Tuesday, November 25, 2008


by Alex Grey 2008

"After hearing Barack Obama's speech in BerIin, and noting the degree of excitement and hope that he generated throughout many countries besides the US, I started to see him as one of the first true "world leaders." This may be partly because of his extraordinary childhood and political life that has bridged many cultures. Obama's restraint and intelligence, exhibited as foes were bating him throughout the campaign, his heartful clarity coming through in his talks are all qualities of a highly evolved person.

We need to consider our planetary citizenship, because solving the world's ecological and economic problems, and creating a culture of peace and reconciliation will require the co-operation of all nations."

That's one way to look at him: a semitransparent guy with the world in his head and a star in his eye. It's interesting how Grey incorporated the American Flag motif. If there were to be a new interpretation of the stars and stripes, I would sure love to see it like this; rows of blue skies and white stars taking the place of the fire and tiny buddas found in the mandorla (body halo) radiating from the center of the Deity's mind. And the white, radial lines, representing luminous awareness, are now embedded in red, representing blood. Are there 50 stars? Can you find them all?

Also, to the right I posted a preview for the movie "Dalai Lama Renaissance." It contains some great shots of the trek to Dharamsala. Leigh, I'm thinking about you.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Equanimity and Sacred Sexuality

Here is a school lunch. Today's is especially vegetarian: rice and seaweed paste, carrot-onion-mushroom soup, mashed potatoes, fried tofu in a sweet-n-sour orange sauce topped with green peas and a cup of warm green tea. Damn I love school lunch.
Here is a picture from the drum circle I went to Saturday night. Afterwards we all feasted on lentil curry, cooked potatoes, salad, Kyoto cakes and red wine.
And here we have the Yanagi's treating me to a Korean lunch (The Yanagis are part Korean). This was a feast, my god, and nearly everything you see on the table is vegetarian. There were lots of different kinds of seaweed; so healthy. Who out there likes seaweed? I sure do.

I've been watching all these old family videos my sister sent me, stuff from when I was three and four years old!, and naturally it's making me think about time and change and death, again. Luckily, here in contemplative/spiritual land, death is not a darkness but is a Light that shines onto/into Life, bringing it into radiant focus. I find that thinking about death quickly brings life's fleetingness into light, which generally results in a rapid forecast of panic, fear, acceptance, love, appreciation, energy, and a new desire to open as love, right now, get shit done!, connect with others, generate compassion, and embrace all of it now. There is no time to loose.

And sex is a "tiny death"?

Keeping with this theme of sexuality, I'd like to talk a little bit more about erotiphobia (aka genital phobia), and tantra, or sacred sexuality. In my particular tradition tantra is known as the highest level of the Buddha's teaching. (Moreover, one can practice it effectively only after they have developed a stable, mature equanimity, a state of mind that can now embrace everything consciously and equally. Essentially equanimity is the "mirror mind" in you right now that is absorbing everything, reflecting everything, piercing through bias and just seeing things as things. It is a view that is not attached to any one view. It is a spaciousness, and even-hovering awareness, a mirror, aware of these words right now. Missing the equanimity is like missing the surface of a mirror. We miss it all the time. But we can practice resting on the unmoving surface. We can develop our abiding equanimity.

The development of equanimity is preliminary to any sort of stable realization, and is, according to the above link,"one of the most sublime emotions of Buddhist practice. It is the ground for wisdom and freedom and the protector of compassion and love. While some may think of equanimity as dry neutrality or cool aloofness, mature equanimity produces a radiance and warmth of being. The Buddha described a mind filled with equanimity as 'abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill-will.'"

Sounds amazing, and a lot like the ecstatic, radically embracing mind found in orgasm.

