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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
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Is Insanity Ever a Defense?

On the news, there are constantly stories about people being randomly attacked by an individual who they later discover was, “Mentally ill.” This fact has become more and more exaggerated as homelessness has become a rampant crisis throughout many urban centers. It seems there are people being hurt, punched, shoved in front of cars, trucks, buses, or subways, stabbed, and even killed very frequent by people who are later defined as being mentally ill.
Certainly, mental illness is not the fault of the individual who is experiencing it. Not getting appropriate treatment for it, and maintaining that treatment can, however, be considered the fault of the individual. But, here arises the question, isn’t that part and parcel of what mental illness actually is, people being so lost in some altered reality, known only to themselves, that they cannot see past their own illusion? So, where does the fault ultimately lie?
For example, think about the state of affairs here in the United States, supposedly the richest and most evolved county in the world. Yet, the U.S. does not even provide its people with universal health care. We, the people, pay our exorbitant taxes and we are not even provided with heath care for that fee. Instead, our hard-earned money is spread across the globe buying geopolitical friendships that are as tenuous as whatever political regime is currently in power. So again, where does the fault lie?
Not only on the larger scale, where people are physically hurt, there is the smaller scale where an individual is forced to encounter a person who is mentally ill. Though that mentally ill person may not stab that someone else, that does not mean that they do not negatively affect the life of the bystander.
I know I spoke about this in blogs from years gone past, but I used to have this neighbor who claimed to be some sort of spiritual teacher and said he was the vehicle for this ancient Christian deity. This guy gave classes over the internet, read fortunes at bookstores, and all of that kind of nonsenses. When he wasn’t doing that, he was screaming, “Fuck me! Fuck me! Fuck me and mine!” While he was stomping on the floor like a four-year-old child.  I mean, the mental health of someone claiming to be the voice of a Christian deity should be questioned on that fact alone, but then his hidden behavior, illustrated the truth of the reality he lived. Yet, no one but his neighbors, like me, who had their lives ruined by his actions for years, knew the truth.
You see, this is where mental health, or the lack thereof, gets complicated. There are so many people out there who appear to be functioning members of society, yet they are anything but. They may seem normal. Maybe they have a job. Maybe they talk to people. Maybe they go to the supermarkets, to the movies, to sporting events, or art shows. But, it is what is hidden and understood only by their mind, and their mind alone, that truly has the potential to do damage to the lives of other people. And, this is where mental illness becomes not okay. These people hurt other people. Maybe they don’t stab them or push them in front of a moving car, but simply by doing what they do, that they somehow believe is okay, they have the potential to destroy a person’s lifetime. I know this happened to me for two and half years. Did that guy ever say he was sorry to me or any of the other neighbors? Nope. Did he ever try to make any reparations? No. He just carried on damaging the life of all those he encountered. And, isn’t that one of the subtle signs of mental illness; a person only able to focus on themselves: what they are thinking and what they are feeling, leading to what they do, but not possessing the ability to understand or even care that someone else may be involved—someone with their own set of feelings that is having their life damaged by what that person is doing?
I think, throughout time, it has been well documented that the mentally ill turn to factors like religion to use as a motivating factor. Like I always jokingly say, “Everybody wants to be a superhero.” Though they can’t fly through the air, by claiming religious knowledge or religious powers, like the aforementioned individual, they may attract followers. Why? Because what they are claiming has no way of being disproven. And, as they are so lost in their own mind, in their own mental illness, they may actually believe what they are saying to be true. As they are mentally ill, and not seeking treatment, this level of belief is what leads to the hurting of others. Think how many people’s lives, throughout the centuries, have been hurt by the prodding of a religious zealot.  
I believe this is where the dividing line is drawn. If someone is mentally ill, and they are hurting no one, where can the blame be cast? But, if, on the other hand, they do hurt someone/anyone, the rules of the game totally change.
Hopefully, you will never experience the negative action brought about by someone who suffers from mental illness. Especially if those actions hurt your body, mind, or your life in any manner. But, mental illness is everywhere. It has always been part of the human condition, throughout time. But, now that everything is so broadcast, we are constantly viewing the results of it on TV, the internet, and other places.
I don’t believe there is an absolute answer to this problem. We all hope and wish that these people could find the help that they need. But, as we all understand, some people are so lost in the lie of the reality they are living, (that only they truly understand), that some of them never even try to seek help and, from this, they hurt the life of others.  
As I always say, “All life begins with you.” As life begins with you, it is you who needs to manage your life, your physical, and your mental health.
Live a good healthy life. If you need help, seek out that help. For, if you hurt anyone, for any reason, no matter what your claimed mental condition may be, there is no one that should or will be blamed but you.

Who Knows What and Why?

I believe for any of us who have walked the path of the martial arts, in our lifetime, we realize that what we know, at least in part, was taught to us by someone else. In the world of street fighting, a person may well be their own teacher. But, in any traditional fighting art, there is training involved. As there is a formality, each of us who walks this path was lead down this corridor by someone else.
Even as is commonly the case in the modern martial arts, where styles and techniques have become mixed and combined, any one-time student, who created their own system, was taught the basics by an instructor. Thus, no martial artist is a beacon onto themselves.
But, here’s the question, when does a student become the master?
It has been proven, through time, that there are two very distinct paths that an individual walks when they are intimately involved with the martial arts. One, which is perhaps the most common, finds a student always respecting their teachers and, in fact, is so lost in the belief that they could never possess the intimate knowledge that their instructor holds that they forever place that mentor upon a pedestal. I have known many martial artists, even long-trained, advanced practitioners of the martial arts, who define themselves by whom they were taught by. “I’m a student of…” is very commonly the first statement that many martial artists make.
There is the other side of this issue. There are those students who believes that they have become better than their instructor. From this, they may go off and open their own school and even badmouth their one-time trainer. That stye of behave is not healthy or honest. Yet, it goes on all the time.
Those who practice this lifestyle embrace a misleading mindset, however. The fact is, whomever originally trained a person will forever be the individual who laid the foundations for that student’s knowledge. This is the case, no matter what new levels of expertise that one time pupil may believe they have realized.
For any of us have trained exclusively under the guidance of Asian born instructors, myself included, there is this perpetuated belief that those teachers are somehow something more, having been born into the culture where the style of the martial art we train in was instigated, and, from this, they possess some secret wisdom that we, the Westerner, may never completely understand. This being said, for those of us who have found out the underlying truth of some less than impeccable instructors, and have either been cheated by them, lied to by them, or have had other negative interactions unleashed upon us by them, myself included, we clearly know that this idealize image is a blatant falsehood. Nonetheless, they were the one who taught us what we know, at least in part. Thus, where does admiration end and the truth of reality begin?
That is a complicated question, I understand. But, it is an essential question that each advanced practitioner of the martial arts must ask themselves.
Look to any advanced martial artist, look to any instructor of the martial arts, do they clearly and honestly state who their teacher was? Here arises another curious twist to this puzzle. Is that person lying? I, myself, have encountered well-known and respected marital artists who have lied about where and by whom they were trained. They have done this due to any number of self-motivated reasons. But, what is the truth is that they did not tell the truth. Then, what? With time, especially if they claimed training from some deceased or mythical individual, what are we left with? Their lie does not become the truth, but, through time, it simply becomes a believed falsehood.  

These are complicated examples? But, the question that must ultimately be pondered, by each martial artist, who spends their life devoted to these ancient systems of self-defense, are you only a reflection of your instructor or are you a man (or a woman) onto yourself? If you are only a reflection, then you are never the central figure. With this, you are never ultimately to be praised or to be blamed. If, on the other hand, you acknowledge who you were trained by, but you see yourself as a self-standing example of the art, then you are the figurehead of your own dissemination of whatever you teach. With this, lies more responsibility, but here also lies the pathway to self-realization. 
Each person must come to their own conclusion about who and what they truly are. And, there is no right or wrong answer. But, if you do not ponder this question, you can never come to a self-defined and self-realized truth about what you do, why you do what you do, who you truly are, and who or what is ultimately responsible for the martial arts that you practice and you teach.

Are you forever a student? Or, are you a self-standing example of the martial art you embrace?

The Damage That You Do

I was driving South down the 405, coming home from Santa Barbara, a couple of weeks ago. As the L.A. afternoon urban landscape promises, there was a lot of traffic. In my rear-view, I notice this guy coming up and coming up fast. He’s driving this red car. He was jamming in and out of traffic way faster than everyone else was going. He was switching lanes, cutting people off, and just forcing his way through the traffic.
I was in the carpool lane, and he jams right up behind me. I saw him coming and was worried that he would hit me as he got very close. Luckily, he did not. He just came right up on my six and then cut someone off in the next lane over and changed lanes. 
Looking at his car, there was a few dents and scraps on his front end. Obviously, he had smacked into a few people on his treacherous route. Thankfully, it wasn’t me.
I’m guessing the guy, who had short dark hair and a mustache, was probably hyped up on crack, crank, meth, or some other amphetamine. But, whatever the case, he was doing damage.
He jammed on passed me, cutting and sweeping through traffic. I lost sight of him. That’s a good thing.
There he was, that guy motivated by whatever he was motivated by, jamming through traffic, getting to somewhere that was only important to him.
His display was a very good illustration of life and how many/most people behave. They have this illusion of where they want to be and why they want to get there, in the fastest manner possible. They possess this mindset of what they want and they do not care what damage they unleash in their quest.
How about you? What do you want? What were/are you willing to do to get it? What did you do to get it? And, what damage did you create in your quest?
You know, I speak about this all the time, because this style of behavior is so rampant in modern society. People want and they do whatever it takes to get what they want. In doing so, they may cause a lot of damage, but do not even care. It was not them being hurt, so why should they care?
All life begins with you. I say that repeatedly. It is
you where the instigation of goodness begins. It is also you where the instigation of badness begins.
Have you hurt someone? Have you damaged their life in any way? If you have, what have you done to repair that damage? That’s a really essential question you need to ask yourself and truthfully answer.
The thing is, people choose to blame everyone but themselves. They want, and they do what they do to get. Everyone and everything else be damned. But, is that a good way to live? Is that a conscious way to live? Is that your way of living?
Going after what you want in life or getting to where you want to be is fine. That’s just life. But, if you hurt anyone or anything in your pursuit, that’s not fine. In fact, that is simply wrong.
So, who are you? What are you? What kind of person have you been? What type of person do you wish to become? An individual who cares about nothing but what you care about? Or, a person setting a positive example of doing good things, and never hurting anyone?
Your life. Your choice.

Samurai Zen & NOH8

I flipped on the TV this morning, as I was eating my oatmeal, and a story came on about how the NOH8, (No Hate), Campaign is now fifteen years old. They had the creators on, discussing their ongoing mission, along with one of the newscasters who had his NOH8 photo taken many years ago.
The campaign is basically about inclusion that was initially spurred into formation by Prop 8, a California law that banned gay marriage in 2008. It has moved up and forward from there towards greater education and dissemination and evoking understanding.
I’m not gay but I would happily have a NOH8 photo taken of myself in order to move any program forward that halts hate, judgmentalism, and negativity.
FYI: That’s one of the things that they do, take photos of people with NOH8 painted on their face.
This got me to thinking… You know how one thought leads to another…
Maybe a week or so ago I got tagged that someone on Instagram had posted a photo of my book Samurai Zen and they said something like, “Sunday morning reading. Enlightening.” I thought that was nice.
I mean, the guy gets it. That was what that book was all about. Just like my book, The Warrior is Silent: Martial Arts and the Spiritual Path, I wrote those to illustrate how the martial arts is much more than simply fighting arts.
I remember when that book came out. The internet was new to many people at that time. They were discovering that they could use it to attack people anonymously or by actually using their real name to gain notoriety for themselves.
I’ve discussed this a lot over the years, and it is a very sad component of the martial arts, but so many people, who call themselves martial artists, base their entire life view upon judgement, criticism, and attack. Of course, that all arises from a mindset of insecurity, but that sadly is the way it is.
Samurai Zen and I got hit with a lot of that when it was published. But, the people who did that completely missed the point of the book. The book is about Zen. The book is about enlightenment. The book is about using the ancient techniques of the martial arts and meditation to develop a pathway to higher consciousness. The person on Instagram got it.
You know, back when I wrote that book, I had this great individual who was so supportive of my writing. She was the Managing Editor for Samuel Weiser, Inc., one of the largest publishers of spirituality in the world that had been in operation for almost a century. Every time they didn’t have one of my books in the works, she would contact me and ask for one. She was so nice. And, I was so grateful for her support. That is where and how Samurai Zen was born. She asked me for a book.
Sadly, she and her husband, Donald Weiser, the son of Samuel Weiser, who had taken over the company from his father, were not young. They sold the company, she passed away soon after that, and the level of support from the new owners was never the same.
It truly makes life better when you have someone like that in your corner. I’ve yet to find anyone else with that aptitude.
Anyway, as I was saying, the book, and me via the book, took some hits back then. Though there was also some who truly liked it. The problem is, those type of people are usually more silent in their appreciation than those with an axe to grind.
One funny thing happened in association with Samurai Zen.  A year or so after it was published, I began getting a few emails asking me if I was a student of this one Caucasian instructor. He apparently was teaching some of the techniques in the books and claiming that I had learned them from him as he was my teacher. No. I never met the guy. I learned them in Japan. Though I did find all that amusing, it, of course, did send me to again question the honor of and the motivation for certain people involved with the martial arts.
Anyway, skip forward a couple of years… Though I never set out to be a martial arts journalist, this editor I had known forever had taken over a magazine. He was the first man to put me on the cover of a martial arts magazine, so I always felt like I owed him something. He would give me assignments and ask me to write about this system, that teacher, or school. We all have to pay our rent so, sure, I agreed. I wrote a lot of articles for that magazine.
Then comes my next assignment. The editor asked me to write an article about that guy who had claimed I was his student. Okay, that was a weird one. But, I did it. I never said a word about the subject to the guy. I just listened to all the bullshit he was spouting about how much he had trained in Japan, (but he couldn't speak Japanese, I checked), and how all the schools, teaching sword techniques in Japan, had stopped using the traditional shinai and the katana and were now using this plastic thing that he was hyping. Of course, that was all nonsense. But, I just wrote what he said. You can’t believe how many lies I heard when I was writing for that magazine. It was their choice to print it, not mine.
When I turned in the article, I told the editor about the backstory. He was this east coast guy who had all of that east coast brashness. “Why’d you do it, Scotty? You should’ve told me.” Whatever… I did, however, tell him that what the guy was saying was mostly bullshit. But, as all magazine do, (Magazines, remember those?), they must fill their pages. So, that was that. Just a fun(ny) story in association with Samurai Zen.
So, what’s the takeaway? NOH8. Do not hate! Do not spread hate! Do not spread lies! Do not spread negativity! Only say and do good things. Then what? Answer: The world becomes a whole lot better place. And, it will have all started with you.

The Shallowness of People

I don’t believe that any of us has to look too deep into our interactions with other people to find a moment where we realized that someone was/is a very shallow person. Sure, they may have been super nice to us at first but that was only until they got what they wanted. Whatever that, “Wanted,” may have been. Then, they got it, or didn’t like what we provided, so they dismissed us or maybe even worse, they said or did something that hurt our life based in their dissatisfaction.
The question we are all always left with is, “Why?” But, I don’t believe any of us has to ponder too hard to find out what the answer to that question actually is.
I think back to a couple of interesting examples of situations like this that happened to me. In one case, there was this established martial arts instructor. He and I had both been around forever, but we never crossed paths. One day, out of the blue, I get a phone call from him, and he was heaping all this niceness on me. He invited me to come to his really large-scale black belt promotion test to be one of the examiners.
To tell a little background here… Sure, I used to do stuff like that. But, as my years have grown, I have become somewhat reclusive. I don’t like crowds and I don’t really like all the ballyhoo that goes with me being me, in the world of the martial arts. So, though I appreciate the requests, I generally never attend those events anymore.
After the initial niceties, he asked me if I would ghost write an autobiography for one of his partners; also a very well-known martial artist. The problem was, early in my emersion into the film industry I was offered representation by this one agent. As I was a martial artist, and that, at the time, was one of my main selling-points, we got to speaking about my martial arts background. He also asked me if I knew this man who wanted an autobiography, as he was very active at the time. The agent told me the story about how he went to high school with that guy, and he was a totally bully. Knowing a bit about the guy, I could totally see that being the case. We all hate bullies! That, and the fact that I really had no need or desire to take on such a writing project in the first place, I declined. Thus, invitation to the black belt testing rescinded. I never heard from the guy again.
Of course, all this made me smile. But, it just goes to show the way people behave when they want something from you and when they don’t get it. I mean, how was my being invited to the black belt test predicated upon my ghost writing that book?
Another time, I had this man who took a couple of my classes on filmmaking. He seemed like a good guy. He had been trying to break into the industry forever and he voiced a desire to help me out with my productions. We hung out a bit and when it was time to bring up my next Zen Film, I invited him onboard. He helped me out on one of the days of that project. All good. Next film, I invited him back in a larger role in the production with the hopes of providing him with deeper insight into the whole indie filmmaking experience, so he might be able to move forward and create his own films.
This time, however, it all went south. I really don’t know what I did, but I apparently said something or did something that he didn’t like. Though the shoot day went fine. He said nothing. We wrapped, packed up all the equipment into my car, and that was that. No problems. But, the next day, the day my father-in-law, (who I was very close to), was dying and I was massively stressing trying to get through afternoon traffic to get to him to take him to the hospitable, I began to get all of these, “Fuck you, Mr. Zen,” messages left on my voice mail. One right after the other. I tried to call the guy back, but all he did was hang up on me. Wow!
Then, the guy calls all of my cast and crew, (even my friends), giving them long discourses about what an asshole I am and how they should quit my film. Thankfully, none of them listened, but who does something like that? I felt like it had been a total set up, friending me, just so he could get on my set and find a reason to go after me like that. I had never, and to this day have never again, experienced another situation anywhere close to that. My productions usually go off without a hitch. It’s all happy time. Me, I went out of my way to open a door into the industry for this guy, who had been trying forever to get a foothold but could not, yet this is how I was repaid.
I mean, if you have a problem with someone you handle it person-to-person; right? You don’t go out of your way to try to mess up their film, (or whatever), and/or mess with their reputation and life. All I could question was, what did any of that vitriol equal?
That’s just a couple of interpersonal examples. I am certain you have your own.
On the grander scale of life, there is all of the talk, and there has been forever, of the guy who goes after the girl, love swoons her, gets whatever it is he wants, and then ghosts her. We all know that’s not right, but it goes on so often, it’s almost expected.
Women are no different. In fact, both of the genders, and everything in between, are all known to do what they do to get what they want. But then…  
There are also the people who have conned people out of their money. This has been going on forever. Not right on any level! But, look around you, it happens all the time. Have you ever done anything like that?  
All this/that, is on the obvious level of life, however, explaining the shallow and self-serving-ness of some people. But then there are all the other things, when something comes at you sideways, like the previously two discussed situations, and you are left with a major question about life and the people who inhabit this life space.
Here’s the thing, and this is the most elemental element to this discussion, how do you treat other people? Why do you try to make a place for yourself in their life? What’s in it for you? Moreover, how do you treat other people when they don’t give you what you want, or they do something you don’t like? As the old, (now politically incorrect), saying goes, do you go on the warpath?
The thing you need to understand is that everybody in this LIFE wants what they what. They want what they want from themselves, from their life experience, and from the other people they interact with. But wanting, (and then getting), by its very nature, is defined by what someone else is willing to give.
Do you go after what you want simply to get? If you do, aren’t you are a shallow, self-thinking person? Do you get angry at that someone else when they say or do something that you don’t like, or when they don’t give you what you want? If you do, doesn’t that make you a shallow person?
You can look outside of yourself and see the shallowness of other people. That’s very easy. But, how deeply do you look at yourself?
You can cast blame onto others for all they have done to you. That’s easy, as well. But, is it not you who placed yourself in any situation where you lived what you lived? And, as it is you who put yourself in that situation, (whether it turned out good or bad), isn’t it you who is to ultimately to blame?   
All life begins with you. People cast blame onto others for their own unfulfilled outcomes. They make excuses or have justifications for the wrongs they do to others. But, what all of this comes back to is YOU. You are doing what you are doing. You are asking for what you are asking for. You are expecting what you are expecting. You are taking when something may not be willingly given. You are stealing and you do not even care.
If you take without consent, that is stealing. If you hurt when you are not satisfied with what you were given, that is wickedness. No matter what your excuse, no matter what your justification, no matter what right-ness you feel that you possess, any taking, any hurting, any selfishness, any self-serving action does nothing but make this world and the lives of other people worse.
What have you done? Do you ever even consider your actions or reactions before you unleash them? Do you ever take the other person into consideration?
Who is shallow?

Who is Spiritual?

I was reminded of this essay I wrote a couple of decades ago due to a conversation I had today. It actually became a chapter in my book, Zen: Tales from the Journey. Enough said. Here it is. It speaks for itself.
The question has eternally been pondered, “Who or what is truly spiritual?” Certainly, if we look to history, we see that religion has been one of the leading causes of war throughout time. “The conquest of the infidels,” has been the motivating factor for armies to unleash their wrath by an untold number of despicable means. And, this process has continued into the modern era.
At the root of all conflict is an animalistic instinct for power, which mankind has yet to overcome. Sadly, this seeking of power has often been utilized by those who use God as their motivating force.
Certainly, the belief in God or a higher power, (by whatever name), is what has given humanity a positive central focus. This essence has provided mankind with the potential to transcend to the Higher Mind. Unfortunately, two things have occurred in association with this quest:
1. Some individuals who have walked upon the Spiritual Path begin to be adorned by other spiritual seekers.
2. An individual falsely uses God and spiritually as a means to an end.
As such, the association with God that many spiritual teachers possess allows them to do whatever they want to people, and their actions are believed to be justified. Therefore, who is truly spiritual?
If we step beyond these obvious injustices, the root of true spiritually becomes even more difficult to define. In many cases, it can only be assessed by the individual and their particular level of cosmic evolution. Perhaps this is where all the problems begin, because spiritually is ultimately only assessed by the person. And people, by their very design, possess the inherent ability to be influenced by any number of factors.
This being said, let’s get down to business. What is and what is not spiritual?
Looking to the Past
The late 1960’s and early 1970’s was a great time for spirituality in the West. The reason for this is that it was so accepted. The men and women all had long hair. Men wore drawstring pants. The women wore long skirts. Nobody shaved. Everybody wore Malas, “Prayer Beads.” And, due to the fact that this image was so common, people were truly allowed to explore their spirituality.
The foundations for this had been laid by the Beat Generation of the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. By the time the mid 1960’s rolled around—the world was ready. By the 1970’s, it was in full swing. For those who possessed the spiritual inkling, opportunities were everywhere. This exploration led many people to Eastern Mysticism—by a number of names.
Tame Yoga
Personally, I remember when I was a young child; I was so drawn to the teachings of yoga. I first witnessed the postures being performed on Public Television by a man named Richard Hittleman. While other children, of my age group, were mesmerized by cartoons and reruns of, The Dick Van Dyke and The Andy Griffith Show, each day it was, “A Must,” that I watch and practice the asanas and meditation in front of the T.V. And, I am sure I was not the only one.

Hittleman’s teachings of yoga were tame by many standards. Yet, they were exactly what opened the door for many Westerns to delve into the deeper realms of spirituality.
Was Richard Hittleman spiritual? Yes, of course he was. He provided a great service by introducing the Western World to the understandings of yoga.
Interestingly, the Western World has witnessed a rebirth of this style of, for lack of a better word, “Tame Yoga.” Schools of yoga have sprung up all over.
I remember just a few years ago, schools of yoga were few and far between. They had completely fallen from favor over the previous two decades. Now, like Starbucks, they are everywhere. Certainly, we can trace the yoga indoctrination of America to individuals like Richard Hittleman.
Moving Forward
Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s people were allowed to embrace their spiritual roots. For some, that meant joining one group, staying with said group until such time as one encountered disillusionment, or just became disinterested, and fell away. For others, they had the dedication to stay on throughout their life.
This is where the true essence of spirituality is tested. In how long you remain.
Certainly, I am not saying that if a spiritual teacher wrongs you or you find fault in the teachings of a particular group that you must stay around. What I am saying is that if you are truly on the Spiritual Path, you must hold fast to it—this may mean changing teachers, but you never lose your focus.
The Sufi Order
Elemental to the early years of my spiritual growth was Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan and The Sufi Order. Though I had heard of them for a number of years, it wasn’t until I was sixteen years old and had a car that I possessed the means to explore their teachings.
I remember going to “The Dances of Universal Peace,” which were then known as, “The Sufi Dances,” for the first time and just being blown away by the joy and meditative spirituality they instantly brought into my life. Everybody I encountered was so nice. In fact, the guy who picked up the two-dollars participation fee at the door gave me the ceremonial flower from the evening. The first flowers I was ever actually given. I took them home, put them in a vase, and received great spiritual revitalization from them each morning as I headed off to Hollywood High School—as I anxiously awaited the next week’s dances to commence.
The thing about The Sufi Order that initially both surprised and intrigued me was that it was a much more loosely supervised group than the other spiritual groups I had encountered. Some people smoked, many held hands, people flirted, hugged a lot, and so on. I mean this was great. People were allowed to be who they were—as opposed to being forced into a sterile structure of celibacy, intense vegetarianism, and judgment about whether or not they were truly behaving correctly.
There is a downside to the less than structure spiritual lifestyle, however. Perhaps the most definitive moment of this came to be illustrated to me a few years later.
Sex and the Spiritual Path
As time progressed, I became a Sufi initiate and the doorman, collecting the two-dollars for people to participate in The Sufi Dances. Yearly, I also helped The Sufi Order operate a booth at The Renaissance Pleasure Faire. The Renaissance Pleasure Faire takes place in both Southern and Northern California. As the name implies, there is a lot of drinking and debauchery going on. This is especially the case once the faire closes to the public in the evening and only the participants are allowed to remain.
The lady who led The Sufi Dances had helped out this one particular weekend. She had spent the night. Her boyfriend had gone home to his Long Beach, California apartment. Upon arriving the next morning, he discovered that she had slept with another man. “Bam!” The boyfriend popped the guy in the face and threw a generalized fit. Can you blame him? The lady, on the other hand, became mad at him for being mad at her.
You see, this is where the problem of undefined spirituality comes into play. Certainly, anyone can do anything they want. This is your life, and you can do whatever you want with it. But, if you walk upon The Spiritual Path you need to ask yourself what effect your actions are going to have upon other people.
The unconscious person does whatever they want—motivated by whatever desire is present. The individual on the path to consciousness needs to possess a more clearly defined and refined mindset than this, however. This is what sets the individual on The Spiritual Path apart from those who walk the path of the world.
Initially, this event stunned me. In fact, I stopped going to The Dance of Universal Peace because of it and refocused my Spiritual Path upon the more ascetic realms of spirituality.

I believed, “If the teacher can’t be greater than the student, what do they have to teach?”

As time progressed, however, I thought back to words that Swami Satchidananda spoke to me years before. He stated, “I have noticed that those people who are initially the most austere are the one’s who always seem to fall away from the path.”
So, was the lady who led The Sufi Dances spiritual? Of course, she was. How could all of the joy she has brought to people by teaching them the Sufi Dances, thought out the years, be diminished by a choice she made which only truly effected three people: her boyfriend, her lover, and herself.
This is why we must all develop the ability to step outside of ourselves and learn not to judge. Because what truly makes a person spiritual? Is it what they do to themselves or what they give to the world?
Judgment always seems to be a tool the, “Less than holy,” pull from their bag of tricks and unleash.
I remember how this local Los Angeles television show, hosted by George Putnam, (a right-wing newscaster), had invited Swami Satchidananda to be a guest.
As I was close disciple at the time; myself and a small group of my fellow disciples accompanied our Guru to the station. Once on the air, it was obvious they had set a trap for Gurudev. There was another guest who was set up to disrupt anything Swamiji said. Putnam kept going to this guest to refute all of Swamji’s words. At one-point, Putnam states, “Oh, I see the Swami’s getting upset.” Baited, Swamiji answered, “No, feel my pulse.”
This is the problem with judgment. We all have our opinions—developed from whatever source. Then, we create life situations that will actualize our previously conceived notions. Most, not as obvious as the previously detailed scenario, however.
The un-spiritual person is so willing to attack and judge the understandings of another simply to justify their own, previously obtained, beliefs. The spiritual person, on the other hand, is the one who must be willing to accept.
“Acceptance” is the key word to the Spiritual Path.
Many Teachers
Taking this understanding a bit farther, it must be understood that here are many teachers on The Spiritual Path. Many of them have been forced to hide their true personage or actions due to the fact that they are protecting themselves from unnecessary judgment.
Certainly, we can look to Ram Dass who was forced to hide his homosexuality from the world for a number of years to keep from being judged. Science now teaches us, however, that an individual sexual orientation is much more biological than choice.
The question must be asked, “Is hiding your true nature spiritual?” No, it is not. But, as in all cases, if you judge the actions and/or choices of another—judgment is only judgment. It is not true spiritualism. So, if you are judging, you are trapped in the space of the un-spiritual.
A paradox, perhaps. But, an essential understanding of The Spiritual Path.
Many of the modern Gurus have been accused of sexuality impropriety with their disciples, including such great sages as Paramahansa Yogananda and Swami Satchidananda.  I remember a story being told to me by an East India disciple of Swami Satchidananda, many-many years ago. He was from the same region of Tamil Nadu, India as Swamiji and he told of how our Guru used to go off with this one particular woman. I related this story to other disciples. They, of course, became enraged and dismissed it. But, this man was the witness and he was still a disciple.
Whether or not this story, or the other accusations were true, I will never know. But, did this story bother me? No, it did not.
I think the only problem with sexuality and true spirituality exists when people on the Spiritual Path attempt to hide or lie about their sexuality. They attempt to hide behind a, “Seemingly Holy,” cloak of celibacy. From this, they are forced to make excuses once they embrace this natural desire.
Of course, aberrant sexual behavior is never justified—no matter how seemingly spiritual an individual may be. I am referring to consensual adult interaction. But, was Swami Satchidananda and is Ram Dass spiritual? Of course, they are. Both of them helped to usher spirituality into the minds of the masses.
It is only judgment that keeps anyone from seeing this.
The Cloak of Spirituality
This brings us to an essential point; the way spirituality is, “Supposed,” to be expressed and represented is perhaps the most debilitating element on the spirituality path. From this, people are cast into living a life of pretense—a life where they must pretend to be something in order that they will be perceived in a particular manner, so that they can teach what they have to teach. And this is about as far from spirituality as you can get.
Yet, there is the other side of this—when an individual truly is who they are... If we look to the life of Alan Watts, for example. Now, here was a man who was an admitted womanizer, loved to smoke, and was an excessive alcoholic. Yet, he hid none of it and he was still a great teacher of spirituality.
He was who he was and that is as spiritual as you can get. Because he smoked and drank will never diminish his contribution to the world of modern spirituality.
This reminds me of a funny story, if I may look back to my years with Swami Satchidananda again. Several members of the Los Angeles ashram were upset at this one disciple, due to the fact that each morning he would wake up and instead of meditating he would make coffee. He believed that because Swamiji drank coffee that it was all right if he made it in the ashram. A small group of us were sitting with Gurudev this one particular morning and the subject was brought up. Gurudev immediately began laughing and stated, “That’s why I don’t live at the ashram, because I like coffee.” In other words, if you are going live in the ashram you must behave in a certain manner. And, this is an important point for life. You choose where you live and how you live. If you are going to live in an ashram, you must behave by the standards of the ashram. If you are going to live in the world, you must define what spirituality is to you and how it is best expressed.
My belief is that you must let go of the pretense of how spirituality is supposed to be expressed. Then, each person is allowed to be who they are—whether they are celibate or not—drink coffee or not. From this, each person is then allowed to express spirituality to the world in their own unique manner.
Perhaps one of the truest, (at least to himself), Gurus to have emerged in the last century was Osho, Bhagavan Shree Rajneesh. He propagated his love for sexuality and hid nothing. Whether or not you agreed with his path is almost irrelevant. He did what he did and never attempted to hide it.
When I meet Osho in Poona, India, in the late 1970’s, he instantly overturned my brainwashing that the only true path to enlightenment was via celibacy. Was I set free? Yes, I was.
Was Osho spiritual? Yes. Were his teachings spiritual? Of course. Did his method of teaching have a price? Yes, it did. But, that’s what happens when someone possesses a voice that is heard and they speak of revolution.
It’s All in the Name
A funny occurrence happened to me concerning defined spirituality.

I received an e-mail from a man who worked at The Bodhi Tree Bookstore in West Hollywood, California. The Bodhi Tree is perhaps the Mecca of spiritual bookstores, as it was one of the first and remains one of the best bookstores geared towards the spiritually minded. In the e-mail the man asked me for one of my photos to hang on the wall of the Bodhi Tree. I was both flattered and a bit surprised at this request. But, as The Bodhi Tree sells most of my books, I happily went out and purchased a picture frame, placed one of my photos in it, and sent it off. A few weeks later I was in the store. I walked around and noticed that my photo was not hanging on the wall. When I went up to the cash register to purchase a book, I jokingly inquired as to where was my photo. The lady went back and asked the owner. She came back with the response, “The guy who requested your photo made a mistake, we only hang photos of holy men on our walls.” I laughed.
I took note of the photos that surrounded me. Something I had done periodically over my thirty years of frequenting the store. The majority of them were of East Indian Yogis and Sufis, with only a few Westerners. For the most part, the photos of the Westerners that hung upon their walls were all know by Sanskrit names. I smiled as I walked out of the Bodhi Tree that day. I laughingly thought to myself, “I guess I should have continued to use one of my spiritual names: Shiva Dass, Akbar, or Swami Mokshanada. Then, perhaps they would have considered me holy enough to actually put my photo on the wall...”
Understanding Spiritual Judgment
People judge spirituality by what they hear about a person, by which preconceived notions they already hold, by what a person wears, by what name they are called, or by what they want to believe—good or bad. But, is judgment spirituality? No, it is not.
There are those individuals who will understand that your experience is your experience. They may not have a similar experience or agree with you—yet they accept. This is true spirituality. Then, there are others who will get in your face and argue that you are wrong, unholy, and a complete idiot if they don’t agree with you. Here lies one of the subtlest, yet most deeply rooted problem for those claiming to be on the Spiritual Path.
An example of this occurred for me a few years ago when I used to answer all of my e-mails—even the ridiculous ones. This one individual contacted me and we had a nice exchange of ideas. In one of my responses to this person, I attempted to explain an event that had occurred that day in my life. I received a response just blasting me. I don’t even remember all of the negativity that was unleashed. But, it was deep.
If you allow yourself to be open, however, each life event, even the seemingly negative ones, can be a great teacher. For example, this interaction made me re-realize something very essential for this modern age—which is of particular importance when you gage a spiritual teacher. What I experience is not what you experience. My realizations can never be your realizations. And, yours can never be mine. This is especially the case when attempting to communicate something so subtle as a spiritual understanding with words. Sometimes, meanings and intentions are lost in the words. When meanings are lost, judgment is set into motion. When judgment is active, enlightenment is out the window.
Spirituality is everywhere—just as everyone and everything is spiritual. Let go of your judgment and you will understand this. Let go of your judgment and you will be free and you will allow everyone else to be free, as well. Then, questions like, “Who is spiritual,” will never need to be answered.


If you live in a world or normality, you will encounter normal things.

If you live in a world of strangeness, weird things will find you.

The Sad Reality of Thievery

It is kind of sadly funny, but I am expecting this new synthesizer to be delivered to me and I received a notice from that they will send me a super-secret code that will be emailed to me between 4:00 and 8:00 AM when the package arrives. I must give that code to the delivery man if I hope to receive the synthesizer. WHAT!!!
Now, to give you a little backstory to all of this, maybe a month back, I ordered this other synthesizer from Amazon. As is always the case, it was to be delivered the next day. Okay, great! But, what happened next is that I get the email alert that it had been delivered. I check outside, looked all around, and nada. I check the feed from my front door camera, and I confirmed that nothing had been delivered and nothing was stolen (porch pirated) or anything like that. With this, I contact Amazon via chat, (as that is the only way it seems you can communicate with them anymore), and to their righteousness, they promise to send me another one the next day, which they did. It arrived, I recorded with it, and all is well with the world.
Then today, as I am always creating music and seeking new methods of sound, I decide to buy this other synthesizer. I check, they had them in-stock, and I decided to buy it via Amazon. It will be delivered tomorrow. Great! That’s why I buy from them.
Later in this evening, as I am watching a not very good movie, via Amazon Prime Video, “The Courier,” starring: Olga Kurylenko and Gary Oldman, I get this email telling me the above.
It’s like one of those things, what do you do with that??? Amazon is blaming me for, and making me pay the price for, something I had no responsibility in creating. I guess they think I’m somehow culpable in this situation, when I am not. I’m an honest guy!

So, okay… If they get here at 4:00 AM I may still be awake, as I tend to stay up fairly late. But, by 5:00, 6:00, or 7:00 AM, I am probably asleep. So, what am I going to do? I guess I will just have to leave my cellphone on and with every incoming email I will have to check to see if that is the one from Amazon. Is the Amazon person going to knock on my door??? And, what about if my lady wants to go out to breakfast later in the AM and the synthesizer has not arrived?
My belief, and it is only a belief, is that the delivery guy (or girl) must have wanted that last synthesizer I purchased, so they snagged it and said it was delivered when it was not. Or maybe, they dropped it off at the wrong address. And, whomever received it, decided to snake it and keep it for themselves. I really don’t know??? What I do know is that there is some level of dishonesty and thievery in play here. Something that I did not do, and would never do, yet I am the one paying the price.
So… Next time you think about stealing something, think about the hurtful ramifications your actions will have on the someone else. Yeah, you may get something you want for free, but how will your dishonest affect someone else. You really need to care about that kind of stuff! For me, I get to wait up and wonder when it will arrive.

This is a strange condition, all based in creativity. This is a strange karma, all based in someone else’s stealing and my having to pay the price.
Next time you steal, or even think about stealing, remember, though you may get what you want, and you get it for free, someone else is still going to have to pay for it. Always be more than someone who does anything like that.
This is going to be a long night…

The Point of Perception

Each person bases their level of reality upon perception. From a Zen Buddhist perspective, it is detailed that at our essence the moment we first see something we do so without definition. It is a completely new and pure experience. This being stated, it is from what we have already seen and experienced is where definition is formed. Once we know what a flower is, the moment we see another flower we know it is a flower. Our eyes have seen it before, our mind has defined it before, thus, though its color or shape may have changed, we immediately believe it to be a flower.
Though this is the common standard of life, it is also why the life of most people becomes so stagnate, undeveloped, and uninspired. They know what they know and that is all they know. They define each new life event by what they have already experienced. From this, they trap themselves into a never-ending cycle of what they already know. Thus, they never (again) find the experience of the NEW and the unexplained.
Most of us have witnessed the beauty of a baby seeing something for the first time and becoming totally emerged in experiencing the newness of that event and exploring its beauty. We may have also witnessed this while watching a puppy or a kitten experiencing something new for the first time. The newness, (of that something), is all enthralling and revealing.
Now, think about your own life. When was the last time that you encountered that experience? When was the last time that you were overcome by the NEW? Really think this through. When was the last time that you allowed yourself to allow something to be totally NEW?
For most, this feeling was lost somewhere early in their childhood. By their adolescence, they had already made up their mind about most things. By adulthood, most know what they know and move little from the life definitions that they hold close to their heart.  
Again, how about you? Do you allow all things to be NEW and revelatory or have you made up your mind with, at least, a primary definition of what you expect you are about to expereince from whatever it is you encounter?
Many people will deny that they live their life by this method. But, all you have to do is listen to the words they speak and it is easily made clear that they live their life by a predetermined definition based upon what they believe they already know.
Here’s an experiment for you: Let things be NEW. You can try it right now, simple turn off your mind to all you already know and experience the newness of this moment right here, right now. Look around. See things for the first time. Feel the wonder.
You can expand this experience to all levels of your life. Instead of going into anything with a predetermined plan about what you already KNOW that your KNOW, let it be new. When you step outside, see everything you see as if for the first time. When you encounter someone you have previously met, allow that re-meeting to become a completely new experience. Encounter them as if you have never seen them before.
If you hear some music, or watch a movie, experience it with no predetermined expectation or definitions. Listen or see that experience as if for the first time.
Try this. You will come to experience an entirely new beauty of reality, based upon the unknown and your knowledge of All Things Life will vastly expand as all that you thought your previously knew has been released and, from this, you will be able to see the truth and the beauty in the newness of what you are just now experiencing.


Any person who calls on the support of others to fight their battles has no honor as they cannot fight their battles on their own.

Discovered But Forgotten

My lady and I had hit over to The Broad today to check out the new exhibit. Afterwards we decided to walk over to Grand Central Market and see what, if anything, was happening. Then, while we were in the neighborhood, we decide to walk over to The Last Bookstore.
Actually, while walking, I realized it was one of those verging on the Summer L.A. days that I really hate. It was unduly warm, the sky was that deluded color of grey, and the air was heavy and dirty. Mostly, I could not help but think about how much time, as a child, I had spent downtown. Back then, it was the place to shop. There was Woolworth, Newbury’s, May Company, The Broadway, Clifton’s Cafeteria, and all the other stuff. I could not help but reflect how strange it was, with the way the world is today, that it was not unusual for me, as an eight or ten year old kid, to take the bus to DTLA and to be hitting the streets solo. Now, the stores are all gone, and the street and the structures are pretty much destroyed. Not to mention all the crazed and the unhoused that roam the streets. It’s like Zombie Town. Anyway, that’s not the point of all this.
As we were walking to The Last Bookstore, the first thing that happened was this guy with his high-end Leica mirrorless camera tried to take a photo of me on the sly. I don’t like that kind of stuff but what can you do??? Then, I noticed, right across the street, there was this production going on. This is L.A. and that kind of stuff is not unusual at all. The photog probably thought I was one of them. From the people roaming the area, and walking from the crew parking, it looked to probably be a music video shoot as the actors were all very Urban Exaggerated.
My lady made a joke, “We should go and walk on that side of the street. Maybe you’ll be discovered.” My answer, “I’ve already been discovered and then forgotten.”
All this made me smile, as this is the whole reason that so many millions of people come to L.A. to, “Get Discovered.” Me, growing up in Hollywood, I saw so many who were, then weren’t—those just dreaming of regaining anything close to what they had. When I reluctantly enter the game, way too late in life, I too played along and had that dream too. Thankfully, I experienced just a bit of success but never got caught up in it. As a filmmaker, I met so many hopefuls. That’s why I always extended my hand to help the few that I could to at least get a slight glimpse of their dream. But, it’s an impossible game! Yet, that does not stop the droves from flocking here. It goes on everywhere, all over the city, the promise of the dream.
I’m sure I couldn’t have taken part in that production anyway, as I am a union guy. And, as a union guy, you can only work in union productions. Though this team obviously had some money, you can always tell the different between a union and a non-union gig.
For me, I stopped the pursing a long time I ago. I’ve refused auditions for over a decade or more. Luckily, every now and then I am called up to The Bigs. And, I am always thankful for those who offer me the opportunity. But, as I suggest to everyone, filmmaking is an art form; find what you can do with the minimal help of others, (or no one’s help), and make your art. Because, if you hope to crash someone else’s parade, you will always be begging for a spot on the team. But, if you can do it on your own, you will always be able to create your own expression of your own art.
Discovered… I’ve already been discovered but then forgotten. Happy

Big Sur

The other night, I was watching TV and they showed a commercial that was shot on the Northern edge of Big Sur. It was that coastal scene with the bridge that you have seen in so many commercials, TV shows, and movies. It got me to thinking that I should take a drive up thought Big Sur.
Back in the 70s, and well through the 80s, I was in Big Sur a lot. Every time I went up to Santa Cruz or San Francisco, or came home, I drove Highway 1 through Big Sur.
One night, when I was sixteen, my friend, who recently passed away, and I were driving South on a rainy night through Big Sur and I hit one of the massive boulders that rolled down off of the hills in such weather. It flattened my tire. But, it could have been much worse. We changed the tire and then spend the rest of the night, until dawn, removing every large boulder from the highway that we saw so no one else would suffer a similar fate.  
Certainly, Big Sur has been glamorized in novels, (like Kerouac’s Big Sur), and poetry, and to a lessor degree in films. I’ve shot footage there for some of my Zen Films. No matter how it is framed, it is a special place.
Somewhere in the 90s, I stopped driving through there so much. Like so many other places of beauty, tourists just started to flock there, really killing the vibe. With them came some really bad (and very slow) drivers who were so afraid of the twisty/turny roads or were so lost in taking in the scenery that they did not even notice that there was a mile long line of cars behind them.
I so remember this one time I was driving through Big Sir with my lady and there was this vintage 1970s orange Porsche just going so slow in front of me (and others). Nice car. But, the problem was/is, due to the single lane road design, the frequent drastic turns, and the unpredictable oncoming traffic, I just could not get around them all the way through. When they finally pulled over, I saw it was two very overweight African-American men. The smell of weed just reeked from their car. It’s situations like that which really kill/killed the Big Sur experience.
In any case, seeing that commercial, it got me to thinking that I should maybe make that drive this weekend as it has been a while. But, in checking, the road is closed (Again). It has been closed a lot over the past several years due to landslides and the like. It was never like that back when. Yes, there was boulders, as described, but I never remember the highway being closed. I never even questioned if I could make my way through.
Life has changed a lot over the past three or four decades. Well, I guess life always changes. But sometimes, with certain things, that change is very noticeable. And, that’s the thing about change… Yes, with change, things change, but that change is not always for the better. In fact, it is more often for the worst.
My only advice is, whatever you love, live it totally to the best of your ability, because someday all you will have is the memory of the way that something used to be.

The Reactive Thing

Have you ever known someone who did something totally outrageous reacting to something someone had done to them? Maybe they exploded, maybe the broke things, maybe the yelled and scream or cried, maybe the punched someone in the face, maybe they very precisely tried to hurt the life of that other person, maybe they shaved their head. I knew a woman who did that after her boyfriend broke up with her. And, it can get bigger and worse than that. People have killed due to reactive anger; they have killed themselves. But, why? Answer: Because they did not like what that someone else did to them.
How about you? Have you ever done something totally reactive based upon what someone else has done to you? Most of us have. But, most of us have been very small in their reactive actions. Yes, we are mad. Yes, we are hurt. Yes, we are angry. But, we never allow that emotion to move outwards from ourselves with the intention of causing a massive reaction or a hurtful hurt.
Take a moment and think about a life event, caused by a person, when you became very reactive. What caused you to behave in that manner? What did that person do that was so bad where you needed to react in some massive way? Really think this through. What did you do to them based upon your emotional reaction? Moreover, what did you do to yourself based upon their initial action?
The main thing you need to think about when you find yourself in these life moments is that, who is feeling what? You must realize that it is you who is feeling what you are feeling. No matter how selfish, hurtful, or life damning of a something that the other person did to you, it is you who is reacting to that action. And, no matter how many people you may try to bring into your emotional upheaval, it is truly only you that is feeling the feeling. Meaning, any action you take, based upon that feeling, totally emanates from you. Thus, any reactive action you unleash is based completely upon a mindset of Self and Selfishness.
Some people are very low-level human beings. That is simply the reality of life. They do not care what they do to you, how they hurt you, or what they do to anyone else. They only think about themselves. Some people are even so subhuman that they intentionally set out to hurt someone else. Those are bad people, and we all hope to never encounter them. This being said, what we do, based upon what they did, is completely our choice.
Again, think back to a time when someone did something to you and you unleashed a big reaction. What were the results? Did it change what that other person had done? Maybe in your reactive anger you felt a little bit better. Maybe because you were hurt you hurt them back. But, did you question or even care about the negative karma you were initiating for yourself, when you could have just left the adverse karma sitting in the lap of that other person, instead of instigating further karma that would eventually be directed your direction?
Certainly, no one wants to be hurt in life. No one wants to be pushed into a reactive state of mind. But, as you now understanding, anything you are feeling is felt only by you, it is only you who has the power to control your reaction.

