolplex eons is equivalent to a Planck instant.

So what, then?  Does anything matter at all, in the scheme of such incomprehensible vastness?   And the same principle holds for the infinitude of space; the vastness of galaxies of galaxies of ultra-galaxies ad inifinitum would be equivalent to the "size" of a massless photon.

Let us say we embrace the anthropic cosmological principle.  It's a debunking thing about universal teleology, because purpose, say, in biology, can be telescoped down to the minutest activities of life, also.  So the enormity of purpose of the Cosmos is equivalent to the smallest "unit" of teleological activity detectable in organisms.  What would such an activity be?  It would also be contained, then, in that massless unit of space, and in that smallest unit of time, all as one.  Call it a Singularity, an Omega-point, a Cosmic Bindu, a Seed; it is space, it is time, it is life.  It's all there.

The Cosmos has telos, and so it is creative.  It creates its appreciators, its observers, its fellow-creators, its own embodiments that interweave with the resonance of its Cosmic heartbeat.  It creates with its Life Force, which is the driving force of Love.  And it is from this appreciation, from this gratitude, from this ecstatic joy, wonder, and Cosmic Orgasm that the individuated is lifted out to find its sublimated mode of being, to be as the Cosmos as such, to bring all seeming polarities back together somehow.  All of the above is Love, which is the Passion of the Cosmos, the glue that binds, the aspiration that aspires, protects, and rejoices.  Even the minutest, most imperceptible act of Love contains, then, the Love of the entire Cosmos.  There is no difference.

So every time you understand that you are the Cosmos, you are correct.  It is only your individuated ego that confines you to the limitations of your space, time, and creativity; Love is the field of the Life Force, ego is its tool, but when ego runs the show, the cart is put before the horse. In every stage of awakening you experience, it is the awakened Cosmos that you are awakening unto; there is no difference.  So size does not matter, duration does not matter.  It is paradoxical and ironic that quantity, when it reaches infinitude, abrogates itself.    




Thursday, September 20, 2012

Garden of Impermanence


One day in September I found myself in a very pretty tudor style home in Los Angeles sitting at someone else’s kitchen table, peeling the skin off someone else’s peach and feeding it to someone else’s husband.  Ben and I had just walked through his garden together and sat in the shade of two trees that couldn’t have been more different, one a fir, the other walnut. I couldn’t help but think how this day was so different than all the other days of my life. We watched a squirrel diligently search among the elephant grass for seeds. It was a simple pleasure. A delight I would have missed had it not been for Ben. 

He was charming and gentle and had as great a smile as one could have. He looked cute in his cargo pants, deck shoes and izod shirt that carried all the hues of blue. Ben was a pretty cool guy and his wife Jan was in that rarified strata of an even cooler girl. It dawned on me that a peek into their world was a vast and touching glimpse for me. My own timeline uncertain, Ben’s would end sometime in 2012. The insidious fingers of a brain tumor swept through the left side of his brain slowly extinguishing what once was a fine and majestic man.

Ben had outlasted 99% of the pack as his 6 year battle wound down. His bio markers responded well to Atavan, a drug that slowed down the deathly crawl of the cancer. The others with his diagnosis lasted six months or less. A second surgery in January eradicated the second onslaught of micro tumors and a miraculous remission was surely at the door. Sadly, somewhere in his brain the seed that spawned the cancer fingers could not be found no matter the invasive search.  

I had an aha moment and was willing to bet on the squirrel. He would find that seed if given the chance, a face mask and surgical gloves.

Ben’s ability to piece together a coherent sentence was almost gone.  “What time okay truck” was now passing for  “what time is lunch”  He would pick up a pen and try to eat with it. His gait was unsteady and his general life force down for the count.

It’s a good story to sit with a dying man and hear about his life, tap his wisdom and share it with anyone who will listen as a way of trying to save what we so often throw away. It’s a great day when you can be touched by someone else’s profundity as they stare down the face of death. This is not that. I can’t understand Ben … barely a word. I am crazy curious about him and desperate for that scavenger hunt that is not to be.

How did I get here?  I am standing in for one of my good friends who owns the company providing the caregiver for them.  We had a personnel glitch and rather than disappoint a new client, I took the morning shift. The real help should be here around 1:30. He’s eating lunch now and I like him, I like her. I like them as a couple. She is deeply present as a wife and committed to his care and comfort. He is committed to not leaving her behind. I am convinced he lives to touch her beautiful blonde hair.

She went into the office and I was happy to give her that time back. Her work I am guessing, defines her, is her comfort, her one sure thing. I can’t imagine the misery and despair that will close in on Jan when Ben goes off-line. I am feeling it myself as I stand up from the kitchen table to say goodbye to him. Bee the caregiver is ringing the doorbell. When I arrived in the morning I was anxious for Bee to get here. Now that she is here I feel somehow cheated. I wanted more time with Ben.

He sees that I am going, puts his hand in his food bowl and struggles to stand. It is all I can do to stop the food from spraying everywhere. I take him in my arms as if he were mine. I hug him huge and kiss the deep scar on the top of his head. I see the gratitude in his eyes and he asks if he will see me again.  “Will you me who later.” I said yes, off course, I will check in on him from time to time.

In that second I realized just how painful deeply connecting with someone can be. I did it anyway.Ten years ago this precious gift would have been lost on me. The thought of loving someone for only four hours would have been absurd.

