Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New Findings

You never know what you are going to learn.
I was eating ramen and the owner, a beautiful woman in her 40’s, said, “David, your hair sure grows fast. You must be erotic!”
eh? I asked my friend eating with me and it turns out that in Japanese culture, men with fast growing hair are thought to be more sexual. And interestingly, the opposite is true for women; women with slow growing hair are the perverts. My friend smiled at me and said, "Japanese culture."

Also, this year Japan has had 15 tornadoes, which is strange considering this is the first time in history tornadoes have appeared here. Crazy.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Coming soon: New Thoughts on Persephone

“Things are because we see them, and what we see, and how we see it, depends on the Arts that have influenced us. To look at a thing is very different from seeing a thing. One does not see anything until one sees its beauty. Then, and only then, does it come into existance.”
Oscar Wilde

“Real seeing brings with it this extraordinary elimination of time and space.”

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

New Show, New Function.

You all know I don't like bars. They are smoky and well, you know. Nevertheless, I've decided to have a show at a local bar. It's kind of dark, and a little smoky, but it has great walls, great jazz, and a lively crowd of locals. I thought hey, my art is sitting in boxes in my studio, wasting away. If I can use it in this community somehow, I think I should.

This makes me think of Michaels interview, about the communal body and offering that body whatever gifts we can. I live in a community here in Japan. I should be the artist in the community, and decorate the community’s walls.

This of course brings up an issue of presentation (theories abound about context and art. The recent experiment with Joshua Bell, a very famous violinist, playing on the streets and not drawing a crowd, is one potent example. Art on the walls of restaurants versus art on the walls of galleries…the presentation does matter. A lot.

However, this is a rather nice, classy bar, and so I think the atmosphere and dim lights are not a major problem. From those walls I can still direct the flow of attention into the beauty and importance of the natural world. If one person’s perspective is changed even a teeny tiny bit, then that is enough. Also, having my work on the walls provides for the excuse to have a party Saturday night, drawing people together to connect and inter-act. I like that function of art as well.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Ai and Christmas

I recently realized how beautiful the word “I” is. I think when we usually use it, we think of the letter, which kind of looks like a person, all uppercase, honorable, and standing, and we don’t notice how beautiful the sound is that we designate to mean “my self.” "Ai". The sound “ai” means “love” in Japanese. The word for “my self” is “watashi” or “boku” or “ore” depending on the situation. None of those are as elegant and beautiful and soft as the English “ai." Most of the time the Japanese don't use any pronoun, because the “I” is implied. “I love you” in Japanese is simply the verb “loving.” Aishiteru. The “I” and “you” are implied. However, sometimes they use their own names when speaking from their self's perspective--very "third person," which is kind of profound. In English, we use “I” all the time (which might say something about our culture.) It’s a beautiful sound though…Ai. Ai am going to miss Christmas in Kansas this year a lot.

A few of the things I will miss this year:
Fires. Sitting by the crackling fire, the smell, the warmth. No chimneys in Japan.
The smell of fires outside.
Pies. Rhubarb and Pumpkin. With fresh whipped cream.
My snot freezing.
Movies with my cousins
Andre’s gingerbread and zopf. Oh my god, zopf.
Zopf and eggnog french toast.
Eggnog! It’s so gross, the idea, but so good.
My cat playing in wrapping paper.
Wearing pajamas around the house with all my sisters.
63rd street lights.
Working at Andres.
Singing Christmas songs with my uncles.
Listening to Handel’s messiah live with my dad.
Stopping by the Meers’s for coffee.
And many, many more.

However, some friends and I might go to Okinawa, which would be a blast. Spending Christmas on a nice, hot beach. Oh yeah.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Dream is Valid

Many thoughts will crowd into your mind. Let them come and go, without getting involved in them or trying to suppress them.

~ Zen master Dogen

Please check out Michael's brilliant interview with Making-it-all-click.com here.

It's facinating, and full of great new ideas. He literally made my body and sense of self expand, and he awoke within me a new definition and appreciation of art and art's work. (Also, in the interview Michael mentions me a couple of times!, starting about 30 minutes in, if you need another good reason to listen to it, mom.) He also talks about the vision behind his new project "The Dream is Valid." All musicians in my family should definitely listen to this interview.
My music is a contribution on this compilation

Sunday, November 25, 2007

familiar ground

Here are scenes from Mt. Koya, Tokyo, Kyoto, and Shikoku set to "Familiar Ground" by The Cinematic Orchestra.

Enthroned is the King of the Forest-- a stone sphere representing infinity.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanks Giving

I’m listening to the Allegri’s Misarere.

Miss you already.
My family has a little salutation we use. It’s “Miss you already.” The Japanese do not have “to miss” in their vocabulary. They use the word “sadness” or “I want to see you” (lit. “meet want!”)” to mean the same thing. But they don't have the word “miss”. So "miss you already” in Japanese is “I’m already sad” or “I already want to see you.”

To already miss someone, even when they are still with you, is a strange, but profound feeling. It is a true feeling, and it is painful, and is rooted in the illusion of time and separation, looking into the future and feeling that “future sadness” in the now. This might be seen as silly, but it arises nonetheless. Feeling it fully is getting in touch with a pain that you know will come soon; it’s preparing for that storm.

