The Scott Shaw Blog Be Positive

The Scott Shaw Blog

Scott Shaw
Welcome to the Scott Shaw Blog


Here you will find some new thoughts and writings plus some of the Greatest Hits from previous blogs.

Spiritual-Something
To catch up on previous blogs check out: Scott Shaw Blog Books.

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La vida es un proceso paso a paso. Antes no sabias lo que sabes ahora porque entonces no estabas preparado para saberlo. Mira tu vida como un trayecto global. No mires atrás con remordimiento, porque no puedes hacer nada para cambiar el pasado. No vivas pensando en el futuro. Haz algo o no lo hagas. Vive las cosas cuando lleguen... "El pequeño libro del Tiempo"

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Sin esa experiencia negativa inicial, no habrías avanzado nunca hacia algo positivo.

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Ama todo lo que existe en este momento y serás libre.

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Whenever you hear about someone famous that has died, think about how many emotions that are felt. What about all of the people who die and no one knows their name; shouldn't you feel some emotion for them?

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Live all of life as a new experience and you will be free. Free from worry. Free from expectation. Free from previously gained understandings. Free from earlier experiences that hold you bound to the positive or negative aspects of other people or external events. Let everything in life be NEW.

I noticed this quote from one of my books on Instagram. I think it is from About Peace.

I've written so much stuff sometimes I don't remember what I wrote that specific something for… Happy

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Olvídate de intentar comprender todos los acontecimientos de la vida y serás mil veces más Feliz.

The Hapkido Cane

I received an interesting email from a man who is sixty years old and lives in Detroit who is interested in learning self-defense applications with the cane to protect himself and possibly protect his dog from attacking hounds, as well. As the man had never trained in the martial arts and had read an article I wrote where I stated that the Hapkido Cane should only be taught to advanced students of the art he was curious if I had any suggestions about where he could gain some additional information because as he put it, “Cane defense information online is crap.”

Interesting question. It set me to thinking. So, I thought I would answer it here so that other people who have wondered about Hapkido Cane techniques may gain some insight.

To tell my story of training with the cane… When I begin training in Hapkido, in 1964, the art was taught, at least to me, in its purest, most original, form. There was no weapons training at all. It was all about hand techniques, throws, deflections, punches, and kicks. It was not until I begin working with my third instructor, in the 1970s, that I was exposed to Hapkido weapon’s training. I was already a black belt. I operated a studio with the man, who had just arrived from South Korea, so he was much more in tune with the new techniques being embraced in the art in Korea at that time. He taught me swords, (Kumdo), the short staff, and the cane. I had already been practicing, on my own, with the long staff and, of course, the nunchaku, which had become somewhat of cultural phenomena in my late childhood and early teen years.

As we ran a school together, we begin teaching weapons to our students at the blue belt level. We felt that was an appropriate time, as they would then possess enough experience to understand the fundaments of body movement in association with a weapon. We would begin by training them with the long and the short staff as these weapons truly teach body/mind coordination. At the red belt level we would then begin their training with sword forms and cane self-defense techniques. As the movement associated with these weapons is much more advanced, we felt it was at the red belt level that the student could actually understand the subtlety of the physical movement necessary to operate these weapons from a refined perspective. Thus, as a teacher, I always felt it took at least a year of training for a student to actual comprehend weapons such as the Hapkido Cane with a cultivated understanding.

All this being said, a weapon is a weapon is a weapon. And, anything can become a weapon. Any item you garb can become a useful weapon to defend yourself if necessary. This is also true with the Hapkido Cane.

The cane is an ideal weapon for the trained or the untrained individual. All you have to do is swing it and it can become your weapon of self-defense. Though this is the case with the cane, as with any weapon, a refined understanding of how the weapon most ideal works, in association with how it best can be used in association with the body, helps in any applied self-defense application.

The reason I believe that training in the fighting arts is important is that what they provide any practitioner with is an understanding of physical combat. Though combat in the studio may be limited to sterile sparing, physically interacting with a supposed opponent trains the body and the mind in how to remain calm during combat and react with precision. This is why I still believe receiving at least basic training is the fighting arts is something anyone should do if they hope to be a proficient self-defense technician. But, as in the case with the person who emailed me, this may not always be possible. Thus, any weapon one decides to employee, as a means of protection, must be understood as best a possible.

As stated, the cane is a very natural weapon. One moment you can be using it to aid in your walking and the next moment, if you are attacked, it can be swung at an opponent. But, how do you swing it?

Wildly swinging any weapon leads to limited results. Yes, you may get lucky and hurt your opponent. But, maybe not. It may only infuriate them. Thus, to understand self-defense with the cane, you need to study its self-defense applications.

I really need to say this… Hapkido Cane self-defense should really be precisely studied over a long period of time as its self-defense applications are very subtle. In a pinch however, you simply need to understand the three elements of the cane that I discuss in the article I believe the gentleman has read. Here’s a link to it,
The Hapkido Cane. There, you can find out a lot more precise information about the Hapkido Cane and its usage.

The three elements are:
1. The Length of the cane
2. The Shaft of the cane
3. The Hooking Handle of the cane

In brief: The length of the cane gives you the ability to strike out at an opponent. The shaft of the cane can be used by the untrained user as a striking weapon. The hooking handle allows the person to not only maintain control of the cane but can be directed toward the attacker as a stronger, larger striking weapon. In addition, due to the fact that the length of the cane give you distance between your attacker and yourself, be it a person or a dog, simply by bringing the cane up and jabbing it into your opponent, you can use the tip of the cane to strike your opponent multiple times in a rapid manner.

The main thing to kept in mind, whenever you plan to use anything as a weapon is, whatever weapon you choose, it is only as effective as your ability to use it in a precise manner. Thus, whether you are a long trained martial artists or a novice, you need to practice with whatever weapon you plan to employee. Meaning, yes, you can use anything as a weapon, but if you hope to use it effectively, you need to know how it moves and how it feels. Thus, if you want to develop the ability to use a cane as a weapon of self-defense: practice, practice, practice. Swing it in the air. Strike at objects. Experience how impact feels with the cane. Come to understand how you can best use it as an effective weapon of self-defense. Imagine opponents coming at you via various means. Develop the ability, in your mind, to understand how to best use the cane in each of those imagined attack scenarios.

Though I suggest everyone, who hopes to become a competent self-defense technician, train under the guidance of a qualified instructor, this may not always be possible. If this is the case, and you hope to protect yourself with any specific weapon, the only way it can become truly effective is if you understand its mechanics. Meaning, you’ve got to practice with it. From this, you will hopefully come to understand how the cane, or any other object, can become your ideal tool of self-defense.

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Moments before you die you will certainly have expansive realizations about your life and death but you won't be able to tell anyone.

You Know, There’s Other People in This World

I went to the supermarket this morning. As I was leaving, this lady in her Mercedes stops right in the middle of the exit driveway. I was about the third car behind her in line. She just stopped. Finally, I honked. The lady, a middle-aged woman of Middle Eastern descent, then gets out of her car and slowly walks around it and opens and then closes her passenger door. I guess it was not closed all the way. She then slowly walks back to the driver’s side and gets in. The line of cars behind me grows, as there is no way to go around her. Though she’s back in her car, she doesn’t immediately drive away. What she’s doing in there, I don’t know? Other people begin to honk. Finally, she slowly drives onward. I wanted to scream, “You know, there’s other people in this world!”

I always find the way a person drives, the things they do behind the wheel, and the way they behave behind the wheel truly expresses a lot about their interpretation of the world and its people. I mean, just watch people as you drive, you will witness and come into contact with all kinds of behavior.

Now, most people are not as rude as this lady. I would never have done what she did. If I were forced to do something like that, I would have done it triple time. But, this woman obviously cares, considers, or thinks about no one but herself.

When you drive, how do you behave towards other drivers? As you live, how do you behave toward other human beings? Do you think about them first or do you think about yourself first? This is a really important question to ask yourself and to analyze in your mind. Because it will truly reveal a lot about yourself and how others will ultimately come to define you.

Do you think about others? Do you care what your actions may do to them and how your actions will affect another person’s life? If you do not think about the other person first and only care about and do for yourself, or even worse make up lies and excuses about how what you do has not affected the life of someone else, you may want to reconsider your behave as you are more than likely unleashing a lot of damage, which may ultimately come to be the definition of your life.

Recently, here in the L.A. area, there were two African-American men surfing in Manhattan Beach. Some Caucasian guy paddled over to them and began insulting them and calling them the, “N-word,” over and over again. Bad! Other surfers apparently joined in. BAD, BAD, BAD!

Now, surfers and surfing has always been defined by a very macho, “Locals Only,” mindset. In fact, some of the earliest elements of the Punk Rock scene here in L.A. and OC came to be highly defined by surf and skate culture. What should be a very spiritually based expression of human interaction with nature is often marred by bad behave, like the Manhattan Beach incident. Luckily, much of the confrontation was caught on camera by someone on the shore and posted online.

But, is the guy screaming racial profanities sorry? I would guess not. He is more than likely locked into a mindset of, “Me.”

Here lies the problem with only thinking about yourself, doing for yourself, and not caring about the anyone else; lives get damaged. And, it is rare that the two young men can come out of a damaging experience like this and make something positive out of it as they have.

Why is there is anything wrong with being an African-American surfer? Why is there anything wrong with anyone doing anything that they want to do, as long as it harms no one else?

Wrongness is defined by one person, (or more coming together), and doing
something that hurts the life of someone.

Now, the lady in the car today, and perhaps even the racist surfer, are very small pieces in the puzzle of life. These situations will most likely soon be forgotten. But, the action(s) of one person, and the choices they make to perform that action, no matter what their reasoning or justification may be, has the potential to truly alter the life path of someone else. And, this may happen without the instigator ever knowing or caring about how they have hurt the life of that someone else.

The answer, care about people. Care enough to contemplate how what you do will affect the life of the anyone else. Think about the other person first.

Influencer Verses Teacher

In each of our lives there are those people who guide us to become what we ultimately become. In some cases, these people are far off messengers. Maybe we have read their written words, heard them speak via some pre-recorded method, or listened to tales told about them. Then, there is the teacher. The person we interact with face-to-face. Though we can learn from both of these sources, it is only when we personally know our teacher can a direct transmission of knowledge be passed from them to us.

The influencer, the person out there, is held in a place of regard. This regard may be well deserved or it may be based in a false presentation of Self. If you don’t personally know the person, you don’t personally know them. If you don’t personally know the person, you can never truly see their flaws.

No person is perfect, though some people do project the definition of perfection to the world. The reason this projection of perfection is so commonly attributed to a person, as in the case of the influencer, is that individual is off there in the distant: the way they supposedly live their life; the things they say and they do seem so idealistic. But, any thing that is not personally experienced is only an illusion. If it is not personally known, then it is not personally known.

Interaction with a true teacher is, however, based upon experience. It is based upon you being in their presence and witnessing who and what they truly are. Though they may obviously possess flaws, though they may obviously have faults, though they may say the wrong word or do the wrong thing every now and then, by witnessing this and still accepting them as a teacher you can come to understand the true reality of reality.

Knowledge passed secondhand is never true knowledge. Though you may gain understanding by reading a book—though you may find your own realizations from something you read or you heard, but without the personal passage of knowledge, understanding is left to subjective realization, which is most commonly simply based upon ego and not a true understanding of actuality, “I know! You do not.” This is why there are so many false prophets in the world—people who decide that they know, take to the pulpit, but have never truly passed through the process of direct learning from a true master of the subject.

Ask yourself, “What do you know and why do you know it?” “What do you believe and why do you believe it?” “From who have you learned what you know and how did they pass that knowledge onto you?”

If you don’t know, you don’t know. But, how many people think they know—how many people proclaim they know but when questioned they hold no true transmission of knowledge from a greater source?

People are people, they each possess their own individualized flaws. But, if you are not close enough to a teacher to observe their individualized flaws, you were not close enough to learn from them.

Know your teachers. Know the source of your knowledge. Experience the good and bad, from this you may truly claim to possess a basis of understanding.

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What happens when both you and a person you don't like find yourself in heaven?

Your Interpretation of My Life

It is very hard not to be confronted with the fact that everyone is evaluating everyone else’s life in this time and in this era. Born in the #metoo, #cancelculture, #blm, and #woke movements, people are casting their judgment onto others on a daily basis. But, there is one thing that people do not realize as they are casting their judgment onto to others… That one thing is, looking to others—focusing on others, removes the focus from one’s self. Meaning, by looking outwards, no one is looking inwards.

The fact is, it is very easy to look to the life of someone else and see what you do or do not like about the way they have lived their life and the things they have or have not done. But, the one element that no one, “Else,” possess is the true understanding of another person’s actual inner-motivations for why that person has done what they have done. It is a judgmental guess at best. Again, this is a very easy framework to live your life from as all focus is placed outside of one’s self.

Ask yourself, “Do you truly know what I am thinking?” “Do you truly know what anyone else is thinking?”

No one likes it when someone accuses him or her of something. No one likes it when someone says something about him or her that is not true. No one likes it when someone falsely judges an individual. But, look around us; it is going on all over the place.

Obviously, this is nothing new in the realms of life and of life reality. What is new, however, is the belief system that everyone immediately places on anything anyone says without doing any true inner-investigation as to if what is being said or claimed is actually fact or self-concocted fiction.

Most recently, they have taken certain Dr. Seuss books off the market due to their racial overtones. Now, this certainly does not affect me in any manner. Even as a child I was not a big fan of Dr. Seuss. I doubt that it affects you. But, what it does illustrate is that the world is in a mode of mass cleansing—eradicating anything that anyone does not believe is appropriate. But, how is this any different than when a new religion takes over a region of the world and burns all of the religious scriptures that were utilized by the original inhabitants? How is this any different than when a new political entity takes over a land and destroys all cultural ruminates of its indigenous people? Destruction is destruction and that is all destruction leads to.

When we look to places like talk radio, the cable news channels, and especially the internet, we see people broadcasting their thoughts and their judgments about all kinds of people and things. But, do these people ever articulate that what they saying is simply what they think about someone or something and what they are stating is not necessarily based in fact? No, they do not. They proclaim what they proclaim as if it is gospel. It is not.

From a personal perspective, people are actually making money on sites like YouTube by discussing movies I have made. Are they paying me anything for having the creative vision and the dedication to get that movie completed? Nope. Are they paying me any money for using the footage from my films to illustrate their discussion? Nope. Does the publicity do me any good? How could it when what they are saying is simply opinion-based
wrong? These people don’t know me. These people have never met me. These people have never spoken to me. These people have never asked me anything. Yet, they are making money by speaking about my creations, myself, and why they think I do what I do. Is that fair?

Certainly, this type of broadcasting goes on all the time all over the place. Perhaps it has happened to you in some way, so you will understand. The thing is, in this era; opinion, not fact, seems to rule, and who’s ever opinion can be voiced in the mode of attack seems to hold the most weight.

If we look to the works of Dr. Seuss, were they intrinsically racists? I don’t know. How could I? Was he a racist? Or, as his family proclaims, simply a product of his era? Again, I don’t know. You don’t know. Nobody knows. Does removing his now seemingly racist illustrations make the all and the everything of the world any better, or does it simply put a veil over a piece of American culture, attempting to hide the facts of a time and a place and an artist’s creative vision at a specific point in history?

If we look to the Blaxploitation cinema of the 1960s and 1970s, we can view a lot of reverse racism. The terms they used to speak of Caucasians and other, non-Black, races were very demeaning. I understand that this is considered a form of countermanding the way African-Americans had been spoken of and spoken to in times gone past, but does that type of dialogue truly making anything any better or does it simply accentuate the negative?

I know I’ve spoken of this before, but growing up in a predominately African-American area of Los Angeles, I was continually confronted with racism. Everyday I was called, “Honkey,” or “White paddy.” Were those people chastised for calling me such derogatory terms? No, they were not as in that sub-culture it was accepted behavior. Did I come back at those people who said such things by calling them a racial slur; no I did not, because that was not of my make up. I just let it roll off my shoulder. I did, from personal experience, however, experientially come to understand that racial slurs do not define the person who they are being aimed at and they have very little actually impact if you do not allow them to dominate your mindset.

I was also confronted with violence, due to my race, on a regular basis. People wanting to fight would often accost me. It was rarely one-on-one but most commonly by multiple people. So, I learned you had to keep swinging no matter what. Now, I’m not playing the, “Poor little White boy,” card here. What I am saying is that by judging a person without understanding who they truly are negates all a person truly is. Moreover, playing the, “Whoa is me,” card is exactly what most of the people who are out there embracing #cancelculture are doing. They are looking to judging, criticizing, and then attempting to destroy a person, place, or a thing due to their not liking what he, she, or it represents. But, why can’t a person be who they are? Why can’t they think what they think? And, who is so all-powerful to be the ultimate judge of their thoughts and their actions?

Now many, in this era, feel it is their duty to attack what they deem to be the bad thoughts and actions of other people, and to destroy what they consider to be the bad things of the past. But, destruction does not change anything. It does not alter the past.

In spiritual circles, it is understood that for a person to become truly whole, truly holy, they must focus on themselves and refine themselves first, before they ever venture out to guide others. How many of the people who have taken to the streets, (or the airwaves or the internet), truly spend any time refining themselves, their own inner consciousness, and their own understanding of Divine Self and God? Very few, I believe. Instead, as stated, it is much easy to focus on something outside of themselves. It is much easier to condemn the actions of someone else than to condemn one’s own faults and misdeeds.

So, next time you think about criticizing someone, next time you think about discussing someone else that you do not actually know, next time you find yourself placing your analysis, your anger, your angsts, or your condemnation onto someone else, take the time to look at yourself first. What have you done wrong? Who have you hurt? How have you alter the life of someone else, in some manner, by what you have created? And, what are you doing today to truly make yourself, internally, a better and more refined individual?

Judge yourself before you ever judge anyone else. Tell people the truth about who and what you truly are. Be honest with yourself and with others about the things you have done that have affected the life or someone/anyone else. And, always understand that you can never truly know another person so you should never cast your judgment onto them.

The Basis of Your Basis

One of the most unique things about life is that each person perceives everything via their own distinctive method. What one person may like another person may hate. For example, one person reads a book and finds all kinds of inspiration in the words. Another person reads the same book and is driven to criticism of the words and maybe even the author. Were the words written upon the page any different? No. It was simply one person’s perception of what was written on the page.

What this tells us is that everyone operates from his or her own basis of understanding and interpretation of reality. Though we all live in what is understood to be the same reality, each person decodes that reality in his or her own way.

Many people attempt to proclaim that their understanding of everything or anything is more precise that that of anyone/everyone else. These are the people who find their way to the pulpit and present their understandings to the world. But, is their understanding any more precise than yours or is it simply that due their psychological makeup they simply possess the self-centered mindset and the psychological tools to believe that they know more than someone else?

If we look to societies throughout history we see that entire civilization have been based upon religion. This is true, in some cases, even until today. Look to the fundamentalist sects of Christianity and Islam, they place the man in a very dominate role above women. Why is this? Power and control. Look to the cast system that was once strictly employed, and today to a somewhat lessor level, of Hinduism. What was that based upon? Dominance and control.

Some people want to tell other people how they should act and behave. Others are willing to accept this dominance. Why? Because then responsibility is removed. They cannot be held responsible.

This mindset goes to all levels of life. Most people do not want to be at the helm. Most people do not want to be the one who is responsible. Most people wish to be told what to do. This is why churches, temples, and mosques are filled throughout the globe on a daily basis. This is why self-help gurus have so many followers.

In this modern era, many people will deny this fact. But, take a moment and look to your own life. Who are you? What are you? Are you the leader who tells everyone else what you think they should do or are you a follower, listening and responding to your minister, your boss, or someone who pretends to have all of the answers?

If you are a leader, what makes you think that you have any knowledge to give? If you are a follower, why are you willing to listen to the words and follow the suggestions of anyone else?

Take a moment a work this out in your brain.

Everyone has a basis for his or her basis. This fact is based in all kinds of things. This fact leads to all kinds of actions and inactions. But, the one thing that it unquestionably does is to set the stage for a person’s life.

Some people are born into this world with a very strong-willed, ego-filled nature. Others are born more passive. Some people are forced to learn how to be a dominant individual. Some are beaten into submission. Whatever the case, each person passes through their life defined by the basis of their basis. Most, however, never question their basis; they never contemplate why they do what they do, why they like what they like, and why they hate what they hate. They simply exist in a state of belief-filled oblivion. But, is that how any life should truly be lived?

Take a moment, define who you are. Look to what you have done and why you have done it. Look to what you do and why you do it. Scan the years of your life.

What are you going to do next? Why are you going to do what you do next? Are you going to broadcast your supposed knowledge to anyone who will listen? Are you going to express your dominance over anyone who will cower? Or, are you simply going to retreat into a state of passive submission, listening to others, being guided by others, and being told what you should or should not believe?

Your life, you basis of basis, your choice.

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What can you do today to make your life better?

What can you do today to make the life of someone you love better?

What can you do today to make the life of someone you don't know better?

What can you do today to undo any hurt you may have caused?

What can you do today to make everybody's everything better?

Will you do it?

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What happened yesterday happened yesterday but what happened yesterday sets your today into motion.

In a Face-to-Face World

There used to be this paper that would come out every Thursday, here in L.A., called the Recycler. It was a paper designed for people to sell and/or to buy pretty much everything. Every Thursday morning I would get up early to get it at this one liquor store where I knew it was delivered early to seek out guitars, synthesizer, and amplifiers. I wasn’t the only one doing it; a lot of people were looking for a lot of things.

I purchased a ’64 Fender Jaguar from John Sebastian, a ’58 Gibson Les Paul from Moon Martin, a Gibson L5-S from Sumner Mering; all well known musicians of the era. Did I know who I was calling up on the telephone? No, I would just call them up, set up a meet time, go to where they lived, check out the guitar, and buy it. All face-to-face.

I also sold things. I bough and sold a lot of guitars and amps via the Recycler back in the day. The guitar player for Slayer showed up at my Hermosa Beach apartment this one time to buy this three rack Anvil case I had designed to hold my three Marshall amp heads back when I was playing live. And, the list goes on and on and on. Tom Petty came over and purchased a Rickenbacker from one of my friends. It was a very face-to-face era. You would go to people’s houses or they would come to yours and things were bought and sold.

The nightclubs in L.A. used to be very intimate. I think to this one very popular nightclub, Madam Wong’s West. All the great bands of the ‘80s played there. The thing is/was, it was a very small nightclub. The stage was just set about one foot above the dance floor. So, you would be anywhere from a few inches to several feet away from the performers. Bands such as X, The Plimsouls, 20/20, The Motels, Wall of Voodoo, and Oingo Boingo (who’s singer was, of course, Danny Elfman, who went on to be a highly sought after film composer), played there. And, this wasn’t the only club in the city like this. There were many. I once saw the Sister’s of Mercy at a nightclub in Long Beach that was about the size of my living room. Everyone was face-to-face.

As is always the case, life and times change. Certainly, the internet changed everything. As the internet rolled to power, first things were bought and sold on eBay, which many sites have emulated. I have bought and sold so many guitars and amps, and books, and records, and… on eBay that I cannot even guess at how many. No longer is it a face-to-face transaction. Now, it is some abstract person out there in some far off place that you will never have any personal contact with. There is no personalization.

In fact, pretty much all of the world has become far off and foreign. This has given birth to all kinds of things, many of them negative. Certainly, Troll Culture was born in this realm. The place where people write and speak negatively (or positively) about someone they never met and never will meet. But, how can you truly know anything about anyone if you have actually never met them? Yet, people talk and talk and talk and talk.

Like I have long said, “You know you’re famous when people you’ve never met say things about you that aren’t true.”

The thing is, face-to-face is real. It is a
true experience. That experience may be good, bad, positive, or negative but it is real. It did happen. You know what you know because you have lived it. Everything else that is lived in the realm of abstraction, all of this cyberspace mumbo jumbo, is just bullshit. Yet, most people are not personally aware enough to realize this fact. They believe the lie.

In Hinduism, there is the understanding of, “Maya.” That all of life is an illusion. For the zealot to reach God-Consciousness they must rebuke this illusion and find a pathway to True Knowledge. The fact is, life is only truly known; life is only truly experienced face-to-face. Think about it, when have you truly known what you have known? The answer: When have you truly experienced what you have experienced? When have you actually understood that other person? When? When you were face-to-face.

Now, I could tell everyone to forget all this cyberspace nonsense. But, that is the reality of our time. Some day, this too will change. But, not today. So, what are we left with? We are left with the reality of the reality that we must be strong minded enough to set our own stage for our own reality. We must take control of our lives and our minds and not be forced into mindlessness dominated by all that is not real in the Out There. Or, as in the case of the internet, In Here. We must set the stage for our life to be live in the Real to its fullest. Because nothing is nothing is nothing unless it is something. How does something become Some Thing? When it is lived face-to-face.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Lawrence Ferlinghetti passed away today.

I get it… I imagine that most of the people who read this blog do not know who Lawrence Ferlinghetti was. If you’re not into Beat literature and/or modern poetry you may never have heard of him. But, in brief, he was a seminal Beat poet and he founded City Light Publishers and Book Store in San Francisco.

Every time I go to San Francisco I go to City Lights. It’s in North Beach and it is a GREAT bookshop.

I had a little bit of a history with Ferlinghetti. Way back, in the way back when, I used to send City Lights my poetry collections in hopes that they would publish my work. A young man’s dreams and all of that… It’s not like my poetry had not previously been published… Anyway, I guess Ferlinghetti got sick of receiving my stuff. I got a hand written and signed letter from him stating he would never publish me. I guess I should have kept that letter. But, I never keep negative stuff. Happy

But, back then, the 1980s and into the 1990s, they would always have my chapbooks on hand. City Lights has an indie poetry section against one wall and I would always see my stuff being sold there. Whenever I would go in there and see one of my chapbooks I would sign it. So, if you ever see any of those on the market, it was probably signed at City Lights.

But, all this is not the reason I am writing this… A totally bizarre and beyond coincidental thing happened to me this morning. I was looking around eBay and I saw a, “Bundle,” of books by Bukowski being sold as, “Signed.” They were not signed by Buk, as so many books are. FYI: There are millions of his signed books out there. I don’t know who signed more books, Buk or Timothy Leary. Anyway, they were being advertised as being signed by Buk’s one time girlfriend, Linda King. She signs a lot of his stuff. But, what was not advertised is that two of the books, published by City Lights, were also signed by Ferlinghetti (Editor). I, of course, snapped them up.

I told my lady about it. Not being into poetry, she is also one of those people who didn’t know who Ferlinghetti was. …Though she always goes to City Lights with me. I explained who he was and told her the funny story about his letter of rejection. I also mentioned that he must be very old by this point in time. I looked it up and he was one-hundred and one years old. That was that…

I’m off on my day. As I was driving, listening to NPR, it comes over the airwaves that Lawrence Ferlinghetti had just died today. How bizarre. Just this morning I looked him up and he was still alive. Just this morning I purchased two books that he had signed. Now, he had passed on. I mean that is just coincidence beyond belief. I am so thankful I purchased those books. I think most people could not or would not appreciate the contribution he made to literature. But, I do.

Anyway… If you get a chance and feel like, check out some of his writing. He had a very unique voice. I’m sure you can find a lot of his stuff on-line.

As for literature, another one of the GREATS has been lost. I’m sure there is a poem in all of this but I will save that for someone else to write. This is my tribute. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, thanks for being who you were and doing what you did! And, thanks for the letter of rejection. Happy

Roller Blade Seven: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Have you ever wanted to be in a music video? I know I did. Back in the day, way back in the way back when, when I was focusing my career primarily on acting, I hoped to land a gig as the lead in a music video. As an actor, I got a few small rolls in music videos but never that lead roll I had hoped for. I was offered to play a character in the video for November Rain by Guns n’ Roses but I thought that would be a little too weird as I used to rent videos from Axel at Tower Records on Sunset and the band used to rehearse at my friend’s studio, so I knew them, in that weird way, a little too well so I turned it down. Which, of course, pissed off my agent, as she didn’t get her ten percent. A few of my actor friends were in that video, however. Of course, this was back when music videos really set the stage for life…

Very soon after this, Don Jackson and I set about making the first Zen Film, The Roller Blade Seven—my life and my career quickly changed as did my filmmaking focus from not only actor to filmmaker. Pretty much from that point forward I have made films, of one type or another, nonstop.

I often speak about how there is virtually never a week that goes by that someone does not ask me some question about The Roller Blade Seven. I am also often directed to reviews, mostly criticizing, the movie. Some of my other films like Samurai Vampire Bikers from Hell, Max Hell Frog Warrior, and Guns of El Chupacabra receive this same treatment but never, at least not yet, as fervently as does The Roller Blade Seven. So, whatever we did when we made that film we did something right because thirty years later people are still discussing it.

It’s kind of funny, when I woke up this morning I was thinking about writing a piece about the mindset that Don and I possessed while making movies like The Roller Blade Seven and Max Hell Frog Warrior as still, to this day, no matter how much I have spoken or written about these films, so often the people who speak about them really miss the point—they get so much wrong and they never understand our intentions or motivations.

Anyway, I was planning to write that piece until I was checking my emails and someone pointed me in the direction of a new music video that was just posted using footage from the Roller Blade Seven.

I’ve spoken about this before, but the first band that used footage from RB7, for their music video, was a Scandinavian electronica band back in the '90s. It was good. I never downloaded that video, however, thinking it would be up forever. Unfortunately, it was not. Since then, a couple of bands have used RB7 footage. Some of the music I have liked, others I have not. But, this new video and/or their music is pretty good—good usage of the footage.

I guess I should throw them some props. The band is called Valuemart and the song is called Born to Kill. You can find it on YouTube. I also popped up a link to it over on the NEWS page of this website.

I don’t know the people in this band—never met them; at least not that I know of. But, I checked them out and their music is good. They also have a page over on Bandcamp. So, check them out if you feel like it.

Kinda funny… My lady was passing by when I was watching the video and I told her about it. She made the joke, “Why does everybody like thirty-two year old Scott Shaw so much and not sixty-two year old Scott Shaw?” …Though I think I look pretty much the same. Happy

Anyway, I never really thought about it or consciously realized it until this morning, I guess I finally got to be that lead in music video that I hoped for so many years ago. So, thanks guys!

Life is weird… But, if you don’t create, then nothing is created. If Don and I had never made RB7 I might never have become the lead in someone else’s music video. Happy So, my advice; create. Maybe you will make your own Roller Blade Seven that people will still be talking about and using footage from for their music videos some thirty years later.

Musicology 101

So… I was doing the basic restringing, oiling the neck, and intonating one of my 12-string electric guitars. Though the guitar has a great feel and a great tone, it has these kind of weird tuning keys so it takes a bit longer to string than it should. But, anyway… That’s not the point.

I was at home so I decided to throw on an LP.

Due to the fact that I am always kind of ON, I really don’t have a lot of time to listen to records. That’s sad, I think. Most of my music listening is done in the car. Though that’s fine, as it suitably fills the time while driving, there is really something GREAT about listening to music on vinyl. I mean, get yourself a good receiver/amplifier and a good turntable, (never use those all in one units as they kill the vinyl), sit back and let the music magic happen. The sound is just so subtly exquisite.

For my listening pleasure this day, I grabbed a couple of my recent thrift store finds. Though I assuredly have a couple copies of most on my albums, when I see something that catches my eye, I grab it. You never know when you’ll see it again.

First up was, Pink Floyd, Meddle. Though they were certainly a part of my generation, I was never a big fan of Pink Floyd. I gabbed this LP at the thrift store because it was a first pressing in very good condition. I hadn’t listened to this LP in decades. Now, as the last time, somewhere back, in the way back when, I wondered is this really Rock or is it something else?

Next up was, Spandau Ballet, Parade. As it started to play, I flashed back. As the music played, this LP became a real memory churner. Not because I was a super fan of the band or anything like that but I remember sitting in this café in Bangkok in ‘84, with my then Thai love, as this LP played over the sound system when this band was at the top of the charts. It’s so strange, because nothing was really going on in that situation. We were just sitting there drinking coffee. But, that life situation is one of those memories that stays in your mind for some unknown reason. I think I even wrote a poem about it, published in my book, Bangkok and the Nights of Drunken Stupor.

Inspired by the 80s, I finished up my listening by actually going into the collection and pulling out the great album by Regina, Curiosity; which has that great-great pop song, Baby Love on it.

Life is interesting, we do what we do while we are doing it. We live what we live while we living it. Most of it, just passes us by. Most life THINGS are just life THINGS and we never really think about them. But, maybe we should.

How much music do you listen to and really study? Sure, you like what you like and don’t like what you don’t like. …You want to hear what you want to hear and don’t want to hear what you don’t want to hear. Everyone hears music all the time. It’s playing everywhere. But, how often do you sit down and really study it? …Truly listen to the notes and the lyrics?

Music is very interesting because it sets the stage for our life. As stated, I remember listening to that album nearly forty years ago in that café in Bangkok. I’m sure you also have moments that you remember, defined by the music you were listening to. But, how much of that music do you (did you) really hear?

I don’t know… I could go on and on about this forever… But, my guitar is cleaned up and restrung, so I need to go plug it in and make some music that no one will ever hear. Happy

Victimhood and the Definition of Who You Are

Recently, there have been a few women that have come out and made serious accusation about their famous ex-boyfriends or ex-husbands. Watching morning TV and even the Dr. Oz Show these women have been featured. I believe this is a very interesting phenomenon for a couple of reasons. Perhaps the most of which is that the only reason that these people are being presented, on the national level, is that they are speaking about someone who is famous. If these women were not speaking about someone who is notable their voices would not even be heard and their accusations would certainly not be broadcast to the world.

Now, there are all kinds of levels of supposition we could go into about why these women are speaking out. There are also all kinds of issues of defamation, (is it true or is it not), that could be contemplated, and as none of us know how any of this is going to turn out I don’t want to mention any names, but that is not really the issue. The issue is, how one person claims to be a victim and calls out another person to be the wrongdoer.

The question emerges, is victimhood a good place to be operating from? And, who ultimately is the victim?

It is very obvious, and has been proven throughout history, that the majority of the people who unleash abuse onto others are those who were themselves abused. Abuse is a learned behavior. So yes, one person may be saying or doing something that someone else finds abusive but if we look to the life history of the doer, almost universally, that is how the so-called abuser was taught how to encounter life and how to react to other people. In fact, many times when a person is young their abuser is also proclaiming their love for their victim. From this, the person who later does things that are decreed to be abusive is, in fact, simply acting out on what they believe is an example of love; as distorted as that example may be.

As we see, abuse emanates from a very veiled place in the mind of the so-called abuser. Moreover, abuse comes in many undefined forms and is only called abuse when the receiver deems it as such.

I get it, this is a very controversial issue and many people have very specific ideas about this subject and I’m not trying to piss anyone off. But, if we look to modern society and to the people who have either claimed victimhood or were projected as such, we see that they become defined by that label.

For example, if we step back a few years, when Chris Brown brutally beat up Rihanna everyone assumed his career would be over and perhaps her next boyfriend would take revenge. But, nothing happened. Aside from the minor charge he caught, where he got probation and community service, his career continued to thrive. Art Alexakis, of the band Everclear, detailed how he was sexual assaulted by a group of boys when he was a youngster. In the early days of his band, in the 1990s, this attack seemed to be some sort of misguided marketing tool but to this day, whenever he is interviewed, he is often required to mention that experience. You can see he wants to move pass it but it has become one of the definitions of his life. Thus, victimhood has become his calling card. Is that a good thing?

I am not diminishing any person’s claim of abuse nor am I negating any of these experiences as they must have been horrible to have lived through. But, the point being is, why does anyone want victimhood to become the definition of his or her life?

Yes, claiming victimhood, at the hands of someone famous, has propelled certain individuals into the public eye and provided them with a voice and, in some cases, even career advancement. But, at what cost?

This victim mindset is not limited to what one person did to another. During this point in history we are witnessing entire movements based upon victimhood. …Movements based upon what one race did to another race and/or to what one segment of society, (say the police), did to specific groups of people. Again, this is a tool used to get a message out there but at what cost? What does it cost the individual or an entire race to become defined as a victim?

For many of us, myself include, we have experienced some appalling things delivered to us by the hands of other people. Particularly as children, there is very little we can do about this.

For many of us, myself include, we have done some things that were less than commendable to other people. We can blame the, “What was done to us,” but it was, nonetheless, we who did what we did to someone else. We must own that fact and never make excuses for it, especially to ourselves.

All life is interplay of human interactions. We are all formed by what we have experienced. And, we shape the life of others by what we do to them.

For those of us who care, we try to become better people and move away from our Lower Self. We try to learn from our mistakes and fix the things we have broken. For others, they lock themselves into a place of negativity throughout their life. Whether that negativity was given birth to by what someone did to them or not, it was they who chose to embrace it. Meaning, it is ultimately you who has the choice about how you choose to be defined. You can decide to be a victim. You can define your entire life by that moniker if you want to. But, is that who and what you ultimately want to be and/or become? Is that how you want the rest of the world to feel about you? Or, do you want to be the person who overcame your victimizer or victimizers and rose to a place where you were not defined by what was done to you but the good you have done for others?

***

Who do you love?

What do you love?

Take a few moments and make a list in your mind of the people and the things that you love.

Now that you have this list do something nice for the people and the things that you love.

For the things you love maybe wipe them down, clean them, wash them, or polish them.

For the people that you love, let them know that you love them, do something good for them.

Spend today loving the things you love.

***

The good news is, you will most probably forget this moment of your life.

The bad news is, you will most probably forget this moment of your life.

***

When does a lie become the truth?

***

How many times have you done something like eat your lunch but you did not even really taste your food because your mind was on something else?

If you wish to have a fully-experienced life you must embrace each experience to its fullest—you must study and embrace all that you are doing, when you are doing it, to the best of your ability.

You Really Can’t Have an Opinion Anymore

This whole #cancelculture thing has really gotten out of control. It is really pretty scary to watch how the moment one person voices their opinion and their opinion goes against the gain of anyone else all of a sudden they are fired or required to, “Step down,” from their job. Certainly, this is most prominent for people who are in front of a camera, in front of a microphone, or are in-print but why can’t a person be allowed to think what they think even if it does go against the grain of whatever political correctness that is taking place in whatever current situation? Why does everything everyone thinks and maybe spurts out by mistake have to become a nail in the coffin of their life? Why can you no longer just say what you think and feel? Why can’t you have an opinion?

This has been going on for a while now. Just think of all of the people who have been removed from their position because they stated that they understand or approve of something that may have been okay a few years back but is now forbidden. Why can’t a person think what they think? And, if a person is hiding what they really think and believe, and covering it up with some falsehood, doesn’t that make them a hypocrite? Is that the kind of person who should be okay’ed?

Now, I get it. We are in a time of rapid cultural change. …At least here in the U.S… And sure, a lot of bad has been done to a lot of people in the past. I’m not taking about any of that. Bad is bad is bad. Don’t say or do bad things! What I am talking about is that most of the people who have recently been brought down for their
opinion have simply been saying what they think about a subject that perhaps they have not truly thought out. Or maybe, what they say is a completely an innocent off the cuff response to a question they did not expect. It doesn’t make them a bad person!

I have watched, in the media particularly, how someone will voice their opinion or make an off-color joke and be gone the next day. You can watch as oftentimes the person asking the question or the person who instigated the conversation takes pride in their having taking that person down. What about that? What about that kind of an attitude? Shouldn’t that be a reason for a person to lose their job? But, it’s not.

This whole #cancelculture thing is all about attack. It is all about being judgmental. Isn’t being like that bad? Shouldn’t that style of behavior be criticized?

You know, we are all human beings… We are all created, reared, and indoctrinated where we were schooled in the ways of the world. We were created by our society and by where we found ourselves in our society. We all say or do things that, assuredly, someone else is not going to like. But, attacking on any level, judging on any level only leads to confrontation. And, at the root of all things
right in the world, confrontation is wrong. Hurting is wrong.

Does anyone have the right to hurt someone simply because they do not like what they think or say? Does anyone have the right to hurt you simply because of what you think or say?

For all of these people who are in attack mode… For all of these people who want to bring people down… You really should think about what you are actually doing because sooner or later someone is not going to like what you think or say and then it will be you who is brought if we allow this style of behavior to become the norm.

Doing Nothing Verses Experiencing Nothingness

The term, “Mu,” is used in both Japanese and Korean. The term, “Wu,” is used in Chinese. This term is used in association with the Buddhist understanding of, “Nothingness.” But, what is Nothingness? Is it having nothing? Is it doing nothing? Or, is it something much more profound?

