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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