Your Art is Lazy

“Your art is lazy.” “Anyone can do that.”
Pretty much since the advent of abstract or modern art people have been exclaiming the above two statements.
“Anyone can do that.” Question: How many people do?
If it is so easy, why don’t you do it?
It was very similar when synthesizers became all the rage in music. “That’s not music. That’s just a bunch of noise.” “Anyone can play one of those.”  Question: How many people do?
If it is so easy, why don’t you do it?
I know when I developed Zen Filmmaking, (in association with Donald G. Jackson), a lot of people claimed, “That’s lazy.” But, is it? Think about it… Isn’t it more difficult, from a traditional perspective, to get to your filming location and then decide what to create? Tell me, how many people have the mental focus to do that? Like Don used to tell the press, “Very few people can do what Scott and I do.”
Sure, some people may not like the cinematic art I have created. But, how many movies have they made?
People often confuse what they dislike with the method of its creation. How much traditional art have you viewed that you did not like? How much traditional music have you listened to that you did not like? How many script-driven films have you seen that you did not like?
Criticizing the style and the method of art is simply an easy means to attack the artist or their art.

Instead of claiming that whatever method the artist is using is wrong, and the type of art they are creating is easy, why don’t you get out there and show the world what you can do?
If it is so easy, why don’t you do it?


Here's quotes from a couple of my books passed over to me from the Spanish Language Twitter:

Mañana sera un nuevo día; no lleves contigo las experiencias negativas del pasado.

La felicidad y el perdón son elecciones. La aceptación, la ira, el deseo, el amor; todas son opciones. Tu tiempo. Tu elección.

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

Autobiography Verses Biography

Recently, I posted a fun(ny) puff-piece Bio that was written about me. Wouldn’t it be great if our life and our image was only projected to the world in the most positive manner? But, the minute you step outside and anyone encounters you, on any level, people start to draw their own conclusions and form their own ideas about what they think they know about you. This especially becomes the case when one steps into the realms of the Known.
Last night, I watched the new documentary about Anna Nichole Smith: You Don’t Know Me, on Netflix.  Not a bad doc. But, for someone like I, who stays up to date on the news, and watched her reality TV series, there wasn’t a lot of new information. The main thing I did come away with is how, here were all these people, stating what they knew to be the truth about Anna Nichole but stating it from their own point of view.
Here arises the problem, and not just with Anna Nichol Smith, with anyone; people tell their stories the way they want them to be heard. They tell them from their own point of view. They tell them from the perspective of ME. They tell them because they want to convey a certain, (defined in their own mind), message about that someone else, while making themself look the way they wish to be perceived by the world. So, how true is true?
Have you ever had someone tell someone else your history, your thoughts, your ideas, your ideologies, Your Truth from their point of view? How true was their truth?
I know I have had people trying to explain me to others. For most, it was meant more as an attack. Especially in this age of the internet. Some were nice however, like that Bio on me I was pointed to the other day. And, nice is always nice. But, whenever someone tells their story about YOU, something is always lost. They are not you, so why should they be talking about you in the first place? They may think they know you. But, how can anyone ever truly know the inner person you are, especially if they barely know you, or only passed through your life for a moment, or simply have viewed or watched one of your creations or read something that you wrote?  
It's really important, as you pass through life, that you take any knowledge that you receive about that Someone Else, from someone who is the person themself, with a lot of skepticism. Never simply believe what you hear. Because who is that anyone to be talking about someone else in the first place? Why are they doing it? What are they gaining from it? And mostly, how true is their true?

The Swami Satchidananda Pin and You Will Be Warned

Way back in the way back when I had gotten this pin of Swami Satchidananda. It was the photo of him that was widely circulated, and it had a kind of pink tint to it. I picked it up from the Integral Yoga Institute of which I was a close associate.
I don’t know what ever happened to that pin??? I used to have it on my blue North Face day pack, that I used to carry my books, (I was attending Cal State Northridge), and all my stuff around in it, especially when I rode my motorcycle. I wish I still had that pin. If you have one, or know where to get one, hook me up…
Anyway, it’s kind of interesting… For some reason, I was just thinking about an incident that occurred with Swami Satchidananda, that pin, and I… I was thinking about it last night and then, today, I was looking at the Swami Satchidananda feed on Instagram and there is a photo of him working on his vintage 1950s big boat of a restored blue Cadillac that he used to drive. Yes, yes, even he used to make jokes about it, a Swami and a Cadillac. He was also a pilot. Anyway… To the story…
There was this one time when I was riding my motorcycle down the 101 freeway. There was a traffic jam, as L.A. always promises. As all young motorcyclists tend to do, I was shooting through traffic in between the cars. And, there he was, Swami Satchidananda driving his Cadillac with one of his close friends/disciples riding shotgun.
The motorcycle I had was orange back then. Swami orange. I had my backpack on, and thus, the pin was in plain view. Shooting traffic, I drove by Gurudev and gave him a wave. I wasn’t wearing a helmet or anything. They weren’t required back then. But, I hoped he recognized me and knew who I was. I thought he would have to recognize the pin.
That was that…
I forget now how long it was, but we were doing a satang maybe a week or two later at the L.A. IYI. It was just a small group of us. Gurudev looked over my direction, and, in the middle of his talk, without skipping a beat, he mentioned how dangerous motorcycles were. Though I thought deeply about it, I loved riding my motorcycle. This was L.A. and it was one of my main forms of transportation. I could get through the traffic jams much more easily.
I let that memory of the lecture fade. It was maybe a year or so later that, while riding my motorcycle, I was hit by a car, almost killing me, and leaving my life, my body, and my mind changed forever.  I had been warned but I did not listen.
This is one of the main things that I believe you must look for and listen to in life. You will be warned of any tragedy that may befall you. You can listen/hear and take corrective action. Or, you cannot. Your life, your choice. But, if you do not listen, catastrophe may find you.

Think about it.

Frogtown News AKA You Can’t Teach Enlightenment to Someone Who is Already Enlightened

Have you ever felt really strongly about something? Have you ever really believed in something? And, when you did, you tried to spread your truth and your knowledge to someone else, but, when you did, they could not hear you, they did not understand you, they did not care?
I think for those of us who have walked the Spiritual Path, we have each encountered that, in one way or the other, as we have passed through our lives. We realized there was something MORE out there and we wanted our family and our friends to feel what we were feeling. But, in doing so, we encountered the reality that the Someone Else we were trying to relate our truth to just did not understand. Have you ever felt that?
Sure, there were those times when we encountered that someone else and they totally got it. Those are the good times. Rare. But, those time/those people really make us believe the belief.  
I remembered when I was about sixteen, a friend, who I had not seen in a little while, (out of nowhere), came knocking on my door one evening and virtually immediately we entered into this total spiritual emergence. That was great!!! But, THAT happens so rarely. In most cases, people just don’t get it.
I was at the doctor’s office last week, doing my yearly physical. The medical professional was doing all that stuff that medical professionals do: asking me questions about my eating, my drinking, and my health; checking this and examining that. Though I consciously walk a fairly healthy pathway, I explained that so many of my close friends had already passed on, and, due to that, I am left in somewhat of an abyss.
So, that brings us to this…
Tonight, bored with all the millions of channels I have access to, I hit over to YouTube to watch a few short-lined videos I wanted to show my lady. For some reason, we got speaking about Ed Sheeran and the recent copyright lawsuit he won against someone claiming he had stolen one of his songs from Marvin Gaye. I said to her, as I have long questioned, (since the 80s), why did no one ever go after Phil Collins over his song, “Don’t Lose My Number,” as it is so similar to, “Rikky Don’t Lose That Number,” by Steely Dan? We played both the videos and she agreed… 
Anyway… She went to bed. Me, a late-night stalker, continued to look around YouTube. I watched a few obscure music videos and then ended up on one of my Zen Films/Zen Documentaries,
Frogtown News. I hadn’t seen it in forever, so I thought I would give it a bit of a watch. Again, as I told the doctor, I was reminded of how many of my friends have passed on.
This Zen Documentary is an interesting examination into the life of Donald G. Jackson and myself at the height of our Zen Filmmaking legacy. Yeah, yeah, some of the audio is hard to understand as it was recorded by the onboard microphone on a handheld video camera. But, it is a true investigation into Cinematic Enlightenment: his and mine.
Also clearly presented in the Zen Film are people like my Zen Filmmaking sister and brother: Julie Strain and Kevin Eastman. One of them is with us no more. At least not in the physical sense. But, her presence will live on forever via photos and film.

Here/that, this Zen Film, is one of the beautiful examples of when two or more minds come together, and together they understand the reality of the reality. When enlightenment is met on a mutual level, and all involved, comprehend. It’s rare. But, when it happens, it is GREAT!
All I have to say is when (and if) you find it, truly hold onto it, as you may never feel it again.
With the passing of people like DGJ and Julie, (among others), something was truly lost from the actualities of Zen Filmmaking. I kind of feel like I am the only one left who understands the reality of the joy in the process.
The essential thing to understand is that when you feel that sudden burst of enlightenment, though you may try to make other people understand, and they just don’t get it, that does not mean that what you are feeling is not a true realization, a true emancipation, a true enlightenment. Though you may be on your own, you are not alone. Though you may not know them, there is someone out there who feels the same joy of intimate, abstract knowledge that you are embracing.
Always, feel the enlightenment.


As long as you focus on the negativity you believe was instigated by someone else you can never encounter positivity leading to your own life success.

Biography Verses Autobiography

I’m always amused when someone points me to a biography written about me. They are always so one-sided. Some are positive, some are negative. Some are good, some are bad. Some have the fact rights, some have them wrong. Most are lost somewhere in between. Here’s a fun example. What's truth and what's fiction? But, it's out there on the internet, it must all be true, right? Happy
Scott Shaw (born September 23, 1958) is a prolific author, journalist, actor, and filmmaker.
Born in Hollywood, California Scott Shaw spent his early years in the racially charged region of South Los Angeles known as Watts, California during the turbulent 1960s.
As a student, Shaw graduated from Hollywood High School in Hollywood, California. His university undergraduate study took place at California State University, Northridge, where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Geography. His postgraduate studies in Geography took place at California State University, Los Angeles and the University of Oxford. He also attended Emerson College of Herbology where he earned a Master's Degree in Herbology. He received his Ph.D. from Shanghai University in Asian Studies. He later returned to school and earned another Master's Degree in Humanities from California State University, Dominguez Hills.
Shaw began his study of the martial arts at the age of six. He studied and taught Hapkido and Taekwondo until in 1987 he was the first American to be awarded the 7th Degree Black Belt in Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo and in 1996 he was the first non-Korean ever to be promoted to the rank of 7th Degree Black Belt by The Korea Hapkido Federation. Since that time Shaw has been promoted to 8th Degree Black Belt in both Hapkido and Taekwondo. Over three hundred of his articles on the martial arts have been published and he is the author of several books on the subject.
During his youth, Shaw also became involved in eastern meditative thought. He studied with such teachers as Swami Satchidananda, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, and Thich Thien-An. By the age of eighteen he was a certified instructor of Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Meditation. He then travelled to Asia where he was initiated into various Buddhist, Hindu, and Sufi, sects. He was eventually ordained a Sannyasin at the ashram of Swami Sivananda in Rishikesh, India. Shaw is also known to be a Frater Rosae Crucis of the Rosicrucian Order AMORC. He has authored numerous articles and several books on Zen Buddhism, Yoga, Eastern Religion, and Asian culture.
Film career
In addition to be being a highly published author and instructor of the martial arts, meditation, and filmmaking, Scott Shaw is a prolific actor and filmmaker. He developed a new style of filmmaking that he titled Zen Filmmaking. In this style of filmmaking no scripts are used. Shaw explains, "The spontaneous creative energy of the filmmaker is the only defining factor. This allows for a spiritually pure source of immediate inspiration to be the only guide in the filmmaking process."
  • Scott Shaw is listed on the Hollywood High School page of Alumni Stars.
  • Shaw continues to create what he calls "Zen Films." The final credit in many of his films is "In Memory of Dinosaur Filmmaking."
  • He lives much of every year at his home in Kamakura, Japan.
  • As an author, the recent works of Scott Shaw have reflected his lifelong involvement with the Martial Arts, Yoga, Hinduism, and Zen Buddhism. His earlier published works are much more literary based and depict the dark side of society.
  • Scott Shaw creates much of the soundtrack music for his films under the pseudonym D.J. Acid X

Too Old to Rock n’ Roll: Too Young to Die

If I may borrow the song and album title from Jethro Tull, “Too Old to Rock n’ Roll: Too Young to Die,” I will use it as a formulation as it kind of ties into the overall suchness of this little ditty.
I think any of us who has spent our life working towards the greater good of the ALL are sometimes confronted by the fact that there are all these other people out there not trying to truly create a unique something, not trying to make the world a better place, not trying to help people, animals, the environment, the whatever, who are the ones who are making a name for themselves and making all the money. …Oftentimes these individuals are actually basing what they are doing upon what someone else has actually created.
I don’t know if that is a really good definition of what I am thinking??? In some ways it’s kind of hard to put that feeling and emotion into worlds. But, you get the idea…
I remember a number of years ago, I was watching an episode of the TV show, The Surreal Life. For those of you of a different time and era, what that show did was/is to take celebrities and place in them in a house and let them live out various scenarios.  That season of the show they had, in addition to people like Christopher Knight (of Brady Bunch, Peter Brady fame), Jane Wiedlin, (of The Go-Go’s), and the rapper Da Brad. At one point, Da Brad went on the attack against Wiedlin and said she was a, “Has been,” which caused a slew of emotions and tears to rise up in Wieldlin. Me, I would have responded to Da Brat, “There’s a different between being a Has Been and an Icon.” But, we all know how it feels… Sometimes in the moment, we get caught off guard.
I mean, for those of you who may or may not know, The Go-Go’s were (and are) an enormously successful band that change the landscape of modern music. I used to see them play around the L.A. clubs before they hit the Big Time. And, the Big Time they hit was very Big.
There’s a great documentary that came out about them a year or so ago. I suggest you watch it if you get the chance.
Anyway… A day or so ago, I noticed that Jane Wiedlin had posted this piece on Facebook. Here it is. It kind of speaks for itself.
“It’s weird to me that a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer who has sold millions of albums and was a pioneer for women in music (I’m talking about me) has a very small following that never goes up in numbers. There are tens of thousands of people who have never actually done anything significant in their lives except post selfies that have millions of followers. Is it cuz I’m old? Or my feed isn’t just photos of myself? Too political? Am I too “all over” the place? I am not being whiny (well perhaps a tad); I’m genuinely curious! TROLLS AND HATERS WILL BE DELETED!”
Wiedlin and I are about the same age. Though I certainly never experienced the fame that she encountered… But, Me Too, sometimes I wonder why do all these people who have not even truly tried to change the All and the Everything of the world for the better, who have not truly created anything, who are not working towards the betterment of anything but themselves, why do they have all the followers? Well… Maybe I get it… At least in the world of the more or less. But, for anyone who truly tries—anyone who truly cares, it can, at times, be a hard pill to swallow.
You know, certainly, in this day and age, it is all about the illusion of the appearances. But, time moves on. The landscape changes. And, then what?
I’m sure I have spoken about this before, but for those of us who were around before the internet took over the world. …Those of us who were actively there as it was taking hold… I think back to some of the pioneers of what later become known as, “Influencers.” Those who were the first to set up websites and maybe post alluring photos of themselves and stuff like that. Time has gone on. They were young then, and then they became old(er). Their star faded. And, as they were not truly contributing, not truly creating, not truly helping, not truly giving, what were they left with?
I believe it is an important thing to remember for those of us who actually TRY… That yeah, there are going to be those people who maybe rise to the top of the Influencer game, (or whatever it will be called in the future), but without the caring enough to care, without the conscious plan of giving and of helping and of creating, they too will fade from the limelight. But, people like Jane Wiedlin will be remember forever.
So, what does this mean to you? This provides you with a presentation in the understandings of the realities of life. Even the truly successful, they too have feelings. They see the new world coming, and, in some cases, passing them by. This is especially the case for those of us who truly try to give back, to help, to care, and to make a difference.
You can’t fight it. It’s just reality. What you can do is care enough to care, try to make your own positive mark on the reality of where you find yourself in space and time. Help. Give. Because when you give, you have given. And, even though there may be those seemingly less deserving individuals living a far grander lifestyle than you, your contribution can never be denied.


Had is not have.

The Possibility of the No Possibility

In Zen, it is understood that the ultimate state of realization comes from non-action. Non-action is based in non-doing. Why is this understood to the ultimate state of human consciousness? Because in non-doing nothing is done, and nothing is left undone. In this state, no desire is cultivated, and no karma is created.
Take a moment and think about your life. Think about all of the things you have done. When where you the happiest? Most likely, when you were doing something that you liked to do. When were you the saddest? Most likely, when you could not do something you really wanted to do, be with someone you really wanted to be with, or to live a life moment the way you wished to live that life moment.
Here's the thing, think about your life, has it not been completely based in the fulfillment of your desires? You want something, so you try to get it. But, what happens when you do not get it? Most likely, you experienced displeasure. Is that a positive or pure state of mind?
This goes to all levels of life. Maybe you wanted a thing. Maybe you wanted a person. Maybe you wanted to do something. Maybe you wanted to feel a certain way. Maybe you wanted to become something. What’s the central concept in all of this? Answer, you wanting something.
It all that doing, how much chaos was created verses how much inner-moment peace and perfection did you experience? Moreover, in that getting, who else was affected by what you did or did not get?

It is essential to accept that in your quest, whatever that quest may be, you were not (you are not) the only one affected by your desire. Who else was affected by your mission, perhaps in a negative manner? Do you ever even think about this?
This takes us to the root of this concept; namely, your desire. Your life of doing is based upon you wanting something. What have you done in life that was not based upon you wanting something? Whether this is the most basic and essential elements of life, like you are thirsty or you are hungry, onto all of the everything else; large or small. You wanted and that is that.
Again, think about your life, when have you lived any moment when you were not pursuing something? In all of this, what has occurred? Most likely, you have lived a life based in an ever-expanding list of pursuits. Have you ever been silent? Have you ever just let go? Have you ever not tried to obtain?
It must be stated, the pursuit of enlightenment is no less of a desire than other pursuit.
Certain philosophers and religious pundits have stated throughout time that one must quiet their mind to find any truth of consciousness and inner peace. How much time have you spend doing that? For most, the answer is never.
In all this doing, in all this pursuing, have you found a state of true happiness? Has any desire you desired and then achieved ever bought you peace to the degree that you never needed to pursue anything again? Probably not.
Here’s the assignment for the day, if you want to take it on, STOP. Right now, just stop. Let go. Do not care. Do not think. Do not try to do anything, including trying to stop thinking. Experience the non-action. All you have to do to do that is to STOP.
This moment of silence may last only a few seconds, if you try it at all. But, in those few seconds you may experience what Zen is based upon, absolute peace and freedom.
Try it. You never know where non-action will lead you.

The Anger That You Feel

We all possess the emotion of anger. Mostly, anger is a very temporary thing. And, that’s a good thing. We feel it. We experience it. But, then we let it go.
Some people allow that anger to take hold of their life, however. They allow that anger to guide them to do negative things.
Sometimes those anger guided life-events can set a course of events into motion that will affect the entire rest of a person’s life. They do something like hurt or kill someone—something that cannot be undone. Then what?
We all feel anger. It’s a human emotion and that is that. But, it is what we do with our anger that defines who we are in life.
Have you ever been angry at someone, (for whatever reason), and maybe a day, a year, ten years later you think about that person and what they did to you makes you angry and all that emotion beings to swirl in you again? That’s not healthy. But, it is not uncommon.
But, here’s the catch… It is you who chooses to be angry. It is you defining the way you want reality to operate that causes you to become angry. If you like what a person is doing and saying, you are fine. If you do not, you become angry. If you like what life is proving for, you are all good. If not, you become angry.
What is the common factor? You.
Moreover, it is what you choose to do with your anger that sets the definition for your life into motion. Some people become angry at a person, or a life situation, and they allow that emotion to motivate them to do some bad deeds. Is that a right and a conscious way to act? No. We all know that. But, think how many people become angry at someone or something and then they try to hurt them. They try to make them feel the way they are feeling. Not good. But, that is how many of those of who operate at a lower level of consciousness behave. How about you?
A couple of funny stories I can tell regarding anger.
I was in Santa Barbara a few days ago. My lady and I had breakfast. Afterwards we were taking a walk down State Street, which is the central shopping and restaurant street in Santa Barbara.
Ever since the pandemic, Santa Barbara has closed that street off to traffic, making it a walking and bike only street. All good.
We walk up to a stoplight, and we are waiting for it to change. Next to us is a young couple with a baby stroller in front to them. Up pulls this old hippie looking guy, in a junky sedan, with his window down. He pulls up right by me and yells, “Get out of the fucking street!” First of all, we weren’t in the street. The baby buggy was a bit farther out than my lady and I, but we were all in a safe area. What he said just hit me the wrong way. His anger, incited my anger. “Fuck you! You better think who you’re dealing with!”
Immediately, I knew that was the wrong way to have played it. In my mind, I was protecting my lady and the young family from verbal abuse. But, I allowed another person’s anger to take control over me, if even for a moment, and cause me to experience anger, and react in an anger-driven manner. Not good. I felt very bad.
The guy immediately drove away. But, what was his initial motivation for anger? Obviously, he is one of those people who is unhappy in their own life and feels a lack of control, so he is basing his life defined by unresolved anger and he tries to exert his self-envisioned power in a way that he believes he will stay safe. Certainly, he exhibits a lack of self-control. Somehow, in his mind, that is his way of release—his cathartic method. The problem is, if your anger is out of control, it is out of control. From this, you are guided by it, and it can lead you down a dark road, to do bad things, and to experience repercussion for doing them.
I’ve spoken about this a lot since the pandemic lockdowns have begun to open up. And, I’ve heard the same thought from a lot of other people. But, since that point, it seems people have just begun to drive so badly. They have become so self-thinking, that they do not even consider that anyone else is on the road. Here in L.A., where driving is a life staple, I’m confronted by it all the time.
I was out in the Val the other day. I was going to get on the freeway and this big 1980s van, who was not even in the correct lane to make a left turn onto the freeway, turns right in front of me, totally cutting me off. As is a natural reaction, I honk my horn. The guy flips me off. He did something wrong, and he flips me off. What!  I decide to pull up next to this bad driver to see just who it is who did that. The guy saw me coming and jams off, swearing in out of traffic on the freeway, just to get away from me. Of course, I just let him go. I’m not going to get into a road rage incident. But, for a few moments, I could feel that curing of negative emotion, based in anger, due to what he had done.
He did something and it caused me to become angry. Who’s fault is that?
Here’s the thing… We all feel it. We all get angry at people and at life situations from time to time. That’s life.  There are some people who claim the title of, “Holy,” and proclaim they do not feel anger. But, unless you are totally isolated from the world, that cannot be true.
Here’s the question, what are you angry about? Who do you feel anger towards? Why do you feel angry at that something or someone at all? Isn’t your anger just based in the fact that they did something that YOU don’t like?  But, why are YOU so All-Important to judge their reality? Yes, you may not like what that something or that someone did, but your anger is based in YOUR definition of your reality. What you feel may not be what anyone else is feeling. And, if you let what you are feeling bring damage or harm to anyone, no matter what your motivation, simply based upon what you feel, doesn’t that make you the bad, unenlightened, out of control individual?
So, the next time you are angry, really analyze why you are angry. The next time you are allowing your anger to cause you to do something, really think through if what you are going to do is going to hurt that other person or that other thing. Because if it does, then all you have done is to allow anger to spread from you to others. If you do this, all that happens in the Realms of Bad, is your fault. Then, what and whom are you going to be angry at when you get what you deserve—when you are paid back for hurting someone or something simply because you could not control your own emotions?  Think about it. Be more than your anger.

How to Get Your Indie Film Made AKA Positivity in the Making

Back in the later 1990s and into the mid-2000s, I used to teach a lot of classes. I taught classes in the greater Los Angeles area and the greater San Francisco region. A number of these classes were taught at colleges and universities. Those classes were all taught on filmmaking. I also taught numerous classes for a company called The Learning Annex. What this company did was to get professionals, in varying fields, and have them teach classes on a subject where they were very well-established. For them, I taught classes on Ki Development, Meditation, and, of course, Filmmaking.
What The Learning Annex did was to release this very nice newsletter that was sent out to it members each month. This newsletter was also widely distributed on newsstands and in those corner newspaper boxes. Remember those? This was obviously before the internet took over the all and the everything of life.
The filmmaking classes I taught for them were fairly popular. In some cases, I can remember upwards of one hundred people being in attendance.
The Learning Annex would hype the classes with catch phrases like, “How to Get Your Indie Film Made with Digital Technology with Almost No Money,” “Zero Budget, The Zen Guerrilla Approach to Filmmaking,” “Guerrilla Filmmaking at its Best,” and stuff like that.
Those classes were fun. That was a good time in my life. I was making a lot of movies, meeting some really nice people, and, hopefully, via my classes, I was helping some of those people to get their own indie films made.
You know, one of things I have realized about my life is that, for whatever reason, (???), I am just not the person that people seem to contact in order to reminisce about our mutual life-stuff, to just say, “Hi, remember me?,” or, in the case of the person I am about to speak about, say, “Thanks.”
Sure, sure, people always seem to want to throw shade my direction. I guess that’s just the nature of the beast when you are a creative person who walks to the left side of tradition. But, all of those people who do throw shade have never met me. They don’t know me. They have never been on one of my sets. They have not taken one of my classes.
But, to the point… A couple of days ago, I received this note from this guy. “Thank you so much Scott Shaw for teaching your class on Zen filmmaking through the Learning Annex at Dov Simons facility. It really got me started filmmaking.”
I’m not going to mention the guy’s name here, as he may not want me to??? But, WOW!  That was nice to hear, all these many years later.
I don’t know that I deserve any credit, however. I mean, this gentleman went on to make some award-winning films. But, “Thanks!” It’s kind of one of those compliments that you kind of don’t even know how to respond to??? But, it is nice to hear.
You know, it’s rare that people throw Zen Filmmaking or me any props. Though there have been a lot of filmmakers who have been influenced by the concept. In fact, some are pretty high-end players. They may say something to me, but they never speak it to the masses. Which is probably one of the main reasons that Zen Filmmaking has remained such an obscure science.
One person, Dylan Mars Greenburg, as a fan of The Roller Blade Seven, first contacted me when they were fourteen. Even then, I could tell they were a person who was really going to go after it. And, they did. Way back then, I told them that they were going to rule the world, and they have continued to grow and to do just that. They are one of the only people to ever mention Zen Filmmaking and me in their interviews. And, I thank them of that!
The funny/interesting thing is, to date, I have never even met Dylan, face-to-face. Each time they are in L.A., our wires just get crossed. And me, I just don’t do NYC anymore. Though there have been a few times when I thought to show up to one of Dylan’s premiers and surprise the talented filmmaker. But, so far I have not done that.

Another one is Austrian-based filmmaker, Wolf Morrison. Always saying, “Thanks,” in his credits to Donald G. Jackson and myself.
Anyway… I guess what I’m saying here is that communication goes a long way. Positive communication, in particular. You know, as we all know, there are so many people out there throwing shade. That’s easy to do. But, what does it truly equal? What does it actually give to the world?
But, think about all of the goodness out there. The people who you have met, maybe taken a class from, or maybe just enjoyed what they do in the arts, their life, or otherwise… Think how you think about them. Do you ever show them any love? Do you ever say, “Thanks for you being you,” or, “Thanks for you doing what you do?”
I don’t know… Don’t you think the world would just become a way better place if we each reached out to people and moved some form of positivity their direction?


Who did you help today and why?

Who did you hurt today and why?

Who helped you today and why?

Who hurt you today and why?

What does help equal?

What does hurt equal?

Consider your actions and their consequences.

Nothing Can Change the Shape of Things to Come

Currently, the Writer’s Guild of America, WGA, (of which I am a member), just went on strike. What that does is to shut down all union produced films and television shows. The last time the WGA went on strike was in 2007 and 2008. That one lasted for about one hundred days. The one before that, in 1988, lasted for one hundred and fifty-three days.
Here’s what most people don’t think about… What happens when the union(s) call a strike? Answer: People don’t get paid. The longer the strike lasts, the more people go broke.
First of all, I get it. Some of the complaints the writers are complaining about is that they want guaranteed employment. They want a minimum of paid days per production. They want higher residuals not buy-outs. And, they want to OUTLAW Ai created scripts.
You know, I think if you don’t live in L.A., you may not understand the overall hoped-for belief that a screenwriter has about getting their script made into a film or a whatever. I mean, every Starbucks you go into pretty much, there is someone working on their script. It is a vast disease. But, I wish them all the best. Every now and then, someone does get their script made into a film. I’ve known a few. Good for them!
Me too. In times gone past, I used to write scripts. That was before I created the freedom-based Zen Filmmaking.
Then, there are those few writers who actually do get hired by the networks or the production companies. They got a job, and they want to get paid for that job. I get it.
But, here’s the reality, it is all about the Benjamin’s. The production companies, the studios, and the streaming services own the world, and they could give two-shits about any underling getting paid. All that matters to them is that those At The Top get paid and their bottom dollar.
On the news, they have been interviewing all of the people, outside of the writers, who are going to be negatively impacted by this strike. Whether it is the crew members who are out of a job, or the coffees shop owners and employees who make their money from those who work at the studios—they are the people who will be hit hard. The longer the strike goes on, the more people will go broke, maybe lose their businesses, and end up moving back in with their mom and driving for Uber. It’s a bad scene.
As for the writers, those who currently do have job, most likely they will not have one when the strike is over. Sure, the few very established writers will stay on at their shows. But, all those lower-end newbies will probably not be rehired. That’s what happened the last time and the time before. Then what?
Like I always say to everyone, Hollywood is a dangerous game and, more than likely, you are going to get fucked. I know there have been times when I have gotten way screwed over. Welcome to Hollywood!
Here’s the truth, times change. What was based in fact, once upon a time, is no longer the certainty of today. Yes, you may want what once was. Yes, you may feel you deserve to be that chosen one. But, the reality is the reality, if you don’t flow with and accept the everchanging realms of actuality, time is going to leave you behind. And, if you hurt the life of other people in your self-motivate quest for what you feel you deserve, then who will pay the karma for that? Answer: You.
As I have been supplying you with a few songs to listen to of late, let me do that again. It’s the great song,
Shape of Things to Come, by the fictional band, Max Frost and the Troopers from the 1968 film, Wild in the Streets. I remember seeing that film in the movie theater when it was first released. Great Flick! Click on the title if you feel like listening to the song. The lyrics, “Nothing can change the shape of things to come.” Think about it…

Nirvana in a Nutshell and the Jedi

“Enlightenment is not based in denial. Enlightenment is not based in pretend. Enlightenment is not wanting to be something you are not. Enlightenment is not something you hope to be someday. Enlightenment is yours, Now. Get into the moment and experience it.” —Scott Shaw, Nirvana in a Nutshell
“Religious people love to argue about the validity of their religious sect, teacher, and claiming that it is the best and the only path to Pure Consciousness. The enlightened do not argue because the enlightened have nothing to prove.” —Scott Shaw, Nirvana in a Nutshell
Most of the time when someone points me to something on the internet it is them attempting to alert me to some negativity or someone stealing my creative STUFF. I really hate that kind of thing. I just don’t want to think about it. Negativity is negativity is negativity and anyone who unleashes it will eventually suffer their own harsh fate. But sometimes, I am told about something interesting. This is one of those cases.
Apparently, there is an author who has composed an entire book about the Jedi, based on the Star Wars ideology. I am no expert on that subject, though I did enjoy the first three films in the ongoing series. But, he quoted two passages from my book, Nirvana in a Nutshell in his text. Those are the ones above. It looks like the book is fully on-line and downloadable for free. Check it out if you feel like it, The Great Jedi Holocron by Adam Yaw.

Today is the 4th of May. May the forth be with you.
Keep the positivity and the goodness flowing!

Strange Condition

Yesterday afternoon, I had a little bit of free time, so I decided to go through my record and CD collection and clean out the multiple copies that I have collected, one way or the other. Every now and then I do that. I either give them away to friends who wants them or donate ‘em. You know, just to keep the energy flowing.
Sometimes, I can’t help but think that I wish someone would just buy the whole collection from me. Lighten my load. But, that would not be cheap. I’ve got some very rare LPs and CDs. I’ve been collecting music for a long-long time. Anyway…
In some cases, I take some of those extra CD copies and keep them in my car. Just in case. I did that with a couple of them.
Today, I popped in the great album from Pete Yorn, Music for the Morning After. Or, as it is actually written, Musicforthemorningafter. Great-great album! I wish I had a singing voice like his. With all the songs I’ve written, maybe I could have made something of my life???  
I borrowed the title for this piece from that album, “
Strange Condition.” Great song! Listen to it if you have a chance. You can click on the link to watch the video. The song actually starts about thirty into the video.
Anyway, as the title implies, my day was strangely interesting. First, I go to have breakfast. I hop up to the counter and order, then go and grab a table outside. I always sit outside, whenever I can. I always have.
I’m sitting down and the little buzzer thing they give you goes off. I get up to get my breakfast. Just as I hit the door, I see this lady grabbing my table. Okay… I grab my breakfast sandwich and go back outside. With my table gone, I must go and sit at another one.
I don’t know… She saw that I was sitting there. That is just not something I would have done.
To describe the lady, she was maybe thirty-something and of Asian descent.  Though she had long hair, she was one of those women that (facially) kind of looks like a man.
Back in my younger years, when I used to roam the nighttime streets of Bangkok, you always had to keep your eyes open for men/women like that. I mean, there was some men who were way prettier and more feminine than some of the women. But, that’s just not my scene. So, I always had to keep my eye’s peeled. Anyway…
It was kind of uncomfortable. She sat there and kept gazing my direction. She was also playing with her phone. I think she may have been taking some pictures of me when I was focused on my phone or my breakfast sandwich.
You know, I don’t know about you, but that used to get me really upset; people taking unapproved photos of me. I even got in few people faces over that kind of stuff. But, this is the digital age… And me, sometimes I do it too. So, I just try to let it go…
It was just too weird to sit there with her looking at me. I quickly finished up my breakfast, dumped my coffee, and left.
I went and got in my car, cruised on, listening to, Musicforthemorningafter. Really good music!
I had a bit of time, so I popped into this thrift store en route to my destination. There I found this 1970s plaid suit in exceptional condition. Full on big lapels and flared pants.  And, it fit me! Of course, I bought it. $9.99. I will definitely wear it to the next 70s party I go to. Or maybe, just because…
You know, like I say a lot, thrift stores, flea markets, and antique shops are my distraction. Most of the time you find nothing. But, every now and then you find that treasure…

If I was an Influencer I guess I could take a Selfie of myself wearing the suit. You know, one of those Influencer style photographs. Then I could maybe get a bunch of likes and maybe make some money. But, I will leave all that to the younger and the more pretty people. Kind of like my lady likes to categorize me and my peer group, “Ugly old white men with long hair.”
Anyway, as I was walking out of the store, I had to kind of smile at myself. There I was, I had just bought a 1970s suit. I look down at my pants and I am wearing these flared black jeans. Not much different from the bell bottoms I used to wear back in the 70s. My hair, same hairstyle that I had fifty years ago. Strange… Funny, but strange…
Yesterday, I also discovered I had an extra copy of Neil Young’s, After the Gold Rush. So, after I get done doing what I needed to get done, I hop in my car and popped it in. Again, great music, (actually created in the 70s). You’ve got to love those super sloppy guitar solos in the song, Southern Man. One coming out of the right speaker, the other one coming out of the left.
…That was one of the first songs that I learned to play back when I was becoming a more or less accomplished guitarist. I can still play it, in my mind’s eye.
En route home, I decide to stop and get my daily dose of a Grande Latte from Starbucks.
You know, I always preorder on the app on my phone so I can just go in there and grab my drink, or whatever, already prepared. As I’m walking in, I see this guy standing there and staring at me. The guy, he was just your average white guy. Brown hair, a little bit shaggy. Black jeans, a tee-shirt. Holding a small carry around bag. Nothing unusual…  
I grab my drink and I’m on my way back to my car. “Excuse me… Can you help me with something,” he asks. I know what’s coming… “You need some money?” “Yes.” “Sorry, I haven’t carried any money since the pandemic. But, good luck.” And, that’s true. I mean, with Apple Pay and cards and stuff, I can’t even tell you the last time I held money. And, that was going on before the pandemic. He just stood there looking all lost and deflated.
The guy didn’t look to be homeless. More like someone kicked him out of the house because he was doing drugs or something. Drugs are bad! They always lead to a bad ending. Don’t do ‘em.
I don’t know his story. I never will. But, if you see you’re going down, you really have got to grab a hold of yourself and your life, because once you are down there is a very small chance you can ever come back up.
I get back in my car. Pop back in Pete Yorn and catch a little bit more of his music for the short drive home.
Life is an interesting process. It is a Strange Condition. Yeah, there are all these little strange nothings that go on in your life, but if you look, if you listen, if you truly study them, you can learn something from everything.
I wasn’t the first person to say this about me. I think it was a publisher writing one of those book hype, bio bits, but yes, I believe one must make the mundane and everyday life experience the pathway to enlightenment.
So, next time you’re doin’ what you’re doin’ take a moment to step back from all of it. Witness it. Truly see it, experience it. Look for what it has to teach you.

This is your life. This is what you are living. No matter how mundane, make the most of it. Live it. Live each-small-everything to its maximum.

Other People’s Karma

Have you ever been in association with a person—a person who has done some bad things and developed bad karma? You are with them, and because you are with them, when they receive their karmic retribution, you too are affected by it.
I know in my life, I have befriended a few people, as I have passed through this life, who have done some not nice things in their past. I suppose, there are many reasons why, but for whatever reason, I became friends with them, (or whatever you want to call that relationship), because I believed they can be something more. Yet, though this was the case, when their negative karma hit them, it did bleed over onto me.  Has that ever happened to you?
We all know what is good and we all know what is bad. We all understand that we should not do bad things that will hurt someone else. But, look around the world, how many people say hurtful things in an attempt to damage the life of some other person—how many people do things that they knowingly understand will hurt someone? Maybe that is stealing from them, damaging what they own, whatever… We all know that kind of stuff is wrong. But, think about it, this behavior goes on all the time. And, at least for the moment, that individual gets away with it. But, karma is karma. You do bad things and that stuff catches up with you, sooner or later. Then, when it hits that person, they always question, “Why me?” But, should they? Shouldn’t they already know, “Why me?” They did something to hurt someone. Thus, they will be hurt. But, the problem arises, when karma hits, it affects all of those around that person. If you are close to that individual, you too will be affected.
Religious teachings always declare that a spiritual person should only associate with other spiritual people. From this, it is believed that goodness will prevail. And, maybe that’s true. In Buddhism the spiritual group is referred to as the Sanga. In Hinduism, it is Satsang. If you only associate with the, “Trying to be Good,” people, then karma should be much cleaner. Okay… But, this is reality. This is real life. If you must earn a living, if you must interact with other people, (for whatever reason), you are going to encounter those individuals who have not always been good, truthful, honorable, or just. …Those people who have done some bad things. Then what? What happens when their karma hits and you are close at hand?
There is no real clear answer for this, other than the obvious; steer clear of those who do or have done bad things. But, that may not always be possible. Plus, you may not always know what a person has done in their past. Then what?
In life, all things are based upon interactive possibilities. They are defined by what you do to whom and with whom. Your choices equal your karma. If your negative karma affects someone else, doesn’t that just develop more negative karma for you? So, if you have done negative things, if you have hurt other people, don’t question, “Why,” when your karma comes calling. But, more than that, protect others from what is coming your way. Don’t let them be hurt by something that only you deserve.
In many cases, the person who is on the receiving end of their negative karma may not care about your involvement. Many people base their entire life upon selfishness. How about you? Truly, how much do you ponder what you are doing, and how what you have done is going to affect the life of that other person who calls you a friend?  Meaning, if someone doesn’t care, you can’t make them care. If someone lives their life based upon nothing more than their own selfish and distorted self-definition, then they do not possess the ability to care about what affect their life choices are having upon anyone else. I mean, is that not the birthplace of bad karma, selfishness? In this case, when their karma comes swirling in, the best thing that you can hope to do is deflect. Do not let it overtake you. Do not let it cause you to act in some negative manner. Do not let it guide you down a negative pathway on a road defined by that someone else.
In life, it’s just the reality, we’ve got to deal with and to interact with other people. I can say, “Choose your friends wisely,” but sometimes it is not that easy. If you link with a person who holds negative karma, and if that karma comes to call when you are around, just maintain a positive mind space, do positive things. Meet negativity with positivity and hopefully you will weather their karmic storm. Never let what that other person has done define what you are to become.


Do you know why coffee tastes better when it is made in a percolator compared to a drip coffee maker?  Because in a percolator the water circulates through the coffee grounds many times as the water is heating up. In a drip coffee machine, all that happens is that water passes through the coffee grounds once.
This is the thing about life, most people desire things to be fast. They want to get the stuff they want, and the reaction they want from that stuff, in a rapid manner. Few care about the quality of what it is they are receiving; they just want in now. How about you? Are you willing to take the time to get that something done right? Or, do you just want it all with immediacy?
This factor is also true about the development of one’s Self in the gambit that is life. This is why so many pass through their life, and when they get to or near the end of their life, they all claim the same thing, “It went by so fast.” This is because they were not truly living life/experiencing it. They were simply liking or disliking each moment but never truly grasping the complexities of that moment—never actually growing or evolving.   
I think we can see this all the time in people—the people who broadcast that they know whatever it is they think they know. But, what do they know? Are they truly living that knowledge, from a rudimentary base-up point of understanding, or are they simply jumping into the fray.
I believe we can see this in people, some who even become proficient in whatever it is they are doing, but there is something missing, they are basing their essence, and their claims of understanding, upon something that they do not truly possess at the most elemental level. Ask them a source question, an answer only a true participant who arose from the source would know, and, at best, all they can give you is their opinion or verbal mumbo-jumbo; which is used to mask their lack of true knowledge.
Life, True Life, is a process of focused and inspired evolution. One of the easiest things to see is a person who has not evolved. How do you see this? View how they are now compared who they were then. Have they truly changed? Have the truly evolved? Or, are they just claiming accomplishment and life-doings but not possessing the foundational wisdom that goes hand-in-hand with that proclamation?
You can live your life fast. Getting what you want now, in the most rapid manner possible. Or, you can let life, knowledge, and wisdom percolate through you. You can gain, you can grow, you can truly experience, and then emerge as the best version of yourself that you can be. Your Life. Your Choice.

When You Weren’t There When

I always find it interesting how when those who have walked before are forgotten. Meaning, those who were the instrumental elements of a foundational network leave the fold, (for whatever reason), then a new group emerges, lead by people who were not there at the beginning. Yet, this new group are the ones claiming true knowledge and/or power.
I have watched this several times, in several arenas, throughout my existence. Just today, it was brought to my attention how a group of individuals, based in the Sufi Dances, (The Dances of Universal Peace), have arises and actually certify those they deem worthy to teach the dance. And, charge them a fee, of course.
Strange… I was there in San Francisco when Murshid Sam was laying the foundations for what emerged. Though I lived in L.A., I witnessed some of the inception, or at least I was much closer to the source of that inception than those now leading the group. By their age, I can tell they would not have been old enough to have encountered Murshid Sam.
In L.A., I was the guy who was asked to collect the $2.00 entrance fee to the dances each Tuesday night. I was then the guy who gave that money to Hermila, who later became Tasnim, the L.A. leader of the dances. None of these people were there. I don’t know this for a fact, but I’m guessing Tasnim has probably passed on from this world. But, there was a group of us who were very tightly knit for a time. None of those people, now running the show, were there back then.
After years of involvement, yeah, it was my time to go, and I went. But, that did not take away my foundational presence in the beginning of all that currently is. Would those people let me teach? I doubt it. Yet, I possess knowledge about the foundations of the dance that they will never know. As do others who were there way back when.
It’s essential to note, I’m not throwing any hate here. I’m just stating a fact. I am just detailing the evolution of the evolution.
Sadly, Fumio Demura, one of the pioneers of Asian martial arts in the U.S., passed away a couple of days ago. There is a statement he made about the martial art sensei, that is widely quoted. In part, he says, “The person you refer to as ‘Sensei’ is in that position for a valid reason. It seems today I hear a lot of former students or ex-black belts disrespecting their Sensei for a myriad of reasons. In order to better help you understand why a Sensei deserves, or let me put it a better way, demands your respect let me lay it out for you. The Sensei is the one who has dedicated their life to the art they teach you. You will never have as many years of dedication in because you came after them.” Simple but true. I suggest you read the whole proclamation if you feel like it. It can easily be found on the web.
But, think about it, those who came before—those who came before you and came before me, they were there first. Thus, they hold knowledge that you or I may never know. This is the same with you and me. You and me, if what we have done was done first before others. There is something we know that, foundationally speaking, can only be based in our experience. Experience that others do not hold.
It’s kind of interesting for me, having witnessed it in my life. And, Demura speaks to it in his piece, when he talks about people disrespecting their seniors. For example, there is a couple of school, providing Yoga Teacher Training that use my book on pranayama as one of their textbooks. That’s great! Fine with me. But, they use my writings but do I approve of what they are teaching; i.e. the way they are providing a knowledge about the true factors of yoga? No. In a couple of cases, I believe what they are teaching is a total falsehood to the truth of yoga. Would they give me a teacher’s certificate, even though they are using my book as one of their texts? Probably not.
The martial arts are an ego-driven mess. I’ve spoken a lot about that fact, so I won’t go into it here. But, in the martial arts you see this kind of stuff going on all the time. There are people like me, and practitioners who are older than I, and were there before me, like Demura, yet people throw all kinds of shade their direction …People that were not there in early stages of development. So, how can they know what they are claiming to know? And, don’t they understand that just the being there, at the beginning, (or the before), truly gives someone something that the newcomers do not possess?  
This is just something for you to think about as you pass through your life. Really, what do you know and why do you know it?  And, don’t you believe that someone who was there before you, doing what you now believe you have all the answers to, just maybe perceives something with a little bit more experiential clarity than you possess?  Maybe they know something you don’t know. Think about it.


Just because someone else does something does not mean that you should do it.

Dear Fellow Filmmakers and Film Enthusiasts

Sorry… But, I’m still smitten with the whole ChatGPT ai phenomenon and what it thinks and prepares. I asked it to write me a speech about Zen Filmmaking. Here it is. Pretty Good!

