Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
A couple of years ago I read and thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Rick Strassman's clinical research on DMT in his book, DMT - The Spirit Molecule. This week I had the pleasure of watching Strassman's new documentary of the same name. The book is certainly much more in-depth, but the documentary is a great and informative introduction to the subject. Parts 1 and 2 above, here are parts 3, 4, and 5.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Thanks to Mark for recommending this great documentary, Amongst White Clouds. An American film-maker and seeker of enlightenment goes to the Chinese mountains, encounters and lives with various ascetic Buddhist hermits and catches some beautiful moments and inspiring insights on camera. I highly recommend it for all spiritual seekers. Peace.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Whoops I Broke Space-Time
To encourage a person out of their awful addiction to facts I drew a line on a piece of paper and said "look: Look at the line. See how the mark is a line but get closer, it wobbles, closer still and it has breaks. You piece together these marks and say there is a line but closer in the line is not even joined. Close enough and I can pass through the line and start following the paper in an entirely new direction. Closer I may become fascinated by the texture of the paper, I may get into the fibers and start to see how they are not a flat piece of paper but a whole new 3D world with new paths in every direction. What of the line now? No interest, I follow these fiber threads and go where I like. But closer still... Now, closer, I decide to move between the fibers and I go through holes in between them, through the paper and I see currents of air flowing through there too. Obsessed I grab hold of a bit of air and I ride it, flowing, madly in every direction. I go in deeper and I see different patterns, I see parts of air, different gases of different patterns of different behaviors, I grab the spinning boundary of one and I whiz deeply towards an apparent center. Deeper I go and I find powerful energies of great binding and great repulsion, existing by both their power to hold form and their resistance against other great forces. I think back to the ink. Onward. Now in a world of forces I brave it and push into something invisible but beyond measure in force. I push in deeper and deeper determined to see what this force has to offer. I break through what I used to know as time. Now I exist in no-place and at no time. I venture on but as expected I can no longer relay my story back to you. There is no such thing as a straight line my friend, your equations bore me, I'm breaking barriers you can only measure the meta dynamics of.
Large Hadron Collider
I can not accept a finite universe as, if finite, it must be held by something and so then it was not finite at all but given a boundary. Most of us agree for some reason or another that there is an infinity. What then are we doing trying to measure or describe that? Only a lunatic could set about trying to measure or break infinity into constituent finite parts - Mad as it is, that is science and we as tax-payers fund that lunacy even though we believe in infinity. I want my money back. Large Hadron Collider - I'd rather spend my tax money on a meal a day for all of humanity for life. Then. If reality is infinite and so indescribable, immeasurable, unknowable and far and away beyond the limits of our senses and minds, science, religion and any form of explanation is farcical. What is worth our ink if all of the big questions are struck off the record? Perhaps we are left with philosophy, deciding what is right and what is not, this though is just as mad. As who is deciding, who is in any position to say what any other may or may not do? What else then? I would say the only thing worth any thought: (science is out, philosophy is out) all we have left is the human condition and working for global happiness. Now we have a very special start point here. We are all human and very similar by that core fact. We can not know infinity and we can not decide what is right and wrong for others but we can relate to suffering and we can, by being human, recognize in others when they are happy, sad or pretending to be happy. We can know real happiness and we can point others towards it. This is perhaps the only thing worth your heart beats.