Interestingly, from a spiritual point of view, equanimity develops with practice just like orgasm (or erotic energy). They grow as the consciousness grows. "The view gets bigger as the climber gets higher," it's that simple. When what you are aware of becomes greater, the mind aware of it gets bigger too. Gets fuller. And the content of the mind gets richer, and darker, and juicier. A great analogy used by one of my teachers is how the sun's light, while at dawn is very weak, soon grows in power to fiercely embrace and embody all the life within it. Once one's awareness is like the sun, able to shine light onto all thoughts and things equally, it is truly free, and can now exercise or play with all life, holding nothing back. It can open as a love without end. It can effortlessly incarnate passion, communication, sexuality; it can flow freely as a tantric, alchemical power in an individual influencer. Here is a great article I just read on RealitySandwich explaining some basics behind "intentional sexuality," and I've gotta say, it was a very nice read, clear and integral. I especially liked the description of Taoist massage, as well as the explanation about why sexual ecstasy can induce mystical experiences (passionate equanimity). Here is a clip:

"Great, open awareness can exist in the silence of ecstasy. Essentially, intentional sexuality is an ecstatic practice, a concentration, and an energetic practice -- all three of which lead to a quieting of the ordinary mind, with the attendant cognitive effects noted by mystics worldwide. It is an ecstatic practice not in the sense of the soul literally leaving the body, but in the broader sense of an excitement practice, which "turns up the volume" of sensory input (speaking loosely here) to flood the neurons of the brain. Like ecstatic dance or ecstatic vocal work, intentional sexuality drives out the ordinary faculties of discursive thought, creating a stillness akin to that experienced in samadhi meditative states; thus intentional sexuality becomes a concentration practice as well."

Great way of putting it!

Sexuality as spiritual practice is a powerful way to heal a negative self-image. Too bad our culture is so erotiphobic, shaming completely natural things such as genitals, masturbation, and even basic nudity. "Put that away!"

But on a lighter note, from the article:

"Experiencing the body as holy can bring great emotional healing. Even if one never has a mystical or realization experience during the practice of sacred sexuality, just knowing that the body is a temple instead of a latrine is a precious liberation."

And how exactly can we begin to experience the body as more holy? Well, to begin with, we need to not be so irrationally ashamed of our genitals (we need to start thinking about them differently), and we need to get over the fear of our ability to love our own sex. I agree with John Ince and his book The Politics of Lust; Homophobia is the best recognized type of erotophobia. Just about everyone I know is homophobic to some degree.
How do we get rid of our homophobia? Well, "same-sex love" includes your own body (in most cases), yes? So, how well can you love, sexually, erotically, spiritually, your own body? How well can you celebrate your genitals and those of others as the glorious stairway into the temple of God?
Which is to say, how well can you masturbate?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


It’s windy, and everyone’s clothes are waving dangerously wild on the balconies.

Does it strike anyone else as odd (or erotic) that 73% of the people who read my blog have had a homosexual experience? True, many of my friends are gay or bisexual, but THAT many? Come on. Maybe most of these homosexual encounters were just one-time-only experiments, (after all, you know what they say, (with movies like American Pie): when guys get horny, anything goes).The same is true with women, of course. Not to downplay any of these rare, spontaneous, homo-love experiences. I mean, most of them were probably pretty emotional, pretty erotic… It is “making love,” after all, and love-making is a good thing, always. In this fragmented world we could use some more love, homo and hetero, I always say. But it’s just hard to believe that so many of my readers are, or have been…queer. Actually, I guess in this particular pool of people it is the "heterosexual" crowd which is the minority, the outsiders, the queers. Interesting.

I'm just happy to know that so many of my readers are able to make love with the same sex. That's a really good thing.

Winter came today, under the disguise of sunny and bright.

wind biting my bluing face
Where’d I put my coat?

Sunday, November 16, 2008


"Sorry to read that you're homesick. Mind you, it's a blessing really... imagine if you grew up somewhere and left it and had never loved it enough to miss it?
It's an honour to have people and places to miss; so I tell myself....

