Sunday, December 30, 2007

Orwellian Now? U.S. considered "endemic surveillance society"

In a recent post on, I found this interesting link about surveillance in societies across the world. It contains a detailed map of the level of surveillance and free speech in each nation. The United States now joins Russia, China and the UK as one of the most heavily watched societies in the world. Although we do wish to be safe, I wonder - is this the direction we wish to be heading? As the famous sociologist, Robert Merton coined the term: Have our actions in the recent years led us to unforeseen consequences?

Here is the diagram:

Monday, December 24, 2007

Forest Spirits

A bit of fiction that I have attempted to write. It's a little rusty. I haven't written fiction in ages, but I hope to get back into it. Here's to tales around the shaman's camp fire . . . To the smoke in which the spirit is woven,

In the quiet of the night, a boy stood up from the side of a river. The air was frigid, and a breeze carried his breath into the moonlight like glowing smoke. Utter silence filled the forest. The animals did not stir, nor did the people who were encamped a few yards away. The sky was frosty and clear – as cold as the abyss of the stars and just as equally expansive. The boy made his way down the riverside, his hands chapped dry by the air. His focused on his breath as he approached a clearing from the brush. “This,” he said in his native tongue, “this was it.”

He took a first step into the clearing which was illuminated by the full moon. From his pouch, he removed a tiny pouch, pulling out three stones and gripping them in his hand.

“Spirits!” He requested, tossing the three stones into the air. They knocked about a rotted log and scattered on a patch of frozen moss.

“Spirits!” he shouted again.

The forest remained silent, as before.

Suddenly, the sound of cracked twig shot through the forest. The boy turned around quickly, his heart pounding in anticipation.

Silence resumed.

“Do you test me?” He inquired boastingly as his hands trembled.

The Spirits did not respond. He sighed, regaining composure and tracing his steps back to the path. He dared not speak another word.

There was the low sound of breathing about the trees, and the boy looked around again. He began to suspect he was being hunted.

The breathing stopped short. “It’s time to run!” He thought to himself. Just as he began to jog in the general direction of his camp, a voice called out to him from the clearing behind. It made no discernable words, at least, nothing the boy could understand. He turned quickly, only to witness a massive creature, as tall as, yes! Two men! With massive shoulders, as if it had wings. It had no discernable face, but it moved! Toward him, floating through the air.

Needless to say, the boy was already running – and never turned around until he made it back to the flames of the camp.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Huckabee, Is it all about honor?

I've been watching the presidential debates, and I've got to ask - why is Huckabee up in the polls on CNN? Not to mention, in the following video, Huckabee practically makes a fool of himself, inciting the crowd's nationalism instead of their common sense. On the issue of the Iraq war, he makes it clear that if, "You break it, you buy it." But how does this make sense in a losing battle? We aren't in a retail store, we're in a country divided by sect, religion and ethnocentric backgrounds. Isn't it stubborn to think that we can just plow through til victory? In fact, it's downright nonsensical. It seems that Huckabee is gaining some popularity as a result of his charisma, and I do admit he has quite alot of that. Also, the meaning behind his speeches invoke a traditional pride or nationalism you would see in the United States during the Cold War or World War II. Pride, values, unity of one nation fighting to win, etc. For better or worse, we no longer live in a world where we are permitted to think in such simplistic terms without consequences. I believe Ron Paul said it best at the end of this video, when he points out,

"We have lost over 5000 americans over there... How many more do you want to lose? ... What do we have to do to save face? All we're doing is saving face. It's time we came home."
So here it is,

And on another note, here is Huckabee commenting on evolution,

Huckabee, perhaps understandably, divides the US into black and white. The athiests and secularists vs. the Christians. Buddhists? Agnostics? Hindus? Wiccans? Non-religious affiliations and countless other religions? Left out. He is promoting, once again, the traditional values and views of American culture. I don't believe he would be a good president, considering that he is not looking forward, but only backward into a world that collapsed horribly from their own simplicity. With science, civil rights, the United Nations and even the notion of an integral consciousness, the world is becoming too small and far too diverse to divide everything into left and right anymore. Any candidate who wishes to revert us back to the old days is only setting us up for more trouble. Especially in a time period where the next president will be crucial for the survival and well being of not only the U.S., but the rest of the world . . .

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Foucault's Revenge?

When undergoing the process of education, we are often confronted with new concepts that undermine our creativity. Instead of being asked, at this point, what direction we wish to go, we are again guided by the fatherly hand of the educational system. While there is nothing inherently wrong with assistance – one would imagine as the student reaches the maturing age of 18, they may be capable of some form of autonomy. That is – can’t we begin to make our own choices? Can we begin to be taken seriously?

And to elaborate, I wish to make a difference between two fundamentally different points of view. I am not saying: Let us do what we want! Why? Because we can! I am saying, we are able now to make independent, rational decisions. After our k-12 education, what have we learned? What are we informed about? If this is a step toward some form of maturity, should we not be able to follow our own passion? Our own talent? And secondly, do these institutions in which we trust to impart knowledge to us on livelihood, actually live up to their end of the bargain? If they do not help us gain some form of independence and creativity- or even self knowledge, what on earth are we learning?

There is a major flaw in our schools today. They are not inherently wrong, nor are they necessarily failing to understand how to impart knowledge and discipline. That is, at a particular level. What the educational system may be lacking is the ability to identify diversity of intelligence. I may be book smart, but am I socially inept? What are my strengths and weaknesses? Am I creative, logical, or both? Which is my strongest point, and which passion will drive me to succeed happily in my given field?

