Again, the Ancient Child

Something is in the air. Perhaps spring, and a time of renewal.  But four different times at least I saw posts from people damaged in childhood by parents and teachers, people who have lost touch with their “inner poetry”, who have a hard time motivating themselves to take action.

 

Remember the process of achievement?

  1. Decide what you want
  2. Remember and FEEL WHY you want it
  3. Only then devise your “to do” list.

 

Most people will neglect step #2, so that they have no “juice”, no “passion”, are motivated only by fear and pain, rather than pleasure.  Critical error.  Think about how sullen a child is when motivated only by punishment. And how creative and joyful they are when motivated by a trip to Disneyland.

 

The “child” portion of your personality is the creative problem solver, and if you don’t love and nurture this part, all that remains is a drudge, consigned to a Dickensian workhouse of a life.  Always begging “please sir, I want some more” rather than dancing through life.

 

WHENEVER I see this, I know that this person has lost touch with her heart.  There are two primary tools to deal with this.

 

  1. Heartbeat Meditation.  Simply sit for 10-20 minutes and listen to/feel your heartbeat.   After you’re done, journal the thoughts that came to you.

 

After you have a basic facility with this, you can move on to the next level:

 

  1. The Ancient Child.  Perhaps the single most powerful tool I’ve ever found.
    1. Basically, you sit in your meditative position
    2. Visualize yourself in a mirror.
    3. See light inside the body.  If you are relatively healthy and energetic at the moment, you’ll see a lot of light. When wounded or tired, much less.
    4. Condense the light into a solid ball, or human figure. The size of the figure will represent the age you were before the damage kicked in.  If the damage is extreme, you may get no more than a single fertilized egg.
    5. Become very very quiet.   Ask this younger, purer “you” if there is anything it wishes to communicate.
    6. Listen carefully.  Repeat back what it says, until it agrees that you understand.
    7. Promise that you will stand between this part and any danger.  “Daddy/Mommy  is here now” is often a useful phrasing.
    8. Take the light into your body, or share a hug, whatever is appropriate.

 

When you come out, journal the results.  EXTRA CREDIT: write a letter to your adult self from your child self, using your non-dominant hand.

 

 

This process is amazing.  If you sustained considerable damage in childhood, or are under serious stress now, you may find it too advanced and intense, in which case defaulting to the “Heartbeat Meditation” for a few weeks or months may be advised.

 

Please let me know your experiences, so I can continue to refine!

 

Namaste,

Steve

Spirituality and Religion

Spirituality is the direct experience of the divine. We all glimpse it. The great teachers lived in that Light, but returned to communicate to us.  Think of them as trees with deep roots. We can pluck the fruit, sit in their shade and be nourished even if we could not root so deeply, climb so high. A great teacher lifts you up.

 

That is spirituality, and the experience of being in the presence of a great teacher.  After they die, those who sat in their shade write down what they said and repeat it, whether they themselves have roots so deep, or branches so high. They try, even if they do not themselves understand or experience.

 

But this is like cutting down the tree and building a church out of it.    This is religion.

 

And it can still be an honorable and good thing.  And spiritual teachers can function within that structure.   Some are wonderful.  Others are barren, but can perform the ceremonies we associate with power…but have no power of their own, conduct no light.

Better to actually nourish children, don’t you think? But this requires that you grow your roots deep, lift your branches high, and be willing to let all seekers taste the fruits of your efforts, so that those seeking wisdom can separate you from the thousands of other trees in the forest.  All those trees say: I have the fruit you seek!  

 

But if you cannot see it, touch it, taste it…you will starve even as you hallucinate you are being fed.

 

Beware of trees that produce nothing that directly nourishes you.

Especially if they ask that you gather and bring the fruits of your labors to them.

