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.

How Much Don’t You Know?

How much don’t you know? Do you ever ponder this question or do you exist in a space of all knowingness?

If you want to see the true essence of who you are, you should really ponder this question. Think about it, how do you encounter life? Are you a knower or are you a learner? Are you the one with all of the answers? Or, are you the one who is constantly researching and studying?

Many people define their entire life by knowing. Many people define their entire life by not knowing. Which one are you? Do you believe you have the answers or do you believe you have the questions?

In is easily understood that the life of all people is defined by their ego. Some possess a very large ego while others keep their ego in check. Most people fall somewhere in between.

Have you ever watched and studied a person who seemingly has all of the answers. Have you ever wondered why that person seemingly possess all of the answers? Or, do you simply believe them because they believe themselves?

Self-projected ego is one of the dominate factor prevalent in a person who has all of the answers. Simply believing that you KNOW is a self-defining factor. But, if you are one of those people who believes that you KNOW, why do you know? Why do you believe you hold the answers? Why do you believe you should share those answers with anyone? Is it your ego or is it some deep wisdom that you possess? And, what is the difference between those two states of self-understanding?

If you are one of those people who does not know; why don’t you know? Why do you or did you not seek the knowledge? Moreover, are you simply turning over what you know to the knowledge that someone else claims they possess?

Knowledge is an interesting Life Thing. As we pass through life, we all gain knowledge based in study and life experience. But, where a person’s knowledge comes from is what comes to define the who they are. Thus, if one only listens and learns from someone else, with no further investigation or contemplation, then no true personal knowledge is ever gained. All that occurs is that someone is feed another person’s beliefs and claimed knowledge and then, as it is accepted, it simply becomes blind understanding.

You can be a learner or you can be a teacher, it’s your choice. But, you forever must question, does the knower who you are listening to and studying from truly know and why does that knower know what they know? Is it their ego? Is it their wisdom? Is it their studied realizations? Or, is it simply them believing they know when they do not truly know anything at all?

The prescription for truth and knowledge, in life is to go to the source and find the truth. You can gain your knowledge anywhere; from anyone. But, if what they claim to know is not true source-based understanding, than all that they know is nothing more than knowledge based in their ego of self-belief.

A Sense of Belonging

For each of us, we need a sense of belonging. We need to be a part of some greater whole that helps us to define who we are and what we are to become. Though this is the case for all of us, the problems arise when and if we become a part of something that guides us down the wrong road; a dark pathway if you will.

When we think of cliques that involve negativity, we immediately think of groups like people who steal, people who are members of violent gangs, people who use dangerous drugs, and so on. But, these exaggerated examples are not the sole definition of group activities that lead one down a dark pathway. There are so many other seemingly innocuous things that people base their merging into a group upon that not only causes pain to others but leads the individual to a place where they develop a life defined by a very negative mindset.

For me, the groups that I became a part of when I was young, that became a positive influence on my life, were the martial arts, The Sufi Order, and the Integral Yoga Institute.

To focus on the martial arts for a moment, whenever one hears of the martial arts they visualize the idealized image of a practitioner learning ancient methods of self-defense and perhaps meditation. And, this is and should be the case. But, beyond the expected obvious, there are, and I have witness and experienced it, so many levels of negativity used in association with the martial arts that few would even believe it. I have seen so much negative, petty nonsense, unleashed by the mouths and deeds of so-called martial artists that it is hard to believe, even for me. The fact of the matter is, and something many self-proclaimed martial artists seem to overlook is that the truly accomplished never judge, attack, or insult anyone. For those of you who are not martial artists, all you have to do is read comments made on the various posting boards around the internet and this level of demeaning attack orientated nonsense is easy to find.

From the perspective of someone who has been involved in the martial arts for virtually my entire life, whenever I see or hear that style of rhetoric I know it is the depiction of an individual who is
not a true marital artist. So, I steer clear. But, to the novice or the individual who is not a practitioner they may get sucked into this level of discourse; which is not positive on any level and has the potential to hurt the life of other people.

But, who cares; right? As long as you are a part of something—as long as you are voicing what you believe, then you are solidified as a member of that whatever. But, here lies the problem in that sense of belonging, if belonging causes you to hurt anyone or anything then what is the ultimate goal of your membership? Moreover, what is the ultimate karmic price you will pay for your belonging?

As stated, also becoming a part of certain spiritual groups were instrumental to my life in my early years. When one thinks about spirituality, on any level, just like the martial arts, one is guided into thinking about the idealized image of spirituality. This is especially the case when one thinks about Eastern Spirituality. And, for the most part, this is truly the case. The spiritual person is on a mission to follow a path of goodness. Though there certainly is no problem with this lifestyle, especially when one goes to the source point of these religious ideals, there arises a lot of conflict based in these seemingly idealized mindsets. Think of all the wars and all the attacks on human life based simply on a person’s religion. Is that goodness on any level? I would say, no.

In my early years, I was lucky in that I came up in a time when we who were involved with spirituality were taught to respect the truth in all religions. This is what I practiced then and still practice today. But, there were times, in my teenage years for example, exploring religion ideologies, when situations occurred like me being asked to leave a church simply because of the way I looked. Some people hated men with long hair back then. For those of you of this era, I imagine it is hard for you to even understand. But, in certain circles, if you had long hair, you were completely ostracized. There was one time that comes to mind when I was asked to leave a church, by the priest, simply while sitting there attempting to take in the experience. Didn’t Jesus have long hair?

Again, this goes to the point of being and how what you belong to can lead you in either a positive or a negative direction. What you are taught, what you come to believe, will guide you down the life pathway of what you will ultimate do.

Certainly, people do bad things all of the time. And, they do them intentionally. If they get caught, then they blame their social environment, their childhood, even the person they are hurting or taking from, or they pull out the sympathy card and cry and scream, “I’m sorry.” For those who don’t get caught, they just do and do and do; hurting others with no care for the damage they are creating. As long as they are supported by their group, they do and they do and they do.

So, what does this tell us? First of all, you must ask yourself, what group do you belong to? The next question you must ask yourself, is what you are doing, that is cheered on by your group, hurting anyone or anything? If it is, shouldn’t that hit that place of caring goodness within you that tells you to stop what you are doing, if due to your association with a group you are provided with a motivation to hurt anyone or anything?

You always must question what you choose to belong to. Simply because it feels good to be a part of something larger than yourself, that should never be your sole motivation. If the group you are a member of, large or small, hurts anyone’s anything, can that ever be good on any level?

We all want to belong. We all hope to become a part of that greater group, leading to that sense of camaraderie. But, if you become a member of a group that hurts someone or something, then your entire life path becomes dominated by whom you have hurt; even if you have only hurt one person. If that is the style of group you belong to, what do you believe will ultimately come to be the definition of your life?

Know the focus of the people you choose to associate with. Consciously choose the groups you join.

The Interpretation of Substance

Think about somebody you think about. Why do you think about them? Why do you think what you think about them? Do you ever ask yourself this question or do you just think?

Most people never analyze the, “Why,” in their life. They simply live through their existence with little focused thought. Though this is the commonality of the lives of most people who have pasted through their existence, this does not make the process the ideal process; nor does it make it the most enlightened.

Simply being is not simply Be-ing. If you do not know why you are, then what are you? If you do not possess the answers to your own questions, then what do you truly know?

So again, take a moment and ask yourself, “Who are you thinking about and why are you thinking about them?”

Seriously, chart this thought process out.

Many people think about many people for many different reasons. Maybe they like what a particular person says or does. Maybe they hate what they say or do. Maybe they are impressed by them. Maybe they have distain for them. Maybe they love them. Or, maybe they hate them. There are a million reasons why someone thinks of or about someone else. But, ask yourself, “Why are you thinking about that person?”

If you want to think consciously, you must find an answer to that question.

Now, move this process out a little further away from the individual. Think about some-thing you think about. Why do you think about it? What does thinking about it give to you and/or your life?

What are you thinking about right now? …Other than reading this piece? Step back and chart what is one of the foremost and reoccurring focal points of your current thought process? Why do you think about it? What does thinking about it do for your life and your life’s evolution?

Here’s the thing, most people think all the time. But, they never think about what they think about or why they think about it. They simply let their thoughts control their mind. They think about this for awhile, then, as time moves on, they began to think about something else.

Chart this process in your own life. Take your mind back ten years. What were you thinking about then compared to what are you thinking about now? Who were you thinking about then compared to who you are thinking about now? Why did you stop thinking about it or them?

Thoughts are an ever evolving process. Something or someone catches our attention and we think about it. But, if you do not take the time to study and learn why you are thinking about what you are thinking about your life is not your own. It is simply controlled by something that has taken hold of your attention.

If you want to know the reason, “Why,” in your life, you must seek the source point for that reason why. You must study your self, you must study your mind, you must study the pathways of your thoughts. From this, the true knowledge of who and what you truly are may be revealed. If not, all you become is a person who, like much of the world, is simply sent to thought without ever knowing the reason why.

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Who have you helped today?

You Have to be Willing to End Up Where You End Up

Many people, in fact, most people live a life not defined by the expansive challenge. As age comes upon them, they do less and less and less, until virtually everything they do becomes expected. What they do, they have done before. In some cases, the more a person does nothing, they more they wish to do nothing.

From a spiritual perspective, this life and lifestyle is almost the projected ideal example of existence. For with no doing, nothing is left undone. With no doing, no karma is created. The problem with this formula is, however, most people do not use non-doing as a meditative tool. They simply fall into a pattern of non-doing. From this, when nothing is nothing then nothing is done and one spends a lifetime with no new accomplishments or realizations.

Many people fall into a pattern of non-doing. There are many reason for this, but most of them are simply excuses. Ultimately, they are a means and a reason not to try. If you don’t try, you won’t fail. But also, you will have no experience(s), equaling a life defined by what? Answer: What was not.

This lifestyle is also the reason so many people only speak about their past. …A time when their doing was doing. They remember then as there is nothing to remember now.

So, here’s the challenge: Go and do something. Go and do something new, unique, and different.

No matter where you live, there is something that you can go and do differently. Something that you have not done before.

If you want to amplify this challenge, here’s a suggestion if you really just don’t know what to do: Go outside into a crowded area of people. Notice someone walking in some obvious direction; follow them. Follow them to where they go. If it is a store, go shopping there. If it's a restaurant, grab a bite to eat. If it is a coffee house, order a latte. If it is a movie, go and see a film. If it is a church, go inside and communicate with god.

You can even take this to a greater level if you have the time and/or the inclination. Get in your car, go someplace where people are on the move. Maybe you will see a travel trailer. Follow that travel trailer to their location; wherever they end up. Go as far as they go. Think about it, you will have been ushered into an entirely new experience and you never know what will happen.

Back in the day, here in L.A., there used to be places where those of us who rode Harleys would congregate. Most of us didn’t know each other; at least not initially. A group of people would be hopping on their bikes. They took off and I/we would take off with them. I never knew where we would end up. Sometimes it was Neptune's up at Ventura County line. Sometime it was the Rock Shop in the Santa Monica Mountains. Sometimes it was a bar. Sometimes it was a party at somebody’s house. The one thing it never was, was the same. Meaning, you have to be willing to end up where you end up.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you go and get all stalker-like on someone. The person or persons you follow probably doesn’t want to know you. So, don’t be weird if you use this method to expand your horizons. I’m just suggesting that this is a tool to find that NEW—that NEW that you are not currently living. Plus, there is a lot of way to try the NEW. But, if you are not one of those people who can easily push yourself to do the NEW, then maybe following someone else can guide you towards NEW life experience and realizations.

You can do the same thing everyday and never have a new experience. You can hide from the world. Or, you can get out there and make you life worth living and develop memories worth remembering. Try it. What do you have to lose?

***

If you look you see.

***

Think about somebody who helped you. What are you going to do today to say, "Thanks," for what they gave you.

Think about somebody that you hurt. What are you going to do today to repair the damage you created?

***

Forgetfulness is the biggest form of denial.

***

What are you going to do when you are dead?

The Answers Are Out There

As someone who has spent a good percentage of my life involved with academic research, I always find it interesting the pathway people take in acquiring their knowledge. In fact, as I was progressing towards my later twenties, I was planning on fully entering into the academic life. After I finished up my doctorate, I went into teaching for a short time. But, as anyone who has ever entered the hallowed halls of academia will tell you, it is a cutthroat game. I just didn’t like that kind of behavior, so as quickly as I entered; I left. This is not to say that I did not step back into the world of teaching as the years went on, but that was all focused on filmmaking and the arts. So, at least from my perspective, it all seemed more pure. This is not to say that I did not run into problems from time to time; which are all documented in other writings, but it all seemed to hold some great purpose as it was focused on helping people learn how to create their own art. But, before I get too far off track…

Every now and then someone points me in the direction of some discourse someone is giving about Zen Filmmaking, my movies, my books, or myself. These generally prove to be amusing, (at least to me), no matter how wrong they may be. But, whenever I see someone stating false, altered, or opinionated facts, it always causes me to re-remember the fact: The answers are all out there, you just have to look for them. But, it seems that so few people do.

As someone who has been involved with the martial arts and the Eastern understanding of philosophy for virtually my entire life, I have been constantly bombarded with statements implying that some certain person knows some super secret something that no one else can even fathom. But, it’s not true. Everything; every ounce of knowledge is out there. You just have to take the time to look for it. But, most people do not.

If you’ve ever look at the comments people make about some false thing that someone has stated—if you ever listen to discussions about some false thing someone has written or said, the one thing that is the most common take away is that people simply want to believe what someone else is saying. Why? Because it is so easy. It takes no personal research. It takes no personal work.

It’s easy to believe. It’s a lot harder to seek out and find your own true answers.

Now, this piece is not about me. I simply use myself as an example. This being said, I so often hear and read people wondering where is my truth about filmmaking and my films. Somehow they can seem to find it. But, all of it is out there! Much of it is offered for free; right here on this website! Nonetheless, I can’t tell you how many times I hear or read discussions by people wondering about my why. Do your research people!

The answers are out there! I have spelled them out! I have writing so much about the subject of my films and my filmmaking that I have left little to the imagination. Sure, there have been a few people who take my words and ideologies completely out of context, in order to make me look like an asshole, for who knows what self-motivated reason??? But, all you have to do is to take the time and have the dedication to do your own research and all your questioned will be answered. And, this is the same about everyone and everything. You just have to take the time to do your own study.

Again, this is not a piece about me. This goes to all levels of life. For example, if you are a martial artists, do you actually believe that some one person holds such an advanced level of hidden understanding that no one else could possible know it? Yet, this is what is propagated all the time. I mean, there are books, photos, and video demonstrations everywhere. Sure, someone can teach you how to do something. Sure, someone can show you a better or easier way to execute a technique. But, that is not secret knowledge. That’s just developed understanding. And, again, if you take the time to personally do the research, you can find the answers.

This is the same with all levels of spirituality. Texts and manifestos have been written for eons. People are trained in the ancient ways of meditation and living a spiritual lifestyle all the time. Is it/is anything a secret? No. The only secrets that exist are in the minds of those individuals who do not do their due diligence and seek out the teachings and truly study it for themselves.

What I am saying here is that all the answers are out there. But, if you don’t look, you can’t find them. Moreover, you must look for yourself because anything anyone else gives you is more than likely highly biased and prejudiced by their own set of opinionated standards. Thus, anything you hear about anyone or anything else you should never immediately believe because it is most probably wrong.

In closing, next time you want to know something, actually take the time to study the subject. If all you do is listen to someone else than all you are left with is what someone else believes which may be right or it may be wrong. By taking the time to do your own personal research, not only have you made yourself a better more wise individual but you will have gained true knowledge because you took the time to seek that knowledge from its true point of origin.

The Pain Nobody Sees

Think about a time when you hurt yourself. Maybe you sprained your ankle, maybe you stubbed your toe, maybe you slept in a weird position and you woke up with a tweaked muscle. You felt that pain. Maybe you told a family member or a close friend about what was going on with you or maybe you told no one. The point being, you felt that pain but the vast amount of the surrounding world did not even know what you were feeling.

Expand this thought a little bit. Think about a time when someone hurt you. Maybe they broke your heart, maybe they said or did something that embarrassed you, maybe they told a lie about you, maybe they did something else that hurt the who you are and/or the evolution of your life, or maybe they punched you in the face. They did this, you are the one experiencing the emotional or physical pain, but no one else knows what you are feeling. Even if you told someone, they are not the one feeling what you are feeling, so can they truly even understand?

Look around the world. Contemplate all the people. Now ask yourself, how many of those people are feeling physical pain right now? How many of those people are experiencing emotional pain right now?

When you are feeling pain, you are feeling pain. You know it. You experience it. But, no one else knows that pain.

When the person sitting next to you is in pain, they feel that pain, but do you? Do you even care? Can you even care if you do not know they are in pain?

Most people, when they are feeling physical or emotion pain are brought to a heightened state of awareness defined by that pain. That pain defines that moment of their life and it may be all that they are thinking about. It defines the who they are. But, who else cares about it? As no one else is feeling that pain; as most likely very few other people even know about it, if anyone at all, does it define the reality of anyone else? No.

When you are experiencing pain, how do you handle that pain? How you handle that pain comes to define the who and the what you are.

When you cause someone else pain, how do you handle their pain? How you handle that pain comes to define the who and the what you are.

Most people, when they cause someone else pain, care very little. The reason for this is that they are too lost in their own suchness. Though they may say, “Sorry,” but as they are not experiencing it—as they are not feeling it, they don’t really care what they have done.

Honestly, how about you? How do you behave when you cause someone else pain?

Honestly, how about you? How do you behave when someone else has caused you pain?

Hopefully, your life will not become defined by pain. …Either the pain you feel or the pain you have caused. But, we all feel it. It will come to all of us in varying degrees. It is what you do with that pain that will come to define the who you are. It was what you do for the pain you have caused others that will come to define the what you are.

So, next time you are feeling some sort of pain, allow this to be a motivating factor for you to look outside of yourself and realize and remember that there are people all across the globe feeling pain. You are not the only one. Just as they can’t feel your pain, you can’t feel theirs but you can be aware enough to realize that you are not the only one in the jigsaw puzzle of life who is in pain. …You are not the only one who matters.

Expand your mind outside of yourself, care enough to care, and maybe your pain and the pain of someone else will become at least slightly diminished.

The Roles I Didn’t Take

I was bouncing around the channels over the weekend and I noticed the Denzel Washington movie, Ricochet on HBO or something. It was released in 1991 and I kinda forgot if I had even seen it or not. So, I called it up On Demand and decided to watch it for a few to see if I/we had seen it. Amazingly I hadn’t. That’s kind of funny because it came out at a time when I was going to the movies all the time and seeing all the big releases. But, that’s not the story…

The movie was pretty good and still presents a very watchable experience. But again, that’s not the story… The story is, I actually was offered a part in that film. A part I turned down.

To tell the tale, I was new to the film industry. I had my SAG Card and a pretty good agent who was breaking me into the game by putting me in the position where I could get a lot of small, yet noticeable roles. Post a meet and greet with the casting director I was told a few weeks later that I had been cast and when I was to be on the set. I was excited, as this was to be one of Russell Mulcahy’s first films. He had really made a name for himself by directing tons and tons of celebrated Music Videos in the 1980s.

Anyway, I showed up on the set. I knew it was to be a nightclub scene but that was all my agent told me. I get there, checked in, and get directed to wardrobe. The only problem was, they wanted me to put on a dress. Hell no! No one told me anything about that. They wanted me to play a guy in drag.

Now, first off all, in this age of politically correctness, I’m not trying to step on anyone’s toes or their life choices. But, that just was not/is not for me. I thought it would hurt my evolving career.

First the wardrobe person began giving me shit. Then they called in Mulcahy, himself, who got all testy with me. “Nobody ever told me anything about this or I would not have even showed up!” Finally, I just walked.

Back in the day, I’ve been told; I was somewhat self-destructive towards my career. I mean, it was a Day Player gig which would have equaled about four hundred and twenty dollars back then. Now, Day Players get paid well over two thousand. But, I had to stand firm in the who I am.

In fact, I imagine I was a terrible client for my agent back then. If I didn’t like the character in the audition, I wouldn’t show up. In one case, I got the Call Back, as they wanted me for a relatively high budget martial art flick. They only problem was, my character was to be beat up by a girl. …As relatively famous as that actress was at the time; I knew her and liked her, but my ego didn’t want that to happen. So, I totally threw the audition. Did it as badly as I could. They didn’t hire me. Hooray!

Of course, then there was, Batman Forever. I turned down the role of what became, Gang Leader. The thing was, when I was offered the part, there was no dialogue associated with it. To me, the part just read like a stuntman. I didn’t want to be a stuntman. So, much to the chagrin of my agent, I said, “No.”

I don’t know… Maybe it’s all my fault? Isn’t that always the case? Isn’t everything: good or bad that happens in our life actually and ultimately our own fault?

Anyway, I watched the movie, Ricochet. And yes, walking through the scene was the part I turned down; a dude in drag. Would that part have hurt my career? Probably not. But also, I doubt the four hundred and twenty dollars I would have earned would not have made that much of a difference either. At least I kept to my own standards. And, isn’t that all any of us have in life?

In life, we each are presented with choices everyday. So, many of those choices involve other people. So many of those choices are defined by other people. But, what it comes down to is, the only one truly affected is ourselves. Because of this fact, who else should be allowed to make our decisions for ourselves but ourselves?

You gotta do what you gotta do. But then, you gotta live with the consequences.

Anyway, by the time Ricochet originally came out, I was doing the Roller Blade Seven. And, the rest is Zen Filmmaking history. I guess I made my choice. Good or bad; right or wrong, that’s the choice I made.

Another Great Loss

Sadly, the great actor, William Smith has passed away. For those of us who are old enough or for those of us who have watched the evolution of independent cinema, we know that Bill has appeared in so many films and TV shows that it is almost impossible to believe. In the 1960s and into the 1970s he was ultimate badass. He was in so many biker films; it’s not even funny. But, before that he was in westerns. From there he went on to co-star with Clint Eastwood, he fought Kwai Chang Caine in the original TV series Kung Fu, he even took over for Dano on the final season of Hawaii 5-O. The man had a great career!

I was lucky enough to have worked with him a few times. The first time was on, The Roller Blade Seven. I so remember the night Don Jackson and I went to meet him to talk to him about being in the film. He was homeless then; couch surfing at the home of one actor or another. When we asked him to be in the film, he actually cried, as he was so happy to be offered work.

When we took him to the set, several days later, his constant mantra was, “Can I go home now, daddy? Back then, he drank a lot. He had brought an entire gallon jug of vodka with him to the set and continued to drink from it throughout the day. None of this changed his performance, however. He was great.

We shot with him for a few days on the Roller Blade Seven. Each time he as on the set he brought that great William Smith presence.

I also got to act with Bill and direct him in my film, The Rock n’ Roll Cops. This story is told elsewhere, but the night we were to work with him, Don was in one of his major fuck with everyone sort of moods. Don produced the film and shot it for me. Anyway, we had rented a suite at the Bonaventura Hotel in DTLA as a filming location. Don invited everyone to show up. And, I mean everybody. …Telling them they all would be in the film.

Don and I had been messing around all day and well into the night, when we finally got there, and saw an insane number of people in the suite. Don immediately screamed and yelled and threw and general fit; throwing everyone out. He then fired the guy who was managing the talent, blaming him for allowing so many people to show up. Bill just sat there in disbelief while all this was going on. Don then decided that he didn’t like the fact that Bill had brought along his then girlfriend, later wife, Joanne along. But, he didn’t have the balls to tell Bill he didn’t want her there. So, without me knowing, he told Bill I didn’t want her there. But, I was fine with it. I liked her! I noticed she was gone and I asked Bill what happened to her? He said, “Don told me you don’t want her here so she went down to the bar.” When I told him that wasn’t the case, he got up and stormed into bedroom where Don was preparing the camera, jumped on him, and put his hands around his neck in a chokehold. It was just a joke, as he liked Don, but it was a funny sight to see, as he did all that with that pure William Smith intensity. After that, Bill gave a great performance!

Another funny experience I had with Bill was when he invited Don and I to a private screening of a film he was in. Don also invited another of his friends, who I also knew. Anyway, the film was so bad, and Don’s friend kept making jokes and cracking up throughout it, which caused me to also laugh through most of the film. Believe me when I tell you, the movie was bad. After the film, we are talking to Bill outside, he stated, “Who were those assholes who were laughing, I’d like to kick their ass.” Of course, this just caused us to smile.

With the amount of work Bill did, his legacy is set in stone, or should I say on celluloid. …This, even though much of his later work was shot on video.

Overall, he was a great guy, a true badass, a great actor, and a very nice person. As I sadly said not so long ago, in regard to the passing of Julie Strain, the Zen Filmmaking family keeps getting smaller. The original team is almost all gone.