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Friday, November 19, 2010
Thanks to Michael Jenkins for sending me this excellent hour-long Web TV show called "Shift Into One" featuring Michael himself, Sandra Kyrzakos, and Natalie Filippelli. There were some incredibly important ideas about Oneness and Karma shared here that I highly recommend as essential viewing for everyone.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
My good friend Chris at the TaoWow blog has been a continual source of ideas and inspiration for me. Have a look at some of his excellent recent entries:
Monday, November 1, 2010
This guy StreetMUNKdotCOM makes some really interesting videos like this one. There's something about watching him that refreshes me. I guess it's his disarming and open persona. He seems quite comfortable with acting retarded on camera. I think it's that and his little tidbits of wisdom that keep me coming back to his channel.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Here are some great videos by Rich2150x demonstrating in real-time an example of forgiving self and others. Think of what needs to be forgiven and keep re-wording it until it makes you laugh. Laughter is the release necessary for true forgiveness to take place - anything less is mere platitude. Also check out this great forgiveness video by Dan the Man.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
"This book is a guide for a specific kind of newly evolving man. This man is unabashedly masculine—he is purposeful, confident, and directed, living his chosen way of life with deep integrity and humor—and he is sensitive, spontaneous, and spiritually alive, with a heart-commitment to discovering and living his deepest truth. This kind of man is totally turned on by the feminine. He loves to take his woman sexually, to ravish her, but not in some old-style macho fashion. Rather, he wants to ravish her with so much love she is vanished, they both vanish, in the fullness of loving itself. He is dedicated to incarnating love on this earth, through his work and his sexuality, and he does so as a free man, bound neither by outer convention nor inner cowardice. This newly evolving man is not a scared bully, posturing like some King Kong in charge of the universe. Nor is he a new age wimp, all spineless, smiley, and starry-eyed. He has embraced both his inner masculine and feminine, and he no longer holds onto either of them. He doesn't need to be right all the time, nor does he need to be always safe, cooperative, and sharing, like an androgynous Mr. Nice Guy. He simply lives from his deepest core, fearlessly giving his gifts, feeling through the fleeting moment into the openness of existence, totally committed to magnifying love ... It is time to evolve beyond the macho jerk ideal, all spine and no heart. It is also time to evolve beyond the sensitive and caring wimp ideal, all heart and no spine. Heart and spine must be united in a single man, and then gone beyond in the fullest expression of love and consciousness possible, which requires a deep relaxation into the infinite openness of this present moment. And this takes a new kind of guts. This is the Way of the Superior Man." -David Deida, "The Way of the Superior Man" (Intro)
"If a woman suggests something that changes a man's perspective, then he should make a new decision based on his new perspective. But he should never betray his own deepest knowledge and intuition in order to please his woman or "go along" with her. Both she and he will be weakened by such an action. They will grow to resent each other, and the crust of accumulated inauthenticity will burden their love, as well as their capacity for free action. You should always listen to your woman, and then make your own decision. If you choose to go with your woman's suggestion even when deep in your heart you feel that another decision is more wise, you are, in effect, saying, "I don't trust my own wisdom." You are weakening yourself by telling yourself this. You are weakening your woman's trust in you: why should she trust your wisdom if you don't? When you deny your deep truth to please your woman, everyone will feel your lack of authenticity. They will sense that your false smile hides an inner division. Your friends, children, and business colleagues may love you, but they won't trust you, since you don't trust your own core intent. And, more importantly, your own sense of inauthenticity will burden your capacity to act with clarity. Your actions won't jibe with your core. However, if you listen to your woman, taking everything she says into account and making your own best decision, then you are acting in accordance with your core. You are saying, in effect, "My deepest wisdom is leading me to this decision. If I amwrong, I will learn from it, and my wisdom will have deepened. I'm willing to be wrong, and grow from it. I trust this process of acting from my deepest wisdom." This attitude of self-trust engenders others' trust in you. You may be wrong, but you are willing to find out, and thus grow from the experience. You are open to listening to others, but in the end, you will take the responsibility for making your own decision. There is nobody else to blame. However, if you give up your real decision to follow your woman's, then you will blame her for being wrong if she is wrong, and you will feel disempowered if she is right, having denied yourself the opportunity to act from your core and grow from your mistakes. Be open to changing your feeling based on whatever your woman might reveal to you—through her words or her body language—and then make your own decision, based on your deepest intuitive wisdom and knowledge. You may make the right decision or the wrong one, but whatever happens, it is your best shot, and you will strengthen your capacity for future action." (15-17)