In life, most everyone wants to do something. They wish to accomplish somethingness. But, how many of those people who Want to Do actually do anything? Most of the dreams that people hold are expressed only in the fantasies in their mind or in their conversations. People can think and talk a lot about what they want but few take the steps in achieving anything. Fewer still follow through to actualizing their end goal.

Why is this? The fact is, thinking, hoping, and believing is easy, whereas achievement is very hard. This is especially the case when one must have other people either help in their goal of achievement or approve them for the level of achievement they desire.

This is the thing about life and the reality of the reality of life; all things, “Life,” requires the doing and the approval of so many people. Many times these people are unknown to the desirer of achievement. Thus, doing becomes a competition of a single person against the reality of life. This is why those who do actually
do achieve are so well thought of. They have fought against the tides of life and have won.

But, what does winning, what does achieving actually equal? Does it provide true happiness? Does it provide the perfect life and lifestyle? Does it remove all unhappiness? Does is give the all and the everyone in the world something they actually need? Maybe, but most probably not. Why? Because, “Doing,” is based in someone’s wanting. They desire that achievement and they set out to accomplish it. By the very definition of this process, all that is known to provide an individual with spiritual emancipation is gone. All that is fulfilled, at best, is the achievement of a desired desire. Thus, all that is given birth to is ego. Is ego helpful to anyone but the person who is feeling it? No. Therefore, by basing your life on, “Doing,” you may achieve something, you may even become noted for that achievement, but what truly occurs is that you are ultimately and permanently removed from the higher understanding of the No-Self.

There are those who consciously choose to leave the world and all of its desire(s) behind and focus their attention on the embracing, Mu. There is one problem in this process, however. That problem is, if the achievement of Conscious Nothingness becomes a goal, then it can never truly be experienced. Thus, the basis of its true understanding is lost. It is for this reason that walking the path of desire, no matter how spiritual that pathway may sound to the naïve ears of the uninitiated, if any step that is taken is taken with a goal in mind, the true essence of Nothingness is lost.

All people want. Most people want to achieve. Many people spend their entire life attempting to succeed. But, this is one of the ultimate illusions of life. Accomplishment is never whole and complete onto itself. No matter what you
do, no matter what you do accomplish, it will only lead to you wanting/desiring something more.

So, where does this leave us? It leaves us with the understanding that doing can be done; doing may even lead to accomplishment for the life of a very few, but doing can never lead to true peace, true happiness, and divine understanding.

Do you wish to live your life forever unfulfilled? Do you wish to live your life constantly chasing? Do you wish to live your life hoping for and dreaming of something that you may never achieve? If you do, then
do. If you don’t, if you want that illusive understanding of true inner tranquility, then seek out, Mu. It is there that all of the wants are fulfilled without ever doing anything.

Distracted by Deception

Have you ever noticed that when you lie to someone, when you deceive them, all of your life, in regard to that relationship, becomes complicated? The thing is, and the reason most people lie and/or deceive another person is that they do not think about this. Even if they have told a lie or unleashed some level of deceit against someone in the past, and suffered the consequences, they put all of that out of their mind, thinking that it will not happen again.

The thing about life is, the moment you instigate some level of dishonesty, all of your life becomes complicated in regards to the person you have deceived. Why? Because you must back up the lie. You must continue the lie. You must find a method to establish the foundations for the lie. With all of this comes complications, anxiety, and fear that the truth will be reveled.

Some people don’t care about the truth. They live their whole life based upon a lie. They find methods to foundationally substantiate their lie. Others, tell lies all the time. Even though the may be caught time after time, the foundational construction of their being is that they are a liar. Thus, they are a compulsive liar. Not good. But, that is their reality. But, a person like this can never be trusted. From this, their entire life becomes defined by the lies they tell leading to a world of people who know that they are not a person living within the realms of truth and that all they say is most probably false.

Some people love to hear the lies of others. They wish to believe them. Why? Because that other person’s lie is better than any truth that they are living. It is like a movie on the screen; false but an illusive reality that draws the viewer in.

The thing about deceiving someone, no matter what your logic or reasoning, is that what you speak is not the truth. Thus, what actually is the truth must remain hidden. From this, you are cast to a pattern of doing all you can to hide the truth from that individual or individuals that you lied to. Thus, this deception becomes the primary thought whenever you are around that person or persons. What occurs from this is a life defined by the anxiety you will (or at least should) always feel and a fear that the truth will come out. Then what? Then, you will either need to formulate another lie to justify your previous lie or come clean and from this that person you lied to may never forgive you or believe you again.

Think about a lie you have told. Think about how complicated it made your life. Maybe you got away with it and from this you told another and another and another lie. But, the fact always is, a lie is never the truth and even if no one ever find out that you told that lie, that you deceived them—what you said, leading to what you did, is still a deception, it is/it was not based upon the truth of the truth.

From a lie all you are left with is a lie. A lair always encounters other liars, as that is the type of person they attract.

Do you like to be lied to? Probably not. Thus, the simple answer to a lair is, do not lie. Tell the truth. From this, not only will your life become so much less complicated but also you will be trusted. And, isn’t that one of the best things that you can be?

***

What happens when someone gives you that gift you really wanted but the gift turns out to be a nightmare? Who's fault is it; yours for wanting it or theirs for giving it to you?

He Killed His Mother

A bit of family tragedy has just struck…

It was just a couple of weeks ago that my lady and I were discussing that we didn’t personally know anyone who had gotten The Rona (COVID-19). That was then…

My brother-in-law went out to party with his friends shortly after that discussion and brought it home. He ended up spending three days in the hospitable. He was released and is recovering. That’s not the tragedy. The tragedy is, he gave it to his mother; my mother-in-law.

What happened next is that, initially, she went to the emergency room but they sent her home with some meds. She continued to get worse. She was hospitalized about two weeks ago. She kept getting worse, even after giving her Remdesivir, so they intubated her. That’s pretty much a death sentence. This evening, they pulled the tubes and she passed away. My brother-in-law killed his own mother.

This, when there are vaccines out there that are ready to go. All these politicians make promises about everyone getting vaccinated. But, unless you are on the inside, it is impossible to get one. Yes, there are vaccines but people are still dying because they can’t get vaccinated!

For all of you people out there who don’t believe this shit is real, think again. A lot of people have died.

My bother-in-law, he’s kind of a dead beat. Forty-four years old and living with his mother. He used to steal cars and stuff. Did time in jail. He keeps meeting nice girls, he gets them pregnant, and then when they find out what kind of person he is, they leave him. Thus, the really sad thing is, the life of his kids have all been ruined.

Now, I understand the foundations for this guy’s behavior more than most. As the story goes, his father would actually pull the car over to beat him when he was a kid if he pissed him off while they were driving somewhere. And, that’s not even talking about what went on at home. For anyone who knows anything about old-school Korean fathers, this is not unusual behavior. Wrong, but not unusual. Combine that with being the pampered only son and it is/it was a catastrophe in the making.

So, he goes out to party. His friend gave it to him just as his friend gave it to his own family. They apparently all recovered, however. That’s good news for them. But, my bother-in-law brought it home and gave it to his mother equaling her death… A death that did not need to happen!

You know, if I had done something so foolish and selfish like that, I don’t how if I could live with myself. But, everyone has their own psychology. Most people, especially those who were fucked up in their childhood like he was, they have a strange sensibility. So, how he will ultimately react to this or what he will do, I don’t know. I do know, he will now be homeless. He killed his meal ticket. But, the point being, all this didn’t have to happen! I mean, the word has been out there forever: don’t congregate with people not of your immediate household, don’t party, social distance, and wear a face mask. But, how many people listen? One person, for sure, did not. And, look what occurred.

Now, she’s gone. Killed by The Rona. Killed by a foolish person who preferred not to care or believe that it would be him that got it.

I never called my own parent’s, “Mommy,” or “Daddy,” or anything like that. I always called them by their first names. My mother-in-law, however, everybody always referred to her as, “Mommy,” so I called her that, as well. Now, she’s gone. Gone for no reason. Gone for a selfish gesture that took another person’s life. Murder, by any other name. This style of murder is not illegal, however. But, it should be.

I get it; no one feels anyone else’s pain. That’s why so few people actually try to live a good life and/or attempt to fix anything that they’ve broken when they’ve done something wrong or something that has hurt someone else. I guess that’s just the human condition. Moreover, few people care about how another person is feeling. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can care. You can curb your own actions if they have the potential of hurting (or killing) someone else. You can reach out a helping hand. You can unleash a gesture of love. You can try to make things better and make things right. But, will you?

Think about this situation, it could happen to anyone in these days of the coronavirus. Let it guide you in how you behave.

Be careful. Be safe. Think about the other person. Think about how what you do could actually kill another person. Think about it, because it is happening everyday.

Thoughts of Self Verses Thoughts of Others

Every night before you go to sleep what do you think about? Every morning when you wake up what do you think about?

If you wish to develop a clear understand about the focus of your life and gain a look into who and what you truly are, answering those questions is an ideal technique to help you acquire that understanding.

You can be whatever person you want to be. You can become whatever person you wish to become. The focus of your life is the guiding factor for what you will become.

What do you desire to become? What do you desire to be? What do you think about and when do you think about it as you develop a pathway in your becoming?

For me, every night before I go to sleep I have a mantra I ponder, “What can I do tomorrow to help someone?” Every morning when I wake up I ponder the mantra, “Who can I help today.”

Many times, the answer is small things. I’m not a rich man so I don’t have a lot of money to throw around. But, what I do have is the ability to help others, even if this is in some small way. So, each night before I go to sleep I ponder what I can do in the next day to actualize this hope. In the morning I either reinforce what I contemplated the night before or come up with a new idea. In either case, it allows me to set the course of my day(s) in a positive direction of trying, in whatever small way I can, to make the life of other people perhaps just a little bit better.

Your life can be solely focused on you. This is the case for most people. But, it doesn’t have to be. You can still be you; you can still become the best version of you while attempting to make the all and the everything of everyone just a little bit better.

Every night before you go to sleep what do you think about? Every morning when you wake up what do you think about?

***

If somebody died but you don't know that they're dead are they still alive in your mind?

Filmmaking Is Not Just About Acting

Whenever I hear people discussing a film, the first thing that most commonly becomes their focus is the acting. More commonly than not, this is the basis for a person’s loving or hating a film. But, filmmaking is about much more than the acting. This is the thing that few people have developed the vision to understand as they evaluate a film.

For anyone who is not a filmmaker, it seems that, when critiquing a film, all they focus upon is the actors. Sure, for a story-driven film, the acting is a central part of the watching experience. For the filmmaker, on the other hand, they understand that so much more goes into creating a film than simply the actors saying their words.

I could go into a long discourse here about all of the things that go into making a film such as the locations, the sets, the props, the costuming, the lights, the cameras, the lenses, the camera angels, the sound, the blocking, not to mention the editing and the soundtrack but until a person has actually experienced what it takes to create all of the elements of a film all they are left with is their opinion about what they are viewing. Thus, what they describe after watching a film is almost completely defined by what they do not personally understand. Moreover, if a person has not been a participant in actually bringing all of the components of a film together, again, they lack any true understanding of what it takes to create a film either on the low or the high budget level. Again, all that is left is their estimation about what they have viewed.

All art is defined in the mind of the viewer. How one analyses art is defined by a person’s individualized understanding of art. How much a person has studied and learn about the actual inspiration, creation, and evolution of art highly defines how they will approach any form of art that they see.

So, what does this tell us? It explains that all understanding is defined by what an individual does or does not know. It is framed by a person’s ability to see beyond the obvious. It is categorized by what a person is willing to understand. It is delineated by one’s desired ability to see beyond the obvious.

There are a million things that go into all elements of a life. Think about your own life. How many things are there that have created who you are? How many thoughts, feelings, and life-actions do you take everyday to create your life-experience. And, how many of those things are only known to you or the people that are close to you? How many of those subtle elements will never be known by the vast masses of the people Out There? Yet, those are the people who view your life and believe they know what is going on with you. But, how can they?

All life is based upon a subtle interplay of the all and the everything. Much of this STUFF is very unseen. Yet, it defines all of our lives.

Watching a movie and then evaluating that movie is an ideal example of how you interpret life. Do you study the subtleties? Do you contemplate the unseen? Or, do you simply cast your judgment based upon what you like or dislike and what you think you know?

All art, all life is a sublet manifestation of a person’s personal reality. As no one can really know you, how can you believe you know the subtle reason(s) of anyone else?

Allow all things to be as they are and you are free. Allow all things to exist in their own perfection and all is well with the world. Judge and all you have provided is an unsubstantiated opinion. What does that leave the world with? Nothing more than the fact that you have proven that you do not know what you are taking about.

Discipline

There is a couple of way to translate the word, “Discipline,” from English into Sanskrit, depending on how it is to be used. A couple of the most common words are, “Abhyāsa,” “Niyana,” “Anunaya,” “Vinaya,” or, “Manovinayana.” Perhaps the most direct way of translating this concept into English is the word, “Caryācaraa,” which refers to the practice of self-discipline.

Yoga is a pathway of discipline. Whereas most people when they hear the term, “Yoga,” simply think of it as the physical postures that people perform. This, however, is a very small part of the overall understanding of yoga. The Sanskrit term, “Yoga,” literally translates as, “Union with God.” But, what does this actually mean?

The thing that many practitioners of modern yoga do not understand is that the yoga they do in their classes is properly defined as, “Hatha Yoga.” This yoga is a small part of the greater overall understand of, Raja Yoga. Raja Yoga is a pathway of mental and physical disciple that leads the practitioner towards communion with God. But again, what does this actually mean?

Yoga is a practice based in Hinduism. Though many people wish to disassociate the physical postures they preform in their classes from this fact, this is the fact. Yoga is a Hindu-based practice of mental and physical purification. I cannot tell you how many devoutly practicing Christians, who practice Hatha Yoga, I have mentioned this to and they go into complete denial about this fact. They make up all kinds of mental excuses. But, there is no denying the birthplace, the evolution, and the true meaning of yoga. It is based in the Hindu understanding of reality.

This is not a good or a bad thing. This is just a thing. But, for so many people who base their entire reality upon their Western-based religion, such as Christianity, the path they walk by preforming yoga, is in direct conflict with their chosen beliefs.

For the most part, Christians do not base their life upon following a disciplined existence. Thus, the concept of focusing their existence on the concept of restraint is alien to them. But, discipline is at the heart of all practices and all forms of yoga. Even the Tantric Yogis of Khajuraho perform their techniques based upon self-discipline.

“Pari
kāra,” translates as, “Self-discipline.” This understanding is at the heart of all yoga practices. But, how many people who perform the modern applications of Hatha Yoga or pranayama, “Breath Control,” ever even contemplate the root of what they are doing? They just do. And, here lies the problem with the modern, undisciplined practice of yoga. It entirely misses the point.

You can go to any exercise class and hopefully get your body in better shape. The Western purveyors of modern, “Yoga,” make all kinds of claims about its benefits. And yes, there are many. But, if the essence of, “Yoga,” is not embraced and understood how can there be any true internal growth via its practice? If people live in denial about what, “Yoga,” truly is, how can they actually live what it has to offer.

Yoga is based in discipline. It is based in self-discipline. It is based in a prescribed control of the body and the mind designed to bring the practitioner closer to physical understanding leading to spiritual awareness. Is yoga a practice based in Christianity or any other Western religion? No, it is not. It is based in an understanding formulated in India thousands of years ago.

Can yoga be adapted to practitioners of other religions? The answer to that is yes and no. Yes, the physical postures can be performed and maybe they will help the health of the practitioner. But, without a true emersion into what, “Yoga,” truly is, the absolute essence of this religious-based practice is lost. Thus, the answer is also, no.

Yoga is a religion. It is a part of a religion designed to guide the practitioner towards spiritual growth via discipline. If you are not willing to see, “Yoga,” for what it truly is and accept is foundations, then, at best, all you are doing when you practice, “Hatha Yoga,” is getting your body more stretched while living in denial about what you are actually doing.

The essence of yoga is, “Union with God.” How do you achieve that? Discipline. How do you
not achieve that? Pretending that you are doing something while not understanding what is actually taking place.

Don’t lie to yourself. Yoga is a religion. It is a religion based in Hinduism. If you’re not willing to become a Hindu then you can’t really practice true, “Yoga.”

How Old Do You Have To Be?

I was watching a local morning TV show this AM. The show did a segment on a sixteen-year-old girl who was a certified yoga instructor. They were making a big deal about how she was the only one ever… But, that’s not true. I was a certified yoga instructor at sixteen and I am sure there were those, at that age, that came before me and after me. But, I get it, it was a hype piece. And yes, that is pretty cool that the girl is a young yoga instructor. But, there are a lot of people that do a lot of things when they’re young. I think one of the big problems with life is, so many people are held back from accomplishing things when they are young all based on their age. From this, a lot of young people are driven away from truly accomplishing; for when you are young you have the time, the desire, and the motivation to achieve your dream but, if you are stopped from doing that, defined solely by your age, then what is anyone left with? A life possibly lived unfulfilled.

Certainly, (for whatever karmic reason), I became involved with the martial arts and with Eastern Stuff like Hatha Yoga when I was very young. I guess that’s a good thing??? It certainly came to define my life. I mean, I earned my black belt before I was even a teenager. This was before someone came up with, what I considered to be a very stupid idea, of only awarding junior black belts to those people who are under the age of eighteen. If you earned it, you earned it!

Back then, things were very different. No one gave out black belt diplomas or anything like that. Though I was formally teaching the martial arts by the age of like thirteen or fourteen, as an assistant instructor, (or whatever you want to call that position), nobody ever gave me a diploma stating that fact, like seemingly everybody must have today. It was just understood that I knew my stuff and I could teach.

The story told of the young yoga instructor is that she and her mother looked for several years for someone who would allow a teenage girl to take a yoga instructor’s training program. Finally, she found one. They showed her certificate but I’ve never even heard of the organization that awarded it. So, what does that certificate mean? Back when I first became involved with Eastern Thought and offshoots like Hatha Yoga, no one ever asked me my age. I was just allowed to be who and what I was. By seventeen, I was helping at full-on Yoga Retreats. Though all of the retreat leaders knew my age, they did not define me by my age.

By twenty-one, when I was a martial arts school owner, I used to hate it when sixteen or seventeen years old potential students would come in to sign up and I would have to tell them they had to get their parents to sign their release form as they were not legally an adult. In their mind, they were. In my mind, as well. But, the law is the law is the law.

Back in my day, no one ever asked me (or my parents) to sign anything. If they had, they may have really turned me off and made me walk a different life path. But, I was simply allowed to be and to learn what I was ready to learn.

So, want does this tell us? It tells us that life, that the people of life, wish to take command over the life of others. They may wish to do this by defining a person by their age or by the certificates they were allowed to earn. What it does not allow is a person to be whatever it is they truly are, wherever they may find themselves in the pathway of their life.

You hear a lot about how there is age discrimination for the elderly. For the young, however, it just has become all so expected. “You’re too young to do that?” Why? Why is anyone too young to do what they have the desire to do? Why is anyone too young to accomplish what they desire to accomplish; no matter how old they are?

So, as you pass through life, think about this. As you meet and interact with other people, think about this. Think about how you judge a person based upon their age. Think about what they are kept from achieving simply because of their age. Remember what you may have been kept from accomplishing based upon your age.

Life is a pathway of accomplishments. If you stop someone from accomplishing, for whatever reason, you may have truly robbed the world from the true gift(s) that they had to provide humanity.

Stayin’ When You Should’d Been Leavin’

“Let he who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her.” John 8:7

Ever since the dawn of the #metoo movement and later #cancelculture a lot of accusations have been flying all over the place. I’ve written about this a few times over the past couple of years and have discussed some of the repercussions. A lot of people have been making a lot of claims. The key factor in all of this is that someone is calling someone else out for what they believe was their wrongdoings. Okay…

Now, I’m not going to go into the fact that a lot of these accusers have also been proven to be none too pure in all of their dealings with others people. But, who hasn’t? Who is perfectly pure and has done nothing wrong?

One of the key factors I find in all of this Calling Out is one person is blaming another person for what they did to them while they were in some sort of relationship with that person—however that relationship may have been defined. Here’s my question, “Why didn’t you just leave?”

Sure, there are some very bad situations where one person holds another person against their will. That’s flat out wrong. But, in most of these flying accusations, it is defined by one person staying with a person when they should have just left. If they had left, none of the bad would have been allowed to occur.

If you find out a person is a bad, leave. Communicate with them no more. For if you stay, then you have become part of the problem. You have feed the situation. You have become a willing participant in whatever is going on.

It is easy to look back through time and blame someone else for something. I know I have people I look back at and have less than ideal thoughts about based on what they did to me. But, who can I blame but myself for letting that person into my life? Sure, they may have lied to me. Sure, they may have deceived me. Sure, they may have cheated me. Sure, they may have hurt me in some way, shape, or form. But, if I had not chosen to drink the Kool-Aid none of that anything would have happened. And, I imagine some people feel that way about me. I’m no saint.

The main thing about life is, it is easy to throw blame at that someone else. The much harder thing about life is to blame yourself. But, if you choose to willingly interact with anyone for any reason, you are as much to blame for any negative event that takes place as that person you are pointing your finger at.

Your life is your fault. Who is really to blame?

***

You can always find a reason to justify what you're doing. But, that doesn't mean it makes what you're doing right.

***

How much time must pass before your sins should be forgotten?

Your Involvement in the Scene

When you are asleep and having a dream, what participation do you have in that dream? Most likely, you are in the middle of the happenings. Maybe you are to one side witnessing what is happening to someone else. But, you are there. You are interactive with the central action of that play.

Though most will conclude that dreams are nothing more than something that is happening in the mind of one specific individual, they are nonetheless an ideal example of human reality—of your reality. You are there, you are living, you are acting out, you are witnessing the doings of others, you are a participant. If you were not there, you would have no idea about what was taking place.

Your life is very much like this. The living of your life is very much like this. Your life is based upon your participation in any life situation and only you know what is truly going on because you are the one living it.

Think about your life. Think about the things you have lived. Think about what you are living now. Who is living it? The answer: you are living it. All of your reality is based upon what you are doing.

Think about any life situation you have lived. It was you who lived it. Maybe you loved what was going on, maybe someone was making you very happy, maybe you hated what was going on, maybe someone really pissed you off, but you were at the center of it. It was you living that moment. Maybe you were somewhere where you were totally board. But, who was feeling that? You.

Sometimes we witness the life interactions of others. Sometime we watch something that makes us happy, makes us sad, makes us laugh, or makes us cry. Mostly, we watch a whole lot of life go by. We watch people passing us by all the time: talking, driving, walking, and doing what they do. Though we have no involvement in their life actions, nonetheless, it is we who are witnessing it. Thus, it all makes up the life experience of our lives.

Have you ever had someone describe a life story that you lived? Maybe they even lived it with you but when they tell the story something is missing, something is not quite right. Why is that? Because it is not you telling the story. Their life assessment and terms of experience are different from your. Even if they were there, even if they lived that moment with you, their definition of that experience is based upon their own conception of reality. Each person’s definition of reality is always, at least partially, different from someone/anyone else’s.

So, what does all this tell us? It tells us that you must embrace your reality, you must live your life, you must experience your life to the best of your ability; no matter if your love or if you hate what is going on. Why? Because the experiencing of your life is all you have. It is only you truly experiencing it. If you space out, if you tune out, if your turn off, all that you have lived is lost because you are the only one who is truly living your life.

Claiming Your Destiny

Pretty much everybody has the dream of becoming whatever it is they hope to become. Some take steps towards actualizing that dream. Many, however, do not.

Though most people have the dream of BECOMING, the steps you take to get there highly define your ability to reach that end goal. Think about it, what are you doing today to help you become what you hope to become?

The fact of life is, the facts of life take over many a life. This is one of the main reason people are kept from accomplishing all they hope to achieve.

Some people are luckily; they come from financially secure, supportive families. These families are open to helping their family members in becoming all that they hope to be. Many people are not that luckily, however. They must fend for themselves from a young age. They must get a job to pay their bills: to eat and to keep a roof over their head.

Here’s where things get complicated. The job you choose to do is going to be instrumental it either helping you or hindering you from achieving all that you hope to become. Sure, sure, there are those people who rise to the top of any game who did some pretty unsavory things as a way to make a living in their route to the top. But, those people are the exception, they are not the rule. Most people who enter into a less that dream-helpful type of employment are cast to dwell within that realm forever.

There is the tale that is very prominent here in Hollywood, and that is well known all across the globe, about the person who is a food server: a waiter or a waitress, but what they truly believe they will become is a famous actor. As a filmmaker, I have met so many people who are making their living doing this job who believe they will ascend to the top of the acting game. They are taking acting classes, they have their professional headshot which they send out to casting calls, they are doing all of the things that they believe will pay off but what they are not doing is acting in front of the camera. Each day, they go to work, but their work is not causing them to rise up in their chosen game. Years later, in some cases decades later, I have re-met a person and they are still hoping to act but what they are really doing is being a food server. That has become the definition and the reality of their life.

That is just one example but it is a very clear expression of how what you do becomes what you are. It also shows how what you do either adds to or takes away from what you will ultimately become.

People make all kinds of excuses for why they do what they do. It is important to note, however, that in many cases these excuses become the definition of their life. I cannot tell you how many times, throughout my life, that I have encountered someone telling me about all they were going to become and all they were going to achieve but at the end of the day all they ever became was the job they were doing.

So, what does this tell us about life and what does this tell us about how what you do to pay your bills can either help you in becoming what you desire to be or hinder you?

Take a look at your own life… What are you truly doing to become all that you hope to be? What did you do yesterday? What are you doing today? What will you do tomorrow? Is the job you are doing to pay your bills actually a pathway to your life-dream of achievement? Or, is it just something you do? Maybe you love it, maybe you hate it but what does it do in helping you achieve your end goal?

If you truly hope to become something it is essential that you truly take a look at what you are doing to get there. You really need to analyze how all of the things that you do during each day of you're life affect the overall evolution of your life.

For all of us who are adults, for all of us who are an independent person, we must find a way to make a living. But, be careful what you choose to do to make that living, as it may become all you will ever become.

Standing Up For Your Rights While You Kill Other People

It’s a rainy day in L.A. today. I had to head over to my local Guitar Center to return a guitar I ordered from them on-line as they had sent me the wrong model. I got there at 10:00 AM, the time that is stated on their website that they open, but they were still closed. A sign on the door read, due to COVID we now open at 11:00AM. Though I was bit annoyed, I took the time to go and check out a local thrift store in the area, very aware of the fact that I had a very expensive guitar sitting on the front seat of my car. Anyway, I got back to GC at 11:00 and the return was painless.

En route home, I stopped at my local supermarket to pick up dinner. As it was raining, and I didn’t have a raincoat with me, I walked quickly towards the door. Just as I got to the door I realized I didn’t have my mask on. I quickly put it in place. Walking in just behind me was a guy wearing a hoody. He didn’t have his mask on either. I jestingly stated, “You forgot your mask.” He thought I was joking but then he felt his face, “What happened to it?” He turned around to go and figure out the whereabouts of his mask.

FYI, right now we are in the time of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. New strains have entered the U.S and the number of cases are surging. As such, and because of, masks are required in all stores and places like that.

Anyway, inside the store, I grabbed what I came for. As I was walking over towards the dairy section, I noticed a couple that wasn’t wearing masks. They were a very normal looking couple: Caucasian, maybe early forties. My first thought was, maybe they forgot theirs like I or the guy behind me at the door had done. As all of the other people in the store were avoiding them like they had the plague (maybe they do), I smiled, underneath my mask of course, and stated, “You’ve not wearing your mask.” “Good observation,” they guy snidely replied. This made me laugh. They were obviously, Trumpians. That’s the term I affectionately use to refer to the Anti-Maskers, COVID’s a hoaxer, Anti-Vaxxers, and the Stop the Steal people.

Now, we all have our opinions about this COVID-19 situation. I know I do. We all have opinions about the way the government has handled this crisis. I know I do. But, the fact of the fact is, people are dying. A lot of people have died. Even more have gotten very sick and were hospitalized; including some members of my extended family. And, no matter how much you wish to exercise your rights of liberty, (defined by whatever country you live in), you have the potential to be a killer and not even know it.

Yes, there are now a few vaccines released worldwide. But, I can’t get one yet. Can you? Distribution is a mess. And, though there are vaccines, people are still getting sick and dying because so few people have been vaccinated.

So, there they were, this arrogant couple, not caring of the potential they had to kill any person they came into contact with. Do you think that’s right?

When I was at the self-checkout, check stand, I heard the notice go out over the loudspeakers, detailing that for the safety of everyone all people in the store must wear masks. It’s a business; they have the right to set their own rules. And, in this time in the history of humanity, wearing a mask is not a bad idea. I don’t like to wear one either but I care more about the greater good of society than simply what I believe and what I feel like.

I’m sure the manager went up and talked to them and ask them to put on a mask or leave. Maybe there was a confrontation. Maybe it will be on YouTube or the News, I don’t know? Maybe that’s what that couple wanted. It seems a lot of people are looking to become famous by any means possible. Again, I don’t know? But, what I do know is, now, you have the potential to kill someone if you are infected with this disease. You may have it and not even know it. So, you could kill someone and not even know that it was you that caused them to die. But, does that make you any less of a killer?

There is a part of me that believes people who behave in that non-caring fashion should be the one’s who get and suffer from the disease, they should be the one’s who lose loved ones. But, that is just not necessarily in the cards. Sometimes the arrogant get away with murder. But, right is right. Caring is caring. If you can’t even care enough about your fellow human beings to wear a mask when you are in public that, in and of itself, defines entirely the type of person that you are: selfish and ignorant.

The Out of Body Experience

In some circles of the vast plethora of advancing spirituality, there is a certain subset of practitioners that advocates achieving the out of body experience. But, what exactly is that: what does it mean, what does it prove, and what does it provide the zealot?

The out of body experience is achieved via various means. Certainly, for anyone who has ever taken hallucinogens, the out of body experience is quite common. The sensation and experience where your consciousness has become removed from your body and you can actually look down at your physical form and observe what you are doing is a common experience.

This sensation is not limited to a drug induced experience, however. Many people, when they are close to death, are said to have this experience. Though I have been close to death a couple of time in my life, I did not experience that but, as a young child, for better, for worse, or otherwise, I used to possess the ability to create that experience at will. But, what did it prove? What does that experience prove? From my assessment, nothing of true importance to the overall spiritual grow or evolvement of the individual.

There are some schools of spiritual thought that teach what has come to be called, Astral Projection. In brief, that is the ability to transport your consciousness to other places or ethereal realms in order to communicate with entities that exist in other worlds. The problem with this entire concept is that it is un-provable. At best, it is simply someone claiming that they can transcend the boundaries of this reality and move into another. But, where is the proof? Where is the documentation? Where is the standard of verification of this practice? It is simply them saying that they are doing something and/or communicating with some entity in some other undefined realm. It is not like two people speaking on a telephone. Therefore, there is no proof. And, just like all of those so-called psychics out there who practice certain techniques where they develop the ability to guide the patterns of thought and manipulate the minds of the people who wish to believe in order to make them trust in what they have to say in order to gain whatever it is they hope to gain: money, power, fame, or control, it is all an undefined illusion.

On the other side of the issue, the fact is, there are some people who are a little tilted. There are some who believe the lie they are telling themselves. Their mental perspective is a bit off and they allow their own mind to drift into the spectrum of false reality. Though they may believe what they are feeling, and even what they are saying to others in regards to their mental experiences, it must be noted, it is only their mental experience; not yours. Thus, as it is not the common experience, what they are claiming is only experienced in their own mind. Is that real? Is that true reality? Or, is that simply insanity?

When you look to the vast amount of literature that has been created over the years about transcending the body and mentally moving to some other realm, every technique is different. If this practice were true, wouldn’t there be one pathway? Wouldn’t that be the only method that was discussed? Moreover, if this out of body experience actually provided a solid benefit, wouldn’t it by now be proven to be a reality and wouldn’t it be taught as a ratified higher religious practice? But, it is not.

Throughout time, people, particularly those who walk on the so-called spiritual path, wish to exhibit their advanced knowledge and present themselves as possessing something someone else does not understand. The claimed ability to leave their body is an ideal example of this as it is so
un-provable. Thus, it simply becomes a means for the claimant to proclaim that they can do something that you cannot. Maybe these people even make a few bucks by lecturing or writing a book on the subject. Certainly, their ego is stroked. As for everyone else; the believers, they are left in awh of what that person claims that they can do. Maybe they even give them money to communicate with that abstract supposed something that lurks out there in the realms of the unknown. But, what does all of this equal? Nothing. It does not change reality. It does not change the truth of reality. It does not change the reality of reality. It simply becomes another mind game designed by one person to pretend to be something more than the other person and a reason for the gullible to believe.

The truth of life is, reality is reality. It is a simply as that. People live; people die, and people try to find something to fill their time in-between birth and death.

You can spend your time trying to transverse into some undefined realm if you want to but what does that actually give to your life? What will it do for the betterment of all human kind? You can believe in the claims made by the aberrant mystics if you want to, but how do you know what they are saying is true?

If you want to find a higher human consciousness, if you want to be the best vehicle for spirituality that you can be; BE it is a simply as that. BE as pure, BE as honest, BE as locked into true reality as you can BE. BE, for this reality is all we truly have. Everything else is simply a promised illusion.

The Things That No Longer Matter

For each of, as we pass through life, there comes to be things that define who and what we were. …Things that we remember fondly and things that hold a place in our heart.

For each person, these things are different. What one person may hold close to their heart another person may find to be quite ridiculous.

For some, these items are childhood toys. For others they may be a bicycle, a motorcycle, or a car. For me, it’s things like guitars, 4-Track reel-to-reels, 4-Track cassette decks, and cameras like the Sony VX2000, (the greatest indie production camera ever).

The thing is, technology changes so these items have fallen by the wayside, at least in terms of functionality. For some of these items, they have become quite collectable and their price is very high. In some cases, more than what they actually cost new. But, that does not provide them with the functionality they once held.

For some, who have lived a very stable lifestyle, they were allowed to keep the original items that they once owned throughout their life. That’s great! For others, like myself, who was moved around a lot as a kid and never really had a home, even to this day, things come and go. When they are gone, they are missed, and there is always a whole left where they once existed.

The thing about life is, time deteriorates. Nothing lasts forever. So, no matter how much you take care of an item, that item is not destiny to live throughout eternity. Though certainly, some items have more longevity than others.

So, what does this leave us with? What does this leave us with as we all hold the same feelings—the memory and the love for that something we once owned? It leaves us with the reality of life. It defines for us the realism of the experience of life. We have, we had, we want again. But, what we had then, we can never truly have now, because all we truly have is our experience in this moment, not that moment. And, though we hope and try to relive what we felt then, this now is not that then. It is now, it is who we are now; it is not what we were then.

So, though we all look back with fond memories to what we had then and how it made us feel—and though in some cases we can repurchase that once owned item, we have to chalk all of this up to the reality of reality. This moment is not that moment and if we are locked into a time gone past, we can never truly experience the perfection of what we are living now.

You Can Always Tell the People Who Are Destined for Greatness

Pretty much everyone hopes to do something great with their life. They hope to do that something or be that something that will propel them to living a grand life and to be well-respected and well-remembered while possibly giving to others and the greater world as a whole. But, the fact of the matter is, very few people will ever reach that level of achievement. There are an untold number of reasons for this: some are where and how a person was born and raised, others are more personal; based on how they behave and the things that they choose to do. But, the reality of reality is, few people every reach any level of greatness in their life.

This being said, you can immediately tell a person who is bound for greatness. They have a demeanor, they possess a mindset, they are directed, and they act and do all things Life in a very specific manner.

There have been tons of books written on the subject of how to Become. Motivational speakers talk all the time attempting to guide people towards their own greatness. But, no matter how many word are written or spoken it is the individual who either is or is not bound to do something great.

Just as a person who is bound for greatness can be observed, the individual who is compelled towards just the opposite can be spotted. They are the people who are confrontational, those who lie, deceive, cheat, steal, treat other people badly, believe they are better than others, are judgmental, are confrontational, are egotistical, lie to themselves about why they do what they do, and the list goes on and on. We all know the type. Some of these people even hide behind their belief that the reason they behavior in a non-productive, hurtful manner is in order to do for others. But, by scolding, by judging, by chastising, by attacking, by hurting, by lying for whatever reason may be in their mind, all they have done is to damage the Life Space of someone else, and by casting their own judgment onto any life situation all they have illustrated is that they are simply a person locked into a space of their own knowingness and righteousness. Behaving in this manner only demeans others. And, from doing any of this, nothing good is ever born.

Some people believe that they will be Great. In fact, some people tell others that this will be their destiny. This is especially the case when a person is young before the realities of existence have set in. But, for anyone who broadcasts this, it is almost an assured sign of what they are not to become.

So, is there a pathway to greatness? The simply is yes. It is tread only by those who stay in the realm of goodness. …Those who walking hand-in-hand with nature. Those who do not deny their placement in life and/or do not try to overturn the obvious decisions of god. Those who continually and only say and do good things.

The broader answer to the question is that, it is very complicated. There is no direct pathway to greatness no matter how much good you do and how much happiness you bring to others. But intended purpose, that is the key. Those destine for greatness follow a predetermined path of self-knowing, self-acceptance, and being true to themselves while embracing their own wholeness, hand-in-hand with bringing betterment to the life of all those they encounter.

So… Everybody wants to be great. Though few will achieve this, the best thing you can do is to do the things that those who are considered to be great have proven is the right pathway. Be good. Be kind, Be truthful. Be helpful. Consciously never hurt anyone. Say good things. Do good thing. Help everyone you can. Then, even if you never come to be considered as GREAT, at least you will be remembered by the people you encountered with found memories. And, that is a definition of greatness in and of itself.

***

If you define yourself by what someone says you are, then all you can ever be is what someone else has decided that you have become.

The Liars Have All the Answers

Way back in the way back when I had met this girl. We met via my involvement with Swami Satchidananda and the Integral Yoga Institute. She had come to take a class. Me, I was young, and veering away from the Bramacharya mindset. Her, she was pretty. We began to hang out which all turned out to be a big mistake but that is an entirely different story.

At the time, I was living in the Valley and going to college. She was living down in the O.C.

Like many people of the era, she was seeking spiritual understanding. Also, like many people of the era, she moved between teachers attempting to find the path that best suited her.

One night, she invited me to visit this one teacher she had been working with. He was a Caucasian guy who operated a yoga studio out of an upstairs unit in what may best be described as a strip mall. I believe, forty years or so later, he is still there.

Anyway, he went by this holy sounding Sanskrit name. When I entered the room and sat down he came up to me, as he could see I was new, to introduce himself. He asked about me and I told him I was a student of Swami Satchidananda. I could immediately tell this struck him as disconcerting as he now had someone within his ranks who must know his stuff. All the others were just those people seeking a route to the promised enlightenment of the era or a father figure. Both of these were a very gullible type. When I told him what I told him, he began to laugh and laugh and laugh. It was so contrived. I could immediately see this was one of those ploys to throw someone off their game. But, I have always been the wrong person to play mind games with, even back when I was young.

The evening went on. The man gave his lecture. We did the meditation session, etc… We left. I, of course, never returned.

There are so many people full of so much bullshit that it is almost hard to believe. They gather borrowed knowledge from this book, that lecture, that whatever, and then dish it out as if it is their own. Some, like this guy, added orange robes and a Sanskrit name to the equation, just to provide more apparent authenticity. But, all of that never changes the bullshit.

I have encountered a lot of people like that throughout the years. Certainly, far more back in the 1970s than today but truly little has changed. And, that is the problem with seeking. The people who seek want to be given something—they want to be provided with that some imagined something. But, due to the illusive nature of that abstract something what they are given can never be proven or disproven. That/this is why so many people fall prey to the manipulative words and hands of the liar.

A couple of years later, I think I was twenty-one. I was at the Bodhi Tree Bookstore one day, which was then the mecca for spiritual knowledge in L.A., and I noticed that this Eastern Yogi was going to give a lecture. I had always enjoyed listening to what different teachers had to say, so I decided to go. When I got there, I found that the lecture was to be given in this very rundown section of Hollywood, in this old street front business. Whatever… I went inside and there were like three people in attendance. The guy walked in. He was a true Eastern Yogi. Even though there were only a few people there, he gave his talk. It was completely uninspired. Nonetheless, after the lecture, I went up to meet him. Nice guy. A true believer/a true liver. What was the difference between this man and the aforementioned individual? Heritage and purpose. He wasn’t making excuses for doing the things that a true yogi should not be doing, whereas the other man was. One was in it as a business; the other was in it as a life and a lifestyle.