 

 

Namaste,

Steve

Horror speaks the unspeakable

 

There was a discussion on horror movie imagery, in which readers were asked what films they found the most frightening.   THE EXORCIST was mentioned, and I agreed, having seen it when it first came out, and remembering the effect it had on the audience.  But I also said that it can’t be evaluated accurately today because the culture has changed, at least partially BECAUSE of the film.   The same is true of the films that hit me hardest: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, and ALIEN.   The question of “how much further can we go?” to create a powerful emotional effect.  This seemed to presuppose that the problem, or the worry, was an escalating war of perverse imagery or explicit effects.

 

I’m not a horror writer, but my wife certainly is, and so are many of my friends.   And the general consensus would seem to be that it isn’t pushing imagery further and further, it is looking for the unspoken taboos, the areas in which we are unconscious as we THINK we are awake, and peeling back that scab.

 

it isn’t raising the level of violence–all there is is absolute death and dismemberment, and we’ve had that since cave man days (gotten more realistic, but the point is the same). The trick is to attack current fears.

 

Varying critics disagree on precisely what was being attacked, but ALIEN may well have been fear of rape and impregnation (in Robert McKee’s terms “the negation of the negation”–what is worse than death?  Death that gives birth to greater death) ,  TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE may have been fear of what we’ve been doing to animals (hmmm…but again, fear of what goes beyond death…being actually devoured) , NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD fear of the destruction of society (during the civil rights movement–the racial angle is pretty powerful and disturbing.  But also fear of being eaten, and of what lies beyond death. The little girl stabbing her mother to death) and THE EXORCIST fear of the loss of religion’s power as we move into “faith” in science.  (Hmmm.  But again, relating to the soul. Religion deals with the fear of what lies beyond death, yes?)

 

The recent, instant classic GET OUT would have been unendurably frightening…and much less profitable…without the comic relief to release racial tension.   Play that movie straight?  I think it makes about 1/5 the money, and terrifies to the point of breaking rapport with any person black or white with unresolved racial issues. And that’s the majority of people.  (SPOILER: and in its own way, didn’t GET OUT play with the fear of what lies beyond death?)

 

So the trick for a horror writer will be not “topping” previous imagery, but asking what THEY are terrified by. What disturbs THEM.  What still causes pain, fear, guilt, anger as an adult, the things that deviled them as children that still torment them as adults. And that stuff is there, oh yes it is.  Some probable targets:

 

–The political divide and what it might mean (“The Purge” created a fortune by tapping into this)

–Male fear of female empowerment (and the fact that women will abuse their power just as badly as men do–with the added fun of guilt tripping weak males into believing its their own fault)

–Fear of automation making 90% of human beings irrelevant.  (in terms of the work force?  Not a silly speculation. Won’t necessarily happen, but anyone who thinks it CAN’T happen is, in my opinion, asleep)

–and for that matter…conceptual “sleeping” of many kinds.   We as human beings will justify anything we believe we need to survive.   I remember my mother telling me that animals don’t feel pain “as we do.” The same was said of slaves, of course.  And endless dehumanizations: men ignore women’s dreams, women ignore men’s deaths, Nation A ignores the pain of Nation B whose resources they need, and human beings ignore the pain of the natural world, once seen as the mother that gave birth to us all.

 

We need to believe we have the right to take, to exploit, to re-program, to define things outside ourselves to our own benefit.  Most of human history has been the “we are more human than you” and the idea that “we are all human together” is a pretty rare thing extended beyond your tribe.  There is terror as well as energy released in the resolution of any duality: black/white, male/female, American/non-American, Gay/Straight, Human/Animal.

 

Can’t wait to see a horror story that resolves the duality between living/inanimate.  Someone who REALLY did it would probably blow our minds to the point that we would think it funny rather than frightening–too big. So…you’d choose something that it right in our faces.

 

Hell, I thought of one, and in talking to Tananarive decided to hold it back from the discussion…might make a damned good movie.  Very high-concept.   Watch this space.

 

Take your own fear. Look into your own blind spots, if you can.   The sick places in your soul, the pusticles you’ve plastered over rather than drained.