"A woman often seems to test her man's capacity to remain unperturbed in his truth and purpose. She tests him to feel his freedom and depth of love, to know that he is trustable. Her tests may come in the form of complaining, challenging him, changing her mind, doubting him, distracting him, or even undermining his purpose in a subtle or not so subtle way. A man should never think his woman's testing is going to end and his life will get easier. Rather, he should appreciate that she does these things to feel his strength, integrity, and openness. Her desire is for his deepest truth and love. As he grows, so will her testing." (47)
"Every moment of your life is either a test or a celebration. The same is true about every moment with your woman, only doubly so. Not only is her simple existence a test for you, but one of her deepest pleasures in intimacy is testing you, and then feeling you are not moved off course by her challenge. The most erotic moment for a woman is feeling that you are Shiva, the divine masculine: imperturbable, totally loving, fully present, and all-pervading. She cannot move you, because you already are what you are, with or without her. She cannot scare you away, because you already penetrate her in fearless love, pervading her heart and body. She cannot distract you, because your one-pointed commitment to truth will not bend to her wiles. Feeling this hugeness of love and freedom in you, she can trust you, utterly, and surrender her testing in celebration of love. Until she wants to feel you as Shiva again. And then the testing will begin anew. In fact, it is precisely when you are most Shiva-like that she will most test you. Perhaps you have been working toward some financial goal, and finally you have succeeded. After months or years of effort, you have creatively earned a large amount of money. You feel happy, full, successful. You feel great. You come home to your woman and want to share the news with her.
"That's nice!!?? You know how hard I've been working for this."
"I know. It feels like I haven't seen you in months. Did you remember to pick up the milk on the way home?"
"Oh, sorry. I forgot. But who cares? We could buy a dairy farm now!"
"I asked you to pick up the milk three times this morning, and I put a note on your briefcase. How could you forget?"
"I said I'm sorry. Look, I'll go get the damn milk...."
Why is she being this way? Because she simply wants to deflate your success? No. She is challenging you because your success doesn't mean shit to her, unless you are free and loving. And if you are free and loving, nothing she says can collapse you. She wants to feel you are uncollapsable, so she pokes you in your weak spot. Of course she knows how much this moment of success means to you. This is precisely why she is negating it. Not because she wants to hurt you. But because she wants to feel Shiva. She wants to feel your strength. She wants to feel that your happiness is not dependent on her response, nor on you making a million dollars. She wants to feel you are a superior man." (47-49)
"Keeping your word" is a masculine trait, in men or women. A person with a feminine essence may not keep her word, yet it is not exactly "lying" In the feminine reality, words and facts take a second place to emotions and the shifting moods of relationship. When she says, "I hate you," or "I'll never move to Texas," or "I don't want to go to the movies," it is often more a reflection of a transient feeling-wave than a well considered stance with respect to events and experience. On the other hand, the masculine means what it says. A man's word is his honor. The feminine says what it feels. A woman's word is her true expression in the moment… Whenever you are surprised by your woman's actions, and you say to her, "But you said...," you are forgetting that she has a feminine essence. What your woman says is like a cloud passing in the sky: well-formed, coherent, and unrecognizable moments later. The cloud is an expression of the precise physics of water, wind, and air. Your woman's words are expressions of the physics of her feelings, your relationship, and the nuances of the present situation, seen and unseen. A moment later, these factors will change, and so will your woman's expressions. You might ask her, "Do you want to go to the movies?"
Then you hug her and spin her around and say, "Let's go to the movies!"
And she says, "OK!"