As for Bill, it’s sad. He was a true talent!

Rest in Peace my Zen Filmmaking brother.

Nothing is Perfect

There is this common consensus, especially among those who walk a spiritual path, that all is perfect, that everything happens as it should happen, that it is god’s way. From this concept and mindset, people find solace. But, isn’t this solace simply a drug? Isn’t it merely a way to provide yourself with a lie so that you do not have to face the fact that you really do not like what is going on and what is taking place? In fact, aren’t all of the things that religion and philosophy provide one with simply a means of coping when one is not happy with what is taking place?

The fact of the fact is, in life we all encounter things and happenings that we do not like. Some people, who walk down a dark road, encounter those things more than most. But, even the person who walks a path of positivity will find times in their life when the events that are surrounding them are distasteful.

Here arises the paradox. In those moments, and we all will encounter them, we can take the drug of acceptance. We can tell ourselves that all is perfect and whatever is happening is occurring for some greater reason. We can even believe that what is happening is based upon some divine commandment and that we will realize our true lesson learned further down the line. But, that never changes the reality of the reality that sometimes things happen that we just do not like.

There are those who, when this type of situation occurs, they go into a complete rage. A tantrum if you will. They get so upset and maybe they yell, maybe they scream, maybe they hit people, maybe they break things, maybe they do whatever… But, does violent destruction change what is taking place? No.

There are also those who immediately go into repair mode and try to correct or fix what is taking place. Though this is obviously a more positive approach, there are many times when something has occurred, that you do not like, that was instigated by someone you have no control over or an act of god, as large cataclysmic events are often titled. Then what? What can you actually do to change the reality?

The fact of life is, we are all going to encounter events created by other people or other things that we do not like. It is what we do in those moments that not only gets us through those events but it also defines the next batch of karma that will come our direction.

How about you? What do you do when events that you don’t like find you? Do you ever contemplate your involvement in the situation? Do you ever blame yourself for their instigation? Do you always blame someone else? Do you blame god? Do you believe that all life is perfect and this is just something guiding you towards a better you? Or, do you go ballistic: hurt and destroy?

Nobody likes it when life events happen that hurt us. Nobody likes life events that occur that make us unhappy. But, if you do not chart a conscious course for how you will deal with those moments, when and if they do occur, than when they happen you will possess no realms of relief.

Religion may be your answer. Acceptance may be your answer. Awareness may be your answer. But, whatever your answer is, know your answer before you need your answer. With this, if any crisis befalls you, large or small, you will, at least, know the drug to take to get you through that event in the least debilitating manner possible.

How You Gage Your Goodness

The Sanskrit word, “Sattvavtti,” details Ideal Goodness of a human being. As I always state whenever I am referencing words in Sanskrit, due to the ancient nature of this language, actual translation is open to interpretation. This being said, Sattvavtti is an ideal word to describe the true goodness of a person.

Ask yourself, “How good are you?” And, do you ever even ponder this question? Ask yourself, “If you think that you are good and you are doing things, does that mean that you are not doing anything bad?” Again, ask yourself, “If you are doing something/anything bad, how does that affect your life, your mind, and your future actions? Do you simply make excuses for your bad deeds, provide yourself with lies, excuses, and rationalizations or do you work towards correcting them?”

This world is highly defined by the actions one individual takes be they good or bad. These actions not only affect the people who make them but all those who encounter them and those people who encounter those who previously encountered those actions. Throughout history there has been tons and tons of formalized excuses defined to help people dance around that fact that what they are doing is bad, not good. These excuses are born from religion, psychology, onto simple personal denial. But, how does a person praying to god and asking for forgiveness correct any bad action that the praying individual made? How does praying correct or undo the bad deeds doing? Just as in psychology, the psychologist looks to get to the root of why a person does what they do. But, does that change what that person has done? Does that somehow make the bad they have done emerge as good? No.

Life excuses and justifications lead to all the bad that is done in this world. They do not lead to good.

So again, question, “How good are you?”

If you do not even care as to whether or not you are doing good, while walking the path of your life existence, then you are lost. Lost is never a good thing. Lost is a selfish space based in not caring. No goodness can ever arises from this state of mind.

Good is consciously entering into a mind and life space filled with goodness. How do you do this? Answer: Become the essence of good.

One of the main things to keep in mind if you hope to live a life defined by goodness is that goodness is never defined by judgment. Some people feel they are doing good when they are converting a person to their religion or when they are telling a person what they think about them and instructing them how they should behave. That is all just Mind Stuff based in ego. True goodness is removed from all of that. True goodness is embracing the needs of all, leaving the Self behind, and taking action all based in positivity.

Certainly, true goodness is not easily defined or actualized. But, this is also one of the greatest excuses people make for why they do not try to be good. This being said, goodness is also one of the easiest things to realize as it is so easily seen. Think about the times when you saw someone in need; did you help them? Think about the times when you saw someone being wronged; did you help them? Think about the times when you saw someone fall down; did you pick them up?

There is no absolute illustration for you to follow in making your life a process of following goodness. But again, the path is also very obvious.

Good is good, you know it when you see it. Good is good, you know it when you feel it.

In closing, you can make yourself about selfishness and your self. You can make your life about getting what you want, no matter who you hurt in the process. Or, you can make your life about Sattvav
tti. Which do you think will define the best path for you to walk?

Glamping in the Santa Cruz Mountains

The Santa Cruz Mountains have always held a special place in my heart. Back in the 1970s, Santa Cruz was filled with hippies and holies. It was really the place where people who followed the pathway I was walking upon seemed to end up. But, like in all things, there was a price to pay.

Before I get too much into the all and the everything of this piece; now/today Santa Cruz is not at all what it used to be. The hills are filled with Techies who work in Silicon Valley. Gone are virtually all the roots of the spiritual and the artsy. In fact, I just saw an ad that if you want to Glamp, (Outdoor camping with all of the amenities and luxuries of a hotel), there is just such a place for you in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Sad…

Moreover, on the streets of the city, all you see are tons of the homeless who have found their way into every nook and cranny.

As far as Glamping in the SC Mountains goes, there was a place I used to stay at. It was the home of one of my spiritual sisters. Whenever I was there, her doors were always open to me. In fact, she even told me where the key to the place was hidden. So, if she wasn’t home, I would just let myself in and I had a place to stay.

It was a small cabin. One room. The outhouse was out back. She had apparently discovered it one day and just moved in. Eventually, the true owners of the place found out about her squatting but as long as she took care of the place they were all good with her free rent.

The Santa Cruz Mountains have a very spiritual essence to them. It just radiates from the air.

After I graduated high school, I truly thought to move up there and go to college, as did a few of my friends. I looked around for a place in the Santa Cruz Mountains and almost rented one. An interesting happened though, just as I was about to commit to the move, which caused me to stay in L.A. …I was up there in Santa Cruz, as I often was, and I bumped into an old friend. We had met at the Sufi Dances here in L.A. He was a good guy. One of those people you could tell was really smart. Sometimes we would play guitar together. He had this Gibson. I believe it was a J45. I had my Guild D40, which I still own to this day. An interesting thing that happened, in relation to his guitar, was that he rode this motorcycle sometimes and his guitar fell off the back when he was on the freeway. He went back to get it, believing the worst must have happened but I guess, saved by the case, it was as good as new. Amazing!

Anyway, I bumped into him after not seeing his for maybe a year after he had moved up to Santa Cruz. But, the light in his eyes was gone. He was just spaced out, though he was not on drugs. I asked him what he was doing—was he still going to college? No. Now he was washing dishes at this restaurant. Wow! Was he still driving his Volkswagen? No. It had broken down out on this one road and he had just left it there. “I guess it’s still there,” so he said. Again, wow! Santa Cruz had definitely changed him.

As stated, this guy was an intelligent individual. Now, it was all gone…

Like I say, there is always a price to pay. And, certain places, however seemingly spiritual, they do take a toll on the soul of some people.

Many years, in fact decades, have passed since that point in my life. Sadly, there have been mudslides and fires that have ravaged the Santa Cruz Mountains. In fact, at least one of my friends perished in one of the mudslides. The cabin I used to stay at, long gone. I looked for it after one of the mudslide episodes and there was nothing left. My cabin friend; never saw her again. My friend with the guitar; never saw him again either. I have no idea what happened to either of them. As for me, I have continued to visit Santa Cruz quite frequently, throughout the 1980s, the 1990s, onto this twenty-first century. I still like it there, but it is not the same. Now, it is overrun with tourists and Glampers.

Somehow, some of the most spiritual places have the potential to take all the essence from a person. I don’t know why that is. But, I have witnessed it in several people who relocated to various, so-called, spiritual location. I think the Techies and the Glampers are safe, as they seek nothing deeper in their life. They are not looking for that hidden meaning. So, they cannot be lead down a road away from the material. But, as this is the mindset that the spiritual person so often embraces, they become the vulnerable.

I'm thankful, I guess. I know I could have walked down that road, as well. For at that time, that is the mindset I possessed.

So, I guess this is a warning. …Something that you must keep in mind. I know most people could care less about embracing a spiritual lifestyle. But, if you do follow that path, remember it is a fine line between conscious awareness and unconscious oblivion. The path can suck you in. And, if you don’t care about not caring—if you train your mind to not care, as is taught in all of the Eastern Religions, you may very well end up in the nothingness of nothingness but if your nothing does not equal something, what are left with? Answer: No college degree, No Gibson J45, your VW just left out on some lost road, rusting, and forgotten, while you wash dishes for the people who Glamp.

Character Name: Scott Shaw

It’s funny, I was watching the movie, Wrong Turn, on demand last night. There’s several movies with that title but this is the one that is listed as a 2021 release thought the end credits say copyright 2020.

Anyway… It’s kind of funny as I recently wrote a blog about all the people with the name Scott Shaw out there and low-and-behold Mathew Modine’s character was named Scott Shaw in this film. …Though in the credits he is simply listed as Scott but about three quarters of the way into the film they do refer to him as, Mr. Shaw at one point.

Man, that guy looks old! Once upon a time he was a major star back in the eighties. He even ran for the president of SAG/Aftra a year or two deep but didn’t win. I saw him a couple of years ago at the L.A. Art Show. I was surprised at how tall he was. I never realized that. That never came across on the screen. But, old… And, that guy is like a year younger than me. He’s an actor so he probably smokes. I know that and sun tanning did damage to my mother’s skin but damn… It’s scary. It scares me. It really drives home my age. Is that what you’re supposed to look like in your early sixties?

For me, I think it’s the fact that I still have not gone grey that hones my age. I don’t know why that is? I have a few greys and I am sure it will catch up to me sooner or later but I don’t dye my hair or anything like that. And, I wouldn’t do that. I don’t really have any family I can look to and see if they too didn’t go grey until later in life as everyone passed away much younger than I am now. And, that too is scary. Most of my friends and family didn’t make it past sixty; some were much younger than that. Hell, I’m surprised I’m still here. I expected I’d end up dead in some alley in Bangkok years ago.

So, I guess this blog is two prong… One: Again, as I have said before, there’s a lot of Scott Shaw’s out there. …To the filmmakers; Hey, if you’re gonna use my name at least give me a part in your film. Happy

Two: Age grabs us all. Some it grabs way harder than others. If we live, we get old. Then what? I guess all you can do is do the best you can do. Be happy. Take care of your body. Be positive. And, do good things. For if all you think about is yourself, then will any one ever think of you in a positive manner? Overall, life is much more than your appearance, it is more about what you give back to the world. So, give. Then, when you get old, you will at least be able to say your life wasn’t all about you.

The Higher Self and The Lower Self

People always discuss that in each of us there is the Higher Self and there is the Lower Self. I am sure, like I, when you were a child you used to watch cartoons where there was a devil on one shoulder whispering into a person’s ear and on the other shoulder was an angel. In simple terms, which one do you listen to: the angel or the devil? And/or, do you even care?

I would say that most people pass through their life and never truly analyze the decisions that they make, leading to the actions that they take. They just do, inspired by whatever thoughts may be guiding them at any specific moment in time.

Ask yourself; do you follow your Higher Self? Moreover, are you even in contact with your Higher Self? If you are, what does that mean? Who and what is your Higher Self?

We obviously all know what is right and what is wrong; what is good and what is bad. But, how often does that knowing stop you from doing what you do? How often do you even contemplate the ramifications of your actions prior to taking them?

Sure, we all make mistakes but most people never realize the mistake until it has been made—they never acknowledge a mistake unless they are forced to do so. But, if you were listening to our Higher Self than wouldn’t you not have made that mistake—wouldn’t you not ever make mistakes?

Take a moment right now; contemplate these questions: Do you actually seek out your Higher Self? Do you develop a relationship with your Higher Self? If so, how often are you guided by your Higher Self verses how often do you allow your Lower Self to take control over you?

Right now, where is your life and what are you doing? Did you arrive at this moment by following your Higher Self or did you arrive here by following your Lower Self?

It is very easy to know if you are following the path of your Higher Self. All you have to do is to look at your life. How much chaos is in your life verse how much peace, happiness, and contentment do your feel on a continual basis?

Again, most people don’t care about their Higher Self. But, if you do—if you hope to become the Best, most Positive You that you can be, take the time to find out exactly where your Higher Self dwells within you. Get to know it. Listen to it. Let it guide you. From this, not only will your life become better but so too all the lives of all the people you interact with. Become the better you. Find, develop a relationship with, and listen to your Higher Self.

Someone Else’s Calamity

Look around the world, there is all kinds of true chaos taking place in the lives of so many people. There are regions in Africa where even attempting to exist is so difficult; there is so much violence, poverty, starvation, and death. Regions in the Middle East are plagued by religious wars. There are the attempts to eradicate entire cultures, and force the peoples into slave labor, in China. And, the list goes on and on. There are some people, in some place whose lives are truly placed in peril everyday. Is your?

To answer that question, I would say probably not. If you are reading this blog, I would imagine that your life is okay and livable. Yet, this being said, how much time do you spend seeking out catastrophe?

On the interpersonal level, a lot of people (in fact all of us) encounter a certain amount of pain and suffering in life. These things come at us from all directions and it is hard to guess where it may arise. A lot of bad things happen to a lot of good people. And, this is while living in a stable society.

Think about the times that you have been hurt. Where did that hurt come from? Did someone do something to you? Did something say something about you? It could have arisen from anywhere. For each person, the source of encountered pain is different.

Now, turn this around. Who have you hurt? Why did you hurt them? Do you ever even think about who you have hurt?

Yes, there is a lot of pain in this world. There is wide-spanning pain unleashed in the previously described regions of the world. Then, there is personal pain. Though some of this pain is far more ferocious appearing than the other, pain is pain is pain and no matter how large or small it is, it hurts.

Now, think about this, when you feel pain do you broadcast your discomfort to others? If you do, why do you do this? Most likely, it is because you want to have others relieve you of your pain. You may want them to feel sorry for you or maybe even replace what was removed from your life. Maybe you want them to attack those who hurt you. But, how does causing someone else pain ever change the pain formula? It does not. Pain equals pain equals pain. But, most people never think about this. This is why revenge is so prevalent in the world.

Then, there is the other side of the issue, people that want to jump into the fray. They hear someone else was hurt, so they want to chime in, they want to enter the ring, and they want to do what they can do just because they believe they can do it. But, the fact is, it’s not their battle. Though they may wish to make it their battle by entering someone else’s conflict, all this does is to bring bad karma onto that person. They were not wronged, yet they wronged someone else. Thus, all karma becomes directed towards them. Again, no one ever contemplates this.

When we see someone is being hurt we all, (at least most of us), feel for that person or persons. Whether this is a large scale event or a person-to-person situation, if we are a person who cares, we care. But, more often than not, people do not truly care. They only care about what they are feeling in their own given moment. Mostly, the lives of most people are so empty and boring that they seek out anything that will give them a jolt. Oftentimes that jolt comes from encountering the pain of someone else. From this, they find a new purpose to feel. But, their feeling is not true feeling, it is simply emotional stimulation brought about by the drug of adrenalization. But, what is that? What does that do? All it does is to cause emotional upheaval. It never equals the goodness of enlightenment.

We all feel. We all can feel for the pain of someone else. This can and should be especially the case if that person’s life is truly undergoing a travesty, on a large, no way out, scenario. But, most feeling for others is much more menial than this. It is on a much smaller scale. It is feeling for someone else when that person has nothing more important to focus their mind upon. Thus, as they are empty and not in a good Zen way. They are simply looking for a reason to feel. The easiest place to find that feeling is in strong emotion which may lead to unfocused action which always leads to the creation of bad karma.

So, next time you find yourself feeling for someone else’s something, strongly question why you are feeling what you are feeling. Acutely analyze the entire situation. For, as the old saying goes, “There are always two points of view and the truth is generally somewhere in the middle.” But mostly, never do when it is not your do to do. You can hope to change the pain of someone else by you giving to them and caring for them, but the moment you do anything onto others for what was not done onto you, all you have done is open the door to bad karma flooding onto you, as you did the doing when nothing was done to you.

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What if you didn't believe your beliefs?

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It's easy to say what you would do when you don't actually have to do it.

Other People’s Poison

There’s this field out in front of where I live. It spans the space of several residences. There’s this Korean lady who lives down the way from me. She’s married to a white guy, and has been forever, but she barely speaks any English and he doesn’t speak any Korean, I don’t know how they communicate, but that’s an entirely different story. A while back, she decided to clear off her patio and decided to just toss all of her unwanted flowerpots out and onto the field. There they lived for a long time; trash by any other name. Every now and then, I guess she decides she just doesn’t want to take out the trash, so I will see her flinging white plastic bags of trash out into the field. It looks really bad. Maybe she lived like that in Korea, I don’t know? But, it does not look nice. She does is what she does, thinking of no one else. Is that right?

I’m sure as we each have passed through life we have encountered people like this. People that do what they do and could care less about the impact they have on others.

Even in the, so-called, spiritual areas of life, there are people who behave in this fashion. This always surprises me, as aren’t those of a spiritual predilection supposed to think of others by the very nature of their existence?

Back in the day, I used to live in this apartment in Hermosa Beach. Nice, old school place, about a block from the beach. In moves this guy who called himself, “Monk.” …As he claimed to be an initiated Tibetan Buddhist monk. He even dressed the part. But, he lived anything but a monastic lifestyle. The stairs to his apartment were situated just outside of my bedroom. He would come home at all hours of the night stomping up the stairs, not walking silently as a true monk would walk; always in tow was a young man. He woke me up most every night. I never asked any questions, I eventually just moved. Again, another person doing what another person does but thinking of no one else but themselves. And, he claimed to be a monk! Liar!

Another case of the so-called spiritual came to my life… I spoke of this guy before, in this blog, back several years deep now. For those of you who have been reading this for a while you may remember… Anyway, he was the worst neighbor I have ever encountered. He claimed to be some sort of a spiritual something and would loudly broadcast his discourses, that he gave over the internet, to the entire neighborhood, with his windows wide open, just killing the vibes of everybody’s everything. When he wasn’t doing that, he was screaming, “Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me, fuck me and mine,” over and over and over again, while stooping on the floor. Did he ever have some new/deep realization and apologize to me or to everyone or anyone? Nope, not a word. Yeah, he’s really spiritual! Though he and his antics killed a couple years of my (and my neighbor’s) life, he didn’t even care. The ongoing situation finally forced me to moved. …Moving is such a hassle.

But, look around you, how many people are doing what they are doing and never even thinking of how what they are doing is affecting someone else? I am sure that we each have our own stories, like the ones I just mentioned, of people bringing their poison into our lives and not even taking notice of what they have done and how what they have done has affected us and others.

So, the question(s) becomes, how many people do what they do unconsciously? How many people do what they do consciously? How many people do things because they hope to upset the life of someone else verse how many people do things just because they are so unconscious that they cannot even care? How about you? What do you do that affects someone else? Do you ever even ponder this question as you are doing? Or, do you just do? Your answer reveals a lot about yourself.

The fact is, in life, we are all going to encounter people who do what they do and do not care about whom they do it to. Whether knowingly or not, this is what they do. That is who they are. The only thing you can do to combat this process is to be the best, most conscious, individual that you can be. Be the person that others should be. Be conscious, be kind, be understanding about the life space of others. If you invaded someone else’s something, apologize and go and clean up your mess. Because, at the end of the day, though we all will encounter those who did not care what they did to our life, we don’t have to be that kind of a person.

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How often do you ask yourself, "Who do I want to be?"

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Most of the people who are developing very bad karma do not even take notice about what is taking place.

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What happens to all the people who were participating in your dreams when you wake up?

The Mundane

I have always believed that if you hope to find any true understanding about life that you must embrace the mundane. The Mundane: that place of the common everyday where nothing is all that special and you are just doing, seeing, and witnessing the stuff that happens all the time.

Many people believe that they must be impacted with that great and grand vision of whatever to truly experience anything. Many people believe that a very special something must occur or there is no motivation for revelation. But, that is not true. Sure, when those Big Somethings happen we are jolted into a state of enhanced awareness. But, those things do not happen every day. In fact, they happen quite infrequently. Thus, you must become aware enough to see and to experience the subtly of the most mundane and common experiences of your life if you hope to delve deeply into the who and what you truly are and how this universe actually operates.

We all enjoy those moments of fun and having a great time. We all like those moments when we do something new that turns out to be a great experience. For those of us who walk the spiritual path it is great when we are send into a space of deep and new realizations. But, if you wait for those big moments to occur, most of your life will have passed by and you will have never taken the time to see the beauty and the enlightenment that can be had in your average moments.

Take a moment right now… What are you doing? No really, what are you doing? Take a moment and truly analyze you and your life situation—where you find yourself right now. Who are you? What are you? How have you ended up in this moment of you doing what you are currently doing?

Once you have spent a few moments in this process, study the everything around you. What is there? Why is it there? What are the sound that caress your ears? What do you see?

The thing that is essential to do in this process is to not dismiss the obvious. “I’m hearing this, I seeing that.” Delve deep; truly analyze the essence of what you are hearing and what you are seeing. Find its true essence.

Many people spend their entire existence focusing on how they are feeling. If they are feeling good, everything is fine. If they are feeling bad, look out. But, this style of mental focus is very-very selfish. It is a state where the individual believes they are the only one who matters. Sure, they may care about other people. Sure, they may do things for other people. But, they only do them to make themselves feel a certain kind of way. So, whom are they actually doing it for?

This is why focusing your growth solely upon Self-Awareness removes the individual from achieving a truer understanding of the grander All.

If you hope to truly grow as an individual you must remove the YOU from the equation and move outward to embracing the ALL.

So again, if you hope to grow towards holding a deeper understanding of the All and the Everything, you must embrace the study of the mundane. Whenever you catch yourself bored, distracted, full of angst, depressed, or just lost into the thoughts of fantasy of a world you will never live, look outside of yourself, embrace your moment, and study the perfection of exactly where you find yourself. You will learn a lot.

At a Thousand Miles an Hour

I always find those unexpected life experiences to be very enlightening. Though they may not always be fun, they tend to provide one with a new and enchased understanding of the human condition but only if one is willing to be opened minded.

To tell my/this story…

I was on my way to the supermarket on PCH this morning to grab the ingredients for dinner. In the same shopping plaza, as the supermarket, is one of my favorite thrift stores. So, of course, I must go in there first. I wandered to the back section where they have their books and their vinyl. I noticed a lady back there, looking through the CDs, but I didn’t pay her much attention. Immediately, however, upon seeing me, she starts up this conversation.

“I hate cell phones,” she exclaims. “I refuse to ever own one even though my husband, that fucking asshole that he is, owed the first cell phone company in L.A.”

Without going into too much further detail, you can imagine the direction this conversation was headed. Over the next, way too many minutes, this woman told me her entire life story: what she did, the places she worked, where she went to school—she told me, as altered as the truth in those stores may be.

She asked what I did. “An author and a filmmaker.” What a mistake to answer that question. That was the end of that. She went on and on and on and on about a script that her and her, “Fucked-up asshole husband,” wanted to write. “He’s going to star in too. He’s a great actor. He just couldn’t get a job as an actor so he took over teaching acting for this (somebody I never heard of) great acting coach…” That’s a typical story here in L.A… …She goes on that they are going to have Jim Carrey, Bette Midler, and Ben Stiller star in the film. “Maybe I could help them write it.” She was telling me all of the plot twists. Finally, attempting to halt her rant I told her about a restaurant where I see Jim Carrey having breakfast frequently. “Maybe you could pitch it to him there,” I say. “Oh god, what’s the name of that place? Where is it? Do you have something I could write it down with?”

The whole situation and conversation was nuts. She kept grabbing the lapels on my sport coat to emphasize her story line and getting up close, face-to-face. Thank god I have been vaccinated, as we are no longer required to wear masks, at least in that store, here in Cali. and she was right up in my face. There was even another guy who came to check out the vinyl and he turned and left. Smart guy!