When we absorb ourselves in knowledge, I think it is very important not to forget the very nature of what we are doing. The accumulation of information, like a computer or database, or library of any sort – does not necessarily bring understanding or even self-knowledge. Our schools, it seems, appear to be very skilled in downloading large amounts of data into our minds, teaching us how to apply these crafts in tests. We become a kind of automaton. The more we open ourselves to the crafters, the more we resonate with their preferred attitudes, beliefs and knowledge. All the while, we believe are inheriting some form of individuality.

Yet, such an action, when it comes down to what is really going on, can be likened to a game of collectors. Everyone is given as much “stuff” as they can fit into their heads – piling it all up as uniquely and cleverly as possible. And the institution encourages this behavior, so when you’ve got quite a lot of “stuff” and have piled it as efficiently as the professor can judge, you are rewarded! In other words, you say, “My stuff is piled the best!” And argue your point.

Yet, if anyone asked: “That’s all well and good ‘stuff,’ but show me YOU.”

I’m afraid that the pile would only come crumbling down – and what would you be left with? The “student,” is itself just a label, another piece of “stuff” that the rest of the pile is tagged with. So, when someone asks you: Who are you? Are you going to give them another title, another bit of ‘stuff,’ or will you be able to answer them dynamically and authentically?

The answer of course, would be no, we are not asked to discover who we are. We are expected to decide what we wish to become. Instead, like some sort of magnet, we are expected to roll around in the bountiful knowledge they have given us and form some kind of coherent picture. There is a reason for this, and it is embedded deep in our culture: We feel the need to achieve, to gain, to become. We are not satisfied with leaving things as they are. It is considered immoral, lazy and inept. Yet, we must ask ourselves: Is this what we truly believe? Or is this all we know? Maybe there is a completely different way to grow as a human being.

Essentially, our schools work for “becoming,” but reject “being,” when in fact both are necessary parts of our existence.

The Yin-Yang symbol in America has become an icon for alternative thought. But I wonder, do we understand this symbol in its entirety, or have we ever compared its meaning to our own symbology? In eastern philosophy, yin-yang is an inseparable dynamic of both doing and being, day and night, action and passivity. It is the contraction and expansion of the cosmos in their entirety, swirling together in one dynamic whole. What our culture seems to be enchanted with is one half of the circle, seeing the world in a very specific way.

We might find it surprising to realize that the very action of “becoming,” has made a mess of our civilization. We wonder why our suicide rate is so high in the U.S., why we have a failing educational system and continuously fragmented political system. We have yet to, for a moment, sit back and observe things as they are. The tags have never been left on the table for a moment while we take in the whole picture. The importance of listening has all but been forgotten, an in its place we are shouting, quite loudly, through the process of analytical thinking and rationalization, idealization. We see through a world of labels, forgetting that all such terms are in fact created. We need them to communicate and navigate, but equally we need the value of silence – in order to listen and connect. The yang must be balanced with the yin. It is in humanity’s best interest that it learns one of the most important skills of all – silence.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Indigo Evolution?

I recently saw the film "Indigo Evolution," and I must say I felt very compelled to express my reflections on this. The film set me off, and not in an positively inspired way. If indigos are meant to be "system busters," then I'm going to have to bust this one. Please bear with me. I do not mean to be attacking anybody or their beliefs, nor do I mean to sound arrogant and pompous, but at the same time I can't remain silent on this.

So what is an indigo? And, how does this documentary depict them? It provides some general concepts about indigos: they are myth busters, they are skilled in non-traditional ways, sometimes appearing as savants, sometimes as musicians. In general, they are bored with the traditional culture, they are disillusioned and are seeking new ways to live. Some of the speakers in this documentary describe every child as an indigo. Personally, I do not see this as something truly unique - it's a result of everything that has happened before, and may have something to do with bigger concepts such as the evolution of consciousness.

So, the description of what it means to be an indigo is so general, that I feel that I witnessed many individuals jumping the gun on identifying themselves with the "indigo" identity simply because they share some basic similarities. So I must ask this question: Are you truly enacting what it is to be an indigo or are you simply finding a self-image you are more comfortable with? This may seem harsh, but I feel it's an important question. Are we playing with concepts, identity and self-images instead of directly experiencing the unity-consciousness, cosmic consciousness, transpersonal states that the sages have spoken of in the past?

I truly feel that indigos are much more rare than depicted in these videos. And that many of these children are encouraged to talk like they do, and express ideas because they are exposed to them through their parents. I feel that many of the children are taught that they are special.

I wonder how many of these speakers realize that children go through their own evolution of consciousness before they reach adulthood? That we are more myth-based when we are younger, absorbing everything our parents do and say to such a level that the parents may not even realize how strongly they influence their children with ideas and concepts?

Also, the concept of the "pure" child I feel is severely mistaken. It is true that when we are young, we are not yet conditioned with society, yet at the same time, we are not like sage or the Buddha. Why is this? Because although our minds are empty and open, the wisdom and knowledge, the maturity has not yet blossomed. It is like the simplicity of a seed compared to the openness of a flower. The two are surely connected, yes! But the seed must blossom first before it is to truly shine with that potential. So then,the non-rational aspects children speak of are mistaken for the sagely, trans-rational words you would hear from, say, Buddha or Ramana Maharshi, or Rumi.

It may be true that indigos are "Older" souls, yes! But they aren't born reciting their own Rumi-like poetry. They develop into it as they grow up. They go through all the stages of development like everyone else, but perhaps at an accelerated rate.

A good friend of mine had an interesting conversation about indigos, and I'll attempt to recreate it in a discussion form:

Q: So, what do you think of the term indigo?

A: Ugh. I try not to use it. I prefer the term "HSP."

Q: HSP? You mean hypersensitives?

A: Yes, those are the only "indigos" I am willing to accept at the moment. Individuals with a heightened sensory perception. I feel that the term "indigo" i used too lightly. It's just become another ideal, like so many other things of this culture.

