The direction now

I’m going to launch a website soon with books about living the life of your dreams and insights into the end of suffering and how life evolves toward one certain end – towards a mind that is a light to itself and fully trusting, that understands that grace is what is given and joy and adoration are the natural state of man. It will look at the renaissance implied in Joseph Campbell’s wise words:

Apocalypse does not point to a fiery Armageddon but to the fact that our ignorance and our complacency are coming to an end… The exclusivism of there being only one way in which we can be saved, the idea that there is a single religious group that is in sole possession of the truth—that is the world as we know it that must pass away. What is the kingdom? It lies in our realization of the ubiquity of the divine presence in our neighbors, in our enemies, in all of us.”

From: Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor

The work will incorporate the wisdom of humanism and show how the destiny of man is to outgrow war and external conflict and the limited identity that fear constructs when mindful and heart centered attention is absent.

“Wars and temper tantrums are the makeshifts of ignorance; regrets are illuminations come too late.”

Joseph Campbell.

When it is seen, and understood, that you are the light of the world then the world becomes a much brighter and happier place. For all.

beauty out of old clay

beauty out of old clay

Dusk in the city,

down by the railroad track

In the abandoned alley between showers, I see the glow of red light and bruised glass,

I see the recycling of old tales in the shade of new night.

I see the danger that is not dangerous.

I feel this pull of new stories trellised like ivy against a concrete wall.

We reach for the sun as climbing vines lift their joy to undaunted sky.

I see a golden orb in the flash of the black child that runs away from his mother to greet me.

Beaming,

No less brightly than the star of day.

Those beautiful darling eyes.

I am a stranger but it matters not to him.

Nor to the homeless woman, clad in a blanket and the smell of forgotten promise and unwashed skin, who spits at a man no less coarse in the subway…

Barking like dogs, we can forget ourselves at times.

Corrosive, like rust that devours the dead pier,

we do this to ourselves.

Howl the poet says.

I prefer a quiet certainty.

That will gently unravel every disguise.

We pity the poor bastard who forgets himself and lets the tide carry him away.

What will break open the heart and lead you out of every wasteland?

Today I watched as Indian women in orange saris spoke Bengali and adored their princess bride.

And the men and the grandmother and the photographer filed together in a procession of ritual as old as far away hills.

I treasured the language of Kalidasa and the Cantonese that spoke across the aisle.

I know a man in a snow covered land who shuffles money from one account to another.

Can he see the light of the moon tonight?

Or the pale assurance of rain, the scented underscore that flavors time?

Is he intimate with the thief that stole his savior?

I have embraced the myths.

That is the currency of faith.

No tired beliefs.

Yes, excavate fresh beauty anew out of old clay.

You see the furtive earth is there to forever feed you.

Ah the harvest of the nourishing!

Everything in the world is hungry for water.

Everything in man is hungry for the kiss of betrayal.

Not more deceit of tired illusion.

The final betrayal which unshackles us from all wanton chains.

That shock when everything you felt so concrete is taken away.

And breathlessly you wander, liberated from your old self, in the garden outside Plato’s allegorical cave.

Everything in the world, “no matter what it is, all the so-called evil could be changed, would man, observing, distill it out.”

Gratitude for wisdom

Someone I’ve treasured in my life was once a dancer and he left that life to study metaphysics. I never met him. He married, had a family and lived a very rich life and passed away, long before I came across his writings.

He grew a great deal in his life. He was warm and caring. He had a great teacher and he discerned deeply. Like me, he saw life as a great adventure.

He saw that there is a light that burns through the forms of the world that is born of a clear mind not limited by misperceptions. That light is equipped to burn up all fear: the fear that yields even the slightest of irritations and the deepest of sadnesses.

And everyone must have that light. We temporarily differ in how much we are given to treasuring it. It can be seen and if it is not there primarily in your focus, one day it will come. It comes and goes to the hungry. Like an optical illusion. Until one is firmly seated in that which was once hidden. And then, thankfully, there is no turning back then.

There is a yearning in man that is inbuilt and so natural. Somehow you come to this inner place where you cannot feed the meaningless thoughts any more. When clarity and determination kick in.

Each of us plays our part in the story of things. Everyone goes beyond judgment eventually. Free will determines when we get to choose that. Resistance can be seen and that is to be honored. The wise never believe in it though. To believe it would deny them their wisdom. The more clearly this is seen, the greater our gratitude; at least this is so for those in their right mind.

The man met with his dancer friends years after his new path had gripped him and found he had nothing to say to them, there was very little in common any more as that yearning for discernment was so incredibly strong in him. They may have been surgeons or street sweepers. It would have made no difference. Only the ears to hear qualified others to see the inner shifts in him, and themselves, for such sensitivity comes with that quality of reflection.

Those that resonated that way were alive to the same need to supplant deception.