 

There’s gold in them thar ills.

 

 

Namaste,

Steve

Should you allow crazies into your life?

I had a couple of people question my blocking of rude or disturbed individuals.  Perfectly reasonable: were there not things I could learn from these people?  Probably.  Was it worth what it would cost?  I suggest not.

 

Rudeness, emotional disturbance and intelligence are on different graph lines.  There is no direct connection.  If there were, it might be worth the trouble.   But…they aren’t. Therefore, there is nothing a rude person is likely to have to say to me that an intelligent but polite person cannot say. As I have thousands of friends, fans, and acquaintances of every race, creed, color, sexual or  political orientation or whatever, I have no lack of perspectives from any sane and substantive portion of the consciousness continuum.

 

And if you cannot present your perspective without fear or distortion?

 

You have an inaccurate map.   Who has an accurate map? People who can reach their destinations. And since I start with the assumption that 99.9% of people want love, health, and success, I simply don’t consider someone to have a better map than mine unless they can at least equal me in all three.  And of course, I get criticized for this as well.  That’s fine.  Here is my reasoning.

 

  1. We become what we think about. The central thesis of “Think And Grow Rich.”  Yes, you can be clever children and say “what if I think about carrots?  Will I become a carrot?”  Hah hah. The class clown strikes again.  Did you get that out of your system? Good.  Now we can proceed.
  2. We absorb the characteristics of the people we associate with.  People are like tuning forks, vibrating at different frequencies.  Ever notice that you can perform better when in the presence of a great teacher?   It is because his voice, body language, facial expressions, words and intangibles (“chi”) are all aligned.   In his presence, you simply are lifted to a higher level, and from there can perform beyond your ordinary concept.  The same is true with people who tear you down.  Crazy is contagious.  Associate with crazy people, and you “norm” their distortion.   Health professionals who spend their time with such people must be VERY careful, and that includes massage therapists, who can pick up the crap people lock in their bodies just by engaging with them physically.  They must, as the Aikido people say, “keep their ki flowing outward.”   By the way–this is a REALLY important in terms of sexual relationships.   Never, ever, ever have sex with someone crazier than you.  It may be fun (crazy people really can be amazing lovers.  So I’ve heard.  Ahem) but you are joining physical and emotional and spiritual “immune systems” with them…and with everyone they’ve ever slept with.  If the implications of that don’t disturb you, you may not be considering deeply enough.   Facebook may be a virtual environment, but if you don’t think people can gaslight you by speaking from a warped reality map but sounding perfectly reasonable, again, you may not be thinking deeply enough.  Just maybe.  I DON’T CARE HOW RATIONAL YOU SOUND, OR HOW REASONABLE YOUR ARGUMENTS ARE TO YOU.  If you don’t have the results, I simply won’t open my pod bay doors and let you dock, HAL.   You don’t get access to my USB ports, cannot pass my firewalls.  You think this is unfair?  Are you kidding?  I have family, friends, associates, students and clients who depend upon me to keep my head screwed on straight. And I promised that little boy inside me that I would do all in my power to fulfill all his dreams.  Do you think I can do that and carry your load of  crazy at the same time?  That I should take the time and energy to test out every interesting theory, even if people have no results?  THAT IS WHAT YOUR TWENTIES ARE FOR.   By the time you’re thirty, you should have a reality map that you are testing with ACTION, not THEORIES.  Is that clear? If you think you have an interesting theory, set a goal and go after it. I’ll check back with you in a year. Let me know how you did.  Good luck!
  3. Rudeness is fear.    It is an attack.   Violence stems from anger, anger from fear. People who are driven by fear have not mastered some important aspects of their psyche.   They can be wonderful people, but my specific journey is not theirs. We don’t see the same world. Their map is of a different land–they cannot help me, unless I want to travel to their destination.  Their “recipe” is for a different dinner.   Fear and love compete for the same place in your heart.   They have yet to discover or integrate this.  I wish them well, and hopefully will see them on the other side.