She even invited me to this grand 4th of July party she was going to throw with the people from throughout her life. …As long as I wore red, white, and blue.

Like I have long noted: crazy people, animals, and children, they all seem to love me.

But, she wasn’t crazy. This lady was just tweaking. The pupils of her eyes were like the head of a pin.

I get it; some people like to get high. For those who do, they each have their preferred poison.

Growing up in the sixties and the seventies, I certainly did my fair share of illicit drugs. I never like speed, however. I remember the first time that I took it, I must have been thirteen. I just do not like that feeling of lying there wide-eyed, awake all night. Then, like now, I like to sleep.

But sure, I enjoy a nice glass of red wine or two. A dark beer, here of there. Unfortunately, my father-in-law, who was my last drinkin’ buddy, passed away a decade and a half ago. I haven’t had a hangover since. But, I guess that’s a good thing.

Here’s the thing, and the thing that is very revealing… This woman was sixty years old. I know because she told. When you think of tweakers, you don’t think of a sixty years old, Greek woman. Again, I know because she told me. And, how she used to cook for her father because her mother didn’t want to, etc., etc., etc…

I was just being tortured with her talk. I think that’s the thing many drug addicts don’t take into consideration, how their state of mind, while on drugs, is very abusive to those they encounter. Like this lady, they are just using the people they encounter for whatever it is they need. In her case, it was someone to talk at. Sober, I am sure she is a very nice person. But, that’s the problem with drug and alcohol addicts, are they ever sober and if so for how long.

Anyway… I always try to be nice to people. I give them the benefit of the doubt. I even give them my time, when I have time to give. But finally, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I looked at my watch and said I had to go. She scurried off to the cash register to get a piece of paper and a pen to write down her info. Luckily, she didn’t ask me for mine. I did a quick walk through the store… Normally, my thrift store shopping experience takes about five or ten minutes. They either have something that I want or they don’t. When I got near the front of the store, there she was writing a novel of information onto the piece of paper the cashier at the counter had given her. She was so locked into whatever she was writing; she didn’t even notice me pass by. “Thank you, god!” I was on my way out and off to buy dinner.

Everybody Want to Take a Free Ride AKA Life is an Exchange of Karma

Think about a time when you have gotten something that you wanted for free. That felt pretty good, right? Think about a time when you found out that you over paid for something. That made you unhappy, right? With those two very simple examples as a basis, we can see how many people have structured their life. People want what they want. They want to get it for free. People don’t want to feel as if they’ve overpaid. So they seek to do all that they can to not pay at all.

There is a problem in this calculation, however. That problem is, no one person is the only person involved in anything in life. No matter what you want, no matter what you hope to possess, you are not the only one that matters. There was/is the person who initially envisioned that thing. There was/is the person who made that thing. There was/is the person who made that thing available and made you be able to obtain it. If you get all things for free, what about that other person or persons? Sure, you got what you wanted but what about them? They did not get what they wanted. Thus, they have been cheated out of their participation in the program. They have been cheated and you have been the one who has cheated them. Now what?

Many people feel that if other people are doing something—if other people are taking something and getting what they are getting for free, then why shouldn’t they? That person did it first, why can’t I? But, life and life karma is not that simple. What you have done—what you have chosen to do solely rests on you. Yes, other people may have done it—other people may have taken whatever they have taken for free, by whatever means necessary, but all karma resides in you. They have their karma and you have yours. Their karma cannot be your karma, just as your karma cannot be theirs. What you choose to do ultimately will define what you encounter in life.

So often we see people questioning, “Why me?” The answer to that question is obvious; they did what they did and they took what they took. How often have you asked, “Why me?” When you asked that question did you possess the mental awareness to chart your pathway to how you have ended up where you have ended up? Did you ever question and seek out the taking you took from someone else? If you did, then you would know the answer to, “Why me?” If you did not, then you are most likely living in the state of denial that most people exist within.

There is the problem in life that many people feel they are owed something. But, why are they owed anything? There is the problem in life that many people feel they have the right to judge others and from this demean them by their own set of standards. But, why? Who gave them the power of universal judgment? There is the problem in life that many people feel they have the right to take whatever is out there for free, if they possess the means to get abscond with it. But, why does anyone have the right to take or do damage to the life of anyone? Where is it written that is okay? It’s written nowhere because it is not.

So, if you get a great deal in life, good for you. We all find those good deals every now and then. But, don’t believe you have the right to simply take what you can take simply because you can take it; for then all that you have created is your next episode of questioning, “Why me?” And, if you do arrive at that place at least be honest enough with yourself to be able to answer your own question.

Forty on the Run

This morning they were showing a story about how forty cows had broken out of a meat packing facility in one of the suburbs of L.A. Cameras followed the cows as they charged down the street that was lined with houses. It was almost beautiful, these cows that were on their way to becoming hamburgers, they got out of a gate that an employee had left open. They were free!

I believe I actually knew someone who worked at that meat packing facility a number of years ago. He was one of the fraternity of people that hung out at my friend’s musical instrument repair shop back in the day. The main reason I took note of him was that unlike all the heavy metal masses that frequented the place, he, like I, was into the Sisters of Mercy. I always wondered how he could do a job like that. …The blood, the guts, the meat, the smell. But, that was him, not I.

But, the cows running down the street, it was beautiful. I mean, you could just see how alive they are. They are life. Life, that most everyone of you out there, never thinks about when you are eating your hamburgers or your steaks. That piece of meat you are putting into your mouth was alive. It wanted to live. It wanted to be free. Show it a gate and it will be gone. It would not have chosen to die just so you can enjoy its taste.

At the end of the report they were talking about thirty-eight of the cows had been recaptured. One had to be shot, and one is still on the run. Good for him/her. But, the fact is, yes, they recaptured them and they may already have been killed by now. But think about it, how sad is that? Just a moment ago they were running through a neighborhood seeking only to be free; to be alive. All life is precious.

***

You should never forget who a person once was and what they once did.

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If what you give a person doesn't equal what they want, why give them anything at all?

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You should never insult where a person lives while they're feeding you dinner.

The Homeless On Fire

Here in Los Angeles, and I’m sure in many urban centers across the country, homelessness has become ramped. Homeless encampments have sprung up all over the place. I’m also sure that this problem is frequently discussed on the news in your community as it is here in L.A.

One of the revealing things I heard recently was that the homeless were responsible for starting approximately eighty percent of all of the fires that the fire department responded to in the city of Los Angeles over the past year. That’s a big percentage.

The other night, on the news, they interviewed a business owner whose business was destroyed by a group of homeless people camped out next to it. He detailed how he had contacted the city numerous times and asked them to help move those people away as not only were they negatively affecting his business but now they ultimately destroyed it. He was not the only business owner to have had their business destroyed by a fire created by the homeless in recent times. The news report detailed several other occurrences. In addition, it was also detailed that the homeless have been responsible for causing a number of wild fires in the L.A. area.

Presumably, the homeless did not start these destructive fires with the intention of burning down forest, parkland, homes, or businesses. They were most likely trying to cook food or stay warm. But nonetheless, they are responsible for the destruction that ensued.

So, here’s the question, do you think when a homeless person starts a fire that destroys a business they care about the impact to that business, its clientele, or that business owner, or do you think they only care about their possession that may have been destroyed in the fire? Meaning, do they have care or concern about their victim or do they only think about themselves?

Think about your own life. Think about the things that you have instigated. Think about the things that you have done that have negatively affected the life of someone else. When that event occurred, did you take the damage you created to the life of the other person into consideration or did you only think about what occurred to you?

I believe this is a very important mental conclusion that you must come to because it is going to provide you with a very deep insight into who and what you truly are. It will detail the kind of person you truly are. And, if you are open enough, it may even provide you with the impetus for the change that you need to become a better person.

As I have passed through my life, I have witnessed that most commonly, when someone did something that hurt me, they rare took responsibility for their actions; they rarely said, “Sorry,” and/or tried to repair the damage. In most cases, they denied, they lied, or they even tried to place the blame on me. Of course, from a removed perspective, we can all understand that is wrong and that is the wrong way to think or behavior. But, look around you; that style of behavior goes on all the time.

How about you? Has there been a time in your life when you did something that hurt someone or something and you denied your responsibility in the action? Did you only think about yourself, what happened to
you, how you feel about the occurrence, and the loss you experienced? Or, did you admit to what you had done, say you were, “Sorry,” and try to repair in damage in what you had instigated?

Before you look too far outside of yourself, you really need to study who you are. Because if you don’t, you may well start a fire in someone else’s life and then will you even care?

Just Another Review About The Roller Blade Seven

Of all the films I have made, and I’ve made quite a few, Roller Blade Seven seems to be the film that has been reviewed the most. First, back in the day, it was reviewed in magazines and newspapers. Then, on the internet. Later, when people figured out they could make money on sites like YouTube, people begin stealing footage from the film and doing their presentations about the movie. Some of these reviews are good and well done, others are just boring and their proclamations and their conclusions are simply wrong.

…It’s important to note, I was never one of those people who gets upset about a bad review. I know what kind of movies I make and from that knowledge I understand that some people are going to like them, while others will not. That’s all fine with me.

Now, RB7 isn’t my only film that has found its way to being reviewed over and over and over again. Certainly, Max Hell Frog Warrior (Toad Warrior) has been, as well, as have films like Samurai Vampire Bikers from Hell, Guns of El Chupacabra, etc., etc., etc… In each case, I witnessed as someone put their take on these Zen Films. And, I get it. That’s what a review is… People putting their own take on what they see. But, what no reviewer has ever seen is what I have seen. None of them were ever there in the making of. None of them were ever inside of my mind, seeing my motivations for the film(s) or the obstacles I had to overcome to get that film made.

This is the same with the many-many books I have written. I write them to make a contribution to the greater good of the greater whole. I write them to give people knowledge, hope, understanding, and perhaps provide them with a pathway to a better something. As with my films, there have been those who have attempted to use my written words as a weapon of attack. They used what I have created as a means to provide themselves with a platform to be heard. But, why? What did they create? How does their words and appraisal about what I wrote make anything any better? How does casting their judgment contribute to the betterment of the greater all?

Now, it’s essential to note, this piece is not a criticism of reviewers. The issue is bigger than that. What I will say, however, this is where all of the reviews I have encountered have fallen short. …And, this is not just with my Zen Films but with all film reviews. This is not simply about the people who have reviewed my book but about the people who have reviewed all books. The reviewers are simply casting their opinion: be it right, wrong, true, false, or otherwise but virtually none of them have ever done their research. They are just talking about what they believe. For example, there has never been one reviewer, in all of the decades I have been a filmmaker and an author that has asked me anything before they did a review of one of my works. So sure, they can spit out their opinion but what does an opinion actually mean if what they are saying is not based in some bastion of research and truth?

Of course, I come from an academic background. I was a researcher long before I was a filmmaker. And, I continue to do that. So, from my point of view, though ideas and opinions can come into play, that is only after the fact of the fact. You’ve got to do your research or what you are saying means nothing.

I’ve spoken about this sometime in the past, but when I was in Grad School I was assigned to do a lengthy paper on this one author and his works. His method was that he kind of mixed and matched Eastern Philosophy and put it all into one pot. Previous to my doing the paper, I never liked his style. And, I brought that opinion to my paper. In fact, I believe I based the essence of my entire paper on that ideology; attempting to discredit his approach. My instructor received the paper but she sent it back. She refused to accept it as she felt it was not academically sound, though I presented all of the appropriate footnotes, quotes, citations, and stuff. I was told I had to rewrite it. That’s a lot of work! But, I did it and what I learned from reevaluating my process is that if you can remove your own preconceived notions about a person, their creation(s), or about anything for that matter, you can come to an entirely new level of understanding. I came to learn a lot from re-reviewing his methods and writing style and I came to actually appreciate it.

In reviews, I have witnessed some people quote what I have said or written. Some have used it as a basis of a joke while others have used it as a means to make me and/or my films or books look bad. But, what each of these people, who have used this method have done, was to take their preconceived notions about my films or myself and simply find words, unusually bastardized or taken out of the context they were intended, to support their preconceived ideas. But, what does that equal? Does one person telling another person what they think about someone or something change the true reality of anything? What does taking the time to view and then critique any creative project actually do to add to the greater whole of reality? This is especially the case if a person is presenting their opinion as the fact instead of allowing a person’s own facts to speak for themselves?

In closing… Sure, I get it; people want to make a name for themselves by talking about the creative works of someone else. It somehow makes them appear to be an authority. It’s far easier than being a creative force in your own right. But, the fact of the fact is, is talking about someone else’s creative project actually creating anything uniquely your own?

If you hope to leave a true legacy, then your own creations are what you must create. Talking about anybody else’s anything is only attempting to imply that you know more than what they know—that you know what they were thinking and that what you think about what they have created is more important than the creation itself. But, ask yourself, do you know? Do you actually know anything about anyone else but yourself—especially some Creator out there that you have never met? The answer is obvious. And, if you don’t know then you don’t know. By attempting to pretend that you do, only exemplifies this fact.

You want to be an artist? Be an artist. Being your own artist is always better than discussing the art created by others.

The Sound

I really love the subtitles of sound. I love nature. I love the waves. I love the wind. I love the rain. I love music. I just love to listen.

Sadly, like many people of my era, I have tinnitus. So I hear a ringing in my ears all the time. Too much loud music back when I was young. I used to love to go to concerts and night clubs. I used to jam and play music with my Marshalls and my Gibson SGs. Back then, back in the day, the SG was my favorite guitar. Then too, I loved sound. I searched for the perfection in the sound.

Though I hear the ringing, I still always seek out the perfection of the sound; whatever that sound may be. As such, I am always seeking that new whatever, to find that sound.

Back in the day, a decade or two deep, you could really find some great audio equipment at thrift stores. There is just something great about the simplicity of the all that once was. It’s true, tube amps just sound better. Vinyl records sounds better than digital music. Old audio equipment just presents an essence in the sound that the newer stuff does not, no matter how hard it tries.

Like I said, way back in the way back when, you could find some great sounding equipment. No more. It is almost all gone. A lot of people have just trashed their audio systems over the years. Combine that with all the people who decided to make eBay their workplace so they buy everything they can find and sell it for top dollar. So, it is uncommon to find anything.

Every now and then, however, I do find that special something. I bring it home and hook it up. Then, I just listen.

My problem is, I don’t live in some gigantic house. I see some people who have great studios or listening rooms in their homes on-line. I wish… Me, I live in a small place. So, I am constantly confronted with what do I do with THAT when I buy a new THIS? It’s really hard. Hard, because I can’t keep it all. I can’t have it all set up. Though each piece of that sound equipment deserves its own individualized set up, as each provides that perfect something that the other component does not offer.

This is one of the complications of life. It is also the main reason to practice Non-Attachment. If you want nothing, you are free. If you care about nothing, you have nothing to win or lose. But, if you love anything, as abstract as that anything may be, that anything will hold you bound to the ways of the world and from there you will be confronted with decisions that you do not want to make.

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If you are not allowing new knowledge and understandings to enter your mind you stay stagnate throughout your lifetime.

I Guess I Should Have Been Given a Less Common Name

Back when I was in junior high school there was an African-American student who had the same name as me, Scott Shaw. We never had any classes together, but I always thought that was unique and curious, two people with the same name at the same school. Certainly, there is the great cartoonist with the name Scott Shaw! In the early days of Google they never even had him listed, only me. Back then, you could suggest things to Google and they would listen. I suggest that they split our names and give him a listing as he was so accomplished. They did. Now, Google is out of control, you can’t communicate with them at all and you barely see me and my stuff up there at all compared to his. There was even a time when they ran his photo as me. There is also the Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, Scott Shaw. There was a Scott Shaw baseball player. They sell a lot of his baseball cards on eBay. There was also a professional football player named Scott Shaw a while back. There was a Scott Shaw who used to go to the same doctor as me. Sometimes they would send me his bill. That was annoying. There also used to be a Scott Shaw who owned a restaurant named, Scott Shaw's in the beach community where I lived in the '80s. Everyone used to ask me if that was my restaurant. No. And, I think there is some well-known minister named Scott Shaw, as well. Recently, I’ve been seeing that there was a sports medicine guy up at San Jose State University, named Scott Shaw, who has been accused of doing some dirty deeds to coeds. It pops up on Google if you do a Scott Shaw name search. Just for the record; that’s not me, nor the cartoonists, nor the photographer, nor the baseball player, nor the football player, nor the minister, nor my namesake from junior high.

Having been in the public eye for while, I have long witnessed the help of, “The Name.” If you have a really good or unique name it really helps in your branding. If you don’t; well… If you have a relatively common name like mine, forget about it.

I know that there has been times when people have written reviews about my movies, books, music, and stuff where they say I should be happy that the mention my name—that they are doing me some kind of a service as they are bashing me. Nope. Positivity is always positive just as negativity is always in negative.

In term of doing bad things to women, or anyone else for that matter; DON’T! I am so anti sexual violence against women that just the other night I was watching a movie on cable and they didn’t list that kind of thing was going to happen in the pre-movie, front end, like they now commonly do, and when I saw it I got completely freaked out and turned it off. In fact, I hate that level of hurtful negativity on any level. I hate all levels of hurtful negatively in movies, and in any place else, and I just don’t want to see it. Shutting down that movie the other night got me to thinking about writing a blog about it and the filmmakers who use that kind of story and imaging to draw the audience in, shock them, and cause their emotions to rise but I really hate to embellish that kind of thing on any level. It is just wrong! So, I don't think I will do that.

Anyway, just for the record, the San Jose guy isn't me. Don’t get me confused.

You Gotta Want It

Let’s face facts; a lot of people want a lot of things. How about you? What do you want?

Do you ever really ponder that question deeply? Sure, sure, you probably sit around and get lost in fantasy about what it would be like to be living that Whatever. But, do you ever really chart out a pathway to you getting what you want?

In this world, it is easy to see the people who have succeeded. They are everywhere, on all the platforms. They got it! They got what you wanted! But, why?

There is really one simple equation that most people used to achieving their dream, “They want it.”

Now, when I say, “They want it,” that does not mean that it was simply some dream in their mind that magically appeared. No. What they did is that they pursued it. They clearly define what they wanted and then they charted a path to its obtainment.

Think about the things you have wanted in your life. What did you do to make them a reality? Did you do anything? Many people do not. Some just fantasize about what it would be like. Others believe that it could never be so they never try. In all cases of Not Doing, nothing is done. Thus, most people never even come close to obtaining what they truly want.

The fact of the fact is, many people hold extreme dreams that are nearly impossible to be lived. Some dreams hold a clearly charted desire. But, for example, if you are physically built to be a basketball player you are probably not going to find your way into the NBA. This being said, most dreams are not as reliant upon how tall you are. Most are much more, “Focus,” orientated.

So, here’s the question, what are you doing to bring your dreams into reality? What formalized gameplan have you consciously set into motion?

Being from L.A., and having been formally in the film industry for over three decades, I have witnessed and have met people arriving here all the time with that dream of Stardom in their mind. The problem is, in a field like this, your dream, your beauty, your believed talent, or your whatever is not necessarily going to get you through the door, because that door is opened and closed via so many other people. So, most of those I have encountered, who possessed big dreams and even walked the walk towards the achievement of those dreams, have been left out in the cold. What this tells us is that if someone else controls the gateway to your dreams and if you do not have what they want and you cannot provide them with what they need then your dream will probably not become a reality.

This being said, the world is also entirely at your fingertips in this day and age. To use the analogy of the Film Game again, you do not need to come here to make it. People have made film productions with the camera on their phone and have achieved acclaim. No, they may not have achieved major Hollywood stardom, but it proves that the achievement of your dreams does not have to move you anywhere away from where you already are.

The primary necessary element for you making your dreams a reality is to Do It. You must take the idea from your mind and find a way to make it a concrete pathway. Will you fail? Maybe. But, if you do not DO, it cannot be DONE. If you do not DO, then nothing is DONE.

In closing, we all have our dreams. There are the unrealistic grandiose dreams that we each keep locked solely to the fantasies in our mind and then there are the dreams that may be achievable. If you want those dreams to happen—if you ever hope to make them a true part of your life, you gotta want ‘em, you gotta try to get ‘em, you gotta chart a pathway to move you towards them, and then you gotta work at it until they become a reality. Even if that reality is only on a small scale, you will have, at least in part, lived what you hoped to BE. TRY!

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When was the last time that you changed anything about who and what you are?

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If you only had today to make everything better what would you do?

You Can’t Help Someone Who Doesn’t Want To Be Helped

You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. Certainly, I am not the first person to make this statement. And, it’s truth is very obvious. But, for those of us who care, how can we not try to help someone in need?

There are many ways to help someone. Sometimes you try to guide them with words. Sometimes you give them that gift that they want. Sometimes you give them money. And, the list goes on. But, if a person does nothing positive with what you have given them then what was the point?

I believe for each of us people have passed through our life and we can see that they are doing something wrong—something that will affect them negatively in the times to come. We see this, we witness their behavior, and we try to tell them to stop. The problem is; if an individual doesn’t have the desire to hear what we are saying, what we are saying has little meaning.

Here’s the thing, many times people are locked into believing that what they are doing makes them feel good and/or will guide them to be what they want to be. Maybe what they are doing makes them money, gets them friends, makes them famous, or makes them feel that way that they want to feel. From this, no matter what we say, they will not have the ears to hear our words.

Here arises one of the problems, perhaps the biggest problem, with giving people advice and trying to guide them down a better road; what we are saying is all based upon our understanding and our experience. It was what we believe or know to be right. But, what is right for us may not be right for them. Thus, who are we speaking to and why?

Certainly, people who base their life around a religious or militaristic perspective are very dogmatic in what they have to say and the advice they have to give people. They do this because they believe they are being guided by a higher power. But, is their higher power the same power that guides the individual they are speaking to? Maybe not.

I know in my own life I have witnessed people who when they found a New Truth, via some form of spirituality or religion, they wanted everyone else to feel what they felt. Me too. When I was a teenager, I become very involved in teachings that truly offered that Deeper Something. I wanted my friends to take the ride with me. But, most of them had no interest. Was I right or were they wrong? No. But, at the time it was hard for me to see it that way. Just like Lao Tzu stated in the Tao Te Ching, “Three in ten are followers of life, three in ten are followers of death, and three in ten are just passing between life and death.” What does that leave you with? One.

Most help given is not simply based in thought ideology. More commonly, people want to help a person because they see they are walking down a dark road or need to be elevated from a bad situation. Then what? Yes, you can try to help the person but how often are your gestures of help appreciated, listened to, and used to move into a better Life Space and how often are they simply used as a means for a person to simply continue walking down the same road that they were on?

So, what does this tell us? It tells us that, yes, we can try to help people, whenever we see that there is the need. We can do what we can do but we can’t make that person become us—we can’t expect them to see the world as we see it. If they eventually fall prey to their own lifestyle choices, we can feel for them, we can even say, “I told you so,” but we must understand that we can’t help someone/anyone who doesn’t want to be helped.

If You Do the Damage in Public You Should Do the Apology in Public

“If you do the damage in public you should do the apology in public.” That’s a quote from one of the Morning TV Show Broadcasters I heard this AM as they were discussing Chrissy Teigen and how she has recently come out with apologies to the people, as she puts it, “Trolled,” in times gone past.

A couple of people have come out recently showing the very hurtful comments she made to them over the years. One guy even explains it caused him to become suicidal, as her words were so harsh and she said some really horrible things in an attempt to truly damage his career.

For me, probably like a lot of people, I am very surprised that Teigen would have done things like that—attempting to hurt people, as she been very successful for seemingly her whole life.

Now, I don’t know what she tweets. Though I have a Twitter account, I don’t go on it. Just not my thing. I’m more into the visualness of platforms like Instagram. And, I don’t really know that much about her life, though my lady and I did sit close to her and her husband John Legend on an ANA flight to Japan a couple of years ago. I only took note of their presence, as I was surprised that they didn’t fly Private. Anyway… None of this is the point. People hurting people is the point.

You know, from my own perspective, I have had people attempt to hurt me via online platforms. They have attempted to damage my life, my career, and my reputation by doing things like claiming to do research on me, when it was anything but, taking my words and/or writings out of context, to make me look bad, and basically presenting me as a complete asshole and/or someone who should be reviled. Of course, not one of those people who has ever done anything like that knows me or has even met me. But, Teigen probably didn’t meet or personally known the people she attacked either. She just went after them for some, self-projected, internal dislike she may have; motivated by who knows what? The thing is, she’s famous, so what she did has been brought to the public eye. Think about all the people, like myself and others, who have been attacked and Cyber Slandered online by some random person out there in cyber space and their attacks stand to this day, based on nothing more than their own projected opinions about another person’s life. Is that right?