Q: So in a sense, it has become just like the system it was meant to break down?

A: Yes, they have just found another ideal and lifestyle to follow.

Q: But what about the description for indigo children? ADHD, child prodigies, etc. Doesn't that show some kind of wisdom? Or heightened ability?

A: You can have ADHD and not be an "indigo." That's entirely possible. In fact, there is a huge difference. You can be very talented and not be an indigo, or HSP. The world is full of talented individuals. Are we going to call anyone with any form of talent or different learning ability an "indigo?" Don't you see how this is too generalizing?

Q: * I show her the child prodigy clip from the film - the 10 year old painter* What she be a good example of what you mean?

A: Yes. There you have it. She is certainly skilled, a prodigy even. But being a prodigy doesn't mean you are an HSP or an Indigo. It just means you are a prodigy. You have extaordinary talent, but what's there to make me believe you are an indigo?

Q: Well, how about the concepts conveyed in the imagery? The poems? The discussion?

A: She is 10 years old, and although I am sure her mind is developed in certain areas most others are not, I don't feel a sense of wisdom coming from her paintings, or from her dialogue. What she is describing sounds exactly like something her parents would have told her, or something she has picked up from her time here already.

Q: So, in other words, the concepts are there, the talent is there - but the actual energy and depth, sensitivity to these heightened states is missing?

A: Basically, yes. She has talent. But I don't feel much else. You know Alex Grey? He might be an HSP. His paintings express a very heightened sense of awareness, very detailed, quite vibrant. He doesn't necessarily have to be a prodigy painter. It's the energy behind the content that matters.

Q: I see. Do you believe any children are HSP's?

A: Yes. I am one. And let me tell you, it's not always a wonder. It's very rough living in this world and being an HSP. You have to be careful, things affect you more. A funeral passed by the other day on the road, and I began to cry. I couldn't help but pick up on the emotions of the family.

Q: So an HSP is a form of "empath", and that being under the general list of things they are hypersensitive about?

A: Yes. It varies but yes. We are "hyper sensitive"on a bodily level to foods, touch, sound, hearing, smell. At a mental level we are more intuitive to our thoughts, feelings, basic ego and subconscious. And we are more sensitive to others egos, minds, etc. On a spiritual level we are more sensitive to the subtle energies of the universe.

Q: That makes more sense. So, you can't just say, "I am an indigo." or "I am an HSP."

A: Yes, but you can't say we are very unique either. We experience things that are present for everyone - perhaps more intensely, but everyone is capable of cultivating awareness. We all can simply "be" and "be aware" of this. That is what I hope others can see. Instead of putting us on a pedestal, they should just listen to what we have to say about human nature. That we are actually all one. This isn't a concept. so many of us follow concepts. You must drop your baggage in order to truly know this. There is a difference between knowledge and knowing. Too many of us are concerned with knowledge and not with true knowing, which is wisdom.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

"The Integral Movement,"

Writing a paper about modern movements for my sociology class, and in my research I stumbled upon a wonderful quote by Alan Watts. He describes, perhaps inadvertently the nature of what it means to be integral:

“I have been realizing more and more that partisans to opposed philosophies share the same premises, which are usually unconscious. Furthermore, as the structure of language and the learning of roles, influencing us in ways of which we are hardly aware. Thus the conventional saint and the conventional sinner, the ascetic and the sensualist, the metaphysician and the materialist may have so much in common that their opposition is quite trivial. Like alternating heat and cold, they may be symptoms of the same fever.”
-Alan Watts, "Nature, man and Woman"

And so I'll keep burning up and writing this paper. Stay tuned for more folks!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Indigo Children!

So, let's take a ride in the New Age section - This way please! Step here, if you will. Strap in and get ready. We're going to tour the Indigo Section - full of psychics, transformations and new "age" consciousness. We're also going to describe what the greatest flaws, not of the children, but of the advocates perpetuated.

What is an indigo child? There is a general definition: The latest and greatest generation, starting somewhere in the late 1980's and onward. They are characteristically known for being "system breakers," allegedly having psychic ability and a deep spiritual awareness for such an early age.

Wendy Chapman is quoted here, saying

Indigo Children are the current generation being born today and most of those who are 8 years old or younger. They are different. They have very unique characteristics that set them apart from previous generations of children. The name itself indicates the Life Color they carry in their auras and is indicative of the Third Eye Chakra, which represents intuition and psychic ability. These are the children who are often rebellious to authority, nonconformist, extremely emotionally and sometimes physically sensitive or fragile, highly talented or academically gifted and often metaphysically gifted as well, usually intuitive, very often labeled ADD, either very empathic and compassionate OR very cold and callous, and are wise beyond their years. Does this sound like yourself or your child?
This definition, in my opinion, is setting up what Ken Wilber has described as a "Pre-Trans Fallacy." Basically, what is happening here is 1) the acknowledgment of true transpersonal individuals with developed spiritual intelligence, 2) the affirmation of a shift of consciousness by the later generations and 3) society mislabeling this shift for disorder (ADD, ADHD, etc).

We can understand why society would label it a disorder - any epoch does not wish to see its own end, and those within its structures will fight to defend it, because it makes the most sense to them. That's fine.

For many of us who believe in reincarnation and "old souls," it makes sense that an individual who being born again would be traveling up through the developmental process quicker. That's fine. The psychic-subtle realm of development has alot of the characteristics of "indigo" children. But this is where the pre-trans fallacy comes in to play in two parts. The first? If you have authentically developed spiritual individuals - they still have to grow like everyone else. Meaning, you won't necessarily see a child dictating the law of karma to you. We aren't born mystics, we blossom into them. This is a very old mistake that dates back even to Jung. We misinterpret the non-rational for the transational. To be spiritual, to have the capacity for wisdom, you must go through it and then beyond it. The body/mind/spirit must develop an ability to tap into the divine that is ever-present.