I grab his hand and squeeze it, give Bee a hug and glide over the front door sill as if the outside air were waiting only for me. I pull out of their circular motor court in my fancy car passing Bee’s Corolla parked on the street. She would now do the heavy lifting.  Opening her heart day in and day out as best she can doing what needs to be done. Jan and Ben will pay for that companion and compassion. I’d like to think I gave it for free.

Only later today did the true cost roll up on me as I nurse the new little hole In my heart for a man I never knew and a woman I will now silently grieve with. 


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I am a ceremonial practitioner, but I do not "practice" for specific people and specific things.  It is a firm aspect of my tradition, so there is no busy-bodying with butting into other people's karmas, for good or for bad.  Besides, there is no way to know that my good intentions could backfire.  I've noticed over the years that the saying "No good deed goes unpunished" is generally very true.  It is a cosmic principle, which shows that "Love" as is commonly known and defined by mass religions or common moral parlance, for example, is far more complex and alive than shallowly known and defined. 

I need to make it clear, that it is my tradition to never practice for another person, except when asked. When someone asks me to do a practice for them, it is also my tradition that I can never refuse.  So it works both ways.  But butting into people's lives, I do not do, as there is a complex web of Butterfly-Effect karmas out there, all entangled and nonlocally linked, and one ripple here could cause a wave there, and so on, and unpredictable things can happen far beyond the scope of good intentions.  What seems bad could turn good, what seems good could backfire, and on and on.  It's like those old carnival or vintage arcade games where you whack a thing that pops up a hole, it goes down but up pops another, then two at once, and so on and on ad infinitum.


But Love conquers all, you say.  Of course, but I am not talking about Love here proper, I am talking about giving people help they did not ask for.  We could be stirring unexpected shit.  It's like what Kierkegaard once wrote, a long time ago: If I ask for a glass of water, don't bring me a glass of wine instead because you think wine is better than water, because you think I would like it better; give me what I want, and sometimes all I want is that glass of water.  You learn from experience.  I'll give three examples.

I met a guy in '96 whose girlfriend was diagnosed with brain cancer.  She was very young, still in her twenties.  I had met her once, and that was the extent of my acquaintance.  But I decided to dedicate a practice for her healing.  Not long thereafter, they got news that she had gone into remission.  I was happy to hear it, and told him that I also practiced for her.  He said, "You better not tell her that, she'll be pissed.  She doesn't believe that shit," and that was that.  I felt like a jackass, and reflected deeply on the matter.  

I was at a post office, and saw a man with an envelope getting into line, and he was touching his pockets, and looking around.  I inferred that he was looking for a pen.  I had one, so I said, "Do you need a pen?" His face lit up, and he said, "Yes, thank you!"  He scribbled on the envelope, and as he was about to give the pen back to me, he hacked up a huge cough, and covered his mouth with the hand holding the pen. "Thank you," he said after his minor jag had settled, and handed the pen to me with the same hand.  I said nothing, but I didn't want to hurt his feelings, so I held it gingerly between the tip of my thumb and index-finger, and when he wasn't looking, tossed it quickly into the trash.  Then I ran outside to my hand-sanitizer, right away.

There was a homeless man sitting at a street corner.  I happened to have a dollar in my pocket.  I thought I would give it as an experiment to see if this deed would backfire.  So I rolled down my car window as I drove up to him, and just as I was about to hand him the bill, he started screaming at the top of his lungs at a car that was in front of me.  They were African Americans in that car, and he was yelling racial obscenities at them the likes of what one might have heard at a Klan gathering.  I immediately rolled my window up, and put the dollar away.  My experiment told me that the axiom was still at work.  

However, there is a key point to all this.  There are exceptions to the rule of "No good deed,"  which is only when an evolved person is involved.  When I am nice or good to an evolved person, when I show kindness to them (in whatever capacity I can), it has never backfired on me, and in fact, quite the opposite, better things ramify, and joyful things transpire.  But I still will not practice for anyone unless they ask me to do so, because that is a different matter entirely.

So as a general rule, I feel that the "No good deed" dictum only applies to unevolved strangers who are working their issues out.  When the time is right, they can accept help without repercussion to both receiver and giver.  Until then, there can only be resonance and entrustment that because of the field of your practice, the field(s) of your healthful energy centers, that those who will benefit will benefit anyway, and those who won't, won't.  

Lastly, you hear people who occasionally say, "I'm praying for you" or thereabouts.  When someone who is a relative stranger says that to me, the prayer part does not bother me, but the sanctimoniousness or ego-trip aspect of it does.  Who are you to be praying for me?  I don't care if you're the Pope. Reflect.  Pray for yourself, for your loved ones, but do not go around telling me that you are praying for me, because where are you coming from when you say that?  And perhaps that's the kind of mind-space that gets us in trouble too when we "pray" for others willy-nilly.  Giving and goodness are good, but let them be infused with wisdom as well, an essential ingredient in the things we do.  In many cases, the manipulation of the impossibly chaotic entanglement of karmas cannot be done with impunity.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Children of the Gods Part 2



Deep across the void of interstellar space and time he observed, and then listened, intently, repeating the same ritual, day after night, and night after day, for even the slightest oscillation against the cosmic background. Dr Smith, was affectionately, known as Saint Anthony, by the rest of the astronomy community at the observatory, indeed, his solitary vigils had something of the same, original, quasi- religious impulse, that led his ancient precursor far into the remote reaches of the Sahara desert all those years ago. It was an uncanny coincidence of sorts too, that Dr. Smith, found himself also surrounded by a desert, yet, unlike that ancient monk- he wanted to see, and hear, and perhaps, who knows even touch, but ultimately to know what was at the heart of creation, not through texts, and prayers and rituals, by rather through the cool detached prism, of a mind grounded in the facts of reality, without the need or assistance of any divine agency, which he considered almost, superciliously, as an outdated childish superstition.