So, here’s the thing… You can claim to be something. You can read and study all of the books on the subject. You can even change your name to something grand and auspicious, and maybe even get a diploma or a proclamation, but you cannot change the essence of your being—you cannot change who and what you truly are. Whenever you go to any teacher, you really need to remember that. Are they doing what they are doing as a business? Or, are they giving what they know to you for free? If they’re a business, then they’re a businessperson. If they are true to whom they are and what they have to teach, then they will give it to you for free.

The problem is, the world is full of liars. Most teachers are liars. This is especially the case when they are not at an accredited institution like a place of higher education. These people can say whatever they want. They can claim whatever they want. They tell each person what they think they want to hear in order to get their money, their body, their loyal, their whatever… But, at the root of all truth, at the heart of each true teacher, is the person who is truly themselves—the person who has no need to lie or develop students or clientele. If a teacher is looking to get more students then they are lost in the mindset of conquest. How can any individual who is on a quest to get more of something or someone in their life be a true person—how can they be trusted? If a person seeks nothing and gaining no one more, then why would they need to claim to be anything? Why would they need to lie?

The truth of a person is self-evident. How do you know a person is a true person that can be trust? They claim nothing.

Remember, the liars have all the answers. If someone is telling you what you want to hear, if someone is promising you anything, be very weary of that person because they are obviously hoping to gain something for themselves.

***

Are you aware of the fact of what you did and who you did it to?

How does that make you feel?

You Own Them Everything

I was having lunch with a friend of mine when an interesting situation occurred. But, before I get into all of that let me give you a little bit of the backstory.

I am writing this during the time of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. At least here in California, the restaurants have all been ordered to close. They are not allowed to offer indoor dining. During this time period they are only allowed to offer take-out. One of the ways some restaurants have been getting around this is that, previously they were allowed to offer outdoor dining. From this, many restaurants set up, in some cases, elaborate parking lot tent facilities and/or in some cities they have actually taken away the street parking allowing restaurants to set up their tables and their chairs in the streets; bounded by makeshift walls, of course. Though they are not currently supposed to do this, in order to keep business coming in, some restaurants have put their tables back up and allowed patrons to sit at them as long as they buy their food to-go.

With all that out of the way, back to the storyline…

Anyway, my friend and I had picked up some food and we were on our way back to her place to eat it. As we walked past, there were two aging Korean men sitting at one of those tables that aren’t really supposed to be used. They both had coffees in to-go cups and one of them was even smoking which is totally verboden in association with all California dining establishments. But, you know how Korean men can be… (Maybe you don’t?)

Anyway… The one guy was wiping down his phone with one of those single use packaged wipe things that look kind of like a Handi Wipe. He had a couple more of the packets lying on the table. As we walked by my friend surprisingly asked the guy, “Can I have one of those?” He looked at her. He looked at me. He looked at his friend. He said something under his breath to his friend in Korean. And, then he handed her one. “Thank you,” my friend exclaimed in all of her youthful exuberance. I observed as the two men both watched her walk away with her long legs extending below her short skirt. You know the kind of look I’m taking about.

She grabbed my hand and we were back on our way. She was happy, she got one of those whip things as she felt her phone needed it. I smiled and I explained to her, “Now, you own that man everything.”

The thing about life is, and a thing that very few people ever contemplate is, that whenever you take something from someone, (given willingly or not), you owe that person. If you take something from them without their freewill of giving, forget about it, you really owe them. But, in life, most people simply want what they want and, small or large, as long as they get it, all is well with their world. But, they never think about the, (for lack of a better term), karma that is invoked by the act of taking.

Think about your taking… Think about how you feel when you get. It probably feels pretty good; right? You have gotten what you want.

Now, think about the act of giving. Giving may also feel good or it may feel bad. But, whatever the case, when you give, that personally costs you something. If you give something that means you had to get something. In most cases, getting means you had to earn the money to buy it. What did that earning cost your life? How much time did it take? How much work did it take? What did it do to your life?

Giving, whether it is in the form of something physical or something mental, first requires the getting. The getting always cost the giver something. This getting is never free. And, if you get, you owe the giver.

Again, most people never think about this. They just want. They just ask. They just take. They dismiss what that giving cost the giver because they are now content in what they have received.

If you wish to live a conscious life, you really need to be careful of your taking. For
taking always sets the need of owing into motion. No matter how willingly anything is given to you, if you take you own that giver something. Maybe, you owe them everything.

The Claim of Destiny

Depending on how the term is intended to be used, the most common Sanskrit words utilized to express the concept of destiny are, “Daiva,” or, “Adrishta.”

Destiny is this strange undefined thing that people put into play when something either happens to their life in a positive or a negative manner. “That was just your destiny…” Or, “This is my was destiny…” But, what is destiny and what does it truly mean?

For each of, we seek to find a definition to the happenings in our life and the lives of others. We seek someone or something to blame. When good things happen, some but not all of us, give thanks. But, who is that thanks given to? …Some mystical, undefined, Out There being. When negative things occur, we seek someone to blame. But, who is to blame? Is it that same mystical, undefined, Out There being or is it simply ourselves for placing ourselves where a specific type of events may happen to us?

Rarely, do people take full responsibility for the happenings in their life. They prefer to claim, “It was a gift from god,” or, “Destiny sent me down this road.” But, what does any of this actually mean? What is destiny and why do people relinquish control of their life over to such an abstract concept?

We all understand what destiny is intended to mean. It is that something that was meant to happen to us that we have little or no control over. But, think about your life… What don’t you have control over? Sure, you can decide to walk a path of goodness or you can decide to walk a path of badness. You can choose to help or you can choose to hurt. You can choose to go to the left or you can choose to go to the right. You can choose to associate with a certain person or a specific type of people, but is any of that destiny? No, that is simply what you choose to do based upon the choices you are allowed to make.

People lie to themselves all the time about the happenings in their life. They give thanks or they blame others. Why do most people do this? They do this either because they don’t want to take personal responsibility for their actions or they have been programmed into feeling that they are not worthy of holding control over their own life. But, you are in control! What you do is what you choose to do. What happened to you is not destiny it is simply a reaction to your action of making a choice.

Where you place yourself in life comes to define what happens to your life. What you choose to do in each situation that occurs in your life, defined by where you have chosen to place yourself in your life, is what occurred by where you choose to be and what you choose to do.

Destiny is an excuse. Take responsibility for your own choices.

You Are A Worker Bee

For all of us… At least all of us who are adults… We must find a way to make a living. …A way to make our way through this world. We must pay our bills and pay for a place to live. For many of us, that means we must get a job. For some, that job is simply a way to make a living. …A way to make enough money to live life. For others, their job is their life. All that they do revolves around their job.

I think to my father. He was all in at his job. So much so, that he literally had a heart attack and died while at his job. My mother, she was all about her job, as well. She was a woman who did not drive, yet she took the bus to work each day: rain or shine. When she was finally forced into retirement, due to her age, she had nothing to do as she had never developed any outside interests. Bored and with no purpose, she passed on a year or so later.

Most people are worker bees. They do not develop their own business. They never know what true responsibility is. They prefer to work for others so they can just collect a paycheck at the end of the week. Life is much easier that way. Then, they always have someone to complain about and blame. If they do something wrong, they may get scolded, at worst they may get fired, but it is not their business that will come crashing down. So, they are free from any true responsibility.

Some people, some of the worker bees, they get all involved with their job. They let it go to their head. They let it become their empowerment. They let it drive their ego. They allow it to become a vehicle for them to express their opinions about life and other people. I call people like this a, “Mouthy Maven.” They speak, maybe they yell, maybe they are rude, maybe they even attack others, but all they are is a worker bee. They exist via a position of service that they were given by someone else. Yet, the Mouthy Mavens are not providing the customer with a service at all. They step beyond their job description. As a consumer, these are the people you sometimes have to deal with; the one’s who really ruin your shopping (or whatever) experience. Yet, there they are getting paid.

In times gone past, in life, in places like India, there was a very detailed Cast System, where people were told what they could become. In most of life, it is really not that different. We are all defined by who we were born to, what was the level of their life, and if we become educated, earn the right degrees, and progress to the highest level we can based upon the amount of support or financial aid we are provided with. But still, much of our progress is defined by where we began.

Thus, we get back to the worker bees… The people who work to make society function. They are the core of societal existence.

Here’s the thing… Unless you were born into a lot of money, and your family is willing to give it to you, you are probably going to be/become a worker bee. That’s the law of averages. So, what are you going to do with this fact? How are you going to process this fact? Are you going to live your life defined entirely by your job? Are you going to use your job to provide you with a means to actually live life the way you had hoped? Or, are you going to become a Mouthy Maven and ruin the experience of others who come into contact with you while you are doing your job?

Everything you do while in the experience of your life is defined by what you choose to do within that experience. It is defined by how you choose to think? It is defined by how you choose to analyze that experience. It is defined by how you allow that experience to cause you to act. At the root sourcepoint of your life is YOU. But, if
you must deal with others while you do what you do, then at that moment karma is set into play. How you behave towards others while in that/any situation is going to define the next set of options in your life and what you will encounter next and next and next in your life. So, if you are a worker bee, what are you going to create within that experience of your job? What are you going to allow it to do for your life? What are you going to allow it to do to the life of other people?

As in all cases, what you do, how you choose to behave, and how you interact with others, comes to be the definition of your life. What is the definition of your life? What will be the definition of your life? How will what you do to earn a living to survive define the all and the everything of what becomes of your life? If you do not contemplate these things, you will never truly understand your life, yourself, or how you have arrived at where you have arrived.

Thanks for Mentioning Me in Your Book

“In Samurai Vampire Bikers From Hell (1992), renowned actor and martial artist Scott Shaw tried to combine motorcycles and martial arts. Shaw acted here as director and lead actor. In this film, his character drives his Harley-Davidson to Hollywood to rid the city of ancient vampires with his companion.”

This is the is translation of an excerpt from a book titled, Два колеса в зеркале экрана. This title translates, (via Goggle Translate), as, Two Wheels in the Mirror of the Screen. As I don’t speak (or read) Russian, I don’t know if that is a good translation of the title or not but that’s alls I’s gots… Overall, it seems to be an interesting book composed about biker films.

I’ve always been intrigued by Russian heritage and culture. There’s just something majestic about the architecture and their history. Never been there. Always seemed a little too totalitarian for me. Maybe someday… Nonetheless, one of my films and I are mentioned in a book published in Russia.

Being mentioned in the writings of other people always kind of strikes me in a strange way. Having my films mentioned in books is also kind of weird. But, I guess it does all go to the point and principle of creation: you create, other people see what you have created, and it causes them to think and possible write about it. That’s a good thing right?

Most people, when they write (or speak) about my films simply want to critique them—put their own seal of approval or disapproval upon them and maybe detail what they believe must have been the creative or production process that was involved in their creation. Though in most cases they are generally wrong in their assessment, but that’s okay, I guess… At least they’re thinking about my films.

But, this all goes to the definition and evolution of culture. You know, recently I was watching this documentary called, The Booksellers, on Amazon Prime. As the title implies, it’s about booksellers and book collectors, particularly in the New York market. It’s a pretty good doc.

One of the points they brought up in it, via one of the interviewees, is how books are out there forever, where as there are so many magazines, magazine articles, and magazine authors that have become lost in the changing of time. Me, I remember when there were millions of magazines on the newsstand. I used to love to go to this one newsstand in Hollywood at one or two in the morning and simply explore and take in all this knowledge. But, that era is gone, as are most of the magazines.

The thing is, once those magazines are gone they are gone. They were not assembled like books to last for a long-long period of time. Most people just threw them away when they were done with them. I know that there are a few magazine that my poetry was published in or my films or I were mentioned in that I have been searching for years to acquire. Searching, with no luck.

This one person in the doc was drawn to magazine collecting via hip-hop culture and her desire to explore the times gone past. Thus, that is the focus of her collection. That’s great. Archiving history is very-very important. But, most people don’t do that. Most people don’t read books. Most people don’t care. Now/today, at best, people read a few lines on the intent and that is the extent of their research. But, with that, so much is lost.

Books, in many cases, find their way to being digitized. The writing is cast to eternity. But, things like magazines, so few ever have been digitized, so few ever will be. From this, lost will be the creations, the research, and the writing art of the authors forever. Not good.

Life, time, history, people, it all evolves, it all/always changes. Pretty much everything was the same for eons but now change is in hyper drive. But, with this rapid change so much truth, so much literature, so much journalism, and so much written art is lost.

Remember to read. Remember to archive. Remember to collect. And, if you are a writer, thanks for mentioning me! Happy

The Realness of What You Are

Every now and then I am contacted about the legacy of my friend Kris Derrig and the Les Paul’s that he created. In brief, back in the 1980s, Kris produced electric guitars in the exact style of the late 1950s Gibson Les Paul’s. There’s an article on this website if you wish to read a little deeper into the subject. He worked out of my friend Jim Foote’s Music Works, then located in Redondo Beach, California. During this era, a lot of rock star bands of the time rehearsed at Jim’s rehearsal studio behind the shop. One of the bands that was there was Guns n’ Roses prior to their rise to superstardom. Their manager saw one of Kris’ guitars and bought it for Slash who used it on some of the recordings on their debut album, Appetite for Destruction. Thus, the Kris Derrig Les Paul was set to infamy. Sadly, Kris passed away at the very young age of thirty-two in 1987 from lung cancer, most probably due to sucking in all the glues and the paint flumes of guitar production, as he never wore a mask, before the establishment of his fame was ever solidified.

Many people now seek out the very few Kris Derrig Les Paul’s that were created. In fact, some people even claim that they have one when they do not. There has become an entire cult surrounding these guitars.

As stated, I am sometimes contacted by someone wondering if what they have is a true Kris Derrig and/or if I know where they can buy one. They have become very-very valuable.

One of the things I remind people of, when they are contemplating buying one his guitars is that, though it is a good guitar, the only reason anybody knows about Kris or his Les Paul’s is because Slash played one for a time. Though that is certainly not the only guitar Slash has ever played or recorded with. And, if it were not for this fact, no one would even know who Kris was. His guitars would just be Gibson replicas as were and are still created by other advanced luthiers.

But, all of this sends us to the question, what is real? No, his guitars were not Gibson’s as stated on their headstocks. But yet, they have become much more valuable that true Gibson’s made in that same era. Is the only reason they are valuable because people like Slash, Lenny Kravitz, and Charlie Daniels played one? Thus, are they only valuable due to what people perceive them to be? But, the fact is, even if you own one, it is not going to transform you into Slash. You are not (necessary) going to record a seminal album like, Appetite for Destruction. And remember, that was not the only guitar Slash used while recording that album.

So, what does this leave us with? Answer: It leaves us with perception. A person’s perception of what is or is not real and/or what is or is not valuable; based solely upon what one is instructed to believe.

What do you believe is valuable? And, why do you believe it? Mostly, who told you to believe it?

What is real and what is fake? And, what sets the difference between their value?

Moreover, who are you? Are you truly what you are? Or, are you a fake hiding in your skin with the label and logo of something you are not?

Life is a strange conglomeration of presentations, acceptances, and beliefs. Just like the Kris Derrig Les Paul, many times what you see is not what it truly is but does that/should that assign a value to the perception of that thing or that person?

In life, it is always proclaimed that the best person is the person who does not lie or deceive people about who or what they truly are. How about you? How true are you to true? And, do you lie about who or what you truly are? Do you lie about who are what you truly are even to yourself?

You really need to think about these things as you walk through your life because truth or fake truly can come to define your entire life.

In closing, Kris was a close friend. It was so sad to see him leave this world. His girlfriend from high school, who he was in a band with, contacted me several years ago thanking me for the page I have on this site devoted to him. A lot of people did and still do care about him. He was really a good guy. This world is far less because of his passing.

***

Remember: Your interpretation of a person is never a true definition of who that individual is or was.

The Black Belt and What it Means Today

For those people are not directly involved with the martial arts, when they hear someone has a black belt, they immediately assume that person possesses some advance and cunning skill of potentially deadly self-defense. For the person who is involved with the martial arts, when they think of the black belt, they see it as a goal but from there the degrees of that black belt, and the stripes on that black belt, must go up exponentially if they hope to compete in a world of the massive amount of so-called advanced black belts that exist in the world today.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, via people like Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee, it became quite acceptable for people to study and train in varying forms of the fighting arts. Though this certainly moved the evolution of the martial arts along rapidly, there also came to be a problem with this method of intermingling. Previously, up to this point in time, a person studied one form of the martial arts from one instructor or within one organization. From this, an individual’s actual understanding and necessary advancement within the art could be correctly assessed. When an individual was ready to earn a black belt, they were tested and upon passing that test were awarded that belt. When they were ready to move up another dan, (degree), after additional years of training, they were tested and if they passed that test they were promoted. It was all done via a very defined and pronounced method. What happened with the modern intermingling of the arts was, however, that defined ability became lost to eclecticism. Thus, what was once an expected definition of technique and/or ability became muddled.

Certainly, when the martial arts became widely accepted and taught in the West, traditions began to be lost. As the western mindset commonly focuses on self-advancement, business ownership, and self-adoration, numerous schools, new styles of the martial arts, and organization were given birth to. In many cases, these groupings lost contact with their Asian origins. From this, again, tradition was lost.

I am often reminded of a conversation I had with pioneering western martial artist, Bill, “Superfoot,” Wallace, when I was asked to write an article about him for a magazine. He profoundly stated, “Back in the day if a person was a 1st degree black belt they were impossible to touch. If they were a 2nd degree black belt, forget about it, they would tear you apart. Now, everyone is an 8th, 9th, or 10th degree black belt and they are terrible.” This fact has become a byproduct of the modernization of the martial arts, particularly in the western world, and why the entire definition of what truly is or is not a black belt has come to be less understood. As I often say, “Change does not necessarily make something better, it just makes it different.”

I remember beginning in the 1960s, one could purchase black belt training courses in magazines. Upon the completion of this course one would be awarded a black belt diploma with no testing required. Certainly, an intermediate or advanced practitioner of the martial arts, with a lot of actually physical training under their belt, may learn from written and/or illustrated material but for the novice that is virtually impossible. And, to earn a black belt via this method is perplexingly unrealistic. Yet, how many people earned a black belt in this manner?

As the 1970s dawned, and more and more westerners became black belts, the need for advancing one’s black belt dan ranking continued to rise. Again, initially via magazines, numerous organizations arose that offered various forms of un-tested promotions. All of the organizations looked and sounded official. The diplomas they issued were well printed, making the barer appear to be all that they claimed to be.

These traditions of intermixing the martial arts, defining new systems of the martial arts, and creating new organization to back up the credentials of practitioners has continued forward onto today. What has been created? From my perspective, an eclectic mess of people marketing themselves, their schools, and their systems to the masses but possessing little true relevance of authenticity.

Remember, a diploma does not make a person a black belt. In fact, diplomas declaring a person’s martial art ranking are a relatively new chapter in the very long history of the martial arts. Who and what a person is on the inside and how they treat and interact with other people on both a physical and a humanitarian level is what defines a true black belt.

So, what does this leave us with and how should the black belt be viewed in this modern, (particularly western), world? The answer is not entirely clear. But, what must be understood is that someone claiming to be a black belt today no longer means that they are truly that advanced master of physical movement that the wearing of the black belt once defined. Moreover, as more and more of the modern martial arts have placed their focus on the kill-or-be-killed mixed martial arts orientated physical moments, it must be comprehended that just because someone has learned how to beat someone up does not mean that they possess the advance understanding of human movement that the true, traditional, martial arts provides the practitioner.

In closing, the true martial arts are about physical mastery and advanced mental awareness. They are not about ego. They are not about what degree black belt a person claims to hold. In fact, a person’s black belt degree should never be the reason you do or do not study from them or define how you evaluate them as a human being. The holding of a black belt or the degree of the black belt a person claims can only be truly defined by who and what that person is and what they do for the greater good of the martial arts and society as a whole.

Judge any person by the goodness they say or do, not by whether or not they claim to be a black belt.

The true black belt gives without taking. They help without hurting. They give instead of receiving. They compliment instead of claiming.

***

What do you do when you're waiting?

What you do while your waiting defines who you are to become.

Power

Ever since I was young, I would watch how some people who were in a position of power would dominantly extend that power over others. They knew that they had power, they knew what they could do with that power, thus, they would use their power to control the lives of others via various methods. Sometimes this control was demonstrated by physical means, sometimes it was verbal, but, whatever the case, these people, in a position of power, would use that power to dominate the life of others.

The thing about power is, however, power is fleeting. Yes, you may have it for a moment but if you use it to negative ends all that occurs is that you will be destroyed by your own use of that dominance. Not to mention that people will hold negative feelings about you which is a pathway to destruction in and of itself. This devastation may occur via various means, but power is only power as long as you are in control of that power. But, power, by its very nature, is transient—it does not last forever.

Certainly, we see people attempting to exhibit their power all the time. Maybe it is the boss at the job wanting their employees to get things done for them in a manner they find acceptable. Maybe it is a person in a relationship who wants to control their partner. Maybe it is the religious leader who believes that they know the only way people should morally behave. Certainly, it is the law enforcement professional or the politician who believes that they hold the power to make people act in the manner they deem acceptable. Maybe it is just the bully who is big or who knows how to fight and they exhibit their power over people via violence.

Speaking of which, I can tell a funny anecdote related to the school bully… When I was in kindergarten there was this one kid who felt he controlled the schoolyard. He would dominate via intimidation. Quite frequently he would come up to me and do that annoying thing, “Look up, Look down, look at my finger,” and then flick my nose. I told my father about what was going on and he said, “The next time he does that why don’t you punch him in the nose.” I later was told he was joking but that is exactly what I did. “Look up, Look down,” BAM I punched the kid right in the nose. He didn’t fight back all he did was start crying while wiping the blood from his face. End of the bully… He never did that to me again.

People grow into power early in life. The more power they hold, the more power they are allowed to hold and the more power hungry they become. And, as we all know, some people do very negative things when they are in a position of power.

A lot of people strive their entire life to gain and then hold on to power. They do whatever it takes and they do not care who or what they hurt as long as they maintain that feeling of influence and supremacy.

Sometimes power comes in very strange forms. Sometimes people don’t even see power as power but call it something else. But, the moment you hold influence over others you are in a position of power. If you find yourself in this life location you must be very careful for the essence of power cannot only overpower you and cause you to do bad things but it can hurt the life or one person or a lot of people. If you are intentionally seeking power, then you are already controlled by the lust for power. Thus, the negative aspects of this mindset control who and what you are and who or what you can become.

Power is dangerous. You must steer clear of people who use their power to control the lives of other. You must do this even is they do it with a smile on their face or by quoting the bible or the books of law.

What is the antidote to power? Kindness. Be kind. Whether you possess power or do not, always be kind and from this all life is allowed to be what it was meant to be.

Never seek power, as it is a false god that will eventually leave you destitute. Seek goodness. Seek caring. Seek helping. Seek kindness. Make the world a better place by possessing no power.

The Zen Filmmaking Tribe Just Got Smaller

Sadly, Julie Strain passed away a couple of days ago. She died from complication from dementia that she had been suffering from for the past several years. She believed she got dementia from a traumatic brain injury she incurred when she was in her early twenties from being thrown from a horse. Scary… Julie was four years younger than me and I too suffered a traumatic brain injury when I was in my early twenties when a car hit me while I was riding my motorcycle fracturing my skull in numerous places.

I always liked Julie. She was one of those very nice, very fun people. We spent a lot of time filming Zen Films at her home in Bel Air when she was married to Kevin Eastman. It was a great place. We used to call it the, “Turtle Mansion,” as Kevin is the co-creator to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There was this gigantic painting of Julie that hung on the wall of the living room. I think that painting and its placement truly depicted who she truly was.

Julie was a talented person full of all kinds of fun and even crazy creative ideas. She was pretty much high all day long. She would get up, wake and bake, then smoke dope periodically all day long. I never smoked with her. I don’t like the high, though she always offered. But, some of our cast and crew did partake from time to time. Then, come eight o’clock, she was off to bed. Had to get her beauty sleep.

Her house was always filled with the famous and the beautiful. The list of friends she had was astonishing. When I was there we would be sitting around with some of the A-list of Hollywood royalty or prominent porn stars.

During the time I was working with Julie she had a very high-end publicist. Via this pathway she invited Don and I to be on a couple of big TV shows she did. I remember this one time she was at an event called, “Dragonfest,” back in the late 90s. This was a martial arts meet and greet thing. I was invited, as obviously I’ve written a lot of stuff on the martial arts and have been involved forever but Julie and Kevin also had a signing table there that year. It was crazy, sure people knew about the Ninja Turtles and were waiting to get a signed photo of Kevin with the Turtles but most did not even know what Julie had or had not done but there was a mile long line to get her autographed photo. She was quite a presence. This, when just the year before, Kevin and I walked around the event and I had to tell people who he was. Kevin is also a great human being!!! I was always so thankful for what they both brought to our productions.

Julie was truly a one of a kind individual. With her passing, gone is one more piece of the puzzle to the original Zen Filmmaking troupe. First was Don, (Donald G. Jackson), then Karen (Black), Z’Dar, Conrad (Brooks), and now Julie. There is almost none of the original team left. Very sad! Julie was a great, beautiful (inside and out), talented individual and will truly be missed.

It’s Easy to Say You Want To Do Something But It’s Much Harder to Do It

How often do you think about doing something but do not do it? Maybe it is some creative project, maybe it is something that needs doing around your home, maybe it is reaching out to someone and doing something nice for them? How often you envision something in your mind and actually do it comes to be the definition of your life in the mind’s eye of all of the people Out There. How often you envision something in your mind but do not do is comes to be the definition of all of things you could have been but were not.

Doing is the ultimate pathway of physical life. If you do, you do. If you don’t, you don’t. It is as simple as that.

Some people get motivated and do Some Thing hurtful. As I often speak of, anger is a powerful motivator. But, it is also a very negative one as this is the sourcepoint of so much hurt and damage in the world. Certainly, with the birth of the internet, this gave rise as a vehicle for many to vent their frustration at whatever or whomever. Keyboard Warriors abound. But, is that actually doing anything? It is doing but in this doing nothing positive is done. It is simply one person using their interpersonal dissatisfaction as a motivator to lash out. The person of consciousness never does this, however, as they understand that hurt or damage, based upon personal judgments, leads to nothing more than bad karma coming their own direction.

Doing with a conscious purpose is what True Doing is all about. This is where Good-ness is born.

So, let’s get back to the question, “How often do you think about doing something but do not do it?”

When you envision something and do not actually do it do you truly study why you have not done it? Do you look inside yourself and find the reason why you did not do it?

For many, they will find a long list of excuses of why they can’t or couldn’t do it. For others, they simply write it off as that is just who they are. But, without the doing, nothing is done. Without the doing, you have accomplished nothing and have provided nothing positive or new to the greater whole of the world, life, humanity, and your own creative process.

So, take a moment. Right now, define what it is you would like to do creatively or otherwise. What can you do to do that something that you want to do and/or create? Do it! Set about on a path that will allow you
today to bring that creation into reality.

The fact is, the more you do the more you are motivated to do. The more you actually do the more your mind is trained in the fact that it can be done.

So, what do you want to do? Do it. It will make you feel more whole and complete and it will be the gift of giving your creativity to the world.

Where Your Power Lies

Interestingly, President Trump was banned from Twitter today; apparently forever. They say it is due to his instigating the riot that took place at the Capital on Wednesday. Now, I’m not going to go into the who, what, when, where, or why about all that but what I am going to say is, think about it, the President of the United States of America, supposedly the most powerful person on the planet, has just been banned from using an internet platform by someone who does not like what he has to say. Wow!

From an unbiased perspective, that is pretty crazy when you think about it. A company, a person or persons at that company, are in control of the President of the United States of America. They are telling him what he can or cannot say or do on their platform. In times gone past, one would have thought that POTUS could do whatever he wanted. …That if some person or company would have messed with him throughout the centuries; look out. But, Twitter did it. They took away one of this man’s favorite toys. It truly leaves me confounded.

But, the whole point to this little ditty is, if someone can do that to POTUS, if someone can control an individual in that massive position of power to that degree, why should you or I believe we have any power at all? I mean think about it, think about how many people are out there flexing their muscles, showing off their power everyday. Think how many tough guys (and girls) and how many bullies there are. Think about the people who flex their power in much more sublet ways. Most get away with it. They do so until someone bigger and better steps up to them. But, for most of us, for the everyone else, we are simply trying to get by and live our lives as best we can. We do what we do, we like what we like, we dislike what we dislike, and maybe some of us even try to get our opinions out there. But, all that we say or do is ultimately controlled by that someone else.

The lesson is all this is, when you have no control you have no control. When you are not the person in the position of control you cannot take control. That person, that being, that entity, can take everything away from you and there is nothing that you can do about it. Scary, but true. Scary, but that is life.

So, what can we learn from all of this? Like I always say, “You can only play in your own playground.” The moment you step outside of your safety zone, the moment you leave your space of control, you are out of control. The people or the powers-that-be can take things away from you, maybe things you really care about, and there is not a damn thing you can do about it.

That’s why the truly transcendent person remains removed from all things World.

***

You can't remember what you don't remember.

Outer Self and the Project of the Inner Self

The moment you meet someone, they form an opinion about you. They do this by looking at what you are wearing, the way you wear your hair, what you say, and if they like the way you look or not. Within just a moment or two they decide who they believe you are and for many/for most they never change their opinion about you. Who they think you are is what they think you are and that is that. But, are you that person? Are you the person you project on the outside or are you something else?

For most of us, we wear the style of clothing that we feel best describes our life, our lifestyle, and our mindset. For most of us, we wear our hair in a manner that makes us feel good about ourselves. For most of us, we speak in the way we were taught to speak further defined by how we wish to be interpreted. But, think about the days that you wear something that you really do not like. Think about the time when you received that bad haircut. Think about the times when you spoke but the words just came out wrong. We have all been there. We have all experienced that. We have all met people during those periods of time. And, from this, people have drawn conclusions about us but where those conclusions correct?

Think about the people you have met as you have passed through your life. Maybe bring one or two of those people into clear focus—people that you actually remember your first meeting. What was you initial impression of them? Then, how much did your impression of them changed over the days, weeks, months, or years that you knew them? Very little, I would imagine. Yes, you may have gotten to know them better, you may have become aware of some of the intricacies of their personality, (good or bad), but did your initial definition of them ever truly change? Probably not.

Most people live in a space of life presentation. They intentionally project to the world how they wish to be viewed. Who a person is becomes defined in their own mind. Within each culture, within each subculture, a person becomes who and what they can become and then they project that self-defined person to the world via clothing, hairstyle, and mostly words.

Think about the priest, what do they wear? They wear a style of clothing that identifies them as a priest. Think about a police officer, they wear a style of clothing that identifies them as a cop. Think about someone who is in the military, they wear a style of clothing that identifies them as a soldier. Yes, what they are on the inside is not necessarily all that they present on the outside, but what they wear defines what they have strived to become and from this they set the definition of their life.

How often do you ask yourself, how does the world perceive me? Do others see you and, by how you look and what you wear, can they draw an instant conclusion about who you truly are?

How often do you truly contemplate how you perceive another person? Do you simply see them and decide who you think they are?

What someone thinks you are becomes the definition conceive in the minds of the people who meet you. But, who you are and why you have arrived at this placement in life is far more complex.

If you do not clearly define yourself to yourself—if you do know truly understand how you arrived at who you are in your own mind can you truly know yourself? Moreover, if you are not a clearly defined person what can people conclude when they draw conclusion about you? This is the same when you meet and draw conclusion about others. Is what they project to the world who and what they truly are? Is who and what they are clearly defined in their own minds or are they simply an imposter attempting to be something they truly are not? Moreover, is what you think a person is truly who they are or is what you think they are simply something that you concluded in your own mind but is far from the truth?

Few people truly contemplate the intricacies of their own life. Few people truly contemplate how they actually arrived at being who they are? Do you? Most people, however, are quick to place the judgment of what they think another person is onto that person—be it right or wrong. Do you?

Life is complex. A person’s life is very complex. If you do not take the time to know who you truly are and why you have arrived at being who you are, how can anyone else ever truly know you because you do not know yourself? If all you do is think you know who a person is—if all you do is judge who you define that person to be than you have negated who that person truly is because you have not gotten to know the true inner them. Thus, all you have done, from a very egocentric mindset, it to judge who you believe them to be.

First, truly come to know yourself. Second, allow people to be who they truly are, and come to actually know them if you wish. Leave behind judgment in both case, and the world; each person, is allowed to be who they are actually meant to be.

When There Are No Consequences

How many times in your life have you felt that someone did something wrong to you but they did not suffer any adverse reaction for them doing that evil deed? I believe for most of, at some point in our life, we have experienced times when we felt that way. Maybe we had something stolen, maybe somebody told some lie about us, maybe someone hurt us in some manner—whatever the case, most likely, we have all encountered situations where we were hurt by the actions of others and we felt they suffered no adverse consequences for doing what they did.

Certainly, if we are a conscious individual we must look at it from the other person’s point of view. Maybe they did something innocently and it just turned out wrong or maybe they didn’t mean it. For them, forgiveness and understanding is the best tool. But, for the majority of life events, when our life, our body, or our possessions are attacked there is one person in the wrong and we all know who they are.

Take a moment and think about your own life. Define one of those moments where you were hurt by the actions of someone else. Were their actions performed in a conscious manner? Did they do what they did with an intended outcome? The answer for most is, yes. A person did what they did knowing or not caring how their actions would hurt your life. So, who is at fault? Without question, they are.

Turn this around for a moment. Think about a time when you hurt someone else. Did you do what you did with intent? If so, why did you do it? Why did you want to hurt that other person? Why did you want to steal? Why did you want to lie? Why did you want to hit? Why did you want to hurt? Or, why did you not care if you hurt that other person? Really take a few moments and define this in your mind. Why did you do it and what were the consequences to you and to the life of that person who you hurt?

For many, when they are hurt they attempt to strike back. For some, this involves telling their stories and/or reporting the crime.

For most who hurt or damage the life of others, and if they are caught, their response involves making excuses, “I did what I did because…” For still others, it involves making up lies—attempting to turn the cause of hurt back around on the other person. But, what is all of this? What does any of this do? Does it change anything or undo the hurt? No, it does not. It simply extenuates the entire process.

It can and should be said that in life we should all be very conscious and knowingly attempt to hurt no one. And, in most cases, as one matures in life, this becomes more and more the coda. Yet, hurt always exists out there. And, hurt is most commonly done by one person to another; no matter how many people are actually involved. In many cases, a person gets away with it. They hurt and they receive no consequences. Then what?

One of the biggest problems in this whole equation is the source of the pain. Who did what to whom and why?

The thing is, there is always one person who exists at the point of inception. There is one person who came up with the idea that eventually leads to hurting someone else. Yes, they are the one to blame. Yes, they are the one who should pay the price for their crime, but do they? In many cases, it does not appear as if they do. Then what?

Now, I could go on about the intricacies of karma and how they will get theirs. But, as I always say, just because a person pays the price for the crime that does not replace or repair the damage to the life of the person they injured. In fact, some people are so wrongfully bold that they take pride in their inflicted injuries and never even think about repairing them.

In life, everybody has a reason for doing what they do. They have a reason that is very logical and sound in their own mind. The hold this reason, they take pride in this reason, and this reason causes them to act, often times in a manner that hurts the life of someone else. They do this until they are stopped. But, stopping someone after they have already done what they have done does not remove the damage that they have caused.

Sure, if you know who the person is who did the bad deed to your life you can go and kick their ass. But, that is illegal. That too is a bad deed. That too may cause you to suffer consequences; legal or otherwise. That is simply you reacting to what someone else has done, thus that person who instigated the bad act in the first place remains in absolute control of the situation.

To begin to find a cure for this situation it must begin with you. Who have you hurt? Have you even tried to repair or erase any hurt you caused? If you have not, how can you focus solely on the hurt inflicted upon you? Thus, no matter how hurt you become at the hands of someone else, if you are not WHOLE enough to see and repair your own wrong doings than why should anyone have any sympathy for you?

Yes, some people may use these words as means to justify their own wrong deeds. But, they are entirely missing the point. Wrong is wrong. Hurt is hurt and you should never do it. If you do hurt someone, intentionally or otherwise, do all you can to fix it. If not, you will forever remain the one at fault.

Who Cares About You?

Who cares about? No really, who cares about you? Right now, take a moment and compose a list of people in your mind that you believe actually care about you. Perhaps your list is long. Perhaps you have very few. But, now comes the next, most important step, truly analyze the list of people you have composed in your mind; do each of those people truly care about you and why?

There is the old saying, “Blood is thicker than water.” This saying refers to the fact that people who are of the same family, the same bloodline, will more commonly than not stick together. Sure, there are some family members that just hate each other but it is much more common that even if there is conflict within a family, one member doesn’t really like another relative, that they will remain in close contact throughout their life. In fact, in most families, the various members will instantly step up to help a family member the moment they need it.

Outside of direct family, however, things get more complicated. So again, take a moment and define the people that you believe care about you outside of your direct family. Ask yourself, “Why does that person care about me?” Truly delve into this question. Truly analyses your relationship. Why does that person care about you?

Most commonly, in life, people are drawn to other people via various physical explanations. They like the way they look. They are pretty. They are smart. They can do something for them. They hope to hook up. Being with them will somehow make their life something more than it is without them. But now, think about your own life. Think about someone you once cared about but they are no longer a part of your life. What changed? Why did you let go of your caring? Most probably, they did something you didn’t like or they did not give you something that you wanted. Maybe, they weren’t the person you initially thought they were or they simply left you behind by one method or another. But, did that person really change or was it simply your perception of them that changed? Why do you no longer care about them?

Now, flip this around. Think about someone that you believed cared about you but has now exited your life. Why did they go? What did you do to drive them away? Or, did they simply reinterpret who you were and what your relationship was and decided it was not beneficial to them so they are gone?

People base their caring about what’s in it for them. Again, truly think about it, why do you care about anyone? Again, truly analyze, why does anyone care about you?

If you can be honest with yourself, if you do not allow yourself to fall into relationship illusion, you can chart your path through your life without falling prey to the broken heart syndrome—where someone leaves you alone and heart broken and you do not know why.

People do what they do based upon what is good for themselves. Though many will deny this fact… Though many will lie to themselves about this fact… Though many will tell others that it is not true and they are in it for them… No person remains in a relationship unless there is a need to do so. Yes, this need may be truly messed up, with all kinds of psychological complications attached, but people do what they do to meet a need that they have. Again, why do the people you believe care about you, care about you? If you cannot be honest enough with yourself to truly answer this question, then you are left with a life based in a belief system that can be shattered at any moment simply by a person changing their mind about you.

How Many Times Did You Blow It?

In each of our lives there are situations where we were offered an opportunity but, for some reason or another, we did not take it—we turned it down. The reason we make these choices are so many that they all cannot even be listed. But, the fact of the matter is, we could have done something but we did not do it and we are left forever understanding that we made the wrong decision.

How about you? How many times did you blow it? How many times were you offered a chance to make your life, your life situation, your life relationship(s), your financial wellbeing, your creative out put, (you name it); how many time were offered a chance but you did not take it?

The thing about life is you only get one chance. Sure, you may get other chances father down the road but they are something different. They are not what you were once offered.

For all of us, there is that something that we had the chance to accept, to do, to live, to experience but we did not do it. What did that not doing mean to the ultimately evolution of your life?

Sure, we can all play philosopher and say, “It wasn’t meant to happen.” But, that’s not reality, those are just words. You made a choice and you did not do something, what did that not doing ultimately mean to your life?

I have known people that have come from very humble circumstances and they made the choice to do something and they elevated the level of their life greatly. For some this was done via study and earning the appropriate degree for them to gain credibility in their field. For some this was done by marriage. For others this was done by marriage and then divorce. For certain individuals it was done by focusing on their dream and then meeting and surrounding themselves with the people that could lead them to the plateau they desired. For some it meant doing whatever it took to get them to where they wanted to be. But, no matter where these people progressed their lives towards, the one factor that got them there was that they accepted the opportunity—they took the opportunity that was given to them, they did not turn it down.