 

These attitudes disturb people who are not happy with themselves.  I shouldn’t be so positive, so self-confident, should stop to consider every opinion, every option, every possible alternative path.  Should not act until everyone agrees with my perspectives and actions. That is called “paralysis.”  I’ve seen how that works out for people, and its not pretty.

 

I should bend, stop, slow to reassure them that they are “all right.”

 

They are not “all right.”

 

They are wonderful, perfect, divine…but locked in a nightmare of insufficiency.   I won’t lay down and sleep with them.  But if they awaken, I’ll be proud to have them as companions on the path.

 

Namaste,

Steve

Question for meditators

For most people, the first 10-15 minutes of meditation are a cavalcade of negative internal monologues, twitches, and itching. Only after this does the mind begin to settle down, the waters calm, and a sense of peace emerge.

Those of you who have attempted meditation AND found your way through the noise to a peaceful place:

1) what noise did your head throw at you?

2) how did you work your way through it?

Childhood and Adulthood

I like minimum investments, the smallest amount of work that will maintain forward momentum. Get them down small enough and you have an amount so tiny that there is no LOGICAL reason not to do them.  The real reasons are revealed as emotional.

 

Here are some examples:

 

  1. The “Smartphone” diet.  Simply take a digital picture of everything you eat before you eat it.  Don’t have to modify your eating at all–just be sure you are 100% conscious of every bite.  Amazing how hard this is. And how effective.
  2. “Five Minute Miracle”– one 60-second breathing breaks, one every three hours. A total of five a day.  Re-patterns your stress response.  Amazing.  Combine with your very best abdominal exercise, done very slowly (one sixty-second rep), and you up the game.
  3. A sentence a day.   First step of the Machine.  Because of a variety of logistical and psychological factors, you can ride a sentence a day to a book a year.  Again, it is amazing to watch.
  4. Morning Ritual. 10-20 minutes of movement combined with affirmation and dynamic focus.    “Flooding” yourself with positive emotions.

 

One of the saddest things that I see is people who feel that, without their pain, they would not be creative.   All I can wonder is: whose voice is that in their head? Who told them this?  What is their experience of joy?

 

Both pain AND joy can motivate us.  If I had to use one or the other, would definitely choose carrot over stick. If you cannot find pleasure to focus on, then pain will do…but wow, would you treat your own most beloved child like that?  And if you wouldn’t, why are you doing it to yourself?

 

Consciousness, speaking the truth, is a sovereign remedy for most of what ails us, even if it leads to temporary pain.  “These cigarettes will kill me” causes the temporary pain of discipline, guilt, withdrawal. And saves you the long-term pain of mortal disease.

 

Adulthood is about speaking the truth. Keeping your word to yourself.  Choosing long-term pleasure over short-term pain.  Taking responsible for your own emotions and actions.  We know this in raising children…

Why do we forget it for ourselves?

Don’t lie and say you don’t have “the talent” to do something: you don’t want to spend the thousand hours.  The fact that others might get more results for that investment of time is irrelevant. You can ALWAYS find someone doing better, or worse, than you.

Don’t lie and say you don’t have “the time” if you can start with five or ten minutes a day.  Ummm…you had time to read this, correct?

Don’t lie and say you have nothing to be grateful for.  You can read, correct?  You have the resources to get onto the internet, correct?  Wouldn’t you miss your eyes and computer if they were gone?  Then you can be grateful for them now.

Your focus determines how you feel. Your ability to tell the truth creates an accurate map. Your ability to keep your word to yourself determines whether you will take the small, constant steps that can lead you to love, or health, or success.

