Friday, September 28, 2007

Ahmadinejad, Art, Picasso, Vision (mental and physical) Rilke, and Eckhart

September 27th
My heart is with the monks protesting in Burma. What a story. I just hope it doesn't turn into another massacre. 9 dead already? Damnit.

So, the Iranian president spoke at Columbia University Monday (the 20th). I read the transcript. Great speech by both Bollinger and Ahmadinejad. I suggest everyone read it. One highlight was when Ahmadinejad said “In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country. We don't have that in our country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have it.” Maybe Iran doesn't have any homosexuals because it imprisons or kills anyone who comes out of the closet! At least he said, “We don't have this phenomenon” instead of “we don't have this problem.” That was very PC of him. In fact, his entire speech was quite elegant and well spoken. He is obviously very intelligent. I can’t help but think of Ahmadinejad’s psychograph. He has many different lines of intelligence, some highly developed, and other’s quite poor.

In other news, I painted a spider web in a cemetary today, and also I added more to the “Pilgrimage” painting. People keep asking me “What’s with the orbs?” or “Why do you use circles so much?”

Many reasons, none of them in words. Of course, I could talk for pages about what circles can mean, but that would close your minds, and I don't want to do that. I will mention that I’m continuing to develop a certain type of language I fist discovered or envisioned about 8 years ago. I don't know when I’ll move on from the orbs, or if I will. Maybe I already have to some degree.

Picasso was brilliant because he could stumble upon a new way to successfully express an idea, use it well, and then astonishingly move on. He radically experimented with languages, despite the critics' and reception’s pressure on him to stay with a certain style. Everyone loved the blue period (everyone loved the classical realism he was employing in his teens!) His blue period was modern, fresh, loved…. Despite this support, he divorced it and moved on to develop collage, constructive sculpture, cubism, and of course, his primitive treatment of the human figure. Picasso was genius. And he was also a creep. Again, an interesting, unbalanced psychograph, I can imagine.

In a way, with paintings like Peekabuddha and Pilgrimage, I think I’m trying to incorporate cubism (the deconstruction of forms into shifting plains), impressionism, expressionism, realism (surrealism, fantastic realism) and symbolism, into my art. I’d like to be able to integrate all these languages into a single painting or body of work gracefully, for they all communicate truths about this world, and they all resonate with individuals. The spectrum of human consciousness understands a spectrum of languages.

For example, cubism can be seen as postmodern: It investigates how we perceive forms. Impressionism also highlights the optical experiences of viewing the world (I’ll talk more about that in a second.) Pointillism is interesting, although can be quite boring to look at. It actually constructs forms out of tiny points of color, letting the mind of the viewer mix them, taking Impressionism (and painting!) to a whole new level. Many Pointillists (like Surat) planned out the compositions and images, trying to not only relate ideas about optical reality, but also social and spiritual reality. Surat was working on many levels.

Artists generally want their work to connect with people. A lot of what I do will only connect with a few individuals. Only a few people immediately understand intuitively what an orb can mean, and how that can relate to the construction of a landscape, or can recognize the esoteric symbols. Infinity shines as a dreamy glow behind everything, but many people don’t know or care about that. They might see a delightful play of colors and shapes. Children delight in triangles, circles, squares, blues, reds, greens. There is nothing really we can do but delight in these forms, and my art is most definitely also about that: delighting in forms.

Speaking of which…fall is rushing in. This morning was chilly, and last night I had to close my window. The rice fields around my house are almost ready to be harvested. The yellow-green leaves are now interwoven with yellow-orange rice pods, and when you put yellow orange next to yellow green, they sing. So, that song is happening all around now, and the mornings have grown cold. I saw this beautiful sky today. Pretty great, huh? I’m reminded of what Danny told me about the sky. He said he saw the sky as constantly unrolling like a Japanese scroll drawing. It's always showing us something new.