He had outgrown the belief in the reality of lack and had dug down deep in himself to uproot the roots of suffering.

There is no degree or qualification for that. But it’s the only real curriculum there is.

Listening to the gut

Inspiration is no game. No idle fantasy. It has a life and a need for your most attentive ear. Sometimes it will remind you to be still. To be attentive to the quiet unraveling of things. Other times you might be drawn into the thick of things.

Aldous Huxley was widely considered one of the brightest intellects of modern times. When asked what little wisdom he had to fan the flames of hope in the world, he proffered: “Try to be a little kinder.”

You might add: Try to be a friend to yourself, to another, to the others. Try to be real and do not allow yourself to be a doormat to fear and judgment.

I have sampled this world, far and wide, met ordinary and extraordinary beings. It is part of the path of being human. If your heart is open and you are blessed with an attentive mind, surely such encounters with remarkable people will happen to us all.

But those who have stirred me to the very bone…they have ignited a love of patience and service. And perhaps the greatest blessing of such a focus is the reward of contemplation.

It comes to us all; the capacity to savor life, to enrich the lives of those we encounter. At times, it is not easy, not simple…but I do feel, I have repeatedly witnessed, when you are patient, doors of awareness do open.

Softly and most fervently do we come to the places in the woods and the smiles that replenish us.

It is a choice to savor, to persevere with what lifts you. But it is a service to each and every one, to have the guts to do that. And make, no mistake, the little I have seen, wisdom takes enormous guts.

To look at fear and discern, quite wholeheartedly and plainly, that,…that it is an imposter here.

The shock of radical things

I saw this documentary about Einstein and it was quite funny, or the implication was, because once he saw the logic that to lead to e=mc squared, he spent quite a bit of time going, “huh, really?!” to himself, and it is quite likely that this was stretched out over a fair span of time just prior to, and ongoing, after the initial revelation. The consequences of it being accurate were radical, to say the least.

Sometimes profound things are like that. They hit you and you just keep going back to them in an attempt to reconcile what is new, like refocusing binoculars or rubbing your eyes, upon seeing something very shocking.

The doors of perception open

I notice when I will not value what is valueless the doors of perception open up to a deeper less resistant relationship with the universe. I refuse to condemn anything or anyone. But then I do not live in fear and the recognition of this wisdom seems to reward me with a happier countenance.

The reward is not in things but in the undoing of the blocks to freedom born of unnecessary prejudice, disdain and approval. The unhappy drum of duality is blind to transcendence. And what is not separated is not related to pain.

Out of crap grows flowers

The gift of attentive discrimination 

I think that we find two kinds of movements in life. One is this feeling of satisfaction and connection. This can be quite fake and shallow. Or not. 

For example, someone might have a feeling of love and gratitude and an extroverted personality might go on social media and say: “I love everyone.” It’s just a feeling and it’s not directed toward anyone or anything.

Just a nebulous sentiment and a platitude, without much challenge or real depth. Yet, at a certain level, we mean it. And folk say “aww” and like it. Others will judge it and be embittered. 

Of course, it can be much deeper than a passing feeling. With enough careful attention it can rewire and rewrite our way of being. It might indeed be the very ground of our being. 

It might yield a far more inclusive and wide ranging vision than anything we have aspired to or imagined up until now. It might liberate us from all monads. It might return us to ourselves free of the crutches of bigger brothers and faith in tired endlessly rehashed symbols and the bondage of a suffered history. 

The other movement is perhaps more important as it represents the blocks to that deepening. It is what disgusts us. This bitterness. What makes us feel hatred and judge another. 

It is what has us put on airs and go around with this sense of controlling others or submitting to being controlled by others, a so called master teacher or manipulator or marketer and all that “charismatic” use of fear etc… 

As, at some level, we feel ordained to show another the way or to prove to ourselves or others how helpless or bitter we are. It’s all one movement and folk make businesses and lifestyles and followings out of helping or condemning. But it might not be helpful. 

It may be very destructive and demeaning and self-centered, built on envy and judgment and opinion rather than a deeper self-confidence born of insight. 

And yet, out of crap grows flowers. So all things are congealed and it takes discernment to see what is happening in each moment of evolution. 

I have noticed where there are airs there is condescension. And where there is disapproval there is approval. But where there is meaning and real affection there is none of that. 

I say the second movement is more important because it reveals the blocks within me to my own fear being undone. And that is essential to wisdom. We make a comment and boy that hatred button gets pushed in another. How dare he question my helpfulness or victimhood!! The arrogance! 

Are we not but seeing our own issues projected onto another? Our lack of empathy, affection and patience is most challenging when we see those things in another. 

When a baby is born the milk pours from the breast without effort. There is something in our nature that extends.

But when it is hijacked by pride and vanity and insecurity it is corrupted and contaminated. And this is fascinating and liberating and delightful when seen, for when seen we cease to be that. By making it apparent we see what we are not. 