  1. Start by loving yourself.  (why change if you don’t love the person who will benefit?)
  2. Love one other person (we will do things for others we won’t do for ourselves.)
  3. Understand the world without guilt, blame, or shame.  (Forgive yourself. You’ve done the best you could, with the resources you have.  This will require that you forgive others as well–the same is true for them)
  4. Find your tribe.  (you cannot rise to your next level without allies and mentors.   Mentor and support others, and you gain the cosmic chips to ask for allies and mentors to help you.)
  5. Win.  (Define victory so that you can achieve it, EVERY DAY.   Five minutes a day will start you.  And from there…the world looks and feels like a different place.)

 

Namaste,

Steve

 

 

 

Logan (2017)

Went to the Inosanto Academy in Marina del Ray this morning, to work out.  It felt like going home.  I plan to do this once a month.

##

Saw “Logan” last night, and it is an exceptional superhero movie, with more genuine emotional resonance than any other I can remember, as well as excellent acting, and action. Basically, Wolverine is long past his prime, his healing powers diminished, wracked with pain and addicted to pain-killers.  Professor Xavier is semi-senile, his occasional fits creating mental havoc for anyone within a city block.  The time of mutants has passed.  They live in a Mexican backwater, dreaming of escape to the sea.  Into their hopeless lives comes a woman who begs Logan to help her and her daughter escape to Canada. They are being pursue by deadly enemies, and hold important secrets.

 

That’s all you need to know.  Franchise-best performances from Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine and Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier, bringing a very real sense of weariness and honor, familial love and loss of faith, to a project that is really an exceptional film of its kind.  An “A”, without question.

 

##

 

And now…SAMBO ALERT!

(SPOILERS)

 

LOGAN is another film that cannot be judged solely on its own.  It is the ninth in the series of X-Men movies, and as such, I feel very comfortable discussing the pattern I see.

 

It was clear from the first that the X-Men movies (and before them, the comic books) were playing with the Malcolm X/MLK split concerning race relations.  Should we assimilate peacefully?  Should we fight?   That was the earliest mutant metaphor, although later other threads of social tension were braided in.  That’s all good.

 

There was only one problem, one I noticed about four movies in.   And it is this: for movies of massive size, with huge casts, it was odd that there was not a single black male character of any note at all.  Out of more than a hundred characters in those first movies, set in America…not one, when statistics would have indicated about six.  O.K…are you saying black people wouldn’t mutate?  Or be represented among any of the “normal” human beings they encountered?  Well, clearly the white producers thought so, or didn’t care. And the white audiences didn’t care.   And if you think it unfair of me to be racially specific about the producers and audiences, then I doubt that, were you in my position, you’ be as polite about this as I tend to be.

 

As the movies rolled on, there was finally a black male mutant. He died protecting his white friends. Oh, and a black female mutant, who ended up as sexual chattel for the white head mutant.   All righty then.

 

What of Storm?  Oh, you mean the mutant with no human connections?  I can’t even remember her touching another person.  But yes, it was nice to see somebody black there…although still, no black males, even when the statistical unlikelihood of this (no one with a line of dialogue, no matter where they went, or what context they were in.)

 

The X-Men were not just comic book movies made by filmmakers. They had become WHITE comic book movies, made by WHITE filmmakers–in other words, there was a force of will, even if unconscious, pulling the casting in a very specific direction.  And there was no reason for it other than the ethnicity of those filmmakers and their target audience…who didn’t notice, and didn’t care.   Seven movies. Eight.  The exact, same situation just getting worse and worse.

 

I could go back and watch them all, look for someone, anyone I might have missed.  It’s irrelevant. Over eight movies, with hundreds of speaking parts, it shouldn’t be that difficult.

 

Then..LOGAN. I heard it was great. I also heard that Eric LaSalle was in it.  Someone over on “Aint It Cool News” said that in the matter of LeSalle’s family in LOGAN, a “courageous” choice had been made.    Ummmm. No.  Utterly cowardly choice. Predictable choice. A choice that fit right into the pattern established in eight previous films.