“Are you ready?” In Japanese this expression is literally “could you make preparations?”

I think about the death of my parents, or of my sisters and loved ones. I think about the death of my body and finally my mind. I miss you already. I'm already sad.

When the time comes, one thing will become increasingly important: Could you make the preparations? Did you prepare yourself for this moment you knew, from the beginning, would one day come? Are you prepared?

How to prepare for death (yours or another’s) is explained in many ways, including economic and religious. Ram Dass explains that the best way to be ready for that moment is by being more fully involved in this one.

I believe that one reason we argue is because we identify as a position (or as an “I” that holds such a position), and in the same way we will protect our physical body, we will protect this mental body to the death. If we loose, if we are wrong, that part of us that was so determined and behind a mental position will have to die, and we don't want any part of us to die. We don't want our friends and family or body or mind to die, and so, we will fight, and argue, and reduce the richness and fleeting preciousness of this short life to a silly argument of loveless cruelty and futile suffering. What really matters is that the person you are arguing with is on their way to their death bed. When you are talking with someone, keep in mind that they are dying. Time is precious, as is love, and we are only here together for a very, very short time.

Which brings me to Thanks Giving.

Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks, (duh). We want and want and want all the time. Today, give. Give thanks. Extend the circle of your loving beyond the borders of your body. Acknowledge another person’s being, and in doing so; recognize the “I am” in them that is the same “I am” in you. Connect with another person today, and give them thanks. In Japanese, this day is called “Kansha sai” which mean “Appreciation day” and the same character is used to mean, “to apologize.”

Think about what you have with deep appreciation, and don't get caught in self-centered arguments that increase the suffering in yourself and others. Not today.

Arguments abort the baby thanksgiving and leave a lifeless mess on the table.

The poll:
Out of 40 people who read my blog, 42% felt heterosexual, 15% felt homosexual, 5% felt bisexual, 10% pomosexual, 5% asexual, 7% pansuxual or omnisexual, 30% felt simply sexual, and 10% felt something other.

Does this surprise you? There seems to be indeed a spectrum of sexual orientations, not just homosexual and heterosexual. The question was “what sexual orientation do you feel at the moment?”, and so that is why I think only 5% felt bisexual. If someone is sexualy active with both genders, that doesn't mean they are attracted to both at the same time.

And that’s one thing I wanted to point out. Each moment can contain a different kind of sexuality. Someone who identifies as “heterosexual” might be feeling non-sexual at the moment actually, and when they look for their sexual orientation, they can’t find an authentic one anywhere. other.

This weekend I'm off on a pilgrimage to Mt. Koya again (thousand-year-old cedar forest covered in tombs). I'm going with some dear friends and meeting Yasuchika there as well. happy happy.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Lawrence in the News!

I recently visited the boarding school for bad kids. I had a sore throat at the time, and one of the boys, a rather clever one who likes speaking with me like an adult, asked “Is something wrong? You are not your usual self. You are not being usual-David.”
"Yes, actually.” I replied. “I have a sore throat.”
“You might want to fix that.” He responded with a smile.

It was an interesting conversation, and as he walked away I had to ask myself, like the characters in I Heart Huckabees, “How am I not myself?”

Sometimes I like to go out on my porch, fourth floor balcony, great view, and look though my prayer flags, look though my prayers, into the sky behind them. I will look into the Dragon's tail to see the distant mountains disappearing beneath a layer of cloud. I will look through the mantras woven into the colored fabric to the infinite sea of soft stillness that is the sky, and ill see clearly the black crows flying through me. The wind picks up.

I take some pictures, and come back inside to listen to music and type letters into my own prayer flag-life waving and playing and saying to the wind “May peace be in you” in so many words.

At elementary school this week the principal gave a teaching at the morning assembly. She said, “It is so wonderful that we all have our own opinions and it is important to express them. But it is also very important to listen to other people’s opinions with all your mind and heart.”

I was stunned at the beauty of that simple teaching. Listening (and being a space for people to work out their ideas within) is also being a viewer for dancers, being a critic for painters, a fan for musicians, or a dancer for drummers. There are many important forms of listening. And isn’t it interesting that we, as aspects of the universe, talk and listen? We talk to ourselves, and listen to ourselves; the universe talks to itself, and listens to itself, and we grow together, forever united, forever apart, in a dance of emptiness and form, forever and ever, I hope and pray, amen.

The same principal gave me a large stalk of ginger flowers that smell like 100 lilies to take home after school. “They will help your cold!” Have you ever seen ginger flowers? Beautiful. Very sweet smell.