If we are lucky, when we leave Japan we'll miss it too. It's a good, healthy pain."
~Briohny Walker
Yesterday was so wonderful. I woke up with Bri, and together we met up with one of my old, organic farmer friends (and an amazing sculptor), Kuma. Then for breakfast we had this amazing vegan rice-quiche and tempeh sandwich at a little organic cafe called Naturel in Matsuyama. After talking to the owner, who had lived in Australia for ten years, we went to a lecture about Merkaba meditation, whose core mandala, interestingly, is the star of David, or tetrahedron). Our teacher, Kuma, also talked about the shifting poles, 2012, the flower of life, and then gave us some brown rice coffee and home grown goodies. Afterwards he took us to a kindergarten he teaches at, which was, on this beautiful day, having a kind of festival/flea market, and I tell ya, this was the greatest kindergarten I had ever seen! They had log cabins and rock-climbing walls! (Look closely at this picture and you can see what I'm talking about! See the climbing wall!?) Golden leaves falling on our heads, we got to watch hundreds of kids play, great live folk music, amazing art on the walls, sculptures in the playground, and I learned how to make an origami paper airplane from this guy:

who I swear I had met a hundred times before; he was very much like an uncle (and a world champion origami sculptor.) He used simple English to explain very technical origami terms, and I just faithfully followed, mind open like a little boy.
Bri: "I liked the bit where he said 'the top of the mountain becomes down' and inverted the paper."

He was as high on life as we were, eyes twinkling.

Here are a couple small paintings I'm working on. The tree is that sacred, nondenominational tree near the river I took Em, Ty, and Yasuchika to the other day. The one below is called "Climber". I used some really thick paint on the dandelions; 'felt like I was painting with some mayonnaise. I wanted this painting to be kind of sensual, maybe even sexy, while also juxtaposing the two dying, metemorphing forms-the dandelion and the caterpillar, both wonders of the natural world, because in my vision they speak to each other on many levels. I want to start a conversation and I dream, or I think that both stories are powerful metaphors, as well as extraordinary natural processes, that can shine a special light onto the self and what it means to die or transcend. But I shouldn't tell you that, because then the painting won't fit as well into your own world of meaning, so forget what I just said. It's not the only thing the painting is about.

I want to layer, in lay, inject vision with meaning. And it's because, madam, I'm Adam. Capturing a little bit of light in the yellow stalks has been difficult, but necessary. I still have a long way to go. (Another reason for the painting is that I need to practice drawing. Artists never stop practicing and training. They are like musicians, or monks, in this regard.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


"Are you ready to come home, or are you just beginning?"

"Home is where the Heart is."
"The Heart is where We are."
"And where We are, well, that is a shared heaven not limited by space or time."

Zen Mind, Beginners Mind, fresh and new, already home, and yet also always yearning to be closer to home, to the familiar, to the heart of self and love.

I miss my family. I miss my sisters! and my friends. I have a home here in Japan, sure, but it's not my real home. My real home is Kansas City, Kansas, Heart of America, Obama. My family and friends are there, patiently waiting for me to come back from my adventure in Japan.

And why haven't I come back yet? Why am I still here, anyway? Is there something in America I'm afraid of? Am I putting something off? Maybe I secretly fear home, fear going back to school, getting into fights, feeling the pressure that is inherent in America. Maybe I'm afraid to follow my dream and become a teacher. But then again, I'm getting great practice teaching over here. And I'm studying here too, Japanese and International Communication. I'm a bad student, though, but when I'm not on the Internet or dreaming, painting, dancing, or drumming, I'm studying. I have to give a lecture over my art and spirituality next Sunday at the Woman's Plaza, and I have to be able to answer any questions asked. My Art and Spirituality, which attempts to be integral and Buddhist, covers a lot of reading and history. I'm trying to brush up on my art and Buddhist history. I'm a busy boy, when I'm not watching TV on the Internet.