Ever since we entered this period of #metoo, #woke, and #cancel I have had a lot of problems with the attacks some people have received. In many cases, these attacks have simply been a method of someone who doesn’t like someone else, or has some sort of grudge against them, to get their revenge. Like I’ve said before, who among us has not done something wrong? But, wrong is most often only defined by what one person says about another. And, this brings us to the whole source of the situation with Teigen and others; you can say anything—it can be as hurtful as you want it to be, and due to the fact that someone is saying it, other people will believe it. Thus, large and expanding damage is created.

Think about the bad things, the hurtful things, the judgmental things you’ve said about other people. What was your motivation? Truly ponder this question and come to a clear answer in your own mind. Did you hurt the person you hoped to hurt? Did you cause other people to feel the way you feel? If you did, what was the ultimate result to that person’s life? Where you happy that you hurt them? Were you happy that other people believed your point of view? If you were happy, what does that say about you as a human being? Do you ever take any of that into consideration? Or, do you simply relish in your power of persuasion? Again, if you do, what does that say about you?

Now, I’m certain that the people who read this blog are not the kind of people who do that kind of thing. I believe/I hope we are all better than that. But, that does not change the fact that people do say hurtful and judgmental things. Look around the internet, you see it all the time. But, who countermands this—who takes exception with these people? Where is the #cancel on them?

I think back to this one time many years ago… Somebody had posted a bunch of opinionated hurtful rhetoric against me on a martial art bulletin board. Though most chimed in with support, one person said, “Remember what you grandmother told you, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.” Those simple words changed the entire narrative. But, how many people go out of their way to countermand negativity? How many people have the courage to step up to the plate and to tell people to stop hurting others? Sadly, very few. Moreover, how many people like Teigen are willing to try to undo what they have done; apologize, and try to set things right with the people they have hurt? Again, very few.

The fact is, most people aren’t strong, brave, or honorable enough to take back any negativity they have unleashed. But, the fact is, that shows the kind of person that they truly are. Not strong. Not brave. Not honorable.

So… Where does this leave us? You can follow a path of hurtful negativity or you can follow a path of positivity. It’s really as simple as that. If you hurt, you should apologize and work to undo the damage that you have done. Remember your opinion of a person or of anything for that matter is only just that; an opinion. What you think of them does not make your belief system the law. Do you have the right to hurt anyone with your words? If you think that you do you should really take a long hard look in the mirror. And, if you don’t fix any hurt you’ve created in the life of another person than that will become the only definition of your life that truly matters. A better world begins or ends with you.

“If you do the damage in public you should do the apology in public.”

Who They Were Compared to Who They Became

Time progresses in all of our lives and, hopefully, we allow ourselves to become better versions of ourselves. Sure, there are those people who never evolve. Maybe they speak poorly, maybe they eat poorly, maybe they embrace a negative lifestyle, maybe they do bad things to other people, and the list goes on… But again, hopefully, that is not how most of us move through our lives.

The thing that I find interesting is the way one person views another individual. I always find this to be a unique situation. Each person comes to a conclusion about that other person and then, whether right or wrong, they think what they think and they project their own individualized understanding onto others about that person. They also define their own actions in regard to that person by this definition. But, what if their individualized definition is wrong? What if the person they are defining has changed? What if that person has moved forward from being who they used to be to becoming what they have become? What then becomes of that definition? Answer, it becomes wrong. But, is the individual who cast that definition evolved enough to change their mind?

Having personally observed some people genuinely change as they have moved through their life has allowed me to not only observe this process but also come to possibly understand some of its motivations. Certainly, as a person gets older, their life understandings have the potential to change. This is especially the case if a physical change occurs in their life, like falling love, getting married, or having a child. This also may occur if something traumatic happen to them. From these motivating factors, and others, their priorities change. This also may occur as a person moves closer to death. For some, they decide that the way they used to be may not be the best way to be remembered or that they need to become a better person as they are close to meeting their god face-to-face. Whatever the cause, yes, some people do change, they do evolve, and I have witnessed it. Have you witnessed another person’s process of change?

Now, take a moment and think about your own life. Have you allowed yourself to change and to evolve? If so, have you done this consciously or has it been forced onto you?

Again, some people evolve and become better versions of themselves and some do not. Where do you stand in this equation? Are you working on guiding yourself towards become the better you or are you simply passing through life, doing what you do, until you can do it no more? The answer to this question is truly a defining factor for who and what you are to become. What are you becoming?

I have known people, as I have passed through my years, who, in the past, used to be pretty bad people, who did some pretty bad things. In one case I can think of this man who was moving closer to his death and, as many people do at this stage of their life, he became very religious. He was re-baptized into his Christian faith. He believed, from this process, all of his sins were washed away. He assumed that all the bad things he had done were eliminated. But, how could that be? All of the people he hurt were still hurt. They were still living their life, at least in part, based upon the pain he had inflicted.

This is the thing; change does not only involve you. It involves all that you have done. Yes, you may become the better you. But, if you are a person who has done some damage, if that damage is not rectified, then the only change that has changed is what you will do next. In your wake you have left hurt and pain. If you don’t fix that, then what has truly changed in your life’s evolution?

We all can and should change. We should all always strive to become the best/better person that we can be. If you don’t try, you are not trying. But remember, change does not only involve you. It involves all that you have done. If you are not willing to admit this to yourself—if you are not willing to undo any bad that you have done, you have not changed at all. Then, though your definition of you may be altered, everyone else’s definition of you will remain the same.

Unused Footage

For anyone who has ever made a movie they know that, at the end of the day, there is a lot of unused footage. There are takes of scenes that, for whatever reason, just didn’t make it into the final cut. In fact, there are full scenes that sometimes do not make it into the finished film. There is all this footage that no one will ever see. Only the people who took part in that scene will ever know that it even took place.

That’s the way it is in movies. Lord knows, I have hours-upon-hours of used footage lying around. I am sure I could make a couple of movies, if not more, simply by using all that unused footage.

But now, think about your life. Think about how many moments of your life have gone by that either only you remember or maybe one other person knew about. There were those times when you were full-on living what you were living but it wasn’t recorded by a camera, or anything else, so to the rest of the world it never existed.

Most people’s lives are lost like that. They live what they live, they do what they do, but those movements, all that time, it lost—known only to the mind(s) of those who were there.

Even more perplexing is the memories that become lost forever. Have you ever had one of those experiences where you were hanging out with someone and they brought up something that you two did together but that memory had completely slipped from your mind? Sure, you remember it once you were reminded, but if you had not been reminded, you may never have thought about of it again.

Those were the times when you were reminded. Think about all those life experience that you lived, completely forgot about, and there was no one there to remind you that they happen. Lost and forgotten forever.

Life is packed full of a whole lot of unused footage. Some of those times, we remember. Some we do not. Some we may even want to forget. But, all This Life, all Your Life is only packed within your own mind. As it was only lived by you, as it was only experienced by you, you are the only one that truly knows what took place. When you are gone, it will be gone, then what? Just another lost scene that didn’t make its way into a movie, a scene that no one else will ever see.

How Do You Say Thank You?

People do things for us all of the time. Maybe these things are a very directed action. They see we need or want something and they give it to us. Maybe these things are much more subtle. They notice that we need some help or some affection and they provide it. Maybe it is even something much more esoteric. They think or say something and what they thought proves us with inspiration. All over the place, all the time, people, whether knowingly or not, are giving to us—providing us with that something. How do you say, “Thank you,” to them?

Sometimes saying, “Thanks,” is a very obvious gesture. Sometimes it is big and sometimes it is small. Sometimes we don’t say anything at all but we let the person know with a hug, a smile, or a returned kind gesture. But, all good deeds need to be thanked.

Giving thanks may be a harder thing to do when you may not even know the person. Think about all the people who have helped you simply because they did something that you liked or that inspired you. Maybe it was the song they played, the painting they painted, or the words that they wrote. They truly provided you with something. But, how can you thank them if you do not even know them? Do you ever even think about that? Do you ever try to find a way? Or, do you simply receive?

It is very important to thank the people who have given you something, because if they did not provide you with that something, you would not have it.

Gifts and giving comes in all forms. But, if you do not thank the people, whether personally known to you or not, for what they have given you, something is truly lost in the process.

Thank the people who give you something. Thank the people who have helped you. Thank the people that have inspired you. Thank the people who have liked you. Thank the people who have loved you. Thank the people who have given you something, no matter how abstract that something may be. Whether you personally know them or not, thank them, because they are the one who helped you to become who you are.

If You’re Going to Steal My Stuff At Least Give Credit Where Credit is Due

I always find it interesting when someone steals the words or the ideas of someone else and uses them as their own. Certainly, there is nothing new in this but I always question what does a person hope to gain if what they are presenting as his or her own ideas were not organically created and/or understood. I mean, the fact of the fact is, if you are speaking or writing someone else’s words and ideas and presenting their understandings as your own then not only are you not doing your own research but you have not gain any true personal realizations or understandings about anything.

Having written a whole lot of stuff over the many years of my life and having come to a few new realizations about how I think reality, the arts, and the everything else operate, I have had my share of people who borrow my ideas. That’s all fine and good with me. If I say or if I write something that inspires you; GREAT. Take it and use it to find a pathway to your own illumination.

The thing I don’t like, and the thing I have a problem with is, when someone takes something I have written (or spoken) verbatim, removes all reference to me, and uses it as they see fit. Now, if someone wants to quote me, reprint one of my articles, or anything like that, I have absolutely no problem with it as long as you use my name. But, that is not always the case.

This morning, I received an email and I was pointed in the direction of this martial art website where they are using my History of Hapkido and an article I wrote on the subject of, “Ki,” exactly as they were written. Not a single word was changed. They just copied, cut, and pasted the articles. Not only do these articles hold copyright by me but they also appeared in magazines so those journals hold copyright on them, as well. But, this website took the articles, removed my name, and are using them as if they had researched and composed them, themselves. I think we call all agree that is just wrong.

I could point you to the website but I don’t want to give them any credit where credit is
not due. But, I think the bigger question is, why do people steal from someone else? I know there are a lot of people out there who base their entire existence upon the critique of what someone else says or does. But, what does that equal in life? I also know a lot of people out there are not creative or inquisitive people so all they do in their life is to be guided by the thoughts and the words of others. Again, what does that equal in life? Sure, you can steal the anything from the anybody and not give them credit but all that does is polluted your own life and your own legacy as you have made no contribution—not to yourself and not to reality on the whole.

So, where does this leave us? I don’t know? What I do know is that if a person or persons does not have enough honor to point in the direction of where and from whom they received their knowledge then they, themselves, are the ideal example of who and what a person should not be; especially in the case of field like the martial arts, where integrity is a central focus. If they steal, and stealing is exactly what it is, no admiration should be bestowed onto them.

As is always the case, this is your life; what are you going to do with it? Are you going to spend it defined by the thoughts and the works of others or are you going to do your own research and define your own pathway to knowledge and realization?

You can steal. You can even claim you’re not stealing. You can hide whom you stole it from. But, if whatever you have is not your own—if whatever you are using, for whatever reason, is not something you created, then all you have become is a robber of someone else’s something. Is that who and what you are?

The Things That You Do To Get What You Want

I was watching this movie On Demand last night, While We’re Young. Certainly, not a great movie but, in brief, it featured Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts and Adam Driver in one of his first leading roles. Ad Rock from the Beastie Boys was good in it. Anyway, the movie was about this guy, Driver, who conned his way into meeting the right people so he could step to the front of the feature-film Documentary Game. He lied, played people, stealthfully moved in the right circles, and stepped over people, all so that he could propel himself to the top. He made it while Stiller’s character, who he used in his ascension, did not. As I said last night, as I was watching the film, “Welcome to Hollywood.”

In truth, I really don’t like to watch films where people are hurt, lied to, or played. Oftentimes, I turn them off or just go to bed. But, I let this one play out, as it wasn’t really fully clear what was happening until nearer the end. But, think about life, think about the things that people do, think about what you have done to get what you want and to get to where you wanted to be… Most people are more than willing to do what they have to do: lie, cheat, do whatever if they are seeking some thing or some plateau? Though most do what they do and still don’t get to where they want to be, those who do are more often than not untruthful in getting to their ultimate achievement.

Having been in the Film Game for over thirty years, I cannot tell how much deception I have witness and even (in my early days) fallen prey to. Some of it has been small things. Others, I have really gotten fucked and witnessed other people really getting fucked. I have also watched as others have done what they have done to get to where they want to be. And, the ones who gain any significance did so by stepping on and/or over others to get there. Though, they will, of course, deny this fact.

Even for me, a very small player in the game, there have been people who have come at me wanting something. I’m sure I have told this story before but there used be this thrift store I went into every now and then. Virtually every time I was in there, this one guy, who had taken one of my classes, would show up a few minutes later. Obviously, he lived near by and this one employee would call him. He wanted to be in one of my films. Good guy! I liked him. And, I eventually used him and he did a great job. But, that was just one person helping out another. He wanted something from me and I had something to offer.

Certainly, when I used to frequently teach classes and seminars, back in the early 2000s, people would show up all he time, to my classes, wanting to be in one (or more) of my films. That was fine. One hand washing the other. I was making movies; I needed a cast and crew, and they wanted to be in a film that was actually going to get made. All good!

But, there is a whole other side of this. There are the people who are out there who don’t care who they fuck over to get where they want to be. They lie, they cheat, they take what isn’t theirs, and then they commonly badmouth the people who they have fucked over. I have witnesses so much stuff!

But now, let’s take this to you… What have you done to achieve what you have wanted to achieve? Who have you hurt in your taking and your getting? What have you said, what have you done, who have you lied to, and who have you stolen from? But, the bigger question is, did you truly care about whom you were taking what from and what your taking did to that person as you were taking? Or, were you only thinking about yourself?

I speak and write a lot about the goodness in people. I speak and write a lot about their potential goodness. I also speak and write a lot about the shit that people do and have the potential to do. Where do you find yourself in this process? Where do you find yourself in life? What are you willing to do to get what you want? And, how you have affected others in that process? Mostly, do you care?

The fact of the fact is, most people lie to themselves. The fact is, most people will do whatever it takes, stepping on and over whomever, to get what they want. Though many/most will deny this fact to the end. Though they will lie to others about what they have done and how they got to where they got, that does not change
their truth—that does not change the truth.

As all life begins with you—again, in the spectrum of your achievement(s), what have you done and whom have you done it to, to get what you have wanted?

If you can’t answer that question, if you won’t answer that question, you do not know yourself. If you do not know yourself—if you are not honest with yourself, what are you ultimately left with? If you make excuses to yourself and to others about what you have or have not done, who and what does that make you? Answer, a liar.

Once you have answered that question, and if you found that you have hurt, lied to, or damaged the life of someone else in your ascension, what are you willing to do to repair or fix that damage? Are you willing to do anything?

The one thing that I have witnessed, via the Film Game, is that those who hurt people on their climb to the top; have all fallen. Which means, yes they may have reached the top of their game, but as they did it by hurting, taking from, and/or lying to or about others, they each eventually fell and they fell hard. Though when I was on the bad end of those deals, I questioned this fact, I did come to witness that there is karma. Though they/though you may not feel it right now, if you did bad deeds on your climb upwards, there will be consequences.

So, where does this leave us in life? It leaves us with the universal truth; hurt no one. Don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t deceive. If you hope to live a good life; if you hope to be remembered fondly, if you want your ultimate legacy to be a positive one, care about the people you interact with. Even if they can help you—if you want them to help you on your climb to the top: always be truthful, always be positive, never take what is not yours, give credit where credit is due, and share the wealth.

Good is always better than bad. And, though bad may be the most common form of practice in one’s escalation to the top of the ranks, that never makes it right.

Pictures in Your Mind

The radio stations are making a big deal about the fact that today would have been Prince’s sixty-third birthday. They’re playing a lot of his music and the songs that he wrote that other people recorded and/or music he influenced. All good…

I was never really a fan of Prince back in the day. It was later that I came to appreciate his music. Certainly, he was a very talented individual and he really influenced the evolution of music. I did watch his movies when they were released, however. I thought it was very cool that he put his friends and band mates in his films even though they were not professional actors.

Though we were born the same year, the only connection I have to Prince is that a girl I went to Hollywood High School with, Lisa Coleman, played keyboard for him. I guess you could have called us friends back then. She also played a pivotal part in the movie Purple Rain. I never saw her after high school.

The thing that set me to thinking about all of this is, as I was driving they were continually talking about Prince on the radio and I thought back to this one vision I have of my high school graduation. Me, I didn’t want to go. I thought it was stupid. But, that was the only way I seemingly could get my diploma so my mother forced me to go.

I went to this alternative/experimental school that existed within Hollywood High School. You had to get your parent’s approval and all that. But, at the time, it was very revolutionary. It was really a lot like courses at a university, as they were all seminar based. Plus, we did a lot of field trips; like we would go down and watch trials at the L.A. Courthouse when we were studying criminal justice and stuff like that. It really prepared me for university life and I honestly don’t know that I would have graduated high school had I been forced to encounter the traditional program as my existence, even by that point in my life, was so far removed from traditional school.

But, before I get too far off target… I have this very clear memory of Lisa coming up to me at the graduation ceremony we had in Griffith Park and congratulating me. It was just one of those passing moments, forgotten by most, I’m sure. But, for some reason, it has forever stayed in my mind. Why? I don’t know. But, in my mind it is like a very clear photograph that you look at and it reminds you of a time and a feeling way back when.

I believe we all have those moments remembered. …Little spots that are etched into our memory for no good reason. Yet, they are there. For me, all this talk of Prince set me to remembering.

All this caused me to come home and dig out the one or two photographs I have of that ceremony that mother took with one of those Kodak Instamatic cameras that were all the rage in the 70s. They took terrible pictures! There I was with my long hair, dressed in my denim suit with bell-bottom pants and wide lapels on the sport coat. That made me smile. The photo barely in focus and faded, not like my memory of Lisa, that is very clear. …Aside from the bell-bottoms and the size of the lapels I still look and dress pretty much the same some forty-plus years later. Happy

Every now and then I think it is good/fun to remember the moments way back when. It provides us with a taste of who we used to be and how we used to feel. Maybe it can remind us of the path we hoped to take and where we ultimately ended up. Maybe it can help us refocus and reclaim the direction we once thought we should be on. Maybe… I don’t know?

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What happens when your truth isn't the truth?

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Do you ever ask yourself how much time you should be in pain after you have done something that hurt the life of someone else?

People Who Died

There was a great song that was written and recorded by Jim Carroll and released in 1980, titled, “People Who Died.” If you’re into late 1970s early ‘80s New Wave, check it out. In it he described people who he knew that had died, “They were all my friends, and they died!” He too passed away in 2009.

Certainly, as we have passed through this period of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are constantly reminded of death. A lot of us, including myself, have lost people that we were close to. For others who have not lost anyone, the stories of the death are on the news every day.

There have been other pandemics. The 1918 Spanish Flu is believed to have killed about fifty million people. Though that number, as is the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, is probably much larger than the actual reported deaths.

Interestingly, and a fact many people do not know, the Spanish Flu did not originate in Spain. In was simply given that name because, at the time, Spain was the only European country with a free press and they were the first to describe and define that disease.

Though not of absolute certainty, the pandemic is believed to have actually been born, where it was first reported, in Haskell County, Kansas. From there, it then spread to the army based at, Fort Riley, Kansas and from there onto the world.

Disease, leading to death in the world is nothing new. Back when I was an undergraduate, focusing my studies on Cultural Geography, I was taught that whenever a society becomes over-populated three quarters of it eventually dies off due to starvation or diseases. This is simply the way of nature.

As the human race has evolved, however, we, of course, have found ways to countermand this process. This is one of the main reasons why this earth is so over populated. Along comes something like the COVID-19 pandemic, however, and we are reminded we are
not in control; nature is.

But, all of this does not change the fact that a lot of people have died. Think about how many people are dying in India right now. So many that they cannot even cremate them all. To all those people who have died, they have left someone behind that loved them, that misses them, that cries due to their passing.

We are all going to die. But, while we are alive, that concept is so hard to fathom. When people we know die, we certainly feel the loss. It is we who are most likely in more pain than the person who passed away. We are in pain, as we no longer have them.

Think about all the people who have died since the beginning of time. Think of all the tears shed. But now, think about all those people who have died and have simply been forgotten. Think about all the people who loved them—all those people that are also gone. Go to any cemetery, look at the old gravestones that are dated a hundred years ago or more, is anyone still grieving for that person? They lived. They died. More than likely they left someone who loved them behind, but then that person also died. They are gone; everyone is gone.

No one wants to die. Even the people who are suicidal simply wish for their life to be better. The sad truth is, we are most likely all going to be taken away, wishing we were not going anywhere. People are going to be taken from us that we wish would stay. There’s no cure for this. This is simply the reality of life. You can pretend you can prepare for this, but can you? When you meet death face-to-face, either with you personally or with someone you really love, you will never really know how you will react until you react. But then, it’s too late as death has found you.

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Don't tell people things that you don't want them to know.

The Things That Make You Cry

For each of, (or at least most of us), there is that place in you where something touches that center of deep pain and sorrow—that place where every time you go there, remembering that something or that someone, sadness comes over you and you want to cry. In each of our lives, (or at least most of our lives), there was that incident or that loss that whenever we think about it, sadness comes over you. I know I have mine.

Many people run from those feelings. I guess that is the natural reaction; to not want to feel/relive that moment when you truly hurt. I know a few people who outright say that don’t want to go back to that place. They prefer to live in a state of denial about what was and what took place. I get it. Life is easier that way. But, think about this, when those memories come to mind, does it really change them if you simply cast them away?

The thing about that deep sadness is, for the most part, is that there is very little any of us can do to change what caused the instigation of that feeling. People die. Pets die. People break our hearts. People do bad things that deeply hurts us. And, once those things occur—once they are done, they can’t be undone. So, then what?

You know, a lot of psychologists have answers for this. But, at least from my perspective, psychology is a lot of BS, and Mind Fuck, that is simply designed to give people a drug of oblivion. I mean, if it worked, people would not be in therapy for years upon years—some for an entire lifetime. (And, this is from someone who extensively studied psychology and did therapy for a number of years). Moreover, this whole system of thought is based upon the businessperson and the consumer. If a Shrink told their patients what they really thought about them, or what they are truly feeling: living, or doing, they would not have that patient very long. Thus, it is a game of delusion. A game of one person attempting to get a paycheck from someone whom they are promising a fix. But, what is the fix? Is the fix simply trying to forget the pain?

The thing about life is that we all live what we live. What we encounter is largely dominated by where we live, how we live, whom we choose to associate with, and the belief system we are indoctrinated into. Okay… But, how does any of that change the pain we may encounter? It does not. We are all going to have it find us at some point in our life.

I don’t think there is a fix for this. There is the drug of delusion—that drug we all take when we are feeling sad; when we try to cover that feeling up with doing something that makes us forget. But, this is a dangerous game as it can lead us down a dark road. So, is the drug of forgetting the answer? I don’t know? It may make you feel better for a moment but it does not change the reality of your reality.

So, what can you do when that memory of hurt or loss comes to your mind? Me, I try to embrace it, at least for a moment. I fondly remember the person or the pet that I lost or consciously ponder the situation that caused me that sadness. Then, all I can do is take the next step in life and hope that it will provide me with something better. Meaning, if you don’t do anything, if you don’t step forward, nothing new will present itself to you and you will not be able to replace those thoughts of sadness with new experiences and new memories of something else.

We all feel pain. Some people relish in causing pain in others and they don’t care about the damage they have created. We all know those are bad people. But, they are out there.

We have all lost or will lose those we have cared about to the unfortunate promise of death. We can fantasize that they have gone to a better place. But, isn’t that just another drug of illusion? They are gone. We no longer have them with us. That is the reality of the reality.

So, hopefully as you pass through your life, your pain and your sadness will be limited. Hopefully you will not encounter too much of it. But, when the memories of those memories come to mind, remember why you feel the way you feel. Remember why you felt the way you do or did about that person. Then, the only promise of anything, if you hope to not become dominated by that memory of pain and sadness, is that you consciously must move on.

…This is not an answer. …This is not a cure. This is just the only way that I know of if you hope to encounter feelings of something better.

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Does doing something good for someone mean anything if they don't know or care about what you've done?

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Why are people upset when they invest money but their investment does not pay out?

Greed.

If a person was not trying to make easy money they would not be investing in the first place.

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If you had to describe your life in one sentence what would you say?