 

It wasn’t a complete wash-out.   There was a black major who spoke a couple of lines at one point. That was nice, even though he had no name, and was only there to establish a plot point.  The “Breeding Circle” thingie, that black men in SF/Horror movies were generally too old, too young, too obese, too gay, or too dead to be reproductive competition, was just barely violated, enough that I was able to enjoy the rest of the film. Yeah, there was a black mutant kid.  He had two out of five of the factors that kept him out of the Breeding Circle.  But that nameless major…that works.

 

That’s all I’ve got for watching a total of nine movies, eighteen or twenty hours of film, hundreds of characters with speaking parts.   No, I don’t think it is deliberate.  I think it is an unconscious expression of perceived value and worth on the part of the producers and directors, all of whom, so far as I’ve been able to determine, were white.

 

THIS is why it is critical to get diversity in the board rooms and behind the cameras.  This simply doesn’t’ happen when there are people who give  damn in control.

 

And it will continue to happen until that diversity exists.

 

Namaste,

Steve

Don’t settle for less than the best you can do

David Roel is kind enough to dig through my archives to find thoughts he thinks will be of interest to his Buddhism mailing list. It is gratifying to see things that stumbled their way out of my thoughts a decade ago helping people today. Here’s a note:

“Thank you. As usual, exactly what was required this morning. I think we all play with the “Soul Mate Process”, but it withers away as soon as we find someone remotely close to the goal. The fear of being alone is louder than the fear of working on yourself. Thanks for the bump.”

This was sent in response to this series of my thoughts:

Wow! So busy yesterday I forgot to mention that August 1, 2008 was my tenth anniversary with Tananarive. She is absolutely the love of my life, and my perfect partner.

We had such a narrow window of opportunity to find each other. I was living in Washington state, and she, in Miami. We’d each gone through a massive amount of internal work preparing ourselves to find a partner. Such work involved, variously, therapy, meditation, self-discovery, journaling, and more. I believe in love, and that each of us, if we wish, can find a deep and lasting connection with another human being, one we can cherish and who cherishes us, who supports us without reservation, and is prepared, and willing, to be one of our better angels. There is an old saying: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I have a corollary to that: “When the lover is ready, the beloved will appear.”

Somehow, we recognized each other, and within 48 hours after meeting realized that we had to take a chance to be together, that the potential was simply too wonderful. In maybe two months one or the other of us would have met someone else: we were both ripe. It was a minor miracle.

On my own part, the most important things that prepared me for this were:

1) Convincing myself, totally and permanently, that I could get laid any time I wanted, and with the quality of lady I’d always desired. All insecurity about this was just gone, due to some very specific energetic work I’d done. Frankly, it was spooky how good I was getting at attracting women. I realized I could be a REALLY good Lothario, and realized that wasn’t me at all. That what I wanted, more than anything in the world, was a friend and partner, someone I could just be myself with. And I was willing to be celibate until I found her.

2) I had made a very clear list of all the attributes I wanted in a woman, without ANY compromises at all. Then I did one of the two or three smartest, most courageous things I’ve ever done: I found a woman who measured up to that list (a dancer of my acquaintence) and sat her down, asking her what SHE wanted in a man. What she described became my road map. I compared what she said with what I currently was–subtracted who I was, and what remained was what I had to become in order to attract a woman at her level. As soon as I began working in that direction, everything changed.

BTW–what were the differences?

1) she wanted a man with more of a spiritual life than I had at the time. I realized I’d stopped meditating, and promptly began again.

2) She wanted someone with less body fat than I carried at the time. I realized I’d stopped running, and began again.

As soon as I did both, it was as if I began “vibrating” at a different level, and women began reacting to me differently.

I have no idea how I came up with that, what I now call the “Soulmate Process”. Thank God I did. Another piece was realizing that the kind of woman I wanted was a lioness. She would be satisfied with nothing less than a lion. That meant that I had to be a hunter, and project that energy. I couldn’t be focused on finding a woman–what a lion hunts, he kills. So I had to cultivate an attitude of “intense but slightly distant” if you know what I mean. Once I found the right balance, the effect was absolutely devastating.