Deep down I’m a farmer, a gardener. But I live in the city and don't have a plot of land to use at the moment. So I’ve been planting and harvesting in a few mind-fields that live around my home. These fields are very healthy, fresh, and rich with nutrients; their soil is ancient and fruitful. I plant my friendship into them and they all respond with much fruit, giving me back their kindness and care, or insight into why they don’t. I am rich with fruit and experiential knowledge from all the mind-fields around me, and so I plant in the often, and spend many hours lying on their colored surfaces. Every one of them is a different color, texture, and shape, but they all equally glow in the setting sunlight. In the moonlight, all the fields are the same colors—shades of silver blue-gray, and they all dissolves into black during the darkest hours of the night. At night, all the fields become one color. Then the sun comes up, Light returns, life returns, and with it, infinity, actually shimmering as diversity changing so fast across the fields, and humming like the dragonflies, the buzz of the present moment, the quantum dance of creation occurring right now as the textures of this very instant. It shimmers when you look at it long enough, or with a big enough microscope, or with a wide enough lens to see the entire Milky Way shimmering across the infinity fields of dark blue voidness that is Space. Space, Clear Abyss Emptiness. Remember, that Space, surrounding the Milky Way, is here on this planet too. It’s in between you and the computer. And it can also be perceived as the stillness beneath all thoughts within you.

Friday, November 09, 2007

November News

What we are calling the beginning is often the end,
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from…

And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

T.S. Elliot

The other day Mrs. Yanagi came over to my house around dinner time. She asked at the door, “Have you had dinner yet? Good, because I brought some pasta and things and it will only take a minute to prepare. I will make dinner for you.” She came in, cleaned my kitchen and made me delicious pasta and grilled spinach and mushroom soup. We ate together and then she said, “It must get lonely living here all by yourself.”

“I does, but you know, sometimes I like being alone.” I said. “Oh I do too,” she said, “But when my last child leaves, I think I will want to come over here more often.”

I’ve started Holosync a few days ago. Holosync is music that helps you meditate. It uses a special kind of technology to put the mind into different natural states of consciousness (roughly alpha, theta, and delta states, which represent relaxed, dreaming, and sleep states) but while the person is totally awake. I’ll keep you posted on what happens.

New kick-ass music: cinema dub monks, world’s end girlfriend, the new ween, iron and wine, mum, saul williams, and cinematic orchestra. If I were you I'd listen to the Cinematic Orchestra’s Song “To build a home” right now. The link is to the right.

In order to free up more space on my computer, I recently tried condensing my itunes library by sorting the songs by play count and then deleting albums and songs at the bottom (with zero play counts). I found a lot of great, lost music that I forgot I even had, and I couldn't delete shit. Same thing happens with my pictures. I have thousands and thousands and thousands of pictures I never look at, nor ever will, because the beauty and new experiences keep coming to me every day, and I keep taking more and more new and better pictures. Maybe I’m keeping the pictures because I think I will forget, or I think I might one day need to publish a photography book or enter a contest or something silly like that. Of course I keep a lot of photos for painting references, but still...what am I holding onto the thousands of forgotten photos for? The summer before I came to Japan my computer broke after I uploaded all my photos from an amazing road trip across America. That hurt. But I got a few pics from the friends I went with, and all the "award winning pictures" I took I really don’t miss, nor did I miss out an any photo contest I might have been saving them for.

And my writing. I have 12 books saved on my computer I swear to god. What am I keeping all that writing for? My book? Of course, I do really enjoy looking at old essays I wrote in college. Reading what your past mind produced is a powerful spiritual practice. Keeping a dream journal is beneficial, sure. But letting go of old stuff is also beneficial and a powerful spiritual practice, yes?

I’ve been listening to Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” and it is really very good. He reminded me the other day that I am only ever really aware of one breath. I look to see if that is true, and my mind stills and becomes very lucid. Suddenly, the eternal now fills my every pour and purpose. I am nothing but this presence, nor can I ever be apart from it, of course. I am eternal. And that does not mean that I existed a long time ago and will exist forever. It means that deep down I exist outside of the dimension of time altogether. I exist Now, and only Now, and the Now is timeless.

Paul Lonely’s book “Suicide Dictionary” is now available to buy (remember, Michael Garfield wrote the afterward, and I’m involved in constructing the illuminated version). Anyone interested in poetry, religion, mysticism, or integral anything will love this book.

You know, life is a dream, but a dream full of friends, and our community of caring light bodies cannot take in or give away enough love. We delight in each other, and torture and tease, and there is infinity behind your eyes, and in front of them, and I send you all more. It just started to rain, and the view from my window is covered in wet, gray light, laughter, and love. I need to go buy some trash bags.

Pictured: My friend Masa, Mai's new kitten he found in the street, a pic of my town and Pagoda Kindergarten, and views from my porch. That is Mt. Ishizuchi, the highest mountain in western Japan.

"You won't get there then if you're not here now." Surya Das

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Hey! Down a few posts I added an explanation of the show. Also, you might like to look at my new mysticism blog, which will include those long, preachy entries i like to post about my own developing mysticim (link to the right). Oh, and please take the sexuality survey. after 6 days I'll post the results and change the question.

Tokyo Starbucks. As you can see, a woman left her ipod, cell phone, and purse at her seat while she spent about 10 minutes in the bathroom. That is Japan. Thank you for visiting my blog.
in Love,

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Kyoto, Osaka, and Festival

As one door closes, another opens;
but we often look so long and regretfully
upon the closed door
that we do not see the one which has opened.

~ Alexander Graham Bell

May all beings be Free and in Love.

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