 

And so the embers of the night were fast approaching the awakening morning, and, soon the sun would be rising above the Andes to the east, and the Atacama sands would be illumined in all their sombre beauty, a mood, that often strangely resonated with him, about this hour. As he turned back towards the lab, with its array of printouts constantly being churned out from the rows of computer generating modeling devices (CGMDs), he wondered, quietly to himself how long this enterprise would take- considering all the galaxies- are we even in the right neighbourhood, he thought, briefly, perhaps we're looking for that elusive signal in the cosmic equivalent of the Atacama desert! The thought brought a short lived smile to his tired face.


"Bob- any luck" came the voice, "No, well....not really, I haven't got a chance to go through everything yet..."

"Hey, man you look really wrecked" 

"Thanks, Boris, your a real darling too, bashful to a fault as ever!" 

"I know..I Know!! what can I say...it must my Russian Father's influence, a man who always spoke his mind ....anyway, why don't you let the ever glorious Ms.Appledon and I go through some of it, what with the large infra down for maintenance at the moment, we've got a bit of time on our hands, I mean, what the hell else are we going to do in the driest place on Earth anyway!!" 

He thought about Boris's proposal, and, despite a few hesitations based upon technical issues which were easily batted away by Boris's combative personality, he agreed to let them cast their fresh eyes and ears across his data....and besides he reasoned such a proposal may give him the opportunity to work more closely with Dr. Appledon! Perhaps even solitude has its limits he thought pensively.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wuthering Heights



I love the Yorkshire Dales - often when I lived in Manchester years ago we'd drive up there on many a Friday evening, after a long working week, and spend all day Saturday and Sunday simply wandering along the moorland paths that lead you through the rich tapestry of hills and dales. The Dales are full of strange topologies that are commonly enhanced by the sheer bleakness and absolute silence of the place. Yet, often were the occasions when we observed just beyond the range of normal vision and sound, particularly around this time of year, an ancient type of almost chthonian mythos that could enfold itself outwards towards us, for a few moments at least, as we somehow had encountered or even disturbed it by our presence. In many respects, when explained back to ourselves in the black and white language of everyday experiences, after theses events, nothing out of the ordinary could be discerned- it was now just a lonely willow tree arching over the bend in the mountain brook- but moments ago, we'd glimpsed it literally in a different "light".

Often on our wanderings, we'd reflect on these little "visitations" in the local pub late into the night ..... and now many years later it often appears to me that these events are the reverse of the actual Husserlian Ego positing reality as he or she "holds" or "grasps" it within the Lebenswelt, where all manner of things are "enclosed in a mind space" by the transcendental ego at every moment of a person's being. Instead, there often appears to be moments, like those up upon the lonely, bleak moors, when something else, beyond the pure phenomena of the world beholds us for a time, and lets us see beyond the veil of Maya for just a few moments.

And, yet still I don't know exactly what it is that looks back at us on these occasions - people have always had names for these types of events - but just like all our wanderings across the moors often promised us that we'd surely come across the estate of Wuthering Heights or Thrushcross Grange, we knew deep down that despite all our efforts to retrace and find the footsteps of Catherine and Heathcliff, that we'd never get there, and, that perhaps the most sublime things in this world can only truly live in the eternal mundus imaginalis who can, and rare occasions, watch us, with our full attention while we endeavour to transverse this world too.

Photo by Pete Barnes


Friday, September 14, 2012

The Deep Blue Event Horizon


"Every man and woman is a star(A. Crowley) 
"As long as you still experience the stars as something above you, you lack the eye of knowledge(F. Nietzsche)
"We are made of star stuff" (C. Sagan).


In my practice there is a saying, viz., that the body of the totality-as-such is always teaching, incessantly, without ever a moment amiss, and that everything, i.e., everything, contains everything in perfect interfusion.  It is a Mandala, Hologram comportment to reality. There never was a time when the elements of being came to be as the habitual mentation of logico-material causation would "chreodally" dictate; things always were and will be, in unfixed flux, taking on one form or another, carrying with themselves Nonlocal quantum fields of incomprehensibly primordial information of the Cosmos.  

One of Planet Buddha's writers wrote of her interpretation of the deep blue line of the oceanic horizon, an interpretation which brought behaviors of natural spectra, nature, and the ocean together into the realm of personal learning.  It bespeaks to me of viewing reality as a living, teleological intelligence, which is the correct comportment.  After all, aren't you alive?

Where heaven meets earth, where Cosmos meets the Aeon of Aquarius, that nexus is the horizon.  The deep blue horizon is a phenomenon relative to time and space in situ, and if we were to turn our gaze inward upon the empirically invisible landscape, we could, with respect to being in the correct vantage-point, experience that horizon.  I want to point out a twofold aspect of that horizon --- they are not mutually exclusive --- with respect to space and time: 1) the nexus of Earth and Cosmos (space), and 2) the nexus of the shift to a new Aeon (time).  That Nexus which is within is the third synergistic aspect of spacetime combined, our inner frequency harmonizing with that of the Cosmos.  

Both 1) and 2), as mentioned, are interfused in the third synergy, which is our mind, resonance, and body.  The second aspect is very specific (and paradoxically general at the same time), however, and it pertains to the particular time at which a "shift" will occur, and interestingly enough, nothing can be known beyond that inner horizon, because it is, after all, a horizon; at the juncture, the nexus called the present, we can only infer that what lies beyond the horizon is the Chaotic whorl of unformed history with its attractors busily bifurcating in processes of teleological creativity.  As to what those processes will unfold, here is a little tidbit of advice: Involute and resonate, whatever your method may be, but make sure you love a lot and laugh a lot.     



Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Legacy of Bultmann

Morphic fields of Western Christian collective consciousness have shown up in unpredictable ways, and somewhat ironically.  I want to have a quick look at a trajectory of field-influences (and this is not an equivocation; you could say it's a pun, but I'm speaking of morphic fields) of applying hermeneutic methodologies to phenomena, which came out in the 20th century wash of the American Republican Christ.  You might say it's far-fetched, but truth is stranger than fiction, so humor this attempt and have a little academic fun (oxymoron unintended) with me.

I'm going to go fast, supertemporal fast, so hang on.  Husserl phenomenologizes to the "Things themselves."  Fuck Kant, he says, we're going for reality-an-sich or bust.  His student Heidegger says if Einstein made a splash with space and time then he'll make one, maybe, with being and time, and just as Einstein applied the contemporaneously newfangled methods of Non-Euclidean geometries, the Minkowski metric, Lorentz transforms, Riemann space, and so on, he would apply Husserlian phenomenology to the twofold "space" of reality, being and time, and thus satisfy answering all questions pertaining to human existence and existence as such hitherto.  And out pops an abstract being, a befuddled what the fuck am I doing here entity called Dasein, "thrown into the world" as it were, estranged, with nothing but various comportments to Being, time, and anonymous others; it's the 20th century humanoid, a helpless cog.


Bultmann says yes, and so does Tillich, this Dasein is where 20th century contemporaneous existence is at, what with all the Third Reich bullshit and all, so let's try to understand Christianity in terms of Heideggerian hermeneusis.  Heidegger said don't do it ... Ja voll, but it's too tempting, how can god not be Being-as-such?  We've got to inculcate that idea and apply it across the theological board.  Tillich took off to Chicago and did his thing there, but for now, Bultmann is our man.

So Bultmann phenomenologizes, though he doesn't put much stock in such terms, and applies some impressive form-critical techniques to the synoptic Gospels and to the Gospel of John; he extrapolated what really matters, i.e., Bultmann-wise and 20th-century Dasein-wise, from the New Testament itself, the very quintessential substance that hypostatically underlies Christian dogmatics: the Kerygma.  And what does the extrication of this existential substance mean to Christian theology, to the (Lutheran-Protestant) church, to Christianity as such?  It means that historicity doesn't count, not really, and neither do miracles, wonders, mysticism, magick, thaumaturgy, and all that.  No, those things obfuscate the Kerygma, they are all cloaks of myth, hence apply oh-so 20th century scientific Entmythologisierung, weed out the antiquated crap, and get to the chewy center.

And what is the delicious morsel he got to dish out?  Yes, the core of the Gospels, the teachings that inspire, by way of the Word, to a "new self understanding" (a la Heideggerian Dasein).  What remains of the Christian mythology when it's stripped of what it is?  The Bultmannian demythologization was a programme of "modern," 20th century, scientific materialism. The baby that remained after the bathwater got thrown out, was kήρυγμα.  

The teaching, the contents thereof of what had been proclaimed by the early church.  In short, a stripping down to the very fundamental bottom-line of that which makes to be born again, i.e., in terms of Bultamannian existentialism, to "have a new self-understanding."  

But the morphic-field is a feedback loop, there is no chicken or egg.  There's the loop, the a priori bootstrap Ouroboros of the teleological repository of the cosmos.  So after we've done a light-speed review of existential academic this and that, here we are, in 21st century America, having heard in the last two or three decades zealous preaching of fundamentals pertaining to what really matters, and what can, after all the mass-appeal reduction has been applied, be implemented and perhaps even lobbied: Morality.  And that, my dear brave new friends, is the demythologized Philosopher's Stone, of the American Christ.  And perhaps Bultmann would agree, that if properly and logically formulated, that that is pretty much all it takes for Dasein to snap into a new self-understanding.  

When Morality, which is but an aspect of early human socialization, is elevated to the level of the apex of human development, evolution, and involution, we are looking at impoverished, bare-bones "common sense" teachings that cannot nurture resonant, ongoing ascent toward eventual awakening (you could call it a "new self-understanding" too) beyond the plateau of mere, assimilated socialization with respect to reward and punishment.  

Finally, to conclude, a true anecdote.  A theological scholar who studied everything from Altizer to Zwingli was traveling in the Bible Belt by rail.  He noticed that a group of young men started a King-James-Version Bible study a few seats up.  Enthusiastically he asked if he could join, and introduced himself as a Biblical scholar, and that he could read the New Testament in Greek.  "We don't need no Greek, mister," the Bible leader said.  "We like our Bible straight."
             
Rudolf Karl Bultmann (August 20, 1884, Wiefelstede – July 30, 1976, Marburg)

This joint is for James Henry.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

2020


Although she is utterly unaware of the fact, you could argue that Madonna saved my life. I was staying at the Plaza Hotel on 5th Avenue; had been there for three weeks as my office was in New York. I had been commuting from Los Angeles at least once a month for nearly five years. This was an unusually long stay as I was in the process of securing venture capital for my newest design project. Meetings had gone well and I was feeling giddy at the prospect of imminent success.


