Wednesday, January 30, 2008


My sister Jane is in a comic!

You know, recently I’ve been eying our grammatical construct for the question "Do you..." such as "Do you like cake?" or "Do you play sports?" The "Do" sounds so German, and has no meaning by itself; It’s just a sound we put at the beginning to signify a question. And the rule is that if it’s "Did" then the questions is past tense. I’ve been increasingly interested in how our language works and sounds to a foreigner, and rules like this--beginning a question sentence with the sounds Do, Does, or Did--are easy to teach, but hard to explain. “You like cake?” See, the “Do” is not necessary.

Tangentially, every year the Japanese people choose a kanji (Chinese character) to express the news and social mood of the year. Last year’s “Kanji of the Year” was 命、“Life,” chosen because of the increase in child suicides caused by bullying, as well as an increase in drunk-driving accidents. 2004’s kanji was 災、“misfortune” due to a series of natural disasters, typhoons and earthquakes, floods, intense heat, and also man-made disasters such as hostage killings in Iraq and the steam spout accident at the Mihama nuclear power plant.

This year’s kanji is striking. It's 偽、meaning “fake,” and I’ve heard that one reason it was chosen was to criticize the increasingly ridiculous Japanese trend of copying other cultures instead of looking to themselves for value. “...and teachers in schools are no longer teaching children about the Japanese heart!” explains one of my old-lady friends. The reasons given on the Kanji Kentei Website include lies surrounding NOVA, the famous English conversation school, food productions (processed foods and in increase in fast food, as well as expiration date issues), falsehood in politics (bribes, pension records, and Involvement in United States affairs). Also, Green Peace made use of this kanji at a protest against whaling, reminding Japan that whaling (as it is done today) was never a Japanese thing to do, but was suggested post WWII by the west in order to help feed their society.

I’m in the last book of Phillip Pullman’s "His Dark Material’s" trilogy, and I must recommend these books to everyone. They are fascinating, and clearly the people who think that they are evil, atheistic, and anti-spiritual, anti-christian haven’t read them. I mean, the story actually revives the Adam and Eve myth, as well as brilliantly re-interprets the angels. “God,” or “The Authority” in the books is actually an angel who suffers from megalomania. He was the first angel to form out of the primordial consciousness or “Dust”, and because of that he thought he created all the angels and beings that followed. It is his influence that is causing the Church to move against life and punish all things natural and creative. And the story is about a multiple-world war waged against this corrupt angel and the church that supports his wrath. (if anything, it can be seen as Pro-religiouse, for what religion would want to worship a false god/corrupt angel?) The books also explore in depth what a soul or daemon is, what dark matter might be, parallel universes, non-locality, death…Pullman presents the cute idea that all of us have a kind of spirit-friend called a “death”, that stays with us from the moment we are born like a loving friend, and when its time to die, our death takes our hand and leads us into the unknown. LOVE IT! “…the moment you’re born, your death comes into the world with you, and it’s your death that takes you out.” And some people, during life, have a great relationship with their death, and can sit and talk with them and play with them. Others don't even acknowledge their death. But in all cases, deaths stay with their owners and love them, keeping them company, until the time comes for them to take their lives by the hand and lead them to the land of the dead: Nothingness.

Michael Garfield interviews Ken Wilber over the phone today about music (should be up on Integral Naked soon). You hear that? Michael gets to interview Ken Wilber! I am awed. I am totally floored I am so amazed at what Michael is capable of, and am also thrilled to see that he is performing with Paul Lonely (author of Suicide Dictionary) in LA next week. Mike, you amaze me.

Also amazing is the new Air Car . Can't wait for that one to change the world.

This movie is brilliant.

Friday, January 25, 2008


I think I'll call this new painting "informing." What do you think?

Snowed all day. Woke up to a gray light covering all space. Then, the snow began to fall, and layers upon layers of silent static shimmering and surrounding. White sky, white land. White on white. Light on light. Some friends and I walked to the shrine, and listened to the quiet tapping of a thousand crystal fingers playing off the leaves. It’s not rain, but snow we could hear. Like listening to rain slowed down and muffled from beneath a blanket. At sunset, a blue light blanketed everything, and I felt cold but wonderful. Then the darkness dissolved the blue light into a gray, and I walked to the grocery store, snow still falling. Beneath a streetlight, I saw countless tiny round shadows playing and skating across the snow in different directions. I’d never seen anything like it. New sight, new mind.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Talking Rocks

Here is a little something I wrote today, inspired by Persephone.

Talking Rocks
I’m sure you have seen a “pet rock,” the small stone that someone has painted a little face on. And I guess people could, if they wanted, hold it and talk to it like a cat or puppy dog. But unfortunately, no matter how hard they pretend, the little rock won’t talk back. It has no mouth or lungs from which to tell them about its life or about their's.
Rocks, trees, shells, rivers… these things don’t talk. Nature is Silent. Nothing is its one and only remark. Nature is our mute friend that we love to spend time with and long to listen to nonetheless. Of course, nature can sing. Nature makes noises. But not a single, meaningful word is ever uttered from its ten thousand forms. When we ask it a question, the answer we get back every time is nothing.

However, when we really want to hear what nature has to say, when we are fed up with the city and people and television and the voice in our own heads, we can look out the window, or walk to the forest’s edge, or down to the beach and say to the sea “Hey! I'm ready. Speak. I am listening attentively. I’ve heard that you can talk to people and so here I am. I'll be quiet. Go ahead.”