Some people define their life by what they did not do. Some people realize their mistake and struggle to regain what they should have done. Others sit back in misery ponding the fact of their bad choice and define their life by what they consider to be their, “Greatest mistake.” But, this is all Mind Games. It is not doing.

Take a moment right now and define one or more of those situations in your life—those opportunities that you were given but turned down or messed up. Think to those remembrances that periodically come to your mind where you recall that situation or that certain someone that you should have embraced or treated differently. Clearly bring it or them into focus. What was that situation? Who was that person? What did you do to blow it? Why did you blow it?

It’s important to not make this an exercise in, “Whoa is me.” It’s also essential that you do not sit there and wallow in your misery about the, “What you didn’t do and how it ruined your life.” Because you did live your life. It was just lived differently than it would have been if you had made a different choice. It is also important not to fantasy about what your life would have been like, “If only…” It didn’t happen and that is that.

The reason you want to bring one or more of those life-changing moments into focus is that it will reveal to you the nature of your being. It lets you know who you were THEN and perhaps provide you with WHY you find yourself where you find yourself in your life today.

In some case, you can reconstruct Life Situations. You can reach out to the person or persons involved. You can give IT (whatever IT is) another go. Mostly, however, what is gone is gone; the chance you had
then you will never have again so you must live with that fact. But, what you really need to do in life, in your life, is to consciously move past your mistakes and come to a new and better understanding of yourself and your life in order that you make clearer, more directed decision in the future.

At any moment of your life everything can change. We can never gage where the next opportunity may come from. But, it is we, the person, who we truly are, that must be ready to take advantage of an opportunity when it is presented to us. To do this, you must be of the right mind and open to the newness and/or the unexpectedness of any new life prospect.

Take a moment or two, look to your mistakes of the past. Seek them out in your mind, remember them, and experience the reason for making the choice you made. Then, move forward/move past that mistake. Consciously make yourself ready for the new, for the next opportunity that comes you way.

Life is a GREAT opportunity. Each day is new. Each day is unexpected. Each day is what you make of it. Allow new opportunities to come into your life. When they do, say, “Yes.”

The Art and the Impact of Cultural Appropriation

When I was young, I had a friend who was a member of what was called, “The Indian Dance Troupe.” They also had a secondary name, defining their specific group, something like, “Shoshone Tribe.” What these people did was dress up in these very elaborate costumes with bells and feathers—they dressed the way they believed the Native Americans of long ago would have dressed. The thing was, there was not a Native American among them. Everyone who participated was White. Where they originally got the dances they performed from I do not know but all of these White people would get together, practice, and put on shows mimicking the sounds, the songs, and the dances of a people they had very little true knowledge about.

My friend would always ask me to join the troupe. I always declined. I just felt there was something Not Right about all that was going on.

When I was maybe twelve, we had moved so I changed my Hapkido instruction to a new school. There was a group of Native Americans who attended this school. And though, of course, I was an outsider to their culture, studying with them and befriending them allowed me to have a small view into true Native American Culture in big city America. I was truly glad I never disrespected them by joining that dance troupe.

Around this time, the television series Kung Fu came on TV. As we all know, it is a show about a Shaolin Priest/Kung Fu Master who immigrated to America. The thing was, the character was portrayed by a White man pretending to be half Chinese. Certainly, this TV show has gone down in history as being a positive influence to the spiritual evolution of the Western mind and to the martial arts in general. I too liked the show. But, is what was presented in this TV series historically accurate or was it simply the idealized image of what some person romanticized about a culture, a specific time in history, and a school of the marital arts?

Soon after this time period I entered into the period of my life where I was closely involved with those who practiced Eastern Mysticism. Everyone, including myself, generally wore what we believed to be Eastern style clothing. Though most of us, including myself, were true believers, were we a true part of what actually defined the Eastern understanding of religion and religious knowledge? No, we were not. But, it took me traveling to India (by myself) to come to understand that we were anything but.

People look outside of themselves and their culture to find that something more—that something better that they believe must be out there. They do this because they feel a sense of inadequacy with what they are experiencing. There is always the promise that the culture they focus their intentions upon is or was somehow better—that it/that they know that something more that will fill the hole that some people are experiencing in their lives. The fact is, nothing can give you what you don’t have. By its very definition, what you do not have is what you do not have. Yes, the pursuit of other cultures can fill your time, and some my find solace in that, but it will not change your core being. To do that, you must change your definition of the emptiness that you feel within yourself. How do you do that? You become. That does not mean that you try to become something that you are not. What it means is that you become the most you can be, defined by where you find yourself in life, time, and culture.

If you look outside of yourself, hoping to become something that you are not, then you will spend your entire life chasing a false dream. You are what you are. Embrace that and become whole in that knowledge.

When You’re Not the One in Charge

Have you ever been in one of those situations where you must get something done—do it as best as you can do it and you bring someone else onboard to help you but you can tell that they just don’t care? I think many of us have encountered situations such as this. This is especially the case when we are the owner of a business or the head of a crew and we must hire someone, as one person alone cannot complete the job, but the person we hire just does not ultimately care about the job they are doing.

When you do a job, whatever that job may be, how focused are you on doing it right? Do you define that job by how much you are getting paid? Do you define that job by what it will do for you life? Do you define that job by how much power or control you are given, leading to how much your ego is being stroked? Or, do you simply look at the job at hand and do it to the absolute best of your ability whether you are getting paid anything or not?

The doing of anything begins with the definition of how willing the person doing the doing is focused upon doing the best job possible. But, how few are the people who are willing to care when they are not the one who will ultimately receive the glory or be blamed at the completion of that job? This is why so few employees truly care about the jobs they do and/or how they treat other workers or customers because its just a job. They are there to get paid. If they do a bad job and get fired maybe they may get angry but it will never be them who will pay the ultimate price if a business fails and must be closed down or the job at hand is never completed.

I know from a personal perspective, I have been very lucky with many of the people I have brought on to compete the films I have made. But, every now and then, there is that one person who really comes onboard with the intention of either not caring or actually trying to harm the process. As in all life situations, one may question, “Why?” But, in actuality, the answer is quite clear and quite simply; it is not their project so they
just don’t care.

In life, we are all cast to being interactive with other people. In life, we are all destine to work for or have others work for us. We can hope, in these life situations, that the other person will care about the completion of that anything as much as we do, but it is unlikely that will always be the case. Sad, but true.

What is the answer to this life dilemma? The first thing is we must try to surround ourselves with those of like mind who truly care about the task at hand. But, some people, by their very nature, are deceptive. They lie and they pretend. They deny any responsibility anytime that they are called to task. Due to this fact, no matter how much you expect from a person, that expectation may never be met because there is no guarantee that when it comes time for them to truly step up to the plate that they will be willing to what is required of them.

Ultimately, most people only care about themselves. They are only defined by what is on their mind, what is in their mind, and what emotions and programming are controlling their mind. Meaning, a person is what they are and you can never make them anything more. If they care about you, great! If they care about their job, great! If they care about other people: the customers, the fans, great! If not, there is nothing you can do to change their focus and make them into the person you believed or you hoped they would be.

As you walk through life choose you friends, your associates, your workers, and your care givers carefully because when it comes time to complete the task at hand they are the only one you can truly rely upon. If they don’t care, they don’t care. If they only care about themselves, they only care about themselves.

Be the kind of person who cares. Be the kind of person who, when you are asked to do something, (for pay or otherwise), that you see the purpose of your mission and do that job with the integrity that is require to get it done right.

Be that right person. Be that caring person. Be that person who gets the job done right.

***

Saying you're sorry doesn't change the damage that you've caused.

Harshing Your Mellow

I imagine that there is not one person out there who has not been going through their day, perhaps quite happily, when all of sudden someone else forces their way into your Life Experience and really brings you down. Maybe they do this in a small way or maybe they do this in a big way. But, one way or the other, what they have done is to truly kill your buzz, bring you down, and removing any peace, joy, or happiness that you may be feeling.

When these situations occur, they usually do so quite shockingly. Meaning, you don’t see them coming. For it is certain that you do not want them to happened and if you had a choice you would not allow them to happen. But, BAM, out of nowhere, they do happen.

On the end of the recipient, these situations are most commonly totally unexpected. For the person who instigates them, however, sometimes they are anything but.

There are certain people out there who want to force their way into a person’s life. They want to get a reaction. Why, is anyone’s guess? But, there is a certain subset of people who want to alter the Life Path of someone else in a less than ideal manner. Not good! That is a clear definition of a Not Good Person. But, those people are out there.

Mostly, however, these situations come out of nowhere. They occur via the unconscious action(s) of the perpetrator. For example, I think to a couple of times where my car was rear-ended by the driver behind me messing around with his phone. From that, BAM. A total good experience killer.

Here in California, it is actually illegal to have your phone in your hand while driving. But, look around, there are many-many people who still do.

One of these situations occurred, a couple of years ago, when my lady and I were rear-ended. I was riding in the passenger seat of her car. We were happily driving home from this new boutique ice cream shop and BAM, an Uber driver, on his phone, powerfully hit us from behind, as he did not realize he was coming up to a stoplight. Her car was totaled. A car she really liked. Thus, gone was our moment of ice cream induced happiness, leading to dealing with all of the dealing-with of a crashed car and buying a new one, and all that, all because someone was behaving in an unconscious manner.

Most, “Harsh Your Mellow,” situations are not that intense. But, they are nonetheless instigated by the unconscious action(s) of someone else and then fueled by specific personality traits of the instigating individual.

For example, I was at Starbucks yesterday. I pretty much go to Starbucks everyday. I did a mobile app order as I tend to do in these days of the pandemic. I walked in and was happily greeted by some of the baristas who know me. They gave me my latte but my bagel was not ready. Unusual, but I was told it would be coming soon. No big deal. As I was standing there, in walks this barista I had never seen before. I have to be politically correct here, but as it is important to the storyline, I need to describe this individual. This was one of those people in transition; I believe from male to female. The person was tall with their blonde hair tightly tied back. As they checked into their job, on the store’s iPad, they looked over in my direction and gave me a really harsh look. Why? I have no idea. I never saw them before. But, they did. Anyway, after several minutes of waiting, and still no bagel, I walked over to the young man who was doing that type of thing behind the counter and inquired about my bagel. He looked at me and said they didn’t have anymore everything bagels, which is what I had ordered. My question to him was, “Why didn’t you tell me?” The aforementioned person, who wasn't part of this conversation, immediately went off on me, telling me I wasn’t being nice, why wasn’t I kind, etc, etc., etc… My thought was, “How is asking a person why you didn’t tell me about my bagel, while leaving me standing there for who knows how long, being anything negative?” The barista was totally making a scene, completely ruining my Starbuck experience. I could have exchanged words with them, but that is exactly what people like this want. They want to ruin your experience, and drag you into melodrama, all dominated by whatever is going on in their mind. Their mind, not yours. Me, I just left without my bagel.

So, this is the thing in life, we are all going to experience those moments. Those moments where someone comes out of nowhere and really takes away any joy you are feeling, pushing you down the path of non-happiness. The question you have to ask yourself is, “When these moments occur what are you going to do about it? How are you going to behave?”

In most of these situations, once they are done, they are done. There is nothing that you can do to change what has been done. The only thing that you actually have control over is how you react. How you do decide to react defines who you are as a person and what will occur next in your life, based upon the situation that you were handed but had no desire in creating.

Can you smile when you are upset? If you can, that may be the best medicine. Can you turn and leave when someone says something wrong, foolish, mean, or untrue to you? If you can, that may be the best medicine.

The main thing to do when these situation befall you is to not allow yourself to be dragged into them. That is what the instigator wants. They want to get a reaction out of you. They want to control your emotions and your life. Again, why? Who knows? But, they do. They want to take control over you, your thoughts, your emotions, and your reactions. If you start to argue with them, they have won. If you punch them, they have won. But, if you say nothing and walk away then you have taken back the control over your life and
you have won. You may be annoyed, angry, pissed off, or just not happy but you have not given away the control of your life.

Never let the people who want to take away your happiness gain control over your life.

Other People’s Knowledge

I was having a discussion about Japan, Korea history and the evolution of the Japanese martial arts with one of my colleagues the other day. He mentioned that he had read this Master’s Thesis on the subject where the author had referenced one of my books. He pulled it up and showed me the segment. It was interesting to read how one person had interpreted my writings. What he did was to take my research on a subject and then put his own spin on it. Certainly, all that is part and particle of the academic world. People find the research previously composed on a subject and then draw their own collusions based upon the amalgamation of their research and the writings of others.

For anyone who has walked down the path of academia you will understand that it takes time to find previously composed research on a subject, study it, and then find works that help present your own point of view and conclusions. In fact, the more previously composed works you sight in your paper, or in this case Thesis, the more likely it is that your instructor or Thesis Committee Members will find your work compelling.

I truly suggest that anyone out there take a class where research and writing is required and then really take the time to deeply research a subject and compose a documented paper. It truly opens up an entirely new realm of life-understanding as it causes you to be forced to explore the understandings of others.

There is a problem in all of this, however. And, this was one of the subjects of my colleague and my discussion. That problem is, perceived and presented rationalizations. The fact is, people want to present any understanding that they believe they understand from their own point of view. In fact, that is what the composition of a Thesis or a Dissertation actually entails; the study of previously composed documentation on a specific subject combined with individualized research into order to present a new and unique understanding about a topic defined and rationalized by the mind of the student. The key premise in all of this is, however, an individual’s personal point of view. One person studying what has previously been documented and then finding the appropriate texts to support their own point of view.

But, what is a point of view? Is a point of view fact or is it personal perception? If one truly contemplates this subject, the answer is obvious. Yet, there it is, all of this information being present in a Thesis as fact, based upon all of the previously prepared research, that was also presented as fact, that has been published in books, and then conglomerated by the student hoping to present the topic in the way they perceive the subject.

One of the things I do in life is critique the writings presented to publishers from authors in hopes of acquiring a book deal. I think back to this one manuscript I was asked to read by this one publisher. It was a book on the history of the Korean martial arts. Just as my colleague and I were discussing, you cannot understand the Japanese or the Korean martial arts without understanding the history and the evolution of both of these cultures and ancient systems of combat.

The manuscript I was given was full of quotes from other previously published books and writings, including my own, on the subject. But, what overpowered all of this author’s research was personal opinions leading to, in some cases, false conclusions. This is where the problem arises in not only academic document creation but in the works of all authors, including myself.

As an author, specificity in the realms of non-fiction, you are asked to present a specific subject in a specific manner that then may be consumed by the reader. In many cases, you are asked to present the subject in a manner that was prescribed by an editor. Thus, you must meet their requirements if you hope to have the book published. This is the same in the world of academia, what you write must be written in a manner that will be accepted by those people judging your writings. What does this all lead to? What it leads to is expected and acceptable conclusions.

All writing, by all people, whether they are academically trained or not, is defined by a point of view. That point of view may or may not be based upon a very prescribed set of parameters, dictated by someone other than the author or not. But, whatever the case, there is a set of rules that must be followed either in the publishing or the academic world.

What does this leave us with? It leaves us with a world of writings based upon a prescribed set of expected standards combined with a person’s personal opinion. Meaning, all things that you read must be understood to be less than one-hundred truthful and valid as they are composed by the mind of one or more individuals presenting a specific subject from a prescribed point of view.

The person’s Thesis that I just mentioned interpreted my writings to suit his own needs. Were his quotes of my work construed as I had meant them to be understood? No, they were not. They were his interpretations of my research. They were him defining my writings (as others) based upon his own individualize perception. Thus, though his Thesis was a work of supposed history, was it? Or, was it simply his decided upon perception of history?

All life is defined by what you think. All life is defined by what the person next to you thinks. Do you think the same thing? Probably not. Moreover, what do you base your thinking upon? Is it true research that you personally investigated? Or, is it simply opinion with documentation, presented as fact, composed by the mind of a person with a prescribed point of view to present?

One really needs to question anyone’s presentation of knowledge. Because is what they are saying truth or is what they are saying simply their interpretation of someone else’s opinion based upon the previously composed research of someone else who is also presenting the subject based upon their own point of view?

Purpose Verse Intent and the Why a Person Does What They Do

The Sanskrit word, “Varta,” is the translation of the English word, “Purpose.” More exactly, “Varta,” describes someone with a firm purpose as to what they hope to achieve. The Sanskrit word, “Kardatha,” defies someone having a very specific or highly defined goal.

If we look to the world, if you look to yourself, how many people have a very specific goal—a very designated endpoint that they hope to achieve? Yes, most everyone has a daydream, “Divasvapna,” that something that they wish they could achieve, but how few are the people that set a clear path to its achievement?

Though there are several words that can be used to translate the English word, “Purpose,” into the Sanskrit language, perhaps the most commonly used word is, “Azaya.”

A person’s purpose is why they are attempting to make something happen in their life and/or the life of other people. Now, this is where one of the primarily elements of Life Accomplishment comes into play and how it affects the overall evolution of the individual. Why is a person doing what they are doing? What do they hope to achieve?

If we look to the person who is centered onto themselves, and if they possess a clear purpose, they hope to achieve something to make themselves that something more—they hope to achieve and become that something that they consider better. Though one may argue that this style of, “Purpose,” is based in ego and therefore by that very definition it removes a person from following the Higher Path of consciousness, it is nonetheless a clear purpose. Thus, they hold a clear intent.

Many people in this world place their focus outside of themselves. They define their life by what and who is outside of them. They do not focus on making themselves that something more—becoming that better, more accomplished, and fulfilled individual, instead they want to do something that affects the life of someone else. Some people do this a mean of helping others, while others do it as a mean to hurt others. Though one of these pathways is obviously of the higher calling, they both have one primary foundational element; they cause a person to place their focus outside of themselves. Thus, all that is done will not and cannot cause that person to find a Higher State of Self. At best, all any of their actions can do is to provide that person with a sense of elation. Therefore, all they are ultimately doing is taking a drug. The drug of doing something to or for someone else that makes them feel a specific kind of sensation.

Each individual has the choice to make about what they do with their life. Some people set a clear goal at becoming the best person that they can be. Others hope to become revered in the eyes of others. While still others hope to influence the life of people outside of themselves in either a positive or a negative manner. The question that few people ask themselves, however, is why are they doing what they are doing; what is their purpose and what is their internet?

To truly understand life, to truly understand your life, and to truly come to a clear conclusion about why you are living what you are living and why you have encountered what you have encountered as you have passed through your life, you must come to understand your self-proclaimed purpose and your self-defined intent.

Take a moment right now and think about it. Clearly bring into your mind what is your purpose and what is your intent. Why have you done what you have done? Why are you about to do what you are about to do?

Whatever your answer is that is your answer. There are no right or wrong answers. But, if you have truly investigated your motivational pathway not only will you have done something that few people ever take the time to understand but you will also have come to a much clearer conclusion about who you are, why you are, and what you can expect to happen next in your life.

Each person is defined by their purpose and their intent. What are yours?

***

A replica is never the original.

Cutting the Line for the COVID Vaccine

A little over a week ago, the first and then the second vaccine(s), promised to combat the COVID-19 pandemic this earth is facing, were released. As expected, there have been problems getting the vaccine out to the people. Last night on CNN I heard that only about ten percent of the vaccines that have been distributed have gotten out to the people in the first tier of recipients; namely first responders, hospital doctors and nurses, and the elderly living in retirement communities. That’s what I thought would happen. There is no plan.

I know a lot of people out there don’t trust and/or do not want to receive the vaccine. I get it. What are they shooting into our arms? And, what are the long-term side effects? Who knows??? But, it is the only hope we have right now. This pandemic has devastated the earth and destroyed the lives of so many people. I too have been affected, like so many-many others.

Yesterday, I was told about this person… I’m trying to find the best way to say who she is… It’s complicated… Let’s leave it at she is someone fairly close to me. In any case, is she a first responder: an EMT, a paramedic, a fireman, or a policeman? No. Is she a doctor or a nurse who must deal with the horrendous amount of people flooding the hospitals with COVID-19 everyday? No. Is she someone like a grocery store worker, a department store clerk, a Starbucks barista, or a bank teller who must go face-to-face with people everyday to pay their rent? No. What she is, is a person in a high-powered position of authority at the corporate level of a large hospital chain. But, does she go into the hospitable everyday? No, she does not. Like so many others she has been working from home for the past nine months. Yet, due to her position, she was one of the first to get the vaccine. This truly made me angry.

She has a very unique name and there was a part of me that thought to put it out there on the internet and tell the world what she did, as it would be very easy for the internet hordes to seek her out. But, that’s just not the kind of person that I am.

The fact is, what she did was and is wrong. She cut the line. She got the vaccine when so many others, who truly need it, have not. I see on the news that, here in L.A., there are many nurses protesting because they can’t get the vaccine yet the must go into the ER everyday hoping to save the lives of others. Yet, there she was, a person with power, thoughtlessly thinking of no one else but herself, and getting the vaccine before so many others, who truly need it, have not received it as of yet. That is just wrong!

After I found this out last night, (and was fairly pissed), I was asked, “Wouldn’t you get the vaccine right now if you could?” My answer, “In a perfect world, where everyone was being vaccinated, of course I would. But here, now, where the people who really need it can’t even get vaccinated, no I would not. I would give my dose to someone who really deserves it.”

So, this is life. There are people in the position of power. There are people who do not even think about anyone else when they do what they do as long as they can cut the line, get to the front, and get what they want before anyone else. It’s not right, but that is just the way it is. But, it shouldn’t be. People should have more care for their fellow human beings than this but for many, as with the case of the person just described, they do not.

For the rest of us, I hope the vaccine distribution program improves. But again, they have no plan, so I don’t know how it can. First we were told, twenty-million people would be vaccinated by the end of the year. We are now like three days away from the end of the year and only a small fraction, (about ten percent), of that have been vaccinated. This, while people are getting sick, people are dying, people are losing their livelihoods, all while some insignificant, selfish person, cuts the line and gets vaccinated when so many more deserving people should have gotten it long before her. Sad… What’s also sad is that she will probably never read this, as I am sure she doesn’t read this blog. No one will ever tell her how truly selfish and wrong she is. So, she will simply walk the path of her life, selfishly and uncaringly oblivious to the damage she has done. The person she took that vaccination from may die. Then what will be her karma? How many people are there like this person? Are you one of them?

My Teachers Says

Many people, when they encounter an individual that they consider to be of a more advanced or more revered position in life than themselves, remove Self-Definition and replace it with a deflection of responsibility. “My teacher says…” In the various ways these words are presented, the individual references the fact that they have a teacher, that they are a student, and that they have been guided by someone else. From this, they remove all layers of culpability and thereby are not ultimately responsible for what they say or what they do.

There is a very large problem with this mindset, however. That problem is, the person who deflects Personal Knowledge can never become the Master of their own destiny. They can never be the one that others turn to for True Knowledge as they, themselves, are proclaiming that they do not personally possess it.

Look to someone who has passed through their life and has obtained a position of authority. If you study their journey you will see that, yes, they did study a specific pathway of understand but then they emerged at the other end of that journey with a clear sense of Self Actualized truth. Yes, they were taught. Yes, they learned. But, at the end of their course of study they emerged as the True Knower of what they understand.

No matter how much a person studies and learns from another individual, it is they who translates that knowledge into Personal Understanding. If all a person does is to mirror what he or she is taught they can never become a Master of their craft. It is only the person who learns, understands, and masters whatever subject they are studying that emerges as the individual who is understood to hold the True Knowledge of what they speak.

Whenever you meet someone, truly listen to the words they speak. Truly study the source of their knowledge and who and what they claim as a source. If all a person does is speak their mind, with no basis for advanced understanding, they should not be listened to because all they are driven by is ego. If a person deflects what they say by claiming what they speak and what they teach is based upon the knowledge that someone else possess then instead of learning from them go to the source of their knowledge for that is obviously the person that holds the True Knowledge.

In life, few people Know and the ones who claim that they do usually do not, they simply pretend that they do.

Be careful whom you listen to and from whom you study. If they do not truly Know, you can never Know, as what they have to teach you is, at best, Borrowed Knowledge.

***

If you don't turn on the stove nothing will ever get cooked.

***

The question you must ask yourself in all life situations, is it getting better or is it getting worse?

The answer to that question will let you know what you need to do.

Late into the Late Night

I was kicking around late into the late night, last night. Which is something that I tend to do. In times gone past, I used to spend the late nights at nightclubs. I did that way longer than I probably should have. I was deep into my forties when I finally let them go. Now, currently, with all the COVID-19 stuff going on and all that, and everything being closed by order of the powers-that-be, I tend to spend the late nights flipping channels on TV when I’m not in the creative mode of doing something.

Speaking of those days of yore, a friend of mine sent me the link to a 2015 article written about one of my late night haunts of way back in the way back when the other day. They place was called, Zero Zero.

My buddy Venchinzo and I would hit there after slam dancing at the Starwood or the Whiskey or playing a gig at Madam Wong’s or the Hong Kong Café in Chinatown. We would grab a bottle of Jack on the way that I would stash into the pocket of my sport coat and we would sit back in the darkness of the club and let the evening roll on drinking the nasty, junkyard beer they passed out for free, intermingled with taking hits off of the bottle. We would generally leave as dawn was approaching. I would drop Venchinzo off at his place in Hollywood and I would head back to my place in Hermosa, usually arriving just as the sun was coming up. I could tell you all kinds of stories of the goings on of that place, in fact, I probably have in some forgotten piece of poetry or prose, but a paragraph from the aforementioned article by Greg Renoff probably says it best, “Out of these conversations came one of Hollywood’s most underappreciated cultural landmarks, the Zero Zero Club. Within weeks of its summer 1980 debut, the Zero Zero became the late-night destination for everyone who was anyone on the city’s wide-ranging punk scene. As the club’s reputation grew in the Hollywood underground, celebrities came to haunt the Zero Zero as well, making for late night scenes where upstart punkers and aspiring artists rubbed elbows with stars like actor John Belushi and Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth. This kind of social leveling produced gatherings where the coolest, rather than the most famous, people in town could come together to carouse and network until dawn. As former Zero Zero bartender Pleasant Gehman explains, ‘It was like going to Studio 54, without the velvet ropes. If you knew about a place like this, it meant that you were hip enough to go to it, and so it didn’t matter if you were a celebrity or not a celebrity.’”

I just checked and found that there are a couple of good online articles about the place. Search ‘em out if you feel like it…

Anyway, that was then this is now…

Flipping channels last night, I came upon the James Bond flick, License to Kill. Though not one of the stand out James Bond films, by my appraisal, it did feature by Roller Blade Seven costar, Don Stroud. For that reason alone I was drawn into re-watching it.

You know, it kind of made me think… Don Stroud, a GREAT, very respected actor, did that film in 1989. Well, they probably shot it a year earlier in 1988, as it usually takes about a year for an A-Film to be released after it is shot. The next year, in 1990, I got to meet Don Stroud on the set of one of the first films I worked on, The Confessional, which later was released as, Divine Enforcer. The next year, I got to work with him on, The Roller Blade Seven.

Stroud was always one of my favorite actors, from my youth forward. Why he stepped down from his plateau to work on such low budget films, I can only guess. But, I'm glad and thankful that he did and that I got to met him and work with him. Truly, one of the high points of my acting career. Great guy!

The point being, in all of our lives, one thing leads to another. What you do now will equal what you will be allowed to do in the future. If your vision for your destiny is clear, you can make things happen. Hell, if your vision is unclear, things still can happen but they are just far less likely to bring you to moments of intersective perfection.

I have known people from the Midwest that have come to L.A., with no true idea about the Hollywood system, yet they moved forward and made movies with some of their idols. They had the focus that made it happen. More often than not, however, I have known people who have come to Hollywood with a wild dream but were never willing to take the steps to make that dream a reality. They either did not allow their dream to materialize because of ego, being holier than thou, thinking they were too good to be humble and do jobs that were below their envisioned reality, or they bite the hand that could feed them. All of that leads to a life not fully actualized by not allowing the perfection of living the perfect moment that can happen if you are in alignment with the cosmic forces of the universe where unexpected dreams can become a reality.

Sure, most of us are not going to co-star in a James Bond film. Though most, including myself, wish that we could. But, if we allow ourselves to flow into the process of perfect evolution we then may get to work with that person that we always held a lot of respect for who was a co-star in a James Bond film. You get what I’m saying… All we have to be is receptive to the process that can place us in a position of receiving.

So, know your dream. Take the steps to make it a reality. And, even if you never climb to the pinnacle of the plateau that you hoped to inhabit, if you embrace your path with knowing humbleness than maybe, just maybe, you can scratch the surface of that dream you hold and live just a little bit of what you hoped to achieve.

***

Should you write poetry if no one is going to read it?

You Only Have a Moment to Make a Difference

There is this spider that lives inside of the mirror on the driver’s side of my lady’s car. We know this because there always seems to a spider web surrounding the mirror. Even after we wash the car, a few days later it reappears.

Though we always assumed there was a sider inside of the mirror, we never saw it. We never saw it until last weekend.

We were driving out in the Valley and she got a flat tire. As we were going to meet someone, I didn’t want to get dirty so we called up AAA to change the tire. As we were waiting for AAA to arrive, there he was, the spider came out. He extended his web a bit and dropped down from the mirror. The fact was, it was kind of fun to finally see him.

We spoke about the spider and his antics for a moment or two and then I got the idea that this would probably be a good time to set him free. …At least free him from us and my lady’s mirror.

I was on the passenger side. I got out of the car and walked around the car but by the time I got to the driver’s side, he had disappeared. He had re-hidden to his home in the mirror. Had I been a moment or two sooner, had we not discussed his existence, had I not thought about it, I could have gotten there in time. But, I did not.

The moral of the story; you only have a moment to make a difference. If you don’t do what you need to do immediately, then your chance to make a difference may be lost forever.

The Vision of Shangri-La

I was sitting out on my patio last evening, looking out over the ocean and sipping a cup of tea, as I like to do. The sun had already set but its rays still etched the colors of red and orange onto the horizon. The rest of the sky was grey as the night was coming on.

Up, over to my left, I could see what they are calling, The Christmas Star. An occurrence that has not happened for eight hundred years where Jupiter and Saturn closely aligned. I took out my binocular and checked it out. I know a lot of the people I have on the peripheries of my life were all into this occurrence—seeing all kinds of spiritual and energy ramifications, but I didn’t really feel a flux in anything.

In any case, I was sitting there, enjoying the evening, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a shooting star. It really surprised me because the sky was not yet dark and aside from the Christmas Star, there weren’t really any other stars that could be seen in the sky.

I know when you see a shooting star you are suppose to make a wish. At least that is the old wives tale. So, that thought did cross my mind. But, I realized, I didn’t want to waste my wish. Right there, in that moment, everything was okay.

You know, we all wish something in our life was different. Certainly, I have a long list of things that I would like to change and improve. I have things, situations, and people that cause my life to be less than perfect—at least less than perfect in my mind’s eye. So, if I wanted to pull out a wish from my long list, I could. But, every now and then, if we can let go and relax, seek nothing more than what we have, sit back into the perfection, we can actually embrace a small dose of Satori. We can actually feel the perfection of the perfect moment. Sure, if we want to focus on what is wrong with our life we can find the flaws. But, if we let go, sit back, relax, look out onto the horizon, take a sip from our cup of tea, we can each experience the experience that all is well with our world.

Thanks for the Publicity. Thanks for the Misinformation.

There is a certain subset of my friends who are filmmakers. Just like with any group of friends that follow a specific religion, they are going to talk about the god that they worship. Me… Filmmaking is kind of like the martial arts… It is something that I do but it is not something that I am. Other people, however, they are devout; filmmaking is all that they think about. I appreciate people like that; whatever god they worship… They are the true believers. It is all they think about equaling all that they do.

I was hanging out with one such friend the other day. A true filmmaker. As filmmaking is virtually all that they think about, filmmaking, and its general vast expansiveness, is all that they search out online.

We’re hanging out and they want to show me a couple of reviews/discussions about me and my Zen Films they have found online. Me… I just never seek that kind of stuff out. I don’t want to know! Good or bad, positive or negative; whatever… It’s all somebody else’s ideas about what they think went on but it’s all in their head. They weren’t there, they don’t know anything as fact—they never spoke to me, they don’t know my motivations or my parameters, so how can they know anything about anything? Yet, they write or they speak.

I was shown the stuff my friend had discovered. I thought the things said were funny. Mostly wrong, but funny.

I have seen it written that some people claim that I don’t like negative reviews. Again, how do they know? They don’t know me. They’ve never spoken to me. They’ve never contacted and asked me anything about anything. Yet, they make claims.

Do you ever contemplate that? Why people make claims about somebody/anybody else without knowing them personally? Anyway, before I get off subject…

True, I don’t like it when people break copyright law and use my stuff without permission, but reviews: good or bad, I could care less… I care more about the case, (and I have said this a lot of times before), that people put their ideas out there as fact when they are far-far from the truth. Come on, we all know it… There’s a lot of misinformation on the internet. Why believe anything you hear or read?

Anyway… With that part of our adventure behind us, we sat down to watch a couple of films. As my friend is a true, “Filmmaker,” all they think about is film and all that, we then watched the documentary: Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse. It’s a great doc about Coppola and the making of Apocalypse Now. I hadn’t seen that film in many-many years. It was a good watch. Then, we watched the comedy, Living in Oblivion, about an indie filmmaker who runs into a lot of problems. It features Steve Buscemi, Catherine Keener, and Dermot Mulroney among others. Good movie. That one initially got past me back in ‘95. Never saw it before. It documents a lot of the nonsense that may take place on the set of an indie film. Something that few of these reviewers of Scott Shaw and other indie filmmakers and films have any true idea about as they have never actually made a film or tried to play the Hollywood game. Again, leading to my understanding, if you don’t know how can you know?

The doc, but more intensively the film, made be laugh because it all just goes to the reality of the reality of filmmaking and how the true creator of any film must deal with so much; so many unexpected variables to get ‘er done. …Something that the reviewer will never understand.

It made me think back to a time when I was teaching a course on independent filmmaking at U.C.L.A. The movie, Bowfinger, (also about the crazy world of independent filmmaking, from a very comedic perspective), had just come out and some of my students kept referring to my declarations about filmmaking and my proclaimed methods of filmmaking were mirroring much of what was in the film. I hadn’t yet seen the film yet but once I did I totally understood what they were saying.

That’s the thing about indie filmmaking, you got to get out there and do it—do it by whatever means possible. You’re not necessarily intending it to be some great high budget epic like Apocalypse Now, (which was also an indie film, just a very high budgeted indie film), but you are attempting to get your vision onto whatever medium you are shooting on. As Francis Ford Coppola proclaims, in essence, at the end of, Hearts of Darkness, “Some fat girl with her fathers camcorder will be the one to make the next great film.” And, that’s the reality that has come to pass. Though he didn’t foresee it then, none of us did, but now you can make a great movie on your phone. You just have to get out there and do it. No, it may not be what the critics like or expect, but that it is not to say that it will not push the boundaries of art. And, that is what independent filmmaking, (or any other creation of art), is all about: doing it, creating it, making it happen, and seeing it through to its completion. That is true art.

To the critics… Thanks for the publicity, thanks for the misinformation. But, you know, instead of thinking that you know—instead of interpreting what you see, why don’t you have the integrity to go to the source and discus any film or filmmaker you are planning to do a piece about with the person at the source of that film directly? If nothing else, you will be getting closer to the truth and will not become just another person trying to get your own name and your own face out there while spreading misinformation to an internet world that is already overwhelmed with it.

To everyone else, get out there and make art. Create art, whatever art you envision. For that is truly giving something to the world.

***

How much of this moment are you going to remember?

How much of this moment are you going to live fully?

The Translation of Your Spiritually

When you are reading a holy scripture do you ever ponder the path that text took to be placed in front of your eyes?

Let’s take the Bible for example. The Bible went through a very long process of translations and adaptations to reach the state it is in today. Here, now, at this point in history, one can find many versions of the Bible presented for the public to read in numerous languages. Is the sourcepoint of these manuscripts the same? Yes, most probably, but if you read the words in these proclaimed scriptures each of these editions are presented in their own unique manner. Does this make one version of the Bible less and another one more? That is open to individualized interpretation. But, the fact is, yes, they are different. So, which one is a
true Bible?

Historians have charted the way in which the Bible came into existence so I won’t go into that here. But, all one has to do is to look to the history of the evolution of the Bible and they will easily find that it evolved in a very haphazard manner dominated by the people and the powers of eras gone past. Thus, is the Bible a creation of god or is it a creation of man?

The Christian is taught that one must have faith. But, they are also taught that their specific brand of the teaching is the best—better than the others. Thus, two branches of Christianity, though based in the same religious origin, may be interpreted very differently.

If we look to books like the Tao Te Ching, which was a big influence on my life, we see that virtually every copy you pick is translated somewhat differently. Yes, Chinese, and particularly ancient Chinese, is a very interpretive written language but two books claiming the same source, origin, and truth are vastly different when they are compared. Is one the true teachings and the other is not? Again, this is open to personal speculation.

Christians are taught that they simply must believe, that they must give their life over to, “Faith.” Meaning, you must believe what you are taught to believe. But, who are you taught by and why? Why must you believe simply because you are expected to believe?

Life and particularly spiritual life and spiritual realization are based upon personal inquiry. Inquiry of the self and inquiry of the greater cosmos, leading to communion with the absolute power of reality. If one does not question the sourcepoint for their knowledge all they become is a vehicle of belief. But, belief is never fact, it is never self-realization. Thus, if you simply take the words of any scripture as fact simply because it is printed and placed into front of your eyes to read then you are allowing whomever put those words together to be the guiding guardian of your life.

How many people claiming holiness—how many people claiming knowingness have been proven to not be true to the teachings they teach? With this simply fact as a basis, it should cause anyone who walks the path of religious spirituality to question the source of their printed knowledge as, at best, it is simply a concoction and a translation of some person’s interpretation of what they believe should be presented to the world.

Read, but always question what you are reading because there are no words written that have not been composed with an intended purpose of causing a person to believe a specific point of view. All words can be traced back to a man (or woman). All people are fallible. Thus, be careful of being guided by what you believe based on what you have read because all people hold an agenda and if they used so-called Holy Scriptures to get you to do something all of their proclamations and requests should be held suspect.

The Flashback Documentary

I don’t know about you but during this pandemic I’ve been watching a lot of TV. You can’t really go anywhere. Things are either closed via edict of the government or the infection rate is just too high. Can’t go sit down and have a nice meal at a restaurant. Closed. Can’t go have a drink (or three) at a bar. Closed. Can’t travel. No country will let people from other countries in without (at least) a long quarantine period. Can’t go to the gym as they are either closed or they are touted as having a very high infection rate. Etc, etc… Luckily, I have my own workout space but I don’t feel comfortable opening the doors to others as I don’t want it to be a vector for the transmission of the disease as the infection rate is so high here in California. Thus, a lot of unrequited free time equaling a lot of TV.

Me, I have always enjoyed watching documentaries. Just like I enjoy reading autobiographies; you can really learn a lot about a specific individual. One of the things I have noticed that has been recently taking place, in the production of documentaries, is that what a filmmaker will do is sit the person of focus down in front of the camera, interview them, and then intermix the interview with stock footage. Though this may provide a nice opportunity for the subject to tell their side of the story, this style of documentary filmmaking just seems so lethargic. I mean, aside from going to stock film houses, film vaults, and film libraries, there is very little work that is put into the project.

You might expect this style of documentary filmmaking to be done by a film student or even a network where an actor or news anchor has worked for many years. But, what I find, more times than not, is that this style of flashback documentary creation is being made by experienced, and in some cases, celebrated filmmakers. Now, I am not saying I do not watch these documentaries and in some circumstances enjoy them and learn from them but it just all seems so indolent.

Remember when documentaries presented new, unseen, undiscovered, self-created footage? That’s what I am speaking about; documentaries that cut new ground, that pushed the envelope of knowledge, understanding, and cinema as a whole.

So… This is not a criticism, this is just a conclusion; a depiction of an era where things have changed as I suppose they always do. A time when things that are not done with a creatively high level of excellence are accepted as everyone (like myself) has just been watching way too much TV.