And then, I had to be willing to cast it aside, and just be myself. But without absolute confidence, and a real commitment to doing Whatever It Took to find a genuine heart connection, without a speck of bullshit, and be prepared to wait my entire life if necessary…while simultaneously working every damned day to be the perfect partner for that imaginary woman of my dreams…it wouldn’t have happened.

Don’t compromise. Decide what you want. Find out what it will cost. Commit to paying the price. And the price is passion, and commitment, and self-love, and self-respect, and honesty.

Ten years. And it’s gotten better every year.

I believe we can all have this, if we are just willing to actually reveal ourselves.

Namaste,

Steve

www.soulmateprocess.com

“The Girl With All The Gifts” (2016)

Director Colm McCarthy and writer Mike Carey’s (book and screenplay) “The Girl With All The Gifts”  is described on IMDB as:  “A scientist and a teacher living in a dystopian future embark on a journey of survival with a special young girl named Melanie.”  Yeah. And “Casablanca” is about a pick-up in a third-world bar.

 

This is the real thing, a horror movie with something on its mind, with terrific performances, genuine chills, a real beating heart, and a last ten minutes that will make you lose your mud.

 

The set-up is simple: you read it above.  Zombie apocalypse.  Society has collapsed, and there is a mysterious military/research facility where they keep strange children in Hannibal Lector-style masks while teaching them fairy tales.  Real WTF stuff, but it all works.  Frickin’ GLEN CLOSE plays a scientist, and plays the living hell out of her role.  GEMMA ARTERTON is another scientist, who develops a strange bond with SENNIA NANUA, that aforementioned special child.   Every actress KILLS.

 

And…that’s all I’m gonna say, except that it subverts your expectations at every turn, and is instantly one of the top ten zombie movies ever made.  This is the evolution of the form, where the zombie outbreak (and even there, they do things I’ve never seen before!)  is just the background to a serious, intelligent inquiry into the nature of love, life, sacrifice, and even race relations.  Oh, yeah, Melanie is black (or at least mixed race) did I forget to tell you that? And that, yes, it matters within the imagery of the film?   Tananarive watched it last night (streaming on Amazon) and realized we’d found a movie for the AFROFUTURISM class.   And a top-notch one.

 

(NOTE: Anyone who knows anyone connected with the movie who can hook us up with a Skype interview would be our friend forever.  We REALLY want to talk to someone who can represent an amazing, inspiring, horrifying movie!)

 

See it.  Support it.   We want more of THESE.  For lovers of horror, SF, and genre film of all kinds, an “A.”  For moviegoers in general who can handle a bit of the red stuff, a “B+”

 

Steve

If there is no Self, who eats the birthday cake, dammit?

It is often said that there are two questions that are most important in philosophy: “Who Am I?” and “What is True?” (Buddhism, for which I have enormous respect, asks a corollary question: “How can suffering be ended?”)

 

Today being my sixty-fifth birthday, I find that these core questions are more important than ever.  The truth is that the process of questioning peels away all the representations until you reach something not unlike the neutral space in The Matrix.  But…that nothing is everything, pregnant with all the universe.  It is difficult if not impossible to express in words, but if you’ve glimpsed it, you know.

 

If there is any truth that CAN be put into words about this process, and what it reveals, it is that whatever you are is revealed in what you do, consistently, day after day. Writers write. Martial artists sharpen their “swords.”  Warriors   protect their tribe.  Parents parent.  Lovers love.  Healers heal.  Teachers teach.

 

But none of these things is you.  All of them are roles, expressions of that central energy that births us, the undifferentiated “emotion” that causes babies to scream at birth, the “Earth below, Heaven above, no one in the world like me!” burst of lifeforce that says “I’m here!”