Typically, you couldn't drag me out of New York. I was usually the last to board the plane barely making the flight, having dashed from a Broadway Show, gala, or gallery opening. I had grown to love New York and all its dualities of misery, whimsy, chaos, and cool. The summers stunk of garbage and the winter winds doubled you over, but so what! These were exciting times for me; my big IBM project had just been published in over a dozen domestic and international design magazines. Genius of the minute, I was enjoying the fact that I was failing upwards fabulously. The only thing pulling me back to Los Angeles from this particular NY stay was my fabulously expensive ticket to Madonna's newly added concert performance in Los Angeles on Tuesday night.

It was the morning of Sunday 9/9 and I was having breakfast with an acquaintance of mine, fireman David Weiss. David was a brick house of muscle and brawn with a bald head and tattoos everywhere. He was an integral part of the elite, highly specialized Rescue 1 team. They were usually the first ones in on any high rise fires and other such difficult challenges. We blabbed over eggs then went back to the firehouse. I met all the guys and played on the fire trucks. I loved every Rescue 1 guy I met, because they excelled and were the best at what they did. In less than 48 hours they would all be dead.

After enjoying the company of the Rescue 1 gang, I wandered over to see "Broadway on Broadway", an annual free concert in the heart of Times Square, which kicks off the Broadway season. The featured shows stage one song from their production for about 200,000 sardined New Yorkers all jockeying for a birds eye view of the stage.


Having hobnobbed with Rescue 1, it would seem that Firemen were the theme of the day. I remember being helped up onto the bumper of Engine Company 54's truck #4 by a fireman who realized I couldn't see the stage at all. The truck had "Never Missed A Performance" painted across the top of the windshield. I remember thinking how apropos it was for me not to be missing this performance because I had the good fortune to be standing on the bumper of this behemoth vehicle; the sentinel firetruck of Broadway.

Later, I would see #4 being lifted out of the carnage by a huge crane on the channel 4 news. You could hardly tell it was a firetruck, so badly burned and crushed was the mangled mass. Barely legible and distorted words above the windshield read "Never Missed A Performance."  As I am writing this, I realize surreal abstractions feel quite obvious to me now: 4 planes on 4 paths of destruction.

After having whet my appetite in Times Square, I felt entitled to treat myself to attend a delightful matinee performance of The Producers. For dinner, I strolled back to the Plaza, which capped off a mighty fine day. The only distressing news was the weather forecast which foretold of some very, very bad storms potentially blowing in to the city on Monday night. This concerned me because my flight home was early; 8:30ish Tuesday morning out of Newark. Any lightning could have the metro area airports slow or stop air traffic all together.  My attendance at Madonna's "Drowned World Tour" performance had just been jeopardized by an excitable, shiny-haired brunette meteorologist (odd the details one remembers). Did I want to risk missing the concert if I couldn't get out on Tuesday morning? It was an impromptu concert date in my home town, I was able to procure an impossibly great seat... seemed like kismet. I thought I'd wait and see what Monday looked like.

I laid my weary head down on God knows what thread count and quickly fell asleep. To my knowledge, I did not dream. At 3:30 am Monday morning I woke up in a hot sweat. The sheets were drenched and my body was shaking. Roiling in my head was the mantra "I've got to get out of here, I've got to get out of here." Over and over again that voice was screaming for me to get out of bed, get out of the hotel, and get out of New York. It was nothing I had ever experienced before. Like a crazed animal, I grabbed the phone and called the front desk. I was in my usual room, 2020, which overlooked the park. The staff knew me by my first, middle and all nicknames; my likes, dislikes and general temperament. It must have seemed odd to them to be talking to this heretofore unknown crazy woman requesting a car, change of air reservations, and the myriad of other frantic demands I barked at them that very early morning.

I threw my designer clothes into my designer luggage, grabbed my expensive Rolex Pearlmaster; noted the time; noticed I was naked, in a rabid panic, and I simply didn't care. It didn't occur to me that my behavior was completely unrecognizable. The car came at 5:00 am, the familiar staff bade me a warm goodbye knowing they would see me next month. I never saw any of those nice people again, nor have I ever been back to the Plaza Hotel.

All the flights were booked out of Newark so I flew out of Kennedy. I sat where I always sit, on the right side of the plane, so I could see the New York skyline. I took particular note of that view and the Twin Towers. As the plane course-corrected west I remember thinking how sunny it was; how wrong the forecast had been and how polished and sparkly the buildings looked. I never dreamed that skyline would be forever seared in my mind and how dramatically it would be altered thereafter. If someone had told me it would be seven years before I'd set food in New York again, I'd never have believed them.

I landed at LAX and took a taxi to my beach house in Marina Del Rey. My usual routine would have been to have put on a wet suit and go surfing, but not on this fair Monday. Instead, I walked down to the waters edge in my travel clothes and fell to my knees. Uncontrollable sobs erupted from deep within. I couldn't stop and the few folks out at the beach on a school day gave me a wide berth. My grief was so overwhelming. It came in waves, in tandem with those breaking before me. I thanked God and Country, girlfriends and sisters; a generalized "people of earth" for letting me kneel on the sands of my home land and kiss the grains beneath me. This poured out of me for twenty minutes or more until I had not another tear to drop nor a sob to spend.

Exhausted, I called my lover. I asserted that I had lost my mind and that perhaps all the international travel of late had caused a chemical imbalance which in turn had caused a mental imbalance which was evidenced by my insane behavior of the previous 12 hours. Behaviour that terrified me. My lover told me to come home; that it would be okay. I went home and it was. Okay.

Until the phone rang Tuesday morning at 6:00AM.

Madonna cancelled her concert that night but I was home safe . . . and not, by the grace of the not so silent universe, a smudge on the side of one of those now extinct buildings.