Pondering unconditional love

I sense a great deal of received wisdoms are just plain wrong. Undconditional love makes sense, but I also witness how it is employed as a fool’s wisdom often. 

For example, when someone is vain and full of their busyness out there “helping people” and complaining as to how terrible a certain state of affairs is, I sense it is wiser to withdraw from such misled and self-centered folk. Not permanently, but enough to make them question perhaps. They are spinning a spider web of illusions. How so, and what will it take for them to hold up the mirror to themselves?. 

I have noticed that one of the traps to helping people is the sense of pride and vanity that flows from that. Such people may practice yoga and/or acts of service and they may be very educated and claim to be most centered, but a discerning eye  can see self-centeredness, bitterness and condemnation from a long distance.

I’m not talking about those people who helped smuggle Jewish refugees in the Second World War. I’m talking about the embittered reactionary liberal mind of our time. 

Maybe they married someone who failed to live up to their expectations, or perhaps they married someone who did and the world is upsetting because so many are voting for fools or settling for the lowest common denominator, and, if only they listened to “my kind of sense”, how much saner we would be! Followed by many sighs. Repeatedly. 

Complaining can be seen as productive. The Civil Rights and Gay Rights movements aren’t about complaining though. They are movements built on standing up for the rights of man. If we have a grievance, airing it, and the temporary discomfort that brings, is often far healthier than walking around with resentment in our hearts. People and organizations do take advantage of each other. To stand up to that is sane and virtuous. 

When the bully with the most insults and biggest stick rules, we must find a way to go beyond the primitive tribal leader. Our entrenched political systems are often based on avoiding such a healing logic. But that should not stop us. History is replete with adaptions for that is the stuff of evolution. 

Centuries of tradition might have given a royal family power and sovereignty over a kingdom but that is an old and tired tribalism. Where is the fresh hope in bowing to old and crumbling empires of vanity, nostalgiic colonialism and ugly vested interest? 

The real hope lies, not in self-centered and self-serving families and entrenched interests lording over us and others, but in the family of man taking care of each other and the bountiful nature of the planet. 

It lies in a deeper and saner democratic process, one not hijacked by the fearful clutches of self-serving institutions, irresponsible corporations and immoral persons hell bent on raping the earth of its resources and its human resources at any cost, all in the name of their buried insecurities, and the fruits of that: greed and self destructive behaviors. 

When we step away from such perversion and injustice we can, and do, learn of the intrinsic evolutionary geometry in nature, and in man. 

When we are stuck in judgment and reaction then we do not learn of our deeper capacity and ubiquitous nobility. When virtue is shirked we become mercenaries to fear. 

Yet kindness and forgiveness have an untold reach. In the right hands, they can break the chains around the most closed of hearts. If we are to trust in anything it surely must be in a deepening of virtue, kindness and forgiveness. We evade and excuse this truth at great peril to ourselves. 

The camouflage of the evasion and excuses is almost endless. Such is the resistance of the ego. A very tried and tested path, yes. But one that can be easily usurped, should we turn our caring attention, and the precision of our innate moral compass, in its direction. 

Sometimes a no is a yes. Emerson encouraged us “to be an opener of doors.” I feel it wise to also close them. What do I mean? I find that the world has entered a stage of mass vanity and self promotion. And so vulnerability is shirked, especially when the assumed identity is so obsessed with being right and self-deceived. Happiness is lost in the process. 

Some of the most demonstrably helpful people are also the most frightened of being helpless, and so, it is as if they run around trying to prove to themselves, and the world, how strong and helpful they are. 

However, they do not see the ugliness of their condemning and insecure minds. They mask themselves in a flag or an ideology or a religious or political philosophy or some nationalism, however enlightened, and they become as opinionated and lacking in moral substance as those supposedly less liberal and aware as themselves, and yet, they do not see it. 

And this is important to see, for it is the ill-at-ease liberals among us, who, if healed of their self-deceptions, by admitting their shortcomings, might be the harbingers of real change. 

By “closing doors” I mean, when we lived in a slower world, in the forest with a tribe, there was a relatively small unit that we considered our group. Now, especially with the help of technology, we have branched out. 

It is quite easy to amass many “friends” we never truly meet with with the advent of the internet and so much travel and commercial and educational interests today. And I do not judge that, in many ways it is a wonder. 

But when there is no real connection, rather just a show of spectacle and information, I question where our substance and real care lies as humans. And what a grave and empowered question that is to pose!

I do notice that it is easy to lie to ourselves about our emotional needs. The greatest gift one can give a child is the demonstration of an unpressured mind, but not at the cost of our inherent productivity. 

That, inevitably, demands great wisdom. When one is attentive one can see, it is quite rare. If that is our greatest gift to ourselves, to each other and to the next generation, surely it demands inquiry and space. 