She is not talking about her desire to go to the movies. She is talking about the feeling of your relationship in the present moment. If after she said she didn't want to go to the movies, you said fine and sat down to watch TV, you would be missing the point. She is not really saying she doesn't want to go to the movies, even though that is what she's saying. This is not lying. For a man, or for anyone speaking in the masculine style, to say something that is not true is lying. But, for the feminine, truth is a thin concept compared to the thickness of her flow of feelings. The "truth" of the feminine is whatever she is really feeling, in this present moment." (56)
"When a woman gets emotionally intense, a mediocre man wants to calm her down and discuss it, or leave and come back later when she is "sane." A superior man penetrates her mood with imperturbable love and unwavering consciousness. If she still refuses to live more fully in love, after a time, he lets her go. If you are like most men, you probably aren't too fond of feminine bad moods and hysterical emotions. You may find yourself wondering, why is she so complicated? What's her problem? You may find yourself saying, "Just calm down and take it easy." The feminine bad mood is so foreign and dark to you that you may actually find it somewhat repulsive. And when your woman really goes wild, a part of you is afraid of the damage she might do. Her emotions are so much more wild and less predictable than yours that you'd rather not be around them. Basically, most men are afraid of, or disgusted by, feminine emotions. That's why you try to fix them or escape from them. "I'll come back later when you can act like a reasonable human being," you might say. One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. The way you relate to your woman's chaos reflects the way you react to the chaos of the world. If you are the kind of man who needs everything placed neatly in its nice little box, then you will also try to box your woman's emotions. If you are the kind of man who would rather hire other people to take care of the chaos in your attic, or the chaos of your finances, you would probably also rather leave it to someone else to take care of the chaos of your woman. You can, however, train yourself to master the world—financially, creatively, spiritually—by learning how to be free and loving in the chaos of your woman's emotions. And you do so by standing your ground and loving so strongly that only love prevails. You can't quit when you seem to fail, but rather, you must learn from your failures and return to love. Give your gift. Like wrestling a steer or surfing ocean waves, mastery involves blending with your woman's powerful energy and feeling the rise and fall of the moment, without lapsing in presence for a second." (73-74)
"Don't worry about it. I have a job interview tomorrow."
"Well, why don't you get off your butt! You said you were going to clean out the garage weeks ago. I can hardly get to the car!"
"OK. OK. I'll clean the garage this afternoon."
Your woman stops talking and goes about her business, but you can feel her simmering anger and tension. You don't like to be around her when she's like this. You want to get out of the house. "I'll be back in a few hours and I'll clean the garage," you say, as you grab your coat and head for the door. You hear a glass break in the kitchen, so you go in and find your wife furious. "I can't take this any more!" she wails.
"What? I said I'd clean the garage. What's going on?" you wonder.
"I just can't take it!" she cries out, pulling away from you, closing up, and not letting you touch her.
"I don't get it. I said I'd clean the garage. I have a job interview tomorrow. Everything is going to be fine. What do you want?"
You've probably had some version of this conversation with your woman. It holds a key to masculine growth in freedom. And it reveals a common mistake men make with their women. The thing your woman is complaining about is rarely the thing she is complaining about. It is a mistake to believe the content of what she is saying, and then respond to her complaints, point by point. When she complains about financial issues, she is usually feeling a lack in your masculine capacity to direct your life with clarity, purpose, integrity, and wisdom. The money itself is secondary. If you were poor but totally conscious, happy, full of integrity, fearless, humorous, loving and giving your fullest gift to the world and to your woman, she wouldn't complain about lack of money. When you say you will clean the garage, and then weeks pass by and you haven't, her complaint isn't really about the garage. Sure, she'd like a clean garage, but this is a superficial issue. The deeper issue is that you didn't do what you said you would. You gave her your word, and you didn't follow through. She can't trust what you say. And this hurts her, deeply. She might seem to be overreacting to you. Why is she so hysterical? It's only a garage. But she can feel your lack of integrity. Not having cleaned the garage yet seems like a small thing to you, but it shows that you don't follow through with your word, with your purpose. Your word is a demonstration of your purpose, of your masculine core. When you don't follow through with what you say you are going to do, she feels that your masculine core is weak. She feels let down. She can't trust your masculine direction. And so she feels a great loss. Over time, she will begin to build up her own masculine protection against your lack of integrity. She will begin to guard herself against the hurt that your lack of carry through causes. She will harden herself, becoming angular and tense. To you, the garage seems trivial. To her, you have failed at your word. She can't trust you." (118-120)