Śūnyatā Verses the Destruction of Someone Else

On the news these days a lot of what you are hearing about is the attacks on and the destruction of the someone else. I mean, there are all those cowardly acts of men doing their Asian Hate Crimes on the elderly or the weak. In San Francisco, a small female cop was attacked by this big burly guy and, as they put it, he put her in a death grip. Luckily, bystanders came to her aid. Here in the L.A. area, yesterday, a firefighter went nuts and entered a fire station, shot and killed one firefighter and badly wounded another. Then, he went to this beautiful house he owned, killed himself, and burned it down. They say mass shootings are way-way up this year. There was a little kid killed on the freeway here in So. Cal last week by a road rage shooter. They are still looking for that car. I mean, what a mess!

Me, I speak about the realities of driving probably a bit too much. But, as long stated, the way people drive is very revealing about the depth of human behavior. What I have seen as this pandemic has waned is that though, on the surface, it seems that people are just driving badly, what I think is the reality of what is really taking place is that people have simply become very locked into themselves, have become very self-thinking, and they do not even consider that there are other people on the road.

In the recently weeks, I have watched as a lot of medical and mental professionals have been brought onto the talking head TV shows and have discussed why this style of behavior is taking place. They all reference and blame this or that as the causation. Some blame the isolation brought on by the pandemic. Others blame the financial woes instigated by it. Some blame the stress of the family in lock down. Some blame China for allowing the virus to be unleashed. Some even blame Trump. Okay??? But, no matter who or what anyone wants to blame the reality of the reality is, all things are born in the mind of one individual and how that person chooses to act and/or react.

All this makes me think of the Buddhist concept of Śūnyatā. Śūnyatā refers to the understanding of perfected emptiness. Though there are a lot of written interpretation and even some misunderstandings presented as fact, as is often the case, Śūnyatā defines that perfect state of voidness that exists in the mind when the zealot lets all things go and merges with the abstract reality of know-nothingness.

But, what does this mean and how can it adequate to you and/or this current reality? Quite simply, how much of your time do you spend in a space of nothingness? I would bet, very little. Verses, how much of your time do you spend thinking about what you think about, believing what you believing, casting your judgment in the way you cast your judgment; equaling the what you do and the who you do it to?

Let’s face facts, our society, our world, is based upon the definition of one person thinking and casting their judgment onto another. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone has their likes and their hates. In fact, we are taught that it is a good thing to develop your own mind and think what you think about whomever and whatever you are thinking about it. But, what do these thoughts actually equal? They equal judgment, which results in your saying things and doing things. Which, as in the case of the aforementioned people, equaled them doing some really horrific things.

Most people will say, I would never do anything like that. But, think about the negative words you have spoken, perhaps they have amplified a thought in the mind of another person, which resulted in them doing something negative or bad; all based upon your thought process, equaling your words.

As the old saying goes, words have consequences. Your thoughts have consequences. Certainly, your actions have consequences. But, as long as you are sitting there in a space of judgment, that you believe is due you, all you are creating is a world where negative things happens.

Most people feel as long as those negative things don’t happen to them, their karma is good. But, is it? Just because you seem okay and protected today, that does not mean that something negative will not happen to you tomorrow. Then what? Then, whom do you blame?

I always say to people that it is very important to think about what you say or what you do because it can cause others to act and react in a negative way. And, if what you say or do today sets a negative reaction in the life of someone else into motion that is what you will ultimately be defined by—that is what will come to set your ultimate karma into motion. But, who listens? Oftentimes negative words and deeds make the unenlightened feel all-powerful and good about themselves. But, look at the world; look at the actions of those who forceful hurt others, what was the birthplace of those deeds? Answer, a person’s thoughts feed by whomever and whatever.

So, what I am saying here? What I am saying is embrace Śūnyatā. Find that profound emptiness in you. In that place/in that state you hurt no one—you can hurt no one, you cause no one else to hurt anyone, as you are embracing the ultimate truth and the ultimate reality of human existence. Namely, no-thing-ness.

Try it. You will be amazed at the results.

The Temperature of the Dead

“The Temperature of the Dead.” Sounds like the title of a horror movie. Happy

Here in California, throughout this COVID-19 pandemic, many stores, doctor’s offices, restaurants, and other businesses have taken everyone’s temperature whenever they are attempting to go inside. They are doing this to keep those feverish individuals from entering the facility and infecting other customers and patrons. They have an employee standing there with their trusty digital thermometer in hand ready to point it at your forehead or wrist.

The pandemic has thankfully been waning here in the U.S. I know in other parts of the world it is still blowing up. India is a horrible mess, as are places like Brazil and Peru. Even Japan is having a forth wave. Sad, very sad. A lot of people have died.

Though the temperature checks have been lessoning here in Cali., there are still some places that do them. I got one yesterday when I was about to go into this antique store. As is always the case, they tried and tried but my numbers were too low. The untrained employee couldn’t figure out what was going on. In some cases, they have even called the manager up front to take my temperature. This always makes me smile. Like I continually express, “I guess I’m dead.”

Here’s the thing… For whatever reason, I have a very low body temperature. Why that is, I don’t know. Back before I was getting virtually daily temperature checks, I never really thought that much about it. But, even the last time I went to see my doctor; the nurse had to turn the thermometer on and off a few just to make sure it was working—to make sure I was still alive.

I could make all kinds of jokes about how, “Cool,” I am and all that… But, I don’t/won’t. It’s just who I am. I have a low body temperature. I guess I’ve existed like that forever. Due the low quality of the digital thermometers everyone is now using; it really freaks most people out.

Have you ever thought about how you are different? Do you ever study how you are different? Some people are quite obviously different. They have that very obvious something. Then, there are things like this low temperature I rock, it can’t be seen at all. But, it does make me different.

So, here we are—here you are; there is something different about you. What is it? Do you let it define you? Do you hide it? Is it something that everyone can see? Is it something that no one can see? Whatever it is, it makes you, at least in part, who and what you are. What are you? Is that difference the definition of your life? Do you let it define you? Are you proud of it? Are you ashamed of it? How does that difference, that you are, truly define who and what you have become in your life? How does it define what you will become?

Take a moment and really think about how your difference has come to define the who and the what you are. By knowing that, you consciously come to a better understating of
you.

…Maybe you’re like me, walking around with the temperature of the dead Happy

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You can fake your way to anything if you work at it long enough.

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If you believe that this day is not your only day—that this life is not your only life you will live your days and your life like they don't really matter.

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Do you base your life upon the common definition of understood reality or by a definition concocted only within your own mind?

It’s My Birthday!

“It’s my birthday!” Well, actually it is not. My birthday is in September. But, I am always so excited when I hear that someone is excited about the fact that it is their birthday.

A birthday is always this strange phenomenon. …At least in my mind. It is that day of anticipation, of anticipated happiness. …At least for some. Their happiness always makes me happy. Their excitement always bleeds over onto me.

I mean, Facebook tells you when its one of, “Your friend’s” birthday so you can wish them a happy one.

For the people who are close to me, I truly hope to do my bit to make their day a good one. I mean some people are really all about that day. Some people get parties, some people get surprise parties, some people take the day off, some people just do small things, but it seems it is always celebrated.

My birthday’s never seemed that monumental. I guess that is why they just kind of pass in my mind with little thought. I never had birthday parties as a kid or anything like that. The only one I kinda had was when I was turning eight and just my aunt (my father’s sister) and my grandmother were invited. I did get a new bike that year. That was fun. My parents got it from the blue chip stamp catalogue.

The interesting/sad thing about that so-called party was that the day before I had been hit by this Japanese gardener’s pickup truck, while riding my previous bike. I got smacked off of it. My face, (just under my eye), hitting the curb on the street. I was later told that messed up the vision in that eye forever. But anyway, I had a major shiner on that eye, that day; my eighth birthday. The photos from that day are kinda interesting.

This is not a Boo Hoo moment or anything like that. It is just a life description, defined by my birthday. Had my birthday not been the next day it would just be one of those moments that faded to the abyss of one person’s life in general.

When I turned eighteen, I was helping at a retreat for Swami Satchidananda’s Integral Yoga Institute. One of the Swamis realized it was my birthday. We, the yogi staff, all snuck out and they took me to have carrot cake at a nearby restaurant. That was great!

After that though, I pretty much spent my birthdays far off and away, in some lost destination on the planet earth.

Then, at one point, when I was in my twenties, I decided that the best thing I could do on my birthday was to do something for someone else—spend that day doing something right for someone else. Since then, that is what I do. That is the definition of my birthday(s). I consciously do what I can for a least one other person, (or more). I make that big something, of a birthday, mean something for them, not me. And, I never mention it is my birthday. In fact, I never mention that anyway.

So, what am I saying here? Yes, birthdays are cool. Some of you probably really anticipate their arrival. Yeah, you’re a year older and some people hate that fact. But mostly, most people love the arrival of that one special, “Me,” day. Yeah, it’s your day, so why don’t you take that one day and instead of taking, instead of expecting, instead of making it all about you, why don’t you define that day as the day you are going to do something big for someone else? Don’t you think that would make the world just a little bit better?

Sins of the Father

“The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” Deuteronomy 24:16

Over the recent months there has been a lot of discussion about sons and daughters and their link to their father, both in a positive and a negative manner. This has especially been the case in the realms of politics. Though the father, son or daughter correlation has been a seeming constant throughout history, the question must arise, why is this—why does a person need to define themselves by who their father is or was?

There used to be this guy who went around Hollywood, maybe twenty years ago, he told everyone he was the son of Jim Morrison. None of the biographies or the documentaries ever mentioned Morrison having a son, so I doubt it to be true. Maybe the guy believed it, maybe his mother told him that was the case, maybe he was just a liar; who knows? But, he defined his whole identity by that false fact. I wonder were he is today and if he still tells everyone he is the son of the Lizard King?

There was this guy going around Hollywood a few years back telling everyone he was the son of Morrissey. But, we all know why that isn’t true.

Back in the days when MySpace ruled the world, I used to be friends with this girl who claimed to be the daughter of David Lee Roth. We used to speak about her being in one of my Zen Films but that never came to pass. Was she actually the daughter of Roth? I don’t know; maybe? He did have a very big paternity insurance policy back in the day.

We all define our identity by where and by whom we are from. We all define our reality by who and what our father was/is. But, what if what he was is false? What if we were given false facts? What if what we tell others is not true? Then, who are we?

In terms of my life, my father came from very humble beginnings. He grew up in Southcentral Los Angeles. He graduated from Manual Arts High School. Then, for a time, I don’t know what he did. When World War II broke out, and all the young men were enlisting, he decided to join the U.S. Coast Guard. I am told that he wanted to protect the shores of the U.S. You have to remember that there was a lot of fear of foreign invasion during WWII. But, what occurred is that he got shipped across the Pacific and across the Atlantic.

As I got older, I always questioned this story. Why would someone in the U.S. Coast Guard be sent overseas? A number of years ago I requested his military records, and it was all true. He had earned ribbons for the Pacific and the Atlantic campaigns. This was based on the fact that he was placed on ships that transported personnel, ammunition, and military vehicles to the front lines through enemy waters.

When the war was over he eventually decided to open a restaurant. Why, I don’t know? But, it became very successful. In fact, via its various owners, it existed well into the twenty-first century. But, as it was very successful, in maybe ’65, he decided to retire young so he sold it. Not liking retirement, he stepped back into the workforce and became a manager at the Los Angeles Forum, where he eventually died from a heart attack. He died with no debt, driving a new Mustang, and owning two houses. He was a success. He was not defined by who his father was or was not.

This walks us into the quandary of life. We each have a father. Whether we know who he is or not is important only in the sense of how who he is comes to define our own lives. The fact is, people can lie about who their father is or is not. People lie all the time. That is simply the reality of life. Most of us would question why anyone would lie about his or her father’s true identity. But, the fact is, people lie for the most ridiculous of reasons. …At least ridiculous to the mind of anyone who is not telling the lie.

For the person who is projecting this untruth, they have their motives. Is their logic any more important than the objective you have for telling the truth? That is a matter for debate but it still does not change the reality of the reality. You interact with people all the time. Maybe whom you are interacting with is basing all that they do upon truth. Maybe whom you interact with is basing their entire existence upon a lie. But, none of that changes the reality of your reality; you are just a passing entity in the life of that someone else. Maybe you will spend a minute with them or maybe you will spend a lifetime with them but whatever the case, who or what they claim to be can never change who and what they truly are. Just as who or what you claim to be can never change the reality about who and what you truly are.

We all have parents. If we did not, we would not be here. Some of us know our parents—we know who they are. Others of us do not. But, whatever our parents were or were not, all
we are is all we are. All we can do is what we can do. Yes, we can lay claim to who our parents may or may not be. But, is who they are who and what we are? No. Though we can learn from, though we can pay homage to, though we can love or hate our parents, it is only us who can claim what we have or have not done in our life. This being the case, does it really matter who your father was?

When People Change

Have you ever encountered one of those situation when you meet someone, you like them, you hang out with them, and you come to believe they are a really nice person? Then, you meet someone from their past and they tell about the fact that they used to be a very different person—a very dark individual. You find it hard to believe because the person you know is very nice. But, why would that other person lie? You weren’t there; you didn’t know them then, so how could you know?

The fact of life is, people change. They, at least change on the surface. People evolve. They come to be a better version of themselves. But, the fact of the matter is, not everyone is like this. Some people lock themselves into being a certain way and that is that. How about you?

Have you ever met someone; you thought they were nice but then one day something happens and they completely reveal another, very dark side to themselves that you never thought they possessed? Or, have you been in association with
a person and they promise they will never do that dark something again only to, out of the blue, again exhibit the true person inside of themselves?

It has long been my belief that people do not really change. They hold a root basis for their behavior hidden deep within themselves. Whatever the cause for that behavior is almost unimportant for that behavior is what they exhibit and what they project onto other and onto the world. This being said, some people do possess the ability to take a strong hold over their subconscious and conscious mind and force themselves to become a better representation of that, “I,” that they were given. Again, how about you?

Who are you? How do you behave? How do you think and react differently from how you did a year ago or ten years ago? Have you changed at all? Have you decided to change at all?

Many people lock themselves into the self-proclaimed reality of Self. “That is just who I am.” Many people are so lost to a world of non-self-discovery and they never question anything about their behavior. How about you?

But, there are those few who actually try to evolve—to become a better representation of the, “I,” life has given them.

Many people live in a world and operate from a perspective of ego. This is why there is so much lying in the world. …People hope to be seen as a, “Something,” and/or become something that they are not. People also operate from a perspective of dominance. They gage every person as someone who they can dominate or someone they should not mess with. For those they can dominate, they do. For those they cannot, they steer clear. This is why in this current age, dominated by the abstract realms of the internet, all definition(s) of who and what a person actually is and/or who or what they can or cannot actually do has become clouded. It is all so abstract.

Once upon a time, a person was pretty much defined by the what you see is what you get. Though, of course, there were lies and deceptions. But, by being with a person, by interacting with a person, by studying a person, you could come to know at least who you believed them to be. Today, due to the abstract realm(s) of the internet, this has given birth to a whole new world of deception—for a person can truly conceal who and what they truly are and who and what they once were.

All this being said, what we are left with is what we are left with. What we have is what we have. And, what we have is our meeting a person, maybe liking a person, but then we must decide what is real or false in that person.

Have you ever encountered one of those situation when you meet someone, you like them, you hang out with them, and you come to believe they are a really nice person? Then, you meet someone from their past and they tell about the fact that they used to be a very different person—a very dark individual.

Can a person truly change? Maybe. But, no matter who they are today that does not alleviate who they were yesterday. What they do today does not change what they did yesterday.

What did you do yesterday that you would not do today? Does what you did yesterday define who you are today? Do you hope to hide that person you used to be; who did what you used to do? Have you changed? Have you evolved at all? Or, are you locked into a never-ending cycle of being lost in the never allowing yourself to become MORE?

Life's illusions are a tricky reality. What you see is what you see but what you see may not be real at all.

Tapasyā

Tapasyā is the Sanskrit word that is used to detail spiritual asceticism. Though as is always the case in the translation of a word from an ancient language there can be a lot of interpretations, but, in brief, the term Tapasyā is used to define the techniques an individual uses in order to remove the karmic obstructions they have created in their own life and to spiritually move forward into order to obtain spiritual liberation and realization.

Tapasyā was first discussed in the ancient Hindu text, the Vedas. There it was/is described as a method of rebirth—a pathway where the ascetic would perform self-deprecating rituals and meditation in order to cleans one’s self to move towards Samadhi.

Throughout time, various religions have expanded upon this concept but at the heart of Tapasyā is the individual caring enough about overcoming desire and personal unworthy deeds to actually attempt to make things right, cleanse one’s self, and come to a deeper, more god-like realization of Self.

Now, ask yourself, how much time do you spend attempting to make yourself a better person? How much time do you spend correcting your karma, and attempting to undo any badness you have unleashed? How honest are you with yourself about the things you have done that have negatively affected your life and/or the life or other people? And, what are you doing to truly bring yourself into a closer contact with the goodness, the god-ness of this universe?

Many people in the western world, who follow the pathway of Christianity, simply believe that going to church, praying, and perhaps going to confession is all it takes to become a good and holy individual. But, all anyone has to do is to look at any damage that was done to them, by the hands of anyone else, and they will quickly understand they do not care if that person goes to church, prays, or confesses, for that does nothing to undo any damage that they have done onto others.

But, here lies the problem, most people only see life from the very limited perspective of Self. They only view reality from the perspective of how they feel and what makes them feel good. They never look to the inner reaches of Self and/or come to terms with the fact that there is a greater reality—that there are other people who also feel and if they are not taken into consideration that all acts simply become an act of Selfishness.

The practice of Tapasyā begins with the conscious awareness of the fact that there are, in fact, other people and all other people have the same spiritual rights and the same physical desires as yourself. Even those who practice the ancient understanding of Tapasyā often miss the point as they are seeing only a pathway of, “Self,” realization. But, that is not true Tapasyā. True realization is a pathway of, “All,” realization.

Is it time for you to stop thinking only about yourself? Is it time for you to step beyond the confines of selfishness? Is it time for you to take the other person into consideration? Is it time for you to chart a higher path leading to higher good? If you have not reached that decision point in your life by now, you may never grasp it. If that is the case, what becomes the definition of your life? Answer: A life based upon selfishness. And, what does a life lived via that definition actually equal? We all know the answer to that question.

Tapasyā is you doing what it takes to clean up your life, your karma, your mind, your doings, and your next doings. Clean is always better than dirty.

It takes time to clean things up. It takes effort and it takes work. Maybe this is the time in your life for you to understand Tapasyā and not only make you but all of the everything a better representation of humanity.

The Legacy of a Broken Bone

Back in the early days of Punk Rock, it was not unusual that there was violence in the nightclubs. The music was aggressive and there was a lot of youthful angst. It was also not unusual to see the musicians with a cast on their hand or arm from some bit of aggression, either on their part or another person’s part, having lead to a fistfight that lead to a broken bone. This was not necessarily a good things but it was the way it was.

Back in about 1979 or 1980, my friends and I had gone to see a show at the Country Club in Reseda. My one friend had this horrible habit of getting drunk and then starting a fight with the biggest, burliest, ugliest person he could find. By this point, the Punk Rock venues were no longer solely frequented by the purist of the musical art form but my many others who just wanted to come and fight. The bigger problem was, my friend could not fight. He always got his ass kicked unless his brother or I stepped in. His brother would often joke, “Could you just pick a normal sized guy to fight…”

Anyway, there he was, out on the dance floor, fighting with two guys. The one guy had my friend’s leather jacket pulled over his head that kept him from moving and defending himself in any normal manner. The guy was holding his leather jacket with one hand and punching my friend in the face with the other. I ran up, as did his brother, to encounter the fighters. Me, seeing the guy who was punching my friend in the face was bend over, I delivered a hammer fist to the back of his head. Now, this is a very powerful but also very danger technique. Yes, it disabled the guy instantly but BAM, I also broke my hand. My friend was saved but at what cost?

Now, I think back to years before; this same friend and I when we were at Hollywood High School in the tenth grade. He had broken his arm. The problem was, he kept getting drunk, falling down, and re-breaking his arm. He had a cast on it for like a year. Finally, the doctor told him if he didn’t stop re-breaking his arm his only alternative would be to put in a plastic bone. Finally, my friend chilled for a bit until his arm finally healed.

But, back to the story at hand… My hand was broken. I went to the emergency room, the doctor reset it, put it in a cast, and I went home. The problem was, at least in my mind, was that I was teaching the martial arts on a full time basis and it was hard to demonstrate techniques with a cast on my hand. So, I took it off. A few days later my girlfriend got frustrated with me and she squeezed my broken hand. I could feel the bone re-break. It hurt! “Ouch!” But, I doubt if she cared. She was pissed at me.

Me, being who I am, I did not go back to the doctor. I just let it be. Thus, in time, my bone mended itself in a less that ideal position.

Years later, after always feeling the break in the bone, I went to my doctor to have it x-rayed just to see what was going on. The bone had healed in a shattered position. Not much anyone could do. Thus, what my friend had done by starting a fight, what I had done by delivering a hammer fist, what my girlfriend had done by angrily squeezing my hand, sealed my hand’s fate forever.

Several years later, there was this friend of my Zen Filmmaking brother, Donald G. Jackson, who we had used in a few of our Zen Films. Good guy. We were going to see a performance of the singer John Steward at McCabe’s. Don and I showed up and the guy was already there. He was a big, burly, friendly guy; all of his actions were BIG. He grabs my hand and shakes it. He grabs and shakes it really hard like some people like to do. So hard, he broke it. I actually felt the snap of that damaged bone. Did he mean to do it? No, I don’t think so. Most bones, in most people’s hands, wouldn’t break from such a handshake. But, mine was predisposed to it. After that, I never shook hands with him again, explaining to him each time what he had done.

Years have gone by, the other night, I was in a situation in the dark. Someone came at me, someone who should not have, and though I hate all of that kind of stuff, and rarely do I use a fist as a first line of defense, it was so obvious what would end the attack and confrontation in the most expedient manner. One shot and it was over. They were down. The problem is, again, the minute that punch made contact I heard/felt a snap; I broke that same bone in my hand again.

So, here I sit typing. It hurts! My hand is swollen and bruised. Sure, it will again heal. Heal, in that whatever kinda way that it does heal. But, it will never be the same as it once was all those years ago. And, that’s the thing about a broken bone, when it breaks, is it ever the same again? It breaks. It’s different, and the only one left feeling the pain is the person who houses that broken bone.

Does my friend ever think about my broken bone that was broken due to me defending him in a fight that he started? Nope. Does my one-time girlfriend care that she was the one who actually re-broke the bone and set my life on a course of never having a well-set hand-bone again? Nope, she ended up hating me. I was a terrible boyfriend! Does the Zen Filmmaking guy care about the fact that he broke my hand in a handshake. I’m sure he never thought twice about it. He’s probably dead by now. Did the person who received the brunt of my punch the other night care what happened to my hand, even though he was the one who sent that punch’s flight into motion? Of course not. So, what are we/what am I left with? A broken bone that no one cares about except me.

This is the reality of life. We all do what we do what we do and once it is done it can never be undone. So, be careful, you may break a bone. Then what? No one will care that you cared. No one will care what they have done. And, all you are left with is a broken bone that no one would ever know about if you don’t write about it in a blog like this. Happy

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If you sit in one place long enough anything can happen.

The Randomness of Action

Throughout history, people have looked for a pattern in movement. They have sought to find the pattern of life in order that they could study and then possibly come to understand the, “Why,” of its existence. Many philosophers, mathematicians, physicists, and even alchemists have hoped to define its true pattern and pathway.

In life, yes there is a consistency of movement in one sense. Look at a freeway. There are millions of cars going in one direction, on one side, and a million cars going in one direction on the other. Look at a train. Locked onto a track, it progress in a very defined direction. But, does that provide us with any clue to the true pattern of movement in life? No, not really. Those are man (or woman) made constructs. Think about it, they deteriorate all the time. They must be fixed. Thus, when they are being fixed, the flow of movement is stopped.

If you look to natural life, people create patterns of movement. When a lot of people walk in one direction, they form a trail. When a lot of people are taught to believe the same thing, they form a religion. When a lot of people are schooled in a specific science, they all believe and then teach they same thing. But, is that a true pattern? Or, is that simply something just like the train on its tracks or a freeway; something constructed simply as a means for someone to tell someone else where and how they should go?

In terms of the fighting arts; as time has moved along in this modern era, more-and-more people have become exposed to formalized methods of self-defense. The student is taught to do this if their opponent does that. This style of training is very stagnate, however. Simply look to the wildness of a street fight; fists and feet are flying everywhere. This is why so many long trained martial artists lose in a street fight; because they are not trained in how to expect the unexpected when all it takes is that one wild strike connecting to a debilitating location and the fight is over.