I retired that Tuesday, not only from my executive job, but from my previous way of being. The venture capital dried up overnight and I lost interest in my self importance and big fat brainstorms.

A kind of veil lifted, exposing me to myself and I did and didn't like what I saw. As is my true and honest nature, I got busy and got interested in the change. A second chance at it all.

Although they aren't as desperate or as loud as they were in my room on September 10, 2001, I welcome the voices that occasionally speak to me. Now, I listen; instead of simply marveling at them like an ignorant and entitled spectator, I try to piece together the random coincidences and synchronicities that dance in and out of my purview. That awakening --- the events of 9/11 --- having inexplicably changed me, has, if nothing else from here on out, insured that I will have "never missed a performance". The intricate conspiracy of the cosmos hurling, what I used to see as bits and pieces of flotsam and jetsam is slowly taking on a deeper, more singular meaning. Hindsight, as they say, is 2020.


This is for David Weiss and the boys at Rescue 1 and Engine Company 54.
You lifted me up on trucks and fire poles; we briefly kept company and laughed.
When all our lives should have been lost on Tuesday, 

I remained behind.
A spectator ... having witnessed your performance ...
just before the storm

Children of the Gods



"It was difficult to imagine them"- they used words just like these to communicate with each other. "Words indeed" what strange creations he thought, and, tried, difficult as it was for his race to comprehend the shape, contour and motion of such symbols. Nevertheless, he endeavoured further, motioning within the galo-sphere whom all members of his race communed through, the scaled rexus over the symbols, lingering initially over "2", which he suddenly comprehended as a torus then the "0" formed into a hyper-zolid, one of most remarkable properties in their geometry, the "1" a xisc, and back and forth, he touched lightly the final "2" with his rexus, forming instantly the torus again. "Did they sound like these too" came the plase - however, his partner had already begun to discern a glimpse, like the pulses of radio waves they often observed, light-years before they reached a new star-system, a type of pattern would always form in advance of any possible nous, faintly initially, until with time, or cha as they undertood it, they would mould through the galo-sphere a multi-versed hologram of the entire nous they were approaching to investigate. However, on this star where they had recently arrived and gained in advance a complete holographic impression of the entire forms of nous from their galo-sphere, everything seemed to be missing, or displaced, by some great cosmic event ....."It is difficult to imagine" understood the younger of the two, known in his own symbols simply as ER. He stood and looked out far across the empty landscape, until his vision met the contours of the black, heavy eroded mountains and the red drifting sands ....."Strange, they would say, this should be other than it is" came the plase from his colleague, JEV, who was something of an expert in deciphering the linguistic structures of primitive cultures ..... he seemed to almost smile, if such a thing was actually possible for a philovian!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ten Stages of Mind Development


“Yes. There is more. Ego apprehends. Ego grasps, attaches, and possesses. It is a possessor of possessors, most insidious. There are entities that possess the bodies of other beings. They are parasites that wrap their psychic and energetic tendrils into their hosts, and establish a system of inseparable feedback and mutual sustenance. When this happens, possession becomes complete. However, even the possessor is unaware that it is itself possessed. It is possessed by ego. How perfectly it hides. It does not hide in darkness, for that is where all possessors hide. Instead, it hides in the light. 

“We get different views regarding ego with respect to the ten levels of mind. There are two ways to view the ten levels of mind, a ubiquitous way and a localized way. From the perspective of ubiquity of mind, the first level is that which is driven by the propensities and impulses of the ego alone. It seeks its own survival, preservation, and gratification. In the second level, a being is socialized with respect to right and wrong, and ego enters the social arena. It cannot assert itself only and survive, so it assimilates social information and cloaks itself in decency and upstanding behavior. Those who fail at this level become social pariahs. In the third level of mind, a being experiences transcendence beyond the social and horizontal domain of community and its laws; it discovers the vertical, that is, religion. Ego hides itself in religious indoctrination at this level, and projects itself onto a supreme being or supreme beings. It submits to a greater Ego than itself, while it has succeeded in its wiles to establish the greatest self-protective mechanism it has ever thought of: it cloaks itself in the guise of submission to a greater Ego, while the greater Ego is none other than itself. It has found the perfect guise and doctrine, that there is no greater mode of being than to sacrifice one’s existence or happiness for the sake of that supreme being that is none other than the ego itself. 

“These three stages are the early levels of the development of mind. They are phlegmatic in their obfuscations, and beings wade through their existence enslaved by ego. These three stages correspond to gross enslavement to ego. As you can see, it becomes more and more insidious with each level. At the fourth stage, there is awakening. A being realizes that the horizontal and vertical were constructs of thinking, perceptions, and paradigms. A being realizes that ego is a mere epiphenomenal construct—something that emerges as an inferred whole based on parts—and has no inherent existence. It realizes that ego is nowhere to be found, that it is impermanent. Now it becomes even more insidious, and it must raise the stakes. Ego attaches itself to this awakening, and complies. Hence the being who has awakened is now under the sway of subtle delusions instead of gross delusions as in the first three levels of mind.