"If she can't trust you with living your life from your deepest wisdom and fullest capacity, she can't trust you with her life. She can't trust your masculine impeccability, so she naturally will compensate by overdeveloping her own. She is not only being masculine for herself, now she's being masculine for you. If she's got to remind you of the job interview or the mess in the garage, she's supplying the masculine direction for the both of you. And this results in stress. Her body will begin to show it. She will become less radiant and less relaxed in her feminine power and glory because she has to compensate for your failure." (122)
"A man's track record means nothing to the feminine. A man could be perfect for ten years, but if he's an asshole for 30 seconds his woman acts like he's always been one. The feminine responds to the moment of energy, forgetting her man's history of past behavior. A man's past behavior is irrelevant to his woman's feeling in the moment. But men base much on another man's history of behavior, so they think their own track record should count for something. But to a woman, it doesn't. For you as a man, it is probably easier to forgive and forget an occasional mistake made by another man who has a great track record. What pisses you off is when a man lacks integrity and continually fails at his word. But even big mistakes are fairly easy to let go of when made by a man who is otherwise impeccable. You know he really does his best, and this mistake was a rare exception. But, for the feminine, the past is entirely irrelevant. One wrong word in the midst of a five hour lovemaking session that was otherwise perfect could collapse your woman as completely as if you had spent two hours making mistakes. Instead of getting angry because she's so upset that you made one little mistake in a long series of successes, instantly shift the energy between you. Remember, history is irrelevant to the feminine, so your mistake is as easily forgotten as your successes. As soon as you see she's upset, immediately assume happiness. Shock her with your love." -David Deida, "The Way of the Superior Man (127-8)
Sunday, September 26, 2010
This segment from a National Geographic documentary is really touching and thought-provoking. If we think animals' internal worlds of thought, emotion, and morality are any less than humans', we may be deluding ourselves.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Car accidents are the #2 leading cause of unnatural death. Governments are #1. Please be careful on the road of life.
“They interviewed me for a magazine once and called me a radical environmentalist - I like that. They said I’m like Johnny Appleseed without the prejudice. I plant trees, flowers, weeds, berries, fruits, vegetables - wherever there’s dirt, private, public property, I don’t care. My mission is to overrun roadsides with roots until pavement all over the country crumbles, cars become useless and all that’s left is sustainable mass transportation in harmony with nature. Nothing but boats, planes, trains, and monorails. Can you imagine the beauty of cities without streets or cars? Imagine
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
These last two articles by Thaddeus Griebel at the Mind Unclouded blog are excellent and so important. He exposes false teachers and false doctrines of New Age Gurus, Mainstream Media Pundits, Anti-Religious Conspiracy Theorists, Integral Spirituality Gurus, Christian Televangelists, and so-called ‘Enlightened’ Gurus of the East, focusing on David Icke, Peter Joseph, Rhonda Byrne, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Ken Wilber, Andrew Cohen, J. Z. Knight, Joel Osteen, and Shri Mataji . Please read through and comment below. Peace
False Shepherds (part 1)
False Shepherds (part 2)
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Thanks so much to fellow blogger Thaddeus Griebel at MindUnclouded for introducing me to metaphysician Rene Guenon. The above video is a great introduction to his work, and here's a link to some of his books/transcripts.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
All knowledge ultimately means self knowledge, said Lee in an interview. For Lee, to be a martial artist means also to be an artist of life. In Lee's pursuit of personal perfection, he walked a life of deep philosophy that urged him to seek answers and improvement. Bruce Lee was perhaps the best martial artist because he made himself that way, because he sought answers and resolutions. What set him apart from other martial artists was his understanding of the human dynamics of change. Most traditional martial artists taught a style of fighting that was set in stone—they gave a fixed set of moves and attitudes that defined their specific form of fighting. It reflects a very old form of thought given in Western philosophy in the words of Plato who believed in another realm of eternally static perfection to which we must mold ourselves. In the traditional view, change is imperfect; perfection is sought by denying change any relationship to the deeper, metaphysical reality.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