When I look at the sky and relax my eyes, I see little dots shooting around like insects. It’s like looking at the static of television, shimmering across the entire sky. If I was to interpret what those tiny dots are, I might think that they are fairies. There are creatures flying way up there, onto whose backs are reflected the colors of the sky. I might interpret it is the unified energy field of infinity shimmering across the sky. After all, the sky goes infinitely up, and the space in-between is infinite vastness. The tiny eye takes in that color field and doesn’t really know what to do with all that information, so it does the best it can to not explode. (Ah, "the reduction valve of the brain.")
Or maybe all those shimmering dots are my blood vessels, millions of them, shimmering and shooting here and there. Or maybe they are the neurons firing across the inner screen of my consciousness, in the back of my mind. After all, I'm definitely not looking at the sky “outside” when I see that vastness. I’m looking at the optic nerve’s pulsating information rippling across my brain, backwards and upside down. I’m really looking at my mind, made of consciousness and optic nerves. If I close my eyes I can still see the vast sky in my mind, but where is that sky? It is a dream sky, an imaginary sky that exists entirely inside my mind. But where is that? And, more interestingly, where is the VIEWER of that interior sky?

Technically, when the sky enters my eye, it first passes through the cornea, and then into the retina, which senses the light. The retina contains two types of cells, called rods and cones. Rods handle vision in low light, and cones handle color vision and detail. When light contacts these two types of cells, a series of complex chemical reactions occur. The chemical that is formed (rhodopsin) creates electrical impulses in the optic nerve.

The retina contains 100 million rods and 7 million cones. It has a central area, called the macula, which contains a high concentration of only cones. This area is responsible for sharp, detailed vision you can see in the middle of your vision right now.

When light enters the eye, it comes in contact with the photosensitive chemical rhodopsin, which then produces an electric current along the cell. When more light is detected, more rhodopsin is activated and more electric current is produced. There is something about how red, green, and blue light waves are read and mixed. I don't know much about that.

The electric impulse eventually reaches the optic nerve. The nerves reach the optic chasm, where the nerve fibers from the inside half of each retina cross to the other side of the brain, but the nerve fibers from the outside half of the retina stay on the same side of the brain. These fibers eventually reach the occipital lobe in the back of the brain. This is where the vision is “seen” and interpreted. The sky is seen on a holographic screen in the back of the brain, not hovering in front of us. That is interesting. Really interesting. When I imagine a sky, the presence or Self that is labeling it "sky" recognizing it as not "ceiling" or "cloud," or something else, and then the inner eyes that are gazing dreamily into that imaginary space, that self is also paradoxically the causal energy field projecting the sky onto the inner screens. I open my eyes, and the exterior light comes pouring in. But the inner light pouring out...the light shining through me onto the sky, that light is the numinous light of pure awareness. And it, as the soul, opens to the Silent Void, or Absolute Ground of Being, which is also what some people call the Godhead. The Godhead is of course also called the Witness or Mirror-mind of the Present Moment, unmoving, but also within all the moving, like how the unchanging surface of a mirror is within all its objects. Without its presence, the objects would not even be there. Again, the creative power of consciousness. Rilke:

I know that nothing has been real
Without my beholding it.
All becoming has needed me.
My looking ripens things
And they come toward me, to meet and be met.

My postmodern mind formed by my postmodernism teachers agrees that we are, indeed, embedded in languages and cultures that help form our opinions and ways to perceive the world around us. In this way, we do ripen things into being, and by doing so, we infuse depth and beauty and meaning into the dream-objects. And they also ripen us into being (you can't have an object without a subject. Created and creator, child and parent, arise together. (But lets not forget that "There is indeed meaning in dreaming, but there is also dreaming in meaning.")

As you know I believe we are like dreams made of waves; brain waves, sound waves, light waves, godhead waves, and the special way the waves of consciousness co-create the phenomena it is solidifying and being "aware of" is expressed beautifully as "My looking ripens things/And they come toward me, to meet and be met." And the "to meet and be met" immediately reminds me of Eckhart's "the eyes I use to see God are the same eyes God uses to see me." or that "one-taste" feeling of satori where the seer and the seen, the meeter and the met, the knower and the known become one. One Self. One Spirit. One Process, One taste, one Emptiness, one Form. One in their duality or Two-ness as well, of course.