Watching Movies You Don’t Like

I was driving down PCH today listening to this radio program on one of the local NPR stations. Each Friday they do this film review segment. Sometimes it’s really informative because they periodically discuss movies that are totally under the radar; along with many of the mainstream releases. I’ve been pointed in the direction of a few very interesting films…

You know, during this time of the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic, with all of its lockdowns, etc., there has been a lot of talk of COVID fatigue. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for young students to be kept away from their friends, their group gatherings, their proms, their graduation ceremonies, and all that. Or, to have to learn remotely, especially if your family isn’t set up with highly functioning internet access. Or, to be one of those parents with your kids at home for months upon months. Or, the people who have lost their jobs because so many businesses have been forced to close and they don't have enough food to feed themselves or their family. Those people, and others, are the ones who are really paying a very high price for this China induced epidemic. But, as for me, my COVID fatigue has been watching bad movies…

Now, I’ve got access to so many stations and streaming services it isn’t even funny. Fios, Netflix, Showtime, Epix, Starz, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, you name it… But, what has really come to haunt me is how many bad movies there are out there. …At least movies I find to be bad. Sometimes, I scan the stations for an hour or more just trying to find something I’m willing to watch.

My lady isn’t like that. She can watch bad films. She is so much more forgiving than I. Whenever we are in our pods on one of those long international flights, she watches movie after movie. Once I’ve gone through a couple, I just lay back in meditative semi-sleep consciousness because I just don’t wanna see things I don’t wanna see.

The point to this little ditty is… So often, when I am listening to film reviewers, they just sit there and bag the movie they are reviewing. They hate
A LOT of the movies they have to watch. Me, I just can’t imagine that kind of life. How can you spend the hours of your days, (as few as those hours of life actually turn out to be), watching something that you hate? I mean, shouldn’t you only be doing things that make you happy as much as possible?

I get it; some people pay their rent by reviewing movies. Most people aren’t like that, however. Just look at the reviews of movies on the internet; how many people hate what they watch? If you hate it, why watch it? Even if you’re a professional reviewer, why watch something/anything you hate? If you don’t like it, turn it off! That’s what I do. Life isn’t a competition for watching movies you don’t like.

This has just been my thoughts on the subject… My advice, spend your Life Time doing things you like, watching things you appreciate, and living. Because, sitting in front of a screen, no matter how big or small that screen may be, and hating what you’re viewing is not a definition of a life well lived.

The Anatomy of the Accusation

Ever since we entered into the era of the #metoo movement there has been a lot of people coming forward speaking of abuse they suffered at the hands of someone else. Add to this the #blm movement and the actions of police officers and other public officials have come under harsh scrutiny.

All bad things done to anyone is BAD. People should not say or do bad/hurtful things to anyone!

I have occasionally written about these situations in this blog over the past couple of years. I have also pointed out how some of the #metoo and #blm accusers have, themselves, been proven to be portrayers of bad deeds. But, in essence, that is not even the point—at least not the point in this piece.

Bring to mind some person you personally know or someone you know of who has pointed a finger at someone else for doing some bad deed. Look at someone who calls out someone else as having done something bad. Now, look at who that person truly is. Have they, themselves, ever done anything to hurt anyone? Or, are they perfectly pure—pure as the driven snow?

The thing is, pointing a finger, judging, or criticizing is a relatively easy thing to do. It takes very little effort. Look around you; it happens all of the time.

One of things I have noticed about a person who does a very complete presentation about the bad deeds done by someone else is that they are very rarely a pure specimens of goodness. They too have done bad deeds to others. Yet, they never mention this as a preface to judging or saying something bad about someone else. From my own personal experience(s), I look to some of the people that have done large call-outs about what someone has done to them and/or to others and I can tell you with certainty that they too have done things that have directly hurt someone else; in some cases, these people have hurt me. So, the question becomes, “If you have hurt others do you possess a righteous standing to call out the bad deeds that have been done to you?”

Now, each individual will have there own answer to this question. What is your? And, do you ever pose this question to yourself before you say something negative about or call-out the bad deeds of someone else?

No one is one-hundred percent pure. No one is without sin. Certainly, I am not. But, I do not spend my time creating presentations, or adding to the discussion about the wrongness of someone else.

The world is dominated by the internet; especially in terms of leisure time. So many people, with little else to do, spend their time focusing on, criticizing, and villainizing the actions of others. Yes, some people have done some very obviously bad things. But, more often than not, the people who others focus upon have done nothing more than live life from their own perspective and life-understanding. Yet, they are the ones people discuss, critique, criticize, and ultimately hurt. They do this when what that person has done has no direct affect on the life of those who are attacking them. Thus, what is the point? What does it prove? Ultimately, all it does is to damage the life of the person being focused upon thus creating negative karma for the person who instigates or takes part in the attack.

Your life is defined by what you do. Your life is defined by what you choose to do. Your life is defined by what you do to others. Most people, however, are so locked into a space of Self-ish-ness that they never even consider how their words or actions may damage the life of someone else. Thus, this is the birthplace for bad deeds being done to others. And, no matter how much one person wants to call-out what they think about or what someone else has or has not done to someone else, unless they are true to their own heart and can be honest to themselves and to others about the life-damage they have unleashed onto someone/anyone else, they should be silent as they too are not perfect—they too have hurt the life of someone else—they too have sinned.

Again, ponder the question, “If you have hurt others do you possess a righteous standing to call out the bad deeds that have been done to you?”

The Pathway of Spiritual Deception

Particularly in the 1970, the books written by Carlos Castaneda were a highly influential element to modern spirituality. They depicted the author’s interaction with a Mexican Indian shaman known as Don Juan. In fact, Carlos Castaneda competed his Ph.D. from U.C.L.A. by presenting his dissertation on his interactions with Don Juan which would later be published and sell millions of copies; Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge. The only problem was, it was all a lie. Virtually everything presented in the dissertation/book was fiction. Yet, the man became a cultural icon and earned his Ph.D. by presenting false facts.

Me too… Back then before the truth was revealed, I too read, believed, and learned from his books.

What I am saying here is one-hundred percent easily verifiable. In fact, there have been entire books written on the subject. So, there is no new wisdom being imparted here. From this, however, the question must be asked, “What is true knowledge?” “What is fact and what is fiction?”

Let’s step beyond the element that what he had written was not based in fact. Let’s forget about that for moment… Was what he wrote educational—particularly from a spiritual perspective? Yes, it was. Obviously, it was. He sold millions of copies of his books. But, would people have purchased those books had they believed it was not the true story of his spiritual unfolding? That’s hard to say. We will never know. But, as it was presented as fact, people really believed what he, or more precisely Don Juan, was teaching.

Throughout time, there have been a lot of people who have presented false illustrations of their spiritual awakening to the world. Having walked this path for most of my life, I have encountered more than few false profits and fake teachers. But, for them, it was all about ego; it was all about undiagnosed psychological inadequacy, it was all about money. They were seeking fame and fortune. Castaneda was not that way, however. In fact, he was all but a recluse. Sure, he made his money via his writings, but he was not out there on the lecture circuit where the fame and the admiration really come into play.

The question must be asked for anyone who seeks spiritual awaking and seeks it via listening to or following some other person, “Is what they are saying true?” And, “If it is not, does that change their message and does it alter the fact of whether they should or should not be listened to?”

Castaneda, in part, earned his Ph.D. via a deception about himself and his learning experience. But, U.C.L.A. never disavowed that degree. Most people who read Castaneda probably still do not know his truth. Thus, in their mind, all they read was real. They learned from it. His writings guided them. They had no reason to doubt their or his validity.

So, is a lie ever the truth? And, does it really matter if you believe it?

Can a teacher who lies be trusted? Or, does them being a liar cause their message to go mute?

You should think about these things before you ever believe anyone or anything they say because what they say, though it may even be university approved, may be a complete lie. What does that make them? What does that make what they teach? And, what does that make you for listening to and believing them in the first place?

Zen Filmmaking and All the Crazy Things That People Say

Back in February of this year I had the idea to put together a book titled, Zen Filmmaking and All the Crazy Things That People Say, focusing on the reviews that have been written about my Zen Films. I got distracted and went onto other projects. Maybe I will finish it up next year. In the mean time, here’s the intro I wrote for the book. You may enjoy it.

Introduction

Here’s a fun book for all you fans (or haters) of Zen Filmmaking. Collected within these pages are many of the reviews of Zen Films that were posted on the internet over the years. Some are very positive, understanding, and praise the Zen Films while other (most) torpedo them proclaiming how horrible every aspect of every film actually is. In either case, combined, they present a fun, explicit look into the Zen craziness that is Zen Filmmaking. Read on and have fun.

* * *


Over the years since I entered the film game it has forever perplexed me how film reviewers, (professional and amateur), would take all the time and expend all of the energy necessary to write a review about an independent film they loved or hated. Of course, the reviews written by a hater of a film are always the most palpable but sometime people really love a film and write a strikingly positive review, as well. Personally, I always wondered why a reviewer would write a review instead of being imaginative in their own right and creating their own works of film art. But, that’s just me.

I have always found it very disingenuous for a person who had not actually gone through the process of creating a film to become a film reviewer. Like I have long said, “What is a film critic? With very few exceptions it is a person who doesn’t have the talent or the dedication to actually create a film.” …For if a person has not actually created a film they have no idea about the process involved and what it takes to actually envision, instigate, get the equipment, the cast and the crew together, film and then edit, soundtrack, M&E the feature, and then realize a final production. If they have never had this experience, how can they truly understand filmmaking and how can they provide a valid commentary about a film without personally understanding what it took to bring that film together? Moreover, if they were not on the specific set of the film they are discussing they have no firsthand knowledge about what actually took place or what was the motivations of the filmmaker or the experiences of the cast or the crew.

Since my early emersion in the film industry I have felt the same way as many a filmmaker has, “It’s easy to discuss what someone else has done. Let’s see what you can do.” Alas, most film critics never walk down the path of creative filmmaking, however, as it is so much easier to simply sit and type on their computer’s keyboard or get in front of their iMac or iPhone and discuss the productions of someone else.

Over the years I have watched as many a reviewer spoke about my Zen Films and myself. Many have actually attempted to tell their readers or listeners what I was feeling when I was creating a specific film. But, how can anyone know what another individual is feeling or why they do what they do? In virtually every case that a reviewer has spoken about my filmmaking motivations and the reasoning behind my end results, they were wrong. Wrong, but as a film critic in this day and age of self-publishing and internet forums, they encountered no checks and balances, so they could say whatever they want with no repercussions.

Some critics have even discussed how I felt about a specific review. I always found those statements immensely amusing. They never spoke to me—they never asked me how I felt… In fact, to this day, over all these many-many years and all of the films I have created, there has not been one film critic who actually spoke to me before they reviewed one of my movies. So, how could any of them have any idea about what I was feeling or why? The fact is, though a number of reviewers have discussed how I felt about a specific review, they were, in fact, wrong.

Do negative reviews bother me? I do not like negativity on any level for all it breeds is further negativity, nor do I appreciate reviewers who distort or twist the truth to their own ends in their reviews. This being said, if a review is well written, be it positive or negative, for the most part, I find them entertaining.

The thing I do not like, and I have spoken about this a lot over the years, is when a reviewer presents their opinion as fact but their opinion is, in fact, incorrect. What happens from this is that it provides a certain type of individual, who does not possess an investigative mind and does not scrutinize the supposed facts for themselves, to be exposed to falsehoods by believing the fabrications presented by the critic. This style of pseudo journalism gives birth to all kinds of misinformation and false facts being disseminated to the masses. Lies and falsehoods, based upon erroneous opinions, are a never a good thing.

I have long been an outspoken proponent of Intellectual Property Rights enforced by Copyright Law. In this digital age, most people don’t care about the rights of the creator, however, as they just want to watch movies for free on unauthorized websites and grab footage from films and do whatever they want with it. Like I always say, if they were the creator of that film, they would possess a very different frame of mind, but as they are not, they do not care about the consequences this style of behavior has on the filmmaker. In fact, some on-line reviewers have become very wealthy grabbing footage from films without authorization and using that footage to create presentations. Illegal, yes. But, prosecution is very expensive, so many get away with it.

As the FBI has proclaimed, “Internet Piracy is not a Victimless Crime.” The independent filmmaker is the one who is hurt. But, how many reviewers care as long as they are developing a following and making money off of discussing the creations of other people. And, how many viewers actually care as long as they are getting away with watching movies for free and/or being entertained by being allowed to watch or read provocative presentations based upon someone’s opinion about someone else’s creation?

Ever since I first created Zen Filmmaking it has always been about the lack of defined content. It is about freedom. It is about taking the viewer on a Mind Ride. It was never about story, story structure, or filming or acting in the traditional sense of the subject.

Since its inception, I have been very specific about what Zen Filmmaking was and what it was not. Yet, no matter how much information is out there about this cinematic art form, reviewers continue to get it wrong. They continue to attempt to define Zen Films within their own mental framework. They continue to attempt to put their own definition upon it and draw their own conclusion about it, comparing it to what it is not; traditional filmmaking.

Here lies the ultimate fault in the reviewer; they are attempting to put their own definition onto something that they can never truly understand. As they did not create it, they can never understand it. Thus, all they have to say about any film is solely based upon their own predetermined judgment about that film.

But remember, as it is proclaimed in Matthew 7:1-5, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

With all this as a basis, what I am presenting in this book are reviews about my films and my filmmaking taken from the Public Domain of the World Wide Web. As everybody seems to not care about the Copyright Infractions they have done to my films and my other creative works presented in their reviews, I will hereby return the favor.

What I am doing in this book is presenting you, the reader, with the reviews and the discourses, created by film critics that have been found and referred to me by friends, foes, and fans. They are presented in their entirety with no editing in any manner.

If any of you reviewers out there have a problem with this book, think about his, I am casting your reviews to the annals of history this one and only time. There will not be a second edition of this book. Plus, perhaps this will give you the opportunity to consider the affect your reviews have had on other filmmakers and myself. With that thought in mind, from this book, maybe all of us will become more conscious and invoke a more caring process of human interaction, realizing that everything everyone does has a wide spanning effect and the artist and the creative person can never truly be judged by anyone but themselves. Like I always say, “Think about the other person first before you do anything that may affect anyone.” Mostly, hopefully you, the reader, can have some fun reading these reviews. But remember, don’t take them too seriously.

As my motto always has been, “Be Positive.” Have fun with these reviews and see them for they are: the positive, the negative, the truthful, the distorted, and the lies. And remember, if you weren’t there, you weren’t there. Not being there means you have absolutely no firsthand knowledge about anything that took place.

Remember, what is the number one rule of Zen Filmmaking? “Having fun is what it is all about.”

Read on and have fun! Happy

Scott Shaw

***

How much of your Life Time do you spend presenting an image to the outside world so that other people will consider you a Something?

***

Right now you could do something that would someone else's life better.

Principles of the Precepts

To catch up the previous blogs and thoughts written over the past few months check out the latest book based on the Scott Shaw Blog, Principles of the Precepts: Further Zen Ramblings from the Internet

***

Be positive.

Be good.

Be caring.

Forgive.

Do good things.

Hurt no one.

Help everyone you can.

System of Belief

Everybody believes in something. Even the people who do not believe in a greater power have a belief. The belief of nothing. Some people keep their beliefs to themselves. Others project their beliefs out to anyone who will listen. No matter the case, one thing is true; belief is only belief, it is not necessarily fact.

Here lies the problem; most people cannot differentiate the difference between belief and fact. Thus, they present their beliefs as fact and as most people do not possess the level of discrimination to differentiate between the two, life becomes a convoluted mess of varying beliefs affecting the lives of the all and the everyone.

Think about the people who believe in Christianity; they hold their set of core beliefs based upon what is written in the Bible. Think about the people who are followers of Islam; they hold their set of core beliefs based upon what is written in the Koran. These are two religions that both claim to hold the truth. Millions upon millions of people believe in both of these religions. Are they same? No. They each possess varying teachings and they each teach that one should rebuke the nonbeliever. So, which religion is right?

You see, here lies the essence of belief; it is based upon an accepted concept in the mind of the believer. Is it right or is it wrong? Who can say because it is solely based upon what one believes? Who can be the actual judge?

In life, some people loudly proclaim what they believe. From a psychological perspective, the reason the people who proclaim their beliefs the most loudly is based upon the fact that they hope to be viewed as a, “Knower.” But, what do they actually know? All they know is what they believe but if what they believe is based upon nothing more than what they think they know then by that very definition their belief is flawed as it is nothing more than an opinion and an opinion is nothing more than a personal belief based upon self-defined assumptions.

To take this to a more personal perspective, every now and then I will see someone on Facebook or some other social platform posting how he or she is going to clean house of the people that are negative or spouting something they do not like or believe in. Frequently, you hear about people facing online bullying, being trolled, or being attacked by some entity out there in cyber space based upon someone not liking a person, what that person creates, what they say, or what they stand for. During the recent election season, here in the U.S., which was very divisive, I have seen so many people posting very negative, very biased, opinions based solely upon belief—based solely upon what they heard from someone else that propped up what they already believed. In fact, some people I observed were actually banned from Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms for posting things that apparently were not permitted. But, the problem is,
everything is based upon belief. The only problem arises when someone decided to broadcast that belief and someone else does not like it. But, if most things are based upon what an individual personally believes, and not based upon fact, who should hold the power to judge what is right and what is wrong?

From a person perspective, as a creative person, (for lack of a better term), my work and myself have been the subject of some people’s beliefs. Not always, but sometimes, what people have said or written about my work or myself was complete wrong. It was totally false. Yet, due to their belief, which was not based upon fact, only opinion, they put what they thought out there to the world. From this, others have believed what they concocted. Not fact. Just belief. Yet, it is present for the world to see. This behavior is the sourcepoint for one of the modern world’s great problems.

I imagine we have all experienced situations such as this to varying degrees. For some of you out there, reading this, I imagine that you are one of the vocal ones, presenting your belief(s) to others or to the entire world as a whole. For those of you who do this, either on a small or a large scale, do you ever contemplate the fact that what you are thinking, equaling what you are saying, is nothing more that a belief that originated in your own mind? And, if you do understand this fact, do you predicate what you are proclaiming with a statement to that affect? Do you tell people what you are saying is just an opinion? Or, do you state what you state as if it were based in fact when all that is being said is simply an assessment concocted in your own mind?

Most people never take a look at their beliefs. Most people never study what was the impetus or the causation factor for their beliefs. They just believe that they know what they know. But, if you don’t know why you know what you know, if you don’t know why you present your sometimes false-opinion(s) as fact then you are not only doing a disservice to yourself but you are doing a disservice to the entire world because you are desecrating truth and replacing it with nothing more than your personalized system of belief.

***

You can always tell the people who are insecure, unfulfilled, and unaccomplished. They say negative things about other people.

You can always tell the people who are secure, fulfilled, and accomplished. They say positive things about other people.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness, or as I like to spell it out, Mind Fullness is one of the essential elements of causing your body and your mind to rise to a level of enhanced awareness, self actualization, and, dare I say, enlightenment. But, how many people even contemplate mindfulness as they pass through their day? How many people take note of any element of how they are feeling or how they are experiencing life unless they are thrown into a moment a chaos by spraining their ankle, having something stolen, or experiencing someone breaking their heart? Then, the experience is all about them. It is all about feeling what they are feeling. But, is that mindfulness? No. That is simply being forced into encountering an emotion. Mindfulness occurs from a much more pure and focus state of mind.

When you are washing your hands do you contemplate the temperature of the water? Sure, if it is very cold or very hot you are forced to think about it. But, what about when it is lukewarm? …When it is just average? …When it is the way you always expect it to be? Do you experience the water, how it feels on your hands, how the soap feels and smells? Do you ever contemplate any of this? Probably not. Few people do. But, here lies the source of the problem of why so few people understand the concept of mindfulness.

In traditions like the martial arts, one is taught to train the body and their mind and bring them into an acute harmony so that they can exactly perform physical techniques. Yes, this is a style of enhanced physical and mental training that few people truly embrace. For most martial artists, however, they never transcend beyond the physicality of the martial arts. They are happy and proud to demonstrate how well they can perform a technique or how many boards they can break. But, this is nothing more than exhibitionism. For all of the martial artists out there, ask yourself, how often did your instructor teach you how to truly encounter your moment both in terms of internal feelings and external stimuli? For most, the answer is never. Why? Because the instructors were never taught nor did they seek out the pathway to true mindfulness.

Mindfulness is you truly experiencing your moment. Wherever you are, whatever it is you are doing, it is you allowing your being to truly feel all that is around you and then stepping deeply within yourself and coming to terms with how you are an interactive part of the entire process.

In Tantra Yoga, one is taught to truly embrace their partner while engaged in an intimate relationship. Whereas most people enter into these occurrences via desire and seeking that good feeling that arises from a sexual encounter, the Tantra Yogi is taught how train their body and their mind to step beyond the physicality of the act itself and, by truly moving deeply it the transcendence of the act by truly merging with the experience via the partner, they can gain a glimpse of Satori. Again, how many people follow this pathway? How many people even ponder following the pathway of Tantra? Very few.

Is mindfulness a complicated process? Yes and no. The true answer is, no. It is extremely easy to allow yourself to become consciously mindful of all of the things that you do. You just have to do it. The problem is, very few people have ever trained their mind to become mindful. They are just taught to do what they do until they are on to doing the next thing. Sure, they may love or they may hate what they are doing. Sure, what they are doing may make them feel good or feel bad. But, none of that is mindfulness. That’s simply responding to stimuli. Mindfulness is choosing to become aware of all that you are doing, all that is being done to you, removing your process of thoughts and definitions and transcending to the essence of the experience. It is there that a true understanding of life—your life may be encountered.

Right now, STOP, take a moment, shut off your thoughts, emotions, judgments, and predetermined notions. STOP and feel. STOP and experience. What are you feeling? What does your life experience feel like? How does your body feel? How are your emotions feeling? What are they causing you to feel?

Take some time and feel what you are feeling. Take some time to come to terms with why you are feeling what you are feeling. Take some time and analyze how what you are doing, what you did, is causing other people to feel.

Feel, experience, transcend. Find where you are and why. Meet mindfulness.

***

You can believe anything that you want to believe but just because you believe something does not make it the truth.

You Can Make Things Better

You can make things better.

If you've hurt someone, do something good for them, say something nice about them.

If you are feeling overwhelmed step outside, intentionally step away from the chaos. Turn off your mind. Take a walk.

If you are focusing on the negative and/or hating your life. Stop it! Turn it around. See the positivity in the negativity. Appreciate what you have.

If you are lonely, go outside; internationally introduce yourself to someone.

If you are unhappy; you can trace that unhappiness to its root and eliminate it if you have the time. If not, just stop it! You have the power. Go and do something you like. Go exercise. Replace the unhappiness with positive activity and the unhappiness will fade.

Just as negativity begins with you, so does positivity. You can choose to make things better.

Your yesterday does not have to be your today.

Be nice to people. Reach out to people. Do good things for people. Say good things about people. Do good things for yourself. Do this, and everything will become better.

***

How many times has your guardian angel saved you from disaster and you didn't even know it?

The Goodness Directive

Assignment for the Day:

Do something good today.

Do something positive that helps someone.

Say something nice about someone—maybe somebody you don't even like.

Say something nice to someone. Compliment them.

Give someone a gift.

If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts or find yourself about to say something negative or mean; catch yourself. Turn it around and say something nice.

Take today and do something nice, good, and positive.

You can do this everyday if you want. That's a great way to live your life. But, if nothing else, start with today.

Make this a day that you base in goodness, doing something good, saying nice things, giving, and making everyone's life just a little bit more positive.

Make today a day of positivity.

Most People Don’t Give Back

Right now, today, what are your plans for giving anything to anybody? When you woke up this morning did you have a game plan in place for what you were going to do for someone today? Yesterday, what did you do for someone? The day before that, what did you do for anybody?

Most people are very centered on themselves. They think about themselves and maybe those people they care about. They think about what they want, how they are feeling, and how people are reacting to them, but they spend very little of their Life Time turning off Self Thought and actually doing something for someone else.

Think about it, who have you helped lately? Who did you think about, who did you decide needed some help, and who did you actually provide that help to?

If you did provide help, how did that helping help you? Was your helping actually given from a pure perspective of caring or was your giving motivated by what you would receive?

Think about your life… Think about your Right Now… What plan do you have to help anyone? Are you planning to help anyone?

Sure, you may be having all kinds of problems in your life. Sure, you may be very busy. Sure, you may be working hard to make ends meet. All of these are common excuses. But, excuses are just excuses. They arise from a very self-centered perspective.

All of those excuses, being as they are, who are you going to help? Who are you planning to give to? What are you planning to do for anyone but yourself?

There are a lot of people who need help out there. What are you going to do about it?

Sure, helping can be big. It can be giving someone some money; buying them something that they need. It can be giving them a place to stay when they have no roof over their head. It can be giving them a job. It can be helping them move. It can be buying them a meal. Or, it can be holding their hand when their heart is broken. Helping can also be small. It can be saying a nice word when someone else is saying something negative. It can be smiling at a person. It can be telling something that you appreciate that they exist, that you are happy that they are in your life. Helping can be anything but to help, “Helping,” has to be actualized. It has to be you stepping outside of your Self Involvement and actually doing something for someone else.

Try it, help someone, and watch everything become just a little bit better.

Telling the Truth

Let’s fact facts, a lot of people lie. A lot of people disguise the truth. A lot of people hide the truth. A lot of people stretch the truth. A lot of people make up a lot of things.

There is really no reason to go into why people lie because each person who lies has their own reason for doing so. Whether that reason is also a lie is a whole other issue but I think we can leave it to say, a lot of people lie about a whole lot of things. Some even fight to get their lies to be believed.

The problem with people lying is, because they are a liar, most of those liars think everyone else is lying as well. They know they don’t tell the truth, so they assume and accuse other people of lying just as they do. Some even accuse other people of lying to cover up the lies that they have told.

Have you ever lied? Why did you lie? How did that lie come to define and affect your life?

How do you feel about the lies that you've told? Do those lies bother you? Do you ever think or care about how those lies have affected the lives of other people? If you don't, what does that say about you as a human being?

Once you lied were you afraid of getting caught in your lie? Did you get caught in your lie? If you did, how did that affect your life?

Some people never get caught in the lies they have told. They live their entire existence based upon a lie they told years and years ago. They get away with it. But, simply because a person gets away with telling a lie—and even if that lie comes to be believed, does that change the fact that it was not the truth? And, if a person basis their life upon a lie—if they succeed because of a lie, what does that say about the foundation of their life and any success they may have achieved? Moreover, what does that say about all of the people who came to believe their lie?

Most people want to believe what another person is saying. This is why some people are allowed to define their entire life based upon a lie.

Some people believe the lies that they tell other people. But, simply because someone has come to believe the lie they originated does it ever become the truth?

The truth is easy. It may not be pretty, it may not be eloquent, but it is the truth.

A lie is messy. A lie is forever a problem because a lie is never the truth and there is always the possibility that the truth will be revealed.

We can all understand that all people should only speak the truth but that will probably never happen as people want to be seen as more, people want to have achieved more, and people want what they want and they are willing to lie to get what they want.

What does this tell us about life? It tells us that as long as we base our life upon the truth, as long as we always speak the truth, at least our part of life will remain honest.

It’s important to note that telling the truth is not you telling someone what you think about them for all that kind of mind stuff is simply based in judgment, emotions, and ego. The truth of the truth goes much deeper than all of that, “What you think and feel,” kind of stuff. The truth is what you have actually done, what you have actually lived, what you truly are and who you truly are. The truth is you being true about yourself and to yourself.

A person can lie about who they are all they want. They can lie about what they truly do and what they have truly done. A person can live their entire life based upon the falsehoods of self-imagination, self-projection, and self-proclamation but if they do that, at the end of their days, they will never know the truth as their life has been an expression of a lie.

So, next time you think about lying, catch yourself, and don’t do it. For there is nothing that you will truly gain by lying. The next time someone lies to you, smile, know that what they are saying is emanation from a lower level being who is lost in their own self-projection of a false reality and walk away. You don’t have to call them a liar; you just do not have to believe them.

If you live the truth, then you are the truth, as plain, as simply, and as boring as that truth may be. If you live the truth, though you may never be seen as some great, grand, representation of someone who lives at the pinnacle of all that is desired but, at least, you will never be known as a liar.

***

To understand what someone is actually attempting to communicate you must have a mind developed to the degree that you can comprehend what they are presenting.

Take Some Time in the Morning

When you wake up in the morning what do you do?

Are you woken by an alarm clock each morning?

Or, are you allowed to wake up slowly, roll around, think the thoughts that the new day brings, and finally decide to get out of bed when you feel that it is time to get out of bed?

Most people do not address a new day with any sense of consciousness. Many/most are woken up by an alarm clock, at a specific time, because they are expected to get up, get ready, and go to work. Many/most spend most of their life behaving in this fashion. Then, the weekend or the day off arrives and the person is typically too emotional strained and drained to do much else but wake up and restlessly roll around in bed, at about the same time as they are forced to wake up everyday, due to their biological clock taking control over their mind.

Even the person who lives in the ashram or the monastery is expected to wake up at a very specific time. They are then required to get up and meditate or pray.

For the people who wait for the weekend, they too often force themselves out of bed in the morning with little or no forethought, at a specific time, because they have, “Plans,” for the weekend—things that they want to do that they can’t do during the workweek.

Though this is the status of most people lives, I believe that we all can see that there is something missing in this process. That, “Something missing,” is waking up and embracing the day with any sense of awareness or consciousness.

In each of our lives there is time when we naturally wake up. For each of us, this is somewhat different, but for each of us there is an internally natural time frame when our body and our mind knows that it is time to sleep and knows when it is time to wake. For most, however, this naturalness of sleep and wake is never allowed to guide the life process as the requirements of modern life are allowed to be in control.

The fact is, there is very little most of us can do about this fact. As an adult, or even as a young student, we are generally required to get up when we are expected to get up as we must make money to survive and/or go to school so that we can prepare ourselves to make money to survive. So, what does this tell us about life, what does this tell us about sleep, what does this tell us about waking up, and how can we do anything about any of it?

Here is the fact; most people do not attempt to live a conscious life. Most people never try to take emotional, psychological, or spiritual control over their life. They simply are dominated by their expected life and they live this way until they die. Though this is the commonality of a common life, it is does not have to be like that. You can consciously take control of your mind and your life patterns and bring them to a point where there is a greater state of expansive awareness.

To begin to do this, in regard to sleep and waking up, the next time you wake up take the time to consciously embrace the day—spend some time doing nothing; not jumping out of bed, not falling back to sleep, simply witnessing your mind, following your thoughts, studying your emotions and your expectations about the day, and coming to know what your waking up is truly about.

For each of us, when we wake up, the factors of the night of sleep are most with us. This is when we remember what we were dreaming, how those dreams made us feel, and what those dreams lead us to think about and realize. When we wake up, the emotions and the expectations of the day are most clearly in our mind. This is the time when we can study what we are feeling and why we are feeling it. We can even possibly clearly conclude, from a state of a clear and rested mind, what we should do next in our life to bring our existence to a better state of being.

Many/most people waste much of their life. They miss the opportunity that human existence is designed to provide. Waking up is one of those things that many/most people never take advantage of.

Even if you must be awoken by an alarm clock each day so you can get to work on time, choose an alarm that wakes you to the sound of the waves, birds chirping, or the wind in the forest. Don’t force your self to embrace the day in a flash and get out of bed immediately. Wake slowly, naturally, take a moment and let your self meet the day with a sense of consciousness. From this, you may be allowed to embrace who you truly are and you may gain enhanced insight into what you should do to become who you can ultimately become.

Interpretative Reality

What are you thinking about right now? Do you ever think about what you are thinking about? Do you ever control what you are thinking about or do you simply let your thoughts guide your mind and control your emotions?

What did you think about when you woke up this morning? What did you think about the movie or the TV show you saw last night? What did you think about the sporting event you watched on TV last week? What do you think about the people that you see in the supermarket?

Right now, take a look outside your window. What do you see? What do you think about what you are seeing?

Though people see the same things, each person interprets that reality in their own unique manner. For many, they believe their interpretation is the only valid interpretation. They never look beyond their own mind for a definition of reality. For others, they believe all what someone else has to say about life and life actions. As their own mind frame is not critically defined, they instantly believe what anyone else is saying. Others look for substantiation for what they think. They look for someone else who thinks the same way as they think. Thereby, they can claim mutual validity for their thought process. But, is any of this true? Is any of this the truth? Is any of this actual fact? Or, is it simply interpersonal interpretation of life and this life space?

What do you think when someone thinks something different from you? What do you think when you disagree with what someone else is thinking? Do you fight for your rightness and their wrongness? Or, do you simply let those rising emotions flow through your being understanding that thought, no matter who is thinking it, is simply an interpretation of reality and it is not the whole and the actual true truth?

Some people fight for what they believe. This is where many of the problems of the world begin. Some people diminish others for what they believe. This is where hurtful behavior arises. Some people are so locked into the belief that what they think is the only belief that is right that they attempt to spread what they believe onto others. This is where prejudices and global pain begins.

Are you mentally aware enough to understand that what you think is simply what you think and what you think is not an absolute truth? Are you internally complete enough to not attempt to force your interpretation of reality onto other people? Can you be integrally wise enough to let reality be as each person understands it or must your force your interpretations onto other people?

Do you live in a reality of judgment? Do you live in a reality defined by your judgments? Are you hurt or hindered by the judgments of others? Or, are you free of judgment, understanding that each person reality is a creation of their own mind?

***

How long is your forever?

***

You can run as fast and as far as you can but if you don't know where you're going you will never get there.

***

The next time you encounter somebody saying or doing something negative, override their actions by saying or doing something positive. Observe the response.

The next time you are thinking something negative about a person, take control of your mind and think something positive about the person. Observe the response.

The next time you are about to do something negative to a person, stop yourself and do something positive. Observe the response.

***

Always question who is saying what and why.

All Beings Are Bound by Karma

One of the primary Buddhist concepts, and the first of the Four Nobel Truths is the understanding that, all beings are bound by Karma. Though the word, "Karma," is constantly thrown around in modern society, few people actually comprehend this understanding. Here's a little background for you…

The Sanskrit word, “Karma,” literally translated, means “Action.” This word represents the law of cause and effect, “As you sew, so shall you reap.”

Karma
Karma is one of the most complicated and profoundly philosophical issues each person must deal with in understanding Zen Buddhism and, in fact, life. This is because of the fact, right and wrong, good or bad, are not universally defined in this physical world. Not only does each culture possesses a somewhat differing view of right and wrong but each person holds their own values and individual perceptions of good and bad. Certainly, there are distinct wrongs: hurting someone unnecessarily, forcefully taking something from another person, behaving selfishly, and so on. But beyond these obvious instances, the precise definition becomes lost. For example, what about when you hurt someone unintentionally? Or, while pursuing the spiritual path you must leave someone behind, thus, causing him or her to suffer at your absence?

The question of Karma is amplified when people justify the wrongs they are performing for what they believe to be a just cause. For example, how many people have died in wars on this Earth motivated by religious idealism?

Perhaps even more disconcerting is the case of individuals who continually cause physical and emotional pain to other people. Yet, somehow their life seems to continue forward in an unhindered path of success and acquisition. When justifying their negative Karmic actions these people oftentimes allude to the fact that they had a bad childhood, are getting back at the world for what was done to them, or due to negative peer influence they were guided down the wrong road. Though these may be psychologically valid rationalizations, none-the-less, negative actions have taken place, often times injuring good people.

On the other side of the issue, there are those individuals who continually provide a positive service to the world. Yet, they are confounded by continued negative encounters. Why should adverse experiences happen to these people if they are expounding good to humanity?

The philosophic debate on the nuances of Karma has gone on for centuries. And, it will continue. In ancient Vedic scriptures, three levels of Karma are defined which may provide some insight into the various types of Karmic actions.

The three levels of Karma are:
1. Sanchita Karma, “Accumulated Karma.”
2. Prarabdha Karma, “Actions which create Karma.”
3. Kriyamana Karma, “Current actions.”

Sanchita Karma
Sanchita or “Accumulated Karma” is the Karma that you have previously substantiated. Sanchita Karma, not only defines actions that you have taken in this life, but also actions that you performed in previous incarnations. Many believe that this is one of the primary components that go into the formation of an individual’s personality—as they are acting out a life style and mindset that they substantiated in a previous life.

The understanding of Sanchita Karma is also used to define why seemingly good people encounter negative events in their life. It is understood that though they may now be very good, in a previous existence they must have created adverse Karma. Thus, they suffer in this lifetime.

Certainly, in the Western world, the concept of paying for sins from a previous life strikes an adverse chord in many people. This is because of the fact that they believe that their current body is their only body and even if they do accept the theory of reincarnation, why should they have to pay the price for an existence that they no longer have any control over? This is where the belief systems indoctrinated by religion comes into play in the definition of Karma. For example, a Buddhist would simply let go of philosophic questioning and relinquish him or herself to accepting the understanding of Sanchita Karma as fact. Thus, any life occurrence, be it positive or negative, is quickly rationalized and accepted as Karma.

Prarabdha Karma
Prarabdha Karma is the Karma that has come into existence due to past actions. Illustrative of this type of Karma is the individual who performs negative acts, for what ever physical, emotional, or psychological rational, and then later in their life they encounter unfavorable situations. These events may take place in the next life, the distant future, or may happen almost instantaneously. This understanding provides some solace to people who have been wronged by others, as they know, sooner or later, that unjust individuals will have to pay the price for their actions.

It is additionally understood, at this level of Karmic understanding, if one’s Karmic debt is paid up, then any Karmic retribution for a negative act will be incurred relatively quickly, as there is not a long backlog of wrongs waiting to be repaid.

Prarabdha Karma not only details the events that occur as a result of adverse Karma but it is also equally applicable to positive Karma, as well. This can explain why the rare case of a truly negative person, in this life, continually encounters seemingly positive experiences; they were a very good person in a past life.

Kriyamana Karma
Kriyamana Karma is the actions you take that lay the foundations for either positive or negative Karma in the future.

Some people were born into economically poor living conditions, dysfunctional families, or have had a childhood corrupted by bad influences and occurrences. Others have experienced a relatively positive childhood only to be impacted by negative situations, as they have grown older. For decades, Sociologists and Psychologists have attempted to draw conclusions to why an individual follows a particular path in life based in their foundational attributes. Though there is, no doubt, quantitative validity to some of their findings, it must be ultimately understood that we each are the masters of our own destiny. At any point in life, be it before you instigate any adverse Karma or post having unleashed a plethora of negativity, you can take back your life and choose to consciously move forward—doing good things for the world, creating good Karma, even while you suffer the inevitable repercussions for actions you have taken in the past.

Certainly, most of us have encountered influences in our lives that were not of the purest content. Additionally, due to innumerable psychological factors we have all walked down impure paths with people we should not have. Under these influences most of us have all performed acts that we now can see as, “Bad Karma.” Knowing this, you have two options in your life. One, you can hold on to those experiences and allow them to set a pattern for the rest of your life. Two, you can consciously let go of the past and move forward into a world where you will never allow negative people or situations to guide you again. With this more positive approach, you allow yourself to live each new moment of life in a positive fashion; following the path to self-realization while you do good things for all those you encounter.

Creators of Karma

From ancient Vedic scriptures we learn that once one’s personality is initially set in motion by Sanchita Karma, the individual then moves forward into life choosing to act out one of three types of Karma: Sattva, Rajas, or Tamasa. These three types of Karma parallel the understanding, known in Sanskrit as Gunas, or “The Three States of Consciousness.”

Sattva is the pure state. Rajas, is the active, passionate state. Tamas is the dark, overripe state.

The Sanskrit word, “Karman.” is used to describe an individual who is creating a specific type of Karma. Thus, an individual is a Sattva Karman, Rajas Karman, or a Tamas Karman.

The Sattva Karman’s actions are pure, precise, and directed towards a higher good, each step of their life. A Rajas Karman’s actions are all performed from a sense of ego—everything is done for the betterment of him or herself. A Tamas Karman’s actions are performed from a dark, deluded, and confused state of mind—serving no one and no thing.

Karma and the Human Being
Existing in a human body means that everyone, no matter how holy, is bound by Karma. It must be ultimately understood that no act is wholly good and bad. What may benefit one may cause pain to another. Thus, as we are bound by the complexities of human existence and good and bad will remain an individual’s perception.

The Zen Buddhist does all that he or she can do to create a positive world: forgiving those who have hurt him or her, helping those who need help, guiding those who need guidance. Any action is attempted from only the most pure of motivations. Understanding that, ultimately, each person is their own person, with their own emotions, desires—cultural and psychological influences.

You cannot make everyone happy. Thus, the Zen Buddhist walks their path, embracing life and attempting to do the most possible good each step of the way.

***

It is easy to lie when nobody knows the truth.