The second issue is still of the Pre/Trans fallacy. I am sure there are a number of individuals with authentic spiritual intelligence. On the surface level, however, the definition of an indigo child is rather loose and up for interpretation. People will and have been throwing the term around at the slightest hint of talent. Your child is a great painter? He must be an indigo! Your child told you to love everyone? Oh, that must be deep indigo wisdom! Again I am going to stress here: There are always exceptions, but I have a feeling that this, like most movements, have far rarer authentic spiritual prodigies than described. There's nothing wrong with this. We want our children to feel special, because they are special for us.

Another interesting point raised by John D. Spalding in his article, "Brood Indigo,"

The Indigo Children are supposed to save the world--just like their Boomer parents set out to do.
Could many boomer parents simply be projecting their own unfulfilled desires onto the next generation? Are they passing the torch of narcissism to their children? Unfortunately it seems highly likely that this is at least part of what is going on.

Aside from the Pre/Trans fallacy the Indigo movement is suffering from, there is also the huge load of metaphysics that come with it. Again, with any authentic spiritual experience, we mold and interpret it according to where we are from on the spiral of consciousness: What level? What line? What culture? How deep? How shallow? A number of reasons why and what the indigo children are have arisen, and I'm afraid they rely too heavily on the surfaces to ever penetrate much validity.

Entering the reasoning behind the indigo children, we find a mess of new-age metaphysics. There's nothing inherently wrong with them - crystals, light, energy, vibrations. But we have to ask: Are these taken literally? Are they authentic spiritual experiences? Is there anything more to it? Anything deeper? Is anyone trying to make a general framework we can more easily navigate with? Also, what are indigo children saying themselves? Are they regurgitating what their parents are telling them or... ?

Well, thankfully there's a little bit of light shined on this! Not by those who have profited and wrote about indigos from the outside (Which is fine, if you understand what you're talking about), but an indigo herself. Interestingly, and in a rather integral fashion, indigo Laurel Chaisson has written: "The Seven Stages of Awareness." In the spirit of other developmental hierarchies throughout history, note 7 is once again present.

Right off the bat, I'm feeling good about this,

People are their purest at birth - everything after that is downhill in most cases! All babies are born with a higher-vibrational aura… not all of them start out at the highest level though,

The stages go like this: Searching for Truth, Gathering Knowledge, Shifting, Awakening, Remembering, Becoming, Being. We already have a good start. The details of this hierarchy are similar to many traditional systems of development, even to Wilber's developmental models. They apply to everyone, but indigos in particular are noted. Anyone can be anywhere, and can go up and down depending on circumstances. Sounds dynamic enough. There is a bit of metaphysics in it, but there is a healthy balance of tried-and-tested, perennial concepts utilized to make it worthy to read.

So, diving deeper into her writing, I found this juicy bit that literally cripples the movement's leaders (People talking ABOUT indigos but not actually asking them or others for alternatives. . . and the profit just rakes in):

Don’t ask, “How do I know if I am indigo/crystal?” because that will get you nowhere. There are hundreds of characteristic-lists that apparently outline our thought patterns and physical features. Books, websites, and people are just filled to the brim with theories on what makes us tick! It’s ironic that they’ve never actually experienced what it is they have dedicated their lives to. How can someone possibly understand something without becoming it first? What psychologists, psychics, parents, and teachers see is our outside - what we allow you to see without you asking us to show you more. What we expected was that you would immediately request that we explain ourselves but for some reason this is not the case. Perhaps it is our age or (for indigos) our sometimes extreme bluntness, but the fact is that you don’t talk to us enough. Instead studies are done or parents are asked to tell our story… but you have to hear it from us because we have been analyzing ourselves ever since we first came here; it’s our job! So that’s what I’m doing.

Yes! That's what we need. So, she goes on to describe that even reading the former description is altering our perception and molding our reality. So, if it can do that so easily, what's so weird about being an indigo? She gives a few easy steps,

Step one: when you are faced with a situation - any situation at all - take the time to ask yourself, “If I were called to be indigo/crystal right now, how would I respond?”

Step Two: act accordingly.

Step Three: Repeat steps one and two.

Hey, you’re done! Now wasn’t that simple? I bet you’re surprised… most people place us so high on a pedestal that they think it’s no longer possible to reach us way up there. But we’ve been saying it all along… if you want to be like us then you’d better start acting like it!

This is at least a great start - acknowledging the existential self, how we are influenced by others, how we tend to idealize "Others," yet this "other" is closer than we think. The transpersonal stuff starts to kick in, and suddenly we start seeing into other's perspectives, and they start seeing through ours. The higher "stages" of awareness are deeper and ever present, but I think it's also important to add that we may not necessarily have the capacity to "witness" that suchness at birth- at least, not in the way the sage does. Yet the wisdom of emptying the mind is eternal. And on that note, here's a few silly videos about indigo children. I think I've wrote quite enough now. You can take off your seat belts, the ride is over!

P.S. Here are some amusing media treats on Indigos,

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Bruce Lee; Integral Artist

Dropping the name "integral" on anyone doesn't quite fly. It implies the ability to witness the "bigger picture" of things without needing to stuff everything into one expression. "Integral" implies a creation from a holistic and inclusive perspective. Art and writing, science and music expressed through deeper levels of understanding; this is integral. It can be a simple brush stroke of Zen calligraphy or a vibrant note on a guitar. Or in this case, a round kick performed to the face.