The majority, in one form or another, are inwardly pressured by insecurity. We don’t have that as a subject in school: “observing insecurity,” but we have become very well versed in coercing and arguing and proving and disproving petty points, and more substantial ones, at the cost of our implied bonds of affection. Do we not, in shock, pause and ask why?!

By far and away, this is the most important subject matter to mankind, for not observing our inner blocks denies a deeper vulnerability and openness and it is closed minds and hearts that  creates all our conflicts. 

We are trained to with skills to get jobs and to fit in to a fairly undermining system. The system, and its mechanics and profit margins, has become more important than the human being. 

What happens when one reaches a wall in an intimate relationship? It might become a bitter comfort zone that we adapt to and don’t question, or, it might break us apart in some way. 

There have been pioneers in education who see that inherently we come with different interests and gifts. It is important, and wise, to be attentive to those qualities within. 

Today, we also have these mantras about loving unconditionally. Yet when a baby takes up scissors, out of quite innocent curiosity, we quite sanely take them away. Observing certain conditions is very loving. 

So I notice these mantras like: “just love unconditionally” and I question that. Does loving unconditionally mean to let others treat me as just another brick in a wall?; an audience member to exchange superficial platitudes with, as is the very clear trend in our virtual and civil worlds? Or must we, most assuredly, dig deeper?

And does that demand a deeper questioning, to look at what is treasured and cherished? For we have thousands of years of shepherds and sheeples and that has become the hierarchical model we are imprinted with. “Follow me and I will become someone, famous, rich enlightened or just more counted than another.” How barren we have become! 

The Apache, for all their violent ways, had a different model. There was a chief but when he died any number of others would take his place. There was never a shortage and there was more self-reliance. Why have we become so sheepled?

To love might mean closing doors. Not because of a lack of affection, beneath the surface, but because others are so consumed by self-involvement and their lack of attention to each other, that it is wiser to walk away from that and stick to those with whom one shares a clearer and freer connection. 

Andy Warhol, decades ago, predicted we were entering a time where 15 minutes of fame was the new addiction. Aldous Huxley said our is the age addicted to speed. I don’t perceive Andy Warhol as a particularly happy man. I think he was shrewd and capitalized on art being comodifiable. I see that just because someone is successful does not mean their vision is particularly liberating or sane. 

Yes, fast cars and fast food and fast music is very common today. Aldous Huxley was right in that sense. But to come to wholehearted relationship demands self knowledge and a quality of discernment and a deeper nuanced understanding of trust. This is simply indisputable. 

It is impossible to commodify relationships. People require attention and care to be cherished. And we lose that when we are inattentive and lack affection as a guiding ley line of the road between us. 

We maroon ourselves on the sandbanks of a tired logic when we do not attend to these facts. I sense service is essential to fulfillment. But so too is freedom from bitterness. Bitterness and sorrow are very closely connected. Joy is unmistakable. So is infighting. The two come from different states of mind within the human being. 

Sometimes a no is a yes. Substance and caring is not an illusion. It grows from the seeds of value, virtue, principle and right attention to all three. When we irrigate the soils of our attention wisely a different quality of relating to one another arises. 

When I seek fame and special attention then our bond is less important, unless it feeds my insecure vested interests. So to close our doors on such approaches is very much liberating and inspiring. It certainly leads us to grooves of being that can and do cherish. And that is the essence of the kindness in mankind. 

We all have that potential within. Though to discover it means some marked stepping away from this accelerated pace that typifies our age, and a focused intent on how to value one another more, rather than this run away train of vanity and pride at our unseen and often sick need to help others. 

The world needs far less helpful martys and far more cherished mutual sharing.  This weary unquestioned trend must subside: the noise you make when you share, no matter how subtly, how wonderful you think you are, or the flip side of that, which is self-loathing, both are different sides of the same over used and destructive currency. 

In it’s place, a different kind of relationship where trust and meaning line our hearts, and not just our pockets, is inspired out of this moment, that, rather than the fear of rejection and the demeaning need for approval, that, surely, is what is inspired now, out of the dark soils of our pain. 

The singer songwriter Leonard Cohen wrote:

Maybe there’s a God above,

(But) All I’ve ever learned from love, 

Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you.”

I sense the ground of our relationship is more important than what is assumed to be above. John Lennon dreamed of a world where the ground beneath our feet was treasured, and above us, there was the clear blue of a happier sky. 

“Unconditional love” isn’t where it’s at when there is still no real cherishing. It’s a hollow placard on the graves of what we might be to one another. So too is this way of being where I blindly condemn another because they, and I, practice ideology devoid of tenderness and real connection. Wisdom transcends the petty mindless fictions of ideology anyway. 

When principles, value and virtue are really attended to there flowers communion, and from that, comes the community implied in our nature. We bring it into form when we live with that as our essential function.