Higher Consciousness and Why So Few People Achieve It

Does doing anything bad—does saying anything bad ever achieve anything good? Your answer to this question defines whether or not you are currently able to achieve higher consciousness.

Does acting on your impulses ever achieve anything towards the greater good? Your answer to this question defines whether or not you are currently able to achieve higher consciousness.

Does basing your life upon personal judgment—about what you think about another person ever achieve anything good? Your answer to this question defines whether or not you are currently able to achieve higher consciousness.

Does hurting anyone for any reason ever achieve anything good? Your answer to this question defines whether or not you are currently able to achieve higher consciousness.

Right now, take a look at your life. Take a look at the life you have lived. For each of us, we do what we do based upon how we have learned how to behave towards other people, society, and the greater whole. We have learned how to behave based upon the way other people have treated us. The question that must be asked at this juncture is, are you in control of the way you behave or are you simply reacting to the way you have been treated, thus giving birth to the way you act towards others and the way you treat others?

It is an easy thing to see in life; the people who are the most judgmental are the people who have been judged this harshest. In some cases, one or more people who have been judged harshly, thus giving birth to low self-esteem, congregate. From this, a group of people that judges others assembles and forms a cohesive unit. You can point out this fact to them, you can tell them that this is not the best way to act and live their life, yet this is how they behave and from group consciousness they rationalize their behavior. Thus, as long as they partake of the poison of judgment, they cannot reach higher consciousness.

To take this mindset up a notch, we find the people who physically hurt other people, whether through verbal or physical violence, are the people who have encountered this style of behavior directed towards them in the past. Thus, they act and react in the way they were schooled to behave. It is what they have experienced and thus this is what they know, therefore it is what they do. These people also sometimes congregate into groups and form a large-scale consciousness. From this, hurt and damage are unleashed. Telling them that what they are doing is wrong will only bring out further acts of anger and retribution. The point to keep in mind is that though you were probably not the person who inflicted the initial pain on them, if you point out what they are doing and/or why, you may become the focus of their hostility. Thus, through ongoing negative acts they too cannot reach higher consciousness unless they have a profound realization and begin to change their frame of mind, their life, and their life actions.

Do people who operate on this these lower levels of human interaction care about the hurt and the damage they leave in their wake? No. In fact, some relish in any hurt they can unleash. Why? Because they are not clear enough in their own understanding of human reality to comprehend that hurt only induces more hurt and thus the pattern of ongoing damage is never halted.

These people operate from a very low level of human awareness. But, look around you; you will see it all the time. Maybe it is you who behaves in this fashion. Maybe it is someone that you know. But, hurt only equals more hurt, not only to the person whom you are attempting to hurt, but to your own life and all life on the whole, as well. Why? Because what goes around comes around and if you are unleashing judgment, hurt, or damage, for any reason, all you are doing is instigating the type of behavior that will find you again and again and again. Thus, moving towards higher consciousness is impossible.

So, what does this tell us about individual awareness and higher consciousness? Ask yourself; do you even care about higher consciousness? Do you care about helping others reach higher consciousness? Do you care about helping those people who need help or those people who appear to need no help? Do you care about anything other than yourself, who and what you like or love, and whatever emotions you have motivated yourself to feel in any given moment? If all you base your life experience upon is your own personal self-defined projection of reality, you do not possess compassion. If you do not possess compassion, you can never encounter higher consciousness.

Hurting always hurts. Look at yourself—look at your life; how do you felt when you have been hurt? Helping always helps. How do you feel when someone has reached out a hand to you and helped? Obviously, one is better than the other. And, this points us towards direct understanding of the pathway to higher consciousness and why so few people achieve it.

The reason I speak about human psychology and human interaction when discussing higher consciousness is because all life is defined by human interaction. All karma, good or bad, is created due to the choices you make while interacting. You can remove yourself from human interaction and do nothing but meditate in a cave but, as all life is based upon human interaction, from your inception onwards, human contact and what you do with and because of that human contact becomes the ultimate definition of your life. Thus, it defines your pathway towards self-realization.

The all and the everything begins with you. It begins with what you think. It begins with what you do. It begins with how you act towards others and how you interact with life. But, if you do not understand why you think what you think and you are not in control of what you think and you do not understand and knowingly control what you do, then what you do only creates chaos and that is what rains throughout your life and the life of all those you encounter. Thus, if you do not know yourself, you cannot comprehend and you cannot care about individual awareness and higher consciousness. If you create hurt, no matter what your self-motivated logic for doing so is; you hurt your own chances at living a whole, complete, and good life. You loose the chance to experience higher consciousness and you can never truly understand the essence of life.

If you present this fact to those people who live their life at a very negative level, they will immediately say they don’t care—that they could care less about advanced awareness. Okay, right there, that very thought is the essence of self-destruction and that is where the motivation for the hurting of other people is born. Thus, that is what keeps them from obtaining higher consciousness.

Life begins with you. Life begins with what you do. What you do is based upon the understanding and the control you have over your own mind. Those who say and do hurtful things, do not care about other people’s feelings, thus they are doing what they do based upon lower, not higher consciousness.

The essential fact to understand in all of this is, being spiritual or being on the path of seeking higher awareness does not make someone special and/or better in and of itself. What does makes someone a superior human being is someone who leaves behind a life defined solely by personal judgments and the seeking of fulfillment as a means to an end. What makes someone a good and whole person, which leads to living a life defined by a higher understanding, is someone who cares about other people first. Thus, they do not unleash hurt for any reason. Moreover, it is defined by someone who encounters any negativity they witness with a positive word or action. This does not mean that the positive person attempts to fight and overcome the negative person, because then things just become a battle of the mind. They never instigate a clash. What it does mean is that when someone who is walking the path of consciousness encounters negativity they insert a positive word or a positive action in order to countermand what negativity has already been unleashed. Thus, setting a more positive pathway for the ever-growing enlightenment of humanity.

It is you who defines your own reality as well as the reality of those people you bring into your life. A true life, a good life, is one that is heralded by a person who intentionally and consciously walks the road of ever-evolving human awareness leading to higher consciousness.

You can be anything you want to be in life. You can live your life and do the things you want to do. But, if all you do is hurt, if all you do brings the life one person or a large number of people down, you have defeated the entire purpose of personal choice in life. If your choice(s) do not create personal understanding leading to universal betterment, how can you believe that you will ever find advanced human understanding?

Higher consciousness is haveable. Even if you don’t desire it, there is the obvious benefit to living a good life based upon doing good things that help but hurt no one.

Begin with yourself. Find an enhanced personal understanding. Help other people. Do good things. And then, whether you are seeking higher consciousness or not, it will find you and you will understand why it has been one of the most sought after goals throughout the existence of humanity.

They Never Say, “I’m Sorry.”

I think for most of us we have encountered situations in our lives where somebody has done something to us that has hurt us. Maybe these were small annoyance or maybe they were larger, life-altering events. For some people, this is the norm in the way they behave. They do things that hurt people and they do not care. For most, however, they may do something without truly calculating or thinking about the affect that what they do will have on the other person. In either case, how many of these people acknowledge what they have done, once they have done it, and set about on a course to rectify or repair what they have done and say, “I’m sorry?” Very few.

Why is this? There is one root cause in all of this; selfishness. A person did what they did because they didn’t think about the other person. Then, they do not care to fix what they did because they don’t care about the other person.

Life is an interplay of all of the people in the world. There are billions. Most, you will never meet. Some, you will see only for a passing, unnoticed, glance. Others, you will be forced to interact with. Maybe this is through accident, chance, or a calculated effort on the part of one person but not the other. Still others, you will choose to let into your life. Whatever the causation, people interacting with people is where the concept of, “I’m sorry,” is born.

People do things to people. People do things that affect other people. It is as simple that. Sometimes what a person does hurts another person. It is what happens next that set all of life into motion.

Now, think about your life. Think about a time when someone did something to you that hurt you in some way, shape, or form. How did that person react to you once they did what they did? I imagine, like in the case of most of us, if that person apologized and tried to make things right, forgiveness of them was much easier than if they did not apologize. Did they apologize? If they did, what was the next step in your interactive interaction? If they did not, what then?

Now, think about your own life from the perspective of you. Think about a person you have hurt with your words or actions. Once you knew you hurt them, how did that make you feel? Did you feel guilt, sadness, or regret? Or, did you feel empowered over your ability to control and hurt another person? The answer to this question says a lot about who you truly are.

In life, most people think about themselves. They think about themselves until they are forced to think about someone else. How about you? Who do you think about? Is your life only about you and you getting over? Or, is your life about you in association with the all and the everybody?

Selfish action is easy. Selfish, unthinking action is easily done. Caring enough to fix what you have done takes a person who possesses a certain enchased character. Who are you? Do you say you’re sorry? Or, do you simply dismiss any pain you’ve caused?

Who do you associate with? People that cause another person pain? Then, when and if they do, how do you behave? Do you allow them to hurt and feel they have the right to hurt? If you do, then be prepared for the pain they will unleash on you. Be prepared to never hear, “I’m sorry.”

All life is born from your interaction with another person. All life is born form how you treat anyone/everyone. Can you care enough about what you have done to say, “I’m sorry?” Or, do all you care about is you?

***

If you haven't lived what another person has lived you have no way of understanding their reality.

***

Do you ever question your reality?

When You Believe a Lie

When you hear someone saying something do you ever question who is saying what and why or do you simply believe what you hear? Simply believing what you hear, with no thought, has lead to some of the biggest disasters that this world has witnessed.

Do people lie intentionally? Yes. Do people lie unintentionally? Yes. In either case, what they are saying is not based in the truth and from this a falsehood is spread outwards from one person to the next and onto the next.

People tell lies for all kinds of reasons. Everybody has a reason for saying what he or she is saying. Some people believe they know the facts. Some people want to make their facts, (the facts that only exist in their own mind), a reality. Some people want to cast a judgment and either rise up or diminish another person and to do this they choose words that others listen to and believe.

Why do people lie? There are many reasons for this. Some people are simply pathological liars. They either want to be liked, are liked and want to remained liked, or want to control the thought patterns of other people so they say words that will guide people in this direction.

Some people find an empowerment in altering the facts to suit their own needs. They embrace the sense that people are turning to them for guidance and they find that by created a world dominated by what they think, be it factual or false, they are able to control the thought patterns of other people.

Some people are simply ashamed of what they have lived, what they have done, and from this they are instinctively guided to telling lies. They want to hide the truth.

The people who speak the loudest are generally the liars. The people who talk the most are generally the lairs. The people who talk about other people, but rarely about themselves, are generally the lairs. The people who boast are generally the lairs. The people who tell people what they think are generally the liars.

Have you ever had someone tell a lie about you? Have you ever had someone alter the facts of reality so it affected your life advancement? What happened to you because of their telling a lie? What happened to them because of their telling a lie?

Have you ever told a lie about someone? Have you ever altered the facts about the truth of a situation in order to affect the life advancement of someone else? If you have you understand the motivation for concocting a lie. What did that concoction result in? Did you gain what you wanted? If you did, what was the price to the life of the other people? What was the price to your life evolution? And, do you care?

Telling the truth is a conscious choice. Telling the truth is not always pretty. Telling the truth may help everyone. Telling the truth may help someone else while it hurts you. But, if you do not tell the truth then the all of your everything is only based in a lie. If your life is based in a lie, you can never be whole. You can never not worry that someone will find out the truth. If you live in this space—if you have to argue to make others believe your truth then you hold no truth.

Question who is saying what and why. Know the truth.

***

Does saying something negative about another person make you a better person?

Does saying something negative about another person make them a worse person?

We should all define our lives by what makes us, other people, and the whole world better.

Negativity never achieves that goal.

The Good That You Do

Everybody knows what is good. When you see it, when you hear it, when you experience it, you know that it is good. It makes whomever it encounters better.

Some people try to do good. Some people strive to do good. Some people turn off their egos and go out of their way to do good. Do you?

Just as everyone immediately know what it is good; everyone immediately knows what is bad. Hurting anyone or anything for any reason is bad.

But, there is commonly a place where the definition of good and bad becomes convoluted. Though they should not, they do. Why do they? Because some people become motivated by their own desired outcome and from this they place their own definition and rational upon their actions. Though their actions may, in fact, be bad and/or harmful, they are presented as being good.

The definition of bad is obvious. But, do you think about this definition before you decide to do what you do or say what you say? Judgment or criticism are two of the most obvious and commonplace forms of badness that are presented and believed to be good. But, they hurt people, so by their very definition they are bad.

Projecting personal beliefs onto a particular subject or person is also oftentimes presented as being good when it is anything but. The question you have to ask yourself is, “Who is believing what you are believing? Is it everyone or is it simply you having concocted an ideology in your own mind which causes you to present it to the world with the hopes that others will believe as you do?” Again, as this behavior has the potential of negatively affecting the lives of other people, there is no goodness in your actions.

All good things and all bad things boil down to what one person does. What do you do? Do you allow your ego, your cultural programing, and your projected desires to guide you to do what you do? If you do, then how can what you are doing be universally seen as being good?

Doing good helps one person or it helps everyone. Doing bad hurts one person or it hurts everyone. Can you be whole enough to always do good? If you can—if no one is hurt by your actions, then everything, everywhere becomes just a little bit better.

Strive to do good.

Who Are You Going To Help Today?

Most people spend their days doing things for themselves. Or, they spend their days doing things because they have to, like going to school or going to work. How often do you wake up with the thought, “Who am I going to help today?”

In life, a person’s thoughts are obviously focused on Self. And, that’s fine. That's just life. But, though your thoughts can be focused on you, they can also be focused on you helping other people. You should try it.

Try this: Turn what you currently want and what you’re thinking off for a second. Who would you like to help? Who could you help?

Helping does not have to be some grandiose thing. Helping can be small. Maybe it is giving a homeless person a dollar. Maybe it is buying them a meal or a new pair of shoes or an outfit, if you can afford it. Maybe it is helping the preverbal old lady across the street. Maybe it is just smiling at someone and saying something nice to them. All of these things help people.

If you want to take it to a bigger scale, you can. That’s great! You can go and feed the homeless at a shelter. You can go and pick up trash and clean up the environment. The list is really endless. But, helping people is always a good thing.

Some people come at this ideology the totally wrong way. They attack others and they somehow translate that into helping. It is not. Negativity, on any level, only hurt. For example, there is this new show on TV set on the East Side of L.A. One of the characters is really down on the gentrification of the area and she does things like go and spray paint, “Fuck White Art,” on the windows of a gallery owned by a white person in the historically Latin neighbor. Though that is funny on TV, that is never the right pathway to take, as damage, of any kind, never equals helping.

All life begins with you. What you encounter next begins by what you say and what you do today. If you hurt anyone or anything, that is what you will next encounter, no matter what your motivation. But, if you help, the exact opposite is the case. You will encounter positivity.

Think about your life. How does it feel when someone smiles at you? How does it feel when someone lends you a helping hand? It probably feels pretty good. You can do that! You can be that person.

Your assignment: Who are you going to help today? When you wake up tomorrow, who are you are going to help tomorrow?

If you make this a life practice, everything gets better
.

***

At the end of everyday day you should question, "Have I made my life better?'

At the end of everyday day you should question, "Have I made anyone else's life better?"

At the end of everyday day you should question, "Have I hurt anyone?"

At the end of everyday day you should question, "Have I repaired any damage that I may have created?"

At the end of everyday day you should question, "What am I going to do tomorrow to make the world a better place?'

The Fact of the Facts and Do You Even Care?

For each of us, we interpret reality in our own unique manner. Though there is a wide-spanning agreement as to what is taking place over the greater all of our experience—post that, each of us sees life and interprets what we are presented with in life by our own unique definition and standards.

For example, have you ever explained something to someone and though you believed you provided them with a very clear and pinpointed definition they completely misinterpreted what you said and took the subject off onto their own tangent? Was it that they did not listen? Was it that they did not hear you? Was it that they did not care what you said? Or, was it that due to their own personal life-interpretation and the way they want to read reality that this mindset guided them to the space where they heard what you said but did what they wanted to do anyway?

Everybody has a reason for believing what he or she believes. Just as everybody can explain why they do what they do. But, life is based upon human interaction. Therefore, it is expected that to have a conscious interactive process of communication, you must listen to what the other person says and then come to define your mutual interactive reality based upon both points of view.

How many people do that? There are some, yes. But, many completely dismiss what the other person is saying, what the other person is doing, what the other person is feeling or thinking, and simply walk down their own path based upon what they feel, what they want, and what they believe reality to be. As disingenuous as this is, why do you think there are so many lies spoken about other people? Why do you think so many people are hurt by the actions of other people? Why? Because many/most people are not listening and/or do not care what another person is saying. How about you?

So, as we pass through life we are all going to encounter this type of interpersonal interaction. We are all going to say something, expect that we were heard, and then be surprised to find out that the person we were speaking with did not hear, listen to, or even care about what we said at all; as they just continued to walk down their own road based upon their own interpretation of reality. Sad but true.

What can we do about it? We can re-express our feelings. We can yell, scream, and fight. We can take revenge. Or, we can simply accept that this is a condition of mind that those who are locked into the mindset of self-selfishness are not big enough to overcome and move along. Moving along is the path of least resistance. But yes, that does not mean that in moving along we are not left injured by the actions of a person who does not care enough to truly listen.

Listen.

People Never Say Thank You

It is so rare in life that we find people saying, “Thank you,” to anyone. We live in an era of SELF and from SELF comes the concept that no one is owed anything for doing anything. “I did it. It was me,” is the common statement. This is very sad I believe, as so many people go into the doing of anything. Yet, very few people appreciate or acknowledge this fact.

Though it may have been you that had the inspiration, the courage, or the force of will to achieve and/or do what you have done in your life, you would be nowhere without all of those around you who inspired you, guided you, taught you, supported you; providing you with the determination to follow through with what you have accomplished. Did you thank them?

More than simply the people who liked, loved, and cared about you, there have been those people that you did not like or did not like what they instigated but from them you also learned. You learned what you don’t like. You learned what not to do. Did you thank them?

In life, most people only see the all and the everything based upon what they are thinking and what they are feeling. But, why are you thinking and feeling anything? Who guided you towards those life conclusions? Did you thank them?

It is essential that we each periodically step outside of ourselves, study where we find ourselves in life, and define how we have arrived here. Then, once these understandings are reached we really need to take the time to step beyond our own selfishness and self-centeredness and speak up and say, “Thank you,” to those who have helped us arrive at our currently life location.

To all the people who have inspired me, “Thank you.” To all the people who meet negativity with positivity, “Thank you.” To all the people who have helped me, “Thank you.” To all the people who have supported my vision and what I do, “Thank you.” I really mean it, “Thank you!”

***

Your heart is only going to beat so many times.

***

Everybody has an excuse.

The World of Judgement

Many people live in a world of judgment. They judge everyone and everything. Some may say that they judge based upon the way that they were judged. Other would say that their judgment is based upon a sense of entitlement, arrogance, and all-knowingness. Wherever an individual’s mindset of judgement comes from, what it sets into motion is a world where someone is right, someone is wrong, and personal expression and emancipation are not allowed.

As one travels through life, you can witness as a person gets older, whether or not their mind becomes more refined or more embedded with a sense of their own righteousness. In some cases, people who were once judgmental evolve and become more understanding of the fact that each individual operates from a perspective of their own state of mind and life understanding. In other cases, people simply become more and more harsh and more rooted in their sense of they know what is right, wrong; good or bad.

How a person views the world is the defining factor of all they will encounter in the world. How a person views and judges other people is what sets the process for their personal life evolution and advancement into motion.

From a perspective of refined consciousness, it is commonly understood that being judgmental is not only a detriment to one’s self but to the overall expanding evolution of life, as well. For if one is living their life from a space of being judgmental, they are not only hindering the forward movement of interpersonal learning within themselves but they also hinder the expansion of knowledge to all those they encounter who listen to their evaluation of other people and other life situations that they provide.

So, where do you find yourself in life? Are you a person who immediately believes they know what they know before they ever allow a person or a situation to simply be who and/or what they are? Or, are you silent and take the time to understand that each person operates from their own level of understanding, based upon what they have been given in life, and from this allow each person to make their own unique contribution to life without the need to predicate that contribution upon the basis of whether or not you do or do not like it.

The Guy Who Never Made a Movie/The Guy Who Never Wrote a Book

I find it rather interesting/amusing that every now and then someone will heads-up me to the fact that this one guy is out there attempting to cast shade on me as a filmmaker—criticizing my films and/or my life in one derogatory way or the other. The funny thing is, and the thing that anybody who reads his posts does not realize, is that it was like ten years ago or so that this guy first contacted me directly saying something negative and telling me he could and has made a better movie than I ever could. I gave him my address and told him to send me a copy. Of course, he never did as he has never made a film. Yet, there he is, still out there all these years later, throwing around negativity focused at me and I imagine other people, as well. But, who is he really angry at? Me, for making movies or himself for never making one?

Maybe twenty years, when my first book on Hapkido came out, I was contacted by this school owner telling me how terrible the book was. I suggested that he write one. He told me, of course he would, and it would be so much better than mine. Great, I told him, I look forward to reading it. But, that book was never created. I guess he either never wrote the book or he found out how impossible it is to actually get a deal with an established publishing company. All these years later, still no book on Hapkido from him…

In the same vain of the martial arts, every now and then I will read how someone is trying to alter the facts and make me or some other established martial artist look bad. As I have long discussed, this is really an epidemic among modern, low-level martial artists who have found an outlet for their frustrations via the internet. But, why is that? The martial arts should be all about personal growth and positive empowerment. But, for those who have not truly achieved, they find solace in embracing negativity to cover-up for their own lack of personal accomplishment.

As we all can understand, there are the people out there in cyberspace just trying to cast shade on others by altering facts or just pointing any reader with a mind geared towards negativity in that direction. For some reason, some people are not secure within themselves and thereby have to attempt to find fault in others. The point being, in life, the negative musings of others can come at you from people across the spectrum of life: all backgrounds, all occupations. But, words are just words. The question one must always keep in mind is, "Why is that person saying what they are saying?"

You know, when I first began putting the formalized foundations for Zen Filmmaking together; the words I spoke, the classes I taught, and the writing that were published were all designed to help the person who may be having a problem getting his or her film actually done. The teachings were put together as an inspiration. This is still the case. But, back then, all the so-called, know-it-all, wanta-be filmmakers were saying Zen Filmmaking was all wrong. A film could never be made without a script. But, that was never the point. The point was, JUST DO IT! Simplify and get it done! Since that time, I have still received the same words of criticism. Sure, there are a lot of people who have made a lot of indie films since I first came up with Zen Filmmaking almost thirty years ago. But, there are also a lot more who have failed. …Failed for whatever reason. Mostly, as I have said so many times, the reason people fail in their filmmaking process is their expectations. They want their movie to look like a several million-dollar production when all they have is a few hundred dollars. Or, they wait and wait, hoping that big break will come their direction but it never does. But, if you let go of your expectation, if you let go and allow yourself to be free in your vision, you can actually get something done. You can actually make a movie or create anything else that you want to create and you can do it with your own personal style.

This is the same with all things in life. Maybe you have a vision. Maybe you even dislike what someone else has created and want to do it better. But, until you have shown what you can actually do and put it on the same chopping block of public opinion—exposing it to the same damnation, then all you are is voicing words that holds no true validly.

Maybe you don’t want to make a movie. Maybe you don’t want to write a book. And, that’s great. That’s who you are. But, if you do, then do it. Sitting around telling someone else how bad they are, how bad what they are doing is, means you are doing nothing.

Don’t You Feel Bad When You Get It Wrong?

There are so many people saying so many things and so much of what they say is so not true.

Every now and then I cannot help but take note about all of the false information that people spread across the span of human existence. Though everyone in the Free World certainly has a right to their opinion; an opinion is not a fact as I so often point out. Yet, everyone states what they state, believing what they believe, but if a belief is not based upon a truth than what is the purpose of that belief? It becomes only a tool for a person to use to substantiate their placement in society and to attempt to influence the minds of others.

A belief is a projected ideology used as a replacement for the truth. Thus, it has no absolute meaning. Yet, how many people are intelligent and ideologically coherent enough to realize that fact? Very few. Instead, they take what they have heard, they take what they think, and then they package it and release it as if it were a gift but it is not. It is simply a falsity presented with a bow.

From an academic perspective, people do their research. They find their evidence. Then they present their revelations to a board of other researchers who check and cross-check this data. Beliefs are never just thrown out there claiming to be substantiated facts. They are only accepted as a fact after a long process of assessment and evaluation.

People, however, find excuses for the falsities they present. They find justifications. They claim free speech. But, if someone is claiming free speech that in and of itself is a sign that what they are presenting has gone through no process of reevaluation by others who possess the qualifications to provide validation and approval. Thus, you must always be weary of what you hear if someone is justifying what they are saying. You must ponder, why are they saying it.

Moreover, do you feel bad when you get something wrong? Do you have any sense of remorse when you have stated something that, through further evaluation, turned out to be wrong? If you don’t, what does that say about you?

Life is lived by what we learn. If what we hear, leading to what we learn, is not true, our entire life became a false, baseless existence. If you are contributing to that epidemic, your whole existence becomes the flash point for the demise of not only the other people who have listened to what you have had to say but to the ongoing betterment and evolution of the human race, as well.

A lie is never the truth. A belief that is only believed, is never a fact. Thus, be conscious of what you say and what you put out there, for a false belief you hold, equally a lie you tell, has the potential to not only define your entire existence but the lives of those who have listened to you, as well.

Hey, YouTube Star, What Are You Doing to Save the World?

Ever since people found a way to find their celebrity on the internet, it has become a platform for publicity. Though this is not in the exact order of occurrences but first there came websites like Naked News, then personal/explicit website came to be at the forefront of media discussions. The first incarnation of MySpace was a big catalysis for this style of personality driven stardom. Now, sites like YouTube offer a pathway for people to find their fame. But, at the root of this celebrity is one person finding their pathway to recognizable notoriety. Okay… But, the question must be asked. “Hey, YouTube star, what are you doing to save the world?”

People forever find a reason to accentuate their life and to make it better. Some people are, by their nature, very outgoing and driven and they seek to be the center of attention. From this, if they have something that the internet masses desire, they may find a pathway to celebrity.

Now, there is nothing wrong in all of this. Throughout modern history some people have desired fame. But, how many people who desire fame ever think about anybody but themselves? How much time do they spend consciously giving back to the world? Sure, most of these people will have an excuse. “I make people laugh.” “People like to look at my naked body.” “I tell people what I think and they seem to like it.” Of course, the list goes on. But, how does any of that make this world a better place? How does any of that help the person who is homeless and does not even own a computer or a smartphone? How does that help the people who are devastated by weather or by war? How does that do anything to save the world?

Certainly, there have been celebrities through this modern era who actually stop looking in the mirror, step up to the plate, and go out there and do something that matters—something that truly helps people. How many YouTube celebrities are like that? How many of them get out there, get their hands dirty, and actually help the people in need?

Here are the questions you must ask yourself as you pass through life: “What am I doing to make the world a better place? What am I doing to help those in need? What am I doing for anyone but myself?” If you don’t have an answer to these questions then the answer is obvious; you are doing nothing. If you are doing nothing, you are doing nothing. You are not trying to help those less fortunate than yourself. If this is the case, why do you feel you deserve any celebrity what so ever?

If you are not doing anything to save the world—if you are not actually trying to help those in need, what does that say about you?

If you want to be famous, be famous for helping people. Then your life will have actually meant something.

The Helping Hand

I frequently ask people the question, “What are you going to do today that will help somebody other than yourself?” Right now, answer that question.

For most, they do not have an answer to that question because they do not think of other people, they only think about themselves. For others, the ones that actually pretend to care, they may attempt to come up with a suitable sounding answer. But, is that actually a real answer? Have they actually preplanned to do something for someone else?

As we pass through life, the
something in most everyone’s life is themselves. That something is based upon what they want and how they want to feel. If someone else enters into that calculation, equaling something that they want or someone who makes them feel the way they want to feel, then that person is the person they may considering doing something for. But, is that, “Doing,” in its purest sense? Or, again, is that just doing for yourself? I believe the answer to that question is clear.

The other factor in this equation is that people are quick to dismiss, "That person doesn't need my help or there is nothing that I could do to help them." Dismissal is easy. But, dismissal is just as the definition of the term implies, it is you not even caring enough to care or you not trying hard enough to try. Dismissal is easy. Trying takes caring focus. It takes effort.

So, again, we come to the place where the question must be asked, “What are you going to do today that will help somebody other than yourself?” Can you shake your mind out of its commonality of self-thought and actually care enough to do?

As we all can view our own lives as a basis for understanding, I frequently pose this question to myself. I do this to: 1) shake my mind free of self-absorption and 2) to make sure that I am caring enough to care at all junctures of my life. So, right now, ask yourself, "What can you do that will make someone’s life just a little bit better and are you willing to do it?"

As we can look to our own life as a basis for understanding, every now and then I take stock of what people have done for me. When someone does something nice for me and it comes my direction out of the unexpected nowhere I always extend my sincerest appreciation. Other times, I question why does no one cares enough to care—to say or do something nice? It is at those times when I (when we) should study our own pathway and first of all remove the self-motivated desires which equal obstacles. For if we open our eyes we may see that if all we are desiring is the only thing that we will believe is a, “Doing,” than we may miss the fact that there are people out there caring about us, and doing things for us, in their own small way.

At the end of our days, our life will not be measured by what we did for ourselves. It will be judged by what we did for others. So, “What are you going to do today that will help somebody other than yourself?” Right now, answer that question. Right now, go and do something for someone you know, someone you don’t know, someone you like, or someone you hate. Caring and doing good is always the best thing to do!

***

How many of your facts do you know that you know?

How many of your facts do you confirm?

How many things do you repeat simply because you heard it somewhere from someone?

Does it bother you that you don't check your facts?

Does it bother you when you say something that turns out to not be true?

What do you do about the false knowledge that you spread?

What do you think the false knowledge you spread does to the world as a whole?

The Bigger Question is, Why Do You Care?

People spend a lot of time thinking and talking about things outside of themselves. Whether it is discussing what they think about a particular person, a sport’s team, a music group, a movie, or a religious figurehead, whenever this style of dialogue occurs the discussion is moved away from Self. When the discussion is moved away from Self, the individual does not have to study who they are, what they are, and why they behave the way the behave. Thus, all sense of rising interpersonal human consciousness is lost to the mundane.

At the heart of all advancing mindfulness is a person’s ability to study themselves. From this study, they are allowed the opportunity to raise their level of awareness, take control over their mind, and guide themselves towards become a better, more whole, human being. For those who spend their time disregarding this fact and losing themselves to monotonous patterns of thinking, they lose any chance they have of rising above the commonplace and moving themselves towards a deeper understanding of Self and universal knowledge.

Taking control over one’s self is not easy. In fact, it is one of the hardest things that any person can accomplish. Removing one’s self from this task is easy, however, as there are a million things out there to distract you. There are a million people, saying a million things, all designed to keep you from looking within. Everywhere you turn you will find someone attempting to drag you into the discussion of the mundane and keeping you from turning within, developing a highly defined mind, and moving yourself towards the higher mind and the betterment of all instead of simply focusing on what somebody thinks about some one or some thing.

This is your life. You are the only person who can take control over it and decide to make yourself something more. So, why do you care about something that does not truly effect your overall evolution? Why do you waste your time thinking about it? Why do you waste your time discussing it?

***

It's easy to voice your opinion when the person you are voicing your opinion about has no way to respond.

***

What are you going to do today that helps someone other than yourself?

How Choice Equals Your Everything

As we pass through our life we each make choices. In many incidences these choices are something that we have chosen to do in the moment with little forethought. Whether they ultimately turn out to be a good, positive choice or a bad, negative choice, the ramifications from that choice are lived but then we are allowed to move on, leaving our past behind. This is not always the case, however. In some cases, these choices come to define much of the rest of our life. This is certainly the case when someone commits a crime and is caught and legally punished for it. This is also the case when someone meets someone, has a child with them, comes to truly dislike that person, but they are forced to deal with that person, due to the child, for much of the rest of their life.

The previous examples are two of the very obvious ones. There are understandably other actions that people choose to make that binds them to a specific period of their life and a specific person in their life. In many cases, they do this without ever thinking about the larger ramifications of the choice(s) they make on their life and to the life of the person or persons who are affected by the choice that they made. But, whether the action was a conscious choice or not, they bind themselves to that specific choice and/or a specific person. Thus, they become defined by a definable point in their past throughout the rest of their life.

Take a look at your life. Think to the things that define your life. Who are you, what are you? Who are the people around you and why are they there? Now, focus on the things that caused you to become that person. Then, trace this back to the choices you made that caused you to emerge to the point where you find yourself in life. What can you conclude? There is no right or wrong answer, this is simply a prescribed pathway which allows you to see how you have become the person whom you have become.

Once you have a clear perspective of yourself, take a few moments and look to the people whom you’ve interacted with throughout your life. Now, think to the people you have positively touched as you passed through life. What did you do to make them have that affirmative experience? Next, think about the people whose life you have damaged as you made the choices that you made as you have lived your life. What did you do to hurt them and why did you make that choice?

It is essential to note that the karmic ramification of someone you have hurt are always far stronger than someone you have helped? Why is that? Because pain, (physical, emotional, or otherwise), is long-lasting, especially when you have done nothing to undo the damage. Thus, that person is continually thinking about what you have done and this will forever become a defining factor to your existence in their mind. Thus, the two of you are bound together, via a negative experience, forever.

Think to the people that have been bound to you by the actions you have taken based upon the choices you have made. Define in your mind, the type of relationship that developed between the two of you based upon the choices you have made leading to the actions you have taken. Do you care about the way they feel or how their life has become defined by what you have chosen to do?

For a person with a conscience and a clear awareness of morality they do care. This is what defines them, their relationships, and the choices that they make throughout time. But, there are others out there who do not care. Though you may wish for them to care, you may tell them to care, but again they make their own choices which sets their interactive destiny into motion and if they are a person who does not possess a conscience there is little you or anyone else can do to make them refine and cultivate their mind.

So, what does this leave us with? It leaves us with the fact that not only your life but the life of all those you interact with, as you pass through your life, is defined by the choices you make. It is then further defined based upon the next level of choices you make delineated by the choices you previously made.

What choices will you make today that will define your future? What choices will you make today that will remedy the choices you have made in the past? Your life, your choice.

Speaking Your Mind Verse Mindful Speaking

One of the primary tenets of Buddhism is Right Speech. It is an essential part of the Eightfold Path.

In the modern world, especially in the Free World, people have the belief that they can say whatever it is they want to say with impunity. Perhaps this is true from a governmental perspective but is what is allowed by society the only true definition of human consciousness? No. Just because you think something, that does not make it true. Just because you are allowed to say whatever it is you want to say, that does not make it right. On the path of rising human consciousness the individual should make a cognizant decision to formulate their speech from a more profound perspective then simply letting their thought and beliefs run away with their thinking mind, thereby creating the words they are speaking. That is what sets the person walking the spiritual path in a different direction than the average person; they consciously formulate every aspect of what they do and what they say in order to leave the least amount of impactful devastation in their wake.

Right Speech is based initially upon the Buddhist concept of Right Thought. For, where do your words arise from? They are instigated by what you think. But, why do you think what you think? This goes to the source of whom you associate with. Thus, the Buddhist understanding of Right Association is brought into play. Whom you associate with equals what you think, equals what you say.

As sentient beings we all feel we are whole and compete onto ourselves. This is also the sourcepoint for where the human ego comes into play. As we are whole and complete beings, many feel that gives them the right to do and say whatever it is they want. But, again, this goes back to the sourcepoint for personal thought. Why do you choose to think what you think? What was your inspiration? Why do you feel you have the right to spread what you think out to to the world via your words? What made you believe that it was acceptable to do that?

At the heart of all rising human consciousness is the person who chooses to take control over themselves. They do this realizing that they are not the All Powerful, All Knowing Being that the ego has allowed many to embrace. They understand that they are simply a cog in the wheel and, as such, what they do has an ever-rippling effect onto the rest of world. From this understanding, they choose to take control over their mind and the actions unleashed by their thoughts so that the world becomes a better, less traumatized place. Thus, they choose mindful speaking over speaking their mind.

Where do you place yourself in the spectrum of the existence that you find yourself currently living? Do you feel that you have the God-given-right to expound your beliefs to all those who will listen? If you do believe this, where did that belief arise? And, do you not believe that everything you say possesses an impact on the lives of not only those you speak about but those who listen to your words? Do you not believe that you are creating your own karma by saying what you are saying?

It takes a strong person to put their ego in check. It takes a strong person to not be dominated by what they think and what they believe. It takes a strong person to understand that mindful words are the sourcepoint for making the world a better place as opposed to making it a more damaged place on both the interpersonal and universal level.

Can you be strong enough to choose Right Speech? This is a question that you can only answer yourself. But, be advised, your words equal your karma and your words equal your destiny. What kind of life do you want to live? What kind of impact do you wish to invoke?

***

Goed of slecht is enkel een zienswijze. Als je van de hel houdt wordt het een hemel.

***

Hoe vrij zou je zijn als het je niet uitmaakt wat anderen over je zouden denken?

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ถ้าคุณไม่คาดหวังเกินไปคุณก็จะไม่รู้สึดผิดหวัง

***

Csak akkor érezheted úgy, hogy becsaptak, ha elvársz valamit. Elvárások híján csalódásoktól sem kell tartanod. Minél kevesebbet vársz, annál szabadabb lehetsz, s annál kevésbé az idő rabja. Miért? Mert elfogadod azt, ami van. Az elfogadás felszabadít.

***

Mindannyiunknak vannak személyes kedvteléseink, preferenciáink - bizonyos dolgokat szeretünk, másokat nem. Az életben mindig van két választási lehetőséged: az egyik, hogy úgy döntesz, élvezed az éppen aktuális eseményt, és tanulsz belőle - még ha nem is olyan dolog, amit szeretsz. A másik lehetőség, hogy végigküzdöd-küszködöd az élményt, közben folyamatosan hibáztatva érte mindent és mindenkit magad körül. Mi lenne, ha minden kedvezőtlen eseményt új megvilágításban szemlélnél? Mi volna, ha egyszerűen elfogadnád a tapasztalatot, mint átmeneti állapotot, és tanulnál belőle, amit csak lehet? Gondold csak el, milyen békéssé válna ezzel az élményed! Ha szereted a Poklot, azzal Mennyországgá változtatod. Az érzéseiddel döntesz - válassz hát körültekintően!

***

Hányszor történt veled valami olyasmi, amit nem szerettél? És hányszor volt, hogy a kezdeti negatív tapasztalat gazdagabbá tett téged, új lehetőségeket kínált:

- erősebbé tett
- megismertetett új emberekkel
- lehetővé tette, hogy tisztábban lásd az emberi természetet
- képessé tett rá, hogy mélyebben megértsd a saját létedet.

A helyzetek és körülmények nem rosszak. A döntéseid, ahogy azokat kezeled, irányítást biztosítanak a számodra, és lehetővé teszik, hogy megszabadulj minden negatív dologtól. A békéhez vezető úton ne hagyd, hogy látszólag negatív események átvegyék fölötted az irányítást, és uralni kezdjék a gondolkodásodat. Ehelyett inkább arra figyelj, hogyan fejlődhetnél tudatosan a tapasztalat által!

***

La felicidad es una emoción. Eres tú quien decide ser feliz o infeliz en una momento dado.

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Tu aquí y ahora está solo dominado por la complejidad de la vida que te has creado tu mismo.

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La valoración que haga otra persona de ti, ¿es más importante para ti que tu propio conocimiento de ti mismo?

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Despierta y siente un nuevo día. Vive y siente una nueva vida. Mira con ojos nuevos y experimenta todas las posibilidades.

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Perdona y serás libre. Olvida y serás todavía más libre.

***

Sin esa experiencia negativa inicial, no habrías avanzado nunca hacia algo positivo.

***

Olvídate de intentar comprender todos los acontecimientos de la vida y serás mil veces más feliz.

***

All negative behavior comes from a place of unanswered pain.

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Your life is defined by whom you have hurt.

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A saint in one faith is a sinner in another.

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When the destination no longer exists there is no right way or wrong way to get there.

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For every bad situation that occurs in your life if you look back through time you will realizing that it began by one choice being made and most often that choice was made by you.

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Do all of the good deeds you do today erase that one bad thing you did way back when?

***

You getting revenge is only you setting yourself up for further karmic repercussions.