That being said, I would like to propose this crazy idea: Bruce Lee was one of the pioneering integral thinkers of the past century. This may sound a little far fetched. After all, images of Bruce's flying side kicks come to mind, as he mercilessly battles hoards of unskilled henchmen. Classic kung fu films, like "Enter the Dragon," "The Chinese Connection," and "Fists of Fury," are great -but what is it that even hints the word "integral" anywhere?

Well, right beneath the surface there was a man who practiced a mind, body, spirit and shadow workout. Thats right. Anyone familiar with biographies on Bruce Lee's life will find his lifestyle quite inclusive. The daily schedule included meditation, exercise and martial arts practice. All the while he was always reading up on philosophy, whether it be directly applied to his art or not. Authors such as D.T. Suzuki and Jiddu Krishnamurti were on his reading list. Not to mention, Bruce was responsible for the creation of "Jeet Kune Do," or "The Way of the Intercepting Fist."

This new "system" he described as "no system," heavily influenced by Taoist thought. As he developed as a martial artist and philosopher, he came to realize that no given "way" is complete. What one martial art lacks is what another excels. He realized early on that there could be no ultimate way, and various schools of thought, be they philosophy or martial art, are limited to their own particular conditioning.

In his own words:

Jeet Kune Do favors formlessness so that it can assume all forms and since Jeet Kune Do has no style, it can fit in with all styles. As a result, Jeet Kune Do utilizes all ways and is bound by non, and, likewise, uses any techniques or means which serve its end."

It's philosophy is very simple: There is no one way to truth, to mastery. Therefore, study as much as you can, balance your art and do not limit yourself to one particular style. Embrace what works, reject what does not. Efficiency, inclusiveness and depth are key points.

One key element that needs to be included in any integral practice is shadow work. And yes, you guessed it, Lee mentions it. The practice of martial art forces you to confront your shortcomings, your fears, your pathologies. They will arise in combat, and without proper confrontation, they will hinder your success and stunt your growth.

Punches and kicks are tools to kill the ego. The tools represent the force of intuitive or instinctive directness which, unlike the intellect or complicated ego, does not divide itself, blocking its own freedom."

The body is seen as a tool, and one of its main purposes is:

To destroy your own impulses caused by the instincts of self-preservation. To destroy anything bothering your mind. Not to hurt anyone, but to overcome your own greed, anger and folly. Jeet Kune Do is directed at oneself.

I had read Bruce Lee's work long before I stumbled upon integral philosophy. So, this suddenly hit me today as I was buying a sandwich at the deli: Bruce Lee- Integral Martial Art! There is such a thing! Integral isn't all books, books, books. Knowledge is certainly a form of empowerment and depth, but as long as that intellect is turned toward cultivating self-knowledge and transformation. Martial art, along with many or -any- forms of art, it seems, are quite capable of being wonderful integral practices. So, martial artists out there, keep kicking, keep punching, and I'll keep watching kung fu.

I'd just like to end with one last quote which strangely reminds me of something an integral philosopher might say:

I hope martial artists are more interested in the root of martial arts and not the different decorative branches, flowers or leaves. It is futile to argue as to which single leaf, which design of branches or which attractive flower you like; when you understand the root, you understand all its blossoming."

P.S. - A few treats...

Bruce Lee Interview


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Spirit Dance

I wrote this during english class in senior year of high school. Our teacher gave us a simple worksheet with a number of creative writing topics. I chose, "The birth of the sun." Not sure why or how, but this is what stream-of-consciousness poured through. Now that I'm older and probably not wiser, it makes all the more sense and seems to confirm things I have learned.

The spirit danced in its conscious sleep, tossing and turning in one long dream, giving birth to the gods, who too were spun into the fabric of a false solidity. The gods moved the dreams, the dreams moved the gods - because they were one in the same. Soon, in the loose and serpentine illusion of time, ideas were born, creating the stars and the planets of an infinite heaven, and soon we too were born into them, and with our minds, and dreams within the dream we gave birth to all things: Night and day, blue and starry skies, moon and sun. We danced in its light, its gift of life, unaware that we too were but the dreams of a sleeping God.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Integral Life Practice

Breathing in, breathing out. The steady pace, the silence between burning muscle and sweat; this is what I pause for. The expanding of the mind, the dissolving of the self- a little fortress washed away by an ocean I cannot see. Mind expanding, knowledge growing, thriving, articulating like a pine forest that just shot up from the empty mouth of a goddess.This is the practice. This is the breath. This is the mind, with each eye I thrive to see, trampling over my own ignorance, stomping out ego with reason. With my tears I crash and burn, mumbling nonsense before those who listen, and wisdom before empty mirrors. This is the practice, this is the breath.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Dennis Kucinich Speaks at Cosm

Dennis Kucinich recently spoke for Alex Grey's birthday at Cosm. For those of who have not heard of Cosm,
It's a neat place localed in NYC, right by Penn Station. What is it, you ask? One of the most innovative and transformative places you'll find in the city. Alex Grey is a world famous artist, producing inspirational and original forms of art that depict both man and spirit, organic and divine nature as one. He has done album artwork for bands such as Nirvana and Tool.

That being said, it's remarkable that a presidential candidate not only acknowledges him, but is also friendly enough to speak on his behalf at Cosm. Kucinich is often the odd one out in the democratic candidates. You may recognize him due to the "controversy," risen out of him confirming to have seen a UFO. He joked about this during his speech, saying something like,

You know, he could have asked me anything else. Any important issue. Global warming? Terrorism? The crumbling US economy? The threat of our constitution being destroyed - but no. What did he ask? 'DID YOU SEE A UFO?'

The audience broke out in laughter. Indeed, what's more bizarre? The one who directs the questions, or the one who answers them? He answered yes, and you can see it here:

At any rate. As unimportant a question it was, it just goes to show the immature mentality of the media, quietly and subtly pushing out all that is questionable, alternative and thought provoking. Dennis continued by saying, "I question intelligent life in the White House."