The point being, though people have looked for a pattern of movement in life, since the moment that human consciousness began to expand, the reality is, though there occasionally may be a consistency of movement, all true action is uncharitable as it is defined differently in the mind of each individual. Even if a group of people follow a similar pathway and believe a specific dogma, they each interpret that doctrine defined by their own set of life attitudes. Thus, as each person is different, there can never be one assured pathway of action.

All life is as random as the person who is standing next to you. You can hope, you can believe you will know what they will do; you can study their specific patterns of behavior, but you can never truly know what they may or may not do next.

This is just one example. People have been looking to find the meaning of life throughout the millennia. They have hoped. They have charted. Some have even believed that they found the truth of the pattern of human and nature’s movement. But, then the next unexpected storm arrives, the next rogue wave strikes the shoreline, the person sitting next to them does something completely unexpected, and then it is proven there is no way to know what will come next in life.

Embrace the unexpected. This is the best way to truly experience the glory of life.

Who Will Miss You When You Die

Certainly, as we come nearer to the end of this pandemic, (at least hopefully), we have all witnessed a lot of death. Some of us, like myself, have lost people close to us due to the coronavirus. Others have watched from afar, casting their judgment of disbelief. But, the fact of the fact is, people have died. People do die. And, when people die, that person is no more. But, who cares? Who will miss you when you die?

I have watched as people have died during this COVID-19 pandemic. It is the same as I have always seen when someone passes away: people get emotional, people get grabby handed. They want what that person who died has left behind. They try to get it. They try to rope-a-dope the competition to get the
more. But, though they cry, do they truly care about that person who is gone or are they only thinking about themselves?

Some people are good people. For some people it is hard to find anything negative to say about them. Those people are very few and very far between however. Most have a lot of hidden secrets; a lot of evil deeds that no one knows about. Or, at least very few know about. And truly, what is a good deed verse a bad deed? Is it not simply based upon a point of view?

The sad truth of life is, people die. Then what? Then what is left of all that they did, all that they felt, all that they wanted, all that they got, all that they did not get, and all those who they loved? It is all gone.

We all look for love in our lives. We all hope we will be well remembered. We all hope that when we die someone will miss us; but will they? Or, will we just be another passing life in the passing lives of so many? Here and gone.

Many people have large families. Most believe that a large family promises promised love. But, I have gone to the funerals of a person with a large family; the family is there, then they are gone, and almost immediately are back to thinking about themselves and all the goings on of their own life. Sad, but true.

I look to my own life. I had a very small family. When my father died, (when I was ten), his side of the family was gone. They got pissed off at my mother about something and that was that—all those years of pretend were gone. They were they and we were we. I never saw any of them again.

I had an aunt and an uncle who never were married. My mother’s sister and brother. Thus, no children. They were obviously much older than I. They died and that was the end of any family I had ever known.

I’ve been with the same woman for over thirty years. I have watched as her family members were born and some of have died. Gone… Remembered by the blood but I am not their blood nor am I their race. So, where do I fit in the puzzle? I’m just that weird white guy.

I have watched as people have gotten married. Some spent enormous amounts of money on their ceremonies. Years later, divorced. The person is gone. Left out in the cold. Left to only the memory. I never saw them again. What did it all mean? What happened to the love? What happened to the promise of forever? What happened?

Once upon a time, in the long ago and the far-far away, I had these two cats. I got them both when they were kittens. Though they would sometimes fight, they really loved each other. When the one died of old age, I could just see the life go out of the other one. She just did not want to live without her mate. Shorty thereafter, she too passed away. I, of course, was devastated. But, how few relationships are like the relationship of those two cats? Most are simply a mess of Life-Things and trying to get by from one day to the next.

In my life, I have always tried to make a positive difference. Sure, I’ve done my bad deeds. I had a really fucked up childhood—the kind you never really get over, so I have a lot of issues, okay… …Like many of us… Nonetheless, I have done my best to do my best. Some people have appreciated that. But, more often than not, I have seen my critics take aim at me. But, what for? For trying to do good? For trying to make a contribution? …As abstract as that contribution may be.

So, who will remember me when I die and why? I have no bloodline. I mostly only have people who want something from me—if they want anything from me at all. So, what does it all mean?

How about you? Who will miss you when you die? Who will be sad that you are no more? How long will they miss you? Why will they miss you? And, what will your life have meant if no one misses you at all?

***

It's easy to blame someone else when you refuse to look to yourself and admit why you got into a situation in the first place.

***

There's knowledge to be had everywhere but it's you who needs to seek it out and then put it to use.

When It’s Time to Give Up

I pulled up behind a car at a stoplight today. The car and I were in the right turn only lane. The light was red but at least, here in California, you can turn right when there are no cars coming your direction. NO cars coming but the car did nothing. It just sat there. The light turns green, the car continues to not move. Finally, I had to honk. I honked, the car did not move. I honked again; the car still did not move. I lay into my horn; the car turns slowly.

Now, the reason I did not honk sooner, as would be my nature, (I’m not a very patient driver), was that the car had the license plate, UMA DEVI. For those of you who may not know, that license plate, in Sanskrit, says, “Goddess Uma.” Uma is another name for the Hindu goddess, Parvati. As I’m all about that kind of stuff, I let the non-moving slide.

Anyway, as I drive past the car, when it finally moved, I looked in and saw a very small, elderly woman of East Indian descent. She had to be in her nineties. Yet, there she was driving—if you want to call it that. But, she was far too old to be driving.

But, think about it, once upon a time, in the long ago and the far-far away, she was a young beautiful woman. But now; old—far to old to be behind the wheel of a car.

And, this is the thing; most people try to do what they once did far too late in the game. They hold onto the belief that they are still what they once were, doing what they are doing as well as they ever did it. But, all that is just a lie—a lie to one’s self.

How about you? Do you ever question where you are now compared to where you were then? Are you truthful with yourself? Are you truthful with others? Or, do you lie, do you pretend, do you deceive even yourself in this game of life?

There is a time in life when you are becoming. This is the time when you are young. Post that period; you end up with what you end up with, based upon what you did in your becoming to become whatever it is that you now are. This is why youthful focus is so important because it will define the rest of your life.

This is not to say that you cannot learn and do new things throughout your life. But, all things: young or old are defined by age. They are defined by what you did then, leading to where you are now, and what you can or cannot do effectively now.

Take a moment a think about it… What could you do then that you can’t do now? Are you realistic with yourself in this truth? Or, do you live in a world of remembrance and pretend?

You know, we all really need to be honest with ourselves. We all really need to take the time to recognize what we can do and what we should or should not be doing. If you can’t do it well anymore, it’s really time to stop doing it at all. It may not be fun to be honest with yourself. I mean, we all like to remember the way we were in the way back when. But, like I have long said, “No one wants to see old people dance.” Be honest with who and what you actually are. Be truthful with yourself and others about what you should or should not be doing.

You Can’t Give Them What You Don't Have

I was walking through this beach community the other day. I walked past these two homeless guys. One asked me for money. I explained that I no longer carry any cash. I finished my statement, as I always do when asked for money, “But, good luck.” He rudely came back at me with, “What goes around comes around.” Okay… Whatever that means. I just smiled and kept on walking. He then follows up, “I’m seventy-one, how old are you?” “Coming up on sixty-three,” I respond. “Well, I got eighteen years on you.” I’m not quite sure where that math came from but it did make me smile. I just walked on as he continued to ramble rude comments my direction. My lady said to me, as she always does, “I told you, don’t engage with those people.”

You know, the homeless crisis has really gotten bad here in the greater Los Angeles, SoCal area. And, I always try to treat everyone with respect. But, more often than not when you look to the life of anyone, and at anything that has gone haywire in their existence, the blame can seen to be solely/mostly on the person themselves. Not just with the homeless but in all aspects of human life.

We are all responsible for the choices we make and what we decide to do. Yet, how few take any responsibly for anything? They just reach out a hand and expect it to be filled with whatever it is they are requesting.

In terms of money, I guess this guy was unhappy with me that I did not give him any. But, the truth be told, I cannot even tell you the last time I touched money. I do know it was way before the pandemic. There is just no need to carry cash anymore. But, more to the point, in many ways, homelessness has become a cry for assistance but do people really want the help that is being offered? Or, do they prefer to base their existence on that state of need, equaling aggression and distaste for others?

I think to this one guy who I have seen for a number of years. As is well documented, I like to go into thrift stores when I have the time. You never know what you will find. More times than not I walk out empty-handed but, that’s okay, it’s fun to look.

Anyway, this one guy used to pull up in his old Volkswagen van. Sometimes I would see him working on it in the parking lot outside of this one thrift store I go to sometimes. Occasionally, he would say something to me either inside or outside of the store, and that was that. Time has continued forward. I didn’t really realize it initially but he was living in that van. As time has gone on, the van became fuller and fuller with junk until today it has so much stuff inside of it and hanging off of the roof, I do not know how he can even drive it. I mean there is a lot. As for the guy, now I see him arguing with people in the parking lot all the time. His mental condition has obviously deteriorated. But, what is the basis for all/any of this? Is it not the choices this man made in his doing what he did defined by his own set of circumstances?

Close to where I live, there was this one homeless lady who moved into a bus stops. It is one of those ones that has a roof and glass side walls. I guess that gave her some level of protection from the elements. There she would sit all day and all night doing nothing. What kind of life is that doing nothing? Does doing nothing make anything any better? Yet, she made a choice to just sit there. I’m guessing she has mental issues. But, whatever the case, you can do something to make your life and all life better or you can sit there, doing nothing, and not helping yourself or the world.

Until recently, there was this large homeless encampment that sprung up in Echo Park, which is a park not far from downtown L.A. I’ve actually shot scenes for a few of my Zen Films in that park many years back. Of course, there was a large amount of drugs, drug addicts, and crime that goes along with that lifestyle. The residence of the area and others were afraid to go near the park. I get it. How can you trust or calculate the behavior of people who embrace that lifestyle? In any case, the city eventually came in, about a year deep, to clean up the park. Of course, there were all the homeless that refused to leave, a lot of protests to save the homeless and let them stay and all that… To calm the tensions, the city set many of them up in free hotel rooms. I wish I were given free rent. Finally, the homeless camp was cleared out so the park could be cleaned. The sanitation workers cleaned out thirty-five tons of waste which included all kind of garbage, needles, not to mention large amounts of feces and urine. The homeless are not clean. Meaning, someone had to come in there and clean up their shit. Yet, there were people who were mad at the city for making them leave the encampment so they could clean up their shit so that they average Joe could go back to the park. Who is in the right and who is in the wrong?

If you look at life it is pretty easy to see what things have the potential to lead a person down a dark road. Drugs are bad. Alcohol is bad. Gambling is bad. Overspending is bad. Stealing is bad. Hurting is bad. Expecting a free ride is bad. And, the list goes on and on. What do you think was the causation for most of those people to become homeless? Answer: they chose to follow a road that lead towards darkness. Then, who must pay for their mistakes? In this modern society it is the taxpayer, the person who wants to go to a park but can’t because they are afraid of getting attacked by a junky, the person who needs to take a bus but can’t sit on the bus bench because someone is living there, or the person who is walking towards the ocean and is asked for money and we he doesn’t have any to give is told, “What goes around comes around.”

I have sympathy for the homeless. But, I also understand the pathway to homelessness. Family is the best safety net. But, I get it; there are some people, like me, who have no blood-family. Like I say, “I’m the last living person who remembers my father and/or my mother.” After that, if you hope to be supported, you must surround yourself with caring people. But, more than all of that, you really need to make focused and conscious choices in your life. You really need to prepare and protect yourself. Mostly, you need to stay away from the things that we all know are wrong and bad. Because bad is always bad and doing more bad based upon previous bad is never an excuse for the things you do and the way you behave that causes you to live a particular degenerative lifestyle.

Of course, I want to help. I always try to help anyone in any way that I can. I care! But, I also look to the root cause of where each person finds himself or herself in life.

So, what are you doing today that is setting the stage for your tomorrow? You can see where you are heading. You can see where you will end up if you continue to follow the pathway that you are on. All you have to do is look.

Honestly, what do you see? And, if you do find yourself on the down side of life don’t expect anyone to bail you out because maybe they just don’t carry cash anymore.

Driving Slow in the Fast Lane AKA Overstepping Your Authority

We all have our pet peeves when we drive. One of mine is when people who go slow in the fast lane.

I was driving home today. I live in this community up on a hill so coming and going always involved driving up or down a hill.

I was driving uphill and there was this large pickup truck with a camper shell on it going slow in the fast lane. I jam on past it. The moment I do, the driver honks his (or her) horn, and then hits his lights. He obviously has his lights hooked up so they flash on and off kinda like a cop car. I guess he didn’t like my speed and wanted to express his dissatisfaction about my passing him in the slow lane. What a loser!

I was up in Santa Cruz, this one time, a few times back. Now, the whole vibe of Santa Cruz has really changed in recent years. It has become a major tourist mecca. Add into that all the Silicon Valley folk who have moved in, and it is crowded!

There is this street in Santa Cruz that goes along the ocean. Back in the day, I used to always leave town via that street. I did it just for the view. Maybe I would stop and walk down to the beach and stuff like that but now that street is almost always constantly jammed with cars so I almost never drive on it. But, this one time I did…

Anyway, I was driving along it and this old hippie in his Volkswagen van was driving very slow, totally holding up the flow of traffic. As this is only a two-lane street: one lane going one way, one lane going the other, it took a while for me to pass. Finally I did. But, then he speeds up. At the next stop sign he pulls up next to me in the turn lane and goes off about my speed. I ask him, “Are you a cop?” “No.” “Then, fuck you, hippie!”

Now, maybe this guy had lived in SC his whole life, I don’t know? Maybe he saw the change and didn’t like it. Maybe he felt like he was somehow in control of that street. But, he was not. The one thing for sure is that he overstepped his authority.

Here’s the thing, there are some people who somehow feel that what they think and what they do is right and what you or I think or do is wrong. They feel they are somehow the moral judge of all of humanity in whatever sphere they dwell. But, they are not.

People like this always operate from a perspective of insecurity. They live a life based upon a lack of accomplishment. Because, if they had accomplished something/anything they would not be trying to cast their judgment and expand their authority onto others.

Now, this goes to all aspects of life. Look around you, how many people do you know that believe they have their right to cast their judgment onto others—in whatever manner that judgment may be cast? Do you? How many people do you know who try to control the actions of others based upon how they believe all people should or should not act? Do you?

Your life is defined by your own realm of reality, just as my life is defined by mine. But, I don’t try to judge you and/or exercise any control over what you do or do not do. Those who live their life based upon judgment and their attempted control over others have actually taken the Truth away from their own life because they are dominated by the actions of others. From this, they are sent into a constant state of conflict because the fact of life is, rarely are other people going to behave in manner that you or I feel is wholly appropriate.

It is really essential that we all constantly take stock of our life and truly view what we are thinking, how we are behaving, and how we act and react to others. Your life is your life. But, your life is not my life. You have no right to judge what I do or do not do and/or to tell me how I should live.

Is Your Humanity Turned On?

There was this television series that was on a few years ago, The Vampire Diaries. The show followed two brothers who were vampires, the central love interest, and all that… It was a pretty good TV show. As it was about vampires, they, of course, had to find a way to feed. How do vampires feed? They drink blood. And, of course, that involves all kinds of unsavory activities.

One of the side-topics of the show was that vampires could either function from a perspective of relative goodness or non-caring badness. The ones who were good, relatively, had their humanity tuned on. The ones who were bad, had their humanity turned off and from this they exhibited all kinds of aberrant, hurtful behavior. Plus, they did it and they didn’t care.

Let’s think about life—let’s think about you, how do you behave? Is your humanity turned on or is your humanity turned off?

I believe that most people who read this blog operate from a Life Perspective of relative goodness. They try to be good, do good, and help others when they can. The thing about life is, however, a lot of people live their lives from a perspective of this vague sense of denial. They think they are doing good, they may even claim that they are doing good, but their, “Goodness,” is based solely around their perspective of reality and what is or is not good for them.

Again, ask yourself, “Is your humanity turned on or is it turned off?” How much time do you spend thinking about others, helping others, doing good for others, doing good for the life of others, verses how much time do you spend thinking about you and contemplating getting what you want for your life?

True goodness, true humanity, involves you being able to turn off your own agenda for long enough to actually make a positive difference in the life of someone else.

In life, most people seek a goal. Though those goals change as they are achieved and new ones present themselves, these goals are generally highly Self Orientated. In life, most people surround themselves with people they like, that share a similar mindset, and that can make them happy and feel good about themselves as they are walking towards what they want in life. But, is this, “Humanity?” Is this a mindset of, “Goodness?” Or, is this simply a mentality of selfishness?

Most people never think about this. Most people never ponder this. As long as they are feeling okay, they do not question their pathway. Some even reach out a hand of assistance from a position of advantage but is that truly helping? Or, is that simply someone stoking his or her own ego by feeling, “I have more than you so I can help you?”

Again, look at your own life—look at the things you do. What are you doing? What is your motivation for doing what you do? Do you even consciously try to help others? If you do, what is your motivation for doing so? And, is what you do truly an example of, “Humanity,” and helpful goodness or is it simply you attempting to live a life that makes you feel good about yourself?

Goodness, Giving, Humanity, are very complicated subjects. If giving makes you feel good, and makes you feel good about yourself, who are you actually giving to and why?

***

We are all limited by what is available to us.

Writing Your Own Bio

Writing your own bio (biography) is always a sticky matter. On one hand, if you have risen to the public eye, you need to present an overview of your life so that people can get an idea about who you truly are. That being said, it is a fine line between presenting facts and/or an idealized image of how you wish to be perceived.

Having had bios of myself posted on other people’s, organization’s, and publisher’s websites, as well as having my bio presented in catalogues, journals, books, anthologies, and the like, I have been forced into the position of viewing a lot of different ideas about who and what I actually am. Combine that with the crew of people out there that either love, hate, or don’t care about me at all, and there has been a large conglomeration of people who have said a whole lot of things, both positive and negative, true and false, about my life and myself and presented them as an actual biography, when they were anything but. It’s curious; really…

From the point of time when I needed to begin presenting my own bio, back when I was first beginning to write articles and books, I have tried to keep things as factually based as possible. But, it also must be interesting or no one will read it. Combine that with the fact that I really don’t care about things like martial art rank, (it has become so convoluted), college degrees, or whatever, and I have really struggled to not just say, “I’m just Scott Shaw,” and leave it at that. But again, as everybody
Out There wants to read something and/or to say something, if I don’t spell it out, than who will?

Throughout time, and due to life evolution, my self-created bio has changed somewhat over the years. I have removed things, I have added things, but all-in-all, all of that
stuff that has made up my life has created the who I actually am.

You know, in this day and age, so many things are very researchable. It’s really hard for anyone to lie about his or her background. This was not the case in times gone past. And, from this, a lot of people said a lot of things that weren’t really true about themselves. This is also the case about individuals who write about other people; it’s easy to check their facts but, the fact is, so few people actually do. They just believe whatever it is that they read. For all this and a lot more, if I (if you) don’t put the truth out there about myself/yourself, who will?

I think to a discovery I made about a decade ago. The results of the 1940 U.S. Census were revealed to the general public. The U.S. Census Bureau has this seventy-two year thing where a census is only released seventy-two years after it was conducted. I was sitting at a Starbucks in El Segundo one day, when the census had just been released, and I decide to look up my parents. …Seemed like a fun and obvious thing to do… As for my father, nothing was revealed that I did not already know. But, what I found out about my mother was pretty shocking, (at least to me). She had actually been married before she met my father. Wow, that was a revelation! She never told me that. None of my relatives: my aunt, my uncle, my cousins, none of them ever told me that. I don’t even know if my father knew, as he never told me. …Why she never told me, I have no idea. She passed away more than a decade before that census was released, as had all of her close relatives, so I had no one to question about what actually went on. But, there it was, the truth in front of my eyes. It blew me away. Who knows, maybe I have or had a sibling out there that I never knew about???

After discovering this fact, I, of course, tried to do some internet research into this subject. But, aside from her married name, that I saw on the census, I found nothing. And, as I don’t really have the financial means to hire someone to find out the what’s what, (I imagine that kind of research is very-very expensive), I have been left wondering.

Now, this is not the only case I have known about, that other people don’t know about. In my extended, via marriage family, (I’m saying this all very carefully), one of my now deceased family members had a child via another wife in Korea. His wife obviously knew, as did my part of that family, but his several children have never been told this fact. They don’t know that they have a sister (probably) still alive in South Korea. I know, but it is not my job or duty to tell them. It’s really none of my business so my lips are sealed.

It is like I have what I guess would be a first-cousin-in-law living in Japan. She is of half Korean descent. But, as her father remained in Japan after the war, when the rest of the family went back to Korea, he presented himself as a man of Japanese descent throughout his life. …For those of you who may not know, the Koreans were highly looked down upon in Japanese society so many of them never reveal their true ethnic origins. This is not uncommon at all. And, it still goes on to this day.

Anyway, the man, my uncle-in-law, married a Japanese woman. They had a daughter. She grew up believing she was wholly of Japanese descent. She got married to a Japanese man. They had a child. They came to visit America. She was directed to meet my father-in-law, (her uncle), who was a very outspoken person, and he told her about the truth of her heritage. She never knew. When her husband found out, he divorced her. Wow… Racism is everywhere.

What does this tell us? I don’t know? It is a complicated question. Is telling/is knowing the end-all answer to the all and the everything. Or, are some things kept secret for a reason?

So… Here we have an interesting issue. There are those people who want to tell you all about themselves. They want to list every accomplishment they have ever made. They want to be called by this or that title. They wish to be known as, “The Great,” whatever… Then, there are those who have something to hide. Something that they tell to no one. As in the case of my mother, she didn't even tell her son.

I’m sure my mother and all those others out there who hide something have their reasons. Though I don’t why my mother would not have told me something like that? I was always very honest with her.

Me, I’ve always been one of those people who tries to be as truthful as possible. If you ask me a question, I will give you an honest answer. Not everyone is like that, however. People lie, people deceive, people hide the truth, and people lie about the truth. But, the truth of the truth is, if you don’t tell everyone everything that means that you have lived a lie. And yes, as stated, I’m sure everyone has a reason for hiding what they hide. But, does that hiding, change the truth? No. At best, it only conceals it for a time. …A time until seventy-two years after the fact, when the U.S. Census lets a son know that his mother was married before she was wedded to his father and no one ever told him. As for me, (the son), all I am left with is the wondering why? And, I guess that’s life, there’s a lot of things that each of us will never know and, the fact of the matter is, most of these things we will never know that we didn’t know.

The Badness That You Do

Your life is not defined by the good things that you do. Your life is defined by the bad things that you have done.

Think about your life, what are the things that you want to be remembered about you? Almost assuredly, the things you want to be remember are the good things that you have done.

Think about your life, what are the things that you hope will be forgotten? Almost assuredly, the things that you hope will be forgotten are the bad things you have done.

The question then becomes, what is good and what is bad?

Certainly, there are some very obvious things that can be universally considered good and bad. But, then we get into all of the Life Stuff, the personal opinions, the beliefs, the ideologies, and the egos. This is where the definition of good and bad often times become lost to the reality held solely in one person’s mind.

Think about your own life. Think about a time when someone did something that you understood to be wrong or bad and what he or she did hurt you, your life, or someone you cared about. How did you react to that action? What did you do?

Think about what you did. Did your reaction to that action hurt that person who did that something that you considered wrong? Was that your intention? If it was, did the person you did that reaction to become hurt or damaged by what you did? If they did, how did they feel about what you did? Did they consider what you did hurtful and wrong? If they did, was what you did right or wrong? Or, was it simply your perception of your own reality and you deciding you had the right to do that bad thing that you did to that specific person?

Now, think about a time when someone considered something you did hurtful or wrong. Think about a time when you instigated, “Wrongness.” Why did you do what you did? Why did you do it to that person? Did you do it consciously? Or, was what you did done by accident? In either case, was it not
you who did the doing? You hurt someone. That person considered what you did wrong. As such, what should their reaction be to you?

Life is a complex web of actions and reactions. Many/most people do not think of the other person first, which is why so many hurtful deeds are unleashed with little consideration about that other person. For the hurtful actions that are consciously taken by an individual, knowing that what they do has the potential to hurt the life of the person they are doing it to, aren’t they simply lost in a mindset of uncaring self involvement equally wrongness? Yet, what they do is not undone simply by realizing this fact. What they do still hurts someone else.

People base a lot of their actions on their appraisal of what they think about someone else. Though they may do what they do without caring at all about the consequences of what their actions will do to that someone else, action leading to badness hurts. And, hurt is never a good thing.

Yet, look around the world, look throughout history, most everyone will claim a reason for doing what they are doing or having done what they have done.