Maybe I've "jumped ship," as they say. America is so messed up, anyway. I've escaped to a tamer, safer, older corner of the earth. Maybe that's why I'm still here in Japan. But Japan is not much better off than America. In fact, whenever I visit home I'm amazed at how much love and diversity, good ideas and good food gets shoved into my being. Japan lacks many things America has to offer, such as sisters, hummus, Mexican food, and gun deaths.

Maybe I'm "turning Japanese." Maybe I'm getting absorbed into their world, their society.
Shikoku is a lovely island. Japan is ancient and clean. And the people here are mind-bogglingly gorgeous.

I have friends and lovers in both countries, so lack of love is not an issue. But a few packages, letters, and phone calls with friends is not enough. It is, and it isn't. I don't feel disconnected as such, but since I am physically disconnected, so much is changing in all my friends' and family's lives back home that I cannot be in touch with, and that creates a gap. Luckily, since Emily moved here, Emily who has known me and loved me since I was 13!, having her here is like having a warm, fresh piece of home with me all the time. And she lived in LA for years before moving here, so she also knows what it's like to be away from home for a long time. But my sisters and parents and family and sangha are all in America, right in the very middle, right in the heart of the country, the Obama country, and I think I'm feeling homesick.

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Star and The Heart

Paul Lonely reviewed Michael Garfield's Get Used to being Everything! And in it he describes Micheal so well: "So here we have it; a 24 year old meta singer song-writer who is part Hunter S. Thompson (Michael is a professional essayist), part Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (Michael is a trained paleontologist), part Joseph Albers (except Michael paints fractals), part Ken Wilber (Michael is earning his Masters in Integral Theory), part Timothy Leary (self explanatory) and all the while creating integrative artifacts to this point unrecognized as being a more evolved Bob Dylan and embedding it in a message that would have Deepak Chopra bobbing his head to the beat. For all souls fortunate enough to be vibing at a similar frequency, this young musician and his lifestyle can be seen, quite simply, as part of The Announcement." You will love this article, I think.


The screen saver turned into a beautiful kaleidoscope of pink hearts unfolding into each other and a question formed in my head. I leaned over to Jin and asked him in Japanese,
"Is the heart also a Japanese symbol?"
"No, not really(iie, betsuni). But we like it. Girls especially. Girls like it a lot, but boys, not really."
"Yeah, it's really girly in America, too. Very feminine. I wonder if there is a more masculine symbol?"
"The star."
"Yes, totally. The star is masculine. It represents Light [and Freedom, and Wisdom. It's biblical. It means Kingship, as well as guidance]."
"And it means independence. The American flag, for example, uses it to represent the independent states."
"Yes, the Territories."
"It's also a symbol of Power."
"And Freedom."
"And don't forget Light."
"Well, yeah. Light itself a great symbol for wisdom, freedom, and power."
"It's very masculine."
"Yeah, men like all those things."
"The heart, on the other hand, is a symbol of Love, Life, the earth."
"All of creation."
"Yes, Exactly. The two are Freedom and Fullness"
'"Light and Love."

"Heaven and Earth."
"Wisdom and Compassion."
"The masculine and the feminine."
"The Star and the Heart. And both are really popular symbols."
"All over the world."
"And both are very real experiences, real energies."
"I think it's important to consider that both energies, the masculine and the feminine, the star and the heart, are good, of course. Both are equally fantastic. I mean shit, they are Freedom and Love! But they are both best experienced together [androgyny as an alchemical symbol for integration]."
"Yeah, they deepen each other."
"Oh yeah (ho yo)."
"And since men already have freedom and the desire for freedom, they probably could use more love and the desire for love."
"And women could use more freedom and the desire for freedom."
"Balance (barensu) is best (saiko).
"Naturally (atarimae)."
"And both energies are inside everyone."
"That's the deeper meaning of androgyny (ryosei)."
"Yes (Hai)"
"I'll be right back."

May all beings be Free and in Love.

Blog Archive