Alex Grey sat quietly and modestly to the side, listening in attentively for the speech. His artwork was set up all around, making the room resonate with a vibrant energy, hopefully elevating and inspiring everyone there to listen and connect.

Kucinich is one of the few folks who are not afraid to be different, not afraid to have their own path, and are quite open, willing and able to communicate with others authentically. Check out his site.

He's a vegan. He's seen a UFO. He has a plan for universal health care. The list goes on, and I encourage anybody interested to inform themselves. Especially for a candidate who barely gets the limelight, as it is blatantly wasted on celebrity candidates (Clinton and Obama) mudslinging each other into the primaries.

What are we looking for in a president? As a leader of a nation? Integrally speaking, don't we seek an individual who can talk to the varying levels and lines, states and traits that make up a nation? A president who is at least thinking at a worldcentric level. Someone who will not shine for himself in the spotlight, but serve as a beacon for transforming consciousness. During the speech, Kucinich often spoke of unity - not just theoretically, but literally - that we are all one. Art, he believed, was one medium to express this truth, and nations could not be transformed through war and fear, but communication and peace. Indeed, his campaign slogan is, "Strength through Peace."

I'll end with a little video on Alex Grey's art:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What's in a "School?"

University.Look at the name. It means universal! So, what should a place like that be all about? Ask yourself this: Is your school a university?

universe ~ cosmos ~ kosmos

connection maybe?

“universitas magistrorum et scholarium” - in the academic definition. a “community of masters and scholars.” now, the word master in this context is one who is highly proficient and skilled with scholarly work. and, what does scholar mean? “Of a school.” So we have a general definition that we basically already understand.

A place where individuals learn to be masters of the intellect. Where our minds are taught to be highly proficient. Ask yourself this: Does a “university” assist in teaching us how to cultivate self-reliance, autonomy, not only good reason but an overall dynamic and intelligent mind? Intelligence has various definitions, lines and stages. A good school then, would attempt to cultivate multiple forms of intelligence. To develop scholars, masters across many different kinds – all kinds of intelligence. Universal intelligence. Hence, a university.

Now, ask yourself this one more time: Is your school a university?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Kosmic Chefs

We hereby declare, that all sentient beings with the capacity to awaken others should do so. We are others, and they are us. When seeing this clearly, all other reasons fall like imaginative speculations, elaborate ethical codes flutter like butterfly wings carried harmlessly in the wind. These transpersonal domains, we hold, are of non-rational nature, as they are transrational; that being, beyond reason. Man has stepped up from the primordial soup and will gain no trophy, but be asked to give of himself, and that giving is compassion. Our evolutionary tool? Love.

So what is the meaning of all this? Why are we here? What depth, if any, is out there, in here? Who? What? Where? Why? What is my nature, and what is yours? Are there links that bind us, and are we truly separated from the elements, locked in grids of stone, granite and metal? Or, can we, and should we, facilitate new structures? Curved lines where there are straight, straight where they are curved- should we act now to encourage the collective consciousness of a society malnourished, to evolve? We hereby declare that consciousness, as is, is set back by the collective shadow; our fears, our escapes, our masks and fleeting satisfactions that only acquire a moment of pleasure before returning us to the abyss of "the unknown."

We seek to provide a platform for evolutionary consciousness. With the eye of both mind and spirit, we will open ourselves to divine knowledge, explore the nature of subtle, causal and gross energy systems in order to define and embrace a truly, "integral," system of health.

We hereby declare that the narrow lense of empirical analysis is not fit to hold its own. In fact, taken alone it only works to limit the scope of human potential. Thus it will be integrated, embraced and transcended as we attempt to discover inclusive systems of transformation.

What we are missing is good Kosmic food. "Kosmic," necessitating all aspects of "what is." Matter, life, mind, spirit and shadow. Interior and exterior. So from hence forth, we will be labeled Kosmic Chefs, using our ingredients to help all sentient beings evolve up the spiral of development, at the same time eating the fruit of the divine to dissolve ourselves into that same spirit.

Kosmic Chefs, at your service! Involution, evolution - What's on your plate?

The Great Sages; Revolution vs. Evolution

A sage, "world teacher," and mystic; Krishnamurti will take all that the small self holds to value, and toss it out like a bit of dust on your sleeve. He will take value, ideals, "thought," and ego, and let it slip into the void, visibly forcing you into confrontation with fear, shadow, and the possibility of silence; love has no opposite, he would say, and indeed; the mind must be quiet in order to comprehend, not just rationally but totally, directly, what that means.
He was raised by the Theosophy society, expected to be a World Teacher and usher in a new age. But, the coming had, "gone wrong," as Krishnamurti dissolved the Order of the Star (The society built for his coming), and went off to teach without doctrine or dogma. "Truth is a pathless land," he would often say.

Looking back, we can now ask: Was Krishnamurti's teaching effective? Or did it backfire? Looking at his teaching through a veritcal scope, we can at least see where he was coming from. Non-dual, peak experiences. The silencing of the mind. The transpersonal states. Coming from this perspective, he often tossed anything less -dogma, creed, paths, time, aside for the pathless, creedless and timeless. But, was this effective? Some argue yes, other no. I'd say, a little of both! We are all at different states, different stages, different depths. One individuals receptivity to such powerful teaching that literally shakes all conditioning off of you, could be awesomely transformative. Another person? Nothing. Like a bad koan, or perhaps an over-technical prose, some of us get swept away by the language and the meaning behind the words. And that's Okay! But, doesn't that also imply that depending on where we are on the map of this evolution of consciousness, we will need different teachers? And different teachings? For exploring the non-dual states, teachers such as Krishnamurti and many others are wonderful.