 

Joy, anger, fear, discovery…all at once, as if those emotions are colors of the rainbow, and what is REAL is the white light that fractures into the differentiated colors once we try to break things down into language.

 

Arguing about language is always time away from the real quest.  It is fun, but a distraction.   It is living in the dualities, in the fractionated artificiality of our concepts.   A distraction.

 

A lady I know has an entire house filled with spiritual texts. Has spent a massive amount of years, resources, and energy in spiritual practices. Told me that as soon as she has THIS book, and attended THAT course, she will be ready to buckle down and find herself.

 

It was another version of that friend who wanted to be a writer, and spent decades writing a story that slowly expanded to a trilogy, only to discover she was bored. And then started over with a new story, which had begun to expand…

 

I wanted to shake her.   “You have 1000X more information than you need,” I said.  “You could write everything you need to wake up on the back of a matchbook.  Just spend an hour a day writing out the answer to the question: `who am I?’ and/or `what is true?’  That’s it. Probably about three years of work to unravel all the lies you’ve used to navigate reality.”

 

She won’t do it, of course. She doesn’t really want to know.  She wants to find some more tricks.

Some more distractions from the reality she can’t look in the eye.

 

Who Am I?  Yeah, I know.  Can’t tell you in words, though.  Every day I’m digging away at it, and I publish much of my thought in these musings.  But it is a matter of stripping away, not “learning.”   No, I’m not interested in the new facts you have for me (most times.  Curiosity gets me to engage with things, but its more a matter of realizing, once again, how rapidly we fall asleep, go unconscious…not learning something new, not at any deep and meaningful level.)

 

I suspect that if we’re paying attention, we learn everything important in life long before its half-way point. After that…it is un-learning, and re-discovering what we already know.  In fact, I suspect that we learn all the REALLY important things, the “seed” things, prior to puberty.

 

Could that be?  I think so. Just as all of complex existence is implied in the very first actions of atomic particles starting about a billionth of a second after the Big Bang, I suspect that everything about life is just an emergent quality of basic things re-combined in more complex patterns, those basics learned before we learn to drive.  Certainly by the time we become sexual, or self-supporting.  We just don’t pay attention.

 

So no, I’m not trying to learn new things. I WILL examine something that doesn’t fit my patterns, and backtrack until I see what I forgot, then build back up again.  That’s the “What is true?”

 

My perceptions about all of it are part of the “who am I?”  I am not separate from the pattern.  All I have to do is look deeply enough into myself, grasping that in a very real sense there IS no “self” (another dichotomy: there is no self, but what is it that recognizes this?  Is that not a “self”?  Get the joke, and move on.) and I understand the rest of the universe.  Only ego stops me.

 

What is the path?   To find the way I represent the entire circle of archetypes.  Connect them all with survival.  Be those things.  And be so busy with them that they engage my ego completely. And then…out of the corner of my eye, I can glimpse truth.

 

And then…during meditation, focus until I can get those “glimpses” more regularly. Then learn the odd mental slight-of-hand that allows you to focus without focusing, so that the glimpses happen more regularly.  Where you begin to reclaim the energy your mind expends in creating the illusion of reality.  THAT is a terrifying and amazing experience, only glimpsed…but more frequently now. The Quickening, indeed.

 

That’s where I am.  You are welcome to think my mind closed. The truth is that earlier in life I pried it wide open, and looked at everything I could find, and traveled exhaustively until the patterns started to repeat.   At some point, you stop hearing new things, just interesting re-combinations of basic elements you’ve already integrated.  Infinite numbers of new combinations. Same old 10 integers.

 

You can keep gathering new things, or strip away what you are carrying to the smallest number of basics.  Each is appropriate to a different time of life and awareness.  And if you are as happy with your process as I am, you are a happy puppy indeed.

 

Happy birthday to me.  Life is a hell of a ride.

 

 

Namaste,

Steve