In this wonderfully animated video, Professor Philip Zimbardo conveys how our individual perspectives of time affect our work, health and well-being. Time influences who we are as a person, how we view relationships, and how we act in the world.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
"Catalysts to say what has never been said, to see what has never been seen. To draw, paint, sing, sculpt, dance and act what has never before been done. To push the envelope of creativity and language. And whats really important is, I call it, the felt presence of direct experience. Which is a fancy term which just simply means we have to stop consuming our culture. We have to create culture. Don't watch TV, don't read magazines, don't even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time, where you are now, is the most immediate sector of your universe. And if you're worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, you are disempowered. You are giving it all away to icons. Icons which are maintained by an electronic media, so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion. And what is real is you and your friends, your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, and your fears. And we are told no. We're unimportant, we're peripheral, get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that, and then you're a player. You don't even want to play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that's being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world. Where is that at?" -Terrence McKenna, "Reclaim Your Mind"
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Be good anyway.
Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People need help, but may attack you if you try to help them.
Help them anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Read or Download "A Dangerous Book" Here Free
Since we take our own egos so seriously, we take everyone else's seriously as well. We have become convinced that these egos are real and are who and what we really are. We learn to take things personally: we get angry whenever our egos are questioned or misunderstood, and we get disappointed when other egos turn out to be something other than what our egos thought they were. Based on a false understanding of the players, the dynamics of human interaction quickly become bewildering and frustrating, giving rise to whole generations of psychologists, counselors, and advisors to provide our egos with excuses for why things are not right in our lives. (12)
With my index finger, I can touch lots of things--the keys on my computer, my nose, and so on. I can do this only because these things are not the tip of my finger. The one thing I cannot touch with the tip of my finger is the tip of my finger. In the same way, I can touch, look at, or perceive many things with my consciousness: I can objectify my surroundings, my fingertip, my thoughts, even who I think I am (my ego). I can do all this because these things are not my consciousness. I cannot, however, objectify that same consciousness which is aware of these things. It is, as Alan Watts once remarked, like trying to bite your own teeth or sniff your own nose. We can't be aware of consciousness in the same way we are aware of the objects of consciousness, just like we can't be aware of our fingertips in the same way as we are aware of the things we touch with our fingertips. Consciousness can never be made the object of its own inquiry because it is beyond the polarity of objectivity and subjectivity. (20)
Here's a parable, an analogy, which comes from
After I shook the dust of organized religion from my sandals, I learned that the link between big 'ol God and little 'ol me was no more and no less than consciousness. And each of us, at and as the very center of us, have this same feeling of I Am, for the not-so-obvious reason that each one of us is really God (Brahma) pretending to be each one of us. There is only one I Am, there is only one God, one Brahma, one Tao, one beingness ... we both see the same world, because we both are the same world. But we have so cleverly and convincingly hidden ourselves from ourselves that we really believe that we are separate entities. That's the hide part of hide-and-seek. Humanity has become hide-bound. (56)
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
-Henry David Thoreau