Yet, depending on where we are on the spectrum, we will experience the same objective "its," subjectively. That is, we mold the experience according to our own level, state and trait. It's no wonder some of us will be blown away by the mystics, while others bored, dismissive, or perhaps indifferent. What strikes your cord? What lights your fire? Dance between perspectives, but do it to find out what resonates. Find out what energizes you and tickles your consciousness into the next wave.

So, is there any meaning to a "path," or must we discard all "means" to the pathless? Yes and yes! Ultimately, the path is released, dropped, and all of "what is," is. Non-dual, ever present, already, between the words and thoughts and before the first breath. What contemplative practices do, then, is move the mind forward, prepare it for new capabilities. What must be acknowledged is we need both evolution and revolution. Instantaneous transformation is only possible if the mind is ready to let go of it all. The mind has the potential to recognize its true nature - always! And it's always there. It's not a matter of becoming truth, becoming this or that, eventually achieving something. Nope! None of that. It's a matter of slowly, patiently, honing the body, mind, spirit to unravel itself, to release its perspectives and discover the now it's been sitting on all along.

Contemplative teachers will help you do this. Whether you're reading Krishnamurti, the Tao, Buddhist texts, Zen Koans, counting your breath, performing tantra or buying a teriyaki sandwich at subway. You start to see the buddha-state in everything. So, read on, dive in and move forward into timeless and spaceless, always and never, that is already you.

Friday, November 23, 2007

"The True Path"

No words for this really. I just wanted to share a favorite Zen Koan of mine:

The True Path

Just before Ninakawa passed away the Zen master Ikkyu visited him. "Shall I lead you on?" Ikkyu asked.

Ninakawa replied: "I came here alone and I go alone. What help could you be to me?"

Ikkyu answered: "If you think you really come and go, that is your delusion. Let me show you the path on which there is no coming and no going."

With his words, Ikkyu had revealed the path so clearly that Ninakawa smilled and passed away.

Zen Koans-

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Garden Narcissus

Narcissus is a character belonging to Greek mythology. He fell in love with his own image, staring down at his reflection in a pool of water. He was transfixed, perpetuated by his own beauty - and in time transformed into the flower, narcissus. He grows today in the classrooms of university academia. The following story was written in response to, and as an inspiration from my english class.

"Garden Narcissus"

The professor lifted his glasses from his face, resting his eyes during a moment of silence in the classroom. The students watched him passively. Each one of them, though quietly reading, writing, listening, napping, were seeping in the knowledge. How couldn't they? School was vague and idealist, and students were like flowers in vases; it would not be long before the dye would creep up their stems and taint them in a fabricated beauty. The more vibrant the color, the more the professors would smile at their own creations. Though such beauty is brief, and in time their petals would wither and fade without their roots, who were in desperate need to touch the elements.

The professor smiled over the classroom, and continued. Like a mantra, he sung the song of academia, enchanting the garden of minds before him. They repeated the mantra in turn, and the professor was happy. Would it not be long before they were like him, he thought? Every value, every notion of autonomy would be theirs, and his mission would be complete. Yet, the horror escaped him.

Within the students lied something untouched, unburdened, unyielding. Though their hearts and minds were twisted around with the dyes that had been so carefully fed over years, they had a special gift. It was the poison drop to end the rest, and one seedling dared release the sap that would make an end of this twisted botany.

"Sir," he said. "You feed us this, feed us that. You give us dreams and knowledge, and tell us to perform our will upon them - yet you do not truly let us grow as we must - that is, free, laughing, dancing up to the sun. Have you not seen the flowers dance? Slowly, they do, and in time they thrive and spiral up and out, crawl across the ground and breathe in the sun with unseen lungs. Are we not like them? Are we not alive? Your ideals are but one bud, and it has made a horror of your stem, intoxicating you with yourself. Do you not see? There is more to life than these little dyes, there is more to life than making us a mirror image of yourself. Let the garden grow freely, help us cultivate ourselves, let our roots bind together - let our roots grow! And instead of this little garden which will soon fade, you will have, and be one with, the forest."

The professor fixed his glasses, looking down upon the seedling.

"And without my order, what will become of you? A weed, a thicket."

"A lotus! No sir, you fear the destruction of order, yet your lifestyle ensures destruction becomes us. See the forest through the trees - I assure you there is more to this garden than empty flowers. Help us reach the sun, and we will make a lotus out of mud."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bill Hicks; Transformative Comedy

I just thought I'd share a laugh or two from one of my favorite comedians, Bill Hicks. What can be said about him? Only that he was one of the few who were able to bring transformation and evolution to mainstream media. Only that he was able to combine humor with spirituality, making the audience giggle and contemplate their own nature at the same time. "It's just a ride," he'd say, lifting the serious tone out of the topics when things got heavy, or in his case mad, ranting at the way mass media conditioned the masses to be satisfied with empty, fleeting distractions.

He was an advocate of psychedelic drugs, believing they were wrongly and ignorantly demonized by our culture. Hallucinagens forced us to question our own reality, shake us from our perspective, and through laughter - he showed us how to do the same. This bodhisattva would have giggled his way into fame and stardom, had he not passed away in 1994 after a battle with cancer. His death is a tragedy, but it may have made him a legacy. "Another dead hero," the painting on the top left is called, and that may be true. In his wake he left a legend that future comedians would come to respect.

Before his passing, he wrote, “I left in love, in laughter, and in truth, and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit.”

Well, enough said. Let him do the talking,

Positive Drug Story

Drugs and Evolution

Just a Ride

Note: The picture of Bill Hicks was done by the band Tool, paying tribute to him in their album Aenima.


“They lie about marijuana. Tell you pot-smoking makes you unmotivated. Lie! When you're high, you can do everything you normally do, just as well. You just realize that it's not worth the fucking effort. There is a difference.”