Then you wait. You quiet your mind, and after a few moments, you hear it: nothing. There is still nothing there. Only the reflections of the objects in mind, swaying, waving, falling from the trees. You might hear a kind of quite hum, but you hear it everywhere, and everywhere the same. There might be different sounds swimming in the air; the birds, the leaves on the trees, the crashing waves, but what they are saying is one, meaningless word: nothing. However, If you pay close attention, you might begin to talk back to this nothing with your own nothing, and then the two nothings can be one nothing, emptying out all words, all meanings, all languages, and singing naked and transparent and whole in their supercomplete nothingness. Imagine: your own awareness and all of nature absorbed in unbounded silence, meeting and merging and humming as ONE.

And then you might reach down and pick up a small shell, rub off the wet sand, watch the light roll across its pink body, shaping its form out of shadow, and glistening/trickling off the perfectly placed patina, itself a kind of silly song singing away to itself. Silence indeed surrounds the shell, as does light, mind, and the sea that helped shape it. All these silent spirits sail through space into the song of the shell, a song surprised by its own simple, subtle, and sensual supercompleteness.

There is the story of how God talks with Moses. God says “With him I will speak mouth to mouth, even plainly, and not in riddles…” God talks to Moses “mouth to mouth” which is to say, he kisses him. He says this silent kiss is the clearest, most direct way to communicate. And when we are kissing someone, we don't speak in words. We don't want to SAY anything! We just want to merge. In silence Spirit and Nature speaks to us, kisses us, silences us, so that we can hear its muted music merge our minds into its body of living, laughing light.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


this is beautiful

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Still Mourning

This is my friend Christopher.

As many of you know, I did a surprise visit to America for Christmas. Sitting around with the family, opening presents, it dawned on me that being gone for the holidays is extremely immoral. One’s absence is amplified, and the void pulls the party down.

I had a wonderful time playing in the snow, singing with my friends, watching movies. I was visited by wood elves and artists and nomads and kids, angels sang me to sleep.

The day I came back to my house in Kansas City, the 23rd of December, I walked in and went straight to see my grandma in her room. She looked like an unwrapped mummy, so thin, and her mouth was open and her eyes were closed, and her body was clenched in a kind of premature rigor mortis. She was rocking back in forth, itching her head on the pillow.
“Grammy, does your head itch? I’ll itch it for you.”
I began to rub her head and suddenly, from her dry, open mouth, she squeezed out “I’m Okay.”
Those were her last words to me.

Later that day I went over to my sister’s new apartment with my mom. My sister was having a party and asked my mom to come over early to help prepare. When she opened the door, she saw me instead, and burst into tears. (none of my sisters knew I was coming.)

My last day in America, I woke up at 4 to catch a 6:00 plane, and I imediatly thought of my grandma. I went into her room and found her dead. It was so quite, so still, the early morning, and the breathless air around her. I touched her head, it was still warm. She must have just died. I closed my eyes and prayed “May you be in peace and find your way” and then I told my dad, who told my mom, who cried, and said, “it's ok, it’s ok, it's ok” to herself, or to us, or to her mother, or to god, I don't know.

My dad, always trying to lighten the mood, said, “Now she is with the ages,” referring to a funny and morbid game we played on new years: how many expressions can we come up with for “died.”

“She died alone; nobody was with her” my mom said under her tears.
My dad chimed in, “Well, we were in the next room. Maybe kitty was with her. Were you with her kitty?“ My cat looked up, and then walked away.
“She knew we were with her. We all told her goodnight. And I’ve heard that it’s always best to die alone, in a very quiet space. The less distractions, the better” I said.
We all went back into my grandma’s room. My mom pet her mom’s head and tucked her in like a baby to bed.

She then called her sister and said “Julie, mom’s gone.”

I finished packing, rolled my suitcase past my grandma’s room, past my mother, passed the sadness and stillness of fresh death. I kissed mom goodbye, and my dad and I left for the airport, mom waving and smiling in the rearview mirror.

So yeah, crazy surreal morning. However, i was lucky to sit next to a brilliant professor of Japanese Religion from Iowa on the plane. He gave me some lectures and praised my ideas about the shingon mandalas (you can read them on my other blog). Also on the plane I reread Richard Bach’s “Jonathan Livingston Seagull.” It’s only 60 pages long. I first read this book when I was 10 or so and I remember it was the first book that, immediately after reading it, I put down, and looked at the world in an entirely new way. The world shimmered and glowed and was brighter than before. I think this book caused my consciousness to grow.

Rereading it now, I have a new appreciation for its depth. For those of you who don't know, it’s about a little seagull who becomes and outcast from his flock and learns how to fly and be totally free from a master teacher, Chiang.

“…You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way.”

“The gull sees farthest who flies highest.”

“Keep working on love.”

“Heaven is not a place, and it is not a time. Heaven is being perfect…”

“You will begin to touch Heaven, Jonathan, the moment that you touch perfect speed. And that isn’t flying a thousand miles an hour, or a million, or the speed of light. Because any number is a limit, and perfection doesn’t have limits. Perfect speed, my son, is being there.”

“…You must begin by knowing that you have already arrived.”

“The trick, according to Chiang, was for Jonathan to stop seeing himself as trapped inside a limited body that had a forty-two-inch wingspan and performance that could be plotted on a chart, The trick was to know that his true nature lives, as perfect as an unwritten number, everywhere at once across space and time.”

“We are free to go where we wish and be who we are.”

I’ve started Phillip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy, as well as Steve McIntosh’s “Integral Consciousness” and Gregory Robert’s “Shantaram." I am also still researching for my essay on Integral Realism. Oh, and I saw "The Kite Runner" and sobbed durring the entire movie.

May all beings be Free and in Love.

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