“In the fifth level, a being is spontaneously awakened and trains itself to become free from the confines of constructs based on ephemeral illusions created by ego, but because the being views everything as an illusion of ego, it focuses only on its own freedom. It lacks the horizontal dimension and thus is akin to the first level of mind, except in a subtle way of delusion. In the sixth level an awakened being reaches the horizontal dimension and thus seeks the freedom of others. This is akin to the second level of mind, except now the delusion of ego is subtle, because it attaches itself to sympathy for others, and by so doing introduces again the gross doctrines of self-sacrifice, martyrdom, and self-denial in which ego hides. The insidiousness reaches a very dangerous level at this point, because the awakened being who seeks the salvation of others believes that it has advanced to a penultimate state of being, while it has become enslaved to the subtle wiles of ego as it hides itself in selflessness, egolessness, and selfless service for the sake of others. The being at this stage is unbalanced, and is unaware of the subtle delusions. This stage is akin to the third level of mind, except it is subtle. 

“In the seventh level, the universal mind is finally experienced, and there is greater awakening. The being realizes that there is an ego construct, but that mind itself is indestructible and universal. Its mind realizes that mind is without beginning and without end. It realizes the spacious emptiness of everything. It becomes tranquil, and is no longer held under the sway of obligations, doctrines, and constraints. It has integrated opposites. It becomes attached to this freedom and tranquility, and ego finds a home there. It is a comfortable place. This is akin to the first and fifth levels of mind of gross and subtle delusions, but now it is even more subtle and refined. In the eighth level, mind awakens to non-duality and unity of utterly everything. It has gone beyond the either/or. Ego has receded to the background so much now, that it can no longer sense it. But ego already has its subtle tendrils in the attachment to world view and understanding. This is akin to the second and sixth levels of mind of gross and subtle delusions, but now it is even more subtle and refined. 

“In the ninth level of mind, the mind becomes ready for the final epiphany, and realizes the universal interpenetration of all things. But because it is still based on being singular in the light of the unity of everything, it does not see the possibility of processes of Life Force that have their own dynamic. It is unaware of the Life Force and its inherent awakened dynamic, and while viewing everything in terms of world views of emptiness, illusions, non-duality, integration of opposites, unity, it is unaware that the Life Force pervades all, and that the Life Force has its inherent intelligence in perfect awakening. Hence the ego shuts out the possibility of complete and total integration, and maintains its existence in the subtle of subtlest delusion. This is akin to the third and seventh levels of mind of gross and subtle delusions, but now is at the stage of the most subtle delusions possible, virtually undetectable. These delusions are undetectable so often, as only those at the tenth mind level can detect them. 


“In the tenth mind level, the Life Force has broached the mind and the mind awakens to its all-pervasive body, the universal body. There is awakening unto the great Life Force, and thus integrates the phenomenal and noumenal—that is, body, biology, matter, life—to become the universal body itself. It awakens to the third factor of universality, that of vibrations. Everything is alive and vibrating at the most subtle and minutest levels. These vibrations are the resonance of the reservoir of information of the universal body and mind; hence there is not a moment in which there is no information. Nothing, utterly nothing becomes superfluous. Everything is imbued with Life Force, with the dynamics of life, with consciousness, and with resonant information. One has a final epiphany at this level, from the very universe itself, and thereby becomes the universal body, mind, and speech. It is the resplendent stage of mind when it becomes the very universe itself with nothing amiss. One can speak of a synergy of all stages hitherto and make that the eleventh level of mind as well. But once a being reaches the tenth level of mind, there is complete freedom to reach that eleventh stage. There is no constraint at all; it becomes a single inference of thought. Hence the eleventh is usually not considered a stage of mind.”

"Cosmic Induction,"  CittaBhumi: Book Omega, Beyond Apocalypse by C.J.J.Crow

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Urinetown


It's a hard, cold, tumble of a journey
Worthy of a gurney, a bumble down
A slapped face, smacked with a mace
Certain to debase is our stumble down
It's a path that leads you only one place
Horrible to retrace, a crumble down
A hard, cold, tumble of a tourney
Jumble of a journey to Urinetown
("Cop Song" from the musical, Urinetown)

When I was a desert rat in the mid 70's to about 1981, I was too young, stupid, and stoned to know of concepts such as dystopia. But I was living in it, and knew it viscerally. If someone I had respected (and there were very, very, few such people back then) had explained the idea to me, I probably would've said, "Sounds like this fucking town." Although I probably would've pronounced the word 'fucking' as 'fuggin'." 

But I digress. Yes, Palm Desert, which indeed was a glorified truck stop back then, was dystopic. And in fact, I believe it's become even worse today. I was there in December of 2009, and made my observations first hand. It conjured, to me, most apropos, thoughts of the musical Urinetown.

First of all, the town is filled with cops. They're everywhere, on the beat, I've never seen a small town with so many cops. This is already an unnerving thing, because when you think about it, who are they after? It's not as if the town is like Detroit. It's not even close to apocalyptic desolation. It thrives with plastic strip malls, shopping malls, restaurants, boutiques, banks, and so on, with golf courses galore. The streets are nicely paved, grass everywhere is perfectly mowed and watered, the palm trees are cosmetically trimmed to perfection, gated communities and golf courses look ritzy as ever.

So the police are there to monitor the undesirables. The undesirables are: poor folk and poor teenagers. And there are parts of town to which certain ethnic folk and underdressed young folk can go, and risk getting stopped and questioned. Unless they're wearing the correct deserty, southwest attire. You'll never see the homeless in Palm Desert. Maybe the second-homeless, the economy tanking and all, but no, not the homeless. They couldn't live in that horrendous, hellish heat anyway. It's not a place for human habitation (unless you are indigent, ancestrally speaking), but it's an artificially sustained environment, with air conditioning and piped-in water.