“Life is only a dream and we are the imagination of ourselves.”

“We are the facilitators of our own creative evolution.”

“It's always funny until someone gets hurt. Then it's just hilarious.”

“I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.”

“Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your third eye.”

“We all pay for life with death, so everything in between should be free.”

Saturday, November 17, 2007

"Alas, drudgery."

While on the D train to Brooklyn, I was reading One Taste. Lately I've found myself bogged down by academia, and my taste for literature has slowly diminished to a trickle, squandered by the sheer boredom and density of essay language. Bless their cognitive intelligence, bless their rational minds, but their writing is so dry and incomprehensible you wonder if they have any communicative intelligence. Coincidentally, Wilber writes,

Wednesday, August 20th

"... I've now gone through around five hundred books, with as many more to go- on anthropology, ecology, feminism, postmodernism, cultural studies, post-colonial studies- and the vast majority of them are, alas, drudgery. To add insult to the injury, the style is ponderously indecipherable; you can read entire chapters possessing not a single understandable sentence; the prose suffocates you with insignificance. The best it gets up to is a type of rancid torpor, where the prose drags its belly across the gray page, always on the verge of a near-life experience."

I just grinned and looked out the window.

Wolves and Angels; An Integral Reflection

The following piece was inspired by a class I am taking at Fordham University. Our assignment for the semester is to critically analyze any modern social movement. And, without any exaggeration on my part, 2/3rds of the class are writing about civil rights, pluralism, and sensitivity. The remaining classmates, including myself, are writing about consciousness, suicide and evangelism. For those of you who are familiar with Integral lingo, I suppose this class would be gravitating heavily toward the "green" meme, or pluralism/sensitivity.

And that's fine.

Two weeks ago, we had to present our topics. Unfortunately, when students that dared utter terms like: development, levels, lines, integral, unified diversity, map of consciousness, hierarchy of meaning,

They were on me like white on rice.

I was instantly given looks, raised eyebrows, questions with a mildly condescending tone.

"How can this be applied on a practical level?" I was asked by someone, with nods of agreement from other classmates.

"What are they doing to help people?" Another suggested.

I can understand where they are coming from, for sure. Our school is relatively progressive, heavily focused on the arts, liberal sciences, sensitivity, cultural awareness, etc. Yet, when the mention of unified diversity hit the air, they were wary and skeptical. This was disconcerting to me, as I was hoping to gain a spark of interest from the class (Integral is a rare topic in the university). My ego was smushed.

So the irony here began to set in. They had no problem being intolerant to the evangelical movement, agreeing whole heartedly that it was oppressive and backwards, shaking their heads at the in-class film, Jesus Camp. Yet, when something that is authentically unified comes along, like the mention of integral theory, they attack it! Strange, no?

And without further delay (Sorry for the ramble folks), here it is:

Wolves and Angels; An Integral Reflection

And we had it all. Upstairs in the student hall at least a hundred fliers, with a dozen different things to do. The world was at our fingertips, right there in our classrooms, and it was in very bad shape they'd tell us, very bad shape.

You could travel to Africa with foreign aid projects, discuss gender and race with the sensitivity club, and taste fine exotic foods in MultiCulture club. And this was all very progressive, so they would tell us. I had begun to have my doubts.

We sit in classrooms and discuss the same theme: Oppressive, hungry, needing world. Woe to you and we, the more fortunate, should extend our efforts. Sensitivity. Awareness. Effort. Assistance. The students are rallied up, in a very subtle way, to help. Yet I noticed, as each took their turn discussing one strife or another, that there was a level of enjoyment in it! Yes, hidden there, in the words of liberty, sensitivity, multiculture, there was an escape. Dare I say, it? No, I needn't, shouldn't. The escape was simple: If we all could immerse ourselves in these ideas, this diversity, we would be safe, we could make a meaning out of our lives and wish the demons away. These students were not actively wishing anything but their own security. The ultimate narcissism, it seems for us here in school, is through ideals. And this, if I were to say it aloud, would have them at me like a pack of wolves, who had just forgotten they were supposed to be angels.

Speaking of the Paranormal

Larry King is having a special on things that go bump in the night, tomorrow night at 9PM EST. I think it's a good idea to have these sort of interviews. Although it's quite clear the mainstream media is very cautious with such fringe topics as UFO's and ghosts, established people in the media may dabble ever so slightly, like Larry King.

There is a poll on Larry King's website, simply asking: Do you Believe in Ghosts? As usual we can expect a very generic poll to be given to the audience. Although it would be wonderful to have someone like Daniel Pinchbeck, come on and discuss differing theories on the paranormal, and UFO's in particular, in depth. We can keep hoping.

Tomorrow's show features psychic, James Van Praagh and Lisa Williams.

There'll be more on this tomorrow (If I can catch it). Lisa is apparently a clairvoyant and a medium. The skeptic in me is very critical of self described mediums, wondering if they truly understand what they are doing, or if they are translating an authentic ability into an abstract meaning.There's no doubt that psychic abilities exist- but does that mean we contact the other side? Or are we simply looking through the eyes of the person before us? Who knows. At any rate, it's all really interesting stuff. Here's some more, for your viewing pleasure:

CNN Report on UFO Conference, Nov. 2007

Derren Brown has an excellent show. Although he is a skeptic, he uses his abilities to show how easily we are persuaded, and perhaps should think more critically before believing. Good point indeed! Rational/Cognitive intelligence is an important step for us if we want to touch the supernatural, the divine, the paranormal - should it be true;

Derren Brown, "shows how psychic mediums work."

Larry King interviews Whitley Streiber, author of Communion. This is an oldie folks. Enjoy!

Stay tuned for more to do about the paranormal .

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