Most adults suffer a dull, indistinct unhappiness which is so habitual that it has become inseparable from their daily lives, however they may smile to mask it. They have been talked out of themselves. From the earliest age they have been brainwashed into the belief that as they were born, and as who they were born, they aren't good enough, that they must continually prove their worth, that their bodies are fallible and liable to disease, that their passions are unnaturally sinful and must be harnessed and suppressed, that their duty is to serve the aims of the majority. Down deep, they are convinced that they aren't good enough. Their consciousness started out cosmic, attuned to the oneness of all existence, but has since been pared down to a strictly utilitarian fraction of its totality. That naturally universal attunement has been filtered and reduced to a trickle, which is then called normal or ordinary consciousness. After decades of propaganda and worldly and/or other worldly teachings, the vast majority of adults have resigned themselves to trying endlessly to be what they are not, and the frustration they quite naturally feel is expressed as fear, hatred, intolerance, greed, and all of the other social maladies we see around us. Look at almost anyone when they don't know they are being watched, when they are not performing . . . what sort of a face are they wearing, what does their expression convey about their prevailing thoughts? Their faces cannot help but mirror how they feel about themselves. Even professional actors cannot maintain a false persona indefinitely, and habitual worry lines are telling. (32)
We all want to be happy. We all want to recreate the state we existed in when we first arrived here, we all remember the feel of it, even though we may not be able to recall the details. Having been kicked out of the garden, we spend the rest of our lives trying to get back in, and having been talked out of our true purposes in life, we have little alternative but to try our best to recreate that happiness from the paltry tools available through religion, or power, or worldly possessions. But happiness is not a commodity, it is not a noun. Neither is real happiness a state of mind, because happiness is, eternally, while the mind can deal only with things temporal. The words "happy" and "happen" both come from the same root, and for a good reason: happiness happens when we have gotten out from behind the yearnings and frustrations of the mind, which keeps it hidden from us. Happiness is not conditional on circumstance, because happiness eternally is, while circumstances come and go. When you base your happiness on the right job, or the right mate, or having lots of money, then you are as much as saying that your happiness depends on things you once didn't have and which you one day will again not have. That may be called pleasure, but it is not happiness. Nothing that can be taken away from you is yours, including your possessions, your reputation, your body, even your mind. None of these is the source of true happiness. (82)
Meditation, as both a practice and a way of life, has emerged in recent times to offer a workable, if not vital alternative to people who are fed up with living frantic, anxious lives, and who have found no solace in the worn out mantras of organized religion. Meditation is a way to get reconnected with who you really are and what you are really here to do and be. Meditation is like catching a glimpse of the backstage props to remind you that the play is really a play, that the so-called worldly realities are also part of the play, and that you are really the actor, not the role. For only then will you be able to play your role, to dance it instead of working it to death. (57)
Therefore, meditation, as a practice, presents us with a very curious problem. It is not an end in itself, but more of a means, a reconditioning which allows us to really live, sort of a process of retuning ourselves. An orchestra in which all the players are out of tune is a cacophony, not a symphony; being in tune is essential to harmony. But neither would we think much of an orchestra in which the players spent all their time just tuning up; they are tuning up so that they can play in tune. If you practice meditation for its own sake, as an end in itself, and unless your meditation serves merely to clear the screens, then you never end up playing anything. You become a meditation junkie. Meditation doesn't get you anywhere; it shows you where you are. And in this sense, meditation is medicinal, not dietary. Its only purpose is to get you back in tune when you are out of tune. When you are stressed out, and can remember that being stressed out is not what you are here to experience, then meditation is very helpful in getting you back to your center, back to the point where you realize that you are not your thoughts, you are not your ego; you are that which is conscious of these things. (60)
Although you won't hear it in public very often, and certainly not from organized religions, recreational medicines make available certain perspectives and descriptions of life behind the veil which are uncannily similar to those recorded by mystics and prophets from all cultures, from the Tibetans and the Taoists to the early Christian mystics and nearly all indigenous cultures, descriptions which are far too similar to be dismissed out of hand. The mystical state is the direct experience of reality without the filtering and objectifying processes of the socialized mind getting in the way. While this state seems to be available to the devotees only after years of meditation and/or other rigorous ascetic practices, it is becoming clear that there are other paths up that particular mountain. How do we get beyond the curtain of maya ? What might we find if ever we should momentarily slip into an altered state of awareness. (104)