I wish I knew something better to do with these ChatGPT musings than to just post it here, as it has come up with far better definitions of Zen Filmmaking than I ever have. And, I created it! Happy
Dear fellow filmmakers and film enthusiasts,
Today, I want to talk about a concept that has been gaining popularity in recent years in the film industry - Zen filmmaking.
Zen filmmaking is a term coined by the American filmmaker, Scott Shaw, who has been a practitioner of Zen Buddhism for many years. He believes that Zen and filmmaking are interconnected and that the practice of Zen can lead to a new kind of filmmaking - one that is intuitive, natural, and spontaneous.
At its core, Zen filmmaking is about being present in the moment and letting go of preconceived ideas about how a film should be made. Instead of obsessing over details and planning every shot, Zen filmmakers trust their instincts and allow the film to unfold organically.
One of the key principles of Zen filmmaking is simplicity. Zen filmmakers strive to create films that are simple yet profound, films that convey a sense of stillness and inner peace. They do this by avoiding overly complicated plots and camera techniques and focusing on the essence of the story.
Another important aspect of Zen filmmaking is the use of natural light and locations. Zen filmmakers often shoot on location, using natural light to create a sense of realism and authenticity. They also embrace imperfections, recognizing that they can add character and depth to a film.
But perhaps the most important principle of Zen filmmaking is mindfulness. Zen filmmakers approach their work with a sense of awareness and presence, paying attention to every detail and every moment. They are fully engaged in the process of making the film, and this shows in the final product.
In a world where we are often bombarded with distractions and stimuli, Zen filmmaking offers a refreshing alternative. It is a reminder to slow down, to be present, and to trust our instincts. It is a call to create films that are not only beautiful but also meaningful, films that inspire us to live more fully and to connect with the world around us.
So, fellow filmmakers and film enthusiasts, I encourage you to explore the principles of Zen filmmaking and to incorporate them into your work. Let us create films that are not only entertaining but also transformative, films that touch the hearts and minds of audiences around the world.

Thank you.

Zen: Acknowledging Reality As It Is

A lot of people possess an idea about Zen. But, most of the people who spout their ideas about Zen never truly possess the understanding of what Zen truly is or is not. From this, there is a lot of talk about Zen and the practitioners of Zen. But, without a true foundational understanding of Zen, based in fact, and not assumptions founded upon speculation, all that takes place, from the words issued by these people who claim to know, is a massive detailing of misunderstandings and misrepresentations.
One of the basic facts of Zen is that reality is reality. That’s it. Though we can turn our mind’s off from experiencing that reality, via tools like meditation, what is, is.
This is where the true practice of Zen comes into play. This is where a true practitioner of Zen takes Zen, at its most basic understanding, and applies it to their life and all of the things that they do. They accept reality as it is. They do not try to change it. Though, as is the case with all human beings, they may not like all that they encounter in their lived-reality, they, nonetheless, accept it for what it is; their reality.
From here, all the realms of the art based in Zen, and the life techniques of Zen, are given birth to. Those who do not understand often question how do things like archery, “Kyūdō,” the martial arts, the tea ceremony, “Chanoyu,” or even walking, “Kinhin,” equal Zen? But, in asking that question, or in questioning the reality of this reality shows the lack of understanding that the individual possess on the subject. From here, the projected misunderstandings multiply as people seek to define Zen, the Zen practices, and the Zen practitioners in the arts and otherwise, by their own limited understanding of the subject matter.
Zen emphasizes seeing life as life, reality as reality. Zen teaches meditation. It teaches the practitioner to make all life and all life activities a meditation. From this meditative mindset, insight into the true nature of mind, “Kensho,” or perceiving and understanding the true nature of reality, of nature and of things, is given birth to.
One of the biggest misunderstandings of Zen, initiated by those who do not practice Zen portray, is that Zen is about Self. It is not. Zen teaches the removal of judgement, arrogance, and egotism. That life must be lived for the better of all and not just One’s Self. Thus, by attempting to define a Zen Practitioner, from a basis of a lack of true understanding about what a Zen practitioner is actually basing their actions upon, all that is unleashed is more Mind Junk leading to the overpowering proliferation of Maya, “Illusion.” But, that’s the thing about illusion, the people who are most under its spell argue the hardest, claiming that they are not.

Perhaps that's the ultimate paradox of Zen, unknowing is actually knowing.
So, the next time you hear someone describing Zen—the next time you hear someone attempting to detail the, “Why,” in the life of a Zen practitioner, step back from that discussion and question, “Is that evaluation arising from the place of a true understanding of Zen, or is it based upon a complete distortion of what Zen and a Zen Life is truly based upon?”
Zen can be studied. Zen can be understood. How do you study and understand Zen? Let go. Accept the fact that reality is reality, all things are as they are, and all people are following their own path towards their own idealized liberation.

Roller Blade Seven Again

As I have been discussing for a while, I am more than a bit enamored with this whole ai thing that is taking place right now. Even SouthPark did a recent episode about it.
Anyway, I was sitting around the other night and I had this weird idea, “Let me see if ChatGPT could/would write me a script.” So, I asked it to write me a script tilted, The Roller Blade Seven. It did. And, it was pretty good.
For any of us who have played around in this recent world of ai, we know that each time you ask a question you will, most probably, get a different answer. So, I posed the same query a couple of times. Each screenplay was different and unique and good. Short, but good. Then, I also asked Bard to compose one for me. Again, good stuff.
So, just for fun, here they are, the New Roller Blade Seven Scripts, ai generated. If only I had enough money to bring this film into production, I could turn one of the (or all) of these screenplays into the next chapter in the Roller Blade Seven Saga. Happy
The Roller Bade Seven by Bard
Scene 1
The year is 2042. The world is a very different place than it was just a few decades ago. The climate has changed drastically, and many major cities have been abandoned due to rising sea levels. In this new world, there are two types of people: those who live in the cities, and those who live in the wastelands.
The cities are ruled by a tyrannical government that controls every aspect of its citizens' lives. The wastelands, on the other hand, are a lawless place where anything goes. It is in this dangerous environment that a group of seven young people have come together to fight for freedom.
These seven young people are the Roller Blade Seven. They are all skilled martial artists and rollerbladers, and they use their skills to fight against the government and protect the innocent.

The Roller Blade Seven are led by Hawk Goodman, a young man who is determined to free his people from tyranny. He is joined by his sister, Sister Sparrow, a powerful warrior who is skilled in the use of the sword. The other members of the Roller Blade Seven include:
Ice, a young woman who can control the weather
Fire, a young man who can create fire with his mind
Earth, a young man who can control the earth and the elements
Wind, a young woman who can control the wind
Lightning, a young man who can control lightning
Shadow, a young man who can control the shadows
The Roller Blade Seven are a force to be reckoned with. They are the only hope for freedom in a world that has been ravaged by tyranny.
Scene 2
The Roller Blade Seven are on a mission to rescue a group of innocent people who have been captured by the government. They arrive at the government compound and quickly dispatch the guards. They then make their way to the prison where the prisoners are being held.
The prisoners are overjoyed to see the Roller Blade Seven, and they quickly help them free the other prisoners. The Roller Blade Seven then lead the prisoners to safety.

The government is furious that the Roller Blade Seven have succeeded in rescuing the prisoners.
They send out their best soldiers to hunt down the Roller Blade Seven and bring them to justice.
The Roller Blade Seven are now on the run from the government. They must use all of their skills to stay one step ahead of their pursuers.
Scene 3
The Roller Blade Seven are hiding out in a remote area. They are exhausted from their journey, and they are running out of supplies. They know that the government will not give up until they have been captured.
One night, the Roller Blade Seven are attacked by a group of government soldiers. The Roller Blade Seven fight bravely, but they are outnumbered and outgunned. Just when it seems like all hope is lost, a mysterious stranger arrives and helps the Roller Blade Seven to defeat the government soldiers.
The stranger introduces himself as Master Wu, a powerful martial artist who has been watching the Roller Blade Seven from afar. He tells the Roller Blade Seven that he has been waiting for them. He says that they are the only ones who can save the world from tyranny.
Master Wu trains the Roller Blade Seven in the ways of the martial arts. He teaches them how to control their chi, and he gives them the weapons that they need to fight against the government.

The Roller Blade Seven are now ready to face the government. They know that the fight ahead will be difficult, but they are determined to win.
Scene 4
The Roller Blade Seven attack the government headquarters. They fight their way through the government soldiers and make their way to the top of the building.
At the top of the building, they confront the leader of the government, a man named Pharaoh. Pharaoh is a powerful and ruthless man, but he is no match for the Roller Blade Seven.
The Roller Blade Seven defeat Pharaoh and overthrow the government. They establish a new government that is based on freedom and justice.
The Roller Blade Seven are now heroes. They have saved the world from tyranny, and they have given people hope for a better future.
The End.
The Roller Blade Seven by ChatGPT Number One
A group of seven rollerbladers glide across the desert, weaving in and out of rocks and sand dunes. These are the Roller Blade Seven, a group of skilled warriors led by the enigmatic Hawk.
HAWK, the leader of the Roller Blade Seven, stops and surveys the area. He senses danger.
HAWK (to his team) Stay alert, something doesn't feel right.
Suddenly, a group of masked bandits on motorcycles appear, wielding weapons.
BANDIT LEADER (laughing) Well, well, well, what do we have here? A bunch of roller skating fools.
HAWK (smiling) We're not fools, we're warriors.
The Roller Blade Seven take off their blades, revealing swords and other weapons. The bandits charge at them, but the Roller Blade Seven are too fast, too agile, too skilled.
The battle is fierce, but the Roller Blade Seven emerge victorious. The bandits retreat, and the Roller Blade Seven put their blades back on.
HAWK (to his team) We've got to keep moving. There are more bandits out there, and we have a mission to complete.
The Roller Blade Seven continue on their journey, their blades leaving trails in the sand.
The Roller Blade Seven have reached their destination, an underground lair. They enter cautiously, swords at the ready.
They are greeted by their old nemesis, SWORD, who has been waiting for them.
SWORD (laughing) I've been expecting you, Roller Blade Seven. And this time, you won't be so lucky.
The Roller Blade Seven and Sword engage in a fierce battle. Sword is a skilled warrior, but the Roller Blade Seven are too much for him. They overpower him and emerge victorious once again.
HAWK (to his team) We did it. We've saved the day once again.
The Roller Blade Seven exit the lair, their blades shining in the moonlight.

The Roller Blade Seven by ChatGPT Number Two

We see seven characters, all wearing rollerblades, cruising through the city with remarkable speed and agility. They weave through traffic and pedestrians with ease, performing flips and tricks as they go.
(to the group)
Okay, gang, let's hit up the park.
As they skate ahead, we see a group of menacing characters in the distance.
(to the group)
Guys, I think we have company.
(to the group)
What do we do?
(to the group)
We do what we always do. We're the Roller Blade Seven.
The group speeds up and confronts the menacing characters.
(to the menacing characters)
You're in our territory now. Leave.
(to the Roller Blade Seven)
No way. We're taking this territory over.
A fight ensues, with the Roller Blade Seven using their impressive skills to fend off the menacing characters.
(to the group)
We can't just keep fighting like this. We need a plan.
(to the group)
What if we organized a rollerblade marathon to raise awareness for our cause?
(to the group)
That's a great idea. We can get the whole community involved.
(to the group)
Let's do it. We'll show them that the Roller Blade Seven is not to be messed with.
The Roller Blade Seven by ChatGPT Number Three
We open on a group, known as the Roller Blade Seven, flying down city streets on their rollerblades. They're a diverse group of people who all have their own special skills and backgrounds.
There's Jax, the fearless leader of the group, who lost her parents in a rollerblade accident when she was young. There's also Jaime, the tech-savvy member who designs all their gadgets, and Sam, the strong and athletic member who can do incredible stunts on his blades.
As they skate down the streets, they come across a group of rollerblade outlaws, who are causing chaos and disruption. They've been stealing from local businesses and terrorizing the streets, and the Roller Blade Seven won't stand for it.
Jax and her team decide to take matters into their own hands, and plan to use their skills to take down the outlaws. But it won't be easy, as the outlaws are tough, skilled, and well equipped.
As the Roller Blade Seven get into a heated battle with the outlaws, they'll need to rely on each other, and their unique skills, to come out the other side victorious.
Will the Roller Blade Seven be able to stop the outlaws once and for all, and bring peace to the city streets? Or will they fall victim to the outlaws' tricks and be defeated?
Only time will tell in this exciting and action-packed adventure of the Roller Blade Seven.
The Roller Blade Seven by ChatGPT Number Four
Fade in:
EXT. Abandoned warehouse district - Day
We hear the roar of inline skates as an impressive group of seven rollerbladers flash through the deserted landscape. Wearing colorful outfits shaded by the hot, desert sun, they race recklessly through alleys, leaping from one building to another and performing impossible stunts on the fly.
EXT. Skate park - Day
We see the seven characters show off their individual skate styles as they perform gravity-defying tricks on every feature of the park. They speak to each other in a familiar shorthand, comfortable and confident in their abilities.
INT. Diner - Day
As they sit down to a well-earned meal, we learn that they’re not just enthusiastic athletes, but a close-knit community. One of the seven, a young woman named Sam, shares the news: the city they love is under siege by an army of corrupt and greedy developers. The developers plan to bulldoze the city’s skate parks to make way for luxury developments. The Roller Blade Seven decide to mount a resistance and save the parks they call home.
EXT. City Hall - Day
The Roller Blade Seven arrive on the steps of City Hall, calling on concerned citizens to join their fight. One by one, skaters of every ability and age roll up to stand with them.
INT. Meeting room - Day
In a high-stakes confrontation with the land grabbers’ executives, the Roller Blade Seven puts their resourcefulness to the test: they combine their passion for skating with their expert knowledge of parkour and hacking, challenging the corporate goons to thwart their plans and save the city.
EXT. Skate park - Night
In a night filled with high tension and all the fireworks of Independence Day, the Roller Blade Seven and their vast army lock horns with the developers, making a stand that echoes from one end of the city to the other.
The Roller Blade Seven prove that sometimes standing up for what you love takes a little bit of courage – and a lot of imagination. In the end they find a solution that preserves the green spaces of the town and the vibrant culture that surrounds them.


Who do you owe what to and why and when was the last time that you tried to pay them back?

Do you ever think about that question or do you only think about who owes you and why?

The Passion of Dispassion

Have you ever met a person who is very passionate about their life. They have a purpose, and that purpose is all encompassing. The level of what that individual is passionate about is as expansive as the vast array of human personalities that inhabit this planet. But, think about it, I imagine that we have each met someone who is just so focused and so intense about whatever that something is, it cannot go unnoticed.
Most of us, I believe, have experienced those moments in our life when (maybe) we find something new that really excites us. We fall in love, or that whatever really grabs us, and we become acutely focused. Most of these things come, and then they go, however. That intensity of passion does not remain a defining factor of our life. But, in that moment of passion we are passionate.
There are also those people who are dispassionate. They sit around and they just don’t care. They do nothing. They embrace the nothing. They do not do this from the perspective of Zen, however, where they very consciously embrace dispassion as a means to center their mind in order to encounter satori. They just sit back and let their life waste away.
In Sanskrit, dispassion is referred to as, “Vairagya,” while passion is, “Abhinaya.” Obviously, from the spiritual perspective, those who walk the spiritual path are taught to very consciously enact the mind of Vairagya. They are trained to run from all of those things that take the mind away from the Higher Self. But, most people care about none of this. All they care about is what they are feeling in any given moment and if what they are feeling is making them feel good.
How about you? Where do your passions lie?
For me, as I have always believed it is an essential element to walk in the world. To be in the world but not be of the world. To live life as life is meant to be lived but to very consciously make it a meditation. To learn from each life experience. And, to grow from those experiences. From this, one does not run from the overwhelming suchness of reality but encompasses it into the spiritual pathway.
Yesterday, I had an interesting experience, regarding passion, which will take a little bit of back-storying to tell…
For any of you who practice the martial arts, or any fighting art, or, in fact, any advanced physical activity, you know that sometimes your body gets hurt. That’s just the reality of the reality. Recently, I got my back tweaked and it really hurts. I’m not one of those people to take drugs to make me feel better. I’m just not about that. So, I’m forced to do what I do, encountering the pain, until it heals.
Like most of us, I have to go to the supermarket to get food periodically. My lady and I had gone to this other store in this shopping plaza to buy her sister this wine that she really likes, and my lady suggested that we go to this supermarket across the parking lot to get dinner. Now, I really dislike this supermarket. I always have. It is just always so crowed, and it is so poorly designed and laid out that it is always a mess in there. Is that a passion??? But, as a method of ease of operation and following the path of least resistance and all that, I reluctantly agreed.
Inside, I had grabbed six bottles of wine and had put them in one of those hand-held carry-around supermarket containers and was choosing which vegetables to buy. It was actually taking some time as their veggies all looked a bit old and not very fresh or appealing. Hate that place!
Up walks my lady and unthinkingly throws a five-pound bad of oranges into the already heavy basket I was carrying. BAM! That just destroyed my back. Really re-pulled whatever muscle that had been pulled from my ground fighting adventure. It really hurt! Combine this with the vegetables not looking good and me not wanting to be in this place in the first place and it sent me into a mood. I was impassioned. Impassioned about not wanting to be there.
Of course, my lady was sorry. At least so she said. She even suggested we leave. But, I had already picked out the wine and all that. So, all I could do was to find the best veggies I could find, go stand in the long, horribly designed lines of this place, check out, and go home, while my back was fucking killing me.
You see, this is the thing about passion, in many cases, we are sucked into it. Whether it be something very positive or something very negative, we encounter whatever we encounter, we live whatever we live, and from this we are given that something which causes us to feel in some intense manner.  
If you want to, you can think back and draw on the memory of one of your passionate life experiences. Really trace it down, take it to its source and see what caused you to feel what you felt and maybe even come to understand a little bit more about the WHY of your existence.
For me, I guess this all started with my life-long involvement in the martial arts. Were the martial arts a passion for me. Yes, certainly when I was young, they were. I trained and pretty much still train every day.  So, that passion, which was my choice, like all passions are, set this course of events into motion in my life. Add to this, me needing to buy dinner, me disliking that supermarket, my having a lady who threw the oranges that she likes into the carrier I was holding, and there it is, the passion based in one thing led me to what I was now living. Me. I chose all of this. It was my passion that caused all of this to occur.
There is always a price to pay for passion.  
This is an important to thing to ponder as you pass through your life. This is an essential thing to think about as you encounter your life. Yes, you may develop your passions, but no passion comes without a price to pay. That is why the truly spiritual seek to avoid passion. Not from an unconscious perspective but from a very consciousness understanding.
Lesson: Passion is great. It makes you feel. It gives you a reason to live. But, you will always pay a price based in what you, and you alone, are passionate about.


At best, you can only interpret what another person is doing but you can never truly understand it.

The Source Point of Aggression

I watched a little bit of Dr. Drew on the Chris Cuomo show on NewsNation yesterday. They were discussing how all of these various group gatherings, (supporting or being opposed to whatever), always seem to turn into a violent chaotic mess anymore. Drew stated that since the pandemic he has noticed how the overpowering state of mind has become aggressive. Hmm…
For me, and I’ve watched this closely, what I have seen is that, since the pandemic, the overreaching state of mind has become very selfish. And, I’ve discussed this in this blog, (many times), how it seems that people have come to a state of mind where they think they are the only person in the world, or, at least, the only one that matters.
This being said, I believe it is very true, that since the pandemic there has been a lot of wide-spanning violence. In many cases, these acts of violence have been brought about in the atmosphere of protest.
I guess it kind of all stated with the protests that took place around the George Floyd situation. I know, here in L.A., the city was torn apart by people who claimed they were protesting but did nothing more than break into business and rob them blind. In fact, and as I remember discussing this in a blog, people were coming from well out of the area, and in some cases out of the state, just because they knew they could rob here.
So, here’s the question—and it is an important one, how does any of that make anything any better for anyone other than (maybe) the person who is getting some new possession for free? How does the hurting of business owners, how does the destroying of property, prove anything but that the people doing it are just animals? Sure, we all can feel that there are wrongs in society, and some people have been persecuted, but does violence, thievery, and destruction ever make anything any better?
When I was in India, studying with Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, long before his personality seemed to make a change, when he relocated here to the States, what he taught was a, “Dynamic,” chaotic meditation. Where, instead of sitting and turning off your mind, one would stand up, maybe scream, yell, laugh, cry, whatever, and attempt to let go of all that dissatisfaction, hurt, and life-junk that is trapped inside each of us. Yes, that was a radical approach to meditation, at least at the time, but all of that, “Letting out,” was controlled. It was calculated. Defined solely by the mind of the practitioner. Here/now, what has been allowed to take place is uncontrolled chaos leading to nothing but damage and destruction.
During that period, a couple of years ago now, portions of cities, in places like Portland and Minneapolis, were blocked off from law enforcement and left to Mob Rule for a time. But, who gained from that and who was hurt? Who gained? Maybe the criminals. Who was hurt? The true citizens.
Each of us, at certain points in our life, become angered and incensed by what is taking place outside the realms of our control. That’s just human nature. But, it is what we do with that emotion that defines us as who we are and dictates either the contribution or the hurt we unleash onto others and the world as a whole.
I have long watched, as I have passed through my life, that there are some people who throw these ginormous adult tantrums. My belief is that, as a child, if they screamed long enough and hard enough, they would get their own way, and they never evolved past this mindset.
This is the same with violence. Of which I have seen a lot of. There is always the big-bully who, as he or she is a very imposing figure, they try to dominate any situation they encounter. And, this big-bully statues may come in many forms, not just physically big. But again, this is a person who has never evolved. They have never risen to the level of embracing the higher-mind.
So, what does this tell us? It explains that the people who do bad things are bad people. They are bad at their core. They are doing what they are doing based upon an unrefined animal instinct, where they have achieved no level of higher development.
This being understood changes nothing, however.  All it does is delineate who is what.
Can you change a person of that mind? Maybe, if you have the chance to speak with them and if they are open to your guidance. But, in most cases, probably not. They find compensation in those aggressive behaviors and satisfaction in that internal turmoil.
There are those, in the world, that seek a reason to be angry. Why? Because they have no self-developed purpose in life. Thus, they seek the drug of adrenaline. Though not a physical substance, this is a very addictive drug, nonetheless. And, like all drugs, it just sends the taker in deeper and deeper until their addiction destroys them.
So… As I say over and over and over again, all life beings with you. What you think, what you say, what you do spreads outwards from you and onto the world. Can you change the minds of those who unleash violence? No, probably not. But, you do not have to be a part of all that. Refute it by not doing it and/or condoning it.
Life begins with you. Be the source of positivity and goodness. Say good things, do good things. Never let your anger control you.  Never transcend to your lower self. It’s really as simple as that.


How many times does a person have to say they're sorry before you realize that if they were sorry they would not have done it in the first place?

Reflection of Your Reality

When you honestly look at your life, when you truly look into the mirror of your life, what do you see? Do you see the real you? Do you see the person you want to be? Do you see the same things as others see? Or, do you see an altered reality version of yourself dominated by lies and denials?
Very few people possess the ability to see themselves as they truly are. Most self-assessments are highly defined by the distorted self-image of desire or denial. They are defined by the way a person wishes themselves to be seen and understood or the hiding behind the convoluted compound of what they are not.
When it comes to others, additionally, very few people possess the ability to view and assess another person as they truly are. What they do is to define that other individual by the way they judge the world, defined by the premise of how they wish everyone else to be demarcated by their own singular and egocentric view of reality.
What we are left with is a world where people base their entire existence upon the lie of illusion—the way they perceive their reality and the reality of others. What comes from this is a life lived in a state of falsehood, situated around something that is instigated only within the mind of the one individual.  
Take a moment and think about yourself. How do you perceive yourself in the realms of reality? How much of what you see in and of yourself is truth, compared to how much of what you view is a perception held only within your own mind? Really think this through as it is a very important factor in your own human evolution.
Once you have come to a clear conclusion about how much of the self-perceived reality about yourself is true or false, pull someone else into your mind. It can truly be anyone. …Anyone you think about. Define that person in your mind. Now, take a moment and truly contemplate what parameters have you used in that designation? How much of that delineation is based upon the true reality or that individual, compared to how much of it is based simply upon what you believe you perceive you see in that person?
Again, this is a really important thing to think about because how you define others sets the stage for where you will be lead next in your life; because life is a never-ending progression of movement based upon personal perception leading to personal interaction.
Most people never step beyond the realms of the way they, (personally), perceive reality. They think of themselves as they think of themselves and assume everyone else sees them in that same light. They think about others and believe that simply because they have placed that definition upon that other person, that is who they truly are. But, is any of this based in truth or is it simply based upon a self-regarded projection of one’s own inner mind?
Ultimately, who and what do you wish to be in life? A person who feels they hold, knows, and understands the truth of themselves and others and from this they permeate an ego-filled reality. Or a person who moves their life to a higher level of consciousness where the rudimentary falsehood of self-definition is lost, and the emancipation of free understanding is allow to be given birth to?
Let go of what you think you know—let go of your false definitions about yourself and others. From this, not only your own existence but the entire continuum of the all and the everything is allowed to enter into the space of true freedom.


If you don't understand the language they are speaking, you can't be insulted by the words that they say.

The People You Didn’t Help

I don’t know about you, but whenever I can lend a helping hand to someone, I do. But, then there is the case when there is that someone you could not help. There’s a million reasons for this. But, sometimes it just does not work out. Maybe they even wanted your help, but you could not give it to them. Then what?
I think this scenario becomes the most complex when you are actually trying to help someone and whatever it is you are doing somehow goes sideways. I know I have encountered that consequence a couple of times in my life. Someone needed some help to move their life forward, I offered and it somehow went wrong. Sometimes, you don’t even know why this happens. It is based upon something going on in the mind of that other individual—some interpretation of something that you said or that you did that become more amplified than the helping hand you were lending.
Has this ever happened to you? Was there a time when you were intentionally helping someone, and your help turned into a confrontation or a disillusionment of a friendship?
Here’s one of the main things you need to keep in mind when you enter the space of helping, that person needs your help for a reason. They need that help because they cannot do or achieve that whatever on their own. Then, when they do receive that help—when you give them that help, some are grateful but there are others who then use the help, turn it around in their mind, maybe at the prodding of someone else, and interpret that helping (your helping) as some sort of something negative.
I know in my life, whenever someone helps me, I am always so grateful. I accept the help; use it, learn from it, grow from it, and then try to return the favor somewhere down the line. Not everyone is like that, however. How about you? How did you respond once you were given some help?
Some people need help because they choose to not be able to do that something on their own. They want the help and/or all things handed to them with no effort. Then, when whatever help they need is given to them, they may take it, but it causes them to become envious, angered, not satisfied, or whatever, with the help they were given and they simply use it as a means to lash out as they believe they should already more than they actually are.
Life is complicated. Some people are complicated. Even something so genuine as lending a helping hand can be complicated if it is extended to the wrong individual.

I know whenever something like this has happened to me, it makes me feel bad. It also makes me feel sorry for the person that they are turning around a good deed, that was meant to aid them in their life, and making it into something negative. When situations like this occur, it is truly a sad event.
The only thing you can really do in these situations is to remain pure in your gift.  First of all, don’t give help just because you think someone needs it. Don’t give it because you believe you know what someone needs, or you wish to alter the direction of someone’s life. All that kind of stuff is not for you to judge. Wait until you are asked for the help. Wait until it is knowingly acknowledged that you are lending that helping hand. Then, if the person receiving the help takes that help in some direction that you never anticipated that it would travel, and maybe even attacks you for giving it to them, at least you be settled in your understanding that you tried to do a good thing even if your action were not interpreted as such.


When you see something for the first time do you look for the perfection or the imperfection?

Answer that question for yourself. It will tell you a lot about who you truly are.


How much time do you spend each day expanding your basis of knowledge compared to how much time do you spend believing you know all there is to know?

The Truth of Your Existence

Let me start this blog off with a link to one of my all-time favorite songs, from 1978, Driver’s Seat by Sniff n’ the Tears. After watching and listening to that, you probably want to read this blog. And, Maybe that’s a good thing. Happy
I believe that most people live an existence that is hidden in secrecy or at least context. There is the image that they project to the world and then there is their Inner Image, the True You, if you will. There is what they want everyone to know about them and then there is their True Self, the what is actually in their mind, or the things they hide from the rest of the world.  Where do you find yourself in this spectrum? How
true are you to the what and the who you truly are?
I had an interesting experience today. Let me give you a little backstory on it so you can really get the whole picture. Here we go… 
I think it is really important for people to keep a, (for lack of a better term term), calendar of their life. A day-by-day journal of what they have lived, what they are experiencing, how they are feeling, and the like.
I have to thank my Hollywood High School buddy, Darcy, who I titled, “The Darc,” way back when, for turning me onto this philosophy.
I noticed he used to keep a calendar where he wrote down what he did each day, what the weather was like, and that sort of stuff. Great idea! I immediately bought into it.
To tell you a little bit about The Darc… His father was the security guard at The Whiskey A-Go-Go. So, there we were, two young teens, who used to get in for free and get see all of the up-and-coming bands of the early 70s. We got to see some really good musicians that broke really big a bit later on down the line. 
He used to live just off of Sunset Blvd. Sometimes we would spend the night on the roof of his apartment building. You know, the kind of stuff that urban kids do. We would look down onto the streets and see cops having sex in the back of their cop cars with hookers and the like as the night wore on. Hey, it was Hollywood… Anyway, he’s the one who got me started on the method. Thanks Darcy!
Like most of my high school friends, I never saw him much after he dropped out. Aside from me, of all my high school friends, I think there was only one other person who actually went all the way through. That was Debbie, the sister of Lisa, who gained a lot of fame playing keyboards for Prince. Anyway…
The Darc and I had gone our separate ways in about 11th Grade. He had gotten really into boosting car radios, and he wanted me to do that with him. I was not that kind of guy. I was and am way too moral for that kind of stuff. In fact, at one point, my car stereo got stolen for like the third time. I believed it was him. But, I guess, I will never know. Anyway… Welcome to Urban Realism.
But, back to the story… I asked my mother if she had a calendar. She didn’t, but she did get me one of those free calendars that the bank gives away. At least they did back then. Since then, I have kept notes on the goings on of my life since I was like fourteen. That method expanded as I got older. I started to keep journals, though I don’t really do that anymore. So, if and when I ever need to find out what I did on a specific day, I can go to one of my storage units, and if I am luckily, I will find that calendar.
I think this is a good tool. I think this is a practice that everyone should under take.
Also, and leading into what this saga is actually based upon, since like ’83, when the first generation of those little mini-tape tape recorders came out, I have carried one. I do this to not only record my thoughts, but to take notes of movie, musical, song, poetry, and photographic ideas I have, and even to grab interesting life-scape sound, and the etc. every now and then, as well. An audio journal. Though tapes deteriorate with age, I have all of those stashed away in a storage unit, as well. Of course, then came digital. This brings us to this day…
This morning arrives. I couldn’t find my tape recorder. I looked everywhere. FUCK! I believed it must be lost. I thought and thought where I could have lost it, but I came up with nothing. I said to myself, “After all of these years, I guess it had to happen sometime.”
At first, I was very upset about this. I mean, someone was going to be able to listen to my inner ponderings and maybe grab and possibly use some of my creative ideas. But, then I had this big realization, there is nothing that I have said on that tape recorder, or any of the other ones I have owned throughout the years, that I would not/or could not say to anyone. Me, I try to be one hundred percent Real. Sure, someone may not like what I think or say, but I hide nothing. So, it came to me, as I thought about writing a blog based upon these goings-on, I was going to put it out there, more as a joke than anything else, “If you find it and want to send it back to me, great! If not, whatever…”
I even went to Best Buy to pick up a new tape recorder. But, they didn’t have one in stock. So, I planned to order one on Amazon when I got home.
I came home from my morning, out on the town, doing what I needed to do. When I got home I thought to myself, “Let me check my sport coat from yesterday, one more time,” There it was, in my wallet pocket. How the hell I didn’t notice it the first time around, I have no idea? I guess it was just some sort of a test from the great beyond???
So, back to the original question… How real are you?  What do you keep hidden? Why do you keep it hidden if you do keep something hidden? What secrets do you hold? What do you want no one else to know about you? And, what would happen if someone found them out?

The Scene of the Crime

There was another mass shooting in L.A. yesterday. I don’t what’s going on, but the world is going crazy. At least here in the States, there’s mass shootings happening all the time anymore. It seems like ever since the pandemic lock down was lifted, everybody is just going nuts. I mean, certainly it can be witnessed in the way people drive. It seems like everyone just thinks they’re the only one on the road and fuck everyone else. I mean, just yesterday I was getting out of my car to go and check out this antique store in Pedro and this guy, in this junky old Honda, comes zooming by, just a few inches from me, and then honks at me; like I had done something wrong, when he was the one far too close to the parking lane. But, that’s not the point of all of this…
The shooting took place in a shopping plaza. On the news, as they were flying over the scene of the crime, I realized that in the corner of that shopping plaza, in the West Hills neighborhood of L.A., (in the Val), is the International House of Pancakes I took my friend Donald G. Jackson to for his last birthday meal. That’s where he wanted to go.
It was his birthday, the one that turned out to be his final birthday. He was turning sixty years old. What he wanted to do that day was to go out to some of the seminal filmmaking locations where we, and many others, had made movies and have some photographs taken of himself. So, I packed up my Nikon F4s, picked him up in my 356, and we were on our way. I took photos of him where many of the old Republic Serials were films, and we went to Vasquez Rocks where we had shot scenes for several films.
I believe it’s really a good thing that those photos were taken of the man, as he was soon to pass on from this world. At the time, though he was dying from leukemia, he was still fairly functional. So, the day and the shoot went well.
If you look on my site, those are the photos I use for DGJ in several places and on the cover of the book I composed about him. And hey, all you internet thieves out there, stop stealing them! They all hold copyright. Happy  
On that day, I also gave him what I believe was his final birthday gift. The Tag Heuer he had worn for years had finally bit the dust and he needed a new watch. Knowing I was into watches, he asked me if I would get him a new time piece. I happily said, yes. Though, after the fact, I questioned my judgement in that response, as Don had very particular and somewhat strange tastes.
It took me awhile of questing, but I finally found this watch that I would describe as being considered, “Space Age,” during the 1960s. I guess he liked it, because in some of the aforementioned photos he intentionally displayed it.  That was the watch he worn until he left this world.
After the shoot, we ended up at that IHOP on Fallbrook and Vanowen. I forget what he had. I am sure it was something very sugary. But, of course, he ordered his three drinks: water, coke, and orange juice.  
He had an untreated hiatal hernia. So, since the day I met the man, he was always barfing. Many times, in restaurants. Really gross! Thankfully, and in part due to his drinks, he did not barf that day. But, he did enjoy the meal I bought for him.
I know he wanted to hang out into the night, but I was teaching a class at Santa Monica College, and I had to leave to get over the hill.
…One of the interesting things about that class is that the wife of this very established actor was taking it. I always wondered why??? I mean, her husband was big time. I guess she wanted to learn the intricacies of video filmmaking, which was still a new Thing back then. Anyway…
Don passed away about six months later. He asked me to take him to U.C.L.A. Medical Center which is where he existed for his last days.
Death has never been unknown to me. I remember spending Christmas Eve, when I was three, in the waiting room of the hospital as my grandfather passed on. I thought it was so strange to return home, in the morning, to open Christmas presents with my father, when his father had just died. My dog died when I was seven. He was only a year or so old but contracted Korean distemper. I was devastated. I was a latch key kid, long before that term was coined, and he was my only friend. I prayed and prayed that God would bring him back to me or, at least, get me another dog. Still nothing. Not even to this day. So much for praying… My father died when I was ten. My childhood was pretty much fucked after that as my mother had no idea how to be a parent. The list goes on, but you get the point.
People pass on, they die. It’s just the sad fact of life. People are out there getting gunned down in shopping centers for nothing more than anger or ego. Plus, people die from the everything else. They’re gone and the people who remain are left with nothing but the memories. I guess the point of all of this is, you never know when someone is going to be gone. It can all happen so fast. You really need to make the moments count. Be nice. Be kind. Don’t only think about yourself because they, that other person, that everyone else, they have feelings too. Make them know you care about them. Do good things for them. Don’t be selfish. Because in a flash, it will all be gone and all that will be left are those photographs you took of them and the memories that come to mind when you are reminded of the place you ate that person’s last birthday meal.

Forced Nostalgia

As I often comment, by nature, I’m not a very nostalgic person. I mean, I have friends who are locked into the music of the 70s or the 80s and they never have looked forward. But, that’s not me. Sure, there was some great music that came out of both of those periods of time. And, I can say without a doubt, I lived some of the best, most experiential, years of life, during the 1980s. But, I’m not locked into that or any other time zone. I’m always looking for and impressed by the new.
This being said, I was harkened back to look for the vinyl I own, produced by The Smiths. …Well, at least I used to own it. In looking for it, I realized it’s all gone. I have a pretty good idea of who played sticky hands with it, and I am going to go and have a conversation with them, just after I am done with this. But, in looking, I confirmed that vinyl was gone. …Unsettling. But, as I was in the S’s I did take note of a couple of other bands. I put on the ’95 release of Sun Volt, Trace. Great Album! 
Tear Stained Eye is on it. Then, I noticed the ’88 release by The Sandmen, Western Blood. Great song on it, House in the Country. Popped that on next. Again, great music! Then, due to thinking about The Smiths, it guided me to put on some Johnny Marr, The Messenger. New Town Velocity is on that album. Good stuff!
You know, there’s the kind of music that I now created, and I have predominately focused on for a long time; structural soundscapes. The kind of music I hope causes the listener to be drawn in and to seek out the audio subtitles. I’m under no illusion thought. It’s not Pop Music. It’s not the kind of music where the lyrics draw you in.
You know, there’s something really great in that kind of music. Sure, it all follows a more-or-less formalized structure, using notes and chords that have been played a zillion times in very similar arrangements. But, in that, there is something known and comforting. You hear a sound you like, and you really like it. It makes you feel a certain kind of way.
I get it, there are those songs that stay great forever. Sure, some maybe you’ve heard one too many times. But, then there are those, just left of the mainstream, lost slightly to the realms of the unknown, where, when you hear them, they just make you feel good. We all have those.
On this blog, in the long ago and the far-far away, I used to list the music I was listening to for the day or the day before. I listed the vinyl and the CDs or the tapes. People used to thank me sometimes for tuning them onto something new. I’m sure I listed Sun Volt and The Sandmen back then somewhere, someplace. Then, came streaming, and I was listening to so much music, a lot of times I forget exactly all that went into my ears. So, I kind of stopped all that. But, here’s a thought for the day, go back into that music that you once loved. Maybe something obscure and/or almost forgotten. If you can, give it another listen. Take a moment to remember/to experience that feeling of overall Good-ness that song brings about in you. Step back and feel the feeling that song makes you feel.   
Anyway… I’ll quit rambling here. I’ve got to go and talk to someone about my Smith’s vinyl.

Filmmaking: Keeping the Artist from Creating Art

This is a piece I wrote and initially placed on this blog well over a decade ago. I believe it was also re-published in a magazine somewhere/sometime??? It’s been up over on my blog at WordPress for awhile now. Recently, I’ve been getting some likes on it and stuff so I thought I would repost it for you here. You may find it interesting. Enjoy!
As most of the people reading this blog know, I’ve made a lot of movies. Whether or not the people reading this blog have seen any of them, well that’s a different story…
People often ask me, (because I’ve made so many films), “How long does it take you to make a movie?” The answer is, I have it down to a science. If I have a location, a cast, and a crew, I can shoot a movie in a couple of days, have it edited, and sound tracked in a week or so. So, within a month, the whole film can be in the can. And, in some cases, already released.
The reason I can do this is that I do everything. I do not delegate the jobs. I always have ideas, my equipment is ready to go, I am always working on new soundtracks, and I keep my software for editing functional and up to date.
The problem is, the devil is in the details, as the old saying goes. Ever since 9/11 it has become more and more difficult to find free locations to shoot at. Everybody thinks that you are up to something bad if you show up with a camera. And, you do get shut down. So, my lack of locations, in recent years, has truly hindering my filmmaking.
An ideal and somewhat amusing example of this happened to me when I went to shoot some stock footage in the L.A. Harbor. I didn’t even have a cast or a crew. I was by myself. I was grabbing some shots and The National Guard drove up and before I knew it I was in those plastic handcuff things. I thought I was on my way Gitmo. They were telling me, “We are at war…” Luckily, they checked me out and figured out I was cool, no threat, and just a filmmaker. They let me go with just a stern warning.
The other problem is, as I have detailed in so many articles and books, here in L.A., everybody thinks that they are going to be a star tomorrow. And, this mindset has continued to get worse. So, there is a lot of misplaced ego floating around.
This is not just the case for actors and actresses, as you may expect, but for crew, as well. I cannot tell you how many times I have had an entire shoot day ruined by the cameraman. Yet, they remain all full of themselves.
Though I am personally a very meticulous cameraman, as I appear in many of my films, I need someone to shoot some of the scenes.
From this, the question is often asked, “Why do I appear in many of my own films?” Again it goes back to egos.
With everybody thinking they are going to be a star tomorrow, you never know when somebody is going to get their panties in a bunch and walk off the set. With me in the film, I know I am going to show up and, therefore, can fix any problems with the story if some cast member leaves.
Outside of the industry, people don’t realize all of these subtle particulars. This is how producers get people to invest in a film. Because somebody doesn’t know what to expect, they expect nothing.
I know producers are always promising the investor everything: how much money they will make, how they are part of the greater good, how great the cast, crew, and director is. They are told they will get an executive producer credit and they pull out the checkbook. Everybody wants to be a part of the film industry, don’t they? But, these words are all bullshit. Nobody makes big money on little films. Well, at least not the investors. Maybe the distributors…
The whole essence of my filmmaking style, Zen Filmmaking, is freedom and art. It is about removing as many obstacles as possible from the filmmaking process. But, the unfortunate reality is that times have changed. So, I do not make near as many movies as I could. Or, as some believe, I should. And, it’s sad because all I need is place to shoot a film and a few competent and willing participants. I don’t even need or want money.
By the way, I never take money from investors. It just makes everything too messy…
So, you see, every realm of art has its problems and its own set of unique circumstance that keeps the artist from creating. How long it takes for me to make a film is not the issue. The issue is, do I have a place and a posse?


You can never trust a person who is willing to steal from their family.


Your past can never be forgotten or forgiven as long as someone remembers what you have done.


I was walking out of this Asian food orientated supermarket that I like to go to. One of the main reasons I like to shop there is because they have this expansive vegetable section that offers tons of fruits and vegetables that are not made available at your normal supermarket. Just as I got to my car, this guy rides up on his bicycle, “Hey man, how’s it going?” He came up like he knew me. So, this time, as I have found myself being approached by so many people that seem to know me of late, but I have no idea who they are, I smile and ask, “Do I know you?” “No man. Well, we all know each other. We are all one big, beautiful, happy family.  I just wanted to tell you, I love your hair. I love you beard. They are so healthy. I love your suit and those New Balance you’re wearing. I just love you, man.”
Okay… I think we can all understand if someone you didn’t know came up to you and said that kind of stuff, it may be a little weird. Strange, yes. But, it made me think back. Back to when I was young.
Associating with the style of people I did, (back then), those hippies and holies, walking the spiritual path, this kind of discourse went on all the time. We were all very positive and affectionate towards each other. We all hugged all the time. We intentionally expressed a loving positivity. Of course, that was then, and this is now.
To describe the guy, he was probably younger than me, but looked older. He wore kinda raggedy clothing. I don’t know if he was doing Shabby Chic or was homeless or almost homeless. I would guess the latter. He spoke with the diction of, “The Dude.” I imagine if he was not on his bike, he may have tried to hug me. Of course, I would not have let that happen. Not in this day and age.  This is not 1973.
Anyway, he went on for a time with his ramblings of love and universal oneness. I started to get into my car. “Let me speak some words to you.” Oh shit, here it comes… But, he just went into some rhyming poetry. Me, I’m just not into the Spoken Word stuff. This, even though I’ve written poetry and prose for most of my life. I tuned out but I heard him say a few words like, “Song and bong and Cheech and Chong.”
I smiled. I closed my door. I started my car. He rode off. I drove off.
But, it all left me remembering a time when people actually embraced a positivity, for no reason but simply to be positive. When we met a new person, we greeted them with affection, not rejection. We all hoped for a better world, ushered in by embracing that universal caring and oneness.
Yeah, I get it, it’s all kinda weird. Do I want to be friends with that guy. No. But, I do wish the world and its people were not all so much in it for only themselves, as has become the case, and people actually did embrace the dreams of that positivity, love, affection, and oneness, as was once believed.

The Hidden Assailant

As a martial arts author, I have written so much about defending yourself against the hidden assailant and/or what to do when you are unexpectedly attacked. It seems that in the physical realms of reality it is much more easily discussed what to do, when. When it comes to the other levels of life, when you are attacked, from an unexpected opponent, defense seems oftentimes more complicated. Why? Because like all unseen attacks, the coward is attacking you from a position of surprise, where defense is never easy.
Think about a time when your life was shaken by someone coming at you and attacking from some unseen location. Maybe this was in some form of an insult, a lie, a harsh criticism, a false discourse, theft, cheating, breaking your heart, you name it—the list of this style of attack is sadly very long. Why did they do it? In most cases, it was because they wanted to hurt you. In other cases, it is not so devious, it is simply because they did not really care about your feelings. They put their own feelings over yours and, thus, though the hurt they unleash may not be as calculated as someone who is intentionally attempting to damage you or your life, what they did painfully hurt, nonetheless.
Take a moment and isolate one of those attacks that came at you out of nowhere. How did it feel? Undoubtedly it damaged you.
There are some people, in fact many who unleash this style of attack, who will claim that you deserved it. You had it coming. They do not like you or what you do or what you say so they attack from some hidden position. But, does their not liking you or being mad at you, (or whatever), give them the right to hurt you from afar? Of course, when you are on the receiving end, you will say no. But, turn this around for a moment, what about when you did something like that to someone else? What was your motivation? Of course, you felt the same set of emotions of wanting to unleash hurt to that person. But, did you ever question the truth of your why?
Most people who behave in this manner easily find a justification for doing what they do, in the capacity of clandestine hurt. But, as in the case with all justification, the unleashing of hurt is only a very self-centered ideology, based upon a specific set of beliefs harbored and emulated from a single individual. Yes, what they do may spread to the minds of others, but does that make it true or right? Or, is it simply a selfish manifestations, instigated by someone who cannot see beyond their malignant self-doubt and/or self-hatred.
Hurt, especially the cowardly act of hurting from afar, is always unleashed by someone who does not possess a sense of universal awareness. They do not hold empathy. Because, if they did, they would not stoop to the level of this style of attack. Think about that statement…
In life, there are really two levels of mindfulness: there is the selfish and the Self-Based, from which hurt and hatred is unleashed, then, there is that of caring. Here, empathy is born. This is where helping, not hurting emulates from. This is the home of the God-Mind. Where do you dwell?
You know, some people hurt, and they want to attach their name to that hurt. They want to get credit, fame, money, ego-stroking, or whatever else from unleashing the pain. Many/most do it from some hidden realm, however, where they can hurt but no retribution will find them. Those are the true cowards.
This being said, an attack, no matter from where it is launched, is still an attack. What do attacks lead to? We all know the answer to that: hurt, pain, counterstrikes, and war.
There’s this great line delivered by Mickey Rourke to William Hurt in the movie, Body Heat, “Hey now, I want to ask you something. Are you listening to me, asshole? Because, I like you. I got a serious question for you: What the fuck are you doing? This is not shit for you to be messin’ with. Are you ready to hear something? I want you to see if this sounds familiar: any time you try a decent crime, you got fifty ways you’re gonna fuck up. If you think of twenty-five of them, then you’re a genius - and you ain’t no genius. You remember who told me that?”
Many attackers, especially those who attack from afar, believe they can get away with it. They do it because they believe they will not be caught. They do it just because they can get it done and hide their face and their name in the process. But, even on realms like the internet, finding out who did what, if you have the skillset, is pretty easy. Then what?
Now, I can say, attacking anyone, for some self-motivate reason, is wrong. We all know that. We all know that especially when we are on the receiving end. Then it’s all, “Boo Hoo. Why me?” But, what about when you’re the one doing it? Who are you thinking of? Who are you caring about? Who are you feeling for?
I can talk about deflection. I can speak about the proper techniques for the counterattack, as I have done in so many articles on the martial art. But, what life ultimately comes down to is you being the better person. You being the one who does no unleashing of pain. Can you be that person? Can you be that strong? Can you be the beacon of light in the sea of darkness? Or, can you only be the person who allows their Lower Mind to control them?
We all know what hurt feels like. But remember, the hurtful are always the ones who are ultimately looked down upon, no matter how much they hide the unleashing of their attack. The helpful are always the ones who become universally loved. Who do you want to be? The person who hurts or the person who helps?
Hurt never equals help. Remember that.