One Minute Later

Have you ever been in a car or a motorcycle accident? How did that accident affect your life? For most, these events are a negative experience—negative, especially if you were hurt or your car or motorcycle was badly damaged.

Now, think about this… What if you had left home one minute later that day. One minute later or one minute earlier and you would not have been at that intersection, at that point in time, where that accident took place. Thus, you would have never been in that accident.

This goes to show you how your life is dominated by simple movements—movements that can change your everything. A choice to leave, when you choose to leave, and everything in your life is changed forever.

I have been in a few serious accidents in my life. Going back to my childhood, when I was maybe two or three, (I remember very far back in my life), a car hit my father late at night. This was my first accident experience. My father, at the time, own a restaurant near the USC campus and we were driving home at maybe one or two AM; whenever the restaurant closed. I was sitting on my mother’s lap. This was long before child car seats or even seat belts. The car hit us. I apparently smacked my head on the dash due to the impact. Though I don’t remember that part. My father, obviously pissed off due to this fact, gets out and the black guy that hit us pulls a knife on my father. …Things were sketchy back then too. My father, a petty savvy fighter, knocked him out. The cops soon showed up and the guy was arrested.

But, think about it… Had we left the restaurant just a few minutes sooner or a few minutes later, none of that melodrama would have happened.

When I was ten, I was driving in a car near Valentine, Arizona with my uncle. It was the winter. We were driving on Route 66. I so clearly remember as this pickup truck drives up next to us, looks at us, and passes us very quickly. I took notice as the two people in the truck were long haired Native Americans. As this was 1968 you took notice of a man’s hair length. Instead of just passing us, however, they intentionally cut us off, causing my uncle to react and, due to the fact the road was icy, we swerved off the road and flipped the car. Why they did this, I don’t know. Drunk? Maybe. Because we had California license plates? Maybe. Or, just to fuck with us. I don’t know… But, it was quite an experience. One that should never have happened. It was the first time that I believed I was going to die—in one of those seconds that seems to last for an eternity. I let go of life. But, I lived and I was okay. Okay, but never the same.

I have been hit while driving my motorcycle a few times. Two of those times were very serious. My life was never the same… Hell, my friend even ran into me with his motorcycle as we were driving down the Sunset Strip back in the late 70s. He was trying to pick up on these two girls in a car and wasn’t paying attention. He hit my bike, we both hit the payment. The girls laughed and drove off. Life…

I’ve been in a few smaller accidents, as well, but the one thing that any one who has even been in an accident, large or small, will tell you is that they are not fun. They are an occurrence that comes out of the blue—an occurrence that you wish never happened. An occurrence that can truly change your life.

But, any of those accidents—they did not have to happen. All I had to do was leave a minute earlier or a moment later. But, I did not. Why not?

Accidents also go to the situations when you meet a new person by chance. You are there, they are there and, for whatever reason, you begin a conversation. This conversation may equal great things in your life. It may also equal devastation. A chance meeting, by accident, yet your life is altered forever. Had you not been there, had they not been there, none of the anything would have ever happened. But, you were there, they were there, and now your life has come to be defined by this interaction. An accidental meeting, yet it comes to define you.

Some would say that all things that happen to you are god’s will. Others would call up the karma card. Still others will say it was destiny. Maybe… It could be anyone one of those things if you choose to be a believer. But, life is random. Life happens. Different things, different experiences, happen to all of us. From them, we become who we are.

Some people want to find a reason for no reason. Some people wish to attribute logic and a causation factor to everything so that they may feel like there is something bigger going on—that god has a purpose for them. But, this is all mental masturbation. It is simply people looking for a reason why when there is no reason why.

Life happens. You are here. You do things. You make choices when to do things. From this, your life becomes defined by the experiences you have when you are doing the things you choose to do when you choose to do them.

Reason, logic, justification, they are only there if you believe they are there. But, what does the other person who was part of the accident believe? Probably something totally different from what you are believing. Thus, there is no fact—only supposition.

Life… Though we all wish we could find a reason why, there is no reason why.

Do Something Special Every Day

Life goes by in the blink of an eye. When you are young you don't think about this. When you are old it is too late to think about this. One day you are young; the next day years have gone by but you never saw them going. You never see the passing of time until that time has past. You can only look back and remember your life experiences. Yes, during your life there are good times and there are bad times but while you are living them, you are locked into them. Thus, they are only judged through the passage of time.

Many people choose to live a very mundane existence. The do the same thing everyday. Some like what they do and they are content in their mundane. That is a good thing. Most people, however, are not like this. And, that is bad thing.

Many people feel trapped by their life-definitions. They feel they must do what they must do. But, if what they must do brings them no joy, their entire life passes by with not only a sense of angst and regret but also with a longing to have lived something else. From this is born all of the internal anger perpetuated out to the world by the words and the deeds of the unhappy and the unfulfilled individual.

For many, their life is defined by a sense of necessity. They must do what they must do to survive and/or to feed their family. Again, this goes back to the core principle of life; some people love or at least accept the cards life has dealt them; making the best out of them, while others are regretful and become bitter and angry.

Though there are spiritually based metaphysical methods to teach a person how to rethink and reencounter their life; this takes training. A training that many do not wish to undergo. Thus, what can a person do if they find that they are living a life that they wish was different? The answer, “Do something special everyday.”

Many people adequate, “Special,” with something big. A trip to Hawaii, a new car, a new lover, a new and better job. But, “Special,” doesn’t have to be that. Special can be something very small but very personal. If you like to take a walk, take a walk everyday. Go have a cappuccino. Join a gym. You never know who you will meet. Take a class in something that you are interested in. Go do some hatha yoga. You name it… Special is anything that takes you away from the forced and the mundane in your life. Special is anything that takes your mind off of all the stuff you normally think about. Special is something that makes you feel special. Special does not have to cost money. Special is taking a moment, talking yourself out of any drudgery that you may be encountering, and altering you mind to a place where new and happy realization and life experiences may be born.

Do something special every day.

***

Who has to die so your secrets will be hidden?

Demons Among Us

There are demons that walk among us. People who pretend to be one thing but are completely the opposite. People who lie about who they and what they are to get what they want. People who have some form of mental illness and either hide it from the world or are too mentally ill to even realize the fact that they are flat out nuts. In each and all of these cases, the demons come into the life of someone else and completely destroy it. Caring not about who they are, what they are, or what they have done, they move through their entire lifetime doing nothing but damaging the lives of all those they encounter. There are demons among us.

In most case, it is only after our life has been damaged by one of these demons that we actually realize who and what they are. Initially, we only see the facade.

Most of us believe in people—we want to believe that people are good, kindhearted, and are doing good things while acting in a positive manner. This is where we are taken in by the demon. From believing in the goodness of people, demons find an open door.

In some cases, we can see the demons among us. Are you ever out in public and you see someone talking to themselves? This is the obvious, early stages of mental illness. Thus, they are on the road to demonhood. Some people are just nuts. They are yelling and screaming wherever they find themselves. Demon… But, then there are those who have the ability to hide who and what they truly are. They may do this through lying, they may do this through pretending. Whatever the guise, what they do is hide from the world what they have the potential of unleashing once one allows them into their life.

Sometimes, at a distance, we can hear a person yelling, screaming, and raging in anger. These people are controlled by their demons within. If we can hear them, we know to stay away from them. The problem is, most of these people are masters of deception; they lie and they hide who they are and what they do. They do this so most of the people they encounter do not know who they truly are until it is too late.

This is the same with people lost to the realms of distorted relationships. Some people perform very misdirected and unconscious acts within the realms of a relationship. Sometimes the other participant is a willing participant. Other times, they were simply indoctrinated into whatever levels of wrongness is taking place. Knowing nothing else, they do not question what is going on or why. Still others are lied to by these demonic personages. They are deceived into thinking the person is one thing when they are the complete opposite. This is where the true and absolute damage to a person’s life can occur. They were lied to thus all levels of damnation may occur to them and they may have no way out. Thus, all hope and all life is lost.

At the root of the demons who walk among us is deception. They lie. Whether that lie is a conscious action attempting to gain what they want from other people or if it is simply a reaction; hoping to keep their demonic condition in the shadows, these lies have the potential to destroy lives. We can all say that this person should not have the ability to behave in their demonic manner. And, we can say that we hope we never encounter these type of people. But, they are everywhere. It is only through a very discerning eye and a developed understanding of what traits to look for that any of us can keep our lives free from being invaded by a demon.

Liar are everywhere; don’t allow them in your life. People who hurt people are everywhere; don’t allow them in your life. People who deceive other people about who and what they truly are, are everywhere; don’t let them into your life.

Study anyone and everyone you meet—any person you encounter. Don’t let a pretty face fool you. Don’t let someone who you think is smart fool you. Don’t let someone who you think will be the answer to your desires control you. Know everyone you encounter before you ever let them close enough to demonize your life.

***

Just because you believe something to be true does not make it true.

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No one wants to admit their own sins but everyone wants to call out the sins of others.

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You can deny your actions, you can justify what you have done—your friends and your family can support your deeds but if what you have set in motion damages the life of another person then you are the source of that destruction and no words or rationalizations can save you from what will eventually befall you.

***

What happens if no one believed in God?

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Do you try to fix any damage that you have created or do you try to find a reason to justify your actions?

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Everybody has a reason for doing what they do but most of these reasons are simply excuses.

Inspiration from the Obscene

In each of our lives there comes a time when somebody enters our existence and they really mess things up. Sometime these encounters only last for a moment. In other cases, these interactions have the potential to define many years of our life. In either case, we don’t want the negative experiences brought on by our interactions with this individual to have ever happened but, this is life, and at times we all encounter negative life experiences delivered to us by someone else.

In some cases, we invite these individuals into our life. We meet them, they may seem nice or appear as if they have something to give to our life that we desire. In other cases, they force their way into our lives in a way that we never hoped-for, desired, or have any responsibility for. These forced interactions can come from any number of causes: another employee at the workplace, someone moves into your neighborhood, an unconscious driver smashes into you with their car, and the list goes on. But, at the root of any of these defining factors is the element that the person enters your existence and things are never the same—they are worse.

Once this person enters your life and they mess things up, it is common to harbor a lot of frustration, dissatisfaction, and anger towards this person. They came in, they messed things up, and you are the one left dealing with the consequences. Commonly, a person who unleashes negativity is so lost to the true realms of higher consciousness and reality that they do not even care who they have hurt and never set about on a course to make it right. In fact, they may even blame you. Wrong, but it is seen as right in their distorted mind.

So, what can you do?

The fact is, there is no hard answer for what you can do as once these encounters take place each person’s life is damaged in a different way. Though you may want revenge, as a conscious individual you will probably never pursue that path. This being said, the one thing that you can do is gain inspiration from the obscene. The first thing you must establish is the villain in the equation. And, if you have personally made the mistake of letting that person into your life, you must draw the boundaries; stop the interaction(s) if you can or, at least, limit the interactions if they are, for example, a coworker or a neighbor. Then, you must study that person: watch them, listen to them, remember their actions; what they did and did not do; what they said and how they behaved. Once you have done this, you, as a conscious person, who truly wishes to make you and the world a better place, must then take what you have witnessed in this person and use it to guide you to never do what they have done.

Never let your actions hurt anyone else. And, if you have intentionally or accidentally hurt someone in your past do all that you can do to undo what you have done and fix what you have broken.

The mark of a caring conscious individual is caring enough to care.

The Process of Realization

Most people never take the time to study why they behave the way they behave. They simply pass through their life giving no thought to the process of personal realization.

Commonly, people know they have a personality and that they feel a certain way or behave in a particular manner when they are reacting to the various stimuli they encounter in life but they never take the time to study why they behave in this manner. At best, they simply write it off to the excuse, “That’s just who I am.”

But, why are you who you are? Why do you behave the way you behave, do the things you do, and act out in the manner in which you act out? If you do not know the answers to these questions you are living your life from a place where no personal realization can ever be had. You are living in a place where your emotions control your every move and can lead you down the road to alienating other people, damaging the lives of others and your own.

When some are confronted with these certainties they write it off to the fact that they do not care about truly knowing themselves — they do care about inner knowledge, all they care about is feeling okay a much of the time as possible and when they do not then their reactions, however hurtful or antisocial they may be, are called for. But, this is simply an excuse not a conscious realization.

This is the place in life that defines who a person truly is and what they can give back to others. For if a person does not care enough to define their own inner motivations they have no possibility of ever gaining control over them and raising to the higher levels of human understanding.

The world begins with you. The world begins with how you interact with the world. Your encounters, relationships, and ultimate life accomplishment are defined by how you act, react, and behave in the presence of others. If you do not take the time to know who you are and why, life simply becomes a random mess of chance encountered dominated by whatever emotion you are feeling at the moment.

Your life. Your choice. It all begins with you. But, it only truly begins when you understand who you actually are.

Where Does Your Empowerment Come From?

Each person wants to exist in a world where they are liked, loved, well thought of, and even respected. They want to be cared about and they want to have their life mean something. To achieve this, people go to all kinds of lengths. The problem is, these lengths are commonly defined by less than ideal actions. From this, though a person may, at least temporarily, gain some of the something they desire, it eventually falls away because it was not a life constructed upon consciousness, thinking of others first, and caring about humanity more than one cares about themselves. 

Take a moment and think about the various things you have wanted for your life. Look at what you want now. What are you doing to receive it?  But, more importantly, think back to what you wanted one year ago, five years ago, ten years ago. Did you receive those life-things? If so what was the price of you getting them? How did you getting them affect others? And, once you got them did they truly make you a better, more whole individual?

This is thing abut time, it allows us to gain perspective. 

In life, there is one common problem. That problem is, most people think about themselves first. They only care about other people in so much as they effect them. Obviously, this is a vey selfish mindset.  But, it how most of the world operates. 

Think about this, how many times has someone only been thinking about themselves and your life or your life evolution was negatively effected by their behavior? Yet, how many times have you hurt someone else’s life by you thinking only about yourself and you did not even care?

Right now, take a moment. Think back one day, one month, one year, or five years — think about another person that you interacted with. Focus on them instead of yourself. Think about how your self-involved, selfishness affected them. You probably didn’t care then. Do you care now?

If you live your entire life based in a space of self-absorption you exist in a very selfish realm of consciousness. The fact is, many people don’t care.  They justify their actions. “I am doing this to get that.” “People have hurt me so I have the right to hurt them.” But, more then these mentally verbalized excuses, most people are so lost into the realms of the selfish-self that they do not even take the time to take others into consideration. They do what they do. They do what they do and at best make up justifications and/or excuses for their actions. But, the fact is, the moment another person has entered your life, either by choice or fate, you are forever intertwined with them. Anything you do that affects them, effects you. And, though you may gain what you want for your life in any given moment by exhibiting bad or selfish behavior, it is that behavior itself that will eventually cause you to lose it and to not achieve your greater dreams.

Think about life. Think about the people in your life. Think about the people that you actually know; not someone that you have heard about. Think about these people because by looking at them you know what you know; it is not some abstract rumor, thought, or impression.  Think about these people. How many of them are truly happy, truly fulfilled, have truly obtained what they have wanted from and for their life? For most of us, when we actually take the time to take a conscious look we will see that most people are unfilled and have not achieved their whole and compete dreams. This is simply a fact of life.

Now, again, look at these people. What have the done to get where they wanted to be? In their process who did they damage in a small or a large way? 

From any damage comes further damage. The damaged go on to damaging others. Why? Because they have been hurt. From this hurt they feel they have the right and/or the need to hurt others. “It’s been done to me.” But, this is biggest excuse that many people employee and the entirely wrong space to live your life from. This is a space of expounding the negative in life; not the positive. If you consciously set about on a path to hurt, say bad things, do bad things to any other person, your life will forever be defined by those actions. This is why most people never live their life dream. They are held back by their thoughts, words, deeds, and actions. 

Many people, however, do not knowingly set out to damage the life of other people. They do not take conscious action. They simply do what they do without conscious thought. Is this style of behavior then forgivable because it was not consciously set in motion? No, it is not. For if you go through life lost in your self, locked in your own mind, then by that very thought process you have committed the ultimate sin — you only thought about yourself instead of the great whole.

People lie. People cheat. People steal. People deceive. People hurt other people, whether consciously or not. People lie to themselves about what they have done. People do all of these things to get what they want. But, if getting what you want involves the damage of anyone or anything you will never truly get what you want. If you do, it will only be very short-lived. And then, you will have had it but will suffer from the losing of it.

If you are not thinking about others first, if you are not putting other people first, you are living your life from a very selfish mind-space. From this, all that is born is disaster. Be more. Care about the other person first. From this, a whole new world of internal achievement is given birth to.

Try it out.  See how it feels.

The Holder of Your Secrets

In each of our lives we do what we do. Some of these, “Done Things,” we are very proud of and want the world to know about them; others—not so much. Some things we do are private; we want to keep them a secret.

Many of these, “Secrets,” are sealed. As no one saw or heard them so they are locked only into our mind and/or the mind of the person we performed them with. This is life…

There is the other side of the issue, however. Sometimes are secrets are found out. …Someone else saw them, heard them, or researched them. From this, at the discretion of
another, they can be released to the world.

There have been tape recorders and cameras forever. Video tape cameras have been around for a long while. Now, everyone carries all three of them on their phone. From this, personal secrets have become very hard to keep.

Most people do not set out to capture your secrets. Unless you are doing something bad to someone or something, your secrets are never sought out, as no one cares. In other cases, it is happenstance. You do something bad (something you want to keep a secret from the world) and what you say or do is so loud your secret is accidentally captured. Then what?

The fact is, people only keep secrets because they wish to hide who they truly are from other people. …They wish to hide what they truly do from others. Why? Because, in most cases, they wish to be seen a certain way by certain people. They wish to be seen as something they are not. They wish to be perceived in a specific light by a specific group of people. Whether this group is large or small is unimportant, it is simply defined by the mind of the individual who wishes others to not know who they truly are and what they truly do.

But, why is this? This mindset exists because people are not truthful about themselves — they are not truthful to themselves; for if they were there would be no need for secrets. If a person would not be attempting to project a persona, if they would simply be who and what they are, then there would be no need to hide anything.

Some people want to reveal and spread the secrets of another person. Some people make this their life quest. Some people lie about other people, pretending that they are telling someone’s secrets when all they are doing is telling a lie.

The fact is, finding out someone’s secrets is invigorating. …You know what you’re not suppose to know. You know what someone didn’t want you know. From this, you feel empowered. You feel you have power over that person. Think about how many negative life events have been set into motion by those who possess this mindset?

In this modern world, your secret(s) may now be easily captured. But, what if you have no secretes? Then, who would care?

Secrets are you hiding the truth about you from someone/anyone. If you existing in a space of being one-hundred percent yourself—one hundred percent honest about yourself, then what secrets would your life hold? You would be free.

Stop lying about who you truly are. Stop hiding who you truly are. Stop doing bad things. Then, you are free as you have no secrets. From this, not only does your world become freer are but the entire world becomes just a little bit better.

Life and Living with Others

I imagine that we each have had people come into our lives and really mess things up for us. Had we invited them in, then it would have been our own fault and there would be no one to blame but ourselves. But, this is not commonly the case for once we know of a person’s prediction for negativity, lying, deceiving, cheating, uncontrolled behavior, and doing other bad things; we very consciously shun them. But then, there is the other life-scenario—there is the case when someone intrudes his or her way into our life, forces their way in, and then by their deeds and actions all we are left with is the life damage and life destruction that they have created.

Hopefully, these experiences will be few and far between in one’s life. But, the fact of the matter is, no matter how few or how far better these life interactions are, once they have occurred, all we are left with is the never ending memory of the damage another person has caused us.

Most people do not set out to hurt others. Though some are of this mindset and intentionally devise a scheme to harm others, they are the worst of the worst; all of their acts are criminal and eventually they pay the price for them. But, more often then not, the people that damage our lives are those who are too unconscious, too self-centered, too unaware, too full of themselves, too much in self-denial and self-deceit and possessing too much unjustified self-importance to even fully comprehend or care about what they are doing. Once they have done what they have done, they lie, they deny, they live in a state of self-imposed superiority so that they will not have to accept that they are truly a bad person, doing wrong things to the lives of others.

In fact, have you ever encountered the situation where a person did a really bad thing to your life and then they tried to turn it around on you and blame you for your reactions based upon their negative actions? This is one of the prime examples of a person who is completely out of touch with the reality of what they are doing to the life of another person. But, people like this are everywhere; lost in their own self-deception and hoping to damage further the life of a person that they already damaged.

Truthfully, it is very sad… Sad, because the lives of the people they negatively affected are affected forever. The person’s life experience, their life chances, and their next level of life opportunities are damaged forever. But, what does the person who instigated the damage do to correct anything that they have done? Commonly, the answer to that is nothing. They lie and they deny. They run away from the truth about who and what they are. And, as previously stated, in some cases, they even attempt to blame the victim for their own actions of instigation. These people are simply bad and nothing that they can say or do will ever change this fact. They cannot change this fact unless they choose to go to source of their problem and undo all the negativity they have unleashed. But commonly, they are too egomaniacal to even attempt this feat.

And, here lies the ultimate definition of a person’s life; does that individual try to fix what they have broken?

In life, most people are good. They try to do good things and attempt to exist in space of harming no one. They are not locked into a mindset of self-deception where they tell themselves that are something that they are not. If they do unintentionally damage the life of another person, they turn their ego off and they do whatever it takes to repair that damage, for they know that damage will haunt their evolution forever if they do not correct it.

The good are truthful to themselves and others. The bad live in a space of denial and self-deception, not caring about others.

In life, though we all want what we want, we all want to do what we want to do, it is essential that we think about our environment and others first before we do anything. For is we do not, our words, our deeds, and our actions can hurt others because we did not take
others into consideration before we performed said actions.

Others are the fact of life. There are others all around us, all of the time. We must think of others first, before we think of ourselves if we hope to live a good life.

In some cases, some people are too self-absorbed to hear or comprehend these words. They believe that it is okay to do whatever it is they are doing, as it is their means to their ends. It may get them money, notoriety, physiological release, or psychological empowerment. But, the root and the heart of the problem, in thinking about life in that fashion, is that it is all based upon the concept of ME. And ME, is a very selfish place to live at.

Others are the key to life as it will be others who define your life.

What have you done to others? Did you hurt others? No matter what your justification for doing what you did may have been, did you undo any hurtful action, did you fix the damage you created, or did you simply live in a web of self-deceit? The answer to that question will define your entire existence.

Others define your life. How did you treat others?

You Are a Liar

Not only am I often asked to speak and write about the subject of truth, I am quite frequently confounded with the realities of life when someone lies to me. To begin this discussion I must state that ever since I was a very young boy I had this uncanny ability to know when someone was lying to me. In my early years I used to confront people with this fact, “You are a liar,” or, “You are lying.” I quickly came to understand that this was not the best method to keep any conversation or relationship moving forward. So, since then, I pretty much just let people keep talking — even if I know that they are lying to me.

At the central core of all that is right and good with life is the truth. But, what is the truth? The truth is not something big, grand, or abstract, the truth is the essence of who we each are. Where does truth come from? It comes from us. We are each the source or the truth or the lies. From truth, goodness is given birth to. From lies, all badness emulates.

People lie for all kinds of reasons. They lie to be seen as something more than they actually are. They lie to get something that they desire. They lie to protect themselves. And, the list goes on… But, at the central core of who and what a person truly is, the question must be raised, “Are they a liar?” Are you? Do you lie? It does not matter the reason or your reasoning? Are you a liar? If you are, all that you will ever be is a liar. For all things that you do and say set the next evolution of life into motion; not only for your life but also for all of those whom interact with you. If anything that you say or do is instigate from a lie, then there can never be truth. For without a basis in truth there can never be a greater good. A lie never equals the truth.

Most people, when they are confronted with the fact that they have lied will either re-lie, attempting to cover up their initial lie, or they will make all kinds of excuses for why they lied — providing all kinds of justifications for their action. But, again, this is not the truth. This is only exaggerating any lie that they already told.

If a person lies to you, they can never be trusted because they were willing to lie to you in the first place. If a person is willing to lie to you, (and justify their actions either to themselves or to you), they are not an honest person. A dishonest person is a liar, no matter what justification they are providing themselves with for doing what they are doing and saying what they are saying.

Life is a very simple place. The truth is the sole defining factor of all interpersonal relationships and with a person’s individual ability to achieve higher consciousness. Think about this, if a person lies to others, if a person lies to himself or herself, do you think they have the ability to obtain higher consciousness? No, they do not. A lie is never the truth, no matter what. If you lie you have tied yourself to the lower level of desire-filled human consciousness and you will never obtain what you hope to achieve for you have poisoned your own well.

As is always the case, the world begins with you. All you say and do affects the all and the everything of the further evolution of this place we call life. If you are lying, for any reason, that means that you are personally responsible for damaging the greater good.

I understand that most people don’t want to hear this and that many people do not even care. But, if you care about humanity, if you care about the greater good, if you care about your own self and your ultimate life-legacy, do not lie. For all lying does is create a world based upon falsehoods and deception. Stop making excuses to yourself for lying and become more. By you become more, via the truth, the entire world becomes better.

The truth is the ultimate defining factor for life. If you lie, stop it. If you have lied, undo your lies. Mostly, stop lying to yourself that your lying is justified. Stop being a liar!

Hidden Behind the Excuse of Mental Illness

When a person sees an individual with a physical illness, injury, or deformity the common emotion is sympathy. When a person encounters an individual suffering from a mental illness, however, the common emotion is to stay away from that person. This course of action is taken due to the fact that the person is most likely behaving irrationally and saying or doing inappropriate things. From this, the common course of action is to keep your distance. In fact, this is not a bad form of behavior or the wrong course of action as a person with a mental illness is unpredictable and they can lead any person who interacts with them down a road that they would have never traveled had they not encountered that individual.

As human understanding, medications, and psychoanalytical treatments have advanced over time many people have become much more accepting of those who suffer from the various forms of mental illness — both of the severe and the less severe. From this, there has become a more wide reaching acceptance of allowing certain individuals to act out and exhibit less than ideal human behavior. In times gone past, a person who behaved irrationally or presented an overabundance of uncontrolled emotion were commonly shunned or sent to a hospitable facility where it was believed they would be helped. Today, whereas those who suffer from the more severe forms of mental illness are generally treated in a hospitable and then only released once they are indoctrinated into the proper medication regiment, those with the less severe forms of mental illness are allowed to walk the streets, do what they do, and as long as their behavior does not become criminal they are allowed to live their life as the see fit. From this, those with these less severe forms of mental illness have been allowed to negatively affect they lives of those people around them. Here is where the root problem of either undiagnosed or hidden mental illness arises for the world on the whole.

Psychotherapy, which has many-many flaws, most commonly the fact that a person only tells their therapist what they want them to know and presents their life-facts through a very filtered perception, is the most common course of action for those with the more minor forms of mental illness. That is to say, it is the common course of self-imposed action for those who are self-aware enough to realize that they are behaving, acting, and reacting in an unacceptable manner to go and see a psychotherapist. Though a psychotherapist may guide their patient down the road to a more controlled life-existence, for the most part, they cannot remove the mental illness from their patient. This is particularly the case with a mental illness like bipolar disorder.

In the situation of bipolar disorder, one of the common symptoms is that of the lack of ability to control the sufferer’s emotional outburst. In fact, many a person with bipolar disorder, in this modern era, passes through their entire life without medical care as they are simply categorized as being very, “Emotional.” As such, they can commonly function to the degree that they can live among society without serious consequences. Though medication and psychotherapy may well help the sufferer of bipolar disorder, many who suffer from this mental illness are never alerted to this fact. This is most commonly due to the fact that many who possess this condition, and other relatively functional psychological disorders, are either not consciously aware of their inappropriate interaction with society or are simply in denial of the altered manner in which they encounter life.

For those of us who have encountered those with bipolar disorder, whether diagnosed or not, we have seen how a person with this condition can truly come to negatively affect the lives of all those around them. As they cannot control their emotions, they are prone to undefined outburst when there is no need for them. From this, not only are relationships damages but also verbal and physical altercations are instigated and lives may be sent down the pathway of unexpected and undesired occurrences due to the course of event set into motion by the person who possess this mental illness.

One of the key components of mental illness, that has come to be very prominent in this current timeframe, is that the sufferer has been feed the elixir that they are not responsible for their behavior; they are ill, they are trying to be better, thus, they should not hold themselves responsible for their behavior or their actions.

At the root or all mental illnesses is the sense of denial held by the person who suffers from the disease. From the modern psychological perspective, and via the words of a psychotherapist who makes their living by keeping each of their patients under their control for as long as possible so they can pay their rent, the sufferer of the disease is provided with a long list of excuses that what they are doing is not their fault, as such, they can continue down the road of negatively affecting the lives of those they encounter with no physical, emotional, or karmic consequences.

For any of us who have had any type of illness, from the most minor cold on up to breaking bones and beyond, we realize that we did not want it to happen to us. This too is the case with those who suffer from mental illness. This being stated, it is the individual’s responsibility, once they witness the problems they create and are diagnosed with a specific condition, that they do all they can to treat themselves for their illness. In the case of biologically based mental illnesses like schizophrenia, psychoses, or bipolar disorder, that means that the individual must seek help, stay medicated, and come to understand that though it may not be their choice to suffer from mental illness, they are the one who must take responsibility for their condition and continue to effectively deal with it. They must stop making excuses for their actions and tying to remedy themselves through self-medication, self-denial, self-deception, lies to others, and mediocre attempts to fix any interpersonal damage that they have created in their relationships. This is perhaps the hardest element to process for those with mental illness, for more often than not, that individual is so used to lying to get themselves though life, that they have lived in denial for so long and have hidden their condition from the world and perhaps even themselves that they are only indoctrinated into living a life based upon deception.

At the heart of all life is the individual. At the root of human interaction is how a person behaves and the patterns of good or bad they expound onto life by their actions and their behavior. Thus, each person must own up to the fact that the truth or the deceptions of life begins with them—the goodness or the badness in human interaction begins with them. Any person, possessing any understanding of mental consciousness and awareness must understand that they are the source for all that is taking place around them. Lies, excuses, and deceptions should be removed and a person’s true being placed out in front of all and any human interaction. From this, other people can come to define who a person truly is, why they are whom they are, and why they behave in the manner they behave. From this, an individual not only becomes true to himself or herself but the complexities of human consciousness can be better understood by all.

Was Your Life Better a Year Ago?

"Was your life better a year ago?" This is a question that I believe each person should ask himself or herself.

I think that we all know people; we have all met people who the first things they talk about is what they are going through and how things are bad or a least not as good as they were back then. What they are doing is comparing their life now to how their life was then. And, that’s fine. Verbalizing what you feel to friends and family is all-good as long as it doesn’t bring everybody down. Maybe this is you. But, though many people feel what they feel about what is going on in their life, few people ever take the time to study the reason why. Few people have the ability to truly look in the mirror and give themselves a true appraisal of what is going on in their life and why. They may justify their actions, they may blame others, they may attribute their current, less than perfect circumstances, to any number of reasons but what they rarely do is blame themselves.

All of your life is based upon what you have done. If you hurt others, you are a fault. If you damage things, you are at fault. If you lie, cheat, deceive, steal, you are at fault. Even if you believe you have a right to do the things you have done, if your life was better a year ago from where it is today, you must have done something wrong.

This is not about karma, self-guilt, or anything like that. For, the fact of the matter is, most people feel no guilt for what they have done—they could care less if they hurt or damage people or things. They feel they are entitled to do what they do when they do it and that is that. Again, few people possess the ability to take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror.

If your life is not on the path you desire; if your life is not fulfilled and abundant, if you are not living the way you want, then who else is to blame but you? You did what you did. You set a course of events into motion. Thus, you have ended up where you have ended up solely based upon what you have done.

Some people are not as selfish, unconscious, or as self-serving as the greater whole. Some people actually care enough to care. But, these people also, at times, find themselves living a life that is not ideal. But, why is this? Why is this if a person tries to give back? Commonly this occurs, in a giving person, due to the fact that they are giving from a space of ego. “I am this.” “I am giving to you.” “It is I who has this to give to you.” “I am doing this for you.” The central precept here is, “I.” “I” is about ego. “I” is not about giving. The true giver has no sense of, “I,” in anything they do.

So, if you are at a stage of your life where you are not happy and fulfilled, if you can look back a year ago and realize life was better then, it is time to make a change. The essential thing to keep in mind is that change is not about anybody else. Change is about you. Change is not about blaming anyone or anything else. Change needs to be based upon you looking at you. Change needs to be based upon you stop doing things that hurt people or things—even if those things are justified in your own mind. Things that you may have told yourself are right but you know, deep down in inside, that you would not want them done to you. Mostly, change needs to be based upon you being a conduit of giving, not taking. Giving with no sense of self or ego. Giving good and positive things. Giving in silence.

Give it a try. Then, in a year, again take another look at your life. I imagine it will be better.

Do You Think That You Don’t Have to Pay for Your Karma?

The question that must be asked is, “Do you think that you don’t have to pay for your karma?”

Most people dance thru life, doing what they do, with little thought about the effect they are having on others. But, as they are doing what they are doing, with little thought, they are creating tons of karma. Then what?

If you are impacting the life of another person or persons, what are the ramifications? Do you think that you do not have to pay the piper?

Many people do not. They are all about getting over—doing what they do, when they want to do it. And, if doing what they want to do makes them feel okay, even for a moment, then all is well with the world. But, what if what you are doing is damaging the life of another person? Then what? What are the consequences to you and what are the ramifications to your life?

There are so many people out there who do not care. They take and they take, they do and they do. They may even think, “Why care about anyone else?”

Some people wake up; they see what they have done. They realize that they have hurt the life of someone else. But, then what? If you have come to understand that you have messed with the life of another person, are you going to fix what you have broken or are you simply going to sit in the realization that you have done someone wrong?

The fact of the matter is, you can stop doing what you are doing that is damaging other people or this life-space but if you do not fix what you have broken what does your realization prove? You must ask yourself, “What have I done to fix or undo my previous actions?”

You see, this is the ultimate flux point in life. Most people don’t care, until they are forced to have a reason to care. They only care, when what they have done has caught up with them and has begun to affect their own life in some negative way. Then, they wake up. But, waking up is not correcting what you have done. Correcting what you have done is correcting what you have done. So, what is it you are going to do to recreate life and fix the karma you have unleashed?

There is, no doubt, that this is a complicated question. But, if you actually care about the other people on this earth and if you actual care about the damage you have created, it is a question you must ask yourself. And, it is question that you must find an answer to. For if you do not fix the negative karma you have created all it does is to perpetuate itself and keep spreading out across this life-space. And, as you are the sourcepoint, who do you think it will ultimately affect the most?

Negative only equals negative, just as positive only equals positive. What are you going to do to fix the bad karma that you have created?

Even if you come to the conclusion that you only care about yourself, it is essentially important that you think about the effect your actions have on others and stop them before you unleash them and/or fix them if they have already been unleashed. Because if you don’t, what do you think will happen to you, your dreams, your life, and your life’s legacy?

You want a good life? It begins with what your do.

The Price of Enlightenment

It forever perplexes me why people turn to modern spiritual teachers who claim to be conduits of spiritual knowledge when all they do is reiterate the words that have been said a thousand times before. Sure, many people are seekers of truth, knowledge, and a better life, but all these false profits do is to capitalize upon this seeking and this desire for a more enlightened and spiritual life to make a living and gain ego gratification for themselves.

Oftentimes, these people speak of, “Energy,” how and why an individual should live a certain way and how by doing so All-Things will be better for them and for the world. But, they do not speak about this subject from a space of pure knowledge. They speak from the place of ego, or “I am teaching and you are learning.” Mostly, they speak to people who will pay to hear them speak. 

This is not true spirituality! If a person is not an ideal conduit of what they are saying, they are a false profit. Investigate whom you are listening to. 

Let’s examine this a bit further…

About a month ago I was asked to speak at a symposium. As I took the stage the announcer said, “Here’s Scott Shaw the author of many best-selling books and a spiritual teacher.” I immediately interrupted him, “I am not a spiritual teacher, I am just a guy you asked to come here and speak.” He was a bit taken back. The crowd all laughed. The lecture went on.

You can call me a martial arts instructor. I have the certifications. You can call me a professor. I have the degrees and I teach at the universities. But, I never refer to myself as a, "Spiritual teacher." Anyone who does is false unless they are truly living the life.

For example, when I was Swami Satchidananda’s soundman, I would travel with him and at every venue he spoke there would be hundreds of people in attendance. Sometimes thousands. He lived what he taught and people understood that. That’s why he was so sought after as a speaker. 

Now, I am not saying he was perfect. I have discussed him in other writings. But, I will say, he was who he was and he did not pretend to be anything else.

A funny story relating to this occurred at the Los Angeles Integral Yoga Institute. A few of the Swamis were complaining about one of the disciples preparing and drinking coffee in the morning. They asked Gurudev about this. He joking answered, “No coffee in the ashrams. That’s why I don’t live in the ashram because I like to drink coffee.”

That is truth. That is honesty. That is true spirituality.

He was not some fake, pretending to hold knowledge that he did not possess, while attempting to lure people under his spell to make money, live high on the hog, and make a name for himself teaching regurgitated words. He was who he was: whole and honest.

Here we arrive at one of the biggest problems of modern spirituality and those who teach it — the people who are doing it, and doing it wrongly, operate themselves and what they teach like a business. Spiritual truth and enlightenment are not a business. It should not be run like one. Yet, these so-called teachers run a publicity and marketing campaign like one would put in place for a business. They knowingly try to lure in more clients.
 
That is simply wrong. If you speak the truth, truth seekers will find their way to you. You do not need to say or do anything to get them to listen. 

This is my problem, (and it should be yours), with modern spiritual teachers. If someone is charging you for the knowledge they have to offer, there is something wrong in the equation. Knowledge, truth, and enlightenment are free. You should not have to extend any of your money, (or anything else), in order to receive spiritual teachings.

So why do these so-called teachers charge for their services? Because they are simply selling you their ego. 

As mentioned earlier, many of these fakes turn to the subject of, “Energy.” Energy has been one of the common focal points of spirituality since the New Age arrived. They will state, “Your energy is this. Your energy is that. You need to change your energy. You need to focus your energy.” But, what is energy? It is one of those nondescript things that anyone can call up and put their own unique definition upon. As it is not defined, it is one of the biggest factors of deception on the spiritual path. If someone is talking about your energy or cosmic energy they are simply using long spoken of false tactics to guide you in the direction they want you to go. And, moreover, energy is one of those things that they can blame when a person does not achieve what they had hoped, “You didn’t put enough energy into it.” Or, “Your energy was not pure and focused enough.” Nonsense!

Let’s look at this process from a bit of a different perspective…

If you want to look to a successful teacher of this modern era and veer away from specifically eastern knowledge for a moment, Anthony Robbins is an ideal personage. He came from a relatively middle-class background and now owns mansions, islands, and all the trapping of pure success. He accomplished this by studying human consciousness and then packaging his studies into a highly defined method that could actual help people move forward and rise up in their life. 

I must state, I am not a fan of him or his teaching, but he does provide an ideal example of a success story based upon helping to raise human consciousness and what can be achieved. 

There are people like myself who knowingly attempt to live a humble life in a reserved manner. Then, there are people like Tony Robbins who exist on a grand scale. The problem is, there are a plethora of false teachers who claim knowledge, yet they cannot even focus this knowledge to the degree to live at that higher financial level embraced by people like Tony Robbins or Deepak Chopra, yet they aspire to it. Therefore, what does that say about what a modern teacher has to offer you if it isn’t even precise enough to cause such a financial income that they can live on the large scale they desire? What it says is that they are trying to use hype and your desire to know more to get you to pay for what they have to offer so they can climb the ladder. But, that style of teaching and the foundational elements that go into it are just not right. Thus, they will never succeed in their aspiration but may damage the lives of a lot of people while they try. 

If a teacher is not an ideal expression of what they are teaching, if a teacher is repeating words that can be heard everywhere else, if a teacher is not a true embodiment of the energy they guide their students to embrace, they are a false profit. 

Don’t follow false prophet.

Do Dreams Know the Stories That They Tell?

I believe for all of us dreams are a unique element of our life. It is us in there, yet it is a different life. “You only live twice,” as the lyrics to the James Bond movie theme go.

Dreams have been debated forever. A person’s dreams are investigated when they go into psychotherapy. They are discussed in religious and philosophic texts. And, there have been tons of books written about the interpretation of dreams and what a dream actually means.