When one's awareness shifts to be centered in this causal, unified field, (and not the personality we are usually aware of), when we shift into identity with the Witness or Source of consciousness, suddenly there are not objects or people "out there" because there is no "out there." “Out there" is another concept arising IN the space of Awareness. There is only one reflecting surface, one Light, one Mind behind it all. Unity to Unity. The alone to the Alone. The individual self opens from within to resonate in unity with the Absolute Self of the entire Kosmos, i.e. the Now. Both are united in their Alone-ness. The wave discovers its other identity with the entire Ocean, it's wetness, Isness, Suchness, I Am-ness, which was its ground, being, and body to begin with. The wave also understands that without this Unity...If the Unity was not a constant presence, the wave could not have existed in the first place. The sun indeed is literally in our hearts. Without its presence, we would not be beating.

Eckhart speaks clearly about one of his mystical experiences while in this kind of unity state. "While I subsisted in the ground, in the bottom, in the river and fount of Godhead, no one asked me where I was going or what I was doing. There was no one to ask me. When I was flowing all creatures spoke God...Everything in the Godhead is one, and of that there is nothing to be said. God works, and God does no work, there is nothing to do; in it is no activity. It never envisaged any work. God and Godhead are as different as active and inactive. On my return to God, where I am formless, my breaking through will be far nobler than my emanation. I alone take all creatures out of their sense into my mind and make them one in me. When I go back into the ground, into the depths, into the wellspring of the Godhead, no one will ask me whence I came or whither I went. No one missed me: God passes away."

Stunning. To Eachart, the Godhead is "pure nothingness" (ein bloss niht), and this notion I believe is in direct accord with the Buddhist, or at least the Mahayanist, notion of Emptiness (which is one reason I like him so much). "The divine core of absolute stillness," "the simple core which is the still desert onto which no distinctions ever creep." Eckhart nails it. I often argue that when Jesus said that the new, two-fold Law is to Love the Lord and to Love your neighbor (as your self), what he meant was to love Love and to also see all others as expressions One in that Love, and thus, to love Love again. The One is within the Many, and vise-versa. When operating from the point of view of the Godhead, or, when “putting on the mind of Christ,” as we are all suggested to do, we begin to see God everywhere. We being to see the Tao as the movement and play and delighting luminosity of everything. We see that God truly is omnipresent. Then suddenly, “there is in all visible things…. a hidden wholeness.” Thomas Merton. And that wholeness is also your deepest, most immediate and basic Self. Alan Watts: “The fact is that because no one thing or feature of this universe is separable from the whole, the only real You, or Self, is the whole.” As Gautama Buddha pointed out, “We are concerned too much perhaps with what we are conscious of, and forget the miracle of consciousness itself.” We see all these objects in the mirror, including our own self, but forget to acknowledge the surface of the mirror. We are lost in the intoxicating movie of life, and forget to see who is sitting comfortably behind the projector, as well as the luminous, dreamy quality of the light and screen. Anyway…

Friday, September 21, 2007


Here is a new picture of "Pilgrimage." It's interesting...a few of my Japanese friends, when they see the orbs in this painting, say "are those spirits?" or simply "nice spirits." I'll write more about this later.

For a wonderful read:

And please enjoy michael's new post on his blog about tantra and music. it's phenomenal. (link is the dandelions below the earth clock).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I found a disturbing article on the blog Shameless and I’d like to know what you all think about this? Ever since I heard about Starbucks asking a woman breastfeeding to leave or go into the bathroom I have had another social issue highlighted in my awareness. Is this just another example of our Victorian "nakedness and woman=sex=sin" aspect of our western culture? Is breastfeeding, of all things, really obscene? Maybe to perverts. But honestly, I’ve always been a little jealous of those indigenous communities where woman and the men can BOTH be topless in the public domain.

Maybe pictures of topless MEN on facebook should be taken off for being obscene. To a certain sexual orientation, topless men can be very erotic. nipples are nipples. What do you all think about this? Should we boycott facebook? Will we stand for this?

And also, here is an update on the painting. I put an old man into it, and also some more orbs, lights, and gorintos.