The Pathway of Explanation

Have you ever been having a conversation with someone and you are explaining something them? In your mind, what you are saying is very clear and is lucidly articulated. But, when that other person restates what you say or asks a question, you realize they totally did not get what you were saying at all. Then what?
I believe we all want to say what we think and we want other people to understand us. For the most part, that is probably the case. But, sometimes, no matter what you say, that other individual does not get it.
It’s so frustrating, isn’t it?
This happened to me today. I was talking with this sweet young lady, who is living her life, I mean really living it. That’s so cool, I think. Most people do not get to live their life to the ability this young lady is experiencing. Anyway, we were discussing travel and the like; where she and I had been, where she was going next, where I am going next; all good. I got what she said. But, in her mind, what I said did not translate. At least not to the definition I had hoped.
This all caused me to think how when these situations occur, (even though, yes, I understand, they are truly very meaningless in the overall landscape of life), it holds us to that conversation, making us question how we could have said that something better and/or how we can make them understand?
I’m sure we’ve been there. Have you?
Sometimes, you want to go back and reexplain. Sometimes, you just think it through and know never to explain anything in that manner or in that context again. But, it does not change the fact that the other person did not understand you and, thus, they are left with a faltering definition of your life.
Your life is defined by what you have lived. Your life is also defined about who you tell your life stories to. But, and maybe even more importantly, at least to the annals of history, your life is defined by how other people interpret what you lived, dictated by how they have deciphered the words and the stories you relay to them.
If someone understands you, then all is understood. But, if someone misreads or misconstrues your words, then what becomes the definition of your life? The truth or someone misunderstanding of the reality which you explained?

So Many Podcasts, So Little Time

First of all, let me start this off by stating, I have never listened to a podcast. I just don’t have time. I’m too busy living in my NOW and creating my own reality and my own art to want to listen to a bunch of dribble about everyone else’s everything. If you like ‘em, good for you! But, it’s just not me. In fact, whenever I’ve been asked to take part in a podcast, I have graciously declined.
I also have never watched anyone’s vlog. You know all those influencers, content creators, or whatever else you want to call them who sit there and talk about someone else’s something. I have never watched one, that is, unless it is a piece made up about me or my creations. Then, all I hear is wrongness and falsehoods. I mean, don’t people care when they are getting something wrong? Answer: I guess not. They just want to grow their base and maybe make some money. But, if all you are doing is disseminating misrepresentations and untruths, what does that say about you?
To the point… It’s like every time I’m listening to the news or some show on TV or the radio when I’m driving, that is presenting some sort of fact-checked information, all I hear about is this person or that who has a podcast. I mean, how many podcast are there? And, who’s listening? More importantly, why are they listening? Why aren’t the listeners out there living their life, creating, and doing something that is uniquely their own? Why do they care what someone else thinks? Why can’t they find the product those people are talking about, check the facts, or do whatever else it takes, and then draw their own conclusion? Moreover, why do they care about someone droning on about what they have experienced? Why listen to someone talking about their thoughts, ideas, feelings, or the experiences they’ve had in life? Why aren’t these people out there creating their own?
I don’t know, maybe it’s just that I’m too old school. Maybe it is just that I’m about living my life. Maybe I just believe the world would be such a better place if people didn’t waste their time lost in the nothing of falsely orchestrated reality, contrived by someone who didn’t live what they are speaking about. Maybe I just believe that people should get out there and do something that is uniquely their own.
So, here’s the question to pose to yourself, what do you want to do; listen to what someone else has experienced or what they think about that someone else’s something, or do you want to get out there and live your own experiences, created your own life memories, produce your own self-created art?
As always: your life, your choice.

Bard, Scott Shaw and Zen Filmmaking

As I often discuss, I am quite frequently so amused at the information that is disseminated on the internet; be it right or WRONG. What??? The internet never lies, does it? Happy
As previously mentioned, I have been very infatuate with the new ai technology coming out of ChatGPT. And, though it is not wholly accurate, it is very well presented.
Yesterday, Google invited me to check out the first unveiling of their new ai, Bard, and give them my feedback. I was happy to do it. Not to piss-off Google or anything, as they are the King of the Universe, it was not very good—at least not yet. Not near as complete as ChatGPT. In fact, I’m really surprised with them being Google, and the King of the Universe, that they didn’t hold it back for a little while longer until they really got it right. But, maybe that’s why they allowed access to me and to others, to let them know what’s what. For example, when I searched my name, they combined my bio with that of the cartoonist Scott Shaw. And, that’s just one example.
Anyway, I also searched Zen Filmmaking. Here’s what they gave me. See if you can spot the rightness and the wrongness. I could tell you, but where’s the fun in that? Happy
Scott Shaw is an advanced martial artist, writer, and filmmaker who has developed a unique style of filmmaking called Zen Filmmaking. In Zen Filmmaking, there are no rules or definitions, and the only guiding principle is the spontaneous creative energy of the filmmaker. This allows for a spiritually pure source of immediate inspiration to be the only guide in the filmmaking process.
Shaw's first film, Samurai Vampire Bikers from Hell, was made in 1992 and took only two days to film. It was one of the first feature films to be shot on video and won an award at the 1993 Tokyo Experimental Film Festival. Shaw has since made several more films, including The Last American Ninja, The Zen of Blood, and The Zen of Death.
Shaw's work has been praised for its originality and its spiritual depth. He has been called "the father of Zen Filmmaking" and "the most important filmmaker of our time."

Here are some of the key principles of Zen Filmmaking:

  Spontaneous creativity: The filmmaker allows for a spiritually pure source of immediate inspiration to be the only guide in the filmmaking process.
  Simplicity: The filmmaker strips away all unnecessary elements and focuses on the essential.
  Minimalism: The filmmaker uses the least amount of resources possible to create a film.
  Living in the present moment: The filmmaker is fully present in the moment and does not dwell on the past or worry about the future.
  Self-awareness: The filmmaker is aware of their own thoughts, feelings, and motivations.
Connection to nature: The filmmaker is connected to the natural world and sees the interconnectedness of all things.

Dancing Queen

Not too far from where I live there is this lady that I see every now and then. I saw her again today. There she was dressed in all orange, a short-short mini skirt, and high heels. She was dancing, literally dancing, her way across Pacific Coast Highway.
Whenever I see her, she is dancing. Dancing and singing some song that is radiating only from her own mind. I may have mentioned her to you before, as she is quite a happy-making and inspirational sight.
I guess the caveat I need to add here is, it is a totally cold and rainy day here in L.A. But, there she is, dancing to her own rhythm—dancing her way across the street with no raincoat on or anything.
I guess some people would claim that she is not right. …Has some mental illness. But I say, she is hurting no one. All she is doing is what is dictated in her own mind. And, does dancing hurt anyone? No. If it makes her happy, how wrong could that be?
I mean, so many people are out there saying and doing so many negative things. Is any of that negativity helping anyone? No! Never!
So, though this woman may be a bit different, a bit freer than you or I, at least she is giving some goodness to the world and maybe making people become just a little bit happier by watching her dance. Seeing her, it takes you, me, anyone, away from the grind of normal reality and into a completely different life-scape.
Ask yourself, who have you made smile today? Think about that before you cast judgment on the people who are totally free or those who live by a different set of reality rules than you do. Does your harsh judgment of them make anything any better? No. Let them live their bliss.

Are you living bliss? Do you have a big smile on your face? If not, don’t judge someone who does.
Just think how great it would be if we all dressed the way we wanted to dress, whenever we wanted to dress that way, and danced our way across the street with a big smile on our face. Don’t you think that would make everyone just a little bit happier and the world just a little bit better place?

The Illusion of False Religion

As I grew up in an era where Eastern Spirituality was sweeping the West, I constantly came into contact with people who attempted to emulate that form of spirituality outwards from their own inner being. Me too, I fell prey to that illusion for a time.
It was really much more than people simply wearing what may be considered nuevo-yogic clothing and having their name changed to a Sanskrit name by their guru. It was the fact that people would learn something and then claim to be a teacher of it with very little foundational understanding to do so. Sure, they may have been initiated into an Eastern Religious Sect, sure they may be a part of a Sanga, sure they may have a Sanskrit name, and sure they may wear the proper attire, but possessing a true understanding goes so much deeper than any of that.
Even to this day, I see and hear people spouting a claim of Eastern Religious Knowledge. A knowledge that they do not truly possess. Maybe they use the words, maybe they are teaching yoga and other Eastern practices. But, at their core, they are just some Westerner dressing up and playing a part.
I often think back to this one woman, of Western descent, who for a time followed my guru. Then, at one point, she claimed she had some deep spiritual realization. She changed her name, added the title, Swami to her name, wore the garb, and because she had money, she set up a center and began to take on disciples. I remember the moment when my teacher looked at us, a group of his close disciples, and he said, “She’s gone a little crazy, hasn’t she?”
Just today, I heard one of this woman’s disciples, using some Sanskrit terms in their discourse, and presenting it like they held some deep knowledge, not known by the masses. One part of me felt sorry for her as she did not understand that she had been provided with such a limited teaching from someone who did not truly hold the basis in knowledge to truly teach what she taught. Another part of me was worried. Worried, that this limited level of understanding was being disseminated to others, who were believing what they heard.
Certainly, this is not the only case where this has happened. One Western teacher took on numerous disciples. What he taught was supposedly based in Hinduism, but his teachings were highly altered and focused solely on his limited understanding of the subject. In fact, due to his love of underaged girls, he eventually left the U.S., and his established ashram, and moved to a more forgiving geographic location where he would not be prosecuted. Yet he, like the aforementioned woman, remained a teacher throughout his life. Teaching, but what was he teaching?
Certainly, this mindset and behavior is not limited to the Eastern Tradition. We have all heard stories of the so-called Christian profits who lead their flock astray. But, confront any of these people with factual truths and they will deny your claims and their disciples may even put the bullseyes on you and attack. But, does that make the falsehood(s) in their teachings any more true? No.
I guess, if someone wanted to formalize their own tradition, based one-hundred precent on their own developed ideology, and claim it to be nothing more, that would be, at least, more authentic. But, to claim you are something when you are not, what does that say about you?
This leads us to the question of Self Belief. I’m guessing, each of the people who follow this pathway believe they are that teacher or that chosen-one.  But, if they, themselves, are believing a lie, what truth can they possible hold. What do they have to teach?
I get it, most of you out there, who read this blog, are not going to fall prey to one of these charlatans. You probably do not have the inclination to follow this pathway and you just don’t care about that kinds of stuff. That’s okay. But, no matter where you find yourself in life, you will encounter people who take to the pulpit and claim to hold some knowledge that they wish to spread out to the world. My only advice is, be careful who you listen to. Because claiming you are something, pretending you are something, presenting self-defined knowledge to others, even basing what you teach upon some ancient form of knowledge does not make anyone a true proponent. They are, at most, just a loudmouth.


Be honest with yourself, if you were to have to pay for every hurtful, dishonest, negative, deceitful, and larcenist deed you've committed what would be the price and could you pay it?

The Photographer in the Sunglasses

I first began to really take notice of the photographer in the sunglasses with the photos shot by famed photographer Bob Gruen and the pictures he took of John Lennon. This moved forward as Lennon pretty much always wore glasses or sunglasses in his post Beatles era. There was oftentimes that illusive someone there within the frames of his glasses.
Technology has changed a lot since that era. As the digital age dawned it became very easy to clean-up and wash out the person in the lens of the glasses within a photograph. Photoshop changed everything for a photographer. I was there before, and I was there after its introduction. Before, it took all kinds of very specific work in the darkroom to clean out the person in the lens. For those of you who never actually developed film, and worked on your photos, coming off of a negative in a darkroom, I think you really missed out. Yeah, sometimes it was very frustrating, but it was truly an art form within itself. Photoshop, and all the programs that came after it, made it all so easy. But, with them, and because of them, there was something lost. Lost was the effort which I believe is critical to art.
But, more to the point… I love the photographs where you see that someone in the frames of the glasses of the person who is being photographed. Me, as I too wear glasses pretty much all of the time, (that is if I want to see clearly), whenever someone is saying, “You can see me in your glasses,” I say, “Great!” There is just something pure in that image.
This AM, I saw this photo that Pierce Brosnan posted where you could see his wife taking the photograph in the glasses he was wearing. You could see her clearly, like in some of the photos taken by Gruen of Lennon. I mean, pure art! The subject and the photographer, how all-encompassing is that?
Now, as everyone is taking a million photographs all of the time, with their phones and stuff, there are so many more life images being captured. That’s great! Today, you don’t need to worry about using up your roll of film before all your needed photos are shot. But, I think, in some cases, there is this mindset that all photographs must be perfect. At least perfect in the expectation of what is commonly expected. They must be perfectly in focus, they must have no one in the background, the photographer should never be seen in the lens of the glasses the subject is wearing, and all that kind of stuff. But, think about it, how cool is it when you do see that other person or whatever else you can see in the reflection of the glasses. Doesn’t that give you a sense of revelation. You not only get to see the person being photographed but you get to see what they are seeing. In terms of the photographer, you get to see what they are wearing, what they look like, and what kind of camera they are using. It all provides you with a deeper sense of the absolute purpose and implementation of photographic art.
In closing, let your art be art. Don’t let it be defined by the what it is expected to be. Art should be freer than that. Art should be revealing. You should be able to see the artist in the artwork even if you only see them in the lens of the glasses of the person they are photographing.


We've all made mistakes. We've all done negative things. But, the point of living a good life is to never make those mistakes again and to do your best to correct any negative deed you have done.

How can you tell if a person is a good person? They never justify their hurtful actions and they apologize for any damage they've unleashed.


How often are you wrong?


The facts are clear that smoking leads to life ending diseases.

Therefore, is a cigarette smoker committing suicide?

If so, doesn't that mean that a cigarette smoker will not be able to go to heaven because suicide is considered a sin in the Christian faith?

The Price of Friendship

I was at the Whiskey, with a friend of mine, a number of years ago. He was a very-close friend, spanning decades. He is one of those guys who gets a little out of control when he gets too drunk. It’s one of those things where the guy can drink beer all day and all night without a problem, throw in the hard stuff, and forget about it. He’s gone. That was the case this night.
We had a table in the upstairs lounge area, near-by the dance floor. We were just kicking back, throwing back a few, and waiting to see what would happen next. As we sat there, I got talking with this other guy. Seemed like a good enough guy, so I left my friend under his watchful eye while I went to hit the head. He saw how drunk he was and I gave him specific instructions to keep him seated and under control. I come back a few minutes later and my friend was gone. I asked where he went, he told me the bouncers had thrown him down the back stairs.
It's a good thing that I didn’t see that or believe me when I tell you they would have followed him down those stairs in a very similar (or worse) manner. But, I didn’t see it, so I don’t really know what happened. All I could do was leave and find my friend.
Outside, I found him leaning up against the ’66 Mustang I had the time, very-very drunk but physically okay. I poured him in the car and begin to drive him back to his apartment in Venice. Of course, he puked along the way. I thought he did it outside of my car as he was leaning out of the window. But, as time when along, every time it was hot outside, you could smell it. Really gross! I guess it when down the window and into the door slot. But, he was a longtime friend and I didn’t have the skillset to pull the door panel off to clean out the inside of the door, so what could I do? The price of friendship.
Before all that happened, I had given that other guy my card and I was surprised when he called me up inviting me to the gig of his girlfriend a few days later. I harbored a few harsh feelings for the dude as he had not protected my friend, but I grabbed my lady and we went up to Hollywood to see the show.
We hung out a few times after that. As he was a martial artist, he even did a photoshoot with me for one of my magazine articles. I was writing tons of articles back then. Magazines, remember those?  
Though the guy had good enough technique, he hadn’t developed very exacting control. During the photoshoot, while we were doing a specific sequence for the camera, he side kicked me in the ribs, breaking them. That’s the thing about martial artists, though they all claim to be black belts, few possess the exacting skillset that title implies.
I guess I should insert at this point that as a lifelong martial artists I have had my ribs cracked or broken so many times, via sparing and the like, that I can’t even remember how many. But, every time, it still hurts. The price of friendship.
Take a moment and think about the friendships you have had over the years of your life. What was the price of your friendship? The price for you and the price for the other person? What did it bring to your life? What did it cost you? If you are still friends, why are you still friends? If you are no longer friends, why not?
I believe if you take a look a friendships you will see that there is always a cost attached to them. They are never free. Sure, you may like the person, you may enjoy hanging out with them and doing things together, but there is always a cost. If not for you, then for them. Or, maybe this time it costs you something, next time it costs them something.
Most people never really think about any of this. They simply live their life doing what they do. They remain friends with a person until either the cost is too much for them or too much for the other individual. Then, it blows up and it is gone. 
The disintegration of friendships are often times very subtle. The prices are paid until the price is wished to be paid no more. It starts to happen when even the smallest things seem too hard to tolerate.
People never calculate the cost when they begin a friendship with a person. They just live it due to the whatever that brought them together. The problem is, if you don’t calculate the cost then you are oftentimes paying a very high price, certainly more than someone barfing down your car door or breaking your ribs.
It’s easy to say, be careful with the friends you choose. Pretty much every parent says that to their children all the time. But really, think it through; study the person and who they are, what they do, and how the behave towards you and to others. If you don’t, you may pay a very high price. A price that will follow you through your lifetime.

What is the price of your friendship?


I was listening to a couple of CDs today. CDs remember those?
It’s kind of interesting… When I bought my current car, I didn’t even consider it having a CD player. I mean those are so twentieth century. After I got the car home, however, I realized that it actually did have a CD player in the stereo system. Cool…
I remember a couple of years back when Jonesy, (Steve Jones of Sex Pistols fame), was looking for a new car, he wanted one with a CD player in it and he couldn’t find one. …You know, us old school guys and all. Happy
Anyway… Recently, I put this CD case back in my car. It’s home to a ton of CDs that somehow I got a second or a third copy of and didn’t either give that copy away or donate it. …It holds a vast selection of music, as eclectic as the music I like to listen to. It’s not a far stretch to call me a music hoarder…
So, I’m driving along today and decided to pull it out and actually use my CD player. First, I pulled out a CD from the band HIM and then one from AFI. Not intentional, but two bands made up of names based on letters.
Have you ever found that there is a specific time in a band’s career that you really like what they are producing. Maybe you don’t like what came before or after that much, but in that specific time frame you found their music to be really good. For me, that was the case with both HIM and AFI around the mid-two thousands.
Anyway, it made me laugh when I caught myself… There I was bopping my head to the music as I drove along. I guess if someone saw me they would just assume that I was some Head Banger lost in a time warp, as everyone seems to assume that just because I have long blonde hair I’m into Metal. No, not really….
This makes me think back to the mid-seventies. I was walking to the supermarket, standing at the crosswalk, waiting for the light to change on Sunset Blvd., and these two young tourist girls, in a car with mid-western license plates, pull up and ask me, “Are you a hippie?” “No, I’m a yogi,” I immediately replied. When I got back to the Integral Yoga Institute, after the store, I told my story to Sister Maji. She exclaimed, “See, Shiva Dass, god was testing you.”
Anyway… You kinda had to be there to understand the subtleties of this story. But…
I really like the sound quality of a CD via a car’s stereo system. It’s very different from steaming your music, which pretty much all of us do now, via the various services. More than that, there is something very concrete about something physical; something solid and owned. I mean, it’s a Thing. In the case of music, it produces music. How it does that, I will leave to the scientists. But, it’s a whole Something onto itself.
Think about the airwaves, the radio. You can’t control that. You can’t decide what song will come up next. You can’t decide to listen to that song again.
Think about the music streaming services. Yeah, you can bring up a specific song, but do you ever listen closely to it—really closely. There is an essence in that sound that is missing. Something lost in translation. That is if you care about the subtleties of that sort of thing, which I do.  
This is kinda like life… You have what you have. You own what you own. It is whole, complete, real. You know it’s there because it’s there. But, all this everything else, where is it? What is it? It’s all some abstract something out there in the enteral realms of reality that you cannot control. You can’t hold it. You can’t touch it. So, what is it? Is it real? Or, is it simply something you have conjured up in your mind?

When You Need the Help of Others

I had a weird remembrance this morning after receiving an email from someone asking me about this movie I did…
As the story goes, I was teaching a filmmaking course at (I think it was) Santa Monica College. I was about to go up on this film and my cameraman bailed. He got offered some big money for a union project. I got it… No hard feelings.
I checked around to all the DPs that I knew, but as it was so last minute, everyone had a gig already booked for that weekend. Yes, I could shoot it myself, as I always tended to do with all my films, at least in a partial manner, but due to some previously shot B-roll, I had to be in the film. So, though I can be a very DIY filmmaker, I was going to need someone else to help me out.
There was this one student in my class who talked a lot about all of the footage and films he had shot. Though I never saw anything, he seemed like a natural guy to ask to get on the bus. (I mean, Spike Lee was doing it all the time by this point in his career; teaching a class and having his students help him shoot his film). Anyway, I asked. He was not interested. I even told him I would pay him. Nope… For whatever reason, he was not willing to help me out. …Me, if I was a young up-and-comer like he was, I would have jumped at the chance. The chance to shoot a movie that had guaranteed international distribution. But, no.
So, I was really stuck. I finally turned to an old-guy I had known forever. He had tons of equipment, but he was a terrible cinematographer. But, I had no choice. I did get the film shot but it was never what it should have been, all based upon the fact that I asked for help and was turned down.
Have you ever had one of those situations where you need the help of someone else? You ask but they decline. Everybody has their reason(s) for doing what they do, but when their reason hurts your life, based upon the help you need, what does that say about them and what does that say to you?
One the flip side of this, there is another story… And, I have told this story before. I was teaching a course at U.C.L.A. I was about to go up on a film and this girl, who was taking my class, asked if she could shoot it for me. She had one of the really high-end cameras of the time. Sure! The shoot was to go up on Saturday. On Friday night she calls me up and asks me to meet her at a Starbucks in NoHo. Though I live in the far-away Redondo Beach, she being my DP, I agreed. I get there. She pulls out her camera. “Can you show me how to focus this?” What! She owned a great camera but had never used it. Shoot cancelled! I had to find someone else.
So, here we are on the other side of the coin, there she was, someone who wanted to help. Help, but she could not. Again, everybody has their reason(s) for doing what they do, but when their reason hurts your life, based upon the help you need, what does that say about them and what does that say to you?
We are each going to need help at some point in our life. Help with some sort of a something. Some people are very, (for lack of a better term), outgoing. They know a lot of people. For them, due to their large circle of friends, help may be easier to find. But, at the root of all needed help there is one person wanting something and there is one person willing to give them that something. What is the problem with wanting? Answer: It is based in desire. What happens from something based in desire? Answer: It creates karma. You ask, they give, you owe.
So, whatever it is you seek to do in life, you need to be very careful about that choice to do; especially if it requires the help of someone else.  Because once that someone else comes into the picture, everything has the potential for change, and that change may not be good, and what you achieve, based upon that help you asked for, may be nothing like what you had desired, hoped for, or expected.

Say Good Things. Do Good Things.

I believe we all are confronted, on a daily basis, by people saying and doing good and positive things as well as people saying and doing negative things. We all know which is which. Yet, how often do you say or do something negative, based upon your believing that you do not like what someone else is doing or has done?  The thing is, most people when they are in their moment of belief, whatever that moment of belief may be based upon, are only thinking about themselves: their feelings, their emotions, their desires, and their whatever else that is popping in their brain.
Take a moment right now, remember a time when you felt something or believed something that really motivated you to act—caused you to say or to do something negative. You probably do not have to look too hard in your memory to remember one of those times. Now ask yourself, how did that feeling, how did that desire, how did that emotion cause you to act? Did you unleashed any negative words or negative actions based upon what you believed or were feeling? If you did say or do something negative, what did you imagine would be the implication of that action to your life? Did you even care? Probably not. You were doing what you were doing, based upon what was concocted within your own mind, and you felt you were right in doing it. But, is negativity, on any level, ever the right thing to do?
Look around your life, look around your family and friends, look around your community, look to the entire world, does negative words or negative actions ever make anything positive or right? Sure, maybe you can hurt someone with your negative words or actions. Maybe that is what you want to do. But, if you do, even though you believe you are right in doing so, what is the ultimate outcome to your life for you having done that?
Over the years, I have written a lot about the subtle aspects of karma. The thing is, even if you understand karma, at its most rudimentary or advanced level, most people never bring their own karma into the equations. They never think about what will happen next to their life if they do unleash negativity. They just do what they do, based upon the belief that they can get away with it or that they have the right to do it.  But, where does negativity ever lead? One place; hurt. What happens from causing hurt? Karma.   
Here’s a brief little overview of the foundations of karmic understanding:
In Hinduism, karma refers to the consequences of one’s actions and the accumulated effects of one’s deeds. Karma is seen as a fundamental concept that determines one’s present and future circumstances, as well as the cycle of reincarnation.
There are three levels of karma in Hinduism:
Sanchita Karma: This is the accumulated karma of a person’s past lives. It is the sum total of all the actions: good or bad, that a person has done in their previous births. Sanchita Karma is said to be like a bank account, which contains the accumulated results of all past actions, and is carried forward into future lives.

Prarabdha Karma: This is the portion of Sanchita Karma that is destined to be experienced in the current lifetime. Prarabdha Karma is like a fruit that has already been plucked from the tree and is waiting to be eaten. It is the portion of karma that has ripened and is now being experienced in the present life.
Kriyamana Karma: This is the karma that is being created in the present life through one’s actions. Kriyamana Karma is the result of the choices and actions that a person makes in the present and it contributes to the Sanchita Karma for future lives.
As understood in Hinduism, the ultimate goal of human life is to attain liberation, “Moksha,” from the cycle of birth and death, and the way to achieve this is by performing good actions and accumulating good karma. By doing so, one can purify their soul and ultimately attain liberation from the cycle of reincarnation.

In Buddhism, a religion that was founded from Hinduism, the study of karma is designed to not only lead the individual towards nirvana but to make all of life enhanced via individual effort focused on embracing a positive lifestyle and mindset. The aim of Buddhist practice is to cultivate positive karma through acts of kindness, generosity, and compassion, while reducing negative karma through self-awareness, mindfulness, and ethical behavior. By doing so, one can create a better future for oneself and others, and eventually reach enlightenment, which is the ultimate goal of Buddhist practice.

Okay… That’s a little bit about the foundational what’s what of karma. But, what about you? What are you doing today that is making positive karma not only for your own existence but for those who live in this same time and space as you. Do you believe, on any level, that if you say hurtful words or do hurtful actions, no matter what your self-propelled motivation or belief may be, that it can ever lead to good karma? If you do, you should study the essence of karma a little bit deeper.
There is one cure for all of the badness in life and all of the generated negative karma; good words and good deeds. So… What are you going to say, “Good,” today, even about someone you may not like? What are you going to do, “Good,” today, even for someone you may not like?
Good is easy to do for someone you care about. But, “Good,” should also be done for those you don’t like, because any ounce of negativity you unleash towards them only adds to your own negative karma. Then, when bad things come to you, who do you blame? If you are honest with yourself, you can only blame yourself. But, do you? Most do not. They do not wish to look to their negative words and their negative deeds, leading to their own self-created negative karma. They just wish to be like any criminal, proud of themselves when they get away with it, but they only wish to cast the blame to others when they get caught.
Life is easy, say good things, do good things. Stop the negative buildup of karma. Like all things in life, it all begins with you.
Today, say something good, do something good, even about someone you may not like. Especially do it for someone you have hurt in the past. Stop saying or doing negative things. Stop the hurt! End your negative karma.
Try it, you may be amazed at what will happen next in your life.

The Last Train to Clarksville

I was down in Long Beach today. I was driving along the PCH. For you people not from L.A., trust me when I tell you Pacific Coast Highway, through Long Beach, is not at all what you probably imagine in your mind. It’s an urban mess.
In any case, all of a sudden, the traffic kinda started to bunch up. When I got up a little further, I could see that there was this homeless guy standing right in the middle of one of the lanes. Yup, he was just standing there, doing nothing. He stared off into some vast reality of a reason that probably only he could understand.  
For those of you who are from L.A., I am sure that you have seen on the news that Long Beach has become the destination point for the homeless. What apparently is happening is that the homeless who ride the L.A. Metrolink system all day and into the night, as a space of refuge, hit the end of the line in Long Beach when the system shuts down for the night and they are kicked off the trains. Off the trains and there they stay.
It's really a mess down there, homeless all over the everywhere. Many of them mentally ill. As seen on the news they have apparently really hurt or destroyed many of the local small businesses. I mean, it is a sight. Drive or walk down the streets and there are people wandering, people sleeping, people doing all kind of weird things. It really reminds me a lot of the urban centers in India. And, I’m not even talking about all the Mini Winnies, vans, and cars that have taken root in the industrial sections of Long Beach, where people park and never leave. Not to mention the vast encampment along the L.A. River. Anyway…  
That’s the backstory…
But, there this guy was, standing in the middle of a lane. Totally owning it. Many drivers were pissed. I get it, they had places to be. Most, I believe, were like me, afraid that he may jump in front of their car. But, past all that, I could not help but see what he was doing as a pure piece of performance art. Stationary, there he stood. Alone against the urban landscape and sky. Had it been a beautiful woman standing there, dressed in nice clothing, everyone, (at least every male), would be awh struck wanting to get her digits. But, it was just a guy dressed in dirty clothing. No expression on his face. True abstract art. True urban art. True street art. True performance art. But, true art, nonetheless.

Considering Your Ego

From my early involvement on the spiritual path forward, I was always trained that ego is your enemy. I believe this training truly embedded in me a sense of the fact that one should never let the external realms of their reality be in control of their true self.
Certainly, ego expands to all levels of human life, from the very small things to the very large elements of personal definition. But, at its core, ego can easily be understood to be the factor where one defines and projects themselves from their inner-self to all of the various elements of the physical levels of life.
Take a moment right now and think about how you like to present yourself. What do you like to wear? How do you speak? What accolades do you claim? Do you believe you are better and/or more than some people? Do you lie to others or yourself to make yourself seem like you are something good or grand? Now ask yourself, why do you do those things? Answer: Ego.
In the Sanskrit and Pali doctrines of Buddhism, ego is referred to by the term, “Ahankara.” This word defines the way an individual perceives themselves. In Sanskrit, the term, “Māna,” is used to define pride.  
In modern society, people are taught to develop a good sense of self-definition, to take pride in themselves and to embrace and embellish their pride in themselves, in their accomplishments, in their religion, in their culture, and in their race. But, by focusing life on such things as pride, which gives birth to ego, this leaves one’s life lost from the realms of spirituality and focused solely towards the physical.
We all can understand, nothing is permanent: people get old, people die, styles change, clothing can get stained or torn, there will always be someone bigger and better and more accomplished than you, religions are loved by some but hated by others, even cultures have been continually diminishing as the world has become smaller with eased international travel, and races are quickly all merging into one. So, if all things physical, by their very nature, are temporary, why should someone focus their life on the physical-ness of the things they take pride in?
Think about your own life. Think about the things you have done driven by pride or ego. Truly, define those moments in your mind. What did that action or actions ultimately lead to? Really, spell it out to yourself.
Some will say that they are not a prideful or ego-driven individual. Maybe that is true. But, do you like to dress in a specific style? Do you wear specific jewelry to depict your likes or your sense of fashion? Do you wear your hair in one style or re-do your hairstyle to fit the trends? All of this, and a lot of everything else, leads to ego. It is not solely defined by the person who brags about how great and accomplished they are. It is not solely defined by the person who thinks they are beautiful. It is not solely defined by the person who believes they are smarter than everyone else. It is not solely defined by the person who considers themselves to be tougher than everyone else. It is not solely defined by the individual who drives the very expensive car simply to show off their wealth. It is not solely defined by the person who displays arrogance because they believe they are more or better than someone else. It also comes down to the small choices in life.
Again, take a look at yourself. Truly answer the question to yourself, what do you do based upon your ego? If you answer this question honestly, most will find that pretty much all of what they do is based upon their ego.
In the yogic schools Hinduism, the term, “Anatman,” is used to describe the state of Non-Self where liberation is found. But, the fact of the fact is, how many people possess the mind to actually delve so totally into the Mind Space of realization that they are willing to leave all of the physical boundaries of life behind and became a sadhu? Very few. Most of us, even those of us who walk the spiritual path, at best try to live life to the best of their ability based upon an understanding that it is not ideal to live your existence based upon an ego-based perspective.
Though most do not possess the resolve to let go of all life-defining physical elements and attributions of life-fundamentals that could be defined as part of their ego, those who choose to live a life based in consciousness, and not ego,
do remove as many of the ego-filled obstacles from their life path as possible. From this, not only do they become freer, but they also contribute to the overall betterment of the world by not causing the Ego Factor to emulate from them creating all the chaos that it is understood to generate.
The Sanskrit term, “Aha
kāra,” references the individual’s identification with Self and/or ego. This is the level of life where we, as a human being, are limited from our perceptions of the great whole or liberation, known in Sanskrit as, “Moksha.” It is here that we are lost to the realms of subjective illusion and thus cannot reach nirvana.  
The simply question you must ask yourself, after you have defined one or more of the ego-instigated life dramas that you have lived through is, does you focusing on your pride and your ego lead to a better you? And, more importantly, does it lead to a better world?
The person who bases their life on the lies of the ego will most probably believe that it does. But, there lies the illusion of ego. The belief that you are right even when you are wrong.
Take a moment, truly look at your life; focus on the elements of your life defined by your ego. Do this because most people don’t. Think how much freer you would be if you could just let one of those ego-factors go. Then, maybe two or three.  
As in all things, your life is your choice. Do you want your life to be defined by the temporariness of your ego? The place where you encounter all that embarrassment when things go array. Or, do you wish to become free. Let go of just a little bit of your ego and feel the freedom you encounter. Give it a try. What do you have to lose?

Achievement Verses Non-Achievement

Certainly, we are all a byproduct of the opportunities that are presented to us. We each are created by the influences, both good and bad, that we have encountered. What we do with those opportunities and influences is what ultimately defines us as a human being. But, more than just that, what we eventually become is delineated by what we present to the world and why we present it in the manner we expound.
If you look to a person who has worked towards something, from the bottom up, consciously taking each step along the way, and has achieved and become acknowledged in whatever field that is, they tend to operate from a mindset of internal security. They project this to the world without the need for an exaggerated ego. They do not need to tell anyone who or what they are because they internally understand they are that Something. This being stated, I believe we have all witnessed those individuals who may work had to become whatever it is they wish to become but in doing so they pave their pathway to success based in lies, deceptions, and a projection of their own ego instead of possessing a foundational bases of true knowledge.
Why does this occur? The answers are as many as there are people who work towards a life goal. The thing to keep in mind is, however, most people do not consciously move towards success in the field of their desire. Yes, they may hope to become that Something, they may take a class, talk and associate with others who possess a similar hope, but they do not possess the focus to pursue this dream from the ground floor to its end-point.
There is a caveat to this, however. There are also those who go all-in with their pursuit. They are willing to work, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to rise to the top. Nonetheless, some in doing this, do so with a mindset based in un-truth. These un-truths may be lies they tell to themselves or lies they tell to others. But, a lie can never become the truth. So, if what anyone does is based in a lie, no matter how high they rise in the ranks of whatever field they purse, what they have achieved is based in a falsehood of truth and purpose. Meaning, they do not possess the foundational wisdom, at their core, to be what they claim to be.  
Finding someone to champion your existence is not that hard. There are many followers in the world seeking only someone to guide them. Following is easy. It takes very little effort. Then, all a follower has to do is to lay claim to the fact that they are under the tutelage of that whomever. But, if that whomever has based their existence on a lack of truth and innate foundational knowledge, who is following what and why?
Some, once they have achieved certain accolades in a field, attempt to move towards a higher source of knowledge in that given arena. But, if they lack true, ground-up, foundational insight in what and whom they purse for that advanced knowledge, all they can gain is placing a band aid over their wound of untruth.  
It is easy to see someone who has truly achieved. They claim nothing. Why? Because they are that Something.
If, on the other hand, someone is making assertions, no matter what certifications they may claim to possess, you can immediately know that they are operating from a position of ego, based in a lack of true self-worth, and not true knowledge.  Moreover, if anyone criticizes anyone who is that someone else in their field of pursuit, you can immediately understand that person, who is on the receiving end of their criticism has already achieved more than them or the individual making the claims would not be trying to diminish that other person's standing.
Achievement is not easy. But, it can be done. If you set about on a course of achievement, base all you gain in the truth of foundational wisdom. Never Become just so you can Become. Never lie your way to the top. For all that happens from that style of behavior is a world believing that they have learned something but, in truth, all they learned was only based in a lie.

Happy Holi

Today is the first day of Holi. Well, technically it starts tomorrow, here in the States, but as they began celebrating it today in India, I thought I would do the same. …You know, the international date line and all that.
I won’t go into the whole in-depth Hindu histories and realities of the whys of Holi for you here. You can look that up online if you feel like it. But, in brief, Holi celebrates the arrival of Spring, giving birth to the new and forgetting the old. It’s a day of color where you go to the festivals and everybody throws all this colored powder all over everyone. I was never a big fan of that. I don’t know… It’s just kinda weird, it gets in your eyes, and it’s very hard to wash off. But, I certainly do get the symbolism: the color, the fun, the joy.
But, what Holi is really about is embracing the new; allowing love to blossom and good to prevail. It is about forgiving the sins of the past; both in yourself and in those who have wronged you. It’s about connecting, reconnecting, and embracing the joy that is all around us if we allow it to prevail. It’s about good overcoming evil.
Me, today, I spent the day begin kind. Well, I always try to be kind, but I went about truly embrace it—from forgiving those jerks who drive bad and cut me off to reaching out a hand to everyone I could. I always smile at people. I am always happy to see them. But, I spread that even farther today, complimenting and saying good things to everyone I spoke to. I gave gifts to some of the people I know and could hook up with. I just tried to keep the day super positive, loving, caring, and giving.
I mean, just think if we all did that all the time. …If we stopped all and any of the negativity and only spread goodness. Think how much better the world would be.
Forgiveness, sometimes that’s hard. I get it. Especially if that somebody has not tried to fix what they have broken. But, if you can’t forgive, at least you can cause yourself to not dwell in that mindset. Just let what was be what was. Let the joy embrace your all and your everything in this moment of time.  
Right now, take a moment and look at the colors in the sky. See the beauty in all that surrounds you. You really don’t have to look too hard to perceive that magnificence, you just have to remember to think about that instead of all that other mind junk.
Holi is about joy. It is about color and it is about beauty. Holi is about embracing the new, letting go of the old, and being happy and joyous. Though we should be living our life like this every day, most of us are not. So, at least now, during Holi, choose to be that happiness, that kindness, that goodness, and that beauty. Undo and erase your sins. Be a better person. Live and spread joy. You can do it!

Controlling the Narrative

They just aired the last episode of the document about Muff the Surf on EPIX/MGM+ last night. It was one of those docs that should have been cut down by like half as they kept reiterating the same information over and over and using the same photos and film clips. But, that’s just my thoughts. Overall, it detailed the life of a man that rose through life, stole the Star of India diamond, (called the greatest jewel heist of the twentieth century), knowingly was involved in the murder of two young woman, was an admitted drug dealer while in prison, eventually found god, and became a preacher.
…Interestingly, my old Roller Blade Seven (and other) bud, Don Stroud played him in a 1975 movie, Murf the Surf, sometimes titled, Live a Little Steal a Lot. …That’s the title I saw it under in the movie theater way back when…
Anyway, as you watch the later parts of the doc, you can see how once he was released from prison, he tried to control the narrative about his life and particularly the killing of the two young woman. As he became a preacher, many claimed he was just a sociopath and as narcist hiding being a guise of religion. But, think about it, isn’t anyone who steps to the pulpit a narcist who believes they know more than others and possesses something only they can give to others, while getting paid to do it. But, that’s a whole other issue…
Most people, (most of us), hope to control our narrative. We want our good stuff to be known and out bad stuff to be hidden and forgotten. Most of us aren’t in the public eye, so that is, more or less, easily done. But, even on the personal level, we hope to be known by the definition of how we see ourselves, not by how other define us.
I was at this gathering the other day. Out of nowhere, this one guy starts telling a tale about me and this other person I know, who was also in attendance. As I was listening, my mind was boggled, that was not what happened. What he was saying made it all sound so grand, but it was not.
Normally, in situations like that, I just stay quiet and address the issue one-on-one a bit later down the road. But, a Tourette Syndrome moment came over me and I blurted out. “That’s not the way it happened!” Which, of course, stopped the embellishment in its tracks.
I looked over and I could tell they guy who had initiated the story was pissed. He had someone believing this whole grand escapade and was spouting it to the world. I could see the guy who was telling the story was pissed, as I had broken his mojo. But, it wasn’t the truth! Sure, he made it sound like it was some big macho exploit that sounded grand, and it did make me look pretty cool, but it did not happen!
This is the thing about second had stories; whether they are told in a newspaper, a documentary, on a website, or just spoken person to person; they are not wholly the truth, they are simply an interpretation of what someone either believes is the truth or wants to put out there so others will believe is the truth. But, if it was not lived by the person who is telling the story, and if that individual is not one hundred percent honest, then all of the everything becomes nothing more than a fictional tale.
Think about it… How much have you heard—how many stories have you listened to and believed? But, believing does not make the story true. It just makes you a believer. And, maybe you are believing a lie. If I hadn’t stopped that story, I just told you about, think how many believers there would have been and perhaps the story may have spread outwards from there.
We all wish to control our narrative. We all want to be seen a good, great, happy, holy, whatever… We want any badness we have done to be erased from the minds of all. We all live, we all die, we all do what we do in between. From there, stories are told, tales are created. But, the only true truth is the truth that we know about ourselves: what we have lived, what we have experienced, what we have chosen to do. Try this: instead of only focusing on the control of the external narrative, focus on the truth within yourself. Mostly, stop lying to yourself about who and what you truly are. Be your truth then the truth is all you will become.

You Should Have Done More

I don’t know about you, but I really base my life around trying to make things better. …On the small level and on the large. When I can help, I always help. At least I always try…
I was in this thrift store today, down in the LBC. When I walked in, I noticed there was this homeless woman standing right in the doorway of the store, messing with the items in her shopping cart. I just smiled and walked by.
Inside, I found this vintage turntable. WOW! Really cool!
Once upon a time, in the long-ago and the far-far away, it was not all that unusual to find things like turntables and old stereo equipment in thrift stores. But, then came all of those buyer-and-sellers—eBay resellers. Add to that the hands of time, and the stock has just got low; at least for functioning units.
A funny remembrance… I think to back in the day, when a lot of times people would etch their social security numbers onto their equipment. Every now and then, I have come upon one of those pieces of stereo equipment. Here/today we all know how protected a commodity like the SS# is. Now, not then… Then, it was a believed way to lock in an identification of that something that was YOURS. Anyway…
For those of you who know me, or for those of you who read this blog, you know, I love the subtitles of sound and I am constantly questing new forms for it to direct the music to my ears. This turntable was really cool. It is one of those idealized items. It comes out of the early ‘70s. It even has the sticker of the place that originally sold it on the back. I remember that store. It closed a long, long time ago.
So, I go in line and there is this homeless woman digging through, what I guess is her purse, trying to come up with enough change to buy a bottle of water. It took me a second or two to figure out what was going on but then I asked the cashier; did she need some money. He said, she did. “It’s on me,” I exclaimed. She took the water. The cashier thanks me profusely. Most likely trying to pick up on me.  I paid for the turntable and the bottle of water and left. The homeless woman thanked me as I walk out. “No problem. Happy to do it.”
But, here’s the catch. As I drove away, the thought came to me, I should have bought her two bottles of water. No, I should have bought her a six-pack. I began to feel very guilty.
All this caused me to remember back to this guy who came up to as I was eating breakfast at this outdoor restaurant a few years ago. By his clothing you could tell that he just got out of stir. All he had for shoes was a pair of plastic slip-ons. He asked me if I would buy him a pair of shoes at the Big 5 Sporting Goods store that was next door to the restaurant. Which I, of course, happily did. But, later that day, I began to realize, he was about my size, I should have given him the extra shirt and suit that I always keep in the trunk of my car, (just in case). Maybe that could have turned things around for him. But, I didn’t think about it at the time.  Then, like today, I felt so guilty.
So, here’s the question, what have you done today for someone who needs help? If you have actually done something, (because most people do not), what else could you have done to make that giving that you gave mean something even more?
It all comes down to those of us, (like you and me), who can help; actually helping. But, more than just that, why stop there? What else can you give, when you have the opportunity to give, (and to help), that could really change the direction of that other person’s life.
Don’t be like me and regret what you didn’t give.