Look to religion, more people have been hurt and/or have died due to religious beliefs than any other one element in the history of humanity. Is what a person does to hurt someone else right simply because they are basing what they do upon their religion?

Look to ideologically judgment. How many people are intentionally hurt simply because someone does not like how that other person thinks or what they have done based upon what they think? Is a person taking action, motivated by them not liking what another person thinks or does, okay simply because they do not agree with what that person believes and how they define their own reality?

If we look to life, most everyone has a reason when they unleash hurt. But, that reason, their logic, is all based in what they, themselves, believe. Even when a belief is believed by many, what is the source of that belief? That source is judgment. But, judgment is just that; a person’s perceived belief and definition of what they believe to be right or to be wrong.

So, where does this leave us? We can say, “No one should hurt anyone, no matter what!” But, people all make choices in their life. They choose what they do. And sometimes, what they choose to do, is to hurt someone else.

As we each are the sourcepoint for all of our own reality, it can only be us who chooses what we do; how we act and how we react.

Flat out, if you choose to hurt someone, for any reason, you are in the wrong! End of story. Even if you are not judged by your peers as having done something wrong, based upon whatever it is you and/or they choose to believe, that does not change the fact that you have instigated hurt which will forever be remembered by whomever it is you have hurt. Thus, there will never be any true redemption for you unless you strive to undo the hurt and the wrongs you have instigated.

Again, your life is not defined by the good things that you do. Your life is defined by the bad things that you have done.

No matter what your motivation—no matter if it was by choice or accident, if you have hurt someone, either consciously or unconsciously, that is the definition of your life. You can try to hide from this fact, you can run from this fact, you can lie about this fact, but if you do not undo any damage you have created ultimately that becomes the only truth about who and what you actually are.

***

If there is a heaven, by its very definition, the people who are there do not deserve to be there.

To Know Yourself

How often do you consider how well you do or do not know yourself? How often do you consider why you do the things you do? How often do you consider how much control you exercise over your actions? How often do you consider who and what you truly are?

Most people spend very little time doing any of this. Sure, they will immediately exclaim that they know who they are just fine. …That they are what they are! But, a statement like this is
denial at best. How many people that you know are truly a person who holds any true sense of self-knowledge? Do you?

In times gone past, not that many years ago, there was a sense in evolving society that a person truly needed to take the time and peer into Self in order to not only become more internally aware but to become a better, more whole, person as well. As is always the case in human evolution, times and trends move forward. In some case, these movements are positive; in other cases they are somewhat less. As the twenty-first century has continued its progression, it seems that an enormous amount of the focus has continued to be shifted from the individual onto the, “Out There.” …Wherever and whomever that, “Out There,” may encompass. What has obviously been shifted away from is the individual delving deep into Self in order to emerge as more whole, complete, and actualized individual.

The fact is, “Out There,” is easier. “Out There holds are the promise of new experience, new relationships, and new excitement framed by whatever factor of causation. But, what, “Out There,” never possess, is Internal Wisdom. Sure, you can have fun, “Out There.” Sure, you can gain new experiences, “Out There.” But, what you can never acquire, “Out There,” is a true sense of your Internal Self or a true understand of who and what you truly are.

So, take a moment right now. Turn off your rambling mind. Start right where you find yourself. Who are you? What are you? Why are you? What made you who you are? Why do you do the things you do? What and who makes you do the things you do?

These are very easy question that will provide you with a deep insight into who and what you truly are. The problem is, very few people make these inquiries. Thus, they pass through their life with no sense of true internal understanding and simply behave in a reactive manner to whatever it is they are feeling or whatever other people do to make them feel a certain kind of way.

If you want to be a better person, if you hope to be a True Person, if you want to follow a higher path, you really need to come to understand who your truly are.

Take the time to make the inquiry. From this, you will not only gain deeper wisdom about yourself but the entire world, as well.

Promised Money and the People You Put in Your Movies

As a filmmaker, I have never taken money to make my Zen Films. I have always financed the projects out of my own pocket. It’s just so much easier that way. Back in my days working with Donald G. Jackson, sometimes we had very big budgets, but they always came with a caveat. There was always a price to pay. But, that was then, this is now.

Every now and then, someone contacts me wishing to discuss financing one of my Zen Films. Mostly, I just sidestep these inquires. But, every now and then, I take the meeting. These inquires have increased over the years since I have stopped doing narrative-driven films. Though I never really planned to turn them off altogether, that has just seemed to have become the case.

I label these meetings, “Buttering the muffin.” There is always a lot of talk and a lot of promises but rarely do these meets ever prove anything. Mostly, they are just instigated by someone hoping to raise money on a promise of my making a film. But, if you a’int got the money in the first place why do you hope to get it based on a crazy Zen Film made by someone like me?

Sometime people contact me and suggest that I should crowd fund one of my films. But, I truly doubt that people would be willing to donate the money for me to make another Roller Blade Seven, Max Hell Frog Warrior, or Samurai Vampire Bikers from Hell. Most, simply prefer to criticize what I’ve already created. But, like I always say, “Let see what you can do.” And, let’s see you do it for the budgets I have had. SV had a budget of zero. And, all of my other films have come in way under $300.00.

This is the thing—this is especially the thing here in Hollywood: people want to live the dream; people want to promise the promise. But, the promises are all lies.

I look to the people I have cast in my films. I always see how people say this thing or that about the person who had developed some kind of a name in the Indie Marketplace. These, “Talker,” always discus how that person was doing me and/or Donald G. Jackson some kind of favor by being in my/our films. Aside from the fact that some of them became friends, which makes it a whole other issue, but these people were always the ones contacting us/contacting me to be in a film. It was never me/us contacting them. They wanted/they needed to make some money. I get it! We all need to make money. And, as DGJ and I were the filmmakers, we were the sourcepoint for them making some dough. But, did they increase our sales? No. It was all about the experience and the experience they brought to the project. Did they do me/us any favors? Nope, not at all.

Sadly, several of my close Zen Filmmaking brothers and sisters have now passed away. In each of these cases, lost is a true talent with a true gift to give the world.

DGJ has also been gone for a long time now. For better or for worse, my filmmaking career will always be tied to his. And, that’s okay. He was one of the few people I could/can consider a true friend in this life. I continued making narrative films before and for some time post his death. And, I would love to do it again. The problem is, the world has changed/the mind’s of people have changed. I have maintained my, “Likers,” and I have encountered my detractors. But, good or bad, love or hate, none of these people know me. It is just like when I am contacted by a financier, they see what they see in me and my films but more than likely they want me to create something they want me to create, they do not want me to create what I want to create.

So, for all the people out there who think I should make another narrative films: another RB7 or Chup or Max Hell or SV or… Sure, I can do it. But, I can’t do it for $300.00 anymore. I can’t do it defined by your stipulation or your desires. If you want me to put your girlfriend, wife, son, or daughter in the film; no problem. But, if you want to control the filmmaker that I am, thanks but no thanks. I would rather just embrace the Zen freedom of making my non-narrative Zen Film.

Get Gas at Joe’s AKA Cancel Cancel Culture

There is this gigantic gas station about a hundred miles outside of San Francisco on Interstate 5. Normally, when I drive between L.A. and San Francisco I prefer to take the coast as it is so much more spiritually scenic. But, sometimes I need to book a little time so I jam up or down the 5 as it is so much faster.

I discovered this place a number of years ago and I always find it fun to stop in, get my gas, buy a bottle of water and a large coffee, maybe get some chips, go to the restroom, and stuff like that. I always make the joke to my lady, “I think I’m going to take a shower,” as we approach this place, as Joe’s actually has a large shower facility. Of course, I don’t. But, it’s fun to say.

You know, when I’ve driven out in the Midwest, on the interstates, you see a lot of these large, “Truck Stop,” style gas stations. But, there are very few here in California. In fact, this is the only one I know about. So, it’s cool and unique, at least in my mind.

Anyway… The people here are always nice. I remember one of the first times I was in their restroom and they have those automatic faucets on their sinks. I was trying and trying but I couldn’t get it to work. I guess I’m stupid. But, this big burly Mexican truck driver, who was in there at the sink next to me, told me how to use it in his very broken English. Thanks! Nice guy. And, that’s the thing about life, most people are nice. They do good things. They say good things. They help people out.

Today, in this, “Puritan,” Era of Cancel Culture, it seems everyone is being attacked for saying or doing the perceived wrong thing—even if what they said or did was done years ago. I mean, look at the vast amount of TV and Radio Hosts that have been, “Cancelled,” simply for stating their opinion. Why can’t a person have an opinion anymore? This is especially the case if that opinion goes against any of the, “Puritan,” mindset of this era.

Most of you, including myself, are not old enough to have lived through the era of the Hollywood, “Black List,” but we have all heard about it—a time where people were, “Canceled,” simply because sometime claimed they were a communist or they said or did something or held an opinion someone didn’t like. Lives and careers were ruined simply because someone judged a person and decided that they did not like what someone else said or did. Did what that person wrote, said, or believed hurt the U.S. (or any other place) in any large manner? No, not really. At most, they simply believed. Believed in something that someone else found wrong.

As I am a very minor figure in the public view: having written books, made movies, and stuff, I have been attacked by people that I have never met, never will met, and don’t even know. I was attacked simply because they did not like something that I created. I think back to a couple of incidences that took place regarding me on the web. A number of years ago there was this martial art orientated website that posted this article about me that was presented as a true research project with footnotes and references. The only problem was, it was a complete hatchet job based upon falsehoods, mislabeled actualities, and misguided opinions at best. Though I personally found the article amusing I did experience the damage that it did to my life and my reputation. I was told that there were people who tried to post on the site, correcting the falsehoods, and stating their disapproval of the article, but their comments were banned by the webmaster. Another time there was this crew who launched at hate campaign against me, again, based upon misrepresenting my words and ideologies. I personally tried to reach out a hand of friendship to these people by posting a note on their website but they blocked me from posting. So, what does this style of behavior teach us? It illustrates that certain people want to exhibit their First Amendment rights but they wish to be the only one that is heard. They want their opinion to be the only one that is considered. They believe they are right and that is that. Is that right? Is that fair? Is that the way people should behave? But, look around you, this is what is going on all over the place.

My question is, who is the person in the wrong: me and/or the other creators for creating, or the individual who attacks the creations, the thoughts, and/or the lifestyle of some person they do not even know? My other question is, why aren’t those people: those critics, those negative soothsayers, and those liars being cancelled? Aren’t they the ones who are truly hurting life and society on the greater whole? Yet, they are allowed to speak. No one goes after them. No one says, “Stop being hurtful and negative!” “Stop believing you understand a person simply because you heard what they said, maybe read their book, or saw their movie!”

This is the thing, all negativity is hurtful. The people who are calling out others are the ones who are doing the most damage. Not only are they hurting the life of the person they are, “Cancelling,” simply because they don’t agree with what that person says or does but they are hurting the world society as a whole because they are sending a message that it is not okay for each person to hold an opinion and to have a point of view.

I’ve written about stuff like this a few times over the recent months. The fact is, we are all being bombarded with, “Cancel Culture.” Sure, you may not like what someone writes, says, or does, but who are you to judge them? If they did not do something directly and specifically to you as a person, why do you possess the right to attack their thoughts and their creations?

It’s easy to sit at the computer and type or speak into a webcam but what is a whole lot harder is to be focused enough and to care enough to create and to do. Do you do or do you just critique and criticize the doing of others?

In this day and age it is pretty easy to cancel someone. A lot of this cancelation is simply based in a puritan mindset of wanting everyone to think the way you think and to agree with you. It is also based in jealously about a person rising to a certain level of success when you feel they did not or do not deserve it or you, yourself, having not achieved it. But, turn all of this around; what about the people you do like and you do admire, how are they any different from a person you despise? The answer, you simply like what they are doing. But, you must remember, it is not you doing the doing. At most, you are just sitting there defining your life and your thought process by thinking about what they have done. So, who is actually right and who is actually wrong? …Them for speaking and for doing or you for doing nothing more than judging them? I say, “Cancel the Critics!”

Most people are good. Yes, we’ve all done wrong things. But, for those of us who care, we try to make up for our wrong doings by correcting them if we can, by helping, caring, and making any small thing in any other person’s life just a little bit better—just like the guy who showed me how to use the faucet at Joe’s. Small deeds make all the world just a little bit better. “Canceling,” does nothing but hurt. And, hurt only begets more hurt, whereas helping always equals a better world. Stop the Puritanism. Stop the Judgment. Cancel, Cancel Culture.

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Today, you can do something helpful for someone while hurting no one else in the process. What are you going to do?

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If you walk barefoot at a construction site you are going to step on nails.

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All cowards have an excuse.

You Don’t Have to Grow Your Own Rice

The majority of the world’s population lives in a state of denial. They focus on what they want not what they need. They focus on what they desire not what it takes to truly survive and to keep their family, their community, their society, and their country alive and well.

Beginning with the birth of the industrial revolution and continuing forward into the digital age, the focus on True Reality continued to shift from the essentials towards the abstract actuality of noninvolvement with life essentials. Think about it, you don’t have to grow your own rice, you don’t have to make your own pasta, you don’t have to feed, take care of, and then kill that cow to make yourself a hamburger, all you have to do is to go to the store and buy it. Some may argue that their job is what they do to provide themselves and their family with sustenance but no matter what you do for a living, that does not involve the direct production of your food, you are not living in the authenticity of what it takes to truly survive.

Think about your life. What do you do with your time? What do you do when you have nothing to do? What do you think about? Who do you think about? What are your dreams of doing and accomplishing? Whatever that is, the one thing that is for sure is that you are not thinking/worrying if your rice crop will survive so you will have something to eat tomorrow.

Certainly, as we have all passed through this period of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, (Thanks China!), we have come to understand a bit more about the truth of life—at least for those of us who possess a conscience. Now, today, COVID-19 and its new variants are raging though India, killing many. Again, we are confronted with the realities of life. But again, what are you personally doing about any of this? Are you even thinking about it? Or, are you only thinking about yourself?

Throughout this pandemic what have you focused upon? Have you grown your own food? Have you grown food to help anyone else survive? Or, have simply focused on what you are thinking about, whom you are thinking about, and whatever it is you are trying to obtain?

As the age of the internet dawned upon us people found a vast new distraction. Most simply discovered a way to waste their Life Time. Some found a way to make a living. Others tried to pursue making a living and/or gaining fame through this abstract arena. Though some found money and some found fame how did any of that affect the reality of the reality? And, are any of these people growing their own rice?

Life is a pathway of ever-expanding consciousness. The problem is, many people only understand this concept from the position of Self. What they want. Who they want. What they need. But, few ever come to understand the true reality of life—the truth of growing their own rice.

So, what are you going to do today? What were/what are your plans? Did you wake up thinking how the food you grow will feed you, your family, and possibly others? Or, did you wake of thinking about what and who you want, how you wish to feel, and what you can do for yourself to get whatever it is you desire?

As long as you step away from the truth of reality, you can never truly understand what it means to live. As long as you are not an integral part of growing the crop you cannot truly understand what it means to live and what it means to be a part of the greater whole of life and humanity.

You can only think about yourself if you want to, that is what most of the people of this world do. But, if you hope to be anything more than the massive nothing of the human race you really need to learn how to grow your own rice in order to feed yourself, your family, your community, and maybe even the world.

The Props and The Cape

More frequently than not, I am contacted by people asking about props from some of my Zen Films. People question if I still own this prop, that costume, or a specific sword or something else. Two of the most frequent questions I receive are about the sword I used in Roller Blade Seven and Samurai Vampire Bikers from Hell and the Rollergator. Literally, and I am not exaggerating this on any level, I do not believe over the past ten years or so that a single month has gone by where I was not questioned about those two items and others and if someone could acquire them from me. As I told a person who recently inquired about acquiring Rollergator, that at one point I was offered ten thousand dollars for the gator but as Donald G. Jackson did have a flaring temper and actually hated that movie, at one point we were in our Production Offices in North Hollywood and he went into a rage and torn it apart. So, sorry but Rollergator is no more.

Regarding the Chupacabra monster… I wish I still had that. When Don passed away and I was helping his wife and his daughter clean out there house, as they had to move, I was planning to get it and have someone fix it up to use in another film as it did cost like thirty thousand dollars to create. But sadly, Don’s wife had already thrown parts of it away before I could let her know that I wanted it. So, also gone is Chup forever…

In terms of the sword, and most of the other stuff, I am just not one of those hoarder style people. In fact, I’m just the opposite. I get rid of stuff all the time. In many cases, it is stuff that I later realize I should have kept. And, that is the case with the sword, as well. Gone… I think I threw it away when I was cleaning stuff out at one point in time a number of years ago.

All this being said, I was just shown this little depiction/review of RB7 that some crew had recently put up on YouTube over at my friends production studio the other day. Of course, from the little bit of it I did watch, they did get a lot of stuff wrong, as is seemingly always the case. (Don’t people care when what they are speaking is wrong?) But, what I did come away with is that I noticed this clip of Frank Stallone. He was wearing this black cape.

Now, for those of you who have an eye for such things, (and I have met very few people who do), but if you study that cape you will see that it was the same cape worn by Joe Estevez in the film. Donald G. Jackson also wore it when he got his neck sliced open and tons and tons of blood pour out in Return of the Roller Blade Seven. And, if you want to go really deep, it is the cape I wore in Samurai Vampire Bikers from Hell. Plus, I had Joe wear it again in Vampire Blvd. Amazingly, I still own that cape.

For those of you who care, here’s the story of that cape…

Back in the ‘80s, before I had even gotten into the film game, I had this girlfriend. She was a graduate of Art Center and also of the Fashion Institute. So, she had a very specific and advanced skillset. I truly do not know what possessed her to do it, but one day she made me that cape. I showed it to my mother, who was a master seamstress herself, she studied the stitching and did not believe that my girlfriend had made it, as it was so professional. I think she was jealous. In my mother’s defense, (and there’s really very little defense for her as she was not a good person), but back in the ‘70s I was the envy of all my yogi friends as I would pick up the material and she would make me these great drawstring pants and kurta shirts. But anyway, that’s a whole other story… As for my girlfriend, it was one of those psycho relationships that I should never have gotten into. But, that’s youth for you; sometimes all that adrenaline filled lust/love is a great filler of time. Anyway, back to the cape…

My film career arrives. RB7 arrives. We need a cape. And, there it is.

For you fans of RB7 out there, (or you haters), I’ll tell you a little side-story as I mentioned Frank Stallone. In interviews about RB7 I have heard him mentioned the rubber knight suit he wore in the film. When I bumped into him at NAMM, a couple of years ago, he also brought it up. The moment we gave it to him to put on, once we drove him to our set, you could see the embarrassment in his eyes. I got it then and I get it now, he is/was Frank Stallone. Now, in interviews Frank thinks and says Don got him that costuming because we didn’t have much money. That is not the case. The truth be told, Don was very upset that our Executive Producer made us put Frank in the film at the last minute. And, Don being Don wanted to fuck with Frank. When we were deciding about his character, and what the character would say and do, as we were eating burgers at Tommy’s, we decided to make him a knight. We went to the costume shop, and though they had some pretty good knight costuming, Don intentionally rented the cheapest looking thing we could find. Thus, the Black Knight was born. We had already used the cape with Joe, so Don knew about it, and asked me to bring it to our set. I did. Thus, the legend of the cape.

So… Of all the props and costuming I have gotten rid of, that is the one piece that remains.

I used to always be on the look out for cool clothing and costuming for my upcoming Zen Films whenever I was in a thrift store or at flea markets and the like. But, as time has gone on, and I have moved away from story-driven films, (if you want to call them that), I got rid of it all. Yet, the cape remains. Is it for sale? No. I think I’ll keep it. …That one souvenir reminder of RB7. Plus, the cape is really cool! It is still in great condition. You never know, maybe I'll use it in another Zen Film.

I doubt that most of the people who inquire about props from Zen Films will read this. I doubt that they read this blog at all. But, that’s all okay. That’s just life… People get obsessed about something for some unknown reason and hope to own it. The only problem is, once something is gone, it is gone and it ain’t comin’ back. So, at least in this case, all that is left is the movies—the Zen Films. But, a film is a pretty good place to embrace the stuff of memories; isn’t it?

Why Did No One Question?

As I have long discussed, I was student of Swami Satchidananda in my early years. For most who are not involved with Guru Culture, I don’t think they can truly understand Disciple Consciousness. Those who did not live it simple regard it as some, “Cult,” thing and/or a bunch of stupid people who are looking for a Father (or Mother) figure in their life. At least as far as I am/was concerned, none of that was the case. It was about (hopefully) being guided towards a greater understanding of Self and the Universe by someone who had walked the path prior to myself and had achieving deeper understanding of life and reality. For me, I learned and experienced a lot.

I have occasionally written about the good and the bad of my years studying with Swami Satchidananda and my interactions with other disciples, which ultimately caused me to leave the group. The thing that I always find the most interesting, (I did then and I do now), is how no one questioned certain obvious, “Things.” In fact, if I brought up the subject most of the other disciples were in complete denial about the truth of the obvious.

For example, let’s look at how Swami Satchidananda lived. While on the West Coast, he owned and lived in this beautiful house, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, in Montecito, California. Montecito is known as one of the riches communities in California. This was a far cry from the monastic life he lived in India, or was it?

In this house, he did not live alone. He lived and traveled with this beautiful woman of (I believe) Hispanic (probably South American) descent who posed as his secretary. Now, this was not a super large mansion but probably a three-bedroom house. Let’s think about this for a moment. Here he is, “A Monk,” teaching that all of his disciples, unless they are married, should be celibate. A Monk, living in a house alone with a beautiful woman. Yet, no one questioned the what was going on.

I was luckily/blessed enough to have had a relatively close relationship with Gurudev as we called him. In fact, I helped to put in the Jacuzzi into his home. You cannot believe how the jaws of the disciples dropped when I told them how his consort had guided me and another disciple, the actual electrician, to use Gurudev’s personal bathroom to do our clean up. Again, you would have to be a part of Guru Culture to understand this blessing.

As I have detailed in the past, the other disciple, left the bathroom a mess. How rude! I spent most of my time in there cleaning up after him, just so we didn’t look bad. But, that’s a whole other story. The actual story is, Gurudev lived with a lady!

There was another disciple who knew and studied from Gurudev in India. The man was from the region in India where Swami Satchidananda ran an ashram. He spoke of personally seeing Gurudev being in association with women. I so remember this one time one of the Swami’s of the Order heard of this and went into complete denial about it. Me, I believed the man. Why would he lie? Again, the Guru lived with a lady!

So, here is the question, “Does the teacher have to live the teachings he teaches?” I don’t know. That is for each of you to decide and to define as you gage your own teachers. Question two, “Should a teacher be true in what he does and is doing?” I think so. But again, that is defined by personal definition.

You know, I learned and I gained a lot from my time with Swami Satchidananda and the Integral Yoga Institute. When I left, I kind of broke away expect for a couple times of going back to remember the, “What was.” As the years have gone on, however, I cherish those times more as they were a special part of my life and the people I interacted with truly helped me on my path.

Swami Satchidananda, as he passed later into his life, was accused of some less than, “Holy,” behavior in regards to women. True or not, I don’t know.

What happened to his then secretary, I also don’t know. What I do know is that it is you, the individual, who decides to learn and to grow from whatever teacher or teaching you interact with. You decide how you will judge someone else. But, judgment is only judgment. It is like an external projection of what is already defined in your own mind. But, it must understood, you can never really know what is in the mind of anyone else. And, if you project what you think you already know onto them, you can never truly learn.

So, within and from each situation you can learn. You can grow or you can cast judgment. Your choice. If you decided to learn, you can develop and expand you mind. If you decide to judge then you stay locked in your own limited perception of another person’s reality. Learn or Judge: your life, your choice.

Most of You Will Fail

There is this certain belief/there is this evident hope, in the minds of most of us, that we will succeed; that we will climb to the top of the ladder wherever our ladder is pointed. …That if we were tested, we would past the test. …That where others have failed, we believe that we would never do that. But, look around the word, how few are those that have truly succeeded. Look around the world, how few are they who once put to the test have not succumb to the trappings of any success they may have found. The fact is, most of you will fail.

There are so many ways that one may view success in this life. It is truly individually defined. So, take a moment right now; how do you define you becoming successful? Where do you see your success? How do you define your success?

The thing is, and one of the main reasons so few people find success, is that they do not clearly define their goal. Sure, they want to be this or that. Sure, they want to own that or this. Sure, they want the admiration and the respect. But, what do you truly define as your success? Where is that plateau where you would consider yourself successful?

The problem is, this is the stage where most people simply become lost in fantasy. They see themselves as a superstar of whatever. And yes, that fantasy may be the desired end-goal but when you are locking yourself and your mind into this space of seeing yourself as someone else, seeing your life as if you were living the life of someone else, then you can never achieve that because that is the life of someone else, not you. Therefore, if you ever hope to gain any true success you must define it by your own abilities and possibilities.