Two Wolves: A Cherokee Teaching

An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life...

He said to them, "A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

One wolf is evil -- he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego.

The other is good---he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too."

They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied: "The one you feed".

Ten Rules for Being Human

by Cherie Carter-Scott

1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it's yours to keep for the entire period.
2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, "life."
3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately "work."
4. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.
5. Learning lessons does not end. There's no part of life that doesn't contain its lessons. If you're alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned.
6. "There" is no better a place than "here." When your "there" has become a "here", you will simply obtain another "there" that will again look better than "here."
7. Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.
8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
9. Your answers lie within you. The answers to life's questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
10. You will forget all this.

William Butler Yeats: In dreams begins responsibility.

William Wordsworth: Huge and mighty forms that do not live like living men, moved slowly through the mind by day and were trouble to my dreams.
Bill Watterson : I think we dream so we don't have to be apart so long. If we're in each other's dreams, we can play together all night.
Dale Turner: Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, thereare still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waitingto be born.
Henry David Thoreau: If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.
Henry David Thoreau: Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.
Alfred Lord Tennyson: Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams?

Ralph Lauren: I don't design clothes, I design dreams.

Carl G. Jung : Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.

Joseph Campbell: Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths.

Alfred Lord Tennyson : Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams?

M. C. Escher : I don't use drugs, my dreams are frightening enough.

Unknown: Sometimes on the way to our dreams, we get lost and find an even better one

American Indian Proverb: All dreams spin out from the same web.

Albert Einstein : Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for insects as well as for the stars. Human beings, vegetables or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.

the night: Dance is the hidden language of the soul.

Dylan Thomas: Death is the mother of Beauty; hence from her, Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams
And our desires.

Leonardo DaVinci: It is hard to have patience with people who say 'There is no death' or 'Death doesn't matter.' There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn't matter.

Ralph Waldo Emerson: It is not death or pain that is to be dreaded, but the fear of pain or death.

American Indian Proverb: In death, I am born.

John Dean: An answer is always a form of death. [Which is one reason artists hate explaining their work to people.]

"When you stare into an abyss for a long time,
the abyss also stares into you" Friedrich Nietzsche, which remnids me of Meister Eckhart's wonderful: "The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me." lets read some Eckhart. The names are a few of the people these teachings remind me of at the moment.

A just person is one who is conformed and transformed into justice. [John]

He who would be serene and pure needs but one thing, detachment. [Josh]

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. [molly]

Only the hand that erases can write the true thing. [mike]

The knower and the known are one. Simple people imagine that they should see God as if he stood there and they here. This is not so. God and I, we are one in knowledge. [Lauren]

The more we have the less we own. [eli]

There exists only the present instant... a Now which always and without end is itself new. There is no yesterday nor any tomorrow, but only Now, as it was a thousand years ago and as it will be a thousand years hence. [kelly]
What a man takes in by contemplation, that he pours out in love. [jesus]
What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action.[avalokiteshvara, mahasatvabodhisatva]
When you are thwarted, it is your own attitude that is out of order. [grandbetty]
Words derive their power from the original word. [sam]
You may call God love, you may call God goodness. But the best name for God is compassion. [Dalai Lama]
Every creature is a word of God. [kat]

And this one "Bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity." [gandhi]

Monday, September 17, 2007

another look at the hempfest

Within these pictures from the Hemp Gathering, see if you can find...

11 viwers, one little girl walking away, 5 huge loving smiles.

8 people on the swing, 2 bracelets, 2 ankletes, 4 smiles, 2 frowns. read the kid's shirt.

2 musical instruments, 24 beaming people, one pair of wooden sandals, one pair of crocks... some of these people are the store owners i told you about, all leaving their money and merchandice to gather and dance around the music...see the mouth-harp?

9 people making music, one actually whistling a rythim, one man dancing in the background.

A singer, a drummer, and a dancer.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


I changed a few things. love to know what you all think. and also, thoughts on a title?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hemp Fest

I cut my hair. I’m buzzed now. It’s too hot for hair. Although, the nights are becoming cool, so cool that I need a blanket. The cicada’s are almost all gone, leaving only the wailing cats and motorcycles to sing with the night. Mornings are quiet, cool, and pleasant. The tadpoles that used to fill the rice fields are now tiny frogs hopping all over the sides of the streets. They make me happy. I love frogs.