Paying to Get Stuck

I was at my acupuncturist the other day. While I was laying there on the bed having my treatment done, I could not help but reflect upon the fact that this is all pretty strange. I am paying this person a couple hundred dollars an hour to poke needles into me. I mean, think about it, we pay people to poke us with needles. Isn’t that kinda weird?  
I don’t know about you, but the acupuncture I’ve had done to me has been hit or miss. The first guy I went to, back in the late 70s, he was actually a medical doctor, of Chinese descent, who also did acupuncture. I went there after I had a very serious motorcycle accident to help with the pain. Did absolutely nothing for me.
The next time was in Shenzhen, China. I was there doing a documentary. Just prior to going I was doing a film and the fight choreographer wanted me to do one of those head spin things that the break dancers were doing back in the day. Being a good soldier, I tired. It felt like I broke my neck. It was really scary. I said, “Fuck it,” I’m not going to try that again. But, my neck was left trashed. Over on the mainland, I went to this guy and in only one session he had me completely fixed up. He was good!
I had it done a couple of other times in the PRC, all with great results. Here in the States, not so much. This is especially the case since they opened up all these schools and all these Westerners got involved.
Here’s a fun fact for you… When I was set to go to grad school, I had been accepted into a Doctor of Oriental Medicine program at one such acupuncture school. It was either go there, to the MFA program at this renown art school, or follow a more traditional path. I listened to my mother and enter a conventional grad school program. I should not have. I have always regretted that decision.
I have a pretty good understanding of acupuncture and acupressure. I’m not claiming any expertise, but simply by the way I’ve lived my life, and the things I have done, I have a fairly good novice knowledge. So, I believe in it. Kinda.
But, acupuncture is one of those things, there is always an excuse that the practitioner can give you if it does not work. It’s not like you take an aspirin and your headache goes away sort of thing.
But, in some way, isn’t that all part of the illusion we call life. We hear the promises, we believe the stories, and from this we go and pay a few hundred dollars an hour for a promise. A promise that is not guaranteed to work.  And, if it doesn’t work, it is our fault, not theirs.
Welcome to the real world.

The Artist’s Vision

I have recently re-watched the two films the two filmmakers of Easy Rider made after they completed that film. The filmmakers: Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. The films: The Hired Hand and The Last Movie.
Certainly, Easy Rider is one of the greatest films ever made. In fact, 1969, the year that film came out, presented a number of seminal films to the world; including: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Wild Bunch, True Grit, The Magic Christian, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, The Rain People, and Midnight Cowboy (which I re-watched last night). Easy Rider completely depicted the mindset of an era. For those of you who were not alive during that period of time you may not get some of the subtle references. But, in terms of the story, the visuals, and the overall presentations of culture, it was truly a masterpiece.
As has been well-documented, that film only cost in the neighbor of $300,000.00 to create. It was financed by the people who lunched the musical group and TV show The Monkees. So, as Peter Fonda stated in his autobiography, The Monkees paid for the movie.
It is said that the Director’s Cut of the film, created by Dennis Hopper, was three and half hours long. Peter Fonda, the producer, and his team cut the film down to a more marketable time frame which made Hopper believe they had ruined the film. It would be great to see that longer version of the film, like say the way Coppola did with his varying extended versions of Apocalypse Now and Ridley Scott did with Blade Runner. But, I do not believe that will ever happen, as it doesn’t sound like that version of the film is still in existence.
As stated, I recently re-watched the two film the two filmmakers created just after they were done with Easy Rider. I had seen both in the theater when they were released in 1971. I even remember the theaters I saw them in. Both of which are no more. I remember the anticipation of believing they would be as groundbreaking as Easy Rider. They were not. The Hired Hand, directed by and starring Fonda, was a story-driven Western-based drama. The Last Movie, directed by and starring Hopper, though starting out presenting a series of very abstract and Chaotic-Zen shots and scenes falls into a strange narrative focusing on long dialogue-driven scenes, thought it does return to this entirely abstract visual concept.
Fonda, and a number of other established actors, appear in The Last Movie. People including Dean Stockwell. Michelle Phillips, and an up-and-coming Kris Kristofferson were cast in the film. But, you barely see them. If you didn’t know who they were, and you weren’t looking for them, you may not even notice their presence in the movie. Of course, Hopper did a great tribute to Sam Fuller by putting him in the film. If you don’t know who he is, shame on you!
The point being, these films were each the artist’s vision of what they wanted to present after Easy Rider. You can love or hate these movies—you can appreciate them for what they are or not, that’s irrelevant. What they are is the creation of an artist, at a specific point in their career, defined by all of the level of reality that surrounded them.
Fonda went onto appear in numerous movies and TV shows and direct Idaho Transfer and Wanda Nevada. Hopper did the same and further into his career directed a couple of great films, Colors and The Hot Spot. But, what they did then is what they did then. That was their art. Art the way the saw it at that point in their life.
I think one of the big problems with the mind of the viewing masses is they do not study that which came before. They just see, and that is all they see. They do not look to the work artists do before they do what they are currently doing. They do not consider the factors that surround them as they are creating a specific piece of art. I mean, sure you may know Easy Rider, pretty much everybody does, but have you looked to the work Fonda and Hopper did before that? Or, after that? Did you/do you look to the personal influences that formed their mindset to create a film as great as Easy Rider and the factors that caused them to generate their work that came after?
Certainly, as an artist, I have seen both sides of this question/situation. What I can say/what I have recognized, from personal experience, is that few of those who view any artistic creation possess the fortitude to seek out the defining factors of that piece of art. Not only for the creation of that specific artistic creation but of the artist themselves. Liking or disliking is easy. That’s mindless. But, can you create what that artist’s created? If you can, then do it. Create your own vision of your art. If you can’t, you can’t. So, how can you understand the mind and the motivation and the vision and the external influences of that artist?
But, think about this… If you simply let an artist create their art, isn’t everything in the world more art-filled? Liking or disliking means nothing. Some person took the time to make their vision a reality. That is true art. That is a true contribution. That is the artist’s vision. Isn’t that enough?


Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who can do neither, criticize.

Intoxicated Logic

For anyone who has ever gotten drunk, you readily understand that the consumption of large amounts or alcohol can make you say and do some fairly stupid things. Lord knows I have had my fair share of those experiences.
Every drug you take is different. They each send your mind and your body in a more-or-less specific direction. Some make you feel passive, while others amp you way up. Some take you to new and different realms of reality. They each are what they are and guide you towards what they guide you towards.
I’m not going to get into the moral debate about how good or bad any of those intoxicants can or can’t be. At least not right now. What I will say, as it has a lot to do with this piece is, specifically, alcohol does present your body and particularly your mind with a very specific direction of influence.
As we all know, from watching the effect of this intoxicant on others, (and maybe ourselves), alcohol removes many of the normal boundaries we possess. This can lead to all kinds of disasters; both physical and interpersonally. With boundaries gone, the truth of the individual is allowed to emerge.
If you ever have been drunk, and do this with some specific person, sometimes everything is good. You are with your friends or family. You have a good relationship with that person or persons. You are happy. So, you have a good time. In other instances, however, maybe all is not well in that relationship with that other person. There is some underlying something. Something that you think about them. Something that you feel towards them. Some feeling you have about what they have or have not done to you. Then/there, in those moments of intoxication, due to your enhanced lack of boundary limitations, what you truly feel about that individual may come out. And, it may emerge in a very explosive manner.
Now, the first thing you need to remember in all of this is that simply because someone feels a certain kind of way about you does not make their feelings valid, true, or all defining. This is true for them and it is also true for you. What they feel about you may just be a concoction of what is in their mind, based upon their limited perception of your reality. On the other hand, what they say may be very true and you simply do not want to hear the truth and the validity of what they are saying. But, think about it… Why does someone, why do people, feel what they feel about you? The answer is that it is based in their reality, defined by the way you have behaved in your relationship with them.
In each type of relationship people come to define the other person they are in that relationship with by the type of relationship it is. You feel one kind of way towards a friend, another kind of way towards someone you work with, whereas you most probably define your relationship expectations in a completely different manner for someone you are in a coupling association with.
In each relationship, the other person in that relationship brings a certain set of expectations. All you have to do is to look at a good relationship you have had with someone, verses a bad relationship you had with someone, to quickly understand where you stand in all of this.
To take this to a deeper level, how do you treat that person you are in a relationship with? Moreover, how do they feel about the way you treat them? Do you even know how they feel about the way you treat them? Do you even care? Do you know or even care about their true feelings about you, deep within their inner being?
From your own perspective, how do you feel about that person you are in a relationship with? Truly, what is your deep-down feelings about them? Do you harbor any ill will?
More to the point of this piece, what truth would come out or could come out if someone you are with was allowed to voice all of their true feelings about you, under the influence of alcohol or not? What truths would you speak if you were allowed to remove all of your boundaries about that other person? In other words, what do you really feel?
In every relationship there are all kinds of levels of feelings and emotions. …Feelings about how you feel about that other person, feelings about how they treat you, and feelings about the choices they have made and the things they have done in their past. That’s just the way it is. The thing is, if you are not one-hundred percent all-in, and completely accepting of everything about that individual, there will be underlying emotions that come to the surface. They may be called up via boundary removing drugs like alcohol. Or, it may just happen. It may just explode. But, if it is there, simmering under the surface, the one thing that that can be assured is that it will be one of the primary defining factors of your relationship causing you to behave in a specific manner and causing the other person to behave as they behave.  
The easy answer is, don’t be with someone/anyone that you have an issue with. Whether this is based in their past choices, their current choices, how they act towards you, or how they think, feel, and believe what they believe. That’s the easy answer, but life is not always that easy. Like I have long said, life is defined by availability. You can only choose from what is made available to you. But, here’s the fact that you really need to keep in mind, if you are associating with someone that you have a problem with, whatever that problem may be, it will come to the surface sooner or later.  So, don’t get drunk with someone you have difficulty with and don’t get drunk with someone who has a problem with you. Because if you don’t want to know what is truly on their mind, steer clear of intoxication because you never know what will be exposed.

If You Have to Ask Somebody for Help…

Have you ever asked somebody for help and maybe they gave it to you, but you could tell that they did not want to do it or they did a very bad job in providing you that help and it only made things worse? I think that is probably the biggest problem with asking someone for help. Maybe they are your family, maybe they are your friend, but if they don’t want to do it, they don’t want to do it.
Some people live in a very defined world. They do what they do and that is all they do. They have a very clear definition of their time and their space, and they want nothing to change. If you come in with a curveball and ask them to do something different, all they will do is hate every moment of it, if they choose to change or rearrange anything at all.
Others are not like that, however. They may be willing to help but the help they give you may be so haphazard that their help actually hurts.
Think about a time when you ask someone for help. Think about a time when you asked someone for help, but they did a very poor job of providing it or refused to help you altogether. What occurred due to you asking and them providing? Did what you need to get done get done or did it set a whole course of events into motion that maybe negatively follows you to this day?
Now, think about a time when someone asked you for help. A time when you did not want to provide the help they ask you for. Why not? Why did you not feel like helping them? And, what did your not helping them or helping them poorly do to that situation and/or to their life in general?
People, no matter how many friends they claim to have or how much they exclaim their love their family and friends, generally based all that they do upon what they want to do. They are happy help if that helping makes them feel good or provides them with something. But, if the opposite is true, forget about it.
Here are a couple of my life experiences, in regard to the helping of not helping, just to possibly
help you know that we each encounter the same kind of Life Elements in regard to undesired help.
A number of years ago, I got a call from my agent. It was for a last-minute audition for a bass player for this national commercial. The casting director saw my headshot, read I could play bass on my resume, and really wanted to meet me ASAP. Great! But, I had to be there in about an hour and I was not home or at my studio where my basses were. I thought, no problem, I will hit over to my close friend who owns a music repair shop. He had tons of basses lying around. I get there, tell him the story, and I could tell he was not about it. Why, I don’t know. He does have a bit of a (shall I say) strange personality. Finally, he reluctantly pulls one out. But, it was the cheapest, crappyist bass I could imagine. Why would he give me something like that! I’ve known him for years! He knows I’m a pro! He knows I’ll take care of the instrument! But, what could I do, I had to go to the audition? When I got there and checked in, the other players that were there, all pros, look at my bass and smirk. It was so embarrassing. Even the casting director made a comment about the bass. I didn’t get the gig. At least in a large part because of the bass I arrived with. That guy, (my friend), was a total dick. I’m embraced about that moment in my life to this day. All I did was ask him for the easiest of help. Let me borrow a decent bass for a couple of hours. But, no. He did not want to help.
Now, to turn this around, as I am no saint… I think back to this time when a longtime friend of mine was moving. Everybody hates to move. He and his wife had tons of furniture. So, it was going to be a mess. The move was set for Saturday morning. Me, I had just met this new girl. And, you know how that is; infatuation and all. I wake up on Saturday morning, with the girl next to me, and you know where all that goes. I just did not want to get up and help my friend move. Finally, in the early afternoon, I felt so guilty I got up and drove over to his house, lying and telling him I had forgotten. We did get him moved but without my help I am sure the early stages of all that were much harder.
Now, those are just two examples of life and the world of not wanting to help. Of course, I am sure my friend who loaned me the cheap-ass bass has helped others just as I have really put myself out there at times to help people. But, in that moment, in that time, there was that internal reason why of not wanting to help.  
Certainly, when someone asks you to do something negative or bad or anything like that, of course you don’t want to help.  But, there is a clear reason for that. But, for those other times, that not wanting to help is simply an act of selfishness. So, who are you? A selfish person or a helpful person?
In our mind, we all possess our reasons why. But, what is the motivation of your reason why? You really have to constantly question that question in regard to all situations. But, this is especially the case when someone asks you for help.
To help or not to help, that is the question. But, to help or not to help also sets the rest of your karmic destiny into motion.

Let’s Point Out Your Flaws

When you initially look at someone what do you see? Do you view the good things about their physical appearance? Do you study their clothing and overall look to perhaps affirm their unique sense of fashion and style? Do you seek to see the good or do you look for their flaws?
When you meet certain people there is that certain some-thing that is very obvious about them. When you meet others, in fact when you meet most, what they are and what they project is very similar to all those you see around them in whatever environment you find yourself in. There is nothing that really grabs your attention.  But, whether an individual projects an obviousness or not, what do you seek out in that individual?
This question is a truly defining factor about your life, your life vision, and how you view the world. It also provides a deep insight into your true inner-psychology. Really, what do you look for when you see someone else?
For some, they are very open and allow other individuals to be who and what they naturally are. For others, however, they look to find their faults. How about you? Really, how about you? When you meet a person, what do you look for?
This is one of the key elements to life. What you look for, you will find. If you are seeking fault in another individual, you will easily find it. The same is true if you are allowing a person to be who they are and are unleashing no judgment. If you view the world by this methodology, you see the naturalness and beauty in all by allowing them to be who they choose to be.
It is not hard to find someone, as we pass through life, who is looking for a reason to criticize someone else. Think about it. It goes on all over the place. How about you? But, do you ever study the people who behave in this manner? If you look to their mind, mindset, and perhaps even their physical appearance, what is the basis of the foundation for why they behave via this approach? If you look it is generally easy to see their reason why.
I am certain there are zillion physical, environmental, cultural, psychological, and you name it reasons for their behavior. But, that does not change what they project.
I believe we all understand that any level of criticism, one person unleashes onto another, whether it may be true or not, is simply based on one individual attempting to diminish that other person. But, what is the purpose of that purpose?
Think about a time when you found something that you considered to be lacking in someone else and you said something negative about them. Maybe you pointed out that something that you considered to be one of their flaws. Why did you do it? Really, why did you do it? Don’t let this question simply pass you by. Find the true answer within yourself. Why did you do it?
Here’s the deeper question that most people who behave in this manner never consider; when you did do it, did you ever ask yourself why were you doing it? Did you ever question what was your true inner-motivation for doing it in that moment? Almost universally, if someone asks themselves this question, and answers truthfully, it is that you hoped to hurt that person because YOU either believe that you are somehow superior to them, know something more than them, think what they are doing is wrong, or you believe you have the right to cast your judgement no matter how self-involved, self-serving, or flawed that judgement may be. Which is it?
In your life, how have you been judged? Do you ever ponder how you have been judged has affected how you judge others? Most people don’t. Moreover, when you have unleashed your judgmental statements about someone else, how did that make you feel? Do you ever question how that made you feel? If not, you are operating from a place of a complete lack of self-awareness. If you are operating from a place of complete lack of self-awareness, what does that say about you as a human being? Moreover, if you are content with believing you have the right to judge and/or attack someone, due to your own self-founded beliefs, who do you think you are? What gives you that right? Are you that much more than that some else? Do you have no flaws? And, why don’t you announce your flaws to the world hand-in-hand with what you are saying about that someone else? Why? Because you want to appear to be something more than that someone else. Are you?
Life swirls all around us. There is all this crazy stuff going on all the time. There are all these people doing all these things. Some are good and some are very bad. Where do you think harsh condemnatory judgement falls into that spectrum? And, how much do you believe it actually helps the greater evolution of the all and the everything?
It is easy to unleash what you think about someone else. But, how much time, if you are a person who does that, do you spend making you the better YOU? For most, if they live a life based upon judgment of others all they do is become addicted to their self-conditioned sense of power. But, is that power or is that just hurt? Does one person’s judgment of another truly give anything positive back to the world or does it simply create more chaos and pain?
What you do is your choice. But, any hurt you unleash, no matter how you want to justify that hurt, makes nothing any better.
Who do you judge? Why do you judge them? What is the ultimate result? And, are you a strong enough person to cast no judgement and simply allow people to be who and what they are?

My View Verses Your View

I believe we all understand that the basis of virtually all conflicts, whether they are large or small, is two people holding two separate points of views. Think about any argument you ever got into; what happened? You felt one way about a subject and someone else felt another way. Were one of you right and one of you wrong? Maybe. But, ultimately, doesn’t that just go to a point of view?
Think about how peaceful the world would be, (and could have been), throughout the annals of time, if people did not disagree. There would be no arguments, no fights, no wars.
Certainly, the focus of the world has been on the Ukraine war of late. What Russia did by invading was and is just wrong. From the moment this war was unleashed, however, it has been a proxy war for the U.S. and the NATO allies against Russia. I’m certain Putin did not anticipate this when he had his troops invade. Look at what happened in Crimea, when Obama was president, and Putin invaded. Nothing. I am sure that is what he expected in this case.
Now, I’ve spoken about this before, but the U.S. has poured billions of dollars into this conflict. This, when we do not even have universal health care in the United States and homelessness is rampant. And, that is just two examples that is the fault of the U.S. government, there are more. Yet, they are deciding to take taxpayer’s money, (of which I am one), and spend it on war instead of on its own people. …A point of view, leading to a choice, leading to a decision, which causes a disagreement.
I get it. I hate to see what is going on in Ukraine. But, all that is occurring, as is the case with most disagreements, is escalation. Putin has just now pulled out of the last nuclear arms treaty. Now what? He’s a bully getting beat up. He’s trying to save face. You never know what someone like that will do in a circumstance like this.
But, think back just a few decades ago when the U.S. invaded Vietnam. What was so different about what we did compared to what Putin is doing? We ravaged a country that was simply attempting to live it’s own destiny. Sure, the belief was that if Vietnam tuned to communism the rest of the region may follow suit. Dwight Eisenhower used the term, “Domino Effect.” But, isn’t political ideology simply a point of view? You may like one thing, but they like another. Ultimately, who is absolutely right?
What I am saying here is, just imagine if
you, (and I am pointing at you in particular), did not enter into a conflict. Think about if you did not try to impose your ideas and beliefs onto someone else. Envision if you simply allowed anyone to think and believe whatever it is they thought and believed and you did not try to change their mind and/or you did not try to impose your ideas, thoughts, understandings, or beliefs onto them. Wouldn’t everything be so much more peaceful?
You want to know the secret to peace? Do not try to force anything you believe onto anyone else.
The world begins with you. How are you going to act or react next?

The Ai Generated Definition

Since the advent of ai we all know how much has changed in the realms of the all and the everything. Recently, there has been a lot of talk about these new ai generated definitions that you simply type in a question and you will get an essay-style response. ChatGPT has got a lot of press which has caused Microsoft to go all-in with them to compete with Goggle, which caused Google to begin the development of their own ai program.
Since the first time I typed in a question to ChatGPT (and I discussed that in this blog a little while back), I have been enamored by this concept and overall expansion of ai reality. I really suggest you go there and check it out. Type in some questions and see what you get.
Recently, there was a lot of hoopla on the news about how the Google ai had gotten a fact wrong. I’ve seen that since the first time I typed anything in on ChatGPT. Sometimes, it gets something wrong.
One of the fun things that ChatGPT is doing now is that they have a little thing at the bottom of the answer, “Regenerate Response.”  Click on that and a new answer appears. Sometimes they are very close to the same, sometimes they are very different. Again, I suggest you try it. It’s fun.
“The times they are a-changin’,” AGAIN. You can either have fun with it or you can run from it. Your choice.
Here one of the latest responses to, “Explain Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking.” What’d you think?
Scott Shaw is an American filmmaker, author, and martial artist who is best known for his work in Zen Filmmaking. He is considered to be one of the pioneers of this unique style of filmmaking.
Scott Shaw was first introduced to Zen and martial arts as a child, and went on to study both disciplines in depth. He began his career in the film industry as an actor, but quickly became disillusioned with the traditional Hollywood filmmaking process.
In the early 1990s, Scott Shaw began to develop the philosophy of Zen Filmmaking. He felt that the traditional Hollywood approach to filmmaking was too rigid and formulaic, and that it stifled creativity and spontaneity. He believed that the key to successful filmmaking was to embrace the present moment, and to allow the creative process to unfold naturally.
Zen Filmmaking emphasizes a minimalist approach to filmmaking, with a focus on simplicity, intuition, and spontaneity. Scott Shaw's approach involves working with a small crew and minimal equipment, and relying on the actors' instincts and intuition to guide the creative process. He also emphasizes the importance of being fully present in the moment, and allowing the creative process to unfold naturally without interference from the ego.
Scott Shaw's films often incorporate elements of martial arts and Eastern philosophy, and are known for their unique, improvisational style. He has directed and produced dozens of films in the Zen Filmmaking style, including "The Roller Blade Seven" and "Samurai Vampire Bikers from Hell."
Overall, Scott Shaw's contributions to the world of filmmaking have been significant, and his approach to Zen Filmmaking has inspired many other filmmakers to experiment with new approaches to the creative process.
PS: if you click, “Regenerate Response,” a new definition is revealed. Here it is:
Scott Shaw is an American filmmaker who is best known for his work in the field of Zen Filmmaking. He is the author of several books on Zen, including "The Zen of Creativity" and "Zen Filmmaking," and has taught workshops on the subject in the United States and around the world.
Shaw's approach to filmmaking is based on the principles of Zen Buddhism, which emphasizes simplicity, intuition, and being in the present moment. He believes that too much planning and overthinking can stifle creativity, and that the best way to create truly original work is to let go of preconceptions and let the creative process unfold naturally.
In his book "Zen Filmmaking," Shaw outlines a number of techniques for filmmakers who want to approach their work in a more intuitive and spontaneous way. One of his most famous techniques is the concept of "One-Take" filmmaking, in which an entire scene is filmed in a single take, without any editing or retakes. This technique requires a great deal of preparation and rehearsal, but can result in a more natural, spontaneous performance from the actors.
Shaw's approach to filmmaking has inspired a number of other filmmakers and artists, and his work has been influential in the development of the independent film movement in the United States. Today, Zen Filmmaking continues to be an important philosophy for artists who are looking for new ways to approach their work and unlock their creativity.

Right or Wrong or Somewhere in Between? I have my thoughts. What are yours?

When You Have a Vision, Your Vison Will Always Be Questioned

What is the vision of your life?
Ask yourself this simple question, “What do you do that makes you a truly unique individual—something that sets you apart from the crowd?”
If you are honest with yourself, at least for most, there is very little that makes you any different from your peer group. You most likely dress the same, have a similar hair style, listen to the same type of music, and so on. So, what makes you any different?
Certainly, we are each a unique representation of our time and place in culture and history. But, other than that, there is very little to differentiate one individual from another. What differentiates you?
In some case, as few as they may be, there are those people who set about on a distinctive path. Sure, they too may be a byproduct of their time and their culture but within that delineation that possess a new vision that they present to the world.
But, here’s the thing… Think about those people throughout time. Think about someone you may have encountered or may know who does Some-Thing differently… Don’t they always find condemnation, ridicule, and criticism? It is rare that when a person presents a unique vision to the world that they are not questioned about that vision. Why? Because people like the same. People are used to the same. People don’t like change or things being done differently and their only defense is to attack.
Some people, throughout their entire life, follow the rules and do things by the book. How about you? How many boundaries have you pushed. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, when you have encountered someone who was attempting to present their own unique vision to the world, how did you react? Did you champion their attempt, or did you attack their difference?
The fact is, most attack. They are scared of, “Difference.” Why? Because they are so used to the, “Same,” and the mundane.
In my mind, if someone is trying to apply their own unique take onto reality, and if it is not hurting anyone, they truly should be applauded. But, most people do not accept this ideology. How about you?
It is the people who hold a unique perspective of reality that push the evolution of the human condition forward. If you don’t cheer them on, all you are doing is holding back the emancipation of unique, different, and evolving culture.
Like I say over and over, all life begins with you. So, what are you going to do the next time you encounter someone with a new take on life, the arts, or reality? Are you going to lend them a helping hand and provide them with support or are you going to hold onto the, “Old,” the “Known,” and the, “Same.”
Really, it is those who condemn the NEW and the DIFFERENT that can be understood to be those that have no clear vision of the expansion of New Thoughts and New Reality.
Let those who hold a New and Different take on reality reign supreme. For they are the one who enhance all of our existences.

The Choices You Make AKA Destiny is an Excuse

We are all defined by the choices we make. We make a decision to do something, we do it, and the rest of our life is defined by that decision.
Most decisions have very little consequence. There are some, however, that come to define the rest of our life and/or our death.
Think about a choice that you made that truly changed the direction of your life. Maybe this was a good change or maybe it was a bad change. But, think about it—pull it up into your clear frontal memory. Think about your life before that choice. Think about your life after that choice. Consider what your life may have been like had you never made that choice.
Most people are driven through their life defined by all kinds of Mind Junk that they do not even consider. They do what they do because maybe they want to do it, maybe they are coerced into doing it, or maybe they are even forced into doing it. But, if you bring that choice you are thinking about clearly into your mind, you will quickly come to realize that what led you to make that choice was defined by the choice you made before that and the one before that and the one before that. Thus, the decisions you have made to make a choice have set the course for your entire life evolution into motion.
I was told an interesting story that got me to thinking about all of this earlier this morning… My mother-in-law died from COVID-19 at the height of the crises. She was given the virus by her deadbeat son who lived with her. He contracted it while out partying with his much younger friends when it was all over the news that you really should not be out and intermingling. He got it and he brought it home to her. She caught it and died. In my mind, he killed his own mother because he made the decision to go out and party when we all knew that was not the time to do that.
Here's the catch, and the thing I did not previously know, a short time before the pandemic, my mother-in-law’s former roommate had asked her if she could come and live with her again.
She was a very nice lady, a phlebotomist by trade, who lived with my mother-in-law for a time after my father-in-law passed away. They had a great, mutually beneficial, relationship. But, my mother-in-law said, “No,” because her forty-something adult son was living with her. Had he had his life together and was not partying or was living somewhere else and actually paying rent, the roommate would have moved in with her, helping with the expenses, and my mother-in-law would not be dead. But, my mother-in-law made a choice and her decision to not only allow her adult son to live with her but not allow the roommate to move in literally caused her death.
Most decisions in life are perhaps not that grand and all-life defining. But, every choice you make, leading to that next decision, will affect not only your existence but the existence of all those who are affected by that choice. Do you ever think about this fact?
This got me to thinking about something I have pondered a lot as I have passed through my life. …How all of your life is defined by the decision to do, what you do, in the WHEN of where you choose to do it.
I think to the fact of how that one-Sunday, when I got on my motorcycle to go to have Sunday night dinner with my mother in Hollywood, and I got hit by a car, fracturing my skull, breaking my bones, and nearly killing me. Every moment of my life has been defined by that collision since then. I am sure the driver, piloting her Mercedes that hit me, barely, if at all, even remembers the incident. But, it defined the rest of my entire life. If I had made the decision to leave one minute later, the complete evolution of my life would have been different. I would never have been hit by that car. If that woman had decided to slow down and had arrived at that intersection one minute later, she would never have run into me. Both of our lives would have evolved differently.
A lot of people want to call in the question of, “Destiny,” into a discussion like this. But, destiny is nothing more than an excuse for not taking responsibility for the decisions you have made. You thought it, you made the choice to do it, it’s not destiny’s fault, the fault is wholly yours based on the choice you made.
Most people think of none of this. They just do. But, maybe you can be or become more than the average individual. You can care enough to think through the choice(s) you make, chart out their point of origin, and maybe even come to a conclusion about what may occur if you decide to do what you are thinking about doing, not only to you, but to the everyone else. If you don’t think about this, no one else will. Your decision equals your karma.


How much of what you disseminate to the world is nothing more than your point of view?

Sometimes You Just Want to Get Past It

Have you ever had one of those things that you knew you had to do but you were just dreading doing it? Maybe you put it off and you put it off but then finally you have no choice and you’ve got to get it done?
I imagine we have all had those things in our life every now and then. I’ve known a few people who feel that way everyday about their job. I would always question why they didn’t look for a different job. But some, they would rather suffer than try to find their bliss.
Sometimes in life we are forced into doing that something we don’t want to do. Like when your car breaks down or you get a flat. You’ve got to deal. There is no choice. That does not mean, however, that you want to deal. You don’t want to find the mechanic or spend the money. But, what else can you do?
A lot of those unwanted things in life are not so forced. They are more based upon something that we (personally) set in motion and then we put it off and put it off or we just sit around in dread until we have to get up and deal with it. …If we ever actually do get up and deal with it. I know in the later days when I was making narrative films, I felt that way. I would do the casting, get the locations, put the crew together, but then when it was the day before the shoot or on the day of the shoot, I just hated every thought about getting onto the set. It took every ounce of mental focus I had for me to make it out the front door.
In times gone past, when I was working with a close friend on making a film, it was fun. There was another mind to work off of. New ideas came into play and even when something was not going right, there was someone to live through that moment with. As time when on though, it seemed that people just wanted to take a ride. They just wanted to show up on the set either to be in a movie or to crew on a film. For me, it just became a long dread about me having to be the only one truly creating on the set and being responsible for the all and the everything. That was one of the primary reasons I began to shift my filmmaking agenda to the non-narrative film. I could still create cinematic art but without all the nonsense and the dread. It became so much more pure and organic and cinematic enlightening.
I’m sure you’ve had your own experience(s) like that, as well. Whether it is something big that will take a lot of focus or work to accomplish onto your dread about something small like going out there and mowing your lawn or doing the dishes.
The saddest part about all of this is that if we want to get it done, there is nothing we can do but to get it done. It must be a forced play or we end up at the end of our life having achieved nothing.
I don’t know that there is any easy answer to this. Sure, there are all of those motivational ideas pushed out there by people who are making money by writing the books or giving the lectures. But, that’s all just Mind Junk. It is a way to get you to do what you do not really want to do.
Ultimately, I believe, it all comes down to the choice. The choice of you choosing to choose. Are you going to get up and do it? Or, are you going to sit back and never get it done?
The only thing I can suggest is that, you know what accomplishment feels like. You also know what the frustration of having something hanging over your head, that you’ve got to get done, but you are not getting it done, feels like. It’s your choice what feeling you are going to choose.
Are you strong enough to make the choice to get it done even when you want nothing to do with doing it?

What is a Black Belt?

I always feel like I need to apologize to you readers out there when I write a piece about the martial arts, because I understand that most of you who read this blog are not martial artists. So, “Sorry.”  But, I also hope that what I discuss in these martial art related pieces is wide-spanning enough that maybe you can gain a bit of new life-understanding from reading them. So, here we go…
If you ask the average person, “What is a black belt,” they will most certainly come up with a definition about a person who is very good at the techniques of self-defense. As the typical individual possesses very little knowledge about the ranking system of the martial arts, they probably know that there are a few different color belts in the learning stages, but the black belt is the end-goal of training. “They are a black belt,” and that’s that. Maybe the term, “Wow,” is even thrown in as a symbol of respect for that person’s accomplishment.
As you martial artist out there understand, there are many levels to the black belt. In fact, in Asia, when an individual has earned their first-degree black belt, they are simply understood to be an advanced student and nowhere near the level of a teacher, which traditionally comes at the fourth-degree black belt level. Of course, here in the West, there is a completely different level of definition. Many a first-degree black belt immediately moves to the position of instructor and maybe even school owner.
Somewhere along the way, however, especially here in the Western World, the level of black belt rank or, “dan,” a person holds has become this highly sought-after goal; more so than a student becoming a better practitioner or anything like that. It seems many practitioners don’t even care about that. The minute they are a black belt, how good they are is good enough and forget about the formalities of the years associated with further training. All they care about is getting up there to that higher level of black belt degree ranking. From this, there arose all of these organizations selling rank. From about the late 1960s forward, black belt rank has become so convoluted that, to the true practitioner, it means very little. Yet, everyone wants to claim it. Look at the martial art magazines of that era, (and forward), you will see numerous organizations presenting advertisements that offer rank certification and advancement based solely upon the paying of a price.  
Whenever I speak or write about martial art rank, I often quote the statement that Bill, “Superfoot,” Wallace, made to me when I was asked to write an article about him for a magazine. He profoundly stated, “Back in the day if a person was a 1st degree black belt, they were impossible to touch. If they were a 2nd degree black belt, forget about it, they would tear you apart. Now, everyone is an 8th, 9th, or 10th degree black belt and they are terrible.” That is so true. So few modern practitioners, no matter what rank they hold, embrace a deep and true understanding of the subtle elements of the martial art style they claim. Why is that? Because they stopped learning the moment they received their black belt and transitioned to the mindset of self-believed mastery.

Then there was this whole wave where instructors, particularly in the Korean martial arts, began to refer to themselves as, “Master.” Then came Grand Master. What does that even mean? It sounds like something out of a mid-evil sorcerer’s tale, a video game, or a Satanic cult. Do you know how many Grand Masters I've seen get their asses kicked by a seasoned street fighter? Those who teach in the Japanese traditions do not refer to themselves as a “Master.” They just use the term “Sensei,” meaning, “Teacher.” By calling yourself a, “Master,” isn’t that just someone rock’n their ego? Like I have long stated, “If you are referring to yourself as a Master that probably means that you are not.” I cringe whenever anyone refers to me as Master or Grand Master. Just call me, Scott.

Certainly, not everyone is like that—not every black belt is like that. There are some very caring, tried and true instructors out there. But, for you martial artists out there, look around you, even look at yourself, how much new knowledge do you seek to gain on a daily basis, compared to how many people you wish to teach what you already know? How many compliments do you put out there towards other martial artists, compared to how much criticism you have unleashed?
I’ve said this in the past, but due to the fact I was a practitioner at the early stages of this modern evolution of the Korean martial arts, here in the West, and hailing from a city that was one of the primary central hubs of the dissemination of the modern Korean martial arts, Los Angeles, I have witnessed a lot of, “Hard to believe,” situations being unleashed, even via the hands of some very established instructors and organizations. Some would not believe what I have witnessed. Others would wish to deny that it happened. But, I was there. I saw it. It did happen. Yet, throughout all these years, people look to these organizations as some sort of a point of validation. Which I guess they are. But, all one has to do is look to the truth of their foundational essence and one will see that there are flaws. Even look to the fact of how many of these associations have dissolved. View how much scandal and controversy has been attached to some of the leaders and the members of these organizations. Some have even ended up in jail. This is why I have long believed that any validation, in the martial arts, can only truly be done between a student and their teacher, for in that relationship is the only true place of valid understanding and endorsement.
I am not saying that every instructor is a true proponent of their art. Nor am I saying that they are all a truly good person, just because they operate a school. In my own life, I have been cheated by instructors I worked with for years. Plus, there are all those stories out there of others who have had similar or even worse experiences.
Moreover, I am not denying my own blame in this situation. I too advanced through the ranks in the martial arts. I will say, however, that when I was offered the ninth-degree black belt a number of years ago, I did turn it down. And, the only reason I put my credentials in the martial arts out there is because every time I take them down there is some person throwing accusations my directions. Which, again, takes us to one of the primary sources of the problem in this entire system of so-called advancement: false accusations and needless attacks.
So, what does this leave us with? What does the black belt truly mean if people base their entire life upon what high rank they hold, what rank another person doesn’t hold, and whom they received that rank from and how many people they can teach because of that rank? What does it mean when people are out there claiming rock star status simply defined by a number on a piece of paper?  What does it proclaim when many do this without possessing a true understanding about the essence of what they are teaching?
First of all, let’s just think about this… What if there was no black belt?  What if you simply studied a system of self-defense and got good at it? How life freeing would that be?
What if your instructor or your organization did not charge you money for your rank advancement? Because, FYI, that is what they do. Rank advancement is a money-making, business opportunity. …A student pays to be tested. What if they gave that rank away for free? Then there would not be the incentive to, “Sell,” rank.
I get it… This is all just hopeful speculation of my part. …My wish that the martial arts would be, (would become), what they are idealized to be.
I believe it is very sad that in the mind of the non-practitioner they have this idealized image of what a black belt is. But, once one become involved at the high levels of these arts, many lose their way and base their entire existence off of how many stripes they have on their belt and how much money they can make by teaching these ancient forms of self-defense and then charging others to advance them towards their own black belt and beyond.
What if all that rank stuff just didn’t matter? What if rank was no longer the sought-after goal? Wouldn’t the martial arts then be allowed to exist in the place where they were truly designed to inhabit? A place where the individual would learn the intricacies of physical movement, the refined use of internal energy, and meditation. What if the martial arts were not burdened by the desire of rank advancement? Would they then not exist at the place where they truly emulated what they were designed to actually communicate?
Think about it…

I Wrote the Rule Book and I Didn’t Listen to Myself

I have spent a lot of my life traveling internationally. For various reasons, I have transversed the globe many times. Particularly in the 1980s, I was in and out of the country so often, it was really crazy.  I was always so thankful that could be a part of my life.
Due to this fact, I developed a very good sense about the intricacies of travel and how to make it the most pain-free and enjoyable as possible. I was once asked to write a three part article about travel for this one travel magazine.  ...Magazines, remember those? The first part of it has been hidden on this website for a long-long time. I’m going to put a copy of it at the end of this piece, if you feel like reading it.
Though I know the things that you (that I) should really do, sometimes, even me, I screw up and don’t listen to myself.
To tell the story… I was popping over to Southeast Asia recently. Now, one of the first things I always advise, myself and others, is to only wear darker colored clothing when you travel. This is because of the fact; it is not uncommon that you may spill something on yourself, and any stains show much less on dark colored clothing. I know that but… I was going to Southeast Asia, it’s going to be sunny and hot, I’ll wear one of my light-colored sport coats, I told myself.
Part two of this… Always bring more than one sport coat if you are a man. You need the ability to change for various reason. But, as I only travel with a spinner, (take on-board style of suitcase), these days, I was thinking I didn’t want to stuff it too tight as I tend to have to do. I’ll only need one blazer, I told myself, as I’ll probably just be wearing a vest most of the time due to the temperature.
What happens? I get to LAX. I go into the lounge. They had some nice-looking ramen cooking up, I grab a bowl, go and sit down. What happens next? I spill it all over myself. I can be so clumsy.

Damn it! My shirt and pants were dark. No real problem. My sport coat, on the other hand, was light grey. Totally stained.
I got to the restroom and try to clean it up as best as I could. Then, I hit the blow dryer. Though not perfect, amazingly, it came out okay. I figured I’d get it dry cleaned when I got to the hotel.
I had a layover in Manilla. I get off the plane and go into the lounge. I grabbed a spot and then go to hit the head. The lounge and the whole airport in Manilla is kinda strange. I mean, for an international city, with a lot of international travel, the airport is very 1970s. Even the lounge is old-school. Anyway, I was looking for where to flush the toilet. Though I had been to the restroom in this lounge many times in the past, things had changed. There was no obvious handle. I see this one thing. That must be it, I think. I move it and what happens? It sprays me with a shit-ton of water. Again, my sport coat is attacked.
If I had another one packed in my bag, all this nonsense would not have been fun but would not have been such a problem. I wrote the rule book, but I didn’t even listen to myself!
So, what’s the point of all this? In life, we all know what is the right thing to do. We all know, through experience, what we should and/or shouldn’t do. But, how often do we not listen to our own inner voice? How often do we know what we should do but then we do something different? How often do we let someone influence us to do something that we know is not right, good, honest, or helpful?
You’ve gotta listen to that inner voice. You know what is right. You know what you should or should not do. Don’t let yourself waver from the path of right-ness/righteousness. Because if you do, you may go into a bathroom and get sprayed with a bunch of dirty water.  

The Scott Shaw Guide to International Travel: Part I

By Scott Shaw
As I spend a lot of time out there on, “The Hard Road,” as I like to refer to it, I am often asked questions in regard to how to best travel internationally. To answer, here is, Part One…
One of the main things that I have to say, before I go into particulars is, look nice—dress nice. Westerners are commonly looked down upon, across the world, because they do not respect customs and dress so shabby. This being said, what you wear at home, should not necessarily be your fashion choice for international travel. This is to say, if you dress shabby at home, because that is your style, don’t do it internationally. So, forget about the tee-shirts, no matter how accepted they are where you live or how much they cost. Pack a polo shirt instead. They are just as comfortable and they look so much nicer.
The reason for this is simple; there are a lot of restaurants, religious shrines, and even museums that will not let you in if you are not wearing a collared shirt. It is fine to be overdressed but you should never be undressed.
This is the same with shorts. I never recommend wearing shorts. First of all, you will not be admitted into many places if you are wearing shorts. So, save yourself the embarrassment of being turned away. But, more importantly, they do not protect you from the sun, the elements, or even scrapes and scratches. When you are traveling you want to be able to experience all the sights and the sounds as best as possible. So, you do not want to damage your body in any way, shape, or form. Wear pants!
This brings me to jeans. No!
Again, though you may wear them at home, you will not be let into many restaurants and higher end establishments if that is what you are wearing on the international circuit. This is true, no matter how much they cost. And, we all know, some jeans can be very expensive.
Why bother holding back your options, simply to embrace your style? There are a lot of very comfortable pants out there that are very functional, while being fashionable, (if that is what you are after). This, while still being acceptable in all establishments.
Shoes… Since I was a teenager and throughout my adult years, tennis shoes have been my mainstay. I wear them with suits, tuxes, everything… Why? It is simple. They are comfortable.
Here in the States, culture and fashion is very different from many other countries. We, in many cases, allow room for the artist and the fashionista. Other cultures do not. They find it disrespectful if you show up in casual attire, like tennis shoes. For this reason, though I highly recommend you bring a comfortable pair for walking, have a back up.
Long ago I realized if you want to wear tennis shoes to do all of your walking, and you do not want to weight your luggage down with a traditional pair of hard shoes, there is a great alternative, dance shoes. Companies like Capezio make black dance shoes that literally squish down to almost nothing in your suitcase. When you need to go out to a nice establishment, they look as good as any dress shoe.
The other style of shoes I recommend for international travel is, walking shoes. In the mid 1980s a company called Rockport and later Dexter began to make these shoes that were designed externally to look like dress shoes but internally they are like tennis shoes. In more recent years, companies like Sketchers have followed a similar path but made their shoes much more fashion friendly. If you have limited space and want to travel light, go for a pair of shoes like these. Then, you can have comfortable feet while walking and still look good when you go out to dinner.
The main thing is, wear shoes that have a rubber style sole. You never want to wear shoes with a slick sole. And, for women, do not wear high heels. I can tell you from personal experiences, as I have been attacked a few times out there on the hard road, if you have to fight and kick someone in the groin, the head, or run, you do not want to be wearing shoes with slick soles or you may fall. You need to always be wearing sturdy shoes that you can maneuver in, and if necessary kick ass.
This leads me to the case of sandals and flip-flops. No! Do not wear them. They are not good for long walks. They do not look nice, and you will not be allowed to enter many establishments if you are wearing them. But, more importantly, they offer your feet no protection. If your feet are damaged, much of your trip may be ruined.
Also, always make sure your shoes are well broken-in before you bring them on a journey. A funny, (well not that funny), story happened to me in regard to this situation. Since they were introduced, I loved Nike hiking shoes. Every pair I had were very comfortable and durable. In fact, on one occasion, just before I was on my way to East Asia, I purchased a new pair, assuming that they would be like all of the other pairs I had. I arrived and begin to walk. But, this pair destroyed my feet so bad that it was painful to even take a few steps. As high-end tennis shoes were very expensive where I was and I couldn’t even find a pair of tennis shoes that was big enough, my journey really suffered. So, break-in your shoes!
Since 9/11 the rules about what you can and cannot take on airplanes, in regard to shampoos, shaving creams, sunscreen lotions, and the like are continually changing. So, you will need to check that out with your particular airline before you travel. I can tell you about one experience I had. I was flying into Shanghai for an extended stay in the mid 1980s. When I unpacked, I discovered that my shaving cream had exploded. Now, this was not my first trip to Shanghai and I knew everywhere to go to buy necessary items. But, nobody had any shaving cream. What I ended up doing was that each day, in the shower, I would soap my face up and in association with the water and the steam I was able to get a pretty good shave. The point is, while traveling, you will forget things, lose things, or things will explode and you will not have all of the amenities that you have at home. What you need to do is not shut down but explore your options and make new things work for you.
Many people either over pack or under pack when they are preparing for an international journey. Both can cause you to not have an ideal travel experience. Following is my normal packing list. I have used this for journeys that have lasted one week, onto trips that have gone on for as long as two months. Though this clothing segment is designed mainly for men, (as obviously, I am a man), it can, however, be easily adapted for women. And, this list includes what I am wearing while I travel.
Here it is:
One suit (matching pants and a coat)
One sport coat
Two pairs of pants
Five shirts
Fire underpants
Five tee-shirts
Five pairs of socks
One pair of tennis shoes (running or cross training)
One pair of dress shoes
Two neckties
One belt, black
One pair of sweatpants
One pair of swim trunks
Here are the particulars of this list:
Sport coats or suit coats are great for men (and women) because they allow you to look nice while carry necessary items in your pockets.
Two pairs of pants (in addition to the one pair that is associated with your suit). You can intermingle them as necessary.
Choose five shirts that you can intermingle and match with your pants and jackets. This way you will always be able to present a fresh look.
One thing to keep in mind when choosing your clothing for travel is that dark colors and prints hide stains much better. As we all periodically spill things, and when you’re traveling you may not have the opportunity to change right away, it is best to wear clothing that conceals stains. This is why solid whites and light colors are not ideal travel colors.
Five underpants. Wear either briefs or boxer-brief style. As you will probably be walking a lot, you really need the absorption of sweat provided by this style of underwear. Boxers just will not do it and you can easily develop a rash.
Five under or tee-shirts. Wearing an undershirt is something that I discovered in India many years ago. If you only wear a shirt, all of your sweat soaks through the shirt and your shirt looks very bad. If you wear an undershirt, however, all of the sweat is absorbed before it gets to your shirt. I personally wear tank tops. But, whatever style works best for you. It is your choice.
Five pairs of socks. Ideally, I recommend black workout socks, because they are absorbent, comfortable, and they look fine if you are wearing a suit. But whatever color or style you choose, it is best if they are all the same color. In this way, if you lose one, (as socks always seem to get lost), you can easily intermingle your remaining pairs.
The reason I bring one pair of sweatpants is that they serve two functions. One, you can sleep in them in association with a tee shirt. Two, you can work out in them with a polo shirt.
The swim trunks are obviously for swimming. They can also be used to work out in. And, if it is warm where you are, you can also sleep in them.
When packing all of your stuff there is an endless choice in suitcases. Choose what works best for you. One thing to not pack your items in, however, is a backpack. Across the world, everyone associates backpacks with hippies. And, nobody likes hippies.
A word of warning… Women do not carry a purse, particularly a designer handbag. There is a lot of thievery across the globe and if your purse is loose in your hand or on your arm, you are just inviting a purse-snatcher to steal it. If you must carry a purse, carry a small one with a long strap that you can wear over your shoulder and across your body.
There are also a lot of pickpockets out there. And, they are very good. You will never know that your wallet or your passport was stolen until it is too late. So for both men and women, if you are carrying things in your pocket, either keep them in deep front pockets or use the button to latch down your back pockets. This is the same with sport coats. Many sport coats have a button on at least one of the inner pockets. If you need to carry your wallet or passport with you, put it in that pocket and button it. Even if it is a bit of hassle to open and close it, it is worth the trouble to keep your items safe.
Okay, there you have it. The first installment of the Scott Shaw Guide to International Travel. Hope it helps and gives you some food for thought.