The next step in all of this is to take stock of who you are as a human being. Again, this is something that very few people do as they dream of achieving success. The fact is, most people have not developed their mind to the degree that they truly deserve success. This is why so many celebrities, bosses, or soothsayers fail once they begin to reach the top of their chosen profession and begin to experience any true level of success. As their mind is not highly developed, they do things that hurts the life of others or diminish their own worthiness in the eyes of the masses by the dark deeds that they perform. Some end up arrested, some end up broke, and some end up scorned. But, what for sure has happened is that they went against the goodness of whatever position of success they obtain and thus they fell from grace.

All true success is based upon your ability to actualize that success. Dreams/fantasies are not success. Beating someone up to raise your position skywards simply because you can is never the road to true success and it will cost you in the long run.

If you ever hope to gain the true success you desire for your life, you truly need to take the time to understand you, define your capabilities, and then refine your mind to the degree that you are worthy of true success. For without that, failure is all you can ever achieve.

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How much of what you think about only matters to you?

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You can look for what isn't there but you're never going to find it.

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Everyone remembers the big life events that changed the course of their future. The little events, the ones that are all but forgotten, are the ones that really should be remembered because they are the moments that truly set the pathway for life change into motion.

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If you're looking for a reason to be angry you can easily find one.

But, if you're looking for a reason to be angry you can never find true happiness.

The Past Equals the Future or Does It?

As you pass through life, as the years and the age comes upon you, each of us will find ourselves looking back into our memories of a time gone past. For some of us, those memories are made up of things that we did, people that we knew, or possessions that we owned. For others, it is about feeling; feeling a certain way at a specific point in time. No matter the case, what all of these emotions are base upon is what was, not what is.

For me, I sometimes think back to synthesizers or guitars I owned once upon a once upon a time. I remember the music I created with them and it sets me to wishing I still owned those instruments in order to create that music again and thus re-embrace the feeling that music embodied. But, I don’t own them anymore.

I know others who think back to people. For some it was friends and a time period in their life when they were having a really good time. You can hear people (who are growing in age) reminiscing about the times-gone-past in every bar or at every family function.

For others, they look back to that person, “The one who got away.” They wish that wasn’t the case. They wish there was a Way Back, a way to re-live, a pathway to the re-doing. But, almost universally, there is not. Time and life and people move on. People make choices and sometimes those choices drive two people apart. Moreover, all of that kind of Mind Stuff is simply allowing yourself to be lost in the lie of a promised illusion that did not actually occur. That was then, this is now.

For others still, they look to a time gone past where they believe they would have felt more at home. Certainly, the 1960s, with all its craziness: peace, love, and revolution, is an ideal calling for many to harken back to. But, the reality is, if you weren’t there, you weren’t there and thus you can never be there. It is all an illusory pretend, not based in a concrete reality. It is only a fantasy and that style of fantasy keeps one from living the truth of their NOW.

This takes us to the actuality about the memories of and the memories that were. Sure, they may have been a great time. Sure, you may have felt something that you no longer feel. Sure, you may long for the love, the freedom, the creativity, the youth, the whatever of what once was, but the ultimately truth is, what was is not anymore.

So, we can all look back to times gone past. We all do it. But, if you allow the THEN to keep you from being whole and full in your NOW, then your THEN ruins any chance of making your NOW something worth remembering LATER.

***

We all learn from the mistakes we make. Many times we learn to never do what we did again. The problem is, once you've done something it cannot be undone. For this reason, you must be very careful with everything that you do because what you do, even once, can set an entire course of events into motion in your life.

Anger Verses Hurt

Think about the last time that you became angry with someone. What was the causality factor?

…Sure, there are the people who cut you off when you are driving. For a moment your anger levels rise and maybe you voice, “What an Asshole,” or something like that. But, that is all very momentary. In a few moments it will be forgotten. Think more about the time when someone caused you to boil inside, cry, maybe raise your voice, maybe even yell or scream or punch a wall. What brought out that emotion in you?

For each person, the causation factors for anger are different. People view life differently. What is important to one person is not important to another. Different people interpret different emotions in different manners. But, no matter how the feeling of anger is interpreted and expressed by yourself, we each, at some point in our life, feel that emotion. Think about the last time you felt it. Or, maybe better still, think about the last time you became very-very angry with someone. Why did you become angry? Why did you become angry with them?

Most people, when they feel the sensation of anger, simply become angry. They do not necessary even understand why. Many people, when they become angry, never really know why they are angry. For the vast majority it is simply the very childlike or childish fact that they are not getting what they wanted, from a person or a situation, so they are simply throwing a tantrum. But, true anger goes much deeper than this. True anger is based in a very deep seeded emotion. To actually understand why you are experiencing this emotion you really need to go to its source.

So again, go to the last time you were angry with someone. Truly analyze why you were angry with them. What did they do? Why part did
you actually play in the outcome that occurred? What part did you have in what occurred that actually made you angry? Did someone do something that truly hurt you or your life? Were you simply not getting what you wanted from a particular person or specific situation? Or, did what someone did hurt you or your life in some abstract fashion? Truly analyze it.

You see, this is the thing; anger can be interpreted and presented in many behaviors. Many times, a person is actually simply, “Hurt,” by what someone has done but that emotion is presented as anger. This is why whenever you feel anger you really need to trace that emotion to its source if you ever truly hope to understand why you are feeling what you are felling and why it is causing you to react in the manner you are reacting.

Internal hurt may cause you to behave in an angry manner. But, the truth about, “Hurt,” is that it is a very different emotion than anger.

Anger is caused by something much more physical. Hurt is rooted deep within the individual psyche and is brought about when some person does something that either does not provide something, takes something away, or does not meet the needs of that self-proclaimed internal life definition.

Like I frequently say, people are a selfish breed. Most people are only out for themselves. If they hurt someone in the process of them getting what they want, “Oh well,” they don’t care.

It is because of this truth that becoming angry with a person is rarely going to cause them to change their pattern of behavior. Sure, maybe you can scream at them, maybe you can kick their ass, but that is not going to change the core individual they are and why they do what they do. The truth is, anytime you are angry, even though you may present your truth and your feelings to that person, in many cases they are not going to care. They got what they wanted. Maybe it even made them feel empowered. They did what they did because they wanted to do it, and if someone else got hurt, they don’t care.

We can all hope that the people we interact with are going to possess a higher level of consciousness and never attempt to intentionally hurt anyone. We can all hope that if someone does something that hurts us, they will feel sorry for their actions, apologize, and try to repair any damage they created. But, due to human nature that is not always going to be the case. The answer? There really is none. The best you can hope to do is to come to terms with what angers you, what hurts you, and stay away from the people and the situations where those emotions may be triggered. If you can’t do that, be prepared for a bumpy ride.

The Last Kumbh Mela

The Kumbh Mela is a religious festival that takes place every twelve years in India. Designated by the great Hindu Sage, Sri Shankara Charya, it is a time for the peoples to purify and replenish their spirit.

The Kumbh Mela is currently taking place right now. Thousands, perhaps millions of people have traveled to the banks of Ganges to bath in its waters. The only problem is, the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic, which India has been a hot bed of cases, is in full effect. It is feared that many will contract the virus and possibly die.

I really wanted to go to the Kumbh Mela. I know a lot/most of you people out there don’t get it. …To walk up to and into the Ganges surrounded by a sea of people. Sure, it would be great if there was no one, or at least very few people, like in the time of Sri Shankara Charya, but that is not the way it is and you have to accepted what is if you ever hope to understand the true meaning of life. And, of course, purification can take place anywhere, at anytime, but as it was heralded by the understandings of Sri Shankara Charya that seems to be the time and the place to be.

Anyway, due to the coronavirus, I couldn’t go. It made/makes me sad because this is more than likely the last Kumbh Mela I would have been able to attend. I mean, I’m old, I doubt that I will make it another twelve years and be alive for the next one. Even if I am still alive, I would be like seventy-four and that is really old. Too old to enjoy the process.

So, I guess I loose. Thank you COVID-19, you have cost the world and a lot of us a lot. A lot, that no one seems willing to pay back.

The Stuff That People Do

I often find myself reflecting about the things that people do and the things I have experienced via the hands of other people in this blog. I do this because that is what life seems to be all about. All life is all instigated and orchestrated by what one person does to another. Aside from natural disasters or aberrant, intense weather conditions, and abstract stuff like that, all the good and all the bad that is brought about in a person’s life is enacted from one person to another.

When I look to my extended family, I have a person who is a nurse and she has been on the front lines of the COVID-19 crises since its inception. And, this pandemic has been going on for over a year now. Selflessly, she has plowed through her life, day-to-day, trying to heal this world. As she puts it, “I think at some point it is all going to catch up with me and I am going to have a complete meltdown.” I don’t doubt it. How many people can claim that they have lived a life like that and have truly helped the world? Very few. I believe it is people like her who we should all judge ourselves in comparison to.

On the other side of the issue, I have a brother-in-law who literally killed his mother. He came home with COVID-19, knowing that that he had it, he was hospitalized but recovered but his mother did not. She died. He also gave it to his son, who lives with the son’s baby-mommy, and they both got it. The mother did not develop symptoms but the son, to this day, tells me he has lung problems; he can’t run like he used to or play his instrument, as well as he once did. My brother-in-law literally killed someone and messed up the life of two other people, (and there may be more), yet he is allowed to dance on through his life.

I have had people, I am in very close relationships with, do some very bad things to me, (at least by my definition). Then, they make excuses and they dance on through their life. But, that doesn’t change the pain inflicted. People I’ve never met, people I will never know, have done things to hurt me. To what end, was always my question? Did they care about me? Obviously not. Yet, they did what they did based upon whatever was going on in their mind. Then, they moved on, probably didn’t care, and forgot all about what they had done to me even though what they had done was still negatively affecting my life.

I am certainly not the only person who has experienced both the good and the bad brought about by other people in their life. Most of us have. I actually believe that if I were to put my true-life story out there some people would be amazed at what I have lived through. But, do you care? I’m guessing that you do not. You are living your life, you are living through your life trials and tribulations, you are caring about yourself and what has been done to you, (in both a positive and negative manner), and you could give two shits about me or anybody else. You don’t know me, so why should you care?

I think this brings us to the sourcepoint of why life is like life is. Though there are a few people who are really on the front lines of giving, caring, and doing good, most of the world’s people are locked into their own shell of selfishness. If they do something good, they want everyone to know about it and get all kinds of praise for having done what they have done. If they do something bad, they want everyone to forget about it, never mention it again, and, at best, they make excuses for why they did what they did and then they expect forgiveness.

So, as I often question in this blog, how about you? Where do you find yourself in the spectrum of life caring and giving? What are you giving? Who are you helping? What are you taking? Who are you hurting? When you have helped, what do you expect in return? When you have hurt, how have you tried to correct and undo the pain you have inflicted? And, what are you consciously doing right now to step away from thinking only about yourself and to try to help to make this world and the life of other people a better place?

Perceptions

So, today, I went to have the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine pumped into my arm. It was done by this sweet young RN. I believe of the Filipina variety. The kind of girl that send all of those fantasies into motion in your mind. I pulled off my Armani sport coat. Pulled up the sleeve of my shirt. We spoke for a moment or two. She had a smile in her eyes and the look of desire. Though we spoke, I didn’t get to ask her the question that I really wanted to ask her, “How does it feel to give all of these people shots that may save their life and then to never see them again?” I guess I will never get to ask her that question. Like so much of life/like most life fantasies they are seen/they are felt and then they are never to be experienced again.

I was glad to get my second dose. I feel so much safer. So much like there is another chance for tomorrow. The problem is, tomorrow is not like yesterday. Yesterday, when I could travel away. I want/I need to go somewhere out there on the, “Hard Road,” as I have long referred to it. Somewhere deep and distant. Somewhere where life is not/never the same. But, the world is battling the virus. The world is controlled by what China created. And, no one is taking them to task. Everyone blames everyone for everything but no one is placing blame where blame is due. The world/life will never be the same.

I was in the supermarket yesterday. I was speaking to this very nice clerk who handles the self-checkout aisle. She refuses to get the vaccine. An, “Anti-vaxer.” I get it. To each their own. But, all those people who refuse are those who have never seen what this virus can do. They hear it on the news. They watch the visuals. But, they have not known anyone who has been killed by this demon.

Tomorrow, I must go to a funeral. A funeral enacted by China—instigated by the coronavirus.

I used to have a pledge, “No funerals and no weddings.” I mean, so many people spend so much money on their weddings only to get divorced and hate the person they were married to. So many people want so much from their life only to die. It is all way too melodramatic for me. But, life and time and age and family-responsibilities, I must go and witness the demise of someone else being sunk into the ground brought about by the hands of this China-born coronavirus.

Now, you may think I hate China. Actually I love it. I have lived some incredible life journeys within its boarders. Read my books. Read my poetry. I have also seen the darkside. But, the fact of the mater is, China does not love me. They won’t let me back in. But, that is an entirely different tale to tell… Now, with Hong Kong going through what Hong Kong is going through, via the hand’s of Beijing, I fear I will never be able to go back to one of my favorite places on earth. But really, who cares about me anyway? I’m just a guy out here who writes what he feels.

You know, I was planning to write a piece about how certain people expect everyone else to behave in the way they deem appropriate …Certain people want everyone to do what they expect them to do based solely upon the way they receive reality. We’ve all known people like that. They get pissed when we don’t live our life or do the things they think we should. But, I didn’t. This is what I wrote.

So, I’ll finish it off with that perfect look of perfection that RN gave me today before she stuck a needle into my arm. …The dream of that moment of perfect fantasy when you just know something could have jumped off but it did not based in the hard cruel reality of reality where everyone is wearing a mask and way too many people are dying based upon nothing more that the reality of life where you, where I, actually/truly possess no control.

***

Your dinner is never going to cook if you don't put it on the stove.

Left Turn at Reality Central

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, Left Turn at Reality Central: Further Zen Ramblings from the Internet.

No Footprints in the Sand

As you pass through your life, it is defined by doing. Your life is defined by what you have done, what you hope to do, what you are currently doing, and the impact your doing has had on others.

If you look backwards onto your pathway, what have you done? Hindsight is 20/20, so seeing the things you have done is much easier that anticipating what you will do.

What have you done? Do you ever take the time to study the path you have walked?

Many people are so focused on the dreams of their future they never look to what they have left in their wake.

Many people are so lost into the drug of the moment of doing; whatever it is they are doing: loving it or hating it, that they never study the imprinted trail that they have fashioned.

Most people live in a state of oblivion. Yes, they may love or they may hate what they are living at any given moment of their life, but they are not doing anything that they do consciously—nor are they thinking anything that they are thinking consciously. They are simply in a state of objectifying their moment with no thought of how that moment is truly being lived.

Think about your own life, how much of each moment do you truly experience? How much of what you do in each moment is a pathway to a suchness of understanding and helping and how much of what you do is simply an action designed to fulfill what you hope to accomplish, what you hope to become, or how you hope to be perceived?

Every step you take in your life leaves an imprint in the sand. Every thought you think, every word you speak, every act you complete not only affects your own life, your own karma, your own destiny, but it also affects all of the individuals it affects and they thereby affect the person they affect by what they do based upon the waves you have instigated. Thus, as I always say, every person possesses the ability to affect the entire world by what they do; from one person onto the next and the next. But, few ever contemplate this. They just do what they do to get whatever it is they want at any specific moment; at any specific point in their life. How about you?

You have a choice in life; you can do what you do with a very deliberate, defined, and righteous purpose or you can just do what you for yourself defined by whatever whim you are experiencing.

The pathway you carve in life can always be well perceived by anyone who chooses to have the eyes to see it. But, most people simply look the other way. How about you?

All life is your choice. All action you do shapes a pathway. At the end of your days, what will the pathway you are currently living say about you?

***

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"

***

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

***

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

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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?

***

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?

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It's easy to voice your opinion when the person you are voicing your opinion about has no way to respond.

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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.

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Hoe vrij zou je zijn als het je niet uitmaakt wat anderen over je zouden denken?

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ถ้าคุณไม่คาดหวังเกินไปคุณก็จะไม่รู้สึดผิดหวัง

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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!

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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.

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

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

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All negative behavior comes from a place of unanswered pain.

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Your life is defined by whom you have hurt.

The Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking Documentary: The Truth Be Told

Like I always say, “You know you're famous when people you've never met say things about you that aren't true.”

I am sitting here at my studio this afternoon, waiting to run a class with a few of my advanced students/friends and a couple of people have contacted me about the fact that Allison Pregler AKA Obscurus Lupa has put her so-called reedited documentary about me up on YouTube. This makes me smile, kinda. I remember when she first released that documentary and all of a sudden I was getting tons-and-tons of hate email. Hate email for a guy like me… That was a first… Believe me when I tell you, I’m a nice guy. Just ask anyone who actually knows me.

Anyway, as I have a little bit of time before my class, I just took a moment to glance at YouTube and to read some of the comments regarding this supposed Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking documentary and, as the internet promises, her documentary is once again provoking a lot of negativity being sent my direction. In fact, my web guy, who handles all my emails, told me I have already received a couple of very negative comments and one death threat over the past week since the piece has been up. Not cool… But, I am trying to stay positive.

Regarding the negative YouTube comments… Most everything, everyone is saying is not true! Just like in Allison's piece, the interpretation of me, who I am, how I feel, and what I think is totally wrong. And, this is the problem when somebody creates a documentary like this. It invokes negativity. And, negativity is never, under any circumstance, a good thing. 

Let’s get a couple of things out of the way for those of you who may not know… In a very short period of time, about five or six years ago, Allison did a couple of things, regarding me, without ever contacting me or speaking with me. In fact, to this day, she has never met or spoken with me. So, how can she know anything about me? But, to the point…

1. She stole ASCAP Registered, Copyrighted music I had created and used it to soundtrack a film her boyfriend, (I think his name is Phelous), and she created. Had she just asked if she could use it, I probably would have said, “Yes.” But, she did not. I didn’t even know who she was and I still wouldn't if she hadn't forced her way into my life. The fact is, I had worked long and hard to create that music. Have you ever created something and had someone steal it from you? If you have, you will know what I’m speaking about and why it was a problem for me. 

2. She made the aforementioned FU documentary about me and used footage from my films that were under U.S. Copyright Protection to illustrate it. This, in association with her Trademark Infringement as she confiscated and used Zen Filmmaking in her title to gain notoriety for the piece. If you are going to create an FU documentary at least have the decency to film your own footage like Joe DeMott and Jeff Kreines did when they created the documentary about Donald G. Jackson, Demon Lover Diary. Here’s the thing, and the truth about her so-called Scott Shaw documentary, she takes a word here or a passage there from what I have written and makes it all sound very negative, like I’m a total asshole. I am not. If you read the books she took those words from, Zen Filmmaking and Independent Filmmaking: Secrets of the Craft or anything else I have written about filmmaking, they are all designed to help the indie filmmaker. But, by using limited passages and putting her own spin on it, all she does is invoke a big misunderstanding about my philosophy; how I think and what I do. That is just not cool! How many budding independent filmmakers has she hurt by turning them off to what I have to teach?  

3. She did a highly footage heavy review of Max Hell Frog Warrior, (which she has also uploaded to YouTube). Due to the amount of footage used, my lawyer documented that her review damaged the sales of the movie and its ability to be further marketed. But personally, I thought it was marginally amusing, even though, like in her documentary, she does get several facts wrong. In fact, as I am not a big fan of that movie, when she removed the footage and added her created images to her presentation, I thought it was actually more interesting than when she was only using the film's footage that was protected under U.S. Copyright Law.

It is important to note, believing that she was simply a young woman who did not understand the ramifications of her actions, I personally stopped my attorney, who was also the CEO of my Production Company, from suing her in Federal and Civil Court (he had the papers all drawn up). This action caused us to have a major falling out which ultimately ended our business partnership and cost me a lot of money. But, did Allison thank me for that? Nope. Thus, lesson learned…

In fact, one of her minions posted a highly distorted discourse on what took place between her and I, with Max Hell Frog Warrior, on a website that does not allow rebuttals. Did she do anything about that? Not a thing. It is still up there to this day.

As it was a total hatchet piece and his facts were totally wrong and speculation at best, he also damaged my reputation. Yet, here she is again, re-releasing the documentary and creating all this negative energy being sent my direction. For someone like myself who is all about helping people, this is just not cool.

Ultimately, one must question, what is the point? So she can make a little bit of money off of her YouTube Channel and develop a few more fans? This, while she hurts the career and reputation of another person. Again, not cool!

Keep in mind, I am not the only person this has happened to. Alison has apparently made an entire career based upon stealing the creative film work of other people and then placing her opinions upon those movies. This, without ever gaining the legally required permission to use copyrighted material and/or paying the creators of the films one cent for the use of their footage. From a moral perspective, that is just not right. And, as we all understand, that is one of the main reasons that there are copyright laws in the first place, so people can't just steal the intellectual or creative property of someone else and make money off of it. But, there she is, doing just that. At least she took the footage from my movies out of the YouTube re-release of her so-called documentary.

Loving or hating my films is fine, that's personal opinion. Not understating what I'm doing or why I'm doing it is not a problem, that's just the human condition. But, making money and a name for yourself off of misrepresenting who and what I am and what Zen Filmmaking is all about is just wrong. 

From a personal perspective, I find her misplaced interpretation of my life and my philosophy and her altered dissemination of my writings almost amusing. But, being on the receiving end of what she is saying I also understand the negative ramifications of what she has invoked. Ask yourself, how would you feel if you began receiving hate mail and even death threats because of a highly bias so-called documentary somebody made about you? I thought with the demise of Blip.tv a few years ago, where her presentations were originally posted, all this melodrama was over, but now it has begun again. 

Furthermore, here’s a fact that you may find interesting in regard to this matter… As stated, in the documentary Allison quoted from two of my books on filmmaking. I guess at some point she got pissed off at me and took those books and some of my films and sold them to a local used bookshop. A university student who was into what I do noticed the transaction, alerted me to it, and I own the aforementioned books. Looking at them it was very enlightening in that I could see what passages Allison had highlighted in yellow. Again, those books were designed to help the independent filmmaker but what she had done was to remove passages from the greater text, which not only made me look bad but completely distorted Zen Filmmaking and what I was hoping to present in those writings. Looking at her highlights, I could totally see what she was doing. She was not reading the book(s) as a method to learn new knowledge or to be helped in the practice of filmmaking but as a means to find a method to use my own words to make her preconceived notions about me a reality and to make me look bad. Not cool! But, it was/is truly interesting to witness how her mind works. 

I imagine Allison may post a slanted rebuttal, stealing more of my words, to this piece somewhere, as that is what she has done in the past; justifying her actions. But, I didn't ask to be dragged into any of this. Allison, you should really choose to be more than someone who creates and inflames negative situations.

As I always discuss in this blog and elsewhere, "If you are doing anything that creates negativity in the life of anybody, what do you think the ultimate result of that chosen action will be on your life and the lives of others? And, as I always say, “Put your personal judgments in check and only say and do positive things! That is the key to living a good life!” 

And, to all you naysayers out there, at least find out who I truly am and what I am actually about before you cast your judgment. Read the books if you want to understand what I actually wrote.

That’s the story… It is so stupid to be put through this again. But, what can I do? I just hope those of you who read this will add a little truth and positivity to a negative situation that I had nothing to do with creating. 

Anyway, I have to go teach a class.

As always, get out there and meet negativity with positivity.

Be Positive and Smile! Happy
#bepositive

Follow-up: Somebody asked me an interesting question this morning. They asked, “Why did I mention Allison's name and her Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking documentary in this blog, as didn't that just give her and it more publicity?” 

The answer: Because one of the things that I do in this blog is detail my life experiences, how they affect me, how I feel about them, and how I react to them. From this, I hope it provides the reader with a deeper insight into life and human behavior—perhaps even giving them some new insight into how they should interact with other people as they pass through their life. Certainly, I would have preferred to never be made part and parcel to any of this. And though I rarely mention names in this blog, but if she or anyone else gets some publicity from what I write; great—good for them!

Ultimately, do I care what Allison or anybody else thinks about me? Absolutely not. My life accomplishments speak for themselves. If they didn't, people like Allison would not be making documentaries about me in the first place.

At the end of the day I am just a very simple person. I hope to keep my family and friends safe and happy and hopefully make this world just a little bit better place with everything that I do. Hope that answers the question and gives everyone else a bit more insight into Scott Shaw, Zen Filmmaking, and the Scott Shaw Zen Blog.

This is Life.
This is Zen.
This is Scott Shaw Signing Out.

God Bless!

***

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?

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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?