When I was around ten or eleven my mother and I purchased a book that, like a dictionary, supposedly broke down what each element of each dream meant. Every morning I would wake up and look to the book to see what the definition of my dream was and what I could expect for the day ahead. I did that until I realized that the book was generally wrong in its interpretations. Happy

Some people, in the morning, write all of their dreams in a journal. That’s chill if you can do it, I guess? But me, I have too much going on. When I wake up I like to jump out of bed and get busy.

Some people base novels, poems, and screenplays upon a dream they had. I tired to do that, but dragging myself out of bed in the middle of the night just to write down the storyline from a cool dream I had became too counterproductive to my life.

But overall, the writing down of your dreams is a good thing, I suppose... Good, if you desire to keep documentation for that part of your life—because, as stated, it is another completely different life that you live in there. And, as we all know, dreams are generally quickly forgotten.

For me, dreams were always a curious reality. From the time I was a very young boy forward, I began to have dreams of the future. I would be living my life and then, all of a sudden, I would be experiencing what I had previous witnessed in a dream. I would know exactly what was about to happen next. It was like watching a rerun of a TV show.

Many times, when I would encounter this experience, the outcome or certain actions of the participants would be slightly different from what I witnessed in my dream. Eventually, I begin to understand that this was do to the karmic life actions and personal choices that had taken place between the time of my dream and the now.

As I got older, I consciously stopped my mind from doing this. Me, I don’t want to know the future. I want to live the now, in the now.

But, all of this begs the question, “Do dreams know the stories they tell?” For if you can see the future in your dreams, if dreams are an integral and orchestrated part of your reality and your psychology, if dreams foretell things to come in your life, then they must serve some higher, more rational purpose, than simply a dance in a different reality.

No one really knows the answer. So, the question I ask is moot. Some people claim to know. But, as we have all witnessed, those who claim knowledge rarely, if ever, truly possess it. But, if nothing else, dreams are fun and I am sure they have some other purpose than just to live a new, different, strange, bizarre, limitless, reality.

Paying For Your Crimes

Whenever somebody is sent to jail for doing something that has been deemed wrong by society, it is stated, “They are paying for their crime.” Or, when they get out, people say, “They paid for their crime.” But, whom did they pay?

When criminals set about on a path to steal something or harm someone they know exactly what they are doing. They are setting about on a course that has a desired end result and they do not care who they hurt in the process. In fact, they generally do not even think about the impact that their actions may have on other people. They are simply thinking about themselves; what they want, want they need, and how they want to feel.

In fact, many people who commit crimes do not even view their actions as criminal and deny their culpability to the bitter end. Or, they deny both publicly and internally that they did anything wrong and try to gather a following of people to support and proclaim their innocence.

If you ever watch the shows that chronicle the time before a criminal is sentenced or the time they are spending in prison, little thought is ever given to the victims of the crime. Even if the victim or the families of the victim are allowed to speak at their trail, this changes nothing. What was stolen is rarely returned and the physical and mental injuries that are incurred by the victim can never truly be repaired. Ask someone who has been victimized by a criminal if their life was ever the same and most certainly they will answer, “No, it was not.”

Criminals do what they do motivated by whatever distorted logic they may possess. What is left after their actions is the damaged life of their victims.

Societies set up laws to deter criminals from committing crimes. Yet, this does not stop them. Courts hand out prison sentences that are felt applicable for specific crimes. Yet, that does not stop them. Religions allow people to find redemption for their crimes by confession their sin. That is just bullshit.

Like I have long said, if I was going to be a Christian I would definitely be a Catholic. In that branch of Christianity you simply go confess your sins to a priest, they give you a few Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers to do and you are good with god. Sounds great but what about the victims? Again, I call, “Bullshit.”

Have you ever been a victim of a crime? If you have then you know what I speak about. How has whatever happened to the perpetrator of the crime given you back the innocence you possessed before it happened to you? Yes, you may be glad they were sent to prison and are suffering while doing time but it does not give you back the you that you were before they did what they did to you.

It is the same scenario for people who damage our lives and cry out, “I didn’t know.” Yet, the damage still remains. So, that is no excuse.

There are some who claim, “Let’s go out and get an eye- for-an-eye.” I have known a few who have walked down that road, but then they too became criminals in the eyes of society. And, in a couple of those cases they ended doing jail time and encountering all of the bad things that are known to go on in those environments.

The answer? I don’t have one. I wish people would stop doing bad things but they probably won’t. I do know that all life begins with you and with me. Meaning, we must think of others before we do things that can knowingly or unknowingly hurt someone else or their life space. We must set an example of how people should behave by doing good things. But other than that, let’s just please stop saying and believing, “They paid for their crime.” Because they haven’t paid for, replaced, or fixed anything; at least not to the person it matters most to, the victim.

A Choice Lasts Forever

Right here, right now there area million choices you could make. Most people don’t realize this. Most people feel that they are stuck—locked into doing what they are doing. Most people follow a pattern. They live the same script over-and-over again. But, every one of us can make a choice.

Choices are everywhere. You can get up right now, go outside, stay inside, go and do something else. This, “Something else,” can be very spontaneous. It can mean going and taking a walk, going for a drive, calling somebody up, anything… But, there is one rule that applies to all choices we make. That rule is; a choice lasts forever.

Why does a choice last forever? Because whatever we choose to do sets our next set of available life circumstances into motion. Whatever we do, whatever choice we make, affects our lives. If we choose to do something with someone else, or to someone else, then karma is set in motion.

There is no choice that is free onto itself. There is no choice that does not come with a price to pay.

Some people set out to make positive choices in their life. Some people make choices that mess with other people’s lives. Both of these are choices. But, the ultimate outcome is very obvious. If you make good choices, try to do good things; the chances that good things are going to come to you are substantially better. If, on the other hand, you do bad things and mess with other people’s lives, than bad things are probably going to come to you from the choices you have made.

All of life is based upon choice.

What are you doing with your life right now? Do you have a job? If you do, how did you get that job? Probably, you needed to make some money to survive and pay your bills and pay your rent. Whatever the cause, you made a decision to go out there, apply for the job, and then you decided to make the choice to accept it, if and when it was offered. What course of events did that choice set in motion in your life? For each person it is different. Some love and some hate their jobs. Some see a job as a life-experience; others see it as a life-waste of time. But, it is what it is. You made a choice and now you are living it. Most people, never even try to reevaluate their choices. They lock themselves into them and they stay stuck.

Are you in a committed relationship? If you are that means that you chose to go out there and seek a companion. That also means that you chose to enter into that relationship. As most of us have found out, some relationships go very bad. But, it was our choice to enter into them in the first place. So, who is to blame? No one but ourselves. Other relationships, however, define our lives in a very positive manner. Again, all based upon choice.

From whatever you have previously chosen to do, bases upon whatever choices you have made in the past; here you are, this is your life. Your previous choices have defined where you find yourself now.

This is your life. You can choose to do anything based upon your life circumstance and the choices you have previously made that set your life-course in motion.

Choice is everywhere. Choice is everything. What do you choose to do now that you understand, a choice lasts forever?

Have You Hurt Somebody?

Have you hurt someone? Is what you are doing today going to hurt someone tomorrow? Did you hurt someone yesterday and is it still hurting them today?

Life begins with you. The world begins with you. Karma begins with you.

I forever find it very curious when somebody does something bad to another person and they don’t care. They continue down their path without even thinking or caring about what they have done. Some never question, “How did I damage that person’s life by what I did?” By not caring enough to ponder this, it illustrates that they do not possess the mindset to attempt to try fix what they have damaged. This is where all of the problems of the world begin.

Did hurting someone make you feel good? Did it make you feel powerful? Whatever your answer, think about this, "How has it felt when someone hurt you?"

My belief is that most people are good. They try to say and do good things and they try to help people when they see someone in need. There is another breed of person, however. They are the ones who do what they do and never even stop to think if they are hurting someone’s life by what they have done. Then, if presented with the facts that they have hurt someone, they simply justify their actions.

This is the paradox of life. Most people who hurt people and then ignore or justify their actions are either too blank or too self-involved to even care what they have done. This is a very sad state of life.

You have to decide who you are in life because what you do today sets your next set of available circumstances in motion. If you hurt someone today and you do not care, what do you think your tomorrow will look like?

One of the most important things to realize in life is that the things you have broken can be fixed if you take the time to try. Repairing what you have broken makes everything better.

The beauty or the ugliness of the world begins with you. My belief is that you should make the world more beautiful.

The Earth Still Spins

Whenever something traumatic or all-encompassing happens to you or something you care about, all of your attention is focused upon THAT. You are sad, you are upset, you are angry; you may even want to get revenge. What has happened has caused you to become very One-Pointed. But, no matter how much something that has happened to you or someone or something you care about may emotionally affect and control you, the earth still spins — the rest of the world goes on and no one else knows or even cares about how you feel.

This is one of the main things that you have to realize in life if you hope to pass through it with any level of refined consciousness. You have to understand that no matter how big the tragedy; other things are happening all across the globe that probably dwarf whatever happened to you.

Even in the case when some large catastrophe has occurred, most of the world still does not have a T.V or the Internet so even if they do hear about it, they cannot take the time to care, because they are surround by famine, by poverty, by violence, by war, or simply they need to go to work everyday to make ends meet. Thus, they cannot take the time to care.

People really get locked into their own head when they do not like what has happened to them or to someone whom they may care about. But, people can only behave in that manner, when they have the time, the money, and the emotional support to do so. They can only care when they do not have to worry about their own survival. They can only care when they have nothing better to do.

Think about this, if you have to focus on your own everyday survival would you care about the small things that you care about? Could you care about those things if you have no place to live, no food to eat, and no one to care that you care?

It really is a simply equation. And, you need to think about this before you spend the time and the emotional energy to be dominated by anything that is not Life-Essential.

Life is life. We pass though it. Things happen that we do not like to all of us.

Are you and your actions defined by those things? Or, are you more than that? Do they control you or do you control them?

Life and consciously living life on this planet is more than simply defined by how you feel about some event in the life of one person.

Seek something bigger than being focused upon you. That is the Greater Pathway.

How You Measure Time

Each of us has a moment that we call our Life-Time. In that timeframe we do what we do and then WE are gone. Much of life is spent taking care of the necessities: putting a roof over our heads, feeding our loved ones and ourselves, and taking care of business. Some of us are lucky, we like what we are doing while we are taking care of the necessities. For others, this is not the case. But, at the end of the day, how we spend our Life-Time is how we spent our Life-Time. Love it, hate it, when it is over it is over and that is that. Though we may be remembered, WE are gone. So, all that takes place after our physical existence doesn’t really matter—at least not to US.

I have discussed TIME is several places, most notability my book, Zen O’clock: Time to Be. Time and how we live it is a very interesting subject. Take, for example, a café’ that you go into all the time. The staff knows you. Then, you are gone for a month or more, you come back and they greet you as if you were never away. Why is this? Because they are locked into the time and space of the reality of the cafe, all they do is based upon that denominator. They know you from there. They see you there. Time passes and they take no notice of the time passing or your away-ness. When you return, they are simply seeing you THERE again. Thus, you were never gone.

We each want to life our Life-Time in a certain manner. We each want to make our Life-Time count. We want to live it well—be fulfilled, be happy, and exist in our own suchness. Most people are not afforded this luxury, however. They are dominated by culture, they give into the daily grind, and they go through their days in a daze; thinking of the promises of the Some-Times and the Some-Days. Thus, they are lost to True Reality and their TIME simply goes by. Others get what they want—at least so they think. But what they WANT ultimately robs their time and at the end of their days their time was gone just as everyone else’s but because they believed their needs were being answered, it took them too long to realize the lie of their own Life-Time — that getting what you want never answers the true desire of forever fulfilled time.

So, what is left? How can you live your Life-Time. How can you live your short moment of life to the fullest? How can you be HERE in the NOW? The ultimate answer is you can’t. Your human form defines you. Your are defined by the length of your Life-Time and the opportunities and availabilities presented to you in that space of reality. You are defined by where you find yourself in time, space, and culture. Thus, you are never wholly you. You are, at best, what you convince yourself to be or, more than likely, what you pretend to be.

Happy or sad… Those are temporal emotions. Fulfillment is simply having your momentary desires met. Fulfillment is not True Understanding.

Life is an illusion defined by time. When your time is up, your illusion will end.

I’m Glad You Received Your Karma For What You Did But How Does That Help Me?

As I’ve been involved with Eastern Mysticism for virtually my whole life, the subject and the study of karma has often been brought up as a source-point of conversation. I’ve written several pieces on this subject and spoken on it often. And, I can tell you, if there is one thing that everybody across the globe thinks about, no matter what religion they come from, it is the subject of karma.

Now, I am not going to go into the fact that I believe most people really do not understand the subtle levels of karma. But, I will say, think about it before you really try to apply it as a Life-Science, because it I complicated.

That being said, I believe that each of us who has been wronged by somebody thinks, (either out loud or to our self), “Just wait. You’ll get yours…” And, generally people who are selfishly motivated or do bad things have their karma catch up with them. That’s just the way life works.

Now, once I again, I could go into all kinds of discourse about who or what is actually wrong — because, (in many, if not most cases), good or bad is only a point of view. But, I think we can all agree that BAD is beyond just what one person thinks it is. BAD is done by someone who is only thinking about themselves and not caring about the affect or effect they are having on others. For example, stealing something is BAD. Hurting someone is BAD. Breaking someone’s something is BAD. And, no matter what your motivation or excuse for doing what you do, we can all agree that certain things are agreed upon as BAD.

So, we get to the central subject of this discourse. That person did something BAD. They got what was coming to them. But, then what? Yeah, they may be hurting from receiving their karma. But, did them getting hurt give you back what was stolen from you? Did it replace what you lost? Did it fix what was broken in your life? Probably not. Maybe it strokes your ego or your intellect to think, “They got theirs.” But, does that make your life any better? At best, that is simply Mind-Stuff. It does not take you back in time and fix what that person took from your life.

This is the whole thing about karma, (and the misinterpretation thereof), people may get what’s coming to them but that doesn’t fix what they broke.

Mad At Yourself Equals Mad At Them

Have you ever found yourself mad at something that you did? …Angry that you did something that did not turn out the way you had hoped?
 
Have you ever been mad at Life? Mad at your life-circumstances? Mad at the cards life has dealt you?
 
In these cases, many people do not get angry with themselves and state, “I really screwed up!” Instead, they get mad at god, another person who interacted with them in the situation… Or, in some case, they get mad at whatever person is sitting next to them — a person who had nothing to do with anything. But, they are closest one at hand, so they receive the brunt of the anger. Have you ever done this?

There are a lot of frustrating things that happen in life. I could go into a very long list of them here, but I will not. We all know what they are and that they are unique to where each of us finds ourselves in life. Some are small. Some are big. Some last only a moment, while others come to define our entire existence.

The thing about anger and dissatisfaction is that, it is a constant in life. If you want your life to be a certain way, if you want certain things, if you want people to behave in a specific manner, even if you want everything to be better; then, life is going to throw you curve balls. 

We could go into the whole spiritual perspective here… “If you don’t desire than you are free.” “If you let go than all is perfect.” "If you don’t do anything then nothing is left undone." And, stuff like that… But, most of life is not like that. Even a person who is considered to be very spiritual, desires their life to unfold in a, “Desired,” pattern. When it does not, dissatisfaction occurs.

But now, let’s look at what you do with dissatisfaction… 

Sometimes when you are face-to-face with the person or persons you considered caused the dissatisfaction, you lash out. You tell them how you feel. You blame them. It is their fault. So, you feel justified in whatever actions you take.

Then, there is the other case… You are mad! You are mad at life. You are mad at your situation. You are mad at the fact that you did what you did. You are mad that you don’t know how to change or to fix the place in life you find yourself in. Maybe you feel it was your family, your friends, or eve god who set all of this in motion. Maybe you even realize that it was you who made a choice that set the circumstance in motion. But, there you are. Someone is there next to you, and BAM, you lash out. You get mad. Maybe you yell. Maybe you scream. Maybe you break things, punch a hole in a wall, throw a tantrum. These are all reactions that take place every day, across the globe. 

The primary element in all of this is that it is you. It is you who is angry for whatever reason. As it is you, it can only be you who defines the reason why. As such, it is only you chart a course for what you do with this anger.

What is the answer? Well, this perhaps is the biggest problem. Life is an interactive place. But, the interactions in life are all defined by the people you interact with. Some people possess even-keeled temperaments.  Some people are reactive. 

We could go into all kinds of childhood and personalities studies to determine why people behave the way that do. But, at the end of the day, how they act and how they act-out is how they do what they do. How you do, is what you. 

To find any kind of an answer… And, I don’t know that there really is an absolute answer… We must go to the source. What that sourcepoint is, “Caring.” Not, “Caring,” in a positive way. But, caring that things are not going the way you want them to go. 

You, “Care,” around something. You want something to be a certain way. They, “Care,” about something. All the people you interact with want something to be a certain way. 

Now, I could say, “Don’t care,” and that would solve everything. And, some people can turning their caring off. But, the fact is, we all care what we care about. So, that is not going to work. At eats not for most of us… 

Thus, the answer comes from a much deeper place. A place where we must earn to take control over ourselves. For some, this is not an easy place to find. As most people in this modern world have passed through their entire life with no sense of discipline. They have felt what they have felt, they have done what they have done, and that is that. But, are you that person? Can you be more than that type of person?

That’s the ultimate question? Can you be more? Can you control you? 

It takes practice…

So, here’s the deal, we all want what we want. We all get dissatisfied when we don’t get what we want. Large or small, we, as human beings, all feel the same thing. How we react to what we feel is what defines us as a person. 

You can yell and scream, you take things out on other people. You can get mad at yourself an punch the wall. You can do whatever you decide to do. Or, you see mistakes, you can view the undesired life results, you can take the curve balls that life throws us all and instead of exploding use them as a means to do something else, do something new. 

Yeah, your life may be a mess because of it. But, it is still you life. NO matter where you find yourself, you can still do something. …Something to make your life and the life of those around you better. You can choose to become more than emotion you are feeling right now. 

Each of us is responsible for our own actions. Even if it was someone else who set a course of events in motion in our lives, it is each of us who decides how to react. Yeah, sometimes things are pretty messed up. Yeah, sometimes we have that innate desire to lash out. But, this is where personal control equaling refined consciousness comes into play. We must decide to be MORE/BETTER than any negative situation we find ourselves in.

What If You Didn't Know

Whenever you are upset about something, (no matter what that something is), there is one common denominator to the equation; you know.

Think about this, what if you didn’t know?

If you didn’t know then you would not be upset about whatever it is you are upset about. And, the only reason you are upset is because you know about something that makes you angry, unhappy, sad, depressed, or whatever. Something OUT THERE is causing you to lose your peace.

How many times in your life has something been going on for a day, a week, a month, a year and you didn’t know about it? Through all that time, your life was fine. Then, you found out about it and you became enraged. Though it was already going on, you didn’t know, so you didn’t care.

It is an obvious expression of life for us to be unhappy about something that we are unhappy about. But, the main point is, all life is based on you. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean that the person next to you will not like it. Just as because something makes you angry does not mean that the same thing would make anyone else angry.

That being said, there are things that anger us all. But, it is essential to note that your life and your emotions are defined by you. How you decide to feel about any particular issues is also defined by you. There are obvious things that would make any of us mad if that THING was directed in our direction. But, how we choose to deal with that anger makes us who we are. This choice of dealing is also how we each set the next set of events into motion in our lives and the lives of others involved with us or involved with the issue.

Anger only equals so much. Understanding this, how you deal with your anger is what defines you as a person.

Do you internalize and simply sit around mad? That is understood to not be psychologically good for a person.

Do you react and take over-exaggerated reactions? Meaning, do you do something destructive when you get mad? That’s not good either because that type of reactive action can have devastating effects upon your life.

Do you take concise positive action to undo the negative or destructive actions of others? That’s probably the best action to take, if you decided to take action at all. But, that’s not easy. Most people who do something that will make you angry do not care how you feel or they would not have done it in the first place.

If they cared, they would care about you. If someone doesn’t care about the effect of what they are doing may be having on another person, or the greater scheme of things, that means they only care about themselves. And sadly, this is one of the biggest faults of the human condition; selfishness and not caring.

So here, we get back to the main point—what if you didn’t know?

Is there a way to erase your knowing? I think if this were possible, most of us would erase a lot of the things that have happened to us or the horrible things we have seen, heard about, or have lived. But, I do not think that it is doable, at least not in this day or age. So, we are stuck. We can pretend that we don’t know, but that is only pretending—we still know.

Ultimately, all we can do is do what we can do, as consciously as possible, and then let it go. Though letting go is, “Not knowing.” But, if we can let it go long enough maybe the bad things or the bad people that have made us angry will fade away, captured by their own negative actions.

People Don't Want to Know the Truth

People don’t want to know the truth. They want to believe what they want to believe.

People don’t investigate the truth. They make up their mind and then follow a course that allows them to hold on to and not diminish their beliefs.

How many times have you heard a person say, “I was wrong in my beliefs and I am sorry that I spread the falsehood.” How many times have you heard a person exclaim, “Sorry, I believed the wrong thing and I did something to hurt you. How can I fix that?” Probably not very many.

People don’t do it. They enter a subject based on their programing, what they have been told to believe, their hope to impress someone with their beliefs, and the desired outcome based upon their beliefs. That’s how it is. But, that does not make anyone’s beliefs valid.

The joke comedian George Carlin used to tell, “How many Catholics have gone to hell because they ate meat on Friday,” provides a good view into belief. For those of you who may not know, it was a Catholic tradition to not eat red meat on Fridays. In fact, it was considered a sin. Then, that tradition was overturned.

If traditions can be overturned by something as established as the Catholic Church, what does that say about your personal beliefs about a subject, a person, a religion, a politician, a war, a sporting event, a whatever?

Do you want to know the truth or do you want to believe based in your perceived reality? If you truly want to know the truth you must let go of your beliefs.

Momentary Reality

I always find it interesting in life how WE get so locked into the momentary reality of our lives. And, not in a good way. Not in the spiritual way of being in a natural state in the NOW. No, it is much more emotion and ego based.

Periodically in life, most people enter into a space that is overwhelmingly based in emotion. This is commonly due to the fact that either something great has happened so they are filled with an overwhelming sense of self-worth or something they don’t like has occurred and they are all encompassed with being upset.

This is a condition of life. Most people do.

In fact, when these sources of emotional life occur one of two events commonly rise out from it.

1. The person who is feeling it attempts to drag as many people into their life-situation as possible. From this, they experience a sense of power and command over others, as they are directing their action.

2. In other cases, people who aren’t even the person that is actually experiencing what is happening choose to become engulfed with the feelings and the sensations of the other person simple so that they get that adrenal rush. From this, the two or more of them can keep escalating their feelings be they positive or negative by bouncing their perspectives back and forth.


Though this is a common condition of life, this is where the path of consciousness comes into play. Because those who choose to walk the path of consciousness, the spiritual path if you will, at least try to not be guided and defined by emotion. The reason for this is that emotions, particularly strong ones, are very temporary. Though they are temporary, they are very addictive. This is why you see people out there who are continually falling in and out of love, attempting to argue and cause controversy wherever they go, and so on. They do this, because they have come to find that when something extremely positive or negative is going on, they feel ALIVE — they feel they have power, they feel they have a purpose.

Another factor related to this is that power, like emotion, is temporary. Power, like emotion, is based in ego. Therefore any situation based in the power of emotion is ruled and defined by one specific mindset, one person. Therefore they are the one in control. And, if they are in control, they are the one to set the tone of the moment. So, other’s are simply following their lead. They are not being in control of their own life and life-time. This is where mod mentality is born — being a part of something to get a boost of that adrenalized energy. And, we have all see the bad things that rise from mob mentality.

Ultimately, emotion is based in a specific person’s appraisal of a specific situation in a given moment in time. For example, what may make one person feel great will make another person feel very bad. So, there is no commonality to emotion. Why? Because emotion is based in personal definition. Emotion is based in ego. Emotion is based in like and dislike. I am, you are not. You are, I am not. I like this, you do not. You like that, I do not.

The problem with emotion is that people do a lot of bad things based in it. All anyone has to do is look, not only at themselves, but at the whole evolution of human and view the things that were done, based in emotion, that later people were very sorry about.

Though action(s) taken in a moment of emotion may seem very right and empowering in that moment — actions enacted due to emotion are the ones that most commonly will later be seen to have actually damaged the evolution of your life.

The ultimate understanding is, Reality is Momentary. What you feel now, you will not feel in a few moments. The things you think are all so important now, will not matter in a few days or weeks. Who you see yourself as now, will change. The things that empowered you now and you take action on, may very well come back to haunt you later in life. With this as a basis of understanding, it can be concluded, it is far better to let the emotions of the moment be noticed, even experienced, but never allowed to control who and what you truly are.

Ultimately tomorrow is based upon what you do today. If you seek a life defined by emotional upheaval, then you will always be chasing the high of emotion. If you seek a life based in peace, and a future not defined by things down yesterday, you choose to not be dominated and control by your emotions and the emotions of others. From this, you become free, because emotions will not dominate you. You will see any emotion for what it is, Momentary Reality.

The Road You're On

The road you’re on is obvious. What you’re doing while you’re on that road is obvious. What you have to do to stay on that road is obvious. Where that road will lead you is also obvious. Though this is fact, many people pretend that is not the case.

In life, it is very obvious that what you are doing now will lead you to your next set of available circumstances. Many people avoid this fact, which is why so many people end up in a place where they never wanted to exist. Because of this fact, you must ask yourself, “Is the road you’re on leading you to where you want to be?”

When you ask yourself where you want to ultimately end-up, this is where things get a little bit complicated. Why? Because we all want something from our life. We all want to end-up somewhere. We all want to do what we ultimately what to do. And to get there, we have to take certain actions. But, there is a very big difference between being guided down our life road by ego, desire, and thirst for power, over that of choosing to consciously enter a path and then follow through with what it take to obtain our end-goal.

This is why so many lives become corrupted or end unfulfilled. This is also why so many people are injured by people who do not care what about the affect they are having on others as they are only focused upon their own end-goal.

The fact of life is, if all you are thinking about is yourself and/or how you feel, you road will forever be troubled as you will injure others on your path to self-attainment.

Ask yourself. “Does what you are doing help me, help others, or both?” Now, turn off your ego and re-ask yourself the same question. With the ego turned off, the true answer is always self-evident.

Remember, just because you want something does not mean you can or should have it. Wanting is the way of the world. Knowing what you should have is the path of consciousness.

Listen To How You Walk

If you ever want to gain immediate insight into an individual's personality, listen to how they walk. Are their steps quiet and precise or do they stomp across the floor? This tells you a lot about a person.

How do you walk?

Have you ever even taken the time to ponder that question?

If you walk quietly, you are confident and secure within yourself. If, on the other hand, you stomp up stairs and stomp across the floor, you are attempting to bring attention to yourself. Here, look at me! I need your attention.

In the martial arts, practitioners are trained in the ability of exact footing placement. As each move you make, each technique you perform, must be very exact—all step are made very consciously.

Walking softly is refinement. Walking hard and deliberate, is not.

Who are you? What do you want to portray?

You're Either Doing Something Positive or You're Doing Something Negative. But, Which is Which?

The fact of life is, we each set our destinies on a course and we are either going to do something positive or we are going to do something negative with our lives. Certainly, there are a million variants within both of those extremes. And, we each do both positive and negative things in our Life-Time. But, there is the course, either positive or negative, that we set ourselves upon and then we continually return to that path. That path, which is decided upon totally by you, is what defines who you are and how you will be remembered in this place we call, "Life."

There is a lot of negativity in the world. Sometimes it is very obvious. Other times it is much more subtle. There are those people who hate and criticize everything. Yet, they do nothing positive or creative with their own life.

There is also the arm-chair quarterback. It is very easy to sit and watch T.V. and believe that you could play the football game better than the players and judge it better than the referee. But, you do nothing to get on the field and actually prove that you can play the game.

It is kind of like the German term, "Schadenfreude," where people take pleasure in other people's misery. Do you do that? A lot of people do.

You know what is or isn't negative. The simple equitation is, "Is what you are doing or saying taking something away from another person or is what you are doing or saying going to affect another person or person(s) in a negative manner?"

The other side of the issue is those who thrive on positivity. They see the best in everyone and everything. Though people who embrace this mindset sometimes come off as naive. Who would you rather be around?

Negativity, criticism, hating the world, or whatever you want to call it, is a developed trait. Yes, we are each born with a personality, then we are shaped by our socioeconomic and cultural environment, but then it is us who chooses to do what we do with those formative factors.

The problem is, so many people are so dissatisfied with their own lives that they are attracted to the dark side. They prefer to embrace the negativity rather than working towards making their own life and the world a better place. This attitude is the sourcepoint for those who follow cult leaders who preach death and destruction, (and/or anything else negative).

It is very simple to make the choice to be positive. If you catch yourself being critical or negative; stop it! Don't make excuses for why you are doing what you are doing. Negative is negative.

Though being positive may take a little more work — especially in this crazy modern world we live in where we are bombarded by the power hungry people attempting to overpower us at every turn. You can be positive.

If you make positivity a part of you. If you catch yourself and shift your mindset whenever you are feeling critical or negative. If you stop making excuses for doing what you do — positivity will emerge.

A previous asked, "Who would you rather be around?" A person who is passionate about positivity or a negative being? The answer is pretty obvious. BE the person you would like to BE around.

This is Reality

Reality is very simple. What you see is what you get. Though it is very simple, religions and superstitions attempt to feed all kinds of nonsense into it.

Religious and superstitions tell you all kinds of things about all kinds of altered states. They speak about this equals that. And, if you do this you get that. They detail that if this happens, it means that will occur.

Then, there are book written about religions and superstitions to make everything that is stated it them some kind of holy proclamation. From the writing of these books, those of later generations can quote them and claim that what they are speaking is the truth, based upon what holy knowledge has been written in the past.

Some people want to/need to believe all this nonsense. They are, in fact, programmed into believing it from the time of their birth. But, what is the difference between superstation and religion?

One person’s superstition is another person’s religion.


Think about how easy and free life would be if you just let all of this nonsense go and experience reality the way reality actually is; what you see is what you get…

Make Things Better

I am commonly asked the question, “Hey Scott, what do you think I should do?” My answer is always the same. And, it is always quite simple. “Make things better.”

What does this mean? Well, just like the answer, it is very simple. Wherever you go, what ever you do — do what you can to make things better.

Now, I am not talking about some selfish act that makes your own life better. Nor am I saying do something based on some stupid religious ideology that your preacher told you was the way of god. What I am saying is that if you see something that needs fixing, fix it. If you see someone that needs help, help them.

For example, if you are in a store and one of the pieces of clothing has fallen on the floor, pick it up, put it back on its hanger, and put it back on the rack. If something has fallen off of a shelf, put it back in its place. If you are walking down the street and someone has dropped something, pick it up off of the ground for them. And, these are just a couple of examples.

Situations occur in each of our lives where we see things that we can do to make things better. Do them. It is as simple as that.

“Hey Scott, what do you think I should do?”

“I think you should make things better.”

Human Beings Are Very Self-Centered Creatures

The reality of life is, human beings are a very self-centered creature. They only think about themselves. When they do think about others, they do it to equal their own desired ends.

Now, I do not mean to sound cynical here. Because, in fact, I am not. But, the truth be told, the only concern most people have is about themselves and those they have direct feelings for.

Why do they care about people they have feelings for? Because the see them as their possessions. And, they do not want their possession to become damaged.

Let’s think about this for a moment… Remember the last time that the injury somebody incurred really moved you. Maybe you saw it on the news or read about it. You felt really sorry for the person. But, then a week, a month, a year passes — do you ever think about that person’s injuries anymore? Probably not. If the memory does arise in your mind, it is only for a moment and it does not touch you the way it once did.


With the earthquake and tsunami that recently occurred in Japan fresh in our minds, attention has gone to the Japanese people. It is discussed how there is no looting taking place, as is commonly the case in western and middle eastern societies the moment something goes awry. There is no looting because they are a group-orientated people. This may be true. We are all indoctrinated by our cultures. But, the reality is, it has already been proven that the company responsible for the nuclear reactors has lied and has sent its workers into the plants, to attempt to control the leakage, without the proper equipment to even monitor the levels of radiation they are encountering. How, “Group orientated,” is that? And, who knows what other falsehood they have spued? Only time will tell.

Why have they done this? Because they only care about themselves. They only care about the image of their company and the image of Japan on the world stage. And, I will not even go into the amount of lies that comes out of the mouths of government officials.

Religious leaders are no better. They do all kinds of things to stir up the pot and create disharmony directed against other religious or other sects within their own religion. They do this, in the name of God. I mean, God is on our side; right? Our side and nobody else’s… I could go on-and-on about this, but the news does it for me. So, I will not.


On an interpersonal level, think about the people you have met in your life. How many of them were out for themselves? Out for themselves to get ahead, get what they wanted; and they do not care about the cost their actions have on others? I think a good percentage of the people, we have each met in our lives, have been like that.

Some people seem very good. They teach for small money, simply to help the children. They donate their time to animal shelters. The give blood to help the injured. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera… But, why are they doing it?


Do you think that the teacher who earns far less wage than they deserve is not receiving some sort of reward for teaching? Does teaching not put them in a position of power over students? Are they not told by all their friends, what a good job they are doing — truly helping society. And, so on.

People who help the less fortunate in developing countries, ghettos, the reservation, get to feel that they are doing something for the greater good. That they are helping humanity.

And, this list can go on and on.

Even people who appear to be doing something good for no reason, have a reason. You may not know the reason. But, if you look below the surface, it can be seen.

For better or for worse, this is simply the reality of life, human beings are a very self-centered creature.

Why do you do what you do?

Trapped By Circumstance

In 1983, when I was in graduate school, they had re-released the movie, Last Tango in Paris. As I had never seen the movie upon its original release, (I was too young as it was rated X), I decided to go and see it as it had become a modern classic. It was playing at only a few theaters around L.A. One of them was on Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills.

I had a few hours to kill this one early afternoon before my classes were to begin in the evening. I remember I invited my girlfriend but she was mad at me about something. I had probably done something she didn’t like. In any case, I went by myself.


I saw the movie and was on my way out when the man who took my ticket at the door, asked, “Are you Scott?”

As it turns out, he was a guy I went to high school with. In fact, in high school, we were friends. We often walked to school together.

In high school, he was one of those really smart people. I mean, you could just sense his intelligence. I really felt the guy was going to go far.

Me, on the other hand, I was anything but a good student. My mind was far more fixated upon my work with the Sufi Order, the Integral Yoga Institute, playing music, traveling up and down the coast, and following a few other abstract roads to spirituality that most people did not understand.

When we were in high school, he lived in a bungalow apartment with his parents a few blocks from where I lived. His father was a longhaired projectionist at a movie theater in Hollywood. That seemed like a pretty cool job back then. Plus, he had long hair, which was more than unusual among parents of that era. It meant that he, “Understood,” and that he was cool.


But, more than that, his father owned one of the first synthesizers in the home that I had ever seen. He was pursing a career as an electronic musician.

I had long been enthralled with electronic music since its birth. His father was a true inspiration to me. Wow, I thought, you could actually have your own synthesizer in the 1970s. As soon as I could afford it, I bought one. My first synthesizer was a Roland SH 3.

In the lobby of the theater that day, after we got reacquainted for a moment or two, he asked me what I was doing in life. I told him I had spent some time in India, was in graduate school, was teaching the martial arts, was writing, pursing music, and so on. I had no intention of creating this affect but I could see his face drop. He, in fact, made the common, “You’re doing all that and I just work here at a theater.” I guess it didn’t help, but I explained to him I thought that he would go on to college after high school and do something big. “There’s still time, man!” I exclaimed. I mean, we were only twenty-four years old.


For those of you who may not know, here in California, in the 1970s, up to the early 1980, the community colleges were virtually free to attend if you were a California resident and had a high school diploma. All you had to do was buy your books. Anybody could and should go. I did.

I mean look at me, the bad student, who was far more focused on other aspects of living life. I went through the community college system, transferred to a university, and had ended up in graduate school. But, my one time friend never choose that path. He had followed in his father’s footsteps.


Now, this may be a bit hard to understand for you who grew up in other places. But, in Hollywood, there were the haves and the have not’s. There were those who lived in the Hollywood Hills, some of them in virtual palatial mansions. And then, there were those of us who lived south of Hollywood Blvd. Like my friend and I. We were the ones born of the working class. Not the children of producers, directors, industry moguls, rock stars, deejays, and movie stars.

“The Haves,” whether they were smart, talented, or not, seemed to be presented with a path paved in gold. The others of us… Well, we were not.


Except in one case… A situation that truly motived me in life.

Back when I was in school, junior high was three years: seventh through ninth grade and high school was three years: tenth through twelfth grade. So, our first year at Hollywood High was tenth grade. I know it has changed since then...

The first year, there was this guy, who lived up in the hills, who scored with a couple of the prettiest freak girls on campus. We referred to ourselves as, “Freaks,” back then because we had long hair and were more or less ostracized from society. You know, we were the drugies and the etc…


This guy dropped out in the beginning of eleventh grade. One day, early in the twelfth grade, I see the guy. His long locks are gone and he is wearing a green jumpsuit. He had become a janitor at our school.

Now, certainly there is nothing wrong with being a janitor. It is a needed profession. But, not only did this guy come from money, his future could have been joyous, if he had only played the game. He didn’t. Thus, the guy who had it all in tenth grade, by the twelfth grade, his road to the stars was over.


Now, believe me, being who I was and involved in the numerous off campus activities that I was, I had many times pondered dropping out of high school. Seeing this guy, however, sealed the deal. I would finish high school and do something with my life.

But back to the main subject... After we spoke for a few minutes, I left the theatre. I never saw my one time friend again. At least not yet...

I really felt for the guy, however, because he was a good dude that could have truly succeeded in life. But, he was trapped by circumstance. I’m sure he needed to get a job after high school to help pay the bills. There was probably no time for college or pursing whatever dreams he had.


In my life, I taught yoga and the martial arts. So, I could make money while remaining more or less free to pursue my life goals. Sadly, it is not this way for everybody. They are trapped by circumstance.

I believe that we need to think about this whenever we question why someone has ended up where they have ended up.

Locked Into Your Own Mind

Let's face facts. People live in their own heads—their own minds. You think the way you think. I think the way I think. And, we each think things that only we can understand.

Moreover, each person thinks and experiences you differently than any other person. I mean, how many times have people described you to other people and they were completely wrong? They didn't get YOU at all. Yet, that is how they perceive you. But, another person will hold a completely different impression about you.

Why is this? It is because people base their opinions upon their own perception of reality.

Furthermore, think about how many times you have projected a reality onto something that you expected to happen. You planned to say this, do that, you thought a particular situation would unfold, but the situation never materialized. It was all in your head.

These mind-things are not right or wrong. They are simply the way it is.

But, what this style of mind-stuff behavior does cause in life, is problems. Why? Because each person thinks and they experience life differently—even if they are living in the same place, at the same point in time. From these individualized perceptions, conflict is born.

This may be the reality of life. But, it is a reality that you do not have to take part in or be defined by if you do not choose to be. Why? Because that's the point, your life and your mind is defined by you.

For example, how many times have people asked you, “What did you mean by that?” When you thought you were very clear in your statement. Or, how many times have they wondered if you have had an ulterior motive for what you said, and they have thought-and-thought about your words in order to try and figure out their meaning? They did this when you meant exactly what you said or you meant nothing at all. You just said something.

This goes to the perception of reality, as well. Due to our undying mind-stuff, we each perceive the events that shape our reality in unique manner. Though we may be living at the same point in history, we each are who we are, we each have our own mind. Thus, what happens in our time and space reality is perceived, contemplated, and understood in a manner that is only wholly defined by ourselves.

The fact is, some people are highly delineated by the perceptions that they hold in their mind and they are
very locked into their own thought process. They define life by how they see things, what they feel about them, and the definitions that they place upon these perceptions. These people are very locked into their own mind and their own thought process. These are usually individuals who either live a very solitaire life or those who have developed the mindset that they are somehow superior to other people.

There are others, however, who are more open and decide not to be dominated by how they see or perceive life-things, because they understand the transient-ness of life, emotions, desires, and ideologies. In either of these cases, an individual’s personality and how they consciously choose to live their life defines their reality.


So, what is the point of this? How locked into your own mind are you? And, how does this effect and affect your reality? It's your mind. Only you can answer this question. How do you want to experience your life?