The Scott Shaw Guide to International Travel: Part I

Resist Hollywood

Kind of interesting… I was looking at an old Film Threat magazine. Back then, back before the internet and the now on-line incarnation of this magazine which sells space for people to get their films reviewed and all that kind of stuff…  …Back when it was a truly underground zine offering a unique perspective for the indie filmmaker and the indie film enthusiast, its motto was, “Resist Hollywood.”
You know, it got me to thinking about how the people who are interested in this style of unique and off-beat level of artistic filmmaking at one time supported one another. Certainly, on the one-on-one basis, this was very commonly the case. I know, I spent a lot of time with other indie filmmakers, helping them on their sets, (free of charge, of course). Or, just sitting down with them and talking through the process in the hopes that they could get their project made.
Of course, Film Threat was not the only indie film mag of the era. There were others like Draculina, Psychotronic, Oriental Cinema,
Cinefantastique, Femme Fatales, Independent Cinema, and Shock Cinema, just to name a few. Even back then, it truly surprised me when the reviewers in those mags, who were usually the publishers, would get something wrong and tear apart a movie or a filmmaker. I know that occasionally happened to my films in some of those magazines. Of course, I also got great support from some of these mags.
Overall, the reason this set me to a state of mental questioning was that if art is art and if the focus of all filmmaking project is cinematic art, how can there be a right and a wrong? There can be a like or don’t like, but that is something totally different. But, no one ever presents their opinion from that point of view. At least rarely… They go for the throat. But, what about when they are wrong?
For example, I remember when this one magazine reviewer ripped Toad Warrior apart saying we were just trying to imitate Hell Comes to Frogtown and using imitation Frogtown masks. The guy didn’t even realize Don was Don, (the creator of Hell Comes to Frogtown), and we were using the same masks used in Frogtown. When I told him about this fact, “Oh, I’ll check into it.” He did and realized he was wrong. But, did he change his review or update it? No.
It's like when this one magazine editor ripped Undercover X saying we shot it in Chinatown but tried to portray it as Asia. Sure, some of the scenes were shot in Chinatown, we reference that very clearly in the film. But, the guy did not even take the time to look at the license plates on the cars or the billboards. A lot of that movie was filmed in Japan! When I told him about this, did he change anything in his review or update it? Nope.
One guy, who wrote a book on indie films, totally messes up the title and other information about Roller Blade Seven. I contacted him to let him know his folly. No response.
Usually, when people are on the same team, they try to support one another. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? Even when that team is vast and spread across the globe, aren’t we still fighting the same fight?
I’ve been using my films as an example but I’m sure most every indie filmmaker has their own stories to tell. This has all caused me to think to the falseness that has been put out there about my films and me by the loudest speaking few. I get it, they are making money and one of the best ways to do that, (in today’s world), is to get followers, contributors, and all that kind of stuff by inflaming those who will listen to you. But, if this is your modus operandi haven’t you missed the whole point of the game? If all you are doing is unleashing negativity and untruths, what will be the ultimate outcome to you and to those you make money off of by discussing them and their works?  Where does the karma reside and why?
This doesn’t just happen in the film industry. In the martial arts, forget about it, everyone is attacking everyone—at least those of the lower mind. At least back in the day, when in-print was the name of the game—when things went through an actual human editor, none of this style of nonsense made its way to print. Now/today, in the true publications, (on-line or otherwise), this kind of stuff is still reviewed, mediated, and guided towards a higher standard of truthful research and journalism. But, once anybody could say anything they wanted, on the world wide web; truth, honor, and decorum became out of style. So, here’s what we’ve got—this is what we are left with. It is only you who possess the ability to guide the direction of any conversation and/or to not allow falsehoods and negativity to be broadcast to the world. 
But, back to the central subject… When Donald G. Jackson passed away, someone from Film Threat contacted me, asking if it was true. Sadly, I confirmed the fact. Here’s what they wrote and what can still be found on the Film Threat website, though the ownership has changed hands a few times since then and currently it is now back in the hands of the original owner… “It’s with great sadness that we report the passing away of cult film director Donald G. Jackson on October 20th due to leukemia. Donald directed such films as “Hell Comes to Frogtown” and “Guns of El Chupacabra.”  By Film Threat Staff October 28, 2003.
But, more to the point, and the reason for this rambling, “Resist Hollywood.” Are you resisting Hollywood when you attack someone who is actually resisting Hollywood by creating their own film or films outside of the system? Someone who is putting their own unique signature on the filmmaking process? No matter how good or bad you find those films to be, isn’t it they who are actually doing the DO to create a platform where the abstract can exist?
So, next time you are poking fun at or hating on someone else’s something, remember, they created something—they created a creation and by doing so they orchestrated an environment where other people, further down the line, will have the opportunity to explore their own unique artistic vision no matter how good or bad you may believe it to be.
Let the artist be the artist, support them, because they are the only ones who are truly contributing to a new vision of reality.

You Can Always Find a Reference

For anyone who has ever graced the halls of academia and/or was required to write a factually based paper, you know that you must provide references to make any statement you are claiming valid. Meaning, you must search previously composed investigations and point to that study to validate any statement you are making in your own composition. Of course, most of the world never does this, as they are not required to do so. They just spout out whatever it is that they are thinking and claim that simply because they believe it to be true that it must be true. But, that’s just wrong thinking. It’s not valid nor is it right. But, that is how much of the world operates.
There are those, however, who do try to prove whatever it is they are saying is valid, righteous and true. To do this, they do seek those previously composed studies as a point of reference. But, the sad truth is, if all you want is to reference someone else’s report, if you look long enough and hard enough, in the right places, you can find someone you can quote on just about anything. This is not to say what that person concluded is valid and true, but if all you hope to do is to project a very specific point of view, you will be able to find some analysis that will back up your perspective.
Recently, there has been this controversy over a centuries-old Buddhist statue that was taken from Korea by fourteenth century Japanese pirates. Now, for anyone who has studied the history of East Asia, it can quicky be determined that throughout the centuries there was a lot of conflict, via various methods, between China, Korea, and Japan at numerous points in history. It is also easy to substantiate how cultural influences were passed between these civilizations. The predominate passageway was from China, to Korea, onto Japan. This being the documented truth, there have been certain Japanese historians who have claimed for eons that it was the other way around, that culture transversed from Japan to China.
Certainly, when kingdoms are this closely linked, in terms of geography, there is obvious diffusion of understandings between all involved. But there can be little doubt, due to historic evidence, that everything from societal norms, to religions like Buddhism, onto written language found a home in China, then in Korea, and later in Japan. In fact, all one has to do is to study the history of Korea and one can clearly see how the warrior culture of that kingdom came to be one of the most formative elements in the birth of the Japanese Samurai. Yet, many historians and laypeople, due to their culture bias, wish to dispute this fact. If they want to substantiate their point all they must do is look to the literature written by those of a similar cultural bias. Thus, they have found their point of reference and can claim their study is valid. But, is it?
One of the main elements that brought light to the true ownership of the statue is that a note was discovered inside, composed in Korea but written in Chinese, as was commonly the case, even up to the modern era. This note stated it was hoped the statue would bring blessings to future generations. The Japanese argument for keeping the statue is that the note shows that it reflects various cultures, and that Korea was a bridge between China and Japan at the time. Thus, they should be able to keep the stolen booty.
The final placement of this statue is in the hands of the court, with each side presenting their case. But, as is the case, with all cases, everybody speaks from their own point of view, presenting any information they offer from a uniquely biased standing. In many cases, the people who present any information claim what they claim is based in previously proven research. But, if the initial research was flawed or untrue, what does that say about any new information that is based upon these faulty declarations portrayed as facts.
So, the next time you hear anyone claiming what they claim is previously proven, check out their sources: who are they, what are they, and why are they saying what they are saying?
Next time you claim you know something that you are claiming to be true, at least have the decency to have truly reached the topic, from all standpoints, and not simply one that makes you believe you are right.
You can find a reference for anything but that does not mean that it is the truth.


How many things do you regret saying?

How many things should you regret saying but don't?

The White Man’s God

I had the chance to watch the 1973 documentary Wattstax last night. If you have access to the TCM Hub you can grab it off of there or, I am certain, from other places. But, if you can view it, I suggest you do. It provides a very in-depth perspective about African-American life in the U.S. in the early 1970s, as well as some great musical performances. It also provides a great view, with a true representation, of 1970s lifestyle and fashion. Something that most of the newer/retro movies generally get very wrong.
I originally saw this movie when it was released and played at a few small theaters here in L.A. And, as the concert, the film is in-part based upon, took place here at the L.A. Coliseum, I, of course, heard about it in the newspapers, the radio, and stuff. I actually wanted to attend. But, seeing the make-up of the crowd, presented in the movie, I would have been very out of place.
One of the main things this film focuses on, and I believe it is a very important topic, is the African-American’s close relationship with Christianity. The film shows the store front churches that inhabit the Southcentral region of L.A. Drive down Western Ave. today and little has changed. There are still many storefront churches. Christianity is a very strong part of their community.
The thing that got me thinking, and actually caused me to write this piece this morning, is that I have recently be re-reading some of the very good books out there detailing how the bible was actually created and who actually wrote the bible. There’s some very good documentaries out there on the subject, as well. I really suggest, if you are a Christian or not, that you check into this subject. Because here is this book that has shaped much of the world but, once you truly delve into the truth of its authorship, your perspective of it will be changed forever.
The thing that really got me to thinking was how much the people that were being interviewed in this film referenced how their ancestors were brought to America and how that entire process was just wrong. I, one-hundred precent agree. The fact is, their transport to this country was and is the foundational basis for many of their existences even to this day. This is discussed extensively in the film.
The question then arises, at least in my mind, why did these peoples take so heartily to Christianity? Why do they follow a white man’s god when they had such an elaborate basis in their own beautiful Africa-based religions that dates back thousands of years?
History teaches us that the people who arrived and were forced into slavery were forbidden from practicing their own religions. And, except for a few instances, in places like the Caribbean, much of the practice of their religion was forgotten. This being said, as freedoms were finally gained and minds were allowed to expand, why have so many held tight to a religion that was forced upon them?
If we look to the history of the American South, there were many instances of African-American people being attacked in their own Christian churches. On one hand, how could the people who inflicted those attacks be so sinful when they too practice that same religion and, in addition, why would those who were initially forces to practice this religion hold onto their faith when this style of barbarism was being inflicted by other so-called Christians?  
This is the same with Korean-American culture, of which I have been closely associated with for much of my life. Virtually all of the newly arrived Korean immigrants, and their offspring, have heartily embraced Christianity. It is hard to find a Korean family that does not go to one of the Korean-American Christian churches. But they, like those of African descent, have their own beautiful indigenous religion. Why follow a white man’s god?
Certainly, there will be those Christians who say, it is because this is the true religion. But, is it? Is any religion the true religion? Or, is it simply the believers that make it so?
I certainly understand the basis of religion and why it is an essential element to so many people’s lives. It provides them with hope of a better tomorrow, the promise of an afterlife, and the strength to live through trying times. But, why have so many true cultures across the globe alienated their own native religions and fallen into the promised beliefs of Christianity?
If you look to the Hindu-based cultures, few of these people have left behind their native religions for a shift to Christianity—even those who now reside in places like the U.S. or the U.K. This is the same with followers of Islam and many of the Buddhist-based religions of Southeast Asia. Yet, think about the number of people who left behind their own indigenous religion to follow the white man’s god. Why?
There is no absolute answer for this. At least I don’t have one. I am just giving you a little food for thought. Ask yourself, why do you believe what you believe? Who taught you to believe it? And, why did you listen to them in the first place?


Do you have to like something simply because someone else likes it?

Do you have to hate something simply because someone else hates it?

Boujee, Creative, Who’s Trying to Gaslight Me

Every relationship is a unique exhibit of two people coming together and forming a cohesive unit based upon what they each bring to the table. How a person is with one may be very different from how they are with another. Yes, a person is who they are, and if they are true to themselves and to others, they present their True Self to all those they encounter. This being said, each relationship is defined by the personalities of all those involved. Thus, how one behaves with one person may be different from how they behave to others.
Think about your own life. Think about your relationships. Look to how you behave towards a friend compared to how you behave towards someone you may be in love with. Think about how you act towards someone you know, and maybe have to frequently interact with, but you do not really like. Though you are the same person, based upon your personality and self-projections, to each person you may act somewhat differently.
It's true, some people are fake. They are liars and they are deceivers. They want something from someone else, so they say, do, and behave in a manner uniquely suited to get that something from someone else. That’s wrong! Of course, we all know that. But, think how much of that level of conduct goes on around us all the time. Maybe you have done that. Think about a time when you were not truly yourself and behaved in a manner that was not authentic due to the fact that you wanted something from someone—perhaps something so simple as you wanted them to like you. You were you but you became a different version of you solely to gain that something from that someone.
How do you feel about that now, once you look back? Did you get what you wanted? And, if you did, was it all that you had hoped for? Moreover, what was the price to that other person? What was the cost to them of you presenting an altered version of who you truly are? Do you/did you care?
Think about a time when you believed someone to be something but as your relationship evolved you realized that they were not what they were presenting to you at all. How did that make you feel once you discovered this fact? How did it make you feel about them and how did it make you feel about you? Moreover, what responsibility did you have in allowing the relationship to develop and evolve in the first place?
People rarely look to their own behavior in terms of relationships. They just DO. For some, deep down inside, they know they are not being wholly honest with who they are presenting and what they are truly feeling to that someone else, but for most, that does not stop their pursuit. They want that something from that relationship and they are not TRUE enough in their Self Image and Interpersonal Honor to stop being fake if fake is what they are presenting.
How about you? Where are you on the scale of behavior on behavioral relationship? How honest are you with who you truly are? The fact is, if you lie even a little, all of your relationship will then be based on a lie. Honestly, how does that make you feel about you? And, how does that make you feel about that someone else?
If you can’t be honest with yourself, how can you be honest with others? If you lie about who and what you truly are, what does that make you to all those you interact with?
On a more jovial note… My lady and I, we have this banter-filled relationship. It’s just who we evolved into being. We joke and we poke at each other all the time. Sometimes we even fake fight. I’m always worried that if someone who didn’t know us were to hear us, they just wouldn’t understand. But, that’s us—that’s our relationship dynamics.
Last night, I made the comment, “You don’t know me…” Jokingly referencing all that urban diction sort of stuff. She responds, “Oh, I know you alright. You’re a boujee, creative, who’s trying to gaslight me.” I couldn’t stop laughing. A lot of times she comes up with these great passages, like that one, that I have to borrow. …After thirty-four years together, she knows me oh so well. Happy
Think about who you are in your relationships. Think about and control how you behave. For your truth—that truth you present to others is the only true definition of who and what you actually are.

Where Your Mind is At

In most autobiographies, the author commonly does one chapter on their childhood and then focuses the rest of the text on the things that made their life what it is—someone who is worth reading an autobiography about.  Every now and then, however, you get someone who devotes several chapters to their childhood. Though it does not necessarily add to the overall read of the book, it does provide a deep insight into that individual.
I have always enjoyed reading autobiographies. I believe it provides a profound awareness into the person as they are presenting their life as they want it to be understood. Biographies are always slanted. They are either for or against the individual that is being written about. …Even if that material is presented in the most sublet of manners. Autobiographies, on the other hand, especially those written by the person themselves, and not through a co-author or ghost writer, (which I have done for
a couple of people), really depicts the individual as they truly see themselves or how they want to be understood.
As stated, most autobiographies present the childhood and move on. Some, however, go very deep into the life experiences lived during that stage of their existence. Why? The simple answer is that person is locked into that period of their life. This can be for many reasons: trauma, intense happiness, and everywhere in between. But, from a psychological perspective, it is easy to understand that if this is the main focus of an individual’s life, they have never really moved on from that stage of their life.
You can see this at other points of a person’s life, as well. And, not just via someone who writes an autobiography. For example, there are those people who have never really moved past high school. Maybe it was great time for them—the last time they really felt important. They never take off that high school ring or never stop speaking about that period of their life. There are those who feel that way about their university years. You see these people all over the place. Many have, “Alumni of…,” on their license plate frame. They are proud of that accomplishment—graduating from that college, and they want the world to know them as someone who graduated from that school.  
Some people are locked into a period of their existence that they define by the music they listened to at a certain point in their life. I am sure we all have known people that started listening to a certain band or a particular style of music that defined an era and they never stopped. You go to their house or get in their car and that is the music that is playing.
As new generations have unfolded, and they do so all the time, it is very easy to find a person who holds onto the past and criticizes new ideas and new thoughts. Most of us have probably encountered people like that in our lifetime. I know I have. But, was the way things were done back then actually better than the way they are being done today?  Or, is that just someone locking themselves into the way things used to be and refusing to embrace the new? I guess that’s the choice that each individual has to make. But, if you lock yourself in the past, what have you done? You have locked yourself in the past.
Here’s the thing, though holding onto the past is the case in many people’s lives, some do not even realize this is what is going on. They do not recognize that they are defining today by who they were yesterday.
How about you? Is there a place or a point in your past that you believe is the definition of you?
Ultimately, you need to ask yourself, who are you? Are you a person who continually lives in the back then? Or, are you a person who lives the now?  
If you are a person who defines yourself by a point in your past, that is not necessarily bad. But, what it does is that it keeps you from encountering the new.
There is a vast cornucopia of new music, new art, new styles, new ideas, new people, and new everything out there. If you hold yourself to the past, you are holding yourself back from experiencing the future. But, if you keep your eyes and your mind open, you never know what new level of loved life you may find.
Think about it…


Everybody wants everybody to be the way they want them to be. But, what if you allowed a person to be nothing more than what they already are?

Armageddon Blvd.

Fade In:

I received an eBay alert this morning about the fact that someone was selling a VHS copy of the Zen Film, Armageddon Blvd. So, I popped over to check it out. Yup, it is one of the original video tape releases of the film. The seller is asking $150.00 for it. I don’t know if anyone would be willing to pay that amount, but it is out there if you care.  
One of the funny things I noticed is that in the listing they have one of the main actors (me) listed as John Shaw. That’s pretty funny, I think. Even though my name, Scott Shaw is on the box, the seller translated that as John. Okay? …Scott, John, whatever… I really don’t care about that kind of stuff. Happy
In actually, Armageddon Blvd. is one of the first video boxes I ever designed. Back in, I think it was ’99, when we licensed the video release of that film and Ride with the Devil to this company, they needed video boxes designed. So, I took on the job. I just went through my digital files to see if I still had the original layout and I do. I found the original creation. I’ll put it up on the
Armageddon Blvd. page on this site if you feel like checking it out.
I’ve never written too much about the creation of Armageddon Blvd. There’s no real reason for that. I guess it’s just that it wasn’t all that eventful. I’ve told a story or two about it here or there. But, for those of you who care, here’s a few tidbits. …Not as in-depth as my Stories of the Production I’ve written for some of the films Donald G. Jackson and I created, just some of the What’s What.
Armageddon Blvd. started out as Shotgun Blvd. This was the first film that Don and I did after Toad Warrior which later became Max Hell Frog Warrior. We filmed the majority of this film in 1996.
We brought in some of the faithful as our cast: Conrad Brooks and Roger Ellis. Joe Estevez kept calling us during this period, as he heard we were filming, and he wanted to be a part of the movie. But Don, for some reason, didn’t want him to be in this film. The first day of shooting took place at this sound stage we had in the Broadway Building on Hollywood and Vine.
There was no big event that took place that day/night, just the very funny life experience of trying to get Conrad Brooks to say his lines. This is when we filmed the scenes where Roger Ellis’ character and my character sat across the table from Conrad.
Conrad and his protégé, “Little James,” as we called him, had gone across the street to the Frolic Room, a little bar on Hollywood Blvd., while we were setting up. He had a few drinks. When he returned, we were ready to shoot his scenes. Though he did not appear drunk, the alcohol had done him in. He could not remember even one line. Finally, after a lot of frustration, we came up with an idea. What we did to get the scenes shot is to feed Conrad what he needed to say one line, or in some cases, one word at a time. Though it is very funny now to remember those goings on, when I had to edit this movie, it was a nightmare.
We shot a lot of this movie on our stage in this building and on the roof of the Broadway Building. We also used a lot of the surrounding area of Hollywood to do the external scenes, as well.
Another, (maybe not so interesting), event occurred with Conrad and this actress we had also used in Toad Warrior, Bronni Bake. At the time, she was a cruise ship singer, who had a great voice, and was pursing her acting career on the side. Great gal! We had her do a scene with Conrad on a couch in one of the halls of the building. Out of the blue, Conrad grabs her face, holds it tight, and starts to kiss her. Being a great actress, she played along but you could tell she was not happy. I ended the scene. By today’s standards you just could not, or better put, Conrad could not do something like that. I was so sorry that happened to her. Though Conrad was a Cult Movie Icon by this point in time, that style of behavior was (and is) just not right!  
Another interesting event occurred one late afternoon when Roger and I were doing our face-off scene. Roger, who was said to be a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the Army and a West Point Graduate, actually dropped my Winchester pistol grip shotgun on the roof. It broke the sight off of the gun. I was so upset. But, I am one of those people who keeps those things inside. I thought, how could a career army officer do something like that? When Don saw that happen, his jaw just dropped. Not too much to that story, but just a memory.
Another incident occurred when we had a large cast at the studio. Don and I were very busy staging the set and setting up the lights. But, we wanted to keep people fed so Don suggested a run to Pink’s. You know, the famous hot dog stand. We were busy so Don asked Roger if he would make the run. He reluctantly agreed. When he returned, we could tell he was pissed. “I wear Armani suits,” he exclaimed, “I should not be making a hot dog run.” A few minutes later, as we were eating our dogs, Roger began to talk about how easily it is to subtly poison someone. He explained all it takes is putting something on your finger and running it along someone’s neck. Which he illustrated by actually doing it to Don.  A short time later Don’s face began to get very red. A sickness was coming over him. Don had to leave. I had to run the show solo for the rest of that evening’s shoot.
Whether Don was actually poisoned by Roger or not, I will leave that to the urban myth. But, something did happen.
Aside from our standard cast, we also cast some new friends for this movie. Cherise Bangs, the girl who played Rag Doll, was great. What a great character she came up with! She’s gone on to have an impressive acting career.
One of the interesting things that happened with her was one evening we were going to shoot a scene on this large roof patio we had outside of our offices in North Hollywood. The thing was, you had to leave the door to the patio open, or it would lock, and the only way it could be reopened was from the inside. Cherise, not knowing this, and thinking she was doing the right thing, closed the door once we were all out on the patio. Don, being Don, of course, freaked out. Me, being more levelheaded, suggested that we shoot the scene and then figure out what to do next. Which is what we did.
There was an acting school that rented the space below our offices. After we shot the scene, I noticed there was this big burly, six-foot-five acting student, out in the back parking lot running his lines with a female student. I leaned over the side and nicely asked him if he would come upstairs and open the door. The asshole couldn’t be bothered. He rudely said he might do it after he was done with his rehearsal and to stop interrupting him. What a dick! This enraged Don. It even really pissed me off, as well. …Me, Mr. Calm and Understanding. Don was all asphyxiated by our entrapment. Cherise, was a young woman, who didn’t really know what to do. Me, I was not going to let this stop me. I studied the surroundings, saw a lower wall over to one side of the building, and lowered myself off the roof, down to it, by hanging from my hands, while Don kept telling me to be careful. Yeah, I guess it was dangerous but if we ever wanted to get off of that roof, that seemed like our only option.
I was down and walking towards the outside back stairwell to the upper floor where I could open the door. I glared at the guy as I walked by. He said some rude something to me, trying to break hard. But, I was at the top of my game back then. It didn’t matter how big the guy was. I was training, teaching, and fighting daily. I was in all of the martial art magazine. I was doing all these magazine articles, books, and video tapes, and I was just not in the mood, especially after he did not even have the courtesy to take a moment out of his, “Oh so important acting school life,” to open the fucking door.
I went right up in his face. And, I think this is the only time I have ever said anything like this, “Do you know who I am? And, who the fuck are you? A meaningless nobody!” It must have been my rage but he completely back away. I watched as any macho he may have had melted from his eyes. Just then, the acting coach came out. “What’s going on?” Good thing, because had that big burley meaningless son-of-a-bitch said anything to me, I would have floored him.
But me, being who I am, I actually felt bad about behaving like that after the fact.
On a more happy note… We were also running casting notices in Dramalogue, the local industry newspaper at the time. That’s how we met Cherise. We also received the headshot of this tall, striking female, Regina Crownenweth. We brought her in. She had this great German accent and we immediately cast her as this Schwarzenegger, Terminator style character. As this was a Zen Film, we immediately began shooting with her that day. We shot in our offices, at our stages, and in and around the Broadway Building late into the night. She was great!
The only problem was, her husband was the son of the legendary cinematography Jordan Crownenweth, who had filmed little movies like Blade Runner. Her husband was (then) an up-and-coming DP himself. He went on to DP little films like: Fight Club, Gone Girl, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Of course, I’m joking, and being facetious, using the word, “Little.” They were/are both very big players in the industry.
He had been out of town the day we filmed with her, but when he came back the next day, I guess he didn’t like his wife being in such a no-budget film, so he put the brakes on her returning to finish out her character. That’s sad because she was going to be one of the major stars of film. But, even the relatively small part she played in the movie is very memorable.
We also cast Lori (Lorielle) New via Dramlogue. A great up-and-comer at the time. Both Don and I thought she had a great look and, as it turned out, she was a very talented actress.  She became the female nemesis of the film.
Here’s the thing about Don, he really had this bad tendency to turn people against one another. He did that with Lori against me. It’s the things he would say when one person wasn’t around, claiming that they said this or that or felt some kind of way about that other person. That’s just a bad news thing to do, but he did it all the time. Me, I just didn’t bother listening to him anymore as I was so used to that game he played. The new folks, however, not knowing the game, would often fall prey to the believing. Don did that to Lori against me.
Overall, I enjoyed working with her. But, there is the love scene that Don insisted we do. We shot it at Roger’s house, in the Valley, in his bed. Oh man, it was so uncomfortable. Every kiss was a pain. Don kept wanting more, but we (her and I) just could not bring ourselves to do it with any passion. There’s a lot of that scene that ended up on the cutting room floor. But, you can see some of it in the film. Maybe you will pick up on what I am speaking about.
It was about this time that we had filmed most of the movie. And, as was the case with Don, he would get bored and stash the shot footage away. We went on to do other movies.
As stated, this film started out as Shotgun Blvd. But, in 1997, we had begun to work closely with Julie Strain and her (then) husband Kevin Eastman. Don had the idea, as the American Film Market was coming up, that we integrate Julie and Kevin into the film and finally compete it. Which we did.
All the scene we filmed for Armageddon Blvd. with them were done so at what Don had titled, “The Turtle Mansion,” …Julie and Kevin’s house in Bel Aire. Titled as such as Kevin was the Co-Creator of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As always, we had a very fun time making movies with the couple. They had become good friends.
When it came time to edit the movie, I went through the footage and did what may be considered a standard edit on the film. What I noticed was that Don began to do this thing where after he called, “Cut,” he would swing the camera away before turning it off. I began to play that into the edit wherever it existed. Don, noticing what I was doing said, “You should have told me, I could have really played that up.” My response, “It’s just a Zen thing.”
Once the basic storyline edit of the film was done, we knew it didn’t have that push, that pizzazz the film needed. From this realization, this is the first Zen Film where I truly began to drop all concept of story development and simply integrate visual images into a non-coherent storyline. I added segments from an uncompleted film we did with Adrianne Moore (Jill Kelly) and one we did with Robert Z’Dar and put it all together in what became the final version of Armageddon Blvd. Thus, creating the next generation of a Zen Film.
Speaking of the title… For whatever reason, as AFM was approaching, Don had the idea that we shouldn’t use the original title Shotgun Blvd. We were coming out of this bar that served great chili in Van Nuys and he asked me what I thought? At this time, the film, Armageddon, was out and a bus drove by with the poster for the film on the side, “How about Armageddon Blvd.,” I suggested. That was it. That became the title.
Around this time, Don had locked into using Julie’s publicist for his career. His career, not mine our ours. I’m not sure how he paid for that as publicists are very expensive. I could never afford one. Maybe Julie was paying, I don’t know??? But, he was getting a lot of press written about him at the time due to this publicist. In this one industry magazines, the journalist mentioned the fact that Don used known titles, “Armageddon…” and “Ride with the Devil,” (which the Ang Lee, Toby Maguire film, with that title, was also out in the A-Market around this time), as a means to gain an audience. Little did she know…  
Years later, never wholly happy with the edit I did on Armageddon Boulevard, and maybe to get the whole and true picture of the film we initially hoped to create out there, I went back in and did the original, intended edit of Shotgun Blvd. A bit later I did another version of the film using more of the original unused footage, staying clear of the nudity, and titled it 9mm Sunrise.  They're all out there, you can see ‘em if you want.
I uploaded Armageddon Blvd to YouTube a little while back. But, due to YouTube polices, I had cut some of the scene out of the film, like where Julie is shaving her private parts. For that, and other similar scenes, you’ll have to pick up the DVD or the VHS that’s on eBay.
I went out to breakfast with my lady this morning and told her about the eBay listing. She asked, “Don’t you have posters for that film?” “Yeah, and posters from several other films from that period, as well—somewhere???” “Do you want me to find them and hang them on the walls,” I jokingly asked. “No!!!” She emphatically replied. I also have some of the original VHS tapes, as well. Hell, the Master for the movie is in my film vault over at Paramount.
But, all that aside, the thing I realized as we were talking this morning, and what I said to her is, so many of the people who made this film a reality are no longer with us. Don died. Conrad passed away. Roger is gone. Z’Dar is no more. Even Julie moved on to her next life. All that’s really sad! Those people were my friends. They were my Zen Filmmaking brothers and sisters. Now, gone… It’s so sad, much of the first generation of the Zen Filmmaking team are no more.



People Know What They’re Doing

People know what they’re doing. They know it whether they claim that they know what they’re doing or not.
Have you ever met a person who sets up a situation and they suggest that you do something that you know is not right? They set up the situation, they created the place where it will take place, they invited you for the ride, but when it is time to do the doing then they want you to do that whatever. Why? Answer: They get to live the experience without being blamed for any of the consequences.
When I was young, I had a friend who was a master of doing things like that. It was so sociopathic. Years later, when I begin to look back at some of these situations he set up, where he had other people actually do the doing, it truly was scary.
Even me, this person with this radiating sense of morality, though I said, “No,” to most of his requested, a time or two, in the midst of the crowd consciousness, I did give in. His father, who actually worked with my father before he passed away, when we were like thirteen said that he couldn’t hang out with me anymore. I found that so funny as the situation in reference, his own son had completed created. But, that was okay, he was one of those friends from a different time and we were really living in very different worlds by that point in our life.
Have you ever met a person who creates this whole presentation fashioned about someone else? For most, these productions are based in negativity. They are really going after someone. They are telling a tale about this someone else, solely for the sake of making them look bad, or lessor, or whatever. But, whatever that whatever is, it is not good. Whether what the person who is doing the talking says is true or not does not even matter, they have created an outlook in their own mind and they are presenting it to whomever will listen.
Here's the thing, most people do not have a mind of their own. They do not possess the ability or the desire to do their own research. Thus, they hear and they believe. From this, for the person who creates these showcases, all they have to do is to clearly tell a tale and people will hear and people will believe.
Why do some people do this? The answer is multifold. For some, they wish to shift the focus off of themselves and their own flaws onto someone else. For others, they take pride in their ability to guide the minds of anyone who will listen. Mostly, for all who practice this lifestyle, it is a method to make themselves feel better about themselves as their only self-esteem comes from their ability to shape the thought process of the gullible.
Sadly, I have known a number of people who have lived their life based upon this mindset in particularly the martial arts and also in the film arts. At least in the film arts, it is mostly those who occupy the lowly occupation of critic. Like I say, “If you know so much about filmmaking, why are you out there making films instead of critiquing the artistic works of others?”
But, to the point… There are a lot of people who create a lot of bad in the world, and, in doing so, gain a sense of power and satisfaction from their actions. That’s why they do what they do. That’s why they behave in that manner. And yes, they know exactly what they are doing. Though they may not be self-aware enough to understand their reason why.
As others hope to take hold and guide the thoughts and the actions of others, it’s you who must be strong enough to never allow yourself to be guided down the road of negativity and doom by allowing this type of person to hold any control over you.
How strong are you? No really, how strong are you? Do you listen and immediately believe the words of others? Or, do you do your own research?  Do you allow someone to guide you into doing what you do, even when you know, deep down, that it is not right? If your answer to either of these questions is, “Yes,” maybe it’s time to rethink your drink. It may be time to take a long hard look at your life and no longer give in.
Yes, you immediately believing and doing what other people suggest may be a lot easier than working and taking control over your own life. But, if you live your life via this method, what are you left with? If you do fashion your life in this manner, in essence have you not become nothing more than the creation of someone else?
Think about it.

Film Look

I don’t know about you, but I really dislike the 4K TV experience that is going on. I mean, it just makes everything look so Videoy. You take great vintage films like Dark Passage and if you’re watching it on TCM, or some other similar channel, it looks like it was shot on video.
You have to be of a certain age to remember this but back in the day, way back in the way back when, when you watched normal TV, everything was shot on film, and it had a very clear aesthetic. Then, if you watch one of the daytime Soaps, for example, the look was totally different. They were shot on video, and you saw it. One looked great, the other not so much.
As one of the first professional filmmakers to create feature films on video, in my early days, I got a lot of grief from the so-called, “Real
Film Makers,” about this. Of course, where are all those people now and how many films did they create? But, that’s not the point. The point was video looked one way and film looked another.  And, the big problem with video was, at least many proclaimed it was the problem, video look too clean, clear, and pristine.
Then came Film Look. This was an expensive process where this company over in West L.A. would add Controlled Noise to movies, shot on video, to give them the look that they were shot on film. If you had a developed eye, you could quickly see what was done but, for a time, it did fool a lot of people and that was a way to bridge gap between low-budget film and video making.
I remember seeing a screening of the great Mike Figgis film, Timecode, over at the NuArt Theatre. Figgis was there and after the screening he took some questions. One jerk-off guy asked, “Why do you call it a film when it was shot on video?” Figgis just ignored the question.
Just a Side Bar Here: Sadly, Julian Sands, who was in Timecode and many other great films, went for a hike on Mt. Baldy, here in SoCal, a couple of weeks ago and has been lost ever since. They gave up the search for him, so it does not look good. Great loss. He was a very talented actor.
Anyway, video was video, film was film. But then, like I long predicated, and stated in many interviews, way back when, once a high-end filmmaker begin to shoot on video, the tide would change, and it did. Plus, video and video camera got better—especially in the area of depth of field. Now, most every film is shot on video. But, it looks good. It looks good, that is, until you see it in 4K.
I mean, think about a film you saw in the theater a few years back and now you watch it on TV. Did every pore on the skin of actors show up in the theater?  Did it look like pure pristine video? No. But, here we are.
I remember the first time I saw something in 4K. I was staying up at the Hilton in San Francisco. I flipped on the TV and Pirates of the Caribbean was on HBO. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Here was this great film that now looked like crap.
So, here we are. The one time, Looked-Down-Upon, format of intense video clarity has become the desired norm. Why?
I was fine with video back in the day. I never judged a film harshly due to it being created on video. Now, no matter what the budget, intense clarity is the name of the game. I don’t know about you, but I think sometimes things are better left in the abstract realms of the shadows. Let things be a little grainy. Maybe some of us just do not want to see everything. The problem is, like with all of life, the world takes over and we have so few choices that we can actually make. Now what? Now what that this choice has been made for us?

Everyone is Going to Hell

For any of you who were raised in or have studied the Christian tradition you know that Heaven and Hell play a big part in the religion. Those who are good will go to Heaven. Those who are bad will go to Hell. But, it’s the definition of what is actually good and what is actually bad that really becomes the question in the life of who will go where and why.
For me, if I were to be a Christian, I would want to follow the path of Catholicism. For in that branch of the religion, if you commit a known sin, you go and confess that sin to your priest, they tell you the amount of Hail Mary’s and/or Our Fathers that you must perform and you are clean; good to go—forgiven. Yes, yes, I know it’s a bit more complicated than that, but at its root, that is the that.
But, take a moment here and think about someone you believe to be truly good—a truly good person that you believe will go to Heaven. Have they not sinned?
Sure, there are those individuals who have been proclaimed to be a Saint. But, a Saint is only defined by one branch of one religion. Most of them lived long ago so you can never really know how they truly behaved. Even the people who are considered modern Saints, ask someone from a different religion about them and they may have a very different perspective about the things they did that gained them sainthood. Like I say, "A Saint in one religion is a Sinner in another."
Even more to the point, who is wholly good in their day-to-day life actions and life deeds. For example, what do they eat?
Many people believe that the killing of an animal to feed one’s self is a sin. For any of you who have lived with a furry friend, you know that they are each a unique entity onto themselves. They each have their own unique personality. Do you think it would be okay to kill them to feed your belly? And, just because you did not know that living, breathing animal that you are eating in your hamburger does not mean that it did not live and feel.
What about that? Is eating that animal a sin? If it is, how many sins have you committed?
For those of us who have had fish in an aquarium, if you have observed them, you know that they too have individual personalities. They live, they feel, and just because you may be in control of them, does that give you the right to kill them and feed on them?
Whereas much of the world’s Buddhist population focuses on the not eating of any meat, in Tibetan Buddhism, for example, the eating of meat is accepted. Why? Because there is very little eatable vegetation growing on the Tibetan Plateau. Thus, survival means the eating of meat. But, does necessity take away the sin of killing a living, breathing being?
If you want to look at the truth of sin, everyone is a sinner. Thus, by the very nature of the definition, everyone will be going to Hell.


What are you going to do today that you will not be able to undo tomorrow?

You Don’t Know Me. Or Do You?

I was in this store. This is a store I go into fairly frequently.  I walked over to the book section. I go to the “Religion/Spiritual” aisle. I noticed a young African-American man with his hoodie pulled up over his head. I start to look over the books. He turns and looks at me and excitedly says, “What are you doing here? I didn’t expect to see you here!” This was followed by the expected fist bump. He continues. “What’d you recommend?” I shake my head and say, “I don’t know.” “Come on, man,” he continues, “You got the knowledge.” I smile, “If I had something to recommend I would.”
Okay, that’s all normal and stuff. Here’s the catch, I have no idea who this guy is.
I’m standing there, scanning my memory tapes. Do I know him? No.
I decided it’s all too weird and I’m going to walk on.
The man then looks at my shoes as I start to walk away, “Love the Asics, man. They look so comfy. I’m really feel’n ‘em.” I thought to tell him that I got them on one of those Daily Deal things on eBay, but I just kept my mouth shut; smiled and walked on.
I have no idea who that guy was! Was he confusing me with someone else? Or, was there something more sinister at play?
I have had my share of stalkers. People that would just amazingly, out of the blue, show up in my life. This was especially the case back when I was doing a lot of narrative films. People either wanted to work with me or be in one of my films. They would miraculously pop up all over the place. How they found me, who knows??? But, they did.
Me, I’ve always got to be a little paranoid. I’ve had people try to follow me home and stuff like that. But, before I get too far off track… I have no idea who, what, when, where, or why this situation occurred. I have no idea who that guy was.
Just pre-pandemic, there was this African-American lady who keep (amazingly) bumping into me. She too was always so surprised to see me. Finally, I asked her why she thought she knew me. She was obviously digging for an answer and said she knew me through some people. “Who,” I questioned. I could tell she was digging but she threw out the names of people. Names like John and Steve, Karen and Leslie. Really common names like that. “Nope, I don’t know ‘em.” With that, it stopped. But??? Why me? What did she hope to gain? And, that’s the thing, people always do these kind of things for a reason. They hope to
get something from that other someone.  
As I drove home, all this got me to thinking… You know, there is all these weird ways that you meet people in life. Some you like. Some you do not. Then, there are those people you would like to know. For what reason, who knows? There are also those people that you thought you would like to know but once you got to know them you wish you had never met them.
Life is this complicated jigsaw puzzle. There is life, there is doing, there is meeting people, there is interacting, then there is all this other stuff; thoughts formed and actualized only in the mind of one individual. You only live twice: once in your life and once in your mind.
So, I don’t know? Why does someone/anyone want to know me? And, if they do, why don’t they just come up to me and say, “Hi, aren’t you Scott Shaw?” You never know where it will go from there. Awh, life… It all leaves me with a big ?

Just a Few Miles Away

I don’t know about you, but I tend to be very-very ON during the day. I wake up, ready to go. And, I spend my days ON most every day. That’s just who I am. At night, just like most, I try to chill. Like many, I find myself trying to veg in front of the TV.
I must intercede here, and state, that my pandemic fatigue came from watching way too much bad TV. And, it has lingered. It’s very hard for me to watch anything that doesn’t immediately spike my interest. Nonetheless, I enjoy sitting back with a nice bottle of wine and letting my mind relax in the evening.  
Having watched all the shows and reality shows that I felt were worth seeing, I was left seeking out something just watchable enough not to turn off the other night. I found this reality show on Netflix about people living in this small beach community in Australia. Though the reality of the reality of this shows seems quite contrived, it’s something to watch, gel, and ponder the realities of life.  
One of the things that they discuss, quite frequently, on this show is how different their community and the people who live in it are from a newcomer who hails from a place called the Gold Coast. The thing is, this place, Byron Bay, where the show is filmed, is only an hour’s drive away from Gold Coast. How different can people be that close to one another? Yet, that is what is claimed. I don’t know, maybe it’s true?  
I know here in L.A., and I have long realized this, in some areas you can travel just a few blocks and the neighborhood and the people who live in the next neighborhood over totally change. So???
There was an earthquake that its epicenter was in Malibu earlier this week. It was like a 4.5 which is not small but also not that big, compared to some I lived through. If I look out of my window, on a clear day, I can see Malibu far off in the distance. The way the geography of coastal SoCal has geomorphically designed itself is there is this bay like configuration that finds its center around Playa del Rey or Santa Monica. Malibu is North of there. So yes, I can see it, but it, in so many ways, is so far away.
I felt that earthquake, at about 2:00 AM, the other night. No biggy… It really didn’t shake my place that much. But, there Malibu is, so close, yet so far. A world away.
I mean, it seems like people always want to put up walls of the I am this and the you are that. The, I’m better because I am from here and you are from there. So many people travel and move and hope to become that Some Thing else by relocating to a place or a region. I mean, look at L.A., (Hollywood), people have come here forever trying to chase that promised dream. But, what dream is worth having and why is it worth chasing? Why is the, because I am from here and you are from there—how does that make you or I or anyone any more special?
I had a friend, he actually hails from Byron Bay. He came here to L.A. many years ago. Though I’ve never been to that city, I wondered then, as I do now, why leave such a pristine coastal place like that beach city to chase whatever it is he is chasing here? I’ve asked him that question, several times. No real answer.
I know when I was young, and I was making my first journey to India, I had all of these fantasy ideas about the place. My plan was I would go there and probably never return to the States. But, walk off the plane in India and your (my) ideas about the place will change quite rapidly. With millions of people living on top of each other, and all the Life Stuff that breeds from that, you quickly find India is not the spiritual hub it is promised to be. Anyway…
I guess that’s life: people move, change, and rearrange. They want to find that special something, that they conjure up in their mind—that is located over THERE. How about you? Do you love/are you protective of where you live? Or, do you look to the horizon trying to find that Some Thing Else?
Life is strange.


If you're busy trying to become something you're not, you can never emerge as what you were truly meant to be.


You can't want what you don't know exists.

I Can’t Give it Away

As a fan of thrift stores and swap meets, I am always so happy at the unexpected finds that you can encounter at those locations. Sure, most of the time, like ninety-nine percent of the time, you don’t see anything, but every now and then there is that amazing find. Because of that, I always try to give. When I have something I am no longer using I put it out there so maybe someone else can experience that feeling of WOW.
Last year, I gave aways a bunch of amps that I was just no longer using. …Like I’ve told the story before, the whole reason I quit playing music live is I did not want to end up being one of those old guys having to set up his own amp at a gig. I’ve got a few one-time rock star friends who are doing that to this day. Sad, I think. They were and are great musicians. But, times and musical flavors change and then what do you do when you know nothing else?
Anyway… I always hope to give and not just hoard.
As a record collector, (remember those things, a little platter on vinyl), there is some music that though I may not listen to it all that much, every now and then I will. And, as vinyl is the best sounding source, I keep that record around. But, then there are some that though, sure it was great once upon a time, I’m probably never going to listen to it again. Like I had the complete collection of the Supremes, Diana Ross and the Supremes, and Diana Ross LPs. They were just sitting there on the shelf and I realized it was time to move them along. I know this guy who loves her music and he was so happy when I gifted him the collection. Great! They found a new and loving forever home.
Recently, I was looking at my Allman Brothers LPs. And yeah, Sweet Melissa was one of the first songs that I really enjoyed playing when I was a young teenager, but I haven’t even looked at those LPs in years. I thought to give them to someone. But, I checked around and no one I know even wants them. Sad, I think, they were a great band. So, what should I do? I guess I could throw them into the bin at a thrift store, but then one of those re-sellers would just buy them for cheap and put them up for sale on eBay. That just seems so sacrilegious. They’re in mint condition.
It's kind of like I came upon a box of my old poetry chapbooks a little while back. Those books are really-really rare. But, the last time I put it out there that I was willing to give them (and a some of my other more popular books that I had laying around) away, if someone really wanted them… I even signed the copies that were requested. What happened to them? Every book I gave out ended up being put up for sale on one of the rare book sites. If I wanted them up there, I could have done that myself. I gave them to people to give them a gift, a true piece of Scott Shaw memorabilia, not as a means to make a couple of bucks that is not going to change anyone's life more than a very little bit.
People are always hitting me up for original VHS copies of my movies. I get those requests all the time. Distributors also contact me all the time, hoping to put my movies out there on VHS, Blu-ray and other formats. But, none of these people are about admiring and putting the cinematic art out there for posterity. They just want to make a dollar on a movie they didn't have the inspiration or the dedication to make. So, if I were to give them one of the VHS copies that I have or let them distribute my films, who and what would that be serving? Certainly not the art, which is all I care about. Anyway…
So, that’s the quandary? What do you do with what you have when you want to give it away but either no one wants it, or they just want to use it to make a buck?   
Life is strange. Well, I guess it is not that strange. I guess it is pretty predictable. But damn, I wish it wasn’t so predictable is such a predictable way. Happy

The World Was Formed by War AKA Who’s Karma is What?