Last weekend I traveled to the other side of my island to the annual “Hemp Fest.” Pictures up soon.

This event was not about marijuana (although, whether or not that was there in abundance, I cannot say.) It was about hemp, the plant used in Japan for centuries for food and clothing. It was a hemp revival, and organic farmers and flee marketers set up a tiny town in the forest right next to the Pacific Ocean, and we all celebrated life, love, music, and hemp, together. There were lectures, slideshows, workshops, and people sat around and listened about the history, misconceptions, and many uses of hemp.

It was also a free music festival. Groups from all over Japan came and played. There was great reggae and ska, folk, crazy experimental music, hippy jams, and even a group that sounded like wean and mum mixed together. They put everyone in a trance.

Two older men that I felt were highly respected in this community got up during the trance band and danced for us. It was like a mix between butoh, tai chi, Native American, and clumsy drag queen dance. Everyone loved it, including their wives.

Many people there were wearing the traditional Japanese underwear called fundoshi. In fact, I’d say that it was a major theme of the event. Fundoshi sellers were on every corner, and I was often asked if I was wearing one. “Why not? Hurry up and get with it!” would be the response. They do look comfortable. No underwear is of course the best, but sometimes underwear is necessary for cleanliness, and in such a case, the fundoshi is recommended. I was amused as how many people were only wearing the fundoshi (again, nude is best, but if you must…fundoshi). It was a revival of the old ways. Now in Japan, you can usually only see fundoshi worn at festivals, such as Naked Man in Okayama.

IN the evening, many of the men who were totally naked except for the tiny fundoshi, tied themselves together at the waist and danced around a tiny fire in front of the stage. This was quite a site for a foreigner like myself. In America, they would have been arrested for public nudity or homosexuality or something.

As the night began to undress herself and straddle the event, the music became wild. Fire dancers performed on the beach to the beautiful wailing of a young woman sitting next to me, singing like a Sufi. I added harmony at times.

In the morning I went swimming naked in the ocean, bobbing and floating on a sea of light, the sunrise painting my body creamy pink and blue. The crystal clear blood of nature held me in her transparent, sparkling hands, and I understood the secrets of the universe, bobbing in the shimmering turquoise emptiness, the morning reflected on my belly.

What I really want to mention to you all is how safe I felt at the festival. During the performances, people would leave their tents and tiny shops—money lying out, bags, purses, jewelry, merchandise—they would leave it all alone and go dance and sing and listen to the music. Think about that. Think about that kind of atmosphere.

I would often come back to Megumi and my camp to find all her money and merchandise unattended (she sells clothes from Nepal).

I heard that at Summer Sonic, the music festival held in Osaka and Tokyo every year, people saved their seats by leaving their wallets or purses on them. !

In Japan, nobody is going to take it. It’s just the mood of this place. It’s totally civilized in this way. As backward and frustratingly old fashioned as Japan might be, it champions in respecting other people’s possessions. With no robbers around, you can leave your bag and camera and wallet in your tent or on a table, go to the bathroom, go swim in the ocean, go listen to the music, without worry. And that is living! Also, of course, I have never felt threatened here. Japanese people are overall very feminine and small. These peace people have villages and cities most comfortable for living. One thing Japan has that America does not is events like this, where nothing is stolen, and food and drinks are free.
For example, I walked around with a few dollars in the morning looking for breakfast. I was handed a bamboo cup full of delicious coffee and then beautiful hippy women handed me hemp toast and cut up fruit, refusing to take my money. Ah, the wonderful world of generosity and trust.

Monday, September 10, 2007

almost finished

here is an update on the new paintings and some of lauren's pictures. I'll post abouut my weekend at the Shikoku Hemp Gathering soon. Until then, "“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” -Mr. Rogers

Enjoy yourself!

"Don't just wish for peace. Work for it." - the Dalai Lama


May all beings be Free and in Love.

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