In terms of feng shui, it is good for residential neighborhoods to have sidewalks.  Though Palm Desert is not the only place that has the no-sidewalk problem, I believe having no sidewalk, as minor as it seems, is a tipping-point for an alienated, dystopic social environment.  People walk, they don't just drive cars.  Walking in one's own neighborhood is a given, people enjoy walks as leisure and healthy well-being, it's a way of feeling the ground under one's feet, of feeling at home in one's environment.  But there are places which have no sidewalks, except in strip-mall areas and storefronts.  This is commercialism only, and not a matter of accommodating human well-being.  Sidewalks.  If your house meets the road and there is no place for you to walk, think about it.  You have to walk with cars.  Something is not right.  This kind of thing is also discussed in the seminal work A Pattern Language.  And Palm Desert is mostly like that.  And don't you dare step or lie on that freshly mowed lawn on public property, you could get into trouble with the police (I saw a man who was lying on the grass in front of the community college getting harassed by a cop)!

Sure, there are places far more fucked up than Palm Desert, places that are apocalyptic hell on earth. But there are dimensions of hells, and some places are hell just by sheer virtue of Sartrean mauvais foi, by sheer torpor, subtle to overt oppression, atmosphere, environment, and socioeconomics combined. Some places are hell by being a Reptilian dwelling-place that is all facade.

An anecdote.  There was a severe drought in SoCal in the early 80's, and the San Jacinto Mountains went on fire.  Other areas in the distance were also burning, and ashes were everywhere, which lasted for days.  Standing in Palm Desert and looking all around, the place looked like something out of Dante's Inferno or a Hieronymus Bosch painting.  But at night, the weatherman would give the rundown of forecasts (while mountain silhouettes looked like volcanoes if at all they could be seen past the smoke), and would say, "It'll be another beautiful day tomorrow."  The reference was to the fact that they weren't expecting clouds or rain, because the artificial folk of Urinetown only liked sunshine, and nothing but. 

In the new process of remaking the human world for sustenance and well being, perhaps there are assumed perspectives that need revaluation.     

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Religions for the Masses

First, a disclaimer.  I have friends who are good, truly good people, who are fundamentalist Christians.  Never for a moment do I think to myself that they are good because of their religion, and extol the religion for having produced such wonderful people.  No, their religion is simply circumstantial to who they are in their heart, to their goodness, kindness, and warmth.  I think to myself that they are still good, in spite of their Christianity. I love those friends, notwithstanding their faith.  If this offends you, you need to self reflect mindfully.

Christianity, for example, one of the three major book-religions, like surgery, has its place in being a refuge for people whose backs are against the wall.  In desperation, they can find refuge, healing, and transcendence there.  It's like someone who needs surgery in a life or death situation.  But once the surgery is performed and the person recovers, they don't have to keep receiving that surgery over and over again.  What was medicine then would turn into something harmful.  Same thing with taking antibiotics.  You knock out the viruses good and bad as a desperate measure for, say, pneumonia.  But if you kept taking the antibiotics after the job's been done, you'll destroy your immune system.  Or people keep taking pain killers after they've healed from injury, and they become addicted to them.  And so on.  Christianity too can take a person in a dire situation to places of transcendence, but once they've reached that plateau, they must be told to move on, and keep evolving.  But instead, they become stuck and entrenched.  Deeper and deeper in a vortex of peer pressure, guilt, and when it becomes the worst case scenario: fear and psychic blackmail.    

There is an overall tendency of people entrenched in mass religion to fall into a morphic lull of believing that there could be nothing possibly more than the watered down teachings and doings of one-size-fits-all religion for the masses.  What is astonishing is that these cultures believe theirs to be the "correct" culture with respect to theological interpretation.  They respectively worship at least four distinct male war-gods, but never delve deep enough to understand that each of these war gods demands absolutely exclusive allegiance, and demands that theirs is the only way, the only "true god" who must be worshiped.  So this leads to tremendous problems.  Tremendous human problems, one of (not the only, of course) the few major, major problems of human beings on the globe.    

Even in the chaotic, ecstatic glossolaliac frenzy of Pentecostals, the zealous cutting of the body with swords, and hypnotic absorption of rocking back and forth in scripture recitation toward a wall, there is a rigid, underlying framework.  No one can take away the inner experiences of people who are absorbed in what they believe to be the ultimate (it is not, but only provisionally, seemingly so), but this religion-for-the-masses phenomenon of book-based religions (judeochristianislamic) tyrannically tries to efface all specific epiphanies, sacred objects, and sacred spaces that do not fit into their cookie-cutter scheme.

If it were said that these gods have abdicated, that they are deus absconditus, that they are in essence "dead" as Nietzsche's prophet said, who would believe it?  What if these gods have come to a realization that they are doing more harm than good, that they are messing with dangerous karmas for themselves and all beings, and want nothing of it?  What if they don't want to be worshiped any more, and ever again?  What if they have moved on to a higher, better path for themselves, having repented of their earlier sins of power-induced hubris? What if they are utterly mortified with what humans are doing in their name(s)?  What if they are actually trying to stop humans from doing what they are doing, but are powerless to do so, because religions for the masses have taken on momentum like a broken train, like Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor, that they are powerless to stop?

What if the gods know, however, that there is still an overarching teleological process at work, of which they are part and have taken part, which will bring forth wonders beyond their expectations?  If that were the case, they would have to stand aside, and let matters unfold. No more getting involved, no matter how bad it gets. Not until they receive instruction,  from an entangled hierarchy of awakened beings, to go and protect.

Buddhism and Hinduism are not immune from the above either, because there are fundamentalists in all religions.  I hope for an ingression of Novelty.  If this is my hope, I cannot settle for what's already been said and done by vehicles that are no longer serving the globe.