There were three mass shooting in California over the past few days. One in Monterey Park killed eleven (so far) and injured a number of others. One, up in Half Moon Bay, killed seven. The other, in Oakland, killed one and injured several. That’s all fucked up. Cowards walking up on the unsuspecting, unprotected people and opening fire. Just like some of the journalists, content creators, bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, and keyboard warriors out there who incite negativity, these people attack from a position of advantage and unleash on the undeserving and the unsuspecting. There is nothing right in any of that and the world should hold nothing but contempt for the people who unleash this style of attacks.
I was shot in the leg when I was young. I still have scar to prove it. Luckily, (if you can call it that), it was a small caliber gun and it didn’t do too much damage. But, that’s not even the point. Somebody took aim at an unarmed, unprepared young person and shot them.
Growing up where I did, this was not and is not all that much of an oddity. It goes on all the time. If you’re in L.A., (or any other urban center), just watch the news. But, that does not make it right.
On the local news, which has been inundated with these shootings, there are all of these cries for more gun control. This, in a state that has some of the most stringent gun control laws in the nation.  But, that’s all nothing more than political rhetoric. It’s playing to the masses. It’s saying something just to say something to make yourself look like you’re on the right side of the argument. But, it ain’t gonna happen people. It’s not gonna change anything. If people wanna get a gun, they can get ‘em.
But, here’s the thing… There’s all the politicians, saying all these things, even POTUS, the President of the United States of America. Yet, all of these same people support giving arms to Ukraine.
I do not believe that there is any sane person out there who supports Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is wrong and it is bad. The whole of Ukrainian society and infrastructure is being destroyed. People are being hurt, maimed, and killed on a daily basis. Lives are being destroyed. But, did (then) President Obama stop or do anything about this on the first wave of Russia’s incursion into Ukraine when Russia attack, invaded, and annexed Crimea? No. He did nothing.  But now, the U.S. is giving literally billions of dollars and an untold amount of armament to Ukraine to fight back. But, what does fighting back mean? Answer: hurting and killing.  ….The U.S. giving all this money when its own people do not even have universal health care. Something that Obama promised. There is something very wrong in that.
So, where does this leave us? Really, where is the karma? The politicians are all upset about the recent mass shooting, as they should be. But, what fault do they hold in the overall karma of the U.S. How many people are being killed by American made weapons in Ukraine right now, today? Is it the fault of the Russian soldiers that they are being forced to go to war by their government?  And, that is not even to mention all the people that were killed and their lives destroy by the U.S. incursions into places like Vietnam and later the Middle East.
Here’s the fact, all of our societies were shaped by war. Where you live and how you live had its basis in a war. Nobody likes to hear that. But, that is the truth. Read your history books.
Here’s the big question, what part do you play in any/all of this? What wars have you created? What attacks have you unleashed? Who paid the price for what you have done? Who have you injured? Who have you killed? And, the big question, what have you done to right any wrong you committed?
I say this over and over again, all life beings with you. What is your fault? Where is your blame in any of this? And, most importantly, what are you, personally, going to do to make any wrong right?

Dream Yoga

Have you ever had a dream of someone that you would rather not remember or even think about? I imagine that most of us have had one (or more) of those dreams. Have you ever had a dream that was really intense, totally overwhelming, and you really wish, while you were in the midst of it, that is was not happening? I imagine that most of us have had one (or more) of those dreams. The thing about life is that every time we sleep, we dream. And, though there have been contemplations, lectures given, books written, and scientific studies performed about dreams there still is no absolute answer as to what they truly are or what they actually mean.
In Japanese, the word, “Yume,” is used to describe a dream. It’s direct meaning is, “Eyes in sleep.” I think that’s a pretty good definition as though, in our dreams, our bodies are removed from the physical world of actuality, we are living a complete reality.

Think about it. Think about how real your dreams truly feel. You are living a complete storyline in all its completeness. You move, you feel, you act, you react, you interact, and a story is constructed and told. When you are in that dream is your reality any less real than it is when you are awake? But, that story ultimately means nothing, because when you wake up, it is gone. There is no action or reaction or karma or anything.
Some/many believe that dreams are the foretelling of what is to come. But, what is to come? Is not what is coming based upon you deciding to do what you have done in the past, leading to what you will encounter in the future? Isn’t what is to come based upon what you decide to do right now? So, any prophecy may be a prophecy, but a prophecy is only ultimately defined by the choice(s) you make in any given moment.
In Tibetan Buddhism and various sects of Hinduism there is actually a Yoga developed to embrace dreams. It is known as, “Svapnadarśana Yoga,” The Yoga of the Dream State. Without going too much into detail, as that would take volumes, Dream Yoga is based on the theory of, “Bardo,” in Tibetan Buddhism, which refers to transitional states in human consciousness. “Milam Bardo,” is the stage of Dream Yoga when one works to use dreams as a pathway towards greater realization.
From this teaching, and numerous other schools of thought, people have attempted to control their dreams and the direction they travel and the things they experience within them. Some even claim that they can. But, have you ever attempted to control your dream and change its direction once you were deeply inside of it? As dreams completely overtake your sleeping body and mind, this is virtually impossible as you are so lost and/or control by the mechanism of the dream. Thus, those claims are simply the proclamations made by persons who wish to appear more than all who follow them. …Just like all of those unlikely claims that no one else (that you) can never seem to be able to accomplish. It’s all just gibberish.
So, where does this leave us? It comes back to the
fact of life that so many people attempt to fight; life is life, reality is reality, and that is all we have. Dreams are a reality that we are given and must live with.
In Zen, it is understood that though it may be human nature to fight the obvious; the clearest, purist truth of reality is that the simplest is the most pure and true. Though there may be all these implied definitions placed upon why you dream. Though there may be all of these techniques that claim you can control your dreams and use them for some greater good/goal in your life, that is all just the promise of illusion. It is all maya. For at its simplest most pure understanding, dreams are just what they are; dreams. No matter how hard you attempt to alter the reality of your dreams, your dreams exist in a separate plane of existence where physical choice and mental selection is highly removed from the equation. You are just living what you are living.
In awake life, there are choices to be made. These choices not only set up what you will encounter next, but they can affect the life of you, your loved ones, your friends, and maybe even everyone else on the whole planet. Thus, your choice is the defining factor of your karma and what is to happen next in your life. Dream, on the other hand, exist in a place of no karma. They exist on a plane of reality that is not bound by physical reality. Thus, you may love the dream you have, you may hate the dream you have, you may live all kinds of weird storylines in your dreams, you may even spend your whole life trying to control your dreams, but that does not make them holy. But, if you release, if you let all things simply be as they are with no judgement or attempt at control, than all things in your dreams and, thus, your life, become perfect. At least as perfect as the Zen of Acceptance can lead you to.

Seishi: Life and Death

The Japanese word, “Seishi,” refers to birth and death. Life is understood to be a, “Shoji,” a door between the two. But, if we look at life, particularly in regard to death, no one, (at least very few), wish to make that transition or go through that door. Even more so, this is the case of people we love when they pass from this life. We do not want them to go. It’s painful! Yet, it is inevitable. This inevitability, however, does not change the fact that with every death there is a loss and there is emotional pain.
I was speaking to this Shop Girl I have known for a number of years today. We were discussing the fact of how being the manager where she works involves a lot of pressure. I made a joke about how I remember how intense she was, during the height of the pandemic, when people would try to enter her store without wearing a mask or did not cover their noise with the mask they were wearing. She explained that her daughter had died from COVID-19 and that was her motivation to try and keep people safe.
Wow! I did not know that. It made me very sad. I asked, and her daughter was twenty-eight years old when she passed away. So young! Her entire family had got COVID, but it hit her daughter very hard.
As I explained to her, I don’t think people can understand the pain of losing someone from COVID, unless they have experienced it. I know it was a very heavy time when my mother-in-law passed away from the virus. But, a lot of people just don’t get it. They don’t get it unless they have experienced it. That’s why there are still so many people completely dismissing the science and rejecting the harsh truth of the pandemic. It’s still going on!
It's similar to when someone you are close to dies in war. I know I lost a close relative in the Vietnam War. He was only seventeen. The thought of his loss still haunts me. I have not personally known anyone who died in the more recent conflicts in the Middle East or Afghanistan, but there have been a lot. In each of those cases, someone was taken from people who loved them, and taken by the hands of that abstract external force.  
There is so much philosophy about death and how you are supposed to approach it and deal with it and all that. There are so many religious promises about heaven, being reincarnated, or finding expansive nirvana. But, that’s all just Mind Stuff. The assurances of people who heard it somewhere else or read it on some page. But, they don’t know! They’re not dead!
It’s the living that are left feeling the pain of those who have passed away. And, if you don’t know that feeling, you cannot understand.
It is for this reason that we really need to be nice. Be nice to everyone! Be kind to everyone! Help. Care. Because you never know what may come tomorrow and you do not want to have played any part in any person having lived a hard, unhappy, or emotionally unstable life. You certainly don’t want to be the cause of anyone’s demise. Because when they are gone, they are gone. And, when they are gone, someone is going to feel the intense pain of loss. Maybe for the rest of their life.

Every Storm Runs Out of Rain

“Every storm runs out of rain,” is a quote that is commonly attributed to Maya Angelou. Though there is some debate about who first said this. There are some that even claim it was first penned for a country western song. Whatever the origin, it is a pretty good saying, implying that even the most turbulent periods will end.
Okay… True… But, it is what happens during that storm that sets the course of the rest of your life into motion.
All we have to do is look at the devastation that happens to the life of many people when their homes and the livelihoods are destroy during the storm to understand that what occurs during the storm is only the beginning. Yes, the storm may be over. But, is it?
If we look outside of ourselves, if we look around ourselves, what storms are wreaking havoc on the lives of those we know or know about?
Look to the news, things are taking place all the time. There are physical disasters: earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornados, acts of nature, you name it. There are also storms that were brought about by someone else, delivered onto a person.
Look on the internet, look at all the attacks that are taking place. There are all these people saying all these things; but those people who are saying these things, do they care what storm they are bringing onto the life of that other person?
Every now and then we see someone suing a news organization about some lie that they told about a person. Did the news organization care? Even if they lose the case and have to pay the money, does that really remove the damage that they created in the life of that person?
Look at the life of two people during a divorce. We’ve all heard stories about how some divorces are very intense, truly hurting the life or one or both of the individuals—sometimes for the rest of their life. Once love, equaling hate, resulting in hurt. When is that storm over?
Sometimes there are those Content Creators, (though I use that term very loosely), out there who base their entire message upon judging, attacking, and hurting others. Sometimes these people take it too far and get sued. Maybe they even lose. But, how is anyone going to get money out of someone that has no money? And, even if they do, does that change any of the damage that was done to the life of the person who was forced to experience a storm created by someone else based upon nothing more than them feeling they had the right to attack?
It's like I was recently re-reading the Peter Fonda autobiography, “Don’t Tell Dad,” and in the early pages of it he states, “So many people have written about the Fondas. So many people have made a lot of money “detailing” the “history” of my life and the lives of my sister, father, mother, and daughter. These plagiarists and poachers have been given a free hand in attacking and trivializing our lives by the Supreme Court, and I will in turn count on the First Amendment to give me full rights in exposing these minor assholes for the yellow journalists that they are. But their version of our history remains out there in the public conscience as “truth” and there is very little I can do to defend us. I certainly don’t want to spend my time answering their distortion, as it would leave me little room for my own story.”
I believe this really comes down to the reality of reality in the life of lives, there are all these things out there, there all these people doing things that can really fuck you up, cause a storm to rage in your life. Yes, as Fonda stated, some even make money from it. …Some even take pride in doing so—their ability to do so. But, in that doing, in that creation of a storm, the entire world is set amiss. So, just because someone can cause a storm in your life that does not mean that their life is also not affected. Because in the falsity they portray and the damage they create, its essence also surrounds them, and it will eventually come back to rain on them. Remember that. Think about that. Ponder that before you do what you do.     
At the heart of any storm is its inception. It is created by god, by nature, or by a person or person(s). Yes, you can try to prepare for a storm, try to live through it, and hope you come out unscathed on the other side. But, living through any storm is only the first stage. It is what you are left with on the other side of it that may come to be the definition of your life. Don’t let that be the case. Be the glory at the end of that storm. The light at the end of the tunnel. The rainbow, and all those corny sayings. Be the greatness that emerges. Not the evident destruction.

SIDE BAR: As I mentioned Peter Fonda, here’s a funny side bar for you. This one individual, who is an extended family member.  Well, not anymore as the person she is related to got a divorce from my actual family-member. Anyway, she is one of those very right wing, hard core, no-mask wearing, anti-vaxers. In the early part of 2021, at the height of the pandemic, she told the story of how a few nights back Peter Fonda had come up to her in a restaurant and scolded her for not wearing a mask. I didn’t say anything, at least to her, but I did think, that was a fairly incredible feat, as Fonda had passed away in 2019. I guess he came back from the great beyond to chastise all the people who weren’t taking the heath of other people into consideration. Thanks Peter! Anyway… Just a thought… Happy


You've got to give them what they want or they don't want you.


How often do you eat food that you believe does not taste very good?

How often do you drink a drink that you believe does not taste very good?


It's much easier to claim that you don't remember or that you didn't know then to admit to the wrongs that you have committed.


Today, what did you do for the people you like or respect?

The people who helped or influenced you?

The people who caused you to think, provided you with new ideas, and new patterns of thought?

The people who gave you something or taught you something?

The people who provided you with a job or helped you earn money?

What did you do for the people you care about?

If you did nothing, nothing was done.

How about tomorrow? What do you plan to do for them tomorrow?


The person who is insecure about their own art criticizes the art of others.

Just as the person who is insecure about themselves seeks to call out the fault in other people.


If you create abstract art only the abstract can understand it.

Random-ness Verses Exacting Detail

Have you ever noticed how some people do thing with very little exacting detail? Whether it is writing, drawing, cooking, walking, driving, playing music, whatever; they do it with a cathartic randomness. Though whatever it is they are doing may get done, it is never done with any sense of perfection.
Have you ever noticed how some people do things with exacting detail? Whether it is writing, drawing, cooking, walking, driving, whatever, whatever it is they do; it is done with a sense of exacting purpose?
How about you? Where do you fall in this life spectrum? Do you focus and do things with excellence, or do you just do and let the cards fall where they may?
Here’s the thing about life, and the element that comes to be the defining factor of many people’s lives; how they do what they do leads to all of the life experiences they encounter. If they do with a focused perfection, they maintain a conscious control over action and reaction. If, on the other hand, they just live and act in a state of wild rebellion, then their life is never charted, it is all lived in a state of chaos.
Have you ever watched a refined chef cut vegetables? It is exquisite. It is pure art. How they can slice with that speed and perfection is hard to believe. If you haven’t seen one do it, check it out. I am sure you can find a video of a master chef online. Have you ever watched a prima ballerina dance? Each move is done with exacting perfection. If you haven’t, I suggest you watch and truly study their movements.
These are the type of person who takes all physical action, all things they do, to the level art. What they do, they do with exacting precision. Is this a choice? Of course, it is. What choice do you make?
How does an individual rise to this level of doing? First of all, they must desire it. Secondarily, they must practice. This is why people who deeply study things like the martial arts become such a more advanced practitioner of life. They learn through exacting practice how each maneuver must become an precise execution of perfect movement. They focus, they practice, they try. By doing this they emerge as a more perfect proponent of all of the physical movements of life.
This is just one example, but think about life, ponder the people who truly try to do what they do with exacting perfection. Aren’t they a better example of human existence?
In Japanese, there is a term, “Wabi-sabi.” In essence, though people have evolved this philosophy for centuries, this idea states that one should see the perfection within imperfection. Though this is a great philosophy to live by, isn’t true perfection more notable than making excuses for random imperfection, created by someone who just does without truly thinking or trying?
So, ask yourself, how hard do you really try to do anything that you do with a sense of perfection? How much focus do you place on the most simple elements of life from how you walk, to how you talk, to how you eat your food, to how you open and close a door? How much do you truly try to become the best example of any of the more complicated things that you do in life? Do you try at all?
You can go through life with a randomness of unperfected actions. Or, you can do with an excellence. Which do you think is better? Which life path do you choose?


When someone says something to you, do you believe them just because they said it?

Zen Filmmaking from the Mind of ai

There’s a lot of talk on the news right now about the new open source ai app, ChatGPT, that provides instant written research. I hit over to it and checked out Zen Fillmmaking. Here’s what it gave me:
Zen Filmmaking is a term used to describe a style of filmmaking that emphasizes simplicity, minimalism, and a focus on the present moment. It is inspired by the principles and philosophy of Zen Buddhism, which emphasizes mindfulness, self-awareness, and an understanding of the interconnectedness of all things.
Zen Filmmaking is characterized by a focus on the present moment, with minimal use of special effects and a preference for natural lighting. Filmmakers who embrace this style often use long takes and static shots and favor natural sound over added music. They also often take a hands-off approach to directing, allowing the actors to develop their performances in a natural and organic way.
In Zen Filmmaking, the emphasis is on capturing the essence of a moment rather than trying to control or manipulate it. It is about capturing the natural beauty of the world, rather than trying to impose an artificial vision on it. The goal is to create a film that is true to the present moment and reflects the interconnectedness of all things, rather than trying to impose a preconceived idea or message on the audience.
Zen Filmmaking can be seen as a form of mindfulness in cinema, it’s a way to capture the essence of a moment and share it with the audience. It creates a sense of intimacy and connection with the audience, as they are able to experience the present moment in a way that feels authentic.
Damn, that’s good! I’m going to have to use it. Thanks all you ai elements at ChatGPT! Happy
When I re-searched it a second time, using slightly different language, it gave me this which is also very good:
Zen filmmaking is a style of filmmaking that emphasizes simplicity, minimalism, and a focus on the present moment. It is often associated with the teachings of Zen Buddhism, which emphasizes mindfulness and being fully present in the moment. In the context of filmmaking, this can manifest in the use of natural lighting, minimal camera movement, and a focus on capturing the essence of a scene rather than trying to create a polished, highly-produced final product. The goal of Zen filmmaking is often to create a sense of authenticity and realism, rather than trying to create a polished, highly-produced final product.

Third Time:

Zen filmmaking refers to a philosophy or approach to making films that emphasizes simplicity, minimalism, and mindfulness. It is inspired by Zen Buddhism and aims to create a sense of calm and stillness in the audience by removing unnecessary elements and focusing on the essentials. This can manifest in various ways, such as through the use of minimal dialogue, long takes, and natural lighting. The goal of Zen filmmaking is to create a meditative and immersive experience for the viewer, rather than simply telling a story.

Again, very good.

Just for fun I also asked it about me. It gave me the paragraph below. I’ve paid people and have not received something this concise and to the point. Think I’ll maybe use this mini-bio somewhere, as well. Thanks ai!
Scott Shaw is an American martial artist, author, and filmmaker. He has a black belt in several martial arts, including Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and Hapkido. He is known for his work in the martial arts film genre, both as a performer and as a director. He has appeared in numerous martial arts films. He has also directed, produced, and wrote several martial arts film and documentaries. He is also the author of several books on the martial arts, Zen, and the entertainment industry. He is known for his ability to blend traditional martial arts techniques with elements of other martial arts, such as Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and Hapkido, to create a unique and effective fighting style. He has taught and given seminars on the martial arts throughout the United States and around the world.
Here’s what it says about me in association with Zen Filmmaking:
Scott Shaw is an American Zen master, filmmaker, and author. He is known for his unique approach to filmmaking, which he calls “Zen Filmmaking,” and for his use of Zen principles to create films that are both entertaining and spiritually enlightening. In his approach, Shaw emphasizes the importance of mindfulness, intuition, and spontaneity in the filmmaking process. He also encourages filmmakers to let go of preconceived notions and to be open to new ideas and inspiration. Shaw has written several books on the subject, including “Zen Filmmaking” and “Cinema Nirvana: Enlightenment Lessons from the Movies.”

A Second Description:

Scott Shaw is a martial artist, filmmaker, and Zen master who is known for his innovative approach to martial arts and his contributions to the world of action filmmaking. He is the founder of the concept of "Zen Filmmaking" and has been a key figure in bringing mindfulness and spirituality to the film industry. Shaw is also an accomplished actor, stunt performer, and director, having worked on numerous films and television shows throughout his career. He is recognized for his unique style and approach to martial arts and his commitment to promoting a more mindful and authentic approach to filmmaking.

Third Time:

Scott Shaw is an American filmmaker and martial artist who is known for his contribution to the development of Zen Filmmaking. He is credited with coining the term and has written several books and articles about the philosophy and techniques of this style of filmmaking. According to Shaw, Zen Filmmaking is about capturing the moment as it is, rather than trying to manipulate or control it. He advocates for using natural light and sound, minimal editing, and letting the story unfold organically. Shaw has produced several documentaries and independent films that embody the Zen Filmmaking approach, and he continues to be an influential figure in the film community.

Here's what it said about Donald G. Jackson and myself:

Scott Shaw and Donald G. Jackson are both American filmmakers who have worked together on several projects. Shaw is known for his work in the field of Zen filmmaking and his expertise in the martial art of Hapkido, while Jackson is known for his work in the field of exploitation cinema. They have collaborated on several films, including the martial arts film "Zen Fighter" and the action-comedy "Samurai Cowboy." These projects are known for its combination of Shaw's philosophy of Zen and martial arts with Jackson's exploitation style, which is characterized by its low-budget and over-the-top nature. Shaw served as the director and writer on these films, while Jackson was the producer.

Then, me being who I am, I asked it about Zen. It gave me this very precise answer:

Zen Buddhism, also known as Zen, is a form of Buddhism that emphasizes the practice of meditation as a means to achieve enlightenment, or understanding of the true nature of reality. The ultimate goal of Zen Buddhism is to achieve a state of consciousness known as “satori,” which is characterized by a profound understanding of the interconnectedness of all things and a release from the cycle of suffering.
Enlightenment in Zen Buddhism is often described as a sudden, intuitive realization, rather than an intellectual understanding. Through the practice of meditation, Zen practitioners aim to quiet their minds and become more aware of their thoughts and feelings, allowing for a deeper understanding of the self and the world.
Zen Buddhism also places a strong emphasis on the concept of “no-mind,” which refers to the state of being completely free of thoughts and mental constructs. In this state, the individual is said to experience a sense of unity with the universe and a deep understanding of the nature of reality. This state of consciousness is considered to be the ultimate goal of Zen practice.
Sure wish I had this program back when I was in high school and had to write papers. Back then, it was all about the encyclopedia and the library. Happy


If you focus your life on studying someone else's past, you are never developing your own future.


Do you consider the way you make other people feel?

Most Westerners Can’t Understand Zen

I was reading this interesting discourse that was titled, “Most Westerners Can’t Understand Zen.” It was written by a man who had an East Indian name, based in the Hindu Tradition. I don’t know how much that influenced his conclusions, but that is just a little tidbit of foundational information for you.
The piece was well written, and the man stated his points fairly concisely. From a neutral perspective, what the man proclaimed was based in at least, what I believe to be, quantitative truths.  But, as someone who has practiced Zen for most of my life, I always find that there is something missing in these style of dissertations.
First of all, ask yourself, “Do you understand Zen?” Whether you are a Westerner or not, ponder that question for a moment?
The author’s premise was, Zen is too abstract of a subject for a Western mind to understand. Is that the case for you? Or maybe, if you do not believe you understand Zen, is that simply based in the fact that you do not care to take the time to understand Zen? Think about that for moment.
I believe this is one of the main components to life that many scholars do not calculate. It really does not matter where a person hails from, all that matters is if they care.
I have known many Westerners, like myself, who have spent their entire life delving into philosophies that were born in the East. Why did they, why did I, spend my life involved with these understandings? Because I cared about them and because I wanted to. I have also known many people born of Asian heritage that just do not care about these mind sciences. Does that make them any less Asian?
Certainly, in each culture on this earth, every person is born into a philosophic mindset. In places like Japan, where Zen truly took hold and thrived, the people who are born to this culture are immediately provided with a basis of understand for Zen. That does not mean, however, that they practice or truly comprehend its subtleties.
If we look to the West, where the Judeo-Christian traditions are the most commonly practiced form of religion, we can easily understand that this is the mindset we were born into and were taught. Taught, at least if we come from a family who followed one of those religious traditions. I know my mind was programmed to believe in this faith from my earliest memories forward.
Here, I believe, arises one of the causation factors for why a Westerner may not be able to comprehend Zen. In Western religions one is taught that their religion is the only true religion, and all others are false. If you are a Westerner, or a person who practices a Western religion, was this not what you were taught? From this is born the mindset of condemnation. People simply dismiss the teachings of any other philosophic school of thought. How about you? If you were raised in the Jewish or Christian tradition, what were you taught to think about Eastern religions? From this comes a mindset born in dismissal. This is also where the developed ability to not care enough to understand is given birth to. Just criticize and disparage.
As the world has evolved, and people have become more and more exposed to other world traditions and other world beliefs, certainly the knowledge that schools of thought like Zen exist has become universally understood. But, how many people, not of that tradition, care enough to truly explore this understanding compared to how many people are simply willing to dismiss it? How about you? Have you studied the intricate understandings of Zen, or have you simply written it off and used it as a means for denunciation?  
What I believe this all comes down to is a person’s choice to know or dismiss. Does any individual, (do you), possess the desire to take the time to understand an abstract mind science like Zen, or do you simply dismiss it?
Anybody, if they care enough to try, can understand Zen. It is simply the fact that most people do not possess the mental fortitude to care enough to try. How about you? Do you understand Zen?

Does Your Method Work?

Does your method work?
For each individual we devise a method of operation that defines how we pass through our life. For most, the overall expansiveness of that definition is fairly limited by society, family, and availability. Yet, even within these parameters, and many more, each person chooses a pathway that they decide works for them. But, does it?
Again, does your method work? Does the life path you have chosen allow for you to be the person you hope to be? Does it provide you with what you need: be that family, friendships, creativity, money, whatever? If it does, great! But, if it does not, what does that chosen pathway actually provide you with? More than likely, nothing more than frustration.
The life path people chose to follow is defined by so many factors. Some people only want to survive and to make money, while others wish to create art, by however they define that subject. Many/most people can find a job. Finding a job is fairly easy if you are willing to do anything to be employed. Art, on the other hand, that is a much more complicated subject for the individual focused in that direction and they must question, what do they hope to achieve by creating art? If all they want is to become rich, be a rock star, a movie star, a revered painter or photographer, a celebrate chef, or a grand wizard of whatever, their road will be near impossible to achieve.
But, think about it… …Look at the vast number of used guitars being offered for sale on-line. Virtually everyone of those was owned by someone who hoped to a music star.  And, that’s just one example. Did their initial method provide them with a possibility? Sure, maybe. But, did it work? Obviously not.
So, this brings us to the crux of the question, does your method work?
For example, as anyone who knows me or knows about me and my creative process, my Zen Filmmaking has received a lot of criticism. Sure, it has also received a lot of complimentary understating, as well, but it seems the harsh critics always speak the loudest. But, no matter what they say about Zen Filmmaking, does my method work? Yes. Look how many films I have made using this method. So, love them or hate them, and that is an entirely different subject, but the method works. End of story.
For anyone who has ever hoped to achieve anything, there are trials and tribulations. You must try, and maybe fail, but then reevaluate your method, change it as necessary, and move forward. But, if you lock yourself into a life method that does not work, what are you ultimately left with? The answer is obvious.
Ask yourself, does your method work? If it does, great! If it does not, maybe it is time for you reevaluate your hopes, dreams, goals, and aspirations, and mostly your process, and maybe find a new road to travel.

Zen and Notes for Nothing

Zen and Notes for Nohting
To catch up on the previous blogs and aphorisms written over the past few months check out the latest book based on the Scott Shaw Zen Blog: The Scott Shaw Blog 25.0 Zen and Notes for Nothing

Zen and Enlightenment

The purpose of Zen is to obtain enlightenment. It is as simple as that. End of story. Yet, throughout the centuries, people have placed all kinds of definitions, schools, practices, and products that are attributed to Zen. Are any of this THINGS a pathway to enlightenment? If they are not, then they are not Zen.
Since the birth of Zen, that evolved from the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, the Sakyamuni Buddha, enlightenment has been the primary focus of this teaching. Yet, for most, it has become an unachievable goal. Like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, it is so close at hand but never obtainable.
The main problem(s) that arises in the pursuit of enlightenment are based in concept. For the few people who actually do choose to devote their life to encountering enlightenment, they each follow a path defined by concept. They are taught the teachings of their teacher and their school. They read the scriptures that have been laid down throughout the centuries. Though all of these things may be understood to be a guide, by their very nature they go against the true understanding of Zen, which is, we all are already enlightened—it is in our ultimate nature. It is only for us to peel back the layers of delusion and illusion for us to perceive this fact. Yet, every word and every teaching, as good intentioned as they may be, do the exact opposite of this. Instead, they add more pieces to the puzzle and make the end goal that much harder to obtain.
There are many facets to Zen that come to the mind of the zealot and the researcher: Zazen or meditation, Dōkyō or reading scriptures, Samu or everyday work done with a spiritual focus, Koan or piecing through the veil and finding the meaning hidden beneath abstract word constructions, and Dentō the passing of enlightenment from teacher to disciple. These, and many more practices, all define the pathway of Zen. But, they are all just THINGS. And things, by their very nature, keep one from encountering enlightenment. Meaning, hand-in-hand with the essence of Zen, there have intentional roadblocks put up to keep one from obtaining that which is the most easy to obtain if one simply lets go of all of the materializations of the practices.  
In Zen, the understanding of, “Kensho,” is often explained to be the pathway to nirvana. Kensho means, “Opening,” or better explained opening up to the true nature of the Self—that place that is enlightenment. Though some Zen Buddhist sects teach that enlightenment must come via a gradual process following an ever-expanding process of steps and obstacles, this is actually a misunderstanding of the entire truth of Zen. For even if one walks down the road towards finding enlightenment, it is only in that moment when nirvana overcomes the individual where all time and practice is lost to the realms of pure understanding. For once one embraces enlightenment, there is no longer any frame of reference for the pathway that got the individual to that point. All simply is.
For those who walk the pathway of Zen, yes, they are embracing a higher calling. But, just as all inner truths and deep wisdom are hidden behind the veil of illusion, as long as one prefers walking the path to actually obtaining the end goal, there will forever be the need for texts, scriptures, teachers, and schools, that are designed to guide the devotee. But, the truth of the truth of Zen is, that its pinnacle needs no teacher or teaching to obtain. All one has to do is to embrace the pure essence of Zen, located at the root of its teaching and instantly all the schooled stuff become unnecessary. For it is at the point, which by its very definition is the simplest to obtain, enlightenment is known.
If you wish to know about Zen, you can read the books. There are a lot of them out there detailing the understandings of this philosophy. If you want to be called a practitioner of Zen you can go to a temple and be initiated into the sect by a monk. But, if you want to live Zen, then discard all of the physical manifestation and embrace enlightenment, for that is the only true heart of Zen.


Just because you don't get it does not mean that it can't be understood.

No Mind Verses Some Mind

In Zen Buddhism, the state of Mushin or No Mind is the sought-after space of existence. From meditation, to art, to the martial arts, onto living wholly and consciously in everyday life, the seeker of absolute awareness focuses on traveling to the place where they may exist in Mushin.
Why is this the desired state of consciousness? Because it is only in this place one can free themselves from all wordily constrains and encounter a state of absolute freedom in thought, movement, and action.
For the artist, they concentrate on this mindset to gain a perfection in each brush stroke. For the martial arts, they focus on obtaining this state so that their movements become the perfect form of meditation as they are not guided by any external hopes or desires. For the meditator, this state is sought so that they remove all limitations of desire, leading to karma, and thus are free to exist in the space of Pure Mind where all is set to the natural experience of Zen.
For thousands of years there have been those who pursue Mushin. Throughout those thousands of years, however, those number have been minuscule in comparison to those who seek a wordily existence. Where do you find yourself in this pursuit? Do you seek a silent mind or do you seek all that the world has to offer?
Most, seek the world. Some, seek at least some level of deeper consciousness. Very few devote their life to finding No Mind. Why is this? Because the benefits are not obvious. What do you gain by encountered Mushin? If you cannot even understand the concept, how can you come up with an answer to that question?
This is why so few pursue Deep Mind. This is why the world lives in a state of ongoing chaos. This is why you are happy, sad, elated, depressed, fat, skinny, broke, in-debt, drunk, high, angry, hurtful, selfish, and self-centered. You seek what is Out There but not what is In Here. In Japanese, this state of mind is known as, Ushin, the opposite of Mushin.
There is the old saying, “You can live in the world but not of the world.” We all must find a way to survive. But, that does not mean that we have to do it in such a manner where we create negative karma.
Everyone knows what selfish and hurtful actions are. Yet, think about it, how many people know those definitions but do those things anyway? How many people applaud those who live in that state of mind? How about you?
There is another side to all of this. You can live in the world but not of the world. This is where Mushin may be encountered. You can do what you need to do to survive but you can do it from a space of Pure Mind. You can operate in the realm of the rejection of being called into external life-play. You can consciously be conscious. How do you do that? You just do that. It is a simple as that.
People confuse things like meditation, the arts, the martial arts, and living a spiritual lifestyle as doing something. But then, it becomes a, “Thing.” It becomes something that you must strive to do to perfection. But, think about it, if you allow all things to be perfect within themselves, doesn’t everything find its own space of flawlessness?  If you don’t try, you don’t have to try. You can just let things be as they are. With no desire, aren’t you free? That is the essence and the pathway to Mushin. Let go.
Finding No Mind is as easy as letting go of your Known Mind.


Does a thief feel guilty about stealing?

No, or they would not steal.

Does a liar feel guilty about lying?

No, or they would not lie.


What do you dream about when you're sleeping in heaven?


If you are saying anything negative about anybody for any reason you are NOT making anything any better.


If no one told you about God, you would not know about God.


Just because you believe you've paid your karmic debt for doing what you know you have done, that does not mean that the person you hurt believes you've paid your karmic debt.

It Doesn’t Really Matter to Anyone but Me

I know I’ve discussed this subject in this blog a while back, but I still find it interesting…
Several years ago, I made a statement and titled a blog, something to the effect, “No One Remembers My Father But Me.” This statement was based in the fact that he passed on in 1968, I was an only child, all the family quickly dispersed after his passing, and I now know none of them, etc… I am the last man standing. I held on to this belief until earlier this year when I came upon a blog dedicated to the history of USC, (University of Southern California), where the historian, who runs that blog, began to speak of my father and even my grandmother. WOW! That was a surprise. Then, a couple of other people chimed in and spoke of their memories of my father and the USC themed restaurant he owned way back when.
I imagine the historian is not that old and did not personally know my father. From his entries, it reads more like a historical quest for the people that shaped the USC lifestyle. Which is very cool. He must love USC. And, he is doing what no one else is doing. But, for those people who actually interacted with my father, they must be very-very old by now.
The point being, I guess I was wrong. I am not the only person who remembers my father.
All this being said, and the point of this piece being, does any of this really matter to anyone but me? For those reading that man’s blog, do they really care about my father? Sure, a mention of a man, and there are a lot of USC orientated historical figures mentioned in the man’s research and writings, may make a person marginally intrigued. But, do they truly care? I don’t think so.
This is the important thing to keep in mind as you pass through your life. Who really cares? Who cares about you? Who cares about what you care about? And, who will care about what you provided to the world, ten, twenty, or a hundred years down the line?
Most people exist in a space of selfishness. They only care about who and what they care about until they care about them/it no more. So truly, what will your life have meant when you are no more?
Below, I am going to copy and paste the writings the man has collected about my father in the order they were published. Don’t worry, it's not that much stuff. I don’t know, you may find it interesting??? Or maybe, it may just kill a moment or two of your Life Time if you don’t have anything better to do. There’s also a link to the man’s blog. It’s really a big one.
Anyway… Think about it… Who cares about you? Who cares about me? And, who cares about what you and I care about?  
Inside USC with Scott Wolf
May 14, 2021
Does anyone remember Stubby Shaw?
He opened the Trojan Barrel bar in 1955 that eventually turned into Julie’s Trojan Barrel in 1975, which was not to be confused with Julie’s Restaurant on Flower St., which was opened in 1941. Those were owned by the legendary Julie Kohl.
But back to Shaw. He was a fixture to students in the 1950’s and would sponsor intramural basketball teams that featured actual players like Jim Kaufman and Danny Rogers.
If Shaw was well known, so was his mother. Known to dental students as “Mrs. Shaw,” she was fixture at the dental school from 1931-62.
Mrs. Shaw (born Maude Frances Mashburn) worked with more than 3,000 dental students, the “little white haired lady who signs (the) state board examination card indicating the culmination of formal dental training.”
Some would say this was a time period back when USC was known for having family atmosphere.
May 17, 2021
As so often happens when I write about USC history, after initially writing about a subject I learn more through readers and more research.
I asked if anyone remembered Stubby Shaw on Friday.
In 1955, Shaw opened “Stubby’s Trojan Barrel” bar near USC. Many students simply called it “Stubby’s.”
Around 1965, it was purchased by Marlin and Mike McKeever. I’m not sure how long the McKeevers owned it, but in 1975 Julie Kohl purchased the bar and it became “Julie’s Trojan Barrel.”
“It was so dark, you couldn’t see yourself,” a reader who went to Stubby’s in the 1950’s told me.

Frankly, that’s what I remember about going there when it was “Julie’s Trojan Barrel.” You could walk in for lunch and it was like walking into a cave.
A USC alum told me Friday he thought Shaw might have played for the L.A. Dons football team.
Over the weekend, I came across a photo from 1956-57 of Stubby’s and on the far right is Shaw himself. Now you know why he was nicknamed Stubby.
July 30, 2021
And now for some history:
I heard a great story this week regarding Stubby Shaw, the owner of Stubby’s Trojan Barrel, which later became Julie’s Trojan Barrel.
In the early 1960’s, an underage USC student walked in Stubby’s.
“Whaddya drinking?” Stubby growled.
“I’ll . . . have . . . a . . . water,” the terrified student said.
“Water?” Stubby said incredulously. “If you want water, go to the Union 76 across the street. We drink beer in here.”
August 6, 2021
Here’s another story on Stubby Shaw, who owned Stubby’s Trojan Barrel, which later became Julie’s Trojan Barrel.
“He had a real red face, he was always red,” said a USC student from the early 1960’s. “He looked like a football player. I think he played for the L.A. Dons (the first pro team to play in the Coliseum from 1946-49). He really kept the place in order. The McKeever twins really wanted the place and eventually bought it from him.”
January 21, 2022
Here’s a 1948 photo of a game between the L.A. Dons and Cleveland Browns. The Browns defensive player who ran into the goal post, Tony Adamle, is the father of former NFL player/NBC Sports announcer Mike Adamle.
Remember, the infamous Stubby Shaw played for the L.A. Dons.
But the main reason I ran this photo is the clean look of the Peristyle, free of all the bric-a-brac USC stuck there over the years.
April 15, 2022
And now for some history:
Stubby Shaw (right) at his bar on Figueroa and 37th street circa 1956-57.
One of the things I love writing about USC history is the way I stumble across more stories. I’ve written before about Stubby Shaw, who opened “Stubby’s Trojan Barrel” in 1955. Around 1965, Shaw sold it to Marlin and Mike McKeever and in 1975 it was bought by Julie Kohl and became “Julie’s Trojan Barrel.”
This story came from an alum:
One night, in the early 1960’s, a customer kept giving Shaw a hard time, making rude comments and threats. As the customer prepared to leave, Shaw ran out the back entrance of the bar and went to the front entrance, which had two swinging doors like a Western saloon in the movies.
When the customer exited, Shaw punched him so hard, he flew back into the bar through the swinging doors. “Don’t ever come back here again!” Shaw growled.
If you look at the photo, I’m not sure why anyone would antagonize Shaw.
April 22, 2022
Last week I told the story of Stubby Shaw punching one of his customers through the swinging doors at his bar on Figueroa and 37th street. He was also a fixture to students in the 1950’s and would sponsor intramural basketball teams that featured actual players like Jim Kaufman and Danny Rogers.
In conclusion… As a small child, I spend many-many hours at the Trojan Barrel. I’ve told some of the stories I lived in novels and in other writings. As referenced in that blog by that onlooker, I too witnessed my father punch more than one guy in the face. It was a college bar okay… It could be a ruckus place, especially after a game. Though he wouldn’t take any shit, mostly my father was a good guy. He liked to hang out behind the bar, always with a cigarette in his hand, pulling beers from the beer tap, and talking to his patrons. I drank my first beer there at a very young age. Plus, I have a photo of me, pulling beer, when I could not yet even walk. So, as all fathers are, and in some cases their jobs, that place was a formative part of my early existence.
But again, back to the truth of the truth… Does any of that matter to you? Probably not. So, when you and I are gone, who will care about what you and I cared about? Keep that in mind.

PS: Just for the record, I didn’t go to USC. I paid my own way through college and I couldn’t afford a school like that. Though, in reading this man’s blog, I guess I wish I could have. Happy


When is a sin forgiven?


People often make the claim that when they pass away they will see a lost loved one in heaven. But, what if that lost loved one wants to reconnect with someone else in heaven—someone that you don’t like? Doesn’t that mean that you will be locked into eternity with a person you hoped you would never encounter again?
Is heaven the way you want it to be or is heaven the way someone else wants it to be?


You can never gain any wisdom from a book that was never read.


You only ask for forgiveness when you know you've done something wrong.

How many people have done something wrong but never even consider asking for forgiveness?

Who’s to Blame for Your Failure?

I used to live in this apartment. Downstairs from me, this couple who were both MMA fighters, moved in. This was in the early days of professional MMA. Every now and then I would hear them arguing when one of them would lose a fight. One would yell at the other one that they didn’t train hard enough, or that they didn’t listen to their corner, or that they didn’t anticipate the other fighter’s moves. While one was yelling, the other one would always make one excuse or the other. But, at the end of the day, they had lost a bout. Who was to blame?
Whenever someone loses a confrontational anything: whether it is a fight, a court battle, an argument, a whatever, they always look outside of themselves for someone to blame. Rarely, will you ever hear anyone saying, “I just messed up.”
Think about your own life. Think about the battles that you have lost, be they large or small. What happened and why? Was it your fault? Or, do you blame someone else?  If you do blame someone else, was it only their fault, or did you have some participation in your loss?
People, by the very nature of most, do not want to take responsibility for their losses. Even if it is them who instigated the battle, if they lose, they want to shift the blame to some external something. How about you? Really think about this.
Why do people do this? Because then they do not have to acknowledge the impact of their responsibility in the loss or the fact that they did something wrong. Even many criminals, when they get convicted, they blame the victim, the jury, or their lawyer for not getting them off. But, if they hadn’t done the crime in the first place, they would never have gotten arrested.  
There are two levels to life. There is the level where you live your life in the most peaceful, wholesome, non-desire-filled manner possible and then there is the life of conflict. Of course, even for those who seek peace, confrontation may find its way into an individual’s life. But, by not seeking it, by consciously steering clear of it, one is far more protected than the person who goes out looking for a fight or spends their life defined by living in a world of competition.
Most people, in their life, will encounter loss at some point. This, whether they choose to enter into the competition or not. As long as you shift the blame from you onto whomever or whatever else, when and if this occurs, there is never a place where you will encounter and possibly learn how to be able to correct your failings.
Blaming is much easier than taking responsible for your own choices and actions that lead you to where you find yourself in life. But, by blaming, you never meet the true you. You never take responsibly for what you have created. Thus, you are lost to living a life defined by denial.  
You can blame someone else all you want. But, as long as you blame, you will never find the true you. Thus, you can never learn from your mistakes and not make them again.


How long do you need to look at something before you can see what it really is?


Saw this quote on Facebook today. Thought it is a good one.

"You’ll never be criticized by someone who is doing more than you. You’ll always be criticized by someone doing less. Remember that." Denzel Washington


There's a difference between pleading not guilty and being not guilty.

The Cost of Your Karma

Recently, I’ve been writing a lot about human personal interaction and the way it affects the condition of a person’s life. Because really, isn’t that all we have? Our life. What we live. How we live. And, who comes into our life.
Each person brings with them a certain set of lived reality. For some, that reality is defined by goodness, caring, and the desire to help. For others, that reality is desired by wanting. In either case, who we meet and what they do once we meet them comes to not only affect our life, the choices we are presented with, but ultimately what we do with what that other person has brought into our life.
We all know the various types of people. There are those who want to give us something and those who want to take something from us. Of course, most life interactions are not that cut and dry as most people exist somewhere in between these two extremes. But, no matter the cause or the case, what a person first desires and then chooses to do is what sets the entire rest of their life into motion and it directly affects all those who are affected by their desires and their choices.
Throughout history, this is why some people have chosen to retreat to places like monasteries. It is believed that the farther you remove yourself from the world, the less internal conflict you will encounter. Of course, this is true. This is why many people retreat to whatever safe hiding place they can find. The less you do, the fewer people you interact with, the number of your life problem substantially diminishes.
Over the past couple of decades, life and life interaction has changed drastically due to the development of the internet. People live, work, buy, sell, and interact on a scale that was impossible just a few years ago. For some, they find this appealing. For others, however, all kinds of life interaction comes at them in ways they never imagined that they do not want or appreciate. Today, the fact is, virtually no one is not affected by this human construct that has taken on its own identity in many ways.  It has become virtually impossible to retreat. From this, the pathway of human existence has drastically been altered. One may argue that this factor has not changed the true personality of a person. Though this may be true, it has given everyone a new set of tools to live their life by if they wish to partake of them.
From this and because of this, what a person chooses to do with their life has the potential to affect others in not only so many previously unknown ways but also to direct a person’s life down an either positive or negative pathway.
This is where life gets complicated. This is where life has always gotten complicated. What are you going to do with the tools at your disposal? Are you going to use them to get what you want? Are you going to use them to give someone else what they want? Are you going to use them to fulfill your own desires? Or, are you going to employee them to give to someone and/or remove the hurt from someone else’s life? Are you going to help or are your going to hurt?
Most people do not take the time to truly understand why they are doing what they are doing and what effect it will have on that someone else that they might not even know. But, hurt anyone and everyone is hurt. One hurt has the potential to move from your single action and go on to hurt a multitude of other people. This is also the case if you help one person. This positive action has the potential to move outwards and create a great world of giving.
But, why are you doing what you are doing? This is a question few people as themselves. Few people ask themselves this question because they do not want to know the answer. They may possess a million rationalizations. And, even if they believe what they are doing is being done for someone else, it is them who is instigating the desire to do what they are doing. Thus, the truth be told, all they are doing is doing something for themselves.  Some people are fine with this fact. But, if they are, (if you are), then what does that say about that person. It says, they do not care about anybody but themselves and all they are doing is being done with only themselves and their own set of wants and desires in their mind. How can that be a good thing?
In Buddhism, it is understood that all life actions are defined by the Sanskrit word, “Cetanā.” This word means, “Intention.” Your intention is what sets your actions into motion and your intention is what will ultimatly defines what your actions will equal—not only to your life but to the life of all those affected by what you choose to do.
In the Satipatthana Sutta the condition known as, “Mindfulness,” or, “Sati,” in Sanskrit is explained. It details how one can consciously encounter life. But, you don’t have to read a sutra to understand what is right or wrong and how you can behave in a conscious manner in your life. You simply must be willing to view the possible consequences of your actions on a grander scale than simply how what you are going to do will affect you. You must reach outwards from self-consciousness to view the grand scale of all humanity and see how what you do will affect that next one person and may spread outwards to affect numerous others.
Doing right is always a very obvious choice. Justifying your doing something that will hurt someone/anyone else is always the wrong choice. It’s really very simply. That is mindfulness. Caring enough to choose not to hurt the life of anyone but to put whatever desire you have away and help.
What you do with your life is your choice. But, as in all things life, there will always be consequences, both good and bad. If you help, you have helped. That will spread outwards. If you hurt, you have hurt. That too will spread outwards. Whether you help or hurt one person or millions, that will come to be the definition of your life and will either cost your life a lot or you will be rewarded in goodness.

Ask yourself these simple questions before you do anything, “Is what I am about to do going to make me smile? Is what I am about to do going to make the person I am doing it to smile?” Your answer will tell you what you should or should not do.

Your life is your choice. But know, for everything you do, there will always be a price to pay. If not today, someday.

Choose mindfulness over desire. Choose to care more about that someone else than yourself. That is true enlightenment.


Constructive criticism is still just criticism.

What is criticism? It is you deciding that you know what is better for another person than what they know is best for themselves.

The Diminishing Peak Experience

For anyone who has walked down the Spiritual Path, they understand that the Peak Experience is a by-product of that journey. But, just what is the Peak Experience? In brief, it is one of those moments where all things align and your mind and your body move to a level of new peace, joy, and cosmic understanding. It may exist for only a moment in time but in that short time period all is as it should be.

A common name for the Peak Experience in Japanese is, “Satori.” This term describes momentary and instantaneous enlightenment.

In Hinduism, enlightenment or, “Samadhi,” is broken up into several categories defining the various level of Samadhi. In brief, these levels are: Savikalpa Samadhi, Nirvikalpa Samadhi, Dharmamegha Samadhi, and Sahaja Samadhi. But, as in all things based in Hinduism, this categorization makes the understanding very complicated.

Whether you walk on the Spiritual Path or not, have you ever experienced one of those moments where everything just feels so awe inspired and perfect? Commonly, these occurrences occur, much more commonly and freely when you are young. This is a time space where life is new and your mind has not become confined by programming and expected expectations.

Certainly, love has the potential to drive one towards a Peak Experience. When love is felt, and especially when it is returned, there is that grand feeling of all-right-ness.

Though love may be used as an example of the feeling of the Peak Experience, the Peak Experience itself does not need to be motivated or instigated by any one event. …Though it may be. The Peak Experience simply comes over you, and in that moment of knowing, one feels the grand glory of goodness and perfection that can be experienced in life. But, almost as soon as it arrives, the Peak Experience dissipates.

The problem with the Peak Experience, (if you want to refer to it as a problem), is that once it is felt, it is known, and from this, the Feel-er hopes to feel it again. Like a drug invoking the perfect experience, it too can become an addictive focus.

In some schools of spiritual practice, they discourage people from seeking out the Peak Experience. Or, when it is felt, the zealot is taught to rebuke it. But, what it is the fun in that? So much of life is held back by the reality of living in reality that when goodness arrives, via any flavor, don’t you think it should be embraced and relished?

Think about a time in your life when you had one of those experiences—that feeling of All Goodness. Maybe it only lasted for a second but in that second all things felt so good.

Maybe you were doing something that motivated it. Maybe it was someone who caused you to feel it. Maybe it just happened. However it occurred, remember that feeling.

As we get older in life, these feelings of overall expansive goodness seemingly do not appear as frequently. There is any number of psychological reason for this, but does that have to be the case? Or, is it simply you not allowing yourself to be free enough to embrace the perfection of your reality?

So here, try this experiment. Just STOP right now. Close your eyes and let go of the all and the everything that you are thinking and feeling that is making you feel all of the non-perfect things you may be perceiving. Just let it all go.

Now, find that place in you that is the essence of feeling good and whole-life connected. It’s in there. Maybe you have not allowed yourself to feel it for a long time but it is there. Look for it. Touch it. Feel it. Don’t make excuses why you can’t feel it, just let it overtake you.

Here’s the thing about life, as you grow older, more and more things become expected. More and more things become known. As you know them, they are not new—they are not experiential. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Next time you are doing anything, experiencing that anything as if it is the first time you have ever done it. With this, everything becomes new. Everything feels fresh. Everything can be your pathway to the Peak Experience.

Let go, be free, allow yourself to encounter the Peak Experience.


If all you have is what you had then you have nothing.


Once you realize you've missed your train there's no more reason to rush to get to the train station.


You can't go somewhere that no longer exists.


How many people are asking god for help right now?

Next time you ask god for help consider who else is asking for help at that moment and why?

Then consider, do you deserve god's help?


The minute you think you're right and someone else is wrong all of the problems of the world begin.


Just because the liquid is clear and looks like water does not mean that it is water.


If you didn't know what day your birthday was on you wouldn't expect anyone to wish you a happy birthday.


You can fill your cup until it runs over the top but that does not make your cup any more full.


You can't buy something that isn't for sale.

Try This

Try This:

Do something nice for someone you don't really like today.

Don't make a big deal about it, don't tell them about it, don't think you're going to get some good karma for doing it; just do it.

Watch how the world becomes just a little bit better.

Try This:

Do something nice for someone you do really like today.

Don't make a big deal about it, don't tell them about it, don't think you're going to get some good karma for doing it; just do it.

Watch how the world becomes just a little bit better.

Every time you do something nice for someone everything becomes just a little bit better.


Life is a slow process of realization.

If you're not looking for the new understandings you will never find them.

If All You Are Doing is Caring About Yourself Then All You Are Doing is Caring About Yourself

When you wake up in the morning what is your first thought? Does it involve you or is it focused on someone else?

When you go into a store, who are you thinking about? Why are you going in there? Are you thinking about what you want to buy or are you thinking about what you will buy for the greater whole of humanity—for people you do not even know?

When someone cuts you off as you drive or bumps into you as you are walking, do you blame them or do you blame yourself for being in the same space as they are?

Truly, how much do you think about yourself: your needs and your wants and how much do you think about someone/anyone else—particularly someone that you do not know?

If you look at yourself and if you are honest with yourself, most probably you will see that you think about you above all others. Yes/sure you think about that person you are infatuate with or in love with. You may even claim that you think about them and do things for them more than you. But, is that true? I don’t know think so. All you are doing is doing something to buy their love. You are behaving in a manner that will make them love you—that will make them want to stay with you. So, your actions are about you, it is not about them.

When something negative happens, who do you blame? Most people blame the other person. It can’t be your fault; right? Even if it is your fault, most people will do all they can to shift the blame onto the other person. They will lie and they will deny. Some are so blinded by their own self-involvement that they will not even admit the truth to themselves when something is, in fact, their fault. In the public eye, forget about it. The gloves are off and no action is too far out to be employed to win any meaningless battle.

But, why is this? Is this simply the human condition? Do you ever take the time to ponder how you interact with the world? Do you ever ask yourself who you think about first and why? Most people don’t. They are very satisfied to focus on themselves and maybe even claim they help other people via donations and other giving. But, this is all a lie. What is giving? Isn’t giving simply something that a specific person wants to do? What do they give? They give what they want to give. So, how is that a true act of selflessness in any way?

You can choose to not only think about yourself. The problem is, most people don’t. Thus, what we are left with is a world full of selfish people, doing whatever they need to do to get over and get what they want. They take no personal responsibility for anything as long as they can keep the life focus on themselves.

It doesn’t have to be this way but it is this way. But remember, all change begins with you. You can be a better, less self-involved person. But, will you?

Selfless Service

In virtually all forms of advance spiritual practice it is taught that Selfless Service is one of the greatest goods. …That giving is always better than taking. But, what exactly is Selfless Service? Selfless Service is you giving/you helping even when it takes away from your own life.

Here is where a lot of the confusion of Selfless Service arises. Many doctors, nursers, ministers, or teachers will believe that what they do/what they have to give is Selfless Service. But, it is not. Sure, what they are doing may be considered a, “Higher Calling,” but what they are doing is something that they want to do. What they are doing is something that they gain ego gratification from. What they are doing is something that they are, most probably, being paid for. Thus, it is not Selfless Service.

Selfless Service comes from a mindset of surrender. It comes from helping someone or something who needs help even when it will cost you something very big to give that help. Selfless Service is you turning off any sense of reward or desire or any hope of any compensation, on any level, and helping—doing for that person or persons, (that whatever), simply because they need your help—they need you to do what you can do.

Think about it, with this as the definition, throughout your life, how many times have you truly preformed Selfless Service? How many times have you turned off the YOU and did what needed to be done to help that someone/something else; leaving behind all of your plans, no matter what it cost the what you thought was supposed to happen next? My guess is, you have done this very few times, if any, throughout your entire life.

The fact is, most people could care less about Selfless Service. They care about Self-full Service. They want what they want and if they go out of their way to help someone out they expect some sort of a reward—even if that reward is understood to be simply Good Karma coming their way.

Think about the times you have been helped in your life. It felt pretty good didn’t it; those times when someone unexpectedly came to your aid? Now, think about a time when someone helped you in your life and you were very thankful but then you found out they expected something in return. I imagine that changed your entire perception of the experience and that individual.

Think about the last time something unexpected occurred and you dropped everything, gave up all of your plans, and truly came to the aid of that someone/something else. How many times in your life can you say that truly happened? Very few, I would imagine. This is the thing about Selfless Service, few people practice it. Fewer yet are willing to practice it. Most people simply remove them “Less,” from,“Selfless,” leaving only, “Self.”

You cannot really plan to practice Selfless Service because when it is needed it will happen in an instant. What you can do is be willing to practice Selfless Service the moment it is needed. You can be willing to turn the YOU off and be willing to truly give.

Selfless Service is not easy. But, think about how much better the entire world would be if it were more frequently practiced.

A better world beings with you. What are you going to do next?


What are you planning to do today about the negative words someone else has or is speaking? What are you planning to do today about the negative words you have or are speaking? If you don't do anything then nothing is done.


Is the world a better place because of your existence?

Humbleness Verse Prestige in the Martial Arts

This piece may be a little too acutely focused for the non-martial artists out there but I hope all can hopefully gain a few new ideas from the understandings presented.

I earned my black belt in Hapkido in 1969 when I was eleven years old. I had worked towards in since I was six. I had a Korean instructor and when it came my time for promotion he simply removed my red belt, tied the black belt around my waist, and shook my hand. I was, of course, ecstatic. There was no big ceremony, no certificate, or anything like that given to me. It was just the belt and the knowledge that my instructor believed I deserved it.

My father, who earned his black belt in jujitsu during his military service in World War II, also never had a certificate. At least none that I knew about.

What I am saying is that times were different back then. A student studied, learned, progressed through the ranks, and was awarded a belt based upon their developed understandings. It was based upon an instructor to student relationship.

When I was studying the martial arts as a young boy, through adolescent, and onto becoming a young man, none of my instructors, (who were all of Asian descent), ever asked to be called, “Master.” Yes, it was a formal relationship but the students simply referred to them as, Mr. (Whatever their family name was). This idea of, “Master,” was not a part of the equation. From this, I and my contemporaries, were taught and learned to respect the teacher without being forced to place an idealized image upon who and/or what they truly were.

It wasn’t until the time when a large number of Koreans began to immigrate to the U.S., in the early 1970s, that things begin to change. With the large number of newly opened Taekwondo schools, that was taking place, somewhere/somehow this ideology that your instructor was a, “Master,” came into play.

It must be noted, that my first Taekwondo instructor, who was also a newly arrived Korean immigrant himself, (that I began studying from when I was about twelve), never asked to be referred to as, “Master.” Mr. Kim was fine with him.

But again, somewhere along the way, the newly arrived Korean teachers, particularly those out of the schools of Taekwondo in South Korea, decided they should be referred to as, “Master,” or the Korean equivalent of the word. With this delineation, everything in the modern martial arts began to change.

I always would downplay this titling to being more akin to British English, where a school teacher is sometimes referred to as, “Master.” This being said, this was not what was in the minds of these martial arts instructors. To them, they were a, “Master,” and they deserved that labeling.

As the U.S. is where these people relocated and opened their schools, their primary students were Westerners. Through time, and rank advancement, these Westerners rose up through the ranks and became the next generation of instructors. Thus, they too took on the title of, “Master.” But, were they/are they? Or, are they simply perpetuating an ideology based upon ego but not accomplishment? In fact, what actually constitutes a master?

Having been at the source point of a lot of the evolution that took place with the Korean-based martial arts in the U.S., and being located at one of the central cities involved in the expansion of these Korean martial arts, I witnessed a lot of the hidden undercurrent of what was taking place among these new schools of self-defense and the people who owned and taught at them. And, a lot of it was not pretty, honest, or honorable. There was a lot of lies being told, and a lot of deceptions put into place, which have now become solidified and believed truths due to the fact that these fabrications were spoken so many years ago. The fact is, these newly arrived instructors needed to earn money so they found a way to do so, oftentimes this was at the expense of their students.

As Western martial artist rose through the ranks, became instructors, and opened their own schools, many of these, less than ideal, trends of school ownership and the need for external validation came to be the hallmark of these expanding systems of self-defense. As some of these Westerners decided that they were, “Good Enough,” and no longer needed the support of their Asian instructors or organizations, they founded their own associations. As many of these instructors also believed that they were progressing faster in their understanding of the arts than their instructors believed, they looked for ways to accelerate their movement up through the ranks outside of their original student to instructor relationship. From this, from this belief in the Self, the rank structure of the modern martial arts became so convoluted that everyone began questioning everyone. But, it shouldn’t be this way.

Rank is nothing more than Ego. It is a name and a number on a piece of paper. But, what does that even mean? What does it mean when so many people are claiming so many things and so many organizations have arisen giving recognition to someone who simply believes that they should be referred to as, “Master?” From this forced evolution, no matter where or whom that certificate comes from, it no longer has any absolute meaning as there is no solidified standard for rank promotion.

My primary focus, through my many years of involvement with the martial arts, has been the Korean systems of self-defense. This being said, as I have spend a lot of my life in Japan, I have been lucky enough to have also trained in the Japanese arts. No one there, none of my instructors, ever asked to be called, “Master.” “Sensei,” which means, “Teacher,” is the respectful title which was assigned. And, that was that.

One could argue that this goes to the cultural identity of Koreans verses the Japanese. And, that may be the case. But, like I have long said, “If you are referring to yourself as a Master that probably means that you are not.”

First there was, “Master,” then there became, “Grand Master,” then “Supreme Grand Master.” But, what do any of these titles actually mean? What makes a person a, “Master,” or a, “Grand Master?” Isn’t it simply a name and a number on a piece of paper?

I fully understand that there are a lot of Asian and Westerners that have devoted their life to the study and the teaching of the martial arts. I applaud all of these people. But, how many of those people have forgotten the primary principle of the martial arts; humbleness?

If you feel that you must proclaim what you are, then what are you? If you feel that you must be referred to by an exalted title, who are you? Where is your humbleness and is what you are doing, (studying and teaching the martial arts), truly based upon helping others and making this world a better place or is it simply a means for you to fill an internal lacking within yourself?

As for myself, yes, I did earn some certificates. As I say, “I thank all of the instructors and the organizations who found me worthy.” And, even I, when I was younger, fell prey to the ego of being, “That Something,” when I was teaching the martial arts on a full-time basis. Thankfully, I caught myself and woke up. Now, my certificates are all in a brief case in my storage unit. At least I think they are? I haven’t looked at them in years. When I am teaching seminars, I only have the students refer to me as, “Scott.” I know this sometimes upsets the school owners who have invited me. But, I refuse to be dominated by a title that has become so convoluted in this modern era.

In closing, I believe for all of the true marital artists out there, we really need to return to a simpler, less ego-filled time, when the martial arts were an instructor teaching a student in the refined levels of physical and mental awareness without the need for all of the glorifications.

Humbleness should be at the heart of all martial art training. Isn’t that what all of the ancient sages have taught us?


Forgetfulness is the biggest form of denial.


We are all limited by what is available to us.


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


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


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.

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.


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.

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 Owe 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 wipe 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.


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, 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 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.


People Never Say Thank You

It is so rare in life that we find people saying, “Thank you,” to anyone. We live in an era of SELF and from SELF comes the concept that no one is owed anything for doing anything. “I did it. It was me,” is the common statement. This is very sad I believe, as so many people go into the doing of anything. Yet, very few people appreciate or acknowledge this fact.

Though it may have been you that had the inspiration, the courage, or the force of will to achieve and/or do what you have done in your life, you would be nowhere without all of those around you who inspired you, guided you, taught you, supported you; providing you with the determination to follow through with what you have accomplished. Did you thank them?

More than simply the people who liked, loved, and cared about you, there have been those people that you did not like or did not like what they instigated but from them you also learned. You learned what you don’t like. You learned what not to do. Did you thank them?

In life, most people only see the all and the everything based upon what they are thinking and what they are feeling. But, why are you thinking and feeling anything? Who guided you towards those life conclusions? Did you thank them?

It is essential that we each periodically step outside of ourselves, study where we find ourselves in life, and define how we have arrived here. Then, once these understandings are reached we really need to take the time to step beyond our own selfishness and self-centeredness and speak up and say, “Thank you,” to those who have helped us arrive at our currently life location.

To all the people who have inspired me, “Thank you.” To all the people who meet negativity with positivity, “Thank you.” To all the people who have helped me, “Thank you.” To all the people who have supported my vision and what I do, “Thank you.” I really mean it, “Thank you!”


Your heart is only going to beat so many times.


Everybody has an excuse.

The World of Judgement

Many people live in a world of judgment. They judge everyone and everything. Some may say that they judge based upon the way that they were judged. Other would say that their judgment is based upon a sense of entitlement, arrogance, and all-knowingness. Wherever an individual’s mindset of judgement comes from, what it sets into motion is a world where someone is right, someone is wrong, and personal expression and emancipation are not allowed.

As one travels through life, you can witness as a person gets older, whether or not their mind becomes more refined or more embedded with a sense of their own righteousness. In some cases, people who were once judgmental evolve and become more understanding of the fact that each individual operates from a perspective of their own state of mind and life understanding. In other cases, people simply become more and more harsh and more rooted in their sense of they know what is right, wrong; good or bad.

How a person views the world is the defining factor of all they will encounter in the world. How a person views and judges other people is what sets the process for their personal life evolution and advancement into motion.

From a perspective of refined consciousness, it is commonly understood that being judgmental is not only a detriment to one’s self but to the overall expanding evolution of life, as well. For if one is living their life from a space of being judgmental, they are not only hindering the forward movement of interpersonal learning within themselves but they also hinder the expansion of knowledge to all those they encounter who listen to their evaluation of other people and other life situations that they provide.

So, where do you find yourself in life? Are you a person who immediately believes they know what they know before they ever allow a person or a situation to simply be who and/or what they are? Or, are you silent and take the time to understand that each person operates from their own level of understanding, based upon what they have been given in life, and from this allow each person to make their own unique contribution to life without the need to predicate that contribution upon the basis of whether or not you do or do not like it.

The Guy Who Never Made a Movie/The Guy Who Never Wrote a Book

I find it rather interesting/amusing that every now and then someone will heads-up me to the fact that this one guy is out there attempting to cast shade on me as a filmmaker—criticizing my films and/or my life in one derogatory way or the other. The funny thing is, and the thing that anybody who reads his posts does not realize, is that it was like ten years ago or so that this guy first contacted me directly saying something negative and telling me he could and has made a better movie than I ever could. I gave him my address and told him to send me a copy. Of course, he never did as he has never made a film. Yet, there he is, still out there all these years later, throwing around negativity focused at me and I imagine other people, as well. But, who is he really angry at? Me, for making movies or himself for never making one?

Maybe twenty years, when my first book on Hapkido came out, I was contacted by this school owner telling me how terrible the book was. I suggested that he write one. He told me, of course he would, and it would be so much better than mine. Great, I told him, I look forward to reading it. But, that book was never created. I guess he either never wrote the book or he found out how impossible it is to actually get a deal with an established publishing company. All these years later, still no book on Hapkido from him…

In the same vain of the martial arts, every now and then I will read how someone is trying to alter the facts and make me or some other established martial artist look bad. As I have long discussed, this is really an epidemic among modern, low-level martial artists who have found an outlet for their frustrations via the internet. But, why is that? The martial arts should be all about personal growth and positive empowerment. But, for those who have not truly achieved, they find solace in embracing negativity to cover-up for their own lack of personal accomplishment.

As we all can understand, there are the people out there in cyberspace just trying to cast shade on others by altering facts or just pointing any reader with a mind geared towards negativity in that direction. For some reason, some people are not secure within themselves and thereby have to attempt to find fault in others. The point being, in life, the negative musings of others can come at you from people across the spectrum of life: all backgrounds, all occupations. But, words are just words. The question one must always keep in mind is, "Why is that person saying what they are saying?"

You know, when I first began putting the formalized foundations for Zen Filmmaking together; the words I spoke, the classes I taught, and the writing that were published were all designed to help the person who may be having a problem getting his or her film actually done. The teachings were put together as an inspiration. This is still the case. But, back then, all the so-called, know-it-all, wanta-be filmmakers were saying Zen Filmmaking was all wrong. A film could never be made without a script. But, that was never the point. The point was, JUST DO IT! Simplify and get it done! Since that time, I have still received the same words of criticism. Sure, there are a lot of people who have made a lot of indie films since I first came up with Zen Filmmaking almost thirty years ago. But, there are also a lot more who have failed. …Failed for whatever reason. Mostly, as I have said so many times, the reason people fail in their filmmaking process is their expectations. They want their movie to look like a several million-dollar production when all they have is a few hundred dollars. Or, they wait and wait, hoping that big break will come their direction but it never does. But, if you let go of your expectation, if you let go and allow yourself to be free in your vision, you can actually get something done. You can actually make a movie or create anything else that you want to create and you can do it with your own personal style.

This is the same with all things in life. Maybe you have a vision. Maybe you even dislike what someone else has created and want to do it better. But, until you have shown what you can actually do and put it on the same chopping block of public opinion—exposing it to the same damnation, then all you are is voicing words that holds no true validly.

Maybe you don’t want to make a movie. Maybe you don’t want to write a book. And, that’s great. That’s who you are. But, if you do, then do it. Sitting around telling someone else how bad they are, how bad what they are doing is, means you are doing nothing.

Don’t You Feel Bad When You Get It Wrong?

There are so many people saying so many things and so much of what they say is so not true.

Every now and then I cannot help but take note about all of the false information that people spread across the span of human existence. Though everyone in the Free World certainly has a right to their opinion; an opinion is not a fact as I so often point out. Yet, everyone states what they state, believing what they believe, but if a belief is not based upon a truth than what is the purpose of that belief? It becomes only a tool for a person to use to substantiate their placement in society and to attempt to influence the minds of others.

A belief is a projected ideology used as a replacement for the truth. Thus, it has no absolute meaning. Yet, how many people are intelligent and ideologically coherent enough to realize that fact? Very few. Instead, they take what they have heard, they take what they think, and then they package it and release it as if it were a gift but it is not. It is simply a falsity presented with a bow.

From an academic perspective, people do their research. They find their evidence. Then they present their revelations to a board of other researchers who check and cross-check this data. Beliefs are never just thrown out there claiming to be substantiated facts. They are only accepted as a fact after a long process of assessment and evaluation.

People, however, find excuses for the falsities they present. They find justifications. They claim free speech. But, if someone is claiming free speech that in and of itself is a sign that what they are presenting has gone through no process of reevaluation by others who possess the qualifications to provide validation and approval. Thus, you must always be weary of what you hear if someone is justifying what they are saying. You must ponder, why are they saying it.

Moreover, do you feel bad when you get something wrong? Do you have any sense of remorse when you have stated something that, through further evaluation, turned out to be wrong? If you don’t, what does that say about you?

Life is lived by what we learn. If what we hear, leading to what we learn, is not true, our entire life became a false, baseless existence. If you are contributing to that epidemic, your whole existence becomes the flash point for the demise of not only the other people who have listened to what you have had to say but to the ongoing betterment and evolution of the human race, as well.

A lie is never the truth. A belief that is only believed, is never a fact. Thus, be conscious of what you say and what you put out there, for a false belief you hold, equally a lie you tell, has the potential to not only define your entire existence but the lives of those who have listened to you, as well.

Hey, YouTube Star, What Are You Doing to Save the World?

Ever since people found a way to find their celebrity on the internet, it has become a platform for publicity. Though this is not in the exact order of occurrences but first there came websites like Naked News, then personal/explicit website came to be at the forefront of media discussions. The first incarnation of MySpace was a big catalysis for this style of personality driven stardom. Now, sites like YouTube offer a pathway for people to find their fame. But, at the root of this celebrity is one person finding their pathway to recognizable notoriety. Okay… But, the question must be asked. “Hey, YouTube star, what are you doing to save the world?”

People forever find a reason to accentuate their life and to make it better. Some people are, by their nature, very outgoing and driven and they seek to be the center of attention. From this, if they have something that the internet masses desire, they may find a pathway to celebrity.

Now, there is nothing wrong in all of this. Throughout modern history some people have desired fame. But, how many people who desire fame ever think about anybody but themselves? How much time do they spend consciously giving back to the world? Sure, most of these people will have an excuse. “I make people laugh.” “People like to look at my naked body.” “I tell people what I think and they seem to like it.” Of course, the list goes on. But, how does any of that make this world a better place? How does any of that help the person who is homeless and does not even own a computer or a smartphone? How does that help the people who are devastated by weather or by war? How does that do anything to save the world?

Certainly, there have been celebrities through this modern era who actually stop looking in the mirror, step up to the plate, and go out there and do something that matters—something that truly helps people. How many YouTube celebrities are like that? How many of them get out there, get their hands dirty, and actually help the people in need?

Here are the questions you must ask yourself as you pass through life: “What am I doing to make the world a better place? What am I doing to help those in need? What am I doing for anyone but myself?” If you don’t have an answer to these questions then the answer is obvious; you are doing nothing. If you are doing nothing, you are doing nothing. You are not trying to help those less fortunate than yourself. If this is the case, why do you feel you deserve any celebrity what so ever?

If you are not doing anything to save the world—if you are not actually trying to help those in need, what does that say about you?

If you want to be famous, be famous for helping people. Then your life will have actually meant something.

The Helping Hand

I frequently ask people the question, “What are you going to do today that will help somebody other than yourself?” Right now, answer that question.

For most, they do not have an answer to that question because they do not think of other people, they only think about themselves. For others, the ones that actually pretend to care, they may attempt to come up with a suitable sounding answer. But, is that actually a real answer? Have they actually preplanned to do something for someone else?

As we pass through life, the
something in most everyone’s life is themselves. That something is based upon what they want and how they want to feel. If someone else enters into that calculation, equaling something that they want or someone who makes them feel the way they want to feel, then that person is the person they may considering doing something for. But, is that, “Doing,” in its purest sense? Or, again, is that just doing for yourself? I believe the answer to that question is clear.

The other factor in this equation is that people are quick to dismiss, "That person doesn't need my help or there is nothing that I could do to help them." Dismissal is easy. But, dismissal is just as the definition of the term implies, it is you not even caring enough to care or you not trying hard enough to try. Dismissal is easy. Trying takes caring focus. It takes effort.

So, again, we come to the place where the question must be asked, “What are you going to do today that will help somebody other than yourself?” Can you shake your mind out of its commonality of self-thought and actually care enough to do?

As we all can view our own lives as a basis for understanding, I frequently pose this question to myself. I do this to: 1) shake my mind free of self-absorption and 2) to make sure that I am caring enough to care at all junctures of my life. So, right now, ask yourself, "What can you do that will make someone’s life just a little bit better and are you willing to do it?"

As we can look to our own life as a basis for understanding, every now and then I take stock of what people have done for me. When someone does something nice for me and it comes my direction out of the unexpected nowhere I always extend my sincerest appreciation. Other times, I question why does no one cares enough to care—to say or do something nice? It is at those times when I (when we) should study our own pathway and first of all remove the self-motivated desires which equal obstacles. For if we open our eyes we may see that if all we are desiring is the only thing that we will believe is a, “Doing,” than we may miss the fact that there are people out there caring about us, and doing things for us, in their own small way.

At the end of our days, our life will not be measured by what we did for ourselves. It will be judged by what we did for others. So, “What are you going to do today that will help somebody other than yourself?” Right now, answer that question. Right now, go and do something for someone you know, someone you don’t know, someone you like, or someone you hate. Caring and doing good is always the best thing to do!


How many of your facts do you know that you know?

How many of your facts do you confirm?

How many things do you repeat simply because you heard it somewhere from someone?

Does it bother you that you don't check your facts?

Does it bother you when you say something that turns out to not be true?

What do you do about the false knowledge that you spread?

What do you think the false knowledge you spread does to the world as a whole?

The Bigger Question is, Why Do You Care?

People spend a lot of time thinking and talking about things outside of themselves. Whether it is discussing what they think about a particular person, a sport’s team, a music group, a movie, or a religious figurehead, whenever this style of dialogue occurs the discussion is moved away from Self. When the discussion is moved away from Self, the individual does not have to study who they are, what they are, and why they behave the way the behave. Thus, all sense of rising interpersonal human consciousness is lost to the mundane.

At the heart of all advancing mindfulness is a person’s ability to study themselves. From this study, they are allowed the opportunity to raise their level of awareness, take control over their mind, and guide themselves towards become a better, more whole, human being. For those who spend their time disregarding this fact and losing themselves to monotonous patterns of thinking, they lose any chance they have of rising above the commonplace and moving themselves towards a deeper understanding of Self and universal knowledge.

Taking control over one’s self is not easy. In fact, it is one of the hardest things that any person can accomplish. Removing one’s self from this task is easy, however, as there are a million things out there to distract you. There are a million people, saying a million things, all designed to keep you from looking within. Everywhere you turn you will find someone attempting to drag you into the discussion of the mundane and keeping you from turning within, developing a highly defined mind, and moving yourself towards the higher mind and the betterment of all instead of simply focusing on what somebody thinks about some one or some thing.

This is your life. You are the only person who can take control over it and decide to make yourself something more. So, why do you care about something that does not truly effect your overall evolution? Why do you waste your time thinking about it? Why do you waste your time discussing it?


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


What are you going to do today that helps someone other than yourself?

How Choice Equals Your Everything

As we pass through our life we each make choices. In many incidences these choices are something that we have chosen to do in the moment with little forethought. Whether they ultimately turn out to be a good, positive choice or a bad, negative choice, the ramifications from that choice are lived but then we are allowed to move on, leaving our past behind. This is not always the case, however. In some cases, these choices come to define much of the rest of our life. This is certainly the case when someone commits a crime and is caught and legally punished for it. This is also the case when someone meets someone, has a child with them, comes to truly dislike that person, but they are forced to deal with that person, due to the child, for much of the rest of their life.

The previous examples are two of the very obvious ones. There are understandably other actions that people choose to make that binds them to a specific period of their life and a specific person in their life. In many cases, they do this without ever thinking about the larger ramifications of the choice(s) they make on their life and to the life of the person or persons who are affected by the choice that they made. But, whether the action was a conscious choice or not, they bind themselves to that specific choice and/or a specific person. Thus, they become defined by a definable point in their past throughout the rest of their life.

Take a look at your life. Think to the things that define your life. Who are you, what are you? Who are the people around you and why are they there? Now, focus on the things that caused you to become that person. Then, trace this back to the choices you made that caused you to emerge to the point where you find yourself in life. What can you conclude? There is no right or wrong answer, this is simply a prescribed pathway which allows you to see how you have become the person whom you have become.

Once you have a clear perspective of yourself, take a few moments and look to the people whom you’ve interacted with throughout your life. Now, think to the people you have positively touched as you passed through life. What did you do to make them have that affirmative experience? Next, think about the people whose life you have damaged as you made the choices that you made as you have lived your life. What did you do to hurt them and why did you make that choice?

It is essential to note that the karmic ramification of someone you have hurt are always far stronger than someone you have helped? Why is that? Because pain, (physical, emotional, or otherwise), is long-lasting, especially when you have done nothing to undo the damage. Thus, that person is continually thinking about what you have done and this will forever become a defining factor to your existence in their mind. Thus, the two of you are bound together, via a negative experience, forever.

Think to the people that have been bound to you by the actions you have taken based upon the choices you have made. Define in your mind, the type of relationship that developed between the two of you based upon the choices you have made leading to the actions you have taken. Do you care about the way they feel or how their life has become defined by what you have chosen to do?

For a person with a conscience and a clear awareness of morality they do care. This is what defines them, their relationships, and the choices that they make throughout time. But, there are others out there who do not care. Though you may wish for them to care, you may tell them to care, but again they make their own choices which sets their interactive destiny into motion and if they are a person who does not possess a conscience there is little you or anyone else can do to make them refine and cultivate their mind.

So, what does this leave us with? It leaves us with the fact that not only your life but the life of all those you interact with, as you pass through your life, is defined by the choices you make. It is then further defined based upon the next level of choices you make delineated by the choices you previously made.

What choices will you make today that will define your future? What choices will you make today that will remedy the choices you have made in the past? Your life, your choice.

Speaking Your Mind Verse Mindful Speaking

One of the primary tenets of Buddhism is Right Speech. It is an essential part of the Eightfold Path.

In the modern world, especially in the Free World, people have the belief that they can say whatever it is they want to say with impunity. Perhaps this is true from a governmental perspective but is what is allowed by society the only true definition of human consciousness? No. Just because you think something, that does not make it true. Just because you are allowed to say whatever it is you want to say, that does not make it right. On the path of rising human consciousness the individual should make a cognizant decision to formulate their speech from a more profound perspective then simply letting their thought and beliefs run away with their thinking mind, thereby creating the words they are speaking. That is what sets the person walking the spiritual path in a different direction than the average person; they consciously formulate every aspect of what they do and what they say in order to leave the least amount of impactful devastation in their wake.

Right Speech is based initially upon the Buddhist concept of Right Thought. For, where do your words arise from? They are instigated by what you think. But, why do you think what you think? This goes to the source of whom you associate with. Thus, the Buddhist understanding of Right Association is brought into play. Whom you associate with equals what you think, equals what you say.

As sentient beings we all feel we are whole and compete onto ourselves. This is also the sourcepoint for where the human ego comes into play. As we are whole and complete beings, many feel that gives them the right to do and say whatever it is they want. But, again, this goes back to the sourcepoint for personal thought. Why do you choose to think what you think? What was your inspiration? Why do you feel you have the right to spread what you think out to to the world via your words? What made you believe that it was acceptable to do that?

At the heart of all rising human consciousness is the person who chooses to take control over themselves. They do this realizing that they are not the All Powerful, All Knowing Being that the ego has allowed many to embrace. They understand that they are simply a cog in the wheel and, as such, what they do has an ever-rippling effect onto the rest of world. From this understanding, they choose to take control over their mind and the actions unleashed by their thoughts so that the world becomes a better, less traumatized place. Thus, they choose mindful speaking over speaking their mind.

Where do you place yourself in the spectrum of the existence that you find yourself currently living? Do you feel that you have the God-given-right to expound your beliefs to all those who will listen? If you do believe this, where did that belief arise? And, do you not believe that everything you say possesses an impact on the lives of not only those you speak about but those who listen to your words? Do you not believe that you are creating your own karma by saying what you are saying?

It takes a strong person to put their ego in check. It takes a strong person to not be dominated by what they think and what they believe. It takes a strong person to understand that mindful words are the sourcepoint for making the world a better place as opposed to making it a more damaged place on both the interpersonal and universal level.

Can you be strong enough to choose Right Speech? This is a question that you can only answer yourself. But, be advised, your words equal your karma and your words equal your destiny. What kind of life do you want to live? What kind of impact do you wish to invoke?


Goed of slecht is enkel een zienswijze. Als je van de hel houdt wordt het een hemel.


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




Csak akkor érezheted úgy, hogy becsaptak, ha elvársz valamit. Elvárások híján csalódásoktól sem kell tartanod. Minél kevesebbet vársz, annál szabadabb lehetsz, s annál kevésbé az idő rabja. Miért? Mert elfogadod azt, ami van. Az elfogadás felszabadít.


Mindannyiunknak vannak személyes kedvteléseink, preferenciáink - bizonyos dolgokat szeretünk, másokat nem. Az életben mindig van két választási lehetőséged: az egyik, hogy úgy döntesz, élvezed az éppen aktuális eseményt, és tanulsz belőle - még ha nem is olyan dolog, amit szeretsz. A másik lehetőség, hogy végigküzdöd-küszködöd az élményt, közben folyamatosan hibáztatva érte mindent és mindenkit magad körül. Mi lenne, ha minden kedvezőtlen eseményt új megvilágításban szemlélnél? Mi volna, ha egyszerűen elfogadnád a tapasztalatot, mint átmeneti állapotot, és tanulnál belőle, amit csak lehet? Gondold csak el, milyen békéssé válna ezzel az élményed! Ha szereted a Poklot, azzal Mennyországgá változtatod. Az érzéseiddel döntesz - válassz hát körültekintően!


Hányszor történt veled valami olyasmi, amit nem szerettél? És hányszor volt, hogy a kezdeti negatív tapasztalat gazdagabbá tett téged, új lehetőségeket kínált:

- erősebbé tett
- megismertetett új emberekkel
- lehetővé tette, hogy tisztábban lásd az emberi természetet
- képessé tett rá, hogy mélyebben megértsd a saját létedet.

A helyzetek és körülmények nem rosszak. A döntéseid, ahogy azokat kezeled, irányítást biztosítanak a számodra, és lehetővé teszik, hogy megszabadulj minden negatív dologtól. A békéhez vezető úton ne hagyd, hogy látszólag negatív események átvegyék fölötted az irányítást, és uralni kezdjék a gondolkodásodat. Ehelyett inkább arra figyelj, hogyan fejlődhetnél tudatosan a tapasztalat által!


La felicidad es una emoción. Eres tú quien decide ser feliz o infeliz en una momento dado.


Tu aquí y ahora está solo dominado por la complejidad de la vida que te has creado tu mismo.


La valoración que haga otra persona de ti, ¿es más importante para ti que tu propio conocimiento de ti mismo?


Despierta y siente un nuevo día. Vive y siente una nueva vida. Mira con ojos nuevos y experimenta todas las posibilidades.


Perdona y serás libre. Olvida y serás todavía más libre.


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


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


All negative behavior comes from a place of unanswered pain.


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 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

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.


When the destination no longer exists there is no right way or wrong way to get there.


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.


Do all of the good deeds you do today erase that one bad thing you did way back when?


You getting revenge is only you setting yourself up for further karmic repercussions.

One Minute Later

Have you ever been in a car or a motorcycle accident? How did that accident affect your life? For most, these events are a negative experience—negative, especially if you were hurt or your car or motorcycle was badly damaged.

Now, think about this… What if you had left home one minute later that day. One minute later or one minute earlier and you would not have been at that intersection, at that point in time, where that accident took place. Thus, you would have never been in that accident.

This goes to show you how your life is dominated by simple movements—movements that can change your everything. A choice to leave, when you choose to leave, and everything in your life is changed forever.

I have been in a few serious accidents in my life. Going back to my childhood, when I was maybe two or three, (I remember very far back in my life), a car hit my father late at night. This was my first accident experience. My father, at the time, own a restaurant near the USC campus and we were driving home at maybe one or two AM; whenever the restaurant closed. I was sitting on my mother’s lap. This was long before child car seats or even seat belts. The car hit us. I apparently smacked my head on the dash due to the impact. Though I don’t remember that part. My father, obviously pissed off due to this fact, gets out and the black guy that hit us pulls a knife on my father. …Things were sketchy back then too. My father, a petty savvy fighter, knocked him out. The cops soon showed up and the guy was arrested.

But, think about it… Had we left the restaurant just a few minutes sooner or a few minutes later, none of that melodrama would have happened.

When I was ten, I was driving in a car near Valentine, Arizona with my uncle. It was the winter. We were driving on Route 66. I so clearly remember as this pickup truck drives up next to us, looks at us, and passes us very quickly. I took notice as the two people in the truck were long haired Native Americans. As this was 1968 you took notice of a man’s hair length. Instead of just passing us, however, they intentionally cut us off, causing my uncle to react and, due to the fact the road was icy, we swerved off the road and flipped the car. Why they did this, I don’t know. Drunk? Maybe. Because we had California license plates? Maybe. Or, just to fuck with us. I don’t know… But, it was quite an experience. One that should never have happened. It was the first time that I believed I was going to die—in one of those seconds that seems to last for an eternity. I let go of life. But, I lived and I was okay. Okay, but never the same.

I have been hit while driving my motorcycle a few times. Two of those times were very serious. My life was never the same… Hell, my friend even ran into me with his motorcycle as we were driving down the Sunset Strip back in the late 70s. He was trying to pick up on these two girls in a car and wasn’t paying attention. He hit my bike, we both hit the payment. The girls laughed and drove off. Life…

I’ve been in a few smaller accidents, as well, but the one thing that any one who has even been in an accident, large or small, will tell you is that they are not fun. They are an occurrence that comes out of the blue—an occurrence that you wish never happened. An occurrence that can truly change your life.

But, any of those accidents—they did not have to happen. All I had to do was leave a minute earlier or a moment later. But, I did not. Why not?

Accidents also go to the situations when you meet a new person by chance. You are there, they are there and, for whatever reason, you begin a conversation. This conversation may equal great things in your life. It may also equal devastation. A chance meeting, by accident, yet your life is altered forever. Had you not been there, had they not been there, none of the anything would have ever happened. But, you were there, they were there, and now your life has come to be defined by this interaction. An accidental meeting, yet it comes to define you.

Some would say that all things that happen to you are god’s will. Others would call up the karma card. Still others will say it was destiny. Maybe… It could be anyone one of those things if you choose to be a believer. But, life is random. Life happens. Different things, different experiences, happen to all of us. From them, we become who we are.

Some people want to find a reason for no reason. Some people wish to attribute logic and a causation factor to everything so that they may feel like there is something bigger going on—that god has a purpose for them. But, this is all mental masturbation. It is simply people looking for a reason why when there is no reason why.

Life happens. You are here. You do things. You make choices when to do things. From this, your life becomes defined by the experiences you have when you are doing the things you choose to do when you choose to do them.

Reason, logic, justification, they are only there if you believe they are there. But, what does the other person who was part of the accident believe? Probably something totally different from what you are believing. Thus, there is no fact—only supposition.

Life… Though we all wish we could find a reason why, there is no reason why.

Do Something Special Every Day

Life goes by in the blink of an eye. When you are young you don't think about this. When you are old it is too late to think about this. One day you are young; the next day years have gone by but you never saw them going. You never see the passing of time until that time has past. You can only look back and remember your life experiences. Yes, during your life there are good times and there are bad times but while you are living them, you are locked into them. Thus, they are only judged through the passage of time.

Many people choose to live a very mundane existence. The do the same thing everyday. Some like what they do and they are content in their mundane. That is a good thing. Most people, however, are not like this. And, that is bad thing.

Many people feel trapped by their life-definitions. They feel they must do what they must do. But, if what they must do brings them no joy, their entire life passes by with not only a sense of angst and regret but also with a longing to have lived something else. From this is born all of the internal anger perpetuated out to the world by the words and the deeds of the unhappy and the unfulfilled individual.

For many, their life is defined by a sense of necessity. They must do what they must do to survive and/or to feed their family. Again, this goes back to the core principle of life; some people love or at least accept the cards life has dealt them; making the best out of them, while others are regretful and become bitter and angry.

Though there are spiritually based metaphysical methods to teach a person how to rethink and reencounter their life; this takes training. A training that many do not wish to undergo. Thus, what can a person do if they find that they are living a life that they wish was different? The answer, “Do something special everyday.”

Many people adequate, “Special,” with something big. A trip to Hawaii, a new car, a new lover, a new and better job. But, “Special,” doesn’t have to be that. Special can be something very small but very personal. If you like to take a walk, take a walk everyday. Go have a cappuccino. Join a gym. You never know who you will meet. Take a class in something that you are interested in. Go do some hatha yoga. You name it… Special is anything that takes you away from the forced and the mundane in your life. Special is anything that takes your mind off of all the stuff you normally think about. Special is something that makes you feel special. Special does not have to cost money. Special is taking a moment, talking yourself out of any drudgery that you may be encountering, and altering you mind to a place where new and happy realization and life experiences may be born.

Do something special every day.


Who has to die so your secrets will be hidden?

Demons Among Us

There are demons that walk among us. People who pretend to be one thing but are completely the opposite. People who lie about who they and what they are to get what they want. People who have some form of mental illness and either hide it from the world or are too mentally ill to even realize the fact that they are flat out nuts. In each and all of these cases, the demons come into the life of someone else and completely destroy it. Caring not about who they are, what they are, or what they have done, they move through their entire lifetime doing nothing but damaging the lives of all those they encounter. There are demons among us.

In most case, it is only after our life has been damaged by one of these demons that we actually realize who and what they are. Initially, we only see the facade.

Most of us believe in people—we want to believe that people are good, kindhearted, and are doing good things while acting in a positive manner. This is where we are taken in by the demon. From believing in the goodness of people, demons find an open door.

In some cases, we can see the demons among us. Are you ever out in public and you see someone talking to themselves? This is the obvious, early stages of mental illness. Thus, they are on the road to demonhood. Some people are just nuts. They are yelling and screaming wherever they find themselves. Demon… But, then there are those who have the ability to hide who and what they truly are. They may do this through lying, they may do this through pretending. Whatever the guise, what they do is hide from the world what they have the potential of unleashing once one allows them into their life.

Sometimes, at a distance, we can hear a person yelling, screaming, and raging in anger. These people are controlled by their demons within. If we can hear them, we know to stay away from them. The problem is, most of these people are masters of deception; they lie and they hide who they are and what they do. They do this so most of the people they encounter do not know who they truly are until it is too late.

This is the same with people lost to the realms of distorted relationships. Some people perform very misdirected and unconscious acts within the realms of a relationship. Sometimes the other participant is a willing participant. Other times, they were simply indoctrinated into whatever levels of wrongness is taking place. Knowing nothing else, they do not question what is going on or why. Still others are lied to by these demonic personages. They are deceived into thinking the person is one thing when they are the complete opposite. This is where the true and absolute damage to a person’s life can occur. They were lied to thus all levels of damnation may occur to them and they may have no way out. Thus, all hope and all life is lost.

At the root of the demons who walk among us is deception. They lie. Whether that lie is a conscious action attempting to gain what they want from other people or if it is simply a reaction; hoping to keep their demonic condition in the shadows, these lies have the potential to destroy lives. We can all say that this person should not have the ability to behave in their demonic manner. And, we can say that we hope we never encounter these type of people. But, they are everywhere. It is only through a very discerning eye and a developed understanding of what traits to look for that any of us can keep our lives free from being invaded by a demon.

Liars 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.


No one wants to admit their own sins but everyone wants to call out the sins of others.


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?


Do you try to fix any damage that you have created or do you try to find a reason to justify your actions?


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 than that.

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 really don’t like has occurred and they are all-encompassed with being upset.

This is one of conditions of life that most people experience, at one time or another, and that is just the way it is. In fact, when these places 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(s).

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 can get that adrenal rush. From this, the two or more of them can keep escalating their feelings, be they based in positivity or negativity, 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 and one person. Therefore, they are the one in control. And, if they are in control, they are the one to sets 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 mob 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 may 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 upon 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 done 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.

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.

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?